Roundtable: Libya and Iraq Fallout

Sen. John McCain, Robert Kagan, Rick Stengel, and Martha Raddatz.
11:01 | 10/23/11

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Transcript for Roundtable: Libya and Iraq Fallout
So big international challenges still ahead for the United States in a moment I'll be speaking with Senator John McCain who joins us from Jordan. We -- here in the studio is Bob Kagan of the Brookings Institution. A former official in the Reagan State Department. Time magazine managing editor Rick Stengel who's been traveling with Secretary Clinton all week and ABC senior foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz who was with the secretary in Libya. Then I ask you quickly about Iraq. They're putting the best face on once they have to do which is to come out. But the big if you wanted to keep more people. At the military or senior military leaders -- we wanted to keep. At the very least three to 5000. US military members and help train. It's as you mentioned in the beginning with just -- problems medevac the air force they wanted some presence on the ground. They're also a lot of diplomats from the ground to and it's sort of a Force Protection not only for the military. To help protect -- diplomats as well. And Bob how is this playing in the region this. Quite sudden removal I know the agreement was to pull them -- but there was meant to be residual force how is this playing out in the region. Well -- says everyone knows -- -- was trying very hard to keep troops in because. Why they're worried about personal stability in Iraq but also the word of operating -- influence and spread of Iran and that's how this is going to be. Viewed in much of the region especially in the gulf states. Other countries in the region are worried about red and worried about American staying power I think unfortunately it's going to be noticed. That very shortly after we uncovered an Iranian plot to committed terrorist act on American soil. Very soon thereafter we would we announce our withdrawal from Iraq we can explain it anywhere we want in the region it's gonna look like to retreat -- Go to the region Senator John McCain joins us from -- thank you for being with us from Amman Jordan. How do you. Read the withdrawal in the announcement that all forces including a residual force will be out by the end of this year. Well I think it's a serious mistake and there was never really serious negotiations between. The administration. And -- -- Iraqis they could have. Clearly -- made an arrangement for US troops. Yes I'm here in the region and yes it is. Do you do in the region as a victory for the Iranians and I don't think there's any doubt there is Solder just announced that. They wants him military is gone that embassy personnel will be targets. I so I think it's it's serious mistake I believe we could've negotiated an agreement. And I am very very concerned about increased Iranian influence in Iraq. US -- Clinton talk about US -- treaty agreements with with countries in the region should be likened them to countries elsewhere. Do you think that's going to be enough and how do you see. Iraq a year from now obviously many people -- worried about it descending into the same kind of fighting that we soar over the last several years. Well I think the fact that we have other bases in the region would have very little impact on Iraq itself. Remember that Secretary Clinton and President Obama and Vice President Biden. Said that the surge would work President Obama campaigned saying that they get out of Iraq. While that is not lost on the people -- in the region. Looked as a great day to the issue is having elections as you mentioned. Libya they are -- -- step step by step towards democracy hopefully. But in my view this can lead to. Iranian influence in Iraq and through shuttered and -- -- I think He is senate Senator McCain -- more toward -- alliances with Iraq Senator McCain -- The -- to tell me how you say it's clear they could have come to an agreement with Iraq how you brought up Muqtada Al -- think the fiery. Shiite cleric. He was threatening that all US troops had to be out of there. He has been a huge problem that comes out -- face somebody like that how do you get an agreement it's not that easy. -- this it well mark fade as fact is that I wish there was senator Graham senator Lieberman. We talked with bars on -- allow -- -- -- -- last may they were ready to negotiate the United States didn't. Didn't have a plan as to how many troops should remain behind how could we expect the Iraqis to sit down and agree also you don't demand the way that. Our secretary defense said. What what's their plan you sit down and negotiate and that could've been negotiated because I know because I was there at the time and the question of immunity. That -- them the question of immunity obviously could have been resolved the question immunity is being. -- being used as an excuse for not reaching an agreement the reason for not reaching agreement is because United States was never really very serious. And of course there's influence of Solder. That the guy that won the Iraqi election so what's allowing. We should've backed allow we have a lot more we should have become engaged back then after their elections which frankly due to the Arum our ambassador at the time. And the State Department we didn't engage. We'll be back in the -- and Begin I want to follow up would you make about about this now there are concerns that not only is the military drawing down but even the state department's diplomatic breach this is probably compromised and -- be much as because -- -- consent. Because of the minute trickle down. This could be a much less American presence in -- -- -- Yes but I mean the reality that we're all looking at is that its domestic concerns rather than international concerns that are playing out here. The president made a promise he's running for reelection He wants to fulfill that promise there is no appetite. Among the American electorate for a staying in Iraq any longer and I agree I agree with Senator McCain there there are problems -- their problems -- this in the region. But the fact even that the Iraqi Government has said you -- have the American trainers there. Does show that they have a certain amount of independence and that and that Americans look at that -- think well okay that's good. As Senator McCain said there was not any. Full court diplomatic press to try to negotiate in the series waves and high level diplomats. Secretary of state Vice President Biden to go do that negotiations I think that's -- -- And I want to bring up what Vice President Biden has said about for instance -- the new way of going forward this -- said about Libya. In this case. America spent two billion dollars total. We didn't lose a single life this is more the prescription for how to deal with the world as we go forward that it has been passed. So that's an act as an example. Of the -- began work together. There. -- -- Is this the new way for -- this new doctrine isn't a one sized -- -- now -- boots on the ground. Wolf went from about out of that there is no one size fits all every situation is different I'd be very surprised if this particular method worked elsewhere we're just get used to it but I'm afraid the administration's -- from you know leading from behind to leading in reverse. They are just pulling back and hoping that they can still provide leadership in the world I'm very dubious. The 21 century state craft which which the secretary talks about is different than that -- model I mean. Leading from behind is an unfortunate -- Americans don't like that idea -- -- like meeting from the front you know charging in there but hey we have budget problems be there -- -- new we're all going on there with social media we're seeing it and in the Arab spring. We cannot dictate to other countries what they want we cannot tell other countries this is what -- national interest is and that's what we've done for a long time. Percent Islamic one quick point about about what what Biden said in that is. When you look at war and you look at the changing face of -- and you look at -- and look at air -- -- sort of -- its future for me. Of looking back and people thought heir parent it's -- -- Yeah it in in one way it it makes when he's here. It's so clinical the drone strikes are so clinical -- -- From our side no one dies from the American side so is it easier for president to go to war. Take -- not involve congress as much and I think that's a question the American people have to ask ask one another and it really has not been -- Precisely -- ask you Senator McCain when you hear this debate. Now about how wall might be conducted in the future and you look around this up next door in Syria for instance. Should the United States do what they successfully supported in -- should Syria. Have the sort of NATO treatment. Well first -- let me just point out that if we had imposed the no fly zone if -- use the full weight. Of American air power we would not -- this conflict would've not been prolonged as long as it. It has but that's that's over but we really need to provide medical help for the Libyans. We need to get these malicious consolidated under their transition national council. -- there's going to be big problem we have to. From human rights standpoint see that -- prisoners are treated well and I think that those things are what we can focus on. I don't think that air power would work and many other places I think this was a unique situation by the way no British or French. Person died either and they lead and we followed. But I I think that Syria cannot be allowed to continue to slaughter its own citizens. Indefinitely now they are bleak year. Foreign ministers are going to Damascus and make demands which -- -- amount agree to so this is a step by step process. But I would not completely rule out actions to prevent over time. -- aside from continuing to slaughter his own people. When you raise some very interesting questions which will obviously look -- to see where that goes in in the meantime. -- it is the first elections into news yeah. -- is being liberated formally today. -- -- -- think is going to go in the Arab world. Well I continue to believe that every single one of these dictators or dictators families it's been around for the past four -- is ultimately going to fall I think what's -- is going to fall in Syria. I think the saudis are gonna have to undertake change and so that this is where things are heading. It's either gonna come out -- good -- Arab outlet and Indian elections is it going to be Islamist or is that a strong enough to define what Islamic democracies. But certainly islamists are going to win they're gonna win in significant proportions in Egypt when those elections are held but the question is because -- -- Islamic its peaceful democracy. And frankly I think it can and I think we have to support that process. And on that note thank you very much indeed Bob Kagan -- -- Martha Raddatz -- Senator McCain from -- thank you very much.

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

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