tv Sen. Cornyn Discusses Global Threats with the Hudson Institute CSPAN April 2, 2021 7:08pm-8:02pm EDT
republicans could be in a place to put their and agenda that will be truly terrifying. this is 1 of those moments when people ought to setback have real consequences down the road. >> find the c-span weekly brigade or podcast. >> texas senator john cornyn set down for a conversation threat posed by russia, iran, and china and the need to secure america supply chain. as a member of the intelligence committee and top republican on citizenship and border safety subcommittee. >> thank you for joining us today for discussion with by the leading voices of the senate republican congress on
national security matters print senator john cornyn of texas he served the people texas for tort for decades for justice on the texas supreme court and texas attorney general. and a member of the senate
committee on intelligence and previous number of the senate armed services committee. senator cornyn has been involved in medicaid national security in today. i saturday has led numerous initiatives with national security policies including bill signed into law the protects manufacturers strengthen infrastructure and policy and supports u.s. secure demerits and their family's great likewise a legislation to update ford's security reviews were the more crushing calls for understanding and defend against the written posed by the chinese government party. we are grateful to have the party here and help us understand what is the most uncertain, unstable,
and insecure world many of us have ever seen or studied. from iran to north korea, to russia, and of course the threat posed by the chinese communist party, america's national security is serious
and complicated challenges all at once. the proliferation of information technology has made it easier for fact and fiction to reach our living room and our homes in a way we've never seen before. thanks to the alarming nuclear force of russia and china they are making the real list of the nuclear arms race again. only this time the u.s. is watching for the bleachers but we've never seen a better relationship between the national security and economic security that we see today as a consequence. the cold war seems simple by comparison. in senator, hopefully you can find it us to better understanding how you see the national security threats and how you think that we will respond to them together or in conflict with the new administration. senator the floor shores. thank you for joining us
here. >> thank you to my think you summed it up well. i was particularly impressed you can pronounce the name of the county where i first held a district judgeship, bexar county. most people some on that 1. you and i have known each other for quite a while. i was 1 of john kyle's biggest fans here when he was here in the senate. i know you work for him for a long time before you and i met britt is good to be back with you and hudson i appreciate the great work you all do. the light of intellectual firepower for making policy. you described the current situation as more dangerous than the cold war. that makes me a little nervous. i cannot disagree with the confluence of issues that we are facing. including the nuclear threat. i'm sure we'll talk more about nuclear modernization and the importance of what ronald
reagan a properly called peace through strength. and i am ready if you are. >> senator thank you very much. your indulgence i'll start with our conversation with nuclear weapons. texas is home to any number of critical national security facilities the nuclear weapons i will argue 1 of the most important. every single interactive stockpile must come and go. it's of singular importance in our stockpile. when i worked on the house committee i was members build the while visiting the nsa twice. you go and see a critical dimension is. how passionate the workers are about the service they do for the nation pretty also see how open facilities pretty seething mental bins they put high to keep rats from eating away from it. the infrastructure it looks was the original world war ii construction of maintaining
and modernizing the triad of nuclear weapons delivery system. but of course those weapons do not come out of thin air. they have to be built in. i wonder if you can talk to us a little bit about the importance of the modernization of this complex of the debate about modernizing the u.s. deterrent. >> until the new start treaty was ratified, to build for nuclear weapons. and so that focus on the importance of refurbishing the existing nuclear weapons. so i have been to paychex many times in amarillo texas where they do that work. and of course it is kind of shocking to see them take these old weapons and then
tried to add additional features to upgrade them to modernize them. i am not sure i actually saw an electric tube. but anyway you get the idea they've had to upgrade those. and obviously with no real testing going on. all of this is simulated. we hope that these weapons, once modernize our going to be effective even with these very, very old kits. as you know the new start treaty senator got a side agreement by the obama administration to begin production. the goal now the national labs in the mocks facility there in south carolina. but my visit at the nuclear test site in nevada going to the national labs, i do not
know why it came home to me so starkly. but you begin to think, why is it we have not had a nuclear weapon used since hiroshima? it is because of the deterrence and that mutually assured destruction that we have on the reason why we cannot let her adversaries make a mistake or miss calculate or underestimate our resolve to defend our country and our way of life. through the cold war russia was convinced that they initiated a nuclear strike. that it would just result in a response that would threaten that country's survival. unfortunately nuclear weapons with threatening world's survival afraid there are so many of them. but to your point, i think keeping our weapons production
capability up to speed, making sure we refurbish the old weapons we had in modernize them, but also make new plutonium to be used is an important part of that deterrence. that commitment, i think we need to keep congress to speak to modernize the arsenal and to keep the triad. i know there's some talk about a limited when the legs of the triad pretty think it's important to maintain our capabilities on land and the air. and at sea. back the statehouse in amarillo where they have is secretive only the real-life personal know about. >> center i would like to ask you many in the farming community are counting on the biden administration.
it's restrictive foreign policy. arch abandon the triad by walking away for a bipartisan trump equal modernization program your reference. in your view would that be a mistake and why? >> yes that would be a mistake. the first reason it's a mistake is because of the impression it would create in her adversaries. principally russia and china and a strong nuclear force posture. in maintain that deterrence that is the key reason for our nuclear stockpile. it is to keep the peace. it's not to make war. i think sometimes people look at it and think well it is unnecessary. or we can eliminate 1 of the legs of the triad.
no strategic deterrent that will replace the minimum. and i think that will be 8 terrible mistake. first will give her adversaries the impression were backing down and they could miss calculate of think they could engage a nuclear strike that would not threaten their survival but would threaten our spirits direct thank you for that i agree completely. you mention the news start treaty. we were 1 of the senators voted against the treaty printer was nearly ratified back in the end back in 2010. but in the 10 years since it entered it's really clear what putin accomplished without treaty. he mounted with his nuclear modernization program for a sec. state former secretary of state as pompeii stated only 45% of russia's arsenal is subject to american limits. meanwhile that agreement restricted 92% of americans arsenal.
they're concerned about a land war against nato and europe. in the view these as an essential part of their work plans. and i just think it is hard to get the approval by congress for us to build you low yield nuclear weapons here in the u.s. so, it locks in the advantage and it does not include more modern weapons which they developed and it also fails to include the other major nuclear power and world china. i am not absently sure what kind of deal we could have gotten. but we really did not even try for the trump administration did try and held out the prospect of changing the agreement rather than extending or extending a year end keeping the conversation going. i think this is a missed opportunity by the biden administration.
before shift topics you are a member of the senate committee on intelligence. as a member of that committee written about how russia missed use the treaty how they were able to miss use that treaty to threaten national security. as you know the previous administration used or prescribed control mechanism to end that threat to u.s. national security but i'm curious he could talk for little bit about why this was both necessary and proper? >> i think it was really outdated because at the time, basically flying over united states flying over russia or the soviet union would have been the way to identify various military buildups. now we have overhead, satellites and very sophisticated capabilities. it really has become sort of obsolete. but we also knew that russia was using this as an
opportunity to commit espionage in the united states. i hate to say this, it sounds pretty blunt but russia cheats. whether the open skies treaty or the inf treaty with limited ground base nuclear missiles. and so, really i think putin was trying to get a pr advantage and act like they were the holdouts to maintain the treaty. but they are cheating all along. i think ending this treaty was really outdated was the right thing to do. >> then cute senator prettier also a member of the senate judiciary committee. specifically the subcommittee on the constitution. and a potential responsibility of the senate under the constitution is the responsibility to advise and consent on treating a nomination like to ask about that. many in the left-leaning think
the biden administration should go back. the argued the senate previously given its advice and consent to ratification, the administration does not need to go back again. in fact it has been reported that the administration studying this option in the inter- agency right now. i would ask how does the senate react to what appears to be an unprecedented proposal for the advance authority treaty clause under the constitution. and if they think the senate will use consent authority concerning for example nominees to flesh out what is permissible and what is not as a matter of law and the constitution? to make sure the senate authorities not alerted? >> i think the biden administration is going to look for opportunities to do everything from reentry the paris climate agreement to it looks to me like they want to
reengage the pla which is supposed to constrain iran's develop motive nuclear weapons and enrichment activities. i am pretty confident they're going to look for ways around the senate in terms of our constitutional responsibilities. but, we need to remind them it is a 50/50 senate. they may not exactly get a mandate for some of these policies. i think there's going to be significant pushback. and you are right the senate and the personal does this are going to need to get people confirmed. i think we need to get some of the nominees on records the extent we have not already confirmed them. we have confirmed a number of national security nominees on what their approach is going to be. i truly believe that they will find a willing partner among republicans on these issues
unless they want to try to do something pretty unilateral and fairly radical in terms of evading the senate. i think actually, tim, it is a mistake politically to. because if you have a bipartisan buy-in to some of these agreements, then if things go south it's not unilateral blame everybody shares responsibility. i think it's both good in terms of building consensus. but also good in terms of if you are worried about getting the blame if things go south. >> will senator thank you. you talk a little bit like to briefly pivot to that. president biden made a key points during his election campaign that his administration would again make the united states a participant. it's a deeply flawed it deal that president trump would do to the united states from and
may of 2018. given its shortcomings, iran's failure to ever fully disclose the previous military dimensions of his nuclear weapons program or the so called mod plan. iran desperately wants funds of dollars of sanctions relief to fund its nuclear program state sponsorship and terrorism and other malign activities. i am serious, where do you see the senate? were you see senate republicans on the position of rejoining the jcp 08. using the efforts that the trump administration provided the biden administration to try to hammer out a better deal? >> i was encouraged when i asked ambassador burns, the nominee now the new director of the cia in april haynes the director of national intelligence whether it would ever be permissible for iran to get a nuclear weapon. both of them answered no. but i also remember back when
prime minister spoke to a joint session of congress per he was unhappy with the joint conference of plan of action because he said it does not ban iran from getting a nuclear weapon, it paves the way to get a nuclear weapon. so that was to me the fundamental flaw in the jcp oh 8. it also gave number 1 state-sponsored terrorism a past on the terrorist activity around the world. mainly working through proxies. nuclear iran ought to scare the living daylights for every person and americans certainly in the region. because they are the most dangerous i believe regime nationstate in the middle east. they aren't as essential threat to our allies and friends and israel.
they are out doing no good, using proxies in places all over the middle east as you know. so i am not forgiving them a bunch of money. i think the maximum pressure campaign secretary pompeo led under the trump administration has had some impact. and i think we ought to keep the pressure up until they are willing to come to the table and include all their malign activities with the comprehensive agreement. and agree to get a nuclear weapon. >> i really appreciate that. it only works if banks and corporations are willing to go back that they are willing to invest. it just seems that given restoration of the jcp oa the administration which likely withdraw from the jcp oa.
does not seemed like a good investment for an american or european or an asian business to go back into iran if the ministration cheeses to go back to the jcpoa. i want if you been to the attorney general, eventual lawyer, even a county judge, if you were advising a texas corporation a big energy corporation obviously what would you advise the corporation about going back into iran if the jcpoa was all of our were taken apart? >> >> i was a don't do it. particular matters of national security it is hard but it is the only thing that provides
durable and predictable policies for the united states something i would hope we would all want. this idea of taking temporary advantage and any senate confirmation of a treaty or trying to do things on your own as administration and think a very shortsighted and they do not provide the certainty for american businesses that might want to do business in countries like iran. : : :
>> it is a corrupt and illegitimate regime. so majority leader schumer has announced he plans to move the china bill in the senate this year that bipartisanship and the bird will you really can't be thinking about reconciliation. masking and i'm curious what you think are the possibilities for cooperation on china in the senate and give us a little bit of news or a sneak peek for the china bill. >> there is one area where i think they are pretty close to unified. and things like the covid-19 virus when it comes to the supply chain like ppe to semi
conductors. that's something we can talk about more but senator warner and i who is now the chairman of the intelligence committee, this is a bipartisan concern. obviously concern about china cyberactivities the theft of intellectual property. they basically have been telling us what they are going to do made in china, 2025 and they want to get access to foreign investments in the united states to the cutting-edge intellectual property and the know-how to take it back and copy it and build in china which is a threat economically and from a security standpoint. so this is one topic with the
idea of building consensus and working together it has great promise. the one area i have been working on with the vulnerability to semi conductors the smallest and most powerful we can make because as you know they committed to building in arizona but the state tax incentives are not enough to level the playing field with expensive manufacturing facilities. in the meantime us is contemplating building one in the united states while china build 17 in china. obviously that's a problem. >> let's follow up on that if we can. with the current industrial revolution from a national security perspective many
worry if cutting off the oil made were inevitable in the thirties but today for reasons you outlined, that is what we are looking at. and then in those proportions and there wasn't really very much appropriated funding republicans and democrats. so you talked about this in the beginning but the free market which i know that you are what is the appropriate balance with government led
industrial policies when it comes to protecting ourselves from china inc. quick. >> i seem to recall jimmy carter said if the country in the middle east blocked the strata for moves it would be inactive or. that's how vital accesses to our national security and other countries as well. i like that analogy china get access with those that run from as 35 to the cell phone it would be equivalent and that's a good way to think about it. and from the conversation. >> but it does raise the larger issue of industrial policy. and like you said as a free market conservative i believe markets are more efficient than government mandates stand
control. but i'm afraid china has change the playing field so dramatically with investment from 5g to artificial intelligence and quantum computing and now semi conductors. the express goal is to dominate the world and us economically and has become increasingly belligerent out of the south china sea to threaten taiwan. they are rattling their saber very loudly. when you talk to chris ray with the threat that china imposes and those that are coerced into are cooperating with intelligence agencies china is everywhere and you are right. sometimes people want to make
this an issue about the country of china and we need to up our game in order to compete. i have change my attitude toward strategic investments in the sort of technology that if we don't do it the adversary will and we will be worse off for it. economically in the national security perspective. yes the bill we are sponsoring includes a provision for a tax credit that would be useful to any semi conductor manufacture that wants to build here in the united states is not company specific by any means that we do have an appropriation one of the best
meetings only one i've had at the white house since president biden has been in office is the topic of vulnerable supply chains and there is broad bipartisan consensus especially on the semi conductor front but we asked experts another smart people to help us rack and stack the other supply-chain vulnerabilities that we have that are important. and let's focus on some of those as well. >> people talk about decoupling and strategic decoupling and i'm worried about the pharmaceuticals and semi conductors those are things we don't want to rely on.
but other things like sneakers and t-shirts then presumably we don't care as much and how do you see a balance between the free markets and industrial policy a strategic decoupling? >> the other day, it's been a couple of months i see the rand corporation there is a quotation that said washington is a rogue not arrival. china is arrival, not a rogue. that was a useful way to think about the differences between the two. we cannot ignore china. and we shouldn't there is a lot of room for us to work together in terms of trade for example. but we underestimated the communist party's commitment to keep their police state in a closed society and authoritarian government. we thought just maybe if they were part of the wto they would become a democracy. that didn't exactly happen.
we have some targeted areas like intellectual property, cyber, were obviously they are very aggressive. we need to push back hard like keeping the south china sea open navigation is another important area. and getting back to where we started, the best way to keep this piece on - - to keep the pieces be strong in the unenviable adversary for another country. so to recognize we have a problem is the first step to the solution there is broad recognition china is the number one challenge for us. i don't think the military with conflict with china is inevitable. but if they miscalculate or misinterpret our commitment with economic strength, then
there could be a miscalculation in the state and we should avoid that. >> thank you senator. recent meetings between united states and leaders of the chinese communist party in alaska is dramatic it's unclear what, if anything practically came from it and what is your take away? how do you assess the early days of the new administration with the chinese communist party? are you hopeful or worried quick. >> i was a little bit encouraged by's secretary lincolns pushing back. i wasn't surprised the aggressiveness of the negotiators they become increasingly belligerent and arrogant. and they may have been probing to see what is the attitude here? is that a week response or a
strong response? so it was an important testing of commitment and determination. i thought the secretary presented himself well. we will see what comes from that but of china knows that we will not be strong-arm in our response they will take maximum advantage. i thought that was encouraging. >> the senate subcommittee on intelligence. i don't have to tell you the threat of ppe. you mentioned director ray. he came in a speech last summer and say we need to be clear eyed about the scope of the chinese government the chinese communist party believe citizen a generational fight with economic
leadership. ". we talked about this but on the topic of preserving the leadership from that ppe working on house armed services committee he and congresswoman cheney and several other were instrumental to lead the charge, foreign investment. three years later what did you get right and what did you get wrong? >> [laughter] the committee on foreign investment in the united states and those who did not want to they thought we are trying to discourage foreign investment in the united states that is not the case. but we wanted to be clear eyed about what the risk was in the chinese communist party as they have done with their
investment, not only acquiring intellectual property, but the know-how to take it back. as you know, before you can do business in china, they basically want to get all of your intellectual property and data as a condition for doing business they are. that is obviously a shortsighted step urine american or international company to do business. so my oppression on - - impression is those that have similar challenges are looking at what we do with the committee on foreign investment. and i know that has now been stacked up. it is working more aggressively. they are working a lot more cases than they have in the
past. also things like buying real estate to us military base which obviously can be a footprint for other espionage and national security. i was pleased we could get that done. we were lucky. we could get out of the banking committee with the defense authorization bill within a short period of time. but our country is stronger because of it. other countries are paying attention to figure out how they can model after that cfius reform to protect their own intellectual property. >> but then there was the emerging and found a sheen on foundation technology like artificial technology.
why was that a bad act? unfortunately three years later that has not been implemented. and about to release another report maybe it is the fourth such report to protect the technologies senator schumer in cotton previously talked about the department of commerce on - - commerce failure with these important controls and technology with the cutting-edge charlie advantage over china. so i am curious how you see the implementation. are you satisfied? or are you thinking about a change of how these technologies are protected? make it sound like any to talk to senator schumer and senator cotton to join with them in those concerns.
as you know, obviously there are technologies we don't want other countries to get their hands on because of the importance of national security. the commerce department is policing that the way they should the net needs to be corrected and we need to make sure they are committed to those export controls as well. i appreciate you highlighting then i will follow up with senator cotton and senator one - - senator schumer. >> thank you. i appreciate that. the hallmark of the new competition with china that national security is no longer limited but to the foreign relations committee now in banking, health education, every department is on the
frontlines of the china competition. i quoted director ray about tpp so the director stated he is now reach the point where the fbi is opening a new chain a real - - china related base every ten hours and nearly 5000 are currently are underway across the country and almost half are related to china. so for example the recently confirmed attorney general come are you comfortable the fbi campaign and department of justice china initiative will continue and to be staffed? >> i am really glad director ray is staying on. i am a fan of his.
and on this topic i have said he is pretty stoic. he doesn't show a lot of emotion. but on this topic in my experience with the judiciary committee. but also recently i became part of an organization that you are familiar with the senate national security working group along with senator feinstein was is designed to work across different jurisdictions in the committee structure to focus on national security. we need to do more of that that is across jurisdictional work because i become concerned our structure, our silos within the congress are an impediment they don't reside just in one committee
that many different so hopefully we use that apparatus as a way to do that collaboration we need across committees to have an impact on national security which is frankly just about all of them. >> we touched iran and arms-control so closing up on russia, the administration came in over the last four years there was talk on russia both parties were united and i am curious when you think about russia's use of chemical weapons against their own people are in the united kingdom what you think of the solarwinds attack, where should we go? if you have any specific thoughts how would you like to
see the administration respond? >> we need to take mr. putin and recognize who he is and what his aspirations are. i remember secretary tillotson said mr. putin wakes up every day thinking about where the americans are having problems and how we can make it worse. i thought that was pretty interesting. but putin thinks that the demise of the soviet union was the greatest historical tragedy that ever occurred. and has been very aggressive to inject russia all around in the middle east in europe. and through active measures
and exploiting social media and frankly the gullibility of the mainstream media, have been trying to denigrate the united states whether elections to create chaos or a misunderstanding. this is part of the old kgb playbook and this is the tools that they use is a little bit different back when vladimir putin working in the kgb when he get started. but we need to be very clear eyed about the russians. that doesn't mean we should not try to find common ground where we can. maybe we can work together but the primary threat is the nuclear weapons we talked about the new start and the
lost opportunity that includes the newer ones that were created along with the threat of the hypersonic vehicles that could deliver a warhead in just minutes. that is a concern and we're playing catch-up on. but some of the recent press where president biden has called putin a killer come i don't know who was surprised by that comment. it may have been in politics but certainly the russian intelligence services have a well-deserved reputation for using those kinds of methods against their critics were
other people they think are a threat to their reputation and their country. we have to call it like it is in be very clear eyed about who these people are and their aspirations. to have an equal but opposite reaction to eliminate the chance of mistake or miscalculation that could get us into a potential conflict that we want to avoid.
>> the late senator mccain said it was a rundown gas station but secretary lincoln takes off for brussels this week the first in person opportunity with the european allies i am curious what message he would like him to take from the senate where would you like him to healthy allies know where the senate stands on the future of data how to handle russia or china? >> i have been a little disappointed in the new administration acting whatever the policies were of the previous administration we will do the opposite or disparaging the effort one - - efforts and then have more participation with nato and mutual security in the united states taxpayer didn't. the whole burden that was a positive development by the trump administration. >> but we'll do the opposite of whatever they did i would hope they would go into this very clear eyed about what the
risks are and what we need to do with our allies. i happen to believe we do need our friends. if it's one thing to have an america that china and russia don't have, it is friends and allies like in asia, the quad coming together to keep the navigation lanes open with india and australia and japan and the united states. working with nato as a counterbalance to russia and the continued aggression in places like ukraine. not just limited to ukraine. it is a tough and dangerous world as you said. looking at all these various places in the world where our adversaries are involved in what could spin out of control , we have to remain very vigilant and committed to make sure we are the preeminent
military power in the world and we use that piece along with alliances with our friends to keep the world a sacred place. >> and with those controversial questions that as we wrap up the discussion and with that controversy was a just another smear campaign and those that cannot come together? >> it is like barbecue. different regions of the country different types of barbecue i was celebrating my wife's brisket recipe at christmas time on twitter and was shamelessly attacked by those who preferred a different recipe but that says
more about social media and what anonymous anonymity would do on the topics you don't deserve a lot of attention. that was amazing how long that went on but it also shows how important barbecue and brisket is in texas. people feel very strongly. >> everybody can get a 72-ounce steak. thank you for today's discussion with we covered nuclear weapons and iran and russia and hopefully the viewers will have greater confidence that we have strong leadership in the senate willing to work on a bipartisan basis to solve
these remarkable challenges that the national security establishment all in one. in the old days we had the cold war we only had to worry about the soviet union now we don't have that luxury so i will let you close if there is any information you like the audience to have. >> thank you to you and hudson for hosting today. as i said earlier organizations like hudson have the expertise and are an invaluable source of information for the senate and congress and staff as we wrestle with these difficult policies. as you know from your experience working on the hill, members of congress tend to be generalist a lot of issues they have to address. but no more important issue than our national security. that is job number one. the expertise and the willingness to work with us to
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