Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  October 3, 2011 8:30am-12:00pm EDT

8:30 am
thinking, you know, the faa saying hundreds could be killed and this is a public safety problem. you know, what next? >> guest: cecelia, we are working very hard ensuring we deliver on fcc's mandate to us, to build a network on schedule. i would say that not only we are confident of making those commitments, we think will cover 260 million americans by the end of 2014, the year ahead of fcc's mandate to us. and we are able to do it because of, first time in industry the kind of relationship we have done, first time anywhere in the world the relationship we have now created with sprint. and think about end of next
8:31 am
year, second half of next year when we launch our network. and i'll give you an example, which is, my family gets excited, my friends get excited. today, if you wanted an unlimited data text and voice offer on your cellular phone, go there, you can get anywhere from $59.99, to $109. that would use less than one gigabyte of data a month or because that's what you generally use on your smartphone. to our retail partners, one gigabyte of data, we will charge them $6. think of the benefit. let's say our partner doubles it, quadruples it because they have to pay for distribution, they have to pay for this. american consumer saves 50, $60
8:32 am
a month. that's $600 in the pockets of americans. its $14 billion of investment in the u.s. infrastructure. at a time when we are not only behind, but getting further behind in the broadband infrastructure. we are number 17 in the world today, 17. comparable to malta in terms of broadband conductivity, and slipping. it is 15,000 new technology jobs every year for the next five years. when we are hurting due to unemployment. it's every single penny of our investment is private money. $14 billion over the next eight years. >> host: we will have to leave it there. sanjiv ahuja is the ceo and president of lightsquared.
8:33 am
cecelia kang, tech reporter with "washington post." >> and this is "the communicators" program and this is the second half of our interview with sanjiv ahuja who is chairman and ceo of lightsquared. cecelia kang is our guest reporter. cecelia kang. >> you are right now at the subject as well as the revelatory agency, the federal communications commission of at least two investigations by people, to lawmakers on capitol hill. there's a lot of question as to whether relationships that the companies had with the white house and meetings with the fcc, a fast process someone's at the fcc for getting the approval you needed to get your network up and running. you defend yourself in full-page ad as peter mentioned. why do you feel, what is wrong here? arguments understood in your
8:34 am
mind and why? can you blame? >> guest: cecelia, lightsquared has gone through, my recollection, probably most extensive regulatory process i've seen anywhere in the world. the spectrum has been going through process for eight years now. and i'm an engineer, i'm an entrepreneur. i have built businesses, telecommunication is my passion. i came back to the united states after having worked in europe for almost seven years. because i saw a need for american consumers. when i used to come back, visit my children here when they were going to school and college, i would look at their bills, i would look at the network quality. it was no better than how i left it in early 2000. when we could build networks in europe that could penetrate
8:35 am
through two walls and a moving elevator, and we were offering terrorists in europe that was 30% lawyer, then it bill of an average american, and coverage that when i went 20 minutes outside new york city to visit my site in philadelphia, that phone would not work phone would not work i felt that there was an opportunity, a need to one, build the networks, rise at a rate that americans truly deserved. i'll give you an example, cecelia. i have another business where we build broadband, wireless in emerging markets. we offer in bangladesh $14 a month unlimited wireless data.
8:36 am
how many americans get that? zero. that hurts me. that hurts me as an entrepreneurial. it hurts me as an engineer. but that's also an opportunity. on the basis of that opportunity we have raised billions of dollars. we have created the world's most sophisticated satellite system, built by boeing engineers. we launched it, and it's working today. it is the largest commercial satellite ever built anywhere. we believed it could be done, and it has been done by american engineers. >> so no doubt of the potential, the story that you are talking about, the potential that the government as well, the obama administration, the fcc like to see realize at some point, but we have a reality today where there have been tests that you have done as well as gps
8:37 am
industry that shows interference problems. you have come up with a solution that requires more testing, of course. who needed early on in the process, what engineering minds, the great american engineers you talked about, from where? the federal government, the sec see, who needed to speak up early and say this is a potential problem of 260 million people are going to be covered in this massive network with devices that could potentially interfere? why was there when of all these experts and is great american engineers, why wasn't there a very loud, clear voice, particularly from the federal government? and who should have sounded off the alarm early? >> guest: i think federal government, but more than that, let's talk about the history of this as i said, because that's really important. the primary authorization to build the network happened in 2003, followed by that in 2005.
8:38 am
all the related players, not just the government, but all the gps manufacturers through gps industry come, and others participated in the process and supported. this is when you go through a planning board. your neighbors participate in most. you would expect if planning board approved your application, that they would be a building to be constructed and they would assure that they are not encroaching on your building. they are not encroaching on your piece of land, your property. in 2010, country did not have the financial resources, so i think this issue really should've been brought up back in early 2000 spent by whom? >> guest: by the folks in the gps industry to say, look, if you build a network year, we
8:39 am
have devices that will never be able to be used. and actually, in their defense they did ask us not to transmit any power over to the gps spectrum. and at that time we started investing millions of dollars, $10 million were invested in building a very thick wall which said we would not transmit any power over to the gps. and you would expect that gps, geyserville devices, would be able to handle it. now, let's take a couple steps forward. actually 2008, department of defense and others put the specifications out and said that there would be a network that could be built up here in this frequency band. so i gps devices are to be resilient to that network. so that's why --
8:40 am
>> they weren't gps, in other words, tragic department of defense for themselves. for the acquisition and other things. and if you go back, we had moved away from gps spectrum your so when people talk about some of the interference challenges, they are still referring to our work plan. you're building a network close to the gps spectrum, now we are further away. and as i said, issues related to precision devices, we have announced the solutions last week. and amazingly, with a half a dozen or so gps manufacturers approach us and say, we can build back and live harmlessly with lightsquared. you will see many more devices. >> host: what about the faa's concerns though? have those been addressed with your new plan? just look, we are working closely with faa. i think our spectrum is.
8:41 am
i don't see any aviation issues. >> host: were you taken by surprise by the faa's raising of these issues? >> guest: the issues were understood when this happened, okay? i was, yes, we were surprised that there were devices out there that should have been building properly since 2003, 2005, and for almost a decade they hadn't been designed to deal with the network built up. yes, that was a surprise to his. >> host: is that what you mean in your full-page ad when you say that despite the fact, despite the fact that the interference is caused by others in the appropriate use of light squares license spectrum? >> guest: look, this is all spectrum users use the spectrum just like the land you have to build a network in a spectrum. we committed not to transmit
8:42 am
over to gps. interestingly, these gps devices look very into the lightsquared spectrum to perform the service. >> host: so is the gps users. >> guest: some gps devices, your cell phones and others are absolutely fine. your personal navigational system and your cars work absolutely fine. you're not going to get lost. some gps devices, actually of the precision receives that we tested, almost a fourth of those receivers work absolutely fine as well. they are by the large precision manufacturers. not only that, this is now as i said with half a dozen gps manufacturers, gps equipment manufactures same we can build devices that will work harmoniously live with lightsquared. >> host: but when it comes to the faa, the pilots union has said that the next generation of
8:43 am
course of faa control is going to be gps-based. so, is their use of the gps still into your spectrum? is that they're concerned? is that how you see it? >> guest: what i can speak to is the faa concern primarily related to our old spectrum. there are discussions on how we build a network in the new spectrum that we have proposed, which is farther away from that. and we are working with faa to ensure that the power level, the construction of the network and design of the network is in a way that should absolutely not have any issues. i thought as much as anybody. not only that, look, what we are building is a business that helps americans, helps american consumer. it has to be a system that
8:44 am
leaves those personal issues at any kind on the table, all of those issues we don't believe exists. and the network we build should have absolutely no personal safety issues at all of any. what this is about is serving the american people in the way they deserve it. and it's about opportunity in this country. it's not just economic opportunity for lightsquared and its investors, and its employees, and this applies to it. it is an opportunity for entrepreneurs. it is an opportunity for a college graduate seeking in missouri to say i have created a new game that can run on internet, can i get access to the broadband wireless network to take they came to the market. because if he or she wanted to do it today, the costs of entry
8:45 am
would be two or $3 million to work with one of the large wireless operators. they can do it with lightsquared for $0. we keep it open to all of these entrepreneurs to come and test their devices, test their applications, test their games, test agriculture applications to the most advanced business-to-business applications so that they can deliver that. so when you talk of economic opportunity, it's not just about lightsquared. it's an economic opportunity for engineers, people like my children, people like your children, our friends, our relatives. that's what this is about. >> host: mr. ahuja, do you think the verizon, at&t, the comcast are trying to squeeze, you think maybe some of the recent noise about lightsquared has been raised by some of the
8:46 am
larger established wireless companies? >> guest: peter, as i explain to you we are building a network which is wholesale only. this industry has a business model which is completely vertically integrated. wireless operators do everything. they give you the network. they build the network. they operate the network. they manage the network. they have retail stores. they go to the customers. they provide service to the customer. and they decide for you what application they can sell on the network. for instance, can you run over ip? no, you can't. ours is an absolute open network. we encourage people to run voice over ip on our network. we encourage you to run their income and we charge at the rates that we think the entire sector, the prices as a consum consumer, should drop 30, 40,
8:47 am
50, $70 a month. that's straight money in your pocket. so anytime you try to do a disruption in an industry, established players are uncomfortable. because you are challenging their existing business model. but that's expected. but the very model is, as i said, if they are not our customers today, i want them to be our future customers. so, we look at them as partners in this business, even now or in the future, sprint is a partner and we value that relationship. i expect at&t to verizon will be partners. comcast will be a partner. at the end of the day when we get our service operational, 330 million americans gain. again come in their pocketbook. they get better quality network. they get not one or two more choices, they get tens of new choices. obviously, driving secure your network and lower prices for
8:48 am
them. that's the benefit. and people in this country for the first time are connected coast. >> host: sanjiv ahuja is our guest on "the communicators." he is the chairman and ceo of lightsquared. cecelia kang is the tech reporter with the "washington post." spent i would like to go back to peter's question. can you explain more because it sounds like you are saying that yes, competition is the competitors are afraid and they will be challenged. and the chairman of harper capture, your lead investor, said in an interview recently on fox news debates competition might be behind us. so what's going on? there's a very expensive from outside a very expensive political battle going on, full-page ads, lots of lobbying going on. there's so much around, he don't even have a network of yet. what is the battle going on? when you talk about competitors feeling challenge, who'd you think is being challenged and
8:49 am
how is this being played out? just for observers who are concerned about this issue, and a lot of people of the question, why is a private company that has these big aspirations in this situation in the first place, so if you could. >> guest: cecelia, when you do a disruptive business model, it has to make some uncomfortable. when you talk of an environment where you can serve american consumers and have them pay prices that are dramatically lower than what they pay today, the industry as it exists today gets challenged. but i believe in fair competition. i have built my career over fair competition. around the globe. i believe in america's
8:50 am
commitment to free and open market. i believe that this country of ours encourages risk-taking, private investment, entrepreneurship. and i believe that anytime you try to building your business, you expect competitive pressures. so i'm good competing with the competitors. i'm afraid fair and open ground. i have no concerns about. and we are very comfortable, but our model is it really doesn't compete with what exists out there. the market has a need that the current operators cannot satisfy. they don't have enough capacity. i'm trying, we at lightsquared are trying to fill that capacity gap. i think eventually the biggest gainers of this will not just be
8:51 am
the existing operators because they won't have capacity to serve their customers, and they are running out of capacity over the next two, three or four years. i would think two years most of them will run out of capacity. look at the new tablets that are getting out there, new devices that are getting out there. our appetite as consumers in this country, to consume wireless broadband data, it is insatiable. wait for the new iphone. let's look at these devices as the first generation devices. this is like the old commodore pc on your desk 30 years ago. cecelia, they will consume, so the companies that a few that they are competitive threat from summit as destructive as lightsquared, i think eventually they'll come around and say, you know what, we do need their
8:52 am
capacity. and they will want to be our partners. that's what we want to be, and we have approached them. we are trying to work with every single one of the operate in this country to say look, we can help supplement and complement your network we have congestion today, where you expect that you will not have enough capacity. so that they can serve the consumer better. obviously, we will serve them, serve an american consumers through tens of these american companies. >> there are though concern when you talk about a level playing field that lightsquared as a private company did not play on a level playing field, that perhaps there was influence or special favors granted by connections within the white house through requests to the fcc of an expedited process, and the inclusion of a particular portion of the national broadband plan that really applies to your business, using
8:53 am
the l. band satellite for terrestrial use. can you please address those concerns about this not being a level playing field for private company? you talk a lot about the consumer been the biggest beneficiary that lightsquared is a business. you will benefit in the billions as well estimate cecilia, process really relevant here is 2003 and 2005 process. 2020 -- 2010 was a, the change of control was a very long several months long process. okay? i don't know how it could've been longer than more detailed and more comprehensive process. this is as comprehensive process as i've seen anywhere, globally on any spectrum, change of control issue or any companies change of control. so we went to the extensive process, and that required us to
8:54 am
commit $10 million of investment, private investment which we had to go out with very substantive amount of that money from private investors to invest in the u.s. infrastructure. so we had to go and convince the investors, several of them, that this is a good opportunity. it benefits american consumer, but it also has to be good economic opportunity that we could gather them to invest in this company. but they have invested. over the last year we have raised from several investors over two and a half billion dollars for this company since the acquisition of that. and that has been done on the premise of 2005, 2003, 2010 fcc specific authorizations.
8:55 am
and now the challenge is for us is to raise the rest of the capital that we can go to the rate the fcc has mandated as. i'll tell you how we see and how i personally feel it. it is a battle, in some ways, and you stated it, it is about lightsquared versus very large established players in some ways. because we are disrupting their business model. it is about companies that are worth hundreds of billions of dollars, hundred year history and longer. it's about changing an industry that is making it radically different to provide more choices to customers. people ask me, how do i feel about david and goliath situation? i said, i feel fortunate if i
8:56 am
were the size of david. but, you know, what? in this country, and that's the foundation is fair competitive process. we are trying to go through not a one specific incident of the process. it's an eight-year process. and i think that's where, if you really step act and look at it, this is an eight-year process, each step of the process has, you know, very long, very detailed comprehensive process. >> i wonder though at this stage is, how much of a david you are. in this sense, you, with a webcam and i think their own economic analysis might have supported this, please clarify if i'm wrong, essentially without waiver of the
8:57 am
terrestrial component, your plans to build up this terrestrial network, you are taking spectrum, spectrum is so valuable that you didn't pay for in the first place, but it -- clarify that, please. but you make it exponentially more valuable, and you're trying to raise capital to build it out. but could you at some point -- forget i said the other part. obviously you think it is wrong about you not paying money. but you have made it more valuable to this regulatory process, and the question is, what happens if you don't raise the capital, actually build this thing, could you sell it for the spectrum for a lot more money? >> guest: cecelia -- >> do i have a totally wrong? >> guest: regarding with is that, if i may, i think there are several misperceptions with what you just related. so let me just point out and highlight a few of those, if i may respectively do so.
8:58 am
the spectrum was given to this company in 19894 or five predecessors ago, as a part of american mobile satellite systems. at that time there were no options of spectrum in the united states. the rules that were established were established in 2001, 2003, and the authorization to build the network was given in 2005, okay? so if there was an economic gain that happened, that happened six, seven, eight years ago. it was a long process the company went through. but at that time the company did not have economic wherewithal to build the network. but it had authorization to do it. if you go back to 2005 findings
8:59 am
of the predecessor company of lightsquared, sky care, it is openly stated the company has authorization to build tens of thousands of space stations. fcc authorization of 2003 and 2005 clearly states that the company has authorization to build a network. and you know what? one part you're absolutely right. we saw that as an economic opportunity when we tried to acquire the company. and when we acquired it in 2010, but it was based on the authorization company had in 2005. so -- >> the atc. >> guest: the atc rules were established in 2005. so you're absolutely right. this is about entrepreneurship. it is about seeing opportunities where others don't see it. we saw opportunity in 2009 based
9:00 am
on 2005 rules that the company had authorization. i would respectfully, you asked me, go look at the company filings of 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009. the authorization existed since that time to go build terrestrial network, and atc that would. we were a public company at the time. others were not seeing opportunity, and fortunately we did. that's why we acquired the company. so it was not an instantaneous transformation of the spectrum. it was almost a decade long process. i think in this country one of the fundamental foundations is sink economic opportunity, and this economic opportunity also serves the american consumer better. ..
9:01 am
the this daylong event includes remarks by dick cheney, steve chaska and the scooter libby and former deputy security adviser, elliott abrams. the impact of this year's political uprising in arab countries and potential threat iran. we expect it to get underway in just a moment.
9:02 am
live coverage on c-span 2. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
9:03 am
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
9:04 am
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> we are going to get started. personal welcome, everybody who has come here today. my name is cliff may come president of the foundation for defense of democracy, policy institute created just after the attacks of september 11, 2001. i want to thank out the speaking
9:05 am
here today in particular michael oren will make remarks at the conclusion of today's discussions. thanks for coming. there will be other strictly menaced bothö discussions. thanks for coming. there will be other strictly menaced both. once we get started via c-span live. i want to thank the bradley foundation for invasion name and initiating in making this event possible. america's security has been a priority for bradley from its earliest days, an aspect of this mission has always been to promote a vigorous defense of american ideas and the dictations at home and abroad. over the past two years, our friends at bradley have been concerned that america's most important and strategic relationships have been weakening, primarily, then the u.s.-israeli alliance. bradley came to ftp and the huston institution to bring together experts for a series of
9:06 am
discussion of issues, what is clearly a critical moment in history. thanks in particular to diane stiller who is at best day and also make really in terry constantine, both of who i've had the pleasure to know and respect for many, many cares. thanks to our colleagues that has been in particular bill phrack and who will hear in a moment. this conference is scheduled to coincide with a 20th anniversary of the victory peace conference. 20 years of peace process that have not brought peace. this event is even timelier, considering what is recently transpired at the united nations, both mahmoud abbas asking for the u.n.'s blessing for unilateral disc independent and an expression of anti-semitism unlike anything since the 1930s with the exception of turbine to to and
9:07 am
durban one. a global conflict is underway, it being waged by a network of regimes, iran primarily a month in an organization's al qaeda is only the best known and individuals all of whom are committed to the destruction and defeated israel, america and the west. in the 20th century the democratic experiment came under attack both by those who believe when we must conquer the world and by those who believed that one class was destined to rule. today the democratic experiment i would argue is under attack are those of the variation on this theme, domination by adherents of one religion. anti-semitism is an important component of all of these ideologies and the project of radical anti-semitism in the 20th century with severe put to choose the project of radical anti-semitism in the 21st centuries of middle east studies
9:08 am
jewish day. i ran through layers, olmos and others threatened with genocide in europe and america far left and right john in response. i was hearing underrated this morning that leon panetta is in the middle east telling the israelis they are increasingly isolated. my guess is that it did not come to a great surprise to them. the question is what they can do about this. maybe we will talk about that this morning. meanwhile, the palestinian authority has not prepared his people for peace, nor most of the leakers themselves prepared for peace with israel. now bill schaff, a high pa official recently said the following. the story of two states where two peoples means there will be a jewish people over there and the palestinian people here. we will never accept this. and mahmoud abbas himself recently said don't order us to
9:09 am
recognize the jewish state. we will not accept it. charles tran heimer to syndicated columnist and adviser wrote the palestinians equate prepared to sign interim agreements like oslo framework agreements like annapolis comest cease-fires like the 1949 armistice, anything but a final deal, anything but a final peace, anything but a treaty to end the conflicts once and for all the leaving a jewish state still standing. the reason abbas went to the u.n. was to give plan without peace, sovereignty with no reciprocal state come mistaken without negotiations and independent palestine in a continued state of war with israel. this is the reason that regardless of who is governing israel or territorial disputes are solvable, existential conflicts are not. not even a nations to know they are isolated.
9:10 am
let me leave you with too much that they hope will ponder and may discuss the historian, herbert tuchman one-stroke israel is the only nation in the world governing up in the same territory under the same name with the same religion and same language as it did 3000 years ago. winston churchill once said the belief that security can be obtained by during a small state to the wolves world since a failed solution. i remind everybody to please turn off your cell phones. we do have tv recording. the less different to the commissioner mike said. although uncomfortable for some are better for tv and then we'll go with that. let me turn the microphone over to ken. thank you are a match. [applause] >> is always a great treat for me to go to a microphone and not have to worry it a few inches.
9:11 am
many thanks. we at hudson institute are pleased to be partnering with that defense and democracy for today's conference. we are deeply appreciated as this at the steadfast support of harry bradley foundation for today's comp and from the hudson institute for bradley. american public policy -- the good american public policy out there would not be out there if you know what this online that harry bradley foundation hudson institute with the what is it that bradley foundation's work. as it is a future international, whose research and analysis seeks to promote security, prosperity and freedom. we were founded some 50 years ago this year and we are pleased with -- to have a significant bench of numerous former top-level policy officials, a member of the new here from today. we would not be what we are without the support of the harry bradley foundation. it has been said or did of
9:12 am
initiatives including flagship publication current trends in islamist ideology, which is co-edited by fred kent and erich brown, formerly of the harry bradley foundation. a day to book a merciless fan of experts will be speaking today. audience here at the capitol visitor center, diplomats in attendance from a dozen or so countries, congressional and executive branch staffers as well as others as well as surcease bbdo didn't. and they see the special notice thanks to marco rubio and his staff for obtaining the splendid conference center room for us here on capitol hill. our subject today is the u.s. israel relationship in the 20 years since oslo, the relationship between united days in israeli strategic and deep and is based on shared democratic values, but also on strong cultural and religious affinities, particularly among evangelical protestants have been the better support for israel in america today.
9:13 am
this deep relationship of trust between our two countries and the sheer challenge of fighting islamic extremism leads in turn to significant intelligence and military cooperation that benefits both israel and the united states. in the context of the close and stable relationship, changes even if minor become amplified. significant changes we've seen since president obama came to office will discuss today seem to be all the more important in this context. in the past two decades in the face of the stability of israel's liberal democracy and the strategic stability of the u.s.-israel relationship, the middle east county region critical to the united states, has been a seed of instability that long predated the so-called air of spring. to be sure, as chris noted, israel stability is regularly challenged by the unconscionable behavior of its neighbors. and beyond the stability that
9:14 am
israel finds itself increasingly isolated diplomatically at the night nation general assembly with a 10 days ago and by the increased distance that israel's regional partners, egypt and turkey, are taking. and this context car topic is what is israel's new path forward in the new bit elitist? and given the importance that the united states and israel and israel to the united states, what is the role of the u.s.-israel relationship in meeting these challenges? we begin today with our first panel, a discussion on the peace process. ask the patient in reality from which features a month prefer assays including dixie national security advisor to examine where we been since oslo, where we are going about america's whole lot to be in the current environment. we then turned to a panel of noted experts to examine the challenges they would pose this to israel into the united states and threatening to wipe israel off the night using terror proxies such as hamas and
9:15 am
hezbollah to exporting radicalism far and away to syria and iraq as well as afghanistan and yemen and most importantly, seeking to construct a nuclear bomb. our experts will examine whether iran is still a thin and in light of the area of spring in what this might mean for the u.s. and israel. at lunch time and a scheduling change with the good fortune appearing aquino from from author george gilder, who wrote the israel test makes the case at the state of israel is the leader of western civilization and of technological progress. israel here he stands on the the united states and its contribution to global high-technology and defense therefore yerkes must be paramount to the united states. after lunch, we will analyze the failure of the u.s.-israel strategic partnership to the united states senate panel but teachers among others congressman peter roskam of illinois who chairs the
9:16 am
republican israel caucus as well as activists gary bauer and no longer about the foreign policy council. our last panel, the way forward rights and opportunities looks at the change environment on the ground in the middle east, including the palestinian drive for statehood, rolls of iran and turkey and the potential challenges and opportunities posed by the popular movement for democracy that is so far overthrowing regimes in egypt, tunisia and libya appeared to tinker the password for israel in the u.s.-israel chip. include this extraordinary conference at the keynote closing remarks at the ambassador michael oren, a man is not only the leading historian at the u.s.-israel relationship, but in his newly minted was a diplomat over the past two years has come to that this history firsthand. within a turn for a reception. this obviously significant ground to cover without further ado a leading strategic thinker at top analyst of the middle
9:17 am
east, hudson institute senior vice president scooter libby. [applause] >> thank you, can. i'd like to welcome all of you here today. it's been a fair amount of commentary and thanks to the support of the bradley foundation. i would like to also extend a word of thanks for their friendship and insights they've added two exhibited many months we've been working with them. the title that the organizers of this conference have assigned to our first topic today, peace process of expectations and reality suggests a certain skepticism about prospects, at least near-term prospects for success. so does the passage of 20 years or 65 years. ndp made in the shadow of the
9:18 am
fence that i won't we summarize the cliffs mentioned. of course, some matters for middle east peace under different lives have moved a lot more smartly. in 1973, each at what a surprise attack against israel, yet within a handful of your speeches tonight jordan reached on interim peace agreements. now that was a peace process. by contrast, we is peace process to refer to two decades of suffering, frustration and terror. john donne reminds us for whom this belt holds our panel will assess it our panel will assess it our panel will assess it locations. a decade after madrid, a decade into the struggles, ambassador dennis ross was advising president clinton on his last ditch effort to bring these peace at tomba. ambassador abbas later wrote it was different this time.
9:19 am
it was too late to think in terms of peace process. it is now yet again another decade after those events in the immediate neighborhood we have seen a second intifada, a much-maligned fence and a territorial withdrawals, leadership changes, hamas may cause a were provocations, more fat, more work. and of course, numerous shovel ready construction projects. episodically, we've seen progress in daily lives. drama stops the middle east as well. we meet in the midst of these optimists perceived, still above an event called the arab spring with consequences in egypt and elsewhere is yet unknown. meanwhile, turkey turns towards older path to rates away at its relations with israel.
9:20 am
lebanon sent to the hand of an iranian supported group, and i ran all suspect creeps towards a nuclear weapon. for decades, american policy has steamed ahead on the police the peace begun in each of jourdan should repeat albers. now they shift uneasily. where do i then signed as now? le carre learned learn from the past? how should the u.s. view those issues in the coming era of? to help us with these and other questions, we have three panelists agreed experience. detailed descriptions of their careers are in your programs. for those of you who don't do your homework, let me say a word about each. for 35 years,.dirt kenneth weinstein is that middle eastern history and science at emory university. his boat, her of diplomacy come
9:21 am
explores the american mediated middle east negotiations at the 1970s. elliott abrams was an assistant secretary under president reagan. he later served in president george w. bush's white house's deputy national security adviser were focused on middle eastern matters. elliott is now a senior fellow at cfr. john hanover under president bush number 41 on the state department policy planning staff during the madrid peace conference. under president clinton, secretary of state warren christopher's staff during arab-israeli negotiations and under president george w. bush's national security adviser to vice president cheney, a particularly demanding position until. [laughter] now a senior fellow at the defense for senior democracy. in closing, i want to note that
9:22 am
these three share another polity not marked in our programs, intellectual courage. in the 1980s, professor stein served as first director of the carter center. in 2006, he spoke out against president carter's book and poking a part-time. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff is no stranger to interagency battles are spoken of the courage it takes to stand against a wrongheaded bakersfield interagency consensus, when left alone will likely be to squandered opportunities or worse. i have watched both elliott abrams and john hannah by such battles month after month and a principled way and times of great acrimony. they have exemplified the kind of intellectual courage of which the former chairman of the joint chiefs boat. here today we seek not consent this but. each panelist will speak for up
9:23 am
to five minutes. we have installed electric prods in their chairs so that if they exceed their five-minute there will be an increase in the enduring amounts of pain. then there'll be time for us to pose questions to the panel. note the word questions. the end, time permitting each panelist will have a few minutes to summarize there for. thank you for your attention. let the games begin. perhaps professor stein for arriving last should leadoff. >> wonderful. [applause] they wouldn't allow me to bring my back in. someone is outside outside attending tonight overnight pills. good morning. i want to thank the center. i want to thank the hudson
9:24 am
institute. lots of colleagues and friends here in the audience into a very distinguished and esteemed panel. it's very difficult. it normally takes me about 17 hours, 1.5 hours each, 17 hours of class time to do what i'm about to do now. so it could very quickly and i'm sure we'll get back to some q&a. there are five quick points. what is oslo? it has mixed results in terms of the last period of time of 18 years. some good, some bad, still yet undetermined. what worked in the 1970s -- well that worked in the 1970s highly in likely to work again today. what a long-term palestinian arab goals in terms of the negotiating process? they pretty much have not changed. they become more sophisticated than the one contained in one man, contained in two entities, hamas and abbas and the pa. and lastly, what can we say
9:25 am
about america's engagement in arab-israeli negotiations? is this really wasted time for the united states? have we done more to elevate palestinian self-determination than any of their country and earthquakes i would argue the answer is yes and i would argue we probably have provided more money to the palestinians over the last decade than any other state, so that may be contested by people here who know more about dollar amounts. the point of it is, maybe we should not be engaged in the negotiating process. maybe we should not be appeasing to palestinians. maybe we should step back for a moment to let them take a breath of fresh air. first, oslo schools, mixed results. review's review's goal was to slow down radicalization of the west bank. he said this quite clearly in a speech which he gave to who died in our are quoted in his book on the prime ministers they came out this summer.
9:26 am
he wanted to embrace a secular national movement of the palestinian organization, arafat's group. he did not enjoy the handshake on the white house lawn. the accords allowed the plo to continue their dual track approach of building institutions, receiving funds from the top down, characterizing israel and its negative turns. and i think what is most evident is now we have two elements of the plo, on call thomas and one of pa. vote once resided inside arafat and other intellectually, ideologically and geographically separate. oslo bites painted creative process enfolded a whole series of negotiations and ideas and declarations, not to mention a few of the clinton parameters, the report, tenet report, arab league initiative, the courts have roadmap, geneva accords and any number of statements made annually by the european union.
9:27 am
sharon's remark at her solea, the annapolis peace conference remarks, both at the aipac conference and in the congress last year as well as both abbas and that yahoo! at you and most recently. so we've spawned a lot of ideas, but someone once said to me in the 19 tvs, and maybe we are giving a lot of gas in the truth. and that may be why we are exactly doing. the third point -- the second point i want to make is, why can't it work today and why cannot work the way it worked in the 70s? they can work today because in the 1970s we had leaders who wanted to make a difference, leaders do it powerful support from their own government, those who are not afraid to reach out in i.q. difference. they had ripeness. both are afraid of the soviet union. both of them wanted the united states as an ally. both of them decided they would use the united states, but even
9:28 am
if united is made that difficult, they would find a way to reach around the united states either through morocco or romania, but they found a way to reach out to each other. i can't say that about the palestinians will miss attacks that exist today as compared to the 1970s here to view at the white house engage to the respect its sides with guides viewing to make concessions that are necessary to reach an agreement. a summertime in hebrew is give-and-take. it's not u.k. that we take. and the bottom line here is that the matter what the israelis will say about accepting a two state solution, something that happened in the last decade, that the united states has endorsed the last decade. the matter with united states senator with the israelis say, it seems to be insufficient, excuses seem to be made for not wanting to come to the negotiating table. in the last point i want to make because i know time is running,
9:29 am
the speech that abbas gave at the u.n. to this past week ago, nothing could have been more angrier or more hostile to arab-israeli negotiations than that speech. that was a speech full of all the words that we've now come to know about delegitimization. if you go to the speech very clearly, you'll find all of the keywords from ethnic cleansing and apartheid to colonial settler state, anything you'd normally find at american university campus seaward at the u.n. from the chairman of the palestinian authority. and i'm not convinced, therefore, that this is an organization that is yet prepared to share the land west of the jordan river. the negotiating process will succeed when the palestinians decide what they don't want. thank you very much. [applause]
9:30 am
>> good morning. let me add my thanks to bradley foundation and to ask td and hudson are the very nice introduction for my friend, scooter libby. as we look back over 20 years, one significant thing in my view has changed and not really the point that i want to make. the change has been the understanding that the vast majority of israelis that there should be a palestinian state and that the formation of that state is going to require a very sick if you can compromises. it is in this period that the so called greater israel movement has died. what are israel's requirements for peace quiet let me just read you the demands. palestinians are separate from
9:31 am
israel, quotes, but we would like this to be an entity which is less than a state. the borders of the state of israel during the permanent solution will be beyond alliance, which existed before the six-day war. we will not return to the june 4, 1967 line. these are the main changes. not all of them which we want any permanent solution. first and foremost come united jerusalem under israeli sovereignty. the security border of the state of israel will be in the jordan valley and rightist meaning of that term. close quote. whose demands for those? it's ever been, rabin has been above constantly as if you were a member of the member party, a speech in 1995. today such demands would be good as some type of anti-peace right-wing conspiracy. in fact come in a speech to be a
9:32 am
mean their fact come of prime minister netanyahu mentioned the security border and u.s. attack for such an inconceivable position. in fact, under rabin, barak, sharon, olmert and netanyahu, israel has moved and lived again. it was eight years ago -- around an out of the broke with the so and parties passed and said, quote, it is in israel's interest not to govern the palestinians both are the palestinians to govern themselves in their own state. that was by the way new position for the united states as well. when i worked in the reagan and industry should under george shultz, we were firmly opposed the creation of a palestinian state. ..
9:33 am
>> now, as ken stein has said, if you listen to the speech by, actually should not say president abbas, because the
9:34 am
speaker of the u.n. was chairman of abbas. he was there as the representative of the plo. he said he came from the holy land. the whole land where jesus lived and from which mohamed ascended to heaven. no mention of other religious group that might've had a tie to that particular location. and, of course, his repeated references were references to 1948, not 1967 and 67 border. they are were no similar developments on the palestinian, developments towards the understanding of compromise. the key events, the refusal of peace officers, the death of arafat of course and the secession of abbas in these 20 years followed by the hamas election victory in 2006 and the takeover of gaza. what has been missing entirely
9:35 am
is an effort by arafat or abbas to begin to prepare palestinian people for the genuine needs of peace. that is to say, compromised. in fact, i would argue that abbas went to the u.n., instead of to the negotiating table precisely because he wants israeli concessions without having to make any concessions of his own. that has been a very positive development on the palestinian side, but it is not on the plo or fatah. it is the building of institutions in the p.a. but prime minister fight on. what should not understate the achievements in institution building, but that's the p.a. is not the plo. it's not the top leadership of the fatah party and, of course, it's not hamas. whose main political goal in the so-called unity decoration seems to be to oust fire.
9:36 am
the palestinians continue to suffer i would argue the curse of poor leadership. a comparison that is unfair to abbas in a sense he has completely aroused violence. but like his predecessors, and and whatever his motives or excuses, he is unwilling to lead his people to peace. so i would have to say that i see the so-called peace process now likely to lead to where the meetings held in washington are begun in washington last september, remember the last visit resident no bartlett at that time, nowhere. and you. -- thank you. [applause] >> spent i've got to raise the mic.
9:37 am
i, too, want to join the other panelists in thanking for hosting the event, letting me participate. thank my other distinguished panelists, especially my foreign boss and good friend, scooter libby. i don't think we've had the pleasure of serving on the panel together since we left the government service. it's a great pleasure. 20th anniversary of the madrid conference. madrid brings back very, very vivid memories for me. i at that time was on the policy planning staff at the state department, working for secretary baker, obviously, but also for dennis ross and comment somebody we all know and respect. the gulf war, first gulf war had just finished. i think everybody working certainly under dennis, and i'm sure scooter at the time, was at the defense department.
9:38 am
we knew it a fairly unique historical juncture. after all, it wasn't every day that an american-led military effort had produced such an overwhelming victory over probably at the time the most dangerous middle eastern tyrant. we all knew he probably created a moment in time, a degree of fluidity in the region, dynamics created opportunities and possibilities that certainly hadn't existed before the war. and if not acted upon fairly quickly, whatever window of opportunity on some of these potentials would close fairly quickly. awful lot of ideas got thrown around. lots of them very big, bold ideas. to try to advance american interests and exploit that victory in the gulf war.
9:39 am
the one that president bush and secretary baker, of course ultimately settled upon, was to use our victory in the gulf war and very quickly pivot and use it as a platform for launching direct negotiations, not only between israel and the palestinians for the first time, but between israel and a broader circle of arab states within the multilateral negotiations that were to occur. and within a week of the gulf war, the secretary was off to visit the region to try to rally support for that idea. it was the first of many, many trips that he took over the course of the next six or seven months. and the issue really came to dominate american foreign policy. indeed, that first trip took place at the very moment after saddam's defeat at our hands, within several days he turned his massacre of tens of
9:40 am
thousands of his own citizens, shiites and kurds, who had rebelled against the regime and responded to president bush's call that they take matters into their own hands. and they were massacred, of course, under the watchful eye of american troops in kuwait still occupying parts of iraq. at any rate, the whole madrid effort as somebody who wasn't enamored of the idea of a big push on the air of israeli peace process, given where we still were in the problems we're going to contribute to face in a place like iraq and persian gulf, it really brought home to me the really limited capacity of the united states government to deal with big issues, or multiple big issues at any one time. very hard choices need to get made about how the energy attention and resources u.s. government are going to be
9:41 am
prioritized. and something like the arab-israeli peace process, metric, demonstrate to me at least and has left a lasting impression, that the peace process not only requires all of that energy but it requires it to be successful from the very, very top levels of the united states government, the very highest decision-makers in the united states government. has a way of sucking all the oxygen out of the room for the rest of american foreign policy, if you're going to 60. and, of course, the madrid did succeed. secretary pulled off, and near the diplomatic terms with a great achievement, but looking back 20 years at least it's a struggle for me to define what was really the lasting concrete contribution that that breakthrough at madrid has had for american national interest. i'm a little hard but to explain it in any level of detail.
9:42 am
i've been reminded of all of this of course in the last several months, developments, particularly in new york, when cliff talked about was 2011? 2011 is the of these incredible historic ever rebellion, for good or ill, that took place in the middle east shifting history is being made, dictators that have been in existence for decades, some of them collapsing overnight, others under siege by thousands of their own citizens. and what is it that comes to dominate the entire opening session of the 2011 united nations general assembly? this spectacle of the palestinian bid for statehood without negotiations, and yet a completely hijacks not only the opening of the general assembly
9:43 am
but it's a diplomatic scene in the weeks and months leading up to that. president obama's own speech paragraph after paragraph after paragraph about a palestinian issue that has no hope of being resolved at any point in the near future that's been ongoing for at least six decades. and yet one, two throwaway lines about iran and the iranian menace. country racing towards nuclear weapons. times where world without the united states, openly, according to the treasury department has been in a multiyear alliance with al qaeda. one or two lines do not a single initiative about how the united states is going to actually deal with this issue. almost the same for egypt, and egypt whose fate pee during on the balance between radical extremism, economic collapse and
9:44 am
perhaps the potential for some kind of stability and orderly transition to a democratic transition. couldn't find anything. virtually anything meaningful in any of the speech is much less the american presidents speech about what the international community is going to do. to try to ensure that soft landing in egypt that is so absolutely critical to american national interest. same thing for how we are going to stop the syrian regime, at every moment that assembly was meeting, brutally massacring hundreds, thousands of its own citizens. how are we going to stop that civil war in syria? i couldn't find anything meaningful in the united nations declaration. four months ago president obama gave a speech, speech at least was, was billed as obama's strategy for the arab spring.
9:45 am
what does anybody remember from that speech now? 1967 lines, land swaps, the palestinian conflict. 10 the full paragraphs about the palestinian paragraph. one paragraph on iran. it doesn't seem right to be. it just doesn't compute, but i do think it highlights a particular hazard that ken may have alluded to about the way for the place that peace process, the peace process the last 20 years has had in american foreign policy and national security policy, and absolute obsession people have had with it, and the opportunity costs that go along with pursuing it. but i do think we have to worry about the extent to which is highly desirable and noble objective may, in fact, crowd out the things that are really vital and urgent to american
9:46 am
interests, and to which the actual application, smart application of american power and prestige and influence might actually do some good, which i think is a hard case to argue that we have had much good come out of the peace process over the last 20 years. stop there. [applause] >> thank you all for your presentations. i think i will pose a question or two, and then open it to the floor for questions as well. so, is there a microphone that will be passed around? greg. so, while you're getting set up on that let me start with the question, i think it is usually useful to read refer to the great philosophers to hand with ongoing questions like this, so i'd like to revert to dr. seuss.
9:47 am
[laughter] who pose the existential question before our time, what would you do i if you ran the z? [laughter] and i wonder if each of our panelists would take up that question. you need not rise, by the way. [laughter] >> professor, would you like to start? >> sure. i've always wanted to follow the dr. seuss. i think the united states has, as john so aptly pointed out, devoted a huge amount of time to this negotiating process. i don't even call it a peace process since the signing of the jordanian israeli treaty in 1994. we've exhausted every conceivable method. we've spawned all sorts of other ideas and participants.
9:48 am
i don't think the sides are prepared to reach an agreement, particularly the palestinians. and i don't, because i'm a historian and i look back to the '30s into the '40s and to the fragmentation of the national movement then and now, there's not a lot that has really changed in terms of their geographic ideological intellectual attitudes toward sharing the land west of the jordan river. and i think we keep on beating a dead horse. no one can claim the united states has not had an instrumental role to play in upgrading palestinian national definition, from a press conference in 1972 when it was referred to policy the dissipation to a president, and president today a two state
9:49 am
solution, viable palestinian state. and we've given a lot of money. the palestinian arab national movement remains ideologically divided. it has not come to grips with reality that there's been a political change in the middle east. abbas never mentioned the united states at the u.n. he never mentioned to 40 or 238. he mentioned 194. now, maybe that's because he is appealing and piecing his right. maybe he is talking to his constituents. but i think the united states, as john points out, we have so many more issues on our agenda today than carter had in 1977, 78, 79. and they are much more critical to the strategic national interests of the united states and the peace process. so if i were giving advice at least for the next year, and
9:50 am
maybe for the next year and a half, i would not try and rewind or accelerate or engage in arab-israeli negotiations in any series way. in fact, i would tell the palestinians point blank, either you think about the concepts of 242 and 338 and to abide by them, or we will just not be there for you. and it's time that we use our influence, the bully pulpit, and didn't get caught up with so many people in this town that are devoted to this issue. i mean, i've made a living off of it for 35 years but i can't imagine how many others in this city have. we just have to meet other issues in the middle east that require our attention. >> well, i have a lot of sympathy with that view. i think, in a way, the high point for what i would view as a
9:51 am
proper american policy came in 2002 when president bush essentially said to the palestinians, we will support palestinian state fully when you have met a series of preconditions, new leaders, not compromised by terror, a practicing democracy not by the way one that simply cancels election after election after election. a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty. when the palestinian people have achieved it, and new security arrangements with their neighbors, egypt, jordan, israel, then the united states will support the creation of a palestinian state whose borders and certain aspects of its sovereignty will be provisional for a while. in essence, that's what goes into the road map. i think the united states should stop, if i can use another bush phrase, treating the palestinians with a soft bigotry of low expectations, and start making demands, the kind of
9:52 am
demands that in a sense professor was referring to, demands that teaching the palestinian people to prepare for peace, both in the statements of the leadership and in things like public school textbooks. because i think that would be laying a really foundation for peace and meanwhile, we should continue to support the institution building effort that are under way. >> i don't disagree with what my colleagues have said. you know, with regard to the peace process, i, again as sour as i am on what's transpired over the last 20 years, and what was put in place in terms of the plo able to reclaim control of territory next door to israel,
9:53 am
create that level of tyranny and dictatorship that they did, the amount of weapons that were allowed to go in there and the amount of deaths that have occurred over the last 20 years on both sides is really quite dismaying. i do agree that we need a transformational moment on the palestinian side. that hasn't come yet, although it was supposed to have come with oslo in 1993. i think it's instructive that the moment we thought we had had 1993 with arafat came under, you know, quite specific circumstances in which the united states had in effect won the cold war, the soviet union was defeated. we had one a real war, hot war in iraq and defeat a middle eastern tyrant that arafat had supported, and we proceeded to
9:54 am
negotiations with palestinians outside of the plo. and it was only in the context that arafat swallowed hard and made the decision he did to at least mouth the words that he was recognizing israel to put himself back in the game through the oslo process and the secret negotiations with prime minister rabin that occurred. and i think, i don't think there's any direct application to our approach towards the palestinian issue today, but i think there are instructive things we can learn, including that perhaps the most important role of the united states, while it's important, and i think of social on the peace process. i don't buy any of this nonsense that the palestinians gained in new york signals the end of the american role in the peace process. i think it's as true now as it was 20 years ago that the door to real peace and a real settlement in the middle east only goes through israel.
9:55 am
and because it goes through israel italy goes through the united states as the essential guarantor of that process and the guarantor of israel's security and israel's ability to take risks for peace. but beyond that i think the real critical function that the united states, the very helpful role it can play in shaping its strategic environment in which the parties either feel that they can take risks for peace or that they have no other choice but to take risks for peace. and i think in particular in the current strategic environment, first and foremost that means a continuous american priority on the danger and threat posed by iran. i think it does mean leaving iraq in a stable situation, as a continuing developing democracy that is not in the iranian orbit, and that does maintain a robust strategic relationship with the united states.
9:56 am
and i think it clearly means following through and doing whatever we can to ensure some kind of, or quarterly as transition as possible in the arab countries that have undergone all of this turmoil. enforcer for most i think egypt. egypt and the fate of egypt and the future of egypt dwarfs whatever important in time and energy we will spend on the peace process in the next several years, trying to get egypt right and ensure that egypt's strategic orientation continues in a way that is at least moderately sympathetic to american strategic interest in the region. i think it's actually essential and needs to be at the top of america's list of priorities. and if we get those kind of things right, it seems to me that we've gone a long way to fulfilling our job of trying to
9:57 am
create an environment in which both israelis and palestinians can actually have any chance of moving forward in a constructive way. >> there is a great human toll that persists while this problem persists, that we talked about briefly earlier. you all have talked about issues involving lack of the type of leadership, lack of perceived interests which have led to this impasse, and you talk about the lost opportunities of not focusing on other issues. but some would argue there is a strong harm to america from this issue, not somehow being forced into a resolution on the presumption that there is a way to force it into resolution. could you address, to what extent you believe there is ongoing harm to american interests from this impasse?
9:58 am
>> well, i will try first. i would not argue that there is no harm. the harm would be in the image of the united states in the minds of particularly arabs, but muslims outside the middle east as well. the problem is that it is hard to measure, particularly because, i mean, egypt is a good example. it's hard to know how much is, if you will, the natural healing of egyptians and how much of it is 30 years of egyptian government, vicious anti-israel and to some extent anti-semitic propaganda. and the same is true in a lot of arab countries. so i just, i find it hard to tell. there's also poll data on all sides of this that makes it difficult to measure. i would say there is a cost, but
9:59 am
there's a cost on the other side, too. that is, what happens to the image of the united states in the arab world if we are seen as a country that abandons a long-term ally when we decide that well, this month it's in our interest to do so? so, you know, my argument would be there's not cause. it's difficult to measure. the cost and the other side may be greater. >> when the u.s., in arab-israeli negotiations in history at when the american president is involved, and he is quietly involved through his emissaries, he tends to succeed. when he gets public, he tends to fail. and we don't do well when the american president makes statements about what the outcome of irresolution should
10:00 am
look like of a conflict. we do a lot better when the president says little or nothing. that certainly hurts the image, number one. number two, john said earlier when the president of the united states gets involved in the peace process, negotiate process, it sucks the wind out of, i think that's what you said, sucks the wind out of what else is going on. we know the wind was sucked out of carter, and who knows what would've happened in iran in that very precise moment when we were playing with camp david and going to blair house and going up to the signing of the egyptian-israeli treaty in march of 1979. we will never be able to know. went to -- the wind is being sucked out right now that we should be paying attention to but we are not. and we should be more deeply focused on. has anyone sat down to say, ask the question, is a palestinian state in the u.s. national interest? does it afford the united states a better strategic presence in
10:01 am
the middle east, or will it be inherently unstable? was a destabilized jordan? what will it be for the palestinian arab national movement? will it really tied it together? we make these assumptions that this goal of a two state solution is in the u.s. national interest to have someone sat down to say yes, it is? show me the reasons. there is a toll in what we are not thinking about, and we're not taking to the conclusion. believe me, i would refer, i would love to see two-state solution web, according to netanyahu's borrowing other's definition 2009. i think that's a great outline. but it's not likely possible. i do not sometimes we can say the same thing, but iran, afghanistan, iraq, regime shift in saudi arabia, yemen, egypt,
10:02 am
tunisia, we don't know what's going to happen with lebanon, what are we doing? this is not the 1970s. it's not the cold war. we have to stop because it is taking a toll. >> i certainly take scooters question because i have been sitting in the white house, or on a national security council when you are subjected, in which he tells you that unless, pay attention to this peace process, unless you get control of the israelis and unless you stop this violence we're going to have to reconsider our relationship, our strategic relationship with the united states. and that certainly is a message
10:03 am
that gets heard loud and clear and since off red flags, whether or not it should in the white house for a president, any present in the other states has to pay attention to those kinds of threats. and i think it's certainly the case that if anything, i mean, we can see some good things about the oslo process. i do believe that the great thing about oslo was that he did three of 18 hussein to go ahead and make his peace with israel, and that's been at least so far an enduring and meaningful peace, as scrimmage and a but more than that the peace process, even the process in most cynical sense, i think has helped at some level to mediate the obvious tensions that exist between america's ally, strategic ally, democratic ally, the moral responsibility the united states has to israel on the one the one hand, and a very critical, important relationships in the arab world
10:04 am
on the other. those are, there is some degree of conflict. i think it's oftentimes exaggerated between those, and i think the process itself, the ability of arab states and arab leaders to point to a process and say that the united states is, in fact, trying to engage in trying to make itself available for a solution to the parties. at the margins has helped american diplomacy. on the other hand, i think the larger point is how do we reduce our vulnerability to those kinds of threats and that kind of tension, and those go to much bigger questions i think about the nature of our relationships in the arab world, and particularly with a regime like saudi arabia, and raises issues about american oil policy and
10:05 am
strategy that people have been talking about for decades. and yet we've done very little about, but at least is one national security analyst, it is intolerable that a saudi prince who doesn't even have any official position anymore and write an op-ed in "the new york times" threatening the united states unless we do x. y. or z. that sent intolerable place for the united states to be. and i think about to be a good incentive for trying to produce a series of national energy strategy. >> thank you all. in the back. [inaudible] i'm an independent consultant at state and fbi. first of all i would like to thank each of you for being here today, especially ken stein whose opinion and analysis i couldn't agree with more. my question is for elliott.
10:06 am
elliot, you talked about the failed leadership of the palestinians. and we sort of help prop up abbas in the hopes that fayyad agreed and economic situation situation that would lead with how things would make concessions. my question for you is, what have we done wrong in trying or not trying to cultivate a more productive palestinian leadership? and what can we do differently to achieve better results backs not just demanding that they make succession, but what can we do to really create a leadership that is prepared to make succession? thanks. >> well, i don't think we can create a leadership that is what we review as more constructive, in the sense that we can do that anywhere. we haven't been able to do it in countries without a great deal more influence in.
10:07 am
then we have in the palestinian territory. what we can do is push in that direction. and my criticism is i don't think we have pushed very hard. for both, i would say the late bush and the obama administration's, everybody support the institution building effort under prime minister fayyad, but it was secondary. everybody is always looking for a handshake on the white house lawn. i mean, this seems to be, you know, the main goal of th the broken diplomacy at the time. that does not because it means that for one thing, your country on the plo rather than rather than serious work being done either p.a. on the question of incitement, this has been, the word incitement, is a cover for what is actually teaching hatred, teaching anti-semitism, teaching irredentism. and it goes on year after year.
10:08 am
it's probably less of a now than when arafat was alive, but we put up with it, and when anybody in congress says we should put up with this, we should cut eight or something, this is greeted with horror. the individual who says this is treated as some kind of bizarre extremist. so, i think we should be pushing much harder for the principles that we, as i mentioned, from the bush 2002 speech. we can't choose leadership but we can certainly speak the palestinians about what we think is necessary for them to achieve what they want to achieve. if ken stein is right and what they want to achieve is the destruction of the state of israel, then the only thing we can do that would actually be helpful is to repeat constantly, and here, and here i am critical of the obama administration, i think the bush administration did a lot better, repeat constantly, we are israel's friend and ally, and you will
10:09 am
never ever achieve that. because that's the only way they will ever come to terms with the permanent existence of israel. >> we could debate. >> thank you. for the history sure a lecture, 60 years have shown the palestinians unfortunately have never wanted to compromise the going thing that has changed is facts on the ground. presently, to my knowledge, a major portion is not being, if not the major portion of the financing from the u.s. with great promises from saudi arabia and other middle east country. the greatest pressure we have in my opinion is financially. why can't we refuse to support
10:10 am
them with compromise? >> well, i don't want to give you an answer to these questions, but the problem we have is congress is now discussing exactly this question. but the guy, this will sound a little odd but i think it is to come the guy who continue to speak at the u.n. and refuse to compromise as the head of the deal and we don't get the plo any money. we did the p.a. money. it is striking, the saudis just give the p.a. to hundred million dollars. they did not give it to present a boss. thank you to prime minister fayyad. they went around abbas which was i thought awaits and give it to fayyad and we think we know where the money will go. if you cut off the p.a., if you collapse the p.a., it's going to fall on the head of the israelis. the security cooperation to everyone tells you is so
10:11 am
important to prevent terrorism and to fight the rights of hamas in the west bank would be significantly reduced if we eliminated the budget that we now have for that. i'm not, i'm not suggesting that the budget, for example, for last year is, to reduce by 10 or 25% of some is a mistake. but the problem i think is that it isn't clear, it is possible and i think it's something that the u.s. government has never really studied, but it isn't clear that if you did that and the ta performed much worse than it is now performing, if your innocence destroyed this state-building project that fayyad has underway, it isn't clear that the united states would be better off for for that matter if israel would be better.
10:12 am
>> good morning. i am an egyptian american living here in washington, d.c. my question to mr. elliott. again, you mentioned that the greater israel movement has died. how could you -- [inaudible] settlement movement has numbers. [inaudible] the movement is alive and well. >> thank you. i'm struck by the fact that in 19 -- excuse me come in 2000, camp david, and offer to the
10:13 am
palestinians. 10 years later, well, to be exact, eight years later there was a different offer to the palestinians. a better offer from the palestinian point of view. that is, more land in the west bank. so from 2000-2000 age of thousands and thousands and thousands more settlers. yet, he is not stopped by this. nor does the offer he makes a palestinians get reduced in any way. it is a more generous offer from the palestinian point of view. despite the settlements. in my view, the question is not the number of settlers, it's the land area. whether the town is 38,000 living in it or 48,000 people
10:14 am
living it is irrelevant to the final agreement between israelis and palestinians. what is relevant is the land area. and if you go back to camp david 20 years ago, the extension of land area i think is quite minimal. the bush administration actually had an agreement with the government of israel under two prime ministers that settlement expansion would be up. and no new settlements would be formed. i think i was a good agreement, and i think that when you watch a group like the quartet, for that matter the united states department of state, obsessed about every brick and every apartment that is built, i think that's simply playing into a justification that i would call pretax on the part of the palestinians. now you have palestinians saying we cannot go to the negotiating
10:15 am
table because construction continues in settlement. a novel position that did not exist until, in fact, president obama invented it two years ago, for not only years but decades palestinians negotiated with israel at a time when, in fact, it was not only a population but a geographic expansion of settlement. so this is a new excuse. and, of course, the solution to the settlement problem from a palestinian point of view is it an agreement that defines the borders. to the deal. and then the problem would be solved. >> i want to go back to scooter's question about what you do if you run the zoo. it seems that the general answer was, realize we've been headed in the wrong direction, that the
10:16 am
efforts we have made have been sincere and have accomplished some things, but there's a limit and we have other things to do. it seems to me, however, that the zoo is bigger. it now includes, also have to be persuaded that there are others things on its agenda than israel palestinian question. i was wondering what do you think that is true, and also how you go about, how you think an american administration should go about persuading the rest of the zoo. >> i think there's some truth to that, but i mean, one of the things you don't do is begin your administration by raising expectations skyhigh that a
10:17 am
resolution of the palestinian conflict is going to be the country's highest priority and something that we hope to achieve within a year. setting completely unrealistic expectations that you have almost no hope of realistically fulfilling i think was the first serious error that president obama, obama may. he made a couple of other subsequent to that, one of which elliott mentioned about them putting on the table a demand that he couldn't fulfill with regard to israeli settlement activity, which i think was really quite a crushing blow to american credibility, not to mention what it did to the palestinians and mahmoud a boss and his position in the process. so those are things you of the don't do, but after that i think united states just has to kind of grind its way through and
10:18 am
again to set a new much more realistic agenda, and to talk and to act in ways that identifies a new list of priorities, that i think are hard to dispute frankly. again, you know, i think it's probably too much as much as i might like it to expect any president to resist the peace process completely. i think that's unlikely. i do think you've got to fit it somewhere in your kit bag, in your list of priorities, some kind of effort by somebody like dennis ross on the peace process. although i've got to tell you that dennis almost encapsulates, dennis his career and the obama administration almost encapsulates and manifest the entire, this is a man, one of the really smart, dedicated and determined creative minds in washington for much of the last 20, 30 years, started this
10:19 am
administration as the administration's darfur what issue? for iran. and what has dennis turned into? he is turned into the bizarre for a palestinian is process. i think that captures the problem that this administration has had very neatly to have somebody as good as far as dennis taken off the iranian file in order to figure out a way how to manage this intractable, highly emotional 60 year-old conflict that really at the essence of what's really happening in the middle east, these dramatic transformation and collects -- collapse of dictatorship, at its core really at the beginning has almost nothing to do with israel and the palestinian conflict. and yet this is what comes to dominate the american agenda in it months. i think you've got to find out. and you can only do it, you know, if you've got some of the horse ride, some other agenda to
10:20 am
ride. that's positive and it speaks not only to the vital interest of the united states, but clearly to the vital interests of much of the rest of the world and certainly to the rest of the middle east. why do the saudis really, really care about? do you think king abdullah really cares there's a settlement or he wants a settlement of the palestinian conflict and wants the prospect of an israeli embassy sitting in riyadh? or does he really think about iran when he wakes up every morning and the kind of menace that iran poses both in terms of its nuclear and military capability and terms of its subversion throughout the rest of the persian gulf? so i think it's got to be that kind of almost paradigm shift the way the united states thinks about its own interests, and then the way it presents those interests to the rest of the world that's got to happen. and it's slow and grinding work, and it goes up. as i think scooter and i found out, i think the bush
10:21 am
administration made a best effort at that if only because we were faced with the circumstances will our agenda had to be a lot of other things first before the palestinian issue, but you come up against a cottage industry in this town that's existed for a very long time, that there is no worse hypocrisy than to say that well maybe we shouldn't he devoting this much time and energy and attention in american national treasure on an issue that's been around for six dates, and as far as we all know will be around for a long time to come. >> i wonder if i could ask professor schatten a question. >> professor, we've heard some discussion today about the lack of transformational moment. there was a transformational moment in the past about which i've written extensively and i
10:22 am
wonder if you take what does one look like, or one particular one look like to and how does that compare to where we are now? >> regrettably, the united states and its foreign policy towards arab-israel negotiations as a focus on transactions rather than transformations. that is to say we're interested always in the size of the withdrawal, the numbers of troops in a demilitarized zone, the amount of money is received, whether it's area a, area b or area c. we get very focused on those issues. what we didn't get focused on in the '70s was on the transformation. we didn't insist to set out, please have immediate change to the way, no more not see self-described menachem begin. we didn't do that. we haven't forced the respective leaders in the region to understand that you only change
10:23 am
attitudes by transforming them. and we have to do that quietly. i'm not saying daschle really came to grips with this in the talk of 1998 when we begin to say, you know, we have to transform the way they look at each other. the reason it worked in the '70s in terms of transformation is because there was one leader who said after no circumstances am i going to finish my tenure as president of my country without me getting my hands back on bought the sinai. i'm going to do whatever it takes to make that happen. if i have to recognize them in order to keep the israelis to negotiate with the palestinians, that's what i will do. he was the engine of the 73 war. when carter got all hung up on comprehensive peace, he was the engine that said, i don't want to get lost in these papers, i'm
10:24 am
going to go to jerusalem. and he knew what he is going to get it into the israelis were willing to change cyanide for strategic change in its relationship with israel. you have to have leaders that understand transformations. you have to have a palestinian leader that says, i want to see my people in the state, in 10 years, that is going to be maybe one-eighth or one-tenth officials gross domestic product and you have to then set in place what it takes to make that happen. you can't have a policy, i characterize this, it's not i believe that the palaces want to destroy the state division. i i believe the palestinians are two headed ideology that says, one side that says let's negotiate not to reach a conclusion. i think they've developed a wonderful artform on how to negotiate not to reach
10:25 am
conclusion. and they sucked everyone into this process. and so the p.a. takes money while hamas is absolutely not on my watch. this was inside arafat for his entire life to ending 200 2004 t came outside of arafat. you had an israeli commuter and israeli leaders, unit for israeli prime ministers have said we would take a two-state solution. they said it. how many different ways can they say it? and it takes leadership. and once the leaders say it, then we have to be there to support him and urged him and urged him and cajole them and engineering them and financing and make it happen and make it go for and get the arab states around them to do the same thing. that's transformation. but it has to start at the top. you cannot have leaders who are managers. you have to have leaders who will encourage. and, therefore, i don't see it
10:26 am
happening. maybe abbas is just an internal leader. that's transformational. >> we have about three minutes left before the next panel, which will be on iran. and i wonder if, i mentioned at the front that there might be a moment or two for each of you to have a final reflection. elliott, would you care to kick off on that? >> i think we are coming down to agreement here, that there has been a change on the israeli side but does not been this kind of transformation on the palestinian side, largely because of a leadership failure. united states can't create magically a new palestinian leadership, though it can support some people and oppose
10:27 am
others. but i do think that, as john said, the thing that we need to recognize is that pursuing, i think it was actually come it wasn't john, it was floyd who said if you continue to the same thing over and over again, you get the same result, you continue it, each time you think you'll get a different result, this is madness. that actually is a good description of the american policy in the so-called middle east peace process. i think we could do a lot better by turning our attention to what a really more significant factor to american interests in pursuing a policy that would not reward the very failure of transformation on the palestinian side. >> john, you will pass? i just want to know that in the course of discussing palestinian problem today, elliott has referred to both president bush and education policy of sigmund
10:28 am
freud, for the record. do you have a final comment or two? >> i want to quote clark clifford. he said this in the memoranda to truman in 1948, and this has to do with do we question our own assumptions, and how many of our assumptions do we keep overtime? this was in march of 48 just prior to the partition of, after partition but before the state was created. he said it's argued our oil supplies will be in peril if we support the u.n. assembly's. there are those who say such a course of action will not get us oil, the edge will not sell us out if we back up the united nations partition plan that the fact of it is the arab states must have a royalties or go broke. 90% of saudi arabia revenues come from american oil royalties. in need of the niceties is greater than for them. essays appears a ridiculous
10:29 am
role. this does us irreparable damage. 1948. john hannah, october 2011. [laughter] thank you for letting me participate. [applause] >> we will switch over in italy to the next panel. we are live. do it quietly and come back in. thank you very much. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
10:30 am
[inaudible conversations] .. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
10:31 am
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> are right, folks, we are going to get going with the next panel. please take your seats. [inaudible conversations] this panel is ascendant around, threats of israel. we are going to jump right in and make up your introduction
10:32 am
remarks and then turn it over to our distinguished panel for a brief five minutes each and then q&a. and then they want to encourage a vibrant discussion and questions from the audience. it is clear that iran has fallen up the foreign policy agenda. after june 2009 in the fraudulent election in iran, the iranian dissidents glad to extensive media coverage. into thousand nine, 2010 sought diplomatic to be by the obama administration, talk about sanctions on a lot of action about sanctions both internationally at the security council come united states congress passed the comprehensive bearing sanctions accountability investment a classier push assignments about the up a president obama. and there is then a ceremony to be the impairment of its success when it comes to sanctions. that all ended with the great bear presold to the arab spring, the debt ceiling crisis, the
10:33 am
european government debt crisis in the u.s. perpetual election cycle, which is now started again. so iran has really been up to foreign policy agenda. the dvd in iran and in the region has not diminished at all. it continues to sub for its surrogates from hezbollah to hamas to the taliban, to shia militias in iraq and could, to shia militias in iraq and could heard a crack down on the arabian people. it recently has ratcheted up support at the assad regime material inside area, providing financing, economic support, technology and indeed every newspapers are working with the assad security forces to go down syrian differences. we want to focus on a man panel,
10:34 am
target back onto the front burner of the foreign policy agenda. to be that we have three -- actually for. we decided one. hello, john. we have four great experts and we're going to talk about various dimensions of the iranian issue. we are going to start with mike are into my life. my cassette proteins and previously served in the defense department on the national lynn taught at princeton. we will start with mark. mike doyle at the strategic framework to a strategic overview of where we are today with respect to u.s., iran and israel and they will move down the panel and see her win on very specific aspects of the u.s., israel, iran issue. >> thanks very much, mark. thank you overcoming. i would just like to do, as mark said, lay out the big picture and make an argument for the
10:35 am
need to have a paradigm shift by the obama administration. i think the place to start is just where we were just prior to the europe spring. ii think the super working on te region at that time how debut in their head in the region is divided between the united states on the one hand and its allies, saudi arabia have united area emirates, jordan, egypt and iran on the on me at the site with its allies. syria, hezbollah and hamas. and there were a couple of states sort of playing both sides. the turks come in the qataris and so forth. but it was basically a kind of two -- two party system that was vying for influence in the region. and then came the arab spring
10:36 am
that really kind of reshuffled all of the card. if you go and ask a question, if we continue to look at it as the regional politics as a contest between iran and the united states and we do scorecard, i would argue that it's kind of a tried this point. on our site can either have been turned into play. each of us is not outlive the united states. as a new cover by any stretch of the imagination, but the extent to which the united states can rely on the chip as a strategic partner in the future is a question mark over it now. and then on the iranian side, and the iranians have almost lost area. syria as an ally of iran has a big? over it as well. exactly what is going to happen in those countries is not at all
10:37 am
clear. and whether it's going to fall out to be there one of them in a way that works directly to the advantage or disadvantage of the united states or tehran is not clear. this has happened, should both tehran and the united states due to no prior planning or action affairs. it is just like the weather. the storm will prove the region and of reshuffled everything. i think as mark has said taking our attention away from the contest with iran. on the other questions have pushed themselves to the front burner in washington, questions of libya, questions of day-to-day policy toward syria, the problems of the egyptian economy and so forth and the kind of larger strategic view, how to conceptualize the american rule in the region they think is kind of fallen by the
10:38 am
wayside. one of the benefits of this conference would be to put a question back really a front burner. it is my contention that we ought to be -- washington not to be reading everything going on in the region with the question, does this benefit us or them is the first question we ask? obviously there's other interesting cut in the region such as democracy promotion, such as the flow of oil come security of israel and so on so forth. but the first question in every case that to be, is this working to the advantage of iran or the united states? that is not because they think iran's hand is behind everything going on. i don't want to suggest that for a minute. but iran is the only power out there capable of organizing the disparate elements of the middle east in a fashion that works to
10:39 am
the disadvantage of the united states. it is the only one capable and they think that is what it's actually doing. i think the iranian street everything and they reach a mass, does this benefit does the washington? if you put together an array of weeks we've been doing, working with elements of the taliban in afghanistan, working with militias in iraq, supporting aside, supporting hezbollah, supporting hamas and so on, it's hard to make sense of any of this in terms of ideology. it's impossible to make sense in terms of ethnicity. it's impossible to make sense in terms of nationalism. if you put all the activities together in the academy, the only explanation that makes sense is that iran has a strategic win or is following a strategic imposts wonder bread the united states and its allies in each one of these arena.
10:40 am
the thing about the middle east is one of these arenas has its own logic, its own set of players in the sense issues in everybody who plays in the arenas, iraq, lebanon, palestinian arena has to accept the game as they found it to a perfect extent, but then they try to shape it to your image. essay reviewing its commanders the grand strategic effort to undermine the americans. i don't think in response we approach the middle east in that regard. i don't think we have, since the fall of the soviet union, i don't think we've ever had no virtue pulled that we followed with tremendous clarity. to view a said about washington being it as a contest with iran prior to the spring was true to a certain extent, but you still found in areas likely to palestinian arena or with area
10:41 am
that there wasn't a consistent follow-through in that regard. as a result of the arab spring, i think the question has become even more muddied. but we will find as time goes on is that if we don't make a concerted effort to restrict the power of iran, then we are going to find in a short period of time will have a nuclear iran and the threat coming from tehran is going to be of a different nature than it is today. so i think it's incumbent upon us to start making this intellectual after to carry out a consistent policy throughout the region. analyst upgrade air. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, mike. that's very much the u.s. did for at least one u.s. perspective. i want to introduce a good friend and colleague, mayor jeb annan far from israeli was in a
10:42 am
renamed israeli analyst and teaches at the abc at the center, authored the first book i believe i'm between his shot, which was translated into a number of languages. he writes prolifically in english, farsi, spanish and portuguese, which is incredibly perspective. he's a contributor to the guardian and diplomat and we asked him to provide cyberspace is, israeli tears on internal developments within iran, questions about u.s. and israeli policy with respect to nuclear program, specifically sanctions for pain and just a general horizon of what is going on from the israeli is beside iran. >> good morning, everybody. thank you for the invitation. it's great to be with you here today. my perspective is one israeli perspective. in israel we have for every four
10:43 am
israelis we attend political opinions than 40 political parties, so it's going to share some of my observations with you observations with you and i thank you for the opportunity. their problem at the iranian nuclear program to me at least if it doesn't seem like a meal that can be resolved with the hammer. experience has shown us until now that it's more like a series of nuts that have to be unraveled one after the other. if there was a military solution to this problem until now, i think we would have seen what happened in iraq and what the press reported about what happened in the area could have possibly happened until now. but the iranian nuclear program is a much more sophisticated and difficult challenge which one until now could have been solved or can be solved or military action. now with regards to iran, what
10:44 am
kind regards as israeli peanut? to take in israel we're looking at a brand that is weaker. we're looking at a return which is more isolated in a no-win that looked far more scared of peace than war. the iranian regime, if ashley when it comes to dealing with the united state is far more fight in the state of peaceful overtures and threats of war. why? because the regime has lost so much legitimacy, especially after 2009, via praising the. one of the last things, the last clue that's holding this regime together in terms of his legitimacy is the anti-american and anti-israeli sentiment. the resolution, ladies and gentlemen, as last i was meaning. in 1979, those people who want to revolt in iran who are looking for economic
10:45 am
opportunities. they were looking for just as, against corruption. today in iran delays for the average average iranian is far worse than it was prior to the time of the shock. but the situation has worsened by multiple fact shares and life is far worse than people in the regime has to justify its existence. it can't justify existence to better economic performance when inflation is high in iran is 20% when unemployment is high time when the level of drug use in iran per capita income according to the united nations is number one. how can the regime justify its existence? the only thing it has to justify its existence is anti-israel and anti-american rhetoric. and every time the united states especially gets closer to the regime, we see worth fighting in the regime and see more of a crisis of identity.
10:46 am
and if they lose this card, i think it will face an existential danger. in my opinion, observing the iran, i think of one day the iranians hear the sound of israeli air force jets flying over in his time, they would consider it as a sort of games the iranian nuclear program. but if one day they hear the sound of air force one bringing the president of the united states to iran, tehran on a steep as it to the current growth of iran, that would be considered an existential threat because they will be left with nothing else to justify their stance. and this is why they are continuing with their current rhetoric against the united states. and this despite the regime cannot now come to the table with an agreement. because if it does reach an agreement and if there is improvement in relations with the united states, then it's going to be faced with severe
10:47 am
problems from within the corridors of power within -- in the regime decision-making circle appeared in terms of sanctions, sanctions have had significant impact. we don't know how much the iranians have, that there is recent reporting that the iranian funded zero and there's no money in there. i find it difficult to believe. the iranian regime since 2009 is not reporting. the parliamentarians don't know exactly how much money the government concerned. why? regime number one is suffering because of sanctions and number two, they've been hating money away. they've been creating secret slush funds. to the regime, without the economy cannot survive. the engine of this regime cannot survive on the chance of death to american demands on its economy. and if truly there is your money left in the regime, these guys would have done at the
10:48 am
negotiating table with the serious offering writing a crisis for a nuclear program because the nuclear program is very costly. sanctions are also hurting the fact there. we see that the chinese know according to recent reports in the greece has slowed down their investment in iran's oil here. the most important if i can finish it back, the biggest danger facing this regime is not from israel. it is not from the united states. it is not from sanctions. it is from the streets of tehran in the streets of iran's major cities, where people are hearing more and more about how their rights are becoming more miserable because of the policies of the regime protecting some of them till now. when iranian government officials talk about and press talk about a $3 billion forts in
10:49 am
iran, it's because there's something seriously wrong. it's because the regime can no longer afford to have $3 billion fraud. otherwise it would've carried on because the $3 billion fraud is a drop in the bucket compared to the $35 billion that went missing from iran's oil income from 2006 and 2007. $35 billion went missing. we never heard anything about it afterwards because that was then. 2006, 2007, iran was not living in the sanctions. the reason we hear about $3 billion going missing is putting his foot down because the regime can no longer afford it. thank you. match. [applause] >> next i want to introduce lee smith. i begged him to receive today. he's not used to wearing suits because lee is not your conventional think tank fellow. he is or not there come a journalist. as reported by the for the region, including syria and lebanon. he is the author of a traffic or
10:50 am
call the strong horse, which i suggest all of you by immediately and read. it is incredibly inside of analysis of the region. i would likely to talk a little bit about syria and lebanon in particular. it's clearly about a battleground and lee has unique insight on what is developing here. >> thanks. i'm not sure my insights are so unique among the first half thanks to fdd and has hudson. i want to talk about syria and hezbollah quickly, but i want to sing back around and talk about something we mentioned before indicted were to the debate which takes place here in other places as sort of a one way to phrase it is whether or not the iranian regime is rational or irrational in his thinking. so call him back around to that in a second.
10:51 am
first i wanted to start -- first i want to start with talking about the theory and not one aspect of the year at spring, which is still going on now in its seventh month, which is actually quite a remarkable thing. one of the things i want to point now, which has a little bit to do with iran. if you look at what is happening on the streets of syria and 80s over the last seven months, it's really remarkable. i think in lots of ways we as americans are we as observers talk about it is somewhat sane. i mean, wouldn't the administration has talked about this when they talked about witness or when they talk about now we understand the violence that the shower is capable of and how this man has exhausted his legitimacy or respectability. this is not the point. it not about us as witnesses are we who are watching it.
10:52 am
the fact is the important thing is what's going on within the syrian loop itself and that these are the people taking the pictures. these are the people watching it and nonetheless in spite of profound violence committee keep going back out into the streets. that's the astonishing thing we see happening here. and i think we saw some of that have been in june 2008 in iran as well. syria is hugely important to the iranian regime since it is the arab states allied that they ran high and the purposes that have flared are it is a fact of the koran's bridge to the arab world, which has also allowed the iranians, along with hezbollah to jump to significant divide, which would otherwise limit the iranian regime's ability to project power and influence across the region. that is it has allowed to jump the sunni shia divide as well as
10:53 am
the arab persian divide. so these are the main two -- i guess two of the most important aspects of that alliance. the other thing is that the iranians have also used this eerie in some sort a catspaw against its adversaries including most importantly saudi arabia and also certainly josé mubarak's egypt, what happens in a post-mubarak egypt remains to be seen. however, most important, and most important aspect of the relationship is the fact that syria has used -- syria has served hezbollah supply line for about 30 years now. and without syria, without access to the border is going to make it much more difficult for hezbollah to arm itself. some of this via ferdy seanez hezbollah has been moving some of it -- i believe, most of it armaments have now been moved to
10:54 am
lebanon. does the extremely difficult to keep itself armed without access to that border. and so bishara falls. that is one thing that will happen. i see i am running out of time. i think one way to look at what has happened with experience is that this regime has in a sense already been toppled. what i mean is that the problems with this regime are that the way it affects its neighbors, the way it's projected power across the region now is really constrained within its own borders to have to fight itself. and so in a sense, the sense, the regime has saturday or the nature of the regime has already been changed. unable to project power the way it has in the past. anyway, let me just finish quickly with the rational and that is that if we look at the come if we look at the iranians have a regard to middle east and hezbollah and how they for
10:55 am
cardiff area, we see a regime that is trying to figure out how to operate across the region, how to project its power, how to influence different tears and what i fear when we talk about, do we understand this regime of what it means? maybe you saw mike mullen wants to establish some sort of hotline connection between the iranians. we don't understand them. i know this is going to sound profoundly ignorant, but i don't didn't do we need to understand the iranians as such. i think we can look at different actions and forget about questions that is irrational or is it irrational? we look at different actions of the regime rather than trying to figure out the nuances of iranian culture, persian bargaining and all these ideas which may make for interesting conversation among us here, but they have stopped us from looking closely and carefully about the regime's prayer says.
10:56 am
i want to say if you look the peloponnesian war, when the athenians decided to wage war, no one doubted that they were rational. nonetheless, after the end of that war, athens in a democracy no longer exist as such, which is history is nothing but the record of various states commit various peoples and nations misunderstanding their ability to project their own power and ending the power of their enemies as well. i think this is the way we should look at iranians, rather than trying to get a deep sense of the culture around are seeing whether they are rational or irrational. so thanks very much. [applause] >> we will turn to a lot of these issues in the q&a, but i want to introduce my colleague was written a book called hamas fatah has returned from jerusalem and john will address the issue of iran and hamas.
10:57 am
>> thank you, mark and thank you all for being here today. what i thought i would do for a few minutes here is just as the area briefly about how iran has become -- how hamas has become a military and political tool for iran in the arab-israeli arena. iran has increased its influence over time without question. and what a sort of interesting is that it is largely seen as a sunni arab action and largely seen over time is something that is under the control of saudi arabia. what we've seen is the influence iran has been a con and, since hamas' inception. i thought it would briefly go through better the background just to underscore some of the smm look at what say the balance
10:58 am
of power at this point in terms of whether iran is an asset or liability to hamas. but just by way of background, although hamas is born in 1980, 1989 it sort of came into its own and began to rate in semi-atomic missiles on this is largely done to avoid an israeli crack down. what is interesting is this also in 1989 was the year that omar bashir came to power. and through the muslim brotherhood, he carried out a coup in sudan and to surprise and alarm of many western analysts, began began to create an islamic public in khartoum. what we saw with examples of an iranian style army an influx of revolutionary guards, imposition of sharia law and an increase anti-western radical foreign-policy. and among the things that i'll bashir instituted was a training program for terrorist
10:59 am
organizations and among those terrorist organizations was hamas. so with iran in sudan, you have the beginning of the training of hamas as sort of a more efficient terrorist organization. and it was this training in a stream of funding from tehran, although most of the funding initially came from saudi arabia, iran had a hand in hamas terror observations throughout the 1990s. famously in 1992, after israel deported several eateries, it was tehran to setup this marriage between hezbollah and iran for hezbollah basically taught hamas the art of the suicide on. again, basically leading to a string of those throughout the 1990s. so iran continued to sponsor both hamas and palestinian islamic jihad in the 1990s. the idea was to inflict as much damage as well is to disrupt the peace process. but it soon became very clear
11:00 am
that iran was more than just simply sponsoring terrorist acts. it had become a political player. it had become a wedge between the two sort of large as factions the palestinians, hamas and fatah. yassir arafat put the little and threw their support behind hamas. it was not until early 2004 that hamas was really -- that it really came under the full control over iran. it was in after series of domestic terrorist attacks that rattled saudi arabia that the saudis turn off the spigot of heat that had been going to hamas over the years. ..
11:01 am
>> rocket attacks plagued israel over the years as well as the kidnapping of the israeli soldier in 2006. there's, of course, the iranian sponsorship of the hamas foreign office, if you will, in syria, this is another area where it's very clear that iran has had that influence over the years.
11:02 am
iran has had a crucial role in supporting sustaining hamas really from almost its inception. and i think that's something lost on analysts and it's only sort of a partially funded iranian project but, in fact, one could argue that it has become a full proxy. what's interesting is is that you're looking at hamas -- or iran is both an asset and a liability to hamas. it's an asset, obviously, because now hamas is extremely difficult to destroy. we saw that in the operation of late 2008 and early 2009, the israeli went in and unleashed a torrance against sxhams it was not something destructible and hamas still exists and it continues to thrive. but at the same time i think iran is a liability because it gives the impression that hamas is not an organic palestinian movement. if you look at the headquarters
11:03 am
in syria, for example, this is a continued thing that the hamas organization needs to fend off. and one can even recall that after the civil war of 2007 there were chants of palestinians chanting shia, shia, outside of hamas offices in the aftermath of that war so it was sort of -- you know, it was pejorative to be sure. so it is clear that hamas is an iranian proxy at this point that pose s a grave threat and the graver threat the u.s. and the israel interests are the weaker we can make iran, i think, in this context the better chances there are of ultimately being able to return to negotiations if that's ever something that is possible. with that i'll close and i thank you very much. [applause] >> all right. so we've had a very interesting analysis on a range of issues with respect to iran, but let's
11:04 am
focus in on some fundamental issues. first iran is moving aggressively to build a nuclear bomb. second generation centrifuges, large stockpiles of highly enriched uranium, moving their nuclear development to a hardened facility. that is the issue. that is the one clock that is ticking and it is ticking rapidly. i'd like to quickly go around the table and ask each of you a fundamental question or a couple of questions that are interlinked and then open it up to the audience. the first is, can the iranian nuclear bomb be stopped? if so, how? will containment work? if not, why? >> will our current policies stop it? no. there has to be -- at a minimum there has to be as i was suggesting a kind of a paradigm
11:05 am
shift where we make our absolute number 1 priority and work around the region to achieve it. i think stopping the bomb is not just -- is not just a matter of sanctions and targeted activities with respect to bomb-making activities but it's a matter of putting pressure on the iranian system all across-the-board, internally and externally and i don't see us doing that at the current moment. i do think it's possible as maker pointed out, the iranians have any number of vulnerabilities both domestically and internationally. but i'm not sure that we've done the best job -- i'm sure we've not done the best job of exploiting them. and your second was -- >> if we -- >> containment -- containment is the same thing. yes, they can be contained but, again, it requires the paradigm shift that i was suggesting.
11:06 am
if you look at the argument about iranian policy, the same people that are today arguing for containment weried arguing for engagement and a grand bargain with iran. in other words, i think that the containment discussion has been primarily dominated by those who have never really seen the threat as that great to begin with. it can be contained but it requires putting together -- that is a conflict that we need to ramp up to. we can't just do it with the way we've been doing it lately. >> this is probably a good opportunity for to you more fully address the issue of is iran a rational regime? it's fair to say if the sanctions are going to work, they've got to change a risk reward calculus of iran's leaders. if containment is going to work, then you've together assume that iran is a rational regime that can be contained. is iran a rational regime? >> yes, i assume -- i assume iran is a rational regime.
11:07 am
i assume that -- i assume that all -- when we talk about rational, we mean what, that it wants to continue or persevere in its way of life, persist persist in its way of life. of course, it wants to exist. it doesn't necessarily mean that it -- that it will do the things that actually enable it to continue to exist. if i can, i wanted to come back and just ask something that mayer that there's not a military solution. a couple things, what do you mean there's not a military solution? do we mean by the fact that there's the fact -- that no one has expressed publicly a bombing campaign that will end the threat of iran's nuclear's program once and forever? was there not a military solution to the cold war. we're not talking about the soviet union here. basically we're talking about a -- an obscure third world
11:08 am
regime which we see with its project around the region but the idea that we've built this up into some sort of -- something that we can't stop and that we have to find the exact place where we manage to leverage the regime's legitimacy, again, i don't understand that. to me, that doesn't seem like -- that doesn't seem like a policy the united states is actually able to carry off, nor do i think it's necessarily a desirable one either. >> mayer, let's shift to that. you used to think a visit by the president by air force one would be more effective than air force bombers taking out iran's nuclear infrastructure. talk to us a little bit more about that. and also elaborate on this question of how do you actually stop iran's nuclear program? is there a silver bullet and what is the range of silver shrapnel that can inflict enough
11:09 am
damage on the iranian regime that it can shift the risk ward regime. are they rational in that sense? >> in terms of sending president obama to tehran, i'm looking -- the way i described is how the regime views threats. what kind of threat can the regime live with. what kind of threat would the regime find it more difficult to live with? they were in eight years with saddam hussein, they know what war is. i'm not any of these. the way i'm looking at this, we're looking at something that in the cost benefit analysis for israel would be the best way to find a solution to what is going on. and the reason why i said that the military solution until now has not been a viable one
11:10 am
precisely because we have not seen a military attack. the best way -- the best solution for israel would be a peaceful solution for what's going on to the iranian nuclear program. we live in the neighborhood. i'm not under any illusion that these guys are bad guys. i don't think they're democrats. i don't think they want to have good relations with israel or the united states. but the way i think the solutions should be found -- i'm not sure if there's a silver bullet. i think the way the regime can be stopped is through a policy of sanctions and diplomacy which we see right now which has been very effective. the regime is having a very hard time with losing russia. they had this thing recently -- they tried to pull the russians away with this step-by-step approach with sergi, they said we're going to have this new system they wanted to separate russia from the united states because russia has now joined the united states. they will have this deal where iran will answer questions about
11:11 am
the nuclear program and then there will be no more sanctions imposed against iran and then after that part of the sanctions could, in fact, be removed. what we saw is that the iranians suddenly saw that the russians are not on their side and they now are suing the russians because they realize it's difficult for them. and after one visit by the russian chief of the national security council they found a diplomatic solution is very powerful. i would say to continue with what we're doing now, we continue with sanctions especially targeted sanctions to go after the regimes -- the wealth of the regimes' leaders like one had $1.5 billion worth of accounts in the u.k. the british government closed them. i can't think of a more powerful form of sanctions than to go after the pockets of the supreme leader of iran. in terms of the counter-regime can be contained? i think it can be contained. i don't want to live with a nuclear iran if, you know, if i have the choice. i don't want to because of the threats we hear from the iranian
11:12 am
government. and also i know because the arabs i'm also iranian, i'm also persian -- i know if iran gets a nuclear weapons, guess what? those arabs who have been having a rivalry with us for thousands of years, they will want one too and that's going to make the middle east a much more dangerous place. but if the iranians get it, can i live with it? yes, but it won't be easy. >> i don't know >> john, you worked at the treasury department, and talk a little bit about that from your perspective from a former practicingner of sanctions. are sanctions enough and are they working and really what else can be done? >> at the treasury, full disclosure i was involved in designating individuals not entire countries. but i do think -- sanctions have been, i think, effective to a point right now.
11:13 am
but i have my doubts whether they will continue to contain the regime or to thwart iran's nuclear program. i mean, just looking at what's transpired until now, the regime remains defiant. and so we have done an immense amount at the treasury department over the last decade or so -- and going after iran and going after the irgc and going after individual nodes involved in iran's nuclear program trying to isolate as much as possible without collapsing the regime. but i do wonder whether stronger sanctions are needed to actually cripple the economy. fully cripple where it cannot function any longer because we can have have not gotten the iranians to a point where they say uncle. and exactly what cocktail is needed is not known. and then there are those by the way who would argue that no sanctions at all, no matter how tough they are, no matter how many they are, will actually deter this regime.
11:14 am
that this is the one thing that they want. they want to go nuclear. and so then you've together start thinking about, you know, what are your other options? your military options? and i think that's something that we have -- we have conspicuously avoided in this country for the last several years. it's not something that i'm particularly pleased about raising but i think at some particular point it will come in our calculus but the options on the sanction side are beginning to run out. >> well, there you have it in terms of the analysis. let's open up the floor to some questions. and set the backdrop here, iran continues to march. and we have had a comprehensive policy. it's been a policy of sanctions. cyberwarfare of stocksnet. there have been extensive counterproliferation activities involving fault supplies making
11:15 am
it difficult for the iranians to move ahead and they're moving ahead aggressively and moving ahead not only in their nuclear program but in terms of their regional influences as michael and jonathan and liam in particular emphasized. let's open up the floor. si sir? >> my question has to do with a military option, two parts. one, is there a military option? could it be effective? could it be done by israel or the united states? secondly, in terms of israel, how much of a deterrent to the israeli prime minister are the hezbollah rockets? i mean, after all we know that was the main purpose of iran deploying the rockets to hezbollah, to deter an israeli military action. would a israeli prime minister -- if he ordered a
11:16 am
strike against iran be signing a death warrant from thousands of israelis? >> mike, maybe on the military option -- i mean, you worked at the defense department at the nfc and in the previous administration and the administration that decided for a number of reasons not to take the military option. and perhaps talk a little bit about why not and whether you think it's a good idea. >> well, the military option question was about the united states and about israel. perhaps meir can talk a little bit more about israel. it seems to me quite obvious that if it were to become a military conflict, the united states is in a much better position to carry out that conflict than israel simply because the conflict between israel and iran could -- could
11:17 am
become a regional conflict in a variety of different ways. you could imagine, for instance -- i'm just making up a scenario here. the iranians could respond to an israeli attack by saying that saudi arabia had assisted iran. it doesn't matter whether saudi arabia has really assisted iran or not and they can interpret that way and retaliate against saudi arabia with all kinds of detrimental effects to the flow of oil and to the -- and to regional dynamics and so forth and it would -- it would draw the united states in immediately anyway. so whether -- whether the united states actually supports an israeli action or doesn't, an israeli action will immediately draw in the united states. so if there is to be a military action it, ought to be initiated by the united states. personally, i think that the military option should be the very last -- the very last option. and i think there are a whole array of things that we could do
11:18 am
before that, that we haven't done along the lines of what i was saying before. the reason i think it should be the last option, quite obviously, as it always is, war is a very imperfect tool. we don't know what the outcome is going to be. there's no guarantee that we will -- that we will destroy all the program. we might just set it back. i have absolutely no doubt that we could -- that we could set it back significantly militarily but how significantly, i don't know. and we don't know what's going to happen there politically afterwards. there's no guarantee that the initiation of conflict of scale will topple the regime and lead to a set of policies on the part of iran that will be more beneficial to us and there's no way to know what kind of effect that's going to have for the united states around the -- around the region and around the globe. but i also just don't think -- looking at our own domestic politics here and the debate here, i think it's highly
11:19 am
unlikely that president obama or any one of his successors is going to -- is going to initiate military action against iran so i think a much more fruitful way of thinking about this is to think in terms of increasing the pressure on iran. let me just throw out one point and then i'll stop. a concrete example of the things we haven't done. to me it's really striking that on february 11, february 10/11, president obama called in the most categorical fashion for hosni mubarak to step down. hosni mubarak had been our ally for decades and after the uprising began in syria, we didn't call for bashar alasa to accept aside. if you read our policy closely, if you -- the ambassador to
11:20 am
syria's comments we have not thrown our support like we did with egypt and libya and the syrians have been -- the syrians have carried out policies that killed americans in iraq. they have been the long-standing ally of the iranians and toppling the assad regime would be a strategic blow to iran and to hezbollah. we have yet to take the kind of steps, i think, that would make it a certainty in the eyes of everybody in the region that assad -- that assad is going down and that's the kind of thing that i think we should be thinking about long before we ever talk about military action in iran. >> let me ask you a quick question about military force because you've been an outspoken opponent of it. and -- i mean, it's worth remembering that after eight brutal years of the iran-iraq war what eventually convinced
11:21 am
kom khomeini to end that war was an accidental strike, the united states accidentally brought down an iranian civilian airliner. and the iranians believed the u.s. apologies were part of a grand conspiracy of excuses and, in fact, the united states was prepared to go to war with iran. and is it fair to say it's an accurate reading of history? is it fair to say that the perception of american will, the willingness to use force can actually help advance some of these peaceful measures including sanctions that is so far have not worked? >> in terms of why the war finished, that's one of the reasons but there are other reasons, namely, because saddam hussein forces were using chemical weapons against iranian soldiers and they were bombing some of the villages on the border between iran and iraq. and the regime had a very serious fright that they're going to use it more extensively. also at that stage iran had
11:22 am
become so isolated that they were finding it almost impossible to acquire the spare parts and the military equipment. there's a very famous letter that they tricked the former revolutionary guards to say, look, he knew that the revolutionary guards are against ending the war, so he said, look, write me a letter from me saying what we need to win this war. what kind of equipment we need to win this war. he wrote that letter and he took it to khomeini. can we buy this stuff? and he said, no, and that's the point when khomeini took that decision to drink the chalice of poison as he put it. and believe you me there were many people in iran wished it was a chalice of poison but that's one of the reasons the regime stopped and the region had been so isolated in the region that every company except syria was supporting saddam
11:23 am
hussein. so the isolation also and the fact that the war was costing them so much was a region. if i can answer your question in terms of hezbollah, the moderate conservative within iran, who was a former chief nuclear negotiator and is the speaker of the parliament said in 2008 that if the united states attacks iran, we will put israel in a wheelchair. so even if israel doesn't attack iran, the united states attacks iran, the iranians will attack israel in order to gain legitimacy. do you think we could attack the area, i think we can. we are very strong. my concern is that how can we finish that war? what would be the exit strategy? that's one of the reasons why i agree with my colleague here that the military option should be the last option because the exit strategies from that are far more difficult to predict
11:24 am
and also, the domestic implications. we don't want to strengthen this regime. and in terms of stopping the iranian nuclear program, one of the biggest dangers facing this nuclear program, apart from everything else that's happening is what the head of the iranian nuclear program said six months ago. he said our biggest problem is the brain drain in iran. people don't want to work for the nuclear program and we are having problems because of political situation. that is the biggest danger this nuclear program is facing. they don't see it as a nationalistic project anymore. they see it a project of a regime that is killing, torturing and executing iranians. and they don't want to work for this nuclear program. and that's the major danger that they are facing. >> so are we in a sanctioned sleep walk? how do you know when the last option should be exercised?
11:25 am
let's open the floor. >> in the air controller strike, there was one thing very clear. he said what he meant and did what he said. and to me, that is the major problem here of credible belief in what our president says or our strategy is. and also what israel is capable of which iran should be well aware. >> did you have a question by any chance? >> okay. to respond to that? >> i can't disagree with that. i suspect -- it sounded like what you were saying that you think -- that we ought to be making a credible military threat, although you didn't say
11:26 am
that. i mean, as my previous comments indicated, i don't believe we can make a credible military threat right now. and i also wouldn't advocate the military solution. but your comments about saying exactly what you mean and having -- and making sure that there are consequences, practical consequences, when people don't do what you say they should do, i think that's absolutely true. >> again, i would sort of distinguish between the military solution and look what has worked. what has worked with iran and mike you started if we look at the arab spring, the score card the u.s. has lost egypt and the iranians have lost syria and i think that's a good way to look at it. what are the setbacks the iranians have faced in the last six months?
11:27 am
well, it's been the uprising in syria. the other major setback that the iranians have faced and it might be in the long run is important as what's going on in syria is bahrain. i don't necessarily take the side of the saudis and the gcc forces that poured into bahrain to put down the uprising there but the fact is that show of force pushed back the iranians. and so when the iranians -- when the gccc said there's no way that you're sending boats here, part of a floatila to support the shia of bahrain. i'm sorry, these threats work and this is what the iranians have faced or serious force of military force. that's another way to look at it. >> this is one of these rare opportunities where i get to disagree with lee smith. yes, i think iran has suffered some setbacks in bahrain and
11:28 am
syria but when you look at the overall operation of iran in the region, its proxies have grown over the years and the strength of those proxy i think have grown over the years when you look at hezbollah, when you look at hamas, when you look at iran has operated with impunity inside iraq. look at the iranian support to various factions inside afghanistan. and i think the one thing that we haven't heard about yet today which i'm sure we will is the iranian support that we know to be true is that they've supported al-qaeda. and so what has happened is -- i think you're correct, sir, we've not pushed back sufficiently on any of those threats and so we lack the credibility to push back on the iranian -- or on the iranian nuclear threat as well. and so i think there's a problem of not being able to draw lines in the sand and to follow through on those and so we have, i think, lost deterrence over the years by being unable to push back on those other threats so what kind of credibility do we have at this point on the
11:29 am
nuclear program? this is unfortunately, i think, where we stand today. >> i would have to disagree with you here. i think the iranians take the military threat very seriously. so much so that these days they are photoshoping the launch of missiles by the revolutionary guard. they are adding experts -- this was a recent scandal that reuters found. they are trying to photoshop the number of missiles to make them look strong and i think the kind of threat that they see is what turkey did recently, which was detrimental to iran's interest. but turkey who we know its relations with us and israel meanwhile is also pushing iran away by agreeing to launch -- to host an antimissile system on its soil that belongs to nato and this is infuriating the iranian government that they are doing this. so i think they take this deterrence very, very seriously.
11:30 am
i don't think it's any kind of a threat right now would be enough to stop the nuclear program but this is something they certainly do take into consideration. [inaudible] >> you're now seeing the arab spring in various countries and you don't hear anything about any kind of revolution or uprising in iran. is that something that is still underground and brewing and something that's a possibility that we would see in order to hope that their nuclear program gets in the right hands? >> maybe you want to address that. and is free movement dead or has it gone underground? is it still an opportunity to provide the retorial support, material support? did we miss a big opportunity in june of 2009? >> the green movement is scared for its life. the monopoly of fear in iran is
11:31 am
massive. people are very, very fearful in iran. and also i think the green movement -- it's the only domestic opposition we've seen in iran but also it has some kind of divisions because some people on the street want a democratic revolution in iran. others want gradual reform because in iran we had a revolution in 1979 and things got worse. rather than having a massive change we should have a gradual change. on the one hand we have a question of fear and on the other hand we have a question how to go forward with the green movement and on the other hand we have something like 20% of iran's population which supports this regime because they basically earn their living from it. the people only can go to universities and believe me, these guys are literally illiterate but they go to the university because they -- you know, they belong to the group. they are not going to turn against this regime that's going against them. this is a major challenge.
11:32 am
would america have been right to support these people in 2009? we should still try to support people who want this freedom everywhere in the world but we should do it in a way that helps them. had president obama come out and publicly support them, that would have been detrimental to the green movement at that time because in iran this regime would take any public support from the united states to any opposition and use it as a tool against those people. this regime is obsessed with america. you know, if you ask them, they would say the reason why in 1963 khomeini, which i think it was in april was expelled by the shah it was the same night lyndon johnson was elected as u.s. opinion and because he was a republican the shah decided to expel khomeini. they used the hostage crisis and
11:33 am
khomeini had tricked the people literally by saying there's going to be democracy in iran. at one point if i'm not mistaken, he said iran was going to have a woman president while he was in paris. he tried to outmaneuver everybody to impose his own belief of the rule by jurisprudence and he was having opposition from the liberal islamists. how did he want to increase his justification in support? he picked a fight with the american. >> let me ask you this question, what meir was saying. i guess the problem we have the best of both worlds. you're on the payroll and yet you're getting very little if any material support. are we making a mistake? should we be providing much more significant at least material support to the iranian
11:34 am
dissidents? >> i'd like to actually agree with meir on that issue. i think that president obama missed a huge opportunity. and for two reasons. one, he was in engagement mode. i think the administration believed when it took power that there was a deal to be had with the regime. and the green movement got in the way of the deal. if you look at how slow they were to respond and how -- how awkward their response was and the president's response was, i think it indicates that. i don't -- in general, i'm suspect of this deal that says an embrace by the united states is the kiss of death. i think if you watch -- if you look at what's going on throughout the whole region, we've always heard this particularly what's going on in the region. there's lots of people in the opposition throughout the middle east who want embrace from the united states. but the most important thing is to ask them. there are all kinds of ways to get in contact with them and say what do you want from the united states? what would help?
11:35 am
and there are all kinds of ways the united states can provide assistance either directly, overtly, covertly through third parties, indirectly, all sorts of -- all sorts of ways but you have to ask the question and i don't even think -- i don't think that the administration asked the question to begin with. it might be more inclined to do so now. we also missed an opportunity there with the europeans. the iranians harassed -- they harassed the embassies of the british and the french and they arrested embassy employees. there's a lot of outrage among the europeans. the europeans were in a real mood to do something at that moment psychologically which we could have seized. and we didn't -- we didn't take advantage of that. and i'd like to make one-third point and that's we have an enormous -- we have an enormous capacity now that we've built up in the fight against al-qaeda, which now shows itself in the raid against awlaki and the raid against bin laden and so forth, but we've built a whole new
11:36 am
tool, this platform of combined department of defense, cia special operations. and we don't use this in a strategic fashion. it's an incredibly powerful tool. and it can be used both in terms of kinetic operations as we have but it can be used in other ways as well. if we wanted to take the incredible information gathering apparatus that the united states has, and it is incredible, and we wanted to identify down to the street level the group who are shooting people on the street and name them and shame them as individuals and give their addresses and so forth, i'm sure we could do that. but we don't think about using these kind of -- these kind of intelligence tools which we use on the battlefield in a ideological warfare. and something else that meir said. you mentioned about president
11:37 am
obama going to iran, obviously, that's thought going to happen. but it has been suggested many times -- and i think it's a very good idea that we should offer to open up a visa intersection in tehran. everybody knows about the iranian brain drain. everybody knows that the iranians want to come to the west. and that the united states is a very popular destination for iranians, we should be reaching out to them at every opportunity to say, please come. we welcome you. do you have an advanced degree? do you have a degree in advanced technology? we have programs to help you become a silicon valley ceo, so on and so forth. and make the regime -- make the regime turn us down. instead of us always be the party of no, and say the iranians are bad we shouldn't have any contact with them. we should be reaching out in ways that shame and embarrass them before their own public. it's a kind of -- it's a different kind of engagement than the administration was thinking of at the time of the green revolution. not a deal with the regime. but a series of engagements that
11:38 am
are designed to put the regime on its back feet. i think -- i think we could do this and i think we could do it rather easily if we put our minds to it. >> mike, interesting idea, they are probably looking for more farsi-speaking speakers. it's being that the iranian nuclear scientists who have got advanced degrees from the united states. so they came here. they got their degree. they got their training and they went -- and they went back to iran to serve the regime. so hopefully our visa offices will be very careful this time around in who we admit. any other questions? si sir? >> with regard to hezbollah, would you believe -- to what extent do you believe hezbollah
11:39 am
could be constrained if and when assad's regime did fall and the opposition groups were to gather -- were to have a productive fashion? >> i don't really mean to pose. but if you look at the problems that we have, that the americans have, the united states has and with many of the neighbors that he has with him the problems with the source of problems that he causes abroad, right, whether it's through hamas, whether it's through hezbollah and if you look right now, there are a number of different reasons why hezbollah is constrained. i mean, partly it's because of the supply lines. partly because it feels -- everyone is eager to talk about israel's isolation of this point but if you look -- if you look at hezbollah, they are -- that's isolating the region with the iranians, with problems in the iranian regime with the syrian regime having basically been frozen and then if you look at the other sectarian communities
11:40 am
inside of lebanon and if you look at the shia community itself does not want another war with israel. so what would happen? what happened? there's friends who can answer this much more clearly, but my sense that hezbollah is not going anywhere. it's not going to disappear but the nature of the party will change sooner rather than later, especially, as those supply lines are cut off. and its evident that they don't have the same access to weaponry that they had before or the same sort of liberty to operate on the israeli border that they've been given before through their various relationships with other people in the region. so i think that will change, a lot. not immediately. >> i'm interested in the comment made that president barack obama
11:41 am
missed an opportunity and lost in engagement mode with iran. when he first gave a speech in cairo and he ascended his iran and other adversaries, my question, how much does this change in initiative have to do with the israeli lobby in this country? this is a question i wanted to ask in the last session about the u.s.-israel relationship. how much is the israeli lobby a factor in continued relationships of the two countries? >> when it comes to the relations between iran and the united states, if the iranian government wants to have an agreement with the government of united states, and it could have had it when iraq invaded kuwait, that was a golden opportunity
11:42 am
for iran if the supreme leader of iran wanted to have an opportunity, he would have done it. he could have had it. and there's nothing that the israeli lobby could have done. and -- i mean, anot saying the israeli lobby is weak. i'm not saying that. it's up to the supreme leader of iran. he's the final decision maker in iran affairs and iranian government. the they have had other leaders wanted to have better relations but at the end of the day the buck stops with the iranian supreme leader and until now both supreme leaders have not wanted it. i think the blame in this case specifically lays at their door. >> yes, i want to say something i want to put aside the grotesque suggestion that the israeli lobby somehow controls foreign policy in this city. if you look simply at the fact that the iranian regime has been waging war against u.s. soldier
11:43 am
and u.s. policymakers for the last 30 years including in beirut itself, where there's dead marines and dead diplomats thanks to the iranian regime they have been going off -- do you think they are doing anything bad to american citizens it's preerus -- preposterous. [applause] >> let's try some folks in the back. sur sure. >> iran has set up proxy armies around israel. we have also seen iranians making inroads in latin america. is this any threat to the united states or could it become one? >> yes, i think i think absolutely -- iran and through hezbollah is potentially a
11:44 am
global threat. i think hezbollah -- if it were activated as an instrument of iran in a war with the united states, especially i think it would be capable of conducting operations across the globe and it's something that we have to take -- we have to take very seriously. is it one that we would defeat in the end? yeah, absolutely. if it got to that point but it's something that needs to be watched very carefully. >> we have a whole discussion without actually discussing china. if anybody wants to raise this. it's sort of an interesting issue when we talk about sanctions we tend to talk about economic sanctions and china's role in back-filling on deals that european companies, for example, have terminated but there's certainly a lot of talk in washington about china's role in supporting iran's proliferation activities in chinese-state owned companies
11:45 am
that has been provided equipment to the iranian regime that really helps in a very material way build iran's bomb. i don't know if anybody on the panel wants to talk a bit about the china card. it's worth noting that successive administrations, the one you served in, previous ones, this administration have sanctioned chinese companies 84 times for weapons and proliferation activities. and it's a safe assumption based on conversations with folks both here and in china that there are about 20 companies. and that if the government in beijing had knocked on the door of the 20 companies and told them to stop supplying this sensitive equipment to the iranian nuclear program, that program could be significantly impacted, maybe even ground to a halt. mayor, you've written a lot on china and written worth mentioning? >> i think when it comes to sanctions of proliferation of equipment, for example, china is the weakest link. china until now it has been the weakest link. but i think the chinese now are beginning to realize that they don't want to be the last man standing in the defense of iran
11:46 am
especially after russia left their side. but also another point is that china has also got terrible image right now with the people of iran because the chinese -- and you can read it in the iranian press that the people of iran believe that because of sanctions the chinese are selling all their reject products. that they can't sell it to other countries and they are selling it to the iranians and the iranian government is helping them. there was a massive scandal -- do you remember the baby food scare that came from chinese -- do you know in iran, the iranian government for two weeks did not mention a word to the iranian public. iranian mothers were feeding that product to their children and it took the iranian government two weeks? why because they wanted to defend their friendship with china. i think the chinese in terms of the diplomacy, i think they're rethinking their strategy. even though i'm not sure they're there yet. but also domestically in iran i think one day we're going to have a revolution in iran, i think china is going to be one of the more unfavorable
11:47 am
countries in terms of the image that it has between the iranian people. [inaudible] >> is that the recent anti-israeli sentiment that turkey has voiced recently? >> anybody wants to answer on this you could also focus your remarks on turkey, iran, united states and israel. it's a broader question with lots of implications. but what does this mean for our policy and israel's policy with respect to iran that turkey has been a complicated player in this? >> my read on the turks is the turks are splitting it down the middle, between the united
11:48 am
states and tehran. the government has a policy with zero problems with the neighbors. before the arab spring, the two flagships were engagement of iran and engagement of syria. and with respect to the policy that i was advocating, that's the united states should be reading the region against the template of the u.s.-iranian contest, as i saw it, as i saw it, the turks were actually helping to legitimate the iranian alliance system and to weaken the american pressure on the iranians. i believe the government stole what they were doing to the obama administration as turkey supplanting iran, turkey pulling vera away from iran, turkey pulling hamas away from iran. turkey mediating between the israelis and the syrians and hamas and others. and the obama administration accepted that kind of turkish neutralism if you can call it that was advantageous to the united states. my own reading it was not. my own reading is that turkey
11:49 am
continues to play a similar role today. the game has changed because of the -- because of the uprising in syria. but turkey remains -- it remains a blot -- or at least a break on a tougher policy by the united states on the assad regime. and as turkey has somewhat supplanted iran and syria in the region, rather than being a moderating influence, it has taken up the mantle of anti-israeli -- of a leader of anti-israeli sentiment. it's continuing to legitimate hamas. it has worked to delegitimate policy. the united states recently decided to sell drones to the turks after the turks broke off
11:50 am
the military relationship with the israeli and stopped -- and stopped receiving drones from the israelis, they turned to the irene and say you have to give us the drones and we said yes. i think it would have been a lot better had the united states signaled to turkey that the behavior in cairo, the hostility to israel, threatening israel in the mediterranean, threatening the israeli gas program and so on, that all of this is unacceptable to an ally of the united states. >> i'll just make a quick note about the turkey-hamas relationship. that is one that is absolutely deepened over the last couple of years in alarming ways. obviously, everyone in this room has heard about the flotilla incident that turkey sponsored and specifically the ihh, the charity that was behind the flotilla received the full support of the government. and so we've seen that
11:51 am
development. we've seen increased highs between the leader himself and hamas leaders. there was talk of a visit to gaza after the palmer commission report was released. and just to take a step back, one level removed, i think we have an increased amount of activity between the muslim brotherhood, the larger mother ship, if you will, obviously, hamas is part of the muslim brotherhood. it's one of the spokes of that wheel. but after some conversations with israeli officials recently, there's increased concern that turkey is now sort of almost muscling in on egyptian turf in terms of gaining more control of the wider network of muslim brotherhood affiliates. so this is obviously a very dangerous development and i think it's still unclear at this point exactly how turkey would use this but i think obviously to your point, mike, we're seeing a great deal of
11:52 am
anti-israel rhetoric coming out of tricycle and this is feeding into their muslim brotherhood project. >> i just wanted to follow up on both of these quickly to say i think -- i think one of the ways in which the administration sees it, i think their basic reading is correct. is that i don't agree with the ideas they are coming off but the basic reading is correct is that the way -- we're still in the midst of the arab spring, one of the major players will be islamist movements. we'll see this in egypt and we'll see this in syria and the administration is saying who are the different actors who can put their hands on these folks for us and that's how they look at turkey in a way. and if we go from what king abdullah called the shia premise, it might be transitioning into a muslim brotherhood question which doesn't necessarily keep the iranians out, by the way.
11:53 am
>> great, well, i'm seeing time it up. i want to wrap this up and get to you lunch. i would like to thank mike, lee, and meir for their comments and to all of you. i believe lunch is being served. >> at 12:00 we will start up again. please be back in here and bring your food. [inaudible conversations]
11:54 am
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
11:55 am
[inaudible conversations] >> room clearing out taking a break at the capitol's visitor center. the discussion of u.s. and israel is expected to continue at 10 minutes or so. george gilder is the author of the israel test. defense secretary leon panetta is in israel today as part of a tour of the middle east. yesterday he said israel is
11:56 am
>> it's usually useful to refer to the great philosophers to handle with ongoing questions like this so i'd like to revert to dr. seuss. [laughter] >> to pose the question for our time. what would you do if you ran the zoo? and i wonder if each of our panelists would take up each of that question. you need not our time, by the
11:57 am
way. [laughter] >> would you like to start? >> sure, i've always wanted to follow dr. seuss. i think the united states has, as john so aptly pointed out devoted a huge amount of time to this negotiating process. i don't even call it a peace process, since the signing of the jordanian-israeli treaty in 1984. we've exhausted every conceivable method. you've spawned all sorts of other ideas and participants. i don't think the sides are prepared to reach an agreement, particularly the palestinians. and -- and because i'm a historian, and i look back to the 30s and to the 40s and to the fragmentation of that national movement then and now,
11:58 am
there's not a lot that has really changed in terms of their geographic ideological, intellectual attitudes toward sharing the land west of the jordan river. and i think we keep on beating a dead horse. no one can claim the united states has not had an instrumental role to play in upgrading palestinian national definition from as ron said in a press conference in 1972 when he referred to palestinian participation to a -- and presidents today talk about a two-state solution, a contiguous palestinian state and we've given a lot of money. the palestinian arab movement remains ideologically divided. it has not come to grips with
11:59 am
the reality that there's been a political change in the middle east. abbas has never mentioned the united states at the u.n. he never mentioned 242 or 338. he mentioned one in 1994. now, maybe that's because he's appealing and ameesing his right and maybe he's talking to his constituents but i think the united states as john points out, we have so many more issues on our agenda today than carter had in 1977, '78, '79. and they're much more critical to the strategic national united states and in the peace process. so if i were giving advise at least for the next year or year and a half i would not try to rewind or accelerate or engage in arab-israeli negotiations in any serious way. in fact, i would tell the palestinians point blank, look,


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on