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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  March 25, 2013 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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project in what i believe to be an innovative fashion using commercial procurement practices. i proudly served at nasa for 12 years as an astronaut, and i also had the privilege of working at google. and i think that we are using the best of both worlds in managing sentinel. we're combining the technical rigor of nasa which is the best in the world with the innovative, rapid and cost effective practices that i learned at google. and the secret to success, as i learned at both of these organizations, is hiring the very best people, and i think we've done that. so i do want to talk a little bit about nasa. they have a very significant role in this. we are, in a true sense, a public/private partnership. we have a space act agreement in which nasa will be allowing us to use the deep space network of telescopes to transmit our data, and also nasa experts are part of our review teams. so they are very important part of our project. sentinel will be important on a firm of levels. not only will it enable us to
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know if an asteroid is going to hit the earth in time to deflect one, but it'll find asteroids that merely come close to the earth, and this happens all the time. and these asteroids that come close to the earth are, will be attractive targets for exploration both human and robotic in the coming years. so should an asteroid be found on an impact trajectory -- i'm reminding you that there's a 30% chance that there's a five megaton or larger impacter that's going to hit us this century. so should we find one, i believe that humanity will come together to prevent this. we will use our space technology to nudge this asteroid and prevent it from hitting the earth. and i think that will be a watershed moment in human history. and so thank you very much. >> and we want to get into how you're going to nudge it away, and we'll get into that. mr. dalbello. >> thank you, mr., -- thank you. chairman, senator cruz, it's a pleasure to be here today to
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talk about the issues of space risk and how they relate to the commercial sector, the commercial operators who are earning their living day-to-day in space. we've been in this business for about 50 years. we're currently flying about 70 satellites. so we're pretty familiar with the space environment and the risks it entails. as a global fleet operator serving both commercial and government customers, reliability and continuity of service are our highest priorities. whether it's uav operations over afghanistan or the final game of the ncaa tournament or financial statements that have to be transferred securely around the world, um, we know that our customers expect flawless performance. to deliver this level of performance, we have to daily deal with a range of threats. probably a highest priority for us today is radio frequency interference. many times it's accidental, sometimes intentional. space debris and other challenges of space flight, cyber attacks, solar weather,
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space systems reliability, the fact that we today don't have an affordable technical solution for refueling and repairing satellites on orbit and last but not least, an international launch industry that's far from robust. now, our economy depends on the ability to create and instantly distribute vast amounts of data around the planet. space-based platforms have become a vital link in the national and global economies, and they're essential to the prediction of weather, navigation in all forms of transportation, the operation of power grids, the completion of local and global financial transactions and communication to mobile platforms whether they be on land, sea or air. commercial satellite industry also plays a critical role in supporting government operations. commercial satellites supply the majority of communications in afghanistan and iraq. today our satellites are still flying almost all of the dod's unmanned aerial vehicles, and we're providing the vast majority of the navy's
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communications at sea. to address the challenges that i mentioned earlier, the leading space operation, operators have gotten together on a number of complex cooperative projects, probably the most significant of these is the space data association or sda. the formation of sda is a major step toward creating a voluntary space traffic control, if you will. it's an interactive repository of satellite orbit and maneuver information and soon will contain the satellite configuration data. that will allow us to also use the same database to do radio frequency interference resolution. the space data center allows satellite operators to augment government-supplied data with precise orbit data, maneuver plans and to retrieve information from other member operators when necessary. determining the orbit of objects in geois a complicated task. the u.s.' current space surveillance network is subject to a number of constraints.
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some of those constraints are weather, scheduling, geographic diversity and overall capacity. recent efforts within sda to share owner-operator data provide clear proof of the value of collaboration. nasa and noaa have joined sda and are providing information into this common database. in creating sda, we've taken the first step towards a new paradigm of managing risk in space, but to be most effective, far more cooperation is needed. in other areas of interest to this committee and being discussed today such as space weather or highly uncommon events such as the asteroid fly-by, there are no clearly established links between the government and the commercial sector. in space weather, although we are aware of the good work that noaa is doing at the space weather prediction center, no established alert protocol between government and industry. nor is it clear what levels of solar activity would mean, would mandate change to routine operations.
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so it's one thing that the information exists, but the lack of a communication ability to translate that is a significant deficit. for highly uncommon events such as an asteroid fly-by, there's simply no established communication mechanism. i believe our flight operations team learned of da-14 when they received a courtesy call from a colleague at the aerospace corporation. last year the commercial satellite industry participated in dod's war games designed to exercise dod thinking about the deployment of its terrestrial and space assets in response to a conflict situation. last year those games concluded, as they have several times in the past, that dod relies on commercial satellite companies -- their reliance is considerable and that a crisis is the wrong time to try to establish clear lines of communication with your major partners and suppliers. i suspect the same conclusion can be safely applied to the
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topics that we're discussing today. while governments were first to send satellites to near-earth space, commercial enterprise will be the primary use of the orbital arc in the 21st century. government and space operators need to take a more collaborative approach to enhancing the safety of the space environment. the sda is an important step on this path. with the support of the u.s. government, we can create an international framework that acknowledges the vital contribution of commercial industry while working to assure the preservation of the space environment. thank you, sir. >> and we'll want to know, mr. dalbello, how you safe your satellites when there's a solar flare. dr. johnson-freese. >> thank you. it's my pleasure and honor to speak to the committee today just as it always is to speak to students and the public about space which i do many times a year. i'm going to take a slightly different approach to assessing rusks -- risks, impacts and is
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solutions for space threats by talking about the threat of the person public not understanding the importance of space. from my course on space and security at harvard to speaking to the public about the immediate importance of space activity in their lives, the number one comment i subsequently receive is why don't we know this stuff? space, based on my interactions with the public, is not the final frontier, it's not the next frontier. in 1997 i co-authored a book calling the -- calling it the dormant frontier, but it's not really that based on the international space station and other activities, though i contend that work is largely unknown to the public. space is, however, for many americans not living around a nasa center a benignly neglected frontier. the problem with space and public support, support that translates into prioritizes spending -- prioritized spending of their tax dollars, is that the public views space much as
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most people view their cars, they just want them to work. they don't care about the mechanics or how to build or repair a car, they just want to drive the car. similarly with space, because of the resounding success of nasa and other organizations responsible for putting substantial space infrastructure into orbit, americans, indeed people all over the world, use their atm cards, use gps in their cars and boats and rely on the weather channel to tell them whether they should carry an umbrella totally oblivious to the role that space assets play in providing that information. so in that regard the immediate benefits of space activity are not forgotten to most of the public. perhaps that knowledge was never known in the first place. space is associated largely with exploration and so considered expendable during times of economic restraint, something that cannot be put off -- that can be put off until later. but that premise is incorrect even regarding exploration.
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infrastructure isn't built or launched quickly and once in orbit, it must be maintained and updated. though because they use it, the public is familiar with some satellite systems like gps but less familiar with others. for example, the probes that study radiation belts and satellites that watch for the solar storms to protect other satellites and terrestrial electrical grids are essential. unfortunately, however, the public generally views these space activities as little more than interesting science projects if they know about them at all. yet without them americans' lives would fundamentally change. let me explain with a few brief examples. gps is with the internet one of only two global utilities. it facilitates, for example, having emergency response vehicles reach their destinations by the shortest routes, potentially saving lives, for transoceanic air travel to be safer and more efficient because planes can fly
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closer together. and if the new satellite-reliant air traffic control system is implemented, reduce jet fuel consumption by one million barrels annually saving both money and the environment, and it saves the trucking industry an estimated $53 billion annually in fuel costs and better fleet management. in addition to the economic benefits of space which are vital to the national interest, there are also direct security implications. politically the recent meteor right that hit the russian yules with the force of an atomic bomb was a stark wake-up call regarding threats from space and certainly raised the importance of space surveillance and the communication of those threats. given the complex political state of the world, it is clearly imperative that government officials have accurate scientific data to distinguish between meteorites and missile attacks. since miscalculation is a historic cause of war, we must be aware of what's going on in our solar system. the military benefits of space
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are too lengthy to be cataloged in a short period of time, but suffice it to say that every letter in the acronym which basically describes military operations, command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, is reliant on space assets. space surveillance allows the military to have eyes and ears into locations otherwise inaccessible and on a 24/7 basis. geostreakically, america -- strategically, america is hindered by our own success by apollo. especially in tough economic times, many americans view space exploration with a been there, done that attitude. but for the let's of the world -- rest or the world, space still represents the final frontier, the future and, consequently, global leadership. space capabilities add to u.s. prestige and soft power which has spillover into u.s. influence in multiple policy areas. two final questions tie many of these issues together and
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hopefully illustrate why a vigorous space program must be maintained. first, would china have conducted a high altitude kinetic asat test in 2007 with the result about the debris threatening the sustainability of the space environment if it had been a partner on the international space station? second, if called upon to deflect a meteorite deflecting earth, are the technologies in place to do so, and are the mechanisms in place so that it could be done without a geostrategic nightmare? in conclusion, america will stay ahead in space and thus call of addressing these economic, political, military and geostrategic risks and threats by staying activity and staying ahead. therefore, we must remind the american people and remember ourselves that space exploration and development is not expendable, it is in our strategic national interest. >> thank you to all of you, and i want to welcome -- we have a
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number of emergency responders that are in the audience in a new kind of threat that we're talking about that they may have to respond to, and i suppose many response to your -- in response to country of your questions, dr. johnson-freese, that as senator cruz had posed at the outset, maybe we ought to have bruce willis start doing another armageddon movie to get everybody sensitized to the fact of how space could well play such a huge, such a huge consequence in our lives if one of these asteroids starts coming toward us. so let me turn to senator cruz. >> well, thank you, mr. chairman. and there probably is no doubt
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that, actually, hollywood has done more to focus attention on this issue than perhaps a thousand congressional hearings could do. [laughter] although i would not wish a thousand congressional hearings on anyone. [laughter] you know, dr. green, dr. lu, i'd like to go back to your testimony and get a little bit more in terms of the magnitude of the potential threat that near-earth objects could present. february 18th we had the meteor psych in russia. did we have any, any real warning of that strike before it occurred? >> that particular day, it was february 15th, was really quite a potential day because we actually had two events. the first one was a very close fly-by of a much larger asteroid that we call da-14, and that one we had been watching for over a
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year, and we'd calculated its orbit. we knew it was on a safe trajectory to pass by the earth. indeed, the much smaller meteorite of 17 meters in size that struck russia was not observed prior to its entry into the atmosphere. it was on a very difficult trajectory for us to be able to see from ground-based telescopes and came, basically, in the sunward direction. so our telescopes operate from the ground in the evening, of course, on the night sky. one of the next major steps that has been now initiated by b612 is to provide a space-based asset that would plug that hole in a number of ways. and this is why our public/private partnership is extremely important for us to be able to continue to be able to help b612 with the sentinel mission to get up into space this decade to then begin to observe many more of these objects that are on difficult
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orbits for us to see. >> if that same meteor instead of striking a relatively rural area had struck manhattan, what would likely the consequence of that have been? >> that was a -- this meteor exploded at altitude 20 miles high or something like that. and, again, about 60 miles outside of the city. so it, had it struck over a populated area, say washington or new york, it would have probably caused quite a few injuries as it did, but it wouldn't have taken out the city. it was too small to do that. but even from a denies of 60 miles -- distance of 60 miles, it basically blew in windows and doors. every window in that city was busted. and remembering that the shock wave that caused that drops off very rapidly the further away you are from it. had that shock wave been much closer to a city, there would
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clearly have been many more injuries. >> now, my understanding is we've identified nearly a thousand near-earth objects -- >> 10,000. >> well, nearly a thousand that are a kilometer or more. >> yes. >> correct. >> what would the consequences be of an impact from an object of that size? >> well, the large objects, the ones that are one kilometer and larger, are actually very bright. those are the ones that we, starting 15 years ago from the 1998 congressional action, really are the ones that we've been after. >> uh-huh. >> and, indeed, we believe we've gotten well over 95% of them. what we do when we obtain that information is we calculate their orbits out to more than 100 years, and it's from that database that it's clear to us that those currently, the ones that we know of, will not pose a hazard. however, we're constantly monitoring them, and we constantly see them through our surveys.
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so from that perspective, that speculation is just that, it's speculation. so what we want to continue to do is, of course, get into space, continue our program on the ground and methodically over a number of year withs complete the survey so that we can see what the real threats are rather than speculate. >> now, dr. lu, you mentioned you think our current knowledge is roughly one-one hundredth of what is out there? >> yeah. of those larger than the one that missed us on february 15th which is roughly the size of the one that struck in 1908, and so those are the ones that would be only large enough to take out a large city, for instance. not something that would kill off civilization or send us into the dark ages, but maybe only destroy new york city. and of those asteroids, we know well less than 1% of those. so right now the amount of warning time that we are likely to get from one of those is zero. >> and let me ask a final
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question. what is our capacity if we discovered a sizable asteroid that was on a collision course? what is our capacity right now to do something to change that? >> if you find it early, decades in advance which is what the goal of nasa is to do and goal of the b612 foundation is to do, we have many options. then you only need to change its trajectory by a very, very tiny amount. senator nelson, you know from, you know, having flown in space that when you are many orbits ahead of time, very tiny changes in your speed make big differences in the timing of where you are many orbits later, and or that's exactly what you're doing. it turns out so in real terms if you change an asteroid's speed by something like a millimeter a second, that's about the speed that an ant walks. and you do that ten years or more, decade before it's going to hit the earth, you can make it hit the earth. you can either run it into with
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a space craft, you can tow them, for the very larger ones, the kilometer-sized ones, you can use a nuclear standoff explosion, these are all technologies we know how to do. the key is if you don't know where there are, there is nothing you can do. if you have less than a few years' notice, right now we have no options. >> there's another aspect of this that i want to mention, and that is these objects are very heterogene use. there can be rubble piles, therapy composition is quite different. some have iron, some don't, some are stony, and so consequently it's important to know what you're up against and, in fact, this particular decade is a great decade for us to be able to do some of the research necessary that will contribute to potential mitigation con sents into the -- concepts into the future. one of the missions is osirus rex. it's going to an asteroid that's
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called rq-36 which is a potentially hazardous asteroid in more than 150 or so years, but it gives us an opportunity to get up close to it, grab a sample. we'll orbit it for more than 500 days, we'll understand how the solar wind and the light from the sun b potentially moves the object. and so this kind of study is essential for us to be able to really determine the potential mitigation strategies that we would use in future, potential wily future missions that we may have to pull off. >> so right now until dr. lu gets his satellite up there in five years, we are just hoping that we can identify and then correctly calculate the trajectory that one of these asteroids would have.
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and assuming that we found one before you got your satellite up, let's go back to senator cruz's question. what would an asteroid that is a kilometer in diameter, what would it do if it hit the earth? >> that is likely to end human civilization. >> so that was typical of maybe what hit at the time of the dinosaur age? >> no. that asteroid was yet much larger, another factor of ten larger. so a thousand times more massive. and that led to the extinction of, essentially, 90% of all species alive at the time, and those are quite rare. and so we do not know of anything that lark that's on an -- large that's on an impact trajectory. >> does the fact that as we prepare to go to mars and the stated goal of rendezvousing and
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landing and returning with a human crew from an asteroid, does that in any way help us perfect our ability to avoid -- [inaudible] >> i think, obviously, there's great science you can do. i think, likely, the deflection mission that we have to mount someday, and we will have to someday, we know that, someday, is likely to be done robotically just because the distances are quite large from the earth. but there is a connection between the two in that for the human mission to asteroids you still need to find them. we do not currently have a set of good targets to run human missions to asteroids. so the same data set which allows us to know if something's going to hit earth gives us targets for exploration. >> yeah. in fact, visiting an asteroid by astronauts, for instance, is another one of those steps this terms of understanding much more about their or characteristics. but the ability to do that is an
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enabling one. the it's one of those where you trek outside of low earth orbit, you have a destination, you then go through a variety of processes and procedures that you would have to perfect on even longer voyages if you would go to mars. so there are different objectives, you know, with respect to that. but, indeed, learning much more about our heterogenius asteroid viewrnt is incredibly important. if i can just mention or build on what ed has mentioned, 50 years ago we believe, planetary scientists believe that all the craters that were on the moon were volcanic. we didn't know they were of um pact, and it took many years for us to realize that they were created by impacts and then soon after that it was, began, we began to notice the impacts here on the earth and the impacts, of course, led us to the crater which, indeed, now is believed
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to be one that has created the extinction of the dinosaurs. in the four and a half billion years of this planet, there's been five extinction events for which that one, we do believe, has been the one done by a mere-earth object. -- near-earth object. so over the last 50 years, we've learned an enormous amount of a brand new field, and we've been putting if place a methodical field of observation by starting on the ground, by building on international partnerships and also now with our public/private partnership with b612. >> well, until dr. lu gets his satellite up there, i hope you're paying your trajectory specialists well, dr. green. >> indeed, we are j. because they've got to be right on, the ones that we know, to make sure that we know their trajectory. tell us, dr. lu -- and, don't worry, i'm getting to the other
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two of you -- tell us about how we're going to nudge this thing and what is the potential cost. and are we getting the international community understanding that they've got to participate in this with us? >> well, i think the, again, i mentioned the way that you would likely do it in most cases is to simply run into it with a small spacecraft. again, you'd just need to change its velocity by a very, very tiny amount. following that, you'll probably want to hover a gravity tractor near it to verify you have changed it the way you think you did and make any fine scale corrections, something like a vern on the space shuttle. you would do that with a gravity tractor. the cost of that, such a mission, i would believe it would probably be in the range of a billion dollars or more to
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do a couple of missions like that, probably a couple of billion. but i think you would have to compare it against the potential losses of a multimegaton impact. also in terms of the ability for the united states to show leadership, um, clearly such a thing would be led by the country that has the greatest technological capability which is the united states and nasa in particular. i think the world will be involved in the both the decision making process and the actual implementation of such a thing, and i just, again, want to point out that there's a 30% chance that there's a five megaton or so impact that's going to happen in a random location on this planet this century. so this is not hypothetical. >> by the way, why did this one in russia explode at 20,000 feet? >> tremendous deceleration. when you're moving that fast, that thing was moving about 1 miles per -- 12 miles per second. so that -- and at that speed
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even hitting the air is like hitting concrete. once it begins to come apart, it really rapidly comes apart, and it basically exploded. >> and back to senator cruz's question, had that occurred over 20,000 feet over new york city, other than blowing out windows, what would have happened? >> there would have been, obviously, many casualties. this one is a little bit harder to say. the one that was slightly larger and the ones that i've been talking about, had that happened over a city, let's say new york city, we would have seven million casualties at least. whatever the population of new york city is, they would be gone. >> really? >> yeah. the area of destruction of that impact was about 800 square miles. so there's nothing standing in an 800-square mile where that
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impact occurred. >> just to be clear, ed is talking about the event that occurred in 1908, and that was a much larger asteroid -- meteorite. ..
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>> did it flatten the forest? >> not really, no. it exploded at higher altitude than the one in 1908. it was a huge shock wave. which, doesn't blow down trees but certainly knocks in windows as we saw. >> and if that one had exploded over new york at 20,000 feet you were making reference to the 1908 one of the what would that have done to manhattan? >> if chelyabinsk would have exploded over new york city we would have a lot more because it would be a lot closer than 60 miles obviously of the we would have a lot more than broken windows, that's for sure. >> mr. delbello. you have all these intelsat satellites out there. what do you do to save them
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when you have a solar explosion? >> well, that's an interesting question. the truth is that these satellites are on and they're operating. so a typical satellite today is probably about 70% actually, 70% full. so operating near its full capacity there is no opportunity to turn it off for the service you're providing. could be banking, media, transmission or other important information or flights of uavs or communications with the military. there is no real off switch on your satellites today. so they are on. the question is, and this gets back to the issue i was discussing earlier and the fascinating work that dr. green and dr. lu are doing. the question is always, how do you translate this information into practical
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warnings? when is it appropriate to information to practical warnings for industry? so in the solar example a little bit more, i guess, a little bit more practical than some of the discussion on the asteroids but the same question applies. when, how do we know what level of solar event will translate into a real impact on the satellites that were flying? we buy our satellites from the major manufacturers, boeing, loral, orbital, primarily here in the u.s. they are of course, trying to build their satellites to operate in any environment and the good news is that most satellites little well beyond their 15-year design life. so they're doing a great job. so the question is at what point would an event happen, we would say, okay, it is dangerous to do something with the satellite now, we're not going to load code today or we're not going to try to communicate with the
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satellite today? or we would maybe put the solar panels in a different orientation? these are issues that just aren't very clear right now. so we would look to a collaborative effort with the manufacturers and the government to provide advice on this now a similar thing happened in space debris. so, a couple of decade ago, nasa got very interested in understanding the debris environment. that led to the situation where we have today where we actually get warnings from the defense department, called conjunction summary messages. we actually get warnings in advance, if dod thinks that there might be a collision between two space objections. it took us a long time to connect the basic information that we needed to gather to have the none to the point where we felt comfortable warning people that they might want to take specific action. in this case, moving a
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satellite. so i think the same situation will apply with solar of the as we get more sophisticated on the impacts then we'll be able to translate those into specific actions but today, that knowledge just doesn't exist. >> senator cruz. >> going back to the discussion about potential meteor impacts i would assume for an impact the most likely place for an impact would be in water given the percentage of the earth that is covered by water. what is the relative severity of an impact on land versus an impact on water and the consequences that would flow from one versus the other? >> depends on the size of the asteroid. to cause a tsunami it would have to be large enough to strike the surface. as we saw, the smaller asteroids do not strike the surface. they explode in the air. smaller asteroids when they're over land that could be more catastrophic of the for the lagger asteroids
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when they strike the water that could potentially more catastrophic. way to think about it, the larger ones create a crater in the water that fills in. i don't know if you've been to meteor crater in arizona. that was created by a small iron asteroid and it is about 700 feet deep. it is about a kilometer across. it had that hit the water you would have a 700-foot deep crater in the water momentarily which then fills in, would be about the size of the wave, double that. think about a rock dropping into a pond, you get a wave about the twice the height of that. so you would get 1,000 foot wave or something coming off something like that. which drops off the further away you get from it. so, that is one of the great worries. potentially with especially with a couple hundred meter asteroids, football sized stadium asteroids. they're likely to hit in the ocean and you're likely to have tsunamis. as we saw in fukushima,
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tsunami can cause great damage. it can affect that, tsunami which was not very large historically speaking had noticeable effect on world gdp on damage it did in one prefecture north of tokyo. >> do we have indication of near-earth objects striking the water in the past and producing tsunamis? >> it must have happened before. it is a little bit difficult to distinguish a tsunami caused by an earthquake to one caused by an astory rid. in the past, you know, in the historical record. >> using the example you used by the size of the asteroid that struck, struck arizona, if, and what was the size that we expect that was? >> the estimates of that are in the range of about 30 meters or so. smaller than tanguska but
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larger than chelyabinsk. >> that not be likely large enough -- there it did strike. >> that one was made of iron so it was a lot tougher than the stone any ones that can explode at higher altitude. even though that was smaller, it hit the ground. worth a visit by the way. >> i have not been but will have to add it to the places to take my daughters. and, hopefully, what are the odds of same spot getting struck twice? >> pretty low. there is interesting impact site in texas, just, it is about 100 miles or so to the east of el paso of the we used to see it in t-38s flying back from el paso. john young and i used to like to fly over it. john loves impact craters. >> using that example, you said that if a similar impact were to occur in water we would see a thousand foot tsunami.
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what kind of distance would that be expected to travel where it would maintain? >> it depends greatly upon where. the shape of the ocean bottom and the depth of the water and so an. i don't have a good answer for you. the also the characteristics of that tsunami will be a little bit different than earthquake-caused ones which we understand much better because those are done, those are done by a line in a fault this is more of a point, more like dropping a pebble into a bathtub and so, it, the answer is basically it depends. >> you also testified about your estimates of the probability of five megaton incident or 100 megaton incident which i remember right was 30% and 1% respectively? >> in the next century. >> could you provide a little built of the data that go into those probability estimates? >> yeah.
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in fact there is not a lot of scientific disagreement about that. this is documented well in the national academy's report of 2010 called, defending planet earth and that data comes from nasa and there isn't a lot of dispute about that. and just for your information where it comes from is from three different sources of the you can count craters on the moon. you can look at your asteroid surveys with telescopes and finally, there are gees that look down on the earth for rocket launches and nuclear tests but mostly what they see is asteroid impacts that explode in the atmosphere of the much of that data has been declassified. those three independent means of numbering the numbers of asteroids agree with each other and that's why we have fairly high confidence in it. >> let me ask a final question which is in your professional judgement, i would ask this to anyone at the panel who would wish to answer it, what else should
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we be doing to assess the threats that could seriously jeopardize human life and to be in a position to prevent those threats? >> well, from my standpoint on this particular problem what we need to do is a extensive survey of the objects in our own solar system of the we know the locations and trajectories of the nearest million stars because our telescopes can look away from the sun of the we do not know the locations and trajectories of the nearest million asteroids yet those things hit the earth sometimes. i think that is big gaping hole and our organization is working with nasa to fill that hole. i think that is tremendously exciting not just simply from preventing death standpoint which obviously is wonderful thing but from the exploration aspect of it and the, the inspirational aspect of it because, again,
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i think, a demonstration that humanity can work together to go out there and do something incredible, changing the solar system to prevent our planet from being hit is an incredible demonstration of science, technology, mathematics, astronomy and all the things that make our country great. >> are there concrete steps that in your judgment would be prudent beyond launching the sentinel satellite that you're working on that we should be taking in order to be aware of the potential risks? >> well in the meantime obviously nasa is running its own searches and those need to be supported. they are also, just bee -- began supporting telescope system, atlas a couple million dollars. a fairly inexpensive civil. they will look for asteroids just before they hit, to give you, not to be able to prevent their impact but potentially be able to evacuate a an area.
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you might get a day or two or three notice before something hits. the sole purpose there would be simply get out of the of the way to the extent you can. i think it's a great program. it involves a lot of small observe tories around the world and i think it is a great thing. >> from my perspective let me build on what ed said. we methodically had a observation program in place from the ground. we also used other space assets. one is the wise mission which was an astro physics infrared mission that had particularly orbit made it appealing to use to look for near earth objects. that was quite successful. that was the proof of concept for that next step and that next step is indeed as ed mentions a survey, infrared survey. so we are working with ed and taking that step. in addition we have a really aggressive program to uncover much more of the
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characteristics of these bodies and we need to knows though. as ed mentioned their composition are very different. some are iron and they put, pack more of a what lop. we need to go out and -- wallop. need to understand more impacts and would feed into a mitigation study. osiris rex will do in research will help us form potential mitigation strategies. we have in place a methodical program we need to continue to work on and execute over this next several decades. >> what is your our ability in terms after near-earth object not that near to term the composition of that particular object? >> well it can be done in a have rate of ways. we have the opportunity to hit it with radar. radar is incredibly important of the we have facilities in puerto rico that we use with the national science foundation we work with on that. in addition to the gold
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stone radars. this enables us to get ideas about surface composition in a small way. we also from the ground make spectral observations. and indeed from space even several important points in the in -- infrared will tell us a lot about its composition. so from a scientific point of view we're doing a lot in that particular area and that's helping us classify these and understanding their origin. >> dr. johnson, you are constantly trying to get people to understand the relevance of our space program. there would be nothing like focusing the mind than survival with one of these things heading toward us. what about these and other threats to protect life on
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earth and protecting our astronauts with all of the cocoa legses that we find going -- collisions going on out there with space debris? how are we going to get the human space exploration to be conveyed to the american public just what is at stake here? >> i think that goes back to bruce willis and armageddon. i'm all for bruce willis testifying, don't get me wrong. after that movie came out i was part of a project called, "armageddon", fact and fiction. what that movie did basically convince the american public, if anything bad happened people would with get into the shuttle to go fix it. it was myth t was not reality. i think what we need to do is get far more of the
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information of the kind that dr. green and dr. lu have conveyed today to the american public. when i talk about it in class, when i talk about neos in class, the overwhelming response of my students is, i don't know anybody whoever died from a neo. i know people who have died of cancer, traffic accidents, but nobody i know has died from a meteor right. this --. this gets into idea we need to convey more fact and separate it from the fiction the movie industry convinced much of the american public that we're all over it. we can take care of this so i think there needs to be, exploration and vision and inspir race is wonderful. and has to be a component of our space program but i think we need to get much better and much more aggressive conveying the risks and the benefits and the self-interest in not just continuing but expanding the space program.
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>> well the american people are certainly appreciative of the conveness -- >> absolutely. >> that they have every day but do not know the connection as mr. dalbello has said, that all of these conveneses happen to be space-based. one way or another. now you take, that's why i ask about solar explosions which is a nuclear explosion on the surface of the sun. it emits radiation. unless satellites are safe or they're within the magnetic sphere surrounding the earth, that would repel this radiation, there's a possibility they're going to be knocked out. let's take another scenario. what about a rogue country
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like korea or iran, if they get a nuclear weapon which we certainly hope and it's the united states intention that they don't but what if they put it on one of their rockets in north korea, send it up, at altitude and exploded a nuclear weapon? that would have some rather serious consequences, wouldn't it, mr. dalbello? >> it would be a very, very bad day for satellites, yes. >> explain that. explain that so our audience will understand that. >> the, actually we went back when there was upper altitude testing previously, we did have, we did have evidence that the, the way it energizes the orbits also interferes with the electronics of the satellite and, if it's, depending
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where it is in altitude and which portion of the orbit you're in, obviously satellites in geostationery orbit 23,000 miles away are a little bit safer. satellites in lower earth orbit would be saturated soon and would probably die because the electronics would be saturated by the energy released from the nuclear explosion. a high altitude explosion could have catastrophic effect on many satellites we rely on for weather, early warning, gps and other functions. >> dr. lu, what would that do to the astronauts on the space station? >> clearly wouldn't be good. i had the experience of being told to take shelter on board the international space station because of a large solar flare. that lasted in 2003 and happened a few times since. these levels of radiation could be much higher. >> senator cruz?
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staff? mr. dalbello, your company has over 50 satellites in orbit? >> right. 50 that we own. and we fly 70 some because we also fly satellites for other operators. >> how do you build the risk of these satellites into your business model. >> well, we have always planning for a fleet of that size you're always doing several things. first of all you're always building new satellites. you're always planning the launch of those satellites. this is well beyond the topic of discussion today, but launch is still a problematic area for us. the, we wish the industry were much more robust and
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reliable. we welcome the entry of spacex and other new entrants in the marketplace but it is still a challenging, expensive component of the so you're obviously building satellites. you're preparing to launch those satellites and you are managing your fleet by moving satellites around in orbit in a way that in the past actually we really didn't do. typically in the past you would sort of put a satellite in one place and it sort of lived and died in that orbital location. now it is much more dynamic. we're constantly grooming the fleets. we move satellites to meet demands. for example, when the war in iraq started, we actually moved two entire satellites to the middle east to accommodate the increase in traffic in the region. so, it's a it's a really dynamic equation. and so we do occasionally get anomalies and when something happens, unfortunately we lost a
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brand new satellite a few weeks ago when the launch vehicle failed, the c-launch vehicle failed. that satellite was supposed to supply a lot of services. one was a military component in the uhf band but it was also supplying a lot of television service to latin america. so we had to scramble to try to find replacement capacity. sometimes we can find that in our own fleet and sometimes we have to go to our colleagues and competitors to get that kind of capability. so the same thing applies more generally to any effect which perturbs the fleet. we are, there's not a whole lot of excess capacity in the sky. so it requires a creative and constant maintenance of the capacity and understanding where our requirements are. >> the vote has started. so we'll wrap up in five minutes. space debris is really a
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problem and i was struck several years ago, the deafening silence, lack of criticism, of the chinese when they launched their asat and blew up tens of thousands of pieces of space debris that are up there that just add to the problem and the problem, even if we didn't launch another rocket on planet earth, you would have a real problem of space debris up there for some period of time. so, dr. green, what space debris removal technology is nasa considering? >> that's a good question. i know there's a variety of studies that they are working on and i will have to get back to you with much
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more of the details of those studies. >> dr. johnson-frieze, what are the legal and national security barriers to space debris removal? >> one of the big barriers is that there are no salvage laws in space. so if the united states were to start an initiative today to clean up all the debris, we don't own it. we can't just go and get it. and, you decide, are you going to get the little pieces? that would determine if you're going to use some of the techniques like foam to catch it, or do you go for the big ones? and from a legal perspective, if i went after a big piece of junk and grappled it and it broke apart and am i then legally liable for the damage caused to rich dalbello's satellites? so there are many legal issues to be considered. and then the political and geostrategic. if, for example, you are using lasers. well, i'm certain if the
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united states started to start using lasers to deorbit large pieces of debris, that would make other countries of the world very nervous. just as it would legitimately make the united states very nervous if other countries were to do the same of the so i think there is just a host of not just technical problems but legal and political problems but debris and the neoissue i think, provide opportunities for international collaboration, require international collaboration and for the u.s. to take a real leadership role. >> senator, can i make a comment about that. >> first of all i acompletely agree with what dr. freese just said. there is next generation of technologies that is not far away. we know that darpa is looking at this. we know that nasa is looking at this. we know there are a couple of private sectors opportunities people have come to us with proposals. we're very interested in the ability to do more in space row about the i canly.
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that is because, it would be, we had a satellite went up a few years ago. one of the antenna as didn't open. which meant half the revenue for the life of that satellite was lost. if you had been able to go up and grab the satellite and tweak the antenna a little bit you could probably save the entire mission of the we think the technology is there today and perhaps this is a good opportunity for for another hearing of the we know that darpa has some forward-leaning programs they're working on. and it is a technology that we in the private sector support fully and want to participate with the government on because there are because it is a valuable thing. that technology would allow the a minimum to remove large pieces of debris from most useful orbits. >> senator cruz? >> want to thank all four of you what i think has been a very interesting and productive hearing and i thank the chairman as well. >> indeed it has been most enlightening. we think for your expertise
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and your testimony. have a great day. the meeting is adjourned. >> thank you very much. >> well-done. good job. >> coming up on c-span2, a look at egypt's parliamentary elections next month. that is followed by comcast ceo brian roberts on the future of cable and where technology is headed. then a look at the 10th anniversary of the iraq war with a discussion of how it has changed the middle east. and with congress on its spring recess this week we'll take the opportunity to show you booktv in prime time every week night. tonight, three books on u.s. innovation. it begins at 8:30 eastern. >> let's got straight to a personal topic. it has been, you've been on the commission since 2006. the chairman has been on i
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believe since 2009. his term is up. yours will be up next year. should we expect to see some turnover at the commission? >> you always expect to see turnover at the commission because we all have staggered terms. >> right. >> the past six years flown by very quickly and, we shall see. stay tuned. i get asked this question every couple of years. and when you've been there almost seven years you get asked at inflection points about this. i openly thinking about it but we shall see. >> opening thinking about what? >> what to do next. i thought about that several times. what comes after the commission. as a limited government person i don't think we should stay in these positions forever but at the same time, i love my job and that's, part of what's keeping me here. we have a lot of important work to do. so i have to balance those in the decision making. >> this past week both commissioner robert mcdowell and chairman julius genachowski announced their resignations from the sfcc. we spoke with commissioner
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mcdowell on his announcement. tonight on "the communicators" on c-span2. . . >> tonight on "first ladies," called a bigamist and adulterer, rachel jackson dies of an apparent heart attack before andrew jackson takes office. his niece, emily donaldson, becomes the white house hostess but is later dismissed as fallout from a scandal.
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and during the next administration, ann gel da van buren is the white house hostess for her father-in-law, president martin van buren, who is a widower. we'll include your questions and comments by phone, facebook and twitter live tonight at 9 eastern on c-span and c-span3, also on c-span radio and >> secretary of state john kerry has made an unannounced trip to afghanistan. he's meeting today with afghan president hamid karzai. the session came shortly after the u.s. military ceded control of its last detention facility in afghanistan. during secretary or kerry's 24-hour visit, he also plans to talk with civic leaders and others to discuss continued u.s. assistance to the country. egypt has parliamentary elections next month. the ruling party is president mohamed morsi's muslim brotherhood x it's being challenged by more secular groups. next, a group of middle east
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experts assess the policy in the country and gains by secular groups in parts of egypt. this is an hour and a half. >> personally oversaw the research for this project, and she also twisted my arm into doing this event on the hill so, thank you, dahlia. and also to michelle and summer who really are two of the preeminent egypt watchers and have been really kind to me personally. so i'm going to begin by rolling out the study that was released today as dahlia mentioned. and the top line of that study really is that egypt isn't lost to islamists, if you will. that, in fact, nonislamists are entreesingly competitive -- increasingly competitive, and should they choose to contest future elections, in fact, are likely to pick up seats on their islamist rivals. before i kind of walk you through that analysis step by step, for those of you who don't follow the situation as closely,
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maybe some background is in order which is after the january 25th rev fusion in 2011 -- revolution in 2011 that toppled hosni mubarak, there were initial parliamentary elections in late 2011 and early 2012. that resulted in an islamist-dominated assembly in both, there's two chambers, in the lower house and in the upper house. subsequently, a court decision dissolved the lower house, and now we were scheduled to have a rerun of elections for the parliament on april 22nd of this year. but again, there's an issue of the constitutionality of the election law, so when we have those elections remains in doubt and whether the nonislamist opposition, which is for the main, for the part organized itself under the national salvation front, whether they participate remains in doubt. so that's by way of background.
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now i want to get to the report. the report looks at several questions. what we're trying to answer here is kind of subnational voting pattern, so if you want to take the u.s. metaphors, what's the red state/blue state dynamic look like in egypt? that is, where is the electoral base of islamists, and where is the electoral base of nonislamists? and so in addition to looking at these subnational voting patterns, we're also looking at broader trend lines. so egypt has had four major votes during the two-plus years that it's been undergoing its political transition. so there's been two referenda. there was an up or down vote on the interim charter, and there was a vote on the permanent constitution this past december. it had the parliamentary elections, and it had a presidential vote. so only four data points, but still there are some data in which to look at more macro
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trend lines of is the political star of islamists waxing and waning or nonislamists if you want that to be your point of analysis. and then, again, what are the prospects for nonislamists going forward? some people have said they're irrelevant to the process. this analysis will argue that they aren't and, in fact, will be increasingly competitive. so once again, in terms of our study approach, our methodology, we're looking at four major votes. the interim constitutional referendum, the referendum -- the election for the parliament that took place in late 2011 and early 2012, the presidential runoff in the referendum on the permanent constitution. and for those of you who do follow egypt closely, you'll notice that we're with excluding two votes here; that is, the election for the upper house of parliament and the presidential election was a two-staged
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election. there was an initial election with five what i would call first-tier candidates competed, and then there was a runoff between the two top finishers. we don't look at that early round of the presidential vote, and we don't look at the upper house elections. i can get into that in the q&a. it's fairly complicated why we didn't do that, but we're focusing on these four votes. so before i actually depict the electoral results graphically and you can see where the electoral bases are of the different blocs, it's useful to have some understanding of where the electorate is located within egypt. so for those of you who have visited the country or perhaps hail from there, you'll know that most egyptians live very close to the banks of the nile. so you have huge expansions offer the or story, for example, in the west that are mostly desert areas. you have this area along the red sea and the sinai, those are big expanses of territory, but they
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have very little of the electorate. so these areas that are shaded in turquoise and orange, they contain 97% of the electorate. so those are the areas you're going to want to focus on. and in particular, the governance that are labeled as upper e gent, that has a little -- egypt, that has a little more than 20% of the vote. the area that's cairo and its environs which i'm meaning two governance, it's a big metropolitan area. that's a little over 20% of the vote. and some of you may not know the delta, which is where the nile river fans out, there's a lot of second cities there. there's the biggest, there's the largest second city, alexandria, there's a lot of smaller second cities there. that's actually more than 50% of the electorate. so if you're looking at kind of a where's the center of gravity, it's there. so now i want to jump right into, again, these sort of red
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state/blue state dynamics of where, of which -- where the islamists have their strongest support pace and where nonislamists have their strongest support base. and i should say i'm counting islamists here as both the freedom and justice party, that is the political arm of the muslim brotherhood, but also the salafist groups which for this election ran under noor had a list, the noor party, and the salafists ran under that party list. and in the aggregate, islamists counted that way won 73% of the seats in the lower house. so they really dominated that election. it's hard to say they didn't. frankly, they cleaned up in that election. in -- and the green areas show where they overperformed their national average, so they won even more than 73% of the seats in these governance that are shaded in green. in the red, they won less than their national average, so less than 73% of the seats.
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and the beigish areas are where they performed in line with their national average x. sowall sowall -- and so what you'll see is some clear geographic divides. so the islamists, again, the freedom and justice party and the salafists did quite well in upper egypt which you would expect. nonislamists did well in larger metropolitan areas in the north which you would also expect, places like cairo and port said. what is surprising for an egypt watcher like me and maybe for michelle and summer as well is that islamists had some vulnerabilities in the delta. in fact, the muslim brotherhood is an organization i refer to a lot. the delta was often referred to as the stronghold of the muslim brotherhood, and that's because the founder of the organization founded it, a lot of the early branches were there, and the current leadership of of the organization or some of their
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more prominent leaders such as bediya who runs the executive apparatus of the brother hood and mohamed morsi who is now the president of the country, they both hail from this area. so you do see some vulnerabilities for the islamists within the delta that you might not expect. so the next election that followed that parliamentary vote was the presidential elections, and here again i'm focusing on the runoff where you had the muslim brotherhood's candidate, mohamed morsi, who was running explicitly on the brotherhood's platform of renaissance against ahmed who really didn't have a platform other than he was running against the brotherhood. so you had a very sort of secular, strongly secular figure coming from the military establishment, the last prime minister appointed by mubarak as a last ditch attempt to hold on to power. actually served under mubarak in the air force, again, running as
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a bulwark, against the islamists. and then you had the prototypical kind of islamist candidate here in that you had the brotherhood putting forward their candidate. and what you see is really stark geographic divide. so what you started to see in the parliamentary election is really crystallized here. mohamed morsi wins every government in upper egypt with one exception, the tiny government of luxor, and there's reasons why that might be exceptional. we could talk about it. but again, you see a lot of vulnerabilities for the islamists, in this case mohamed morsi, in the delta. ahmad shafiq wins five in the delta including mohamed morsi, beat him in his home government where por si represented that government has a parliamentarian in the 2000-2005 period. and, in fact, ahmed shafiq won by pretty big margins in the
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delta, by more than ten percentage points in four of those five governments. more secular candidates or nonislamists also tend to do well in the red sea area and the south sinai but, again, i don't want to concentrate on those, because we're talking about less than 1% of the elect electorate. but the storyline that's emerging is that islamists are doing very well in upper egypt, nonislamists are doing well in the metropolitan areas in the north, cairo, port said, to an extent alexandria, and there's really some surprising op suggestion to the islamists, in my mind, that's emerging in the delta. now, i'm going to move on to the constitutional referendums, referenda, and the reason why i didn't want lead with this, this is the first con logically, the first vote that took after the revolution, but i think we should look at it with some degree of caution in terms of what it says about support for islamists and nonislamists in
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that they weren't on the ballot. it was an up or down vote on the framework for the transition period. that said, it's a decent proxy indicator because islamists strongly lined up in favor of the charter, and most nonislamists opposed the charter. so you can view it as somewhat of a proxy indicator. and what you see here is the islamist position, you know, the interwith rim charter -- interim charter there was a yes vote of 77%. that's the interim position, it's really their high water mark, and it's the first vote after the transition. and you see despite the fact there's wide support for this, for the interim charter that extends throughout the country, for example, the charter passed by no less than 61% in all of at that time there was 29 governments, now there's 27, in all of the 29 governments of egypt, you do still see these geographic divides. so it passed by the largest
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margins in upper egypt just as we saw in the earlier vote, and where there was pockets of opposition, they were in the same areas. cairo, alexandria and these smaller or sparsely-populateed gore rates of the south sea. now i'm going to move on to the most recent vote which was the december 2012 referendum on the constitution. and here again as when we compared the parliamentary vote with the presidential vote, the regional divides are even more stark. so what we see here is you had three governor plants in the delta and cairo that majorities rejected the constitution. it only passed by a percentage point in port said. also overall support dropped, so whereas for the interim charter that passed with 77% of the vote, here you only have 64% yes, and you have you have a significant drop in turnout, a
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13% drop in turnout, only a third of the electorate turned out to vote for the, in the, for the permanent constitution. so what are the maintainingaways? -- maintainingaways? that islamists do quite well in upper egypt, in the outlying governance of the west and also in north sinai whereas nonislamists do well in cairo and its immediate environs, south sinai and those sparsely-populated governor nates on the red sea. so that speaks to the main takeaways in terms of the red state/blue state dynamic, if you will, of egypt. the delta is contested territory, and to me, surprisingly so. we see an opportunity, if you will, for nonislamists. islamists perform well in the delta in absolute terms, but they underperform their national
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averages. and then there's also a macro trend which is support for islamists is waning over time. we see that their high water mark was in the first referendum, the first election that occurred after the transition at which point they'd been bleeding some support. so what are the implications going forward? i'm not here to advocate that the national salvation front should participate in the election ares. that's their choice -- elections, that's their choice, and there's a complicated calculus behind that, and there could be good reasons for not participating, frankly. but my analysis argues should they decide to participate, they could pick up seats. and, again, i'm not suggesting that they would get a majority of seats. those group withs combined to get a very small percentage in the first parliamentary elections, but i think they would outperform as they did in the 2011-2012 elections and be more competitive. and i think the trend lines that
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i'm identifying here, i take a study approach that's very data driven as dahlia mentioned. but if you take a more qualitative approach and you look at developments, recent developments in the region, they tend to support these main trend lines. so, for example, you have a lot of opposition that's been galvanized by president morrissey's november 22nd presidential decree in which he expanded the powers of the executive at that time, in which he placed the decisions above judicial review and also appointed what has been a very divisive prosecutor general, for instance. and that's galvanized a lot of op suggestion to morsi himself and to the brotherhood writ large. you've had major protests recently in the canal cities, port said and suez, and those protests don't necessarily have to do with directly with support
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for islamists or support for nonislamists, but they've definitely taken on a political turn and spread more broadly throughout the country. also you've had a change in the relative cohesiveness of act to haves. so one of the advantages -- of actors. so one of the advantages of islamists in previous elections is they're a pretty cohesive bloc. you've had some splintering among the salafist group, so you've had what are sometimes called the doves of the salafist groups break away from nour and start on the homeland party, and you've had tensions even within other elements of the salafist community in between the salafists and the muslim brotherhood. and you've also had recent changes in the electoral formula which i would argue are going to play to the strengths of of nonislamists. so there was a recent decision by the supreme constitutional court which mandated that representation in parliament be proportional to the size of the
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electorate in that district. traditionally, upper egypt have had disproportionate representation. it was actually a strategy of the previous regime. there's lower political consciousness there, the regime felt like those areas were easier to deliver for the then-ruling party, the national democratic party. the areas that are going to get seats under the new formula are cairo, which is going to get a lot of seats, and the delta. and as this analysis has shown, cairo is, in fact, an area where nonislamists do well, and the delta is contested territory. so i think there are a lot of trend lines that play in favor of the nonislamists. >> thank you. thank you, jeff. and what i think what we'll do is we'll broaden, open up the discussion. i'm going to start with some questions for our panelists, and then we'll open it up to the room for questions from you all in a few minutes.
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what i'd like to do first is turn to summer and michelle to get some reactions to jeff's report and then we can broaden in terms of broader trend lines. and starting with this analysis that jeff is presenting about the balance of power and the losing influence or declining influence of the islamists, the fracturing within and so forth, um, to what extent, summer, maybe you can start, do you agree with these, this analysis of the balance of power internally and, michelle, you could speak to that as well but maybe also the question of to what extent these elections play a role, how significant are they compared to other factors in egypt's political transition? because they're not isolated. so i also want to make sure we think of the broader context here. so let's start with summer. >> sure. well, first, you know, i need to commend jeff and his co-author for the report. um, it's a very interesting report, it's a very good report, and i think what we should
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immediately take away is the fact that now when elections in egypt actually have some integrity and the voting patterns mean something, we can empirically study outcomes. and, of course, we couldn't do this before because the primary determinant of election outcomes in egypt under mubarak was the extent of electoral fraud. and so for those of us who studied elections, we had to kind of guess which districts the voting was, had some integrity and which districts doesn't. so i think this is one of the first studies i've seen, and hopefully there will be more empirical analysis, of voting patterns of who votes for whom and why and so on. so i think, you know, the authors need to be commended. i agree generally, i think, with some of the conclusions that are drawn from this. the fact that there is a
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geographical aspect of voting with regard to islamists that -- and maybe i would phrase it differently, or this is an area of exploration, that urban centers -- not just cairo, but urban centers, alexandria, which i would think for some reasons should be excluded from the category of the delta, a city of five-plus million people and so on -- that i think voted for socialist candidate in the first round of the egyptian parliamentary elections, that urban centers tend to not be so favorable or as favorable to islamists. and, of course, more rural areas tend to be more favorable to islamists. and, in fact, we can maybe even go beyond thinking about geography and thinking about what this means in terms of socioeconomic class. and i think this is very, very important. and i think what we'll find is that, and there has been some research that has been done many
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a very initial -- in a very initial stage to try to document this. i think by the danish/egyptian network done by the center for political and strategic studies that tries to argue, and this makes sense intuitively, that there is a relationship between wealth, education and voting and that, in fact, the more, the higher socioeconomic classes, the more education, the less likelihood one is to vote for islamists. and, in fact, we could even -- and some of the data shows this -- that less education, um, lower wealth one is more likely to vote for not justice lammists, but the salafi groups and so on. so i i think that's a very, very important -- and i think that's in line with the findings and the arguments that are made here. i also think that the other general trend without overemphasizing it is also valid, and that is that we are
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likely to see decreasing electoral strength for islamists generally. and there are many reasons for that. some quite simple, that is that, you know, up until 2011, up until the egyptian uprising islamist groups, in particular the muslim brother hood, are really the only serious political actors other than mubarak's ruling party that actually took elections seriously. and there was good reason for that. if you were a rational voter in egypt under mubarak, you stayed home because you knew that your vote didn't mean anything. and i think the large, significant liberal political currents also didn't participate in elections, and many of the parties that we see merging now, the constitution party and others and so on are new
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post-january 2005 phenomenon. so as these liberal secular parties get more established, established brand names -- which they don't have, and this is another issue -- the muslim brotherhood has a brand name. it's a recognizable commodity. people know what they're voting for when they vote for the muslim brotherhood, and that's so some extent true for the sal salafis as well. i don't think that can be said for the liberal parties. i might be-- it might be able to be said for the left party, prerevolution party, but it certainly can't be said of some of the other liberal secular pears. so as these parties open up offices, as they gain electoral experience, as they hopefully, which they haven't done, do outreach, do community work, have a presence outside the major cities and so on, do the difficult work of political organization because, of course, half of political success is organization.
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and the islamists have done a wonderful job of this. and the liberal secular parties and those youth that initiated the revolution have not done a very good job of this. as these groups engage in in this kind of grassroots retail politics, i would hope that their electoral fortunes would do percent. and i think i'll just -- do better. and i think i'll just end with the following initially, and that is there's another reason why islamists are likely to do less well in the coming, you know, years, and that is because up until the present islamists have not been tested. but mr. morsi now has been tested at least since august of 2012, and the situation is not good. and there has been significant economic deterioration. there's rising unemployment, a million people more unemployed. there's, um, a liquidity crisis. there is the withdrawal of
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foreign direct investment, there is the downgrading of the egyptian economy by the international rating agencies. there is the depreciation of the egyptian pound, and there's serious or security issue in the country. so voters in egypt like elsewhere are, respond to conditions. and right now the conditions are or the trend line is not positive. and i think that will likely have some impact on future elections. not decisive or determinant in the sense that liberals and secular groups are going to win elections, you know, 50% plus one, but i think they're likely to do better. and just the last point that i'll make, and i don't know if -- i don't think this comes up in the report, and that is something to think about. i think at one level it's but, but, you know, the empirics about this need to be investigated a little more thoroughly, to what extent is electoral composition in egypt for islamists competition
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between islamists as as opposed to between islamists and liberal secular forces? in other words, if you speak to members of the muslim brotherhood, the freedom and justice party as i did last week and in the previous elections and so on, i i think their fears when they look at upcoming elections aren't so much from the left party, it's from the right. it's from the salafi parties, from the nour party and so on. and so what we're likely to see is also a rebalancing possibly of that relationship. in the first elections, the parliamentary elections as jeff mentioned, the pus limb brotherhood and their -- muslim brotherhood and their electoral partners received about 43, 45% of the vote whereas the salafi bloc received 25 percent of the vote. it could very well be in the upcoming elections that the salafi parties maybe do a little
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bit for percent and the muslim brotherhood does less. so i think i'll hand things over to michelle. >> michelle, do you have an agreement on this, and maybe you could speak to the strength of the nonislamist parties and the extent to which they're getting their act together or not. so -- >> okay, thank you. thank you, dalia, thank you, jeff, and i agree that i thought the report was excellent, very useful, and the findings certainly ring true in the main. but since i've been asked to comment, i'm going to problemtize a little bit. and i would say that i thought the findings were great in the sense that they countered the conventional wisdom, you know, that there's a green wave, the brotherhood is it, you know, they've taken over egypt, no going on from this. and i don't think that's necessarily the case. i agree with jeff that that isn't he'sly the case, and we need to look in more detail. but i also think, i mean, and i understand that with the report you were trying to tell a clear
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story. but, you know, when we get beyond that, i think and look at things in a little more detail, there are a lot of other questions that arise. now, you know, one of them, samer just raised one of them which i think is a very big one which is that this is a very pluralist scene in egypt, and it's pluralist on all parts of the political spectrum including the islamist part. so to just say islamist versus secularist really doesn't tell you the whole story, and the nour party and the salafis are a very important part of the story. and, in fact, you know, if we could put up here sort of a schematic of the main political parties, right? already the political scene in this egypt has sorted itself out to some extent as so often happens after a revolution, right? you have dozens of parties in the first election and fewer in the next and over several terms. so but now, i mean, we still
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have at least, um, at least a dozen political parties if not more that are relevant right now. but it's not justice lammist versus secularists. you could also look at them as being right, center, liberal and left. and you have islamists right, central, liberal and left and secularists right, central, liberal and left which tells you, you know, something about the, yes, secular versus islamist, but also the political agenda, the agenda in terms of human rights and the economic agenda. so, um, you know, it's finish the political spectrum is a lot more complicated, i think, than justice lammist versus secularists, and it would be great, you know, in future work if you do more work based on this to look at that sort of thing. i also think very much, you know, i want to emphasize a point that samer raised about the important role of
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mobilization. because you, now, it's very good that you based your findings on electoral results, not on public opinion. but one could be misled in reading this report and thinking it's all about how people feel, how people feel about the brotherhood versus, you know, secular parties or something. and as we know, you know, in an electoral democracy it's really much more about what people do and especially about who shows up on election day. and that's one caution i want to raise about what the electoral results will be next time. now, you, of course, raised the important issue of whether the parties that have gathered within the national salvation front will participate. that's huge. but let's even say, let's even say they do participate or whatever, mobilization is enormous. so the question is, if sentiment is trending against the brotherhood -- and i agree it is, i mean, there are protests against the brotherhood at the
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brother hood headquarters in cairo today, and they've been happening, what's more impressive is that they've been happening in a lot of other parts of the country, not just in cairo where we already know sentiment is not particularly pro-brotherhood -- but, so i agree with this, and i think i'd be very interested, jeff, and i'm sure you've looked at the recent student elections, professional send candidate elections. there is a trend of the brotherhood losing, losing its share. not losing entirely, but losing its share in these elections. and it's interesting to think what this means for parliamentary elections. but my question about parliamentary elections is if people are feeling down on the brotherhood, does that mean they're going to turn up and vote for somebody else, or does that mean they're just not going to turn up? and, you know, and is it still going to be, you know, the brotherhood and perhaps the salafis with their mobilizational mechanic nhls that can get -- mechanisms that can get people to turn out and vote for them?
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so i think that's, that's something that we're going to need to, um, to look at. and a couple of other -- one other question that arose, you raised this question of the delta, and i'm actually hoping samier can say a -- samer can say a word about this. i'm curious about the role of labor. that can be an important factor in the delta and whether that's one of the reasons, yeah, there are some very strong, obviously, labor cities in the delta and the canal area and so forth and also one of the reasons why, um, in the first round of the presidential elections sabahi did well. i actually wish but it would have had to have been a more detailed paper, you were able to get into analyzing the first round of the presidential election. i think it was extremely interesting, although admittedly there were some political factions, notably liberals, who were not represented in the
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first round of the presidential election. but when we get into what i was talking about, you've got, you know, right islamist, left islamist, right secularists, left secularists, i think if you looked at the first rounds of the presidential election, you could begin to see how the electorate divides up in that more differentiated way. the last issue i'll raise is just you mentioned the electoral districts and this court ruling that the electoral districts have to be more representative in terms of population. there are a lot of accusations now of gerrymandering, that there has been, you know, an effort while morsi has been in power to break up some of the districts that secularists -- i wonder what you think about that. there's also a big issue with the voter lists. these are all things that are, you know, very complicated, technical issues, but we know they can have a profound impact on how parliamentary elections
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will come out when they eventually take place. i have some things i would like to say about what this means for the united states and u.s. policy toward egypt, but perhaps shall i save those, dalia? >> yes, we'll get to those. >> okay, great. >> these were great comments and very helpful as we move forward with this line of research. you know, there seems to be agreement that sentiment, voting patterns as jeff's report shows is trending against the muslim brotherhood. i think the disagreement is what are the implications of that and where will things move going forward. so i wouldn't mind getting, especially samer and jeff's view on what is your view of where things are going in terms of the election boycott and whether that's likely to happen, or how is the national salvation front, the nonislamist groups looking at these trends? are they thinking this is an opportunity? right now they're considering the boycott, is that a mistake? where do you think, what are possible scenarios of how this might play out, and then to michelle just so then we have
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time to open up for questions, i would like your assessment especially since you've spent time in government of to what extent do you think the u.s. could influence these outcomes? should we be trying to take advantage of these vulnerabilities we're seeing on a regional basis? would that backfire? to what extent should we try to play in this electoral game, and more prod ri, you know -- broadly, you know, we're on the hill today and many folks here are thinking about different steps the u.s. can take in terms of reorienting u.s. relationships we egypt, so i think it's very important to open the discussion in that way as well. so let's start on what are future scenarios that might be possible. we'll start with jeff and then head back to samer. >> in terms of the election boycott that was announced by the national salvation front, it's hard to tell whether they're going to participate in future elections when these elections eventually do occur. the national salvation front has a series of demands. they're pretty far reaching.
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one of them is for a national unity government, so the current prime minister, he'd have to go probably. the prosecutor general, abdullah, he's very -- he's not personally that divisive of a figure. the problem is the way in which he was appointed which most egyptians would say is not the appropriate procedure for appointing the prosecutor general. so there's a, the national salvation front has a big list of demands that they would like to see the brotherhood cede to. the brotherhood has actually shown, has tried to show that they're flexible on some of them. there's been a lot of press reporting that they're willing to, for example, shuffle the cabinet. they have not yet. but, again, going forward it's very tough to tell. what's also tough to tell is how cohesive the national salvation front is. i mean, i've been surprised, and they've exceeded my expectations
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of their ability to be able to hold together. there was a sort of main critique of the nonislamist forces, it's that they're fractious, they don't get along together, the parties are personalistic, there's a lot of in-fighting. they were unified in this boycott. they have some really smart people. in fact, their boycott campaign is being organized by a man who used to work at cash my and is a smart guy and knows what he's doing, is politically astute. but i could see some fracturing. there's certainly some rank and file within some of the parties that would like to contest the waft, the historic nationalist party is always going to be a problem in this. they're probably going to, they're a group that you can see break for political expediency reasons if they see an opportunity to pick pup seats. they've done that in the past. again, hard to tell how it'll shake out. it's also you don't know if these demands that the national salvation front have made are genuine or if they'll move the
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goalpost. they have moved the goalpost several times. so even if the brotherhooding willing to back down, will the nsf just push them, you know, hard to see that it's to their political advantage not to participate. and i'll just close by saying although my analysis argues that should the national salvation front participate they would pick up seats, i'm not necessarily advocating they take that approach. there's good reasons -- they have one source of leverage. they can or cannot legitimize the election. they have one very big bullet in their chamber. how they, you know, decide to use that is up to mohamed el elr to figure out, but there are also good reasons for them to maybe with participation if they think they can get more out of it, for example, revisiting the constitution. >> okay. samer, would you agree? you mentioned earlier how the islamists face threats from their right as much as the left, so is this strategically a
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mistake by the nonislamist national salvation fund to consider this boycott given what may fill the vacuum? >> right. well, it's not a mistake certainly to consider the boycott, but it has to be said that boycotts are incredibly difficult to sustain and for them to be successful. boycotts are, essentially, a collective action problem in reverse. and what this means is that then there are increased incentives as jeff mentioned for defectors because be you defect and -- if you defect and others are not participating, there's a higher likelihood you're going to succeed and then be represented in greater numbers in any kind of parliament. and jeff is also very correct in pointing out that we've already seen indications that groups, parties like the left and others are likely to participate in the election. i think it needs to be also said that the question of boycott was initially put forward when the elections were announced for
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april, mid, late april and so on. now that the administrative courts and then likely the supreme constitutional court is going to delay this process because of the constitutionality of the electoral rules, there's no question that the national salvation front will revisit this issue. so the first point is that the electoral poi cots are very difficult -- boycotts are very difficult to sustain, and they are very difficult to be successful. and, essentially, the goal of this is to deprive the legitimacy that elections provide to the government. well, that's unlikely to be successful for a number of reasons. as michelle and jeff have mentioned, there are many political parties, including other islamists, not the muslim brotherhood who are going to participate in the elections for certain, and there are other liberal and nonislamist groups that have already announced they're going to participate such as nour, for example, soft
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islam it looks as if anwar sadat's party, the reform and development party is going to participate in the elections and so on. so it's, it's unlikely that an election boycott will be successful. of course, the logic, one of the logics of the electoral boycott would be not only to deprive legitimacy to morsi and the government, but, you know, many of the people in the national salvation front and liberal and secular voices want morsi to fail miserably, and they want things to deteriorate so much in egypt that morsi cannot continue as president. and many people are calling for that. many people are calling for, um, many liberal and secular voices -- and i think this is absurd -- are calling for morsi to be removed, they're calling for the military to intervene. there are petitions signed by egyptians asking the minister of
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defense to intervene and to remove morsi. others are calling for early presidential elections so morsi doesn't continue with this four years. and even though i think mr. morsi's reign has been disastrous in many ways, i think it would be a terribly pad precedent for him -- bad precedent for him not to continue for his four years. so i think the question of the boycott will be revisited, and i think that even though the 14 demands of the national salvation front are really excessive in many ways, i think that many of the parties that are talking about boycott will eventually participate. >> okay. michelle, how does the u.s. solve all this? or deal with it? >> first of all, briefly, i never answered your previous question about how significant will the next elections be. >> yeah. >> just a couple sentences on that. i think very significant because of this: the constitution that was passed in december is big in
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many respects. and it's troubling in many respects. and where the country is actually going to go is going to depend very much on legislation that will be passed by this next parliament, especially if it were actually to serve out its full term that will implement or not implement a lot of things that are in the constitution. so i think there's a lot at stake. okay, what about the united states? to what extent can the united states influence outcomes, and should it try to do so? look, clearly i think it would be a mistake for the united states to try to do that in an open and clumsy way. it could easy, easily pack -- backfire. we could all play out those scenarios. but i do think that the united states should be taking, keeping in mind the findings of this report and what it means. i think that u.s. policy toward egypt needs to have kind of a big picture, a long game and a short game. the long game is what you're
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talking about here, that this is a pluralist, dynamic situation in egypt. the game is on, so to speak, and now is not the moment to say that because islamists won three-quarters of the parliament and morsi won the other portion, that's it, this is an islamist egypt, and let's all just reconcile ourselves to that. i think that would be a mistake. i think the united states should interact itself in the long game in the development of a democratic system in egypt, not in specific political outcomes. and also, frankly, i think the united states should have an interest in the fact that if egypt is going to succeed in becoming a democracy, that islamists and secularists in some combination are going to have to work together. there are simply too many islamists and too many nonislamists for either group to run the country without the others. and i talked about the differentiated political spectrum, and i think there's a
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lot of scope for alliances in working together. it's not easy, as we see now. and that brings us to the short game where egypt right now, i mean, in the next month or two is facing really critical economic and security challenges. and we're looking at the real possibility of a breakdown into chaos of some kind, economic crisis that would have huge political ramifications. and in that i think the united states has to be playing a role urging all parties and very much urging president morsi to compromise politically. i think at this point president morsi is trying to proceed in the political transition and run the country basically just with the brotherhood behind him. well, as we've seen, that abides by these results and as is manifestly the case in his inability to address these economic and security challenges, it's not enough for him to just, you know, the brotherhood cannot run the
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country on its own. they're going to have to have more people in their political tent. they're going to have to have more allies to address these important questions. and, therefore, i think also it's a mistake for the united states to treat president morsi as though he's the new knew park. mubarak. you know, that's it. president morsi and his small group from within the brotherhood are going to be in charge of the country for years and decades to come. i think the united states should have in mind that, all, if the democratic system does develop and remains open and elections continue to be free and competitive, that there's likely to be turnover, that people that we see today in the opposition, um, whether they are secular, whether they are salafis and so forth, we're likely to see in high government positions in the future, and the united states should be much more serious about the contacts that it has with people in the political
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opposition. i think the united states has focused all of its efforts in the last year or so on developing good relations with the brotherhood. morsi is a legitimately-elected president, and of course the united states should try to have constructive relations with him and with others in his government and his advisers. and i speak to them as samer and we all do. but it shouldn't be only that. and here i just want to point to the importance, i think, of the united states not throwing its weight behind this candidate or that party. that would clearly backfire. but standing up for the values that a some of these parties -- that some of these parties are standing for. i continue to think that, um, liberalism is very, very vital in egypt. it's alive, it's growing in some ways. i just published an article in the journal of democracy about
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this, why liberalism still matters in egypt. i think the united states needs to be standing up particularly for freedom of expression and freedom of association, for the role that the media and civil society organizations as well as political parties can play as watchdogs and so forth, keeping this political scene open so that, you know, so that the rights of egyptians are protected no matter who wins elections, and so that egyptians can have a real ability, a real right and ability to change their government through elections, to call the government to accountment and if they're -- account. and if they're unhappy, to vote someone else in. >> okay, thank you. i'm going to open it up to the floor. would you ask your question, please, first identify yourself. i don't know if we have a mic, um, roaming mic or just procorrect well. okay -- project well.
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okay. why don't we start up here, then we'll move back. >> hi. nancy -- [inaudible] director of egypt program at freedom house. thank you so much, jeff, for this really informative report. and i just want to, like, get to a particular question. well, normally people have this political con testation in election to reach power to govern. and it appears to me that we're so stuck in a phase of political con testation and not looking how this is linking to government, and that is very much linked to two points you make and my question is that you made two points regarding the interpretation of the very first referendum. and talking about the 77% was the, the eshoo was along the fault line -- issue was along
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the fault line of islam and nonislamists. but it's not really that. and i think mostly it was sold to the people as stability versus instability. which one present fast track for a faster, quicker or smoother transition. okay? so and, again, when you talked about -- [inaudible] him winning on a nonplatform while islamists had a platform, i don't think that's true. he also played on a platform of stability when he just famously said i'm going to break the leg of anyone who goes to tahrir again. >> okay, let's -- >> so that's the point. i mean, like, more of who and how. is and the question mainly for michelle, what kind of advice do you give to political parties who would ever come to power? how would they be able to implement the policies too? because the question is not about not having a plan. even if they have a plan, they don't have authority, obviously, other institutions to implement or even on behalf of legislation, they don't have, you don't have the tools to
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enforce that because of the lack of security and the lack of economic tools in their hands. so what will be the solution in that? >> okay. for those who didn't hear, so to jeff, what's really driving these votes, stability or votes for islamists or not and the policy tools, we'll briefly touch on that, and we'll move on. >> i totally agree with you, nancy, and you'll see in the report i do make that point that -- and that's why i said we should have caution when we interpret the march 2011 remember dumb on the interim charter as support for islamists and nonislamists. it is, i think, a legitimate proxy indicator. but there's certainly people that voted for the charter because they wanted to move along with the transition. and as you mention, there's certainly people that voted for shafiq, in fact, i think most of his base was people who wanted a security state, who wanted stability basically. and it speaks to, i'll just frame it even broader. you know, michelle and samer
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have talked about this already, but this focuses on electoral process. what's at stalk is much larger. -- stake is much larger. i mean, we've had the minister of justice in egypt talking about the death of the state because you have vigilante justice and just this morning there was another person who was hanged for, because he was a car thief, and he was caught in the -- and the community took it upon themselves to hang him. and you had the incident earlier which i'm sure you're aware of where you had vigilante justice. i mean, the state is falling apart. the security situation is terrible. samer can talk about it, he was just there, and i bet michelle was as well. and then the economic issues. i mean, look at the foreign currency reserves, the drop in foreign currency reserves, the state of the economy. so this report focuses narrowly on electoral prospects, but in many ways the stakes are much larger. and i concede your points, you're right.
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>> so regarding the question about, you know, how would political parties even b if they have programs be able to implement them, you know, if they come to power in government, look, there are a couple of things. i already mentioned the need for, um, creating political alliances across party lines, so to speak; islamist, secularist, right, left. i don't fancy that everyone in egypt can unite in, you know, in one giant bloc. but, in other words, you know, it's not going to be possible for just one, no one political party or one political force is going to be able to make big things happen, right? and we see some of the big things that have to happen. economic reform is desperately needed, right? someone has to address the hemorrhaging of the egyptian government budget through particularly fuel subsidies and efforts to support the egyptian pound, although those are less now.
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they are letting the currency fall garageally. so the this must be done -- gradually. and it's very, very urgent to deal with the fiscal situation and to do something to given the process -- to begin the process of restoring the confidence of investors and tourists and others. you know, egyptian investors first of all, but foreign investors as well and tourists and others who would be bringing money into the country. the other thing that is badly, badly needed is security sector reform. now, that's a long and difficult road, but many countries have blocked it before. when you go from authoritarian to democratic government, you must do this thing. and egypt hasn't even started it, you know? and we're seeing the terrible results of this. we're seeing this terrible breakdown in law and order and the great anger at the police that we saw in port said and many other places, and the anger of the police; insubordination
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on the part of the police, police strikes. this is just a disastrous situation. and this points to, again, you've got to have a broad political consensus to do something difficult like take on security sector reform. right now even if, even if -- president morsi couldn't even do this right now even if he wants to do it. first of all, he would fear mutiny on the part of the police which i think the brotherhood already feels is against them. second of all, the political opposition wouldn't even allow him to do it or would criticize him for doing it because they would just say, oh, this is going the brotherhoodization of the police, right? so you need to have different political forces joining together to take on these difficult programs. so whoever is elected is going to have to work, going to have to work with others. and they're going to have to deal with the bureaucracy. we are kind of seeing, you know, the kind of revenge of the egyptian bureaucracy, six, seven
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million strong against, against morsi and against the brother hood whether it's the police, whether it's people in the ministries, whether it's the state media, you know? someone has to enlist the cooperation. this is always a problem. it's a problem here in the united states, you know, when a policy decision is taken to then, you know, get the bureaucracy to implement it. but right now it's an enormous problem in egypt and, again, it goes back, i think, to having a broader political consensus and building some trust. right now trust between the people who have different political persuasions is so low, and everyone's playing zero sum politics. in order to be able to implement anything, some group, groups are going to have to move away from this and figure out a way to cooperate. >> the next question. samer, i was just wondering if you could comment on michelle's question about the need and the
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imperative for the muslim brotherhood to reach across and develop coalitions to deal with these broad, pressing challenges. you were just there. to what extent do you think brotherhood leadership is, you know, knowledgeable, understands, has internalized how vulnerable their situation has become and how on the brink the country is at the moment? give us a feel of what the internal thinking might be at present. >> sure. well, that's difficult to do with any kind of certainty, but my impression is that there is an unwillingness to realize or to come to terms with the importance of the type of consensus-driven politics at this time that is desperately needed in egypt. and, in fact, i think many people in the brotherhood at the highest levels, possibly including mr. morsi, look at the world quite differently. ..
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in which he put himself above the law. we see this with regard to quite horrifically be almost, almost accepting of violence for the tolerating if not requesting violence on the part of muslim brotherhood supporters against protesters in front of the presidential palace. we also see this in the discourse of the muslim brotherhood which delegitimize his and his seem to did deed
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legitimize opposition movements to disagree with him on policy matters calling their loyalty to egypt in question. i mean this is really kind of unacceptable so at that level i think there has been an unwillingness to engage in any kind of a sense of pluralist politics which as michele noted is so desperately needed now on all kinds of issues, security issues as well as the economic desire that the country faces. >> okay. on that pessimistic note let's continue on with the questioning back there, yeah. >> jeff thanks so much -- >> can you identify your affiliation? >> i'm with brookings. jeff thanks so much for putting this presentation together and i was wondering, i'm looking forward to reading it when you release the papers sorted to
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build on the point. i was wondering if you talk about the other independent factors and how you account for a turnout in the various elections and also to the other panelists if you could address the successful but in some way simplistic red state versus blue state? i agree with nancy and the stability vote but the hold your nose revolutionary vote so if you could talk about that to a degree. >> yeah of course. in terms of using the votes as an indicator for implement of supporters support for non-implements there is some ways in which is problematic. i already addressed the constitutional referendum which i suggest in treating those with caution but we shouldn't ignore them. i mean the islamist framed the vote for both the constitutional referendum that took lace in december of 2012 and the interim charter around article to.
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they framed that vote as we urge you to show up and vote to protect article ii. that was disingenuous but let's face it that was a factor. we shouldn't have overstated it so i do think we should be more cautious when we look at the two referenda as opposed to when we look at the parliamentary election and the presidential vote in the which islamists and non-islamists are on the ballot. i completely agree with the idea that some of the votes particularly in the presidential election shakeout is basically a stability vote for ahmed shafiq. i completely agree that. in terms of turnout, it's complicated in the mick's metaphor because of how byzantine the egyptian electoral system is so there are some practical challenges in doing this research. one of those practical challenges for example is the way the parliamentary elections were staged. so you had runoffs for example. how do you account for that? how do you account for the fact
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that he often had a member from the freedom of justice party facing off against the salafist in the second round. do you count the first round of you count the second round? theirs is matolla.shekel hurdle. there are all these -- i'm conceding. this study can tell you exactly what's going to happen. as samer put it it's a first step in an opening field in an interesting area of research. i'm trying to put something out there that others can field on a turnout is an important factor. i do think particular in the two referenda it was telling that only a third of the new electorate turned out for the referendum on the permanent constitution. that's a big moment in the transition in which only a third of the electorate weighed in. i think part of it is the key. in state elections for the parliament and the presidential vote before it, you had a referendum so people are gone to the polls many times.
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you could have easily gone to the polls five or six times prior to that in a two year period. >> any other reactions to that question? >> a couple of brief points. i agree that it's really difficult to match up the votes on the referenda with the parliamentary and presidential because there has been this, these stability voters going one way versus another and so forth. i am not sure i agree with you on the factor regarding the constitutional referendum in december because actually they hadn't voted since june. it wasn't like they came right on the heels of the presidential election. i think it was more disenchantment with the process leading up to it and that is why i do ask that question about is the parliamentary election? if people are feeling unhappy or disenchanted with the political process and have a lot of parties are boycotting will that
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simply depress turnout, you no? the other thing you know once we get more granular about looking at it we have to remember that not every option is available in every election and there is no liberalism in in the presidential election and once you start looking district by district you can see why some list to one or whatever because of the presence of a certain group. at some point you have to look at candidates and also you have to look at mobilization. i will just tell a very quick and. i was in an international observer in the first round of the parliamentary elections in late 2012 and i was in port said the major liberal figure of port said was running in that
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election against the brotherhood candidate. and what happened was there were demonstrations in tahrir. there were questions about whether secularists were even going to boycott the parliamentary election at the end. this was november 2012 and what happened was all of george takei 's volunteers were demonstrating in tahrir and didn't make it back to port said for the election. so there were brotherhood handing out leaflets illegally but all the candidates were doing it, handing out leaflets on election day registering voters, candidate agents watching the voting every place. and the people were not there. i didn't see them anywhere or maybe i saw one or two of them in the two days of voting. and it was a stunner for port said that he didn't even make it into the runoff.
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there was a reason. these people were not there at the critical moment so i keep bringing up this mobilization question. look, i agree jeff. it's useful to look at the big picture. but then also you can draw a lot of lessons by looking you know in detail zeroing and maybe on a few districts where you know very local things happen. see okay. did you want to comment on that as well? >> i think that in fact can just take away, it is the case that in march 2011 referendum, that received 77% votes that it was certainly framed as guess it was a vote. and no was a vote for striking article ii out of the constitution. at the same time the army supported quite obviously a yes
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vote. so i think both of you are correct with regards to that. i will say again and this is something that jeff and i have spoken about, that i think the first round of the presidential election in may of 2012 is very important, because in that election voters actually have a choice and when voters had a choice, they didn't all vote overwhelmingly for the most -- candidate. mr. morrissey received 5 million votes and in fact if anything, that first round election indicates to us i think what the corps support group of the muslim brotherhood and the freedom and justice party are and how limited they are. when you add the votes of the number two candidate ahmad shafiq and mr. -- did very well
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as the number three candidate and the vote of the number five candidate, they far exceed the number of votes that president morsi got. voters also had a choice in that election. many voters chose to vote as opposed to the muslim brotherhood. so i think that's quite important. the last thing as i mentioned another example of the emphasis driven or no concern for the consensus that the muslim brotherhood displayed over the last six months has been the farcical method in which the constitution and the farcical constitution was put in place with complete disregard for how others in the egyptian society looked at this document. this was not a document in this was not an election that was a referendum to elect a city council member for four years.
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this was about electing or supporting a constitution. one would think that something as important as that would have required you know, much more broad tastes support than the measly 63% and the measly 37% turnout. so i think that is yet another example of the disappointing and that's to put it politely, attitude that the freedom and justice party is displayed with regard to really deepening democratic consolidation in building a liberal democratic base that i think is what many the people that participated in the uprising voted for it. >> i think some of your points despite despite some differences maybe on which election to focus on still supports the overall narrative of declining islam a strength which i think is important. >> exactly the point that samer was lossmaking. i want to say, something little
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bit more about why brotherhood and morsi and the freedom and justice party are resisting the consensus politics. i think it's an important point. you hear some people making the argument well, it's because they are islamists and they are bent on sticking to the plan and they are still compromising because they are islamists and so forth. i really see the little bit differently. i think that the brotherhood is leaning very much in the way that an opposition group that fought many years without having any chance to come to power and when it finally gets to power. in other words they are so -- they feel so okay, it's our moment. the countries with us and now we have a chance. we have to make something happen and they have their programs and they just announce something today that is an economic development program and so forth they have these programs that they have been developing and
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they think this is their moment and they feel that everybody is out to make them fail. there definitely is a feeling of paranoia and it's not entirely unjustified. they feel that the secularists are against them and the police are against them and that they are struggling against all odds to make this political transition. if we can just get to the next step, if we can just get the constitution passed, but can just get to the parliamentary elections and when you speak to them this is their side of the story. they do believe the secular parties have no intention to compromise with them. and again, it is true from my observation that the secular opposition is divided. even the national salvation hardy is divided. some of them want to make morsi and the brotherhood party fail at any cost, any cost. drive the country over an economic cliff, doesn't matter. just get rid of the brotherhood.
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others i think are willing to compromise and are talking of boycotts and other things because they are trying to force the brotherhood to compromise with them which in my view is a far more constructive approach. but you know, i think morsi and the brotherhood have to see that they are simply not succeeding in what they are doing and they are risking the failure of morsi's entire presidency if they don't compromise. >> okay we have a number of questions. what i will do is maybe, since we are going to run out of time i will take a few of them together and let all of you guys answer at will depending on which one you want to focus on. why don't we do one, two and then three and we will try to get you. >> my question is around charity and the impact that could have on future elections. we talked about the delta being a successful territory and
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concerning the violence that we saw there in port said and the region in general i am just wondering what kind of impact that could have on swaying people to support different candidates or parties in the future and maybe just overall security in general in the country and changing voting patterns? >> okay, great. back there. >> i'm with the foreign affairs committee. after the court on the old the election dates and gave morsi a way to release pressure post election have there have been any kind of reflections by morsi or the brotherhood about how to approach a elections and what changes do you perceive in terms of rolling out new elections? >> okay, again brother of questions. any internal rethinking of the the -- impact of violence? >> american chamber of commerce in egypt.
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very quickly, we are coming up to a very serious economic cliff and where do you think the united states should be doing with regards to the imf agreement and is the u.s. pushing the imf to have one or not to have one? and should the imf just give the money to egypt or what needs to be done? >> okay and the last one. why don't we just take this last one and we will have all of our closing comments. >> i am working with a program in cairo actually. i guess my questions stems from everything that people have been saying about the response to violence and about the basic reactions of nsf and the electorate and everything, but my question is are you seeing a general radicalization of society both the liberals becoming more radical and we see
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that in the fact that we saw islamists marching military style towards the protesters and we see it in the fact that they are supporting and promoting vigilante groups now. it's all over society, the breakdown of law that you mentioned. so how can this be overcome and to reach that point of compromise, because we can say that people can say they're willing they are willing to do it but in general it has to have support from the population. the muslim brotherhood are losing support from the population. essentially even being able to implement any laws so the breakdown in society is just around the corner and people can't get out of this radicalization. >> why don't we focus on some of the domestic questions first, especially this very important issue which is the declining
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threat of the islamist because of the broader trends. there are three different ways it can go. one it can go in the direction that jeff is suggesting in his report that possibly you are going to move to a competitive political system. another possibility though unfortunately is what you are suggesting is this decreased radicalization in the security issues on the ground leading to chaos were all sides are kind of checking out the system and the state and stability. that is a less positive scenario that may unfold so i think it's a very him born question about where is it heading in getting to the question of how is the brotherhood going going to react? is going to wake up to the threat especially the more radical party opposition and that want to see morsi fail. whether anybody or both sides will wake up where the moderate sides will join together and
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what will force him to do that when you are facing extremist? why don't we start with the domestic and then one or two to conclude or just thoughts on the imf question which is related and importantly the role of external actors and how it will affect egypt hopefully in a way that s'mores positive scenario and not the more dismal scenario that would have terrible consequences for egypt first and foremost in the region and u.s. national interest. why do we start with jeff? >> there are some interesting indicators about how they muslim brotherhood is reacting to the court decision and one of them would read that the presidency has appealed the decision. although you can read that in different ways. you could read that as a searing denial and therefore that they are rebelling against the judiciary as they have in the past. for example they clearly rebelled against the judiciary when the parliament was dissolved and morsi had to sit
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down in a symbolic meeting but another way to read it in the rather have scenario is they just want more clarification on presidential power. they are saying they appeal the decision to find out if morsi has the authority personally to call an election or whether it has to go through his cabinet so depends on whose narrative you buy. so i do think there are interesting implications about how the muslim brotherhood is reacting to the court's decision. >> we will end with michele said she can speak to the west side of it. >> with regard to the last question and what can be done to overcome the polarization. you know, i think it's pot impossible to answer. i wish i had the answer to that. i wish the relative balance of power coming out of the uprising would be slightly different so that you had a -- were you
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didn't have they 70% islamist on one side and a 28% secular liberal on the other side. possibly a little bit more equal balance of power would increase the likelihood. the only other thing i will say and this is in response to the last question and that is that in some ways the election, the impending election was a postponing of the election and the problems surrounding the election and the imf loans are related. and so at least one of the arguments that have been made by the fund and i don't mean the only argument, is that they cannot in good faith commit to an agreement or has egypt commit to an agreement or have morsi commit to an agreement that does not have rod-based consensus meaning it is not approved by a legitimately elected parliament and that until that transpires,
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they are not going to you know, get to the $4.8 billion. there is much more going on than that. that is certainly one aspect of it and the other aspect and this is maybe four many of you to think about what the role should be is that it is not the case and it does not been the case in the past that the international community as regional players will allow egypt to fail. that is not happened in the last 30 or 40 years when egypt made based crisis at the end of the 1980s in which there were also running out of foreign reserves and couldn't pay off loans to the international paris club in the united states and so one came to their rescue. i think it's not going to be a situation we have rdc in and talk about the amount of money we are talking about is small in
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the big picture of the global financial over the last few years. for good or for bad the economic cliff will be averted and that is just because of the geostrategic importance. >> briefly on the security question, i think you know, this is serious in adults and also upper egypt partly because of the christian community there and the tension between islamists and christians that we have seen in some previous elections and there can be serious security issues there as well in terms of changing voting patterns. people do not go and do not vote. i think that is concerning. regarding the question on the united states, look, this is a really difficult policy issue and they think it takes europe
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to get it right. on one hand the united states doesn't want egypt to go over the economic cliff and i think we really feel responsible. on the other hand you know, i don't think the united states should be pushing the international monetary fund to give egypt money on the wrong terms. i think right now the bargain between egypt and the imf is much more on economics and political terms and the egyptian government has been trying to get the imf to lower targets and so forth and give them the loan on easier economic and budgetary terms than what was originally agreed. i don't think the united states should strong-arm the imf to do that. i think the egyptian government should have to meet the right terms and by the way the imf has been very lenient with egypt. this is not a tough austerity program that they are trying to enforce on the egyptian government. so the united states needs to play this the right way.
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we don't want to see a crisis. again we do want to encourage sound decisions economically and also the building of a political consensus. i think in order to make the sound decision that morsi will need to take to get the imf money, he will need to have a broader political consensus. one last word, assuming we get through this crisis and there is an imf agreement and some sort of movement towards parliamentary elections in which there is broad participation. i think the united states should take that opportunity to actually help egypt much more economically, not out of our own budget that becoming an aggregator of international assistance and investment and so forth for egypt from other parties. the united states could easily play this kind of a leadership role and that would also give us
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and those who choose to work with us in this kind of a project more leverage over egypt and over encouraging the building of a sound democratic system, adoption of economic policies that make sense as well as regional policies that are responsibresponsib le. >> okay on that optimistic note i think we should and. the story to be continued. i hope it continues happily. thank you all for taking the time to come this morning and thank you c-span for covering us and most importantly thank you to our panelists for a very engaging and interesting conversation. thank you so much. [applause]
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>> lets let's go straight to a personal topic. the chairman has been on since 2009 and his term will be up next year. >> we all have staggered terms. the past six years have flown by very quickly and we shall see. i get asked this question every couple of years and we have been
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there almost seven years so you can add inflection points like this and i have been thinking about but we shall see. >> up of an opinion about what? >> i've thought about that several times, what comes after the commission. i'm a limit to government person and i don't think we should stay in positions forever but at the same time i love my job and that is part of what is keeping me here. we have a lot of important work to do. >> the supreme court this week is scheduled to hear two cases dealing with same-sex marriage.
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>> now comcast chairman and ceo brian roberts gives his visions for the future of television and cable. he spoke before the economic club of washington. mr. roberts talked about where he sees the media and technology going. his comments are just under an hour. [inaudible conversations] >> can i have everyone's attention please. everybody, please.
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thank you very much. we are very pleased to have as our special guest brian roberts who is the chairman and ceo of comcast. comcast is a company which is now has a market capitalization of $107,000,000,000.63 billion of revenue and $20 billion in earnings. it's a very incredible company and a story i'm going to talk about in a moment. the company was actually started in 1963 when brian's father bought a company in tupelo mississippi and some of you may have heard of tupelo. that is where elvis presley was born but but it's better known now as a place where comcast was born. comcast was born because brian's father who is now 93 years old, and brian's mother is 91 and
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they just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. [applause] brian's father bought in tupelo mississippi a cable system with about 1300 subscribers for $500,000 in 1963. in 1972 comcast went public. had you bought the stock then and held it to today you would have averaged 19% annualized rate of return from 1972 until today so a really spectacular track record. [applause] brian joined the company after he graduated from college. he is a graduate of wharton. he was not only graduate of and a very good student but a champion all-american squash player there and also won gold and silver medals at the games on several occasions.
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he graduated in 1981 and joined the company and started at the very bottom working his way up and doing the entry-level things that you might expect. he rose up to be president of the company a few years later and in 2002 became the chief executive of the company. under brian's leadership the company has transformed itself and is today not a cable company but a global media and technology company and touching so many different citizens around the world has now 129,000 employees. of course has the comcast cable that many of you are familiar with but has voice and telephony and video but also abc universal a transaction which closed just a few days ago. brian presides over one of the largest companies in the united states and the 27th largest by market cap in the 58th largest in the world so my question to you first is when you were growing up in your father said he was going to buy this little cable company in tupelo
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mississippi, did you ever think this would lead to what it has led to? >> well, definitely not. again if you ask my father he says absolutely and laughs. on c-span right now let me say hello to my parents and get that out of the way. it's a very special wedding anniversary of 70 years. so it's a pinch yourself kind of story not unlike your own and it is what i think gives you hope and promise for capitalistic america and the world and i am very proud of where we are at. if you do too many victory laps you are going to get run right over. so it's nice to have that introduction but false the go-ahead on the future. >> what do you think, there are a lot of cable companies and cable was growing in the 70s and 80s there were a lot of cable companies. what was it that made comcast
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become the largest of these cable companies? >> well, partially my dad had a son who wanted to go into the business and that is how it was. i wanted to work for my dad. it didn't matter whether it was the dash business which he had before the cable business. i wanted to work for my father. it was what i wanted to do and so when the business changed in the early 90s with real competition from satellite and phone companies and it was going to be a different industry than it had been in the 60s, many of those first-generation opportuniopportuni ties used as an opportunity to say this is not the good old days. this is going to be a totally different business. we were sitting there saying let's try to doubled down. my father as he has gotten olded
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on and not take risks. he is not reckless but he said you know what? >> only live once and let's go for it if we think it made sense. a lot of it was being in the right place at the right time and some good instincts and some good luck. and things have worked out. >> it's my observation that business leaders rarely produced good business sons. it sometimes happens that you're an exception. you are driven based on what i know and your father obviously is driven so what is it like to work for your father when you are as driven as he is? >> that's a great question and a lot of people who are fortunate enough to work in family businesses have talked about that with other with other families and with ourselves. my own theory is i have three things that have made it work out for us kind of perfectly. one is, when i was 21 he was
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turning 61 and so when i got to 30 he was turning 70 and there wasn't a period where we were trying to do exactly the same thing at the same time. he too was -- this wasn't his first business. if i weren't about business i business i would still be selling belts. no offense to all the people who make else in the room. and you know we got into a space and it had an opportunity to grow. but also he wasn't that first business where this is the way i do it's sunny and this is the way you should do it. he looked at comcast and his dream was to build a little ibm. and one day an analyst long before i was there called comcast the little --
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i think that may have been the proudest moment. he sat down and he also was a graduate of wharton. i remember being 10 years old and sitting with yellow pads of paper at home drying up charts of how this company should function. and then the last thing that is very personal to the relationship between a parent and a child and in my case i would say two things. one, my father is the last person to speak -- he is the most gracious, humble, quiet unassuming tough when needs to be person but not with just me but with everybody. when you are a are a kid and you are 20 some years old you want to go out and change the world. maybe when you were used to want to change the world that certainly when you're 20 you were going to make a lot of bad ideas. i never had a bad idea according to my father. when you come in and say we
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should go and do this, he would say that's a very interesting idea. maybe we should do this too and this would be 180 degrees opposite. [laughter] instead of saying you are the stupidest guy in the world would bad idea which is what is going to happen that never happened. so when you thought that enthusiasm i think it's true with many young people with their own kids or employees, how do you say no without saying no? >> when you started, you graduated from wharton and you started. what was the job he had at the beginning? were you actually climbing on polls? >> except for one summer i went into the theater course in london and that was my punishment and fun. but i climbed the polls installer, service technician, salesman and put muzak speakers in department stores.
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then when i got out of wharton i said okay now i have done all those things and i'm ready to come and run the company at 21 years old graduating from college and work for you. and he said okay well i -- he started comcast and this is my other favorite and as we celebrate our 50th anniversary of being in business this year. he started when he was 43 years old. so kind of amazing to start something that's relevant that late. so i never worked in the cable business. i am a business person. i'm a finance person. i am a marketer. you should know the business better than i know it. which tells you something about my father's mindset which is you can do whatever you want in your life and i have no qualms about that. so he wanted me to sis seat seed and he wanted me to know the business at every detail. i moved to trenton new jersey as a trainee and i moved to flint
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michigan as a marketing manager and customer service. i moved back to trenton as a general manager and then i came back to philly as it ripped manager. >> did you know you're going to be president someday, was a preordained? >> you know i hoped it would happen. i think you wouldn't do it if he didn't think it was right. when i was made president of the company at 30 he was a very different company. when i got out college the sales were $20 million a year and it was a very different ring to be a cable company. it wasn't glamorous either. it was close to belts. and here we are. so i mean we wrote this together and that's the most fun of the whole experience with a friend and a partner in your father. if one of your children said i wanted president of disk company someday, what would you say? >> let's get to work. i wouldn't want the burden for them. i would just want to say live
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your life and that's what you want to do with your life and start your career but there are many roads to happiness and it's more important to be happy than to do what your parents did. >> let me ask you a question. some people may have asked you before. it's a complicated and sensitive question. many people have dealt rate companies in united states and become fabulously wealthy at the top of the forbes 400 lists list and so forth. your family built this company but you have deluded yourself to building so you are not as wealthy as many people would thought you would be having built this gigantic company. does that ever make you think twice about the way you built it or are you happy the way you've are? >> we will go in the backroom into an lbo. [laughter] >> you never know. [laughter] [applause] c. we are not as smart as you, david. but you know the short answer is
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i don't think it bothered my father for a second. my father and i were very fortunate. no one is going to cry for us and the focus has been building a company. it goes back to that little ibm. the goal has been i felt for a long time that this business scale mattered and in order to be successful, go back to when i saw verizon get created and when ballot lanagan nymex emerge. if you live in philadelphia it was the company and then they merged. before we could catch her breath they merged. i thought might -- they are all thinking they are not capable without merging. for whatever reason and there are plenty of businesses that convened where they are, put me on a path of what i thought we
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could do which is to get to a certain scale and that keeps getting redefined with where the world is, where the technologies go and so as we -- i was fortunate enough ted turner called me up and said would you please be on my board? i think i was 28 years old and i saw content being built by cnn and turner and tnt and global and just thought okay, we should try to have the company where the perfect dream would be to be in a position to innovate and to have the benefit of scale and not the burden meaning today the family business where you can make quick decisions and you have certain integrity and ethics and culture and could we build a different kind of company somewhere ginnie can the media technologies based? that is what we are in the process of doing. >> today your company and by the
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way where did the word comcast come from? >> 1963 and i remember i was only a little kid but i sort of remember him playing around with sketches. in the genius of my father who would not call himself a visionary but more of a practical businessman. the nameless communication, shortened and broadcasting shortened. in those days there was a compact and for the first 25 years of my business career all we had to say was no we are comcast. we don't have to do that anymore and comcast when we bought in d.c. i thought this is incredible. for all these years we were just cable so i brought a couple of quick slides of our web site. we just launched a couple months ago at the beginning of the year the new comcast of people think of it as the cable company and
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if you go to comcast, the first thing you see is where launching the voice on monday and you can see that and if you scroll down you will see a great thing cable is doing called a watch upon taking the top 100 tv series from 27 different cables and broadcast networks and 3000 episodes in you can watch any of those free for a week whatever level of serbs you have a something to do it if you scroll down you will see we have internet essentials on the web site which is for lower-income families to be able to get the internet for $9.95 a month. if you click media technology which is what we think of ourselves, a unique cross-section of media and technology you will see and we will talk maybe later about our platform. there is "meet the press" or the new movie we are making. you can click on video on the
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site. if you move on, you will see if you want to click into one of these things, why do you go to the next page, down at the bottom. we have home security. anyway, here we are and you can look so if you're a you were a kid coming out of college and you want to work ,-com,-com ma we get a million job applications a year i believe. how do we present ourselves? the way we will be successful 10 or 20 years from now is all it's all about who works for the company. the best way is to say to an outsider this is the most exciting company. you can work for saturday night live one day and interact on television to look at global news and be at the center of reporting, and have the scale with the software engineers to help lead the conversation and the consumer to where they want
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to go. i think it's a very special time >> today, let's suppose in the traditional part of your business and these -- forget nbc and universal for a moment feared what percentage of your revenues come from cable and what percentage come from broadband and what percentage come from telephony? >> on the cable side of business it's about half a thing for cable tv. here is a great stat carried we have about 22 billion cable customers and we now have 20 million broadband customers. those lines will cross sometime in the next couple of years i predict and people have just as many broadband customers. we have 10 million phone customers. i came to this washington cable club 10 years ago and the washington economic club, excuse me.
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it was like 2003 and in those days we had 500,000 broadband or less. we had seven or 8 million tv customers and today we are number one, number one and number four. >> was the highest margin of those three? >> the fastest-growing part is the broadband but it's a different broadband every year. it changes the speed. we change the nature of it so wi-fi is now part of our definition of rock band so we want to have the fastest wi-fi as well as the fastest pipe. we want to offer you access outside of your home, so it's changing. i think television is and will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50. and phones, everybody forgets about phones.
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if you have a wireless phone you say i don't need of wire phone. the telephony business, we brought that into home security, where the world can go. to automatically save electricity and video, baby monitors, security, health care monitoring. we are working with health care providers to talk about the growing problem of diabetes in the country and should we be able to help you check in on demand, on line in smart devices it's a pretty exciting time for all those businesses. >> let me ask your thoughts. if you are watching cable in your house and something isn't working and you want to call the cable company up -- >> that never happens. >> do you ever have any problems getting through? >> i will tell you, i don't know
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what you are asking. [laughter] so one of the main goals, we have a super, super star executives in neal smith. when he moved over to nbc universal after 12 years after running comcast cable and took this from two or 3 million customers to 20 and they became the cable company in 30 states, a huge job in neal got here and wanted to make it work better and it's all about improving service. although we are nowhere near where i would like us to be and where the definition of good service never ends, being able to self-help, less truck rolls and get it right the first time, make it simpler, i think we have made terrific strides and a more reliable network.
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>> the cable industry seems to have had a reputation for maybe not the best service at times. >> i will tell you, i think inherently at some popular to ask people to pay for television whether you like it or not we are the ones collecting the bill. every single content company, sports company, entertainer, journalist gets a raise every year. so we have to go back and raise rates every year. and we try and i think successfully to improve the value of what it is you receive, whether that is now you can plug plug -- you can watch it on an ipod in your home and watch it outside of your home. despite all of that it's still not the favorite thing to write a check to a large television. i think a lot of that is there a number two was a period a very
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long time ago where we were the only game in town. that has changed. when you wake up in the middle of an eye, who are we worried about? we are ready worried about satellite, verizon, phone, fios. you don't have to have a cable. if we don't give a great service experience you have so many choices. you are going to leave us and people do leave us. so we have had a very good improvement seven quarters in a row in our sales results and they think it's directly tied to improving service. >> u.s. 22 million people that get your cable service. what percentage of them just get the most basic and what percentage get most everything you can possibly get? >> 10 to 15% on one end and i think we are for half taking triple play, maybe lower. that may be a little too high. 30% taking everything.
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and we are seeing much more of the business evolved to that stratification and everything in between. we have been fortunate. what we has done as competition increased over the years, the first thing we did was try to get better so there was a period where i could honestly tell you that we were maybe not the best and only way to get television. satellite had more high-def channels and somebody had a newer box. right now i want to show you a demo here of our latest television product which we are rolling out of washington this month. let me go to that real fast. so if you are watching tv and you click the button up comes the guide. let me just say this guide is the first guide in the history of the company that is happening in the cloud. so all of this, let me just say this because of the hotels. this is a demo but this is exactly what i'm showing you,
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every major city in america we are rolling out this year this product. we call it x1. so you go here and nbc surprise, you click on it and you can you know, go back and you want to watch on demand. if you go to wonderland let me just put a plug-in. it wasn't just movies on demand. in the last 10 years since we have launched on demand we have had 30 million views of on-demand content. we have 400 million which is an all-time high with 100,000 tv and movie choices on all platforms. if you go down on demand you can pick movies, you can go into movies and it would then let you search by genre or you can search by kids. you can search by a network and the scroll over to nbcu can see that network picks its own
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content that it wants to suggest that you look at or you can pick it all yourself. going back to full video, another feature that we do from the cloud is you could click blast and said it was the last channel plus it gives you nine choices. we are beginning to personalize and innovate this way and it's a mixture of on-demand content, live tv, dvr contents on this case blame is which i am proud to safeway for half a second of this thriller. the lamest dvd comes out so i want everybody here to buy the dvd. it's a film that we are extremely proud and was up for many oscars and part of one of the reasons we wanted the content was to create something that we can promote and celebrate more than any other
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company can do. anyway, if you then want to go on to how other ways to search, which is now that we have 100,000 choices it's really complicated. so here you take the remote. this is a new remote. the coolest thing about this remote is you don't have to point it at the tv. it can point backwards and work. it is ir and so you can put the box in the cabinet and you don't have to have it in front of your tv so most people say i will take it just for that. if you click 784 you might go to channel 784% being near their but it also spells out suits. there is no triple clicking so if you click on suits, we give you the choice and first of all you can put a parental control on the easily with one click. if you go to episode guide, you
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can see we have thursday its showing on the dvr and it's also on demand. we have merged all the databases to make it easier for the the consumer to get any content they want anytime they want whether it's on our not. we also have more like this. click this button, the good wife and movies that are like suits. we are pretty excited about how to do search. now another way that we listened to customers, it's tough to click buttons and we have done everything i've just shown you. whether an ipad or an iphone to enjoy your tv and again we are talking about the cloud. but here we are building in voice navigation which we have launched on an iphone which we hope to launch on our next-generation remote. let me just say you how that would work with this demo. this is working in customer's homes. if i go and watch golf, it will
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then change channels. so that is nice but it might be easier to go -- go show me all hbo movies. now if i say filter by comedy. now these are all the hbo comedy movie so what we have found his customers really like it when you want to do a sophisticated search that requires 10? maybe not just one click so if i say, what should i watch? and then based on your settings and your dvr and your preferences, it has brought up recommendations for you. and finally, something i know everybody here wants to know is when did the washington capitols play? and there you go.
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it will show you that here is when the game is on, and here is other hockey. we think that is really part of how do we do all of this. we do it because we have a cable box over the private network to our servers. not in your home so that the box in your home is no longer an issue. what that allows us to do is -- like others where not only catching up but leapfrogging others on the web what it feels like every other experience whether it's the weather or the sports, people want to know what's on. so we created definity sports. every game that would be on tv. when that game goes hot you click on it and you would see real-time what's happening and that will change to watch when the game is available somewhere so you can watch two at once and you can do with your ipad.
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these are some of the innovations in all of this is real and we are beginning this market in april. it will be in the full market. and then i'm coming back in june we have our annual cable convention here in washington this year at the ncta show. this is x1 and we are showing the next generation of where this is all headed and it looks like the first version. so customers i think are excited it's a different experience for the different kind of remote. there is cycle time and that innovation is speeding up and all of that is because they think of the media technology. >> will all of this be done at a lower price than? >> nope. [laughter] how do we get back to that? no, we are not charging all new installs the take the triple play.
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>> now you are the ceo and chairman of nbc universal as well. you bought that for roughly $30 billion or so. did you ever think twice about buying the content? was at a difficult decision? >> you know it goes back to the ted turner experience. i think both are great distances and it's an ecosystem that feeds off of each other. i think we are proud of the opportunity to help with the technology but the content is also spread around the world easier and we wanted to find the right situation at the right price. as you said earlier we care about shareholder returns and this was the right thing for us. it was 2008. ..
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>> in the news on that front. >> i did not anticipate that question. [laughter] >> you have an answer? >> i think he is fantastic. >> things are very visible, but i, you know, i think he is doing a marvelous job. it is the perfect business, and everything is in a fishbowl. ultimately will we are trying to do is create the best content,
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have it on, and have a machine that can celebrate that content, whether it is jay leno, late night news or the voice and some that will not be so successful, and there are a lot of people issues. you keep that stuff confidential >> you spend a lot of time in washington dealing with members of congress and regulatory officials as well. is that an important part of your job, dealing with the regulatory environment? >> i have been on the board of the cable trade association since i was in my 20's. i was just remembering someone on our board was the first person that ever advocated would be for the company. no longer alive. it is a big part of my job. we now have terrific experts. david cohen helps lead all of
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that effort. >> would you ever consider going into public service full time? and know the president appointed you to some boards. would you have relief which doing now and into public service? in the interest? >> you never say never, but i'm very happy with what i do. it's all i've ever done. am i sure would be the best at that. i think we can make a great difference with the company in the platform that we have got. the platform keats -- keeps getting greater and more interesting. internet essentials. i am proud of what has happened, the eddy that we have this fantastic business in broadband. jankowski david talk which i listened to, imagine being a schoolteacher in mississippi, was his example, and you want to give own work assignment.
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half the kids have broadband at half the kids don't. and if the hallmark assignment requires going in the internet in doing research, is that a fair thing to do? in the answer is no, then the other half who do have into that of a retarded if you say yes they don't have a fair chance. is there anything more important than giving that tool set to every kid in america? so we found the right weight and time and program and we have started a program, internet inessential, the partners of people to give folks cheap laptops and educating people that the program is available. half a million kids who have not been affected in two years. that opportunity does not come to every company in america, to do things like that. we are only getting started. i like web doing.
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>> now, another decade or so. so do you really make money on televising and broadcasting? it costs a lot of money. is it really for-profit enterprise when you do that? >> i think that we publicly have said that we broke even to a slight profit on london. core predecessor in vancouver and beijing said they lost a couple hundred million dollars each. and within 120 days of buying the company we were faced with -- we use the phrase locked up. we were faced with an option to either buy it or not buy it for the next decade. several billion dollar decision which is not something we head done very often. have to tell you, i am so glad that we estimate it and said let's go for it. i think the answer is conveyed is a fantastic platform for our
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company. relaunched the voice during the olympics to the most successful show nbc after seven night football. the olympics and london, our estimates to be down to percent in terms of audience because of the times of change. beijing had michael phelps winning eight gold medals. we were up 10% with the largest event in television history. we went from a $200 million loss to break-even. if that continues it will prove to be okay, but for the employees of the company for our relevance to distribution partners of all the channels, we can do more and more coverage. for instance. we have 5,500 hours of olympics, i think that is the number. go back 20 years and it would have been in the hundreds. go back just to china and it was the half will weigh less. and then we put every single
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event live streamed. did not do anything like that in china. so the chance to have more of our cable channels. olympic content. way back it was called a triple play, three channels. we have it on ten networks or thereabouts where you can watch. if you are a gulf fan in rio, golf will be an olympic sport for the first time. every single piece of golf on the golf channel and all the hockey probably on nbc sports that. so it is a real vibrancy, but is a huge operation, thousands of people would do a marvelous job. at the coverage was very proud and is an exciting thing to be a part up. as a business matter it is an engine in an of itself we're now looking for a to make a huge profit. >> from your current position if you say i would like to have squashed as an olympic sport you
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think he would have influenced? >> i would like to say that and i don't that it will have any influence. they're trying actually. i will stay out of that. >> what would you say is the single thing that happened in your company where you may take off? was a bill gates investing? >> well, there are different times. in my dad's formative days it would be making payroll. the stock dropped $0.75. regulatory worries. things never change about distant broadcast signals. therefore if you were trying to carry that cbs signal, they were not allowed to do it, perhaps. the into the business.
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for me and certainly i would hit two things. one would be in 1997 stocks below. we were wanting to build fiber-optic said. we announced we were going to build a fiber in redoing more and more. back then it was a new concept. and the market headed because where was the return. we wandered into microsoft. i only met bill gates once. he said to my think you're going to have a bigger business be on television and you have a television. to the question you asked earlier that fiction pretty much is coming true. we believe in data. asked if he would invest and he took it, a billion dollars which was the largest amount of money microsoft ever invested in that time, took nonvoting stock, did not come on the board, and did not ask us to carry any bikers out products. while he do that?
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first of all, the smartest man i know. he more than quadrupled its money because he knew the market was wrong and he was thinking that way. he wanted to create competition between ourselves and the phone companies and anyone else to do this new data business that would become the internet and took the least likely successor, the cable industry in the cable shot to elegance the big phone industry. the other number was buying at&t broadband. there were twice their size. now relief for sale. a very tricky deal to put together, but at the end of it is established us as a company, as i talked earlier, that had reached a critical mass, at least at that moment in time to be able to start to a give better service.
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so the first half of that we were putting together, still growing. the world changed with the products. the last three or four years it's all about execution, service, on time, one-hour service apartments eventually like going to the doctor. all take the 915 slot given your technician sputter tools to be using today's modern things to take is better and better. we have a long way to go, but i think that deal allowed us to invest and continue to invest in innovation and services. >> so 22 million cable subscribers, based on where you see now, is the u.s. economy growing at a faster clip than last year? are you concerned about the slow that? what you get from that? >> the big shock, we were oblivious, i was oblivious to
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those kind of questions. one day housing stopped in 2008. all the sudden our subscriber lost. we said, well, we never really appreciate all those new homes of america quite the way we're fighting of the same high. we're starting to see a little bit of hope in the housing business which will be really great for those of us who want to sell you were prior to your home. we also positioned nbc universal as the largest advertising recipient between the cable business, locally, and nbc universal an hour cable channels nationally and locally. our advertising business is relevant to the question. that was not the case two years ago when we bought nbc.
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we see, you know, everyone feeling pro with the same thing, a pretty good recovery. we all wish it was not as much as it was before. clearly stable and steady as she goes with optimism the we are growing a sense of nervousness. we could go right back down again is something to radically happens of a bad way, but i think we're certainly -- we never slow down. we spent $30 billion to buy nbc, so i am a believer in warren buffett, and tough times widen and take your risk. in good times it's easier for people to spend money. it's harder in tough times. always a very tough decision to want to buy the olympics and the middle of the recession. have clear right to keep connecticut. >> now you are in control of nbc
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universal, creative types, i assume, what is more complicated dealing with a furtive visit washington or creative touch of hollywood? >> chris matthews is here somewhere. i'll let him answer that question. at the we have got wonderful -- their is a great culture here with the talent in this country between cnbc and ms nbc cover u.s.a., sci-fi, bravo. a wonderful mix of talent. you get up to california and we have 15,000 employees. the business we did not count on has proven to be amazing. so we have got the companies signed up a we have to wait a year to close. in the six months. potter open up in orlando. attendance surged 40% every day since that.
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and so we're no opening harry potter, more harry potter, harry potter in california with japan. we're investing in other theme parks camacho robes. one of the wonderful things is to diversify beckham and we have about a billion dollars in cash flow coverage of the barks. we have zero in our business model for value when rebought company. >> the right to contest the rides? >> i am the chief tester. >> to reference : your whatever? >> of course you have some of that. my management technique is, it's all about people. it i think steve burke believes
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the same thing. it takes time to put your team together. you never did it just right, and you always are making some changes, but i think we have it pretty close to just right now. a super person taking shows. he is going to use grief when it fails and praised when it succeeds in there will be more of that attention going. we have the same thing in news, the same thing in sports, the same thing in movies. we had coming you know, but ted, some really good ones, some not so good ones, but that is the nature of the content business. for me personally you have to try to be more even than not go so high and go solo and try to continue to look at the people. really good at making the best decisions? you giving them the tools connect the thing that we found,
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and this is -- a wonderful partner. it just wasn't right any more to go make pilots hoping to find an exit. they could build power plants somewhere else or energy. and so all parts of the company were getting less capital and less investment and less attention and i don't believe i'm here to help, but in the case of this company we can give money. we told our investors we had the balance sheets to invest. making more pilots that we have ever made, spending more money that has been spent in 20 years. we doubled our capital, improve service and improved fiber notes and speed up and get ready for x 1 which requires more bad with. we are trying to up walk that tightrope with investors, but when push comes to shove we want to invest in the businesses.
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in the case of nbc universal i have never seen a company that has more opportunities. it's all but getting the right people and letting them decide if it's right. >> would you have some time to relax with you like to watch on television? your favorite show. >> i hate that question. golf. i said relaxing. i tried now to see some of every show, every film to every news series that we do. i cannot do what hundred%. at your best. i try to make sure that everyone who works the company doesn't care wrote the do. that all tickets should be one person centric. whenever lexington to go. >> final question would be, you have an incredible career, built a great company. any regrets? anything you wish you had done
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differently? >> i leave that to somebody else. i would say if he spent too much time looking in the rearview mirror is not a good thing. think it has been a fantasy for me to be allowed to sit here with you. a think it is important for our company that we advocate the excitement. sure, we have made mistakes, like my father said, never met a stake. as a slow a better way of doing it a real credit to try to keep doing that. i try not to look back. >> thank you for coming. i like for to getting this in my home sometime soon. >> thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you all very much.
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thank you. [background noises] [background noises]
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>> you're watching c-span2 with politics and public affairs weekdays featuring live coverage of the u.s. senate. on week nights what's key public policy events, and every week and a lettuce nonfiction authors and books on book tv. you can see past programs and their schedules on our website in joining the conversation on social media sites. >> coming up on c-span2, a look at the tenth anniversary of the iraq war and a discussion of how it has changed the middle east followed by a book on the cost of the iraqi war now estimated to top a trillion dollars. and then law-enforcement keeping up with new technology without breaking the law. >> let's get straight to a personal topic. yet another commission since 2006, the chairman since late 2009. his term is up and yours will be next year. should we expect to see some
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turnover at the commission? >> always because we have staggered terms. the past six years have flown by and we shall see. i guess this question every couple of years. we have been there most several years. points like this. i am openly thinking about it, and we shall see. >> openly thinking about what? >> about what to do next. what comes after the commission. as a limited government person adulteress stay in these positions forever, but the same time of my job. i have important work to do. so i have to balance that. >> this past week commissioners announced there resignations from the fcc. we spoke with commissioner mattel before his announcement. hear more tonight on "the communicators" at 8:00 eastern on c-span2.
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>> the supreme court hearing cases this week dealing with same-sex marriage. today george was the university post a discussion of those the two legal experts live at 4:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. a couple of weeks ago director rob reiner spoke of the commonwealth of california about same-sex marriage. here is part of what he had to say. >> one of the reasons we took on proposition eight aside from the obvious reasons of marriage equality and we should all be treated equal under the law and it is, you know, of that initiative and, you know, the courts have already overturned it. we hope the supreme court will uphold those rulings. was partly an education process. we discover, as we go along that first of all, there is not one person in this audience or anywhere that does not have a gay person in their family or a gay friend or a gay person that they work with in their
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workplace. nobody. nobody. so the normalizing of things to be able to teach, and the will to show people that everybody is equal, nobody is different. if they can't -- it should not be thought of as different. that was one of the reasons we took on and one of the reason we did play a which was a dramatization of what went on inside the courtroom. here in san francisco at the district trial we put that on because we wanted to show people what actually went on in that court room and to normalize it. and so we find that as we move along, the wind is at our back. it is like we're in a critical mass. you're seeing more and more states adopting it. no great britain. more countries. it will happen. it is supposed to happen. i have said this many, many times. we cannot imagine that there was
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a time that women could not vote. we cannot imagine that there were a time when black people could not vote. we could not imagine there was a time when black people could not marry white people. and there will be tied years from now worry will say gay marriage, what was that fossil a lot? it is going to take time and we're moving in the right direction. it is about a fundamental right. we cannot look at our fellow citizens. i could not look at jack griffin, someone i love, and say you were less of a neat. you deserve less than me. you're a second-class citizen. you cannot feel comfortable about yourself knowing that there is millions of people in this country that are not considered equal of the law. >> the nation's highest court hears oral arguments challenging california's proposition eight, a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in that state.
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coverage beginning at 1:00 p.m. eastern. the arguments along with reaction will be on c-span again tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. and on wednesday the court hears arguments over the constitutionality of the defense of marriage that enacted during the bush a ministration it will be shown again wednesday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span. >> tonight, rachael jackson dies of apparent heart attack before interjection takes office. his knees becomes the white house hostess but is let it is best. during the nixon ministration angelica van buren is the white house hostess for father-in-law who was a widower. we will include questions and
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comments by phone, facebook, and twitter live tonight at 9:00 eastern on c-span and c-span radio in >> this month marks the tenth anniversary of the iraq war. a look at how it changed the middle east with an update and major general h.r. mcmaster. they participated in a panel discussion hosted by the carnegie endowment for international piece. this is about our into minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> okay. we have explored now in some depth the state of iraq today and have looked at what the war has cost the american taxpayer
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and the american economy and how that relates to the fiscal problems that we are facing today. and we turn now to the geopolitical losses of as don't like to. i think the heart of this discussion. one of the great things of this nation come and teach my would say one of our defining characteristics is the americans' willingness, and the nation, capacity always so to the future to mature abrasive. that ability has driven our growth for several countries and the caps for some of our greatest achievements. it has a heavy cost. that is that we are far too quick to turn the page and to leave our past behind relative he and exacting. it was edmund burke 250 plus
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years ago warned that those who don't know history are condemned to repeat it. end and must say to my was the about that this week when i read in the most recent pupil that 45 percent of americans believe that the u.s. achieve its purposes in iraq. i had to wonder what those members can possibly mean. our purpose of this panel was not to examine the factual record, but to try to get behind the fact and ask why we have learned positively and negatively from this expensive literally and metaphorically or. i think if you scour the country would not find two people that are suited to this test better than those seated next to me.
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zbigniew brzezinski is known to everyone as the national security adviser to presidents carter, but more important for this purpose i think is that he is a one a handful, maybe half a dozen of the great strategic thinkers in the united states of the past century. various -- there is no more clear or sharper day care about national security active today. he has been a professor at harvard, columbia, and johns hopkins. his books would span more than half a century and have examined it to special topics. what has been the nature of communism totalitarianism and international security relations during the cold war and the other increasingly over the past half-dozen years has been about america's role of the world in a
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rapidly changing strategic environment and america's interest. finally, i would add as a qualification for it today's discussion, unlike most former holders of hyatt office in washington committee has been willing over and over again this step outside conventional wisdom with the issue warranted it taking some risks with his own reputation. major general h.r. mcmaster is one of the most prominent, very small, very late, very important class of individual who has earned that title warrior soldier. he, too, has been willing to critically examine the past and has done so with such power that rather than in his military career, the work has ultimately
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enhance it. his ph.d. thesis became widely influential for a book, "dereliction of duty". the title gives you some idea of his appetite for straight talk. he is equally no fort combat command during a silver star and the 1991 gulf war and water recognition for his enormously influential success in the iraqi war. in the rest of the war he went back and forth between field command an increasingly important staff positions, culminating in his role as the leader of the brain trust for general patraeus in developing and applying new doctrine on countered insurgency operations. so we have to my take, to people
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who can really help us examine, help us not turn the page to send. let me start and invite general mcmaster to share his thoughts on the critical lessons that he sees. >> thank you so much. of course there are so many lessons. our military obviously of the past years has done worse -- has adapted to what work unfortunate circumstances and difficulties associated with both worse. i think the first lesson is to understand the continuities of warren warfare which cuts against a certain degree to we see is the emerging conventional wisdom about both afghanistan and kate one that some of these wars were aberrations because of their complexity and because of the type of sustained commitment we needed to sustain a political
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of come to a system with a vital interest. this is because of the years prior to the war their is a great deal of momentum that built up beyond what i would call fantastical fury about the nature of future armed conflict. this was based primarily in a belief that advances in communications technologies coming information technologies, computing power and precision munitions had completely revolutionized war and warfare and their four wars could be waged in the future in a way that would be very fast, cheap, efficient, and low-cost. mainly by the projection of firepower on to land from the maritime and air space to manes, but also of playing small numbers of elite special forces providing the answer to the problem with future armed conflict. it was appealing argument because we would all like were
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obviously to be fast, efficient, and no cost. of course, as it turns out to win in both afghanistan and in iraq, we were confronted with realities that really demonstrated that this argument in the 1990's associated the revolutionary and military affairs. bailey faith based argument. once we confronted reality we really had to adapt quickly to the form may continuities in war for the worse certainly evident in iraq. the first is that war is an extension of politics. of course this is nothing new. consistent with the 19th century war. what this means is you wage war to achieve political outcomes. address the cause of the war and get you to, again, the sustainable political outcome consistent with our vital interest. we, perhaps, did not do as good a job as defining that as we
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should have in context of the political, social, trouble, religious dynamics inside of iraq and how that fits into the broader geopolitical landscape with in the region. and so we were at a at a disadvantage in not really having the clearly defined political objective. when you look back and were planning for both afghanistan and iraq ec it dominated mainly by how we're going to apply military force, the numbers of troops, and how the capabilities will be applied on the physical battleground. of course guava should all conform to a political strategy that lays a foundation for all military operations, activities, initiatives, and so forth. so the first continuity we relearned is that war is an extension of politics. the second key continuity is the war is a profoundly human endeavor.
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of course, we talked this morning really about understanding the history. in fact, history, history, history. of course, what is most important in understanding what is going to be the nature of a particular conflict of the character of a conflict is that most recent history. so the factors that were most important were the fact that the iraqis have been living under a brutal murders regime for over three decades that engaged in destructive and extremely costly war between 1980 and 1988 with the iranians. a regime that had invaded kuwait after which u.n. sanctions really put an additional strain on iraqi society while at the same time strengthening the criminalize patronage networks associated with so there really control the country and the police state there. the associated polarizing effect on the community's poorer but
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they have become pitted against each other. how the regime had used weapons of mass destruction of his own people, the kurds in the north and how he persecuted the majority of the population, the shia population in the wake of the 91-92 gulf war. and also other factors associated with his return tough trade initiatives and the use of really appear 11 ideology to turn people's frustrations away from the regime in toward the west and israel and so forth. the context of the crusader conspiracy. in fact the fact that had on the iraqi society. so understanding that the human dimension and in particular understanding global conflict that could occur, how these trouble ethnic sectarian competition for power resources would play out in that have it would be connected not just of national politics but also to the agendas of other countries
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and organizations. i think a particular relevance in this case would be serious, iran command transnational terrorist associations associated with al qaeda. so extremely important for us to remember, an important lesson for us to carry forward. the other key aspects, i think, is that war is uncertain. you heard a lot about fell years to predict the cost of the work. that really is not unusual, obviously to offer as not to deal to predict the future of the course of war, although we continue to try. in fact, i think you could define american war planning oftentimes a bit narcissistic and terms of defining the problem and what we intend to do only in relation to us in this of the blow we would like to do is not only going to be relevant but decisive to the october war.
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and so it is for this reason when you go to war it is important to be able to take actions to adapt continuously. it is this reason why oftentimes if you try to be efficient and more by limiting them to five numbers of troops, in effect, you could seize the initiative. what was initially a decentralized hybrid localized insurgency coalesce and you don't have sufficient forces and forces were not well prepared for counterinsurgency war security mission to establish security conditions and addressed the vacuum of power and ruled law that was left. then i think the final -- four main caught notice is the war is a contest of wills. if we have to communicate our determination coming to see the
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effort through toward a sustainable of come consistent with our interest and worthy of the sacrifices of investments we have made in the outcome. and so overall that they would be fair to say that we are often times fixated when looking back of a conflict, how we did it on the physical battle ground, how we really operated against the fielded forces of in your -- and reorganizations. when in fact we have to do is think about how we operate and plant to achieve a sustainable political outcome. and so i think this is a particularly important lesson now because as we look at the war in iraq, the ongoing war in afghanistan or we still have 66,000 troops engaged every day, there will be a tendency to come by again, define the problem in a way that we think we can solve the problem, and a way that is
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best to buy cheap, efficient, and relies mainly on technological prowess. and i think that the wars are both instructive in terms of the way that they have highlighted important continuities in war and warfare that have to be taken into consideration from the outset. >> and ibm this with respect. it will we ever learn? the amiga was certainly in the thinking about iran. less so with respect to syria. as i listen to you arafat we might well have learned a lot of those lessons. the comfort to steady it so deeply. it's not so obvious that much has changed in terms of the lighting. has it?
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>> that is yet to be seen. ultimately you could make the argument that will we learn from the wars in both iraq and afghanistan will be as important as the outcome. to answer your question, we do we-learn these lessons every time we go to war. the question as to will we be able to understand these lessons of apply the to really how we structure our national defense and now we prepared our leaders to deal with future threats to national and international security. so i think that remains to be seen. but i think there are some major impediments to hustler in his lessons. what is the tendency of the conventional wisdom to review these wars dismissively as wars of choice or aberrations.
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lester gorgeous say that future policy makers will make perfect decisions of the future based on near perfect foresight or understanding of the situation at the outset to the that we obviously have to be prepared for the complex interaction that we will find it both iraq and afghanistan against determined enemies uncomplicated environments. the other impediment to letting this just really fighting words is best and easy is appealing. and one of those -- the manifestations is this sort of, what i would call a rating mentality that has emerged from a misunderstanding of what led to the success in iraq during 2007-9, during which i think we have a very good shot at consolidating gains and getting to a sustainable political outcome that was consistent with our interest and i believe the interest of the iraqi people.
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this is the idea that peaceful war really is about identifying those inland in a news organization and in conducting raids against that organization and attrition or targeting. being conducted other by position -- precision guided munitions or specialized special forces. when, in fact, that sort of approach confuses military activity with progress against will we're trying to achieve, sustainable objectives. it sounds great, but when you consider the four continuities of words and a contest of wills you recognize the inadequacy in danger associated with that kind of approach. it is in many ways theory from the 1920's in a new guise.
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>> best bet all of 2002 and with many of my colleagues here at carnegie arguing passionately that every bit of at least the declassified information available was nothing other than some very old chemical weapons show in iraq, many of which have been shown to be inactive by that time several years before. a record, some past u.s. interventions to armed military intervention stood changed, the nature of governments and countries have a very, very, very slender record of success and that iraq had none of the characteristics that would lead to a such a venture. third, the argument that would
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be made that such an invasion would trigger a tsunami of direct predicate transformations across the region was a faith-based argument. you were not there in 2002. later you became a very strong critic of this effort. what was it that changed your mind? let you to make the arguments you did. >> i remember vividly the bag when the war commenced. i was us by the bizarre of pbs to be there. the expectation was the war was imminent.
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i remember vividly the moment when all the seven the news came that major explosions are taking place in baghdad, that baghdad is under assault and that the warrior i have a sick feeling to my stomach cancer than i hope to god we now find those weapons of mass destruction because that was the reason more of the war was started. i was already by the unconscious of the fact that there was a deliberate confusion and terminology to justify the initiation of hostilities. for the weapons of mass destruction long-range capability to deliver them and chemical weapons.
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anyone knows. although they were employed invented 80, but they use them. a paste of documentary evidence, the making of a base, errata of the united states which prides of evidence for the deposition that the targeting by the iraqis about particular population centers was known to us, and we were providing them precise information on where to strike knowing that the effect would be massive casualties.
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i remember that even well because by then i began to worry that perhaps will was being publicly asserted was not true. i was not convinced. i was uncertain. i was a skeptic. a few days before the initiation of the conflict several former officials to my bill robber exactly who her, but there were several there, invited to speak with rumsfeld, paul, and rice. i remember asking him, and i was conscious of that that evening when i saw the beginning of the war. i ask them to sell certain argue that the iraqis have these weapons of mass direction. and the answer for all three of them was its of the question of tosser we are. we know why they have them. that impressed me because these
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people lead known for a long time. would you say you know the summit has something it means to me you know. this other question a probability but a statement of certain to cause a -- statement of certitude. still occurred to me to pursue the subject. i asked him if you know that they have weapons of mass destruction, what is the order for the use and particularly nuclear weapons? because obviously if they have them and they're ready to use them, authorizing either divisional commanders or brigade commanders or whoever else to have the possibility to execute the initiation and their use. and here the answer was perplexing. they said to we don't know. about the surprising business seem to be there they have certitude of the back that they have them presumably that
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certitude it would extend to some sources of the formation that would give us an insight into how these weapons would be used in combat. the process of initiation. so that evening a was a profoundly troubled in the robo article basically arguing that we should defer the attack and sell they had time to conclude resurge for such weapons of mass destruction, and he was being increasingly provided with targets to inspect from the cra, and it thus one can assume that the knowledge we had was being put his disposal and he was pleading for that time so that he could complete his report to the u.n., but in effect the united states and indirectly the two countries that were egging
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as on "prime minister blair of great britain particularly and also the israelis. we know what happened subsequently. the weapons were never found and the war was therefore initiated on the basis of assertions which were most charitably described as inaccurate and probably simply fraudulent. that concerned me enormously because i said at the state, american credibility worldwide. this had significant applications for the position of the united states in the world. and i'm afraid that this has, unfortunately, come to pass. the devastates standing at the end of the cold war lasting into the beginnings of the 21st century has been very badly dissipated.
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and that affects perversely around the world and has serious indications for future decisions that involve war piece. on the basis of what is happened , what level of conference a week, as citizens, but america as a country intel to have, for example before initiating a war against iran? we do have some bodies to tell us that there are red lines that should be done immediately. some of these red lines have been recently drawn been, in fact, crossed. now they're being extended by one year, but then what happens after the one year from the? and who lori the trust? and of what basis of these assertions being made. how reliable are there? hand how are there alternatives that could be feasible? i cannot ignore the fact we
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managed to deter the soviet union, not only from an attack galena's states, but we managed to deter the soviet union from the use of force regarding your, our friends and allies because we protected the incredibly. we made it very clear in advance that we identified our security with the security of europe and that any action against europe for would be tantamount to action against united states. and we knew very well getting these assurances that we were directly plural because of them, vulnerable on the huge scale. we once had a false alarm. and if that alarm had not been falls within eight hours
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85 million people in the u.s. and soviet union would have been dead. we have this consciousness of syria's response ability to incredible obligation. we prevailed. we never did another. the country that is acting openly in a somewhat seemingly irrational fashion, may be calculated by them, but the impact is disturbing in terms of its questionable rationality. and it's a country which already has eight bombs and has delivery systems that cover all of south korea and japan had potentially, for the first time, there were not i believe that in fact the northwestern parts of the notice states. we find it sufficient to protect south korea and japan.
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why is it we cannot do that for israel? why does the president have to use vague language about all options on the table which is a threat of use of force and make categorical verbal things which commit into the use of that force in greater presumption that he will. as a country and a whole, i daresay that the atmosphere, much of congress would support it. there would probably lead the way on the assumption that it will never happen. ..
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was the case with iraq a decade ago. so these are some of the concerns that we have in history. beyond that, let me make one more observation about the nature of war. democracies are very able to wage total war if they are attacked. they are not so good, they are not predisposed, i think they're not mentally prepared to wage total war if they have themselves started the board but were not attacked. it's an important psychological difference. we were able to break the will
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of the germans in large measure by massive air assaults on their civilian population. yes, of course it is justified by the need to disrupt transportation, undermine industry. but a great part of the motive was all so let's break there will by burning their cities and and, of course, destroying and burning their cities, killing as many civilians as possible. the most classical example of that was provided by two single strikes them each a very short duration and absolutely calamitous human capacities -- calamities, hiroshima and neither sake. in the course of minutes we incinerated literally incinerated several hundred thousand people. we were able to do it because we
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were the victims of an attack. we were defending ourselves. we didn't want to assume the burden of major casualties for our military which an invasion on japan would have decimated. we broke there will and we won the war. but look at the last several wars we have waged. where we were not in a sense the objects of a threat from any that would devastate us. we settle for a compromise in korea after several years of for. we withdrew from vietnam, and we did not prevail fully, judging from circumstances now occurring everyday in iraq, or in afghanistan, and the conflicts in iraq and afghanistan. if we wish to do so, we could have incinerated them. we could destroy them. but that is something thank god,
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a democracies do not be lightly unless they feel themselves totally threatened. and i think that's an important consideration to bear in mind, because we aren't today facing the prospect of regional wars in which we'll be fighting large populations and not a formal states capable of threatening us. what goes on in iraq today poses no military threat to the united states. but it is a geopolitical consequence of some cost to us. the same is true of afghanistan. and god knows it will happen -- what will happen after we're out of afghanistan and the region as a whole. the war with iran but certainly spread to iraq and through iraq, syria, the netherlands, jordan. it would engulf western afghanistan as well which is relatively peaceful, and where shiites live and iran would be able to stand the conflict of
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war there as well. the consequences would be massive. because we are now facing the possibility of confronting populations that are politically aroused, and who, ma the idea of ethnic, religious, nationalistic regions -- reasons, that is a new reality. which for the united states which has become more and more embroiled in this kind of conflict will absorb us, i guess down and repeat on a massively larger scale because of the engagement that we have had to undertake in afghanistan, and of the one we did not have to undertake in iraq 10 years ago. >> do you see, general, that distinction between wars undertaken and following an attack versus one that we choose to launch?
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as equivalent to your distinction between a war of choice pressuring you didn't use the word, but is that the same dividing line you see? >> i think we could step quite a long time about this, but i think what's important for me military distinction is to understand both what happens when that decision is made and how the military a cheese the outcome consistent with the vital interest and worthy of the sacrifices. so i think, to add to your question more directly, is that we have to understand that character of particular conflicts on their own terms. we try to seek some kind of equivalency between world war ii and the dropping of the atomic bombs and what our response was to the murder of over 3000 americans on september 11, 2001. i think you can only get some utility out of that. talking about iraq, i think we also have to understand that those conflicts evolve over
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time. again, war is in and of uncertainty. it seems that interest is back as a look at the war in iraq, we don't ascribe any agency at all to our enemies. and again, this is another sort of aspect of the narcissistic approach we take to understanding war and warfare. it is as if only our decisions affect the circumstances and the outcomes. and what the truth is really in iraq is that we face very brutal, murderous enemies. and the conflict evolves over time. after nearly unseating of the saddam regime, there was a convoy which decentralize -- they pursued a strategy. "black hawk down" approach, and saddam had distributed that movie to his people, and -- that
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didn't work. then want to begin to do is attack infrastructure, power lines, water pipes. this is lenin's sort of theory of the worst. popular discontent from which the enemy, the insurgency can draw strength. but then in december of 2003, very early in the war, sartell wrote a letter. he said we're losing because americans don't speak at length. they will be able to read identifies, but increasingly larger numbers of iraqi forces are becoming more capable. this was in particular iraqi civil defense corps. strategy around that time had shifted to attacking usually with mass murder a tax, these nations a duty forces before they develop the resiliency to stand on their own.
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but andy simper when sarkozy says we have to do is start a civil war, and then once we start a civil war by feeding iraq's community against each other, we can gain sponsorship within the sunni-arab-turkmen communities and use that sponsorship to gain control of territory and resources and perpetuate a sectarian civil war and pursue our objective of establishing the islamist state of iraq. that's when you have in march 2004 falluja one, with some shia militia uprisings in karbala and najaf. you are slowly evolving sectarian conflicts. so that a problem of insurgency and transactional characterizations grafted onto that insurgency, and then the character of the conflict at the time began to revolve into a sectarian civil war. that really was full blast after
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the somalia bombings but preexisted the somalia bombings in february 2006. the other parties to this conflict were not just, not just insurgencies, insurgent and terrorist organizations that were committing mass murder attacks and trying to keep sectarian violence going. increasingly a shia islamist militias associate with the islamist revolution regard corp. iran come increasingly so beyond 2003. after the uprising in early 2004 and the destruction of large numbers of the militia, they got mortaring and the rent, bordering on how to conduct assassinations, how to conduct subversive campaign can't operate in smaller groups, how to emphasize sniper attacks, small direct action attacks, especially employed ieds and roadside bombs and the most instructive ones, ef peace.
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-- psds. by the time 2006, the dominant feature of the war had become a second civil war. our strategy have not kept up with that. once we caught up the understanding and the character of the complex were able to develop a political strategy that aims at bringing iraq's interim communities to a sustainable political accommodation that would remove support for even shia islamist militias or through al qaeda and iraq. the military strategy aimed at breaking the cycle of sectarian violence through more effective security of the population. and by targeting those who are irreconcilable among both parties to the civil war. i mean, the extremists murderous groups that were perpetuate the cycle of sectarian violence. with the idea being that as we destroyed all of its of those organizations, others would learn vicariously and say, my
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best alternative to a negotiated agreement here is looking pretty bad. and so what we are willing to do now is to advance our interests through politics rather than through violence. and this is when we had a much more successful election, the parlor terry and elections and so forth. there was an opportunity i believe that the stage to consolidate some gains, and to move toward a sustainable political outcome. and we know that some of those efforts failed or were not sufficient to consolidate those gains. and so the future of iraq is very much in question beyond this point. but i think it's very important to understand that these conflicts evolve over time, and we're fighting enemies of their who have a say in the future course of events. and we need to talk more about those entities, what are they trying to achieve, what are their goals, what are the strategies, because then we
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could inform the public about what the stakes are. but instead we talk about only us, and we talk about on our number of troops and what we did, and as if what everything we did led to the outcome without any interaction with those, against whom we're fighting. let's open the conversation now, and i think what we did given the number of fans i see is we will take two or three questions at once, if my speakers will allow. let's start right there. please be wait for the mic. >> thank you so much. great conference. general mcmaster, you alluded to two very important concepts per pound by 19th century germans, this marks iron dice. so my question is, given the fact the last election is relatively speaking fairly close
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and that one of the two candidates was advised by a number of neoconservatives. asians, and given the three previous sessions focused on economic losses, the opportunity cost in afghanistan, the reputational losses that the nation is taken, how do you explain the continued prevalence of this philosophy in the american political discussion? thank you which philosophy? we will take it to right there on the aisle. >> thank you. i'm a journalist in town, but having spent five years in iraq where the pleasure of meeting general mcmaster, in baghdad actually, i can tell you that iraq is destroyed beyond redemption. almost as many iraqis died, infrastructure completely detroit -- destroyed.
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there's a much bigger ongoing debate, so want to ask dr. brzezinski and general mcmaster, who should bear the moral responsibility for what has happened there? thank you. >> right there. thank you. mark katz from george mason university. with regard to dr. brzezinski's comments about iran and the president's statements in israel, i'm very confused by what he means by all means necessary. i don't think that the israeli government is interested in occupying iran and i don't think the obama administration wants to do so. it seems that the strategy, if there is one, is to make some kind of surgical strike to knock out the iranian nuclear capacity. and i'm just curious, is that possible or is that an example of faith-based strategy lacks and for the general in particular, in that you have raised the importance of understanding how the opponent
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is going to respond, what is the likely spot of the iranians to what is, what we hope to be a surgical strike such as the israeli delivered on iraq? >> i think we got it. why do they deal with iraq and iran, and there's another issue, which i want to address. on iraq, the question is for some, who bears responsibility? i think the answer is very obvious, we do. we started the war. the iraqis didn't attack us. we went in. some may feel for legitimate reasons, others may feel for dubious reasons. some like myself feel for fraudulent reasons. but in any case the fact is we started it so we are responsible for what happened. i wish we had done better, even though i am critical of the war, i wish we had been more successful. less brutal. the general referred several times to the murders after of
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those of whom he fought. doubtless right. but i wonder how they look at us in that connection? every war is murderous and, therefore, it depends on the but also on what its historical -- and political and moral consequences are. on iran, well, i don't know what a surgical strike means. because we haven't tried one in that set of circumstances. we will be attacking nuclear facilities. some of them are located close to urban centers, one in particular. what about the fallout? what about radiation? how surgical can an attack on nuclear facility be? what about even without radiation, simply the casualties
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from the explosives used in the casualties first of all of the scientific staff that is working in there, and then of people in the adjoining areas. how surgical will that be? then beyond that, how decisive and effective will that strike be? of course it depends on the scale, and if it depends on the scale, then the consequences of the earlier question, how costly it would be, depends a little bit on that scale. so it may be surgical, maybe lethal on a massive scale at the same time. i don't suppose it has to be repeated a year or two from now. what happened in iran itself? will the iranian people joining us in justified outrage, rise and righteous indignation, overthrow the regime and apologize to us are having provoked us into attacking them?
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i[laughter] the probability of that is not very high. i think more likely they will join the regime in a fierce, frustrated, protracted anger at us, which depend on the scale of the casualties and the damage wrought, it will last for decades. but without even waiting for decades, they certainly will do some things around iran immediately. indeed, the axis of the world to it, energy, i causing incidents in the gulf, which our navy can overcome. but our navy cannot prevent insurance companies for tripling, quadrupling the costs of acquiring energy. so there's an enormously negative impact on global economy immediately. particularly in asia, for which neither the japanese know the chinese will be particularly grateful to us.
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but will push us europeans much more than the hands of the russian. in every adjoining area next to iran is acceptable to local war which is to be called an economist lexicon, peoples were. i once had a meeting with deng xiaoping in which he informed us that is going to invade vietnam. and he wanted us to be sorted passively friendly, expecting soviet reactions. and he was asked what is the likely soviet reaction of the president of the united states. and he sort of said, well, you know, they may do this, they may ddo that. dimasi arms, that will take a long time because we will not be doing it for a long time, and they may stage border incidents. we've had lots of them so we can assure, so what? and then he says, they may invade us from mongolia within 22 armored divisions, and strike
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southward towards beijing directly. and he says we will use people's war. and i know what he meant. it's meant the kind of thing that we have experienced also. and peoples wars don't end of that quickly. and at the same time, the aggressor is less inclined to go all out for total war because the aggressor wasn't threatened. self in addition to work your. and particularly so in a case like this, in a democracy. we're not going to go kill all iranians, even if they do these things in the region. so conflict which will make this experience of a decade ago where it seems like a tribal. and, therefore, i am worried as to why we are trying to fight off this pressure that the president is feeling for commitments to military action against iran, without fully contemplating large scale geopolitical consequences, the
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effect that will be all alone in this adventure have no illusions, even those who are kind of semi-aiding us on, as was the case with sarkozy. as is the case with the british, somewhat. they're not going to be in there with us. there'll be a lot of countries that will indirectly suffer that will resent them bitterly. so it's a bad choice. i don't think the president wants to do it. i think the president wants to avoid it. and i am sympathetic to his position, but i just wish that some of our rhetoric was more careful because that rhetoric would then be, so to speak, applicable and used by those who favor war as in fact already legitimated such a position and resolve that i think in 2002. i'll just address one of the questions about moral responsibility, and just tie
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into what dr. brzezinski said. i think it does have a lot to do with historical and what a fault inside of iraqi society, really from the 1970s onward, special against the war from 80, 1980-88. the decision to invade kuwait and then the u.n. sanctions that followed, the effect that that had on iraqi society which made all the more difficult for this aside and that to move towards stability in the wake of unseating of the hussein regime. and from my perspective i would blame al qaeda and iraq and the murderous bastards who use mass murder as the principal tactic in the were. is the right think you have to pay attention to local realities. i would ask dr. brzezinski to go visit the cities in iraq that were wracked by these murderous attacks, and ask them who they
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blame. and what they will tell you is a blend of people who committed those murders, and that's who they should blame i think. in 2005, when we went into tell afar -- tal afar, really systematic attack, a sophisticated attack, associated groups. they turn the city into their training base. like in fort benning, georgia, now. fort benning, georgia, of the insurgency is where they conducted sniper training, morgan, medical training. these are not just insurgency that kind of happened because people don't like america. these are organizations to mobilize sources and people. this isn't any organization. courses offered at their end to laufer include kidnapping and murder. idd courses and so forth. and they literally choked the life out of the city.
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schools have been closed for over a year. marketplaces have been closed. communities have followed because they have succeeded in hitting the sunni and shia community against each other. and i think this is a tactic that gives i think us a window to understanding other conflicts, across multiple regions. the first lesson i think is understand every local contact, on its own terms, understand its connection to larger political struggles and conflicts at the national level and regional level. but one general observation you could make, whether it's in mali or whether it's in northern nigeria, or whether it's in syria over i think in lebanon or northern yemen or southern thailand are, you know, take, pakistan, so forth, is that these groups are pursuing political agendas by the use of
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terrorist tactics. and those tactics involved trying to gain sponsorship among certain agreed portions of the population. and to use that sponsorship to gain a foothold, and then to use that foothold to perpetuate violence between crippled, paving groups against each other. what was necessary in tal afar was to set a security condition to break -- bring people back together to forge an accommodation between parties would been fighting against each other, and for the good people to do a common vision for the future in which they could lay their interests would be protected. and then to remove sponsorship for these murderers who are inflicting so much pain and suffering on those communities. and so my experience has been in both iraq and in afghanistan that american soldiers, marines, airmen, sailors took great risk
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and made tremendous sacrifices to break the cycle, and provide security so that those accommodations could be made. i think it is analogous to what's happening in afghanistan. we essentially have an intra-pashtun civil war going on, a civil war that was perpetuated in part by a perception that the establishment -- outside the tent. those begin recruiting grounds for the taliban, various groups. as people saw that really providing sponsorship to the scripps means a return to the same sort of taliban rule that they experienced after the 1992-96 civil wars, and as soon as they saw they were going to the victims of that kind of oppression again, when they saw there's an alternative and we could move towards a more inclusive political some of the local level, then that broke that sponsorship for those
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taliban groups and we been able to consolidate gains and, temporary, in afghanistan and in eastern afghanistan. the same i think was true in the period after the very destructive civil war, very costly civil war from 2006-2008. iraqis came together, to force these accommodations at the local level and what we hope to see more of those accommodations at the national level. and we talked about this in the first panel more about why that hasn't occurred speak of this gentleman right here and then we will try to take to write their thank you. this question is to mr. brzezinski. i think the present right now is taking his very first tour in his second term to the middle east. how do you see his middle east policy? can you achieve something in his second term? thank you.
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>> we're going to take a couple of questions. i'm hoping, i don't want to rule things out, but i'm hoping to keep the focus on the big question we have before us which is the lessons of a decade of war. i was wondering, given that general mentioned how often does it turn out the way you want it to, that if the air-sea battle concept would be perhaps too much lean towards that direction, and towards mr. brzezinski, i was wondering how -- towards iraq is restricted -- shifted away from asia-pacific and europe during the 2000s we will take one more. go ahead this is to the general. you said that in one of the continuities is history, three
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decades of brutal, that's correct. iraq was doing this for three decades. it's only at the end when the united states realize that iraq under sanctions that they own weapons of mass destruction, upon force information. so it was not the regime was brutal all the time. thank you okay. well, we have the whole world on -- but maybe briefly. i think the brief question a destiny was how has our expenditures on iraq affected our ability to operate elsewhere. the united states is the number one superpower. we have the largest economy. so we managed to remain engage in other parts of the world, and i hope act responsibly and effectively. but that doesn't refuse the proposition that the war in iraq
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was excessively expensive, not only morally but financially and physically here and it has not contributed to great regional stability. enhanced greater regional instability. the kind of phenomenon that was described in terms of internal conflict in a variety of these countries is an increasingly pervasive global reality. the lesson to be drawn from it is, there are murderous groups doing nasty things, the united states has to go in and deal with the. i think is a recommendation for a policy that would be ultimately suicidal. i think that is the kind of policy that our adversaries who would like to see our power decline, would like to see ourselves spent in endless conflicts all over the place for doubtful reasons, will be in fact a gift to them. so i'm sure we can maintain a reasonable and stable policy towards the far east, and we're
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doing it. i hope we will also draw some lessons from the experience of the conflicts that we've waged in recent years with other dubious geopolitical effects. >> can ask you, maybe both, to address the question of syria? which seems more than iran to have echoes about the kind of choice is that we the types of difficulties of intertwined military and political considerations that we faced in iraq i would sit on city, we got off on the wrong foot in the first place. remember the trouble started about two years ago. not long thereafter the president of the united states declared publicly that assad's syria has to go. that was a choice that he made. one would assume that declaring it publicly involves a commitment by the united states,
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which the united states is prepared then to make effective. and that therefore we have the means and the strategy for achieving the objective. it soon turned out that this was a rhetorical commitment, without a real capacity for follow through on our part. so we went to the u.n., and we demanded that the u.n. security council support us on this. not surprisingly, the russians and the chinese said we don't share this conclusion, and we're not going to join you enforcing assad outcome and we reject, and the resolution failed to we thereupon denounced the russians and the chinese as having engaged in a stance that is infantile and disgusting. those are the words used by our ambassador to the u.n. which is not a way of soliciting their support for further --
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[laughter] -- further policy. becoming increasingly clear that the opposition to tal afar i can assad a very mixed at of it involves some of our friends who are sponsoring sloppy movements. some of it involves infiltration of al qaeda types in history. some of it involves in rating in involvement and the picture is far from clear. it was also increasingly, we didn't have strong support of groups that were capable of organizing an effective military resistance. so we have been stalemated. recently we have announced that we will provide money to the resistance groups, and humanitarian aid, but we will not give them arms. well, which is a curious decision because first of all we don't really know to whom to give arms in the first place. so we're not going to give arms because we don't know who the
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recipients are, how reliable they are. but we are going to get some people some money, and humanitarian aid. since humanitarian aid in particular money is fungible, they can buy arms. so whom are we really arming indirectly, having decided in the first place that there aren't any people we want to arm? so i think our policy really is rather shortsighted and not particularly effective. i think the best we can hope for is some international settlement still in which somehow we will manage to get the russians and the chinese, and through them there for also they arrange to participate. because otherwise the country -- the conflict will go on. it will involve the fragmentation of syria, and probably will have a negative destabilizing impact on iraq as well as on lebanon and on jordan. these are not conditions.
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>> just go back to the question about air-sea battle. air-sea battle is a really and operational approach designed dynamic air force and the navy but with the other service as well to defeat was seen as a merging and access capabilities. i think it's -- i'm a huge fan of the because obviously as a soldier you can't get anywhere unless you travel through the air or by sea, right? the question is really, it's not an answer and i think i don't think anybody, i would say in their right minds would say the future of worse go its way to be able to get, use joined forces in a position to do it given the situation. answer the question is when our in repose like something like this as an operational capability, how does he get to a strategy? it would have to do with us for continuities of war that we're discussing at the beginning.
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on the question of syria, i can't really comment on that because first, i'm not an expert, but i think the main thing for us to consider, back in iraq is a lesson, made more broadly is went to understand all about the grounds that are protected between us and our enemies. and again, we can't just assume that what we decided to either it's going to be sufficient for us to keep our objectives are explained everything that's wrong any particular paper it seems like we're ready to take blame for everything, to ourselves as well which i reject having encountered any to use mass murder as a principal tactic. and i think any sort of comments that go towards the equivalency of what our forces do and what forces do is they take a 13 year girl and strapped with explosives and have her hold the hand of a three year-old mentally disabled girl, walking into the crowd and remotely
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detonate them. i just don't accept that. and so i think, i think we're to recognize on the physical battleground also on the psychological battle ground. because this is a battleground where our enemies use fear and intimidation to advance their objectives. we also have to be on the battleground of perception were our motives are portrayed as being imperialist or associate with some sort of, you know, zionist crusader conspiracy and so forth. so we have to become more effective at clarifying our intentions, county enemies information, exposing their brutality and bolstering the legitimacy of those who are really genuine partners. then there's the battleground within governmental institutions that oftentimes we don't really recognize. and this would have to do in iraq in the case of the
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infiltration and subversion of state institutions by islamist groups, shia islamist groups and those connected back to the iranians in particular. this made it particularly difficult to strengthen the iraqi state, and especially to move towards rule of law and effective governance. and oftentimes we don't even see that subversion campaign. which is nothing new. to robert thompson wrote many decades ago that there were five cases effective counterinsurgency operations. one of those is to defeat enemies political subversion. but having an effect in the period of time when the civil war, is that circuits of iran were using state institutions as to mobilize resources in which became a cleansing campaign in certain portions of the country. and that's perpetuated,
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perpetuate the violence. the approach that the irgc and their proxies have taken in iraq is to try to make iraqi government dependent on that force, but at the same time to support the development of militias that lie outside government control that can be turned against the government if the government takes action against iranian interests. so i think if you look at syria, there's two things to keep in consideration, what are the most will -- emotional pell grants and you can understand -- on those battlegrounds. that could be a step towards understanding what could be done to support really the outcome there that will stop this humanitarian capacity, but do so anyway that is consistent with our interest and what i believe is the interest of all civilized people speak of thank you. there are -- >> thank you.
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there are dozens of questions in the room but, unfortunately, run out of time. i want to thank both -- [laughter] i want to thank all of you who have been with us all day for this discussion, and in particular dr. brzezinski, general mcmaster, and thank you both very much for joining us. [applause] >> u.s. secretary of state john kerry and afghan president cars i've made a show of unity today. short after the u.s. military ceded control of its last detention facility in afghanistan. secretary kerry is in afghanistan for an unannounced 24 hour visit. he said he and president karzai were on the same page when it comes to peace talks with the taliban. >> we will continue our look at the 10th anniversary of the iraq war in a moment. coming up, the costs of the war
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now estimated to top $5 trillion. then the fbi's top lawyer on how law enforcement investigations are keeping up with new technology without breaking the law. that's followed by a house appropriations subcommittee looking into agriculture department spending. >> let's go straight to a personal topic. you've been on the commission since 2006. the chairman has been on since i believe 2009. his term is a. yours will be up next year. should we expect to see some term over at the commission speak what you should always see turnout because we all have staggered terms. the past six years have flown by very quickly, and we shall see. i get asked this question every couple of years and we've been almost seven years. i multiply thinking about but we shall see. >> thinking about what? >> what to do next. i have thought about that several times, what comes after
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the commission. a limited government personnel i think it should stay in the positions forever. at the same time i love my job. that's part of what is keeping me here and we have a lot of important work to do. spent this past week both commissioner robert mcdowell and chairman julius genachowski announced their resignations from the fcc. we spoke with commissioner mike bell before his announcement. hear more tonight on track to at eight eastern on c-span2. >> tonight on first ladies, call the biggest and an adulterer during her husband 1828 presidential campaign, rachel jackson dies of an apparent heart attack before andrew jackson takes office. his niece becomes the white house hostess that is later dismissed as fallout from a scandal. during the next administration of angelica van buren as the white house hostess for her father law who is a widower. we will include your questions
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and comments by phone, facebook and twitter live tonight at nine eastern on c-span and c-span3. also on c-span radio and >> the nation's highest court is holding oral arguments this week on to gay marriage cases. take his to the two argues that began tuesday are technically free but the first people got in line thursday announced the going rate for saving the seat is around $6000. the a couple weeks ago rob reiner explain why this is drawing such interest. here's a portion of what he had to say. >> do you think you are you optimistic about what the supreme court will be? >> i am optimistic. you never know when a case is in front of the supreme court, but if they're going to rule, and this is what they do, and based on the law, we had a trial here in san francisco with many weeks of evidence.
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and we brought on 17 witnesses. they brought on to. one of the witnesses was the expert against the idea of gay marriage has done a 180. his name is david like it or and has now said it's absolutely should be something that should be done. if you look at it just from a legal standpoint, there is really nothing to argue. you can argue from a moral standpoint. you can say morally i don't like the idea of gay marriage because of your church teaches you a certain thing. that's fine and without asking anybody -- were not enforcing any church to perform certain. without asking anybody to go outside the religious beliefs. but marriage is not a religious right. it is a civil right that is provided by the government. a church does not have a right to marry someone, except that it is given the right by the government. the government issues marriage licenses. the government decides who gets
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married in two dozen. so in 1967 there was a supreme court case, loving v. virginia, and blacks couldn't marry whites. they challenged that and the supreme court ruled that nine nothing. it was, they have ruled now 14 times about the fundamental right to marriage. from a legal standpoint there is no argument. you can make a moral standpoint if you want, but from a legal standpoint there is no argument. so we feel confident that i'm an outcome how broadly the supreme court will rule? that we don't know. >> tomorrow the nation's highest court hears oral arguments challenging california's proposition eight, a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in that state. c-span and c-span radio will have live coverage beginning at 1 p.m. eastern. the arguments along with reaction will play again on c-span tomorrow night at 8 p.m.
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eastern. on wednesday the court hears arguments over the constitutionality of the defense of marriage act, enacted during the bush administration. c-span and c-span radio will again have coverage with arguments are released to the public at about 2 p.m.-ish and it will be shown again wednesday night at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> we continued our look now at the ten-year anniversary of the iraq war. harvard university professor linda bilmes have studied the overall cost of the war for a book titled "the three trillion dollar war." it is now projected to reach $5 trillion. professor linda bilmes spoke at an event at the carnegie endowment for international peace. this is about one hour.
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>> thank you. the next part of the program has to do with addressing some of the economy cost of the war, and to do that there is no one that probably is more of an expert than professor linda bilmes it was a daniel patrick moynihan senior lecturer at the harvard kennedy school. she is perhaps best known to all of you as a co-author with joseph stiglitz of the 2008 book an international bestseller, "the three trillion dollar war: the true cost of the iraq conflict," now translated into 22 languages which cast a spotlight on the direct and indirect cost of the wars and impact of lost investment on the u.s. economy. professor bilmes is one of the leading experts in the united
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states, studying the course of war and has worked in the area with a particular focus on the long-term course related to veterans. she has written extensively on topics of wartime spending and its impact on future national security consideration. she's also one of 30 academics -- cost of war project, which has established a website for following these issues. we are very fortunate to have professor bilmes with us today to address this critical and far-reaching legacy of the iraq war. a war that administration officials testified at the time would pay for itself. please join me in welcoming professor linda bilmes to comment. [applause]
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>> thank you very much, marwan, for the kind introduction. i am really pleased to be here today at this wonderful institution, and as i was preparing for this talk, i was rereading some of the papers written by carnegie endowment scholars in 2002-2003, particularly by jessica mathews. and they argued compellingly, they were some of the few voices arguing compellingly that the u.s. really did have other options, that the u.s. could have pursued an enhanced inspection process, that the u.s. could have pursued, could have allowed the inspectors to complete their jobs. and as we all know that advice was ignored. and there were a number of other voices at the time that the call for restraint. there were a number of voices that suggested that the war could cost far more than we had
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anticipated. but as is typical in the history of the cost of wars, those who are most in favor of going to war typically are most optimistic about how long it's going to take and how much it is going to cost. and you may recall back to that time 10 years ago when we were told that the war need to happen very quickly before the summer became too hot for our troops. and that it would be quick and cheap. so 10 years later that decision to ignore the voices of caution has cost us, has literally cost us trillions of dollars, and counting. and you may recall that before the war the bush administration had predicted that the war would cost about 50-$60 billion. that was the estimate from donald rumsfeld and mitch daniels and dick cheney. and, in fact, very lengthy, the
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top economic adviser in the bush administration was fired for saying that the war by cost up to 200 billion. -- larry lindsey. and larry subsequent wrote a book in which he argued that many of the problems that occurred later on in the war were related to the fact that no one early on was willing to confront the true potential cost in those early days. today, the u.s. has already spent $2 trillion in direct outlays for iraq. over 3 trillion if you include some of the indirect costs that will describe in some of the acts -- afghanistan caused it and at this point as we think about the difference between 50 billion, and 3 trillion, i usually remind my students about the difference between a billion and a trillion, because they kind of sound the same. just sort of thinking about it, we know that if you had a million, 1000-dollar bills stacked up on the table there,
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this would be about four inches high, and a billion would be about 350 feet, which is, the monument is 555 feet, and the capitol dome is 268 become so it's somewhere in between that range. and a trillion 1000-dollar bills is 65 miles high. so we're really talking about an order of magnitude, definition of order of magnitude, bigger when we think about the war costs. but that out of pocket cost is just a fraction of the total cost of course there are many costs. are caused in iraq. there are opportunity costs of what might have done with the money. but this morning i'm going to focus on three areas of implications of the costs, as follows. first i want to argue that one of the most significant challenges to future u.s.
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national security policy is not going to stem from any external threat, but from simply coping with the legacy of cost, the legacy of the cost from the iraq war, from these wars that we have already fought. second, i would argue that the cost of war are not only high, but unpredictable. the iraq war cost far more than originally estimated, but also set off a chain of events that has far-reaching economic consequences are and third, we discovered that the u.s. lacks any kind of system to track war costs, and that by ignoring the costs we made it much easier to make poor choices. so let me turn first to the first point, the legacy of costs. the legacy is the long-term commitments that we have made to members of the military, to veterans and their families.
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historically, the bill for war costs always comes to 30-40 years after the war. the peak year for pay and disability benefits to world war i veterans was in 1969, more than 50 years after armistice. the peak year for paying world war ii veterans benefits in the late 1980s. payments to vietnam and gulf war one veterans are still climbing. and even the first gulf war, which only lasted for a few weeks, is a war that cost us more than $5 billion a year in disability benefit, which is twice the cost, the annual cost of paying for all 400 national parks. but the magnitude of future expenditures will be much higher for iraq because this war has been characterized by much higher survival rates, more generous benefits, and new expensive medical treatments.
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between 2001 and today, the department of veterans affairs, the va budget, has increased in real terms from 61 billion per year, to 140 billion per year. so from 2% of his budget to 3.5% of the u.s. budget. and much of this growth was due specifically to the iraq and afghanistan wars. and hear when i speak about veterans, i am including both iraq and afghanistan veterans because so many of the veterans fought in both wars. and the va does not actually get statistics separately, so there all aggregated. but more specifically, because we think about many of the injuries and traumas that have occurred as a result of the past decade of war, it has been accusative affect your for
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example, post-traumatic stress that has been exacerbated by the third tour of duty in afghanistan after severe firefight in iraq. i don't want to overladen you with this but i'm about to, so let me go through a few numbers here. since 2002, the number of men and women have been deployed to iraq and afghanistan is 2.5 million. 1.56 million have returned home and left active duty, and, therefore, become eligible for veterans medical care and benefits. now, we knew looking at the history of past wars when joe stiglitz and i were riding in 2008, we knew that there would be long-term cost consequences. we predicted that the costs of medical care and disability benefits would grow.
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we predicted that by today, 45% new veterans would be receiving medical care in the va, and that 40% would have applied for disability benefits. but we were wrong. our estimates were far too low. the va exactly trading not 45%, but more than 56% already come which is more than 860,000 people. and more than half, more than 50% of returns veterans have already applied for permanent disability benefits. of which currently 98% get approved. this reflects a great deal of suffering. 253,000 troops have suffered a traumatic brain injury, of which 20% have been moderate to severe. one-third of veterans returning are diagnosed with mental health
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conditions. in many cases, concurrent with traumatic brain injury. 145,000 veterans are 80, 90 or 100% disabled in the rating system. which is typically that in addition to veterans benefits, they also qualify for social security disability insurance. and we know that as in previous wars, veterans medical and disability compensation will rise as veterans get older and suffered from complications from injuries they sustained during wartime. we've also found out that our system for transition veterans back to civilian life is fundamentally broken. the va has spent more than $5 billion every year for the past four years just to hire more claims processing employees, and to upgrade i.t. systems. but as you probably read in newspapers, a backlog of claims is still more than 1 million, and it keeps growing.
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and veterans of the war, particularly my current area of research, women veterans, are suffering from high levels, higher levels of unemployment, homelessness, suicide, depression, substance abuse and divorce than the civilian population of their age. so in total when you take into account the amount that we've already spent for veterans medical care, disability benefits and all the special programs and computer investments, readjustment counseling, et cetera, that the va has been on this effort, it comes to about $134 billion. but we estimate that there is another $836 billion that has already accrued in these disability benefits, and medical benefits and social duty benefits. ..


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