tv Washington Week With Gwen Ifill PBS February 6, 2015 7:30pm-8:01pm PST
gwen: on the foreign policy front we go to ceia, jordan, ukraine and russia. on the domestic front we explore economic breakthroughs in 2015 trip-ups tonight on "washington week." >> no god condones terror. no grievance justifies the taking of innocent lives. gwen: but another innocent life reportedly taken today, this time of an american hostage races the ante for american involvement involved against islamic state terrorists. plus in eastern ukraine -- >> the president is reviewing all of his options. among those is options obviously is the possibility of providinging defensive defensive assistance to ukraine. gwen: back home, wages are up, employers are adding workers and more americans are looking for
jobs. actual good economic news. and 2016 presidential hopefuls running to the campaign cycle's first full-scale distraction, the vaccine debate. >> apparently to have some measure of choice as well. that's the balance the government has to decide. gwen: as the measles outbreak intensifies, what do the candidates' answers tell us about what kind of president they would make? covering the week, doyle mcmanus, walk columnist for "l.a. times," michael crowley, senior foreign policy reporter for politico. ayman javers, washington corespondent for cnbc and karen tumulty, washington political corespondent for "the washington post." >> live from our nation's capital, this is "washington week" with gwen ifill.
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enduring commitment. >> additional corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- the international brotherhood of electrical workers, ibew. additional funding is provided by newman's own foundation, donating all profits from newman's own food products to charity and nourishing the common good. the annenberg foundation. the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs stations from viewers like you. thank you. once again live from washington moderator gwen ifill. gwen: good evening. tonight two huge simmering foreign policy challenges top washington's agenda. in each case the front-burner question is the same -- how far will or can the u.s. go to come to the aid of its allies? ally number one, jordan. king abdullah was in washington
this week when a jordanian pilot was executed burned alive. he met with president obama and then rushed home, leaving behind a rare bipartisan agreement that the u.s. should step up to defeat isis. >> there's an awful lot of things already in the pipeline, but speeding that process up through the bureaucracy would certainly help the jordanians in a time of significant need. >> i believe that the administration should move quickly to give more capacity to the jordanians. gwen: ally number two, ukraine, where everyone does not agree on the u.s. role, should we arm the ukraine government against a russian-backed incursion or stick with the hope of a diplomatic solution? >> it's up to those who believe in struggling democracies to stand up and be counted and do the very basic thing that's required of a friend, give you the tools to help yourself. gwen: but so far the white house
has resisted sending lethal aid. >> we cannot afford to be guarded by alarmism and nearly instantous news cycle. gwen: starting with the rise of the islamic state and today's report of american hostage doyle, where do things stand tonight? >> gwen things at the end of the week are rather sobering and sad. that young woman her name was calleb mueller, 26 years old from prescott. here's the heartbreaking thing, she went to syria as a volunteer aid worker. kidnapped 18 months ago. no confirmation she was killed. gwen: i was going to make that point. >> isis usually releases a videotape. they claim she was killed in a jordanian air strike. speglation is she may have been killed. they didn't release a videotape. they maybe didn't release a tape because she wasn't really killed in the jordanian air strike. the consequence, of course, horrifying and barbaric
execution of that jordanian pilot, moaz al-kasabeh killed at the beginning of the week. and a lot of people looked at this news, why on earth did they do this? gwen: does this change the u.s. policy about hostage taking, they won't deal with it, or does it change jordan's role in the regional conflict against isis? >> it doesn't change either of those policies and, ok, in a sense that's kind of a bittersweet victory out of this. isis was clearly trying to change jordanian policy. the whole point of what they're doing, and i would not recommend anyone watch the videotape. but if you watch the whole videotape after the execution, they issue a call to their supporters to kill other jordanian pilots and actually post purportedly the pictures, names and home addresses of jordanian pilots. so this was supposed to do two things. it was supposed to shake jordanians' faith in the war in their regime. it was supposed to shake faith
particularly in the air force and jshedian armed forces. that didn't happen. jordanians reacted in a sense normally. asked, demanded revenge. the king ordered the execution of two prisoners who were already on death row, al qaeda prisoners, and then carried out a series of air strikes. gwen: ok michael, let's go to ukraine where there were also efforts under way to change u.s. policy, in this case get the u.s. more directly involved in providing lethal aid to prop up the ukrainian government as the incursions in the eastern part of the country continue and actually build. >> yes, in fact things are worse. so we're about a year into this conflict. first you athe annexation of crimea which was bloodless and basically peaceful. some low-level violence. now what we have is a low intensity conflict, some would call it an outright war n. eastern europe, in eastern ukraine. 5,000 dead now. hundreds of thousands of people ds placed and there is a debate
in the obama administration to the effect of we have applieded all of these sanctions, u.s. sanctions, european sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and it's not changing vladimir putin's behavior, nor is the fact that putin's economy is in deep trouble, russia is really feeling the economic pain, and if anything, he's escalating. there was a cease-fire agreement in september is, which is now basically in tatters. today french president olin and german chancellor merkel went on an extraordinary trip to moscow after stopping in kiev to meet with putin. there was hope that they had some kind of skeleton key here, some plan, some deal that would unlock this all and deescalate from this moment we're at where there's talk of military escalation from the west, from the united states. they've left moscow, it appears basically empty-handed. they're going to keep talking but we have no breakthrough. gwen: so the u.s. obviously is not part of these discussions. was there hope of the
administration that this would get sorted out without their involvement? >> not only the administration but europeans. the europeans by and large don't want to see an escalation here. in fact, olin a few weeks ago said we should start thinking about reducing the sanctions as a carrot to try to get putin to back off. the europeans don't like the is sanctions. they're trying to get their economies out of the mud. president obama does not want to send lethal aid. it would be defensive. it's anti-tank missiles, surveillance drones, it's radar. so it's not offensive weapons, it's didn'tive. but obama does not, i think, want to get into a more intense confrontation with putin in which many people worry putin will simply double down, respond to the challenge by escalating and violence spirals and who knows whappeds. >> where are the europeans now on sanctions? the obama administration was very careful as they worked with the economic allies with sanctions against russia because they wanted to bring those along and present the united front. is that united front starting to
fracture now? >> yes, as i said they raised the idea of dialinging back sanctions. greeks have expressed skepticism about the sanctions regime. and i don't have to tell you the european economy has been in deep pain and this doesn't help. in addition europe really depends on russia for energy. the germans are concerned about that. that said, the europeans by and large would prefer the sanctions route to the military route. i spoke to a german diplomat this week who was saying, you americans are talking about sending arms. do you know where this is headed? do you know what he's likely to do next? it's really dangerous. they may prefer sanctions, even if they don't like them, to escalation of military aid. >> doyle speaking united fronts, back it isis there's an international coalition that's been assembled to push isis back. what's the big picture here? are they making progress? >> well, if you wanted to look
for anything in common between these two crises we're talking about, i think it's in that question. first, you've got a coalition that's under strain. in the case of isis, ob, they were trying to get jordan out but also the other arab countries. we only learned this week the united arab emirates, who had been very enthusiastic at the outset in terms of air strikes, pulled their pilots out of this after that jordanian was shot down because they didn't think search and rescue, or their excuse was they didn't think their search and rescue, the american search and rescue is preparations were forward enough and quick enough. here's a small, little detail. in those middle eastern countries, pilots in the air force are usually from the elite. these are people from very good and very influential families. that's a real pressure point. how do you measure progress in either one of these cases? that's very, very tough and -- >> diplomacy is not on the table when you're dealing with isis.
>> no. and they're you're looking at a military struggle in iraq which number one which is making some progress but it's agoingly slow. they're still talking about hopefully retaking mosul the second largest city some time later this year. in syria there's still no clear strategy, and in fact if you look at the way the territory has moved, some people are arguing isis is moving ahead and some people are arguing it's moving behind. gwen: let me ask you both, don't know whether it's just perception are reality but is the u.s. on the basically sidelines in all of this waiting to hope other circumstances on the ground change? or or they behind the scenes really pushing an outcome but they realize their heavy hand print may not be helpful starting in ukraine? >> i think in ukraine, there's a degree to which putin is encouraging this diplomacy with the europeans, who do not support military escalation.
and i think putin likes to keep the americans out of it as much as he can. i think he thinks he can probably get a better deal with the europeans. so in that regard, for instance this diplomacy happening today that was quite that dramatic, we were not a central part of. however the minute we start sending those defensive weapons into ukraine, that will turn on a dime. and america's ability to impose sanctions remains powerful. there are cards we have not played including cutting russia off from the so-called swift banking system, which would be major escalation. we still have a lot of cards to play. gwen: cards to play on the other one? >> the united states is front and center. there's nobody is else in that region who is both able and willing to organize the military and the diplomacy side of this. really what isis is trying to do is get the arab countries out of it and turn it into an arab vers american war. and that's why it's so important to keep, especially those sunni
arab countries, in this fight. gwen: ok, thanks both of you. the bad headlines from around the world tend to overwhelm good ones at home but today's news about the economy was indisputeably good. more jobs, higher wages and more people looking for work. the president took a moment out of his day traveling in indiana to cheer the news. >> america is poised for another good year. indianapolis is poised for another good year. as long as washington works to keep this progress going. gwen: the remarkable thing about the number is that today's good news extended backward, too, didn't it? it wasn't just today? >> that's right gwen. this was a big-time jobs report. 257,000 jobs created just in month of january in the out. that's well above expectations. and the revisions, as you say, going back, always look back a couple months and scoof the numbers a little bit. those were up as well for the previous two months. very good trend line now. we have about 11 months of
200,000-plus job growth in this country and good news for middle class americans, wages were up a scooch but earnings up a lot. and also we saw this whole issue of hours coming into focus. hours were up. that means people who are working part time are getting more work. they're able to get the kind of work that they want and that means earnings are good and that's good for middle class americans. gwen: why? was it result of policy or as a result of a natural rebound? >> natural rebound. you see republicans saying it's because of republican policies democrats saying because of democratic policies. but what we are seeing is a virtual cycle in the u.s. economy where things are moving along. if anybody in washington is going to get any credit for any of this, it's going to be the folks over at the fed. >> one of the things that seems to be driving the economic rebound is the dip it in oil prices. but at the same time one of the reasons that in states like north dakota and texas they have had such low unemployment is because of the boom in
fracking. what happen when's oil prices drop, is that going to affect jobs numbers? >> on a macro level, it's going to affect the u.s. economy because it's going to put more money in the wallets of american consumers. they will buy things. that's good for jobs. bad for jobs in the oil patch. we have seen u.s. oil producers signaling they will start to slow down or stop production because they have a real supply and demand problem. there's a glut of oil out there. it's driving prices down. they can't afford that. in north dakota, they've got to watch to see when those oil fields become noncompetitive economically. there's a danger for that. gwen: the president made a side appearance in indiana saying i know your gas prices are low and you're happy about that. don't get used to it and start buying road hogs. they will go back up again. >> the old saying about gas pries is they go up like richt and down like a feather. they go up fast. >> if this number for job creation was so good, how come the unemployment rate went up and how come the stock market went down?
>> stock market going down was fascinating question. the dow closed lower. the dow futures initially on the news at 830:001 popped nicely like you would expect. over the recourse of the day we saw a retreat of the dow. the reason for that is wall street traders worry very much about what the fed will do as a result of this signal from the u.s. economy. they worry the fed is going to pull back on the stimulus that's been injected into the u.s. economy. they might turn the corner and raise interest rates at some point in the future six months or a year from now. that fear is what drove the dow to trend down during the course of the day. things that are great for american middle class workers are not necessarily great for guys on trading floors in wall street. >> for last couple of years, president obama has been trying to talk up the economy, take credit for the fact there's been steady growth while not seeming to celebrate prematurely because a lot of people are sturt hurting. are we kind of crossing the line into that gloating phase yet? is he spiking the football yet? >> you can tell the obama white
house wants to get more credit for the u.s. economy. they want people to say wait a second we are creating 200,000 jobs -- gwen: don't they deserve a little bit of the credit? >> presidents traditionally get credit and blame. gwen: yeah certainly got the blame. >> definitely got the blame. but what this white house has been careful about and you see this on the day of the job report in florida, come out with a statement and put officials on the white house lawn to talk to cnbc and other networks and say it's really good but we can do more. it's really good but here's what we will do to fix the rest of the problem. the reason is they don't want that mission accomplished moment where they are taking credit for everything being fixed and americans still feeling pain and looking saying these people don't get it. gwen: are we worried about the things we talked about the first half of the show the global issues which could destiblize snevering >> absolutely. you are seeing weirdness in greek welcomes isis, ukraine, all of that can disrupt global markets. there's always an uncertainty factor. they tend to stay away from talking about the stock market and ten to stay away taking absolute full credit, secretly
they want it and are asking for it. gwen: funny. it's like saying hello no, stop. we reached the point in the early stage of the 2016 presidential context where we begin to gauge candidates by how well they negotiate the unanticipated. in this case the sudden and fierce debate over measles, vaccines and who gets to protect our children. this is in part how senator rand paul handled it -- >> i have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines. ipe not arguing vaccines are a bad idea. i think they're a good thing. but i think parents should have some input. the state doesn't own your children. parents own the children. and it is an issue of freedom. gwen: and how jeb bush weighed in -- >> parents ought to make sure their children are vaccinated. parents have a responsibility to make sure their children are protected, over and out. gwen: over and out.
hillary clinton though wisely not in front of a camera said much the same thing. how did this issue bubble up to this level in the first place? why are we talking about this, karen? >> we are talking about this, first of all, because measles is an extremely contagious disease. if you are not immune and you're exposed to this virus, chances are 90% that you are going to come down with measles. somebody who has it leaves a room, that virus is still active for hours after they are gone. so we have seen a real spike in measles incidents in this country. there were over 100 new cases in january. many of them in california where there has been something of a movement among upscale people, sort of the organic grocery demographic, not to vaccinate their children. and so all of this has now come -- you would think it's a public health debate.
what can be less political? but -- gwen: but it's been proven, in many reports, debunked that there's a link to autism. yet somehow this issue jumped -- didn't jump the smarck. in fact still seems very much alive, jumped from being obscure, esoteric debate to somebody being a political hot debate. i missed when it made that leap. >> it has in part because there is an increase in the incidence of autism. and even though this link supposedly between vaccines has been completely debunked, there's no other scomplan isation for it. i think it goes much, much deeper and emotionally when you talk about vaccines. it's about the role of government. it's about parental prerogative. and so you put a medical mystery on top of that and it really is kind of dry tinder for politics. >> so we just saw a huge contrast between rand paul and jeb bush both of whom appear to be running for president. did any other candidates weigh
or precandidates weigh in? what did we learn about the shape of the race out of that? >> the one who seems to have started this whole thing was chris christie who is over in london supposedly, you know, showing off his foreign policy chops. instead he talked about how there has to be a measure of choice for parents. so that is really what got this started. it was interesting though because the backlash was so swift that chris christie's office was trying to backtrack. and then rand paul had this sort of odd statement about his comments that we saw in that earlier clip, that he was saying they were two factors of vaccines and disabilities were temperly related. he was not trying to suggest there was any -- gwen: and backtrack by getting a booster shot for hepatitis a the next day. >> exactly. i think the candidates, they again, the -- in part because the other republican candidates were jumping on them as well.
it wasn't just jeb bush. it was bobby jindal. it was john boehner saying, just get your kids vaccinated. >> my question on this, looking particularly at chris christie and rand paul's statements here, are these core convictions for these guys as american politicians or campaign trail in discipline when you're asked a question and give top of the head answer their campaign staffs in the back room would have come up with that as a policy position for their zphain >> it's interesting i think they sort of sensed there was this role of government line here -- gwen: freedom. >> -- they did not want to step over. but the efforts to immediately backtrack on what they say suggests all of a sudden they realized they had either -- that this i think comes under the heading of gaffes that come from people who are not quite ready for this big of a stage. >> i just want to say i'm so glad we're talking about measles and not ebola anymore, similar
issues. but in the microcosm of the campaign to come, candidates are coming at it from different directions and controversy and saying dumb things. hirlry sits back, sends out a tweet that seems to go over nicely and lets the fire burn on the other sued of the aisle. is that a preview of the campaign? >> there's probably no one in public life today who is as experienced in these sort of treacherous politics of vaccines as hillary clinton. when she was first lady in 1993 she spearheaded an initiative to expand vaccines and got a lot of heat for it, in part from conservatives saying she was interfering with the market. again in part from what they call anti-vaxers. gwen: in the end she get to sit back and watch because she's been there before and has her experience. >> exactly. gwen: thanks everybody. as usual we just scratched the week's surface so we plan to dig in some more right after we're done here online. on the withses with webcast extra. among other things we will talk cyber breaches, the coup in yemen and senator who says
governments shouldn't be the one to make you wash your hands. you can find that at pbs.org/washingtonweek. stay up to date every night with me junedy woodruff on the pbs newshour. we will see you right here next week on "washington week." good night. >> corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> this about more than worth. it's about growing a community. every day across the country the
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next, the mayors of san francisco, oakland and san jose. >> watch what i do and make sure you hold me accountable. >> we've got to preserve what makes oakland oakland. >> tech lead evers don't want to get involved with what government does. >> the plans to take on the region's toughest problems. ♪ good evening and welcome to a special edition of kqed newsroom. >> tonight, we have a rare opportunity. we're going to talk with the mayors of the bay area's three largest cities about the region's most pressing issues. joining us are the mayor of san jose, the new mayor of oakland,