The first set of downloadable maps for Bungie’s final Halo game have a date already. Gamers looking to expand what was honestly a fairly meager map selection on disc will have a chance on November 30th, when the likes of Tempest (above), Anchor 9, and Breakpoint make their debut. Note that no price has been set.
Bungie’s weekly update states the maps are actually completed (as of Wed.), but need some additional time to polish and of course promote… as if anyone who plays Reach won’t know.
In other news, two new Forge maps are being tossed into the mix Tuesday, October 19th titled Cliffhanger and Atom, the latter being a full community map. Along with those new battlegrounds are more tweaks to the playlists (SWAT magnums!) and map changes, such as Arena Zealot now in all Slayer gametypes, a needed change. Firefight will now have increased play times, Score Attack moving to 15-minutes, standard jumping to 30-minutes.
This is a massive list of changes, well worth checking it out on Bungie’s site.
THE NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY THE NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY HOLDS A PANEL DISCUSSION ON ASSESSING COMPLEX REGIONAL TRENDS, PART 1, AT THE NATIONAL DEFENSE
Washington Transcript Service April 8, 2009
Washington Transcript Service 04-08-2009 THE NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY HOLDS A PANEL DISCUSSION ON ASSESSING COMPLEX REGIONAL TRENDS, PART 1, AT THE NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY 2009 SYMPOSIUM ON AMERICA’S SECURITY ROLE IN A CHANGING WORLD APRIL 8, 2009 SPEAKERS: UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKERS [*] (SPEAKERS ARE UNATTRIBUTED BECA– USE THEY ARE SPEAKING ON BACKGROUND) (UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Good morning, everyone. What I want to do is launch as quickly as we can into the substance of our discussions today.
(inaudible) and others will know that I can be friendly but fierce as a moderator, and will keep everybody really to about 12 minutes.
The whole idea is to have a fast-paced, interactive, and a good time, running through the issues this morning.
So, what we’re going to do is begin, if we can, with my good friend, (inaudible), and then simply go down the queue and hope that (inaudible) makes an appearance.
So, (inaudible), would you like to kick off?
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Oh, sure. Did you say 20 minutes? I don’t remember. Did I hear you correctly?
(LAUGHTER) (UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Actually, for you, not over (ph) an hour and 20 minutes.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Well, that means I have to eliminate the jokes. Sorry about that.
And it’s easy to do anyway, because when I came in on NPR — listening to the radio this morning, there was some — closer to the mike?
I can do that.
OK? Can you all hear me? I’m told I have a very loud voice anyway, but that’s OK.
A couple of things caught my attention this morning. The chapter, whenever you do get to read it, was written quite a while ago, but there’s something about the Middle East, I think, which is unchanging.
So, certain issues I think are there. They are important. And I want to just give you just a brief sense of that.
But before I do, let me just say, what I’ve heard this morning is very disturbing, if we’re looking for change. The first thing I heard, of course, Mr. Obama was in Iraq and gave a speech on how we will be out, and what his — the timeline probably will be.
Then there was an announcement of violence in Iraq, troubles in the — especially in the Anbar province, which supposedly is where we’ve had the greatest success. The Awakening has succeeded. These are our friends. But there is a risk of violence, and some of it is over — shall we say? — personal corruption or questions of power and personal gain.
There are issues of — there are anti-Shia riots. We’ve had three days of bombings in Baghdad, which we haven’t had for a long time.
And they are orchestrated and coordinated, it seems.
So, it raises a question for me that I wanted to ask yesterday, which is this. What if Iraq crashes on our way to the airport? Do we have Plan B, knowing what set of plans we had for the earlier crises?
Now, what I wanted to do is, I have a couple issues. But I think that there’s a bit more delicate things to be involved.
We are now eight years, almost, after 9/11, six years after regime change in Iraq, two years since Israel attacked Gaza. Americans know an awful lot more about this area than they used to.
But I was struck by some of the conversations I heard yesterday in the discussion that so little seems to have — in the minds of some, there does not seem to be what I would call a real understanding. I think we’re still a ways from that.
Almost every American knows what a Sunni and a Shia is. Imagine that.
On the other hand, what I was hearing yesterday, and I hear in other places, too, that what Americans know about the region and the issues is confusing. Islam is a religion, but it’s warlike. Well, from my perspective, Christianity was, too. Some may argue it still is.
Insurgencies are — it’s all about religion, but it’s not, but everybody talks as if it was. The next clash of civilizations will not be East versus West, Christianity versus Islam. It’ll be Sunni versus Shia or Arab versus Persian.
I don’t know. I think that we have some basic questions. And I’m going to be brief, because I’m afraid of (inaudible) anyway.
(LAUGHTER) So, let me identify a few issues.
Now, U.S. interests have not changed. We’ve changed presidents, we’ve changed administrations, but the interests stay pretty much the same.
It’s about oil and access, and curbing nuclear weapons proliferation, and eliminating terrorism, and a lot of other things.
But in my opinion — and I will stress this is my opinion — I think there are four issues that are critical for U.S. strategic planning and security policy in the decade ahead. These were there when we first went to paper on this a year ago, and, hey, nothing’s changed, but this is the Middle East.
So, we have the future of Iraq, which may be less in doubt, or at least it seems to be less in doubt, but is an issue.
We have Iran’s regional ambitions and nuclear weapons policy.
That was the other item this morning, that apparently, Ahmadinejad is going to announce in a day or two the latest great leap forward on their nuclear enrichment program. I can hardly wait.
The lack of an Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli peace process. Now, “peace process” is too strong a word. “Contacts” might be better at this point.
And the impact of reform, which is sort of that non-tangible, but is very critical.
My time’s not up yet?
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): No, you’re good.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Now, there are more important issues, you could argue. And I would agree. Nuclear proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, water — we never talk about water. And those are very critical.
I worry a lot more about Afghanistan and Pakistan. They’re very scary, but they’re not in my AOR, so I can move on.
Now, very briefly, Iran is high on the agenda. There’s risk and opportunity there. Neither the American side or the Iranian side wants to be seen as dealing from a position of weakness, so we have all these great statements about how much progress we’ve made and allusions to what we might be doing. And you know what we know about progress. here national defense university
I just want to point out that there are several trends we need to think about in terms of Iran. Decision-making is institutionalized and state-centered, and we don’t yet know quite how to deal with it. That’s the question: Who do we talk to?
Strategic decisions are made by military security perceptions, not by diplomats or clerics. And those who served in the Revolutionary Guard, the IRGC, those who served in military, security and intelligence, in their retirement — doesn’t this sound familiar — are now double-dipping.
They’re into the government. They are a very influential and important factor in decision-making, in governance and in security policy — much more so than the clerics that we like to beat up, but don’t really have the power that they once had.
Iran thinks it’s the most important and most powerful country in the region. And that’s what they want us to recognize. It’s not about recognizing the regime anymore.
We have a legacy of missed opportunities. That may continue.
Let’s hope it doesn’t.
I often wonder, after 30 years with no contact, will they give us a signal and we won’t know it? And that is a problem.
And then there Iran and Iraq. All of these are important issues, and I don’t have time to really get to the solutions today. We can pick up on some of these in the discussion.
Iraq also represent risk and opportunity. It’s not a failed state. I don’t think it will be, but it’s a very difficult, complicated road to get there. Things are happening now, which, depending on where you sit, could either mean that the central government under Prime Minister Maliki is trying to strengthen its position, assert national power and presence in the whole country, and as a way of strengthening (ph). Now (ph), the constitution is definitely written to prevent this, but that’s a goal. And that may be the positive way of looking at it.
Many Iraqis, especially the Kurds and the Shia, who lived for so long under Saddam’s heavy hand, can only see this as an effort by Maliki to become the new Saddam. Like I say, you can pick your interpretation.
There’s risk and opportunity probably in both.
One question that I hear a lot, do I worry about Iran controlling Iraq? No. I may be the only person, but I don’t think it’s in Iraqis’ nature to accept that kind of guidance or to appreciate the kind of suggestions that the Iranians might like to press.
Boy, I got through two of them already, and I still have time.
Israel and the Arabs, the price of peace. This has been neglected for the past seven and a half, eight years, and it’s not good.
It’s not something that can be neglected. There was hope for a great change.
We have good news and bad news on this front, I think. The good news has been looking to Syria and the possibility — and I think it’s a strong possibility — of a breakthrough there, moving towards sending an ambassador, reestablishing relations, maybe even getting, nudging them, as the Turks have been trying to do, into discussions and a settlement on the Golan.
But then we had the crash, the bad news. And that was Gaza.
Gaza — Israel’s attack on Gaza — has done a lot to really — I want to say destroy. I don’t think it’s too strong a word. But let’s say it’s done a lot to put a stop, hopefully only temporarily, to any kind of discussions.
Gaza was a disaster, if you’re thinking in terms of peace and security and moving ahead.
Of course, if you factor in how wonderful elections are, that great gift of the Americans, elections have to be held among the Palestinians to come up with somebody to deal with, someone to negotiate with.
Elections in Israel may also be — have made things far more complicated, or you could say a lot simpler, a lot clearer, because you have a government that’s extremely far right, headed by Bibi Netanyahu.
And his foreign minister is to the right of Attila the Hun. You should pardon the expression.
But Avigdor Lieberman is not really interested in much else. He will talk about settlements and a two-state solution, but…
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): You asked for it.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): … his other part of the solution is to rid Israel of the Arabs.
I did you right.
And the Arab peace initiative offered by King Abdullah is still there after 2002, which raises a question. I think the administration, on many of the issues I’ve already mentioned, has said a lot of good things, made a lot of statements and sent (ph) sentences in the right direction.
But everybody is waiting to see what’s the next step.
Is this two-state solution possible? It may not be.
My fourth issue was the challenge of political reform. I know we don’t — nobody wants to talk about the “D” word, democratization. But reform is in the air, out there in what had been a very stable region.
And the United States get involved whether we like it or not, because it has a lot to do with the governments we support and the reluctance to move forward, to change.
So, what is to be done? I’ve got a lot of suggestions, and I know I don’t have time to get into any, but I’ll be real quick. What is to be done, as Lenin said.
Elements of a new strategy — I think some of these are already ongoing. Weren’t we smart. Start early to define interests, strategy.
Check. I think we’re doing that.
Avoid focusing on short-term fixes. I’d give that box half a check. But I think that there is great care going into the thought about what we do next.
Engagement or isolation for Iran and Syria. Check that box.
That’s being — seems to be looked into. And we may see some progress there.
But it won’t be easy. It won’t be simple. And just because you’re talking to, remember, doesn’t mean you like them. It doesn’t mean you accept their positions. But it does mean you need to understand what you’re dealing with and know how to negotiate.
So, we need to think about also helping Iraq to be eased into the region and accepted as a partner, because it just seems to me we have some problems.
Iran goes into nuclear and whether it’s opaque, whether it’s — oh, what’s the word I want. However, if it tests or not, if it becomes a nuclear weapons power, the point is this: Iraq will be back. Iran’s hold on preeminence in the region is a temporary thing.
The question is, where will Iraq be? Will it go back to being the eastern flank of the Arab world, which it has been for the, what, 80-plus years of its independence? Or will it be in the Iranian camp providing strategic depth for Iran? Which is where many in the region who are Sunnis, and who see a Shia Iran, worry about.
I don’t think, you know — well, the point I want to make is that we have to see what we can do to see that Iraq is entered, enters into, is treated with respect and is a partner. And right now, there’s a lot of issues. Nobody is thinking far enough ahead about what to do.
Want me to conclude?
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): (inaudible) has put me in the position of being the bad guy. She gave me these cards, which I was then to run past her. So…
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): I didn’t want to embarrass myself.
(LAUGHTER) I have learned — I just…
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Sure.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): I said, I have one — I have 30 seconds.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): No, you have as much as you want, madam.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): … for future use, after all of this.
And I’m happy to talk about any of it.
This is the Middle East. Don’t expect consistency or coherency, clarity or ease of negotiations, or quick solutions.
Stability — it’s been a stable region for a long time. But stability may be occasional as we look to the future.
Peace is fragile. Palestine is important. And victory is temporary. This is an area where change is a constant.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Not at all. Thank you. And by the way, thank you for guidance and mentoring along the way during much of this decade.
When I went into Iraq in the middle of April, with General Garner, he said, “What are you doing here?” I said, “I’m an Asianist that caught the wrong airplane.” (LAUGHTER) And in some ways, one of my — in fact, the polar star for me along the way has really been (inaudible)’s sense of the complexity of the region, the sense of underlying interests. And we’ve all learned a great deal from you. And that’s said…
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): That’s very kind…
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): … said very genuinely.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): … (inaudible) in the airplane…
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Yes. You did? Well, I’m glad that some people were listening to me.
The next speaker, (inaudible), is someone from whom we can all learn a great deal. I certainly have from his perspective on the Indian Ocean, the maritime dimension of our increasingly evident, although not — I think rather rhetorically oversold convergence, strategic convergence with the Indians.
And so, (inaudible), we’re looking forward very much to your comments.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Thank you very much. As the outsider on the panel, I assume that I’ll be held to sort of an eight-minute standard.
So, forgive me if I speak very, very quickly.
(LAUGHTER) When we think about South Asia, it’s important to recognize that this is an area of accelerating engagement and importance for the United States over the past eight or 10 years. It’s an area where we have an extraordinarily weak historical record. Our performance there has been mediocre, at best. Our bilateral relationships have always been troubled with all of the major players.
It’s an area where we have not developed a significant regional, cultural or strategic expertise over the past 60 years, which is troubling, and it’s something that we need to work on. There are a number of reasons for this that I’ll get into in just a moment.
I would say, however, it is becoming increasingly clear that this area is a focus of U.S. interest and policy. We can see it by the creation in the new administration of multiple review boards for strategy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan. We can see it by the dedication of both the Clinton and the Bush administrations to fundamentally revising the U.S.
relationship with India.
We even see it more formally in the Navy’s new Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Sea Power, which identifies that the U.S. Navy will remain a two-ocean navy. But it changes the oceans.
We are no longer an Atlantic and a Pacific power. We are now a power that will focus credible forward combat power in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Rim. This is a fundamental change that suggests that the military is adapting to ideas of a new Asian century. And it’s something that we really need to focus on more significantly.
When we think of South Asia, we tend to focus on the short term.
And that is going to be more a problem than ever right now. As we know, there are serious problems in the region. I’ll touch on them briefly.
Despite these priorities, I’d like to raise a series of short-, medium- and long-term issues that we need to consider. I’m sorry that I missed Ambassador Lodhi’s talk yesterday. I apologize if I cover points that she’s already discussed.
But let me set at least a framework for U.S. interests. I would say that there are four compelling U.S. interests that we need to keep in mind in the very broadest sense as we look at this region.
The first is the nuclearization of the region. This is not just India and Pakistan, although there is every reason to believe that they are creating nuclear weapons and expanding their nuclear arsenal, basically about as fast as they physically can, given their nuclear complexes, the technical challenges to extracting uranium and plutonium, and other problems.
There are also neighbors that have security relationships with India and Pakistan, who will begin to play in this region over the next 20 years. One of them is Iran, which is, for all practical purposes, going to become a de facto nuclear power in the next 10 years unless trends change dramatically.
The other is China, who we often forget is a South Asian player.
It is a justification for major parts of India’s security complex. And it has a longstanding defense relationship with Pakistan, which puts it into the region, whether we would like to exclude it for theoretical purposes or not.
A second overarching concern is simply the fact that South Asia contains between one-third and one-half the world’s Muslim population.
And in that population, it is sorted into two enormous but very fragile democracies in Pakistan and Bangladesh — and a third emerging and rather large democracy in Afghanistan.
This is part of a very complex experiment in governance. It’s part of a playing out of trends on the broad international scene, but it’s quite significant. We tend to think of the Muslim problem in the Middle East, but there is a very significant and very different relationship between Muslims and governance in South Asia that is worthy of deep study.
The third issue is the rise of other powers, the development of a multi-polar world and how the U.S. works with — I will not say “pure competitor,” because that’s an old and tired term — but with rising powers, who are not part of the traditional formal relationship.
Our relationship with India will not look anything like our relationship with NATO. It will not look like our relationship with Great Britain, with Germany, with Israel, with Canada — with any of our Cold War allies. This is a relationship that will have to emerge, and it will be one of more equal partnership, simply because the Indians will demand it. That is another trend that we need to keep in mind.
Last but not least, we have to think about the fact that, in this part of the world, we are working with democracies. It is very difficult sometimes to get democracies to do the things that we want to do in the short term. This will be complicated if we focus on the short term, because our allies will not necessarily do what we want them to do in a timely fashion. But this is, again, part of the broader regional dynamic that will complicate our diplomacy in the region.
Now, in terms of short-term issues, I’d like to touch on these very quickly. I’ll be glad to talk about them in the Q&A. But I know that we all know what many of them are.
The first are the presence of Al Qaida in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and other areas of Pakistan.
The second is the omnipresence of the Taliban on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border, and its spread into not only the Federally Administered Tribal Areas but now the Northwest Frontier provinces in Pakistan.
A third issue that we should be thinking more about is Pakistani political change. At some point within the next five years or so, the current Pakistani regime will turn over and be replaced by a new regime.
The past record of democratic regimes in Pakistan is that they do not serve out their full term. They are overthrown and replaced, either by another election or by the military.
The history of Pakistan itself is rather troubled in terms of democratic succession. Over half of its history, it’s been ruled by the army.
Therefore, the future of this government and how it changes hands should be something of great interest to us. It will suggest whether democracy as an institution is strengthening in Pakistan or weakening. And that is something that we may be able to give them some assistance on.
A fourth issue is Indo-Pakistani relations. Since 1984, there have been seven major crises that have borne the possibility of conventional or nuclear military escalation on the subcontinent between India and Pakistan.
That’s every four years. The fact that the most recent happened in November over the Mumbai attacks should not be a reason that we should feel confident that this won’t come up again.
Regional policy. This is something that we need to think about institutionally.
While it is very important, I believe, to look at Afghanistan and Pakistan as a combined security problem — I think that this is a very important forward step in the way that we are dealing with some of our pressing issues — separating Afghanistan and Pakistan from the broader regional context may be more difficult than we think. It may be difficult to talk about Afghan and Pakistan security issues in the absence of talking about India.
And that may be a problem that we’re going to have to work with.
Maybe we find that that separation is not as easy or as clean or as neat as we would like it to be.
Last but not least, economic problems. Pakistan is ravaged by this recession. It was clobbered even before the global recession began.
And this is going to be a major issue for Pakistani internal stability and governance — and the legitimacy of democratic institutions there, because if Zardari and other democratic institutions cannot deliver in a time of great economic stress, they will be discredited. And this will provide pressure among some Pakistani elites to bring the military back into government, even though its record of economic governance is pretty lousy.
In terms of mid-term issues, the next administration through the next, perhaps, 10 to 15 years, there are some other issues with political stability in the region. We not only have the continuing security, the continuing development of democracy in Pakistan, but we need to consider democracy in Bangladesh, which is extraordinarily fragile and is menaced even today.
We also need to look at the future governance of Afghanistan.
This is something that is a short-term priority, so I’m sure we’ll pay a lot of attention to that.
But as we’re thinking about the middle-sized states in the region, we almost might want to be thinking about the political futures of Sri Lanka and Nepal, which are going in very different directions.
What’s happening in Sri Lanka right now should be very troubling.
We simply do not know what is happening to roughly a quarter-million innocent Tamil civilians, who are trapped in a war zone right now. We cannot get reporters in easily, and human rights organizations are not allowed into the area. This should be a matter of some concern for us, because it will affect stability in the region.
A second issue in the mid-term is simply Indian Ocean’s sea lines of communications. Enormous amounts of energy flow across the Indian Ocean.
They flow primarily to India and to China. These are going to be growing markets. These are going to be areas where both states are looking at the role of navies, looking at the role of security, looking at the role of ensuring that they have access to energy supplies from the Persian Gulf.
This ties into another issue that is going to be an emerging issue, which will be linkages between the Persian Gulf and South Asia, both politically in terms of security complexes, and particularly in terms of economics. This will be a trend that will be emerging in the next, I would say, 10 to 15 years.
Last but not least, we need to pay attention to the nuclearization of the Indian Ocean. This is something we haven’t thought a lot about in a long time. However, India has made it clear that they are going to put a submarine-based nuclear deterrent at sea in the Indian Ocean. Pakistan has made rumors about it.
The Indians are very worried about the presence of Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean and what they might be armed with. This is a long-term trend that we should be paying more attention to, because it may affect stability and perceptions of threats in the region.
Last but not least, if I could, a couple of long-term points.
One thing is the U.S.-India relationship over the next 20-plus years. This holds the potential, although it will be — as (inaudible) said, it will be very difficult. I think it will take much longer to evolve than we think it will. This could be the most important political relationship for the United States in the 21st century. It has enormous promise.
A second is the Sino-Indian relationship and how that evolves.
It could evolve cooperatively. It could evolve competitively. The emergence of those trends are going to be very important for U.S. interests and U.S.
Also, this is an area where the softer side of security emerges in the next 20 to 50 years — demographics, pollution, energy demands.
And most importantly in this area, I would say global warming, because global warming not only threatens coastlines in areas like Bangladesh and the island chains, it also threatens glacial melt, which will threaten water supplies to India and Pakistan from the Himalayas. These are actually rather significant long-term issues that we had better begin taking a long view towards.
Thanks very much.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Well, thank you, (inaudible).
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Thanks.
Well, I’ll start by looking back, not looking forward. And with the benefit of hindsight, it’s pretty clear that 2008 was a watershed year in — it pains me to use the term East-West relations, but I’ll use it anyway, because it has such a Cold War ring to it. But it really was a turning point in the relationship between the United States, the West in general and Russia.
And the key event there was the war in Georgia — brief, but, in my view, immensely consequential for the future of the relationship between the entire Western alliance and Russia.
For almost 20 years, since the end of the Cold War, depending on how you count, 1989 to 1991, the premise of Western policies toward Russia had been that Russia, once — first the Soviet Union and then Russia — once it undergoes its internal transformation, would emerge as a “normal” country, that would embrace most of the same values that have provided the guidance for both domestic and foreign policies of the Western alliance.
And that, as a result of this domestic transformation inside Russia, a new security architecture would emerge from Vancouver to Vladivostok, a new transatlantic partnership, alliance, however you call it, with Russia as its eastern-most pillar.
This was the premise underlying the policies of Bush 41, Clinton 1 and 2, and Bush 43 both terms — albeit frayed on the margins here and there. But we could say throughout all those years, that what we were doing in Europe — expanding the zone of stability, prosperity, democracy, including the expansion of NATO and the European Union, as well as the expansion of G-8 and other transatlantic and European institutions, such as the Council on the euro (ph), Europe, and so on — the inclusion of Russia was based on the premise that Russia would one day soon become a full-fledged partner, if not necessarily a member of all of these institutions.
Well, that clearly didn’t happen. The transformation of Russia has occurred. It has undergone a very significant change domestically.
But it has emerged with a very different idea of foreign policy, which is very much — not unlike the guiding principles of 21st century powers such as the United States and its European allies, more akin to the 19th century idea of alliance of major powers, balance of power, balance of interest, a system where the European continent and the world in general — but in those days, the world was largely limited to the European continent — is governed by a coalition of major powers with smaller states revolving around them like little satellites in orbit.
Hence, the Russian claim to an exclusive sphere of influence throughout the territories of the former Soviet Union — something that we clearly do not like, but probably will have to live with, since it reflects a great deal of reality — as well as an appeal to Europe and the United States to develop a new security architecture for Europe made by President Medvedev in his maiden speech on foreign policy in Berlin in the summer of 2008, in which he said that European countries need to devise an arrangement where the basis is provided by a naked — a balance of naked interests rather than values that the Russian elites feel are inappropriate as guidance for foreign policy pursuits.
It would be easy in response to this sort of neo-Cold War-like approach by the Russians, or neo-imperial approach by the Russians, to slip into a policy of neo-containment, and devise something on a smaller scale, perhaps, but what we pursued for nearly half a century throughout the Cold War.
But the picture is much more complicated, because 2008 was also very important for Russia and for us, because the economic crisis occurred in 2008. And what I think we’re going to deal with in the years to come is not necessarily a resurgent Russia, but a Russia that combines elements of major domestic difficulties, as well as with a more assertive but necessarily supportable posture in the international arena.
The 2008 crisis came as a huge shock for Russia. The Russian elites, if you look back to speeches by Putin, by others in the spring and summer of 2008, make it clear that they feel that they’re insulated from this spreading crisis. And that with their large reserves, which they had accumulated at the time on the order of three quarters of a billion dollars, and vast mineral and natural wealth, oil and gas, Russia would be insulated from the shocks facing the rest of the world.
Surprise. Russia has discovered in the fall of 2008, and still discovering now, that along with the benefits of globalization and the global economic boom comes the risk. And that risk is something that they are experiencing now, going from about, what, 6, 7 percent a year growth in 2008, to what is projected to be negative 2 percent this year.
So, it’s a reversal akin to a vehicle going at 120, 130, 140, 150 miles an hour, and then hitting the brakes very hard, with all the major consequences for Russia’s domestic economic development, because of the plans that were articulated by Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev. They hinge on capital being able to come to Russia and willing — not only able, but also willing — to come to Russia in the form of foreign investment, on the price of oil being as high as we thought it would be less than a year ago.
And along with that, plans for economic modernization, military modernization and domestic political stability. All depend on the combination of the two.
And it’s very clear that all those plans are now in jeopardy.
The vast, ambitious plans for modernization of infrastructure, for upgrading social welfare, for developing new, high technologies and diversifying the Russian economy — all of that is very much in limbo.
By the same token, I should say that the very ambitious plan that was recently articulated by President Medvedev to begin massive modernization of the Russian military in 2011, too appears to be very much in suspense, depending upon the revenue streams.
And domestic politics, too, is a very precarious picture.
Those of you who had a chance to look at the papers today saw that there were major disturbances in Moldova — a small country, nowhere near as important as Russia. But I think events like these leave Russian elites very nervous.
Why? Well, according to the New York Times article today, the 10,000 or so protesters were able to organize with the help of Twitter.
Now, I’m sure there are people here in this room who know what Twitter is. I really don’t. I don’t use it.
But if 10,000 Moldovan young people can use Twitter to ransack government buildings and cause a major political crisis in a placid, God-forgotten, God-forsaken place like Moldova, imagine what they might do in a country like Russia, with 30-some million Internet users, with more cell phones now in Russia in use than people.
And it’s sort of a combination of memories of the Orange Revolution and events like these that I think paint a very precarious picture for the Russian leadership. And I think it’s not entirely unjustified.
Where do we go from here?
You know, Russia has staked its claim. We don’t think it is supportable. But we need to move on, because it will continue to be a very important country for us, for several reasons: nuclear weapons, geography, energy, various geopolitical considerations in terms of balancing China on the Eurasian mainland, and so on.
I would say that the London summit was a good beginning. But I will also caution those of you who — and I think there are a few people in this room, probably, who think that it’s going to be an easy relationship.
But I’ll just reinforce that, in my view, it’s going to be a very difficult relationship, because the major differences between us are really not only on the margins and on, so, minor issues, you know, values that we can perhaps put aside. Those are fundamental issues.
We view the world in very different terms. Even on issues where the two leaders, the two presidents said that they share an interest in cooperating, such as Iran, we view Iran in very different terms than the Russians. For them, it’s an important partner. It’s a major entry point for the Middle East, in politics. And I don’t believe that they will ever come close to the position that we want them to take on Iran.
So, all the talk about possible compromise, I think it really is unlikely.
Even on issues where seemingly we can achieve progress, such as arms control, I would say, too, it’s going to be much more difficult to achieve an acceptable agreement on limiting strategic arms between us, even if the two presidents want it to happen. And judging by the congressional calendar and their statements, the treaty will have to be signed sometime in July for it to be ratified in time for it to be ready to replace the treaty that expires in December.
Why? Very basically, we’re interested in limiting Russian nuclear weapons. It’s a good thing.
The Russians are interested in limiting our strategic capabilities, which now includes not just nuclear, but also conventional capabilities as we look forward.
So, there is a basic asymmetry. For us, it’s a multilateral, global relationship. For them, it is still a bilateral relationship. And I think overcoming these conceptual differences that translate into very different desires with respect to the arms control treaty is going to be very difficult.
There are several issues that I think demand urgent attention that we cannot put aside: Georgia and Ukraine.
We have committed to invite them to NATO at some point. We basically invited them to joint NATO. I don’t think that invitation is really sustainable, but we cannot walk away from it.
But our European allies are firmly opposed to it. And fortunately for us, I think we can hide behind their reluctance to do so.
So, I think we need a new transatlantic bargain with our European allies on a stepped-up effort on their part to provide clear benchmarks and a vision to include Georgia and Ukraine eventually into the European Union, to consider them as potential candidates.
It’s not something that Europe is particularly open to, but there are countries that are more open to it than others in Europe. And I think we need to work with them in a constructive, not necessarily divisive manner.
The second issue I believe is Iran. And although Iran is not going to be something that Russia will be able to deliver to us in the form of a strategic bargain or a compromise — such was suggested by the idea of a compromise between us on missile defenses and exchanging missile defenses for Iran — I think it’s important to keep Russia engaged, with the understanding that it can be a useful participant for the multilateral effort.
But if there is any deals (ph) that we had, it’s important to understand that it’s going to come from a bilateral engagement with Iran, such as it’s going to be.
And third, very clearly, we need to ensure access to Central Asia. That’s a critical requirement. And that access to Central Asia is important for us, because of Afghanistan. So, we need to work with the Russians on that.
I’ll stop at that. Thank you.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Thanks, (inaudible), very much.
(inaudible), we’ll hold you technically to 12, if we can, so we can open this up to some questions.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Sure. Thanks very much.
Today, I am talking a little bit on managing strategic competition with China, which I think is a critical challenge for U.S.
I would describe the U.S.-China relationship as both a very important one, but also one that is complex, multifaceted and fundamentally ambiguous. And that’s really the foreign policy dilemma we’ve faced since the mid-’90s, when it became evident that China was developing the economic foundations to be certainly a great power, and perhaps more than that, and also evident that its political system was likely to remain authoritarian.
So, this is a challenge that we’ve faced. How do you deal with a country that is becoming more powerful, and where you’re not certain how that power might be used or directed in the future?
And I think U.S. strategy — I see a certain continuity in it since about 1995-’96, where on the one hand we’ve recognized considerable common interests with China, and we’ve sought to engage and integrate China into the international system. That is, to make its rise compatible with that, and not challenging the fundamental international rules and norms.
And on the other hand, we have sought to use our military power and alliances to try to deter Chinese actions that we thought might be hostile, to try to shape its interactions in Asia and elsewhere, and to try to reinforce this strategy.
So you can think about it, or some people have talked about it as a strategy of both engaging and hedging simultaneously.
And in recent years, Bob Zoellick kind of formalized this approach, talking about the goal of integrating China into the international system as a responsible stakeholder. So, recognizing that China has done very well with the current international system. It’s becoming big enough that it impacts that system for good or will, and to try to integrate it and encourage it to take on greater responsibilities.
And I would say, this approach is compatible with how the Obama administration has articulated its policy, calling for a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship with China, looking for expanding cooperation, and not just on regional security issues such as dealing with the North Korea nuclear program, but also on global challenges such as dealing with the economic crisis and dealing with climate change.
They are not using the responsible stakeholder language, but the formulation and the concept seems very similar. And I think this is a policy that makes sense.
But the problem is, focusing solely on cooperation neglects something more fundamental that’s going on, which is, at the same time that China is a comprehensive national power, its economic and military capabilities and its interests are expanding, it’s also developing military capabilities that are of great concern to the United States. And I think this is an issue our policy-makers haven’t really focused on.
The previous strategic formulations suggested that China’s path would eventually come clear. They would be seen as — engagement was working, and they’re integrated in the system, and our strategy is succeeding.
Or engagement is not working, they’re trying to undermine the system and their direction is clear and hostile.
And what I would suggest is, the likely reality is a much more ambiguous one, that they do participate in the international system. They take advantage of it and support it. There’s considerable common interests where we are cooperating. But at the same time, they’re building military capabilities that are of great concern.
And I think our policy has to acknowledge that and think about how we deal with those competitive aspects of U.S.-China relationship within a broader policy that is focused on integrating them, expanding cooperation.
And that’s a much more complex and difficult challenge than it seems. We’re used to a clearer strategic relationship. And my suggestion is, that’s not what we’re going to have here.
In the paper, or the chapter, I talk a little bit about how this may play out in four key areas: the interaction between China’s nuclear modernization and our own missile defenses; the interaction between space and counter-space capabilities; the interaction in the cyber warfare domain;
and conventional force modernization.
In all of these areas, I see, to a greater or lesser degree, competitive dynamics between the U.S. and China.
What China is doing with its military modernization is trying to take advantage of the capabilities that high-tech, that advanced communications, command and control, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance provide for advanced militaries.
They’re trying to explore many of the same capabilities that we have already, and adapt that to their own military purposes. And this is to serve a variety of roles.
Taiwan certainly has been the main driver of China’s military modernization for much of the last decade. But it’s clear that their military modernization is expanding beyond that, partly because they have a number of legitimate national security missions, from border security to protection of overseas interests, which require a more diverse set of military capabilities.
And this has the potential to bring the U.S. and China certainly into competition and potentially into conflict.
Now, we have — the U.S. has long enjoyed military dominance, both in a conventional sense and in many of these advanced strategic areas.
And my suggestion is, as we’re looking out over the next 10 to 15 years, China is making tremendous investments in these areas, and some of those investments are going to pay off. And they’re going to pay off in ways that likely make the U.S. military more vulnerable.
And so the question is, how will that change the dynamics both in these narrow areas, if we’re talking about nuclear BMD, if we’re talking about space and counter-space, if we’re talking about conventional domains, and in the broader relationship.
And what I suggest is, perhaps the dynamics of China’s nuclear modernization and the interaction with missile defenses provide us with a good way to think about this, that what we have seen is a China that’s been focused on maintaining a survival second strike, that is, on creating enough vulnerability in other great powers with nuclear capability, that they treat China with a great deal of caution and restraint due to this vulnerability.
And at the same time, China has been satisfied with a relatively small nuclear force. They haven’t seen tremendous returns on investment.
They haven’t wanted to compete with the U.S. and the Soviet Union or post-Soviet Russia in terms of matching the forces. Instead, what they wanted is just enough vulnerability on the other side that other countries treat China with respect and restraint.
And so, the question is whether that dynamic will continue to play out in these other areas. Will that be the case in the space and counter-space domain, where China has tested a direct-ascent ASAT weapons?
It has other counter-space capabilities. But thus far, it’s mainly a research and development capability, not a fully-fielded one. But there’s the potential for a very competitive, very expensive dynamic there.
In the cyber domain — which is a relatively new field of endeavor, but where certainly a lot of countries are concerned about China’s capabilities to conduct cyber espionage and potentially cyber attack.
How does deterrence work in the cyber realm? How will that play out?
And then finally, in conventional force modernization, where we looked at China developing a variety of new systems, both an advanced submarine force, a more capable surface fleet, heavy investments in cruise missiles and investments in trying to develop an anti-ship ballistic missile — all of these things couple with advanced air defenses that make it a lot more difficult for the U.S. Navy to operate in the Western Pacific.
And this is a concern, because our Asia strategy requires U.S.
access, U.S. ability to operate in the area. And the capabilities China is developing potentially interfere with that.
I guess a key point is that I do think some of these investments will pay off. The U.S. will become more vulnerable in several of these domains. And we have to think how to operate in that area, so, in that context where we are more vulnerable.
However, it’s also worth pointing out that China is going to continue to have interests in good relations with the United States. They have considerable military vulnerabilities of their own. And with prudent investments, we can ensure that our increasing vulnerabilities are matched by theirs.
And with this in mind, the question then becomes, how do we deal with these competitive aspects?
Certainly, the best thing would be if we could dominate completely in all of these areas. And I would suggests that’s just not going to be possible as Chinese capabilities increase.
For some domains that’s a technical reason. I’m, I guess, a ballistic missile defense skeptic. I don’t think you can ever get a fully capable shield that protects you. And I think China is determined to have a survivable second strike capability. And offense is cheaper in that respect.
In space, technologically there are some counter-space maybe easier and cheaper to do than fully defending the space assets. And cyber defense may also be difficult.
So, in some of these areas we’ll have vulnerabilities. We will be relying on deterrence. And we’ll be dealing with this in a pretty complex relationship.
So, how do we manage that competition, and within a strategy, again, that’s focused on integrating China, enhancing cooperation and really getting China on board with dealing with some of these global challenges?
Well, to some degree that’s going to depend on how the overall relationship progresses in terms of these competitive dynamics. And I’d suggest Taiwan is going to be a critical part of that. To the extent that this is seen as an urgent, near-term security threat, the threat of Taiwan independence for China, that’s going to amp up these competitive dynamics.
To the extent that that relationship is calmer, and China is more confident, that will tend to damp them down.
But even so, the relationship already has these competitive dynamics that go beyond Taiwan, and we’re going to have to find ways to deal with that. In the paper I talked about four ways of trying to do this.
One is to try to place limits on competition that makes both sides worse off. So, if we have an all-out arms race, where they are developing strategic nuclear capabilities and we are developing ballistic missile defenses, and that becomes a very action-reaction- oriented race, that’s going to tend to amp up this competition, the competitive dynamics. If this happens in space, that’s also going to tend to amp this up.
So the question is, can we find ways to limit those dynamics, either through bilateral strategic understandings and dialogue, or possibly through more formal arms control mechanisms?
A second approach is to keep these competitive dynamics within a broader relationship that’s generally cooperative and hugely important for both sides. So basically to keep things in perspective and to focus on that cooperation and how much it means, to make it real, so these other things are seen as issues that might matter greatly in a contingency, but let’s keep that contingency as remote as possible.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Another 30 seconds, I think.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): A third approach is to provide a path for China to pursue its legitimate interests within the international system, as Zoellick envisioned.
And a fourth, I think, is to actively seek to expand our security cooperation, including bilateral and multi-cooperation between the two militaries. This cooperative relationship will help balance these more competitive dynamics.
It is going to be hard. We’re not used to dealing with ambiguity and complexity. And those who have responsibility for particular strategic domains, be it nuclear, be it space, be it cyber, are going to argue for doing all we can to protect those areas.
But nevertheless, I think we have to think about these competitive dynamics and try to put it within the context of a comprehensive strategy.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): (inaudible), thanks very much.
Certainly, that chapter and in talking with you along the way when I was in the Pentagon, I think represents the most well-considered, well-calibrated view of that, how one deals with the competitive side of it.
It strikes me that, when we think about the questions that we’re going to direct to the panelists, we should think in the following context.
One, I heard — obviously, the title of the event this morning is “The Regional Context.” But it is something that really, I think, struck many of us as quite extraordinary, that as you look at Iraq, you look at Afghanistan and a number of other areas, the lack of writing, of analytical thinking about the regional context for these particular conflicts and the regional way in which we might be able to anchor a settlement and get out, was actually, remarkably infrequent. go to website national defense university
I think the second thing that comes to mind is that, while the fashion is to think of a range of threats — nontraditional, you know, bombs and suitcases — that we’re dealing with nation-states. And I think (inaudible)’s discussion about Chinese intentions really brings that out.
(inaudible), I think wisely, showed that slogans and journalism are no excuse for the truisms of family or clan, personal interest and enduring rivalries.
(inaudible), I think you spoke very well about South Asia being, despite our involvement in Afghanistan, an area really in which there is very little feel for the area, exacerbated in some ways by the bifurcated thinking that comes from people planning in CENTCOM and people thinking in Pacific Command — Pacific Command being responsible for India, and then west of the line a partition that falls to Central Command.
(inaudible), of course, the Russian issue, describing that, instead of the type of thought that dominated thinking after 1990, that we’re in fact — at least the Russians think — we’re dealing in a world where there’s a concert of powers, spheres of influence and even a balance of naked interests. One might argue this is not something just for our thinking, or thinking about our relationships with the Russians.
Similarly, the price of oil is a vital issue. When one looks at the South China Sea, one can argue that, in contrast to the Russians, who are dealing with a much reduced price per barrel, that may be affecting their willingness to think about helping us with northern supply routes into Afghanistan, the Chinese approach to the South China Sea and its uniquely formulated and expansive claim there seems to be independent of whatever the fortunes might be for oil and gas.
I think also, (inaudible) brings out a very interesting point, which I’d like to hear discussed in the question time, which is, it always struck me that engaging and hedging at the same time was a dodge of the fundamental issue, which is, in certain very important ways, the Chinese do intend to be in a position to deny us strategic access in the Western Pacific, which, if I remember our diplomatic history, is central to our country’s conception of its ability to project power around the world.
So, with those thoughts, I wonder if I could invite some questions. The rules are to keep it short. Please identify who you are.
And if you’re with an organization, tell us who that is and what the organization is. And finally, if it’s directed to a particular panelist, please identify that person.
I think there are microphones available. So, could I see some hands for some questions, please?
Sir, back there.
QUESTION: (inaudible) (UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Sorry. You’ll have to speak up just a bit.
QUESTION: Sure. I’d like to direct a question to (inaudible).
You mentioned about integration and hedging strategy for China.
I’d like to ask, in the context of the current economic crisis, where we see increasing cooperation and even a dependence on the Chinese to bankroll the U.S. recovery, how would (ph) that strategy play out in the long term, in both economic as well as the security arena?
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Did everyone hear that question?
Go ahead, please.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Well, I think that’s another area where the need for cooperation with China is important. And again, the interests on the whole are more common than conflictual.
One of the things we are seeing is this myth of Asia being decoupled from the United States and European economies. The crisis that started here is having a huge impact on China, and potentially may threaten their domestic stability.
So, I tend to see this as reinforcing cooperation in the short term, and showing how deep the economic interdependence between the U.S.
and China is.
But on the other hand, I think it does make the point that these competitive aspects of the relationship have to be seen within this broader context. And for China, the Chinese leadership today, their focus is primarily on domestic stability. Pushing too hard in these competitive areas has the potential to threaten that.
So, I think there are some restraints on how far they will push things, although, obviously, it also limits how far Washington can push them.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): We’ll go to the next question.
QUESTION: (inaudible) My question follows upon the one that was just asked.
I’ve noticed a tendency among leaders of major powers to both blame the United States, in a sense, for the economic crisis, but also come to the United States for a resolution of that crisis.
And I was wondering — particularly with respect to the three major powers, China, Russia and India that we’ve heard presentations about — how does that domestic dynamic play out as people lose their jobs, lose the gains they’ve made in globalization, lose that lubricant of increasing prosperity, and begin to also feel a certain resentment towards the United States? How does that play out in the position of the major powers with respect to the United States responding to that domestic pressure?
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Is there anyone whom you would wish to begin answering that question?
QUESTION: Well, I think, probably to begin with, (inaudible) on India.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): It’s always good to get publicly picked on by your friends.
(LAUGHTER) In terms of India, it’s actually fairly interesting. India — although I would bow to the superior economic knowledge of many in the room — India is less affected, still, by the global recession than most other countries, because most of its production is dedicated towards an internal market.
As a result, India has suffered relatively smaller effects from what’s going on. The current estimates that I’ve seen are that they are anticipating growth will drop from 8 percent to 6 percent in the next year — which is significant, but it’s far different from going from positive growth to negative growth.
How that affects Indian politics, so far I don’t think we’ve seen much impact. It may impact the election, which is coming up shortly. But in that election, neither of the major parties is going to win a majority.
So, whatever government emerges will be a coalition government that will be, you know, one major party and then several other regional, or caste or class-based parties.
It’s not clear to me that there’s a substantial anti-American vote out there yet. That could change. But neither party has run on that platform, because both the BJP and Congress have tied themselves very closely to Indian economic modernization, to Indian economic growth, to globalization.
So, it hasn’t appeared as an issue yet.
It may emerge as one, if the recession continues for several years and has even more deleterious effects on Indian growth.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): We heard from (inaudible) about the impact of the current economic circumstances on Russia and China. In particular, do you want to formulate an answer with respect to that, how it directly will affect policy and the ability of those countries to work with us?
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Well, I don’t think Russians themselves, or the Russian elites, quite know how to handle a situation as is implicit in your question.
It’s a well known fact that Russian leaders have blamed the crisis on the United States, I think for both domestic propaganda purposes, as well as to assert themselves as they — as yet another international pole in the multi-polar world, to counter, constrain U.S. influence.
So far, their attempts to resolve the crisis have not involved coming to the United States. If anything, I think their proposals have run counter to what we would view as constructive. These ideas of alternative currencies are probably not helpful, also probably not very realistic.
So, I think, in their official line, the public line, they have taken a fairly harsh stance without the countervailing tendencies.
They do say at the same time, as they did in London, that they want to work with the United States. But, you know, we’ll see how that works out.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): (inaudible)?
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Just briefly, China has blamed the U.S.
for the crisis publicly. That’s very clear. Although other economists who have looked at this look at the role of the Chinese currency and their export-oriented economy as aggravating some aspects of it.
It’s a paradox, I think, for China that, on the one hand they are seen as more powerful, and the demands and expectations put on them internationally are a lot greater. And so, in one sense that’s gratifying, and in another sense it’s terrifying, because they’re being asked to do things that they haven’t done in the modern era, and that potentially have a significant domestic impact.
And thus far, I think they’ve been reluctant to take up some of that responsibility. Instead, they’ve focused on their own domestic stability, their own domestic stimulus and trying to keep their own economy growing.
So, there’s a little bit of a contradiction there.
I think in the short to medium term, they’re kind of stuck.
They’re stuck with the U.S. They’re stuck with their investments in U.S.
dollars. And they can’t get away from that without doing more disruption to their own position.
Over the medium to longer term, we will see how the U.S. recovers and how the Chinese economy recovers, and whether there has been a significant long-term shift in economic power. And if that’s the case, that may change the relationship.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Thanks, (inaudible).
(inaudible), you had an addendum. Then I would like to ask (inaudible) to speak to the varying impact of the decline of petroleum earnings in the Middle East.
But (inaudible) first, please.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Well, I just — just briefly, I think the major point is that we’re blamed for everything that goes wrong, or that might go wrong, or that happens in the region. And it doesn’t matter what it is. But certainly, we’re blamed for the economic.
I think the issue here, though, more to the point is the drop in oil prices, because when you have an area that either has governments that are dependent on oil as their sole source of income, or don’t have oil, but have people who are dependent on those oil-producing countries for jobs and for remittances, we have a problem.
And you have several, as an example, budgets that were written based on oil at $140 a barrel. Remember those days? Or maybe $90 or $50.
And they have to recalibrate those budgets, figure out what they can spend and not spend. Which means a lot of governments who use their oil revenues to buy off unhappiness or keep the population happy, well, may not be able to, or will not be able to.
That could have an impact in Iran, which has had economic woes anyway, and they have an election in June for president. It’ll affect Iraq, because reconstruction will be how much you can pour into reconstruction and how much not. They don’t seem to be able to spend their money, or spend it well — both things are true — anyway.
But I would also point out that the non-oil power, Dubai, which is having a real estate crash, because who can afford to invest in this entrepot and all its, you know, its trading activities, you know, with the market down?
So, I think we have a real problem.
Even Saudi, oil-rich, is finding that its expectations have to be cut back — not as drastically as they were a decade ago. But still, it does have an impact on not just what you can buy, but who you can, if you want to say, co-opt or buy off.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Thank you, (inaudible).
(inaudible), you had a follow-up.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Well, listening to the comments of my fellow panelists, I can’t help but make an additional point that, when you compare this economic crisis with the economic crisis that’s occurred, what, about 12 years ago, in 1997 and 1998, there’s a radical difference.
In 1997-’98, the United States was the hub of global economic decision-making. And the world was looking to the United States, not just to throw money to help make up for their deficits, for the lack of their domestic resources, but also provide intellectual guidance.
This is no longer the case. I don’t think anybody is looking to us for the kind of intellectual leadership that we provided 11 or 12 years ago.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Yes. Do I see a question there? Yes.
Is there a microphone nearby?
QUESTION: (inaudible), you said that you don’t know if Afghanistan and Pakistan can be considered separately from the regional context, which I completely agree with.
My question, though, is, yesterday the ambassador said that Pakistan’s primary concern is to stop being treated as a tactical ally and start being truly treated as a strategic ally, if, in fact, that is what the U.S. wants for it to be.
Why, then, do we consider to lump it together with Afghanistan, as opposed to sort of, you know, trying harder to create a separate policy?
I guess that they’re inextricably linked in this case, especially in terms of terrorism.
But there must be something that we could do to sort of make a better indication of our willingness to treat them as a strategic ally.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): That’s a great question.
I think the positive sign of it, of creating a new sort of Afghan-Pakistan regional security concept, is that, frankly, the two are just irrevocably linked. The amounts of support and sanctuary that Taliban and other groups are getting in Pakistan is not only undeniable, but, frankly, remarkable.
We don’t talk about it a lot. It seems to have been coming out into the newspapers more recently, in this administration, much more publicly than it had in the Bush administration. That may or may not be a useful tool for diplomacy. I simply don’t know.
In terms of thinking about Pakistan, we need them as both a tactical and a strategic ally, I would argue. And in that respect, that is why I raised this question of over-focusing on the Durand Line as the basis of our relationship loses part of the context about which Pakistan is, rightly or wrongly, most concerned, which is their obsession with India.
India is a player in the region. There are things that India can do, even in Afghanistan, that will raise enormous alarm in Pakistan.
And if you follow the Pakistani papers, there are widespread assumptions about the level of Indian intelligence activity and sponsorship for groups that I cannot, frankly, imagine India sponsoring, but that are carrying out attacks in Pakistan. I mean, this is a widespread security alarm in Pakistan that verges on paranoia.
Dealing with it in the long run, we are going to have to take some kind of a regional approach. But I do not think we can be nearly as forward-leaning as the Pakistanis would like us to be, because much of their concern with India revolves around Kashmir. And frankly, I don’t think there’s much that we can to solve that.
I don’t, in fact, think that we should really inject ourselves into that too much at all. And it’s a good thing that Ambassador Holbrooke does not have that on his portfolio right now. I think that would have very negative consequences — not because of him, but because of the response of India and other players in the region.
So, yes. I agree with Ambassador Lodhi, that we have to find ways to make Pakistan a better strategic ally.
However, I think many of the obstacles to that come within Pakistan itself. And there are areas where we have relatively little leverage.
There’s the domination of the military not only in the political sphere, but the economic sphere, which is a Gordian knot that will take time to untangle.
There is the relationship between Pakistan’s intelligence services, particularly Inter-Service Intelligence, with Taliban, with the jihadi groups that are attacking both Afghanistan and India. That is something that the civilian government does not have control over or authority over right now.
These are long-term problems that are going to take time to unravel. But they will also take agreement among Pakistani elites, and the strengthening of Pakistani civilian institutions, so that they can become competitive with the military in their own domestic sphere.
That, to me, would be the priority for U.S. efforts. If we need — if we want Pakistan to be a strategic partner, we need to help Pakistan build that capacity. And that’s going to require working with a lot of different elements besides just the military and intelligence services.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Thanks, (inaudible).
QUESTION: (inaudible), thank you.
While the microphone is coming, I just think that we have a full diplomatic agenda. And it might be interesting to get some comments at the end of this discussion just on how each panelist foresees the next four years, even, how well that diplomatic engagement will go.
But I want to drill down just a little bit and try to push (inaudible) to amplify on engagement with Iran — and for that matter, Syria, as well.
We’re going to hear a good deal about Iran today from the deputy secretary of state, from Robert Baer, perhaps from others, about the possibilities of engaging Iran. This coming on the heels of President Obama’s historic speech in Prague on Sunday, looking to try to turn the American narrative on proliferation to the nonproliferation. And counting very much on deals like engaging Iran, which we heard from (inaudible), is going to be the critical question.
If we can make a deal with Iran, that’s probably the only way to really put the cap on an Iranian nuclear program.
How long do we have, in your estimation, to make a deal with Iran before, say, the Israelis want to recalibrate? I know I hate to ask you this terrible question in public here.
But also on Syria, why, like Sy Hersh, are you so confident that the Syrians are going to give something that will make a deal possible?
What is it — what’s the basis for a potential successful conclusion of engagement with Syria, or with Iran, for that matter?
You don’t have to ask that Iranian question explicitly. You can dance around it, if you wish.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Thank you, (inaudible).
Thank you. You know, Iran is the one place I cannot go. Or if I do, I’m guaranteed one of those nice little rooms in Evin Prison. So, let me free to talk about this.
To take the easier question first, I think Syria is an easier issue to deal with, in part because the Syrians do want a reconnection to the United States.
Now, the question is, what are we willing to pay? What is Israel willing to give up? What will Syria demand?
I don’t see — I think our goal in part is to — yes, peace, but also to put a wedge — it’s a wedge strategy — between Syria and Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, Syria and everybody we don’t like. And their price for that is the Golan.
It was old Hafez’ ambition, and I think it is Bashar’s, as well.
Hafez was a much harder person to bargain with, but at least you knew who you were dealing with. I’m not so sure we know who we’re dealing with in Syria, because Bashar Assad is not the figure his father was. But the price is the same.
But the price comes — there’s two kinds of costs to calculate.
One is what Syria wants. The other is what Israel will want of us for cutting a deal with Syria.
So, all of this, I think, have to be worked out. But I think that there’s more optimism in the sense that they were so close years ago.
The Israelis at one time were willing to make concessions, because frankly, they don’t need the Golan in the same sense that they needed it for strategic leverage years ago. There are technical means.
There are many other ways.
But I do think that there are indications that we will soon be sitting in Damascus and talking to them. And that is a good sign.
I think it’s put Syria — the game Syria is playing is, all along, is to get back with the United States. And it’s using all of this leverage and all of these issues. But would it give up on Iran? That’s a difficult thing.
I think the Syrians have reason, though. They have been a bit isolated from the Arab world, because most of the Arab leaders, who are Sunni, have not been comfortable with their lingering connection with the Iranians.
It was one thing when you were all against Saddam. Saddam’s gone. Why is this still an important thing?
So, I think that, you know, it’s time that they will see it as a sign to come back. But there’s no trust anywhere here (ph). We shouldn’t be confused.
Now, having said that — which is why I think, you know, Syria, yes. Be careful. You want get all that you ask for. So (ph) you have to be careful, so that both sides come out with something.
Iran is a much more complicated issue. But maybe that makes it simpler, in the sense that we have to see that Iran feels, Iranian leaders feel they are able to engage. So, we have to get over a couple of issues.
Who do we deal with? I think that it may be that Obama’s speech — (inaudible) is the one I look to, where he talked about the Islamic Republic. First time an American politician or president has done that in a positive sense.
Who are we going to deal with? Are we going to insist that we only deal with Khamenei, the supreme leader? He’s not elected. But we won’t deal with Ahmadinejad who is elected, because he doesn’t have the power.
I think we have to — my suggestion would be, we deal with the government. And we’re not going to start by dealing at the top anyway.
That’s an issue that can be left for later, when people — when we all feel warm and fuzzy towards each other.
Where and how, what terms? Are we going to do the grand bazaar thing where everything is on the table? Are we just going to go issue-by-issue here?
Iranians, from their point of view, I believe they were always dealing with the U.S. on the nuclear issue anyway, because we were scripting for the E.U. And we have let the E.U. speak for us, in a sense. I don’t know if I’d call that outsourcing, or convinced that the whole thing was going to fail anyway, but we didn’t want to be responsible.
The point is, we do have a bit of a new day here. But I don’t think we should be seized with the idea that you could roll back Iran on nuclear, its nuclear issues.
Energy — nuclear energy is no longer an issue. The Bush administration admitted that Iran had a need — a right, if not a need for it. But is the enrichment issue.
And I don’t think you could get Iran to roll back. First of all, they’d be beyond the point. They have a lot invested in it. It’s a nationalism issue.
And Iran feels very strongly that, again, being a power that was once so controlled by outsiders, by foreign intervention, by being divided into spheres of influence, by having coups against their elected — the ’53 coup.
The point is that they feel very strongly that it’s nobody’s business to tell them what they can and cannot do. And that’s where the see the nuclear issue. Or as they once said when we were not getting along with France, France has nuclear weapons and you don’t mind that. Why should you mind if we go nuclear?
They never talk about the weapons as a goal. But every announcement takes them a step closer. And I think that’s what we’re maybe looking at in the next day or so, because it’s time for Iran to get the focus back on their issues and see, OK, you want to talk? How much further can we push?
And it is a lot of push. And nobody’s making concessions. But the Iranians have a high stake in how they negotiate. So, we and they have to decide who and how and why. And I don’t think either of us has that — both sides.
We have a lot of criticism in the United States — and I’ll finish with this. But both the United States and Iran have put preconditions — we’ll only deal with you if.
We’ll only deal with Iran if you stop your enrichment, and then we’ll talk about that. That’s a precondition.
We’ll only deal with the United States if you apologize, and apologize, and give us some gesture (ph). Well, that’s a precondition, too.
So, it’s — the music sounds a little bit better, but Iran is not trusted, obviously. And they are not convinced that we have or are willing to give up on regime change and military activity.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): We are close to 10 o’clock, and I wonder if we could invite the other panelists to respond to (inaudible)’s request for setting out a diplomatic agenda, but perhaps in the following sense.
The title of this and the next panel is issues in the regional context. But the regional context is more than just a locale or an arena in which pressing problems of recent origin or rising powers, such as China, or, we feel, more favorably disposed powers like India, an arena in which they operate, but rather, a place from which we might be able to find diplomatic support.
Along the way, I think (inaudible) mentioned that Richard Holbrooke probably is bringing to his task a sense that whatever C plus we manage to achieve by way of an Afghan settlement is going to need to be anchored in its region.
I found, when I was in the Pentagon, that China — its impact and presence and extending power in all senses of the word in Southeast Asia — was a very important organizing principle for the maintenance of American power, and focused us not just on responding more adroitly to events, but also working laterally with other countries.
So, in that vein, I’d like to ask (inaudible) to think about the regional context in which there are latent or even very explicit interests of other countries, and the way in which we should play on those, particularly, one need hardly stress in a time of straightened economic circumstances, ourselves, in which the world is very — of which the world is very aware.
And I think it’s hobbling in some ways our grand thinking about the next step in Afghanistan and Pakistan, because people don’t know if we have the resources to really put into it.
So, in the remaining couple of moments, maybe 30 seconds from each of you about where we would work there?
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): OK. It’s a broad mandate.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Sure.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): In terms of the region, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, I would suggest that the most forward progress we could get in the next four years — and I don’t mean to sound overly cynical — would be if, at the end of that time, Pakistan has recognized that the Taliban really are a problem and not an asset. And I’m not sure that that’s going to happen. Or if it happens, I think it’ll happen slowly.
I do think that there is another dimension that we need to look at in the longer run, which is the relationship between India and China and the Persian Gulf in terms of energy flows. This is another area where the region acts as a connecting link between other vital interests for other great powers.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): (inaudible), obviously, the arena is zero. But is there anything we haven’t thought about as we deal with the Russians?
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Well, I think — did you say on Iran?
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Well, no. I was thinking, the European arena, and clearly…
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Arena. Yes, sorry. I misheard.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): … (inaudible) NATO.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Well, yes. There are two powers that I think we need to engage on issues that are most importantly now on the agenda with the Russians.
One is China, because China is very clearly a rising power in Central Asia, something that is affecting development in the region in ways that we don’t quite appreciate. And I think, so far, that (ph) have been quite constructive in their approach to the region, taking a very non-geopolitical stance, unlike their Russian colleagues in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
And, of course, on countries like Ukraine and Georgia, we need Europe.
So, if we can launch and sustain a dialogue with China about Central Asia — not exclusive, but engaged in ways that we haven’t, to the best of my knowledge, done so far. And maybe (inaudible) some pilot projects in terms of cooperation, it would be a good thing to pursue.
With Europe, I think the goal is what I mentioned in my talk.
And that is, you know, pushing it to open its doors much more, especially with Ukraine, and to the extent possible, to Georgia, that would be, I think, a major, major accomplishment. Although this will not come easily and likely within (ph) Georgia itself, which by all accounts is a mess.
But if I may just say, you know, on (inaudible)’s question, what to expect. There is a predictable tendency in our relations with the Russians, going back to, let’s say, 1993, when the new administration comes in and says we’re very dissatisfied with our relationship with Moscow.
We’re going to find that button, whatever it’s going to be — reset, rebuild, repair, and so on. They try and try and tried. The relationship ends on a sour note. Then the new administration comes in, says the same thing, and tries and tries and tries, and then it leaves on a very sour note again.
So, there’s not going to be an easy reset. And the best I think we can hope is if we can — you know, reset our expectations and maybe proceed from a less ambitious basis. Thank you.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Thanks. It’s unfair. I see, (inaudible), once again you’re pushed into the — the last speaker with a very strict time constraint.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Well, three very short points.
The economic crisis, in some sense it’s going to bring us together, because we both are going to be very negatively affected by it, and have a similar approach in terms of stimulus. So, in the short term, that’s a very important and positive area. But in the medium term, it’s going to require economic adjustments on both sides that are going to change the relationship and will be domestically contentious.
The second point would be contingencies with respect to Pakistan, Afghanistan and perhaps North Korea. China does have a big interest in stability in Pakistan, Afghanistan. Instability there on countries which border them and potentially can stoke their own internal problems are a big challenge.
And a third point would be the climate change-energy agenda.
Again, an area where there’s potentially very important areas of cooperation.
There’s also areas where both economic and strategic interests don’t necessarily align. So, defining that properly and finding ways to work the cooperative side is an important goal.
(UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER): Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, I hope we’ve begun the second day of your conference in a reasonably satisfying way. I hope that you’ll join me in thanking the panelists in the customary way.
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