tv Sen. Chris Murphy on Russia- Ukraine War CSPAN May 17, 2022 5:55am-6:26am EDT
>> thank you, matthew. thanks to all of you joining us out in zoom land and to senator chris murphy for joining us today. i have had the pleasure of knowing saddam murphy since he was state senator murphy, thinking about running for the u.s. house. he ran for the house and he did it successfully. serve the house for three terms, ran for the senate, and had been serving in the senate with distinction. he and i have had the pleasure of traveling abroad more than once. and he has shown himself to be, in his time on the foreign relations committee, to be one of those senators who is 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. senator, the american security project has been in existence for over 15 years, founded by john kerry, chuck hagel and others because they thought we needed a nonpartisan, bipartisan security-based foreign policy. i am proud to serve on the board with retired flag officers from every service branch from whom i have learned tremendously. i am proud to be important member of the american security project and even harder to introduce you to our audience. thank you so much, and over to you. >> thank you so much for having me. my thanks to all of the board members. thanks for your commitment to defending this nation and our allies, and a look forward to what will be a brief but i hope important conversation. this is obviously, to those of
us who have been watching the trajectory of global affairs for the last decade, a hinge moment. the world is watching. great powers are watching whether the lid has come off post-world war ii order, thus -- those are the questions we are in the bill of answering today. for those who are students of history, if you go back over the last millennia, it is filled with big powers, big countries trying to expand their borders through innovation, through military force. but there have been plenty of 75-year periods of time over the last 75 years where there has been a reduction in those transgressions from one nation into another. the question is, did everything changed after 1945? or did we just happened to live over the quest of the last 75 years in one of those relatively
calm periods? the next several weeks and months in ukraine will decide the answer to that question. as somebody who has been to ukraine probably more times than anybody else in the united states senate, how indebted we are for president zelenskyy team and the ukrainian armed forces. i am proud of our country, not just of what we have done since the invasion, the administration
, president biden has been extraordinary. they have taken that and that the world know what was coming and the risks they have taken. it has began to draw ourselves closer. we've been in generations but also the performance of ukrainian military. as a result of the partnership we have been with the ukrainian forces in western ukraine. for the better part of the last ten years. we will continue to support ukrainian people, we didn't have the latest assistance bill last week, we have a section in this mission as the rest of congress is, but we also have to step back for this moment, and i will leave it here for discussion, and recognize how we allow for not just ukraine, but so much of russia's periphery to become sene
business of perfecting the same. using nonmilitary mechanisms, whether it be economic power, propaganda to try to gain influence. the united states has been fighting these countries with one hand tied behind our back. we are pretty good standing up against conventional powers. we are not very good at fighting those nonmilitary tools of power. we are in over the next 50 years for some significant hand-to-hand conflict with countries like russia, china and others. this is a moment to keep our eye
on the ball, help ukraine when this war and make sure we are ready to defend our interests for the next 50 years. thanks so much for having me. mr. cunningham: we have a good audience. i am going to invite audience members to put their questions in the q&a. there has been some talk in the last week or so with some suggestion -- suggesting that the united states and nato are experiencing [indiscernible] . as we ramp up the level of support, as we ramp up the level of weaponry, some are saying we should be more limited in what we are doing because we risk getting drawn in. i would love your views on that.
sen. murphy: i think it is important that the administration has made it clear from the beginning that we do not seek a direct conflict with russia. there are some that criticized president biden about being so explicit upfront saint you are not going to see u.s. forces on the ground in ukraine. that the president should have held back and left some ambiguity around the question. but i think president biden made the right call. while we are going to support ukraine's abella bailey -- ability to fight for itself, we are not interested in that direct confrontation. at the heart of nato's mission has always been a defensive alliance.
seeking to defend ourselves from russian invasion. we stated very clearly we are supporting ukraine's mission to's -- to defend its own territory. certainly there is a risk of conflict. it certainly as we get more deeply involved, we may get back to more deeply into a corner. the risk of u.s.-russia conflict increases. but we managed to avoid direct conflict in vietnam. i think we can manage to support ukraine while staying out of a competition between the two biggest nuclear powers. mr. cunningham: thank you.
one of the questions from the audience. patrick sullivan asks a question. putin's veiled and not so veiled nuclear threats, how do you see him playing the strategy he is deploying there and what should our response be, particularly if putin would invoke a nuclear weapon in a more active fashion, whether just launch mechanisms or got for bed actually launch. sen. murphy: our strategy has to be educated and's -- and observed by the knowledge that vladimir putin might become
desperate enough to consider someone think of a noble -- unthinkable options. vladimir putin resorting to the use of 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 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. 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 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 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 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 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. 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
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 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 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 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. 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 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 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 . 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. 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 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.
house lawmakers are taking a closer look at a report on unidentified flying objects. defense intelligence officials with knowledge of the sightings testify today and give our house subcommittee live on c-span two. you can also watch on the free c-span now video app or online at c-span.org. up next, president biden honoring 15 public safety officers with the medal of valor during a ceremony at the white house. the medal of valor is awarded annually and is the highest national award for public safety officers