The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Coronabus both enacted laws aiming to stop China from advancing their Belt and Road economic system that may soon be able to compete with the “rules based international order”, which the United States has been leading the implementation of since the end of WWII. In this episode, learn about the NDAA’s most significant changes, including a new U.S. military build up in China’s neighborhood: The Pacific Deterrence Initiative.
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CD218: Minerals are the New Oil
CD187: Combating China
National Defense Authorization Act for 2021
- Doubles the amount of money allowed to be spent on longer term contracts from $574 million to over $1 billion
TITLE VII – ACQUISITION POLICY, ACQUISITION MANAGEMENT, AND RELATED MATTERS
- Beginning January 1, 2023, the Defense Department will be prohibited from buying printed circuit boards that are either fully or partially manufactured in North Korea, China, Russia, or Iran.
- The Defense Secretary has the ability to waive these restrictions
TITLE X – GENERAL PROVISIONS
- Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to spend up to $15 million from the Operations and Maintenance account “in any fiscal year for clandestine activities for any purpose the Secretary determines to be proper for preparation of the environment for operations of a confidential nature.”
- Intelligence activities are excluded.
- This authority can be delegated for expenses up to $250,000.
- The Defense Secretary has to tell Congress about these expenditures in a report due once per year at the end of the year.
- Prohibits the military from transferring free bayonets, grenades (but they can still transfer stun and flash bang grenades), weaponized tanks, and weaponized drones to domestic law enforcement.
- Beginning in 2023, Defense Department funding – except for funding given directly to students – can be given to an college or university that hosts a Confucius Institute.
- “Confucius Institute” is defined as “a cultural institute directly or indirectly funded” by the Chinese government.
- The Defense Secretary has the ability to waive this prohibition.
- This was based on a bill co-authored by Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio and Rep. Donna Shalala of Fl
Sec. 1064: Requirements for Use of Federal Law Enforcement Personnel, Active Duty Members of the Armed Forces, and National Guard Personnel in Support of Federal Authorities to Respond to Civil Disturbances
- Whenever a member of the armed forces, including the National Guard, respond to a civil disturbance, each individual has to display their name and the name of the Federal entity they are representing.
- This won’t apply to individuals who don’t wear uniforms when performing their regular duties or who are performing undercover operations.
TITLE XII – MATTERS RELATING TO FOREIGN NATIONS
- Prohibits troop levels in Afghanistan from being reduced below 2,000 until the Defense Secretary submits a report
- Reauthorizes the Department of Defense military assistance for training, equipment, supplies, and support for the Government of Iraq and “other local security forces” for combatting ISIL and security the territory of Iraq until December 31, 2021 but cuts the funding to $322.5 million, down from $645 million. The original funding amount t was over $1.6 billion in 2016.
- Reauthorizes the Department of Defense assistance for training, equipment, supplies, support, stipends, and facilities for “vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups and individuals” until December 31, 2021
- In response to Turkey’s decision to buy an air defense system from Russia on July 12, 2019, the President “shall” impose five or more sanctions on each person who participated in buying that system. The sanctions were required to be implemented by the end of January 2021.
- The sanctions are allowed to be removed after one year if the S-400 air defense system has been removed from Turkey
- By the end of 2021, the Secretary of Defense has to submit a classified report with an unclassified summary describing the military postures of Russia and China in southeastern Europe and assess the cost, feasibility, and infrastructure requirements of increasing US Armed Forces in Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, and other locations.
- Requires the Secretary of Defense to create a Pacific Deterrence Initiative to improve the force posture in the Indo-Pacific region, primarily west of the International Date Line
- The purpose is to…
- Strengthen the presence of the US Armed Forces in the region
- Pre-position equipment, weapons, and fuel.
- Perform exercises, training, and experiments
- Build the militaries of allies and partners and enhance cooperation with them
- Authorizes over $2.2 billion
- Extends the prohibition on export licenses being issued to send weapons to the Hong Kong police force that was enacted on November 27, 2019 until December 31, 2021 and expands the prohibition on exports to include “crime control items”.
- ‘The Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances provided by the United States to Taiwan in July 1982 are the foundation for United States-Taiwan relations”
- “Any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including boycotts and embargoes, is a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States.”
- We will “resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system of the people of Taiwan”
- It is US policy to continue selling weapons to Taiwan, including weapons for air defense, undersea warfare, intelligence, surveillance, anti-armor, anti-ship, and coastal defense systems.
- US policy is to perform joint military exercises with Taiwan.
- Congress says that…
- “continued military aggression by the Government of China along the border with India is a significant concern”
- “attempts by the Government of China to advance baseless territorial claims, including those in the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and with respect to Bhutan, are destabilizing and inconsistent with international law.”
- It is United States policy to…
- “support a civilian-led political transition in Sudan that results in a democratic government…”
- “support the implementation of Sudan’s constitutional charter for the transitional period” (which began on August 17, 2019 and is effective for 39 months, which would be November 17, 2022)
- Part of our strategy is “promoting economic reform, private sector engagement, and inclusive economic development…” and “supporting improved development outcomes, domestic resource mobilization, and catalyzing market-based solutions to improve access to health, education, water and sanitations, and livelihoods…”
- Authorizes the President to “provide assistance” authorized by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, which allows him to use money from the State Department’s Economic Support Fund, and development assistance in agriculture, health, education, housing, counter-drug operations, disaster relief, energy, technology, natural resources, and technical assistance for the government and/or central bank.
- Authorizes $20 million per year in 2021 and 2022
- Authorizes the President to “provide assistance” using the same authorities from Section 1264 and the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018 (BUILD Act) ,which created the United States International Development Finance Corporation, to “promote economic growth, increase private sector productivity and advance market-based solutions to address development challenges”
- Authorizes $80 million per year for 2021 and 2022
- Authorizes the President to “provide assistance” using the same authorities from Section 1264 and money for international military education and training and money for peacekeeping operations to “support civil society and other organizations”, for “professional training of security force personnel”, and to support provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 and Abyei protocol.
- Authorizes $20 million per year for 2021 and 2022
- Authorizes the President to “provide assistance” using the same authorities from Section 1264 to assist investigators to document violations of human rights committed by the former President Omar al-Bashir and the Transitional Military Council since June 30, 1989.
- Authorizes $10 million per year for 2021 and 2022.
- Effective January 1, 2020 (backdated), repeals the Sudan Peace Act and the Comprehensive Peace in Sudan Act
- The United States will give Israel at least $3.3 billion per year from the Foreign Military Financing Program from 2021 through 2028 (at least $26.4 billion).
- The amount used to be capped; this law changed it so that is a minimum payment.
- Authorizes the President to transfer precision-guided missiles from our reserves to Israel
- The authority to transfer our missiles to Israel will expire at the beginning of 2024
TITLE LVXXXIV – MISCELLANEOUS
- Congress is concerned that “Russia and China have conducted military exercises together in the Arctic, have agreed to connect the Northern Sea Route, claimed by Russia, with China’s Maritime Silk Road, and are working together in developing natural gas resources in the Arctic.”
TITLE XCIV – SCIENCE, SPACE, AND TECHNOLOGY MATTERS
- The Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology will conduct a study that can include…
- How China’s role in international standards setting organizations has grown over the last 10 years
- China’s standardization strategy outlined in “Chinese Standard 2035”
- An examination of whether international standards for technology are being designed to promote Chinese interests outlined in the “Made in China 2025” plan
- Recommendations on how the United States can “mitigate” China’s influence in setting standards and increase the United States public and private sector participation in the standards setting institutions
TITLE XCVII – FINANCIAL SERVICES MATTERS
- Makes it the policy of the United States to disqualify China from receiving World Bank loans designed for low and middle income countries.
- This was a bill written by Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio
TITLE XCIX – CREATING HELPFUL INCENTIVES TO PRODUCE SEMICONDUCTORS FOR AMERICA
- The Secretary of Commerce has to create a program that provides tax money to “a private entity, a consortium of private entities,, or a consortium of public and private entities…” to incentivize them to invest in creating, assembling, testing, packaging, or researching semiconductors in the United States.
- The money can not be given to “a foreign entity of concern”
- Tax money for any individual project is capped at $3 billion, but that limit can be waived with the recommendation of the Defense Secretary, the Director of National Intelligence, and the President.
- Authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to create a “Multilateral Semiconductors Security Fund”
- The fund would be used to create “measurably secure semiconductor supply chains”
- The Secretary of State can use money in the fund to give to foreign governments on the condition that those countries enact restrictions on exports to China.
- The Secretary of State is encouraged, but not required, to establish transparency requirements for subsidies or other financial benefits given to semiconductors inside or outside the participating countries and “promote harmonized treatment and verification processes for items being exported to a country considered a national security risk by a country participating”.
DIVISION B – COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2021
TITLE V – GENERAL PROVISIONS
Sec. 526: Prohibits NASA, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), or the National Space Council (NSC) from working with, contracting from, or coordinating “in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company” unless the activities are “specifically authorized” by a law enacted after the Coronabus. This can be waived if NASA, the OSTP, or NSC consults with the FBI and finds that the cooperation would “pose no risk of resulting in the transfer of technology, data, or other information with national security or economic security implications to China or a Chinese-owned company.”
DIVISION K – DEPARTMENT OF STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS ACT
Sec. 7030: State Department funds must be used to advance the adoption of 5G in countries receiving our tax money and prevent the creation of communications networks, including 5G, promoted by China “and other state-backed enterprises that are subject to undue or extrajudicial control by their country of origin.”
- $1.482 billion must be spent implementing the Indo-Pacific Strategy and the Asia Reassurance Initiative of 2018.
- Requires at least $300 million in additional money to be spent on a new Countering Chinese Influence Fund
- Almost $135 million was appropriated for the government of Burma before the military coup.
- At least $85 million is appropriated for the government of Cambodia, conditioned on Cambodia “verifiably maintaining the neutrality of Ream Naval Base, other military installations in Cambodia, and dual use facilities such as the Dara Sakor development project. There is no certification required for “democracy, health, education, and environment programs, programs to strengthen the sovereignty of Cambodia, and programs to educate and inform the people of Cambodia of the influence activities of the People’s Republic of China in Cambodia.”
- At least $80 million will be given to Laos
- At least $3 million from the “Democracy Fund” will be given to Hong Kong for “democracy and internet freedom programs for Hong Kong, including legal and other support for democracy activists” as long as none of this money goes to the Chinese government.
- Prohibits counter-drug money for the Philippines, “except for drug demand reduction, maritime law enforcement, or transnational interdiction.”
- At least $170 million will be given to Vietnam
- Requires at least $290 million to be spent on the Countering Russian Influence Fund
Sec. 7045: Requires over $500 million to be available for “assistance” for Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, which can be spent on the Central America Regional Security Initiative. Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras can only get 50% of their allotted funding unless the Secretary of State certifies that the governments are taking actions against corruption, enacting reforms, informing their citizens that it’s dangerous to come to the United States, enhancing border security, and “resolving disputes involving the confiscation of real property of United States entities.” Those three countries are also ineligible for foreign military financing.
- Requires at least $74.8 million to be spent on the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative
- Requires at least $33 million to be spent on “democracy programs” in Venezuela
- Adds an additional $700 million to the Economic Support Fund, available until September 30, 2022 for Sudan.
DIVISION Z – ENERGY ACT OF 2020
- The Director of National Intelligence, starting in the beginning of 2022 and every year after, will have to conduct a detailed report on China’s investments in minerals and if their investments have increased their control over the global supply of those minerals.
DIVISION FF – OTHER MATTER
TITLE III – FOREIGN RELATIONS AND DEPARTMENT OF STATE PROVISIONS
- Congress finds that…
- “China’s attempts to dictate the terms of Taiwan’s participation in international organizations has, in many cases, resulted in Taiwan’s exclusion from such organizations even when statehood is not a requirement…”
- Makes it US policy to advocate for Taiwans inclusion in international organizations that do not require statehood, including the United Nations, World Health Assembly, and others.
Sec. 352: By the beginning of July, the Secretary of State has to submit a five year strategy to Congress for changing the governing, economic, and security structures of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
- Economically, the priorities must include:
- “Supporting market-based solutions to eliminate constraints to inclusive economic growth”
- “Identifying… a role for relevant United States agencies and United States private sector in supporting efforts to increase private sector investment…”
- Security priorities must include:
- “Implementing the Central America Regional Security Initiative”
- The strategy can be created in partnership with “civil society and the private sector in the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.”
- The strategy will have to be posed on the State Department’s website, but it is allowed to be partially classified.
Sec. 353: By the beginning of July, President Biden has to submit a list of people who will be sanctioned for their actions in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Sanctions will prohibit the targets from traveling to the United States. The authority to impose these sanctions will expire at the beginning of 2024.
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018
Sec. 1251: Authorized the “Indo-Asia-Pacific Stability Initiative” to “increase the presence and capabilities” of the United States Armed Forces in the region by building new infrastructure, “enhance the storage and pre-positioning in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region of equipment of the United States Forces”, and with military training and exercises with allies.
John S. McCain National Defense Authorization for Fiscal Year 2019
- Amends the NDAA for 2016, which authorized the South China Sea Initiative providing military equipment and training to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, to change the name of the program to the “Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative” and expands the authorization to include the Indian Ocean in addition to the South China Sea and the countries of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
- Adds India to the list of countries allowed to be paid for expenses, along with Brunei, Singapore, and Taiwan.
- Extends the expiration date from September 30, 2020 to December 31, 2025.
- Changes the name of the military build-up authorized in NDAA 2018 from the “Indo-Asia-Pacific Stability Initiative” to the “Indo-Pacific Stability Initiative”.
- Changes the activities authorized to include an increase in “rotational and forward presence” of the US Armed Forces and adds the prepositioning of “munitions” in addition to equipment.
- Expands the options for funding by removing the requirement that funding come “only” from a section 1001 transfer authority.
- Section 1001 transfer authority allows the shifting of up to $4.5 billion.
- Requires a 5 year plan be submitted to Congress by the Secretary of Defense by March 1, 2019.
- The “United States-backed international system” is being challenged by:
- China constructing islands in the South China Sea and challenging US economic interests
- North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities
- “Without strong leadership from the United States, the international system, fundamentally rooted in the rule of law, may wither, to the detriment of the United States, regional, and global interests.”
- The United States policy for the region…
- “Promotes American prosperity and economic interests by advancing economic growth and development of a rules-based Indo-Pacific economic community”
- We will support…
- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
- Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
- East Asia Summit
- We want…
- Freedom of navigation under international law
- Expansions of security and defense cooperation with allies and partners
- Denuclearization of North Korea
- “To develop and grow the economy through private sector partnerships between the United States and Indo-Pacific partners”
- To pursue trade agreements and “build a network of partners in the Indo-Pacific committed to free markets”
- $1.5 billion per year from 2019 through 2023 ($7.5 billion total)
- The money can be used for…
- Foreign military financing
- Foreign military education and training
- Counterterrorism partnership programs
- “To encourage responsible natural resource management in partner countries, which is closely associated with economic growth”
- Military and Coast Guard training exercises
- Expanding cooperation with Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka
- “Multilateral engagements” with Japan, Australia, and India
- The goal is to counter “China’s influence to undermine the international system”
- The goal of our commitment to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is to “build a strong, stable politically cohesive, economically integrated, and socially responsible community of nations that has common rules, norms, procedures, and standards which are consistent with international law and the principles of a rules-based Indo-Pacific community.”
- To enforce all existing commitments to Taiwan made by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 and the 3 joint communiques and the Six Assurances agreed to by President Reagan in July 1982
- The United States “should” regularly transfer weapons to Taiwan “that are tailored to meet the existing and likely future threats from the People’s Republic of China.”
- By 2030, 66% of the global middle class will be living in Asia and 59% of middle class consumption will take place in Asia
- The United States has free trade agreements in effect with Australia, Singapore, and Korea The member states of ASEAN represent the fifth largest economy in the world
- Congress supports “full implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement by Indo-Pacific countries”
- Authorizes “such sums as may be necessary” for the President to produce a trade facilitation strategy that levels the playing field for American companies competing in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Authorizes $210 million per year from 2019 through 2025 (over $1 billion total) to “promote democracy, strengthen civil society… etc” in the Indo-Pacific region. This money can be used to promote democracy and the “rule of law” inside of China.
- Article: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor—Hard Reality Greets BRI’s Signature Initiative, By David Sacks, Council on Foreign Relations, March 30, 2021
- Article: An Alliance of Autocracies? China Wants to Lead a New World Order., By Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times, March 29, 2021
- Article: China and Russia Agree to Explore the Moon Together, By Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times, March 10, 2021
- Article: Russia, Belarus ink five-year strategic military partnership plan for first time, By Tass, March 2, 2021
- Article: The U.S. Air Force Just Admitted The F-35 Stealth Fighter Has Failed, By David Axe, Forbes, February 23, 2021
- Article: Chip Crisis Flummoxes Congress in a World Where U.S. Output Lags, By Laura Davison and Jarrell Dillard, MSN, Bloomberg, February 21, 2021
- Article: Cambodia-China Golden Dragon Military Exercise postponed, By Chea Vanyuth, Khmer Times, February 2, 2021
- Document: China’s “One Belt, One Road” Initiative: Economic Issues, By Karen M. Sutter, Andres B. Schwarzenberg, and Michael D. Sutherland, The Congressional Research Service, January 21, 2021
- Article: Defense Bill Includes Two Landmark Transparency Provisions, By Tim Stretton, POGO, January 21, 2021
- Article: NicaNotes: Unelectable coup mongers, By Fabrizio Casari, Alliance for Global Justice, January 14, 2021
- Document: Taiwan: Political and Security Issues, By Susan V. Lawrence, The Congressional Research Service, January 4, 2021
- News Release: Cambodia: Hun Sen and His Abusive Generals, Human Rights Watch, October 22, 2020
- Article: Cambodian PM Says Ream Naval Base Not Just for China, By The Defense Spot, October 7, 2020
- Article: The Real F-35 Problem We Need to Solve, By Scott Cooper, Defense One, September 29, 2020
- Article: Russia, China launch massive ‘Caucasus 2020’ military exercises, By Jan van der Made, Rfi, September 21, 2020
- Article: China says it will join Russian military exercises this month along with Iran, Belarus and others, By CBS News, September 10, 2020
- Document: China’s National Security Law for Hong Kong: Issues for Congress, By Susan V. Lawrence and Michael F. Martin, The Congressional Research Service, August 3, 2020
- Article: India-China border standoff turns deadly for first time in decades, By Arshad R. Zargar, CBS News, June 16, 2020
- Article: Chinese troops challenge India at multiple locations in eastern Ladakh, standoff continues, By Snehesh Alex Philip, The Print, May 24, 2020
- Article: When It Comes to Supersonic Flight, the F-35’s Wings Are Clipped, By Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, April 29, 2020
- Article: Cambodia, China kick off Golden Dragon exercise despite coronavirus, Vietnam News, March 15, 2020
- Article: Joint Cambodia-China ‘Golden Dragon’ Military Drills to Proceed, Despite Threat of Coronavirus, Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service, Translated by Sovannarith Keo, Written in English by Joshua Lipes, Radio Free Asia, March, 2020
- Press Release: Gonzalez introduces new bill to curb World Bank funding to China, Anthony Gonzalez, November 13, 2019
- Article: Deal for Naval Outpost in Cambodia Furthers China’s Quest for Military Network, By Jeremy Page, Gordon Lubold and Rob Taylor, The Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2019
- Document: Cambodia: Background and U.S. Relations, By Thomas Lum, The Congressional Research Service, January 28, 2019
- Document: Taiwan: Issues for Congress, By Susan V. Lawrence and Wayne M. Morrison, The Congressional Research Service, October 30, 2017
Sound Clip Sources
Hearing: Secretary Blinken: The Biden Administration’s Priorities for U.S. Foreign Policy, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, March 10, 2021
40:53 Antony Blinken: So on Nord Stream II, a couple of things at the outset, just to be very, very clear, President Biden thinks it’s a bad idea. He said so repeatedly, I share his his view. It violates the European Union’s own energy security principles. It jeopardizes the economic and strategic situation for Ukraine, for Poland as well. And so he opposes it. We oppose it will continue to do so. I’ve been on the job, I think, five weeks. The pipeline is 95% complete. It started construction started in 2018. So I wish we didn’t find ourselves in a situation with a pipeline that’s virtually complete.
1:06:17 Antony Blinken: We have to deal with the drivers of migration, to your point. And I think there is real opportunity there to do that. When President Biden was Vice President, as you may remember, he led an effort, very successful effort, a bipartisan effort with Congress to secure significantly more resources to help Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador deal with some of these drivers, whether it came to security, whether it came to corruption, whether it came to economic opportunity, and we did this in a way that was simply not simply throwing money at the problem, but demanding concrete reforms from these countries, that actually materially improved the situation for people there and took away some of the incentives for them to come to the United States. We now have a proposal with additional resources over four years to do that, and to do that in a, I think, potentially effective way.
1:10:35 Antony Blinken: First we have in President Biden, as you know, someone who believes strongly in NATO, in the Alliance, the most successful alliance in history and something as he see that he sees as the glue that joins us to to Europe and so this is something as you know, he spent a lot of time on himself in the past and he’s doing so now as well.
1:12:37 Antony Blinken: When we see democracy being challenged by China or by Russia, one of the things that they’re trying to do constantly, is not just to divide us from other democracies, but of course, to divide us from ourselves, and in particular, to try to make the case that the system that we all believe in and are dedicating our lives to professionally doesn’t work and that their systems are better.
1:13:09 Antony Blinken: Demonstrate together, that democracy actually delivers for our people and for other democracies. That is the single best answer and response to this effort by autocratic countries around the world to try to make the case that democracy doesn’t deliver an autocracy does. So I hope we can work on that together because that’s the path to success.
1:13:43 Rep. Joe Wilson (SC): The International Criminal Court has taken actions leading to the unjustified prosecution of American Israeli nationals despite neither country being a member of the court. Most recently, the ICC issued a ruling that had jurisdiction to try Israelis for alleged war crimes in Palestine. I appreciate your statement opposing the recent moves by the ICC. What are the steps the State Department are taking to counter these recent actions? And how will you work to prevent ICC prosecutions of Americans or Israelis? Antony Blinken: Thank you for the question. I appreciate it. We of course share the goal, the broad goal of accountability for international atrocity crimes. That’s not the issue. In the case that you raise, as well as the attempt to assert jurisdiction over American troops in Afghanistan, we have strongly opposed those assertions of jurisdiction. It’s been our view, it remains our view that jurisdiction is reserved when a state consents to it or if there’s a referral by the United Nations Security Council. Neither is true in the case of of Israel and the Palestinian matter that you just mentioned, or is it true in the case of Afghanistan, we have the capacity ourselves to provide accountability when those issues arise. And so we will continue to make clear our opposition, I think the question for us, and it’s an appropriate one is how can we most effectively do that and that’s something that we’re looking at right now.
1:15:37 Rep. Joe Wilson (SC): My youngest son served in Afghanistan. So identify as a family member of the threats of ICC what they could mean to the American people.
1:16:30 Antony Blinken: We applaud the steps that have been taken toward normalization with Israel by a number of countries including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco. These are very important and we want to build on them.
1:16:50 Rep. Joe Wilson (SC): But unfortunately then we go to Nordstrom, too. And that is a Do you agree that Nord Stream II pipeline is a Russian malign influence project, if completed, that would threaten European and US security? Antony Blinken: Yes, I think as we’ve we were discussing a little bit earlier, we we oppose the president opposes Nordstrom, who has been clear about this for some time. So have I, and unfortunately, the pipeline is, you know, is 95% complete. But we are making clear that we, we stand against its completion. We issued an initial report and sanctioned the the leading pipeline, ship, and we continue to review other possibilities for sanctions going forward. Rep. Joe Wilson (SC): And I appreciate you actually referenced the threat to Poland. What about threat is already on with the aggression in Ukraine. Antony Blinken: There are two and this is something that I worked on a lot when I was last in, in the Obama administration. We strongly stand against Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea, we stand strongly against its aggression in the Donbass in eastern Ukraine, and we are strongly in support of Ukraine, we intend to strengthen that support, whether its security, economic, or its efforts to strengthen its own democracy, which are vitally important because one of the challenges as you know, for Ukraine is it has to face aggression from the outside from from Russia, but it also has to deal on the inside with its own challenges, including the problem of corruption. We’re determined to work on all of that. Rep. Joe Wilson (SC): Another alternative would be as Azerbaijan to Bulgaria, the Black Sea with pipelines that I urge you to make every effort on that. I yield back.
2:54:30 Antony Blinken: First when it comes to the the Houthis, just to be very clear, we we see them as a bad actor that has tried to overrun Yemen, interrupted a peace, effort and led by the United Nations, committed acts of aggression against Saudi Arabia, as well as atrocities of one kind or another, in Yemen itself, and of course, have helped create an environment where we have the worst humanitarian crisis in the world right now. And that’s precisely why we took the action we did in terms of lifting the designation on the entity itself. We continue to have designations against individual who the leaders, including some that we’ve imposed recently, but we wanted to make sure that nothing that the United States was doing, made the provision of humanitarian assistance to Yemen even more difficult than it already is. And it was our judgment, that was those designations, that designation of the group was having that effect, but we stand strongly for the proposition that we have to deal with the Houthis and also try to advance current efforts to end the war.
Hearing: The State of Democracy Around the World, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, March 10, 2021
- Madeleine K. Albright, former Secretary of State
- Paula J. Dobriansky, former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs
- Peter Biar Ajak, National Endowment for Democracy, all of Washington, D.C.; Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, Burma Campaign UK, Geneva, Switzerland
- Nathan Law, former Hong Kong Legislative Council Member, London, United Kingdom.
35:54 Ambassador Paula J Dobriansky: Venezuela is a flashpoint for Chinese and Russian investment and malign influence. both nations have invested billions into Venezuela taking advantage of its economic and political weakness, its vast petroleum resources and their close relationships with a corrupt Maduro regime. Russian arms manufacturers sold $4 billion worth of weapons to Venezuela over the last 10 years, and China has invested some 67 billion in Venezuela since 2007. These instruments have propped up an illegitimate government and have undermined prospects for democracy.
37:07 Ambassador Paula J Dobriansky: Russia and China have expanded investments in Africa as well. In 2003, annual Chinese direct investment in Africa was just 75 million, but by 2009, it reached 2.7 billion. Through its One Belt One Road Initiative. China is offering fragile democracies in Africa, new rail lines, highways and other infrastructure projects. African nations are finding that these projects have left them with massive debt and a lack of control. Russia is also increasing its investments in Africa to especially its military presence. It’s striving to create a Red Sea naval logistics facility in Sudan.
40:49 Madeleine Albright: And I do think that there’s no question that China is our biggest problem, and that they are out there, hustling in every single way. And I have made very clear that with the Belt and Road policies that they are undertaking, the Chinese must be getting very fat because the belt keeps getting larger and larger. And some of it does have to do with the fact that we have been absent and they are filling a vacuum and so we need to make clear that we need to be back and really do need to make clear in so many ways that we are a leader in restoring and building democracy in other countries.
1:13:46 Sen. Chris Coons (DE): Senator Cornyn and I have a bipartisan bill about strengthening civics education within the United States. In recent surveys, there’s as many young Americans who support and believe in socialism as believe in capitalism. There’s profound doubts about democracy, particularly after the events of January 6th, and the disinformation, about the value and legitimacy of free and open societies that we’ve lived through. It’s my hope that on a bipartisan basis, we can move a renewed investment in civics education to strengthen our own democracies, you’ve both spoken to.
1:48:30 Peter Biar Ajak: The United States need to send a clear message to here, there is repression of our people will no longer be tolerated, nor any further delay of elections. We should sanction perpetrators of gross human rights violations like which, while urging the African Union to urgently set up the hybrid court on South Sudan to end impunity. If Kiran doesn’t hold the election on time, he’s already illegitimate regime will have expired since he was never elected by our people. This will necessitate a new political paradigm to ensure a successful transition to democracy. Despite severe depression, our people made it clear in the recently concluded national dialogue that Kiran Machar must exit the political scene. I hope the United States, this committee will stand with our people.
Hearing: National Security Challenges and U.S. Military Activities in the Indo-Pacific, House Committee on Armed Services, March 10, 2021
- David F. Helvey, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Affairs, Department of Defense
- Admiral Philip S. Davidson, U.S. Navy, Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command
- General Robert B. Abrams, U.S. Army, Commander, United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/U.S. Forces Korea
31:54 Admiral Philip S. Davidson: The threat as it’s developed in the western Pacific has moved in a way in which we need to have better integrated air and missile defense capability on Guam in order to defend it. What you have in place right now is fad radar, which only has 120 degree wide look at threats in the region and in fact, it’s oriented on North Korea. And it’s meant to defend against rogue shot of intermediate range from North Korea. We supplement that with an Aegis destroyer. As we look at the expanse of Chinese weapon systems, and their employment of air and maritime forces in the region. We need a 360 degree defense now of Guam, and must be able to meet the ballistic missile threat that can come from PRC land as well as PRC ships. But it also should meet the 360 degree threat around Guam that comes from circumnavigations of Guam by PRC naval assets, including submarines that could shoot land attack cruise missiles, for example. As well as bomber approaches, and its ability to shoot land attack cruise missiles as well. We have to be able to defend against all those threats. Aegis Ashore is a proven technology that you have today at sea and you have it ashore in Romania and Poland to help in the defense of Europe. That system would enable all the capabilities that you have today and begin to meet the threats in the future. As China develops hypersonic weapons during the course of this decade., clearly there’s going to be a need to have space sensing associated with that. You’re still gonna have to have an interceptor to meet the threat. In my view, that’s going to rectify that by bridging Aegis Ashore with our space capability that is to come.
49:14 David F. Helvey: And the reality is that we’re not asking nations to choose between the United States or China. In fact, we welcome and encourage all nations across the Indo Pacific to maintain peaceful, productive relations with all of their neighbors, China included. Framing the strategic competition that we find ourselves in with China, as a choice between us or China, or as a choice between nations is really a false choice. The choice that our allies and our partners and everyone in the region faces is between supporting the existing international order, the existing system that’s free and open. It’s the system that we helped to create that we’ve supported, and that we believe has benefited everybody in the region, including in particular, including China. And the alternative now that China is presenting, which is a closed system in a more authoritarian governance model. So it’s a competition between systems, that’s a choice between systems. Do you want to choose a free and open system? Or do you want to choose a closed and authoritarian one? And so we’re only asking countries to do their part to uphold the international laws, rules and norms, which support their interests, which they’ve benefited from, and helped to provide for security and prosperity for all of us. And so that’s that’s the ask that we’ve got our allies and our partners.
57:27 Rep. Joe Courtney (CT): Admiral Davidson on page 35 of your testimony you set forth China’s sort of brazen, repeated violations of the Law of the Sea treaty. And mentioned the fact that at South China Sea geographic features were renamed with, I guess, Chinese names. Can you flesh that out a little bit what that means in terms of, you know, maritime territorial claims, and the impact in terms of freedom of navigation? Admiral Philip S. Davidson: Well, the Chinese are trying to basically impose Chinese national law on the international regime that provides for the freedom of navigation and freedom of the seas. We’ve spoken quite a bit about the Chinese use of lawfare. This is, one of the methodologies in which they do it. It’s not just the naming, or renaming of features that have had long standing names in the region. It’s the redefinition of what they might be. Because, rocks, is slits, islands all have very specific navigational rights associated with them, as well as their continued militarization of the features that they built out early in the last decade. Their continued militarization is to frankly, deter not only the United States, but truly cow, all of our allies and partners in the region, and certainly the South China Sea claimants from their absolute rights to operate and those rights that they enjoy for economic resource extraction of freedom of the seas, freedom of the airways, etc. Rep. Joe Courtney (CT): Well, thank you for that answer. Because, again, as you point out, this isn’t just about sort of names. It’s also about sort of territorial claims and what that means to the rules based system that has been so successful over the last 75 years.
1:29:46 Rep. Scott DesJarlais (IA): Admiral Davidson What do you consider the most likely potential target of Chinese aggression or military action in the next five to 10 years? Admiral Philip S. Davidson: Given what they’ve said both publicly and over time, and certainly during the tenure of Chairman Xi Jinping. I would say Taiwan is the first.
Hearing: United States Indo-Pacific Command, Senate Committee on Armed Services, March 9, 2021
4:23 Sen. Jack Reed (RI): At his confirmation hearing Secretary Austin accurately described china as the pacing threat for the department of defense under president Xi Jinping china has moved away from greater integration with the liberal world order and instead created a style of authoritarian capitalism that it now seeks to explore throughout the region and the world additionally China seeks to co op international institutions or create parallel organization to support its strategic interest.
8:23 Sen. Roger Wicker (MS): China invested in military capabilities many americans naively assumed that China’s entry into the WTO and the global integration of its economy would somehow make the Chinese communist party more friendly and open to the west. The result now is america’s military advantage and the credibility of our deterrent is eroding that is why the 2021 NDAA was the toughest bill on china ever with several national security committees involved and that is specifically why this committee put the Pacific Deterrence Initiative or PDI into last year’s NDAA to stop aggression from the Chinese Communist Party.
18:50 Admiral Philip S. Davidson: I think the Pacific deterrence initiative funded in FY21 for about $2.2 billion was a good first start. I recognize that the committee has put a cap of $5.5 billion on the fund going forward.
22:45 Admiral Philip S. Davidson: i’m quite encouraged by the potential power of an organization like the quad my brain in my view India Japan Australia in the United States that’s a diamond of democracies that could bring so much more not only to the region but to the globe not not in terms of security alone, but in terms of how we might approach you know the global economy, critical technologies like telecommunications and 5G, collaboration on the international order, just much to be done diplomatically and economically and I have great hope that our ministerial level meetings with the clot as it’s known and returned we’ll build into something much bigger for the sake of the globe.
24:24 Sen. Roger Wicker (MS): With regard to the projected 2025. It shows that at that point, China will have three aircraft carriers to our one in the region. Is that correct? Admiral Philip S. Davidson: Yes, sir. Sen. Roger Wicker (MS): And then with regard to amphibious assault ships, it’s projected in 2025, that we’ll have six to our two. Admiral Philip S. Davidson:* Yes, sir. **Sen. Roger Wicker (MS): And then with regard to modern multi warfare, combatant ships 50 for two hours, six, is that correct? Admiral Philip S. Davidson:* Yes, sir. **Sen. Roger Wicker (MS): And what is the significance of that last figure Admiral? Admiral Philip S. Davidson: Really, the three charts work together, Senator, one to show the change in capability and capacity that the Chinese have undertaken during the course of the 21st century. And the relatively static nature of our own forward positioned forces. As I described, our effort to do a deterrence to sustain a deterrence posture and the reason it’s so important on our ability to respond in time and without question, you know, is this an old novel in the 70s is to say, the importance of us presence forward is incredibly important, perfect speed is being there. And it’s to show that if we don’t make changes in our posture forward, that that it will demonstrate that the Chinese have much greater capacity than we have.
26:42 Admiral Philip S. Davidson: But the important factor here is time. It takes almost three weeks to respond from the west coast of the United States and 17 days to respond from Alaska to get all the way to the first island chain and to conduct operations within the second islands.
28:26 Admiral Philip S. Davidson: Certainly advocating for Aegis Ashore and Guam the mission partner environment as well as the Pentek. That the Pacific Range Improvements that I seek for our structure in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and so forth.
35:43 Sen. Deb Fisher (NE): Last year, the strategic forces subcommittee authorized and additional $77 million to begin fielding a persistent air and missile defense system on Guam. Unfortunately, this funding was removed in conference and replaced with language requiring the department to study the issue. Can you walk us through the need for this system?
38:24 Admiral Philip S. Davidson: In partnership with the Missile Defense Agency we believe that the aegis assures system as is being put to sea right now and has been constructed previously in Romania and Poland delivers the kind of capabilities that would meet the threat that’s excellent here by mid decade and we’ll help us pace the threat into the future.
1:03:35 Admiral Philip S. Davidson: I worry that they’re accelerating their ambitions to supplant the United States and our leadership role in the rules based international order which they’ve long said that they want to do that by 2050, I’m worried about them moving that target closer. Taiwan is clearly one of their ambitions before then and i think the threat is manifest during this decade in fact in the next six years.
1:05:58 Sen. Maizie Hirono (HI): I noticed that you significantly increased the requested amount from last year’s PDI report to this year’s report to strengthen our allies and partners over the next five years in the region from over $300 million to about $2.8 billion, can you discuss your rationale for the significant increase and what that additional funding is intended to do or where will it go?Admiral Philip S. Davidson: Well you hope you highlighted the key aspects ma’am it’s to enhance and make improvements in our joint exercise program and that’s principally because not only the united states but our key allies and partners Japan, Korea, Australia is just three examples are buying important capabilities that match ours integrated air missile defense for example fifth generation fighters like the F35 they’re being actually delivered in the theater we’ve got to advance our exercise capabilities or excuse me our exercise program in a way that allows us to exercise those capabilities deliberately.
1:34:07 Sen. Tim Scott (SC): My first question is about Taiwan. I think you agree that it we’ve got to prevent Communist China from Controlling taiwan is a strategic necessity for the united states and the loss would devastate our ability and and the ability of japan to counter china’s aggression does you agree with that and rightAdmiral Philip S. Davidson: As a combatant commander out there in the Indo-Pacific I have an obligation to you know support the Taiwan Relations Act and and in a geostrategic sense i think it’s critically important to the united states global status, yes.
1:44:04 Admiral Philip S. Davidson: The Aegis Ashore is a system that’s in fact already been developed we we have built and are employing one actually already in Romania and there’s one building and imminently operational in Poland as well and it’s to help nato with the defense of Europe it is essentially a radar the command and control the information technology communications conductivity and the interceptors missiles that are capable of defeating ballistic missile cruise missile threats in and around today you know an aegis ashore system on Guam fixed site on Guam would enable 360 degree defense of Guam from any military attacks from china whether they come by sea by air or by ballistic missile in the future it is technology that is available today we’ve built it ashore we’ve built it at sea and it’s our you know it’s our number one priority for funding in Guam.
2:13:13 Sen. Mark Kelly (NJ): You know a couple of questions here about command and control, communications. And we rely heavily on satellites to do that. And in in January of 2007, China conducted an anti anti satellite test against one of their own non operational weather satellites, with a kinetic Kill vehicle. And it’s been reported that in the year since China has an operational capability that can attack satellites in low Earth orbit and that they’re developing the capability that goes all the way out to geosynchronous orbit. So how does this affect the strategic balance of power in the region from your perspective?Admiral Philip S. Davidson: Thanks for that, Senator. Yes, both China and Russia have demonstrated capability to disrupt satellites, testing capabilities on their own assets in the past, as you’ve articulated, it clearly, I think demonstrates that space which we’ve long considered a domain and which would be unthreatened for the United States. The potential is there actually, for it to be threatened. We have to build resiliency into our space apparatus that happens with other space assets. It happens with creating airborne and other terrestrial alternatives to fulfill that. And it changes the calculus in space as well. We have to recognize that again, this goes back to some earlier comments I made about to turn theory we were not going to be able to play defense alone, in this particular regard. If we can’t demonstrate to others, that their capabilities and space might be at risk, then, you know, we run the risk of a deterrence failure. That’s that the space layer is critically important to how we sense in the strategic nuclear deterrent, how we communicate across the Joint Force, and even how we sense and distribute information to the conventional forces as well. Its resiliency is incredibly important to us.
Hearing: Global Security Challenges and Strategy, Senate Committee on Armed Services, March 2, 2021
- Thomas Wright, The Brookings Institution
- Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, USA (Ret.), former United States National Security Advisor, Stanford University Hoover Institution, both of Washington, D.C.
Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster: The most significant flashpoint now that that could lead to a large scale war is Taiwan. And I think that has to do with really Xi Jinping’s belief that he has a fleeting window of opportunity that’s closing. And he wants to his view, make China whole again, you see this with the extension of the party’s repressive arm into Hong Kong. And this horrible genocidal campaign in Shinjang, Taiwan is the next big prize. And so I think what we have to be able to do is have four position capable forces. Because what Xi Jinping wants to do with what would be the largest land grabs, so to speak in history, if he succeeds in the South China Sea, is to weaponize the South China Sea and just make it too difficult for us to be able to employ forces inside of that inner island chain. So you know, if you have four position forces there, that automatically transforms denied space with China with the PLA, The People’s Liberation Army when it comes to deny space.
Twitter Update: Ned Price rattle off a regime change rant revamping Trump’s policy on Venezuela, Anya Parampil February 3, 2021
Hearing: Secretary of State Confirmation Hearing, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, January 19, 2021
24:50 Sen. Jim Risch (OH): After our conversations earlier today and after hearing our opening statements, Senator Menendez’s input net regard, as you can see here and a whole lot of daylight between us on most of these issues, certainly, almost none whatsoever when it comes to objectives, strategy and how to get there.
34:06 Antony Blinken: Both the President Elect and I believe that we have to restore Congress’s traditional role as a partner in our foreign policy making, in recent years, across administration’s of both parties, Congress’s voice and foreign policy has been diluted and diminished. That doesn’t make the executive branch stronger. It makes our country weaker. President Elect Biden believes and I share his conviction that no foreign policy can be sustained without the informed consent of the American people. You are the representatives of the American people. You provide that advice and consent.
39:20 Antony Blinken: First President Elect Biden is committed to the proposition that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon. And we share I know that goal across this committee. An Iran with a nuclear weapon, or on the threshold of having one with the capacity to build one on short order would be in Iran that is even more dangerous than it already is, when it comes to all of the other malicious activities that’s engaged in, whether it is support for terrorism, whether it is fueling and feeding it’s proxies, whether it is destabilizing the region. An Iran with a nuclear weapon, or with a threshold capacity to build one is in Iran that would act potentially with even greater impunity than it already is. So I think we have an urgent responsibility to do whatever we can to prevent Iran from acquiring or getting a weapon or getting close to the capacity to having the fissile material to break out on short notice. In my judgment, the JCPOA, for whatever its limitations, was succeeding on its own terms in blocking Iran’s pathways to producing fissile material for a nuclear weapon on short order. It also featured and a feature that continues the most intrusive inspections and monitoring regime in the history of arms control. The challenge we face now is that we pulled out of the agreement, Iran is now taking steps to undo the various constraints that were imposed on it by the agreement. And so it has increased his stockpile of low enriched uranium, it is now enriching at a higher level. It is deploying centrifuges in ways that were prohibited under the agreement. The result is based on public reporting. The breakout time, the time it would take Iran to produce enough fissile material for one weapon has gone from beyond a year as it was under the JCPOA to about three or four months based at least on public reporting. And that potentially brings us right back to the crisis point that we were reaching before the deal was negotiated. And so the President Elect believes that if Iran comes back into compliance, we would too. But we would use that as a platform with our allies and partners who would once again be on the same side with us to seek a longer and stronger agreement. And also, as you and the chairman have rightly pointed out, to capture these other issues, particularly with regard to missiles and Iran’s destabilizing activities. That would be the objective.
53:46 Sen. Ron Johnson (WI): Okay, one of the things that Congress did unanimously is we approved $300 million of lethal defensive weaponry for Ukraine. The Obama administration never implemented, the Trump administration did. Do you still disagree with providing that lethal defensive weaponry or do you think and, over time now, that’s been proven to be the correct decision by Congress and the Trump administration? Antony Blinken: Senator, I support providing that lethal defensive assistance to Ukraine. In fact, I had the opportunity to write exactly that in the New York Times about three years ago.
1:14:09 Antony Blinken: There’s been a strong and long bipartisan commitment to Taiwan. Taiwan Relations Act, also that communicates with China, and part of that commitment is making sure that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself against aggression. And that is a commitment that will absolutely endure. In a Biden administration, we will make sure that Taiwan has the ability to do that. I would also like to see Taiwan playing a greater role around the world, including in international organizations. When those organizations don’t require the status of a country to be a member, they should become members. When it does, there are other ways that they can participate.
1:35:15 Sen. Marco Rubio (FL): Is it your view that our stance towards Venezuela should change in essence, that we should no longer recognize Juan Guido and an intern in negotiations with Maduro? Antony Blinken: No, it does not. I very much agree with you, Senator, first of all, with regard to a number of the steps that were taken toward Venezuela in recent years, including recognizing Mr. Guido, recognizing the National Assembly as the only democratically elected institution in Venezuela, seeking to increase pressure on the regime, led by a brutal dictator in Maduro.
1:46:21 Antony Blinken: First senator, we need to be clear eyed about the Houthis. They overthrew a government in Yemen. They engaged in a path of aggression through the country. They directed aggression toward Saudi Arabia, they’ve committed atrocities and human rights abuses. And that is a fact. What’s also a fact though is that the the Saudi led campaign in Yemen, pushback against the Houthi aggression, has contributed to what is by most accounts, the worst humanitarian situation that we face, anywhere in the world. And one aspect of that situation is that about 80% of the Yemeni population right now is in areas controlled by the Houthis. And whether we like it or not, we have to find ways to get assistance to them, if we’re going to do anything about addressing this situation. And so my concern, deep concern about the the designation that was made is that, at least on its surface, it seems to achieve nothing particularly practical in advancing the efforts against the Houthis. And to bring them back to the negotiating table, while making it even more difficult than it already is to provide humanitarian assistance to people who desperately need it. So I think we would propose to review that immediately, to make sure that what we are doing is not impeding the provision of humanitarian assistance, even under these difficult circumstances, I recognize that some have talked about carve outs for American providers of humanitarian assistance. The problem there is that if the carve outs don’t apply to everyone around the world, it’s not going to get the job done, because most of the humanitarian assistance provided to Yemen is not coming from the United States. It’s coming from other countries. So I think we’ve got a very specific and concrete problem that we need to address very quickly, if we’re going to make sure we’re doing everything we can to alleviate the suffering of people in Yemen.
2:09:10 Antony Blinken: President Elect has made clear that we will end our support for the military campaign led by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.
2:46:30 Sen. Rand Paul (KY): You’ve advocated for expanding NATO, do you still support putting Georgia in NATO? Antony Blinken: If a country like Georgia is able to meet the requirements of membership, and if it could contribute to our collective security? Yes, the door should remain open. Sen. Rand Paul (KY): So if you’re successful, then we’d be at war with Russia. Now, Antony Blinken: I actually think just the opposite. I think that, Senator with regard to NATO membership, there’s a very good reason that Russia has proved aggressive against countries that are not actually in NATO, and under the umbrella and it is reason why I chose not to attack Sen. Rand Paul (KY): This would be adding Georgia that’s occupied to NATO, under Article five, then we would go to war. Antony Blinken: Well, I think we’ve seen again, in the past that countries that have joined NATO have not been the same target of Russia, that we’ve seen. Sen. Rand Paul (KY): We were talking about 20 years ago, we might have a valid argument now Russia occupies Georgia Russia occupies, or proxy troops occupy part of Ukraine. So I think adding either of them to NATO Not only is provocative, but you’d have to, you’d have to think what comes next. I mean, if we’re obligated to defend our NATO allies, I mean, basically would be voting for war.
3:42:48 Sen. Cory Booker (NJ): I think we see what’s beginning to look like a civil war in Ethiopia. I think the the grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam conflict is growing and could potentially boil over the Sudan and Ethiopia have growing attention and growing conflicts. As you know, the Horn of Africa is of extraordinary importance. We have seen humanitarian disasters there before, of staggering human toil. We also have one of the more important shipping lanes where about 10% of all global cargo goes by, you use the words with him that you want to have diplomatic active engagement, what does that mean? Antony Blinken: Well, in the first instance, it means actually showing up at the at the right levels to use what diplomatic weight we have, with the government, with leadership in, in Ethiopia in the first instance. And there are a number of things that I think at the very least, would need to be done on short order.
3:53:11 Antony Blinken: First of all, President Elect strongly agrees with you that Nord Stream two is a bad idea and he’s been very clear about that.
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