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Hello everybody it is a crucial.
Day in the presidential election campaign the lost of the three presidential debates between President Obama and -- Romney will take place in Boca Raton Florida.
Tonight it will be focused entirely on farm policy.
Not something that a lot of us would necessarily -- would have played a big role in this election.
Just a few months ago but now so many issues to talk about -- The assault on our consulate in -- golf scene that led to the motives of current ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans the civil war in Syria civil war that -- day by day.
To spread further beyond -- Syria's borders.
The situation in Afghanistan the increasing violence against US and other NATO troops.
By the soldiers of the Afghan army the members of the Afghan police force that NATO troops have spent the last few years trying to train.
Let it -- go wrong we might mosque.
Fortunately we had an -- -- panel.
Not to tell us exactly what issues we should be focusing on what the candidate should be focusing a woman needs to be done about all of those issues.
Whitney here in the studio to my immediate right lieutenant colonel Tony -- from the center for advanced defense studies go through -- of operation dot com good to see colonel -- House at least -- -- foxnews.com contributor Middle East expert good to see you -- And joining us from DC -- Cedric Leighton US samples retired and president of centric Lincoln associates good to see you cuddle.
Because -- -- Jonathan all right let me start with you was -- -- there in DC.
The next few months ago.
All the polls tended to show let President Obama with a very healthy lead on foreign policy issues now just according to some new polls we've -- I -- look -- Florida for instance if we can just put that up.
President Obama -- that nine point lead over governor -- narrow -- down to 1% on foreign policy look at another battleground state Ohio.
In September there was a thirteen point lead -- down to seven points.
-- come in your estimation is this all of the fact that the Ben -- attack.
The muddle the message is perhaps to put it politely that we got from the administration or -- -- big don't worry about foreign policy here on the President Obama.
Well I think the Libyan situation Jonathan has made it such that.
People are beginning to question the White House -- to her about foreign policy.
You're the Detroit -- that bin Laden is dead and GM is alive.
Plays well for a little bit but the problem that you have if you're in the White House right now is that you have a situation where.
Every single facet of their foreign policy is being called into question because of what happened in Libya.
When people are beginning to take notice not only of what happened in Libya.
But also what's going on in Syria and then what's going on of course with Iran so there are multiple fronts people are beginning to be aware of them.
And they're realizing that things are not quite as well as the White House says they are.
Colonel the heat got a little studio -- and Connolly DC -- except that he's going to be confusing.
-- That the situation in Libya -- -- the most -- some poll perhaps in many people's minds but how.
Do you think foreign policy is being -- liberal -- the majority of people seem to think president Obama's done a pretty good job and then there's this Libya.
Well John probably be very clear I think that there's been in the -- that the through this administration put forward.
But with people listeners that that -- -- -- which I think Ben Ghazi was that the beginning of that.
You've seen an unraveling across the board sort of tapestry -- pullen went through it'll fall apart and let me be very clear on the -- -- -- just took it as a as a start point.
You're seeing either a massive.
Level of incompetence never seen at the White House before by the fact that you first off diagnose the very event which is.
-- just not likely.
And then you model -- completely the emergency response -- to be very class talk to one of the guys who.
Was a -- on the Grenada invasion and -- John that it took us six hours to do deliberate planning to invade a country that have boots on the ground you're telling me you couldn't have over six hour gun fight.
Relief troops the cavalry come to the -- of -- Ben -- thought it's it's just this is not even fashionable.
So somebody was asleep at the switch and then on top of that the third layer here.
Is the absolute -- -- the multiple stories walking on each other who was responsible who wasn't so I think what you're seeing here this is a bit and then -- he's a metaphor.
For the other issues which I think we're now seeing -- -- cover -- All just the mobile all of a harmful.
-- -- the bit of both I think I'd be here at the colonel I'm the other colonel.
Where there is there was this the president with a pretty bow on it was wrapped the night that the Osama bin Laden was declared found -- and dead.
And little by little things are becoming.
You know more clear and obviously Libya the situation that -- happened -- the worst time for the you know Obama campaign to kind of cover up another sweeping everything under the carpet.
But Burton of people who've been following -- with things have been going on the Middle East starting with the Arab Spring.
And we can go country by country and talk about all the different mistakes that we've been making got along you know many of us in the following this and knowing that president Obama's.
You know this narrative of a beautiful Arab Spring of a beautiful friendship that terrorism is now gone because of -- -- -- he's gone.
-- it's been there for a long time it's just been more spotlight it with the situation in May not -- It Egypt TS to Mubarak an ally of -- -- step down what's going on with more see what's going on Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in Iran he he.
-- is back on the people of Iran an iPhone night and that's something -- that has to be pointed out tonight that's a huge vulnerability.
-- for the farm policy record of the Obama campaign.
And now he's the rumors are circulating go over the weekend that he's going to make nice with the regime in Iran.
Mean that's been denied by both sides but who knows what's going on behind the scenes but again trying to sweep everything under the carpet in the last hour because there -- many vulnerabilities here.
Let's let's don't -- late enough access some of these big issues then one by one that we we touched on the Libya but Paulson problem I wouldn't -- -- -- Guess that a lot of experts like you would argue that the biggest issue.
Farm policy wise right now is Iran's nuclear ambitions.
What would you like to hear from both presidential candidates on -- -- because we've got these tough sanctions in place.
What else do you do short of going to -- or do we go to wal.
Well I think that's a legitimate question Jonathan I -- you know for the Obama campaign I would say one of their main things that I would like to hear from the president tonight.
What is the way forward if negotiations don't work and -- -- I have very my suspicions that there is something going on.
Behind the scenes that may in fact indicate that there are possible negotiations -- one on one negotiations in the offing with the Iranians.
If that is the case -- let's say they don't work what is the next step.
And then of course for governor Romney on that particular issue you know how do you plan for something like that how do you go in and actually.
Make sure that in these particular situations you have the forces that are ready.
In your view continue to use the so called -- to to the Asia Pacific realm.
Or do you stop that tip from a strategic standpoint and looked directly at.
What is going on in the Middle East and -- that is job one for you at the moment so those are the the big issues and when it comes to the Iranian situation and then of course.
You know I think I would expect to have a governor Romney to say that he would stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel in this particular case.
And in this series we have to be a little bit careful because Israeli interest and US interest may not necessarily complete we overlap.
So those are the things I've been looking for on that particular subject.
Kind of a -- for the -- that with the Mitt Romney has said that the president is not dealing with Iran in the strongest possible way -- Wall could he do a what could he say he will do.
That is different to the president yet short of going to war because there's not a lot of appetite I don't think among the American people for another war in the middle it.
I grew to Jonathan and -- -- things in first off one -- the first thing I would hope the governor would do is one of the things that we've talked about here on the show several times he.
He needs to recognize -- state flat out for the record.
The Iranians are doing to the same brinksmanship the north Koreans did during the ninety's to build -- program and -- if there is what I want talks in my good friend Reza Khalili.
He has been ringing the alarm -- -- this former CIA operative that a number of articles talking about the fact that -- behind the scenes things.
Look -- the north Koreans sought one on one talks with us so they could build time have time to do.
What they did which is -- there -- programs so they're ready as do the same thing here we lesson they want is a single party talked.
The one on one because all they want to do is build time.
So I think -- -- call now and call for what it is.
Secondly and more importantly.
And in addition -- the sanctions he's got to encourage the Iranian people to rise.
I think -- President Obama sided with the irony of people in 2009.
The chaos brought in by their own if you will.
Persian spring would have prevented.
The -- -- -- -- rush by their leadership to have the time is -- to develop their program.
Most of I think we need to focus on New -- the Iranian people and their thirst for freedom.
And try to encourage them any way we can.
To go against their own government because I think if you agree and I'll be quite blunt about this if we can create the internal chaos who within their own ranks -- and I ran.
And it gives them less chance to focus on every -- -- on the -- is nominal I don't believe it's an option I don't think we should go there because of the things.
Leasing unit did is -- you agree first hole with the with the colonel's view that.
Fomenting revolution of one of the that I would -- in Iran is the best way to go.
Absolutely that's the people there -- I speak to dozens of people insight on every day and that's what they would prefer.
If I understand bite bite declaring war with whatever -- what sort of above for an invasion.
Will only make use the -- that government will use that to their advantage to people rally around the flag -- the thing that governor Romney really has to focus in on tonight is that President Obama Obama has.
Repeated that all options on the table in the case of Iran yes.
You know he's going to -- he's going to try to pin Romney as a warmonger action below -- has to really point out here is that.
Obama is letting the line regime play out the clock where fewer and fewer options we'll have been me.
So you know he's the one -- really weeding out the -- -- military action being the last resort and we all want to prevent that any costs he's.
-- come on lighten up.
I wanna turn into another big issue which became even bigger I think over the last few days the civil war in Syria it's it's been an all full.
Conflict obviously 30000 Syrians -- by the human rights groups that who died another 28000 -- -- disappear but now.
We appear to be at that point which officials warned about again and again that this could very easily spread beyond the borders.
A lot of violence over the weekend in Lebanon following that all -- car bombing that killed.
One of the senior intelligence officials that we somehow Hassan.
How dangerous is it when you see.
This sort of sectarian violence taking hold in Lebanon now.
Oh that's the biggest danger Jonathan that we that we have right now in terms of the Syrian conflagration.
And there's so many risks you know obviously you have the Turkish issue with the Turks and the -- Syrians exchanging artillery shells across their border in the shelling of the Turkish -- -- -- Condit.
Those kinds of things become.
Really important precursors to any of these Tinder box type situations and with the Lebanese situation in the killing of the intelligence chief.
That becomes a very very serious element to look at because these sectarian with the landscape in Lebanon is similar to that -- Syria.
You also have a situation where the Syrians have control -- and on.
For so many years and there's a natural tendency for the Syrians to want to continue to exert control over that country.
It's and then of course you've -- the -- of Hezbollah Hamas all of those are in play in this particular case and did Lebanon becomes in essence.
The -- proxy war that could take place if we're not careful and we want to be very careful that we don't let it spread to Lebanon if we can avoid that at all.
Carol -- Trinidad and.
A lot of alarm bells -- you see this kind of violence in Lebanon's problems -- memories -- -- agree with the -- assessment I think we have to be cognizant of the fact that we have to walk very fine line we do not -- -- see the outcome we -- on Libya where you destroy the central government.
And thereby destroyed the very.
Ability of the people to be cohesive and stay stay together with -- that we can't allow al-Qaeda to go in and be part of the this solution as well.
Could this may be radical Jonathan.
But a five word Turkey I would invoke article five I would -- to about 25 -- -- that the safe zone until -- being -- find that it could legitimize your -- homeowners and -- right and I would invoke that -- created six about that point five miles.
Make that the safe haven for all the refugees to come to create -- government of Syria and that stands here.
Where you actually have to slip a legitimate group of people that we can call the government and the statue looked like her more to the French government concession and England.
And then try to go from there but the idea of simply -- John McCain has talked about arming folks I think we would see the same potential bad outcome we're seeing -- And -- and let them and eleven and and in Libya Libya right now right front.
Lisa dean dean I think a lot of -- a lot of love you was look at this is a we've heard all about -- -- series of big player in the Middle East that.
There's a smaller country next door Lebanon.
They they -- that having some problems of the civil war before why we can't we do need to care what happens look.
-- of course any particularly to care about every single country in the region because they're all very vulnerable to all these forces covering ahead this is what we warned that the at the start of the Arab Spring with Egypt and it's exactly how it played out -- clean out sooner than we had even predicted it would play out.
Where these forces are hovering overhead his political vacuums are being.
Created as a colonel correctly pointed out we don't know who were arming we don't know who we're supporting we just say OK they're against the these dictators of decades we have to help them.
But exactly eight that's.
Everyone pointed out here we have to be very careful look a very fine line and be very cognizant of what's going on with their -- in Lebanon or Syria or Libya there all -- vulnerable at this point.
I come late night I guess that if there's one group -- well all of the best employees.
To take advantage of any tale Sony in Lebanon -- Hezbollah and that could mean.
All sorts of things for the Lebanon's neighbors Israel to the -- Absolutely has -- the most dangerous thing that Israel has to confront right now and that.
-- -- -- another reason why we have to -- not only very carefully with Lebanon.
But also make it very clear that we understand what the geopolitical in power implications -- of a situation like this.
So it means that we go in and are proactive in Lebanon.
I think we have missed a lot of great opportunities in Syria to contain the fighting.
I think that you know what to colonel -- mentioned about the the idea of a in a buffer zone is probably something that we should seriously have considered a few months ago and is still possibly viable.
But the other thing we should also look it is the establishment of a no fly zone because now we see.
The Syrian government going after their civilian population using both fixed wing and -- -- -- aircraft.
And because of that.
-- they have in essence upped the ante in terms of the suffering that the Syrian people are experiencing.
And it really has to be a part of this has to be -- humanitarian peace and we need to look at that as well and that is if we -- that carefully.
Then we can also Foster a great deal more goodwill and we're currently fostering in the Arab world.
-- -- -- -- definitely moving all into one of the other big issues Afghanistan or that doesn't.
Appear to be a lot of light between the two candidates on Afghanistan need the withdrawal by the end of 2014.
Both seem roughly committed to that.
So how does how does governor Romney if if he should in fact.
I should -- should he and how does he differentiate himself from president -- on Afghanistan this.
Just two points and one of these already stated you never tell the adversary -- your leader I mean I think the president Obama's basic plot strategy there were several but the the most basic the most obvious was telling the -- -- on we're leaving I mean.
It's been obvious that they've been waiting us out preparing according to ambassador.
The -- came out of there over the summer ambassador.
Oh my goodness terrible time but thanks to have those across ambassador Crocker said that about 25% of the current.
To include that did the army and police are -- -- -- legislators -- -- master system and so we got to be concerned about that the other point that that the that I'd I'd like to see governor Romney make it's never been about numbers it's a bit about strategy and what to do with troops 1 and a former Central Command commander.
Four star general Tomei -- a ball back that the issue has always been what is the mission not how many troops are using so we got to focus on what this affected.
We were effective and defeating the tell about a 42 days because we're focused on actually going after.
The bad guys only attempt counterterrorism.
The Afghan people -- on govern their self govern when you go back to that allowing that that these tribes to be self sufficient I don't think we can push and -- -- -- government.
And so I think governor Romney acknowledging that and then working with the pakistanis to basically go after the -- about who now by the way are turning on them.
Taught that we just have had the girl -- -- at all about who we need to help them out of the situation helped create.
Yeah I don't put pressure on constantly -- Is it just a financial.
We told mandate that's you know we could that we get our enemies giving us for free what we're actually -- -- cleanest money you go about.
But -- that's one issue another issue you know will we talked about Syria and talk about Pakistan and it's everywhere.
You know we talk about Afghanistan -- -- there's fewer chips they're -- but they're more at risk.
You don't just a week I want more people -- highlight this just -- week after Osama bin Laden's capture was announced ninety troops were killed by a problem because we weren't looking like we are patting ourselves on the back because we did such a wonderful job catching all of a lot.
But I -- all of these different groups -- these -- proxies inside these different countries.
These threats existed -- inside pockets sonics inside Lebanon at a good and I think we want to look at Iran has the biggest.
Global threat right now that's another way to -- combat the regime from inside Lebanon Hezbollah's funded by.
They line regime or Syria who's giving them -- -- could get a allowing bush our thoughts of remain that way that he had with their running machine.
So again all different threats whether -- be pockets and we have to apply the pressure.
We have -- we'll have a better strategy for Afghanistan.
Okay let me just go round the have -- the panel quickly got to wrap it up a couple Lleyton festival.
Which of these many issues that we discussed.
Do you think will be.
Nor should -- be the main focus of the debate tonight what is the most pressing all of these issues.
Well I think clearly the Middle East is going to be the one that's going to come up I think that too when you -- yet.
All of the different aspects you know you've got three tinderbox of Libya and do the catalyst of what happened to our ambassador there.
-- of the Iranian situation you have Syria makes for a natural.
Discourse with the debate.
I've the other side of this there was there -- certain issues that are not really being looked at here and that goes to the other part of the world when you look at what's going on in the South China Sea and also between Japan and China.
There's some significant issues that they should be talking about I almost out that they will but would be nice to hear it -- it which candidate has which position.
Regarding the efforts between China and Japan to fight over a bunch of rocks in the Pacific.
The other part of it is that one thing that governor Romney mentioned very briefly.
In the last debate is cyber security and this is going to be a very very big issue.
I've for the nation and really for the world -- gonna be very very interesting to hear what the candidates have to say about it there's been some progress made in recent years.
But the problem that you have is every bank he seems to be getting -- with.
Site -- issues and do you have HSBC doing it.
Getting getting a bigger victim of that you have other banks of course do we -- than two weeks prior to that all right these are all issues with that John.
OK we gonna we gonna do real quick scuttle shake us important.
Modernization we got to figure -- how to fight between cyber China an addition of that infrastructure -- power grid all these things.
And then I don't regret erotic simply restored two billion dollars we need to do its 21 century strategy.
Let's remember the last underpinnings of do you -- -- that we created was 1947 the national security act of 1947 to win the Cold War and cold -- over let's figure how we can configure ourselves.
And being a protective.
Not more expensive interesting point Lisa -- the most emboldened them still went and.
I think the victim is going to be the person who's going to be the most honest that they not only are we in economic crisis but we're in a farm policy questions as well obviously the Middle East Libya.
Iran being the biggest issue and on and I think because the economy such a big deal.
How do we deal with China.
All right okay Lisa that -- Colonel Jacobs colonel Tony -- altar of operation don't -- center for advanced defense studies.
And got a panel senator -- -- -- retired president Cedric -- associate thank tool great debate we will have a lot talk about tomorrow -- -- -- all for being here.