« Verdict with Ted Cruz

Ep. 50 - Montecristos with Bibi (and Peace in the Middle East)

2020-09-21

In the historic 50th (!!!) episode of the show, Senator Ted Cruz and Michael Knowles break down an even more historic occasion: peace in the Middle East. Why does the Israel-UAE-Bahrain deal matter, and what led to this momentous event? Your favorite podcasting pair has the answer. Plus, Senator Cruz recounts one very important cigar he shared with PM Netanyahu.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
There have been very few things harder to achieve in foreign policy may be nothing harder to achieve it. Foreign policy, then peace in the Middle EAST. Nobody was able to see that coming and yet just this past week we have had an historic. Could deal for peace in the Middle EAST and we happen to have a guy They are for all of this is verdict with tat. Groups Welcome back to vertical TED crews. I'm echo Knolls senator. I have to point out that this past week we ve seen not just one but to historic milestones, a pathway to peace in the Middle EAST and episode fifty a verdict with TED crews. I dont know which one is more historical. Look. It's been fifty episodes and I and I gotta say you know what it was
clear to me. You weren't paying attention as when the fellow came up with a little clicking thing and said Episode fifty, but what's that called by the weather cookies, because you think of the technical term for an annual. Apparently I had no idea. You were listening to him when he said episode fail them so my eyes glazed over absolutely because I was I was focusing. Other, I suppose, more minor historic milestone peace in the middle world peace. Yet you know I, I just think you need to re, examine your priority between strictly you're right, absolutely at what I wasn't there. I wasn't there for the Abraham. Cord at the White House, you ve got President Trump baby Netanyahu leader of Bahrain, leader of the United Arab Emirates. What makes this historic in what happened so the Abraham accords they were signed this past week and add the signing was on the south side of the White House yep. So I was there and then they had to chair set up outside. It was beautiful September day, probably seventy degrees outside
I mean it was as pretty a day as you ever see in Washington and their number of us gathered on these little white wooden, folding chairs in and out out from the White House comes. The president comes Baby Netanyahu, the Prime minister of his now, and then the foreign Minister of the USA and the Foreign Minister of Bahrain and and they each give speeches. And then they sit at the table down below and each of them signs the agreement, and what has happened is both the USA and buffer. Have normalized relationships with Israel, in other words their trading, Israel, just like any other country and that's a big damn deal. This is the first time an arab country has normalized relations with Israel and in twenty six years the last time was ninety, ninety four Jordan. Who can what? What about before that?
before- that was Egypt, one thousand nine hundred and seventy eight camp David. So this doesn't happen very often and- and I think it's an extraordinary step forward in terms of bringing peace to the region, but also peace globally, because look for a long time, at least is but a powder keg and defusing the tensions and it, and it was really fitting the Bahrain peace was announced on September, eleventh and I pointed out, I said you know their few greater acts of revenge we can have on the terrorist who committed that horrific attack on September. Eleventh then than to bring about peace in the Middle EAST. And make help make Jews and Arabs and Americans friends, you won't you One. Seventy eight, so we ve been working
on peace in the Middle EAST since at least the quarter administration. I suppose further back than that- and I know this is probably a simple question, but I I think Sometimes we think better, our own domestic problems. We do wonder this witches Why is America always trying to broker peace in the Middle EAST? Why do we care well, Israel's uni country? It is world's only jewish nation was founded in nineteen, forty, eight, so just over seventy years old, seventy two and it you look at one thousand nine hundred and forty eight. It was coming out of World WAR Ii. It was coming out of the Holocaust, six million Jews being murdered by the Nazis and end. The state of Israel was formed for many reasons,
the historical connection of the jewish people, ah to Jude and some area and to the land of Israel, but but also to ensure that that never again what something like the Holocaust happened that there would always be a jewish state, ah, where, where juice could be be safe and Anne and avoid persecution ought now when Israel was formed one thousand nine hundred and forty eight arab nations all declared war, and there was war after war after war. It was not something that happened. Happily, it's not that they're, their neighbors did not celebrate to put it filed you know, you think about it. You re in Bahrain or are near I neighbours who, until this week didn't recognise Israel, because because some people have been saying well, it's not a pc
because the USA in Bahrain they ve, never been an open war with Israel. So, oh you know guys. Look it's not a big deal. Forget about that and that's just a weird argument. Listen Democrats are scrambling because President Trump helping broker. A peace deal in the Middle EAST really counteracts their narrative, as him is the embodiment of everything that is terrible in the world right, and so this emanation Joe Biden when the you deal broke. He said well, this is really the combination of his work, and so convenient. You know it's a big deal if Biden trying to take credit for it and then the other short of democratic talking point is well it's not that important, because they worked actively and data war firing missiles at each other. They recognise each other. They didn't acknowledge the air
state you, you ve and behind, in the knowledge that it that Israel existed as a nation is a jewish state, and I think it's important to pause and reflect how this came about, because part of the reason that were saying the left, both the media and the academic world and Democrats pushing back so hard on this is these Abraham accords are the culmination of a very, very different approach, Trump talk, then Obama Biden and the Obama Biden Approach D, work and the approach we have taken the last four years does all that this is the issue I remember when Brok Obama was running at this. Is two thousand eight people told me F if did for John Mccain. We get more wars in the Middle EAST, which was true. I voted for John Mccain.
And we got more wars in the Middle EAST, even though Brok Obama got elected, we haven't had one of these peace deals in twenty six years right. So what did they do wrong? And what did Trump do right because we were told Trump was gonna led to world worth rate at it and, to some extent those are or are different issues of their parallel I do think too many Democrats, including the Clinton's, including Hilary and too many Republicans, including John Mccain, had been too eager to get us in in the war at have been too eager to use. U S military force, and I think that that has been an important worthwhile shift. The last four years is to be much more strained in terms of what will be when we get into foreign entanglements tit to use a phrase from George Washington with respect I think there were two decisions early on in the first year of the Trump administration that really set
age for this in and they were intertwined. I think these are the two most important foreign policy decisions President Trump has made. The first was moving the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Now we had our embassy and tell him eat tell these not the capital of Israel, Jerusalem's there, couple of Israel. We had our embassy in TEL Aviv because the Palestinians lay claim to Jerusalem as well, and so it was viewed as if you have your embassy in Jerusalem. You you
are somehow favouring Israel's choice of its capital city now mind you. We have our embassies in the capitals everywhere else on earth, just just as one exception, the wheat we did when the Trump administration began, that there is a big debate within the administration about whether or not to move the aims, but because of presidents had been promising to do this. For decades it had been official. U S policy, and just no one actually did Obama promised to do at George W Bush promised to do it. Bill Clinton promised to do at both Democrats and Republicans had broken that promise you over and over over here in twenty seventeen Trump administration. Both the State Department of Defense Department opposed moving the embassy oh yeah, Rex, teller, sending Secretary of State you Jim Massey, was sector defence and they both did nor of the embassy and the reason they said they didn't want to move the embassy, as they said it would enrage the enemies of Israel in the enemies, America. This
foreign policy battle. I engaged in very actively- and so I mean I spent a lot of time to into the president, leaning in making the case law of the enemy Israel in America. The hate us anyway, it's it's not like. There's there suddenly some other day where they break out in Hosanna, is and and start singing so you're not going to appease them and that appeasement we're going to come back to that cause that that appeasement word is very, very important for understanding the shift in path that led to this. This peace agreement. The past week there were voices in the White House who were arguing against moving the embassy to Jerusalem because they said this will make peace harder to achieve in the Middle EAST. We want to see peace in the Middle EAST if we move the embassy, it will take off everyone whose angry with israel- and that makes it harder to achieve- and you saw this throughout the mainstream media as well. This was being echoed in the popular press and in the case I made the present drop in case I made repeatedly in the White House. As I said, look there is virtue to clarity
and lack of ambiguity. If we move the embassy, it will be seen by both our friends at our enemies as a statement that the United States stands on apologize adequately, enforced square with Israel and that there is a president who is not gonna be cowed by the New York Times are CNN at the Did the day the president agreed with me. He overruled Zone State Department overruled his own defence department, any move, the embassy I was there when we opened the embassy. In truth, it was made in May of twenty eighteen actually on the date of the seventieth anniversary of the creation of the minor state of Israel, and it was, it was powerfully, was emotional, lived, literally dancing in the street in Jerusalem. I it's I've been to Jerusalem four times, I've never seen jubilation like there was when we open the embassy
and what I argued the president when he was debating whether or not to move the embassy is, I said: listen our arab allies, Jordan, Egypt, the Saudis you Ain T said they will all publicly denounce the decision because they feel they have for master political reasons. They ll feel obliged to denounce it. But what I argued, as I said secretly, they will be overjoyed and here's why they will say a precedent with the backbone to move the embassy- maybe just maybe just maybe we'll have the backbone to stand up to a ran stop ran from getting nuclear weapons and there are few things that have clarified the minds of our arab allies. More than the Obama IRAN's nuclear deal, which put ran on on and
barreling path towards getting nuclear weapon than on its anthem, pilots of cash for famously over a hundred billion dollars. I do not believe it is a coincidence that the very same week, we opened our embassy in Jerusalem is the weak. The president announced he was withdrawing from the disastrous Obama ran nuclear to those two were connected. Ok and the same fight played out the Trump administration on pulling out of the Obama ran deal state was opposed. Defense was opposed when it was clear, went when prisoners was running. He said, I'm gonna get out of this. A random your deal, the Bayside says so he actually didn't. Move is a little bit astonishing The IRAN's nuclear deal is one of the issues on which Donald Trump and I sharply disagreed and the twenty sixth
primarily oh, I remember you are certainly opposed to it. So when I was running and twenty sixteen, I pledged to do five things. On the first day in office January, twenty twenty seventeen one was moved the embassy to Jerusalem. Another was ripped. Ran deal to shreds. So those were to the five things I pledged to do tromp as a candidate in twenty. Sixteen explicitly disagree. And he said no, I'm not gonna rip the dial up, I'm gonna renegotiate and we try to get a better deal. So we had head eminent in several presidential debates, we disagreed on this policy issue, so you fast forward to twenty seventeen there's a debate within the Trump administration till her son and manage or both sank, stay in the deal managed kept saying a deal is a deal America's given our word and I kept pointing out to turn to two man ass. I said no America didn't give. Our word. Obama sign that agreement with the explicit opposition of the United States Congress, the
America gives our word either when we pass a statute or a treaty ratified by the in it. The Obama deal was neither here and then run to the, U N two, how to get around Congress and the opposition once again, Trump agreed with me and overruled its own state an offence department. Now, let's fast forward now those decisions, part of the reason those decisions were so important is, is you look at You re in Bahrain. You no longer had this moral ambiguity. This hang hand wringing. This is all we don't want to take a stance on Israel. We don't know what we believe, which I think prolonged conflict. You talked about appeasement, the Obama Biden PATH was he's men over and over and over again, it was undermining Israel and undermining Israel, ironically, produces more terrorism tension. The warfare dissension in the Middle EAST. In the last couple of weeks, I've spoken
with sir you Eddie Ambassador has spoken with saudi ambassador, so saudi array, has not normalized relationships, but we add we ve been told there could be other countries as many as nine countries that will join on sort of a peace deal and look. The Saudis are the the whale there. Yet there there, the biggest of the players that is outstanding and by Brain is very closely allied with the Saudis. Most people think that the moraine would not have done this. Out the Saudis at least giving implicit in approval do it. The Saudis also announced- and this is historic as well- they would allow Israel to have overflights to have their if there are mere planes fly over, european territory, that's a big deal used to as real had to fly. Saudi Arabia, because Saudi Arabia would not allow israeli in their airspace
see way- ambassador in the saudi ambassador in the past week, when I spoke to them, they said listen. We are doing this because we want to be friends with America because it is important for us to be friends. With america- and we know that it is important to you for us to be friends with We know where you stand it, it's the clarity and then that's. Why we're doing their job there? Something called the ran, ECHO Ching Mocha. So that was when Barack Obama president. They were negotiating the ran nuclear deal. There was a so called echo chamber that that it it's locusts was the National Security Council under Obama. Bomb body was reporters. It was academics, it was thinking and was all these lefties who were pushing the IRAN's nuclear deal. They view that is the single biggest foreign policy accomplishment of the the Obama presidency, and it's all predicated on appeasement. Its
created on if we give a ran a hundred billion dollars, they'll make nice and what make nuclear weapons, even though the Ayatollah regularly chance death to a man and a destiny should be made clear that this is not an big you, as here you ve got a country, the chance death to America. You got a country that is an open, explicit ally, the United States and yet are The Obama administration it made us all scratch our heads. They thought the path to peace was to make nice with the people to ending Deaf to America. This obviously look middle EAST peace is perhaps the most complicated foreign power, the issue, so just to simplify here, because it seems that there are so many layers. We were too for a very long time that supporting Israel was the cause of this chaos and violence in the Middle EAST. It would seem to be that the opposite,
and prove true. We were told by the leaders of these countries that they hated our support for Israel explicitly and yet behind closed doors and in their own interest. It would seem that they actually have supported american, clear support, Israel is that right am I am. I clarify your eye. I think that's right. On the latter point they haven't as much explicitly supported it is, I think it is in their interest at all. They are. I ve Joe you, member bra bottle was given the Nobel Peace Prize in two thousand nine right after he was elected. He eat literally, I don't think he'd unpacked is, but boxes yet still trying to find a staple or believe it was nine days after he was sworn in. He was nominated for the peace process at an end, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for being George W Bush, but the fact that he was by the way, Joanna Nobel Peace Prize had on our way to where's my uncle, so they
ordered him that prize. But you eat you look at it. I joked that in retrospect, Obama may have deserved it, because He did something heretofore impossible, which is a united, the Arabs and the Israelis. All he had to do was put in place a plan to give a hundred Billy, dollars to the Ayatollah Khomeini that he could use to develop nuclear weapons to threaten all of their lives and suddenly the Jews in the Arabs are like Holly proper you out of your mother, because that introduces an aspect that I think is often overlooked when people are trying to grab rabble with this, which is that they think of the issue was Jews versus Muslims and that's it that's a simple but of course we're talking about nation states here. And there are a lot of these arab states, but dont, particularly like you, wanna, see if, instead of just two and there's a divide between Sunnis and shit,
citizens. So I ran the Shi Ite State and and and most of the arab states are, are Sunni states and so there's a religious divide with within Islam between the cities and Shi Ite an end. There fully aware of water ran, is capable of and mean ran as the leading state sponsored terrorism in the world, but yet both man, Joe Biden, who was very active in foreign policy, as vice president. They fully believed in PS men, I've. I've also joke, there's a reason why we don't see the Neville Chamberlain School. A foreign policy. Novel Chamberlain was Prime Minister of Great Britain championed appeasement of Adolf Hitler and and said. If we just give him when he wants to leave us alone, everything will be fine and, and- and history teaches us that appeasement doesn't work, that its provocative, that actually weakness and appeasement
to a dictator. Do a tyrant makes war more likely. This is where a lot of the media gets it backwards. Yeah listen, I agree with. Reagan who talked about and emphasised and built is foreign policy on peace through Frank, that if you want to avoid war, be strong enough that no one wants to mess with you. Will you it's interesting on that point of peace through strength, and we were told at that time that regions a cow boys, a warmonger, he's crazy? I guess we're told the same thing when Trumpet Ministration came in as well, but there is an irony here too to both of those ministrations. We really did get that peace. I mean it's not just an empty slogan when you have weakness your inviting this kind of look in eight years in the White House, the biggest nation Reagan ever invaded was Grenada. That's right! I e he was reluctant to use military force as Trump has been as well. I think that is good. Equally right. I think there were too many cowboys
in the GEO P and the Democratic Party that that option. Ay was always send the moraine yes and listen. If there is a threat to the national Security, the United States of America lives are being threatened. That's what them! The armed forces is forced to keep us safe, but being reluctant to pull that trigger. I think, is the right thing to do not to put our sons and daughters in harm's way, but also being clear and strong. It's why the moving the embassy with such an important pivot point- and you don't look I'll- give you an example of of Obama, by than their policies back- and I think it was twenty twenty fourteen- I was in israel- and I had a meeting set up with Netanyahu Okra an end
I've gotta know beanie well, yeah and, and the meeting was set up and end the: U S, ambassador, the Obama ambassadors Ganem Daniel Shapiro, an Shapiro told me. The meeting was the next day was baby and he said he said you are not meeting with that Yahoo without delay. As I just said, flatter you're not gonna meet with him. Without me, and- and I said well, listen this- this is a trip I set up. I set up this meeting in through you and you're not invited to be. You know, sir. I M a senator, don't get to tell me what to do well and an Shapiro comes back. Any threatens me says: will then I'll pull your security so when you're travelling in Israel, you get a security detail from the embassy run Army said polio, secure scared, acid,
within within an hour I'll hire private secured. If you want to do that not- and it was clearly a bluff they're, not gonna, let the U S, Senator go without security, and but what was obvious is John Kerry, who was secretary of State had told Shapiro you keep ion crew, and don't you dare let him in a room together with baby that that we don't want this because they they hated Netanyahu. They hate me. And the last thing they wanted was us talking to a chocolate right and so it, but you got a picture it so so Ambassador spares not a very big guy and we were literally being chests reining in front of the connected, which is the israeli parliament here and where It was a junior high like chest to chest of him, saying I'm coming in and may say and you're not invite and he back down, and so the next day, peace through strength
well a clarity and glad revamping the ambiguity and Anne, and so the next day, when you, when you go and meet with with None Yahoo, there's a conference room that you do all the meetings in and if you look at any picture of any delegations, it's in Israel leaders, israeli flags, you take a picture of the prime minister. You said the conference table talk about issues, and so I've done that multiple time you this time, we'd prearranged with with babies office that we come into the conference room. But the baby would say here come on back to my office tat, and so I went back to have his office, which is actually that big an office is right adjoining the conference room and we sat down and Anna and I had brought two cigars baby loves to smoke cigars. I knew I liked that guy and we lit up to Monte Christos and we sat there. Smoking, cigars and fry don't know one hour, maybe a little bit longer. We talked to your politics, we talked Middle EAST, we talked Middle EAST peace, America, the world and I got to say
that may have been the single coolest had the attires. U S right by road like it look you get a chance to meet all sorts of people you meet. President me senators me cabinet officials, you mean heads of state, Maybe Netanyahu is one of the most serious, impressive, brilliant world leaders I'd I've ever encountered and I'm sitting there, Smoking Monte, Cristo Cigars office gone. What in the hell, am I doing here like whole I'd like you liked it was it it. It was a real I kept. Thinking like it was candid cameras sometimes become out inside. This was all a robot part of it is near who has a seriousness, a gravity, listen he. He leads a country that historically has been surrounded by enemies that would drive them into the sea, and at these been running of
it seems so. Let me give it an analogy from literature. Then you're gonna laugh at what the letter to areas which is a children's book that I read as it can't did. You read the serious called the great brain, the grit? No, I had however the mediocre brain. I guess fire out work up, so the great brain is it. It is a seven book series that I read, as is the case. It's by John D, Fitzgerald, Janey Fichtre and in it he is the younger brother and its talking about his the middle brother, Tom De Fitzgerald and the older brothers Wendy, Cyril and Tom. The middle brother is a con man. I mean he's just a huckster and he he's always coming up with these sort of scams to calm the other kids out of something sort of Think Tom, Sawyer and painting the fence, but but every chapter was a different, elaborate turn and their growing up in EU tall. If I remember correctly at at at essentially
the turn of the nineteen hundred so late. Eighteen hundred early nineteen hundreds and in one of the books early on Fitzgerald as explaining he said he said he and I were when we regret up- and you tie said almost all the other kids were Mormon yeah and he said my family, we weren't mormon and set it really wasn't all that hard. It was simply a matter of may learn, the whip, all the boys, my age and Tom D, learning to whip all the boys, his age and swindle learning to whip all the boys, his age and at once we did that they were very, very tough it. It's amazing how taller and a boy can be when you can, with it there's a Jew, political lesson. I read that probably at age tat and it stuck in my brain then, and that's frankly Israel's view its it. It's amazing how tolerate their neighbours can
when Israel's military has defeated them over and over again, and the qualitative military advantage they have is is part of what produces peace in the Middle EAST, and so this past week was a big deal. It's a big deal. I think we should celebrate with Monte Cristo and we will hopefully bring peace, not the Middle EAST, but to the southeast as well, and then rejoin you over here for the next episode in the meantime, Michael knows this is verdict with TED. Crews
Transcript generated on 2020-09-22.