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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  December 5, 2014 12:00am-1:01am PST

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>> charlie: welcome to the program. we begin with al hunt on the story with senator bob corker. senator from tennessee and new chairman for the foreign relations committee. >> i don't want to go to the place where we should with working with assad. my only point in raising that is certainly among the neighbors there's beginning to develop a pretty big split in how we approach syria, and those are the things that we as a nation certainly need to ferret out. one of the things that is developing, and that is that there is an arab face on this. i mean, right now, obviously, we're viewed as taking the lead over time, hopefully our actions there will be shown to be in support of others in the region that certainly are trying to rid syria of i.s.i.s. >> charlie: we continue with andrew roberts whose written a
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new biography of napoleon. why do we need another biography of napoleon because you probably know how many there have been. >> i do. there are more books with napoleon in the title than days since his death. >> charlie: wow. the answer to your question is this scholarly organization brought out a complete set of volumes of all 33,000 letters that napoleon signed in his lifetime. so for the first time we have them all together chronologically, beautifully affrontated and we're able to see the way the man's mind worked, the compartmentalization of his mind, how he kept ten balls in the air at the same time. >> charlie: robin wright has written a piece in the "new yorker" magazine about syria. >> the free syria doesn't exist as one entity, it doesn't have one commander or one set of strategies, they don't really coordinate with each other.
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they're broken down into towns or cities or neighborhoods, and in trying to find a force that can fight either i.s.i.s. or the government in damascus, the challenge is fighting the number of fighters, and a lot of them, three and a half, almost four years into this conflict, feel whether it's disillusioned with the outside world for looking only at i.s.i.s. and not at their war, not helping them war with weaponry or training. >> charlie: al hunt, bob corker, andrew roberts and robin wright when we continue. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been made possible by the following. >> rose: additional funding provided by:
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>> and by bloomberg a provider of news and multimedia information world wide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> al: has the tide turned? we're joined by senior republican and foreign relations committee and lyle next chairman bob corker of tennessee. senator, thank you for being with us. >> thank you. >> al: start with i.s.i.s. any chance the lame duck senate will vote on authorizing that war? >> this next week in the foreign relations committee we agreed this week to have a debate. we're hoping to have administration witnesses come up monday to have classified briefings tuesday and then
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debate the issue. there's no chance it will be on the senate floor but there are numbers of senators in the foreign relations committee that want to begin weighing in. i have been talking with the white house and with the state department and believe that they're really not quite ready. the whole issue especially in syria is such a complex one and i thinkallen is doingeneral alla good job in piecing together actions that could have a good outcome but we're not there yet. personally, i would like to take this up when they're fully ready, thought it through and are ready to come forth so the american people with understand how the outcome is. i'm in the minority right now and certainly i was thankful that chairman menendez agreed to lay it out the way he did.
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again, it's not going to make it in the senate floor, but in the committee it's lyle we'll have a markup of some kind next week. >> the secretary of state said this week that we have really weakened the islamic state and really have them on the run. do you agree? >> well, i don't think there's any doubt they are operating in a different way. i mean, no longer are they patrolling with large caravans. they're operating at different times and communicating with each other in a different way. but, look, i mean, they still are involved deeply in so many urban areas. you know, we haven't yet done the things that obviously are necessary to really take them to the state we wish to take them. so again you've got two different arenas that have two different dynamics. iraq is easier to piece together because there's more there to work with. but in syria, you have all kinds of competing interests. we have some allies in the region that are beginning to
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talk about the fact that we should align ourselves with assad. >> al: should we consider that? >> we have other allies in the region thabl that the only focus should be in the other direction. so there's a lot of cross currents. we obviously let this get into a situation that's more complex than it should have. we haven't really had a policy there. but again, as general allen works through with our allies, there are people who want to work with turkey and he's working with the northwest triangle where you have a no-fly zone over a portion of aleppo, and there are other allies that say we shouldn't be working with turkey that way, turkey's a friend of i.s.i.s. i'm not saying that, i'm just repeating. >> al: you say there are people who say we ought to consider some kind of
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arrangement with assad. what's your view of that and do you think assad is now entrenched, we're not going to get rid of him? >> let's face it, not to be too praprajorative, we really proppd assad up when we didn't talk the actions we talked about two augusts ago. working with him on chemical weapons really established him as the leader of that country. i don't want to go to the place we should be working with assad. my only point is certainly among the neighbors there's developing a big split in how we approach syria and those are the things that we as a nation certainly need to ferret out. one of the things that is developing and that is that there's an arab face on this. i mean, right now, obviously,
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we're viewed as taking the lead over time, hopefully our actions there will be shown to be in support of others in the region that certainly are trying to rid syria of i.s.i.s. >> senator there's also a persian face on this. the iranians, bombs, air strikes against i.s.i.s. list week. they played a role in stopping i.s.i.s. from going to baghdad. is that good or bad? >> well, again, isn't it interesting, in iraq, you know, we would perceive that we have some aligned interests, right, for portions. i mean, they certainly, you know, are opposing i.s.i.s. inside iraq. on the other hand, probably they have kerns about us having -- concerns about us having greater alliance with the sunni population that is there. on the other hand, syria, they're working against us. i mean, they obviously support
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hezbollah. hezbollah has been helping the regime. the regime right now is killing the moderate opposition, and here we are establishing training sites throughout the region to train more moderate syrian rebels to help us, but, at the same time, through hesbollah, iran is killing them. >> al: this inevitably leads to the question of the nuclear talks with iran. >> right. >> al: you have talked in the past about reimposing sanction or about new sanctions. the talks have been extended for another seven months, i guess now six months. are you willing to hold off on that till we find out how the talks will be resolved? >> you know, we had a great hearing yesterday and we had private witnesses. the administration, i'm getting ready to leave in a few minutes to go to a briefing where we are going to have some classified input by the administration, but we had some private witnesses. i just want to say this, al, i
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think everyone with the iran issue, that i know of -- i know everyone in the senate but everyone that's highly involved -- i think what people are searching for is the appropriate outcome. i think the legitimate concern on both sides of the aisle where the administration started with this j.p.o.a., and people are trying to figure out what's the best way to help us get to a place where we all feel comfortable with. so trying to understand the dynamics of the negotiation and the role congress can play is what we'll be wrestling with going into this next year. i have been in the minority and i've tried to work every way i can in a bipartisan way with chairman menendez but also with the white house. i think we all understand when you're on the other side of the aisle but obviously want good things for our nation, you
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realize you have the potential of passing real legislation, and i think there's going to be a genuine search to figure out the best way congress can play a role. >> al: am i reading too much into this to say what i hear you saying is that we're not sure right now, we're going to take a look at the idea, the notion of reimposing sanctions, but let's see how things develop? >> i'm a co-sponsor on the menendez bill that establishes new sanctions in the event a deal isn't reached. it's been difficult to understand thousand r how that's problematic in the negotiations saying if we're not imposing sanction now but if we go down this route and the deal breaks apart we'll add sanctions. it's difficult to understand how that's problematic. >> al: dianne feinstein says that gives the hard liners an excuse to walk out and the other countries, britain and france and russia and germany, won't go
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along so it won't matter. >> so i think the task, isn't it, is to figure out whether that statement is in fact real or not. you know, on the other hand, the hard liners inside iran certainly have played a role and the supreme leader certainly has played a role and he's been an anchor on one side -- i do believe, and i've talked with negotiators and i believe they believe that congress thus far has been constructive. they don't sometimes like the input, but when they get to the negotiating table, at least they're able to talk with the iranian officials about the fact that, look, we have folks back home that have tremendous distrust and are concerned. so again the art of this will be figuring out the appropriate way for congress to weigh in. obviously, i don't think anybody in congress wants to feel "responsible" for this deal falling apart. at the same time, there is concern that the administration really wants a deal, okay. and some would say really wants
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a deal, maybe the expense of really making sure that it's something that causes us to be in a sound position relative to iran, and i think there is a bipartisan, constructive role that can be played and that's what we'll be seeking out. up. >> al: let me ask you about libya. the house intelligence committee issued another report on benghazi, chairman mike rogers. should the next congress continue to find out what happened in benghazi or do we we know enough now? >> so the intelligence committee has issued a report and a i think the defense, the armed services committee has issued a report, and i think the focus has sort of swung around to the state department which is the area, obviously, that foreign relations committee oversees. i had a discussion on the floor just in the last couple of days where this issue's come up, and there are some that are talking
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about a select committee being created. i'm still looking at that and trying to learn what is best, and i have to tell you i'm not -- >> al: security lapses? that is true. there were security lapses, and there were cables from our great ambassador seeking additional security, and i think there is legitimate concern how in the chain of command something like this in a place like benghazi which basically was the frontier, you know, how could this have occurred? how could in missions like this we know are unsafe, how could this be overlooked? you know, there is been issues, al, of people saying this was about budget, and that one drives me a little crazy because the defense department was supplying people for free to the state department and actually
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pulled them away. let me say this one more time, pulled them away before this september 11. >> al: let me ask you -- let me say this, i'm not the kind of guy -- i think you know this, we have conversations all the time about people from tennessee -- i'm not the kind of person who would want to go on a witch hunt, that's just not who i am. we're looking at it. i know there will be people on our side of the aisle that will be asking, possibly, and we're trying to figure out what is best. >> al: let me asking the overarching question, if it fails, it is now a terrorist state, you had grave reservations. >> i did. >> al: what lessons from that adventure in libya and from going into iraq in 2003? >> i think you harkened back to colin powell where if you break it you own it is one lesson. and in libya we said we did such
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a light thing we never owned it we just broke it. i have been to libya since that time and it's just -- it's bad. so i think, you know, if you're going to go into a nation like this -- i didn't think we should. i didn't understand what was in our national interest there. i didn't understand what our national interests were there. i thought the legal argument that was put forth by the state department was just incredibly weak, but, look, i think our desire is for these countries to spring from nowhere into some jeffersonian democracy. let's face it, i think we've with learned that doesn't exist. >> al: that's a lesson from iraq. >> it is a lesson and, you know, what we wish things to be is not -- is just not the way that it is and i think we've learned a great deal from iraq. we've learned a great deal from
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libya. >> al: let me turn to russia. the ruble is plummeting, the pipeline from eastern europe has to be canceled, the economy is going into a recession, and sanctions, oil prices dropping have made a big dent, is this going to make putin more moderate, less aggressive, or do you think he would go the other where where in order to stir you have national approval will be more aggressive? >> i think he will be more aggressive. the speech he gave just this week was more strident than any talk he's given. that's why, al, we were so concerned when he had 40,000 troops on the border but had not gone into eastern ukraine, i thought that was the time when if he didn't pull away we would hit him heavily with sectoral sanctions. we piddled around and tweaked a few oligarchs who owed their
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wealth to him, he's not going to receive their complaints particularly well. so he's now on this course and it's difficult for him to get off this because his popularity has risen tremendously. but people and independen intels understand there are deep long-term problems there. we all know this. what do we fear about countries who have military capabilities? we know when they become weak inside they create issues on the outside to keep themselves in place, and i think that's the trap putin finds himself in. >> al: what are our options now? we could ratchet up the sanctions. should we consider telling people, if you do business in russia, you're not doing business here? >> there is no question in my mind that we need to continue to ratchet up the pressure and one
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of the pressure points -- you know, again, i think if we get to that point, that will be devastating. i think continuing, if we can, to work with europe is important. but i think we also, al, should do things to strengthen ukraine itself. infrareally dispondent over the -- i have been really dispondent over the fact that when we had actual intelligence inside ukraine, not across the border in russia, where we knew exactly what was happening with russian troops and the rebels they were supporting, we weren't sharing it because we were asprayed to appear operational. i really have felt we should do some things as appropriate as the ukrainians are able to take it, we should provide additional lethal support. will they ever fend off russia totally if russia really wants to take them? no, but i think we should continue to raise the price
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inside ukraine while continuing at the same time to inflict greater pain. we have a lot of companies in this country that i know don't want to see that happen and i tell them, look, our national interests, i'm sorry, will always and should always trump commercial interests and, you know, this is very important geopolitically. 70 years of u.s. policy toward europe that it's whole and democratic and free and this can't continue the way it is. >> al: let me get your overall assessment of the obama administration's foreign policy and the role particularly of secretary of state john kerry and susan rice? >> i don't know of a republican who has spent more time trying to work with the white house to solve problems in a sincere way there are others who have and i don't know anyone who has done more so. i have been very disappointed. i think, al, the worst moment -- our worst moment was two augusts
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ago, and the reaction, what we did relative to syria that was a terrible moment to me in u.s. foreign policy. i wish, if we had time, hours, i could share vignettes with other countries and their disappointment and the fact that they watched on cnn people who were going to join us in that effort, watched on cnn -- did not get a call from the president, didn't get a call from the pentagon -- as it was announced that, well, we're really not going to do this now. it really hurt our credibility. it was a learning moment for putin. i just want the say, i have been very disappointed in the foreign policy that's been put forth by this administration. kerry, i have to give him credit for -- look, he tries to throw himself into every issue, and you have to say, look, you know, you love a guy that wants to solve all the problems in the world in a short amount of time.
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i do think that sometimes john views the world as he wishes it was, and i think that also maybe he would be better served prioritizing pause, you know, he spends his time, you know, traveling back and forth from multiple, multiple conflicts. but i have to give him an a for effort. and susan -- so, look, we don't hear what happens in these debates internally. i will have to say, based on the insights i'm able to get just through conversations, i think the biggest deterrent to the president making decisions, the caution, the staring, the debate, debate, debate, the biggest reason is the president himself, it's just his nature. but i do think that you have to think a little bit about the people around them and are they
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providing with clarity, you know, decision points? are they giving the background? is there something amiss around him that exacerbates his tendency to want to put off? i don't know because i don't see, i don't debate. i do see john. i do watch john. do i see his public comments -- i do see his public comments and have the private conversations. i think, in fairness, it's unfortunate the way the white house has concentrated -- seems like every four years it gets worse and worse but it's so concentrated within the white house. >> al: on your side of the aisle, are you comfortable with the foreign policy views of senator rand paul? >> rand today, or this week, we had a debate over the a.m.f. i actually enjoy hearing differing points of view. i have a different point of view
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on the role of the united states in the world probably than senator paul does and, for that reason, today -- or yesterday -- i was going to table an amendment he was offering. but, look, i think the richness of our nation is the fact that we have this representative government that allows people to make these issues fully and we're obviously in a different place. but i do -- it's always with interest that i hear his point of view. >> al: senator bob corker, you will be central to these debates over the course of next year. thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> al: we'll be back in just a moment. >> charlie: andrew roberts is here. he is an historian, also the author of several best-selling books including "the storm of war," napoleon and wellington and war lo.
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his latest look will air as documentary in 2015. congratulations on the grand prix of the foundational napoleon. >> thank you very much. >> charlie: one question i'm sure you have been asked more than any other, why do we need another biography of napoleon ? >> there are more books with napoleon in the title than days in his death. the reason, this scholarly organization has brought out a complete set of volumes of all 33,000 letters napoleon signed in his lifetime. so for the first time we have them all together, chro chronologically laid out and we can see the compartmentalization of his mind, the way he kept ten balls in the air at the same time. >> charlie: eloquent letters?
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very eloquent, yes. some of them very moving. >> charlie: we knew about the letters to josephine. >> well, they're more sexy than eloquent and erotic at times. >> charlie: yes. but the ones to his marshals and generals are immensely precise, the ones to his ministers explain what he wants. but he also had fabulous capacity to write orders of the day and to his troops. these are tremendously moving. >> charlie: what surprised you most about him? >> his sense of humor. i wasn't expecting to find such a funny man. there are about 16 or 17 napoleon gags. he was constantly making jokes that are still funny 200 years later. >> charlie: he understood what best, war? >> people. war, certainly. when you go to his battlefields, in the course of research of this book, i went to 63 of h his
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battle it does, one can immediately see the way in which his military genius worked when you actually see the battle he was fighting, but it was his appreciation of how to infuse people and his natural secrets of leadership i think are the most impressive things about him. >> charlie: you've written about world war ii generals as we've all know and as i've suggested, where do you put him in the history of warfare? >> he's right at the top, of course. who would know whether or not he was in charge of tanks. >> charlie: i ask that because look how it ended. >> oh, absolutely. no. no. he won 43 of his 63 battles and drew another 7 of them. >> charlie: waterloo did not work well? >> no, and the 1812 campaign was a loss. >> charlie: should never have gone to russia. >> should not v. but the reason he went was more rational than it seems. it wasn't an ancient greek thing
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to do with nemesis following hue brings. he had beatton russians twice before and had no idea typhus was going to kill so many of his men. he made an error in going north instead of west in a battle. >> charlie: why? because he fought this inconclusive battle and thought that the russian army was on the other side of the hill. when you go there, you can see it was exobl for him to have told where the russian army was and it was retreating. he could have pulled it off. >> charlie: you compare him to caesar and george washington as soldier statesmen. >> caesar of course was his own personal hero. he wrote a book about caesar when he was in exile. >> charlie: buzz it good? it didn't break ground bit showed his immense reading.
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>> reporter: maybe he just didn't have time because he was running the world. was the idea that -- i mean, churchill, as you know, famously said, history will be kind to me because i'll write that history, and was an eloquent writer and made a living as a writer as you do. >> yes. >> charlie: but napoleon didn't do that. >> no. well, he -- >> charlie: any of that. he wrote when he had nothing else to do. but history isn't always written by the victors. he lost and his book was the best seller of the 19t 19th century. >> charlie: in the world? even more than uncle tom's cabin. >> charlie: in the world? bigger than dickens. in the world. in a sense, the defeated man, in this case, managed to write -- >> charlie: so when he had time, he did all right. >> exactly. and he writes about george washington, but, of course, as well as being a soldier and the
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father of his country like george washington was, and he admired george washington enormously, he also had to be the diplomat monroe was, he had to write the constitutions like madison did, he had to be the philosopher franklin was, he was a rebella rebel rouser all rollo one because he found a country that was pretty much a failed state in 1979 and left i -- andx years later. >> charlie: how was his come back. >> not a shot fired in anger and him getting back to paris and eating dinner louie xviii cooked for him in the wallace only -- e
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only three weeks late snore when you look at his relationship with women -- >> it's not the romeo and juliet story it's been made out to be. she was unfaithful in weeks of their marriage. after their honeymoon, he went to the italian campaign where he won his early victories and she jumped into bed with as one of their friends said had the charm of a weak assistant. when napoleon found out he embarked on his 22 love affairs with mistresses for the rest of his reign. >> charlie: he did that in response. >> yes. and he went back to josephine and they were married another ten years. it's much more complicated, much more interesting, much more human love story than the romeo
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and juliet one. >> charlie: how do you assess his mind? >> compartmentalization was his great achievement with his mind. he was able, exactly at the same time as writing a long letter about how the army had to be moved across europe, also to write to the prefect saying he must stop taking his mistress to the opera. >> charlie: that's a level of involvement in your soldier's lives. >> and on the eve of one of the most horrific battles in history, the equivalent of having a fully laden jumbo jet crash into a six-mile square area of ground, every five minutes, ten hours of the battle, killing or wounding every one on board is what the battle was like. yet the night before, he sat down and wrote rules.
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>> charlie: how is your book different? you have suggested to bog fears do not idolize your subject. >> i criticize him seriously for the war crimes he committed. basically, 3,000 turkish artillerymen had been captured in an earlier battle six weeks earlier and promised they wouldn't fight against the french again. six weeks later they were fighting and he had them executed. took them to the beach. a terrible moment in his person story. he had them bayoneted and shot to death. a war crime in any moral basis. >> charlie: historians who have not written about napoleon but have a great sense of the history of his time, where do they place him and what do they
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say? >> unfortunately most of them, many of them, friends of mine, think, especially the ones' whose prison was created by the second world war, who see things through the lens of the second world war see him as another hitler. >> charlie: hitler. they see him because he tried to innovate russia and britain -- >> charlie: why did he do all that? what did he see his role in the world, to run the world? >> no, to have a germany in western europe, certainly, and also to extend the enlightenment. he believed in religious toleration and equality before the law and abolition of fuedalism and he extended them as far as he possibly could but that doesn't make him adolph hitler. >> charlie: by a long shot. do you ascribe to him this
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positive motive, the reason he was imperialistic was because he had some conviction that he was -- had given birth to and had marched on behalf of values that went beyond his own ego. >> and also beyond the borders of france, and they had to be extended. he believed in the enlightenment. he was the enlightenment on horseback. >> charlie: was he intellectual? >> yes, he was elected not just because he was a general but because he was interested in the thoughts underpinning the enlightenment and appreciated by gerter, hagel, carlisle and other independen intellectuals . he was a bona fide intellectual. he was a creator, a builder, somebody who brings 42 legal
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codes into one. he's somebody who creates the beautiful parts of paris we love so much. he's the man who was in the education process. >> charlie: when you talk about him and his leadership because you are a britt, how would you compare him to churchill? >> churchill admired him, he thought he was the greatest since julius caesar. >> charlie: and churchill wanted to be a man of action. >> he charged in the last great cavalry charge. he never commanded an army and wanted to. he admired napoleon unreservedly. >> charlie: if the world you're talking about has to do with global leadership. >> he personifies leadership
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because on so many levels he was able to master his own emotions and was a fantastic organizer of his time. he had four secretary working at all times, newspapers read to him in the bath, only sit down 20 minutes maximum at meals, and when he was, he would have painters paint him and sculptors sculpt him. >> charlie: no more than 20 minutes? >> no more. >> charlie: what about the great dinner parties. >> can you imagine, if you were emperor and could have all the wines and foods. >> charlie: 20 minutes. 20 minutes and then he got back. but he also appreciated the luck and the roll it played in his life. he was 20 years old when the war broke out. the senior officers were executed or guillotined or escaped the country and he was able to become general by 24.
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for that opportunity to come was a tremendous stroke of luck at 24. >> charlie: his ego, describe it. >> well, he -- >> charlie: monumental? no. i think it was/as much as it deserved to be, he was quite clearly the best soldier in france. he was the man who managed to turn this failed state into a successful state and, so, yes, this did give him a strong self belief. he'd won all these battles. also, it doesn't make him into a megamaniac. i don't believe he had a napoleon complex. >> charlie: that's where i was going. >> got me there.
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he wasn't small. he was 5'6", which is my height, which you might think is short but then you're a bit of a giraffe. (laughter) and winston churchill was 5'6". when i went to longwood, the house he died on, when nobody was looking when i was making the tv series, i laid down on his death bed and it fit perfectly. the reason people think he was a midget was because of the british caricaturists who made him out to be small for political reasons. >> charlie: vanity? a huge amount of vanity. by the time he got obesely fat -- >> charlie: when was that?
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i'm so disappoint to hear that. >> 1811 and onwards, when he was 41. unfortunately, by 1811, he was enormous. i don't know how, because he never ate more than 20 minutes at any meal. and this was also when he was really having problems with the continental system where he was trying to close down british trade and he did get fat. what he did was to hide all the beautiful statues by canova made of him when he was a young man and a beautiful young man and he had them boxed up and hidden from the public because he didn't want to be ridiculed. >> charlie: there's some question about his death. >> there has been for so long. >> charlie: poisoned or something? >> arsenic and poisoned and whether or not he was poisoned by -- >> charlie: so you're saying there is a controversy raised
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by -- you're saying the people who raise the controversy is absurd and no serious historians -- >> has gone for it, no. but it's still in the either thr there. it's around. the fact is the day after his death he was opened up in an autopsy with seven doctors present. >> charlie: the day of his death? >> the day after his death. they cut him open and pulled his stomach out and there was no part of it which was not riddled with cancer. cancer killed his father at age 35, his illegitimate son later was to die of it, his sister died of it, it was in the family and that's what killed him. >> charlie: what do you think he was proudest of? >> code napoleon. he said all of the achievements of my battles have been wiped out, which they had been by the time he died. he said, however, the code
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napoleon will stand the test of time. and it has. it's been used in every inhabited continent of the world, some 40 countries have it in parts of their systems. the state of louisiana still has part of the napoleon code in it. it replaced 43 different legal codes, many of them contradictory. it was in force in the rhineland in $1,900, 40 years after they'd gotten rid of the french. so that and the education system stands heads and shoulders. >> charlie: where is the island. >> the second most inhabited island and for this figure to be stuck there. >> charlie: with no information. >> the governor who is a petty-minded official wouldn't let him have newspapers, so he didn't know what was going on.
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and he went up -- and the whole place was up in the cloud for 330 days a year so everybody had bronchitis and the rest and it was a dreadful way to end his life, really. >> charlie: he wrote? he wrote the books, exactly, and met any interesting person who came off the boats, would come and meet napoleon. >> charlie: they would bring him h news. >> they would. and it was the way you came around india and south africa. see, people coming back from china would spend hours talking to napoleon about the politics of china and the society of china, and he was an omnivorous brain and fascinated by all of that. >> charlie: how was he in terms of women? yot in terms of was he a great lover, but generally in terms of what women meant to him? >> yes, he loved josephine after his own fashion, as we mentioned
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earlier. he was also in love with his second wife mary lou wees the arch duchess of austria. she was unfaithful to him as well. >> charlie: why were they unfaithful to him? >> she was 18, he was 40, and when he fell, they brought in an incredibly handsome one-eyed cavalry and swept her off the feet. and he was in love with marie walewska, a gorgeous babe. but otherwise, he never allowed women to have power in france because he thought that's where louie 14 through 16 went wrong.
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>> charlie: you collect nay napoleona? >> i have wallpaper that i bought at auction the other day. the hat sold for $2.4 million, and only one of 17 hats that he owned. >> charlie: 2.7 million. who bought it? >> a south korean businessman. it shows universal interest that napoleon has, he's big in china, for example. also the -- that's funny people are still willing to pay for a hat of his. >> charlie: what's the best movie about napoleon? not documentary but a feature film. >> if you're ready for the name drop, i asked martin scorsese that exact question and he said not a good one since avant-garde
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in 1927 which is either why we need a tv series about him -- >> charlie: or when you have more time. >> much more time, so he could grow up. >> charlie: there's a documentary, you want to capture the sense of him from some of the best actors we have. >> yes, i don't know who would play him because it would be quite a task. nonetheless, that would be a great thing to have happen, certainly. >> charlie: thank you for coming. for those of us who love biography, history, for those of us who love understanding people who have shaped our world, this is the kind of book that will give you an insight into love or hate him, you cannot deny his impact. thank you. >> thank you very much indeed. >> charlie: the book, napoleon a life by andrew roberts. back in a moment. stay with us. >> charlie: robin wright is here, a joint fellow at the u.s.
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institute of peace and the woodrow wilson international center. just returned from a reporting trip from the syrian border for the "new yorker" magazine. the article appears in this week's issue, called "the vortex: a turkish city on the frontier of syria's war." i am pleased to have robin wright back at this table. welcome. >> always great to be here. >> charlie: tell me what the story is about, what the town is and why significant. >> gazinatep is the frontier in turkey with the syrian border. everything whether american aid, where a lot of the foreign fighters have gone through to get into syria, and it reflects extraordinary challenges that the international community face in trying to deal with one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies since world war ii, one of the biggest in scope andd redefining the region but also what is a multi-facetted war. there are two wars in syria, one is among the rebels against the
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assad regime, the people who emerged and the aftermath of the uprising of 2011, and the other is between i.s.i.s. and the rebels. so this multi-facetted war plays out. and gazinatep is whether the united nations, the united states, non-government organizations all have their headquarters trying to figure out a way to deal with this, whether the syrian opposition government is headquartered, where the free syrian army has offices. it's the kind of frontier now is what pashaba was in the afghan war for the soviets in the 1980s. >1980s. there are more than 1,000 different rebel groups fighting in syria. the largest number of them are in the rebels, the various rebels fighting both i.s.i.s. and against the assad government
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and they span the gamut. the majority of them or large numbers are moderate, secular. but there are growing sectors which are with the al quaida affiliate in syria, the khorasan group, again, al quaida-affiliated big names. and there are other islamist groups as well. the real challenge, as we try, we the united states try to play a bigger role in helping the syrian rebels, is the fact that they're being outnumbered by the -- by islamists, not even i.s.i.s. this is the most complex war in the middle east in a century. >> do they have enough people there who are considered moderate to build into a soldiers on the ground to combat i.s.i.s.? >> at their peak, the free syrian army had up to 100,000 fighters. they're probably down now to somewhere between 30,000 and --
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and 50,000. the free syrian army doesn't have one commander or one set of strategies, they don't really coordinate with each other, they're broken down into whether it's towns or cities or neighborhoods, and it's -- in trying to find a force that can fight either i.s.i.s. or the government in damascus, the challenge is finding the number of fighters. three and a half, almost four years into this conflict, a lot feel who disillusioned with the outside world for only looking at i.s.i.s. opened not helping them with their war, weaponry and training. i was struck talking to the refugees and say why aren't you in syria. >> charlie: why have you come outside? they said they are tired of the war. they expected it to have happened faster. >> charlie: would it have been successful, faster if the united states and other countries had supported them early? >> i'm not convinced arm aing
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would not have produced i.s.i.s. anyway or even produced i.s.i.s. faster in reaction to u.s. intervention. >> charlie: how is it going to turn out in cay bane? >> kabani is a very small town. what's striking when i got there is the kurdish militia, the syrian militia fighting there, after two and a half months, still holds only half the town, that over 300 u.s. and ocean air strikes on kobani have not managed to force i.s.i.s. out of this town. >> charlie: what's necessary to force them out? >> well, whether it's better arms for the kurds or more forces. the problem is the turks are positioned right along that border. you see american m-60 tanks on the hillside overlooking kobani,
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artillery along the border post, but the turks opted not to get involved in helping kobani because they say that the outside world should be focused on the other war against the assad government, that that's really where the future of syria will be determined, and they don't want to help with i.s.i.s. unless the international community is engaged basically in both wars and not just one. >> charlie: we attack and all from whether emirates or the united states or from the air or other sources, i.s.i.l., does that benefit assad? >> well, to some degree unfortunately it does because it diverts attention. assad has been able to get away with dropping these deadly barrel bombs on aleppo, and to get away with kind of his own aggression, because the world is so obsessed with i.s.i.s. so in some ways it has helped
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him militarily. if it were just a war between assad and the rebels, the world war would be paying much more attention to what's happening to them. >> charlie: what are the options for this administration, as it looks at syria and looks at iraq, and tries to ascertain how it can fight i.s.i.s. or i.s.i.l. and at the same time be true to commitment for regime change in syria? how do they balance that? do they try to fight two wars at the same time or focus on i.s.i.l and come to syria later? >> that's what they're trying to do, a sequential series. first of all, focusing largely on iraq, trying to regain -- help the iraqis regain territory with help from u.s. air power. and then after that's achieved, once i.s.i.s. is forced back into syria, then trying to help the rebels become strong enough
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that they can put pressure both on i.s.i.s. and the assad regime. i think iraq is possible -- probable, i don't know -- possible to make headway. i find it very difficult to see any viable solution anytime soon to the syrian war, and the danger is, enif the rebels were to win -- let's say -- >> charlie: successful against i.s.i.s. >> -- successful against i.s.i.s. and also put enough fresh on the assad regime, the danger is warlordism is so deep and entrenched that we would have a civil war play out in syria after that. this is -- you know, i actually fear that syria could be a far longer war than iraq. >> charlie: thank you for coming. great to see you. >> thank you. >> charlie: the article by robin wright is in the "new yorker" magazine for december 8, 2014, "the vortex: a turkish
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city on the frontier of syria's war." thank you for joining us. see you next time. visit us online at and captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
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>> rose: additional funding provided by: >> and by bloomberg a provider of multimedia news and information world wide.
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