tv Dateline London BBC News March 26, 2017 2:30am-3:01am BST
of mosul where a large number of civilians were killed. it said it had opened an investigation but accused islamic state group fighters of using civilians as human shields. the new leader of hong kong will be chosen shortly in a vote dismissed as a sham by pro—democracy activists. the territory's chief executive will be selected by a specially—appointed committee of nearly 1200 people — most of them loyal to the chinese leadership. there are three candidates. eu leaders have stressed the need for unity. 27 leaders signed a new declaration but the british prime minister was absent. article 50 will be triggered this week. now on bbc news, it's time for dateline london. hello and welcome
to dateline london. donald trump cannot manage to persuade enough republicans in congress on his first big leadership test 7 in congress on his first big leadership test — health care. so where does his presidency go now? the london terrorist attack. plus, the european union at 60 — comfortable middle age or mid—life crisis? i suspect we may plump for the latter. our top team of guests today — on what will be my last dateline london before i leave the bbc — are abdel bari atwan, who is an arab author and journalist. thomas kielinger of die welt. janet daley of the sunday telegraph. jef mcallister, who is an american writer and commentator. donald trump — the self—described great deal—maker, whose ghost written biography was the art of the deal — has failed to convince even republicans in congress that he knows what he is doing on health care.
in what polls say is the most unpopular presidency ever at this stage, can he convince americans he knows what he is doing on anything else? how much trouble is he in? he starts in trouble because he is unpopular. it was an election which hillary clinton won by 3 million popular votes. he did come in saying health care was easy, republicans i brought with me can do this because we have been saying for seven years that we can do health care better, quickly. it turns out their ideas cannot even pass their own caucus. they were unworkable. he is not a deal—maker. he thought he could do his fairy dust thing. it didn't work. he disappoints his base. it makes him look incompetent. it is a mess. does it give him a chance to pivot? it is interesting. in many ways he is not a republican. he is not a classic small government republican. this was paul ryan's health care bill. trump probably never read it and doesn't know most of the content. paul ryan being the speaker of the house.
the freedom caucus, the very right—wing, that is not donald trump. he is a nationalist, he believes in infrastructure. he was pro—choice before he was anti—choice. i always thought he had an opportunity to pivot to the centre and go with democrats. he could get democrats votes on taxes, infrastructure, lots of issues if he wanted to. most republicans are right wing. and his chief strategist, steve bannon, there is talk he wanted this outcome on health care because he hates paul ryan so badly. and he's hated him so long he's neutered the republicans in washington, leaving trump triumphant so to speak. as you both know, anywhere you go in america you will hear people saying, big government is terrible but no government appears to be the implication of this. in other words, they won't do a deal on anything? this is a form of gridlock. an eccentric form of gridlock because it involves his own party he has discovered he
wasn't elected emperor. that's what it amounts to. he really thought he could run the country the way he runs his business, in an autocratic way. and it didn't work. he doesn't seem to understand the most basic institutional truths, constitutional truths, about how american government works. he thought he could sack the legislature, i think. politically, he can recover from this. a lot of people have rocky starts. george bush, ronald reagan. but it is his personality that is the problem. i don't think psychologically he will find it easy to recover. we know what he thinks about losers and winners. if this wounds him in a way that it is impossible for his narcissistic personality to recover from, that will be the real crisis. let's stick to the constitution before the psychotherapy! we may get back to that. in terms of the pillars of the constitution, you have the legislative branch saying, thank you very much. we have already had on immigration
the courts saying something similar. these are two huge setbacks on two of the biggest things he said he would do? i can't understand it. he doesn't understand his own constitutional setup. when you become a correspondent in washington, the first thing you learn — i served there for eight years — is that congress is the other arm of government. that is the statutory description. he has no idea what happens when he over promises as if he can do magical things and then he runs foul of the other arm of government. it damages his credibility terribly. managing congress is really an art. it is not like decision—making in an executive environment. it is an art of compromise. ronald reagan did it. bill clinton did it. one wonders if he can forge compromises in the first place
because he is so full of his own importance and his own magnetism. this particular incident will undermine him terribly. it is an old adage in washington that you can't be strong abroad if you are a week at home. it might encourage a president to engage in foreign adventures of all sorts. for example... if you are north korea, you might perhaps be kind of careful about how you go through the next few months in terms of missiles. do you agree? laughter. it's possible, it's possible! just a suggestion. do you know what i'm talking about?! where are the advisers? does he listen to anybody? yeah! the wrong people. this is the problem. he's got the wrong advisers. and he doesn't listen to advisers. he couldn't fix it inside. how is he going to fix it outside? how can he have a foreign policy which could actually be very influential? the problem is he wants
to make america great, or the greatest, as he promises people. but if he cannot tackle the internal problems, and if he is actually motivated by hatred towards obama and the democrats, how is he going to run the country? the statement he made when it went down, when he had to pull the bill because he didn't have enough votes, the statement he made was interesting. there were two guys standing over him, his vice president, mike pence, and his health secretary. they had obviously given him a script. and he actually stuck to it. and it was surprisingly diplomatic. he was saying, obamacare is going to collapse and when it goes, the democrats can come to us and we will be open to negotiation. it almost seems as if the shock of this has made him say something. i was ready for him to throw an absolute tantrum, to be completely irrational. in fact what he said under the circumstances was about as rational
as it could be. that was the bit i didn't get. why would obamaca re necessarily collapse unless congress denies funding? the difficulty is it is this funny hybrid of a government programme and an insurance market, an idea put forward by the heritage foundation, a republican think tank. conservative think tank, yeah. it is a very republican idea to begin with. it requires insurance companies to set premiums and get subsidies from the government. in some states, some insurance companies have withdrawn because they don't like the particular risk pools they have got. in some states, for the first couple of years premiums went down. this year they increased by 22% on average. in some markets, 100%. if they go so far, people don't sign up. young people who are healthy don't sign up. sick people need health care is the obvious... it is not that hard to do. we have made health care more
complicated in america then we need to. actually, this is an important point about trump... the problem is, in the reagan days, the republicans believed in smaller government but they believed in making government work. richard nixon imposed wage and price controls. they believed the government had imported things to do. people in the house republican party, the guts of the party, now are so anti—government, they can't figure out how to make it work. that bill would have been chaos for the insurance companies. how much does it matter to those people who voted for donald trump anyway, given that he said he needs to drain the swamp because washington doesn't work... it's a different type of gridlock. he doesn't work. as an executive he has no prior experience. reagan at least had eight years of government, governing california. he also had a great team. there was more cohesion among the politicians who were the big shots of the day. there was a sense of responsibility to come together. i think they are all
in for a big fight. fur trump to say he wants to clean the swamp, his mindset is a swamp of contradictions that people can't quite make out. yes. iagree. we are going through a perilous phase in international politics where some people might take advantage of this weakened position. do you think there could be a foreign policy crisis that someone will manufacture? maybe somebody in the white house. wagging your dog is always possible. when you get to making war on other countries, the sober people tend to show up at the table. and the president himself, even one as feckless and strange as this man is, will get the picture that he's not supposed to be ordering people to their deaths without some good reason. will putin figure? why not? there are lots of opportunities
to do funny things in ukraine and to take advantage on the edges, which i think will tie him in knots. when you look at the foreign policy, for example, until now we haven't seen any. he said a few days ago we should not withdraw troops from iraq. we should occupy the oilfields, control the oil fields of iraq. just imagine. in syria, for example, we don't know what he is going to do. we never will. when it comes to the palestinian question, he says there is no two state solution, there is no one state solution. it's chaos. whatever you guys want! it's chaos. it's completely incoherent. there is also another question in terms of foreign policy, the russia connection. if it is true that there are real connections between his people and putin's russia, we are in big trouble. that is very, very serious. let's move it on.
the security services in britain and the united states have advised that laptops and similar devices should no longer be allowed on certain flights, to counter the threat from sophisticated bombs. but in london this week — as we have seen in france and germany in the past year — low tech terrorism is also deadly and difficult to prevent. what, if anything, can be done? i mean, in some ways many people have said it's not surprising this happened because we know big open democracies will always be a target. big open democracy is what we have and what we want. we don't want to do anything to mitigate the freedoms. this is what it's all about. if we destroy the social values and the political values the country stands for in the name of stamping out any conceivable possibility of any misfit, any hanger on, any lunatic going over the edge and doing something on a one—off basis, what is the point? clearly, this particular action might have been preventable in the sense that had there been armed guards on that gate
at westminster, possibly. but those are technical questions. the idea that you can actually control the behaviour of every conceivable person who might get hung up on this obsessive thing for his own private pathological reasons, no, it isn't possible to prevent it. did any of you think in some ways this was a very good week for british democracy? it was horrible for the victims, horrible to watch, but politicians rose to the occasion. they kept going. they made statements which were very statesman—like. the prime minister and others. it was a good week for theresa may. incidentally, i was in the parliament when the attack took place. i was actually detained for six hours. what i noticed, honestly, the confidence, the crisis management impressed me. suddenly, in a few minutes, the terror squad was there in the parliament with their arms, with their masks.
everybody was quiet, everybody was calm. everybody wanted life to go on as if nothing happened. the british are inherently calm! if it was in other places you would see a lot of chaos, anarchy, a lot of reactions. it was well orchestrated calm. which is very, very impressive. the message of this terrorist attack, it did not actually affect people. it did not reach its destination. it's a two—edged message, actually. one is the calmness and that a big democracy, an ancient democracy like britain does not allow itself to be forced onto its knees because one maniac challenged it. and the second is, asjanet says, you can add 100% safeguard yourself against that kind of attack. we have already 3000 or so presumed terrorists who are being watched night and day. then suddenly someone comes in who is not on the radar screen,
who does this, becomes famous. we have two ask ourselves, why do we spend so much time covering an individual like this on the news? it gives him extra fame, as it were. we accept the inevitability that such acts occur and we have to continue with our calmness and inner strength. i think sangfroid is really the only way. as we british say! the purpose of terrorism is to terrorise. if you are not terrified, it makes a big difference. if you look at how people really die in the world, toddlers killed more people in america last year through handguns left on their parents‘ table, than terrorists did. but we don't get rid of toddlers.
there are 2000 people killed in road accidents on the roads in britain. now the number is going up for the first time. after many years of decline because of better design, anti—drunk driving campaigns because people are using their mobile phones while driving. are you going to get rid of mobile phones? no, you figure out a solution. in this way, better policing, better security work is the only way to go. otherwise we give up our society. i would question whether society is cohesive enough to contain threats in their midst. you have to talk in terms of prevention, telling the muslim community to report early on about goings on and help stave off likely dangers. we have to ask ourselves, is our society performing properly? are there little ghettos? the enclaves of islamist indoctrination obviously have to be dealt with. there is good evidence to show there is considerable intelligence being received from the muslim community. the security services tell us they have forestalled any number of incidents.
but you can't get every one necessarily. i think you have to think of it like the cold war. it took a long time to win the cold war. there were communists in our midst. there were lots of ways this ideology worked. 20 years ago there were not muslim men driving their cars down streets to kill people in the uk. we hope in 20 years from now there won't be again. the difference is, the cold war was an argument. you can persuade people communism was not the answer. this is not an argument. this is a confrontation with insanity. for some of the people, yes, they may be insane. but it is an ideology. there is religion, an infrastructure and a belief. it is just the extremist you're getting. of course, that's what i mean. talking about the muslim community, in this country particularly, they were extremely cooperative. they rejected this kind
of terrorism immediately. they were cooperating with the security services. that is why, for ten years, this country never witnessed anything like this since the 7th ofjuly 2005. it tells first the efficiency of the security forces, the cooperation of the people with the security forces to prevent these kinds of things. the european union is celebrating — if that is the right word — the 60th birthday of the great project which has help ensure democracy has spread across europe, from former soviet satellites in the baltic, to former fascist—style dictatorships in greece, spain and portugal. but as britain begins to leave, is the european project now running out of steam, out of ideas, and out of popular support? the ever closer union we hoped would emerge is a more fractious union now. we don't seem to be able to deal with the problems, starting with external borders, the refugee problem, the euro, which hasn't been solved.
and also, importantly, the imbalances between peoples lives within union. look at southern europe. the pope made a great point yesterday. the unemployment and the austerity consequences of one size fits all currency is a dramatic damage to people's hopes, young people's hopes for the future. that has to be tackled. the refugee crisis, also, will now come down to turkey of all countries for us to solve. turkey used to be a country which acted as a bridge to europe, and a pillar of stability. now look at the 3 million refugees in turkey, and look at erdogan threatening europe. we find building sites all over the place. it doesn't look as if it is in very stable condition. in the 60s...you need a face—lift, you need a renovation. seriously! you need innovation,
you need new ideas. think seriously about this. look at europe now after 60 years, they are facing immigration, they are facing terrorism, they are facing slow growth. i don't believe any of this was anticipated when this treaty was signed. this is the problem. the new reality is taking place. you have to look at it from a different perspective. i believe there must be some innovation. we have had ideas, the lisbon agenda, where they promised to overtake america within ten years in terms of growth. we have to own up to our own declarations and be truthful to what we set ourselves. you have to remember the founding philosophy of this. it was built after the second world war, after a terrible period in which nation states had disgraced themselves.
the anti—democratic nature of the european union is not an accident. the idea was that terrible people had been elected by the democratic process in europe and this was a terrible source of shame and guilt, and the abolition of the power of the nation state and the national comment was built in right from the outset. and ironically, this is now conducive to a new nationalism and the new xenophobia, which was almost inevitable if you anticipated it properly. the point is the democratic nation state, with a government elected by the people for the people, answerable to its own population, was one of the greatest progressive ideas in human history. they wanted to wipe it out because of the terrible 20th century crimes. three lots of no champagne corks popping! say something nice about the eu. it has prevented wars. hasit? i think you have to look at it...
it has encouraged democracy. when you look at the appeal. after the fall of the soviet union, so many eastern european countries wanted tojoin the eu and live up to its standards. of course they and to be part of the larger family, but the eu meant something. it was a set of democracies and cultures that had attractive power. i think we really do have to thank it for a tremendous amount of contribution to peace and security. it has always been bumpy. where was the eu during the war in the balkans? america had to go in! iagree. but that is still part of the european family. you have to look at those institutions in their biggest sense. is there any way of separating the problems of the euro, which the pope touched on in a way, with the problems of the european union?
in other words, do you consider now that the euro itself has been such a big step in the wrong direction for the people of greece, for the people of southern europe? the original idea may have been a good one but we admitted too many countries that should not have been admitted in the first place. it was fair weather decisions when, after the 2000 agenda, when europe said it was great to be a growth area, it didn't act on it. a year later, they accepted greece. it was a scandalous decision. there was no thought to what was going to happen. i would disagree. they didn't meet the economic criteria. neither did italy, actually. you have to help each other. they have made a basket case of greece. look at the social problems. we have to give the european union a socialface, a caring face. they have created an enormous welfare state. greece is a prominent beneficiary. that is terrible for that country. the freedom of movement
within europe means that the optimistic, motivated young will leave those countries and come to the successful northern countries. the united states has one currency and lots of different economies. people go from the poorer areas to new york city to make their fortunes. you could say it is just that germany wasn't generous enough to greece. state governments in the united states have more power than governments within europe. the united states fought civil war over differences of opinion as well. as well as slavery, of course. there are different economies bound together by the same currency. the conflict between states' rights to govern our economy and federal states, causes tremendous damage sometimes. not nearly as problematic as you have with 27 nationalistic entities. it is difficult enough in america. but it is almost impossible to bring
everybody under one roof under such rules as greece had to follow. we should have done something to help greece but not by subjecting them to these rigorous rules of austerity, which they surely could not meet. will there be a european union of 27 countries in ten years? when britain is out do you think others will follow or others will want to join? that is the $100 million question. don't you mean euros? there is a prediction there's going to be a german europe. please don't tell the germans. they don't want to enhance their importance. they don't want to be leaders. lord heseltine predicted this would be to the glory of germany becoming the dominant power. we don't want to dominate anyone. one of the reasons i am optimistic
about the outcome of brexit is because germany will not allow britain to go to the nether world and be forgotten about. ironically, although the germans don't want to be dominant powers, they do in a sense dominate the ethos. they say effectively the greeks have to behave more like germans if they are to survive economically. that was the creed which was expected by the other nations. it may have been the original german idea. to be honest, i believe the european union will be stronger. they will repair or reform a lot of mistakes. more countries willjoin, including turkey. thank you for the optimism. that's it for dateline london for this week. and that's it for me on this wonderful programme which, across the world, has been one of the most watched bbc news programmes for almost 20 years. and no doubt the next 20 will be even better. let's see what happens
to the european union then. thank you for watching and goodbye. hello, good morning. 19 degrees in one or two places on saturday but it's turned cold very quickly. perhaps not quite so chilly in more southern parts of england and wales where wind is still blowing but across northern areas, no wind, one or two mist and fog patches perhaps an cold enough for ice cross in a few places once again. but it warm up few places once again. but it warm up on sunday, there will be lots of that. close to the area of high pressure, the winds are lightest, cloud in shetland and 0rkney.
further south, that nagging easterly wind risk in southern parts of england, taking the edge of magna temperatures. generally mid—teens, a touch cooler in eastern coasts. —— mid—teens —— —— taking the edge off temperatures. a bit more cloud around poking temperatures back in northern england, southern scotland and northern ireland but not so windy in the south and more in the way of sunshine as well. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting at home and around the globe. i'm lebo diseko. our top stories: the us admits that coalition aircraft did strike an area of mosul where many civilians were killed last week. a new leaderfor hong kong is being chosen right now, but critics condemn the lack of democracy. hello.