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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  April 15, 2017 11:30am-12:01pm BST

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hello and welcome to dateline. this week we learnt three things from president trump. that he is prepared to wield a global stick, to be precise the ‘mother of all sticks‘, that nato isn't obsolete, and that the united states needs to condemn china a little less and hug it a little more, not least to help deal with a little problem called north korea. and, after this weekend's massive show of military might by pyongyang and that regime's bellicose posturing, how should we interpret president trump's words: "the problem will be taken care of"? with me to help dissect donald trump's thinking and, later, to talk about another president, mr erdogan of turkey, are: abdel bari atwan, who writes on arab affairs. henry chu, who's international editor of variety magazine. the political commentator yasmin alibhai—brown. and the russian broadcaster alexander nekrassov. welcome to you all. what an extraordinary weekend. henry, what is the normal trump doctrine of foreign policy?”
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henry, what is the normal trump doctrine of foreign policy? i don't think any of us knows if there is any coherent policy going on, it cannot be expressed in 140 characters. that is how this man governs. he will say in a news conference that russia us relations are atan conference that russia us relations are at an all—time low, then tweets that there will be everlasting peace. he told us health care would be replaced by something great. we cannot divine anything from the policy of the last week or so. i think his own attention span is actually fairly limited. he flip—flops, although he would call ita flip—flops, although he would call it a reversal. he is also going to be tied in times of improving relations with russia by the domestic political scene in the us. we have people in our legislature in congress and senate who are on both sides of the aisle, quite implacably opposed to russia, orfeel this is a destabilising force. there are also his own woes of being investigated, people in his administration being
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too closely tied to russia before entering and during the election campaign. he has to tread carefully. as we have seen, it is impossible to actually figure out what an articulated policy from him is because he does not speak that way. what are they saying in moscow after rex tillerson ‘s visit, after all these other events, weapons, syria, concerns about north korea? what are they saying about trump? how do they perceive him? first of all, i think trump is sounding erratic. he inherited a mess from 0bama. let's put it this way. 0bama did not deal with syria. he did not deal with north korea. he has forgotten about that. he was more preoccupied with sending drones. in russia, the understanding is that tramples under huge pressure in america from all over the place. for his comments
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about russia during the election campaign. there is a bit of sympathy for him, almost? sympathy on the one hand, on the other hand, he did make some kind of statements. i don't think the russians realise that it is not going to be a friendship. love and kisses, and so on. he has stuff to deal with because he is unpredictable. that is true. —— he is tough to deal with. president putin saw him, there was some debate over the weekend over whether he would. jasmine, do you have an idea in your mind of what trump was trying to achieve? no. what is so confusing is that with the syrian bomb, so many of us, millions, billions, felt this carbuncle of syria over seven years. growing and
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growing on the face of the earth. in a way, you woke up to this and felt the boil had been advanced. we felt this temporary relief. —— the boil had been lanced. but henry is right, he isa had been lanced. but henry is right, he is a maverick. at the moment it feels he is playing some kind of computer game, getting a real thrill out of the big bangs and flashes. 0n the other hand, i think putin, in my view, is one of the most calculating and problematic leaders we have today. particularly... and he's been around a long time, 17 years. he is smarter than trump around a long time, 17 years. he is smarterthan trump in around a long time, 17 years. he is smarter than trump in some ways. pa rt of smarter than trump in some ways. part of me also worries, and apologies if this sounds mad. but this investigation into the trump election and the relationship between russia and trump's campaign team, is being seriously
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investigated. i am wondering whether there is this plot within a plot within a plot to make us think now that there won't be any hugs and kisses. i'm very confused about where we are going. trump is a maverick and that to me is the biggest enjoyable. the syria conundrum which is at the heart of this debate. -- the biggest danger. unlike president 0bama, trump dropped a bomb and retaliated. in terms of his approach to syria, will we now see something of a sustained engagement? will that do anything to make the peace talks in geneva go anywhere? i believe these tomahawk missile strikes killed completely the peace process in syria. i cannot see this peace process reignited after these tomahawk missiles. secondly, i believe that
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coordination between russia and the us is coming back after the foreign secretary went to moscow. rex tillerson? yes. i believe there are secret agreements. they told us they we re secret agreements. they told us they were disagreeing, but in fact, some of this is theatre. putin received rex tillerson. they reignited their coordination, military coordination and cooperation between the two superpower in syria. should that be cause for optimism? at this point only the tiniest steps are being taken and can be considered improvements. we do not want deterioration and even at the height of the cold war we had summits between residents and ways to try to ameliorate the relationship. i think
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this is a good thing, you do want engagement, you don't want a freeze on relations. but i don't hold out any great optimism that these two powers are actually coming together 01’ even powers are actually coming together or even really making deals. powers are actually coming together or even really making dealsm powers are actually coming together or even really making deals. if they do come together it reminds me of the first world war, where they coughed up a whole continent remember, between them. if they think they can carve up the world between them, it's not good news for the world. —— carved up a whole continent. to ignite a war between the two superpowers, what are we achieving here? i believe coordination is the best way. they manage to reach some sort of understanding. that is why president putin accepted the idea of meeting to listen, and i believe what we have seen is completely different, what they agreed upon. —— of meeting rex tillerson. the tomahawk missiles
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did not solve any problems but created more. it did not actually topple bashar al—assad of syria. created more. it did not actually topple bashar al—assad of syriam didn't change much. i'm surprised some people are saying the american policy toward syria has changed. it has not. it is exactly the same. trump and his administration do not wa nt trump and his administration do not want to be involved in syria, they are happy to see putin deal with isis in syria. in addition to syria and afghanistan we had the attack this week, us special forces also had issues in yemen in the early days of his presidency. trump is also attempting a bit of what used to be called gunboat diplomacy. the problem of pyongyang has, the president admitted, forced him to re—evaluate his attitude to china. a currency manipulating, us—job destroying rival is now a much needed ally. he's not the only one courting beijing, though. on friday, the russian foreign ministry let it be known that sergei lavrov,
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the boss there had been on the telephone with wang yi, his chinese opposite number, to discuss the same thing. in terms of the north korea problem, do you think both moscow and washington are overoptimistic about the amount of influence that china can bring to bear on north korea? first of all i think the international community, whatever it is now, should hang its head in shame over north korea. nothing was done. the world was clinging to these resolutions of the security council, which don't work, just like they don't work in the israeli—palestinian conflict. sticking to them as if this was, like a bible. no it's not. i think trump, ina like a bible. no it's not. i think trump, in a sense, is stirring up this. suddenly china is waking up. thinking, we need to do something.
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russia, which has had to have some really active policy, is waking up as well. in a sense it is dangerous, what they are doing, but it has woken up the world to the problem. something needs to be done. woken up the world to the problem. something needs to be donem isn't. i think one of the most terrible things that has happened is the way the un has been sidelined, and actually the reason it does not work well is because members of the security council, the big thugs of the security council, refused to do the security council, refused to do the moral thing and they have refused it over israel and refused it over syria. the point is this: i am really worried that we are talking here in terms of the big powers 110w. talking here in terms of the big powers now. 0k, china, the ones who have the weaponry. superpowers. actually, what happens then to the muslim countries and the gorilla warfare that is actually now a global guerrilla warfare? have they
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not learned anything from vietnam's, that big bombs and big politics do not destroy a determined gorilla army? i am really surprised by trump and these problems, he is a warmonger. his popularity is going down in his own country. he is changing his mind every day. he is not consistent at all. he has no strategy, nothing, but to throw bombs. he throws missiles, syria, the failed state, the mother of all bombs in afghanistan. those people who cannot respond. we do not know how many civilians we have killed. do we think that north korea could respond? that's the problem. i wish north korea would respond. no! we have had enough of this warmongering to be honest. why trump is going there and threatening this and that, throwing bombs at muslim people,
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innocent people, killing them simply because he wants to show he is strong enough. we don't want this warmongering. we want peace and 0bama was absolutely correct in his policy. when it comes to north korea lets not pretend they are not warmongering as well. they are not an innocent party. do they have the capacity to deliver on the threat? in america, donald trump doors. north korea is building up its arsenal and it is certainly capable of hitting american allies, particularly soul and japan. it is cause for concern. this maverick quality of donald trump, his unpredictable of is reaping good results because it keeps the world its toes. i'm not saying i subscribed to that, but there is this line of thought. the problem is you have two mavericks now, kim jong—un and donald trump. when you have two in this expose of environment, i'm afraid well what can go wrong. and you've got putin,
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and remember, pakistan now has a nuclear weapon. india does too. we will be dead. israel as well! one of the things that really frightens me is because of this posturing and this maverick dropping bombs, and russia in syria, and piranha's role as well, we will get into a third world war without even naming it. —— iran that. you still believe they provide the stability? of course. i don't understand this call for getting rid of them. the un did nothing about north korea for decades. in terms of now... in any pa rt of decades. in terms of now... in any part of the world. let's not forget,
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that this north korean so—called military potential is a village. nobody is going to fight for kim jong—unin nobody is going to fight for kim jong—un in north korea. if they realise that the threat is real of an attack, they will run. how serious is the suggestion that china can rein in north korea? this is the other interesting point. moscow and washington seemed to assume that, london suddenly thinks china has that degree of employees. does it?|j think it has a certain amount of luggage. the historic ties between china and north korea are described in the beijing has lips and teeth. its actual ability now, especially with kim jong—un who was a lot more u nsta ble with kim jong—un who was a lot more unstable than his grandfather, has, gated things. you have donald trump being schooled by the chinese president after ten minutes, realising it is notjust a matter of china ordering north korea what to
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do. china does have power when it comes to oil, that is how north korea keeps its economy going. it is not without luggage but you think china can actually dictate to north korea is a mistake. i'm not a big fan of the way china is in terms of freedom and so on, but is it not good that china is coming across as the wise old man of this world? it is not going in for this histrionic politics. which will take us to the edge. we need wise men. we need people... and women! we need wise leaders. women and men, whoever. we don't need warmongering. we don't need that. but these wise men did not do anything with north korea for decades. that is the problem. something has to be done. there is one problem nobody talks about,
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south korea. they are provoking north korea are all the time. nobody talks about this at all. they have all these manoeuvres on the borders, those propaganda targeted at north korea. south korea is a strange country, by the way. it's not this democracy. maybe that's one for another week. in ankara this weekend, another president is hoping voters will enhance his power. recep tayyip erdogan has called a referendum on whether he should become an executive president, abolishing the post of prime minister and, say his critics, removing existing checks on his power. perhaps surprisingly in a country where he's cowed the opposition, locked up many critics, including journalists, and has been turkey's dominant political figure for more than a decade, polls suggest the result will be close. is there a danger he could actually be trumped, that he could lose this boat? it seems we will have more
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than one trump! to be honest. -- this vote. this man is actually trying to revive the ottoman empire legacy. he wants to be a new sultan. he deposed and he sacked everybody who is opposing him. 100,000, 140,000 people sacked from their jobs under the pretext of martial law. the military coup. 50,000 people arrested. extraordinary figures. 48,000 arrested. now, he divided the country, the country is com pletely divided the country, the country is completely divided. he is surrounded by enemies. all over, everybody around turkey is the enemy of turkey. iran, syria, greece. romania, bulgaria. even russia are not really at ease with him now because of him... even the economy
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of this country, the erdogan legacy, he was elected simply because he presented himself as a moderate muslim. a democratic man. a very progressive development, good economy. now if you look at the situation, he is not democratic, he is arresting journalists in mozambique, for example, again the economy is going down. almost 50% of its value. i would like to speak. my turn to speak. let me finish. i believe, honestly, we do not know what will happen on this referendum. he is already sacking ministers. my turn! ithink he is already sacking ministers. my turn! i think we have to go back. and look at some of the things and
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try and understand, one thing is we always used to say in africa, users lead democracy to get elected. now we see it happens everywhere. everywhere. the thing is, when turkey was a secular democracy, a muslim country with a secular constitution, it had all these very well— placed safety nets, constitution, it had all these very well—placed safety nets, freedoms, it's one that path went towards the islamic citation of turkey. i am a muslim, i do not want the islam association of countries like turkey. we are using religion to divide people. the so—called islamists, not islamists but muslim state. it's a terrible thing, taking away critics and journalists. if eu had accepted turkey into the eu club, ithink
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had accepted turkey into the eu club, i think ten years ago, when 0bama was asking them, we might be ina different 0bama was asking them, we might be in a different place. does the prospect of a sultan in ankara worry washington? which is why we haven't seen washington? which is why we haven't seen such a strong condemnation out of the trump administration or the 0bama administration to this point. turkey is a member of nato and has been able walk for the us. this regrettable... they have stayed out of the referendum, they have not made any intimations as to whether they think it is a good idea or bad idea. i think they willjust let that one run as it will. what i am afraid of and what we are seeing in turkey is indeed somebody who is centralising all power in himself, sees enemies around every corner, and the things he was elected to do — foremost, to develop the economy— have gone sour. we have a president
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who is acting like an executive president already. let's not pretend he does not hold the power. russia did its best to have good relations with turkey. even after they shot down russian planes, even after that outrageous, i would say, down russian planes, even after that outrageous, iwould say, murder of the russian ambassador, russia did not respond in a way i would have responded to be honest with you. not yet. for the ambassador, that should —— they should have been punished. all the problems erdogan has of his own making. his foreign policy is a disaster. such a pivotal position, just because of geography if nothing else. nato does nothing to influences policy. does nothing, never said a word about the quashing
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of freedoms. the journalists. we are very critical of him. come on. they should have sanctioned them for this. what he is doing, the sanctions should have been used. i think he will get away with anything. for a russian to start talking about human rights abuses makes me laugh out loud. why not? the number of prisoners in russian prisons! don't compare the two. that might be an argument for another day. in terms of is he loses, what difference will that make? will that be the beginning of the end for erdogan? i think he will be more aggressive and he will try to come back after nine months as the constitution says. he could have another referendum, exactly what happened when he lost the election, the majority of parliament, he called for another election and he
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managed to create a new alliance with nationalists. that's interesting. the secular side in terms of politics almost seems to have given up the ghost. the opposition is in disarray there. which makes it all the more incredible to me that in the polls, it shows this referendum is close. you would think with the intimidation going on against the no campaign, and the fact that journalists have been purged, the media are completely in the hand of this administration. you would think it would show overwhelming support for his being given these powers. but secularism is such a deep part of turkish life and history. people really grew up on it. to see their country becoming like iran, is a terrible shock. this man will be there. he wants a mandate to do
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everything he wants. if he does not have this mandate, he is going to impose his will on his own people. i believe turkey will be more divided, and the economy will suffer more.“ the solution therefore, since you say it will be a worse situation if he were to lose, is it better that he were to lose, is it better that he wins it? i can't see how that would be a great outcome. he wins it? i can't see how that would be a great outcomem wouldn't change. the man is another sultan, he wants to behave like that. we will know the result by the beginning of the week. that's it for dateline london for this week — we're back next week at the same time. you can of course comment on the programme on twitter @bbcshaunley. goodbye. another update on the weather
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prospects for the rest of the holiday weekend. it always was going to be something of a mixed bag. just a bit cool in the breeze coming out of the west. there will be sunny spells around, some rain as well. that message as a whole has not really changed. the rest of saturday proving to be one of the better days of the weekend. a combination of sunny spells and showers, most prevalent across scotland. maybe the top end of the pennines. further south, it's essentially a dry picture. word to be wise about scotland, if you get into the high ground things will be decidedly wintry. the wind will be notably strong, gale force. freezing level down as well. the wind—chill quite a
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factor. sunny spells and showers for scotland, northern ireland and northern england too. further south, the odd shower you may have seen in the odd shower you may have seen in the first part of the day, by this stage probably will have quit the scene. perhaps one or two in the north of norfolk. that's the exception to the drywall. tonight the skies will clear and the temperatures will drop. maybe just as cold that wee bit further south. there is something to be said about the easter day, we are not com pletely the easter day, we are not completely sure how far north that rain will go. if it gets into the central belt it will quickly seem, if you are looking for a bit of rain across what has been a particularly dry south of late, this may not be the system for you. it will bypass the system for you. it will bypass the most part of the south. the odd bit and peace will get down towards
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the far south—east. the bulk of it comes right as you see through the heart of the british isles. temperatures in the range we have seen temperatures in the range we have seen recently about eight or nine, to around 14 or 15. the wind just flicks around into the north on easter monday, even calling. rattling a few showers down central england. many areas could get away with a dry day, leading us into a week which is mainly dry with some spells of sunshine, but watch out, there will be frosty nights. this is bbc news. the headlines at 12pm: north korea stages a massive military parade to mark the birth of the country's founder amid warnings over rising tensions with the us. you can actually feel the ground shake as thousands upon thousands of goose—stepping soldiers, tanks,
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rockets, other weaponry have marched and rumbled their way through the capital. the sun columnist kelvin mackenzie has been suspended over comments he made about everton footballer ross barkley. the family of british student hannah bladon who was stabbed to death injerusalem have paid tribute to their "caring and compassionate" daughter. the driving test gets an update — from december this year learners will have to show they can safely follow a sat nav. also in the next half hour, concerns over the workload
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