US response to attack on consulate in Libya
Panel weighs in on potential options
- Duration 7:16
- Date Sep 13, 2012
Panel weighs in on potential options
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Rise in the Middle East raising questions about US foreign policy and American leadership in general at this time in history.
I joining us to talk -- about this he had a great panel fleet is retired general Jack Keane is a former vice chief of staff of the US armies of proxies military analysts.
Patriotic front is a proxies national security analyst time John Flynn a senior fellow at the foundation for defense of democracies his expertise terrorism.
I'm Bret Stephens is a foreign affairs columnist for the Wall Street Journal.
Welcome to -- it's great to have you and a lot has happened in the world over the last 48 hours a simple question to started Brad.
I'd take your chance at this one.
What does -- song mean.
Well I think it.
Beyond the immediate tragedy.
And the proximate causes I think it's a moment.
Of global weakness for the United States I think of it is 1979.
All over again America's perceived to be in retreat.
Out of Iraq soon to be out of Afghanistan.
Possibly facing a nuclear.
Iran indecisive when it comes to helping friends like Israel.
We've lost our leverage in Egypt and so it's not surprising then suddenly the emblems of American power and diplomacy.
May be coming under attack the way say the Danish embassies were just a few years ago KT DC -- -- why.
You have a slightly differently -- months ago an air of spring air of uprising started.
Why did it happen because -- every one of these countries 75% of the population is under the age of thirty and they don't have jobs.
So they wanted economic opportunity and I thought that the dictators they had.
We're standing in the way -- that -- they -- rid of the dictators now they all have new governments but guess what they still don't have jobs and so they're looking around for somebody to be angry at the United States.
The obvious choice now did -- hottest did Al -- start this revolution eighteen months ago.
Now but are they taking advantage of it now most definitely.
-- -- general -- and what's our role what do we do about it is about creating jobs for these people will began create jobs than our own country or is it something else.
-- -- -- his various political groups in these countries that are vying for power.
As a result of the political sea change that took place with the Arab Spring and extremists.
Certainly who have not gained power in these countries.
Does this -- of these who probably participated attack in Libya and and also released would demonstrating.
Both lost their power and influence are trying to regain have been banging and against the United States public like this is a way take.
To regain some influence but I couldn't agree with -- more here.
You know we had a policy of confrontation with the radicals prior to -- up.
A policy of containment with the -- prior to 9/11 after 9/11 -- policy was confrontation.
I'm convinced now would disengaging -- -- is evidence of that.
Timetable to get out of Afghanistan.
Is evidence of that a feckless policy deal with deal running in the lead into a nuclear weapon is.
Even more dramatic evidence and everybody pays attention.
To these issues not what I travel around the Middle East you'll -- this over and over again from Middle East and leaders what is going on with few Americans why you pulling back.
And that really is at the heart of the.
Problem time is that what you're seeing as well and your research when you look at terror is in and -- role it plays here.
We we keep on hearing these are all different groups and some of them are terrorists and some of them are not.
But what are we to make of it.
-- -- -- I think right toll -- simmering retreat we are retreat.
This election campaign presidential election campaign has been very bizarre really it's basically been present Obama saying.
I killed us on the line so it's over and Mitt Romney saying they -- us on the line and I don't want talk about it.
What these events show is that the threat of Islamist extremism and terrorism remains is something it's -- -- it's something we were experiencing.
All throughout the greater Middle East.
-- in both Libya and Egypt I want I want point out I don't think that these assaults really can be explained away as just being a general mob reaction to anti Islamic film.
As despicable reprehensible -- film is.
Will we see in both cases a very coordinated sophisticated operation in Libya -- was sophisticated terrorist attack using indirect and direct fire.
In Egypt we find that the brother of al-Qaeda is Amir Iman Al zawahiri his brother Mohamed Al zawahiri.
Actually admittedly helped lead the protest against the Egyptian embassy in -- -- the US embassy in Cairo.
He was actually Al is out front that it -- as they raise up guys flag.
So I think this is really showing us that really the fight that we have been told over and over again is over is not over and that we have -- real discussion about all this means.
So then that's what we're trying to do I guess right guys -- -- -- -- then what our options mean if if the United States is in a place that you're suggesting it is.
Then what a truly our options at this point -- you know the United States has been losing leverage all over the Middle East since the Arab Spring began had been in the beginning of 2011 we've lost.
Essentially a client state or client regime in each -- we've lost we've we've squandered whatever leverage we might have had.
In Syria by essentially not wanting to.
Interfere really the issue is whether the United States is prepared to demonstrate that it will put its will and its resources to confront.
The robes that are increasingly menacing us that really comes down actually not to Egypt but to Iran that seems to be the test case the crucible.
Of American power but it's just also worth pointing out.
You know just a week ago the Obama administration was in the process of negotiating.
Forgiveness of more than a billion dollars worth of Egyptian debt and yet president more see the Muslim Brotherhood the new president of Egypt.
Was busy essentially denouncing the United States in Brussels today.
Because we have something called the First Amendment he lived in California for many -- for for many years of his life you would think he would -- learned at least that much about American constitutional law.
It's a general came picking up on that we understand it two ships are moving -- near the coast outside of Libya -- what do you make of that and and do you think a show of force.
Whatever that means simply define it.
Is necessary here in the region today.
Well I think much more important in moving navy ships and -- -- -- That doesn't have some influence -- one is -- we had a coordinated attack against talk consulate which seems to be holding inadequately protected.
And that's an issue we got a resolve.
And we got to reassess the security but we gotta chase down these folks that did this.
And that I wouldn't be dependent on on the government of -- -- will do it because it cannot provide security for their own people much less for us.
And the militants will be watch -- -- the -- they know they just killed us.
And what are we doing about it is one of the issues that they'll be watching that they perceive America still continuing to be weaken it emboldens them to come forward.
And to do more.
And our policy Iran is really the major issue in the region and and -- fact of the matter is where leading to a decision.
That's going to probably force the Israelis to conduct.
A military attack that doesn't have the sufficient means in capability that the united states military attack would have.
Verses -- a policy of committing -- -- to have nuclear weapons.
There's so much we talked about and that's all the time we have it was a big region we look for to have you both back all of you back all of you back to talk about this general -- Kati and Brad and Thomas.
Eyes -- big topping an obviously worth a lot of time thank you.