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tv   [untitled]    June 24, 2011 3:30pm-4:00pm EDT

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free is free. free. and free broadcast quality video for your media project and a free video god to r.t. dot com. eleven thirty pm exactly here in the russian capital good to have you with us this is our t. top stories this hour the u.s. house of representatives has voted down a measure giving barack obama be authority to continue american military action in libya but it's seen as a merely symbolic falling out between congress and the president as the house later rejected a bill to cut funding for the campaign. declassified documents reveal the u.k. was happy to hand over terrorist suspects to the u.s. with little regard for what would be waiting for them in secret prisons one side of
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washington's jurisdiction hundreds ended up being tortured and abused without a trial. mourning the euro the fate of the common currency is in serious doubt as europe agrees on another bailouts and that played in greece but there is the country to get behind savage spending cuts over some experts argue it's too late as the euro already has both feet in the great. plus the former prime minister of ukraine goes on trial for peace a power that's alleged to have cost the country millions of dollars he did some ashamed of faces up to ten years behind bars if convicted in kenya i'll be back with more news for you in less than thirty minutes from now in the meantime peace in the bell and his cross talk as discussed why president obama's announcement to withdraw thirty three thousand u.s. troops from afghanistan wasn't welcomed by either antiwar activists or military officials. can.
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welcome to cross talk and peter all about exit strategy obama's long awaited plan to start drawing down troops levels in afghanistan is in play but is it a real drawdown or just a reduction of the so-called surge of eighteen months ago did obama capitulate to public opinion over military needs and will american and nato troops ever completely leave afghanistan the afghans. can. still. get cross-talk u.s. afghan strategy i'm joined by gareth porter in washington he's an investigative historian and journalist also in washington we have sam said i he is senior director of iran programs at nonviolence international and in london we cross the alexis crow she is a research fellow in the international security program at chapman house all right
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folks this is cross talk and that means crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want guaranteed to go to you first in washington details of obama's pullback from afghanistan are becoming more and more clear are you satisfied that it's legitimate or is it just all about domestic politics the united states obama is trying to satisfy public opinion without alienating the military all that much because it's still open ended even what we've heard about peace plans american and nato troops will be in afghanistan for a very long time. well i wouldn't quite put it that obama is trying to satisfy public opinion in a sense opinion in the united states on afghanistan is way ahead of president obama in terms of the desire to withdraw troops in the latest pew poll shows fifty six percent. to thirty eight percent want to withdraw our troops as soon as possible only thirty eight percent are
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interested in keeping troops there until the situation is stabilized quote unquote so i mean that's really you know it's not that obama's satisfied in public opinion what he's doing is primarily satisfying the interests of the pentagon in the military they have gotten most of i would say eighty percent of what they wanted whereas the faction in his administration was really concerned about the cost of the war got very little of what they wanted electricity angry in london what is obama's priorities then because a lot of people see this is this kind of smoke and mirrors that it's not really a real drawback at least at this point because he's drawing the number of troops is still there still really very few deadlines out there and maybe that's not one purpose we can talk about later in the program but is this more driven by domestic politics and what's really happening on the ground in afghanistan well sure i mean i think the drawdown is actually slightly virtual drawdown and it appears to be
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just in twenty three thousand it's self because after that after that withdrawal there will still be more troops in afghanistan then when obama took office. but i think it's heavily steeped in domestic political considerations i mean as as gareth has pointed out you know americans are way ahead of this but i think it's a very convenient time after day after the killing of bin laden i think it's very convenient time for him to associate rejection of troops with success in the counterterrorism strategy. and afghanistan but what's confusing and what's very indicative of the short term. policies of western democracies and satisfying to the incisions is that the aims have been shifting constantly since success in winning in afghanistan is meant very different things as we've gone along into the game with. the americans were very much focused on counterterrorism and i south was focused on sort of. when obama came into office we started talking much more about
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counterinsurgency and his boys brought their lessons from into afghanistan and so we switched more into a steep counterinsurgency role and now because we've had success with bin laden we switch back into counterterrorism success efficiency and i think it's more indicative here you. go to sam and i find it really kind of remarkable just only a few weeks ago a month ago depending on who's saying what a success afghanistan was and now as we get to obama's speech and the details of it there's a dire need not to pull out i mean what's going on here again it's more smoke and mirrors i mean. we don't seem to have a clear picture of what game is in afghanistan is close and we get to it the more the military is pulling back. well i don't consider pentagon's position all that perplexing i mean the two positions. seem to be
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mutually exclusive but actually not there had been a significant amount of progress since the troop surge about a year eighteen months ago and there has been a significant increase in the training of afghan forces and also the afghan police but at the same time what the pentagon and what bob gates and what general petraeus are all concerned about is that they want to draw down but they don't want to draw down that precipitous now listen to some of the points that president obama made last night my understanding was that he was just going to announce that he was going to withdraw our around thirty thousand troops total by the end of next summer but i thought he was going to leave the rest of it pretty flexible and of course a few months after after the drawdown of the thirty thousand troops there will be
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elections so then afterwards he has sort of a more political leader way but i was actually. pretty impressed that he did something that he didn't really have to do which is he determined the time when the entire drawdown of the of all or most u.s. troops and everything we've heard her to for indeed three for different when we had candidate obama and then president obama and now if i go back to gareth and one of the things i find interesting as well is it going so good to defense gates also said that the u.s. is involved in. negotiations with the taliban what does that mean is that because it is that it mission of defeat of how do you get out now and. what kind of security range will be in afghanistan when the quote american troops leave. well not really i think the negotiating ploy of the united states at this point is to in
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a way have it both ways on one hand you know they're suggesting to the american people that we're really in the process of getting a political settlement here and we've succeeded in getting talks started course that's not really true they've had preliminary contacts in which the taliban have made it clear that they're not going to sit down with karzai regime particularly when the united states is not offering a timetable for withdrawal and so on the other hand what what's going on is the united states is trying to put pressure on the television and to accommodate us interest us position the taliban should reach a settlement with karzai while the united states continues to have troops there to provide you know what they regard as an insurance policy that's really not a viable position no independent analyst of the war and of the taliban regards this
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as a realistic negotiating position and so there's really kind of a flimflam going on with regard to these negotiations or these talks with the taliban in a lexus and angle banking online and why in the world are the taliban want to sit down with the united states and its allies and negotiate any kind of agreement when they can just wait them out they've done a pretty good job for ten years. well i think there's also quite interesting distinction to be made which is that western democracies particular although i stop contributing nations continue to talk about withdrawal of combat sleeps prices of withdrawal of training operations and moving more combat troops into training operations. here last week that he said oh well we aim to keep many more combat troops in play and see if i survive and it and the papers back and forth between the pentagon in the white house says the taliban makes such distinctions. you know reading they don't make a distinction. so i mean you know the fact that we pull of combat troops means
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our soldiers are and aren't in danger anymore what in theory but i mean as as some of the training operations and shown this can be just as dangerous if an afghan opens fire on training however the taliban makes no such distinction so i think what we've been negotiating with the taliban for some time what's interesting is why this is been announced at this moment you know sam alexis makes a very good point here i mean maybe the united states and nato think of to make a difference between troops in n.g.o.s maybe the taliban sees this is an occupation nonetheless i mean what would what difference would it make to them they're just going to build this target people as well i mean they're not going to make a distinction they haven't made a distinction. i think. one point that's very important to keep in mind is the taliban is not one individual or one entity there are many different entities within what we call the taliban or a thing
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a more accurate. phrase for it would be the taliban movement and what i think can be clever about this strategy of opening talks or even showing their willingness to want to talk to some elements within the taliban is that it can immediately create a fracture within taliban because they will likely be individuals within taleban who i mean you know the u.s. is suffering from a war fatigue the taliban are too it's not like they are robots and the just enjoy this decade long fight and be ready with google for another decade and surely when they see an opening some of them when they see an opening to have some sort of a dialogue or become part of the political process yes the radical ones will always be radical but it is actually a chance i think to shave off. people from the taliban and create frak you within a group with otherwise remain very cohesive and with just
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a quick point we saw the fact of the strategy also in iran where it which is my area of expertise when when the when president obama expressed. interest in opening talks with iran those of us who were closely following the situation in or on and the conditions and what was going on within the regime immediately saw a fracture within. within the regime so on the one side there were people who were interested in talks and on the other side the more conservatives and hard the hardliners who didn't and out split only you know left the regime or fractured and we can't and the winner was the u.s. so i think it's important to not refer to the taliban as one entity or one because his. sort of a centralized organization. all right i want to jump in right here and went for a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on the drawbacks in afghanistan stay with our. luck
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getting pissed still. come up. if it's not illegal. for. you to be soon which bryson if you knew about songs from plans to freshen these. stunts on t.v. don't come. ok
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. welcome back across our computer remind you we're talking about washington's exit strategy from afghanistan. ok. alexis abangan back to you in london we were just we just heard before the break
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you know we shouldn't look at the taliban as one unified force i mean that's fair enough but after ten years how can the united states make the distinctions between different elements of the taliban who can negotiate who they can negotiate with and who they can because there was a report that came out last november that i think it was the cia maybe it was the defense bar that was involved with a taliban leader and they found out later the guy was just a scam artist and just a whole lot of money and ran away with it i mean just really amazing after ten years it is that possible and i'd like to throw into the mix also is that with karzai there is he ever going to be can accept it is a legitimate leader of any group of the afghan people except for his family go ahead this is well this is exactly what i was just thinking as as you were discussing things with sam in washington. primarily to begin with it's all good and well saying you know talking about the dire limits of the u.s. and its allies negotiating with with with the taliban in all its guises but what happens when the u.s. and her allies the. and and how i mean it will cause i need to negotiate with the
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taliban how strong will his government to what extent will tribal factions really start to erupt because they henry kissing a fantastic piece in the new york times herald tribune last week or a couple weeks ago which he talked about the way to get out of afghanistan and he said and kissing his inimitable way back through history afghanistan. always pulls together to fight off any kind of foreign occupation and once the foreign occupiers leave then it comes back to its own tribal factions and so really i think the real question is i'm sure it's very difficult. officer in the us army in the us armed forces and in other on the forces that have been serving in afghanistan to see that we're negotiating with the taliban i'm sure that it's very difficult for those families of soldiers that have been lost to see that but i
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think the real question is to what extent this cause i and his ministration. how to support these kinds of discussions you know against i mean we always hear these kind of gloom and doom scenarios if we if the u.s. leaves and its allies leave too quickly it'll be a power vacuum i don't want to be a power vacuum irrespective of whatever timetable is there because after ten years we it's been obvious who has the staying power who has the stomach and it's certainly elements within afghanistan irrespective how you want to name them. well absolutely i mean the reality is that you know petraeus and gates want two more full fighting years as they call it with the majority of the increment the surge increment of u.s. troops to put pressure military pressure on the taliban in order to get them to cave in to to negotiate on u.s.
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terms that's not going to happen that's that's totally unrealistic and furthermore . you know i challenge the idea that the taliban is not united in regard to its position on negotiations there's really no evidence that there is a split within the taliban everybody that i talked to who has been talking with the taliban. over the last couple of years says that their policy is still one that comes from a little more it has an illinois sanction and that there's really only one policy there are negotiations and that is to demand that the united states get out before there's going to be a settlement now you know and they say there has to be a publicly they say there has to be complete withdrawal before someone takes place privately of course they acknowledge that there's going to have to be negotiations based on a timetable for withdrawal but the point that i would make in addition to respond
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to your question is that the there's nobody really on the ground in afghanistan who privately believes that these two more years of fighting is going to make any fundamental difference you're right the taliban can wait us out. at the end of those two years and they will still be the strongest political military force in the country and that's why i would argue that that what obama has done is to accommodate the institutional political interests of the pentagon in the military. to continue the war for as long as possible for all kinds of internal you know bureaucratic political reasons they want to continue to have troops there for as long as possible and the second point that i would make is that the united states does not intend to get out that is the u.s. military the pentagon do not intend to do it out there intend to keep combat forces there indefinitely that if you read carefully the subtext of the obama speech
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that's exactly what he was implying sam if i'm going to you i mean i jump in this is go ahead go ahead i'm sorry i just want to go ahead and i think there is a difference between saying that. you know yes there is nobody i don't know if i would go. to the extent of saying there's nobody within the u.s. infrastructure in afghanistan or the u.s. foreign policy wouldn't think two more years going to make a difference but there is an even if that's true there is a difference between that and saying there is no difference between leaving in three years and leaving all the troops in six months i mean there there there is a significant number of people the vast majority of the people within the state department and the pentagon who believe there will be a difference between but president obama is doing now and the alternative which a lot of people seem to one which is basically just pulled apply again leave
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immediately within three months older troops so it's important to make that decision it's not just about appeasing the pentagon as a before the pentagon and general petraeus one and like your other guest pointed out they want to go along much longer presence in afghanistan but the reality is we have been there for ten years but for a significant portion of those ten years it was a half hearted effort because we got distracted by a war of choice in iraq you can't say we have been. making. you know that we have been having the same kind of performance for ten years. so i think it's on everything keep in mind is that what president obama is doing is i really don't see any other responsible way out of this well you know we can't just assume a hurricane are all right here is really going to be going to alexis and i want to
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ask all of you what's the worst case scenario going i guess go ahead. sam hasn't really responded to the point that you know maybe the military looks better after a few more years of of military action against the taliban they can make all sorts of claims about how many they've killed but what difference does it make in the end it's not going to fundamentally change the reality that is going to determine the future of afghanistan but that's i think the point here and let me address that let me address i think i addressed that point i said i basically it may be true yes it may be true you you may be right there maybe you're right the military is going to look better after two years if they get what they want and i think ultimately the pentagon and the pentagon is not the one that's making a foreign policy decision by president obama as a commander in chief and the pentagon is not always going to get its way but yeah you're right i personally agree with you i'm going to be a laura linney jump in
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a significant amount let me jump. in here we've heard dick lugar gloom and doom stories about withdrawing very quickly you know we do see that the west does you know three months last boot off the ground out of the country what's the worst case scenario for western security is the taliban going to start bombing washington in london and paris. well i have to come back to just a point that was made about the version of resources from iraq in giving a half hearted effort in afghanistan and i think the primary problem with iraq is is that it upset about winds of power in the middle east and allowed iran to become a regional sort of arbiter and disrupted that balance of power and therefore gave the rhine actually significant power visibly the taliban in the second the negotiations break down with with with the u.s. and iran you know the taliban supply lines can be opened up so i think i think the primary problem with afghanistan is what we might turn the west's attention deficit
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disorder and he's continually it's continually shifting its policy and its strategy and it does that in you obama changed his view from moving away from counterterrorism to distance himself from the bush administration then he since thirty thousand extra troops in a surge to because petraeus was successful and now he's back going back to the counterterrorism operation and all of this for domestic political consolidation so i think that's that's one point to meet worst case scenario. and i want to know you guys were there i wonder worst case scenario from all of you on the river the rest of the program so alexis what's the worst case scenario. but well no one's mention pakistan and i think it's not necessary that the taliban starts attacking washington because let's not forget the taliban didn't i wouldn't say had a sort of global jihadist ideology having wanting to establish an islamic caliphate is not the same as having this ideology emily borrowed a lot of concepts from the insurgency in iraq. and that's why petraeus
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a strategy of counterinsurgency was so successful that worst case scenario is we're talking about a complete and utter regional regional turmoil and india sits between. pakistan says between india and china to nuclear powers. pakistan has demonstrated its nuclear capability and afghanistan is situated in between africa and in between iran and pakistan so i think other state failure with regard to afghanistan and pakistan is what we've really got to be concerned with and then of course that has knock on effects to your security policy in london and paris and washington and we realize one of the program. well i mean the idea of a taliban takeover of power the worst case scenario is going to cause a war between pakistan and india is really far fetched and i would just point out that any reasonable analysis of the rationale for the war in
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afghanistan which is that we are preventing al qaeda from coming back to have a safe haven in afghanistan is failing to come to grips with the reality that al qaeda is already well ensconced in pakistan that is the safe haven that they have carved out over the past ten years it's extremely safe secure much more secure than anything they ever had in afghanistan and there is absolutely no reason to believe after it is interested in going back to afghanistan the real problem is pakistan the united states is essentially denying that again because of the political interest and we're going to have to jump in here we've run out of time we'll see if the americans and its allies will ever leave afghanistan many thanks to my guest today in washington and in london thanks to our viewers for watching us here darkie see you next time and remember rostock rules.
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