tv The David Rubenstein Show Peer to Peer Conversations Bloomberg May 1, 2017 3:00am-4:01am EDT
>> let's kick off with our top story. republicans and democrats have reached a tentative deal that will prevent the u.s. government grinding to a halt. the $1.1 trillion spending bill will fund most federal bodies, but rejects much of president trump's wishlist, including money to begin building a wall across the u.s.-mexican border. it should keep the government opened through the end of september. french presidential candidate marine le pen says her presidency will lead to the end of the euro. with less than a week to go until the vote, she also told europe one radio or economic plan could be implemented without a euro exit. centristt poll shows
emmanuel macron has the support of 59% of voters while le pen is 41%.nailing with theresa may is sticking to her guns that she should be able to have a free trade deal while discussing departure arrangements. 27 nations agreed over their weekend the priority is where the settlement. the resolution of the border between northern ireland and the republic. >> i'm very clear that at the end of negotiations we need to be clear not just about the brexit but also what our future relationship is going to be. these negotiation's are going to be tough. >> lower commodity prices pushed china's official factory gauge lower in april, declining from a five-year high. 51.2acturing pmi fell to from 51.8 in march, missing analyst expectations.
the first economic indicator for the second quarter signals growth of the world's's second-largest economy is set to slow after unexpectedly picking up in the first three months of the year. the united states is considering a range of options as it reaches out to allies in confronting north korea's latest provocations. h.r. mcmaster said the elastic missile tests this week were in "defiance" of the international community. >> we have to do something, again, with partners in the region, and globally, and that involves enforcement of the u.n. sanctions in place. it may mean ratcheting up the sanctions even further. then it means being prepared for military operations is necessary. >> meanwhile, north korea says it will speed up steps to bolster nuclear deterrents. time for a check on the key asset classes. most european markets are shut for the mayday holiday. the u.s. spending bill weighing
in on the s&p 500, equity futures up. the dollar-yen trading at 111.84. i'll be back in half an hour. this is bloomberg. >> there were two incidents where you almost lost your life. -- to gett went over out of the hospital, they didn't want you to leave that soon. the only time i have ever stopped at 50. >> you have never before had people -- it's a chilling experience. president obama calls you into the oval office, asks you to do something and you do it. >> people would recognize me if my tie was fixed. all right.
>> i don't consider myself a journalist. nobody else would consider myself a journalist. i began to take on the life of being an interviewer even though i have a day job of a private equity firm. how do you define leadership? what is it that makes somebody different? coming. --u kirk thank you for coming. you served our country honorably for quite a while, but now you are in something i consider a higher calling of mankind, private equity. [laughter] >> have you compare being in the military and leading truth to private equity. >> i'm not sure i would agree wholeheartedly with that although i feel very privileged to be in the private equity business and in academia.
hard to tops pretty the extraordinary privilege of , particularly if you are leading marines in combat. >> you told me this morning you .xercise an hour and a half i do an hour and a half a year. [laughter] david: if i am lucky. general petraeus: we can talk. david: you are living in new york right now. when you are in new york, you run around central park? how hard is that? general petraeus: 6.2 miles. david: do people recognize you? general petraeus: not as much if you are running. if you wear sunglasses and a hat you can generally run unimpeded and unrecognized. folks are very kind to me walking the streets. can i just ask though if the veterans in the audience would please stand up so that we can recognize you and thank you for what you have done to our country while you were in uniform? david: veterans? [applause]
general petraeus: david, i have often said that those who served in the post-9/11 generation, all of whom are volunteers and raised their right hand and took an oath, likely knowing they would be asked to deploy to a combat zone. i have often described them as america's new greatest generation. something tom brokaw shouted in my ears after he saw our soldiers in the first year in iraq in the first year in mosul. and he saw all that they were doing, myriad tasks from combat to helping rebuild cities that had been damaged during the war, all of these different tasks. and he said, you know, that world war ii crowd was the greatest generation, but surely the men and women we have seen today is america's new greatest generation. and i very much believe in that. david: let's talk about how you
came into the military. your father was a dutch sea captain, and he met your mother, who was from brooklyn, and they met at a church service? general petraeus: yes. david: and he later stayed here during world war ii and became a commander of a u.s. merchant marine ship. general petraeus: during the war, he sailed with u.s. merchant marine. they all signed on. i think it was in 1939 when the nazis overran holland. they couldn't go back to rotterdam. so they came to the united states. david: you grew up in new york city? general petraeus: about 50 miles north of here. about seven miles north of west point. i could actually run home from west point, to and from. david: when you were growing up, what was your nickname growing up? general petraeus: peaches. [laughter] general petraeus: i was in a little league game, and an announcer cannot pronounce it. he said it peaches, and it stuck. it followed me all through my
time at west point. there was a girl in the laundry who had been a high school friend of mine, doing that as a summer job, and she would send me notes, and the laundry you would send to and from every week to someone in class and opened up and it said "dear peaches," so it jumped to west point. it jumped the air gap to west point. david: how did you get appointed to west point? you seem like you are qualified and a good athlete. somebody had to call a member of congress to get you in. general petraeus: you just make an application, right to your congressman and the congressman rights you in. it is a competitive process. david: suppose you hadn't gotten in, where would you have gone to college if you had not done it? general petraeus: colgate. i had a full ride for soccer and academics. david: ok. have you ever thought about how your life would be different? gen. petraeus: not only did i think about it, at the end of two years at west point, we had this spectacular summer where i was in alaska, mountain climbing, glaciers, rivers, so forth. first, in a training course, then with an actual unit. this is our summer training and then i went down to los angeles and a friend of mine who lived
in the hills over there overlooking los angeles, had such an extraordinary experience, i decided, should i really go back to west point for the remaining years or should i enjoy more of this? in the end, i went back, obviously. david: at west point, did you play on the soccer team? general petraeus: i was on the soccer team and a skier. david: you are also a scholar. you graduated near the top of your class, so when you graduated, did you decide you wanted to make the military your career? general petraeus: i just wasn't sure. you know, what was interesting was, of all things, at west point i was in the premed program. i love that particular body of academic inquiry. i think it was also that it was the highest academic peak to scale. it was sort of known as the toughest. all of a sudden, i found myself in the senior year with an
actual slot in the program and i realized at that time i was not absolutely certain i wanted to be a doctor, i just wanted to kind of climb that mountain so i picked infantry instead. i had a wonderful, wonderful experience. david: you got married a few weeks after you graduated to the daughter of the commandant of west point. general petraeus: superintendent is the overarching guy. three-star general. it was a strange blind date i must say, when i found out. david: but it wasn't nerve-racking, you're dating the superintendent's daughter? was in that kind of complicated? general petraeus: we tried to do it clandestinely for a while. that was not very successful and i took a lot of flak over that. yes. there is a particular generals' march that they played parades, and one of my classmates -- i was on the brigade staff, and we were a little way away from the crowd, one of my classmates would sing "my son-in-law, my son-in-law." so, i took a little flak. david: so, you graduated and went into the infantry, working your way up, and there were two incidents that occurred where you almost lost your life. not in combat. gen. petraeus: yeah. there was a pretty aggressive live fire exercise, live grenades, supporting machine-gun
fire and all the rest of that. we were following, in fact general keane, a one star general and the vice chief of staff of the army four-star, was with me when we were walking behind the soldiers. one of them knocked out a bunker, spun out, tripped, fell down, and we think as he did he probably squeezed because you tense up when you are about to take a blow, and a m-16 round went through my chest. luckily, it went over the a in petraeus rather than the a in army. david: so, what happened? you had a bullet in there? general petraeus: the medics start working on you. interestingly, shock set in. they get an iv running, aircraft in. they picked me up and keane held my hand the whole way. went to the hospital. in fact, it has knicked an artery, but not severed it. if it severed it, you would bleed out and you are finished very quickly. it is one of the times when someone turned to me and the doctor said this is really going
to hurt and he took a scalpel and cut an x in my side right down to my ribs, pulled it back, and shoved a plastic tube into the long to try to get suction so the fluid is draining, and that is really what saved my life. then i was put back in a helicopter and flown back to vanderbilt medical center. and of all people, they called in the surgeon on call that day was dr. bill frist and he came in, later the majority leader of the senate and some people were jokingly said petraeus was dying to meet bill frist, and so he did thoracic surgery and i was out of the hospital and about five days. david: the did not want you to leave the hospital, so you did 50 push-ups to make sure you are ok, is that right?
general petraeus: that's the only time i stopped at 50. [laughter] david: ok. i've never gotten to 50. gen. petraeus: yeah. i wanted to get out of there. things were fine. there was no reason to keep hanging around. i was doing laps around the hospital. i put all my tubes in a wheelchair and push it around. i think it was driving them crazy. david: the other incident was you were skydiving, and your parachute didn't quite work and you broke your pelvis. what is that like? is that life defying as well? general petraeus: that's horrific. that was actually worse in terms of pain because it fractured front and rear. your body is literally in two parts. anything that touches -- i rode in an ambulance all the way in and every single crack in the street, not just a bump, was agony. david: did you ever skydive after that? general petraeus: i was told by the army, general keane, in fact, who was then a four-star
said, "hey, no more skydiving." and i said, ok, you give me a division command and i will quit skydiving. david: so they gave you a command. general petraeus: and i was very privileged. david: and you had never had anyone who were killed directly under you working in combat. general petraeus: it was a chilling experience. i remember the radio call when our first soldier was killed, and it takes the wind out of you. ♪ david: you had a number of important jobs in the military, but then the decision was made by president bush to invade iraq and you became a commander there and you went over there as the first part of the military that went into that. it was supposed to be relatively quick. when did you realize this wasn't going to be as easy as we had
thought? general petraeus: well, first of all, we did actually in a matter of weeks actually topple the regime, although there was stiffer fighting along the way in various points, and certainly was predicted by a variety of different folks prior to the invasion, which was that the iraqi units were going to surrender and come over to our side, and then they would help us establish order and so forth did not prove out. there was tough fighting along the way, and i had a nagging sense very early on, probably certainly in the first week once that dust storm blew through, and i had rick atkinson, a washington post reporter ride in the back of my humvee, and i remember turning to him at one point and asking him, tell me how this ends? because i am not sure this is going to according to script. the idea that we are just going to topple saddam and his sons and a few henchmen, and then every one will stay in place and
then there will be a political negotiation, and then we will hand it over to them, obviously proved -- david: do you think it would have been different if we had not decided to get rid of the entire saddam army? general petraeus: these were huge mistakes. we used to have a question on operation center's wall when i was a division commander and it asked, will this operation take more bad guys off the street than it creates by its conduct. that same is true of policies. the firing in the military without telling them what their purpose was proved this meant you are taking tens of thousands of people, and there is no reconciliation process agreed. so you have just created tens of thousands of people whose incentive is to oppose the new iraq rather than support that. david: you led the effort to get control of mosul. is that right? general petraeus: we were in baghdad, which is where we were
told we were going to end up, and then all of a sudden, we got this emergency order to get up to mosul, it is out of control, there is a small u.s. unit up there and there had been 17 civilians killed in responding to a riot. so within about 36 hours, we did one of the biggest air assaults in history up to mosul. we had 250 helicopters or so in the 101st airborne. we immediately blanketed the city with our soldiers, literally pushed right into the city, calmed it down, stopped the looting, and the rest of that and gradually took control of that, and then we actually had an interim government up there within two weeks of arriving. david: you may remember, early on in the work, it was thought that shock and awe was all that would be necessary. all we had to do was show a lot of missiles going off and that would be the end of the war. general petraeus: that didn't completely succeed. i think it did impose a little awe here and there, but there were some folks certainly fighting, shooting at us. we had casualties and lost heavy equipment. david: when president bush decided to invade iraq, part of it was the theory that they had weapons of mass destruction. general petraeus: right. david: and that information came from the cia, among other places. when you became the head of the cia, did you ever dig into it
and say, where did you get that information from? general petraeus: i didn't dig into that as much as i dug into other issues, such as the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, something which i personally opposed for two reasons. one is i think it is wrong. i think it is beyond the international law and geneva convention and so forth. number two is i do not think it is as effective as proponents believe it is. as jim mattis colorfully said, give me a beer and a cigarette and i will get more information than by waterboarding him. not quite that simple, but more simply, it would be that you want to become the detainees' best friend in detention than the interrogator does. and i say this having been the commander who oversaw the holding a more detainees in iraq than at any other time. 27,000 of them, so we have some experience with what works with detainees, treating them humanely while still eliciting information from them is the way
to go about it, and afghanistan as well. david: you had never before had people working directly that were killed in combat. now this experience had people working for you. what was it like to have command of people who were dying? general petraeus: it is a chilling experience actually. the first time -- i remember the radio call when our first soldier was killed and it takes the wind out of you. i remember when i heard a sister unit, the third infantry division, which really spearheaded the fight along with the marine division up two baghdad on the ground with tanks and bradley fighting vehicles, i remember the radio call. i was monitoring their net because we were fighting together, and hearing that they had had a couple of heavy vehicles blown up. david: right. general petraeus: it is chilling. david: right. you were there for how long before you were sent back to the states? david: that was about? general petraeus: that was about a year-long deployment, and i was back for a couple of months
and asked to go back over quickly for an assessment for a couple of weeks for the command, central command, and the secretary of defense on the iraqi security force effort. i came back and reported to secretary rumsfeld and he said great report, now go back and change out of your division and do what you recommended we do. david: have you thought that if you hadn't written such a good report that maybe you wouldn't have been sent back, or never thought that? general petraeus: secretary rumsfeld had an interesting way of giving rewards. the next tour was 15 and a half month tour in the final week or so he was literally patting me on the back. and i thought, this is really nice, and then he said, you know, on the way home, i want you to come through afghanistan. i said, that's not exactly the direct line between two points here, but we did an assessment over there for him on the way home actually. david: president obama calls you into the oval office and says i would like you to give up the central command and go back and be a military commander in afghanistan. what did you think about that? general petraeus: if the president calls on you and asks you to do something, i think you do it. david: you didn't say let me think about it, give me a few minutes? you don't do that. general petraeus: no.
♪ david: you finished your second tour of duty in iraq and went back to the united states. general petraeus: then we had six months in leavenworth, kansas, it is really quite an extraordinary command. we really revamped the whole process of preparing units, soldiers, and their leaders to go to iraq and afghanistan.
and we did the counterinsurgency field manual, which is the intellectual foundation for that. david: once again, you wrote a very good report. you oversaw the counterinsurgency manual, it was so good that people said maybe this person should be in charge of the counterinsurgency efforts. so, you were asked by president bush to go back and lead the so-called surge. general petraeus: right. david: when he said, i would like to go to the surge, did you say i have already served two tours of duty in iraq and i don't want to need to go back a third time? what did you say? general petraeus: no, you say it would be a privilege to do that, and it's the same thing i said president obama sent me down a a few years later with no pleasantries and no one else in the room except the photographer, he said i am asking you as your commander in chief to go to afghanistan, take command of the international security assistance force. i think the only answer at a time like that can be "yes." david: what i didn't understand at the time is how many troops did we have in iraq at that time you went back for the surge? general petraeus: we had about 140 thousand u.s. soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines.
there was a coalition that had some tens of thousands of additional and then we added about 25,000 to 30,000 additional forces during the surge. if i could, i would just point out and i am sure there are some surge veterans in here that would validate this -- the surge that mattered the most was not the surge of forces. it was the surge of ideas. it was the change in strategy, complete change. it was really a 180 degrees shift from consolidating on big bases in getting out of the "faces" of the iraqi people to going back to living in the neighborhoods with them because that is the only way you can secure them. realizing that you cannot kill or capture your way out of industrial-strength insurgency. you have to reconcile with as many as you can from handing off to iragi forces who couldn't handle the escalating level of violence after the bombing in february of 2006 to actually taking back over. we created 77 additional locations just in the baghdad divisional area of responsibility alone during the course of the surge.
david: so, we had about 140,000 american troops. we sent over an additional 25,000 to 30,000, and that was enough given the techniques you used to bring it to a stable position, relatively speaking. general petraeus: it dramatically reduced violence. violence was reduced by some 80% to 85% during the course of a 18 month period. that was about the duration i served. david: after 18 months you came back? general petraeus: no, i came back about 19.5 months after that and went to u.s. central command. david: so, the president asked you to head the u.s. central command, and the u.s. central command is in charge of military operations in the middle east. general petraeus: it is 20 countries, from egypt in the west to pakistan in the east, kazakhstan in the north and to yemen and the pirate infested waters off somalia in the south. we were very proud that it had 90% of the world's problems at the time. david: after you have one of these commands, usually, not always, somebody gets to rise up to be the chairman of the army joint chiefs of staff.
so you were kind of rising up, and then one day, president obama calls you into the oval office and says i would like you to give up the central command and go back to be a military commander in afghanistan. what did you think about that? general petraeus: you know, if the president calls on you and asks you to do something, i think you do it. david: you didn't, i think you did it. say let me think about it, give me a few minutes? general petraeus: no, the only answer to a question like that can be yes. i will say that in that case and actually prior, it was actually secretary gates who was the one who called me. i was actually on leave. it was the last time i saw my father before i went to the surge. we were on a freeway outside los angeles driving to where he lived in a retirement home and took the call from secretary gates. in each case, i wanted to have a little bit more of a conversation and just say i would like you to understand who
you are getting as your commander because my advice on when it comes to drawing forces down and so forth, will be based on the facts on the ground with an understanding of the mission that you have assigned us which will have dialogue informed by an awareness of all the other issues, which you have to deal with legitimately, congressional politics, domestic politics, coalition politics, budget deficits, you name it, but driven by facts on the ground. and that is important because what i'm basically saying is i'm going to give it to you straight. i'm not changing it based on an issue you have to deal with, although i will obviously support the decision that you ultimately make. david: you went afghanistan, spent about 12, 13 months there. general petraeus: a little over 12.5 months. david: what did you conclude? did we really have an effort to successfully get rid of the taliban or reduce their impact or not? general petraeus: well, i said in congress actually in my confirmation hearing that we would not be able to flip afghanistan the way we flipped iraq, if you see what i mean. you can't -- i really did believe we could do in iraq what
we ultimately did. what was eating at me all the time was whether we could do it fast enough, whether we could have sufficient results to report in september of 2007, six months into the surge or not and that was crucial because congressional support was very tenuous, and we did. we reduced violence very dramatically, and it continued to be reduced. and it was sustained in iraq for a good three years to 3.5 years before the prime minister undid it with highly sectarian actions. in the case of afghanistan, i was under no illusions that we would be able to replicate what we had done in iraq. the circumstances are very different. i actually laid out for the secretary of defense after the afghan assessment that secretary rumsfeld asked me to do. the very first slide in that briefing, of course, powerpoint is the means of communication of all the modern general. it said afghanistan does not equal a iraq. so, there was not going to be a prospect of a dramatic
improvement, but our mission in that year which we did accomplish, it was to halt the momentum of the taliban, because they were on the march to reverse it and some key areas, to accelerate the development of the afghan security forces and select afghan institutions so we could begin transition of some tasks, which we did all while achieving the overarching goal, which is still a valid and important mission for the united states in afghanistan. that is to ensure that afghanistan is never again a sanctuary for transnational extremists the way it was when al qaeda planned the 9/11 attacks there and conducted the initial training there. david: you've briefed president bush, 43 and many times president obama. if they were taking sat tests, who would do better? [laughter] general petraeus: i don't grade the presidents that i serve. david: and who was a better athlete? did you ever exercise with either of them? general petraeus: president bush. he could talk trash. he said general, when are you going to have the guts to ride a mountain bike with me.
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i'm gonna just go back to doing what i was doing. find your awesome with the xfinity x1 voice remote. >> you are looking at a live shot of what's happening in athens, greece. crowds gathering. this is your bloomberg first word news. let's send you through some of the key stories we are watching, starting out with republicans and democrats, reaching a tentative deal that would prevent the u.s. government from grinding to a halt. the $1.1 trillion spending bill will fund most federal bodies, but neglects much of president trump's wishlist, including the wall along the u.s.-mexican border. it will keep the american government open through the end of september. french presidential candidate marine le pen says her
presidency will lead to the end of the euro. less than a week to go until the vote, she told euro one radio her economic plan could be implemented without the euro exit. pro-european centrist emmanuel macron has the support of 59% of voters, while le pen trails with 41%. prime minister theresa may sticking to her guns that britain should be able to negotiate a free trade deal with the eu at the same time as discussing its up archer. 27 nations agreed their priorities were the settlement of britain's financial commitments, a guarantee of rates for eu citizens in the u.k., and the resolution of the border between the northern ireland and republic. clear that the end of the negotiations we need to be clear not just about the brexit arrangement but also what our future relationship is going to be. these negotiations are going to be tough. >> softer commodity prices pushed china's official factory
gauge inflation for april, declining from a five-year high. the first official economic indicator for the second quarter signals growth in the world's second-largest economy. is considering a range of options as it reaches out to allies in confronting north korea's latest provocations. h.r. mcmaster says the regime's ballistic missile test this weekend was "open defiance" of the international community. >> we have to do something, again, with partners in the region, and globally. and that involves enforcement of the un's sanctions in place. it may mean ratcheting up the sanctions even further. it also means being prepared for military operations necessary. >> meanwhile, north korea says it will bolster nuclear deterrents. let's check in with the asset classes. most european markets are shot for mayday. the impact of
details on the u.s. spending bill. u.s. treasury tenure at 2.3. i will be back at the top of the hour. i'm yousef gamal el-din. this is bloomberg. ♪ david: while you were in afghanistan, the effort to capture osama bin laden was going forward. gen. petraeus: capture or kill. david: capture or kill. how were you alerted to that, because you are not directly in the chain of command for that decision that night? gen. petraeus: no one else in our headquarters knew at all. i got up myself, no aides. nothing else. we had a joint special
operations command post at the nato headquarters in kabul where i was located. i went in there, sort of surprised them at 11:00 at night, said what are you doing in here? i asked everyone to leave except for one officer who i knew very, very well. we dialed up so we could monitor the operation. we had a lot of contingency plans. and the forces they conducted some of those, at least in the headquarters, was working for me in normal times. but that night they were working for the cia. the cia, it was a covert action, which means the chain of command runs from the president to the director of the cia, leon panetta then, to admiral craven and the next unit. david: did you -- subsequently, the afghan military or their own service or intelligence versus knew that osama bin laden was living there? gen. petraeus: no, i do not think so. we pretty convinced of that. i think leon panetta supports that as do others. david: you are in afghanistan after about 12 and a half months the president said i would like you to come back and be the head of the cia. doing that meant you had to give
up your military career. gen. petraeus: i did not have to, but i chose to. i thought in fact -- the president and i talked about that when he made the decision to nominate me for that. and i agreed that that would be the best approach. i thought it was very important not to have folks think i was going to turn this place into a military headquarters. i literally showed up the first day and said i would do that. with no one but the security guards -- david: was it emotional to give up your military career at that point? gen. petraeus: it is always to -- always emotional to take the uniform off for the last time. it is a wonderful experience. but you have the prospect of this extraordinary new opportunity. it was very exciting. the cia is an incredible group of the men and women, the silent warriors, as we term them. you know, they also raise their hands, taking an oath at a time of war. they know they are not going to get a parade. there is nothing public about
what they do. they can't even have the joy that most of us have talking about what it is they do on a daily basis. david: when you get to the cia, do you say these are all the secrets the country has, and these are not as many as i thought, or these are incredible secrets? which do think? [laughter] gen. petraeus: you know, on a near daily basis, throughout my time there, it was one of those, are you kidding me? seriously? really. so yeah, there are some extraordinary secrets. [laughter] gen. petraeus: by the way, those who think we do not know how to recruit spies anymore or all we do is rely on satellites or something like that could not be more wrong. there are incredibly talented, clandestine services operation that are really exceptional. david: when you are at the cia, not a policy maker, but you are involved in the policy process, how did you look at the
government then as opposed to when you were in the military? gen. petraeus: i think in each case you have input. certainly if you are the commander of a theater of war, iraq or afghanistan, there is certainly no one who has a bigger voice, if you will, when it comes to assessments, options, and recommendations. it is more significant than the central commander in that regard. the same is true of the cia. keep in mind your role at the situation table is twofold. one, it is together with the director of national intelligence to provide the intelligence analysis, to present what your analysts have determined. and occasionally, and the president asked me to do this, if i disagreed with analysts, which i have done three times. a four-star commander, i broke with the intelligence community on national intelligence estimates. that is a pretty big deal. in each case there is generally a reason for it. one of them was in the search,
they had to cut their data off four or five weeks before i did. david: you disagreed with -- gen. petraeus: he said look, if you disagree, i want you to give me what the analysts say, and also give me your own idea. i had more time with the prime minister in the analyst peter. david: you ever worry about a covert operation on you they might perform? gen. petraeus: no, no. the analysts like this. the analysts want somebody who engages them. it is fun. analysts will come in and say today, we are going to talk about the prime minister of iraq. i say great, have you ever met them? no? give your best shot. david: you briefed bush president 43, and you briefed, many times, president obama. what is the difference between the two on briefing them? gen. petraeus: the bush 43 i briefed most significantly on a weekly basis together with my great diplomatic partner in the surge in iraq. we had a weekly video teleconference for an hour every monday morning at 7:30 eastern
standard time. the president with his national security team around the situation room, a videoconferencing directly with us. he had gone all in on the surge. this was, he had put it all on the line. he had frankly overridden the advice of his advisers. very few people were strong behind the surge. general keane by the way was one of those. so he was absolutely, intimately involved in this. then the next day he did a video conference with the prime minister of iraq each week. so it was a different circumstance. we weren't doing the surge in iraq anymore by the time president obama arrives. iraq was in a good place. the question was, how quickly can we draw down without jeopardizing what we fought and sacrificed so hard to achieve? you know, president obama famously does his homework, studies it, deliberates it.
the afghan policy review that was conducted in the latter part of his first year was extraordinary. i don't think any president has ever engaged the national security team, whatever it was, nine or 10 times directly. before each one of those there is the deputies committee and the principals committee. they were exhausted. david: they are both taking an sat test, who would do better? gen. petraeus: i don't grade the presidents that i served. david: all right, and who was a better athlete? did you ever exercise with any of them? gen. petraeus: depends on the sport. president bush -- he could talk trash, by the way. and he did with me. he challenged me. i was in the oval office with my family after the surge in iraq, and he said, general, when will you have the guts to ride a mountain bike with me? i said, mr. president, do you have any idea who you are talking to? i said, i will give you an experience you can write off on your income taxes, education. [laughter] david: did you ever do it? gen. petraeus: yes, i was glued to it. terrific.
he also knew the course, had the best bike in the world. [laughter] gen. petraeus: i had to borrow a clunker. i was the road biker, but the secret service will get you if you try to pass him. i mean, this was a full contact sport when you ride with president bush. it is like nascar, singletrack. always 40. president obama, famously a great basketball player. i don't think that president bush had any illusions he could take president obama one-on-one full-court. ♪ david: what is your view about the importance of nato? gen. petraeus: you can thank vladimir putin for giving it a rebirth in some respects. david: the russians probably interfered with our recent presidential election. gen. petraeus: they are trying to undermine the trust of our people in our system. that is a major issue. ♪
♪ david: you are at the cia and then because of a personal mistake, you conceded that you made, you stepped down, and you voluntarily left of the cia. would you ever go back in another administration? gen. petraeus: i would not rule it out. again, i think it is an extraordinary privilege to serve one's country. and so i think again, for the right position with the right sort of context and so forth, the right conditions, it is not something that i would rule out. david: would you consider running for president of the united states? gen. petraeus: no. and i, i said i would never run back before i left government.
in fact, i actually went to one of the white house chiefs of staff one time under president obama, rahm emanuel. there was a buzz that petraeus is running for office, be careful, suspicious, he is setting himself to run in the next election. i politely grabbed rahm and i said, i am not running for the president of the united states. please understand that. i tried truly to be nonpartisan, not just bipartisan. david: what word did he use? gen. petraeus: he used another word. [laughter] gen. petraeus: infantry men have some degree of familiarity with those words. david: let's talk about the world right now and where it stands. what is your view about the importance of nato and what to improve it? gen. petraeus: i agree with my old marine and ship buddy, james mattis, when he said that if nato did not exist, it would have to be invented. it serves an extraordinary role during the cold war.
the wall came down, and it continued to serve an extraordinary role. and i think that it has a new reason for living. you can thank vladimir putin for giving it, you know, a rebirth in some respects in terms of its importance. there is no question. i think president trump is right that there are countries that are not paying their dues, not doing all that they should. the countries agreed that they should all pay at least 2% of their gdp for defense, and a number of countries have work to do to get to that threshold. david: let me ask you about this. it is reported by many that the russians probably interfered or tried to interfere with our recent presidential election. gen. petraeus: i do not think there is any question about it. i don't think anyone in the intelligence community has any questions. essentially what they are trying to do, arguably what they are literally trying to change the results, but to change how people might see one candidate or the other. certainly they are trying to undermine the trust of people in
our system. that is, that is a major issue. david: in terms of iraq, where do you think iraq is today? is iraq stable today? gen. petraeus: iraq, the situation obviously improved. with our help, the iraqi forces have been retrained and equipped. we are enabling them with so-called nato approved intelligence assets, drones, precision strikes, industrial-strength facilities. gradually taking back from the islamic state those areas they seized. we will eventually defeat the islamic state that is the army in iraq rather than help iraqi security forces on the residual insurgents in guerrilla elements and terrorist cells. but the issue is not these battles. i have said for two years, even from the darkest days, ultimately the iraqis would
prevail in this with our assistance and that of our coalition partners. the real battle is the battle after the battle. it is very, very challenging in that regard. it is not just sunni and shia arabs. there are areas, there are kurds. all of those people have to feel they are represented in the new government. that new government has to be within means, responsive to their needs. and most importantly, minority rights are guaranteed as well as majority rule. that is a tall order. the prime minister, no question that he wants to have inclusive governance rather than exclusive. with the exclusive it was alienating the sunni arabs that created the fertile fields for the planting of extremism and the rise of isis. and the question is, will there be fertile fields again from which isis 3.0 will arise, or not? david: let's talk about syria for a moment. syria seems to be an ongoing war that seems to have no end. what would you recommend to the president of the united states if he asks you what we should now do for syria?
gen. petraeus: they are doing a fair amount of what i would recommend. to be fair, the obama administration in the final six to 12 months made a number of steps. you could argue it took too long, grudging, or what have you, but ultimately, it did take a number of steps to defeat the islamic state as a focus. and i think now that beyond that objective of defeating isis and the al qaeda affiliate in syria, the other objective should be to stop the bloodshed. recognize that the diplomatic effort to create some kind of an agreement that will result in a democratically-elected, multiethnic, multi-sectarian government in damascus for all of syria is probably beyond reach now. so look at what kinds of interim solutions on the ground could be established, could be achieved, so that you stop the bloodshed, stop the further flow of refugees, bring some of those back, and try to stabilize the situation. david: what about the iranian agreement that was negotiated under president obama? do you support that agreement?
do you think it is working? gen. petraeus: i do not support walking away from it without enormous reason for that. i fear that if we left it without that, we would be more likely to isolate ourselves and to isolate iran. david: we have been in the afghanistan military combat longer than any war in our history. do you see any prospect of getting all of our troops out of afghanistan in the for seeable future? gen. petraeus: not in the foreseeable future. i think what we need to do is make a sustained commitment to afghanistan, stop the year on year agony to draw out further. i think we have drawn down a bit too far, and it would be great to have another -- if you take all the coalition forces, say 5000 additional forces, back on the ground -- we are doing foolish things because of these troop caps. there is an aviation brigade deployed out there, all the helicopters and pilots -- they had to leave maintenance crews behind. we paid extraordinary cost and
integrity because manufacturers are sitting in the heartland of the united states without helicopters to work on while their comrades are at war and need them. we have to think our way through that. again, there is no blank check ever, and the afghans should not think they have that. they have to deliver, but they are very much fighting and dying for their country. we need to continue to enable them. because that mission that i talked about earlier, to make afghanistan never a sanctuary for transnational extremists, is very valid. david: what about kim jong-un? nobody in the american government has ever met him. we really don't know much about him. what do you think he is trying to do? gen. petraeus: he is trying to build himself as quickly as he can a deterrent that will enable him to stay in power and to continue the legacy passed on to him from his father and his grandfather. the challenge for this is, this is the crisis to prevent a madman in many people's eyes from getting a nuclear
capability that can actually reach the united states. this is a very real threat, and it is one that confronts president trump uniquely. i don't think any president has had that particular prospect. yes, they were developing nuclear programs, yes, they had some delivery means. but if they get an intercontinental ballistic missile, can get it miniaturized, put a nuclear device on it, that is a significant threat to the u.s. the president may be confronted by that most difficult of decisions. ♪ david: political leaders you most admire? gen. petraeus: i am a great fan of teddy roosevelt. the man in the arena speech has always captured me. the credit belongs to the man in the arena whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. if he fails, at least fails out of all daring greatly. ♪
♪ david: let's talk a moment about leadership. you are considered one of the great military leaders of our generation, maybe any other generation. what is leadership to you? gen. petraeus: leadership has four tasks, which is particularly true at the strategic level. if you are commanding iraq or afghanistan, the carlyle group, you have to get the big ideas right, you have to get the strategy right. you have to communicate them effectively through the breadth
and depth of the organization, oversee their implementation of these subtasks. it has metrics, your battle rhythm, how you spend your time. we have a matrix for months of how we did that. and then most importantly and a task that is often forgotten, you have to have a formal prices to determine how they have to be revised, refined, maybe shot and left on the side of the road intellectually. then do it again and again. it is same in the civilian world as well. think of netflix. three times they have gotten this right. they decided early on to put blockbuster out of business by mailing cd's to people. they worked through that then saw that blockbuster was out of business, now others are doing this. so now the connectivity is fast enough we can stream content, the videos, out to them and download them. they can do all that. then they realize others are doing that, and they made us use bet, $100 million on house of cards, we are going to provide content. reed hastings, a truly admirable and innovative, impressive leader, continues to get it right. david: in the military, who are
the military leaders you most admire overtime? gen. petraeus: i think ulysses s. grant is hugely underrated. now he is once again getting his due. he was the hero of the world really after he left the white house and traveled the world on this famous tour. he wrote fantastic memoirs. and then the southern historians ran him down for the first 50 years of the past century, but gradually, regard has returned. there is a terrific biography by ron white why interviewed at the 92nd street titled "american ulysses." it is a wonderful title or he really was america's ulysses. and the man of hamilton fame, his biography will be out in mid-october as well. grant was the only general in u.s. history who was brilliant tactically, division level, battles with donelson and henry,
the man between the lakes, brilliant operationally, at many things and not the whole theater -- at vicksburg, one of the greatest maneuver campaigns of all time, and then strategically when he charted the strategy for the entire union force. people forget, this was not inevitable. the idea that the union forces were just ultimately going to grind down the south was not inevitable until grant made it so. had there not been for that strategy and the victory of sherman at atlanta and then sheridan in the shenandoah valley, lincoln could've lost the election of 1864. had mcclellin won, he might have sued for peace, and we would not have the united states as we know it now. david: what political leaders do you admire? gen. petraeus: there are a number that have gotten big ideas right over the years. certainly those who are on mount rushmore deserve that. i am a particular great fan of teddy roosevelt. the man in the arena speech has
always captured me. the credit belongs to the man in the arena whose face is marred by dust, and sweat, and blood. if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, and this kind of stuff. fdr again, another great leader. david: current leaders, are there any current leaders you admire? gen. petraeus: there are certainly some in congress have been really, very impressive. men of enormous courage, frankly. john mccain is one who went through an extraordinary difficult period obviously in captivity in north vietnam when he was shot down. endured that, still has limitations of his motion today. truly an individual of principle. i remember sitting in his office one time, and i was trying to support the nomination for an ambassador in the area that i was responsible for. and i realized -- he pulled out
something on the individual and sort of confronted me with it politely. i said, this is a man of enormous principle. indeed, he has been. david: what about your legacy? you obviously have a terrific career in public service, now you are building one in the private sector. what would you like your legacy to be, people will say this is what david petraeus was all about? gen. petraeus: i do not know. to be candid, i have not thought thought that much about that. i have the liberally state as busy as i can, thinking about the future. maybe, maybe it can be said he got the big ideas right a times in some critical situations. ♪
yousef: you are looking at a live shot of the may day protests happening. this is your bloomberg first word news. i am yousef gamal el-din. our top story, coming out of the united states. republicans and democrats reached a tentative deal. $1.1 trillion spending bill will fund most federal bodies. this includes money to begin building a wall on the u.s. -mexican border. this should keep the american government open through the end of september. french presidential candidate marine le pen