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tv   Russian Involvement in the Middle East - Russian Airpower in Syria  CSPAN  August 3, 2018 11:59am-1:01pm EDT

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eastern with elizabeth warning -- elizabeth warren. willet roots nation continue on saturday with -- from from oh -- ohio. you can see the speeches live tomorrow on c-span starting at 6 p.m. eastern. nominated to the supreme court on president reagan in 1987 justice anthony kennedy is retiring after 30 years on the bench. monday we will take a look at his legacy on subprime court and its impact on the nation with the clerk from debt justice kennedy. harsco.coal so watch the legacy of supreme
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court justice anthony kennedy monday night at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span. or listen on this is bank radio and --app. general on russian airpower and the syrian conflict. hopefully you have been able to finish your lunch and you are ready to listen to our keynote speaker.
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we are delighted today to have before us retired u.s. air force , the general gore retired from the air force after 37 years and four months of service on a sober first, 2016. -- october 1, 2016. the general had a distinguished career in the air force but i think his own personal story about his family with the roots in the balkans and how his family moved to the united in 1964, 1962eve -- that story about how his family came here and grew up in wisconsin. he has a brother that served in the air force, and when the brother that was at the air force academy in colorado
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springs frank went to visit him, he was inspired him to want to work with the air force. the great story of his family and rising to the ranks is a great story. today one of our analysts was here and was commenting about how much of that inspiration that is to him and others. when i was preparing all my presentation, i was introduced -- when i was asking about how to describe the corrected, and he said one thing you need to hehasize about him is that
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was an f-16 pilot. of the things i learned is the f-15 has four times the range of an f-16 and can fly at a higher altitude. the general has had a luxury flying at a higher out, through his position he had an ability to see a lot of things going on related to russia but he also , understanding how russia has been operating. we asked him today to talk about the challenging of the air force operation and that is what he will talk about. he will be sharing his thoughts and assessments. we put questions to him about it would like to address.
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we have the honor today to have him here and he is now retired and can speak frankly. that's why we will benefit from his insights. the floor is yours. >> thank you. coming and i am looking forward to this discussion. i tried to create a briefing , i wanted topired offer up a couple of preliminary thoughts with respect to this topic. i want to start off with a good -- a refresher for all of us with respect to russia. whate end, with russians, is old is new. best when hed it
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said, russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery. place that is a hard to figure out. it describes a country that has one foot in europe and one foot in asia, and that struggle they have had along the way is reflected in the views of their leadership, whether it is a czar or a communist marxist leninist, or if they consider president putin today but in the end it they do in my view have an eye europe.your best peter the great, in the 1600s, his aim was to sever all the people from their former asiatic customs and instruct them how old christian peoples in europe comports themselves.
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that's an interesting view. that was reinforced 100 years later with catherine the great who said, russia is a european state. and that state is declining by a proclivity to go there a cycle that kissinger described as a rental -- rhythm. that is consistent and i think it is what is happening today and it defines the way that president putin operates and his view on the abroad. and that view is flavored with a of paranoia and i think it would be worthwhile to go to the root of that discussion in the mid-17th
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century the foreign minister for , expanding the state in every direction. one of the journalists here trying to describe the view of the russian ambassador in 1903, and in spoke was," all russians seem fixed on same idea must do irresistible crushed whatever stood in her way. " .hat theme is consistent the best analysis ice don't think today of the russian -- it iss can it always worthwhile taking a look at that too defined the way the
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russians what act. in his telegram he said, the kremlin's new erotic worldview is the russian sense of insecurity. the soviet power was impervious to the reason of logic it was highly sensitive to a logical force. backdrophat is a good to describe the leadership, and then of course, whoever the leader is of russia, there is a proclivity there to make it about that person. stars, --e with the , sovereign as a living law and catherine the great said russia had to be ruled by an absolute power. and the embodiment of the
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russian -- the defense of russia against all enemy was continued by the czar. it's all flavored by this idea brooding, expansive, rushing -- russian soul that everyone tries to analyze. it is interesting and you just have to deal with it. again, i go back to my favorite quick read on all of this, which is secretary kissinger in his it is permanently in the grip of conflating fear.
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based on the russian experience ultimately based on interest -- endurance. they are willing to do or anything in order to enhance the russian state. i wanted to go through that history lesson. in europe, we used to have fun trying to figure out where president putin was and it came down to two cap spirit either he is a strategic genius or it's like a pigeon playing chess. board, andover the struts around like they are victorious. of fun,that kind because the truth is somewhere in between. i have come to believe that there are many foreign leaders that know the west better than the west knows themselves.
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i think that's kind of where we are, and i think it's important to think about that. the second thing i wanted to talk about is the concept of offset. this is really important. every offset, and that's defined -- thatility that is gives the west a strategic oteri military -- strategic advantage. you administration send cannot talk about an offset like that. the bottom line is it happened. in the 1950's, this is where we -- thenventionally week --we went pursued
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through the cold war. the next offset came in this 1970's. by that time the russia -- russians had achieved nuclear parity with us. nuclear kind of advantage for those of us that remember. we had a discussion about the -- neutron we decided we did not want to do that, and we pursued the tech knowledge he best technology that gave us a conventional stealthe in the form of microelectronics, etc.. to, is what we committed and that was a quite honestly they are still in the fruits of what we are enjoying right now with respect to an asymmetric
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advantage. previous administrations started to talk about how do we get that third offset for the next round of in -- security and stability in the world, and we are still arguing about what that is. but you hear about it in the news with respect to space, cyber and ballistic missiles, those are the kind of things that are being explored. i can talk about this topic all day long, but offsets, every three decade we need an offset. start talking about syria you will understand why. the bottom line is today rush is caught up so what is different about today's armed and offset? warfare,hybrid nonstate actor years, new
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proliferation and the state of desire to go through commercial find whatever that i will leave it at that and you can ask questions about it. but this offset issues very. then the other thing i want to mention is change is oh was a con to. -- constant. i will use my backed up to describe change in the security environment and military force. i like to say that i have served in for different air forces caused by three different tragedies. that was the collapse of the
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berlin wall that world falling , in theeated vacuums you of one of our allies iow the rest of the story love the cold war air force. i enjoyed it. all of a sudden at air force that i was in was thrust into the local war on terror. i like to call it that. it looked like the no-fly zone except we shut down a bunch of bases that we have two open back
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up because we close everything. or onrted the global terror efforts. we did a great job of adjusting to it just like the army did. then in 2007 our friends on wall street created high quality wants out of junk mortgages, right? you remember that story. that was the third collapse. the collapse of wall street. this country almost went bankrupt during that time. that's the fourth kind of air force that i operated in, i call it --. we had to make some huge adjustments to the way that we operate and we have done a good job. the russian that i posed to all of you is what is the next collapse? it is coming.
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i think we are in the middle of it. if you have question or you have some knowledge on what it is, let me know because we didn't do a good job of predicting the other one either. force has toe air provide exactly what we always provide, superiority, strike , and aity, mobility command and control to put it together, which is relevant to the discussion on how the russians are doing and syria. so keep that in mind. i promise you we will get to syria in a minute. to say russian actions speak louder than words. ae reality is russia is relatively weak nation in sealed, and in their
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expand they are directly challenging the quote world order." even today, as we try to figure out what these international organizations are doing, etc. it i think that was part of the plan. we will get to that later. -- and let me throw this number out. amazing that russia -- a declining nation, has so much influence the world. you know what they combined gdp of the native countries are question marks --? $86 trillion. that is 36 with 12 zeros after it.
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russia, $1.5gdp of trillion. we have to states that have a gdp bigger in russia, and yet you would think we were in a bipolar world. do i want to throw that out? i would love to hear what you think about that. , bettere that russia than any nation in the world, use the elements of national power better. they know exactly how any western nation is doing. diplomacy, information and military economics. the elements that we never talk about our location, resources and population. i bring that up because russia only gotten smaller, the population is declining just like every other european
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nation. the average lifespan of a russian mail is 60 years old. ale. we can argue about this but we guess whatabout -- their economies based on? a single commodity economy. interest-earning to designeds it in a way to amplify their strength and men fought -- minimize their weakness. at the end we would use only economic power. callanipulation is what we hyper warfare. i would argue. i hope that inspires some
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questions. nation thats a weak in response to a conventional reinforcement of nato according to article five. who does that? the russians do it. that is why they are so powerful in the eyes of the leadership over there. meantime, there has been from the baltics to the black sea, to the mediterranean, there is a expansion and an attempt to deny area to anybody but themselves. leningrad,nment into
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spills over at -- into one third of poland and the majority of ultimate nations. that's not an accident. that's how you display power when you really don't have any. web ofu have a whole frozen complex that are basically remnants of the russian all over europe. is,ou don't know what that a frozen conflict is when the military actions are over, there's no keys treaty -- peace for anyhat is in place of the combat since. now it includes syria.
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there are others in the world but these are the ones that are russian inspired. back to syria. words. speak louder than i have a list of things that i will throw up there and if you have any questions. i think the most important about syria is it demonstrated russian ability and willingness to deploy and employ an extradition or enforce which has not happened for a long time. it was a gift provided by the lineof the west stated red . it did not cost a lot but gives the impression that their israel power there. their willingness to do it -- , iir willingness to do it
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know that projecting power is and projectingk power is very expensive. it demonstrated an increased capability since the 2007 georgia conflict which they created a frozen conflict. the performance of their air force was a disaster. they lost four airplanes in five days. they admitted they lost four airplanes in five days but other sources say it was a lot more --k the cap than that dish more significant than that. displayedace -- readiness that they had. they demonstrated their ability to rapidly deploy air defense was just not an easy task
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to do. they demonstrated their ability to deploy long-range, do tactical bombing. vietnam thane like what we did with the bombers in afghanistan. they demonstrated their ability to fire cruise missiles from surface vessels, submerged subs and aircraft. some of those missiles flew a long way and it's pretty clear to me that they were eager to demonstrate their ability to do that. they demonstrated the ability to combine arms with coalition partners. that is not easy to do, but they did it. russians and the
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providing credit for and turning what was a defensive situation for the government into an offensive situation, and it proves again that air power is very important to the combined joint fight. they deployed the first fifth-generation fighter, there just just recently they canceled the program. the fact that they said that airplane over was yet another display that there are an equal partner with it will -- andities inside of a on the world stage. ,hey employed aircraft carriers , thiswith a task force
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was an interesting deployment. they all have carriers like we do, but they have relatively junk jets on there. airplanes, the2 mig 29, the most capable airplane they have on that yet had difficulties, even though it had the best capability to support ground operations. another airplane on the deck was primarily for in defense aircraft so it had limited capability. in the end, they didn't use it. what they found -- in the and, they did use it. falls and't have cap factting -- catapults, in they lost a 29 that had an
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engine failure and the cables more ready to use the cables to land. crashed, so also they lost to airplanes in a short deployment. it was an interesting display of power but the real combat power must not significant as you would. -- as you would think. deploying aircraft using aircraft dedicated counter missiles. good news and bad news about this. command europe as the when all of this was happening and i was thrilled to see what they were showing a spirit -- showing us. like a lot of the
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capability they brought to bear were ways to test to see if this stuff worked, it was like a test range. some of the work -- some of it worked, and some of it didn't. during the expeditionary operations and to see them except the cost of those operations we will see how long it goes and we will see what the results are. syria like the rest of the frozen conflicts, it will be a frozen conflict for a long --e i want to and real quick real quick to deal with the russians given our role, i think nato.d to rule inside
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. we have to accept the few realities. the first one is the power reality. potential power is not real power. trillion and we are not buying the right stuff and creating units and power just $36execute, it is trillion. do not be confused by that. that is where the real crux of the biscuit is. ofn deterrence fails inside , collective defense must be decisive. article five responses have there been in nato? >> one. gen. gorenc: one. it was a response to when the
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united states was attacked by the terrorists. good on nato for doing that. the reality is nato is yet to be tested with a real article five response that could result in a collective offense. a lot of the discussion that has happened with the summit is all about that, readiness of the force, which is a threat reality. the enemy has a vote and could choose war. we may not want to fight it, but they could choose it, for whatever reason. it is not happened yet. when it does, it will be a test of the alliance, for sure. if the alliance does not respond with article five ready to go to collective defense, nato is in jeopardy. forcey, a reality. they have to be sustainable to
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be, capable. ready for what, deployable for wear, and sustainable for how long? with enough money, i could buy sustainability. i can buy readiness. in the discussions we are having 2% goal, which the nato countries established. the one we do not talk about is 20% ofn the summit the 2% is supposed to go to modernization. is as uneven as the 2%. gdp, five of the 29 countries are at 2%. my last count was 10 of those last 29 have met the 20%. -- 20% modernization goal.
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i will close with that. eyes and ears perked up as i watched the syrians -- the russians execute in syria. it should make everybody concerned about the capabilities they have been able to bring in the area. i have been in this business for a long time. i sleep perfectly fine at night, even with their improvements. be do we haveill the willingness to respond to an adversary that is operating below our threshold? i do not know when the answer is to that. everybody's has an opinion. i am happy to hear them. with that, i will close and answer any questions you may have. >> thank you.
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we are going to call on people. i want to use the luxury of my chair to ask you a question. havethe russian military the capabilities to do another operation, like syria, simultaneously? is syria too much of a dream on the resources to be able to do anything beyond that in another theater? gen. gorenc: they have enough on their plate right now. it is possible. mr. howard: is the shortage of pilots true? gen. gorenc: i have not heard that. likeld imagine if they
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every other country, there is a shortage of pilots everywhere. particularly in the u.s.. working hard to solve that problem. it is a major commitment and cost. mr. howard: we have a question. this lady was the first one up. >> thanks, general, for your presentation. you mentioned in law, but on the other hand, i want to see what -- you said the collapse -- you said there were three collapses. i think the three is in the administration. the admission doing it this way, but there is a contradiction.
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now, deal with the war said of the border wall. decliningopulation like china, they are -- they two childrena party system that. if that is the case, why do we not focus on immigration than deportation? mr. howard: let's limit to one question. we have people waiting. whatuestion is outside of -- >> we are talking population. i'm try to see if there is a policy that can be implemented rather than contradictory, one generation after another. gen. gorenc: i get you. i do not have a direct answer. i do not know if any of those collapses -- i described them as collapses because it is
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convenient to say. i do not know if they are inspired by the conservatives or whatever. this is out of my lane. what i am trying to describe is i have been in the air force for -- i was in the air force for 37 years. in the end, our air force had to adjust to different toironments while adjusting political leadership. -- as a military person, i try to follow what the leadership of our country and the american people want to do. immigration, as we found out, this is where immigration connects with putin. intervention in
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syria, 5 million people were put on the road. they walked from syria to europe. was at the right thing to do? you do not have to answer that. -- now, there is a mass immigration walking across. there are 9 million people who are displaced in the country. the chances of the country rebuilding with the talent available is limited. there is the standard migration that comes out of africa. immigration is a security issue. mr. howard: thank you. mark? mark: general, thank you. reading russian commentary on
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the things you talked about, there is a sense of they are doing well in europe, middle here.and with russian pessimism. a challenge of china and they are not doing anything about it. as risk-averse as cute as putin,patent -- why do do they not see the chinese threat seriously? i would be worried about it. is it a head in the sand? china is al if threat to russia, it will be a threat to the west and the west will help russia because it will be in its interest? a real question mark as to
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what explains their attitude for china when it seems it ought to be considered a possible threat to them. gen. gorenc: i'm a qualified to answer that question. it is a good one. is the newd about national defense strategy. who here has read it? i love it. there is a document that describes the common view of what the security situation is. we will disagree or agree on the contents of it. the focus provided by that document is providing impetus for a discussion on how we will move forward to achieve the vision of this country. strategy is allowing the discussion with respect to
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how big the army should be, what kind of equipment they should have. it is providing a focus we have not had. had arecently, we ,trategy fiscally constrained strategically informed. wordy definition of the strategy, it was weak. this document is exciting. that, combined with the nuclear posture review was an important document. the national security strategy is an apartment document -- is an important document. they are all good for one reason -- it brings together a common vision, whether you agree or disagree, so we can have informed discussions with respect with organize,
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training, equipping, employing, and deploying that force in partnership with our coalition partners. to her for your presentation. yourank you for presentation. russian political strategy does hold -- it implements -- actions consists of two pillars. which pillar is more from edible? -- is formidable? military or nonmilitary? bringing attention to it. for the people in
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this room, you should take a leningradraham -- at airspace. layered, best -- it is chock-full of mobile systems are crack if, hard not to we had to do it. is itason it is important is russia, for those of you who do not know, it is not a frozen conflict. ands russia, the million, -- the motherland. given the nervousness of our ittic and polish brothers, is the most important thing for now, military wise. in the end, it threatens the
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decision required to reinforce the baltics if something happened. remember, nato is all about getting consensus, not a fast process. to theou have to move place you are protecting. a full ofgoing to be conflict. environment there is a formidable obstacle to overcome, even if the decision was made on -- made fast. i am a journalist. i have been covering syria. can you draw from russian targeting and capability in syria?
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attention to civilian casualties? do they care? does anyone call them on it? gen. gorenc: there is plenty of press on that where people are calling them on it. is paradox of guided weapons the good news is position guided in mission hits its target. the bad news is vision guarded guidedrecision ammunition hit its target. -- put it together in a way that affect.ou to use it to
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been a lot of reports of the targeting done. i will leave you to your own conclusion. years for us to get the targeting, processing, exploitation -- to the level western coalition has. they are not there yet. i would argue. tois an enormous investment get that kind of intelligence and put it in process. i will leave it to you. they have a lot of hospitals, according to reports here it i do not know what else to say -- reports. i do not know what else to say.
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art of executing precise combat power from the air. it is not fair. -- it is not there. they say they are being careful about it. if you take it for their work, they need a lot of hospitals, barely. that is what the report said. mr. howard: we will take one more from the front and then go to the back. thank you. i am an analyst and journalist. you mentioned the no-fly air zone. imposing a no-fly zone will be the answer in syria? that was the opposition's demand before the americans owned the red line narrative. gen. gorenc: i do not know if it
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was answer or not. done, but everybody in europe needs to understand when you impose a no-fly zone, you have to do it with kinetic effect. you are attacking radar missile sites and that stuff. it is not a benign activity. whether or not it helps on the ground is the argument. that was a decision for our country to make. way wean effective managed iraq under the authority of the un's sanctions. we had in a fly zone in the south to protect the shiites from the government. we had a no-fly zone in the north to protect the kurds from their government. it was not perfect. that was act underpinned by a united nation''
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security council resolution. it was expensive. it had a long-term consequence effect on our force. i do not know if it was the answer or not. togle domain responses political problems are challenging. limit put it that way. kindld prefer a more joint to allow whatever goal we are to achieve. with the want to achieve underground? what do we want to do -- achieve on the ground? what do we want to do with a no-fly zone? questionknow if that ever got answered. question in the back. >> thank you.
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i have learned so much. ssad'sia, as a tragedies grew, the response was it seems now he has managed to hold onto power and russia is the powerbroker in syria. people are saying, we have to accommodate assad. it seems the very thing that got us into the mess, we are trying to do more of. take onious to get your alternatives for u.s.-syria policy going forward, now that things are as bad as they are. my opinion is as good as yours. the opportunity to affect what
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we want is coming on. you have to remember we are in uncharted waters. the one thing we had in common is the goal to eliminate these terrorist organizations. how did we do there? againstwe did well isis. we will see in the future. that was a positive effect. when it goes in the future, i do not know. in the meantime, it is frozen until we come up with a better idea. this woman, she has been waiting.
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>> from russia's last 18 years of the two j -- of strategic --itary action, any figures aboutimea, are we talking 5 million people killed in this place? 10 million people? goodgorenc: you have a knowledge of the toll. the millions of people that left syria or misplaced in syria.
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there are -- in respect to refugees going into turkey. the last am i left, it was 3 million people. they made an arrangement where the eu would help turkey cover the expenses. to the long-term , i do not have a good answer for that. there is potential that is not used. infused inhallenges nations. it will be a challenge for a long time. do you think in europe, the
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u.s. is losing strategic ground? , we are -- you could sense it in the region, especially places boz maney -- like -- places like bosnia. you see us losing ground? gen. gorenc: what is your nationality? >> bulgarian. gen. gorenc: i have been to -- bulgaria romania many times and romania. i do not think we are losing ground. poland recently offered to billion dollars -- offered $2 billion. toy have a long wish list
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help the sense of vulnerability they feel. the nations you talked about our strong partners in nato. they share our values. could get someey of the attention the baltic countries could get. europe, -- iof found all of the hours he worked with our strong. they believe the priorities of nato are not as good as they could be for their own security. that is the beauty of being in an alliance.
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i thought it was: president obama -- i thought it was pretty cool when president obama, after the invasion of crimea, he went to assuretics twice them we were in on article five. i thought he was a pretty strong message with respect to our commitment to nato. coalitions are tricky, we have to communicate to rationalize priorities. in the end, we could choose to disagree about our focus. choose is the government to deterrence and defense, should deterrence fail. questions?
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i wonder if you could comment on the extent israel could be collaborating with russia in the syrian theater. how has the u.s. responded to such collaborations, if at all? gen. gorenc: i have no idea. i do not know. i want to ask a question that did not come up, turkey's role in the region. a debate -- not a debate, suggestions raised we could move into like -- move the base to airbill. some have said no. is it irreplaceable? can we move somewhere else? gen. gorenc: it is not irreplaceable.
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i am going to answer that question in a more generic way. turks,ationship with the overtime, has been spectacular. they have been good allies. i know there is a lot of controversy going on right now with turkey. turkey is in nato. this is a case where we agree to disagree. our goals are the same. i love going to turkey. i think turkish nation has been good to nato. and nurturevelop that relationship. a large democratic muslim country. it is something worth working at.
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mr. howard: we are going to have to end on that note. we want to stay on time and on track. we appreciate your comments. let's give him a round of applause. [applause] we will take a short break and resume in two minutes. [indiscernible conversations] >> on c-span, we are live for the second day of the progress of net roots nation conference of the new orleans. about to speak to the group shortly. later in the day, we'll hear from, harris -- from kamala elizabeth foreign.
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we have covered from yesterday's event. you can find them online at this is about to start shortly. >> please welcome a reverent. [applause] >> good afternoon.


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