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World Affairs Councils of America - Alabama World Affairs Council

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Alabama World Affairs Council's Archive:

Notes, 2012-13

These notes by Jeremy Lewis do not represent the views of AWAC, its Board, or other members.

Bret Stephens, key points of speech to AWAC, YouTube, 3'

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11 September 2012: Brian Latell,"Fidel Castro's Secrets and the Future of Cuba." CIA operative, National Intelligence Officer for Latin America, tracked Fidel for CIA since the 60s. Author of three books.

9 October 2012: Ambassador Edmund Hull, "The Arab Revolutions 2011-12: A tectonic shift." Former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, many high-level posts in State Department. Expert on counterterrorism, fluent in Arabic.

27 November 2012: Dr. Nader Hashemi, "Understanding Muslim Societies." On faculty of University of Denver, expert on the politics of the Middle East and on the nature of Islam.

8 January 2013: Col. Michael Meese, PhD, "The Future of Counterterrorism." Director of Combating Terrorism Center and Head of Social Sciences Department at the United States Military Academy, West Point.
Video of speech and question time at C-SPAN | Part of slideshow

12 February 2013: Ambassador Francois Delattre, "French-American Relations." French Ambassador to the U.S., Former Ambassador to Canada, has held his current post since February 2011.

14 May 2013: Air War College Instructors "Report to Alabama" on their recent trips to areas of interest around the globe as part of the AWC Regional and Cultural Studies Program.


11 September 2012: Brian Latell, "Fidel Castro's Secrets and the Future of Cuba." CIA operative, National Intelligence Officer for Latin America, tracked Fidel for CIA since the '60s. Author of three books.
    Senior Research Associate at Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Affairs at U. of Miami
    Senior Associate at America's Program at CSIS in Washington
    Latin-American and Caribbean specialist for four decades
    35 years intelligence service in the USAF, CIA, and National Intelligence Council
    Author of several books
6 years since Fidel stepped aside, now quite impaired.
Might still be exercising veto power over his brother.  Assassination attempts are detailed in book
The surprising strength of Cuban intelligence:
Subject, most highly decorated intelligence officer to defect to US via Vienna.  Revelations stunned debriefers in CIA and FBI, incredible stories.  Core of new book is interviews 20 years later in very secure setting.
Fidel was running supermole in DC, still never caught, possibly in CIA or Pentagon.  2 moles in State Dept and 2 Reps were agents of Cuban govt.
Cuban intelligence success against US, double agent operation against CIA, spies in Cuba to report to US via third countries.  All these recruits were double agents, personally supervised by Fidel.  48-50 dbl agents.
One such operation against FBI by 1987.  Prof was recruited, and then she recruited a student to apply to CIA when Aspillago blew whistle.
Cuban intelligence among very best in world, and in dbl agents, moles, counter intl they were without peer. Woman spy worked in Pentagon DIA, now serving long sentence.  Englishwoman also, Fidel loved to meet with best spies.
We had grossly underestimated Cuban intelligence.
Had advice from KGB and Stasi later, but Fidel himself a master of conspiracy.
US terribly embarrassed by Florentino Aspillago’s tales of successes.  This heroic defector enabled us to level the playing field.  Many have been neutralized or convicted, eg “wasps” in late 1990s.
Issue of involvement of Castro in the JFK assassination: the evidence
Exhibit A: 1963 when in listening post in NW Cuba, Florentino Aspillago -- who listened to CIA in Langley & Miami, for transmissions of sabotage teams -- suddenly got orders to stop all work and focus on Dallas on day of JFK assassination, about 0930 EST, before the assassination!  Did not claim any more than Fidel’s prior knowledge.
Exhibit B: Latell acquired original Spanish transcript and found the same story there, not just 20 years later.  30-40K classified docs read, debriefed 6 other defectors but no corroboration.
Exhibit C: Did confirm Castro has been lying about what Cuban intelligence knew about Lee Harvey Oswald. In radio address day after, claimed we knew nothing about Oswald; later, including about Oswald going to the Cuban embassy.  Telephone tap run by CIA on Cuban embassy in Mexico: Cuban officer said this is same guy who had offered to be a guerrilla in mountains.  Cuban intelligence had developed a file on Oswald from 1959.
In April 1964 a defector said Oswald was in touch with Cuban intelligence before, during and after his visit to Mexican embassy. That would indicate he was under control of Cuban intelligence officer.  Cuban officer senior says he had filed a report on Oswald.
Exhibit D: Jack Childs in operation SOLO and brother were FBI moles at top of US Communist Party, trusted and met frequently with leaders of KGB, eastern euros and Mao.  Jack met with Fidel, and [Jack or Fidel?] said I’m going to kill Kennedy.  Retired FBI agents say Jack Childs would not have invented that.  Possibly intelligence officers -- if not Castro himself -- inspired him to kill Castro.
Latrell felt obliged to reveal to world what Florentino Aspillago had reported, and found that everything else he reported turned out to be true. Not proved but Latrell believes in Fidel’s prior knowledge of assassination.
Setbacks for Cuban intelligence after Florentino Aspillago came out.  1989 purges, 2 years after.  Replaced by military men, accolytes of … Raul Castro … but they do not have the same sense of conspiracy,
FBI has been more successful in recent years in apprehending 3 dozen Cuban agents.
Current leadership:
Raul does not have same priorities, as military man; world’s longest serving defense minister in history, for 49 years.  Orderly, pragmatic, gives orders, consults with staff officers.
Raul knows he must reform centrally planned economy. He stated would lay off 500K state workers, but regime backed off.
Needs Venezuelan lifeline but Chavez has survived stage 4 cancer and had a baseball sized tumor removed; now has young & strong opponent in election.  Cuba has large numbers of agents in Venezuela to seek continuation of lifeline.
Current challenges: how to deal with Fidel even if only coherent for brief periods – can issue orders to drag on economic reforms of economy.
Raul argues we must struggle against egalitarianism, paternalism (laying off 250K; subsidies and rations and public dole) eliminate deficit and increase productivity and allow private sector).  Egalitarianism, intended to prevent a new privileged class, is cherished by Fidel.
The idealism of revolutionary myths – also Raul trying to dismantle this legacy.
Even if Fidel is not coherent, other hardliners are likely resisting.  Facing resistance from the Cuban bureaucracy.
Cuban government has identified 187 small business opportunities like barbershop or seamstress for licensed small businesses, mostly fruit & veg or used clothing.  Nothing included for export or hi tech areas, no web sites allowed.
Final challenge is Succession crisis; successor to Raul is 82 years old.  Defectors expect the emergence of a Putin, not a Gorbachev.

Question Time
Why did Aspillago defect?

Heard Fidel deliver arrogant, lengthy speech to troops, and was horrified by hubris, lost faith.  Enamored and admired CIA officer in Cuba, asked in Vienna to talk to this officer.
How has Fidel knowledge of Assassination shaped US relations since?
Warren commission did a good job, and did not point to a Cuban involvement for lack of evidence; some had been withheld from them by FBI and CIA – they might have investigated further if had known.
Why trusted Florentino Aspillago?
He blew entire network of Cuban agents – no double agent would have done that, so no doubt about his authenticity.
Historical perspective on assassination attempts by CIA on Castro (so tit for tat) and cooperation of Soviet and Cuban intelligence at that time?
Lot of declassified documents indicate plots that RFK was intimately involved in.  Cubella interviewed in Miami, he was meeting in Oct 5-7 with CIA officer in Brazil Nestor Sanchez; plotting together Castro assassination.  Oct 7 Fidel went to embassy and said Kennedy brothers should be careful with what they planned because the same could happen to them – a warning.  Cuban Cubella was a double (proven in book from documents) so Fidel knew immediately.
Why did JFK not stop disastrous Bay of Pigs?
JFK concluded that cancelling at last minute would have done greater political damage than failure.  Had campaigned against Cuba in 1960 election.  Plan initiated under DDE, his hero.  Popularity increased after failure, even though he took responsibility for failure.
Yes, Castro behaved in bizarre fashion during the missile crisis.
Growth and population problems:
Half pregnancies terminated by abortion.  20% are over 65, and labor force is too small.  Best and brightest flee to Miami.  One of leading opposition died in auto accident and some believe he was killed by regime.

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9 October 2012: Ambassador Edmund Hull, "The Arab Revolutions 2011-12: A tectonic shift." Former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, many high-level posts in State Department. Expert on counterterrorism, fluent in Arabic.
Diplomat in Residence, Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Yemen, 2001-2004
Deputy/Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Department of State, 1999-2001
Director, Office of UN Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs, 1997-1999
Served as Director for Near East, National Security Council
Prepared remarks
In Counter Terrorism position before 9/11, but will give a broader talk. “The Arab Revolutions 2011-12: A tectonic shift.”
Real revolutions: last shall be first, the first shall be last
Before, the US dealt with leaders or elites; after, with bodies politic.
“What we wished for”
Bush inaugural address
Obama Cairo speech
But events driven primarily by internal factors- human rights violations, corruption, dictators.
Bush & Obama speeches may not have resulted in revolutions, but by a seller of fruits & vegetables in Egypt, antagonized by police, who self immolated, and ignited a spark of revolution.
US role: not central but significant
-Libya: success through leverage.
UN employed diplomacy, intelligence, logistics, and drones, but leaving Libyans in the lead.
-Egypt: a difficult parting of the ways.
Training Egypt’s military, restraining the generals, protecting the peace treaty.  Relatively nonviolent revolution was role of military (US played important role, after decades of cooperation, educating officers in US).  So Egypt did not unleash military force against its own people.
-Yemen: high stakes – AQAP safe haven, working with the GCC and UN, pressure and patience, the payoff: Hadi’s endorsement.
AQAP put bombs in printer cartridges intended to explode over US, before the better known underwear bomber case.  AQAP expected to be more of a threat to US, and not thought amenable to military solution – so diplomatic approach, with UK & France to UN Security Council, eased President Salah out of power.  Yemeni armed forces stepped up in June and expelled AQAP from much of peninsula.  Demise of Anwar Al Awlaki, most effective AQ agent against English speaking targets, training English speaking bombers; recently demise of AQ No. 2 there, a Saudi, though much needs still to be done.  Put AQAP on defensive.  President Hadi recently took responsibility for every drone strike in his country – remarkable endorsement by sitting head of state.
The new political model, replacing long term strongman regime.
-Muslim Brothers majority: the Turkish model (Egypt, Tunisia) surprisingly pragmatic and economically sound; imitated by conscious decision.
-Salafist minorities: surprisingly strong and aggressive. Reactionary, to return Arab societies to 7th-8th centuries and sharia, hostile to West and prone to violence.
-Civil society – women, youth – still seeking formal roles – e.g. Twakkul Karman.  Finding clear voice, if not powerful.
Innocence of Islam, recent protests: how to read them
-The idea of the “sacred” widespread (First Commandment)
-US value of “free speech” lost in translation
But politics just under the surface
- Salafists looking to embarrass moderates (Tunisia)
- Islamic politicians inclined to be popular
- countervailing pressure essential – for international norms
Eyptian leaders took a long time to speak out
Amb. Chris Stevens
-best and brightest, comes with the territory (Hull also was targeted in Yemen after US drone strikes).
-what did work in Cairo, Tunis and Sana’a
Managing versus avoiding risk
Who was responsible? AQ? Accountability Review Board under Tom Pickering will determine.
Does show that main embassies were reasonably well protected, well trained, suffered only property damage.  Protected facilities justified themselves – but no secure environment in Benghazi could be built in time.
Question Time
Worked under Colin Powell as Sec. State: ‘accomplish the mission and take care of the troops.’ In Yemen it was degrade AQ so they cannot attack the US.  One of Powell’s first briefings called for before he was confirmed, was on AQ (with Cofer Black) – laid it out for him in very stark terms, opened his eyes -- but Rumsfeld did not accept, and kept very different priorities.  Powell policy was we will counter but not hunker down in bunkers.  Day to day had to decide how much activity, without hunkering down in embassy.

AQ itself, now headed by Ayman al Zawahiri, considers national boundaries artificial, desires Islamic caliphate. Islamic politicians will follow Turkish model and put own national interests first – or will not be in power long, because need to show benefits before elections.

Reaction if Israel strikes Iranian nuclear sites? Also death of Myers in Yemen. Knew Dr. Margaret Myers clinic, visited before she was murdered, appreciated by local Yemeni community.  Killer was not AQ, but a young man inspired by a strange preacher with a long enemies list. Reaction will be against US, not just Israel, will just have to ride out the retaliation from multiple sources, including rockets, and very ugly.  Would have to pull US diplomats and others out of Middle East.

Lack of protection for Amb. Stevens? From the media, in Benghazi, 20-40 attackers were involved, so would have needed a large security detail to withstand that.

How will Arab states react to an Israeli attack on Iran? Popular outburst, but elites are conflicted.

If Romney wins, what change in US-middle East relations? Not sure, though read his speech at VMI.  Not a very clear idea of what he would change; would build more submarines and give more resources to the military; but not clear what responses would be different.  Don’t think he wants to be pinned down, but he believes military force is the most effective tool and he wants a stronger response in Syria, just unclear what he envisions. Action in office is not the same as campaign promises and should not be.

Egyptian crowds did want the same as in Tunisia, and Yemeni crowds echoed this – influential rather than Iranian elections.

Women and youth movements long lasting? Genie is out of the bottle.  Yemeni women were most dynamic part of society, hijab dressed women were on streets drumming up support for their candidates.  Either Islamic politicians incorporate women into politics & economics or women will find their own way to express themselves – but starts from very low base of women’s education, cultural constraints.

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27 November 2012: Dr. Nader Hashemi, "Understanding Muslim Societies." On faculty of University of Denver, expert on the politics of the Middle East and on the nature of Islam.


Selected themes, with alternative set of analyses, more optimistic about democracy in the Middle East (ME) than is usual in the US, plus a framework for analysis.
Rise of Islamists in ME and ongoing violence in Libya, Syria has cast doubts on democracy there among US – 64% prefer stability to democracy in ME.
Jeanne Kirkpatrick, neoconservative, remarked the only part of the world where people will make rational decisions.
Key variables in successful transitions are economic and literacy, cultural norms and habits, and middle class structure.  Post 9/11 rarely discussed in mainstream media.  Instead, framed as ‘Why so much instability and conservatism in Islamic society, and why so poor on women’s rights?’
[Islam wrongly viewed through Western eyes, an ahistorical approach]
Why is the Islamic society not more like us?  This point of departure for inquiry in US – but prone to analytic distortion.  Mistakenly assumes we in West have always been democratic, peaceful and liberal, with a straight line since ancient Greece.
West European society has included fascism and communism – some argue not aberrations but alternatives.
Wrong to assume Muslim societies have and should follow western path.  Modern representative democracy emerged in Protestant societies, but the causes are not settled.
Need sense of history.  Islam is not only religion to consider role of religion in politics.  Socrates was sentenced for corrupting with minds of youth but also with impiety.  Debate on Obama’s religion indicates President only elected by voters if seen as Christian.
Prof. Stephan critical of notion of hostile separation of church and state as essential for democracy – instead, western democracies have arrived at twin toleration, mutual respect for boundaries of action.
Until 1960s, Catholicism was viewed as anti-democratic, against liberalism, capitalism, socialism and feminism.  S M Lipset (1959): Catholicism inherently undemocratic.  Vatican II updated for democracy; soon a third wave of democracy was Catholic (Sam Huntingdon).  Jose Casanova credits it also with support for democracy rights and 3d wave.
[Internal development of Islamic societies, versus transference]
Widespread support in Islamic societies for rights and women and democracy -- but not for separation of church and state.  Role of church in Muslim states is fundamentally different than in West.
Problem of transference: false assumption that rest of world must have undergone same transformation of society.  Islam lacks major wars of religion, unlike European – and historically Islamic societies were more tolerant of other religions; religion is not corrupt and tyrannical as in mediaeval West – instead, set limits to Caliphs.  Secularism associated with post-colonial regimes, has a critical effect on perceptions: Tunisia, Egypt, Libya all embody secular dictatorships.  Crime against humanity label for Libyan regime’s attacks on own people.
Protests largely driven by new generation, more globalized and educated than parents.
Is this a 1989 Berlin Wall moment or 1979 moment of new regimes.
Niall Ferguson: core values of Western civilization are threatened by these Muslim Brotherhood groups.
Trope is that they are deeply illiberal against democracy and women’s rights, seek to impose sharia run by Iranian style religious council.  Muslim Brotherhood did ban appointment of Copts and women from high position.
If Muslim Brotherhood did aim at support for western foreign policies and charitable work, western fears would subside.  But there is a long tradition of westerners seeking oil at the expense of supporting old dictatorships.
Blowback effect from decades of political repression – all secular rivals have been crushed, so Muslim Brotherhood the only opposition movement.
Shah had crushed civil society, leaving only Islamic civil society.
No religion is born with inherent tradition favoring democracy – but Islam is MORE compatible with modernity and secularism than is Christianity or other traditions.  All ancient religions leave complex and evolving interpretations.
Question Time
Cannot defend terrorism by anybody, not the point of presentation.
Middle class is democracy enhancing feature – but some democracies, like India, lack a middle class.
Economic aid and development useful.
Should US intervene to prevent laboratory experiments like fascism?
We have been promoting dictators for 30 years in favor of stability. US foreign policy towards Iran 1953 created pressure for fundamentalism 1979.  Obama has tried to rethink US foreign policy towards reform movements, May 2011 [Cairo] speech .
Models of democracy in Middle East?
Freedom House ranks Muslim countries highly Indonesia and Turkey – both democratizing . Senegal and Niger even higher but in Africa so no one cares.  Tunisia coalition of religion and secular parties, writing constitution and considering role of religion.  Long term process, but Tunisia has good prospects for democracy.
How many Terrorist groups in Muslim societies prior to WW2?
Have not studied.  Why now is an important question – or is it a long term historical factor?  Rise of radical Terrorist groups is part of rapid modernization, was true of Europe C16th & 17th rise of Puritans.
When will Muslims learn from Europe & US to separate religion & politics?
Easier said than done, societies have to go through own development processes.
When will Muslim societies stop spawning Terrorism and recognize Israel?
Deeply emotional issue for Arabs and Muslims – look through prism not of Holocaust but of Palestinians cast out of Israel, seeking statehood.  Most leaders do recognize that Israel is here to stay and once they recognize Palestinian justice, could be recognized in turn.
Recent dispute in Gaza, prelude to attack on Iran?
Densely populated and depressed, like a large prison.  Unresolved issue of Israelis security interlinked with Palestinian security.  Obama not interested in starting another war in Middle East.
War with Iran over nuclear program?
Not likely, even when Iran develops nuclear weapons.  Easy to start the war, and bomb installations – but cannot bomb the knowhow or will out of the regime; Iran can rebuild soon; and can retaliate by attacking oil installations in Gulf, US troops in Afghan and elsewhere.  Days of US projecting force against third world country are gone – US has less appetite for war; sanctions are better policy and Iranian economy is in dire straits.  Have written on this, see author’s website.
Which Islamic societies do not reject secularism?
Religious parties can develop their own internal theory of secularism, like Turkey.  See author’s first book.
Is US foreign policy to blame – or are Muslim societies falsely blaming US for internal problems?
US does have genuine problems with history of supporting regimes, but Obama has recalibrated towards support of new democracies.

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8 January 2013: Col. Michael Meese, PhD, "The Future of Counterterrorism." Director of Combating Terrorism Center and Head of Social Sciences Department at the United States Military Academy, West Point.

Video of speech and question time at C-SPAN | Part of slideshow
(Dr. Lewis could not be present at this event to take notes; notes are presented from a student, RD "Trace" Zarr.)

We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle – with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment. –Dwight D. Eisenhower

• Study of counterterrorism begins with rigorous breakdowns of the terrorism in place, in order to better resolve recommendations to current powers
• Cadet Education at the USMA is vital to understanding all aspects of terrorism

o Emphasis on future graduate studies that will spread and seal the discretion of terrorism
o Moving forward as both a cadet and a nation in regards to how counterterrorism measures are viewed and pursued
• Practitioner Education: Providing practitioners with meaningful resources to form a dynamic resolve to act with certainty

• US Involvement overseas: Influx of soldiers sent into Iraq and Afghanistan was to prevent the spread of “wildfires”

• Wildfires: synonym relating to how quickly Islamic extremism spread across the countries
At the time of the Iraq civil war, 140,000 US troops were presently fighting to contain the “fires”
German, Turkish and Italian militaries currently have strongholds in different regions of the country
(Mr. Zarr also provided screenshots of the data slides presented.)

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12 February 2013: Ambassador Francois Delattre, French Ambassador to the U.S., "French-American Relations." Former Ambassador to Canada, has held his current post since February 2011.

Appointed French Ambassador to the U.S. in February 2011
Previously Ambassador to Canada (2008-2011)
Served as Consul General in New York (2004-2008)
Member of President Jacques Chirac's foreign policy team (1995-1998), responsible for European and trans-Atlantic security matters
Introductions by Todd Strange, the Mayor of Montgomery; and by Gen. Cleveland of AWAC
Remarking on the juxtaposition of the graves of Free French aviators with that of Hank Williams, Mayor Strange offered the Ambassador the keys to the city.
Gen. Cleveland acknowledged Stifel Nicolaus and Johnson Sterling as sponsors for the evening, and Alabama State University as co-sponsor. Also he recognized Jessica Weyreuter, who was a graduate student of Dr. Nathan's, as the one who first approached Ambassador Delattre to speak to our council.
Prepared remarks
[Close allies in defense matters]
The US and France have always stood shoulder to shoulder to defend the values of democracy.  Will never forget the Americans who sacrificed in two world wars.  At West Point, bestowed the Legion D'Honneur on veterans of WW2; thanks to America for defending freedom and democracy.  He had earlier recognized veterans of Omaha beach at AWAC, including Board member Jim Loevy.
Vice President Biden was in Paris with President Hollande.  France & USA are each other’s closest allies in war on terrorism, to rid the world of AQ, notably in Africa.
In the forefront of international efforts to prevent Iran getting nuclear weapons; Iran is No.1 threat in French eyes.  Existential threat to Israel and would trigger arms race (potentially nuclear) in that region.  Would end international Non Proliferation efforts.  Trying to get rid of Assad, sooner the better.
[Economic relations strengthening] [owing to the rapid delivery of these, accuracy in reporting statistics cannot be guaranteed]
France one of top 5 foreign investors in USA, supporting 350,000 American jobs.
Met with Gov. Bentley and trade team; AL is a growing player and France is the 4th largest investor with 10,000 employees. Huge investment of Airbus, $600 M with 100,000 jobs; also Safranne and other companies.  US is No.1 foreign investor in France and increased by 40% in recent years; large target for FDI.  Euro is finally back on track and France has more flexible labor markets now, well educated workforce, first class infrastructure in heart of Europe market 500M pop.  Along with Ireland, is only country with growing population while others are declining in population.
[Economic development based on US experience]
Priority as Ambassador. Innovation is 1, 2 & 3 priority.  Highest R&D tax credit in world.  71 innovation clusters nationwide being together universities, industry and research centres.  Drew lessons from American experience.  France investing $60Bn in research and innovation in program of investment in future.
France is well positioned in three key technological revolutions:
1. sustainable energy & green tax (French companies are leader in nuclear energy= 75% of her energy).
2. Revolution in life sciences and genomics with Pasteur Institute.  Partnership between US & France growing.  Curie Institute is one of leaders in fight against breast cancer.  Seeking partners in AL.  Salafie Corp of France has recently acquired US  Genzyme for $20Bn. [more details given]
3. Digital revolution.  Examples of US-France industries such as Alacatel.
University exchanges are a great help and university-research partnerships and incubators of entrepreneurships (booming in France, with 600,000 new business startups last year.  Can start a business in 15 minutes online – whereas some years ago was a bureaucratic nightmare to start a business.
French-American relationship is one of the backbones of the transatlantic partnership and the more Asia rises, the more important this becomes; NATO incomparable organization; but partnership is backbone of the world’s economy, half of world GDP and a strong part of world trade.  With strong competition from emerging countries, US and France needs to strengthen partnership with free trade agreement.
In these testing times the values of freedom and democracy are core of our common DNA from the revolutions.
Question time
Why led in Libya but not Syria?
France decided to lead in Libya and Mali but not Syria where have military capabilities; AQ in N. Africa (our backyard) best funded in world through drugs and smuggling.  Had capability of unanimous support of UNSC but not in Syria where Russians and Chinese veto over Syria.  Need credible opposition to Assad, much more difficult there but are working with US, British and German colleagues.
Haitian earthquake relief?
EU accounts for 60% of world development aid.  US-French-Canadian aid to Haiti for structure, outpouring of generosity, though with time passing it is more difficult to mobilize support.  We need to do more to reconstruct.
Imbalance of Jews (400,000) & Muslims (5M) in France will lead to tilting to Muslim in policy?
Judaeo-Christian roots of French revolutionary values of freedom and  democracy, part of DNA.  Mostly N. African recent immigration, harder to integrate because recent.  Birthrate is strongly declining, indicates less strong religious practice – in 3d generation, only 10% go to mosque, equal to rest of pop.  Birth rate of 2 kids per woman matches rest of pop.  Job creation more important than religion problem in secular France.  Showed French ministers to Harlem and Bronx to see virtuous circle of development, learning from US experience.  Important to impoverished neighborhoods of banlieue.
Democracy versus stability in Arab spring?
If we believe in democratic values, have no choice but to support democracy in Arab world.  Might bring to power some people who are not friendly to west but in long term we bet that will serve us well.  When values and realpolitik are together, we are strongest.  We must remain committed, but hold red lines of human rights and women’s equality, remind them all the time.  Anti-Semitism or mistreatment of women is not an option, and must remind them that in those events would retreat from support.
Euro a failure?
Understand the Euro is a teenager, 13 years old, but the Euro has been a great success story; got rid of financial instability and many devaluations.
Chapter 1. 15 years ago, US press feared fortress Europe, whereas in fact became a large trade zone for US.
Chapter 2. I keep reading Euro is a weak currency – but is 25% higher to dollar than 13 years ago; now 2d largest reserve currency in world.
Chapter 3. Difficult to bring together 17 members of Eurozone.  Always too slow compared to overnight reactions of markets.
Challenge 1 is to tighten belts and reduce size of government. Fiscal consolidation with German accent.  Challenge 2 is promoting growth at same time (preventing recession) through structural reforms and flexible labor markets.
Challenge 3 is about governance: monetary union needed coordination of economies and fiscal policies; Eurozone crisis peak if over, emerging stronger and better partners with America.
NATO, Atlantic alliance and many challenges?
De Gaulle 1967 withdrew from NATO military command structure; Sarkozy returned to NATO command structure; Hollande decided to maintain.
The more world is split and Asia rising, the more we need a strong Atlantic partnership.
We believe in and bet on NATO.  True that US feels EU does not share in burdens, but France & UK are doing duty and paying share, 60% of members spending on military.
France and UK sharing resources and willing to accept losses.
Relations between Turkey and EU?
Key and growing partner, belongs to emerging world.  Need to strengthen strategic partnership but with Germans feel no rush following Eurozone crisis.  Begin with strategic partnership rather than integration that would risk destabilizing both Turkey and the EU.  Challenge of integrating emerging countries applies also to others globally, e.g. Brazil.
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14 May 2013: Air War College Instructors "Report to Alabama" on their recent trips to areas of interest around the globe as part of the AWC Regional and Cultural Studies Program.

Dr. Mark Conversino, Dean of Academics: Russia and Ukraine
Dr. David Sorenson: Israel and Turkey
Dr. Gabriel Aguilera: Mexico and Colombia
Recognized was Gen. Scott Hansen of AWC, visting. The evening was sponsored by Morgan Stanley; co-sponsored by Brewbaker Motors and Montgomery County Commission (Dan Harris, visiting).

Mark Conversino, "Russian Federation and the Ukraine"

Pivotal country, with new leader taking Ukraine backwards [towards Russia], but a strength lies in a good group of military officers, previously trained in AWC, who have served alongside US troops in several places.
Russian Federation
Map shows vastness of Russian federation including Chechnya in southwest extremity, which refused to sign the federal treaty, and is oil rich.  Map of Caucasus region showing Chechnya and Dagestan (where recently Boston bomber had visited). Map of Islamic federation of the Caucasus claimed, but even that leader did not claim any credit for the Boston bombings.  Many bombings of buses, rock concerts, trains and tracks, subway, two airliners by black widows, and the cinema.  Beslan attack, 2004, seen there as a cultural war of white orthodox Christianity versus Muslims, not shy about portraying it that way.  Grozny was destroyed by force, by unguided bombs, and the rebel leader is now paid by Russia to govern their way; Grozny is now restored in the parts shown publicly; most leaders of rebels have been hunted and killed. Black widows in cinema were all shot while incapacitated by gas, lest they recover and trigger suicide vests.

David Sorenson, "Israel and Turkey"

Split screen showing two parts of Israel & Gaza. Map of region; unclear whether Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood will uphold Camp David agreement; Jordan stable; probably would not place Israel in this neighborhood if you had a choice.  Waist of Israel only 20 miles wide, increasingly within range of Palestinian rockets.  Insecurity also from internal politics of Israel; most are secular Jews but 10% and growing are ultra-Orthodox, want to segregate women, eat only strict Kosher meals, and will double in a generation.  They argue for exemptions from military service, work and taxes -- in order to spend full time studying.  Western wall visit this time was crowded because of ultras; had to push through them.  Military traditionally has to fight outside Israel, but offense last time did not end well; defense now main strategy, with barrier fence and wall successful in stopping 95% of terrorists; anti missile defense system successful in reducing rocket attacks.  However, this strategy de-professionalizes the army , and offense will still be needed.
during his visit Obama successfully mediated tension between Turkey and Syria; refugees about 500,000 now, and may cause conflict between Syria and Turkey; recent bombing is provocative. Islamist governments like the present one have a history of being overthrown by the military.  Erdogan’s government has jailed many officers and it is hard to find some with which one has corresponded.  Longstanding conflict with PKK after 30-40,000 lives lost, is being brokered to peace.  New symbol of prosperity is skyscraper, growth like Dubai.
Both Israel and Turkey are vital allies of US, both prosperous and both nestled in unstable region.
Gabriel Aguilera, "Latin America" (visited Mexico and Colombia; another tour visited the south).
Largely democratic region, institution building under way, though Argentina has always been an outlier in the region.  Decade of 1980s brought a great shock economically, but restructured for the most part and has grown; has natural resources, and macroeconomics are fairly well managed.  Map from The Economist of low, middle and high income economies.
Issue for US is still future of Cuba, and of Venezuela – with loss of leaders, will their followers remain in power?
US-Mexico relations have been “distant neighbors” historically, though enormously improved under Calderon and his successor.  Calderon had desperate need to succeed in war on drugs, but seen as too close to USA.  Mexico a powerhouse in automobiles and financially well managed; values its relations with USA and leaders have US elite, advanced degrees. Also faculty of leading institutions are US or US-trained.  Cultural ties are very strong; everyone in Mexico has a relative or friend in the US.
Question time
What should each government do for Syrian issue?
Turks agree with US that Syria may take a long and indecisive conflict; Syria never really unified and Assad was at least a unifier.  Now will return to fighting; Aleppo regards Assad as illegitimate; Damascans view Hama as not Syrian, and so on.  Must be cautious about conflict; how is it in US national interest to intervene even though 83,000 dead as of today.  Horrendous challenge for constrained defense budget in US.  Turks and Israelis also [sanguine].
Islamist threat to US and Israel?
Iranian threat is different from Islamist threat, a state based threat.  Not as concerned with Islamic terrorism, attracted few followers and will not be successful in aims.
See book, Audrey … Cook, How Terrorism Ends.  Less than 5% successful and only last a few years.  They do not understand strategy and they often turn population against them.  A billion Muslims in world are often admirers of US, terrorists are often disappointed, wealthy and educated (i.e. a societal problem).
Military relations with Latins since US left Panama?
Interesting how military are adjusting to civilian government environment, quite a change from twenty years ago when they ran government and took blame for economic troubles and even military adventures like the Malvinas.
Have officers from Latin countries in AWC, picked up ideas on civil military relations? [answer, generally yes]
Transborder effort to bid for Tijuana and San Diego for summer Olympics? limited infrastructure but interesting that they would join to do this.
Difficult neighborhood of Israel and changing demographics –but natural resources?
Less rainfall and Sea of Gallilee main source; Israel not using water sustainable; Jordan river is only a creek now.  Latest solution is expensive desalination like Saudis; Israelis have recently discovered natural gas offshore and may be self-sufficient in gas, able to desalinate with it.  Israelis have been piping off water from under Palestinian land; overall middle east is the most water-stressed region both over-use and waste as well as over population growth.
Why nuclear facilities in Iran not attacked?
Mountainous location, and have developed special concrete for earthquake prone area; therefore difficult to attack successfully.  Difficult to do damage assessment after an attack, Iran would be angrier, and even best strike only would delay program 3-5 years.  Hezballah has 1,000 rockets, and effectively functions as a security arm of Iran – so civilian Israeli casualties from an attack on Iran would be catastrophic.  Nobody except Iran wants a nuclear Iran but options are limited.
Why have Chechens not attacked oil pipeline?
[Unclassified response only] They have made attempts, though very few of the wells were productive, Russians diverted oil through other pipes, and Chechnyans chose not to inflict economic damage but to focus on softer targets (common to Islamic terrorism).  Under Putin’s hard line, Chechnyans have increased scale of attacks.  Russians have bombed and swept up all military age men, gloves off, many disappeared – many Chechnyans just wanted the conflict to end.
Why is occupied territory term used for Israel?
Lands taken in 1967 though Gaza returned to Palestinian control (which they probably regret) but continue to occupy Jerusalem and West Bank.  Some have tried to broker return of parts to Palestinian control but over 400,000 Jews in settlements, regardless of US Presidents’ arguing for 2 state solution.  Palestinians divided between old PLO and Hamas.  Majority of Israelis and Palestinians want a 2 state solution but not happening, owing to the political forces of the time.
US and USSR, why can’t we just get along?
Russians have executed own pivot to Pacific – were omitted by Hillary Clinton in listing Pacific powers, and offended.  Do cooperate with US on counter terrorism and counter piracy; exchange information on groups and want us to succeed in Afghanistan despite schadenfreude, because they fear Talibanization of central Asia.  Northern supply route supported for Afghan war, Putin even allowed Lenin’s home town to be used to supply.  Cooperation on space (even presently).  They believe they 'have wolf by the ears' with relation to China and fear that China’s dynamic makes her too difficult to cooperate with.  Russians view themselves as great power and do not feel USA treats them as such; yet they have interests they will go alone with.


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