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tv   Secretary John Kerry Testimony on State Department Fiscal Year 2017 Budget  CSPAN  February 24, 2016 7:28am-10:06am EST

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captioning performed by vitac obviously he's anxious to press on the rights of people to demonstrate, to have democracy, to be free, to be able to, you know, speak and hang a sign in their window without being put in jail for several years for doing it. >> just to sum it up, because i have one more question for you, he's going to speak directly to the cuban people and that's really good. my last question is, as the person who is perhaps engaged the most with the russians and i ta you can about the frustration
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senatorst felt when we met years ago with the russians. do you believe they're truly willing to commit to a cessation of hostilities in the syrian area and peace process that allow s for the eventual remova of assad, what is your assessment? >> my assessment we put the test, the proposition that they are committed to a political solution and if indeed the only outcome anybody believes can occur is political solution, we have no choice but to try to get the modalities in place to be able to get to the table and argue about it. as senator corker has said, you know, our tools, my tools are the tools of diplomacy, the tools of trying to reach an agreement, trying to use whatever leverage we have to get an outcome. the outcome we've gotten is to have everybody who is a stakeholder at the same table. all of them agreeing in this process to have russia joining us with china and france and britain as the five permanent members of the security council, going to the security council
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with germany and others, in order to get a u.n. security council resolution outlining a framework for a political settlement. and russia voting for it. so if we're going to test whether the words mean anything, we have to put in place a process like we have here. senator corker mentioned aleppo and what they've been doing in the ensuing weeks. yes, they have bombing and imagine what would have happened if we didn't have an agreement to end in two weeks or one week, they'd still be bombing. you have to begin a cease-fire sometime but you can't begin it on day one without working out the modalities of it. you have to sit there and say okay, what are the rules? who is going to live by what and in this case, that was particularly difficult because of the different players that you have involved in this. >> if i could just reclaim my time because i've gone over, i just hope it's not a rope-a-dope deal. i just hope. >> it may be. i'm not going to sit here -- >> not that you have another
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option. >> if humanitarian assistance flows, if the guns do violence with the exception of efforts against da'esh and nusra, and lives are saved that's to the benefit it doesn't mean it's automatically going to have a positive outcome in the political process, folks, in fact, but let me say this because senator corker raised an important issue. he said russia has sort of been accomplishing its ends in the meantime. well, folks, even if russia took aleppo, even if russia is sitting there, holding territory has always been difficult, and if the war doesn't end, if the turks and qataris and saudis and others continue to support opposition and we're supporting opposition and the opposition continues to fight, this can get a lot uglier, and russia has to be sitting there evaluating that, too. so the question is, at some point in time, someday,
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someone's going to have to sit down at a table and arrive at an understanding about what syria is going to be, but it may be too late to keep it as a whole syria, if we wait much longer. >> um-hum. >> that's what's at issue here and i'm not going to vouch for this. i'm not going to say this process is sure to work because i don't know. but i know that this is the best way to try to end the war and it's the only alternative available to us if indeed we're going to have a political settlement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. senator flay? >> thank you, i appreciate the testimony so far. i share the concerns that senator carden raised with regard to oco and the shift, all of us have been concerned with over the years the shift from baseline to oco funding just not an honest way to budget, and i'm not blaming the administration any more than i'm blaming congress here but we've got to
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get away from it. let me talk a little about the trip that senator cardin mentioned that he and i and senator kunz from the committee and two others took to southern africa mostly to look at wildlife trafficking and poaching and to find some oversight for some of the programs that our government has with the various government there is. it's a challenge. we have seen a decline in the elephant population in africa over the past ten years of about 40% to 50%, rhinos being poached at just one park krueger in south africa to the tune before 1,200 just last year. when we were in namibia we went into a vault they held illegal seizures are rhino horn and ivory and i held one horn, two horns from one white rhino that on the black market was worth about $600,000, one set of rhino
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horns. it goes for about $60,000 a k, more expensive than any precious metal or anything else or cocaine or drugs, and those countries are very worried that criminal networks will come in, that will fund conflicts and instability like they have in central africa, and elsewhere, so i would just say that the programs that we have going in those countries to help these countries actually respond to this threat are important and we ought to keep going with that. also, senator cardin mentioned the issue of trafficking and people, tip, the reports we have, senator cardin raised that just about everywhere we went. that is an important lever that
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we have to induce these governments to help more in this area. it is concerning with namibia it was raised, the government responded hey, we've tried to respond, after we left there were newspaper articles expressing some confusion about where they were and where they are and it's not just the ma anybodyian government, some of the other governments expressed some confusion about how they respond when you look at what we're trying to induce the governments to do, one of the things is government of the countries should make a serious and sustained effort to eliminate severe forms of trafficking in persons. those items are maybe a little too subjective, and if we want to use this as an effective lever to push these countries more where we want them to be, i would suggest that maybe we need to work on some of these measures to make them more concrete and precise.
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do you have any thoughts in that? i know this is an area that's of concern to you and you've been working with these governments. >> well, thank you, senator. i know this is not on everybody's mind obviously but i'll tell you, it should be, and i wish it were something that we were able to do more about, and we should be able to. these same criminal networks that engage in the wildlife trafficking also by the way engage in trafficking in human persons, in narcotics trafficking. it's a multibillion-dollar criminal enterprise, and it is destroying the future for lots of countries that could rely on ecotourism or other things, but it's also eliminating species from the planet. i think this one rhino, i saw the other day, i think there's one white rhino in one country left, that's all. when i was in kenya recently, i
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visited the david sheldrick reserve there, where there were a bunch of orphan baby elephants because the parents had been killed, and the poaching has been reduced significantly because they now have wardens out there, armed, and there's a price you pay if you're caught. that's the only way -- it has to be stopped by enforcement. you cannot have impunity in the system. and when it's part of criminal enterprise, and what has become you know, a clepto country of one kind or another it's extremely hard to do anything about this. we need to galvanize countries together and we need to put, unfortunately, this also is one of the things that takes resources. you've got to be able to provide the shelter, the refuge, you've got to be able to provide the enforcement mechanism, train
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people, make sure that there's no impunity with respect to this. and until this moment, there hasn't been a significant enough effort. i know you and senator kunz are contemplating legislation on this. the one concern we have, goes back to what i was talking about earl whier, we're cooperating now a lot of countries, and they're cooperating with us, and if we get into, you know, we're worried about the prospect that if they're sort of a frontal assault on them, we may lose the cooperation rather than be able to make the progress we're making. it's something we should talk about, what els about, what's the best way to get the return on investment here. >> thank you, last question. i just want to commend the administration for what they've done on cuba as was mentioned before. i have said to the president and others that there are still
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obviously big concerns with the cuban government in the area of human rights, for example, but it shouldn't be lost on anyone, the improvement in the condition of cuban people since many changes have been made, for example, a few years ago when the president lifted restrictions on cuban-american travel, and lifted caps on remittances, that in combination with some changes made in cuba have meant that nearly 25% of the cuban workforce is now outside of government, whether they're running private hotels, or air bnb, with a bed and breakfast, private auto repair shop or beauty salon and these people who have that ability now are separate as much as you can be in cuba, from government, and are enjoying richer, fuller, more free lives than they would have otherwise. we still have a long way to go,
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but we're moving in the right direction, and i commend the administration for the steps that have been taken and i wish the president well on his visit there. i think it's an important step. >> thank you very much, senator. appreciate it. we appreciate your support. >> before moving to senator menend menendez, i do want to, this is, you know, slavery and trafficking awareness week. we have a hearing tomorrow on this very topic. i very much appreciate you bringing it up and i want to thank the state department for working with us. this committee passed unanimously under senator menendez's leadership the end modern slavery act. we had a downpayment on that, that we're working closely with the state department to get to the right places, but what this has to be a global effort when there are 27 million people today enslaved. i know you know that. this committee knows that and we look forward to continuing to work with you.
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senator menendez. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate your drive and leadership on that issue. let me join the chair and ranking member saluting you, secretary kerry, for your service. while i may have disagreements at times on policy, i never doubt your commitment to america's virtues and promoting those virtues abroad. and let me make a comment or two, which i did not intend in my preparation today. i guess it's the political hunting season, but if you keep shooting and you don't land anything, maybe there's nothing to shoot at. and i think the global needs that we have that we'd be far better off with the state department focused on that, and on cuba, i would just say to my dear friend from california, i wish he was here, that human rights and democracy are never about the past. they are eternal, from my perspective. and yet, all i can say is that there's a difference between the president traveling to cuba and
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when he traveled to burma, for example. when he traveled to burma, we had li aung sung li released from houts arrest, we had elections, we had 11 commitments to release political prisoners, we got the red cross access to prisons and so forth. there were concrete and tangible progress on political reform in human rights. if anything, we're going backwards here. some of the people who were released under the original deal have already been re-arrested and are serving long-terms in prison. so much for good faith. we had 1,400 arrests this year alone in the first two months. that's progress? 1,400 arrests. not because i say it, but because the u.n. commission on, i mean the cuban commission on human rights, which is inside of cuba, says it. and when we do business with the castro regime, with i is what we're doing, we're not doing
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business with the cuban people, we're dealing with castro's son and son-in-law, who head the two major entities by which you can -- the only way you can do business inside of cuba, both heads of the cuban military, both who are going to have a transitional and generational change from one set of castros to another. so i'm going to continue to speak out on that issue, because i think that human rights and democracy in cuba is incredibly important as i have viewed it elsewhere in the world and i am concerned that what we've done is neutered our programs there. let me get to the heart of what i really wanted to talk about. and that is iran. i want to ask you, mr. secretary, invoking sanctions against iranian activities unrelated to its nuclear portfolio, let's say items of proliferation, of ballistic missile technology or support for terrorism, they do not violate the terms of the jcpoa, correct? >> they do not what? >> that pursuing action and sanctions and other actions on
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proliferation of missile technology and support for terrorism, they do not violate the terms of the jcpoa? >> that's accurate. >> okay, now i look at what has transpired since our agreement. we have seen two ballistic tests in violation of u.n. security councils, seen missiles tested in the vicinity of u.s. naval vessels, seen american sailors detained, the barter of four innocent americans held oesage for the freedom of 21 iranian criminals including those convicted to state sponsored terrorism, shipping sensitive dual use technology and other materials in violation of standing u.s. sanctions, we've seen clemency for another 14. we awarded the iranian governments it 1.7 billion for some contractor service we didn't provide but that was never talked about, not when i was chairman, not when i was the ranking member, not as a member
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of this committee. i never heard about that at all and it was done so quickly and the payment was made so rapidly that even the victims of terrorism who have judgments in the united states didn't have the wherewithal to try to attach it. so i look at that, and then i see the challenges that we have with iran outside of its nuclear portfolio. support to huthi insurgency that helped topple the internationally recognized government of yemen, support to shia militias in iraq that exercise profound control over the democratically elected iraqi government, support to the syrian regime of assad, which have devastating war that we know about, financing of billions of dollars to lebanese, hezbollah and hamas, and so i look at that, and i just don't see where the counterweight is, and i look at that and say i have a sense we are creating a permissive environment. why do i say that? when we look at iran's ballistic
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missile launches which violated u.n. security council resolutions, we waited an inordinate amount of time knowing the united nations wasn't going to act and didn't, and when we finally did provide some sanctionable action, well after the, all of the elements ofiment plementation that took place, we have 11 entities that were sanctioned but instead of sanctioning the banks that were financing those entities, so that we have a more far-reaching consequence, we're playing whac-a-mole. so we have the ability to be far more aggressive with the iranians on those things we care about. i know there's the desire to try to create the space for the moderates inside of iran, even though they were just blocked by the guardian council to a way in
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which there are no moderates being allowed to run in legislative elections. so i look at that and i say why is it that we weren't being far more aggressive with the tools that we have? and finally, mr. chairman, i'd like to introduce into the record a gao report i xhised with senator kirk. >> without objection. >> and it talks about the entity that which we are putting all the marbles in, the international atomic energy administration, i think they do good work. let me say some of the preliminary findings cause concern for me about what is capable, what the iaea is capable of. so let me read some of them. gao's preliminary observations point directly to future problems with monitoring, verifying and meeting requirements of the jcpoa. it talks about its limitation, a limited budget from irregular funding sources, human resource shortfalls, important equipment operating capacity already not
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being able to go beyond that, limited analytical capabilities that will be tested by the new mandates of the jcpoa, a lack of authorities, obviously the iaea activities will depend a significant degree on the cooperation of the iranian state. thirdly, that while they have focused virtually all of their resources to pursue the jcpoa, they're going to have very little resources. they turn away from other proliferators and potential proliferators, and finally, among other items, the iaea's own estimates has identified the need for approximately $10 million per year for 15 years over and above its present budget. so it is an agency that is understaffed for its purposes, losing technical assistance, people are leaving, has now a singular focus which i applaud the focus but i want them to
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also pursue other proliferators and a budget that doesn't have the wherewithal to sustain it, just for the focus of the jcpoa. shouldn't iran, who violated international norm and international law ultimately be the entity to pay, since they're now flush with money that we have' given them or returned to them, shouldn't they be the ones to pay for the very essence of the verification and monitoring that they cause the need for in the first place. >> senator, you raise a lot obviously. let me just try to quickly say on cuba, first of all i appreciate your personal comments and i'm grateful for that, and i also respect enormously your commitment, you know, you're dedicated when it comes to the issue of human rights and freedom and always been very clear about it with respect to cuba, and we have a
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difference maybe in the tactics about how to get there but we don't have a difference in the goal. it's our sense that we've already seen some improvement in empowerment of the cuban people in private sector, now employing one in four cubans. it's grown significantly and is growing and as the flights come in and more and more people are there, there's a transformation taking place. anybody who has been down there and had been there previously has observed this change that's taking place. people in the united states can now send unlimited remittances in support of private business investment. >> 1,400 arrests just this year alone? >> it's not perfect, i agree. nobody -- >> i didn't really ask you for comments on cuba, which i appreciate. i just wanted to let you know --
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>> just giving you interspective. >> -- for the record how i thought. i would like answers with respect to iran. >> sure, with respect to iran we believe we are being more than vigilant actually. on january 1th we designated three entities and seven and eight individuals who had provided materials for iran's ballistic missile program so we sanctioned people, and we cut them off from the u.s. financial system. we have continually been tracking the implementation with great impact. we had a couple of questions about one thing or another. we raised them with the iranians and resolved them in a way that kept faith with exactly what should be happening. they weren't malicious. they were just normal kinds of things that had risen in the course of process, and we're happen. i to brief congress. i'm sure you'll be fully briefed on every aspect of that.
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yes, the iaea does need more money. we know that. there are additional inspectors, however, under our agreement, who will be in there, 130 of them. and we are, as you know, our intel community and our energy department remain absolutely clear that they have the ability to be able to verify and track this agreement. so the gao is helpful. i think anybody's scrutiny that adds some choices for what can be done to make sure we're doing this correctly can do so. the bottom line is we know that they took out from 19,000 centrifuges down to 5,060. they took the calandira out of the plutonium reactor and destroyed it, filled it with cement, can never be used again. there's no enrichment taking place and so forth. >> my time is well over as i appreciate the chairman's urt cancy. my focus wasn't about the
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implementation of the jcpoa. it is about iran's malign activities within the region. >> let me come to that. we're also extremely focused on that. i had a meeting with the gcc a few weeks ago, we're meeting again somewhere in the next few weeks. we are i think we've plussed up our assistance in the billions of dollars in terms of sales to them for their ability to be able to push back against iranian activities. we have engaged with the iranians on their activities specifically in yemen, and we have high hopes that over the course of the syria process, we can begin to deal with the flow of weapons that have been coming out of iran through damascus into lebanon and threatening israel. and we're very clear about that. and the threat of hezbollah. so, and the irgc's engagement in
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various ways. again some of that should be taken up in a classified session, but we believe that the amount of money that has flowed to iran thus far not because we have interfered with it or something, but because it just has not materialized as significantly as a lot of people alleged is not winding up in some great imbalance and support for activities that we object to. so there are things going on that we obviously, that's why we left in place the sanctions on human rights, the sanctions on arms, the sanctions on missiles, the sanctions on state-sponsor of terror, are all still there, extant and subject to enforcement. we made that clear which is why we did designate people because of the missile test that took place. so we're very focused on it,
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senator. together with our allies, and i might add with israel. we're constantly sharing information and i can assure you every country in the region will be as diligent as we are in tracking what they're doing. >> so i'll get an "f" on being a traffic cop and i'm going to try to be better for the remainder of the time here. i appreciate the fulsome answer and questions and if we could, we'll try to stay closer to our time frame. with that, senator perdue. >> i'd try to honor the time mr. chairman, thank you. mr. secretary, thank you for your energy and effort. we may have disagreed on some of the details of some of the efforts, but i respect your effort to represent us diplomatically and solve some of these really tough problems around the world. it's a very dangerous world. with regard to the budget, which is primarily what i thought we were supposed to be talking about today, next week senator kaine and i will have some of
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your staff talk about a few more details about the state department's budget request but i want to note for the record today the state department, while it's up 25% since 2008, some $12 billion, i recognize it's still 1% of our total spending. i also recognize that the world's a lot more dangerous today. in fact i think we see the world as having two real major crises. one is the global security crisis that continues to grow every day. when we look at the state department budget as well as the defense budget, where we would be well positioned to consider it in its full perspective. you mentioned this in munich last week, you represented the united states very well i thought. it seems to me we have an interlocking two crises, one is the global security crisis on several levels. one is the rise of traditional states, china and russia, ever more aggressive, the assymetric
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threats in terrorists from indonesia to algeria and here at home, we also see nuclear proliferation threats and honestly cooperation between north korea and iran, even that continues to date, and on top of that, we have the cyber warfare dimension that our military is trying to adapt to and i know your organization is trying to adapt to, and what we don't talk a lot about is the growing arms race in space. so this is a very complicated world right now. interlock with that, though, is our own debt crisis, our own intransigence here, threatens our ability to fund the into edds that we have and i'm coming to a specific question before i get to that, about europe, i'd like to just ask you a quick question about iran. originally, we were told a number that they would be given over a period of time somewhere between $100 billion and $15 billion. the administration came back and said we think it's closer to 50 in terms of what they can get 37 there are balance sheets issues they have access to but cash is about 50. we've heard iranian officials
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talk recently it could be in excess of 100. do we have an update on what the number is, quickly? >> it's below the 50. >> do we have any intelligence how they're using it to date? >> we can talk about that in a classified session. >> thank you. the next question is, general breedlove in munich just last week described the refugee situation, the migrant situation in europe as being the refugees being weaponized, and i know you were there, and i know you commented on that. i'd love to get your comments, though, relative to defense spending in europe, as well under 2%. i think for a generation, europe has looked to the united states to be the big brother, and now we see putin, seeing that underspinning in their military. our spend something 3% of our gdp. it's about 100 basis points less than our 30-year average or in today's terms about $200 billion. i'm not suggesting we need to spend $200 billion more but i'd
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lake to know what the state tent and administration's strategy is to deal with putin in light of the growing dangers from this immigration issue in europe, particularly in the various susceptible states in eastern europe that used to be satellites of the soviet union. all the way up through the baltics but if you come starting in greece and go up the refugee pipeline these are vulnerable states right now. what is our strategy to offset putin and deal with the growing threat to these very fragile governments? >> our strategy is to support them to a much greater degree. we've got the nato assurance program that's in place. we've put very significant effort into larger numbers of rotating training and troops and equipment in the region. in addition, as i mentioned in my opening statement, we've taken i think our expenditure last year was about $700 million some or something, taking it up to $3.4 billion, $3.5 billion in
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assistance to the front line states and in order to make it very, very clear that we're there. and to support ukraine in addition to that. i forget, very significant amount that also about $1.6 billion. so we are making it very clear that we're there to help. now, the weaponization issue is a serious one. i think that we've seen the dial get turned up and turned down. i might add not only by russia, and so again, in classified session i'd be happy to talk about that a little bit, but i think that it is imperative for us as i said earlier to be prepared to do more with respect to helping europe to understand this onslaught. this is -- you really can't
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overstate the impact politically of the potential of another million refugees, and -- >> do you think europe can take another million? >> no. i think it is not doable and i think we have to -- i think that would have profoundly negative dramatic -- >> i know you also heard people in munich just last week excuse me, talk about the growing refugee crisis from the sub-saharan area as well, and the crisis in egypt right now and that's -- >> well 50% of the people going in are not from syria. they're coming from bangladesh, they're coming from pakistan, afghanistan, coming from africa, so it's a major challenge to the very nature of the european union. >> some of us visit serbia and about 60% coming there you that pipeline are male, young male, under 35, and only about 17%
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women, and balance 20% or so were children. and a good number of those were from afghanistan coming through greece and macedonia pipeline. >> right. >> let 345me ask a quick questi back to:in nk. the director of national intelligence clapper just this year commented that and i'll quote this "pyongyang's export of ballistic missiles to several countries including iran and syria in assistance to construction of a nuclear reactor illustrate north korea's willingness to proliferate dangerous technologies." we know in 2006, 2009 and 2013 iranian officials reportedly participated and were there during those nuclear tests. do you have anything you can tell us about what the state department is doing and administration is doing to monitor that cooperation and any potential violations of the jcpoa in terms of nuclear proliferation between those two countries? >> yes, at this point in time, we do not assess that there is a
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violation, but we have in place restrictions under the u.n. security council resolutions to be able to act, if there are. director clapper is on target, and he's accurate, and we agree with that assessment, and we're working very closely to address that. i think we're on the verge of having an agreement hopefully with china. in fact i'm meeting with the chinese foreign minister this afternoon. we are very hopeful that we know we've made progress in the negotiation in new york in coming up with a substantial and improved -- national steps and multilateral
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steps. we have entered the conversations with south korea on the t.h.a.d. missile deployment, t.h.a.d. defensive system deployment, and we obviously have other options available to us, but you know, this does not interview with the jcpoa, separate from it but we are nevertheless going to take these actions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator udall. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and secretary kerry, let me echo what others have said about your excellent service around the country and all you're doing to try to bring peace to many of these difficult regions. i'm glad you mentioned roberta j jacobson in your opening and other senators have mentioned her here. i've worked with her extensively. i think she's a very capable career state department person. you know, as you said, she
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doesn't make the policy about cuba and so if you're objecting to the policy, it doesn't make any sense to hold up her nomination, and i went down last week to the senate floor to offer her name in consent and it was objected to, and i can just tell you, this is an area that she's nominated for mexico to be the ambassador to mexico. this has a real impact on my state. the state of new mexico borders with mexico. we have dramatic trade that's going on from in the last 15 years, it started at about $7.5 million, now it's up to about $1.2 billion. we have all sorts of cooperative kinds of things. we work with mexico on at the state level, and so i'm just wondering from your perspective,
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what is the impact of not having an ambassador to mexico and recognizing that we've had secretary kerry, this has been vacant for six months, and this is one of our very, very strong trading partners. could you speak to that? >> well senator, thank you, and thank you for your support for that effort. look, everybody here knows you all interact with our ambassadors when you go over to these other countries. they spend a lifetime of service to our country, gaining skills over 20 and 30 years, and there's a reason we send them to the countries we send them to, it's because they are particularly suited to helping us to advance america's interests to build the relationship, to help to explain our values and choices, but in this world right now, particularly, notwithstanding instant communication, and e-mail and the way in which we
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can communicate directly, foreign minister to foreign minister, having an ambassador on the ground who builds relationships, who knows the people in the government, who understands their difficulties, who has a sense of the politics of that particular country, helps us to be able to get our policy implemented. and here we are, we just had a north american security dialogue in canada the other day. the foreign minister of mexico, the foreign minister of canada and myself. we have a huge north american interest. we have energy challenges. we have border challenges. we have narcotics trafficking. we have violence. we have the challenge of mexico's help to help us prevent the flow of those children coming out of honduras, guatemala and salvador, coming up through mexico into the united states last year, and so forth. i mean, you can run a long list,
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counterterrorism. the needs we have on a daily basis to have our nation properly represented by an ambassador is absolutely critical, and we're just hurting ourselves and we make ourselves look silly, frankly. and we insult the country that doesn't get the person. they're sitting there saying what is this, punishment for something we did or didn't do? and they don't sort of understand this process. you know, i spent years and years up here as you all know, and we usually got to the point where we could have a vote. not one senator or two senators or rolling holds between three senators, preventing the country from doing what the country needs to do, and i would hope that we just have a vote, and let the democracy decide whether or not the senates will say that roberta jacobson should go to mexico and help us with all these issues. >> thank you, mr. secretary.
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i would applaud senator corker. he has tried to move these nominees forward, and what has ended up happening is they get bogged down on the floor, and i'd like to shift to another area that you just mentioned, because it's an area that we also work with mexico on, and that's just vexing and problematic situation in central america. this is having an impact on my state of new mexico, because we have many unaccompanied minors who are staying at holliman air force base, and the real central question here is, how are we with these three countries in central america that are drug, you have drug fueled violence, you have corrupt governments. you have very weak governments, and how are we going to move ourselves in a better situation, so that migration doesn't
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happen? that's what i'm very concerned about, and we in this budget deal, as you're very aware, helped significantly in terms of state department funding for central america and for these three countries. so i'd like you to discuss any progress that has been made to date with respect to implementing the u.s. strategy for engagement in central america, has there been any change in migration patterns, that could be acontributed to this effort of which we're undertaking, with the funding requested for 2017 be used differently from previously appropriated funds for the region, and how long do you think we'll have to work on this to really make an impact? >> well we're going to have to work for a fair number of years, senator, as you recall, we just were able to celebrate the 15 years of planning in colombia.
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i remember in this room when we passed plan colombia $1 billion and a lot of people were wondering from one country over a ten-year period what that was going to do. i think it saved the country together with the country's commitment itself and its leaders to try to stand up to the narco traffickers that back then were destroying the nation. today colombia is one of the strongest countries in all of latin america and doing an amazing job in many, many respects. so these investments are critical and that is what the administration has decided to do and is doing with respect to a number of countries not just salvador, el salvador, guatemala and honduras, but also belize, costa rhea, panama, working with all of them to address the causes of these folks sending their kids into danger and trying to come into the united states. and it has to do with violence, violence against young people, it has to do with narcotics
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trafficking, it has to do with lack of opportunity, education, health and other ingredients. so we have found that what really does make a difference is to help these countries to be able to help themselves, and that helps us. so we're engaged in a major effort to try to professionalize the law enforcement, to reduce the elicit trafficking, to reduce the smuggling, the transnational organized crime, the gangs, and i think we have $750 million we've asked for. it's a downpayment on the full billion plus that we want to put into this, and $359 million is for bilateral assistance and $390 million is regional assistance for the things i just talked about. i'm convinced, if we follow through on that, this is going to reduce the numbers of people trying to come to the united states across the border, and it
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will significantly in the long-term strengthen those countries and our relationships with them. >> thank you. senator paul? >> thank you for your testimony. i continue to believe that one of the greatest threats our country faces is the accumulation of debt. we borrow about $1 million a minute. we've given away over $300 billion in foreign aid over the last ten years, during those ten years, we've accumulated over $10 trillion in debt. some would say well it's only 1% of the budget, it's not a big deal, actually if you cut 1% of the budget, each year over about a five-year period you actually balance your budget within five years so the savings does add up. the other thing i think in thinking about this is, is that most of us give privately to charities or to our church, and most of us would think it would be absurd to borrow money to give to your church. you give out of your surplus or out of your earnings but you
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don't give out of borrowed money and i think it's equally absurd for a country to borrow money from china to send to pakistan. it sort of defies any common sense. the other argument though is whether or not it actually works, whether the money, if you say well gosh, it's still so valuable and we borrowed this money and going further into debt but it works. there's quite a bit of evidence that maybe it doesn't work. we plot $1 trillion into iraq and they treated the liberation we granted them with falling into the arms of iran. you could make the argument they're close ear lies with iran than they are with us. they don't seem to do what we ask them to do with regard to making their army mo are national and less sectarian. they brought some of the sunni uprising upon themselves against our wishes. in egypt over the last ten years we've given them $60 billion, some estimate as much as half of that was stolen by the mubarak family, even lin ral
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institutions such as the "new york times" reported as much as 50% to 70% of foreign aid is stolen. chairman corker has mentioned the duplicitous nature of pakistan, who i think at best can be described as a frenemy, sometimes friend, sometimes enemy but really duplicitous is probably the best way to put it. we've given them $15 billion over the last ten years. i don't think i'll convince you but i think the american people are convinced that we don't have the money to be sending money around the world when our infrastructure here is falling down, our country is struggling. we just simply don't have the money taken makes no sense to borrow it. i don't think i'll convince you on any of those points so i'd rather ask you a specific question about syria. do you think it would make any difference if instead of demanding as a precondition assad leaving that if the demand were something more like an internationally monitored election within a certain period of time, is that something that's already been offered up as a possibility and what is
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your best guess as to whether russia or syria might treat that as more of a possibility of a starting point if it were an election at some sort of predetermined date? >> well, senator, thanks for your comment on the general issue of aid. i would like to come back to it just for a moment but let me answer your specific question. russia and iran have accepted the idea of an internationally monitored highest standard election in which even the disapara can vote. they are already there, and that is, in fact, part of the laydown in the united nations security council and in the agreement. the problem is that the opposition will not accept the idea of assad running in an election because they believe that that, they just don't have confidence it will be -- >> one quick intersection there. the opposition is going to have to accept something. ais aed's -- with russia's backing, assad is not going anywhere.
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he has the upper hand now so we're the ones supplying the opposition. we need to tell them they have to accept something. >> well we'll see. negotiated settlement of a war requires compromise by everybody, and the opposition has already compromised in significant ways to come to the table, but if you can't end the war, with assad running, is it really worth destroying an entire country in a region over one man who simply thinks his being there is more important than anything else? the question is whether or not the course of this process, people will come to their senses and understand you know, i mean, four words could end this war, "i will not run." you could immediately move to resolve all of the other issues in a significant way. so i think you know, the
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opposition and everybody believes assad cannot unite the country. you can't end the war. i've said this earlier. >> i know but don't you think the opposition's position greatly greatly weakened over the last year? they really don't have the strength. they're one of 1,500 groups. they're being overrun as we speak. >> the opposition is fought fiercely and they continue to fight and to push back against the odds of aircraft bombing them and so forth. i think president putin has to understand what everybody in the region understands which is that this war can't end. if russia wants to sit there and fight the jihadis and, you know, that can be obviously their choice. i don't think that's what they want to do. >> i think if you were to think
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about it, the whole disaster of this war and the mass migration and the killing and all that's gone on, if you could accept the end and assad might or might not run in a year, that, to me, is a victory to end the war. half the kcountry has despots. i don't have any love loss for him but there are 2 much countries who would choose assad over the opposition. if you could negotiate something, negotiating is giving. if the rest of the world's position is assad has to go, you've seen where it's going. >> the united states can't impose on people who have lived there under these bombs and starvation and torture. you can't impose the notion they did all these things to them. and we don't have the ability, nor should we, impose.
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this has to be a syrian resolved process. >> but they only exist with our support. >> i don't think so. i think they would exist in a greater degree but we didn't create them out of whole cloth. this revolution in syria began when assad attacked young kids who went out into the square to demonstrate for jobs. and when their parents went out, he attacked them. everybody knows it. we are where we are. let me come back to the point. there are places where money has been stolen. there are places where it hasn't been well spent and our job is obviously always to find out why that's happened and to prevent it from happening ever again. but all in all if you look at
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the vast majority and the nature of the world today, senator, i just have to tell you that if we weren't doing the developing work we're doing, if we weren't helping kids to get educated, if we weren't providing some support for capacity, and for the united states i'm convinced more than ever -- i mean, i've seen this now for the three years plus i've been secretary, it makes a difference, a huge difference to standards of behavior, to the values that those people adopt to the willingness of countries to stand together, to fight ebola, to deal with aids, to fight -- >> i guess you could also make the argument our support for someone like mubarak leads to a reaction of anti-americanism -- >> there have always been -- >> when they see tear gas shells made in pennsylvania that we buy
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that he suppresses his crowds with, you can see that the reaction isn't always a pleasant one for america. >> that's correct. and there have always been imbalances and difficulties in some of the choices that we have made. i don't disagree with you about iraq. there are a lot of problems in iraq. but right now we have the challenge, which is to try to save iraq and have helped iraq save itself from daash and it's in everyone's interest, every country in the region wants to destroy daash. we need to do that. we are still the richest country in the world. we have the strongest economy and we will for some years to come. hopefully forever certainly as we see a rising china there's a time when its economy will be stronger. whether it will be larger is a different question. i would say to you that we have
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a huge imperative here to remain deeply engaged because if we don't there are too many young people out there, too many countries with a population under the age of 30 to 35 where you have 60% and 70% of the country under that age. and if they don't get educated, and if they don't get a job opportunity in this world in which everyone is connected and knows what everybody has and doesn't have, then i fear the evil that will fill their heads and the way in which they could get co-opted into enterprises and efforts that are very, very dangerous for all of us. we all have a responsibility to do something about it because that is a national security threat to the united states of america. as well as --
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>> is there a time on that? >> i don't know. >> if the former chairman would help the current chairman when it gets towards the end of the time have less expansive answers. >> i would be delighted because i have other meetings, too. >> senator murphy? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i'll try to do my part as well. just quickly one thought on this analogy that senator paul was making regarding how family may not borrow money in order to make a charitable contribution to their church. that's not what we do with these investments in foreign aid. we view them as integral to our national security policy as the investments that we're making in the submarines and the jet engines and helicopters we produce in connecticut. this is not something we're doing out of goodwill. second, the overview that we began with with the u.s. and the
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state department engaged in more places in the world than ever before squares with the reality a lot of people believe exists. a world that is more chaotic. the number of people across the world who are dying from acts of violence, who are dying as a result of war, is actually declining. has been declining for a long time and speaks to our ability for ways out of conflict other than war. a means of congratulating you on a number of diplomatic achievements important in and of themselves, the text in the agreements whether it be the iran nuclear agreement, the climate change or the ceasefire. but the lives that have been
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saved because we figured out over time that as important as it is to have strong military as important to take risks on diplomacy. more of them pan out than don't pan out. you have a near doubling for counteracting extremism. you want to spend more if you could. because it gets to the branches. here is my worry. the impact of these funding increases are going to be blotted out by the advantage that accrues to extremist troops by virtue of this widening proxy war between iran and saudi arabia in the region and certainly playing out to an extent in syria but i want to ask you about our policy in yemen today. there's a bbc story that says al qaeda joins coalition battle and
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the underlying analysis is that increasingly there's some pretty deep integration between al qaeda and elements of the coalition, a coalition that does include the united states. not on the ground but in terms of the support that we've given for the saudi air campaign. and as i read the conflict in yemen, i have a hard time figuring out the result of the coalition campaign has been to kill a lot of civilians, has been to sow the seeds of humanitarian crisis and to create space for these groups that we claim to be our priority in the region to grow whether it be isis or al qaeda or yemen. i want to ask about the u.s. involvement on the saudi side of this conflict in yemen and to
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talk to us why we should continue to fund munitions requests from the saudi government that end up in that fight. >> senator, good question. the answer is very straight forward that we are -- the saudis are a part of our coalition, part of our link to pushing back against nefarious activities in the region and the saudis were threatened very directly by the combination of some iranian input and as a result they had to defend themselves and we supported that. we are urging them very strong ly to get to the table and to negotiate a resolution to this.
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we believe there is a certain rightness and it would be better if there were complications with it. you have the former president saleh who has made life difficult in this whole process. and our hope is that we are working with the saudis and with other friends in the region to try to see if we can't now get back to the table. the u.n. is engaged. there are talks that will take place shortly. our hope is this could end. a lot of civilians have them, unfortunately, been impacted as
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a consequence and the heart of the matter we are urging did i mroem si to see if we can't bring this to a close. it would provide capacity to focus more on daesh and to get the forces that are there, that have been distracted from the daesh effort realigned and refocused. >> the eye lieiaalliance requir come to their aid when they feel threatened and i guess my pitch is i hope that would not be the default if this proxy war widens. it provides impetus for the war to widen if the saudis know that
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wherever they go the u.s. is very close behind and the more this proxy war seeds, the more they can grow. >> there is a distinction between a proxy war and the threat that the saudis face as a consequence of what was happening right on their neighborhood, on their border and across their border. that's one of the reasons i say to you it's important now to get to the table and negotiate. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> you thank you, senator barrasso. >> secretary, nice to see you again. the american people are facing significant issues at home. the global climate change initiative. constantly searching to find the resources to help many people, communities who are dealing with unemployment, with aginging water systems, with poor roads, substandard hospitals, failing
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schools, the real priority is sending $1.3 billion overseas to international bureaucrats in the name of climate change rather than dealing with these issues at home. >> very simple answer. the american people are extremely practical. common sense about things that affect them. pick up the newspaper today and you read about the flooding that people are suffering as a result of climate change. that costs those taxpayers m money. it was $8 billion, i think, in reaction to storms in the united states which are greatest intensity according to the scientists of the impacts of climate change. >> so barbara boxer, a member of this committee, would agree with
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that. why aren't we spending the money here? she says climate change is an issue related to wildfire and droughts, storms, and since $1.3 billion -- >> we are spending -- >> the question is why aren't we spending it here rather than sending it overseas to bureaucrats? >> there are 20 major nations in the world that account for the vast majority of the majority because the less developed countries are now growing in their emissions as a result of their own practices. if we don't help these that are burning coal without any kind of restraint on how they burn it, we are going to regrettably suffer. it's in our self-interests to make better choices about what their future. it opens up jobs because we are


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