tv Charlie Rose PBS August 25, 2017 12:00am-1:01am PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. it is the end of the summer. as we prepare for the next season. we bring you some of our favorite conversations on charlie rose. tonight a conversation about diplomacy an foreign relations h jake sullivan. >> having hillary clinton as president and not donald trump i thought would have made a profound difference in the future of the world. this is on a scale unlike anything i have experienced before. i shouldn't just make this about myself. this is also about how to think about the future of the united states. both our polls yand our politics and a sense of how we relate to one another. >> rose: jake sullivan, next.
>> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: jake sullivan is here. he serves as deputy chief of staff to secretary of state hillary clinton and as national security advisor to vice president joe biden. he was also a senior policy advisor on clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. he has been one of her closest aides for over a decade. many believe he would have been
national security advisor had clinton won the 2016 presidential election. he is now a visiting professor at yale law school and senior advisor to the u.s. government on the iran nuclear negotiations. i am pleased to have him at this table for the first time welcome. >> thanks for having pe. >> rose: to know a little i think the single biggests? thing is saying yes to opportunities when they come along. i always thought that i would head back home to minnesota and build a life and career there. >> rose: in the law and politics. >> and when i finished with justice breyer in 2005, i moved home thinking that's where i was going to be. joined a law firm, got engaged in the community and amy klobuchar asked me if i would help her get up and running in d.c. in her first year as a senator, then the next opportunity came along to work for her and prepare her for the debates in the 2008 presidential primary. the next opportunity came on.
each time i said i'm going back home to minnesota, and each time i found a chance to serve, and the result has been an extraordinary opportunity for me to learn and try to do a few good things along the way. >> rose: wooed mod city, tell me what you think it is you brought to the table. >> it's what i've learned at no matter what your argument is, it's going to have weaknesses and blind spots. no matter how wrong you think the other good guy is, they will have good points to make and you need to acknowledge both those things. i learned that earlier on. i tried to find the weaknesses and blind spots on our side and what the good arguments were on the other side. the nucle a few points they're not long and we have to find a way to stop this hole or the
iranians. so in addition to working hard and studying the issues, i think that's a skill set that's important in washington and getting to be in short supply. >> rose: meaning making sure that you hear the other side. >> you hear the other side, but even more than hearing the other side, that you study your own position more than i think most people do and you're willing to change your mind, you're willing to say, you know, i thought that was the right way to go about it. turns actually we ought to do it differently. >> rose: i don't know if this is relevant but there is an interesting glimpse in the book shattered in the campaign about which secretary clinton was being bombarded by you and others about questions she faced and she said, you try this, you will see how easy this is, won't you? >> yeah, so we were doing debate prep. actually, it was the day after bernie had won the michigan primaries, it was a hard day. we were down in miami in advance of another primary debate before a set of really important
primaries, and i was chiding secretary clinton for her answers to questions, and she said, all right, let's do it this way -- why don't you be me, then i'll be bernie, and we'll see how you do? she said -- the book makes it sound like it was incredibly rankerrous. it wasn't, she was trying to help me see what it was to be in that position. >> rose: was it informative? it was. i wish i had done it in 2008. i had gone through debate prep for her in 2008 with president obama. it was late in the game i understood from the perspective of the person you're preparing what it's like to go through that. so that's exactly the kind of thing folks in my field should do more of. >> rose: did i mistake in 2008 you worked for her than him? >> i worked for her in the primary and in the general
election i prepared him for the debates against john mccain. >> rose: we'll hear when she writes her book about what happened. you were there, you saw what was going on. what happened? >> well, there's a reason she wrote a book on this because it takes an entire book, i think, to fully explain it. the complexity and interconnectedness of a whole bunch of different strands all coming together on one day in november to produce a defeat. i think if it had been almost any other day she probably would have won the election. >> rose: why do you believe that? >> in part because of what happened in the closing days of the campaign. jim comey came out october 28 den ten days before the election. >> rose: and you guys had momentum at that time. >> exactly. then came out again two days before the election with the letter saying i'm now once again exonerating secretary clinton and hoo ma abedin. so this was an election with ebbs and flows that happened rapidly and repeatedly and if
you look at a chart of the gap between trump and clinton, it would get wider and narrower week by week, month by month and it was only at very certain points for a few days at a time trump closed the gap and got even with her. but if it was a week later or earlier, the odds she won would not have been small. so this goes to how contingent this would be. >> rose: it also says something about the momentum of campaigns. people say if hubert humphrey would have had two more weeks he would have won the election as well. >> and he might have or not, i can't say with any degree of certitude. i divide the challenges we faced in the campaign into three categories. the first is the exoj now variables, the fact of the f.b.i. investigation along with comey's late intervention and the fact of a sophisticated, systematic kremlin directed warfare direction by the russians, both had an impact on
this. >> rose: and you believe at the hand of president putin. >> it's not that i believe it was at the hand of president putin. our intelligence community concluded this was directed from president putin at the highest levels of the kremlin that he had an interest in interfering in american democracy, seeing president trump win and hillary clinton lose. >> rose: he didn't like hillary clinton or wanted donald trump? >> he wanted to disrupt american democracy. >> rose: because he felt we tried to disrupt his campaign. >> partly tit for tat. >> rose: and the ukraine as well. >> partly tit for tat. it was pay back for what he felt was american intervention in russia and ukraine, both of which i think were dead wrong, but partly also because he's trying to drive an authoritarian model and discredit democracy. he's trying to do it in europe and the united states. he wants to be able to turn to his people and say keep me in power because the alternative are these broken down systems
with all this chaos whether it's germany or france or the united states. so sowing chaos in democracies is part of putin's number one mission of maintaining power for himself in russia. that's part of it. in addition, he had personal beef with hillary clinton going back years. part of that was about gender and part of it was about the fact she took tough substances against putin's behavior in eastern europe and against his own people. and i think he genuinely thought it was a birthday president for him that he had a candidate like donald trump who not only adopted kremlin positions only almost every issue but the language and the logic of the kremlin, saying we can't say anything about what's happening in russia because we have killers, too. that's exactly the kind of thing putin would say is that said that in an interview. >> right. >> rose: do you also believe president obama could have made a difference had he been
stronger in his own declarations about russian hacking? >> i think that president obama was in an impossible position on this issue. here he was the commander-in-chief trying to defend american democracy but the standard bearer in the democratic party in the middle of an election with a democrat against a republican and he wanted badly to avoid appearance he was putting on the scale in this election and that's to his credit. i understand how he decided not to. >> rose: do you think secretary clinton understands? >> i think she does. and this is something we'll reflect on in her book. >> rose: sounds like you read her book. >> i talked to her about it, i've seen drafts and i can't say i've seen some product start to finish. i'll pick it up off the shelves like i would encourage everyone else to. but i think putting that aside, the fact that he chose not to do so for understandable reasons, had he decided to both publicly and privately make a much bigger
deal out of this, i think it may have had a more deterrent impact on putin, but these are issues you can only look at in hindsight. >> rose: you've said you've agonized and lost sleep, this defeat, you said you now know the hue multiof defeat. this the first time you have been defeated in your life in a sense of wanting something badly and not getting it? >> i suppose you could say it's the first time on any scale that matters. i mean, i've done everything from lose cross country races to do battling on tests to, you know, in the past not getting exactly the job i wanted at different points. that's happened in my life. but this is the first time where something was riding on it beyond just kind of what i wanted -- >> rose: and i assume you could say what i thought was in the best interest of the country and i thought we could make a difference and notwithstanding what i fliewbs i miffed among the people trying to shape the world. >> right, and among the merger
of my desire to win because i have a competitive streak and wanted the opportunity to serve again and the the fact of us having hillary clinton as president and not donald trump would have made a profound difference of the future of the country and the world. this was on a scale i unlike would have experienced before. this is to draw from but this is not just about myself. this is also how to think about the future of the united states, both our policy and our politics, and our sense of how we relate to one another and i think this core question of who are we as a country is one that is very much up in the air. >> rose: did you say the things that -- the campaign and her -- believed in but somehow they weren't heard? somehow because to have the way presidential campaigns work and somehow because of the way people perceive the person speaking it didn't get through? >> so after the campaign, i had a meeting with one of the british politicians who was leading the remain campaign for
brexit and they lost. so here i was working on the campaign, losing to trump, and this is a guy who lost to brexit. he said to me, you know, in both cases the common denominator was we were trying to provide answers and what people really wanted was anger, a sense you got it, that the system was broken. they didn't want dry policy. >> rose: that's not a proposition. >> not necessarily. >> rose: i'm not a politician, but don't you have to say to people you want to support you, you know, i hear you and i feel your pain? >> you do, but the question is how do you balance the diagnosis part of your message and the prescription part of your message? and both bernie and trump were very heavy on the diagnosis and that's really what people wanted. hillary clinton by constitution, by who she is deep down fundamentally is much more of a prescription person than a diagnosis person. she's going to want to look at you and say i can help solve your problem through the
following four steps. >> rose: where would you put her husband? >> i would say he has more of the diagnosis bit in him going back to his days as a politician pressing the flesh in arkansas, back in the '70s, and the i feel your pain piece of bill clinton is something that's famous about his personality. so if you look at what hillary was arguing for in this race, the types of policies that she was pressing, and you look at now what the democratic party has embraced as their message going forward, they're very similar. in fact hillary was on the leading edge of many issues that are now coming to the fore. for example, she talked a lot about growing monopoly power of corporations which is becoming a progressive watch word. she talked about -- >> rose: which is one of the key stones of bernie sanders' campaign. >> is this but one of the things hillary did that bernie didn't talk that much about is this issue of antitrust and competition and market
concentration. bernie talked about the banks and breaking up the banks. >> rose: and wall street. he talked about single-payer health care, but the idea the corporate sector in the united states is getting consolidated and concentrated across the board and, as a result, people are extracting monopoly rents, this was an argument that has had a long history in the democratic party going back to the populist days that hillary was putting forth that is at the center of what democrats are arguing. that is one of many examples where i think she was on the right track, but our capacity as a campaign to connect that to the lived experience of people across the country was not -- >> rose: how much of that is a question of the candidate and how much of it is a question of the campaign? >> you know, it's really hard to say when you're the campaign and not the candidate. i have a tendency to try to take responsibility under my and our shoulders. hillary was out there busting her tail every day doing everything she could. so i would like to believe there was more we could have done to
set her up for success. >> rose: how have you handled defeat yourself? how do you deal with something that is so monumental that would have shaped at least if she had won probably the next eight years of your life? >> i think number one you have to look at what the real ramifications of this are. the effect on me and my life day to day compared to the effect on the lives of immigrant families or people on the verge of losing health care -- >> rose: it's relative. -- or 11 million people in seoul who are scared when they go to sleep at night, it's hard for me to ask that question. all i can do is think, now that this has happened, what can i learn looking backwards, but more importantly in the landscape we face today domestically and internationally, what can i help to be constructive, and in doing that, to recognize whatever you think of donald trump, 62 million americans voted for this guy. those people, they had an argument to make about how government wasn't looking out for them, and we owe them answers as well and i'm looking
to try to find what some of those answers are. >> rose: you said and i tend to agree, the biggest challenge i see on the campaign, of course, as a policy guy is the difficulty of pushing through the cable and social media chatter to try to engage with the american people in a serious conversation about real issues that impact their lives and the future of this country. i think candidates and their staff are equally responsible for that because thos those of n the media, especially at this table, wanted nothing more -- as you know in the campaign i engaged her in an hour conversation and would have done more -- >> right. >> rose: -- and people because of the risk of campaigns don't want to do that that much. >> i would say that if hillary clinton had been given an opportunity on a nightly basis, donald trump gets one hour, she gets, every night, and they make policy presentations and that's how the campaign was run, she would have taken that in a heart beat. >> rose: policy presentations, i think engaged conversation.
>> fair enough. a ruthless, brutal interview on name your subject. what are you going to do about american military engagement -- >> rose: one night trump, one night hillary. >> right. hillary would have welcomed that. all three of the debates which were largely substantive dud cover the issues and all three of which she came through with flying colors. so i don't think it's a fair -- of all the criticisms to make against hillary's campaign, the idea she wasn't prepared and the campaign wasn't prepared to go with the issues i don't think was right. i mean, the thing that she has -- >> rose: you will grant me that how many one-hour conversations did she do during the conversations? >> i could add the number of interviews she set aside thinking they were going to be on policy subjects and the first 30 minutes of them were on e-mails. right down to -- >> rose: but you would not expect somebody not to engage that question, would you not? >> i think there becomes a real issue of balance here, and a
good example of that is the national security forum that took place on the deck of the intrepid here in new york where matt lauer had 30 minutes with hillary clinton and 30 minutes with donald trump on the big national security issues of the day countering i.s.i.s., north korea, russia, et cetera and spent the bulk of the time on e-mails, you have to ask whether or not -- >> rose: there was balance. hillary would constantly walk into interviews with the hope it will get around to her policy positions. indeed, i would argue that one of the things that makes it hard s what we call acandidate is she responsibility gene. she feels responsible not just for giving the best answer on the campaign trail but an answer she believes she could deliver governing, making for longer position papers, doesn't make for good sound bytes or a simple message, but it would have made for a heck of a good agenda for working families in the u.s. >> rose: what's going to happen to the democratic party? >> i think the democratic party is going to be okay. there is clearly a strong, internal debate going on now
about the substantive direction of the party but, as you saw from what chuck schumer and nancy pelosi put out a couple of weeks ago, there are core pillars to a policy agenda that span the party from -- >> rose: go ahead. -- sorry -- from bernie sanders across, and i think that that will sustain us through the 2018 and 2020 cycles. >> rose: but aren't those issues the same issues that were talked about a little bit at least in 2008 between candidate obama and candidate clinton and also in 2016 between candidate clinton and candidate sanders? it is the plight of the middle class. that has been a central issue. it's a political issue. and what we don't know is how different people, how you stack up different kinds of prescriptions going back to policy. >> yeah. there is no doubt that the number one problem, capital t, capital p, the problem is how do you reverse the hollowing out of
american -- >> rose: and that did not start yesterday? >> that has been going on 20 years. >> rose: as an advisor, why haven't we been able to deal with that? >> if you looked at the number -- you mean natural policy? >> rose: yes. i think our policy choices have had a lot to do with it. a lot of people like to blame globalization or auto medication for what's happened, but fundamentally, it has been about the fact that we've had a congress, in particular, but also at various points in time in the '80s and the 2000s, presidents who aggressively pursued policies that hollowed out unions and reduced bargaining power, that refused to raise wages to living wage, that took away basic work wage protections and cut taxes in ways that starved the government to provide a safety net. our choices contributed to this and we have it in our power to make the forces of globalization and automation to work against
us. i think the prescriptions have changed. >> rose: have they been articulated in the on-rush of populism and anti-globalism and sort of contempt for globalists? >> yeah, this gets back to the diagnosis-prescription problem. it's much easier to diagnose. say here are all the problems, let's admire them, then to step forward and talk about the solutions, including solutions hard for people to hear, like the fact that coal jobs aren't coming back. i do think as we go forward into 2020 this issue is crystallizing, that our economy is changing rapidly, that there are huge storm clouds on the horizon about how automation is going to disrupt jobs even more rapidly than before. that is focusing the mind. i, you know, have come through a very difficult last campaign but i actually retain some optimism going into the next campaign that, in fact, the american people are now ready to hear from people, okay, but how are we going to do this? you know, the top --
>> rose: in other words, they heard somebody listening in 2016, donald trump. now that you've listened, what have you done? we hold you to the same standard. >> they heard bernie sanders and donald trump do for them what they felt they hadn't gotten in several years which was a cry from the gut that this is not working. now they want to know what will work. i do believe that. i think there's a number of intriguing voices in our party that are putting forward ideas around the future of corporate responsibility, around how we build a new social safety net and a world in which people don't stay in the same job for very long, around how you actually train and educate people for the jobs of the future. these are ideas that have not gotten a full airing and are not just retreads of the 2000s or the 1990s. >> rose: i totally agree. you would expect that. you would think with the on-rush of technology and time and
different circumstances, clearly, there are new problems and ought to be new solutions. here's what's interesting to me. i interviewed president obama in germany and i said to him the question, look, we have the best economy, we have the best technology. we have the best universities. we ought to be able to own the 21st century. what could stop us? and he said, our politics. our politics. >> yeah. >> rose: and that's one thing that he came to washington -- was already in washington, but he came as president believing he could do, believing that he could bring bipartisanship. bob gates said to me, you know, the most difficult problem for america is not in any foreign land. the most difficult problem is three square miles between virginia and maryland. >> yeah. >> rose: lots of people agree that washington is the problem. gridlock happened in terms of between, on the one hand, john boehner and on the other hand barack obama. how do we deal with that? >> first of all, what we're up
against is really severe. you've got people living in alternative universes in terms of the media they consume. >> rose: right. they watch what says they believe. >> and they don't even see the same country. they don't see the same thing happening. if all you did was fox news, you think one thing. if you watch nbc, another. then you have the gerrymandering and voter suppression problem and huge democracy and campaign finance. but i don't see washington changing overnight but the policy innovation that has real-world impact that we are seeing at the state and local level is dramatic. donald trump just pulled out of the paris climate agreement. we are likely to hit our paris climate goals anyway because even republican governors in a lot of states are recognizing -- >> rose: and corporate america. >> -- and corporate america fully bought into it and the investments they're making are going to drive policy more than
what scott pruitt does at the e.p.a. i believe the natures of the problems in the 20th century requires network solutions and the united states is best situated to lead in that because we can most take advantage of networks from our universities, private sector, states and localities and then build global coalitions to take them on. that being said, if donald trump actually implements the kinds of things that he talks about, and he hasn't done as much of it as maybe we would have feared so far -- >> rose: you mean like replacing obamacare. >> replacing obamacare, getting us into the trade war that could trash the global economy, deciding we're going to retreat entirely from global probable solving, doing more things like paris, as long as he can be constrained from that destructive agenda, the complete destruction of the administrative state, the kind of things you've heard from his advisors, as long as he can be constrained from fully carrying
out the agenda, the united states has all the capacities to lead and win. >> rose: restrained primarily by the congress? >> honestly in some cases retrained by reality, by actually having to stare in the face of consequences of certain decisions and deciding not to pursue them. i don't know if that's going to hold him or his team back but it seems to me that that at least is going to present one factor as they go forward in their decision. >> rose: you have spent, as i said, a rich life in terms of access to people, ideas, education. a lot of it seemed to trend towards foreign policy. let me turn to foreign policy and the the most pressing issue today, and we'll talk about other issues. north korea, we had today secretary mattis weighing in after the president weighted in and the north koreans weighted in about gaum. where do you think we are and what are the risks of where we are? >> here is the dilemma this president and secretary mattis and others are confronting, is there a third alternative other
than war on the korean peninsula or acquiescing in north korea having a nuclear-tipped icbm. >> rose: and becoming another country that has nuclear weapons. >> nuclear weapons that can reach the united states and hold us at risk. those are two unpalatable options. is there a third option? and they go into work every morning and think how do we find it. i believe the answer lies in a combination of pressure and china shaping north korea behavior so they stop their march forward. >> rose: no the question in your mind that the chinese could change north korea's nuclear path in a moment by simply cutting off not buying their products and, i know you believe may perhaps paying them off. >> i do not believe that the chinese could get north korea to completely give up their nuclear program because i believe that kim jong un sees his nuclear weapons as existential to his regime so he will no more give
them up than he will give up power, but i believe the chinese could get the north koreans to stop moving forward. >> rose: meaning. meaning no more tests, no more advancement in capability and, therefore, not reaching the point where they can actually credibly polledhold the united states -- >> rose: and japan and other countries on the brink of having them if they want them. >> they're beyond that because they actually have the weapons. we need to work overtime to roll that back. but in the near term our immediate goal should be a halt on further testing, missile and nuclear, because if we halted it now, we would be in a position where we would then have time to deal with the broader north korea nuclear program, and i think that china has the capacity to do that, and the question is, is all of this tough talk from the administration a means of trying to get the chinese's attention so that they feel a greater incentive to do that or is it
actually a precursor to war. >> rose: we're speaking the same language. we're talking about fire and fury and -- >> this is an amazing thing. if you read donald trump's statement without his name on it and you read a statementy kim jong un without his name on it, you really wouldn't be able to tell the difference. that's the problem, we are the world's superpower. north korea is the her met kingdom. mark twain used to say, when you argue with a fool, you have to be careful because people won't be able to tell the difference. the same thing goes for trading this kind of bombast. that's why having toughly worded statement like what secretary mattis put out today is fine but donald trump popping off about fire and fury is not helpful in any way and it's not tough. it's inconsistent, it's lashing out -- >> rose: is it a possibility it will get their attention like normal language like strategic patience will not? >> i think that the statement you saw from secretary mattis today where he described the
sheer capability the united states has to deal with north korea, that will get the chinese' attention as much as what donald trump says. >> rose: it's interesting you said the chinese. it will get the chinese attention rather than the north koreans. >> more so, yes. >> rose: do you think it was directed to the chinese rather than the north koreans? >> no, i think it was directed to both. i think secretary mattis and the administration is genuinely concerned about the north koreans carrying out a provocation in the near term and they want to warn them. but i do think as a strategic matter, the main audience is china because they would like the chinese to understand that in the absence of china taking decisive action right now, we could end up in a military conflict. the problem, when you go the extra step that trump goes, and you start hurling around threats and insults, that actually could provoke the north koreans. that is dangerous because they don't know how to interpret that. >> rose: it might provoke to launch an attack of some kind.
>> potentially against south korea that sends us all off to the races. >> rose: when you look at the chinese today, the obama administration had a cause which shifted the attention to pivot was the word that was used, shift the attention to china, asia, latin america. did that ever happen other than in rhetoric? >> in important ways, it did happen. i'll give you a couple of examples. there is a group of leaders in the asia-pacific called the east asia summit. >> rose: right. and before president obama came into office the united states was not a part of that. this is the premier political and security forum in asia and the united states didn't have a seat at the table. the chinese, indians, japanese were there, all the southeast asian countries were there, even industrialias, america wasn't there. president obama, secretary clinton ended up putting us there. so we are now at the center of
the major institutions in asia. that's one. two, we have, in fact, engaged in a foreshift in the terms of the amount of military posture we built up in asia as compared to the rest of the world. >> rose: to say what to china. not just to children but the entire region the united states is going to enforce a rules-based order. we're going to make sure there is freedom of navigation in the south china sea. people think that's a far away place. a third of the world's merchant tonnage goes through there, if china shut it down, it would have dramatic consequence force the united states. part of what it says is we are going to make sure the sea lanes are open, our allies are strong and no country can dominate other countries and be adverse to our interests in doing so. >> rose: what do you think the chinese want? >> i think ultimately the chinese would like to be the preeminent power in the asia-pacific, and their notion of what that looks like is quite different from the american
notion. the united states, for all our faults -- >> rose: they also can argue they were the preeminent power at some point in the long history of china. >> yes, but, of course, with technology, force projection, economic interdependence, what that means compared to centuries ago is dramatically different. what chinese nomination looks like in comparison to asia is stark. united states has flaws in policies but one constant has been a positive sum notion that we believe we can advance our national interests and help others advance theirs as well. >> rose: it's not zero sum. exactly, it's positive sum. china means the phrase win win. china means we win if you get out of our way. so i think that the region would be worse off without a strong, enduring u.s. presence. >> rose: do you believe china wants to be the dominant power in the world and believes it has
sufficient economic power it should have a bigger voice than it does. >> i definitely think that and i think they're right about that. i think the chinese deserve a seat at the table and a larger voice in the decisions, for example, in the management of the international monetary fund. >> rose: sure. and the fact they haven't gotten that yet -- >> rose: shouldn't we be helping them get that? >> it was a policy of the obama administration to help them get it and the congress stood in the way. so i absolutely believe it should. that being said, with that extra step of china having more of a voice at the table, having more capacity to shape decisions and be a player comes responsibilities. the chinese, for a long time in the global economy, have played what i call a selective stakeholder role. they have been something of a free rider. they follow the rules they like, they don't follow the rules they don't like. along with having a greater voice and vote which they deserve, they should also take on more responsibility to do their part to uphold the basic
rules of the international economy. >> rose: they have been told that they have to decide whether they want to be a stakeholder and act like a stakeholder in the conduct of their affairs. >> right. >> rose: when you look at russia today, what do you think putin's ambition is? >> well, as i was saying earlier in the context of the campaign in talking about why he intervened in the united states, i think putin's number one ambition is to stay in power. >> right. >> rose: is he at risk of losing power? >> so putin, for a long time, had a basic bargain with his people which was i will rule like an authoritarian and i will enrich all my kle a high to a low and the
long-term future doesn't look bright. the second is keep me in power and i will restore glory to russia. i believe that will wear off because the russian people will get tired of sending their people to fight in other places. >> rose: it is undeniable they are a leading player of what happens in syria. >> they are absolutely a critical player in terms of what's happening in syria. >> rose: because they went there in support at the invitation of assange. >> and prepared to set aside any sense of basic human decency to -- >> rose: in terms of the plight of syrian people. >> to carry out and support a campaign of mass slaughter. >> rose: has that changed since trump became president? >> has what? >> rose: russia's policy with respect to syria, change at all even though they have an agreement? >> in fact, i would argue russia believes it could achieve it's objectives in syria, that it
could assure assad is in power for the indefinite future, that it wouldn't protect its own -- >> rose: most people will ado you they don't care whether assad is in power, they just want to make sure there is a stability because what putin fears most of all is instability. >> having dealt with the russians directly for years on the syria question when i was in government, i heard them say repeatedly they don't care. however their actions suggested defending this regime because they see no alternative to the regime, assad at the top -- >> rose: that would be acceptable to the united states and other powers. >> they see no alternative uld plibury in as a a theyhan replacement that could hold their country together and protect their interests. so even though in theory they're not wedded at assad, in practice they have been joined at the hip
and have his prerogatives and i believe the deals they are cutting are setting themselves up with russia request w the exception of the sunni communities in syria and long range stability. >> rose: do you think they want to be a european power? >> eng putin wants to do something he said publicly. he would like to essentially reconstitute this sphere of influence that was the soviet union. >> rose: without taking over the countries. >> without necessarily fully taking over the countries. >> rose: because if you talk to them they'll tell you all about the number of russian speaking people that were behind the border countries that used to be russian -- >> and he has to be prepared to use military force to advance this objective, with you that means central asia, it means the caucuses and it means eastern europe, members of n.a.t.o. who he believes rightly belong in the russian sphere of influence.
i have to say he has done a very good job of kicking up dust about n.a.t.o. expansions. >> rose: threatened to make georgia and then ukraine a member of n.a.t.o. >> or less. you added the baltics. >> rose: was it a mistake for us to expand n.a.t.o.? >> no, if we hadn't expandednate to to the baltics and played out the reverse counterfactual -- >> rose: there would be no restraint for him. >> or poland or hoping ri, what would have happened over the last 20 years had we not done that and you can see address frommive tendencies towards countries that do not have n.a.t.o. membership. i believe the article 5 is what keeps stability and avoids war in the panes la and somehow this made him do it in a new argument. he didn't make this argument in 2005 or 2010. he started making it when he came back -- >> rose: but russians have had a great concern about their
border, in their dna. >> about their border, yes. >> rose: but after hitler and napoleon. there was a sense of their threats coming across, the changes. >> right, and in the obama administration, we dealt with the issue of the missile defense system which we were setting up to deal with iran and they felt were setting up to deal with them. >> rose: how close is it to speak to the fierce of the person across from you, make sure that they know you understand their fear? >> it's incredibly good question because i think what most people don't understand is a huge amount of diplomacy is just -- isn't even bartering or trading, it's getting on the same page, a common picture of what's going on, what kind of threat you represent and what kind of opportunity you represent and that means hours, days that we would spend with the iranians trying to explain to them that we weren't trying to engage in
regime change, that we weren't there just to try to topple them, that we legitimately believed and did not think it was a pretext that they were seeking nuclear weapons. >> rose: if in fact we could convince the leader of north korea that we had no intention -- and secretary mattis has said this and also the secretary of state has stayed this -- no attention of attacking you. if he believed that, an we could make him believe that, would he be less enthusiastic because he wouldn't look at what happened in libya and other places as he sees a reason for having nuclear weapons? >> it's an interesting tie between iran and north korea in answering this question because no matter how many times we tell him we don't want to change -- topple you, we're not trying to take over north korea, what he seesees is members talking aboua
deal in iran -- >> rose: but it's not the secretary of the state, the president, is it? michael flynn life talked about that. >> an unsophisticated observer of american politics, someone who doesn't look at it closely, could pick up a body language that says, yeah, yeah, they cut a deal on iran, but we don't really think we have to abide by that and by the way we would like to get rid of the ayatollahs. if you're kim jong un and that's basically the policy direction of the united states, why would you believe when someone comes to you sand says we want to cut a deal with you on your nuclear program that that's going to be on the up and up. >> rose: do you think there will be a regime change in iran? we all know there are a lot of moderates in iran and a million went into the streets after the election. >> i think that the current setup in iran where the will of the people is consistently
suppressed, where the rights not just of minorities but the majority of iranians are abused is not sustainable over the long term but i think democratic change in iran has to come from within iran. >> rose: but we believe the same thing about the chinese, it's not sustainable over the long term? their fear is something will happen which would take away the power of the party to control the state. >> right, and xi jinping is heading into this 19th party congress at the end of this year with this notion in mind. the number one thing he has to worry about is maintaining party control and putting his own personal stamp on that. in the 1990s, we made a bet when we brought the chinese into the wto. our bet was that, over time, as they liberalize economically, they will have to liberalize politically. that was the bet and the proposition that underpinned a bipartisan sue of china at that time. it's been more than 20 years, that hasn't happened yet. do i think the laws of physics continue to suggest it flendz
that direction? probably. i don't think anyone can say with confidence today there will be a change of government in china because they have defied expectation force a long time. >> rose: do you see weaknesses in that government that might make them less of a power than we imagine them to be? >> china faces luge internal contradictions relating to demography, the aging of their population. >> rose: urban rule. the urban rule divide, the fact that there still is rampant corruption. the fact that, as chinese people become middle class, their expectations go up and their demand to be treated fairly and efficiently and justly goes up as well and this system may not be able to keep up with that. so there's a lot of arguments one can make about it. >> rose: but the advantage of d that's exactly as you know of much better than i do. that's exactly how they've turned the economy around rather
than let's not export stuff, let's sell stuff to our own people who can afford it. >> and the chinese may be able to navigate this turn effectively. it's difficult to go from a state-owned enterprise corrupt oligarch system to one that's a genuine free market model without going through massive economic turmoil. >> rose: do they demand the tech companies that come in give up some of their research, their technical secrets? >> even where they don't, they try to find ways to design joint ventures and partnerships where they benefit from the intellectual property of american firms. so it's not the case every american firm going over there has to hand over keys at the beginning but the chinese are deft and sophisticated at extracting learning and knowledge from american companies not just tech firms but across sectors and that has given them profound compages in
the tech and military space. >> rose: silicon valley has companies challenging them because to have the markets they have there and the tech companies seem to be in part dependent on the chinese market. >> it's now chinese invested silicon valley. chinese state-backed firms are pouring money into american tech companies in part because their goal is to increase their know-how and knowledge base and innovation base over time. >> rose: and put money to good use. >> but i would argue there is a broader strategy about national security is that and they're also doing the same thing having to do with minerals in afghanistan and africa. >> right and -- >> rose: how they seem to have a -- seem to have -- a very defined global strategy. >> yeah, and, you know, they, in fact, have a name pore a part of
their strategy that looks west instead of east across central asia and into europe called one belt, one road where they want to combine a series of seaports and sea lanes with railroads and infrastructure that basically has chinese economic dominance across the eurasian land mass as a long-term proposition and that's something the united states has to pay very close attention to. >> rose: how and where will history judge the obama administration severely? >> i think the area where we were least able to have an impact, where we probably could have had an impact was in syria. >> rose: doing more earlier? doing more earlier. now, i would actually argue we had to do it at both ends. there was a huge gap between our means and our objectives. we said assad must go and then we really weren't prepared to do much to make that happen. so there was this yawning gap. >> rose: and then i.s.i.s.
to close that gap, from my perspective, we both had to increase the means, the degree to which we were engaged to try to shape circumstances there, but also become more realistic about the ends earlier on, to recognize that having assad go right at the start wasn't going to work, that you had to have a diplomatic process, i think we came too late to that. >> rose: and coming earlier would have meant what? >> for one thing, early on in the conflict, the opposition had much more battlefield momentum. they controlled larger portions of the country. the russians weren't fully engaged and the iranians and proxies were not fully engaged to the choices facing assad and backers were tottering. >> rose: he was popular in those times. >> exactly. it would have meant getting a diplomatic process going the end result which would have been a transition from power was not made maximalistic demand at the beginning. >> rose: talking about terrorism, you made the point a number of tiernlings even after we overrun and retake raqqa and
mosul, there will be an i.s.i.s. 2, an i.s.i.s. squared, an i.s.i.s. something. how will it be? what do you think the future of terrorism is? because there has to be a concern of people thinking about the future. >> it starts winning exactly what the problem is. as you were saying, there are 25 million sunnis who live between baghdad and damascus. two iranian dominated capitals. those sunnis feel disconnected from their countries, disempowered economically, and they have been subject to this relentless vitriolic jihadist ideology for the last 15 years. so we knock 'em out of mosul, we knock i.s.i.s. out of raqqa and they scatter to the wind but they are going to reconstitute because of those factors unless we figure out a way to get the iraqi government and a syrian political solution, to give them some hope for the future, and i believe that is more possible on the iraq side right now that if
prime minister abadi wins the next election, he has shown his willingness to reach out and deal with the sunni populations in iraq. i am much more concerned about the future of syria because what we're doing now is only focusing on raqqa and leaving the russians and assad to do what they want to do, and the net result of that -- >> rose: in terms of the "civil war." >> the civil war, safe zones, et cetera, and i think the net result is going to be the reemergence of a jihadist force in syria and that is why we can't fight i.s.i.s. in raqqa. we have to think about syrian diplomacy as our counterterrorism strategy. >> rose: you say two things that interest me in terms of what you said. i quote, the fundamental project of american foreign policy in the next two decades is to secure and sur stain american global leadership because i believe the a world america leads is a world where everybody is better off certainly our
interests and values are protected but our friends and people across the world are protected, for me, that's the cornerstone. my question, is are we losing that leadership and that respect around the world? >> i think it's hard to answer that question other than to say yes we are. >> rose: and you measure that by the reaction of the g20 when you get out to have the paris accord. you measure that in other ways where the world wants us to lead and act and we are not acting. >> i would say a second big area. the g-20 was a decisive moment where you could see the united states was on its back foot was not the central player, was not driving the agenda, was not shaping circumstances. so that is one. when europeans talk about the leader of the free world now they talk about angela merkel, not donald trump. that's a second example. third, i think in the asia-pacific right now, even though north korea is a critical issue and we have to stay on top
of it, our entire asia policy is essentially a north korea policy, to the exclusion of really focusing on almost anything else. and as a result -- >> rose: remember, president obama said to president-elect trump, your biggest problem will be north korea. >> and it is but we can't only deal with north korea to tex collusion -- >> rose: that's the nature of being president. >> -- to the rest of the world or the reengs particularly the asia-pacific. now chinese and indian forces are 100 yards away from one another pointing guns at each other. the possibility of these two major economies going to war would have dramatic impact on us. we're not paying attention to that. the chinese are expanding influence in the south china sea, a strategic waterway to the united states, we're not paying attention to that. so i think you can see in a lot of different place where is we aren't leading. but i will say this about american leadership, because i think this is very important, while i believe the united states must continue to lead a rules based global order, i also
believe we have to think about the leadership in a different way. it doesn't mean we call all the shots or absorb all the costs. what it means is we build coalitions to solve the big problems that we face that no country can solve on their own but that the united states of america has to be a part of solving or it won't get done. that is what i mean by leadership. it does mean a larger role for emerging countries and our allies and partners and our leadership has to be directed, just to tie the two parts of this conversation together, at solving the core problem that america faces which is how are we going to have an economy that works for everyone? if we can solve that problem through more principled, effective leadership, then we will have delivered not just for our people but a model -- >> rose: because we live in an independent world. you said on the domestic side i feel the fundamental question is whether a policy will contribute to strengthen the middle class on hollowing out the middle class, that is the question that i ask nor than any other
domestic policy. thank you for coming. pleasure to have you. >> thank you for requesting me. appreciate it. >> rose: jake sullivan for the hour. thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this program and earlier episodes, visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
this season of "martha stewart's cooking school" explores treasured recipes from an extraordinary part of the world -- the arabian gulf. join me in my kitchen as i celebrate its regional ingredients. we'll make rustic breads, mouthwatering desserts, and hearty stews with spices made famous by historic trade routes, learn new culinary techniques and creative tips for serving arabian gulf classics, from preparing small bites to showstopping dishes fit for any festive occasion. with its bold flavors and strong traditions, i've been inspired to get into the kitchen and add what i like to call a good thing to an already delicious cuisine. enjoy. "martha stewart's cooking school" is made possible by... ♪ announcer: al jazeera.