|Phillip Crowley - Aspiration for A Better World|
|Sunday, 03 June 2012 20:52|
Washington, May 30, 2012 - To show the bipartisan nature of our support, you have to understand that I was at one time an appointee in the Reagan administration. We have had people here speaking who came out of the Bush Administration. Someone I know that served in the Clinton Administration.
And now Phil Crowley, nominated by President Obama as the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, served 2009 to '11. Also spent 26 years in the Air Force, retired in 1999 rank of Colonel. 1997 names Senior Director of Public Affairs for the United States National Security Council, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.
Ambassador Crowley was named the 2011 and '12 recipient of the General Omar Bradley Chair in Strategic Leadership, a joint initiative among the United States Army War College, Dickinson College and the Pennsylvania State University. Dickinson Law School. Phillip Crowley. 2
MR. CROWLEY: Thank you very much and good morning. For the past year as the Bradley Chair at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law I've been staring at Tom Ridge's portrait which sits outside the classroom as a non-lawyer teaching lawyers about the National Security environment to the 21st century. Your portrait is good. I, every once in a while, tip it to make sure it's in good shape.
MR. CROWLEY: But I'm happy to be back with you. Again, after hearing Ed Rendell and Tom Ridge and John Bolton, I feel like I'm a support act. But just to make sure there is a bipartisan tenure I'll divide my remarks into three sections and I promise you I will disagree vehemently with John Bolton but respectfully about the status of our nuclear discussions within what's called the P5+1.
But to start off, this is my, I was here last year roughly about the same time and I put my opening remarks in the context of what was then called the Arab spring, now called the Arab awakening. But obviously a dramatic dynamic and shift within the Middle East.
Obviously nobody could have predicted what has happened and a year ago I think we all had a greater degree of confidence because of the remarkable events that had occurred in Tunisia, Egypt and were beginning to occur in Libya. Dramatic change that occurred in days, weeks and months
I think we all had then and still do have confidence that no country is immune from the forces of change that have been unleashed in the region and that includes the country of primary focus today being Iran.
That said, I think we are, have a sober understanding that a year later we do see another force at play, the force being one of resistance. And that has come not only through the intervention of Libya, which was successful, but obviously took longer than we had expected because a leader, rather than bowing to the will of his people decided to turn his weapons against his people.
Now, Libya faces enormous challenges going forward but at least now the people of Libya, as for the people of Tunisia and Egypt have the power to choose for themselves who will govern their country and how.
Now we saw the leader in Yemen also resist. Eventually he was forced to step down. Yemen's transition will be very different, much more incremental, but will clearly take time and require significant international support.
And as we all know there is a genuine tragedy unfolding in Syria. We are shocked, unfortunately probably not surprised, by the lengths to which this brutal regime will go to claim to power at any cost and just this weekend as we know the killing and execution of men, women and children in the village of Hula.
As the State Department said yesterday we see in this horrible act the impact of Iran which actually bragged about the technical support it has provided to Syria to be able to resist the clear and compelling will of an ever expanding segment of the Syrian people. And this from a government in Tehran which publicly embraced political empowerment for everyone in the region but the people of Iran and the people of Syria.
We also decry the fact that today **what Assad is able to hold onto power in large part because of the economic, political and in the case of Russia even military support from countries like Russia and China and others that enable Bashar al-Assad to survive, at least for now.
But I continue to believe a year later that it is still inevitable as was said earlier that real change will come and real change will come to a country like Iran where the people will have not only real politics, which actually as you know do exist in Iran but a real choice as well which does not happen today
Now, having left the State Department a year ago we all have an aspiration for a better world but we have to deal with the world in which we live today. That's where I do, I disagree with John Bolton.
Now, what you heard today was a replay of a policy position that was taken during the course of the '90's that led us into a successful but as the president of the United States said at the time, a catastrophic success in Iraq.
We all want regime change in Iran but we have to figure out how to get there and we have to manage a process to where we open up new possibilities that may inevitably evolve but quite honestly do not exist today and that's why managing a difficult issue, such as the nuclear challenge, the choices are really two:
We can intervene militarily in Tehran, which I think is a disaster and would actually help the government of Tehran because it would help them change the subject. Or, we can try to manage the challenges in the meantime with talks that are frustrating and unsatisfying but ultimately can test that proposition at the heart of what Tehran is telling the world. A proposition that we should verify and not trust which is if, in fact, nuclear weapons are forbidden, then Iran at some point should be able, this is not a hope, this has to be tested and verified through very significant intrusive inspections eventually, but we have to test that proposition and make Iran prove that its activities, while it brings it close to having the capability to build a weapon if they choose, will never ever make that choice. We don't want to live in the world and people in the region don't want to live in the Middle East that has Iran possessing an actual nuclear weapon.
Now, I'd like to tell you that Iran sits at a tipping point at the strength of the salient the regime and its policies are in decline in part because of the significant growing pressure of the international community which has been enhanced by the willingness of the United States and others to engage Iran directly.
Iran is feeling that pressure but all the process of change is going to take some time to evolve.
That's what makes the challenge of Camp Ashraf so salient to all of us. To see the people of Ashraf who represent a real alternative, you know, to the current regime in Iran that they're able to leave Iraq safely and get to a safer place where then they can all participate more fully in convincing the people of Iran that there is a clear alternative and ultimately, as much as we will do everything that we can from the United States, ultimately change in Iran supported by all of us will have to emerge first and foremost by forces inside Iran. It cannot be imposed, you know, from the outside.
Now, we have heard compelling, you know, remarks by Governor Rendell and others about the challenging living conditions that we have. We have talked about the need for deadlines, the need for actions.
Having been the one person that worked in the Obama Administration, I will tell you and perhaps John Bolton will agree with me that within the State Department today we have a dogged advocate in Ambassador Dan Fried. He is one of our nation’s distinguished diplomats. He is a, he can be a force of nature. And I trust Dan that he will work as hard as he can to move this process forward.
What we need to do is to help him. I would suggest, as a retired military officer, most of us served in the military, we're all about metrics. You know, what is the absolute measure of success. And I would say in Ambassador Fried's recent testimony, he kept coming back to what I think is the single most important element here. And I think it should be a focus of adding a new deadline, you know, to what we want to see accomplished and what we want to see happen for the people of Camp Ashraf.
You know, Dan ultimately came back and kept on saying over and over again, the real key here is to not only move people from Ashraf to Liberty, but the real key is moving them out of Iraq to a safer place and that is where the process wall does exist and that is a source of progress. This process has to be better and this process has to move faster.
We do not literally have any time to waste. Barely 20 percent of the residents of Camp Ashraf have moved, have been interviewed by the U.N. This has to get faster and better.
I would say the real deadline that we should continue to press for the United States as a leader in this process is to ask the question over and over again. When will the first refugee leave Camp Ashraf and when will the first refugee arrive here in the United States. (Applause.)
MR. CROWLEY: Because as someone who has served in government for 30 years, I do believe in the power of the example -- of the power of our example and the leadership of the United States.
MR. CROWLEY: We can more effectively go to other countries in the world, as Governor Ridge said, where's the rest of the world in this?
We are in a much stronger position when we have opened our door, welcomed the first residents of Camp Ashraf to the United States and then say to the rest of the world, we are doing our share, now it's your turn. That's the day I want to see happen and that's the key metric as we work on the other things, the air conditioners working and so on and so forth ultimately to have this be a credible, successful process. It can't just be moving from Ashraf to Liberty. It's got to be moving from Liberty to somewhere safer and better. Thank you very much.
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