tv BBC World News America PBS September 5, 2013 2:30pm-3:01pm PDT
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welcome to our viewers on public television in america and around the globe. tonight, in st. petersburg, russia, world leaders were supposed to be discussing the global economy. instead, they are focused on the prospect of american airstrikes against syria. china, argentina, brazil, and the european union have respect -- have expressed reluctance and president obama is having a tough time convincing other nations to join him. first, this report from the political editor, nick robinson. trying to stop america's drive on the strikes in syria, the question that hangs over the splendor of st. petersburg's constantine palace, which is welcoming the leaders of the world's 20 richest nations. publicly, it was all smiles from president obama and russia's president putin, but this 15
second handshake will be the longest the two men spend alone together. this meeting was meant to focus on boosting the global economy. syria stop that. the men in the chair did not want to change the agenda, but he has been forced to. putin is under pressure from the americans and their new allies in the middle east, the french. and britain, of course. >> prime minister, you have been the leading advocate of action against syria, yet you find yourself in negotiations essentially with no hand to play. >> i don't think so. onis right to make a stand it is right to take that to parliament and respect parliament, but britain, apart from not taking part in military action, britain will be leading the discussion on humanitarian aid and bringing forward plans for a peace process for syria. the prime minister says more evidence is emerging that chemical weapons were used in
damascus. the government's research laboratory has found deadly sarin gas in the soil. david cameron first urged president obama to intervene in syria's civil war. he is deeply frustrated that britain, unlike france, will not take art in any military action. 4000 miles away, in new york, the talk is not about what britain will or will not do. america's ambassador to the united nations launched this verbal assault against russia. the wake of the flagrant shattering of the international norms against chemical weapons use, russia continues to hold the council hostage and sure its international responsibilities with the syrian people. they have learned the security council the world needs to deal with this crisis is not the security council we have. >> president obama arrived late and alone to the g 20 dan are. he has to worry, not just about
what other world leaders think but also what they are thinking at home. robinson, bbc news, st. petersburg. >> as president obama tries to drum up support for the military action in syria, i spoke with the white house deputy national security advisor, who joined me from st. petersburg. today we have the european union, the chinese, the argentinians, the brazilians, even the pope saying that they are not endorsing america's idea of a military strike against syria. president obama is looking increasingly isolated, isn't he? to drawnk he will be up support for the notion that chemical weapon use is unacceptable. there is a strong prohibition on it and the laws of war. number two, we can expect to see strong political and diplomatic statements of support from some of our european and asian allies , as well as saudi arabia. we believe there will be
political support for the president's determination to take military action against the assad regime for their use of chemical weapons and we believe there will be some participation from allies, but this is not an open-ended military operation to build a coalition like we did. we will be looking for those diplomatic expressions of support in talking to nations like france and britain, and participating in the potential operation. what i am hearing is this is being mishandled by the white house, that it smacks of indecision, the way that it was rolled out. what do you say to your allies thehave concern about indecision on launching a strike. what is a say about strategy? >> the president determined we should take military action. that is a flagrant use of chemical weapons, killing over 1000 people, hundreds of children, and a clear violation of the fundamental international norm that is important for the security of the syrian people
and our international systems. that necessitated military action. he also decided america would be stronger if we invest the american people in the action we take by going to congress, having this debate. the fact of the matter is our decisionwill be in a -- will be in position to take the strike one week from now or three weeks from now and it will impact the assad regime and its capabilities were with regards to chemical weapons, so we can take our time to invest the american people and that will put us in a stronger position internationally because of that leaders will see this is not just the president acting on his own accord, this is the working people acting through the president and their representatives in congress. >> what happens if you don't get the vote in congress? >> the president as commander- in-chief has the authority to take action, but we took this to congress for a reason. we believe congress should authorize this. we are confident they will. there is a debate going on, but we are seeing growing bipartisan support.
we expect a vote on the resolution in the near future and we expect it will pass. the message to the members of congress is if you want to see action taken in syria, congress should authorize it. >> how concerned are you about what may happen the day after the strikes? you can have that resident assad will line up the bodies in the hospital and say, look, this is what the americans have done, they have killed civilians, and the possibility of retaliation has to exist. all, the strike will be focused on the issue of chemical weapons. we want to degrade assad's capabilities and deter him from using chemical weapons again. second, we believe the long-term solution in syria is not military. the u.s. is not going to impose regime change through military action. we will stay invested in the political process through geneva so we bring the opposition to the table, the assad regime, in pursuit of a new transition in syria to bring about a new government.
we think assad cannot be part of that transition because he has lost legitimacy through the killing of thousands of people and his use of chemical weapons. we might expect that kind of tactic from assad. we have seen that in libya, when we had the operation where there was an attempt to bring to bear false reports of civilian casualties. the united states military planes these types of actions, and we take extraordinary per cautions to avoid civilian casualties in what we do. >> ok, thank you so much for joining us. for more on the military options, i spoke a short time ago with general michael hayden, the director of the cia and the national security agency. weeral comment seems like are in this unsatisfactory position where the u.s. may strike against syria simply because not acting at this stage is more risky than acting. that is not a great position to be in, is it? >> it is a horrible position to
be in, but i think it is accurate of the position we are in. frankly, good people, not isolation list, are thinking twice and three times before they might give their consent for the attack. my personal view, we are at that point. syria is a bad option. the worst option is doing nothing. >> you support a strike? >> i do, a little strike. the little syria issue is the use of chemical weapons, and that is a big deal in its own right. i think there is an awful lot of legitimacy, both in our national interests and the broader moral way for us to help friends to take action. but then you have the broader syrian issue. i don't think we should be under any pretense that dealing with the smaller syrian issue affects the broader issue, and the broader issue is the dissolution of the very important state in
the arab world. >> which would be a disaster for everybody security. do you think president obama backed america into this by using those words, redline? criticize the president, these were not prepared remarks at the press conference. he had been pushed to ring the campaign that he was not doing enough on syria. i think he felt the need both in policy and politics to say there are some limits, and he stated this limit, this red line. i think that made it personal. what he said yesterday is just not -- it may or may not be consistent with the historian record in his own mind. line,edibility is on the and the credibility of his nation is on the line in a way that, frankly, does not exist for any other nation in the world because no other national leader made a personal the way that he did a year ago.
>> are you concerned that this whole strategy looks -- i will be diplomatic -- muddled? they're saying there have been 14 chemical attacks. they have been talking about chemical attacks for six months. shouldn't we have been able to plan this better? >> it is easy to be critical. i have sat in the room when these discussions take place and decisions are made. it is very hard. you actually see my government changing the generative a bit. -- changing the narrative a bit. we were drawn reluctantly to the fact of the use of chemical weapons. now we are convinced chemical weapons have been used, we have mounted a powerful case they have been used a lot. similarly, and by the way, that is true, that is fact. they were used. the syrian government did this. that is unavoidable. the second narrative is enriching the story in a way
that i don't think is as fact- based as the former is the identity of the character of the syrian opposition. secretary kerry said in testimony yesterday, and i am paraphrasing, but fundamentally they were more broad-based, they were more democratic, they were more tolerant, and they were more powerful than they had been in the past. i have to be shown that. as recently as mid-august, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and responding to a request from congress in a letter to the hill simply saying there are not two sides in syria, there are many sides, and right now he is not comfortable that if any side won it would act in a way consistent with u.s. values and interests. >> thank you very much for coming in, admiral. the former director of the cia, sounding a bit skeptical. other news from around the world, the kenyan parliament has passed a motion calling for kenya to withdraw from the international criminal court. the country's president and his
deputy are due to appear at the court over the ethnic violence that followed kenya's disputed elections five years ago. the icc says the trials will go ahead regardless. the president of mexico says the united states has promised to investigate allegations that he was spied on by the american national security agency. that actions should be taken if american agencies broke international agreements and acted outside of the law. the interior where minister has narrowly escaped an assassination attempt. a car bomb say exploded next to his motorcade as it drove through the eastern district of the city, the first attack on a senior politician since the military ousted the president mohammed morsi. we have the story from cairo. an attack targeting egypt's interior minister in cairo. his convoy was hit by apple last
caused by a large -- his convoy was hit by a blast caused by a large explosive device. officials expect a car bomb. the minister was not hurt. shortly after the attack, he appeared on egyptian television. god --i can do is think is think not. the forensic lab said it was a thee set off from afar with exact timing of my convoy passing that street. all of the explosion debris was directed at my car. >> it is not clear who carried out the attack but the authorities have blamed what they call terrorist groups. the interior minister who is in charge of the police has been one of the people in charge of overseeing a violent crackdown on supporters of egypt's former president, mohamed morsi, of the muslim brotherhood. was ousted in july, there has been widespread unrest.
brotherhood has strongly condemned the attack. it says it stands for peace, democracy, and justice. anro has not seen assassination attempt against a senior government official like this since the 1990s. now many egyptians are worried their country could be entering a new and more dangerous phase. andhe 1990s, egypt faced islamist insurgency which destabilize the country and hurt torres him. the authorities say they are braced for a wave of terrorism to come. bell, bbc news, cairo. >> unrest in egypt, war, and the prospect of strikes in syria, a very difficult area of the world at the moment. you are watching "bbc world news america." make way for the entrepreneurs of the middle east, a new book examines these startups that could make their mark on the world.
in southeast england, a massive car pileup stop traffic during the morning rush hour. the police a there was heavy fog but they are still investigating how the crash got so large. duncan kennedy has the story. the morning fog lifted to reveal a scene of human and vehicle chaos. for as far as the eye could see, cars, lorries, and bikes stretched off until almost unbroken lines of shunted metal. passengers staggered out onto the bridge is a full emergency rescue operation was put into action. some filmed the pileup and the extent of the fog. others called loved ones. willed or do passengers and drivers were led away. -- lines of be willed or do passengers and drivers were led away. how upsetting was it? >> extremely.
about 130 vehicles were involved. dozens were hit on all sides. a rubik's cube of interlocking cars and a pileup that took 10 minutes from start to finish. than 30 people were taken to hospitals, some with very serious injuries. the road was closed for hours as salvage crews worked on the carnage. the police have had to spray paint numbers on the windshield to give them an idea of the scale of what happened. as you get closer and closer to the front end of the accident, the damaged the vehicles becomes more and more severe. the bridge straddles an estuary that is regularly covered in fog. some drivers say they were expecting some today. the weather, this judgment, and fortune played a mixture of roles in this epic event. duncan kennedy, bbc news.
>> over the past few months, most of our coverage of the middle east has been focused on form oil. but there is another much more positive story happening in the region. according to christopher schroeder, the arab world was going to raise surge of entrepreneurial spirit. and guess what -- women are a big heart of it. he makes his case in a new book, "start up rising," and i spoke to him in new york. among the political turmoil and violence in the middle east, you say there is actually a much more optimistic story? story, forhopeful sure. the terrible things we know are very real. even in the hopeful story, i know entrepreneurs who have been killed in egypt and syria. the fact is because of technology, entire generations of people are not only looking for their political voice but
harry are expressing it in their desire for a better life economically. these tech startups are phenomenally powerful and very hopeful. >> what are some of the interesting companies you have come across? >> one of the biggest surprises, and you see it in almost every country, often people trying to solve problems in their backyards. is terrible traffic in cairo, as it is, a lot of upper doors think that is a software problem. so they build a crowd sourcing apps to share the best routes in real-time. incation is a real challenge a lot of parts of the middle east, even though they spent a fair amount of money there. an entire generation of on a per norse is saying i will build an online school bash a lot of entrepreneurs are saying they will build online schools so they have a opportunity to reach people who could not have been reached 5, 10 years ago. >> to some extent, isn't this the story of demographics, an area of the world where one third of the population is under
the age of 25, down to be tech savvy, there is unemployment, and they are looking for ways to make their country better? >> i think a lot of these young people have come to the conclusion, which is a similar motivation with the arab uprising, the top-down approach is something they are not waiting for. i need a lot of older people in the middle east who say it will take a generation to fix the problem, and the young people say i'm not waiting for generation. i have the technology, i see the way the rest of the world lives. i can leverage excellent software from anywhere in the world. i will go at it now. >> how much is economics an issue? you write about the poverty levels in some of these countries, and not a large number of people have technology yet. >> what is interesting and moving to me, which is true of emerging markets, the average penetration of mobile technology is generally 100% in many countries, meaning people have more than one phone. what is so powerful is the
adoption of smart devices is unbelievable. sub --seen below $50 below $50 cell phones, which means it will be expanding. somebody need to call me they think 50% of the population will have smart phones. that is 50% of egyptians walking around with not just better phones but supercomputers in their pockets. this is something that will be very powerful. >> christopher, you have this amazing statistic there are more headed by women in the middle east than in silicon valley. i think people would find that astonishing. >> it is mind blowing. everytally, through startup competition i go to, any gathering of a thousand people or more coming easily one third are women. if you go to a lot of silicon valley events, you will not see that. they are unbelievable and phenomenal and very well compared bernards -- and well- prepared entrepreneurs. >> that is great.
think you for joining me. not that i am biased, of course. if you have ever visited the grand canyon, you may have taken a ride down the rapids of the great colorado river. it may have taken you weeks, it is very long after all. 30 years ago, three adventurers, or perhaps just crazy river guides, did the trick in 36 hours, as did the trip in 36 hours, a trip made possible when vast amounts of water were relieved from a dam. we spoke to one of them about the ride. >> the flood of 1983 really presented them with a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to test themselves against the ancestral force of the colorado river as it existed prior to the construction of the dams that brought it under control. the emerald mile is a stance oblique an adventure story. it is a story about three men in a wooden boat and how they set
the all-time speed record for the fastest oat ever to traverse the length -- the fastest boat ever to traverse the length of the grand canyon. ♪ in late june of 1983, the managers in charge of the dam, to prevent it from being overtopped by a lake they cannot control, sent 93,000 cubic feet per second of water into the grand canyon. this enormoust of flood, as it hydraulic slingshot, the idea being the flood would propel them, catapult them through the 277 miles of the grand canyon. one of the biggest obstacles they confront it was at a place called crystal. ♪
they had no idea the crystal rapids, but it was where things went wrong in an attempt to take the emerald mile through that way. they experienced in andover and flip with a twist. fromeight of the wave trough to crest was 30 feet. it flung all three men into the river. when all was said and done, at the end of this mishap at crystal, they realized the conditions that were laying down the possibility of setting a new stork speed run would never occur again. so they decided their only choice was to get back into the boat and continue the trip. i like exciting sports, but i'm afraid i would have never tried that. "e record-breaking journey, the emerald mile." the rest of the news on our 24
hour channel. winky so much for watching. i will see you back here tomorrow -- thank you so much for watching. i will see you back here tomorrow. >> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, giving all profits to charity and pursuing the common good for over 30 years, and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to understand the industry you operate in, working to nurture new ventures and help provide capital for key strategic decisions.
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: president obama arrived in russia for a summit with world leaders, a meeting overshadowed by tensions around a strike on syria. good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, we hear from former national security advisor brent scowcroft and former diplomat chris hill. and we continue our talks with members of congress about syria- - tonight, democratic congressman alan grayson. >> woodruff: then, from western massachusetts, a story about a county taking "going local" to a whole new level by printing its own money. >> it's about community support. it's about shopping local. it's about sustainability right here where we live and we work.