tv Interview RT February 2, 2013 11:47pm-12:00am EST
we focused entirely on trying to force political outcomes and what we've done in iraq and afghanistan has underscored the very important limits of that and i would add libya we were able to take out saddam and take out moammar gadhafi but what we're able to put in its stead what if everything fail us what is your worst case scenario missile it comes to that which i think my worst case scenario is that the united states. starts another war in the middle east to disarm another middle eastern country weapons of mass destruction that it does not know. and that the damage that the backlash to this does to the american position. makes. how much damage was done in position by you variation of the law makes that will quite trivial by comparison that's my worst case i want to ask you about the new face of the pentagon chuck
hagel he allowed himself to say right attacking iran is a stupid idea and i believe you also called for direct negotiations do you think we could see direct negotiations any time soon with chuck hagel in ministration well i think that that former senator hagel has taken courageous positions on iran on a range of issues and i admire them and respect them and the concern i have is that he is being nominated for the wrong job to carry out those positions his defense secretary if he is a if he is if he's approved to be as defense secretary he will not be the person in charge of creating or implementing strategies of iran or any other foreign policy issue. he will be he will be at the defense department doing quintessentially defense secretary things in this environment which is to cut the budget and try to keep the united states out of another war now that peace try to keep the united states out of another war could have impact here but the problem is he what he
could potentially try to keep united states out of another war without being able to either to offer a vision for another way to deal with this challenge the islamic republic poses a real challenge for the united states and a real challenge to israel in the region that challenges to significantly constrain both the united states and israel as preferred strategy for the region which is to project force whenever wherever and whatever degree we want unilaterally the islamic republic of iran challenges that not with tanks so that they go and park their tanks in other people's countries they challenge that with their narrative they. pose that viscerally at its core chuck hagel said some very unflattering things about these trade lobby that they're quote unquote intimidating a lot of people in washington and also they are to say american interests should trump is three of the interests if they conflict and that is a subversive thing to say here in washington could be a career killer can you name some key points where u.s.
and israeli interests conflict i think it is very much in america's interests it's not a favor to iran it is in america's interests to come to terms with the islamic republic to accept safeguarded enrichment of uranium as the basis for a deal on the nuclear issue israel's ability to impose its hegemony in gaza or southern lebanon is not an american interest it may be an israeli preference it's not an american interests i think american interests would be much better served by a kind of rational. political settlement to the palestinian issue that palestinians and other middle easterners will see as legitimate there is no way that open ended israeli occupation of palestinian lands will ever be seen that way and i think that's you know very much against american interests and i think in
a similar vein it's but i would take us to a similar vein to a plan laid out i know but i would take it a little more broadly it's very difficult for the way that israel is structured politically for it to accept and buy into and support what i think would be an american interest which is that all of the states in the middle east be able to have much more participatory political orders they can support even more broadly beyond its borders because a country like egypt which i think the israelis see today is very much a threat in terms of how it's developing if it becomes any more reflective of its population's preferences histories interests religion. is going to become by definition less interested in allowing israel or being ok with the policies that israel has developed to use force coercively whenever wherever it wants along its borders or with its within its own population palestinian population under its control the problem is the united states backs it and so this is the contradiction he was back at the same time it calls for democracy in all those countries and so
that's what rings hollow i think for many arab and muslim populations is that it's not a real call for the by the united states for democratization what the united states is just trying to do is sell chaos and civil war like we're doing in syria we're not really trying to get democratization in syria or political participation in syria it's selling chaos and destruction i think that's how many people see it and that's how it is unfolding what do you think israel is going to do next what is their strategy with regards to iran i think they have more or less come to the position that if you rod is going to be struck it's the united states that's going to need to do it and so i fully anticipate over the next next year or so that prime minister netanyahu he and his government will be putting a lot of pressure on the obama administration that iran is approaching whatever red line that you know who draws. it's time for the united states to step up to the plate and deal with this problem in
a decisive way and even if they don't succeed initially in persuading obama because they'll they'll leverage it to get more sanctions on iran to get other kinds of pressure on iran they will try and keep iran. do you think president obama appointed chuck hagel as a message to his throw that's difficult to say we will see but i'm skeptical that obama really is out to redefine to be america's relationship with israel and i would add to that in addition to the hail appointment we have the appointment of john brennan at the cia who i think is someone who the israelis are just fine with . who will continue many of the covert programs of course our drone program but many of the covert programs that would be under his under his authority at the cia and that will be very much to israel's liking that will serve to undermine any attempts or any possibilities for real coming to terms of the islamic republic of iran there is an argument often made in washington that it's fall would be
a strategic victory against iran what can you say about an approach like that first of all at this point iran's most important arab ally is no longer syria it's iraq thanks in no small part to the united states iran's most important strategic ally in the arab world is iraq. even in syria you know bashar al assad is still i don't know is imminent and even if you reach a point where he might feel like he needs to abandon damascus or something like this you're going to still have big chunks of syria that are effectively under good control of his government under his security apparatus syria might at that point start to look more and more like a kind of. you know failing state with different regional warlords in
different parts of the country but that is not a situation which is good for american interests first of all or a situation in which iran you know somehow doesn't have influence or or inability to act in ways to protect its interests in the situation the idea that somehow we can just have these short term marriages of convenience to arm train and fund really in that lane a sunni islamist jihadist groups in syria in syria against the islamic republic of iran that just this time it will work and that somehow secular democrats are going to come to power yeah that liberal secular pro-american democrats will come to power it didn't work in afghanistan and it's not going to work in syria thank you so much thanks so much for coming q thank you very much.
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