Debate "Housekeeping" (03:11)
Moderator John Donvan explains the format for the debate about the maximum pressure campaign against Iran. He introduces panelists for and against the motion.
Opening Statements For: H.R. McMaster (06:44)
Retired Lt. General and Former National Security Advisor McMaster cites three facts that support the claim that combined diplomatic, economic, financial, and military pressure is necessary to force Iran to end hostilities. He cites three things that pressure on the Iranian regime has accomplished.
Opening Statements Against: Martha Crenshaw (06:39)
Terrorism Studies Expert and Author Crenshaw questions the premise that the maximum pressure campaign against Iran is working and discusses the Iranian regime's behavior. U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo's list of 12 conditions that Iran must meet to lift sanctions is onerous.
Opening Statements For: Victor Davis Hanson (07:02)
Military Historian & Author Hanson states that Iran's provocative actions share a commonality; the regime tends to target the vulnerable and those considered sacrosanct. He cites four reasons why the maximum pressure campaign will provide different results.
Opening Statements Against: Abbas Milani (06:43)
Stanford University Iranian Studies Program Director Milani fully shares in the indictments against the Iranian regime. The maximum pressure campaign against Iran is unclear in its purpose and used randomly; only the Iranian people can change the regime.
Maximum Pressure Campaign Effectiveness (07:40)
Donvan summarizes opening statements. Milani cites policy elements that are random and ineffective. Hanson states that short-term Iranian suffering is minuscule compared to nuclear development. Crenshaw counters that Iran has abandoned critical provisions of the nuclear agreement.
Iranian Regime's Actions (04:16)
McMaster denies increased aggression, citing policy benefits. Milani counters that much of the regime's military budget is under the table; the reform movement failed because of Khomeini.
Goodwill Does Not Beget Goodwill (09:03)
Crenshaw questions whether the pressure behind the 2015 agreement was conciliatory; McMaster counters that it was effective. Panelists discuss the targeting of Qasem Soleimani and its impact. Hanson explains why a "grand strategy" is not necessary.
Q/A: Unpredictable Administrations (06:29)
Hanson states that the Iranian regime and the Trump Administration are not morally synonymous. McMaster argues that the U.S. has a strategy and represents leadership. Crenshaw believes unpredictable leaders are bad when the risk of escalation his devastating. Iran will turn to Russia or China.
Q/A: Soleimani and Iranian Politics (02:13)
Hanson believes that despite public commentary, Iranian moderates are pleased with Soleimani's death; Russia and China helping Iran is not logical. Crenshaw does not believe China and Russia are "paper tigers."
Q/A: Nuclear Weapons Development (05:18)
McMaster does not know whether maximum pressure will stop the program, but it will force the regime to make a choice. Hanson states that Iran believes the present situation is unsustainable. Milani argues that the regime will seek nuclear development.
Q/A: Humanitarian Impact (04:22)
Hanson empathizes with the people of Iran and North Korea, but the countries must be stopped from developing nuclear weapons. McMaster states that the sanctions do not prohibit food and medicine; Milani counters claims about medicines.
Q/A: Unilateralism and Multilateralism Limits (02:38)
McMaster states that the maximum pressure campaign against Iran is not unilateral; other countries support the campaign. Hanson and Crenshaw discuss the EU.
Closing Statements For: McMaster (02:30)
There is no alternative to the maximum pressure campaign. The Iranian regime's ideology makes them permanently hostile to the U.S. and others, conciliatory approaches do not work, and pressure results in moderate behavior.
Closing Statements Against: Crenshaw (02:27)
Maximum sanctions hurt the Iranian people, the policy's effectiveness is questionable, and its direction is unknown. The cost of maximum pressure is more clearly understood that its benefits.
Closing Statements For: Hanson (02:38)
The maximum pressure campaign is the United States government's last choice and is intended to prevent war and help the Iranian people. The long-term goal of deterrence requires short-term misery and discomfort.
Closing Statements Against: Milani (02:27)
The debate about Iran has been polarized in Washington. The Iranian regime has been a cancer on Iranian society; removing the regime requires the help of the Iranian people.
Time to Vote (04:52)
Donvan instructs the audience to vote and thanks panelists for their participation. Panelists discuss which 2020 Democrat presidential candidate they prefer in terms of foreign policy.
Audience Vote Results (02:01)
Pre-debate For: 41% - Against: 38% - Undecided: 21% Post-debate For: 45% - Against: 48% - Undecided: 7%
Credits: The Maximum Pressure Campaign Against Iran Is Working: A Debate (00:09)
Credits: The Maximum Pressure Campaign Against Iran Is Working: A Debate
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