welcome back. you are watching bbc world news. our top story, donald trump has said that us intelligence agencies may have been behind the leak which alleges that russia has compromising information about him. in his first news conference as president—elect mr trump said that it is true the legal would be a tremendous blot on reputation of the agencies. he also condemned what he called fake news. while his choice to be us secretary of state, rex tillerson, has called free new approach to dealing with china. a new species of primate has been found in china. you are up—to—date. stay with us here on bbc world news. first on bbc news, it is hard to talk. welcome to hardtalk. the waiting is almost over. we are about to see what kind of impact of president donald trump will have on the us and world at large. today, my focus is the international arena. our guest has been close to the centre of us policy—making for three decades. he was a senior adviser to
both bush presidents and has offered his insights to the president—elect as well. from diplomacy with russia and china to global trade. how one predictable will trump be? richard haass in new york city, welcome to hardtalk. thank you, stephen. you've just written a book with the cheery title a world in disarray. in your opinion, does the election of donald trump to the presidency add to that sense of a world in disarray? it's more the world the 45th
president of the united states will be inheriting. it's the result, in part, of things the united states has done but also failed to do. it's in part simply a result of the end of the cold war, the loosening up our international relations, the rise of certain countries like china and so forth. this is the world he's inheriting. where i think he may have added it slightly, and notjust him but first in the american political campaign, candidates including him were saying things and endorsing positions which, shall we say, were untraditional. the fact that senator sanders, secretary clinton and donald trump, all three rejected the major pending trade agreement, the so—called trans—pacific partnership, that itself was a major departure from things. obviously, during the transition, some of the things he's said and done have added to it. but i would put the lion share of the explanation, if you will, for the disarray he'll inherit and this daunting inbox he's
going to inherit more from things the united states and others have done orfailed to do. right, so what you're laying out is a proposition is the preconditions are there for disarray and that a us president, whoever he or she may be incoming, can only do, and you just used your finger and thumb there, can only do a little bit to change that sense of disarray. so, to me, that is a recognition from you that actually the united states of america and its commander—in—chief have much less agency and leverage in the world than they used to have? perhaps, but i wouldn't drive it too far. i think what we've learned is that when the united states stays aloof from the world, the world is not self organising. the centrifugal forces tend to get much stronger, and when the united states does engage in the world, we still have more capacity to act and to lead than anybody else. we can't control it,
we can't determine it, but we can shape it more than any other single actor. let's talk a little bit about trump, because we're going to get the big picture, believe me, but it is important to tease out what we've learned from the weeks of transition that we've all witnessed. donald trump has a very particular style. you're a guy who's steeped in foreign policy—making, you're a systems, a machines sort of guy. you know the machine really well. donald trump doesn't seem to operate inside the machine, he operates primarily through messages on twitter. do you worry about the style that's he's bringing to washington? he's certainly different, as you say. this wasn't exactly the style of diplomacy i studied when i was a student at oxford a0 years ago. i grant you that, stephen! i worry a little bit. i worry that twitter is all too easy a form of communication. i do it myself, as i expect you do. you've got to think once or twice before you press send. i think the united states, as a country, has to think more
than once or twice because so many others are counting on us and twitter can be something that you, you're not doing it in a careful enough way, and if others are basing their security and their calculations on america, then we've got to be very careful with what messages we send. and it's notjust about twitter in itself, it's also about the degree to which the united states‘ incoming president actually listens and actively seeks advice. there have been a few symbolic moments, if you like. one was when asked on fox news whether he was reading the presidential daily brief, the intelligence brief, he said, "yeah, but only sort of reading it once a week, i get it when i need it, he said. "i don't have to be told because, you know, i'm like a smart person. i don't have to be told the same thing in words every single day". again, speaking as a guy who's been inside the system, that isn't really the way things have worked.
do you think it's the way things should work, that a guy operates on his gut? i hope not. there's that old expression, i think it was the former governor of new york, that you campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose. my own experience, from having worked with four presidents, is when you govern, you're dealing at a level of detail that outsiders really can't imagine. i myself found the daily intelligence briefings quite valuable, quite important. they actually do change quite a bit from day—to—day, particularly when they give you the broader brush, sets of analyses, as the cia and others do. so, to be perfectly honest, i hope that mr trump establishes a better working relationship with the intelligence community, and if he does, i think he'll actually find it to be a valuable resource that will help him govern. we've already seen one important episode. when it came to the allegations which have emerged, which have been verified as far as the us
intelligence community is concerned, from cia, fbi, director of national intelligence, all of them adamant that there is compelling proof that the kremlin authorised a hack of the democratic national committee, because they wanted to influence the us presidential election. donald trump chose to side with putin's message, rather than the message coming out of his own intelligence chiefs. now, that's something that happened, it's not something we have to speculate about. how damaging is that? it is, i think its raised questions about his relationship with the intelligence community. again, i'm hopeful, i'm not predicting, but i hope it's repaired. i think it raises questions also about us policy towards russia. i would simply say that this hacking was not an exception, it wasn't a one—off. we've seen russia do what it did to ukraine and crimea as well as eastern ukraine. we saw russian intervention
in syria, which was a war crime, i would argue, by any measure and standard. there's all sorts of evidence that the sort of political machinations they did in the united states were not an exception. i expect we're going to see an awful lot of that in places like germany, as we approach the elections there. what we need is a comprehensive policy towards russia that, among other things, would say, you'll only get sanctions relief if we see measurable changes and improvements in your behaviour. i would also argue that we need to look very hard at re—militarising nato. after the end of the cold war, the united states and european allies essentially stripped nato of a lot of its military and its land components, and i would think they need to be reintroduced in places like the baltic states. not so long ago you were in trump tower talking about, i wasn't there and privy to it, but i imagine russia came up. what you've just said runs diametrically in opposition, again referring to twitter, to the opinions of donald] trump. quote, "i always knew he was very smart", talking of vladimir putin.
"having a good relationship with russia is a good thing not a bad thing, only stupid people or fools would think it is bad". so tell me a little bit about this private conversation you had with donald trump. did you try to put him right, as far as you're concerned, on russia? in our conversations russia actually didn't figure all that prominently, it was more about developments in the middle east, developments in asia. it was about trade, it was about immigration. we haven't spoken in the context of the hacking report by the intelligence community. what i've been saying publicly on that does disagree somewhat. our goal should not be a better relationship with russia, per se. what our policy should be is we want a better relationship, but only on a basis of russian behaviour that takes into account our interests and what we think are the norms of the international system.
so we don't want to have, if you will, a cosmetically improved relationship, we want to have a substantially improved relationship, and that's really up to mr putin. yeah, well, it's sort of up to mr putin, but it's also up to the united states. for example, the degree to which in response to the intelligence community's conclusions about hacking, whether there's mileage in more sanctions. for example, senatorjohn mccain and a bunch of other republican congress people have said that they now want to seek extra sanctions on russia. what would your view of that be? sanctions are one of the possible responses. i might be more interested in certain types of cyber related responses. as ijust mentioned, i'd be interested in strengthening our military capability, both outside ukraine and nato countries. i'd also be more interested in providing certain types of defensive military
help to ukraine. there's already a lot of sanctions on russia. i'd have to be persuaded that additional sanctions would make a significant difference. i'm not interested in symbols, i'm interested in substance of things that will send a message to mr putin that he will receive. but i'm not fighting your point. does donald trump agree with me? i don't know. the evidence, at least on the surface, would suggest not. but again, we'll have to wait and see what he actually does when he governs. at the moment you are an independent observer, a commentator on what we're seeing from trump. politico, for example, which gets some stories right and some wrong, said in mid—december you were one of the top tips for the number two job at the state department, and that trump was actively considering you. any news on that? would you take the job? given everything we've discussed so far, could you conceivably work for a trump administration? well, i think the answer is, when asked if i could work for any president, and i've worked for four, you can only do it if, one, you have a similar conception of thejob, what it actually would entail, and more important,
that you're in sufficient alignment on the major policies. you don't have to agree on everything, stephen, but you've got to agree on enough of the big things that you can faithfully and effectively represent them. i think in my case we would need to talk about it, because there's areas that i've written about... look, i'vejust come out with a new book, i've written a dozen books before, so my views are not a big, dark secret. it wouldn't make sense for me to be there, unless i thought i could have a real chance to affect policy, to influence it and that we were sufficiently in sync, so i could be an effective representative of this president and this administration, and those would be issues that we would have to resolve to their satisfaction and to my satisfaction. let mejust say, i don't know if i'm seriously being considered for anything. i don't know if i'll be asked to do anything. obviously we'd have you back if you do know that. as you say, your analysis of a world in disarray seems to me to have several conclusions. i'm going to be very
shorthand about them, but you say that the united states needs to be realistic in its ambition, it needs to match its vision of ends with means, rather than having very ambitious ends but not the will and the means to enforce them. i'm just wondering, let's talk about some other key areas. for example, nato, which of course i think 70% of the burden for spending in nato comes from the united states. does the united states, in your view, have an obligation to maintain that level of commitment to nato? and what would happen if, according to donald trump and some of his advisers, if the united states got much tougher with allies and said if you don't front up more money, we're going to back out? well, i wouldn't recommend that. i think the europeans need to do more, not so much spend more, though that would be welcome, they need to spend what they spend more intelligently. the problem with european defence spending is not so much the level, but that it's not co—ordinated, so you have tremendous areas of replication and you have large
areas of shortfalls. but sure, i think the united states and europe both have to spend more on defence, simply because the threat environment going forward is a lot more robust than we imagined it would be ten or 20 years ago. that's simply a fact of life. you began with a larger point, and i take it, which is any time in foreign policy you have a gap between your rhetoric and your actual capacity, you run into trouble. we've had that in the middle east lots of times in recent years, where we said certain people must go and we didn't have policies to back it up, or when the syrians used chemical weapons, we didn't respond forcefully. so i think that ought to be a lesson. we've got to narrow the gap between american commitments and rhetoric, and american capabilities and actions. but the danger, and again i'm referring to stuff you've written in the book, the danger is that at times that looks like america abandons key values and principles. for example, just pluck a couple of the air, you're suggesting america needs to talk less loudly about human rights inside china or inside russia.
america needs to push less hard to expand the nato family, to countries like georgia and ukraine. now to some people around the world, you might call it realism, they might call appeasement. they can call it whatever they want. they would also be dead wrong. in the case of a country like china, look, the priority, what we need to focus on for the next couple of years is not trying to make china democratic, no matter how hard we press, it's not going to happen. what we can perhaps do is get china to work with us to deal with the pressing north korean nuclear ballistic missile threat. in foreign policy, as in policy of any sort, you have to choose your priorities where your interests are greatest and your capacity to make a difference is greater. in the case of ukraine and georgia, bringing them into nato, i would say they don't
meet the qualifications. in the meantime, we've got our hands full meeting the commitments we already have in nato. going back to the guy who may or may not be your future boss, donald trump, and the issue of china... when he tweeted out that he saw no reason to be bound by the one china policy, and he was absolutely thrilled that the president of taiwan had given him a phone call, in your view that was not representing america's national interests very cleverly, yeah? no, and i made it very clear in what i said and wrote in the aftermath of those comments of his, that i thought it was counter—productive. that we finessed this problem with china and taiwan quite successfully for decades, and what that has allowed us to do, is to go ahead and forge a respectable relationship with china. and by the way, it's been good for taiwan as well. it's flourished economically, it represents a democratic model that's something of an alternative, to say the least, to what we see on the mainland. so my sense of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", so i disagree
with the idea of questioning the one china policy. the more we talk and the more we run round some of the key issues facing the globe today, the more i'm thinking, despite your caution about declaring trump a major addition to the uncertainty and disarray in the world, that's precisely what, in substance, you do seem to be saying, on a whole raft of issues. well again, i never assume there is a correlation between what was said during a campaign, and how people govern. the purpose of campaigning, shockingly enough, is to get elected. the purpose of governing is something very different. so we'll have to see. but assuming i continue to be on the outside of things, and i think that's a pretty good assumption, where i see areas of policy i agree with, i will stand up and say fantastic, and where i see policies i disagree with, i will criticise them. that's been my stance during the last eight years of mr obama, and that will be my position going forward, again assuming i continue to be
here at the council on foreign relations. i'm interested in this concept you developed, correct me if i'm paraphrasing it wrongly, but this idea of sovereign obligation. that is the idea that nation states these days do have obligations that run far beyond their own borders, in terms of collective action on key issues facing the world community, whether it be trade issues, global trade issues or the huge challenge of climate policy. do you believe the united states... go on, what were going to say? no, you go ahead. i want to know if you believe the united states, looking forward, is going to be meeting its sovereign obligations? i don't know. my role here is to fight for it. this is what i think is smart and necessary. we're living in a global world. nothing stays local for long any more. what goes on inside countries is no longer simply their business alone, whether it's a coal burning
electricity plant, whether it's a virus that comes out like zika or ebola that can affect everybody, whether it's terrorists or hackers, what we've learned is nothing as local, everything's potentially global. i believe this ought to become the intellectual compass, so to speak, of american foreign policy and that we ought to be consulting and talking with other countries, and also companies and ngos and others about how we deal with this global world, in which all these challenges you mention are far ahead of their responses. will the trump administration do this? i have no idea. i'm going to... the clue is in the mantra "put america first". that doesn't seem to be recognising collective obligations in the sense you've just talked about them? obviously not, but again that was a campaign slogan. whether that's a governing slogan we will have to see, and even if it remains a slogan, what will it actually mean in the way of policy? for example, does the united states change the basis of its regulatory framework when it comes to where we are on climate
related issues? does the united states actually pull out of paris? i hope we don't pull out of paris, indeed the paris agreement is a model of an international agreement, where countries retain the ability to decide for themselves what it is they want to do or don't want to do when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, and they simply pledge to do their best, but they set their standards for themselves. it's not being imposed on them. so it is fully consistent with american sovereignty. i'm hoping that the trump administration comes to see it this way. it's the argument i've made to people around mr trump privately already, that people should think twice before they see the paris agreement as a problem. let me tap into your personal experience to something we touched on early on in the interview, but i would like to get a direct thought from you on it. it's about the way in which people acquire policy—making powers in the national security and foreign policy arena.
i mean, you worked at the coal face for 30 years, you served a number of different presidents, you worked as an official in the state department and you took, in the end, some of the top jobs in national security and state, but you sort of paid your dues. what we see in the trump administration is a secretary of state, rex tillerson, who has come straight from the ceo position in big business, as we know, with an oil company with major ties in russia. we see a defence secretary who has almost literally come straight out of uniform, who has not had any sort of political experience. we see, for example, a son—in—law of the president, with absolutely no foreign policy making experience at all, who is now, it seems, in a post where he is expected to make middle east peace. what do you make of it all? laughter i think in the case of the secretary of state, nominee rex tillerson, this is someone with an awful lot of experience around the world. i'm not worried at all about him. i'd say the same thing about general mattis, who is going to be running the pentagon.
the real question is whether you can get a national security council process that works. there i think there's some grounds for concern, because you have so many people with positions of power at the white house. you've got a president, a vice president, a chief of staff, a chief strategist, a national security adviser, now you've got a special adviser, so it's a lot of people. the question is — how are you going to orchestrate this? how are you going to make sure that the policy is made in the right way, and more importantly, implemented in a way that is consistent with the decisions? i think that's an enormous challenge for this administration, whether they can get that right. you rather diplomatically didn't address the one name i put to you, that some regard as most controversial of all. mr trump's son—in—law, jared kushner. you've been around the middle east diplomacy and peacemaking effort, does it seem to you credible in any way that he should be given a key role like that?
i'd say we'll see exactly what his role is and how it fits in with everybody else. i don't know mr kushner, but i would simply say the idea of trying to re—establish a degree of strategic trust between the united states and israel is essential and if he could help do that, bully for him. i would say great. right now you can imagine scenarios the us and israel could face over the next couple of years; the collapse of jordan, some problems with iran, another war with hezbollah in lebanon. so anyone who could help bring these two governments together, i would say that would be good. in terms of the israeli—palestinian "peace process", quite honestly i don't think it much matters who works on it. i think the prospects for advancing that, at the moment, are close to nil. the parties are so far apart and the essential prerequisites... i've been involved in northern ireland, i've been involved in cyprus, i've been involved in middle east peacemaking, and you've got to have protagonists that are both willing and able to make
serious compromises. i simply don't see that between israelis and palestinians right now. so i wouldn't think this is an area that deserves an awful lot of focus. we're out of time, so it's a brief one. on the eve of the trump presidency, are you optimistic about the next four years of foreign policy—making, yes or no? in a word i am worried, given what the inheritance is. i think anyone has got to be worried. richard haass, thank you very much indeed forjoining me on hardtalk. thanks for having me. hello. i know already some of you have seen some fairly wintry conditions. i think over the next couple of days that prospect becomes a good deal more widespread across the british isles. thursday dawns with still a lot of wind to be had in the northern half, maybe not as much as wednesday, and a cold start to the day. cold and dry to start in the south—east, don't be fooled by that because relatively mild air is moving in from the atlantic. we have real concerns through the day again about the strength of the wind
and the snow during the day, initially in northern parts but there's a change on the way for areas because your mild air bringing the rain will eventually run into that cold air, which is already in situ across wales, the midlands and the northern parts of the british isles. and as that moisture runs into the cold air, so i think we'll see quite a significant conversion, slowly and surely through the day, of some of that rain into snow, initially across the high ground of wales but eventually as we get on into the afternoon, so more widely snow will become an issue and notjust at higher levels either. some doubt about the exact wheres and whens but that's the general principle, all the while in the northern half of the british isles it's another bitterly cold day with a lot of wind driving a whole peppering of showers into central and western parts of scotland, across northern ireland, into the north—west
of england and into northern parts of wales and what is going to feel like a bitterly cold day. given the strength of the wind and the fact your thermometers are never going to read better than two, three or four degrees. not quite out of the woods with regards to the problem in the south because increasingly in the evening the snowfalls to lower levels, as it quits the scene, so those wetted surfaces will turn into icy surfaces underneath clear skies. at least clear for a time because we have another weather feature dragging the prospect of more snow further south across scotland, into the north of england such that friday morning could be a real fest of frost and ice and snow fall we think too coming down across central and eastern parts of the british isles before it eventually quits the scene, unfortunately just after the main rush hour, to leave behind another chilly, chilly day right across the piece with further wintry showers in northern and western parts, but at least there will be some sunshine and there will be a prospect of somewhat drier conditions following all the snow. the weekend starts chilly again and then it turns milderfor many as we get to sunday.
i'm rico hizon in singapore. the headlines: the incoming president uses his first news conference to attack america's intelligence agencies. donald trump dismissed claims that russia has compromising material about him. it's all fake news, it's phoney stuff, it didn't happen and it was gotten by opponents of ours. trump's choice for us secretary of state has hit out at china in his confirmation hearing, calling it aggressive, expansionist and unreliable. i'm babita sharma in london. the taliban release a video of two abducted professors,