tv U.S. House of Representatives Legislative Business CSPAN February 23, 2016 12:00pm-2:01pm EST
running, is it worth destroying the country over one man who simply thinks his being there is more than anything else? the question is whether or not the course of this process people will come to their senses -- i mean, four words could end this war. i will not run. you could immediately move to resolve all the other issues in a bear suit of way. so i the opposition and everything r everybody believes assad cannot unite the country. just can't end the war. have said this earlier -- senator paul: they don't have strength. they are one of 1,500 groups. the opposition we support won't exist without our support basically. they are being overrun as we speak. secretary kerry: the opposition
has fought fiercely and they continue to fight and they continue to push back against the odds of aircraft bombing them and so forth. i think that 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 jihaddies, that can be their choice. i don't think that's what they want to do. senator paul: the whole disaster of this war and mass migration and killing and all that's gone on, if you could accept the end to the war with an election in a year and assad might or might not run in a year, that, to me, is a victory to end the war. sure, he's a terrible guy. the middle east is full of them. half the countries over there have despots. the thing is is that i don't have any love loss for him, but there's also two million christian that is would choose assad over the opposition,
probably. the thing is i think if you could negotiate something that -- negotiating is giving. if our position and the rest of the world's position is that assad has to go, you have seen where it's going. secretary kerry: the united states can't impose on people who have lived there under these bonds and starvation and torture. you can't impose on them the notion that they have to live with a guy who did all these things to them. that's the fight. and we don't have the ability, nor should we, impose on them. this has to be a syrian-resolved process. senator paul: they only exist with our support. secretary kerry: i don't think so. they exist in a greater degree. 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 for future. when their parents went out, he attacked them. that was the beginning of this. everybody knows it.
we are where we are and we have to try to find t let me come back to just the point you made. we are not -- we wouldn't disagree on everything you said because there are places where money has been stolen. there are places where it hasn't been well spent. our job is always to find out why that's happened and to prevent it from ever happening again. but all in all, if you look at the vast majority of countries that we are engaged with, and the nature of the world today, senator, i just have to tell you that if we weren't doing the development work we are doing, if we weren't helping kids to get educated, if we weren't providing some support for the development of health care capacity, apart from the humanitarian notion of that, there is enormous developmental return on that investment. for the united states, i'm convinced more than ever, i have
seen this now for the three years plus i have been secretary, it makes a difference. huge difference to the standards of behavior, to the values that those people adopt, to the willingness of countries to join together to fight ebola, to deal with aids, to fight -- senator paul: you could also make the argument that our support for someone like mubarak leads to reaction to anti-americanism. when they see tear gas shells made in pennsylvania that we buy that he suppresses his crouppeds crowds with -- secretary kerry: that's right. there have always been imbalances and difficulties in some of the choice that is we have made. i don't disagree with you about iraq. there are a lot of problems in iraq. right now we have a challenge which is to try to save iraq and have -- help iraq to save itself from da'ish and it's in everybody's interest, every country in the region, wants to
destroy da'ish. we need to do that. i think there are a lot of ways, we are still the richest country in the world. we still have the strongest economy in the world and will for some years to come. hopefully forever, but certainly as we see a rising china, there's a time when automatically by virtue of size and people its economy will be larger, whether it's stronger is a different question. we would say to you that have 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. if they don't get educated and if they don't get a job opportunity in this world in which everybody's 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 could he opted into enterprises and efforts that are very, very -- co-opted into enterprises and efforts that are very, very dangerous for all of us. we all have a responsibility to see that and do something about it. that is a national security threat to the united states of america as well as all of our friends and allies. >> senator murphy, is there a if the your side -- former chairman would help the current chairman when it gets towards the end of the time have less expansive answers. secretary kerry: i would be clited. senator murray: 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. i think for a lot of us that's not what we view these investments in foreign aid. we view them as integral to our national security policy as the investments that we are making in the submarines and jet ebb beginsdown shall -- engines and helicopters we produce in account k this is part and parcel of a broader national security strategy. second, the overview that you began with, the u.s. and the state department engaged in more places in the world than ever before, squares with the reality a lot of people believe exists, which is a world that is more chaotic. the truth of the matter is, as you pointed out, is the number of people across the world who are dying from acts of violence, who are dying as the result of war, is actually declining. has been declining for a long time. and it speaks to our ability to find ways out of conflicts other
than war. something we haven't been so good at in the past that we are much better at today. so i just say that as a means of congratulating you on a number of seminal diplomatic achievements that are important in and of themselves, the text of the agreements whether it be the iran nuclear agreement, climate change agreement or cease-fire, but they remind people all around the world of the gains that have been achieved, the lives that have been saved because we figured out over time that as important as it is to have strong military, it's much more important to take chances, to take risks on diplomacy. more pan out than don't. which brings me to a quefment you got in this budget -- to a question. you got in this budget for countering violent extremism, that's a smart investment. i know you want to spend more if you could because we are cutting off the roots of extremism before it gets to the branches. smart strategy.
here's my worry, my worry is that 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. certainly playing out to an extent in syria. i want to ask you about our policy in yemen today. there is a bbc story today that says, yemen conflict: al qaeda joins coalition battle. the underlying analysis is that increasingly there's some pretty deep integration between elements of 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 we have given for the saudi air campaign. as i read the conflict in yemen, i have a hard time figuring out what the u.s. national security interests are given the fact that 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, these very extremist groups that we claim to be our priority in the region to grow, whether it be isis or al qaeda in yemen. i just wanted to ask about the future of the u.s. involvement on the saudi side of this conflict in yemen and to just talk to us about why we should continue to fund munitions requests from the saudi government that end up in that fight. secretary kerry: well, senator, good question. the answer is very straightforward. that we are -- saudis are a part of our coalition, part of our g.c.c. link to pushing back
against in fairous activities in the region -- nefarious activities in the region, and the saudis were threatened very directly by the combination of the hutey and some iranian input. as a result felt they had to defend themselves. we supported their right to do that. now, we are urging them very strongly to get in to -- to get to the table and to negotiate a resolution to this. we believe that there is a certain ripeness to that. and it would be better for everybody if we were able to achieve that. there are some complication was it, obviously. you have former president pr aly -- sallie who has made the life difficult in the whole process and our hope is that we are working with the omanis, with the saudis, and with the
emirateys and other friends in the region to sigh trito see if we can't now get back to the table. the u.n. is engaged, as you know. there are supposed to be talks that will take place shortly. our hope is that this can end. a lot of civilians have, unfortunately, been impacted as a consequence of what's been going on. d i think the heart of the tter is that we are urging diplomacy at this moment to try to see if we can't bring this to a close. i think it would be to everybody's interest if that were to happen. it would also provide a capacity to be able to focus more on da'ish and get the force that is are there that have been distracted from the da'ish effort realigned and refocused. senator murphy: at the root of your answer is that the alliance
between the united states and saudi arabia requires us to come to their aid when they feel threatened. i guess my pitch is that, i hope that that would not be the default proposition if this proxy war widens in the region. i think it, frankly, provides incentive and impetus for the proxy war to widen if the saudis know that wherever they go the u.s. is very close behind. the more--this proxy war seeds, the more room there is for these groups to grow. secretary kerry: there is a distinction between a proxy war as you describe it as the threat that the saudis faced as a result of consequences happening in their neighborhood, on their border and across their border. we chose to support that. we would not be supporting a longer proxy effort. that's one of the reasons i say to you we think it's important to get to the table and
negotiate. senator murphy: thank you. senator brasso. senator brasso: mr. secretary, nice to see you again. the american people are facing significant issues here at home. tight budgetary requirement, you are requesting $1.3 billion for the global climate change nishtifment as legislators we are constantly searching to find resources to help many people around the contry, communities communities dealing with unemployment, aging water systems, poor roads, stub standard hospitals, failing schools. how do we talk to people at home and say that the real priority of the administration is sending $1.3 billion taxpayer dollars overseas to international bureaucrats in the name of climate change rather than dealing with these issues at home? secretary kerry: very simple answer. the american people are extremely practical. enormous common sense about things that affect them. you pick up the newspaper said today and you read about the flooding that people are suffering as a result of direct
-- directly as a result of climate change, that flooding costs those taxpayers money. we have spent billions of dollars last year, i forget -- it was $8 billion, i think, in reaction to storms in the united states which are of greater intensity as a result, according to the scientists, of the impacts of climate change. senator barrasso: barbara boxer would agree. i say why aren't we spending money here? she says climate change is issue relating to wildfire, storms. secretary kerry: we are. senator barrasso: why aren't we sending here -- smending it here? secretary kerry: because there are 20 major nations in the world that account for about the vast majority of the -- the majority because the less developed countries are now growing in their emissions as a result of their own developing
practices. but the result is if we don't help some of these countries that have no money that are burning coal without any kind of restraint on how they burn it, we regrettably are going to also suffer. so it's in our self-interest to help these countries to make better choices about what their energy future will be. it also, by the way, opens up jobs for americans because we are the most advanced with respect to most of those energy technologies. we could be actually creating more jobs for americans as a result of getting countries to invest more thoughtfully in their energy future, but they can't afford to do it on their own. what we are doing is actually helping people to make a transition to a clean energy future, which is good for everybody. this is going to be -- there will be $50 trillion, senator, spent on the whole gamut of energy choices in the next 20, 30 years. that's jobs for people all over
the world. this is going tonight single biggest market the world has ever seen. an extremely s is smart investment in our security as well as in our economy. i think when americans are presented that choice, americans -- in fact, they already are, overwhelmingly in support of our doing something about climate change. senator barrasso: during your confirmation, switch to syria. during the confirmation hearing, january, 2013, you were asked about the situation in syria. you stated, every day that goes by it gets worse. i ask you about putin's support of assad in syria. at the time of your hearing there were more than 60,000 individuals estimated to have been killed in the crisis in syria. the estimate this past weekend is that it's now up to 470,000 syrians killed in the crisis in syria. that's since the day of your confirmation hearings until now.
the numbers were the economist and international surveys on this, that's about 300 more killed every day over the last three years. russia towns support the assad regime. it's now bombing civilians and opposition groups in syria. putin's attempting to change the battlefield dynamics to bolster the assad regime, to weaken the opposition in terms of anything related to peace. his support of the assad regime includes bombing civilians, bombing opposition groups. the current edition of the article is stite titheled, vladimir putin's war in syria, why would he stop now? it says both alpeppo's main hospital were destroyed by russian air strikes last year. they said nobody should be surprised that despite signing the agreement, russia would continue its air strikes against those it regards as terrorists which they point out is an elastic term for putin. today's "new york times"
editorial, relying again on an unreliable mr. putin. putin cease-fire to him is a tactic even a smokescreen. not a goal. the economist says, the only puzzle is what john kerry, america's discriminate -- secretary of state, thought he could achieve. after decimating opponents of the assad regime with its bombing, russia has made a joint statement with the u.s. that it will agree to a cessation of hostilities february 27. to me the only thing russia has been consistent with is failing to keep its word. what consequences, specifically what consequences do you support imposing upon russia if it violates the cease-fire agreement and it is just a smokescreen or some kind of charade? secretary kerry: well, in answer to the question, what does john kerry think he could achieve, --
senator barrasso: and the consequences for russia. secretary kerry: my job and everybody in the state department -- war is the ab-- absence, failure of diplomacy. our job is to see if there is a way to bring this to an end. i can't -- i'm not sitting here naively vouching for the fact that this is going to work. but the alternative is that i sit in my office and visit a bunch of countries while the war wages on and nobody makes an effort to stop t that's the alternative. you would be criticizing me if i was doing that. why aren't you doing something to end the war? why isn't there diplomacy to find a solution? it is a well-known fact that i have also advocated for strong efforts to support the opposition. strong efforts to make sure we have the leverage that we need to be able to achieve something. and there is a significant
discussion taking place now about plan b in the event that we don't succeed at the table. look, put yourself in president putin's shoes. yeah, he can drop bombs and he can move the battlefield and he can -- and he has changed it for assad. no question about it. he has had a better impact for assad. but, is that going to end the war? the answer is no. and i think president putin is smart enough to understand that if he just sits there over a period of time, those people who have supported the opposition will get different weapons. more weapons. and they will continue this fight. and you can wind up with a syria that is utterly destroyed without a capacity to put it back together again, which we have today. that's happened before.
a row man -- roman historian wrote, they made a desert and called it peace. you can make a desert in the desert and call it what you want. but i'm telling you this war will not end. with assad there. it just won't end as long as assad is there. so president putin can bring in more. bombing.art additional but i assure you that because of the sectarian nature of this, if he thinks he's going to be better off fighting on behalf of the dictator who has driven most of the people out of the country, killed a bunch of them, if he thinks he's going to be better off with supporting hezbollah and the irgc and iran and assad against an increasingly sectarian divide that is defined by shiia and sunni, that is a very, very
dangerous -- senator barrasso: it does seem there are no consequences for putin's violations of the cease-fire. i have not heard one from you with regard to this administration. secretary kerry: there are a number of things being talked about right now. i don't think it's the moment to be throwing a lot of -- i think that it's out there and people know what they are, but i think this is a moment to try to see whether or not we can make this work. not to find ways to preordain its failure and start talking about all the downside of what we are going to do afterwards. senator barrasso: u.n. ambassador samantha power this past year talked about all the failures of russia -- violations of russia with cease-fires in ukraine. it seems to be we are seeing this picture again. secretary kerry: let's see if we do. et's see what plan b is or isn't. >> thank you. i ore going to senator kaine had terse words with the secretary in public before and
it's not my job certainly today to defend him. 'm not -- i think ever since august, september of 2013 when we did not take the actions that this committee authorized, against syria, russia and others have known, we are not going to do those things to cause there to be a price. i think the secretary is negotiating a situation where there is no plan b. russia knows there will be no plan b. energetic of his efforts, unless the other side knows that there will be consequences, we know there is not going to be under this president. secretary kerry probably knows there are not going to be -- secretary kerry: let me just say. senator corker: russia knows there are not going to be consequences. that's what makes it difficult. secretary kerry: that would be, senator, i appreciate, honestly
i appreciate your comments. but it would be a mistake for nybody to calculate that president obama is going to decide if this doesn't work there are aren't another set of options. i don't buy that. i don't think anybody who presumes that is misjudging this president. and his record of making tough decisions and doing what's necessary. the president's first choice is to try to see if this can be resolved diplomatically. it's my first choice, first choice of the security team. but there are plenty of people who are thinking about, ok, if it doesn't work, then what? including the president of the united states who has the responsibility to make that choice. anybody who thinks that there is impunity for just violating this and going forward is making a grave mistake in my judgment. senator corker: we have been thinking about it for 2 1/2 years. senator kaine. senator kaine: i'm way late for
a meeting i was supposed to be at. i'm going to save my questions for the budget committee hearing that we are going to have in subcommittee next week. let me offer a statement tourks mr. secretary. as a member of this committee but really just as a citizen, we owe you a huge debt of thanks. you played a part as a senator, you have played a major part in unfreezing three frozen relationships the united states has had bilaterally. as a senator working with senator mccain. you unfroze a very painful relationship between the united states and vietnam. and there was controversy associated with it and it could have failed. there was no guarantee it would work. but you played a major leadership role in doing that. and now as secretary of state, you played a major leadership role in taking two other relationships the united states has had that have been frozen with iran and with cuba, and putting them into a new chapter. again, there is no guarantee that diplomacy works. but i think our experience shows there is a guarantee that the
lack of engagement fails. it will be a long time before we'll know the outcome of cuba and iran and the work that you have done diplomatically. just like it took a number of years for us to realize a path forward with vietnam where they are now begging us to be their security partner. begging us to be their trade partner. that wasn't obvious when you did what you did back in the early 1990's. yet that -- it's been a path of progress even though we still have challenges with vietnam. nobody wants to go backward and go back to a frozen relationship. i'm not a historian, if i think about what i know of american diplomacy, there have been achievements, the roosevelt brokering of the end of the russo-japanese war. that was an achievement. truman and marshall and the marshall plan, that was an achievement. the nixon opening to china, an agreement. northern ireland, that was an achievement. the work you have done on these
three very tough historically problematic and challenging relationships, working with others, senator mccain and with the strong encourage of prom -- president obama who cares about diplomacy, i think it will rank in the very top ranks of american diplomatic achievements. again, no guarantees of success, but the absence of diplomatic effort is almost a garne teaff failure. i want to thank you for that. i'll save my budget questions for next week. secretary kerry: thank you very much. senator corker: senator shaheen. senator shaheen: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, thank you. i don't have as broad a perspective to provide thanks to you as senator kaine did, but certainly appreciate your tireless efforts to promote american values around the world. i actually want to bring it back to minute matter as opposed to broad strategy. i think you have been very
supportive of the special immigrant visa program, which has been designed to help those people who helped us on the ground in iraq and afghanistan. i think you may be aware senator mccain and senator reid from the armed services committee and i sent you and secretary johnson a letter two weeks ago asking you to reconsider the department's initial interpretation of the language from last year's defense authorization bill. because i believe the department's initial reading of that language was inconsistent with what our intent was when we passed that bill that we have disqualified many afghan applicants who really worked to serve this country and should not be disqualified because they face serious threats if they are disqualified. i would just -- i don't know if you have any update on where the department is on this, but i would urge you to take a hard
look and reconsider the initial interpretation. secretary kerry: we couldn't agree with you more, senator. thank you for your ongoing concern about this. we share that concern. e do not want people who had already expressed or received chief admission approval before september of last year to suddenly be caught up in this change. inadvertently that would be grossly unfair and dangerous, obviously. so two things. one, we are reviewing it in our -- in the legal department. we are trying to see whether or not the law can be interpreted in a way that we can just make it happen appropriately. as an answer f that didn't work, or doesn't work, then we are going to work with you very clearly to quickly legislate a change that remedies this inadvertent problem. but agree with you. we don't want people treated
that way. it would be -- it would be a gross miscarriage of justice if that happened. senator shaheen: i appreciate that. to stay on the subject of immigration, one of the things -- one of the most horrible outcomes of the civil war in syria has been refugee crisis that has been created by that and the implications not just for syria, for middle east, for so many of our allies, for europe. they have highlighted a growing refugee crisis around the world that is getting worse not getting better. i was surprised to see that the budget reduces the migration and refugee assistance and the international disaster assistance accounts in the budget. i just -- give the crisis we are facing it's hard for me to understand the rationale for that. can you speak to that? secretary kerry: i think we feel
as if we have, first of all, some money in the pipeline. secondly, i think we don't have a way of predicting exactly what the demand is going to be. we just committed another $925 million to deal directly with the refugee crisis. i think 600-some-million directly for aid and another -- the difference would be for education and relocation. but our sense is that if we don't have enough, we are going to have to come back and discuss that with you. but i think in the o.c.o. we have an ability to be able to have some flexibility. that's one of the reasons -- it's a double-edged sword. we don't like o.c.o. because it got in the way of the budget base line. i agree with that. on the other hand, it gives us some flexibility to be able to
respond to these kinds of crises. there have been more of them, which is why o.c.o. has sort of evolved the way it has. senator shaheen: i appreciate that, but i would put me in the column with senators cardin and corker that says that's not the way we ought to be solving our budget problems. let me go to the e.u. because i mentioned the threat that has been posed by the syrian refugees to the e.u. union. obviously facing probably more threats than at any time since world war ii given russian aggression in ukraine and other countries on the eastern border of the e.u. given the threat from further terrorist attacks. the potential exit of the u.k. from the european union european union. -- european union. can you talk a little bit about how we are trying to respond to some of those challenges and how
this budget strengthens our ability to do that and what more we can do to support europe? secretary kerry: well, the first thing we have done most recently is agree to work with them on to nato deployment in order try to prevent the flow of refugees coming across to greece. we are talking with them now about what further extensions of the european border may or may not be needed in an effort to deal with this. i think the president's even having some discussions about that today. we have, as i said earlier, plused up our budget to all the frontline states. in many ways they are frontline with respect to this movement of refugees. the most important thing we can do -- in addition to that, we just pledged theth 925 million -- the $925 million i talked
about in london for the refugees. but one of the things that has mow vated our policy, senator, has been this notion, we are the world's largest donor, $5.1 billion now, and this thing can keep on going and we can keep writing a check but we don't want to. what we would rather do is push forward on this other front to see if we can't get an end to the flow of refugees by the cessation of hostilities and legitimate diplomatic process. while i have said again and again here i'm not going to vouch for the fact that this work, we have to put it to the test. we have no alternative but to test this. with alt cynicism and all the doubts that each of us will carry to the table, we have to test it. and then we'll know if people aren't serious, then that gives you a whole different set of choices. but that will have the most profound effect of all on europe. it's the one way to deal with he issue in a more lasting and
effective way. senator shaheen: my time is up and you have been here long enough. i just want to add as a postscript that i support the efforts to counter violent extremism that the state department has undertaken. i think that's absolutely critical as we think about how we are going to fight back against terrorism and isis and other terrorist groups. i would hope that we are coordinating with the department of homeland security, which-s has undertaken a new initiative around countering violent extremism. i just would hope that as the state department is working on this issue that we are working with homeland security to make sure that it's a coordinated effort across government. secretary kerry: we are working very closely with them. hand in hand. senator corker: thank you.
mr. cardin, for closing. senator cardin: i want to make commeant. i was listening to my colleague's comment about u.s. involvement internationally. when i first came to congress we could not pay a foreign assistance bill, it was not popular. today i don't think we have any trouble at all, mr. secretary. getting the political support for a $50 billion foreign ops appropriation bill based upon u.s. involvement globally. that's a credit to involving leadership in our country to explain the importance of our power. we are the only country in the world that has the military might, and agree with you. president obama will use that military might when it's needed. but it should be a matter of last resort. we have the universal values. these aren't american values. these are universal slal use we are willing to get engaged internationally to promote and we have the ability to accomplish some good things for the world because we do get involved in those issues. i just really wanted to
underscore your record and the obama administration and what you have been able to do to advance the national security of america. we are proud to be your partners here. i think you had a good relationship. we have been able to get some things done together . when we work together we get more dofpblet thank you, mr. secretary kerry: i thank you both. the committee has been just a terrific partner. we really appreciate. when we came up on the aumf, you were there. you have taken the lead and i appreciate the chair and ranking member's relationship. thank you. senator corker: listen, we appreciate your indulgence, you have been here 2 1/2 hours on a bipartisan basis. people have extended their appreciation for your tremendous effort on behalf of of our country. i know the details of the budget we'll get into more with staff. we appreciate your appearance today and work on behalf of our country. i look forward to seeing you in the next setting. the meeting ask adjourned. if would you answer questions,
>> secretary of state john kerry appearing before the senate foreign relations committee. the first of two appearances he'll be making on capitol hill this week. you can find this hearing any time online in our video library at c-span.org. while the hearing was taking place, president obama submitted a plan to congress to close the guantanamo bay detention facility. the hill newspaper writing the plan would cost up to $475 million and would move between 30 to 60 of the remaining detainees to the u.s. although it doesn't specify a facility. it proposes 13 options. officials say moving guantanamo detainees to the united states would ultimately save between
$60 million and $85 million within three to five years. some reaction from capitol hill. house speaker paul ryan issuing a statement that reads, after seven years president obama has yet to convince the american people that moving guantanamo terrorists to homeland is smart or safe. doesn't seem interested in continuing to try. and minority leader statement today the president has presented congress with a strong detailed plan to responsibly close the guantanamo bay detention facility. the reality is guantanamo hurts rather than advances our efforts to keep america safe and combat terrorism abroad. here are the president's remarks from earlier. president obama: good morning, everybody. in our fight against terrorists
like al qaeda and isil, we are using every element of our national power. our military, intelligence, iplomacy, homeland security, law enforcement, federal, state, and local, as well as the example of our ideals as a country that's committed to universal values. including rule of law and human rights. in this fight we learn and we work to constantly improve. when we find something that w., -- works, we keep on doing it. when it becomes clear that something is not working as intended, when it does not advance our security, we have to change course. for many years it's been clear that the detention facility at guantanamo bay does not advance our national security. it undermines it. this is not just my opinion. this is the opinion of experts.
this is the opinion of many in our military. it's counterproductive to our fight against terrorists because they use it as propaganda in their efforts to recruit. it drains military resources with nearly $450 million spent last year alone to keep it running. and more than $200 million in additional costs needed to keep it open going forward for less than 100 detainees. guantanamo harms our partnerships with allies and our countries whose cooperation we need against terrorism. when i talk to other world leaders, they bring up the fact hat guantanamo's not resolved. moreover, keeping this facility opened is contrary to our values. it undermines our standing in the world. it is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the
highest standards of rule of law. as americans, we pride ourselves on being a beacon to other nations. a model of the rule of law. but 15 years after 9/11, 15 years, after the worst terrorist attack in american history, we are still having to defend the existence of a facility and process where not a single verdict has been reached in those attacks. ot a single one. when i first ran for president, it was widely recognized that this facility needed to close. this was not just my opinion. this was not some radical far left view. there was a bipartisan support to close it. my predecessor, president bush, to his credit said he wanted to
close it. it was one of the few things that i and my republican opponent, senator john mccain, agreed on. and so in one of my first acts as president i took action to egin closing it. and because we had bipartisan support, i wanted to make sure that we did it right. i indicated that we would need to take our time to do it in a systematic way and that we had examined all the options. and unfortunately during that period where we were putting the pieces in place to close it, what had previously been bipartisan support sudden isly wk a -- suddenly became a partisan issue. suddenly many who previously had said it should be closed backed off because they were worried about the politics. the public was scared into
thinking, well, if we close it somehow we'll be less safe. and since that time congress has repeatedly imposed restrictions aimed at preventing us from closing this if a sit. -- facility. now, despite the politics we have made progress. of the nearly 800 detainees once held at guantanamo, more than 85% have already been transferred to other countries. more than 500 of these transfers, by the way, occurred under president bush. since i took office, we have so far transferred 147 more. each under new, significant restrictions to keep them from returning to the battlefield. and as a result of these actions, today just 91 detainees remain, less than 100. today the defense department thanks to very hard work by
secretary of defense, ash carter, as well as his team working in concert with the office of management and budget, today the department is submitting to congress our plan for finally closing the facility at guantanamo once and for all. it's plan that reflects the hard work of my entire national security team. so i especially want to thank ash and his team at d.o.d.. this plan has my full support. it reflects our best thinking on how to best go after terrorists and deal with those who we may capture. and it is a strategy with four main elements. first, we'll continue to securely and responsibly transfer to other countries the 35 detainees out of the 91 that have already been approved for transfer. keep in mind this process involves extensive and careful
coordination across our federal government to ensure that our national security interests are met when an individual is transferred to another contry. so, for example, we insist that foreign countries institute strong security measures. and as we move forward, that means that we will have around 60, potentially even fewer detainees remaining. second, we'll accelerate the periodic reviews of remaining detainees to determine whether their continued detention is necessary. our review board, which includes representatives from across government, will continue to look at all relevant information, including current intelligence, and if certain detainees no longer pose a significant threat, they may be eligible for transfer to another country as well. number three, we'll continue to
use all legal tools to deal with the remaining detainees still held under law of war detention. currently, 10 detainees are in some stage of the military commission's process. a process that we worked hard to reform in my first year in office with bipartisan support from congress. but i have to say with respect to these commissions they are very costly. they have resulted in years of litigation without a resolution. we are therefore outlining additional changes tome prove these commissions which would require congressional action and we'll be consulting with them in the near future on that issue. i also want to point out that in contrast to the commission process, our article 3 federal courts have proven to have an outstanding record of convicting some of the most hardened terrorists.
these prosecutions allow for the gathering of intelligence against terrorist groups. it proves that we can both prosecute terrorists and prohe text -- protect american people. think about t terrorists like the shoe bomber, the one who tried to blow up an airplane over detroit, one who put a car mb in time's square, and the one who bombed the boston marathon. they were all convicted in our article 3 courts and are now behind bars here in the united tates. so we can capture terrorists, protect the american people, and when done right we can try them and put them in our maximum security prisons and it works just fine.
in this sense the plan we are putting forward today isn't just about closing the facility at guantanamo, it's not just about dealing with the current group complexnees, which is a piece of business because of the manner in which they were originally apprehended and what happened. this is about closing a chapter in our history. it reflects the lessons we have learned since 9/11. lessons that mean to guide our nation going forward. even as we use military commissions to close out the cases of some current detainees, which given the unique circumstances of their cases make it difficult for them to be tried in article 3 courts, this type of use of military commission should not set a precedent for the future. as they have been in paths wars, military commissions will continue to be an option when individuals are detained during
battle. but our preferred option, the most effective option for dealing with individuals detained outside military theaters, must be our strong proven federal courts. fourth and finally, we are going to work with congress to find a secure location in the united states to hold remaining detainees. these are detainees who are subject to military commissions, but it also includes those who cannot yet be transferred to another countries or who we have determined must continue to be detained because they pose a continuing significant threat to the united states. we are not identifying a specific facility today in this plan. we are outlining what options look like. as congress has imposed
restrictions that currently prevent the transfer of detainees to the united states, we recognize that this is going to be a challenge and we are going to keep making the case to congress that we can do this in a responsible and secure way taking into account the lessons and great record of our maximum security prisons. let me point out, the plan we are commit smithing today is not only the right thing to do for our security, it will also save money. the defense department estimates that this plan compared to keeping guantanamo open would lower costs by up to $85 million a year. over 10 years, it would generate savings of more than $300 million. over 20 years, the saves would be up to $1st7 billion. -- $1.7 billion. in other words, we can ensure our security, uphold our highest values around the world, and
save american taxpayers a lot of oney in the process. so, in closing, i want to say i am very clear eyed about the hurdles to finally closing guantanamo. he politics of this are tough. i think a lot of the american public are worried about terrorism and in their mind the notion of having terrorists held in the united states rather than in some distant place can be scary. but part of my message to the american people here is we are already holding a bunch of really dangerous terrorists here in the united states because we threw the book at them. and there have been no incidents . e have managed it just fine.
and in congress i recognize in part because of some of the fears of the public that have been fanned off by misinformation, there continue tobs a fair a opposition to closing guantanamo. if it were easy, it would have happened years ago, as i wanted, as i have been working to try to get done. but there remains bipartisan support for closing it. and given the stakes involved for our security, this plan deserves a fair hearing. even in an election year. we should be able to have an open, honest, good faith dialogue about how best to ensure our national security. and the fact that i'm no longer running, joe is no longer running, we are not on the ballot, it gives us the capacity to not have to worry about the politics. let us do what is right for
america. let us go ahead and close this chapter. and do it right, do it carefully, do it in a way that makes sure we are safe. president andnext more importantly future generations the ability to apply the lessons we have learned in the fight against terrorism and doing it in a way that doesn't raise some of the problems that guantanamo has raised. i really think there is an opportunity here for progress. i believe we have got an obligation to try. president bush said he wanted to close guantanamo. despite everything that he had invested in it. i give him credit for there -- for that. there was an honest assessment on his part about what needed to happen. but he didn't get it done and it was passed to me. i i have been working for seven years to get this closed. as president ift spent countless
hours dealing with this. do i not exaggerate. our closest allies have raised it with me continually. they often raise specific cases of detainees repeatedly. i don't want to pass this problem on to the next president whoever it is. and if as a nation we don't deal with this now, when will we deal with it? are we going to let this linger on for another 15 years, 20 years? another 30 years? if we don't do what's required now, i think future generations are going to look back and ask why we failed to act when the right course, the right side of history and justice and our best .merican traditions was clear again, i want to thank secretary carter, you and your team did an outstanding job and you have shown great leadership on this issue.
with this plan we have the opportunity, finally, to eliminate a terrorist propaganda tool, strengthen relationships with allies and partners, enhance our national security, and most importantly uphold the values of americans. i'm absolutely committed to closing the detention facility at guantanamo. i'm going to continue to make the case for doing so as long as i hold this office. but this is a good moment for everybody to step back, take a look at the facts, take a look at the views of those who have been most committed to fighting terrorism and understand this stuff. our opera fiffs, -- operatives, intelligence official, military. let's go ahead and get this thing done. thanks very much, everybody.
>> we expect to hear more about the president's proposal to close guantanamo bay during the pentagon briefing today scheduled to start shortly. live here on c-span. while we wait for that here's a look at some of today's "washington journal." joining ut daly of the wilson center. the u.s. to rector of the kissinger institute on china. thanks for joining us. we want to talk about these south china sea. it is important to china and the u.s. thisis important about portion of the sea and why it is important to china and why everyone has an interest? have claimedinese since 1947 this is part of their territory. they draw a line around the size of the caribbean and say that at least, all of the land features and the associated territorial
waters belong to china. for us, since world war ii, america has been the primary guarantor of peace in that area. it is that umbrella that allows other countries -- south korea, japan, china -- to focus not on an arms race but economic development. we see ourselves as the protectors of the global peace, which china seems to be claiming for itself. host: you say economic development -- of the world trade goes through the south china sea. china is highly dependent on this for its energy supplies, food supplies, and much of its trade. all of the countries of asia, which are important economically and populace, which the obama administration announced to rebalance asia. we remain, despite china's
growth, the predominant military power. it is in everyone's interest we remain a should teach it role. host: one of the guidelines we have seen is the moment -- is the movement of military equipment. guest: there are a couple of island groups. the spratlys, close to the philippines. the paracels. very few of these are habitable. the paracels are equidistant from vietnam to china. china claims all of these as its second -- as its sacred territory and is building it up, -- ng it would they are also equipping them with military use. ,adars, surface-to-air missiles airways. this is a projection of chinese power into contested regions. other nations also claim the islands and sees that china.
claims host: if you want to ask our guests about issues of china, (202) 748-8001 for republicans. (202) 748-8000 for democrats. for independence. who are the main concerns? the united states and its alliance system. that does not mean china is arming for war against the united states. on what he calls food andines of supplies. it has the ability to build up the military and guarantee the security of these lines. it wants to be the guarantor. it is a challenge to the u.s. and to our alliance systems, with japan, south korea, the
philippines, taiwan, and australia. host: are their specifics about what kind of military equipment we are talking about? guest: we are seeing missiles which are part of china's anti-access denial system. -- ave ability toas the take out aircraft carriers with land-based missiles. that is what this is part of. there is also the maritime domain interest. china wants to know what is going on. who is flying, sailing. there is the legitimate use of these of quitman, and then military use, which is concerning not only to the united states, but to china's neighbors. wants to gohip
through the waters, they have to ?et guest: permission know. these are the global commons under u.n. law of the sea. sail throughls can without permission. we believe military ships from any nation can also sail through these waters without needing permission. china says commercial ships, yes, military ships they are uncomfortable with. china would like to be the main strategic actor. that is the big argument. china does not propose to cut off trade food but china seems to be saying that freedom-of-navigation to commercial ships should be a privilege granted to be worthy by china. we believe it should be a right guaranteed under international law to all. guest with us until the end of the program. the first call is from al in new
york, democrat line. you are on with robert daly. caller: good morning. i would like to ask one was the last time china actually attacked anybody first? the other question would be, is china actually our friend? guest: excellent questions. china has not attacked anybody cap --he 1970's, when it when it attacked the enemies in the paracel islands and had a border war with vietnam. militarilyot been aggressive in terms of attacking other nations. it is building up islands, putting in equipment, increasing its capability to fight. is china our friend? this is a complicated relationship.
both cooperative and competitive. the united states and china's neighbors have benefited from china's rise, particularly economically. china is a major trading partner in the area. is getting more aggressive militarily and strategically. a lot of these countries value their trade relationship with china, do not want to threaten that, but they prefer a -- they preferred the united states as a balance against china. so they prefer the united states but want a good relationship with china. china is our partner and a looming adversary. what we try to do is put a thumb thehe cooperative side of relationship. emphasize that over the competitive. that is getting harder to do. host: let's hear from bob,
maryland, independent line. caller: i am korean-american. keep a close eye on what is going on in korea. americans are not aware of how is really putting pressure on south korea against the thhebility of bringing the system against protecting against north korea's possible nuclear attacks. what is the u.s. government doing about it? lotuse china is putting a of pressure on south korea not to bring it. it already has a similar system the can do the same against
korean peninsula. i wanted to hear something about that. guest: the u.s. has wanted our ally, south korea, its terminal high altitude area defense, thaad. this is a system aimed at knocking out high altitude ballistic missiles. we have wanted to deploy that in south korea for a while, in defense of south korea and u.s. bases. south korea is wary of that because they have been warming up to china. they have been warming up under president park in korea and secretary xi in china. and changed in january february, when north korea conducted another nuclear test and launched an intercontinental
ballistic missile. president park gave an important speech saying this fundamentally changes their relationship and are now in close talks with us in deploying this missile system, which china objects to strongly. what is worrying is that china has been more active in combating south korea's desire to have this missile system then it has been in keeping north korea from conducting these intercontinental missile tests. it seems that south korea is leaning towards deploying these systems. host: (202) 748-8001 republicans. (202) 748-8000 democrats. (202) 748-8002 independence. tom from florida. i was curious why we have not heard the united nations get involved in this. primary one of the
positions of interest. guest: u.n. sections against north korea? just sanctions, but getting involved in some way. it would not be one national country getting involved. guest: that has been the default decades inveral dealing with north korean provocations. it has been seven weeks s nuclear test of the weapon in north korea. ity.the u.n. needs unanimou china, north korea's lifeline, will not sign on to any sanctions regime which would cause the north korean
government to give up their weapons. to do that, you would need a sanctions regime which would bring kim jong-un to his knees. to do thatnot want because they have an interest in a stable of north korea. they do not want an influx of refugees from the north korea buffer. and china likes to have a buffer between it and the united states -allied south korea. so even if there is a sanctions package, it will not be strong enough to achieve what we want to achieve. while japan, south korea, and the u.s. are imposing sanctions on north korea. host: democrat line, go ahead. caller: thanks for having me on. the u.s. has a massive forward presence in the south china sea. there are at least five to 10
military command ships employed there. navy ships, aircraft carriers and destroyers. if china were to implement this and start kicking everybody out, the u.s. would know beforehand. so what is the fear if china were to implement that? china has stated several times they do not want to kick the united states out of the western pacific or the south china sea. they recognize there is a role there. they know they cannot achieve that. weis a gradual buildup already see coming. at the same time, we see a shift in the balance of power. china has the enormous advantage of proximity in the south china sea. they have a tremendous will, desire to carry out their strategic goals. and they are closing the gap in
ability. a study commissioned by congress found that by 2030, china will have an aircraft carrier battle sale within a half day's of any crisis point in the south china sea. they will have more to the abilities we will have to respond to. this is not a prescription for warfare. even though we have more capability in the area now -- submarines, military bases, aircraft carrier battle groups, a growing number of assets -- all of these weapons do not help ,s counter china's intelligent gradual policy of what is called salami slicing. very small increments. advancing interests i building up islands. adding weapons systems. making small moves, non-egregious enough to cause the u.s. to use its massive power but would tip the balance in china's power.
we do not have a strategy to counter that. all of the weapons you described -- this is a deterrent to world war iii. not a deterrent to gradualism. host: from florida, independent line. caller: good conversation. i think you took some esteem out of it, and i was going to make, but i will make it anyway. i will probably not be as friendly and optimistic as the answers being given. russianerring to the system when they were doing the same thing with georgia, uzbekistan, and we were passive about it. ory watched how we reacted did not react. i believe the chinese are very , a patientple country. i think they will, little by little -- this is a stupid
analogy, but i remember my favorite movie "the blob." blob goes down the street just getting bigger and bigger. i believe china and the south china sea, they are building these islands and no we will not do with enough about it. ago,was my concern decades about having things made in china. computers, whatnot. the conditions of warfare in the future could be compromised for us. i was going to ask your thoughts on that. guest: no disrespect to steve -- steve mcqueen, but china acts as a magnet. china once to be the most dominant country in the region, but function by a attractive power. have other countries carry out policies beneficial to china
because they want a good relationship. there is no evidence outside of the western pacific and china's nine-dash line that china has europe,eness designs on russia in crimea, georgia. oft they want is a zone deference. something akin to what we have in the western hemisphere. where they are the primary strategic actor. where it any other nation is contemplating an action, they want china's interests taken into consideration first. more of a magnet as part of china's attractive power, what china would say is a benevolent hegemon. i think china would like to be the most dominant player in the eastern hemisphere. but they are patient, gradualist, and we are not
talking about a vision in which the pla is invading other nation states. the biography our guest house, he was the cultural exchange officer of the u.s. embassy in beijing in the late 1980's. how has china changed? guest: hugely. this is something we have lost track off because we are worried about china's rise. we used to talk about china's modernization. it focus on the fact that china has changed quickly. now we talk about china's rise. this puts the focus on our fears. in the late china 1980's and even to the mid-1990's very large, relatively poor country, where health outcomes for people were
poor. information and freedoms were greatly restricted. -- andto china today yes, we have legitimate security fears and xi jinping is carrying out a worrying crackdown on freethinkers -- but long-term, able to travel internationally, can marry where they want, live were they want, get the jobs they want. they have more freedom as consumers to shape their lives. they have more information. but they cannot take any action that threatens the communist party's monopoly on political power. and the communist party has a monopoly on when you have done that. but if your exercise of freedom does not involve the freedom of speech or assembly but is just the standard of living, you can do that in china now. on a horizontal baseline. we compared china to other
countries and say china does not meet international standards. vertical basis. they look at where china was and how quickly it has come to where it is now. they value that progress. so we use a horizontal measure, and they use a vertical one. we have to remember that to understand the choices they make. host: from florida, democrats line. joe. about china hearing morning to build a canal through nicaragua. do you know anything about it? guest: the nicaragua acquire now -- the nicaragua canal is, for now, canceled. there have been studies done that would go through nicaragua and lake nicaragua which would have twice the capacity of even the expanded panama canal. you would be able to get a
higher volume of ships through. ins is controversial even nicaragua because it has been nontransparent. it is rushed through without the proper environmental impacts. the chinese claim this has nothing to do with the chinese avernment but has to do with single chinese businessman. the rumor is that businessman lost a lot of money in the chinese stock market, so the financing is on hold. i think if this is a real project, it is unthinkable that a would not have the support of the beijing government because of the scale is too large or for now, it is on hold. china has the capacity to build ports, airports, high-speed rail quickly. and the ability to finance those projects. pursuing this in southeast asia, central asia, and in parts of africa. host: dennis is next on the
independent line. caller: good morning. that yourganization represent the henry kissinger organization? him,: it is named for but i do not work for henry kissinger. caller: why would you name that? nothing but ar is war criminal. he should be locked up for years and years. he cannot leave the country because he has a warrants out for his arrest. he is nothing but a war criminal. guest: dr. kissinger does leave the country. i am aware there is a wide range of opinions about dr. kissinger. i am not here to argue that case. kissinger is a two is
at the wilson center, which is a nonpartisan government think tank and academic platform. we are named for dr. kissinger but do not represent his views. host: the foreign minister -- will in the u.s. china's activities be discussed? guest: minister wang he will certainly talk about the south china sea and north korea, and also about a meeting on nuclear and china's xi jinping is expected there. the chinese perceive this as some kind of containment measure? guest: absolutely. we have said we are committing to asia, because we realize this is where most of america's interests lie. population,e the the trade, the money is, where the development is happening.
we are sometimes too aggressive and say that this has nothing to do with china's rise. china does not believe that and it is not wholly credible to american ears either. china's rise and some of its behaviors since 2009 was one of the primary factors that cause us to realize we need to pay more attention to asia. in theory, that is where our diplomacy and military deployments will be focused. 50-50l go from a -- to 60% in 64% the east, 40% in the west. it could be 60-40 of a smaller pie overall. the and was announced by secretary clinton in 2011. china sees it as a plot to contain and surround china. called,lance, as it is
is welcomed by china's neighbors. but they have questions about the depth about commitment, our staying power, what price we are willing to pay. one of the callers talked about our activities in georgia. he was casting aspersions on whether we would really be cost into pay in the southeast asia. caller: what law does china live by? by its owna lives body of laws. what is important about chinese law is that china's law is below the communist party. it is the leadership of the commonest party first, and then a body of laws through which, increasingly, the communist party governs china. from theook at this west, we say this is not really the rule of law. the law is not paramount.
it is the rule by law. the will of the communist party comes first. this is the way china describes its own laws. and it is now ruling china through legalistic measures. does not govern the party and there is no independent judiciary. houston, mike from our democrat line. caller: i was wondering what the current nature of the relationship is between russia and china, given their rocky past. and was there an incident where nuclear bombed a in its own territory so that the fallout would land on russian troops? if that happens, does that a policy with regard to nuclear weapons. the historical story
you're talking about, in terms of contemporary russian-chinese relations happened a long time ago. they have a contentious history on a number of fronts. they fought order wars, but those have been settled. we are seeing a chinese-russian entente. of a strongce strategic partnership. xi jinping and then you put in -- xi jinping and vladimir putin see that there is an alternative set of work orders and national vision that stand in contrast to the equal legitimacy to what they see as the hegemonic u.s.-led world order. xi appearingin and in china. is popular in china.
they increasingly work together in the united nations. but there are still limits on their working together. there is a certain amount of smoke and mirrors in trying to present a sino-russian partnership has more than it is to date. that whatnot said russia is doing in the ukraine and crimea is meeting with its approval. russia has not affirmed china's claims in the south china sea. there is mutual suspicion but they are coming together as well. host: robert daly talking about -- talking about china. if you want to ask questions, (202) 748-8001 republicans. (202) 748-8000 democrats. .ndependence, (202) 748-8002 caller: i have three comments. -- his analysis of
china's economic status is fundamentally flawed. the most polluted planet on the earth is china. this affects their gdp, everything about them. we think that the air pollution is a problem, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. everything that is grown in china is contaminated with heavy metals. everything made in china is contaminated with heavy metals -- host: we will let our guest respond. an enormoustion is problem in china, as it was in europe and the united states during the height of our own industrial revolutions on which our current prosperity depends. this is what the chinese would say in answer to his question.
pollution is age rock on development and something of a chinese people are increasingly vocal about wanting to -- colusa a drag onlution is development and something chinese people are vocal about. have hadn the west pollution so do not condemn us in poverty. that has been the chinese position. china seeing movement as realizes the in norma's public health cost this is incurring. china's statistics, growing up in northern china where takesion is the worst, off five years off of the average human life span. and china has problems with food --ety, pharmaceutical safety not everything in china is
contaminated with heavy metals, but there are concerns the chinese have about their products. host: from florida on the independent line. caller: hello. i think this whole conversation is backwards. instrument for criminality and mass violence and terror on earth is the united states government. this gentleman is representative of one faction of this mass murdering class. the u.s. a destroyed the middle east. that is why you have millions of refugees fleeing -- host: any specific questions about china? of the coup ind ukraine, the u.s. has encircled china and russia. what you have done is legitimized this criminal
g,ency, the kissinger gan who is headed by a war criminal -- host: is there anything you want to say about his statement? guest: his statement is an overstatement. with china, the united states is quick to preach and prescribed to other countries what they should do of good the story united states, bad china. this is not effective diplomacy. we have major concerns with and the economics, military sphere, in things like food safety. to have. knowledge about our own difficulties and our own dark periods in our history. we undermine ourselves when we
preach the u.s. as the paragon of virtue and china is the last holdout of the "commie bad guys." conduct diplomacy based on that. we should talk with china taking in our own history into account. if i can twist and adamant attack in two what is a more constructive question. host: republican line, georgia. seaer: ima 22 year veteran sailor. i am a fan of the military around the world. daly was theo mr. dam they made in china. it is the largest one. the water is above sea level. it is like a bubble on a tire. it is wobbly.
it has caused a lot of climate mess, with the polar ice cap smelting more. i have not -- with the polar ice .ap's melting more that seems more important of an issue then guest: the caller is right, it's the biggest dam in the world and has created the biggest lake. the chinese have concerns about the lake in terms, not only their questions about pollution, there are questions about local climatological effects. i have not heard any credible claim that i heard of to say this is a major contributor to worldwide climate issues. and engineers addressed about
the weight of the lake in a fault zone and it might possibly be contributing to earthquakes in the region. but i don't -- i don't know where that stands right now primarily because the caller's right. this was a major issue throughout the 1990's and i haven't seen much reporting on it in the past several years, but i think if there were credible studies that were as dire as the caller implies -- because a lot of americans and chinese are watching -- i think if we heard about it but he's right. this has fallen off the map. host: jim. herndon, virginia. democrats' line. caller: good morning, robert. my dad used to say if you beg your enemy you are in bad shape. we're asking every time we get in trouble, we get -- ask money from china. china owns us. they invest, you know, we have a deficit in this country. all our deficit paid by chinese. we take money from them and we give them something but the bottom line is this. when we take all these companies moving out of the
united states and going to china, we are building a country for our enemy. china, they figure out one thing, robert. they figure out how to fight america and they build ships. they see we have the best capable attack in the world. they realize that and now they built so much ships that they want to defend their land regardless what happens. so by saying china, china, china, they know what they're doing. they're not thinking about now. they're thinking about 10 years from now or 15 years from now. they will be the superpower in this world, and there's nothing we can do about it. they've seen what's going on in syria, that people are fleeing. we are not doing anything about it. putin is getting our case. we are not doing anything about it. they know what's coming. they invest from africa to south america. i don't even know when are we going to stop. when are we going to figure out to understand we are investing in the country that is our enemy? they send their people for i.t. most of the visas were students are coming from china.
host: ok, john, thanks. guest: so this has been a big debate in washington over about the past two years. through our policy of engaging with china -- and that's been really the cornerstone of u.s.-china policy since richard nixon -- through our crade relations, through institutional relations, through educational exchanges, educating china, have we raised up an adversary? the argument for engagement was not that engagement was going to make china exactly like america but that by working with china and helping a china that had been isolated and hostile, participating in world institutions, trade regimes, climate regimes, all these other sorts of institutional linkages that china has taken advantage of, we bring china into the system and help it to be a constructive participant or builder of that system rather than a hostile outlier. so that was a broadly speaking the idea of engagement. i think in many ways succeeded but over the past two years around the world, in
washington, there have been voices where the caller said, no, engagement has been naive. they are hostile to our interest. we raised up about a baby tiger that is cute and cuddley and now it's full grown and is threatening to devour us. i think we see that attitude also having an impact in the presidential election and it's a very lively debate here in washington. i think the overall attitude is still that it's a competitive and cooperative relationship and that we must try to emphasize the cooperative. because this is not just china the country. this is 1/5 of humanity. we don't want to destroy their prosperity. we don't want to sort of condemn them to backwardness. we have to bring them in as constructive builders. primarily because of china's growing assertiveness. on the debt side, you started by bringing up this argument that a lot of people bring up that china owns america. this is not and was not true.
china is the single biggest foreign holder of american sovereign debt but most american debt is held by americans. so china at its peak owned about 8% of america's debt. it now owns about 7% of debt. it's been selling it off. there was a period in 2015 when japan actually overtook china, again, as the number one holder of american debt. we didn't hear americans complaining about japan owning us then. so you dot to look at the statistics about this one. china owns about 7% of their debt and that doesn't give them leverage over us. host: michael from illinois, independent line. we are running a bit short on time so jump in with your question or comment. caller: real quick. yeah, i'm a veteran. here's my problem. the wars are over. if you look around the world, a country can't attack another country anymore because economically they will be turned off by the country and their economy will collapse. so all this giant military buildup, let's start turning that money into something good because all the countries you talk about war by each other -- worried about each other,
they're worried about the people inside their country. you have people in the streets of every country in the world that are protesting and the riots get bigger and bigger. it's not external threats. it's their internal threats, even our own. so all this giant military establishment and buildup is doing nothing but wasting our money. any country goes to war, they're shut off by the world. the country will collapse. so the whole talk about the giant military establishment, those days are over. you guys are dinosaurs. guest: well, a number of callers said i'm sounding like a spokesman for the military industrial complex. we started with the south china sea and we have specific concerns about weapons deployments, comparison capabilities, sort of issue. actually overall i agree with the caller and i think it's a very good note to end on. i think we do need to emphasize the wealth and stability, the welfare of people in individual nations and i would agree in
principle that we need to attend first to our own domestic economic issues, butter over guns. but if china is making the investments in guns over butter in the region, where we do have real security interests and where we are sworn to defend our treaty allies -- remember, an attack on japan and attack on south korea and attack on the philippines is an attack on the united states. so this is a real existing set of commitments that we made and now we do see a rising potential military threat in the area. do we close up shop, abandon our alliance systems? if we do that, if japan, if south korea doesn't believe that we are a credible partner in the area, japan goes nuclear. south korea goes nuclear. you have a nuclear arms race in northeast asia if the united states cannot uphold its alliances. furthermore, if china simply is allowed to take over the south china sea, one of the most vital areas of the world and name it all as its more or less
sovereign territory, that means that the principle of the global commons, skies, seas, internationally, which is a cornerstone of international law of which we have been the main defender since world war ii, if we pull out, we are also abandoning that commitment. the whole idea of global common international law. so this is a tough decision to make it. it involves a lot of tradeoffs and the risks are going up. i think the last caller's voice needs to be one of the major voices in this discussion because we should all be shooting for human welfare, not who has more, yes, outdated battle groups. i think that's a good note to end on. host: what faces the next president, especially in this election, especially with relations with china? because you spoke about the difficult relations between the window countries. guest: well, it's difficulty, complexity, uncertainty and very high risks one way or the other and the next president is going to have to be dealing with some of the caller's questions. do we see china as a partner,
as an adversary, as some important -- what is the best strategy going forward? and there is no silver bullet to have this. one of the other questions i think the next president is going to have to face and i haven't heard any of the democratic or republican candidates speak this way, in light of china's rise and in light of the other ways the world is changing, how must america change? what do we have to adapt, give up, emphasize? we don't hear this. we hear about taking america back as though we can unoppose, maintain the kind of status that we have had or imagine that we've had in the world since world war ii and that's not going to be tenable. so how must we change? i'd like to hear us have that dialogue and i haven't heard it yet. wilson bert daly of the center. thank you for your time. guest: thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.
visit ncicap.org] >> and this pentagon briefing, we are going to go ahead and show this streaming live at c-span.org. the meantime -- peter: good afternoon, everybody. busy day here at the pentagon. as you saw in the statement this morning, heard directly from the president, the department of defense today formally submitted the administration's plan for closing the detention facility at guantanamo bay to congress. as the president, secretary carter made clear responsibly
and squeerl closing the detention facility at guantanamo bay is a national security imperative. the successful closure of these facilities will enhance our security by eliminating a rallying point for jihaddi propaganda and strengthening our relationship with allies, key allies and counterterrorism partners. it will also save the american people money. at least $335 million in net savings over 10 years and up to $1.7 billion in net savings over 20 years. the plan has four primary tenants . securely and responsibly transfer to foreign countries detainees that have been designated for transfer by the president's national security team after a thorough review. continue to review the threat posed by those detainees who are not currently eligible for transfer through the periodic review board, or p.r.b. identify individualized dispositions for those who remain detention, including possible article 3 military commission or foreign prosecutions. four, work with congress to
establish a location mountain united states to securely hold detainees whom we cannot at this time transfer to foreign countries who are subject to military commission proceedings. secretary carter remains firmly committed to ending detention operations at guantanamo bay and strongly supports the administration's plan to do so in a way that is consistent with our interests, laws and values. he also believes it is important to resolve this issue before the next administration takes over. he looks forward to engaging with congress and believes this plan provides a path forward for congress. finally, secretary carter expresses his deep gratitude to all of the service members who have contributed to and carried out the succeedingly difficult mission at guantanamo bay for so long with professionalism and dedication, including those service members who are there even today. with that i'd be happy to take your questions. lucas, you are in the front row today by yourself. lucas: thank you. will the pentagon close guantanamo bay if congress
doesn't pass a law? peter: we are beginning a conversation here, continuing a conversation with conversation, lucas. we see this as an opportunity to work with congress to try and resolve these issues. it will take congressional action for these detention facilities to close in a responsible way and to find a location here in the united states to house those detainees who the secretary and -- feels are not appropriate and the national security review shows are not appropriate to be transferred to other countries. lucas: is the pentagon prepared to follow an illegal order? peter: the pentagon is prepared to work with congress to resolve this issues, responding to a request specifically from congress for a plan, a request we've honored today and we will continue to work clab are atively with congress -- collaboratively with congress to try and resolve these issues and, again, move this process forward. this gives congress a path to achieve the responsible closure of these facilities.
and once again, do something that will bolster american national security at the same time save taxpayers money. it's a conversation that congress would like to engage in going forward. lucas: the majority of congress has rejected the pentagon's plan. peter: we just submit it had up there, lucas. we look forward to hear what congress has to say as we begin this process with them, the deliberative process. we believe there are members of congress who share the secretary's view, the president's view responsibly closing guantanamo bay is an appropriate thing to do, particularly before the next administration takes over and we'll begin that conversation with the submission of this plan today. lucas: it's a majority that a majority of congress rejects the plan. is the pentagon prepared to go forward with a plan to close guantanamo bay when congress has not signed off on it? peter: lucas, again, we have submitted a plan today to congress. we look forward to getting the feedback from congress. we'll be briefing members of congress on the plan. we look forward to engaging with congress going forward. this is what we're focused on
is getting this plan moving forward and, again, getting input from members of congress so we can shape this plan and move this process along. lucas: if the president -- peter: i'll have to go to someone else. i'll come back. yes. reporter: the focus that's on the detention facility at gitmo. we use for logistics and other purposes, is there any -- i didn't see anything in your plan that covered the overall guantanamo bay? peter: this plan covers the detention facilities at guantanamo bay. there is no plan to change the status of the naval base at guantanamo. yes. reporter: can you give us some south formation about -- korea postpone [indiscernible] peter: i'll take that question for you. i'm not aware of a delay. as we discussed, ongoing
conversations between the united states and our south korean allies with regard to the deployment of the thaad system and have every pectation we'll have those conversations. yes. reporter: the turkish prime minister accuses syria along with da'ish and u.s.-backed kurdish fighters to form a terror cell along the border with syria and says turkey won't let it happen. first of all, do you agree that all the forces that were mentioned, minus da'ish, of course, are trying to create a terror belt along turkey's borders? peter: we've talked at length about turkey's a nato ally, close friend of the united states. we'll continue to work closely with the turks in the fight against isil and, of course, their own security situation. it remains an ongoing topic of
conversation. and, again, we -- our focus is on the fight against isil and tarky is part of that fight and that's where our focus remains so i'm not sure exactly the comments you're referring to specifically. but we remain engaged with turkey about these issues. i understand the sensitivities of the border situation there, but our focus remains isil and that remains the focus of the coalition. reporter: what do you think about this statement in light of -- this is not the first statement. turkey indicated that it's going to continue to go after syrian kurds despite the u.s. saying stop. what do you think of this in light of the u.s. and russia trying to stop hostilities in syria? peter: again, the cessation of hostilities has nothing to do with our fight against isil, first of all, tanned we've had conversations with turkey at length about the situation in syria. specific with the kurds and, again, we've expressed our support for groups on the
ground that are taking the fight to isil. that includes some kurdish groups and on this issue, we will continue to disagree with turkey with regard to that particular issue and our support for those particular groups that are taking the fight to isil, understanding their concerns about terrorist activities and so we will continue to work with the kurds on this issue and make clear our views on this as we continue to work with the kurds. reporter: but with those -- turkey is attacking in syria are not terrorists in view of the u.s. and the international community. turkey continues military action in syria. would this undermine the efforts that the u.s. and russia are now making to achieve cessation of hostilities? peter: again, we -- the cessation of moss hilts -- hostilities does not include isil. that's what's most important to us right now in terms of the effort. i understand, we're going to continue working closely with
our turkish partners. their coalition partners. we'll continue to work with them and have a dialogue with them about these issues. again, we will -- we're confident we can continue to work closely with the turks with regard to these issues. jim. jim: the united states and russia set up this committee to monitor the cessation of hostilities. do you foresee how this might potentially lead to a broader cooperation between the united states and russia over combating the islamic state in syria? peter: right now this is -- it's military-to-military cooperation has been limited to the memorandum of understanding. we are playing a supportive role to the state department in these ongoing negotiations, but i would not anticipate that there's going to be further military-to-military cooperation. we obviously are supporting what secretary kerry is doing. the effort to try and bring some ease to the suffering of
the syrian people, but we do not anticipate further military-to-military cooperation with the russians. reporter: there has been an uptick in violence in ukraine. some of the fiercest hostilities since last summer. it comes it at the same time the united states graduated first class of ukrainian soldiers. is this building tracking that increase in hostilities and do you have anything on that? peter: i mean, i know the secretary continues to closely monitor what's happening in ukraine. obviously we have concerns as others in the international community about the level of violence there. we have not taken our eye off the ball in ukraine and i think the training being conducted of the ukrainian forces is an indication of our commitment to ukraine and we'll continue to follow this very, very closely. so beyond that, again, it's a
situation that remains an area of focus for the department of defense, for this secretary and it has been for some time. reporter: in watching the border area, have you seen some build up on the other side or anything you can independently confirm? peter: i can't get into intelligence matters here. i'll just convey to you that we're watching the situation very closely. reporter: are you concerned that you're training ukrainian soldiers, sending them out to the front and perhaps they're being attacked because of that training? peter: again, we're doing this, working with the ukrainian government so we will continue to work closely with the government of ukraine as so what support we can provide to them in this effort. so i can't speak directly that that's the case, that these trainees are going into this particular situation. i know you were there recently. we will just continue to work closely with the ukrainian government, provide the support we can. this training was requested by
the ukrainian government, so in that sense, again, we'll just continue to partner with them and provide the kind of assistance that we feel is appropriate at this time. yes, louie. louie: back on guantanamo real briefly. why did it take so long to come up with this document? peter: this is a complicated situation for a variety of reasons. you know the secretary's been engaged since he started here. this predates his arrival. there are complicated matters of both law and cost. there are some restrictions put in place by congress that makes this a more difficult challenge. this is not easy. this has been an ongoing debate in this country for sometime. and this represents, we think, the best opportunity, the best pathway forward at this time to try to resolve an issue in a way that maintains u.s. national security, saves taxpayers some money in the process, removes propaganda tool for jihadists around the world and also takes a step
that we believe will be welcomed by our partners and allies around the globe. louie: there are indications last fall this document was going to be produced at that time. why the delay since then? peter: there are a number of factors. again, some i just detailed. legal questions, budget questions about making sure the numbers that we're able to provide are as accurate as possible. so -- but in the bigger sense, we were asked by congress to meet this deadline. we met this deadline today. we believe this plan offers a pathway forward. and, again, if this was easy, this would have been solved a long time back. this is a complicated, difficult situation and it's clearly something where not everyone is going to agree on the best path forward. we believe this is a starting point for both parties, people that have different views on this issue where there could be some middle ground solution that allows us to move forward. louie: will you be releasing
the additional military facilities that were surveyed as possible site alternatives? peter: we did not disclose those in the plan through the course of our conversations with congress. it's possible those names could come out. but that will be, again, to some extent a decision for congress because these are conversations, some of the information might be classified and so these are conversations congress will have to decide on the path forward and that could open up the number of locations that could be considered. we don't preclude the notion that one -- it could be a location beyond the 13 that are identified specifically in this plan. at this point we don't anticipate releasing those names publicly in part because conversation just begun with congress, but it could be something that could come out in the course of those conversations. louie: and turning to the south china sea. there is satellite imagery of congress-range radars in one of the china areas. what's your viewpoint on that?
part of the -- [indiscernible] peter: i understand admiral harris may have been asked about this today. it represents another step we think by the chinese that is only escalating tensions in the region and isn't helping stability in the asia pacific. we have urged all claimants to halt reclamation, to halt militarization in the south china sea and we would reiterate that now. this is inconsistent, we think, with the aspirations with peace and stability in the region that the chinese themselves have suggested they'd like to pursue. gordon. gordon: two questions. one is, given the late arrival of this plan on closing gitmo, is there even deadlines -- peter: the deadline was today. gordon: correct. however, is there even time to do the necessary construction that would be required to transfer these particular kind
of detainees into a facility in the u.s. if you add the -- got the permission to do that at this late date, a? and b, on south china sea, it's been reported that the pentagon's plan to conduct roughly two a quarter in the south china sea. is that enough? peter: i'm not going to get into the specific operational details of the u.s. navy's operations in the south china sea or anywhere else. we will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows and we've demonstrated that and we will continue to demonstrate that. on your other question about gitmo, we think it is possible that you could this year move this process forward. we are certainly going to be challenged given the calendar, given the situation right now in congress and the debate over this issue but we think it is possible that you could in fact
move forward before the end of this year. challenging, absolutely, but, yes, we do think it's physical possible. gordon: moving forward or move forward to the point where you cleared out gitmo and actually close by the end -- >> we are going to leave this briefing now. you can continue watching it at c-span.org. as we head over to the floor of the u.s. house, about to begin legislative work, first time back after the presidents day recess. the speaker: the house will be in order. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's rooms, washington, d.c. february 23, 2016. i hereby appoint the honorable ken buck to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, paul d. ryan, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father conroy. chaplain conroy: let