Aftermath of the Endless War-America’s Preeminent Diplomat on Where We Go Now


IT IS ABOUT HISTORY, POLICY,   AND IMPACT.   A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON CURRENT   AFFAIRS.   BRINGING EXPERIENCED INSIGHT AND   SCHOLARSHIP TO THE ISSUES OF   TODAY.   ABOUT OUR PAST, PRESENT AND   FUTURE.   YOUR HOST, DOUGLAS BLACKMON.   FROM UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA’S   MILLER CENTER, THIS IS AMERICAN   FORUM.   [CAPTIONING MADE POSSIBLE BY   WVPT]   WELCOME BACK TO THE MILLER   CENTER’S AMERICAN FORUM.   JOINING US IS AMBASSADOR THOMAS   PICKERING.   OVER A DIPLOMATIC CAREER LASTING   FIVE DECADES, HE REPRESENTED THE   UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT IN A   SUCCESSION OF THE WORLD’S MOST   COMPLICATED GEOPOLITICAL   HOTSPOTS, RUSSIA, INDIA, ISRAEL,   EL SALVADOR, NIGERIA AND JORDAN.   EARLIER IN HIS CAREER, PICKERING   WAS AN AIDE TO SECRETARY OF   STATE HENRY KISSINGER.   DURING THE FIRST BUSH   PRESIDENCY, HE WAS AMBASSADOR TO   THE UNITED NATIONS AND A CENTRAL   FIGURE DURING THE FIRST GULF WAR   IN COORDINATING AN INTERNATIONAL   RESPONSE TO IRAQI LEADER SADDAM   HUSSAIN’S INVASION OF KUWAIT.   IN THE CLINTON YEARS HE WAS   AMBASSADOR FIRST TO INDIA AND   THEN IN MOSCOW DURING THE ROCKY   TRANSITION FROM THE ERA OF THE   SOVIET UNION TO TODAY’S RUSSIAN   FEDERATION.   THANKS FOR JOINING US.   THANK YOU, DOUG, VERY MUCH.   WE’RE FORTUNATE TO HAVE AN   HOUR OF YOUR TIME.   LET’S GO RIGHT BACK TO THE TIME   YOU WERE AT THE UNITED NATIONS   AT THE TIME OF THE FIRST PERSIAN   GULF WAR.   HOW IS IT THAT WE GOT THINGS SO   RIGHT SEEMINGLY THEN AND THEN   GOT THINGS SO WRONG A DECADE   LATER?   TWO OR THREE THINGS WERE VERY   IMPORTANT.   THE WORLD WAS CHANGING.   THE SOVIET UNION AND CHINA WERE   PREPARED TO JOIN US.   IT WAS IN OVERT ACT OF   UNPROVOKED AGGRESSION, ONE ONE   STATE AGAINST ANOTHER.   THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SAW   THAT AND PARTICULARLY THE SMALL   STATES.   AND THEREFORE THEY WERE   ENCOURAGING.   PRESIDENT BUSH HAD BEEN AT THE   UN AND HE KNEW THAT IT WAS   IMPORTANT TO HAVE THE LEGITIMACY   OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL BEHIND   HIM AS HE MOVED TO DEAL WITH THE   QUESTION FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF   THE AMERICAN CONGRESS.   AND SO THAT WAS EXTREMELY   IMPORTANT AS WELL.   I WAS PARTICULARLY LUCKY IN A   WAY THAT WE DEVELOPED VERY EARLY   A STRATEGY FOR DEALING WITH   THE RESOLUTIONS THAT IN EFFECT   NEVER LEFT THE FOCUS OF THE   SECURITY COUNCIL ON IRAQ.   UNTIL WE HAD SUCCEEDED IN   PASSING THE LAST RESOLUTION ON   USE OF FORCE.   AND SO THAT WAS IMPORTANT.   WE WANTED TO MAKE THE MEMBERS,   AND THEY INCLUDED CUBA AND   YEMEN, TO FEEL THEY HAD THE MOST   IMPORTANT RESPONSIBILITIES IN   THE WORLD AT THAT TIME AND WE   SUCCEEDED.   AND FINALLY, I WAS VERY LUCKY   WITH GEORGE BUSH AND JIM BAKER.   BOTH OF THEM, IN EFFECT, WORKED   THE PHONES.   BOTH OF THEM WORKED THEIR   COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS.   JIM SAW EVERY FOREIGN MINISTER   BEFORE WE VOTED ON THE USE OF   FORCED RESOLUTION.   BUT WE DID 12 RESOLUTIONS TO PUT   IRAQ IN A POSITION WHERE IN FACT   IF IT WAS GOING TO COMPLY, IT   COULD MAKE IT CLEAR.   WHAT ARE THE LESSONS TO BE   DRAWN FROM THE PROCESS YOU JUST   DESCRIBED — THE METHODICAL   ASSEMBLING OF INTERNATIONAL   SUPPORT.   VERSUS WHAT APPEARED TO BE THE   APPROACH OF OUR SECOND INVASION   IN IRAQ.   WITHOUT THE BUILDING OF A   COALITION.   MANY FACTORS I POINTED TO AS   BEING FAVORABLE IN THE FIRST   GULF WAR WERE OPPOSITE IN THE   SECOND.   IT WAS A WAR OF CHOICE.   IT WAS VERY CLEAR THAT THE   ARGUMENTS WHICH WE HAVE ADVANCED   CONVINCED VERY FEW PEOPLE THAT   THERE WAS INDEED A NECESSITY FOR   THE USE OF FORCE.   OR INDEED THAT WE HAD EXHAUSTED   ALL OF THE PEACEFUL METHODS OF   SOLVING THE PROBLEM BEFORE WE   JUMPED IN WITH THE USE OF FORCE.   THAT WAS A VERY SIGNIFICANT   PIECE.   RUSSIA WAS IN A DIFFERENT   POSITION.   SO WAS FRANCE, INTERESTINGLY   ENOUGH, ALTHOUGH THEY TALK ON   BOTH SIDES OF THEIR MOUTH RIGHT   NOW ABOUT WHAT EXACTLY THEY WERE   PREPARED TO DO.   FINALLY, WE WENT FIRST TO THE   CONGRESS AND 2ND TO THE UN   RATHER THAN GOING TO THE UN   WHICH IN THE FIRST GULF WAR   ESTABLISHED A PREDICATE FOR VERY   RELUCTANT DEMOCRATIC SENATORS   WHO WERE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT   ANOTHER VIETNAM IN IRAQ TO JOIN   IN SUPPORTING A REPUBLICAN   PRESIDENT TO USE FORCE UNDER THE   EGIS OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL.   AND SO YOU’RE DESCRIBING AN   ATTITUDE OF EXTREME RESTRAINT   REALLY.   OF CAUTION AND RESTRAINT WHERE   YOU HAVE THE GREATEST POWER IN   THE WORLD IMPOSING UPON ITSELF A   FAIRLY COMPLEX SET OF CONDITIONS   AND THEN A DECADE LATER A   SUPERPOWER THAT SEEMS COMPLETELY   IMPATIENT WITH THE NOTION OF   RESTRAINT.   I’LL TELL YOU AN INTERESTING   STORY, DOUG.   AFTER WE PASSED THE FIRST   RESOLUTION AT 4:00 IN THE   MORNING.   I WENT HOME TO BED AND GOT A   CALL ALMOST IMMEDIATELY FROM   BRENT SCOWCROFT AND SAID COME TO   THE NSC MEETING BEGINNING AT   9:00 THIS MORNING.   I HOPPED ON A PLANE, GOT DOWN   THERE, SAT THROUGH THE MEETING.   IT WAS A MEETING IN WHICH   GENERAL SCHWARZKOPF AND GENERAL   POWELL, THEN CHAIRMAN OF THE   JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, EXPLAINED   EXACTLY HOW WE WERE GOING TO   PREVENT THE IRAQI FORCES IN   KUWAIT FROM INVADING SAUDI   ARABIA.   ALL OF IT WAS SIMPLY RIGHT AND   SPLENDID.   AT THE END OF THE MEETING I   SAID, HEY, MR. PRESIDENT.   WHAT ABOUT KUWAIT?   YOUR POLICY HINGES ON YOUR   ABILITY TO MAKE CLEAR TO THE   WORLD THAT YOU’RE GOING TO STAND   BY THIS COUNTRY WHICH WAS   INVADED AND AGGRESSED AGAINST   AND IT WILL HAVE NO CLARITY AND   IT WILL HAVE NO BASIS FOR   PROCEEDING AHEAD UNLESS YOU ARE   PREPARED TO DO THAT.   I GOT NO ANSWER IN THE MEETING.   TWO HOURS LATER, PRESIDENT BUSH   FLEW TO ASPEN, COLORADO AND MET   MAGGIE THATCHER IN THE HOME OF   OUR THEN-AMBASSADOR TO THE UK   HENRY CATTO.   MAGGIE SCRUBBED HIS HEAD AND   THEY CAME OUT OF THAT MEETING   SAYING WE ARE GOING TO ASSURE   THAT KUWAIT IS SET FREE AGAIN   AND THIS IS OUR POLICY AND WE’RE   DETERMINED TO DO THAT.   PEACEFULLY IF WE CAN, IF NOT, WE   WILL USE MILITARY FORCES TO DO   THAT.   MAGGIE HAD ANOTHER IDEA WHICH   NEVER PERKED WITH GEORGE.   THAT WAS, LET’S GO AHEAD AND   FORGET THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL.   LET’S RUN DOWN THIS ROAD AND   WE’LL DO IT OURSELVES AND WE’LL   BRING OUR OWN COALITION   TOGETHER.   HAPPILY, THAT WAS IMPORTANT, AND   HE KNEW THAT BECAUSE HE KNEW HE   DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH DEMOCRATS TO   GET WHAT HE NEEDED TO HAVE IN   THE SENATE TO PRODUCE THE   RESOLUTION TO ENGAGE US MILITARY   FORCES.   SO IT WAS A VERY INTERESTING,   VERY CHANCY ARRANGEMENT AND NOT   EVERYBODY WAS ON THE SAME   COPYBOOK.   BUT THERE ARE ENOUGH PEOPLE ON   ENOUGH RIGHT SIDES OF THE   COPYBOOK IF I COULD PUT IT THIS   WAY TO GET THE POLICY RIGHT.   BUT, SO, WHAT YOU DESCRIBE   SOUNDS LIKE A DECADE LATER WE   END UP TAKING SOMETHING MUCH   CLOSER TO THE MARGARET THATCHER   APPROACH THAT SHE WAS   RECOMMENDING AT THE TIME.   WITH CONSEQUENCES THAT ARE AT   BEST VERY MUDDLED NOW.   BUT WHAT IS THE LESSON THAT’S TO   BE DRAWN FROM THIS? IT’S ONE   THING TO OBSERVE THAT WENT SO   MUCH BETTER THEN BUT WHAT IS IT   AS AMERICANS WE NEED TO DRAW   FROM ALL OF THAT AND TO TRY TO   IMPOSE ON WHATEVER QUESTIONS   FACE US NEXT?   THE LESSON IS THAT USE OF   MILITARY FORCE INTERNATIONALLY   IS COMING UNDER A MORE   RESTRICTED ENVIRONMENT AS TIME   GOES ON.   THAT WHILE WE ARE NOT SLAVISHLY   ADHERENT TO THE UN CHARTER, IT   PROVIDES ONLY TWO WAYS TO USE   MILITARY FORCE.   IN SELF-DEFENSE OR TO COME TO   THE AID OF SOMEBODY IN   SELF-DEFENSE, AND THAT’S ALMOST   IPSO FACTO UNDERSTOOD.   OR YOU GO TO THE SECURITY   COUNCIL AND YOU GET A RESOLUTION   THAT AUTHORIZES YOU TO USE FORCE   TO DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM OF   INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND   SECURITY.   THIS HAS PUT US IN MORE OF A BOX   THAN I THINK WE WANT TO BE IN   BUT IT IS WHERE THE   INTERNATIONAL TREND IS GOING.   SO, IF YOU THEN THINK ABOUT   USING FORCE AND YOU HAVEN’T GOT   SUBSTANTIAL BASIS FOR PLEADING   SELF DEFENSE, THEN YOU AT LEAST   NEED TO CONSIDER GOING TO THE   SECURITY COUNCIL.   PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH DID ON   THE ARGUMENTS OF SECRETARY   POWELL.   THEY FAILED TO DO THAT.   THAT LEFT THE QUESTION OF   LEGITIMACY HANGING IN THE AIR   AND IT IS NOT A COMFORTABLE   QUESTION TO HAVE AROUND YOUR   NECK.   PARTICULARLY IF IN FACT THE   ARGUMENTS YOU MAKE FOR THAT USE   OF FORCE TEND TO MOVE WITH THE   TIME AND DIMENSIONS OF THE   PROBLEM.   FIRST IT WAS WEAPONS OF MASS   DESTRUCTION, ANOTHER WAS TO   INTRODUCE PEACE AND DEMOCRACY,   AND ANOTHER WAS TO GET RID OF A   TERRIBLY BAD ACTOR, SADDAM   HUSSEIN.   ALL HAPPY OBJECTIVES, BUT NOT   THOSE THAT HAD THE BACKING AND   SUPPORT OF AN INTERNATIONAL   COMMUNITY.   WHICH, AS LEADER OF THE   INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, IT WAS   ALMOST INCUMBENT UPON US TO GET.   SO THE OTHER FACTOR IS WE HAVE   THE ROLE OF LEADING.   EVERYBODY WANTS US TO LEAD,   WHETHER THEY DISLIKE US   INTENSELY OR NOT.   AND IN LEADING, WE HAVE THE   SUCCESS OR FAILURE OF OUR   ABILITY TO BRING THE   INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ALONG   AND WHERE WE’RE GOING.   SO IT REQUIRES CAREFUL DECISION   MAKING.   IT REQUIRES WHAT I WOULD RECALL   — WHAT I WOULD CALL   IMPLEMENTATION BY STEPS WHICH   SEEK TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM BEFORE   YOU GET TO THE USE OF FORCE.   FINALLY, WE’VE ALSO LEARNED THAT   THE USE OF FORCE IN IRAQ AND   AFGHANISTAN IS NOT THE SOVEREIGN   REMEDY.   THREE DROPS OUT OF THE BOTTLE   YOU GET IT ALL.   THAT THERE IS THIS AWFULLY   DIFFICULT PROBLEM OF HOW YOU   PICK UP THE PIECES AFTER COMBAT.   HOW YOU HELP SHAPE A NEW   GOVERNMENT.   WHO RUNS IT, WHERE DO THEY COME   FROM, WHAT ARE THE CONTENDING   FACTORS DOMESTICALLY IN THAT   COUNTRY?   HOW DO THE OUTSIDE PLAYERS DEAL   WITH IT?   HUGELY COMPLICATED.   AND SO, WHILE SOME, I BELIEVE   SAW THE USE OF FORCE AS A   SHORTCUT TO DIPLOMACY AND   DIPLOMACY IS LONG AND IT IS NOT   CERTAIN AND IT TAKES TIME AND IT   TAKES BUILDING LEVERAGE AND   FORCES IMPORTANT IN THAT   LEVERAGE.   THE USE OF FORCE SOMETIMES PUTS   US IN A POSITION WHERE WE DON’T   YET THINK THROUGH THE NEXT STEPS   OF WHAT WE DO WHEN THAT’S DONE   — AND THAT’S VERY CHALLENGING.   FINALLY, I FEEL THAT ONCE YOU   BEGIN TO USE FORCE AS A SHORT   CUT FOR DIPLOMACY AND YOU FAIL   BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE WHAT I   CALL THE BACK END OF THE PROBLEM   DEALT WITH EFFECTIVELY, THEN YOU   ARE UNDERMINING THE   EFFECTIVENESS OF THE USE OF   FORCE.   BUT YOU ARE ALSO UNDERMINING THE   EFFECTIVENESS OF THE FORCE THAT   YOU HAVE, ALONG WITH YOUR   ECONOMY AND YOUR POLITICAL   PRINCIPLES, TO BACK UP YOUR   DIPLOMACY.   WHICH, IS IN MANY WAYS, A KIND   OF SPIRAL OF UNHAPPY   DISINTEGRATION AND FAILURE   RATHER THAN THE OTHER WAY   AROUND. AND THESE ARE ALL   CAREFULLY LINKED.   SO I THINK GEORGE H. W.   UNDERSTOOD THIS, AND SO DID   BRENT SCOWCROFT AND JIM BAKER.   AND THEY PURSUED THIS IN A VERY   CAREFUL AND STEPWISE WAY.   THEY WERE CRITICIZED FOR NOT   TRYING SANCTIONS LONG ENOUGH.   ON THE OTHER HAND THEY KNEW FOR   A PERIOD OF TIME THAT THEIR   CAPACITY TO KEEP THE COALITION   TOGETHER DEPENDED UPON WORKING   THROUGH A PARADIGM THAT WAS TIME   LIMITED AND WAS GOING TO BE   EFFECTIVE IN THE FIELD.   AND SO THEY COMBINED THESE   THINGS IN A STEPWISE PROCESS TO   MAKE IT HAPPEN.   AND SO IT SEEMS THAT ONE OF   THE LESSONS ALSO THAT COMES FROM   THAT IS THAT AT A TIME WHEN WE   GENERALLY SEEM TO HAVE LESS   CONFIDENCE IN THE UNITED NATIONS   AS AN INSTITUTION TODAY AND SEE   IT AS A DECLINING AND EVEN   IRRELEVANT BODY, THAT ACTUALLY   THE HASSLE OF SUBMITTING TO A   PROCESS IN WHICH OTHER PEOPLE   WHO MAY WELL DISAGREE WITH THE   UNITED STATES AND RAISE   OBJECTIONS ACTUALLY TURNS OUT TO   BE A PRETTY FRUITFUL THING TO   DO.   IT DOES IF YOU CAN MAKE IT   WORK FOR YOU.   IT DOESN’T IF YOU CANNOT MAKE IT   WORK FOR YOU.   THERE’S NO QUESTION AT ALL THAT   AT TIMES THE INTERNATIONAL   COMMUNITY CAN BE MOBILIZED.   AND AT TIMES IT’S THE   HEINOUSNESS OF THE ACT.   BUT THERE ARE TIMES WHEN WE   FAIL.   WE ARE FAILING IN CONGO, WHERE   WE HAVE A SLOW GENOCIDE OF   EVEN GREATER PROPORTIONS THAN   RWANDA.   WE ARE FAILING IN OTHER AREAS.   AND PART OF THAT IS CONVINCING   RUSSIA, WHICH IS A MEMBER OF THE   SECURITY COUNCIL, TO GO ALONG.   FOR YEARS, DOUG, I HAVE THOUGHT   THAT THE VETO IN THESE CASES   WORKED AGAINST AMERICAN   INTERESTS.   BECAUSE IT WAS IN OUR INTEREST   CERTAINLY IN THE CASE OF   GENOCIDE TO USE THE SECURITY   COUNCIL TO LEGITIMATE FORWARD   MOVEMENT.   THERE WAS A TIME BACK AT THE END   OF THE COLD WAR WHEN I THOUGHT   WE COULD PERSUADE THE NEW RUSSIA   AND THROUGH THEM, CHINA, TO   AGREE THAT MAYBE YOU NEEDED   THREE VETOERS TO MAKE IT   EFFECTIVE IN THE CASE OF   GENOCIDE.   THAT NEVER HAPPENED.   IT WAS NOT EASY.   THE U.S. WAS VERY CHERRY ABOUT   FIDDLING WITH THE VETO BECAUSE   THEY SAW THIS AS THE SHEET   ANCHOR TO WINDWARD IN NAUTICAL   TERMS.   AND THEY DIDN’T WANT IN ANY WAY   HAZARD IT COMING OFF THE BOTTOM   IF I CAN CALL IT THAT.   AND SO IT WAS A VERY INTERESTING   THING.   BUT OVER A PERIOD OF TIME   SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE IN THE   UNITED NATIONS.   WE CAN’T HAVE A SITUATION WHERE   POLITICAL DIFFERENCES OF A   PHILOSOPHICAL DOCTRINAL AND IN   SOME CASES HISTORICAL CHARACTER   PREDETERMINE THE OUTCOME.   THAT WAS THE PROBLEM OF THE COLD   WAR IN THE SECURITY COUNCIL.   NOW WE’RE HAVING A PROBLEM OF   WHAT I WOULD CALL THE RUSSIAN   STANDOFF IN THE SECURITY   COUNCIL.   HAPPILY, THE RUSSIANS HAVE COME   ALONG PRETTY WELL IN IRAN, SO IT   ISN’T TOTAL.   BUT IT IS A PROBLEM AND A   CHALLENGE IN AMERICAN DIPLOMACY   OF SIGNIFICANCE, PARTICULARLY   WHEN YOU GET DOWN TO THE   QUESTION OF THE USE OF FORCE.   I MYSELF BELIEVE USE OF FORCE IN   TIMES OF CHOICE IS NOT WISE.   YOU WANT TO BE SURE YOU ARE   USING IT IN EITHER IN   SELF-DEFENSE OR WHERE YOU HAVE A   GOOD SOLID REASON SALABLE TO   MOST OF THE INTERNATIONAL   COMMUNITY TO ENGAGE IN IT AND   THEN YOU WANT TO BUILD A   COALITION.   YOU DON’T WANT TO BE THERE   ALONE.   YOU WANT TO MAKE THOSE KINDS OF   APPROACHES SO WE ARE WORKING   WITH AND THROUGH THE   INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.   IT’S HARD TO DO BUT IT CAN BE   DONE.   YOU MENTIONED A MOMENT AGO   THAT IN THE FIRST GULF WAR IT   WAS THE CORRECT DECISION NOT TO   GO TO BAGHDAD, THE RESTRAINT   THAT WAS SHOWN EVEN AFTER THE   INVASION.   IT SEEMS TO ME THERE’S NOT   ENOUGH DISCUSSION THESE DAYS   WHEN WE LOOK AT THE CURRENT   SITUATION.   THAT THE DECISION NOT TO GO TO   BAGHDAD AT THE TIME, EVEN IF   THAT LOOKED PRETTY BAD FROM A   LOT OF PERSPECTIVES,   PARTICULARLY WHEN THERE WAS AN   INSURRECTION AFTER THE FIGHTING   AND THE UNITED STATES DIDN’T   PARTICULARLY SUPPORT THESE FOLKS   AND A LOT OF THEM GOT   SLAUGHTERED IN PRETTY TERRIBLE   WAYS.   THERE WAS WHAT SEEMED LIKE SOME   PRETTY LEGITIMATE CRITICISM.   ON THE OTHER HAND, WE NOW SEE IN   THE PRESENT TIMES THE EFFECTS OF   COMPLETELY DESTABILIZING SUCH A   LARGE POPULATION IN THE WHOLE   REGION.   AND SO IT SEEMS LIKE THE BEST   CASE FOR NOT GOING TO BAGHDAD   AND LEAVING SADDAM HUSSAIN IN   PLACE BACK THEN IS WHAT WE NOW   SEE.   IN THE ABSENCE OF HIM WE HAVE   THE ISLAMIC STATE AND ALL THAT   HAS FOLLOWED.   IT’S NOT ALL INEVITABLE.   IT’S NOT NECESSARILY IMMUTABLE.   AT THE END OF THE GULF WAR, I   AND A SMALL TEAM IN NEW YORK   PROPOSED THAT THE AREAS OF IRAQ   THAT WERE PURE DESERT BE   OCCUPIED BY THE ALLIES UP   AGAINST THE LINE OF POPULATION   ALONG THE RIVER SYSTEMS.   SO IT WOULD BE MOSTLY ANBAR UP   TO SYRIA.   THAT WAS REFUSED BY OUR MILITARY   BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T WANT TO TAKE   ON THE BURDEN.   BUT BY THAT TIME THE FRENCH AND   THE BRITISH BOTH AGREED WITH ME   THEY WOULD PROVIDE THE GROUND   FORCES, AMONG OTHERS, AND WE’D   HAVE TO PROVIDE THE AIR.   THAT DIDN’T WORK, BUT IT WOULD   HAVE PUT US CLOSE TO THE PEOPLE   WHO WERE PUSHING AGAINST SADDAM   AND IN A POSITION TO BE MUCH   MORE INFLUENTIAL EARLY.   THAT MAY HAVE HELPED US AVOID   GOING IN LATER.   I DON’T KNOW.   BUT, IN EFFECT, HAVING DONE THAT   AND FAILED WE WERE THEN LEFT IN   A SITUATION WHERE SADDAM COULD   EXPLOIT THE SITUATION.   HE EXPLOITED SOMETHING CALLED   OIL FOR FOOD BY IMPORTUNING   FRIENDS AND ALLIES TO COME OVER   TO HIS SIDE BECAUSE HE COULD   RATION OUT THE FOOD TO HIS OWN   PEOPLE AND MAKE IT APPEAR AS IF   IT WERE WE WHO WERE STARVING   THEM TO DEATH.   SO YOU WENT THROUGH ALL OF THAT   AWFUL PERIOD.   AND IN THE END MY OWN VIEW WAS   SADDAM WAS NOT A THREAT TO THE   UNITED STATES.   HE WAS NOT PALPABLY THEN A   THREAT TO THE REGION.   WE WERE THERE, AMONG OTHERS, AND   THE NOTION OF HAVING TO TAKE HIM   ON UNDER THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES   WOULD IN EFFECT PUT A STICK INTO   THE BEE’S NEST AND TURN IT   AROUND MANY TIMES. AND WE WOULD   BE LIKELY GET STUNG.   I HAD NO SENSE AT ALL THAT   SENDING YOUNG AMERICAN TROOPS   INTO THE BACKSTREETS OF BAGHDAD   UNDER SADDAM HUSSAIN TO ENGAGE   IN STREET FIGHTING WOULD   — TO LIBERATE SOMETHING THAT   WE HAD REALLY NO IDEA OF HOW TO   GOVERN OR HOW TO DEAL WITH WAS A   WISE IDEA.   AND THROUGHOUT THAT WHOLE PERIOD   MY SENSE HAS BEEN DEEPLY THAT   ALL OF THE ELEMENTS THAT HAVE   NOW POPPED UP —   A SUNNI DISAPPOINTMENT, SHIITE,   LET ME PUT IT THIS WAY OVER   AWING, KURDISH HUNKERING DOWN.   THE OPPORTUNITY OF MORE RADICAL   SUNNIS TO COME INTO NORTHERN   IRAQ AND SWEEP IT BY STORM WERE   ALL THERE IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.   WE WERE JUST SITTING BY WAITING   TO WATCH IT HAPPEN   UNFORTUNATELY.   AND NOW WE HAVE AN EVEN BIGGER   PROBLEM, IN SOME WAYS.   AND A PROBLEM THAT WE ARE GOING   TO TRY TO FACE THROUGH   RECRUITING IRAQI GROUND FORCES.   AND IF YOU READ YOUR DAILY   NEWSPAPER, YOU WILL FIND THAT   THOSE GROUND FORCES ARE RIDDLED   WITH CORRUPTION, UNWILLING TO   FIGHT, NOT VERY AGGRESSIVE.   IN THE MEANTIME, THEY CREATED   SHIITE MILITIAS, WHO ARE IN MANY   WAYS THE OPPOSITE NUMBER TO ISIL   OR ISIS, AND ENGAGE IN KILLINGS.   AND SO NOW WE HAVE CREATED A   BATTLEFIELD OF RADICALS AGAINST   RADICALS WITH NO DEFERENCE TO   HUMANITY OR HUMAN RIGHTS.   WHERE ARE WE GOING TO END UP ON   THIS? I DON’T SEE IT VERY   CLEARLY.   OUR BOMBING HAS HELPED TO STAVE   OFF THE LOSS OF A TOWN IN   NORTHERN SYRIA AND HELPED TO   TURN THE TIDE IN A FEW PLACES.   BUT WITHOUT RELIABLE,   SIGNIFICANT GROUND FORCES, WHICH   GENERAL ALLEN BELIEVES HE WON’T   BE ABLE TO MOBILIZE FOR A YEAR,   WE ARE NOT GOING TO GET   SOMEWHERE IN THAT VERY DIFFICULT   PROBLEM.   WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE A   GREAT DEAL OF PATIENCE.   YOU JUST SAID, I BELIEVE, WE   HAVE CREATED A BATTLEFIELD   FEATURING THESE TWO FORMS OF   EXTREMISTS WE HAVE CREATED.   IS THAT THE RIGHT WAY TO SAY IT?   DO WE HAVE TO TAKE SOME   RESPONSIBILITY THAT   SPECIFICALLY, OBVIOUSLY THAT   THIS SITUATION IS SIGNIFICANTLY   A CREATION OF UNITED STATES’   ACTIVITY IN THAT PART OF THE   WORLD?   OF COURSE WE HAVE TO, DOUG.   OF COURSE WE HAVE TO, DOUG.   BETWEEN 2003 AND 2011, OR   WHENEVER WE GOT OUT, WE HAD THE   PREDOMINANT ROLE IN THE COUNTRY.   AND WE FAILED TO DO THE THINGS   THAT WE HAVE TO DO, PARTICULARLY   ON THE POLITICAL SIDE OF THE   EQUATION.   PARTICULARLY WITH MALIKI   GOVERNMENT.   AND SAYING TO THEM YOU CAN HAVE   MAJORITY RULE, BUT YOU’VE GOT TO   HAVE MINORITY RIGHTS.   AND THERE’S NO WAY YOU CAN RUN   THIS COUNTRY WITH THE TRIPARTITE   DIVISIONS THAT YOU HAVE BETWEEN   THE ETHNICITIES AND THE   RELIGIONS WITHOUT OPENING THE   DOOR TO SOME PARTICIPATION.   AND THAT WAS NOT IN THEIR MIND.   IT WAS NOT IN THEIR COPYBOOK.   IT WAS NOT IN THEIR CULTURE, IT   WAS NOT IN THEIR BACKGROUND.   AND SO WE DIDN’T PAY ATTENTION   TO ANY OF THESE THINGS WHEN WE   GOT IN.   I CAN RECALL THAT FRIENDS OF   MINE IN THE STATE DEPARTMENT   PREPARED A LONG BRIEFING BOOK.   A HUNDRED PAGE DOCUMENT.   I SENT IT OVER TO THE DEFENSE   DEPARTMENT TO TREAT EXACTLY   THESE PROBLEMS.   AND FOR WHATEVER REASONS, THE   SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, DON   RUMSFELD SAID GET RID OF IT.   DON’T READ IT.   IT’S NOT YOURS.   IT’S NOT WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO.   AND SO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO KNEW   THAT PART OF THE ARAB WORLD, WHO   HAD SERVED THERE, BEEN PAID TO   OBVIOUSLY BECOME EXPERT ON IT   WERE KIND OF TOSSED TO THE   WINDS.   AND WE HAD THIS HOLLYWOOD VIEW   THAT IF WE WON THE COMBAT THEN   SOMEBODY LIKE AHMED CHALABI   WOULD COME FORWARD AND THE FILM   WOULD BE US MARCHING HAND IN   HAND INTO THE SUNSET RIGHT AWAY.   AND IT WAS OBVIOUSLY NAIVE TO   THE GREATEST EXTENT POSSIBLE.   WELL, NAIVE IS THE WORD.   AND I TIRE OF MYSELF POUNDING ON   THESE QUESTIONS BUT I FIND   MYSELF SO FRUSTRATED BY THE   OBSESSION, THE COMPULSION OF   AMERICANS BY AND LARGE IN A   SITUATION LIKE WE HAVE TODAY TO   FOCUS ON THE SAVAGERY OF   TERRIBLE PEOPLE AND THE SAVAGE   THINGS THAT THEY DO AND WE NOW   SEE THEM DOING ON THE INTERNET   AND THESE TERRIBLE EVENTS.   WE OVERWHELMINGLY FOCUS ON THE   FAILURES OF THESE TERRIBLE   PEOPLE.   AND THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THEY   ARE TERRIBLE IN WHAT THEY ARE   DOING IS ABSOLUTELY SAVAGE.   BUT IT IS SO DIFFICULT FOR   AMERICANS TO MAKE THE TURN AND   SAY TO OURSELVES OR REALIZE THE   ROLE THAT WE PLAYED IN   DESTABILIZING THIS WORLD IN A   WAY THAT ALLOWED THESE SAVAGE   PEOPLE TO BEGIN TO DO AND   ENCOURAGE THESE SAVAGE PEOPLE   DOING THESE THINGS.   I DESPAIR THAT WE SEEM TO DRAW   NO LESSONS AS A PEOPLE FROM   THESE THINGS AND ARE NOW   STUMBLING FORWARD INTO NEW   ACTIONS THAT I THINK THAT WE   REALLY DON’T KNOW THE OUTCOMES   OF, EITHER.   WELL, DOUG, LESSONS ARE NOT   EASY AND I WOULD BE THE LAST   PERSON TO SAY THAT THIS ISN’T   ROCKET SCIENCE IN ONE WAY OR   ANOTHER.   WE HAVE TO HAVE A DEEP   UNDERSTANDING OF CULTURE AND   LANGUAGE.   WE HAVE TO HAVE A VERY DEEP   SENSE THAT WE PLAY SATURDAY   AFTERNOON FOOTBALL SO WINNERS   AND LOSERS PARTICULARLY BY   5:00 ARE AN IMPORTANT ATTRIBUTE   TO OUR OWN CULTURE IN MANY WAYS.   WE DON’T BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE   PROBLEMS THAT WE CANNOT SOLVE.   AND THAT’S VERY HARD.   IT’S A PARTICULARLY GRIPPING   DIFFICULTY.   WE UNDERSTAND THAT TIME IS MONEY   AND VALUABLE, AND THEREFORE   PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE FOR GRANDMA   BUT NOT FOR US.   AND THEREFORE WE WANT TO MOVE   AHEAD VERY RAPIDLY AND GET AN   INSTANT SATISFACTION.   WE HAVE A MEDIA, BOTH NEW AND   OLD, THAT IS IN MANY WAYS   INFLUENCED BY THESE VIRTUES.   ONE ONLY HAS TO GO BACK AND LOOK   ACROSS THE SWEEP OF REPORTING.   WE HAVE A POLITICAL SYSTEM THAT   IS IN MANY WAYS SUPER POLARIZED   RIGHT NOW.   THAT IN FACT MAKES LEADERS   VULNERABLE TO COMMENTS AND   CRITICISMS BASED ON TRADITIONAL   AMERICAN APPROACHES AND   ATTITUDES.   THAT LEADING FROM BEHIND IS NOT   AMERICAN, AS MUCH AS IT MAY HAVE   SOME WISDOM.   BUT LEADING FROM BEHIND HAS TO   BE LEADING ALL OF THE TIME, NOT   JUST IN THE COMBAT PHASE AS IT   WAS IN LIBYA, AND VERY   DIFFICULT.   WE HAVE TO LEARN WHEN DO WE GO   TO USE FORCE AND WHEN DO WE HAVE   TO STAND BACK.   AND THAT’S A VERY TRYING   QUESTION.   NO PRESIDENT WANTS TO SAY THAT   HE’S SITTING BY WHILE HUNDREDS   OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE BEING   MASSACRED.   ON THE OTHER HAND, NO PRESIDENT   AT THIS STAGE WANTS TO GO TO WAR   WITH RUSSIA OVER CRIMEA AT A   PLACE WHERE OUR CAPACITY TO   EXERCISE AND USE MILITARY   INFLUENCE IS QUITE LIMITED.   I REMEMBER BACK IN THE COLD WAR   DAYS, BERLIN IN 1956 CERTAINLY,   AND BUDAPEST IN 1956 AND PRAGUE   IN 1968.   WE’RE LOOKED AT AS WORLD LEADERS   BUT WE ARE NOT CAPABLE OF   SOLVING EVERY WORLD PROBLEM.   AND WHEN TO TAKE THE RISKS AND   WHEN NOT TO TAKE THE RISKS ARE   TREMENDOUSLY SIGNIFICANT ISSUES.   AND THEY HAVE A HUGE ROLE IN OUR   DOMESTIC POLITICAL LIFE.   AND SO IN THE VEIN OF   PROBLEMS WE POSSIBLY CAN’T   SOLVE, WHAT’S YOUR ANSWER TO THE   ARGUMENT THAT NOW THAT WE’VE   DESTABILIZED THIS PLACE, SYRIA   AND IRAQ AND THE SURROUNDING   AREAS THAT WE’VE EQUALIZED IN   , SOME RESPECTS THE VARIOUS   PARTIES AND FORCES.   WE DON’T HAVE SADDAM HUSSEIN WHO   HAS ALL THE CARDS AND THE   ABILITY TO INVADE HIS NEIGHBORS   OR MASSACRE HUGE NUMBERS OF HIS   POPULATION.   WE’VE BROKEN ALL THAT UP.   WHY DON’T WE LET THEM FIGHT IT   OUT?   WE CAN’T SOLVE THIS PROBLEM.   WHY DO WE HAVE TO TRY TO STOP   THEM?   LET THEM DECIDE ON THE BORDERS   OF THEIR COUNTRIES.   WE SET THESE BORDERS COLONIALLY   OUR SIDE DID A LONG TIME AGO.   WHY NOT GIVE THE FIGHT BACK TO   THEM?   YOU KNOW, THAT’S BECOMING A   POTENTIALLY IMPORTANT ARGUMENT.   AND IT’S NOT ONE THAT I COULD   FIND LIGHTLY EASILY TO DISMISS.   BUT THE ARGUMENTS OVER ON THE   OTHER SIDE ARE CERTAINLY THE   ENERGY QUESTION.   IRAQ HAS NOW IMPROVED ITS ENERGY   PRODUCTION MAYBE THREE TIMES   SINCE THE LULL.   IT’S A VERY IMPORTANT PLAYER IN   THE NEW WORLD OF ENERGY.   PRICES ARE GOING DOWN, WHICH IS   NOT NECESSARILY THE GREATEST   PUNISHMENT WE HAVE EVER   INFLICTED ON OURSELVES.   IT’S IMPORTANT FOR US TO   UNDERSTAND THAT STABILITY IN THE   REGION CAN MOVE.   IT CAN MOVE AS IT HAS FROM SYRIA   TO IRAQ BACK INTO SYRIA.   IT CAN MOVE TO JORDAN.   LEBANON IS CERTAINLY VERY SHAKY.   EGYPT IS RECOVERING IN A WAY   THAT I’M NOT HAPPY WITH, BUT   FROM A BOUT OF A KIND OF   REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE WHICH NEVER   MOVED IN ANY KIND OF POSITIVE   DIRECTION FOR ANY OF US.   AND SO THE WHOLE STEW IS IN A   VERY MESSY CIRCUMSTANCE.   AND WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT,   WE HAVE OBLIGATIONS.   WE HAVE OBLIGATIONS TO OUR ARAB   FRIENDS.   WE HAVE OBLIGATIONS TO ISRAELIS   CERTAINLY TO PROVIDE STABILITY.   WE CAN TALK MORE ABOUT SOME OF   THE CONCOMITANTS AND SOME OF THE   DIFFICULTIES OF THIS.   SO IT’S NOT SO EASY TO WALK AWAY   IF IN FACT YOU SEE SOME OF THESE   PLAYING.   HARRY TRUMAN YEARS AGO SAID THAT   WE HAVE ONLY TWO VITAL   INTERESTS, SURVIVABILITY AND   PROSPERITY.   AND I SUPPOSE IN SOME WAYS THEY   ARE LINKED.   AND I SUPPOSE THAT IT ATTACHES   TO OUR CLOSE ALLIES AS WELL.   AND SO ALMOST EVERY PROBLEM IN   THE MIDDLE EAST, WITH FEW   EXCEPTIONS, MAYBE AN IRANIAN   NUCLEAR WEAPON IS ONE OF THEM,   IS NOT IN THAT CATEGORY.   AND SO WHAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING   OVER THE YEARS IS OBVIOUSLY   LEADING AND PLAYING AN IMPORTANT   ROLE IN A LOT OF HIGH PRIORITY   SECOND ORDER QUESTIONS.   WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT.   WE DON’T YET HAVE THE WAY OF HOW   TO PUT THESE IN PRIORITY ORDER.   TO SOME EXTENT, THAT’S   DICTATED IN MY VIEW MAYBE   WRONGLY, BUT NEVERTHELESS   INELUCTABLY BY THE WAY IN WHICH   THEY ARE HANDLED AS THEY COME IN   ON THE AIRWAVES FROM THE MEDIA   AND THE WAY IN WHICH ATTENTION   IS CALLED TO THEM.   AND EVERY WHITE HOUSE HAS FELT   COMPELLED TO ANSWER EVERY   QUESTION THAT HAS COME UP ON THE   DAY IN WHICH IT IS ASKED.   AND TO SOME EXTENT, THAT’S BEGUN   TO PRODUCE ENGAGEMENT BY PRESS   STATEMENT AS MUCH AS IT HAS BY   THOUGHT PROCESS.   AND WE HAVE TO BEGIN TO FIGURE   OUT HOW TO DO THAT.   FINALLY, AND THIS IS ANOTHER   POINT, WE’RE AFFLICTED BY THE   NOTION THAT SO MUCH OF THE DAILY   BUSINESS OF GOVERNMENT AND   FOREIGN AFFAIRS IN SECURITY HAS   CONSUMED SO MANY OF THE PEOPLE   THAT WE HAVEN’T EVEN BEEN ABLE   TO SET ASIDE THE REALLY BRAINY   THINKERS TO BEGIN TO LOOK DOWN   THE ROAD TO SAY WHAT CAN WE DO   AS A POSITIVE SET OF POLICY   ALTERNATIVES TO MOVE OUT OF   THESE MESSES RATHER THAN WHAT DO   WE DO TO PROVIDE THE THERAPY   NECESSARY TO SURVIVE THESE   MESSES?   AND SO THAT’S A VERY DIFFICULT   ISSUE.   IT’S ALWAYS THE MEDIA’S   FAULT.   WELL, SOME OF IT IS OBVIOUSLY   THE MEDIA HAS THE RESPONSIBILITY   OF REPORTING THE WORLD AND GOOD   NEWS DON’T SELL PAPERS.   AND IT’S ALSO A TROUBLING   THING, IN A SENSE, TO SEE THAT   SOME OF THE DECISIONS BEING MADE   RIGHT NOW, SPECIFICALLY WITH   REGARD TO THE ISLAMIC STATE DO   SEEM TO BE DRIVEN OVERWHELMINGLY   BY A HANDFUL OF VIDEOS OF   TERRIBLE THINGS.   IN MANY WAYS THEY UNDERSTAND   THE STRATEGY AND HOW TO TAKE   ADVANTAGE OF THE MEDIA.   THE IRONY OF THAT, OF COURSE,   IS THAT HAD THE ISLAMIC STATE   NOT PUT OUT THOSE VIDEOS WE   WOULDN’T BE BOMBING THEM RIGHT   NOW.   IN THE END PERHAPS IT’S A GOOD   RECRUITING MECHANISM FOR THEM   BUT A VERY FOOLISH ONE   TACTICALLY AND STRATEGICALLY.   I THINK THAT’S RIGHT.   ON THE OTHER HAND WE’RE NOW   CAUGHT WITH THE PROBLEM OF WHAT   DO WE DO IN ADDITION TO BOMBING   TO DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM.   BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT BOMBING IS   EFFECTIVE, BUT NOT AN ANSWER TO   A STRATEGIC ISSUE, EVEN TO A   TACTICAL QUESTION.   WHERE ARE THE GROUND FORCES   COMING FROM AND HOW ARE THEY   GOING TO PLAY THEIR ROLE? AND   IT’S AN AREA WHERE IT’S QUITE   CLEAR THAT EVEN OTHER ARABS MAY   NOT BE WELCOME IN THE GROUND   CAMPAIGN.   SAUDIS, UAE, QATARIS.   IT MAY HAVE TO COME FROM INSIDE   IRAQ ITSELF AND BE GENERATED BY   THAT KIND OF A CAMPAIGN.   THIS IS NOT TO DIMINISH IN   ANY WAY THE EXTRAORDINARY   ACHIEVEMENTS OF DIPLOMACY THAT   SURROUNDED THE FIRST GULF WAR   THAT YOU WERE INVOLVED IN, BUT   AT THE TIME OF SADDAM HUSSEIN’S   INVASION OF KUWAIT, IT SEEMED   LIKE A KIND OF OLD FASHIONED ACT   OF AGGRESSION.   IT WAS THE SORT OF THING THAT   COUNTRIES HAD DONE BEFORE THE   COLD WAR.   A STRONGER NEIGHBOR MOVING INTO   A NEARBY NEIGHBOR.   AND SO, ASSEMBLING AN   INTERNATIONAL COALITION TO   THROW BACK THIS OBVIOUS WRONG   WAS A FAIRLY STRAIGHTFORWARD   EQUATION, AT LEAST IN TERMS OF   THE MORALS AND PRINCIPLES OF IT.   NOW WE’RE IN A TIME WHERE THE   BIGGEST PLAYER IN TERMS OF   OUTRIGHT AGGRESSION MOVING INTO   A NEARBY NEIGHBOR TO SEIZE   PROPERTY THAT LOOKS GOOD AND ONE   FEELS A HISTORICAL ATTACHMENT TO   IS THE OTHER GREAT SUPERPOWER OR   ONE TIME SUPERPOWER OR WHATEVER   WE WANT TO CALL IT, RUSSIA.   SO HOW DID WE END UP IN THIS   PLACE WHERE AN OLD FASHIONED   QUAINT INVASION LIKE THE ON   E SADDAM HUSSEIN PULLED OFF IS   NOW SUPERSEDED BY SOMETHING THAT   PORTENDS CONFLICT AMONG THE   SUPERPOWERS.   WELL, THERE’S TWO PIECES   HERE.   ONE IS OF COURSE IT’S NOT JUST   THE OTHER SUPERPOWER, ITS   NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS OF   A TERRORIST ILK.   SO WE HAVE TO PUT THAT ON THE   TABLE.   BUT THE SUPERPOWER QUESTION IS A   VERY INTERESTING ONE.   TO SOME EXTENT OVER THE YEARS IN   DEALING WITH RUSSIA, MR. PUTIN   HAS DEVELOPED A SET OF ATTITUDES   AND APPROACHES TO LIFE THAT IN   MANY WAYS MIRROR HIS EXPERIENCE   AS AN INTELLIGENCE AGENT OF THE   SOVIET UNION IN GERMANY.   AND SO HE BELIEVES, AND THERE   ARE THINGS THAT HE CAN POINT TO   THAT I BELIEVE ARE LEGITIMATE,   THAT THEY HAVE BEEN TREATED AS A   SECOND CLASS PLAYER.   THEY’VE BEEN TOLD THAT UKRAINE   AND GEORGIA INSTANTLY HAVE TO   BECOME MEMBERS OF NATO WHEN   THEY’VE BEEN DEEPLY CONCERNED   ABOUT IT.   AND MADE IT CLEAR THAT THEY HAVE   BEEN DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT IT.   THEY WERE TOLD THAT THE   ANTIBALLISTIC MISSILE TREATY,   WHICH WE CONVINCED THE RUSSIANS   OR THE SOVIETS WAS THE RIGHT   THING TO DO BECAUSE IT ADDED   REAL STABILITY TO THE NUCLEAR   EQUATION, WAS NOW GOING TO BE   DENOUNCED BY THE UNITED STATES   WITH NO REPLACEMENT TO DEAL WITH   THE POTENTIAL THAT WE WOULD   DEVELOP AN ANTIBALLISTIC SYSTEM   THAT WOULD NEGATE THE   EFFECTIVENESS OF THEIR OFFENSIVE   SYSTEM, WHICH THEY WERE WORRIED   ABOUT.   WAY DOWN THE ROAD, BUT   NEVERTHELESS, THEY SAW THIS   COMING ON.   THEY SAW THIS AS A NEW EFFORT.   THEY SAW THEIR ECONOMY AS SO   WEAK.   AT ONE POINT, THEIR ECONOMY WAS   LIKE HUNGARY’S.   AND THEY SAW THEMSELVES TREATED   AS SECOND CLASS PLAYERS.   IN THE MEANTIME THEY FELT, LOOK   WE HAVE THE ONLY NUCLEAR ARSENAL   THAT EVER THREATENS THE UNITED   STATES, AND WHY AREN’T WE   PLAYERS AT THE MAIN TABLE? WHY   DO WE KEEP GETTING DITCHED? WHY   DO WE KEEP GETTING TOLD THAT THE   U.S. IS GOING TO DO THIS WITHOUT   MUCH CONSULTATION WITH RESPECT   AND EXPECT THAT RUSSIA WILL COME   ALONG? AND THERE ARE LOTS OF   THOSE.   SO THAT’S THE PUTIN SIDE OF THE   EQUATION.   PUTIN, IN 2011, SLID IN THE   ELECTIONS AND WAS SHOCKED.   AND SO THAT COMBINATION OF   SLIDING IN HIS OWN DOMESTIC   POPULARITY AND THE FACT THAT   PEOPLE WERE OUT ON THE STREETS   IN MOSCOW AND AROUND RUSSIA IN   2012 AND BEYOND, AND THIS NOTION   THAT HE WAS BEING RELEGATED TO   SECONDARY OR EVEN TERTIARY   STATUS BEHIND CHINA ALL BROUGHT   HOME TO HIM THAT HE HAD TO HAVE   A NEW WAY OF DEALING WITH IT.   PUTIN, IN MY VIEW, IS A GOOD   TACTICAL THINKER BUT HE’S WEAK   ON STRATEGY.   SO HIS TACTICAL APPROACH WAS TO   FIX ON TWO OR THREE THINGS.   ONE, CREATION OF A SPHERE OF   INFLUENCE FOR RUSSIA AND THE   FORMER AREA OF THE SOVIET UNION.   BOTH POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC   THROUGH A CUSTOMS UNION.   SECONDLY, TO SNAP OFF WHEN HE   COULD PIECES OF RUSSIAN   INHABITED TERRITORY THAT WERE   PART OF HIS VIEW OF WHAT WAS THE   REAL RUSSIA, AND DO THAT IN A   WAY TO SEND A MESSAGE TO US AND   OTHERS THAT HE WAS A PLAYER.   THAT HE WAS BACK ON THE SCENE.   THAT HE HAD TO BE DEALT WITH AND   THAT THIS WAS IMPORTANT.   THIRDLY, TO EMPHASIZE IN HIS   WHOLE NATIONAL EFFORTS,   NATIONALISM BUILT AROUND THESE   STEPS.   AND FINALLY, TO KICK ANKLES AT   THE U.S. WHENEVER HE COULD AS A   WAY OF ASSERTING THE FACT THAT   HE WAS EQUAL TO, AWARE OF, AND   READY TO CONFRONT THE UNITED   STATES AS A PART OF RUSSIAN   NATIONALISM.   SO THIS WAS THE BUILDUP, THIS   WAS THE DENOUEMENT, IN EFFECT,   OF WHERE HE IS.   STRATEGICALLY, WHAT HE FAILED TO   DO WAS USE ALL OF HIS OIL MONEY   TO DIVERSIFY RUSSIA’S ECONOMY.   SO RUSSIA IS DEPENDENT ON A   MONO-CROP EXPORT.   HYDROCARBONS.   WE ARE DEPENDENT IN EUROPE ON   IMPORTING RUSSIAN HYDROCARBONS.   UNTIL WE CAN CHANGE THE EQUATION   WE DON’T HAVE THE SEMINAL KIND   OF INFLUENCE IN RUSSIA THAT CAN   GET US BACK TO TALKING.   TALKING IS VERY IMPORTANT   DESPITE THE FACT THAT IT SEEMS   LIKE BLAH, BLAH.   WINSTON CHURCHILL SAID JAW, JAW   NOT WAR, WAR.   AND I THINK HE WAS RIGHT.   PEOPLE WHO SEE PUTIN OFTEN, SAY   HE IS BEGGING TO HAVE A   CONVERSATION.   THAT HE WANTS TO TALK.   THAT HE’S OPEN TO DO IT.   I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH OF THAT IS   BASICALLY NAIVETE AND REALITY.   MY OWN FORMULA IS VERY CLEAR.   WE MUST RATCHET UP THE SANCTIONS   AND WE MUST GET WITH EUROPE ON   ITS ENERGY DEPENDENCE.   BUT AT THE SAME TIME, IT IS   IMPERATIVE IN DIPLOMACY THAT WE   FRAME THE DOORS THROUGH WHICH WE   WANT MR. PUTIN TO WALK THROUGH   AS WE CREATE THIS EFFORT.   AND ONE OF THOSE HAS TO BE IN   UKRAINE.   AND UKRAINE’S BIG FUNDAMENTAL   UNDERLYING PROBLEM THAT LED TO   THE, PUT IT THIS WAY, THE   CREATION OF THE PRESENT MESS WAS   THE FAILURE OF THE UKRAINIAN   ECONOMY TO PERFORM CONSISTENTLY   OVER THE YEARS.   AND THERE WAS A CONTEST BETWEEN   RUSSIA AND THE EU AS TO WHO   COULD BECOME THE BEST FRIEND OF   UKRAINE.   BUT THAT WILL HELP SHAPE THE   FUTURE.   I DON’T MIND ASKING RUSSIA TO   PUT MONEY IN THE UKRAINIAN   ECONOMY ALONG WITH THE EU, THE   ,AND THE IMF AS A WAY OF GOING   AHEAD.   EVEN MORE WE SHOULD DEFINE   UKRAINE AS A BRIDGE COUNTRY NOT   A NATO COUNTRY.   BUT NOT ADHERENT TO AN AFFILIATE   OF THE RUSSIA THAT WE NOW SEE   TODAY.   BUT IT SHOULD BE SOMEWHERE IN   BETWEEN.   IT SHOULD BE OPEN FOR TRADE IN   BOTH DIRECTIONS.   THESE ARE DIFFICULT BUT THEY CAN   BE DONE.   IT SHOULD BE A COUNTRY WHERE   UKRAINIAN SUPER NATIONALISM   GIVES WAY TO THE OBVIOUS   NECESSITY TO HAVE IN THE UKRAINE   MINORITY RIGHTS FOR THE RUSSIAN   SPEAKERS IN A WAY THAT   RECOGNIZES THEIR LEGITIMACY AND   THEIR ROLE.   IF HILLARY CLINTON OR BARACK   OBAMA WERE AT THE TABLE THIS   WOULD BE A MORE INTERESTING   CONVERSATION.   I THINK THAT THEY WOULD SAY,   THAT’S WHAT WE WERE DOING   AMBASSADOR WHEN WE SAID WE WANT   TO RESET THE RELATIONSHIP WITH   PUTIN.   THAT’S WHAT WE GOT CASTIGATED   FOR BACK IN THE UNITED STATES BY   OUR POLITICAL ENEMIES.   AND THAT’S WHAT WE GOT VERY   LITTLE FROM VLADIMIR PUTIN IN   RETURN FOR.   AND SO HOW DO WE GO BACK TO THAT   SAME APPROACH OF RESETTING THE   RELATIONSHIP ON A DIFFERENT SET   OF TERMS AND HAVE ANY CONFIDENCE   ?   PART OF GOING BACK IS THAT WE   STRUCTURE THE CONVERSATION AND   THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING   THE CONVERSATION WITH THE   SANCTIONS AND WITH THE INCREASED   PRESSURE.   SECONDLY, WE BE PREPARED TO TALK   ABOUT THE WORST CASE AS WELL AS   THE BEST CASE OF WHERE THINGS   ARE GOING AT THE PRESENT TIME.   NEXT, WE NEED TO LAY ON THE   TABLE WHAT WE’RE PREPARED TO DO   TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN.   THIS MAY NOT WORK.   PUTIN BELIEVES WE’RE A DYING   COUNTRY.   THAT WE’RE FAILING.   THAT WE’RE NOT GOING TO LAST.   TO SOME EXTENT HE HAS FASTENED   ON TO EPHEMERA TO DO THAT.   BUT I THINK WE NEED TO BE VERY   STRONG IN TALKING TO HIM ABOUT   HOW WE CAN MOVE QUESTIONS AHEAD.   I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT OUR   INTERNAL POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS   DON’T LEAD ME TO BELIEVE THAT   THAT’S GOING TO BE OUR STRONGEST   LEAD POINT.   OUR ECONOMIC RECOVERY WILL BE.   I ALSO THINK THAT WE HAVE PLAYED   FAST AND LOOSE WITH OUR   PRINCIPLES TOO OFTEN.   IN ABU GHRAIB, IN GUANTANAMO, IN   DETAINEE TREATMENT, IN A WHOLE   LOT OF THINGS.   AND WE NEED TO COME BACK AND THE   PRESIDENT HASN’T YET PICKED UP   THE CUDGEL.   I DON’T CARE IF THEY PROSECUTE   SOMEBODY FOR MISBEHAVIOR.   IT WOULD BE LOGICAL BUT IT’S NOT   THE IMPERATIVE.   THE IMPERATIVE IS TO PUT IN   PLACE THINGS THAT ENSURE THAT   THESE VIOLATIONS OF HUMANITY IN   OUR OWN TRADITIONS IN HISTORY   DON’T TAKE PLACE AGAIN.   LET’S JUST MAKE SURE IT’S   CLEAR ON WHAT YOU’RE SAYING.   I BELIEVE WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS   THAT IF WE ARE A COUNTRY THAT   FEELS THAT WE CAN UNILATERALLY   INVADE ANOTHER COUNTRY ON THE   BASIS OF OUR ARGUMENTS OF   WITHOUT INTERNATIONAL SANCTION,   THEN IT IS DIFFICULT FOR US TO   TELL RUSSIA OR ANY OTHER COUNTRY   THAT THEY CAN’T DO THE SAME   THING.   IF WE ARE A COUNTRY THAT USES   ENHANCED INTERROGATION   TECHNIQUES TO EXTRACT   INFORMATION FROM PEOPLE WE   CAPTURE THEN IT IS DIFFICULT FOR   US TO CRITICIZE THE SAME   BEHAVIOR.   AND A GENERAL SENSE THAT WE HAVE   DIMINISHED OUR POSITION IN THE   WORLD.   WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT PRESIDENT   OBAMA PROMISED US HE WAS GOING   TO RECTIFY WHEN HE WAS ELECTED.   BUT THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE SAYING,   THAT WE’VE GIVEN UP MORAL HIGH   GROUND.   YES, DOUG, THAT’S THE   PULITZER-PRIZE ANSWER TO YOUR   QUESTION.   THANK YOU VERY MUCH.   INTERESTINGLY, YOU WERE   DESCRIBING A MOMENT AGO PUTIN’S   NARRATIVE OF HOW THINGS HAVE   GOTTEN TO WHERE THEY ARE.   ANDY YOU SEEM TO GIVE IT SOME   CREDENCE.   YOU WEREN’T DESCRIBING IT AS A   COMPLETELY FABULOUS THING.   PART OF THAT NARRATIVE IS THAT   IN THE RUSSIA IS HUMILIATED BY   1990’S, THE WEST AND FORCED INTO   AGREEMENTS THAT WERE BAD FOR IT   ULTIMATELY.   WE WERE RECENTLY TALKING WITH   ANGELA STENT SITTING IN THE SAME   CHAIR ABOUT THE PARALLELS   BETWEEN THIS AND WEIMAR, GERMANY   AND HOW THE PENALTIES PLACED ON   GERMANY AFTER WORLD WAR I HAD   PUT THEM IN A POSITION THAT   HELPED LEAD TO IT BECOMING A   DANGEROUS PLAYER IN THE WORLD   STAGE.   BUT THAT PERIOD OF TIME IN THE   1990’S WHERE SO MUCH OF THAT IS   HAPPENING IS WHEN YOU’RE THE   AMBASSADOR IN MOSCOW.   SO WHAT GIVES?   WHAT’S THE EXPLANATION?   I LEFT IN 1996.   I FELT UP UNTIL THEN WE HAD   WORKED VERY CLOSELY WITH   YELTSIN.   THAT WE HAD TRIED TO UNDERSTAND   HIM AND WHAT HE NEEDED.   THERE WAS NO QUESTION AT ALL   THAT PRESIDENT CLINTON HAD A   REMARKABLE RELATIONSHIP WITH   PRESIDENT YELTSIN.   AND THAT OVER TIME, WHILE   PRESIDENT YELTSIN DID THINGS   THAT FROM TIME TO TIME HE TOLD   HIS PEOPLE HE DIDN’T WANT TO DO.   HE HAD A REMARKABLE CAPACITY   WHEN HE AND CLINTON GOT TOGETHER   TO WORK OUT THE ANSWER AND THEN   TO USE THE PRESS CONFERENCE FOR   YELTSIN TO OPEN IT UP AND SAY I   ACHIEVED A NEW FOREIGN POLICY   VICTORY.   AND HE SOLD THAT.   SUBSEQUENT TO THAT, HE WENT INTO   DECLINE.   HE HAD HIS HEART OPERATION AND   TURNED THINGS OVER TO PUTIN.   I THINK THINGS SOURED AND I   THINK THE NEXT ADMINISTRATION   BUILT INTO THE SOURNESS AN EVEN   GREATER SET OF DIFFICULT   ACTIVITIES.   AND SO MOST OF IT PROBABLY   DIDN’T COME IN THE 1990’S SO   MUCH AS IT CAME IN THE FIRST   DECADE OF THE NEW CENTURY.   AND THERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS   THAT YOU TALKED ABOUT, THAT WE   HAVE TALKED ABOUT, THE INVASION   OF IRAQ, THE KINDS OF STEPS THAT   WE TOOK ON VARIOUS TREATIES.   THOSE KINDS OF THINGS WHICH SAT   VERY HEAVILY ON THE RUSSIAN HEAD   AND THEY SAT VERY HEAVILY ON MR.   PUTIN’S.   MR. PUTIN WASN’T YELTSIN.   PUTIN STILL LOOKED BACK AT SOME   OF THE GLORIES OF THE SOVIET   UNION.   HE SAW IT AS A GREAT COUNTRY.   HE SAW REMARKABLE FEATS THAT   THEY HAD PERFORMED IN SCIENCE   AND IN WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT AND   IN OTHER AREAS.   AND INDEED THERE WERE AND WE   WOULD BE MISTAKEN IF WE   OVERLOOKED THAT.   BUT HE FELT THAT WE DIDN’T   RECOGNIZE THAT AND HE FELT THAT   THERE WAS MUCH VICTORY TALK IN   THE UNITED STATES.   WE TRIED VERY HARD, I THINK, IN   THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION TO   AVOID SOME OF THAT.   AND THE FIRST BUSH   ADMINISTRATION WENT OUT OF ITS   WAY NOT TO CELEBRATE A VICTORY.   NOT TO CELEBRATE THIS AND TO   SAY IN FACT THAT THIS WAS A   VICTORY OF THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE.   AND I THINK THE SOVIET UNION   COLLAPSED BECAUSE THEIR ECONOMY   SIMPLY UNDERTOOK MORE THAN IT   HAD A CAPACITY TO CARRY OUT.   THEY BROKE THE IRON LAW OF   ECONOMICS THAT YOU IN THE END   CANNOT FOREVER SPEND MORE THAN   YOU TAKE IN.   AND THAT BROUGHT THEM DOWN IN A   WAY GORBACHEV SAW VERY CLEARLY   AFTER 1985 AND BY 1989 WAS   STRUGGLING TO TRY TO CONTAIN.   IT JUST GOT AWAY FROM HIM.   AND SO NOW WE HAVE THIS   PERPLEXING SITUATION IN THE   WORLD WHERE ON THE ONE HAND   RUSSIA IS THE IN MANY RESPECTS   THE GREAT MALEFACTOR OF   GEOPOLITICS OF THE MOMENT AND   YET AT THE SAME TIME,   PERIODICALLY, POPS UP IN WAYS   WHETHER WE FULLY ACKNOWLEDGE IT   OR NOT ARE ACTUALLY QUITE   IMPORTANT AND INTERESTING.   I MEAN IT’S NOW BEEN ECLIPSED BY   ALL THESE OTHER EVENTS AND THE   PRESIDENT WAS RIDICULED OVER THE   INTERVENTION OF PUTIN AND RUSSIA   IN THE TALKS OVER CHEMICAL   WEAPONS AND SYRIA.   WE WERE RIDICULED FOR LEADING   FROM BEHIND IN A SENSE, YET IN   REALITY WHAT YOU HAD THERE WAS A   REAL MOMENT OF REAL POLITICS   THAT LED TO THE OBJECTIVE OF THE   UNITED STATES AND THE REST OF   THE WORLD ACTUALLY BEING   ACCOMPLISHED.   I COULDN’T AGREE WITH YOU   MORE.   I THINK THE NOTION THAT ASSAD’S   BIGGEST ALLY WOULD SUGGEST HE   GIVE UP HIS BEST WEAPON AS A WAY   OF AVOIDING AMERICAN MILITARY   ACTION AGAINST HIM, HOWEVER   LIMITED OR UNLIMITED IT WOULD   BE, WAS A REMARKABLE SHIFT AND A   SHIFT IN WHICH MR.   PUTIN WAS OBVIOUSLY CAUGHT ON   THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA.   COULD HE LET HIS BEST ALLY   UNDERGO A MILITARY PUMMELING   WHICH HE COULDN’T STOP, CRIMEA   IN REVERSE IN SOME WAYS, OR   SHOULD HE SEEK A WAY TO   NEGOTIATE OUT OF IT AND PUT ON   THE TABLE SOMETHING THAT WOULD   INDICATE CLEARLY THAT HIS   THINKING AND OUR THINKING WERE   IN PARALLEL.   IT’S SAD THAT WE COULDN’T BEGIN   TO CONVERT THAT INTO THE NEXT   STAGE ELEMENTS.   COULD WE MOVE FROM THERE TO A   CEASE FIRE?   COULD WE MOVE FROM A CEASE FIRE   TO A TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT?   COULD WE FIND A WAY TO HAVE   MAYBE, AS HENRY KISSINGER WAS   SAYING, ASSAD IN AT THE   BEGINNING BUT OUT AT THE END.   WHAT ARE THE WAYS YOU’VE   DESCRIBED, IN TERMS OF TRYING TO   MOVE FORWARD WITH A DEAL ON   IRAN?   THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT   JOHN KERRY HAS WORKED WITH   SERGEY LAVROV THE RUSSIAN   FOREIGN MINISTER TO ATTEMPT TO   DO THIS.   AT THE MOMENT THAT DOESN’T SEEM   TO HAVE CAUGHT HOLD IN PART   BECAUSE AT THE MOMENT PRESIDENT   ASSAD IS NOT LOSING.   THE RUSSIANS WERE MUCH MORE   MALLEABLE AT THE BEGINNING OF   2013 WHEN IT LOOKED LIKE ASSAD   WAS GOING UNDER.   SO THE NO FLY ZONE MAY BE ONE   WAY TO MOVE THAT ALONG.   I’M NOT SURE.   BUT WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT THAT   BECAUSE MILITARY FORCE IS THERE   TO BE USED BUT IN MY VIEW TO   PROMOTE THE DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION   WE HOPE TO GET, NOT TO TRY TO   WIN THE WAR WHICH IS, WITHOUT   BOOTS ON THE GROUND,   NOT A POSSIBILITY.   SO THINK THAT’S SIGNIFICANT.   I THINK WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO   OPEN THE DOOR WITH IRAN IN ONE   WAY OR ANOTHER.   THIS MORNING’S NEWS ABOUT   POSTPONEMENT IS NOT THE WORST   ALTERNATIVE, NOT THE BEST   ALTERNATIVE, LET’S SEE WHERE   THAT CAN TAKE US BUT   WHERE DO YOU SEE THAT GOING   IN TERMS OF REACHING SOME SORT   OF NUCLEAR DEAL WITH IRAN?   MY OWN VIEW IS THAT DEADLINES   HAVE A USEFUL ROLE AND I THINK   THIS ONE HAS IN PRODUCING   FORWARD PROGRESS.   MESSAGES I GET AND THE   INFORMATION I GET AND WHAT I SEE   IN THE PRESS IS THAT SIGNIFICANT   FORWARD PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE.   WE DON’T KNOW YET REALLY WHAT IT   MEANS BUT WE HAVE TWO BIG   HURDLES TO PASS.   HOW MUCH SANCTIONS DO THEY GET   OFF AND HOW MUCH RESTRICTION DO   WE GET ON ENRICHMENT AND   STOCKPILES OF URANIUM?   THOSE IN MY VIEW ARE DIFFICULT   BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE.   THE REAL PROBLEM ABOUT   POSTPONEMENT IS IT WILL GIVE ALL   THE PEOPLE WHO DON’T LIKE AN   AGREEMENT PLENTY OF CHANCE NOW   TO OPERATE, WHETHER IT’S IN THE   NEW SENATE OR WHETHER IT’S IN   THE IRANIAN PARLIAMENT OR THE   REVOLUTIONARY GUARD OR WHATEVER.   TO SOME EXTENT ALL OF US WHO   BELIEVE THAT THERE’S STILL   POSSIBLE TO GET AN AGREEMENT TO   STEP UP AND SAY IT’S BETTER AS   WINSTON CHURCHILL SAID TO TALK   THAN IT IS TO GO TO SOME KIND OF   SET OF ELEMENTS THAT MAY   INELUCTABLY LEAD TO CONFLICT.   SO I THINK THAT’S WHERE WE ARE.   AND I THINK WE CONTINUE TO NEED   TO FIND WAYS TO JUMP OVER THIS   QUESTION.   MY OWN VIEW HAS BEEN FOR YEARS   THAT IF WE WERE TO TAKE ALL THE   SANCTIONS OFF WITH SOME, LET ME   PUT IT THIS WAY, WITH SOME   CAVEATS, WE COULD GET THEM BACK   ANY TIME WE WANTED FROM THE US   SIDE.   THE PRESIDENT ONLY HAS TO ASK   THE CONGRESS.   IT SEEMS TO ME THAT WE END UP   IN THIS POSITION WITH IRAN   THAT IN SOME RESPECT IT REMINDS   ME OF OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH   CUBA.   WHERE BECAUSE OF A SINGULAR   GIGANTIC EVENT WE ADOPT A VERY   RIGID POSTURE TOWARD A   PARTICULAR COUNTRY THAT WE   CANNOT MOVE FROM OVER A LONG   PASSAGE OF TIME.   EVEN WHEN LOGIC AND FACTS BEGIN   TO ARGUE STRONGLY THAT WE   SHOULD.   AND HERE WE HAVE A RECENT   HISTORY IN THAT REGION OF THE   WORLD, AN-ILL FOUNDED IDEA THAT   IF WE INVADED ONE COUNTRY THAT   THE PEOPLE OF THAT COUNTRY WERE   WELL EDUCATED AND HAD SOME SENSE   OF FRIENDSHIP TO THE UNITED   STATES AND THAT THEY WOULD   WELCOME US WITH OPEN ARMS WHEN   IN FACT THERE WAS NOTHING LIKE   THAT TO BE FOUND.   ON THE OTHER HAND, THE COUNTRY   THAT WE OSTRACIZED MOST   CONSISTENTLY OVER THIS WHOLE   PERIOD OF TIME HAS A POPULATION   OF PEOPLE WHO IS ACTUALLY   SOMEWHAT CLOSER TO THAT.   THAT THE IRANIAN PEOPLE   THEMSELVES DO HAVE SOME AFFINITY   TO AMERICANS FOR A WHOLE VARIETY   OF HISTORICAL REASONS.   I VISITED IRAN LAST TEN YEARS   AGO AS A TOURIST AND I FOUND OUR   RELATIONS WITH IRANIAN PEOPLE   VERY GOOD.   THEY WANTED TO KNOW WHY THINGS   WERE SO BAD WITH THE UNITED   STATES.   THEY DIDN’T UNDERSTAND.   THEY WEREN’T GETTING INFORMATION   AND I THINK THAT THAT’S   IMPORTANT.   AND IN FACT YOU COULD HAVE SAID   ONE OF THE GREAT SUCCESSES OF   GEORGE W. BUSH’S FOREIGN POLICY   WAS THAT SO MANY PEOPLE IN IRAN   LOVED THE UNITED STATES.   EXACTLY?   NOW IS THAT A FORMULA FOR FUTURE   SUCCESS? IT’S PROBABLY NOT AND   IT’S COUNTERINTUITIVE IN ANY   EVENT TO SAY ANYTHING AT ALL.   THERE IS A FAIRLY WIDELY HELD   VIEW THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR A   LONG TIME WAS LARGELY   UNINTERESTED IN FOREIGN AFFAIRS   AND GEOPOLITICS AND THAT ONCE HE   BECAME INTERESTED IN IT THAT HE   WAS SIGNIFICANTLY OUT OF HIS   DEPTH AND THAT THIS HAS NOT BEEN   A SUCCESSFUL ADMINISTRATION IN   TERMS OF FOREIGN POLICY.   DO YOU ASCRIBE TO THAT VIEW?   NO, BUT I THINK THERE ARE   ELEMENTS THAT YOU CAN POINT TO   WHICH GIVE AN INDICATION THAT IT   HAS BEEN A DISTINCTLY MIXED   RECORD.   I THINK THAT THERE ARE THINGS   THAT HE HAS DONE AND THAT HE HAS   ACCOMPLISHED WHICH HE IS NOT   GETTING CREDIT FOR THAT HE   DOESN’T TRUMPET VERY MUCH, THAT   HE IS ON THE DEFENSIVE ALMOST   ACROSS THE BOARD.   BUT IT IS TRUE THAT I THINK HE   HAS RELIED TOO HEAVILY ON TOO NA   RROW A COTERIE IN THE WHITE   HOUSE.   VERY MUCH UNTIL THE LAST MIDTERM   ELECTIONS DEVOTED TO DOMESTIC   ISSUES WHICH HE GAVE PRIORITY I   THINK QUITE RIGHTLY TO AND AS A   RESULT VERY MUCH LESS INTERESTED   IN TAKING RISKS IN FOREIGN   AFFAIRS.   THE REALLY INTERESTING PROBLEM   IS THAT IF YOU ARE NOT RIDING   YOUR BICYCLE FORWARD IN FOREIGN   AFFAIRS, YOU’RE FALLING DOWN.   BECAUSE YOU DON’T CONTROL WHAT’S   COMING AT YOU.   AND SO WHAT’S COMING AT YOU   EITHER HAS TO BE ANTICIPATED AND   TAKEN ON OR DEALT WITH AS A KIND   OF FOLLOWING THE HORSES IN THE   HORSE PARADE AND SWEEPING UP   AFTER THEM.   AND THIS IS NOT WHERE WE WANT TO   BE.   BUT MUCH OF OUR FOREIGN POLICY   IS TAKING THE HORSE PARADE   APPROACH RATHER THAN THE BICYCLE   APPROACH.   AND SO THERE ARE IMPORTANT   PIECES THAT WE HAVE TO LOOK AT.   AND IN SOME WAYS A PRESIDENT NO   LONGER HAS THE ABSOLUTE ABILITY   TO PRIORITIZE ONE SET OF ISSUES   OVER THE OTHER AND STILL MEET   WHAT I CALL THE REQUISITE   DEMANDS OF THE COUNTRY, OF THE   POLITY, AND OF THE PEOPLE.   AND THAT’S BEEN A LITTLE BIT OF   WHAT WE’VE SEEN.   I THINK WE HAVE A NATIONAL   SECURITY SYSTEM WHICH IS OUT OF   DATE.   I DO THINK WE NEED A LOT MORE   USE OF THE INSTRUMENTS WE HAVE   BUILT RATHER THAN A TENDENCY TO   CONCENTRATE TOO MUCH POWER IN   DECISION MAKING AND OPERATIONAL   CONTROL IN THE WHITE HOUSE.   AND I THINK UNTIL WE MOVE BACK   TO BEING ABLE TO EMPLOY THE TEAM   OF RIVALS AS OPERATIONAL LEADERS   AS OPPOSED TO MERELY POLICY   SUGGESTIONS — POLICY   SUGGESTORS, WE ARE NOT GETTING   WHERE WE’RE GOING AND MAYBE SOME   OF THE CHANGES COMING IN THE   DEFENSE DEPARTMENT ARE A   REALIZATION OF THAT ONE WOULD   ONLY HOPE.   BUT I DON’T KNOW.   IN ANY EVENT THE QUESTION YOU   RAISE IS FUNDAMENTAL FOR US.   WHERE OBAMA CAN GO IN THE NEXT   TWO YEARS IS FAR.   HE’S GOT LOTS OF PROBLEMS.   MIDDLE EAST, CHINA, RUSSIA AT   THE TOP AND WE’VE TALKED ABOUT   ALL BUT CHINA.   BUT HE HAS MANY OTHER THINGS HE   NEEDS TO DO.   HE HAS TO CONTINUE TO MEND THE   ECONOMY.   HE HAS TO FIND THE ANSWER TO A   WHOLE SERIES OF DOMESTIC   PROBLEMS.   CERTAINLY IMMIGRATION, CERTAINLY   GUNS, CERTAINLY A WHOLE SERIES   OF QUESTIONS HAVING TO DO WITH   HOW OUR ECONOMY BEST SERVES OUR   PUBLIC AND AT THE SAME TIME   STIMULATES THE GROWTH THAT IS   COMING SLOWLY BUT IS   NEVERTHELESS NEEDS TO BE THERE.   AND I THINK THAT’S OUT THERE.   WE HAVE A NUMBER OF   OPPORTUNITIES WITH CHINA AND   RUSSIA IF WE CAN GET THAT   OPENING.   IT MAY BE THAT WITH MR.   PUTIN AND WITH PRESIDENT XI WE   JUST ARE NOT ABLE TO HAVE THE   KIND OF DIALOGUE BUT WE   CERTAINLY NEED TO REACH OUT NOW   IN THE NEXT SIX MONTHS TO SEE IF   IN FACT WE CAN BEGIN TO BUILD   BACK ON WHERE WE HAVE COME TO   SET SOME KIND OF NEW DIRECTION   FOR THE FUTURE.   WISE COUNSEL.   THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.   FORMER UNITED NATIONS AMBASSADOR   THOMAS PICKERING.   FOR MORE ABOUT THIS AND OTHER   EPISODES OF THIS PROGRAM VISIT   US AT   MILLERCENTER.ORG/AMERICANFORUM.   I’M DOUG BLACKMON, SEE YOU NEXT   TIME.   [CAPTIONING PERFORMED BY THE   NATIONAL CAPTIONING INSTITUTE,   WHICH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS   CAPTION CONTENT AND ACCURACY.   VISIT NCICAP.ORG]   7  




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