Martin Bashir | February 01, 2013
>>> let's get right to our panel. with us from washington, michael o'hanlon of the brooginoo brookings institute and heather holbrooke. there's a fresh terrorist attack in turkey, a developing situation there. obviously the situation in egypt seems to be deteriorating. what do we know about who is behind those threats though in turkey and what kind of threat that may pose to our interests.
>> it's a great question because for john kerry , he's going to have to learn how to handle mull. proble -- multiple problems and this is a good case study . the short answer is he doesn't know, he won't know for a while, and it's not really his job to find out. intelligence is going to have to work that problem, and we'll have to learn. in the interim he haings to stay on top of it obviously and worry about security for any other people who might be nearby who are americans. otherwise, that's a problem he has to stay on top of but not necessarily lead to any big rethinking in policy. by contrast in egypt you have very fundamental questions about our policy that are being raised right now by the street protests and the degree to which we try to work with president morsi, the degree to which we think of him as a person we can work with taking in all the new information and figuring out how well we think he's responding, what kind of legitimacy he has, whether he can work with his own population. so that requires a lot of thought, and senator kerry , secretary kerry , is going to have to figure out how to make time to have that kind of thought process and not get overwhelmed by the problems like the ankara bombing, while they're important and he has a role, his role on those is not necessarily as fundamental as it has to be on this egypt issue.
>> heather, it just goes to show ou how agile the secretary of state has to be. case in point, we have the threat of ji hassists in north africa . we have heard secretary clinton mention the threats in northern africa and mali . wrf does the secretary begin? some have suggested syria should have been at the top of the list. where does he start?
>> well, as mike said, you don't have the luxury of starting in just one place. you have to start everywhere at once, and so kerry is going to be looking at turkey and thinking about syria , think about the nato patriot missiles that are now there. he's going to be thinking about what the diplomatic and assistance side is of what is going on in mali which he will know quite well because the u.s. has been trying to support the emergence of a democratic government there for well over a decade. so those two crises are both great examples of where, as senator kerry , he traveled the world. he met with leaders. so the challenge that he has is to go from being someone who's able to drop in and then follow in an oversight role to being the person who really has to make the decisions and who has to say, you know, if mali is a priority, egypt is a priority, turkey is a priority, the conflict between china, japan, and south korea is a worry, the worry about a north korean nuclear test is a priority. we could go on and on. a secretary of state's job really is to keep all those balls in the air so, frankly, we're on tv talking about them as little as possible.
>> right. you know, michael, the other thing that strikes me that now-secretary kerry is going to have to deal with is the changing nature of some of these engagements. it's not just drones and deployments but what's the complement of troops we send? what's the complement of non -- of folks from the state department that we send? the relationship between the pentagon and the state department seems to have changed as well. how will he weigh in on that?
>> yeah, those are good questions. i think if i could just take two examples. with syria and also with afghanistan , you have questions of where the united states has to figure out some next policy steps that are pretty big and get to the question you raise, the balance between troops possibly, between diplomatic advisers, development experts, cia operatives, and where policy in the case of afghanistan has to make some changes, but it's generally on a predetermined course but it's going to have to vary quite a bit because we're drawing down troops now. in syria i think what we have is a policy for all the good intentions hasn't really worked. and if i were secretary kerry , i would probably commission my best people to do a two to four-week study on fundamentally new options in syria . where i think the united states has to recognize that what it's been doing so far hasn't been adequate and yet the country is in no mood for another 100,000 strong invasion and we can't do that. but we've got to find some nice mix of tools that's stronger than what we're doing now because the current policy is just not working.
>> heather, it strikes me, we have sort of an interesting moment in history here. that we have the first time that a man is actually stepping in to feel the heels of powerful and effective women. madeleine albright , cleeondoleezza rice, and hillary clinton . i remember when secretary albright was first named by president clinton . there were all kind of concerns that people wouldn't meet with her, wouldn't take her seriously. obviously she got the job done. now i think we think of diplomacy in a very different way.
>> you know, i worked for secretary albright. i had the great privilege to be one of her speech writers when she came to the state department , and i vividly remember writing speeches about, well, what is it like to be a woman secretary of state. what is it like when you go to saudi arabia and you -- will she cover herself collar bone to anklebone or won't she. and then condi rice and the thigh high boots. the nice thing at that level is we didn't hear much about hillary clinton being a woman. she was an effective secretary of state. and one of the things that it has done, which is great and i do think this is a tall order for secretary kerry but i think he's up to it is it's really expanded the idea which frankly we lost in the post -9/11 period, that the secretary of state's job is to be out there talking to people. that in afghanistan , in syria , in mali , in egypt , our best tools aren't the military ones. we went through a decade where the military ones were pretty much the one onlies we saw on our tv screens and it's somewhat ironic but also totally appropriate that it's time for a man -- it's time for a man to carry the torch of nonmilitary approaches. the fact he's a veteran make it is even better.
>> thank you both.