tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg April 7, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT
♪ announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." begin with the chinese-american summit in florida. president xi jinping arrived today for a meeting with president trump. it is the first bilateral meeting between the two leaders and an important step in improving relations. trump is expected to press his counterpart on trade deficit and north korea. president xi jinping is seeking assurances that washington will adhere to the one china policy. joining me now is tom donlon.
he has met the president of china a number of times. welcome. you may china a particular area of interest for yourself. what do you think the chinese are expecting and what do they hope to accomplish. tom: it is the most important diplomatic meeting that president trump has had so far in his presidency. on the chinese side, their have ah would be to successful meeting. indeed moving forward towards the fall when the chinese leadership change takes place. that sethave changes
the next five years of president xi jinping's tenure. they were want to operate effectively on the international stage. he will try to get this on the does not havee conflict or crisis until the end of the year. charlie: he is looking ahead to october? tom: that is exactly right. he will select the leadership for the next five years. he will certainly want to avoid any sharp trade conflict between keeping the, chinese economy on track to meet its growth and other goals. the one thing that could take with off track is conflict united states and i think he
will try to put into place a process that will avoid conflict . charlie: what do think the chinese think of president trump? tom: one thing will happen is they are coming here to take his measure. said, the summit is taking place early in the trump administration. it is taking place before the trump has outlined in any public or definitive way their policy towards asia. it is one of the interesting things we can talk about. there is not a strategy or policy perspective laid out. number three, the trump administration is developing those, particularly trade and north korea. trumpe: the administration has not filled out crucial positions of the
state department and other places. place,u don't have in except for a couple of people with experience on the team right now. you have an administration that is slow in filling out its personnel, so you are coming out with a precise set of goals. what do you do in that setting? they will look to establish a personal rapport. the two presidents will take the time to take the measure of each other and you lay out your agenda. it would be most useful, but i don't know we are ready, to lay out a strategic approach to asia and china. i think you are more likely to see them taking the measure of each other and then a process for how they will address the particular issues.
charlie: the president has talking about trade for a long time. secondly and more difficult every day is north korea. tom: no doubt. campaign, of the president trump will put a high priority on trade issues. coming into his administration, he was hard on a number of issues. he took into question the one china policy. secretary tillotson made comments about blocking the sea islands. it has been a more accommodating , but trade is still front and center. there are real issues on trade between the u.s. and china. there is a large trade deficit, but the focus should be on
access for investment and the treatment of u.s. companies, but the point on the security side, the most important security challenge in asia is north korea. centers to be front and for president xi and president trump. we need an intensified and focused approach. secretary tillerson said that the approaches of the last couple of administrations have failed to achieve our goals. that is true, almost across every dimension. in terms of the north korean nuclear program, all the indicators are negative with respect to the development of weapons and the means to deliver them. that has to be a high priority. i don't know you will come out of this session with an agreement. you are exactly right.
this has to be front and center. this is a national security crisis coming at us like a freight train. obama toldesident president-elect trump that it is the most pressing and difficult challenge as he assumes the presidency. start with china, why have they been in the past unwilling to take the kinds of moves that the other asians and neighbors wanted them to do? tom: a number of things. number one is the historic relationship between china and north korea. that relationship has been frayed of late. it is probably in the worst shape it has been in many decades. president xi has not received kim jong-un, and there have been a lot of tensions developing between the two countries.
the relationship is not in good shape. number two is a deep chinese concern about stability. not undertaking a set of steps which might result in some sort of precipitous collapse or a destabilizing of the situation. third, they still regard north korea as a buffer. ishink that the challenge coming into focus, which is the united states will have to take a number of steps to address the north korea nuclear challenge. the challenge is becoming more complex for this reason. fact as evidenced by reports of nuclear tests come if you have a country moving towards a larger number of
nuclear weapons, it presents a more complicated problem. number one, it is a threat to the region and the u.s. homeland. a muchtwo, it becomes more difficult set of targets the more weapons they have. number three, they become a proliferation threat. if a country gets past the number of weapons it needs to , it becomesterrence a real threat in terms of proliferation. and they have shown their willingness to proliferate in the past. charlie: do they understand the severity of the issue of north korea having nuclear weapons that they can deliver to south korea or the united states? do the chinese except the severity of that and why it is so unacceptable to the united states? tom: number one, they don't
think they would be the target. number two bank, we have worked hard in dialogue with the chinese to come to a joint assessment as to what the threat is and what the north korean intentions might be. is the dialogue. this is the conversation between the united states and china. some progress has made, but we are not there with respect to how severe and what kind of timeframe this is on. thes an urgent problem, and chinese can't do it unit uninsionally -- -dimensionally. it has to be done multi-dimensionally. it -- and, given that come the united
states will have to take a number of steps which will be strategically uncomfortable for china, but don't have anything to do with china. this is where the test in the relationship will be. charlie: do you think the chinese take seriously the statement that if the chinese do not help, the united states may have to go it alone? tom: it is a statement of fact. the president of the united states has an obligation to protect the united states from threats. over the course of the next period of time, if we don't get joint effort with china to address the north korean program, any president would make a similar statement. the united states will take whatever steps it has to take to protect itself. the alternative is china developing -- and there are a
number of things we can do including dramatically increasing the economic pressure on north korea. an iran-style to set of sanctions on north korea -- and i oversaw the iranian sanction effort for a number of years -- to move sanctions to a level and pressure that are regime threatening. there are a number of steps we can take. we have to build out our defenses in the region in which is giving china discomfort, particularly with respect to south korea, and we should have a dialogue with china about the future of the peninsula. charlie: will human rights be at all discussed? i don't think the chinese will raise it. i think it is up to the president to raise it. charlie: do expect the president of the united states will raise the issue of human rights, or is
he so intent on finding some way out of north korea and trade and perhaps some other important issues that human rights does not get to the table? tom: this has been an administration which has backed off human rights in any context. it is a mistake. wheret think of a context the trump administration has put mix in termsin the of strategic dialogue and the conversations we are having with nations around the world, so i don't have high hopes that he will raise human rights issues here. this is a vacuum. that a leadership vacuum is not one we should be creating, but i fear we are. on backing off on the tpp
the first day of the trump administration, that was a gift to the chinese. the chinese are developing their own approach to trade with regional partners. of our strongt support for the paris accord on climate is another area for the chinese to step into and exercise leadership and take themselves off the hook for some of the obligations they have made. steps, taken a number of and human rights is a good example, trade agreements are a good example, climate is a good example, where we open up a vacuum for the chinese to step in. charlie: do you know what they want? to: the north koreans want get to a point where the world recognizes them as a nuclear power. i think that is where the north koreans -- the north korean goal is. charlie: so therefore what would it take to have them give up
that goal? what combination of things, and one thing they want is bipartisan negotiations with the united states, some kind of agreement that united states will not attack them. i assume they want some kind of economic support. is that remotely possible if the goal is to be a nuclear state? the first point is to put pressure on them now prior to them getting to the goal of having the means of delivering ia an icbm tons v the united states, and that is why the engagement and pressure is now important. if you got into negotiations with the north koreans, i certainly don't think anybody in the united states would support the united states acknowledging them as a nuclear weapons state, but there is a whole range of about under discussion the various arrangements on the
peninsula and the future of the peninsula, including taking into account north korea's security needs. charlie: can we trust them, or is this a trust but verify circumstance? tom: no, you can't trust the north koreans. entered into an agreed framework during the clinton administration that did freeze the nuclear weapons production facilities in north korea for a number of years. we discovered at the beginning of the bush administration that they were cheating on the deal. would have been a better approach than to keep in place the arrangements we had a freezing one part of the program, then addressing the areas where they were cheating, as opposed to walking away from the entire deal, which is what we did. entered into early on
making the obama administration is set of understandings with the north koreans, which they on,t on, so you -- welched which means the pressure campaign working with the chinese and others needs to be especially harsh. also, we need to do a careful look at our other options. in meetings like this, do they ever meet a loan, or is it always necessary to have advisors and other people there. in lots of relationships, the president and the leader will meet one-on-one. that is unusual, in the u.s.-chinese context for a lot
of reasons, including the system the chinese resident represents. i negotiated the sunny land summit in 2013 between president xi and president obama. for a put in place a time one-on-one conversation come and it did take place. it did takel, but place in the sunny land summit. my understanding is the trump administration is trying to have some one-on-one time. the principles plus the translators, i think they are trying to arrange that today in florida. they will try to have an informal meeting between the president's and spouses over dinner. thes not typical in sinceu.s. setting, but sunny land, it has happened a
developments of the day. welcome. day, where the president is reacting to syria before he goes to palm beach to talk to the other most powerful person in the world come a big day for foreign policy. ian: by far the most important day for global issues since trump has been elected president. charlie: start with china and moved to syria. ian: china, what can you say? it is the single most important meeting that trump has had since being elected. the orientation trump has had towards china on the campaign and since he has been elected has been pretty strong and hawkish rhetoric. some of those things he has walked back. , he walked back, although there is talk about selling arms to the taiwanese.
back, bute has walked north korea, south china sea, and trade, he has not walked back one bit, and the people around him are not hawks or doubts, they are either pretty hawkish or quite hawkish. idea that trump will have a good meeting with xi wants toclearly he project strength in terms of the united states and feels like the obama administration has been week. ak. charlie: he wants badly chinese cooperation on north korea. ian: true. he does not get it, the americans are prepared to go it alone. there has been cooperation between the united states and china. after the election, the chinese decided to support a u.s. led u.n. referendum to take away chinese purchasing of north
korean coal. sent to theessage united states and the incoming trump administration that we are prepared to play ball am a but have to do it multilaterally within a framework. ofmp does not have a lot interest in doing things with china multilaterally. he thinks the chinese need to cut these guys off. the idea that the chinese would do that themselves and say we will cut off the banks from giving these guys money, cut off the company's keeping this economy afloat, and the risk will be on us, not the united states, because the north koreans are in our backyard. i think it is hard to come to agreement with xi jinping that we will move together on this, so it is more likely that the american will talk about sanctions. charlie: what is the timeline? when will they have the capacity deliveraof the
bilty. charlie: they apparently ? they apparently have missiles that can reach the united states now. most people involved in this that i have talked to come and this is not my area of specialization, is the north koreans if they continue at the present level of development, they would be able to do that. barring impeachment, trump will have to deal with this issue. this is his redline. charlie: what are his options? one, get the chinese to make it uncomfortable for them not to go along and get the chinese to compel the chinese in some way to take a harder line
on the north korean economy. second would be some form of military buildup with american have forces that would inspections, boarding of north korean ships trying to export out of the peninsula, and then you have direct military options to degrade and destroy north korean delivery and nuclear capabilities. combined with that are carrots. there is no reason why trump should not also say, look, north korea, we are prepared to sit down with you, head of state to head of state, have cheeseburgers. trump said that on his campaign. he is not willing to do that now, but that was his position.
-- every time we have told them we were only talk to you as part of to try tonegotiation move towards inspections, instead they test nuclear weapons and continue to test ballistic missiles. is thing i want to say which not being reported is that so far they have tested fewer weapons than they tested in the same time last year. and yet everyone is making it sound like the north koreans are escalation binge.
they believe there is more likelihood we could have confrontation because trump is unpredictable. charlie: speaking of trump, after what happened with the chemical weapons used in syria, trump clearly came out and said he changed his mind. there are reports he may be prepared to use a military strike. ian: that's right. charlie: what does that say? ian: i feel pretty confident that nobody who voted for trump voted for him with the idea that they were voting for military strikes against syria. he was the one who was saying -- butafter he supported it, specifically to obama went obama had talked about the red line and many had died from chemical strikes, he told obama strongly in multiple tweets, do not
attack syria. this is not our fight. america first. we want to cut back foreign aid, take fewer refugees, and we were not talk about human rights and all these countries, whether it is putin killing journalists or the chinese engaging and horrible practices internally and externally, no. suddenly he cares about syrian kids because he's our chemical weapons being used again? charlie: children dying are having died from chemical weapons, that wouldn't change his mind? ian: we had those pictures before. charlie: not while he was president. ian: that's true. he told obama one thing when he can clearly flip on a dime on a
bunch of things. i do think given the statements he has made in the past 24 hours, the likelihood of some form of limited military strike against syria is quite high. charlie: you mean strike where the chemical weapons are located? is there some danger? ian: there is always danger of civilian casualties when you are talking about these sorts of strikes, and also dangers that americans will die in the fight as well. the biggest danger is the russian reaction. when obama was considering the strikes when he was going to congress, the russians were not militarily engaged in syria. that is not the case today. charlie: why should we care? ian: about? charlie: the russians. what are they going to do? ian: maybe they back down, maybe they don't.
charlie: with a do any more than we did when they came into syria? ian: the is ravens have engaged in surgical strikes and they have not responded to them, so it is a fair point. i also note one of the key things trump wanted to accomplish was some form of rapprochement with russia. clearly that has gotten vastly harder given all of the smoke around some of trump's team and the relations with the russians. concerned,trump is let's not talk about american national interest. let's talk about trump. if trump believes the russians intel on him or his team and he decides he's going to engage in strikes against syria after the russians
have explicitly said that the syrians, the syrian government was not using chemical weapons, i would think trump would have some vulnerability there. idea. no i have no idea. charlie: the so-called dossier. far, you have to think it is strange despite the fact you have people like ambassador nikki haley taking on putin and the kremlin every bit as harsh in her words as we saw from samantha power when she was ambassador -- has the she says she complete approval of the president to do that. ian: she is doing her job. i believe that is the case. trump himself has made none of those statements and has taken every opportunity to say no. charlie: other people in the administration have been to tougher on russia. ian: there is clearly an enormous split within the trump
administration on how to handle russia. tillerson has been less so. the u.s.-russian relationship in the last 24 hours has deteriorated more quickly i would argue than at any point under the obama administration. absolutely. ian: in the in the past 24 hours? ian: the syrian issue. charlie: it is what the president has said he might to and the way he has approached the syrian issue. ian: it is virtually a 180 degrees shift. you have the trump administration saying there is ssad.y to get rid of a ian: they john mccain said i don't care what the russians do in reaction
here it my view is that syria is more of a conundrum, more a quagmire that even iraq. there are lots of ways to people.the syrian you can bring over more refugees, provide humanitarian aid. it is not clear to me that going after the regime directly and militarily is the way to go. something worth considering is taking steps to move towards a transition. to move towards a transition government answer which sees bashar al-assad out. ian: there was a kremlin spokesman who made a comment. it is a lower level spokesman. it was just a few hours ago, saying russia's support for assad was not unconditional,
which i thought was interesting. charlie: i have heard it before from russia. ian: exactly. at the end of the day, russia is not the only player, perhaps the most important player, in terms of assad militarily. the iranians are doing more on the ground than the russians are. putin does not call all the shots. the question is, first of all, to what extent putin is thinking about using this as leverage aninst assad, but is there opening for tillerson and trump to say this is not about the lee terry strikes. this guy is beyond the pale. -- about military strikes. this guy is beyond the pale. we need something else. is there a way to work with the russians on that? you're trying to
coordinate with the russians on antiterrorism. it will be difficult to get that done. you at least have a glimmer of life from the kremlin statement in tillerson today. charlie: why did the assad government do this? ian: well, i will give you a question in return. how confident are we that the syrian president is the one that actually quarters all strikes from his air force? do we think he has that level of control today given the did to ration of governments within the country? i don't know. i have a fair amount of confidence given what the pentagon has said that chemical weapons were used by the regime against the people, that it was not as the russians claimed that they hit a depot and it blew up, but thus far, i have no reason to believe anything about who ordered it. i just don't. that raises the question of what
kind of governance is there. we are in the seventh year of war. you have had millions of refugees and over 500,000 dead, and the idea that assad has complete strong putin-like top-down control over his military forces given the clear lack of morale their strikes me as an opening question. you could argue that the fact that trump said this is not a priority embolden him and now we justse our weapons, destroyed the morale of these people on the ground, but you could also just as easily argue that this was someone within the syrian air force the decided to take this step. assad aside had nothing to do with it. i don't have a basis to make that decision. charlie: where did you go in the middle east. divide. emirates, i'll. he
-- they like trump. secondly, to the extent that trump is willing to go hard against terrorism and even against radical islamic terror. if you are one of the gulf monarchs to let you don't have a problem with that. the lack of focus on human rights -- obama talked a great game, but did not do much in the region. she did limit some weapons sales to bahrain. is trump administration saying let's give you guys whatever you need. that makes them comfortable, but clearly they are unsettled by how much they don't know. in the emirates, they were concerned about the laptop ban,
which they thought was about helping american air carriers that are getting crushed by him or its airlines and others than about security, so i think they are concerned about kids going to american universities suddenly get extreme vetting when they come into the country. week, generally speaking in the middle east the qatar,ates, the saudi's, they feel more comfortable about trump than obama. because they believe he is more likely to come to their defensive necessary? ian: he is more focused on the traditional american allies in the region. obama said heay
charlie: his earlier film was selected for the 2016, film festival and focused on the militia fight in syria. i'm pleased to have bernard-henri lévy back at this table. what is it between you and the kurds? bernard-henri: a political love story. they are so brave, liberal, such an exception in this area, pro-west, equality between women and men. you have women fighting in the same battle units as the men. they are tolerant towards the other religions. you saw the image of this christian church which has been it is muslim isis.
girls who put the cross back. i had the chance and honor to go with them on the front lines. testimony for the bravery, the atrocity of the war, and for the bravery with which they confront this war. charlie: in the battle for mosul , they are fighting at the same fighting.aqis are how did they get along together? coalitionnri: it is a with also western forces. charlie: american air support. bernard-henri: air support, ground support. i met some american officers, american special forces. they are in the movie. they are on the ground. coalitiono, it is a of men and women of good will against barbarity.
it is a coalition. kurds open the gates of mosul. aqi is dealing with the battle. aboute: do you care more making documentary films than writing books, those experiences like this? bernard-henri: it depends. i had the chance to be a first-hand witness. i had the chance to be taken line.y team on the front show what i saw . this it could not be shown in a
better way. you have to see these women wounded to death, this population surging from the ruins with hunger. -- have to see this women the snipers from the roofs. ruin cityo see this because they liberated a ruined the city. it is so heartbreaking. berlin in 1944-1945. charlie: what do they fight for? bernard-henri: for themselves, for their families, for their country, but they are the kurds and the iraqi army, our boots on the ground.
all the kurds with whom i spent that wed day told me fight for civilization. we fight for the values of freedom. the famous question in 1943 why do we fight? the kurds asked the same question and say, we fight for freedom. we fight for america. we fight for france. we fight against jihadist them. m. this is a great thing to see. they are fighting against radical islam. this is a great experience and proof that the battle is not between the west and the rest. , and isome, within some am proud to have to have filmed and shared the experience with
these liberal and democratic muslims. how did the kurds in iraq differ from the kurds in syria? bernard-henri: in a way, they are the same. they are brothers. at the heart of every assad kurd beats the heart of -- moreeshmerga are probably pro-west. some remnantse is of leninism, so there are some political differences but they are kurds and they share this great patriotic home nation for the kurds. how does the united
states handle the issue that we drives some kurds that the former prime minister of turkey crazy? bernard-henri: america is right to support the kurds. we are supporting our brothers in arms, and our brothers in spirit. charlie: they see them in some cases as terrorists who want to take part of turkey back. bernard-henri: the kurds i accompanied in the war i can tell you are not terrorists. terrorists, aean different definition than isis? bernard-henri: exactly. there are those who fight isis, for our values for example, one example which for me is a little test. the relationship with the jews in the muslim world, this is a
real test. in kurdistan, it is the only place in this part of the muslim world where relationship with jews and israel is pride and not shame. one day i was taken by my escort to a village. i did not understand why it was far from the front line. they knew i was interested in the front line and that i was there to film. they insisted to bring me to this village. when i arrived in this village, they wanted to show me a place of great pride for them, not sacred, but the house where was ministerrmer defense of israel. so you have a muslim country where the birthplace of the former minister of israel is not
something which they have to hide. charlie: do remember which defense minister it was? so i knownri: yes -- a lot of muslim countries where these sorts of places would be hidden as a shame which has to be forbidden. here it is praised and shown to a visitor. it makes a big difference. maybe it does not please mr. erdogan, but for a french citizen, it makes a big difference. kurdse: so you have the and the iraqi army and the american army fighting. how long will it take to completely retake mosul? bernard-henri: i cannot say that. i made my point of honor in this film to show what i saw as i saw it and when i saw it, so what is happening now, i have no special
inside. my feeling is that it will take some more time because isis are fighting in a cowardly but desperate way. they are cowards, of course. they use the weapon of the koran, hostages, children on the front line. they are shame, but there back against the wall and they will fight to be in. the battle which began now is very tiny and narrow streets where humvees -- you just saw my , no humvees,railer no tanks, no weapons. it has to be taken house by house, so it will take some time, but they will be defeated,
and it will be important because mosul is important for two reasons. it is a biblical city, a biblical home of evil. number two bank, it is the capital of the terrorist attacks. they hate us. in the last month or years, had ,and, mosuln syria so this battle is crucial. the next target is a city in iraq, where there is the big part of the leadership of isis from and after that raqqa.
yousef: welcome to the best of "bloomberg markets: middle east ." the major stories driving headlines. the proposed merger between the national bank of abu dhabi, looking like it will cost twice as much as expected. south africa warned further downgrades could be on the way. moody's said it is reviewing the situation. oil rallies,