tv Talk to Al Jazeera Al Jazeera November 17, 2013 10:30pm-11:01pm EST
in iran, talking about a u.s. nuclear deal with teheran. former president jimmy carter can do it. >> miscalculations. >> well, i suspect much to everyone's regret, which i share, that this democratic experiment in egypt never took traction. >> and is nsa leak scandal. is the former there contractor diss a traitor? >> yes, whatever his motivate. >> a consultant for the center for strategic and international studies. dr. brzezinski, thank you for being on talk to al jazeera. >> thank you for having me. >> what do you think the is the biggest challenge to the obama
administration? >> the biggest challenge, the global controversy, the united states was the preeminent power in the world, clearly the country that could in fact can impose its will very significantly on a lot of events. today we're in a chaotic world of turmoil, in which we face certain self-evident crises. one in the middle east, continuing one in afghanistan and rawnl iraq and continue -- iraq and. >> what caused that decline? >> it is a combination of factors. some of it are errors, some of them we made early in the first decade of this century, in the war in iraq, under false consequences, and to which we
suffer to there day was a major destructive factor. but beyond that, the wolf itself has changed. there is now a dispersal of power to more states and there is now the phenomenon which i've talked and one about quite a bit, name reply global political awakening. never before in human history has the world been so politically activated, the public of the world. >> what do you attribute that to? >> oh the spread of literacy, mass media, even the progressive reach of technological outreach to the media. >> social media? >> well, look, it started with radios. radio was a novel phenomenon in the 20th century. and hitler made an impact worldwide. i remember as a child listening to churchill saying we'll never surrender and getting really kind of confused by it.
then radio was reinforced by television. that also drama tied everything much more and then internet and everything else connected with it. >> let's go to the hot spots and get your opinion. let's start with syria. what do you think the u.s. policy should be with regard to syria? >> i think we are closer to where that policy ought to be, than we were roughly two years ago. i was totally perplexed when president obama announced, sometime in plate 2011, that -- in late 2011, that assad has to go. first it wasn't clear to me why should we be dictating his departure. i didn't see in syria the aish b spring. it was a sectarian war, i repeat sectarian sunnis against
shiites. i think it contributed to a greater many, friendly to us that oppose assad but who are the weakest among all the opposition groupings. it became a judgment that was self defeating in my judgment. we are now on a path which perhaps we can work this out by a negotiating process in which in addition to our friends the europeans the russians will also be involved and perhaps up to a point the chinese. and perhaps even we'll talk a little bit about it with the iranians. and that's i think the right way to go. >> does had a mean president assad stays in power? >> that's a very difficult question to answer explicitly. i have no way to speak authorize
authoritatively on this. he was interviewed by german publication der spiegel, in which he sounded adamant. he was asked are are you going to run next year? he said i have not clearly decided. rather than he has to leave, he shouldn't run. whether the negotiations are constructive, if there's a chance of conthriving somethint- contriving in syria, that maybe a solution along these lines can be found. >> the threat of an attack prompted action on chemical
weapons but the civil war goes on and people are starving in that country. has anything really imhaingd the civil war? >> -- changed about the civil war? >> when you talk about the civil war you beg the question, what is the war about? this is whether i refer to it as a sectarian war. this is essentially a war in which two arab states decided to engage in a conflict with their religious opponents, a conflict deeply rooted in history. but for which there was no overriding necessity at the time of its start. there were riots because of droughts np sunni-shiite areas. assad reacted very strongly expel and began in fact a sectarian war which i think has been damaging to arab stability and to the overall ability of this region to be stable.
>> let me move on if we can to iran, another hot spot, and the possibility of warming relations between the united states and iran. first of all do you believe that that's what's happening? >> well, i certainly do believe that something is happening. because whether we have been seeing is what a myth, it's not a fiction. there has been some indirect dialogue between the u.s. and iran. between our president and theirs. very limited. but unprecedented, concerning the state of the relationship of the last two decades. i think iranians are exhausted and tired and suffering from sanctions. we at the same time know that if there is a major explosion in the region our vital interests would be dwr adversely affected. and we may be involved in a major war, for as much as iraq
and afghanistan have been battle fields for us. i can't categorically predict that we will but there is a chance. >> well, you have can situation of the iranians have lied in the past. >> how unusual is lying in interstate relations? a lot of people apply. we have been accused on occasion of lying. i suggest that the israelis have lied on case too. what is to say about that? to say we are for peace, we should go for war? i think if we can wow a war, we should do it. are it's in the interest of the united states and our interests in the region and it's all to the good. >> egypt, secretary kerry has stopped over in egypt to conduct talks. didn't mention the name of the
muslim brotherhood when he was there. does that suggest that the united states only supports those that are in power? >> well, i suspect much to everyone's regret which i share, that this democratic experiment in egypt never took traction, never found traction. are it was kind of an explosive reaction to a great many internal frustration he, which were not -- frustration, which were not channeled, but became part and parcel of something that smacked overwhelmingly like anarchy. and i think in those circumstances it's probably better if a country of 80 million people is under some degree of authoritarian control than an open, fighting field for emotions, conflicts, aspirations, produce collectively a massive
self-destructive anarchy. >> even if the government is beating citizens in the streets every day? >> if you ask me whether i applaud beating people in the streets every day i'll say no i do not and probably you don't either. but sitting in washington, what is better from our point of view and what is better for the stability of the region, a country of 80 million people being thrown into total anarchy, turmoil, various manifestations of a chaotic civil war and are effervescence, or control stability and evolution towards democracy. look at turkey for example. turkey is a democracy. maybe not a perfect one but it certainly is a democracy. it has a number of mill friday coups and what kind of coups?
coups that were taken by the military to prevent the destruction of a democratic evolution, and a european type modernization in turkey after which the military stepped aside within two or three or four years. they did it about three or four times. but in each time there was a further stabilization of the process. if i have to choose between that, and endless chaos, in egypt, 80 million people, i prefer the turkish model. >> but now you've got two former presidents on trial. some would call that as a seismic event in egypt. how does egypt get back to normal if there is such a thing? >> well, for one thing, by being very careful not to carry this judicial process to its extreme. i'm concerned about that. i'm afraid that if they dig themselves in engaging in a so-called judicial process which is actually a sham politically, they may end up feeling they
have to execute the recently deposed president. i think that would contribute probably to more violent explosions in egypt and more repression as a result. so i do hope that in various ways the current military leaders of egypt realize that they're playing with fire. i think they want to intern their opponents for a while. that is not unprecedented internationally. but if they start putting them on trial in whic in which for ee they may find themselves compelled by the logic of the process to sentence them odeath. then we have such a huge national debate, should we influence the egyptians not to carry out the sentence, their pride will get involved. i feel the more we can cool it restrain it wait it out let the
emotions subside, the better. >> let me just touch on middle east policy. i mean if you add israel into the mix, the israel-palestinian peace talks, does the obama administration really have a coherent foreign policy when it comes to the middle east? >> i think it last more of it now than earlier. because i think secretary kerry is, first of all, very deeply engaged with genuine personal determination. engaged in the peace process. secretary clinton was a very dynamic secretary of state but with much more emphasis on global issues, human issues, social issues, gender issues. and less interest in the really difficult strategic problems. kerry's very different. he gives primary emphasis to the strategic challenges. and i applaud that because i think that is more imminent
danger. so if he persists, if the president backs him and everything depends ultimately on that, i think there's a real chance that we'll get some progress on syria, some progress on iran. that in turn will create a more favorable atmosphere for some genuine progress on the israel-palestinian problem. >> we'll continue our discussion in a moment and talk more about the u.s. spying on its allies after this. >> start with one issue education... gun control... the gap between rich and poor... job creation... climate change... tax policy... the economy... iran... healthcare... ad guests on all sides of the debate. >> this is a right we should all have... >> it's just the way it is... >> there's something seriously wrong... >> there's been acrimony... >> the conservative ideal... >> it's an urgent need... and a host willing to ask the tough questions >> how do you explain it to yourself? and you'll get... the inside story ray suarez hosts inside story weekdays at 5 eastern only on al jazeera america
>> al jazeera america is the only news channel that brings you live news at the top of every hour. >> here are the headlines at this hour. >> only on al jazeera america. determining using some sort of subjective interpretation of their policy as to whether or not your particular report was actually abusive, because if it doesn't contain language that specifically threatens you directly or is targeted towards you specifically, they may not consider it abuse. they may consider it offensive. and in that case they just recommend that you block that person. >> i don't want to minimise this, because i mean, there's some really horrible things that are on line, and it's not - it's not just twitter, what has happened through social media and the anonymity of the net is
that you see websites, hate-filled websites targetting all sorts of groups, popping up. there has been a huge number of those that exist as well. the stream is uniquely interactive television. in fact, we depend on you, your ideas, your concerns. >> all these folks are making a whole lot of money. >> you are one of the voices of this show. >> i think you've offended everyone with that kathy. >> hold on, there's some room to offend people, i'm here.
>> we have a right to know what's in our food and monsanto do not have the right to hide it from us. >> so join the conversation and make it your own. >> watch the stream. >> and join the conversation online @ajamstream. gls dr. brzezinski it's good to have you open the program. i want to talk about the recent leaks regarding dwtio edward snn and the nsa what's been your reaction on that? >> what's new. that's my reaction. >> everybody does that. everybody spice. >> is it true? >> i don't know, is it? >> of course it is. look, symbolized by this, that's a problem. what people overlook is when the eves drops on are merkel
started, she wasn't a leader, she was an emerging leader in germany a novel person but not at the top. what must have happened is, there wasn't particularly interesting in what they were hearing and nothing filtered to the top. i can't imagine the president or the secretary of state given a transcript of something she was saying on her private phone and saying -- >> you can't imagine that but did the president know they were listening in on her private phone? >> i don't think so. >> would the president be upset if they were? >> of course he would be. it's unfortunate but it really wasn't intentionally designed to live to the conversations of the german chancellor. >> what do you think about the other re revelations of the vacm cleaner approach of gathering all this information around the world including.
>> americans? >> right. i think some of it is troublesome but i think some of it is misunderstood because a lot of it is massive sweep of sounds which is designed to focus on interconnections between some particular words or names. and that is what triggers interest. and of course, it's against the terrorist activities that may be planned or discussed in this or that country. it isn't really eavesdropping to conversations let's say yours or mine recording it and sitting there and reading it. >> but isn't it part of it that the u.s. hasn't been transparent about what the program involves especially when it involves american people? >> as i say i don't think it involves american people this any highly personalized fashion. it's to establish connections between code words that are being looked and searched for so
that then one gets a better insight in what might be being organized or set up about it is not like sitting there endlessly with a human being staying copious notes -- take copious notes. it's more of a mechanical process of signals being emitted by certain terminology or certain connectivity. >> the question really is, does the u.s. need to give up certain liberties in order to protect itself from terrorists? >> i doubt that civil liberties have been compromised. i'm conscious of the fact that it has done damage to our relationship. there is something else to be however noted here. it bothers me that an operation of this complexity and this size has resulted in a process which i don't think is effectively monitored from the top down and
subject to effective discipline. i mean look at mr. snowden. he was dealing with highly classified issues beyond secret. some compartmentalized information. he was prosed, not by any of our security agencies but by a private firm. apparently this the most casual fashion without even personal interview he was certified as qualified to have top secret. i think there were some doubts about his personality and his personal history. that was not noted. when he began to show some intense interest in some highly specialized intelligence activities, no one paid attention to that. why is he trying to get in there? and then he an seconds with four computers -- then he absconds with four computers, goes first to china and then to russia, hardly the places to which a
mission for democracy may have headed. why go to russia and china with this stuff? he has been living on the moon for 20, 30 years? >> has he done serious damage to the u.s? >> possibly yes. especially the stuff ha that has not been fully discussed which is what he was trying to get access to. how much access did he get? and i'm just amazed honestly amazed, and i've said this publicly that no heads have rolled. this is a major internal malfunction in terms of discipline control supervision and consequent decisions. >> i want to talk to you more about how the world has changed since you served in the carter administration. we'll talk to dr. brzezinski after this.
global hegemony. we were on top of the world in 1990 when the soviet union collapsed and we had historic opportunity to shape the world which to some extent i think we have fumbled. but other affairs, massive staring easily mobilizable, various forms of expression agitation and restlessness, the rise of china, the rise of asia, powers really dispersed, i think we are living not only in the potato hegemonic area -- post hegemonic area but. >> you are 85 years old? >> that's what i'm told. >> the youngest 85 i've met. >> you play tennis? >> i'd love to. imr what -- how do you keep the passion going for the work that
you do? >> because i love the work i do. >> uh-huh. >> i try ounderstand however ineptly what's happening in the world and try to draw some conclusions from that regarding what ought to be done. i do believe in america. and i think america, for all of its imperfections has still more to offer to humanity than other significant societies. but it can't do that if it's not intelligently self-direct. and i do worry that our discussions about foreign policy are increasingly superficial and focused on our public which through congress ultimately has the decisive word on what we can do is woefully uninformed about foreign aifertion. >> your father was -- foreign affairs. >> your father was a polish diplomat. how did that shape your views?
>> that made me very conscious of the human many condition. my father was general counsel of poland and we were witnesses to the beginnings of the holocaust. not quite yet lethal but in terms of arrest of jews, persecution of jews, my father was giving polish passports illegally to german juice. then he served in the war, a war of democratic, with the world divided into a democratic camp and a totalitarian camp. and those two camps engaged in a competition which could have broken out at any moment and through nuclear weapons. when i was in the white house we knew if we had a war with the soviet union within a few hours about 85 million people would be dead. and that's a reality under which we operated. >> so one other question. you have three children?
>> three children. >> two have been involved in some ways in foreign affairs, international policy. >> one is a republican who is interested in foreign affairs in particular security problems. the other one a boy also is a democrat. >> and your daughter mika is a joirnlt and the host of a program on msnbmentc. >> which i appear and she introduces me as, and now, my dad. >> what is it like to about mika brzezinski's father? she has upstaged her old man -- >> if you consider tv to be the best way to do it that's certainly true. >> thank you for being on the program. we hope you come back. >> i'll try. >> we'll see you next time on