tv Sen. Tom Cotton at AIPAC Conference CSPAN March 9, 2018 8:47am-9:01am EST
there's aling on our website to the national constitution center interactive constitution. treasury dpght officials will be part of a forum on trump administration use of economic sanctions tbens certain countries. live coverage from the atlantic counsel starts this morning at 9 a.m. ian on c-span2 in the afternoon, a look at the impact that seal and aluminum tariffs could have on u.s. job and economy that starts at noon eastern from the heritage foundation live on c-span, and later former education secretary arne duncan will moderate a discussion with group of young chicago stengts on gun violence in their community. live coverage from the brooking institution begins at 3 p.m. eastern also on c-span. tom cotton spoke at the american israel public affairs conference this week he was interviewed by former abc news correspondent
claire about national security challenge hads posed by china, russia, iran, and north korea. please welcome back to the stage, claire shipman. ♪ >> thank you. earlier we heard from senator now hear from another leader in this senate from the other side of the aisle. our next guest took office in 2015 after one term in the house and distinguished service in the u.s. army. he has since garnered a reputation in the senate as an active voice on foreign policy issues. and critic of iran's aggression throughout the middle east. he joins u teed discuss the critical issues paying america and israel, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome arkansas a senator tom cotton.
♪ >> thank you. thank you very much for that fair warm welcome. thanks for that kind instruction i feel like i have an oscar ready to present. >> just a few people. as a member of congress you've been a consistent and vocal supporter of the u.s. israel relationship, and i want to ask you what i asked smart, why is this issue important to you? where does your passion for this real and relationship come from? >> well personally where it comes from for me is everything i know about the modern nation of israel and its connection to the united states. it impose back so deeply in our history, you know, the pilgrim called america a new zion and america is always been welcoming and open to jewish people. and in a way that you could come to america and be fully american
and also fully jewish isn't always the case in nations around the world. also, my personal travel to israel which i no doubt on several occasion first elected to the congress, more deeply, though, where it comes not just from me but for the united states as a whole is from our people. you know, administrations, president, secretaries of state defense come and go, some are more supportive of that alliance than others. but congress is the source in washington of the continued bed rock relationship between the united states and israel. [applause] but -- don't clap too much for congress. [laughter] but -- the reason for what is because the people who send us here are the true foundation of that relationship. and it's the relationship between the american people and the israeli people that make it a unique relationship with any nation that we have in the world. and that -- [applause] that's why you continue to see
overwhelming majorities of both the house and the senate supporting the u.s. israel relationship. >> thank you. you served our country in the u.s. army for nearly five years on active duty including two combat tours so we want to thank you for that. thank you for your service. [applause] how did that experience help shape your view of america's role in the world and how did that experience give you some sense of understanding about what israel might be facing in terms of that threat to its borders? >> some people -- some people ask me like did your time in the army shake your world view and it's like it's close. but it's kind of exactly opposite. i joined the army in large part because of my world view. now it was reenforced at a couple of different ways first in a general level about america's role in the world, and the kind of world we face, and second about the very specific nature of the threat to u.s. -- to the u.s. and israel face.
so first had general level. we live in a dangerous chaotic world that always has been that, it always will that. it's great to have strong diplomacy to have international accords, to have treaty allies, but at bottom foreign policy geopolitics starts at end of a rifle, and unfortunately sometimes has to end there as well and no matter what else you have if you don't have a military that is capable of defending your people and a protecting its interest and allies around the world, then you're not prepared to cope with that world. [applause] one day -- one date lion melee down with the lam but on that daled rather be the lion than the lam. [laughter] but second more specific point is nature of the threats question face when i was in baghdad in 2006, we patrolled a
couple of different neighborhoodses. one was almost exclues uively shiite but faced threat from both sides in those two neighborhoods that reare flected continue threat in the middle east that united states and israel face today so on the one hand in the predominantly infiltrated by van i can revolutionary guard cores they would supply a very deadly road side bomb known as forum projectile to penetrate any armor to include a tank. on the other side you had a lot of fighters at the time al qaeda, iraq later morphed into islamic state that was being supported by sunni extremist group you know going back to their roots in the brotherhood from the very beginning. and those two threats are there today. you have the threat of extremism in form of al qaeda or islamic state you still have -- radical shiite access that is --
led by and most places controlled by iran. those threats existed to israel today they still exist to us as well that's why it is so important that we have -- our partnership not just with our two nations but also with similar sichghted nation in middle east that also face two threats. >> well, and speaking of iran, you were opposed to the nuclear deal with iran. you -- >> you can are say that. [laughter] continue to be outspoken in your views on that topic. now, president trump has laid out what he sees is the flaws in the deal and how it should be fixed. do you think that the deal can be fixed and what do you think the u.s.'s position -- >> i don't think that we can sit down with the help to regerkt a new deal we're not, that's not successful took 18 months to even agree on which resort they want to meet at in switzerland and as a matter of fact 18 months set out a schedule meeting what we can do is united states and in concert with yiewrm, is say, these are the
flaws with the deal it of the last administration negotiated. and -- this is what we're going to do if iran ever goes beyond say -- the number and kinds of centrifuge that is spending or missiles that it is testing. so on and so forth that doesn't require us to go back to iran to negotiate a deal. it just says if iran takes actions unfortunately many cases allowed to do urtd the nuclear teal. we will take these very severe actions. >> to make that public. please -- >> make that public we can pass legislation in the congress that would reflect that. we had once a european, european partners to make that same commitment to us to make it a unilateral agreement too. >> yongd nuclear question iran reinkal aggression is continued to expand. we see it in syria and yemen and iraq. do you think the u.s. has a strategy to counteriran in the region, is it an effective strategy and one that would stop iran from smengting that position in syria israel's
board? >> we're moving in the right direction in terms of the sanction administration taken against specified iranian persons and organizations -- [applause] again, personnel that we have presence in syria some of the democratic relationships that we've built with like minded nations in jcc like we have the work to do there. but most fundamental point is this administration sees iran for what it is. for an aggressive regime that is exporting violence instability around the region not a partner. not someone that we can turn the neighborhood over with and hope that there's a balance between -- iran and its allies. and saudi arabia and allies. [applause] so still more practical steps to take. but we have come a long way in the last 18 months. >> and finally and then to step back for or a minute you also sit on senate intelligence committee i know that the u.s.
intelligence community just recently presented their annual worldwide assessment to the committee. what do you see that you can talk about with us is the gravest security threat facing the united states today? >> well terrorism regular mains a serious threat at all times to our nation, to israel -- to european nations. but terrorists typically need the support of a nation stake in one way or another to bring to bear true destruction that i would tengd to look at nation state threat we face. two powers to their nuclear capabilities have a capability to destroy our way of life that is russia and china. russia is a declining power. it's economy is smaller than italy economy smaller than five countries but it has a leader who is aggressive willing to take risks. as we saw in our elections in 016 as we saw in his speech last week boasting about new kinds of nuclear weapons and in ukraine crimea and actions throughout yiewrm.
china on the other hand a rising power economy felt -- still growing at a rapid clip and plowing billions and billions of of dollarser year into research and say artificial intelligence and computing the kind of break throughs not just in industry but on the battle field that can allow them to have a huge leap ahead in term it is of military technology. but -- besides two great powers we have two rogue regimes as well iran and north korea are some may says that small problem in east asia for south korea and japan and the united states that's not the case. just last week, it wases publicly disclosed that -- exported a lot of chemical related -- technology to syria. which, obviously, creates a real problem for israel in the middle east. and then there's iran. a serious problem is north korea with nuclear weapons, iran is an even greater problem for the united states and israel and our allies in the middle east. why is that? look at the go political circumstances. north korea is a very small
isolated, poor country that's on the edge of the world surrounded by four nations that are vastly more powerful than it. it doesn't have an aggressive ideology that it tries to export. iran by contrast is a very large nation. it's surrounded by ten to 20 peer competitor depending how they define themselves that cross roads of civilization it has aggressive ideology that it tries to engs port that makes a nuclear iran some time in the future vastly more dangerous than realities we face right now with north korea. >> we will have to end on that sober note but i thank you very much senator cotton let's give him a round of applause for his time and coming today to speak to us. senator, thank you. ... today we continue to
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