tv HAR Dtalk BBC News September 7, 2021 12:30am-1:01am BST
this is bbc news. we'll have the headlines and all the main news stories for you at the top of the hour, as newsday continues — straight after hardtalk. 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 guess 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? er, 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. the polls say that the american public had had enough. but not now. if you asked 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 radical islam has gone down. the likelihood of al-qaeda and isis hitting us again has gone 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.
yeah, it should be on the table, i think. how can you say that when the root of the decision to get out of afghanistan was clearly ceded by president donald trump? 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 it wanted to — but the actual deal... 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 a mistake of negotiating with the taliban without the afghan government. i would've done it differently. and releasing those 5,000 fighters? well, 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 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 our forces 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 thinkjoe biden�*s 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, september 11? 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 that the taliban wouldn't take over the country and give safe haven to radical islamic groups who would attack us. when the caliphate was formed in syria and iraq, 20 countries got hit, 2000 people got killed cause 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. 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. crosstalk well... it's donald trump, frankly, who seemed much more comfortable dealing with authoritarians. how come you, lindsey graham, were his great supporter, if you now feel the way you do about america's commitments? i've always felt that nato was a good partner that should've paid more. so donald trump got nato to up its game, to contribute more. donald trump took a military in the united states that was pretty well depleted and made it as strong as it's 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 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 of 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 pose a lifestyle on the afghan people that i think is, it's gonna 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 mid east writ large and attack us because of our way of life. we will be going back into afghanistan as he went back into iraq and syria. hang on. do you seriously think the united states will once again in, in a foreseeable future... yes. ..put troops back
into afghanistan? we'll have to, we'll have to, because the threat 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 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 gonna happen over time is you're gonna 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 interest 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 and 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 mite overseas, you believed in interventionism to defend values, to protect 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 principal and john mccain. yeah, that's sort of the liberal narrative and here's what actually happened. er, trump won. right. so you... no, 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 everything bad thing i could about trump during the 2016 campaign... you know, you know that i'm going to wheel out the quote which has been hung round your neck a million times, you called trump, you said, don't vote for this guy cos he's a race baiting xenophobic bigot. religious bigot. "he does not represent my party". and you know what my party told me? go to hell. he won. and 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 who you believe is a racist bigot through four years of presidency? yes. it's ok for kamala harris
to serve asjoe biden�*s vice president when she 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't academic and about what happened in 2016... yeah, no, it's real, it's real. ..it�*s about today, it's about your party, and it's about the future of the united states. yeah. 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... crosstalk hang on, let mejust 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 capital on the 6th of 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 the 6th was an affront to democracy. trump deserves his fair share of blame. bottom line, hope that everybody 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 controlled 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 to make it about donald trump, it won't work. is the republican party viable
without donald trump? yes. so why are you clinging to him? well, cos i think he's the leader of the party. i think he was a good president from a conservative's point of view. and did 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? he definitely lost the election. but, yeah, but he says it was stolen. how many politicians have said... ..continues to say it was stolen. ..i was ripped off, the election was stolen? no, but this is about democracy. the guy doesn't accept the democratic verdict of the american people. hilary clinton didn't accept the election. the bottom line... i'm sorry, there's no comparison. donald trump sits in mara lago and says this election was rigged, it was stolen 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 do you say he's the leader of our party then? because the policies he enacted worked. see, most people are not gonna judge 2022 by what trump said, they're going to judge based on life in america.
life in america now is pretty tough — crime is on the rise, the borders are broken, inflation is rampant, afghanistan'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, just one more thought because 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 green, they're basically supporters of conspiracy theories, of qanon, they are extremists. 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... that 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 that... it may be, it may be... ..that if you vote for the republican party then you're 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 — the way your party has handled covid—19. i — i've, i...get vaccinated. so what's your message to senior republicans like ron
desantis and greg abbott in texas who are actually fighting so—called mask mandates? if it were up to me and i am 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 "very likely cost many lives". you know, i don't — is biden�*s handling of covid costing many lives? is borisjohnson�*s handling of covid costing 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 would like to give more vaccines to africa.
i think 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. i think you don't quite understand the dynamic in america — that the reason the republican party will come back is cos 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 everyday 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 of the 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 v 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. is that correct? i think, 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 but by the court... this complicated issue about what is the role of the government, when we should intervene, when should we stand up for the rights of the unborn, will take place if the court sets aside roe v wade. it will 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 women'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 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 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 with 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... believe me, i ask challenging questions of democrats ,too. but you need to think about your party 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 repub—... 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, 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 in over 30 years. so you're trying to make the argument 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 gonna 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, gonna be the presidential candidate for your party in the next presidential election
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 of it. if he runs, he'll win. and the reason he'll win is cos most republicans — we all don't like the way he does it, but we sorta 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 6january was not president trump's obituary, and i keep telling this, 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 nomination if he wants it and i would say... and you talk to him a lot in mara lago. all the time. does he want to? 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 for being on hardtalk. thank you.
well, the warm southerly winds have arrived and a dose of summer heat is on the way. but it's not going to last very long. yes, a very warm and sunny tuesday on the way, but from wednesday onwards, late on wednesday, we could have thunderstorms in the southwest of the uk brought by this area of low pressure. but for the time being, high pressure over us, notjust over the uk but much of europe. and here's that warm air coming in from the south, spreading across the uk. so the early hours looks pretty quiet across much of the country. there will be some mist and fog forming, maybe northern wales, merseyside, lancashire. and mild, if not quite warm, 15—17 celsius around dawn. and the temperatures will quickly skyrocket as we go through the morning and into the afternoon. now, it's going to be sunshine pretty much all around, although across some far
northwestern parts of the country, it could be a little hazy and cloudy. much cooler in stornoway, 18 celsius, but the mid—20s for the lowlands of scotland, 27 for yorkshire, 30 possible in the midlands. and if we do get 30, which we are very likely to get 30, it will be the hottest day since 23july, after a relatively cool august, because the temperatures never really got that high during august — a little unusual. so this is what it looks like on wednesday, the weather map. you can see a low pressure approaching us, weather fronts here too. these are showers and thunderstorms reaching southwestern parts of england and also wales, some showers getting into northern ireland too, but the rest of the country is still basking in that summer sunshine — temperatures just shy of 30 celsius, i think, on wednesday. i mean, they could reach 30 once again, but look at that, plymouth there, cornwall and devon, only around 19 celsius. and then wednesday night into thursday, those showers spread across the country. there could be some
showers and thunderstorms almost anywhere, really. and on thursday itself, you can see it's much fresher across the uk. some of that warmth is still left around lincolnshire and east anglia, but the vast majority of us are back into the low 20s. so here's the summary and the outlook. you can see that whether going downhill as we go through the second half of the week. and the weekend? the weather's set fair. modest temperatures, around the low 20s. bye— bye.
welcome to newsday. reporting live from singapore, i'm karishma vaswani. the headlines... the taliban flag is raised in the one part of afghanistan that has remained outside its control. the resistance says it will fight on. relatives of the 298 people killed when flight mh—17 was shot down over eastern ukraine seven years ago give harrowing testimony to a court in the netherlands. waiting for the chance to eat — concern grows that millions could go hungry — as myanmar edges towards civil war. and countdown to completion — it's one of the biggest restoration projects of a british landmark building — four years on big ben,
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