Thomas Roberts | September 10, 2013
>> as this committee hearing , the testimony there from hagel and kerry continues. even as secretary kerry points out, the president has spoken separately with president hollande of france and prime minister cameron in england and they agreed to work closely on the consultation with russia and china to explore the viability of the chemical weapons stockpile in syria being turned over to russia , the u.n. and said they would approve to safeguard that material. this is the hearing that's still going on. as you heard the secretary saying they're not asking for any type of what the secretary means. he's also the former ambassador to the united nations here. meanwhile, he has secretary kerry and secretary hagel out doing the testimony to get congress on board to move forward with any type of strike, resolution. you know what it's like to deal with regimes like we're seeing in syria . we know you've met with north korea 's top nuclear negotiator. so ways your first reaction to hearing assad is, one, admitting, and, two, hearing that russia can take it away and that will ease the tensions?
>> well, i have extreme skepticism. russia and syria have blunted every diplomatic effort through the united nations , special envoys, through political settlement. assad and russia are client states . they make money off each other. political support. so i'm skeptical. however, i liked what the secretary said, keep the military air strikes on the table. and you see what the russians are going to offer. but my real concern, thomas, the u.n. security council . russia and china can veto anything. and what i would be sure of, is this be airtight. there be international inspectors. technical people. not political people. no syrians, no russians . total transparency. i would go one step further. i want syria to pay a price. not just to get rid of its chemical weapons . i'd hope, and i hope i'm not trying to get greedy here. the goal, one step further. say to the russians , all right, get rid of the chemical weapons , but let's look at a solution in the future where assad goes out. there's a transition government. i'm getting a little greedy because i just don't trust what the syrians are doing. and the russians have blocked us at every turn.
>> i just want to say, when you're talking about the u.n. security council , a lot of people say there is paralysis. and now we have this movement where the secretary-general ban ki-moon warned yesterday any type of military force used against syria would be premature until their investigation concluded. as you talk about consequences, what if one of the consequences, not only seeing bashar al assad go, but seeing syria join the international weapons convention and make sure something like this never happens again inside that country.
>> well, okay, i'm fine with that. i think syria has to pay a price. i don't think they're paying a price by just exiting those chemical weapons . i want them to pay more of a price. i worry that -- who's going to be the enforcer? is it going to be russia ? i mentioned sergey lavrov . he's the foreign minister now. he's in charge of this. i trust him. but i don't trust president putin . i think there's too much of a collusion between syria and russia . but this needs to be played out. the administration and the french and the brits, our allies, need to see if there's a verifiable transparent effort that would work. but i'd like to see syria pay more of a price. i do like what the senate is doing. senator casey . those enforceable mechanisms. a time certain. get the chemical weapons out in the a day. well, that's going to be hard. in a week. international inspectors. technical people. there be total verification of their destruction and there being taken out. but i would go one step further. maybe this is the time you revise that proposal that the u.n. envoy had, brahimi, of a political settlement, where eventually assad goes out.
>> if assad goes out, you still want to see a military strike before that?
>> well, you keep the military strike on the table. you can't take off the table. i was for the military strike , if the president had chosen to go that route, because i think it was targeted. i think it had an objective. and i think it was a punishable effort at assad . so you keep that on the table. but if there's a deal ultimately that gets assad out, i think that's the best of all worlds.
>> governor bill richardson , thanks for your time this morning, i