Ambassador Volker on Foreign Affairs

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Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker brings his insight to the latest foreign affairs news, including what we might expect in the foreign affairs arena with a new president in office.



COMING UP NEXT ON ARIZONA HORIZON: FORMER NATO AMBASSADOR KURT VOLKER ASSESSES PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FOREIGN AFFAIRS IDEAS. AND WE'LL HEAR ABOUT A NEW ORGANIZATION WORKING TO BRING JOBS TO THE STATE. THOSE STORIES NEXT, ON ARIZONA HORIZON. ARIZONA "HORIZON" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE MEMBERS OF AZ PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.

TED SIMONS: GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO ARIZONA HORIZON, I'M TED SIMONS. PRESIDENT TRUMP'S RECENT ACTIONS ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION ARE SPURRING A DEBATE BETWEEN POLITICIANS HERE IN ARIZONA. PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON REACTED YESTERDAY TO PRESIDENT TRUMPS EXECUTIVE ACTION TO BEGIN CONSTRUCTION OF A BORDER WALL. IN A STATEMENT MAYOR STANTON SAID THAT THE ORDERS, QUOTE, "UNLEASHED A DIVISIVE ATTACK ON LATINOS IN PHOENIX AND AROUND THE COUNTRY. " STANTON VOWED THAT, QUOTE, "WE WILL FIGHT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S ATTEMPT TO TURN THE PHOENIX POLICE DEPARTMENT INTO A MASS DEPORTATION FORCE. TODAY, PHOENIX CITY COUNCILMAN SAL DICICCIO REACTED TO THE MAYOR'S STATEMENT.

SAL DICICCIO: THE MAYOR TALKS ABOUT MASS DEPORTATION. NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT THAT. THE CITY OF PHOENIX COMPLIES WITH THE LAWS. IF HE WANTS TO CHANGE THE RULES, ALL HE HAS TO DO IS PUT A MOTION OUT THERE AND PUT IT ON THE AGENDA. HE IS THE MAYOR AND CAN PUT SOMETHING ON THE AGENDA TO MOVE THE CITY OF PHOENIX INTO A SANCTUARY CITY. BUT HIS LETTER DOES NOTHING MORE THAN INFLAME THE COMMUNITY ASK DOESN'T SET OUT THE FACTS AS TO WHAT THEY ARE.

TED SIMONS: REGARDING REFUGEES, PHOENIX IS CONSIDERED AMONG THE MOST WELCOMING CITIES IN THE COUNTRY, AND IN 2016 ARIZONA RESETTLED MORE REFUGEES THAN ALL BUT 3-STATES: CALIFORNIA, MICHIGAN AND TEXAS.
TED SIMONS: PRESIDENT TRUMP IS WASTING LITTLE TIME IN RE-SHAPING AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY. FROM INSITING THAT MEXICO PAY TO BUILD A BORDER-WALL TO SCRAPPING A MULTI-NATION TRADE COMPACT, THE NEW PRESIDENT IS EMPHASIZING THAT AMERICA'S PLACE IN THE WORLD IS CHANGING. JOINING US NOW TO TALK ABOUT THIS NEW DIRECTION IN U.S. FOREIGN POLICY IS KURT VOLKER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO AND CURRENTLY THE DIRECTOR OF ASU'S MCCAIN INSTITUTE. IT HAS BEEN A WHILE SINCE YOU WERE ON. LAST TIME YOU WERE ON WE WERE THINKING MAYBE DONALD TRUMP COULD BE PRESIDENT.

KURT VOLKER: TURNS OUT THERE IS WHERE WE ARE.

TED: LET'S START WITH TODAY'S HEADLINES. THE MEXICAN PRESIDENT IS REFUSING TO MEET WITH THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SAYS YOU ARE GOING TO PAY FOR IT AND IF YOU AREN'T DON'T BOTHER MEETING WITH ME. WHAT IS GOING ON?

KURT VOLKER: I THINK IT IS A LOT OF PRE-NEGOTIATION. PEOPLE JOKED ABOUT NEGOTIATING OVER THE SIZE OF THE TABLE BEFORE HAVING THE ISSUE. I THINK THIS IS SHOWING EACH ONE IS A POWERFUL LEADER AND TEASE UP THE ABILITY FOR THEM TO MAKE A DEAL. I THINK THERE IS ANOTHER ISSUE BEHIND THIS AND I THINK PEOPLE IN ARIZONA WILL UNDERSTAND TO OPPORTUNITIES ARE MEXICO ARE HUGE. WE DON'T WANT TO LOSE THOSE BY BUILDING A WALL OR BREAKING UP NAFTA. I THINK THE QUESTION IS HOW DO WE GET A NEGOTIATION TO PUT SOMETHING IN TO IT THAT IMPROVES IT SO THAT WE ALL BENEFIT FROM. MAKE A BETTER NORTH AMERICA.

TED SIMONS: LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT ASPECT OF THE TRUMP DIPLOMACY SITUATION. IN A DIPLOMACY, BOTH SIDES WANT SOMETHING AND IN DIPLOMACY OFTEN BOTH SIDES GET SOMETHING. DONALD TRUMP'S IDEA OF DIPLOMACY IS ROOTED IN BUSINESS. I WIN, YOU LOSE, THAT IS IT. ARE YOU SEEING THAT AS WELL?

KURT VOLKER: THAT IS CERTAINLY WHAT WE ARE SEEING IS PUSHING FIRST AND SAYING NOW WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE TO SEE IF WE CAN GET TO A SOLUTION. I AM NOT SURE WHAT THE SOLUTION LOOKS LIKE. WE HAVE NOT SEEN THIS IN FOREIGN POLICY UNDER A TRUMP ADMINISTRATION THAT JUST STARTED. I THINK WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THE JOB OF THE PRESIDENT, THE JOB OF OUR DIPLOMATIC SERVICE IS TO ADVANCE AMERICAN INTEREST AND VALUES. WE WANT TO DO THAT AND I THINK WE ARE MOST EFFECTIVE WHEN WE DO THAT WHEN THE PEOPLE WE ARE WORKING WITH WANT TO DO THAT TOO. THEY WANT TO ADOPT VALUES, SHARED INTERESTS AND WE CAN BUILD SOMETHING TOGETHER. THERE ARE CASES WHERE WE HAVE ADVARSARIES AND WE NEED TO PUSH BACK. I THINK WHAT WERE SEEING NOW IS WERE GETTING DIFFERENT NEGOTIATIONS TO GET GOING WHERE WE HAVE AN INTEREST, PUSH A LITTLE BIT AND GET INTO A CONVERSATION ON WHAT IS THE FINAL OUTCOME. IT COULD BE SOMETHING WE ARE HAPPY ABOUT.

TED SIMONS: THE IDEA OF PUSHING AGAINST ADVASARIES AND TEAMING WITH ALLIES HE SEEMS TO BE FOND OF RUSSIA WHICH IS COMMONLY CONSIDERED THE OPPOSITE. HE IS PUSHING ON NATO, MEXICO AND EXTENSIVE ALLIES. WHAT IS GOING ON?

KURT VOLKER: AGAIN, I CAN ONLY SPECULATE. BUT I THINK WITH PUTIN EVERY PRESIDENT I CAN REMEMBER STARTED OFF WITH SOME KIND OF RESET WITH RUSSIA WHETHER IT WAS G GEORGE H.W. BUSH, CLINTON, GEORGE H BUSH, AND A LOT OF THAT HAS HTINKING THAT THEIR PREDECESSOR SCREWED IT UP AND I CAN DO BETTER, I KNOW THESE PEOPLE, I CAN MAKE IT WORK. THEN THEY SAY THE PROBLEM ISN'T THE PREDECESSOR BUT RUSSIAN BEHAVIOR AND I THINK THAT IS LIKELY WHERE WE WILL SEE THIS GO AGAIN. THERE MAY BE A TACTICAL ELEMENT. WE HAVE SEEN JUST CHANGING THE BODY LANGUAGE. WE HAVE BEEN IN A CONFRONTATIONAL POSITION WITH RUSSIA. SO FAR, WE WILL SEE, BUT WE HAVEN'T SEEN AN EFFORT TO TRY TO SAY WE NEED TO OFFER RUSSIA SOMETHING TO APPEASE THEM. IT IS MUCH MORE SAYING LET'S GET ALONG AND SEEING HOW RUSSIA REACTS TO THAT.

KURT VOLKER: IF RUSHIA GOES AHEAD AND STARTS BEING ADVENTUROUS OUT THERE WE HAVE TO DO OR SAY SOMETHING.

TED SIMONS: IT IS IMPORTANT WE PUSH BACK BECAUSE THAT IS THE LANGUAGE RUSSIA UNDERSTAND. PUTIN PUSHES HARD FOR FORCE AND WANTS TO SEE HOW OTHERS WILL REACT. I THINK WE NEED TO SHOW REACTION TO THAT. IF YOU REMEMBER A WEEK AGO, PUTIN SAID SOMETHING ABOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND HOW THEY HAVE THE BEST NUCLEAR ARSENAL IN THE WORLD. IT WAS THEN-PRESIDENT TRUMP TWEETED BACK WE ARE MODERNIZING OUR NUCLEAR ARSENAL AND OURS IS THE BEST IN THE WORLD AND HE NOT HEARD A THING ABOUT IT.

TED SIMONS: THERE ARE SO MANY AVENUES TO GO THERE. THERE IS SOME CONCERN THAT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRESIDENT TRUMP AND RUSSIA JUST IN GENERAL, THERE IS SOMETHING GOING ON THAT MAY NOT BE HEALTHY FOR THE REST OF US BUT IT IS GOOD FOR TRUMP. IS HIS PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA A VALID CONCERN?

KURT VOLKER: I DON'T WANT TO SPECULATE BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT S. WE HAVE SEEN REPORTS AND THEN THE REPORTS ARE DEBUNKED. I DON'T WANT TO GO THERE. BUT I WOULD SAY THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE ISSUES AND RUSSIA IS TERRIBLY IMPORTANT. RUSSIA HAS BEEN A VERY BAD ACTOR. WE CAN PICK OFF ALL THE THINGS THEY HAVE DONE INVADING GEORGIA, UKRAINE, ANNEXING TERRITORY, THREATENING NUCLEAR USE OF FORCE, ALL THAT STUFF. I THINK WE ARE LOOKING AT A QUESTION OF TACTICS. HOW DO WE ADDRESS THAT RUSSIA SO WE CAN CONTAIN THAT BEHAVIOR AND AVOID GETTING INTO A CONFRONTATION? EVERY PRESIDENT STARTS WITH TACTICS OF REACHING OUT AND EVERY PRESIDENT ENDS UP SAYING WE HAVE TO PUSH BACK. I THINK IT IS THE BEGINNING OF A PHASE.

TED SIMONS: WHAT ABOUT THE PHASE WITH CHINA, DO YOU THINK THE TPP, MULTINATION TRADE DEAL, FORMALLY ABANDONED BY THE U.S. THIS WAS A PRE-TRADE ZONE FOR 40% OF THE WORLD'S ECONOMY. CRITICS ARE SAYING WE LEAVE THAT 12 NATION DEAL AND CHINA STEPS RIGHT INTO A HUGE VACUUM. DO THEY HAVE A MOINT?

KURT VOLKER: THERE IS A POINT TO THAT. THIS WAS THE FRAMEWORK WE HAD BEEN WORKING WITH. IT WAS TO BE AND PACKED WITH COUNTRIES THAT ARE AROUND CHINA AND FEEL CONCERNED ABOUT CHINA. IT DOESN'T MEAN IT IS THE ONLY THING WE CAN DO. IT WAS THE FRAMEWORK WE ARE WORKING WITH. THERE ARE SPECIFIC IMPLICATIONS ABOUT THE ISSUES OF TRADE. WE CLEARLY DON'T HAVE THE POLITICAL SUPPORT BEHIND PURSUING THIS RIGHT NOW AFTER PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ELECTION. SO I THINK THERE IS A RISK THAT CHINA DOES SORT OF FEEL THEY CAN STEP IN E FLEX MUSCLE, BUT WE HAVE TO SEE WHAT REPLACES IT. WHAT REPLACES THAT FRAMEWORK OF TPT AS THE U.S.-ENGAGEMENT WITH COUNTRIES IN ASIA WHO DESPERATELY WANT THAT ENGAGEMENT.

TED SIMONS: WE ALSO HEAR CRITICS SAYING THAT WITH THE U.S. IS SEEN AS SOMEWHAT UNRELIABLE PULLING OUT AND IF WE ARE UNRELIABLE IN THIS WE COULD BE UNRELIABLE IN OTHER AREAS AS WELL.

KURT VOLKER: I THINK WE HAVE SEEN THE SAME THING WITH EUROPE AS WELL. WE HAVE BEEN NEGOTIATING THE TRANSPACIFIC PARTNERSHIP AND THAT IS LIKELY TO GO NOWHERE. WE HAVE A NEW PRESIDENT AND A NEW POLICY AND COUNTRIES ARE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO CONNECT WITH THAT. I CANNOT TELL YOU THE NUMBER OF CONVERSATIONS I HAVE HAD WITH FOREIGN AMBASSADORS WHO ARE TRYING TO CONNECT TO THE NEW ADMINISTRATION AND NOT KNOWING WHO TO CALL OR HOW TO DO THAT.

TED SIMONS: WE ARE HEARING REPORTS THERE IS A LOT OF TURNOVER IN THE LONG TERM DIPLOMATIC CORE AND A LOT OF LONG TERM FOLKS ARE SAYING I AM OUT OF HERE AND IT IS GETTING DIFFICULT TO REPLACE THEM.

KURT VOLKER: COMING OUT OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE AND KNOWING THAT ASPECT, IF WE HAVE AN ELECTED PRESIDENT IT IS OUR DUTY TO SERVE THE PRESIDENT AND MAKE THE BEST OUT OF IT WE CAN. AS AN AMERICAN, HE HAS BEEN ELECTED THE PRESIDENT. WE HAVE TO WANT HIM TO BE SUCCESSFUL.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS THE NEW U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N., NIKKI HALEY, NO DIPLOMATIC EXPERIENCE THERE. SECRETARY OF STATE, NO DIPLOMATIC EXPERIENCE THERE EITHER. DOES THAT CONCERN YOU?

KURT VOLKER: IT DOESN'T. PARTICULARLY TILLERSON HE HAS ENORMOUS BUSINESS EXPERIENCE AND VERY SUCCESSFUL AND ENORMOUS INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE. SO HE WASN'T MAKING FOREIGN POLICY BUT UNDERSTANDING AND ENGAGING WITH COMPLEX PROBLEMS AROUND AND WORLD AND VERY UNSAVORY CHARACTERS AND FIGURING OUT HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM. HE BRINGS A WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE. NIKKI HALEY DOESN'T HAVE THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS EXPERIENCE BUT HAS A TREMENDOUS PERSONAL NARRATIVE AND HAS BEEN AN ELECTED SUCCESSFUL POLITICIAN AND REFLECTS WHAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FEEL. IN DIPLOMACY WE HAVE CAREER PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE THERE STAFFING THESE THINGS. THE DEPUTY AMBASSADOR AT THE UNITED NATIONS, THE WHOLE GOVERNOR SERVICE UNDER THE SECRETARY OF STATE. WE HAVE A STRONG, CAREER FOREIGN POLICY EXPERTISE. IT HAS BEEN THE NATURE OF OUR SYSTEM WHETHER IT IS UNDER OBAMA OR PRESIDENT TRUMP WE BRING IN OUTSIDE LEADERSHIP AND STAFF WITH IT CAREER PROFESSIONALS.

TED SIMONS: THE DEFENSE SECRETARY, SOME ARE CONCERNED. CIVILIAN CONTROL OF A MILITARY AND TAKES A HOLIDAY WITH THIS APPOINTMENT. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

KURT VOLKER: I THINK MATTIS IS ALMOST A UNIQUE FIGURE AS GEORGE MARSHALL WAS. HE HAS BEEN OUT OF THE MILITARY. HE IS A HERO WITHIN THE MILITARY. BATTLE HARDENED AND WAR EXPERIENCE. WE FACE A STRONG THREAT WITH ISIS AND HE IS A SCHOLAR AND REGARDED AS AN INTELLECTUAL COMING OUT OF THE MILITARY. A YOU SAW IN THE VOTES HEARIN GOF THE SENATE HE HAS TREMENDOUS SUPPORT FOR LEADERSHIP OF THE PENTAGON AND THIS WAR EFFORT WE ARE IN AGAINST ISIS.

TED SIMONS: YET HIS BOSS, ALL THEIR BOSSES, IS PRESIDENT TRUMP. IS WHAT HAPPENING IN AMERICA WITH DONALD TRUMP AND THE IDEA THAT EVERYONE SEEMS TO WANT A BORDER, EVERYONE WANTS A FENCE, AND EVERYONE WANTS THEIR OWN COUNTY BACK QUOTE UNQUOTE. IS THAT HAPPENING IN EUROPE? ALL OVER THE WORLD?

KURT VOLKER: WELL IT'S A DIFFERENT TREND. I WOULDN'T DESCRIBE IT WUITE THAT WAY. THE BORD AND THE FENCE IS A DIFFERENT TREND. I WOULD SAY PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD WITH THE BREXIT VOTE AND THE NETHERLANDS, FRANCE, GERMANY, SWEDEN, POLAND, WHAT YOU SEE PEOPLE FEEL THE CURRENT ELITES, THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN IN POWER AND RUNNING POLITICS, COUNTRIES FOR DECADES ARE NOT RESPONSIVE AND DEALING WITH THE WORRIES PEOPLE HAVE. SOME OF THOSE WORRIES ARE IN IMMIGRATION, SOME ECONOMIC, SOME GLOBALIZATION, SOME ON SOCIAL ISSUES. BUT YOU HAVE THIS FRUSTRATION THAT THE ELITES HAVE ARE NOT DEALING WITH THE CHALLENGES THEY FACE TODAY. THAT IS WHERE THE PEOPLE FROM THE FAR RIGHT PARTIES LIKE FRANCE OR THE ALTERNATIVE IN GERMANY THAT IS WHERE THEY ARE GETTING THE WIND IN THEIR SAILS. THE CHALLENGE IS MORE MAINSTREAM POLITICIANS WITH REALISTIC SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS ADDRESS THOSE SAME FRUSTRATED VOTERS.

TED SIMONS: ARE THE MAINSTREAM POLITICIANS GOING TO HAVE A VOICE?

KURT VOLKER: IN THE CASE OF THE NETHERLANDS, THEY'VE BANDED TOGETHER SAYING EVEN THEY GET THE SINGLE LARGEST NUMBER OF VOTES IN PARLIAMENT THEY WILL STILL FORM A GOVERNMENT AND NOT WORK WITH THEM. IN THE CASE OF THE UK, TERESA MAY IS THE LEADER AND SHE IS CARRYING FORWARD THE WILL OF THE VOTERS IN THE UK BUT TRYING TO BRING IT BACK TO MAINSTREAM POLITICS. MURK LAW IS IN THE TOUGH SPOT IN GERMANY. SHE IS LOSING SOME GROUND WITH PUBLIC OPINION BUT SHE HAS THE POLITICAL MACHINERY IN PLACE TO GET REELECTED.

TED SIMONS: ITS INTERESTING THERESA MAY WAS QUOTED SAYING THE UK AND AMERICA WILL REDISCOVER OUR CONFIDENCE TOGETHER. YOU HAVE A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES USING CARNAGE AND SAYING THE AMERICAN DREAM IS DEAD. SHE IS SAYING HE NEED TO RECOVER OUR CONFIDENCE. INTERESTING TIMES.

KURT VOLKER: IT IS. I THINK WHAT TRUMP IS TRYING TO 'GET OUT OF THIS IS THE FEELING THAT THINGS HAVEN'T GONE WELL. WE HAVE BEEN OVER EXTENDED AND OVER ENGAGED. THE WORLD IS WORSE OFF THEN IT WAS. AND THEN WEVE BEEN PULLING BACK FOR IT AS WELL. HE IS TRYING TO TELL PEOPLE WE CAN REENGAGE AND THE QUESTION IS HOW? AND WE WANT TO DO IT IN A WAY THAT ACTUALLY WORKS FOR THE UNITED STATES. NOW, YOU KNOW, WE WILL SEE. IT IS JUST THE EARLY DAYS AND ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. BUT I THINK THERE IS SOMETHING BEHIND WHAT SHE IS SAYING.

TED SIMONS: GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. WE APPRECIATE IT. COMING UP NEXT ON ARIZONA HORIZON WE'LL LEARN ABOUT A NEW GROUP THAT'S LOOKING FOR BETTER WAYS TO GROW ARIZONA'S ECONOMY.

Kurt Volker: Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO

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