tv Washington Week PBS May 12, 2018 1:30am-2:00am PDT
robert: theummit is set, june 12 in singapore. presidt trump and the north korean leader together. i'm robert costa. we discuss the hopes and kallenges of u.s. foreign policy in norea and with the iran nuclear deal. tonight on "washington week." president trump: i'll be meeting with kim jong-un to pursue a future o peace and security for the world, for the whole world. barry: north korea frees three north northwestern detainees, clearing the way for the summit with kim jong-un. president trump: our biggest achievement wh will be when we denuclearize that entire region. robert: can the president convince the north korean leader
to stop his nuclear program and what will they expect in return? plus, one week after the u.s. pulse the iranian deal, a warning to iran. president trump: i advise iran not to restart their nlear program. robert: but the president of iran says ifma dipc means cannot solve -- come it with its own deal, iran may retaliate. we examine the global implications with per baker of "the new york times," shawna thomas of vice news, anne gearan of the "washington post" andle michael cr of politico. >> this is "washington week." corporate funding is provided by --
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>> additional funding is provided by cancer treatment ce aers ofrica. newman's own foundation, mnating all profits f newman's own food products to charity and noushing the common good. koo and patricia yuen for the yuen foundation, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. the excellence in ethics and journalism foundation, the corporation for public b broadcasting a contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again,sh from gton, moderator robert costa. robert: good evening. there was a thematic thread running through articleshi week from two of the sharp reporters who join us tonight. peter peter of "the new york times" said president trump was turning to his china-breaking instincts and upending diplomatic traditions.ne earan of the "washington post" wrote the the president
president, guided by his new secretary of state, mike pompeo andor security adv john bolt season now intent on making gut-driven decisions and taking an out of the bo approach that has re consequences for the world. by week's end mr. trump's moves remain hotly detected with his supporters praising him andad alchanting "knob bell prize" -- nobel prize at his meetings. on monday, the u.s. ambassador will home in juice lesm. earlier this week the u.s. removede itself from iran nuclear deal and three american prisoners who were being held in north korea were released. later, president trump plans sit down with the north korean leader kim jong-un.
mr. trump's message so far has been upbeat. to the chagrin of some republicans and democrats. president trump: i wanto thank kim jong-un, who was excellent to these three incredible people. >> it is so troubling to hear esident trump that kim jong-un treated the americans excellent lip. dictator.n is a >> i've been concerned lately about the rhetoc, calli him very honorable. we have to go in with our eyes wide open. robert: anne, you've been covering this all week. it's the two leaders, kim jong-u and president trump at the center of this diplomatic 'rsue. th driving it, personal diplomacy. why is it more about him than th process? anne: on kim's side it's always been about him because he's a
one-man dick to it air and a one-show country. for president trump, he's makint about him and meeting kim where he is. he understands that kim hathe power to make decisions unilaterally for c hisountry and president trump is turning the usual ditch lomatic process on its head and rather than workine up to ig summit where the leaders sign something that's been precooked, he's going to do it the other way around. here's a guy who can make a decision on the spot. i can make a decision on the spot maybe we can get a deal. robert: what will they deal look like? >> that's a great question.hn bolton, his new national security advisor hadaid before taking the job, everything that north korea has gets smmed on a boat to the united states and put in the nuclear facility at oak ridge, tennessee. and that's the oy thing they
should be zus discussing. obviously that's not what kim jong-un thinks he's with president trump and i don't think president trumphinks this is going to be solved in one day necessarily. but anne is right they're turning things on their head. they'll tn it over to the experts, hopefully. that's what condoleezza rice trade today. don't try to make a big deal about this one meeting. you e won't knowugh about the details and you'll get taken foi . the reason why it's kim and trump is because they're bot e-man shows in in administration, rex tillerson couldn't make aecision. i don't think mike pompeo can. it all comes down to donald trump. >> now at the very beginning of that negotiating process, even though secretary pompeo has been to north korea i gss twice now since we knew he was going to be secretary of state.
kim jong-un get his photo op. he getso have the handshake with president trump. in theory, the traveling press will be in the room and around the world people ll see him as someone who has the same statue your at the united states. giving that up at the beginning has issues. robert: that's an important point, he's looking forge preskim jong-un but also signaled this week he wants to make sure north korea as anom ec they're struggling and he knows ob he can improve trailed and get hear -- for his people and get somet income,uld change his own stake in power. michael: he could. the question is how far does that vision go? does he want to get the chokehold off so he doesn't have to worry about stramp vacation in the country, who are thinking to knock him out of the power or does he look
at the chinese way and say i can maintain an thorp tarnle season. i have -- authoritarian season. we can have b.m.w.'s and mercedes in the streets and people can be making money and aving a wealthy life sometime. china has set a very interesting example. we don't know his goal. there's a lot we don't know. whether he sees som i vision the near term of some reunificion with the south. there are so many questions.th one o other big questions is what, if any red line does donald trump have right now. something that strikes me in the president's talk is that he has learned this sevid. this walky phrase that's been cking around i political circles for years. president trump had an asian diplomat who pointed this out to me. complete, verifiable,
irreversible denucleare. there's no way to fudge that with a handshake and ap. photo that's serious business. >> someone aed president trump what does denuclearize mean to you? he saidhat's easy, he gets rid of his nukes. >> what john bolton said this week in talking i about tn deal, the economic association said they'reit complyingthe deal. he said you cannot say that unless you think they and the american intelligence agencies are verifiable. if that's the case, whoa how are we going to say it with north korea? hebert: if north korea puts denuclearize on table in singapore, what does the u.s. put on the table? removing the nearly 30,000 u.s. troops from the north korean peninsula? >> that's one option and i'm sure the north koreans would
love that and thether thing is opening up economic ties, allowing more money to throw -- flee into north korea so that they can be a bigger par of the world. it's got to be some combination of that is what kimgo ig to ask for but i think the idea that kim jong-un is going to put pwhat i thinkt -- most people consider denuclearize on the table seems like a fantasy to an extent aou when look at what's going on with iran, why would he? robert: we keep talking to be new secretary of statemp mike and john bolton, the security advisor. how different is u.s. policy that those two people are in those positionsamthan their principled sellsors? >> it's a complicated answer. they're both more hawki than the man they replaced. you really do have aontrast
between perform yo and tillerson but at the same time the president has veerped into in more conciliatory approach with north korea. i son those two jocks, you have very serious hawks. but the -- jobs you have very seriou hawks but the president is in a different place on this negotiation and that's whe you have to watch whether there's a potential rift. mike ppeo has seemed to be pretty much on board with what president trump is doing.he i think's a real possibility that john bolton is looking at all of this -- i guess the iran nuclear deal was the first big thing but ok, second big task and thinking boy, what is the president walking into? all bolton has been saying for months is you can't trust him. robert: do you sense tensions in reporting? >> i sense that people are waiting for it because the bounds of tha potential conflict are so clear. what is trump setting himself up
to do with north zphrea to have an ongoing negotiation about lowering or getting rf nuclear capability in exchange for economic regds -- rewards and some diplomatic opening. gee, that sounds very familiar and john bolton hated the iran deal because they thought that that architecture could never work and i find it hard to believe that he's super on boa with the idea that you could do the same thi with north korea. robert: how much for in president matters about the theater of the moment vs. the actual details that anne is talkin about. >> president trump, first of all, spent no time with government or the military before becoming the first president in american history. the advantage is he's not locked into the old ways of doing ings. he i flexible and he doesn't care that he's maybe seen as inconsistent. if he might have said something on a twitter field three months
ago and says something completely differehr months later, it doesn't bother him. he doesn't care much aut the details. he wants to make sure he has somethinghat seems like a win and something that won't fall apart before he leaves office if the details aren't there. but he's not a nuclear expert. he's never gone through this before. >> he drisn't neces need to come out of that meeting with kim jong-un with an actual concrete deal.e as long asn come out of it and say for his fans and a lot of other people, we mad progress and i got kim jeong up unto dupree to -- kim jong-un to agree to something. he will call that a win. >> there's an interesting phrase in military theory, you escalate to deescalate and donald trump in some ways escalated by freaking everybody out. it was a breakthrough issue. there was that false alarm in
hawaii where people were b runng b shelters. now that's behind us, people are breathing a sigh of relief and it feels like we're safe again and the details i think will be ss important in the kind of grand reality show that is the trum presidency than that emotional shift. robert: it is a shift. i remember last summer watching our phones as the president tweeted fire and fury about little rocket man and now reporters are planning tritches to singapore to cover the summit. what a country, diplomacy, you can't predictt. including what's happening in the middle east. iran is trying to salvage the nuclear deal it struck in 2015 and at the same time there has been a real spike in violence between iran and israel. israel claims it has destroyed almost a of iran's military capabilities in syria in retaliation for iranian mit attacks. meanwhile, interestingly, russia is playing the role of
intermediary in that conflict.as moscow significant stake here in syria. peter, you were the bureau chief in moscow for the "new york times." when you watch what' happening in the middle east between iran d israel and you see putin interjectsing himself, what disease that tell full? peter: putin wants to be the central player. indispensable man in effect on the world stage and we've given him a lot of opening in e middle east by pulling back some of our involvement there. true under president trump and also under president obama the last few years. he wants to be the person seen as the broker. what's important to memberre mber, she sort of iran's number one enabler right now. because he and iran have worked together to propp bashar assad in syria, they're changed the
dynamics ohaf where civil war was going prior to his involvement and upsended -- upedged the israel security issue. if irans in syria in a big way, they feel it very, very viscerally. >> great deal is confronting now something that was a very, very remote thought m five ore years ago, which is a perm innocents and very dangerous t them iranian presence on a border that was previously considered very safe and essentially is not set up f that kind of defense. that's yet another troubled border for steal andhey'll essentially be sandwiched by iranian proxies on two sides and their argoents t putin is you have to help us put iran in a
box here. i think very interesting and it takes us back to trump that israel is making that argument to russia, yes, to the united states too in a different way but the idea is hey, they can do it themselves. they don't need the united states to be their intermediary. and clearly netanyahu thinks putin hashe power to do it. robert: iran is a big story with what'sng happe in syria then president trump weighs in and makes his decision on the iran nuclear deal and it disrupts what's happening inside of iran. what do you make of that? the president there has been protective of the deal and trying to defend the process but he's under a lot of pressure inside of iran. >> he absolutely is barack obama's theory is that we could do a dl with an that would, among other things -- and people
forget one of the most important parents of the iran nuclear dea was netanyahu because in 2012 there was a real feeling that the iranians were going to strike the nuclear program. but also, can wetart to change the rhythm that we've had with iran that's been so poisone since the 1979 revolution and show the iranian people that these relative model rats who are reaching o to the west can do something and that the west can be trusted. the harinersay you can never trust the united states. na'il stab new the back. trump has validated the theory of the hard liner who say you can't trust the americans. they'll stab y in the back and trick you. and i think it does posere a to the power of, that again, relatively moderate a
reformist wing in iranian politics. robert: what does to this do to the price of oil abroad and to the companies making deals with iran? shawna: it does a couple of things. one of the things we did to bring everyone back to the table in 2013, 2005. , we the united states p a lot of sanctions on others, other banks and countries to punish them if they did deals with iran. one of the things w did was take some pressure off other countrieshao money cold flow and do the things that obama want told happenn iran. what the administration has said isre woing to put nose sanctions back on so companies like airbus have to decide, do we continue to do business with iran but lockes ourse out of the american financial market? most likely a company like airbus is going to say no, we
probably need america. o let's ke going. it allowed basically iran to sell more oilo other parts of the world and the price of oil has already started going up because of even unrt whether or not president trump would pull out of the deal. now oil prices are going up. -- the up. until be people who feel that the pump but for the most part, the u.s. doesn't doot of business with iran in general but gasoline prices, people might start to feel that robert: how much of this was about undoing t obama legacy? >> a lot of it. two things going on. president trump's core fundamental bleach to theas stefpbletthe one is that america has been shafted over the years. there's no deal basically since the 1980's that america hased he thought was good fluff. whether it's trailed or the in
deal. the second part is yes, everything obama did has a big, scarlet o. on it for him. whether it be his domestic or foreign policy. if obama did it, it must have been wrong. at was always going to be a problem for in iran deal. robert: the sim bloism of going against president obama's legacy and records seems to be a bing thing for the. what about the move of the u.s. moving its embassy to jerusalem. anotr sim lolic -- symbolic move. >> yes, this move will happen on mondayhe day symbolically for them. and there we have trump not only going againsthat obama did but what two previous presidents before obamaimmed as well and
trump said it himselfre in his rks. he said over and over again presidents and administrations have sd they would do this. they promised and they didn't do it and i going to do it. yes, he wants to do it. he thinks it's theng right t and he's surrounded by advisors who think he's it's rights think to -- thing to do but that idea that he could do something by himself that other presidents and separations --st admitions before him had not was clearly appealing. >> his favorite. words are first, most, best. anything that qualifies for superlates. i'm tirst to do. i'm going to do what nobody else did. >> another rationale against syria, his feeling that barack obama wouldn't do it. he probably was the first to order force against syria. he felt like obama walked up to
the famous red line dumective and loved the fact he did the thing that obama wouldn't do. >> even tept he said obama shouldn't do it. >> s needless t he follows through on his campaign promises. pulling out of the iran deal was a campaign promise. moving the embassy out of -- to jeers lem because campaign nomise. he's b running for office since he took office and that orays well. robert: thank you joining us and stay tuned for "in principle" where we'll hearrm fm mayor mitch landrieu, apo ible presidential candidate in 2020. our conversation continues, as ever, online on the "washington week" extra where we'll review the confirmation hearis for gina haspel, president trump's nomination for the c.i.a. find that later at
pbs.org/"washington week." robert costa. have a great weekend and happy mother's day to your mom and my mom. >> funng f "washington week" is provided by -- >> their leadership isct instine. they understand the challenges of today and research the technologies of tomorrow. some call them veterans. we call them part of our tea >> additional funding is provided by --
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