tv HAR Dtalk BBC News September 5, 2021 9:30pm-10:01pm BST
of 39, after being diagnosed with breast cancer last year. in afghanistan... the leader of the resistance group fighting the taliban, says he's willing to enter peace talks. relatives of a female police officer in the ghor province of afghanistan have told the bbc that she has been killed by the taliban. the un condemns a military coup in guinea — after soldiers appear on television to say they've ousted president alpha conde. the head of one of prince charles�* charities temporarily steps down after claims he helped secure an honourfor a major donor. now on bbc news... hardtalk. stephen sackur speaks to veteran us senator lindsey graham, one of the republican party's most outspoken voices on foreign policy. welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur.
and today i'm on the shores of italy's lake como at the ambrosetti forum, an annual opportunity for politicians on both sides of the atlantic to gather and talk geopolitics, and this year, there is one dominant issue — the us—led pull—out from afghanistan. now that it's done, how does america see itself and its global role? well, my guest is influential american senator lindsey graham, a close confidant of donald trump. is "america first" now a bipartisan consensus? senator lindsey graham, welcome to hardtalk.
thank you. america is sacrificing no more blood and treasure in afghanistan. isn't that a source of profound relief to the american people? no, i think most americans are upset that we left our afghan allies behind. i think most americans are upset that we have american citizens behind enemy lines. i think a lot of americans wanted to wash their hands of afghanistan — it's been 20 years. that's what the polls say. yeah, but... the polls say that the american public had had enough. but not now. if you ask them — are you worried about us leaving afghanistan, a majority said we shouldn't have left. democracies have always been schizophrenic about this. if you talk about making afghanistan a democracy, there's not a whole lot of support. if you talk about having some of our troops over there so radical islam won't hit us at home, there's support. and the problem with people in my business is we've never honestly talked to the american people about why does it matter about afghanistan?
everybody remembers 9/11, it's like a week away, but we've never made the case of an enduring presence. so we left, i think, in a horrible way — the likelihood of people helping us in the future against the war...radical islam is going down. the likelihood of al-qaeda and isis hitting us again is going up. but let's talk about the politics of this. just a few days ago, you made an extraordinary statement. you said that presidentjoe biden should face impeachment for what he has done. mm—hm. that should be on the table, i think. i think it's... how can you say that when the root of the decision to get out of afghanistan was clearly seeded by president donald trump? right. he was the one back in february 2020 who did the deal with the taliban, released thousands of taliban fighter prisoners, and he was the one who put that deadline on the table. well, the deal was as follows. conditions—based — if the taliban worked in good faith with the afghan government to form an inclusive government under
the constitution of afghanistan, and they did not try to take the country over militarily, we were going to leave the beginning of next year. neither one of those conditions were accepted or followed. but here's what i would say. they changed every other trump policy because they had the right to do so — they had the right to change this one if they wanted to. but the actual bill... but hang on a minute, because you matter, you are one of donald trump's closest confidants. are you acknowledging that donald trump got this horribly wrong? no, i think he made the mistake of negotiating with the taliban without the afghan government. i would have done it differently. and releasing those 5,000 fighter? it's not so much that. how does the war end? reconciliation between the taliban and the afghan people writ large. so negotiating with the taliban to end the war makes perfect sense to me. allowing the taliban to take over the country militarily makes no sense to me. and there was conditions in the deal with trump
where they couldn't do that. so whether you blame trump or biden, here's what awaits us as a western world. those who fought along our side are going to meet a very terrible demise. they're going to be treated very poorly. and our likelihood of having friends in the future to deal with radical islamic threats goes down. and if you don't think al-qaeda and isis are planning ways to hit us right now from afghanistan, i think you're making a grave mistake. but to be blunt about it, joe biden, echoing the sentiments of donald trump, has told the american people we are no longer in the business of nation building, fighting forever wars on other people's behalf. so when you talk about the people living in fear in kabul today, the horrible situation facing women who think their rights may be abused and eroded, the message from america is we don't and we cannot care about that and put ourforces in harm's way for that. i think that's thejoe biden
message, which is dumb as dirt. and let me tell you why i think joe biden has been wrong for almost 20 years on this stuff. joe biden doesn't see the existential threat from afghanistan to the american homeland. how did we get attacked 20 years ago, septemberiith? the taliban gave al-qaeda safe haven to plan and plot against america. the soldiers that were there, the british soldiers, the nato forces, the american forces were there to give capability to the afghan military so the taliban wouldn't take over the country to give safe haven to radical islamic groups who would attack us. when the caliphate was formed in syria and iraq, 20 countries got hit, 2,000 people got killed because we pulled out of iraq. so here's what i've been trying to tell the american people. a residual counterterrorism force made up of nato members and us special forces is an insurance policy against another 9/11. president biden is trying to tell
the american people there is no vital national security interest in afghanistan, and he's dead wrong. the nato forces were willing to stay in afghanistan if we stayed. we chose not to stay, they couldn't stay if we left. so, you may be tired of fighting radical islam — they're not tired of fighting you. i'm just, again, very mindful of the fact that for the last few years you have been one of donald trump's biggest cheerleaders in the us congress. yeah. it was donald trump who called nato obsolete. it is donald trump who has developed a toxic relationship between the united states and much of europe and other partners around the world. well... it's donald trump, frankly, who you seemed much more comfortable dealing with authoritarians. how come you, lindsey graham, were his great supporter if you now feel the way you do... i'm always... ..about america's commitments? i've always felt that nato was a good partner that should have paid more. so donald trump got nato to up its game to contribute more. donald trump took a military in the united states, it was pretty well depleted,
and made it as strong as it has been since ronald reagan. we can argue about... let's be honest. donald trump was the america first president. donald trump planted the seeds of isolationism that we see today in your country. well, i would say, let's judge him on based... ..based on what he did. he destroyed the caliphate. 0k, it rose on 0bama and biden�*s watch and trump sent the military in to destroy it. when he left, there were 2,500 us soldiers on the ground with nato allies. they're no longer there. he killed soleimani, which i think was a good thing. he rebuilt the military in a fashion where we can be effective all over the globe. the deterioration in the military during the 0bama years was real. so here's my point. whether you like trump or not, whether you believe it's trump's fault or biden�*s fault, here's where we're at as a world — the taliban are not reformed, they're not new. they have a view of the world out of sync with modern times. they're going to impose a lifestyle
on the afghan people that i think is going to make us all sick to our stomach. but most importantly, they're going to give safe haven to al-qaeda, who has ambitions to drive us out of the mideast writ large and attack us because of our way of life. we will be going back into afghanistan as we went back into iraq and syria. to the... hang on. you seriously think the united states will, once again... we'll have to. ..in the foreseeable future... yes. ..put troops back into afghanistan? we'll have to. we'll have to, because the threat will go so...will be so large. why did we go back to syria and iraq? why do we have 5,000 troops in iraq today? because of the caliphate rising, projecting force outside of iraq, killing americans, killing the french, attacking the british. so, yes, it will be a cauldron for radical islamic behaviour. you cannot deal with this over the horizon. here's my solution. help the resistance in the panjshir valley. the taliban will not be able to govern afghanistan. they're hated by the afghan people. what's going to happen over time
is you're going to see the resistance rise. isis will come after the taliban large and the entire country is going to fracture in the next year, creating a perfect storm for western interests to be attacked. you can do one of two things. you can say that's no longer my problem. let it build and get hit or hit them before they hit you. if i may, i now want to talk a little bit less about geopolitics, a bit more about personal politics. yourjourney to many people, both in the united states and around the world, it's pretty inexplicable. you were the great friend and ally ofjohn mccain. you and he, and i've interviewed you about this in the past, you and he were the great advocates of using america's military might overseas. you believed in interventionism to defend values... right. ..to project america's power. and then in 2016, you jumped horses, you backed donald trump — as i said, the america first president many see
as an isolationist. he hated john mccain. but you made a choice. you chose proximity to power with trump over principle and john mccain. yeah, so that's sort of the liberal narrative and here's what actually happened. trump won. right. so, you befriending him... no. i didn't chose... i didn't choose donald trump. the american people chose donald trump. my state voted for donald trump. i'm a senator from south carolina. john mccain was pretty good with working with people he didn't get along with, so i made a conscious decision, after saying every bad thing i could about trump during the 2016 campaign... you know that i'm going to wheel out the quote, which has been hung around your neck a million times. you called trump, when you were running against him, you said to the republican party, "don't vote for this guy cos he's a race baiting, "xenophobic bigot..." religion bigot. "he does not... yeah. religion bigot. "he does not represent my party." and you know what my party told me?
go to hell. he won. so you abandoned your principles. no, i didn't abandon my principles. well, you thought the guy was a xenophobic bigot. i accepted the consequences of the election. in a democracy, i can take my ball and go home, but the people in south carolina chose president trump, the people of america chose president trump. i've tried to help him where i could. so it's ok to help a guy... yes. ..who you believe is a racist bigot through four years of a presidency. it's ok. it's ok for kamala harris to serve asjoe biden�*s vice president when he suggested he supported racist policies. if you know anything about democracy when the election�*s over, if it doesn't end, then you never have the ability to govern. so i understand the game being played here. and what will i do? i will helpjoe biden where i can. i voted for the infrastructure bill. i'd like to help him more. but it seems to be that we're on different planets politically. if donald trump runs again, i will support him. this debate isn'tjust academic and about what happened in 2016... it's real. it's about today, it's about your party and it's about the future
of the united states. for example, your party right now looks like it is dominated by an extremist faction. would you agree with that? from your view. i agree that that's what you think. no, i don't agree with that. who is driving the strategy, the vision of your party? is it the people who continue to believe... we have... hang on. let me just finish this question. is it the people who continue to believe that the election was rigged, it was stolen from donald trump, that biden has no legitimacy and that that assault on the capitol on the 6th january was, as many of your colleagues in the party continue to insist, actually the work of leftist radicals, not the work of trump supporters? no, no, that's not the majority of the republican party. what happened january 6 was an affront to democracy. trump deserves his fair share of blame. bottom line, i hope everybody who went in the capitol goes to jail. what's driving this party is that the way we do business seems to be better over time.
we control the border. it is nowjust a complete chaos. during our time, we cut your taxes. they're spending money like drunken sailors, inflation is through the roof. i think america is going to vote republican because they see us as better policy choices. this is going to be a policy election. you're going to try make it about donald trump, it won't work. is the republican party viable without donald trump? yes, the party... so why are you clinging to him? because i think he's the leader of the party. i think he was a good president from a conservative point of view. and do you think he lost the election or not? yeah, i think he lost the election. because he doesn't. so what does that tell you? no, he definitely lost the election. but he says it was stolen. continues to say it was stolen. how many politicians have said, "i was ripped off, "the election was stolen." but this is about democracy. the guy doesn't accept the democratic verdict... hillary clinton didn't accept the election. the bottom line... i'm sorry, there's no comparison.
donald trump sits in mar—a—lago and says this election was rigged, it was stolen... he believes that. ..and thatjoe biden is not the legitimate president. he believes that. i don't believe that. i don't think it was stolen. so why is he the leader? why do you say he's the leader of our party then? because the policies he enacted worked. see, most people are not going to judge 2022 by what trump said. they're going tojudge based on life in america. life in america now is pretty tough. crime is on the rise. the borders are broken. inflation is rampant. afg hanistan�*s a mess. we look weak and feckless. we're coming back because the way they've overplayed their hand, we're coming back because when you look back and compare trump's handling of the world, trump's handling of the economy versus that of biden, we're going to win because trump's policies will wear well over time. just one more thought... he may not wear well but his policies will. you're talking about trump still being popular. i'm talking about values,
about belief in democracy. i'm talking about the fact that some people in your party, in congress, like marjorie greene, they are basically supporters of conspiracy theories of qanon — they are extremists. they... they're not the leaders of this party. i went through this with cnn last night. that's the liberal narrative. nikki haley, mike pompeo, we have a lot of younger people that are coming up... people like liz cheney, respected conservatives for years, are now excluded from your party. well, she has decided there's no place in the party for donald trump. ah, so that's the litmus test right now, is it? well, in my view... is it? ..there is a place in the republican party for donald trump. here's — we'll have this interview next year, when we win, and how do you explain the fact if... it's just... ..the republican party does take over the house and we take over the senate, is that a damning indictment of the american people? you would have it to believe...
it may be... ..if you vote for the republican party... it may be... ..you are voting for extremism, you're voting for authoritarianism, that's a bunch of garbage. let's talk specifics, then. why has your party seemingly decided to fight a culture war against science? and i'm thinking particularly of the way you've handled, your party has handled, covid—19. get vaccinated. so, what's your message to senior republicans like ron desantis and greg abbott in texas... well, they're. .. ..who are actually fighting so—called mask mandates? if it were up to me, and i'm not a governor, i would let local communities decide whether or not a mask was appropriate for school or the workplace. all i can say about covid is the best thing going is the vaccine, it's not a mask. take the vaccine. anthony fauci said not so long ago that he believed trump's handling of covid had, quote, very likely cost many lives. you know, i don't... is biden�*s handling of covid
costing many lives? has borisjohnson�*s handling of covid cost many lives? covid's a problem for the world writ large. the delta variant is coming back strong, there may be one behind it — all i would say is, in terms of a worldwide pandemic, it came out of china, i think it most likely came out of a lab, and the world is... the more vaccines we can get out, the better. i'd like to give more vaccines to africa. i think if we don't do that, we're all going to pay a heavy price. so here's what's going to determine 2022 in the united states. this is hardtalk, right? your view of the american political system, i think, is not right. i think you're missing the elephant in the room and think you don't quite understand the dynamic in america, that the reason the republican party will come back, it's because the policy agenda of president biden has not worked, that the policy agenda of president trump looks better by the day, that the average person
doesn't see the republican party as some kind of extremist group of people waking up every day trying to change america. i think that is a narrative that's being pushed that will not hold, will not stand the test of time. there's one other specific area i want to quickly touch on, and that is the state of texas's decision to introduce a new abortion law, which in essence would make unlawful any abortion after six weeks. now, this, to many americans, looks like a fundamental challenge to the roe vs wade rights of women to get an abortion. it is. your party, it seems, wants now to go out there and overturn a woman's right to an abortion. ithink you... is that correct? yeah. the republican party believes that roe v wade, a judicial decision prohibiting elected representatives to have any say about the life issue was an overreach by the court. this complicated issue about what is the role
of the government, when should we intervene, when should we stand up for the rights of the unborn, will take place if the court sets aside roe v wade. but what. . . ? it'd be a state decision. right, but what's not complicated is that poll after poll over many years shows a clear majority of americans believe in a woman's right to choose. that's probably true. you and your party now appear to be determined to fight a cultural war on this issue. why? well, if you believe that life is sacred from the beginning to the end and if you believe that the government should have some say about when life begins and how it ends, that was taken away by a court decision. i don't know what you believe about when we become who we are, at what point in time in the development of the human being that you actually have an individual identity. there are a lot of americans who are pro—choice who don't like the idea of late—term abortion. right? you know, later in the... later in the birthing process, abortion becomes less popular. whether you like our position
or not, it's there, we have consistently said we thought roe v wade would be an overreach. we'll see what the supreme court does, and that will be on the ballot. i suppose my question is, do you worry about the polarisation, the deep divisions in your country today, which, frankly, your party appears to be making deeper rather than attempting to bridge? i think this idea that somehow the republican party is to blame for divisions in america by itself is ridiculous. the divisions... well, believe me, i ask challenging questions of democrats, too... yeah, yeah. ..but you need to think about your party... yeah. ..and where you are going. i like where my party is at. do you? i like where it's going. we're going to win because our policies work. you know what i like about the...? you keep coming back to this, "we're going to win." isn't there something actually more important than winning? it's about maintaining america's freedoms... well...
..america's democracy and america's unity — and aren't all of those at stake today? how do you win in america? that's a great question, because it seems... people vote for you. a majority of the people say, "we like what you're doing." the republican party has only won one majority in a presidential election... you're trying to make the argument... ..in over 30 years. ..that if you vote for the republican party, you're basically anti—american. that's garbage. you may not like the republican party. you may not be a conservative person. you may not be pro—life. plenty of people are. it's ok to be conservative. it's ok to stand up for the unborn if you really believe the unborn needs to be stood up for. it's ok, in my view, to have differences on all of these issues, and i think the reason we're going to do well is becausejoe biden was not the guy people thought they voted for. i thinkjoe biden is a decent man, i've known him for 20 years, but the agenda coming out of the biden administration is far more radical than people thought. it's transforming america in a way that nobody, i think,
at home really wants — and we're going to win not so much because of us, a lot to do with them. and a final question. we talked some about donald trump before. when you talk about winning, is donald trump, in your view, going to be the presidential candidate for your party in the next presidential election... good question. ..and can he and will he win? i think if he runs, he'll get the nomination. do you want him to run? yeah, i'd like him to have another chance at it. if he runs, he'll win, and the reason he'll win is because most republicans — we all don't like the way he does it, but we sort of like what he did, that he actually did the things that conservatives believe in — and in 2024, i think it's more likely that trump will be on the ballot than maybe biden. i don't know ifjoe biden will run again, but the bottom line is, if he runs in 2024, the only way he can win is if we win in 2022. so, here's what i would say.
if you see the republican party take over the house and do well in the senate in 2022, that means january 6th was not president trump's obituary — and i keep telling him all the time, "the only way for you to be viable in the future "is for us to win in 2022. "so, help us — stop talking about 2020. "it's not helpful. "talk about what you would do differently, "how you would change the country "vis a vis what biden�*s doing. "help us pick the most competitive candidates "who can win in the states that matter," and they're really only a handful of states. if president trump helps us as republicans regain the house and the senate, then i think he — it's his nomination if he wants it, and i would say in... and you talk to him a lot in mar—a—lago. all the time. does he want it? yeah, i think he's very inclined to run. i don't want to speak for him, but i think he has unfinished business. i think he believes that the policies he put in place work for the country. i think he's very upset by what he sees on the world stage and domestically. i think the american people are going to have another
say about donald trump. senator lindsey graham, sadly, we're out of time. thank you very much. thank you. good evening. for most, it has been a day of welcome sunshine and warmth. how warm? well, the last time i looked, we saw temperatures peaking at 26 degrees in parts of west sussex and we have not seen temperatures like that across england and wales sincejuly. there was some cloud and some rain around, some of it heavy for a time across the far north and west and this is the radar picture throughout the afternoon, affecting the far north and west of scotland and northern ireland. some of it heavy at times, but welcome rain here. some of the areas have got water restrictions due to the lack of summer rainfall. that weather front will continue
to drift its way south out of the borders and weaken all the time. it is the dividing line between more cloud through the night to the north of that, but we could see some patchy mist and fog forming, particularly across south wales and south—west england. so a murky start here, but lots of early morning sunshine across england and wales is expected. early light patchy rain will tend to ease. there will be a little bit more cloud generally through scotland and northern ireland for monday afternoon, but those winds quite light and coming from a southerly direction for the majority of the country, so it will be warm with it, temperatures may well peak at 27 degrees. that is 80 fahrenheit. as we move out of monday into tuesday, it is a similar story. still under the influence of high pressure, well over into the near continent, we have got this area of low pressure drifting in from the south—west. what that is going to do is feed in more of a south—easterly flow, so warm, dry air dominating the weather story through tuesday and that means warmer still for the majority of the country.
quite a lot of sunshine coming through, even the cloud should start to thin and break through eastern scotland on tuesday, so temperatures here perhaps into the mid 20s but we could see temperatures peaking at 28, maybe 29 celsius in the south—east by tuesday afternoon. as we move into wednesday, similar story, plenty of sunshine around, but we do need to keep an eye on that low pressure down to the south—west. mightjust trigger off a few thundery downpours by the end of the day across parts of cornwall, so here temperatures not quite as high, but it is going to be another pleasantly warm day for many. i hope you can get out and make the most of it, because it does look as though the story will change from thursday onwards, but our week ahead is turning warmer. cooler with some rain, though, on thursday.
breast cancer at the age of 39. girls aloud had 21 top ten hits over the course of a decade. stars and producers have been paying tribute. she was the girl next door that had got it all. she was identifiable by the audience who were going to buy her records. that was the beauty of sarah. we'll be asking about the risks of breast cancer in younger women. also tonight — the head of one of prince charles�* charities has stood down, following allegations he helped secure an honour for a wealthy donor. there's a growing backlash among conservatives to suggestions of a national insurance increase to pay for social care in england.
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