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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  January 5, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PST

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>> what concerns me is that we've got six failed states across the broader middle east. we've got a record level of refugees globally. we've got the most powerful ever terrorist organization and the prox mat global context of that will insure that all of those things get worse, not better over the course of 2016. that worries me. and what worries me, to go back to risk number one, that the single most important alliance in the world for the last 7-- 75 year, the transatlantic relationship, whether you are talking about security or economics or just basic human values, is that it's weakest point now since the-- . >> rose: and we conclude with a much talked about film about the holocaust called "son of saul." we're joined by laszlo nemes,
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the director and geza rohring, the actor. >> many films have been made about the holocaust but not really about the holocaust. or about the human existence within the holocaust. but rather taking the holocaust for its dramatic value. i wanted to-- i wanted to you no, transmit something to the view ir-- viewers about the human condition within the concentration camp. you couldn't know many things while you were in the camp as a prisoner. and i really wanted to you know, to forget this post-- post war perception of the holocaust based on survival and based on infatuation. and to really go back to the here and now. and see what is left to do. i wanted to do it for the dad. because the dad more or less was
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forgot en. >> ian bremmer and "son of saul" when we continue. 1. >> funding for charlie rose is provided by the following: >> 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: ian bremmer is here. he is the president and founder of eurasia group a political risk consulting firm. the company published its annual top risks report today. it outlines the many geo political developments to watch in the coming year. this year's list includes a transatlantic alliance, an increasingly closed europe, china's global footprint as well
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as isis. saudi arabia is another country on the list. the country's foreign minister announced on monday that trade and diplomatic links with iran would be cut. it comes in response to the attacks on the saudi em basessee in tehran. tensions between the two countries em flamed after saudi arabia executed a shia muslim cleric with 46 others who had been convicted of terror-related offenses. i'm pleased to have ian bremmer back at this table. welcome. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: how do you go about compiling this list? tell me what you and your team do, and what are you looking for when you talk about the top risk of 2016. >> well, number one, we keep these up on our home page for the entire year. so it can't just be hitting the headlines for this week and making news. it has to actually stick. and you know, we've got over 130 people. and the process, i mean every one at the beginning is asked to come up with their best and biggest and most insightful and even crazy ideas. then i chop most of them away
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and i have always got things going on in my head. by the end of the year we have narrowed it down, done a lot of writing and this is what eventually comes out. it's not that we have a crystal ball, we don't. i think more that you put enough smart people on issues and you can see the politics of what isn't feasible. it's so much easier to get rid of things that won't happen or that are implausible than it is to actually make predictions. we're not calling who the next president will be. i really don't know. we don't feel like we have a strong call on that. >> what you do know is. >> for 2016? >> yeah. >> what we do know is most importantly, i have run this firm for 18 years now. i've never seen a geo political environment that has concerned me this much. much more instability when we look at-- . >> rose: so what concerns you is instability. >> what concerns me is we've got six failed states across the broader middle east. we've got a record level of regees globally. we've got the most powerful ever terrorist organization. and the prox mat global context of that will insure that all of
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those things get worse, not better over the course of 2016. that worries me. and what worries me, to go back to risk number one, that the single most important alliance in the world for the last 75 years, the transatlantic relationship, whether you are talking about security or economics or just basic human values, is that it's weakest point now since the marshal plan. >> rose: define what weakness means. >> weakness means that the united states in the middle of an incredibly polarizing election is talking about foreign policy, national security in terms of terrorism, in terms of muslims, in terms of building a wall with mexico. but absolutely not in terms of the relationship with europe. >> rose: is that because most of the vy log is is about and from donald trump? >> i think it doesn't help. i think the fact that outsider in populist are playing as much a role in the u.s. now as they have in europe, in the last few years, absolutely is a big issue.
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while i don't think the u.s. election is a risk dommestically in the u.s., i don't think it will impact investment or capitol flows or any of that, i do think 2015 will matter internationally. especially when you think about american's europe allies, britain, france and germany, the most important three, and how they look at what their priorities are, what they need and can the u.s. provide it, for britain they're looking for cash. they want investments into britainment and they see that the americans aren't all that useful for that. going forward. but the chinese are writing big checks so we the brits want to be the best friend of china in the west. i see the french saying we just had 9/11 in our country. we're very concerned about security in the region. the united states not looking like all that much of a leader there. but the russians are suddenly playing a big role in syria. we want to hedge more with the russians. the germans are saying we're going to take leadership and accept a million refugees a year. and the united states will do absolutely nothing.
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but the turks have 2 million refugees and my god, they need to keep them there. we've got to make a deal with them. so i see the europeans, out of insecurity, and fear, and also prox mat concerns saying there are other things that matter a lot more to us right now. >> you would signal the transatlantic alliance, would you just signal out to me was a failure of leadership and depend ability about america. i think that it takes two, i think that the europeans being weak, distracted, not coordinated does matter here. but there is no question-- . >> rose: but if they are and are looking for something from america and you just signaled reasons why they are not getting it, that is a failure of leadership, is it not. >> sure it is. >> rose: and the indictment of president obama's leadership the end of the transat alliance? >> if you asked me, if you had to put the blame on the end of the transatlantic alliance or the hollowness, the brittleness, it's not over, but it is a shell of what it used to be, if you
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ask why that is, certainly the united states deserves the lion's share of the blame. but if there is one thing that we've been able to count on over the past decade from europe, it's been german leadership. merkel. and in 2016 merkel is a lot weaker. time magazine just made merkel the person of the year. >> rose: so did the. >> i was strongly in favor of the time process. one of the reasons i said that i thought we should do that was because she wasn't-- this was her last chance. >> rose: what do you think the threat of the refugees is to stability? >> in europe or more broadly. >> rose: well, let's start with europe. and merkel and hollande and cameron. >> just today the swedeses pulling up border controls. denmark saying well, you know, we have to do that ourselves as well. the shengan agreement breaking down. the growth of pop lism, the
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national front with 27% of the popular vote a historic high in france clearly-- . >> rose: they did not do as well as they thought they would did. >> they didn't do as well with how many seats they secured which was zero. but that is because the mainstream parties came together. they exceeded vote expectation. >> rose: but it was seen as a loss for them. they did not do what they expected. >> that they didn't get seats. >> rose: that's right. >> yes. if you ask me do we think the national front is doing better now than they have ever done before in france. the answer is unequivocally yes. and i think if you look at germany, the alternative for the german party which has no leadership whatsoever is polling 10% from nowhere right now. >> this is the rise of that kind of populist. >> this is the rise of that kiendz of pop lism and it is the fact that merkel's ability to cohere at the end of the day, leadership of europe is stawnchly undermined by what is such an unpopular position, so courageous. when you look at the german industrialists, they're
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supporting merkel. they say we need these people. this is stimulus for the german economy. and meanwhile our population isn't growing, it's shrinking. we need an extra million people. but there's no question-- . >> rose: an secondly what they do is they provide buying power. >> that's right. >> rose: and every 14,000 dollars per year the germans are throwing at these refugees is going directly into the german economy, they're spengdk, they're consuming all of it. it is not like they are saving it and putting it away. but you're right, the issue of can you, are you willing to integrate syrian refugees, not only are they muslim but these are not the most easy kateed. it's not like the turkish guest workers coming over. and of course there's enormous, you know, psychological damage that comes after your country has been destroyed. a lot of injuries, families ripped apart. and the prox mat security concern given what has happened in france, what is happened in belgium and across europe, even moneyic, two of their train stations closed down because of
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prox i matter rest threats in ger plannee that they hadn't been dealing with before. >> rose: before i leave europe, although we may come back. what about the leadership in europe, people like putin and erd o.j. an and bore shengo. >> so i think one of the things that is interesting rchg you and i have been spoken about both putin and erdogan over its years, you know him well. these are not shy men. they do not lack for ego and certainty of their positions. and they're also not constrained at home. >> but what we are finding-- . >> rose: and they also believe they have a larger mandate. >> they believe they have a larger mandate and they believe they're being treated badly internationally. they all do. >> rose: if they only understood me. >> yeah. and i would add to that list something i'm sure we will get to shortly. the saudi deputy crown prince. you put those guys together, you have leaders that are strong at home, they are fairly unpredictsable and are in an environment that is getting more
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challenging. >> the deputy crown prince is unpredictable because he is is young and inexperienced or because his views are such. >> because is he young, and inexperienced and his country is in a whole world of hurt right now. >> rose: it's about his country, not him. >> it's both. and also there is not a lot of constraint on him. he's able to act in relative impunity. the media is not going to criticize him. the judiciary is not going to anticipate cases like they do in brazil. >> rose: what about the crown prince. >> the crown prince is increasingly getting edged out. you actually see that in policies over the past month. >> rose: it is a father and son running the country. >> it seems to be. and the father trying to move the son along as past fast as possible while he can rlz because of the age. >> because of the age and health issues, absolute slee. >> rose: take me to this thing that recently happened, the execution of 47 people including a cleric, a shia cleric. >> we were okay with 46. it bas 47-- now 47, just knocked us over. >> rose: why would he do that?
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>> well, why would they also round up hundreds, right. i mean we didn't complain when they rounded up hundreds and put them in jail. they said they were all isis connected. it's not like you have due process in saudi arabia. we have been saying they need to do more. everyone pointing their finger at them. so they are doing a lot it is kind of like, let me make an analogy. like when are you in china and the chinese do their anticorruption, anti-monday op plea but before they go after the chinese companies, they round up a bunch of western companies too and say look at the pharmaceutical sector, the automotive sector and building their own nationalist credibility. so if the saudis are going to go after 46 sunnies who they say are connected to al quierda and isis and they are living there. why didn't they pick em them up 2-rbgs 5 yearsogue, now they suddenly found all of them. >> rose: for actions that took place ten years ago. >> that's right. so it's not as if they didn't know any of this. but they were under international pressure and increasing international pressure. >> rose: from whom? >> international pressure from a geo disz political environment
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that has turned against them about as badly as it possibly could. >> rose: so they gain credibility by-- they relieve the pressure by executing 47 people? >> i don't understand that. how did that eliminate pressure against them? >> isis has become an issue perhaps the top priority for the united states in the middle east is containing isis, at least to some degree. and there are, there is increasingly grave criticism against the saudis. that the saudis-- . >> rose: were not doing enough. >> and that they helped birth this movement along with the war have talked about it last time. rose: exporting wahhabism and financial support. >> and not following the cash. so the saudis are now saying look, we see that there are a-- attacks. we see this organization has grown, we see them in yemen, in iraq, in syria. they're even at home and we're not just going to sit by. we will go after these guys. but if you go after a whole bunch of sunni extremists and
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you are the saudi king dm, you have to say that it is not just the sunnies it is these wacky shia too. and this guy wants to tear apart our country. this guy is calling for terrorism. >> rose: was he doing all that? >> i tell you what he was doing. he was absolutely causing-- calling for independence of the eastern peninsula, eastern arabia where there are over 2 million shia, saudi citizens. and that's about as close to sciening a death warrant as you can probably get long term in saudi arabia. not something that we would support killing someone for and we did of course, krilt size the saudis. >> rose: but you are saying they killed him mainly because the rest of them were sunnies and therefore they had to have a shia that they could kill? >> is that what you are saying. >> i am actually saying that is a big part of it. i'm saying you see this all the time. that if you don't want the finger to only be pointed at you and they see that wahhabism, extremists sunni islam. >> rose: did anybody assess the risk of this? >> of course they did, internally. >> rose: and they probably talked about it for awhile. >> especially because right now
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you know you're really going to-- the americans off because we're trying to implement this iranian new clear deal, we're real close. >> rose: which they don't like in the first place. >> which they hate. and they hate so much more than the israelis or the republicans. because for the saudis this is real. for the saudis, this really threatens them in the pocket book. >> rose: the arch-enemy in the region is iran. >> and oil. the iranian production and iranian proxy wars. >> rose: and their oil becomes also on the market. >> i have had at least five clients call me up and ask me today did i believe that the saudis were in a sort of doing this simply as a way to get the iranians off their case. did they-- in other words, do they believe that this was going to go away once they actually killed this guy. there is no way that that was going to happen. it was very clear. >> rose: so what did they believe? >> the saudis understood the
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iran yas-- iranians were going to escalate but they have huge problems at home. >> rose: you are saying the saudis did this intentionally because they wanted to escalate the intention with iran, even though you have yemen and other these other places that have tension. >> i'm thinking the saudis are in a horrible box. their options are increasingly horrible. this is a country that just in the last week has taken unprecedented levels of austerity dommestically in their economy. >> rose: that is my point. could you imagine they've got economic problems. they have got to pump oil because they have to pay their bills. >> what else do they have. >> rose: well, and look at the bills. >> yeah. so what makes saudi arabia a ledgity mat kingdom. what allows these 15,000 princes to run this country? it is the cash. >> rose: the iranians clearly did not want to see their people in the streets attacking the saudi embassy. >> that's right, so if you asked me who is acting more responsibilitily here, believe it or not, the iranians actually
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are. it is hard for americans to say that. that's not popular. but the fact is that if you are saudi arabia right now and you know that you don't have the cash to keep your people happy, you might not even have the cash to keep the 15,000 princes all together and aligned, then you better provide something. >> rose: okay. intelligence officials said this is all about the royal family believing-- it's about their lack of respect for the president. >> american president? >> rose: yeah. >> it is certainly true that the u.s. saudi relationship has deteriorated dramically over the course of the past year and there are many reasons for that. american energy production is one. iranian deal is another. the fact that we have screwed up a lot in iraq and afghanistan and we don't want to deal with this mess. >> and syria. >> rose: and the red line and all of that. >> sure there are many, many reasons. >> rose: but they didn't basically to correct what this person said. you are saying the fact that they did this had nothing to do with a displeasure with the relationship with the united states. >> i am saying that when obama
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does a deal with iran, knowing that this is going to undermine every shred of saudi stability, that shows that that is not a priority for the united states. it's perfectly fair. it's reasonable. i even supported it at the time, though it was tough. when the saudis in return go after and say we're going to kill, we're going to execute this shia cleric and they do it right before the americans implement the iranian deal, they're not doing it to tweak the americans. they're saying we're going to focus on our priorities and we're not going to listen to yours. >> rose: just before the implementation, basically that the iranians and the u.s. say okay, fine, everything that was expected to happen is happening. so now we can implement the deal. we can go ahead and loosen the sanctions and you can get the money. they will be unfrozen. that is the moment we're at, correct? >> and that's still going to happen. saudis can't stop that. >> rose: but the timing of that and the timek of this is no coincidence. >> that's right. there is no-- there's no
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shall-- the saudis do not believe that they can scut el the implementation of the iranian deal. >> rose: what do they believe? >> they believe that they have to maintain the stability of their leadership, of their rule. and if they can point the finger at the iranians, if they can blame the iranians who are actually the-- they set the embassy on fire and they ransack the con solate and they can say these evil iranians with their supporters in krem lynn and bashar assad who has caused all of these crimes, and we have to do something about it. the problem is, of course, that not only dot saudis not have the economic wherewithal but as you said in the opening, they have got sudden an and bahrain and they are basically part of saudi arabia at this point, to end relations. they got theu ae to downgrade. and otherwise, crickets. quieter than this set when you and i aren't talking. and you know, that is not where you want to be if you are saudi
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arabia. where is egypt. >> rose: is sisi playing china as well as russia against the united states? >> everyone is trying to play china against the united states. because the chinese are spending a lot of cash. there are other countries doing it more effectively. >> rose: is there economy in bad shape. >> they have 3.5 drl in reserves and they are writing checks. >> rose: so they just sell shos securities they own and take the cash. >> and they build infrastructure. and i mean they're the ones that are-- they're filling a lot of vacuums. what you see across the top risks report. >> rose: do they spend that money and make a difference in their own economy? >> what the chinese don't want to do is continue spending money on infrastructure that is overbuilt. so i mean they do want to spend money. and they do want to align support for their own state-owned enterprises and their own standards. that's what they are doing. and they will do ta feblghtively through 2016. the impact of china around the world for good and for bad is going to grow enormously in
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2016. it's not going to have mass impact at home. >> rose: how will it play if self out? >> well, we saw it today. 7% markets go down. it's not because the chinese are going to implode, but the united states market goes down 400 points it wasn't because of the top risk report, i don't think. so i think it was the response of the china market going down. >> rose: basically what the china market said was manufacturing was down. >> right. >> rose: chinese manufacturing was down and therefore the market went crazy. is that the conventional wisdom. >> that is the conventional wisdom. and we have so little clarity in chinese data. and yet there is such a big player for everything, buying cars, and buying, you know, food and buying iron and you name it. and all we-- . >> rose: in latin america, brazil last year. >> we felt them buying fewer commodities but now we increasingly feel every pal pi taition of the chinese market on the downside, we feel as we felt it today. and we also feel when they write big checks. if they are not going to spend it at home, they are going to spend it. you will see countries around
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the world, why are the brits, why were they first to say we want to be-- we want to be the founding member of the asian infrastructure bank. why would they do that. >> rose: even though they knew we didn't want them to do it. >> and they did it before the germans, before the french. they told the chinese we're going to be your best friends here. why, because are you going to help us out. you're going to write us some checks. that really does work. and in the middle east the saudis lose not just because the united states doesn't care as much about them, but also because the chinese are the ones that are providing increasing the largesse and the saudis don't have the cash to do that. that say serious problem for these guys. so i am incredibly worried in 2016 that saudi legitimacy is going away. and that will lead the saudi government to take bigger risks both dommestically and in the region. and i'm also concerned that shall-- . >> rose: give an example of bigger risk. >> bigger risk would be providing greater military support for their own-- in yemen and in syria and for all of the proxies. >> why have they been providing more support in syria?
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they dried up their air support, and air strikes as soon as the united states became a larger factor. >> yes. >> rose: yes? >> yes, they did. yes, they did the gulf states in general have played very little role in syria. >> rose: so why have they turned around and played a bigger role. >> i'm not talking about helping the americans. i'm talking about providing support to those on the ground that they see is idea logically a aligned. those are not just going to be the five syrian rebels that we manage to find and train. in other words, there is a much bigger filter for the proxies the saudis are willing to support. >> rose: the history of 2015 and the prove see for 2016 is written l putin look smart? >> compared to obama, putin has had a successful foreign policy, series of adventures in 2015, 2016. that is kind of sad. that has to annoy the white house to no end. this has been the biggest
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failure for the obama white house in foreign policy over the last seven years. the fact that putin could turn up in syria, could change the nature of the ballgame because he's the one willing to actually put the military really in play, and then have-- force obama to meet him on his terms. not to talk about ukraine, to talk about syria. if i'm the president of the world's largest economy and military, that has to really upset me. and o basma is a pretty cool guy. that would really eat me up. >> rose: do you know what he said in response to that? >> what. >> rose: he said they're playing a weak hand. you think they're playing-- you think this is smart on their part. what is what he said to steve kraft on "60 minutes." >> they are playing a weak hand extremely well. and the united states is playing a strong hand and sitting on it. i agree with the analogy, i think it annoys people because putin has been able to actually score a bunch of points. a team this bad shunlt be putting points on the board. and they are and it's because we haven't even shown up to play. it's like we're the cavaliers
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and sitting lebron until the fourth quarter. and we are probably still going to win. but why make it close. >> rose: even though everybody says it's a long game, do you think we'll see in 2016 more 1 is isis expansion as we saw libya announce this week, or will we see more isis detractors-- contractings we saw in iraq? >> i think-- . >> rose: because it's about a caliphate. >> the islamic state itself, i ctories for the u.s.-led be more coalition. i think that they will-- . >> rose: they will get it together. >> they lend up with less land at the ends of 2016. i think going after the oil-- . >> rose: in to 2015. >> rammed -- ramadi was taken in 20156789 i think there will be more successes. >> primarily in iraq, not in syria. but that happened. i think that will occur. but if you've got the saudis and the iranians actively in conflict, well, the geneva process is dead. >> rose: is dead. >> is dead.
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and that means you know, you can sit as many people around a table as you want, but syria is going to get worse and yemen is going to get worse. and there are going to be a lot of places where isis as an organization, maybe they can't establish a caliphate but they can recruit a lot of people. so we'll hear a lot more. >> rose: and hold territory in libya. >> yeah, but if you are isis i don't think your future is holding territory. if you are isis your future, your prize, of course, you really want to hit saudi. you want to go. you want these guys to be il legitimate. that is what i worry about the most. what happens when isis starts showing up in a serious way tbh saudi a yaib why itself. what are we going to do about that. what are the americans going to do about that. is that when we have to put boots on the ground. >> rose: is that a real threat. >> of course it's a real threat. because i done know what keeps saudi arabia together over the long term. and i think the saudis are starting to recognize that but their reaction has been escalation against the iranians, this is not just a tact kal play, they know they're in trouble. >> rose: so what if a client
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calls you up and says for god's sakes what is the good news. >> there is a lot of good news. we barely talked about asia and if we did it was just about what china is doing externally. but when you think about all of these conflicts that you and i have talked about over the years, indian-- india-pakistan, china-japan, jp an-south korea. even the south china sea, you have leaders in all of these countries that are reasonably strong, pretty insulated from the nationals and pop lism, that is at play in europe right now, and they're not escalating. i think you are not going sto see those risks hit the markets. and in some of these case, india-pakistan you could actually see a breakthrough. >> rose: it looks like it, doesn't it. some interesting dialogue. >> ploti came over for the birthday. >> and god bless him for doing it. i think it was great. >> rose: i do too. >> yeah i think that's the way things get started. >> the white house, i have heard them say that there is absolutely no way putin would cut a deal with japan. putin is the only guy that could cut a deal with japan. if he wanted to sell an island for some money, putin could do
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that. and he wouldn't be as isolated and the japanese would-- so i think there are some things to watch in asia that are pretty promising. another piece of good news is that i don't think, as much as we are going to complain and nash our teeth about american elections for the next damn ten months, i don't think it matters a damn. >> rose: who is elected president. >> look, i don't think-- . >> rose: can i not believe you are saying that. >> i don't think trump is getting elected president but from a risk scenario, in terms of the way the world works, i don't know anyone-- . >> rose: let's assume that the choice is-- take trump away for a second and it's cruz versus clinton. >> clinton. >> rose: in terms of the stewardship of foreign policy. are you saying you don't think it matters a bit, regardless of what side you are on. >> longer-term it matters. >> rose: on the one hand one person said he wanted to carpet bomb syria. >> look, there is no question, it matters in terms of u.s. foreign policy and the influence we have around the world. but does it matter for the strength of the u.s. dollar, for
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the market place. i would say if all the for nawn-- fortune 100 c.e.o.s, there is not a single one that would change one bift their plans of where they going to investor on the basis of the outcome of this election. >> rose: they don't know that, cuz they don't know what the outcome of the 2016 election is going to be. >> you think they would be hedging a little, altering plans. >> rose: all i suggest to you is look at differents, for example, assassinations make. think about what happened if rabin had not been assassinated, for example. and i request list three or four others. >> are you completely rightment but we're talking about 2016. you started this by saying give me good news for 2016. and the good news i'm giving you for 2016 is that the western hemisphere is really insulated from these geo-political risks. asia is really insulated from this geopolitical risk and the good and the bad is that as a consequence, the united states is under a lot of pressure to act that will hurt the middle east, hurt the europeans bad. >> rose: happy new year. >> happy new year to to you. >> rose: pleasure to you have here. thank you very much. read top risks for 2016, eurasia
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grup. back in a moment, stay with us. the film "son of saul" follows a jewish prisoner at auschwitz, saul is con scripted to help with the extermination process conducted by the nazis in concentration camp. outside of the gas chambers he discovers a dying boy he believes to be his son. "the washington post" says the film has the staying power of a loved ones death it sun bear tblee bril yantd. here is the trailer for "son of saul". ♪ ♪
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>> rose: joining me is the direct ever laszlo nemes and geza rohring who played saul. i'm pleased to have them at this table, and you can see that trailer has received enormous praise and is perfected by the awards and by people who write about the film that they have seen. so congratulations to both of you. this must have been a hard film to make. tell me how you found the story. >> well, i first readed writings of ausch witsz-- ten years ago. >> rose: explain who they are. >> they are the prisoners, almost entirely jewish, prisoners in also in other camps but we were focusing on auschwitz, forced to assist the
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nazis in the extermination process, to be inside a crematoriu m and burn the bodies and get rid of the ashes. >> they would lead them to the gas cham bers, then take them to the crematorium. >> yes. >> rose: and then once they were. >> and then once they were killed in the gas chambers by the ss, then they had to take the bodies to the-- ovens and burn the bodies and later get rid of the ashes, so it was a factory of death that needed workers. and these were the people who were isolated from the rest of the karch, couldn't talk to other country sonars. and-- couldn't talk to other prisoners. and they had the possibility of eating well, relatively well compared to the others prisoners. and finding clothes that-- normal clothes. so but they knew they would be
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liquidated because they were the bearers of secrets. they were called like that by the administration at the camp. >> rose: bearers of secrets. >> bearers of secrets. >> rose: cuz they did it. >> they witnessed the crimes. >> rose: i will come to you, the selection of you and the role that you play in this which is so powerful. so but they didn't tell their stories. >> they konlt tell the stories. but-- . >> rose: i mean after the liquidation, after the-- not after the liquidation but after the liberation. >> they were not supposed to survive. only a very few survived the liberation of the camps. but some of them wrote down their every day, about their every day lives, and put those writings in secret into the ground around the crematorium.
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and these notes, some of them, were found after the war. so called scrolls of auschwitz. and they constituted an incredible insight into the very present. >> rose: and there was a book called from beneath the ashes. >> yes. >> well, that-- . >> rose: a collection of writings. >> a collection of those texts. and these texts are not really well-known. and i wanted to find a cinematic way to plunge the viewer into the here and now of the extermination. >> rose: it also ought to be said that you wanted to make a different kind of film. you weren't happy with films are you wanted to make something different than films about the holocaust that you had seen. >> yeah, i really thought, i really think that many films have been made about the holocaust. but not really about the holocaust, or about the human existence within the holocaust. but rather taking the holocaust for its dramatic value.
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i wanted to, i wanted to, you know, transmit something to the viewers about the human condition within the concentration camp. so you couldn't know many things while you were in the camp as a prisoner. and i really wanted to, you know, to forget this post war perception of the holocaust based on survival and based on-- in fact reassuring things. and to really go back to the here and now and see what it was like to be in it. i wanted to do it for the dad. because the dad more or lesses were forgot en. >> how did you get involved? geza? you were a poet in new york. >> right, well, i have come a long way.
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laszlo and i met in 2007 i believe it was. and we became friends and he went back to budapest. and once he was preparing his feature, he sent the script over to me. and that was a very, very powerful script. and right away i was sold. i didn't know in what capacity but i wanted to help and support and be in the movie. not necessarily as an actor. and i was very connected to the subject matter. laszlo knew that. and so we started to dialogue, con verse. >> rose: connected by family. >> yeah. also by my own interest, i guess. when i was a child, i was very fascinated with it. i remember, for example, my grandfather had a neighbor who told me how he survived. and he was working in the
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section of the camp which was sorting the clothing and belongings right after arrival. and he was swallowing down rings and diamonds and later of course when he def kateed and he found these diamonds he was trading it for food and vodka. so when i heard this, at 12, i did the same thing. i wanted to know if it works. because i heard so much about it, i thought it was going to happen again, the holocaust. and i wanted to know if it works. so i swallowed my grandmother's ring and i found it. so that was the fascination as a young child. and later on when i was a teenager, i found it was too much. i had enough of it. i thought, there were times where i wish my grandfather had not shared this with me. and then i grew even older than that and i found myself in poland as a university student. and i visited the camp the first time, i was 19 years old. and so step by step i was struggling with this issue. but i shared the sentiments of laszlo that most of the movies
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on this topic did not do justice. i felt that they were not talking about the real holocaust. i was very happy to see the script. >> rose: what were they missing? >> i tell you what they were missing. all these characters that you see in this movie, they are well intended movies. but you are getting invested emotionally, almost all the time, with people that survive. the jews did not survive, two out of three jews jews in in eue was murdered in europe by the holocaust. so why are we make a film about the third one, the lucky third. so i felt that we have to be honest. we don't have to be graphic. we don't have to be explicit but we have to, you know, stay with the facts. >> rose: why create the story of the son, someone that saul thinks is his son. it may not be.
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>> we wanted something very simple. we thought that there was no possibility really in the crematorium for a story of another sort. and we knew that they rebelled in october 1944. the only armed rebellion in the history. camp. we wanted to use it as a back drop for our main story. and the story is almost like, i don't know, a greek tragedy. a man trying to accomplish something. that in this case, the audience, the viewer has to answer it. it doesn't make sense in a world that has no hope, no god, no religion. is there still a possibility for a voice within that can allow us to be human? so that is-- the viewer will have to answer this question.
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>> so you create the character to pose the question. >> yes, i think that is it. >> rose: this is, i want to see a scene from here. this is where saul confronts a rabbi about performing rites on a dead child. here it is.
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is .
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>> rose: how did you come out of this film? >> i was just acting. i was imitating. let's not-- you know what, here is what-- first of all, i did not have a chance-- . >> rose: it had no impact. >> of course t had-- it's a never ending story it did not start with the film. >> rose: you have said everything you had done had prepared you for the role. >> right. that's true. but i would emphasize not on my role but a few weeks ago laszlo and i met, possibly with the last living member who lives in los angeles, 93 years oldk a greek jew. his name is dar yo gabai. he saw the movie. and he his approval just like-- all the people who were there, means the world to us. >> rose: did he see the film? >> yes, with us, yes.
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and he said i'm ready to put my name on the line for this movie. he thanked us for this movie. >> rose: and the man who is the last survivor. >> same thing. same thing. he-- as laszlo said-- . >> rose: that's what you were searching for, that your acting would say to them, this is the way it was. >> right, i did not have the chance, to meet any of them before the shooting. there was about the hundred to survive after the liberation, they say there was about 8 or 10 alive today but according to him, he's the last one. and i asked historians, no one knows anybody else. and the in los angeles, a man who still can smile, there is a spark in his eye. and for me, this is just amazing, this move year came out in an auspicious smile because the survivors of the holocaust soon are going to be live shall won't be living among us any more. >> rose: is there a number in terms of how many people they
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think there are, survivors, still alive. >> all together? i don't know about such a statistic. but day by day, there is less and less. >> rose: there wasn't a lot of recordkeeping. >> right, right. >> rose: where do you think this film will fit in is sort of the canon of films about the holocaust? >> i think it's an important step in our vision of the holocaust. i don't know whether now we're ready for that kind of new vision. but i think that we might be ready, not to forget the thee at rickal version of the holocaust. >> rose: and remember the horror. >> yeah, but my film is not about-- i mean my film never shows the horror in an open way. it's also very restricted to the main character, it's very narrow in its focus.
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it leaves everything to mostly everything to the imagination. viewer. so i think in the way that this film relies on the viewer, and is i think, is an innovation. because now the viewer has to go through the journey of this film. and it becomes personal because the imagination is at work. because you are not showing the horror but we are showing the human face. it's actually the human face as a reference. i think that is what gives this film its importance. because we-- the holocaust became a sort of abstraction. we forgot about the face, the individual, we-- it became too big to understand. but if you have one person now, it becomes understandable, i
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think, in a very viseral way. >> rose: i totally agree with you, that's true. it gives-- it's the face of, it brings it home. >> may i add something to what laszlo said. there is the how, of the film and there is the what. and i think it is a lesser known aspect of what happened. and this film, i think, fully exposes the crime, the most horrific crime of the nazis which is deliberately picking and forcing jews to burn jews. in other words, the system was working like this. how can the most jews to be murdered by the least amount of germans being involved. in other words, there was this division of labor. so that the-- these people had no agenda and choice, the sense of moral choice just vanished in
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such a situation. and so they decide of killing them, they also took their soul, their innocence away. because again, they forced them to be assisting in the extermination process. and that is to me the most die bollic aspect of the nazis, to make cane out of abel and to bring the victims as partners, as colleagues, you know, for their-- rock bottom of morality. >> rose: you said there is almost an obsessive quality about this. >> he does. i do too. i mean. >> rose: to tell the story. >> yeah. you have to live with, you know, in the crematorium to make a film like that, i think. and that's what makes it difficult. but we were ready for that.
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>> rose: and you brought it on historical advisors to keep you close to the truth. >> yes. >> rose: or on the truth. >> yeah. we wrote the screenplay based on the writings of them. and we wanted to anchor this film as much as possible, to the very smallest detail in historical fact. it was important, for me. i studied history. i have, you know, i'm not scared of reading documents and you know, history books. and i'm really interested in it. i am always interested not to present in cinema sort of history book kind of approach. but being there in a viseral way, that i think if you make a period film that's not, you know, that doesn't say oh, it's almost like a different planet. but rather that you place the
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audience in a real situation, then it-- it is a different experience. >> this is another scene from the film again, with saul. here it is.
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>> rose: what was happening in that scene? in the larger sense. >> i think this is where where saul was born, so to speak, his mission, his pursuit, this is when he realizes that this boy belongs to him and he belongs to this boy.
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that no matter what, he's going to, you know, do his very best to bury this boy, for the simple reason because i don't think he mentioned, this boy survived the gas chamber. and by doing that, he beats the system. nobody want meant to survived gas chamber. an even just for a minute, he survived it and then being killed second time by the nazis, this time successfully. and saul saw this, and seeing this death that stands out from all the other deaths, he's able to have a shred of feeling, a long forgot enthing. these people were working on autopilot. they could not allow themselves to feel and have empathy. but here he felt something. so he owes this boy, he is grateful for this boy, for feeling again. and how can you regret, what else good can you do for a dead person besides burying him.
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>> rose: would you do anything different? >> of course. i don't want to go back to the concentration camp. >> rose: your next film is about hungary. >> my next film is about the story of a young woman right before first world war. and. >> rose: in hungary. >> in the heart of europe. right before the 20th century was born. >> rose: is son of saul hungary's choice for best foreign film in the academy awards. they're submitting it. >> yeah. it is on the short list and we're waiting for the final nomination. >> rose: when the nominations come. much success. >> thank you very much. >> rose: pleasure to meet you. >> thanks for having us. >> thank you. >> rose: thank you. >> son of saul is the film.
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thank you for joining us. see you next time. >> for more about this program and earlier episodes visit us online at and charlie captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
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>> rose: funding for charlie rose is provided by the following:
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