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tv   President Calls Police the Thin Blue Line Between Civilization and Chaos  CSPAN  May 16, 2017 1:37am-3:03am EDT

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security, the economy, and civic engagement. 9:00 a.m.underway at on c-span3. you can also watch online at or listen on the free c-span radio app. ♪ >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to today by your cable or satellite provider. >> president trump leaves for his first international trip this week.g office he is said to visit israel, saudi arabia, and italy. the center for strategic and international studies held a conference previewing the trip. this is just under 90 minutes.
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>> it is set to begin. thanks to everyone who came on time. brief wanted to give instructions. i am the fud director of strategic communications here at csi. we will be taking a transcript. if you're like to ask questions, that would be great. left, our chair of strategies will take us through the first portion of the trip. and our deputy director will take us through the remainder. after that, we will open up for questions. without further do, i will turn it over to tony.
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anthony: there are a lot of underlying issues. how many will be dealt with is hard to estimate. some are fairly obvious. the question of what will happen about moving the u.s. embassy to jerusalem. issues relating to the settlements. will be u.s. take a stand on the two-state motion and if so, what? will follow sequel the visit and how will he be discussing what is a very tense
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situation at least at the underlying level between israel andpalestinian authorities what is happening in gaza. for israele problem of what is happening in egypt which is equally important to the united states. a problem of economics and stability. also a tangible impact in sinai and the gaza. where you have a low-level conflict but one that is not getting better, is getting worse will stop you have the problem of what happens, and it will happen fairly quickly, if you liberated andally driven out of its pseudo-capital in rocca. that may mean it faces a significant and very different extremist radical somewhere on
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its border area. there also is the fact that during all of these conflicts, the has full has steadily built up its missile forces. effectively rearmed and gotten better capabilities so you have a far larger threat in lebanon then you had at the point when israel fight a war over the threat and that area. then there is always the question of preserving israel's edge. memorandum ofis a understanding which seems to give israel what it would be torres security posture, but it is always interesting to see what happens during a presidential visit. some things will always be more problematic. every time we have a visit to saudi arabia, we again discover we have a major ally which has a very different political system
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and culture and a very different approach to human rights. i think here, some issues are fairly obvious. one is that president trump, obama, placed the issue of burden-sharing. the problem is that is very difficult to see why. saudi arabia is the fourth largest spender in terms of military efforts as a percentage of its economy of any country in the world. it actually is competing with russia in terms of total defense spending. in 2015, it was marginally higher than russia. this sure, it is marginally lower. it is spending more on defense than any european country.
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in natoare attempting to get countries to spend 2%. stop as most of you know, it the gdposer to 1.6% of and i will leave that to mike colleague. the fact is, depending on how you define it, we are spending somewhere around 3.2% which is less, basically is a defense effort than one-third of the u.s. effort in terms of defense spending. the other issue is, how do you compare it to local politics? it is about three times the highest estimate for iranian military spending in terms of total spending in 2015. it is true that saudi arabia has
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cut their spending level. cut it fairly significantly between 2015 and 2016. it, it is also important to note that saudi arabia's primary source of income, it's oil exports, have dropped about 46% between 2012 and 2016. it is a country under very serious economic pressure, which is a reason for its 2030 plan up bys effort to speed 2020. a gulf thatg about has never been particularly oil-rich. to make the kind of reforms and shifts to preserve stability, it
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faces some serious questions about future financing, even if oil revenues should recover. so the question for the trump administration is going to be, just how do you define "burden-sharing" and why is saudi arabia not complying. it is likely there will be a major announcement on arms sales. some people of floated figures of $100 billion. i would give you a caution if you have. worked the issues before, that first people always give you the all.e which is the highest most of the time, it is not reached. the second issue is, to what extent is this spread out eriod of yearsre p and how does it affect saudi arabia's future base because one
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of the goals saudi arabia has announced is to stop spending on imports of finished goods and produce its own equipment. but from a practical viewpoint, and particularly from a u.s. viewpoint, one of the critical shifts likely to come out of this announcement is that the u.s. has long-pressed saudi arabia to improve the quality of its naval forces in the gulf. to be more of a counter to what buildup, area of major which is the missile threat it poses to the gulf region and the which naval and air force it has deployed in the gulf and has said it would potentially use in a crisis to shut off the export of oil. there will be a very key issue in terms of reassurances. reactionthe saudi
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toward the end of the obama administration is that they felt focused far more on trying to change saudi arabia internally than on providing credible guarantees of security. so, reestablishing confidence is andg to be a security goal also according to at least a number of people, a potential expense. human rights. tied to that are some other issues. there are about 65,000 saudi students in the united states that are basically standard undergraduate students. if you look at all of the people of some kind of academic tied, it iselation here, possibly over 100,000. some people put the figure at 100 25,000. that raises some very real questions about the immigration
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policies, the vetting policies isthe trump administration advocating. so far, there has been no problem. the saudi's may seek reassurance and the administration may say something about it. in addition to a rant, there is the question of yemen which is addition to-- in iran, there is the question of yemen which has effectively become a stalemate. there is very little reporting and quite frankly, where there is reporting some of it is extremely questionable. one of the worst data is casualties because people are essentially often taking reports which seem to virtually take ngo estimates of their casualties as the total casualties. if you look at the u.n. reporting on the war, it fairly
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sourcesthat the major of suffering and casualties are coming on the ground. they are mixed he between the forces and al the qaeda in the arabian peninsula and they are probably far higher than any actual to reports i've seen in the press because they deal with the real-world impact of a war which has been economically devastating, put inut half of the population danger. and led to a massive degree of unemployment. there will be the question of whathappens in term of happens in syria and iraq. in question is, what happens
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iraq after mosul is liberated? what will the u.s. do there? what happens in terms of potential conflicts between arab and kurd or sunni and shiite? what happens? what is the role of iran? this will be addressed during the presidential visit. how it will be is very hard to tell. these are issues that staff will prepare and sometimes stuff finishes the job and it gets expression.public they go very deeper than simply having a meet and greet between the president and the royal family. and so with that, let me shift things over to jeff. jeff: thank you. some nice to see so many of you
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here this morning. i want to talk about the europe leg of the trip. and to dwell in a little bit of detail on the agenda in a couple areas. so, the president will go to vatican city where he will have a meeting with pope francis. from there he will go to russell's will stop there are -- from there he will go to brussels. . there will be a meeting with the e.u. leadership. probably a meeting with the leader. probably a meeting with the jean-claude juncker. beention of that has not publicly announced. there will be a meeting between the president and the newly elected french president and a meeting with nato leaders. all of that will happen in muscles on the 25th of may and the president will go from there to sicily where he will
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participate in a summit. realthis trip is the first test of the administration's ontilateral engagement economic issues, security and defense issues, and foreign policy issues. it is happening in multiple places. union. the european the g 20's summit which will happen in hamburg, germany, in july. managing multilateral relationships is always a challenge and making progress in a multilateral format requires painstaking effort. understand bus far, it is not plan to have these sorts of formal declarations and communiques at for example, the nato leaders meeting debt you often see. so it question about whether
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there will be a formal declaration of g7 leaders at the one hand it goes to the fact that the administration is still quite new in office and for any new administration it is sometimes it at at to engage in level of depth when you are still assembling a leadership team. , it ishink also attributable to the fact that the ministerial level, cabinet level, agreements allow the united states to in a way agreed u.s.certain continuity in relations without having to put it in the words of the president. so if you look for example at g7e of the agreements in the foreign ministerial declaration from a couple of weeks ago that support the joint copperheads of
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plan of action, for example of the iran deal. so, president trump is one of four new leaders. in the house of the prime minister of italy. newly elected french president primeel macron and minister theresa may. they will all be at the g7 summit. there are maybe three or four members that will have elections soon. france with parliament terry elections. -- parliamentary elections. elections, atarly the latest will have them next spring. while the strut may not directly influence the outcome of any of those elections, perhaps it
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rings to mind the saying "when america sneezes the world catches a cold." trump shakesdent the foundations of the u.s.-led to order, does the rest of the world feel and earthquake? when we look at the agenda, there is an incongruent set of objectives and managing this is the objective of this trip. one is to show leadership, even if it largely has not worked out with policies are that it once its partners and allies to follow. how do we reconcile president trump's pledges a candidate and his pledge since taking office to potentially renegotiate all u.s. relationships with a continuity that is a superpower's greatest interest. there is a wariness approaching
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the trump administration. they want to preserve the key elements of the transatlantic partnership, defense, economic policy, coordination, the fight against terrorism and extremism while at the same time hedging against the possibility of unexpected change in u.s. policy and a perceived shallowness in that have thus far characterized a lot of the administration's approach. if i can mention one or two items on the nato agenda. there will be three main things. resources,nse defense spending which the u.s. administration certainly emphasized and put it the a top of the agenda. there is a commitment leaders made to spend 2% of their gdp on defense and to spend 20% of
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their defense spending on research and development and on equipment. last year or two, nato has made progress. in 2016, nato defense spending rose 23%,and canada that is an additional $10 billion from european and canadian allies. about 10 countries meet the 20% target for spending on major equipment. there are several countries that will be achieving the 2% target. right now, there are five countries at the to present target. romania disher, lithuania next country -- romania this year. next year. if you look at our big allies, you see increases in defense spending their as well. germany is up 8% fisher. italy up 10%.
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canada, 10 percent. the netherlands, up by about 5%. the one major european country that is in outlier is a in which has a flat budget for defense this year is composed to last year. italy, which has a flat budget for defense this year as compared to last year. and a rapid rise in spending by major countries has a major risk of inefficient or wasteful spending. it takes time to do this rationally and efficiently. expect to see that upward trajectory continue. one comment about how nato's defense spending works. this is national spending we are
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talking about. can't, those capabilities they make available to nato. there is no such thing as debts owednato or for past year. there is some small amount of rules or common finding at nato. if you combine it all, it is about $2 billion a year for infrastructure, and the civilian budget of nato. if you compare that, nato allies together spend about $920 billion in 2016. nader is commonly funded spending is fairly small by comparison. on top of that -- nato's commonly funded spending is fairly small by a person. nato has had programs for many years to try to fight terrorism
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so this is not a new ring. the afghanistan mission is now in its 14th year. nato has trained iraqi bank security forces. technology among allies so this is not. the challenge has always been how to make a used or that nato's primarily military instruments for the fight against terrorism and this is a big challenge. some of the things under consideration is whether nato take a greater role in the coalition against isis. right now nato is part of the seat at the table. -- there is a readiness from what i understand in the region
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for negative to take on that greater role. it is not yet agreed and it is still under discussion. nato could do more in training iraqi security forces and as well mp the programs as providing more support in building up their capacities. the last thing to mention about nato is b less -- going to be on many allies minds. russia's military modernization and treaty violations and its occupation of territory of countries in europe like ukraine and georgia remains in the eyes of many allies a threat that the face. responds is ace key issue.
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the u.s. and nato allies -- forward presence in eastern europe and they will be looking for the united states to reaffirm that commitment so troops and support for that policy and i think that will play -- that will be a major issue even if it is not one of which they make any kind of declaration. with the eu we can enter more this in the q and a. this is the biggest relationship in the work of a transatlantic relationship between u.s. and the eu. it represents about 46% of global gdp. so clearly this relationship will be a key one, and administration has not yet articulate any kind of agenda for the relationship with the
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european union. this is a big glaring hole in their policy toward major partners, and so this meeting may be an opportunity to start setting some direction on that. and then just to look at what some of the countries around the g7 table will have on their mind. in germany chancellor merkel, her party just one a major state election yesterday in 20% of germany's population. she will be feeling more confident and looking more likely to remain in office after the elections this september. emmanuel macron makes his first foreign visit as president today to berlin where they will talk about how they reconstitute, if they can, the franco german engine in europe and what this means for european, the future of the european union.
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angela merkel of brexit on her mind as well. if we look at france, macro face of parliamentary elections next month, and that will determine whether he's able to capitalize on his landslide you might call it a landslide with an asterisk, that he won just a week ago. so will the other parliamentary majority or a workable coalition that will allow him to estimate the economic reforms and other reforms he has prioritized. prime minister may face is a general election on june 8 and brexit of course is the principal issue going forward. and in italy, prime minister gentiloni will be the host of this g7 summit but maybe also the last one he host because italy is likely to have come will have elections before the spring of next year, and his party has reconfirmed as its leader the prime minister until recently. so when that an election happens there will be with wednesday as the principal candidate and the question there is whether early elections are on the agenda, and if so what that means for the prospect of the pd.
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that was a bit long, i apologize. i will stop and look forward to discussions. >> plenty of time for questions about open that up now. just one point of order if you could. state your name so you can make it easier to find yourself in the transcripts later on. >> george, "national journal." if i can start with two questions. what are the other leaders looking for from president donald trump? what do they need to see? and secondly, we've all seen he has a tendency come his dealings with foreign leaders on the phone, and in meetings at the white house, to go off script and not do what the state department and aids wanted him to do. what are the risks for that kind of style in these kinds of meetings and summits?
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>> let me begin with israel. i think that what israel does not want or particularly this prime minister doesn't want, is any issue or any attempt to force a clear statement on the two state solution. it will be interesting to see what position he takes on jerusalem, the normal pattern is to want to move the capital but not to insist on it and usually get a quick quid pro quo of some sort for not doing so.
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but above all i think what israel wants is to see that there is this commitment to preserving its edge insecurity, that they do have a strong ally that will not push them constantly on the peace process, that we will stay in the gulf and we will keep our forces in a posture where they will deter iran, that we will maintain support for the iraqis and the iraqis central government, and that the u.s. role in dealing with syria but also jordan and lebanon will be one that reassures those countries. i've already mentioned egypt. these are all things which, from israel's viewpoint, are key partners, but by the same token, the policies that guide the administration, they largely have not been developed yet. any administration would struggle with this early on. i think it is an even greater struggle this time because of the slow pace of constituting the nexus between policy key security issues at the
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moment. and i think that they are not likely to be ones that anyone can ignore. i doubt very much if there's going to be any surprises at this point. mr. netanyahu is perfectly capable of dealing very sophisticated ways with americans. that in this case there seems to be a good relationship, and what he has no incentive to disturb. i doubt very much if president trump will push the envelope here. with the saudis, there is the fact you have both my king and a crown prince. the crown prince is a more public active known quantity. i think, however, the saudi also have been dealing with the u.s. and even the younger saudis have about 30 years of experience in dealing with u.s. officials. we often tend to forget that there is an amazing degree of continuity and experience in dealing with the vagaries of american policy, which can be vague even when they are planned. it doesn't take a sudden decision by a president. what i think it's very hard to predict at this point is how well the president has been
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briefed, how clearly he will deal with the burden sharing argument. i have to say that i may or may not differ somewhat with jeff over this whole issue. i was part of the nato force planning exercise several centuries ago, and, quite frankly, i think this whole 2% and 20% goal are mutually ridiculous. if you actually look at what they buy, you can't find any explanation at all of what going to 2% will actually do to change the force posture. 20% often simply means a countries going to spend more on subsidizing its defense industry, and that record to date on european cooperation is that it is remarkably expensive and remarkably inefficient. it's also i think kind of interesting. i mentioned saudi arabia is defense spending. it's about $57 billion in 2016. what would you think russia's would be, particularly when the u.s. is spending something on the order of 600 billion?
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according to the international institute of strategic studies, which is about as authoritative as they get, russia spent all of about $59 billion on defense last year. that is one-tenth of the american total. france spent 47 billion. it's not too far from the russian total. the uk spent 53 billion, which is even closer. germany is further down at 38 billion, but germany basically in recent years has probably been the least effective defense spender in the nato alliance. it's a force posture has shrunk far more quickly and its readiness that its defense spending. and, of course, it's one of the most critical single country in the alliance.
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in contrast to that in saudi arabia does what i think it will do, something we've been seeking for about ten years, which is to improve its naval forces, will actually take place. that should be at least a source of some consolation. but i would have to say that we would all be better off if the president focus on the quality and meaning of what spending accomplishes, rather than spending. i only have about half a century
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of government experience, but but i can't think of worse criteria than actually encouraging people to spend without tying it to very specific goals as to what you buy and the level of efficiency in the way you use the money. >> thanks. just to add to that. i think what do european leaders want from the trump administration, i think what he would all love is continuity. on the one hand there's been a reversion by the president to come support of words with respect to nato. i think a statement that the u.s. stands by its article v commitments and indeed that the united states sees its defense as linked to europe would be extremely important. the u.s. defense relationship with europe is not based on generosity. it's based on protecting u.s.
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secret interests. and so a clearer recognition of that would be valuable. i think you look at the economic side, no major disruption to trade,, relationships would be a key goal. i think everyone realizes that the u.s. administration is going to focus first on nafta, on its trade agenda. so people will look at that carefully to see what implications that has four ttip or for the future of u.s.-european union trade negotiation. it's worth pointing out that the president seems to come around that the u.s. trade, what ever discussion just as with europe on trade will be conducted with the european union and not with individual member states, exception perhaps with the uk once it has left the european union. so there is then also a reversion to a more orthodox policy.
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i think on russian sanctions the europeans will be looking for a coordinated approach. they don't want to the rug pulled out from underneath them. the u.s. has been edging in the direction of that kind of reassurance in the g7 foreign ministers declaration, for example, and in the way it's characterized it sanctions on russia over ukraine. same thing with iran. iran remains a controversial topic in the u.s., and the major european countries want to cbs stick to the jcpoa and not engage in policies that could weaken it. that's the principle concern. and that's without even getting to climate change and the paris agreement where european partners will be greatly troubled by a withdrawal of the u.s. that gets to the point about risks that you asked. president donald trump is not particularly popular in europe.
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a recent survey in germany show 22% of the german population considers the u.s. a trustworthy partner. that's two percentage points better than their view of russia. and that's a dramatic decrease from a year ago. so the risk for european politicians is the closer they get to the trump administration and to the trump administration agenda, the greater the risk of some out of left field shift in u.s. policy, leaving them out on a limb. and so that i think is a major, certainly if you look at chancellor merkel position as she looks ahead to the german election but she wants strong transatlantic relationship but a few stray tweets or statements can leave her in extremely difficult position. a recent survey in germany show 22% of the german population considers the u.s. a trustworthy partner. that's two percentage points better than their view of russia. and that's a dramatic decrease from a year ago. so the risk for european politicians is the closer they get to the trump administration and to the trump administration agenda, the greater the risk of some out of left field shift in 2% of their gdp who do not
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get much out of that at least in terms of capabilities that are at the disposal of the entire nato alliance and contributing to transatlantic security. the challenge has always been to find better measures of quality and better, more meaningful and i can be distilled into something politically powerful. so that's always been the challenge. going off script i think, it's about the risks. that's why you have the benefit of things like declarations, communiques, whatever you want to call it that come out of these major multilateral, sometimes bilateral beauties -- bilateral meetings is they give you some sort of a ballast. if someone says something down the road that is controversial you can always go back to your piece of paper and say look, this is the declaration we agreed at nato. we agreed on defense spending. we agreed on a unified stance
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with regard to russia did we agreed to do more on terrorism. that's what i as a national leader have committed to working with the united states on. if you don't have those kinds of things, then you have, then these variations or his stray comments can have a impact. and you can wind up churning cycle only the u.s. news but the new cycle in your major allies as they scrambleto try to deal with the fallout of, you know, unintentional or intentionally disruptive comment. >> i am a private consultant with cnl resources. two questions. can you talk about the islamic military alliance to fight terror, which is i think one of
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three kind of -- simple question, are they going to produce anything that passes the test in terms of real meaningful actions? second question for both of you. the russian shadow over the middle east portion of the visit. there had been a couple of notable side bar meetings between moscow a a couple weeks ago, lavrov in washington last week, mohammed back in washington today, all reportedly dealing with russia's role in syria, yemen, iraq, protecting jordan's flank from syria. so question, do you see russia as being one of the sort of powers behind the scenes in what will be discussed in, i would've been discussed before, what is discussed in saudi arabia and having impact on the outcomes of those issues?
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>> let me begin with the first question. i think it is nice to have complex alliances with nicely focused subjects. and it probably doesn't do any substantive harm, but cooperation in counterterrorism is extraordinarily difficult, even in the west. to actually cooperate in counterterrorism between very diverse, often conflicting interests among given arab states is a lot harder. and part of it is that when you really look at the data in sources like the start database, which is as close as when to an official database that's not classified, you suddenly begin to realize that terrorism is a country by country issue.
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it is not a matter of international terrorism dictated by isis centr. it is a mixture, for example, in yemen, you have a question of first who is a terrorist and you have certainties which is al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. how closely that is tied to al qaeda anywhere else is extremely questionable. there doesn't seem to be an al qaeda central in the normal sense. we in the united states right now are focused on isis, or isil, as a key threat. looking at the figures for the meaner region, isis is responsible for about, well, the figures go back to 2015, but all of about 5% to 6% of of the total number in terrorist incidents in the meaner region. it is very different when you go from terrorism to counterinsurgency and war fighting in iraq and syria, that isn't terrorism.
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and i think that you're going to find that the alliances may or may not produce some kind of benefits of exchange of information. but several of the arab states don't agree anymore on how to define a terrorist than we do with china. so it's good to start. i think the issues that may be more serious with the kingdom of saudi arabia has much more impact, is within the gulf cooperation council. about 17% of the world oil moves through that particular area the strata hormuz. while we're no longer as dependent on oil imports directly, we are far more dependent on the flow of trade from asian states, which are critically dependent on coal
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exports pics actually our dependence on oil exports has increased sharply and steadily over time. in spite of the increase in production. that's the kind of issue where the saudi role in a different alliance could be absolutely critical. the wildcard of their and the one which will be of great concern and much more all of these suppose it alliances is what happens to iraq. and particularly once we have effectively helped them win in mosul, how tied are the two eyes, to russia, to iran? what is iraq's future position relative to other arab states? you asked about the russian shadow, and it's a very good question. i think that one of the great problems we have is that so far every time russian has talked about focusing on attacking terrorist targets, it has continued to attack arab rebel movements which are not terrorists.
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there are some good estimates that tried to deal with this by the institute for the study of war, but the fact is there are no public data that really describe the pattern of russian sorties that are reliable, that is very clear for a lot of them go. the other problem is the so-called de-escalation zones. what the amount is effectively some form of separation of syria on what seemed to be a very temporary basis between the assad dominated areas and those which are now dominated by arab rebel factions, again, increasingly ones which are themselves dominated by al qaeda or other islamist extremist groups other than isis, and the areas still under control by isis whose volunteers are going to go somewhere after rock is
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liberated, a country we also have the kurdish problem where russia has been playing a game which goes beyond simply playing states. it's also talk about dealing independently with the various ethnic and sectarian groups. and all of that certainly is something where, at least as yet, we have a much broader problem, and this is something that may get raised during the trump visit to saudi arabia, i understand that the obama administration never announced a strategy or gave any statement whatsoever on what would happen in iraq and syria after isis was defeated. and the trump administration is still under a 60 day effort to define that. so there may be questions. >> margaret.
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[inaudible] >> the james comey dismissal has made a lot of waves back on domestically, creating a political cloud over stuff like health care and tax info and such. leaders in the middle east or europe even remotely aware of this? does it have any bearing on the trip whatsoever? andy you think it will have any impact on the message or the focus or how others look at the u.s., the administrations -- administration's ability to get things done? thanks. i also have a pope question. -- i also have a follow-up question. >> okay. certainly our allies and partners in europe are following a domestic developments in the united states. i don't think is likely to change their approach to these
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meetings, whether they are bilateral or multilateral. and will the issues come up during the trip? i think that's probably dependent mostly on the traveling u.s. press corps in the various media of inabilities that happen. i don't see it as being at the top of the europeans agenda, although they certainly are following the developments here. >> just very briefly. i think one question everyone outside the united states has, and are not likely to ask the president, is what is his actual political strength relative to the divisions with congress, the problems within his own party? can he move forward with his own agenda? that will certainly be a a question as he visits in the country.
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>> over to the right hand side of the room. at the very back. thanks. thank you for the briefing. just now you said we are not expecting any kind of official declaration of any kind from the overseas trip, but we both know mr. trump, he likes to boast come he likes to say something about his skills and his performance as a leader. so what kind of person, what kind of goals will donald trump for his overseas trip? thank you. >> well, first of all, i think, i can't state with certainty that will not be a g7 declaration. i simply said that it appears possible there will not be one.
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so i don't know if there's any chance that might change. but the objective. i think the objective for the united states and, from the president's point of view, is to show the united states active but without pinning it down on any particular policy. that's the tension in the stops a special in europe, nato, eu, g7. because on the one hand the administration wants to show that it is engaging effectively with major global partners. but by the same token, as far as the policies that will guide this administration for the months and years to come, they largely have not been developed yet. so it's this, in the administration would struggle with his early under i think it's an even greater struggle this time because of the slow pace of constituting the nexus
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between sort of policy expertise and political roles inside the government. and it means that you've got a relatively thin agenda. >> well, if i were the president and i was able to announce there is a major new arms deal worth tens of billions of dollars at a minimum, i would probably note that that would be the answer to the burden sharing issue,, and that i had very successfully completed a visit with a major saudi increase in his security contribution to the sort of strategic partnership. i think, too, that if there were any announcement about u.s. cooperation with saudi arabia and creating a defense industrial base i would probably take advantage of that. beyond that i would probably want to announce that he met, we
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had agreed on a strong position relative to iran. probably one more focused on the goal and iranian influence, then on the nuclear issue, which quite frankly is the saudi certainly the nuclear issue is one of concern. but it's sort of about fits in in terms of saudi concerns over iran, which are much more tied to iran spreading influence in the region and the qaeda threat it poses from its missile and asymmetric forces. >> i remember margaret had a follow-up on a pope question. i forgot. >> thanks. so president donald trump is meeting with, you know, the pope and they don't have the best relationship during the campaign. what is in it for president
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trump to have a reset? what is in it for the pope, if anything, and what should we look for? >> i think both sides have been pretty circumspect about the agenda and any outcome. so i think it is, on the one hand, an introductory get to know you sort of a meeting. i think from the presidents point of view he will want you want to come out of me able to -- come out of that meeting able to say he has got a good with the hope and thereby to sort of undercut the direct and implicit criticisms from pope francis that came during the campaign. and that may come in the future as the pope takes a position on one or another policy initiative that the administration rolls out. and i think for the pope, it is also, it's a way of highlighting
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his role as a spiritual leader in commenting on issues that are frankly quite domestic and thereby preserving some ability to weigh in on those issues, whether it's on immigration or social issues. if he so chooses. >> jamie dimon, cnn -- jeremy dimon, seen in. president donald trump has really seems reassured the gulf states, saudi arabia in particular with the way that his conduct of foreign policy, returning it to very firmly /anti-iran-u.s. posture
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in the world. to what extent do you think that's going to help the president extract certain concessions or support from saudi arabia and the gulf states what comes to those fighting isis in the middle east but also with regard to the israel palestinian peace process? to what you doesn't what extent on the peace process trump might win new cooperation from saudi arabia and the gulf states on that issue? >> let me begin with the peace process. i don't know what concessions he would see, because quite frankly and less this visit israel is far more productive that i think most people estimate it will be, he will try i think you talk to mr. netanyahu about preserving at least the shell of an effort to keep the two-state solution going and limit settlements. but the fact is, israeli domestic politics really don't lend themselves to reaching that particular conclusion. it doesn't seem to be one of the
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prime ministers priorities. you have a divided week -- divided weak palestinian movement which is not clearly in a position to make concessions that would move this process further anymore than israel is. you have a problem of the gaza are you now have its own political difficulties. so trying to seek concessions from the gulf states on a peace process, remembering that the official position of saudi arabia and that of arab states is peace proposal, which in many ways closely parallels the idea of the two-state solution, always subject to the uncertainty of the 1967 -- 1967 line.
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and because of the way everybody quotes this, we forget that the u.n. never endorsed the '67 line. it used the phrase with adjustments, which is not exactly a line in the sand by any standard. so how you sort this out in a presidential visit i would say is not going to be a particularly credible priority. you would have to have the participants in a better position. and they are not ones who are suddenly going to be pressured from the outside without both sides being much closer to agreeing. within the gulf you need to be really careful. we already are basing an operating out of most of the smaller gulf states. we have cooperated closely with oman which is not a country in a position to spend more pickets actually spending more of its economy on security than saudi arabia. it's one of the highest spenders in the world.
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there is virtually no slack in that economy. and if you look at the situation in oman, you'll find something very surprising about it. it's the only country where we do not report on the level of terrorism or internal security in the annual report on terrorism. i do not believe that is because it is the most secure country in the world. when it comes down to what you can do in kuwait or bahrain, what you can do in the uae with qatar, i think you already have about as much a you can credibly get. and you need to realize that part of that is an immense backlog of interoperable
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munitions, equipment, spares, ability to operate u.s. forces in the event of a serious war with iran, and already a pledge to seek a common missile defense against iran. you are talking an absolutely immense potential investment. this is not something that the president can go to saudi arabia ,nd deal with, because remember you not only have the 60 days to talk about solutions in dealing with the war on isis, you have an executive order calling for conference of review of u.s. partegy in providing that submission.budget and here i read very cautious to ask for a really dramatic u.s. initiative before you have agreed on what you are doing in terms of budget submission in the first strategies that these are completed. might be a little premature.
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>> hi, ways of america. going back to the main issue, president trump has called night out and obsolete organization. at the same time, and eastern europe it is something that ensures security and russia. in our group we in georgia and ukraine were given membership back in 2008, we would not have occupation of georgia or ukraine. do you see the nato expansion issue being that the trump administration? >> when the nato secretary-general visited a couple weeks ago, and the press availability they had after the meeting, the president added a comment to the obsolete comment. he said, i said it before. it's no longer true.
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regardless of how you judge that, it's important to start with that. with respect to eastern europe, nato's importance to countries on nato's eastern flank has been dramatically raised over the last few years and that is why also you have rising defense bending across the eastern alliance. poland connoisseur in romania, soon all three of the baltic states as well as some other place is. the question of georgia and ukraine. first, i don't see major change in its policy on enlargement at this leader's meeting. i don't think it's going to be a top item on the agenda. frankly it's a short and it's going to last a couple hours. so it is not a full summit like you would have under other is where you get into almost every issue.
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this is an introductory meeting. it's not a full-blown summit. second, i don't think that anything has changed fundamentally in the alliance dynamics with regards to enlargement. they stand behind the open door. in fact, you have the admission of montenegro as the 29th member with the ratification of that being complete. but i don't think there is any appetite to press ahead rapidly on enlargement in other spheres. the cooperative relationships with georgia and ukraine will continue. they may intensify in some areas , the open door policy is not going to change. >> time for a couple more questions. >> thank you. howard the frank with the "christian science monitor." he mentioned several times the differences with the saudi's on human rights issues.
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we have seen some indication from the president and the administration's though far that there might be a different perhaps downplaying of human rights concerns and relations with other countries. the president received, president sese at the white house is expressed a certain amount of praise for men around the country, around the world. i am wondering, to what extent do we have any indication to what extent there is a return to a more traditional balancing of
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interests and values, human rights or are we seeing sort of setting off in a new direction? >> i think that it's very difficult to tell because you have seen people like secretary mattis, general mcmaster, secretary tillerson and people with concern of human rights and very pragmatic terms. but that doesn't mean in different. you also have a question about focus. humans may organizations in the west tend to focus on improving human rights from a western perspective. when you look at saudi society and some of you i suspect have lived there revisited air, it is an extraordinarily conservative population. what you have seen over the years as the royal family and a sort of intellectual elite,
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business elite, often modernizing saudi arabia from the top rather than somehow sitting on public demand for it. you have a society one way or another where the royal family as a catalyst in creating a country where there is now more women graduating from secondary school, colleges and universities and men. you are talking about a country which in terms of its social contract actually meets the social contract and medicine, housing and serious effort to job creation.
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if you go back to the definition of human rights found that people tend to forget that the ability to actually live in material terms that are secure is one of those right guaranteed by the u.n. charter and by our policies. i think that this is not a casual issue at the moment in the middle east. you have a lot of societies which in the course of the war on terrorism have become much more controlling. you also have a lot of countries which because of that struggle had seen serious economic problems and political turmoil growing out of the event of 2011. egypt, tunisia, morocco, each of them have confronted not only the problem of dealing with extremism, but the very material problem of how you preserve a social structure. you are talking about countries where we tend to think of them as oil-rich, which is only credible until you don't look -- as long as you don't look at the amount of oil income per capita, which doesn't make anybody oil-rich except qatar basically. where you've seen again and this is an important point to
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remember. when we talk about human rights instability and countries you've seen on an average of 46% cut in their petroleum export revenues in the course of the year, you have a lot of adjustment and planning problems at 2030 and 2020 issue, which in humans rights are materially far important to the population. what do you press for in today's world and the middle east? which countries can you really see as making easy advances? is it a country like jordan under a massive influx of syrian refugees but almost incredible strength on this economy and all of the security problems involved. you have probably seen advances
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in human rights in lebanon, but not the kind that are normally advanced by human rights advocates, and the fact you got unreasonably successful compromise at an actual government between its factions. so i think the honesty and dear -- honest answer to your question is in some ways we tend to focus on imposing one's said and one part of our values and human rights. i think this administration may be somewhat more practical. but whether over the course of four years is going to be any less interested in the role of a -- the rule of law, stability, the factors are critical to fighting terrorism. i don't think there's any way to tell. again, sometimes you need to show a little patience. 01:09:51 >> hi there. mike manley with "the l.a. times." dates are during this
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briefing. one of my questions was on human rights so this will save us a little time. is it too early, will we ever be able to draw conclusions about whether the election of trump has either advance national movements in europe or in some ways provoked a counter response to it? related to that comment to think other world leaders fully understand what america first means? has there been some retreat with this reformulation of what we heard from mcmaster last week that america first is not made america alone and embrace of the multilateral institutions we might not have it acted otherwise. >> excuse me. i think -- pardon me again. the question is whether donald trump's election provoked similar movements. these existed before his election. the national front has been a
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growing force in french politics for a long time. they have some similar characteristics, but the extent to one feeds or promote the other. perhaps the most abstract level of the legit looking to send that possible inconceivable and contribute may be to a public recognition that change is that sort can have been. it's a question of how much of what is going on his backlash against that. you could argue the dutch elections in the french presidential election represented a backlash against that and a reversion. that's an arguable point the
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fact that center-right politics is moving to the right. but you have in the netherlands and also what you had with republicans in france is a shift to the right with the territory and take away some of the oxygen from the far right to the extreme right. so that is on the one hand. it's also differentiated in places like germany you have a far right party which is scoring now in the single digits. maximum 10% in opinion polls. yesterday they got 7.5%. in austria, the freedom party at the top of the opinion polls. this varies from country to country. and then america first. i think as a bumper sticker
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-- beyond it being a bumper sticker, i don't think our allies really understand what that means. with respect to the national security of eisner's a nation of it that he offered on friday at the start of the white house press briefing, again from the strength of the u.s.-led multilateral system and alliances around the world has been the willingness of the u.s. to set its goals more broadly and to make contributions to an overall western alliance good. that is what has allowed the leader is a very different persuasion in a very different social political contacts to tie themselves to the united states. it is still a big question in
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the minds of most of our counterparts. [inaudible] >> i have a couple questions. there are some news about the trump administration thinking of sending u.s. troops to afghanistan. what they used the u.s. administration to increase the u.s. troops in syria to fight a says and more boots on the ground regarding fighting isis and regarding more involvement, more u.s. involvement in the
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fighting yemen? thank you. >> i think when it comes down to the fight against terrorism, if you look from about 2003 on at the state department reports, the country report done terrorism, saudi arabia identified as it is the partner and counterterrorist them. -- partner in counterterrorism. a lot of that has been expanded to the point where we used to have two security advisory mission in saudi arabia. one dealt with the national guard and the other with regular forces. the ministry of interior. certainly when it comes down to finding security against
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terrorism in a critical country in terms of the economy and preserving the flow of gold oil -- flow of gulf oil exports, there's no question it's been a critical partner. if you look at the details of that, look at the state department reporting which basically is fair to say reflects the views of the national counterterrorism center. that part of the partnership is one that is not a sickly danette issued even when there is questions of u.s. commitment to the gulf and saudi arabia. when there has been this retrospective debate over the passages of a congressional staff report on 9/11 dating back to 2012. something that was a legislative
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issue last year. it's very important to understand what the role of u.s. forces is in syria, iraq and afghanistan. we are not talking combat unit. -- combat units. when you talk about additional forces for afghanistan, it would be in the train and assist mission and the potential support of counterterrorism far -- that are afghan forces. you might see a significant increase in the amount of u.s. air support, which is not by any standard boots on the ground. that has been reasonably well briefed by the administration, but it's somehow how scott and -- somehow it has gotten translated into total man-made rather than what the manpower does. just as a casual comment, there
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is nothing more meaningless and reporting on any security situation in total personnel. if you don't ask what the men and women do and do a live look at total amount of people, that hasn't been relevant as a meaningful military metric for about the last 4000 years. one might consider how often you want to complete reporting it in the future. syria and iraq are different stories but not materially. what we have done over the years is go from trying to train and assist with combat unit. we have provided limited amounts of fire support. these are small rocket units and we have provided attack helicopters in addition to jack -- jet fighters.
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but there is no discussion of providing combat unit and part of the reason at this point in time, first you brought the iraqi units to the level for this mission works reflect it, putting u.s. combat unit in neither country would immediately create the problem of resistance among factions, particularly the units that support iran, various shiite militias. it would be politically destabilizing in iraq. exactly where you would put them in syria, if what you want is to develop syrian forces that can actually occupy the area can -- occupy the area and provide some kind of political and civil stability after. you can't do that with u.s. troops. the saudi's are aware of this at this point as we are.
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we've already learned the hard way as the limit and what really work on the ground. yemen is an extraordinarily difficult case. the fact is when the conflict started in the uae have that coalition intervened, they counted on more outside ground troops then they got. they ended up having to rely on air power and limited ground force. the end result has been a stalemate. basically it is not the goofy -- a solid faction and the armed forces acts solid and found one in the struggle. it is also a very serious internal threat from al qaeda
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and the arabian peninsula. the u.s. basically i began to -- basically again, to try to put conventional u.s. ground troops into the middle of one of the most complex ethnic , sectarian forms of asymmetric war possible at this point simply is not likely to be a demand for even a request. help in terms of air power may be. how much the u.s. basically would like to see both saudi arabia and the uae use air power more carefully, collateral damage from the civilian casualties is fairly clear. do it very much like to see that
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improved. but there is a problem here which also tends to get forgotten. there is exactly one country in the world that can actually conduct the kind of surgical airstrikes the u.s. conducts as part of its operations in afghan istan, iraq and syria. as became clear in libya, written france can't do it. highly sophisticated structures, but they don't have the reconnaissance, intelligence, communications that allows them to deal with this. russia could certainly do better, but it is not a country with its defense budget which can operate air operations at the level the united states can. countries like saudi arabia and the uae have very capable air combat units, but they don't have the battle management and isr asset that the u.s. does. to some extent, we created an expectation about air power, which is demanding enough for the united states.
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but how much you practically can deal with the saudi and uae on this issue simply is not clear. -- i think the plans that are dx is, more precision munitions. this basically means one basic criteria. if you don't give them those munitions, they will use non-precision munitions and the end result will be higher collateral damage of a lot more civilian casualties. not every arms sale is one that adds to the problem. some of them add to the solution. >> all right. but that we will call it a day. thank you for starting off your week. take a look at your inboxes late in the day. we'll have the transcript probably by this afternoon. if for some reason you're not in a mailing list, come find me and
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once again, thank you for joining us. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] announcer: today, the center for american progress hosts a day-long congress looking at national security, in civic engagement. at 9:00 a.m.erway on c-span3. you can watch online at or listen on the free c-span radio app app. senate morning, the finance committee considers way to improve the quality of care
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for those living with chronic .ealth condition you can follow live at or our free c-span radio app app. institute looks potential of the tax reforms. this is just under one hour. peter: well, good afternoon, everybody. i want to welcome you all today. i am peter russo, i am the director of congressional affairs at the cato institute and i want to thank you all for coming.


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