tv Sophie Co RT October 22, 2018 5:30pm-6:01pm EDT
used to be no american involvement in the middle east. but is washington still as powerful a player there as it wants to be today i talked to colonel lawrence wilkerson former chief of staff to secretary of state colin powell. in terms white house just taking a tough stance on iraq is part of threatening drastic american action against iran . spread across the world. coming together to decide the fate of their region can washington hope to continue dictating the future of the middle east. of the white house lead to real trouble and counted handle yet another unpredictable conflict. colonel lawrence wilkerson former chief of staff to secretary of state colin powell welcome to the show it's great to have you with us again so lately all the important in syria are being decided on car out moscow and tehran the yes which u.s. which once was keen to intervene mostly just watching the show right now is to
current white house more cautious than the previous one or just less powerful. i think both white houses obama's and trumps have been with regard to syria in particular cautious i think they're still being cautious in the trumpet ministration but i would remind you that there are some twelve installations if you will that are u.s. installations in syria as and that there is no intention to move those elements out of syria until as one individual from the pentagon put it all iranian elements are out of syria and he added perrin that ickle a and isis and other elements like isis or thoroughly defeated so that tells me that regardless of what president trump might want to have as a policy which i think is to eventually leave syria substantially we're there
we're very much there we talk more about that what is the current american goal in syria because under obama it did seem like america didn't quite know what it wanted to do exactly the strength now what he wants there. it's a good question it's a question i asked my students about everything from u.s. russia policy to u.s. policy with regard to venezuela no one knows and this is the mystery of this administration it's a conundrum what trumps policy is from monday to tuesday to the end of the week so it's very difficult other than listening to strident voices like those of john bolton the neoconservative nutcase in my view or mike pompei o who is not far from that definition some other spokes person for the administration the only sane and sober one being in my estimation gen mattis at the pentagon secretary of defense of course with regard to syria though i think president obama's strategy and i
actually had occasion to talk to president obama in the roosevelt room in november of two thousand and fifteen and got some inkling of this was to admit that bashar al assad was there that simply we had made a street strategic error and interpreted his role in syria like we had interpreted mubarak's role in egypt and that was wrong because there was a sizable portion powerful portion of the syrian people that supported as odd not to mention his armed forces in majority and so president obama's policy at that point was sort of patience to see how long it would take to restore assad and if eventually the united states could support that i don't know what donald trump's policy is but it looks at times like a continuation of that policy with some different ingredients largely manufactured by outside players like air to one in turkey bitten in moscow and to
a certain extent the ayatollah and president rouhani in tehran and interesting the most insidious influence in the whole business had been saddam on in saudi arabia but how is what you're saying go along with air strikes under trump administration in syria. well the airstrikes are essentially designed for tactical purposes i think i don't see much strategy associated with them maybe you can say that they do operate tactically under this kind of strategic i'm relit just define roughly but the strikes are to do tactical things like protect the y.p. g. forces they've been our most stalwart ally in syria to protect kurds in general who have been our allies throughout the region iraq iran syria and to more or less eliminate those elements that we thought were associated directly with or were islamic state terrorist now realize that the incompetence of our intelligence
agency the cia the incompetence of some members of the pentagon in terms of coordinating these actions have looked rather ambiguous and even stupid to the rest of the world when we found ourselves for example with the cia on one side the military on the other side and neither of them able to sort through the various groupings in syria and decide which was al qaida which was out qaeda affiliated which was isis and which was genuine freedom fighters if you will and i'm not at all sure there are any of those in syria right but i really have a hard sorting but i really meant airstrikes on our fact not on i ses. why i don't know that we've been conducting airstrikes on assad's forces such as they are regular forces well they have but how am i if we have i think yeah well i think it's been accidental the confliction between russian airpower u.s. airpower syrian air power has been quite good the cooperation between russia syria
and the united states has been quite good at the tactical level and that's why we haven't seen more of these arab bombings or a shoot down of a russian plane or a u.s. plane or syrian plane the recent shoot down of the israeli planes i think blood near putin has explained quite well for my military. attitude they do israeli planes were hiding behind the russian plane and they got shot down as a result by syrian batteries show i says was cleared out of its main strongholds relatively quickly once defensive started but now the coalition is pounding a small pocket near darr as zorra for months and months with little progress can you tell me as a military man why has the coalition success been stalled at this point. i think what we're seeing more so than anywhere is those who have been hustled off bussed corrupt bribed to go to italy and the surrounding area that's where the
real potency is for this situation right now and that's where supposedly aired on in prison have worked out a deal yet to see how that's going to manifest itself but it's a it's a dangerous thing that we're doing there because there are quite a few fighters who are battle tested and who if we don't take care of them one way or another are going to move off somewhere else and constitute a terrorist threat wherever they do move to whether starkey back to china somewhere in the region back to the united states back to europe or whatever so that's the group that i'm worried about and i think i'm pretty sure that i'm right when i say that's the group the pentagon is worried about too and i suspect that's the group assad is also worried about and the sacrament of assad's rebel five is far far had on the horizon but the u.s. still has to sit in the game with a kurdish that force its well washington try to use its allies in the fight against
assad i mean do you think you could come to that. i think we have made the strategic decision that assad is the legitimate ruler of syria and is going to be there for the time being i think we made that decision i think that if we have it then we're dumb that would be a very smart decision to have made and i think we have made it now how that plays out as the united states tries to at least maintain a vestige of influence in syria is anybody's guess but as i pointed out i think the biggest impediment to that being worked out in the benefit of the syrian people who i might point out are sick and tired of this war i mean i'm getting reports from damascus and elsewhere from people who are what you might call the cognitive cynthy the intelligentsia the people who are behind assad the people who support syria returning to some sort of peace and stability and they're sick and tired of this
war they want over they want it over last week so that's what we need to shoot for we need to shoot for empowering these people and in a sense empowering the syrian regime so that it can reestablish control over the state and we need to get the other elements out and that includes the saudis the iranians and everyone else who's messing around in syria and the most dangerous element in that regard is those ten thousand or so battle hardened people who are in the province and right now more or less being protected by everyone in the turkish military and then there is the iran factor hofmeyr the trump the cleric the u.s. troops withdrawal from syria but now john bolton sas that u.s. soldiers will not pull out from syria into iran with drones its forces like you said so has the u.s. strategy in syria officially altered from combat in paris to countering iran or is that part of the whole anti run dry. i think that's part of it and if you know the
neo conservative philosophy like i know the neo conservative philosophy you know that their big target is iran their fascinations their fixation is iran i think they might be getting ready to be surprised personally i'll put my. magic hat on and say that i think we're going to have a singapore moment with regard to iran and i think the president is going to turn the tables on john bolton mike pompei o and the rest of those nutcases in the administration i think we're going to have an extended invitation to rouhani to zarif and trump is going to find a city geneva comes to mind and they're going to sit down if ronnie and zarif will of interleague accept and trump is going to go to that meeting and he's going to sit down with these iranian leaders and he's then going to say right before the u.s. midterm elections so it'll be a november surprise he's going to say i have just worked out a deal it's better than the deal president obama worked out and we're going to talk
about it further and he's going to hope that has a really dynamic positive political impact on the midterm elections because right now in this country it's looking like the republicans are sure about losing the house and maybe lose the senate well that's one option but a second option could be like if meeting with clinton and house inc a where he was willing to actually make peace but then the whole american establishment turned so much against him that he can't even break towards russia anymore. so that could actually worsen establishment. his relations with iran even is there even an audiogram. there stablished man is not against peace who's against peace or the neoconservatives in the establishment so standing up to the neoconservatives president trump would have no problem telling john boehner walk out the door and get in a fourth national security adviser there's no doubt my mind and tell john bolton to walk out the door for that matter anybody else in the administration to in that
respect that's the strength of this president and god knows there are a few strengths of this president but that is one so i have i have no problem in visioning him telling the neoconservatives to take a hike the president might be besieged and in political peril but he's still not a dumb man. all right colonel on that note we're going to take a short break right now we're talking to colonel lawrence will concerning former chief of staff to secretary of state colin powell talking about america's confrontation with iran and its implications for the whole middle east stay with us .
prosecution will need to be criminals and this show. is all. over you push us off the thread you'll find somebody numb on purpose you do i mean yeah i mean i mean political pressure on the only moon controlled you know through security genocide knows what the kind of business models he was by american corporations jadhav wasing completely is sold on could be mental disease m.p. use if you. cannot see. the solution. lies up in a situation of people. i know who can he saw as it is just somebody deleting. an investigative documentary. ghost war on oxy.
we're back with colonel lawrence wilkerson former chief of staff to secretary of state colin powell discussing the u.s. policy in the middle east. before america went to war in iraq bush spent two years trying to make us believe saddam wasn't bad was a sound in latin right now there is no p.r. campaign of this magnitude going on so war isn't really that likely. well i beg to differ with you slightly i agree that it's not quite the momentum that it had in two thousand and two and early two thousand and three especially the momentous event colin powell going to the united nations security council but there is a campaign going on and is being led from the outside by the foundation for defense of democracies martinu it's john hannah and others at that group who are essentially working for the united arab emirates and israel in trying to foment the war or at least military action against or at the very best regime change
effective immediate regime change in tehran and their campaign is pretty relentless if you're back here reading the internet reading other things than the new york times in the wash impose which i don't even bother to read anymore. you understand this campaign is fairly effective and as i said it's on behalf of the u.a.e. and on behalf of israel even have people meeting with this ambassador from the u.s. . in washington and talking about things like the u.a.e. taking over as you do need air base which is you know probably in the region and the largest u.s. air force base probably in the world so there are massive nations going on right now in washington beneath the the stage if you will and these are aimed that bring about regime change in iran and frankly these people don't care how it happens military action
a combination of military any not economic action or whatever they just want regime change in iran still american forces are spread thin all over the world soldiers are doing six seven tours in getting of gonna stand on air strikes alone will not be enough to overwhelm the iranian military we know that so well are they that will win this war for mr belton. i think they believe that the as john bolton said just the other day quote crippling sanctions unquote are going to cause so much turmoil depression of the currency the. main items not available to the iranian people even food and humanitarian and medical supplies are being impacted i think they hope that this tension causes a somewhat different iranian population now than say in two thousand and nine during the green revolution to rise up and overthrow the theocracy that's their
that's their best solution if you will but i think they also see in the background pressure on iran and hezbollah and iranian agents in syria pressure on iran around the world pressure on iran and iraq especially southern iraq and ultimately perhaps even military action against iran in company with the us a saudi arabia and perhaps even israel as being ultimately the thing they will turn to if regime change doesn't come out come about some other way that's why i liken it to two thousand and two and two thousand and three it looks like the same road map to me all over again can america afford to deal with iran and cause instability there a force in neighboring iraq and afghanistan aren't even a livery at. asking my opinion absolutely no we can't look at it twenty two trillion dollars in debt looking at an interest payment on that debt that's going to equal the defense budget next year the next looking at almost no discretionary
federal spending when you put those two things together the defense budget and the interest payment on the debt no we can't afford it but we seem to have leaders who like dick cheney and two thousand and two believe that deficits don't matter believe that as long as we control the world's transactional currency it's reserve currency the dollar we can do anything we want to and of course i'm fully aware of the dollarization movement in the world led moscow and beijing i'm aware of the speech that president putin made i believe in lot of os talk recently and i'm aware of what that might mean ultimately but in a country whose leaders by and large do not seem to understand that do not seem to understand basic economics and finance so to answer your question is they think they can afford it well that and also iran enjoy has good relations with russia and china that you've mentioned who have borders in their region sidle interests there
welcome the reaction will a bombing of other hostile action towards iran provoke. i think it will provoke what is already happening with this president and this administration and that is a deepening of the isolation of the united states from the rest of the world if you listen to frederica moeller ini the other day the foreign affairs representative as a as it were for the european union and you listen to the passion in her voice as she and i've listened to her staff on the telephone and heard their passion as she detailed how europe was going to try to avoid u.s. sanctions and still function at least partly with iran so as to preserve the j.c.b. way then you understand how isolated the united states is becoming that's very dangerous and i hope we get a new president very soon who has a completely different agenda with regard to the u.s. our insecurity palsy and his position in the world because this isolation we're putting ourselves in self isolation as
a war is not good for us is not good for the world either while we're he's there at least for two other ears france britain and germany as well as russia and china are trying to you. you might be wrong he might not be there for two more years well we'll just wait and let's just wait i'm sure the yeah we never thought he would win so let's just wait and see so france britain and germany as well as russia and china are trying really hard to keep the nuclear deal alive by inventing ways to soften the blow the united nations are going to be united states sanctions for iran former nato secretary general javier solana believes the efforts are doomed to fail because of the us international financial clout do you agree with solana so long it might be right because what i see in the european union is a gross domestic product that equals our own i see four hundred million people i see more money in their banks than in the us and china combined i see more and
potential power possibly than any other country in the world even russia china japan the us and yet i see no political cohesion and so all that power just gets dissipated they have no political power because they cannot bring berlin paris london brussels and all the rest to gather in a political way so as long as asked the case kind of agree with salaam so your sanctions targeting iran's oil experts will come into force in november and then trump promises more sanctions tougher than before you just said that neoconservatives will use sanctions to pressure iran but what makes this administration think that iran will finally bow down to this pressure and one go out of the deal with the bank to restart its nuclear program. i think they think that the tensions in the iranian population are much greater now and that it would just take maybe a little bit of
a sanction tightening here there wherever and particularly the ones that go into effect the morning of five november to do it i think they're wrong i think iran is far more resilient than that i think you're looking at not quite the ability that saddam hussein had for example to musée actions all the time to sell is all on the black market if not sometimes on the white market and i think you're looking at russia and china most likely india and other countries who will operate on the black and the white market and keep iran solvent so i think their expectations in that regard are wrong so one of they do then that's that's my concern when if when iran is able because of russia china other countries assistance maybe even the partial assistance when iran is able to stand up to the boltons and the pump a.o.'s what do we do then that's that's what i'm concerned about so i just don't get it why is america so how bent on fighting iran for decades and decades now i really
don't get the reasons for all this anti ron sentiment i mean nothing stops these two countries from living normally with each other like it has been under the shah and you know when they use the pretext of terrorism i was just like you know i yet have to see one shia terrorist blowing up something in paris madrid london brussels or bird lean. what when you tie me down to that question please email me please e-mail me i asked the same question i asked the same question i did the war planning for the principal force provider command in the united states military for four years i've worked on this region for years i do not understand this saudi arabia is the greatest state sponsor of terrorism in the world still today and yet . we call iran that we lie when we say that we outright blatantly lie when we say that moreover we know we're lying so i don't understand this either i
am as perplexed as you are at this fascination we have for the tyranny in riyadh and the hatred we have for the theocracy partial democracy in tehran in geo political terms and geo strategic terms it makes no sense whatsoever iran has helped its neighbor iraq with fancy on slot if i think and now the us needs iranian how than iraq to stable future rice and stress and to stabilize the country can washington confronted ron in some areas and still copyright in others. we were doing that we were doing that even in the second bush administration i should say we were doing it majorly in the first bush administration particularly in afghanistan right after nine eleven we were cooperating with iran and iran was cooperate with us and the results were pretty positive. has there been cooperation sense on and off yes particularly in the obama administration but it's been very
limited very constrained and has never led to anything and what the j c p a way diplomacy was supposed to lead to according to john kerry and windy sherman and president obama himself was a more robust set of talks about everything from banking to finance to fixing iran's financial system to missiles and terrorism and you name it we were going to talk about all those things that we're going to do it in a diplomatic manner and we're going to do it basically with diplomats that was the play in that the j c o j c p o a negotiations would lead to that and then down from came in and close the door a completely i don't think we have talked to iran substantially sets down from took the oath of office again perplexing i do not understand that approach. well carson thank you for this and changing it we're talking to. former chief of staff to
pranking gave americans a lot of job opportunities i needed to come up here to make some money i could make twenty five thousand dollars as a teacher or i could make fifty thousand dollars a year girl with trucks so i chose to drive trucks people rush to a small town in north dakota was an unemployment rate of zero percent like gold rush is very very similar to gold but this beautiful story ended with pollution and devastation a lot of people have left here i don't know too many people here in the slowdown so much they lost their jobs that laid off the american dream is changing that's not what it used to be. it's a tough reality to deal with. in a world a big part of the movie lot and conspiracy it's time to wake up to dig
deeper to hit the stories that made stream media refuses to tell more than ever we need to be smarter we need to stop slamming the door on the past and shouting past each other it's time for critical thinking it's time to fight for the middle for the truth the time is now for watching closely watching the hawks. this is the thing you look at. the most seriously if you. must know some people. believe.
in a threat to russia and china donald trump says he would expand his country's nuclear arsenal until people come to their senses. here in the agreement should have been done years ago but still people come to senses will build it up the us president earlier announced the washington intends to pull out of a key agreement with russia provoking a mixed reaction from european allies. saudi arabia admits dissident journalist jamal khashoggi. in istanbul but his international pressure grows washington holds off on punitive measures saying any talk of sanctions is premised. on the british prime minister tries to convince.