tv Amanpour on PBS PBS May 24, 2018 12:00am-12:30am PDT
welcome to "amanpour" on pbs. tonight, trump versus china. who would win a trade war? as beijing's top diplomat arrives in washington for talks, the former deputy governor of the bank of england paul tucker tells me both sides are playing with fire. plus -- he's the pulitzer prize winner author behind the book and hit tv serious "looming tower." lawrence wright joins me with a new book "god save texas" and why minorities in america could change its political future. good evening, everyone. welcome to the program.
i'm christiane amanpour in london. will it happen or won't it? president trump says today that he'll know more next week about the fate of his planned singapore summit with north korean leader kim jong-un. secretary of state me pompeo says planning is going ahead, this as he meets the chinese foreign minute wang yi for talks on north korea, but also on u.s./china trade issues. the two most powerful economies in the world are playing with fire according to my first guest tonight. a fire that could spark a full-fledged trade war, even inadvertently. paul tucker helped steer the uk through the worst of the global financial crisis when he was deputy governor of the bank of england, which is britain's version of the federal reserve. he has now written a book called "unelected power: the quest for legitimacy in central banking and the regulatory state." in it he warns of the current economic dangers, and he
chronicles the rise of populism. he tells me that hard times can often turn regular people into proponents of protectionism, only to find that they are the losers in the end. paul tucker, welcome to the program. >> thank you for having me. >> there are a lot of ups and downs between the united states and china when it comes to trade right now. do you think the ultimate it can happen? that is a trade war between these two behemoths. >> they could fall into it by accident. i don't think china wants a trade war. i don't think america wants a trade war, but you can see a scenario where they do and my greatest worry would be if it gets to that point, which i hope it and don't think it will, but if it does, that china will think they can win. in those circumstances i would expect to see you areas of policy connected. if i were the chinese, and i wanted to tip the president of the united states into making mistakes, i wouldn't do something in the economics fare. i would do something in the kind of defense sphere. something in the south china sea.
so as to rally free trade republicans behind a not-so-free trade president. >> so you're say thanksgiving could be really provocative in an area the u.s. is really upset about, that is the south china sea, the disputed islands, the buildup of their military to galvanize -- >> if they reach the point jumping this is the point of no return on trade. i think the hurdle for doing that would be incredibly high and i'm not a defense expert, but what i know is that in really hard international negotiations, everything can come in to play. >> now, president trump values himself and is constantly touting him as the world's greatest negotiator. his sort of tough speech and then soft speech, whether to president xi or indeed to the leader of north korea are indicative of how he sees the game of negotiation. you're sitting in the united
states for much of the year at harvard examining and watching all of this. what do you think is at play? what is at stake right now in the world order? >> oh, first of all, he may succeed. i don't want to rule out that he succeeds, and his approach to deal making may work, but it will be a high-stakes gamble, and it won't be a gamble over a property deal. it will be a gamble over global economic prosperity and, therefore, american and european economic prosperity, and it will be, could end up being, a gamble over the balance of power. in the world more generally. so the stakes are incredibly high. as i said, i don't think it will get that far. you know, these aren't two small countries playing tit for tat with each other. these are the two biggest and most powerful countries in the world. >> what do you think is going on between the u.s. and china right now? >> playing with fire. >> playing with fire? >> playing with fire. that's not to say there will be a fire.
they may end up in a good place, and maybe -- maybe -- the only way to get china to make some concessions is to play with fire, but this could end up in a bad place. >> who's playing with fire? who's lit the match? >> i think the united states. and it looks as though the united states, but after years of some provocation, the need to fix global trade, the imbalances in the international economy, that's 25 years old. and eventually the united states is being provoked, but in a rather dramatic way. >> what should the reaction be? how does one, you know, fix this imbalance without lighting a fire? >> so the worst consequences would be almost a collapse in world trade, and i think that would hurt the american people more than it would hurt the chinese people. you've got some egos, on both sides. >> you mean president xi and trump? >> yes, yes. >> sort of vying for economic supremacy? >> yes.
and whatever thinks of the two individuals, they're human. and humans can suffer pride and make mistakes and neither of them is probably terribly constrained. >> and many sitting in your positions and others, believe that this president is about to break the world order that has governed this world and was created by the united states after world war ii. do you think that's true? >> i think it's been fractured a bit already. not fatally. it can be put back together, and actually, most of me believes that as the new administration confronts these situations they will find value in the world order nap they will understand the importance to america and the world of the way america keeps the sea lanes open. the law of the sea is something that they underpin. europe is not some irrelevance,
but actually the most important partner in the world that they could have. >> let's move on to the iran nuclear deal, because now we have the u.s. in conflict, really, economic conflict, political conflict, with its biggest ally and trading partner, europe. which wants to continue the business with iran as set out under the 2015 deal, but which is being threatened by the united states. we've had the secretary of state threaten. we've had the president himself threaten europeans if they continue doing business with iran. >> well, first of all, this is a big problem for europe. and for european companies. if -- they're at risk, if they follow their government's lead, of continuing to trade with iran and finding themselves, to put it at its lightest, persona non grata in the united states. breaching us sanctions or being accused of breaching u.s. sanctions is a very big deal. >> i see, you know, analysts and experts saying, europe needs not to act like america's patsy.
it needs to stand up and understand that it's a big, powerful economic bloc and if it's being threatened by the united states, it needs to stand up and refuse to take that. do they have the methods to do it? >> i mean, yes, but they're all harsh and risky methods, but behind that, yes, europe is a big economic bloc, but one that chose hand to outsource defenses after the second world war. that's why this is so serious. deep down, there is a risk of fracturing what has been "the" key access in the post-second world war, world, and stakes couldn't be higher, really. >> so how do you see it, then from your previous perch as deputy governor of the bank of england? given what you've just written, the book about unelected power that these central bankers have, how much of a problem was that
and how much of a sort of a follow-on are we seeing from the 2008 financial crisis? >> i think we need to get away from a world where our solution to everything is, hey! t' g mor resnsibility to the unelected people. they seem quite good, and it shifts blame. it's very tempting for elected politicians to look to my tribe and say you do more. and my tribe needs to learn to say, no, no. sometimes you do more. >> what might have been the result had that attitude been around in 2008? >> i think that elected politicians might have done more to help restore economic growth, and congress could have done more if they had provided more stimulus to the economy and made the investment in american infrastructure that is, you know, any visitor can tell you, is badly needed. >> which is what many liberal commentators say. people like paul krugman are always saying it should have been more stimulus, less
austerity. are you saying that from your vantage point? >> it's not just left commentators. on the right there were people like marty feldstein calling for more infrastructure expenditure, probably not paid for debt, not debt-financed, but nevertheless the underlying impulse was the same. it was a missed opportunity five, six years ago, and it was a missed opportunity because it's convenient in the short run, politicians, to sit on their hands, because they know that the central banks, the fed, the ecb, my goodness, true in europe. will have to re-invent themselves as the u.s. cavalry. >> i'm fascinated. because president trump is constantly touting the stock market, the dow jones. it's been doing really well the entire time he's been in office, with some ups and downs. in fact today is a bit of down with global stocks and shares. and yet you've written correctly in the book that actually most
people, most ordinary people don't he shares. so what's the disconnect there done to the ordinary people? >> in this country, we're spking in the united kingdom, they don't and in continental europe, few do. but in the united states many, many more do, including through their pension plans. that's something i observed over many years, policy makers, elected or unelected, they're very sensitive to falls in the stock market. i used to tease them, you'll respond when the stock market falls. back to where we began. i mean, the first sign, the first real, hard sign of a trade war getting out of control will be a fall in the stock market. that will take the gloss off one of the things that has felt to make the administration popular with its base. >> and that is what we're seeing today? a little bit of today. it will probably recover and rebound and go up and down, but, again, let's talk about great britain. where not many people actually are in the stock market. don't have shares. >> the people in the middle, the people who rely on and from modest income from modest
savings, they haven't done brilliantly out of the policies that people like me pursued. people lower down on the income scale, many of them are safe from unemployment and of course the rich have done well. i don't think that means that quantitative easing was a mistake. i think frankly it helped avoid the vortex of the 1930s depression. that is no small thing, but wouldn't it have been better everywhere if parliaments, congress had stepped up and said well, we're going to do a bit of redistribution so that people don't -- so that we select the losers and the winners, rather than the people down in the central banks. >> fascinating. i don't think this story is over. i was told in france, for instance, that even though president macron won in this economic climate, in this anti-globalization climate, in this climate of the rise of populism, that unless he delivers economically.
>> yeah. >> his own people are saying, is these populists like marine le pen and others are waiting in ambush. their quote. >> he has to suck seed. he has to succeed. the sake in the united states. there are many people kind of are disenchanted with president trump. if he fails, the next round may be even worse on either the right or the left. we don't really know how to operate full franchise democracy successfully in a world with very low growth, and the reason for that is, if you have zero growth, it's a zero sum game. you're already better off if i'm worse off. we, in this room, in this studio are better off if everybody outside is it worse off. this country is only better off if the rest of the world is worse off. zip, zero growth is toxic, and the biggest problem we all face is reviving dynamism and productivity growth and no one has a magic wand for doing that. at the at least of all, my tribe.
the tribe of central bankers can deliver stability but can't deliver prosperity. >> paul tucker, thanks very much indeed. >> thank you. >> indeed, we can never predict how these global economic trends or geostrategy will play out actually on the ground. but last night's primary election hints that a change may be rippling through texas. for the very first time, democrats there chose a latina. a former dallas county sheriff lupe valdez to run against the state's deeply conservative and highly popular republican governor greg abbott. valdez is also texas' first openly gay nominee for governor and while it may seem like political suicide, consider this -- texas, like california, is a majority minority state, with a booming hispanic population. america's largest red state could soon flip blue. that is according to my next
guest, lawrence wright. he's the award-winning writer, reporter. his 2006 book "looming tower" is widely considered the definitive account of events leading up to 9/11, and is now a popular tv drama in hulu. in his new book, "god save texas," wright sees america's future taking shape in his home state. and i spoke with him when he was here in london recently for the book's uk release. welcome to the program. >> thank you. >> now listen, your book, "god save texas: the journey into the soul of the lone star state" purports to say texas is the center of the universe. >> well, n of the universe, perhaps, but of america for sure. >> how so? >> well, texas is the future. it's growing faster than any other state. by 2050 it's projected to double in size, at which time it will
be about the size of california and new york combined. >> that's huge. >> it's already 10% of all the school children in america are texans. >> look, it is a controversial state. you yourself refer to that. >> yes. >> is that a good thing for america? that it's going to dominate the united states? >> it's good and bad. you know, on the good side, texas is a great job creator. in the last quarter of last year, texas grew 5.2%. there wasn't a single other state except for idaho that got into 4%. so you know, people come to texas for the jobs. >> what about politically? you've written, many have written, once the south including texas was democrat and then it went very republican and in some cases very sort of back tolt future, so to speak. quite right wing, quite conservative. >> right. >> and dragging the rest of the country with it when it comes to big elections, but you say it should actually be a blue state? in other words, democrat? >> well, texas is a majority minority state. has that in common with
california and, of course, california is the largest state and also the largest blue state. largest democratic state. and texas is the largest republican state. they're very similar demographically, but totally opposite in, what's the difference hispanics vote in california and they don't in texas. >> is that the difference? in other words, if they all came out, would it be a blue state? >> oh, yeah. >> hard to figure out why it's a minority majority state and still largely republican? >> i've wondered. here's my analysis. you know, there are 29 million texans and 19 million of them were registered to vote in the presidential election. only 9 million did vote. so they took the trouble to register, but not to actually go cast their ballot. and, of course, you know, donald trump and hillary clinton were the least popular candidates in the history of american presidential elections. so there was that. but i think in the whole modern history of texas, there has not
been a compelling candidate who spoke to the disenfranchised especially hispanic voters who would go have a reason to go out and vote, and when that day arrives, texas could turn blue really quickly. and demographically it already should be. >> you grew up in texas. >> yep. >> was it always a source of pride for you, growing up in texas? >> not at all. i was in dallas when kennedy was killed. and it was a tremendous stigma. one of the reasons i fled the state, you know, shortly after that, because having -- you know, even being from texas at large, but especially being from dallas. dallas was taken down like no other american city in our history. >> all of after the assassination? >> yeah. and the idea -- i really felt alienated from the political scene in dallas, which was extremely right wing. but it was not a right winger that killed kennedy. it was a marxist and i had no idea we had a marxist in dallas. i hardly new any democrats, but
it was -- it was awful being from dallas and being from texas then, and you know, and then when lyndon johnson was president. it was -- such, a lot of sneering that went on because of his accent and i know how self-conscious i felt the first time i heard myself trying to anish in language lab and talking through my nose like a real texan. i was done with that accent. >> and still have the accent, i can acquire it when needed. >> talking it now. did you once banish it and bring it back? >> listen, the way i'm speaking now, when you're in north texas and dallas you talk through your nose and talk a little bit like that and i decided that was not going to be me. >> well, you know, in the book you do talk about your history. you had ancestors that fought in the confederacy, fought for that. >> right. >> you kept a portrait. you were young, of general robert lee on your bedroom wall. >> yeah. >> and then you went on to cover
the civil rights movement and all the rest and said, i still feel ashamed of the prejudices that i struggled to shed. >> yeah. >> what was the biggest prejudice you had to shed? >> i think that this -- i thought people of other races were strange. and not -- that i couldn't relate to them, and they were exotic. the only black person that i knew at all was our weekly maid. i went through the entire public education in texas without ever having a single black classmate, and this was years after brown versus board of education. you know, texas -- the whole south, fought integration and successfully for so many years. so you know, people of color were kind of frightening to me in their exoticness. >> what switched you to a more rational view of your fellow human beings? >> well, you know, of course, i spent a couple of years living in cairo and to the point where i learned something about
foreign cultures and i loved my students so much. and then after that, i went to work for race relations reporter, covering the civil rights movement, and seeing the nobility of that cause it was so stirring to me. i think, you know, sense the revolution, since the american revolution, greatest accomplish ment in our history. >> everybody is trying to grapple what's happened to our system. whether it's terrible polarization and just this real sort of stress that's around. and i wonder what you make, again, this is talking about your book. this was cecile richards of planned parenthood and she is quoting evan smith, who in your book says white people are scared of change, believing that what they have is being taken away from them. in 2004, the angelo population of texas became a minority, you just said, and no coincidence social conservatives who ruled the state two decades have continued to look backward.
>> they would like to have gays back in the closet. you know? not just no gay marriage. just want to -- eliminate the identity of homosexuals. it's nuts to some extend. this one character i write about in the book. he's talking about how they're propagating sodomy in the kindergartens. well, it's nonsense, but he is one of the main funders of the party, of the republican party. and eliminate abortion entirely? you know, remove government from almost all walks of life, even down to the security cameras on the traffic lights. you know, get out of the u.n. i mean, these are -- things that i heard about as a child in the '50s, and now this agenda has come back, and it's -- in my opinion, the republican party at large, you know, has been ripped apart and essentially is, donald trump has run away with it and the republican party in texas
has taken an overdose of some kind of hallucinogen that makes them think they can antagonize 40% of the population, the hispanics, with show me your papers revision, and then alienate young people who are so much more tolerant and so past the whole thing about homosexuals. a recent state convention of the republican party they refused to seat the log cabin republicans, the gay republicans. we're in another millennium, and yet, you know, that's what evan was talking about. >> exactly. and i wonder if you can reflect, then, that it's having potentially an equal but opposite affect on the democratic party? the moderate democrats lost in their primaries, and the very left wing democrats won. so you are having, again, in both parties, this massive polarization. where is there any hope? how does one ever get back to what we're told the majority prefers which is somewhere in
the middle? >> you have to have the candidates that speak to that, and i can only say about texas, we haven't had those people. there's an interesting race going on right now, ted cruz is facing, for the, really quite powerful challenger in beto o'rourke, who has outraised him in terms of money which is really surprising and is within the margin of error right now in terms of the polling. and he's a democrat. he's from el paso. we haven't elected -- haven't elected a democrat state-wide office in more than 20 years, and we've never elected anybody from el paso. i don't know why that is. but he's a very appealing candidate. and quite talented. just the kind of candidate that we need more of in both parties, who are willing to speak to the center, which feels so hollowed out right now. >> what do you make of the latest study that came out that basically scientifically showed some of what i was talking about.
that it's a bit of a whitelash. this election of donald trump. which is what van jones, political commentator said on the night of the election. but it wasn't about a fear of losing jobs or being unemployed or economic, you know, their salaries or anything. it was mostly white, christian america didn't want things to change. >> i think it's true. throughout american history, the -- the politics of resentment has always played a big role, and i certainly understood that as a child in dallas. the idea that the eastern establishment as we called it was, you know, sneered at, looks down at us and fighting our values, and so we reacted against it, and that's still a feature of politics all over the country and who feels that resentment? who feels marginalized? well, it's the people who are in favor of -- you know, who oppose abortion. the people who are evangelical christians.
white men who have lost their jobs. you know, this is a -- it's a broad swath of america and they feel -- despised. and trump gives voice to their complaints. and that's why they've turned to him. >> on that note, lawrence wright, thank you very much indeed. >> my pleasurechristiane. remarkable insight. into the trends shaping america and of course our world. that is it for our program tonight. thanks for watching "amanpour" on pbs. join us again tomorrow night.
katty: you're watching "beyond 100 days" on pbs. how big is the swamp? a bbc investigation reveals claims that donald trump's lawyer was paid $400,000 to fix a meeting with the ukraine president. christian: he denied the claims for access to the president of the united states. katty: there is no suggestion in our report that president trump knew of the deal, but it could mean legal trouble for mr. cohen. a new poll shows the majority of americans don't trust the russia probe. >> bob mueller is an honorable guy. a combat marine. somebody who served h