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tv   Experts Discuss Global Issues to Watch in 2022  CSPAN  January 10, 2022 5:25pm-6:23pm EST

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>> certainly johnson's secretaries knew because they were tasked with transcribing many of those conversations. in fact, they were the ones who made sure that the conversations were taped. as johnson would signal to them through an open door between his office and theirs. >> you'll also hear some blunt talk. >> yes, sir. >> i want to report on the number of people that signed -- assigned to kennedy the day he died and the number assigned to me. >> presidential recordings. find it on the c-span now mobile app or wherever you get your podcasts. >> the council on foreign relations held a discussion on global con fict flick --
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conflicts and their threat to u.s. interests. >> welcome to all on this very cold afternoon here in washington, d.c. where i am. i am presiding over today's discussion. today's meeting is the launch event of if our 2022 priorities survey which is an annual survey that asks foreign policy experts to identify and evaluate 40 ongoing or potential conflicts based on how likely they are to escalate or occur in the next year and possible impact on u.s. interest. our panelists are looking ahead to see what might be in the book. it has been, shall we say, a very tumultuous period of time. i would like to first turn to paul, briefly describe the results of the 2022 survey that will guide our conversation today.
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paul: thanks, lulu, thanks to everybody on the zoom today for participating. and particularly those who took this year's survey. we appreciative to those who are engaged in this activity. explain the last 14 years we have been polling american foreign policy experts to assess the risk of particular violent conflicts, interrupting or escalating over the next 12 months. the goal is to not just assess the likelihood but potential impact on u.s. interest. i think this differentiates what we do from other surveys. all the point being to knowledge u.s. foreign policy makers to not neglect the important and focus on the urgent.
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paul: i shall be clear from the outset we only focus on foreign sources of instability and conflict. we do not evaluate domestic forces of instability within the u.s. we don't look at potential environmental threats or health related threats or economic for that matter. we can go into discussion later about why we do this. these are clearly all important issues, but we, as i say, focus primarily, exclusively on foreign soft threats to u.s. interest. one of the main takeaways from this year's survey, the good news if that's the right term is that most american experts now believe that the likelihood of a mass casualty terrorist attack on the u.s. homeland or u.s. ally, another 9/11, in other words, to be quite low. this is the first time in 14 years we have been polling it's
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no longer a top tier priority. the bad news is that the same group of experts now point to a daunting array of foreign policy challenges which they consider to be highly or moderately likely to occur in 2022. for the sake of clarity i'll try to organize them into three relatively discreet baskets. the first basket concerns various ongoing humanitarian crises that could get significantly worse in the coming months. these include afghanistan, haiti, lebanon, venezuela, ethiopia, and yemen. they are all considered highly likely to get worse in 2022. the second basket is regarding risk of rising tensions and nonconfrontation between the major powers. we have been seeing that in recent days over the ongoing crisis in ukraine. there's also taiwan is now a top
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tier priority. in the second tier there is the ongoing border dispute that led to various armed clashes in 2021 between india and china. there's also the possibility of escalation in the south china sea, too. the third basket is the potential for regional conflict or nonconfrontation arising as a result of various proliferation concerns. this year the possibility that we will see an acute crisis over iran's potential development of nuclear weapons is a real
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concern. it's now back as being a top tier concern. and of course in the background is always the possibility that north korea might do something that also leads to a serious crisis. now, i can't recall in recent memory, maybe jeh or megan can correct me on this, when a u.s. president or u.s. administration has had to face the prospect of those three kinds of baskets of contingencies occurring simultaneously. i can think of times when two out of three happened but three out of three is, i think, extremely rare. i'm having a hard time thinking about when this last occurred or presented itself to a u.s. president. on that cheery note i'll hand it back to you. lulu: cheery, indeed. jeh, i'll turn to you. tell me when you look at the report and what you just heard, what your thoughts go to. jeh: thank you, lulu, thank you, paul, for leading this effort on behalf of the c.f.r. i think this is a very worthwhile, valuable and healthy exercise to go through each
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year. i very much appreciate considering on the matrix both likelihood and impact. 40 years ago when i was studying for the bar exam, that's how i would study and spend my time. likelihood the subject on the exam, and impact if i'm asked and don't know the answer. when i was secretary of homeland security invariably i would prioritize and ask our team to prioritize how we spend time based upon the potential impact of some form of attack and the likelihood of such an attack. you put them together. invariably, politically because we live in a political world those events of high likelihood,
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even the smaller scale lone wolf, bad actor get more attention. day-to-day in the life of a secretary of defense or secretary of homeland security or f.b.i. director. this is a very worthwhile exercise. when you go through something like this, invariably you look for places where you disagree. and i had the insight of reading presidential daily brief and my other intel reports on a daily basis every morning and read "the new york times" and david sanger afterward to see how they were covering what i knew to be reality. i have to say i was a bit -- i guess the one significant exception i would make here is
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the -- a highly disruptive cyber attack on u.s. critical infrastructure by a state or state supported group is in the likely hood moderate impact high category. i would put that in the likelihood high category. i believe that cyber threats and cyber attacks on our critical infrastructure are here. i think the likelihood is high. i think that the potential impact of such an attack is high. best example is the attack on colonial pipeline several months ago. i gave a whole speech on this several weeks ago on cyber attacks on critical infrastructure. in my judgment cyber space is the 21st century battleground. and covert actors are giving --
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replacing conventional actors and cyber attacks are replacing kinetic attacks in my judgment. if it were up to me only, i would put cyber attacks on critical infrastructure like the defense industrial base or government infrastructure higher likelihood, potential high impact. that's my initial reaction. thank you. lulu: i want to circle back to that. i want to get megan's thoughts. megan: thank you. and thanks to everybody for joining this call and also many thanks to paul and his team for putting together an excellent report. i share my appreciation for the report in the same ways that jeh mentioned. i would say that it has over the last 14 years been consistent and useful and rigorous report.
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it has added rigor in the way that jeh mentioned that not all beginning of year reports usually have. often they are insightful but about the judgment of one or -- where this report here really does a great job of bringing together a range of views and doing so in a systematic way. it's been a go-to report for many years. consistent with what jeh did. i want to share a couple things in reading the report i found struck the right chord and a couple i found disconsummate. this point already mentioned about how terrorism and fear of a terrorist attack or 9/11 terrorist attack seems to have gone down in favor of conflicts that more fall into the category of great power conflict seems right. we have been talking about this in the foreign policy community for many years.
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several years i should say that the great power conflict is becoming the dominant paradigm to think about foreign affairs. this survey that -- reflects that. i would ask whether it's simply the intensity of these great power questions and challenges has risen so acutely and debatable point about whether the risks of terrorism have fallen in an absolute event. when i look at 2022, i think about events that happened in afghanistan at the end of last year, my assessment is that our risk of maybe not a 9/11 attack but risk of more terrorist attacks emanating from foreign soil has gone up in 2022 rather than gone down from 2021. maybe it still belongs behind great powers of conflict. but there is an absolute question as well. the other point, again i think we may come back to these. has to do with the place that potential u.s.-china conflict takes in the report. i think the report gets it
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right. it's actually a tier 2 concern or threat rather than a tier 1, which many may think looking at the rhetoric in washington and elsewhere. it does belong in that second tier because of the two parameters the report looks at and reflects reality well. obviously it could be very high in terms of the consequence, but only moderately likely in today's scenario looking at the year of 2022. that is for a range of reasons. that really, i think that assessment it is not likely to occur really assumes that there is nothing that -- nothing unforeseen or that there isn't some kind of fall into conflict that neither party wanted. a couple things that struck me as a little disconsummate i also shared jeh's view the likelihood of a very disruptive cyber attack probably being higher. the terrorism point i just made is worth considering. the other point which hasn't
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been mentioned i was not surprised but interested that even in today's world, which is so defined by covid, unfortunately, but in reality that u.s. analysts didn't think there was any conflict in africa that had particular consequence for the united states. particularly as we know the role of instability and poor governance and the relationship to vaccination and the fact that unvaccinated countries, the fastest growing continent being largely unvaccinated, provides a lot of opportunity for this virus to continue to mutate and stay with us for a long period of time. i think that judgment maybe it's different than it might have seemed a year or two ago. a couple words about the structure of the report. this is more a refinement -- refinement than criticism. paul mentioned up front about
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how it has been the tradition of the report not to look at nontraditional threats or threats that we would consider today to fall things like pandemics or climate change and look more at threats that have to do with state actors and more traditional forms of conflict. i would just argue, perhaps we'll talk about this more, i would just argue it may be time to reconsider that judgment. the world has changed so dramatically in the last 14 years. and i particularly feel that's the case with climate change. let me just say a few words about that. i think a dozen years ago or 14 years ago when we thought about the intersection of climate and national security we really might have been thinking primarily about some mass weather event that would create humanitarian hardship and could lead to economic instability and potentially political instability. something along those lines. that's very, very hard to predict. now i would say climate change is much more deeply infused into national security. it's no longer this factor out
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there that could potentially have an impact on national security. it really is -- animates a lot of the foreign policies of great powers. be it china, the united states, europe. or be it countries looking to spoil the transition to a cleaner economy. if you think about the biden administration and just how the president has pledged that climate change will be at the center of virtually all their relationships, that's indicative how much has changed. in closing, it might be difficult to figure out how to account for climate change. i was trying to think of making constructive recommendation and it would be useful to ask those surveyed how much climate change is part of your assessment of the severity of the threat or likelihood rather than putting it as a separate category.
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climate change, as we come to appreciate, is what is called the threat multiplier. the democratic republic of the congo and conflict there didn't even make it into tier 3 list. that is the country that produces 70% of the world's cobalt. cobalt is essential for a lot of clean energy technologies. suddenly the conflict in the congo has potentially direct consequences for the taste of decarbonization. that might mean people start paying more attention and that conflict might be seen to have more importance for the u.s. and other countries. lulu: i'm going -- jeh: if i could build on what meghan said about climate change. the assessment talks about security challenges in the conventional sense. i think it's time we view climate change, global warming, as a security challenge. it is -- it has the ability to cause mass migration events. famine, drought in central america. wildfires. from my perspective on homeland
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security, severer weather events and the impact of that on aging infrastructure like a tunnel or a bridge is itself a security challenge. i think it's important that we do view climate change, global warming as a security threat in the conventional sense. meghan: i'm going to put this to you. because the way it has been traditional looked at we see foreign actors and the way that they influence or don't or can impact american security. lulu: is it time to look at these things less as sort of regional conflicts and more looking at issues in terms of how they affect different countries in different places and global security and american security all at once? paul: these are all good comments. i have no real disagreement with them. i just to be clear, the assessment is sort of aggregate
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of respondents used. it's the wisdom of crowds approach. how the results came out don't reflect my personal judgment. i have different takes on many of the issues. on climate change, we struggled with this for many years. actually, frankly, as the intelligence community. u.s. intelligence community in trying to assess this risk and get their arms around it. it's not we are dismissing the threat or the risk involved. on the contrary, it's how we assess that risk. i think if we insert add question in next year's survey that said what is the likelihood of a hurricane hitting central america and causing political instability and mass migration or as happened last year an earthquake following the assassination of the president of haiti.
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most respondents would say there is no way i can judge the likelihood of that. i think if we change the parameters of the survey so that it's not just foreign policy experts but actually climatologists, meteorologists, seismologists, whatever, and have a much more inclusive group of experts involved in the polling and possibly try to carry out defined set of questions about -- lead you to reach some appreciation of the growing risk. then i think that's possible. it would require us changing the way we do these surveys.
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or a separate one that's primarily focused as meghan says. have a broad arrange of experts making these judgments. that's the only way i think we can do it. lulu: i'm going to jump in because time is limited. i do want to have a look what's in this report. one place where there was a lot of agreement, most agreement, was afghanistan. all of those surveys said that that was the highest number of respondents saying it was of high concern. i'd like to get everyone's take on why that is. what the concern is when you think of afghanistan it is now a country where the united states had a very messy departure after 20 years of war. the taliban has taken over. what impact does that have for the united states? jeh: no doubt the foreign policy experts when they were surveyed
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had afghanistan fresh on their minds. the role of the taliban. the evolving nature of the afghan government, future of afghanistan, that problem is here now. as we speak. day-to-day. we see the rollback of women's rights. we had hopes, i think, in the beginning that the new government would somehow try to behave in a more moderate fashion. but i think they are reverting to form. so the picture from the u.s. perspective doesn't look bright. i can understand why it should be high on the list. paul: can i say something about afghanistan, too. it's a bit of a paradox because i think a lot of americans look at what happened in august in kabul as well as the drawdown of u.s. forces in iraq and syria over recent years.
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more or less psychologically drawn a line under the 9/11 era. i think as meghan correctly points out in many respects the terrorist threat to the u.s. may now be on the rise again as a result of our departure. that has a larger debate about when we were -- whether we were doing the right way and how long we do it. there is a disconnect there between how most experts assess the risk versus what i think could be happening on the ground. talking to terrorist experts, they certainly are worried about the resurgence of al qaeda or isis-k. or how the taliban may aid and
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abet terrorist groups in the region as posing a threat down the road. i don't think this challenge is by any means disappearing. it could be getting worse in the coming years. lulu: that's what i wanted to ask you. it strikes me certainly as someone who has been in afghanistan and covered that part of the world, the concern always was the argument for staying in afghanistan always was you wanted to have american troops on the ground to prevent another 9/11. it seemed that there is a bit of disconnect with saying on the one hand there isn't going tonight likelihood of a mass attack, masteries attack gone down while saying afghanistan is still a great concern. meghan, another big issue in the news right now is russia and the u.s. this falls under the more traditional great power confrontations. right now they are meeting in geneva over ukraine.
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russia has been amassing its troops on the border of that country. how do you see those negotiations playing out? how concerned should we be with these very traditional forms of confrontation? that is potentially a hot conflict. not a conflict in the cyber sphere. in the conflict of resources. but a conflict with guns and tanks. meghan: i know we are short on time. let me just simply point out that there is a massive humanitarian crisis unfolding in afghanistan as well where you have half the population facing potentially life-threatening hunger this year and a quarter facing near famine conditions. that's going to -- that's very severe source of instability as well as humanitarian problems. to your russia question. i put this on the high on the list of things to worry about in
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202t even higher than it was when the survey was conducted in november. it's possible that today in europe there will be some kind of lessening of the tensions. i also think we are looking at a very real possibility of military action by president putin in the ukraine. i think there are reasons for this but i think he feels this is a good time for him to take steps to ensure he is not the president. that isn't overriding reoccupation at this moment. he looks what has happened in the last couple years as moving in the wrong direction. the u.s. signing a partnership agreement. all these things well short of nato. i think most of us are well aware that the u.s. is not going to be in favor of bringing ukraine into nato. putin doesn't feel, doesn't have that assurance. i think there is that real possibility that we'll see military action there. again he sees -- this is a good time, biden, he perceives as
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weak. macron will be preoccupied with his election. a new leader in germany. and a major energy crisis unfolding in europe. this strengthens his hand and diminishes what europe can do in reaction to a crisis there. i think we are more likely than not we are looking at an escalation of that crisis. although i of course like others hoping for a difficult fusion of -- diffusion of it. it's possible there are diplomatic steps for an understanding between the west and putin that don't make the commitments he's looking for but believe him more comfortable that nato will not welcome ukraine into the doors. maybe limitations on the weapons. i think actually this is a very, very hard situation to diffuse given the depth of putin's feelings and the fact he feels that this would be the time for him to ensure that his legacy in
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terms of russia's -- is secure. lulu: a few more minutes left for this portion. please think of your question bus we'll take your questions in -- questions because we'll take your questions in the second half. i want to get something close to my particular heart which is this region latin america in particular. jeh, for the first time things in our hemisphere became tier 1 issues. am i correct in saying that? paul: yeah. i think there were three particular conflict or sources of instability that made it into tier 1. in the write-in sections of the survey respondents brought attention to central america and brazil as additional concerns. i'm not sure we have ever had so many so highly rated before. in the survey. lulu: jeh, i want to ask you
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about this. venezuela instability and haiti, migration coming from central america. last year we saw the most apprehensions at the u.s. border since record keeping. 1 6 million, 1.7 million apprehensions. i'm wondering what your thoughts are on how that could impact the u.s. as someone who used to assess those threats and why you think that has risen now to such a critical concern. jeh: yes. i owned this problem for three years. i think i know it well. thankfully i'm not as close to it as i used to be. it's easier to talk about this issue from my den in new jersey than when i was wrestling in the thick of it. the one thing i'll say about migration is this. we can -- this is a hard lesson i learned.
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we can put all sorts of defenses on our southern border. we can build a wall. we can bring in more aircraft surveillance. more border patrol agents. we can enhance enforcement by i.c.e. as long as the underlying push factors exist in central america, as long as the famine, drought, corruption, economy that are driving families to make the decision to come to the u.s., even if it's only for a couple years while their asylum is ascending, they are going to keep coming. they don't count on being captured. the answer to this, i know president biden believes this because he believed it when he was vice president and talked about it all the time. you have to address the problem at the source. that's not a quick and easy solution. we can adopt a form of a plan colombia for central america, a
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more discreet region of the world, that tries to get at some of these issues. we began in 2016 with a drop in the bucket of $50 million. and experts will tell you even that amount of money was beginning to make a difference. giving people hope again. now as you point out migration is -- the numbers are as high as they ever have been. i once asked somebody at d.h.s., listen, the women and children is there a saturation point where they just stop coming because they entered the country. the answer is, no. you have to address the problem in central america. from the migration point of view. lulu: i'm going to ask you a quick question, planned colombia was a military and humanitarian and it had other components to it. i lived in colombia while it was ongoing. is that what you envision for central america, something with a military component? jeh: no. something that addresses the core needs. for example, aid to help coffee
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growers get their product to the market. to give people hope in that fashion. not a military solution. i wasn't suggesting that at all. all i'm trying to suggest is that we have done this kind of thing before to some degree of success. lulu: at this time i would like to invite members to join our conversation with their questions. reminder this meeting is on the record. that means that it will be released into the public. only say something you want your mother or sister to hear. the operator will -- something i keep always present in my mind. the operator -- jeh: or "the washington post." lulu: the operator will remind you how to june the question queue. >> ladies and gentlemen, as a remainder to ask a question click on the raised hand icon on the zoom window. when you are called on proceed with your name, affiliation and question. queue the rosser, registers members attended.
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click on the link in the check box. the first question. caller: thank you. secretary johnson, nice to see you. paul, congratulations, i thought it was a terrific survey. i know it's dated by a certain time. i was wondering if the experts could opine particularly on what's happening in kazakhstan right now and how you would rank that given the previous criteria or what you think the situation is. >> i'm happy to jump in there. of course i think paul can confirm the survey was done in november. kazakhstan had not reached our front pages. in terms of putting it into context, i think it is consequential not only for
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kazakhs but on a number of different levels. i would say, one, i think it's a harbinger to what we are going to see a lot more of over the course of 2022 in that is political instability that comes from energy crises. we begin the year with energy crisis. people who maybe haven't been watching the kazakh situation closely, these protests were started over energy prices. essentially there is a shortage of energy in the world. that has to do with the demand growing more quickly. underinvestment and conventional sources. and russian actions in europe and other things. there is an energy crisis in europe. there has been one in china. and we see one in kazakhstan resulting in this political upheaval. that's the first thing i would say we are likely to see more of these events.
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in terms of the significance for the region, i would say it's interesting because some people have questioned, is this russia's opportunity to re-establish what it has called a year abroad. as you probably noted russian troops were called in to help provide security or re-enforce stabilization efforts over the very need term. this is a question once russian troops are in how long are they there? they say they are temporary. we'll see. this can be an indication of russia -- i don't think they are behind the protests, but pushing more into that part of the world. if russia gets more presence, more visible in central asia, this could cause tensions between russia and china which is a relationship that is otherwise growing in a positive direction. >> the next question. from joseph.
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caller: thank you. joe nye. paul, i've long admired your work. let me pose a question to -- about your methodology. nobody can predict the future. i used to chair the national intelligence council that did intelligence estimates. obviously there was never an ability to predict the future. what's most interesting useful to policymakers was to learn about possible surprises and how they would have an impact. if surprise by definition you can't predict it, but you can sensitize people to some are more important than others. the problem with the wisdom of crowds it's not surprising. you look at what the wisdom of the crowds says and it comes out as you would expect. what you would see on "the new york times" front page. the most interesting thing for
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the policymakers, what could change this dramatically at great cost? and that's why i used to always ask the analysts after you have done your best estimates, put in something in the report, what could make this all wrong. what would be intriguing for you on your next report would be to ask the crowds you are surveying, ok, one possible event which might mean that all these assessments you have made are out of whack, what would it be, and how likely or unlikely it is. they may range from don't look up planet hitting the earth. might be something much more interesting like if the culpability of putin invading ukraine is point five and the probability of china invading
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afghanistan -- invading taiwan is point one or point two, if putin does go into ukraine, what's that do to the probability of china going into taiwan? does it suddenly go up? if you could push your respondents after they have given you the wisdom of the crowd to ask this other question. what could make this all rock and how likely or unlikely is that. i think i would learn more from the reports than i do the way they are now. paul: as always, terrific wisdom from joe nye. i couldn't agree more. i'm the first to admit that instrument or methodology is crude. it's just a first cut. as the kazakhstan case demonstrates. the assessment is just a snapshot of what people were
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thinking about in mid november. it's not something that is constantly being updated. you are, as you say, it's not just the wisdom of the crowds, it's also the madness of crowds as much as you follow the whims and fashions and so on. you are absolutely right. i think one way to try to address what you are pointing to is do what i think the intelligence community does with so-called red teaming in which they pull together a group of contrarians, if you will, to essentially double check the assumptions and look at alternative futures, if you will, to what the analysts are saying. i think we could do the same with this report each year. and say -- tell me what could be different or why this could be completely off base.
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the scenarios i think of is major political change inside russia or even beijing. how would things change if there was some event or series of events in those two capitals and how things would change. if there is major instability in saudi arabia, what would that do to energy markets? the implications would be profound. you are right, joe. well taken. jeh: i just watched don't look up. one of the reasons i really dislike that movie was it has an element of reality to it. i worry that if there was a crisis, national or international, our government would have an inability to even agree upon what the facts are.
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which affects our ability to effectively respond. which itself in my judgment is a security issue. meghan: it's funny you didn't like it. me and my husband loudly disagreed, i loved it, he hated it. he thought it was more a documentary than comedy. the next question. >> the next question from sheri goodman. caller: hello, sherry good win caller: hello, sherry goodwin from the wilson center. center for climate insecurity. thank you jeh and meghan for your brilliant analysis. lulu, a great job of moderating. paul, i have been participating in this survey since the beginning when i think i was on the advisory board. as a person who 15 years ago coined the phrase, threat multiplier and worked with a first group of generals and admirals to address the national security implication of the climate change. thank you for bringing that n i tried in the past but i think now you both have succeeded in raising a higher level of visibility on this subject. i do want to sort of address the
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ways i think you both have spoken to how climate could be better reflected in this survey because as you say, while we might not predict when the next hurricane is going to occur or next typhoon, we know they are occurring with increasing frequency and increasing intensity. certainly that is something we should be planning for. even as we -- as jeh would say, we can't predict when the cyber attack will occur but that war has started. there are specific threat events is one way to address it. the likelihood and impact as you said, meghan, i think is another way. as you say increasingly we are going to have conflict over new energy resources such as congo, but also potentially in bolivia, chile. increasing instability in regions that possess, or subsea mining.
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and other dimension of this is water. that also can be potentially an increasing driver of conflict and inability. lastly, i would observe that the two regional scenario conflicts we used to plan as our first criteria in defense, the two m.r.c.'s from the cold war era has now changed dramatically where we are now deploying equal numbers -- increasing number of troops to respond to domestic disasters, some of which are climate driven, some of which are democracy at risk. and others. that tension, i think, between the troops for the away game and the home game is going to continue. that also could become a fundamental challenge as we
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think about the future of our ability to respond to a variety of regional conflicts. i appreciate your reaction to that. meghan: i'm happy to jump in. sheri, thanks for the comments and the good work that you have done. i was thinking this morning, who was it that coined threat multiplier? you were one of my candidates. it's good to have that confirmed. there's so much we could say about this. i'll make a couple of additional points to what we have already said. first bringing together lulu, one of the questions you asked migration and about displaced people. there are a climate aspect to this that is difficult to get your head around. two years ago, i imagine this assessment has been updated, two years ago the world bank estimated that by 2050 this would be 143 million climate
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refugees. that's in reference to 23 million refugees and 85 million people displaced. imagine having that exponential growth in refugees and migrants from a climate itself. on top of all the other sources of migration. that is a huge source of instability that i think we give a nod to. but talking about preparing for them is something that would be deeply, deeply -- it would require enormous amounts of resources. the other thing i would mention, i said a little bit about this before, there is going to be a whole view politics of the energy transition. this move to decarbonize the global economy will be extremely disruptive. and this is going to be because not only are countries going to be doing things within their own economies to try to decarbonize, whether or not they succeed is a different question, but
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increasingly we are going to see countries, europe and the u.s., try to get others to decarbonize their economies and this could have all kinds of implications on the bilateral relationships. but also on the internal politics. as we move or as the impulse to decarbonize becomes more and more tense as i imagine it will and more evident how far apart we may still be from the need to meet the realities. the last place where climate and conflict could intersect is over the question of geoengineering. there is an evolving view within the climate community that we may actually need to do some form of engineering the climate at least for some period of time. there are still no governance mechanisms to decide how countries are going to agree whether or not we need to invoke
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a few engineering techniques, how much, where we need to do it, what kind. and all of that could be a huge source of geopolitical tension. jeh: sheri, good to hear your voice again. can't see you. caller: i want to ask you something, secretary johnson, when we think about climate and migration, you were speaking about how you have to help people at the source. with climate change that is a global threat that really isn't necessarily something that one can account for. lulu: how does the united states deal with that if we see huge outflows because of climate change? jeh: you're right. this is a global problem. it's not a regional problem. it's not a southern border problem. it's a global problem. the thing that worries me most about climate change aside from
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the fact of climate change, is it's as barack obama once said, a slow moving, slow motion emergency. it never makes it to the top of the in box in terms of priorities to address. our government's inability to take a sustained consistent leadership role in addressing carbon emissions, global warming year after year after year is itself a huge problem. i know the percentage of carbon emission from the u.s., india, and russia is some huge number, like 70%. our own inability on a sustained basis, administration after administration to accept a leadership role in dealing with this is itself a dire emergency, in my view. >> we'll take the next question
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from jim kolbe. caller: thank you. interesting discussion here. alluded to the question i wanted to make. it seems to me that you can hardly think of this moment in time hardly separate our domestic issues from the foreign policy. always the case. what happens domestically has an impact on foreign policy and foreign issues. how we react or other countries do. it seems to me right now the threat to democracy in this country seems to rise so high that it's impossible impact how other countries see us and how they decide to react to some of the crises or some of the threats that we have identified really has to be considered. i would be interested in your comments on that. jeh: agree 100%. best i can say.
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i agree 100% with the comment. any others have a view. paul: i can add it's a huge distraction to the president and senior advisors if a country's polarized as a result of unrest and civil division in the country. it also underlines our moral standing around the world to project our values on issues. it's a huge relevance. you cannot underestimate it. as richard, the president of c.f.r., reminds us we really do have to put our house in order if we really want to address many of these foreign policy issues in an effective manner. jeh: if we had another 9/11 i worry there would be a basic
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argument about who did it. somebody might say it is antifa. it wasn't al qaeda. if we had another 9/11, i worry about the ability of our government to mobilize a national response for the american people to see a national purpose today. meghan: there are many, many aspects of that complex relationship. one of the most competitive areas is the democracy versus authoritarianism. that is something that the biden administration is trying to rally all democracies together to have joint action not just vis-a-vis china but elsewhere. i think the politics at home make it difficult for the united states to be as strong as it could be in carrying that banner. in a world where china is really
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selling its model, it would be great for america's democracy to be as strong as possible to not only for us at home but also to counter that abroad in many ways. lulu: another question. >> we'll take the next question from john tyson. caller: hello. thank you, guys, for your time and wisdom today. i am a term member and my day job is that of chief strategy and sustainability officer at tyson food. the question from the private sector here bringing the discussion back to cyber as a threat. all of us guys acknowledged in some capacity cyber as credible and likely and the focus of mr. johnson's comments were on critical infrastructure, for example the colonial pipeline. my question to you is how should the u.s. government be thinking about deterring cyber attacks on both critical and noncritical infrastructure and global supply chains. for example, one of the largest payroll software companies in the u.s. suffered attack in december.
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not expected to be back online until january or february and this impacts millions of american workers. the question to bring it back to preventing threat or acknowledging threat hot spots is, what should the u.s. government be doing to deter cyber attacks on critical energy infrastructure as well as noncritical supply chain infrastructure. thank you. jeh: i think there are 17, 18 sectors of critical infrastructure. you would be surprised at the number of us who are -- didn't realize we were critical infrastructure like food, for example. agriculture. on cybersecurity there is a lot we can do on defense. educating those that use our systems better cyber hygiene, which is about 75% of the problem. there is no foolproof defense to a cyber attack, which is why you
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have to deter the bad actors. there's the criminal remedy for conventional criminal actors. and then for nation states you have to make the behavior cost prohibitive. most nation states, whether they are monarchies, democracies, communist regimes do think in a certain rational way. so if you make the behavior cost prohibitive, the price of action is just too high. the cost of action is too high. they will stop. which for many state actors we have not achieved yet. the other thing i'll say then i'll stop is very often a group like -- is only one degree removed from a nation state. very often nation states outsource bad cyber behavior to a group of people who used to work for their intelligence community who are now in the private sector who do all sorts
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of bad things whether it's ransomware, espionage, or so forth which gives the state, very often, some degree of deniability. the picture is often muddy when it comes to state actor versus pure private criminal. paul: if i could jump in. this is a great question, people have been struggling with this for a long time about how do we deter cyber attacks against the u.s. and concern that if we retaliate we'll create this sort of escalatory spiral and things will get out of hand and we'll show our hand what we'll do in wartime and so on. where people come down is relying on deterrence through denial. denying would-be attacker the low hanging fruit. prospect that they would succeed rather than being deterred by the prospect of retaliation. or at least not retaliation
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that's directly comparable. something that's in another area which the perpetrator may hold more dear. it's that kind of response. that kind of deterrence i think is probably the most effective way for us to proceed. lulu: where do you think the united states is at right now in that deterrence in protecting its infrastructure after these attacks? paul: i'm not an expert on this. i'm told the financial sector is pretty good. some elements of the power sector also well hardened. i'm not sure about the health sector. we have seen issues on supply chain. i think are softer. i think the picture actually varies across different sectors. jeh mentioned 17 or 18 designated critical infrastructure sectors. i think the assessment there is
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across that. i think we -- there's certainly room, everybody i have spoken to, room to really harden now our systems more effectively than they have in the past, which in a way will deter at least nonstate adversaries from doing damage to us. lulu: i think we'll leave it there. i'd like to thank you so much for joining today's virtual meeting. thank you to our esteemed panelists for this invigorating conversation. please note that the audio and transcript of today's meeting will be posted on c.f.r.'s website as well as the 2022 preventive priorities survey. enjoy your day. stay warm. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2022] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy visit] >> the librarian


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