sweeps across the eastern caribbean. it's already destroyed almost all buildings on barbuda. deaths are reported in the us and british virgin islands, and anguilla. haiti and the turks and caicos islands are now making frantic preparations. storm surges and ferocious winds are expected. more than 160,000 rohingya muslims have now fled violence in myanmar. the exodus across the border into bangladesh was sparked by a crackdown by burmese security forces. the authorities there have blamed rohingya militants for provoking the crisis by attacking police stations. bbc news has witnessed around 1,000 mostly african migrants being held in detention in libya in inhumane conditions. medical charity doctors without borders says migrants wanting to cross the mediterranean to italy are being detained in what it's calling nightmarish conditions. now on bbc news it's hardtalk with stephen sackur. welcome to hardtalk. i am stephen
sackur. donald trump embraces disruption. what does that mean for america's national security and foreign policy? at first glance it seems to herald a new era of confrontation from the korean peninsular to the mexican border. but are there limits to the president's break with convention? well, may guest is veteran diplomat and adviser to a host of republican members, john negroponte. does this presidency marked a permanent shift in america's global while? —— role? john negroponte, in washington, dc,
welcome to hardtalk. thank you. let me start with some words if i may that you wrote or at least you co— site ina that you wrote or at least you co— site in a very public letter during the presidential campaign last year. it was a grim warning about donald trump as future president. you said then, he in your view could be the most reckless president in american history. you had eight months to judge him. how do you feel about it now? let mejust judge him. how do you feel about it now? let me just put the letting context. i didn't write those words but i did sign the letter. and i also came out in favour of hillary clinton, which is a somewhat unusual thing for a republican to do. but that was in the context of a political campaign. i guess my short a nswer political campaign. i guess my short answer as to how things have come out now, i think, and to the
question that you asked at the beginning of the show, i think that there are limits to what he can do. he is constrained by the congress, by the constitution, by our courts and by the reality out there, which makes itself more evident every day. so he, like everybody else in the past, has to deal with events and the circumstances that he confronts. in terms of the style of this presidency, do you think he is listening to his key advisers in the foreign policy and national security machine? well, that is a great question because it is hard to tell whether and when he is listening, and whether. .. even whether and when he is listening, and whether... even if he does listen, how long it takes hold. but i think listen, how long it takes hold. but ithink in listen, how long it takes hold. but i think in a number of instances we've seen pragmatism takeover after initial bluster. example, some of the comments he has made about our alliances. 0riginally, both in the campaign and in his initial days in
office, and now of course it has reaffirmed our nato alliance, he is fast friends with the prime minister ofjapan, fast friends with the prime minister of japan, the most fast friends with the prime minister ofjapan, the most important alliance that we have in east asia, pacific region, along with south korea, australia. he was going to cancel north american free trade agreement and now we are busy holding serious negotiations with both mexico and canada. yes, but john negroponte, on those issues, that maybe today's statement or policy, though it could change tomorrow, which comes back to a fundamental point which a whole host of important people have raised over the last few months, including james clapper, from national intelligence, and other veterans, they have said this guy is simply not fit for office. what do you think?|j this guy is simply not fit for office. what do you think? i mean, i ama office. what do you think? i mean, i am a little bit disappointed in jim's statement. i am surprised that a former director of national
intelligence would make a statement like that. i don't think he is in a position tojudge the like that. i don't think he is in a position to judge the fitness of the president. and, secondly, i don't think that is the whole... crosstalk how can you say that when this letter that we started the interview with said, you know, "most fundamentally, mr trump lacks the character, the values and the experience to be president? " he questioned his mentalfitness, i believe, to hold office, and i would never go that far and i would never say that. i did not say those words. i associated myself with that letter, no doubt, and i won't take it back. and i supported hillary clinton, though i want to point out that was in the context of a political campaign. we only have one president at a time. he has been elected now. we've got to want him to succeed. i don't think the best way to support him in carrying out
his role is to make a pronouncement that he is unfit for office. that is not thejudgement of that he is unfit for office. that is not the judgement of a retired government official to make. if anybody does that, it is gonna be people in the congress, and the vice president and so forth, according to the procedures of the 25th amendment. i've got you. well, in that case, let's drill down into actions and judge him on those. so, let's start in the korean peninsular. i know it is something that you have been following very closely, along with everybody in the foreign policy establishment in washington. let's just foreign policy establishment in washington. let'sjust look foreign policy establishment in washington. let's just look at the trump rhetoric, a gamba style, it is let's face it, bellicose, the phrase is "locked let's face it, bellicose, the phrase is " locked and let's face it, bellicose, the phrase is "locked and loaded, fire and fury like the world has never seen". clearly implicit in that is a threat that the united states, if north korea doesn't change policy, change direction on its nuclear programme, the united states could contemplate a first strike military option. do
you believe that is a real option? no, ido you believe that is a real option? no, i do not. and the reason i do not is, first of all, it would wreak havoc on the peninsular and the first people to suffer, or the next people to suffer after any kind of attack on north korea would be south korea and seoul, which is only 35— 40 korea and seoul, which is only 35— a0 miles from the border with north korea, is a complete hostage not only to north korean nuclear i’ , only to north korean nuclear weaponry, if it were to choose to use it, but to conventional artillery. so it would just be some kind of a holocaust and itjust doesn't make any sense whatsoever. and it has been one of the fundamental conundrums of our policy towards career throughout the years, is this hostage type situation that exists on the peninsular. so, political and diplomatic means of solving this must be found. 0k,
well. and that is the right approach. you couldn't be clearer with me. but explained the absolute incoherence in washington that we outsiders here on a daily basis. i met lindsey graham the other day. we had a great conversation. we talked about korea. this is a direct quote. "i am 100% certain that if kim jong—un continues to develop missile technology that can hit america, and if diplomacy fails to stop him, they will be an attack by the united states". well, that is a senator speaking. he is not the one who is going to pull the trigger. 0nly speaking. he is not the one who is going to pull the trigger. only the president can decide to do that. let me say something about this conversation regarding korea and these types of conversations, which disturb me. we always sought or start out almost as if it is the united states that bears responsibility for the attention of the peninsular. and to my way of thinking this is a little bit like
standing the truth on its head. it was north korea that invaded south korea in june of 1950, was north korea that invaded south korea injune of 1950, with, by the way, the encouragement of the soviet union, it now russia, and china. and i think those two countries bear some responsibility for the situation of the peninsular. and it is kim jong—un situation of the peninsular. and it is kimjong—un in situation of the peninsular. and it is kim jong—un in violation situation of the peninsular. and it is kimjong—un in violation of myriad resolutions and of the nuclear non—proliferation treaty who has just exploded a hydrogen nuclear non—proliferation treaty who hasjust exploded a hydrogen bomb. so where is the outrage? we focus all of our energy... we focus all oui’ all of our energy... we focus all our energy on some of the rhetorical blemishes of the president of the united states. crosstalk i don't think for a moment he will pull the trigger. your point is well taken. if i am invited to pyongyang to have a conversation with kim jong—un i guarantee i will put him on the spot. well i hope so! yes, but right now i am talking to you.|j but right now i am talking to you.” wish you would go there. so do i but
right now with you need to talk about the way the us is candling this because this is what the insight you have into. let me talk to you about a couple of things on how trump is handling it. you have to let me ask you the question. i am simply asking you what is the long—term consequence of donald trump, and some talk to him about this, like lindsey graham, and you know this, lindsey graham says that donald trump said to him that if there is going to be a walk to stop kim jong—un it is there is going to be a walk to stop kimjong—un it is going to cost thousands of lives but those lives are going to be lost over there. they are not going to die here. now that seems to be the mentality lindsey graham is portraying as trump's mentality. my question to you is, if you are saying, you know what, ignore the words we are not going to launch and military strike against north korea, what does it do to american long—term credibility? all of the threat and no action. let me say first of all, i consider that a rhetorical response to the setting
off ofa a rhetorical response to the setting off of a hydrogen bomb. but at the same time the president is pursuing diplomatic avenues. hejust same time the president is pursuing diplomatic avenues. he just had an extensive conversation with xi jinping, the president of china. he co nsta ntly jinping, the president of china. he constantly talks with prime minister abe of japan. all the constantly talks with prime minister abe ofjapan. all the key stakeholders in the korean situation besides ourselves, china, japan, south korea, we are in constant contact with all of these people. the president himself is leading that diplomatic effort. he hasjust accused the south koreans, i am using the word he used on twitter, appeasement. he has had a conversation with the president of south korea since and i think the south korea since and i think the south korean president has come around to taking a pretty stern line vis—a—vis north korea. he has asked for the additional deployment of the so—called thermal altitude, the thaad devices, to protect against incoming missiles, and we are enabling greater military
capabilities for the south koreans, citing we are in pretty good harmony with south korea about how to confront this situation —— so i think. but ambassadorjohn negroponte, you seem to say what low—to—mid —— vladimir putin has set andjim clabo has low—to—mid —— vladimir putin has set and jim clabo has set, low—to—mid —— vladimir putin has set andjim clabo has set, which is what the administration won't say, if north korea is absolutely intent on continuing its nuclear programme and developing the ballistic missile capability with the bomb, in the end there is nothing we can do to stop them. no, i don't think! there is nothing we can do to stop them. no, i don't think i would say that. i would say that we've got to revitalise some of the diplomatic effo rts revitalise some of the diplomatic efforts that we undertook in the past. i was involved in the bush administration when we had six party talks on the korean question. i think that would be a good initiative. i think more sanctions. i think one of the things that's before the un security council at the moment is to stop oil exports to
north korea. the chinese and the russians are baulking at this. but i think if we are not going to use military force, then we have to use more effective economic and diplomatic pressure. and i think that can be done. and talking of coherence, you know, your time with me is very measured. but when you heard the woman who has one of your previousjobs, heard the woman who has one of your previous jobs, that of the us ambassador at the united nations, when you heard nikki haley talk about the united nations looking at every country that does business with north korea giving aid to north korea's reckless nuclear ambitions, and implying that there could be "secondary sanctions" to put an embargo on all of those nations, presumably starting first off with china, did you see that as realistic and helpful? some of that, the devil is in the details. clearly we can't stop trading with the people's republic of china. we have more than
$500 billion worth of trade a year. we would have to stop importing iphones. that would be hard to get the americans to do. you might apply secondary sanctions against specific chinese firms. those upon and we might have information that they are doing business with north korea and better enabling the economy. something to that effect. in other words, very specific, targeted targeted words, that is not the —— beyond the realm of imagination whatsoever. let me see if your tone continues into the next region that wa nt to continues into the next region that want to get to you, that is donald trump policy on his own backyard if ican trump policy on his own backyard if i can put it that way, mexico and latin america. a whole host of policies, starting with the wall, which he still seems intent on building, and he is having to battle with the congress about getting the money for it, and a host of other things. in recent days the signal he has sent by saying that these
so—called macro —— dreamers, the miners that 0bama protected from deportation, donald trump has effectively ended that protection, a host of signals which suggest he doesn't mind riding up mexico and indeed other near neighbours in latin america because he doesn't ca re latin america because he doesn't care about that relationship and that sphere of american sort of foreign policy—making and influence. what do you make of that? because you have spent a lot of your career in latin america. not only did i do that, i was in mexico when we both conceived and negotiated nafta. it isa conceived and negotiated nafta. it is a subject near and dear to my heart. it was a major accomplishment of the united states government. trade with mexico since we signed the nafta has quadrupled, i think. the export from mexico to the art of
states has united states content in it. that is much better than only 5% content it. that is much better than only 5% co nte nt if it. that is much better than only 5% content if the product is coming from china, for example. that is number one. number two, mr from china, for example. that is number one. numbertwo, mrtrump was about to renounce the nafta a couple of months ago. then his secretary of agriculture came to him and said to him, by the way, do you realise, mr president, that mexico is the largest or the second largest market for agricultural exports from every single state in the united states, and wejust single state in the united states, and we just can't possibly stop trading with mexico. it is going to be disastrous. in the state
department, the desire is to modify the nafta, modernise it, updated, but not subjected to any radical changes, and certainly not to discard the agreement. what do you think america's traditional allies, you know, in this conversation we have referred already to traditional allies in asia like south korea and japan, we've just addressed allies in asia like south korea and japan, we'vejust addressed mexico, we could talk about european allies in nato starting with angela merkel‘s germany, what do you think they believe is happening in washington right now?” they believe is happening in washington right now? i think they probably think, just like i do, that
we have elected quite an unusual person to be president of the united states, and that he is kind of an original number. but at the same time he is president. and he will be president three at least one term in office, and so they have to figure out how best to deal with that. i think they probably also have some competence, as do i, that both events competence, as do i, that both eve nts o n competence, as do i, that both events on the one hand and fundamental national interests on the other hand will cause us to ultimately behave more or less the same way we have been in the past yea rs same way we have been in the past years and decades. and i think we are seeing some of that playing itself now. and it has only been eight months. but i think if we have this conversation think you will see that patent reinforced. we have this conversation one year from now, i think we this conversation think you will see that patent reinforced. will see that patent reinforced. will see that pattern be reinforced. interesting that you say that. and in your comments about allies
perceptions. they will have to live with that. frankly, right now, you don't know whether you will be living with his president for the next 3.5 years because he lives under the shadow of a very serious investigation and, frankly, no—one knows where the special prosecutor's investigation will end up. as best i can tell they have so far identified two or three people, his former national security adviser and mr manorfought national security adviser and mr manor fought and possibly a couple of others, none of whom are in his administration right now. i will wait and see before rate rush to judgement. 0n whether this investigation will produce a significant outcome. i haven't seen anything yet that causes me to think it will. but obviously the special prosecutor will explore the facts and doa prosecutor will explore the facts and do a good job. when donald trump spoke about this he simply says the
whole rush investigation is fake news, a hoax. he blames the mainstream media whom he has dubbed terrible people on the whole. 0thers have looked at the reaction of donald trump and they worry about it. iam donald trump and they worry about it. i am talking about people in the establishment in washington, like the former director of national counterterrorism centre. he says it is worrisome for our democracy. we are at risk of breaking the bonds of trust between the public and, for example, our security services. when people loosely used phrases like fa ke people loosely used phrases like fake news, the deep state and allude to nazi germany, many americans now believe there is an act of war being fought against the elected representatives, possibly including the president. is a threat to america's democracy, do you think? no. you have now sighted yet another intelligence officer who worked
under my general supervision when i was director of national intelligence. i think getting off into the political realm they don't have as much qualification to talk about... but it is interesting... interesting that these guys feel so passionately and so alarmed by what they see that they are speaking out in this way, suggests a fundamental breakdown of trust. the founding fathers wrote this constitution with the assumption that people who in government are not necessarily angel. power has to be restrained. basically, the people should govern themselves and they are only limited functions that us a central government. we have a system of checks and balances that are designed to compass that. i think we have seen the system of checks and
bala nces have seen the system of checks and balances working in spades in few months. we have seen the courts challenge the immigration orders that were initially issued. repudiated them. we have seen congress that has not changed 0bama can. you can cite numerous examples of where the system of checks and bala nces of where the system of checks and balances is at work. one element of institutional washington that is clearly not functioning is the place, perhaps you know best, the state department. 0ne place, perhaps you know best, the state department. one third of this job is, see newjobs in the state department have not been filled since donald trump came in to power. has ever been a time when the us was less well equipped to play a leadership role in the world? well, you make the assumption that by filling those subordinate jobs in the state department that that will significantly enhance our ability. call me naive but i assume those
posts are there because they have some sort of important function. they do. they do. not all of them are vital but it is not a good way to run the state department. i could not agree with you more on that. i do not hold mr troll responsible for that. i things that ellison himself has been far too cautious about moving forward with feeling these positions. he has wanted to conduct some kind of study of reorganisation of the state department and he said until that study is completed and completed the reorganisation, we will not fill a lot of keyjobs. that is not the right thing, especially with respect to regional assistant secretary should. my bigger point, that was the detail, my bigger point is what you perhaps conclude that right now there is something of a vacuum in terms of american leadership in the world.
big beneficiaries of that are china and russia. something of a vacuum but i still think... first of all, we are blessed to have a good career foreign service and they are filling a lot of these jobs on an acting basis. but the notion that china and russia are the big beneficiaries of what we see unfold in washington day by day, would you agree?” what we see unfold in washington day by day, would you agree? i would say, i would say it this way. i think china in particular has been the beneficiary of some of the policies we have carried out. i think that is more important. woodside most specifically with the drum's decision to withdraw from the trans—pacific partnership, drum's decision to withdraw from the tra ns—pacific partnership, the drum's decision to withdraw from the trans—pacific partnership, the big economic agreement that would have brought together 12 countries in the east asia pacific reason. withdrawing from that on his first day in office he gave china a huge gift and day in office he gave china a huge giftand a day in office he gave china a huge gift and a huge opportunity to make inroads into the various economies
of the east asian pacific region. there was a huge mistake.” of the east asian pacific region. there was a huge mistake. i wish we had more time but we are out of time. thank you very much for joining me from washington, dc. would you invite me back in one year, please? we can talk about this. we're keeping our eye on three hurricanes in the caribbean. hurricanejose hot on the heels of hurricane irma, not quite as strong as irma, but still the potential for damaging winds for the northern leeward islands by the weekend. hurricane irma is heading turks and caicos, heading through cuba on friday, eventually florida by the weekend and hurricane katia in the gulf of mexico more a rain maker, with a lot of damaging wind. back home, it's somewhat quieter over here, but still an unsettled end to the week, thanks to this area of low pressure driving the weather.
and there'll be strong winds at times particularly across southern coastal counties and the north—west of scotland and northern ireland as well. here, there'll be some showers from the word go. not quite so many showers here first thing tomorrow across the eastern side of scotland, maybe some sunshine coming through, but always a lot of cloud. and showers never too far away across northern england. there'll be some spells of sunshine coming through across northern parts of wales, but again there'll be some showers here through the day. and the showers already getting going across south—west england, and across southern coastal counties of england. they will start to become a little bit more frequent, and the rain more persistent. the showers merging, really, to give a longer spell of rain. so it's quite an unsettled feel to the end of the week. for many northern parts of england, parts of scotland and northern ireland, it's a day, really, of sunshine and showers. but for wales, southern and central parts of england, those showers, as i mentioned, becoming more frequent,
and merging together for a longer spell of rain. you could well even catch a rumble of thunder during the afternoon. so temperatures no great shakes, really, somewhere between 16 and 19 celsius for most. there'll be further heavy showers, longer spells of rain around tomorrow evening. slowly, we start to lose some of the energy, but there will be more showers around overnight, so nowhere reliably dry. but there should be some lengthier clear spells in between the showers. a slightly fresher night, lows of 11 or 12 celsius. but, for most, still in double figures. and it's still a fairly unsettled weekend. sunshine and showers i think should just about cover it for saturday. the emphasis more on dry weather and not quite as many showers. but again, nowhere reliably dry, and the temperatures still not much higher than 18 or 19 celsius. and we do it all again on sunday. many places should get off to a reasonably dry start, but then we look to the north—west, something unsettled is happening here — strengthening winds, and spells of rain, light to very heavy, sweeping across the country. so for the weekend here, yes, wet at times, rather cool and quite windy as well. goodbye. this is bbc news.
i'm james menendez. our top stories: the red cross says more than a million people have already been hit by hurricane irma with up to 26 million more at risk in the coming days. road and airports in florida have beenjammed as half a million people try to leave before the storm hits on sunday. pope francis appeals to colombians to show forgiveness following the peace agreement with farc rebels. and venus williams bows out of the us open in dramatic style. and i'm rachel horne with the business. weathering the financial storm. harvey could overtake katrina as america's costliest hurricane, but will irma prove even more expensive? we look at the spiralling cost of extreme weather and who pays. plus, contingency plans. the boss of virgin atlantic tells us how they're helping customers in the caribbean and aiding the recovery effort.