Former NATO ambassador Lute on Afghanistan: 'If our goal is stalemate, we've achieved it.'

Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. and to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute discuss the president's new Afghanistan strategy on "This Week."
7:49 | 08/27/17

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Transcript for Former NATO ambassador Lute on Afghanistan: 'If our goal is stalemate, we've achieved it.'
The United States military has we gun strikes against Al Qaeda terrorist training camps and the military regime in Afghan Stan. We have a clear and focused goal. To disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan. To the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same. We will defeat you. We will break their will. Dry up their recruits. Keep them from crossing our boarders. We will defeat them. We will defeat them handily. 16 years in Afghanistan. You see the presidents reegt there. We're join bid two of America's foremost experts on Afghanistan, zalmay khalilzad. And Douglas lute. You have applauded the the president's speech. Aside from takinging away the timeline on withdrawal, somewhat new here? Why will it work when other approaches haven't? Think what is new, and I endorse it, is the sharp focus on Pakistan. I don't think either president bush or president Obama focused as sharply, as clearly, that the sanctuary issue, pack Stan's both role as a facilitator of our help to Afghanistan and as a sanctuary for those who fight us and in exchange receive a lot of assistance is not tenable. This is the single most important factor for pro longing the war. ? Isn't that in part because we have precious little lemplg over pack Stan, a country with nuclear weapons? We do have leverage. We haven't exercised it, in my view. We have the leverage of cutting off assistance. Of going after the sanctuaries. The leverage of putting those individuals, as we do in the case of Russia, we do it in the case of Iran, to put individuals who support groups such as the Taliban, terrorists group on a a blacklist. We could put Pakistan on the list of state-sponsored terror. The fact that they is have nuclear weapons should not prevent us from taking the steps necessary to shape Pakistani calculation. I think pack Stan feels comfortable with doing both. We need to get them out of that zone of comfort. Will that I make the difference? I don't think so. I'm actually skeptical. Try to understand this problem from their perspective looking out. We don't have to accept it. But understanding it is the start point. That start point begins with their view that their tension their competition with India is existential. And everything flows through that Len. If you look that the internal stability or potential for instability in Pakistan, with their pashtoun population, with another population, you understand why pack Stan has played this dual game. What does victory look like? Is it possible? The president and secretary of state seemed to have different messages on that this week. Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win. We will defeat them and we will defeat them handily. This entire effort is intended to put pressure on the Taliban to have the Taliban understand you will not win a battlefield victory. We may not win one, but neither will you. Simply, seems like the secretary of state is saying, we want to get to a stalematey are the Taliban feel they have to negotiate. If 100,000 troops dn't work, how are 8,000 going work? If your goal is stalemate, we have achieved it. We have a political stalemate in kabul. A political stalemate in the region. And a political stalemate with regards to trying to enter talk tweep the Afghan government and the Taliban. The politics are just as stalemated. And I think more important than the security situation. ? What is going to make the Taliban come around? I think when day have two conditions. One at the they peeve they cannot win. And I think -- I think that the stalemate has been shifting in favor of Taliban in recent weeks and months. They're gaining ground? They're gaining ground. So why should they negotiate for peace if they think they're going to win the war? And a key factor that would influence it is not only the blunt that progress but to affect their supporter, particularly Pakistan. We have to see more details about how the president wants to proceed. Details of how the affect the calculus of the Pakistan and talibs. Can't they always wait us out. They think in generations, centuries. We think in election cycles. It is a cliche. But I think they are a practical people if they believe. Especially if they're sponsor comes to a decision. They're in a position to bring them to the negotiating table. Think that -- the Pakistani military believes we will abandon Afghanistan and therefore, they will have the opportunity to have Taliban come back to power. I hope this strategy, assume it is implemented effectively, that we persist and assume that the Afghan government does what it should do. This is maybe their last chance. This shift in calculations may occur. That means nation building? Mgt I I'm not sure. I think it goes to zal's point. We have the sketch. We don't have the details. What sit you want to accomplish. How you're going to do it. The resources retired. Last Monday, we heard what it is we want to accomplish. Win. Durable solution. We heard little on how. We heard almost nothing on the resources required. Physical Y until you have the whole, three-part package, hard to critique. It will take real diplomatic push. A significant diplomatic push. The president needs to appoint someone he has confidence in that can lead the overall effort, especially the diplomatic effort. It needs to be done by someone that the president knows and has confidence in. This diplomatic effort has to be beyond kabul and Islamabad. It's got to be a regional approach to include some regional players who are very important to us and other areas, other arenas. Iran. Russia. China. All have a hand in this. Better both be careful. You might end up with new jobs.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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