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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  May 21, 2011 2:00am-6:00am EDT

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the deficit has been used as a way to cut, cut, cut. ,e didn't care about the budget he cares about shrinking government. the best way to do that is to stop revenue from increasing had to make continual cuts. that means a different type of america. good jobs. we can't provide job security. you have to scale back your vision to have american dream. we totally reject that. this is one of the richest nations on the face of the earth. other countries have figured out a way to do it. it is a matter of priorities. priorities should be having everybody get a chance to get ahead. every worker get a fair wage. everybody has some health care. everybody has some retirement security. not just the top 10% or top 1%
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or top 10th of 1%. they have been doing well the last 20 years but the rest of america has suffered because of it and these deficits that they talk about are aimed in that direction as well. now in the long-term, i want to say this. in the long-term, there is something so you do have to adjust it but it ought to be shared sacrifice. people at the bottom have already sacrificed. first they sacrifice with their jobs. 11 molve us lost jobs. 14 million unemployed. then they sacrificed with their homes. workers homes were foreclosed on. then we sacrificed with our tax as we paid to bail out wall street for their excesses and they are back to business as usual. nothing has changed for them. they have not lost their third home. they have not had a decrease in salary. and then they come back and say
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now that you have paid three times, because of these deficits, let's eliminate social security or medicare and make you pay again. we think the sacrifice should start at the top and i think most americans totally agree with us on that and that's why they support by almost 80% a sir tax on millionaires. [applause] >> one short-term problem that is looming is the debt ceiling. we have already burned up against that. the secretary of the treasury also is a democrat of course has said let's deal with this before it is a crisis that the financial markets present to us when we cannot necessarily see it coming a day or two out. we have seen that happen in europe and south america, around the world in years past. as you look at that, that does not mean that you need necessarily to be in sympathy
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with the republicans, but how serious a problem is that and what should members of both parties be willing to give up to attack the issues that surround that? >> well, look. increasing the debt ceiling is a ministerial thing. it is the budget and the long-term deficit that you have to look at. now the republicans are going to try to say in order for us to increase the debt ceiling, you have to make all of these draconian cuts. get rid of medicare, raise the age of social security. take away head start for 200,000 kids. cut grade school and secondary schools by 25%. take 8 million students -- student loans away from 8 million people and we won't do anything unless you do that. the solvency and credibility of the united states is at stake. it is not about the deficit or the debt limit. if they were serious about the
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deficit they would not have proposed a budget that cut $4.3 trillion out of it and gave $4.2 trillion away. let's look at the math. that means in 10 years their budget is going to reduce the deficit by $100 billion a year. $10 billion a year. my math says that doesn't get it and that is not going to help it. raising the debt ceiling is something we have obligated ourselves to do. like if you went home one day. you bought a house. you bought a car. one day you said, you know, our debt is up to 50,000 and if it goes up to 51,000, i'm not paying. [laughter] so they take your car and they take your house because you don't pay. our standing in the world gets very, very tarnished because the dollar has been the currency for the rest of the world and i think that people should honor that. honor the commitments and if you
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want to talk about the deficit, talk about it really. don't come to us with a deficit that says $4.3 billion in cuts so that we can give $4.2 billion of it back to the rich and kick kids off of head start and stop having counselors and all the draconian things like cutting medicare and things like that. >> unions have threatened to pull support from democrats many times before when they don't seem to be pursuing labor's agenda. it seems like unions always come back because they always realize the alternative, republicans and leadership is worse. is there something different this time? >> ask blanch lincoln. [laughter] >> are you willing to apply that sort of standard more broadly? >> look, we're not going to apply a litmus test. what we're saying is people that support workers, we're going to be with them. candidates that don't support
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workers, well, we're not going to be with them. >> what does that mean, a litmus test? >> here's the difference. it covers a whole broad issue of things. not just one single issue. you can be a friend and make a mistake once in a while. we'll forgive you for that mistake. but if you -- the difference is this. that we're not going to spend precious resources helping candidates that don't stand up and help us. we'll focus on those people that help us. and we'll have more resources to spend on protecting our friends. >> fair enough. so people want to know how far you're willing to go. you have mentioned the need for independence from temperatures before deasms before. will this manifest itself for the green and labor parties? >> was there a question there? >> are you willing to live beyond the two-party structure?
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absolutely. >> we're looking at training workers and recruiting workers to be candidates so that in primaries we have real choice. we're going to give that a real whirl. >> is that an answer? you look at third party candidates? >> if they were supporting working people, we would look at third party candidates. we would look at all the candidates who are out there. we decide which one is the best for our members. and we would support the one that is the best for our workers. >> do you need to look to alternative structures outside? is the current structure getting the job done? >> no. how much time do we have left here? [laughter] that's a longer conversation. if you want to look at the system, the system is broken. the supreme court helped break it even more with citizens united. the system needs to be changed so that average, ordinary americans can have a stronger
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voice as exon mobile does in the congress. it needs to be changed. the campaign finance laws need to be changed. i for one would be for an overhaul. i would start at the supreme court probably because they believe that money equals free speech. that's what their decision said. that means that the forefathers sat around the table one day and said, you know, george, you have $500,000 so you get $500,000 of free speech and you know? alexander, you only got $100 so you get $100 of free speech. i just don't believe that conversation took place. i don't believe that. but yet this supreme court equates that. we need to take on the system and change it and make it more rational so that we can have again, government of the people by the people and for the people. [applause]
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>> so back to your speech. someone asked what is your game plan to spread the spirit of the wisconsin protests to other parts of the country? >> we're out there everyday educating and immobilizing not just? wisconsin. we have cross pollinated wisconsin people with ohio people and missouri and tennessee and we have gone all over the country and people are mobilized. it is not just union people. it is people in general. our non-union workers are out there supporting us because they think these people have gone too far in trying to pay back their rich donors by destroying the rights of workers out there. we're taking that message everywhere. we're seeing it take effect. apparently we're doing something right because guys like scott walker, his ratings in his own state have fallen like a big rock in a small pond. they think he is going too far.
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>> someone says i didn't hear the word obama in your prepared remarks. doesn't the president warrant at least an honorable mention? [laughter] >> i was talking about people that are off on the wrong course. so of course i wouldn't mention him. i think that the president has done a good job. i think his skill has been limited either in because he was too low on things in the fixing or because the republicans have prevented him from -- but if you look at the framework that he has tried to lay out for getting the economy back on track, i think he has the right framework, to create jobs, to rebuild our infrastructure, to give aid to state and local governments so they don't lose it. to get money back into the hands of small business and medium size business through loans these big banks are not giving out. i think that is a step in the
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right direction. i think the scale hasn't been there. and we'll work on that. >> of course he has made some mistakes too. >> we have time. [laughter] we do! >> i think he made a -- strategic blunder whenever he confused his stimulus jobs agenda and he allowed deficits to start walking on top of them. he confused everything. no one understood the importance to have stimulus package. they started talking about deficits and equated the two. i think that was a strategic blunder. i think putting the colombian free trade agreement up will be a blunder. it is morally wrong to warn a country that assassinated trade unionists last year. [applause] assassinated a laborer and a teacher just the other day.
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the day before yesterday. they killed them. we're going to reward them. it will be an agreement that allows for a country that is not in compliance with i.l.o. standards, they will be getting a free trade agreement with us. that is insane. we will fight that. >> scale is a criticism. if you had to give him a letter grade, teacher giving a report card, what might there be? >> there are a lot of subjects. most of my grades were the same in each subject. it didn't much matter. it all depends on what you're doing. if you look at enforcing health and safety laws i think the president gets an a. trade laws, he gets an a. negotiating trade laws, down on the scale. not going to get on the honor roll with that one. for direction, an a. execution, well, he doesn't make the honor roll with that one. there are a lot of variables
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there. some are beyond his control. you have an opposition that says no to any tax and that sort. that is not his fault. i hope that and we all fight a little harder to create jobs in this country. i think you'll see him over the next several months making jobs the center of what he tries to accomplish. >> so he would make your dean's list? no c's? >> well, i would say it is finals week. we'll see. [laughter] [applause] >> something in the news on the health and safety front just yesterday. an independent report commissioned by the state of west virginia found that the mine explosion that killed 25 men last year resulted from the failures of the owner massey energy and rejected that the gas build-up was to blame. what is your reaction to that? >> no surprise at all. you reason is an explosion in the mine.
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one of two things had to happen. either the laws were inadequate to protect those miners or the laws were not complied with. with massey, they ever a record of not complying with the laws. using shortcuts, allowing things to happen. it is inevitably going to catch up with you. those miners and their families paid the price and quite frankly, they are still paying the price. every male in my family died from black lung disease. we knew about black lung. we could have prevented it. in u.k., there was an occupational disease in the 1920's and we had coal companies in this company in 1969 standing in front of a podium saying we have proof positive that breathing coal dust is good for you. i offered to pump it through their air-conditioning unit and share the good health. they were not interested in that. miners get killed every day. workers get killed in this
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country every single day. they also get -- contract pieces of occupational diseases every day. that doesn't make the headlines. it makes the headlines when we kill a bunch of them or they are trapped and we're trying to get them and we're glad that it makes the heads then but they die in ones and twos every day. every single day and they get disabled every single day. whether you're a construction worker, which is a highly dangerous occupation. whether you work in different occupations around the country. they get killed every day. until we have this secretary of labor, the last eight years, it was like a killing fields out there. now at least we have a secretary of labor that is enforcing the flaws osha and saying that you should -- laws in osha saying you shouldn't have to sacrifice either your life or your health to make a living in this country at this point in time.
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i might add one other thing. the lunacy of operating a facility, whether it is a mine, a factory, a school, a hospital or anything that is unsafe. because every single bit of the literature will tell you that the safest facilities are the most productive facilities. so it is a two-fer. there is no reason to do it and yet it happens every day and workers die -- thousands and thousands and thousands a year. if we had had -- by the way, we dwarf with what happened on each year with workers killed on the job. that should not happen in this country. my first job in the mining industry was chairman of the health and safety committee. i took that job seriously. i wanted every miner who went in that hole to go home at the end of the shift with all of their sfingers and their eyes and their legs and their ears.
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we all ought to be outraged what happens when workers get killed and slaughtered in this country. [applause] >> we have upcoming an appearance by arianna huffington. they are calling on unpaid writers to boycott that. they complain that huffington and other also get more than $3 million while unpaid writers will not share that wealth. how do you feel about that in general and then i'll follow that up with a question about the news business. >> i can talk about the news business as well. we can make you guys a lot better. [laughter] look. i stand with the workers in that issue. workers are entitled to a decent rate of pay and they ought to be negotiating a fair contract that gives them a decent rate of pay
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so that the entity becomes productive, can make money and that those workers can have a decent standard of living. i will stand with them. >> we have lots of corporate business-owned media, other than specialty magazines, why is it that there are no labor-backed news organizations doing investigative reporting with beat reporters? i guess for the ownership of a news media property? >> well, first of all, it comes down to resources. in order to do a news medium, whether it is print media, written, radio, whatever it is, takes a lot of resources and at the time, we don't have the resources to be able to spread them around in all of those different directions. let me ask you this question. let's assume that we owned a network, the labor network. what would be the first shot you guys took at us and what would be the first shot that most conservatives do? you can't listen no those guys.
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that's labor. an independent press is a good thing. an independent press that is a watchdog on those that are out there with responsibility to workers, those at the federal level, the state level or anywhere else is a good thing. hack journalism is not a good thing. the fact that you guys are getting squeezed with money and can't do the type of investigative stuff that you used to do is a tragedy for the country. networks like fox are really entertainment. they are not actually networks because of their perspective, it is so slanted towards things. i don't say that about every one of the journalists on fox. i think they have some real independent journalists that i think do a credible job, but by and large, the network and the programming is awful slanted away from working people and
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that's a tragedy. >> i'll ask you to be somewhat more succinct in this one because we're up against time. in a week, we'll have maury smith with the players association. that is part of the aflcio. americans seem to have one primary thought here. that is their football. how do you see this playing out? >> look, we certainly hope it is resoed by the fall. -- resolved by the fall. the football players ask for a single thing. they did not ask for a single increase. they have asked to maintain what they had. that's all they asked for. the owners asked for a couple of billion dollars of givebacks. they want the players to pay for the practice facility. to have the players pay for their travel to and from games.
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now they are -- that is a $9 billion industry. but guess what? it isn't just the players and the owners as people think about. there is 100, almost 200,000 workers out there that will get hurt because of this lockout. remember what a lockout is. it is the employer saying no, you can't come to work. it is not the employers saying we won't come -- employees saying won't come. they want to come. did you think about who is going to get hurt? the guy who sells the hot dogs. the groundkeeper. the small business person at the stadium next to them. it is going to be the bus driver. it is going to be the taxi cab driver. and the cities are going to get hurt because of all of that. here is the truth about it i believe. the problem with this is the owners haven't cut the deal among themselves yet. they can't negotiate.
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they don't know what to negotiate before because they haven't cut their deal. we ought to be putting pressure on them to say look. get your butts in a room somewhere. figure out your deal and then come back and let's negotiate this thing out. because while it is a wonderful sport and i happen to love football, i love it with all my heart. it is not just football players and owners in all of this. it is all the other people that are going to get hurt in this process because the owners can't come up with their own deal on how to split their revenue before they come and talk to the players. >> fair enough. we'll continue that conversation in a week. we do certainly welcome the nfl commissioner or a representative for the owners to come here and speak at this venue as well. well, we're almost out of time but before we ask the last question, a couple of housekeeping matters to take care of. i would like to remind you all
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of some speakers that we have upcoming. demaury smith. gary sinis, the actor will announce the new foundation dedicated to raising funds for the military and of course as is our tradition if sf i can find it i would like to present you with our traditional n.p.c. mug. [applause] and i would like to now ask the last question. we're talking about football. you're a native of pennsylvania. football country. a lot of great quarterbacks from there. huge steelers fan i'm told. these days that doesn't take a lot of investment. but you're hanging in there. you come by that naturally. here is the last question. given that you're a leader in political arena, if you had to choose, would you rather have lunch with the manning brothers,
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or the kohn brothers? >> first of all, depend where the lunch is going to be. i personally would rather have lunch with the manning brothers. the kohn brothers, talking to them would not do a lot. although let me think about that for a second. i would like to have lunch with them. i would like to give them a few minutes to explain to me what they think and i would like to indicate in some mild fashion what i think and then see where we went from there. >> how about a rounds of applause for our guest. [applause] >> thank you. >> i would like to thank our national press club staff including our broadcast center for organizing today's event. thank you and we're adjourned.
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>> how are you doing? >> thanks. appreciate it. thanks for being here. >> glad to have you here today.
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>> next up, reaction to president obama's speech about the middle east. after that, a discussion about the future of pakistan. then reform on u.s. policy in the middle east. tomorrow, the ceo is expected to announce his candidacy for the republican nomination in
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atlanta, georgia. our live coverage starts at noon eastern. and on sunday, a former utah government -- governor will make remarks at a meet and greet in a new hampshire. that will begin at 4:30 p.m. eastern here on c-span. you can get both of them on our website and on c-span radio. if you miss them, they will be on our c-span video library. more discussion on the president's middle east speech on thursday in the u.s. policy in that region. this is from "washington journal" and it is 45 minutes. middle east in light of the president's speech yesterday. two guests will guide us along the way. professor akbar ahmed, chair of islamic studies.
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we're also joined by aaron david miller, a public policy scholar at the woodrow wilson center and also a former middle east negotiator from 1988 to 2003. both of you gentlemen, thank you very much. now that we have heard the speech, what are the policy implications going forward for the president? if we can start, one of the things he focused on was a call for democracy. in certain areas of the middle east, we heard the call as far as policy. what does it mean, mr. ambassador? guest: there were some comments fr president obama's reactions. they we somewhat unambiguous, somewhat lacking in direction. there were statements, but there seemed to be some lack of clarity. yesterday, he cleared the air. he emphatically laid down the marker that this is where we stand. this is where we stand. we will support democracy and
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human rights. we will support every kind of desperation of the people of the middle east. he took the range of countries into a purview. he talked about egypt and tunisia, who began the uprisings. he talked about syria. he was harsh on syria. it was interesting. he did not mention a key ally of the united states. he talked about bahrain. the same time, i thought this was a vision of a statement. he's looking at the global landscape. now, policy has to be filled in. you still have the nuts and bolts of foreign policy to be implemented. host: mr. miller, as far as vision is concerned, what does it mean as he goes forward? what kind of things will have to be done, especially with the meeting today at the white house? guest: presidential speeches purrsucceed in persuading.
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i'm not sure this one did that. presidential speeches are designed to explain. the president believes himself to be it transformed the political figure. he presided over a transforming a set of events in the middle east. when the 3:00 a.m. proverbial phone call came in the middle of the night, the president responded pretty well to his first foreign policy crisis. he feels pretty good about it and he felt the need to associate himself with the broader vision. the problem, first, these are words that need to be translated into policy. two, they have to be translated in a way that'srankly not possible with a measure of consistency and predictability. we confront the arab strength, tunisia and egypt, where the president has done pretty well. these are heful situations. also, what i call the error of winter, syria, bahin.
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we have not said anything anythingbahrain -- a thing about bahrain. yemen is the same. there's a gap here. we do not say these things because we have specific interests in bahrain. in yemen and even in syria, where the gap where how we behaven libya is amazing. gaddafi tilsit people with impunity and we said in a tub. -- gaddafi kills people and we send in nato. host: as far as the democracy or the themes he laid out, all the papers this morning, elements you found when president bush made a similar type of speech during his administration. is that a fair assessment? y, in thatguest:
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sense, both presidents could take some credit for associating with thesemerican virtues and values and seeing them in the arab world. i would say that giving a final assessment is premature. we are in the middle of a massive transformation taking place in the middle east. we're not really sure how this thing's going to end. i hope and pray that the aspirations for democracy and human rights will find their logical outcome, reached their conclusion. the battle is on. in libya, there's a stalemate. cherings goingdu on. the fact that the president of the united states is quite strongly and clearly on the side of democracy and human rights does mean a lot. i agree that there was some
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cynicism and indifference to the speech. at the same time, it has encouraged people to feel that america is on the side of democracy and human rights in the arab world. host: mr. miller, when you see the president talk about egypt and debt forgiveness -- what does that do as far as the idea of democracy building and other places in the region, as well? guest: we have a comparative advantage. we can make a difference. economic assistance is very important. the problem is the $2 billion is not real money. we're talking about loan guarante and debt fgiveness. it is important, but we have austerity problems here. as important as egypt is, you'll not find congress wanting to increase in real time, real dollars, american assistance. one final point he made is that
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it is a paradox. obama has become, in many respects, george w. bush. double down in afghanistan. now with the freom agenda, he has operated within the parameters set by his predecessor. i think it reflects the cruel and unforgiving nature of the world. guest: in the moslem world, a lot of people do not see obama and bush as democrats and republicans. they really see an american president. a lot of people of great expectations of an american prident. they associate america with these great values, the founding fathers, the founding methodology. -- the founding mixology. in that sense, the muslim world sees the american president clearly making a statement. host: here is how you can get volved.
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and also you can send us thoughts on twitter, as well. before we go to the calls, the one thing he did at the end of the speech was a discussion about israel and the change of borders to 1967. as far as the speech, what does it mean going forward? guest: the president has a problem. he committed himself tohis issued two days after he was inaugurated, after the appointment ofs mitchel who has resigned -- of mitchell, who has resigned. frankly, speech or no speech, the challenges of doing that
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remain huge challenges. i think the president wanted to create some commitment -- a down payment, if you will, on the image that barack obama is serious about israeli peace. actually getting to those negotiations and producing an agreement on jerusalem, border security, and refugees would be very hard to do. host: on the concept of land swaps, what is your thinking, mr. ambassador? guest: i agree that the situation on the ground is probably more bleak than it has been in a long time. the reaction of the palestinians and israelis responded negatively. they both see something else in obama's speech. the reality is the arab-israeli conflict is an ms in this large
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tidal wave of change that is taking place. the israelis and palestinians need to step back. why can't we come closer together? why can't we begin the healing process? to miss out on this great change taki place around these two nations means that they are not taking up this great opportunity. guest: one. needs toe clarified. i spent an enormous amount of time in the last 20 years. the notion that the president has askedsraelis to go back to 1967 borders -- i do not know where the president has gotten these from. he said it should be the bas of an agreement with mutually agreed swaps. mutually agreed swaps essentially negate the principle of returning to june 17
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borders. israelis will define x, much land they need. the palestinians will come back with a counter position. somewhere in the middle, between 8% and 1.9%, which is the current palestinian position of what they're willing to give up from the west bank -- something between those numbers is the agreement. it's not a return to june 1967 borders. host: let's take a call. new jersey, you are first for our guest. republican line, good morning. caller: good caller: i was very disappointed that he did not address the terrible problem of the slaughter of christians in
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egypt. in afghanistan, where we are dying and sending our treasure, if you convert to christianity you incure an immediate sentence of death. guest: i think he should of made a point about it. i think the vatican is very concerned about it. tremendous attrition over the past decade. i think the broad answer is that the protection of minority rights. that is an aspect to be worked for, to be aspired to, but in the meantime, the the position of the christian community in egypt is gng to be a precarious one. guest: i had the privilege of being educated at a christian school and pakistan run by
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catholics. i know the kind of respect that we had for our teachers. that has changed. now christians are attacked and the churches are attacked. we have terrible stories from iraq and egypt. traditionally, christians and muslims have lived in peace and harmony. president obama must point out that they must live up to tolerant societies by challenging them. he is not a muslim, but he has grown up in muslim societies. his mother was an anthropologist. in that sense, he is uniquely placed to bring out and challenge the best muslim societies. host: jacksonville, n.c., are democrats' line.
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caller: i want to make a couple of comments. i think obama is a smooth- chameleon.llio he tries to tell the public one thing when he really means another. he had no experience in politics or government or anything other than being a professor of history. suddenly he knows everything about the world and the united states. host: your thoughts on his speech yesterday? caller: to me, i listen to it while i was driving. i was not surprised at what he said about democracy. i hope that the people in all of these different places do not adopt the same type of democracy
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that we have here, because what we have here is a form of legal slavery. a host: one of the thing that have heard is the campaign for hearts and minds. how do you convince leadership to come over to what president obama is trying to accomplish? guest: this is going to be a b challenge. it is important because muslims constitute about one part 5 billion people on this planet. one of the four people is a muslim. we have hundreds of thousands of americans in muslim countries. we have geopolitical interests. therefore, winning over and keeping on site major muslim nations is critical to us in our
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national interest. we need to heed the urgings of president bush, president obama, general petraeus, and therefore i believe diplomacy, cultural outreach and initiatives are as important as simply giving aid. we give aid generously. we have given billions of aid for many countries. we know a lot of it goes into the pockets of corrupt politicians and rulers. where is that aid ending up? i would like to e itoing toonstruction of schools. last week, a date met the president of a private university. ye can we not divert some of the aid thatoes into the pockets of these corrupt rulers? that wins hearts and nds. host: diplomacy and culture?
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guest: i think the order is wrong. i think if it does nothearts and minds. it is minds and hearts. if their own assessment of the reality has changed, you appeal to people's minds. hear, the question is not changing of a bull or the package, it is changing the package. we choose our own democrats. we ignore the ones even if ipod the results are free and fair elections. i think american policy -- i am not arguing the change across the board, but unless american policieshange, you are not going to capture the hearts and minds of the vast majority of people living in this
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region. a better balance has to be found. it cannot be one way or the other. i do not believe in a clash of civilizations. i believe in a clash of interests. if you believe in fact, you can ameliorate that clash through cultural diplomacy and dialogue. it is a difficult process. guest: we need to remember that relations right now are very brittle and vigilant between the united states and pakistan. we need to remember that it has not always been like this. in the 1960's, i still remember this picture of jackie kenne lahoy.g
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she went on to the tribal areas where the taliban now roam. there was a time when america and american representatives -- it evoked the kind of response. i think this relationship is skin deep but it can be turned and changed. host: washington, d.c. caller: why did the u.s. spends so much energy trying to resolve the palestinian and israeli conflict? why do we almost always wholeheartedly support israel? is it because of money or political reasons? guest: the conflict is not the central issue confronting america and the middle east. it carries more emotional and ideological power than perhaps any other issue.
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if you want to protect and promote american interests and credibility, seeking a solution to the problem is important. as far as israel is concerned, we have a special relationship with israel and it has nothing to do with the peace process or their function as a strategic ally. it has to do with the issue of the value affinity. i am not endorsing them. there is the essence of a relationship between two societs that share common values. it gives it is certain exceptional quality. when we use the special relationship wisely, the three americans who have succeeded in peace-making using honey and vinegar, which can actually succeed. when we allow the relationship to become exclusive, when in
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fact we do not protect american interests or talk openly and honestly, we do not succeed. the question is not abandoning the israelis. we are simply not going to do that. it is calibrating the relationship to use it appropriately so it can be reciprocal in nature. the honey and vinegar have to be applied at the moment when there is a real opportunity in order to succeed. the honey is both ugess d reassurance. if the israelis do n grab the moment, but those circumstances have yet to be created. there is no deal on the table. this is where i feel very strongly. fighting with israel on the peace process is a necessary, obligatory function of any
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serious peacemaker,ut the fight with the isrlis has to be worthwhile and produce a result tt benefits not only the united states but the israelis and the arabs as well. that is something the administration has not yet figured out. caller: i am glad you brought up the honey and vinegar because when i heard you speak about -- the honey and vigor and a critic vinegar needsand the dinner to be applied to the palestinians. they are protecting this tiny piece of land surrounded by large masses of land. honey and vinegar on each side is very necessary and helps the diplomatic process. it also lets you see both sides
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of the pros and cons of each side of the equation. guest: frankly, this is the best assessment. that is the best, detached objective assessment of the frame of mind in which the united states must proceed into this conflict. this is not a morality play. it is a complicated conflict. both sides bear responsibility for its ppetuation. she is absolutely right. the honey and vinegar has to be applied to both sides with reassurance and a furnace. guest: this idea that everything must come from america -- i think it would take some -- i
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would have reservations because ultimately if the leadership in israel and in the arab world -- we must understand that israel is a neighbor situated in the heart of the middle east, and the two nations need to get on with each other and benefit from their presence. hopefully, they will exist as friends and neighbors. the israelis must also reach out and do exactly the same to the arab world because there is so much to learn. think of what the israelis can teach the arab world -- democracy, free press, a thriving ecational system, developments in agriculture and industry. there is so much taken benefit from each other without the world intervening. i would say that that awareness
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has to be encouraged. host: of the president spoke directly to the israelis and palestinians during his speech. guest: i hope people respond to that. guest: there is a lot of wisdom here. it is about ownership. it was larry summers who said that in the history of the world no one ever watched a rental car. why don't you watch rental cars? because you only care about what ou own -- why don't you wash rental cars? because you only care about what you own. caller: thank you for this topic. i support barack obama 100%. i am and member of [unintelligible]
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one hour ofe gave a the holocaust last week. host: what is the question? caller: i hope that the israel and the arabs who have to have one state -- they bh will have to stop killing each other -- host: brooklyn, new york. you are next. caller: i have a question. mr. miller, regarding president obama's policy, i think that is a little bit disingenuous and not true. president bush never wanted to -- he was forced to leave senator obama at the time
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[unintelligible] also in afghanistan, president obama has been saying for years we should be in afghanistan. my question is this. wasn't it president truman who said [unintelligible] but jews are so we should support israel in that regard? guest: i still defend my position on obama's w. he did not have to add 30 to is -- 30,000 additional forces. he was told he had to get in deeper before he got out. targeted killings with creditor drones, they have quadrupled under this president. i think there are many similarities between the two.
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domestic politics are a reality. if you had a set of interests, you post them. you do it democraticallyithin the confines that the system allows. it is an open competition. in essence, that is what has happened. willful american presence -- nixon, carter, and bush 41, will fall american presidents when there was an opportunity, they did so and as a trumpet political interests every single time. if obama found its strategy and a moment and believed the arab- israeli issue needed to be resolved, and the parties were willing to help him, he would trump political interest, too. guest: i think we have to put this in the context of the second presidential cycle. we need to put this in context
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because president obama will be taking all of these calculations on board. in that sense, i think much of what t speech will be overtaken by the events as we go into the cycle and maybe it will be new developments like we had with the killing of osama bin laden. i think that we are going to be seeing a lot of changes in the next couple of months. the revolution is going to play out. the consequences of osama bin laden's death is going to be making an impact in the islamic world the debt ceiling will be making an impact. there are many issues on the horizon. this speech is important but it will be overtaken. host: what does it mean for the state department and the secretary of state hillary clinton? guest: she could pick up the
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baton and run with it. that would go aong way in implementing what he has in mind. i suspect it will be so many events that will overtake this particular speech guest: in the end, this is not our story, and frankly, that is good news. these uprisings are really not revolutions. these are about indigenous changes, authentic changes, people trying to throw off the burden of corrupt, distracted leaders who have bilked them for far too long. there is a certain degree of support that we can provide. host: new york, gregory, go ahead. caller: good morning. pefully i will be able to finish what i am going tsay. the israeli-palestinian cflict
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is silar to america's conflict when it has to do with race. you mentioned bush, nixon, and carter. the difference between those three and president obama is skin tone. president obama's hands are tied a lot tighter. during his speech, he talked about the need to stop the lie. theie is we can't call c-span and say anything about israel without getting a dial tone. number two, the israeli connection to america is our media. host: you made your point. guest: first of all, this is not about race. we did something in november 2008 which was truly extraordinary. no one could have selected a man of color whose wife is a direct
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descendant of slaves and made the person the most important man on this planet. only america could do that because of the nature of our system. this is not about race. as far as the media, again, i come back to the basic reality. we have a democratic system. a foreign policy cannot be sustained without the support of the vast majority of the american people. however problematic relationship is, it has been maintained over and over and over again with successive administratns because of the built-in the predilection on most americans including millions of evangelical christians as well as a very small jewish community. this state deserves our support. not our unadulterated support, but a wise judicious american
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policy. i think it's before itself in that regard. host: steve on our repubcan line. caller: you said we should not abandon israel because of the things we have in common. i heard two things in that speech yesterday which tells me that that is what obama is doing. number one, to think that israel would cede land to hamas, the land that was used to attack them in 1967, it is suicide. number two, he said when it comes to security, israel has a right to defend itself by itself. what we are going to hear, islamists that are taking over egypt, if they want to take
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israel out, go for it. we are not gng to interfere. they are on their own. guest: first of all, no american administration is going to force the israelis to make existential decisions when it comes to their security. without their being on the other side one gun, one of for the, one negotiating position able to deliver tho commitments in a negotiation. i think the notion that the united states is just waiting for an opportunity to sacrifice israel on the altar of its own self interests in the middle east is wrong. do i think barack obama has the same passion for the state of israel that george. bush had or bill clinton? no, i don't. he is a product of a different kind of environment. he is much more detached, but he
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is certainly not an enemy of the state of israel. guest: i feel like in america, perhaps only in america, we can help by creating and sustaining a vigorous jewish-muslim dialogue. i have been very much involved -- i am speaking at a congregation to celebrate -- -- along with cambridge university. these initiatives i believeill help promote better understanding, better friendship, better relationships, and that will cause a better understanding over there. ultimately, jews and muslims who has so much in common can begin to see eac other and not thugh theprism of enemies and antagonists, but as friends and
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kinfolk. host: riverside, calif., bonnie, democrats' line. caller: president obama did bring up the crucial point, going back to the old testament, that there are extremists inside of eight to annihilate israel. they have reason to be paranoid. islamistst some of the complaining about their own leaders? they have now hired blackwater with a new name -- guest: she is right. there is a great deal of anger against their own rulers in the muslimorld.
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for example, the taliban in pakistan were kilng pakistanis constantly. they just blew up some pakistanis and they said they were trying to attack the u.s. consulate. our number one enemy is pakistan, not the united states. this battle is a battle that we have to watch. there are thousands and thousands of those who have given their lives during this fight in the muslim world. they have to emerge and restore a sense of balance, a sense of destiny and identity to is the muslim world. host: as far as moslems and palestinians are concerned, do you see the notion of another negotiator? guest: i hope not. i hope the administration thinks very carefully about what its strategy is going to be. without a strategy, it seems
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dubious that words in a speech are going to lead to much. we face a prlem here, and i do not know how to resolve it. i tried to provide advice to half a dozen secretaries of state to do that. the gaps between the leaders on the big issues are very wide. the leaders themselves are prisoners of their constituents. they are not mastering their political houses. the political situation is very uncertain. how does the united states wade into a problem? to basically made israelis and palestinians sit down at the table and negotiate of the conflicts without a sense of ownership on their part? it seems to me it will be very difficult for the president. akbar is right here.
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host: alabama, good morning. our independent line. caller: of wanted to speak about achieving peace over there. on the palestinian side, the failure to recognize israel is a chief point. if somebody came over here and took half of our land, i understand what it would be angry. as far as israel goes, the economic situation, they shifted their economy from the internet- based economy to a more security-based economy. that seems to be controlling their country. doesn't it make up over 50% of their gdp? thank you very much. guest: i mean, i think that is not a fair characterization of israel's economic reality. they survive the dot com bubble
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and the 2008 crash much better than we did i the economy is growing and high tech is fundamentally important. they certainly have a vibrant economy. in terms of real dollars, the percentage of money that is released spend on defense is very high and will remain high. we have zeroed out our economic aid. host: san diego, thanks for holding on. our republican line. caller: thank you for taking my call. mr. miller, -- how can i say? every issue than you are bringing up is correct. the way we can solve this -- one major weight is education. the americans need to be truly
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educated, not a harvard education, but education in civics, learning the law. once we learn the law, we will lear about the structure of the american system. you are a citizen. by law, you have to pay taxes everywhere you go. understand that, understand sovereignty, and then we will trace everything back to the root of our proems and all of our issues will be solved. host: independent line, cheryl. caller: one thing i heard president obama say is that we need to be talking to the pt of the wor, especially the youth. one thing i heard over and over in the comments was that we did not perceive the arab's coming.
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why did we not understand that? why did we not feel it? was the intelligence bad? my point is this. it plays into the feeling you get from your aspects of the seon and community. sometimes, the media does not let through what we need to hear. right now, we have two distinguished guests on this program. yet i have not heard anything about the there have been two ships going toward gaza at the end of last year. there is trial going on in israel as we speak where a family is suing the state of israel at the encouragement of the united states ste department because israel -- because she was killed athe hands of american-funded
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bulldozer -- host: we will leave it there. as far as the yoouth revotion. guest: i have been watching the revolution in close quarters. my daughter was in cairo and it just arrived when the revolution began. these movements are being led by young people. young people wearing jeans, on twitter and facebook. it is a new kind of a weakening in the arab world. i am hopeful. -- it is a new kind of awakening in the arab world. the they are often supported by washington. that eouraged me. at the same time, you do not know how these revolutions are going to end.
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you saw what happened in iran. that revolution led to more violence. revolutions by definition are uncontrolled. we hope we pray that these revolutions succeed in bringing democracy and enlightenment to the region. at the same time, they need all the support and help that they can get. guest: i think that is right. you ended up with a grimmer reality on the ground, which is a negotiation core power. the military and the muslim brotherhood of the two best organized forces in this country, essentially trying to googlete face for the generation. young secular nationalists can
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organize. once othe uprising and, it is all a question of the transaction, trying to negotiate the best deal that you can. host: as we are running out of time for this segment, but from what we heard yesterday, would be your advice for the next step? guest: i think history will smile kindly on these young arab democrats. i really do. for the short term, buckle your seat belt. we are going to be in for a very bumpy ride. guest: never lose sight of hope and idealism. you can overcome. host: chair of islamic studies
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the gradual disbursement of the international community and at the increasing cynicism from the international community about the world bank, the imf -- the whole range of them on the results that pakistan has been able to achieve and, in many
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ways, the blockage that has been done by a good deal of the pakistan bureaucracy and civil service on the implementation of many of the programs. >> [unintelligible] can we still say the military
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does not want to clean the house? is it in fact true [unintelligible] why is the military not able to take any action? [unintelligible] >> i am in the private sector.
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what are the barriers to improving trade with india? unofficial trade is far greater than official trade. i am not sure as to why that happens? >> there are two chapters in your report. neither of them mentioned [unintelligible] >> i will try to be brief. the question might have been something about whether we should take the emphasis off of
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government to government relations. i am doing more than guessing. i am helping. -- i am hoping. the idea for the eight agencies is to work for the government. it increases their credibility and the capacity of the pakistani government. the perception in pakistan is that the united states is supporting the government. >> barriers to trade -- there are no barriers. it is positive for both sides. the barrier to trade with india is the national security doctrine of pakistan and the army.
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there is a vested interest from both sides. that is not -- was not acceptable until recently -- until necessity forces you to open up trade. the national security doctrine of pakistan does not allow for linkages between india and pakistan. my problem with that has been that if pakistan does not want to allow a pakistani businessmen to go to india, you should be able to open up the bees this so we can do so. the indian security services are now a problem. it is not easy to shut them away. the second thing is on the question of the military and capacity to tackle terrorism the
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military would give a briefing to parliament. we need 8100% increase in our capacity. that briefing is ready. i have seen it. their view is that we need more money. we need more this, we need more that to be able to do this. the military capacity is building on one side and the taliban is creating difficulties for us. we do not have the capacity to turn inward and open up another front. that is not going to happen brigid >> -- that is not going to happen. >> the infrastructure was damaged in significant ways.
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it is normal in the media. we are making a case for strengthening some of the institutions that are there. we do not have much time to talk about it. i would like to take the question of the military. my assessment is that the pakistan army will tackle this. they are trying to micromanage banks. there are indeed some divisions within the military, but that has always been the case.
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the military fails to see the taliban's strength. the ranking officers looked at the i.s.i. interests. change happened. it was shown on pakistani television. what do you think about human rights? what you think about democracy? his answer is shocked everyone. the media showed a girl being raped.
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the change in public opinion forced the military to act. it gave more courage to the political leadership to act. that may be the way forward. red means danger. the manager of the project did a great job. he showed me that red means danger. green has religious connotations. in hindu mythology, blue is the color of peace. that is the message. >> let me once again command -- i think the main point here was
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actually bringing out what can be done. somebody like me who eats and drinks pakistan, a moment of optimism is welcome. this really is a moment for pakistan. we will have to see how it plays out. we have not discussed enough about this. because we are talking about the u.s., the question that keeps coming back as to what the u.s. can or cannot and should or should not do. i remember the discussion of what happens if the u.s. support goes. in 2007 we were involved in a
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one-on-one debate. this very question on what the u.s. can or cannot do. it is reflected here. when one side says the u.s. can help balance the civil military and other issues, pakistan needs direction. the other view i have been saying is that it helps pakistan. the changes have to come within pakistan. i think that is an open question. i do not think there will be changes to the military relationship. let me also add that i think there is another discussion about the u.s. in pakistan. then we may see some positive change. let me remind you that there are
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copies outside. finally, our next meeting is on the 26, which is next week, on india-pakistan relations. one of the speakers is the former chairman of the national counter-terrorism of party. thank you for joining us. [applause] >> lots of discussion this week
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on u.s. policy in the middle east. we will take you to one of those forms in just a moment. after that, remarks by president obama and israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. live at 7:00 a.m., your calls and comments on "washington journal." today, former godfather pizza ceo, herman cain, is expected to announce his candidacy in atlanta georgia. live coverage begins at noon eastern. c-span's wrote to the white house coverage continues on sunday with the former utah governor and former ambassador to china makes remarks in franklin, new hampshire. live coverage of that event begins at 4: 30 p.m. eastern here on c-span. it is also on and c- span radio. if you want to watch it later, it will be in the c-span video library. researchers at the washington
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institute for near east policy felt a discussion analyzing the middle east speech the president gave on thursday. the executive director focuses on the president's remarks that israel would have to return to its pre-1967 borders as they start to negotiations with the palestinians. this is about 90 minutes. palestinians. this is about 90 minutes. >> welcome to the washington institute. thank you for joining us this mornin this is a high profile week for middle east events and developments. the president, of course, delivering his major address with the king of jordan. they visit on friday with the prime minister of israel. and over the weekend, the president himself addresses a
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conference of american supporters of israel. there is quite a bit going on as we gather here this morning. we're going to talk about the implications and the mean of the kiev speech yesterday. what did he say specifically, what was new in the speech. how will it be read throughout the middle east and throughout the world. and what does it portend for the direction of american policy in the middle east? it was a major setting, a major speech. the president convened all of his national security team, convened a broad group of activists and at the state department yesterday, it was a major international stage
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broadcast around the world with the vote of setting the agenda for the next phase of american policy with the hope of connecting the administration with the wind of change throughout the middle east and changing the tone and tenor as well as the substance of american policy to reflect the seismic change going on in the middle east. the speech had three main sections. in section on political reform. a section on economic development. we'll talk a bit today on each of these. but cutting a a little bit differently. i will speak after my colleagues on the third leg of the president's speech, what he had to say about the middle east peace process. scott carpenter will speak
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about the to first legs. political reform and economic development. and my colleague will focus more specifically on one of the most interesting revelations in american policy that we have seen in the last number of days, the evolution of policy toward syria manifest not only just in the speech but in the imposition of sanctions particularly on the president of syria. this was, of course, a wind of change speech connecting washington the vote can't change going on in the middle east. in the end, it did not seem to turn out that way. one only has to look at the front page of the washington post.
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obama urges israel to push for peace to see how the president himself seems to has fallen prey to these sorts of distracons that he accused arab leaders of fallg prey to for many years. a very powerful early statement, the president said that arab leaders have used the arab-israeli conflict could distract the international community from the hard work of reform. if is regrettable that it seems he was not televised, and jumping to the eent that he did in the detail that he did, and the novelty that he did the peace process into this major speech on political reform and the wind of change around t middle east and that it would also distract attention from the more dominant theme is that he
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hopes to address. i first want to bring to the podium my colleague scott carpenter. scott has been an extraordinary colleague of the washington institute, of mine for some years now. he is the founding director of our project. it is our project designed to amplify the voices of mainstream arabs and muslims in the battle against extremism in advance of democracy throughout the middle east. he has done an exemplary job in meeting this mission. he is being stolen away from us. he will be joining google, which has established its own variation of the project called
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google ideas, a project to leverage technology for political change in the middle east and beyond. we are proud that his legacy travels far beyond the beltway. and that such an important institution has google is taking him away and giving him a grander stage on which to make important contributions toward political change in the middle east and elsewhere >> the first policy forum where i featured speaking on this same issue about urging, recognizing how critical it was to advance political and economic reform as a keeper of american security.
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it is fitting in some ways i am here to talk about something similar. while i listened to president obama's speech in the back of a taxicab, and cld not help but feel gratified. this may be a good reminder for people to turn off yourself funds. it interferes with the recording equipment. i could not help but feel a bit gratified and a bit smug. for a decade, i have labored to make central the key policy prescription, that it should be the policy of the united stes to promote reform across the region and support transitions to democracy. as i and others have been writing about, it is the key
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antidote and a key means of defeating bin ladenism as an idology. -- ideology. the project is dedicated to convincing the executive branch and and powering -- it is curricle to u.s. national security. the struggle has litt to do with us. and struggles are taking place within theirocieties. we have a vested interest in the outcome. we can influence it, and we need to. fundamentally, what is taking place has much more to do with internal debates about the future of these societies that in the united states. we saw that reflected in other places throughout these revolutions. much of the intellectual
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argument that underlays the shift in policy has been laid out, for instance, the reports that the institute has done that i have worked on together with my colleague on an integrated approach. he sat on the tax force -- task force. the fact is, this speech has been a long time coming. it represents a real policy shift for the president but comes into office implementing a policy precisely opposite to the one he now endorses. he mean the elimination of friction points a key part of rebuilding america oppose the image in the muslim world. he did this markedly with egypt, but with syria as well as a way to improve our image in
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the world and found it hard to even utter the d word. democracy. he was infamously reticent as the green movement struggled for birth and missing a strategic opportunity in my view. and the belated recognition that it was time for mubarak to go was unintentional. and making the promotion of reform and democracy a top priority. i am gratified that someone who has worked on iraq policy for eight years that the president is now embracing and endorsing iraq as a policy success, recognizing the however imperfect iraq is, it has embarked on a democratic path that has strengthened and not weaken it.
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after hearing the speech and getting over my initial self gratification, i noted just how much of a back to the future speech it really is. as many have already noted, it seems to me to be an updated restatement of the bush doctrine. it was delivered as discovering these truths for the first time, but in clearly plays -- pays homage to the president bush was the second inaugural address. this becomes my main critique. in terms of the strategic vision, the speech merely takes us back to a policy point where we were before, but doesn't go farther. embracing the freedom agenda as his son and articulating what should be a pretty obvious point in was the first applause line, the united states opposes the use of violence and repression
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against the people of the region. this may have been a very bold statement in 2008, but not in 2011. it is clear that had egyptians and tunisian is not secure their freedom, the president would not have given thepeech. it is a post facto speech that is not corrected but not revolutionary. there is the glaring omission of any comment related to saudi arabia. the failure to honestly note how differently the united states and the kingdom are perceiving the region at the moment and the reactionary role they are playing during the course of events in places like kidneys shut and egypt creates a huge contradiction at the heart of thpolicy shift that the
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president proposes to make. in my view, the primary challenge advancinghis new policy will be managing saudi conservatism. already relatinto the rift developing across the country, the president's apparent nod in this region when he -- it is an example. numerous officials have already stated that the united states saw no iranian hand in supporting or sparking the peaceful protests involved there. in my view, the president needs to go much farther than he did. the very notion that the president can lead a meaningful transition is risible. and i think an insult to those people struggling for peaceful
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change there. if they had tobacco, why not? in syria and >> how is it possible in the 21st entry for the united states to not more fully and forcefully made clear its opposition to minority rule? the president could have made this point by saying it is inevitable that such arrangements would be relegated the dustbin of history and that full transition to demoacy that recognis the rights of minorities -- most news stories that recount the ongoing repressioin bahrain and with a short paragraph noting that the united states fifth fleet is based there, but as of bahrain continues to
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follow a set of policies that move from soft apartheid to the real thing, i anticipate that linkage will move further up in the press's coverage of this. i think the administration missed an opportunity to get ahead of the curve. there was no mention of monarchies more generally. legitimacy for monarchies of recent flows differently than four republics, but nonetheless it must be continually refreshed. the lesson taught by t successful monarchies of europe and elsewhere is that for them to be -- for them to thrive, they must evolve constitutionally. it must encourage them to go forward and again call on bahrain not to fully reverse course, as it seems intent on doing. and economic prosperity brought, the president had a number of creative ideas to add to the existing tool bo of debt
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forgiveness, new aid, and enterprise funds. i thought the idea about reorienting the ebrd mandate was particularly good. nonetheless, again, the president did not gos far as he needed to go. why not offer egypt a free trade agreement? he talked about a broad trade partnership initiative which has yet to be detailed, but clearly the best way of stimulating the egyptian economy is to make a free trade agreements opened for egypt's consideration and negotiation. in the bush administratio we balked only because of the democracy deficit the. that is no longer the case. i believe the qualified industrial zones are no substitute for free trade agreements that will create tens of thousands of jobs, if not more.
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finally, while i laud have clearly hopes rather than piers animated and drove the president's speech, he stated clearly what we are for and to more limited extent what we are against. he noted the u.s. will oppose any tim by any group to restrict the rights of others and to hold power to coercion, not consent. again, this does not go far enough. the president should make clear that the policy choices that flow from democratic it choices will have an impact for good and for ill upon our relationships with the countries in the relations -- in the region. clarity nowat -- must lik will save heartburn and heartbreak later. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> i would like to turn to enter tabler. he is the institute's next generation fellow. he comes to the institute after eight years living in syria, which gives him a rather unique perspective on the politics, society, and culture in that country. is the author of a new book coming out later this year about the u.s.-syan relationship. he brings both his on the ground experience and his detached analysis to his discuson of the evolution of u.s. policies in a foreign country. >> thanks to all of you for coming out this morning. there are some rare moments when you witness a shift in policy and you feel quite a bit of joy
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for hearing the words. i think scott spoke very eloquently about this. a lot of them did not go far enough, but given what we have followed over the last two years, president obama speech concerning the narrow issue of syria signaled a strategic shift in washington's thinking on that country. the message that the president said they must leave or get out of the way it means that the syrian president is going to have to begin a process of power sharing or face international isolation and a pariah status. the fact tt obama spoke about iranian and -- involvement ties serious regional and domestic policies together. obama was also very specific in
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public in issuing demands on damascus, something that washington had shied away from over the last two years in pursuing peace talks first, and human rights 3 distant fifth. this is not unusual. this goes back to the regional policy of facilitating a peace treaty between israel and syria in the 1970's. it was originally called constructive engagement and later just referred to as engagement. it basically involved a set of principles that lead to reverse engineering. you have a goal of a peace treaty between israel and syria. you line up the facts behind it in order to justify the eventual outcome. the way that you do that is that -- in this formula has carried through from the 1970's
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to the 1990's and has been employed over the last two years -- that you keep this goal, you discuss difficult issues in private, you do not often criticized in plic, and most importantly, you never introduce negative incentives. why? because it might dissuade the tyrant not to sign the deal. over the last two years, he did not play the game as well because what he did was to pursue policies which were far worse than his father's, and slowly the evidence built up alongside the peace process strategy that showed he was not very serious about what he was trying to do. that would be specifically the weapons transfer issue to
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hezbollah as well as serious behavior 11 on. last but not least, the nuclear issue that will be dcussed at the next board of governors meeting coming up in june. why the shift now? during the entire bu administration, despite a lot of talk about human rights and democracy, there were no executive orders or sanctions that were actually designed to protect human rights inside of syria. a major oversight. why the shift now? because t obama administration realized that while the regime in damascus was not a dramatic tipping point that we saw in cairo, in geneva there was a broad recognition, specifically the protestsf april 18, that
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the regime was unable to accommodate the demands of the protesters, and france and turkey came around to a simil conclusion. essentially, they alized that assad was in a dilemma. to continue to try to put the genie of the protests back in the bottle, or he could reform and try to cut a political deal with the ascendingajority population that would help accommodate this and require the stronger security. the problem is that if he goes down that road, if he decides to reform and truly change, it will undermine the very people he now relies on so much to keep that
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stopper in the bottle. he is in a real dilemma, and policy-makers have realized that the regime as we know it is crumbling away and disintegrating. along with the president's speech, leading up to the sech of the last two weeks but specifically the day before, a number of sanctionsave been issued. most of which involved executive orders and designations of syrian individuals, including the president himself, that are responsible for the human rights crackdown. a quick count of the number of people designated and the entities designated shows that now there armore people that are targeted for these activities for human rights abuses than four syrians regional behavior, which is a major shift in u.s. policy. suddenly the domestic situation inside of syria matters again, perhaps more than ever before. the fact that you had the vice-
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president, the prime minister, the interior minister and security chief, means that the entire security apparatus has been made into national pariahs. it is doubtful that these individuals would have assets in the united states, but the effect of sanctis that have been rolled out by the eu and will be rolled out in the coming days, means that our -- those benefiting in repression will not be able to invest their ill- gotten gains abroad. given the terrible track record of reform, and i witnessed this personally, so forgive the frustration in my voice, 11 years of lost opportunities. essentially, to bring back this bad metaphor of the genie in the bottle, what has happened is that he decided that he was able somehow to open up the country
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and raise people's expectations and to connect them with the internet and open up the country to the outside world, all the while not reforming, and keeping that tyrannical system as it has existed even from his father's time. not only that, even failed to bring about laws that would underpin the very reforms he had launched in the country, including the banking and insurance industries and so on. now th situation for hassad is our control. does it meane will be able to crack down on the protesters? >> yes, but people continue to come out into the streets. washington needs now t develop a plan designed to bring an end to the regime as we know it now. whether this means power-sharing that leads to majority rule or the full collapse of the regime
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itself, washington with its western and regional allies should reach out to the opposition now and help them plan the eventuality of syria without assad at its helm. thanks very much. [applause] >> let me put my comments first in context. i am generally quite complementary for the way the administration has handled the changes in the middle east over the last 150 days. i thought the administration handled egypt about as well as any administration would have handled the reality of an overwhelming surge in change in that country and helped facilitate the transfer to institutions in which we had some confidence. i think the united states should
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take great pride that the largely transitional -- largely peaceful transition was facilitated by military that has had three decades of a close relationship with the united states. i thi that was an important factor. i am complimentary of the evolution of policy toward syria. i believe we have gone down an inexorable path now with the syrians. egypt took 18 days. the syrian story is much more drawn-out, much longer in slow motion, but if you look at the words that were used with president assad last week, they are almost the same words used with president mubarak five or six days into the egyptian situation. begin the transition or leave. that is exactly -- paraphrasing what the president said, but
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pretty close from the night of february 1. in syria, i think regrettably it will take the courage up syrians to continue this inexorable clock to tick, but if they are willing to brave themselves to continue the crackdown, i think u.s. policy will end up in syria where it ended up in egypt. i say all this because i am perplexed by the logic, the rationale, as well as the substance of the third leg of the president'speechevoted to the arab-israeli peace process. the president said a lot in the speech that was not news, but what he said that was news was quite consequential news, in my view. the president did repeat lots of
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important formulations from previous speeches and statements, expressing his demoted connection to israelis facing terrorist attacks, his opposition to israeli settlement activity, his strong position against palestinian plans to go to the united nations in september or any sort of ilateral action that might try to circumvent the pathway of negotiations. this is powerful rhetoric, not really new, but very important that the president uttered those statements. what was new in the speech was the president's official endorsement of a territory and security first approach to negotiations, and an articulation of parameters for final resolution of those issues. specifically, what was known as the statement that it is the policy of the united states that
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the final borders should be negotiated between these two partie should be based on t 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps, and that he envisions a full phased withdrawal out of the israel defense forc to a point which permits the state of palestine to have borders with the state of jordan, egypt, and israel, meaning a full withdrawal both from the borders and with cn that territory. let meet a little b more specific cure. there are numerous innovations he in u.s. policy. the key fact is not that these ideas have not been bouncing around of what by some very smart people. the key facis not that these
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are noveldeas. the key fact is that these ideas now have the imprimatur of the president of the united states. we publish what i think is a useful, provocative and constructive study by my colleague outlining where border swaps might make a useful contribution to how israelis and palestinians could address their territorial dispute. in the end, that may be the strategy that israelis and palestinians adopt to resolve their dispute. it is a very different kettle of fish for the president of the united states to say that u.s. policy is now based, and even envisions and requires mutually agreed swaps as the resolution to this conflict, and that the resolutionust begin with the
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notion that the 1967 borders or the baseline for that solution. that is what the innovation is in the president's speech, that this is now the president's imprimatur on these otherwise interesting but not officially sanctioned ideas. let me repeat the significance of this change. the entire idea of the un security council resolution 242, on which the peace process is based, and is the granddaddy of all peace resolutions, is that a final resolution should repair the problems in the 1967 boundaries. it should repair the problems in the 1967 boundaries. it was nevernvisioned by the
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drafters of that resolution or by any president ever officially sanctioned to date that reparation of those items 67 boundaries would require israel to cede territory from within its own, pre-1967 sovereign territory. it has always been envisioned that fixing the security problems inherent in the 1967 borders would be resolved east of those borders. the president said, and i am not sure whether everybody in the white house fully appreciates the enormity of the statements, but theresident actually said that a resolution of this conflict, of the territorial dispute, requires israel to cede territory inside its pre-1967
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boundaries. he cannot envision a resolution of the territorial dispute without israel ceding territory within its 1967 boundaries. that is the import of what was said yesterday. that is a huge statement that those to the essence of the territorial integrity of an ally. the president has historically made a distinction between the strength of the security relationship and the political relationship. we have been willing to withstand a certain level of discomfort and tension of deepening our ties on the
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security and strategic relationship. now seems to me there is a distinction within that distinction. between types of security relationships, that is the president is quite committed to the deep and abiding and unshakable security relationship when it comes to the external threats israel faces, iran, al qaeda, a state to state attacks, etc. but there does not seem to be much recognition that a definition of israel's borders affects israel's security. this is what goes to the heart of what the president said yesterday. taken together, i do not see how one can judge this as anything but a substantial change in u.s. policy. i will add to what the president said about full withdrawal of the ibf.
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this would seem to suggest that the president does not agree with the israeli determination of its own security. even president clinton talked about an open-ended presence in at least three zones that the israelis would have in the west bank. not necessarily along the border but early warning stations and other things within the west bank. a full withdrawal the president talked about certainly seems to imply that this is not in his vision. what really makes me scratch my head is the seeming indifference to what is going on in the region. just last week, palestinians on multiple fronts attempted to reach israel's borders. israel has said it will unilaterally opened a border to people and goods. the president specifically noted he was notoing to make any reference to the issue of refugees, as though it was not a
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security issue. one could have argued at a certain point that it was principally and the motive, psychological issue. the events of the last week _ that this is a real-life issue. it has real life implications. this is not just a psychological issue, it is also a security issue. secondly, the fact that the president himself said the palestinians have walked away from negotiations collapsed this entire initiative in question and raises some important questions. i can only imagine, and i think we are seeing is already in some of the commentary in the middle east, that the idea of the speech tends to when palestinians back to the negotiating table. this cannot but be viewed as a
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rewardo palestinians, an odd policy for the president to take, given that the president has at least reportedly promised in the past that there will be repercussions to abbas for certain positions that he took, the report which last year that there will be percussion -- repercussions for the un security council resolution, the idea that abbas and other senior officials have said they are willing to go without u.s. assistance to pursue their unity agreement with hamas, essentially a slap in the face to the united states and to the american effort to promote negotiations, after rejecting the american approach to negotiations, here we have a situation in which the administration will certainly be
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viewed in the region as taking a major step toward palestinians precisely when they are making a major step away from washington. the hamas-fatah agreements, strange detachment from this new reality in this speech. the president said the reconciliation agreement poses a profound and legitimate estions for israel, but not for america? after all, the palestinian authority is our word. hamas is our sworn enemy. is it not disturbing to us that our partner and our enemy have decided to reach agreement with each other? there seem to have been a detachment from that new reality. overall, there is a surprising emphasis on the entire peace process in this speech. in cairo, two years ago when the
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president last gave such a grand speech, the peace process was one of seven teams. now it is one of three things. there were seven killers in cairo, there are three pillars yesterday. -- seven pillars in cairo. there seems to be no rationale as to why today it is more important than it was icairo. compare the words that we had with cairo. in cairo, the peace process session, the second major source of tension between muslims and the west after differing visions of the other and radical extremism, recent events have undermined that argument. the arab spring was not about this issue so you cannot make the argument that the peace process today is nearly as important as a source of tension as you could have argued two years ago. what was the basis for making
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the case as strong as he made yesterday? there was no answer. just an assertion. let me conclude by talking about another cornerstone of our approach to the region that relates to the pursuit of peace. no rationale was given as to why it is important today to make this one-third of the speech. the best the president came up with as to why it was important to devote 1200 words to this topic, and for people like me, i note it is 20% more than he devoted to this topic in cairo, was fatigued. "the world looks at a conflict that has grided on and on and on and sees nothing but stalemate." it seems in my view that fatigue has set in here in washingn, because the president offered no
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mechanism to translate his act -- his ideas into action. no meetings, no summons, no plans for negotiation, no travel. it is as though he put his ideas out in the ether. as the background briefer for his speech put it, "the president seeks to shape an environment in which negotiatio can restart when the parties are ready." but no suggestion that we are going to try to make that happen. if i have to harken back to a historical moment in the peace process that resembled this one, it is the 1982 reagan plan on palestinian autonomy, a plan that surprised israel. it was a major innovation in american policy, a plan that was immediately rejected and relegated to the dustbin of peace process history. it was rejected both because of substance and because the process, a process in which
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israel found out about the reagan plan only after it had been finalized. yesterday, after swearing allegiance to israel security, a commitment i am absolutely convinced the president believes in with every fiber in his body, he articulated a position about israeli troops and the idea that if israel wants to amend the border east word to amend vulnerabilities from the pre- 1967 lines, it will have to do that without having pre-cooked this rather substantial change to american policyith the government of israel. i may be wrong on this, but i think the president has
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inadvertently just poison some good ideas by presenting them now, this way, with the endorsement. a few days ago i wrote that the success of the speech will be judged with whether it reflected some lessons from the past two years. i listed quite a few lessons that should have been learned. on democracy and reform, i do believe the obama administration has learned a lot over the past two years, and we saw a lot of that in the speech. on the peace process, they seem to have learned precious little. thank you. [applause] >> there you have it. that is our vie


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