tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 2, 2014 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT
hone in march, just prior to russia's annex san diego of crimea. has with the leaders of certainly brought deep engagements between president obama and the baltic leadership. i can't begin to tell you how critical it is that the president visits nato's new frontline. and i found that it was interesting as i was preparing for this discussion that in march as the president was discussing and -- with baltic leaders. vice president biden was visiting they talked about america's commitment to the baltic states. the nsc press release they now used the word iron clad commitment. i don't know if you have seen
iron clad very often in presidential statements. i haven't. and i think that it is important to highlight. the quote is that this trip is a chance to reaffirm our iron clad commitment to article 5 at nato. there is always a great fear in the baltic states they questioned whether nato would really have their back. i think it is clear with words and our soldarity. we put u.s. soldiers and hardware in the baltic sea. i had the opportunity to be there in april participating in a conference. it was the day before u.s. soldiers were due to arrive in estonia. my own impression is that the estonians just let out their breath. that was the most meaningful and significant event that u.s. soldiers had arrived in
estonia. this is why the president's visit is so important. not only to provide our continued reassurance, to speak to the baltic nation. to get their feedback on the current situation and to be a physical presence in the baltic states. and i am sure they are looking forward to hearing president obama's thoughts on america's future military presence in the baltic states and particularly potentially prepositioning equipment. i will talk about that in a second about nato. again, just to give you historical context. just on saturday was the 75th anniversary of the pact that was the secret pact between hitler and stalin that carved out central europe. and i note that anniversary because it was the 25th anniversary on saturday of what is called the baltic way. 89 t is when on august 23, 19
you literally had the baltic state for over 2 million lding hands across a 600 kilometer measure across the baltic state to see independence for fight for freedom. this is so very fresh. i want you to have that context if you are traveling with the president to estonia. and this is why events in ukraine, the annexation of crimea, this is exactly why this is so palatable. the baltic states feel history is repeatinging itself and they want to be sure that the history of the 20th century is not the history of the 21st century. it is within that context the president will arrive. we know he will meet with the
estonian president and prime minister and three baltic states. we are perhaps hearing the president will give a speech. we hope. it will be great to hear an important presidential message about the way forward in the region and perhaps he will visit with the u.s. forces currently stationed in estonia. we will see how that trip works out. it will be incredibly important. as a final note to remember estonia is a dramatic success story as a former soviet state you are looking at one of the st modern european economy that puts e-forms to shame. flat tax. dynamic. it meets all of its commitments to the eu and to nato and it is an outstanding example. i think you will enjoy if you are on the trip, you will enjoy tolin very much. now the president's next stop
in wales. again, the main theme will be visa i nified message have russia and ukraine. in chicago in 2012 that summit as quite overshadowed by the eurocrisis. this is overshadowed by ukraine and events as they are unfolding in iraq, libya and syria. this is the secretary general's last summit as secretary general and nato will be welcoming the new secretary general. in some ways the summit represents the last summit on afghanistan. there is obviously great certainty about nato's footprint, resolute support and
obviously that weighs very heavily on the question mark of whether there will be a bilateral support agreement between the united states and afghanistan and what nato's assurances will be and the individual countries as they leave forces behind for training purposes. this unfortunately will not be a summit about enlargement. the chicago summit in 2012 was also not about enlargement. there is not consensus about opening the door. there will be encouraging words. the open door policy remains there but right now there is no political appetite to enlarge nato. i think the news maker will be bout nato's collective defense response in central europe and
northern europe and in the baltics focusing on nato's readiness action plan. this is basically going to be nato's response to the ukraine crisis. but now starting to move into a long-term thought. this is not an issue within the alliance. there is total agreement. many have sought, and certainly the baltic states and poland sought a permanent nato presence in their country. some allies, particularly the germans are very concerned this runs against the 1997 nato-russia founding act that the united states would not place permanent facilities in central europe or in the new members. this package, we think, will include an enhanced presence in pole land where nato has a
multinational core northeast. right now the germans, the danes have taken a leadership role in developing that, and i think that you will see where the potential of prepositioning equipment will not be permanent. it will be rotating and it will be a persistent presence rather than a permanent presence. i think they are word choices to allow greater comfort within the alliance but it will be a permanent presence for the oreseeable future. there will be discussion about increasing defense spending. we have said that about every nato summit. but members will suggest they are meeting those targets. pole land is putting forward a robust military modernization program. italy will be 2% per g.d.p. but
we need our allies to do much, much more. on ukraine the president will be at the summit, the only nvited leader. we are hearing announcements about trust funds for ukraine that will support the ukrainian military, logistics, command and control and trying to help to defray costs to support the military. we will see how details come forward on that. and obviously there will be a discussion at the summit on events as they are unfolding in iraq and syria, ally support for the curds and i am sure that there will be, not the main focus but there will be discussion on the margins and the sidelines of allies support
n these emerging operations. last note, i want to give you a context as the president arrives in wales. comes exactly two weeks before the scottish referendum. we have been watching lively debates as recently as monday about the referendum. right now if you believe the polls there is a 10% gap between the yes and the no votes with a no two independents and about 57%. yes are 43%. the president addressed the issue in june and i thought the formula was about right. u.s. as ent said the a deep interest in making one of the closest allies we ever have is a strong, robust and nited partner.
this is a side note, congress has weighed in on this as well. there was a house resolution that basically said we support a united and secure united kingdom as a essential for priorities in europe. bipartisan support for a united kingdom. clearly huge implications for nato should the scottish people cide to vote for preponderance of the evidence. here are questions about nuclear deterrence. all of this is a very dramatic backdrop where your security
environment has turned upside own. so with that i will let you handle the rest of the world. >> good morning. let me sweep up a few things, much less of a strategic look but a few things going on at the summit that i want to highlight. touching on afghanistan the question is who will the afghan government send, if anyone to the summit. there was an opportunity for he afghans to participate. we have a contested election now in afghanistan. we had the threat of one candidate potentially pulling out of that contested election. there is a lot of turmoil in afghanistan and for the nato
summit it is quite a crisis, if you will, of who will come to represent the afghan overnment. then there could be a different representative from the afghan overnment. it is continuing its commitment to afghanistan and that it is not a rear view mirror issue. another agenda item is that the nato charter will be updated to include cyber security as something to be covered under article v. it will not be immediately clear what that will mean in terms of what type of response that nato might have in response to any type of cyber attack. but it will be notable i think
cyber will be called out as covered under article v, which is the collective defense article of the nato charter. couple other things on the readiness action plan that heather spoke to. i do think that, you know, the terminology that they are using is the fitter, faster and more flexible. obviously they like the approach. it is hard to say. a strategy for the future. i think the way is exactly right. like a hot-basing approach where they will build off of this polish facility that nato already has on the baltic. very close to the german border. convenient to the danes. that is a place where we will begin as an alliance to preposition more equipment and have forces flow through routinely.
and on the u.s. side the big question is how the u.s. will support that with the strain on our own forces around the world and how much commitment the u.s. will put forward into eastern forward. if there is anything the baltics do trust within nato it is a u.s. commitment directly. so they will be pushing hard that nato contingent will have a heavy u.s. signal in it. that is what they trust most that there is a u.s. component there and that there is skin in the game so to speak in terms of defense activity. another initiative coming out of the summit is what is being called the building initiative relating to the points that there will not be an enlargement discussion, per se, but there is an emphasis given the ukraine crisis on how nato will work with both eastern and central european countries and those out of area partners.
you recall nato has partners like brazil and others that it is trying to work with. columbia. one of the initiatives going forward is how do we as an alliance help other nations build effective defenses while not allowing them into the alliance. it will be important to see what type of promises or commitments nato makes in terms of advising and supporting these other countries, particularly those in central and eastern europe who will not be put forward for member uponship. as healther mentioned the 2% commitment standard. draft work we have to date show only four countries are at that now. the greeks for instance meet the 2% but i think you would be hard pressed to point to a lot
of high quality greek capability we are relying on in nato. there will be a conversation around what is the right measure to determine how effective allies are in their commitments to nato. i don't think that you will see an incredible advancement in that debate. but it will continue. i think the 2% benchmark is increasingly irrelevant and will become more clearly so in the initiatives that roll out. moving on beyond europe the crisis in iraq obviously is and syria and elsewhere in the middle east. gaza. israel. those are very much on the minds of the nato members. rasmusen is working hard to keep it off of the formal agenleda. i do think you will see something in the public statements coming out, certainly in the bilateral discussions that happen on the
sideline of the summit. but nato itself is trying to ensure that it is staying out as an alliance of any type of military intervention with regard to the crisis in iraq. i think you will certainly see a recommitment, a restatement of the standing commitment to defense of turkey as a nato ally should it feel threatened. as you may recall turkey has called for consultations before with regard to a syrian crisis. i think there will be an effort to assure the turks and even others along the southern borders of nato that the alliance is standing by those members. nevertheless there will have to be an acknowledgment that european countries and certainly the united states are taking action, actively working military lie on issues relating to iraq and potentially syria. we will see how the week goes. those i think are the biggest outside issues. there has been discussions
certainly before the ukraine andrice how the asia rebalance on the u.s. side should affect nato, should nato rebalance. while that may at one point may have been a major discussion for the summit, i think it will fall lower in the agenda of the side bar conversations because of the business with afghanistan, certainly russia and eastern europe elements and now the middle east. let me stop there and that we are open up to questions. >> if you can identify themselveses that will be helpful for the transcript. let's start with julie. >> i have a question on afghanistan. it seems like from the u.s. perspective the obama administration is giving the afghans a lot of leeway to figure out their politics before saying they would have to pull all of the troops as. and i am wondering about the countries that could potentially keep a commitment
after this year. >> i think that there is no one nato. let me break it down to u.k., western european view. and the u.s. view. i do think you accurately captured that. i think we are being respectful to the afghan political process. i think that there is a lot of nervous think under that on the military side particularly with the timelines where if there is not a b.s.a. for the u.s. and a b.s.a. for nato with afghanistan that there would have to be a very stressful timeline to pull out troops. but i think that there is, because both of the candidates have been committed, you know we are playing a little bit of game of chicken here. bottom line you will continue to get this sense where we respect the afghan political
process because we believe it will end up with a b.s.a. and nervousness which should there be something happen there that would be a rapid draw down. the larger question is about the hang over or the shadow of what is happening in iraq right now in the sense of whether that should affect a calculus with regard to the timeline commitment in afghanistan. i think it is much less clearly now. the u.s. and allies are holding the line in terms of their decision to ramp down on a timetable. but there is also time in that timetable for a change of position on that should the afghan political process stall or other changes of approach from nato to be warranted.
>> i think the european allies have been in a constant wait mode. that was going to be weighing on its decisions, particularly on forced protection issues of the trainers. now they are waiting for this. they will then wait for the united states to see what happens. here is a lapse in the chain to respond. the germans have already put forward what they would provide to resolute support but i think how of contingent on on he sequential problems happen. i am hearing that there is a concern on forced protection. particularly in the north. how far will they be able to be and what support will they have. there are a lot of questions where they feel they do not have to act right now. they have to wait to all of it
works its way through. >> thanks. two questions. heather, you mentioned the european security environment has been turned upside down. they are always reacting to things. and secondly president obama, his leadership is very much under fire domesticly. does he have -- is there a particular challenge for him at this summit? is there something the allies are looking for that we should be looking for? >> yes. every person that has worked in government you have a perfectly scripted agenda and events always change the calculation.
o one pribblingted this. nobody predicted a portion of europe would be anne lexes and that we had a war between russia and ukraine. i think it is time to clearly state what this is. it has now required nato to and change. some ways it should thank putin. people were looking towards the summit 9-12 months ago and now it has been repurposed and reinvigorated. you are seeing fairly extraordinary turn of events with the prepositioning of equipment. a presence in the baltic states for the forsiege future. that would never have been part
of the calculation had it not been for president putin's actions. the challenge is that not all of the alliance feels the same way. that is what we are dealing with. it is palatable in the baltic states and pole land. it is certainly not palatable in other central european countries like hungary who is criticizing that europe is sanctioning putin. you have the prench government continuing its sale of the two hitches. there are clear notes about hat the threat is long-term. we are dealing with the
hour-by-hour. what is the action. we are dealing with the moment by moment and we need to start out of the transatlantic community putting together a new policy formulation. the crisis is not going away. it is going to be a long-term point of instability. on leadership it is a great question. yes. nato as it has historically will be looking for strong u.s. eadership. that is why my estonian friends let that breath out that they ere holding in for many weeks. we now need the rest of the alliance to step forward. leadership has been the fact
that the german chancellor has come to the floor as a critical leadership voice in europe towards russia. it is a very complicated voice and policy because of german domestic policies and this is a dramatic change of events that nobody anticipated. but i think the president does have a strong leader that can help him to prepare this policy and i think that should be noted as well. >> thousands of european passport holders training with isis and going back to do who
nows what. >> i think the individual european countries are wrestling with this. obviously it has been a very dramatic debate within the u.k. about the foreign fighter problem. but we have also seen the concern in germany, france and elsewhere. i think the challenge is being addressed through a lot of intelligence channels and bilateral channels. that is not a nato discussion per se. i am sure in the bilateral meetings a lot of conversations are going to be taking place. but you are absolutely right. the threat from within europe can be as significant as another external challenge.
>> if i had to guess on the rationalal there i think that they do have a strong agenda that they want to be president bushing through. hat is russia focused. cameron's with pieces there. they are making it matter. he wants to leave the summit with a strong sense of accomplishment with the russia-ukraine issue and how it affects europe. it is as simple as that. it is not an issue in the sense of having worked through all of the allies yet. am sure there is a lot of divisiveness. i think he wants to stay focused on that message and it
is not quite ripe yet for a summit. >> thank you. following up on this, would you exclude in the long run any combined nato action against isis? there is are some countries in the united kingdom, turkey and germany that promised to sell weapons to the kurds. is that totally excluded? >> i don't think that it is excluded, no. again it is not on the summit agenda but it is a light motif that will be happening. we are living it in real time. the conversations are happening bilateraly and multilateraly. nato will be a piece of that. i think that is something the north atlantic council, i am sure, is thinking through how
do they put this on their agenda. how do they address this. this has been on their agenda in the terms of the syria piece of it. now it is more of a islamic state transnational crisis, i have no doubt nato will take it on. whether theringly be nato sanction action like libya, that is open-ended but i ouldn't take it off the table. >> thank you. , has the follow up -- have the nato allies anticipated the russian response to a permanent rotating presence which is east and former iron curtain then what is the strategy to deal with that or will they continue to just respond to crisis after crisis?
is there a strategy? and then the second question is your thoughts on the decision by putin not to attend the conference. >> well, the allies have already fully anticipated a very strong russian reaction. i am sure following this. this is what has caused hesitancy by nato allies to actually put forward a more robust presence because they are fearful of provoking russia. and again as an analyst i return to the only reason that nato is doing this is in response to russia's actions. is is not a unilatral nato decision. it is in response to instability on nato's border. and that is seen not as a provocative act. it is seen as reassuring allies and sending a clear message
that nato will defend its members. but i am sure that the reaction will be strong. it will probably again provoke the additional russian forces along in this area. so we will see a build up on both sides. absolutely. this is what many analysts in he media will say. we have to react to the instability. it ensures stability. it does not increase instability. as i was reviewing and looking at 2006, the last time a u.s. president has visited estonia. i was reading the press clippings of the briefing the white house had done before the trip and it was all about how
to form that nato-russia partnership. it is amazing. we were talking about how to create a stronger relationship and literally over the last 6-9 months, the picture has completely changed. nato has tried, i am sure with many faults and many problems and not a perfectly implemented policy that nato tried to be a partner with russia and clearly that has failed. this will be about reassuring inside of nato's borders and explicitly taking a step down to a building partnership capacity approach to the non-nato members is a way of signaling to russia exactly that defensive intent, if you will. the types of equipment and exercises and activity that
nato rolls out as part of this approach will matter. they can choose to message it, the russians can, however they like. but i am sure nato will see what looks defensive in terms of a rotation and what could lead to a miscalculation that is not helpful to everybody. >> secretary combeats used very rsh lang talking about a two-tiered alliance. only four countries are living up to that commitment. we are tired after 10 years.
how serious is the u.s. going to push this message? how hard are they going to push and are any of these countries that you mentioned likely to tep up to the plate? >> in many ways if your talking points are not working it is time to change your talking point. you have to do something. it is a crisis that europe is demilitarizing. ukraine crisis has been a wake up call. it has certainly shaken them their y have allowed military defense spending to get to a point where they are
now vulnerable. they did understand that the u.s. presence in europe was rapidly diminishing. now things have changed dramatically. we will have a presence in europe. but they have to step forward. i agree. i think the 2%, you can spend 2%. but as the greeks do it is for territorial defense. not an asset that the rest of nato can use. estonia is a small economy. estonia will not compensate for the lack of 26 other allies from stepping forward. it has to be meaningful. it has to be purchasing equipment that can be used both for collective defense purposes and crisis management. role.s where the isis
so, this way many summits these defense initiatives, smart defense. we keep rebranding it. i hope they realize we have to put forward and get serious about it. it is a part of a conversation i have not heard in a long time in europe. but europe's economy is not only fragile it is highly vulnerable and there will be limits to what europe can do. >> i agree with health er. i think the question is not whether burden sharing or smart are put forward, there will be a message about sharing burdens and sharing costs. it is whether the 2% piece
continues to be the particular 2 x 4 used. i think the united states and others will continue to press allies to commit on their defense commitments. what i find promising or is the pressure the press there will be on concrete initiatives that show capability. that is for something like the readiness action plan could prove out. if it is just the u.s. and the germans and the u.k. and the french, you know, that is not a great step forward for the alliance but it is somewhat reassuring to the eastern allyings. if through the other concrete
steps they start to pull in capabilities from some of the other countries that are less likely contributors that will be meaningful in terms of a summit outcome. >> in the back here. >> in the light of the ukrainian crisis in central -- would be sary efficient? >> you know i think what nato is trying to address is the fact that russia has demonstrated rapid military mobilization. that is the area where nato is not where it needs to be within
there ready to use. nato is playing catch-up a bit but it is not a provocative step. to highlight, because estonia is literally almost a stone's throw away from finland. just this week alone there have been two russian air incursions into finish air space. you had the finish prime minister starting to openly talk about nato membership. never copt plated. but we have to look at this from a regional perspective. there are vulnerabilities here. this helps both nato members and non-nato members understanding that there is a presence there to support their shifting security environment. >> let me add that the types of threats that nato feels that it needs to improve upon are these
hybrid unusual unconventional approaches, whether it is from russia or elsewhere in the world. but the russians have shown themselves quite adept at those. estonia itself felt the cyber end of that. the types of capabilities nato needs today will look different, obviously, than they would have during the cold war. you would not be looking at-large formations of ground forces rolling in and stationing themselves in eastern europe. that is not the most effective use of nato capability today. it is about that rapid reaction capability. the nato response forces, the u.s. committed in 2012, a stronger commitment. there is a subelement of that called the immediate response force which is what nato will really be focusing on here. that is a very quick reaction element along with the aircraft
aircraft that is stationed elsewhere in europe. can they come in and be positioned in crisis and then of course enable access on the baltic side where we have u.s. and other capabilities there. so it will not look like -- its efficiency today looks a lot different than one would have thought of in the cold war. we are not looking to go to war with russia. we are looking to prevent any kind of unusual, unconventional approaches that might come after nato territory ornateo stability and look for ways nato can help those alliance members feel secure and ctually be secure. >> i know the u.s. respects every country decision of making their own decisions as
far as joining nato or not. but from the u.s. point of view does the neutrality of sweden and finland lost its credibility? >> both sweden and finland have been extraordinary partners to nato joining in afghanistan. sweden in libya. operation unified protector. we have had extraordinary partnerships between nato and sweden and finland. clearly the situation in northern europe has begun an incredibly active debate within finland. i would say the conversation is more robust in finland than sweden perhaps of the swedish elections and that need to resolve itself before the swedish government really thinks through these issues. but it is for every country to decide. this is why nato, the open door
policy, it is open. but i will say some have commented that it is awfully difficult to get home insurance when the neighborhood is on fire. and you say wow. is this the right time to start to focus on now. there are some in finland that would argue this should have been thought through prior to the crisis. there is an objective dialogue between finish and nato officials, also bilaterally between the u.s. and finland. you know, there is a stark difference between a nato member and non-naso member. but we do highly value our partnership with finland and sweden. here is a vulnerability.
ironicly 15 had -- 10 years ago when the baltic states were joining nato finland and sweden thought their vullibility was the baltic states. we will stay in touch on a one by one basis. >> great. jill. just wanted to follow up on the finish question, which i realm think is interesting. you said there is no appetite for expansion of nato. but we do have the action by finland. i wanted to ask, i am presuming when you say there is no appetite it means georgia-ukraine.
if finland said we want to join, wouldn't that be a game-changer? or can i delve into what you were saying, when the neighborhood is on fire. they wouldn't say no, would they? >> >> that is a great area to explore. they are going to do a lot of thinking about how that would look. you are right. i think that there is a stark difference among the nato allies. bosnia. ukraine and georgia. thinking about sweden and finland. they are very different places in their approach. i think you see where sweden and min land, working so close with nato have in some ways their military modernization d their close relationship
puts them ahead of that dialogue with other nato countries for sure. would it be a game-changer if finland and sweden were to formally come to nato and seek membership? yes. it would give the alliance an extraordinary conversation about what that would mean. speaking of provoking. that would certainly provoke a very strong reaction from ussia. it would take quite a while even if a formal invitation was provided by nato. all member states would have to ratify. belgium has 16 parliaments alone. would article 5 grin at the moment of invitation?
i don't know all of the practicalities of this. but that would be a part of the conversation. and can you make the decision at a moment of great crisis? this is an analyst's dream. we can spend an enormous amount scenarios ng the out. but this is the dramatic change that i am talking about. this is why the u.s. policy needs to be thinking more broadly about this from a regional perspective. >> we have a board game on this upstairs if anyone wants to come and play. >> hi. despite the difference of opinion that you mentioned regarding sanctions against russia, do you expect the u.s. and the eu to use the summit as
an opportunity to impose new sanctions on russia? >> i don't believe that there will be a conkerted effort as there was a few weeks ago to do a new round of sanctions. clearly i think that there will be focus on next steps. as i broadly look over the last several weeks, the more we imposed sanctions the greater the crisis has escalated. we are seeing an inverse reaction. so what happens now? i employ sure that everyone is trying to digest what happened what the peace plan or the cease-fire will look like. but my own sense, because of the escalation and because of yesterday's news of this new
opening of separatists in the area, that to me is actually a pretty significant event. that if there is a loss of access to the sea that we are in a kncht place as well. so, i am sure they will be monitoring events. i think that there will be preparation to see what more can be done. if the crisis continues to sesk late but i do not think you will get anything else on another round of sanctions. i don't think that is being prepared right now. >> great. straight in the back right ere. >> you mentioned that the open door policy is still on the table. hat about other countries that
are in a really tough position? >> gavin everybody. nice to see you all. i know some of you spend a decent amount of time traveling and covering the president who was working this weekend. for those that were not, i hope you got some quiet time. before i got to your questions i wanted to extend my condolences personally and on the behalf of everybody at the white house to the family of mike mackawitz. mike was a reporter for fox news radio recovering the white house. he passed away over the weekend after a long battle with cancer. i got to know mike when he started covering the white house here in 2010. he is a tough reporter. also somebody that showed
espect for the journal journalistic process. that is a quality that i certainly admire. our thoughts and prayers are with mike and his family. josh, do you want to get started? >> keep width theme of this week i have important policy questions for you. the u.s. military action in somalia. do you have anything additional you can share about that ttack? >> the u.s. military conducted an operation there yesterday. u.s. officials are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional nformation as appropriate. i do want to say the u.s.
department of state named them as a terrorist organization more than six years ago. they have claimed responsibility for many bombinglies, including suicide attacks in northern and central somalia. many of the targets were officials and allies of the federal government of somalia. famously and infamously in they were -- me they have continued to plan plots targeting westerners, including u.s. persons in east africa. in recent months they claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing killing a turkish national and wounded several western soldiers and a car bomb at the airport that killed members of a u.n. convoy.
also responsible for the twin suicide bombings in uganda in 2010, killing more than 70 people, including one american. so this is a threat we have been aware of for quite some time. the united states stands with our international partners, particularly with the u.n. mission in somalia work to build a secure and stable future for the so malian people. >> can you tell us if the somalia government asked for u.s. help or air strikes on targets in the country? >> the united states values the counterterrorism relationships that we domain tain with the government there. in terms of the details of the conversation, i upon not in position to describe those to you at this point. but we have in the past worked closely with the government to counter this threat. as it relates to this specific
mission or more generally what rt of request, i can't comment on that at this point. >> discussing the actions a tributed to this group, does the u.s. consider them to be a direct threat to the u.s. and how would you evaluate its potency compared to the other threats that we are combatting, especially the islamic state? >> well josh, what i would point out is that in some of the attacks that i listed there, there were americans or westerners who were the vsms of those attacks -- victims of those attacks. certainly under the leadership there, they have carried out rather brazen attacks against soft targets. injury ases hoping to or kill westerners. that is an indication that this is a violent terrorist
organization that has the desire and the capability to it targets outside of somalia. i can't provide an assessment the is point about capabilities that they maintain or what sort of designs that they have on the united states. but as a general matter and as evidenced by some of the higher profile operations that this organization has carried out in the past, it is evident that american interests, at least, are threatened by this organization. and that is why the united states worked closely with our international partners at the african union and other western governments and also the government of somalia to counter the threat in somalia and other places where they may be aiming to carry out attacks.
>> turning to nato and ukraine, can you tell us what the u.s. role or involvement will be in this rapid response force the secretary general has discussed ahead of this summit? >> well josh, this is the subject of the discussions the president will be engaged in in wales. the president along with other members of his national security team that will be traveling with him this week will discuss a whole range of issues. they will look at the needs of nato member states including what to do with hybrid warfare and other threats. the united states in cooperation with our allies plans to significantly increase the readiness of a nato response force to ensure that the alliance is prepared to respond to threats in a timely fashion. this will involve training, exercises in discussions about of infrastructure
will be required in the baltics and pole land and romania and the other states to deal with the world they face about new concerns with russian intentions. >> the second general spoke this.a force, number ofspoken t can you say whether u.s. troops and equipment will be part of that force? >> i don't have any announcements in regards to american troops to make at this point. this is the subject of discussions planned for later in the week. if we have additional details that point, we will share them. >> why did the president announced a deadline for making executive action? >> the announcement of the president made in the rose garden back in june, as relates to immigration reform, was the direct result of medication from the speaker of the house. earlier that week, the president had been informed by speaker boehner that house republicans
intended to continue to block common sense, bipartisan immigration reform legislation that artie passed through the senate. the president was disappointed to hear this news. the president is confident, like many other congressional analysts, that this piece of legislation were put up for a vote in the house of representatives, it would pass the house of representatives with bipartisan support. effect, what you have is a small but very vocal and influential group of house republicans blocking a piece of legislation that has strong support across the country, among the labor community, the law enforcement community, even the faith community. this is a piece of legislation that got the support of 13 or 14 or public and senators as well. legislation that the cbo and others have determined would be good for the economy. i'm explained to you with the
president's announcement was. the president made this announcement in light of the fact that there was common sense legislation that strong support across the country and in congress, to address a problem that every technologies exist. -- acknowledges to exist. the president has determined, within the scope of his authority as laid out in the constitution, to take whatever steps he can unilaterally to try and mitigate some of the problems caused by our broken immigration system. the president is determined to act to do that. but the president is also happy to allow whatever he eventually decides to implement on his own to be superseded by congressional action. that would provide a more enduring and robust solution to these problems. >> what about the timing?
>> why did he say he would do by the end of the summer? especially if that's not what you're going to do? >> i don't have any updates to terms of the timing for presidential action. the president is determined to act. the president has asked the secretary of homeland security and his attorney general to conduct a review of the existing law, and determine what authorities the present can wield. >> why couldn't he have just come out in june and said we are going to take a decade of action -- executive action. he boxed himself in by giving him a deadline. >> i don't have an update on the timing. the president is determined to act. that is not changed, and it will not change. the president is happy for to entertain a change of heart by congress. it also rebel does want to -- if house mind
republicans want to change their mind and allow this legislation for a vote. them toot even asking change their mind about the legislation, it is fine for them to vote no. there are plenty of votes that can be provided by democrats to pass this piece of legislation. but ultimately, it is up to congress to make decisions about what the congressional action they will authorize. of president is in the midst -- should say the secretary of poland security and the attorney general are in the midst of a kindw to determined what action the president himself can take unilaterally to address these challenges. we will have to wait and see what the timing ultimately ends up being here. president's determination to act, and his commitment to acting, has not changed in any way. >> can you answer the question as to what he said a deadline in the first place -- set a deadline of the first place?
>> it is hard for me at this point to draw any clear conclusions about what the president's timing will be. there is a chance it could be before the end of the summer. there is the chance to could be after the summer. but the fact that the president that he is something doing as a result of congress's failure to act. to be more precise about it, house republicans' insistence to prevent bipartisan action that would be in the best digital the country. >> you are starred -- are you concerned about fallout from the delay? the president is concerned about is doing the best he can to address as money problems as he can. he had hoped he would find willing partners in congress, instead, he has been met by consistent objection and obstruction from a congressional republicans. the president has come on many occasions, on a whole range of
issues -- this is particularly true when it comes to the economy, has looked to his own executive authority to try and limit solutions that are in the best interest of the united states. terms of politics, there are a lot of political analyst in this town. impact theudge what decision like this will have on the elections, who the winners are, and the losers are, what this does for turnout among certain segments of immunities. all that is a worthy endeavor. but that is not what the president is focused on. the president is focused on trying to solve problems. he is also interested in fulfilling what he believes is a important element of leadership. and that's convening a debate with the american people about the most important issues facing the company. -- the country. he wants to have a conversation with the people about the status of our immigration system.
what the consequences are for failing to state -- take action. review of worthy of a who has played a constructive role in trying to address these challenges. we have seen the business community and the law enforcement committee on the labor community, all contribute in a positive way to trying to commonsense bipartisan solution to many of these problems. but there is a segment of the united states congress that happened. they are all within the republican party. there are a number of republicans that have said they do support conference of immigration reform. but it is this group among the congressional leadership in the rebuttal can party that have blocked this common sense pisagua decision from passing. >> -- common sense piece of legislation from passing. >> did the white house analyze the politics of the deadline, and if not, why not? it looks like the analysis
that's changed it was her made it all. -- if you was ever made at all. desire tosident's have a constructive, fact-based debate within our public about the status of our american integration system. -- whenident wants to the president is ready, to announce a decision about a minister of action. people do that in the context of that broader debate. -- he will do that in the context of the broader debate. isil has beheaded a second american journalist. we have initial reactions to that? reportsnot seen those yet. i must just happened in the last few minutes. the is something that ministration has been watching very carefully since this threat
against his life was made a few weeks ago. our thoughts and prayers first and foremost are with his family , and those who worked with him. the united states has dedicated significant time and resources to trying to rescue him. i'm not in a position to confirm the authenticity of the video or the reports since i just walked out here. if there is a video that has been released, it is something that will be analyzed very carefully by the u.s. government and our intelligence officials to determine its authenticity. >> yesterday in the labor day address, he mentioned that immigration rights, i was wondering if that was a reference to some that it will be forthcoming in his executive actions. was the president referring to a
specific -- you clarify? with the civil rights of voting rights, any added on immigration rights? do you have insight to what he was talking about? >> i haven't talked about that element of his remarks. i suspect he is alluding to what jeff was just mentoring, which is the president's determination to act unilaterally within the confines of the law to try and address the problems created by our broken immigration system. that is an element of presidential decision-making the president feel strongly about. the exercise of his authority to address some of these problems. it is a priority. it has been a priority for him since he took office. corporate inversion. is the president also determined to act on those? it was a couple of weeks ago he asked someone to look into that, and is there any timeline on that?
>> i don't have a timeline to announce as a relates to possibly ticket action on inversions. the president's team at the president -- the treasury department is looking at what executive options might be available for removing the economic incentive for businesses to essentially announce their american citizenship to trying get out of paying taxes. or at least out of paying their fair share of taxes. again, there is no timeline that i can lay out for you from here. immigration,so of the admin street of steps that can be taken by the treasury department to address this problem are not as significant or impactful as legislative steps would be. that is why we have called on congress to act with dispatch to close this loophole that benefits well-connected topanies and allows them
essentially renounce their citizenship and avoid paying their fair share of taxes. we would be happy if this inconsistenttaken with corporate tax reform legislation. but the difficulty of passing a comic a piece of legislation like corporate tax reform should not be an excuse for congress passing a simple piece of legislation that could close this tax loophole. one less thing, i will say about this, the last time the congress took action to close and inversions related loophole was in the fall of 2004. it was passed with bipartisan support to the house and senate, both democrats and republicans voted for it. it was signed into law by a republican president. he did so a month or so before election day. there is no reason we shouldn't see bipartisan support in action in the congress here in 2014, and the democratic resident -- president would sign it into law.
>> has she decided to take these administered of steps if the congress doesn't act? the process of deciding what steps could be taken within the confines of the law to remove the financial incentive companies had to endorse -- renounce u.s. citizenship. i don't have a timeline. [indiscernible] >> do you consider that the ultimate aim of the u.s.? >> the president has laid out pretty clearly what the goal of the policy is in a rock -- in iraq when it comes to .onfronting isil
there are american citizens in baghdad and irbil. iraqi andisting kurdish forces as they protect those cities. the president has authorized the use of american oteri force to prevent military and disasters in iraq. that was the president ordered protect august to religious minority that had been under threat of persecution from isil. the department of defense was trying to bring humanitarian relief to a different religious minority. that was a testament to the skill and bravery of our men and women in uniform. -- thisry out this way mission in a way that would provide additional security to the shia in turkey.
this is all done in support of iraqi and kurdish forces that are taking the fight to isil on the ground. >> [indiscernible] o prioritiesthe tw as it relates to american military intervention in iraq. we've been focused on counterterrorism. those are the priorities the president has laid out for american military action. could we be in a situation where there is relevant military action pursuant to those goals that would include a strike forces and the. muzzle area, i wouldn't prejudge that one way or another. priorities ast relates to military airstrikes. that is what they are. >> they were indicating that
--.i.s. was captioning's capturing syrian pilots. how worried are you if that is accurate? >> i can't confirm the veracity of those reports from here. we honestly take very seriously the threat that is posed by isil . we will be working with our partners to counter this threat. it starts with the formation of a unified iraqi government to connect the country of iraq to face the threat. the president has talked about working closely with the steam to develop a strategy that may include the use of military force in syria to counter this threat as well. about what the administration is doing to obtain the release of the three americans from north korea? [indiscernible]
that,have some linkage on -- i do have some language on that. i have seen the reports of three medicine -- three american citizens that were detained in korea. securing the release of u.s. citizens is a top priority, and we follow these cases closely here in the white house. we continue to do all we can to secure the earliest possible release. i would refer you to the state department for nothing further, including a permission on consular visits as well as the travel warning which represents a warning against traveling to the dpr k. >> it is reported that [indiscernible] officers secretly visited north korea. ,o we have information on that can you confirm this?
>> i have heard those reports, i'm not in a position to confirm them. >> they have some kind of negotiation for the release of these cheney's -- detainees? have a couple of channels that we used to negotiate with governmenthe swedish will occasionally represent american interests before the north korean government. there also is a liaison at the dprk in new york, where we will cut occasionally medicaid. -- communicate. military --using [indiscernible] >> i have heard those reports, but i'm not in a position to confirm them.
>> the visit to estonia, what is the message that he wants to give to estonia, is it russia, back off? estonia, we got your back, or a common vision of the two -- combination of the two? >> the president will give a speech tomorrow on these themes, i will commend that to your attention. he is using this visit to underscore the steadfast commitment to the united states to estonia and the other baltic states. while he is visiting these baltic republics, he will have an opportunity to meet with all three baltic presidents. these systems will emphasize the importance we place on the , andatlantic relationship how collective security is electrically linked with that of europe, as whole, free, and at peace. this will be continued as the president moves on to wales.
the president will have more to say on this tomorrow. he is doing a news conference earlier in the day. we've heard this described as a cautious, deliberate president. most recently by senator feinstein in relation to dealing with i.s.i.s. cautiousesident being ? >> let me take that on and a couple of different ways. i think the president is deliberate. he takes very seriously his response ability as the commander-in-chief to make wise and judicious decisions about the use of american military force. he is often talked about the most serious decision is the decision to put american servicemen and women in harm's
way. to carry out military actions that are in the best interest of united states of america. he does not take that lightly. at the same time, the president has not shown any residents -- reticence to employ american military forces to robustly defend national security interests. many of you have talked about about the president's decision to order the use of military force to bring osama bin laden to justice. that was certainly not a strategy or decision that people would describe as cautious. i think that was a rather risky decision. again, it is only because of the skill and bravery of our men and women in uniform that that mission was successful. that is just one high-profile example of the president being aboutous, but also bold using american military authority to protect the
national security interests of united states of america. i think this decision making also applies to other areas of the president's agenda as well. many people talk about the strategy for rescuing the american auto industry. that was a risky maneuver. there have been people who counseled against him taking the kinds of actions that, while politically risky on the front end, ultimately contributed significantly to the revival that we now see in the american auto industry. that is a testament to the hard work and great of american auto workers. possiblenot have been without this president, who is sometimes is gratis cautious, making a bold decision that paid off in spain -- spades. >> given this possible new there areby i.s.i.s., numbers of congress that believe the president is being too cautious when it comes to i.s.i.s. >> there are certainly people who will take it manage of the
opportunity to do someone a morning quarterbacking. that is well within their rights. we have separate people branches of government, to give people the opportunity to weigh in on these decisions. ultimately, when you are the commander-in-chief, the decision resides with you. use of american military force to protect american interests. it is the response ability of the president to make sure we are using all of the elements of protect authority to the american people and our national security interests around the globe. that means deploying our intelligence apparatus and personnel that can supplement the use of american literary force. -- military force. it also means using our influence around the globe, in the realm of diplomacy, to protect american interests.
that will be on display when the president travels to europe. he is looking for to the nato summit. -- iraq is an ally of turkey. these discussions will include countering the threat posed by isil. the president is bound to determined, even in the face of criticism, to make the kind of decisions that are in the best interest of national security and the market people. of the latest threat posed by isis, is the president considering requesting changes to policies like eliminating the visa waiver program, which allowed citizens of 38 countries to get into the u.s. and stay for 90 days without a visa? >> i don't have any specific policy proposals or changes to announce from here.
as we've talked about for some time, the united states government is always reviewing national security posture, and evaluating the kind of policies that will facilitate the kind of international trade and commerce that we want to see across international boundaries. but also ensuring we have in place measures that would protect the american public, both americans overseas, and also americans here at home. as it relates to travel in particular, the department of homeland security is always reviewing policies and procedures. those insionally tweak ways that are not visible to the traveling public. there are professionals on the front lines, making these kinds of decisions on a regular basis to make sure that the policies and procedures that are in place will do everything possible to protect the american public in a way that minimizes any sort of inconvenience to the traveling public.
>> is always the comes after the very strong, hard and fast requests that premise to cameron suggested yesterday in the house of commons. i wondered if the president will be speaking to the prime minister about a coordinated effort in terms of those requirements, in some sort of coordinated effort? >> we anticipate that the intensive discussions will be on the agenda at the nato summit in wales. three weeks from now, the united nations general assembly will convene in new york city. world leaders from around the globe will attend. in the context of that general assembly meeting, the president will convene a national security council meeting, with the president will lead a discussion with other members of the aboutal security council the threat that is posed by foreign fighters. of the an indication
high priority that the president and other world leaders place on this specific issue. i also want to point out that over the last several months, this is an issue that the white house has been very focused on. it has been in the media for the last few weeks. officials iss and countering foreign fighters. they have western passports, but have decided to fight alongside isil. lisa monaco has traveled throughout the region and discussed with her counterparts, efforts to try and mitigate this threat. the department of state in march appointed a senior advisor on partner engagement for syrian for a finders -- foreign fighters. there has been significant operational collaboration between dhs, fbi, and all their foreign counterparts, including interpol on this effort. the state department also hosts
strategic counterterrorism dedications. engaging in town messaging. community hasce been sharing information with partners around the globe. this is to monitor those individuals who may be a risk of returning to the west to carry out acts of violence, but also doing anything they can to try and mitigate this broader threat. this is something that the president has been focused on for a number of months. >> you said national security council, did you made -- did you mean u.n. sigrid council? -- security council? >> i did. >> the government in ukraine has said they have seen russian troops in ukraine. they are convinced that what they have is the russian military, that is to they are fighting. why is the united states government still not calling
this an invasion? >> the way that we have described this is that it is consistent with the kinds of destabilizing activities we have seen from russia for a number of months now. we have seen russian provide weapons and material from the russian side of the border into ukraine. they have been working intensely and closely with a russian backed separatist to use the government that has been provided. there is ample evidence to indicate that russian soldiers have been on the ground in ukraine, engaged in an effort to support the separatists. in some cases even to attack ukraine in military positions. significant been a is appointed to the international community. we have rich evenly and consistently called on president to use his influence of the russian\to use his influence costs oficant economic
been imposed. it has taken a toll on the russian economy. what we have done is described their actions, we have been watching the very closely. we have been getting regular reports from the ukrainians and others who are watching the situation. honestly, nato has played a leading role and produced ample evidence to indicate that russia has intervened in we -- in ways that violate the territorial integrity of ukraine. that is something that the united states, along with our international partners, stand against. we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to hold up and protect these international norms. it is not ok for large countries just legally violate territorial integrity of their smaller neighbors. >> you don't think it's good to call it an invasion? [indiscernible] >> i don't think it emboldens them at all.
this is something that we have been talking about and raised publicly on many occasions here. that the other thing i took note of is that even when produced with photographic evidence of russia's interference in ukraine, that russian officials have offered up denials that fly in the face of pretty clear evidence and facts. that may be the best indication of how vulnerable russia feels about the situation. they can't even admit the truth about what is happening when confronted with clear evidence about what exactly is happening. i think that is a pretty good indication of how confident they are feeling about the situation right now. >> [indiscernible] >> that review is still underway, the president has not been presented with final
regulations at this point. >> we presume there will be any presentation of recommendations for the rest of the week? >> i would not anticipate that. it could change. it doesn't in the president isn't in regular consultation with members of his team at the white house that these agencies, about their ongoing review. what the final regulations at this point have not been presented. >> [indiscernible] ultimately, in terms of how the final regulations will be presented, i'm not sure. it will be on the to line of the e-mail. i would anticipate that the president senior group of advisers will be on the loop of these discussions. >> there is no recommendation that has been delivered to him?
>> is not a situation where final recommendations have been presented to some of his of the team but not the president. it is accurate to say that there has been an open line of dialogue and communication between the white house and individuals who are working on this review. there has been a lot of discussion in meetings on this topic. that would include, and the president has some visibility on those discussions. in terms of the final regulations that the president is recommended -- is waiting on, he is not received them. >> when jeff asked those questions are there, you did not question the premise of his questions, which is that the president had put out a deadline for himself. were hehis exact words asked for recommendations by the end of summer, he intends to act on them after that without delay. he never gave a date. is it fair for us to have interpreted that phrase without
delay to mean that he would issue the orders before election day? or is that an unfair interpretation? >> i don't think the president was trying to be ambiguous about those remarks. i think the president indicated think whened, and i the president of the united states make your request like this, he can count on a team to make that request. he asked for final augmentations from the attorney general and the secretary of homeland security before the end of the summer. he president indicated that intended that point to act on them quickly after receiving them. at this point, i don't have any update for you on the timing. i would anticipate that when the end of summer does roll around, the president will have received this final augmentations. in terms of when he will act on those final recommendations, i don't have any guidance for you. >> at the time he said that, without delay, what was that
supposed to mean? it could mean a lot of things. i was in just a didn't question the premise of his question. the premiseuestion of his astute line of questions. >> was a fair interpretation? >> i think it was fair for you to take away from this that the president would act without delay after receiving be reckoned editions, and to use conventional widespread understanding of without delay. let me put it out with the goats can get it. [laughter] >> i've never heard that phrase before in my entire life. and not sure what it means. it's a good one. mind if i use it? >> you have a lot of goods here. isn't this just about avoiding laying down the immigration principle before the election? there's been a lot of reporting on the subject. when it does come out and say
it. >> there are political analyst that are measuring what sort of impacts a decision or announcement along these lines would have on the elections. that frankly is not what the administration is focused on. we are focused most clearly on some ofre to address the problems that have been created by a broken immigration system. the president feels strongly thet having a debate about status of our immigration system. in the context of this announcement. >> does that to just you are not focused on the fate of those democrats? >> the white house does indicate some desire to support senate democrats, house democrats, and immigrant candidates up and down the ballot in the elections in the fall. there is no doubt that the white house has demonstrated our
desire to try and help those candidates, again within the confines of the law. the president has done that by raising money in support of democratic campaign committees. >> does it help them if you doesn't mention immigration? >> some people who think it would help, there are people who get hurt, there are some who suggest that maybe it would provoke such an aggressive reaction from some republicans that it would hurt republicans. --ill leave that to the [laughter] not my responsibly to be a political analyst. there are people who are better equipped to make that determination. fortunately, the president is making this decision much more on our commitment to solving problems in doing so in the context of the fact-based debate. the mayor can people actually understand with the consequent is our of acting within the confines of the law to repair our broken immigration system. of try to reduce the impact
the consequences for failing to do so. to presidenton putin statement that he could take you have -- kiev in two weeks? >> i didn't see that,, but is consistent with the kind of rhetoric that we've seen from him in the past. we have asked president putin to use his influence and his ability to colorfully turn a phrase to action to get the russian backed separatist to ds quite this conflict. there is an opportunity for the separatists to sit down at the negotiating table with the theian government, with ukrainian government, facilitated by the international committee, to try to resolve their differences diplomatic. there is no reason that they should be able to do that in a ease if notld satisfy all of the concerns by people on both sides of this conflict.
as we've mentioned many times before, it would be perfectly appropriate for the two sides to work out their agreements in a way that would allow the nation of ukraine to have a strong relationship with her neighbor in russia, while at the same time, being able to pursue the kinds of links to the west that would benefit the entire country. there is no reason this should be a zero sum game. present -- the president putin does not often see the situation this way. we are hopeful that those that are involved in the situation, and that president putin, if for no other reason then for the humanitarian concerns for those who are caught in the crossfire, who been displaced from their homes and new crane, will advocate for this peaceful resolution of their differences. >> we have asked in every way i can think of whether or not the president's words that he intends to a doctor recommendations of the secretary of homeland security and the attorney general without delay would be consistent with acting
after the november elections. can you see that? would it be? admire your creativity, in terms of trying to assess question again. -- ask this question again. i think it is a worthwhile line of questioning. but i'm not in a position to give additional guidance to you in terms of timing. the president is determined to act warehouse or publicans have prevented action. the reason for that is simply that it would be good for the country, good for the economy, it strongly supported by democrats and republicans in the congress and across the country. >> we are trying to get a timeframe on it. interestwelcome your on the timeframe. humbly, let me suggest to you that the substance of the action is more important than the timing. >> i will grant you that. but with the president's comments were, that he intended to act without delay, suggest some substance there too. is that consistence with now
waiting till after the first of november? >> the president has not made a decision about the timing. when he has come up with a more information for you about that. at this point, the lack of clarity around timing should not in any way lead people to believe that there is any lack of clarity by the president's commitment to acting on this priority. let me ask a question about i.s.i.s. one of my colleagues is being told the president was being briefed on i.s.i.s. in his presidential daily briefings a year or more ago. can you confirm this? it would indicate that it has been on his raters grain for longer than he suggested. >> i'm not sure when the president would have suggested that. i'm not in the position to give of the daily briefing. it is a closely held intelligence documents. for years, the president and other members of the national
security team have asked rest concern about exhibits elements in syria, and the destabilizing impact they could have on the broader region. that is why you've seen united states work for a closely with countries throughout the region to counter this threat. it is why you've seen the american government, at the direction of the president, worked to support the moderate elements of the syrian opposition. both to counter president assad, but also to counter the stream is elements in that country. has traveled to the region, he traveled to jordan in the spring of 2013. the specific question was raised about the role that extreme is elements in syria could have been destabilizing other countries in the region. directlydent spoke about the united states working with the international community, and working with our partners in the region, to counter that threat. that is work that is ongoing, and that is consistent with the strategy that the president has laid out for countering isil, even in the face in some of the gains they have made in iraq. >> the rapid response force from
even if the president hasn't made a formal determination, can you rule out that the u.s. would provide forces to join in with that effort, which could mean boots on the ground in places where they are required to respond rapidly? ini don't have any update terms of rapid response force. certainly, the united states will be supportive of any sort of allies decisions that are made. >> the option remains available that the u.s. will consider it? >> there are already troops operating under the nato banner, atsome case operating american military bases in europe. they do so in support of american security goals, and support of the broader nato alliance. as its is indicated relates to the russian ukrainian border. is that an option the present would become trouble with? >> the present was asked last week on thursday about whether or not a military option was
available to him in terms of dealing with the situation in ukraine. he said, check the transcripts. he was pretty definitive about suggesting that he wasn't interested in further militarizing the situation. the president to drop a distinction between the women's the united states has to the commitments of ukraine, and the commitments the united states has to the other 27 or 20 members of nato, with whom we have an alliance. and we have sore nose to defend necessary. >> he said we don't have a strategy in relation to isis in syria. does the u.s. now have a strategy, yes or no? as a relates to dealing with i.s.i.s. in syria rezulin, even if it is when you're not accountable announcing? >> the president has been at optionsdevelop military
for taking the fight to isil in syria. the president will only do what broaderstent with our strategy, including supporting the iraqi government, engaging regional governments, ramping up assistance to iraqi and kurdish security forces, marshaling the support of the international community in this effort, and so in the context of a broader strategy, the president has been working closely with his team to review military options. this point, i'm not in the position to talk about the status of those consultations. the president has a lot of confidence in the planners at the department of defense. they are working on these issues. in terms of the status of those conversations, i'm not going to disclose those. >> help people understand how the u.s. today could launch a strike in some all you, present only to take out some leaders of al-shabaab there, but wouldn't
do the same in syria? how the circumstances different? you might say that somalia has given us a green light. but in pakistan, we went in without government approval. can read a book on this topic. i suspect many people may. >> if we do it in somalia, why not in syria? >> the kinds of relationships we have with each of these different countries is different. the united states has a long-standing closely correlated relationship with the government of somalia to combat the terror element inside somalia. it remains to be seen what sort -- what the results of this latest military action are. our track record of acting in somalia, in support of a broader international coalition to counter the terror threat in some all you -- in somalia is
good. there is more than these to be done there. the situation in syria is altogether different. , butresident is working some of the strategies that will implement to counter the threat are similar. in some all you, for example, we are working with international partners in the international union to counter that threat. the united states is working diplomatic way to marshal international support, including the involvement of regional government. have generally speaking, a plan for dealing with these kinds of situations. -- as it relates to laid.s., the president has out a copperheads of strategy. how syria fits into that strategy is on the net they are still working on. thatere is been reporting
suggest that there already u.s. troops fighting in iraq at this time. our u.s. troops on the ground in iraq at this time? >> the president has been very clear that for all the options he is considering, he is not considering the option that would include sending u.s. combat troops on the ground into iraq to be on the front of this fight. i know that is different than what his critics have said. they suggest that the u.s. send groundould contact troops into iraq. that is an option the president is not willing to consider this point. >> none of the u.s. security forces that are presently serving as advisors or in other roles in iraq right now, are participating in fighting? there are a lot of different ways to slice this. i want to be as definitive as the president has been.
thet his insistence that united states america will not send combat troops on the ground back into iraq. there are come as you point out, american personnel that are serving in an advisory capacity to assess both the capability of the iraqi and kurdish security forces, but also to assess the capability of isil forces their countering. there are a military personnel in place to protect the mc in -- the embassy in baghdad, the diplomatic outpost in irbil. you have american personnel that are serving in joint operations centers, so we can closely integrate our efforts with iraqi and kurdish security forces. obviously american military personnel who are carrying out airstrikes in iraq. that ostensibly is a combat role. the parent best president is
drawing a distinct and between the, role of american military pilots and the role that is played by ground, troops. i'm trying to be as definitive as the president has been. our commitment to this printable has not changed. >> the president put out a statement on ebola that was directed specifically to people in west african nations today. we learned there is a third american missionary, a doctor, who was been diagnosed with ebola. is the white house aware of that? do they have any comments on that? what was the intent of the president's mission -- message today that coincided with that? >> i'm not aware of the reports about a third american who is been infected by ebola. the president earlier today did receive a briefing from cbc who recently declared
the ebola situation an epidemic. the doctor had recent travel to west africa, he visited each affected country. he has been providing regular updates on what the cdc is doing to deal with the epidemic. as you know, there is a lot that has been done on this. the cdc wrapped up its ebola response in early july. more than 500 staff members have provided logistics, can indication's, and other support functions. as of six ever second, as of 100 personnel have been deployed and are working in the effected countries responding to the opera, including more than 70 cdc staff deployed in the area. they are assisting with various response efforts, including surveillance, contact tracing, database manager, and health education. there is a lot of work that the u.s. government has only done to try and assist the west african governments that are dealing with this outbreak.
some of that effort involves public education, and making sure that people, even some of these remote communities, understand what they need to do to avoid contracting ebola. we are using a wide range of elements at our disposal to try and educate people about what they can do. the doctor himself has talked about how, with the right knowledge, this outbreak could be contained. require an education campaign, and it will require health care professionals in these countries adopting rigorously the reputations of the national committee to prevent the spread of this terrible disease. are -- the situation with immigration. i wanted to follow-up on the political situation. the president's goal is to get legislation on immigration. that theer has said
house republicans are unlikely if not impossible to vote this year. why are you downplaying the idea that as president and chief of this party, the president would be politically interested in the outcome in senator house races, looking ahead towards the disposition towards legislation next year. >> it is not impossible for the house to vote in this piece of legislation. it is entirely possible. it's at the will of the speaker of the house and other members of his leadership to allow to come to the floor. we know that if they were to allow this commonsense piece of legislation that are to pass the senate to come to the floor in the house, he would almost certainly pass. the president would happily sign it into law. it is not impossible, it's just that house republicans are refusing to do it. that has a detrimental impact on our economy. particularly when their objections don't appear to be substantive. after all, there are more than a dozen congressional -- senate
republicans that have artifacts this cover my proposal. republicans in the house are being animated by a much more narrow parochial political concern. when those kind of important decisions are made by important -- for such asuch narrow interest, it is not good for the process and not good for the country. we are hopeful that they will reconsider. it is not a matter of it being impossible. the second thing is, because it's not impossible, the president is holding open the hope, and maybe even the opportunity, for congress to pass legislation to address this problem. in a bipartisan way. that means that when the president does move forward with an executive action, or a series of executive actions to trying counter some of the problems that are created by our broken immigration system, he won't stop calling on congress to take action. there still will be opportunity, and an important reason for
commerce to pass bipartisan legislation to try and repair our broken immigration system. the president will keep up that call even after he takes steps within his own authority. >> the question is why would the president -- why would you downplaying the political to --ance of the dynamics if the opportunity is there next year to pursue legislation again. >> don't mean to downplay the important of the outcome of the legislation. the president just talked about how important it is, for people to get involved in the political process. that is good for the country. you have seen the president traveling. he just did on friday, traveled to rhode island and new york in support of raising money for democratic campaign committees. to support democratic candidates. the president does care about the outcome of these elections. what i'm trying to convey to you
is the priority that the president places on the specific action. as the president ask a decision about how to address this challenge, and how to wield is on executive authority to address that, the top priority is not the politics. the top priority is solving the problem. the second priority is solving this problem in the context of a debate with the american public about our broken immigration system, and what can be done to solve it. as the president of the united states, he feels strongly and personally about his response ability to engage in a dialogue with the american public to make sure they understand the stakes of these debates. who, as iothers pointed out, put politics ahead of all of this. the president doesn't believe that is the right order and priorities. has aause the president variety of fundraisers and political events, has talked extensively and repeatedly about his desire to see democrats motivated to turn out to vote, and he has had vivid disruptions
of this challenge to get them to turn out to vote, what the css the impact on turnout would be on turnouthe impact would be if he didn't go ahead with a second action? >> i don't know what his assessment of the situation is. there are a lot of people in this town and in this room who made their own assessment of what impacts they think addressing some of these problems with immigration system would have on the elections broadly. but also even on individual releases -- races, and the success of individual candidates. that is certainly an understandable interest. the elections are really important. cases, the outcome of elections can actually be really interesting. in trying to define all of the varying motivations of the visual voters, it something
people have spent a lot of time, money, and energy studying and analyzing. i think it is pretty interesting. ultimately, that is not what drives these decisions. what drives these decisions are solving problems, and refilling -- fulfilling the responsibility to the country. that explains the situation here. the president does care deeply about having partners in congress who are believed to work with him. the vast majority of congressional republicans have demonstrated time and time again that they are unwilling to work with the president, even on very commonsense measures. that is an important reason why the president is advocating for role as thes his head of the party, ahead of the midterm elections. but that is different from the response ability to the problems,has to solve and to engage in a debate with the inner can public about these problems, and their potential solutions.
me of one of the charge has been levied against the president by republicans, they have suggested that the president somehow wasn't really interested in actually passing copperheads of immigration reform, just because he wanted to have the debate in the relevant -- the run-up to the elections. he divined the sums or political vantage from continuing to have this debate. if there are republicans who actually feel this way, they should call our bluff. they should pass a law in the house representative's. put it on the president's desk. and dear the president to sign it. i will take the mystery out of it. the president will sign it. the president is adjusted in solving problems. would that have an impact on turnout in the midterm elections? i'm sure there are people who would say that would be terrible for democrats. i'm sure there were people who would say that would be terrible for republicans. the president is interested in solving his problems.
the political analysis is not what's driving the decisions -- the president's decision rating process. extenti ask you to what histhe meetings have an extentt decision-making on airstrikes would be? link atld not draw a this point. the president is concerned there are issue, other countries around the world that are concerned about this issue. this will be a topic of discussion at the un security council. that is different than -- not necessarily connected to the set of decisions that the president has to make about how this mikght fit into
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