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tv   National Review Institute Holds Foreign Policy Conference  CSPAN  May 10, 2022 4:38am-5:34am EDT

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next. [roomwelcome to the national rew
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institute's program, the case for american power, why we must lead the free world. my name is peter travers, i am
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chairman of the board of trustees of the national review institute. i thank those who are watching us on live stream. the national review institute was founded in 1993 to advance the classical conservative principles that we champion in the pages of national review. the institute has developed numerous programs and presents events and conferences and seminars across the country in response -- and sponsors the work of outstanding fellows. we are convened on a wonderful sunny spring day during awful events half a world away. russia's invasion of ukraine for the purpose of subjugation has only the gratuitous violence
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against a peaceful nation can do. the world remains aghast at this ongoing atrocity and asks, what can we do? what can we do to prevent such aggression? appropriately for us this afternoon, what can we do to protect america is to defend our core national interests in a very dangerous world. the national review has been asking these questions of americans for six to six years -- 66 years and we have suggestions. we believe there are time-honored and cogent principles, i think bill might have called them lata neri principles to which we can refer in this. our distinguished speakers this afternoon have pointed thoughts and i look forward to hearing from them. national review journalism and commentary has been outraged at
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the russian subjugation of europe. the venerable james burnham called a prison house of nations. we covered the groundbreaking work of robert conquest in describing the hello to more -- holodomor, a policy of terror famine initiated by stalin in the 5 million innocent 1930's. ukrainians were murdered by that policy. recently national review published a cover story describing the false flag atrocity by which vladimir putin came to power. shortly thereafter he initiated the second chechen war and razed the capital through indiscriminate bombardment.
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we have become familiar again in ukraine as in syria with the russian policy of civilian mass murder. by artillery. i thought the ukrainian outrage made a restatement of first principles timely and essential. in march, i wrote a statement entitled wild beasts are real. to review national review's historic and still fresh advocacy for an implacably anti-totalitarian policy. the title comes from a letter written by whittaker chambers to bill in 1954. lamenting how easy it is for us, how easy it is for americans, to think the beasts are merely entertaining or animated figures of art or film, but regrettably, they are not. whittaker chambers had a reason to know. realism and not wishcasting is
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the essential american policy. this sad episode is a teachable moment for us all. when finland and sweden lobbied nato membership -- lobbied for nato membership, and when the green minister of industry in germany lobbies for gas facilities to be built in accelerated fashion, when the german socialist announced a -- announces a tripling of the german military budget overnight, we can safely say by the way that germany has a very well-deserved 75 year timeout. it is over. when these things happen, we review the first principles. we delicately explain the basic facts of life.
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where does our national standard of living come from? where does our energy come from? we flip the light. we flip the switch and the light and electricity flow, how does that happen? where does our modern health care come from? where did these magical devices that eliminate pain and increase our mobility, where did they come from? how did we conjure up miracle drugs that save us from a dread disease? most importantly for our purposes this afternoon, where does our national security come from? unlike our philosophical antagonists, conservatives recognize the prosperity, energy independence, modern medicine, and national safety from the wild beasts are not givens. these wonders do not arise from serendipity, but from the exertion and quite often sacrifices of brave men and women supported by specific policies founded on clear
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thinking about the world as it is and about human beings as we are. again, what can be done? in the chaos of a violent moment, our scope of action is narrow. but in the long run, we can do a lot. we can prepare better and recommit to those venerable principles to keep america safe and promote freedom, allow -- and while the beasts are real, we can connect to those principles that keep us safe. policy does not compel us to search the world for monsters to destroy, but it does recognize insularity is an indulgence. a type of neo isolationism has
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enjoyed a resurgence among the careless and historically challenged and not just on the left where such thinking has been customary for at least 50 years. but also oddly among some who call themselves a type of conservative. there are several flavors of this parochial insularity. one seems to suggest that this conflict is somehow ukraine's fault for seeking to join a defensive alliance to protect it against violent aggression. it seems somehow that aspiration is itself a provocation to aggression. it reminds me of a remark to those who sought to justify naked aggression in 1914. he said -- indeed it is not ukraine that has invaded russia or even threatened it. another less noxious flavor of provincialism echoes the ancient
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american desire to stay out of foreign wars. this is a reasonable impulse and a worthy one, but such impulse by itself can be a type of which -- wish casting. against which whittaker chambers warned us. tyrants do not rest easily within their borders. averting our eyes from a savage war and the immense human suffering that arises in its wake does nothing to protect america, much less make us great. hoping the wild beasts stay far away is no more a national security strategy than defund the police is a credible policy for domestic safety. as if pearl harbor and the cuban missile crisis and 9/11 and a worldwide pandemic was not sufficient to make the point, our age of instant global connectivity makes it plain. americans -- america can be attacked, can be directly affected, americans can be
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killed by the actions taken by desperate's very far away. -- despots very far away and vulnerability will only increase. careful judgment is called an -- for any exercise of american power and justification of such an exercise must be with the persuasive case that america's national interests are advanced. conservatism stands for the principle that wisdom in such matters can be discerned through a careful assessment of history and an unsentimental realism about freedom in predominantly an unfree world. an nri fellow will lead a panel on this. a second key principle in the value -- is the value of america to its alliances. these arrangements are crucial deterrence, force multipliers, and array of democratic nations
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committed to a policy of security significantly alters calculations of expansive tyrants and thereby radically shifts the odds in favor of peace. nato has been the crown jewel of our alliances. it is remarkable -- its remarkable success in keeping the peace for 67 years has ironically masked how successful this has been. ultimately the gangster statesmen of the world are not deterred in their plans by firm remonstrances or u.n. security resolutions or the threat of economic damage. at the crucial moment, as war hangs in the balance, but peace is still possible, dictators must know that american military power is overwhelming and
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american leaders will use it if america's national interests require it. our military capability is not a given. it is built over many years. particularly as we break into the digital world, america's ability to deploy will depend on the efficacy of our digital tools. american digital innovation has dazzled the world for several decades now and can only systematically arise in a free market economy, indeed an economy anchored by a vibrant venture capital community with -- whose underlying culture's bonds and rewards nonlinear creativity. in a few moments, my colleagues will discuss these matters farther. finally, a word must be said regarding the crucial role of american credibility.
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in fostering peace and protecting our nation. when an american president is caught on a ladder, just wait until this is over for more accommodation of russian interest in foreign policy to say the least. when the same american president draws a line against the use of chemical weapons and then does exactly nothing when thousands are gassed to death, the gangsters notice. she notices. -- xi notices. kim notices. and the world becomes more savage place. this is not an abstraction. russia could bomb cities to rubble at their leisure. and murder tens of thousands of innocent civilians.
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when americans find our commitment to nato is somehow a conditional commercial arrangement of some sort, both europe and the united states are less secure. when an american president is proud of leading from behind or casually and chaotically abandons allies, the world knows they are much more at risk because america is a wall. american military power and our alliances with free nations are essential to peace and to america's national security. the credibility of america's leadership is a precious asset constantly being tested and assessed by tyrants. in a moment of crisis, the free world, the entire world stops and turns and asks, where are the americans? we must be there. the americans must be there, must support the victims of the wild beasts and we must defend our nation and our core interests with unmatched
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military power and unsentimental realistic perspective. this is the stake that national review hammered into the ground, and to which we welcome all who understand that freedom must be defended in every generation and on many fields. i thank you very much for coming. i hope you will enjoy the program this afternoon. now we will shift. thank you. [applause] >> hello everyone. feel free to applaud our panelists. [laughter]
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[applause] i am jay nordlinger, an editor at the national review. we are going to talk about foreign policy with people equipped for the job. you know them, but i will introduce them. victoria is an art historian as well as a foreign policy analyst. she went to trinity williams and can, she was a deputy national security advisor in the trump administration. elliott abrams was an assistant secretary of state in the reagan administration. he was about 12 years old and he went on -- truly a child prodigy. he went on to serve another -- serbs and other administrations and to write several -- to serve in other administrations and to write several books. he went to harvard college and harvard law school before that.
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other illustrious alumni of little red include angela davis and robert de niro. a bit of sad news despite my levity, elliott's mother-in law passed away today. great cold warrior, great writer, great woman, founded the committee for the free world. something like that we may need once more. she did something very interesting. you know, these organizations go on and on, no matter what happens to their original purpose. but when the soviet union collapsed and the cold war ended, she dissolved the committee, declaring victory. well, today is may 9. therefore victory day. in russia and the former soviet republics. i want to read a bulletin from the associated press. russian president vladimir putin
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used a major patriotic holiday, monday, to again justify his war in ukraine, but did not declare even a limited victory for -- or signal where the conflict was headed. this is what zelenskyy said in his remarks in kyiv. he said very soon there will be two victory days in ukraine. we have never fought against anyone. we always fight to defend ourselves. we are fighting for freedom and for our children. i wonder if we could begin by hearing from our panelists, what is the importance of the ukraine conflict, of russia's assault on ukraine, to the united states? victoria coates. victoria: well thank you all for joining us today. i think this is a very important topic for us to discuss. a conversation we have been having for about a decade now, of how we define server to
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foreign policy. i think ukraine has been a remarkable clarifying moment. particularly after the chaos of afghanistan last summer and the prevailing belief in our current administration that this would not happen. and then it did happen. the incredible brutality of putin i think has been shocking to the world. the remarkable courage and resilience of the ukrainian people has also been shocking to the world. and the fact that putin did not declare victory today, just as -- or layout conditions for victory, suggest it may be considerably worse for him then we even know at this point. and so my feeling is that we need clarity from this administration about what their plan is. for ukraine, what their desired end state is and this insistence
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that ukrainians will define it. ok, then get with the ukrainians and figure out what that is. and the disarray of strategy right now is clarified to me at the end of last month when the president came out one thursday and made a formal announcement he was going to request an additional $1.3 billion from congress. the following thursday's request went up at $33 million with no explanation of what changed. am i willing to spend $33 billion to pay to make putin's life miserable? probably. but i would like to know what is going to be spent. and what the desired end state is. it is a moment that is going to give us real clarity about where the united states stands on these issues. >> elliott abrams? elliott: of course i agree. let me say first of all i am pleased to be here. thank you for your kind words in the introduction. i think it is fair to say that
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we had not just a holiday from history under clinton, but it has been 30 years since the collapse of the soviet union and we are getting used to a world in whichslowly but surely, we hn moving the direction of recognizing them, particularly china. so ukraine is in the great awakening -- has been a great awakening for many americans that the world is back to the dangerous interstate system that has existed for literally centuries. we are not getting any free rides. we have real enemies in china, russia, north korea primarily, and we are not organizing ourselves to deal with these
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threats. when you look at the defense budget, if i remember correctly, 9% of gdp when john kennedy entered the oval office. it has fallen below 4%, and of course it was a much poorer country in 1961 than in 2022. we are not spending enough on defense, and we are not inking carefully enough about what it means. the best example is probably energy independence, which we turned away from a year ago and are the biden administration, and to which we will obviously have to turn back. so i think the tragedy of so many millions of ukrainians uprooted from their homes is a reminder to us that the world is really dangerous. you might say once again or you
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might say still. >> elliott, and energy, remind me, the california government was scheduled to shutdown down the last remaining nuclear plant in california. now the governor is reconsidering. and it seems to me that he has been hit by reality. >> yes. on a similar thing, governor brown when he was governor the second time did a bunch of things he had never done. >> didn't you say that xyz -- and his reply was -- well that was yesterday and this is today. >> yes. >> it is better. we should applaud this. is changing his mind. we had the cold war. i was recounting earlier today that victoria once worked for donald rumsfeld. i said to him in '02, do you think the american public will
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stick with the war on terror? he said, they suffered through the cold war. in some ways we lucked out on this. he recalled being ambassador to nato and speaking to people in portugal and he was sent back to capitol hill to testify against the mansfield amendment which would withdraw u.s. troops from europe. then the terror war, and a lot of people ask, left, right, center, can't we be done? do we need to do this again? what do politicians say? you know they have their lines -- we have nation-building to do right here at home. there is an expression on the left and the right -- no more forever wars. here we go again. some of us are accused of being cold war nostalgsts. . i think rather that we are realists. the late madeleine albright
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said the united states is an indispensable nation. but a lot of americans want to be indispensable. i don't blame them. could you explain, victoria and elliott, why we must be indispensable? >> one of the things i do is i am chairman of a coalition. why did we choose the name vandenberg? he was an isolationist in the 1930's who believed all of those things -- leave us alone, world war i was a disaster, we shouldn't have gotten involved, we are done now. and then came pearl harbor and the cold war after world war ii. he changed. the most important part in the senate, passing the marshall plan and then the nato treaty. why? because he reassessed, i would argue realistically, the threats that the country faced, which he
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had misunderstood. he said, i got that wrong. and we face a different set of threats now. so as victoria said, it is practically reasonable to say, $33 billion for ukraine, ok in principle. what is it? it is also reasonable to say, if you want to raise the defense budget, by how much, where? explain it to me. prove it to me. all of that is reasonable because we are talking about taxpayer money. what isn't reasonable is continuing to believe that this country does not have strong and brutal enemies out there. you are leaving in a dream world if you think that. >> do we provoke them? do we poke the bear?
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do we encircle them? are we arrogant? >> i don't want to have an argument right here on the stage, but i think in the case of nato and russia, that is literally absurd, an absurd argument. all of us have been saying for years, and especially critics of nato, hey, these people are free riders. they are not organizing. so what is threatening russia? these offices don't exist. the german army in particular, we all read the stories about their inability to put forward tanks. so there was no threat to russia. there was a threat to putin. and it is not a national security threat, it is the threat of a prosperous democratic, slavic country called ukraine. >> victoria?
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>> i think we might need a rebranding exercise. i am a proud member of the vandenberg advisory council. i strongly agree that that is a critical example. but i think as we are communicating with the american people about these issues tend why ukraine matters and where we are indispensable and what it is hard and asked ziv it is also something -- and expensive, it is also something we have to do, explain things that affect people lives. what has been striking to me over the last decade is how topics that would historically be stovepipes for foreign policy are now critical to international security discussion. that is actually the transition. when you say foreign policy or foreign affairs to people, they glaze. . they think about the united nations, a faraway country that
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they met not know the names of. but when talking about national security or energy, my particular hobbyhorse, but also immigration, border security, information the response to the ministry that has just been set up at the d.h.s., is visceral. people understand these things are impacting their lives. you are paying six dollars a gallon at the pump. as the wall street journal reported today, we may be looking at rolling blackouts and power outages over the summer because of the precipitous rush to close down means of generating electricity. that is what is going to be persuasive. you are explaining things to people in terms that impact their lives. and i think all of the polling i have seen on ukraine put u.s. support at about 80%. that is not close. and it is bipartisan.
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people have long memories. they understand the russians have not been our friend historically, particularly their leadership, not the russian people obviously, and that this is somewhere in america will have to take a stand. my question is how are we going to do that? host: do you think the support may fade? zelenskyy said something moving the other day. i think he was speaking on the report from time magazine. he said people are interested now but when they get tired of us, they will scroll away and read about something else. guest: that is a real danger. one thing i would hope somebody sitting on the security council staff now will be working on is how, if ukraine can prevail and survive as a sovereign democratic state, what is the hard work that will have to go into breaking the real cultural
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corruption in that government? is this an opportunity to really rebuild it as something that can shake off that very painful history? right now, i think they will hold the world's attention. the longer they can hold off the russians. what is it, days 75 of the three-day war? >> admitting that they are still standing. amazing there is a ukraine today. >> if putin is taking even more severe losses than we know, the only a compelling story. >> there has been a cause phrase in recent years, pivoted to china. i refer to the people who say this as the pivoters. elliott, you quoted an old song in the podcast you did a while ago when you were explaining foreign policy and international relations. i get the body parts wrong -- "
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you can't let the thigh bone's to the neck bone -- you quoted in the song how things are connected. and it doesn't take a kissinger or an abrams -- how do you like that -- to figure it out. [laughter] to figure out that russia and ukraine have something to do with china and taiwan. the world is small. , as bill buckley would say, dilate on that, elliot. >> first there is a question of american credibility. the australians, japanese, south koreans, vietnamese, i could go on, understand that their fate is tied to the impression in xi jinping's mind of whether we are
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a reliable ally. >> to the united states. >> to the united states. the same is true to the latvians, estonians, poles, czechs, et cetera. what will the u.s. do if x and y happens. if you are xi jinping, you are looking at this and saying, this three-day war has been going on for more than a couple of months now. maybe that will happen if i invade taiwan. who knows how good my army and navy are since they have never been in combat. he is also seeing the very sharp and increasing sanctions, and he must be aware of vulnerability of the chinese economy. on the other hand, he also saw
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that president biden said essentially on day one, we are not getting directly involved because of the other side there is an repair power. . so he is thinking to himself, ah. so if i can get into taiwan fast , which includes mistake, he couldn't take kyiv, i can take taipei fast. so the critical factor here is a very centrally, what people make of the reliability of the united states. that is what ties all these things together. to give one other example, the abraham accords. there is an enormous amount of credit that goes to president trump trump administration for the abraham accords. but in the minds of the arab
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countries will continue to yield the abraham accords today, one of the reasons they are doing that is they view israel as a more reliable ally against iran than the united states. so all of these things i think relate back to the question of, the judgment that friend and fo e make about american reliability and credibility. >> before i go to victoria, i want to ask you something to do with china. at the beginning of the george w. bush administration, in the first term, he blurted out that the united states would defend taiwan. every member asking in national security official, did he mean to say that, did he mean to change u.s. foreign policy, or was it a mistake? the fellow smiled and quoted the slogan -- only his hairdresser knows for sure. is it time for an end to strategic ambiguity? personally, i doubt the u.s.
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would lift a finger to come to taiwan's aid, but i would not want to test it. what do you say? >> first, the chicago council of foreign affairs did a poll last september and asked people across the country, do you think the united states should send troops, american troops, to defend taiwan? if you had asked me what percentage will say yes, we should do that, i would have said, 15%, 20%. it was 52%. 52%. and that was before ukraine. the only hesitation i have about saying yes, is we need to mean it. the worst thing we could possibly do is bluff. because if we say we have a commitment, an article v-type of
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commitment and we don't do it, we don't send type -- we don't defend taiwan, then every commitment we have around the world will be deeply and badly undermined. >> victoria, as i recall, article v of the nato treaty in the alliance has been invoked only once by the europeans after 9/11. so in a sense, the afghan war was an article v war. i wouldn't want to see that tested much further either myself. people say during the cold war, what if the soviets moved into west berlin? glad that was not tested. how solid do you think nato is? >> i think it is much more now than it was five years ago. >> or three benenson group maybe? >> well -- >> or three months ago, maybe?
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>> president trump pressure on nato and the buildup of nato spending, and the last nato summit that i was tracking with him, they came out at the end and said, we got more work done this week than we got done in 10 years. and that is because everyone is taking their security much more seriously. >> and they made a pledge in 2014, did they not, after putin and crimea and started donbass more. >> and they did not live up to these pages. i remember going through the n.a.t.o. papers and he was complaining about european refusal to take their security seriously in 1974. this was not in any when you. >> so did robert gates. >> a quick factor about dr, he didn't realize article v had been invoked.
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his memory was weak. here is a former nato ambassador who was acting as secretary of defense when this happened. he said, i was so busy, i did not know. but i do agree that afghanistan was in many ways a testing ground of a nato war. and i think one of the damaging things about how it ended was that we were not consulted with our nato allies despite their participation for 20 years. 1.i wanted to make about china which i think is complementary to what elliott said is, clearly, china is our generational issue. particularly coming out the covert crisis. again, the american people know that this is a problem. they are seeing snarled supply chains, apu videos out of shanghai. that this is going to be our big
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struggle. but importantly, it is not our only struggle. i think seeing terror as the critical issue that we had to confront after 9/11, of course it was, but that became almost an excuse to look away from china. that is how we got china, was thinking that we only had one problem set at a time. so we do have some good friends here in town who are insisting that we cannot playrole in ukraine or europe because we must focus our resources on china -- it doesn't work that way. it's the same with the middle east. you can say i am giving away from the gu what is china's single largest source ofl energy? saudi arabia. r if i want to influence china, which will never have the kind of energy dominance that the united states could have if we put our minds to it, wouldn't i want to have very strong
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influence over saudi arabia? wouldn't i want the saudi's to see me as a partner and a friend because if i want to influence china, a need to influence the energy coming out of the gulf? you cannot take this piecemeal. if you do, you wind up with problems. >> you hear the words interventionist and anti-interventionist. someone says i am an anti- interventionist. i object to those terms. a little like pro-war and antiwar. [laughter] i mean, who would want to be pro-war except for a psychopath? it seems to meet most people are against intervention in most cases. and for it in a few. we were talking earlier above public opinion and the issue of persuasion. voters, citizens are persuadeable with good
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leadership and good arguments. so i think about the strains of isolation -- -- isolationism in a country. some of it is understandable. i think some people are dug in. others are not dug in to their position cons? what are the risks, and so on? >> how are people persuaded? for example, take the need for --. the defense budget is gigantic, right? we have a huge debt and deficit. so, somebody, and that is a
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member of congress, a senator, but best of all, president, has to explain, yes, but the planes are often older than their pilots. yeah, that there navy is diminishing in size under the president,'s budget while china's navy is growing. the president's budget calls for a 4% increase in the defense budget, you tell me what inflation is going to be. so it is a national decrease -- so it is an actual, real decrease. people don't wake up in the morning and say, talk to me about the defense budget. but i think people do recognize. as i talk to members of congress and ask them about conversations back home in their districts, everybody gets china. this is not an esoteric, faraway country of which we know little. so i think this is -- this has been missing, frequently over the last 10 or 20 years.
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in and out of sometimes good leadership, sometimes not. secondly this notion that we need to be the leading country in the world, we need to be the most powerful country militarily . that is not really what you got, i would argue, from president obama. that is what we need now, i think, at least as much as we have needed it since the end of the cold war. clear, strong explanations by the president of the need for american leadership. i just have one point, there is a form of isolationism that is, i think, particularly pernicious, one that talks down what is being defended. it's the one that, the kind that says, who are we to tell other people what to do? who are we? what are we defending here in
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this horrible, racist society? that is one of the most awful forms of isolationism. and that is related to -- we have to rebuild america before we can do anything overseas. which is, you know, a completely -- that is a foolish and silly argument. but the argument about what exactly are our interests, and , therefore, our responsibilities to ourselves? it's a complicated argument, and that's why we need political leaders who explain it. >> but i think we need something between the two poles you defined, between hawk and dove. we need a third point. >> can't you just say i am a
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dove, but a heavily armed dove? >> we could be owls can show the kind of restraint that i think most want exercised over interventionists and at the same time recognize, that it is at times necessary. and again, to go back to the ukraine request, that is what i found so disturbing about that, was the lack of leadership you defined. i am old enough to remember 11 $.3 billion was a lot of money. $33 billion, then you are really getting to a lot of money. ok new be that mixed any messages and expect to bring people with you and persuade them yeah, this is a difficult time economically but this is good money invested if we can get to our outcome, which is putin not invading his neighbors? that seems to me not too much water to carry, but the current
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administration isn't doing it. and i think that is leading to a very deep sense of unease in the country. >> victoria, on this ornithology we were doing of the hawks and the dogs and the hours, to my understanding, it is not that the hawks are -- hawks, the doves and the owls, to me, it is not that the hawks are reckless, but there's a strong understanding of deterrence and what it takes to keep the peace. that is laudable, isn't it? >> the problem is it frequently gets hijacked to peace at all costs, which is no peace at all. it would be subjugation.
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to achieve peace through deterrence is doing the hard work that elliott was talking about, in terms of rebuilding the navy, you got to be willing to invest and you've got to make the case for that. when you're running around making announcements like our top priority is to move the entire military onto electric vehicles, people don't take you seriously. especially if you don't have a plan to generate all of that electricity, which they do not. that means you are not prioritizing the true function of the u.s. military, which is to be the most lethal force in the history of the planet. we have wonderful young men and women in uniform who are willing to take that charge, but we're not doing them a good service if we are not doing the hard work as policymakers to make sure that money is properly invested. >> in our society, we talk a lot about nuclear war. my father who lived in washington, d.c. with all sorts of air raid drills and hiding under desk and so on. there's a famous time magazine
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cover "thinking the unthinkable," showing a nuclear explosion. that was then. and people are thinking about this kind of thing now, thinking the unthinkable now, putin, what if he gets desperate? you know? what if his pride comes into play? i mean, no one has dropped one of these things since we did in august 1945. the taboo has held for an amazingly long time. pakistan and india are nuclear-armed. what brought this question of putin, russia, ukraine and nukes -- if he uses one, do we sit and say, well, ukraine is not a nato country, too bad for them, lucky for the balts.
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lucky for the poles, and so on. what about this unthinkable thing? elliott? >> first of all, it is a reminder of the importance of having a nuclear arsenal. if they were worthless, you wouldn't see the russians and the chinese building, modernizing at the expense of enormous amounts. and they are doing it. we have not been doing it. so first we need to think about that. what is the condition of the nuclear arsenal. secondly, i think it is right for the government not to answer your question in detail and say, you know, we will do the following. partly because we have allies we would need to bring in. i would like to think that this step, or another one which i
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would think, which is chemical warfare is the stuff that would lead, if not overnight, in a period of a year or two, to the removal of people in russia, either the military or the fsb who would be able to see what he is doing to their country. maybe they would refuse nuclear. it's conceivable. it is conceivable. maybe it will work. if that were true, we would have to reconsider, first of all, the nature of the sanctions, which are still not what they could be. but then i think we would have to reconsider the question of directly helping to defend ukraine. >> i want to ask one more thing. these war crimes in ukraine, pretty hard to read about. imagine what they must be to endure.
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you two are foreign policy professionals, you are practitioners. >> [indiscernible] >> well, that is for another panel may be. [laughter] i think, for example, of emergency room doctors. i have never been one, but i imagine they see ghastly things. and then they go to the movies and have dinner. it is what they do. i want to know whether you two are sickened by this. i myself would have a hard time being purely professional -- of course, you have to do that when you are in office, division of responsibility, but it is ghastly stuff, is it not? >> i think so, jay, and it should be sickening. we can't look away. we cannot pretend it is not happening and that it is an abstract. it is real. it is a demonstration of the
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truly evil nature of some elements on this planet, so i think it is critical to recognize it. the question i would have is, what mechanism do we have to respond. it is one reason why the redline in syria was so important, elliott mentioned chemical weapons. when assad's use of chemical weapons unanswered by the united states, it sent a message that that would be tolerated. putin was watching that, you might say he was complicit in it. and the two strikes we had in the trump administration. i would be very worried that he would be willing to escalate. >> one more comment on that, the brutality. there is an old line that an army reflects the society from which it comes.
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we are seeing a brutally corrupt army. it is a reminder of the brutality and corruption of the regime and the society from which it is coming. >> ladies and gentlemen, victoria coates and elliot abrams. [applause] >> thank you, everyone for hanging in there. my name is john newland and i am here with congressman mike gallagher who just had a travel day from hell and has made it just in time. back in the day, marines went to work before 3:30 in the afternoon. >> we are on the air force schedule now. [laughter] >> >> many of you know congressman gallagher from

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