tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg February 25, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm EST
second and final national security strategy. in the introduction, president obama writes, america leads from a position of strength, that does not mean we can or should attempt to dictate the trajectory of all unfolding events. i am pleased to have susan rice back at this table. welcome. >> good to be here. >> let's talk about isis. there is a question about whether there will be an attack against mosul. what will dictate when that takes place? >> when the iraqi forces are ready to undertake a counteroffensive.
we are in the process, along with our allies -- we have over 60 countries in the coalition -- we are in the process of training, advising, and equipping the forces in four different locations across iraq. we have supported them in ongoing operations. we have supported the kurds as well in their campaign in areas they sought to retake. >> the kurds say they are not getting the supplies they need. >> they are getting a lot of supplies from the u.s. and from other members of the coalition. it is with those supplies they have been able to make the progress they have made, including taking back areas like the starting point for the campaign. they have also had support of
targeting from the air. also in syria, a month long standoff, isil was routed and conceded defeat. we have built up the security capacity of iraqi forces and the kurds'. in syria, not just the kurds in the north but the moderate opposition, such that they can take back territory. >> how long will it take to get ground forces ready? >> it is going to take a while to get the security forces ready for an operation. i'm not going to telegraph exactly how long that might be or when it might be. it is going to be subject to
conditions on the ground. mosul is an important part of the puzzle but one part. the fight is taking place in anbar province, around baghdad. >> of the airstrikes, what percentage are u.s. and other partners? >> i think about 80% is a rough estimate for the u.s. in iraq, we have had excellent support from european partners as well as the canadians and australians. in syria, we have had excellent support from arab partners. the number of strikes we have taken in each country are roughly half and half. half in syria and half in iraq. approaching 3000 now. >> what kind of american forces will have to be on the ground in
this kind of attack against mosul? >> we anticipate there will be no americans on the ground in combat. right now, we have a couple thousand forces engaged in two kinds of missions. one is securing the embassy and personnel, primarily in baghdad. the others are in training and advising sites. we are in two of the four. we are in some joint operation centers. one in baghdad. where we are working in a command and control environment with the iraqi forces and kurds. >> the emir of qatar has been in to see the president and you. >> i think he came to see the president. >> what can you say about
qatar's attitude about this? sometimes the neighbors believe they are too close to the extremist groups. >> in the case of the counter-isil campaign, they have been a valuable partner. we stage a lot of operations out of their country. they are flying in the coalition operation over syria. they are not striking as much but they are engaged in resupply and other operations. they are very much involved in the training and equipping the efforts of the syrian moderate opposition. countries have committed support and facilities for the training and equipping effort. qatar has been an important ally. it is a fact and a matter of
concern, something discussed in the oval office, at different times in the course of the conflict in syria, the u.s. and other partners have taken something of a different view than qatar. >> who you are supporting. >> which elements of the opposition merit support. i think we are now on the same page and have been for months, but there was a time when some of the groups that we would deem on the extreme edge of the opposition, they would deem less extreme and more worthy of support. including al-nusra. >> they will be full members of the coalition? >> they are full members of the coalition. we think it is important that we are altogether. not just the u.s. and qatar. the other partners. there are about 11 of us actively involved, working
together. >> the burning to death in the cage of a jordanian pilot, was that a turning point? >> it was a horrific and barbaric act. isil has committed a number of outrageous atrocities. >> it was said, in the region, people said it was a step too far. >> everything is a step too far. beheading american journalist. killing coptic christians in libya. the killing of the jordanian pilot had a shocking effect in jordan and perhaps through the region. it certainly galvanized, even renewed and invigorated, commitment on the part of our partners to do all we can together.
they have been a leading card-carrying member of the coalition. clearly, the killing of the pilot in such a brutal way horrified the world. >> especially the arab neighbors. it is sometimes said, recently by ambassador robert ford, to give up believing you can build a viable military force from the moderate syrian rebels we have considered supporting. >> ambassador ford has changed his views over time. he served ably in the administration and worked closely with the administration and was a proponent in terms of doing more. his perspective has changed over time. i have not had a chance to talk about why and how his views have evolved. >> are his views correct?
>> we don't think so. many of our partners are involved in trying to support the opposition. there is no doubt that they are weak. they need both political strengthening and strengthening on the battlefield. it will be a long-term endeavor to build up their capacity. there are some among the opposition whose leadership credentials may not be stellar. there are others who have shown efficacy on the battlefield and a commitment to a political solution. >> they are not sufficient as ground troops to do the job. >> not yet. that is why we are hoping to build them into numbers that can change the balance.
>> with respect to bashar al-assad, is he a secondary priority and isil is the primary priority? >> we are engaged in the fight in the air and training forces on the ground to deal with the isil threat. that is our purpose. having said that, the larger conflict which has given ground to isil remains a function of his behavior. it is our mission, the u.s. effort, is against isil. our efforts against assad are political, diplomatic, economic. we are not at present incumbent against him.
we have prioritized both the fight against isil and offshoots against the al qaeda group. >> you have said recently that we need not be alarmist over the threats posed by isil and even russia and ukraine. >> there are a multiplicity of challenges and threats in the world. they range from the threat posed by isil and elements of al qaeda. two new powers like russia. things like the ebola virus. >> these are long-term issues. >> some are long-term, some are immediate.
there are a wide variety of issues we face. in the breathlessness of our 24 hour news cycle and political echo chamber, some have sought to suggest we are facing the greatest existential crisis of u.s. history. i am simply pointing out that if you look back with a historical perspective, while there are many different challenges, which need to be taken seriously, they are of a qualitative difference from some of the worst we have faced. >> characterize for me the national security threat you see to the u.s. from isil. >> they have the potential and perhaps the intent to try to attack the u.s. homeland. to date, their ability to carry out attacks against u.s.
persons, interests facilities overseas, is limited. we recognize they have an ambition and ideology. it poses a threat, and they have also acted in europe and more broadly. that is why we have been able to lead and build a coalition of 60 countries committed to defeating the threat. >> the operative word in terms of goal is defeat them. >> degrade and defeat them. >> destroy would be another word. >> destroy is another way of putting it. >> is that a one-year, two-year, three-year effort? >> it is a multi-year effort charlie. i'm not saying it is a generation challenge. we need to recognize this is a multifaceted threat. it is present primarily in iraq and syria but increasingly in
other places. >> are they somehow becoming among a range of these groups, a first among equals? >> it is more collocated than that. if you look at what is happening in the region, there is a great deal of tension and friction among the extremist groups. al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, which is active in yemen. quite a serious al qaeda affiliate. they are very much in opposition to isil and they are competing. the same is true in south asia afghanistan and pakistan. where isil is trying to grow from green shoots and al qaeda views them as a threat. it is not that simple. but isil has, through its
propaganda, attracted a following that is of a different nature than al qaeda has done. >> are we able to stop that in terms of their attraction to young people who go with a passport and come back? >> it is a significant challenge. that was the purpose of the summit we held last week. we had a somewhat different group of almost 70 countries all of whom share the concern and challenge of trying to prevent their nationals from being radicalized. either for domestic attacks or to join isil in iraq and syria. there are many aspects. we have to cut off financing. make it harder for young people to travel. rehabilitate people when they become radicalized.
this is a multifaceted challenge. and we have to find better ways of countering their messaging. which is not something that any one country can do alone. we are working with arab partners to do better. >> with respect to labels, i realize you any president and king abdullah do not want to call these people radical islamist. but radical extremist. >> how about terrorist? >> can't you label them as radical islamic terrorists without it being a war against islam? it's not a war against islam, but it is against people who are predominantly radical jihadist islamic terrorists. >> my personal view is this debate has consumes too much time.
>> i agree. >> a different question has been asked. >> the people who are committing many of these acts have a bastardized and manipulated version of islam. >> they call themselves muslims. >> yes. but they do not represent islam. they are rejected by the vast majority of muslims who see nothing familiar or attractive in their ideology. for us to enable them to appropriate the moniker of islam is counterproductive. that is what they want. they want the banner of islam and distort its purposes and intentions. convince the world that is the legitimate version. when in fact that is the opposite what they are.
anymore than radicals of other religions can appropriate the religion and claim it as their own in the service of violent and extreme acts. so we call them terrorists. >> let me move to the question of how many people, this is one of those conflicts in which people who are normally enemies are on the same side. iran and the u.s. saudi arabia and iran. what is the role of iran in this conflict? they are as opposed to isil as everybody else. >> this is one of the interesting things about isil. there are no responsible states that claim them.
or even irresponsible states. that claim them as their own. that have provided them with sanctuary or safe haven. iran's role, as a neighbor of iraq and a government with a close relationship with the government of iraq, which as you know is a multi-sectarian but shia-led government, they have responded to an iraqi request for support. they are providing advice and equipment and engaged in the fight. to the iraqi government and shia militia fighting isil inside iraq. >> is that ok with the u.s.? the iranians are supporting the militia? >> our concern is often the militia are acting in a sectarian fashion.
are engaged in the kind of violence against civilians that we think is not only reprehensible but counterproductive. that is a problem. it is a problem we have very clearly signaled to the iraqis and iranians. >> are you ok they are doing it? >> we are not ok with support to militia we think are fueling conflict. >> whatever they are doing, they are being very effective on the ground against isil. >> there are different pieces. this support to the iraqi government. we are doing our part with the iraqi government. other countries are supporting the iraqi government. as long as those are not working at cross purposes, we take the view the iraqi government is a sovereign nation and can invite support from countries it chooses. we are not coordinated with the iranians on the ground are communicating in any way about
operations. the iraqi government, as the sovereign, is working with us and our partners and is working with iran. on the militia piece, we have a concern. well it is true they have not effectively in some cases, they have galvanized sectarian tensions. that's counterproductive. our view of how this needs to work if it is going to succeed the iraqi government has to be multi-sectarian. all elements of iraqi society need to feel protected and part of the iraqi state. to the extent the shia militia has exacerbated tensions, we consider that a problem. >> iran. nuclear negotiations. where does it stand? >> i think you know we have had a number of rounds. we just finished one yesterday
in geneva. there has been some progress. some of the issues are being worked through. i have to tell you there are significant gaps that remain. >> like what? >> i'm not going to get into the details. i don't think that will be productive. let me explain the categories of issues we need to work through. there is iran's enrichment capacity. what will it be allowed to retain? how can we be certain that whatever they retain is fully transparent? the international community is able to validate with certainty they are not able to use enrichment to produce a bomb. that is a big issue. what kind of stockpile if any would they be allowed to retain? what configuration? will there be research and
development involved? what about the plutonium facility? how do we ensure there is a transparency regime? >> to all those have to be settled before you get to an agreement? >> we have to deal with all the issues. we may not have every i dotted and t crossed. >> of their question is what do we do about sanctions. if you want us to restrict your nuclear program, you have to stop sanctions. are we prepared to stop sanctions they convince us they are limiting their nuclear program? >> the short answer is, they are not going to be able to convince
anybody on day one they have stopped. they are going to have to prove through their actions which will be validated that they are upholding their commitments. this will be a phased process anyway you slice it. one year ago, when we agreed to the interim arrangement, there were many who questioned whether the iranians would uphold their end of the bargain. whether they would get rid of the 20% highly enriched uranium. that model will need to be sustained in any comprehensive agreement. we will need to be up to see and test and verify the commitments
they have made are being implemented. >> michael morel was here talking about this issue. the former director of the cia. he said it was not really about how many centrifuges. what we have to worry about is some hidden program. that is the more important question. >> the first question is, can we extend what we call the breakout time? how long would it take them, if they decided to break all their commitments and make a bomb, how long would it take them to manufacture the material for the bomb? separate and apart of whether they have a device. the breakout time, we think, needs to be sufficient that we and anybody else could not only detect they are breaking the rules but act in response. >> it is said that time is a
year. >> we think a year is a reasonable timeframe. >> is that what we are demanding? >> more than would be necessary. it is not the time to a-bomb. it is the time to make the material used in the bomb. you asked something else i don't want to leave untouched. what about what they might do covertly? not only are we trying to extend breakout times, but make sure the other multiple pathways, like an underground facility the plutonium path, the iraq reactor. and any covert path can be detected.
that is what we are doing with regard to the transparency measures. from the beginnings of the material to what might come out and account for every step in the supply and manufacturing chain. >> what is the difference in the u.s. position and israeli position? >> it is hard to answer that question, charlie, because i have sat in many hours of exchanges with my israeli counter parts. and their experts from the intelligence community. nuclear experts. in each of those discussions our assessments have been virtually identical. >> assessments of where they are. >> of what would the necessary to give a greater degree of comfort. that is not a political level discussion. that is an expert level discussion.
>> you see no space between where they are and where we are in those discussions you are having with them on a technical level. >> we have been very closely aligned, both in our assessment of what is going on and in terms of our assessment of what would be tolerable. >> how serious is the administration about the fact that prime minister netanyahu wants to come over and speak to the congress? >> i don't think is a question of being furious. >> how would you describe it? >> the u.s.-israeli relationship is one of our most important in the world. obviously, our closest ally in the region. it has always been based on a shared commitment to security.
shared values and principles. it has always been wholly and completely and entirely bipartisan. politics have never been -- >> on the security aspects, u.s. support in terms of military things, we could not ask the administration to be better. >> what i am saying is something different. the relationship between israel as a country and the u.s. as a country has always been bipartisan. we have been fortunate that the politics have not been injected into that relationship. what has happened over the last several weeks by virtue of the invitation that was issued by the speaker. the acceptance by prime minister netanyahu. on both sides, there has been injected a degree of partisanship. i think it is unfortunate and destructive of the fabric of the
relationship. take my point. it has always been bipartisan. israel wants it that way. the american people want to that way. when it becomes infused with politics, that is a problem. >> you think he is coming here because he wants to influence the election in israel? >> i'm not going to ascribe motives. let him explain for himself. we want the relationship between the u.s. and israel to be strong and immutable. regardless of political seasons in either country or which party may be in charge in either country. we worked very hard to have that
and we will work hard to maintain that. >> ukraine. there is some talk, reading newspapers and talking to people, that a possible agreement might he for a time -- >> are we back to iran? >> yes, we are talking about iran. the prime minister to coming here is also part of the question. the difference between the iran and the u.s. is an iranian question. there are some possible agreement that might be in the works in which they would be over a time, a restriction on what they do. >> we need to be careful. the deal is not cut. it is very much in the works. i don't want to get into predicting what if anything will come out of the negotiations. first of all, there is not an insignificant chance that there
is not a deal. we are not going to take a bad deal. only one in which we have confidence that our interests and those of our partners in the region including israel are secured. i don't want to foreshadow with any specificity what may or may not come out of the deal. we're talking at least double-digit years of assurances and transparency. >> 12 or 15. >> that is part of the negotiation. double-digit years, a set of arrangements in which we have complete confidence. any deal needs to be weighed against the alternative. the alternative, if a deal were not to materialize, could be that the restraints we have agreed and obtained, where iran is not enriching to 20%. they are managing and maintaining a limited supply of uranium.
we are able to have inspectors every day inside their key facilities. they could choose to abrogate that. that could be a casualty of a failed in negotiation. in that event, if the iranians were resuming the activities we have suspended, and act in a way they were prior to the agreement, we could be in a significant situation. we would need to maintain, if we could, the support of the international community. i think we could if the iranians failed to accept a good deal. the fact of the matter is, if they were to rush toward the making of a bomb, we have committed ourselves to prevent that from happening. there is a risk of conflict.
>> suggesting military action. >> there is a risk. we have to weigh any perspective deal against the alternative and decide which serves our interests better. >> a naive question on my part. how do we know they don't have enough visible material right now? >> because we are able to get in. >> there is none hidden away? >> we think it is highly unlikely. we are more confident now because we have eyes on many aspects of their program. >> if you could reach an agreement on nuclear aspirations on their part, would that be the crowning foreign policy achievement of this administration? >> i wouldn't put it in those
terms. i think we have had some others. but let's be clear about what it would mean and what it would not mean. it would not mean our significant concerns about iranian behavior would evaporate. we would still be very concerned about their behavior. we will do what we have to to protect our partners. however, an iran without the ability to produce a nuclear is weapon is less of a threat to israel and our gulf partners. >> and the idea of proliferation. >> that is why it is important.
>> ukraine. the president of russia just gave an interview, saying that they do not want a war in ukraine. do you accept his word? >> how dumb do i look? [laughter] no. in all seriousness, no. one cannot accept vladimir putin's words because his actions have lied his words. >> they keep supplying arms to forces opposed to the kiev government, the separatist forces. they have not stopped. they had this minx -- minsk
conference -- where are we? >> we will know soon. if the separatists have any intention of implementing this so-called minx -- minsk agreement. they have violated it in the earliest days. >> some people say that is just the beginning. >> if it is not the end, the cost for russia will escalate substantially. sanctions, certainly. russell's -- russia's political and economic isolations -- >> do you think sanctions will stop vladimir putin? >> let's recall recent past when
vladimir putin invaded jordan in 2008. he got away completely free. >> the bush and ministration -- >> no, i'm not saying -- >> they sanctioned it. >> the sanctions that the u.s. and europeans and others have imposed, the value of the ruble has plummeted. capital flight is extreme. with oil prices down, that is not sustainable. >> did they know that? >> i think he knows that, how much he cares is a bigger question. >> does he care? >> i think he has to care. will that cause him to take steps that we think are critical for him to take? that is the question to be answered. this will, at a mounting and painful cost to russian
interests, if he continues down this path. our approach has been as follows: above all, to help ukraine, has made a choice to reach out to europe. our effort has been to sustain it economically and provide support and make the ukrainian choice of sovereignty viable. secondly, we have saw to reassure and support our nato allies who obviously feel shaken. >> we are prepared by nato to defend them at all costs? >> absolutely. that is a sacred, solemn commitment.
>> so this is about ukraine, and do not think about going anywhere else. >> do not think about any single member of nato. i don't wish -- my job is better not to wish, it is better to take things as they are. with respect to nato, the united states and our partners have beefed up our presence. we are now they're in larger numbers. >> the key of troops, when they moved. >> you are making a different point. what you trying to do? [laughter] >> go ahead. >> i want track, you are trying
to get me off track. we are taking serious steps to reinforce nato's presence. to give them support and make it clear to russia that we mean business. the third thing, this is what we were talking about, is to raise the economic and political costs on russia for its aggression. we will continue to do that as long as fusion remains -- as long as vladimir putin remains on its course of aggression. if it fails, we will have -- first of all, weakened russia fundamentally over the long-term. which is not our desire, but it will be a consequence because russia is integrated into the
global economy for better or worse. the major partners with which it has to trade are prepared to raise the costs on russia incrementally as we have, for its aggression. >> my understanding of the chinese is interesting. >> tell me your understanding. >> i have read this support russia's theory of the case, which is that, somehow, what happened to the previous government and kiev those demonstrations were, you know encouraged from outside, and he believes that russia is right in that belief. >> i think it is more complicated. >> that help me understand. >> china's rhetoric has
supported the case that you have made. but their actions are telling. rather than vote with russia in the security council -- when the council voted to condemn invasion and seizure in crimea russia's subsequent actions in eastern ukraine, china did not vote with russia, which it almost always does. china has many reasons to worry about meddling in the internal affairs of other nations and its own nation. what russia did with ukraine is exactly what china has opposed and feared for its own purposes in its own backyard. >> is that what they -- >> another thing. china has another -- a close
relationship with look -- with ukraine. their relationship historically, has been strong. china is conflicted at best. it is looking at this as a complex problem, both from its own domestic point of view and from its relationship with russia and its historical relationship with ukraine. it is trying to strike a very low-key and middle course on this issue, and not gone whole hog in russia as it has on other issues. >> why is that? you can see it clearly in security council votes. >> that is where you see it most. they have formed a partnership -- china will be quick to say it
is not an alliance -- on many issues of mutual concern. in some instances, they show in opposition to the vast majority of other countries particularly in the security council. in most issues, they are coming along with the rest of the international community. iran was an example. russia, china, and the other members of the security council has been an agreement. north korea, we have been in agreement. >> the u.s. and china are largely in agreement on north korea. >> yes. >> and what are they doing to influence the north koreans? >> when i say we are largely in agreement, what i mean is that we all understand and agree that it is contrary to international law and our interests for north korea to have nuclear weapons.
we want to see a dino clear eyes korean peninsula. -- denuclearized korean peninsula. more recently the chinese government has, on about lateral basis quietly but meaningfully, changed the nature of the relationship with north korea. the quality of their diplomatic contacts, their diplomatic relationship, and other forms of bilateral engagement has been reduced and downgraded. >> has the hacking at sony raised concern we have about threats to cyber security? >> absolutely.
we have had a significant research -- concern about cyber security. it is an issue about which the president has been focused going back several years, because we have seen that both domestically and internationally, we need to take steps to assure others of our abilities. what the north koreans did was somewhat unprecedented, and that a nationstate hacked -- not just hacked, but inflicted destruction -- physical destruction -- on a private entity and then sold some data. -- stole some data. >> have you seen the president
change as those events causing to say, i thought this but now i think this. this has risen genetically. >> the landscape and the issues have evolved. i will come back to that. i think his basic judgments and instincts and his intellectual approach to problem are quite consistent. the landscape has evolved. we talk about this in security strategy. when he came to office, our economy was in crisis. we were trying to prevent a global economic collapse unemployment was much higher, we had not read to the benefits of our burgeoning energy production
. from a variety of perspectives the strength of our economy employment, energy security the fact that now millions of americans who didn't have health care have health care, we are graduating more people from high school than ever before, the fabric of our nation is substantially stronger than it was when obama came to office. that gives us freedom and flexibility in some respects but also greater national strength. that, then, impacts our ability to lead internationally. >> he said that no nation can maintain its primacy on a global scale if it does not have a strong economy. we now have an economy that is
growing. it is leading the world. does that give us added incentive to play a larger role in the world stage, we have influence. we cannot be the world's only there are limits to america's power. >> there always be limits, but our leadership is unparalleled. you have to step back and ask where would we be and where would the world be if the united states were not meeting? >> thank you for coming. >> thanks for having me. >> susan rice, national security advisor to the president of the united states. thank you for joining us, we will see you next time. ♪
♪ >> live from pier three in san francisco, welcome to "bloomberg west," where we cover innovation, technology, and the future of business. i am cory johnson. here is a check of your bloomberg top headlines. fed chair janet yellen defends the central bank against republican accusations she is too cozy with the obama administration. here she is testifying about a question about her meetings with treasury secretary jack lew. >> the federal reserve is independent. i did not discuss monetary policy or actions that we are going to take with the secretary, or the executive branch.
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