tv BBC World News America PBS December 20, 2018 2:30pm-3:00pm PST
>> this is "bbc world news america." funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, and kovler foundation, pursuing solutions r america's neglected needs. >> this fall, it is a season of revelations, from the choice of america's favorite novel >> it's 100 books we want people to take a look at. we are hoping to get people to fall in love with novels again. >> to the fate of a hero's love. >> i'm still here. >> a >> from the secret lives of the most amazing cats to new discoveries about the first peoples of the americas.
>> our history goes back to the beginning of time. >> all this and more, this season. >> andow, "bbc world news." jane: this is "bbc world news america." reporting fr washington, i am jane o'brien. president trp stands by his death defense secretary -- fense secretary james mattis is retiring. travelht nigre at one of britain's busiest airports. tens of thousands of passengers have had their plans disrupted by drones. bringing one roof.tions under the charityng providing hou for grandparents bringing up their grandchildren.
jane: welcome to our viewers on public television in america and around the globe. in the past few minutes, president trump has tweeted that defense secretary general jim mattis is retiring. he said, "general jim mattis will be retiring with distinction athe end of february can having served as secretary of defense for the past two." yea we are happy to have with us former secretary of defense willm cohen. takee. you for joining how big a loss to the will theration -- general mattis' departure? >> think a big loss. he helped them with nato and t but i don't know how many eithet insults or prons of advice secretary mattis could take. you may recall that when the entire national security apparatus of the unitestates
said t russians attacked us and they deliberrfely try to ine and did interfere in the election system from the president said "i believe president pin" rather than the intelligence committee. enecretary mattis and others recommended not going forward in north korea until there was an ement on what each side meant by the terms, that was rejected. he was upset thapresident chose to send troops pending thanks giving to the border. i think it was just a straw too heavy for him to bear -- namely, to rejected the recommendation aboukeeping a sufficient force to really defeat is as opposed to this false declaration that we won and now it is we arin tired of figand it is somebody else's burden. that was one-mile too far for him to walk given his courage in his battle experience, and his scholarship. he couldn't take it.
jane: you know him well and spoke for him at his nomination for the u. making this sound like a resignation, not a retirement. mr. cohen: it is a resignation in my mind. jane: s but it h a critical moment. we have syria and the growing threatcorom china. mrn: it is serious because the president rejected not only secretary of he rejected or overruled the chairman of the joint chiefs, general munford. the overruled his secretary of state. basically deciding i kno what then they know and my pledge to my support more important than the strategic importance of what our troops mean in syria. i think we just saw tt a former national security advisor flynn was berated by the judges for betraying untry. i think this is a betrayal of theyrian forces who have been fighting against isis and especially the kurds. it has opened the door for iran andin cer assad and the
russians and others to hav a bloodbath against the people we have been supporting and have relied upoisus. i think s simply a case where, mr. president, i will stay until february, i will try to wk the budget, i will try to expand to our allies what we are doing, but i cannot stay any longer. jane: in the last few seconds jim mattis said these president es somebody with views better aligned to his. who might that be? mr. cohe i don't know who it would be, but whomever it is you should be prepared to have your advice if it is based on politi, but on the merits be idepared to have your advice rejected by the prt because he knows best. it is in his power to overrule the secretary of defense and anyone in his cabinet serves at the pleasure of the president. but i would like to see the congress, as soon as 2019 gets here, have congress called a
public hearing and have secretary mattis come and testify,, testify in open session and told the american people what is at stake for us and put them in front of the american people and say this is what your president has done keep ase pro when we have promised the kurds and the syrians who are fighting for their lives to walk away from that. jane: we will talk about syria in a minute, but getting back to general mattis and his position in the administratioyou think he was a bulwark against some of the president's more impetuous impulses? mr. cohen: i believe he was. i believe he and general kelly and others have been gritting their teeth for a long long time in terms of decisions that were made, decisions about to be made , and they played a key role in preventing them from taking place. the president rejects that. his ruffled by the notion that he is in any way impetuous or
rash. we have seen over the last two years and pressure wasabi carried out -- impetuousity carried out at a high level and to the detriment of our security. of the about a wall united states? jane: secretary cohen, stay with us. we will come back to syria. we just heard the announcement, secretary mattis' departure comes as president trump has anunced the withdrawal of troops from syria. th a tweet he said that the u.s. does not want to bpolice that of the middle east -- police man of the middle east, but his decision has been criticized by allies and lawmakers. our correspondent mark lowen reports from turkey. ♪ ma: today's military flourish inar ank was all the more upbeat.
isthe tuand iranian presidents got what they wanted -- the u.s. out of syria. donald trump'sfr withdrawal eeze them up to extend their influence and pursue their own aims in the war-ravaged country. president erdogan insisted he sants to bring syria' fighting to an end and establish peace. but he has other targets, too. the syri kurdish militia, or ypg, have fought side-by-side with american troops, battling and dying against so-called islamic state. the turkish government says they e terrorists linked to banned kurdish militants in turkey. military protected them until now. they face an imminent threat of an offensive against them. we followed turkey'sast offensive against the kurdish ypg in january. we are patrolling the front line with t troops.
just a few hundred meters in that direction from where they fire artillery. then turkish troops drove the ypg out of the syrian town of afrin. now turkey will see the u.s. withdrawal as a green light to expel them elsewhere. some omr. trump's own senators say that is no way to treat a partr. >> it is in our national security interest not to withdraw at this time, in my view, because if you do so now, the rdish fighters, kurdish forces will be decimated by turkey, assad, or maybe isis. crk: the move will allow russia control inits syria, bolstering the assad regime. host annual end-of-year press conference, vladimir putin knows syria is going his way. pres. putin:is the presence of american forces necessary? i think not. let us not forget that their presence is not legitimate.
itif the u.s. decides toraw forces, that is correct. mark: while most of the trump administration and u.s. allies were not forewarned about the plan, turkey perhaps was. president erdogan pressuring donald trump last week. i.s. still has an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 fighters, and if you're is that a premature american withdrawal on turkey's terms might allow jihadists to rear their head again. mark lowen, bbc news, istanbul. jane:ormer defense secretary william cohen is still with me. i'm reading general mattis' resignation letter and he talks about alliances and partnerships. where does pulling out ofle syra e the u.s.-led coalition? mr. cohen: i think it leaves it in a very damaged sition. the united states has been the leader of putting those coalitions together. countries from japan and australia to norway d others
throughout europe, no countries. you have hadany -- interpol and others have been involventin trying to n and defeat isis. when we pull o under these circumstances, say victory, we have defeated them, which according to senator graham is fake news, a lie, and then they changed the rationale and it is burden, thatse's will cause a problem for us and will be ase cence to the alliance in the future. who is going to rely upon us? m i come f world in which her word is your bond. our worst to our friends than we are to our foes. once again, president putin says good job, president trump. we didn't invade your country with our attack upon your system. good job, mr. president. this is going to undermine our credibility in the world and our
reliability. undone, whenome people start to die, in major bloodletting, you can say here is the reason why and the responsibility is at your doorstep. jane: senator lindsey graham, senior republican, tweeted that president trump should please listen to his infense team and lligence chief of the that would include jim mattis. ldwhat wim mattis have been saying to the president, and why is he not listening? mr. cohen: i suspect that secretaryd mattis wo say, mr. president, tremendous gains against isis. we are not there yet. still 20,000, perhaps eve more, isis fighters. if we leave, they will come back like weeds and sonead their po we have got to stay until there was a political settlement. as negotiations are underway. we have just removed leverage.
unless the president has commitment from russia and erdogan and assad, of all people, to say that they have a political solution, where is our leverage on the way out? i suspect discussing this with secretary mattis specifically, he wou recommend, mr. president, let's not pullout now. we his question of timing and the question of the process, whereby we consult with r allies and capitol hill friendsn discuss this in a way that is responsible. it was done for a political reason. i think there's a lot of t bad nes week and this is another attempt to change the jane: getting to the point that he thinks he deso ves somebody more aligned with his way of thinking, do you think this is a major shift in u.s. policy towards the middle east? are we going to see some thing similar in afghanistan, perhaps? mr. cohen: the has said, according to secretary mattis' is based statement, i agree with you, we should not be the
placement of the world -- policeman of the will. ini that is true, but we cannot be the prisoner of world events. when we remove our presenc bad things will take place. yes, we don't want to be the world's police man, but we have afvital role to play in the world to keep itand to keep the dangerous for away from our borders as possible. on our southern border, they are in the middle east in the most volatile place in the world right now and we are removing our presence there. if you listeesto what the ent saying, "i am tired of being in afghanistan and iraq," it might go out to south korea and japan as well when he says i don't like our troops being there either. i think we will have a real problem in the years ahead about our reliability and could ability. jane: secretary cohen, thank you for joining me. as if there wasn't enough drama, there is turbulence in russian politics, namely the guessing
game over whether the parliament will shut down by the end of the week. it looks as though that could een averted, but to date things to return and republicans -- took a turn and republicans say the president will not sign a bill to continue funding. spoke to anthony zurcher a short time ago. how have we reached this point again? anthony: just last night the tsenate passed a resolutit would fund the government through february. but donald trump's conservative base and media outlets were in an uproar. they thought he was backing down. th he started to hear -- then you started to hear from consertive members of the house of representatives that they did not want to vote for this continuing resolution that the senate passed. by midmorning there were umindications from donald that he was changing his mind and now he says he wants to have $5 billion in wall funding or metal slat funding before he will sign a continuing resolution. unless there is a change, we could be looking at a partial shutdown.
jane: if he cannot get his wall funding through now, h difficult is it going to be to kick this down the road when the democrats take control next year? anthony: orders of magnitude more difficult, which is why this fight is happening now and why conservatives thinking about it say we need to draw a line in the sand because there will be 40 more democrats in the house of representatives and nancy pelosi will be running things arting january 3. republicans, if they wanted to make this a priority, could have done it mucharlier. they put it off till the last minute, and now donald trump is hearing, you campaign on this, this is showing you are weak and you cannot get a wall bu he is having second thoughts about that. we are going to have wall showdowns into next year but the democrats will have a stronger hand. jane: but, anthony, a shutdown -- the last time the republicans were blamed fothshutting down government they got walloped in the polls. could this backfire? anthony: it definitely could backfire, especially since nancy pelosi and chuck schumer last
week were able to get donald trump to say he was willing to shut down the government and would take rponsibility over that over border security and thwall. he thinks that this is a subject the public would rallyitround becauss an issue of national security, but we had an election in november wre he tried to make immigration an ise in the last 40 seats. jane: you are watching "bbc world news america still to come on tonight's program,o end to the holiday travel chaos dronesroded flights at gatwick airport. cuba and the united states have ached an agreement to allow cuban baseball players to play nationally in the u.s. for the first time. -- professionally in the u.s. for the first time. until now a good adjoin major-league teams in the u.s. only if they effected. ♪ reporter: baseball is america's
pastime, but the sport has long been popn cuba as well were even fidel castro was known to run bases. decad thoseive, who made it to cuba's big-league faced a difficult choice -- stay in the country , earning sometimes as little as $50 a e month, or defect to ited states in the hopes of making it big in the major leagues. ig, who made his way to the los angeles dodgers via a human trafficker who subjected him to appalling conditions. it is situations like is that prompted major league baseball and cuban authorities to reach an agreement. cubanlayers above the age of 35 left late in the cuban league for six years will no longer have to dect to play in the major leagues. >> this is a secure way we have
always dreamed of fo children and her family's, that our athletes can johe any leak in mlb. reporter: officials say they happen granted government approval for u.s. and cuban authorities. some cuban-americans who want the u.s. to continue to exert pressure on the communist country have been angered. in a tweet, u.s. senator marco rubio called for a state departmentnvestigation into the agreement. but in our country that can ofte sm -- a country that can often seem like a blast from the past,ffials say they hope the terms will offer future cuban sluggers the taste of american home run glory. kim gittleson, bbc news. jane:aw the holiday g has descended into chaos for tens of thousands of passengers the u.k.
because of drones being flown over one of its busiest airports. flights have been grounded at london gatwick since last night army and police tried t deal with the situation. they said it was a deliberate act of disruption, as duncan kennedy reports. duncan: these are unprecedented scenes at a major british airport. thousands of people grounded because of a drone. gatwick's destinatioppboard was peered with cancellation signs. queues of passengers wai depart stretched for more than 100 meters across the concourse. o me people did make it onto planes from only told they were not taking off. >> my apologies. thank you for aring with us. duncan: nicola and herartner from london spent 8 wours on a plah their 15-month-old daughter before being told it was canceled. >> didn't even get out of the plane. we were just stuck on the plane for eight hours.
>> with the baby. >> with the baby. and we now have no luggage. duncan: we have heard stories like that ofhe misery and disruption this has caused all day long at gatwick. by the end of the day, something like 800 flights will have been canceled or delayed involving 100,000 passengers. police spent all day searching for the drone and its operator. this team of armed officers was seen near the perimeter fence. it was not clear if officers have been given orders to shoot at the drone. we also fild these police otters on the roof. theyre among dozens trying to locate the drone. >> each ti we get closer to the operator the drone dippears. absotely convinced it is a deliberate act to disrupt gatwick airport. duncan: tonight the government announced that the military will be steppg in to help the lice at gatwick.
the misery has continued all day for families. urprisemeant to be a pre-christmas flight. >> children had not been told up to today. it had all been all canceled. >> would have been a nice experience. obviously someone had to go and spoil it for everyone. duncan: britain's second airport hihas been the target of t incident for 24 hours.rn a major inteional flying hub brought to a standstill by a device no bigger than a dustbin lid. duncan kennedy, bbc news, gatwick airport. ne: as the holiday season gets into full swing, many of us are looking forward to spending time with family. but when moms and dads can't be there to bring up theirof children, it in grandparents who step in. we charity supporting the work they doh housing for the over 55 with children.
the bbc has been to meet two grand families in washin d.c. >> we have seen housing for single mothers and veterans, but to have housing for grandparents that are raising their grandchildren? that is unheard of. >> we have been together since he was four months. my son is his father. my son got locked up. his mom did not have the patience to deal with him but when he got locked up i knew that, oh my god, it is all on me. i got to adjust to thiti gene.io
this generis different from my own children's generation. >> it was always me, m daughter, and my two grandkids. so i basically raised them even when they was born. only different thing that changed is that their mother is not here now. everybody worried about, oh my wgod, hl i pay bills? rethe amount o i was paying.ma >> graas always taking care of the grandchildren if thu parents werenable to step into that role. i think now as a society we are finally highlighting this group
that has been doing this amazing work for centuries. >> everybody out there doing the christmas shopping. >> i have seen her outside a couple of times. outside, --ington seen ms. washington, outsie asked me, does she live here, and she said yes. we started talking. she got a boy and girl, i got a boy. >> ever since then -- >> ever since then we have been friecause we have got something in common. >> i never felt this kind of love and happiness before. i'm not lonely anymore, because i know that i see for myself that there is a lot of grandparents in the same situation. jane: and i hope they all have a happy and peaceful holiday together. you nen find all the day'
website, including the latest on the resignation of defense secretary jim mattis. i am jane o'brien. thanks for watching orld news america." >> with the bbc news app, our vertical videos are designed to work and your lifestyle, so you can swipe your way through the news of the day and stay up-to-date with the latest headlines yocan trust. download now from selected app stores. >> funding of th presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, and kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. >> a new chapter begins. >> now you can access more of your favorite pbs shows than ever before, with pbs passport, a member nefit that lets you binge many of the latest shows and catch uu on yfavorites. >> we really are living in the modern world.
captioning sponsed by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, tiother shakeup at the top of the trump administ. secretary of defense james mattis resig saying the president deserves someone whose views are better aligned with his.en scrambling to avoid a government shutdown. president trump's demands for a border wall underscore a divide in the g.o.p. and bring negotiators to the precipice. plus, a major shift on immigration. tnew deal will force immigrants seeking legal asylwait inco meor months, maybe years, while the u.s. processes their claims. and, ancient wetlands believed to have been the garden of eden are now evaporating, leaving iraq facing a water crisis.