tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg February 10, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm EST
♪ announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." >> i am filling in for charlie rose. america first has been the guiding egos into the forays of president trump's early days as president. the phrase was first can need in 19 warning by an organization that championed appeasement in the wake of hitler's rise. rump's revival of the slogan raises questions about his
nationalist ideology and what it might mean for the rest of the world if america turns it back. joining me for a conversation about foreign policy in the --a contributing writer on foreign affairs for "the wall street journal", a professor at nyu law school and an american expert on chinese law and government. i am pleased to have them all at this table. let me start with you and the concept of "america first." usedgan donald trump repeatedly during the campaign and during his inauguration as well. tonow from speaking colleagues of mine it since a slight shiver through europe. nations viewing that phrase? separateimportant to
arab populations from arab governments. they believe it has been america first for the past decade. we seeing this strategic realignment in the region particularly among israel, saudi arabia, jordan, kuwait, sunni majority countries. there's one inconsistency to donald trump's foreign policy and that is he is very hawkish iran.mm -- that is something they all want to capitalize on. we talked about -- we saw donald trump and benjamin at not you -- can we help all of you mess with iran. >> let me ask you this question.
from the perspective you are engaging -- your this phrase "america first," what does china make of it? >> they asked who represents the trump administration. how seriously do you take his asets versus his phone calls his white house managers manage to muzzle and confined him. it is a common question. the chinese are a little bewildered. they are waiting and worry about the economic impact. they see certain advantages. trump already made sure he would kill the tpp which was imperative to integrate east asia and pacific countries into our orbit and we handed it over to the chinese. they are worried about other aspects of the economy. trouble make a lot of
for them and they are worried about the political military aspects. china is waiting. they are trying to be patient and not respond to provocations that might occur and hopefully and gradually build a good relationship. they do not know with whom. with the secretary of state, with the secretary of defense, who speaks for trump? >> it was the europeans who first when they heard that phrase "america first" feared that america would not get involved in the second world war. what do european countries make of this notion again of a not just using the phrase but determinedly suggesting it is going to be american interest, american needs, america's economic needs that come before all else. >> there are two things to be
considered. the number one feeling in europe and in france in particular, there is a feeling of abandonment. europeans feel abandoned by america. america has been a very strong partner over the years and now that donald trump is saying he is not going to pay for european security and he is asking european states and other states to make a stronger effort financially to pay for nato, we feel -- europeans feel abandoned by america. the second feeling they have is -- it has something to do with european integration. it is the first time an american president is not in favor of the construction of europe.
concernggered a lot of especially after what happened in the u.k.. europeanhe first time people fear an american president will be in favor of european union. if you ask a different people about donald trump, of course the answer is going to be different. if you ask marine le pen's supporters, then you have a different issue -- answer. marine le pen is very much aligned on donald trump's ideology. marine le pen is -- she has nothing to say against the regime of vladimir putin. she considered that crimea was not invaded -- it was the people
of crimea who wanted to be russian. that is what she said recently on an interview on cnn. marine le pen sees the notion of america first as basically the awakening of the people, the awakening of the nation against the elite, against international institutions. marine le pen it represents 20% of the french voters. >> clearly the same is true with other populist movements. there are plenty of people in britain who supported brexit --ch see the populist wave divided opinions throughout europe. establishment seems to feel that in this new era of american foreign-policy it is the europeans who are perhaps on
the losing end. with that mean, if this is a zero sum game, if europeans are losing, then russia is the winner? >> europeans are concerned that the russians have an attitude towards them of wanting to split up the eu and split up nato and split up the whole western blot. it is clear that is what vladimir putin has been up to. means when he says america first, there are a couple of questions. this you know what america first means? if you know what benefits america most when he is dealing with foreign-policy? today there was an exchange that became public of him asking what the start treaty was. >> these are reports of an exchange. >> it has been leaked from the
white house itself. >> people are thinking, ok, america first, fine. rats that is something that should be a new kind of alignment for the benefits of america. but does trump know what that means? therefore it becomes an erratic thing that they cannot predict. no one can put their money in a particular direction because they don't know what he means by america first and they don't think he knows what he means by america first. the russians seem to know exactly what they want. when you get all these countries who say france first or russia -- ifor america first they are all saying their own country first, then who wins out of them. it is not be grounds for an orchestrated -- broader point which is andect and -- pertinent
that is what is the role of america? duty inmehow america's to be theold world proponents of a foreign-policy that is not built on individual interest but on something more brought them back? an something more borad th that?ad than he'd recently wrote that it seems liberal democracy is enrolled back everywhere you look. the 20th century ideological categories were defined. you knew what left wings was and you knew what right-wing was. i see donald trump as something far more liquid.
i'm seeing this throughout the world. -- vladimir putin does not have an ideology. that is why he can appeal to stalinist on monday and fascism on tuesday. people who support the annexation of crimea include far left outcroppings and far left parties. when we talk about donald trump 's view our philosophy, we're not talking about his world. we're talking about steve bannon's worldview. this is a guy who admires darth vader, satan, and dick cheney. and also edmund burke, the godfather of classical european conservatism. he once described himself as a leninist. this is someone pulling from every extremist orientation and a tradition that is been in the
user for the next -- last hundred years. i find this dangerous because it is to improvisational. this is something where donald trump will lead away and set this benchmark for the rest of the world. even though marine le pen and the politics you are seeing in poland are a strange combination solidarity-communist style dissent mixed with a neo-socialist. trade protectionism has never been part of the republican party platform. now it is part of this isolationist and populist wave. what is he going to do next, we don't know because there is no coherent tradition or philosophy. ♪
♪ >> there seems to be a difference of opinion between people in the trump administration who have come to the conclusion that in the balance between russia and china, russia can help more and china is the looming threat. people in europe who seem to think that china is less of a threat and russia is more. is that too simplistic a characterization? >> i think at this point you are meant to say no. isall i can say about that that yes, in europe there is a
very strong concern leading with russia and the idea of the sanctions that are supported by the americans up until now. is supporting -- no longer supporting the european institutions. does that mean that russia is going to go its way on the resolution of different complex -- in syria or eastern europe. those kind of questions are extremely open. everybody is kind of wait and see in europe. they don't have a lot of contact in the state department because
people need to be appointed. right now people are waiting to see and very concerned about what they will see in the next month. ofthis is a kind of reversal what we saw in the late 60's and early 70's where there were many people in washington and beijing who wanted to get together against the soviet union. now there are many people in moscow and certainly many in trump's group who think they can get together against china. it is this triangular relationship. our policy toward china in the early 1970's has been based on more than anti-soviet and anti-russian policies. i don't think there is going to be that kind of glue for a u.s. russian team against china. >> you don't think trump can do
what nixon did? >> i don't think so. focus on something olivia was saying there, europeans being confused. i asked jerome to put himself in the head of xi jinping. do the same with us with vladimir putin and answer europe's question? what does putin want? >> trump and the bromance continues. there is a rehabilitation from the white house. where does it lead? he keeps crimea and missing in ukraine, what is the next step? >> putin does not have a stable ideology or a stable set of goals. even if you give him everything he wants, it is not clear that -- what everything he wants is and is not clear he is when to stop there.
say we return russia to its and that amount of land and influence, it is not to say he will stop there. it is not clear it is going to be ideological. the personalrely power and what happens with his personal power collapses? we are in a conundrum which we have been since the soviet union collapsed, which is, we don't know how to resist it because if we resist it too much the system there, which is not a system, might fall apart. we have to be careful exactly how much pressure we apply to it. in being careful, we have let him grow and grow as a monster and we don't know where it is going to end or what he wants. that is an advantage that he has. >> we have these areas of the world, china, europe, russia as
well where things are in flux. spheres of influence are being reshaped and we can put the middle east into that box with the iran-saudi power struggle going on. is this a difficult time for america to say we are actually going to withdraw from global affairs? or are those global affairs so in flux that if america gets, and focuses on its own house, its on economy and individual deals, so be it? >> i would argue that the american process of withdrawal from the world took place over the past eight years. pax americana is no more. >> it is different than a continuing engagement with multinational organizations that came after the second world war. >> lip service paid to the
classic american foreign-policy outlook on human rights. that aside -- bashar al-assad had to step aside. now we don't even have a pantomime. be workingwe should with russia to do this kind of thing. he says he cares about human rights and democracy. we have to build virtual and physical walls. rip the veil from american foreign-policy and say we are withdrawing. >> maybe that would mean that the world that is in flux would have to sort itself out. .> it would be useful when america pulls back, you force regional powers into a
state of equilibrium. i would argue, no, you create a vacuum and that that team is exploited by america's enemies. the primary being russia and iran. from the trump administration is we are trying to pull putin away from iran. >> that is the problem with bilateral arrangements. you quickly get into the complex cities of other people's relationships with other people where the enemy of your friend is your enemy. >> look at all of america's allies who feel betrayed or abandoned or don't know what to ine of american leadership the last eight years or certainly now with this court jester, improvisational man in the white house. we should not be in the state we are in. russia, china, andy roddick have a strategic relationship.
and china have a strategic relationship. to exacerbateing the contradictions and tensions? we are enabling a proxy that the turkish government sees as a primary national security rent. mainly the pyb or the syrian workerse of the turkish party. this is strategic management. it is all tactics. i think vladimir putin gets classified as a tactician and not based just. i think he does look into the future. he knows where america's shortcomings are and he exploits the hell out of it. world, whatonfusing --ld you have america do
had awill be good if he base of values from which to operate consistently. then people could be allies and predict what america is going to do next. that is clearly not going to happen. that is the nature of this populist demagogue in which they fire of instant issues and keep the issue oil and over while they continue to grab for more power. if you were to listen to me, i would say you are not going to be able to separate iran from russia. -- mix a total primera of a policy. he is likely allied with russia to crush isis that he will not crush isis to quickly because it is too useful. --one aboutne a
foreign-policy goal. smash radical islamic terrorism. now he is manufacturing terrorist attacks. one will actually happened and he will have to -- he will use it for his advantage to create fortress america. >> certainly a campaign of fear helped him get elected. >> it is clear the united states under trump does not seem likely to withdraw from east asia. we face a three major problems almost immediately. we are already deeply mired in the south china sea and we have heard contradictory statements run the trump people on this. frightening statements in some cases. taiwan is reemerging with trump 's health as a destabilizing factor in modern relations with
asia and china in particular and the most important problem is what to do about north korea's claim to be developing icbms that can reach los angeles and other american centers. there is a rising tide in washington of people saying what wemp has said on occasion can't allow the north koreans to test an icbm they could reach america. nobody knows what he means when he says it will not happen. on the other hand, i am trying to urge people to take up remarks trump has made on other occasions. he is willing to talk to kim jong un on. nobody in washington believes it is possible except a few of us. i think and i have been involved with north korea since 1972 when i first went there, i think it is worth doing because of the alternative is terribly
dangerous. if we to knock out -- if we try to knock out an icbm, that could lead to retaliation against sole el and it could start a dangerous war. supporters to trump as people and the white house and it is a view that has sympathy in this country and they will say to you, listen, america's relationship with china has not done us any favors. weather comes to the issue of trade or currency or north korea, the chinese have not done enough to enforce the sanctions against north korea. why not try and play tough and see where that gets us? if we haven't got a good deal of to this time, say what i heard
on the campaign trail, they like the idea that donald trump is tough on china. too tough it is going to unleash a propagation against us and a retaliation. >> and the fault line is north korea? >> north korea is the most immediate challenge. people don't realize we fought the korean war against china because china would not tolerate the collapse of north korea on its border. things have not changed. the chinese do not like the north koreans either as a people or as a government and it is reciprocated. north koreans don't really like china at all and you can see there are a lot of meetings between the leaders of south korea and china. you don't see many meetings between the leaders of china and north korea. is a very, very
sticky, difficult government to deal with but you have got to be careful because they are also and can be very fanatical about retaliating against what they see as aggression against of them. -- while i'm the in the curious position of representing american voters and , one of the things i have heard on the campaign trail and when ice the two supporters of donald trump, they feel they have been taken by europe.for a ride in europe has this happened of dialing 911 washington and hoping we six everything. we are not interested anymore in saving european bacon. what is it europe's response to that?
your perspectives and to stand up for itself. >> i went to a lot of trump rallies and heard the same thing. i see your point. the response of europe to that biteople are a little struck by that point. i think the general idea is really that, as you know, president trump once -- does not believe, he likes bilateral deals. he is a dealmaker. he is going to make a deal with one country to one country. he decides international institutions. i was talking to a european diplomat recently who explained to me that, of course, i mean, there is a reason we created the european union. we created the european union because each country is small, like france versus america. francis small. make ald trump wants to
deal with france, france is going to be a loser because france has 60 million people at a much smaller economy. of course, it would be under the terms of the biggest country, which is america. france, a reason why germany, italy, and also britain created europe just to create a consummate that -- just a great a continent that is a world superpower. -- just to create a continent that is a world superpower. europe has basically been stealing from america. i mean, no, it is not something -- people don't understand that at all. >> i think the brits also feel they are going to get -- theresa may think she is going to get a good trade deal with united
states as she pulls out a brexit. i hear from people, wishful thinking. the idea that britain could negotiate this deal with the negotiations and that would be to present's advantage. we keep hearing that the white house feels that he has had a bad deal. a bad deal from china. a bad deal from the europeans. but the one place he has not had a bad deal apart from today and in these reports about the treaty is russia. mystifyings relationship he has with president putin? >> i wrote a column recently where i tracked the dirty tricks i saw in an election that i covered for "newsweek" in 2012 in georgia. oddly, they were exactly the same tricks that were used by trump in winning power.
in both those elections, a pro-putin, pro-kremlin, pro russian candidate won and beat the favorite candidate. and the list of things that were so similar were just uncanny. it was coming out of nowhere leading the opposition to victory with dodgy finances that did not get revealed except with some weird connections to russia. theirrst point was country first, in that case, georgia first. if you put georgia first, presumably, you are doing it to be anti-russia since russia had invaded georgia four years before the election. and yet you had a candidate who openly said, i will not criticize putin. and another on similarity, for example, costing down the elections, something unheard of. i first saw it in 2012.
i tell you, the similarities are uncanny. the only thing i can think of is what is going to sound insanely paranoid, i suppose, but it seems to me they are playing the kremlin's game plan here. that is their blueprint. a single not taken position that counters the criminal position on anything. if you look at the time i, it is true, donald trump was anti-nato before vladimir putin was president of russia. there was a time around 2004 where putin wanted to join nato, or pretended to want to join nato. trump had a book written in his name in which he played out this case. we are paying all this money and our allies are not paying anything. i want him besides this point because it is relevant to the last round of conversation. the europeans are freeloaders,
they are not doing their fair share. article five was invoked once in history on september 12, 2001. brits, french, estonians, australians have fought for america and died for america and afghanistan. if they are not making a 2% spending on gdp going for defense, which is not a rule, but more of a guideline for nato , who is donald trump to say, sorry estonia, if you get invaded by little green men, we coming to your defense? >> we still have not comes to the root of this relationship. >> we should not ignore the putin has relationships with china and europe and america, etc. the biggest problem from the is p of chinese government
ing's power. he is about to be reelected by the 19th party congress. there is a widespread belief that this man is not going to stop at the end at the second term, as he should, according to custom. and that he will find a way to perpetuate his power. i compare him some ways to stalin following lenin. in aman is following general, tactical way. he wants to perpetuate his power. asian dictators have found ways in the past, we had marcos in the philippines and parking south korea. putin has found a way to perpetuate his power despite their organization politically, etc. .utin is admired by ping how people cope with this, i don't know. but there is a continuing relationship. should not assume putin is only
looking west. he is also looking east. and we have to be aware of that. >> what you think then ping makes of donald trump's proximity to putin? >> he doesn't know. he may think -- it is words. basis,got no substantive but he would be worried about it. and i think what we are doing east and west side, is to make putin a bigger player than he ought to be. he is enjoying every moment of it. >> can i ask --earlier you said you did not think that trump would be able to create a division between russia and china. but you deny give us the reasons why he will be like nixon this time. why won't it happened it would -- why won't it happened this way? >> putin is aware of this problem. although they have always had tensions between china, the
that she thinks the russians have something. on donald trump, and she suggested it might be financial, personal, or political. what you think about that story? i read something about -- irecently there it is read something about that recently. when was the last time you heard of a british national in britain having --it did not used to happen in the cold war. in the cold war, nobody disappeared while living in england. that is the oddest thing. clearly, things are very vulnerable in england. they cannot protect their own spies within her own country. and they have to go -- my suspicion is, that there is something about the dossier that
theubstantial enough that british intelligence organization that felt they had to protect their own man, not just against the russians, but against -- >> he is being protected as far as we know. it is thery is that other ones that actually came -- advised him and got him and have them go underground. >> as a journalist, i can tell andit is not just the cia not conspiracy theorists or democratic party operas -- democratic party operatives. everybody's tracing -- everybody is chasing leads. >> all the journalists in washington are talking about it, but no one has been able to substantiate it. is wehat suggest that cannot make the extra steps? >> this is how intelligence
works. you will not be able to mail something down completely. that is the nature of that kind of information. that dossier -- it was percolating around it i suspect that the russians got a lot of benefit from it percolating around. it is a threat to trump that if he does not told the line some of the photos of this stuff make him out. >> you may have the dossier that you may have a copy of the dossier in your pocket at the moment? [laughter] you cannot talk about it and hang onto your life. >> exactly. i want to say about this so-called dossier because it is very interesting. i hate to kill a good story. we would like to make this dossier to make headlines about it, but i want to say that i find very interesting that populist all around the world love putin, or don't have a
problem with putin. as i mentioned earlier, if you ask the 10 about putin, she has nothing against him. le pen about ask putin, she has nothing against him. it is not so democratic. what she said that what he has to say about it is in france and trump, it isfore already the same kind of traditions. >> is that true of other populist movements? i'm asking you because i don't know. that they have an affinity for them? >> i don't know about that. pen. know about le >> another component of the
french situation is that a russian bank has led the national front several million euros -- it's sort of out of the open that is the dark course of the kremlin. >> they are saying they think it will be a factor in the election. >> they are to have marine le pen elected president of france and trying to topple angela merkel with the use of this propaganda. with respect to this dossier though, the media screwed it up. the most salacious aspect of it is the least interesting. if the paperwork to copy out tomorrow -- if the paperwork for , donald out tomorrow trump's poll numbers would go up if there is a financial tie between his organization in the russian government, which was done as a quid pro quo on the russian diaspora. it does have a lot of that. >> the dossier of said that he refused sweetheart construction
deals? >> they do not comfortable wish and. -- he did not comes to fruition. >> and russia investing in him. the are floating him at a time that they would not give him loans. that stuff became obliterated by the alertness of the dossier. but the question you're asking about populace, it is productive to look at. for example, or the one, the turkish populist -- for example, populist.he turkish turn the country away from the west to some degree, very subtly, and then resigned. what are the common factors between these populace. -- populists? look at the turkish one. erdogan has no common interest
with putin strategically. he's on the sunni side. he is in competition with them in syria and yet, all of a sudden, he has begun to be pals with putin. that can only be a personal -- >> how can they be on opposite sides on the issue of syria? diametrically opposite. nearly at ware with each other. >> the reason for this is putin's intervention in and expansion of russian power -- the kurdish issue is the leverage he has with erdogan. he is more concerned with that than isis or al qaeda. the real issue is what does russia want out of the middle east? everyone wants to do business -- diplomatic, military, armed deals, commercial. you don't go to washington anymore.
you go to moscow. the proof is in the peace process has been relocated to -- hasto cause asked on been rolling -- has been relegated to geneva. motift is the one sort of of russian involvement in the region is now we are back in charge. putin is doing is he is guaranteeing power to populists. dogan thatnteeing erg he will back his regime in turkey. that is a kind of organization that i think putin is setting up against nato, against the u.s.. he is saying each of these populists, your homes with the kremlin. >> europeans may not like you print the are raising an eyebrow of what you are doing. it is a human rights issue. >> here nato ally is backing a proxy that you have been in work with for 40 years. >> here's a question for you --
in the shakeup of the grand gop political shakeup have been playing for the last 40 minutes, the suspicion in circle surrounding donald trump is the great fred strategically might fret -- the great strategically might be china. if they pull back, there has to be somebody who steps in. and what you hear in washington and foreign-policy circles that it is likely to be china. what we are hearing from michael is that it is russia stepping in? >> it depends on which area of the world you focus on. if you focus on east asia, the key question is whether the united states and china can read some -- can reach some accommodation to the rising china. rising china is not
as powerful as the world perceives it coming it is quiet nationalistic and quite influential that there is a big danger in the south china sea that we may not find the basis for adjusting our interest. america is not going to withdraw from the south china sea. china is not going to give up the pilots and the military bases. suggestedtrump has that america will not be more robust? mr. secretary tillerson suggested we would interfere with chinese occupation of these island outposts they created. well, now he has begun to withdraw from that because that could lead to war. an we have not found adequate basis, and from the perspective of china, what they are talking about all of this
complexity in the middle east and eastern europe, etc., is a secondary game. the real game will be played out in the pacific and we should not overlook the role of japan and the danger of rising on the korean-japanese, australian side. >> when prime minister abe meets president trump and mar-a-lago on friday and has a round of golf with him, but will his message be? >>'s message is trying to follow up -- his message is trying to follow up with secretary mattis sought to demonstrate. that we will continue the traditional american policy of supporting japan and south korea, including protection of the islands that are such a heated subject in the east china sea. we don't take a position on the merits of who owns those islands, but we do say bill defend japan if the dispute gets
out of hand. the real game is being played out in east asia. and these other offense, i think of the chinese and the american government feel they are under restraints and not capable of doing successfully with what russia is doing, and they are not really prepared to follow a european lead, if there is such a european lead given the internal problems. >> i am not sure that a european lead exist. i would like to ask each of you but optimistic scenario. of how this pans out. olivier.art with what is the optimistic scenario with a talk policy? [laughter] >> ok moving swiftly along. i don't think -- from another point of view and diplomatic
circles, it is not optimistic. about japan, we all remember the 1987 add that he published in the new york times where he was forng that japan should pay its security. that means that he has been saying this for 30 years, for many, many years. people think that he is going to be keeping -- doing that in his own way. people are not very concerned. far, it think -- so -- it is a pink scenario right now. optimistican scenario would be to continue the major outlines of our policy toward east asia, but show much more flexibility in dealing with north korea. we cannot deal with every crisis
at once. this is the most immediate one. and i think we should take advantage of mr. trump's proclivity for doing radically different things and say, here is a radically different thing. negotiate with the north koreans and everyone else has been too afraid to. if there is a -- possibility of countering iranian influence, great. but do not be misled. in some cases, you don't need the russians. you don't need them for yemen, east in syria or they don't have much of a present. pumpingwhen they are all of these anti-american , we reallytheorists do have to worry about the integrity of the iraqi state and what is become the revolutionary
creeping takeover of their security establishment. >> how damaging has the visa ban then in terms of reputation on foreign policy? >> in terms of iraq? you have a rocky translators wrist allies for 10 plus years for people who cannot get back into the country. yet syrian rebels fighting on behalf of the pentagon saying it is hard enough to defend america given the situation in syria. told, we caning die for you, but we cannot land a jfk for you. i have been a severe critic on this. >> i give you some time? i think the best possible outcome for trump's foreign y is that he never meant any of this progression stuff. against the up
brick wall of reality and finds out that he must go back and re-empower the e.u. and nato. and that is the easiest thing for him to do. and present some coherence and some resistance against the anti-western powers in the world. that is the best case scenario, but i think it is a very remote one. thank you all so much for joining me. fascinating discussion. we will continue this discussion of the next four years, i'm sure. it has been a pleasure for me sitting in for charlie rose at this table. mr. rose, come back to your table soon. ♪
>> welcome to the best of bloomberg markets middle east. the major stories deriving headlines from the region this week. could the -- could rising prices offset opec's cuts. and a focus on soviet asia. -- on southeast asia. singapore is said to be planning incentives to secure a slice of what could be the world's biggest i.p.o.