tv Cross Talk RT October 28, 2013 3:29pm-4:01pm EDT
a strong central government weak rule of law and the endless violence in a country awash with weapons has resulted in libya facing a failed state status add to this the presence of islamic militants can things get any worse in libya. cross-talk events in libya i'm joined by my guest in washington rich galen he is a republican strategist and we also have michael shank he is the director of foreign policy at the friends committee on national legislation and a professor at george mason university and gentlemen crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want to i very much encourage you to michael if i go to you and in washington two years on the libyan people living better better than before the intervention that overthrew colonel gadhafi certainly not and we're seeing the same playbook u.s. playbook in syria that we saw in libya you know our prior to station in libya was military wasn't state building wasn't capacity building wasn't economic development
we threw a lot of money at them a lot of arms which is now trickled down into nice year in mali thirty seven billion unfrozen at the state department another one hundred fifty billion globally dumped into the fractious rebel groups so unsurprisingly they're very divided still and we're seeing that play out without saeed who is the rebel leader who kidnapped the prime minister earlier this month so the lives aren't better but that's because we didn't prioritize and we're not prioritizing that in syria as well rich how do you. not because we didn't have a plan b after a quote unquote victory against gadhafi is that why because it wasn't thought about not thought about the consequences of our actions wasn't it there's a go ahead. but i don't know i think they probably did think about what they wanted to have happen clearly but but i mean one of the issues i think we're facing is is that america thinks that if we can just if we can just kind of wave the flag of democracy in front of
a free and open democracy in front of people that they'll say oh that's a good way to do it and there is a good way to do it but we've been at it for two hundred what is it michael to a thirteen to fifteen years and a lot of places are still really more comfortable under tribal leadership and i think throughout the northern africa middle east the whole the meg grab in the event i think we're seeing that that. people people are may have been more happy more living better under a dictatorship and one of the things we know i think from a long and tough history is people who trade safety and security for freedom at the drop of the head ok but michael i mean it's not waving the american flag and saying democracy it comes at the end of a barrel of a gun that's the difference here it's not waving a flag or plenty of tomahawk missiles as was the case in libya and what obama wanted to do with syria same playbook again listen nobody on the continent liked
hot off the certainly up until two thousand and eleven and certainly with assad no friends there maybe a few holdouts so i might counter which is point because people on the ground didn't enjoy life under hot off the let's be clear about that but in terms of what we're prioritizing whether it goes all the way back a couple hundred years to riches point you know thomas jefferson ordered naval troops into tripoli so there's a there's a long history of invasion and intervention that was naval base that you're pilots in. or in you know the northern part of africa so a couple hundred i'm going to get my child would but i don't there i said but there is an addition there michael michael there's an edition that did not want american national interest at stake other gender is something i like and i don't know but when when when jefferson did that there was an american national issue at stake here ok i still don't understand what they were the national lobel issue for the united states and nato was when bombing libya go ahead rich well one of the things
that i think we have to remember that in the sequence of events the whole libyan nato intervention came sort of at the crest of the arab spring and that's where this i mean that's where the unrest began it didn't begin with us dropping a tomahawk missile you know down the lavatory and khadafi south it started with the arab spring from tunisia and it was working its way across and for reasons that frankly i just don't remember now it was decided that we would not put troops on the ground but as we've seen with the president president obama he doesn't equate dropping missiles with boots on the ground and it's far more eager to use those sorts of things remember we put in a no fly zone which we have not done in syria and we did a lot of things that were interventionist with that question but it didn't begin with us to begin with the arab spring ok but michael the death count the libyans to really started going high after the intervention the military intervention that's when we had the body count increase dramatically. i remember well you're seeing
a whole new intervention interventionist strategy coming out of the white house same war powers act dispute was play in the house because i was working as a congressional staffer then when we were pushing back against the white house they were claiming it wasn't a war in libya now they're claiming it's not going to be a war in syria same war powers dispute now the house regenerated working for a minute authorization or funding it was working for us congress and my conda of california same pushback then saying it is a war and has to go through congressional authorization so now in syria the white house claiming it's not a war but to obama's credit asking for congressional authorization this time but the house pushing back yet again so we're seeing almost parallel tracks here well we can all remember though he remember though even as he remembered the michael even as the president asked for congressional authorization they made it very clear at the white house that they didn't think it was necessary they just thought it was the right thing to do so i'm not sure we've moved very far off the previous stance
ok ok ok michael was it the right thing to do in retrospect two years on was it the right thing. i don't i don't think it was i think nato's decision this month to send military advisors is a recognition of one responsibility but two that we did not focus on institution building building or capacity bill you know it's interesting that the transitional council which then became the government which then split up because understandably the militias and the rebels were more fractious to begin with used patton boggs as a legal firm to lobby on behalf of the thirty seven billion that state and freed up so there's money at play and also munitions at play that five hundred million small arms are being trafficked all throughout the continent we have some responsibility for that certainly libya but also egypt our military aid to egypt seeps through porous borders so if we're inclined to help the african continent be safer and more
stable one first step would be stopping the egregious military aid that's trickling down from the north and also from the horn which what is the responsibility of now and then suddenly the one that's been one of the complicating go ahead jump in i'm sorry no i just did say that to michael's to michael's point that's been one of the complicating issues in syria i don't want to keep going off libya but but i but it but there are parallels and disconnect said i think are interesting is that is that the administration was very hesitant about shipping arms into the current rebel rebels because we're not if we are either we're not clear we don't want to say actually who we're giving those arms to and how they're going to come back and haunt us and you go way back to afghanistan when we supplied stinger missiles to the movie. gentlemen and gently where the learning curve here where is the learning curve here ok i guess we're all in agreement here we're going to be very hard to grow right i just go michael first then rich where's the learning curve come on
this isn't complicated stuff michael go ahead. it's not it's not complicated stuff yet remarkably the cia in in cahoots i should say not to use a loaded word but with saudi arabia and qatar funding rebel groups that just this month split you know the previously semi unified transitional council in syria has now split some going to more extremist islamic groups some going to the free syrian army so what was once unified and the state part was very happy about that has now split up i wouldn't be surprised i don't know the lobby for in this advocating on behalf of the transitional council but i'm sure it's a similar group but we clearly haven't learned because what we did all the way back to rich's point the mujahideen we haven't learned in libya and we certainly haven't learned in syria rich go ahead jump in and i was i was in iraq for six months in two thousand and three in two thousand and four when we helped established the the
the council the governing council and helped institute what we called the transitional administrative law which was sort of the proto constitution there but that's again that that still it's tribal warfare that's kind of disintegrating into into mafia type warfare so i don't know that there is a good answer but one of the things i do two quick points one in libya getting back there we have sent in one of our most accomplished diplomats deborah jones to be the ambassador and she has she has the ear of everyone because she may be one of the most talented professional diplomats we have currently working that's number one and number two i think whether you're looking at africa or southwest asia or or the middle east at some point i think these the regional organizations that that that are in those areas have to step on the take some responsibility i understand that africa's got a lot of problems but at some point the western nations have to say you know what.
to stay off our shores and you guys figure this out because we've got problems with you know among among and between ourselves and you have the additional actions of not actions but the additional gravity in terms of the gravitational pull of both russia and china in all of these regions plus the united states so there is there is this tension of who's going to i mean it's almost like going back to the cold war spheres of influence ok michael but maybe just not intervening in the first place might be the best idea i mean can't we derive that from these experiences going back to afghanistan. two points not intervening we like big splashes we like the pomp and circumstance we don't like the small stuff so what's working in terms of economic development in afghanistan is a project a very small project twenty thousand dollars block grants thirty thousand dollars block grants that the world bank funds through the afghan ministry of rural rehabilitation development through the national solidarity program we don't like
that because we like to put our name on things and we like we like the show so real development real reconstruction real stabilization is a slow process and it might require that we don't put our name our stamp our usaid stamp on it secondly a transit point about regionally its own notion that and that might avoid some of the blowback in the future that might avoid blowback in the future gentlemen we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on libya stay with are. they still a. secret lover a tour to mccurry was able to build
a news most sophisticated rowboat which on fortunately doesn't excuse the doing the found anything tunes mission to teach creation why it should care about humans and we're going to this is why you should care only on the r g dot com. we'll talk about language as well but i will over react to situations i have read the reports. but the no i will leave them to the state department to comment on your latter point. secure a car is on the docket no. thank you no more. when you question me prepared for a change when you throw a punch be ready for a battle pretty well off speech and down the street into class. well the british.
welcome back to cross talk where all things are considered on peter lavelle mind you we're discussing the ongoing crisis in libya. ok rich i'll go back to you there are two hundred twenty five thousand libyans registered in militias and they're paid by the government. that's a rather curious thing isn't it you're keeping these rival militias well armed and they have some spending money is that why a strategy for a country like libya that is breaking up and i'd like to talk about a little bit or a little while is breaking up into three different countries before our eyes. that's a way to have and that's what i said in the beginning these things i mean go these
lines as we all know are largely drawn by westerners these these country lines that that may or may not you know follow a river may rent out fire fire follow tribal lines but you know in terms of arming everybody the other side of that is the russia and the u.s. or the soviet union then in the u.s. you know lived under a concept of mutually it's a sure destruction and it may well be that the whatever the central government is in libya thinks that the safest way to do it is the not let any of these three groups gain any kind of you know measurable arms a superiority and that sort of keeps everybody out of balance so i'm not so sure that that that's the wrong thing but let's go back a step about i don't i don't want to leave the impression that i think that america are the bad guys in all these things i don't think that's right and if we look at syria as as again an example of non intervention one hundred over one hundred thousand people have been killed it is spreading across the borders as refugees scramble to get out of the way the specially the on the turkish border there's the
turks are the turks don't want them there because the the syrian army and the syrian secret service follows them across the border so i don't know what the right answer is that but i don't know that i'm going to do the right thing but if you do you think let me can you give me an example recently where interventions were a good thing because every time there's an intervention i mean what half a million half a million iraqis died for a reason that no one really can convince me was a good idea to go into iraq in the first place i mean it's all nice and five they say you know what we know we go to the point mike but i mean what i'm saying is that sometimes doing nothing is better because by doing something you make the the process even worse the outcome easier or even worse well again i was i was interaction i was in iraq for a long time and i actually saw the mass graves of the kurdish mass graves way down south near the saudi border where saddam had. asked those people tens tens and tens
of thousands of them we went to villages that didn't have that we had to train women on how to run the village because there weren't any men left they killed all the men so i don't i mean look a smidgen of somehow then i mean we're going to read it was a day's full mesopotamia where does joe saddam get the gas in the technology. came from the united states well you know if we can go back to the first well well i don't know about that first there was an adam i mean that's that's you know you know who invented water i mean at some point you got to say well ok we're not you know why do they have any more exposure when we did pretty well documented but it's pretty well documented ok michael but you know you but again i'm i'm not i will not allow you to say that the united states is the cause of all these problems which is i think where you want this conversation i am i'm not i'm not saying that i'm not saying it's the cause but i'm saying interventions make it worse i'm not saying it's the cause ok let's be clear on i don't ok i don't know you you can't really what you can't rewind the clock and see if we hadn't done a well then b.
and that's exactly why don't we learn enough for attention in the past on intervention in syria from the past caught a hundred thousand and least a hundred thousand civilians to have been killed and there's no end in sight and everybody's kind of jumping up and down about the fact that you know that a handful of inspectors are going in looking for syrian gas and yet the killings continue to use support a military intervention when she syria good idea either do you support a military intervention and really finish rich do you support a military inventions are good ok right or is that yes you i think you are not that smart i don't know what the answer is but what i do know what i do know is that saying that in every case intervention is wrong it may not be the perfect answer but it may be a better answer than doing nothing and i think in syria that may well be the case ok all right i don't think people in iran what you're going to think so today is what i call that's why you're rattling your sword so much you know with a rattling international lowlife michael go ahead. you know playing over something
because i think it's very kind of the good side of intervention richen richard and peter i think it's about the kind of intervention because i certainly support the u.s. being very involved in the kind of socio economic development schemes that i mentioned earlier in the program in syria we did not aggressively engage the organization first lama cooperation or the arab league in advance we still haven't invited them aggressively into geneva two peace talks we haven't even invited iran so it's the kind of intervention you know on libya this is a great example we brought in the arab league late to the game because we essentially needed their stamp of approval on an invasion they supported a track through the u.n. which eventually led to a security council resolution allowing no fly zone etc but then they rescinded some of that because they didn't want to support a tomahawk invasion by sea but our engagement of the arab league was late in the game it was a stamp of approval we haven't really engaged them aggressively on syria so i would
just pick the previous conversation where the two of you were going back and forth in terms of what kind of intervention is it we tend increasingly to choose primarily a military intervention and and clearly it's it's not working in iraq it's more unstable than it ever was we didn't do a good job of political reconciliation between the sunni and the shia we kicked the sunni out and then we gave them arms and weapons in the province unsurprisingly now that we're not funding them anymore they're back in baghdad blowing stuff up because we don't prioritize reconciliation so it's the kind of intervention that's critical you know it's kind of paradoxical here which because nation building didn't go so well in afghanistan and in iraq is that the reason why they didn't think about it in libya because why think about it because it doesn't work anyway is that logical reasoning in your mind no i'm not saying that. no i think i think i think what you have to do as i said earlier i think what we've done i don't remember now why russia or the soviet union invaded afghanistan i care. member why
that all happened but but i mean there was obviously some some reason for the soviet union to invade afghanistan before you got kicked out of there and that opened the door to the taliban and everything flowed from there i mean if to but to michael's point a few you know there are a lot of people i think correctly believe that after after the soviet union got thrown out of afghanistan that that more civil civil civilian intervention might have stopped the taliban from taking taking over and that would have helped that situation but you know these. sort of learn as you go a little bit better but the first thing you do in all these cases whether it's rush or of the u.s. or china well china is not there yet but they'll get there is that you first you launch a missile and see what happens ok i hope they learn history better than than what's happening in the last ten years in the war on terror you guys haven't you guys haven't i mean russia is you're not going to be doing any kind of reward in the world i mean my goodness trying to bring those. but you are getting any type of
well that you could feel like i mean they're coming if you want to if you want to compress the security when it's impressive that point that no no rich man if you want to please pressing loosely is your look let's go back to it's go back to libya ok let's go back to libya and i want to give this to michael here ok because for all the criticism that you have about russia and syria russia doesn't want to see syria explode because you know what syria is a lot closer to its neighborhood before it you get blowback in the united states in the u.k. it's twenty hours away by car from damascus to chechnya you get my drift here everyone thinks it's russia trying to protect its friend it is by geopolitical i just know it's about a region because explode and they explode in a really vicious fashion jordan lebanon and said you are so i don't because action is a better mistake stay away from me you know what i don't think of the owners because
. we're not doing here old in a civil war is that your position no matter who is it is it wasn't your people that doing something that is little while doing nothing and allowing one hundred a lodger to have you as richie your part of it in a war that is were not my means even across the billiard ball. will you know the rest is good well this is really you son you said at the beginning of this thing that that we could that we could each take a turn and ok you go ahead and finish the russian line with. the line of peter lavelle to my mind ok not talking about facts on the ground if you want to compare with your kids do that your line is well we can do that michael you heard a lot you want to weigh in. a couple of things but russia of course doesn't want to see you in the stability in syria. us doesn't want to see instability in the middle east now would we invade these countries if they were closer to our shores maybe not i want to offer up one thing that's perhaps a lesson learned here and bill horry who is with the state department this month
came out with a statement saying for every drone strike we create forty to sixty enemies if you will adversaries and he came out saying this recognizing that his friends in previous colleagues at the state department wouldn't be happy with him saying it i think we need to look at the efficacy and efficiency of our military strategy is it costing us more in the long run and is it bringing people to our side is it winning hearts and minds and i would say pretty consistently with the various invasions in the middle east north africa horn of africa and south asia and central asia it's not so that's what we need to look at what do you think the world community should do for libya the sort of the choice of michael if these are keeping is that go ahead go ahead we're going to say anything all right i'm not no i'm not because as soon as i start talking you're going to start talking again go ahead no there is a slight time delay when i saw you starting to speak i shut up so please which go ahead. that the other side of that michel is that what we
don't know you and i don't know is is how many threats against america and american interest specifically have been thwarted by those drone strikes and i'm not a huge fan of the drone strikes either i have a nice i have some truly ethical issues with it but that but if if you first agree that we're still in a war and you don't have to agree with that but i do then then winning the hearts and minds it's not the same thing as as a war between states it's the isa metrical war and i think that the the second administration in a row now has determined that the safest plan to protect american interests which is which is sort of the president's job is to find and destroy potential adversaries before they can find and destroy us michael gave you last ten seconds to. two concerns having worked in the middle east central asia and south asia i've
seen public opinion turn against america because of our military endeavors in the country and secondly i real concerns with the authorization to use military force from two thousand and one to let the president kill anyone anywhere any time so all right is it really concerns that we need truly great i appreciate i agree with both of you many thanks to my guests in washington and thanks to our viewers for watching us here r.t. see you next time and remember cross talk rules. are a little. easier. sixteen percent of imports came from illegal fishing. the european union is
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place that something gulag of our times. coming up on our team new developments in the expansion of the n.s.a. global surveillance spender civilians are the latest targets of balkan data collection now world leaders are turning to the un for help the latest just ahead over the weekend thousands gathered in d.c. to protest n.s.a. spying they want transparency accountability and action the sights and sounds of the stop watching the rally coming up and picture a list los angeles police are cracking down a photographer hours we'll tell you why one photographer was added to the f.b.i. database for simply snapping a few photos that's coming up later in today's show.