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tv   Conflict Zone - Guest Frederick B. Hodges  Deutsche Welle  January 8, 2018 12:30am-1:00am CET

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in the in. this week conflict zone is at the u.s. army seoul in first training area in bavaria our guest is lieutenant general ben hodges commander of some thirty thousand u.s. soldiers in europe with
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a such controversial come on the in chief in washington many people in europe are wondering is america still a reliable partner. john or banhart as welcome to conflicts thank you michel republican senator bob corker head of the foreign relation committee of the u.s. senate said president donald trump threatens other nations in such a way it could lead to a third the world war three you agree. well course as a soldier my job is to make sure that our soldiers are as well prepared as they can be for whatever contingency. should arise our focus is on deterrence. working as part of the alliance most successful alliance in the world in the
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history of the world so but senator bob corker sat if we want to speak more about this quote that the president of the united states is today more a danger than a hell for peace i mean again i don't know trump threatens other nations in such a way it could lead to with third world war two you agree with that i think that the president has done everything that the previous administration said it was going to do the president and this administration has lived up to every commitment as far as the alliance goes and that's what i'm focused on rotational forces preposition equipment and henceforward presence that's all part of deterrence and i think strong deterrence strong alliance that reduces the chance of a war quite often president trump uses twitter in an interview with german effort
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said newspaper you said quote don't judge by what the president tweets about what else i would say as our secretary defense of said watch what we do and again but again we can watch what the american army is doing but the tweets of the presidents are more than only having a nice time there is a content in the tweets well i actually don't know how to tweet and i don't have a twitter account so i would be the expert on do you want me really to believe that as an answer and to say fair enough. you don't know where the president is really i don't i don't follow i don't follow it were so why did you say don't judge us by what the president tweets you hellen son to say something like that because i think it's important to watch what the united states does when the united states are serious about something we put soldiers on it we put money on it that's exactly
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what's happening here in europe and general president trump tweets a lot including foreign policy and also military issues well i get my orders from the military chain of command course the president is their commander in chief but that's not how we issue orders over i don't speak about when we do as i speak about his opinions about. all of the things he is in communication with the word and the things are also connected to your job or my experience over the last several months is that all of our allies have taken a look as they've made in the judgment to a new administration they see what we're doing and so i hear i hear almost zero concern from any of our allies any more about you know is united states committed in europe because they see what we're doing and again that's that's the manifestation of u.s.
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policy is what we're doing and that's what i'm concerned about this is an understanding which is one possibility to see the word the other one is still that he's the commander in chief he's also then your commander in chief and again. he's called kim you're known the north korean leader a quote little rocket man and he said he was short and fat do you think this is a leg which the president has to judge that speak about other leaders in the world and show course you know it's not my place to criticize any elected. an official to comment on how they do things what i care about is our president's commitment to the alliance and making sure that our soldiers have everything they need to do their job and that's what i'm focused on senator corker when even so far as to say that while the white house was an adult day care center how appropriate is it for
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the president of the united states and i have to ask you the last time but i have to do it ok to communicate like this i mean you are a general you have so just imagine you communicate like that you are a role model the president trump is a role model also for your soldiers do you think that his language is responsible i can tell you that every soldier takes an oath to the constitution the united states and in that oath it says obey the orders of the president of the united states who is our commander in chief i also say that i'm very glad that i am here and one feels germany at a training area and not. involved in the other types of. that sort and there's i would like to move on to russia is russia currently a security threat for the u.s. sure it is. russia is the only other nation that possesses the ability not necessarily the will but the ability to destroy the united states or all the other
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members of the alliance. and their behavior of the last three years since they invaded ukraine has got has raised the concern of everybody including all members of the alliance all members of the european union. and it's it's the kind of thing that i think nobody wants that conflict is not inevitable we all want russia to be a part of the responsible community responsible they ask me. not with their current that they're not on the right path not right now we what we would like to see them back on the path of responsible behavior as a great power it's a great nation great people great history so many places where we could cooperate with them but they don't cooperate with you anymore well they've not lived up to any agreement that they've signed including minsk and other treaties
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unless you really put pressure on them to do that that's a good point because shortly after president trump took off as you said the russians only respect drank what exactly do you mean by this the russians i believe will use every means at their disposal to achieve whatever their strategic objectives are. what they are concerned about or what they fear is a unified alliance and a unified european union that sticks together we had this throughout the cold war where you had hundreds of thousands of allied soldiers soviet troops. across the energy border from each other do you need more soldiers in this area and when we had that cold war days we still were able to play hockey we still had trade you still had cultural exchanges you still had cooperation in different areas that's
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history today do you need more soldiers we need the same effect. oh they say how do you want to work out that so one thing is continue to improve our cooperation with allies and i see germany in particular as being a leader increasing its military capability providing leadership in the alliance as well as in the european union these are all things that this is not the compensation for these times you were just describing that sounds good and it's certainly something very. constructive but it is not the compensation sure it is germany so important not just in europe but in the world for so many from so many perspectives economics military germany has a sort of a has earned a moral authority that's respected around the world so german german leadership
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is a very important part of this deterrence the fact that germany was the leader along with france and crafting the minsk agreement the fact that germany is helping to keep the european union sanctions in place against russia until they live up to. but this is this is a very important for like the question are you satisfied with the strength of your current military assets i have never met any military commander that is satisfied with what he has after saying this let's continue are you satisfied on north so let me say it this way. i am confident that the department of defense and the alliance are both doing everything that they can to ensure we have what we need. to have or haven't to undo. several years of decisions that were made. made on the best judgments at the time when we thought russia was going to be our
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partner. the last american tank left germany three years ago we had no tanks here because nobody could even invision why you would need them here anymore our aviation brigade significantly reduced and by the way all of our allies have done the same thing now with russia's aggressive behavior everybody realizes that russia only respects strength so you have to bring back weekly killing we quick enough is it the reaction to it the situation and you said yourself the russians are changing the security environment what is the necessary respond to that so are we doing enough i was very happy with the outcome of the defense minister also this past week in brussels where everybody from secretary general stoltenberg general scupper adi our defense minister secretary mabus addressing the things that need to be done to continue to improve the deterrent capability make sure that the
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alliance is adapted to the new security environment so actually i am i'm extremely optimistic by that i also see improved cooperation or expanding cooperation between nato and the european union this freedom of movement or i would say military mobility across borders is a perfect place for cooperation between the e.u. and nato so i'm much more optimistic about that that's what you can about realities two thousand and seven russia aggressed georgia in two thousand and fourteen only three years ago russia occupied crimea and you have criticized mosco for having troops supporting separatists in eastern ukraine as well as for its an accession of crimea but your commander in chief hasn't been as clear. so my commander. has been very clear and then chief the president on the trunk as
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being as clear. i thought he was very clear when he stood there more so that by the uprising the moral in said we are committed to article five of the alliance he pointed to american soldiers that were standing there next to him and said this is our commitment pointed to these young men and women as a manifestation of the commitment the united states to security and stability in europe don't criticize russia as you are doing you. don't know trump has stepped back from delivering military aid to the ukraine but we have not stepped back from delivering military we have two hundred fifty american soldiers that are in ukraine right now helping to train ukrainian troops hundreds of millions of dollars of supplies and equipment have been provided we just delivered just delivered a large number of frontline ambulances for the ukrainian army. so the decision on any additional aid of course that's a that's a decision that level but i think the right people are working on it and we're not alone we have canadians what is resides by the people who are working on the mall
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so journals capriati is given the best professional military advice based on his assessment of the situation he's given me the chance to speak to him. and i think that's that's where it's best left is between john scott broady general its president from too soft on russia. you know i'm not going to comment on on the president's we speak about military actions. is he too soft on russia from your point of view as a general so i would say. watch what we do the president has authorized the deployment of rotational our brigade combat team rotational aviation brigade prepositioned equipment with the support of the congress an increase an increase of a billion dollars of what we call european deterrence initiative money from the
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previous administration to now an increase of a billion dollars so more exercises more capability more available funding. that's that's what i look at and to me that is a powerful strong manifestation of commitment so this is not a black and white math problem this is about deterrence everybody you heard prime minister may she spoke last night everybody would like to have cooperation with russia as a responsible member of the international community that needs to accept the an exception of crimea because as long russia is doing that. i don't imagine that the american president whoever would have better relationship with putin that's probably the way it's going to be we're the u.s. position is is not to accept the enix ation of crimea but then help me
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a little bit and i want to understand the white house has also the late implementing sanctions against russia if this trip to cheek mistake and you mentioned the europeans on doing it i think this is so important that the european union continues those sanctions would it help. that also the united states will follow the europeans about sanctions against russia i think the cohesion of the alliance is the most important factor of deterrence and that's what i saw coming out of the defense minister was last week you know our great secretary of defense and general scare parady and the other leaders of the alliance so unified to me that's what is most important and so i'm very satisfied with so let let's speak about these things a little bit more concretely there are no signs that russia is leaving crimea what
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steps do you suggest to force them out so i think i might disagree with you you know russia has come up publicly and said hey we think maybe there ought to be a peacekeeping force here that whatever that peacekeeping force looks like or whatever the fact that they're asking for that i think indicates that you know they don't want to see this last forever. i think that the. they were surprised i think how well the ukrainian so fault i think the russians were surprised at how the entire west has stuck together on this translates really is off to be an exception sanctions as we discussed a lot of movements as you just mentioned the fact is nothing changed nobody it seems like that has a policy to make this happen so how long how long do you think we were we've been in germany i mean since the end of world war two and the division of german east
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and west we start with germany with the germans with west germany for decades now i don't know that that means it's going to be decades before ukraine is is reunited that crimea is returned but i think the the west has shown. that we are willing to do what it takes to protect sovereignty and to protect democracy and. people in ukraine they saw how much better life was in poland when poland joined the e.u. and joined the alliance people in ukraine wanted to make while that same choice ukraine's the only country in the world where people have died with the e.u. flag and there he answer is russia or is in the ukraine the answer is russia is occupying crimea that's the answer from the russian side russia was in east germany also and they're gone so you compare this sure show up i'm actually optimistic if we can all stick together. you know time is not in russia's favor you
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said that russia could conquer the baltic states vote quicker then we could get there to defend them quote hand if this is true it means that these states are not sufficiently protected by the united states or the nato so i think that was about two and a half years ago when i said that. i would not say the same thing today in the main reason i would say that is the alliance rapid deployment of enhanced for presence better words in less than a year from the warsaw summit in july last year less than a year germany led a battle group german led delegate deploys to lithuania canada back on the continent of europe for the first time in years in latvia u.k. and stony and of course united states and poland with spain italy france all these countries together that that significantly changes the military calculus number one
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number two all three of those countries and poland are doing exactly what they said they would do under article three of the washington treaty which says every nation is responsible for its own defense so each nation of those each of the baltic countries and poland have taken significant steps not just increase spending but to improve their own defense so i would not say thirty six hours or so no thirty six zero so fifty hours one hundred i was odd there are real russians also today quick i would say first of all that the russians would think much harder about ever go on attacking with those countries because of the unity of the alliance and the increased capability but also what i saw again coming out of the defense minister as last week and from ambassador adamic and the european defense agency recognition that we've all got to be able to move more quickly so i'm actually more optimistic now than i've been in one year does it mean if you say i am a little bit more optimistic who is winning the time war russia
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or nato no we absolutely will there's no doubt about it. the rand corporation described nato assets in the baltics as being so mismatched with russia us that it was quote inviting a diverse state in war rather than deterring it to you. green i think that the near unilateral disarmament and reduction in capability that we all went through a few years ago. that invited that invited attack so that's why we are all. working as hard as we can to reach rebuild reestablish capability good i'm not never good enough this is deterrents is all in them in the mind of the potential death of an adversary. when the alliance sticks together we are absolutely present from says a pope or a line is that one of the reasons why nato is not strong enough is that european
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defense spending is too low the nato is goal is a two percent of g.d.p. but most nato countries are not before yet it resets to stop the decrees and so most nations poland romania baltic countries are all either already at two percent or increasing and i would also say that again german leadership germany is at least the army which is you know with what i'm most familiar. the army is led by general your former is got exactly the right focus on retooling the division headquarters that they have to be operationally capable a good modernization effort so but they are far away from these two percent and germany just said that the goal will be fulfilled in twenty twenty four seven years later well that's what the nations all agreed to it wales they gave us if you believe in their absolute. says they're going to do something they'll do it and the
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leadership of a daughter from the lion the a boon as councillor and. i have huge confidence in our lives. one of the reasons why presidents trump said nato is obsolete is that what we are talking about many politicians in europe that president mccall false have called particularly after this remark for united u.p.a. in defense cooperation some even say the u.p.a. needs its own army do you think that the european army would complete compete with nato for resources so nato is the best organization for collective security but what we've always needed and wanted is of course a strong european pillar inside the alliance and i think what i have read about this european defense identity actually will do a lot. to help improve efficiency in growing capabilities of our european allies. i don't think that i don't think that the vision is
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a separate force that competes with nato but instead a more efficient and effective european contribution to collective security which would also allow europe to to do things perhaps in africa or whatever that are important is them is this a good idea to have a u.p.a. nami i think nato is the right answer. so the european army is the wrong and. nato is the right answer for collective security but it needs a stronger european pillar and so i mean they took i think outside nato why i don't think it has to be either or i mean each of us does things bilaterally multilateral with other countries so it's not an either or i'm satisfied that there's enough that the smart leadership in europe will figure out how to get the best efficiency
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from the billions of euros that are being spent which is what foreign minister gabriele talked about without without pulling apart what makes nato so good is europe today more secure or less secure than ten years ago. there are there seems like there are more threats now than there were ten years ago the. islamic extremism obviously is a is a real concern and. but i see the nations working harder together to to close those sort of gets intelligence sharing is as good as i've ever seen it but we don't get to we don't get to choose our threats of course islamic extremism the russia's aggression there are other threats that are out there so seems like more threats. that we have to be prepared for to be prepared also for war in iraq it's
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not any of this possible but think about deterrence deterrence is all about demonstrating capability and demonstrating a will. but war is not inevitable it doesn't have to happen. thank you very much for being on conflicts as a pleasure thank you i think i learned some stuff today thank you thank you for. the. to. the. glass globe. thank god.
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