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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  January 23, 2017 3:30am-4:01am GMT

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from the state coffers following the departure of long—time ruler, yahya jammeh. the white house says it's in the initial stages of discussions about moving the us embassy in israel from tel aviv to jerusalem. president donald trump and the israeli prime minister, benjamin neta nyahu, discussed by phone on sunday the palestinian peace process and iran. the mobile phone giant samsung has said faulty batteries and problems in the manufacturing process are behind some of its phones overheating and bursting into flames. the galaxy note 7 phone was permanently dropped in october last year after a number of handsets malfunctioned and in some cases burst into flames. next, it's dateline london. hello and welcome
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to dateline london. two stories dominate the week and are likely to dominate the year ahead, too. the beginnings of the trump presidency and the beginning of the end for britain in the european union. my guests today arejohn fisher burns of the new york times, thomas kielinger of die welt, polly toynbee of the guardian and dmitry shishkin of bbc world service. donald trump first, and as he begins the job of being 45th president of the united states, to paraphrase a question from the presidential debates, let's start by saying something nice, positive and hopeful about the new president. i know this is going to be a stretch for you, but have a go! after that inaugural speech in which he reached out to nobody at all, in which he trashed all
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of the previous presidents sitting around him very politely, i think the only thing we can seriously hope for is that this meglomaniac, this sociopath, will overreach himself to such a degree that he will be impeached as soon as possible, hopefully before that four years is up. and that he will simply be removed. he is utterly unfit to be president of the united states and i think we saw that writ large in his speech, which was the most outrageously ungracious speech i think probably any president has ever made at an inauguration. john, i challenge to you do a bit better than that. it's just a possibility here! um... well, there was very little for anybody who is not an american in that speech. there was very little for the people who have felt that american presidencies in the last 30 or 40 years have achieved significant things. but i think if we look at what he's
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promising for america, rebuilding the infrastructure of america, bringing jobs back to america, these are going to be difficult things to do. it's not at all clear where, in the case of infrastructure, he is going to find the money. but anybody who has travelled through america, particularly anybody who has travelled through the ohio valley will know that an attempt, a serious attempt to bring jobs back, to rebuild american industries, is long overdue. therefore, to sum that up in a slogan, "put america first", and i know there is another context in the 19305, but to say in the 21st century "i am going to put america first", that absolutely strikes home, doesn't it? it has, of course, some pretty ominous overtones for anybody who knows american history, including american history in the 20th century. it was charles lindbergh, it was isolationism and protectionism then. the adjectives that have been rolled out here in the press here, and indeed in much of the world, in the last few days
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and months about trump are a thesaurus of denigration. it's hard to disagree, on the basis of what we saw in the campaign, with very much of it. but on the other hand, 63 million people, it may be 65—66 million people voted for hillary clinton, but 63 million people, themselves, many of them, far from being crass, vulgar bullies, they found something in trump that persuaded them that he would change the course of america to their benefit. i think it's far too soon to conclude they were wrong. thomas, you have covered... you've been based in washington and seen many presidential inaugurals. the first inaugural of ronald reagan was greeted in britain and europe with perhaps not the same amount of dismay, but there were quite a lot of headlines saying, "he is just an actor," which was completely not true because he'd had eight years as governor of california. and what was worse, this perception continued
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throughout his entire years. in europe, you could never get a sensible set of opinion to understand america is different from our way of doing politics and reagan, after all, comes straight from the bone marrow of american identity and he was to be a great president. nobody recognised that, really, until today. there is not a single street in germany that says reagan street or reagan plaza, although he was the guy in ‘87 who said, "gorbachev, tear down this wall". but you have lots of kennedy statues and so forth. but i must say, to come back to polly‘s characterisation, i totally agree with the nature of his speech. but that in itself leads me to a positive conclusion, that he will unite, not americans so much, because he didn't do much to do that in his speech, but he will unite europe. nato will begin to understand that something needs to be done to do better than they have so far. it will also cause minds to pause in the brexit debate. i don't think the eu and britain can afford to go down the route into trade wars.
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we are going to have to watch our trade relations with america. that might lead to a unifying element amongst europeans and in relation to britain, so it will have a positive effect on the brexit debate, i am sure. dmitri, i kept you until last because president putin is hoping to talk to mr trump some time soon. i take it the russian response has been, insofar as we can read it, pretty positive? in the bbc interview, dmitry peskov, the press secretary of putin, yesterday said they would go and celebrate the russian christian holiday of epiphany yesterday, rather than watch the inaugural address. however, what we know is the potential reykjavik summit, echoing 1986 between reagan and gorbachev might be happening between trump and putin quite soon. if you ask me to say something positive about putin as a bbc employee, i can't do either. but i can say what russian television has been saying about trump, and the positive thing is they call him "the man of his word" and that's
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interesting in itself. politicians generally say they don't know what is going to happen really, because there is nothing to say anything concrete about his policies moving forward. but what they are definitely saying, because the tide is changing, they think actually making trump think about america only is actually good for russia, because first, it means that russia can go and again start asserting its influence on the former soviet republics in the area. if you look at the russian wish list to president tump, it's actually not going to be dissimilar to trump's possible agenda, maybe apart from middle east, where syria is one thing, but actually long—term middle east strategy for russia and america are quite different. mr peskov also said that effectively, there can't be real progress in syria without the americans, so in other words, the possibility of some deal with a deal—maker. precisely. i guess this is exactly right
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about nato, but i think even if america withdraws itself from different types of bodies, from world bank, imf, un, this is all actually quite positive, will be seen quite positive in moscow. i would have thought that one of the first casualties of trump's vision for america is his hope for improved relationships with russia and putin. and the fact that he's appointed, for example, as secretary of defence and he is not alone amongst the cabinet nominees, somebody who takes a much tougher line on russia, it's indicative, and it won't be very long before trump and putin fall out. you are right. that's why i think the current feeling in moscow is the feeling of "let's wait and see what will happen". actually, i wouldn't be surprised by hearing on the russian television moving forward that trump himself is our guy, he is good, he really means well but he is surrounded by the establishment and the hawks of washington won't allow him. i think what we see is two rather
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similar and perhaps quite impulsive characters. i think the idea that they're going to somehow make great friendship, it will take very little, there is a tinder box, it will take very little for either to take great offence at something the other one does. the possibility of friction seems much greater to me than the idea of this — unless of course, it is true he is totally in putin's hands and he has blackmail material and all of that, but leaving that aside... i would agree and would also say they're both people, both masters of photo opportunities. actually, for putin to be seen alone with trump in this kind of russia—us really important summit is an important thing. it will be interesting, this choreography, if there is a reykjavik summit. at the time, that summit was hailed as a disaster, because it didn't go anywhere. then people within the reagan administration said the president tried to give away all nuclear weapons — goodness me!
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and afterwards, people thought, "what was so wrong about that?" is this possible, to dream that kind of thing? it's funny, the dream continues, i am sure quite rightly, but the way reagan went about it without consulting with his allies was totally negative. mind you, reagan started, as far as russia is concerned, with that very famous statement in the first press conference the day after he was inaugurated. sam donaldson from abc asked, "mr president, what do you think about the soviet union?" he said, "they lie, they cheat and they want to conquer the world". for trump to give putin so much of the benefit of the doubt already, saying, "you can trust him", when russia has to re—earn its trust after all that happened recently with the olympic games drugs scandals and interfering in american debates, so to come out with this statement to want to trust putin, he says, "i trust putin as much as i trust angela merkel", which is a juxtaposition of outrageous proportions! and it didn't go down well in germany. no. in terms of what you think he might do if he does spend a lot of money somehow domestically and rebuilding infrastructure which just
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about anybody thinks needs rebuilt, and you did make the caveat, how will he do it, where is the money going to come from, but also, he has to persuade congress. isn't one of the big... it may not be as obvious as foreign policy to people in europe and around the world but he has to deal with people in congress who are in the republican party who have the levers of power and some of whom don't like him. the question is, will they be close to him because he is the president and they have to be seen to be, or will they look at the next election, which is in two years as far as they're concerned and say "hmmm, not sure?" well, of the many years i spent in china, the chinese government spokesmen had a favourite iteration when asked a question they didn't want to answer. that was, "the situation remains to be determined". this, certainly, there are so many uncertainties we cannot know. it seems to me one plain point of friction is going to be money.
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on the one hand, trump has talked about doing something about this gigantic, multitrillion—dollar deficit. on the other hand, he wants to build up the armed forces, on which the united states is already spending the best part of $700 billion a year. now he wants to rebuild american... where is the money coming from? it has to come via congress. and congress, we know republicans are verym very loath to spend money. i think it's going to be a lot of conflict there. in think it's interesting how little he was scrutinised. what's been extraordinary about this election is that any normal election, a presidential candidate would have to answer that question. "you are going to cut taxes and spend hugely on armed forces, a huge amount on infrastructure, you are going to save working—class, rust belt america. where are the tax cuts coming?" they're all for the rich, not for the poor. how does he square any of that?
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nobody ever got to him to force him to answer those. one of the things when we talk about similarities, and i think there are more dissimilarities between trump and reagan, but one obvious dissimilarity is that reagan was an emollient individual, a charming individual. even his political opponents found him a likeable individual. it seems to me that's not the case with trump. in terms of his relationships with congress, that may prove to be another difficulty. could i suggest to you, one thing, one strong positive you may dislike is that he is a great communicator. people will parse the language and look at the speech and so on, but to the people he needs to contact or communicate with, the use of twitter, which isn't scrutinised, it's just a thing that's said and is republished, that's one of the reasons why he wasn't scrutinised in the way you suggest during the election, because he was able to say in 140 characters, "make america great again", and people thought,
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"that's a great idea". yeah, no, the twitter has been brilliant. he is plainly going to go on with it, all day and all night, tweeting away. it means that he doesn't get challenged or questioned. he just puts it out there to his own followers. that works very well. i think that's a frightening lesson for modern politicians. who could doubt, listening to that rather dull inaugural speech yesterday, that it was indeed written by nobody other than donald trump. he also said he was going to eradicate islamic terror. well... that's going to be a difficultjob, eradication of islamic terror, but setting a tone, that is something he can clearly work with moscow on. well, clearly. as you remember, the relationship between russia or soviet union and the west always were — they were quite constructive on anything to do with nuclear missile treaties, irrespective of how bad the relationships were, say between brezhnev and reagan in the early 805, they still were able to go and do something on the missiles. in terms of the co—operation between the secret services, definitely post—9/ii,
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when putin was the first to call bush and he was quite proud of that, he has suggested his help everything, and this will continue definitely. let's just not make any mistakes about why, what aims putin is trying to achieve in the middle east or anywhere else and others. obviously, as i was referring to, the wish list, the wish list goes much further than that. there is a question about ukraine and georgia and not everjoining nato. again, we probably were already in that situation where people... there is this urban legend, nobody quite knows whether it is true or not, whether gobachev was promised that not a single country in europe would everjoin nato after the reunification of germany. there are mixed stories about whether this happened. here it's the same thing. i think i agree with you. if they hit it off, it will be a really fabulous relationship between them two for the next, whatever years trump might have. but it's hard.
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the difference is that putin has a plan. i don't think trump has a plan at all. he has tweets, an emotive... i don't think he knows where georgia is. in a post—truth, quite tired phrase already, but in a world where people believe with their hearts and react with their hearts, rather than their minds, we are talking about scrutiny. we as journalists are interested in that sort of thing. but i guess societies in large around the world probably are going towards the fact of that different thing. there are some other obvious problems. for instance, iran is a de facto ally in the middle east with russia and iran is one of the bogeymen donald trump has threatened to change relations with. so that's definitely one of the questions they are not going to be comfortable talking about. i also would say in the middle east, if america, obviously, sides with saudi arabia, russia clearly with iran, so that's the biggest issue.
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when all's said and done on relations with the rest of the world, the most important is the white house's relationship with congress. no wonder we call congress the other arm of government. that is essential. he can't do anything unless he strikes an emollient or tolerant relationship with congress. carter was a case in point. he had a majority of his own party in congress in his four years but he was constantly bogged down by fighting his own people in congress. he couldn't make headway in international relations because he couldn't make peace with congress. so it's essential that congress and trump will get on. i am not sure they will. the tweeting mis—culture or whatever you call it is a terrible juvenile habit of his to be pursuing. i wish he'd become a tweet—totaller as well as a teetotaller. he communicates with people who will not listen to white house speeches. it communicate with a lot of people,
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which is one of the reasons he's been so successful. he doesn't read anything himself. he says he hasn't got time. all he can read is tweets. he assumes all his followers read tweets. he overpromises, though. that speech was full of overpromising and he raised expectations in a wild sort of fashion, which congress soon will shoot down, i am sure. and we should remember macmillan's dictum about "eve nts, dear boy, events". you can imagine any number of events. some events that may be forthcoming may be unimaginable. indeed, the events of 2016 were unimaginable a year ago. it could knock, for example, trump's ambition to establish closer relationships with putin. and what if there is friction on the borders with russia and estonia and lithuania. how long would that detente last? we don't know that. if he is so convinced he needs to concentrate on the rust belt and building factories and whatever,
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then he said that america first and potentially, you know, estonia... at the end of the queue. i want to come on to queues about trade and other things. theresa may made clear her plans for brexit this week — or she didn't. britain out of the single market was clear enough but she said if we don't get a deal, britain is prepared to walk away. so what might that mean? and how is mrs may's clarity or otherwise viewed around the world? first of all, we will get to the trade talks with the head of the queue, back of the queue, whatever, but in germany, when people heard what mrs may had to say, was it much clearer what britain is aiming for? well, it's very hard for germans to understand the way the british mind ticks. still to this day, they don't understand how a nation, a member of the eu can even conceive of leaving it. this notion of the island nation going for the global, sort of, horizon is totally strange to their way of thinking. we are in the middle of europe,
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surrounded with nothing but friends at the moment, thank goodness, and we need to be collectively involved. and for britain to go it alone... they struggle to understand it but i keep reminding them, shakespeare's first theatre was called the globe. there is a tendency, a tradition in english thinking, like seafaring nations reach out beyond the immediate continent and neighbourhood. other than that, though, they think they will look at it rationally and the arrival of trump on the scene, as i said before, gives me hope that the two sides, the eu and britain will come together at a workable sort of solution. there is no advantage to be gained from going into a trade war sort of mindset between the eu and great britain. while you have to be careful not to make it too easy for britain to leave it, because that would bring up copycat mentalities in other european nations, who might say, "ok, we can also leave it". that's probably is again, an unofficial hope
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from within the kremlin. basically basically, starting an avalanche for the same trends in other countries. geert wilders, marine le pen, alternative for deutschland, other countries have their own... yes and also, the relationship between eu and russia always subject to this axis of south and north. southern countries were more pro—russian, northern countries... i am generalising here. but you definitely have greece and some former eastern bloc countries... now you have le pen part—financed by the russians. yes, that's another thing. but if you look at probably the britain leaving the european union is out of the public debate in russia, just not an issue. it's irrelevant? completely. regular russians would say "i wish we had your problems", generally, that would be one way of looking at it. other people would say, "good for you, we all know how bad the european union is and go and do it alone because you
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are a great country". do you think we got clarity this week? absolutely not. we got some fairly ill—intent in the idea she would say, "we are leaving the single market and the customs union but somehow, we are going to have some magical deal which is just as good as being inside", when the response right across europe, whether it was in brussels or individual capitals was, "you can't do that, you are either in or out. there is no way in which you are going to have a better deal. you will not have to pay in, you will not have to accept freedom of movement..." and then of course, this global fantasy. it was extraordinary, sort of, empire talk. she has an elizabeth i fantasy, apparently. she sees herself in this role. we will travel the world in our little ships and have these wonderful trade deals. if we want a trade deal with india, for instance, they will demand a lot more visas. now, a lot of the impetus against europe was also an anti—asian, anti—islamic feeling about immigration, as much as it was anti—poles or hungarians.
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i don't think people are going to tolerate the idea we have to have a lot more people from india in order to have an indian deal. the idea we are going to have a good deal with trump... trump will make a deal. i interviewed him in 1988, read his appalling book, the art of the deal. he always comes out on top, the other guy is always screwed, that's the way you do it. any deal between us and america means we have to accept their hormone, antibiotic—infused meat, their regulations, not eu regulations. the moment we do that, then we cut ourselves off even more from europe, because we are not accepting european regulations. i have said this on this programme before, i think a lot of of the discussion about brexit and where it is going to carry us is conducted as if we live in a rather static kind of world. europe right now is not in a static condition. we know the forthcoming elections in france, indeed in germany and in italy can radically change the europe that theresa may is negotiating with.
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not to mention the italian banking system and many other economic factors. i wouldn't be surprised if, within the precincts of 10 downing street, mrs may is actually quite pleased at the possibility of delay in invoking article 50, because the further she can push these negotiations into the era of the emerging europe, the europe where there could be a referendum in europe, for example, and in italy and in france, which could very easily go the same way as ours did and i think we might, a year from now... alas, it won't be delayed. you hear labour, most labour people, a few rebels, corbyn saying "we are going to sign it". the lib dems won't, but she will get it through, i am afraid. the other point of clarity, polly, with due respect, i felt it was clear in one aspect. she's willing to go for brinkmanship with europe. she has a way of taking both sides to ransom.
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"if you don't agree with me, we have another way of becoming a different country". that's a reasonable negotiating tactic. expect it's such a terrible prospect. she wants us to be a singapore, a bargain basement, lowest possible tax... we would be cutting off our own nose to spite our face if we did that. i agree, and the impossibility of her suggestion of course strikes you immediately, because there's so many circles to square, as it were. one thing is, where is the money? we talk about money in the trump case. where does she get the money for the social reforms she promised? i think that the uk goes into these negotiations with quite a few advantages. to cite only one, how many bmws are sold in this country every year? 265,000, i think. so where is german industry, the motor industry going to be on this issue?
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they certainly don't want to drive the uk into some sort of high—tariff isolation. it's holding europe to ransom on that account. this is a very important point. the germans and the rest of europe, like us, are less motivated by economics when it comes to the crunch than by principle, and their principles about europe will be stronger, just as ours were. we have done ourselves terrible economic harm for the sake of a fantasy belief in our great independence. have we done ourselves tremendous harm? we don't know. it's likely. so far, all the prognostications are good. but it hasn't happened yet. we haven't done anything yet. we are not out. but markets are all predictive. the markets seem to have decided this is a do—able thing. from somebody who came to this country about 16 years ago, i can say that i can feel that actually, internationally, globally, britain as a country where english is spoken,
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part of europe will still be extremely interesting for people from asia to come and do business with, from south asia, east asia, russia, other countries, africa, as well. there is something culturally and something existentially that britain will remain a big magnet. a large part of that is our relationship with the united states and the fact that we have a common language and, to some considerable extent, a common culture. we will have to leave it there. that's it for dateline london for this week. you can comment on the programme on twitter and engage with our guests. we're back next week at the same time. please make a date with dateline london. goodbye. hello there.
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freezing fog could become quite extensive across parts of england and wales by the end of the night. could cause some problems to travel for monday morning commute, notjust the roads, but maybe to some of the major airports as well. so keep tuned to your bbc local radio or head online for the latest update. so a foggy start for many across the south and south—east. that fog may be slow to clear, and may linger on all day, and if it does it will be grey and chilly. elsewhere, a pretty good—looking day. there will be widespread sunshine across northern, central and western areas, the temperatures around five to seven degrees. but around the freezing weather, fog holds on. again, tuesday morning a bit of a repeat performance, some dense, freezing fog, which may be stubborn to clear. a little bit of sunshine developing, but further north and west the breeze picking up, introducing slightly milder air to the north and the west, introducing a bit of rain as well. so that fog will gradually clear as we head later on in the week. that is because we will pick up those winds, which will be chilly at first, before things turn a little bit milder by the weekend. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers
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in north america and around the name is gavin grey. our top stories: claims in the gambia that 11 million dollars of state money is missing after the departure of long time leader yahya jammeh. we have a special report. this is what democracy in africa can look like. a dictatorial leader peacefully leaving the country after a general election. the white house begins talks to move the us embassy in israel from tel aviv to jerusalem. the fault that cost samsung five billion dollars — the tech giant admits its galaxy phones caught fire because of battery failures. choose
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