Ghani on Afghanistan’s transitions: “What we need to realize is that 2014 was a year that we faced three transitions simultaneously – a political transition where authority for the first time was transferred from one elected president to another; a security transition where the combat role of the international community, particularly that of the United States, ended; and third, an economic transition. Our enemies were banking on collapse of authority. Because of that, they challenged us. But what I am gratified to share is that during the last six months, the Afghan national security forces have really shown their mettle. Now we are not in a defensive position. We have taken offensive.”
Ghani on the ISAF withdrawal: “Well the first point is that I'd like to pay tribute to the Americans – I believe 2,215 who paid the ultimate sacrifice; over 20,000 Americans that have been wounded; hundreds of thousands of Americans, men and women, who've seen combat in Afghanistan. They’ve gotten to know our valleys, our desserts, our mountains. They have stood shoulder to shoulder with us. The result is that America has been secure, thank God. There's been no terrorist attack on mainland United States. We have been the front line. Meanwhile, what needs to be underlined is while tragedy brought us together, there are common interests that now can be articulated very clearly. The threats that we are facing on a daily basis, were they, God forbid, to overwhelm us, will threaten the world at large.”
FULL TRANSCRIPT: FULL POST
On whether a two-state solution with the Palestinians is still viable
ZAKARIA: The Israeli NGO Peace Now has released a report that says that there has been a 40 percent rise in settlement activity, construction, in the West Bank, since last year. A lot of people believe, at this point, a two-state solution is really going to be very, very difficult. Do you believe, if you were prime minister, that there is an actual path to a two-state solution, and what is it? FULL POST
Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) spoke to CNN’s Dana Bash about the stalemate in Washington over Department of Homeland Security funding and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.
On Netanyahu’s claim that he speaks for the entire Jewish community: “I think it's a rather arrogant statement. I think the Jewish community is like any other community. There are different points of view. So, I - I think that arrogance does not befit Israel, candidly. I think Israel is a nation that needs to be protected, that needs to stand free, that hopefully can work constructively with Palestinians to have a side-by-side state, and to put an end to the bitterness that has plagued this whole area.”
On Netanyahu’s speech to Congress: “I intend to go. And I will listen respectively - respectfully. I don't intend to jump up and down.”
TRANSCRIPT FULL POST
King Abdullah interviewed by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in Jordan
FAREED ZAKARIA GPS Global Television Exclusive
The following is a transcript from an exclusive interview between King Abdullah of Jordan and CNN’s Fareed Zakaria at al-Husseiniya Palace in Amman, Jordan. King Abdullah spoke with Fareed Zakaria in his first interview since ISIS released the video documenting the murder of the Royal Jordanian Air Force pilot, lieutenant Moath al-Kasasbeh.
TEXT HIGHLIGHTS & VIDEOS
CNN’s State of the Union features Gloria Borger’s exclusive interview with Ohio Governor John Kasich (R-OH) about his possible presidential campaign, the Republican Party platform, and U.S. foreign policy.
Kasich on the 2016 election: “a Republican can't be elected president without winning Ohio, and if they're going to come to Ohio, extremism isn't going to work.”
Kasich on ISIS policy: “I'm just suggesting to you that at some point, in dealing with ISIS, you mark my words, whether John Kasich, you ever hear from him again, at some point it will require boots on the ground from the world to be able to deal with this problem. And I would rather deal with it sooner than later, but you just don't go running over there. You've got to have a battle plan, you've got to figure out exactly what you're going to do, but I would never suggest that we should engage in nation building, or trying to convert all these people to our way of life. We need stability, and we need to stop this.”
Kasich on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress: “Well I'd have a meeting with him. We'd have a cup of coffee, why not? This is, they're making such a big deal. And the guy, you know, been invited to come speak to Congress. Let him speak, and the president can have a meeting with him, they don't have to have a photo op or anything but of course you go and you talk to him. I mean that's the way I look at it. I mean, but I'm not president again and I'm not sure I will ever be president, because I haven't decided whether I'm even going to try for that yet. 24:29 But what I would tell you is use common sense. You got a foreign leader coming, a great ally of ours, he's coming here. Was it handled in maybe a clumsy way? Okay, so it was. But look, get beyond that. See that's our problem, Gloria, we spend too much time either trying to be politically correct, play to the cameras, play to our base. 24:50 I worry about America. For the first time in my lifetime, I'm worried about us. I'm worried about how our values to some degree have been eroded, of personal responsibility and compassion, and teamwork. I worry about it, I worry about the fact that we're so divided. But do I think it can be fixed? I have no doubt, because I saw Ronald Reagan do it, and I've seen other great leaders throughout history. Harry Truman, whatever party they are they can bring us together, it can happen.”
FULL TRANSCRIPT FULL POST
CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS features a political panel about ISIS and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East with Graeme Wood, the author of What ISIS Really Wants, Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Brookings Institution Center for Middle East Policy, and Peter Beinart, an associate professor of political science at the City University of New York and a CNN political commentator.
Beinart on Obama’s approach to ISIS: “From the point of view of American foreign policy, we, as a nation, have done best when we have defined our enemies narrowly. We did not fight a war - a cold war - against communism, or when we, and when we tried - for most - for our most effective periods of the Cold War, we allied with Yugoslavia, a communist country, against the Soviets. We allied with China against the Soviets. We narrowed our enemies and therefore put more strength on our side. What’s important about what Obama is doing is he's trying to keep our enemies narrow. We are going to need to ally with people who we call - maybe call themselves Islamists in order to defeat ISIS, maybe even people who call themselves Salafi jihadists, whatever that means, just as we allied with communists against the Soviet Union. We didn't fight all fascists in World War II. We never declared war on Franco's Spain. So I think the ideological part, while it's important, shouldn't be what drives American foreign policy.”
Wood on Jerusalem’s reaction to ISIS propaganda: “Certainly ISIS is no fan of Israel. But Israel's main point for ISIS is certainly its propaganda value, but also its place in the apocalypse. ISIS believes that it’s foretold that the armies of Islam will eventually rally around Jerusalem after being defeated, actually. So they believe that they will, after conquering a large area of land, eventually be reduced to a core of 5,000 fighters around Jerusalem. That's one of the most common ways that Jerusalem is referred to in the propaganda of ISIS.”
Hamid on ISIS’s targets of anger: “Where al Qaeda was obsessed with the West, ISIS is focused on Iraq, Syria, the immediate surroundings. They hate Arab rulers more than they hate Israeli leaders. And that does, that should affect how we react to them and how we think about the threat that they face. So in that sense, they're less of a direct threat on the American homeland, but they are very much a threat to Middle East stability.”
Beinart on Obama-Netanyahu rift: “The reason this clash is so fierce is it goes to the heart of the legacies of both men. Benjamin Netanyahu sincerely believes that he is Winston Churchill in the 1930s - the only person wise enough and brave enough to sound the alarm about a potential - about a potential Nazi-like threat. Barack Obama sees himself as much more akin, I would say, to Richard Nixon in the 1970s, trying to make - look at the possibilities of making an opening to Iran, which would be like an opening to China, which would rejigger the entire power balance in the Middle East and allow America to solve problems they can't solve now and put itself in a much stronger position. It's not just that these guys don't like each other. It's not just that Obama is a Democrat and that Netanyahu plays footsie with the Republicans all the time. It really goes to the core of the way they see themselves historically.”
FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson joined Gloria Borger to comment on al-Shabaab’s recent terror threat, tension in Congress between immigration and the Department of Homeland Security’s funding, and Rudy Giuliani’s comments about President Obama.
On the nature of al-Shabaab’s recent terror threat: “We’re in an environment right now where I suspect these groups are competing for attention. ISIL has received a lot of attention through their very effective use of the Internet, social media. And we’re now seeing, for example, AQAP in its most recent addition of "Inspire", a whole chapter on how to build a nonmetallic device, as well as this most recent public cotton buds. So, my concern is these groups were actually competing for attention and for fundraising and recruitment.”
On the safety of the Mall of America: “I would say that if anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful”
On appealing a federal judge’s decision to prohibit the processing of illegal immigrants: “We will appeal and we will seek a stay so that we can go back to implementation of our efforts to build accountability in the non-documented community.”
On Rudy Giuliani’s comments about Obama: “His comments were not helpful. And I’m sorry to see statements like that coming from the former mayor whose response to 9/11 in 2001 I admired very much. His response to me is a model for how government leaders should respond in times of crisis. I think his most recent statements are very regrettable.”
TRANSCRIPT FULL POST
CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS features an interview with Bill Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, formerly Russia's largest foreign investor, and a once supporter of President Putin. He also describes the dynamics between power and wealth in Russia, claiming that during “the first eight or 10 years of Putin's reign over Russia, it was about stealing as much money as he could. And some people, including myself, believe that he's the richest man in the world, or one of the richest men in the world, with hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth that was stolen from Russia.”
On Putin’s networth: “I believe that it's $200 billion. After 14 years in power of Russia, and the amount of money that the country has made, and the amount of money that hasn't been spent on schools and roads and hospitals and so on, all that money is in property, bank - Swiss bank accounts, shares, hedge funds, managed for Putin and his cronies.”
On Putin and his cronies: “These guys killed Sergei Magnitsky, my lawyer, for money. They all got rich, they all got bank accounts and villas and cars. Why should we allow them to come to America, travel to America, keep their accounts here, spend that money?” FULL POST
Today on CNN’s State of the Union, former Secretary of Defense and former director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, joined CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta, to discuss the instability in the Middle East, Putin’s aggressive foreign policy, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, and President Obama’s performance regarding said issues.