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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  December 18, 2014 12:00am-1:01am PST

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. >> rose: welcome to the program. president obama announces historic changes with relations with cuba today and talk about it with ernesto londono and julia cooke. >> they could have taken a gradual approach and bay steps and small measures to see if this could gain some traction oregon big and they chose to go big. what they did was they essentially went as far and as big as they possibly can within the the constraints of a draconian 1996 law that could effect an embargo. >> phil castro said to the speech to the cuban people, and he gave it concurrently to obama, obama's decision deserves the respect of the cuban people. that is such a dramatic departure from what the cuban government has told its people about the united states since
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1960. >> rose: we continue about foreign policy with ian bremmer and a conversation about russia. >> here is the problem is the short-term is longer than almost any american i notice. there are a lot of wishful thinking that so far you put all of these standings against him, at least ten different sanctions in place against escalation for his misbehavior and miss dealings in the ukraine and his willingness to back down has been precisely zero. his approval ratings have stayed in the eighties, up 88 percent in october at one point and still in the mid eighties, there is a large demand in russia for someone to stand up and tell the west that's it. >> rose: we conclude this evening with harry shearer and his production "nixon's the one". >> he is the most interesting as a character person to have high office in this country at least in our lifetimes. >> rose: because? you know, they say that the gri
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a city of a personality can be detected in the number of the folds inform the cerebrum. >> rose: and he has the most folds. >> the most folds. >> rose: cuba, russia and a harry shearer when we continue. >> funding for charlie rose is provided by the following. >> additional funding provided by -- >> >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. >> from our studios in new york city, this captioning sponsored by rose communications
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from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: we begin this evening with a dramatic a announcement by the president at noon today that the united states will begin to form lies diplomatic relations with cuba and open an embassy in havana for the first time in more than half century. today's announcement marks the most significant change in the u.s. cuba relationship since the cuba revolution, the news come after the release of american contractor alan gross who was held in a cuban prison for five years, cuba also released unnamed u.s. intelligence agent who has been in prison for 20 years in exchange for the final three members of the spy ring known as the cuban 5. the deal was negotiated during 18 months of secret talks between the u.s. and cuba hosted in canada and at the vatican. president obama and raul castro spoke by phone yesterday for more than 45 minutes. it was the first substantive presidential level discussion between the u.s. and cuba since 1961. president obama announced the new policy earlier today. >> today the united states of
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america is changing its relationship with the people of cuba. in the most significant changes in our policy in more than 50 years. we will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests and instead we will begin to form lies relations between our two countries. through these changes we intend to create more opportunities for the american and cuban people and begin a new chapter among the nations of the americas. over many months by administration has held discussions with the cuban government about alan's case, and other aspects of our relationship. pope francis issued a personal appeal to me and to cuba's president raul castro urging us to resolve alan's case, and to address cuba's interest from in the release of three cuban agents who have been jailed in the united states for over 15 years. i have been instructed secretary kerry to immediately begin discussions with cuba to
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re-establish diplomatic relations that have been severed since january of 1961. going forward the united states will re-establish an embassy in havana and high ranking officials will visit cuba. where we can advance shared interests we will on issues like health, migration, counter-terrorism, drug trafficking and disaster response. these are the steps that i can take as president to change this policy. the embargo that has been imposed for decades is now codified in legislation. these changes unfold i look forward to engaging congress in an honest and serious debate about lifting the embargo. >> rose: joining me now to talk about this historic breakthrough in cuban u.s. relationships are julia cooke, author of the other side of paradise, life in the new cuba and ernesto londono of "the new york times" editorial board. the paper has been urging the restoration of full diplomatic relations with cuba in a series of editorials i am pleased to have both of them here.
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i promised i would say the following things and you can help me with this. what the president has said we want to establish full diplomatic relations and have an embassy there. but this is a process and he said to the secretary of state, start now. and build on this. there are some difficulties, there are some varying views but this is a huge step forward, president pointed out that congress has a role in this because of the embargo will have to come or the end of the embargo from congress. but having said all of that, and whatever differences there might be, react to this. tell me what you, your assessment of this is. >> charlie i think the white house had two options, they could have taken a gradual approach and baby steps and measures to see if this could gain some traction, or they could have gone big and they chose to go big. what they did was they essentially went as far and as big as they possibly can within
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the constraints of a draconian 1996 law that could affect the embargo. what they hope is one these new changes against off the ground and start being implemented it becomes easier for measures and cuban americans to travel to cuba, for americans to help cuba's new private sector, that the reality of the transformational nature of these changes will inform the broader debate, the debate that will ultimately have to land in congress. >> rose: what is that debate over the future of the embargo? >> #02: over the future of what the legislative approach needs to be toward cuba. there has been in recent month a growing number of lawmakers that have seen the merits of engagement with cuba, cuba is a difficult country to engage in, there are still human rights record and there is still a reality on the island that it should and does give american lawmakers and american policy makers great concern. the question is whether we stand to influence the reality there
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through punitive measures as we tried unsuccessfully for five decades or whether engagement and particular engagement alongside other governments in the western hemisphere stand to be a better approach. we have argued that it does. >> rose: julie? >> to me the greatest revelation of the day was that raul castro said in his speech to the cuban people, because he gave a speech concurrently to obama's, that obama's decision deserves the respect of the cuban people. that is such a dramatic departure from what the cuban government has told its people about the united states since 1960. i wrote a book not about the politics of cuba but about the people in havana. so my interviews were much more based on people's daily lives and experiences and the way they interpret the government and the people and the way that their
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daily lives are impacted by these large policy roles. >> rose: what is interesting is watching is, number one, that the president constantly referred to the cuban people, he didn't talk about the government, he talked about the cuban people and this was addressed to them. the second is he has a 45 minute phone conversation last night with raul castro. what was that about? what did they say? >> i think in the history of cuban american relations there has been a very long history of back channel talks of secret negotiations that through the years sought to get to this moment, get to a moment where the presidents could agree to chart out a new path forward. historically, though, there was always something that derailed those. sometimes it was politics, sometimes there was somebody playing a spoiler role . in this case after 18 months, this got to a level where the two presidents could get on the phone and in essence sign the dotted line and make a deal and that is really, really
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important. >> rose: so the human side, that you did a series and your book was about the cuban people. is this something they desperately wanted? >> oh, definitely. >> rose: because of their own economic condition or because they just want to be -- have a free exchange with the united states? >> both, definitely economics has everything to do with it but it is as matter of respect. the idea of being recognized as a sovereign nation that requires neither to be colonized by the united states nor vilified is huge. >> rose:. >> i also think it i it is realy interesting, the president received some criticism because he wasn't bold enough. i mean this was clearly bold. he was looking to do something bold. he chose boldness. >.>> this was as far as i thinke could have gone, you know, without running into what is codified in law. >> rose: yes. and are you surprised to a bit that it happened while fidel castro was still alive because his brother had begun to be different than he was.
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>> sure. >> rose: and as you suggested when you sat down there is a new vice president who represents the heir apparents situate. >> fidel castro has really disappeared largely from view in cuba. sometimes he still -- you know, there are columns published under his by lane with some remarks, but he is no longer running the show as far as i can tell. if you see what happened politically on the island since raul castro took the reins in 2008 there have been some notable changes, a gradual and limited liberalization of the economy that has had transformational changes for hundreds of thousands of people who had the chance to start building hives that are not wholly subject to state control, and that is hugely important, it has changed people's outlooks and change people's mentalities and the dna of the economy there and i think it is planted the steeds of hope for what can be a healthy and prosperous economy going forward.
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also, last year, the government started lifting restrictions on cubans that wanted to travel abroad, this allowed dissidents to travel for the first time and to start having exposure to cuban american diaspora, to cuban american lawmakers. this, i think, also represented a sea change and the cubans, i think, have made some of these decisions with an eye to favoring way for united states to form lies relations. i think these were deliberate stems and these were steps that from their vantage point weren't risk free and were very much an investment in getting to this point. >> rose: there is still some people who, senator from florida, rubio, chairman, former chairman of the senator foreign relations committee, menendez from new jersey are voicing objections to this. what are the political ramifications do you think in
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terms of american politics? you know, i am not a politics expert. what i am most interested in is the fact that the reactions to this, while rubio is predictable in their dissent and menendez, i am more, what is more important i haven't heard in miami a ton of echoes voicing theirs, i have heard more support and thank goodness this is finally happen. >> rose: it has been 50 years. >> yes, and it is logical, finally our policy is reflecting logic and compassion and not eventual -- >> rose: those listening to this and careless about the political or economidy mentions but simply because they are adventurous and want to go to cuba, when will they see changes they can act on? >> as far as travel arrangements. >> rose: sure. travel, visit, go stay. >> i think ass an embargo, well the embargo is still law, what obama can do and promised to do in his speech was expand travel
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possibilities so people to people visas we can assume he is not going to deny people to people visas for virtually anyone at this point. >> it has become a lot easier to travel to cuba for americans. the problem is it is still very expensive because you have to go through the package tours. they make a week in havana cost an average of 4,000, $5,000. so you can do so, you can go for example on trips to learn about the tobacco i have, trips to learn about art, tobacco industry. >> i think what the i have has done now is make this easier and bruton the categories and broaden these rules so that it is easier for people to go to the island. however, to have sort of a wholesale normation of, normal station of travel, to have american airlines to start flying to havana from any number of airports instead of relying on the charter companies i think
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that is going to take lawmakers to take a new look at this and figure out how it should work going forward. >> rose: what is your love affair with cuba? >> oh, i love cuba from the first time i went there because it felt like the strangest place i had ever been. i am, i am not sure you know what i mean. i loved cuba because it was strangest place i had ever been. from the outside, it looks like it adheres to all of these cliches you have the old buildings, the old cars, things look kind of decrepit but elegant, tremendously elegant, and yet the energy that i found there was so resourceful and interesting and savvy and internationally sophisticated, exciting. so i as a 20-year-old studying abroad there felt like this didn't -- it didn't match what i had been taught in the u.s. to think i would find in cuba nor did it match what people -- what
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cliches it would be. >> rose: what do we know about this intelligence, this spy that we did know about and has been there 20 years and part of the deal? >> we know very little. we know years ago, roughly 20 years ago the cubans arrested a cuban national who was a very important intelligence asset for the united states, that this person provided information that led authorities to unmask alemon temperature who because senior pentagon official who was one of the nation's top experts on cuba and whose recruitment by the cuban government was one of the most startling chapters in the history of espionage. we also know he provided information that led to the arrest of the five cuban spies in miami some 20 years ago. so this was clearly somebody who went on a limb to help americans to provide very useful
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information for the americans and who the cubans were able to intercept and stop. so, you know, it seems apparent that the american government went to great lengths and considered that it owed this man, you know, a tremendous gratitude and had to do everything in its power to get him to freedom. >> rose: what can we say about alan gross? >> about his, that he is tremendously happy to be home. >> rose: and back with his family. >> yes. >> but what are we asking for? because he was sort of the linchpin in sort of the reason to have the conversation. >> yes. >> rose: that was one. even though this has been going on for eight months he has been there five years? >> yes. >> rose: the interesting thing for me, is to understand is how the roles were played by different people who wanted to see this happen, including the pope. >> uh. >> rose: and who else might have played a role? did canada play a role in providing a venue? was western europe
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involved in any way? >> i think it is interesting the last meeting, the last round of talks happened at the vatican this fall. it is interesting for a number of reasons but one of them the cuban church, the catholic church in cuba has a frosty relationship with the government, apparently behind the scenes they were able to bring the american government and the cuban government together to what sounds like sealed the deal. >> rose: right. >> -- some weeks ago is really fascinating. >> rose: talk a little bit more, before we leave here, the idea of what the challenges will be. i mean, what could be the roadblocks that will damage the hopes of people? >> ihthink. >> rose: of an incident. >> sure. i think there always have been spoilers. there always have been people on both sides who haven't wanted a
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healthier relationship for a number of reasons. i think in the cuban government system the prospect of a normalized relationship with the united states is going to mark a dramatic change in who they are and what they stand for. they have been telling their people for years that they need to control their life, they need to control the economy very tightly, they need to control their movement because they are on a war footing against a country that is trying to destabilize them. one, once naah is the no longer true i think that the relationship between the cuban government and its people will have to be different and i hope it will lead to a less repressive society and more empowered. >> and more open society. >> absolutely. >> rose: yes. and i think if i might add to that, i totally agree but i think down that, the cuban government has used the embargo as the reason why its people request suffer material deprivation for as long as i can remember. i remember one year in havana
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during a hurricane cain, a terrible hurricane and after it past there were big signs that said that basically indicated that the hurricane was thible fault of the united states because of the embargo and the reason your houses are not being rebuilt is because of the embargo and some of that was true in that instance because people couldn't buy, they couldn't buy construction materials from the u.s. now, to take that excuse away will make the cuban government entirely responsible for its citizens which will have repercussions i can only imagine. >> it will bring its shortcomings into sharper focus which i believe will be healthy. >> rose: it is great to have you. thank you very much. i can't wait to read th the editorial in "the new york times" tomorrow morning. thank you. >> thank you. >> rose: back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: we turn now to the russian economy, the country faces one of its worst financial
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crisis in year the ruble hit the lowest rate on tuesday, losing after of its value since the start of the year, falling oil prices, and economic flight and problems in the ukraine, the government is pulling out all stops to reverse the economic decline, the measures include a plan to sell billions in foreign currency reserves andreas stick interest rate increase. some worry about the impact on the global financial seasonal, the economic turmoil may also threaten president putin's political appeal. joining me is i bran bremmer president and founder of the global political risk and research consulting firm, eurasia group, i am pleased to have him back at this table, welcome. >> thank you, charlie. >> can i start with cuba for a moment, although we talked about cuba on this program but you are constantly talking to world leaders and this is news to everybody. a dramatic step by the president. what are the implications for
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latin america and the u.s. and the rest of the world? >> well, it is about time. 50 years. you know, the cuban american population, the anti-castro extent meant has deteriorated or died off over a long time now, a lot of companies in the united states really want to invest elsewhere in the world you don't have these sanctions issued so it is just hurting american companies and there have been a lot of people who have tried to move on opening relations with the cubans including most importantly the kerry when he was senator. so i think this is a big deal and i think it is a big win for both countries. >> rose: tell me what the implications are, what is in it for us? >> absolutely what is in it for us, our companies, it is an a market right next to us and the tourism for cuba is significant, and agricultural, and american companies will engage there, first you suddenly have greenfield site right in your
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backyard, people are going to make money. second point, is that they are going to be very -- there are a lot of places going to take a hit on it based on this. you look at cancun and some of the caribbean, i mean people are going to -- the tourists are going to go to cuba. >> rose: you want to go to cuba. >> you want to go to cuba so, i so i think if you are doing big deals in the about a a hamas you may see that evaporate. >> rose: let's turn to russia. how bad is this economic decline and what are the implications of it? >> well, i mean to make the transition i should first say it is sort of interesting to me the russians get to go to crimea and the russians get to go to cuba, so i think we won on that trade. that would be my perspective. and. >> rose: crimea is a perfectly nice play. >> it used to be, getting harder. and the fact that the americans have made a better trade on so many things vis-a-vis russia is very apparent over the course of the last couple of decades, this has been a tough year
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economically for russia. it would have been a tough year even if putin was the nicest guy we could invite around this table because oil prices have gone down almost 50 percent. >> rose: and that is 70 percent of their economy. >> a little less than that but significant, the majority, and they have not been able to diversify their economy very much since putin has come in place, putin became president, oil is in the teens, shoots up over 100 and going to look like a genius no matter what, goes down to 50 something and he is going to have problems. >> rose: so what is the likelihood there will be a change in oil prices? so long as the saudis continue what they have and opec doesn't change the structure of supply and demand? >> i am a little bit less bearish issue on oil in 2015 that a lot of the banks are, i have seen headline numbers this will go down to 40, i don't really buy this, at least not in a sustained way, the saudis had very -- the saudis and a few of their gulf arab friends are the only people really going to take oil off the markets and if that is the case, there is no reason
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-- >> rose: to decline the supply? >> reduce production and get supply back up. you certainly don't do it in an opec meeting where everyone knows it is going to happen you do it on your time much more opaque and then you have got people that know about it within your country that can ride and arbitrage that on the way up, on the way down and make more money off it that way. first of all i do believe at some point in the beginning of the year the saudis and others are likely to take a little oil off. number 2, libya, there is significant oil that is going to continue coming off of libya in 2015, the republicans are likely to press sanctions against iran, so there are a few things that will probably provide a little price support, and if prices are low then you start to see, of course, the consumers doing better, and consumption increases and that increases demand as well, so i am not an oil price watcher but if you asked me, your projections for russia over 2015 should not be
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baking in $50 or lower oil as a baseline for the year and that is going to give the returnings -- >> rose: more than 60? >> it probably should be baked in at more than 60 i think that is right. >> what are the political ramifications for him at home even though you said in the short term he is still popular? >> here is the problem is the short-term is longer than almost any american i notice. there is a l of wishful thinking that so far you put all of these sanctions against him, at least ten different sanctions in place against escalation for his misbehavior and miss dealings in the ukraine and his willingness to back down has been precisely zero. his approval ratings have stayed in the eighties, they were up about 88 percent in october at one point and still in the mid eighties, there is a large demand in russia for someone to stand up and tell the west that's it. we have had enough, and we are going to stand up to you and if there are economic consequences. >> rose: who is going to say that? putin? >> putin has been saying that.
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>> rose: and they turned to us. >> they will continue to. i think oil at $50 is a problem for putin. oil at $50 and sanctions where he can scapegoat the west and scapegoat ukraine is a better scenario for putin so if russia were just, if this were just an economic crisis with russia being a medium sized economy with very few countries that have large amounts of exposure, the pens have much more than the americans, of course, we would be talking about it you and i wouldn't spend serious time on this issue, the problem is this is this is really a geopolitical conflict in this is putin seeing his popularity as requiring escalation and a tough response to international, not backing down, not reconciling with the west, this is helping -- >> rose: he wants to somehow divert attention from this? an interest in foreign policy. >> he has been doing that. it is hard to diverse divert attention when your ruble is in free fall, but he it is has, he has large reserves, well over
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400 billion at this point. he has relatively little sovereign debt outstanding. about ten percent of gdp, even if you add all corporate debt it is only about a third, so you are talking about, you know, a total of 100 plus billion that is coming due in 2015, the russian accounts pay that, even if they had to pay every single dollar out of reserves they could cover it so the idea that the russians -- the west is going to beat the russians into submission in the near term, i mean we look at 28 tebow when, 2018 when he is up for reelection it could be more dicey for putin but we are talking about the next few months and days, his ability to ratchet up the pressure and not just over the ukraine i think is very significant. >> what should the u.s. and western europe do? >> let's channel. you saw just in the last few days the republicans put a bill forthwith, congress put a bill forth broadly to increase
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sanctions, particularly against gas promise, gazprom and obama didn't feel like he should veto that, probably in implementation he will try to ratchet it back a bit, in this environment it is hard to imagine america taking pressure off of russia, just because iran is pushed in a corner may we should take sanctions off now that it hurts i think the west is in a bit of a box here. the smart thing for the americans to do, i thought this consistently, provide more support for ukraine, but also try to facilitate a climb down of the tensions, that means the europeans can't really go ahead with the european association agreement with the ukraine. >> rose: what about the currency collapse? >> the currency collapse in russia is real, but it has rebounded a fair amount because they have actually gone and dumped a bunch of foreign currency holdings. there is no question that this is not just about oil.
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this is about a feeling that putin has made himself into a pariah with the west and he is orienting himself vastly more toward china and some of the emerging markets. >> rose: what implication force united states? >> not so much economically, i mean there is not a huge amount of exposure of the u.s. to russia even in good times and because of the sans you don't have hedge funds and banks taking big positions so if the russian economy collapses you will certainly see some europeans taking big hits but not so much the americans. we are geopoliticalcally very insulated from russia right now with perhaps one exception. i mean, i have no idea who did the cyber attacks against stow any that brought their shares way down and made their entire company transparent. >> rose: and embarrassed. >> and embarrassed i do know the russians have that kind of capacity and engaged in cyber attacks in the past. >> rose: so are you suggesting they may be behind this? >> no, i am suggesting that going -- the russians have been behind cyber attacks against western banks and have been cyber attacks against the white house, i am suggesting that putin and his cabinet have been
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saying consistently and increasingly loudly that u.s. policy is oriented towards regime change against russia, that we want to punish them to the point that putin himself will become weak and destabilized and go away. now, if they believe even a little of that, the willingness of the russians to hit back in a serious way using whatever tools that are available to them is serious. >> rose: meaning that u.s. dip city has to do is convince them it is not about regime change in moscow? >> i think that would be useful, certainly there was such a debate on iran. >> rose: how do you convince putin of that? >> that is the challenge. >> rose: but also an issue with challenge, china thinks we are trying to contain them in some way. >> the sanctions against russia so many of them have been oriented at people around putin you want to make it hurt and make it stick so you look at whose his friends and the oligarchs close to him and who can pressure him, the same sanctions that are the most
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effective against putin are of course the ones that look most like you are facilitating regime change. we are hurting putin. we are hurting the russians. if the goal of our policy is to punish putin, obama can claim a level of success. we are not helping the ukrainians any, we are helping the chinese immensely. if the goal, having said that, we also are pushing putin into a corner and iran you can push into a corner because there is not much iran can do against the united states at the end of the day. russia, if russia really feels in a corner, if putin really feels like it is capitulate or lash out i suggest lash out is what he is likely to do. and i think that does have some geopolitical danger for us. cyber is one area, certainly potential direct confrontation between nato and russian troops, i think if accidents in the air, those sort of things become much more likely in this environment, it is so much more dangerous
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than what we have seen between china and japan in the last few years. >> rose: what do you expect to happen in 2015. >> i think it will get worse, i think the russian economy will be able to survive this and putin survivors it with high levels of popularity but he is going to get more agitated. i have a hard time seeing a compromise working out on ukraine. i have a hard time seeing a second cease-fire sticking. >> rose: thanks for coming. >> my pleasure. >> rose: ian bremmer, eurasia group, back in a moment. harry shearer is here, he is an actor, comedian and voiceover artist, he won an emmy award for his work on the simpsons, long been fascinated by richard mix son and put together a youtube series based onyx son white house tapes it shows some of the most interesting strange and interesting moments from the oval office it is called "nixon's the one". i am pleased to have harry shearer back at this table. welcome. >> my pleasure, thank you. >> rose: you are working in londono and still, london and
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still have the little place in venue miss. >> the place by the beach. >> a. >> a next of a place by the beach. >> rose: how are you spending your life these days? >> well, i made this nixon series in britain for sky tv over there so i did, i spent most of two years ago doing that and -- >> rose: and rupert tried to buy it. >> yes, he owns 39 percent of it and you don't need to own all of it to control it, rupert has proven that and this last year and a half i have been doing a play in london on the west endmost recently, wonderful original play, very serious play, first serious thing i have ever done. >> what is it about? >> it is about amareed couple from -- who went through the camps in eastern europe, built a new life in brooklyn, my brother came with us, we were in business together. he disappears 30 years ago and these up one night with what he thinks is great news and almost destroys the family. >> rose: and the inspiration to do it was? >> i got sent the script by a friend and with just thought it
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was an amazing piece of work and resonated with me because my parents were the only members of their family to not go through all of that. >> rose: how did they avoid it? >> they just got out out early and supposed to bring the republicans over and it didn't happen, but their emotional adjustment was very similar to the adjustment of these characters so i -- >> rose: let me talk about this. why nixon? what is the fascination? for you and -- >> i think he is the most interesting, as a character, person to have high office in this country, at least in our lifetimes. >> rose: because? >> you know, they say that the intricacy of a personality can be detected in the number of folds in the cerebrum and i think h he had the. >> rose: the most folds. >> the most folds you know he was not made for politics, to put it mildly he didn't have a winning smile, he didn't like change hanging out with strangers, he didn't have a gift for small talk, what i think drove him to the top of the greasest poll in american life was this molten core of burning
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resentment. >> rose: resentment? >> yes. >> rose: not ambition, recent.? >> i think the resentment fuels the ambition. and where i relate to him is, we both grew up in southern california, and i understand i feel it a little bit, i think he felt it to a monumental degree the resentment of how privileged easterners are and go to the best schools and make the best contacts and network themselves into the best jobs he felt all of this. >> rose: me and johnson both felt that about the kennedys. >> yes. and nixon, there is a scene in one of the episodes where nixon is talking to kissinger and he is profoundly moved and it is still like a present-day bother to him, kennedy never -- and he repeats never, never, never invited normally a essentially event while in he was in the white house and nobody bothers to say to him, the can mr. president, kennedy is dead and you won, he doesn't have the let it go gene. here it is. >> against kennedy i got 49 percent of the vote and he got 49 percent of the vote i lost by 112,000 votes, as a
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matter of fact, if you take alabama's electorates out, i would have won by 112,000 votes because alabama's electorate didn't vote for kennedy and they voted for somebody else and they gave the votes to him so the country was evenly divided. i never saw once a column, an editorial, anything suggesting that kennedy or johnson under the circumstances should programs consult, invite the man who had been candidate for president, who had been the vice president for eight years and for eight years i was never in the white house social. i should have been. >> yeah, i was in town at the time he called me because he needed somebody to -- >> oh, christ. he damned near died rock manager that chair. i understood it. i saw then, it got heated. >> kennedy couldn't have done that. >> nevertheless the point i make though is in eight years i was never invited to the white
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house, i think what is important is, i was never invited to a social function as long as he had been -- never, my wife, myself, in eight years, that is over with. we are going to do it our way now. >> rose: you have the voice down too. i hear you a little bit in nixon. >> a little bit. i couldn't quite disappear totally. but, you know, that is absolutely not just word perfect, that is pause perfect, that is all of the little nuances of dialogue, when you read the transcripts those don't make themselves apparent you have to listen to the tapes and wwhen we were doing the series e listened to the tapes. >> rose: that is always true, transcripts never do justice to the moment. >> no. >> rose: to hearing and feeling. so mixon's tapes are the gift that kee keep on giving? >> why nixon this is the other part of the answer. >> rose: because it is there. >> because he gave us this. we don't have this from any other leader in world history and we probably never will. these are the the -- almost all
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the spoken words of the waking moments of him for five and a half years, trapped in that oval office. >> rose: so i ask, somebody calls you u up and says i get i, it get it, it is fascinating but tell me, what is the most remarkable quality about richard nixon? i understand the comic, i understand the paranoia, i understand. >> the intelligence. >> rose: the intelligence. >> you can't deny that. >> rose: right. >> what. >> rose: what is really remarkable about this? >> i think it is the mixture of all of them, you know,. >> rose: he had a bit of all? >> he had an intelligence which if it hadn't been in the service of this seething set of resentments and hatreds, you know, would have been an entirely different character. it was a mixture and it was also, i guess, if i have to choose one, i think his dedication seemingly to using
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most of his emergency to suppressing in public at least his authentic emotional reactions to things and then that other 15 percent was blurting them out untoward, you know, even with either with gestures or words, there is a moment in the middle of watergate he was always saying the media is talking about watergate but i have more important things on my mind, peace in the world and the economy. i don't wallow on watergate and he goes out and visits and does a photo-op with the governor and state of washington and the first thing he says is i have just been talking with governor evans. >> you can't beat that. that is right off -- >> that is right in there. >> rose: unbelievable. >> got evidence. >> rose: and kissinger? >> well, you know, the kissinger nixon relationship is gas nation, fascinating to me. >> a lot has been written about it. >> that's why i made it the first episode of the series, nixon, kiss jerry, two things
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that nixon hated the, harvard professor and jewish. >> rose: i never opportunity jewish part. >> what the nixon. >> rose: nixon. >> oh, it was just one of a series of types of people he didn't like. he was a misanthrope and these were a select set of them. kissinger was aware of all of this. but nixon was kissinger's avenue to power. and mix son wanted somebody around him who he thought was as smart as he was because all of the other people. >> rose: he wanted to be a great man and he wanted -- >> so the relationship is like watching two spiders trapped in a bottle. you know,? >> rose: you said to him a great quote. you said he was a self-made man and a self destroyed man. >> yeah. he is really the great 20th century comic greek style comic character because he was quintessential american self-made man and self destroyed man to boot so he wrote his own punch line. >> rose: i once interviewed him and he said i know where you are going. i am not very into speckive.
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>> i am not very into perspective. >> yes he has .. psychological consultations along the way. which he may have told the doctor the same thing. clearly he was not the most reflect if the, self reflect if the of people you hear these conversations and .. his mode is almost unfailingly process sorry y'all, whether he knows amount the, he lectures a group of the milk lobbyist, dairy lobbyist and a little scandal involving the dairy i have i i have at that point and i think industry, and he lectures them, milk can help you sleep is how you can market it and this long rant where he is clearly just ripping. >> like giving george allen plays. >> just totally riffing. >> the interesting the thing to me is all the things that he was, is he never gave up. >> that's it ..
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>> all the things that happened to him, he never gave up. >> will is a scene at the end of our series which had been on video, viral video before it was even a word because it was bootlegged for years. he is in the oval office, and a camera there, somebody at cbs hit the record button, we have that tape, and it is the last thing you would expect from a guy with zero gift for small talk or wanting to charm strangers he comes into the room and starts making really kind of lame jokes with the crew. and i had seen this and always thought that is just goofy and improbable that is not anything a friction writer would presume about nixon when we were taping the series and had to sort of feel a little more, think more em pathcally about the character i realized what he was doing .. he was already beginning the next campaign, the campaign for his personal rehabilitation. those guys in the crew were going to walk out of there that night and say. >> rose: he is not a bad guy.
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>> he was not a bad guy, he was joking around with us and wished us a merry christmas on august 8th. >> rose: roll the tape. here is another scene. >> this is the 37th time i have spoken to you from this office. where so many decisions have been made that shaped the history of this nation. each time i have done so to discussion with you some matter that i believe affected the national interest. all of the decisions i have made in my public life i have always tried to do what was against for the nation. throughout the long and difficult period of watergate there are -- i shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow. haven't ford will be, vice president ford will be sworn in as president at that hour in this office. to serve in this office is to
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have felt a very personal sense of kinship with each and every american. in leaving it, i do so with despair. may god's grace be with you in all the days ahead. >> we are clear. >> have a merry christmas, fellows. >> >> rose: this was one little moment in there where i failed to accomplish, and if you watch the actual tape of that speech, you know, it was fairly well-known at the time that he had selected gerald order to be the vice president when agnew resigned as impeachment insurance because the house knew what ford was made of and there is this ironic teeny little smile that passes his lips when
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he says vice president ford takes office tomorrow and just missed it. when you look through the tapes what were you looking for? comedy? were you looking for what? >> stanley cutler the historian who wrote the two major books and the tapes and filed the lawsuit to make the tapes public in the first place and for historic, for historian reasons and i for recreation had been listening to these tapes for years and i said to stanley, look we are not going to do a show about watergate or politics or it have familiar or this stuff, you know and i know there are these funny strange goofy conversations, it is a show about that. we knew that there were themes that recurred in nixon's conversations, themes that he was obsessed about, the elite, religion, you know, tv, he was fascinated by tv and saved him, it destroyed him,. >> rose: people forget his principal television industries sorry was roger aile.
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>> yes. so there are no transcripts of 95 percent of the tapes, only the tapes that were used for trials or hearings. >> rose: nobody tranc transcribd them? >> no, no. the national archives puts out a log of who is this and who -- and what is being discussed, all the tapes are online now, but there is only a log, so we went through and, and got the text for these themes and listening to tapes and there are millions -- i exceed by a few tapes of kissinger coming in and being absolutely on sieges you mr. president that's the best speech you ever gave, the press conference is the best so we are looking for th the best versionf those, the funniest and most indicative of character versions and that's we were choosing. >> rose: technique how do you get the voices? to do the impressions. >> >> rose: like nixon, what did you hear in his voice? >> i heard a certain kind of early southern california accent
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that isn't there anymore, certain strowls are pronounced a certain way. the nixon in public -- i mean we are all different in public and private. most everybody had done impressions of the public nixon, and the tapes give us the avenue into the private nixon so it was a whole different characterization. >> rose: these ran in london before they ran here. >> yes. >> what was the response for the day and do they see the nixon any different? >> they get hispanic name wrong, they call him tricky dickey because it rhymes. but i -- you know, the response is very good. i hear good reviews, i don't read them and the responses is very good and i was trying to figure it out and i realized the brits learn their history through this rogue's gallery of by star characters with crowns on their head. >> rose: thanks to shakespeare and others. >> yeah and their own history. so they see nixon as just
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another one of those in a way, just uncrowned. >> rose: oh, yeah. >> you know -- >> rose: historical character whwho had power and experienced all of the guffaws of human kind, jealousy and rage -- >> that is who he is, a great human with power. >> he came up to a screening and came up to my partner and me and says, we are going to do more of these i would love to be involved and you don't say no to sir david frost. >> ho howe did he want to be involved? >> when we got the pickup for more shows i said would you like to introduce them? so he did an introductory or two at the minute, at the beginning of the show tying the theme to nixon and then the introductions to each scene voiceover. >> rose: go ahead. >> and it was just a great privilege and honor to get to know him, amazing guy, very smart, relentless. >> rose: very entrepreneurial.
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>> very entrepreneurial. the brits didn't know he was like that. a little too ambitious. >> rose: he went way back with a whole generation of comics. >> yes. >> he was a sat the list when he came out of college .. and built this other career. >> when you look at nixon and you see the frank langella character how do you judge that? >> well, i try not to make invidious comparisons to other people's work but i did feel that when i saw the frost-nixon movie they got frost's character right and did not get nixon's character right. >> rose: in the movie? >> i didn't see anything else. i haven't seen a lot of fictional depictions of the nixon, at least i didn't before the show. i attribute that more to the play right than to the actor, i don't think the nixon i have gotten to know through this that he would take one glass of
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wine and unburden his soul to someone over the phone. >> rose: this is when he is talking to bob hall deman 0 about the network. >> there isn't anything good on television, apparently. >> is that right? >> there is just the choices are so bad, there are apparently no good new shows this season. it is such a horrendous thing that there isn't that much good stuff available. >> there is still not? >> there is not much good stuff available. the world doesn't create that much good stuff. >> i want you to keep looking into this business, give us a really cold, dirty assessment of whether the way to destroy the network is not to let them build a new tv system. i mean, they are so obsessed about this. i am just inclined to think that maybe we are holding off there for the wrong reason. you know what i mean? maybe that is one service that we can render. >> we would destroy them. >> that would be great.
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>> go out there, see what their gays do, suppose there is cable tv. now, i would hope that -- >> no, i mean, after you set the opportunity up for an independent network. >> do you? >> well there is no reason why, why there couldn't be a new service organization, one that, you know, packages a new show that the cable tv people could buy, and that may be the chance to get where we keep coming, agnew is just obsessed, if the only hope here is for us to buy a network is for us to get some of our money and buy a network -- >> yes. >> was there, but there may be another way to do it which is for us to put together a news producing organizations and sell its product to cable television. >> yeah. >> rose: oh, boy. and roger ailes was around at the time. >> billy graham didn't? >> no. he didn't need to. >> rose: billy graham liked him, didn't he? >> i guess, but billy graham
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liked all presidents. >> rose: let's turn to this. you have been doing that since when? >> since dinosaurs walked the earth. >> rose: but i think it is 1989. >> you are correct, sir. >> rose: what is it about the simpsons, it is about how great those guys are. i think it is how great the actors are. you are asking me. >> rose: no, but you have to be there. >> yeah, no. i think it is a number of things. >> rose: i think it is the writing. >> you know, when jim brooks made the deal with fox to get the show on the air, fox was a fledgling network and jim made a very good deal. it is the only show i think in the history of american prime time television that has no network interference written into its contract. you think in a country that emulates and admires success more networks would try that avenue of producing shows, but -- >> rose: i bet you that had something to do between the relationship of brooks and -- >> i am sure and the relative
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power of brooks and fox. >> rose: right. but i am really fascinated by the idea of impressions and why some people are good mimics and others are not. >> it is the ear. it is the ear. you know, my friends christopher and michael keen are both well accomplished at doing voices and characters and they both have musical ears. i think it is the music which helps you with not only impressions but with dialect, dialect coaches often teach you about pronunciation but sometimes they forget the music, the music is such a part of the way different act extents work so i think musical ears is probably the best gift that a comic could get. >> rose: indeed. thank you for coming. >> thank you. >> rose: harry shearer, "nixon's the one" available on youtube as we speak. thank you for joining us. see you next time. >> for more about this program and early episodes visit us online at and
12:55 am >> captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
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funding for charlie rose has been provided by the coca-cola company, supporting this program since 2002. >> american express. additional funding provided by -- and by bloomberg. a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. >> you are watching pbs.
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