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tv   Charlie Rose  Bloomberg  August 20, 2017 11:00am-12:00pm EDT

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♪ >> from our studios in new york, this is "charlie rose." charlie: president trump continues to whether the fallout from charlottesville, virginia. his comments have put him at odds with top military, business leaders and members of the , republican party. he dismantled to business advisory councils after a series of resignations. today, he insisted the atwitter that he was sad to see united states history ripped apart. joining me now is robert costa. he is the moderator of washington week on pbs.
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where do you think his presidency is in the context of the week that we have seen? robert it is another week of of -- week of upheaval in washington. the president's embrace of these confederate symbols, the statues of the past is his return to his base that he remains an outsider. this antiestablishment figure, and it comes of moral outrage from democrats, and even from some republicans, yet he sees it as part of its strategy to turn away from the political norms that have guided this country for so long, to embrace racially-charged politics. charlie: this is a decision by him and steve bannon, primarily? robert: he has been betrayed as this puppetmaster behind the scenes, but my sources inside the white house, charlie, tell me this decision to embrace
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confederate statues on public grounds is a decision driven by the president himself. a president who sees his approval ratings shrinking. he sees his legislative agenda stalled. and at this crucial moment in the summer of his presidency, he is turning to his base, turning to racial tensions and racial politics that are inflaming our national conversation. charlie: does he have some sense of what he is engendering when ? does this? robert: i robert: it comes just days after the tragedy in charlottesville. these words from president trump, the barrage of tweets we , it shows the recognition by the president, or a lack of recognition, about the consequences of handling the presidency in this way and such a fraught time for the country , when race is at the floor. many republicans and democrats,
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including senator bob corker, a longtime court ally, said on thursday, the president has abandoned the moral authority of the presidency to take hold in command of the country at times like these. charlie: and so, where are the people around him? let us talk about john kelly. robert: my colleague and i have thursday's "washington post" about general kelly we spoke to about a dozen people close to the general and inside the white house. they say he is trying to bring order to the white house, to have a new process of how information gets to this president, making sure calls are routed through him before they get to president trump. yet, as the manages the white house, he is struggling to manage the chief. he is reshaping the staff but not the chief. he stood there earlier in the week is the president had this pinball game of the press conference from topic to topic.
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disgruntled and frustrated. charlie: secondly, what about gary cohn his economic advisor , in the white house? robert: every person close to gary cohn says he was disgusted by the president's remarks on tuesday. this embrace of both sides when it comes to white nationalism, or neo-nazis. he is a national economic director. he is someone leading the fight for the president on tax reform and infrastructure. a former president of goldman sachs. and he has per se been affronted by some of the president's comments. yet, he has not yet resigned. he sees himself as possibly someone who is a new chairman of the federal reserve that slot should open as it is expected to. and he is staying there in part because of that and because he sees a chance to change policies. so, he has not yet met the threshold for stepping down. charlie: and then there was the family. starting with ivanka and
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son-in-law jared kushner. robert: ivanka trump and jared kushner, senior advisor's to the president, have been on vacation until thursday. they have returned now to be with president trump. they, too, are alarmed. they, too, have been unhappy. jared kushner, ivanka trump, gary cohn, so often touted as a moderate influence. it is a reminder that no one except president trump dictates what he does. charlie: back to steve bannon. there have been people projecting that he might, not only about what advice you do , butiven the president
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engaging in a fight with the national security adviser h.r. , mcmaster. some were suggesting his time at the white house was in trouble. robert: he is on thin ice, to say the least. steve bannon joined the campaign in august of 2016. and you see him ever since day one in january, navigating a white house that never really saw him as a natural fit. he has always clashed with jared kushner. kushner sees the world as an internationalist, someone who is ok with international institutions and alliances. once to see the president move in a more moderate direction. steve bannon is against all of that and has been the lone voice , one of the few voices inside of the white house in the wake of charlottesville saying let , the president go out there and fight the media. let him go and say there are all sides of the argument. charlie: where is the republican party? you hear bob corker saying what
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he said. you hear the house speaker saying what happened in charlottesville, and the idea of neo-nazisemacists and , and others being given a voice, and some say emboldened. , does the party have any influence? robert: the party is facing its own crossroads. do they desert trump or not? they have a september that will be an immense challenge. they face a debt ceiling, a budget. they have to find a way to get a border wall funded. that is one of the president's main priorities. tax reform, infrastructure, they --e to think about how the think about how they tackle all these issues. do they abandon these issues and hope for the best in 2020 or no? and they have to reckon with the fact that the president, despite their own to testament of how the president has handled charlottesville, he has his own grip over the voters. they break from him and could
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face a cost in their own states. charlie: north korea is still there. steve bannon said in an interview with bob cutter, said war againsta of a north korea was insane. it would never happen. that is not an option, he said. here is the president talking about fury and fire and all of that. and here is bannon saying, war is not an option. robert: steve bannon is part of the more noninterventionist group in the white house. unlike mcmaster, with home he has clashed on afghan policy on north korea. people like mcmaster, who say, when it comes to afghanistan, said thousands of more troops to stabilize the country in the region. korea, comes to north don't will not any option and steve bannon is against any hawkish intervention.
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but what steve bannon said to the american prospect is that the truth that he finds threat private conversations that no one wants to have the blood of seoul onpeople in their administration. as much as there is tough talk, no one is moving in a military way toward confrontation with north korea. just look at the pentagon. they have not begun to do the things you would expect to see if war was on the horizon imminently. are beginning to say this are asked this question. donald trump fit to be president? means.r that word "fit" and worries about him in terms of what he might do if you felt cornered or felt like he was losing support. do you hear that voice among the kinds of people you talk to about where we are at this moment in our history? robert: you hear that even in the white house and the administration. there is a real heartening when they saw general kelly become chief of staff.
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they hope that he and secretary of state rex tillerson, and jim mattis could be forces that kept line froment in having directions on the world stage. when it comes to whether he is fit to be in office, there are certainly many questions being raised by democrats and republicans about that. but what we are really watching it the unraveling of the norms that always defined american presidency, instead of being this moral authority and voice in times of crisis, the president is turning to his base. this is so alarming for people who follow history, who follow the presidency, to see the presidency being redefined in real and not abiding by those norms. charlie: and he takes pleasure in the notion that he is doing that because he campaigned to be a different kind of president? he was going to clean out the swamp. robert: he does. i have seen this on the campaign
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trail when i have interviewed then candidate trump many times three and he is so -- many times. he is an instinctive populist who loves to fight, loves controversy. and this is the way the presidency in this country is now being governed, by an instinctive, 70 plus-year-old populist. charlie: where do you think it is going? listen to get more intense? -- is it simply going to get more intense? he suggested he is not becoming more in the mode that general kelly and others had hoped he would be. where disciplines, more on message, more easily not distracted. robert: the question, when does it end? when i am in the briefing room, this question always comes up. when does this chaos end.
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when does president trump decide to calm down and move in a more moderate normal direction? the answer may be unsettling, is there will be no end as long as president trump's president of the united states. i have covered him for too long do have this expectation that anything could change because he actually relishes the chaos. he sees disruption as power, and that is not going to change, and has not changed at all since he was inaugurated. he talked about carnage -- american carnage. he is embracing the carnage on the american state. people keep having this wish in the press and in both parties, that that it will somehow turn away but the fire will be put out. it will not. charlie: thank you so much for joining us. we will be right back with dr. henry kissinger. his analysis of north korea with ideas that he thinks that i'm states might consider. statesks the united
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might consider. back in a moment. ♪
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♪ charlie: dr. henry kissinger is here. he served under president nixon and ford. i am pleased to have him back at this table. welcome. you're looking good and i assume feeling well. that is a heavy title there, "how to resolve the north korean crisis" because every government
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i remember is trying to resolve that. how to you do it? >> it is a way to approach it. visit point of the article is the major steps of a report -- our foreign policy has been to bring it out north korea with consequences and asked china to help us. this threat is not fully effective because the north koreans, they has spent decades of oppressing their people, and depriving them to build these weapons. yieldey are not going to to threats very easily.
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charlie: threats of sanctions and the like? dr. kissinger: it is going to take tremendous, physical threats. hand, with china helping us, they are not there to help us. they are there to help themselves. but the point of the article is we are at a moment when the interest of america and the interest of china: side. we don't want the nuclear weapons and north korea because of many reasons. the threat it might represent to us and others. the chinese do not want nuclear weapons in korea because if those weapons remain, other countries in asia are sure to build nuclear weapons of their own. charlie: like japan?
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dr. kissinger: like japan, south korea, the unum, and other korea, vietnam, and other entities might be tempted. so then the whole area of will be nuclearized of these be in tensions with each other. china will be a great target, even more than the united states. if we continue our pressures and if china uses its influence and its pressures, that the north -- mightight be substantially reduce the neck where threat -- might substantially reduce the nuclear threat.
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but the nuclearization need to be did end goal. charlie: they came down to mar-a-lago and talked about going light on trade. with his approach wrong? dr. kissinger: but the implication that we would help us trade if they would help with china, looks like a commercial proposition, as if they are in economicto extort progress -- problems. the problem for china would be if north korea gives up nuclear weapons, it gives up the only significant achievement. to it might therefore lead either the collapse of the regime, or create unrest. and it will lead to a period of major judgment. so, what i believe the chinese how we help is
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north korea after the denuclearization has been achieved. we have not had an adequate discussion of our consequences of our objectives. and i believe that with that discussion, a joint policy with china could make much greater progress. charlie: but the fact is that general madison also the secretary of state have said, we don't want to change the regime. we just want them not to use nuclear weapons. there is no threat of my united states. dr. kissinger: no. we don't want to change the regime. charlie: right. dr. kissinger: but if the regime collapses, or disintegrates we , will not mourn it. and there will be consequences of the this integrating north
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korea -- of a disintegrating north korea right at the border of china with the possibility of many refugees come is something that preoccupies china. charlie: you are also preoccupied with the idea of a reunification of the koreas, north and south, which would somehow evolve into one more who may behe area, opposed to them at the south koreans dominate a unified south korea. dr. kissinger: i think a unified korea is something that may be less dangerous than a divided korea. one of which have nuclear and starts pressing for its objectives. and the possible unification of korea should be one of the subjects that will be discussed, and not only with china, but
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also with south korea and japan. can you sit down with the chinese as a diplomat, and tell me what your fears are? and i will tell you what my fears are? dr. kissinger: i think a better send somebe to private emissaries to the chinese, and say, here is our notion of the evolution of the region if things continue as they are. that some military clash by inevitable on the present course, sooner or later. and the way we can remove this danger, and the of all -- and above all remove nuclear weapons, is to come to an understanding.
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one, the kind of pressure that will be applied, and secondly, the political structure that we will recommend to the world to support afterwards. and then two-putted ford in some manner in a formal journal. charlie: what do you think the chinese would accept? which kind of proposal? dr. kissinger: this is speculation on my part. i think the chinese would live with the united korea, that it remains part of the american alliance, but with limitations in north korea of and-performance weapons, deployments close to the chinese border. but a korea that is otherwise
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unified. charlie: and you think it is best to do this behind the scenes with an emissary in private to create conversation? dr. kissinger: there has to be a formal negotiation, but it is helpful if there is enough of a philosophical kind of dialogue how that people understand the other views the problem, and what it is likely to do. charlie: but they have had lots of conversations from what it ministries into the other. george w. bush, barack obama, bill clinton. dr. kissinger: there have been a lot of conversations. and i am familiar with many of them. charlie: sure. dr. kissinger: but those conversations were usually, why you should help north korea? it has really been a formal
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conversation of the future of northeast asia, probably because for a long time, north korea was an integral part of the chinese and the communist world until about one of the most significant events that happened that we couldn't notice. until about 3, 4 years ago, north korea was inside china out of the communist party, not out of the foreign ministry. so, it was considered an adjunct to chinese policy. -- i think it has is only in the last two years, that the chinese leadership has begun to understand that the north korean nuclear program is not something that is likely to fail.
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but something that could be operational, and was growing strong enough to affect the balance in asia. charlie: and could be effective within a year, the recent estimates suggest. dr. kissinger: i think speed has surprised everybody. the conduct of the north korean government, assassinating the half-brother of the leader and a malaysian airport. spreading poison on his face. but many similar things, the north koreans -- charlie in fact, killing some of : his father's advisors. dr. kissinger: yes. five of the six pallbearers at his father's funeral have disappeared. charlie: five of the six
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pallbearers? dr. kissinger: have disappeared. charlie: wow. dr. kissinger: and one of them, the uncle that helped put him in office, was publicly disgraced, and was executed. so, it is another regime where you don't want them to have possession of nuclear weapons. but the key point is that many people who say, why don't we just accept it. charlie: yes we do. dr. kissinger: because we have lived through the chinese. charlie: and the pakistanis and others. dr. kissinger: yes. but here is a country that has proliferated its nuclear weapons already. they had made some of the new claim materials available to serial -- to syria several years ago.
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and they gave some of their engines to iran. so, this is a proliferating regime. believe that if withsurvive this period nuclear weapons, and the spread of nuclear weapons into south highlynd japan becomes profitable. charlie: as i understand from your article, too, did south china japan, as well as should be brought together in this? be a conversation that takes place with anybody who has an interest in the region? dr. kissinger: yes. i believe an initial conversation with china is
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probably the best way to proceed informal or conceptual. in which we tell each other as honestly as we dare, what our and why it is important for the peace and security of mankind. it is the question of bringing down a regime. it is a question of producing a world in which the use of nuclear weapons will become conventional, or could become conventional and be catastrophic of so many nations that need each other. and therefore, the ideal would be if north korea could be induced, by induced i mean, with significant pressures to give up its program. not, maybe the reduction of
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, but i am not happy with a freeze and the north koreans are looking with brutal insistence in the face of the condemnation of the security council and of the opposition of china and the united states. this means we will be shaken badly. charlie: does a preemptive attack to prevent them from having a nuclear weapon capable of delivering to the united states have so much cost that it is unacceptable as an alternative? that is exactly what we said to the iranians. it is unacceptable for them to have nuclear weapons.
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that is what we are saying to the north koreans. dr. kissinger: yes. and i have been of the view that we did not hear from the iranians or get from the iranians enough from the agreement that we did. that agreement at least delayed the event of their nuclear capacity and it was positive from that point of view. a simple freeze agreement right after they have launched an intercontinental test would legitimize all of their efforts. it would keep them in the same capacity, and not make any progress towards what really we
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know needs to be done. because if this nuclear threat continues, the nuclear proliferation continues in the nation, and if we cannot control it even in a country that is really condemned by most of mankind and by most of the established countries, then we have lost any control of other programs that exist or may spring up. charlie: do you consider kim jong-un a rational leader? dr. kissinger: he was at a prep school in switzerland. there were all kinds of reports of how normally he behaved. the korean regime has maintained itself by practicing a degree of terror that is unprecedented
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even among many of the dictatorships. every house has a radio, which they cannot shut off so the regime talks permanently to the subjects. they have a system of concentration camps and of human abuse that is extraordinary. they have kidnapped at least 100 japanese because they needed teachers of the japanese language and they have achieved a degree of brainwashing their population so that some of the refugees from there find it hard to adjust to the free countries. charlie: that the escape to. charlie: is that of equal mine, a rational mind, or both? dr. kissinger: it is of necessity.
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it is all beyond human experience that one would say it is substantially irrational. charlie: does a president who talks about fire and fury continue to reflect that? dr. kissinger: all of us who practice diplomacy would have chosen different language. on the other hand, we would have said to give a very sharp warning to north korea that they are playing with fire when they threaten the united states. and when they say the only use of the icbm that they contemplate is against the
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united states and when they talk of dropping missiles around guam, i understand that a president wants to issue a very sharp warning that things could get out of control. the dilemma of nuclear weapons is to make such a threat credible you have to show you are going to the edge of what a rational calculation would be. i would not have recommended that language, but i would have recommended an effort like this. ♪ ♪
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♪ charlie: what is your assessment of china today in terms of xi jinping on the eve of another chinese party congress coming up in october and november in terms of his leadership and his global vision? dr. kissinger: china has two huge challenges. they are a country with thousands of years of history and, therefore, there is a sense of continuity unique among the countries of the world.
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they now have to undergo a significant reform program for their own economic necessities. the reform program, to some extent, should order some of the major reforms that we have made in the last generation. it should attack them of the institutions, especially in the economic field and in the economic practices. that is a huge challenge. to this, they would prefer not to have to have an international crisis. they know a confrontation with the united states would zap so many resources, that their economic dreams could not be
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realized. on the other hand, in this thousands of years of history, they have thought of themselves as a country whose majestic concept and skill of activities was symbolic for major parts of the world and they consider themselves as a kind of center kingdom. they have to find their international place in the world in which for the first time in their history is equaled by at least the united states. there are no longer alone, no matter how great their effort.
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how you create an international system, the concept of international system in a society that historically has thought itself unique. the chinese did not have a foreign ministry until the end of the 19th century. the foreign policy as we know it was conducted by something called the ministry of rituals that classified each country by the decree of its dependency on china. so china has reformed its economic system and deal with the concept of international order in which they can play some of the historic role. but not a central role exclusively that they had before. they are face to face with another country, namely us,
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which also thinks of itself as exceptional. what we do it more on a missionary basis and they do it more on a performance basis. to have a dialogue over the years with the american president and the chinese president has a certain frustration. the american president thinks the normal position of the world is the stability and if it is a problem. you fix that problem and the solution returns. the chinese president thinks the solution of any problem is an admissions ticket for another problem. therefore, the chinese president is thinking of a process. and the american president is thinking of a deal.
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the american president negotiates for what brought him into the conference room. good intentions. even with good intentions, it is hard. charlie: having known all of them from xi and mao, how does he compare to previous leaders of china? in vision and reform and capacity to have his way? dr. kissinger: first of all, he was in a different period. each leader you mentioned represented one face of mao-unified china. overcoming the effects of tiananmen and making it part of
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the international system to try to bring some quiet to a period of turmoil. this is a man who is moving toward a position to see if he succeeds will be comparable to mao. charlie: if you moved to where he wants to go, he will be compared to mao in terms of his influence on society? dr. kissinger: yes, because he is trying to make the society
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that he inherited after decades of turmoil and put it on a basis of what he calls the two dreams. the first dream goes into effect through soon in 2021 when china reaches a level of the poorer european countries. the second one is at the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the people's republic in 2049, china by his vision will be at least as strong as the strongest other nation in the world. charlie: therefore, why doesn't he want to do all he can to make sure north korea is not a disruptive factor in the region? dr. kissinger: i believe this is his intention. this is his goal.
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i believe he would reason that way, that they could be a leader in the region. they cannot do everything and particularly at the same moment, he is now facing the 19th party conference, which is an event that occurs every five years. it represents some degree of legitimization and leadership changes. there will be almost certainly significant leadership changes that will occur in the next two to three months. charlie: they will select a new
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premier? and who is on the standing committee? dr. kissinger: the standing committee is so organized that five of the seven members have to retire because of age limitations. charlie: there is talk -- dr. kissinger: some of them might be able to stay, but that would be such an unusual event that it would signify a rising influence for that exception. but anyway, that is what he seems to have to deal with. in my experience, he is extremely thoughtful but also extremely strong. he was one of the victims, he and his father, of the cultural
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revolution. they had to live in a cave for many years. the cultural revolution victims came through it hardened. he is formidable. but i believe that he is trying to find a notion of a peaceful world that is compatible with chinese values and compatible with coexistence with the united states. it will be a tough road. charlie: at the same time, assuming leadership as a global role and in terms of other places. dr. kissinger: he made a speech last year, which was a sketch of world order that on the economic side was quite compatible with a route-based system.
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charlie: that was a time in which populism was red hot in the notion was who would step forward to defend globalization and globalism? dr. kissinger: ironically, it was china that started the communist state. charlie: one thing that ever changed is the believe in the supremacy of the communist party. dr. kissinger: absolutely. charlie: you have been part of the conversation in america for a long time. are you more worried about the country today than you have ever been? not only because of domestic issues and our president, but the world he lives in. dr. kissinger: no, i am worried because in over half a century now that i have been some way participating in, i have never seen a situation in which the united states had an opportunity
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for world order, but i have also not participated in a situation in which a country seemed so divided and so unable to find a common thread. charlie: on one hand, there is enormous opportunity for the u.s. to use it superior economy, technology, universities, range of issues -- dr. kissinger: and to contribute. what we really need in the world today is the idea of peace and world order, which dominated the previous centuries. it is being undermined by a succession of a people. a leadership in the direction of such a goal would give the united states extraordinary opportunities and is quite
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compatible and expressive of our history and of our values. charlie: based on what you know of this president, is he capable of that leadership? dr. kissinger: i used to say i am hoping for an augustinian moment. saint augustine, in his early life, followed a pattern that was quite incompatible with later on, when he had a vision and rose to sainthood. don't expect the president to become that, that is an conceivable. when you realize the peace of the world and the future of the world depends on you now so that
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much of what is here today falls away, i think that is a unique aspect of the american presidency. charlie: is this president losing the opportunity as a cause of his behavior? dr. kissinger: there are things that happens that i didn't like, but i have not ever joined this because i have seen what happens when a president collapses. i still hope we will do the things that need to be done and i think can be done, some of which nothing that has been done in korea precludes an anyway what i have indicated as a desirable --
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no, i think it is possible that what i have described can be done with an existing framework of policy. charlie: are we at a moment in which a new world order will be built? is this because of changes that have happened in the past five years? are we looking at a moment we we clearly have a demand for the creation of a new world order because of changes in the geopolitics of the world? dr. kissinger: people may not even know yet what they want in a clear enough way. the leader of this country can bring it to other countries. my thought process, they can
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produce it. many centuries ago, in the 17th century, europe armed 70% of its population with conventional weapons. and after 30 years with establishing the principles of sovereignty and self-determination and so forth. now imagine when it started -- at the end of the 30-year period. so our art will be to try to create or participate in a new world order. and that is not just america alone that can do it, but we can play a defensive role.
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charlie: and we have enough respect and power to do it because of our history and what we did after world war ii, because of the role we have played since world war ii. there is still that opportunity for america. by being the one country that that's out of the paris accord, fighting the country that goes to the g20 and is hesitant to endorse article five, all of those things. dr. kissinger: yes, an attempt to move in the direction i described. charlie: are you optimistic? dr. kissinger: i'm hopeful.
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i think we have a grave problem but i think we can overcome it. charlie: thank you for coming. a pleasure to have you. see you next time. ♪
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