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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  October 13, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with a conversation about afghanistan with that country's chef executive officer abdullah abdullah. >> taliban in their organization will never be the same because there were different groups amongst them, but all had accepted mullah omar as the top leader. he was their leader and religious, according to their perception of religion, and the fact that the main leadership role has been challenged right from the beginning, it will show itself in the course of time. nevertheless, the current leadership is trying to solidify
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its position. >> rose: we continue this evening with margrethe vestager, theine commissioner for competition. >> i was beginning to think that we put all our political leadership into passing new legislation without really sort of realizing that it takes more political leadership to make it come true, to implement it, tomake it work on the ground, where people need to change their habits the way they do things in order to change the world that we live in. >> rose: we conclude with dr. peter whybrow, his book called "the well tuned brain: neuroscience and the life well lived." >> we love the reward, and then we're also habit driven. so if you put those two things together, you've got a habit and a reward system focused on the short term and then you tie it into the circumstance we built for ourselves especially in america and the western world in
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general, you suddenly come up with this situation where we are driving ourselves to where it's a perfect storm. >> rose: abdullah abdullah, margrethe vestager and dr. peter whybrow, when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: >> 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: dr. abdullah abdullah is here. he holds the title of chief executive officer of afghanistan. he assumed the post after creating a unity government
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with. ashraf ghani a year ago. afghan security forces are largely operating on their own after most u.s. troops were withdrawn. some remained to advise and train as the country is facing insurgence by taliban. efforts to retake can does failed despite forces and support from n.a.t.o. airstrikes and special forms. the taliban's biggest military gain since 2001. the group is also facing competition from the islamic state which is challenging it in many parts of the country. the extent of the american presence in afghanistan after next year has yet to be decided. i am pleased to have dr., as m.d., abdullah abdullah back as this table. welcome. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: is it going from bad to worse in afghanistan? >> i wouldn't call it that way. the recent development in kunduz
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will be addressed and considered a gain by the taliban but i believe that's temporary gain for the taliban. >> rose: why is it happening, though? >> in the past one year, which afghanistan security forces have shouldered all the responsibility of security and stability from previously, let's say, 140,000 american and international troops on the ground, that transition took place very quickly, and then the military security transition coincided with the political transition. the elections, which was contentious. in the period between 2012 and 2014, the taliban strategy was just to survive and to stay there because they were hoping that, once the troop withdrawal completes itself, then they can
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come back in a big way and the end of 2014 and beginning 2015, they considered as their victory and final victory. and in the past 12 months, they've made lots of efforts, lots of attempts, but they have failed. but recently, this happened. at this moment, the whole focus is on how to get it back and to liberate the people, but why it happened and that it was a lack of coordination or whether it was something else, this should be made clear to the people. >> rose: will afghanistan history look back at the time of the northern alliance and what happened with the c.i.a. and special forces, as the taliban will run out of afghanistan and into pakistan and mullah omar was in pakistan, that the effort to get them and to eliminate the
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taliban did not take place because america became distracted by the iraqi war, will that be an historic decision that will forever be part of afghan history? >> that was a decision which is part of the afghan history and, at the same time, at that time in pakistan, president musharraf was acting in the front line of the war against terror. from the other side, he was the one providing sentries to mullah. >> rose: why? because they wanted somebody to play in the role of the future of afghanistan? >> first of all, they didn't believe afghanistan would be able to stand on its own feet. secondly, the policy there has
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been, unfortunately, to use terrorism and extremism as a means of achieving foreign policy objectives, and in taliban they consider that an asset rather a liability. that was also an important factor. within afghanistan, also, the policies of my colleague, my former boss, former president, to divide and rule and also to weaken the local indigenous forces -- >> rose: to create a strong central government or do something else? >> a strong central government and at the same time to consolidate his position for him being weakened afterwards because he thought al quaida and taliban have gone and then it's time to go after the internal situation and consolidate its
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position by weakening the indigenous forces. my belief at that time was the local indigenous forces should have transformed in the course of time into the national army and national police. >> rose: this is important to me. i'm interested in this. so you believe what he wanted to do was to weaken internal forces to he could strengthen himself. >> yes. >> rose: and you believe it was important to incorporate local forms and make the center stronger? >> yes. not only that, but also not to leave a vacuum in between. until we have the national army and the national police, we shouldn't have lifted any vacuum. that vacuum was used by the taliban to get back an established foothold in the taliban. >> rose: and the circumstances allowed them to get a foothold and build.
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>> yes. and also if i may point to a part of the military strategy or tactic which was at that time by the coalition forces, it was the large offensives against the taliban, which later on we learned the smaller scale of attacks, special operations and night raids were much more effective, based on the right intelligence, of course, than the larger scale operations. at that time when this tactic was working, then the person -- former president karzai turned against the united states and put pressure on the n.a.t.o. forces not to launch any operations. then came 2014 and the news about 2014. so what we see today and what we are witnessing today, it is a compilation of quite a few factors which belongs to the past. >> rose: did his corruption -- alleged corruption weaken the effort against the taliban?
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>> corruption within the system as well as not letting institutions to be strengthened and to also -- elections, after the elections rigging and so forth, all of these were factors. >> rose: how soon did you know about the death of omar, mullah omar? because he died a year or so before they disclosed it. >> a year or so ago, two years ago. >> rose: yeah. chief of intelligence in our intelligence system, they came with the proposition that from such a date, april 2013 -- >> rose: 2013. -- 2013, we don't have any evidence that mullah omar is
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alive, we don't have any evidence about his movements. >> rose: no one has seen him? no one has seen or heard him, no communication, nothing. and, of course, it was not possible for them to come up with 100% proof that he was dead, but the people who uh knew he was -- who knew he was dead, it was a very small circle amongst the taliban, including the current leader of the taliban which has been chosen by pakistan? dead. >> even more than that. and pakistan knew about it very well. >> rose: they knew he was dead? >> absolutely because, post-2001, when omar spent all his time in pakistan and he was in contact throughout -- >> rose: and they had to have given him a sanctuary, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to
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stay? >> yes, of course. and you remember you might have heard there have been a few negotiations with the taliban. >> rose: right. in pakistan the people would say we know how to get and give messages to omar, which was a sham altogether, and -- >> rose: because he was dead or -- >> because he was dead and b because, later on, they had been cheated against and also some members of taliban and senior leaders in taliban banks, in taliban leader, they thought they were cheated. that's why they did the division amongst the taliban leadership. >> rose: the division of whether to negotiate or not, did we assume mullah omar was in favor with negotiation with the afghan government or not? >> he didn't believe in a negotiated settlement, but the division is first.
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why it was kept secret from the taliban because in the eyes of a lot of taliban foot soldiers, he was the legitimate king of all muslims, and in their own perception with a legitimate mandate. later on they learned he was did, already. then negotiations were conducted and when they asked who has authorized the negotiations, they were told it was mullah omar. and then they learned he was dead. >> rose: what does this all mean for the future of the taliban and its political and military positioning that he is no longer there in terms of their own public acknowledgment? >> taliban, in that organization, will never be the same because there were different groups amongst them,
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but all of them had accepted mullah omar as the top leader, and his orders were binding, not only as their leader but also religious -- according to their belief, they have perception of religion and the fact that the new leadership role has been challenged right from the beginning, it will show itself in the course of time. nevertheless, the current leadership is trying to solidify its position, the efforts in kunduz is part of that, those effects. >> rose: as you know, many people have argued that the united states' departure from iraq and not leaving a force there, not being able to negotiate with the prime minister at that time, maliki,
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somehow led to some of the problems they have today, that american troops that would have been a restraining force on maliki and somehow would have gotten -- impeded the animosity between sunnis and shias who supported, in the beginning, and helped i.s.i.s. become what it has become, is that risk in afghanistan, too? >> rather than making it further complicated for myself to pass a judgment on what happened in iraq, i would say that it's important that at least the current number of troops are sustained beyond 2016 -- >> rose: both you and the president are at one on that. >> we are at one on that. >> rose: yes. and not only that but also the commanders on the ground, the generals helping us,
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supporting the mission. >> rose: and what's the number of american troops? >> currently, it is 9,800. >> rose: would you like these to stay? >> we would like at least -- >> rose: at least 9,800 -- -- to stay beyond 2016 because the thinking is beyond 2016 the number will be in the hundreds and it will be kabul-centric. >> rose: mostly in kabul? mostly in kabul. >> rose: and your argument is we need much more. we need closer to 10,000. >> at least the current number which is 9,800. >> rose: will you get it? i hope so because it's not just a call for self-interest. we have been together. as you mentioned, the americans have made sacrifices alongside
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the afghans in dealing with the common enemy which is still there in our part of the world, and there have been a lot of games and lives have changed for millions of people in afghanistan, men, women, children, boys and girls, and life is better for those people. at the same time, in order to consolidate those skills, we need some extra efforts. we don't expect 130,000 troops to be there, but i would be very open and candid, there will be elections in the united states next year -- >> rose: yes. -- and the future elected administration should not be left in a situation that will have to make even much more difficult decision afterwards,
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but rather given a choice that the current level is that and then deal with its the situation allows afterwards. >> rose: going back to what i said, you don't accept or accept or don't want to comment on what i said about the departure of american troops from iraq? >> it was a factor. it was a factor. >> rose: the departure of the troops was a factor in the growth of i.s.i.s.? >> of i.s.i.s. but it was the iraqi government which was against the presence of the american administration. >> rose: would have negotiated a deal if maliki would have been willing to? >> yes, but you are talking about a willing partner. >> rose: in afghanistan, you have to have a willing partner. >> a willing partner which is committed to the common goal and is honest about its challenges as well as the opportunities which are ahead of it. >> rose: is your goal in
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negotiating peace with the taliban or something else? your goal. >> our goal is achieving peace in afghanistan. >> rose: by negotiation? whenever there is an opportunity for negotiations, or negotiated settlement, we have to seize it, and we have proven we are willing in afghanistan and protect our people and soil from being used by the terrorists which are not just threats to the afghan people but to the whole mankind and to peace and stability in much wider world than just a territory called afghanistan. >> rose: do you worry that i.s.i.s. may be able to unit all radical jihadist groups under
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one flag? al quaida, al-nusra, taliban? >> they will not be able to do that, and certainly there will be different brands and different names. they might try through their brutal tactics or through the band which has been infamous for making headways so quickly, that will help them for a while, but they will not be able to lead a global movement. >> rose: why are they gaining ground in afghanistan? i.s.i.s. the perception is they are gaining ground, have a presence in afghanistan. >> in some parts, they do have presence, an partly it is the groups of taliban which have
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turned their allegiance towards i.s.i.s. >> rose: and why would they do that? >> that is also due to internal divisions amongst the taliban ranks. but at this stage, i.s.i.s. is not a significant threat in afghanistan, but i.s.i.s. is a significant threat worldwide and also in our region, that we cannot ignore. >> rose: in syria? and iraq and the fact they've succeeded so quickly, that has created an appeal. >> rose: especially among the young from around the world. >> the young. >> rose: from everywhere. and who go to everywhere and who come from everywhere. >> rose: what do you think of the russian presence in syria. >> the russian presence or the russian policy in syria -- >> rose: yes. i'm not sure they will put
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soldiers on the ground. >> rose: putin said they'd not, off the record to me but on the record to me he said he had no plans to do that. >> then i tend to believe it. >> rose: and you might assume that one of the reasons is afghanistan. afghanistan was a terrible lesson of history for the russians, and other people, too, but afghanistan has been the burial ground of a lot of people who tried to conquer it, as you know better than anybody. >> yes, partly it's because of that, and partly it's other conflicts they are having. troops on the ground and russian troops on the ground will not help the situation. but as a matter of pursuit of their own interest, they have chosen to support bashar al-assad, which, in fact, i watched your interview with president putin.
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>> rose: in new york? yes. >> rose: and? and they will continue that policy. >> rose: so bringing it back to you, one quick question about pakistan -- you seem to suggest that, clearly, the pakistanis and the leadership of pakistan knew osama bin laden was there. they had to know. >> osama bin laden, absolutely, yes. >> because they all deny it. and even americans will say they don't know if the highest official -- somebody had to know but they don't know, and you're saying, get serious. >> he was in the military containment. if he knows the chief of al quaida or doesn't know about
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him being near a military containment, that poses even a bigger question. >> rose: so he had to know. he had to know. >> rose: and what's that say about them? >> if there is one lesson from afghanistan or from the misadventures of the terrorist groups elsewhere, that using terrorism as a means of achieving foreign policy objective doesn't work. it has not worked for any state. and the reason that i am so sure about it -- of course, it is a lesson from the history that strengthened these own terrorist groups and they will turn against those estates and groups
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which pakistan created are now fighting against pakistan. those were created for other purposes. but the minute they find the opportunity to turn against the states. so it's important for the states to not to allow these on this-state actors to use these opportunities for short-term gains, which looked like gains, but anybody in that position is in a losing position. >> rose: okay. you came to the u.n. and called on regional stakeholders and international partners to realize the gravity of the situation and use the good offices or any effective means to support aspirations for a genuine and durable confidence-building process leading to talks with willing taliban and other armed opposition groups. so what's been the response? >> that was the call, the call
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from me and on behalf of the government of afghanistan. >> rose: right. and the countries, there are more than one or two countries which are willing to facilitate this, but, at the same time, we have ask them to be realistic, and also there are certain things that are important. first of all, the consistency in the messaging and coherence of the messages given to the countries, it's important. talking about pakistan, afghanistan and our unity government, people tried after the formation of the yiewbty government, and with sincerity and seriousness, to communicate to them that we are not the
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enemies of pakistan and we will not allow our soil to be used against pakistan and, at the same time, we understand that friendly relations based on mutual respect and respect for sovereigsovereignty and territod integrity in the interest of all of us and have a lot to gain from it. we ended up learning that the person who presented to talk to us hopefully was in the help two years back. that was disappointing. >> reporter: we have to go. you have to catch a plane back to afghanistan because of the situation there. i thank you for coming by to talk to us. >> thank you, charlie. it is always a pleasure talking to you. >> rose: abdullah abdullah from afghanistan. back in a moment. stay with us.
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>> rose: margrethe vestager is here. she is the european commissioner for competition. she was previously danish minister of economy and deputy prime minister. she assumed her current role in september of 2014. earlier this year the commission brought antitrust charges against google and gas prom. they wrote mediterranean migration to endless greek saga is reminder that brussels has bite. i am pleased to have her at the table. are you proving brussels has bite? >> well, i don't know, but it's a pleasure to be here. >> rose: thank you. we like strong women at this table. >> well, this is good. i think the world needs strong women. >> rose: i do, too. no, i think it's important to show in europe as in this state we build on the rule of law, and
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you can do perfectly fine business in europe if you play by the book. >> rose: and google is not playing by the book? >> well, we have this concern that this very successful company, very, very dominant, extremely dominant in europe compared to here in general search, is using this dominance to promote themselves in neighboring markets where it's not on the merit, and we like competition on the merit very, very much. >> rose: and do you believe that your stance and the stance of the e.u. is tougher in general than standards that the united states and its regulatory actions imposes against both its and foreign businesses? do you have a tougher attitude about competition? >> well, it's too early for me to do that kind of comparison. but maybe things in which we differ, but i think that, in general, we have sort of the
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same approach. and any way, you know, we copy it, the u.s. antitrust and competition way of thinking invented it a hundred years ago and we took it over 60 or 70 years ago. >> rose: quote by "time "time magazine." "theine's competition commissioner has convinced many that she a ruthless corporate opponent, but they may have gotten that wrong. more than fearsome, she may simply be danish ." >> well, i don't know about that, but i think we should be sort of very -- think very carefully about the responsibility that we have to citizens and to keep markets open and fair to enable a level playing field for people to enter, to have a fighting chance for new products and more affordable prizes and, in that, it's not about businesses, it's
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about keeping europe open for business. >> rose: here is what i wonder -- it seems to take a long time for these things to be resolved. why? >> well, it has to do with, as far as i have learned, it has to do with something very fundamental. it has to do with due process, with getting the facts right, with enabling any business to defend itself, and not to rush to conclusions. eventually, our case work may have to stand up in court, so, of course, it should be thorough, even-handed and impartiality and we should do our best effort and sometimes it takes a long time. >> rose: are european and american values different in the question of competition and the role of corporations? >> no, i don't think so.
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>> rose: so what's the difference? >> well, we have differences in the way we approach things and our markets are very different. in europe, we have been building up the single markets decade after decade, but we still have some national markets. it's different from here. a company can be very dominant in europe and not necessarily so dominant in the u.s. market. so i think, when we differ, it's much more a reflexion of different facts because we have actually an excellent corporation with u.s. authorities. >> rose: meaning u.s. corporations or you mean u.s. regulatory authorities? >> i mean the federal trade commission and the department of justice, the work that they do. we work very close together when we have things in common. >> rose: why did you want this job anyway? >> well, i have been a legislator in different roles,
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and i was beginning to think that we put all our political leadership into making new relationship without realizing it takes maybe more political leadership to make it come true, to implement it, to make it work on the ground, where people need to change their habits the way they do things in order to change the world that we live in, and i really wanted to work with that. law enforcement, well, that's making it work. >> rose: but have you given up on danish politics? >> well, you know, sometimes i miss my colleagues. i miss my friends. but so far, i haven't gotten to the point where i miss things -- >> rose: yes but you still want to be prime minister.
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>> i do a job and do it well and see what the future will bring. >> rose: explain the process. let's take google since it's known around the world. how do you go about making your decision with respect to google and the power of its search engine? >> well, of course, one of the things that comes to my desk is that people that complain, who feel this is not right, things are not done by the book -- >> rose: these are other companies. >> other companies, yes, the american and european companies. >> rose: american companies, too? >> yes, definitely. and then we start looking, and if we find something, then we say we'll open a formal investigation, and then we start gathering the facts, lots and lots and lots of data. then, of course, to interpret the facts, do we think we find evidence of foul play that things are not as they're supposed to be? and if we think there is a case,
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then we write a at the sam statf objection, send it to you and then, of course, you can defend yourself. and then we do, as you should, with an open mind, read also the defenses coming up. >> rose: has there been a major case in which you had your statement of facts and you sent it to them and they came back and explained why they did what they did and made the case and you said, you're absolutely right, do you remember a case like that? >> my shift has just begun. i have been there 11 months. i think, well, sometimes you can take people's data and the way they see things on board, and in other areas, you might still differ, and i think that depends. we have very strong internal safeguards, second opinions in order to qualify the things that we do before we would ever send out a statement of objection. but i want to see, now we are
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diving in the answers we've gotten and starting to analyze that. >> rose: do you believe you have an unfair reputation in the united states among technology companies? >> well, i don't know. i think part of the reputation comes with the job. >> rose: in other words, you have to be tough because that's the definition of your job? >> i think so, yes. >> rose: to be vigilant? to be consistent, to be even-handed, to stay focused because, basically, while what we all do is to serve the citizens. >> rose: gas prom, what is the situation with gas prom. >> doing great business in europe. >> rose: to the delight of the europeans. >> yes, selling a lot of gas. but in a number of countries we feel they have use add very dominant position to charge very, very high prices, actually excessive prices, and also in
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that case, we have sent them a statement of objection and we've gotten their official response, but we also got their sort of first draft on what could balance our concerns in order to find the solution. >> rose: denmark is not part of the eurozone. >> no. >> rose: nor is britain part of the eurozone. what is your analysis of what the greek economic issue and all the change of governments there has done to the possibilities and the future to hav of the eu? >> well, right now, that's on the table. if they should make the eurozone move closer together, to be much more committed in their economic policies because, when you've had a crisis like this and
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things have been at risk or torn apart, then you would want to move together, and that's being debated as we speak. >> rose: do you believe the crisis is still there and that the question of what will happen to greece is still to be determined? or do you believe the most recent agreements and the most recent elections will be the difference? >> well, i think now there is a chance things can move forward in a constructive way, both with the agreement made over the summer and the past election. >> rose: right. of course, nothing is certain yet, but i think there are much better chances than there were just three or four ponts ago where -- months ago where greece made the headlines in every pape around the world. >> rose: what's in your own mind the notion of greece in europe today? is that a available idea today?
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>> well, you don't choose your crisis. >> rose: right. but what you choose is whether or not you will take responsibility. and as i have experienced it also firsthand over the last almost decade, every time that question were asked, it was, yes, we will take responsibility. and not only do you have strong institutions in the parliament and the council and the commission and the court, you also have people who want to make europe a place of not only of an innovative, dynamic, interesting continent, but also a place where people can pursue their dreams. it's a very basic vision. i know that. but for your children to get an education, for yourself to have an interesting job, to provide for yourself and your family, there is this idea about fulfilling your dreams, but also to do that --
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>> rose: i can't let the opportunity go without talking about the television show. do you see yourself in it? >> yes, some, i do. my husband is a teacher. my part was a small one and, actually, i know some people would say, oh, no, it's just fiction, but, actually, i think it's a pretty accurate portrayed of danish politics. >> rose: in what way? in the way that you see people talking together, having to come together, having to find compromise, and for women to play a strong role. >> rose: yeah. in fact, it is said that you are the inspiration for the prime minister. >> yes, i -- >> rose: you can see that? you accept that and recognize it? >> but you never really know. >> rose: are you flattered if it's true? >> yes, i am, very much so. but most of all, i admire the people who have done this area
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because some many around the globe has enjoyed it and hopefully get a little peek into this scandinavian environment. >> rose: thank you for coming. it was a pleasure to be here. >> rose: back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: dr. peter whybrow is here. he is director of the semel institute for neuroscience and human behavior at u.c.l.a. his books include a mood apart and american mania. his latest is the well-tuned brain. it exams how and why the human brain is often out of sync with the world around us. i am pleased to have peter whybrow at this table again. welcome. >> thank you, sir. >> rose: pleasure to have you here. so did 9/11 lead you to think about the themes of this book? >> no, it was mainly the meltdown of 2008 because i wondered why did that happen? >> rose: the financial crisis? yes, exactly.
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how can a country believe it's going to live on debt forever? so i think that that brought me to the point where i thought, you know, if we really used neuroscience as we can, what we know about behavior, we begin to direct your public policy in a different way. >> rose: and how do we do that? >> well, many of the plagues that we have now -- obesity, debt, lack of trust -- all of those things have a common core and that's human behavior, the way we relate to each other. so if you peel it back, which i do in the first part of the book, and ask the question who we really are -- >> rose: yeah. -- you know, we're short-term discounters, we love the immediacy and the reward. then we're also habit-driven. if you put those two things together, you've got a habit and a reward system that is focused on the short term, and then you tie it into the circumstance we've built for ourselves, especially in america but also
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in the western world in general, you suddenly come up with this situation where we are driving ourselves to where it's a perfect storm. >> rose: lets unpack it. yeah. >> rose: why did we develop this passion for instant gratification? simply because it was there? >> yeah, it was there. that's the old brain. that's the ancient brain. so, inadvertently, really, we've stumbled into this situation where we now are driving that part in our little frontal cortex, which is rather primitive compared to the ancient 700 million year old driver in the seat there, we're just completely out of focus. the rider has lost control of the horse, if you will. >> rose: so how do we fix this? >> well, i think we can do it in various ways, but first by knowing ourselves, which is what i talk about in the first part of the book. the way we make choices is
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pretty well known now, and the way in which we combine emotion and reason in making those choices, but when you've got a society that actually is driving principally the market society is driving immediate gratification and enabling people to use debt to make that gratification real, then suddenly you end up with a circumstance where you can't get away from this addictive drive. so i think if once we begin to realize that, we'll begin to ask ourselves why do we have children advertised to in ways that drive them particularly towards the brand systems? most children can identify a couple hundred different brands by the age of 3, which they see on the television set. they probably don't know what's going on in the garden. so i think that the issue then becomes one of education, one of
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how you develop trust. we've got all sorts of interesting things that we could do in terms of our social policy that we don't do at the moment. >> rose: and you say really there is a mismatch between who we are neurologically and how cultural has developed. >> yes. so this book carries forth the idea that if we paid more attention to human attachment, which is the core of what we do -- >> rose: the need for connection. >> -- the need for connection -- i mean, your program would not be the power it is if you were a robot, would it? >> rose: it might be better. no, no. (laughter) we have invented the latest barbie doll you can give to your child and the doll will have sympathy if the child falls down, et cetera, et cetera. these are fascinating technologically. >> rose: but it's the wrong
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things. >> especially in early childhood so education becomes distorted. >> rose: talk about obesity as an example. >> obesity is a very good example because that's where we have built immediate satisfaction in terms of the food that we get. when you're frenzied, you'd much rather eat something quickly and move on to what you have to do next rather than sit down and talk over a meal. so is fast fort hood industry is fantastic, it's done so many things in terms of feeding us, but it's feeding us all sorts of stuff which if you combine with no exercise, 50% of the population in america no longer exercise at all. they don't even get out of a chair to turn the television set on and off. so you end up with growing obesity which, in the long run, changes the way in which our behaviors -- perfect example, if you're very busy and you eat a lot, there's a high correlation between how much you sleep and how much you weigh.
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the less you sleep, the more you weigh. >> rose: yes. it's counterintuitive but it's true. this is true for children now. you know, some children -- >> rose: some people sleep more. >> they do. you should be trying to sleep eight hours a night. that's a good thing. >> rose: i totally agree with that. i try to approach that simply by taking two or three naps a day. but i don't sleep eight hours at once. >> well, that's a good thing to do, because when you sleep, for reasons we don't entirely understand, it's a knitting of the general coil, you do better if you're sleeping properly. but the other thing about obesity is, in our frenzied lifestyle, we increase enormous numbers of stress hormones which make you fatter, too. >> rose: let's go to the habit part. >> yeah. >> rose: the habit part is, if, in fact, we rely to instant
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gratification and that becomes a habit. >> yes, you put your finger on it. >> rose: it compounds the problem. >> we all have habits, yes. i cross my arms. >> rose: right. so now we say, cross it the other way, so i start fumbling, and that's a habit. so the fact is that not only is a habit physically speaking but it's a habit inside your head, so the way you relate to people is formed very early on. a 3-year-old child is forming literally millions of connections a week in terms of the way their brain is wiring up. >> rose: yeah. so those habits will drive us in a direction that we frame when we're young. >> rose: i want to go to the financial crisis which you talked about. >> yeah. >> rose: what did you understand about that and the relevance of that to understanding the themes we're talking about? >> well, i think that, you know, it was a surprise to everybody
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who was there, even the economists didn't figure it out. we blame the bankers, we blame whoever we can, but, in fact, we forget to ask what contribution did we make? and the debts that we had accumulated is extraordinary during that time, and most of us accumulated it, not just the whole country, but every individual was being forced into the idea that you can have your television tomorrow morning because all you have to do is mortgage yourself for several years. you keep on mortgaging yourself, then eventually -- >> rose: and housing prices never go down. >> that's right, so the individual was just as much responsible as the banker. bigger scale on the banker, much easier target but we were all responsible. so the argument is let's be responsible and think about this. we have borrowed as much money and we are borrowing it at the same rate between 2008 and now as we were beforehand, almost
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exactly the same. i wrote an op-ed in the "wall street journal" a few weeks ago. >> rose: i'm obsessed by the brain and the research that's being done. >> thanksgiving, you've done some wonderful programs. >> rose: what's the most exciting frontier as you look at all the things that are going on? >> i think its genetics. it has been there for a while, but now we're able to take genetics and look at the vulnerability and ask the question of how does that interplay with the environment to cause the scourges we're talking about. >> rose: you just won the nobel prize for understanding editing genes? >> the way we now have what's called crisp technology which is a way of actually dissecting the gene and figuring out what the machinery is actually doing, that is extraordinary. that is going to make a huge
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difference in the way in which we can understand the pathology as it unfolds and also how normal behaviors within the genetics unfold. >> rose: it's getting extraordinary and you wonder how far it can go as we deeply understand the brain and how central it is to behavior and everything else. >> mm-hmm. >> rose: how central it is to sight, everything. >> mm-hmm. >> rose: and where this is going to talk us in terms of -- and where this is going to take us in terms of the future and how it will affect a culture and society when we learn more and more, when we prolong life longer and longer, and does that present new problems and challenges, new opportunities? >> i think it does all of those, but i like to focus on the opportunities. it's much easier to worry about the past than looking to the feature. looking to the feature, i think once we understand the technologies, that we don't forget what human beings have learned from each other because
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society, although we can understand the vulnerable with genetics and those who are exceptional, it is the general society interaction which creates the society itself, so the culture is embedded in the sort of things we're doing now. we lose the face of that. we think, we've got all the environmental problems, technology is going to fix it, i don't think so. i think what's going to fix it is talking to each other about how we can work together. >> rose: how we can harness technology. >> how we can harness it, exactly. >> rose: i mean, because you do -- you do look at it and you ask yourself, too, some very human questions, what impact is our obsession with social media and smartphones doing to, a, the brain over the long run and, second, the human level of contact? now, some would argue that there
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is so much more contact now it can be so instant. you can tweet and tweet and tweet and tweet and, therefore, you can communicate with your friends all the time. you can gather it more easily, you can do all these other things. others say, what's it doing the brain chemistry? >> it's a small band width. as i'm sitting here watching you and you watching me, i'm looking at your face -- >> rose: my attention is focused totally on you and what you say. >> i can take an enormous amount of band width, to use that technical term, whereas when i'm tweeting i don't understand your nuances nor do you understand mine, and you end up with a much more primitive, a more scaled-back, really a caricature. >> rose: thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> rose: thank you for joining us. see you next time.
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for more about this program and earlier episodes, visit us online at and captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
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this coming tuesday on pbs front line presents the final hour of my brother's bomber. when ken durstein's brother was killed in the bombing. he began a multi-investigation that took him to war torn libya in search of the others
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involved. here's a preview. >> abdullah is what the others call him. >> yes. was he someone you spoke object during the investigation? >> absolutely. there was an intelligence assessment at the time that he was a technical expert, and we just couldn't ever identify him. the guy was just sort of a ghost. nobody would acknowledge him, even after the scotts went to bolivia in 1999 and asked about massoud and never heard of him. >> if you could figure him out, he was probably important? >> absolutely. he was maybe someone who had something to do with arming the bomb.
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>> announcer: the following kqed production was produced in high definition. >> the beef torta was out of this world. >> i actually don't discriminate against pizza. >> this is a temple to -- >> we couldn't see it, and we couldn't hear it. >> right. >> whoa! i'm actually in san francisco? >> this is amazing! [ laughter ] >> bring me more.


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