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tv   Rep. Malinowski Discusses Middle East Policy  CSPAN  July 12, 2021 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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virtual and we powered a new reality because we're built to keep you ahead. >> mediacom supports c-span as a public service along with these other providers, giving you a front row seat >> you now, new jersey democratic representative tom melanowsky. he talks about the biden administration policy agenda. this is an hour. >> prior to his election to kong in 2018, mr. malinowski had a distinguished career in government and in the n.g.o. community. during the clinton administration tom served as a speech writer for christopher, an albright and as a senior director at the national security council. from 2001 to 2013, tom was the
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washington director for the human rights watch, a highly respected n.g.o. dedicated to promoting human rights and civil liberties. he joined the obama administration as the assistant secretary of state until the end of the administration in 2016. since his election to kong, tom has served on the house foreign affairs committee including service for the middle east north africa and global terrorism. tom was named as the vice chair in the 117th kong. to kick off our kong today, tom will deliver brief remarks. following that, i will moderate the conversation and will try to introduce as many of your questions as comments as i can. for those of you joining on
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zoom, you can pose your questions using the chat function and by those joining by phone, please submit your questions using theer events at mei address. also for anyone experiencing tech any nickal difficulties contact our staff -- technical difficulties, contact our staff. let me turn the mic over to congressman molinoswki. congressman mowlinoskki. we're at the point where the policies and strategies really become apparent, the first few weeks and months we have, you
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know, very few people in place apart from the president tapped national security advisor, a lot of promises made during the heat of the campaign that get effectuated or not. and then you get down to a routine. and that routine tends to reveal the character of the administration. so it's a good time to check in on where the biden administration and congress are in terms of our relationships in pursuit of our interest and values in the middle east. obviously, we're seeing tremendous difference between this administration's approach and the previous president's approach at the very least. president -- president trump -- i think, his approach to the middle east was characterized by very personalized relationships with a small handful of
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authoritarian leaders and particularly in egypt lying about c.c. being his favorite dictator encapsulated a lot of trump's vision of what we should be about in the region. i think at times there was a dictator envy there that was probably evident to those dictators that they were probably able to take advantage of. and i think in a way he was an easy mark for -- for -- for some of our less reputable friends in that region who -- who took advantage of -- of -- of that moment to try to rope the united states into some schemes that were not entirely with our values. we were in a civilization nal cold war between the sunni and
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shiah worlds on the side of saudi arabia and the emirates with consequences that i think were pretty disastrous for us for our allies including israel in the region as we saw departure from the nuclear agreement with iran did no good and a lot of harm. and i think there's actually a little bit more consensus, at least quiet consensus in congress right now than people might think. so the biden administration comes in. and they promise we're not going to -- we're not going to be taken in by these guys in the same way. we're going to, yes, have relationships with the saudis and the emiratis and the egyptians but we're going to emphasize our values more. we're not going to take sides in -- in -- in a sue neu-shiah struggle. we're going to be guided by our
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interests and our values. and i think in many respects in the early moves the administration has made, they've been true to -- to that promise. some of the early steps they took with regard to saudi arabia and the war on yemen for example were a clear departure from -- from the trump policy. as you'll recall trump's first foreign policy move when he was elected was to go to saudi arabia and to lift the arm restrictions that were imposed in the obama administration because of the war in yemen. and coincidentally -- not cons dently they were put over human rights concerns. that was lifted in the first week of the trump administration. president biden very quickly reinstated those restrictions with respect to saudi arabia at least.
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at the same time i think we are entering a period where some of those rhetorical commitments that president biden made are being tested in a very -- very serious way. and i think that's true particularly with respect to our relationship with egypt where i think the egyptians are kind of playing the -- the -- a game that they've played with us many times before as an indispensable ally in peace-making. we've been don that road in 2014 with the morrissey government when they stepped in and were somewhat helpful in resolving a conflict in gaza just at the moment when morsi was trying to crack down in egypt. and we kind of let him off the hook. the rest is very, very painful
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history. and the sese rejet stream is trying to do the same thing with the biden administration. there's a risk that the gulf between the rhetoric and reality and our policy towards the middle east will be higher on this administration than any other previous administration. if they don't take some steps with regard to egypt as they've begun to in our relationship with saudi arabia to demonstrate that the united states actually means what it says. i also hope that the administration in keeping with all of that will recognize -- as i think the obama administration did at its best that our relationships with the middle east are not just with government. they're with people. they're with civil society. change comes hard in -- in these countries. but i do think that our true
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allies in egypt and saudi arabia and iraq and syria and you name it are -- are often not the people who are won power through violence. they're the people who would rather the power be exercised with greater restraint -- with greater respect for human rights. and -- and even if we must work with their governments -- i -- i do think as we look at our aid programs in the region as we look at our diplomatic engagement that the -- the wisest approach in the long-term is one that -- that builds those relationships. and i would end with a reference to a country that doesn't get as much attention as it should in our middle east diplomacy. i would imagine that the typical middle east official at the n.s. e. probably stands as 20 times as much with the emirati
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ambassador than the ambassador with this country. i wish the ratio were not 20-1 and that's tunisia which is the one country that did emerge from the arab spring with a funking democracy that literally bled for our in the fight against isis and they paid a huge price for it. and a country that's under going a really, really horrible spike in its covid situation. and in a way i think that's what we should be talking about. like, what can we do to stand by this country that cannot afford expensive lobbyist cannot afford to throw its money around in washington like some of the gulf states do but has acted consistently in a way that's consistent with america's vision for the region for the last 10 years. and right now needs our help. i hope it gets it. so i will close on that note. and look forward to your
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thoughts and -- and questions. >> thank you, tom. and we already have a number of really interesting questions from -- from the audience. and -- and thank you for that -- for that comment at the end about tunisia because i couldn't agree with you more that the tuesday -- tunisians should be getting better attention. that they are our partner. i guess the question would be as a member of kong certainly you might -- of congress, certainly you might be in a position to influence in some way decisions in congress about budget, about support for assistance is -- is increasing the level of aid to
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tunisia is something that's going to be high on your radar. and let me ask you a -- a basic question which is what do you believe are the prospects at the house foreign affairs committee is actually going to be able to introduce -- produce an authorizing bill this year? tom: on your first question, i have strongly supported greater aid to tunisia. you know, me, jerry, i have my druthers. i take every $1.2 million and maybe spend half of it for egyptian students and the other half on assistance to tunisia. but whatever we end up doing with egypt, yes, i think we should do more for tunisia. in -- in -- in congress, those decisions are made by
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appropriations committee which has the foreign operations subcommittee that deals with foreign aid. and so i've -- i have and will continue to urge my propertyor friends to -- to continue to do more for tunisia. as far as the authorization bill , it's been tough. we -- chairman meeks our new chair as all his predecessors is very determined to pass regular authorization bills. i think it's doable, the problem is that -- that to pass -- the easiest way to pass a state department authorization bill is to make it as noncontroversial as possible. to make it as anadine as possible. we still end up using the defense department authorization bill, the ndaa to legislate on
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more controversial, more difficult items because, of course, the mda must pass. that's in the constitution. it's like article 11 or something. that must pass defense authorization bill every year. so if you get something a little edgy on to that bill, it will still go through. and that theus why the temptation has been to use the mdaa for the real stuff. i would like to get to a point where the culture in congress and the state department authorization sbill a must-pass bill. and if that were to happen, then we could actually use it to -- to do serious congressional oversight and to make policy. jerry: as you could imagine, a number of the members of our audience are very interested in
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your views about saudi arabia and especially about muhammad ben-salman. and of course, we know president biden is a candidate -- as a candidate made a number of comments about the situation. the administration committed early on that they were going to release the unclassified report on the murder of ja commal showingy. do -- jamal khashoggi. do you think they handled the issue effectively? how would you characterize the -- the u.s.-saudi relationship at this moment. and what would your recommendation be for going forward? congressman malinowski: i do think they're taking different
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steps. i do think there should be more done here. i think the issue raised by the khashoggi murder, while it is a human rights issue, of course, a journalist murdered by a government, for me it -- it -- it raises an even more fundamental question for american foreign policy. and that is, are we going to tolerate what has become an increasing trend of authoritarian governments reaching beyond their borders to intimidate and even kill critics who have sought refuge elsewhere? what the saudi government does to its own people in saudi arabia is a human rights issue. and i think we should be interested in that for a number of reasons, but there are limits obviously on what the united states can do to affect another
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government's treatment of its own people within its own borders. when that government reaches into the united states, it's a different matter. the saudis aren't the only practitioners of this. the russians poisoning people in england. turkey, rwanda, egypt. so far not having killed someone in the united states but actively trying to intimidate egyptian americans who are critical of the sesi government. i've believed that we need to treat those cases separately from our human rights concern and to establish a zero tolerance policy and by zero tolerance, i mean that literally. we don't have a zero tolerance policy toward human rights abuses in saudi arabia. but to murder a "washington post" journalist, like that has
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to be the sort of thing where an american president says, you cannot ever do that or else the consequences will be catastrophic. and when -- when the biden administration announced its -- when they released that report that honestly and appropriately, assigned responsibility to the crown prince, they also made a statement about indeed establishing a zero tolerance policy. and they applied the khashoggi ban, the visa ban. i'm a little concerned that there hasn't been much follow-up on that. not enough to send a signal to the saudis, the egyptians to others that the consequences of crossing that line really will be extraordinarily high.
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i've moved legislation on the house foreign affairs committee. i see this as applicable more broadly. number one, clarifying what i think existing u.s. law already requires and that is that anybody on that list that -- that the intelligence community put out be subject to a ban on entry into the united states, potentially waiverable -- aware waiveable. that we create a waiver that would be difficult to go through and embarrassing for the person being waived. and we're talk about m.b.s. in that case. and second, what my legislation would do is to give effect to another law that has been on the books for many, many years, i think has been very, very obscure which says that we
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cannot sell arms to a country if that country's government is engaged in a consistent pattern of intimidations of persons inside the united states. that's a pretty harsh penalty. but a very low bar. we just need to be clear. the bill i put forward requires the congress come back every six months to say they aren't doing it, which would enable diplomats to go to the saudis to say don't make us -- don't make us say yes to that question, right? we'd like to continue to say no. so i think it's important that with respect to saudi arabia and others that we, yes, continue to
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stand up strongly for human rights, recognizing that we do have other interests in the world and not unlimited influence. but absolutely draw a clear line. but must never be crossed when it comes to this extra territory cross border repression these governments are engaged in. jerry: it raises, i guess an interesting question that at the end of your -- of your comment the idea that your human rights in a sense has to fit within the context of a broader sense of interest. and i think that we all understand that. and of course, i would venture to say that within the kong -- congress, nobody speaks on greater authority on these human rights issues than you do. president biden has -- has talked about the struggle that
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the u.s. is in to promote democracy around the world, to acknowledge that we are in a competition now. that there are forces out there and china and russia and elsewhere that are pushing a very different, the concept, a very different perspective on the role of governments and their citizens. and that we need to compete to -- to demonstrate that the approach that the united states and our allies and western europe and in asia and elsewhere have -- have put forward is, in fact, the most promising, the most useful kind of relationship and state authority that exists. so how -- i mean, looking at these issues broadly and looking at it in the context of clearly
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a competition in the middle east, between the united states and china. and you look at the chinese and the growing relationship with the chinese with saudi arabia, with the u.a.e., with egypt, with a number of other states in the region, with israel, how should the u.s. position itself in order to insure that people continue to see that the democratic -- the democratic identity of the united states is perceived as being the most favorable, most positive relationship and structure for government? congressman malinos -- malinoowski: i agree with that. and the chinese and to some
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extent the russians but particularly the chinese government is actively promoting its model and -- and -- and increasingly brazen in its own forms of extraterritorial application of that model. we saw what they did to hong kong. number one, if you're a chinese american in the united states using, you know, one of the chat services, your communications are monitored and censored by the chinese communist party even in the united states. the manner in which they're using this belton road initiative to entangible developing countries through debt relationships should be very, very troubling, not just from the morale value point of
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view but from the problems that the u.s. faces. we try not be corrupt. we try to have higher standards than the ones the chinese are promoting. so this is a very real competition. one reason i ran for kong in 2018 is i believe the most important determinant of whether we win that contest is whether we are strong, whether we are setting a good example. that's a big part of the premise for the biden presidency. i think it's important that -- that in our alliance systems around the world that we emphasize above all alliances with democracies with countrys that try to live up to the values that we are trying to live up to that's why i mentioned tunisia being so important. i think it's strategically more important than its size would normally suggest. but at the same time, and this
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is where we get into trouble, you know, once we get our example right and our alliances right, we are expected to be that united states of america that stands up for the rights and their liberties. and you've seen this, of course, multiple times in your career in the middle east. nobody expects russia and china to come their aid or even france or germany or switzerland. it's always where are you? where are the americans because they see in us in this capacity to try to do the right thing and if we never live up to that expectation, we will eventually be seen as no better, no different than any other great power that's just out there standing up for -- for ourselves and nobody else. and so it is very much in our interest to align with those in the middle east who are working for those values. now, the counter argument that you then hear from people who
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also see a competition with china and russia is if we push the saudis too hard or the egyptians too hard, they're going to go to the russians and chinese, right? and very similar to debates we had during the cold war, right? where, you know, that kind of -- that kind of thinking eventually got us in bed with some of the worst dictators in the world because gosh if we don't do that, they'll just go to the russians and chinese. and i think there's got to be a point where you say, you know what, the leadership of saudi arabia or the emirates or egypt or what have you, if you really, really want to buy russian weapons that fall apart, if you really want to get into a debt trap with the chinese, you know what, be my guest because otherwise they own us. otherwise these countries can play us in the same way that we
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were played by so many of our developing clients during the cold war where we end up convincing ourselfs that we need them more than they need us. and so, you know, really it's saudi arabia with its -- with its american supplied military, are they really going to, you know, depend on -- make parts for their f-16 planes? they can't, right? it would take them years, if not decades, to replace the -- the meltarys that are so much -- militarys that are so much a part of their identity and sense of security with stuff that's supplied by another power which is never going to do be as good as what we give them. i say don't be played. stick to our values and our guns, which doesn't mean we don't have relationships with 'em this. it just means we're clear, you know, what our expectations are.
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gerald: let me follow that up with a question, kind of where you and i left off at the end of the obama administration. and that's yemen. and i -- i am getting ready for -- for our conversation today, i looked again at a hearing that -- that the committee had a few months ago and it was early on in the new effort by the biden administration to promote democratic, you know, diplomatic resolution of the conflict. there was some optimism at that point, i think that perhaps we were going to be able to see an endconflict. the last three months have not been terribly promising in that
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regard and i wonder what your thoughts are now about how the u.s. should continue and press forward with efforts to promote a peaceful end to this conflict and humanitarian catastrophe. rep. malinowski: i think tim is doing everything he can. it was good to appoint a senior diplomat early on to try to meet this challenge. i think we sent some of the right signals to the saudi's that we were not going to be complicit in the war anymore. i would say -- i did mention the cut off on offensive arms sales as a positive step and in keeping with president biden's promised during the campaign that we would not be providing unconditional support to the
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saudi's in this war. but i think what has gotten a bit less attention is some of that support is still continuing. what we did was to suspend the sale of rescission guided munitions, the bombs dropped by aircraft onto the targets. but we did not suspend what i think is the most important form of support we provide and at sea sustainment, the logistical maintenance support we provide to the saudi air force as it conducts its campaign. that gets less attention and is harder for people to visualize that we give you a bomb and drop bombs on people. it is a form of support the saudi's depend on more than anything else because without the for stamen part of the contract, eventually, those
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planes can't fly. this is something we have raised with the administration. i think it's a case of they wanted to send a message but they weren't quite willing to do the thing that would immediately put the saudi's in a bind but would have given more leverage in the mission. and interestingly with happy approached a similar set of issues in afghanistan where, as part of president biden's decision to disentangle united states from that conflict, he decided to cancel other contracts, including our sustainment and maintenance support for the afghan air force. interestingly, that's it war we want our allies to continue to fight and would cut them off entirely, whereas in saudi arabia, we have not been willing
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to take that final step. i did think our diplomats leverage with the saudi's would be greater and i think that recognizing the saudi's are not the only problem. that's what makes it so complicated. the receipts have been absolutely awful in terms of their role in perpetuating the conflict and human rights abuses and our leverage put them was never like our leverage with saudi arabia. but i did wanted to point out there is that detail that has escaped a lot of folks attention. gerald: let me turn another major question that many people in our audience are losing, the whole issue of israel and palestine right now. here again, a very similar situation at we see with egypt,
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as bc with saudi arabia, a u.s. long-standing friend, partner, even ally, but also very significant concerns about human rights. the approach of the trump administration that tilted the playing field heavily in one direction. the biden administration looking at trying to rebalance, trying to again promote a just and sustained solution to this issue. and the additional question of how these new relations -- the defective relationships were already there between israel and the number of the gulf states is going to potentially influence the direction of israel e-
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palestinian relations. in your view, how should the administration be going forward on this in its effort to rebalance the table a little bit? you've got a new government in jerusalem now. what is your recommendation to the biden administration? rep. malinowski: i've got the answer to this whole thing. i can't believe all these people have spent years trying to solve the israeli-palestinian problem and they haven't come up with my brilliant -- just joking. it is obviously an interesting moment. perhaps surprisingly, coming after this latest horrible exchange of fire over gaza that we have a new israeli government. my assumption was a lot of what
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we saw what netanyahu trying to stay in power and he failed. that creates opportunities i hope the administration will seize and it's an interesting israeli government, reflecting the broad diversity of israeli society in a way that i think is very attractive to americans who have wanted to support israel despite all the concerns we may have had about the netanyahu government's policies. we have a government in israel that has a partner within the cabinet. that says a lot about israel and i think creates some opportunities for diplomacy. i was very concerned as someone who now has seen this through a political prism over three years
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in congress, to elections, how the israel issue was politicized by the last administration. how a relationship we have always labored to make above and beyond american politics bipartisan in every way became weaponized by both the trump and netanyahu list rations, in our case domestically against democrats, most of whom are steadfastly pro-israel. i think you got to the were even some of my most pro-israel constituents became concerned about the long-term implications because the last thing they want is for our relationship with israel to rise and fall based on the outcome of elections every two years in the united states. i think that is now in greater balance.
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aided by the fact we have very different administrations both in jerusalem and washington. the question is whether there's anything the biden administration can do to seize on this moment and i know there is debate out there. do you focus on smaller things that are achievable right now trying to make life better for the palestinians? i don't just mean construction projects, but the freedom of movement and greater respect for the rights and dignity without pushing for a two-state solution that has seemed out of reach for many years or is this a moment where we do actually have to try to get back to that more visionary goal given that time is short, given that the tensions that led to the latest outbreak and violence are still
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boiling given the demographic shifts that will make it difficult for israel to remain a jewish and democratic state if defective annexation continues? philosophically, i tend to be on that side of things. as a practical matter, i'm not certain it is possible. i think it is worth at least exploring for the new administration whether this interesting new government can be called upon to do bold and big things and let them tell us no or yes. gerald: i know your subcommittee is going to have a hearing on the israel-palestine issue as soon as you come back into session. recognizing congresses voice on
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these issues is important, and the blinken meeting of the other day, both ministers said they wanted to reestablish the kind of alilance, bipartisan domestic balance on these issues. how can you see congress being helpful in fostering a more reasonable, realistic conversation domestically about the israel e-palestinian issue? rep. malinowski: will see. this will be our first hearing since all of the drama. there are still plenty of folks who would use an opportunity like that for short term
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political advantage. we have some folks on our side of the aisle who sometimes make it easy for them, who give them big and easy targets. but i do think it is helpful that we don't have a prime minister in israel whose answer to every question is iran and who isn't actively trying to deepen divisions in the united states and even in the jewish community over u.s. policy toward his country. so i hope most of us can engage in a more pragmatic conversation which, the biden ed bettis ration having established it is pro-israel and will be there when israel needs it, even in the face of a lot of criticism with the israeli people having chosen a new government. there are some americans on the
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right who -- whose unquestioned pro-israel stance was challenged by that moment and i found some of them how dare you get rid of netanyahu when their guy was gone. but it is hopefully israeli people made this choice and i hope that will be conducive to a more constructive conversation in congress when we come around to it. gerald: speaking of construction -- constructive conversations and tough risks, the administration has made no secret of its desire to reenter the iran nuclear deal. the negotiations have been going on and they are engaged in vienna trying to work out the details. a great deal of controversy in
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congress as there has been and it comes across as bipartisan. it is not a simple left-right dichotomy on the hill. what do you think of the prospects that we are going to see a new deal? how do you think congress is going to respond? how are people viewing this new iranian government and does this raise questions about are we going to be able to have any kind of productive dialogue with tehran? rep. malinowski: time will tell. your guess is as good as mine as to what's going to happen. my impression is the new deal, the details have been pretty much hammered out and the question is whether the iranian
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government is going to agree to this. including with some commitment to engage directly with the united states following a compliance for compliance return on the deal with the other concerns. and who knows? there is an argument that a harder line government in tehran might counterintuitively be helpful because it would give that new government and economic boost and it may be politically easier for a harder line government to do a nixon to china move than it would be for a relatively insecure reformist government to do the same thing again.
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but the ball is in their court. we have to see what happens. if they do agree to it, the politics have shifted a little bit in the united states because the trump administration pretty much demonstrated to anybody looking at things objectively that the alternative was iran racing to build a nuclear weapon and israel less secure and american troops less secure, our gulf allies less secure. it was not a brilliant success. i hear a lot from people who were opponents of the jcpoa when it was president obama negotiating it, giving president biden the benefit of the doubt.
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by the way, they instinctively trust biden's support for israel in a way i think they should have in the way they did for obama but did not for complicated reasons. it will be greeted cautiously. some of the usual critics on the right will express themselves, but it will not be anything like the reception the original jcpoa got. bob menendez for example was 100% against it back in those days and he will not be against this if the deal is what i think it is going to be. i think that's good news. gerald: one of the tangents in
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this whole issue of u.s.-iran dialogue negotiation, what do you do if we do have a nuclear deal? i think we dodged a bullet the other day in new york with linda thomas-greenfield successful negotiation with the russians to keep at least one humanitarian crossing open between turkey and syria. we are not confronting the humanitarian crisis and i know this was a concern for your committee just a few days ago. a number of your colleagues and you signed a letter to the president expressing concern about this. how do you see this syria situation? a big question whether the u.s. has any role to play, any potential diplomatic strategy
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that might end this conflict in syria that has been going on for over a decade now. rep. malinowski: it was a success and we did push forward -- did push for it. at the same time, it makes me sad that we are at a point at this tragedy in where the thing we dedicate most of our energy to is keeping a border crossing open for food and medicine. i was among those in the obama administration who hoped we could have done more when it would have made a difference. i don't want to live in hindsight. there was a time when we had greater potential on the impact of this unfolding tragedy and i do not have a grand plan,
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unfortunately, for saving syria. much of syria is now living outside of syria, as you know. there is a huge diaspora in europe and the united states. i would like for us to continue taking more people from those camps now that president biden has raised the refugee cap. part of the long-term effort here has to be working with the diaspora to help it become the force that helps to open their country again at some point in the future. it's a quarter of all syrians, so it is a sizable share of the country. to continue to be very, very tough and punishing on outside powers supporting the syrian regime, including the russians. through instruments like the
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caesar act. then, sees any opportunity that arises. as you know, timing is everything and the timing may not be right right now, that all kinds of things may happen in the months and years coming that create opportunities for us to seize. i wish i had a better answer and there may be a better answer out there. i would be very open to hearing from people participating today who follows the situation more intently than i do. but that is kind of where i am. gerald: it is a problem and i think tony blinken also expressed some regret in the hearing, i think in his confirmation hearing, where he expressed regret about what he
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saw as a major shortcoming of the obama administration not doing more to resolve the syria conflict. but, as you say, the number of ideas for resolution are not great. if we could move just a little farther to the west, i know you are planning a hearing in the next few weeks about lebanon. this is a country, close friend and partner of the united states for many years going through terrible economic and social upheaval right now. what is the way forward and what do you think will be the focus for the hearing? rep. malinowski: the focus of
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the hearing is to learn what is going on and to figure out what to do. occasionally, i go into a hearing not knowing the answer to those questions. we don't like to admit that. but, it is a very close friend and partner of the united states , in its own way, a victim of the syria catastrophe. lebanon was arguably more generous than any other country in taking in syrians. if you think about its capacity and its own problems and the number of people it took and the fact it did not stuff them all into refugee camps but allow them to integrate into society, it's one of the most heroic things i've ever seen and for that alone, i think they deserve a tremendous amount of support from the united states. as you say, they have all kinds
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of internal, political, economic problems, corruption problems. i think the united states should regain its mojo around the world and align more firmly with people who share our values to become the leader of the global coalition against corruption by exposing it, prosecuting it, denying access to our banks and financial systems at -- and those who steal from their people, there may be opportunities there for the united states to signal that whatever is happening in lebanese politics, we are with the lebanese people on what i know is one of their number one concerns. i look forward to that hearing and we will learn more and work with the administration to follow up. gerald: i wanted to come
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full-circle. several of our members of the audience are very interested in libya. where we have perhaps some hopeful movement, an election on the horizon that will perhaps move their country away from the civil war and away from this conflict they have experienced for several years now. what is the thinking about how to support these nascent moves and help build a peaceful and political way forward for libya? rep. malinowski: before i answer that, a typical zoom situation -- i need to go grab my charger. give me just one second.
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all right. we are safe. libya is a country i've closely followed since my human watch days. i was there for the last year of could dolphy and a couple of times during the miraculous year of revolution. which people forget, they think of libya as nothing but a basket case, but that libyan revolution was followed by one of the most
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successful and best run democratic collections anywhere and the libyan people voted overwhelmingly for moderation and pragmatism. all of was stolen from them by armed thugs, militias, in many cases, let's not forget, encouraged and supported by outside actors, including some of our allies. so we have the russians and the turks but also the mri he's who back in the day use libya as a playground. to fight each other using other people's blood. here we are, 10 years later and i think that promise is still there. it still an important country we invested a lot into endo a lot to given the role we played in those years. i do think there's an opportunity right now to get
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those foreign forces out. ideally simultaneously. it's probably necessary. the turks probably saved tripoli but they shouldn't be there. they are kind of an occupying force in the eyes of a lot of libyans. certainly the russians and it ships shins and amber rudd he's that have been supporting the forces need to get the hell out. with that and a lot of support from the international community diplomatic and otherwise, there is a chance to start rebuilding a functioning political system in the country. the thing that people so overwhelmingly fought for and voted for in 2011 and 2012. i am more optimistic. i think the administration is doing all it could do and i'm
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not alone on my committee and house following this and being interested and consistently we hope we are relaying to the administration we support this engagement and will back it up. i would love to be there for those elections, by the way. gerald: i think it is christmas eve? rep. malinowski: if it is christmas eve, i would do it. we will see. one of my long-term goals has been to have a chance to attend in benghazi the ribbon-cutting for the christopher stevens memorial american center in that wonderful city that was so devastated after his death. but where i've never seen greater sentiment for friendship
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with the united states in any middle eastern city i've been in. i would like things to come full-circle. gerald: thank you so much for spending this hour with us. for a time of a legend u.s. retrenchment and retreat from the middle east, we still have a full plate of issues and a full plate of u.s. engagements and commitments to the states of the middle east, the people of the middle east. there are a lot of issues we did not have a chance to touch on today and we would love to have another opportunity to talk about some of the other things on people's minds.
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but we are delighted to have had this opportunity and delighted to have an old friend and colleague representing the great state of new jersey in congress and we look forward to continuing the conversation with you later. rep. malinowski: next, president biden eating with attorney general merrick garland along with lawmakers and officials to discuss efforts to reduce gun violence. then, legal experts testify before the house committee on the elections clause and regulating elections. after that, senator patrick lee on his $3.7 billion supplemental spending bill to address the needs brought on by the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol and the global pandemic. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of goven

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