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tv   Dateline London  BBC News  August 21, 2021 11:30am-12:01pm BST

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and some thundery spells, more than likely behind this as we head through the afternoon. something brighter ahead of it, however. it'll be breezy across southern and south—western parts and today's top temperatures reaching about 20 or 21 celsius. so today, the weather front is here, but it's very slowly moving away from us. and then we move into something drier as we head through this evening. you can see it here. and really it'll start to fizzle out through tonight. it was quite mild and muggy last night with some mist and fog patches forming. some of these are likely again tonight and i think our temperatures more than likely getting down to about 13 or m celsius. over the next couple of days, then, high pressure builds so it should settle down. hello, this is bbc news. it is 11:30am. i am victoria derbyshire. _ the headlines: senior taliban figures — including the group's co—founder, mullah baradar — arrive in kabulfor talks about establishing a new government.
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thousands continue to crowd the perimeter at kabul airport, desparate to escape the taliban. greece has erected a aokm fence on its border with turkey amid wanings of many afghan civilians fleeing their country. a week after the earthquake in haiti victims in some of the hardest hit areas are still waiting for help. there have been clashes between police and anti—lockdown demonstrators in sydney and melbourne. now on bbc news, dateline london. hello, and welcome to the programme
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that brings together leading commentators in the uk with the correspondents who write, to afghanistan dissolved in a matter michael goldfarb, host rough draft of history, the guardian's china welcome to all of you.
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borisjohnson has been trying to develop an independent foreign policy. we know it's been pretty clear that this was not a decision that the british particularly wanted to take at this moment. what does this and what's happening in afghanistan tell us about britain's influence in washington, its military capability and its ability to adopt a leadership role, do you think? well, it's not at all surprising that the foreign policies of the uk and us should be diverging, because they're the principal members of nato, and nato has been in an existential crisis ever since the cold war ended. it was devised, if we all remember, as an adversary to the soviet bloc and the communisty bloc, and when communism collapsed and there was no more soviet union to oppose, the obvious question is what is nato for? and within ten years of communism collapsing, we had 9/11 and the rise of islamist terrorism, and so nato became, basically, a counterterrorism outfit, and that was its impetus, that was its raison d'etre. so that's why biden can say the reason that we were able to pull out of afghanistan t, hat we wanted to pull out of afghanistan
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was that we felt we had solved the terrorism problem in afghanistan. we killed bin laden, we'd got rid of al-qaeda in afghanistan, so if we could get out, that got nothing almost to do with the original conception of nato, which was to act not only as a military adversary, but as an ideological adversary to the soviet union. and now we seem to be in his peculiar vacuum where there is an entirely new global dynamic, and it's not ideological at all, it's really crudely nationalist. the motives of china and russia and iran now — it's not — that bloc that is developing that dynamic is not the old ideological argument about how should people live. you know, should we have a communist society or a capitalist society? it's much more to do with the emerging totalitarian empires, particularly china, which is really totalitarian capitalism.
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it's not really a communist society at all. and if nato is to survive, and if the kind of cooperation that we've between the uk and the us and other european allies is to survive, it's going to have to come to terms with this entirely new global political dynamics. michael, george robinson, who was nato�*s secretary general at the start of the century and who was the man who effectively convened the meeting that said, "we are going in because one country has been threatened, a nato member, the us, by the attacks on 9/11, so we're all threatened, so we alljoin in". he said he thinks the decision by america now has undermined the organisation and raises real question marks about its credibility and alliance. given what janet was saying there, we are now entering, are we not, a much more dangerous phase in which there isn't a straightforward division and where we can't guarantee or rely on the people we thought we could rely on? michael? oh, that was for me.
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forgive me. this is the problem with not being in the studio. we're gong to get you back as soon as the people in charge tell us we can have you back for covid reasons, but i hope it's going to be very soon. good, good, good. it's interesting you bring up george robertson. i mean, i think of george robertson as being someone from the glory days of the anglo—american duopoly, and the thing is, you know, during the blair administration, the thing is that i can remember back covering this in the early 1990s when the former yugoslavia was falling apart and bosnia was in agony. the ability to marshal nato and the un into crisp action on european soil was really hard. it was like herding cats, to use a cliche. and now this is something
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slightly different. i would say that, you know... the reality of this adventure was that the us used nato and article 5 was invoked and all of that, but really it was mostly the us, a little of britain, and i can remember doing stories about how germany had been assigned to some part of afghanistan where there was likely to be absolutely no fighting because germany has very, historical reasons. those historical reasons ended 75 years ago, they may have to reconsider in the rest of this century. so what you have to take on board with this is that nato is a multinational, multilateral organisation, but really, it's two or three major european powers and the united states.
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and on afghanistan, let's be very, very clear — the us spent roughly $2 trillion over the last 20 years in the afghanistan adventure. the united kingdom spent about upwards of 80 billion. now, if you do that ratio in a commercial situation, 80 billion to 2 trillion — you know, as a stockholder you are not going to get a seat on the floor. nato was a convenience umbrella, but this has always been nato was a convenient umbrella, but this has always been a united states venture, and frankly, watching some of the scenes in parliament this week, i am amazed that so many people, particularly on the conservative backbenches, you know, forgot that basic facts. that when you put all that money or all those lives into an adventure,
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basically you are calling the shots. it doesn't matter whether you call yourself a nato adventurer or not, this is basically a united states adventure. vincent ni, let's talk a bit more about afghanistan itself. the question that many will ask, how quickly the government melted away, how quickly the military melted away. joe biden friday evening in his address to the nation nation used the phrase, i think he said there were 300 afghan soldiers, 300,000, but actually, nobody actually thinks it was 300,000 because a lot of this was money that was corruptly diverted. however many soldiers that all vanished very quickly. why was the afghan government so apparently unloved in afghanistan? this is the question that everyone is asking. everyone is doing soul—searching about why this government collapsed so quickly after 20 years of being backed up by the united states. this is also the question that will come back to hauntjoe biden in the years to come.
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i think when it comes to running of the governant, afghan government doesn't really have a good reputation for being effective, being clean, and this week, there were pictures of the leader's nephew posing in dubai, these luxurious lifestyles. these are examples of how this government has failed. going back injanuary talking about the uk and the us, i think this shouldn't come as a surprise. joe biden won the american presidency under the premise presidency under the promise that his foreign policy will be benefiting american middle class. so his calculation is if our troops are not directly benefiting the american middle class, why don't we just go out entirely? and there were no votes in the afghan war. absolutely.
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and also, he has to think about the legacy, he does not want to be that president associated with the perpetual war in afghanistan. let's talk about continuing on the american theme, if we may, michael. biden, in a sense, decided on friday, to hit back and hit back hard, so we had this thing about no... that it can secure an airport hundreds of thousands of miles away and get people home. but that's still ongoing. we will see what securing the airport amounts to. whether that is the taliban choosing not to attack. and of the practicalities of that, he's clearly trying to this he's clearly trying to use this as a demonstration of american power, and to some extent that that to the american homeland that came from afghanistan has gone.
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al-qaeda is a much diminished force, and actually if america looks at the places where terrorism could become a threat, there are other places, particularly the middle east and north africa. exactly. one of the most interesting things that has bubbling up from people who study terrorism and have been doing since, well, for 20 years, since 9/11 is to know today that there have been isis groups, isis criticising the taliban for not winning in afghanistan. now, they didn't win byjihad, it was handed to them and updates by the united states to simply with zero, they didn't earn their victory, and there is a sense that , to the degree that isis has any presence in afghanistan, that is something that the taliban may have to deal with in the future. what has happened in the last 20 years, al-qaeda was driven into the mountains between afghanistan and pakistan very quickly. it was a very quick victory. people forget that.
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then i don't think any historian from even 500 years from now will say that if the george bush administration had not pursued the al-qaeda remnants into the caves and found 0sama bin laden and completed the mission in december of 2001 instead of starting to withdraw troops and starting to build up to invade iraq, the whole story that are talking about tonight would've been very, very different. and while there has been all this focus and concentration on afghanistan and a lot of, you know, troops tied down and a lot of money tied down, the franchises of isis, al-qaeda have grown, metastasized, isis grew out of the iraq occupation from people who were imprisoned by the americans in iraq. now they are across central africa. they are in the horn of africa. and you know, they are also, let's not forget, for the most part, they are no longer operating on american or european soil.
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so another thing for americans and europeans to forget. unfortunately, if you live in those countries, northern parts of nigeria, for example, you can't forget because they are a part of daily life. they are a danger to you every single day. you mentioned that, and it's a very good point. janet, on some of these broader questions that got caught up in the aftermath of the afghan invasion, there was an interesting quote from joe biden in which he said the idea that we are able to deal with the rights of women — this was when he was being interviewed earlier in the week — around the world, by military force, is not rational. but without that military presence in afghanistan, does america have any potential leverage over the regime that will be left there? probably not. but american policy on this has been incoherent for a long time.
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when obama was first elected, he said afghanistan was the right war, so we will persevere with the war in afghanistan and pull out then. janet is having problems, i will come back to you. vincent, let me ask you, does this play into china's hands at all? because china is about afghanistan... it shares a small border with afghanistan. i think if we come into this question with the mindset of a great power of competition. american�*s loss is china's gain, then probably yes, but i'm afraid that duality is much more complex. china's very, very nervous about it. you know, china thinks afghanistan is a quagmire, and they look at history being afghanistan as neighbour being afghanistan's neighbour for a long time.
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in the 19th century and early 20th century, it was britain, and then 20th century it was soviet union. now the 21st century is the united states. chinese state media are calling afghanistan the graveyard of empires. so you can see how china actually thinks of this issue. it's not necessarily america's loss and china's gain. that's interesting. has afghanistan proved that the british empire and the concept was to no longer project power in a way that so comfortably and confidently for a couple of centuries or more. you can certainly say that about how humiliating it was, janet, for the soviet union after having to withdraw afghanistan. it didn't last very long after that. the soviet union's vietnam. they got bogged down and it cost them enormously in credibility. they had terrible consequences in terms of deaths of their own troops and very great difficulty in withdrawing. america's policy generally
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on intervention has been so inconsistent, as i was saying before you lost me, president obama's failure to intervene in syria had phenomenally damaging consequences in damaged america's credibility as an intervention. so i think without the presence or at least the possibility of a military intervention, america is nowhere in this game and the chinese hegemony, which is definitely on the march and has serious intentions, for the start of at least economic empire building, if not military empire building, it can go unchecked. michael, both president obama and therefore biden was in the obama administration and nowjoe biden both seem to believe that the us needs to tilt towards those come in at the very least because of its concerns about china, as janet was saying.
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how will those countries it seeks to influence in the region, do you think, look at what has happened in afghanistan and about the time however as he put it, relatively abrupt departure of the americans? well it's not relatively abrupt, and that's the first thing. and one hopes that the leaders of the pacific region countries don't spend all day on twitter, because that's no way to learn about the world. i wanted to pick up the two things that both janet and fends that both janet and vincent were saying because in some ways they are related. one terrible thing about american intervention over the last 30 years is that it's become just a little bit too much like other forms of american politics, in other words, we went to iraq and that was a bush administration thing, so now we are not going to stay there, that's obama. but we will stay in afghanistan because there is a very strong constituency within the democratic party for women's rights,
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and we would all endorse that, but is the military the way to bring and bring those rights in perpetuity in countries like afghanistan, because women's rights are introduced in all manner of countries all over the world violently, so is the us going to send its armies everywhere to protect women and make sure young girls can get educated? they are not. what's interesting to me is i remember reading about one of the world's largest copper deposits is in afghanistan. it's just south of kabul. and the chinese for 15 years have been trying to organise a mine there, and when i first read about it, i remember the article described, you know, chinese mining engineers going to visit deposits and passed american soldiers, and i thought, my god, we are paying all this money
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to provide the security for our biggest economic rivals to go and dig up one of the great deposits of copper, one of the most important raw materials on the face of the earth. now the chinese, if they want that copper, by the way, the mine has never been open, they are still negotiating with the last afghan government. china will now have to make its own way in afghanistan, and it's part of the belton road and i think it will be very interesting to see. as janet was saying earlier, they are kind of a capitalist totalitarian states, and if their relations with countries in africa are anything to go by, they won't care about women's rights too much. theyjust want to be secure in digging up the copper. interesting, people know more about that, they talked about this on that programme a few weeks ago, you will find it on previous editions of dateline on the bbc iplayer, we believe that
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women's rights issue. we can help to achieve something in helping to undermine it, we talked about china, but what about russia and iran? iran is a islamic republic, but... it's a different brand of islam, presuming not comfortable with the way things are going in afghanistan, and consuming. russia and iran are both very worried about a security issue. as was china. i'll go back to that later. they will constantly be reminded of their own defeat in afghanistan decades ago. it's a very short period of time ago, actually, if you look at the long history of afghanistan. but, you know, it's an economic and security interest, because ultimately they traded quite heavily with each other, but at the same time,
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iran will be very concerned about the influx of potential refugees. and the stans as well, turkmenistan and the others? absolutely. this was a hasty withdrawal by the united states, and it will completely change the geopolitical landscape in the region and... maybe that says it's a time as monsters, but maybe this is also a time of the opportunity for countries to get things right. the economist magazine published an interesting article last week in which they said across asia, democracies are under strain. they mentioned a report by the institute at the university of gothenburg an annual survey of the strength of democracy. it said that india had gone
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from a neglected democracy to the elected... i think of coutnries like and my entire incoming effects to military coups. no it is really difficult to say what the future holds for asia, in particular. it is hugely diverse, but what we are seeing now is another variable, but what we are seeing now is anothervariable, it but what we are seeing now is another variable, it is like pandora's box been opened and in afghanistan we don't know how this is going to play stop they are very cautious, but we are talking about this essentiallyjust one week after the us withdrawal and history is much longer than that, so you'll have to wait and see how things evolve, but bring it back to the coppermine issue, of course china knows its economic benefits, but if you look at the date before this withdrawal last year according to china's and commerce ministry,
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chinese investment, foreign direct investment in afghanistan, was only investment in afghanistan. was only million. to get a of $4.4 million. to get a bit of background... $4.4 million. to get a bit of background. . ._ $4.4 million. to get a bit of background... $4.4 million. to get a bit of back round. .. , ., background... the figures that were bein: background... the figures that were being quoted _ background. .. the figures that were being quoted earlier— background... the figures that were being quoted earlier that _ background... the figures that were being quoted earlier that michael i being quoted earlier that michael has mentioned.— being quoted earlier that michael has mentioned. exactly, there is a bit of a myth _ has mentioned. exactly, there is a bit of a myth about _ has mentioned. exactly, there is a bit of a myth about china - has mentioned. exactly, there is a bit of a myth about china in - bit of a myth about china in afghanistan. in comparison, pakistan's foreign direct investment was 110 million us dollars, so you see the difference, despite their rhetoric. but i think this rhetoric will also be very useful for china because china want something in return. after all the vulcan corridor was coordinated with this region in china and beijing has long been concerned about the islamic and uighur militants attacking chinese mainland and, you know, they certainly wouldn't want you... wouldn't want the taliban to not just provide a shelter for them. let just provide a shelter for them. let me no just provide a shelter for them. let me go back to michael. pakistan is an interesting example that vincent mentioned because you could say its
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relationship with the taliban has been ambiguous, to say the least, and that has had consequences for america, which is regarded pakistan as an important ally in the region. should it be rethinking that relationship? i should it be rethinking that relationship?— should it be rethinking that relationship? should it be rethinking that relationshi? ~ , ., ., relationship? i think it should and i ho -e it relationship? i think it should and i hepe it does _ relationship? i think it should and i hope it does and _ relationship? i think it should and i hope it does and hope _ relationship? i think it should and i hope it does and hope that - i hope it does and hope that journalists and historians get to work_ journalists and historians get to work on — journalists and historians get to work on trying to get to the core of the relationship between the taliban and pakistan. we have heard bits and pieces— and pakistan. we have heard bits and pieces over_ and pakistan. we have heard bits and pieces over more than 20 years, 25 years. _ pieces over more than 20 years, 25 years. 30 _ pieces over more than 20 years, 25 years, 30 years to the creation of the mujahideen, when they were trying _ the mujahideen, when they were trying to— the mujahideen, when they were trying to get the russians out of afghanistan in the late 1980s. and it is an _ afghanistan in the late 1980s. and it is an absolutely critical thing and i_ it is an absolutely critical thing and i know... i don't know if we have _ and i know... i don't know if we have time — and i know... i don't know if we have time to _ and i know... i don't know if we have time to talk about refugees, but many, — have time to talk about refugees, but many, many people will actually io but many, many people will actually go into _ but many, many people will actually go into pakistan. they will never try to _ go into pakistan. they will never try to get — go into pakistan. they will never try to get to europe, it isjust too far. try to get to europe, it isjust too far~ many— try to get to europe, it isjust too
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far. many afghans will try in western_ far. many afghans will try in western afghanistan will go across as it did _ western afghanistan will go across as it did before into iran and, you know, _ as it did before into iran and, you know. these _ as it did before into iran and, you know, these two countries... i think it would _ know, these two countries... i think it would hear— know, these two countries... i think it would bear united states and european allies, whether through the eu or— european allies, whether through the eu or britain, going it alone, examining what diplomacy over the next decade should be with iran and pakistan _ next decade should be with iran and pakistan. 30 next decade should be with iran and pakistan. 5; :: , _, , ., next decade should be with iran and pakistan. ,’:ii , , ., pakistan. 30 seconds or so, janet, i'm pakistan. 30 seconds or so, janet, i'm afraid. — pakistan. 30 seconds or so, janet, i'm afraid. your— pakistan. 30 seconds or so, janet, i'm afraid, your last _ pakistan. 30 seconds or so, janet, i'm afraid, your last fort. - pakistan. 30 seconds or so, janet, i'm afraid, your last fort. the - i'm afraid, your last fort. the reason they _ i'm afraid, your last fort. the reason they tell _ i'm afraid, your last fort. the reason they tell a _ i'm afraid, your last fort. the reason they tell a making what everybody _ reason they tell a making what everybody thinks _ reason they tell a making what everybody thinks of _ reason they tell a making what everybody thinks of phony- reason they tell a making what - everybody thinks of phony statements about how _ everybody thinks of phony statements about how respectable _ everybody thinks of phony statements about how respectable they— everybody thinks of phony statements about how respectable they are - everybody thinks of phony statements about how respectable they are going| about how respectable they are going to be is— about how respectable they are going to be is not— about how respectable they are going to be is notiust — about how respectable they are going to be is notjust to— about how respectable they are going to be is notjust to appeal— about how respectable they are going to be is not just to appeal to - to be is notjust to appeal to america _ to be is notjust to appeal to america and _ to be is notjust to appeal to america and nato, - to be is notjust to appeal to america and nato, it - to be is notjust to appeal to america and nato, it is - to be is notjust to appeal to america and nato, it is also| to be is not just to appeal to . america and nato, it is also to appeal— america and nato, it is also to appeal to _ america and nato, it is also to appeal to russia _ america and nato, it is also to appeal to russia and - america and nato, it is also to appeal to russia and china. i america and nato, it is also to- appeal to russia and china. russia and china — appeal to russia and china. russia and china both _ appeal to russia and china. russia and china both have _ appeal to russia and china. russia and china both have their- appeal to russia and china. russial and china both have their problems with istamic— and china both have their problems with islamic minorities _ and china both have their problems with islamic minorities and - and china both have their problems with islamic minorities and the - with islamic minorities and the taiiban— with islamic minorities and the taliban are _ with islamic minorities and the taliban are politically- with islamic minorities and the - taliban are politically manipulative and sophisticated _ taliban are politically manipulative and sophisticated enough- taliban are politically manipulative and sophisticated enough to - taliban are politically manipulative and sophisticated enough to knowl and sophisticated enough to know that and _ and sophisticated enough to know that and they _ and sophisticated enough to know that and they are _ and sophisticated enough to know that and they are very _ and sophisticated enough to know that and they are very useful- and sophisticated enough to know that and they are very useful to l that and they are very useful to china _ that and they are very useful to china and — that and they are very useful to china and russia, _ that and they are very useful to china and russia, particularly. china and russia, particularly china, — china and russia, particularly china, with _ china and russia, particularly china, with their— china and russia, particularly china, with their suppliers . china and russia, particularly china, with their suppliers of| china, with their suppliers of lithium _ china, with their suppliers of lithium. �* , ., ,
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lithium. i'm sorry to interrupt you, we not lithium. i'm sorry to interrupt you, we got some _ lithium. i'm sorry to interrupt you, we got some interference - lithium. i'm sorry to interrupt you, we got some interference on - lithium. i'm sorry to interrupt you, we got some interference on your| we got some interference on your line, but we got your point. vincent, ten seconds, last fort. i think we have to look at the internal dynamics within the taliban route in afghanistan as well. the taliban might well fighting their own domestic insurgents, notjust those who are sympathetic with the us, but also those more extreme. vincent ni, janet daley and michael goldfarb, thank you all for being with us, and joining us on dateline. we will be back at the same time next week, thank you, goodbye. hello, hello, everyone, i hope you're doing all right. now many of us will see some heavy, thundery downpours today. many of us seeing rain as well, so
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this is the weather front swelling around the uk. it will go into many parts of the uk, but many thundery downpours behind this. ahead of it something brighter, but not to completely dry story, still some downpours, and breezy across parts of the south—west and today's top temperatures get to about 20 or 21 celsius. this evening at the weather front moves towards the east, eventually leading us and losing a lot of its energy, we are still hanging onto the showers behind it, but i think it should be dry tonight and quite a mild one would lives of 1415. an area of high pressure is building over the next couple of days, so for most of us whether settling down to be a bit milder.
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hello. this is bbc news. i'm victoria derbyshire. these are the latest headlines in the uk and around the world. senior taliban figures, including the group's co—founder, mullah baradar, arrive in kabulfor talks about establishing a new government. thousands continue to crowd the perimeter at kabul airport, desparate to escape the taliban. greece has erected a 40km fence on its border with turkey amid wanings of many afghan civilians fleeing their country. there have been clashes between australian police and anti—lockdown demonstrators in sydney and melbourne animal welfare campaigners in the uk have welcomed new government proposals to stop puppy smuggling.

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