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tv   Firing Line With Margaret Hoover  PBS  December 13, 2019 11:30pm-12:01am PST

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>> many people think s she could this week on "firing line."nt, >> i wear heels. it's not for a fashion statement. it's because if i see something wrong, wre gonna kick them every single time. >> her résumé is a string of firsts and some delicate diplomacy. nikki haley was the first person of color and the rst woman to become a governor of south carolina, a republican who took downed the coate flag. >> it's time to move the flag from the capitol grounds. tcheers a applause ] >> she then beca first indian-american to serve in a president's cabinet. the ambassador to theed unations who pushed her version of donald trump's america first policy. >> you are gonna see a change in the way we do business. for those that don't have our back, we're taking names. her disagreements with president trump directly and in trivate. >> i told him thh. if i saw something wrong, i said that i thought it was wrong.ti >> with the facing impeachment and a divisive presidential election,
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what does ambassador nikkialey say now? >> "firing line adth margaret hoover" is m possible by... additional funding is provided by... corporate funding is provided by... w >>elcome to firing line," nikki haley. y >> thankou. it's great to be here. >> ambassador haley, you were the united states ambassadorna to the uniteons. you were a member of president trump's cabinet and a member of his national security council.an you were the first person of color and woman to be elected as governor to the state of south carolina. you've now written a book,"w h all due respect: defending america with grit and grace."ir when you considered taking the job as united states ambassador to the united nations, you told reince priebus, you wrote in your book, don't even know what the united nations does.
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all i know is everybody hates it." >> yeah. >> tell me, do you have a more or a less positive viewof he united nations now? >> i think it's interesting. i think i understand it more, from the standpoint of here you have 193 countries that come together in the name of peace and security. but whether it succeeds depends on how they take it forward. t and i sas to the secretary general and to the ambassadors when i left is, if the unit nations is gonna be successful, it has to change with the tim. they have to start talking about things that are uncomfortable to talk aboutt they have k about what maduro is doing in venezuela. they have to talk aboutio a miplus uyghurs in concentration camps in china. they havto talk about these things they don't want to talk about. to continue to talk about decades-old issues as if they'rt releoday is what makes people doubt >> well, i'm glad ntioned the uyghurs and venezuela, maduro.
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human rights was a focus of ambassador.you were u.n. and i wonder, what helped you decide to make human rights a focus? >> i think i strongly believe that every single person deserves human dignity. and what i saw was, a government doesn't treat its people well, conflict will follo and so if we defend human rights, it's prevention you can look at what happened with the arab spring. you can look at syria. started with a group of teenagers that just spray-painted something on the wall against theovernment, and the government came in, took those kids, beat them, pulled their nails out, returned them bloody and bruised to their parents, and their parents wenthe totreets and protested. how a government handles peoplen the power their voice dictates whether conflict ll happen. so if we always fight and defend we're actually doing prevention of conflict later.
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>> do you believe that president trump cares about human rights as much as you did when you were there? >> i do think he cares about human ghts, because when i was going and pushing for human rights to be heard he was the one that was supporting me in doing that. so he also understands the importance of stanng up for people who can't stand up for themselves. h >> would it pful if he expressed it as often as you did? >> well, i tried to p the pieces when i didn't think the administration was saying it enough.at when i tried to go and really put an emphasis on it. and so my job was to go and support what he ing but also add another layer e talk about the things that i thought wportant that i knew he cared about. >> so, when you were at the t u.n., ultimate united states ended up withdrawing from the u.n. human rights counl. as i understand it, you had two main criticisms of it. one of them d to do with who the other members of the council were. >> right. >> why was that important? >> well, i think that you know,e what had hd was the human rights council became a place that human rights abusers went to so
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that they wouldn't be called out. when you've got saudi arabia, when you've got venezu when you've got the democratic republic of congo sitting on the human rights council, it automatically disqualifies in from being any related to human rights. and then the second thing ess, you know, you have all of issues happening in the world, but they have one agenda item that focuses solely on israel. and so the human rights council really was a place to do israel baing and for human-rights abusers to hide and keep anyonfrom calling them out on it. >> in fact, as you point out in your book, the human rights council criticized israel 10 times as much as itit ized countries like iran. >> it did, yes. >> so then, how do you answer c yotics who say that you value american leadership and american leadership is important in the world, so how do you continue to emphasize and focus on human rights if you withdraw from the organization ose central purpose is to focus on human rights? >> we had literally hundred--
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over a hundred meetings, trying to reform the human rights council, and everyone, for the most part, agreed with us that it was an embarrassment. but no one would go out publicly and say it. waand the last straw for m they came back to me and said, "but the united statess the last great hope for the human rights council."an i thought, "why would we legitimize something we can fight for human rights. we don't need a farce council to do that. >> in ur book, you also write that the u.n. -- not just the hrc but the u.n. -- has a long, ugly historyf anti-israel bias. you have many examples in your book, including in 1975, when the u.n. declared that zionism was actually equivalent to racism, and the u.n. ambassador at that time was daniel patrick moynihan whcame on this program with william f. buckley jr. a year later to discuss that. i'd like y to take a look and react. >> on the zionism matter, that was another interesting day, and it's been very badly reported that if you r
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these nations, they will get angry and never forgive you and so forth well, in fact, they were angry and had never forgiven you in the beginning, partly because it was cost-free. the proposition that zionism is a form of racism, racial discrimination, it is an orage. a lie. we are still the most important country in the world, and they know it. >> well, it's -- i think they do know it.k and i that the knowledge of it is sometim a tempt to tweak our tail on the grounds that they can do so with relative impuni, ich has been, historically, sothing that you have greatly resisted. >> my question to you is, did you encounter this attitudeni that mn discusses about a concern about angering nations who would vote against israel? >> i think that when i came in, it was just so amazing at how abusive
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these countries were to israel. and, to me, what was important was that we had the backs of our allies, and israel's a bright spot in a tough neighborhood. and what there was, was a habit because they couldrael down and i think it was just after the 1967 war when they realized that they couldn't defeat israel on the battlefield. they decided to try and do it at the united nations. and i ought it was so important that we stand up for them and let them know we weren't going to l them do that any more. >> there are some critics who would say that you were overly focused on israel. how do you reply to them? >> i think the united nations is overly focused onsrael. all i did was defend it whenever they were called out. do you think that the u.n. is an effective actor in international relations? >> i think the u.n. can be an effective actor, and the perfect example is what we did with north korea. when we passed those threeti sas that really pushed
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them to the negotiating table, that was a sign that the united nations can do go things. when they go and continue to have these irrelevant meetings on issues that aren't really our main focus in the world,'s thhen they become irrelevant. >> so then, on north korea -- so, in recent days, leader kim jong-un has visited mount paektu on horseback. it's aackdrop that is used for propaganda, and oftentimes, it foreshadows a policy development or an event, an upcovent. in north korea right now?g on >> i think he's trying to push our buttons. i think he's tryin get us to move on the fact that he wants us to lift the sanctions. any sort of posturing is not going to get us to move, and we have to make sure we hold the international community together in isolang north korea. there's only one way out for them, and that is for them to be willing to denuclearize. a this point, they're asking us to do what they'ed multiple times before,
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and we're doing something dierent than we've done multiple times before, which is standing strong, saying, "we're until we see better actions from you. >> then help me understand something at happened at the u.n. this week, because at the u.n. this week, the united states blocked a u.n. security council meeting on north korean human rights. it is really hard to imagine ambassador nikki haley blocking a united states --ec or, a u.n.ity council meeting on north korean human rights.u what do spect that's about? >> we actually held meetings on human rights, and it made them so upset that we did it. >> and ty said that if you hold this meeting, this will be considered a provocation. that doesn't seem to me to be something that would havea scared you >> well, i jusdon't think that we bind at threats. i mean --id >> so, whye here? >> you know, i think that they went ahead, they did have a meeting on north korea. they had it the ballistic missile testing and what they're doing. but not on human rights >> i think they should've had it on human rights. i think it's really important that we coinue to call out
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north korea for how they treat their people. every dollar that goes int north korea doesn't go to feed its people. >> if you had been there, why they have done it that way? >> i would've pushed back. i would'veushed back and said, "we have to address this. we have to keep fighting for the people in north koa who want a better life." >> do you suspect it was a negotiation happeningce behind thes, between, you know, president trump and his national security team? >> it's hard for me to know what's going on there right now. i would guess that they did show signs of threats and they did want to havee ited states pull it down. i just would advise -- be very careful. don't listen to the threats. the send we start listening to the threats, they think they've got an in with us. >> you know, another placewh e you were very active when you were u.n. ambassador at the -- u.s. ambassador to the u.n. -- was with r to iran. since the recent protests in ,0an have begun, more than people have died. one of the criticisms of thdrawing from the iran deal was that we were leaving our allies hanging, and that the united states might
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not actually be able to putua ad pressure on iran alone in order to force them back to the negiating table. does this demonstrate that, actually, american sanctions can work by themselves and american leadership can work on its own? >> well, i think it was important for to lead in the way that the united states said, "we're not gonna turn a blind eye to all this bad activity by iran." just because you get involved in a deal, if the deal's not workin you don't stay in it because of your own ego being part of the deal. you get out of it and say, "this isn't working. we're gonna change it." >> do you think that there is a chance that they will come back to the negotiating table? >> we know iran is in a worsesp than they were before they signed the deal in the first place. so they are feelinge essure. they could make one of two decisions. they can either go the extremist, dangerous route that we know that they've done before or they can come back to the negiating table. the best way for us to hope that they come back to the negotiating table
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is for our allies to join in isolating them like we did with north kea, to where they don't have anywhere else to turn. and i think we're getting close to that. as long as they have an out, they're gonna try and push back as much as they can. united states doesspond the to fear, the united states shows strength. s unittes needs to lead, and the united states needs to remind the rest of the world why iran is dangerous and why we have to make sure weat we isolate them in every way thaan. >> another question for you. the new york times editorialar which has reviewed so many trump officials and cabinet officials, wrote wn you left the administration... first of all, i've rarely heard such a laudatory t new yoes editorial about a trump administration official. but do you view that, in hindsight, as what your role was, to explain
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president trump to the world? >> i wanted them to know what the united states was for, and i want them to know what we were against. and i didn't want there to bea. any gray a i didn't worry about them liking us. i worrd about them understanding and respecting us. and so whether that was explaining the actions of the president or whether that was explaining why it was so important to the american people, i felt that was my job. >> you were a bit of a translator between the u.n. and the u.s. i remember in your book, you wrote about how you told the president to think of the u.n. as church. >> yes. >> that it wasn't a rally.>> ight. >> here's a clip of the president at the u.n. let's take a look. >> in less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our countr america's -- so true. [ laughter ] didn't expect that reaction, but that's okay. [ laughter ]
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>> as you hear the general assembly laughing at president trump. there's a recent pew study that suggests that america's standing in the world after the last 3 1/2 years has actually declined among man. nati there is a sense that a once steadfast belief in the dependability of the united states with our allies has slipped.ri >> other cou need to understand it's not the united states' roleto arry the weight of the world. they have to do their part. so we've had hard discussions with our brothers and sisters in europe and around the world that just expect us to do for them with no partnership in return. and so, having them step up in nat and having now what was four countries payi their share now being nine countries paying needed to happen. tough love the other side of it is, we have to have the backs our allies. they need to know
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that when we're in the foxhole, we've t their back. and that's why that syria decision was so important, cause when the kurds have lost so much blood in the name of fighting terrorism, we have to stand with them. we have to let them kn that that bloodshed mattered.gl and i' the president decided to leave troops there, or for other reasons, because for intelligenceurposes, but also for the ft that that partnership, we have to lem them know nt something. >> i agree with you that that's the message the world needs to rear, but i'm not sure the hearing it, which is, i think, what's reflected in this pew study, that our standing still has slipped. w >> sometimn you lead, people don't like it. but we should make sure thatth know we're gonna stand in allegiance with our allies, but we're gonna have tove with our brothers and sisters to know we're in this together and we a have to sacrifice and pull weight. >> another one of your predecessors at the n., ambassador jeaneirkpatrick, appeared on this program with william f. buckley jr. in 1985 and addressed the
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question of whether, given all of its problems, the united states shld leave the u.n. altogether. what do you say to that? i hink it depends on whether the u.n. is relevant. l g as they are willing to talk about the hard issues, the unit states should stay part of that discussion. but as it is now, they have tart looking at the burden sharing, they've got to start moving with the times, they have to be flexible to realize they've got to change. it's not the united states that nds to change. it's the united nations that needs to change with where the world is today. and so i think it's "to be decided," based on whether we are getting a return on our investment. that's what i always fought for was for the amerane to get a return on our investment for being in the united nationsv wea lot of money. we've got to get something back for that. >> do you think it should always be an open question whether we're part of ? >> i think we should continue to push the united nations to be relevant,if anhey're not gonna be
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relevant, i don't think we always need to be a part of it.s >> i'd like ft gears. while you were governor, a white supremacist killed nine south carolinians in the mother emanuel church in charleston, south carolina.it as really how you navigated the aftermath of that event c thght the attentn of the country, as well, because the issue of the confederate flag had been one that had been debated for a long time in south carolina, but nobody had been able to remove it entirely until you were governor, and you were able to successfully bring together pple from all sides of that debate in order to reach a conclusion that everybody agreed upon. in a recent interview, that debate was rehashed. that debate was opened back up, and you have recently written an op-ed in "the washington post" about what help maybe clarifynterview. and answer this question about how the killer hijacked the flag
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from people who saw it as service andacrifice. >> well, i think it's interesting, and it shows the the same things literally said for all the years since. but now in the outrage of media and the sensitivity of political correctness, suenly everybody has a problemwi what i'm saying. what i said was, the reason this s so hard was, we needed a 2/3 vote to bring the flag down. i saw an opportunity to make something right. the confederate flag, i've saidm rom the very beginning, never should have been there in the first place,bu because it was there, i saw the opportunity that maybe we could have conversation about bringing it down. but in order to bring a compromise, you have to be able to respect the views of your people. there we two different sets of people. one set of people saw the confederate flag as pain and
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cism and slavery. the other set of people saw it not as racism but as heritage and sacrifice and service. if i had gone and condemned those people that saw it that way, that flag never would have come down. instead i had to acknowlge the thoughts of both and say, "but now it's time for our state to move forward." and through those actions, i called for the confederate flag to.ome down, and it came do vilifying people firu go around views, they' not gonna listen to you, much less rk with you. i needed to let them know, "i understand that tt's how you feel." not how i feel, but i understoow that'shey felt. and we had to find a way for them to feel like they were part this decision for the betterment of south carolina. >> my question, i think, is to the heritage-not-hate crowd. you know, there's a certain timing of, in the eay '60s, when confederate symbols r
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began merge throughout the south -- after the brown v. board of educationn decibefore the civil rights act -- when the south was, frankly -- or, ements of the south were, frankly, trying to resist the federal government forcing racial equality upon you know, as a woman of color who grewp in the termath of that, how doou square that with the heritage-not-hataging? >> well, i mean, i think it was hard. i mean, in south carolina, it was very tough because this issue had been debated decades. and so when you have them -- you know, it was their view that this was their heritage, t d they thought that -- >> even though tritage was resurrecteexplicitly around a time of resisting racial integration. >> oh, absolutely it was, which is why the confedete flag never should've been there in the first place. and so having that conversation of "you can respect your heritage but you can do it in a museum and not out in front of
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the statehouse," but more than t that, whated to communicate to the people of south carolina is, no one should feel pain. that statehouse and and if someone, if a child looks up at that flag and feels pain, we're doing something wrong. w and th the goal. that was, at the end of the day, was to make sure that the pain i felt growing up as a brown girl in a blacknd-white world shouldn't be the same pain of a child growing up today looking at that statehouse. >> gonna ask about the future of the republican party. you talk about your son from time to time, and i think about the millennial generation and how they think about politics where the republican party is now is not in a place where it's speaking to the generation of your son. the values, the sensibilities. what is it going to take to motivate and capture
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the imagination your son's generation to the ideas that you espouse as a republican? >> well, i think that -- first of all i think the next generation, i have so muchope for, because i go around and kids.to high school and coege they know the power of their voice. they're gonna use it. we have to make sure we get the right information in front of them so that they have the facts to do that. but i think the republican partw shoulds want to get better, and i think, in order for the republan party to get strong now, they have to go places that are uncomfortable to go. they have to talk to people they've never talked to before. you know, i know thato when i the indian-american communities or the jewish communities,o inny ways, they espouse republican values, and they believe in republican values but because we've ner shown up to them, because we've never gone and listened to them, there's less likelihood thatin they come and ur party, and i think we need to start communicating differently. we need to rlly put ourselves
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out there and explain why we believe what we believe.o bu importantly, before we say that, we need to listen to what they care about and then put our values with what they care about. and i see that in the younger generation that we do have th group of strong, young republicans that get it. but we have to lift them up so that they can go out and tell the rest of their friends, as well. >> with all due respect, to borrow a phrase... >> yes. ke>> ...this doesn't feel what the leadership of this party is doing right now, what you just described. >> well, i think that it should not be about one person. it should be aboutan ntire group of people saying what we care about. >> the bully pulpit of the presidency is the most impoant sort of speaker phon that we have, and that megaphono is notcasting the solution that you just outlined. >> and i think we have to do that. i think that we -- if we take our voice and o way of dng things and match it with the resul of this president, i think that's how we bring the republican party back.
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and you may not agree with his style, and i tell people that all the ti his style is not my style. but his results are my rults. those are the things we want. we want more people to he jobs. we want to see the economy continue to grow. we want to have a rong standing in the world as we move forward. we want to take on the next problems of the next generation and handle it with strength and with dignity and with grace. and so there is a way to come out of this where we can continue to have our values but change the style and communication in the way we do that. >> is thtitle, "with all durespect," intended to be a message to young women? >> i think it became a message to young women, and what i hope it rinds young men and women is, no one is going to protect your integrity but yourself. and when something happensth even tries to undermine it, you have to speak up. you have to fight for yourself. because if you don't fightno for yourselfne else will. >> nikki haley, thank you for >> thanks so much.line."
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>> "firing lin with margaret hoover" is made possible by... additional funding is provided ... corporate funding is provided by... >> you're watching pbs.
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