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tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  December 8, 2014 1:00pm-3:01pm EST

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>> sure. >> the oslo accord was signed about 21 years ago. a palestinian state was supposed to come to be five years after that. are the clinton parameters or some version of it still relevant or do we need to live in a world where we manage the crisis versus solving it? >> well, i think they remain relevant, and i believe that there is a necessary imperative to continue to try to achieve a resolution between israel and the palestinians. the two-state solution, which has been the hallmark of not just the clinton parameters but, you know, the work under president bush, the work under
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president obama, remains an important and i would argue essential concept to bring people together around. now, i'm well aware of everything that's going on right now and the increasing tensions that are existing in the region in israel, in the west bank, to say nothing of the continuing aggressive behavior by hamas coming out of gaza. but i am one who believes that the absence of negotiation leaves a vacuum that gets filled by problems, bad actors, threats, other kinds of behavior that is not good for israel and not good for the palestinians. so i think that, you know, the efforts that were undertaken in the last several years, you
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know, when i was secretary, now with secretary kerry, are very much in the interests of israel and very much in the interests of the palestinians. >> i hope it happens, but we'll see. as secretary of state, what is the one thing you wish you had done differently? >> oh, my goodness. >> is there a list or what? >> there were a number of things, and i write about a lot of them. you know, i say in the book one thing that, you know, looking back, i believe that we could have done differently or better was our reaction to the iranian unrest following the elections in june of 2009, and we consulted broadly, and a lot of experts on iran, sources from within iran, sources in other
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intelligence agencies, a long list, the consensus was that it would not be productive for the united states to be vocally supportive of the demonstrations and really speak out persistently against the abuses of the iranian regime, and the reason for that was because it seemed -- well it didn't seem, it was indigenous, it did spring up from the iranian people. the concern was that we would look as though we were directing it or supporting it and giving an excuse, not just for the iranian government, but for people who might be on the sidelines worried about the outcome to go -- to move away from the movement. and looking back at that now, i
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wish we had spoken out more, but it would have been against the advice of a majority of the people with whom we consulted, and obviously for me the work that we did around the world to try to bring people together, whether it was the israelis or palestinians or after the revolutions in arab countries, they were fraught with difficult, hard choices, and trying to decide exactly what to do in uncharted territory. in retrospect, you could say, well, maybe we could have done that, maybe we could have done that. but i think, again, we were feeling our way forward trying to do the best we could under circumstances that were not within our control, that were rapidly changing, that had been predicted but nobody thought that they would happen as they did in egypt and elsewhere. and then, of course, i deeply
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regret the loss of life of any member of our state department family, whether it's an aid worker in iraq or an aid worker in afghanistan or foreign service officers in libya. you know, that's always something you think, okay, what more, what more, what more could we have done? >> so you mention -- speaking of iran, you mentioned that we could have spoken more. well, speaking more would have alienated the government, but how would it have helped the people who rose against -- >> well, you never know. i mean, you know, you never know what you might say that could give heart to people, could encourage them, could get some off the fence they're sitting on and possibly take action. you never know, and that's why -- if these were easy choices, we could do them by a
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computer if they didn't require any kind of judgment, and in that case, you know, we went with the -- sort of the expert consensus, but it was such a fraught time. we tried to do what we could sort of below the radar screen to help the demonstrators. one thing we did was they were communicating very much by twitter, and we learned that twitter was going to go down for a long planned rebooting that had nothing to do with iran. it was just an internal technology issue, and we basically called and said don't shut down this weekend because we wanted people who were in the streets to be able to talk with each other. so we did a number of things overtly, covertly, to try to provide some support and encouragement, to give heart to people who were rising up against the obviously rigged, illegitimate elections. but, you know, i can't sit here today and say if we had done something different, it would
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have had some impact. at the same time, remember, we were working extremely hard to put together an international coalition to impose international sanctions. you know, we had unilateral sanctions that the united states had adopted. i voted for them when i was in the senate, and we were committed to that pathway, but it wasn't enough. unless we could get sanctions through the security council, sanctions from the european union, and create an environment in which other countries would feel compelled to abide by those sanctions, we were never going to be able to put the kind of economic pressure on the regime, and the turmoil following the elections actually aided us to a certain extent in making the case for getting those sanctions, and so a lot of 2009 and the first part of 2010 i spent my time trying to convince other countries to impose these
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tough sanctions, and then we had to convince them to enforce them. so it was a two-part effort. >> are those sanctions disintegrating in your view? >> you know, there have -- there's always been leakage, there's always been, you know, holes in them, but they have surprisingly and largely held, and they have held in part because we had a two-part strategy. the sanctions were not just to have sanctions. they were to try to force iran to the negotiating table, and i think the economic pressures and the conditions within iran was one of the big reasons that we were able to start these negotiations over their nuclear program. so the sanctions have held up until now.
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the extension of the agreement until june i think will most likely be a period during which the sanctions will hold. there's nibbling around the edges. there are people who are trying to position in the event there is a deal, there isn't a deal, but my assessment is that the sanctionins -- the internationa sanctions have had the effect that we hoped for on iran -- >> they came to the negotiating table so the sanctions did work. >> they did. >> the concern is obviously that we've shown some people like to say too many carrots and not enough sticks. >> well, i don't agree with that. i guess my view on where we are -- my bottom line is a deal that verifiably closes all of iran's pathways to a nuclear
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weapon, and the key there is verifiably and all including covert efforts. that is what is at the center of this negotiation, and i think one might say remarkably our partners have not jumped ship. they have stayed in the negotiation, and there has been both as everybody now knows a process with the so-called p-5 plus 1 and there's been a bilateral process between the united states and iran, and they converged as they were intended to because i, you know, was involved in making the decision to send the first team to oman to begin talking about whether or not we could talk. and, you know, just like churchill famously said, better to jaw jaw than war war. we had to explore as carefully and thoroughly as possible
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whether there was such a verifiable deal that could be adopted. i remained strongly of the view that no deal is better than a bad deal. i'm also absolutely convinced that the nuclear weapon negotiations is not the only problem that we have with iran. it may be the most important and in many ways the most urgent, but iran's sponsorship of terrorism, iran's support for assad and the havoc that that has wreaked, iran's obvious support for hezbollah and the destabilization in part because of the spillover from syria, the continuing pressure on providing arms to hamas and so much else that it engages in in the region
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that causes great concern to israel, to our arab partners in the gulf, that's all part of the ongoing challenge that iran poses, but with respect to the nuclear weapon negotiation, i think that we made the correct decision to get the sanctions imposed internationally, get our partners to the table, begin the negotiation, be willing to enter into the interim agreement, which has so far as we know stopped their nuclear program. to be absolutely clear about the kind of intrusive, constant inspections that would be required to reach the threshold of verifiability that we would seek, and to be very clear in any deal about what the consequences would be of any
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violation by iran, and that would include, as we say, keeping all options on the table. so how this is constructed, if indeed it can be achieved, will have to have those kinds of requirements embedded within it, but i think it's a very important effort to continue to pursue and to try to see if we can reach an agreement that is in line with our requirements. >> let's hope that, indeed, we reach an agreement, that none of our allies in the region are going to feel threatened because then all hell will break loose. >> well, i mean, that is one of our biggest concerns. i mean, we have to intensify our cooperation with our partners and obviously most particularly with israel.
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you know, i think if you look at the close cooperation -- forget about the press coverage and the back and forth. if you look at the close cooperation and what this administration and the congress of the last six years has done with respect to israel's security, it's quite extraordinary. the funding of iron dome, the funding of other military needs and equipment, the continuing strategic consultations that we have been consistently engaged in with israel. you know, it's hard to measure what administration did "x" and who did "y," but nobody can argue with the commitment of this administration to israel's security, and that has to continue. it has to deepen, regardless of the political back and forth which, you know, we're both -- >> what the heck is going on with the political back and forth, by the way? >> we're two raucous democracies, and i have some experience in that, and so you
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do get carried away from time to time, but similarly with our friends in the gulf, we have to have an intensely serious, ongoing consultation with them, too. i started something called the gulf cooperation council u.s. strategic dialogue. we need a forum where we bring them all together. now, that's not easy because they have their own differences with each other, but when it comes to iran, when it comes to iran's intentions, vis-a-vis them, when it comes to terrorism and other threats to their stability, they need us, we need them. we hope we can continue to have not only a good dialogue but a lot of positive outcomes from our cooperation that will make them safer, will make the region safer, and pave the way for more cooperation strategically between israel and the arab states. >> speaking of israel and the
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arab states, is there enough of an alignment of interests do you think between israel and some arab states, primarily the gulf states, and is there is path that maybe helps promote israeli/palestinian peace, kind of an over role deal. do you have a view on this? >> well, i think there are a lot of convergent interests. i just mentioned quickly a couple of them, iran, terrorism, instability, and the like, and i know that there has to be a lot of work done to create cooperation around those convergent interests, but that's something that i think is very much in israel's interests and in the gulf nations' interests. now, right now, you know, the gulf and others in the region are very fixated on syria,
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assad, isis, other immediate matters, but they remain obsessed understandably so with iran's intentions, and i think that is the particular point of convergence. the arab peace initiative, which held out a lot of promise back when it was first introduced, you know, basically was a form of a deal that if there were progress on the palestinian front, there would be actions taken by the arab nations. >> but isn't that a chicken and the egg? >> it is. yeah. i agree, and now i think -- you know, with so much happening in the region, so many serious threats coming from every direction -- i know the president just asked for a big increase in aid to jordan because jordan is on the front lines of so much of what's happening, not only the refugee
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flow from syria, but they are cooperating with us in the coalition against isis. they remain one of the bulwarks for cooperation on israeli security. so we have to pay a lot of attention to the entire region, and i think that when you look at the chicken and the egg issue, that's why you can't give up on any of these channels. you have to keep working them all the time. you can't say, well, you know, let's just throw up our hands and walk away from negotiations between the israelis and the palestinians because you do leave a vacuum or, you know, let's just forget trying to figure out ways for the israelis and the arab states to work together. you know, israel is back into a working relationship on security with egypt that is very much in each of their interests. so you have to keep pushing all of these rocks up the hill at the same time. >> i hope that you continue coming to the forum and next
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time i interview you we're going to be talking about peace that came to the region. i'm not holding my hopes high, but we still have to hope. in closing, i'd like to propose a game of words with you. you'll have fun with that. you'll have fun. i'll mention a name or a noun, and you have to answer in one or two words. can we do that? >> i don't know. we'll see. >> let's start with an easy one. bill clinton. >> fabulous. >> i agree. shimon perez. >> wonderful. >> charlotte -- that's her granddaughter. >> over the moon. >> over the moon. women's rights. >> essential. >> writing books. >> what? >> writing books. >> writing books. hard. >> okay.
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love. >> inescapable. >> and to end on a sweet note, dessert. >> dessert? >> dessert. >> dessert. >> dessert. >> oh, gosh. >> trouble. >> trouble. okay. thank you very much, madam secretary. that was fabulous. [ applause ] >> we're going to open it to a couple of questions and not too many, please. peter, please. >> wait for the microphone. >> wait for the microphone, please. and introduce yourself. >> i'd like to ask you about two countries that could be very
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important building blocks for a new, more stable middle east, turkey and egypt. turkey is a nato member, could have been very important in rebuilding a stable middle east, but does not really behave as would be expected if you just look at the games they play. an illustration of a policy that's not always desirable. and egypt where the contradiction has been let's say american values and american interests is very poignant. what would you do with regard to both turkey and egypt? >> well, i think, ambassador, that the two countries that you ask about are both two of the biggest challenges and the biggest opportunities. with respect to turkey, i think turkey is facing an extraordinary period where they are trying to sort out how to
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deal with their internal contradictions and their external threats as they see them, and i see no alternative but for the united states and other like-minded countries to do everything we can to work with, to stay with, to try to influence how turkey makes those decisions. there's nothing easy about that. they have a kurdish population, as you well know, that they were on the path to try to resolve decades long internal conflict. they now are worried about the kurdish fighters on their borders with syria. that has upended a lot of their calculations, and it's difficult to get them to focus on isis until they have some sense of how they're going to handle what they view as a prior challenge
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from the kurds. i understand that. i think it's something that they need to resolve and get about the business of resolving, and i think we have to do more, and i would love to see the relationship that turkey and israel used to have slowly knit back together if that's possible. so i think both the united states, other members of nato, other partners in the region, we can't get discouraged or frustrated with some of the difficulties that turkey is dealing with. instead, we've got to double down in trying to work with them, and that means even through periods where they say and do things that i -- you know, and i think many of us are not happy about. they're too strategically located, they're too big, they can be a force for positive change or a source of continuing
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difficulties. so let's try to work toward the former. egypt is, as you say, an example of the kind of difficulty, hard choices that we faced following the revolution and the overthrow of mubarak, and i went to egypt shortly after mubarak fell, and i went to tahrir square and then i meant with a large group of young people who had been at the forefront of the revolution, and they were incredible y relieved and feeling quite validated that their efforts had led to the overthrow of mubarak. so when i asked them, so what do you do next? are you going to form a political party? are you going to run people for office in these elections you
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have demanded? oh, no, they said, we don't do politics. and i said, well, in a democracy, if that's what you want, you got to do politics. and they looked at me like i was a relic from some ancient civilization that had ended up in cairo. and i said, look, there are two organized forces in egypt so far as i can tell, the muslim brotherhood and the army. if you don't form a political alternative, one of those will win, and, indeed, what happened is they won in succession and we're back to the status quo ante almost i would argue. so it was hard to navigate through the competing interests and the values, and we were blamed, as some of you remember, by all sides. we were not sufficiently
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supportive of the revolution because we were clinging to mubarak. we were jettisoning mubarak and turning our backs on our long-time partners. we were upending the relationship that we'd had, and it never got any better no matter what we did, we were criticized for. and i think it is now, again, time to reboot the relationship, get back to trying to work where we can, and do whatever is possible to work with the current leadership to not make the same mistakes. i mean, they're a partner, there's an important partner for us on counterterrorism, and they will be increasingly so because they will face more internal dissent and violence. they are an essential partner in the sinai. they are absolutely critical to israel's security on that border. all of that is true, but we hope
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that they will pay more attention to fixing their economy, giving the egyptian people more opportunities, trying to extend literacy particularly among women. a lot of the work that needs to be done if they're going to create a more stable society going forward. so i think, again, it's not easy, and there's a lot of problems in the u.s. trying to help, but we need to do what we can. >> madam secretary, thank you for talking to us. in your book, in "hard choices" you call benjamin netanyahu a complicated man and i wonder how much of where we are right now vis-a-vis the relationship between u.s. and israel and the relationship between israel and the palestinians, how much of it in your opinion is due to
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benjaminen netanyahu? and also in your book you go into very candid detail about the days after the 2008 election, and i know that you said in an answer to haim's question that you don't answer theoretical and hypothetical, but the dilemma is not hypothetical, nor is what i guess is the pro and con list that you have, and would you be so kind as to share with us what's in the pro column and what's in the con column regarding your presidential run, yes or no. >> i'll be happy to answer the first question. you know, think about the last few years and the rapidity of change in the region and everything that all of us were dealing with. i happen to believe that the relationship between the united states and israel is solid and will remain solid, and it will
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be part of, you know, our foreign policy and our domestic concerns, our values, our ideals forever. that doesn't mean we have to agree on everything. that doesn't mean that not only our leaders but people in our country who care deeply about israel just like israelis who care deeply about the united states are going to agree with us on everything we do and we on everything they do. that to me is the mark of a mature relationship and a deep, abiding friendship. so are there differences between leaders? absolutely. i think it would be foolish to try to pretend otherwise. but i think that what's important is the continuing institutional support that the united states has given and will continue to give israel
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regardless of leadership, the military and security support, and, you know, i think a lot of the reports of, you know, attitudes and the like, maybe it's because we live in an instantaneous world where everybody has an opinion and everybody can say it. you know, i have dealt with a lot of different leaders. obviously i have seen my husband deal with a lot of different leaders, israeli leaders as well as others, and at times there are going to be differences, and i don't think it's personal. i think it is a different perspective about sometimes what we think is best for our friends may not be what our friends think is best for them, and when we say that, i don't believe that's disrespectful or
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rupturing the relationship. i think that's an honest relationship. that's the kind of friends i want. i want people who are going to say that to me, and i want to be able to say it back. so i think that's a broader and more accurate way to look at the relationship right now. >> we have time for two more questions, so one, martin. >> madam secretary, thank you very much for gracing us with your presence and sharing your wisdom with us again this year. you referred to the anxiety of the gulf arab states about iran, and that has certainly been heightened lately by the sense that they are surrounded by iran's dominance in beirut, in damascus, in baghdad, and now in sanaa in yemen. given the negotiations with iran
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and their anxiety about that as well, and as you said the shared anxiety with israel, is it time for you to resurrect that idea that you raised i think six years ago in the presidential campaign of some kind of regional security arrangement that would provide them with an umbrella, both conventional and nuclear, that would give them some greater sense of reassurance in this very anxious time for all of them. >> well, martin, it's one of the reasons why i wanted to form the gulf cooperation council, to begin a much more regular, in-depth discussion about security issues because you're right, i did call for -- i think i said a security umbrella that would include the gulf states. obviously, it would require them to have a nonaggression pact toward israel if they were to be
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a part of the security umbrella, and, you know, we during the time i was there explored a lot of different approaches. we never formally offered such a potential package, but we looked at how we could try to create a more effective security environment, and it takes a lot of time and effort, and it needs to be a priority because, for example, without naming names, where you place certain radar is dependent upon geography, but countries want it to be dependent upon their interests and needs. and so when you say, as i said, but if you look at this map, the radar should be here, they say, no, we want it here. you say but that doesn't help us do what we're trying to do. so there's a lot of work, and it would go back to the ambassador's question and your question, there is no substitute
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for consistent diplomacy in the face of persistent problems, and on the security umbrella, i think it is an idea in whatever form it could take worth being resurrected because of what you described. if you look at the circle around the gulf, there are more iranian outposts now than there were, and a lot of that is because the countries themselves, take ye n yemen, the countries themselves can't figure out how to defend themselves, and, you know, we have tried. we continue to offer aid and assistance there. the lebanese situation is so destabilized with hundreds of thousands of refugees, with hezbollah being basically a part of assad's army against the
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rebels and the inability of various parts of the lebanese leadership to have a united front to protect their own country. i mean, we can't do that for them, nor can anybody else. so a lot of this is weakness that iran takes advantage of, and, you know, in this world you can be mad at somebody taking advantage of you, but at the end of the day, that's your fault that you haven't figured out how to defend yourself and how to protect yourself and how to fend off external interests and how to treat your own people in a way that they will not look outside your borders, and, you know, that is part of what's been going on, as you know, and the iranians have been incredibly focused on exploiting any opening. and i think that we have to do what we can to try to bolster
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the sense of security that the gulf has going forward in order to deal with the constellation of threats that iran poses. >> thank you, madam secretary, for your insights and wisdom. one of the good news of the last two months is the dropping of the price of oil, basically to $70 a barrel, maybe below. this affects the whole international system. mostly concern in some bad guys' quarters, in iran, in russia. how do you see the international community dealing with the drop in oil price and is it affecting
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the idea of rebalancing to the pacific or some other issues that move to asia that you were part of the idea in the beginning of the obama administration? thank you. >> well, you're absolutely right that the increase in supply on the international market and the decrease in price has the potential to dramatically reshape strategic and economic relationships. i believe that we don't yet know, however, how this will play out. it appears that the drop in oil prices is having an increasing effect of pressure in iran, which may on the margins at least give us more of an opportunity to get to the kind of deal that i was talking
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about. we certainly believe that the decrease in price is having an impact inside russia and some of the decisions that putin is going to have to make, and with the increase in production in the united states, it is predominantly a good news story. however, the cost of extracting oil and gas in the united states is more expensive than it is getting it out of the ground in saudi arabia and other producers. so some think that our good friends in the gulf are driving down and keeping the price down in order to begin the process of limiting production in the united states so that they don't have the u.s. surpassing production levels in the gulf and they don't have the u.s. able to use oil and gas to a great extent as a tool of our
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diplomacy and our economic engagement. so i think it's too soon to tell, but it certainly is a dramatic factor that we have to be constantly watching. now, having a low price and so much production does help us in this way. china and india in particular, other countries as well, we're getting antsier with the sanctions against iran some months ago than they are right now because there's enough supply at the price that the saudis forced opec to accept, and it may go even lower. and so i think that we just have to be smart about this. one of the areas that i emphasized in my time in the state department was energy diplomacy, and i want to thank the former senator dick luger
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who was really the driver behind talking to me as i was preparing to become secretary of state to try to coalesce our energy diplomacy in, you know, one place with much more attention and resources behind it, and we did so, and it makes a big difference because we have to see energy not just as a commodity, not just as affecting the economy, but as a tool in our diplomatic arsenal. so too soon to tell. i think it's having a big effect in our hemisphere on venezuela. they're having a lot of internal stress. so there's going to be many moves in the next year if the price stays down and it has the impact internally and externally that its predicted to have. >> thank you very much, madam secretary. thank you for your insightful comments and inspiring words, and i'll see you next year on that stage i hope.
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thank you. [ applause ] tonight on "the communicators," kim zeter on what she called the world's first digital weapon, stuts net. a computer virus used to sabotage iran's nuclear enrichment program. >> it was really sophisticated. the most unique thing is that this was a virus designed to
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physically destroy something. so in the mast we've seen malware that steals passwords and credit card numbers but we've never seen something designed to physically destroy essentially leap out of the digital world into the physical realm and have some kind of kinetic activity. that was first thing that made it unique. other than that, it was really sophisticated. it was, as i mentioned, it's designed to increase and slow the speed of the centrifuges, but while it was doing that, it also did this remarkable trick which was to make the operators at the plant think that the operations were perfectly normal. so what it did was it recorded normal activity on the computers first and then it played back that normal activity to the monitoring machines when it was actually doing the sabotage. >> tonight at 8:00 eastern on "the communicators" on c-span2. here are a few of the comments we've recently received from our viewers.
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>> gentlemen, i'm a big fan of c-span, and i want to compliment them on being able to bring together two different ideologies like they did this morning from the cato institute and the immigration policy center. i think you need more programming that way among people that can conduct themselves with a very civil tone, and i applaud you for that. ideology can be overcome to reach a common ground, and i think that there should be more programming to that effect. thank you very much for c-span. >> i listen to c-span pretty much on a daily, regular basis. i find it to be very informative. it's a very good look at all of our different politicians so that citizens can understand exactly who we elect and what's being done in congress because it seems to be that congress is
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undecided or always fighting. it's important that the citizens have a nice outlet for them to see the things that go on. so i appreciate c-span and regardless of whether or not it's popular with mainstream culture, i just want them to know that there are young people, particularly me, i'm 18, and i watch c-span on a regular basis to make sure that i understand what's happening in my country because i truly do care. thank you. american history tour starting with the battle of little bighorn. i just watched it in its entirety. it's priceless. so many peoples of the world do not understand them ownselv sev but if they watch american history, they can see themselves
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in america and why we're such a great and wonderful nation of all the peoples of the world. thank you. >> and continue to let us know what you think about the programs you're watching. call us at 202-626-3400, e-mail us at or send us a tweet @c-span #comments. here on c-span3, we're live at the atlantic council in washington, d.c., for u.s. ambassador to ukraine jeff pyatt. he's expected to outline the ongoing conflict between russia and ukraine. he'll also talk about u.s./ukraine relations and russia's violation of the territorial integrity of ukraine. it should get under way momentarily here live on c-span3. meanwhile, back up on capitol hill, the house and senate both coming in today at 2:00 p.m. eastern. the house will take up a number of measures, including one providing short-term drought
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relief for the state of california, a measure which the administration is opposing. senate comes in at 2:00 p.m. eastern as well. a couple of nomination votes up this afternoon. follow the senate on c-span2 and the house here on c-span.
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waiting to hear from the u.s. ambassador to ukraine, jeff pyatt.
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it should be just a moment or two. while we have the chance we'll tell you about some upcoming coverage up on capitol hill on the c-span networks. tomorrow the house oversight committee is meeting to hear from jonathan gruber, an economist at m.i.t. who served as an adviser on both the massachusetts and the affordable care act. he has said that administration officials had intentionally obscured details on the passage of the 2010 law. we will have his testimony tomorrow in front of the oversight committee at 9:30 eastern here on c-span3. also tomorrow secretary of state john kerry will be testifying before the senate foreign relations committee about combatting isis and a possible new authorization for military force. that coverage tomorrow at 2:00 a.m. eastern. one more to tell you about, wednesday the house select committee on benghazi holding a hearing and hearing from greg star and state department inspector general steve lennick.
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scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m. eastern that, too, on c-span3. we'll take you back live to the trantic council. the ukraine ambassador, jeff pyatt, will be speaking. good afternoon, everyone. if you haven't turned off your cell phones, please do.
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good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. i'm damon wilson. i'm executive vice president here at the atlantic council and i'm delighted to welcome you today for a discussion with an exceptional front line diplomat, u.s. ambassador to ukraine jeff pyatt. our conversation today is about the future of ukraine at an existential moment for the country. i would like to offer a special welcome to our distinguished speaker and audience watching online especially all of those in ukraine who tuned in to our live broadcast. i also want to welcome the ambassador of ukraine who is with us uh. the swedish ambassador as well and other distinguished colleagues. thanks for being with us. ambassador pyatt was sworn in in july of 2013. from the start he's been extraordinarily committed to supporting the ukrainian people's right to choose -- with an independent and secure ukraine. it was exactly three months before ukrainian students in kiev began their first rallies
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against the previous p's decisions to walk away from negotiations with the e.u. when the ambassador took the reigns. a year and a half later as the political and economic crisis in ukraine continues ambassador pyatt is steadfast in his pursuit both of american interests and his support of the ukrainian people. the atlantic council recognizes the importance of ukraine and also the implications of the crisis. ukraine is not just defending itself. it is on the front lines of defending the order that has delivered security and stability in europe since the end of the cold war. that's why back in february here at the council when it was widely scene as a domestic crisis as ukraine that we stood up what's become known as the ukraine and europe initiative. it is this initiative, the conversation is part of today. this initiative galvanizes support for an independent ukraine within secure borders whose people will determine tear own future. to advance it the council's work
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aims to strengthen security, preserve territorial integrity, advance democratic, economic and governance reforms. ambassador pyatt has beenen an ally in all of the council's efforts. i's an honor to have him in washington to speak this afternoon. today's discussion comes in the wake of another wave of russian escalation in eastern ukraine as well as the appointment of a reformist cabinet of ministers in kiev. i'm delighted that -- looking forward to ambassador pyatt's comments on the current events in ukraine and the ambassador's reflections on the trajectory of u.s. ukraine relations moving forward. without further ado i will tush the stage over to ambassador pyatt. after his remarks, the director of the council's dean of eurasia sent er john herbst will join himmer for a moderated conversation. i want to encourage you in the
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audience and online to contribute to the conversation by sharing your thoughts and submitting your questions via twitter using the hashtag ac ukraine. mr. ambassador, the podium is yours. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. thank you for the warm welcome. i want to start with a quick note of appreciation for the role the atlantic council played on the issues. certainly as i look back over my first year and a half in ukraine the breathtaking pace of change the country has gone through and the expectations that ukrainians have for the united states and european partners demand detailed and close attention to what's unfolding. certainly the role the atlantic council provided in offering an authoritative window on the political developments in ukraine is greatly valued.
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i know by everybody in the u.s. government. but i think also by our ukrainian partners. thank you for that. i hope you will keep at it. in so many ways, the crisis that ukraine faces today is unprecedented in the history of the country. certainly the greatest challenge that ukraine has faced since achieving its independence. it's also a moment of great opportunity. i want to take a minute before we get to questions and answers to walk through a couple of the reasons that i remain hopeful about what's unfolding today in ukraine. the unpredictability of the environment is extraordinary. certainly as you look back over the past year, there are very few who predicted that president yanakovich would flee at the end of february, few who predicted the invasion of crimea, the
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russian strategy of hybrid warfare, the insertion of russian tanks, missiles, heavy equipment, and eventually at the end of the summer the tragic shoot-down of mh-17 and the insertion of literally thousands of are regular russian army troops who remain present to this day in smaller numbers but still with a decisive role in the command and control and support of the separatist forces. the resolution of this crisis in the donbas has consequences for the euro atlantic security system, for american interests in the region. just as important and indeed in some ways more important is what happens in the other 95% of ukraine. how the project is sustained and how this reformist cabinet is
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able to deliver on the very high expectation that is the ukrainian people today have laid out. if i look back on the year there are few who predicted when yanokovich fled on the 22nd of february you would have in the space of the subsequent months two democratic elections meeting international standards which would produce a new government with a strong pro european coalition and critically important a strong consensus on the essential requirement for reform. there are issues of ambition and personality that still have to be worked through. i think it is worth bearing in mind that at every critical juncture since the 21st of february, ukraine's political leaders and ukraine's democrats
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have managed to put aside their parochial interests and managed to focus on the long-term task of building a more democratic, just and european ukraine. i i think it is something to be celebrated and gives a reason for optimism about the future. as i have said publically in the past i am convinced that the greatest single risk factor facing ukraine today is business as usual. the good news is that both the president -- president poroshenko and the prime minister are aware of the imperative. there are others in the political system who may not yet be. if ukraine is to surpass this crisis the political class has to put aside habits of the past and focus on the ambitious program of reform embodied in the new coalition.
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so looking to the months ahead, what's going to determine the success or failure of ukraine's democratic revolution? i would like to offer a couple of suggestions about what to watch. again with the caveat that i noted at the top that it is very hard at this point to predict what's going to happen next in ukraine. a couple of leading indicators that i would recommend. i think first and foremost is the implementation of the governing coalition agreement that was agreed at the end of november before the final assignment of cabinet positions. it is an important document. incredibly wonky. interesting history. it began as the product of dmitri shimkiv and other policy advisers working around president poroshenko. it came to be the commonly owned
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product of the five political parties who are part of the governing coalition. it is important to understand how important that process was to identifying a road map that all the political parties would own and which all the political parties felt they could take back to their constituents. president poroshenko in putting this coalition agreement together was inspired by the example of some of his peers, other european leaders who suggested to him this kind of a road map would be helpful when it came time to get to the practical task of implementing reforms. it gives reason for optimism that this won't just be a document that sits on the shelf but turn into a practical road map for implementation of a reform agenda entailing changes in sectors like energy, justice
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and security. it's a robust document and a document that all of the parties take pride in. i think that's worth taking note of. how to move ahead on implementation. i would argue is something that only the ukrainians themselves can decide. it is not the position of anybody in the international community to say which element of this multi faceted reform agenda needs to come first. that said, let me suggest areas i believe will be critically important to the success of ukraine's democratic reform. fist and foremost i would point to energy. there is no sector more in need of reform or more central to the fate of ukrainian democracy than energy and energy rereforl. -- reform. it's been the sector that's drawn the most egregious corruption under multiple
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governments in ukraine's past. it's the sector that russia has used as a vector of influence over ukraine to limit ukraine's strategic choices. and it has been -- because of its poor management it has been a sector that's been a drag on economic growth and economic competitiveness. nafta gas alone takes a huge portion of ukraine's gross domestic product through the subsidies it requires. its losses are unacceptable. but it is not just about the gas sector. as we have seen this week with the electricity crisis across the board ukraine is in need of modernization, insertion of new technologies, and new practices. but the good news -- and i say this based on a very encouraging meeting i had on thursday with the new energy minister is that the government understands this and hases a strong partner in the united states. it has a strong partner in the european union whose ambassador joined me in the first call on
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the new minister. i would identify as a second priority the speedy implementation of the dramatic and important anti-corruption reforms that were promulgated in the last weeks of the previous rata. i don't need to tell thib in this room how pernicious the phenomenon of politically driven corruption has been in ukraine. it has sapped confidence in government. in many ways it was through to the mydon. although many demonstrators waved the flags of the european union, what they were most reacting to was the industrial scale corruption of the yanukovych government and the sense that yanukovych had taken instruments of the state and redirected them largely to his own personal financial
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advantage. so there is a political imperative to demonstrate to the ukrainian people the practices of the past would be changed. i know it won't be easy. i have had prom nant business people who have said, ambassador, you don't understand. every vote is influenced by different commercial interests. that's exactly the point. you have had a political system which in the past has been driven by these oligarchic politics. that's now changed. one of the most inspiring things in ukraine today is the emergence of a new yen radiation of political -- generation of political leaders. almost every one that came with a focus on achieving better governance and with rejection of the historic model of relations between the economy, business groups and the little bitle call process.
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-- little bit a third area is constitutional reform. this is a process that began under the first government. groysman talked about wanting to follow the polish example of dramatic moves toward subsidiary, driving down to the local level, empowering mayors and governors and creating a system in which local government is much more accountable and also much better positioned to effect t affect the quality of daily life. this is as urgent as ever. i would note the critical technical advice provided by european partners like poland. it's clear listening to the ukrainian leaders that i have discussed the issue with that
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they aspire to build a european model -- on a european model of constitutional organization. something which will affect not only the political space and also the economic environment, these issues of corruption i flagged earlier. it's certainly something to watch. a couple of other leading indicators i would flag for the weeks ahead. one is the question of national unity. certainly i think one of the most inspiring things about living in ukraine over the past year has been to witness the extraordinary courage, resilience of the ukrainian people. their decisive wish to seize their own future. to change their destiny. and to build a country which is moving clearly in the direction of a more just society. there was a fairly obvious effort by the russian government
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to try to defeat that objective over the course of the spring. sowing a narrative division, spreading a false narrative that ukraine was a country on the cusp of civil war. i was reminded of how disconnected that narrative was from reality on friday. i was in harkiev along with rose gotmueller. i was last there, a reminder of how things have moved, in october of 2013 when i went with ambassador tomitski to meet julia tomoshenko in her hospital jail. it was remarkable to return, see flags everywhere, on the streets, draped over the statue. this is political tourists sent from russia at the beginning of to try to stir an uprising.
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this is one of the most inspiring aspects, certainly impressive aspects of what happened in ukraine is the emergence of a stronger national identity. the resolve to resist this false that a narrative of division. another bit of evidence in this regard can be found in leviv. you have seen strong efforts to reach out to the east, to donbass. the efforts for instance that the catholic university has made to bring students from eastern ukraine to lavi v to see they can speak russian. this kind of bridge building remains critically important, an element in the process of governance, an element in the way the government communicates and it has been. you can see it even in cities
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like slaviask which have been so affected by the war. i would not want to suggest in any way we are out of the woods in the donbass. both in terms of how the political crisis in the separatist-controlled areas unfolds, but also in terms of the reconstruction environment again in cities. which were occupied over the course of the summer. now looking to kiev for help with reconstruction but also look i looking. they have clier rejected the option of civil war and division which the separatists, the russian proxies and russia itself tried to impose on them. the question remains, where will they fit into a united ukraine? how will that be reflected in
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governance? critically important as well in this regard is the role of the opposition bloc. it is important to note that the opposition bloc made clear their wish to participate this the process of reform, in the process of building a european ukraine. i had the opportunity to meet with former deputy prime minister boyco last week in his new capacity as leader of the opposition bloc faction in the rada. he was pleased about the opening but was looking for a voice in the process of governing in the radame rada. that's a challenge for all political forces as the opposition bloc and those who were part of the legacy party of regions try to figure out how to leave be hihind the poisonous history of yanukovych and the
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damage he did. also to identify their role in a united ukraine. third leading indicator that i would commend to everyone's attention is the financial situation. yanukovych bequeathed to ukraine's new government a disastrous macro economic situation which prime minister yatsenyuk did a commendable job of managing. it is worth noting that the government has stuck to the terms of the imf agreement. it is notable and interesting as the prime minister point out that despite the decline in the ukrainian economy, the losses from the war in dune bass, overall tax revenue collection is up. it's a suggestion that the administration of government is beginning to improve. the prime minister also points out at a macro economic level
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ukraine between january and november paid out about $11 billion in servicing various debts and took in about $9 billion. there is a cash flow challenge that the government faces. we are going to work with closely with the ipf with our european partners to support this government as it moves forward further down the reform pathway. and seeks to manage its way out of the economic difficulties created by yanukovych and exacerbated by russia's military actions. there is an imf delegation in kyiv as i speak. we'll remain in close touch with the imf and our european partners. i would note the critical role congress has played and i hope congress will continue to play as we seek to resource the american contribution to this effort at a amendmemoment of un
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opportunity when ukraine has begun to turn in a different direction. the situation is difficult but not insurmountable. there is a wide understanding among political leaders today that the country's survival depends on more honest politics and meaningful progress down the path of reform. we will support them as strongly as we can in that process. lastly, let me talk just a little bit about the question of defense and security sector assistance. as you will understand, i can't go beyond the statement that tony lincoln made in his senate confirmation recently regarding the status of lethal defensive assistance. i would emphasize the critical role that we already have played with the expansion of our security sector envelope up to
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$118 million with a commitment to do more. i would particularly highlight in this context the work that general breedlove and european command have done through our joint commission on defense and security cooperation which has partnered effectively with ukraine's military leadership and has developed a road map for security sector reform which is just as sweeping as what we have been talking about with ministries like energy and justice. and will be just as important over the long term in helping ukraine to restore the ability to defend its sovereign territory and to deal with the challenging security environment that unfortunately looks to be a part of ukrainian reality for the foreseeable future. last point and here i will close and turn over to ambassador
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herbst. as i was getting ready to go to kyiv in summer of 2013 i sat down with my predecessors and all said jeff, you have to deliver a speech about ukraine's unfulfilled potential. don't worry when it happensment open the drawer and on the left you will find the speech i gave and you won't have to change much. i don't think that's true anymore. in so many ways this is a different country. it is a different country in terms of the security environment. it is a different country in terms of the expectations of the ukrainian people. it's a different country in terms of the politicians which are placed in whom the public has placed their trust. it's a different country, i hope, in terms of the kind of partnership we will be able to build over the long term between the united states and ukraine. i tahank you for the contributionses to building the
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new architecture and i look forward to hearing your questions. [ applause ] >> jeff, thank you very much for a superb presentation which focused on one of two critical issues in ukraine's future -- reform. it is important that you stressed this because, in fact, in washington, much more attention is being paid to the security problem. i will follow your lead and move on the reform side of the discussion. let me first start with an observation. you are absolutely right that ukraine's future will be determined not entirely but to a large extent by success in moving this reform agendament no matter what next step of aggression mr. putin decides to take.
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we have a very clear precedent for this. thanks to russian arms, two provinces of georgia are right now no longer in control of the government. despite that, because the president for all of his tendencies was a genuine reformer. the country is able to make serious and real progress. the same can be true in ukraine. that's why this is not just urgent for the prosperity and while being economically declined but of sovereignty and ultimate ultimately territorial integritiment i will turn it over to the audience.
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i think you're probably right. you also noteded one very important factor which is a negative. you quoted someone who said the votes in the rada reflect moneyed interests. so how do we make sure -- and i mean ukrainian authorities and people also its well wishers. how do we make sure those interests don't hijack the agenda. >> easy question to begin with. you put your finger on the resilience of the ukrainian society. it's been a source of inspiration to all of us who dropp dropped. it's important to note the coalition agreement was
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developed with input from ukrainian civil society in a way that would not be unfamiliar to washington. i think part of the answer to the question of how to break the oligarch politics nexus lies in the agenda of anti-corruption that the rada itself has implemented. part lies with the politicians themselves. it's important to note that this new cabinet. first of all the presence of the foreigners in the cabinet but really across the board is composed of individuals who have been known largely for tear probity. one of the first questions everybody asks about new ministers in key sectors is, is he corrupt, or is she corrupt or corruptib corruptible? that's a fundamental challenge. perhaps the fundamental challenge to the country today. it is important to ukraine's
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political health. it is important to ukraine's economic health. it's also important to our partnership with europe. because the task of building a new ukraine, building a new society is going to have to be resourced. the united states will do a part. europe will have to do a part. the iffies will have to do a part. all of us will invest only to the extent there ises a prospect of success which will not be feasible if it is seen that resources which are devoted are skimmed off to the aem bank accounts they went off to in the past. i think the rise of social media plays a role here. the scrutiny that ukrainian civil society itself is imposing. and, again, most importantly the expectations of the ukrainian people. this is so hard to capture in a speech or sitting in a conference room here in washington. the sense that the ukrainian
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people themselves have gone through a crucible moment and decided now is the time. >> i asked people to identify themselves once they are called on. anders? >> thank you very much. excellent. from the peterson institute. one word you didn't mention which is big with the ukrainian government. westerners, both europeans and americans speak about anti-corruption, thinking about police and courtment ukrainians say lustration, deregulation. reform as you did. how do you look at it? we often hear of an argument particularly from the council of europe that it is collective justice. we only accept the individual,
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the justice in the west. my argument is that the choice is between collective justice and no justice. the individual justice cannot function until the laws start to function. what's your rooek? >> important question. i will say a couple of quick things. first of all, most important is that this proceed in a manner consistent with the ukrainian constitution based on the rule of law. not based on selective prosecution or manipulation of the justice system. beyond that these are issues for the ukrainian people to work out. one of the exciting things about ukraine today is the sense of political awake withening. that began on the 22nd of oh february. the 23rd is when it came into session again.
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it's reclaiming the democratic future. these institutions have to now function based not on any council that comes from washington, berlin or brussels but based on what they choose. on this question the most important principles is it has to proceed in a manner consistent with the constitution and governed by the rule of law. >> thank you. >> department of state. we inspected embassy kiev before your arrival last year. >> it's a little different. john teft did leave you a positive legacy. you put energy at the top of the checklist. one of the things we heard when we were there is there was consideration being given to restarting reactors one, two, three at chernobyl.
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>> i have heard no discussion about chernobyl. nuclear issues loom large in ukraine. 50% of ukraine's electricity roughly comes from nuclear power. the largest nuclear power country in europe. has the largest nuclear complex in europe. there has been discussion about how to expand that complex. that's a very expensive proposition. billions of dollars. so it's not something that can be joined in a meaningful way in the next year or two. >> good afternoon. i don't want to hide what i was. i had my two terms in the
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parliament. i was on the foreign affairs committee. one of the members of of the parliament who were in favor of ukraine's membership in the european union. i'm not saying today, tomorrow but immediately when the membership criteria are met. my question is about nato. on the 30th of november you commissioned responsible for e.u. enlargement was in kiev. and i know that issues which were on his agenda were nato, ukraine's membership in nato, referendum on the membership in nato. my question is where the united states of america stands? what is your position on nato expansion taking into account
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all the circumstances you spoke about. thank you. >> important question . let me start by saying how much i valley lithuanian colleague. we have a close partnership. indeed, almost everything i do in ukraine is in coordination with either the very skilled e.u. ambassador or my other key european colleagues in sweden, lithuania, poland, germany, you can imagine. we tend to see eye to eye on almost everything. perhaps more than we agree with our respective capitals. i think all of us have a fairly clear conventional consensus about where things are heading. on the question of nato, united states policile is very clear. the open door will remain. the question of ukraine's nato membership is not to be decided in washington with, berlin, brussels or moscow. it is a question for the
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ukrainian people themselves to decide. that being said, i think it's very well understood by the ukrainian government that they are far from being ready for nato membership and that if ukraine people make the sovereign choice at some point in the future to seek nato membership they need to do so on the basis of a thoroughly reformed society. that's why i come back to the question of reform. that's the important question today. the one where the united states will focus our efforts. >> thank you. >> thank you. dana marshall with transnational strategy group. ambassador, my question is back to energy but not so much tuck lar but the gas side. prior ukrainian governments sought the importation of liquified natural gas requiring transit through the turkish
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straits. i wonder if in light of the new government here, the presumptive cancellation of south stream and shall we call it fragile though concluded agreement between russia, ukraine with the e.u. brokerage in the past few weeks. how does this fit together. is the ukrainian government likely to be interested once again in that option? might they mount a diplomatic effort in ankara and is turkey likely to accept that given all the other factors? >> a couple of different questions there. i will fall back on my remark about the hazards of the ukraine now. it's a strategic priority that the united states supports.
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over the short term, the best way to achieve that is through significant further growth and reverse flow. and there's been even in the past few months good news. the negotiations that the prime minister conducted with his slovak counterpart to get the slovak route significantly expanded. there is further headroom. further capacity therement ukraine has also gone on to other european commercial markets. so you have commercial contracts that have now been met with stout oil. for the foreseeable future, the short term , russia will be an important gas source for ukraine. the important thing is that it not be a monopoly gas source. that ukraine diversify sourcing to the extent that russia is just one other commercial supplier. taking place on the same terms as negotiations between gas prom
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in germany or any of the other customers. the question of lng is more politically complicated. it's something that the ukrainian government continues to talk about. it's not something i would see as delivering the kind of short term prospect of significant growth that we see for instance through the further expansion of reverse flow options or critically through the expansion of ukrainian domestic production. both more efficient use of existing wells and also new production under their production sharing agreements with shell, chevron and others. >> thank you. >> george? >> i'm a member of the atlantic council. mr. ambassador, thank you very much for coming here today. and presenting to the very enlightening talk that you did. i would like to follow on a
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question from my colleague here previously. about energy and crimea. what is our position -- what's the position of the united states relative to crimea and the rea assertion of ukrainian sovereignty over crimea? it's confusing when we hear from the state department to the effect that one way for putin to have the sanctions released is to implement the minsk agreements but there is no mention of crimea. does that mean if the minsk agreements are implemented completely the sanctions would be rehoved and crimea would be allowed to remain russian or is there another set of requirements that aren't being articulated that maybe we should be aware of? this is particularly important not just in the light of the
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fact that this is ukrainian territory and needs to have sovereignty reasserted but crimean territorial waters contain huge amounts of hydro carbons. huge amounts on the order of those in the caspian sea. they represent energy independence, not just for ukraine but really for all of europe. if sovereignty is reasserted over those territorial waters. if not, then that just further enhances the position as an energy supplier. >> thank you, george. appreciate the opportunity to clarify. as far as the united states government is concerned crimea to include all of crimea 's ter toirl waters are ukraine. that policy has not and will not change. we are not going to recognize the invasion and illegal annexation of oh crimea. period, end of discussion.
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the question that you have referred to on sanctions is in the context of the additional more severe sanctions which were imposed by the united states and by europe late this summer in response to the intervention in donbass. these should be understood as separate baskets. vice president biden and others have been clear that for the united states, a prerequisite for discussing the relaxation is full implementation of the agreement to include the withdrawal of all russian fighters and heavy equipment, the restoration of control over the border monitored and the release of all prisoners. russia has not done any of those things. as recently as last week secretary kerry pointed out that since september 5, since the signature of the minsk agreement, hundreds of russian tanks and heavy military equipment items have moved into
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ukrainian territory. and we know that russian troops have remained in dune bass providing command and control to the separatist forces. so i think i would understand those conditions are connected to the sanctions which were imposed in donbass. we are not pursuing sanctions for their own sake. they are intended to encourage a change of russia's strategic calculation and a change in russia's activities. they were implemented in response to specific actions. those actions have to be reversed. >> thank you. john, then ariel. >> ambassador thank you for the efforts you and the embassy are making. my question has to do with the response to the putin regime's disinformation war. specifically the words putin has used in various speeches are
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like those hitler used in 1938. i don't recall that we are hammerering -- trying to point this out constantly to world opinion. he's declared war on ukraine but if he hasn't done it in what lawyers might define as a legally declared war. yet we seem -- he's invaded ukraine. you used the word invasion but the u.s. government doesn't want to use the word invasion to describe these hundreds of tanks and the soldiers who have died there. within two days of the shoot-down of the malaysian airliner one leading commentator practically named the russian unit that had done it yet the u.s. government seems reluctant to name the unit.
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i have no information. but i would be willing to bet we know precisely the russian unit that did it. you have mentioned you can't go beyond what tony bli this, kin said in confirmation hearings. we don't seem closer to providing the assistance ukraine needs. i would like to ask where are the efforts to respond energetically that the russian media are carrying out. i have spoken in the past on the ways in which russia has weaponized information as part of the campaign of special warfare, especially in the donbass. it is not a coincidence that the first thing the russian units did when they moved into key eastern ukrainian cities is pull
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down the ukrainian television and radio broadcasts. i'm told the units have digital pacs plugged into the stations to immediately switch over to russian stations. the russian strategy, it's important to recognize about the strategy of special warfare, the russian objective is not to win the argument, not to demonstrate truth. it is to confuse, create doubt and keep everybody off balance. that's why you had little green men in crimea. so everybody spent a couple of weeks trying to figure out are they russians or from somewhere else? who are these guys in slaviansk with rpgs and air peace radios. it is a strategy which rests on a tactic of misdirection which has an objective to sow division between the united states and european partners.
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and which has as an objective on the ground in ukraine to create fear. to create a sense of endangerment for russian speakersment i agree with you. it is a critically important issue. to be frank, we in the u.s. government have only begun the process of thinking through how we need to respond to this but we are doing so. jointly with your neeuropean pa. i was at an atlantic council event focused on this a couple of weeks ago. the fco has done tremendous work thinking about the implications of the strategy. the ukrainian government is struggling with the task of strategic communications. i would draw a strong distinction between propaganda and strat-comes. i think it is important not to go down the rabbit hole, not to fall into the trap of trying to me
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meet. a consistent presentation of ukrainian government reality and ukrainian government intentions including as i alluded to ukrainian government intentions regarding eastern ukraine and the imperative of national unity. >> we have eight more minutes. i will take three questions. ariel here. there. in the back. >> ariel cohen, center for energy, natural resources and geo politics. i just came back from russia. in many conversations with the elites there is more than an under current. there is a message that ukraine will not survive this crisis. i do not know if our concerns about expanding the conflict zone all the way to odessa and
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the maldovan border will be justified. but taking what you were saying about the trying times for ukraine, what are the contingencies to the ex tend you can disclose them in ukraine and our contingencies to developments that go beyond donbass? do you think this was just an attempt to engage in strat-com operations and convey this message that they think ukraine will not survive that? or do you think something is really in preparation. >> let's take the other questions and then we will. right there. right there. >> thanks. thank you, ambassadors pyatt and
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herbst. local elections will be important to the decentralization process and to further renewal of the political class. i wonder what you are hearing about planning for local elections, if that's in the works yet. >> thank you. john behind you. >> john gunderson, national defense university. i was counsel general in ukraine -- after independence. i would like to sort of push you on the one that i know is very delicate to discuss and that's security issues. two factors i think we should think about. one is russian thinking. i know we don't predicate policimepolic policy. looking at another way of how we look at russia, the heads of the russian military were all young lieutenants in afghanistan. mostly.
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the thing they fear most is an insurgency. a vietnam complex in afghanistan complex. the sense then of having to think about a strong ukrainian military factors into russian thinking. so i would like you to address the concept or answer what the arguments would be against giving lethal defensive equipment, the type of things they give to sovereign states such as egypt or pack stkistapa. not quite friendly allies. what is the argument against giving defensive lethal aid to ukraine? thank you. >> the last question over there. >> two points. first one from your comments, as well from the comments that have been heard today here as well s as.
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it's not crisis in ukraine. it is war. it is a russian aggression against ukraine. the question is why many u.s. officials, sometimes in colluding you prefer to use the term crisis instead of using the more correct and appropriate term aggression and war. and why not use it from today at least? second, three days ago there was the 20th anniversary of the budapest memorandum. ukraine is a little bit bitter feeling about this. don't you think the mechanisms of the budapest memorandum could be used at this moment? for example, in consultations provided by article vi or in other ways? all right. last one right there. then you have 30 seconds for each, jeff.
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>> thank you. eir news. as much assistance as ukraine might need now from the united states and allies abroad the reality is the u.s. policy in the ukraine has nothing to do with ukraine. >> a question, not a statement. >> with destabilizing russia. i'm sure you listened to president putin's remarks at the bicameral address a couple of days ago when he warned -- >> you have 15 seconds. >> he warned the international community that the last people to come after russia to destroy them were crushed and that was hitler. similarly, germany, there is a letter circulating in germany signed by schroederer making reference to rhitler saying the were crushed. my question is how is starting a third world war with russia in the interest of ukraine or the united states, how is this improving the security situation in the world?
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>> okay. i will do lightning round on these. let me start with ariel's hypothetical. i guess what i would focus on is first of all the critical importance of the negotiations which are taking place in minsk,s hopefully this week. another round of contact group negotiations. this goes to john's question. this is a crisis which ises not going to be resolved on the battle field. it will be resolved through diplomacy. yes, the united states has an interest in helping ukraine to develop the capacity to defend its sovereign territory. we'll continue to do so. we have devoted $118 million to that purpose so far this year. but the end game will be played in the court of diplomacy and the best vehicle for achieving that is full implementation of the minsk agreement which was
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signed onto on the fifth of september. regarding laura's point on local elections, we just don't know yet. ukraine has been in a very rapid period of electoral politics. i think at this point -- and i will be interested in what the expert s advise, what the ukrainian political leaders decide. but i would argue having watcheded this unfold that the important thing is to move ahead on constitutional re form the deputy prime minister launched to figure out who is going to drive the process in the new government now that groysman has takenen over as speaker. then have that process proceed the conduct of the local elections so people know what are the packages of powers which they are going to be assigning through the local elections. so that's my view on where we stand today.
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on the budapest memorandum, it is not a coincidence that rose gotmueller was in kiev on the 20th anniversary of the budapest memorandum. we are proud of the partnership with ukraine. i would point out ukraine is a global leader. ukraine's role in president obama's nuclear security summit was one of the most important of any country. it is a country which has made the right choices on nuclear disarmament and the world is a safer place as a result of the choices ukraine has made. it is important that we do all we can to up uphold and help ukraine to defend its own territorial integrity. that's why president obama has led the international effort in imposing a cost on russia for its violation of ukraine 's ter toirl integrity. that's why we have worked as hard as we have on the sanctions regime.
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which is intended to affect russia's calculation. on the question of russia i would note i have been clear on the record from the days of my confirmation we think over the long term russia should see this as a win-win proposition which is anchored in european institutions with access to european markets should represent an economic community for companies. president poroshenko head a free trade zone in the donbass region. while ukraine moves ahead on the your e european choice so that company this is the donbass region would be able to provide a bridging role between the european space, the largest space in the world and the eurasian space. that kind of win-win calculation has been absent from the kind of
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language from moscow. we hope we can get to that point. >> terrific discussion. thank you for coming. [ applause ]
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>> if you missed any of the ambassador's comments you can see them at m.i.t. economist jonathan gruber served as an adviser for the massachusetts and national health care bills. he'll testify tomorrow before the house oversight committee for his public criticism of the obama administration's roll out of the law saying administration officials intentionally obscured details to enable passage by congress in 2010. also testimony from centers more medicaid and medicare services marilyn tave ner on c-span3. later secretary of state john kerry testifies before the senate foreign relations committee about combatting isis and possible new authorization for the use of military force. our live coverage begins at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. wednesday, the house select committee on benghazi hears from
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the assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, greg starr and state department inspector general steve linik. that will start at 10:00 a.m. eastern. also on c-span3. >> tonight on "the communicators" kim zeder on the world's first digital weapon, stutsnet, a computer virus used to sabotage iran's program. it steals passwords and credit card numbers and things like that. we have never seen something designed to physically destroy and leap out of the digital world into the physical realm and have kinetic activity. that was the first thing that made it unique. other than that it was sophisticated while it was doing
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that, it did this remarkable trick which was to make the operators of the plant think that the operations were perfectly normal. what it did was recorded normal activity on the computers 50 and played back that normal activity to the monitoring machines when they were doing the sabotage. >> at 8:00 eastern on the communicators on c-span 2. >> here on c-span 3, we complement the hearings. on weekends, c-span 3 is the home to american history tv, the presentlies that tell our nation's story. six unique series. the civil war's 150th anniversary with battlefields and touring museums and historic site to discover what americans reveal about the past. history bookshelf with the best
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known history writers. the presidency looking at the policy and legacies of the nation's commanders in chief. lecturers and what they are doing delving into america's past. the new series, real america. archival government from the 1930s through the 70s. c-span 3. created and funded by your local cable and satellite provider. like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. >> white house ebola response coordinator said it's crucial to approve the funding request so that the u.s. can effectively address ebola abroad and at home. he was joined last week at georgetown university by the director of the national snud of allergy and infectious diseases. this is an hour.
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how in the face of a whole set of new disruptions that are really changing the ways in which higher education is understood and perhaps even delivered. we have been wrestling with what does it mean for us and what is it we need to protect and embrace and what is it that we need to respond to in terms of the new challenges? as we thought about our 225 year history and we thought about what does it mean? what is the idea and the purpose of the university? we identified three interlocking elements. three characteristics that service the underlying framework in which we do all of this work. they are linked and interlocking
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and mutually reinforcing elements and committed to the formation of our young people. to the inquiry, the scholarship and research of our faculty and as a university community to contributing to the common good wherever and whenever we can. the issue we are going to discuss this morning, the ebola crisis that has unfolded over the course of the last 12 months is one that engaged our university community in each one of the dimensions. we sought to ensure that our young people understand the implications and the background and history and the ideology of the disease. and also to understand what kinds of responsibilities do we have in moments like this? our faculty engaged in a wide variety of efforts in exploring
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and research and scholarship, the nature of this disease. then of course as the university community, we gather here in moments like this. we have throughout the fall trying to understand that ever deeper levels, the nature of our shared responsibilities. we have know extraordinary opportunity to be with two exceptional people that are more than ever responding to this challenge and it's a privilege to be in conversation with them. i'm going to start off the conversation and go about a half hour with questions that i will ask and bring a microphone to the center island and take another half hour or so from all of you. let's get started. this is a disease we have known about since 1976. we have seen other iterations over the course of these last roughly 40 years. nearly 25 different experiences dealing with this as a global community.
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over 12 months, we have seen a successly intense experience. can you give us a sense of the ark, the narrative that we are engaged in now as it relates to ebola? >> thank you, jack. ebola is fundamentally a disease in animals that it's called a zoonautic disease and not that has adapted itself to humans. it fundamentally is in animals and it jumps into humans and spreads by very well defined waves. in 1976 and it likely existed long before, it was recognized almost simultaneously in zaire and sudan in which there was an outbreak that is controlling it the way we are controlling it.
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identification, isolation, contact tracing and keeping sick people away from other individuals or if you are doing it in a way where you are protected. every one of the epidemic, ranging in size from two people to the second largest in uganda in 2000 that had about 400 people. they were all able to be put down in the sense of control. the ark that jack is talking about is the perfect storm. you have a disease that is an emerging infection that jumps to humans that has been able to be controlled because prior outbreaks were fundamentally geographically restricted in areas that the bad news is that
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it was remote and it was tough to get people there, but the good news is that it was remote because it was easy to isolate. the perfect storm of the current is that you have an outbreak in west africa that has not seen ebola in a highly populated area with borders where even though the artificial borders that years ago were made, people have relationships across borders and they are going from country to another. guinea wraps itself around sierra leone and liberia. you have the issue that we have never seen before in big cities. we have an outbreak that percolated a bit in the early part of the spring and then started to explode to the point where we have an extraordinary
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situation. 6,700 deaths, likely a bit of an under estimate with waves of the epidemic. it looked like liberia was the worst and we got better control of that now, but there may be outbreaks in the rural areas. now sierra leone had more cases. the issue of the ark now is doing this and this in this liberia. beginy is like this. that's the way ebola works. it comes in waves. even though we are making progress we are still in a serious situation. the thing about ebola just finally is that unlike other diseases, when the trajectory goes down by itself, it will
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disappear. ebola if there is one case that is out there, that can ignite another explosion. it's one of the unusual diseases that you have to put every ember and spark out. we are far from that right now. >> thank you. tony spent his career engaged in addressing infectious diseases. the president called you and said you need to help us develop our national response. how did you come to terms with the challenges that you faced in this new role? tell us about the learning curve and how you were able to close. what have been your experiences in six weeks on the job. >> so when the president asked


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