tv The Mc Laughlin Group CBS April 24, 2016 11:30am-11:59am EDT
just gotta get the check. almost there. i can't reach it. if you have alligator arms, you avoid picking up the check. what? it's what you do. i got this. thanks, dennis! if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. growwwlph. it's what you do. oh that is good crispy duck. >> from washington, the mclaughlin group. the american original. for over three decades, the
>> issue one. taliban terror. chaos returns to afghanistan's capital kabul this week. taliban attackers killed at least 64 people and injured hundreds more. detonating a car bomb and then spraying gunfire into the crowd, the taliban sought to maximize casualties, and the suffering is likely to continue. the taliban claim the attack is their opening strike of the so-called spring fighting season. in previous years, the taliban have escalated their attacks during afghanistan's warmer months. but note this. commander-in-chief obama has increased the u.s. military presence in afghanistan. these new ground deployments, president obama says, are
afghan security forces. question, will afghanistan ever find stability? pat buchanan? >> i don't think the afghan government can survive on its own, john. they've had tremendous numbers of american troops in there and couldn't defeat the taliban. now we've got about 9500 there. obama is supposed to bring it down to 5,000 by the end of the year. i don't think that's going to happen. i mean, the taliban are in helmand, active in konduz, blowing things up in kabul. i think what we got here is a situation where the united states is going to have to remain there indefinitely. if we don't, i think the taliban may not have the power to take over the whole country, but they've got the ability to knock down that government i think and create chaos and tak over parts of it for themselves. we've been there 15 years. the effort to build an independent and free afghanistan i think is a failure.
groundhog day quality to this reporting. every year there is a spring fighting season. i think the hope was the new coalition government, which had undertaken talks with the taliban, that there was going to be some sort of meeting of the minds but i think the taliban saw it as another opening to begin fighting again. american troops at least are not on the front lines. it's not like we're getting casualty reports every week or day or month. you know, i agree. it's a pretty -- a pretty sad situation. i think the best this president can do is to kind of keep a lid on it and if the next president wants to either withdraw more or intensify it, that's a decision for the future. >> was afghanistan ever stable in the 20th century? tom rogan? >> the history of afghanistan going back, i mean, it was part of the great place of warfare, always a deeply tribal culture especially in the south and east. >> you're mumbling again.
pakistan -- afghanistan --. >> i think you mumble as a decoy effort. >> decoy? >> when you're not quite sure of the answer you suddenly get the mumbles. >> okay. let's do it then. because of the british influence in terms of imperial trade routes, 20th century, earlier part more stable. soviet invasion, 1979 whacking the government. i know this stuff a little bit. but the south and east of the country with the pashtun tribal culture means it is very hard to impose centralized government. i think what we will find, the problem with the president as much as he made the right decision in keeping an extension of troops, there are not quite enough troops there. the military wants more. to do the train, assist, aviation, and intelligence. what i think essentially will happen is secure the arterial lines of communication, roads from kandahar to kabul, and secure kabul as best you can but areas like helmand
going to be tribal politics. >> for four decades the country was ruled by king muhammad shah. >> it was stable under the taliban. it wasn't very pleasant but it was stable under them. >> afghanistan was modernizing before the soviet invasion i believe. is that correct? >> well that's right. but the soviets went in there and knocked that government over and put their own government in, which lasted about two or three more years. then the taliban took over. they were under control. you're right. al qaeda was operating under the taliban and, frankly, i think we should have gone in -- >> it was a narco state. >> the taliban initially --. >> the problem now the taliban has gone into that business as well. >> they've never really had a strong central government. essentially it is still a collection of tribes running
regions. that's what we've had to work through in order to have something resembling stability. >> you know, when it breaks down that's probably what's going to lap to it. >> are iraq and afghanistan better off or worse off than when president obama took office? >> worse off. >> we'll go around the horn. >> they're far worse off. both are in horrendous shape. they've got scores of thousands if not hundreds of thousands dead. and millions of homeless. >> i don't think either of them are worse off than when he took office. and to suggest that obama is to blame, let's go back to the original sin and the invasion of iraq, which happened under the previous president. that was the biggest strategic bumbling mistake ever. >> i agree with that. >> so was the 2011 withdrawal and the president is not in my mind telling the truth when blames that purely on -- that could have been done. iraq is worse.
>> you mean the withdrawals from afghanistan could have been done? >> or iraq. >> well, they're in bad shape. at least they don't have as many american troops there as they used to. and that has become our new strategy now to try to keep things as stable as we can without having our people on the front lines. but the casualties the afghan army has been taking are horrendous. it's not going to end before obama leaves office. i suspect he is going to try very hard to bring it down to 5,000. he doesn't want the current surge in the first place. >> i think vice president biden, he'd like to have the cap numbers. >> to do what? i just saw a report, a newspaper report about schools that were built that are empty. and other schools are supposed to be built and weren't and the money has disappeared. >> you talking about chicago? >> huh? >> is that chicago?
we were supposed to build schools. remember? >> the answer sounded like chicago. >> you like chicago, john. i know you want to bring us back there. >> the answer is, iraq and afghanistan are worse off now. issue two. crumbling cease-fire. >> that discussion about transition is the key test of the seriousness of the assad regime, of russia, and iran to support what we have put into words. >> it's only two months old. but as officials met for peace talks in geneva, syria's cease-fire was crumbling. president obama had hoped the february cease-fire would encourage russia to push its ally, bashar al-assad, to reling wish power -- relinquish power but instead, it seems,
rebel forces in the northern city of aleppo and further degrade the power of u.s.-supported rebels fighting mr. assad's regime. in response, president obama is considering escalating his support for those rebel groups. according to the "wall street journal," the u.s. may provide these rebels with antimissile systems to shoot down syrian and possibly also russian jets. in a sign president putin feels confident, russian military jets simulated an attack on a u.s. war ship in the baltic sea . what do you think is happening here, clarence? >> i think the russians are waving their sabers at us. at the same time they're trying to expand their control in syria. without getting too deeply involved in the combat over there.
sphere of influence, and the cease-fire that was broken is probably not going to get reestablished very quickly. but it needs to be genuine. >> what the russians are doing makes more sense than anybody else. they want to keep their ally assad in power. they want to keep their bases, both of those, they want to preserve the regime. and so they're fighting the rebels, both bad and good rebels. it's the americans who don't make sense. we're supporting the rebels and we'd like assad overthrown but the al qaeda and the isis people we'd like to fight them are allies, the saudis and the turks want to overthrow assad. the whole thing is really a mess. again, as we talked before, more than 250,000 dead and millions homeless, something like 9 million people displaced. it is a horror show. >> but the american position is that assad if he continues in power, the fighting doesn't stop.
fighting to an end you've got to figure out a way to transition assad out. and i think the president was over in that region and talking to the european allies, and basically said there are no good options. and in that interview he did in "atlantic" magazine he said he'd be much more willing to take more risks in syria if he hadn't come in with two wars on his hands and he's looking at another situation with a loft the same dine amics to send more -- a lot of the same dynamics to send more americans and more weapons in there to have probably the same bad outcome. he's just not interested. >> the problem we have is putin is playing us a fool repeatedly and the tangible quality to that is what's happening in the sense that we tell these rebel groups, we say to the sunni roishes -- arabs, we say don't fund the al qaeda groups because we'll support the rebel groups and the cease-fire will work and then putin breaks the cease-fire and keeps doing it
throw money at those groups. it spreads. syria is a great example. we have very poor allies --. >> more fire power is the answer? i don't think so. >> the president is moving in that direction. >> one of the dumbest things i think we could do is start handing out surface-to-air missiles to rebels to shut down russian planes. i mean, what is -- is there anything there that's worth the confrontation between the united states and russia or even between our nato ally turkey and russia? that's the kind of thing you want to avoid for heaven's sake. >> i suspect the president is holding a line on that. he's been thought to be thinking about this for the last six years maybe. >> yeah. you bring them in there and that possibility is wide open. >> let me remind you that putin is growing desperate. russia's economy is nearing a tipping point.
russia runs out of farm reserves next year. the russian ruble will collapse. >> his economy is in tough shape, no doubt. it's not getting better. oil prices aren't helping him because they're heavily reliant on that. >> that could be even more dangerous, right? >> i don't know why. look, he is a tough, autocratic ruler of russia. they've always had that. every czar has been that. and we can't get along with these people? what's the matter with this country? >> i don't know that it's a question of getting along with him. it is a question of him being assertive outside his country in order to distract from his economic problems. that doesn't mean inability to get along with him. he is acting in what he thinks are his best interests. >> what are we doing giving war guarantees to the free balkan countries? we're going to go to war to fight for astonia? are you kidding?
up for putin all the time? >> i'm not standing up for him. we got to deal with the guy. he's one of the people in the world -- >> they are dealing with him. they're pushing back. >> it's like ping. you got to deal with him. >> this is the great balance how do you do it and what do you do? i think isis is a direct symptom of assad killing sunni young men essentially and unless you result that -- resolve that with assad going it will result in san bernadino and -- >> he doesn't have any problem with us bombing isis. donald trump said he'd like to see the russians bombing isis. >> he gives lip service to that but his actions don't follow up his words. >> keep assad in power because it's a lie. does that make sense? >> keep assad in power, you don't get rid of isis. >> here is the question. is syria headed for partition, yes or no? >> ultimately, i think it's either going to be partitioned or i think the shia who are the
john, are going to come in for real hel if the sunnies win that war. >> eleanor? >> i don't know what it would be partitioned into and for so i'm going to say no. >> west-east-north. but not formally, no. >> i'm changing my question for you. did you get that message? >> you got the kurds up north. >> did you get my message on that? >> no. >> putin -- is putin fearful of being overthrown in a coup? >> no. >> not likely to happen. >> he is very popular. believe it or not. because he -- >> only 84 -- 85. only 85%. >> he knows how to handle his publicity and information, propaganda with his own people and that's his primary concern. >> it doesn't mean a coup is inevitable, though, or that even under a threat. >> he's just paranoid. >> he's paranoid all the time.
actual coup threat or not. i would not depend on there being a coup threat right now. >> you're accusing him of paranoia? >> yes. i'm diagnosing him with paranoia. >> you better watch your step. >> it's typical. every autocrat is paranoid because they can be overthrown like anybody else. >> you're not becoming a frontal boundary for putin, are you? >> who becoming a problem? me a problem for putin? i hope so.
of lawful presence. >> issue three. state of the two-state solution. >> i firmly believe that the actions that israel's government has taken over the past several years, the steady, systematic expansion of settlements, the legalization of outposts, land seizures, they're moving us and more importantly moving israel in the wrong direction. they're moving us toward a one-state reality, and that reality is dangerous. >> speaking to the liberal, pro israel, j-street group this week, vice president biden criticized israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. the prime minister, mr. biden said, is damaging peace efforts
and while the vice president condemned palestinian terrorism, his sharp words on israeli settlement construction in the west bank raised some eyebrows in washington and tel aviv. that's because as the mclaughlin group noted on january 22, israel relies heavily on u.s. diplomatic support. still, note this. in his own speech to j-street, secretary of state john kerry promised the u.s. would not give up on a two-state solution . are joe biden and john kerry right or wrong? let's try that on you, clarence. >> i think the two-state solution is not comatose but it's in suspended animation right now. we haven't seen netanyahu so much displeasure with the status quo and for all of his talk about moving and making progress, president obama has laid off on criticizing him.
very public and up front about it in the last year of the obama administration. we can hope that there might be more of a dialogue on this, at least to set things up for the next administration. >> so he's damaged -- demanded prospects for the two-state solution? >> the prospects were damaged anyway as far as i can see. >> there is some speculation that the administration might put forward some plan by the end of the year, sort of a token effort, but i think what you're seeing is a generational split in the jewish community, and younger people are more willing to criticize netanyahu. you saw bernie sanders, the democratic candidate, kind of playing into that in the new york primary of all places. politically, you know, a couple years ago that would have been unthinkable. so there is kind of a willingness
to kind of put some pressure on netanyahu from american jews.
because look. bibi netanyahu didn't want to get out of gaza. he's been building settlements every year, new settlements in the west bank. there are 650,000 israelis in east jerusalem and on the west bank. he has said this past week that he -- we're never going to give up the golan heights. they belong to us now. i think kerry tried this for 18 months, made an heroic effort, got nowhere. i think it's a waste of our time, really, to try to push bibi netanyahu in this direction but there is no doubt what eleanor says is true. you talk about americans and especially younger americans and kids in college and things, that israel is no longer the ideal of nations it once was. >> both kerry and biden are right. >> they're both going to be gone
in six months. >> paying lip service to the two-state solution?
middle east is too roiled to risk palestinian statehood. >> can i -- >> yes. >> true. >> i think the issue here, the settlement construction is profoundly negative. i mean, every administration since truman and the creation of israel has said that, republican and democrat. but the problem as well as that the israelis in terms of their diplomacy and this is why those in the foreign ministry know that people who really do hate the israelis around the world and there are quite a lot of them actually in europe use that because they see how hamas, the visage of -- the revolutionary, that there is some kind of appeal to it when the reality is they are blood-drenched murderers. the israelis essentially hurt themselves by not drawing attention to the positive moral contrast that i think most of the case is. >> it's hard to disagree -- bibi is saying, look. we gotten misall around us. hamas, hezz polla. we don't know who is going to end up in damascus.
we're keeping all we got. >> in their own self-interest if they want to be a jewish, democratic state, they've got to come to terms with the population in that area. >> how are they going to divide that up now? i think those who say they've reached the point of one-state solution are about right. >> better than that. multiple choice exit question. is the two-state solution, a, in suspended animation? b, comatose? c, moribund? or, d, dead? >> i think defacto it's dead. >> i go with a, suspended animation. things change. netanyahu is not forever. >> a. suspended animation. >> you've come back to where i began. suspended animation. >> two for suspended animation. >> three. >> three. >> three. >> one for d.o.a. how about you? >> i'm reflecting. >> i think too close to call.