Dr. LESLIE GELB (President, Council on Foreign Relations): Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Leslie Gelb. I’m president of the Council on Foreign Relations, and I welcome you to our fourth, now, Policy Impact Panel, the idea being, take on a major public policy issue in foreign policy, national security policy, lay out the problems and issues and get a clear sense of the alternatives.
We put together a panel of esteemed experts, statesmen and women, and a series of witnesses to address the issues and the options. I’d like to take just a moment to introduce the chairman of our panel, and he will take care of the rest of the proceedings.
The Chairman is former Secretary of State Alexander Haig. Mr. Haig was also Chief of Staff at the White House and Supreme Allied Commander in NATO, among his many other services to the United States.
Thank you, Secretary Haig.
Former Secretary of State ALEXANDER M. HAIG, Jr. (Panel Chair, General, USA (Ret.); Chairman, Worldwide Associates Incorporated): Thank you very much, Les.
Let me say how pleased I am to participate as chairman of this morning’s very distinguished panel, convened under the auspices of the Council of Foreign Relations to examine US defense priorities. Perhaps no other area of public policy today is more confused and is replete with as much fog content. So this is a very timely and worthwhile examination.
Now I’ve worked with each of our panelists in the past, and I’m delighted that the Council has been able to assemble such a knowledgeable and experienced group. In alphabetical order, we have Patricia Derian, former Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and adviser to Human Rights Watch/Middle East. We have on my near right Rozanne Ridgway, former Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Canada and Co-Chair of the Atlantic Council of the United States. On my far right is my old friend John W. Vessey, US Army, (Ret.), former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and currently Chair of the Advisory Board of the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Now this morning’s hearing will be conducted in two 1 1/2-hour segments. The first segment will look at the threats facing the United States and world peace in general in the so-called post-Cold War era. The testimony of our witnesses in this session should look at potential threats from the broadest perspective: political, economic and military. In this session, the panel also hopes to examine how, again in a broader sense, institutionally, organizationally or otherwise, we should shape our policies and priorities.
For this purpose, we’ve assembled two equally distinguished groups of expert witnesses, representing, as does our panel, diverse viewpoints and backgrounds. For session one, in alphabetical order—not the sequence we will follow—we will question Barney Frank, a member of the US House of Representatives and a Democrat from Massachusetts; Lieutenant General Bernard E. Trainor, US Marine Corps, (Ret.); former Deputy to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is currently Director of the National Security Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government; and finally, the Honorable James R. Woolsey, former Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency and, earlier, Assistant Secretary of the Navy and currently a Partner in the Shea & Gardner law firm in our nation’s capital.
For session two, we will hear from another group of witnesses. This panel will focus on our future defense needs to include the optimum level of defense spending and the various categories of spending and priorities we should establish. During this more detailed session, we will hear from Eugene J. Carroll Jr., Rear Admiral, US Navy, (Ret.), Deputy Director for the Center for Defense Information; Mr. Jan M. Lodal, Principal Undersecretary of Defense for Policy in the Department of Defense; and Mr. Richard Perle, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy and currently a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute here in Washington.
Now I would again remind our panel and our witnesses that each session will begin with a five-minute opening statement from each witness, followed by questions from our panel. This will permit each witness to elaborate on their introductory remarks and, if necessary, respond to the comments of other witnesses. Before inviting our witnesses to deliver their opening statement, I will remind them that we will be following the Lyndon Johnson rules of order. He used to say to his loquacious Vice President, many times in my hearing, when introducing Hubert, the following. “Hubert, you have precisely five minutes by the clock, and at four minutes, 59 seconds, I shall bring out the hook.”
We will now hear from our first distinguished witness, the Honorable R. James Woolsey.
Jim, it’s yours.
Hon. R. JAMES WOOLSEY (former Director, Central Intelligence Agency; Partner, Shea & Gardner): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me—let me say, just conceptually, that many people hunger in the national security arena for a clear statement of national objectives such as one might be able to have during—as we did have during the Cold War. That is not the world we live in today. Nothing immediately is going to come forward to replace the defeat of, essentially, the Soviet empire and international communism and to preserve the way of life of the West that gives us the kind of focus that we had during the Cold War.
I said in a speech several years ago—and I’m afraid I’ve made myself something of a bore by repeating it rather often—that it’s as if we had killed a large dragon but found ourselves in a jungle full of a large number of poisonous snakes and that, in many ways, the snakes are harder to keep track of than the dragon ever was. But it’s important to realize that this lack of specific focus does not mean that we are free not to be vigilant, free to focus entirely on our domestic concerns, free to ignore foreign and national security policy.
The situation we find ourselves in, if I were to grope for an analogy, is perhaps somewhat the situation that the West—Britain, the United States, France—were in in the 1920s and early 1930s, before the clarity of the rise of fascism, Nazism, Japanese militarism, during a rather inchoate period of international affairs. But the failures of the West—of Britain and, to some extent, the United States and France—to confront threats early and strongly during those ‘20s and early 1930s led inexorably to the disasters of the late ‘30s and World War II, of the Holocaust and the rise of fascism and Japanese militarism.
So we must do our best, in these somewhat imprecise circumstances, to focus on the matters that are of particularly serious importance to the country in the international arena, and I will focus on that aspect.
Let me say very briefly, there is sort of a seamless web of three types of problems: proliferation of weapons of mass destruction—chemical, bacteriological and nuclear weapons, the ballistic missiles and cruise missiles that can carry them; the role of rogue states, and here I would put at the top of the list Iran, Iraq and North Korea—certainly, there are other rogue states, but those three seem to me to be the most dangerous for the foreseeable future; and the problems of international terrorism.
Different ones of these rogue states play differently in different ones of these threats. For example, in the near term, North Korea is probably ahead of the other two with respect to the development of ballistic missiles and certainly of the nuclear weapons, and certainly with respect to the size and power of its armed forces, in spite of the weakness of its economy, that are concentrated on the South Korean border. In the field of terrorism, Iran, of course, stands front and center, because although many of the international terrorist groups, some of which operate and plan to operate in the future in the United States, would be doing some of what they were doing without the support and encouragement and financing by the government of Iran, they would not be all—doing all of what they are doing with Iranian support. Iran, in a sense, has an accelerator but not a brake on many aspects of international terrorism.
Certainly the potential instability in northeast Asia from North Korean aggression against South Korea, the potential instability in the Mideast by way of Iraqi or Iranian aggression against any of their neighbors, are matters that ought to be a very serious concern to us.
In the military arena, I suppose I would put at the top of our list of priorities the development of effective theater ballistic missile defenses and defenses against cruise missiles, because the events of 1991, when we saw Iraqi Scuds raining down on Riyadh and on Tel Aviv in fear that they might carry weapons of mass destruction, were but an hors d’oeuvre to what we may see at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century. We need to be quite concerned that Iraq, Iran, North Korea, would be able to keep the United States from effectively putting together international coalitions to stand against regional aggression of any kind, by the threat of using weapons of mass destruction, and particularly, we need to be concerned about this because of the irrational nature of the leadership of those three countries.
Let me close these opening remarks by saying just a brief word about China and Russia. Today China is an aggressive trading partner, a decrepit Communist political structure and, in many ways, a booming but somewhat disorganized economy. Historically, China has not, except for poor Tibet, tried to rule non-Han peoples, certainly not to the degree that the great Russians have ruled as imperialists over much of the Eurasian landmass. But China has a history of centralized power developing into chaos, and although it is our great hope that China will be an excellent market for the United States and the West and a valuable partner in economic development for many years to come, the possibilities of this tension between political instability and the nature of the sclerotic Communist regime on the one hand and the booming, somewhat overheated economy on the other raises serious possibility of instability over the long run in northeast Asia.
Finally, to my mind, the biggest long-term concern of all: Russia. President Yeltsin’s myocardial ischemia may or may not suggest that he will be unable to run again, but whether he does or not, the possibility of a transition this winter to a Russia dominated even more than it is now by nationalists and hard-line political parties from the far right and the far left and, by next summer, by a president who is far more of a nationalist and imperialist and autocrat than President Yeltsin, has to be seriously considered. Perhaps we will not get Mr. Zhirinovsky; he wants Alaska and Finland back. Perhaps we will get General Lebed, who, at least, compared to Zhirinovsky, is a moderate. But with respect to the citizens of such states as Ukraine and the Baltics, I can guarantee you, General Lebed is not viewed as a moderate.
The role of organized crime in Russia adds a major aspect of potential instability to that terribly important country, because the organs of state power—the security ministries and intelligence organizations, much of the Russian economic structure—banks, international trading companies and the Mafia organizations in Russia are involved with one another deeply and, in many ways, tragically for the future of the Russian people.
So these, Mr. Chairman, members of distinguished panel, are some of the major concerns I see that require a substantial degree of vigilance and involvement by the United States in the world of foreign affairs, a strong defense, strong intelligence capability and a strong international structure in the State Department and the rest of our international affairs for the foreseeable future. Thank you.
Gen. HAIG: Thank you very much, Mr. Woolsey, for that very tight and yet comprehensive overview of the threats.
We’ll now turn to our next distinguished witness, Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts.
The floor is yours, Barney.
Representative BARNEY FRANK (Democrat, Massachusetts): Thank you, General.
I believe that we are suffering here from a cultural lag which has us putting far too much of our energy and too many of our resources into the wrong problem. From the late ‘30s till the early ‘90s, we did face the possibility that we could be destroyed by a very powerful, maligned set of enemies. First Hitler and his allies, and then Stalin and his successors, had both the intent and the potential to inflict serious physical damage on the United States.
Fortunately, we now live in a world where there are no combination of adversaries that threaten our physical security. And I would agree that there are a lot of snakes out there in the forest, but from the standpoint of the United States, they’re not poisonous. There are people who are running countries these days who, in a rational scheme of things, wouldn’t even be allowed to drive cars. There isn’t any question about that. But they do not, individually or collectively, present the kind of threat physically to the United States that we faced first from Hitler and his allies and then from the Communist empire.
What that means is that we should be, I believe, significantly reducing the resources that we put into physical security. The reasons for that are several. First, you do it because you have to, and that doesn’t mean that we should not be, by far, the strongest nation in the world, but the margin of safety we need to build into that seems to me to have diminished, because there is a qualitative difference between facing countries that mean ill to other people, that threaten oppression and chaos in other parts of the world, and, on the other hand, facing an enemy that threatens our own ability, physically, to live as we want to live. And that, we are now—we hope for a long time, but certainly for the present we’re not in that situation. There is no enemy comparable in power to that in the past.
And I think that makes a real difference. When you are facing potential threats to your very physical security as a nation, then your margin of safety is pretty small. Now there are situations we don’t want to see. There are people out there who we would like to restrain, and we should be strong enough to do that. But we do not have nearly as strong an enemy as we had for that 50-year period: the fascists and the Communists.
And there are two other problems. First, we are now in a zero-sum situation with the federal budget. People might make economic arguments against the need for balance, but as a political reality, we’re there, so that every dollar spent for the military is a dollar than cannot be spent to alleviate poverty, to fight against crime, to improve our environment. Overspending on the military, spending more than we have to, will take away our ability, given that we’re going to balance this budget, either to reduce taxes or deal with other important social problems.
And it’s especially a problem because I think there is a new, more important threat to us than to our physical security. Yeah, there are nations out there that threaten things that we would like to stop, but they don’t threaten our security. The biggest threat to the American way of life now, in many ways, is the globalization of the economy. We live in an economy today where you can make almost anything almost anywhere and sell it almost anywhere else. What this means is that we have a situation in the United States where many working Americans, white-collar and blue-collar, find a situation where they read in the newspapers about how well the economy is going, how satisfied the Federal Reserve is, how they just think everything is just so wonderful with the soft landing. They read about great growth, they read about great profit for their company—and they’re losing their jobs. It is one thing to feel economically insecure when you read that there’s a recession going on or your company is hurting; it’s quite another to be feeling economically insecure in the midst of what you read are very good times.
What that means is, an anger within the American public and a sense of unhappiness and a feeling that they are being unfairly put upon that, I think, causes us serious problems so that we have an economic situation which causes us some problems, because there are difficulties in maintaining the standard of living that a lot of working- and middle-class Americans have had. The ability to go out and work hard without any particular special skills has always stood Americans in very good stead. It no longer does, and there’s a very real social problem.
In other words, our number-one problem today—the number-one problem the international community presents to us today is, how can we maintain our standard of living, our environmental standards, our wages, our working conditions, in a world in which we are competing with people who do not follow those standards, who have a much lower standard? How do you prevent the kind of leveling down? And we already see it happening.
The problem with overspending on the military is that we take resources away from our ability to deal with those consequences. We misidentify our number-one problem still as if it was our physical safety, and it is not. That doesn’t mean there are no problems out there, but the physical safety of the United States is no longer the problem that it was, in a dominant way, for that 50-year period. Instead, we have this problem of, how do you deal with the economics of this situation? And it has several negative effects.
First of all, it just takes away resources. Secondly, we have had an argument that says the United States should not be pressing its economic interests, lest it endanger our ability to continue to be the leader of the free world. When various presidents have pushed the Japanese to open up more to American goods, people say, `Be careful. The Japanese may decide that they won’t continue the security alliance.’ Well, for the Japanese to announce that they will no longer allow us to defend them at a very substantial discount seems to me an unlikely thing for the Japanese to do, but that’s the last point I want to get to.
Even to the extent that there are threats in the world, we make the mistake of assuming, still, that it is somehow the obligation of the United States to take on a disproportionate share vis a vis our wealthy allies. We don’t do enough to alleviate poverty in Africa. We don’t do enough to deal with the problems of the poor nations of this world, in part because we are so busy subsidizing the military budgets, and therefore, the overall budget of our wealthy allies. There is no reason why there has to be a theory that says America has to fight two regional wars—two full-scaled, conventional, regional wars, largely by itself without the aid of the western European and wealthy Asian allies.
I have an aside that I would hope the Council on Foreign Relations would address. I understand that we have this argument that says, given how badly Germany and Japan behaved during the ‘40s, they must not be allowed ever again to be substantial military powers. Punishing people for really bad behavior by telling them that we will subsidize their budgets ad infinitum seems to me rather an odd way to punish people. I think we have to find a better way to punish them for this. I don’t think the rule ought to be that if you behave badly enough, you will never again have to really support yourself and the American taxpayers’ll pick up the tab.
So we overestimate the physical threat. That leads us to take resources away from dealing with the much more potent threat to our society, the economic threat. How do you maintain our standards in a world where you have a globalization of the economy without being protectionists, which isn’t going to work?
And finally, we continue to subsidize our wealthy allies to allow the western Europeans and the Japanese and some of the other Asian countries to maintain military budgets as a percentage of gross domestic products far below ours, which, in fact, helps them compete better with us and further deprives us of the resources of dealing with our major problem.
I would just close and say we have to worry about the potential of our future allies, but when, as I see in the October 20th AP stories in The Newark Ledger—with the Russians now trying to sell their last aircraft carrier to India because they can’t afford to maintain it, I do think that allows us more ability to reduce military spending and free up more resources to deal with the much more pressing social and economic and racial problems of this country. And the more we spend on the military, the less we are going to be able to spend on education and the environment and crime, and I think those, collectively, pose a much greater threat to the American standard of living today than the possibility that we’re going to lose a war.
Gen. HAIG: Thank you very much, Representative Frank, for raising some issues that must be considered in our establishment of national priorities this morning.
The floor is now turned over to General Trainor for his presentation.
Lieutenant General BERNARD E. TRAINOR (US Marine Corps, (Ret.); former Deputy to the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Director, National Security Program, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, distinguished panelists.
During the past year, I had the honor of being a member of the Roles and Mission Commission to look at what the US military should be like in the post-Cold War world. Well, the first question that I asked myself is, what is different in the post-Cold War world than was during the Cold War, and what are the new potential threats that did not exist during the Cold War period?
And I came up, basically, to satisfy my own considerations, with three; two resulting from the end of the Cold War and one resulting from the advances in technology. The one related to technology is the manipulation of information, which is commonly called today “information warfare.” It’s a cybernetic threat, if I can use that term. The second was the likely proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and, in particular, nuclear weapons, a point that Mr. Woolsey has keyed on.
And the third and, again, the result of the breakup or the end of the ideological conflict between East and West, was the breakup of the nation state, as we traditionally know it, which leads to a great deal of disorder and anarchy. The pressures that kept ethnic, religious, tribal, racial and minor ideological differences in tow during the Cold War are gone, and so there’s a certain centrifugal force that seems to be loose in the world which is breaking up states, and, of course, we have classic examples of this here within the last year or so—Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti, Yugoslavia. And, indeed, coming on Monday, we might see it up in our northern neighbor in Canada.
Now all of these are disruptive and they also are very costly to react to. The glue that’s held the nation state together is dissolving, and there is, with this breakup, regional instability that it may not be as catastrophic as a terrorist nuclear weapon going off in Baltimore Harbor, but in the long run, could be the major threat, not only to the security of the United States, but to the security of the international community. And I would submit that we, as a nation, really don’t know how to deal with this changed world. We’re so used to being in a confrontation status with a very clearly defined threat that this somewhat amorphous threat is difficult to deal with.
We are children of the Westphalian, the principle of sovereignty, wherein what goes on within a nation state is the business of the nation state itself, and we are geared towards dealing with aggression so that you see the UN charter has a provision for peacekeeping forces to assist keeping peace within a state if they’re invited in, and they have a Chapter 7 dealing with aggression, but they don’t have anything called a 6.5 to deal with this new type of situation that is the result of the breakup of the nation state. And it’s not only the concept of sovereignty that is changing and dissolving, but you also have the transnational aspects of that, which don’t deal with a sovereign state at all, but rather common interests between elements that are within sovereign states, such as we see down in Rwanda and Burundi, with the Hutus and the Tutsis, which are transnational in nature.
So we are faced with what I perceive a very real threat of a—the breakup of the world community as we have known it for centuries now with unforeseen outcomes, and I would argue that the Department of Defense, as an element of the nation, is as ill-prepared as anybody to deal with this. We don’t know how to deal with muscular peacekeeping. The US military today is organized along the lines of what I would describe as classical warfare, the sort of thing that we saw in the Gulf and the previous wars that we have been involved in. And at the present time, there is the stress on high technology and high-tech equipment, which served us so well in the Gulf War.
And if you are dealing with classical warfare, yes, I think that it is equipment-intensive and, therefore, can be less manpower-intensive. But if you are going to be dealing with muscular peacekeeping, it’s just the reverse of that. It is not classical warfare, and it’s going to be manpower-intensive as opposed to technologically intensive, and the costs are going to go up. Manpower costs.
Now this has implications for the military in terms of their organization, their equipment, their education and training, their deployment and employment. There is a tendency on the part of the Pentagon, to wish that all of this would go away and say that, “We just do classical wars,” and that the purpose of the military is fight the nation’s wars. Well, that’s very nice, but they’re liable to find themselves as hangar queens in the future, in that the classical war on the horizon doesn’t seem to be very likely, but these dirty little messy things like Bosnia certainly seem to be a constant.
And even given that argument, you will find that the Pentagon will say, “Well, peacekeeping is a lesser-included capability of our classical-warfare capability in that if you have well-led, well-trained troops, they can do these things.” Well, that may be true, but I think we better test that assumption, because the fundamental nature between war-fighting and peacekeeping or peace operations is different. A war fighter—his job is to use maximum violence in the shortest possible time to bring about a conclusion where his opposition’s will has been broken; whereas, if you’re in these peacekeeping and peace enforcement-type operations, which we can’t even define, the purpose is less as a killer and more as a constable, where you’re using minimum force with a great deal of restraint to achieve not a victory over somebody, but some sort of state of stability.
So I would say that, while this threat is not to the vitals of the United States, such as a nuclear threat or even an economic threat, it’s one of the messy things that we can’t get a handle on, whereas the other threats I do think that we can define it. But this threat is so new, so unusual, and the burden falls primarily upon the United States to come to some sort of solution to dealing with these things if we intend to be—remain the leader of—and the superpower in the world. Thank you.
Gen. HAIG: Well, thank you very much, General Trainor, and I thank each of the witnesses for their very fine statements. The hook didn’t have to come out, although I did feel it pressing on my leg on occasion.
Now I do hope that the members of the panel, as well as the witnesses, bear in mind that any member, any witness, should feel free to challenge any of his fellow witnesses’ observations during this hearing, and, of course, the panel is going to do the same. I think the very important aspect of this is to keep a balanced assessment of this so-called New World order, and maybe it wasn’t the right term to devise in the first place, because, in many respects, we’ve seen in our testimonies, it’s the same old dirty world it always was. There are states that believe in rule of law and peaceful change and states that believe in the rule of a bayonet, and that has not changed, and it has not since the inception of mankind.
Now I would like to turn to our distinguished panelists and ask my friend, General Vessey, to kick off with the questions, and then we’ll just continue down the row here to get started. But feel free to interrupt at any time to have an issue enlightened or developed or further expanded.
General JOHN W. VESSEY (US Army, (Ret.); former Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff; Chair, Advisory Board, Center for Preventive Action, Council on Foreign Relations): Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
Our witnesses have raised some interesting points. Of course, the policymakers, the administration and the Congress have to translate those points, whatever they are, into action in terms of a defense budget. And the Defense Department has to turn that budget into action in producing some sort of a defense force to meet whatever challenges the nation agrees it should meet.
There are two issues that I’m concerned about after listening to the witnesses. The first is Mr. Frank’s suggestion that we should reduce the amount going to defense. I see that next year’s defense budget will be about 3 percent of the GDP, which is the lowest it will have been since 1940. And my question is, where do you think it ought to be?
Rep. FRANK: Oh, I would make it about a third lower. I think 1940’s an appropriate time. I think the world is a qualitatively safer place for the United States than it was and has been since 1940. Obviously, there are people out there, as I said, who would misbehave, and in conjunction with our allies, we should deal with that. But from 1940 to 1990, there were bad people with a lot of power who were genuine threats to our physical security. That situation, fortunately, does not now exist, and I believe, first, that we could get much more from our European allies.
In 1989 and 1990, over the objection of most of the people who make foreign and defense policy—and this was bipartisan—Congress insisted on asking the Japanese to contribute to the non-personnel costs of stationing our troops there, and we were told that this would be a terrible thing to do, but we did it, and we now get several billion dollars a year from the Japanese because of that. We ought to do that for the Europeans. I think the B-2 bomber was a grave error. I think the two-war strategy is a mistake. I think the United States ought to be stronger than any conceivable combination of countries that might make war on us by a significant margin, and we ought to have the ability to fight a full-scale conventional war and to work with our allies in other ways and to maintain a nuclear deterrent. And I think we could do that, getting there gradually, at less than two-thirds of the current budget.
Gen. VESSEY: In 1940, we were spending about 2 percent of the GDP. Two years later, I and a whole bunch of other people went to war in North Africa and we watched many of our comrades die and buried them there because we were too ill-trained and too ill-equipped to deal with the force we had to meet. So one needs to look beyond simply...
Rep. FRANK: Well, General, I’d have to ask you who—yes, and that’s because we all made a mistake. I think Jim Woolsey was right. I wasn’t quite here. I didn’t arrive until 1940, so I’ll absolve myself in this case. I’ll take part of the blame for other things. But the United States and the others were ignoring Hitler, and by 1940, yeah, we had been too late, and I think Franklin Roosevelt was right and his critics were wrong about that.
But I also have to say, one-to-one analogies with history will almost always mislead you. Things have changed enormously. We have a different GDP; we have different technology; we have different enemies. Looking at a 55-year-old percentage of GPD doesn’t tell you anything. The question is, what are the real needs and what are the real enemies? And I think it is indisputable today that we have far more military power than we will ever be called upon to use, and that’s partly because we have told the rest of the world—and here’s where I disagree with some of my colleagues and with General Trainor, who said if we want to be the leader of the free world—well, if that’s what it’s costing, I’ll share the leadership.
I think the most popular book in the world is “Tom Sawyer,” and a lot of very wealthy people have figured out how to get America to paint the fence. We act as if, when we go to people’s aid, they are doing us a favor by allowing that to happen. And I think if we said realistically to our European and wealthier Asian allies, “Look, yeah, North Korea’s a problem, but it’s probably going to be a problem for you before it reaches us; we will work cooperatively with you,” we would not have to pick up quite as much of the load. Everybody, including us, is used to the United States paying a disproportionate share of what the wealthy countries are expected to pay, and I think we could save a substantial amount there.
Gen. VESSEY: So the answer, as I dig it out of what you gave, is that you would go down by a third.
Rep. FRANK: Yes.
Gen. VESSEY: Mm-hmm.
Rep. FRANK: Not in one year, because you’ve got a transition period, but after a three- or four-year period.
Gen. HAIG: All right. Roz.
Ambassador ROZANNE L. RIDGWAY (former Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Canada; Co-Chair, Atlantic Council of the United States): I’d like to—thank you, General. I’d like to ask Mr. Frank a quick question and then address some broader questions to Mr. Woolsey.
Is there any evidence that moneys saved on the military budget went, ever, in fact, to the domestic budget, that the necessary policy choices and the necessary consensus has formed around a domestic program that could...
Rep. FRANK: Oh, of course. Sure.
Amb. RIDGWAY: ...benefit from defense savings?
Rep. FRANK: Yes. In the 1993 budget, which the president proposed and Congress enacted and the president decided he wasn’t really for it but he came back in favor of it, we did spend less on the military and had more to spend on some domestic programs—there isn’t any question—and going in the future. But I would also make this point, too. We are now, I think, much more in a zero-sum game with federal spending. I believe that the country has now told its elected officials that it wants people to arrive at a balanced budget. And it is one thing to be dealing with a somewhat flexible goal of reducing the deficit; it’s another one you have mandated you’re going to get to zero, as we have defined it.
So I think that that trade-off is even more sharp for the future. But I would say the ‘93 budget is an example of some reductions in the military that went to domestic, and we’re getting the reverse now. The budget that passed the House yesterday reduces domestic spending more than it otherwise would, and some of my Republican colleagues said, “Yeah, if we had more money, we would do more of this, but we don’t.” And that’s probably because they’ve wanted to increase the military.
Amb. RIDGWAY: Well, I think you’re right when you say that at present, this is perceived as and probably is a zero-sum game, and so, in the competition for resources, the cases for one way of spending over another have to be made rather convincingly.
And I would like to say to Mr. Woolsey, I think that those of us who may not quite agree with what Mr. Frank is saying have yet to make the case for the new security situation, have yet to describe it in a way that’s convincing. I believe, as you have said, that there is no specific focus, no enemy that can be defined as sharply as the one that has just receded from the national scene. And I noticed in your statement, you began with listing threats—proliferation, rogue states, terrorism—but threats to what? What do you see as being the US national interests that are threatened? If it’s not a physical threat to our continent, to our country, is it a threat to our currency? Is it a threat to the energy sources that move our industry? What is it out there that is being threatened by these forces to which we should respond, in some fashion, through defense policy?
Hon. WOOLSEY: Well, I think the most immediate and serious physical threat to the United States is through terrorism. Certainly, we have our own domestic breed of terrorists, as Oklahoma City demonstrated, but we also import some from overseas, as the World Trade Center demonstrated. And I believe we have seen only the beginning of foreign-sponsored terrorism in the United States. We are a society with very intricate and interdependent networks of transportation, information processing, oil and gas pipelines, electricity distribution and the rest, and we were able recently to invite to the United States to be prosecuted Mr. Yousef, a very skillful terrorist bomber from the Mideast.
If one had a Yousef hacker—Mr. Yousef who, instead of being a skilled bomber, was skilled at penetrating data processing networks and the like—the amount of chaos that can be—could be visited on either the United States or any other modern Western society is substantial; let’s put it that way. If you add to that the possibility of, let’s say, biological-warfare terrorism—the events in Japan following the activities by Aum Shinri Kyo there with the sarin gas in the subways—are a pale, pale copy of what even the simplest biological compound might do in a terrorist situation.
So if one is looking at physical risks to the United States now, I think that is what you have to put front and center. I would say that much of the solution to these types of problems is probably not in spending vastly greater amounts of money. It has to do with attitudes of vigilance; it has to do with cooperation between various government agencies; it has to do with, frankly, being willing to spy on such organizations overseas by the CIA and by the allies of the United States and domestically by the FBI. There are a number of things that need to be done rather vigorously, and most—many of them are not all that expensive.
If you take the next step and say, what are the next things that might physically damage the United States? I would say that the first ballistic missile threats from a rogue state would come probably to Alaska and Hawaii and come from Korean—North Korean ballistic missile developments, particularly since North Korea clearly already has weapons of mass destruction.
But it does seem to me that the physical danger to the continental or the 50 United States is not really the main point. The reason General Vessey’s forces that he fought in as a young infantryman in—at the beginning of World War II were so ill-equipped and ill-trained was precisely because of the attitudes that were maintained in the United States toward national security, in spite of everything late in the ‘30s that Franklin Roosevelt could do, during the interwar years.
So this problem of rogue states that may get out of hand, of international terrorism, of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, of potential instabilities in China and Russia, are something that one always needs to be working on. And it is a shame if people are not able to be persuaded of that, by historical analogy or otherwise, because it doesn’t state a single, concise case with a single specific threat. But that is not the fault of the people who are stating the case. That’s the way the world is. If you are not persuaded that a messy and uncertain world, such as we live in now and such as we lived in in the 1920s and early 1930s, requires substantial efforts by the US in the fields of foreign policy and international affairs, I don’t know how anyone would be able to change your mind.
Amb. RIDGWAY: Thank you.
Gen. HAIG: Recently, Oliver Stone, a great Hollywood movie mogul, sent a scriptwriter to me to run over his impressions of what really happened in Washington during Watergate and the Nixon administration. And I sent him back a message. I said, “He who never studies history or reads history is doomed to create his own.” And I think we, in this New World order and all of the rhetoric associated with it, are perhaps inclined to be creating our own history, which may prove to be very dangerous and disappointing to us.
Now I’d like to ask our witnesses, individually or collectively, to comment on an observation that I made to my old friend and a very distinguished American, Les Aspin, when he chaired the Armed Services Committee and ran through his staff the first bottom-up review from a legislative point of view. As I read over the analysis of the various threats facing our country, which was sort of a contemporary exposition on what could happen in this New World order, I found that there was a tendency to use the systems analysis approach. In other words, you put a lot of threats out, and then you say, “Oh, I need A, B, C and D to deal with them,” and that’s our defense requirements process. Well, that’s not a requirements process.
I happen to believe that we sacrifice for our defense needs, not simply to prevail in the event we have to confront one of these very diverse threats, as has been so astutely laid out this morning, but more importantly, to prevent the outbreak of conflict in the first instant. Now that’s a measure of something very different than war-fighting or threat analysis. It’s a very sophisticated integration of the political, economic and security dimensions of international peace and stability and acceptance of rule of law. And so, in light of the statements that each of our witnesses has made—and very good ones—I wonder if you would comment on whether or not you believe that American relevance contributes to international stability and that the military dimension is a contributor to that, a very, very important and sometimes non-quantifiable content. Would you care to comment?
Gen. TRAINOR: Well, yes. In terms of American relevance, yes, we are relevant. We are the superpower, and I would agree with Congressman Frank that it’s well to have others with us. It’s always cheaper and more effective if you have the international community on your side. But that doesn’t absolve us from the responsibility that has fallen on our shoulders in which we have eagerly sought in the past: to be the leader.
When you think of what happens when we back off that role—we had that in the post-Vietnam period and there was all sorts of mischief in the world, particularly in the area of terrorism. And when we decided that we would not involve ourselves in what we viewed as a European matter—the breakup of Yugoslavia and the problems that came from that—we saw that others were not able to do it. So by default, this role falls to the United States. Now it’s the choice of the American people whether they want to be isolationists or internationalists, and obviously, that debate isn’t a new debate. But I would simply say that if we do not take the role as an interventionist, given the transnational aspects of today’s world—it’s different than the 1930s, although even in the 1930s, that proved to be a fatal mistake—that we can’t back off from the world. We have to be in it, and because of our power—our economic power, our cultural, our political power, our military power—we have to be the leader. And if we don’t, shame on us, because the consequences are going to be on our head.
Rep. FRANK: I disagree very sharply with that. Obviously we should be relevant, but I reject the notion that the choices are this stark, that either we have to be doing 90 percent of the heavy lifting or we’re total slackers. That made sense in 1945. I think cultural lag is our continuing enemy here. In 1945, we came out of World War II strengthened. Obviously, we had a lot of personal tragedy, but our economy, our coherence, a whole lot of things in America were strengthened. We had a degree of dominance over most other societies because of the damage they suffered in the war compared to us; that was unsustainable and unrealistic. The problem is, we’re still acting as if that set of power relationships was there. The United States still does the same kind of disproportionate share of the spending vis-a-vis our European and Asian allies.
As far as isolationism, of course not. That’s not a realistic option that anybody that I know of is advocating. I want us to be spending more to alleviate poverty in Africa. One reason we can’t is that we’re paying too much in NATO of our—we’re paying an unfair share of NATO, so we cut back on Africa. We cut back on the World Bank and International Development Association. We cut back on what we ought to be doing in Latin America. I want to do a good deal more in the terrorism area. If we want to really be serious about drug reduction in Latin America, we’re going to have to come up with some money to take care of the people who will be put out of business when they can’t grow drugs anymore. And we could do a lot more if we were prepared to put some more money into alleviating the social problems that some of these drug reduction efforts are going to take.
As far as the 1940 analogy is concerned, if we were spending two-thirds of what we are now spending, we would have a degree of military dominance over any other combination of powers, quite different than the situation in 1940. Plus, you, perhaps, have noticed, I am for an intelligence budget; I am for keeping track. If someone starts building the way Hitler started building in the ‘30s, then you act.
But again, I have to come back and say, yeah, it’s relevant for the United States to be involved, but as long as we continue to act as it’s still the late ‘40s and we are not just the leader, but the only adult, and everybody else can sit back and wait for the United States, we will continue to have a situation where our own domestic social problems will be exacerbated. And the average American today is much more afraid, unfortunately, of crime in his or her own city than of disorder elsewhere in the world. I want to deal with both, but I believe we have put ourselves in a situation where we use far too many of our resources on potential international threats to the point where we ignore very real domestic problems.
Gen. HAIG: Jim.
Hon. WOOLSEY: Let me put it this way. In the international arena, I think for two reasons, the United States really is, for all practical purposes, the glue that holds together the alliances and international operations against tyrants or potential tyrants. If you look at someplace like Northeast Asia, for all sorts of historical reasons—and ending with World War II, Japanese colonialism and Korea and all the rest—it is simply not feasible that the Japanese and South Koreans, without our leadership role, could cooperate effectively in deterring—hopefully deterring and defeating, if it occurs, a North Korean attack.
Much of the same has been true in Europe for all sorts of historical reasons for a long time. We’ve been engaged in a rather substantial reduction in forces. We now have two divisions in Europe, two brigades in Korea; we have two functioning fighter bases in Europe. We have made very substantial reductions in our overseas forces over the course of the last number of years.
Now I agree with Barney that the social problems, particularly of our inner cities—drugs, crime and the rest—are of extraordinary importance and simply have to be addressed more effectively by both the federal government and state and local governments than they have been in the past, but I do believe that it’s extremely important that we not step away from this international leadership role, which is the only thing that really holds these alliances and these groups together. We’ve seen the consequences of the United States, in 1991, having stepped back from former Yugoslavia and turning it over to the Europeans to run. The Europeans exported hostages to the Serbian portions of former Yugoslavia, which were called peacekeepers, but effectively prevented what could have been useful military action for the last two to three years. That has not been an example of strong European leadership and cohesiveness without American involvement.
So, although theoretically, it would be nice if we were just another country, if we could relax, if we did not have this international leadership role that is partially because of our strength, partially because of history, partially because of the very nature of the American state—the fact that we’re not a tribe, we’re not a race; we’re an idea. And that notion that we are an idea has a tremendous galvanizing effect on our being able to pull together free and democratic societies in defense of freedom and against tyranny throughout the world. It’s simply something we should not step back from.
Rep. FRANK: May I respond to you briefly?
Gen. HAIG: Yes.
Rep. FRANK: Because the tragedy is that we are doing that at the expense of maintaining that democratic ideal at home, I think people may not be focusing on the degree of social tension in the United States. But you have tens of millions of Americans who are very angry at what they see as this kind of diversion of resources. John Kennedy, when he launched the Alliance for Progress, quoted Franklin Roosevelt—or described Franklin Roosevelt’s good-neighbor policy and he said, “Franklin Roosevelt could be a good neighbor abroad because he was a good neighbor at home.”
In this current situation, lacking the resources to be good neighbors at home, you are undermining the consensus for that. You talk about the Yugoslavian situation, but I think the president’s going to have an extraordinarily difficult time getting American troops into Bosnia, in part because of this. And there has to be a break. Let me just—to close, to take the Korean example. If the Japanese and the South Koreans cannot be persuaded by their own self-interest to take a more active role against North Korea, then they may have to live with the consequences. But the notion that this is somehow primarily an American responsibility, given the geography, is obviously a mistake. I believe that we encourage them in that mistaken thinking and the notion that it is primarily America’s responsibility to deal with this rogue state which is in their midst, is an example, I think, of the fruits of our having encouraged them to just rely on us and do nothing themselves.
Gen. VESSEY: I just simply have to challenge that. That idea that the South Koreans, for example, aren’t doing anything for themselves. They have 600,000 of their own people in uniform; we have some 25,000, I think, on the ground. They spend more than double the percentage of their GNP on defense than we do. So the assertion that those people don’t recognize their threat...
Rep. FRANK: No, I agree. I should have...
Gen. VESSEY: ...is just so absurd.
Rep. FRANK: ...focused more on the Japanese. I was just responding to Mr. Woolsey’s point that you couldn’t get the Japanese and the South Koreans to work together on this. Obviously, the South Koreans are clearly doing a great deal; the Japanese, however, continue to do very, very little. And I would just say, on all of this—and Mr. Woolsey is right, we have had some reductions, but these reductions came over the objections of all the people who are still against any objections. They told us terrible things would happen.
Let me just give you an example—the Philippines. It seemed to me for a long time that we were spending far too much money in bases in the Philippines and paying the Filipinos for the right to do that. And I was told time and again that Subic and Clark were absolutely essential to the defense of the United States. And then God intervened and a volcano closed down the base. And when Clark was closed down, we got rid of Subic. And God was able to accomplish what some of us in the House weren’t, and I acknowledge that there’s a disparity in power there, but in consequence of that volcano and the closing of those bases, I do not believe America’s interest has been one whit diminished. And I would invite people to go back and look at the arguments. We were told if we got out of Clark and Subic, it would have a terribly destabilizing effect; all it’s done is save us money.
Gen. VESSEY: Mr. Chairman, could I simply add that God happened to act just about the same time we won the Cold War. So there was a coalition of interests there.
Gen. HAIG: Right. I would suggest that’s right, but I had dinner with President Ramos the other night in New York.
Rep. FRANK: Oh, I wasn’t sure who you were going to say you had dinner with, General!
Gen. HAIG: Listen carefully! And I said after that dinner that there is a future for generals as presidents of countries, because Ramos certainly personifies that.
Now, Pat, the floor is yours, because I’ve assured myself that Mr. Frank is not a member of the Pat Buchanan campaign team.
Hon. PATRICIA M. DERIAN (former Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Adviser, Human Rights Watch/Middle East): Hm. I’m just leaving that all alone.
What we have had are two strong threat assessments, one in the area of international affairs and one in the area of domestic affairs. And I’m not sure that we have to choose whether the threats that Jim Woolsey outlined are more serious than the threats that Barney Frank outlined. I think the disparity comes in terms of money between those two. And it’s hard to figure out what the B-1 bomber has to do with terrorism, for instance. General Trainor has acknowledged that both of these areas—what’s going on here at home, where people are really afraid about what’s going to happen to their kids at school and not quite so worried about what’s going to happen with a cruise missile coming our way. The flop of the Scuds was kind of a relief to the people who were watching it so carefully.
But General Trainor really makes it necessary in his assessment to look at the way we’ve organized both our diplomacy and our military. The military apparently can’t stop thinking about what they needed in the past, so they’re looking at the future, it seems to me, but they also can’t let go. They’re running scared. We’re running scared domestically. Things look terrible. Race relations are terrible. Poverty is increasing; the difference between the rich and the poor. These are times when we’re all worried.
What worries me is that the people who are thinking in current terms, in the way that General Trainor outlined, don’t have enough room on the podium to do it. And there are so many things mitigating against any reasonable solution to how we face up to all of these things. If you look, for instance, at Rwanda—a rogue government genocide—and take just the incident of the radios, where the radio was blaring for people to go out and kill the people of another tribe, where it went 24 hours a day. There was discussion about putting the radios out of commission. The military said, “We can’t do that. We don’t have the technical means to jam these radios. And besides, it would be against the law.” At the same time, we’re funding a huge amount of stuff for Radio Marti.
So I’d like to move, if we could, just from—beyond saying what’s wrong to saying how you might put these problems together. Can anybody see not spending so much money on the military? Forget about what percentage it is. What does it cost to do what we need? Do we have to do everything, as General Haig said? Look at A, B, C and D and drop money on all of them. Where is it that you can find a place to relieve us of this huge military budget to meet the assessment of the threats that are against us and to also meet our domestic needs? And while I know that the Congress stayed up all night not doing that, it seems to me that somebody has to start talking about it outside of the small inner circle. So I want everybody to tell me.
Gen. TRAINOR: Well, one of the things I would like to point out is that the ideal world that Congressman Frank would like to have, where we can provide for our own and also for people in Africa and elsewhere, and the world in a sense that Jim Woolsey describes, where you’re dealing with very clearly defined states who either have our interests at heart or are inimical to us—all of that could come apart with the strange centrifugal activities that are taking place in the world today, where the states breaking down, with bankrupt states emerging, destabilizing regions, destabilizing the global economy. It’s, I think, the danger there, while ill-defined. And that’s the worst part of it: We can’t define it because it’s so new.
But it’s almost as though we could be moving into a new version of the Dark Ages, which makes all of our economic strength at home and the so-called international stability that we have with our various coalitions as alliances, meaningless. That, in a sense, we’ll find things breaking down around us that we can’t respond to unless we start to think about what it is that’s happening and how we should be responding to it, not just militarily, but also politically, economically, socially and culturally. Otherwise, the argument about how much you’re going to put into defense and how many divisions or how many aircraft carriers you need, becomes somewhat meaningless. I mean, the responsibility of the president and the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff is not to take chances. You can’t afford to make a mistake with the national security of this country.
So, ergo, by definition, they are going to take a more robust look at the world and the threats around it and what’s needed to deal with those. My argument is that they’d better be making sure that they’re dealing with the correct order of problems.
Rep. FRANK: I agree with much of that. Let me say there is one difference I have. And that is: Of course, there’s got to be a margin of safety when they’re making defense decisions about national security. That’s my central point. When you do not have the kind of threat to our very existence as a society that the Hitler-Tojo-Mussolini axis, or Stalin to Khrushchev to Brezhnev—both of those were qualitatively different than the threats we have today. It doesn’t mean there aren’t threats, but it is a qualitatively different threat.
It’s also the case, by the way, that when we say, “Well, we have this whole new set of threats: Iran, Iraq.” I mean, none of those nations, it seems to me, came into the world in 1992. We used to have the Soviet Union and a lot of those nations; now we just have those nations. So I think our margin has improved our margin of error—because it is one thing to have terrible killing in Rwanda, which we very much regret, but that is not the threat to the security of the United States that you had from Hitler and Stalin, and that’s qualitatively different.
Secondly, I agree with the General that we should be looking at these kinds of threats. I think the problem is that some of the defense spending is not only meaningless but counterproductive. The money that goes into the B-2 bomber, the Seawolf submarine, the money that we spend defending NATO so that NATO cannot spend very much money on its own—those take away resources that could be used to deal with the kinds of things you’re talking about. I agree, we should be spending more money there, but we can’t spend some money and do more about this, but working to prevent that kind of internal disintegration, etc. It just doesn’t work. And we’ve seen this.
The problem in the former Yugoslavia was not a lack of American military power. The problems have not happened in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia because America couldn’t defeat them in a war. The problem was the political and complex one of getting involved there. And building the B-2 bomber and the Seawolf submarine just doesn’t do it. And maintaining the capacity to fight two conventional wars—two full-scale, conventional wars and do the nuclear deterrence at the same time is, in fact, not just irrelevant to what General Trainor was talking about, but damaging to it, because it takes away those resources.
So I would get rid of the B-2 bomber; I would get rid of the new Seawolf submarines; I would say, “No. We’re not going to have to fight and win two full-scale wars simultaneously and do the nuclear deterrence.”
Gen. HAIG: I think we’re going to get into these questions in the next session in considerable detail. Let me just make an observation, Jim, before you enter into this, and that is, I hope we can, in this session, focus on the broad political, strategic, geopolitical aspects of dealing with a number of new and very sophisticated threats.
For example, I think the last two presidencies should have taught us something as Americans. One is that President Bush was condemned for enjoying foreign policy and neglecting our domestic need. President Clinton came in, stating he was going to let the world take care of itself and (pounds table) focus on these long-overdue domestic requirements. Well, again, his nose has been pushed in the doo-doo, as George Bush might say. And he’s now up to his neck in foreign alligators. What you need is balance, and I hope we keep some balance in this discussion with respect to America’s relevance. We sell American goods and services abroad. That is the locomotive of our economic development in this past decade. And if we are withdrawing our presence, let me tell you, as a businessman, I would hate to go to Europe and sell an American widget or to Asia and sell an American widget.
Gen. TRAINOR: Oh, General...
Gen. HAIG: So bear in mind these are interrelated...
Rep. FRANK: Can I respond briefly—directly to that? The fact is that most of our Asian allies sell us a lot more than they buy from us. You think they’re going to say, “We are so upset that you don’t have the seventh fleet here that we’re not going to sell you anything anymore”? I mean, that’s backwards.
Gen. HAIG: They’re happy to sell.
Rep. FRANK: The fact is that the Asians do quite well...
Gen. HAIG: They’re happy to sell.
Rep. FRANK: ...with the United States. They’re not going to cut off trade because we don’t...
Gen. HAIG: I’m in the business of trying to sell to them, and let me tell you...
Rep. FRANK: I understand that.
Gen. HAIG: ...it becomes increasingly difficult if they believe we are not a relevant player in the ritual.
Rep. FRANK: Excuse me, General, but how come—see, this is the problem with the one-sidedness we imposed on ourselves. None of those nations, to my knowledge, are contributing substantially to the defense of the United States; that doesn’t stop us from buying from them. And I don’t understand why we say, “Oh, but if we don’t make a