tv Mc Laughlin Group PBS September 13, 2014 12:30pm-1:01pm PDT
. ♪ from washington, the mclaughlin group. the american original. for over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk. . issue one, obama escalates on isis. >> tonight i want to speak to you about what the united states will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as isil. >> in a rare prime time address, president obama told the nation about his goals for defeating the islamic state. the president announced that in addition to the ongoing targeted air strikes against isis in iraq, the u.s. will now likely begin bombing islamic
stake strong holds in syria. >> i've made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country wherever they are. that means i will not hesitate to take action against isil in syria, as well as iraq. this is a core principle of my presidency. if you threaten america, you will find no safe haven. america will also take concerted steps to cut off sources of funding for the islamic state, which ranged from oil revenues to foreign donations. mr. obama also discussed the formation of an international coalition to fight isis. >> this is not our fight alone. american power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for iraqis what they must do for themselves. nor can we take the place of arab partners in securing their region. and that's why i've insisted that additional u.s. action depended upon iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days. so tonight, with a new iraqi
government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and congress at home, i can announce that america will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. >> in 2002, then-president george w. bush also created an international coalition. it consists of 68 countries, of which 20 committed more than 16,000 combat troops. senior obama administration officials said that members of the coalition that will assist in fighting isis include allies from around the globe, including the arab world, notably saudi arabia, the united arab emirates and jordan, and europe. australia is already engaged in humanitarian air drops inside iraq. and canada has put advisors on the ground. in his speech, president obama again declared that the united states will not commit ground forces to the destruction of
isis, but instead hopes that muslim allies and the iraqis will provide the boots on the ground, military strategists say are essential to defeating the islamic state. question, is this the right formula to defeat the islamic state, pat buchanan? >> john, the president's strategy is non-credible. it's an open-end, no-win war. in syria, you'll need boots on the ground to take down isis. the turks are saying we're not even going in, we're not going to help. assad has one army fighting against them and we can't work with isis, so we're going to build an army of white hats outside the country. it is inherently non-credible. in iraq, the iraqi army has been routed by syria. the shia militias have done well, but are despised across the region. what i see here is basically a
formula for a no-win war and the republicans should not get aboard unless they get a credible strategy, which we do not now have. >> eleanor? >> well, this general from this arm chair sees it a little differently. first of all, the republicans are getting on board. secondly, this is not a conventional war. this is not another iraq or afghanistan. this is a counterterrorism effort. and yes, it will continue into the indefinite future. the president is putting together a coalition, not the usual suspects. he's brought in other arab countries, brought in sunni countries, so this isn't america going in there waging a one-sided war, religious war. the no boots on the ground, you can't win if you don't put boots on the ground, but they are not going to be american boots because we don't want to be seen as another occupying force. the pashmyrga has managed to take back the mosul dam and territory in iraq. turkey may not be out there
helping openly, but there is some de facto cooperation. 49 of their diplomats and diplomatic personnel have been taken by isis. >> how about syria? >> syria, you're not -- you're not going to work with assad. assad is going to welcome anything that hampers isis, but the free syrian army is not going to distinguish between good guys and bad guys. and i think that's, that's trouble for assad as well. >> well, it looks like-- >> i think it's tricky diplomatically, and, you know, donald rumsfeld was the one who said there are known unknowns and unknown unknowns. there are lots of moving parts. lots of things can go wrong. by going into syria, we may end up owning that civil war. that's not the good news. the alternative is doing nothing. that was not acceptable. >> there was some thinking that syria would not be aboard. however, listen to this. syrian deputy foreign minister
says syrian leader bashar al assad is also an enemy of isis and would be willing to cooperate in any military action against the terror group. here it is. >> we shall cooperate with any country that's combating the menace of terrorism. and when it comes to combating isis, then we have no reservations whatsoever to work together with any real force that wants to eliminate this menace, because now the united states and syria are facing the same enemy. question, is it feasible that the u.s. would team with syria in the fight against isis? i ask you, tom? >> in military terms, it's feasible. but i don't think it should be feasible, because if the united states was to engage with assad, what you would be doing would be to be a partner with a genocidal dictator. that sounds like rhetoric, but the level of civilian casualties that the assad
regime has inflicted through barrel bombs and chemical gas and starvation is grotesque. and the united states cannot be a counterpart to that at a moral level, but also at a political level, where the united states becomes a counterpart to that. we would lose any credibility that we have and pat actually mentions this in terms of anbar and -- with sunni tribes and basic sunni civilians because we would be associated with murder. >> didn't churchill partner with stalin? >> he did, but in this case, if we are talking about a political solution, which i think we would all agree on, you cannot do that if you simply engage with someone who is masacring sunnis. sunni disenfranchisement does not get resolved by killing. >> this may bring assad to the peace table. >> but that is where-- >> the role of diplomacy. >> i take a much more lenient view on assad. did you know how many times he's visited with the leader of saudi arabia, in saudi arabia?
how many times the saudi arabiaian, head of -- what is he called? >> king abdullah. >> yeah, abdullah visited with assad in syria? those visitations? in other words, you know, if we're going to demonize assad as a lot of people do, people ought to cool it and look at the record of what he is and what he's got -- had to deal with, with this civil war. you cannot speak to that or anything relating to the question. >> look, i -- i have no problem with establishing some kind of relationship at this point with assad or syria. we need him at this stage of the game. but let's not for a second try and white wash who this man is. he is not only a thug, but he is a thug of unbelievable proportions and he's killed an awful lot of people. that is generally not the people that we would try and identify with in the middle east, because that will hurt us all the way around.
if there's one thing i do know about the saudis, whatever meetings he's had with assad, the king of saudi arabia and the saudi leadership are not happy with assad. so this is just-- >> well, they have gone through their cycles of dislike and liking-- >> they have been, i agree. >> john, talk about troops on the ground. the americans aren't going to put them in there. the turks say we're not going to put them in there. no nato allies, no arab nation- - >> the saudis -- [ overlapping speakers ] >> -- bunch of farmers and doctors. >> they have trained to be something else by now. excuse me. obama's approval sinks on tuesday, one day before president obama's speech outlining the u.s. fight against isis. the president's approval rating was at 42%. one day after his isis speech, according to gallup, his approval rating sank to 41%. his disapproval rating went to
54% after the speech. question, according to nielsen, 32 million viewers saw the speech. why did obama's approval ratings drop in the gallup tracking? too hawkish? too doveish? >> he's lost so much credibility of americans in terms of foreign policy. i don't think we've lived with anybody with that kind of record of failure as far as the american public sees it. so i think they are very nervous about what he's going to be leading the country into. and frankly, the more he goes in one direction, a lot of other americans are going to go in a different direction. >> americans hate isis, john, but they are really skeptical of plunging into another war in the middle east, i can tell you and they are going to get more so. obama was bounced into this thing by two videos. he called it syria, somebody else's civil war a couple months ago. now we're in the middle of it because of these two videos? >> it's more than the videos. it's our allies in the region who see this as an emerging threat and a growing threat. >> why don't they send troops?
>> why won't they send troops? >> yeah. >> there are, there are troops on the ground with the pashmyrga, syrian army. the door has not been closed. i don't think we're at the stage of sending in troops yet anyway. >> i have to tell you the biggest thing we have to worry about. mission creep. >> sure. >> do you know what that means? >> yeah. >> we're going to have to win the war for them. >> it's counterterrorism. [ overlapping speakers ] >> the way it was outlined by president obama in his address this week. >> it can't work if he doesn't change the strategy! >> and the mission creep is-- >> he's got the right strategy and he's forcing other people who are actually threatened by isis more than this country. >> let's see if we can squeeze this in. excuse me. exit question, 1 to 10 on president obama's address. pat? >> i think it was a good address as an address. >> give me a number. >> but when you study -- it's a d for content. >> a number. not a letter. a number.
>> a number? [ laughter ] >> 8 out of 10 for his speech. just listening to it-- >> good. 8 out of 10. let's go! >> i would say it's 9 out of 10. the american public is nervous. they see the ebola threat, read headlines, feels like the world is coming apart. they are not sure he can put it back together. >> quickly. >> 7 out of 10 on tone. it was strong on that. but in substance, 3 or 4. the coalition hasn't materialized and there's a real avenue there that has to be addressed. >> i agree with that. >> give him time. >> just a round number instead of this-- >> i would give him an 8 in terms of rhetoric. >> i would give him a 9.5. >> wow. >> outstanding, huh? >> i thought it was outstanding. i mean he had to keep it together, had to keep it tight, didn't answer all the questions. >> you can't, you can't answer all -- the mclaughlin group has its own website and you can watch this program or any other programs anywhere in the world at mclaughlin.com. can anything be simpler?
mclaughlin.com, or more rewarding? what do you think of that? 9.5, is that what i gave him? >> i thought it was a pretty good speech and you kept looking at it, saying where in the hell? he's marching us into an open- ended thing. he doesn't know how it's going to end! >> of course it's open-ended because terrorism is out there. it's an ideology. we'll be fighting this well into the next presidency, future president's term. >> it's open-ended, the country does not have any great confidence in him when it comes to foreign policy. issue two, scotland triumphant. ♪ ♪ >> i want to break free from his ties and say our good-byes -- ♪ >> i want to break free. ♪ >> break free. ♪ >> never going to give you up, never going to let you down. ♪
>> never going to run around and desert you. never going to make you cry -- ♪ ♪ >> please, let me go! ♪ stay united or break free? one week to go before scotland's september 18th referendum on whether to remain part of the united kingdom or become an independent nation. the scottish media, clips and words humorrizing the issue. -- argues scotland will be better off as an independent country closely linked to the eu, rather than the uk as they are now. pro union leader of the better
together campaign says scotland is better off staying in the 307-year-old united kingdom. the united kingdom was created in 1707 to bring together scotland, wales, ireland and england. the english make up an overwhelming 85% of the uk's, with the wecial, scots and northern irish as minority. polls show pro independent forces with a slight lead in a race that will go down to the wire. both sides claim economic benefit. scottish per capita income will jump $1600 after independence. on the other hand, darling claims staying in the uk benefits scots by $2250 per person, due to regular transfer of payments from england. so if they split, scots lose
$2250. thalmann counters that north sea oil revenue will more than offset any loss of funds from mother england. scottish independence fever is seen as a reaction to severe job loss that began when margaret thatcher was prime minister, economic trend that had made london a global city, while scotland languished. former prime minister gordon brown, himself a scot, says this in a "new york times" op ed, quote, scotland has been transformed from one of the workshops of the world to a service economy. at one point, scotland's chip yards produced a fifth of the world's ships and its manufacturing and mining sector employed more than 40% of scottish workers. it now employs just 8%. its real quarrel should be with globalization rather than england, unquote. question, who has the momentum, pro union side or the pro independent side? tom? >> i think the pro independent side has momentum in the sense that the undecided polling data
shows that that's increasing and they have had, you know, increasing publicity, increasing excitement, but on the same parchment, if you will, the pro union side still leads in the polls and i still think that they will be the eventual winner of this race when it comes to september 18th. >> no shift? >> no shift, i don't think. i don't think so. but it's tightening. >> except the pro independent side wins even if they lose, because they are forcing concessions from london where they will have, you know, greater independence, but within the umbrella. >> that is true to some degree. they have already won to some degree. >> this is an argument between the heart and the head. the heart, brave heart, you know, the scottish nationalism, we want our own country, want to be with our own kind, want to create something new. it's like the colonial spirit in the united states when we broke. but this is the arguments the english are using. you'll lose money to the bank of england. you lose the pound and all this. they are appealing simply to basic economics. around the world, i think the heart is starting to win, as in
spain . >> if scotland breaks away, then you'll have england. is that going to affect the status of england in the international organizations, starting with the u.n.? will they continue to have a seat at the u.n.? well, who knows? >> security council? >> security council. >> i'm talking about the permanent security council. what happens there? what happens in the eu? i mean, is england then going to be-- >> eu's got -- england's got a vote coming up in 2017 already scheduled. >> you are going to stop think -- you're going to think of england in contra distinction to great britain, which is a bigger entity. >> it's going to be england if the scots leave, plus wales. >> and lose prominence in the world, also in their position of world bodies down the line, 10, 25 years-- >> economy will be shrunk also. their economy and population
will both shrink. >> i'm thinking of their world standing and the way we conceive of their presence, even as our allies. >> but 85% of the population is in england, and, you know, i think scotland, if they do go the independence route, they will not have the ability to issue debt and they will then risk becoming another greece or a spain within the eu, if they are even admitted into the eu, because will germany want to drag along another dead beat nation? i think the economic questions are real, but pat makes the right point. there's a lot of emotions, 300 years of emotion behind this vote. >> england's gdp -- that's pretty significant if they do. >> it is significant, but on the other hand, there is i think a very popular emotional outburst at this stage of the game, which suggests to me that they are going to approve withdrawing. it's not going to be an overwhelming thing. i think in the end-- >> the undecided vote would
seem to point to people who are thinking of, well, maybe we should stay, but let's take a chance, let's take a risk. i think toward the end, it doesn't move toward folks who really want to boldly move out. >> what's going to happen to the duke of edinburg? he probably needs to change his title, won't he? if edinburg is no longer part of the united kingdom, he's no longer the duke, is he? >> 95 years old. >> 95? he can still hit the golf ball well, did you know that? >> al morrow. >> there you are. >> he's a testament that the british royal family still has good blood in the genes, but he ultimately with the united kingdom, the real issue is that scotland's economy has long been suffering. it hasn't enacted kind of reforms you've seen in england and wales with post thatcher. and ultimately with scotland coming out of the united kingdom, it's going to be very, very difficult for the government to try and provide the level of services that they are at the moment, without english subsidies. so the economic -- as pat says, and i think the consensus is
saying, it is of the heart, but it is not of the head. >> 200 scotch-irish americans met last week in a family reunion in rhode island. i sent them my greetings and let me also say that it was a blast. exit question, what will happen next week? will scotland choose independence or will it remain part of the united kingdom? pat buchanan? >> the heart says yes, the head says no. >> quickly. >> they may, but i, i think they will stick together. >> quickly? >> part of the uk. >> part of the uk. they will not leave. >> they will not leave. issue three, immigration stall. >> one year ago this month, senators of both parties, with support from the business community, labor, law enforcement, faith communities, came together to pass a common sense imigration bill, but for more than a year, republicans in the house of representatives have refused to allow an up or down vote on that senate bill
or any legislation to fix our broken immigration system. and that's why today, i'm beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as i can on my own without congress. that promise was delivered by president obama on june 30th, more than two months ago. namely that he would take unilateral executive action on immigration issues, ie, without congress. those actions were expected to include easing up on deportations of illegal immigrants, and issuing work permits for possibly millions of these illegal immigrants and producing more visas for people who want to work in the united states. but now, president obama is delaying any action until after the midterm election, eight weeks from this upcoming tuesday. why? one reason, according to the president, the surge of unaccompanied minors who cross
the u.s.-mexico border in waves, most of them originating from central american countries with more than 66,000 children apprehended by border agents since october 2013 and still in limbo. >> and, you know, the truth of the matter is that the politics did shift midsummer because of that problem. i want to spend some time, even as we're getting all our ducks in a row if the executive action, i also want to make sure the public understands why we're doing this, why it's the right thing for the american people, why it's the right thing for the american economy. question, why is president obama changing his mind? eleanor? >> well, because that surge of central american kids left the impression that the border was porous and wasn't secure, when actually they were turning themselves in with their teddy bears to the border guards. actually, the border is quite secure, but you can't argue that politically. and in six of the seven most
competitive senate races, they are under 10% hispanic population, and those in danger, democrats were basically begging the president not to go ahead with this and also i think he feels, probably correctly, if he made a move on his own, that he could then, you know, poison any chances for getting legislation out of the congress while he's president. i think he will act before the end of the year and after the election. so this is not over, by any means. >> did he tell you that? >> he's telling the country that. not me personally. >> it's the peril of the red state democrats that really caused him to put this -- he's going to get a tremendous boost from the hispanic community if he does it. but you look at what happened in louisiana, arkansas, alaska, and he said i can't do it now. i'll tell you, he'll have a hellish fire storm on his hands if he in december, which my guess would be he would likely to do, he grants an executive amnesty when george bush took all of that trouble to go to the congress of the united states to fight a great battle,
saying in effect, congress and the president decide this together. he does that unilaterally and i think he's going to permanently help his party and damage it. >> tom? >> i'm with pat. i think it's absolutely about the midterm elections and the president -- it's just a shame the president really is so decided by opinion polling data when he makes speeches and policies. even in the isis speech, he was mentioning businesses. there's a real confusion here about leadership. that to me is the crux of the issue. but he's seen the opinion polling data shifting since the crisis with the border children and he's following that polling data. what do you think, mort? what are the president's ideas on immigration? >> well, i think he is doing it almost entirely from a political perspective. i mean, whatever he does on this kind of an issue is not based on any great moral principle. >> what would you do on immigration? >> i would tell him to hold off for a while, otherwise you create a real conflict within the united states public. >> why? >> why? because there are a lot of people who feel this is not an
appropriate thing to do unilaterally. >> what's the international playout of this situation? >> what do you mean by the international playout? >> i mean the international playout is that obama is not moving on immigration and the country's not moving. it's been going on for years! >> yes, exactly right. >> how many years, six years? >> where does he get the authority to move -- [ overlapping speakers ] >> the senate passed a bill over a year ago with 78 votes bipartisan. he can-- >> why didn't you pass it in the house? >> because your tea party republicans doesn't allow it. >> that means it doesn't become law. predictions, pat? >> the iranian negotiations on nuclear weapons are going to fail i think in november. you'll have people demanding war on iran. >> eleanor? >> hillary clinton's first visit to iowa with her husband bill does not suggest that's her campaign strategy to do it in tandem. they are going to honor retiring senator tom harkin.
>> wonderful. wonderful senator. >> the leader of isis will not be the leader of isis when president obama leaves office. >> mort? >> the weakness of the asian economies is going to once again put another layer of pressure on the american recovery. mitt romney will seek the 2016 presidential nomination. bye-bye! ♪
next on kqed newsroom, nfl football players accused of domestic violence and a possible coverup. a tale of two cities. voters in san jose and oakland will decide on their next mayors. we have one more thing. >> apple gets into the watch business. is it a smart move? plus, an exhibit of seldom seen images by robert frank. >> you see here a young artist of enormous talent figuring something out.