tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 28, 2015 11:00pm-12:01am EDT
but and i think that really is the key frame that one has to grapple with, but in terms of, is it fair to call immigrants or immigration law as a civil rights issue? i would argue that absolutely in light of kind of the types of americani mechanisms that have been deployed by the state against foreign-born persons, and there are very clear parallels between the experience of african-americans, latinos and other historically disadvantaged groups and the experience of foreign-born persons. now i'm not equating the experiences, nor am i saying the legal frameworks are equivalent. but if we look at practices like racial profiling or mass incarceration, the same experiences that african-americans and others had experienced are now being replicated in some respects on foreign-born persons, especially latinos. and that is more than just a
rhetorical connection. there's some, a deeper connection in some ways that i think is worth exploring. so i think that's part of the what i think is fueling this, it's the next civil rights movement. [ inaudible ] >> especially with little ma li. >> can you wait for a mic please? >> i think we're changing the whole idea. racial profiling. not race, but they're so mixed now. i mean, the huge diversity of a latin latinos, and i love the millennials. they're whatever, everything. peruvian, chinese, mormons, they're my best friends. how do you racially profile in this incredibly, this is the question in affirmative action people are talking about now, too. i'm not sure that dynamic of the '60s, i think in some ways we're more like the 1920s now than we are the 1960s with huge income
inequality, the fear of war, fear of foreign invasion. tremendous difference in working conditions. and that was what drove a law that people wanted more border control, not less. i think we're heading more for that in the public. that's what trump is touching on. there's not a big civil rights movement like in the '60s that's driving the more liberal. that's the way i've seen it. >> so i'm ross eisenbrekt. and i have a question, because i'm very confused about pre-'65, the ability or the status of people who came without authorization. i mean, people were deported, i know. and for all kinds of reasons. and it seems that being here without authorization would have been one of those reasons.
and then i just want to make a comment about family and the, one of the new civil rights, which is, you know, how we treat lgbt people. you know, this law, i think, allowed or required the exclusion of homosexuals. i'm not sure, but that was certainly what happened. and going forward, one would hope that that wouldn't be the case and that a new, a new way of looking at family, even in, for immigration purposes would take into account lgbt families. >> yes, so let me comment on that last point about the exclusion of gays and lesbians from immigration law, that's issue, 1965 kept that in place. in fact, the law built, classified people who are lgbt q as having some kind of a medical condition that then led to their
bar from immigration law, and it was not until 1990 that congress lifted that solutiexclusion. so it's still fairly recent in our memory. now as far as the supreme court cases that evaluated doma, now lgbt families are able to bring in their family members here to the united states. so it is catching up. that part of our population is now able to take, have that benefit in immigration law. and so i, i, it's unclear to me right now, for purposes of family, what might be the, in terms of civil rights how we might be able to redefine family from a civil rights perspective, other than to think about the family structures that we currently have in place today, who are, with respect to deep, speaking of the 11 million undocuments immigrants.
it's important to examine how are families on the ground, who do they count as people who are special to them? and should they benefit from comprehensive immigration reform and the reformatting of our family-based immigration. >> anyone want to take the unauthorized, ross's first question about the status of unauthorized people prior to -- >> i mean, i'll take a shot, i think one perspective, it's a great question and an important thing to point out. certainly, you look at, obviously, even in the late 1800s, soon after the first provisions of the chinese exclusion act came as a default proposition. the people of asian descent deportable. when we get to the early 1900s, as you suggest, there was significant mass deportations in the united states. so it was not uncommon for example in late 1920s, early
1930s, los angeles, to see roundups of mexicans, put on trains back into mexico. and so that is certainly true and certainly did exist. the enforcement at that time, though, at least my understanding was that one, it was haphazard. looked a lot like, if you look at the early 2000s workplace profile in the bush administration, high-profile when ice agents entered a meat packing plant, but in terms of actual effect on the broader population, obviously creates fear and chills certain sorts of behavior, but it was not a systemized form of enforcement, and very similarly, i would argue the 1930s roundups, one haphazard to non-systemized, but also the scale of who we're talking about as, as the unauthorized population, as the
population that could be targeted and removed was simply not the scale that we have today, right? it was we don't think about it in that way, and there was still fairly relatively open movement across the border. so, as an example. when the brasero program was operating in 1942, texas was essentially excluded as a state that could take braseros. because of the discrimination, and the government refused to allow texas to participate in the program. so texas then asked the border agents at the texas/mexico border to allow free migration of people outside the program into texas so that they could then use them as laborers, and that system continued for a significant amount of time, but we, and certainly, they were illegal or unauthorized in the
way that we would think about them today, but not necessarily subject to the mass deportations or the idea of enforcement that we would understand today. so i think it's an excellent point, but i still do think that 1965 really changes both the scope, volume and quality of the nature of illegality. the other thing i'd point out is that up until 1990 there were literally three crimes that could get you deported, that made one deportable from the united states, murder, rape, and i forget what the other one was, but 1990 was when the united states code starts to exponentially expand the number of crimes that can get you deported. by 1996, which is the law we have today, if you look at the part of the code that defines aggravated felonies, 101a143 of the ina now goes on for several pages, and these are embezzlement, fraud, just
continues, drug offenses, all of them get counted. and so you fundamentally change the group against which that enforcement can be directed. >> so ross, let me just add one other thing. and i think it really goes to rose's initial point on where you stand on these issues depends on the history your perspective is really shaped by history. so, from a sort of latino civil rights perspective, when asked about the unauthorized prior to 1965, one might answer, first, it wasn't a large-scale problem in part because we didn't enforce the law against europeans. so the vast majority of european immigrants who came legally came, the old phrase was, you came with a tag on. that is to say someone paid for your passage, usually an employer, through, from italy,
say, to ellis island. that was actually technically illegal, because according to u.s. law at that time, we did not permit indentured servitude, but some would argue even the majority of people who came through ellis came came technically illegally. second, until the, i believe it was until the 1952 act, there was an automatic statute of limitations. so that anybody who was, who came unauthorized, again, mainly european, automatically was able to legalize without any action as long as they evaded detection from the law, which, as deep has noted was not very significant. and third, to the extent there was major enforcement, it was through these repatriation campaigns, which i would argue were highly racialized. and there were not, there was not one of them.
there were actually four of them, including so-called operation wetback in the 1950s, where millions of mexicans and other latin-americans were deported, largely without due process, and that included, you know, millions, probably, of u.s. citizens as well. so when you ask who are the unauthorized and how did enforcement take place in those days, i don't think one can fairly answer that with a simple answer. it depended on who you were, where you came from, and, and, you know, how one might have come to the attention of the authorities. so, sorry for that speech, but i had to add that. next one? >> thank you. my name is bob remusson. i am a practicing immigration lawyer for the last 30 years or so. and what strikes me in some of the things you people have been
saying is to remember thatten i think historically, both european immigration and also mexican immigration, people came and went freely, and therefore, the concept of being here illegally wasn't as salient, because you came here, you worked for a while. maybe you worked for a year. maybe you worked for two years, maybe you worked for six months. you went back to your family with the money you had. and it is with the 1965 act that started that, and especially now, i see with the 1986 or 87 law that imposes draconian consequences on people who are here for a year without authorization authorization, if they leave, they can't come back for ten years. that freezes everybody in place, make being the pool of unauthorized people greater and meaning you've got to bring your families with you, because you may never see them again because you can't get back home. so that, to me, seems to be in
the realm of unintended consequences, and i wonder how lawmakers and policymakers can avoid -- maybe it's impossible -- this type of unintended consequence. >> you started to take a shot at that earlier. >> sure. i think you're raising an important point around the narrative that we create around immigration and the presence of immigrants, and they're also associated, there's an assumption that people who come to the united states want to remain here permanently. that's simply not the case. before i began teaching i worked for a number of years working with day laborers. the commonality was i'm not trying to work here permanently, i want to work here for a couple years, make a bit of money and build a nice house for my family. and i think that to a larger extent, immigration laws have really failed, the kind of
dichotomous approach, earither you're here forever. and what we're seeing is binational existences, dual national identities. and that's another feature we need to contemplate. people may want to have a binational existence where they'll have homes or connections in more than one country. certainly playing out with many people. dual citizenship is becoming increasingly common and flexible. so i absolutely do agree that in terms of our policy, it's structured in this very kind of black or white type of way. and we need to think creatively about how we can create these pathways, either binational or
semi-temporary come and go. or expanding opportunities for temporary engagement in the u.s. >> other questions? >> hi, i'm shaun o'neill. one of the things that we need to bring dignity and respect to these people. they're all people. and i think fairness is in there too. but, are we being fair to the american taxpayer when we're placing a $10 billion demands on our essential services, like health care, education, the penal system, fire and police. the taxpayer right now is be being treated unfairly. and they should be in the equation.
>> there have been a series of national academy of sciences studies similar to the one that deep and jayesh may have mentioned that suggest that in sum and in total immigrants more than pay for themselves. over the long term. now with specific groups and specific services, and particularly at the state local level, since much of the tax go to the government, the localities bear the burden of services, and especially when taking demographics into account, like young, younger immigrants, younger, poor immigrants, they will tend to consume more in services than they pay in taxes, but the same is actually true of any younger, poorer population, regardless of
whether they're immigrants or not. so i don't, i don't deny your point that there are larger ramifications from immigration and that, you know, everyone affected, which is everyone, ought to have a seat at the table in discussing how to resolve it, but i would resist the notion that immigrants are a net negative economically or with respect to specific government services. >> if i could add to what charles is saying. charles had pointed out that it is possible that there might be some effects at the state and local level, and this actually goes to significant part of the empirical work, empirical research i conducted for our book. when you ask the question about the restrictionist laws that
were emerging over the state and local level over the last 10, 15 years, talking about sb 1070. on the basis that immigrants were consuming a significant amount, whether or not it was, it's true that at any given locality or jurisdiction, immigrants did consume a significant amount of tax money, what our empirical investigation revealed is that jurisdictions who passed these laws actually were not suffering from those social ills that they were arguing about in their law. so, while they would write, for example in the purpose statements of their law that they had suffered significant social service deficits and that immigrants were changing the way in which they were providing those services, as an empirical matter, at least in those jurisdictions that were propsting and passing these laws, that is, it was an unsupportable factual statement.
there may have been jurisdictions in which that was true, but those were not the same jurisdictions that were passing restrictionous legislation. when you look at california, california houses close to 3 million unlawfully-present persons. that is one third what, yeah, roughly, a quarter to a third of the unlawful, total population. but california during this time was passing the most integrationist social services laws, including more currently, laws directed at the health care of undocumented immigrants, so there is, i think there is a fundamental, there very well might be these economic effects, but the interesting thing for me is ha it doesn't actually show up in the policy proposals at those jurisdictions. >> quick follow up? >> quick follow up. you've referenced the brasero program a few times, and it seems that's the model that seemed to have worked best. and i, we could go back to
something like that. and a lot of the discussions about civil rights and 7% from this country and 7% from that country. i mean, i've talked to people on the hill about immigration reform. and if you're on the left you want everybody to have full citizenship. and if you're on the right you want to enforce existing laws and deport people. and then there's a bunch of stuff in the middle, too. but we need a broad-based coalition to effect change. we're going to need the left, right, and middle to come together around something, and it should be something very practical and not something that is so burdensome that i'd be interested in your thoughts on that. >> sure, no. please. but i mine, your general point is very well taken, that there needs to be, there has to be some kind of political compromise. just one quick response to your earlier question. we need to contemplate the reality that there are a lot of
mixed-status families in the united states. it's really difficult to segregate immigrants x or they take away x when in fact many families are comprised of people here legally and people who are not, so that muddies the waters. but, you know, of course, there's a really clear evidence around significant exploitation under the brchltesaro program. it can be a model, but a temporary visa program that both enables employers to take advantage of foreign-born workers to avail themselves, rather, not take advantage of, that was my next point, to not exploit, in a newspapea nonh-ex
way. the h 2 b program, significant incentives for employer fraud and exploitation. multiple studies have been done on this. so not that every employer is coming at it with ill intention, but structurally, it lends itself to that. the 2013 bill had a proposal, the w visa program was okay. it was a decent compromise. we can criticize it and pick it apart, but i think as we move forward, that was a result of a lot of compromise. afl organized labor, the business community, chamber of commerce. ag secretary were all at the table. and they came up with that. so it can be done again. >> i'm sorry. we've come to the end of this session. i've gotten the high sign. thank you all for participating. thank the panelists for their extraordinary contributions.
not just at this panel but through their books. so please look for them. so thank you all for coming. [ applause ] c-span has your best access to congress, with live coverage from capitol hill. in the closing months of the year, the house and senate have several key items to address. on thursday, it's the vote for the next speaker of the house. >> i've shown my colleagues what i think success looks like. what i think it takes to unify and lead and how my family commitments come first. i have left this decision in their hands. and should they agree with these requests, then i am happy, and i am willing to get to work. >> that's also the deadline for
a hoiighway funding bill. in december, temporary government funding will expire with a possible government shutdown on the horizon. stay with c-span for live coverage of congress, on tv, on the radio and online at c-span.org. at chicago tribune.com on this wednesday, federal courts reporter jason meisner writes the following. today's guilty plea by dennis hastert marking a dramatic downfall for the illinois republican. he's joining us on the phone from chicago. he was in the courtroom this morning. thanks very much for be being with us. >> thanks for having me on. >> describe the scene. what was it like? >> hastert walked into court, chicago, kind of rainy, dreary morning. it was barely light out.
a horde of media in the courtroom. he went and waited for the hearing to start. once it did, it was 20 minutes, pretty cut and dried. he said guilty, sir, when he was asked how he pleaded to the count of illegally structuring bank withdrawals. >> a 15-page plea agreement. so what's the back story. who is individual a, and what happened? >> well, anybody who was looking for new details did not get them today. they're pretty disappointed, because this plea agreement is pretty much identical to the indictment. it alleges that may made these withdrawals to hide the fact that he was paying individual a to hide wrongdoing that he had done against this person in the past. now we didn't get any new details on who individual a is. and certainly, we didn't get
anything in the realm of sexual misconduct, which is what sources have said this is all about, that dennis hastert, when he was a high school teacher and wrestling coach back about 30 years ago in yorkville, illinois that he allegedly sexually abused this person and is now paying all these years later to keep it quiet. none of that was included in today's plea agreement. >> what's the reaction been in his congressional district to this story? it's almost like a tabloid story. >> well, with reporters, ever since he was indicted in may have been swarming all over his home base out in yorkville and plano. these are small towns, everybody knows each other. people have been very reluctant to come to his defense, but also, he does have a lot of support, and we expect that now that he's pled guilty and is going to sentencing that the judge will be, will be reading a
lot of letters of support of good things he's done over his career. >> what potentially could he face? will he go to jail? and when is the sentencing? >> the plea agreement calls for, there's an agreement between prosecutors and hastert's attorneys that the sentencing range is from probation to six months in jail. they haven't said, we certainly expect hastert's attorneys to ask for probation, meaning no jail time. prosecutors haven't indicated where in that range they intend to fall, but they're probably going to ask for some time for jail. the judge set this for sentencing on february 29th, next year. there may be sentencing files in advance. but when this goes to sentencing, everybody will be waiting to see if more details come out about these
allegations. the back story behind them. >> year' talking with jason meisner, federal courts reporter for the chicago tribune. dennis is a former high school wrestling coach, former principal. served at longest-serving republican speaker of the house, how did i come up with this kind of money, $3.5 million to individual a? >> that's a good question. dennis hastert's finances have been called into question before, land deals that were making him rich, that were tied to his public service in some way. and after he left, you know, the house, he did, the "tribune" had a big report, alleging that he was using a government-funded office for private ventures, business ventures, he became a successful lobbyist in washington, lobbying his former colleagues and hamaking million. so he had cash on hand. the question is, how was he
going to pay this person and keep it hidden. and the allegations, what he pled guilty to today is that he withdrew money in small increments so that the banks wouldn't have to report it. >> you've covered a lot of politicians in chicago who have gone to jail. governor blagojevich, this came out of left field, did it not? >> it did. a lot of people were shocked. yeah. it's not your straight-up classic chicago corruption story. it's not an alderman being caught taking an envelope full of cash. and of course, there's all the mystery to it. that ever since the indictment came down, reporters have been running all over the place, trying to figure out who individual a is, but nobody's ever stepped forward. and today we had a plea, a guilty plea, and we got no new answers. the mystery continues, and it's fueled the fire. >> and dennis hastert did not
say much. he did not respond to reporters' questions, but if you could sense his demeanor today, what was it like? >> he seemed very uncomfortable, of course, he had no family with him, just his lawyers there, so when he was standing there he definitely looked uncomfortable. and he was not eager to linger afterwards. he came down and walked past the media without saying a word, got in a black suv and took off. it was a lot more civilized than it was when he came in for his arraignment in june, when things got a little out of hand. people were trying to approach him, and a couple of reporters got in trouble with the security, but this time he got in his suv and took off. he didn't say a word. >> the full story available online at chicagotribune.com. and jason meisner in the court following the story as the federal courts reporter. thank you for being with us. we appreciate it. >> thanks a lot.
benjamin netanyahu is scheduled to visit next month. difference ross and tom donnelen talked about the relationship between the u.s. and israel. this is an hour and a half. good afternoon, and welcome to the washington institute. i'm rob satloff. i'm the director of the washington institute. i should be welcoming you to our new schreiber offices. delighted to announce this program. we publish quite a lot. we publish hundreds of essays a year. we publish them under our own logo, on our own series of
policy watches and policy focuses. we have our scholars publish in major newspapers and periodicals and journals. and then once in a while, our scholars publish books. and we are especially proud of the books that our scholars produce. they are among the most lasting and meaningful of the products of this organization. we are a research organization. we are not a fly-by-night, topic-driven, headline-focussed institute. we want to add to our collective knowledge about middle east politics and the making of american foreign policy in the middle east. and nothing quite does that like a book. and so today we are especially proud to be able to celebrate the publication of this book. i'm holding this up for our c-span audience. the publication of this book.
"doomed to succeed", the u.s./israel relationship from truman to obama. the book just published by the institute's counselor, my fellow ambassador, dennis ross. so right at the outset, please join me in celebrating the publication of dennis's new book. [ applause ] dennis brings an entire professional career, both academic and policy making to the writing of this book. dennis has spent the last quarter century, more than a quarter century in public service that dates back to the carter administration. he has served in senior white house positions in the administrations of ronald reagan, george h.w. bush and president bill clinton, and then
of course in the administration of president barack obama. he's been the president's envoy for middle east peace. he's been the coordinator of american foreign policy in the broader middle east, what was known in the obama administration as the central region. especially focussing on iran policy. he's seen the ins and outs, especially, of the u.s./israel relationship. and republicans' presidencies and in democratic presidencies. there really is no other american who has the deep insight, personal background, expertise and experience to bring to bear on a history of america's relationship with israel going back all the way to the founding of the jewish state in 1948. and that's what this book is all about. and so today we're going to have a deep, in-depth look at what lies behind "doomed to succeed."
why is it doomed to succeed, and what can we learn about this relationship as we look forward to the arrival in two weeks' time of the current israeli prime minister to meet with the president of the united states at a moment that is especially strained between our two allies. and there really can be no better companion for this discussion than the third person on this platform today, i am truly delighted to be able to welcome to this audience, president obama's first -- second -- national security advise remember, tom donnelly, a true friend of the u.s./israel alliance, and someone who has over the course of administration after administration contributed deeply, not just to strengthening this alliance but to building the foundations for security and peace in the middle east. it really is a privilege to
welcome tom, to have tom and dennis together on this platform for a discussion about what makes the u.s./israel relationship, how it has developed, what could lead to strains, what are the opportunities and the challenges, and where this relationship may be heading in the years ahead. but first, i'm going to turn to my colleague, dennis, to explain why, why doomed to succeed? why write this book? >> well, thank you. obviously, this is an interesting time to be writing about this. many people have asked me about the title. they look at some of the tensions in the relationship, and they say, "doomed to succeed", which implies that everything will be okay, which is interesting at a time when most people are pessimistic about everything in the middle
east. this is a book about the u.s./israeli relationship that's optimistic. it's doomed to succeed, not doomed to succeed question mark. my original plan was to write an overview of the history and go through the administrations that i hadn't served in kind of a summary fashion the problem was i began to get into it. i had a number of wow moments. what i mean by wow moments, i found not only that i was finding all the same arguments that i had dealt with, i found in many cases sometimes 50 years apart the exact same words being used, mott just the same arguments, but the same words being used. the more i discovered that, the more i had these wow moments, the more i became convinced that i really needed to go through each of these administrations and show where the key assumptions about the relationship emerged, why they emerged the way they did, and in effect, why they had such a durability. one of the things that struck me
was that the assumptions lived on lessons lived from things that should have been validated were never learned. i thought in my own mind i need to write this book not only so i can in a sense give visibility to that, to expose that, but also i need to write the book because i know it's going to come out the year before the next administration. and i wanted the next administration, the next president, whoever it may be, and the people who are advising that next president to be much more aware of the history, to be much more aware of the assumptions. one of the things that tom knows. in the policy-making world, when you're inned m the midst of thie tendency to be aware of this is n nonexistent. i wanted to expose what the assumptions have been over time, how they have had a durability
and ben sustaen sustained. i also wanted to highlight that the approach to israel has oftentimes been derivative of the larger approach to the middle east. and many of those assumptions have also been misplaced. one of the key themes of the book that you'll see when you trade -- read it -- as i know you all will -- what are the assumptions about arab leaders? and those assumptions have almost typically been wrong. the key driver for most arab leaders has been security and survivability. the relationship with israel, which is frequently influenced american policymakers, fearing that if we did certain things that this would somehow have an impact on our relationship with the arabs. if you look historically and go from administration to administration, and you look at the specific examples, and what i do is go through each administration and go over the key events in those administrations and how the key
assumptions drove responses to those key events, one of the things you'll see is that typically what drove arab leaders was their preoccupation with what mattered to them. and i'm not saying that the u.s./israel relationship was immaterial to them, but it never drove what they did to us. it never drove how they decided their ties should be, how close they should be. from their standpoint, the one thing that was critical was how reliable were we? were we in fact going to be, in fact, a source of their security, which mattered more to them than anything else. and they weren't going to do anything that put that at risk. so their relationship with us was a function of their priorities, not a function of what our relationship with israel was. and i demonstrate this in one administration after the next. one of the things i do throughout the book is show the echoes that reverberate over time. and how you see not just the
same arguments reflected on the inside, but the same behaviors on the outside. and it's one of the ways that i try to draw out what are the key lessons that i conclude the book with a series of lessons for the future. both about the u.s./israeli relationship, and in terms of the region as a whole, but also about how we should be dealing with each other so that we learn the right lessons from the past. both of us have some lessons to learn, and even though this book is told primarily from the standpoint of american policy, there clearly are lessons here for what the israelis should do as well. >> thank you very much, dennis. dennis' very brief overview doesn't even begin to do justice to the nuggets of, the gems of historical insight that is in this book. if you are a historian, and you are fascinated by the cycles of history, to see the repetition of the same words, almost, certainly the same themes,
administration after administration, almost mistake after mistake. it is truly fascinating. but someone who made no mistakes in his tenure in government, i now get to turn to tom. tom, for your, some opening remarks about the book and your experience? >> thank you very much rob and dennis. i would tell you about my mistakes, but you're not cleared for that. at this time. at this point. let me say a couple of opening things and then make, make four or five observations on dennis' book. first of all, it's great to be here today in your new facilities. just beautiful. and it's great to be here today with a surprise for me, my counterpart, national security adviser for the state of israel, we had a terrific relationship and something i'll value for the rest of my life. secondly, i'm grateful that you asked me to come talk about this book. the last book, maybe two books
ago, "the missing piece." it was 805 pages, this was only 408, so it was a little less of a lift to get ready for this, dennis than your prior works. i'm very grateful for that. let me make four or five, if i could, just observations on the book. one is a general observation. on the importance of the book. it's big history. and we don't have enough of that. it's diplomatic history, and we don't have enough of that. and it's useful history. i believe that one of the great failures of american policymakers is a lack of knowledge of history, and a lack of attention to understanding the history of the peoples and nations with whom we're dealing. you know, we have a phrase, obviously, in america, where we say, "that's history." that's not the way it works in the rest of the world. and having a deeper understanding of how we got to where we got, what the drivers
are, what the narratives are, what the mythologies are. david's written a book on mythologies of the middle east. and neil ferguson in volume one of his biography of henry kissinger makes that point powerfully. i gave a commencement address a year ago at columbia university, and that was the one piece of address that i made, which is to read history, read a lot of it, read it consistently. i think it's a great contribution to that. my relationship with dennis goes back a long time. i've spent a large part of my career trying to talk dennis into taking jobs. he worked in the bush 41 administration as the middle east negotiator. we then were on the other side of each other. i prepared then governor clinton for his debates in 2008, and dennis was in the white house during the campaign. so we were on opposite sides.
nonetheless, we asked, really begged, dennis to stay for three to six months. we turned that into eight years. including one scene where i was in a nato meeting where he was about to leave, and i said dennis, you can't leave. and he said well, i promised -- i think he was coming by here, actually. he said i promised the truss te of the institute. i said picture this. i'm in a hotel room on a secure phone, and i'm on my knees, begging you, right? to stay. and dennis did. and the country was all the better for it. i then tried to recruit dennis into the white house at the outset of the, i did the national security transition for president, then senator obama and tried to recruit dennis into the white house and failed but got him about a year later. so it's great to be here. and thank you for this contribution to history. the second thing i wanted to say is that, a couple observations
about various chapters if i could. i want to talk about the carter chapter just for a moment. in reading it, dennis, i was struck by something that doesn't get enough notice. and stu and i were at a conference the other day when i made this point. the durability of the contributions made by president carter, technically in the camp david accords is extraordinary. and it doesn't get noted enough. the camp david accords, you think the general would attest to, are an important pillar of israeli security. and they were tested during the morsi, muslim brotherhood period. and although the muslim brotherhood government of egypt did not embrace the camp david accords and would not directly engage at the political level with israel. they respected the accords. and they remained in place in that period and even today in
one of the most important relationships with israel remains the egypt relationship. we also have arising out of those accords a core part of our assistance regime. that is our economic assistance to israel and egypt remain a core part of our relationship in the region. i wanted to pull that out as something that doesn't get commented on enough in my judgment. the third point i want to talk about is why leaders make the decisions they make in engage being in the middle east peace process. you make the point, dennis that there are a number of consistent, and you call them myths. concern about the high cost of cooperation with israel. i think there are other things
deriving from this. and that is a president seeing context and opportunity. historic leadership context and the opportunity for achievement. and indeed, i think that was what drove president clinton in 1992. he came in at an extraordinary moment in american history. 1992 the united states, after the fall of the soviet union. after the gulf war, the united states was at an unparalleled level of power and influence in the world and could take even a challenge like this. second, there were not some of the issues that we have today as looming as deeply. iran was nowhere near the threat then that it is today. it was virtually exhausted, i think, after the iran/iraq war. third, you had an israeli leader, yitzhak rabin who had
strategic depth for israel. i think he called expanding the circle of peace that he was going to engage intensively in the peace process, starting with syria. you, dennis, working with secretary baker had put in place, pushed away the taboo on direct talks between israel and arabs nations through the madrid process, and that was in place to be taken advantage of, and indeed, there's a story in the book which makes the point. briefing then governor clinton about coming into office and saying that if you put the current state of u.s. power behind yitzhak rabin's intentions here, there's a real possibility of achieving four arab israeli peace agreements in the first term as president. i think that's the story that's laid out. so it was the context, and it was the opportunity for achievement, as opposed to a cost-benefit analysis on israel versus the arab nations i think. secondly, if you look at the
decisions that the bush 43 administration made, i think that was, again, about perceived opportunity for achievement as well. i think they rejected the clinton approach, because they thought if there was a general if anything but clinton view with respect to foreign policy. they thought he'd invested personally in the efforts, and they were going to push away from that. if you look at the situation that president obama came into, which we worked in, at the beginning of the administration, i don't know if it was necessarily, there was a set of circumstances very different from what president clinton faced. you had the peace camp really greatly dim enished in israel after the intifada and what followed it. the intifada, reflecting back on it. people throw these phrases around, there could be a third intifada. the intifada was a violent and highly impactive event.
1100 israelis killed and 3800 palestinian deaths. it greatly diminished the peace camp in israel. you had the 2016 palestinian election which brought hamas to the stage. it fractured the palestinian authority. and you had a much more difficult and weaker partner, frankly, to deal with. third, the threat of iran was much different and a lot larger for president obama than it was for president clinton, obviously. where iran was heading, head long, towards development of a nuclear weapon. and essentially, israel, as you point out in the book at this point faced iran, hamas and hezbollah, all committed to its destruction. it was a very different circumstance. and also u.s. relations in the muslim world were in a much more complicated place after the iraq war. and after, and the midst of us pursuing the most aggressive
counter terrorism campaign against violent islamic fundamentalist groups that the country had ever taken. so it was a much more complicated circumstance. we can talk about the decisions that the president made. the fourth point i want to talk about is personality. they come through in the book as well. at two and a half decades, yitzhak rabin was the most impressive leader i met in the world. a strategic sense, full of integrity, great strength, thoroughly reliable. and you could just feel it when you were with him. he was, you know, kind of his personal behavior quite modest. but the steel came through in the decisions in his leadership. the other personality that came through very strongly is yasser arafat, so you ask, given all these positive conditions that i outlined, right, that president
clinton faced a decade almost of achievement. why, why didn't it close? and i think studying, studying it for a long time, thinking about it, and, again, think about what was on the table, reading in preparing for today, think about january 2001, a stin sta palestinian state in all of gaza. security arrangements built around an international presence, including the jordan river valley, a right of return to the new palestinian state, not to israel and end of the conflict, and arafat walked away from this. i know there's been some debate about it. rob mally. but i don't think that the facts can, i don't think the facts are really in dispute, frankly, with respect to what the core
offering was and accepted by barak and rejected by arafat. there's a tragic impact personality on outcome. the fifth thing i wanted to mention was my own engagement with israel and the approach that we had. we viewed israel as an ally. we view israel, i certainly viewed israel as part of an alliance system the united states had in the world, which is a unique asset. no other nation in the world has the kind of partnership alliance system the united states has put together. and it is a unique and important asset to be attended to constantly. second, given that, in addition to the palestinian/israeliish ushs issues, we had not only the iran, but the engagement was not only at the personal level but the professional level. the engagement between us and
the professional intelligence and military on the israeli side was critically important. why was that? because in a region where there's so much politics, where there's so much mythology, ideology, it was important for our decision-makers to have us do the very best job we could to get ground troops and come as close as we could to the analytics. i was devoted to it. the general was devoted to it. and i think it made a very big difference in decision making and assurances and reassurances on all sides. with that, i'll turn it back over to you, rob, but i wasn'ted to make a couple of more personal observations on the book. >> thank you, thank you very much. [ applause ] >> excellent. thank you very much. let me of pose a series of questions to my friends on the panel. have a bit of a discussion, then we'll turn to you for your own
questions. i'd like to begin with one of the premises of the book, which is that you can go back to truman and divide our presidents, really, into two groups. one group who prioritized the shared values between the united states and israel, a group that included truman, reagan, bush 43 and i'm delighted that steve hadley, president bush's national security adviser is ç;hs4e, bill clinton. and then a group of presidents who viewed israel through what you call a competitive lens, almost a zero-sum lens between israel and arab allies. and this includes eisenhower, nixon, bush 41, it seems from the book that barack obama leans toward the latter group. where would you place president
obama on this spectrum? >> the way i describe it in the chapter is that he's, in many ways, a hybrid. when it comes to security and tom described as well, when it came to security, he was very clear from the beginning that security was something he, tom, we would have these meetings, saying we're checking politics at the door. i recall meetings in the office, where the president said whatever our differences are, we put security over here. with security, even within his administration he had a constituency that reflected what i called the traditional mind-set of seeing israel through a more competitive lens, a less collaborative one. on security, he tilted towards those who are inclined toward collaboration and partnership. on the peace issue, he looked at israel as being strong, the palestinians as being weak, and therefore the onus was entirely on the israelis.
when it came to the peace issue, the instinct was the more competitive one. and it was, i think, driven by a sense that somehow it was in israel's best interest that it understood that on the peace issue was headed toward a cliff. what i tried to suggest in the chapter is that here the president, to be effective with the israelis, needed to create a connection with the israelis, and he waited far too long to do that. he viewed israel through the, i would say, the partnership lens, and even emotionally, felt himself very strongly committed to israel, and yet, when it came to the peace issue, he saw it through, in fact, a very different kind of lens. i just say one last word. the previous presidents, who you identified who were, you know, who consciously made a decision to distance. eisenhower for sure. and if you raid the eisenhower chapter, the length to which
eisenhower goes is really quite extraordinary. he contemplates the use of american force against the israelis in 1956, when the israelis requested arms throughout this period when the soviets began providing arms to the egyptians and the syrians and then later iraq, the recommendation, frequently, was to the israelis, you should engage, you should be a good neighbor. a good neighbor to all those around you who completely reject you. that's the betterj>"he answer t providing arms. nixon takes a very, even though personally, when he meets, he presents a very different picture, but his actual posture, this is a guy, nixon believed the 1967 war was a defeat for the united states. this is someone who actually made a decision to suspend phantoms to the israelis at the very moment that the soviets for the first time in their history are sending military personnel and military forces to egypt.
and the reason he's doing it is because he wants to reach out to nasa. sends his undersecretary of state to nasa expecting a response from nasser, and the response is one he didn't hope for. we gained nothing from it. carter is an interesting contrast with what tom was saying about the notion of opportunity and threat. it isit is interesting that carter pursues piece out of a sense of great fear. >> and. clinton pursues p7 a great sense of opportunity because there is something there. a pretty good way to read, when you read his diaries his attitude toward israel comes through again. the 1st believes you live up to commitments, commitments, but he does not look at israel as any sort of special state he thinks we have obligations that need to be fulfilled, but he does