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tv   Cross Talk  RT  October 25, 2017 10:29am-11:01am EDT

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a seriously he sent us an e-mail. list. hello and welcome to cross talk where all things considered peter lavelle while the mainstream media and the chattering classes obsess over donald trump's call to
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a gold star family the pentagon's growing footprint in africa was publicly revealed it would appear it does not matter who is president rather it is accepted the u.s. will fight and list wars. cross talking endless wars i'm joined by my guest in washington peter cosmic he is a professor of history and director at american university as well as co-author with all of the stone the untold history of the united states and we have michael flanagan he is president of flanagan consulting and a former congressman all right gentlemen crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want and i always appreciate it peter let me go to you first here you know i live very far away from the media swamp in the u.s. and i've been watching this media circus with a president trump and this gold star family about a fallen soldier in niger at the beginning of this month here that is obviously sad
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but what really i found more troubling looking at all the networks the entire political spectrum there seems to be very little curiosity about really why the u.s. has a military footprint in africa and the more you learn about it and you can learn about it but you won't find out about it on the on the networks is that footprint has been growing and growing and growing and when you go to congress you go do this super hawk. lindsey graham and maybe he's feigning ignorance. but he's i didn't know anything about this ok i mean that's part of his job is my fundamental question for this program is that the u.s. fights endless wars but the american people really don't particularly care because they're not really informed and if they were informed i don't know what their reaction would be go ahead peter. and they also don't care because it doesn't really affect them directly there they're paying a lot of tax dollars to support these wars around the globe but very few people are
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serving fewer than one percent of the american public population is in the military most people don't even know anybody in the military and they just don't pay attention so it's sort of like one thousand nine hundred four the planes go off but people are not paying attention and then that's bad because we just. i was just at a conference this past weekend in kansas city and it was commemorating and discussing and analyzing world war one at. just the fiftieth anniversary commemoration of the nine hundred sixty seven march on the pentagon here this past weekend in washington the united states has been at war but especially said in a different kind of war since nine eleven we've been fighting these endless wars and who knew we were in africa that was the reaction that people had when they announced that the four special forces folks were killed in the air most americans had no idea we had troops in africa we've got six thousand troops in africa at
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least the back in two thousand and six one percent of america's special operations forces were in africa now it's over seventeen percent so we talk about the asia pivot that got a lot of attention when hillary clinton announced that in two thousand and eleven but the real pivot that's going on is not just the asia pivot is the africa pivot or the question is what are we doing there what do we know about it ok you know michael good point that peter makes it i mean why are we there why aren't the american public in lies told more about this because you know all of us make an effort it's part of our job you know and i started digging deeper and deeper there's a lot of things you can actually learn but you have to make an effort and no one really is making it easy for you let's put it that way i think of websites. antiwar dot com which is quite good at doing that but there's no if you look at the policy elite there's no reflection about the tragedy that never needed to happen in libya
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and then you have any of the northern part of an entire continent because of this malfeasance and now with negligence on the part of the obama administration spearheaded by hillary clinton what happened in in libya and you have this terrorism that is a cancer growing we didn't have that before this ridiculous libyan expedition go ahead michael peter i think i think the professor is exactly correct. i think that that what we have is is and i'm going to introduce a new term for you here and it's a term that's been working in the pentagon for quite some time and it's called the gray zone conflict and this is a movement away from set piece armies in the field to more armies that develop and disappear and don't have a political goal immediately attached to a space on earth like the the end v.a. or the viet cong want control of vietnam these guys have larger ambitions and ideological ambitions and so we have we're developing ways to combat these forces
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around the world sadly the tools we have to do them with are still fresh faced twenty somethings in uniform which are probably the poorest intelligence gatherers and probably not the right guys to fight a large portion of this war which is pretty combat and so these guys went to a village to collect intelligence that's why they were there they were part of a larger group these these four four young men and and in leaving the group they were delayed by the leaders of the community who were in league with the terrorists to one extent or another until the ambush could be set up as they left they they were very low low order of probability that they would be harmed and they walked into an ambush currently several ambushes one of the. soldiers was found almost a mile away from the group. in the beginning they didn't think it was a big deal and they didn't even call for help for an hour and then they called for
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help from the french forces arrived by air to help them in any way they could the problem is that we have a very low understanding of these grays own operations and we need a higher percentage of civilians not uniformed military but other people involved state people cia people contractors who can collect intelligence far more effectively far more efficiently far more accurately and be able to disseminate that in such a way as to fix well. the terrorist i agree with you cancer into these communities but the problem is here peter if i go back to you in washington is that the very fact that the u.s. sends these type of personnel in and including intelligence people and cia attracting attention and this is why they're being there they become a target itself i mean it seems to me the more the u.s. and its allies claim that they're fighting terrorism they're actually generating it in places that were not there before i mean if you look at some of these terrorist
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groups they move from country to country they have arms that they were left over unsold from from libya i mean again where there was no terror was no al qaida and such groups they are there now because we are there go ahead peter. they're also there because. beginning with the invasion of iraq in two thousand and three and before that the invasion of afghanistan so this is long before libya right we crew we create is so much unrest so much chaos in that region and then it over flows of spills out and then it goes in that now they're moving out of syria and iraq and other places and many of them are moving into northern africa so the problem military solutions we haven't. good out of better way to deal with these problems but at the same time we've got this expansion the new york times had a lead editorial couple days ago about america's endless wars the theme that you
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introduced in the beginning and it's that the u.s. military now operates in one hundred seventy two countries and territories so this is vast using trying to find a military solution to problems that are multi-faceted and deeply ingrained and sometimes we need some other alternatives the trumpet ministration has been decimating our diplomats the state department is being slashed we don't have people appointed for positions in the diplomatic community in the state department intelligence gathering and where you're looking to these generals to solve these problems when i when i think about the expansion in u.s. special forces. michael talking about these grays own operations well this was the signature operation under obama right when obama took office u.s. special forces were operating in sixty countries by two thousand and fifteen u.s. special forces were operating in one hundred forty seven countries last year that
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dropped to one hundred thirty eight countries so we're looking for military solutions to problems that are much more complex and don't seem to yield to military answers you know michael interesting thing too is that going back to lindsey graham i mean he would he said i'm paraphrasing here it's up to the military design what are threats are and we're supposed to be there to fund it no no no no no it's the other way around ok mr senator it's up to the people decide i mean this is a complete inversion of congressional powers here which we've seen particularly over the last seventeen years it's really extraordinary even even a u.s. senators are saying i've got my checkbook how much does it cost that's not the way it should work go ahead michael. you're correct peter it's not the way it should work and if i can correct the professor agrees on operation is not a special forces operation that's a military operation you're correct agrees on operation has a heavy civilian influence in collecting data collecting information and trying to
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defeat the problem before it begins it's a concept that's being developed at the pentagon so that we don't have to go in with special forces and have a military footprint everywhere we have to go plus if i may detract from the professor just a little bit when we went into iraq in afghanistan we did not spread terrorism into d.s. for we went in to kill al qaeda and we now have successfully killed isis we didn't cause those problems we were too late to get them and had we had affected by had actually been clearly understood the battlefield i think that would have done a much better job well i think if you know them off the phone records really you have countries like syria they do ended up being a space for these people to go i mean i think it cuts a lot of different ways here i mean breaking breaking up iraq is the ground zero literally in the in the middle east for what we see right now look at the kurds look what happened in syria i'm going to talk about syria a little bit more in the program here libya this is what i'm getting at here where
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you were places where you didn't have ice is like iraq they weren't there ok and then they saw what happened after the illegal invasion that's the very point i'm trying to make here is that these kind of military actions have unintended consequences are gentlemen to jump in here we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion and lismore stay. but. it was.
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shouldn't repeat obama's mistake in iraq and syria i found this really quite stunning here quote a failure by the united states to defend its allies or promote new political arrangements let me stress that new political arrangements for syria and iraq will lead only to more war the rise of new terrorist threats and ultimately the necessity of more u.s. intervention ok this is the this is the interventionist oregon and washington d.c. there is no interest to action whatsoever after what has happened in iraq what has happened in syria the washington post the the newspaper of note is saying that you know we have to promote new political arrangements this is what we get this is how we got into all of this in the first place and then they're saying the necessity of more u.s. intervention is if they're almost like cheerleaders go ahead peter. well the washington post has always had a heavy neo-con influence. and that's not surprising when the washington post is
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more aggressive but it's also been very critical of the trump administration and trump has yielded authority to the generals in a way that obama never did obama micro-manage they were very frustrated with him trump seems to have taken the constraints off of the military and allowing an even more aggressive drone policy and more more and more room for the military to operate in all of these countries so i think we're going to see more of the kinds of things that we saw in the share on october fourth happening elsewhere as trump leaves lessens the constraints on the military and its operations these senate just passed a seven hundred billion dollar defense budget. that was actually significantly more than even trump asked for yet so not only are are we not cutting back
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on these operations we're going to be expanding these operations and opening up new areas. one of the reasons why we were uneasy air is we're building a one hundred million dollar drone base in dess so we're expanding operations you know michael what one of the interesting ironies of all this is the u.s. . militarized is the african continent what are the chinese doing oh they're building roads they're building ports there but mining mines they're building infrastructure i mean you know this it's amazing what's happening there from a chinese perspective there the u.s. doesn't want to invest that kind of thing they don't have the money they have the money for the military obviously but they don't have money for that kind of thing i find that truly amazing at the same time it's almost like going back into roman history where the roman legions they well they just where they went where they thought you know look for booty look for a threat you know try to get themselves funded the emperor didn't necessarily have
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to know and eventually the empire fell apart because the political class had lost control of the military everyone was going at cross purposes i really did really does bother me that lindsey graham said you know the military is supposed to defined our threats well that's like giving you know a drug addict free coke i mean that is really dangerous go ahead michael well. if i may agree in part and disagree with my friend peter we're not the roman legion and the chinese are pursuing state goals and it's state sponsored investment we have many private investments in africa and if you were to measure those against each other i think we do fairly well no i'd rather know not now recently not recently known and i know that that number is just declining rod every. anyway i won't take it up with you i will i will observe though that the chinese are
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produced are pursuing state goals with their investment as we are producing pursuing state goals with our fighting of the terrorists and the chinese oddly enough and you're absolutely correct in your observation are the beneficiaries of our work because their roads and mines and bridges and other things are safer if you don't have boko haram or or isis or someone else blowing them up but i will observe this that i agree with you and lindsey graham has no business saying the military needs to define our threats and then the military needs to do something about it and we just need to write the check which is more or less what he's saying your characterization is correct but i will say that the military is trying to redefine itself from from these large bases that we built in iraq which were a mistake large bases we still occupy in afghanistan which are nothing other than magnets for attacks by terrorists or by other people who want to do it and we're trying to spread out and have a more of what they call a lily pad concept and so i think as we as we understand more about gray zone
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operations we're going to find a smaller uniformed military footprint a larger footprint of americans fighting the six stansel threat and however it got there the professor and i may disagree about that but however it got there it has to be fought and killed and i don't think fresh faced uniformed military is the way to do it i agree with both of you but it has to be fought and we've got to do it and that's what we're doing you know peter in back in washington i mean i know this is agree on that peter ok ok go ahead and disagree that's the point of the program go ahead please peter. yes. i don't what i don't like is the u.s. acting alone or in. this the hell area the u.s. acting in coordination with the french the history of this region is that it was a french colony mali the share were french colonies the french are not exactly the role model for what we should be aspiring to we need
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a broader international coalition to fight against terrorism so that it goes outside of america it goes outside of america's global intentions and becomes a world problem i do agree that terrorism is a problem and i think but i think when you look at those countries those countries are very very poor and share is a very poor country terrorism takes hold in areas that have a little economic development where people have real human needs and we've got to have a different kind of approach to actually building up those regions economically so where it where you are both talking about the chinese economic effort and and for a while it's a growing american economic effort in africa that's the positive side of what we're doing the military side alone will not work and that's why i will be fighting and loose wars and because there are always going to be people looking for alternatives to the kind of misery that they're facing the clearly not finding good alternatives
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let me look at ask you both here i mean in it seems to me and number of sources here i mean the u.s. has military operations or some kind of installation some kind of operations and ninety percent of africa's fifty four states mike i mean really i mean where's the public debate about this where is the authorization for this there is none this is all done under the radar we have a human tragedy these four young men that were killed and that. a tragedy all in itself but we'll make start a discussion about after a comment in and ninety percent of africa's fifty four nations what the hell is going on here i mean if you look at where terrorism was ten fifteen twenty years ago i mean again it seems to me the american military footprint is a magnet for it ok go ahead michael i think it's a disproportional and there's no public debate or even knowledge about it go ahead
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michael i agree we this is something that should be discussed publicly and openly and regularly and i think the military is aware that there are a magnet for it and i don't think they were always aware of that i think this is kind of a new and a healthy understanding by the military that that kid new uniform is just not the right guy to be fighting this war they're against these people in africa or anywhere for that matter they're built to fight setpiece armies and they're not built to do these other things and so i think that to have a discussion maybe f. or coms mission needs to morph and evolve and i'm not sure the pentagon isn't doing that and so i mean i'm less wrapped around the axle about these special forces operations because i think it's not the growing trend i think it's the waning trend and i think the growing trend are these groups on operations coming up about maybe because of their success maybe because they're nascent still growing but i think that's the direction the pentagon is going and well i was wondering was open
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checkbook if you bought i don't because coming well one trend is really obvious to me peter i mean there's got to be a lot of military contractors is written in their hand saying whoa we got the gravy train here we got a hold on it now and we go we're already at fifty for. ninety percent of the fifty four countries i mean i'm sorry i'm too much of a cynic ok this is just a gravy tame for the military industrial complex and there's no discussion there's no debate about it go ahead peter. well there needs to we all agree there needs to be much more debate. i think we probably all agree that they had two thousand and one authorization for the use of military force that is not applied to the entire world right but congress has that has not taken responsibility congress should be overseeing this instead of writing blank checks for this kind of military operation so yes the military contractors are getting fat off of this but it's also
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in the context that michael and i might disagree about this but a kind of you look unipolarity that the united states has embraced at least since the defense authorization and nine hundred ninety two it was a shrine in the project for the new american century in one thousand nine hundred seven this idea that the united states can operate around the world and if the anybody poses a threat to us in a new region we're going to vanquish that threat and so terrorism is a real problem that there are bad actors in the world we have serious situations we've got the conflict with north korea we've got to stop going tension with iran we've got tension between the u.s. and russia there's a lot of serious problems that we need to confront globally now and i don't think this trump administration is doing it in any way that needs to be done ok michael last thirty seconds there are americans just used to the endless war it's not a big deal agree or disagree go ahead. i agree with you i think it's sad but i do
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agree with you i think we're we're used to being able to walk around with our big cloudy feet stopping any place we want to and it's something that we need to be less used to and we need to have specific military authorization to do work i was looking forward to our fight against isis and syria as a way to cooperate with the russians and build just what the professor was talking about and i'm still i'm not hopeless that this will never happen but i hope it will will missed opportunities gentlemen thanks we've run out of time many thanks to my guests in washington and thanks to our viewers for watching us here in r.t. see you next time. and remember. when i'll go. give a note is this sunday i'm not to run eventually at the us it would be theo
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i know there's no shuttle could. be i use on this will support it because i'm going to times not want something to go much but at the a lot of the behind of the out. on the she just put it down she didn't need the militia and got very little. denim of him to get his beefy done of this done so the this got to be but i mean. did. you. get to live it up with the. local blogs selling you on the idea that dropping bombs brings police to the chicken hawks forcing you to fight the battles of the stone and. the new socks
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apparently better than two thousand and six and see people you never heard of love jack to the night president of the world bank. but he doesn't really mean it seriously send us an e-mail. china lays out its leadership plans for the next five years cementing president sheens power and that guiding the plans to replace the u.s. petro dollar with its own currency and also this the u.s. secretary of state makes a surprise visit to afghanistan and suggest that moderate taliban members could make up a part of the afghan government while adopted fights appears at the country's leader meeting america's top diplomat. and the family feud because the independent standoff that is causing division not only in spain but in neighboring france.


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