WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) in her first Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Hearing on “Global Challenges and U.S. National Security Strategy” asked about how the U.S. can more effectively engage Turkey to combat ISIS and other threats that exist within the Middle East. The Senator questioned the panel of two former U.S. National Security Advisors: Brent Scowcroft, President of the Scowcroft Group and Dr. Zbigniew K. Brzezinski, Counselor and Trustee at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 

Click here to watch Senator Ernst question the panel.       

TRANSCRIPT

SEN. ERNST: Thank you Mr. Chairman, thank you gentlemen for being here today, I appreciate your service very much. Today we have talked a lot about ISIS in the Middle East and the fact that we do need partners in that region, we do need those Arab allies to come forward, and you’ve mentioned it, both of you, as more of an aside comment, but I would really like to understand how we can more effectively engage Turkey – which is an ally, which is a friend in that region – How can we engage them more to combat ISIS and those other threats that exist within the Middle East?

BRENT SNOWCROFT: The Turks are playing a role, it’s partly worrisome a little, partly very helpful. The Turks have a large minority in their country who are Kurd, and so they have multiple concerns about what goes on. They also have very emotional feelings about Syria. But I think we can help the countries of the Middle East, Turkey is one, with great military capability. As I say, Egypt is another one. Egypt is a large country in any part of the world and they ought to want to shape their own region in the right direction and we ought to encourage that rather than taking their place in forming the region.

SEN. ERNST: Thank you – I do agree, and I just would love to know more concrete methods of engaging them. They do have a lot at stake in that region, and I think they could be valuable partners. I just would love to know how we get them to play a greater role in that. Thank you very much gentlemen today, thank you Mr. Chairman.

 

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