tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg June 29, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
♪ announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: william burns is here. in 2015, he became president for the carnegie endowment for international peace. he retired from the foreign service in 2014 after 33 years in the state department, where he helped with russia and jordan. he was only the second career diplomat to become secretary of state, serving under hillary clinton and john kerry. john kerry described him as a diplomat's diplomat, on a short list of american diplomatic legends. good to see you. legend? bill: hardly.
charlie: good to see you. let's just talk about the world. when you look from washington, tell me where the problem areas are. there is oh the middle east. beyond that? >> i think the two imminent problems are north korea, where the regime is making steady progress toward having a missile you could put a nuclear warhead on and strike the continental u.s.. i think there is an increasing danger of collision with iran. there are a lot of deeper problems, too. this is one of those periods of transformation on the international landscape, sort of like 1945 was, like 1989 was with the end of the cold war. a lot of things are in flux. american leadership comes -- a lot of questions about the uncertainty about the nature of american leadership. charlie: the interesting thing about it from my perspective, it is a time for opportunity. or loss. bill: it is. it is a time for opportunity
with the united states the preeminent player to help to adapt institutions and alliances and shape that landscape before it gets shaped for us 10, 20, 30 years down the road. i think there is no substitute for that kind of american leadership. charlie: do you think today we are shunning that role? bill: i think there is too much uncertainty, too much unpredictability. accustomed,tten whether they like it or not accustomed to the united states , trying to make sense of all these changes in the landscape and trying to mobilize coalitions of countries to deal with them. that's why when the united states pulls out of the paris climate agreement, it leaves a hole, which is difficult for other players right now to feel. charlie: doesn't the nature of abhor adoesn't nature vacuum? it does. if we don't play that role, we
can see lots of other people, whether china, asia, russia, europe, iran, regional players. events in the landscape are going to be shaped. it depends on whether we are playing an active role in trying to shape them. charlie: has the idea of america changed? mr. burns: i think the idea of america -- by that i mean the sense of respect and dignity -- when we are at our best, the political and economic openness that is attached to us, the sense of enlightened self-interest that has driven 70 years agoolicy this month, the marshall plan was launched -- the best example i know of enlightened self-interest, a sense that our own self-interest was best served by encouraging others to share in the same kind of enterprise. charlie: rather than we gain, they lose. mr. burns: right. today i worry there is more of an emphasis on the self part of then the and lighten part. that is a danger, over time. charlie: you have traveled a lot. is the world changing in terms of the way they see us?
do they think we are different? mr. burns: there was a pew poll in the last day that shows a significant drop in people's positive impressions, especially their impression of president trump. there is going to be a certain amount of resentment of american power and leadership in the world, but that is a source of concern, i think, when people's the view of america's role, of the american idea is beginning to shift. charlie: the world is changing, too. it is no longer as it was after world war ii. other nations, countries, and regions have risen. mr. burns: i agree, charlie. it is no longer the way it was two decades after the end of the cold war in when united states 1989, was the dominant player in the international system. you have more diffusion of power, the rise of china, over the longer term the rise of , india and resurgence of
russia. but at the same time you have increasing uncertainty, especially in advanced economies, about the future of globalization. a lot of people frustrated about that. you have this increasingly unsettled question of america's role in the world. you put them all together and it creates a fair amount of flux and uncertainty. charlie: interesting at davos, where leaders come to speak, the champion of globalization was xi jinping. mr. burns: and it is richly ironic that a chinese leader in this day and age becomes the champion of openness and everything else. it underscores the point you made before, people are going to fill a vacuum when they see the opportunity to do so. charlie: i just heard on the radio news that china is building a huge port somewhere. i don't know if it was in the middle east or in africa, but it gave them -- they are building it with their money and their labor. that gives them political
-- a geopolitical advantage. mr. burns: and there is this big new one belt, one road strategy that the chinese launched with a lot of fanfare two months ago. part of it is straightforward and economic. there is a huge need for infrastructure construction across eurasia. the chinese have a lot of underutilized capacity for that. but another part of it is strategic. this is about extending chinese influence across eurasia. that's not to suggest that is a threat to american interests, but it's something you've got to recognize. it is a strategy. charlie: their strategy has not then hegemonic or imperialistic, has it? mr. burns: no. there has always been a sense in china historically, that its region revolves around china, the imperial kingdom. and that they ought to be surrounded by deferential players.
that is different from aspiring to a global hegemonic role. china has benefited from the kind of order that the united states led the way in shaping, so that there are economic opportunities for china, a sense of security across asia. there is nothing inevitable about a collision between the united states and china, but it will be a tricky relationship to manage. charlie: people are writing books that it may be inevitable. mr. burns: history is full of collisions between rising powers and established ones. charlie: that is the rule, rather than the exception. mr. burns: that is the challenge for state craft and leadership, to manage complicated relationships right that. charlie: and rising powers are inevitably going to be in conflict with established powers. mr. burns: there are going to be collisions, but what kind of collisions they are, whether they are political, economic, military, whether they can be
managed in a peaceful way is a different issue. that question -- charlie: what about institutions like nato? the president first says they are obsolete and then says no, , they are not obsolete. but he does not give a ringing defense and participation and support for article five. mr. burns: he does not, which is a misjudgment. for the united states, our alliances are what set us apart from lowly or powers like russia and china. charlie: there used to be the warsaw pact. mr. burns: right, but today they don't. we need to invest in those. of course they have to change and adapt and our european partners need to do more for our common defense. charlie: and there are issues that are not nation-state, but are transnational, like climate. national security issues. mr. burns: an increasingly, food insecurity, water
insecurity, global health issues. the administration of george w. bush deserves credit for the initiative that has brought not just africa, but the rest of the globe to the edge of a generation. those were really important things for the united states. cyber issues are going to be an increasing challenge. in the nuclear field 60 years ago there were not any rules of , the road to deal with this phenomenon. the united states took the lead in trying to develop those kinds of rules of the road to manage this. we will have to do the same thing on cyber issues. charlie: give me your assessment of putin. is he different today? mr. burns: like any leader, any human being, he has you vault. he is a combustible combination
of grievance security, and , ambition. he was a shaped in the 1990's when putin felt the western united states was taking advantage of russia's weakness. but he has put that attitude and -- in a much more pugnacious form. he is willing to play rough and take calculated risks. where he sees openings, syria or ukraine or elsewhere he is going , to push. charlie: should we have challenged him more in syria and ukraine? mr. burns: i think there are things we could have done differently over the years in syria. in ukraine, the response of the obama administration and importantly, the response alongside angela merkel and our european partners was a strong one, and it helped prevent putin from overreaching beyond crimea. that was a sensible response. but this is going to require long-term vigilance.
i think a relationship with putin's russia is likely to be adversarial. charlie: what if we had said when he went into crimea, either you leave, or else -- what did the else mean? mr. burns: the else is a tough question. for putin, crimea and ukraine was a fundamental interest for lots of russians, so he was not going to back down. he was likely to double down. charlie: the conversations i have had with him were somewhat lengthy. he talks about those people who speak russian, who are no longer within russia. mr. burns: right, and he has this sense -- and it is true of the number of russians and the political elite -- that you ought to have a deferential ukraine, deferential to russian interests. but if you cannot have a deferential ukraine, the next best thing from putin's point of view is a dysfunctional ukraine. charlie: we ought to recognize there has been a history, you
have to appreciate the culture and history of the place. mr. burns: you do. charlie: but should we recognize a deferential relationship between ukraine and russia? mr. burns: no, i think of ukraine, i think the fundamental point of international order is that ukrainians ought to be able to make their own choices. they should not be subordinate to another power. of course you have to recognize the bonds of history and culture and economics, but i don't think the russians are entitled to a sphere of influence which would include ukraine. charlie: do you worry about russia and iran? mr. burns: there is a lot of mistrust between russians and iranians, historically. historically, they are competitors, not partners. when we used to do nuclear talks with iranians, the surest way to get a rise was to raise of other party. tactically, they have made a lot
of common cause. they both see opportunities to chip away at american leadership in the middle east. but it was possible to work with russians on the iranian nuclear agreement. charlie: they were supportive. the president has said that. mr. burns: they were solid partners, and we have tried to make it difficult for the iranians to drive a wedge between us and the russians because if we knew that we held that part of the effort together, we could hold the whole coalition together. charlie: where do they stand on terms of iranian behavior, having to do with supporting hezbollah? mr. burns: they are partners with the assad regime, which creates challenges for us and our friends in the middle east. i think the russians have been good at insisting the iranians hold to their obligations in the nuclear agreement. in general, they have looked for ways to make common cause with iran and the middle east. aboute: what can we do
iran other than more sanctions? , mr. burns: inevitably, managing iran and developing a strategy for iran is going to be complicated, no matter who got elected last november, because the challenge would be, how do you implement the nuclear agreement, which i continue to believe is the best alternative for preventing them from getting a nuclear weapon, but how do you do that within a wider strategy which recognizes the iranians threatened our interests? that is a tough balance to strike, but i think that is a challenge. i think there are sanctions that we can employ, whether it is missile tests that the iranians do, and development of that it or human rights issues -- we should not be shy about doing that, but it is a tough balance. ♪ charlie: history will probably
look at that secret mission that you and jake sullivan i'm not , sure who else was there -- explain that to us. what happened? mr. burns: in the first term of the obama administration, we worked hard to build up a fair amount of pressure and leverage against iran. by the beginning of 2013, the value of our oil exports had dropped by 50%, the value of their currency had dropped by 50%. so there was a moment where you could use this leverage, and
president obama decided that, the best way to test, given the baggage on both sides to the iranian revolution in hostage crisis, was to do it quietly. irani government had achieved the release of three. they had a track record. in march of 2013, we met on nine or 10 different occasions with an iranian delegation. charlie: what would you do? do you show up at a hotel and nobody knows who you are, and on the floor above you are a bunch of iranians? mr. burns: we used marked -- unmarked u.s. government aircraft, so we did the best we could in this day and age to keep it quiet, and we met in what was an old omani officers
club on the beach where there was not a lot to do other than engage with iranians. especially after president rouhani was elected, it became clear that the iranians wanted to try to reach a negotiated resolution. very tough negotiators. it was not an easy process at all. but i think we were able to make rapid progress. charlie: they wanted a deal, and you wanted a deal. mr. burns: and it was not a coincidence, because they were feeling heavy economic pressure. but i think we faced one of those situations where we built all this leverage with a coalition behind us, and an iranian government which was evidently ready to engage seriously, either use that leverage or risk losing it, because our partners would have gotten nervous. that was the moment to try to take advantage. charlie: in terms of negotiating, was that as good an effort as you had seen? you could have lost that at any moment. although you had two people who
wanted a deal. but they had a lot of pressure back home to not go too far. mr. burns: there were lots of pressures in washington, lots of people questioning the wisdom of even engaging, and still do, to this day. iranad a supreme leader in that was quite skeptical, always willing to tell you, i told you so. we always understood it was very fragile. charlie: and he always gets credit for it? mr. burns: he was a smart, tough negotiator with iran's interests in mind. and he pushed it as hard as he could. john kerry deserves enormous credit. charlie: the supreme leader, did they have a relationship? i remember when he left here as ambassador, a lot of us knew him -- he had been at the table, 10, 15 times. when he left, people said, he's going back to oblivion. then, all of a sudden, you have rouhani as president, and he is
made foreign secretary. mr. burns: right, and i think his professional skill was recognized by the supreme leader and the very tough-minded people around him as unbalanced, and he has demonstrated that over and over again. i think the supreme leader was always quite skeptical that this was going to produce an agreement. charlie: how old is he, late 70's? mr. burns: i think. i'm not sure exactly. charlie: rouhani just got reelected. mr. burns: he did. charlie: which says what? they used to be a notion, there were countries in the world in which leadership hated us but the people loved us, and places where the leadership loved us and the people hated us. mr. burns: we have gotten ourselves in a lot of trouble with iran trying to play moderates against hardliners.
humility is a good starting point for americans in understanding iran. the reality is, when you have a population 70% are under the age , of 30, with a connection to the rest of the world, unlike a isce like north korea, which much more hermetically sealed -- over time, those kind of pressures and aspirations are going to have an impact on iran's evolution, but that is over time. in the short run, we are going to face an iranian leadership that will challenge us, our friends, and our interests. charlie: what do you make of what happened in saudi arabia in riyadh in terms of the opposition to iran and the president supporting a group of arab states that want to isolate iran? mr. burns: i think reassuring our traditional partners in the particular,udis in was a natural thing for the new president to do. the truth is they were unsettled, to put it mildly. charlie: other things, too, no sense about it. mr. burns: right, the sense that
we threw mubarak under the bus. but the reality is the the bus was halfway over that. but the reality is, reassurance which is sensible, is not the , same thing as uncritical are unconditional support. i think a healthy relationship between the united states and saudi arabia has to be a two-way street, where we make clear that we will have their backs in the face of external threats from iran, that we support the very ambitious economic modernization efforts the new crown prince has launched, but what we also expect is that saudi arabia will be careful about not overreaching in yemen. it also has a dispute with qatar . again, we want a saudi arabia that will pay attention to the deeper drivers of unrest and discontent in parts of the arab world.
what we saw in the arab spring six years ago, people sensed that a lack of dignity and opportunity is going to bubble up again. charlie: how did they survive that? mr. burns: in saudi arabia? it is a challenge. i admire the vision that some on -- the vision that salman has put out in wanting to move saudi arabia away from its heavy dependence on hydrocarbons. it makes perfect sense. it will be very difficult to achieve, but that is something that the united states should support. charlie: the president walks away and says we just got $100 billion from them. we are going to buy whatever it was, whether it was arsenals military supply or whatever it was. that will create jobs for americans. what is wrong with that deal? mr. burns: there is nothing wrong with the historic arms supply relationship with saudi arabia, and it does help create
jobs in the united states. in my view it can't define a , relationship. you can't look at things in such narrow transactional terms. if you want to have a healthy two-way street, i think it ought to address those other issues. charlie: president obama kept saying to the saudis, we have your back. we are here for you. the president would fly to riyadh and say it in person. coming back from some funeral or another. and he always did that, but he would always say to them, look, you've got to talk to the iranians, you can't just consider this a totally hostile relationship. you have to find common ground. mr. burns: it is important to recognize who your friends are, who your adversaries are. the iranians are adversaries right now. mr. burns: -- charlie: of us? mr. burns: of us and others whether you are talking about lebanon, syria, yemen, iraq.
but that is not the same thing as saying that you recognize in the short term they need to push back against the iranians. over the longer term, what you are hoping to create is an opportunity for a different kind of iran with a different outlook that will be a big, ambitious regional power in the middle east, but understand that you have to play by certain rules of the road. charlie: do have sympathy for the secretary of state, when he wants to mediate differences and saudian and qatar arabia? they basically said to the people, you have to shut down al jazeera. we are not going to send planes into your capital, we are not going to do all these things. we are not going to trade with you, we will destroy this relationship. mr. burns: that is the capitulation, not a lifting of
reconciliation. charlie: why would they go that far? is it a bargaining tool? or are they just trying to crush qatar? mr. burns: i think it is largely about crushing qatar, in the sense that qatar has been viewed for the last 20 years as a very small player despite their wealth. that is doing lots of things that irritate the saudis. and to be fair, it poses lots of problems for us. i am not suggesting qataris do not need to remedy certain aspects of their behavior, but it is in our interest to try to get the gulf cooperation council countries to work together. i once said to a former a mere why are they playing all , sides? he said survival. , mr. burns: they aspire to play a larger than life role. and punch above his weight.
you can understand that, but that does not mean you have to agree with everything that qatar has done. having said that, what is happening now is an overreach. charlie: what happens, the secretary of state wants to mediate and the president says, i'm on his side? mr. burns: the secretary of state has a tough job. you are only one feet away from your policy approach being changed. -- only one tweet away from policy approach being changed, and people are going to question the credibility of your statement. this is a tough time for the secretary, and for american foreign-policy. charlie: he is not fully staffed. mr. burns: right. it is a challenging international landscape. there's not a lot of low hanging fruit. as you said, the state department has so many vacancies. there are 50 senior positions in the state department that have to be confirmed by the senate. only three or four are filled. 40% of our embassies do not have ambassadors. the administration is proposing a 31% cut in the budget of the state department and foreign assistance. charlie: 31%? mr. burns: that is a proposal,
anyway. the net result of all that would be to neuter the state department, and this is not just about the institution, it's about what makes sense for american interests in the world. i have huge respect for the american military, but you don't want it to become a tool of first resort. he want diplomacy to be a tool of first resort, because when you can make diplomatic process -- diplomatic progress without the use of force, it is a lot less expensive. in terms of a and american life, as well. it is important to have a well resourced diplomatic arm and development of government. charlie: and also cutting the aid budget. that is the essence of soft power. mr. burns: you look at a lot of fragile states around the world, it is not america's obligation to fix those problems, but we can make a difference. we made a difference in colombia over the last 20 years, a country as close to a failed
state as it was, but is now a contributor to people's security in south america. in part that is because of strong columbian leadership, but also because republicans and democrats provided assistance and focus and attached priority to that. that is a good example of how you ensure that a fragile state doesn't collapse altogether and ends up drawing in the military and create a far bigger problem for the united states. charlie: are we going to wake up in the morning and find out the north koreans not only have the nuclear weapon, but they also can deliver it to the united states? are we going to wake up one morning and find out? mr. burns: i think on the current trajectory, and it's a mistake to underestimate the capacity of this north korean leadership which is quite single-minded about this. within the next three or four years, the north koreans will develop that capacity. that's a huge challenge and threat to the united states. how do you prevent that from happening? i admire the effort that the
president made in his meeting in mar-a-lago with president xi jinping. the chinese hold most of the cards on this issue. 80% to 90% of north korea's trade is with china. the problem today is china sees , a confrontation with north korea over its nuclear program as a bigger threat to its strategic interest than trying to maintain the status quo. i don't think the chinese have changed their calculus to the point where they are willing to lean hard on north korea to produce the kind of leverage that might lead you into a serious negotiation. charlie: with the chinese not being able to do that, there are no easy options. mr. burns: there aren't. the question is can you affect , china's calculus? there are security ways in which you can do that, in the sense of the missile defense system we have provided to south korea, the way we have stepped up security in northeast asia, which the chinese don't like. and then there are economic steps, some of the kind of
things we employed with regard to iran affecting iran's ability to connect to the international financial system. north koreans also deal through chinese banks, so secondary sanctions aimed at chinese banks could have a huge impact, but that's a big roll of the dice in a relationship that is that important. charlie: and the president seems to suggest that what he expects and what he hopes for is not happening, with respect to china pressuring north korea. mr. burns: i think it was the right thing to test, but i think it was almost inevitable that the chinese were not going to deliver in the way the president may have assumed. so, now the choices are a lot more compensated. -- more complicated. charlie: thank you for coming. great to have you. bill burns. back in a moment. stay with us. ♪ charlie: the great john mcenroe
is here. he is a tennis icon. he rose to prominence in the 1980's, winning tournaments with the style and swagger the game had not seen. he won 104 times on tour, including seven grand slam titles. his rivalries elevated the sport's popularity around the world. he writes about his career on the court and life afterward in "but seriously." it is the sequel to his 2002 memoir, "you cannot be serious." i'm pleased to have john mcenroe back at this table. welcome.
john: i always like being at this table. charlie: i have nothing else to say about serena. we talked about that exhaustively this morning. john: you remember "the honeymooners" when ralph would go "me and my big mouth"? charlie: how many years since? john: 15. i don't tweet. i don't get involved in any of the social media stuff. it's a way to give an update of where i'm at, in case anyone is interested. a i don't know if they are or not, but it's a way to get a few things off my chest and assess where i think the sport is, but, more importantly, where i think i am in my relationship with patty and growing as a person. you have to work on looking at the glass half-full, i think. too often in life, you sort of regret or lament the things you didn't do as opposed to appreciate the things you did do.
in "but seriously," i think of this nightmare i have at the french every year in the match where i lost to ivan lendl and i was up three sets to love. while it's a recurring nightmare at the french, which is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and a great place to take your wife, perspective and time has allowed me to appreciate, hey, fans love me in a way there. i sort of shot myself in the a foot, as apparently i did yesterday with serena. try to learn from a harsh lesson will that ended up costing me big time. charlie: you mean not winning the french open. you will live with that the rest of your life. john: yeah. in the beginning of my career, the french was not considered as important to win, or the australian, which i didn't even go to, which were two of the four majors. as my career went on and especially now, people don't talk about how many davis cups i won representing my country.
they don't talk about the masters, which used to be played at madison square garden. they talk about the four grand slams. my all-time ranking list seems to be dropping every year. charlie: who never won the u.s. open? john: bjorn borg. charlie: ivan lendl never won wimbledon. john: that's correct. that sort of allows these nobodies like federer, nadal, and djokovic to bypass us in the all-time rankings. charlie: i want to read this to you. i said something like this and this morning. this is in "the financial times." >> this was the mcenroe i knew from his days of tennis dominance when he humbled borg at wimbledon in 1981, with seven grand slam singles titles in six years. he was never the biggest or strongest player, just relentless and resourceful. his gift was conceptual. he could see all the angles on the court and he knew when to go
in for the kill, charging the net to deliver a winning volley with a flick of his incomparable left-hand. there was always something mysterious about how he got where he was going, and now he was running over me as if i were a european neophyte, unaccustomed to the hard courts at flushing meadows." john: a bit dramatic. charlie: yes. i liked it. the reading was probably overdone. you did have a sense of the court. john: i was very fortunate when i was young to fall into the lap of a couple, sort of legendary tennis icons in their own way. harry hopman, who was a great davis cup captain, who taught laver, rosewall, all these great australians, and had a falling out with that federation and moved to new york, where i had no idea who this guy was. but he had this aura about him. he made you want to do more and try harder and he helped me quite a bit. the other guy was this great fax,can player, tony pali
who taught me how to play and had me look at the court like a geometric equation. so, constantly, in my mind, like a mini computer, where i hit a ball a certain place, i would quickly try to assess what that would do in terms of odds and try to look at it from that standpoint and to keep relentless pressure on, especially as i got my big old 5'11 3/4", 170-ish pounds, that i could cut the ball off and use the angles to my advantage. in those days, like wimbledon, they were in far worse shape. a lot of bad bounces. you were taught to take a little bit shorter backswings. you were taught to take the ball in the air when you could. the game is totally different now the courts are much truer , now. that is a good thing for tennis, but at that time you needed to , be resourceful in a different way. that's why you see us play that way and guys serve and volley a great deal. it ended up working to my advantage for quite a while. charlie: i assume the french open is your greatest regret? john: no question. it wasn't until about six years
into my career that i wanted to prove i could win on any surface. ironically, as a kid growing up the only titles i won in the juniors were on clay. the french open juniors. i traveled down to brazil and won the banana bowl. all these clay-court events. and i felt like it was a way that i could play, but i preferred being the aggressor and attacking. that was more my natural personality, natural style of play, so i wanted to prove i could do it on the clay courts. i was five points away with ivan. that was obviously my biggest -- i really blew it there, in a number of ways that i explain in this book. and i have to live with that, but it humbled me. i don't know if my head would have fit in the store had i won that tournament -- in this door had i won that tournament. charlie: you are doing fine. what's your greatest victory?
john: ironically, the greatest moment in my career was the match i lost to borg at wimbledon. charlie: one of the great matches of all time, period. john: i'm proud to be part of that. charlie: don't you think? john: i think so. 100,000 people have told me they were at the match when it is a 15,000 seat stadium. charlie: i've seen it 15 times. john: so, that elevated me in more ways, even though i lost that match, in terms of my respect with my fellow players, respect, even, dare i say, the media, fans, more than any win i had. the most satisfying win was getting the monkey off my back the following year when i beat bjorn in the final in wimbledon the following year. charlie: when was it that he left tennis? john: 1981, which was very unfortunate for tennis and extremely unfortunate for me. i thought our rivalry was growing. if you look at chris everett and martina navratilova, they played 80 times. if you look at nadal and federer, they played almost 40 times now.
nadal-djokovic, 45. we played 14 times. i thought things were starting to cook. we were 7-7 career. yes i had won the last three and , it elevated me to number one. bjorn felt that if he wasn't one, it didn't mean anything. it didn't matter if you were two or 100. i felt differently. he seemed to think "forget it," and he walked away from it. he did something extremely unusual when i beat him at the u.s. open, he shook my hand, took his bag, went straight to the plane and did not stay for the ceremony. i would have been arrested had i done that. charlie: and did not pick it up again for a long time. john: never played another major. he did try to pick it up years later and play with the wood racket. what are you doing? it's a little late for the wood racket. but i would ask him consistently, charlie, when are you coming back? i would have preferred being number two another year or two
and had him back, i swear to you, because i think it would have been that much more fun for me and for the sport. charlie: you like him, too. john: i did. he was probably the only person i never had a fight with. in a one-on-one game, you are trying to get an edge, under the guy's skin. certainly, me and connors did a lot of trash talking. becker and i. ivan, no question. bjorn never said anything or changed his expression. anything i did would be that much worse. i would look like a total ass. i realized this was so great. i didn't need to do anything. which made life a little bit easier. but i will tell you that the third time we played, we were in new orleans, and it was 5-0 in in the third set and i was acting up. this is one of the times where i did act up against him. he comes to the net --
i thought, oh, my god, he is going to tell me i'm the biggest jerk that ever lived. he put his arm around me. look, this is good. this is great for us, great for tennis. enjoy this. at first, i was like, he is just trying to get reverse psychology on me. what's he doing? then i realized this was sort of , the ultimate compliment. he had accepted me, taken me under his wing. that meant so much to me. charlie: he had a tough life. he had himself straight, didn't he? john: he had some tough investments. now he has another one doing unbelievable. he's like michael jordan in scandinavia and most of europe. when i was 14, he was at wimbledon. there were 250 girls outside the locker room screening, like it was beatlemania. that was the first time i said, i want to be a tennis player. if i can get -- no player before or since has had anything close to the way bjorn did. charlie: you said something that was interesting to me.
you said you still want to play the game. you still like to go out on the court and play. john: i love it. charlie: but then you said they still pay me. i don't know if i would go if they didn't pay me. john: the truest way of knowing whether or not you love what you are doing -- charlie: you do it if they don't pay you. john: i'm hoping that never happens, but i'm getting the feeling it might. i had this tennis academy. i loved to get out there with the kids and hopefully show them a thing or two. the body doesn't react quite as consistently. once every couple days, i feel pretty decent. i feel like i can do damage for an hour, hour and a half, and that makes me happy. we are lucky in tennis. we are not like these for -- these poor football players, they are crippled at 30, 35. the average lifespan of a football player is 59. we can go out and i can play -- the likes of roddick to borg to connors.
the last 25 years i've had -- sampras, agassi, jim courier. all different types of players i've had the chance to go out with. is not the same as being in wimbledon or the u.s. open, but it's a heck of a lot of fun. we appreciate the moment a little bit more. charlie: you love rock 'n roll. john: i do. charlie: and still do. john: i do. charlie: did patty say to you, god does not allow you to be the great john mcenroe and at the same time to be keith richards? you need to realize that. john: she's told me that more than once. the more i play guitar, the more i appreciated my tennis. i have to say. as she put it come i wrestled the guitar into submission. i've gotten better. she's like, john, just don't sing. i will let you play the guitar, but please don't sing. charlie: you guys have been together how long? john: 23 years. charlie: some magic there, huh? john: i was lucky.
at the end of my career, my ex-wife decided that she wanted to have a separation and we had three kids in five years. little kids. charlie: she decided. she said to you john, i want , out? john: yes, which was shocking. maybe in retrospect, i should not have been totally shocked, but at the time i was. she said something i will never forget. a few weeks later, she said, someday you will thank me for this. charlie: did you find that day? john: i did. with patty, this opportunity i just didn't think was going to happen, nor did i wanted to happen. if you have a terrible marriage that and then the difficult way you want to hope to be able to , get along at a certain level. we had three kids. when you are so engulfed, and i'm sure a lot of people can relate -- i was very fortunate that i had this second chance, and i didn't want to blow that, and i don't think i have. charlie: what influence has she
had on you? john: one of the big things is that she has allowed me to be myself. she has allowed me to pursue the things that i like to do. she has allowed me to get, hopefully, some people to realize that maybe this isn't such a bad guy after all. and the commentating work is pretty good. she was home with a total of six kids between us. we had two together. she allowed me to do my thing and grow up. she would give me great advice. the biggest thing is just allowing me to sort of become the person, hopefully, that i can feel proud of and that i've been able to improve consistently as a person. she's been a big part in that. i might have gotten more serious about music had she been around. such a bad guy after all. it was better than i did a full circle as it ended up. now i've kept my feet in tennis. even though i love art and music and i love to sort of fiddle around and do some stuff in cameo roles were tv and i've
, tried a bunch of things, ultimately, i think god put me on this earth to try to make a difference on the tennis court. charlie: are you frustrated you couldn't do more for tennis in terms of america? john: i'm frustrated. i feel like we are the 1% very much so. i think it's gotten worse, and it's more difficult for kids to afford the opportunity. that's one of the big things i'm trying to do is to raise enough money that we can make a difference in trying to bring a cool factor. i was lucky. i didn't realize the sport was exploding. i got wind of it when i started playing on the professional tour. i was proud to be part of that. i'm biased. that felt like the heyday of tennis. there was a lot of personality and talk about it. even though federer and nadal are the two greatest players who ever lived, you don't hear about them that much. we have not had a guy win a major in 14 years. charlie: 14 years, no american has won a major singles title. john: that's correct. if it wasn't for serena, bringing it back to her, i don't know where we would be.
at least she has gone on and become the greatest female player ever. venus has done a great job, too. look at their story, two sisters from compton, california. we haven't been able to take advantage of that in the way i think we should have. charlie: how responsible is their father for what has happened to them? john: i think their father seemed to have backed off over the course of the last number of years, which i think was a good thing, as it turned out, because he seemed to to be about himself. but he was crazy like a fox. charlie: he was crazy like a fox. he ended up with two really wonderful young women who won lots of tennis. john: absolutely. but i've noticed over the course of the last particularly five to eight years that the mom has really been around, as much of an influence, hopefully, that richard was in a positive way, i think it turned out she was the one really running things and has really stabilized their lives, because they had some horrific things happen. one of their sisters was murdered. serena was extremely ill, had a life-threatening sickness.
venus as well. they've become these incredible sort of legends in our sport, so that's been pretty good. and richard, you don't see him, which -- he has let them do their thing. charlie: but he insisted that they -- he gave them a chance to develop early and young and he kept all the things that could have interfered with becoming really good tennis players. john: i met them when they were eight and nine. i believe that was the years i was practicing with some nobody who was 17, pete sampras. charlie: whatever happened to him? john: he did ok. and richard williams came. paul cohen was my coach at this particular time. he said these girls are going to be the number one and number two players in the world. charlie: richard williams did, the father. john: call me in 10 years. when venus started winning everything, winning the opens and wimbledon, the younger one is better than the older one. talk about putting some pressure on this poor little girl.
and wow. charlie: he turned out to be right. john: yeah. charlie: you can't resist -- i hear you in this book. i read this book. there is no monitor on you. there is no -- john: i wouldn't totally agree with that. charlie: because you do have a sense of "i'm going too far if i say" -- john: i'd like to think at 58 have a sense of that at this point, but i didn't think i was going too far the other day. charlie: you talk about family things and in-laws. john: it's not -- it's been a bit of a roller coaster, but it's been a hell of a ride. hell of a ride. 40 years ago, in a couple weeks, i went over and got to the semis of wimbledon. that's a long time. 40 years ago. i was 18. that completely changed my life. i came back and all of a sudden,
you are the brat kid. charlie: that's what they put on the magazine covers. john: yeah. apparently there is a new word in the oxford dictionary as of earlier today, "super brats." there's a picture of me. charlie: there is something to be proud of. john: when you look at your game at 25 and look at it now, was there weakness? john: my biggest or that was thinking i had to change something. because i don't believe i had to, had i been able to keep the body in the type -- if you lose a little bit in tennis and i lost an edge a little. when i took time off, i wasn't quite as sure of myself. my hands were full with my wife at the time and trying to figure out how to do that, as a parent. there were all types of distractions that i wasn't used to. i wasn't handling them too well. i got caught up maybe in the hollywood thing, which didn't help.
there were many times where i was like, look, i have to refocus. i have to do this. look at these guys coming up, becker, sampras. perhaps, maybe i could have changed the way i hit my forehand. everyone's got these crazy western grips right now. i was taught to play with one grip. that became a little outdated. almost all players played at that time in the -- charlie: not much spin. john: short backswings. i needed to be able to adapt. some people did that better than others. unfortunately, i didn't do a very good job of it. charlie: when you look at life today, you said "where i am." where are you? john: i think i'm in a place where i'm trying to wean myself off -- i'm lucky there has been some attention and people care what i say a little bit. charlie: it seems like they care a lot about what you say. john: i guess that's a good thing in a way. as you mentioned earlier, if i
go out and play tennis, i don't get paid. if people don't care what i say, then i'm still going to have a hopefully magnificent life. my kids are -- you always worry about your kids. charlie: bjorn borg, i've met him and knew him, but didn't really know him. he didn't have a life out of tennis. he had nothing but tennis. he did pretty well with that. maybe you know better. i mean, he was so focused on tennis. john: you have to be all in. these guys are living and breathing it. charlie: it's great to have you here. it's always a pleasure. the book, "but seriously," john mcenroe takes off from what has happened to him since he wrote the previous book, "you cannot be serious." john mcenroe is a friend of mine and i cherish that. john: thank you. same to you. much appreciated. charlie: john mcenroe. thank you for joining us. see you next time. ♪ alisa: i am alisa parenti from
washington. you are watching "bloomberg technology." the deadline to increase borrowing authority and avoid default is early to mid october. a report also predicts the federal budget deficit will spike to $693 billion this year. that is $134 billion more than a predicted in january. the house votes today to ration federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities. a state in local government that has policies restricting cooperation with immigration officers. another bill will increase penalties for people attempting to reenter the u.s., if convicted of