tv Quadriga - The International Talk Show LINKTV February 18, 2017 2:00pm-2:31pm PST
♪ melinda: hello, and welcome to "quadriga." we broadcast as the munich security conference gets underway, at what the conference chairman is referring to it as an historical inflection point, the most volatile period in his view since the second world war. a key aspect of that volatility is no doubt about the u.s. -- new doubt about the u.s. commitment to the international security order. how to interpret president trump's america first policy was a key issue as nato defense ministers met this week in brussels. many europeans fear the u.s. could be preparing to turn its a key issue as nato defense back on its traditional nato
allies, and that washington's policy could play into the hands of russian president putin, and wind up inadvertently benefiting china. america first, a threat to the world order? that's the question posed by our title this week. we will pose it to three guests who have been following the subject very closely. matthew karnitschnig is the chief correspondent for the european issue of "politico," and he says, "europe is too weak and divided to fend for itself. it should do everything it can to safeguard the relationship with washington." shi ming is a journalist from beijing who has lived in berlin for some years. he says, "there won't be any clear-cut showdown between china and the u.s. over the pacific region. instead, we will see countless agonizing quarrels." and malte lehming is with us again. he is a senior editor at "der tagesspiegel," the german newspaper. he says, "it is still not clear what trump's foreign-policy priorities are, but strengthening nato and committing the u.s. president to the rule of law are the best
strategies for now." so matthew karnitschnig, president trump has now been in office for just about four weeks. four very tumultuous weeks. in that amount of time, he has offended long-term u.s. friends like australia and neighbors like mexico. he has issued ominous warnings to iran and china, and made highly contradictory pronouncements on russia and israel. how do you read these signals, and how much do you think the new u.s. government does in fact represent an outright disruption to the international order? matthew: i think that definitely is a disruption. the question is what will this mean in the long term for the u.s. relationship with europe and other countries? we don't really know right now. there certainly is a sense of drift. there will be investigations in the u.s., it sounds like, into
the new administration's ties to russia. that could make it more difficult for trump to try and forage some new arrangements with vladimir putin to try and take on china, which is something he clearly had planned to do before he came into office. kind ofts are just moving so fast that it is very difficult to say what is going to happen. especially when it comes to issues like nato, when it comes to issues like china and terrorism, and so on. melinda: let's try to read the tea leaves. malte lehming, you also said there are mixed signals. this is perhaps in no small part because donald trump likes to have competing centers of power around him and purposefully set up his cabinet and advisors that way. tell m me, the resignation of te national security adviser, michael flynn, accused of overly
close contact with russia. the that perhaps represent waning of that particular power center of the rather unconventional pro-russian group? i could be more precise and statewide -- straightforward with the message, but it is so hard to interpret all these mixed signals. i'm afraid maybe donald trump has different power centers in himself. does he want to have good new relationships with putin? no one really knows. a good relationship with china? no one really knows. is he in favor o of a two state solution? no one really knows. there are so many conflict and contradictory elements in his rhetoric that it is very hard to predict his motivations and outcomes. he certainly wants to provoke what he is calling the establishment. he did that in the election campaign and he's still doing that as a president with his
tweets, his rhetoric. but i think this is due to his desire to please his constituency, or what he believes is his constituency, because this was the main motivation for many americans to vote for him. this is still aconstituency, ore believes is phase in his presidency where he still wants to provoke, not presenting a clear agenda. what is yourming, main take, and what are you hearing from sources in china about the various revelations we have heard about close contact between russia and not only michael flynn, the national security adviser who stepped down, but apparently also other members of donald trump's close team. what is your interpretation? shi: on the one hand, the chinese government has a little american that this government does not prove as strong as it should be.
we are glad to see that donald trump is facing more difficulties as he would like to show. on the other hand, quite ,npleasant feeling is coming because this issue with the security council shows that donald trump is looking for secret connections over business. there are so many chinese businessmen and businesswomen looking for connections with all the secret councils are high-ranking officers around trump. maybe sometime soon there will be another affair, but this time not because of unpleasant ties to russia, but because of unpleasant ties to china. chinese politics is
bothered by such news. clear that we are all glad to see, and we are not sure whether trump is going to get even harder, even tougher because of these difficulties. distract even more attention if he succeeds in china convincingly into his main enemy. idea we just heard from shi ming that the very business oriented nature of mr. trump path view of the world -- mr. trump's view of the world, that that could actually make his administration vulnerable to extortion and corruption, is that also one of the security risks that the new government and health?
-- entails? matthew: absolutely. we have seen that in recent ways with the way he deals with people, the way he deals with foreign ministers, when the japanese prime minister of the -- abe was visiting him at the reese -- weekend residence in florida, and then it turned out they were looking at secret documents with the flashlight of a mobile phone just out to a restaurant where there were all kinds of guests and there was a wedding party. this is clearly somebody who is withomfortable in dealing the usual confines of government. that is definitely a danger to national security and the long-term. i think the other tendency we have seen since trump came into the office is that we in the press are always trying to figure out what the actual plan is behind us. -- this.
as you said, the power centers like to play people off. third of a team of rivals kind of idea. i'm beginning to think there isn't any method to the madness. there is just madness. tweets. out in the this is another thing. the former u.s. ambassador to germany said don't pay attention to the tweets, this is just part of his strategy to distract people from think he doesn't want to talk about, and i'm not sure that is the case anymore. malte: the question right now is what is the greatest danger is a dysfunctional, chaotic washington white house system with scandals almost every day, which is so weak that it cannot implement his policy.is that a bigger danger than a functional white house that could implement a policy we don't like? insecurity terms, this is the alternative we have to face.
it's a hard question to answer. matthew: that's a lot of what his opponents are hoping, that hisscandal will weaken administration so much that it becomes paralyzed. malte: but there is a danger coming out of a paralyzed, dysfunctional white house in the washington government. matthew: absolutely. melinda: let me take us back to the issue raised in the first report, namely security policy. fact, as the security council conference is getting underway, the title is "post-truth, post west, post order." fact,the u.s. defense minister appeared to defend the current order at least in part as he went to his nato counterparts. >> the alliance remains a fundamental bedrock for the united states and all the transcend manic -- transatlantic community bonded together.
as president trump has stated, he has strong support for nato. it's a fair demand that all who benefit from the best defense in the world carry their proportionate share of the necessary cost to defend edam -- freedom. melinda: i want to ask how all of you parse those remarks by defense secretary mattis. first, let's take a look at what nato has beeeen up to lately. >> nato maneuvers in poland. the exercises are meant to s shw that n nato will defefend it ean member states against any russian aggression. but how much protection can poland plus estonia, latvia, and lithuania actually expect? mixed messages from the white house. presidential candidate donald trump says he supports nato, but also claimed the alliance is obsolete. now president trump favors better relations with russia.
that does not appear to be good ukraine, where fighting has flared recently between government t troops and separatists.d europe is under increasing pressure to demonstrate unity. germany is working to improve strained relations with poland. earlier this month, chancellor merkel met the prime minister in warsaw to try and patch things up. -- our presesident trump's polilicies a wake-up call for europe? karnitschnig,ew that report asks how much u.s. support the eastern european countries can count on, but the statement we heard before that from the defense secretary, he mentioned strong support. that doesn't sound like a wholesale rejection of nato. matthew: not at all, but this is part of the problem. you have not is coming over and saying how nato is his second home. shoulds, the europeans
pay more, but the u.s. has been saying that for many decades. nobody knows who to believe. should they believe mattis, what does tillerson say? you have michael flynn who was toced to resign, who seemed take a different position and was cozying up to moscow. as this conference gets underway in munich, there are all of these open questions they will not be able to answer. one key question is who is going to replace clean as national security adviser? how much the defense secretary and secretary of state support the international alliances like nato, it comes down to the president and the white house and what their position is, and that is why the national security adviser is a key person. thenda: malte lehming, defense secretary doesn't appear to be imposing more concrete conditions on u.s. participation. he is reported to have told european members that they have until the end of this year to come up with a plan for how they
are really going to realize the 2% of gdp target that has been talked about for a long time but never implemented. the german government is saying all the right things now. the question is, will it followthrough in practice? the target has been out there for a long time and it has not been met. malte: the 2% target has been out there for a long time and has not been met. i think germany is paying 1.2% of the gdp. there e are different models in the background that will be discussed in munich, as far as i know. paye is a model of saying 3% of gdp including development aid, because in the wider definition of security this contributes. then you can put development money and so on to try to please that. i think the main aim of president trump is that the europeans are paying more.
i think with some rights he can claim that. the big question is what role does foreign policy play into his agenda? nato security questions with the russia, with ukraine, wasn't he elected by and large as a kind of isolationist? america first, let's repair infrastructure, these are his main agendas, not foreign policy. melinda: i want to come back to that point, but let me ask you shi ming. we heard matthew say that clearly the defense secretary and secretary of state are at pains to try to counteract some of the more unconventional statements that donald trump has made. on the other hand, this very unpredictability, does it perhaps also act as an invitation to rivals and rascals like north korea, who then set
out to test donald trump's limits? shi: sure. we see many tests from iran, north korea, taiwan, even from china. but the crucial thing from the plaintiff you of current -- point of view of current chinese government is what role is the united states went to play under trump within nato? if they are to continue the leading role, that means determining strategy. until this point is clear, it is possible to predict what kind of other partners are going to play. -- what kind of roles other partners are going to play. 's is not clear if trump government is offering a la carte services.
you need this part, you pay. just like japan or korea. then it is totally another game to play. the first fear of the chinese a repeating new cold war structure. that the united states will hold the leading role, determined the strategy, and all the european countries, because they are too weak, have to follow the united states. then it is a military block, as we know, from the time of the cold weather -- cold war. the second fear is that the asian part of the u.s. strategy caught. that means japan would take over some similar parts like germany within the nato structure in europe are great britain, and
south korea will play the part france. we get a little bit more how the we won't know administration under trump is going to take on europe, russia, and china. melinda: i want to get to china in just a moment. one brief question still on the point of isolationism. indeed, that is donald trump's inclination. one scenario, little green men undercover russian inspired --nts in the politics baltics. will the u.s. put boots on the ground for the baltics? i think they would.
i think there's more continuity in policies now than people realize. if you remember when obama came into office, there was great concern about the pivot toto asa and obama was going to be the pacific president. then you had a crisis in ukraine and other crises, and smaller incidents in europe, and the u.s. and obama administration were forced to reorient themselves. at the same time, they relied heavily on germany to manage the crisis. i think the headline here is that the u.s. wants to remain engaged in europe.i don't believe this isolationist europe. i think they want europe to take care of itself. they trust europe to take care of itself because they are more worried about china right now, and they feel they need to spend more resources there. i think that's what's going on here. tone andtely, trump's the way he delivers these messages are counterproductive, quite frankly. malte: maybe i can add this, there are circles in the republican party that are so
stickley, they want nato to function, they want boots on the ground, and he relies on these circles. melinda: let us now pivot to asia ourselves.mixed-signal s on asia. office, he he took sparked alarm about whether he might reset america's long-standing one pilot -- one china policy in favor of taiwan. his chief strategist steve something even said about an inevitable war in the south china sea. let's take a look. >> the u.s. and china. a showow of force in the s south china sea. the region is rich in natural resources, including petroleum and natural gas. it is home to major international shipping lanes. beijing recently began setting up what appeared to be military outposts on coral reefs in the area to back territorial claims. japan and south korea and forces
wentnt on alert last month after chinese military vessels sailed too close to their borders. the u.s. is concerned about china's growing military and economic power. president trump has accused china of devaluing its cururreny and hass threatened to impose significant tariffs on chinese imports. last month, the president told the u.s. out of the transpacific trade agreement. mr. trump wants to make individual trade deals with other countries himself. how dangerous are these disputes between the u.s. and china?? shi ming, what is more likely, a shooting war over the south china sea, a trade war, or is it all just a bunch of hot air? shi: i suppose that none of this would have been -- happen. instead, there will be countless
agonizing quarrels, because the chinese government is not ready for such a showdown. we see that the chinese by theeters, encouraged government, are now making great offers to trump, even though trump has declared china clearly to the main enemy. alibaba is offering one million jobs within the next five years within the united states. other chinese companies are rushing to the united states to say that we will make your country great again. we chinese are making you great again. this provocation, because of is not replied very harshly by china's government. the spokesman called it just a mistake. it is not a criminal act, not a provocation, just a mistakeke.
you should not continue. i think even in terms of the trade, there are some signs encouraging china's government supposing that the u.s. government is not going to go that far. combining china with japan and europe as three partners who are harming the united states by the same means, by manipulating the exchange rate. the fear of beijing was that beijing would be singled out as the sole enemy to be fought against. but now, the united states is hearing -- facing three very strong trading partners. if they treat one partner very harsh and the other not, it is not so convincing, and the economy is connected much more closely than trump could do
anything to separate from other actions. melinda: ironically, however, by virtue of the fact that he left the transpacific trade ifeement, donald trump, anything, has pushed some of the u.s. allies in the region into the arms of china, and thereby perhaps may china's position stronger. matthew, i have to ask for a brief answer. isn't this the area where trump's supporters are expecting direct action, namely on trade and protectionism? matthew: absolutely. but as we heard, it will not be that easy. theinterests of china and u.s. are too intertwined. you hehear all this tough talk t of washington, but it will be hard to produce quick results. in a lot of respects, he's right about china and the trade imbalances with other parts of the world, that the u.s. doesn't always get the right deal. as with europe and security, the problem is the way he transports this message.
it is more damaging than he intends. melinda: malte lehming, coming back to the title here at america first, whether it is a threat to the world order. is it perhaps the global economic order of open orders -- borders, trade, immigration, most threatened by his actions? malte: i don't know. i think we have to give credit to the main global players besides the united states. europe, china, russia, and all the leaders seem to behave very cautious, there he responsible, waiting for real actions, not just words. not jumping too fast to a conclusion that could fuel tensions we are seeing now. melinda: thank you very much. thanks for all of you to being with us today. thanks to you out there for tuning in. see you soon. ♪
>> hello and welcome to focus on europe. where we give you insight into the lives of the people across this great continent. france's chinese diaspora represents one of the largest chinese communities in europe. and some say they are one of the most successful immigrant groups there. but because of this, there is growing inter-ethnic tension between france's asian population and the much larger north african community. "i do not like chinese people. i do not like them." he says.