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JK SFRC hearing tomorrow: Popular Uprisings in the Middle East: The Implications for U.S. Policy

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Luftmensch067 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-16-11 03:25 PM
Original message
JK SFRC hearing tomorrow: Popular Uprisings in the Middle East: The Implications for U.S. Policy
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Presiding:
Senator John Kerry

Date:
Thursday, March 17, 2011

Time:
10:00 AM

Location:
419 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Witnesses:
The Honorable William J. Burns
Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Department of State
Washington, DC


Livestream will be here: http://foreign.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=7548c4ce...
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Luftmensch067 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 07:25 AM
Response to Original message
1. Just called CSPAN to check and was told they're NOT covering this
That makes me so angry. How timely and important is this hearing?? They don't have to air it live if they have other priorities, but COVER it!
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Luftmensch067 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 07:36 AM
Response to Original message
2. Oh, my
Look how JK bookended his speech yesterday with relevant hearings at the SFRC! When he was speaking, he'd already had the intelligence update, interesting. And no wonder he had to rush away after the speech!!!

03/16/11 02:30 PM TOP SECRET/CLOSED: Afghanistan: Progress and Expectations 217 Senate Vistors Center

03/16/11 09:00 AM TOP SECRET/CLOSED/CODEWORD: Intelligence Update on Libya 217 Senate Vistors Center
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 08:09 AM
Response to Original message
3. This should be very interesting
I don't remember if I have seen William Burns testify before, unlike Nickolas Burns, who I at first confused him with. It will be interesting to see if there is a gap between JK and the administration here.

It is also interesting as JK will go to Egypt and Israel this weekend.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 09:06 AM
Response to Original message
4. Hearing has started
Edited on Thu Mar-17-11 09:33 AM by karynnj
Kerry is speaking now. After introducing Burns, he is saying many of the same things he said yesterday - though less formally.

Dick Lugar stated that if the US enters is to enter into Libya, through a no-fly zone or more, Congress needs to declare war and he wants the Arab countries to foot the bill.

Burns: moment of enormous promise and potential. Repudiation of AQ, but it is a time of challenge. Need to know what is in play and what are the stakes. Tunisia and Egypt were not about us - but about them - and Obama's universal values spoken in Cairo. Stability is not a static thing. (Political systems are like bicycles, unless pedaled forward, they fall over.)

They recognize that things are explosive. We need humility - though it is in the interest of the US to welcome democracy, but there are likely to be fallbacks. There will be hard trade offs - with new governments being less supportive than their autocratic predecessors. There are real opportunities in front of us. Need a positive agenda - against AQ's negative agenda. Need energy independence.

4 parts of policy:
Support area's move to democracy
- support for peaceful transitions (Egypt, Tunisia)
- those where things are uncertain ???( Bahrain) - (I got this badly)
- For countries trying to stay ahead of the wave, urge and support reform (Jordan)
- For violence (Libya)

Economic help (K/L/M's bill), trade

Need resolution of Israel/Palestine

Need to deal with terrorist, Iran etc


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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Kerry questions
How is Egypt progressing - well - they disbanded the security apparatus and have been working on setting up new government. Takes time to set up parties and elections.

Timing? - not set up yet (JK there on Sunday) hopes the Presidential race is before the parliament one.

Robustness of civil society that was always there - being seized with pride and enthusiasm.

Clinton met with Libyan opposition, what was her reaction - came away impressed, impressed with the commitment of others as well. Still trying to meet with others.

What kind of future ?- they want a secular future with Democartic features.

What is impact of French recognition ? - A step along side practical measures

Bengazi ? - Q has made great strides in 24 hours due to overwhelming fire power

Bahrain , dangerous turn, what is possiblity of Prince in light of violence - urged both sides to engage in it - need a political, not security solution.

Any leverage beside our voice or are we on the side lines watching ? - weak answer
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Lugar questions
Lugar saying that Dr Rice is interested in a broad range of actions that include and go beyond a no fly zone. The British/French proposal includes ability to attack Q troops. This goes beyond what the Arab country asked for, what is the US asking for and what will the US be asked to do. What are US interests, beyond ? Qutar is in on no fly, but will Arabs' involvement include paying for it.

Burns -

Increasingly concerned of true humanitarian disaster. US working in security counsel on proposal by UK, FR and Lebanon. Don't know what the security council will approve. Want it to international and want active Arab support both in doing it and paying for it. Obama wants close Congressional consultation -

Lugar says it has to be more - need a declaration of war. Does Obama think he can do this without declaration - notes it has happened before. Asks if administration can do this without declaration.

Burns needs to approach this with humility - that's why active Arab participation and international support. (NOTE - no answer to question)
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Casey questions
Asked about the impact of sanctions against Iran and how we support the "green movement"

Burns - Says they have had an impact on the Iranian economy. On human rights, it is hypocritical that Iran applauds the green movement, while suppressing their people.

Casey - Iran is destabalizing Lebanon and Afghanistan, calls for more sanctions. Speaks of Lebanon - the heavy presence of Hezbollah - compares to organized crime organization. There is a transition there. Hezbollah is a direct threat in regions. What checks can be puty in place to keep Hezbollah from getting dollares from our aid.

Burns - there are safe guards in place to insure that does not happen. We will review aid program after government formed based on their actions. (Note - no answer on Iran)
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Corker
Says no answer to Lugar's declaration of war question -

Burns - says he can't answer - needs to ask Clinton/Obama

Corker - says it should be answered as we are meeting with the UN. Brought up that we don't know opposition

Burns - says we do know from those we have met - repeats answer to Kerry

Corker - should we know more? Burns - same Corker - are extremist groups coming in? Burns - always a possibility, but danger that Q can return to terror Corker - what is national interest

Burns - avoiding a humanitarian catastrophe and demonstrating that the democratic change works and that the woorld stands against the type of repression in Libya.

Corker - we knew better what was causing Egypt - Burns - Libya is more opaque, but he thinks there is same motivation.

Corker - makes case that at this point no fly zone is not that helpful Burns - that is why they are going further





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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 10:13 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. Menendez
Dangerous to encourage people and then not support them - missing an opportunity and Q is likely to capture Bengazi. What are we seeking to support? What are we talking about (gives lots of examples)

Burns - speaking whole range of issues - including many mentioned. M: Beyond "discussing" are we "advocating" B: we are responding because of unprecedented Arab League request. M: Exactly what B: Can't go in detail as still in negotiation. M: Speaks of Q becoming more dangerous. B: He expects that Q will return to supporting terrorism M: Has SD engaged the former FM to verify that Q ordered Pan Am bombing. Want to get verification - on tape now. Want to insure that we get info to lead to prosecution. B: We will

M: with the increased Hezbollah role in Lebanon, can we still have relations as Hezbollah controls B: will judge by actions. We don't deal with Hezbollah.

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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. Rubio
US looks weak or unable to act. Everyone else out there and the Libyan resistance is criticizing. What is future message? - what if there is a blood bath. Toxic Brew. Is there any analysis of impact of inaction.

Burns - we know what is at stake in Libya and he says Obama and SoS has acted energetically - says with British, French, Lenanese is acting energetically.

Rubio - says this means we won't do anything that Russia and China don't care about.

Burns - disagrees -

Rubio - after the blood bath Suggests that as Q moves toward Bengazi that the UN is less likely to move. What is our message

Burns - we support the democratic wave

Rubio - by sharply worded memos

Rubio - when will we have resolution -

Burns - hopefully today

Rubio - what is the time line? What if it fails?

Burns - focus is to get the resolution

R: Any idea
Burns - we have done economic sanctions

R: You can't give me even one idea
B: I just did - and I think we will get the resolution

(Too fast for me - this is being done by Rubio - who will have this out all over talk radio.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. Webb
If we were speaking of humanitarian issues, we would be speaking of Japan. An ally and a friend. Need higher on the radar screen. We should be discussing that.

Webb says Burns is being optimistic, but Webb sees a lot more going on. True extremist movements bend on using these movements. Says that there are down sides to getting involved - adherence to international law. What relationship do we have?

Burns: We have suspended (NOT BROKEN) relations.

Webb says that we can't then support the rebels. Webb is saying we nned to break relations before doing that. Webb asked about the council -

Burns: says the council has made a serious effort to represent all the tribes and we know many of them

Webb: Can you speak of other forces, including extremist groups

Burns: We are careful who we deal with, but the risk is possible.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. Kerry
Edited on Thu Mar-17-11 10:47 AM by karynnj
K When we engaged in Kosovo what was relations -
B- we had relations and no declaration of war

K When we bombed Serbia-
B -we had relations, no declaration

K When Reagan sent cruise missiles into Libya?
B- we had relations and no declaration of war

No one is speaking of occupation.

Kerry always has supported getting Congressional support, if time.

K asked of Bahrain -
B - Clinton spoke of the violence - says he thinks Bahrain can be successful.

Compares Turkey and Egypt - very similar in the pan arab times, now Turkey is far ahead. This can have profound impact everywhere.

Kerry says that Obama should speak to the country on the importance of all these things. Burns - says we need to get the transitions right.

Lugar - the committee used this meeting to have a debate on what to do in Libya. (Nice statement that summarized the two sides.)
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Luftmensch067 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
9. Came in on this 40 minutes in
Karynnj, THANK you for your summaries thus far -- I'll be watching this in full once it's available. Absolutely fascinating, serious discussion -- one of the best I've seen of all the very impressive hearings under Kerry's tenure. This guy Burns is very much on the spot, and he seems to be up to the task. Even Corker, who really irritated me with his GOP shenanigans during the SFRC budget hearing with HRC, is being deadly serious and on his game.
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Luftmensch067 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
11. I wish I didn't feel that Rubio is grandstanding
In a partisan effort to make the administration look bad. He's certainly going outside the normal lines of Senatorial courtesy! I wonder if he's planning to announce his candidacy for the presidency soon...
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. He absolutely is grandstanding and is being pretty rude - in a Hannity/Limbaugh
Edited on Thu Mar-17-11 10:29 AM by karynnj
manner of trying to cut off his answers - AND ignoring them and repeating his talking points.

He is trying to establish:
Obama is weak, Rubio if forceful
Obama is letting the UN determine what we do, Rubio is implying he wouldn't
Obama has no backup plan, Rubio is asking the hard questions.

He is doing it just like the Loud mouths do, by intimidation. He really is dangerous. (I suspect his goal is 2016 - he likely sees Obama winning in 2012.)

(I missed Cardin's comments doing this, but his questions did not seem as interesting as what Rubio pulled.)
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Luftmensch067 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 10:53 AM
Response to Original message
16. I don't know if he has always been
But Lugar is such a good egg!
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. I think he always has been and hope that the immense respect in which he has been
held in Indiana will allow him to survive the tea party challenge. I suspect that if they have even one debate, Lugar wins. The reason is that the tea partier attacking him would look VERY small and petty - sort of like, on the other side of the aisle, EOR did.
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Inuca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 10:53 AM
Response to Original message
17. Big thanks karyn
Interesting about Rubio....
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Luftmensch067 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
18. Video now up at link!
Starts about 18:46 minutes in.

I think JK might be wearing a green tie in honor of St. Patrick!
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 03:58 PM
Response to Original message
20. Coverage of the hearing from a PBS radio station - slanted to the right
Edited on Thu Mar-17-11 04:01 PM by karynnj
My first inclination was that it was "nice". But, they report two Corker questions - one actually asked first by Lugar - then do not give the Burns' response. On the question of whether we know who the rebels are Burns answered with some detail at least three times.


http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wamc/news.newsmain/ar...
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beachmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. TPM has a report:
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Very good article - the only thing that I wish he said was
to add that Kerry spoke of the importance of having the Arab league and he spoke of the UN resolution. One could think from this - as at least one person did that JK did want the UN - unlike Lugar.

Lugar's big difference was in wanting a Congressional vote - that JK did later respond to reminding Lugar that he too has always asked for that - when there is time. That is a huge difference - and though it happens all the time, there should be a vote.
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Inuca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-17-11 07:02 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Good indeed, and if I may add
absolutely gorgeous picture of JK :-)
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beachmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-11 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
24. I finally got a chance to listen to the entire hearing.
I figure others may want to just hear the key parts, so here they are:

18:43 -- Opening statements by Kerry, Lugar and Burns.

57:30 -- Lugar's questions. Particularly interesting to hear his questioning on the need for a Congressional declaration of war. Glad to hear that asserted.

73:00 - Corker's pointed questions. He was very impressive -- skeptical and blunt, but also quite polite. In particular, his questions on who the rebels actually are was quite good. Burns did not have a good answer. Burns WAS better talking about potential of extremists getting involved or that Quaddafi could go back into the business of terrorism.

88:00 -- Rubio. What.a.joke. He was a cartoon Republican and now, that the U.N. resolution passed last night, he sounds like a complete moron who knows nothing how the U.N. works. He is arguing that it's better that the U.S. does everything unilaterally. Based on his performance here, I am highly impressed with him -- he is unpresidential and is not a good candidate for higher office. He will be like Feingold in one regard -- the GOP base will love him and want him to run for POTUS, but he simply isn't presidential material. He's no moderate. He COULD have made his points (neoconservatism) and sounded good, but he chose to sound like the Fox News Network instead.

104:00 -- Webb. Another skeptic. Nice to see a Democrat be contrary, but he is independent and is not staying in the Senate, so I'm not sure how big a deal it is that he is dissenting here.

111:00 -- Kerry rebuttal to many points made. He clearly respects Lugar, Corker and Webb, acknowledges what they said, but talks about time constraints here. I also was glad to hear him question Burns about Bahrain. Very lame response from Burns about "dialogue". I think pulling punches has to do with the fact we have a base there.

Overall, I thought the hearing was quite good, although there were some boring parts that made it drag. I was fascinated by the fact that the GOP is quite divided on this issue. It's not that big a deal that Lugar dissented, but Corker did as well. In complete contrast, Rubio took a total hardline. What does the Tea Party think of all of this? They never have struck me as neocons. But it's my understanding that the neocons are doing power plays in the GOP to make sure they hold onto power and that their thinking dominates foreign policy discussion within the GOP.

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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-11 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. Interesting that the other tea partier, Jim DeMint skipped it
Edited on Fri Mar-18-11 11:16 AM by karynnj
I think that Burns did as well as he could on the "do we now who they are" question. He spoke of knowing many of them and listed at least one. At a point where some of the right and left are saying it is AQ or Muslim Brotherhood, when there is no proof or reason - other than Qaddafi's claims to think so.

I have been consistently impressed with Corker on the committee - and, of course, Lugar. They were in complete contrast to Rubio. I thank you for putting him in perspective - he really is too far to the right. My reaction was to be afraid of him.

Your last point scares me in terms of Lugar. As the most respected Republican voice on foreign policy, he might have to fight both the neo-cons and the tea party.
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beachmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-18-11 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. Typo: I am highly UNimpressed with Rubio. nt
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