Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 8, 2009 5:00am-5:30am EDT

5:00 am
>> i think we are ready to begin. go ahead in the those of you that haven't finished feel free to continue to enjoy your david aaron, michael coast was opposed to the introduction, but he's not feeling well. i have the pleasure of introducing someone needing no introduction. i don't intend to give one. spoken ou-out on the issues we e talked about forcefully on the last several years. american policy has begun to move in the directions he has initiated, but i'm sure he has a few more suggestions for the president that i am sure he will share with us. >> thank you.
5:01 am
thank you very much. it is nice to be here. * sorey i was not in the sessions held this morning. i know i would have learned a great deal. i don'perhaps i can provide a bs for discussion. i have to say that i'm very impressed by the publication's that the rand corporation has produced on the subject. they cover most of the critical issues in our relationship with iran. they are an important contribution to wider understanding of a subject that has been the object of mthe subf over simplification over the last several years. i'm glad [unintelligible] has been involved, because he is
5:02 am
been involved in this since 9/11. i will just share with you some general impressions or thoughts regarding the american-iranian relationship as it may be unfolding in the near future. as a point of departure for this relationship, given that the u.s. has stated officially by the president, that we are committed to a negotiating relationship with iran without preconditions, involves the iranian elections. we will know before not long, the outcome. my sense is as if -- if ahmadinejad wins, we will be headed for a time in which he will be triumphant. it is being contested. he knows he is in a very difficult situation. he knows he does not have much sympathy in this country. for good reason. he is going to be a tough
5:03 am
negotiator who will make life more difficult. if he does not win, we will still have a difficult time for the iranians settle down to serious negotiations. if ahmadinejad does not win, it will require some significant adjustment in an internal procedures and arrangements within an extraordinarily complicated governmental structure. i don't know how the supreme leader would like the new president, if it is not ahmadinejad, who is a known subject. this could involve other key players like the man sharing the assembly of experts. or the head of the national
5:04 am
security council. neither of whom views himself as a subordinate of ahmadinejad. we will have a difficult time adjustment barrett there is a tendency in america to think of ahmadinejad as the president, global to our president, but he is not. the bottom line is, the iranian- policy making process will be complicated by the outcome of elections. it will become more intransigent initially. it will require a serious internal adjustment and perhaps a significant politicy discussions, if someone else wins. what about the allied positions? we don't really have a good
5:05 am
sense of how crystalized that tradition is. we are negotiating together, the u.s. is negotiating indirectly to some extent. is there a common thread among the key players? my sense is that it is far from being so. there is a predisposition to take a common stand in favor of negotiations. but only in favor of negotiations, when the going gets rough, what really is the position of the different parties both i think the french and british are close to our position, roughly speaking, although it is not easy to say precisely at this stage what our position actually is. basically, in a sympathetic fashion. moreover, in that trio, sarkosy has a tendency to take strong
5:06 am
positions. it is not clear how far he is prepared to push the envelope on this subject. but he seems among europeans to be more tough-minded or rigid or assertive, more so than the british and certainly more so than the germans or the russians. how that might affect the negotiating process, i'm not sure, but sarkosy does not want to be a wallflower in the process. there was a recent event in the gulf commemorating the opening of a new french military base in the area. the germans and the russians clearly are not prepared to push very hard. they're not prepared to commit themselves to a drastic sanctions. their position from the of side probably will be supported by the chinese.
5:07 am
there are not a target in the negotiating process, but they have role to play. their role is not very significant in the long run. this conundrum of issues is complicated by the fact that as of now there is no real sense of clarity on this side of the five or the six, regarding what is the status of the iranian nuclear qwest. what are the iranians seeking right now? the next analysis of 2007 has not been rejected, to the extent that one can make any judgment that appears to be still the judgment. that is to say that right now there is no convincing evidence that the iranians are actively seeking and nuclear weapons capability, that they are in the process of moving to where urbanization. there may not be definitive evidence to the contrary either.
5:08 am
-- there is no evidence that they are moving forward to a nuclearization. nonetheless, the fact remains that at the program unfolds, they move closer to the edge, attempted by the inevitability of the program, by its technological dynamics. even if they are not seeking nuclear weapons, they are certainly moving closer to having the capability eventually of having nuclear weapons. the distinction has to be kept in mind, we are negotiating with someone who is asserting that they are not seeking a weapon. we are not in a position definitively to say that we have conclusive evidence to the contrary. that complicates the negotiating process. it raises the question, how do
5:09 am
we negotiate how do we negotiated with the iranians on the subject? there are some people advocating in favor of consistent on some sort of preconditions and perhaps the iranians ought to make an act of goodwill regarding their investment or something to that effect. there is a more overt predisposition to argue that we should move into the negotiating process with explicitly new concepts of more u.s. sanctions. that being five of the six of to agree in advance on more severe sanctions and let it be known to the iranians. there is a predisposition on the part of some to argue that this formula that all options are on
5:10 am
the table ought to be emphasized, which is a way of saying to the iranians, if you do not accommodate, force may be used against you. there is certainly a predisposition which perhaps has been intensified in effect a manner by something obama said, to put a time limit on the negotiations. there is a external pressure in favor of that from the israelis. the president was actually extremely clever in the way he fashioned his acceptance of that suggestion, but it in a manner which is unqualified, that he can't ignore it, if he chooses. there is an effort on the part of some to say he has accepted time limits, but a time limit may be at the end of the year. aund there are still inclination's to combine entry into the negotiations with something which, in terms of
5:11 am
diplomacy, amounts to implicit insult, namely repetitive charges of the iranians with active pursuit of terrorism and there is a question whether we have terminated both forms of covert activity designed against the iranian government as part of the policy of promoting democracy or perhaps just [unintelligible] , but that is not necessarily the same as the former. so all of that raises some questions, how are we going to negotiate? obama's elusive treatment of the time limits and his reference to a no preconditions in his speech yesterday, such as the is prepared to give the negotiations a serious try. that is to say, to enter into them with a desire to succeed
5:12 am
and with the understanding that any contract negotiating process -- and this one is bound to be complex -- will take a long time. any notion of a terminal date for the negotiations sometime next year, i don't think that is something is likely to entertain very seriously. i think, also, the administration realizes that to make a negotiation on the nuclear issue will forward, it would be necessary to address several other issues at the same time. the two-state security issues in the region. perhaps implicitly a discussion on the iranian role in the region. certainly the question of iran's role in afghanistan. there are economic issues between us and iranians. we have claimed damages against the iranians. the iranians have claimed
5:13 am
damages because of sanctions and withholding of assets and so forth. there is bound to be some negotiations going on at the same time. perhaps movement on some of them, movement on other issues more difficult may be facilitated. but it is going to be a very difficult and complex process. on the issue of the nuclear program, itself, i think the negotiating point of departure might well be a desire to exploit more explicitly what the iranians have been affirming publicly for quite some time, namely their 3 invocations. we don't want nuclear weapons, we are not seeking nuclear weapons, our religion forbids us to have nuclear-weapons. note that this stance in
5:14 am
explicit contrast with the position of the north koreans. the north koreans have been saying the opposite. we want nuclear-weapons, we are seeking nuclear weapons, and now we have nuclear weapons. that makes it much tougher to negotiate about an arrangement which includes nuclear weapons. the iranians are out of their seat, but maybe they are saying we are not building nuclear weapons, we don't have nuclear- weapons, our religion forbids us to have nuclear weapons. that provides a point of departure, saying to them, this is reassuring, but we have some legitimate doubts to question the degree of your commitment to these propositions. one might even be applied and say we have some reservations about your veracity, but let us
5:15 am
use this as a point of departure anaiming at establishing a arrangements that give us reason to take these assertions as the truth. that then gets us into the discussion of what is still feasible in that regard. in fact, halting iranian enrichment is pretty much overdue, because they have advanced so far. the opportunity to negotiate with them have been wasted. perhaps that issue could have been addressed earlier when there enrichment program was at the very early stages. they're not going to dismantle what they have achieved. they're not going to abandon what they have been doing in this regard. but perhaps there maybe some ways of halting the process and in any case of subjected it to
5:16 am
much more extensive inspections by the iaea. in keeping with inspections verify it to other participants, because it is doubtful that the iranians will accept some additional regiment for themselves. that will fly in the face of their notion of sovereignty. that will make them an exceptional case internationally. and that will be difficult for the iranian regime to swallow. nonetheless, it may be possible to negotiate some special arrangements under iaea that provides additional assurances. one of the candidates for the president that may be in the running has suggested in one of his comments in the course of the current ongoing cinnabon that a consortium for enrichment might be considered. now that would be a significant
5:17 am
step forward if the iranians are prepared to accept that. that would facilitate an arrangement. although it would not be a special arrangement applicable at this stage, primarily or even exclusively to iran. though it might be applicable to other countries in the region wishing to acquire a nuclear power capability. there is talk about that in the gulf and in egypt and in turkey. in that sense, perhaps something of the regional type might be an arrangement that proves to be feasible. nonetheless, one cannot exclude the possibility that there will be no agreement and that the question arises, what? i will be explicit on this subject. i think the notion of a military strike against iran is a no
5:18 am
starter. it is a nonstarter for the 90 states and it has to be such for everybody else. that means israel, specifically. -- it is a nonstarter for the united states and for israel. we have an unfinished war in iraq and afghanistan. we could have some military action in korea. there is nothing good for america in having a military collision with iran over this issue. the consequences of that would be extremely damaging in the region and for us. the iranians will have the capability to retaliate against us in iraq. they can make our lives more complicated in afghanistan. they can certainly interfere, within limits, but i interfere with the transportation of energy to the
5:19 am
strait of hormuz. they can massive impact on the price of oil, escalating its up to $200 a barrel, with disastrous economic consequences for us, with even more damaging consequences for china. which raises an interesting question, what political elite would see its own state interest advance the most, if that were to happen? it does not address all of the issues connected with a war in this area, but if these things were to happen, the russians would benefit the most. oil, which undermines chinese economic development, and boggs us down in the war, and is negative in our economy, is something that's even mr. putin, himself, would not view as an international disaster. that is another reason why we have to think twice or three times or four times about that
5:20 am
option. this is another reason why we have to make sure israelis don't do it, because we will be the ones to pay the price, if they do it. an israeli strike would be effective in preventing the iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons. it would be painful and damaging. it would probably tolerate their efforts. they would become more explicit and have national rage, nationalist fanaticism, and a very unified political posture against israel and the u.s. together. there is no benefit for us. there is no real benefit for israel in this either. i think we do know when any service, and to a close ally of the u.s. andby doing so. we are prepared to say, you're
5:21 am
not going to fly over our airspace, which is iraq, and you cannot drefuel, which would require safe circumstances for the undertaking. the turks would not agree to it. the saudis might be tempted to link, a quick attack not lasting long would probably be even less effective, and i doubt they could prevent repetitive attacks involving retribution. there is no question that israel can do this on its own, if we are serious about it. beyond that, i think we certainly need to do more than just that. we certainly could and should offer nuclear guarantees to every country in the region, israel included. that is to say, any force
5:22 am
involving nuclear weapons, involving iran as a nuclear power, would be considered a threat against the united states. i think we have sufficient capability to make that stick. we can certainly consider the possibility, also, of perhaps suggesting a nuclear-free zone in the middle east. that would require israeli cooperation. if the israeli government says iran, if it even has one, opposes an existential threat to israel, israel is saying that its nuclear deterrent is not deterring the iranians. the israeli argument is that the iranians might be irrational and that if they have one bomb, they might use against the israelis, thereby creating an existential threat. if that is the case, the isralei
5:23 am
de jarrett fails. in which case perhaps a nuclear- free zone in which there would be a quid pro quo involving the iranians and the raley's might be conceivably attractive. although my suspicion is they would not be attractive to the israelis or the iranians. that means reaffirming deterrence. i see no reason to view that with this matter. deterrence has worked with the russians at a time when the soviet union was aggressive. it has worked with the chinese. it has worked with the chinese and it has worked with the pakistanis and indians, in a manner. if the threat of war with pakistan and india was higher before the tw.
5:24 am
they realized that if there was a serious military invasion, it poses the risk of a devastating in nuclear exchange. this is one of the reasons why in recent years india- pakistan in clashes have not been that severe. nuclear-weapons create an uncomfortable self restraint. that is perhaps not necessarily the worst about comes. in that region that is very dynamic, very unpredictable, and very prone to violence. this is not an overwhelmingly optimistic prognosis, but it does suggest that there are options for the u.s.. the first option is to explore what is feasible regarding an
5:25 am
outcome with which we can comfortably live. and that is an arrangement whereby iran is induced to become a more active member of the international community, is given greater opportunity for its own national development, is induced to operate in a climate in which its own fanaticism and nationalism become less extremist, and as a consequence of which, iran becomes a partner in a more diversified set of arrangements regarding the distribution of energy in europe and asia, from which to some extent iran is excluded by the ongoing conflict. that would be beneficial to europeans and to the far east. there are great stakes involved here. i think the president has made a commitment in his speech to pursue something along these lines. that speech was not a policy speech.
5:26 am
it was a philosophical statement defining how america should relate itself to the changing world. but as such i think it has created the point of departure for a more rational and perhaps productive policy. perhaps we can now have a discussion on the issue. thank you. > thank you, the washington institute for near east policy. in discussing the question of potential nuclear-free zone, you said this might be attractive to make an argument with the israelis that this could be attractive to them. the facts suggest that they are saying their own nuclear deterrent would not deter iran.
5:27 am
there's a several billion dollar investment by the israelis in deterrence and second strike capability through their naval capabilities. if israel is not certain that its own nuclear deterrence could deter iran, what steps will be take to reassure israel that our nuclear guarantee would deter iran? i feel you suggested we had sufficient credibility that if we don't submit to the guarantee, that that would be a deterrent to iran. how are we going to persuade the israelis that even though their nuclear capability cannot deter iran, arts can? >> any guarantee by the u.s. would be designed to discourage other countries from seeking nuclear weapons and designed to protect them as well. its focus is not entirely on israel. as far as israel, there is a
5:28 am
legitimate question? how serious are the israelis when they make that argument about the existential threat? because the iranians are suicidal, they say. we would be addressing an issue which has not been discussed seriously in israel, namely how serious is the argument that the iranians would be inclined to extinguish 3000 years of a rather impressive national history, when they achieve a nuclear bomb. i don't take the discussion versa visit. >> from the american foundation. i would like to take you back to your mark on identifying some of the ideas that seem to be shaping a good deal of the policy deliberation in washington about how to proceed with a negotiation with iran and
5:29 am
the whole notion of trying to develop various forms of course of leverage as a way to increase the chance of that negotiation succeeding. you referred to the idea of winding up international support in advance for much more severe sanctions than we had before. you referred to -- >> please rapid up. >> i wanted to ask about what may be ongoing in terms of u.s. programs to support groups, promote democracy however it is described in iran? do you think it is important in order to maximize the chances for diplomatic engagement? is it important for the 90 states in some way to show that it is stepping back from these programs?


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on