tv Charlie Rose PBS October 12, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
i talked about the ability to actually work together, and i talked about healthcare. >> rose: and there was so many people that it resonated with and people started saying you should run for president, which i thought, i said, c'mon, give me a break. i said, this will all die down, but it never did. it kept building. >> rose: finish finis philip god dr. ben carson when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: american express. >> rose: additional funding provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide.
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: russia and syria continue to. >> they have initiated a joint ground offensive with the syrian regime. shattering the facade that they're there to fight i.s.i.l. this will have consequences for russia itself. which is rightfully fearful of attack upon russia. and i also expect that, in coming days, the russians will begin to suffer casualties in syria. >> rose: joining me from washington is philip gordon, senior fellow at council on foreign relations from 2013 to 2015, white house coordinator for the middle east, and the gulf region.
welcome. >> thank you. >> rose: let me read from something you've said on september 25, 2015, politico said "for years i have advised president obama on syria. it is now clearer than ever that a new strategy is need. what is the new strategy? >> first, the within it's clearer than ever is what has become clear in the past several weeks is that the stated objective of u.s. policy and western policy and our allies in the gulf which is to bring about a political transition by supporting the opposition is not working and unlikely to work. and by that, i mean has failed. sure, i mean, i think we have to say that. we had a program totain and equip the -- to train and equip the opposition, to make it strong enough to get rid of the regime or pressure the regime to make meaningful changes. we hoped and expected that thete
russian deployment, one needs to conclude they are not likely to a.p. happen soon. when you're in a situation like that, you have to ask do i double down on a strategy that is not working? in my view, in this case, that would mean perpetuating conflict that we have seen tragically for so many years, or do you ask yourself if there is another objective that you might be able to reach that is more realistic and that could help bring the war to an end. >> rose: let's assume you ask that question. what would be your answer? >> my answer would be that we need to re-think the political objective, which is not to say we don't need to see a transition in syria and not to say we don't want to see assad go. it is to say, however, there might be steps that we could achieve along the way before dealing with this question of when assad leaves, which has really been the stalemate. that's what we disagree on not obviously just with the regime but with the russians and the
iranians. so long as we are focused on bringing about that as step one or even a commitment to seeing that happen on a very near timetable, it's just not going to happen, and that means fueling an opposition that is increasingly dominated by extremists and see ago war go on with all the tragic consequencous see. so i think the question now is, especially after the russian deployment, this is not going to be pleasant for russia. i agree what secretary carter said about it's clear what the russians are doing, they're backing assad and not just fighting i.s.i.s. and they've bought some real estate in syria that might not be cheap for them. so we say to russian we agree with you on the assad question and you're going to agree not push him out immediately. can we not talk about steps toward deescalation that might include regional safe zones that
the russian would agree with assad and he have jees could go back, cease fires that we've seen in minor cases but you could build on that, beginnings of dilog and political reform that would enable some change in the governmental structures moving toward ultimately what we want to see which is a political transition that gets rid of assad but steps that would deescalate the conflict and have meaningful, positive steps for the syrian people in the meantime rather than just insisting on a goal that, frankly, we are just not in a position to achieve now and won't be for some time to come, if ever. >> rose: how far do you think the russians are prepared to go and will they do everything they can to defeat all enemies of assad? >> i think it's pretty clear, look, they're going pretty far, already. this is a very significat military deployment of significant means, naval and air
assets and russianons the ground and they're undertake ago serious military operation and they're doing that because they really are committed. they feel they have strategic reasons for backing this regime. again, i think it's something we have failed to fully appreciate and even those earlier on calling for more escalation on our part, i think they failed to understand that more escalation on our part would lead to more escalation on their part. why is that? the russians -- putin made it clear from the start, for years, that he hates the concept of regime change anywhere, the idea that if people aren't happy with the leader, they get rid of the leader. he especially hates it when it's backed by the west, and that's what we sees happening in syria. he hated it in ukraine, georgia, central asia, he hated it in libya where he would argue it led ultimately to n.a.t.o. intervening, getting rid of a dictator and having civil war and chaos and he certainly
doesn't want any hint of that in russia, so he's absolutely committed to prevent ago pattern whereby people rise up against a dictator, we come in, there is war and then chaos. he's also afraid, russia is, putin is, that if somehow we got rid of assad, the extremists, the jihadists, the islamists that threaten russia would be empowered by that. and there he has a more legitimate point. >> rose: he's right about that, isn't he? >> he's right that if the ousting of assad comes in the form of violent overthrow led by extremists, then it will not lead to the stable syria that we're trying to accomplish and that would be a victory for us as well. in all the dealings we had with the russians -- and i did this for the u.s. government earlier from the state department and then from the white house -- all along, it was clear that until we could answer their question
of what followed assad, they'd be determined to back assad. so to answer your question, charlie, yes, they are prepared to go pretty far to avoid what they fear would be precedent of regime change and possible chaos and more violence in syria and obviously, frankly, stepping on the united states and they want to show sthair still a player in the region. >> rose: they clearly want to be a player in the region and that's clear from what he says and as well what he does. is it possible that it seems less likely today that the united states and russia an other parties could agree on some kind of interim government to replace assad? would the russians find someone that will be acceptable to them that would recognize what their investment was and, at the same time, be acceptable to the united states and those syrians that the united states supports? >> look, i think it's not
impossible. i don't want to overstate the prospect of an agreement on that but that's precisely what we should be talking to them about and say, all right, fine, you've come in to back assad, that's a reality, but it's not going to be easy for you to continue to take the military risks, fight a war, back this. you know, they have their experience in afghanistan. they know what it's like to try to back an unpopular government being foughtly islamists and other rebels, so they will be looking for a way out, too, so i think it's worth having the conversation with the russianser and start with why don't you agree to get rid of assad. it would be in your interest. we've never been able to answer the question of what comes next, but if together with the russians we could find a way of fulfilling that goal, now that they've protected their interests, the regime itself won't collapse because they're there, their naval base is protected, they have maybe less to lose by getting rid of assad,
so if we could find some way to agree on assad and his cronies go out and we agree on some interim government that preserves the regime and even security forces, that would be the best outcome. if they're unable to budge on the assad question, i think they're a step short on that we could agree on, i think it would still be in our interests of working toward ultimate goal of getting rid of assad so you could have a genuine transition. >> rose: i agree it's not so much a commitment to assad as to some central authority because that's in glad glad' -- that's r putin's dna. >> yes. they've told us from the start we're not assad's backers and don't care about him personally. i think that's true. i think it was misinterpreted here and elsewhere to say oh the
russians will help us with the transition. while they're not committed to assad the person, they are committed to the regime and it's institutions an and avoiding violent regime change driven by extremists, so i think there is space to agree on a political outcome and we need to explore it. >> rose: why do you think they have not attacked i.s.i.s. with larger forces and more often? >> i think primarily they are focused on the wolf at the door. i mean, they felt like these other groups were really starting to threaten tom regime strongholds -- to threaten some regime strongholds. yietsz is further to the east and not fighting or targeting the regime as some of these other groups. it's not that they're comfortable with i.s.i.s., they'd like to eliminate i.s.i.s. but their urgent priority is to prevent regime
collapse so they're hitting groups targeting the regime. >> rose: you know this president. where do you think his head is and why do you think he's been so resistant to doing more in syria? >> i think throughout the crisis he always consistently and i think appropriately asked the question of what comes next, and he was very much -- you know, we do have a tendency in this country to avoid the mistakes of the previous administration because these are hard problems and everyone grapples with them in a different way, and the previous administration looked at a very hard problem in the region which was a genuine and legitimate problem, saddam hussein and all the problems he was creating just through his very existence, and decided it was going to be strong and the way to deal with problems like that was to be decisive, use american military power, be confident and solve the problem. well, that approach to solving that problem, and no one can say it was passive or it let the russians in or didn't respect red lines, but what it did was
cost 2 trillion-dollar, 5,000 american lives and an overworked military with consequences for soldiers and wounded veterans and unintended consequences like empowering iran in iraq which, in a way, is part of the problem we're seeing today because, by getting rid of saddam and letting iran become the main power in iraq, you made the sunnis in iraq feel they were slighted and in a government that came to power essentially drove them into the arms of i.s.i.s. >> rose: let me read a couple of quotes and get your impression. brzezinski, "in these rapidly unfolding circumstances the u.s. has only one real option if it's to protect wider stakes in the region to convey to moscow the demand it cease and desist from military actions that directly affect american assets. russia has every right to support mr. assad if it so wish bus any repetition of what has
just transpired should prompt u.s. retaliation ." >> i am all for tough messages to moscow and making clear we have interests, too, and if they persist in what they're doing there will be consequences to moscow, but you have to be careful with that sort of red line. if by that you mean -- again, it comes back to the question are you objectives realistic or maximalistic? the maximal version of that which sounded like you just read was just telling the russians they can't defend the regime, if they're using force and flying planes we will stop them and that means shooting russian planes out of the sky, but you can't just do that because you have to take out their air defense assets so that means taking out their naval assets at the same time and means killing russians and going to war. that's something the united states could coand i don't think there's a doubt if it came to a confrontation like that our military would win it, but it
would be a very significant military conflict with costs and casualties and implications elsewhere, who knows, because the russians like the iranians would not just take that lightly and say, well, okay, you've called our bluff, you hav we han defeated and go home. they will respond proportionately. let's say we succeeded, russia didn't back down, military force, the big conflict with russia, even if we took out their assets after a significant conflict, well, the iranians and the regime would not just go away, they'd presumably respond in ways we might not be able to predict. maybe iranian militias in iraq respond by going after our troops there, and then you have an even bigger problem on your hands in iraq. so this is the very sort of -- you know, you asked why we wouldn't done more, it's a slippery slope thing. you have to be really careful.
you can establish your credibility but you better be prepared to go pretty far in terms of the cost you're willing to bear. again, let's say it succeeded and we knocked out the russians and we knocked out the regime, and then the al-nusra front and i.s.i.s. became the major -- they actually succeeded in taking a threat in damascus and then all the minorities and others backing the regime will have to get the hell out of dodge and another million or 2 million refugees on the other side start fleeing i.s.i.s. and nusra, and i.s.i.s. and nusra have a battle for who's going to be in charge as well as the other elements of the hundreds of opposition groups until you have a tote -- total free for all for who is in charge of syria. we would have succeeded, so to speak. i wouldn't really use that word
in what i'm describing in, you know, staring down the russians and maybe even getting rid of assad, but we would be facing a situation on the ground that would arguably not only be more horrible for the poor people of syria but for our credibility because people would say, all right, what now, powerful america? and i'm not sure there would be a clear answer to that question. so to go back to the beginning, yes, i think we can confront the russians and get something out of them, but if you're going to say that they have to cease and desist and basically leave, you better mean it and you better be prepared to do everything i just talked about. >> rose: david ignatius wrote in "the washington post" september 29, "for now putin is certainly winning the perception game. the danger is that regional powers will view recent events as a full low blown u.s. retreat, like the withdrawal of an exhausted britnan 1971 from its military garrison east of suez seen at the last gasp of
the british empire ." without making the analogy too quick with britain, is there a danger of perception in the region of u.s. commitment? >> the short answer is yes, i don't think you can deny that there is a perception in the region that, you know, the russians are driving the agenda and the united states is not prepared to stand up to them and there is a cost for that, and i think it is an absolutely legitimate worry, i worry about it and i think we need to smartly look for ways to retore that credibility and restore deterrence and make people understand that we are still the most important power this the region. but i say smartly because, you know, you do have to keep in mind that you can lose credibility by playing cards and having the outcome not be a positive one. i already gave the example of iraq. no one doubted that the bush
administration and its major figures were -- no one thought they were retruck taint to use force, that they wouldn't do what they had to do, but look at the result of that, and the result was hardly good for american credibility or power or the feeling of power. so, you know, it's easy to sit back and ring your hands about american credibility, but, like i said, if you use american military force to show how strong or tough we are to stand up to the russians and the result ended up being complete and utter chaos in syria with the extremists taking over,ip not sure what that would do for our credibility. and, you know, again, look at -- there aren't a whole lot of cases where supporting the opposition until it achieved its goals and get rid of a dictatorship turn out
successfully, we did that in afghanistan, and the result was not good for the united states and not good for the united states' credibility. so you do have to think about the next step before you solely focused on just somehow demonstrating your power to show that you're as tough tas next guy. >> rose: this is from josh earnest, the president's press secretary, he said syria is not going to turn into a proxy war between russia and the united states, that certainly would not be consistent with our interest, but is there a risk here of some kind of proxy war developing between, on the one hand, russia and the united states, on the other hand saudi arabia and the arab states and iran, and on the other hand some overlapping between shia and sunni? all of that could somehow, through some misadventure explode into a wider war and
sucking in too many people. >> charlie, there is a proxy war already and there has been for years and that's the problem. for years, the sunni states of the region and turkey and we and the europeans have been, on the one side, providing support to certain elements in syria who are at war with a regime that's backed by russia and iran and hezbollah, and that's almost the definition of a proxy war. we have outside powers, determined to supply their proxies in a battle for the future of the country, and that proxy war has escalated and, as always in these things, the outside sponsors are determined, getting back to the credibility point, to win and to show that they're not going to be deterred by the others, and they fuel it by escalating.
but it turns out that the other side escalates as well. there is a good piece by jeremy shapiro my former colleague in the "new york times" and "u.s.a. today," and the problem is it gets worse and worse and the only way is for the outside powers all to come to the table and see if there is a political solution that they can agree on that would be messy and ugly and unfortunate and not achieve either side's goals but would be far better for everybody's interest than what we are seeing, and that's how these things ultimately have to end. in the political piece that i wrote i mentioned the way bosnia ended, and bosnia was also four years of a brutal, terrible civil war and in some ways a proxy war. we as outside actors fueling
genocidal nationalists. ultimately we ended up having to deal with the russians, deal with these extreme nationalists in serbia and croatia. we recognized, to end the war, part of the country would be run by the bosnian serbs. it was unsatisfying and not ideally what we would like to see, a unified country where everyone was living together, but after four years of proxy war, that was the best we could do and also the moral thing to do because it ended the war and, you know, if we could have an outcome in syria that made syria look like bosnia today, i think we would all be absolutely thrilled. so i think that's why -- you know, andeth not just us and the russians. saudi arabia and iran need to be part of the same discussion.
that's the hard part because they seem determined to fuel a proxy war. if they fuel it they need to understand they are buying many more years or decades of increaseincreased sectarianism g apart all the countries in the region that are split across sectarian lines. we're in a proxy war and have to find a way out. >> rose: philip gordon, thanks so much. >> pleasure, charlie. >> rose: we'll be right back. stay with us. >> rose: dr. ben carson is here, one of the world's preeminent pediatric neurosurgeons. earlier this year he announced his candidacy for republican nomination for president to have the united states. he surged to second place trailing only donald trump. while he's come under fire for gun control comments, he continues to rise in the g.o.p. pry mires. he's author of over a half dozen best selling books. the latest, a more perfect
union, what we as a people can do to reclaim our constitutionalle liberties. welcome. >> thank you, good to be back. >> rose: i'd like to find out who you are and what you're about because there are interesting things, and it seems to me that perhaps you have changed some in your views and i would like to understand, in your basic philosophy, if that's true. but let me begin with the notion of tell me about how you feel, who you are, how you define yourself, what matters to you in terms of ideas that have influenced you. >> well, first of all, i feel extraordinarily fortunate to have been born in the united states of america and to have had a mother who had a rougher life than i did but refused to be a victim and wouldn't let me be a victim and made me read when i didn't want to read and,
as i began to read about things and read about people, in particular, people of great accomplishment, a me a metamorps occurred. >> rose: how long? it started when i was ten. i used to hate poverty. i detested it. i thought i was born into the wrong family. but as i read about people of accomplishment, it didn't bother me as much because i began to realize that i had control over that, that i could make decisions, that i could put energy behind them and that i could pretty much control my own life and that is something constantly reinforced by my mother. so i became a little bit of an outsider in the sense that i wasn't listening to a lot of the people who were saying, you can't do this and you can't do that, nobody can do that -- >> rose: because you were poor or because you were black? >> both. and i basically refused to
listen to it. was i ostracized? yes. called names? absolutely -- uncle tom, you're trying to be white, all these kinds of things -- but it didn't bother me. i would tell people, let's see what i'm doing in 20 years and let's see what you're doing in 20 years. ultimately, i guess they believed me because in high school they voted me most likely to succeed and when i came back for the 25th high school reunion, i was shocked to see the cool guys were pretty much all dead, and everybody else was coming up to me and saying how proud they were and don't i remember how they used to encourage me. interesting how that changes over the course of time. but i did hear a lot of what you can't do. like when i joined the r.o.t.c. and i joined late so i wouldn't have the full six semesters, i
would only have five. you know, i had a goal of achieving the office of city executive officer. no one had ever done that in that amount of time and everyone told me, you can't do that. but long story short, it worked, i did it. i was offered a full scholarship to west point, met general westmoreland and go. i decided my path would be medicine. >> rose: when? when i was eight years old, listening to the mission stories and they frequently featured missionary doctors who at great personal sacrificed traveled throughout the world to bring not only physical but mental and spiritual healing and they seemed like the most noble people on earth. i changed over the course of time, but it was always medicine of some type. when i got to medical school, i started analyzing my gifts and
talents because i think god gives everybody special gifts and talents, and i realized that i had a lot of eye-hand coordination, the ability to think in three dimensions. i was a very careful person, never knocked things over and said oops, all of which were great characteristics for a neurosurgeon, so i started moving in that direction. a lot of people said, oh, that's a really strange thing for you to go into because, at that time, there had only been eight black neurosurgeons in the world. but it seems to me like a natural fit, and it was. i took to it like a duck to water. >> rose: and became everything you ever wanted to be as a surgeon. >> yes, i started out as an adult neurosurgeon and switched to pediatrics. i like to get a big return on my investment, and it worked out well. i heard the same thing in medicine -- can't do this, no
one's ever been able to do that before. but by that time i developed a mindset. >> rose: was it an engine that burned inside of you, i'll show them i can do it? >> it wasn't so much about showing them as it was belief, and perhaps something higher than them. >> rose: god? absolutely. >> rose: when did that happen? well, you know, i grew up believing, but i guess when i was 14 years old is when i had my real damascus road experience, when i tried to stab another youngster, and i happened to have a -- he happened to have a large belt buckle under his clothing and the knife struck it so hard it broke. i was just as terrified as he was that i was trying to kill somebody and i started contemplating my life and realizing i would not be successful with a temper like that. locked myself in the bathroom, preyed, a bible was there, i picked it up, opened to the book
of proverbs and there were all these verses about fools and seemed like they were written about me and also verses about anger. it was really quite inspiring. during that time, i came to the understanding that to lash out at somebody was not a sign of strength, it was a sign of weakness. it meant you were easily manipulated, and i also came to understand that if you're always angry then you're probably a selfish person because it's always about me, my and i -- somebody took my things, in my space, they did this to me. i learned if you step outside of the center of the circle and consider things from other people's perspectives, the likelihood of you getting angry goes down immensely and, in fact, i've never had an angry outburst again since that day. >> rose: did you feel like you had imaginicle powers then? >> i didn't feel like i had magical powers but one of the things i did come to understand because of all these very complex surgeries is that no matter how smart you are, there
are other people who are every bit as smart and maybe even smarter than you, and if you can work with them, if you can get them together with you working toward a goal, you are likely to go much further much faster. there was another case of conjoined twins and i said, you know, we have the best neurosurgery department in the world -- vascular surgeons and tumor surgeons and skull-based surgeons and the whole gamut -- so i said, let's do this in the way we slot each team in and where we get to the part of the operation where they would be the great expert. we were literally ten hours ahead of schedule. goes to show what can happen when you don't care who gets the credit but are trying to accomplish the goal. >> rose: so this is a great life you built for yourself. >> things word out extraordinarily well, no question about it. >> rose: your opinion at the top of your game, much admired. >> yeah. >> rose: you were saving lives.
so how did this political idea come through? >> i got an invitation to speak at the national prayer breakfast. >> rose: you had a reputation as a religious -- as a man of deep faith who spoke eloquently about his faith? >> and i did a lot of public speaking, and i had spoken at the prayer breakfast in 1997 as well. that's why it shocked me so much because i wasn't aware anyone ever did it twice. >> rose: did you anticipate, if i do this well, it might really connect and change my life? >> no, i wasn't anticipating that at all. but i was wondering, i said, lord, what are you up to? and i really didn't know what i was going to say until the morning of the speech, and then it was so clear to me and it had such a profound effect on millions of people. >> rose: what did you say? well, you will have to go back and listen to the speech.
it's all over the place. it's easy to find. but, really, i talked about political correctness. i talked about our fiscal irresponsibility. i talked about the ability to actually work together, and i talked about healthcare. and there were so many people that it resonated with and people started saying, you should run for president, which i thought, i said, come on, give me a break. and i said, somewill all die down, but it never did. >> rose: was there a constituency within the republican party, social conservatives, deeply religious? >> i think they were primarily republicans. >> rose: why did you go from republican to independent? >> because i was a little perturbed with the politization
of so many things and in particular the impeachment proceedings of president clinton. >> rose: you thought the republicans were out overline. >> i thought it was hypocritical for so many who were also engaged in -- >> rose: extra marital affairs. >> that was also the problem. i said, you know what? i'm just going to be independent. and when i decided i was going to run i thought it would be foolish to run as independent so i decide which party i would run for. i knew i wouldn't be welcomed in the democratic party. >> rose: what views did you have that meant you would not be welcome in the democratic party. >> well, i was strongly pro-life. >> rose: to what extent? to -- >> rose: in other words, pro-life meaning abortion even in the case of rape and incest? you know the lines. >> yes, i would not advocate for abortion. >> rose: regardless? under no circumstances?
even in danger of the life of the mother. >> i was going to say if the mother's life was in danger but that's an extraordinarily rare situation. in a discussion of obstetricians in 2012, their conclusion, that is a very unusual situation. at any rate, i was always in favor of the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman. i was also very much in favor to have the empowerment of the individual as opposed to programs that kept people in a more or less dependent position. >> rose: you've laid out a lot of positions there that a lot of your republican candidates believe in, correct? >> yes. >> rose: i've talked to people who admire you greatly and they think that it's beyond that conservative principles that you
have incorporated the values and adhered to the work of some philosophers that go far beyond any conspiracy theory. >> you mean views like the progressives have over a long period of time been trying to take over the educational system, congress -- >> rose: some of the things glen beck believes? >> what i have seen over time is the transition of the educational system so it becomes more of a propaganda machine. this is particularly true in our institutions of higher education. these are supposed to be places where people learn everything and learn how to discuss things from lots of different points of views, but in of the universities want to shut down conservatives, they don't want them to speak. >> rose: johns hopkins? johns hopkins was one, yes. >> rose: is that right? yeah. >> rose: this is a place that
proudly wanted you. you're saying they had an intolerance for free speech? >> they had an intolerance and that's why i withdrew as commencement speaker for the medical school in 2013. >> rose: tell me more about the ideas that you believe in. one is education does not want to hear a conservative point of view. >> well, education is such an important factor, it's the dividing line, really. >> rose: these things you don't talk about that much because you're often asked about whatever you said yesterday and yesterday and yesterday. give us a deeper understanding, what shaped your ideas about the country -- >> my deeper understanding is i believe very much in what the founders of this country wanted, which was a country that was of, for and by the people.
people, with the government being there for the purpose of facilitating life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. the socialist model believes something quite contrary to that, that the government knows best and somehow there's going to be this utopian society where nobody has to worry about anything from cradle to grave. >> rose: and who do you think in american politics is advocating the socialist idea? barack obama? >> i think it's very consistent with a lot of the policies of the people who want big government and big government programs. it should be pretty easy to identify those. >> rose: it's a classic argument. ronald reagan made the argument i'm opposed to big government, i believe big government is the problem not the solution. but those weren't conspiratorial ideas either. >> it depends on if you believe it's a conspiracy when a bunch of people want to fundamentally
change america. >> rose: i want to generally understand who it is who poses a threat to america. >> anybody who generally wants to change our system. >> rose: who are you taking about. >> i think it's clear. you don't want to understand it? i do. tell me who they may be. >> progressives, secular progressives. >> rose: but identify who represents secular progressives. >> i don't know that any one person represents them. there's a whole group of people who are secular progressives. i don't think it's that hard to figure out who they are. and the election next year is going to be a bellweather because it's going to be an opportunity for america to make a clear choice, do you think to go secular progressive route with big government, big government programs and the government taking care of you from cradle to grave until they n out of money, or are you
interested in a country where the people are at the pinnacle? >> rose: do you think that in america today that most people here live by a system of believing the government will take care of you from cradle to grave? >> no one will admit it, but look at what's going on. they will never admit it. the liberals won't admit this. are you kidding me? but they count on people saying, oh, well, you can't say that. no, no, name one or -- you know, they count on that. but they know exactly who they are and we know who they are. >> rose: i'm a reporter trying to understand exactly, and you've seemed reluctant to identify who they are so you can have a full expression or conversation about who those people. >> are i just told you who they are. >> rose: saul lynnski is dead and not in political power today. >> i'm going to tell you what they advocate. >> rose: okay. they advocate the government
knows better than individual americans what is best for them. for instance, let me give you an example -- a government comes along in 2009 and says, i don't really care what you people think because you don't really know. we're imposing this healthcare system on you, and we don't really care what you think. that's an example. >> rose: the government said that? the government is the people first, and the people elect representatives to congress, and put people in executive branches. those are the people who passed obamacare. it wasn't some government that said we don't care about you and what are you going to do? >> can i put it this way? the american people know exactly what i'm talking about, and that's what's going to happen in 2016. there will be the group of people who will try to say, oh, this is all nebulous and they're all the same and there's no real person who's trying to change
anything, and then there are going to be the people who say, yep, we know exactly what he's talking about, and we identify with it, and we grasp the principles that he's talking about, and we are not willing to give up the values and principles that made america into a great nation so that we can be politically correct. >> rose: some say, on the question of political correctness, that you are becoming a bit politically correct because you don't want toening aer at -- you don't want to anger those people of a certain religious philosophy who believe in you. >> give me an example. >> rose: in the same way you gave me an example in the sense when you talk about gun control. >> okay. >> rose: you're basically saying, from a conversation we had this morning, that the reason the second amendment is so important to you is you think people need to have guns in their homes because if the government gets out of control, they will have the opportunity to rebel. is that a correct understanding of what you said?
>> that is one of the reasons from the second amendment, i talk extensively about it talking on page 60 in the new book. >> rose: right. and, you know, it is very clear, because daniel webster said america would never experience tyranny because the people were armed. >> rose: is there reasonable debate to be held on the question of what is the best way to have a healthcare system that -- >> i'm always happy to debate. >> rose: you argue a different point of view as the president would with you. you know, how would you characterize? would you consider him as one who thinks the government simply knows best. >> i definitely think that. >> rose: for looking a way to make healthcare more accessible. >> i definitely think he's a government knows best individual, but i would be incredibly happy to discuss it with him and discuss my alternative plan versus his and let the people decide rather
than impose something on people and say you've got to do this. >> rose: i'm asking, did anybody impose it or did the congress vote on it? >> it was imposed. >> rose: how is it imposed when the congress voted on it? that's why we have a legislature. and the supreme court has not overturned it. >> did you notice there was not a single republican vote for it? >> rose: i did notice that. did that bother you at all? >> rose: i would rather see arties on a lot of issues.he do you believe in the sprieftion powers? do you believe in the american system of legislative or congressional -- >> i do. >> rose: -- you know, and the supreme court. >> and i've written extensively about that in the book. >> rose: i know. and do you believe, therefore, that in the constitution it created the separation of powers and left it to the court to decide whether something was constitutional or not and the court in the chances it's had has said, yes, the obamacare
or affordable care act is constitutional. >> and it was a 5-4 vote. >> rose: and that's the way the court works. would you criticize that? >> i would saith a 5-4 vote and i would say that the court is not infallible, and this proves it. because the court is not supposed to make law and they cerebral are not supposed to take a law and change it around so that they can constitutional. that is unconstitutional. >> rose: but the constitutional you love and believe gave the court that -- >> it was unconstitutional what they did. >> rose: but -- no but. it's unconstitutional. >> rose: you think it's unconstitutional but the majority of the members did not think so. >> the constitution said it's unconstitutional. why don't we use that. >> rose: who do we have to interpret the constitution? >> we don't need to interpret the constitution. the words were clear. and the court came along and said, no, that's not what the
words mean. i know it looks obvious it says that but that's not what they mean. come on, give me a break. >> rose: tell me what you think the most essential thing to understand about the use of power. >> i think one of the things that was demonstrated extremely well with the fall of the soviet empire was that you don't have to actually use the power, you just have to have to power. so, for instance, you look right now, 59 states with the smallest navy since 1917, the smallest air force since 1940, with a sequester system that is carving the heart -- >> rose: democrats and republicans. >> i'm not denying that. >> rose: okay. with many of our generals
retiring because they're frustrated with the morale being very low, with 22, 23 veterans committing suicide every day, with an abominable v.a. system with 14% decrease in people volunteering -- this is an abominable situation and we are not dealing from strength and that is hurting us worldwide. >> rose: let's speak about syria as another place to look at. >> okay. >> rose: as you know i just returned from moscow interviewing president putin. he essentially said he wants tore to be a player in the middle east. he basically said, i'm increasing my military presence because i want to prop up the assad regime. my question is, as commander-in-chief, what would you be prepared to do to stop him from doing what he seems to want to do is to change the
course of the war as it concerns bashar al-assad? >> okay. you know, he initially said he was going in there to fight i.s.i.s. >> rose: that's what he said but also acknowledged he was going in to support assad. >> he didn't say anything about fighting al-julani or al-nusra. but recognizing -- >> rose: should he or we be fighting al-nusra? >> let me just tell you what i think. >> rose: okay. you have putin, he has expansionist ideals, and we need to oppose him, we need to oppose the reestablishment of the soviet influence not only in the middle east but everywhere, and when his general last week said, you know, you guys shouldn't fly here, we should tell him, forget about it, you don't get to dictate where we fly. >> rose: that was the conversation that took place between the american secretary of defense ash carter and the russian defense minister so
they'd avoid a mistake that would mean one person endangering another's plane and not creating some conflict that was not necessary. >> here's my point. >> rose: okay. they don't tell us where we can ply when we're already there and we don't listen to that. that's the kind of bullying that has been going on and -- >> rose: telling us where we could fly? >> we have to stand up to them completely, not only in syria, but i think throughout the world and, you know, i think we should have armored brigades throughout the whole baltic. i think we should reestablish our missile defense system which us caused no end of consternation to putin. i think we should supply offensive weapons to ukraine because they got rid of their nuclear weapons, with the tacit understanding that there would be protection if they were
invaded. >> rose: we were happy about that for ukraine to get rid of the nuclear weapons that the russians had. >> right, exactly. >> rose: and n.a.t.o. -- the baltic countries are part of n.a.t.o. and we're committed to the n.a.t.o. agreement to defend them. >> and most importantly we should recognize the reason putin has been kept under control is because to have the very low oil prices and he's not been able to get revenue. >> rose: and sanctions. we also ought to put our little brains in gear and say, you know, that could be the real reason he's trying to get back into the middle east. he wants to use this as his base and he wants to expand his influence and he wants to be able to gain control of oil there so that he can then control the pricing, which will give him the moneys that he needs. >> rose: okay. so we have to be thinking about all these kinds of things. >> rose: i hear you. let's talk about should the united states create a "no fly" zone. >> along the turkish border.
>> rose: throughout as much as of the area of syria as we could control. >> sure. >> rose: we should. absolutely. >> rose: and if they invade that "no fly" zone should we invade theirs. >> if they create a "no fly" zone in the area we're already occupying. >> rose: no, where we have the opportunity to create a "no fly" zone. >> if they want to create a "no fly" zone where we want to create a "no fly" zone we have a battle royal. >> rose: the message we should send to him today is -- >> we're not backing down. >> rose: and the red l ought to be? >> we're not backing down. that's our message to him. >> rose: and do you think that message should be sent to him by this administration? >> no. are you kidding? (laughter) >> rose: elaborate on that. your sense of this administration -- >> my sense of this administration has been
extraordinarily weak. >> rose: and you think that's one of the reasons he moved into a vacuum? >> i think, of course. i think that has empowered the global jihadists, i think it has caused the chinese adventurism. you know, chinese are not war-like people, but they're very pragmatic people and if they see weak theses, they'll take advantage of it. >> rose: what's your china pollsy. >> i think we need to recognize we have a lot of friend in that area who are being intimidated right now and i think we need to make sure that they understand that we have their backs, and if that means, you know, sending a carrier group into there, we do that. if that means working with their armies, their military forces to bolster them, yes. you know, recently in the philippines, you know, they offered to reopen their bases to us, we ought to take advantage of that. we need to establish a strong presence. >> rose: and should we support the t.p.p.?
>> well, in general, i'm a fan of free trade, but, you know, not at any cost, and i think that -- i think we could probably renegotiate in a way that gives, you know, more oversight to our congress and not just a simple vote. >> rose: this one last question, what distinguishes you in your own mind -- what's the most distinguishing fact that separates you from the other republican candidates? >> rose bowl the fac that i'm not -- >> probably the fact that i'm not a politician and i'm going to be looking at things based on evidence and not ideology. >> rose: thank you for coming. dr. ben carson, thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this and earlier episodes, visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com.
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