tv Washington Journal Robbie Gramer CSPAN March 27, 2018 2:45am-3:17am EDT
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starting at 1:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. magazineoreign policy editor. >> our guest is a staff writer for foreign policy and is here to talk about the national security team of donald trump. what would you say about the recent shakeups? >> the shakeups have caused a lot of waves in washington. a lot of people were expecting a shakeup in the trump cabinet, but the way in which it was done surprised a lot of people. rex tillerson was essentially fired via twitter. h.r. mcmaster was also kicked out in an unceremonious way. thea lot of the focus is on new national security adviser john bolton, and a lot of people
characterize him as an ultra-hawk. host: why? guest: he has come out with a stancehard line particularly against iran and north korea, two of the principal foreign-policy policy challenges for the trump administration. obviously, north korea is still pursuing a nuclear weapon, despite this search in -- surge and diplomatic push on sanctions in nuclear saber rattling, where a lot of people are concerned about war with north korea and they have been. thatbolton wrote an op-ed outlined the case for war against north korea. he is also a hardliner on iran. trump has said repeatedly on the campaign trail, he wanted to tear up the 2015 iran deal that nucleartall iran's
program. behind-the-scenes, former secretary tillerson and others, including national security adviser mcmaster, said we are legally obligated to continue this, because iran is upholding its end of the deal, so we need to stay in the deal, which really angered trump. now, he has a team coming in that really wants to tear up the iran deal and take a harder line against north korea. everyone -- that is what everyone in one policy in bc -- d.c. is talking about. host: to call, (202) 748-8000 for democrats, (202) 748-8001 independents,s, (202) 748-8002. when it comes the john bolton, remind people about the stance he took going into iraq. guest: that is where he has done a lot of criticism in recent days. the rock war, one could argue,
is one of the most disastrous foreign policy decisions in modern u.s. history. bolton was a chief architect of that war. he was the under secretary for arms control at the time. a lot of people in the state department and intelligence committee later accused him of the sizing the intelligence that led us into the iraq war. president bush put him forward for u.s.nation ambassador to the united nations, and even then, even in a republican-controlled senate, time in 2005, he could not get through. bush had to put him in during a recess. there is a lot of concern, but it is not just among democrats. there is a bit of hesitation among republicans. a lot of prominent republicans, to be fair, have endorsed him, but against the backdrop of trump putting old and forth is his -- bolton forth is
stance in putting forward the iraq war. host: what about mike pompeo? guest: mike pompeo is, i believe, the first cia department -- had to go to the state department. tillerson had a lot of tension with the white house. itselfy have manifested in how quickly and unceremoniously he was fired. he actually had to cut a trip to africa short i one day because they decided to fire him. there is still a bit of debate , but when he was informed the general consensus was he learned about it along with the rest of us, that he was getting fired, on twitter. it sounded like there was not a lot of good personal chemistry between the president and tillerson. mike pompeo i'm on the other hand, has a lot of good -- mike
pompeo, on the other hand, has a lot of good personality mix with the president. pompeo, who is equally hawkish on north korea, iran, will be a lot more in lockstep the president, have a better personal chemistry, which i think is important when it comes to the secretary of state. host: what about the ability of either man to push back against the president when they disagree on certain stances? guest: that is an open ended question. that is something, even a year into the trump administration, that not everyone understands. there are times where trump definitely defers to his foreign-policy team. you can look at a lot of foreign hiscies' issues where rhetoric does not match his policies. he has expressed skepticism against nato, get the
administration at its top deputies have pushed for more engagement with nato. onhas talked about tariffs china, which he enacted, but now he members of the administration are walking that back a bit and saying maybe we need to talk with china and work something out before we go to tariffs. there are still a lot of debate about to what extent his top advisers can influence his policies. we will -- we have seen it play out in the past where trump has deferred to his secretaries and advisers. host: robbie gramer here to talk about the national security team for the president. we will talk to built first in florida, independent line. -- to bill first in florida, independent line. caller: mr. bolton has sung nothing but praise for human lives. be hisan example would
stance on iraq, going along with that scam. as for pompeo, pompeo has taken more money, as a congressman from kansas, then any other congressmen. he has taken more money from the koch brothers. is who hase that been influencing the republican party. 30, 35 years. host: is there a sense of outside influence on future decisions in foreign-policy? guest: i am not quite as filmy layer -- familiar with campaign finance. but he brings up a good point that john bolton cannot be iraq war.from the there is widespread consensus that the iraq war was a mistake now, and john bolton was widely seen as one of the key architects for that.
what is important to know is the national security adviser, and incredibly important position, does not require confirmation. so while he may have seen more waves of opposition when it comes to senate confirmation, both from democrats and some republicans concerned about it, trump can just appoint him and does not have to work out behind-the-scenes his concerns with the senate. host: and john bolton was on a new york city talkshow yesterday. we will have you listen to what he had to say. [video clip] pattern ofthe real chinese behavior is incredibly aggressive and assertive. they are building bases on rocks and reefs in the south china sea that are, on a good day, three feet above water.
they want to know where they can put their submarines when they develop an undersea fleet. aggressiveery development. there is a panel tomorrow that will talk more about it. what we require is a comprehensive strategy. the president raised issues of chinese violations and their internationalder trade agreements, piracy of intellectual policy, discrimination against foreign investors and business people in china. that is important, but we need a political military strategy as well. we need what we had in the cold war of linkage, the all of these issues are together. i think the president now has convinced both north korea and china that barack obama is no longer president, which is the single most important thing he could do. [applause] but make no mistake.
said recently, north korea it is within a handful of months to having the capability of cropping thermonuclear weapons on any american city they want. the trump administration has hard decisions to make in the near future. if china really believes what they have said for 25 years, which is they do not want north korea to have nuclear weapons, now is the time for them to act. and if they do not act, it will tell us a lot about china. host: that was from cpac in february. guest: outlining his concerns about china, there is a broad consensus with those views. one important and goldman -- element of these deliberations, when it comes to north korea, is that china does prop up the north korean regime.
the north korean regime cannot survive without china. issues the existential when it comes to how to tackle north korea. what he said about piracy, what he said about discrimination against foreign investments, what he said about propping up the north korean regime and also increased chinese military presence in the south china sea, a real geopolitical hotspot, our concerns widely shared by republicans and democrats in washington. it important thing when comes to north korea is to know that the north korean regime is not suicidal. it has shown in the past that while it is difficult to deal -- it isnot willing saber rattling and talking about going to war with the u.s. it has not actually done that yet. that is why a lot of people in the administration, even the
president, who has spoken about talking with the north koreans, sees an opportunity for diplomacy to take the day. host: from michigan, anthony, go ahead. caller: i am more concerned with opinion on whether the trump administration is trying to undermine qatar. guest: another one of the foreign-policy challenges the administration is dealing with ts this big wrist -- bir rif between our middle eastern allies. blockade, there was a imposed on qatar. rex tillerson really try to do backroom diplomacy and try to hash this out, because there are a host of
important issues in the middle east the trump administration is dealing with, not least of which is isis and the ongoing fight in syria and reconstruction in iraq. there, qatar and saudi arabia and the uae are really important. yet when their relationship is completely on ice, that does harm u.s. interest and activity. host: we want to show you an op ed written by john bolton. talk about that and also talk about what mr. pompeo and mr. bolton bring when it comes to future discussions on the iran nuclear deal. guest: for the first year of the trump residency, there was a sense, after the initial shock when he came in, that the iran deal may be salvaged. proponents of the deal say it was a high water mark for u.s. diplomacy, even if it was controversial and not the perfect deal. obviously, detractors said, no,
iran. too good of a deal, there are still a lot of threats besides their nuclear program, including support for terrorism, their ballistic missiles, groups like hezbollah and houthi militants. but there was a sense that the deal could be salvaged, or to clearly because iran was holding up its end of the bargain, straggly speaking. now that pompeo and bolton are coming in, there is widespread consensus that trump is about to pull out of the iran deal. even bob corker, chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, has says he expects trump to pull out, which is the new key deadline in the iran deal recertification. when that happens, there is a lot of consequences to look at. obviously, one of them is the future of our relationship, or non-relationship, with iran. another is our relationship with
the europeans. in a lot of european allies put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into the deal and plan to uphold the deal. is one of the ways we are on a collision course with european allies. you are on with our guest. caller: i am calling about something people do not talk about. tariffs, this stuff is made in china, and no one ever mentions that. maybe you can talk about that. guest: that is a pretty good point. a lot of people do mention it in the context of pointing out one trump hypocrisies in the administration is trump has talked about america first in a lot of ways, in foreign policy, economics, protecting and saving american jobs.
you are right. there are a lot of trump products, from the past, made in china. in addition to that, he did catch a lot of criticism when media outlets reported that some , includingrts mar-a-lago, did hire foreign workers. that is absolutely a valid criticism. host: (202) 748-8000 for democrats, (202) 748-8001 for republicans. independents, (202) 748-8002. here is ambassador bolton talking about china tariffs. [video clip] >> what the president is trying to do is say i am serious am a you make commitments to honor intellectual property protection, or not to discriminate against foreign investment by subsidizing your domestic companies, by not discriminating against foreign companies in your judicial system, and i will insist you
live by the agreement you made. the united states lives by these agreements pay we have lawyers who spend a lot of time policing american conduct, so we uphold the obligations that we make when we enter into a treaty. all we are asking for here is for the chinese to do the same. i think this could he a little shock therapy -- this could be a little shock therapy. host: does something like tariffs fall under a national security advisor? guest: when bolton talks about linkage, saying china, we will not compartmentalize how we deal korea, foreignth policy or military issues, that is the job of the national security adviser. take all of this advice and everything going on from everywhere else in the inner agencies, the department of , the, intelligence pentagon, combine them, and
synthesize it for the president. it does not fall into his job description on paper, but it is important to remember economic issues like tariffs and sanctions are really an important element. host: can you give us a sense of how john bolton's worldview developed? guest: john bolton is -- he has the diplomatic background, but he is a very on double medic person. ,e made a lot of waves particularly when he was at the u.n., of being very skeptical of international law, of multilateral's editions like the united nations, very skeptical of the european union. combine that with this uber-hawkishness, particularly when it comes to top u.s. northaries like iran, korea, and it makes a very hard , worldlack and white
view. part of the criticism he received during the time of the initial invasion of iraq was , according toly people in the government that later talk to the senate, he actually tried to force out or fire intelligence analysts and other policymakers who tried to bring a different viewpoint or brought intelligence that he disagreed with. there is that there he black and white dynamic that some people are concerned about, yet others see as an asset, particularly with a president like donald trump, who can tell it like it is. host: minnesota, bob is next. caller: thanks for taking my call. i think that the combination of bolton and trump is probably going to be a recipe for disaster. that bolton is going to
-- well, he isis going to try to influence trump to go to war with korea. i do not like the sound of that. is anly thing that bolton positive is he is anti-russia. i do not think he is going to get along with trauma that way. -- with trump that way. trump has a lot more in common with putin than you think. they both seem to oppose overthrowing dictatorships. when we went in and launched a cruise missile attack against qaddafi, putin was furious. trump mentioned that he thought it was wrong when we overthrew
saddam. i agree the way we did it was wrong, but i think he likes the idea of the dictatorship, and i think him and putin are both autocratic thinkers -- host: got you. thanks. think there are some democrats in washington who may also agree with that line. the reality is regardless of whether you think trump is an autocrat or not, he is in a democracy, and he does had a democracy, and he is the president. because of that, there are a lot of different and challenging plaguecal elements that public opinion polls, where he is lagging, anger in conflict with congress about a variety of issues, including foreign
policy. there is increasing concern among u.s. allies that reserves some of his most inflammatory rhetoric for allies. autocratsr, you know, like vladimir putin. the thing i will say to that is when it comes to russia, there is an interesting juxtaposition between trump himself and the trump administration. trump, himself, has been .eticent to criticize putin but his administration has done a lot to bolster nato, has done a lot to financially punish russia for a variety of things, including the war in ukraine. voted, in atself rare glimmer of bipartisanship, to push sanctions on russia last year. host: one more call. carol in rochester, new york, independent line. caller: good morning.
if the president for up the agreement with the round, how can he make an agreement with korea, and they sign an agreement in good faith with him? thank you. guest: i think that is an excellent question. it is one a lot of proponents of the iran deal are putting work right now, saying, look, we worked for years, both with iran and our allies, to corral everyone around this deal. and we committed to it. now, if we are going back on it, what is north korea going to say? that is a question that will become increasingly prescient, especially if trump does, in fact, meet with kim jong-un. host: how do you think preparations will go under ambassador bolton's influence and mike pompeo's influence? guest: it is difficult to say at this point, just because negotiations, or talks, like
this are such a huge which is in doublend policy medic undertaking. it is important to remember the administration is not completely staffed up. there is this huge cabinet shakeup right before the president meets with the north korean leader. have a u.s.e do not ambassador to south korea, we do not have a lot of assistant secretaries of state in place. with tillerson out, there are, i think, eight of the top 10 slots in the state department are empty, and trump has yet to name them, or the senate has yet to confirm them. it is this huge challenge, this huge diplomatic rift that requires a lot of work. there are not enough bodies. host: we want to get in one other call -- california, democrat line. caller: how are you?
promised myself i would never call into such a program, but if you can tell, i did. the one thing people are not -- letring at this point me say you can look at donald trump and everything that he has done throughout his life, and pretty much correctly assume that this man is ill. look at his present ratings in the polls, and i think he sees those too, and apprehend that he could not be reelected again. i think that what he is doing at this point is equipping himself with like-minded people so that he can either go to war or threaten war with either north korea or iran. solely for purposes of getting
reelected. is thatm talking about theory that most people know about. . guest: when it comes to reelection, a lot of people, even on the eve of the election, widely expected hillary clinton to win. 2020 is a long time away. i guess we will have to see what happens then. host: some breaking news about the expulsion of russian officers, 60 of them, by order of the president.
with russia, because the two top world nuclear powers can't have a bad relationship. administration has taken a hard line, expulsion of year, we and even last hut down a series of u.s. consulates and diplomatic uildings in the united states in response to this new dip in u.s./russia relations. host: statement from the white house reads as such. steps, united states
and allys and partners made have to russia its actions consequences. -- needs to be change in the russia behavior. guest: experts say that russia has overstepped its bounds when to this poisoning. russia obviously engaged in a u.s. and its the allies didn't like. poisoning of another spy using radio active isotaupe-backed years ago, but ais poisoning here was really flagrant violation of international law. think it is a point where russia overstepped its bounds have calculated the harsh reaction from the u.s. and allies. what about the idea this was multi lateral approach and this was one thing the united multi was okay taking a
lateral approach on? guest: yeah, absolutely. like t comes to people john bolton, they're very skeptical of multi lateral institutions, that doesn't necessarily make them skeptical of u.s. allies. i think working hand tunited kingdom, with france, germany, are minded countries obviously not opposed to this. when it comes to institutions like e.u. or u.n. for publication you can view online if you want to read the work of announcer: c-span's washington journal, live at every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up this morning, discussing data privacy in the
wake of facebook and cambridge analytic as fallout. wilson will join us to talk about his new book on the 2014 ebola epidemic and response. the sure to watch c-span's washington journal live this morning at 7:00 a.m. join the discussion. in deptharly 20 years, on booktv has features that nation's best writers. the share, as a special project we are featuring best-selling fiction writers for a monthly in-depth program. join us with walter mosley, his most recent book is "down the ."ver, unto the sea he