tv Charlie Rose PBS February 10, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
>> welcome to the program, i'm katty kay of bbc new filling in for charlie rose. tonight for the hour we look at the origins and ramifications of president trump's foreign policy platform and the mantra, america first. with michael weiss, jerome cohen, olivier o ma honey and melik kaylay. >> they are a little bewildered, they're waiting. they worry about the economic impact. they see it has certain advantages to them, i mean trump already made sure that he would kill the tpp, i was our attempt to integrate east asian pacific countries into our orbit. and we just handed that over to the chinese for how long, it's not clear. but they are worried about other aspects of the economy. he could make a lot of trouble for them. and they're worried, of course,
about the political military aspects. >> a look at what america first means for the u.s. and the rest of the world when we continue. >> 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. >> i'm cath tee kay of bbc news nilling in for charlie rose. america first has become the guidingetteos of president trump's early for ayes into foreign policy. the nationalist mantra often invoked throughout his campaign promises to pry
tor-- pry-- prioritize american interests and national security above all else. the phrase was first conceived in 1940 by an organization that championed appeasement in the wake of hitler's rise. trump's revival of the slogan now raises questions about his nationalist ideology, and what it might mean for the rest of the world if america turns its back. joining me now for a conversation about foreign policy in the trump era is michael weiss of the daily beast, olivier o ma honey, u.s. bureau chief of paris match, melik kaylay for "the wall street journal," forbs and "politico," and jerome cohen, a professor at nyu law school and a leading american expert on chinese law and government. i'm pleased to have them all at this table. welcome. let me start with you, michael weiss, and this concept of america first. the slogan that donald trump used repeatedly during the course of the campaign and then of course during his inauguration as wellment and i
know from speaking to friends and colleagues of mine in europe, it sends a shiver in europe. you cover the middle east. how are arab nations viewing that phrase? what do they make of it? >> when we say arab nations i think it's important to distinguish he rab governments or regimes to the arab population. i covered syria for six years of this conflict. they believe it has been america first up until now. this is why they cannot account for why bashar. >> not a change in policy. >> not for them. but what's interesting now is you are seeing this strategic realignment in the region, particularly among israel, jordan, saudi arabia, qatar, you can wait, theu ae countries, the sunni majority countries which have apprehended, there is one consistency to donald trump's foreign policy that one can be discertained at the moment, and that is he is very hawkish on iran. that is something they are looking to capitalize upon. indeed today i saw that benjamin netanyahu and donald trump are talking about possibly reviving the ises real-palestinian issue
on the-- israeli-palestinian basis on the arab parameters set fort by saudi arabia. that i read as how can i help you help all of us mess with i ran. -- iran. i think that is one area where there is positive light being seen to his foreign policy. >> so jerry cohen, let me ask you this question then, from the perspective of you are in beijing or shanghai or anywhere else in china and you hear this phrase america first, what do they make of it? >> first thing they ask is who represents the trump administration? how seriously do you take his tweets versus his phone calls? have his white house handlers now managed to muzzle him and confine him. >> and also the chinese aren't the only ones asking that question. >> no, of course not. it's a common question. and the chinese are, of course, a little bewildered. they're waiting. they worry about the economic impact. they see it has certain advantages to them. i mean trump already made sure that he would kill the tpp,
which was our attempt to integrate east asian, pacific countries into our orbit. and we've just handed that over to the chinese, for how long, it's not clear. but they are worried about other aspects of the economy. he could make a lot of trouble for them. and they're worried, of course, about the political military aspects. so china is waiting. they're trying to be patient, not respond to a prove kaitions that might occur, and hoping to gradually build a good relationship. but they don't know with whom, with the secretary of state? with the secretary of defense? who speaks for trump? >> one sim pathizes with their confusion, perhaps. olivier, let me ask you this, because of course it was the europeans who first, when they heard that phrase, america first feared that it would mean that america would not get involved in the second world war. what do european countries make
of this notion again of a president not just using the phrase, but determinedly suggesting that it is going to be american interests, american needs, american economic needs that come before all else. >> well, i think there are two things to be considered. the number one feeling is that in europe and in france in particular, there is a feeling of abandonment. europeans feel abandoned by america. america has been a very, very strong and safe partner over the-- and now that donald trurp is say-- trump is saying that he is not going to pay for europe insecurity and he is asking european states and other states to make stronger of thes, financial efforts to pay for nato, we feel-- europeans feel
abandoned by america. the second feeling they have is in europe, there is in europe, it has something to do with european integration. the first time that an american president is not in favor of the construction of europe. and so that is-- that triggers a lot of concern. and especially after what happened in the u.k., that the first time that european people fear that an american president will be in favor of the end of european union. and of course there is a lot of concerns. now if you ask different people about donald trump, of course, the answer is going to be different. if you asked-- supporters, then you would have very different answers than the one i just gave you. marin la pena is very much
aligned on donald trump ideology. very supportive of, maybe not very supportive. but she has nothing to say against the regime of vladimir putin. she considers that crimea was not invaded, it was just-- the people of crimea who wanted to be russian because they fear russian, that is what she said recently on an interview on cnn. and basically it's really, maureen lapen sees the notion of america first as basically the awaken of the people, the awakening of the nation against the elite, against international institutions, she represents right now, like 20% of the french voters. and of course. >> clearly the same is true in other populist movements as well. there are plenty of people in britan who supported brexit, for example, who also see this
populist wave. actually i think they would like to claim credit for starting the populist wave, not donald trump. but divided opinions throughout europe. but the european establishment, elite if you want to call it that, malik, seems to feel that in this new era of american foreign policy as olivier was suggesting, it is the europeans who, perhaps, are on the losing end. would that mean, do you think, if this is a zero sum gain, if the europeans are losing russia is the winner? >> yes, i think the europeans are most concerned that the russians have a-- an attitude to them of wanting to split up the eu and split up nato. and in effect split up the whole western bloc. and it's pretty clear that that is what putin has been up to. with regard to what trump means when he says america first, i think there is a couple of questions. does he know what america first means. does he know what benefits america most when he's dealing
with foreign policy. today there was an exchange that became public of him asking what the stark treaty was when he was having his conversation with putin. >> these are just reports. we haven't actually seen the exchanges but these are reports from the ex-- exchange. >> that would have been leaked by the white house itself. >> seems to be a receive situation. >> so people are thinking okay, america first, fine. perhaps that is something that ought to be a new kind of alignment for the benefits of america. and everyone who is for america. but does trump know what that means. and therefore it becomes an erratic thing, that they can't predict. nobody can actually put their money into a particular direction because they don't know what he means by america first. and they don't think he knows what he means by america first. whereas the russians seem to know exactly what they want. and then what happens when you get all these countries who say france first or russia first, america first, all these
nationalist regimes. if they're all saying their own country first, then who wins out of that. because it doesn't-- it's not grounds for an orchestrated meal. >> that raises i guess a broader point which perhaps is pertinent now in a way that we hadn't really considered in t in the last 20 years what it means, what is the role of america. and is it-- is it show america's duty in the post cold war, world, to be the upholders of a foreign policy that is built not on individual interests, as malik was suggesting but on something more broad than that? >> i think the u.s. has suffered from hubris when it came to its role in the world. that idea that after the 20th century and the collapse of communism, liberal democracy would sweep the globe. the famous-- famous exponent was on-- who wrote an op ed in the washton post, that said oop, it seems i'm wrong, liberal
democracy is being rolled back wherever you look. what worries me the most, the 20th century ideaological categories were fairly well defined. you knew what left wing and right wing was. i look at donald trump and even though he has been classified in the media as a classic right wing author tairian, i see something far more liquid and am seeing it indeed throughout europe, throotd the world. vladimir putin does not have an ideology. the only bottomline is the bottomline, money that is why he ask appeal to stalinists on monday, and fascists on tuesday. the people who recognize size the an exation of crimea include neo nazi parties from the u.k. and far left outcroppings all over europe. the same thing seems to be holding true with donald trump. when we talk about donald trump's worldview of philosophy, we're not really talking about his worldview. we're talking about steve bannon's worldview. if you read about this guy, it is fascinating and forbidding, he profes did -- profess to admire garth vader, satan, and dick cheney, but also edmund
burk, the godfather of classical european conservatism which is the antithesis of what i am seeing this administration trying to roll out from national security to economic policy. and he also once described himself as a leninist. this is somebody who is pulling every which way, and from every kind of extremist orientation or tradition that has been, in the ether for the last hundred years. and i find this very dangerous because it's too improve vacation-- improvisational, too unpredictable. this is something i think where donald trump is going to lead away and set this bench mark for the rest of the world. even maureen la pen and the politics you are seeing in poland, a strange kind of combination of old anti-communist, solidarity style dissent mixed with the kind of neo socialism. this is something that, trade projectionism has never been sudden is, as part of this of isolationist and populist wave. so what is he going to do next? we don't know because there is no coherent tradition or
philosophy. >> jerome, does that wave stretch as far as china? when xi jinping came in, he amassed internally a huge amount of power, are there any resonances you see in the kind of nonideaological, strong leader, the kind of person that michael is describing? >> xi jinping has treed to emphasize ideology t is really a traditional chinese ideology of the government leading the people, and indeed coercing the people to do what the government deems essential. he has been explicitly rejecting western, universal, liberal values. and having trouble finding what should replace them. he turns to chinese history, resurrecting confucius, occasionally even the legalist who oppose confucius because they wanted the nation to use power to coerce the people.
he is looking for an ideology to replace communism because although they still use the soviet structure and organization, they know the soviet union proved to be a loser. and they don't want to be overtly associated with the soviet union. but he is not confused. is he not a bannon. is he very, very clear what he wants to do. but he's groping for the substance of an ideology to justify it. >> so what do you think, if you could get for a moment inside xi jinping's inner thoughts, what do you think he makes of donald trump? >> he doesn't know and you see, the chinese are classic bureaucrats. they know that we shouldn't exaggerate what donald trump says or does at the moment. they know increasingly he's already showing signs of being restrained by process, by procedure. look what secretary of defense mattis did. he went out to korea and japan.
he gave a statement to the people of korea that never mentioned trump once. that's extraordinary. his first voyage abroad, just appointed by the president of the united states whose name is on every lip. and you would never know what president. >> that would have been noticed in china? >> of course. and they know there is a process here, and increasingly as time goes on during the next year, an i think it will take a year, this process is going to weigh in and there are going to be terrible internal conflicts. there are always conflicts in every administration but this is going to be greater. and not everybody is tbing to be around in six months. and we don't know who is going first. >> when the music stopses, who will still have a chair in six months time. olivier, there seems to be a difference of opinion between people in the trump administration who have come to the conclusion that in the balance between russia and
china, russia can help them more and china is the looming threat. and people in europe who seem to think that china is less of a threat and russia is more of a threat. is that too sim police particular a characterization? i think at this point you are meant to say no. >> all right, i mean, all i can say about that is that yes, in europe there is a very strong concern leading with russia and the idea of the sanctions, that were always supported by the americans, until now, now americas is no longer supporting the european situations. and so what do we do? does that mean that russia is going to be-- to go its way, on
the resolution, of different conflicts or a situation in eastern europe or in syria? and so those kind of questions are extremely open right now. actually nobody-- everybody is kind of wait and see in europe right now. also i mean i don't have a lot of contact in the state department. because you know, like people need to be appointed. and so right now people are waiting and see, and very concerned about what is going to-- what they will see in the next month. >> jerome. >> this is the kind of reversal of what we saw in the late '60s and early '70s where there were many people in washington and in beijing who wanted to get together against the soviet union. now there are many people in moscow and certainly many in trump's group who think they can
get together against china. and it's this try angular relationship. our policy toward china in the early '70s and since has been based on more than anti-soviet and anti-russian policies. and i don't think there is going to be that kind of glue for a u.s.-russia team against china. >> you don't think that trump can do what what nixon did? >> no, i don't think so. >> michael, as you know, malik, i want to take on something that olivier was saying there, europeans being confused. i asked jerome to put himself in the head of xi jinping. do the same for us with vladimir putin and answer olivier's question. or rather europe's question. what does putin want? if-- let's play this out. trump and the bromance continues. sanctions get lifted. there's a rehabilitation from
the white house anyway, internationally, of vladimir putin. where does it lead to? he keeps crimea. he carries on ukraine. what is the next step. >> that is the big problem. putin doesn't seem to have a stable-- he doesn't have a stable ideology and he doesn't have a stable set of goals. so even if you give him everything that he wants, it's not clear what everything that he wants is. and it's not clear he is going to stop there. let's assume what he wants is to return russia back to its soviet, to have a soviet sphere. and a sphere influence and that amount of land and influence. it's not clear that he is going to stop there. it's not clear that it is going to be ideaological it might be entirely a personal power thing. and then what happens when his personal power collapses? when he himself goes off the stage. so we're in a kun undrum which we actually have been really since the soviet union collapsed which is that we don't really know how to resist it because if we resist it too much, the
system there which is not a system might fall apart. so we have to be very careful exactly how much pressure we apply to it. and in being careful, we let him grow and grow and grow as a monster. and we still don't know where it's going to end and what he wants. that's a kind of advantage that he has, actually. >> michael, we have these areas of the world, china. we heard from olivier in europe. russia as well. where things are in flux. where ideologies are being sorted out. spheres of influence are being reshaped. we can put middle east into that, into that basket with the iran-saudi power struggle that's going on. is this a difficult time for america to say we're actually going to withdraw from global affairs? or are those global affairs so in flux that actually if america gets on, concentrates on its own
house, its own economy, its own individual deals, so be it. >> i would argue that the process of american withdrawal from the world, certainly from the middle east took place over the last eight years. i mean-- pucks americana is no more. >> but it was different, there was a continuing commitment to multinational organizations that came up out of the end of the second world war. >> also lip service paid to sort of the classic american foreign policy orientation of human rights and democracy. >> obviously the u.s. didn't pur-- pursue policy a regime change in syria, but the idea that assad a mass murdering dictator had to step aside. we had a pan to mine, now there is not even a pan to mine. trump says isis is-- says we should be working with them to do this kind of thing who cares about human rights, who cares about democracy. we don't know who these people are. we have to get our own house in order. we have to build virtual and
physical walls. so in a sengs trump can sort of rip the vail from the vais of american foreign policy and say yeah, we're withdrawing. and what's wrong with that. let other people pick up the slack. >> maybe that's useful. maybe that would mean that actually the world that is in flux would fill itself out. >> it would be useful as barack obama laid out when america pulls back, you force regional powers into a state of equilibrium. i would argue no, what ends up happening is the war in yemen which is a fore taste of things to come. the future policy or and thiss strategic vision that i am hearing out of the trump administration, we're going to try to cleef putin away from iran. nice work if you can get it. there is no russian strategic depth in syria without iranian proxies on the ground guaranteeing it. >> and that is the problem with bilateral arrangements, right, you very quickly get into complexities of other people's relationship with other peoples where the enemy of your friend is-- or a friend of your enemy
or whatever it is. >> and also as a final note, look at all of america's allies who feel betrayed or abandoned or don't quite know what to make of america's role in the world and american leadership at the moment, either the last eight years or certainly now with this kind of court jester improvisational man in the white house. we shouldn't be in the state that we're in. i mean russia, china and iran have a kind of strategic relationship, for sure. and the chinese case i think we will agree it is more transactional than it is, in terms of power projection. but we have got, you know, the second largest army in nato is the northern country to syria, right, which is running the syria file, and mismanaging it i would say. what are we doing to exacerbate the contradictions or tensions and shooting ourselves in the foot. we're enabling a proxy that the turkish government be it islamist or secretary you la sees a primary national security threat namely the pyd or the syrian affiliate of the kurdistan workers, you are signature here with a turkish
nationalist who could probably ash particular late it bet are than i. this is madness it makes no sense. putin often geth classified as a tack tition, and not a strategist. i think he looks more into the future. he at least knows where america's vulnerabilities and short comes are and exploits the hell out of them. >> malik n this confusing world, what would you have america do? if you could sit down with donald trump tomorrow, and we listen to you. >> well, it would be nice to give him a sense of a coherent ideology so that he would actually have a base of values from which to operate consistently. then people could be allies. they could predict that america is going to do x, y, z next, you know. that is clearly not going to happen. and which is the nature of this kind of populist demagogue in which they fire up instant issues and keep the issues boiling over while they continue to grab for more power. but if he were to listen to me,
i would say you're not going to be able to separate, as michael was saying, you are not going to be able to separate iran from russia. this is a total-- of a policy it is a nonstarter. and therefore my suspicion is you are not going to do anything. the likelihood is what he is going to do is ally with rus poy goal as he laid out. smash islamic radical terrorism. but now he is inventing fake terrorist ak taskment it soanl a matter of time where one kicks off and he use thases to maximum advantage to create fortress america as he envisions it. he does need terrorism as that kind of, you know, bull work or ever present boggy man in the american conscience. >> a campaign of fear helped him get elected, jerome. >> one thing is clear, the united states under trump does not seem likely to withdraw from asia, east asia, north and
southeast asia. we face three major problems, almost immediately. we're already deeply miered in the south trying to see. and we've heard contradictory statements from the trump people on this frightening statements in some cases. tie want is reemerging with trump's help as a destabilizing factor in our relations with asia and china in particular. and the most immediate urgent problem is what to do about north korea's claim to be developing an icbm that can reach loss ang less and other american centers. and there is a rising tide in washington, you read it every day now, of people saying what trump has said on occasion, we can't allow the north koreans to test an icbm that can reach america. nobody knows what he means when he says it won't happen.
on the other hand, i'm trying to urge people to take up remarks trump has made on other cooccasions. he's willing to talk to kim jungun, he's willing to negotiate a great deal with the north koreans. nobody in washington believes it's possible except the few of us. i think and i've been involved with north korea since 1972 when i first went there. i think it's worth doing because the alternative is terribly dangerous. if we try to knock out an icbm being tested by the north koreans, that could lead to retaliation against seoul and that could lead to further retaliation by our side. and it could start a dangerous war. >> you talked to trump supporters an even people in the white house and it's a view that has quite a lot of sympathy in this country. and they will say to you, listen, america's relationship with china over the last decade or so has not done us any
favors. whether it comes to the issue of trade or currency or even of north korea. the chinese have not done enough to enforce the sanctions against north korea, enough goes through the river, the chinese are still getting supplies over that bridge. so why not try and stay tough and see where that gets us. if we haven't got a good deal, this, i'm saying what i have heard on the campaign trail, repeatedly. we've not had a good deal am and they like the idea that donald trump is that particularly on china. they like the idea that donald trump is talking tough. >> i think if we talk too tough it's going to unleash a prove kaition against us or a retaliation. >> and the fault line is north korea. >> north korea is the most immediate challenge. people don't realize. we fought the korean war in 1950 to 53ee against china because china would not tolerate the
collapse of north korea on its border. things have not changed. the chinese don't like the north koreans either as a people or as a government. and it's reciprocated. north koreans don't really like china at allment and you can see there have been a lot of meetings between the leaders of south korea and china. you don't see many meetings between the leaders of china and north korea. so north korea is a very, very sticky, difficult government to deal with. but we've got to be careful because they're also and can be very fanatical about retaliating against what they see as aggression against them. >> okay, olivier while i'm in the rather curious position of representing american voters and trump voters in particular, the other thing that i hear when i have been out on the campaign trail and when i speak to supporters of donald trump and
people in the white house, is that they, a little bit like china, they feel they've been taken for a ride by europe. we've paid too much, europe has this habit of dialing 911 washington and hoping that we'll jump in and fix everything and that has to stop. we're not interested any more in saving european bay con. -- bacon. what's europe's response to that. i mean you know, we don't pay our fair share of defense spending to nato. and they have a point, don't they? europe's got to learn to stand up for itself. >> so yeah, me too, i went to a lot of trump rallies and i heard the same thing. so i see your point. so the response of europe to that is people are a little bit stunned by that point. and also the idea, i i think the general idea is really that as you know, president trump wants-- doesn't believe in-- he likes bilateral deals. i mean he is a deal maker. i'm going to make a deal with
one country to one country. doesn't like international institutions. and the problem, i was talking to a diplomat recently, european diplomat who was explaining to me that basically, of course, i mean, there say reason why we created the european union, you know, we created the european union because each country is small like france versus america, france is small. so of course if donald trump wants to make a deal with france, france is going to be a loser because france had 60 million people and a much smaller economy. and so of course it will be on the terms of the bigger-- biggest country which is america. so there is a reason why france, germany, italy, and also britain created europe, just to create a continent that is at the level of the big word superpowers.
so the idea of, you know, we have europe has been basically stealing from america, we-- i mean no, it's not something that-- i mean people don't understand that at all. >> i think the brits also feel that they are going to get, or theresa may is thinking she will get a great trade deal that will make it easier when she pulled out of brexit. i'm hearing repeatedly wishful thinking. the idea that briltan a could negotiate this trade deal in any time frame, b, that it would necessarily be to britan's advantage. that's not necessarily the case. we keep hearing that america feels or this white house feels donald trump feels he's had a bad deal. a bad deal from china. a bad deal from the europeans. but the one place he doesn't seem to have had a bad deal, apart from today in these reportings of what he might have said about the start treaty is russia.
what is it, explain this this mystifying relationship he has with president putin. >> i wrote a colume recently, a guess a couple of months ago where i tracked the dirty tricks that i saw in an election that i covered for news week in 2012, which was in tiblisi george ga. and oddly, eerily, they were exactly the same tricks that were used by trump in also winning power. and in both those elections, a proputin, procreme lynn, prorussian candidate won. and beat the favorite candidate. and the list of things that was so similar were just uncanny it was an oligarch coming out of nowhere. leading the opposition to victory with dodgy finances that didn't get revealed except some weird connections to russia. their first plank was, you know, their country first, as it were. in that case georgia first. well, if you put georgia first
in that tib lissi georgia, presumably you are doing it to be anti-russia since russia had at that time invaded russia four years before that election. and yet you had a candidate who openly said i will not criticize putin. and other odd similarities. for example, casting doubt on the fairness of the elections. something unheard of in the u.s. until now. i first saw in t in 2012 in tiblisi. the similars are uncanny. and the only thing can i think of is what is going to sound insanely paranoid, i suppose, and conspiracy ther rest but it just seems to me that they are playing the creme lynn's game plan here. their blue print. >> he has not taken a single position, as far as can i tell and if i am wrong, please correct me that is at odds with or counter its creme lynn position on anything. >> okay f you look at the time line it is absolutely true donald trump was anti-nato
before vladimir putin was president of russia and before putin was, there was a time in 2004 when putin wanted to join nato or pretended he wanted to. donald trump in 1999 published a book or had a book written in his name that was published in which he basically laid out this case. nato is a mug's deal, we're paying all this money, our allies aren't paying anything. i want to emphasize this point because it is rel vantd to the last round of conversation. the europeans are free loaders, they're not doing their fair share, article 5 of the atlantic charter was invoked once in history. on september 12th, 2001. brits, french, estonians, australians all have fought for america and died for america in afghanistan. okay, so if they are not making their 2% spending of gdp going toward defense, which is not a rule, but more of a guide line for nato, who is donald trump to say well, you know, sorry, estonia or latvia, lithuanian, if you get invaded by little green men we might not come to your defense unless you kick in
more cash. this is an-- absurd. >> we still haven't got to the root of this relationship. >> well, we shouldn't ignore that putin has relations with china as well as europe and america, et cetera. the biggest problem from the point of view of chinese government and our geeling with them over the next ten years are xi jinping's power. he is about to be re-elected as it were approximate by the 19th party there is a wide believe that it is going to stop at the end of the second term as he should according to custom and he will going to find a way to per pet wait his power. i compare it in some ways to stalin following lenin. this man is following now but only in a very again technical way. he wants to perpetuate is power. asian dictators have found ways
in the past. we had marcos in the pil peens-- philippines, we had park in south kor this, i don't know. but there is a possible continuing warm relationship. we shouldn't assume that putin is only looking west. he's also looking east. and we have to be aware of that. >> and what do you think then, that xi jinping makes of donald trump's prox imity to putin? >> he doesn't know. he may think this is very just, it's words. it's got no sub stands-- substantive basis but he would be worried about it and i think what we're doing, east and west side is to make putin a bigger player than he ought to be.
and he's enjoying every moment of it. >> jerry, can i ask, earlier you said that you didn't think that trump would be able to create a division between russia and china. but we, you didn't give us the reasons why you don't think it will be like nixon this time. why won't it happen that way? >> well, i think putin is well aware of this problem. and although they've always had tensions between china, soviet union and now russia, there are a lot of positive factors. it's the old eur asian theater of mckinkeder, whoever controls the eur asian landmass has a very powerful position. and the chinese are working hard to develop their relations with russia. >> malik, this week nancy pelosi said that she thinks the russians have something on donald trump. and she suggested it might be the financial or personal or political. what do you think about that
story? about this. >> i read something recently about that. it was a thing of christopher steel, that the british. >> who has gone undercover. somebody else is having to feed his cats, i think. >> when was the last time you heard of a british national in england, in britain having to go under-- i mean 2 didn't used to happen in the cold war. >> cold war movie, isn't it, all of it. >> but even then in the cold war nobody, nobody had to disappear while living in england. i mean that was-- that is the oddest thing. clearly things are very vulnerable there in england. they can't protect their own spies within their own country. and they have to go to ground. my suspicion is that if, there is something about the dossier that is substantial enough that mi-6, the british intelligence organization felt that they had to protect their own man, not just against the russians, but against. >> he is being protected as far
as we know by mi6. >> apparently the story is that they are the ones, actually, who came and advised him and got him and had him go underground. >> as a journalist i can tell you, it's not just mi6. it's not just the cia. it's not just, certainly not conspiracy ther rests or democratic party om rattives who think that there is something there at least part of that dossier. every media organization on the planet is tracing leads or following leads. >> everybody is chasing it. it is going all around washington. all the journalists in washington are talking about it. but so far no one has been able to sub stand yait it and it has been out there for months now. does that suggest that there is not-- we can't make the extra step or it's just. >> this is how intelligence works after all. you are not going to be able to nail something down completely. that's the nature of that kind of conversation. and i think, my suspicion is that that dossier, you know trk was percolating around. and i suspect that the russians got a lot of benefit from it
percolating around. because it's a threat to trump, that if he doesn't tow the line, the photos of this stuff might come out. >> olivier, you probably have a copy of the dossier in your pocket at the moment. >> it is off the record. i can't talk about it. can i say something. >> you can't talk about it and hang on to your life, you mean. >> yeah, right, exactly. no, i want to say something though about this so called dossier. because it's very interesting. i know nothing, i mean i hate to kill a good story. everybody would like this dossier to be true and to exist and to make headlines about it i just want to say that i fine very interesting that populist, a lot of populists all around the world love putin or don't have a problem with putin. like if you ask, as i mentioned earlier if you asked maureen la pen what she thinks about putin, she has nothing against him, when someone tells her that
basically, as you mentioned earlier, putin was, you know, like-- -- lie which is not so democratic, what she said about it, what she las to say about it is that, you know, in france, and in america before, trump is exactly the same. because it's always the same kind of tradition. >> olivier, is that also true of other populist movements and i'm asking you because i don't know. is that true or you kept as well that they have an affinity. >> i-- i don't know about that. but i know, i know about maureen lapen. >> good question, we'll find out. >> yeah, we should find out. >> with the french situation russian bank has lent the national front several million-- mean it's sort of out in the open that this is a dark horse of the creme lynn, right?
>> they are saying that they think this will be a factor in the election. >> and trying to have maureen lapen elected president of france and also trying to topple angela merkel in germany with disinformation and propaganda with. this this respect to this dossier, though, the media screwed it up. the most salacious aspect of it is the least interesting. if the tape were to come out tomorrow, done all trump involved in some rather alternative sexka paid in a hotel in st. petersburg he would be like yairks of course, what do you expect, i'm donald trump. his poll numbers will go up. that will not sink him. what will sink him is if there is any financial tie between his organization and the russian government, which was done as a quid pro quo arrangement for feeding information, it be on the russian die as pera. >> and the dossier has a lot of that information. >> nobody pays attention to that. >> they say he refused sweetheart construction deals, aren't i right in thinking that. >> not that they refused them, that they didn't come to a freuician. that is a distinction. he has always been trying to-- with russia and has been
unsuccessful. >> and also russians investing in him, floating him at a time when nobody else would give him loans. so also, that stuff became obliterated by the luridness of the dossier. but the question were you asking about other populists, and patterns between populists, i think it it is actually productive to look at, for example, erd o want,-- erdogan, and many like him, the man who took over in georgia, was there for a year. turned the country away from the west to some degree. very subtly. and then resigned. what are the common factors between these populists. it seems to me that there is a whole wave of regimes now of populists. and if you look, for example, at the turkish one, erdogan has absolutely no common interests with putin strategically. he is on the sunni side. he is in competition with them in syria and so on. and yet, all of a sudden he's begun to be pally with putin.
and that can only be a person like. >> having been on opposite sides on the issue of syria. nearly at war with each other after the turks found the russian jet, this is the reason for this is putin's intervention in syria and his expansion of russian power. >> no one presumed it was the kurds. >> not just that, the kurdish issue, the leverage he has with erdogan because russia does not want to see a kurdish state emerge or-- in northern syria and erdogan is more concerned with that than isis oral quied blanca but the real issue is what does russia want out of the middle east. it wants essentially what it's got. everybody wants to do business here, diplomatic, military, arms deals, commercial. you don't go to washington any more, you come to moscow, right? the proof is in the fact that the so called peace process for syria has been relocated from again ef's-- geneva switzerland to where. kaz ak stand. it has become a russian lead. >> the american ambassador was presented. >> the american invitation to
that con fases with-- con fab was an afterthowt. >> that is the one motive of russian involvement in the region is now we're back in charge. >> but also what he is doing, what putin is doing is he is guaranteeing power to populists. essentially he's guaranteeing to erdogan that he will back his regime in tur kee. and that, the kind of organization now that i think is putin is setting up against nato, against the u.s., he is actually saying to each of these populists, your home is with the creme lynn. >> europeans might not like you, they are raising an eyebrow about all that you are doing. the human rights issues, they don't want you in the eu. >> your nato ally is backing a proxy that you have been at war with for 40 years. >> here is a question for you. in the shakeup that, the grand geo political shakeup that we've been playing with for the last 40 minutes, the suspicion in circles surrounding dn ald trump, is that the great threat
strategically might be china. and that it it will be china that steps in to the void, if america pulls back, politics like nature creates a vacuum, somebody has to step in. what you hear in washington and foreign policy circles is that that is likely to be china. but what we are hearing from malik and from michael, is that it's russia that is stepping in. >> it depends which area of the world you focus on. if you focus on east asia, the key question is whether the united states and china can reach some combination to the rising china. and the rising china although it's not as strong as the world perceives it to be, is quite nationalistic and the military are quite influentialal. there is a big danger in the south china sea that we may not find the basis for adjusting our
interests. america is not going to withdraw from the south china sea. china is not going to give up the is ddz lets that it has turned into military bases. and the problem is can we find some modus a vendi. >> trump has suggested that america will be much more robust on that issue. >> well, you know, mr. secretary tillerson suggested we would interfere with chinese occupation of these is ddz let out-- islet outposts that they've created. now he has begun to withdraw from that because that dangerously could lead to war. but we haven't found an adequate basis. and from that the perspective of china, what they're talking about all this complexity in the middle east and eastern europe, et cetera, is a secondary game. the real game is going to be played out in the pacific. and we shouldn't overlook the role of japan, and the danger of
rising armament on the korean, japanese, australian, et cetera, side. >> so when prime minister abbe meets donald trump in mar a lago on friday, and has a round of golf with him, what will his message be? >> his message is trying to followup what secretary mattis is also recently sought to demonstrate, that we will continue the traditional american policy of supporting japan and south korea, including protection of the-- island thases are such a heated subject in the east china sea. we don't take a position. we say on the merits of who owns those islands. but we do say we'll defend japan. in the dispute gets out of hand. the real game is being played out in east asia. and these other events, i think, both the chinese and the american government feel they're
under great restraints that are not capable of dealing successfully with what russia is doing and they're not really prepared to follow a european lead if there is such a european lead given the internal problem. >> i'm not sure much of a european lead exists. we have just a few minutes left on the program. i would like to ask each of you for the optimistic scenario of how this pans out. malik just looked at me like i asked him could it be christmas tomorrow. olivier you just have a brief moment. what is the optimistic scenario with a trump administration foreign policy? >> okay. moving swiftly along. >> no, there is no-- i done think the european-- i mean from the point of view and from -- european point of view and diplomatic circles there is no optimistic. one thing, about japan, we all remember the 1987 ad that he published in "the new york times" where he was saying that japan should pay for its-- for
its security. and so that means that he's been saying this for 30 years, for many, many, many years. and so people think that is he going to be keeping doing that and in his own way. and so people are very concerned. i don't think-- i don't think there is-- so far there is no visibility either. and so i don't think he is going to be-- i mean there is a-- scenario right now. >> jerome. >> i think an optimistic scenario would be to continue the major outlines of our policy toward east asia. but show much more flexibility in the dealing with north korea. we can't deal with every crisis at once. this is the most immediate one. and i think we should take advantage of mr. trump's proclivity for doing radically different things. and say here's a radically different thing, negotiate with the north koreans that everyone
else has been too unimaginative or afraid to do. >> well, as i said earlier, if will is a possibility for an american realignment on the region on the basis of countering iranian influence, great. but don't be mislead, it i think malik and i agree by thinking you can dun-- in some cases you don't need the russians. you don't need for yemen for eastern syria where they don't really have much of a presence. and in iraq where they do have some presence, and are pumping out all this anti-american conspiracy theory that we created isis, although frankly donald trump seems to believe that too on a sad day. we really do have to worry about the integrity of the iraqi state and what has become the revolutionary guard corps of iran's creeping takeover of their security establishment. >> how damaging briefly to america has the visa ban been in terms of reputation foreign policy. >> reputation it has been quite damaging. >> in terms of iraq. >> i mean you have iraqi translators who have risked
their lives for ten plus year pros tecting american lives who can't get access back to the country. you have got syrian rebels who are fighting on behalf of the pentagon, fighting isis exclusively, who tell me it's hard enough for us to defend america given the situation in syria, now we are being told we can die for you but he can want land at jfk, we're not welcome here. so i have been a very is he kreer-- severe critic on this policy on moral and national security grounds. >> malik. >> you are-- i gaifer you some time. >> conceivable, a positive outcome, i think the best possible outcome for trump's foreign policy might be possibly a remote chance that he never meant any of this prorussian stuff really other than bluster. and he comes up against the brick wall of reality. and realizes that actually, he must go back and reempower eu
and nato. and that that that is actually the easiest thing for him to do. and present some coherence and some resistance traditionally against the anti-western powers in the world. that is the best case scn ario. but i think it's a very remote one alas. >> malik, jerome cohen, michael weiss, olivier o ma honey, thank you so much for joining me. fascinating discussion. we will continue this discussion over the course of the next four years, i'm sure. it's been a pleasure for me sitting in for charlie rose at this table. i'm cath tee kay from the bbc. mr. rose, come back to your table soon. >> for more about this program and earlier episodes visit us online at pbs.org and charlie rose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org