Mitchell Reports | February 22, 2013
>> the snapt will be returning next week, and they will be voting on chuck hagel 's nomination. william cohen served as secretary of defense during the clinton administration , and joins me now. right now leon panetta had to go to the brussels meeting, the mato meeting, and we are still waiting on chuck hagel , but the big difference is that with senator richard shelby yesterday, republicans saying he will support chuck hagel , clearly they all think, the white house thinks, and so do the hagel forces that they're going to have the 60 votes to overcome that filibuster. how damaged, though, has he been? has this all been to him?
>> well, i think it's part of the damage that we're inflicting upon ourselves. it's the old expression, the most grieveus wounds are those that are self-inflicted. we've been inflicting serious damage on our credibility. not just at home, but abroad in the middle east region. the world is punching us. we can't make a decision on budgets. we're going over a fiscal cliff, as such, with sequestration and becoming part of the -- actually taking the -- we're losing credibility. i think this will highly impact -- i think chuck hagel should be confirmed. if he were a democrat -- is he actually a moderate conservative, but if he were a democrat and were no, ma'am made, would the republicans oppose him you should those circumstances because of his views? his views actually are quite consistent with those of president obama . we just got re-elected. i think that given a vote that he will be confirmed, and i think once confirmed he will serve many that capacity well.
>> as a republican who has served in a democratic administration and precisely to have a bipartisan approach, which is what bill clinton wanted, and that was the model, the paradigm for what this president was trying to do with chuck hagel , but now how does he reach out to republicans who have clearly rejected him in large numbers and have been abusive some in the process?
>> well, he will have to go to the hell and work with them, and they -- i assume they still are great patriots. even though they may disagree with chuck hagel that they don't want it this country to be compromised in terms of our national security , and they will have to work with him. put aside any differences they've had and say let's work together because our country's security is at stake, and i would expect them to do that. i hi chuck is such a gentleman himself and committed to the security of this country that he will do the seam by reaching ruse that desk on the hill and shaking hands with his former colleagues.
>> john kerry leaves and has a whirlwind trip. i think it's nine countries, 11 days. a tough trip. he is facing a lot of challenges. syria dissolving into an even worse conflict. we've got pressure coming from some of the allies to do more. some to do less. he is going to meet with the syrian opposition in rome. that plus iran making moves now a couple of days ahead of the first negotiations with the west -- the six western powers on nuclear -- on their suspected nuclear program . what do you think is the top p priority of his mission?
>> i think there are two. basically he is going on a listening mission. that's all well and good. it's good for him to listen. at some point in time before the president goes over on the next trip, we have to say what we're prepared to do. so he'll listen, come back, report to the president, talk about what needs to be and what can be done collectively working on syria . that will involve russia , and nothing will be solved in syria without the assistance in russia . meeting with mr. lavarov will be important as well. then he has to understand that the entire region, qatar and others, they had real security interests involved as far as iran is concerned, and they have security issues that we need to help fulfill. the release of assistance to the u.a. saudi arabia . these are issues affecting syria . they're also affecting iran and israel, and are finally, of course, we have to watch what's taking place in eswript. we don't see democracy unfolding in the way it should, and jobs aren't created, and then the people who have been on the streets are going to be revolting again. here highly educated and unemployed. that's not --
>> not at all. briefly, just p a few seconds we have left. the whole cyber war . the seeber attacks. i know you know china very well. how tough should the president be? is it time to start really putting this front and center?
>> we have to put it front and center. not just with china where, with russia wra. this notion that somehow china will be involved. we have allies that are doing the same thing, and we've been doing it for years. stealing our secrets, intellectual property , so it's been going on, and i think we have to take an aggressive position on this, and i think the president by setting up this command, cyber command , saying we have to defend our infrastructure, and the pentagon's infrastructure to be sure, and then we have to have capability. those kinds will help deter some of the activities taking place right now.
>> i remember once interviewing a former french official who was in charge of the french intelligence operation against our splekt wal property and trade secrets , and he was very open about it as a retired espionage agent for france. thank you very much, bill cohen .