Defcon 3 8-8-2012
If Assad regime falls, who takes over? Is America the world's new energy superpower?
- Duration 26:55
- Date Aug 8, 2012
If Assad regime falls, who takes over? Is America the world's new energy superpower?
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I'm KT McFarland and we want you to join in the discussion as well.
So send your comments -- questions via Twitter -- KT McFarland or on our live chat.
And -- -- today with the civil war in Syria.
Fox is -- and bitterness I immigrants from Jerusalem holy land what's the latest.
Right now KT we have the battle of a lot -- which is going to be key for the rebels that they win this battle against.
President -- army which is obviously heavily.
Men and also as much far superior weapons to the -- the rebels create.
A stronghold there in the northern part of -- country that could certainly be used as a base of operations as they continue to break out the rebels.
We're also looking to -- and secure some kind of supply lines.
To the Turkish border where the Turks the saudis.
The -- east and in to a lesser degree the United States is offering to send an -- if there's able to be com a Free Syrian Army stronghold for which that aid.
Ten -- to with the government wins not only does it deny the rebels that stronghold we've been talking about.
But it also further crushes the rebels and provides.
Very little in terms of a base of operations going forward for the rebels it could also mean for the rebels yet.
Another defeat we saw a couple of weeks ago the rebels launched a major attack.
In Damascus the capital of Syria in fact the US State Department said they thought Damascus was gonna fall within 36 hours.
That didn't happen the Syrian government.
Was able to rally its forces and and controlled the -- is once again some people have equated right now the Syrian civil war -- Very tragic case of the game whack a -- where the rebels.
Pop up in one area only for the Syrian army to whack them down in another and then all of a sudden they pop up yet.
In another city the question is going to be going forward whether this Syrian army has neither the will or for that matter this skill training and discipline.
To do one thing which is pound away and soften up if you will these rebel strongholds but the real key.
Actually putting down this revolution of president decide is gonna stay in power for the long term.
Will be that very bloody street to street fighting to actually clear out each morning these rebel strongholds.
So far -- is Syrian army's been unable to do that the same time the -- been unable to hold any type of ground.
And keep it from there -- being able to build -- base of operations to compare this to the Libyan situation the Libyan rebels.
Had the entire eastern half of the country under their control they had been Ghazi game had a port they had a place that the world could then send aid to.
Syrian army Syrian rebels that is.
Don't have that yet taking.
Okay -- that's clearly embittered Jerusalem on the latest sincerest thanks Leon.
And now we're gonna turn today to -- David Goldman who is one of the smartest guys around.
Who talks a -- he's a former Wall Street analysts remember investment banks in the in New York.
-- also writes on the call this spangler -- in the Asia time south.
It's -- suited man you're not really supposed to now his name but that's why you're watching -- country can get the inside story it's really David Goldman and he's the president and founder Microstrategy.
But I wanted to ask you David.
We're hearing all about the rebels we've heard about for seventeen months -- Monday.
The rebels are a Motley coalition of Sunni Muslims who object to the Hafez -- -- -- -- -- are all slot machines which are based on an -- want minorities about 4% of the -- very -- -- issue yes that's correct but there are enormous split within the city -- -- you have a Muslim Brotherhood pollution.
Which was officially formed and the core of the opposition is probably -- -- brotherhood.
You have so -- office two or if -- -- the more conservative Islamic sect.
Mainly support about the saudis you have a Kurdish element which is playing both sides.
Which the Turks or afraid of part of the the main problem al-Qaeda -- and you have al-Qaeda elements to some extent I think.
Syria is being used like the Russian front by the saudis and -- -- or your to hobbies to Syria to get tired top.
-- because they're afraid of them at home.
-- two picks let's -- between the saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood the saudis are medieval monarchy who were terrified.
Of the competition for.
Islamists and in a modern -- -- -- and party which is the main challenge to their rule of home then you have the Shiite.
-- -- And opposition.
-- -- -- -- -- -- others within this Sunni world.
If they're worried about whether it's Muslim Brotherhood followers -- were the ones who want to have a revolution and probably presumably get rid of the Saudi monarchy.
And the saudis -- many have and another split which is Sunni Shia and that you haven't asked.
That's what the Turks about where you're just you're right you're -- -- and the Turks.
Don't like the Arab Nationalists and Syria and Hamas and brotherhood and because they're Turks and they're also.
Very concerned that if the -- if these Kurds of Syria become formed to mobilized that could create contagion.
Among the Kurds.
Of Turkey who have been underserved and turned it occurred in Iran records of -- exactly so you have so many three main conflicting.
Elements the ethnic element.
The religious element and the medieval vs modern element Muslim Brotherhood -- -- Saudi.
The result is probably a long term stalemate in which of the conflict goes on indefinitely.
Because nobody wants to lose but nobody really wants to win.
Right and so although you know two weeks ago -- to be three weeks ago we thought that the rebels were gonna win any minute because -- assassinated.
The intelligence chief of Syria the defense minister of Syria.
-- few days ago the prime minister of Syria has fled the country and affected it look like the rebels were about to prevail but now.
It looks like in fact the -- looks like -- this conflict could go on.
For an extended period of time -- just -- young -- Well this isn't like Iran where the Sean and his ministers will get -- planes and living their apartments in Paris Al -- us.
The minority that support that that Assad comes from.
-- fight to the death.
Because they have nowhere to go they also have a -- -- -- contiguous territory.
A mountainous Syria near the -- which is very hard to break until it's possible to have geographic division.
Where an Allah -- stronghold and remains intact on the leadership of the Assad family.
While eastern CNN.
Stays under Sunni controlled.
So in other words the country that we think ever Syria really with Houston -- that is therapy one.
The Bashir Assad would hang out with his bad guys.
And Menard and and other groups who knows which groups are probably -- fighting each other control the rest of Syria that.
How does that -- spread the entire region.
Well there are two ways it doesn't spread first -- the saudis and the Turks.
Are trying to contain this by -- and the quality and amount of armaments that go to the Free Syrian Army and never -- -- wine or -- exactly.
They're try to keep it at low intensity I don't think the saudis want a Muslim Brotherhood government to replace Assad because.
The Muslim Brotherhood is competition to then that would increase the possibility somebody of -- -- natural overthrow when Saudi Arabia.
They're also very uncomfortable with the -- -- brotherhood government.
You can't change that fact the last thing the Turks won't hunt is for us is that for the Kurds to -- -- so I think the it's in the interest of the party support -- the Free Syrian Army.
To keep -- sold off balance without actually allow -- Giving them obviously continuing to have a murder and all back are not a bad nobody ever really wins that's that's correct and that's not necessarily the worst thing that happened from the standpoint of American interest during the 1980s the Reagan administration took the view.
In the Iran Iraq War that the -- -- TV.
The better frost and that seems like -- I would say that Reagan administration you're absolutely right we wanted to invite each other forever and ever and nobody -- that's right it's a tragic situation -- for a humanitarian standpoint but.
Considering that there's nothing really that we can do about it anyway.
I think it would be foolish for us to try to intervene.
And straighten -- -- and I don't think we could have we tried him and the result as it is is not necessarily a threat to us.
-- so they cries for arming rebels who want they had been confused with this woman wearing some people call for arming the rebels and Syria.
Who aren't rebels.
And I guess that it's not.
Is that really one group is that George Washington in the revolutionary army valley forge it's a whole lot of different groups who could well start shooting each other once they finish shooting aside.
That's correct the rebels are here comes everybody including some people we really don't like it right.
I wonder why affirmed -- -- describe it -- like the bar scene in Star Wars the movie.
We're really bad guy in the universe is collected and that's Star Wars bar and -- already to go killing each other and shared each other murder -- spam like it's.
It's a very useful -- for the saudis to get -- adhere -- hottest and.
It's time to there's an eastern -- OK let's do a little bit and yes you have throughout the region and because that's -- -- got out of -- think it's likely to continue.
For an extended period of time who doesn't spill out into the other countries and Jordan Lebanon maybe back to Iraq where you have that -- multi party.
Sectarian conflict short.
There is a very dangerous situation there are many more Syrian refugees coming into -- him.
Which is -- were already has a majority Palestinian population and a very large -- and broke the presidents.
The victory of -- brotherhood government of Egypt has put pressure.
On king -- -- Jordan as the situation we have a longstanding relationship of the monarchy and longstanding interest and it does shortly.
An American interest to do whatever we can take it captured from King Abdullah stable and in -- because he's gonna rely.
-- -- OK now let's -- ever take Egypt on Israel's south yet we've seen in the last week there -- jihadist in the Sinai Peninsula.
Attacking Egyptian military killing Egyptian military on their way into an invasion or an incursion into Israel -- the jihadist were killed.
But what does that tell us about where the Egyptian leadership is where they complicit.
Us I -- what's going animation.
We really don't know who did what to whom but.
Supporters that the Egyptian military which never liked the most about the brotherhood government -- try to pin this.
On the Muslim Brotherhood at the funeral of the sixteen murdered Egyptian guards -- today.
Mohammed Morrissey the router and have a Muslim brother of the president if -- didn't -- turned up.
-- -- -- -- Did turn up but he was physically assaulted by protesters throwing shoes on him calling him a murderer he had to be stuck out by security caucus.
Now more -- didn't make this any easier on himself because last week he pardoned 25 convicted terrorists -- blood on their hands from.
-- -- only of the organization that killed scores of European tourists.
From Islamic Jihad the organization that murdered Anwar Sadat.
So he's already taken a position publicly identifying themselves into hiding terrorists.
Making it easy after the fact compare them enough for the and for the military to -- the side.
Okay so what's your really saying is what we thought was an election in Egypt that several things where of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Canada one -- Morrissey -- the Egyptian military seems to be working with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
And civilian government you're saying that this is not by any means a finished -- -- I'm saying that hopes for stability and eat right of the -- brotherhood government.
Delusional -- to begin -- -- because the problem with Egypt is.
Your economy is in free fall most important news and Egypt then this week in my -- was economic.
-- reserves are down to barely five billion dollars -- ready cash.
Which is barely two months of their trade deficit now this is critical because.
Everyone hoped the saudis would -- in the big check ride into why to tide them over Mohammed -- -- The prime minister went to Saudi Arabia with his big people hoping to get Saudi -- and and what the reserve numbers show with the saudis.
Given any money to the -- -- brotherhood government which after the fact is not surprising because.
The saudis hate and fear the most of brotherhood.
So -- was that the Egyptian military backed by the saudis.
Want the -- -- brotherhood government to take the fall.
For a major economic disruption -- devaluation of the currency widespread economic hardship and eventually restore military rule.
So you've written and I think very -- that Egypt as a country with the world's largest importer of wheat.
They import half of their food and if they don't have these -- -- to pay for that.
And since the saudis aren't helping them with that he could have food shortages and he just by the end of the year and that -- a year ago.
People went into the streets in Egypt until we're square because I didn't have jobs imagine what they'll do -- on.
This is an extremely volatile situation to be exactly as you said they already have massive and it damaged fuel shortages with.
Sixteen hour waits in front of in front of gas stations.
And spot food shortages with a rising food prices their annual financing requirement is somewhere between twenty and thirty billion dollars.
A year the saudis aren't gonna write that check we're not gonna write that check.
And really everybody is fighting over control of the canoe while it's heading towards before us.
Okay now if I told you that the great advantage of this show and although severe -- watch very harrowing.
Know that you can participate with the guests with -- ask your questions make comments.
I'm and I thrown at the gas and experts so we have.
A comment I'm content coming from -- for jury says he mentioned the Turkish role in the militia and Syria.
Let's go to Turkey what's Turkey's interest in office I -- a few months ago they were trying to convince the Syrians to be the great reformers and now they're arming the rebels.
Because Hafez all Assad.
Slaughtering Sunni Muslims and the Turks can't stand why and be a credible Sunni power.
But the same talk and they don't want.
The situation to spiral out of control in the way that would mobilize and -- the Syrian Kurds.
So the Turks have an interest in keeping Assad won't footed and week.
But they don't necessarily have an interest in overthrowing him because a chaotic and disintegrating Syria would.
Leave the Kurds.
As a loose -- that could affect their stability so they have a very.
Ambivalent attitude towards what's happened.
Okay let's move on to Iran yes what surrounds where you know they -- -- -- prime foreign minister suspend.
In Syria talking to Bob Strauss.
Talking to about Iran is gonna double down we're gonna support you no matter -- -- Iran we now and one of our -- our viewers is just commented.
The role of eleven -- and then some Hezbollah the Iranian client.
Whereas Iran and all this and why they double down on a leader who looks like he's about out on his way into about a -- He wants hope I think Shiite crescent region for the Mediterranean to Afghanistan.
Hangs on Syria which had -- -- white regime has been a wide to the Iranian Shiite side.
From the beginning so.
-- -- the house -- team and Syria Iran's ambitions.
-- -- the great danger and some of the Israelis have been talking about this is that Iran would send in regular troops moved into.
And get control of -- enormous arsenal of chemical weapons that would give them my second strike capability out of Syria with weapons of mass destruction.
Against both Israel and Saudi Arabia.
That would change the strategic balance we're -- wrong to do that.
Then that would almost certainly elicit intervention from the someone else probably the Israeli.
These are some numbers weren't really thinking about the Israelis are worried about the Iranian nuclear threat pitchers and there could be a chemical weapons spread into Israel.
From the Syrians.
From the -- -- -- the Iranians to move regular forces into Syrian control the weapons nobody really wants that to happen.
Least of all the Russians who don't want chemical weapons training up among their -- -- hottest.
In the caucuses.
So it is -- services like.
What does it what does alpha chain asset in the godfather you know I try to get out of this but I keep getting sucked back and I mean this is sort of two millennia worth of conflicts in the Middle East.
That has no intention of -- That's right with a lot of people -- thing and a foot of water and so forth so.
My view is the key thing for the United States to do is neutralize.
Without reading and support for the assault refute that becomes a minor -- -- rest.
With Iranian ambitions behind these -- -- particularly if Iran gets nuclear weapons we have an uncontrollable situation so I would favor.
-- precision airstrikes and knock out -- Iranian nuclear capacity and really whatever else is necessary.
To make sure that the Iranians don't turn this regional problem into a global strategic us.
It's all battle that's committed Feldman thank you very much when wow thank helps somebody other than that.
Hundreds of thousands of people who are watching that the spangler assays are really yours thank you so much -- thanks so much it is okay we're gonna take a break and then come back and talk about.
Why doesn't the United States just get out of the Middle East and deal and get our energy from just break here in the US something.
Hi welcome back to Defcon three.
I have -- lottery just -- damage has come across the wires.
There was a bomb threat this -- Walter Reed national military medical center that's the army's hospital outside of Washington.
There was a bomb threat that was called in the Walter -- this morning -- prefer not o'clock.
Saying that there was a bomb on the premises in one of the buildings and they and they water reads America building which contains a member of that.
The building was evacuated for three hours.
They did a sweep of the -- -- And there's although no public information has been released the building was swept for explosives none were found.
And the building reopened at 1 o'clock.
So if you had an appointment -- Walter reader you continue to have an appointment Walter -- you may want to consider.
But the building is open joining me now have to turn to another issue that I think is so important to talk about -- you talk about.
National security is energy independence.
Vincent -- former.
Assistant secretary of energy a power partner about -- doing.
Law firm in Boston.
There's really one of the eight countries experts on dealing with the emerging energy energy market in the United States has been about the Keystone Pipeline the development of natural gas and oil throughout the United States.
And I want to have him come and talk to us about -- likelihood that America could become energy independent.
Use our own natural resources and then we wouldn't have to deal and worry about all the things that are going out in the Middle East OK so tell us.
Is there a likelihood that the United States can be energy independent or at least dependent upon energy of our friendly neighbors of Americans now.
Think you're having here there's.
That it could happen if we could overcome the political obstacles -- certainly we have the resources.
We could be -- we're sitting on.
Hydrocarbon -- -- that four times greater than the Middle East.
Still being really worry I want you to repeat that -- -- hydrocarbon resources that means oil and natural gas.
-- quantity that there's in the middle it's -- And it in this you know Great Recession and -- in these economic doldrums.
One of the bright spots there's energy so there are investment dollars our guys being created an energy but.
So long as we have political obstacles we're not going to be able to really capitalize on that.
One thing that's happened over the past few years any -- that was that energy.
That was during the first term of 43.
Very very -- 43.
Candidate candidate -- -- would come over Mitt explain to us and we really need to start integrating.
Our natural resources and infrastructure.
And they would talk about North American energy security in North American market.
Well that hasn't completely been fulfilled for the reasons -- stated but what has happened recently is very disappointing.
You have the Canadian prime minister saying hey.
We don't have to go to United States.
To sell all of our resources and as matter of fact.
It's in Canada's national security interest is that we do not do that -- see other buyers for supply so there's been a deterioration.
And US -- relationships on that particular North America and -- -- national security.
Well interestingly I met with great Canadian ambassador to the United States.
Two days before President Obama decide to cancel the -- -- -- plan.
And the ambassador said to me we've got this energy we want to sell it to -- -- -- you integrate well I'll get it to you.
But if you guys don't want -- we're gonna build that pipeline west into the Pacific and we're gonna sell it to China which is one ever come matters has just written in about an event.
How we get out of the Middle East -- and not being -- turnaround would be depend -- Canada because Canada is going to trade and sell its oil to China.
Would Canada trade and sell -- to China I think it's helped us.
No I don't think so because.
Political than -- and geopolitical than him for that to that Canada isn't necessarily appreciate wanna get involved -- But the situation is now is that were forcing their hand to do that.
That larger problem of course is that.
China is making a play to buy.
And and in control some of the Alberta oilsands.
Of that particular company also owns the some exploration resources in the Gulf of Mexico so now you have.
China not only put in the camel's nose under lieutenant but really kind of put in the moment in as well -- in this situation which.
Reverberates across North America -- -- -- And also Canadian oil companies which have an interest in the gulf.
Yes so they would -- any effect -- the north and south of us and they would they have the ability to take energy that we want.
So we need and can use and they would take it to China at our expense.
It's -- these expected that is the intent.
And this can all be prevented if you've invented and a a few fronts right now which is the -- its review because.
But the media companies to have US interest over -- some DC regulatory review before the acquisition could occur Sadr is a Chinese -- back Canadian company without our progression correct well.
Trading company of interest in United States right right.
And -- But we can also do -- point two what does that which is really the point of this discussion.
Is to change the political policy.
And united states of that we allow the infrastructure to rebuild the trance four.
Canadian resource is to the US now also -- us is one part of a three legged stool we have Mexico's is North America and -- again we have the United States and then.
So could be -- -- from North America and Canada the United States and Mexico.
The energy self sufficient.
The energy -- -- and and -- energy.
Probably in about twenty years -- communities -- what you have going and this is also.
Environmentally sound policy with folks -- necessarily.
Talk to because.
With it with the expansive natural gas in the United States.
Diesel trucks -- C and CNG -- which has you know a much lower.
Emissions and there's more used by utilities buying power from.
Gas fired plants -- that of polls so all of this has an environment of not benefit in addition to a national security benefit.
And then talk to me about if the United States is able to get off of mentally store no oral or Venezuelan more now.
Does that mean the press about us down.
Not -- -- -- as did two things right one of the price and wian has the availability.
That that well this is an interesting question.
The reason why we're able to get these natural resources now because we have modern technology that can do just that -- Hinrich grabbed ten years ago -- And -- -- fracking isn't cheap it's expensive but it's also.
At at a at a price point where it makes sense to -- effect it's at a price point.
To extract oil from the tar sands.
And refine it and that's in Canada and Canada.
It but if the price becomes too low -- doesn't make sense to do these technologies -- to the price probably has the -- you know consumer comes about two dollars per gallon.
-- dinars per gallon we didn't huge billionaire and cabinet.
At a huge change to our balance of payments a huge change to our dependency on Middle East -- yes it.
What -- is it too late to change the Canadian.
Mines and -- now selling to China -- they're getting prepared to sell to China not either aura but their company is.
Would they turn around and prefer the United States -- -- in Africa ambassador told me.
I -- welcome home I had that you know that.
The fortune of having to work with -- -- and -- to visit Canada right now.
There's certainly an open mindedness two returning two to the US as a primary market -- be a primary market but there's.
To avoid the political headache of China.
-- certainly there's an openness to do that but right now there's there are no green light for candidate.
From the united saying nice things and preserve rare change of administration.
What have a change of policy yes but well -- the Republican candidate has expressed concern a desire to see.
Not only keystone come -- line -- which is no one part of this but also to kind of harmonize the regulatory structure.
So that we can bring -- resource -- to the market a lot of what's happened to in the United States you need the political.
Belly to reduce the redundant regulations between federal and state.
Okay so let's energy independence that's a terrific golf let's go far.
-- thanks for joining us on a whirlwind tour of the flash points around the planet.
I also in the United States we've talked to some of the leading experts in the field and -- you -- and a discussion with your questions and comments.
So that's -- for -- country this week.
National security crisis will no doubt continue an Intel -- we cure -- -- -- trying to figure around.