tv Dateline London BBC News August 18, 2018 4:30pm-5:00pm BST
cups could be introduced, after the public backed tough measures in a government consultation on how to reduce plastic waste. now it is time for dateline london. welcome to dateline, the programme that brings together some of the uk's leading journalists with correspondents writing for the folks back home with the dateline, "london". this week: donald trump's trade wars rumble on as china tries to sue for peace, whilst turkey is threatened with more sanctions if it doesn't yield. and why the leader of the british labour party is finding allegations of anti—semitism hard to shake off. with me, ned temko is a political commentator and former editor of the jewish chronicle.
thomas kielinger is a biographer and writes for germany's die welt. maria margaronis, a writer and broadcaster of greek descent, is london correspondent for the nation. the us journalist stryker mcguire writes for bloomberg markets. first, though, news which has broken this weekend — the death of kofi annan, who was un secretary general for ten years. a ghanaian by birth, he was the first man from sub—sa ha ran africa to head the organisation. having joined the un in 1962, kofi annan rose through the ranks, ending up in charge of peacekeeping operations. his two five—year terms running the un included the american—led invasion of iraq. thomas, i suppose that is probably the cause he was most frustrated by and something he ultimately felt had been an illegal act. he was not the only one frustrated by it and who thought it was an illegal act. everybody in britain has come to rue the day this was decided. kofi annan was a respected leader and his indefatigable work for peace is much remembered,
but that includes a tragic element, because how do you manage peace in the middle east, which was one of his concerns? it seems to be an endless battleground and obviously, people from outside like the secretary general of the un seem helpless in the face of the warring factions on the ground being unable to come together. so while he was a much respected man, i don't think anyone would want to share his job of peacekeeper in the world. ned, that was how he had grown through the organisation, ending up as head of peacekeeping operations, which in itself was not without controversy, given some of the reports about the behaviour of peacekeepers. yeah. the best way of summing him up, and i didn't know him personally, but we share a couple of close friends and he was by all accounts a smart, sensitive and kind man, very determined.
it's fair to say that the limitations of some of his work, most recently trying and predictably failing to get any progress on peace with syria or in syria, are more limitations of the institution. and that is that the un is only as effective as the member states and the geopolitical realities allow it to be. especially the member states at the very top. with the security council the way it is, it is amazing that they can do anything, ever. this is also when those post—war institutions are under attack and being dismantled more broadly. so it is almost a nostalgic moment to look back at when kofi annan came to be secretary—general. afterwards, there was the rwandan genocide and srebrenica, where he had been in charge of peacekeeping. it has been a time when the power of the un has been in decline. and it now seems to be
getting to a point of... he always struck me as a man who believed that good people with the best motivations could resolve some of the most apparently intractable problems. yet almost all of the events he ended up presiding over have appeared to go against that admirable and noble instinct. well, there was the roadblock of the geostrategic situation in the world. in the middle east, it is classical that you can't find a consensus between the major powers and unless you have that, you are helpless, as i said. everyone who is trying to come from the outside with the best of intentions is bound to fail, almost. it's a terrible thing to say because we keep having to try in the face of the superpowers like russia and america and syria being at loggerheads. when both are mutually exclusive and with the un security council
at sixes and sevens, it is beyond me. to pick up on what maria said, particularly at a time with trump as the president of the united states, there is not only an accidental but a quite deliberate undermining of the entire post—second world war order of international institutions, whether it's the eu, the world trade organisation, nato as a military alliance. the mere idea of international cooperation and coalition, for all its faults, we should hope the un survives as a vehicle that can be used when it works. it is important that it isjust physically there and that there are places where people can get together and talk informally and off the record. if it didn't exist... in fact, nikki haley, who is one of the more effective
members of the trump administration, although she does it brashly, but she engages. it is one of the few islands where real diplomacy still happens in the american administration with other countries. it needs real debate that can be seen. you mention the united states. in any discussion about kofi annan, we talk about what the united states has been up to on the international stage. last weekend, we debated the views of the former british foreign secretary boris johnson about what some muslim women wear. but before that, let's talk about trade and the implications of all this. there are other questions over what donald trump is doing in his trade wars with turkey and syria and particularly with china. the chinese are on their way to washington.
there are going to be talks in washington, stryker. is this a sign that the chinese are looking to try and sue for peace in this conflict over trade war and the use of trade sanctions? everybody wants this to be over and done with. there may be just one exception to that, who is living in the white house! steve mnuchin has been highly involved in a lot of these trade negotiations. he is very much a kind of odd man out in the white house. there were a number of goldman sachs figures that came in at the beginning. it was a wholly—owned subsidiary of goldman sachs for a while! that's right, white house llp. barack obama had his fair share of goldman sachs ex—employees, but i take your point. and he has been spending half his time recently on this,
because this is a directive that is coming from the white house. yes, but he's also trying to hold back trump's worst instincts on trade. that is a difficult task. he may not last through it all, because trump is quite determined and trump has brought in people like pete navarro, who is a china hawk and has been strident about china for years. they must have clashes all the time in the white house. do you think that in terms of the prospects for this, some might argue that this policy, whatever you think of it, is starting to show signs of being successful? if countries as powerful as china are anxious to find a way out of the conflict, maybe he is on to something. it depends what you mean by success. when you possess the largest
economy in the world, when the dollar remains the transaction currency internationally, when you are a net importer, so you have the leverage to use tariffs, when you announce tariff hikes, they will have an effect. the problem is, they are a very blunt instrument. it depends what you mean. take china, for instance. yes, china's economy is suffering from these tariffs and they will have to adjust further. on the other hand, as much as donald trump and steve bannon and others seem to think you can outlaw globalisation, there are supply chains, there are international trade relationships that mean you can't hurt another country with tariffs without hurting your own companies as well. if you look at the automobile industry in the united states,
which obviously stands to be very affected by this, it is largely owned by non—american companies. i think this is pure populist politics, which in the end is only going to harm american workers. it is already having an impact on the agricultural sector, and nowhere is this more evident than in trump's war with erdogan. they are birds of a feather. they are both using this fight to drum up the scent of a conspiracy with their base. erdogan says the collapse of the lira is because of trump's tariffs, but it was down 20% before that. it's because of erdogan‘s own policies and his dictatorial hold at this point over turkey. that is a trade war he will win. that is a precarious economy. but a lot of other people are going to lose. maria's point about erdogan using this is that he is going to blame it on trump. and trump is doing the same thing.
it plays very well. erdogan‘s son—in—law is the finance minister. we shouldn't lose sight of how damaging it is for allied relations. trump is threatening retaliations against companies in europe that continue to do deals with iran. and he has threatened to put that into practice. that would ruin the relationship with allies. and european countries say, "we will find a way of helping "manufacturers get around this," but that will be difficult. you have to come to a consensus about what to do with iran. i wonder how this crisis could have erupted, because the intelligence services must surely exchange their data and their recognition of what goes on in iran. how can the europeans and america be so much at loggerheads about how to interpret iran's behaviour now
and in the future? if you not only disregard but disbelieve your own intelligence services, they are the deep state. they are the enemy. that is the problem, his disregard for his own intelligence services, you're quite right. where does it go from here? we have got the talks between china and washington on wednesday. two days of talks. there is talk around that of a political attempt to find some kind of patching up. but with erdogan, there is a complete stand—off. we could be on the brink of this major geostrategic shift. talking about the dismantling of the post—world war ii consensus, turkey has been firmly in the camp of the west at least since the second world war if not before, often with very detrimental effects for turkey's people because they have had a series of dictatorships in the past which nobody has said boo about because of all the listening posts lined up along the border with russia etc.
so if erdogan is now tilting towards russia, china and iran, we are seeing a shift whose consequences are hard to predict. and that has implications notjust in terms of relations between russia and the united states and their respective camps, but also what happens in the middle east. that is the other big rift. syria is partly a problem but also, we should not forget that after the huge spike in refugees and asylum seekers coming into europe in 2015, it was this deal with turkey under which the flow was held back. if that unravels, the consequences could be dire. that is a whole can of worms. thank god for the un! turkey have 3 million refugees currently. it is the largest member of nato, the united states. maybe turkey could lend donald trump
some troops as a way of patching up the relationship. maybe that is a way of resolving things. last weekend, we debated the views of the former british foreign secretary boris johnson about what some muslim women wear. this week, it'sjeremy corbyn, his attitude and that of his party towardsjews which has generated days of headlines. labour is due to vote next month on incorporating an internationally accepted definition of anti—semitism into the party's code of conduct. mr corbyn agrees to the definition but doesn't want it to include one of the examples — claiming that the existence of israel is a racist endeavour — because he says it needs "contexualising". he fears it could blunt legitimate criticism of israeli government treatment of palestinians. ned, as a former editor of the jewish chronicle, how badly has this been handled
by britain's labour party? it's like a marx brothers movie. it's been handled extraordinarily badly. but the serious aspect of this, without getting into the weeds of a definition of anti—semitism, is that a little bit like boris and the burqa and the niqab, it's been very revealing of the character of corbyn as a politician and his personal character. and it is frankly nonsense to say that to include in a definition of anti—semitism, i think the exact wording isn't the problem of defining israel as a racist state, but any state of israel as a racist endeavour being by definition racist. it reflects so perfectly this 19705
and 19805 ideological purist who first of all has very strong ideological tests, hates saying when he is wrong, hates apologising and sees these political issues as some kind of grand morality play between class heroes and class enemies and when it comes to the middle east, the creation of israel is kind of an original sin and he knows who the good guys are and who the bad guys are and that is the difficulty with all these acrobatics about how or what part of the definition you accept or not. there are good guys and bad guys. there is a very rigid view of the world. to say that that definition precludes criticism of israeli policies is nonsense.
even manyjews have problems with the current israeli government's policies, and you can do that without being so doctrinaire and didactic about the existence of the state. i think ned contextualised corbyn‘s thinking quite well. there is an ambiguity at the base of his relations with israel which comes out clearly when you see his refusal to exclude the definition of israel as a racist endeavour from anti—semitism. any state can be a racist endeavour. australia and the united states were countries built on the backs of their indigenous inhabitants. if you do not include the statement, you virtually exclude israel from the group of civilised nations, so you have to include it. this is a terrible and sad
and depressing mess. i agree basically with ned's view of where it comes from, although i might put it slightly differently. but i think we are now in a situation where the telegraph headline this morning on the front page says "corbyn is an anti—semite, " says munich survivor". this is being used by people on the right to attack corbyn and the labour party. i would say anti—semitism is far more rife on the right notjust in britain but all over europe than it is in the labour party. but there is this particular tradition on the left, an anti—imperialist tradition which goes from supporting the rights of palestinians to self—determination, which is extremely important and which is often elided and wiped out in discussions, with a kind of criticism of israel which can shade into anti—semitism. and i think corbyn needs to come out and say clearly where he stands on that. but isn't the problem that he might not stand
on the right side of that? his difficulty in saying that is similar to his difficulty in coming out and saying what he thinks about brexit. ambiguity, thy name is corbyn. you need to stand in solidarity with the people you see as your allies, rather than responding to changing events and being able to think on your feet and respond honestly. not a great cv for a prime minister. it's very difficult. he does have a tin ear in some respects about anti—semitism. that mural that he praised with the jewish bankers, to me, i looked at that and went, ugh. it is not a great cv for a party leader. the difficulty is the rigidity. let me quote a great intellectual source which i think is a window into this, and that is the peanuts comic strip. linus famously said once, "i love mankind, its people i can't stand". there is a kind of echo in this
grand ideological stance. i was talking to somejewish friends in the united states last year who have, even in the us, started, they said, as us citizens born and bred, to feel a little uncomfortable about some of the political debate towards israel. they said what people who aren't jewish perhaps don't understand, particularly for those who have relatives who died in the holocaust, is that israel is the ultimate place of safety. so forjews who look around the world and think, "at any time in history, somebody has turned on us "and either persecuted us, whether it is pogroms in russia "and other countries or what happened in germany "or indeed the attacks "in the uk in the 1930s, led by oswald mosley," it's the thought of having a place that you can always go to if the worst happens. and it is that sense
of israel rather than what the government is doing, or indeed the palestinians, and these were liberaljews who feel angry about how israel has treated the palestinians, but they said that is the thing that they felt people don't grasp. i can share that sentiment but it should not preclude the right to criticise the government. corbyn is doing himself a huge disservice. he could come clean once and for all and say, "i recognise the right of israel to exist as much as i recognise "the right of palestinians to a second state solution." nothing like that can never be heard from him. the apology he published in the guardian and the evening standard said labour recognises, he didn't say i. and when he tries to talk about it, you saw the interview that he did. the body language was just appalling, rolling his eyes. why are you bothering me with these questions? the body language was, i am not taking this seriously,
whatever the words. meanwhile, labour could be in a great political place with the tories tearing themselves apart. labour is tearing itself apart. finally, some news that sadly wasn't fake — the death on thursday of aretha franklin, a singer who provided the soundtrack for love and heartbreak not just in her native united states, but also for those like my panel, coming to their maturity in the ‘60s and ‘70s. social media was swamped with tributes on thursday, and there was saturation coverage in the newspapers on friday. stryker, any track that stands out from your misspent youth? the track i like most is amazing grace, which is associated with funerals. it is not her song in the sense that she wrote it or it was written for her, but it'sjust a beautiful,
spiritual song and when she sang those particular songs, she sang them with a resonance and depth that comes from her own personal experience and nowhere else. and she started in a gospel choir. absolutely. sorry to interrupt. like most women i know, i really, really love music macro. like most women i know, i really, really love respect. but i have been listening to her gospel recordings. there is an incredible one called the day is past and gone which she recorded when she was 1a in 1956. 1a and already had two kids. huge voice and there isjust something. it comes straight from her soul. i remember the 19605, when i came to maturity, and there was one ear worm after another coming from her. the one i remember is i say a little prayer, where the accompanying
voice5 were so amateurish compared to what happens on stage nowadays. it's a simple song, but very per5ua5ive, and it rings in my ears, probably because i was young at the time and those early reminiscences tend to stay with you much longer than later experiences. but she is unparalleled. i would finish with something she did a few years ago, which was the kennedy centre award show, in which she did natural woman. she was into her 705 already. she took a carol king song, and it's a reminder that she owned songs. i think they co—wrote that song. no. from dateline until the same time next week, thanks forjoining us. goodbye. # looking out on the morning rain, i used to feel so uninspired # and when i knew i had to face another day, lord
looking like the better of the two days this weekend. it does come with fairly mixed fortunes. this grey scene was sent in by a weather watcher in cumbria earlier. there has been some brightness though, this photo a brighter if fairly cloudy, sent in by a weather watcher in aberdeenshire. as we go through this evening, overnight and through tomorrow, we have an area of low pressure working in from the west. you can see on the pressure chart here, pushing its way east as we move through tonight and tomorrow. it will bring a spell of more persistent and, at times, heavy rain and it will be breezy as well. through this evening, we start to see outbreaks of rain pushing in to northern ireland, working into central and southern scotland, parts of northern england and northern parts of wales through the night. to the north of that,
there will be some clear spells, perhaps a few patches of mist developing and those clearer skies will allow temperatures to fall away into single figures. come further south though, it is going to be a fairly humid, muggy night. temperatures between 13 and 17 celsius. tomorrow we will see some sunny spells in the far north of scotland, one or two showers possible. that rain working its way east as we move through the day, a slowly improving picture gradually getting better through the afternoon. across much of england and wales, there will be a good deal of cloud. it will try to thin and break to allow some sunny spells. it could pick up the spell of rain or drizzle, particularly in the west. temperatures around 23 celsius. for the cricket tomorrow, it looks like it will be an improving picture. there is a chance of some patchy outbreaks of rain and drizzle and a good deal of cloud around. as we go through sunday into monday, we will see that low pressure working its way out towards the east. we still have this weather front grazing the far north of scotland. that will bring some patchy outbreaks of rain.
so for monday, it does look like there will be a fair amount of cloud around. the chance of seeing some outbreaks of rain and drizzle, particularly for the north and west of scotland, western parts of wales and south—west england too. there will be some brighter intervals at times, temperatures a little warmer in the south—east, a maximum of around 26 degrees. a good deal of dry weather as we move into tuesday. later in the day, we will see some rain pushing in to the north and west. temperatures reaching 25 celsius in the south—east. turning fresh from the north—west though as we move through wednesday. that is your forecast. this is bbc news. the headlines at 5pm: the first black united nations secretary—general, kofi annan, dies aged 80. a nobel peace prize winner, he was modest about his achievements. leadership is not about the individual. when you have macho leaders, who believe they have to shine and it all has to be about them, forgetting that what is interest, what is required, is the welfare of society and the people they serve.
facing the worst monsoon in a century, hundreds of thousands are made homeless in southern india. right now, where i'm standing here, the water level was not there, but now it has come ‘til my ankles. so, gradually, the water level is rising and this is the cause of concern for the authorities, who want to evacuate all these people as soon as possible.