The Cycle | February 12, 2013
>>> you're now in "the cycle" and starting with the hague el vote and north korea . first, former senator chuck hagel , the senate armed services committee about to vote any minute now on the nomination to be defense chief. hagel will face a full senate floor vote later this week where he faces strong opposition of the former colleagues on iran, iraq and nuclear weapons . and speaking of nukes, north korea test fired one today. the underground blast registered with the same power as a magnitude 4.9 earthquake. it's the north's third nuclear test but by far the most powerful and the first since kim jung un took power. the u.n. security council in emergency meetings over it and aides say president obama address the defiance in tonight's state of the union address and that is just six hours away. lots to talk about today with former congressman joe sestak and served in the navy. welcome.
>> good to be with you. thank you.
>> let's talk start with hagel. by most accounts, chuck hagel had a shaky day at the confirmation hearing and surprising even some democrats with the answers and nonanswers. how do you think he did and do you ultimately expect he'll get confirmed?
>> well, his presentation was spot on but that said i'm not always spot on when i do these interviews either. it's whether the substance was there or not and there's three important issues clear out of that hearing and why he'll go through the nomination process successfully. first, he said he will defend israel. second, iran cannot have a nuclear weapon . and third, he is leader to transform our military, both for moving from southwest asia to the western pacific where 60% of the naichl forces are moved for a reason and second to transform our military to the new type of warfare where often based upon knowledge and the agility and speed to touch someone quickly. this also is necessary in the western pacific where china , for example, has 80 sub marines just to our 50. even john mccain who was quite critical in the hearing said this nomination should go through.
>> well, yeah. on that point, it looks like the nomination will be confirmed. the problem is it loonlgs like there's a filibuster or attempt at a filibuster and that means democrats and the white house have to come up with 60 votes to get this through. mccain has indicated to break a filibuster. looks like they would have the votes to do that. do you think we have sort of crossed a line here, bad precedent set for future cabinet nominations? never before has there been a filibuster of a defense secretary nominee. only two rejected since 1959 . nobody tried to filibuster one in that time. are we creating bad precedent?
>> why the senate has the right as a senator said who is supporting senator hagel to do a filibuster. i think it would set a bad precedent because as many people often very conservative have said in this particular case, the president has the right to have who he wants as cabinet secretary as long as there's nothing egregious in the background. i think in this particular case it would be wrong. look. there are often claiming they want a filibuster and even though there's republican and democratic votes to actually have him approved because they feel strongly that the president did not reveal something and that somethingdy tans from the benghazi hearing, delaying the inevitable. they're going to come to an agreement and bring it to a successful vote.
>> and admiral, let's move on to north korea . official state media is insisting that the reason for the test was in response to quote/unquote outrageous u.s. hostilities. do you think that's the case or merely kim jung un's way of announcing himself on the president's state of the union of the day?
>> this is an in your face type of explosion because they're doing it at a very interesting time. there is a new prime minister in japan. there's a new south korea president, a new president of china and frankly the day before the state of the union of the president of the united states taking over the second term. look. they are not there yet and have a distance to go before they'll be able to actually miniaturize a nuclear warhead and mate it to a missile with a missile to reach out to the united states but this is a dangerous situation. and the real key to this is china . they have to -- they're necessary in order to ratchet in an influencing north korea from not building another bomb, not doing proliferation and hopefully stopping them from having nuclear capability and has to be our goal but i think the united states has to be begin to approach this not just as north korea but how does removing forces in to the western pacific for a reason that our relationship with china has actually detier yatded and begin to use north korea where china doesn't want it to have a nuclear weapon or the forces to have this be a way to begin to work together for something we both don't want and expand it to a competitive strategic relationship.
>> so admiral, going deeper on what do we do now about north korea , we have sanctioned them just about as much as possible. we need china to go forward with a solution or pushing back against this. so, you know, when do we know they have gone too far and what do we do right now?
>> you will see more sanctions imposed and not going to work because china is keeping open some of this material going in to north korea because it doesn't want to have an implosion of that society which then north korea -- south korea moves up north. so this is why we have to find out whether it's uranium usage or plutonium us and. we don't know where the uranium production plants are in the mountain and military options is not an option to try to do it now. the only way to have this done is to be able to bring china in and to be able to use its influence of developing that economy, of making sure they stop. that is the key to this. look. in the last 12 years, u.s. has had 15 different negotiators as we flip between a stick and a carrot. our inconsistency is wrong. we have to bring together japan, south korea and china with us for one long-term consistent process. sanctions are one tool but china necessary but just not sufficient is the absolute key to this. we can have words and sanctions and will be done but that's the key is opening up its interest in to bringing about the stoppage of this nuclear program in north korea . there's no other option.
>> right. admiral to switch gears a final time to the sequester and the potential cuts that the defense department could see as part of that if no deal is struck, you know, in your opinion, how impacted would the defense department and our capabilities be by the sequester cuts if they were to take effect? because of how this is coming about the last couple of months, with the defense department actually spending as though we were going to have a resolution to its long-term expansion of last year's budget where they were expected to come up, they're spending at a higher rate than if they knew that we would not have an increase on the last yore's budget resolution to increase how much they would get this year. so it is going to have an impact on our readiness. see less ships sailing and a state of readiness to deploy. see the air force and the navy doing less types of sodies and readiness and while it's good for the front lines troops are degraded for those to deploy a year from now for example. all that said, this is washington not being adults and having a harmful effect. but that said, can defense be a part of the shared sacrifice? absolutely. because we do know that warfare has changed. for example, i once put a $1 billion warship off the coast of y yemen and waiting to strike at terrorists. once a satellite sent us a picture. that coordination is not adequate. months later we flew, a period of time later, a drone over there and floated around waiting with its own camera to pickle off a missile and get that terrorist. we are still buying cold war systems and how we are doing it is absolutely going to have an unnecessary and quite frankly harmful impact.
>> admiral, it dawns on me a year ago at the 2012 state of the union the president promised that we would not tolerate anymore syrian violence. we are at 60,000. assad is still in power. what do you expect him to say tonight about syria?
>> i'm not sure you'll hear a word about syria but once we found out over a period of time about six or eight or 12 months of who was who in the zoo over there, who were the people and which ones -- we should have been giving turkey and other elements over there that are helping those that were, let's say, less radical, more support. communications gear and we have given them some. we're listening in. second, we should have been giving them sufficient arms. not those to head to iraq but others and should have by now taken a stronger step in this sectarian violence there but i don't think you're going to hear a word about that tonight. focus on jobs and necessarily so.
>> yep. okay. well, thank you.
>> thank you for having me.
>>> next, where tonight's state of the union will rank in history. i feel kornacki facts coming on. here's a clue. vines anyone?
>> toure played some of the favorite grammy songs on monday.