tv Washington Journal James Kirchick CSPAN April 28, 2018 8:02am-8:42am EDT
plus 30 novels. he has written six novels for younger readers including, "the width of the world." during the program, we will be taking your phone calls and tweets. sunday, may 6, live from noon eastern until 6:00. on c-span2. on 1968: morning america in turmoil, we look at the role of the media in shaping how americans experienced the events of 50 years ago. our guest, former cbs and nbc journalists and founding director of harvard university center on media, politics, and public policy. and the pulitzer prize winning photographer who covered senator robert kennedy's presidential campaign, the vietnam war, the white house. turmoil,8: america in
live sunday at 8:30 p.m. eastern on c-span's washington journal and on american history tv on c-span3. >> washington journal continues. week featuring white house visits from key european allies, it is a good time to talk to james kirchick. from the brookings institution. you wrote this week that france and germany have responded differently to the unique challenges that a trial presidency represents to europe. what are the challenges and how have the leaders of france and germany specifically responded? campaigning,he was donald trump would attack nato as being obsolete. he attacked the eu and chancellor merkel in particular. he really did not seem to stand for the values of the
transatlantic alliance. this was a real shock to the europeans. two he was elected, we saw diverted a purchase from france and germany. is not very popular in either country among the populations but in france, there seems to be a more pragmatic approach to dealing with him. he is the president of the united states after all. the leader of the free world. you have seen a real charm offensive from president macron who invited president trump and his wife for a steel day celebrations. displays an amazing with a military parade and he gave president trump he idea that he wanted to have his own military parade here in washington. and they have been best buds ever since. you saw that here in washington this week. despite having very different world views. chancellor merkel -- the day was electednt trump
she released a statement saying that the united states was allied with germany based on certain values and individual liberties. it was a telling remark. last september or in the months leading up to the federal election in germany she made a remark about how brexit, and she did not say it explicitly, but basically she said that europeans need to take their fate into their own hands because they cannot depend on their allies as much as in the past which was seen as a rebuke in the past. the: "the area where we -- fully rely onan others has come to an end." james: and the german public and the press and the elites have really made categorical dramatic statements about the end of the germanyantic alliance, pursuing independent paths and how we cannot trust america at all. there have been these two different approaches.
host: have those approaches garnered president macron anymore victories this week versus chancellor merkel? james: he has clearly charmed president trump. the speech that president macron made in congress was quite critical about president trump particularly about the climate. president trump respects him because he has moxie and boldness. even though they disagree, president trump appreciates that. and the two men are similar in their backgrounds. they both came out of nowhere and they overturned political establishments in their own countries. president macron started and ran his own political party. that is a huge deal in france. similarly, president trump came
in and took over the republican party and defeated one of the most -- two of the most successful dynasties. a had similar trajectories to getting to power. even though one is a globalist and one is a nationalist, a have respect for each other on that level. and: what were macron's merkel's goals coming this week? first goal was trade. the u.s. has exempted europe from the steel and aluminum tariffs. that exemption comes up for renewal next week and the europeans are very concerned about this. they want to a second exemption so that their steel and aluminum exports to the us are not taxed in son -- in such russian. the other is the i ron deal -- a a may 12 which has deadline. those are the two issues.
syria is another concern. keeping the united states involved in the syrian conflict. james: focusing on the a run deal for a second, -- on the iran deal -- chancellor merkel was asked for her views. i said of my position that i isieve that this agreement anything but perfect. it will not solve all of the problems. it is one building block on which we can build up the structure. kingdom,the united france, and germany work together with the american colleagues, this was brought about and we will now see what decisions are made by our american partners. this is of importance to us because it is
1000 kilometers away as is the case between the u.s. and syria. but syria and iran are on our doorsteps. we will continue to be in close talks on this. said wemes kirchick you -- she said we will see what decisions are made by our american partners. james: president trump has said may 12 is the deadline. it seems likely -- that is what ,resident macron intimated secretary of state pompeo has given a similar signal. and the consequences of this are really difficult to forecast. i would expect him to say that the u.s. is pulling out unless the europeans can come up with some major fixed. we will see. host: our discussion this morning on the washington journal with james kirchick from the brookings institution on u.s.-european relations. he is also the author of a book
-- demagogues and the coming dark age. we will get into that book as well. if you want to call in and join in, republicans 202.748.8001 202.748.8001, and democrats 202.748.8000 and independents 202.748.8002. michael is up first. caller: good morning. i would like the gentleman to comment on this. the reason we are in this boat and having these challenges with trumpomplaining -- with complaining to the europeans and then reacting negatively. i believe it is based on the fact that we have not managed our movement into the global economy. ourhipped out so many of jobs. our middle class is destroyed. and this is why there is
pressure on us to go to the europeans to get them to kick and more. secondly, i also want you to comment -- the reason we are having trouble with putin is because of the very degrading way that we handled russia after nt of thelutionme soviet union. i would like you to comment on those issues. host: thank you for the topics this morning. james: the first question seemed to be about maybe the unfair burden sharing that the united states has had to assume in terms of defense spending. which is certainly true. donald trump made a big point about this in the campaign. he would routinely attack european allies for not spending enough money on their defense. and nato, the alliance at the u.s. is a member of and founded after world war ii, in 2014, they came up with a number of 2%
of gdp for all nato countries to aspire to spend on their defense budgets by 2024. not many nato countries are currently doing that. the u.s. is one and poland is another. germany has been one of the worst in this regard. they spend about 1.1% or 1.2%. this is a criticism that american presidents have in making test you can probably go back to dwight eisenhower that the europeans are not spending sufficiently and the u.s. has been saddled with an unfair burden. i think the way that president thep when about this during campaign, calling nato obsolete and that we would only honor our defense commitments under the nato clause if countries paid a. i did not like that approach. it does seem however to have had an effect. european countries are scrambling to reassess their defense budgets and to increase the numbers. host: to the tune of how much?
james: they all had to reach 2% by 2024. host: have they reached that? james: no. germany would have to double. it is difficult to do in that short amount of time. it is difficult to do. there is a reason why the french able atn better ingratiating themselves with donald trump because france is a proud nation with a rich military history. there are not afraid to use force. they have a bead of power on the u.n. security council. and military -- they engage in military actions abroad. in germany, it is a completely different understanding. obviously, having to do with world war ii.
it is a pacifistic culture. they were not engaged with us two weeks ago during the attacks on syria. they were not engaged in the omission of libya. france has a respected military and trump sees that. germany attacked them yesterday in the press conference for not ending enough on military. host: and the u.s. relationship with russia. james: we can go back and litigate the 1990's in the end of the cold war but i think there is enough blame to go around. we might have been able to handle russia better. the 1990's were a difficult period in russia in terms of putin has made decisions on his own but nothing can justify invading georgia and occupying 20% of that country. nothing justifies annexing the theean peninsula which is
first violent seizure of territory since world war ii on the european continent. and it was taken under the same pretext as hitler's taking over sudaudeten wh -- tenland. that is something that was supposed to end in the last century. and vladimir putin has brought that back. i don't see why we should be making excuses for what he is doing. illinois,ellevue, deborah is waiting on the line for democrats. that morning. caller: -- good morning. caller: good morning and i like the guest you have on today. russia will never change. they have been this way for a very long time. nothing we can do to change that. so, we might as well get over that. the thing i wanted to clarify though regarding a run -- --
iran --we keep saying especially on the right that we gave them all of this money. clarify. the money we gave them belonged to them and we released it after they came along with the deal that we wanted. we havemes kirchick, gotten this question quite a bit. james: i'm not an expert on this. i believe the money was held in bank accounts. it had ties to the sanctions being lifted. once the sanctions were lifted, yes, this was money -- we were not just writing a check to iran. it was held in abeyance because they were in violation of various sanctions and we just -- and we then lifted those. president heading to great britain on july 13 for a meeting with prime minister may.
what is expected to take place there? have been british very keen since they voted to leave the european union to strike up a new relationship with the united states. they are ready have what they have termed as a special relationship. they want a free trade agreement and they want to strengthen the alliance with america in the wake of brexit. that is what they have been trying to do since the vote was passed. be donald trump will visiting. this visit has been mentioned several times in the past. it has had to be postponed because of massive street protests. donald trump is very unpopular there. and the labour party has made it clear that they will be out in force protesting him. interesting difference from france. to franced trump went for the steel they, there were no street protests at all. in britain, we could see upwards of a million people in the streets. host: comparing president
trump's relationship with macron and merkel, where would you put theresa may? to revive aas tried brand tradition of british -- anglo-american relations. reagan and margaret thatcher has been the key example. i would not say it has reached that example. make run has emerged as the leading interlocutor among the europeans with the u.s. which is pretty incredible. it has been a very long time since that has been the case. for the past several years it was chancellor merkel, tony blair, george h.w. bush. times been quite a long that we have seen a french leader being the leader. host: good morning. caller: i have paid of your comments. ron is a brilliant man with advanced degrees in
andosophy, finance, economics. he did his masters the sis in philosophy in machiavelli and havel. president trump's vanity. and the second comment i have is the fact that merkel and macron has become the de facto leaders of the free world now, i think if we squeeze them too much, their economies are much smaller than ours. and if we squeeze them too much, we will see an even uglier form of nationalism rise in europe and that scares the -- out of me to be honest. james: i think the color is right about the macron approach. he has accurately seen or understood that donald trump is very susceptible to flattery and has flattered him.
i think that is basically what vladimir putin did during the election. when he gave an interview in december 2015 and he said that donald trump was brilliant. the word he was using in russian -- they literally translated it to "colorful." one of the definitions of brilliance would be "colorful" or "bright pair go as -- rpreted it vladimir putin is a hardened cagey b officer and knows how to read people psychologically. that is where he comes from. perhaps, as a color has suggested, macron got his understanding from machiavelli and hagel. i do not think getting into these trade disputes with our allies in europe is a good idea. a freeas for a time
trade deal being considered between europe and america during the obama administration. collapsed. it was unpopular in europe. personally, i would pursue that because i think countries that trade together do not go to work together. i do not understand the purpose of getting into all of the sites about aluminum and steel tariffs with our european allies. host: about the color is concerned about the future, it might be good to talk about the premise of your book, the end of europe. is based onook having lived in europe. first in prague and that in berlin and then having traveled across the continent and into the former soviet space. there is a chapter on each country and it looks at a particular european problem through the prism of individual european countries. i visit estonia.
a small former russian republic on the border. i visit hungary and talk about neofascism and the return of that. there is a big chapter on germany and the question of strategic neutrality, anti-semitism and islamism is discussed in the french chapter. on thes a chapter migration crisis. a chapter on britain and the future of the eu and brexit. greece, the state of the eurozone and the economic crisis and finally ukraine where i talk about the real future of europe. eastern borders. host: you state on the inside cover of your book -- "the war is over, beware of the peace. " james: that was a quote from a
poet. east german i thought it was an apt description of what i was talking about in the book. host: james kirchick will remain with us here on "washington journal" for the next 20 minutes taking your calls. republicans, it is 202.748.8001, democrats, 202.748.8000 and independence, 202.748.8002. caller: good morning. and i called previously am a registered democrat that voted for obama. i voted for trump. i am extremely proud that i did that. listening to your guest, i crack up, i really do because from -- outplaying you all. you seem to think that he is dumb enough to be flattered by these people but you do realize
that he is getting his way on everything. he has got the koreans trying to get together. he has gotten the european union to put more money into the coffers to help defend their countries. when you look at what he is doing, and i am cracking up listening to you, the genius. you are a genius. saying that they are getting their way because they are flattering him. that is a disgrace. what is going on. the guy is outsmarting everyone. he will turn out to be the best president we have ever had. host: we got your point. james kirchick? james: i don't disagree that president trump, certainly in terms of his foreign policy, has been more successful than those of us who consider ourselves to be critics of him, would have expected. i think that is partly because he is governing not really as he campaigned.
particularly on russia. ofch was really a concern someone like myself who considers russia to be a very serious threat to the united states and its allies. president trump campaigned as probably the most pro-russian presidential candidate since henry wallace. in 1948. ,e praised vladimir putin speculated that we might recognize the annexation of crimea but he has not governed that way. he has actually governed quite kishly. -- haw the number of russian diplomats that have been expelled is the highest ever. he is not fulfilling his promise is particularly on that issue. i am happy to see that. and i am happy to acknowledge that. host: i want to come back to the idea of foreign leaders appealing to president trump by
flattering him. the headline of one of the opinion pieces in today's "financial times" -- flattery brings scant rewards for european leaders. good luck cashing in on flattering the president. just ask jeff sessions who umpneered the art of tr tickling. for his troubles, he now suffers humiliations on twitter. or chris christie who did everything but fetch his lunch, he was fired from the transition team two days after the victory. james: these are valid concerns to raise. flattery has not worked for many people in the trump circle and it is a big risk that someone like president make run is taking. -- president macron is taking. president trump may not offer him anything and he will end up looking embarrassed.
anymore president trump popular in france than some of the other countries? james: no, the approval rating in france is 14%. in germany, 11%. a sickly the same. he is probably more popular in poland because he gave a speech that was widely praised in warsaw last summer. it would be hard for me to think off the top of my head but i think we invest too much concern in the personal popularity of the president in foreign countries. it -- obama was beloved around the world, particularly in germany. but i think -- that does not necessarily mean that we got everything we wanted from our european allies just because they were out in the streets praying to how wonderful president obama was. host: pam is an independent from florida. caller: good morning. i had one question.
were supposed we to be concentrating on america first. why are we spending so much time worrying about the people with bombs and what they are going to do to this country? we cannot even fix what we have here now. james: that is if you're concern that the caller raises. there are serious problems in this country and donald trump ran on a platform of america first and addressing those problems. what we have learned through history is that when america does not concern itself with what is happening in the world. when it turns inward. when it puts up walls. when it tries to ignore what is happening in the world, really bad things happen. and the slogan, "america first" -- i am not sure he knew this when he embraced this -- came when people opposed the u.s. involvement in world war ii. an awful work. it probably could have been
averted had the u.s. entered earlier. being a superpower in being in the world we are in unfortunately means we have to be concerned about the world around us because those problems will eventually affect us. the u.s. depends on a world where we can trade, where citizens can travel freely -- and that ultimately is undergirded by u.s. power and by the system of alliances that the united states has built in the wake of world war ii. the european union which the u.s. really helped to build through the marshall plan, it is our alliances in asia with japan, south korea, taiwan. really with the world's free countries. you might think it is expensive but i think the alternative to not supporting and sustaining these alliances is far worse. host: from maryland, michael is waiting, a republican. go ahead. caller: thank you for having me
on. i just wanted to say -- more of a comment than anything. tin bashing andu russia bashing butrussia was a f communism. they were a victim of ideological -- ideology that came from another country. we want to punish them because they were communists at one time or punish north korea. is a better man than we are friends with like saudi arabia or regimented time you -- benjamin netanyahu. trying to get into wars with other countries. it should be america first. i think we need to distinguish between the russian people who have been the victims
of awful regimes from -- throughout their entire history. tens of millions of people killed but also vladimir putin for all intensive purposes a dictator who does not allow his own people basic freedoms. who is basically running a mafia regime. is probably the richest man in the world. stills from his own people and occupies his neighbors and as long as russia is violating the rights of sovereign countries that surround it, as long it is -- it is meddling in democracies in europe, then i have to agree with what secretary mike pompeo said. russia has every opportunity to join a community of democratic nations. he needs to behave like one and until it does that, i see no
reason to normalize relations. host: the collusion narrative is doing the russian's dirty work for them. 30 work for them. this is the biggest controversy that has been affecting washington over the past year, this question of donald trump and russia. clearot seeing any evidence there was collusion during the election. i mean people involved in the trump campaign working with russian government agents to effect the result of the election. i support special counsel robert .ueller and his investigation he needs to be given the time and space. the american people deserve that. i think what we know is bad enough. it is clear russia did intervene.
were involved in hacking email accounts of the hillary clinton campaign and weaponize inc. that information .y disseminating it publicly giving it to wiki leaks. they lost social media campaigns on twitter and facebook. we have seen this in the indictments. is not president because of russia. we do a disservice to our americans who voted for him. i consider myself one who opposed 10. we do a disservice to americans who did vote for him if we claim the only reason he is in office is because of vladimir putin. host: the russian lawyer who met with the trump campaign official on the premise she would deliver information about clinton has insisted she is a private lawyer
, not a kremlin operatives. incidents show in one the lawyer worked with russia's chief legal officer and a civil fraud case against a well-connected russian firm, the lawyer saying i am a lawyer and informants. i have been actively communicating with the russian prosecutor general. guest: this is the biggest surprise since learning the pope's catholic. -- is catholic. if you are working on a political campaign in the u.s. and they russian lawyer says i have dirt on your opponent, what a patriotic american would do is call the fbi. you would not say let us have a meeting. donald trump, jr. took the latter course. this is immoral behavior.
to the level of collusion because there is no evidence information of hillary clinton was given to him. if there was information given to donald trump jr., you might have a case. host: the comments from the natalia was am new york times story. desmond is in fort wayne, indiana. democrat. >> -- caller: thanks for taking my call. folks like you of the ones that scare me. your oversimplification of eastern europe especially. my question is we have a doctrine we have been following for 200 years. why cannot we respect a similar
doctrine for a country like russia? which is almost a superpower like us? john kerry renounced the munro doctrine when he was secretary of state in 2014. we do not follow the munro doctrine in letter or spirit. what the caller is saying is we to havellow russians inputs in eastern europe and we know where that leads. we won the cold war. the free world one the cold war. one of the consequences is eastern european countries are allowed to be free and allowed to make their own decisions and russia does not over their futures. russian troops are not allowed to margin to poland for the czech republic -- march in the
andnd or the czech republic occupy other countries. that is in violation of the u.n. charter. it is all we are asking for. why should it be up to the russians whether or not ukraine gets to join nato? there is no right for that. if we were dealing with a russian regime that was them a credit and not imperialistic and understood what losing the cold war entailed, we would not be having these problems. host: line for democrats. caller: i am 81. i have traveled to europe through the years. and io france every year see putin's cold hearts it. you willangster and
see his money. i have no qualms about your opinion of mr. putin. i am of eastern european dissent being part jewish, part polis. -- polish. i talked to people over there in the ski resorts. i talked to the bank or a use. -- banker iuse use. didn't not use -- like -- putin that much. i read about russia. i went there on my honeymoon in 1970. i wanted to see what it was like because i have read extensively about russia. i have been to poland a couple times and this guy is a bad guy. that is all there is to it.
guest: not going to disagree. you are talking about the russian money that has spread all over europe in terms of yachts were in shady real estate in london. you mentioned detailing experiences as an investor in the 90's and 2000's. this is the most effective way to sanction putin, to constrain him and his ambitions. go after the dirty money that has been spread. kirchick.s you can see all his work. thank you so much for your time. up next, open phones until 9:00. public policy issue you want to talk about, you can do it.
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