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tv   Sen. Chris Murphy on Russia- Ukraine War  CSPAN  May 17, 2022 1:49am-2:20am EDT

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>> there are a lot of places do get political information. but only at c-span do you get it straight from the source. no matter where you stand on the issues, c-span is america's network. unfiltered, unbiased, word for word. it happens here, or here, or anywhere that matters. america is watching on c-span, powered by cable. announcer: next, a discussion with democratic senator chris murphy about the ongoing war between russia and ukraine. he talks about the threat of nuclear war from russia. this is just under 30 minutes. >> thanks to all of you joining us out in zoomland, and thanks
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to senator chris murphy for joining us today. i've had the pleasure of knowing senator markey since he was state senator murphy thinking about running for the u.s. house. and he ran for the u.s. house and did successfully. served in the house for three terms. ran for the senate and has been serving in the senate with distinction. he and i have had the pleasure of crossing paths more than once, and he has shown himself on the foreign relations committee to be one of those senators who was most thoughtful, most adept, the quickest study and with a deep grounding in the geopolitical context, the human rights issues, the human side of our foreign policy. the american security project
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has existed for 15 years. it was founded by john kerry and others because they thought we needed a nonpartisan, bipartisan security-based foreign policy with retired black officers from every -- flag officers from every branch. i am proud to be a board member of the american security project. and i am proud to introduce you to our audience. thanks so much, and i will handed it over to you. >> thanks for having me. and my things to all of the board members of the american security project, thanks for your commitment to defending this nation. i am looking forward to an important conversation. this is, obviously, to those of us who have been watching global affairs over the last decade.
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the world is watching. great powers are watching whether the lid has come off the world war, which i think we are in the middle of answering today. if you look back over the last millennia, it is filled with big powers and countries trying to expand its borders through invasion, military force. there have been plenty of 75 year periods of time where there has been a reduction in transgressions from one nation to another. the question is did everything change after 19 order f -- 1945 or did we just happen to live in one of those relatively calm periods? the next several weeks and
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months in ukraine will i think decide the answer to that question. first, as someone who has been to ukraine probably more times than anybody else in the senate, we all are global citizens. it is stunning what they have been able to do against one of the world's biggest militaries. not so much of what we have done leading up to the invasion. this administration has been extraordinary, preinvasion to let the world know what was coming and the risks they have taken since the invasion began to draw themselves closer to direct conflict with russia that perhaps we have been in generations.
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this is the result also of a longtailed partnership. we have been training ukrainian forces. i've visited western ukraine some years ago. starting with the obama administration. we will continue to support the ukrainian people. sorry we didn't have the latest $40 billion in this bill last week, we have a stalled section of the republican party that is as committed to this mission as the rest of congress is. we have to step out of this moment, and i will leave it for discussion and questions, and recognize how we allowed not just ukraine, but so much of russia's periphery has become vulnerable. these are tanks against tanks and planes against claims, but russia perfected what we have come to call asymmetric warfare.
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china is perfecting the same. it is using nonmilitary mechanisms whether it be economic power, propaganda, good old-fashioned intimidation and bribery to gain influence. and we are fighting these adversaries with one hand behind our back. we are good at staving off conventional invasion. we are not very good at fighting those nonmilitary tools of power projection. and we've got to figure out a way to fight with both hands, rather than just one hand, because we're in over the next 50 years for some significant hand-to-hand conflict with countries like russia, china and others. so, this is a moment to keep our eye on the ball. help ukraine went out of this war, but also back up and make
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sure we are ready to defend our interests. thanks so much for having me. >> we've got a good audience. i would invite audience members to put their questions in the q&a. let me get the discussion started. there's been some talk in the last week or so with some suggesting that the united states and our nato allies are experiencing mission creep. and a question about what should our goals, what should nato's goals be in supporting ukraine, as we ramp up the level of support. the level of weaponry we are sending. some are saying we should be more limited because of the risk of getting drawn in. i'd love your views on that. >> i think it's important that the administration has made it
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clear that we do not seek a direct conflict with russia. there are some who criticized president biden for being so explicit in stating that you are not going to see u.s. forces on the ground in ukraine. there is a school of thought that the president should have left some ambiguity. i think president biden made the right call, making that explicit, so as to be clear that we are going to support ukraine's ability to fight the war. we are not interested in a direct confrontation. at the heart of nato's mission has been a defensive alliance, seeking to defend ourselves from russian invasion. ukraine is not a part of nato.
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we stayed clearly that we are supporting ukraine's mission to defend its own territory. we are not going to support if ukraine decides to take on any new projects beyond their borders, our support should stop there. certainly, as we get more deeply involved, as vladimir putin gets back more deeply into a corner, the risk of direct u.s.-russia conflict increases. the soviets have plenty of personnel inside vietnam. we had a lot of troops there as well. we managed to avoid direct conflict there. i think we can manage to support ukraine while staying out of a confrontation between the two biggest nuclear superpowers. >> patrick sullivan asked a
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question that follows on that. putin's veiled and not so veiled nuclear threats, his and his team's allusions to nuclear forces, are there possibilities of retaliation? how do you see, and what should our response be, particularly if putin were to indeed invoke a nuclear weapon in a more active fashion whether just with much mechanisms or god forbid, actually launching them. >> our policy and tactics have to be informed by the knowledge that vladimir putin is unstable enough, will become desperate enough to consider some on
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thinkable options. we all shuddered when we heard the cia could not rule out russia ultimately resorting to the use of tactical nuclear weapons. tactical nuclear weapons. the alternative, which is for the united states to stand down, to abandon ukraine because of that, is unpalatable as well. the reason you see finland and sweden signing up for nato, the reason you see a shift in germany's position is because they know should putin succeed in taking ukraine, he is likely not done. we are watching russia's nuclear
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footprint very carefully. we stay informed by the administration of any changes. our strategy has to ultimately be dependent on the fact, whether it goes up or down. i will make one more quick editorial comment. we are in this debate right now on whether we should get back into the nuclear agreement with the run. -- iran. we should be due -- be doing everything in our power now to keep iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
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mr. cunningham: indeed. you noted that nato has been strengthened over these weeks and months. finland, sweden looking to join after decades of non-alignment. you thought a lot about the transatlantic architecture. how do you look at the future of nato, which just a few years ago, people were saying do we need nato? five years from now, did you envision what made us should look like? -- what nato should look like? sen. murphy: i do not think
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finland and sweden are the end of nato membership. i am deeply hopeful that several countries in the western balkans are going to be candidates. five years ago when we were also debating this question, it looked like we were aligned for a threat that was not the most critical to the alliance, which was russian invasion. we should be spending more time on propaganda and cyber attacks. i think that is still an important conversation. we have been reminded now that it does make sense to have an
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alliance structure that is concentrated on military defense because we now have confirmation that russia is intent on expanding its borders. and it might not end with ukraine. we do try to expand the mission, but maybe we focus on just making sure it is a rocksolid conventional military alliance. that is maybe the most important thing that can happen in the next 12 months. mr. cunningham: drawing on some of the questions from the chat, one of the issues we are going to be facing in the months ahead , as we look toward the end games in this conflict, is what to do with the territories in
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eastern and southern ukraine that the russians currently occupied. going all the way back to 2014, i think we were attending the brussels forum went russian men went into crimea and began the process of annexing that. what lessons do we take that perhaps we were not as strong in the face of that and what lessons should we draw for the parts of ukraine -- the other parts of ukraine that are currently in russian hands as we look ahead? sen. murphy: i think you are right that we were together during that moment. it was in ukraine a few months later that senator mccain said
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ukraine together. i think you are right that collectively we were not ready in 2014. but candidly, the ukrainian military was not ready in 2014. what we decided to do was to get into the business of significant training of ukrainian forces, which is exactly what we have been doing. ukrainians deserve 99% of the credit, but that mission jointly with the united states has made a difference. i think it is hard to get into all of the potential hypotheticals if ukraine and russia end up at eight negotiating table.
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my foundation for now is that it is up to president zelenskyy. we will support his decision to sit down at the table and we will support the decisions that he makes. but if he decides that the price russia is asking him to pay his too big a price to pay, then we will continue to be with ukraine. we are not recognizing russian ownership over eastern parts of the country and if president zelenskyy wants to fight it out, then we will stand with him. the day may come when resident zelenskyy decides to cut a deal, sign a peace treaty. we will get him advice, but that needs to be his decision. the whole point of this exercise
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is that sovereignty is what it is all about. we believe it is up to the ukrainian people to decide for themselves. i think that has to be our operating premise for the duration of this fight. mr. cunningham: pulling the lens back a little bit from ukraine itself. you also have roots in poland. what do you make of the way that the neighboring countries have responded to this? romania, moldova, poland. sen. murphy: absolutely extraordinary. i am a proud polish american. i have a great grandparent who
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wrote on his immigration card that he was ukrainian even though he was coming from poland. i have roots in ukraine as well. just extraordinary how our friends in eastern europe have stepped up. while we have had problems with warsaw over the past decade and i remain worried about their slide away from the rule of law, nothing should stop us from celebrating what they have done to defend democracy. i just came from spending time with the new prime minister of bulgaria. we have to pay special attention to these very vulnerable states
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like bulgaria, where you have countries that are very reliant on russian gas. who are at a breaking point right now because of the cut off. the united states has to think about how to support countries like bulgaria and moldova. i wonder if we outsource that to europe and -- [indiscernible] i think it is time for the united states to play a leading role in supporting these smaller
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nations. mr. cunningham: in the early days, germany executed a very abrupt turn from where germany had been for decades in terms of its participation in the multilateral military base defense system. have you seen that continue? have the germans continue down that path? some have suggested they have been slow in moving forward on those initiatives.
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sen. murphy: i think what has happened and inside germany has been extraordinary. i am sure the pace of their evolution has not been satisfactory to some. it happened quickly, as you mentioned. he was telling us at that time that while he would be ready if my son invaded, his government was not confident that this was actually going to happen. it is remarkable how things changed so fast. one of the biggest questions for europe is that you still open for -- the european union still
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open for business? that is what hurts putin the most. the balkans is a place where russia would love to exert long-term influence. you sum of crone and schultz standing next to each other -- you saw president mccrone and schultz standing next to each other. mr. cunningham: no longer formally a part of the european union is great britain. how do you make of the british
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government to keep great britain a vital player in international issues. how would you judge how they have played that. sen. murphy: they made a very clear decision as they normally do. britain continues to be the first country we call. almost without reservation, the first country that answers the bell. they continue to operate outside of the european union and the european union will be essential. brussels has to make that decision and pull in the british
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. a lot of this money that has enriched putin's crowd. we made mistakes. there is no doubt the united states made mistakes on russian policy. the british made mistakes as well. i am deeply gratified by the way they stepped up during this crisis. it is also a reminder how tragic this is they are doing the separate and aside from the rest of europe. mr. cunningham: very well put. we are approaching the bottom of the hour. let me take you right back to the senate foreign relations committee. you attended hearings for our new nominee to be ambassador to kyiv, bridget brink.
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i am sure you are wishing someone had been named earlier. how do you view her chances? sen. murphy: i would hope she would be in place by the end of next week. i think she will get there very quickly. i will say we have been incredibly well served in kyiv. we have big problems with nominations. we cannot move nominations right now. the assistant secretary of defense for logistics, the position in charge of organizing
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all of the shipments to ukraine, has been blocked by senator holly for the entirety of this year. i think bridget brink's nomination will go through. we still have dozens of state department nominees that are being blocked by republicans who are part of the team that would be at work and policy. if republicans cared about ukraine, it would be supporting these nominees. they are letting a small number of republicans to exercise beat alabama power. -- veto power. mr. cunningham: i want to thank
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you on behalf of the american security project. it is so good to see you and so good to hear your common sense, educated perspective on these issues. i would say to you, the senate and the entire united states government on this services
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subcommittee. this is just over an hour.

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