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Sam Patterson:Thanks everyone for coming out here tonight. My name is Sam Patterson. I'm from the Charles Koch Institute and welcome to tonights event. The conflict in Syria and the disagreement over the appropriate American response has been a dominant topic of discussion in recent weeks. You might have heard something about it. But the central question in the debate, what is the proper role for the United States to play in the world? That question is as old as the republic itself, whether enlarging its territorial borders, deterring the British and French impressment of its sailors or intervening in foreign Morse, Americans have long wrestled over the extent to which the United States should use its military might in order to promote US policy, priorities and interests around the world and has often decided a farewell address, George Washington warned his countrymen about the insidious perils of foreign influence before advocating a policy of neutrality that woulda policy of neutrality that would keep the county out of permanent alliances. Thomas Jefferson advocated a similarly cautious tone when proclaiming the merits of peace, commerce and honest friendship among all nations entailing alliances with none. But our world has changed since then and so have we. Were the worlds only remaining superpower. We face fiscal burdens and a populous that appears skeptical of any new conflict. Are we a nation that in the words of John Quincy Adams goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy or are we still in the words of John F. Kennedy willing to pay any price, bare any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This evening we will hear about the impact that foreign intervention has on well-being, both at home and abroad and continue the discussion about when it is in the US national interest to do so. As the more, the 1000 alumni of the Charles Koch Educational Programs could tell you from first hand experience, we welcome debate, analysis and scholarship on various public policy issues. The decision to intervene foreign affairs is an area that will benefit from the fullest discussion and the widest range of viewpoints, and tonights discussion is a part of that process. I like to thank our panelist as well as our partner for tonights event, The National Review and their editor, Rich Lowry for moderating. Now Id like to turn it over to someone who has been outspoken on this issue, the junior senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul. Thank you. [Applause] Rand Paul:Alright. This is sort of a bizarre setup. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to stand here or stand here. I think I'm going to stand here, but, you know, if I stand up there, I can actually see my notes. I lost my vision somewhere along the way when I got old. So I think I was picked because I was undecided about Syria. They wanted somebody to be objective and wasnt quite committed kind of, you know, going in the wind. So anyway, I dont want to pre-judge the debate, but I thought wed poll the audience to begin with. How many people think and agree with the presidents plan that we should bomb Syria? Uh-oh, bad news for whoevers on that side on the debate. I think something extraordinary happened this week or last week in Washington. What I think is extraordinary about it is that we actually had a debate. The president came to congress and did what I think is his constitutional duty. He came to ask for authorization. Now this shouldnt be that extraordinary but in our country, often it is. Presidents have often gone to war without any authority. Now some will say, Oh but its just a small war. Its not going to be a big war, its just a little war. And then others will say, Well, its not really a war because it wont be boots on the ground. I guess really when the Japanese attacked the Pearl Harbor, that wasnt war. You say that was, heck no, that was World War II. Well, you're damn right it was World War II. We were attacked with planes. The Japanese didnt paratroop in. We never saw a Japanese soldier but were damn sure were at war with them. You dont have to have troops on the ground. Its not war only if you have troops on the ground. But it was an extraordinary thing. We actually had a debate and even more extraordinary, congress debated, the people debated and the people said, Hell no. We dont see an American interest. The problem with foreign policy is that most people think that the debate begins and ends when they say, Our national security is threatened. Well, thats a conclusion, thats not a debate, thats the beginning of the debate. So the debate has to be, when should that occur? And so what I would like to imagine and what I would like everyone to imagine is that the initiation of war, other than a few exceptions, thats the way it should occur. We debate, whether our vital interest, we debate whether our national security interest are threatened. You cant just say they are. You have a debate and its not always clear-cut. You have to prove to me or prove to the other side that our national securitys threatened. Its not enough just to say, Our national securitys threatened. Well, what is our national security? That is a debate and thats what we vote on. What are the exceptions to that? Well, I would think when were being attacked or were imminently being threatened, we have the chance to repulse and attack whether we have a debate or not, but we should go shortly thereafter, after we were attacked at Pearl Harbor, within 24 hours we debated and we voted unanimously. I think the same would've occurred when were attacked on 9/11. But because in Syria, were not quite clear who the good guys and who the bad guys or which of the bad guys are the worst bad guys is probably a better way to put it. We ought to have a debate is our American interest. Is there an American interest? Is there an American ally? And I've asked these questions, if we bomb Assad, are the chemical weapons more or less likely to be used? I think its an honest debate. I really dont know and nobody knows the answer. But what are the chances that chemical weapons get used on Tel Aviv. I frankly think there is a greater chance if we bomb Assad than not. What are the chances that the chemical weapons fall into the hands of Al Qaeda or the terrorist more or less if we bomb Assad and destabilize them. I think more. What about refugees? They say refugees are half a million have gone in to Jordan, half a million have gone in to Lebanon. I asked the question, if we bomb Assad, are there going to be more refugees or less refugees? I think theyll double and triple the whole damn country was hopefully when we start bombing. So I think that there is really a debate that should occur and it should always occur. Imagine that it always occurred. We would probably be involved in less war. We would always debate whether or not our national security interests are. The president said this when he ran for office. It was one of the things I admired about him. He said, No president should unilaterally go to war without the authority of congress. So recently he had lunch with us and I asked him. I said, well, are you going to abide by the verdict of congress? Its what the constitution says. We initiate war. And he kind of hemmed and he hawed and he said, welland actually to his credit, I think he kind of indicated he probably would but he didn't want to be explicit. Thats probably the best way to characterize his answer. Thats sort of what John Kerry has kind of indicated, yeah, probably but no guarantees. But the thing is, the constitution is explicit about this. Madison said that history demonstrates or the constitution supposes what history demonstrates that the executives, the branch most likely to go to war, therefore, we kept that power and we gave it, we vested that power in the congress, in the legislature. But thats the initiation of war and people ask me, do you ever agree with John McCain? I said, well, he's kind of an irascibleand I cant use the next descriptor. But the thing is we do actually get along and I respect him. I think he's a war hero. He's been 5-6 years in the Hanoi Hilton and he deserves respect for his service. And the one thing I actually do agree with him on is the constitution gives initiation of war to congress, but execution, he doesnt. So when many conservatives say, we dont want 535 generals. I actually have some sympathy for that argument and I kind of agree. So I actually try to convince him and some of the others that wanted to be involved in Syria that there were voting against their own understanding of the presidency. Most of them believe in an expansive understanding the presidency that the president executes a war and should be limited. I kind of tend to agree. We decide to go to war or not to go to war. But once we go to war, do we want it just to be a little bit small war, just bombs and no boots? What happens, you know, do you really want to limit yourself in war? Weve been talking as we came out here about some of the ways we decide when we go to war and there was the Weinberger Doctrine. You may hear more about that because one of the authors is here of the Weinbergernot Weinberger, the one helped Weinberger write it. But the thing is what he talked about is the American public has to be behind it. We have to have our vital interest threatened or national security threatened, which is a debate, thats not a conclusion. We never know that until we debate and discuss and decide as a people, is our national security threatened? You have to have the people behind you but you have to decide to win. I think Colin Powell said the same thing. When were at war, we go in with overwhelming force. We go in to win. But the president has said repeatedly in Syria, his goal is stalemate. He didn't quite put it that way, thats my characterization, but they dont see a military solution. They see a negotiated settlement. They want to degrade a side enough that hell negotiate, and they argue. Were getting to the diplomatic solution because they threaten force. I dont know, maybe they did. Russians say thats not why they're negotiating but you cant always trust the Russians. But the thing is that why they're negotiating, well, another argument is they're negotiating because some people like myself said, we have to have a debate and you shouldnt bomb a month ago. If you bombed a month ago, we wouldnt be at negotiations. Are negotiations better than war? I think so. Why? Well one, because you're not at war. But the other reason negotiations are better is that if you were to bomb Assad, were not going to bomb the chemical weapons. Were not going to take it away from them and were not going to kill them. So he will sayif once the bombings done, Assad will still be there and so will the chemical weapons. If diplomacy works and I cant guarantee its going to but if diplomacy works, the chemical weapons will be gone. That will be huge step forward. Will they still be killing each other? Probably. But the chemical weapons being gone would be good for Israel, good for Jordan, good for America and good for Turkey. We do have an interest in trying to make that happen. What I would say is that as you move forward, if you remember nothing else about this and I'm not sure I've said that much that needs to be remembered. But remember this, when someone says our national security is threatened, thats the beginning of the debate not the end and the only way you can come to a conclusion as to whether your national security is threatened is you have to have a debate and you have to persuade someone that is threatened because its a conclusion and it may not be obvious to everyone. You have to give examples of why you think American interest are there, thats why its been so murky in Syria because you have people on both sides and there's no, to me, clear-cut factual basis for saying one or the other will be an American ally if they win. My hope is that when we look at war, when you look at war, when people go to war that we go to war reluctantly that our philosophy of war is that its the last resort not the first resort. War is not a good thing. You know, Eisenhower said, I hate war like only a soldier whos lived and breath and fought war, the stupidity, the venality, the futility of war coming from Eisenhower who got us out of the Korean war, who had a reluctance in renaissance. It isnt that we dont have to go to war, sometimes is that we shouldnt be eager for war. Thank you very much. [Applause] Rich Lowry:Good evening. Good evening everyone. Were ready to embark on the second part of our program. Welcome everyone and welcome everyone watching online. I'm Rich Lowry, editor of National Review magazine. Id like to thank Rand Paul for opening up the evening and Id like to thank the Library of Congress for this wonderful setting and thank the Charles Koch Institute for partnering with us on this event. Although in retrospect, I think perhaps our salesmanship for this event really wasnt the most persuasive case we could make. We told the Koch people we wanted to have this event that was going to be huge and hugely important for the future of the world. But the audience for it would be unbelievably small, and the event would be of limited duration and a small consequence, really no significance whatsoever and some people might call it a debate or a discussion but we thought that language was much too marshal and aggressive and antiquated, we prefer to think of it as a forensic action. So here we are this evening to discuss Americas role in the world. I think the sort of my bottom line on international relations is that its reallyits like nature, its red of tooth and claw, and any suggestion that you can somehow just inherently if you sit down with enough good intentions and with long enough time to negotiate that you can work out your differences is an illusion. And kind of the starkest example of this illusion was at least the ideology of Soviet Union, which told us that there was fundamentally a brotherhood of man and there's an old story about an exhibit in the Moscow Zoo where they had in a cage together a lion and a lamb, and they would show people this exhibit and say, isnt it amazing, you know, you can have a lion lay down with a lamb peaceably like this. And someonea visitor once was puzzled by this asked the zookeeper, How is this even possible? They have a lion and a lamb in the same cage. And the zookeeper said, Oh its very easy. We just chuck in another lamb everyday. And I think thats fundamentally how the world works. I have some views on the issues well discuss this evening. I will try to hold those in advance and the interest of just passionate discussion and a quest for truth, which well have up here this evening. Well go for about 20 minutes or half an hour and then well open it up to questions from all of you. So without further ado, let me introduce our panelist. On the right, we have the interventionist, KT McFarland from Fox News. A former republican, official and many different administrations, Jonathan Tepperman, the managing editor of foreign affairs whos wearing astonishingly bold socks this evening cutting the rest of the gentlemen to shame. Peter Van Buren, a former State Department Official and author of the book, We Meant Well: How I Lost the Battle for Hearts and Mind in Iraq. And finally, Chris Coyne, an economics professor at George Mason University. I'm just going to start to kick this discussion off, I'm going to begin at the highest level of abstraction with the widest possible aperture and then we can narrow it down and deal in more specific. So Chris, why dont I start with you, what do you consider to be the US Foreign Policy tradition and how can we best be true to that tradition assuming that that in itself is a worthy goal? Chris Coyne:Well, the tradition itself is mixed, which is basically you have lots of rhetoric throughout the history of the United States of politicians talking about non-intervention while simultaneously intervening around the world. And my position instead of me telling you what I think the tradition is, my position based on practical issues, in other words, how I view the ability of government to do things is that the US government, if the goal is to achieve national security, well-being of US citizens and well-being of people around the world to engage in a principal position of non-intervention and free trade with all. By free trade I mean not just movement in goods and services but open migration as well. My logic behind this is quite straightforward, which is I view war and foreign intervention as another government program, no different than any domestic government program. In fact, I view it as worse in some sense because its of the largest scale. And one of the things that oftentimes strikes me about those on the right. I use that term very broadly is that they're extremely skeptical about the role of the government domestically on a whole host of issues from education, to healthcare, to social security and so on. Yet when you move beyond domestic borders, they somehow confirm magical powers upon the government and they say, look, they dont teach our kids very well here. They're not very good at healthcare but we can go abroad and not just teach other kids, not just provide healthcare but design the overarching institutions to govern that society. And to me thats a contradiction and presents some real problems. So my fundamental position on this, based onagain, on the practical way that the government operates is one of skepticism towards intervention and a position of non-intervention and integration with other countries to the greatest extent possible. Rich Lowry:Thank you Chris. KT, let me throw the same question to you and feel free to bounce off of anything that Chris said. KT McFarland:You know, I think that were kind of schizophrenic on what our foreign policy is and our role in the world, and lets assume were talking about our military role in the world since Senator Rand Paul, talked about that. Up until World War II, we didnt get involved in any international fights. I mean, we were really focused on the John Adams, you know, we do not go abroad in search of dragons to slay. After World War II, we became interventionists. I think after the creation of the Soviet Union, after we defeated the Nazis and the access powers, we looked at the Soviet Union and said, okay, how do we deal with them in this new Cold War and it wasnt that we would fight, we would contain them and we would fight proxy wars, whether it was in Vietnam or other parts of the world. And I think thats where we kind of ran into trouble because we have these limited wars but we werent all in on these limited wars. So we would get involved, we would think they're going to be just little wars and of course the other side gets to have a response to whatever our initial response is. And before you know it, you're in a multi-year war that causes a lot of casualties, lives and treasures and it ultimately isnt successful. When I was in the Pentagon in the Reagan Administrationpresident Reagan by the way is the only post-war president who did not get involved in these limited warswars of intervention I call them, and Reagan reallyafter the Vietnam War, the United States was really gun shy about any military involvement. We were contemplating getting involved in the Middle East after the Beirut bombing where at the marine barracks in Beirut where 241 American marines were killed as they slept in their beds by what turns out to have been the first suicide bomber and Hezbollah action in the Middle East. Reagan did not want to get involved in these wars. He wanted the bigger picture, which was the takedown of the Soviet Union and he wanted to do it economically, not militarily and he did it ultimately by driving the price of oil down and the Soviet Union depended on oil being at about $40 a barrel. Once it fell below $40 a barrel, they couldnt meet their payroll. So Reagan threw a number of actions, got the price of oil to go from $40 a barrel to $18 a barrel in nine months and the Soviet Union was broke. At that point, Reagan said, now I'm going to challenge you to a Star Wars Space Race Nuclear, you know, Red Arms Race and the Russians, the Soviet Union couldnt. So at that point, we kind of got out of the business of limited war. We had won the Cold War, we were sole superpower, and after September 11th, we got back into the business of limited war. And I think that's where we have had some real problems and thats why I think that there's basically a major civil war in the conservative movement today between the intervention is on one hand who think that we should intervene for various reasons, humanitarian assistance or economic interest whatever and the people who say, you dont get in to a fight unless you prepare to do whatever it takes to win it. And thats the debate were having today, I mean, thats why this is an amazing turnout for people toon a topic which sounds like it should be, you know, maybe 30 people on a graduate seminar somewhere. And its because we are having the rightful debate and I think thats why its so important that we get it right this time. Were now just come off of a decade where we have had two interventionist wars, which have not ended well. Weve had a third one under a democrat president. Libya hasnt ended well. And were now contemplating a Syrian intervention, which the most of the American military retired and current will tell you has no chance of success. Rich Lowry:Thank you KT. Peter, let me get your basic take on this and at one point that occurs to me, I think its a little bit of a myth that we were a peaceable people content to live on the eastern seaboard for the rest of our existence at the beginning of this country. One, because, you know, in 1803 and 1805, we went overseas to slay a monster in Tripoli and if you asked the Spanish, the French, the Mexicans and the American-Indians if we were a peaceable people who are content to stay in the Eastern Seaboard, their answer would probably be a no. Peter Van Buren:The word tradition is an interesting one because it implies an organized system of thought pattern and things like that whereas Americas nearly constant interventions are really a series of random lashing outs, sometimes for empire in the Spanish-American war and certainly against the native Americans, sometimes for reasons that remain particularly unclear such as, with respect, the Granada Intervention during the Reagan Administration or during the Reagan Administration interventions throughout Central America and of course the marines in Beirut, which also counts. What weve seen however is and almost turning on its head of the typical dynamic where you have interventionism on one side and isolationism on the other, and this is oftentimes being thrown up now by people who want to encourage additional intervention, Syria and other places. In fact, what has happened historically and its accelerating now is that American intervention has actually created a new type of isolationism where we find ourselves increasingly without allies, without support, and with other nations, actively workingnations that used to be at least neutral or actively working against us. It was very significant that the British parliament voted against supporting the United States in the Syria intervention. Iraq was an arm-twisting attempt to get people into the coalition of the willing. When I was in Iraq, I briefly met, I think the Fijians, the Italians and the six people from Tunisia or something that were there, and as you look through this, you find America becoming increasingly isolated and increasingly finding itself acting alone in that sense of isolation and thus I think its time to take a look at this erratic history of intervention and ask ourselves as were doing tonight, is this in fact in our national interest or are we in fact eating ourselves? Rich Lowry:Thank you. Jonathan, reactions, say anything youve heard and feel free to give your answer. Jonathan Tepperman:Well, let me try and start by making a few stipulations and general observations. First of all, I almost never get the opportunity to say this, so I really want to say this tonight, I agree with a number of things Senator Rand Paul said. Number one, debate is good. Number two, war is bad. Number three, the key is how best do you serve the national interest. Now, I may disagree with some of the details of Senator Pauls comments including whether congress is the ideal venue in which to have these debates especially if you want to have an answer anytime in this century. Nonetheless I think the principles are sound. Now let me throw in a few statistics, which are going to amplify what I think some of my colleagues up here have already said. Number one, intervention is a tradition as American has apple pie. There have beensince the founding of the republic, 243 cases where American presidents have sent US troops abroad. That means there have been three presidents who havent dispatched troops to foreign conflicts. Those are Washington, Taylor and Harrison. The first of those three is pretty distinguished, the second two, not so much. Candidates tend to campaign on the principle that they are going to be different, that they are going to break from that tradition. That candidates on the right like George W. Bush and candidates on the left like Obama. Things then change when they enter office, and the question is, why? So here it becomes important to think like a policy maker I think. So what helps shift presidents thinking once they get in to office. I dont think its that they become mad for power or succumb to bloodlust or nor do I think that its a desire to expand the American empire or whatever that is, rather I think they are confronted with a number of facts that maybe easier to avoid when you dont have your finger on the metaphorical military button. One of those is that problems, foreign problems, when ignored have a tendency of coming to the United States whether we would like them to or not. The second is that the United States benefit from this global, liberal, generally rule-based order that the United States spend great blood and treasure at the end of second World War creating, and therefore its in the interest of US presidents from whatever parties to do what's necessary to butter this system because it profits the United States in so many ways. And third, the United States also profits from the position of overwhelming hegemony, which its still currently enjoys. And so that may provide an additional reason for acting on the simple theory that if we dont, someone else may and the chances are they are not going to act in the way that we would like them to. So those are my sort of general observations, but then I think its important to dig down a little bit and to get into how presidents make their decisions because there is no doctrine, no American doctrine on intervention. There never has been despite all the talk about presidential grand strategies. All chief executives make their decisions on an ad hoc basis and they do it by asking I think three basic questions, do you want to do it, and that means that...sorry, that reflect the inclinations of the present commander-in-chief. It also takes into account recent experience so we are now suffering from the hangover from Iraq and the legacy of Benghazi. In the 1990s, the legacy that helped affect the presidents thinking was a very different one and that was the failure of America to act in Rwanda where the United States essentially stood on the sidelines as 800,000 civilians were butchered with machetes. So these are the kinds of things that speak to a presidents inclination. Then you have to ask the question, can you do it? And here are things like military capacity, things like economic capacity, both of which are very live issues at the moment coming to play. The president also has to look to domestic support and international support and the likelihood of a good outcome. And finally, the question is, must you do it? And here I think if the answer is yes, presidents will find a way no matter what the answers to the previous questions are. But its here, must you do it that the rubber hits the road. People tend to try to schematize the answer to that question, must the United States intervene, under what conditions must the US intervene, by making for example, distinctions between wars of choice and war as necessity. I would argue that that distinction is highly, highly fungible. And questions like national interest can be defined very, very differently depending on what you choose to include. Rich Lowry:Thank you. So Chris, how do you react to the contention that basically global, liberal order as Jonathan put it is a creationis a function of US military might and therefore a function of the US government basically? Chris Coyne:Sure. So I fundamentally disagree with the idea that the liberal order if you want to call that internationally is dependent on US force to maintain them. If anything, I think you can make the argument that US foreign interventions do more harm on that than good. In other words, they are more destabilizing than they are stabilizing. That does not mean by the way, and you know, a lot of people want to pin you down into a campus as Peter said, you cannot make the claim that no US intervention has ever worked, there's been many that have done stuff that we consider to be good things. My point is that on net, if you think about how governments operate, we shouldnt expect cross cases them to be consistently effective. So what does this mean, I think the US can do a lot. The US government I should say should do a lotcould do a lot to both improve the lives of US citizens and international citizens and I think its very important to say the word, citizens, because one of the things that dominate discussions of international relations is collectivism. Notice there's discussions of we, our, us, them, the national interest. Well, one of theI think traditions to the extent, we have them on the United States is individualism. Now of course we have these notions of nations, states and governments, but one of the things we want to focus on is individuals and the impact of individuals. These decisions have real impacts both on ordinary citizens abroad, and by ordinary, I dont mean plain, I mean non-elite as well as domestically. And so the US can do a lot precisely because of their power to help both US citizens and other citizens. What would some examples be? Well, maybe they can stop selling weapons to questionable regimes. So I was reading report today that in the past year the US government sold 69 billion dollars worth of arms to foreign governments. About 30 billion of that went to the Saudi government. Well, perhaps that will generate peace and prosperity or perhaps it will be very destabilizing. What else can they do? They can trade with people, which we know is the best way to alleviate poverty and to make people better off. That means reducing trade barriers domestically but also encouraging our allies to the extent we have them to reduce things like European common agricultural policy, which perhaps one of the most devastating policies in terms of harming the poorest people in the world. We can agitate for the free movement of people, migration, which again, is much more successful in raising the poorest people out of poverty than things like foreign aid whether we call it humanitarian development aid. So its really extent that the US intervenes, it should be with the military I mean, it should be for defense. This is my position, should be for defense. In other words, there is a direct threat to US citizens, not for other reasons. And of course this is a contentious issue and one I look forward to discussing. And one other point I want to raise that Peter mentioned very quickly. You know, oftentimes I'm labeled an isolationist and that terms thrown around a derogatory type of way. I've never understood. Isolationism means you dont want to interact with people because you're isolated. But if you say, look, I want to interact and trade with you, if you want to trade with me and interact, so be it, if not, thats fine. That seems like the opposite of isolationism. In start contrast, if you are a busybody, a nosey person, its true you are interacting with people but then technically people dont want to interact with you. If you just think about your everyday life, in other words, as Peter was saying, you lose your allies. You isolate yourself. So we have to be careful when we use this terms isolationism as if somehow its negative. Instead, for the way I view it is, as George Washington said, trade with all political ties with none. I think thats a good rule of thumb to live by. Difficult to implement but good to try and live by. Rich Lowry:Thanks Chris. Jonathan, I dont want to put words in your mouth, but I think your point would be this global, liberal order is not impendent on a specific intervention but is impendent on the United States having, you know, a navy thats in keeping with a global hegemony Jonathan Tepperman:Sure. Thats absolutely right because the United States as a provider of global goods does a lot of work in specific areas to say, keep sea lanes open, which promotes global trade, a priority that Chris just identified. That is very hard to do without worships. The United States works hard to limit the spread of weapons of mass destruction, also very hard to do without a robust military. I'm delighted to hear a libertarian if thats fair to say, talking about promoting trade and aid. I absolutely agree that those should be fundamental precepts of and tools in the American foreign policy toolbox. My argument is that they're simply not enough. Turning to the idea that we should stop selling weapons to odious regimes. Its a wonderful idea but you have to ask two questions. Number one, what do we get for those provisions of weapons? In the case of the Saudis and even in the case of the Egyptians, although this has become a harder argument to make in the last year, I would argue that we get a lot. The 1.5-1.6 billion dollars a year that the United States has paid the Egyptian government for the last x number of decades has bought something very real, which is very essential to the American national interest and thats at peace with Israel. Similarly if we stop selling weapons to the Saudis, what do you think would happen? Would the Saudis stop buying arms? Well, of course they wouldnt, they would just buy them from the Russians or the Chinese instead, which returns me to a point I made earlier on, which is the benefits of maintaining US hegemony, not because the United States is necessarily a light into the world. But simply because if you want to roll that back, you have to ask the question, whos going to do it instead of us and would you rather they take that job? Peter Van Buren:Let me pick up on a couple of points. I mean, the first thing we would lose of course if we didn't sell 30 billion dollars of weapons to the Saudis is 30 billion dollars, and I suspect that that is a large portion of the need to do that. The issue that is being banging around here I think is being set up as bit of a strongman argument, no one anywhere is arguing that the United States should get rid of its military, should pull all the warships and all that. Were still fighting pirates on the high seas as if it was the 18th century again, and these are legitimate uses of power that have been in place since cavemen threw rocks at each other and thats not what the argument here is. The argument is that when we create the impression that the United States is somehow responsible for policing the worlds system, were not setting ourselves up as far as the rest of the worlds concerned as the worlds policeman, were looking like the worlds George Zimmerman. Our interventions create chaos that we then walk away from. Pick your spot, pick an intervention that hasnt ended in some form of chaos. Iraq, of course is the most immediate example that comes to my mind having spent a year there. But lets take a look at Libya, waswhat? Only a year ago or so that we intervene surgically, strategically small bombs, whatever the current vogue clich is. In Libya, we had our tail handed to us in Benghazi and essentially ran most of the American mission out of Libya. Weve pulled our special forces training teams out because its too dangerous and their weapons are being stolen. Exxon now says they cannot operate in Libya because its on safe, so there's the blood for oil argument. And the Libyans are now asking for help to restore that chaos. The next point I think that is still worth looking at and picking up on Chriss here is the question of trade. If I had oil in my backyard, which is actually quite small and there's no oil there, if I had oil in my backyard, what can I do with it? Rich Lowry:Yeah, I was about to say I thought you lived in Fairfax. Peter Van Buren:Well, you know, the neighbors see me digging at night but they never seem to wonder what's going on. But if I had oil in my backyard, exactly what would I do with that oil other than sell it to someone? Could I eat it? Could I grow food in it? No, [???][0:39:35.6] whos one of the more stooped and prescient commentators on national affairs. He's a university professor in Canada, raised this very point in his book written just before the Iraq war, saying, what if we turned our back on the Middle East militarily interventional. Stop selling 30 billion dollars of weapons to the Saudis or F16s to the Iraqis, what would happen? They'd sell the oil. The oil would still be available on the international markets. The United States would still have warships to clean up the pirates. I dont think the world system would collapse. I think what would happen is the United States may reclaim a position in the world system as suppose to existing outside of it, and I think rather than being seen as the worlds policemen, we might find that there were friends out there. They might be business partner friends, they might be allies, they may be something in between, rather than targeting a world full of enemies. Rich Lowry:Peter, let me just push you on one thing and I know Jonathan wants to make some points. So we should KT back in and then we can open it up to questions. So the interventions and the Balkans, the Bosnia war and the co-civil war create more or less chaos at the end of the war. Peter Van Buren:Bosnia is always an interesting point, and thats interventionist, people who are pro-interventions such as it always brings up the Balkans. And I was hoping someone would bring it up tonight. The first thing of course remember about the Balkans is that they were military targets that could be bombed. There were actual military things that could be done, which made an intervention there possibly viable. But I think the most important lesson to take away from the Balkans is not that intervention works, is thatwhat the lesson is that allowing a artificially constructed nation to fracture along ethnic and religious lines is what solved that problem. The United States certainly assisted in that and the military presence there kind of pushed the sides back. But imagine if in 2004 we had brokered a deal that allowed Iraq to separate into the three countries that it actually is. Imagine if the United States allowed the free Syrian army, which is actually a collection of people who, you know, wear that like a t-shirt to create a separate state and Assad would have a state and split Syria along its own Sunni Shia political lines. That would actually represent a conclusion. The Bosnia thing is taken as the wrong example. Rich Lowry:But it is an intervention that were up, on your terms, you just think that circumstances were such that made a particular congenial to a limited US intervention. Peter Van Buren:It was unique. It was specific to that place and that time and it is not a lesson that can be applied or has ever been successfully applied elsewhere. Rich Lowry:Because it also didn't work out? Peter Van Buren:Those countries broke shattered along ethnic and religious lines and that sort of put the problem aside. Rich Lowry:So it did work? Peter Van Buren:It worked in that very narrow capacity. The same argument was made when Coin, Counterinsurgency was the buzzword in town. Everyone would talk about the British and Malaya as the example. And thats fine, the British were successful in a lot of their counterinsurgency work but it was a unique example that was blown up to justify counterinsurgency anywhere else. So I take your points on Bosnia and may have used the word chaos a little chaotically in that sense. But the idea is, is that it is not an example that you can pick up and drop in to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt. Did I leave anybody off the list? I havent seen the news for now, there may be another one. KT McFarland:Can I jump in? I mean, this actually is resembling at graduate student seminar because its an awful lot of theory and has very little to do with the reality of what actually happens in the White House Situation Room or in the Oval Office. Nobodys talking about these grand theories. I look at this industrial revolution, the world has gone to war over energy, because energy is the primary component for industrialization. So World War I was in part about who got to control the oil fields of Central Europe. The Japanese bombed us at Pearl Harbor because they wanted access to that oil that were no longer giving to them. Hitler invaded Russia because he wanted access to the Ukrainian oil. We have the first Gulf War and the second Gulf War over oil. With some exceptions, Bosnia, Afghanistan, the major battles that we have fought have all been over energy. So when you talk about what's the United States world going to be in the world, its not a debate were having because we like to have it, its what requires us to have, what do our national characteristics and needs require us to have as a foreign policy. As long as we need to get oil from the Middle East, we are going to be involved in the Middle East. Were going to have a military and a navy. Were going to be involved in conflict in the Middle East. Were going to be involved in every Sunni Shia sectarian battle thats going to go from country to country to country, from tribe to tribe to tribe for the next 50 years. Thats why I dont look at this as the sort of theoretical stuff. Look at it, how are we going to get our energy? Were either going to get our energy from the Middle East or Russia or were going to find our own energy and what we have had in the last three or five years is the ability to totally rewrite all these theoretical waves of American foreign policy, which is, we have the ability to be energy independent. If we make the decision, we would, you know, keystone pipeline, horizontal drilling, etc. within five years the United States could be energy independent. We would no longer need the Middle East. We would no longer need the relationship with Russia. Within 10 years, we could set ourselves up as competitors. In fact, very good and strong competitors to these parts of the world because as the Middle East continues with its sectarian killing for the next 30 years, they're going to start blowing up each others oil fields. They're not going to get their product to market. Russia has oil and Western Siberia has oil fields, which are played out. They want to develop their Eastern Siberian oil fields. To do that, they need American and western technology and foreign investment. We control that. So all these things are all very interesting and I do think that they go terrific in a graduate seminar but the reality of the fact is until the United States gets its own energy and until the world no longer needs Middle East oil or has alternatives to Middle East and Russian oil, then were going to be sort of stuck in this mindset of interventions to have access to resources. The minute that we no longer need that and were in the position of being the new Saudi Arabia, Iran of the world, were the new Middle East of the world, it changes the international dynamic of every single country. The Russians are in a very difficult position, the Middle East no longer gets their product to market because they doas I said, I think they're going to blow each others oil field and refinery stuff and China and RussiaI mean, China and India need access to energy. They do not have the ability to do the same kind of horizontal drilling that we do. They come knocking on their door our new friends. So this is all interesting but I think the bigger question is the one of energy and who has it and who has access to it and who can guarantee getting it to market. Rich Lowry:Well, we may eventually get energy out of your backyard, Peter. Peter Van Buren:Well, I'm looking for it. Rich Lowry:Horizontal drilling works. Peter Van Buren:[Laughs] I think the most important question is in counter to that, after 65 years of intervention, 243 military actions, controlling the Middle East, controlling the sea lanes, how come gas is not 30 cents a gallon? Shouldnt there be some return for all that? Shouldnt we see some progress? Shouldnt there be something that we can cite as a benefit to all this that has been done? And if you cant other than Kosovo, whichif you cant, then you have to ask why did we do it, and more importantly, you have to ask why are we going to keep doing it? Rich Lowry:So Jonathan, do you want todo you have some brilliant thoughts to close this portion of the session before we go to-- Jonathan Tepperman:Yeah, I want to respond very quickly to KT and then to Peter on a more theoreticalI beg your pardon, level. Rich Lowry:You'll be awarded credit for this discussion. Jonathan Tepperman:In terms of your forecast for oil, as my grandmother used to say, from your lips to Gods ears. Five years to US energy independence is I think a little bit optimistic, if not, very-- KT McFarland:We did it in 18 months with the national gas independence. Jonathan Tepperman:Great. Lets go for it. The problem is that the oil, the global oil market functions in a way thats much more complicated than what KT has suggested. Oil is a global commodity and its a fungible commodity. That means that prices are set based on the global supply of oil, not the oil that one individual country is selling to another. So when Peter decides to sell me the oil that he's drilled in his backyard, he doesnt say, Tepperman, because I like your socks, I'm going to sell it to you for 25% off the global rate-- Rich Lowry:Thats not possible hypothetical, Jonathan by the way. Jonathan Tepperman:I think we may work something out after this meeting. The problem in all seriousness is that the price is set based on the global supply. So while US, the advent of tight gas, tight oil and US shell gas is a great thing. The United States will remain engaged with the rest of the world because if Saudi oil comes offline, if Russian oil comes offline, if the Japanese are no longer to ship oil through the straits of Malacca, thats when do devastating things to the global economy because the price of oil is going to shoot through the ceiling and thats not something that we as a country can afford. Really quickly, you're responding to what Peter was saying, I think a lot of your points are very well taken. To try and distill the implications of what you were saying into a coherent foreign policy, you can point to a fattish strategy right now that you know there's offshore balancing. Thats something thats put forward by guys like Robert-- Rich Lowry:Is that academic enough for you KT? KT McFarland:Totally. Rich Lowry:Good. Jonathan Tepperman:Okay. Now with me, John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, guys who are familiar to you if you read foreign policy or other foreign policy publications. The argument is that the United States should not be engaging in nation building abroad because were not very good at it and its too expensive and it doesnt really matter to us what happens in foreign countries. The argument is that the United States should not have troops stationed around the world because as I cant remember whether it was Chris or Peter were alluding to, those troops tend to be a great source of anti-americanism in de-terrorism. So lets pull those guys back, men and women I should say, lets put them on American mega bases like Guam or Diego Garcia. Lets keep them on ships on the ocean, and lets only intervene when US national interest is very narrowly defined are threatened or the global balance is somehow disturbed such that we need to step in and reorder it. Now that policy has big advantages. Its cheap, it may indeed diminish anti-americanism in places like Saudi Arabia or other places in the gulf where we know that the presence of US troops have been a sore spot. Its not pure isolationism because it would rely on diplomacy and the United States would reserve the right to intervene. But my point is we need to be very, very honest with ourselves about what the negative consequences of such a policy would be. And those consequences would be among the following, the United States would have to be prepared to stand by and either benignly oblivious or an accomplice to the kind of carnage thats going on in Syria and to the mass slaughter of civilians around the world if those conflicts are contained, and I'm not sure that thats the kind of country we are. And number two, as I've said before, have a way of expanding and were seeing that in Syria now. So lets start as a domestic conflict rarely stays a domestic conflict. Intervening late can be much more costly than intervening early. Again, I think were seeing that in Syria and impunity spreads. So when the United States or the global community, if you'll forgive me for using that painful phrase, in the form of the UN security council, made what have you allows dictators to do whatever they want, other dictators start to get the message. And again, I'm not sure that thats what we want to happen. And for a very recent example of how that happened, just look to Syria and Egypt. I think its very easy to see the connection between what happened in Egypt when the United States stood on the sidelines as the military government, the generals, throughout elected government and established a military government and then ignored American warnings to not slaughter innocent protesters and the United States didnt respond, and what Assad subsequently did in Syria because Assad got the message that the United States is not going to make good on its commitments and is going to sit on its heels when dictators do whatever they want at home. And again, I think thats problematic and we may choose that that is a price that we want to pay, but lets be honest about the fact that thats what were looking at. Rich Lowry:Let me let Chris just bounce of it quickly and specifically the contention from Jonathan and you hear this pretty much from every US president in some form or another. Weve heard it from president Obama on Syria that were not the kind of country that can let this, whatever the human rights violation is go by without acting. Chris Coyne:Sure. I think that is pure rhetoric and made up and we know that because there's lots of human rights violations around the world on a daily basis and-- Per Van Buren:North Korea. Chris Coyne:Yeah, and we dont do anything to help them in many cases the US government helps perpetuate them. Look, ultimately this is what this comes down to and this is one of the interesting takeaways from all this. Whether government interventions work or not is mainly an empirical issue. There are many cases I mentioned before where they work. We can sit here all night and you guys can keep saying, these ones work and well say yes and these ones failed and the people say yes, and then its like, where does that leave us. Thats ultimately the end of the day where I come down on this is you need to think about government operates since governments carries out interventions and then determine how confident you are that governments cac carry out massive large scale interventions, and these are the characteristics. A group of elites or supposed experts come up and they blueprint that they think they can intervene abroad and move people around almost like they're pawns on a chessboard to get the outcome that they want. Number two, massive large-scale top down bureaucracies that carry out those plans, and number three, focus on the collective global security, national security as compared to individualism. What other method had those same characteristics? Central planning under the Soviet Union, central planning under other major government programs. Really foreign intervention is the new central planning. It is the idea that well-enlightened, reasonable people, who are either well-educated or morally superior to others can improve the world around them according to their desires, and ultimately what you need to think about is how confident are you in the ability of the government, giving the realities of how government operates, think US post office, right? Imagine US Post Office ramped up with a lot of tanks and guns, how confident are you that thats going to work effectively? Thats how bureaucracy works. It does succeed. Mail gets to my box everyday, but on net, not so good. How confident are you that that is going to succeed in interventions, thats ultimately what it comes down to, the ability of government to generate success or failure in these things. And that ultimately thats why I'm a skeptic of these issues purely on practical grounds. Rich Lowry:Thanks Chris. Lets open it up. Lets open it up for questions. I dont know whether we have a mic or whatever were just going to go with the peoples voice. Yes sir. Oh there's a mic over here. Audience:Thank you so much. Rich Lowry:Is that on? Audience:Thank you so much all of you especially Rich for directing. My question is actually to KT who I dont think has had very much time on this panel. KT McFarland:I work in television and we get our point across in three minutes. [Laughs] Audience:Well, youve done an excellent job of doing that, which is why I'm wondering youve said really two fundamental things. First off, that there's a civil war in the Republican Party about these issues, and second that most foreign interventions based on the issue of energy and oil in particular. Rich Lowry:Can you hold up the mic just a little higher. Audience:Do you think that if the Republican Party came together, focusing on as you said we could be energy independent in five years, do you think that that would solve this rift in the Republican Party? KT McFarland:Thats a really thoughtful question. Yes, I think that, I mean to me, I the biggest national security interest in the United States right now would be to find our own energy, to become energy-dependent and I get the thing about is like one big bathtub and its a straw and as our goes in the bathtub and they Russians oil goes into the bathtub and the Iranian oil goes into the bathtub. The thing is, if the bathtub is full, the price of oil is going to come down and although for us, I mean, it will do a whole lot of things for our economy, it would have repatriation of American industry, it will be an economic boom not only in the jobs and relation to that. But I think that ultimately the price of oil as the southern parts of the world, their oil depletes, you know, the United States, Canada and Mexico can become the new suppliers of the worlds energy. Once you have that, then I think the need and the requirement that the United States has to get involved and the kind of wars that weve had in the last 15 years goes way down, you know. People have been fighting, I mean, certainly in the Middle East since, you know, Isaac and Ishmael, okay, I mean, since the book of genesis, and theyve just had a lot more money lately to have a much more lethal power and lethal weapons. And so I think the Middle East is going to continue the fight to the end of time and well see Shias and Sunnis both fueled by Arab oil money continuing to fight until the last man. They see it as a religious fight to the finish. Theyve got the money to do it and the fact that the oil is there is making the fight far more lethal. So I think that solves a lot of our problems and we dont have to worry about where were getting our energy all of the time, I think were on a different place. The civil war, the republican party, its the same civil war that I saw on the 1980s where Reagan was elected with three groups of conservatives, social conservatives, foreign policy conservatives and economic fiscal conservatives. And while you have, you know, while everything was good and the money was good and weve got enough money for everything. Everybody got along. But by the middle 1980s when the defense budget, it costs a lot of money. When the budgets were not balancing, Reagan had a goal of balancing the budget. He wanted to cut government expenses. He did cut taxes. He was not able to cut government expenses to the extent that we thought he would and he started having these two wings of the Republican Party fighting with each other. So the fiscal hawks and the foreign policy hawks start fighting each other. Nobody wanted to intervene places by the way. That was an era where nobody really wanted to go to war. We were not looking a war in the Middle East. We, you know, had a Cold War with the Russians. But thats where you see it and I think that the modern version of the civil was is those two groups, that part of the isolationI dont want to speak for isolationist or libertarians, but I think part of it is an economic-driven argument that we cant afford to do a lot of those things. And the foreign policy hawks, the defense hawks to go back to the way Reagan conducted this foreign policy, you know, Reagan had a defense build up but not because he wanted to use it anymore. He felt very strongly that if you had a strong military, nobody would pick a fight. The way he express that to the American people was he talked about Jack Dempsey, which means nothing to you guys but 30 years ago, Jack Dempsey was a great prize fighter and Reagan said nobody picks a fight with Jack Dempsey, right, because Jack Dempsey was the biggest, strongest fighter in the world. Reagan felt if you had the biggest, strongest military power in the world, nobodys going to pick a fight with you. And if he would make the argument that in his lifetime, I think he would say two or three words that began in his lifetime never because the United States was too strong. So I think a lot of the civil war problems in the Republican Party go away when were economically solid again and there may be a secondary crisis within sort of a subset of the civil war, which is the people who are the interventionist to the non-interventionist. But I always go back to, you know, Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot because he was the economic weapon and he picked his fights and he wasnt going to fight everywhere all the time. He picked his fight and his fight was to take down the Soviet Union. It was not to get involved in the Lebanese civil war. It was not to get involved in other wars around the world. It was the takedown. And so if the Republican Party kind of goes back to its Reagan roots, that was the most successful republican presidency since really in the post-war period. I think we dowe can patch up a lot of the fights that were currently having. Rich Lowry:Thank you KT. Is there a question far off in someone who never thought he never get a chance to ask a question? Yes sir, next to the pillar, yes. You sir, yes. Audience:Thank you all for coming and speaking. I have a question about the idea of kind of not getting involved in civil wars essentially letting, you know, countries breakup along ethnic lines. Could you comment about that in light of, you know, the Pakistan and India partition in 1947, which you know, has led two very heavily armed nuclear powers and Pakistan support for the Taliban, organizations like that. Richard Lowry:Peter? The question, can you apply your point about not getting involved in civil wars and letting countries split up along ethnic lines to Pakistan and India partition. Audience:Well yeah, because you know, Pakistan and India, we pretty much let them partition the way they wanted to. Both sides now have nuclear weapons, you know, the CIA basically has two categories of concerns of WMD proliferation, there's Pakistan and everybody else. And you know, the Pakistan has been supporting the Taliban and things like that. Do you think that if you kind of encourage these countries to, you know, kind of fight it out and leave it alone that we dont have more Pakistan and India situations in the future. Peter Van Buren:Well, I think maybe you misunderstood my point. The question is, why would we be involved in that anyway? Where is our national interest there? This is the broader question is, what is our national interest in any particular thing you want to cite. You're left with these without really much of an answer. You kind of dig around for things like, well, global system, we have the police even though lots of other countries seem to be okay with it without policing it. We get into this idea where weve got to save the children but actually were very selective about when, where and how we save the children. To me, if you wanted to save Syrian children, you might airdrop in lots of nerve gas antidote. That might save some people, or you might send medical help to the 2 million refugees on board as an example. The point is, is that every problem in the world is A, not in Americas interest to resolve, and B, not entirely possible for us to resolve. As Chris pointed out, we consistently misunderstand what we can do. We simply step into a situation that is as complicated as really going back to biblical times literally or ethnic divides that were created by the British after World War I, meaning the Middle East. And we think we can go in there and just kind of move the pieces around and manipulate things. We dont understand at all the complexity of these systems and I'm sorry I'm going to use the word chaos again, it got me in trouble earlier but the absolute inability to dig the hole as deep as I want until I hit oil. We fail to understand the complexity of the chaos that these situations unveil despite regular advantages. Ill just point out, just picking up on an earlier point that one of the panelists made about police stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction. I guess we didn't do so well with that in Pakistan, India, maybe Israel, South Africa for a while. Again, this seal activity about when we do this and when we do that is what rubs out arguments with respect, Jonathan, that the United States has this sort of uber role to play. Were not very good at it. KT McFarland:Can I just jump one. I think its a fundamental role of foreign policy. If you have to enemies that are busy killing each other, do not stand up and try to stop them. Peter Van Buren:Dont get in the middle of a bar fight. KT McFarland:Dont get in the middle of the civil war. Rich Lowry:Thank you. Other questions. Do we have a mic over on the left side of the room? Okay, the gentleman is reaching eagerly for the mic right there. He will not be denied. Audience:I wanted to see if I could get Jonathan to defend something he said earlier. This notion that we adopt offshore balancing and were going to have to get used to looking the other way when dictators commit human rights atrocities, thats been our policy throughout the entire post-war period, you know. During this wanted Balkans War that was so humanitarian, were also arming and giving money to Turkey as it slaughtered like 60,000 in the area in the southeast. Back up a little further, Reagan of course, backed Saddam Hussein as he was committing chemical atrocities against the Iranians and his own people, you know, were also had a lot to do with the massive human rights atrocities in Nicaragua, in Reagans contrast. Backup a little further, we give the green light to Indonesia to slaughter a couple of 100,000 East Timorese. I mean, we can go on and on. The policy has been to set up dictators that we like and look the other way. This isnt something that would happen if we adopted offshore balancing is our policy now and has been. Rich Lowry:Thank you. So the question basically goes to double standards and would we be more consistent if we werent intervening whatsoever. Jonathan Tepperman:Well, Ill make two points. Starting with the last thing that the questions are raised. I think its important to be fair to recognize that the US policy is not exclusively to prop up nasty dictators around the world and let them do whatever they want. There are plenty of examples, which by the Reaganites and former Reaganites are fond of citing former nasty dictators who we have managed to push in more democratic direction. And the two most famous examples are the Philippines and South Korea, which have both profited enormously from that shift in US policy. But to get to the larger principle that you raised, I would be the last person to argue that the United States has always been consistent. I would notI would also not argue that the United States needs to be consistent. But it does not follow that because we do not intervene in many cases we should never intervene. And one of the most defensive things that I think President Obama or disingenuous said in one of his earlier addresses on Syria before he decided to intervene, before he decided not to intervene was that because we cant intervene in the case like the Congo, we shouldnt intervene in Syria either, it just doesnt follow. There are cases where we have the capability and there are cases where our humanitarian impulse and our national interest align and in those cases, we may intervene, but to say that because there are other cases where that doesnt hold, we shouldnt intervene anywhere, it just doesnt follow. Rich Lowry:We have time for one more question. Who has a particularly academic question, extremely arid, abstract, academic question? I think this gentleman looks like he's got it written all over him. Audience:Well see if I can get there. So one could argue that we have no strategy and we dont have any plan at all because every single decision is an individual decision. So we continue to turn it all through the world because we dont have a grand strategy, a strategy that says this is our goal and in fact I would agree with KT that the fact that Reagans overarching goal, where they were going to stop the Soviet Union or were going to stop them from spreading and were going to go after them economically through demonstrate a large military force is exactly what was beneficial at that time and actually carried us forward. So the question is, is the actuality that we are fighting the big government, little government argument through all of these actions, and its actually the conflict of domestic policy that makes us make these decisions because we choose to do domestic things when the left to use Eisenhowers military complex, industrial complex says they're argument against a large military industrial complex, but that time we didn't have nearly a social network that we have the social welfare network that we have today. So one could argue that actually its all about domestic policy. Its about the argument of how do I win my domestic fight through my international or foreign policy means, and that would be my question, is it domestic policy thats actually the fight or are we actually talking about foreign policy? Jonathan Tepperman:Well, Ill make one point in response to that, which is, again, Senator Pauls preferences, these issues are often not decided on a broad based domestic way. They're decided by the president acting in concert with a very small circle of advisers and thats it. So its hard to see certain conflicts that the president has brought the United States into effectively on his own power as reflecting any kind of an internal battle between different camps in the United States. Rich Lowry:Any final thoughts on the-- Chris Cowry:Well, I think you raise an important point, which is all by definition all-political interventions are political. And so again how confident are you in politics and this is the interesting thing, right? This is through what it comes down to. So thereI think the main takeaway is there is no grand strategy, there's no national interest or humanitarian ideal floating out there thats guiding us. They're real individuals who are elected the positions of power who respond to incentives. Those incentives are the things that Jonathan pointed out, the things that KT pointed out, domestic things as well as private interest groups, which we havent talked about. You mentioned the military industrial complex, which have a massive influence on the shape of foreign policy. And remember of course, one thing we havent talked about is the spillover effect domestically. I'm not talking about blowback type issues here. I'm talking about Randolph Bournes point, war is the help of the state. Foreign interventions breed debt, they breed erosions of civil liberties at home, they breed new taxes and expansions in government power because of the opening created by the crisis. Well, during the war, not all wars, as we just saw in Syria where the public was strongly against it but many wars people are un-flaunting in their patriotism and they say we must support the executive. That opens up in some sense in opening for our government to expand precisely because the check of civilians has weakened. And so we just have to be very careful, and again, I'm fully on board with Jonathans point that good stuff can come out of interventions. Its not that its zero or one, bad or good. It really comes down again to how confident you are on net, which is a messy issue, its not a clean cause benefit calculus that you can write down for precisely because of all the issues that the panels have raised but thats really ultimately what it comes down to is how confident you are that on net a good outcome is going to emerge. Rich Lowry:Alright, I think weve forged consensus this evening on an absolutely crucial issue of Kosovo, which I know you all came here just to have settled once and for all, and then also the national imperative of trying to discover fossil fuels in Peters backyard. Thank you all for being here and thanks for listening. [Applause]