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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  October 17, 2012 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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that is our passion. that is why we are in this race. we need a strong america so we can provide for our families for the future of this great country. now discussion about syria's war which has caused the death of over 30,000 people. politic analyst that they heritage foundation examined russia's role in the conflict and the support of this regime. this is an hour and a half. >> good afternoon. thank you for joining us here at the heritage foundation in our claman opportune -- auditorium on our web site as
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well as joining us via c-span today and in the future. we would ask everyone in houston make sure your cell phones have been turned off this week prepare for everyone's benefit in recording of today's program. we will post the program in 24 hours on our heritage web site or everyone's future reference. hosting our discussion today is.there steven bucci with the homeland security in our douglas and sarah allison center for foreign-policy studies. is focuses cybersecurity as well as defense support to civil authorities. dr. bucci served in america for three decades as an army special forces officer and top pentagon official and commanded the third battalion special forces and became military assistant to defense secretary donald rumsfeld in july 2001 and served throughout the secretary's term and his retirement he continued at the pentagon as deputy
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assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and america's security affairs. prior to joining us here he was a lead consultant on cybersecurity. please join me in welcoming my collie, steven bucci. [applause] >> we want to welcome everyone here to heritage this morning. we have a very timely subject to discuss and i think we have a great panel of experts that will be doing the discussing at least to get us started. i have to tell you i have an interest in this because one of the first things i did when i arrived at heritage was to testify before congress about the weapons of mass destruction threat that syria a bandit somewhat untimely demise it might pose and i'm very interested to hear the answer to one of the questions i was asked by one of the congressman which was gee, couldn't breath help us
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in this regard? i won't tell you what my answer was but i'm interested to hear what the experts have to say. we have three of them here. the fourth one should be here by the time we start to speak that we are going to start with our panelists. they will get about 10 minutes apiece to get an initial opening statement and then we will try to get to as much q&a as we can and we will have a minute or two for short wrap-up. wrap-up. i will tell you for those of you who have not seen a panel that i have moderated before when you ask a question, if you get past the second piece of english-language and i don't hear question mark i'm going to stop you so this is not a time for the audience to give speeches. we have four experts appear to give those, so let's make sure we get as many questions asked and answers -- answered as
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possible. try to keep the questions is thanked, get to the question mark and we will let the experts address them. now we are ready to start. i'm going to do all the introductions right away and then we will go down the line. the speakers are sitting in the order in which they will present. were going to start with dr. jim phillips who was her senior research fellow for middle eastern affairs at the heritage foundation. he has written extensively about the middle east and international terrorism since 1978. he's a member of the board of editors of midi's quarterly and jim has been interviewed frequently find numerous media outlets and has written for quite a few of the major u.s. newspapers in the area or in these areas of his expertise. he is extremely knowledgeable man as seen things happen and comments on them in my humble opinion in a reasonable and
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accurate way. he will be followed by doc or robert freedman who is the meyer hall pearl pearl storm professor of political science at baltimore hebrew university and a visiting professor of political science at johns hopkins university. he has been a consultant to the u.s. department of state and central intelligence agency and he is the author of four books, soviet foreign-policy and also the editor and has been the editor of 14 books on israel and middle eastern policy. and then our third speaker will be dr. stephen blank the strategic study institutes expert on soviet lock and post-soviet world since 1989. he is the editor of imperial decline in russia's changing position in asia and coeditor of the soviet military in the future, and the last speaker is
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dr. ariel cohen my colleague at heritage who is the senior fellow for russia studies and has been often called to testify on russian and former soviet politics, economics with u.s. congress and regularly provides commentary on these issues through numerous media outlets both domestically and across the globe. i believe we have the right people here to discuss the topic which i didn't come up with the title so i can say it's clever. how russia helps us thought as the u.s. fiddles and i will start with -- >> thanks the. i would like to set the stage for next three speakers who will focus primarily on russian policy by briefly outlining u.s. policy and how it is factored in to the bloodbath we see in syria today with more than 30,000 dead and no end in sight.
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from the beginning i think it's fair to say that the obama administration is behind the curve on following events in syria. i think this was because of ideological baggage carried when he entered office which led to wishful thinking about the supposed benefits of engaging in the assad regime. in part i think it was a horrible misreading of the nature of the assad regime and the possibility of negotiating a diplomatic transition to a new government. and i think in part it was due to an insistence on multilateralism almost doesn't end in itself which comes from u.s. policy which decision-making to the united nations which was the paralyzed by a threat to the russian and chinese veto. the obama administration entered
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office and initially soft-pedaled its criticism of the regimes hostile policies including including its violent crackdown on its own people its long-standing support for terrorism second only to iran, its implacable hostility to israel and its close alliance with iran and russia and the soviet union. syrian supported groups killing u.s. troops in iraq and supported hezbollah the lebanese terrorist organization which was responsible for the death of many americans in lebanon, including 1983 bombings of the u.s. embassy and the marine barracks in beirut and i go back to lebanon because i think it's worth noting that the marines initially had been deployed there to separate israel and the plo following the 1982 lebanon
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war but they were called back following the assassination of the lebanese president-elect who was assassinated by a pro-syrian group. fast-forward fast-forward to 2005, and there was an assassination of another lebanese leader, this time former prime minister who courageously stood up to syrian domination inside lebanon or go that led the bush administration to withdraw the u.s. ambassador to syria because syria once again had been implicated in the assassination of a lebanese leader. despite the assad regime's bloody track record the administration sought to improve relations with damascus and use senator john kerry as an intermediary to relations and reverse the bush administration's attempts to mobilize international pressure against the assad regime and it reversed the decision to
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withdraw the u.s. ambassador when the democratic-controlled senate approved a new u.s. ambassador to syria. the administration made an end run by naming robert ford as ambassador while congress was in recess in december 2010. although ford later performed ably and demonstrated solidarity with the syrians opposition, peaceful demonstrators, he could have done it in a different diplomatic position. he didn't necessarily have to be ambassador. and partially sending an ambassador back to damascus when the assad regime had not edified its policies sent a message that washington was eager to restore relations despite syria's continued role as the spoiler in the middle east. this also hinted that there would be little price to be paid for future hostile acts.
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one of the principle motivations for the administrations glossing over syria's long-standing -- was the hope to draw damascus into peace negotiations with israel and this has been a pattern followed by other administrations, the comprehensive arab-israeli peace, the holy grail of the american presidency and other administrations have pursued that and softened u.s. policy on syria in pursuit of an israeli syrian peace treaty. particularly the clinton administration which dispatched secretary of state -- state warren christopher more than 20 times which was more than he went to moscow or beijing. but these and other efforts in israeli peace failed because damascus was interested in participating in a peace process but not in actually a signing a peace treaty and i was
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interested in the process because that would defuse international pressure going back in the '90s when it lost its soviet ally and would allow it to reap the benefits of participating in a process without paying the cost of signing a peace treaty with israel which would jeopardize its claims of leadership in the arab world, the resistance access as well as expose it to political vulnerabilities at home where it faced opposition from the muslim brotherhood which was absolutely opposed to peace with israel. in any case, the obama administration's engagement in policy failed in syria just as it has failed in iran. in both cases drawing a hostile regime into a grand bargain or a settlement settlement of outstanding issues. to proved to be unfounded and yielded few tangible results but in its eagerness to negation a -- negotiated deal with both
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regimes the administration pulled its punches and initially muted his criticism for the bloody repression these regimes meted out opposition movements movement and we saw it with in june 2009 when the administration took days if not weeks to really toughen its rhetoric on the oppression of the green movement. when peaceful protest erupted in syria in march 2011 the regime responded with brutal force including this permanent shelling and art tillery tanks and airstrikes but the administration continued to treat the syrian regime with kid gloves. secretary of state hillary clinton went so far as to describe bashar al-assad as a reformer in a march 27 seven seventh statement of this was an embarrassing misreading of the situation in syria and although assad had promised to promote reform following the death of his father in 2000, he has done
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precious little to deliver on those problems. in july 2011 the assad regime showed his contempt for u.s. policy by orchestrating an attack on the u.s. embassy in damascus and these and other threats lead to the eventual withdrawal of the u.s. ambassador for his own protection. three rounds of incrementally escalating sanctions before president obama finally called for assad to step down in august 2011 when it became clear this approach to assad had failed in its administration outsourced basiri a policy to the united nations where russia easily brought effective action. the administration opted to support the nonprofit peace plan which was doomed to fail as soon as it was put in place last april. no outside force forces capable of imposing peace in syria as long as the power struggle, struggle to the death i think,
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continues to intensify between the assad regime and the many opposition groups it has spawned. annan's progress but did little to slow it asaad killing machine. the u.n. observer mission was ludicrously tiny, initially and russia's insistence to 40 observers deployed in a country that is bigger than the state of north dakota. this diplomatic charade benefited assad by buying time for his thugs to crush -- and benefited iran by helping them to salvage a brutal middle east ally but it did little to protect serious suffering people and it does nothing to advance u.s. national interest by ridding the middle east of a major regime that the state sponsor of terrorism. without american leadership international community amounts to little more than an empty
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euphemism on many critical issues and we are seeing that today in syria. russia, china and iran continue to support the assad dictatorship. tehran has prompted -- a sought after sending arms to plan revolutionary guards from the elite quds force to advise-and-assist the syrian security forces in repressing the opposition. the quds force is electronically tracking down and helping the syrian security forces to arrest the opposition leaders. is training the militia similar to iran which was instrumental in repressing iran's green movement in 2009 although i think we have not heard the last of the green movement. i think the bottom line is that the obama administration -- wishful thinking about the nature of the assad regime about the effectiveness of the night of nations it nations and about the supposed benefits it has set
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with russia. if it is to successfully address what's going on inside syria, its timid syria policy is especially -- when compared to its policy on egypt as they're the administration pressed for hosni mubarak to resign in a matter of weeks despite the fact that he was a longtime ally but it took the administration five months to issue similar calls for the -- of assad and i think a country that gains reputation for quickly abandoning its friends while courting its enemies inevitably will find that it has more enemies and les brown's and unfortunately i think this is likely to be one of the lasting legacies of the obama administration in the middle east. >> thanks, jim. >> first of all i want to thank the heritage foundation and
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ariel for inviting me here. it's a pleasure to be here with steve and ariel on the platform. i have only 12 minutes as promised and i have a lot to cover so i will speak quickly and if there are any questions afterwards -- i have seven parts to the presentation. first, a historical look at both soviet and russian relations with syria which go back to 1946 before putin. to look at putin's policies in 2005 to 2010 before the arab spring and the number three look at russia's concern with the arab spring and number four most importantly look at russia's considerations dealing with syria during the crisis. number five, going to do with the cost to russia's syrian policy which obviously is quite large. number six try to explain why russia perseveres in what seems to be a con or productive policy and finally draw some conclusions. in any case the russians syria
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in relation goes back long way. 1946 after syria became independent with friends moscow establish an embassy in damascus and it became a major center of soviet diplomatic activities and was the center point for negotiations between the zionist movement and the soviet union leading up to the soviets establishment of the state of israel in 1948. following the death of stalin in damascus syria became the purchaser of soviet arms in the 1950's and some of the u.s. at the time fear that syria was quote going communist and egyptian syrian union into united arab republic in 1958 and that the spears. it was not warmly received in moscow however when the ui are broke up in 1961 moscow again courted damascus and following the left-wing baathist coup in 1966 relations became quite close and you will recall that soviet efforts to preserve the
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syrian baathist regime became one of the causes for the 1967 arab-israeli war. relations are closer in 1970 following the coup that brought assad to power purpose. enabled installation supply and maintenance facilities and the two countries signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation. by nick beinecke said if bridget began to move into u.s. or britain ceria immerses moscow's number one arab ally. that is not to say there were no problems between the two sides the syrian intervention in lebanon in 1975 and clearly displeased. >> host: as its refusal to accept security council resolution 242. nonetheless one of those few states have supported the soviet invasion of afghanistan in 1979 and was richly rewarded with military -- -- as a result. the close relationship contents of advent of or which of the 195 who turned off the tap of military aid to settle this
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dispute with israel politically and not by war. the chilling relationship continued until 2005 when a combination of increasing soviet in fear and isolation due to the policies of lebanon as jim mentioned and a much more aggressive russian foreign-policy when putin reestablish the closed russian syrian relationship that we see today. now let's look at putin's policies in the second term. i see it as a reacting to setbacks within this handle rescue fiasco in orange revolution and the ukraine and at the same time the increasing vulnerabilities of the u.s. middle east because of its invasion of iraq which alienated gulf arab states especially saudi arabia as well as turkey and because the revival of the taliban in afghanistan poodle went on the offensive. he took several steps. first he tried to improve relations with the rogue states which is iran and syria hamas and hezbollah as well as turkey. in the case of syria 9.8 billion
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of the 13.4 billion soviet debt was forgiven and putin authorize new weapons sales. in syria, the return was one of the few states in the world to support russian invasion of georgia in 2000. the second step in putin's policy occurred 32,007. moscow moved to try to expand its influence from the rogue states to cultivate the leading student arab -- sunni-arab states and in 2000 he added libya to moscow's asked ending our connectivity. pertinence goals and schools were four will put one demonstrate a major power in the middle east and the world and number two game air of investment for major russian industrial projects while selling sophisticated products in nuclear reactors and railway systems. number three is the cost and
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difficulty in extracting russian oil and natural gas grid to gain joint ventures in oil and natural gas extraction with countries like saudi arabia, libya and iraq and number four and certainly very important to prevent the arab states from aiding the islamic resistance movements in the north caucasus that were beginning to spread through the rest of russia by keeping good ties with the sunni alignment of the sunni gulf states, egypt and jordan and the shia group of iran's syria and hezbollah was not easy especially as tension rose between the two groups. this was to be increasingly clear with the onset of the arab spring. when you look initially at russian concerns in the arab spring, it can spread to russia was efforts on the same problems as the arab states, autocratic government, widespread corruption and rising prices and indeed democracy demonstrators were shouting the revolutionary train stopped at the station in cairo, next stop moscow. the second concern, islam is my
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takeover and in a ending chaos and further inspire the islamists and north caucasus and increasingly and khe sanh as well. number three is oil and gas investments in the middle east could be jeopardized as well as the business and arms sales deals and number four when libya occurred, the russians i think that the major lesson purgative stained on the u.n. security council vote in the no-fly zone in bolivia thereby supporting the arab consensus and continuing the widened russian policy that has the russians see at this boomerang badly as the no-fly zone became the case of regime change and russia lost almost $4 billion in arms sales and several billion dollars in industrial contracts. now here we come to the main point. why are the russians doing what they are doing in syria? a number of points. number one though repeated living experience. we will not permit a regime
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change. number two, syria remains an important country in the middle east to iran and hezbollah and much less vote now to hamas. i think the russians don't want to alienate iran serious ally because who are already angry at the sanctions. number three russia rushes for my major market for russian arms. a $5.5 billion shipped missiles and especially at offense. nor for the naval facility. while it is mostly floating docks and several warehouses is the only facility open to russian police and in january elements of the russian fleet visited literally showing the flag. number five russia and its economic investments in syria totaling almost $20 billion. number six and misses this is the point my colleague is going to talk about, anti-americanism. as jim also mentioned syria is a major anti-american force in the middle east and putin will not let this be overthrown.
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number seven, islam. >> islamist takeover in syria it will have a negative effect on the muslim population spurt islamist insurrections in the caucasus and khe sanh and recently won when islamists attacked u.s. embassies in cairo and tunis and elsewhere the ambassador stevens got killed the russian said see we told you this would happen if you back the revolution and finally number eight with street demonstrations in moscow in december of 20 lebanon the mets of russia's presidential campaign food and asserted that he saw quote the same forces at work in russia as in syria and the u.s. was trying to do a revolution in russia. okay russia in summing up vetoed three security council resolutions including the water down once criticized in syria continues to ship arms to serious saying there's no in security council resolution against arms shipments however it is pure at ickley leaders urging them to open up a
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dialogue with the outside regime and has supported the kofi annan mission as jim mentioned just to prolong the life of the regime. now, what are the costs of these policies? alienating the syrian led -- since 2007 especially saudi arabia. alienating key islamic leaders such as cardelli who called for the boycott of products of russia and several days ago said in a quote russian jets are bombing the syrian people and the arab islamic world must stand against russian we must boycott rush and we must consider rush are number one enemy. number three it angers and alienates the united states and number four increasing the eighth against turkey whose aragon regime is backing the rebels. why is russia doing this? n there is continued disunity in the ranks of the rebels although as of this morning reportedly there is another chance they say to unify. they hopefully moscow won't be
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able to oust aside a number to the u.s. and turkey as of yet have not been willing to extend their syrian brother of however turkish prime minister erdogan is his strong and continues to be provoked by syrian shelling the influx of refugees he may take action. this is why in recent baseball in the shelling in turkeys horsing down of syrian jet flight from moscow to damascus russia has tried to -- by increasing the supply of national gas to turkey to maintain good relations between russia and turkey despite what's happening in syria. conclusion, moscow is taking a major middle east gamble with his policy in syria. at the gamble fails, and i think it will, hopefully if the u.s. gets them little more active in the process, moscow's middle east policy will be in deep trouble. thank you. >> thank you very much. >> thank you very much.
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i want to thank ariel and the heritage foundation for inviting me. it's a pleasure to be back here again especially with some old friends. at to save my remarks do not reflect the views of the army the defense department of the u.s. government and i'm going to talk about russian building on what bob has just said and some points can be added to that discussion. the motives that i see operating to drive russian foreign-policy are all simultaneously implicated in the policy. you can just pull out one string and say what that is the decisive factor here in the policy making process in russia. there altogether but what we can say in what and what we have been served -- observed is we seem increasingly, increasingly narrowing of the policy process in russia. it has been reported that fewer and fewer people are actually in a key position to make policy in general not just foreign-policy
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and putin rarely listens to a large circle of people and instead he gets his information from a very restricted circle of people. he is not a tech-savvy guy the way medvedev was and as a result, and if you have the misfortune to spend your life reading the russian media as i do what you see is that mr. putin lives and what may be called an echo chamber of paranoids reflecting each other's paranoia and feeding upon it and sending it out. so the russian belief that that country is under siege and i use that term advises lee, from a western effort to undermine the stability of the russian government and replacing evening and the allies of the western russian democrats feeds into this and that is the first . as bob mentioned. there is a profound fear on the part of the government of any
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manifestation of what the political population -- participation by the public in russia rose where. as bob pointed out the middle east is an example that can spread to russia in and the russians know it. they're quite alarmed or at least were quite alarmed that you would see in central asia a manifestation of this kind and the deputy foreign mr. got up and told the duma that they were quite worried about this and gave them advice. at that time the president flew -- to suppress any manifestation of what you might call a central asian strength. the first motive here is the profound belief that the russian government is under threat from democracy quote and democracy quote is essentially a western invention and that the enemy at home is the enemy abroad. in other words, we still see a
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government addicted to the old paloma nest paradigm. 20 years after the cold war. of philosophy and ideology -- the government in moscow believes that the internal and external enemies have a common goal of unseating the government throughput government promotion. many of these people cannot believe that the revolutions in the air countries will -- because the revolution and coups are provocations inside of the body. by somebody who has something to gain and they are projecting paranoia into the system. that is the first motive. second, there is a widespread and pervasive apprehension among the members of the russian elite and many of the members of the analytical faculties they use bad and a revolutionary movement
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in the air for old and for that matter in the muslim world generally and that is again including central asia is going to lead to the victory of islamic terrorists and fanatics. they can point to libya and say i you so. they haven't said much about tunisia because it hasn't happened even though the islam party prevailed in the elections there but this is their belief that essentially any manifestation of islamic political assertion is deo so terrorism. they can't see it any other way and as a matter fact they have brought this upon themselves in the north caucasus which is out of control as bob mentioned and on the verge is spreading into the russian heartland so therefore what they see in tripoli and benghazi and cairo and damascus is that if the authoritarian dictators fall the only thing coming after is the islamic fanatic terrorist threat which will of course export itself to russia fighting in
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syria with the salafist while the foreign governments are supporting salafist. nonetheless you might think there is an international muslim conspiracy to replace the old international other conspiracy that used to exist in the soviet imagination and they actually do believe this stuff. therefore their belief is that the stock goes naturally al qaeda or somebody like that will come in. the second, anti-americans. anti-americanism is a fundamental mainstream of all russian foreign-policy notches.. two things have to be mentioned here. one is a mention is the belief that they see themselves under siege from the u.s. and democracy promotion in general. and they see the u.s. and that was carrying out a strategy of democracy promotion for supposing information weapons, information warfare etc. links with the ngos has all the
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ticona in legislation we seen and links with the demonstrators hence the ongoing stream of repressive legislation. today they just opened a case against one of the leaders of the opposition. this is part of their worldview but geopolitically as well because they are possessed that russia must be a great power in the middle east which by the way they see is an area close to their borders as of 1991 never happened. their objective in the middle east is to prevent the united states from having a free hand to consolidate a geopolitical order in the middle east. that is one of the fundamental reasons behind the support for iran and their other such is what iran might do in the caucasus is russia was antagonistic and the threat of iranian oil experts if iran became pro-western which undermined the geopolitical weapon and so on. nonetheless it is essential to russian geopolitical thinking
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that russia must play a role in the middle east and it cannot allow the middle east to the rendered peaceful strictly by u.s. efforts along. it continuation of tension arm sales, running guns and that a program to run guns in iran until 2081 and was exposed. the running of guns and weapons that were seen in syria attempted diplomacy in cyprus against turkey and other similar examples show that rush is determined to play a great power role here through all of the available means and to prevent the united states from consolidating a geopolitical -- and they see the united states as attempting to do so by means of this democracy promotion mechanism and by the unilateral resort to force by passing you in. the russians say the u.n. must be observed because after all is the only game in town for them and they have the veto power in the security and so on.
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mr. putin admitted the war was planned two years in advance despite the claims that they were invoking -- in the right to protect them so the u.n. is a façade for them by which they pursue their main geopolitical objectives of squelching democracy and blocking the promotion of u.s. interests interest in power abroad. forth, as i mentioned, they see the u.s. promotion of democracy not only as a threat to russia but is singularly uninformed because they believe in very played leads to protective role -- wars in middle east that create an international crisis. they invoked iraq in this example. they will tell you that libya's completely out of control and doesn't nearly approach what is going on a north caucasus despite the attack on benghazi last month. they will also tell you if the stock goes islamist will take
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over and the alternative is islamism everywhere and therefore the united states does no one is doing and therefore assad and the syrian opponents of his regime have to negotiate. the real factors they will never support aside leaving and they don't want to leave because the new government that comes in with the anti-russian anti-russian government in syria marginalizes russia and the middle east and renders the pursuit of his geopolitical objective quite questionable. it certainly would probably mean because they are not going to be pro-shiite in lebanon the end of the funneling of fresh weapons to hamas and hezbollah which is a large-scale operation going back at least six or seven years the israelis discovered these weapons in 2006 and finally force the russians to admit well they might have gotten them somehow but the fact is they went through syria and the russians knew full well the end-user of the systems. the fourth reason that is not only the fear of islamism but
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also the belief that the united states does notice know if it's playing with fire. finally in the fifth reason, they have substantial although not nearly as substantial as used to be the case energy interests in syria and even more arm sales. it's the only place where the navy can project power into the mediterranean and the navy clearly wants to do this and has been itching for the opportunity to do so. the residents have used gun belt diplomacy in syria. they have used it in cyprus as well last year to check turkey and arms sales. arms sales in russia is foreign-policy and not just if question of selling weapons to friendly states. they are clearly an attempt to create a block of influence for the russian government within syria and the middle east the latest one being a 4.2 billion-dollar arms sales announced to iraq a week or 10 days ago. if iran manages to satisfied
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russian apprehensions with the iaea would not be surprised to see russian weapons go back to iran. basically trying to sell to everybody else in the middle east and this is part of their larger strategy of asymmetric support to anti-american movements in the middle east in order to keep russia in the game is as a great power. therefore, we have important domestic lobbies that of the state in the perpetuation of the assad regime and more than that as many of you now and i've written about this come, arms sales in russia are one of those mechanisms because the whole sector is thoroughly involved by which slush funds are provided through top government officials for operations of various kinds whether at home or abroad. if they were to lose another 4 billion-dollar market like they lost in libya and could use in syria that would put a dent in the draft going to the top of their shame. we must never forget what we are dealing with is a criminalize
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regime and its in wikileaks and all of the place. if you read the books by luke harding and ed lucas and talk to foreign -- it behaves in things like a mafia state and one of the principles of a mafia state is to support your friends when they are in trouble. and assad is a fit friend for a mafia state. thank you. >> thank you very much. ariel bring it home. >> bring it home and try to connect u.s. policy. there are different opinions and analytic community about why rush is so adamant about the support of bashar al-assad. yes of course it is a historic regime. is a regime that goes back to the 60's and even the 50s. russia got along famously well
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with baath regimes in iraq and syria and with the regime in egypt that was not that different. basically arab soldiers -- socialist ultranationalist regimes. bees were anti-american and with there as leader of russia saying the collapse of the soviet union -- of the 20th century clearly having an anti-american regime is a good thing. some said that this this zubaydn in the writing does mention we didn't discuss in great detail here is an important dimension. iran is the strongest middle eastern albeit not an arab country that the strongest anti-american middle east in the country. it has a relationship that goes back towards the gorbachev era
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when the late ayatollah khamenei-based nestlé sent a letter to gorbachev and said mr. gorbachev, the wall fell and your ideology collapsed and now we should all convert to islam. there's a memoir protocol from the meeting where gorbachev mentions it. nevertheless rafsanjani, week later the president in the form and minister arrives to moscow and signs first arms transactions with russia. russia sold weapons both to their friends in iraq and to their friends and i ran during the iraq iran war, fell just great about it and later on there's a massive channel of
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nuclear expertise, hunches of scientists and engineers, hundreds of iranian scientists and engineers being trained in russia and unfortunately many of them were trained also in the west. so iran is extremely important as battering the ram against american interests and the sunni-arab allies of the united states as well as against israel that is seen as little satan to america's great satan so as syria is the principle allied of iran in eastern mediterranean and that part of the middle east, undermining syria and giving iran a bloody nose is of course a scene from moscow a major priority both for the sunni arabs and for the west.
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therefore, russia has to support it syrian allies and support it does, including a supply of weapons of different kinds, refurbishing of attack helicopters, providing as we saw aircraft that was forced to land in ankara as the russian foreign minister himself said, the tool use of its greater parts. they use these parts to protect syria from turkish aircraft one of which was shut down and to use it not only to conduct civil air traffic. a prominent observer of russian foreign-policy, the head of the moscow office, of carnegie endowment, said that it's not only about geopolitics, it's
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also about geopolitics and my colleagues did a great job talking about the port. there's another pthat isalso usd supply base and by the way i've published a list of russian priorities including before qaddafi went they were thinking about renewing the -- with libya and the reason thinking about going back to this acquadro island and the entrance to the red sea from the south, the island was indeed an important soviet naval base during the cold war, so those aspirations of the russian navy are known and are still there, probably we should take them with a grain of salt because the look for example at the black sea fleet which we have been doing all this the less ship was
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commissioned -- was introduced into service in 1992 and the black sea fleet is not in great shape so there is a lot of work to be down there. done there. in any event, -- is saying it's not only about geopolitics and not only about arms sales. it is about respect and i don't want to go over the mafia metaphor that steve just did but indeed not just mafioso but real powers, sometimes respect. it's about who makes decisions. if the decision about the use of force in syria is made without russia or against russian opposition, putin will look at it in a very grave way just as he and his allies at the time
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mr. chirac looked at our decision to force iraq in 2003 and before that for those who tracked the russian affairs back then in 1999 they believe, mr. primakov then prime minister turned the plane around in the atlantic when the bombing of serbia started and went back because russia was not appropriately consulted over the use of force against milosevic let alone getting russian agreement in the u.n. security council. so the issues of sovereignty and the issues of use of force, the issues of agreement, how you use force are extremely important not just for russia but also for china. in the three vetoes in the security council wasn't just russia but also china who opposed any kind of resolution that led to the use of force against the assad regime and my
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colleagues mentioned the russian abstained in the security security council on libya. that was very important because there was a rare public disagreement between putin and medvedev. medvedev was a president putin was the prime minister. medvedev went along with abstention, saying that russia should be on the same bandwagon with the west. i don't know if the arab-sunni sensitivities were on his mind and putin said no, he used the word crusade, a western crusade against qaddafi and we in russia should not supported but because they have this weird what they called tandem, the separation of the the line of four in which of
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course is medvedev played the second fiddle but in that particular decision it prevailed and it was a public -- about that decision. i personally think that medvedev was right for a change because if they did with libya what they are now doing in syria, then and this is one of the main points of my presentation, then russia would pay a very high price in the arab world and of of the muslim world by not just standing idly by but actually aiding and abetting the murder of unarmed people in muslim society. and here it would go to a very important statement by the leading muslim brotherhood ideologue that my colleague, professor friedman -- freedmen mention and when i saw that i read and reread what it said
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because the sheikh commands the loyalty of thousands and thousands of islamist and we all know that he was no friend of the united states. he is no friend of the united states. he justified the killing of american soldiers in iraq and justified killing of israeli civilians but now he said quote over 30,000 syrians have been killed. with what weapons were they killed? with russian weapons. russian is providing the syrian regime with russians and with than with anything else it needs. the syrian army is bombing people with airplanes. i do not understand why these plans are not repented from flying or does the security council prevent these airstrikes are wide. the russians and the chinese feet of it. these are russians jets in an
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arab islamic world must stand against russia. we must boycott rush and we must russia are number one enemy. we must consider russia are number one enemy. it is russia and china who prevented it and he also points the finger against iran, so here is a list for the global islamist sunni movement. russia is enemy number one. iran and china. this is a major confrontation ladies and gentlemen. this is no joke and as steve and bob said, we are in an ongoing sunni insurrection in the north caucasus. it started as a national liberation struggle with primarily secular leadership in chechnya. the leaders were soviet generals and colonels like muqtada and
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then by 96 the movement was hijacked by islam is, people like -- and others and today their rhetoric, the narrative, the guard, the tactics are old jihadi islamist tactics and while i don't agree it's spilling over into -- as my colleague suggested because one was killed and one was severely wounded and there is islamization and radicalization. it is not there yet, but in places like pakistan and ossetian, this is a day-to-day struggle. law enforcement and local civilians of the muslims and shakes and moved the's are killed by the radicals.
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so russia has a serious problem on its hands with that. beyond that, a lot of analysts point out that for putin and the russian government foreign intervention in a situation where there is an insurgency or civilian mass protest under the slogans of democracy for foreign intervention situation like that is a big no-no and that is why they want to support the syrian regime against the civilian insurrection. and let's not forget this is in syria and we didn't mention that a minority rule by the alawite sect if you wish that is close to shia over 80% of the population which is sunni and somehow the russian leaders and
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the russian analysts tend to disregard it or don't give enough weight to that and i really don't understand how come that little but significant detail is being ignored. i find one i talked to senior russian officials a woeful misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about the middle east, about islam, repeatedly top russian leaders refer to their own terrorists as criminals and the whole view was these are just bandits or some groups that can be dealt with through the prism of crime-fighting that probably reminds some other people in other countries who are making the same mistake. but what it does, the two main
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take-home points that i want to make -- one is that this clash over syria changes the dynamics that we saw for the last few years in the middle east. it wasn't so bad. turkey and russia were talking to each other. they have a thriving economic relationship. russia made inroads in many parts of the middle east including the golf. they were selling weapons to the sunni gulf arab states. russia improved its relations with israel so things were not so bad. now we are in a situation where these alliances, not formal alliances but these relationships, are unraveling. the relationship between russia and turkey for example is in the lowest point in the last 20 years. so much for the declared policy of zero problems with neighbors.
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zero problems with armenia, zero problems with greece, zero problems with russia. i'm being sarcastic. turkey is a hereditary enemy of russia. there is a history there up over 300 years of incessant wars and i think both sides need to tread very very carefully including in the caucuses as to how far this confrontation can go. the russians i think are finding themselves on the wrong side of the large middle eastern divide between shia and sunni. they squarely aligned themselves with syria and they essentially are the allies and the diplomatic sugar daddies of iran and in the long-term when you look at the resources, when you look at the population, it will be the sunni arabs who are going to be the prevailing force in this divide. finally, the relationship with the united states.
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we have heard a lot about the obama administration pushing the reset button and of course the reset was mistranslated. it was billed as -- overload instead of reset.the syrian case as many other cases, missile defense and others, demonstrate, the depth of fear of the united states, the enmity and the inability to find common ground. theoretically, if we recognize the russian interest in syria, the specific interests, not the wider geopolitical ideas and -- but yes there is a 4 billion-dollar market for arms. in libya there is x billion dollars in ongoing arms sales to
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syria. there were mad minor petrochemical -- going on where in russia was buying petrochemicals from syria and reselling them. there is anchorage so all these things could've been discussed. instead, what we now have is a continuation of yet another episode of the confrontation that is ongoing between the united states and russia but what it demonstrates to us is the enormity of failure of the reset policy. the reset policy did not provide any ability for us and the russians to resolve ongoing geopolitical conflicts and issues and unfortunately, the syrian people, their blood is the price for that. thank you. ..
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is there a possibility of russia playing a positive role in serious starting from today? and has an additional thing, what is the worst-case scenario of a role russia could play? >> well, that's two questions. >> i know. i'm the moderator, surrogates to do that. >> it's easier to answer the first question. is there a positive role russia
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can play? guess, it's attention to policy and to intervene with sufficient force to get out of there, put them on trial where he belongs. and to establish a process by which a new government can take power in a legitimate way. not going to happen, not what this crew. the second, the worst-case scenario, mr. lubbock was over there talking about how it could read to a nuclear work on the threat that russia would have to intervene against the united states. russia will not intervene in syria to stop me doing the u.s. with the worst possible case is of course an intervention that fails, which adds to the suffering of the indescribable chaos and also that it spreads. either of those two situations are perhaps the worst possible
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case. >> it is spreading already. it's spreading to lebanon or jordan. >> there hasn't been violence on the scale of syria. but you might be able to contain that. if it spreads it's another disaster. at the same time, the middle east been so volatile in so many other places where you could have a fire began, especially if one plays with matches, as they did the russians are here. >> bob. >> i agree russia is unlikely to help us in the united states. we have tried three times at the u.n. and gotten three vetoes in return. best case, bbs in china a few months ago and there were some talks about the chinese elite, talking about maybe they should concentrate on domestic problems, rather than aggressive foreign policy. this might be shifting away from russia, but that is for now
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wishful thinking. but it's a possibility. i'll give you my worst-case enemy be unfolding before our eyes. nato has guaranteed turkey's borders in case would have been just a week ago flairs up, more shelling -- remember as i said in my presentation, erewhon is very headstrong and he decides, even with all of the opposition domestically from the aloe white chb in turkey, nonetheless, he might escalate the conflict. the russians won't intervene. they've said publicly they are shooting with syria is not going to guarantee russian military aid, whether they had the capability forward or not. but we could see a nice war opening up, which might then drag into russia with the ukrainians. then it begins to escalate it is to bring pressure on the united states at ink. the real payoff, and i must say
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i'm a liberal democrat and i don't usually do it, but the stakes are so high, if this year in government falls and is replaced by a moderate islamist government or islamic government the u.s. can work with and hear the u.s. has been more time trying to cultivate the syrian opposition to create people we can work with. but if it falls, then not only does assad and hospital others, this is a huge issue in huge benefit to the united states in the middle east. that's why ukrainians and russians and assad regime are fighting so hard. after the election administration may change its policy. >> i would caution and say that
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we should not delude ourselves that people who may take over syria, its assad does the liberal democrats in the style of professor freedman. there are different people fighting in syria. there are some who are more or less secular. the syrian people's lower -- >> say it again. >> free syria and army. the serious council, the kurds, these are all rather secular people. some of them are refugees from the assad machine. on the other hand, there are islamists and elements of al qaeda who fought in iraq. and to get this right is very
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difficult. we saw how difficult that is in libya, where one, a former senior al qaeda figure became a security chief for tripoli and two, the tragic attack, and we heard from the president himself, just call it a terrorist attack the next day. the tragic attack that took lives of ambassador stevens and three other embassy personnel in benghazi. there are a lot of bad actors in syria. we saw those going across this area iraq border and killing our people there. among the hardliners of the brigade, the brotherhood among the foreigners of jihad, all while, so there's no scarcity that you say people are not agreed with the rationale says,
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the cautionary note about every so-called arab spring committee eric chaos episode in every country brings to the surface the sloppiness in egypt, chi hotties in syria, libya and now some bad apples in syria. so everybody has to be really careful not to rush in with an intervention that can just clear the path for the worst actors. some of them may be in many respects worse than the current side country and assad machine. >> very briefly on that. i agree with the thrust of what ariel said. however coming of islamist takeover of a nationalist war against the russians in chechnya and the north caucasus. you must have the same thing happened in bosnia in 1995. you may be seen that happen now
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syriac, but i don't think it's over yet. i think what has to be done, and i talked to ambassador ford about it. he shared with me his frustrations about trying to unify the syrian opposition. but i think after the election would have to work much harder to unify the syrian opposition and work that the more secular forces that ariel mention and there are others on top one assad goes. because if you see what's happening now, you have more and more support going to did she hottie. on the question is, and i guess here robert ariel and i may disa little. hopefully not, but we'll see. that's why singer rather than later is my feeling.
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>> okay, questions. get the microphone can identify yourself as unless your question please. >> thank you. i'm a heritage member. are there circumstances under which russians would consider a military intervention in syria? >> i can't see any of the russian to syria and the operational obstacles are formidable. they'd have to get over flight rights over turkey or turks would have to allow them to open up the states. i just don't see it happening. and what contingency would justify doing that? to what a doozy of an expanded effort to engage in much of my my call intelligence penetration and selling of weapons to various pro-assad sanctions are a situation comes more. as for actual russian troops,
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no. >> the question i'm asking myself when i can't sleep at night is at what point you may decide to use the threat of a nuclear confrontation, where the 50th anniversary of the cuban missile crisis. and clearly the relationship, the dynamic, the balance of power is very, very different than in 1962. but it's not about politics. it's about respect and who makes decisions. and while i think the probability of a nuclear threat is very low, i do not think it zero. even today, and even over syria. having said that in the next the next five to 10 years if somebody asks me, i would say we may come to see, especially taking into account a 700 billion russian military modernization. we may come to see, maybe not 1962 style come in maybe 1973
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style which was three incentive to, threat by the russian federation to use nuclear weapons. >> lady right here. >> doris eisen. this is maybe addressed to to mr. phillips. what chance do you think if mr. varmus reelected if he would reset and considering the incredible throughout and complexity, what is the direction for american policy? >> e-mail, and i think if prime minister aired one of turkey is to be believed on the scorer and i'm not sure what signals president obama is sending him, padilla said that he believes like on some other issues that president obama is waiting until after the election to engage more forcefully in syria. i am not sure that that will
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come to pass. i think there are strong reasons for the u.s. refraining, definitely from getting involved on the ground, and less worst-case scenarios come to pass involving syrian chemical weapons as he testified about. but i don't see the u.s. in a direct military intervention. perhaps if there was greater cooperation with turkey, if turkey went in on the ground, then maybe the u.s. might provide some kind of air cover or some kind of no-fly zone read them i worry there is that if we get involved in a no-fly zone that could be an open-ended commitment which will not be decisive as far as displacing the assad regime. but i think the administration will have to become more
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realistic about the situation. will have to look outside the u.n. framework if it's going to take effective action. and i think that would mean close cooperation with turkey, which has not only close proximity, but one of the strongest vested interest in what comes next in syria. >> okay. right here in the threat. >> okay. right here in the threat. >> okay. right here in the threat. >> okay. right here in the threat. publican national committee. this may be a question about the info wars. what are your perceptions about what there reaches the al jazeera -- i imagine that assad controls the methods they're in the country or to the region can al jazeera come the western media are russian services and maybe also a word about the
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kurds. >> i have a hard time keeping up with the u.s. government shutting israeli liberties, so i cannot clean great expertise on al jazeera and clearly from what i watch on al jazeera, it is staunchly against assad. and russia today has the arabic service of russia. we by the way, the united states, don't have anything comparable to al jazeera. english, arabic, chinese can any language can you name it, we don't have it. there is great credibility for al jazeera in the arab world. it is highly -- probably one of the high highest wash channels. so i will read the al jazeera boat that was in preparation to this written article by the
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general editor who claims that you had the syrian intelligence analyses that they obtained from syrian embassy in moscow. i was quite interesting, basically saying the russians will never have been enough for them they're willing to fight till the last aloe white in syria. so today, it is a multisource, multimedia environment. it's not just the tv channel. it's the internet. we see out to this being quoted extensively in every report from aleppo, damascus, lebanon, you name it. so i think your question as to the broader policy issue. what is today -- what are the 11 years after 9/11? what is our information for
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rent? in the arab world, in the muslim world and worldwide information footprint in the world, where russia, china, you mentioned al jazeera itself. you name it. they are spending 1.7 billion a year for information operations. and if i may, a separate issue that we didn't talk about. and that is the syrian chemical weapons. that escalates the scenario in syria in terms of intervention. our intervention, russian intervention, nato intervention, turkish because nobody should have the weapons. and if you read the report that the north koreans and chinese are helping the syrians to
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produce, to secure, to manage, their chemical weapons stops near aleppo when the fighting is all over the place and their diesel generators in case they're under siege in the weapons facilities, that scares even me. >> the kurdish business is very tricky. turkey's biggest is breaking up of turkey, the separation of the kurdish area from turkey. and they are very unhappy when the united states intervened in iraq because that strengthened the kurdish resistance, brought the kurdish rebellion back to life. they are now very worried that the kurds in syria can abide along that frontier are going to join with the kurds in iraq and
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that's going to make things even more difficult for turkey. and the turks are trying to balance this by establishing very good relations, economic and political and the kurdish leaders in the north. but it's a very tricky business away habits in the end of it. that's one of the things on the minds of the turks if they think about intervening or not. >> at a berkeley, i work here at heritage. this maybe is that the off-the-wall question, but in terms of russian foreign policy, a southern if anyone thinks russia may be operating whatever it means to do in syria -- and a slightly accelerated timescale given that putin's grand pr schedule for 2014 and that is not going to want that, whether this could either accelerate to make sure the issues cleanup or maybe cause them to back off because again they don't want everything cleaned by that
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passion. >> i haven't seen anything cannot be serious. you can't -- if someone decides to intervene in syria, not the kind of affairs that you can manage according to a timetable. asher paper learnt that. the russians certainly have. so i don't think that there is a connection. the real problem is not syria. it's the north caucasus. and it's entirely possible, some might even say lately, but even when the winter olympics open in 2014, that did she hottie that the north caucasus will be at the affair. >> and i just add on not? does a lot of attention also to the share cost issue. in the last year, maybe two, the profile of the is movement,
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ethnic cleansing in the 19th century from the caucuses became much more visible. there's a campaign and the campaign this point. they tried by saying we don't want the gravel and building materials, which is occupied by russia, but i think there's a stronger case because they are from the region and i'm sure that that is making russians very unhappy. i thought a construct that says something like, if the syrian business is going on a long time, that will even further radicalized people in north caucuses and make the environment even more dangerous. i don't know what i think about it. it's a little bit of luck, unless something really, really bad happens inside russia, which
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i cannot predict at this point. >> what i would like to do now. sorry to cut off the questions. i'd like to give each of the speakers two minutes to give us the last take away the shoe on the status of luck out the door. jim, we'll start with you. >> in terms of u.s. policy, whoever is elected in november must become much more realistic about what is going on inside syria and how best to approach it. i have no problem with multilateralism, especially in an area of the world is so volatile, were you really need allies and if only to minimize the footprint of u.s. forces on the ground. but i think realistically speaking, you can't get that by going through the united nations. and we have to remember who our friends are. and that means israel. that means turkey, jordan, our
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nato allies. and working as much as possible to boost the syrian opposition in order to bring the fighting to an end as soon as possible, i don't think a political settlement is likely. and although that's one reason i think the obama administration is holding out some very forlorn hope that getting russian cooperation that the u.n. but i think we need to look at a multilateral operations with friends and not with rivals. and the long run, think that's the way to go, not only see her, the broader foreign policy in general. >> mr. obama back on nevada's and it helped in two ways. one, the sanctions against iran, which they went for it was an
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improvement of relations in their limit and arms to syria. but now it's back 100% in control and things that tired. that having been said, the russians have taken a huge gamble here come a very big gamble. they are aligning themselves with the shia crescent in the middle east, alienating the sunni arabs, alienating much if not all of the sunni islamic world. in the long run in my view, this is a losing proposition . selling $4.2 billion worth of arms to iraq, which by the way also brought arms from czechoslovakia and in the united states if the iraqis try to balance their arms purchases. does that make up this. >> i think the incoming administration, whoever it is, it's going to work we think
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seriously what it looks like in the middle east, with objectives and capabilities and if the objective rsa hope they are, that assad be removed any more acceptable syria. i don't expect the liberal democratic, but a least one live in a piece of its neighbors and have a discussion that the united states and have a legitimate come to pass, then it's going to have it work with allies and intelligence capabilities have to discern to a greater degree than before whom we can work with and how we can best promote a government with people we can discuss the issues with on a reasonable basis. at the same time, i think we have to give up on the journey that any meaningful cooperation, not just the syrian issue, the
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regional security issues and general as possible with moscow except on a limited basis. at the same time they don't want to leave afghanistan. they want us to leave, but they don't want us to leave. they don't want iran to have nuclear weapon, but they're not going to stop it from getting a nuclear weapon in the keep on doing business. same is true with north korea. we could go on for days. the limits to what a quote we sat round to, whether the republican administration are already in place regardless of what mr. romney or mr. obama wants. we have to understand that it proceed from there. >> the administration has to recognize what was a bunch of wishful thinking. we need to take a hard look in the middle east, broader, not just in eastern mediterranean to
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the shum speared notches area and i think the name of the game right now is iran. the iranian nuclear program. and if the price is stopping the iranian nuclear problem is having the regime in iran getting a blow inside iran for enlisting syria. i wished them a strong debate of who last syria comment nba. i think that whoever is in the, and need some adults that understands geopolitics, not just theory, the practice. unfortunately for the administration and some of us wonder about that. >> ladies and gentlemen, i ask you to join me in making our panel for what was a rich discussion. [applause] and we also thank the folks who came in on c-span 2 and have a wonderful day. thank you are being here.
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>> i watched two different types of programs on c-span. every presidential year i found myself watching when you show your old convention speeches annual debates. i think it's a great service you guys offer. i saw to memory being eight years old watching the old richard nixon speech from your
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germans were decommissioned. for a political junkie like me, that's great. to do that with the debates, that's wonderful. the fact he focused on a wide range of public policy issues, but there's something for everybody whether interested in national security, housing policy, something that the economy. i like that cover topics world is covered. >> the group national popular vote and has proposed a reform to the electoral college to ensure the winner of the popular vote would become president. their chairman, john koza and john samples to bated breadth of the system for selecting the president needs reform. this is an hour.
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[inaudible conversations] >> thank you for joining us. my name is tara mcguinness. and the executive director of top action and senior vice president for communications here at cap and we are delighted to hear to have what will hopefully be a lively and provocative conversation about the state of our democracy as well as one particular set of ideas about how we might reform our democracy. i thought i would just take a few moments before we introduce our guest, to talk about both cap in the work we are doing in this general area and talk a little bit about the interesting time. you know, we are situated days out from the election, the day after -- and you know, what brings us to having a conversation about technical reform in where we are in these
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political times. so just at the start combine them in if you have joined us previously. we are growing theories about the state of democracy, the ability of our government and our system of government to respond to citizens and not only to answer the question of how our policy is delivering, or our policies to the system of government. we had a theory, some of you may join us for for its own called electoral dysfunction as you engage the question about the electoral system and in fact when interviewed quite comically through some of the selectors i've. has anyone in the room of her when i lecture in the house? has anyone ever met and a lecture? this is a very unusual thing. so introduce yourself to an actual real-life collector in
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the room before rebate. cap is trying to a conversation, not only about the state of what's happening and what isn't happening, but also to engage different groups and ideas that may be offered on a reform base pairs want to talk about the work were doing. i couldn't start up a conversation about the state of our democracy without remarking where we are, in a unique year. i think you could look back and say that. where we've had a serious national conversation about reforming the rules and how we select our elected officials are how we engage in politics, it's often contrary. when things get out of control. their scandal, whether you talk about an accent or even teddy roosevelt or going back, you could argue that drives of the mccain-feingold and the five conversation. you know, are we at a point
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right now i would ask our guests, with a conversation about the process overtakes the process. i want to come back in a minute. but before we dive, it's worth noting we are talking about a key trillion dollars possible election that of a party at the point in this election cycle we maxed out the most amount of money spent. before we get into it, i couldn't have this conversation today with out to incredible gas. some of you may have seen coming in there are copies of john koza spoke. he is the chairman of the national popular vote and the originator do with spent time discussing the national popular vote legislation and the author of this book, which is now in the back. i'm also joined by john samples who is the director of the cato's center for representative
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government. he has a wide range of knowledge posts in this particular topic, but also broader issues of reform i hope we'll get a chance to talk about what is working on. [applause] >> so, before we start in about electoral politics, what do i prepare for a moment to check about where we are in this moment in history india daresay a bit about what's working or what is at work and what's broken with the current system. john is to my left. do you want to get us started? >> well come in connection with the presidential election, we think what is broken is the fact that four out of five americans are politically irrelevant in this election. that's the worst situation we've had when obama campaign after being nominated in only 14
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states. in 2004, there were 18 states in play that got attention. so what we have is a shrinking at a ground, where the presidential race is decided, we think that's bad for democracy, bad for america and not to be changed. >> a little more about the national popular vote. john, was working there what's not working? >> well, the presidential system has changed over time. the constitution has it changed early on. i think right now you have more of a direct election system. i would focus more on the presidency that matters a lot
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more than it was supposed to. so i don't know what's wrong with the presidential system is a couple things. one is there's too much at stake but also because the presidency is too much. it's got too much power and there is also the thing there's a lot of magical thinking. the two gentlemen running for president, how much do you believe they actually believe in what they say that they're going to create x number million of jobs through their action. it's a divided system and so on. i think it's just an exaggerated system that would probably shouldn't have. >> i want to come back to this broader question, especially because i know that both jobs have been known to have a lively debate. i want to engage us for a second on the deeper question of the
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proposal in john koza spoke. i'm going to give some contrast and i'm going to ask you, john, to go a bit deeper. the fundamental proposal for reform, the national popular vote contact originated by john and the popular vote is fundamentally to take all the states electoral votes and award them to the presidential candidates who received the most popular voting in each of the 50 states. i know this is into dependence injury member states. i think currently eight states and the district of columbia have art in those days. i would get you to 132 electoral votes. that's a thumbnail outline. i'm going to ask you to make a more detailed page for your proposal. >> well, the purpose of our proposal is that the president is elected on the basis of the candidate who gets the most popular vote in all 50 states and the district of columbia.
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in the most sale at feature electing a president is this winner take all rule and these are state laws that say, for example, maryland will give 10 electoral votes to the presidential candidate who gets the most popular vote in maryland on november 6. 48 of the states have these winner take all rules made in nebraska by district. the winner take all rule is a lot that we are trying to repeal. and what we've done is gone to the states, which has the exclusive power under the constitution to decide how electoral votes are awarded and fed to the states, starting with maryland, the first state to pass a law, why don't she passed this law that maryland will give its 10 electoral votes to the winner of the national popular
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vote, provided enough other states join the majority of the electoral votes the majority of the country and then it would take effect. am i hope will take affect in 2016 and that this'll be the last election that will see, where four out of five americans are left out. there's two shortcomings by the winner take all rule. when a student of the second-place candidate win the white house. it's happened four out of six times one and 14 times. since half of american presidential elections or lan sites, even though we haven't had any for about 25 years, it's actually one and seven failure rate for the non-landslide elections. we shouldn't have been surprised that since 1988 there was one second-place candidate who ended up in the white house. and if we remain fairly equally
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divided country politically, we can imagine the more occurrences of so-called brahmin or elections. but the real problem is that focusing on the closely divided battleground states and they simply do not care what people in maryland inc. they don't care what people in the district of columbia name. they care a lot about what people in virginia think because virginia is one of the very closely divided battleground states this year. in fact, of the 109 campaign events since the conventions, two thirds of them have been in three states, florida, virginia and ohio and the rest have been in seven other states. >> can ask you, john, you're making a case for the current system and you kind of outline
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the contours of the reform proposal. can you describe a little bit about what she believed would happen under this national plan that is not happening today? >> welcome every person skilled in every state would be politically relevant in every presidential election. when you run for governor of maryland from these they don't just campaign in the baltimore area or just campaign on the eastern shore or just campaign in the d.c. suburbs. every vote inside the state of maryland is equally important in picking the governor. so candidates for governor pay attention to the entire constituency. and frankly when you run for president in the state of ohio, you can paint all of the ohio. in cleveland, cincinnati, southeast corner, which is a rural conservative area on the western side of the state, which is agricultural.
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every vote in ohio is equally important. on the other hand, if you drift over to illinois, there's no presidential campaign. such sincere question what would happen, every vote is just as good as it together. candidates would go certainly to all 50 states. they would go roughly in proportion to population or the look of the academic literature, maybe focus on some of their beach parties best areas are perhaps persuadable voters. it's fun to campaign for u.s. senate or governor than what we see today where four out of five voters are left out. >> have a couple questions about this as well. i want to give john samples an opportunity to get on the theory on this particular proposal. >> well, there's a number things you could say out to us. john and i have discussed several times over the past two years.
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flamenco to a specific source and then i want to raise the larger issue. it makes sense that california, the republicans really are going to be trying to mobilize because it gone. obama is going to win california. so it makes sense that even the short term or maybe the longer-term, that if you change to redirect those systems have republicans will trying to find more posts in the suffers would yield more vote, so you would have a higher turnout rate, which is presumably one of the goals here. and okay, maybe. but the problem with cases there is an academic study actually a phase, a swedish economy in the electoral college, and into president, and eight, he published an article in the american economic review and
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amazingly had found exactly what john and npv have been talking about, which is a database going back in time about presidential visits to states and that he was able to model looking forward up till that time, 22,008, he modeled what would be the difference. you know, we didn't have any direct presidential election system, but he was able to model with this database would have been like had we been in mexico. that he was able to compare to the modeling type named to really what john is focused on. presidential attention measured by presidential visits. in the crucial thing for me that he concluded from that study the safety net from from the current system to direct election, about 40% of the states would get more attention, presumably the ones john focused on for sure. a little under 40% would get
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less attention from presidential visits and then a large group in the middle that's about it in the middle. my point in raising this is a couple points. one is quite apart from constitutional issues come you're not even getting to a majority of the states really that sees much improvement in terms of what happens in direct election. you are seeing a substantial almost as many states. not quite, but almost as many will see fewer. and you don't even have majority support. now for me this goes to the question that we say come away clec tauro college stable? wednesday or is it helps small state until 17% the population could stop a constitutional amendment. that i think this study suggest actually it's a pretty divided country and there's a fair number of people at states that
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are indifferent about moving to direct election. >> before we get to the kind of ideological underpinnings about the implications of a proposal shaft. one thing, john, do you race was at the seneca presidential election a lot more like a senate election or gubernatorial election. and if you look at the way many of these elections are run from my own experience working in electoral politics, there's actually far less direct voter contact and many of the senate elections. you have to actually reach people and make decisions about reaching people of scale. so you go and reach people where they are in big ways than you do that frequently through television or phone or you end up reaching people directly in major cities, major towns. you don't make the investment to reach rural areas this is just very hard to not yours on these
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people. so, do you believe the proposal will increase a direct voter candidate. is that part of which are suggesting to the senate or gubernatorial race by far fewer people have contacted this candidates. >> before you answer that, let me comment on the swedish economists because they think it's the case where you need to have common sense. this paper shows is that 20 states, after going all through the pages of complicated equations and mathematics are going to lose visits compared to the current system. and of those 20 states, 14 of those states currently get 0%. were talking about alaska, california, delaware, maryland, missouri, montana, new mexico, south dakota, vermont, wyoming,
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washington state in west virginia. so they don't call it the dismal science for no reason. the economist has an interesting model, but the scientific method you take the predictions that the model suggests common name common name of the 13 states are going to get less attention, less than the zero thing out of it you compare it to facts and reality and common sense. the reality is that there is no possible way you could run for president under a national popular vote and ignore those 14 states. to get to terry's question, there is no way of rural areas. now, your specific question is will this produce more face-to-face voter contacts? absolutely not. there's essentially none now in the general election campaign for president. and there certainly won't be under a national popular vote. there is retail campaigning in
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some of the early primaries, particularly in the small states like iowa and new hampshire, which are both early and small, maybe some in south carolina. but when you get down to the general election in a country of 300 million people come you are going to be campaigning in debates by 70 million people, tv ads, internet, newspaper, books, movies, videos, mailers, telephone calls, door-to-door and everything. as far as the rural areas, think of the stately california. governor reagan, wilson, schwarzenegger, they never came close to kerry in los angeles or san francisco or san jose or oakland or any of the other major cities of california. the fact is when you have a large diverse jurisdiction to mushes both urban and rural and suburban areas come you campaign
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the whole jurisdiction obviously republicans win all the time in any of the biggest states as well as any of the small state and with a few exceptions, the democrats win at least some elections in virtually every state. so when every vote counts, you will have an election in which every voter is engaged and that means the interest of every voter will engage. george w. bush come to free trade president of the free trade party 2001 came out with quotas. the large small business administration grant for a cheese factory in ohio refers to as the tastiest investment the federal government has ever made. but the fact is the battleground states are not only when they've run into. of the campaign, but when they are sitting and governing for four years and thinking in the
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election, or when they said and think about whether to get the preferred successor elected. so incorporating the interest of 100% of the american people it is important that a national popular vote instead of the interest of just one out of five americans who happen to live in a state where their neighbors are equally divided. >> i want to come back to the kind of framing how we didn't have a national popular vote through direct election in the first place in a minute. but i do decide to pick up on this question one in five. do we think with -- are you suggesting that with a shift in systems come the swedish study, that we will be -- we are going for five in five clicks or are we going for three and five, just a different reason it is under an electoral college system? >> you're going for five and
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five if you want to win an election and you look at any gubernatorial campaign and follow how they do it. think of the maryland campaign. your candidate for governor will be a baltimore appeared to be in shore, northwest corner of the state, john in the washington suburb and everywhere in between. i don't know who any candidate who writes out that a significant portion and says i'm not going to pay attention to this people. i'm not going to open up a campaign office in that part of the state. it would be ludicrous. as a congressional districts in maryland. if one out of five after, would you ever see a campaign for governor of maryland is limited to eight of the congressional districts? >> i want to just take us back and talk about how you can start this particular proposal because i think most argued that the framers coming in now,
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explicitly rejected the idea of the direct election of the president and created a formal process to amend the constitution when prescriptive. the national popular vote has described is not a direct election. is it a backdoor direct election? >> no, it's front door. the founders gave states the exclusive they see fit. it is true they debated a popular vote and defeated it one day in july. they also debated having the legislature choose the president and defeated. they also debated having the governor's shoes. what they put in the constitution after all the mauling of alternatives, when they left the matter to the state instead of setting up a system in the constitution are electing the president, when they turn it to the states, they
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created this open-ended wording that each state shall appoint in the manner that the legislature there are shall elect a number of presidential electors. in the very first election, the governor new jersey with his cabinet picks the presidential elect yours, something rejected by the constitutional convention in the majority of the states, the state legislatures picked the presidential electors again, rejected by the founders and the first four elections, although the state a state legislatures picked. i don't know if the founders were completely ignorant about the constitution meant, but i think you can infer from that that the open-ended, plain english wording, turning it over to the states about specifying the constitution is what the founders had in mind is 11 states did did not go out and violate the constitution and the first couple of elections about the constitution meant.
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>> i want to give john a chance on this particular question and maybe even the specter of a legal talent created under this framework. >> first of all, everyone's been telling me it is true how actually i feel a desire to come to my swedish colleague. a lot of libertarians in sweden got it right in a lot of ways, but we have it. and for some that's true. but go to the american economic review. as far as science goes, this study we linger on it as a challenge directly in an empirical way the top journal and economics, the corps association john is making about increasing a presidential visit. now, we don't know if that's going to be true, but we have strong evidence from studies that it was.
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see need to look at the 2000 american economic review. just look at david stromberg's name. now let me go back to the constitution because john has an interesting argument here. there's a bunch of issues here. one has to don't want a constitution is set to the method and then use the method to amend the constitution. what's the point? to become passive on capitol hill that amends the constitution, then what's the point of having the constitution to begin with. the important question is article ii, section one, in some respects the way to elect a president. that is a way that does not include direct election for president. i believe it is for two reasons, one of which is during the actual convention of the, in fact, two different times, direct election for the president was both discussed and rejected for reasons we would find kind of odd i think today, but still, reasons it was
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rejected in voted down. but even that doesn't get you to the final point about the constitution because you could say that it's just what the convention bought. the crucial thing is what the ratifiers that. when the constitution went out to states at that time, what was the meaning that people understood that article i, section two? did they understand that was not the election? about is the meaning of the constitution, the so-called original public meaning that we focus on now. the answer is i this up and there's an excellent book on ratification of the constitution. she points out that in pennsylvania, james wilson, one of the living people at the convention stood up and said, well, this is in direct election. we decided against recollection. this was a practical and this is what we chose, but it's not direct election.
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in virginia cometh the man himself, james madison stood up and fed along the same lines, we've decided against recollection. added everybody in every state say that? i don't know. i would look into that. but clearly in fact whatever that section meant, it included that it is not direct election of the president. essentially you're trying to use the compact clause in it that is the kind of, without looking into the section coming apart doesn't have a specific limitation on what states can do and appointing electors are in fact ratify the constitution, or excuse me, amend the constitution. that's the real problem. the question is do we actually believe in constitutional government or not? to go to your question i was thinking about preparing, would the court strike down? and i don't know. i think it would depend -- i made an original public meeting argument that i think is
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correct. it is perhaps the dominant way of understanding the constitution now. i think there would be a good chance. but we shouldn't just rely on course. i mean, everybody has a responsibility to want to try to live under a constitution to try to actually follow it. >> do you want bring in on this question of legal framework and weather would hold up? >> just briefly, would be very happy to rely on the courts because the supreme court has made it very clear in the seminal case involving the appointment at the states have exclusive and plenary power here. as for implied restrictions, there are all these implied restrictions. there's an implied restriction against the legislature picking electors are the governors. and by the way come the governor of vermont did the same thing in the 1792 election. so the implicit limitation
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thing, i guess you call this canaveral emanations from article ii. something not supported by supreme court decisions that was favorably reinforced in the 2000 bush versus gore case, for the court, they stand side this was an unusual state power. it's one of the few places where a power was given explicitly to the states. ..
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to the states that reserve reserved for the states so -- >> i was going to give john a number. >> the reference is the number. it's a reference to a case called griswold versus connecticut which is a fundamental roe v. wade and the conservatives are nonliberal law. justice douglas wrote that opinion which is about a page and a half on the 14th and 15th amendment. i was not arguing the number argument. i do care about federal reserve and those kinds of things but at the things but at the end of the day i was making an argument about the meaning and why did madison -- to the most important people and today the ratification convention. we decided against the
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recollection for impracticality or really it's the issue of the communication issue. >> job they did decide against it. we don't deny that. they also decided against the governor's pic and legislators pick but with a decided was not what they put in the constitution constitution which was an unqualified grant of power to the states not subject to congressional veto like other election laws are. it's a unique state power and it's a plenary power and read macpherson in 1893 decision which is a seminole case and you will find all kinds of language that supports the idea that the states can do anything they want provided they are not violating another specific revision of the constitution. >> i want to take is here for one moment from 1893 to more recent history. it's hard to imagine we have had a 30 minute discussion about
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encountering the moment where we had deferred cents between the electoral college in and the popular vote. national popular vote is sijan i just want to ask you, is it reasonable or fair for the election outcomes to be awarded to a candidate who did not win the actual popular vote? >> it depends on whether you want to impose on that particular election and one of the things i would say that dot this and other debates is it probably makes sense that you are choosing the institutions. it's somewhat abstract from 2000 because we all know everything that happened after 2310 to think of the two going together but actually you can't strike from it. it's certainly true that going into the election both agreed to the rules and by nature and the
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impact going into that election with some expectation of what happened was going to happen the other way with the 2012 so the outcome is what it was once they settled florida and it was there in that sense. the larger question you're asking is do we really want a system in which that can happen? now one of the indications and one way to think about it is the indications are probability of valuations that it happened maybe once every century and going forward miscalculation seven made so we shouldn't assume that this is an infrequent occurrence. i would say beyond that, we have also extracted the national popular vote because it is not a clean and straightforward national amendment that changes in the direct presidential election so there are a lot of other things to be said about the constitution and the compact clause and other things but then the question of whether you want
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to go to a more straightforward majoritarian system i think that is the difference if you want the popular election. you would have one person elected by a direct majority. and that is a movement in a political culture. it's a small step along with a bunch of other steps for more majoritarian system. you have to remember that even today the american system is not one that is primarily majoritarian and was not meant to be majoritarianism -- majoritarianism it was meant to be a republican not a democracy. now i think a lot of people have long supported the idea that a democratic system in that sense is a good idea but keep in mind no one is majoritarianism and threw. on the right, there is more concern about majority then economic legislation jettisoned
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in the 1930s by the courts are typically though you have the majority. limit in the american constitution now located in the 14th amendment in the progress clause. do you want to take a step -- more mature. -- if you go toward a directly majoritarian system even though admitting it's a small step forward. in other words can liberals always assumed that majoritarianism is going to do what they want because you don't really like majoritarianism all over the whole range of issues. >> in i want to come back to the same problem and will it exist? could you once again have a gap and could you move toward your proposed reforms and once again have a 2000 problem under the national voting in the elections? >> the candidate with the most votes, and let me say what the
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national popular vote does. we haven't actually done that. it says that the states involved which have to be at least investing in the majority of electoral votes will give their electoral votes to the candidate with the most popular vote in all 50 states and the state of columbia so no we couldn't have a second-place candidate elected to the white house under this proposal. let me also comment about this republic thing. the united states is a republic, not a democracy. i hate to use a john birch society slogan but its effect. madison defined a republic and federalist exactly the way you remember from high school, delegation to officeholders to govern plain elections as opposed to a democracy. there is nothing non-republican about direct election of the
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chief executive. there is a clause in the constitution actually says the united states shall guarantee each state a republican form of government. that's the one time toward republican appears in the constitution. at the time the constitution adopted that and i gave massachusetts rhode island and one or two other states this -- whose name has escaped me at the moment did have direct election of a governor so direct election with judicial branches with checks and balances with states and independent in independent judiciary and so forth is entirely consistent with the republican. there is nothing non-republican about electing a chief executive, indeed not only with those 45 states not having approved the constitution but the convention and the ratification.
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those states surely would not have ratified the constitution containing a provision that they were not complying with at the moment. >> it think maybe i will pick up their. the united states may not be the way we like to organize these conversations are relatively democratic and particularly given the -- i would like to turn it over to folks in the room and i do want to come back at the end on a couple of these pieces. right here in the second row. and if you could just please state your name and declare back or question. >> steven shore and to me it sounds like a constitutional nightmare. imagine a scenario where states with closed greater than 271 but not every state had agreed on this contract and the two issues
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might arise. estate knowing that if it's electoral votes went to those that would carry this date would affect the outcome of the election might not put pressure on the luck towards the party to obey the state law and what about other states that did not ratify even less than 271. in favor of the national majority and other states old saying the state result at the expense of the national majority. this would end up in the supreme court and i could see justice scalia being apoplectic that this is an unconstitutional maneuver.
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i can be fair to john. they aware of the proposal and a number of different ways of safe harbors and also for the election. my response to that, i think these are real concerns and this is why distinguish between direct elections in the proposal. imagine they could make mitt romney president or some future person like brad paul. and maryland found itself in a situation where would make landfall president 2015. what would the legislature think in early october and what would the voters or electoral legislator, fewer legislator if
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you've done something in the past and he didn't change it. i would be happy about it but -- speech on in his 2008 lengthy paper on the subject talks about states meeting after the voters vote and changing and withdrawing from this compact and there are seven independent reasons why that can happen and i'm going to mention to. the first is it can't happen now and by the way the same question might arise in the is the pennsylvania legislature going to meet after election day and put pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes to romney a republican governor and republicans into houses. the reason they won't aside from public opinion and the most --
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violating the most fundamental concept of what the public would put up with is there's only one 11 day and a four year period when a state may election -- electors and that is november 6. they can't look on november 15 and say chico particularly pennsylvania which is considering going through a district system which would have given the republicans 12 electoral votes and obama aide. gee i wish we would have passed the district system last spring when we were talking about it and we got carried away with thinking romney might carry pennsylvania and we didn't -- let's just change after the election and we can see these 12 loscocco loscocco romney over the top. what they can't do that now because the constitution says -- gives congress the power to set a single data before your period they can't get a look to do that. secondly this is an interstate compact.
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interstate compacts are absolutely enforceable on state governments. it's one of the few cases where the legislature is backed by the state future legislature. they are welcome to leave after january 20 after inauguration day and those kinds of time limits are enforceable. we just had a case was only in california where the legislature was slapped down for attempting to ignore the multistate tax compact, the taxation formulas. >> john, doesn't that mean the court will be making rand paul president and the maryland legislature would want to withdraw. if you're getting around 2000 the supreme court being involved in deciding whose president strikes me you are setting it up or situation where the supreme court would decide who is president contrary to the more
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current will of a particular state like the state of maryland. >> the will of the state of maryland debated in maryland and the nine other states where this was passed, they are perfectly aware that half the time republicans win the national popular vote for president. we have had almost equal numbers of votes cast, 745 million since roosevelt's time for the democrats and 745 million for the republicans. have the time maryland will be appointing a republican presidential elector when our national conference bill goes into effect. they are quite aware of it. it is not a secret that the republicans when about half of the presidential elections. what maryland decided was they want to use their plenary powers to maximize the influence of the state of maryland in a presidential election which is currently zero to counter with the states of ohio, virginia and florida doing and to agree with by the way 75% of maryland
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citizens and is pretty much the same number from state to state want the president to be the one of the national popular vote. the state of maryland said work on the folk behind the national popular vote winner. yes it will be republican half the time. >> i'm going to take a couple more questions i may give you a chance to answer. in the back. >> my name is david. pending in the u.s. district court right now is gordon versus the house of representatives. this is what the judge said. mr. gordon -- to do with the consequences of the results of an electoral system where a minority votes are not recognized. that is when it's a winner-take-all system. i want you to understand the
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national -- relies on a case called mcpherson versus bracken. it's the same court decided in 1892. four years later they established legal -- in america. mcpherson versus bracken relied on u.s. versus read and u.s. versus -- the national and i want you to understand are you aware of this, relied on to supreme court decisions that is taught in our law school to overturn reconstruction in the established white supremacy in the former confederate south. it is based on a racist ruling of the supreme court that has now rejected in our law schools. are you aware that clinics it's not mcpherson versus bracken which is a case that freed white supremacy. that freed white supremacists
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who in the massacre of 1873 and there is a monument says they died fighting for white supremacy. it's embarrassing i note that the national initiative is not aware that is based on that and why can understand www.lecter', the government mcpherson versus bracken has dictated mcpherson versus bracken. so with the initiative is passed you have already lost the main case that you rely on they already have before the court. again www.a lecter' [inaudible]
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>> we are not aware because what you say is not correct. mcpherson versus bracken was a decision of the supreme court in 1893 which may have made other decisions that we wouldn't agree with today. i want to give mr. koza an opportunity to answer the question. >> you will see the breakdown of the u.s. house of representatives and the chief chief judge of the district court. >> i will give you a chance answer the question and i want to make sure we get a couple more questions than. >> we will let the audience decide whether i'm lying. you can read mcpherson versus the bracken case where the republican party of michigan was not happy that the democrats
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briefly had control of the state government. we are awarding electoral votes by district of the state-wide winner-take-all. the republican -- supreme court ruled against the republican party of michigan and said the states have power to award electoral votes as they see fit so by all means go to his web site, go to the supreme court web site and read mcpherson versus bracken and come to your own conclusion. >> we have another question up front. >> my name is sandra eberly. i was just wondering, he talked a lot about presidential visits in the different states and i was wondering if we could talk about something that i think is maybe more fundamental than that. doesn't seem to me to matter very much how many visited -- visits the president takes to a state but rather the attention that their policies give to the interests of the people in the state and how that might actually impact whether voters
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are engaged in the system. i was wondering if there had been any studies to show that the switch to the national popular vote would increase voter engagement and would change policies by the parties or increase voter turnout in any of the states? >> well the presidential visit goes over the database and that is also one of john's concerns. the problem is finding some kind of measure for the kind of things you are talking about. one would be something along the lines, and at some point some of these are probably controversial. do you want to see money -- and as alumni get less money from the federal government than they would otherwise have they spent less money out of the states of coming up with some kind of measure of these things and a noncontroversial measure i think
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his heart. >> i'm going to ask for one more question. >> yeah john, i agree with you on 98% of what you stand for. i have an independent institute. i agree with you but i was just thinking, his argument conservatives in the states rights area and also more of us -- than original intent person seems so the relative conservative ideas so i wonder we get away from the republic versus democracy terminology and you are for the non-majoritarian system which, in the a recent habit is to prevent the tyranny of the majority through individual rights guaranteed and also distribution of power of federalism into the states. so i'm wondering if you agree with all that and then how does
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a distortion of the popular vote which i think is the way the electoral -- it's not the way it used to be i don't think. is just sort of the states are determining that they are going to give all their popular vote winners the winner-take-all. it's sort of a distortion of the popular vote. how does that give you any benefit through non-majoritarian system? you still have the bill of rights and the state federalism and that sort of thing to contain the sort of thing. >> i think the question from my former colleague raises is that -- what i wanted to say was a small step towards a more direct majoritarian system. we have seen a lot of this in the united states in the past two years and the importance of the primaries in the 1970s in the presidential election. it wants to raise questions for people and for me too also about
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whether majoritarianism is all that great of a thing. however you are correct, this is a crucial issue in this debate which is the states that they use their power and in a sense john doesn't like the results of that and many people don't, they use that power by having a winner-take-all system because for a variety of reasons i guess that the party certainly better in a state will want that kind of system because they get all the electors. that is what causes a lot of the results you see and could have a proportional system roughly speaking under the electoral college in the constitution. but we don't because the incentives in the incentives go back as far as 1840 or so and there a number of states doing that. so i think that is in a sense part of the issue and the other thing is the direct majority rule and the distortion is
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fairly minor that there is -- madison said the electoral college was the compound republic kind of institution what he meant by that was the state has a representation in the popular vote but the popular vote dominates totally. proportionality and equality based on population but not by a whole lot. >> we are coming to the end of our time and i wanted to get each of you guys an opportunity to jump in one last time. we have gotten you a kind of tour of the history of the questions that go back to the fundamental framing question. i want to just offer for you to each either raise the question or in this particular moment in american history when many people are preoccupied with their immediate economic
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survival in the first generation of people who are concerned about their children that apply to these questions we have been debating here today matter and why should people pay attention? >> i will think this will matter. john and i were talking about these issues before we came out and asked him about it. if obama wins in november the electoral college and loses the popular vote, we will have gone within a very brief time and i today have told you correctly it's improbable and both parties will have had gotten it between the eyes basically. so at that point -- the worst thing that will happen is you have a repeat and romney wins the electoral college in the popular vote but then it becomes a partisan issue totally down the line of people lined up on either side of the gym.
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so, but if obama wins re-election i think you will then have the consideration. i do have to say i think i disagree obviously with some things john but i think he has done a real service to raise these issues and sparked a national debate. i'm not sure it's going to be a debate apart from that and you get into that sort of 2000/2012 issue that is actually going to have the kind of movement to get what i think would be a constitutional amendment. >> john is correct that it is three weeks out from the election. if you look at the polls just this week there is a divergence with obama behind in the national popular vote but ahead in the swing state polls so i guess we will all see what happens in november. see if we have just a minute i just want to ask john a question
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that i actually don't know the answer to but i have gotten different answers from his group over time. john this is an interstate compact and the constitution says an interstate compact has to be approved by congress. if you can get to the point where you're confident about it and have the majority support, do you plan to see this introduced into congress? >> well, a the party ruled in 1893 and the rehnquist court in 1978 the compacts that do not threaten federal supremacy do not require congressional consent and so this is an exclusive state power if that is judicial precedent were continued. a very conservative decision in 1978 gives the state more power intrusion by the congress and the state decision. if that judicial opinion were to
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remain in force and upheld the compact would require consent. after we get states representing a majority of the people in the united states in the majority of states and in the electoral vote, going to congress to be a different matter than it would be today for example. the public demand for national popular vote would be clearly on record. >> i just asked because it seems to me the compact clause is they are also to originally prevent states from engaging in agreements that harm other states. certainly in my view this would change the way we elect the president and half of those states for half of the electoral states pass the electoral vote wouldn't have any say. there were just be a new system in which their electoral votes don't count any more. >> well their votes will count because all 50 states will count but the reality is maryland has
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no influence in the presidential elections not because of maryland's when our takeover but the winner-take-all in rule in ohio virginia and -- so the nation -- notion when you give power to 50 states that they can exercise independently by themselves you sometimes get states doing things that affect other states. >> jonathan koza and jonathan samples i want to thank you both for joining us here today for answering questions, for raising stimulants and i hope you all will join us in ongoing discussion about the state of our democracy. >> thank you. >> thank you. [applause]
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>> now a look at the politics of the tea party movement and its libertarian influences. speakers at the cato institute discussed polling data on the policies favored by a tea party supporters. this is an hour and a half.
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon welcome to today's event the libertarian roots of a tea party. i'm john samples director of the cato institute's center for representative government. the first thing i would like to do is ask everyone to silence their cell phones or any kind of electronic devices that make noise or something happens in in the line surprised. welcome also to hault who are viewing this event on c-span or via streaming video.
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for those were not here with us, i would like to point out that you can join the discussion and send a question to the q&a portion in about an hour or so which we will hit in the q&a portion of our program using the twitter hashtag tp'd roots if you are listening out in the real world. that hashtag and info about this and other cato event can be found at our events webpage at if you happen to be watching one of our events for the first time the cato institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think-tank here in washington that promotes the ideals of free market, individual liberty and peace. that means unlike most major political parties, we support of economic freedom and social freedom. and the question we are going to address today as to is to what extent the tea party movement shares those libertarian values in toto. we have with us today the authors of the new cato -- tea
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party pena and is actually a breakthrough and certainly brings information to the table that has been missing and that is our study, the libertarian verse of a tea party, so you can find free copies here at the event or if you're at home you can go to our web site and download a copy for free. david kirby and emily mcclintock said three and first we will turn to david kirby. david kirby's vice president of development and manages freedom works, and rowing fundraising operations. he is also a policy analyst at the cato institute. before joining freedom works david served as campaign executive director for the institute for humane studies at george mason university where he led a multi-million dollar fund-raising campaign for ihs's 50th anniversary. david is also executive director of the america's future foundation of a premier
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organization for young conservatives and libertarian leaders and is aided and turned or senator ted kennedy. davis publications include many honor topics today the libertarian vote, the libertarian vote in the age of obama both of which appear with cato and both of which you can find a and now the libertarian roots to the tea party. is writing like many of our people on the panel have appeared on national politics, national review on line and other publications and his research has been cited by "the new york times," "the wall street journal" and so on. david holds a master's degree in public policy from the kennedy school at harvard, and also as a bachelor's degree in -- [inaudible] david. [applause]
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>> thank you john. i want to start with a story about the matchup of conservatism in the tea party. freedom works recently hosted a tea party rally in dallas texas called -- away to imagine 16,000 people packed in a hockey arena. two speakers back-to-back tested ideological boundaries of the audience. the first speaker was neal bryant. he is the conservative, pro-life black baathist minister and an an in full preacher mode he talked to the audience and warn them about the dangers of the progressive policies of entitlement and the crowd went wild, standing ovation. up next was hermann caswell who is the producer of "atlas shrugged" shrugged part to a libertarian objective. and harman told the audience about this balance of the ayn rand novel are coming alive in
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the obama demonstration obama's administration the crowd went wild. the point of the story is that a conservative pro-life ethicist minister and a libertarian objectivist hollywood producer can share the stage at a tea party offense and as long as they stick to economics the audience is like, right on. they may disagree about the social issues on marriage, on abortion but that is not what they are there to talk about. this idea of libertarian and conservatives together at the tea party focusing on fiscal issues and not up to sing on their differences is fundamental to what the tea parties all about but you would wouldn't know it from the popular and academic work on the tea party. a lot of people on the left think about the reincarnation of religious right but emily and i want to argue and we are given our paper that the tea party a strong libertarian roots and i want to make three arguments. first of the tea party is half libertarian and second that this libertarian energy of the tea party actually helped start the
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formation for the tea party coming out of the rand paul campaign and third the tea party actually is changing the republican party any more libertarian direction. so first, half the tea party is libertarian but it's important to know how we define libertarian. many of you in this room or hear a cato probably read the magazine i am sure many of you have read "atlas shrugged." congratulations, you're the hard-core. if you are for the option for a pollster to say whether you are -- you might say i'm a libertarian and that means you're among the two to 4% of the public. there's a broader group of people who hold libertarian believes who effects a never heard the word libertarian and actually is that broader group that emily and i are talking about. these people could be called fiscally conservative but socially liberal. they give answers to questions on pole setter different than liberals or conservatives in the poll shows this is between 15
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and 20% of this american public and that is who we are talking about in this paper and who he looked at another researcher kate on the libertarian vote. so if you ask a question as a tea party supporter how many are libertarians? this chart shows three national polls that emily and i put together in 2010 that looked at the tea party from "the new york times," "the washington post" and gallup and local polls one that "politico" did and one that we did ourselves here at cato and what you see is the tea party is split. pretty evenly between people who are libertarian and people who are conservative across national polls and also locally. libertarian tea partiers tend to be a little bit more independent they tend to be less -- a more designed though. conservative tea partiers can be more loyal republican voters in both groups differ on some issues, immigration and marriage and oppression and interestingly libertarians don't attend church
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as much. about 25 pretense -- are sent go to church once a week and that is what they tell pollsters which is about the average of the entire population for as 50% of tea party conservatives do. but both sides of the tea party libertarians and conservatives, are particularly focus on the fiscal issues come on spending come on debt and the constitution in their word about the next-generation. so this is why the tea party has remained focused on the fiscal issues like i described in dallas texas. is because that is where the agreed. the moment do you fear off on social issues you lose half your membership. the second argument i want to make is about the roots of this libertarian energy that is part of the tea party. now go back to 2008. libertarians were mad as hell after eight years of the bush of administration, the erosion of privacy the patriot act, tsa.
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they were so mad that some libertarians even voted for the democrats in 2004 in 2006 but nothing was more frustrating to the libertarians than the bank bailout in september 2008. this was when george bush famously said we have to -- create the free market by abandoning it in what you will find in the data is at this moment was when libertarian anger shot through the roof and other conservatives began to join this argument about the increase in spending that libertarians have been making for several years. what we want to show you is how this came out in the data. a panel data looks different than normal pull. basically they started 2008 with a group of 3000 respondents and they follow those voters over. mcafee years and ask questions at several different waves along the way. how angry are you at the republican party, how angry are
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you a george w. bush? in 2010 they ask the tea party so we can actually work backwards in time knowing people who would join the tea party and where the tea party came from. let's see how libertarians compared to conservatives. this chart shows from 2008 through the beginning of 2009 in the top line may be hard to see because of the color but the topline is libertarians more general in the bottom two lines are conservatives and republicans more generally. what you see here is libertarians worth more than twice as angry as the republican party and got more angry as 2008 when along. the next slide shows the same pattern. this is anger towards george w. bush. the topline is libertarians in the bottom lines are tea party conservatives and other republicans. notice interestingly in
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september 2008 that point, that flashpoint with t.a.r.p. for anger spikes up for both tea party conservatives in tea party libertarians. the final slide actually traces tea partiers from 2008 all the way from may 2009 starting with the tea party and this is a question about how much people can affect government, getting that edgy frustration of people were describing. the top two data points you seen the beginning here are libertarians and notice once again around september 2008 the anger spikes up but interestingly libertarian anger stays at a highpoint through the early period of the tea party and conservatives and other republicans start to join libertarians in their anger. this actually tracks what we hear from tea partiers when we interviewed them. they say look we were part of the -- and so frustrated we got involved and it whatever we could end along the way a lot of
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republican conservatives and others began to join a movement. interestingly a lot of libertarians got a little frustrated that these other people were joining the party that they have helped start. the reason why this is important is this libertarian energy has actually helped the tea party ride from the beginning stay focused on the fiscal issues. so the third argument i would like to make is that the tea party is changing the republican party in may kenya more libertarian. the tea partiers and now six in 10 of republican primary voters so they have a lot of sway. first in policy and second in the direction of the candidates. so on policy many of you might have seen the republican national committee platform past 1112 of the tea parties freedom platform items many of which included or some of which included cutting spending and studying the gold standard which
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is the favorite of ron paul libertarians. as a fun interesting that politicians here in d.c. are starting to up to libertarian tea partiers. two amazing examples, warren hatch who survived a strong tea party challenge in his own primary decided to co-sponsor the bill with two others in rand paul. another example of this is mitch mcconnell minority leader. he actually cohosted ron paul's going away party. he even hired ron paul campaign manager so you start to see establishment politicians try to come to more libertarian tea partiers. the second way you're saying the tea party change the republican parties is an candidates. the conventional political wisdom and primaries for the last two decades has been if you went the republican primary have to emphasize the. abortion and gay marriage. not so anymore. increasingly you are seeing candidates emphasize the fiscal
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issues, deemphasize the political issues and when in republican primaries and even win and general elections. i call the strategy functionally libertarian. the candidates are not libertarian per se but the campaign and legislate as libertarians would. sewn the 2010 senator rand paul might to me and this legislative cycle candidates like richard mourdock, jeff flake and ted cruz in the category. they are all tough races for the general but candidates are pulling even in the polls and look like they might win and of course these candidates will hold strong positions on social issues and foreign policy but that is not the way they are defining their campaign. that is not the issues they are running on. in conclusion the tea partiers been around for almost four years now and last week "politico" in an arena chaff asked a question -- the data shows this is untrue. "the washington post" has been
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quoting the tea party since 2000 they showed a surprising base of tea party supporters and an astonishing 42% of the public who would say they support the tea party and that has been stable. interestingly and you certainly wouldn't notice it from the media count the polling has shown an uptick in the favorability for tea partiers through the 2012 election cycle so have to tea partiers libertarian and libertarian energy in the tea partiers kept its focus on fiscal issues but i would go further. to the extent that romney and other republican candidates win this election it's because they are acting more like tea partiers not less kaczynski issue that the tea parties focused on about spending, but that, about jobs and economy and these are the very same issues that the majority of americans are concerned about including independent smack so the tea party brand may stay or may shift with the libertarian impact will likely continue to be felt for many years to come. thank you.
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[applause] >> thank you david. our next speakers will be i think it's fair to say to be counted among the most well-known public intellectuals in america. for first up will be jonathan haidt. jonathan join the new york university stern school of business in july of 2011. is a thomas cooley professor of ethical leadership in the program area. professor haidt is a sub social psychologist whose research examines the intuitive foundations of martell -- morality. his most recent book is the near times bestseller the righteous mind, why good people are divided by politics and religion. in netbook subnine -- haidt shows how variations in moral intuition can help explain the american cultural war between the left and the right.
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he applied his research to rethink the way business ethics has studied and integrated into the creek and. big for coming to stern professor haidt taught for 16 years 16th at the university of virginia where he was given of what outstanding teacher including the faculty were. his first book was the happiness hypothesis biden -- finding modern truth and wisdom. his writings appear for a girl in "the new york times" and "the wall street journal" and one has to say writing up about him appears in the near nerve times in "the wall street journal." professor haidt welcome to cato. [applause] >> the thanks so much john and it's a pleasure and honor to be here at cato.
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i've never been here before but i've been reading and learning about libertarians for a long time. i studied politics. my jumping off point for the talk today, my jumping off point for the talk today is a little line in david emily's paper. david alluded to this in his talk. as is typical with national polls, none of the three national polls offered responded self-identifying libertarians. everyone just assumes you are liberal or conservative or maybe in between but there's a single dimension what everybody simpson asked the question, what happens if you do? whity learn if you allow libertarians to distinguish themselves from liberals and conservatives? and as you you've seen the paper if you read their paper you find there are big differences in demographics. libertarians are more educated, less religious. you find big differences on social policy as david just told you but not economic policy.
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that is the area of overlap so much and is okay but what about personality lacks what kind of people are today, not just what did do they believe but what are their personalities? i ask this because personality in psychology, personality and politics i should say is the hottest area in political psychology. twin study showed that if if you take identical twins separated at birth and you know one is conservative and his identical twin raised elsewhere is much more like the chance to be conservative or vice versa for liberals because your genes -- your brain has certain traits in those traits make you more responsive to the liberal argument perhaps are the conservative argument. your personality does not dictate your final politics but it measures you in one direction or the other. all people talk about his liberal conservative and the short answer to summarize all these books, conservatives are
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eaten as children and are afraid of death and i forget the other reasons but what about libertarians? there's good reason to think libertarianism and conservatives are going to be different sorts of people and orrin had survived the challenge and later said of those libertarian tea partiers, these people are not conservatives. they are not republicans. they are radical libertarians and i despise these people. this is their different sorts of people and he doesn't like these sorts of people. now i happen to run. run with my colleague a web site called your, where people can come. we have 60 or 70 studies up on the site at various times and when people come before they get to this page they register. you give us a demographic information and unlike most national surveys we don't force you to say where you are on the
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scale but we say here is a one to 10 scale. the data are sure will show you today will group the people who chose very liberal or slightly liberal in the blue bars i will show you. slightly conservative, conservative or very conservative and those up in the red bars i will show you but for people who don't want to pick one of those we let them say don't know, not clinical or libertarian or even other so we only want to put people into a box if they willingly put themselves into that box and then we will see how their personalities differ. the sample i will tell you about is not a representative sample so the numbers can't be taken out of the number form but the differences between our groups are robust when you compare them to national representative samples over the sample is 130,000 people most of whom are liberal and that is who comes to our web site but we have a lot of libertarians of 10 or 12%
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percent sohn oversampled libertarians at our site compared to national samples and 1,220,000 conservatives. are libertarians are overwhelmingly male and what is there ration in your data? so that is the date i will show you so here's the data. we had about 40 or 50 studies where we would compare liberal conservatives and libertarians and to publish it we had to pick 15 of them and to publish that we had to simplify it and we broke it into three sets of studies around a common theme. i know ayn rand does not -- as she dare does speak a lot and says a lot of quotable things and so here's one thing she says about altruism. if any civilization is to survive it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject so to libertarians reject altruism? on the left it means
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libertarians reject morality. her hypothesis was libertarians will reject almost all the moral values or endorsed endorse them less strongly than liberals or conservatives. here's what we find. our main instruments called the moral time agent questionnaire and we have overrated questions about five moral foundations, care, fairness, loyalty, authority and sanctity and what you see here is that libertarians the black bars in the middle of each triad score actually low on everything so like conservatives they are low on care and compassion. so at least here they are low on care and compassion along with conservatives in the black and red bars similar there. here fairness is more about equality. later on we change it to fairness and then things differ
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but in this way libertarians are like conservatives however when we look at the more socially conservative foundation, now libertarians are indistinguishable for from liberals. them care a lot about patriotism, group loyalty, respect for authority the sense of sanctity or purity, all those sorts of social issues that david said there's a difference on and you can see that here. the bottom line is that libertarians can side with either side. they can look at the various issues and they hey or i should say there are areas that match but they don't fit properly with either side of the one-dimensional spectrum. now after we did this research, we thought and after reading david's work and his other writings from cato on libertarianism and what libertarians stand for free realized well liberty is a basic value that we didn't include in our regional set and we made up some items to tap the conception
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and evaluations of liberty we found we cut a lot of data and went to factor analysis to figure out the subtypes of liberty and we found two subtypes economic liberty and lifestyle liberty. and we found when we ran these items on thousands and thousands of people that libertarians are indeed high on both these kinds of liberty. they value lifestyle and liberty more than the liberals so liberals and libertarians can site together and, fighting the drug war and things like that and conservatives are the odd man out but when it comes to any sort of economic liberty suddenly liberals are very low. they really don't think there are rights to economic liberty where libertarian conservatives do and that of course is the area of overlap that david was talking about. so these are sort of moral
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attitudes and you can call them personality if you want but now let's get more deeply into personality. ayn rand come every aspect of western culture needs a new coat of ethics or rational ethic as a precondition. libertarians seem part of the fact that there rational analytical less swayed by emotion and we find that is indeed the case. most important revealing scale in our whole paper is the personality to simon baron cohen. he is a whole bunch of items that i will give you a score on what is called systemizing which is the drive to understand the variables of the system and how those variables govern the behavior so if you like to understand subway maps, spreadsheets, any sort of -- chess, any sort of complex system if you enjoy doing that you you are high on systemizing and emphasizing is the drive to identify they emotions that another person as experience and
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respond with an appropriate emotion. so there's a big difference here. men are generally higher on systemizing and women are higher on empathizing and what we find is that libertarians are in a sense the most masculine out there and if you evenly analyze only the men, he just look at the man, libertarian men are the highest on systemizing of any of the three groups in the lowest on empathizing. the same thing for women. in fact libertarians are only group whose systemizing scores in absolute terms, systemizing scores are higher than their empathizing scores. and this reflects a lot of what is happening in the feminizing of the democratic party in the 70's. this might be part of a growing separation between libertarians in the last several decades. ..


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