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tv   Washington Journal Danielle Pletka  CSPAN  January 24, 2021 5:34pm-6:20pm EST

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dakota. when i was in the legislature i voted for it. but that does not mean i did it without putting together consensus. if you are going to talk about an emergency operation, why would you include and demand that that be a part of it. that is looking for a way not to get some things done that might very well have to be done in the next couple of weeks. >> tonight on q, a discussion about the polio vaccine, with a university of california historian. >> once the vaccine was developed and approved, it was approved within a few hours after the test results came out, that nation had to scramble to ensure that everybody who needed the vaccine most would get access to that vaccine. there had been planning in the works for at least one year before the vaccine was approved for market. >> the history and development
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of the polio vaccine, tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q and a. >> for discussion on the foreign policy challenges facing the biden administration, we turn to danielle pletka, host of the podcast what the hell is going on. good morning. danielle: good morning. john: i want to start with the message that president joe biden directed to those outside america's borders during his inauguration speech. this is what the president had to say wednesday. >> look folks. all of my colleagues i served with in the house and senate up here, we all understand the world is watching, watching all of us today. here is my message to those beyond our borders. america has been tested and we have come out stronger for it.
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we will repair our alliances and engage with the world again, not not -- not to meet yesterday's challenges, but to meet today and tomorrow's challenges. we will lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example. [applause] we will be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress, and security. john: joe biden on wednesday. danielle pletka, was the reaction around the world to that message from joe biden in his inaugural address? danielle: i do not think donald trump was terribly popular around the world and he made little effort to make himself so. a lot of our allies were truly exhausted by the trump term and are very happy to see that joe
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biden has committed to what he calls repairing alliances. the problem is, for president biden and his team, that giving an inaugural speech is good. you send the right message and set a tone, but you do not actually solve any problems. the challenges we face in our alliances and from our adversaries remain the same. john: biden talking in that speech about not meeting yesterday's challenges but focusing on today and tomorrow's challenges. where does that begin on the foreign policy and defense front? danielle: i would normally say china. because china is truly one of the most daunting challenges and one of the most different challenges we have ever faced. but of course, everything has been eclipsed by covid. our morning coffee conversation has been eclipsed by covid. our domestic policy conversation has been eclipsed and our foreign policy conversation has
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been a clipped by covid. even that has played a role in an understanding of the challenge china represents because of how dishonestly, how nefariously the chinese communist party has handled the epidemic. dealing with that is when to be the number one challenge for the biden administration. china is wrapped up in that as well. john: news this weekend, a carrier entering the south china sea amid tensions with taiwan. what should viewers know about what is happening there now? danielle: stand -- what viewers need to understand is china has committed itself to a path of aggression, of hostility first toward its neighbors. china has spent the last 8 months, nine months bullying the
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living daylights out of australia, a large country territorially but small in terms of population and using all the tools available to it, military, mostly economic, but also political. china has also been threatening u.s. friend, little democracy taiwan. they have been more aggressively planting themselves in the south china sea and taking over and now giving authority to their so-called coast guard in those international waters to shoot on so-called violators of what they are labeling their territorial waters. date very -- they very provocatively flew through taiwan's air defense zone.
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the united states does not have a formal commitment to the defense of taiwan, but we do have a moral commitment to the defense of taiwan. for folks looking at these things and thinking that is far away, those are problems that could be on your front pages very soon. john: logistically, the movement of an entire carrier group, is that something that started at the final days of the trump administration? is that something that can happen within three days of a biden administration? danielle: no, and it is a good question. this is clearly an order that went out during the trump administration. but my guess is that the biden administration will find little to disagree with. the united states, even though we like to think of ourselves as a huge military power, do not have the carrier battle groups needed to actually keep peace in all the places where we would like to signal that countries should not misbehave.
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if you want to be in the mediterranean and send a message to the islamic republic of iran, it is not compatible with a true show of force in the south china sea. we can do it when we are just signaling a little bit, but when we actually want to get a clear message across that there will be consequences, we are in a difficult place. john: danielle pletka, our guest this morning, senior fellow at the american enterprise institute joining us until 8:45 eastern this morning. if you have questions on the foreign policy front, give us a call now. phone lines as usual, democrats, 202 748-8000. republicans, 748-8001. independents, 748-8002. as folks are calling in, explain what the hell is going on. what is that? danielle: it is a podcast i
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started with my colleague. it is a podcast that originally was focused on national security. as the challenges that america faced became more broad, particularly because of covid, we have broadened that. we come out about once a week on all the platforms that everybody is aware of. we try to really do a deep dive , a little bit like c-span, into the issues with a particular guest. we have a lot of fun. it is truly one of the best titled podcasts around for this year. john: easy enough to search for. what the hell is going on. just type that into wherever you find podcasts. we want to get the callers
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already lined up for you, including in tennessee, a republican. chris, good morning. guest: good morning. i think mr. biden is doing a great job. john: why do you say that? what do you like especially on the foreign policy front? guest: i think it is going a lot better. john: what is? guest: foreign policy. i think everything is working better. can i bring up the biggest waste of taxpayer money i have ever encountered? we have this conservative prosecutor, retired, chasing people around for over six years , over $10. that cost $6,000. is this not the biggest waste of taxpayer money? john: i am not sure what you are referring to. danielle: i am as flummoxed as
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you are. john: we have another chris waiting in massachusetts, a democrat. good morning. guest: anybody who knows anything about the middle east knows that trump trashed the uranium deal because he was paid $30 million in campaign contributions to do so, the same reason why he moved the u.s. embassy from jerusalem, from tel aviv to jerusalem, the same reason why he recognized sovereignty, israeli sovereignty over the goal line. and the same reason why he approved israeli settlements on the occupied west bank. do you see any kind of going back on this? anyway, thanks and have a nice day.
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john: iran, israel. danielle: first, have a nice day too. this is always an interesting question in politics. the first part of what chris said, that donald trump was paid to do things. while we all question donald trump's character, the reality is that lots of people do not have to be paid to do things. they do them anyway. this is always a debate that happens in washington. are you getting support in order to do something or getting support because you were going to do something in the first place and people like it? it is something for folks to think about when they accuse people of being bought and sold. i think far fewer people are bought and sold then perhaps many outside washington believe. one of the things that donald trump did, and i will be frank with all of you, as i have been in writing as well, much to the disapproval of those of us who focused on the middle east for
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our entire lives, is he took, first, he put his son-in-law in charge, which had the appearance of nepotism. second, his son-in-law was a real estate investor, no qualifications to deal with the middle east. yet we have to say that donald trump in four years delivered four peace agreements. we may not like donald trump. we may not approve of him, but you cannot dismiss those. part of the reason i think he and jared kushner were able to do that is because they were not constrained by a lot of the tropes that have constrained lots of us in dealing with the middle east. in short, that all peace between israel and the arabs must go through the palestinians, that only once we solved the palestinian problem can we look at the other challenges of the middle east. the trump administration basically said, we are not sure that is true. lo and behold, a lot of arabs
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who have recalibrated agreed with them. john: remind us what the obama doctrine was and how much then vice president joe biden was involved in the creation and influence of the obama doctrine. danielle: people use this expression, obama doctrine, as they use other expressions. all these are is an effort to calculate a foreign policy that does not bear scrutiny. for me, i would rather describe what i see as obama's legacy. obama really began the process of turning the united states in word. -- inward. it was a process i think donald trump embraced wholeheartedly. less enthusiasm about our allies, about engagement with
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the world, a lot of regret for the engagement there was in the world. in other words, obama took the united states into libya, ousted the libyan dictator, and then expressed regret at having done so. the only place where we really see president biden strongly taking up obama's legacy is with iran and his effort to reconstitute the plan of action better known as the iran deal. john: henry out of michigan, you are next. guest: first, i would like to say that i give joe biden an a plus for his intent because i am thrilled that the help is coming to people who need it in this country. i am thrilled we are going to try and hold donald trump
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accountable for the riot, the insurrection he caused at the c apitol. i am thrilled we are rejoining the paris climate accord. i am thrilled that pretty much all of the executive orders he has implemented and is trying. for all the trump voters who were tired of being called racist, perhaps if you stop being racist people would not call you that. john: henry brings up the paris climate accord. danielle pletka on rejoining that. danielle: we all knew joe biden was intending to rejoin the paris climate accord. lo and behold, he did. the real test will be whether post-covid, which is seeing a
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strong drop in emissions, whether post-covid we can continue that trend and what the economic costs are going to be. part of the problem of politics is people believe signing agreements or treaties or joining alliances is action, and it is not. it is a piece of paper. the real proof and the pudding of paris will be whether the united states, not the europeans come up at chinese and other emmitters are willing to bring down their numbers. otherwise, we are looking at an empty agreement. we will have to watch that space and see whether the biden administration can balance its commitments and not damage our economy and its workers that our friend in michigan cares about. john: democrats, it is 748-8000.
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republicans, 748-8001. independents, 748-8002. the topic, the foreign policy challenges facing the biden administration. it was at tony blinken's confirmation hearing that he talked about some of these issues we have brought up already. here's a portion from his comments. >> working across government and with partners around the world, we will revitalize our diplomacy, take on the most pressing challenges of our time. we will show up again day in and day out, whenever and wherever. americans' prosperity and security is at stake. we will engage the world not as it was but as it is, a world of rising nationalism, growing rivalry from china and russia, mounting threats to a stable
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international system, and a technological revolution reshaping every aspect of our lives, especially in cyberspace. for all that has changed, some things remain constant. american leadership still matters. the reality is the world simply does not organize itself. when we are not engaged, when we are not leading, then one of two things is likely to happen. either some country tries to take our place but not in a way likely to advance our interests and values, or no one does and then you have chaos. either way, that does not serve the american people. i believe that humility and confidence should be the flip sides of america's leadership coin. humility because we have a great deal of work to do at home to enhance our standing abroad.
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and humility because most of the world's problems are not about us even as they affect us. no single country acting alone, even one as powerful as the united states, can fully and effectively address these problems. we will also act with confidence, with the confidence that america at its best still has a greater ability than any country on earth to mobilize others for the common good. john: if you want to watch in its entirety, you can do so at our website. you will find his confirmation hearing. danielle pletka on tony blinken's style, who he is, and how that is different from mike pompeo, the former secretary of state. danielle: i have known tony an awfully long time.
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i worked at the senate foreign relations committee when joe biden was chairman and when he was ranking member, the democratic head of the committee. without making comparisons with mike pompeo, i think they probably have a different style, one that may be more deferential to the bureaucracy and that will be welcome. a big part of the challenge that everybody in the trump administration faces, including a lot of people who were serving their country honorably, was that they never knew what the president was going to say next. was it going to be a tweet? was it going to be some outburst? they had to manage policy around that. that is not the case anymore. that sort of capricious, what my
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latest mood brings me kind of leadership is not going to be the biden signature, and i think that is going to make tony's life more pleasant, easier, and going to make the united states a more predictable power. sometimes protectable in a bad way, but also in a good way. you want countries in the world to know where the united states stands, what we stand for, and that we are still going to be standing there tomorrow. host: this is dave in new york. caller: i want to ask a couple quick questions. just recently with the election, i noticed a lot of old hats, probably friends, liz cheney, john bolton, all very
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pro-democrat against donald trump. in that context, i want to say recently joe biden had said -- sent a bunch of troops into syria. i think he is adding 200 additional troops into the oil fields because we still occupy the oil fields in syria. my question is, in that context, is the biden administration -- is this the most favorable administration to the goals of the american enterprise since george bush? host: danielle pletka. guest: i have to apologize to the caller because it is either my computer or his computer or
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let's all just gather together and blame c-span for this but not all of his question came through. i will try to answer what i got and i hope i will not miss anything. the american enterprise institute is a public policy research institution. it does not have opinions, only a building. there is plenty of disagreement among scholars about what american foreign policy priorities should be, how they should be executed, and whether biden or trump or somebody else is the right man to do them. all i can say particularly about me is that really everybody, no matter where they end up on the spectrum politically, is driven by the same principles. that means american global leadership, standing for the values we hold dear at home, which are freedom, the rights of minorities, the right to express yourself, the right to worship as you please.
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the united states should stand for those things in the world. that does not mean we should deliver them to everybody by military force, but those should be the principles that animate us. i think i can speak at least that far for my aei colleagues and saying we share those principles. host: jerry out of nebraska, a republican. caller: good morning. i want to know -- all of these allies she is talking about that are praising biden, i think a lot of that is because trump went in and made them pay for their own defense or more of it and took some of the burden off united states taxpayers. guest: so great question. there is no doubt that the trump
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administration and that donald trump himself succeeded in getting our nato allies to put more money into their own defense, money they had pledged to spend and did not spend because they wanted to spend it on their own domestic priorities. they like it when the united states is responsible for everything. that way they can complain and criticize us but still look to us for defense. and i disagree with donald trump about the utility of nato. i am a huge reporter of nato and believe the countries we are in with our troops are places that are good for us, not good for them. we are not doing them favors. the unwillingness of our allies to do what is necessary to have an adequate defense for themselves and the alliance is
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something that has angered not just donald trump, who is vocal about it, but also barack obama and george w. bush and pretty much every president before them. our nato allies have systematically fallen down on the job when it comes to maintaining and financing an adequate defense that will work in the case that we as nato are challenged. donald trump's rhetoric may have been obnoxious. his matt -- manor may have been rude, but the message is one that is bipartisan. host: forever wars were part of that message. what does joe biden -- what is joe biden's take in iraq and afghanistan? guest: he takes on a real challenge because we have in iraq a wonderful prime minister. we really do have someone with whom we can work, but we have a
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country in which we see iran seeking to destabilize. we see iran controlling malicious that are targeting not just americans but also iraqis that hope for a future for their country independent of domination from tehran. what we look at in that country is, when we step back, when we stop helping leadership, that is a moment when the iranians benefit and also extremists like isis benefit. that is what happened when barack obama turned in -- turned and said, i am out. he said that in his campaign speeches. he pulled out of iraq and what happened as a result? we saw the rise of isis. similarly, in syria, we are confronting an absolute human tragedy and disgrace that people have forgotten about but that began more than a decade -- almost exactly a decade ago and
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has resulted in the loss of half a million lives. can we do something about that? we have a small number of troops inside syria, mostly protecting fighters who are sharing our ambitions for a more stable future for the syrian people. i do not in view joe biden, much as i did not envy donald trump, in facing the challenges we see in those countries and further afield. al qaeda has grown enormously in strength and purpose. isis can always return and the iranians are all over the region , seeking to dominate or destabilize, to make trouble not just for us before our allies and partners. host: a conversation about the foreign policy facing the biden administration. you might say we are talking about "what the hell is going
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on," the name of danielle pletka's podcast. michelle, good morning. a republican. caller: i am curious about what she thinks about international development. i see more and more contracts since biden has been inaugurated. guest: the agency for international develop meant is the development arm of the u.s. government. if you think about the state department as being about diplomacy and foreign policy, the defense department as being about our military, then aid is about development and assistance programs. it is about not just helping countries when they are in need in a crisis like after an
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earthquake. it is about trying to help steer countries toward better policies so they can not be aid recipients from the united states. i do not think there is any question that it was not fantastically run under the trump administration but it is one of those organizations that is a redheaded stepchild. it has not been well-run run in many years. a lot of money is wasted. a lot of money goes to you scratch my back, i scratch yours contractors and washington, d.c. who know how to -- who to go to and how to apply. they spent a lot on overhead and less on helping people. if you are an american taxpayer and look at how much we have spent in certain countries and what impact we have had, you are going to be sad. it is ripe for reform. congress has never been able to
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gather the consensus necessary to reform a.i.d. and i suspect the congress we have now is not going to have that on its top list of priorities. host: in ohio, jeff, independent. caller: i wanted to see if i could ask danielle a question concerning china. i know that president obama and vice president biden supported the trans-pacific partnership. unfortunately, that did not happen. my question is that i know china has come up with different it -- a different partnership in the region. i wanted to find out her thoughts on how that is going to effect president biden and her thoughts on the partnership as a whole. guest: great question. for listeners who do not
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remember, the trans-pacific partnership was intended to be a trade agreement with our asian partners. we in washington tend to think of the united states as an atlantic power, but we are a pacific power as well, from california to hawaii and beyond. we have strong interests and economic partnerships, extraordinarily important to americans' everyday lives. the trans-pacific partnership was aimed at reducing tariffs between all the countries in that. what happened was hillary clinton and donald trump expressed opposition to it when running for president in 2016. so we have seen a change in the national zeitgeist about these sorts of trading agreements. donald trump excoriated his predecessors for nafta and signed a new agreement that looks a lot like nafta.
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but was much better because he signed it. the challenge i think we face is that, in the united states, support for these sorts of international trading arrangements has declined dramatically. people feel like the rising tide that was meant to lift all boats only lifted some boats, that we sent jobs abroad, that we sent factories abroad and trading agreements facilitated that. while some of that may be true, the trading arrangements made in the world also facilitated us having cheaper iphones, tv's, cars, everything. finding that balance for american politicians has been hard. the chinese, who never hesitate to turn the rules for themselves, took the failure of tpp as an opportunity and signed its own arrangement with its asian trading partner with a
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view to excluding the united states and we have been left out of that. when china is the boss, and it is the 800 pound gorilla when it comes to most of the world, they like to dictate the terms. without the united states, there is no counterbalance, no argument. what we are looking at is china seeking to use more tools not just a benefit its own economy, which we can understand, but to dominate politically, strategically, and eventually militarily all the country surrounded in asia. that is going to be dangerous, so i do not envy joe biden facing up to a china including on this trade front. host: this evening, we will be about 100 hours into the biden administration. joe biden signed one piece of congressional legislation so far, granting his defense secretary a waiver excepting him
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from a law requiring that the head of the pentagon had been out of uniform for at least seven years. why do we have that law? did you support that waiver for general lloyd austin? guest: this is a sticky issue for a lot of people. first, why do we have that law? we have that law because we are a country in which the military is subordinate to our civilian political leadership. the president of the united states is the commander-in-chief and was put in that place by the voters not by virtue having risen through the ranks and wearing a uniform. the view of the pentagon has always been that you want someone at the top not who wears a uniform but who understands the importance of the civil military separation in america. here is the challenge. when donald trump nominated jim
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mattis, who had also not been out of the military for seven years, he was given a waiver. general mattis was referred to when he was secretary of defense as general. having given that to him, it was pretty tough for a lot of people to turn around and say, what was good for mattis was good for mattis and trump but lloyd austin cannot we do not want to see that. we do not want to grant a waiver to a man who could potentially be the first african american secretary of defense. so congress went ahead and granted that waiver. do i think it was a good idea? no. i did not think it was a good idea in the case of mattis and i do not think it is a good idea in the case of austin. i do not think it is a good idea to bring in military leaders as national security advisor's. i think this tendency to want to put for the most part men who were in uniform in national
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security positions is not a good idea and muddies the water of the separation between the civilian and military leadership of this country. host: this is ron in california, a republican. caller: thank you. i saw you when you first came on c-span about 25 years ago. you do not look any different. a couple things that are very important that no one deals with and i think we should deal with it. because biden was elected, we are going to have a different position on the kurds and that whole area. about whether there should be a curtis tan encompassing different parts of that area because those are our allies. as far as iran is concerned, that is wonderful that we are going to renegotiate that into that position.
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people never realize the difference between shia and sunni. they are protecting shiite people and areas around the globe. no one gives them any pass on any of this. guest: first, we have to address this extremely important complement about how i have not changed over the last 25 years. i am not sure about your eyesight, but thank you. i never say no to a compliment. on the question of the kurds, it is an interesting point. with a couple colleagues, we wrote a report about the shia of
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the middle east in which we laid out the missed opportunity that the united states had in not standing up for in most cases minorities but in some cases majority rights. there are substantial shia majorities or populations in lebanon, ukraine, and elsewhere. there is a majority in iraq and a shia majority in iran. iran has come in posing as saviors to those committees with its agenda and part of the reason they happen able to do that is because the united states and others have not been willing to set -- stand up for shia majority rights. just because you are a shiite does not mean you support no human rights, no free elections, no religious freedom for others.
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this was an opportunity and it was missed. as far as the question of the kurds is concerned, the kurds have been truly valiant fighters aligned with a lot of the principles we care about. they in syria have taken 10,000 casualties in fighting isis, al qaeda, and the syrian regime, where we have taken very few. they have been the ones who guarded the prisons were terrorists have been housed and we have betrayed them time and again. a lot of people have differ positions on whether they should be a curtis -- kurdish nation. it will be a complex question. it would up and the region if you wanted to redraw the lines. on the other hand, we have to respect and standby people who have fought with us loyally for
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decades. host: time for one more call with danielle pletka, this been her 78th appearance on c-span, her first appearance dating back to may of 2002, all of them available in the c-span video library. we appreciate everyone one of those appearances. this is drawn out of maryland, and independent. -- john out of maryland, an independent. caller: i wanted to ask this lady what kind of globalists -- host: what kind of globalists? caller: what kind of foreign policy is supposed to be an american principal when custom soleimani -- principle when qasem soleimani was killed by a drone strike at an airport? especially since we are allies
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with israel and the region. i am not sure if that is conducive to good relations. guest: qasem soleimani was the head of the arm in iran's revolutionary guard corps that manages all its mobilization units. this was a very bad man, but more importantly he was a military leader responsible in many cases directly for attacks on and the death of american soldiers on the ground in the middle east. i am confused when people say it was great to take out this al qaeda leader by drone strike for barack obama but terrible for the united states to take out this iranian terrorist leader by
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the south or drone strike. if you want a consistent foreign policy and you do not like killing people like that who are terrorist leaders, then you need to treat all terrorist leaders the same. that is not my approach. my view is the world is a better place without him and that the united states was justified not simply legally, politically, but also morally and saying goodbye to him. host: if you want to read more of danielle pletka's views, or policy work available at the american enterprise institute, aei.org. you might
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>> you're watching c-span, your unfiltered view of government. everyday, we're taking your calls live on the air on news of the day and we'll discuss policy issues that impact you. coming up, a preview on congress with a correspondent. in the economic challenges facing the biden administration, with a chief economist. watch c-span's "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern monday morning. and be sure to join the discussion with your phone calls, facebook comments, text messages, and tweets. >> tonight on q&a, a discussion on the rollout of vaccines in the 1950's. >> once the vaccine was developed and approved, and it was approved for market use within just a few hours after the test results came out, the nation had to scramble to ensure that everybody who needed the vaccine most would get access to that vaccine.
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and there had been planning in the works for at least a year before the vaccine was approved for market. >> the history and development of the polio vaccine tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span skewing day. -- c-span's q&a. >> the senate foreign relations committee held a confirmation committee for the secretary of state. he previously served as deputy secretary of state during the obama administration. answer questions on a range of topics, including foreign policy issues and the coronavirus pandemic. his senate confirmation could happen this week. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much. enter ranking member menendez, -- and to you, to ranking member menendez, to all the members of this committee, thank you for the opportunity to be a today and i greatly appreciate everything you have done to make this hearing possible at this time.

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