tv Charlie Rose PBS December 20, 2010 12:30pm-1:30pm EST
>> rose: welcome to our program.m. tonight a conversation with the u.s. ambassador to china, jon huntsman. >> i think there is clearly evidence that they have been empowered with their new found economic strength and now the second largest economy in the world. they're about one-third of our own in terms of gdp output, 5 trillion versus 15 trillion. what we don't sometime focus enough on when we look at and analyze china is their domestic challenges. so yes, they're growing, there is no question about that. their productive capacity has been enhanced.
but they're also transitioning 800 million farmers into a world in which they only need 200 million farmers. they have to maintain a certain level of output to ensure that unemployment does not rise to a dangerous level in which case they have a large itinerant workforce that can be very destabilizing as we've seen in years past. >> rose: and a look at the u.. -russia relationship with professor stephen cohen your interest in this began when you met people in moscow? >> yeah. >> rose: and their stories were so compelling that-- it grew into friendships. >> exactly. i found myself unexpectedly 35 years ago living among victims of stalin's terror and survived and were in moscow. and their experiences were forbidden by the soviet government at the time so they lead a kind of
underground existence. how that happened there are two versions. an american would say it was chance that i ended up there. i had grown newspaper kentucky. how do you get from kentucky to living among stolein's victims in moscow. so we americans say it was chance, but russians say no, no, it was your fate, steve, it was your fate to live among us and write our story. when i was young i believed in chance. now that i'm old i believe it was fate. >> rose: china and russia next. funding for charlie rose was provided by the following: whatever you want to do, members project from american express
can help you take the first step. vote, volunteer, or donate for the causes you believe in at membersproject.com. take charge of making a difference. a dyk-- additional funding provided by these funders: captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. . >> rose: jon huntsman is here, as a u.s. ambassador to china he oversees one of the world's most important bilateral relationship. china's role in the world has grown since the economic crisis of 2008. this area it surpassed japan as the world's second
largest economy. china's economic power makes it assertive, some say aggressive on the world stage. at the same time its leaders are preoccupied with the challenges of its internal growth and political stability. huntsman brings a lifetime of experience with asia to the job. he was previously ambassador to singapore and deputy trade representative, fluid in mandarin and once worked as a mormon missionary in taiwan. i am pleased to have him here with me in washington. welcome. >> thank you. >> rose: you speak mandarin and cantonese. >> i struggle with all the above. mandarin i use to some effect. and can get by with it pretty well. cantonese i studied for a year in college. >> rose: the chinese must like that though. >> they do because language allows one to crack the code on culture. and language is a lens through which you can better understand and interpret a foreign culture. and so i'm one who believes that you cannot understand the complexity and the color
and richness of the chinese culture unless you are able to speak their language. it's mighty helpful. >> rose: you were a republican governor. >> right. >> rose: and a man often mentioned as having a very bright political future. so the president of the united states comes to you and says i want you to be my ambassador to china. why did he do that? and why did you say yes? >> i like to think he did it because he cares about the relationship in the sense that bipartisan management management matters. in 31 years of our diplomatic relationship, it hasn't given way to political extremes. it's been managed in a bipartisan fashion. we've also been able to identify and pursue america's interests. without sort of shades of politics. and i accept it because the president asked. and i am one who is a traditionalist in that sense.
>> rose: when the president needs you, you go. >> the commander in chief asked. and if you can make a unique contribution in that particular job, hardship though it might be, you stand up and serve. >> rose: this is an area of interest for you though. >> it is an area of interest. it's been a lifetime interest. it's been one that has pulled me to asia on a regular basis in different capacities and positions. it's my fourth tour of duty in asia. and it is nice to see that in the united states now we've got a younger generation that is coming up with a keener sense of kind of the trans-pacific community as opposed to the earlier generations focusing almost exclusively on europe. so the fact that you find mandarin being taught in public schools, we launched such an initiative as governor of the state of awe tau. where young kids having never traveled to china can begin study the language and begin to sort of tune into the importance of the
u.s.-china relationship and indeed the broader asian community and what that means to the united states longer term. >> rose: why are you back in washington? >> we're back in washington because last week we had military to military discussions. the first in a long while, charlie. this is the end of a relationship that has been moribund for practically a year and a half. and we're now resuscitating it somewhat. and for the two largest economies and probably the two largest militaries to be able to sit down every now and again t to compare notes on goals and aspirations, to seek greater transparency, to enhance communication and friendship building among the senior ranks is a very good thing. and we ought to be doing more of it. and our hope is that with the visit by the secretary of defense in early january that we'll be able to continue a more positive trajectory on the military to military side. >> rose: when you raise the question of the fear on the
part of some that they rex pannedding their militaries and taking an increasing part of their budget, what do they say? >> well, of course they are expanding. they have the money to expand. they've developed as a nation state. and where donation states put their money when they have reserves. they live in an uncertain part of the world. their rise we welcome so long as it is in keeping with standards and rules of the road. and so long as it results in a more peaceful and prosperous asia-pacific community. it would be a better thing though, however to have greater transparency on some of their spending priorities, where they're placing their money. what that then means in terms of their overall longer-term goals and aspirations. and that's what indeed you hope to get out of military to military discussion. so it's good nerms it of confidence building on both sides. >> it it your sense they want to be a sea power. they are building relationships and they are building a blue water navy. they are very sophisticated
ships. their hardware is getting quite good. very advanced and sophisticated. and they have, of course, original interests. and we've heard a lot about those regional interests. not least of all in the south china sea. >> rose: what are their interests? >> well w i think their interests primarily, i mean if you get right down to the core interests, it's preserving the party. and now how do you preserve the party. which today has maybe 75 million members. >> rose: and the population of a billion 3. >> yeah, a pert of that course came to power in 1949. how do you preserve that power base? you preserve it by delivering economic growth that is 8, 9, 10% per year which they've been able to do for 30 years. that's only possible if the neighborhood is calm, stable and predictable. so i would argue that first and foremost, they want a stable region, a neighborhood that speaks to predictability and to an
environment in which one can grow their economy. that's i think job number one. two, i think sovereignty. certainly is very high on their list of priorities. so whether that is taiwan, whether it's the island claims in the south china sea. whether it is issues around-- or tibet, these are absolutely priorities in terms of their own strategic foreign policy. >> is there anything about their acquisition of rare metals that are important in technology? >> you're talking about rare earth products. >> right. >> that you know, basically can be difficultied up into maybe 17 or 18 different categories. >> they have roughly 35, 36% of the available raw materials. the united states on the
other hand probably has 15. so with their supply, they basically made available 90% of their rare earth product force the rest of the world. so when they have disruptions in the supply line, or the ability to deliver, japan feels it, europe feels it, the united states feels it. what will ameliorate this problem somewhat is the fact that many countries of the world are bringing on-line in 2012 greater production of rare earth products. the united states as i say, we have plenty of rare earth products. in the state that i used to represent, we have rare earth products, in the state of utah. it's at what economic cost and what environmental cost. how badly do you want your own indigenous supply and source of these products. so all we're asking for is that they not use rare earth products as a trade weapon. so for example, when they had a tussle recently with japan over a fishing vessel
where they kept the captain lz all of a sudden they stop shipment. >> well yeah, that's kind of how the story goes. they would tell you a different story but i think the japanese would, of course, put forth a different line so are they usinging it as a trade weapon or not. and that is of concern to us. >> rose: are they? >> well, i think in the example of japan it could be argued that in fact it was used as a trade weapon. and of course the feelings there are quite deep and they go back some years. with respect to supply lines to the united states, i don't think the evidence is clear. now is there a holdup through customs and the port procedures and the way in which these products are expedited through the export processes? it is handled differently as a product than most other export products. and, indeed f you look at the wto guidelines and
before the wto, the gatt, the general agreement on tariffs and trade, it basically put rare earth products in a different category where a country of origin had greater flexibility in terms of how they handled the trade in these products. so as china violating its commitments under the wto in rare earth products? i think that's being looked at. but it is less clear than maybe some of their other wto only cases that they violated. >> is there a sense that china recognizes its economic strength, the second largest economic in the world and probably at some point, the largest economic power, that they appreciate that, they're more bold, that they are more aggressive? >> i think there is clearly evidence that they have been empowered with their new found economic strength. and now the second largest economy in the world. they're about one-third of our own in terms of gdp
output at 5 trillion versus 15 trillion. what we don't sometimes focus enough on when we look at and analyze china is their domestic challenges. so yes they're growing, there's no question about that. their productive capacity has been enhanced. but they're also transitioning 800 million farmers into a world in which they only need 200 million farmers. they have to maintain a certain level of output to ensure that unemployment does not rise to a dangerous level in which case they have a large itinerant workforce that can be very destabilizing politically as we've seen in years past. so what do you do in order to maintain that stable environment? you goose the economy. you put 5, 600 billion in terms of stimulus spending into the economy. and -- >> dow it instantly. >> you do it instantly. no deliberation needed.
it's kind of the standing committee and then you go. >> we'll start tomorrow. >> and then you create the largest export machine the world has ever known in south china. and hence their large surpluses, 2.4 trillion dollars, their imbalance with the united states, so on, so forth. we're the largest communitier market in the world and they benefitted enormously from that. so they manufacture and sell into our marketplace. what i think we're going to see in the years to come, i think the two most prominent features on the economic policy side will be one outflow of china's environment here into the united states which-- investment into the united states which will be a job creator and probably create new and unimagined opportunities. >> rose: in what way? what will they invest in? >> it's hard to know what their interests are in. but i'm guessing that they'll move in step-by-step slowly, maybe taking a portfolio position in investment companies and hoping that that then allows
them to invest in plant property and equipment. >> rose: what is the united states strategy in response to that. >> you then have to focus on the rules of the road. and the chinese signed up in november of 2001. i remember it well. i was in do-ha gutter and then the trade representative. and china entered the wto. and with it signed on to thousands of individual obligations. and transitioned from 5,000 years of rule of man to rule of law. and now they're kind of still in the implementation phase of a lot of those commitments. very slow on some of them. the marketplace is still locked up this certain industry sectors. and so fir and foremost it's getting the chinese to live up to their wto, their trade obligations first and foremost. >> rose: they're not happy about the recent decision on tires. >> no, they're not. but that's a perfect example of where the united states can stand up and say we have a legitimate trade issue.
and it is wto legal. in fact t was the chinese themselves and their wto a session document that embraced section 421. and made it part of our overall trading relationship. so when there was a surge in tires what happens. the united states responded. and so understanding that there were obligations made and that we do have some tools that we can use in making sure that they follow through, in terms of respecting those obligations is probably job number one. two, would be to recognize the macroeconomic environment and that is that they have a terribly out of kilter currency. that by many estimations, not least of all the imf believes that it needs to appreciate a good 15 to 20%. and with that, you will have more in the way of export opportunities. >> rose: what do the chinese
say to that. >> i think they recognize this point. if you look back, i mean let history be your guide. look at what they did between 2004 and 2007 when they basically appreciated it at 21%. slow, gradual and incremental. but nonetheless, at the end of the exercise, and i think they would have continued were it not for the global economy hitting the wall. and so they discontinued the appreciation along about 2007, based on the uncertainty in the global economic environment. and now they're beginning once again, they've kind of exchanged, they changed their approach to the exchange rate mechanism and you see a very gradual appreciation. i mean painfully slow. and i'm guessing that, you know, they're doing it not just because the united states and europe and others are saying it's important to us from a trading standpoint to have a currency that is properly valued. but they're doing it because
they see it is in their immediate interest. inflation is on the horizon. they're trying to transition from the largest export power ever assembled in the history of the world to a consumer-based model and in order to do that you've got to have a properly valued currency. they've got to convince their citizens that now's the time to take-- from under the mattress and invest it in your own country. because you've had chapter after chapter in recent history where china has had periods of upheaval and tumult where having money in your hip pock tote get you through that period was always prudent. >> so if there is more consumption and they build up an increasingly large middle class, which becomes a market for their own industries, as well as the united states and other exporters, is that a net plus for us? will we be able to compete with those increasing leigh large consumer demands growing in china.
>> i think without question. >> rose: so it is a plus for us. >> i think without question. >> rose: so we should encourage them to consume more and have consumers that will buy american products. >> and expansion of the services sector. we do services very well in the united states. but the way it impacts small and medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs to have an appropriately, you know, market-based currency that allows you in, you know, in a relatively free market environment to get your product to the chinese marketplace which is difficult today a that means a whole lot. and it means that the 13458 and medium sized businesses probably in the next little while will have unprecedented opportunities to get their products into china. >> can we make products that will be price effective, price expect wive products that they are making them selfs? >> it depends on the sector it depends on the product. we do some extremely well, better than the rest of the world. >> rose: tell me what the neighbors are scared of. >> well, clearly the neighbors are concerned
about what you pointed out earlier on in our conversation. a military, a navy specifically that is venturing beyond. they're more immediate sphere of influence at least in the traditional sense. so if you are cruising around in the south china sea. if you are flexing your muscle a little bit with respect to certain territorial disputes, if you are coming toe-to-toe with vietnam on certain of those disputes, if you are sailing around in the indian ocean, are you going to give rise to a certain narrative in the region that they want something from that. >> rose: what do they want? >> they're in the neighborhood. >> rose: what do they want? >> they want to protect their economic lifelines. they want to protect their economic interests. >> rose: so it's defensive rather than offensive? >> well, i think, my own sense is it always plays
right back into their core economic interests. so if it's-- if keeping the party in power is made possible by having 8, 9, 10% economic growth and if in order to produce that growth you've got to have raw material contracts and supply lines that are predictable, and bankable, then you know, when you venture into africa, when you venture into latin america, you know, you're doing to keep-- you're doing it to keep the economic alive, dynamic and vibrant. >> rose: what do you think about this idea. in the short term this century belongs to china. in the longer term it's india. >> you know, the rise of china should surprise no one. and the rise of india as well is also not much of a surprise. if you look at landmass, if you look at geography, you look at raw materials, you look at population, you look
at levels of education, you look at supply and trade route vis-a-vis the rest of the world, you look at recent economic policy coming out of both countries, of course you are going to see a rise in china. >> rose: but over the long term india will surpass china because of differences it has with the nature of its democratic institutions and other things. >> you've got in the case of india rule of law. you have certain democratic traditions. you have the ability to adjudicate business disputes which in china still is rather difficult, which i think is an advantage. now the chinese are assessing and analyzing the two of them. they would say yeah, but in india they have this democratic system which takes them forever to get any kind of decision made. and they are forever going to be debating and analyzing. >> rose: and they have terrible infra stuke-- infrastructure. >> and it fails them and so do a lot of other things that should be more advanced
at this point. >> the chinese are feeling fairly confident about where they are and how they got to this position. and i think the question, the question ahead will be how long can they maintain their viability as a low-cost producer, not forever. you know, they might have a decade or two. >> rose: because manufacturing will ship somewhere else or wages will rise in their own. >> both, you will have wages that will increase as are you already seeing in south china, 15, 20, 20%, inflation is on the rise. and with that, you know, you've got a manufacturing dynamic that is much different than a few years ago. >> rose: where is it going to move to? >> well w it's hard to know but there are several low-cost options. >> rose: is vietnam one of them and places like that or bangladesh or you don't know. >> south asia. >> rose: southeast asia. there are plenty of opportunities there. but key for china will be what comes next. are we smart enough to create an innovative society that knows how to invent, that is creative that has a
new creative class. do we respect intellectual property rights. are we better able. >> rose: these are questions they have to ask. >> beyond your advantage as a low-cost producer, then you've got to innovate. you have to go up the ladder. >> rose: they seem to be getting better at that according to most people, that they no longer can you say well, we own the gene for innovation. they seem to have it too. >> well, in order to be a truly innovative society, to my mind, you need access to capital. you need higher ed institutions that support that. you need an open society that knows how to use the internet without blocking it. >> rose: why do they do that? is it insecurity? >> there are real concerns when it comes to free speech from a political standpoint. when it comes to talk about tibet, when it comes to talk about shin jung, when it comes to talk about taiwan. hypersensitive.
it sparks debate and depate sparks instability and instability threatens the regime. so before you even start that cascading effect, you block information. >> rose: some would argue that debate sparks stability that debate is healthy for a community and therefore it makes you stronger. >> in the aftermath of the the google kerfuffle that is what we were arguing, it is good to have openness and transparency to allow people to speak out about the effectiveness of their leaders, that is a good thing and longer-term that provides greater stability. that isn't the belief in china so in this particular area, i would say that you you haven't seen a lot in the way of strides and progress. >> rose: what about-- there is also a successor apparent. thing kotion change but everyone assumes the next leader will be to replace hu jintao amount of cross the board is there a new generation of leadership
moving into china that are different because they have grown newspaper a different china. >> they are also part of a china on the move which is far different than a china beset by chaos like many of them experience during the cultural revolution or the great leap forward before that. so i think the worldview is very much tempered by what they grew up experiencing. where they grew up in china. their exposure to the rest of the world and educational opportunities in recent years. so i would say first of all my friends in china like to say-- in china we also have politicsment you guys forget that in the united states. so they have 2012 week we have 2012 although the process is a little different. but nonetheless. >> rose: at the local level are there in fact free elections. >> i think you see experiment ating with dem october see. but what are you going to see is enormous turnover in
2012. so the stakes are extrea extread-- exceedingly high. so if you take the ruling body, the standing committee of the politte beforeo and conclude that seven of the 9 seats, the board of director so to speak will be turning over. i think that is unprecedented in recent years and you look at the central military commission and assume that maybe 7 or 8 of the 12 seats will turn over there, steaks are very high. >> rose: are we seeking out those people, not the group in pober but the next level and next level so that there is i real understanding developing between the two societies? >> this is key. and the one thing about china is the trajectory of certain leaders is sometimes fairly predictable so when are you on to the fifth generation or 6th generation of leaders you can assume that many of them are now out in provincial positions, party secretaries or provision governors which gives us all, you know, i think a very important opportunity to connect and
interact. before they are sort of taken into central leadership or sort of tapped as it were. in which case, you know, you have less contact with the rest of the world. so you could sit down and analyze with some level of confidence what the next generation of leadership will look like. and i am tea automaticking beyond 20912 generation, so will you have-- who will rise to the top and 2012. and lee kuchung who will likelying the premier. and then of course are you going to have people round out the standing committee and the central committee and the central military commission, so on, so forth. so the stakes are high but it also means there will be a level of ideaological rigidity between now and the turn over. and so when you say they are being hard line on various issues or you know why does it sound like the 1970s all over again, or why aren't they showing greater
flexibility in terms of reform related issues is in large measure because you've got to to wear the straight jacket in the run-up to those leadership changes in 2012. and then you consolidate your power base which may take to you 20123. then you've got probably a few years in which you can actually engage in change and reform. so if i were looking ahead i would say the years 2013 to 2015, 2016 are going to be pretty important from a restorm-- reform standpoint. >> chiping is comfortable in his own skin. his father was a senior vice premier. they have experience with the military. so i think some of the challenge today between military and civilian leadership will be somewhat ameliorated in the years to come. but we're going to watch
very, very carefully the approach to 2012 because there's some of at stake. and indeed, anyone with an interest in the future of china should keep an eye on some of these very important changes in 2012. and then the real work begins, of course after that. >> rose: because everybody who goes over there and who looks at china says god, they are just a phase-- amazed. they have created overnight they have enhanced their ca pass foyt have a fast track, a high speed train. you know, overnight they are building all these electric cars and overnight they are the number one in wind power and number one in solar power. that while pursuing this huge industrial economic growth at the same time, they're preparing for the future and doing all these other things. i mean -- >> let's not forget you have probably 900 to a billion people still living in pretty desperate circumstances. >> let's not forget that per capita is somewhere between
probably armenia and the democratic republic of congo. let's not forget this transfrition the export mod told the consumer-based model and social safety net that you will have to build will include affordable housing. health care. and as it's delivered to the rural populations, retirement related expenses. these are huge and they are extremely costly. so you begin to draw down from the 2.4 trillion that people read about all the time in the central bank. they have a lot of work ahead of them and many challenges on the horizon. >> rose: secretary of state clinton said how do you negotiate with a country that your banker. >> you negotiate as you would with any other country realizing full well that if they don't want to invest in our treasuries, our debt, somebody else will. because we are still the
preferred market anywhere in the world. >> rose: we're not that concerned what they do with those securities of ours, that they are our number one debter? >> where are they going to go? are they going to go to europe? within here is what i would worry about that. where are they going to go is too easy an answer. i would assume they can find sop-- obviously somebody says this is an interdependent relationship and therefore everybody there is no other alternative but this inner dependence. i would not be comfort fbl that was my answer. >> but does it make economic sense for them. >> rose: right now it doesn't but i would be concerned they would find a way to make economic sense to divest themselves of those -- >> assets. and japan is this close to them in terms of their own holdings. people don't look at it that way with. but there are a lot of countries that when they have reserves they have to place them in the united states as a preferred market. >> rose: you see no evidence that they are concerned about the size of their holdings and confident in the american economy. >> course they want us to be strong. of course they want us to
get back on our feet. i think they're smart enough o to no longer term. we are a very resilient economy. do they at the negotiating table is a if you don't do a, b and c we will withdraw our holdings, no, i have never heard that line at all. >> rose: nobody ever said look, don't forget that we -- >> the freak narrative is this is sort of the overhang in all of our discussions. it is part of the broader narrative but it doesn't factor into our conversation. >> i've had business executive goes over there and say you know what, china reminded me it is a country run by engineers and they run it like a business is that a fair appraisal from were you-- . >> it's fair to some extent. but i think what you see breaking through is a creative class. a creative class of entrepreneurs, of doers,. >> rose: in fashion,
everything. >> across-the-board. >> rose: technology. >> we're just seeing the earliest signs of that. but i think in the years to come we will see a powerful creative class emerge that will put pressure on china to respect intellectual property rights, to engage in fair practices. to embrace world-class standards, whether it's governance of a corporation or market access issues. the emerging class of entrepreneurs, the creative class which i get to interact with a lot in china. they have a whole lot more power to carry these messages to the decision makers than we do or any other country in the world. because their future is china's future. and so when you've got the creative class coming up innovative-- innovating, i spoke to an auditorium with a couple thousand of them a few months ago, they are the ones who want best practise or respect for intellectual
practice. a little like taiwan when they created the industrial park, and all of a sudden it wasn't just u.s. innovation that we were looking to protect it became something in their own national interest to do. when you've got your own innovaters and entrepreneurs who all of a sudden are creating the industries and technologies of tomorrow t becomes your issue. and what did taiwan do. they turned on a dime in terms of intellectual property enforcement in the late 80s. i suspect we are not too far away in china from having that same kind of phenomenon. >> are you-- optimistic about the relationship? >> the relationship as a great former ambassador used to say is a little sweet and a little sour. and you know t lends itself to this very easy narrative about you are either cow towing or on the brink of war. the fact of the matter is we're somewhere in between and i think we're likely to always be somewhere in between. putting forth our interests, managing our interests and
standing up for the principleses that make us unique as a country. we should never shy away from that. we've been at this relationship now for 31 years, formally. an when i look back on the early years and see trade was anemic, you know, a hundred million bucks here or there as opposed to 400 billion today, nothing in the way of exchanges. we fought against each other in korea. we fought against each other in vietnam. >> and there are a lot-of-people exchanges. >> a lot of people exchanges. a lot going on. >> rose: and student exchanges too. >> that is the key longer term is understanding people from a heart-to-heart mind to mind standpoint. and that takes getting in, spending time on the ground, learning language, interpreting culture. learning history. i'm talking about both sides. the chinese just surpassed india in terms of the number of student these have here in the united states. numbers were announced a couple weeks ago, 130,000.
so year over year it was a 30% increase if you can imagine that in the number of students. >> rose: it great to see you, thank you for coming. >> it is a real honor. >> rose: governor ambassador john huntsman, back in a moment. stay with us. joseph stalin's reign of master rohr on the sof yet unit has been called the other holocaust. millions of men, women and children perished in his vast web prison and slave labor camps which were called the gulag archipelago. millions of others somehow survived and were freed after stalin's death in 195 -- a new book by an nyu professor and russian scholar stephen cohen tells the stories of these survivors that is you will cad, victims' return. i'm pleased to have stephen cohen back at this table. welcome. >> thank you, happy to be back. >> rose: your interest in this began when you met people in moscow. >> yeah, yeah. >> rose: and their stories were so compelling that-- it grew into friendships.
>> exactly. i found myself unexpectedly 35 years ago living among victims of stalin's terror who had sur strifered and were in moscow. and their experiences were forbidden by the soviet government at the time so they lead a kind of underground existence. how that had, there are two versions. an american would say it was chance that i ended up there. i had grown newspaper kentucky. how do you get from kentucky to living among stalin's victims in moscow. so we americans say it was chance, but russians say no, no, it was your fate, steve this was your fate to live among us and write our story. when i was young i believed in chance. now that i'm old i believe it was fate. when i met these people i suddenly had a night job. i was listening to them. my casual acquaintances with them grew into a project. eventually i was joined by my wife to be katrina, who was interested in the topic so the two of us by 1980 were now spreading out across moscow interviewing as many of these people as
we could. it took me 35 years to write a 225 page book. obviously lots happened in between. but this book grew out of the late 1970s, early 8 o 0s with the people i came to know when i was just living in russia. >> rose: and what would the soviet authorities have done about it. >> the worst thing that happened to us was is by 1982 the soviet authorities wouldn't let us return to russia. they denied us visas and we only got them back three years later when gorbachev returned to power and he turned things around. the only thing serious to me was two hernias because i was carrying all these forbidden manuscripts on the shoulder and when you have a vulnerability you eventually get a a hernia. i got it fixed. >> rose: what was it that made it so compelling for you. >> i didn't know at the time but i know now. it was the civilization, the soviet union 1959, six years after stalin died and his great terror ended. a civilization slowly
awakening from a terror unlike anything we had ever experienced but a civilization enough like our own that one could see a kinship. and that is what intereste interested-- interested me that people not fundamentally unlike us could have had such a different history and what that meant. and that really has remained my theme. one of the points i make in the book is you can't make any generalizations about them. some of them return to the communist party. they had been expelled. some believe that lenin had been virtuous and stalin had destroyed not only their own lives but lenin's legacy. others believe stalin hadn't known about the crimes committed in his name. some became deeply religious people,-- others not only returned to the communist party but actually rose in its ranks. the terror was so wide spread and had so many different kinds of people, both of gorbachev's grandfathers were taken.
gorbachev's wife who you remember, her grandfather was shot. so this was a 25 year terror that september away billions and millions of people. therefore those who survived, the millions who swur vafed were very different kind of people. and though they might have spent 10 or 15 or 20 years in the camps, the camps hadn't made them all the same. that was a myth, i think, that we didn't understand until we-- i didn't understand until i looked carefully so one thing in the book is how diverse these people were after this war. >> this is dedicated in loving memory of -- 1914 to 1996 who lost her husband, her infant son in more than 20 years of her life to stalin's terror but never her humanity. >> well, when i met these people that is her when she was about 17 or 18 in the early 30s. and there are also pictures in my book of how she looked after the gulag in exile. when i met her in 1976 she was already an older woman. an elderly woman. and in effect for reasons
that have a lot to do with me and her, she became my russian mother. and her home became my home away from home. and her son was nike o lie who i had written a biography about. she had survived 20 years, there we are first meeting in 197 a, god how we have ajd. 1975. she had survived 20 years in the concentration camps and in exile. uri grew up in an orphannage, not knowing who he really was. when they finally reunited 19 years after he was taken from her, they bonded and they spent the rest of their life living as a family. i met them in '76 and through them i met the initial wave of victims whom i met. she was an extraordinarily great woman and when her memoirs were published under gorbachev, they became best-seller not only in russia but in europe. but she also had a compassion that astonished me. i met, i found the daughter
of the nk-- the kgb secret police official who had toremented her husband in prison, the daur, he had been shot slightly after her husband. she said she wanted to meet this woman h who was actually about her age. i brought them together in moscow, the daughter of the kgb and kdb torturer, torementer was terribly nervous and the first thing ala said to her to make her feel at home, they were both victims. now 85% of the survivors whom i knew would not agree with her. that you have to-- . >> rose: torturers are not victims. >> you have to draw a bold line between the victimizers and those who are victimized, the victims and the victimizers. >> rose: what are the numbers for stalin. >> i take, we have archives but there is still no clarity.
>> i take the number that 20 million died. 12 million to 14 million pass through the gulag, about 8 million were still alive when he died. so if you take just those who died under stalin, not world war ii combat, 26.5 million soviet citizens died in world war ii, leave those aside. 20 million died in stali stalin-- stalin as-term. >> rose: why de do it? >> my late great mentor robert c tucker who is on your broadcast and published a two volume biography, died in '92 in july. gave i think the best explanation and it is a whole other story. stalin did it to make the world safe for himself, for his own self-image. stalin had a self-images as a very great man but also as a man surrounded by enemies. and therefore millions of people had to die. >> rose: in order that he
could do great things, was that the idea. >> and that he could feel secure. he killed-- he was an equal opportunity murderer. he killed members of his own family. he killed his real enemies. >> rose: what did gorbachev do during his tenure. >> there have been three and this is itself fantastic. three national russian debates about who was stalin. one took place under khrushchev. the next under ghosh cher when he let everything come out because he was an anti-stalinist. he needed to destroy stalin's reputation to reform the system. he let anything and everything come out about the terror. then it shut down for various reasons and now has begun again. three great debates but the stalin history is still an open wound that the country can't close. if we look back and i have spoke tone gorbachev about this, one would have thought at the time 1988, 1990, 1989, 09ee, '91 that gorbachev's public airing of the stalin
question would have put the issue to rest. would have closed the wound. but it didn't. and gorbachev is somewhat baffled by this. in 1961 khrushchev called for a monument to be built to the victims of stalin it wasn't built. 1988 gorbachev called for a monument to be built it wasn't built. two years nooing 2008 the current rush president medvedev endorsed the idea of a monument to stalin's victims being built. no ground has been broken that is how deep the question divides society and officialdom in russia even today. >> rose: what is putin's position on stalin? >> he has declared himself an anti-stalinist but he's a much more cautious-- cautious anti-stalinist, some people believe the revival of pro stalin sentiment today in putin's fault that his authoritarian style, his background in the kgb reawakened pro stalin
sentiments in the country. this is incorrect because the rebirth of pro stalin sentiments began in the 1990s. putin became the leader only in the year 2000. but it is true that putin and medvedev had disagreed in their emphasis to a certain degree on stalin. medvedev has denounced stalin flat out. putin has said stalin did many bad things. but we have to remember he was the leader when we won the war. >> rose: it is your position from other things you have written that russia views its two major relationships as china and germany. >> yes. how did you know that you have i said that, yeah, it is true, berlin and beijing, that's-- . >> rose: so where did the argument come from? what is-- make the case. >> it's very simple. for almost 20 years they tried to establish a strategic partnership with the united states and for one reason or another, the russians believe it was our fault, they were unable to do so. so instead they've established strategic partnerships with china and with germany, each of which
has his own reasons to be a strategic partner of russia, a large part of which is-- and that's the way things are unfolding. >> but my impression is that obama, the president has reset the relationship and he and medvedev are best friends, they get along. they have a dialogue, they communicate. >> this is a whole separate conversation. i'm now writing an article basically arguing athat the reset as reset isn't going to work t is too deeply flawed there are a lot of reasons. but one thing you said interests me and it shows how much influence and i a few others have had in this i can:. for years we warned about this idea of the american president i have a friend in the kremlin. you remember that, i think are you old enough that nixon said brezhnev was his dear friend and gave birthday presents within cards. >> cards. dow remember, very good. and dow remember-- and you remember, you remember that.
>> you were young but attentive and the education was excellent in north carolina. you will remember not so long ago that the second george bush called putin husband friend. >> right. >> and that ended badly. >> looked into his heart. >> and saw a soulmate. and of course clinton called yeltsin his friend. my point is, the united states does not need a friend in the kremlin we need a partner. >> but my point is you make too much. >> you asked me about medvedev. >> yeah reasons if you want to have a partner in russia, the partner has to be putin. and the way this administration has made a wager, we are going far afield now, a wager on medvedev weakens the reset. because medvedev can't deliver on what he says. >> rose: medvedev is the president. i don't think they're doing this with some sense of we don't know that putin is there. ther's doing this because it is the person in the room. >> that's correct. >> look there a story here. are you right on the first issue. protocol dictates that they deal with president medvedev.
no question about that but they've gone out of their way to denigrate and insult putin because the plan, and they have stated this openly to the press s to promote medvedev's fortunes over putin there was this perception of putin in washington that he was an enemy of the united states. when they began, dealing with medvedev, they shunned putin. which was a mistake. now when the treaty and it was said a couple times too, it looked like the senate wasn't going to pass the treaty, obama told the press medvedev is my partner. i can't let him down. if this treaty isn't ratified, he is going to be badly hurt in moscow. so this wager on putin on medvedev is a strategiment now you could argue it's a good strategy. and there are people in the administration who twhi it is a clever strategy. i don't, that's all. we have different-- . >> rose: i can tell you what i think. they are doing it because they believe in the stark
treaty that is what it is about. it is american interest, not about some doing it because i want to help medvedev, you know t is to the about relationship, it's about interests. >> well then let's say that is right. that means they don't understand the situation in moscow. everybody understands there is a tug going on in moscow. >> rose: between? >> the forces who stand behind hutin. >> my impression is most people know put sync stronger than medvedev and will be the next president. because that's clearly his-- and the only reason it would not happen is that putin would choose not to make it happen. >> i agree 100% with you. >> say that is the case. 100%. >> rose: do you agree with wefering else. >> no, let's say that you understand it to be the case. why would you want to alienate the more powerful forces of putin against the reset if the reset's meant to benefit medvedev, why would you do that. >> rose: the reset is not meant to benefit medvedev it is meant to benefit the united states and the russia, the relationship. >> let me tell you one ten secretary story.
>> rose: okay. >> that sort of nits all this together. you will take my word for it that there is a struggle over stalin's reputation in russia today it is very, very important. stalin once said the west will surround us and try to destroy us. what is the main argument that the pro stalinists have today. >> rose: that the united states is in favor of nato expansion. >> that's right this is the theme. >> rose: but you now see a muting of that. would you give me that. >> a what. >> rose: a muting of the nato expansion. >> on our side. >> rose: yes. >> obama inherited the equivalent of the cold war and the real meeting fing the word reset is what we used to call detante to try to redrus the tension of the cold war. i don't think it will work. but that is a whole other conversation. but i hope it does. lord i hope, i have hoped for for 50 years, so why shouldn't i hope for it now. i just think they have gone about it again in the wrong way. >> rose: the kbook is called the victims return, survivors of the gulag after stable, steph encohen t is
great to see you. >> thank you. only the next charlie rose a conversation about the hit broadway play merchant of venice with the actors and director. >> good sentences and well pronounced. >> they would be better if well followed. >> if to do were as easy to know as what were good to do. >> he has been searching and poor men's cottages, princes' palaces, it is a good devine. >> i be one of the 20, to follow. >> it may device long for the blood, and reach over the cold decree. >> i think reasoning is not in the fashion the word
choose. >> i mean i will close-- so is the will of a living daughter curbed by the will of a dead father. >> i cannot choose one nor refuse none. >> your father was ever virtuous and calling men at their desk have good inoperations therefore the lottery that he has survived can be three-- caskets of gold, silver an lead-- will no doubt ever be chosen by any rightly but ones who with you felt rightly loved captioning sponsored by rose communications
captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> funding for charlie rose has been provided by the coca-cola company, supporting this program since 2002. >> and american express. decisional funding provided by these funders. and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information consider services worldwide.