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Presidential Nomination: Secretary of State


Steven Andrews

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Mr. President, 

Thank you for convening this hearing. And thank you, Mr. Andrews, for attending. Do you have an opening statement to make, sir? 

((@Steven Andrews))

Christopher Drake

Republican, NY-2

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

Former Chief Administrator - Rounds 4 & 5, Evil Arch-Conservative, Frequent Republican Player

 

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Thank you, Mr. Andrews. 

First, let me extend a welcome to you. Great to have you here for this time-tested, Constitutional duty of the Senate. My first question for you is: do you believe more force than just a no-fly zone is on the table for the situation in Turkey?

Christopher Drake

Republican, NY-2

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

Former Chief Administrator - Rounds 4 & 5, Evil Arch-Conservative, Frequent Republican Player

 

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Dr. Andrews, thank you for being with us here today.

For decades -- most of the latter half of the 20th century -- we found ourselves in a Cold War with the Soviet Union, which saw precious blood and treasure misspent by both sides in proxy wars. We experienced a bit of a thaw after the USSR's collapse, but under Vladimir Putin we've once again seen Russia opposed to our interests in Eastern Europe, in Syria, and now in Turkey. What will be your State Department's strategy for dealing with Russia?

Senator Holly Hawthorne (R-AK)

@HollyHawthorne | Join the Freedom Caucus!

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Sen. Madison, thank you for your welcome and your question.  At the present time, I do not believe that more is called for.  I am not prepared to categorically rule further force out, but that would depend on how the various parties in the crisis comport themselves.  I suspect it would also, at least in part, depend on the reaction within the House and the Senate as to that situation...I hate to punt it as a vague future hypothetical, but there are about a thousand plausible ways I can see the Turkish situation developing and they require different courses of action, or of not acting as the case may be, on our part.

(@SWMissourian)

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Sen. Bishop, thank you as well for your question.

Our attitude towards Russia will generally be one of pragmatic caution.  Russia's behavior over the last few years has, shall we say, left much to be desired but at the same time I suspect that there are certain threats and other matters that we can hope to cooperate on and times where we will need their assistance, cooperation, or at least non-obstruction for various reasons.  If we can build some bridges there, that would be nice...but given the situation in the Ukraine in particular I'm not holding my breath for a sea change there and planning to deal with the regime we're dealing with.

I am going to stop short of expecting hostility, but recent actions do give me cause for concern in various areas...for example, the situation in Turkey.

(@Brady)

Andrew Byrd (and family), Virginia

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Mr. Andrews, 

What entity do you think is our biggest geopolitical threat? ISIS? Islamic terrorist groups in general? China? Russia? Iran? That kind of thing. 

Christopher Drake

Republican, NY-2

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives

Former Chief Administrator - Rounds 4 & 5, Evil Arch-Conservative, Frequent Republican Player

 

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To specifically answer your question, I would have to get into the nature of a threat.  I will cite that I find the Islamic State movement on the one hand and China on the other to present the greatest threats.  I list them both not to punt on the question but because to compare them is rather a case of apples and oranges.

The Islamic State movement, of which ISIS is the most obvious actor, has shown an ability to not only engage in terrorism in the vein of what previous groups did before, but it has also shown an ability to disrupt and substantially threaten several states in the Middle East.  More to the point...if I may use a somewhat clumsy analogy, where the Taliban or the Iranian regime represent the Islamist equivalents of either Joseph Stalin's "Socialism in One Country", the Islamic State represents the Islamist equivalent of Trotskyism, complete with a compulsion to evangelize, only with a rather more horrifying version of events to present to the world.  They are particularly dangerous because, in a sense, they also lack control over their remote elements...so they're spewing uncontrolled incitement to terror and we're seeing the, occasionally erratic, effects of that in Europe.

China is a different sort of problem insofar as, while I don't expect that we're going to see explicit acts of hostility anytime soon, they present a major strategic problem for the US insofar as they are aggressively moving into the sphere opened up by the fall of the USSR a quarter-century ago.  They have also done quite a lot to insert themselves into the global supply chain and control a great chunk of the global supply of a number of mineral resources.  So that's a different sort of threat, arguably in the form of a one-stop shop for a 21st century version of OPEC.

For comparison, I see Russia's position as more complicated than China's...in particular, they seem quite vulnerable to the price of oil, something that we can work around in the long term...and I think they are ultimately easier to work with even as they often present certain painfully acute tactical headaches.  And also for reference, in many respects though I see them as threats and, quite often, acute concerns I also see Iran, North Korea, and so on as mostly being products of Russia and/or China in various parts.  Hence I list the Islamic State movement and China since they represent not only tactical problems but major strategic concerns.

Andrew Byrd (and family), Virginia

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Dr. Andrews,

Due to our nuclear-sharing subscription with NATO members, the United States currently entrusts some of our most strategic weapons with the government of Turkey. Given the rising hostilities over there, do you feel it is a bad idea for these arms to be in the hands of Turkey? If so, how will you work—independently or through NATO—to address this issue?

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Speaker of the House & Democratic Party Chair

 

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Senator Pinnacle,
I think we're going to have to work with our NATO allies, if only because pulling those weapons out of Turkey would likely most desirably be associated with redeploying them somewhere else.  I am going to decline to speculate on where that might end up being.  Now, steps have already been taken by the administration to start coordinating with our NATO allies, and I intend to continue working with them on that...but if we end up with an openly hostile Turkish government that is in position I think we can all agree that we're going to need to take those weapons back.  But I think we can also reasonably hope that the situation in Turkey works out to our advantage and that we won't be stuck taking down that particular part of our strategic arsenal.

Andrew Byrd (and family), Virginia

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Mr. Andrews,

Many of us remember the Sullivan Principles which played a role in ending Apartheid in South Africa. Similarly, economic and diplomatic isolation led to majority rule in Zimbabwe. Since then however, neither South Africa nor Zimbabwe have functioned as racially equal democracies. A racial policies fuel land reforms, does the United States have a role in seeing to it that that land is again not seized and redistributed along racial lines? Or is this merely righting a wrong?

 

Tara McCarthy

D-Michigan

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Senator Pronovost,
I believe that one might reasonably extract from the Sullivan Principles something a little bit deeper, namely that where possible we should seek to not do business where the rule of law is not paramount and where property is taken without just compensation.  Please don't mishear me, there are ways to engage in land reform and the like that adhere to such principles...and, I would add, ways to do so competently.  In the case of Zimbabwe, I would point out that during the 1980s the vast majority of land purchases seem to have accrued to the ruling clique in that country rather than being "actual" land reform...so I would have to question whether or not the situation there was one of an attempt at trying to repair a historic inequity or whether that was simply a cover for corruption and the like.  And if it is the latter, then the question of the historic situation is frankly irrelevant as it is simply being used as a shield for illegality.

I think, in light of the conduct of the 2008 and 2013 elections, we would have to also ask whether Zimbabwe is actually functioning as a democracy or, to paraphrase a news story I once read regarding another country, whether what they have is voting instead of elections...but that's another question entirely.

Andrew Byrd (and family), Virginia

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Mr. President,

I think I can speak for many of us on both sides of the aisle in saying that we appreciate Dr. Andrews being here today, and providing such thoughtful and thorough answers to our questions. He is clearly well qualified and well prepared to be Secretary of State.

I move for his immediate consideration.

I yield.

Senator Holly Hawthorne (R-AK)

@HollyHawthorne | Join the Freedom Caucus!

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