tv Charlie Rose PBS July 25, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT
>> rose: welcome to the program, we begin this evening with vitaly churkin, russia's ambassador to the united nations. >> one thing we do know a is tht he has not shown any interest in stink down and incidentally, one person stepping down does not mean anything. it may even aggravate the situation even further if he were to decide to do that, so we see a situation where the government has been supported by a large segment of the population, we see a situation where the government has an army which was prepared to fight for it, so to us, that was a recipe for disaster, and something which could cause major trouble in syria and beyond. that is buy what i have been saying let's stop this policy of sort of frontal attack on the government and let's try to put it together and one missing link in this whole setup so far, including kofi annan's effort is
the opposition, numerous pleas to them and numerous conversations with them in various formats, very few have dialogue with the government. >> rose: we conclude this evening with kurt andersen, the novelist and author of true believers. >> i have never read a book about the late sixties that did two things i wanted to do, one, show how the early -- how the lives in the early sixties became lives in the late sixties, how adolescents who went from 12 to 18 in exactly that decade, how that worked, and then i was also interested in looking back at it from the future, so it skips back and forth from the present to the past, to have some, a long view of what was that all about. >> rose: vitaly churkin and kurt andersen when we continue.e rla rfunding for charlie rose ws provided by the following.
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> vitaly churkin is here, he is russia's ambassador to the united nations, last week russia and china vetoed a security council resolution to sanction sir, i can't it was the third time russia has blocked u.n. action against the assad regime since the conflict began 16 months ago. russia indicated the it could be used as a precursor so military intervention, the ambassador to the united nations called those paranoid and as relations deteriorate, the government is using fighter jets against its own citizens and i am pleased to have ambassador churkin back at this table thank you. >> you come from the united nations. >> yes, i do. >> rose: so you have some information about where we are,
because it is a subject of great discussion over there. where are we? what is going on? >> well, we are not in a good place, of course, because we do have the ground to work on productively in trying to deal with the situation in syria, but we don't use it properly. what i am referring to is of course kofi annan's effort as a joint special enjoy to the secretary-general of the united nations and the arab league and also the conference he conducted in geneva on the 30th of june which was actually proposed initially by russia but also picked up by him and convened in the form of the action group which adopted a very good document. the main goal set in that document for the international community is to set up the so-called national transitional body in syria composed of members of the government and opposition in order to start steering away the country from crisis to a future which would be satisfactory to both sir yanls, but frankly we don't see much of an e over effort to
reach that goal what we' is continued strategy of overall pressure on the regime of, both political, economic, and military pressure, in the expectation that, you know, it will break down and then the entire political structure in syria will change. >> rose:. >> this incidentally is a fundamental difference we have the with the united states and others and caused the three vetoes you preferred to in your opening remarks. the fundamental difference of strategy is that we believe that if there is a trouble of, in syria, what the international community needs to do is put various parties together and work it out in the course of a dialogue. we believe that this is the only way to actually achieve a firm result. we are -- neither of the parties will fuel the losers, unfortunately the united states and others in the crisis in syria, they feel they must topple assad's regime at any cost. using again political, economic
and military pressure. but for that, they needed legitimacy which can only come are the security council. >> you think assad did not bring some of this on himself? >> he did. >> rose: his own country -- >> definitely, he did. he made two basic mistakes, very grave mistakes, and we are saying that openly all along. first of all he did not immediately introduce some dramatic political reforms and dramatic political gestures which would indicate that he is not only sort of promising better future for his country, very different future for his country, but is actually doing it. he has done some things like a new constitution, ending the political monopoly of the basque party but that was not and yes there was some excessive use of force it was not unprovoked because from the onset of crisis we believe there were destructive elements in the crowds which were provoking the government, clearly some excess did take place. >> rose: would you
characterize them as terrorists or characterize them as what? >> there were some terrorists and there were some militant elements in the crowds and there were some terrorists elements in the crowd. >> rose: and what percentage of the crowd do you think they represented? >> i don't know. i don't -- >> rose: the arab spring -- >> i don't think too many. the crowds -- >> rose: not too many? >> i don't think the extremists from the outset, i don't say too many, but they were definitely there and they were provoking the government to respond. as i say, the government has made the mistake of in some cases using excessive force so it became a regime -- >> rose: you make it sound sort of like they went too far, but this is a different kind of excessive force what this government has been doing. the world community stands aside when a government is doing that. it is not just excessive force. this is an extraordinary killing of your own people. >> this is an extraordinary killing which has been going on, and for that reason we have put a military mission in which would be able to tell us exactly who has done the killing, and
the stories they have been coming up with are not so uniformly anti-government. some horrible things have been done by the opposition. our understanding of the situation and what needs to be done is that everybody must be responsible for their crimes and we need to have objective information about what is going on. that is why we have been supporting the continuation of the group which unfortunately the united states is trying to kill. >> rose: the explore toir group. >> rose: explore toir group. >> rose: you believe or this is a question, this effort, this whole thing is not a responsive to humanitarian issues but is a geo political effort to weaken iran. >> you know, i am not met too many people who don't believe that, actually, almost every person i have talked to. >> rose: have you talked to the u.s. ambassador to the united nations? >> those conversations are private, no, i have not confronted them with that particular question because the question is clear to me. >> rose: the british
ambassador -- >> we talk all the time, we talk all the time. >> rose: but this is diplomatic conversation among us, even privately, we cannot really spill sort of -- >> rose: but what are you saying? >> well, what i am saying is that definitely the situation in syria is excessive, because it is seen as containing very high geo political sex, the, sex sex steaks, stakes, cut off iran, it would correct the geo political, unwanted geo political consequences of removing saddam hussein, it makes israel feel safer if things go right, on that end if things go wrong then everybody may feel less security, including israel. and this is one of the reasons why we do not subscribe to this kind of policy, and the problem, and all the have toes and the whole confrontations in the security count is i was trying to say that, with all of the have toes, the united states did not only want to pursue that
policy but wanted us to support it directly and indirectly .. by the approval of various resolutions which would lean on president assad. >> rose: with sanctions. >> with sanctions, other threats, you know, telling the world that he is on the wrong decide of history. so by implication the things which are being done against him are justified and we felt that it was really a dangerous course of action, a frontal attack on the assad regime. >> it has to be changed gradually not by trying to topple by using military and economic pressure. >> rose: you and i have talked about this several times and it has just gotten worse and more people have been killed. >> tragically, tragically, yes. >> rose: will he fight to the end, in your judgment? >> i don't know. one thing we do know is that he has not shown any interest in stepping down, and incidentally, one person stepping down does
not mean anything. it may even aggravate the situation even further if he were to decide to do that, so we see a situation where the government has been supported by a large segment of the population. we see a situation where the government has an army which was prepared to fight for it, so to us, that was a recipe for disaster, and something which could cause major trouble in syria and beyond. that is why what i have been saying, let's stop this policy of sort of frontal attack on the government and let's try to put parties together and one missing link in this setup including kofi annan's effort is the opposition despite our numerous pleas to them and there are numerous conversations we have had with them, in various formats, they refuse to enter into dialogue with the government. so this is a recipe for continued conflict and whatever happens as a result of the conflict, it is not going to create a balanced situation in syria and not going to create a situation where everybody will
be comfortable, because some will be the vick tors and others will be the losers, so the conflict will continue, maybe for years, and we think that this is something very wrong about this kind possess policy. >> rose: secretary clinton said today -- >> it is not too late for the assad regime to commence with planning for a transition. to find a way to end the violence by beginning the kind of serious discussions that have not occurred to date. we think it is very important that each position fighters as they get better organized and expand their presence more broadly, extend a message that this is for the benefit of all
syrians and not for any group. >> rose: well. >> well, leaving the country is something which -- this is making the whole thing top heavy. we think that, first of all, they need to start dialogue, at least the government designated a representative for the dialogue, so far the opposition has not done even that. they have not indicated at all they are prepared for any kind of dialogue with the government this is a problem. the only thing they are saying they want to do is a revolution, they don't want to talk to assad and the gentleman they extra conference did say let's do a transitional body, which is, calling for dialogue and executive powers, no indication of interest from the opposition to engage in that, and disturbingly no indication of any effort from the united states and others countries of influence to do something with this reluctance by the opposition in terms of dialogue. >> in some scale, i don't know to think in these terms of good and bad, would you put an equal weight on the scale for bashar
asad and the opposition force ms. >> .. >> you know, i can not do any scale thing. i know and this is what they are telling us is that horrible things, most likely were done on both sides. and of course now cash. >> rose: to the, to the same degree? >> well, the investigations so far have collected much more incriminating information about the government than the opposition. >> rose: what is your government -- i assume that your government has a clear line into bashar el-assad because he is the best friend you have in the world. >> we do have -- we do have a direct line, yes, to him and his government, but in terms of friends, this is one of the miss perceptions which has been created. you know, the last time he was in moscow was in the summer of 2008, since that time, he made three trips to paris, the latest one in december of 2010. so if you measure that --
>> rose: going to paris instead of moscow? >> those are official visits and if you measure various sort of indicators of relationship, economic -- >> rose: you know how you measure it. you measure it when push comes to shove who stands with you is how you measure friend. >> it is a good point, it is a good point. >> rose: what are you telling him to do? what is your government's advice? do you say to him -- what do you say? >> we say you need to work with kofi annan, you need to work with kofi annan. >> rose: annan testified to you they are working with him? >> well, he is reporting not to us but to the security council. >> rose: you are on the security council the last i checked. >> he is having conversations with the them, he is making some points to them, some of the elements of their behavior he is, he also has some problems, again the opposition and dialogue, we urge them to be responsible, to realize that the balance must stand, to realize
that they must be serious about dialogue with the opposition and also we hope that the opposition finally will enter dialogue. >> rose: with all of the violence the world abhors, correct? including russia and including china who voted against increasing the sanctions. a word from your government that it is over would mean to him it is over. >> i don't think so. i don't think so. i don't think so. this is an aim less perception he is sitting this like waiting for the phone call from moscow to tell him what to do. >> rose: it is not that. it is just if moscow says you should go he has no more options. he has nobody -- >> this is not the case, no. >> rose: you are the only one on his side. >> we do not agree with that, no. he has 300,000 strong armed force on his side, and -- >> rose: there are some defections, number one. we have had an assassination as well. >> but this is not our
assessment. he is not sort of our stooge sitting there. >> rose: it is not a stooge. it is just that you are a very strong -- the russian bear is a very strong friend of a dictator under siege. fair enough? >> i have described to you our understanding of the complex situation, and, in fact, assad going, what does it mean? because he is not one person, just one person. >> rose: what do you think it means? >> he represents an entire power structure which need to be reformed in order to satisfy the aspirations of the entire syrian people and unless a way not to offend and put at a considerable disadvantage the segment of the population that they represents. so his stepping down, you know, who is going to come to the fore if you were to decide to step down tomorrow, could it be even more the more hard-line people in his entourage. >> rose: more hard-line than he is would come to the fore if he steps down or is assassinated?
>> this is quite possible, this is quite possible. so that will not resolve anything, because it is not just one individual. it is an issue of a structure that decays and can only change if it were to change in a way which is constructive for the entire syrian population through dialogue. >> rose: what have you told him about the use of chemical weapons? >> we reminded them of something which their spokesman may have forgotten in fact i think they are trying to retract the statement they are part of the geneva protocol of 1925. they ratified it in 1968, and that prohibit it is use of chemical weapons in warfare so we expect them to abide by their international obligations. >> rose: and they said we will not use them on syrian people but, if, in fact, there are invasive forces that come from outside, we may use them. >> we reminded them again that they have an international obligations under the geneva protocol. >> rose: what does that tell
you about them that they would make a statement like that? >> at this point it only says to me they made a bad statement which they are trying to retract now. >> rose: isn't this civil war already? >> well, it looks very much like it, yes. >> rose: and are you supplying arms to the syrian regime? >> we have been fulfilling the contracts which we concluded with them years ago and we have nothing to do with fighting civil war,. >> do you view it as a commercial transaction? >> no, but what is involved is, for example, anti-aircraft systems, which cannot be used, physically cannot be used against any demonstrators, so all this kind of sensation about russian sale of weapons to syria is simply a smoke screen to hide or to disguys politically the illegal flow of weapons to armed opposition which has been going on unfortunately. >> rose: what is the most significant change you think in
the circumstance since the last time you were here? >> when with does last time. >> rose:. >> well, the violence -- >> rose: six months ago. >> the violence has grown. >> rose: and he has grown weaker? >> probably, yes, but also the fighting, the fight asking go on for months and years if things continue. >> rose: if the phone call comes to the kremlin and it says this is the president of syria, i want out -- hear me out -- and he says, vladimir -- >> this is too iffy. >> rose: no, no, i want to come to moscow, would you please give me safe passage and asylum for me and my family and my -- >> well, we don't want to engage in this kind of conversation. >> rose: why? >> we don't want to engage stay. >> rose: but he is a friend. >> we don't want to engage. >> rose: i can point to you now on videotape a conversation you and i have had in which you say he is a friend. >> you don't treat your friend
this way when you suggested america was not like that because -- >> rose: remember that? >> you know, again, this was something which is to be used as sort of a political tool because they are trying -- they are trying to avoid responsibility, the united states and some others, they are trying to, because the consequences of their policy are disastrous so they are trying to shift responsibility to others. >> rose: what is the policy that is disastrous. >> that is confrontation or assault on the assad regime which is not working. it is not working. it is causing more and more and more violence and i think the danger of major destabilization in syria and beyond is very grave, so they need to shift the blame, so it is russia. and now they keep coming up with various arguments to blame russia for it. russian sale of arms, then why doesn't russia take assad? why doesn't the us take assad? he is british and uk, family ties. so it is not a serious conversation which we would like to engage in.
>> rose: you know which begs the question from me, why would you not say that? >> what? >> rose: we would take assad, bashar assad if he wants to come to moscow bashar al assad. >> >> rose: let me suggest another reason. you just don't want to be identified with him in that way. >> because we are not supposed to be identified with him. he is not our nephew, you know. it is a power structure which was created by the french. he has had many more contacts with the west than with russia. yes he has some contacts with russia, with syria like with a number of other arab countries, where we have had close relationship over the years, but why should he or his regime be described as something which was almost sort of created and nurtured by the russian federation? it is not the case. >> rose: so -- >> he is not related to us. and we are not attached to his regime in any particular way. we have been repeatedly saying if he were to decide to step
down that will be fine with us. or the syrian people in the process of die hog were to decide the only way to resolve the crisis is his departure, that will be fine with us. >> what happens if -- how would you feel if the same thing happened to him that happened to his brother-in-law? >> we would feel very bad. the death is a tragedy, every terrorist act is a terrorist act. >> rose: this is what the securitsecurity council has consistently been saying, everything else would be blasphemy against our common fight against terrorism. >> rose: how long can this go on the way it is going? >> civil war in lebanon was going on i think for 15 years. >> rose: you don't think -- >> and it is a smaller country, as the smaller country. >> rose: you think this could go on for 15 years? >> i think i it can go on for quite long, varying degrees of intensity. >> rose: would you say more likely three months than 15 years? >> i think it can go on for a while in various forms and shapes and this logic, and continued spread and there may be some indication it is spreading already.
for instance, like extreme -- let's say sunni groups can try to top it will government in syria, why not in iraq? why not in iraq? we see some of that yesterday over a 100 people killed in various terrorist attacks across the country. so it can have disastrous consequences. so, again, those why we are saying, let's stop fighting and do dialogue. you know, sometimes the citing the example of yemen, but they did have dialogue, they had various groups come together around one table and discuss the future of the country. and actually the elements of the previous regime continued to be very much in place in yemen, still continue. >> rose: if he prepared to step down live is dialogue? >> he did say if i remember correctly to the press several weeks ago that if there is sort of a process, he is prepared not to do that, i think he did, i don't remember the exact words, but it was reported a couple of weeks ago. >> rose: is this, as some
suggest, and i am asking, a means for russia to reassert itself on the world scene, to say we matter? >> we do matter. we do matter. no. it is not, it is i not. they accuse of selfish interests which are actually quite negligible in the general nature of things to us, and assert or interests, no, clearly we are an independent foreign policy and we cannot and we shall not simply sing to the tune of the united states as they say something, especially the policy is wrong, so if they tell us that they are going to do this frontal assault on assad and one has to cooperate with that through security council through other companies we are not going to go along, because in our view, this is a policy which can have tragic consequences. >> rose: when the administration, the obama administration came to power they said quote we want to reset relations with russia, vice
president biden's term. are they better or worse today? >> well, i think in some ways they are better, definitely there the most important one is the treaty but unfortunately i think now there have been affected by the political campaign situation. usually historically, there was an understanding between our leaders that our relations should be isolated from political campaigns. this time i am afraid ecialg, personally this is not happening, that political campaign in the united states is -- >> rose: so what is the president saying because he is in a political campaign he might not say if there was no campaign? >> no. what i am trying to say is, i think that in the heat of the battle of the political campaign some things pay be happening which are going to affect the relations between our two countries. >> rose: how -- an actual action or --
>> well, ther there is some legislation that is discussed on the hill which would have definite anti-russian connotations and incidentally, i think that it would have been wiser policy for the united states to try to insulate the relations with our country from the syrian crisis, but unfortunately, instead, i think they have decided or as it turns out this is what they have been doing, to put a lot of knack on russia for reasons which are not entirely clear to me, i can guess some of the reasons, but i think it is unfortunate, because they should have given more importance to preserving the relationship between russia and the united states. >> rose: they also might suggest, other than the instance of russia on the world stage, russia has a naval base there. >> it is not much of a base, charlie, it is just a small facility, so to believe that it has -- it is just -- it is a small thing where you can dock a
ship. it is not a major naval base at all. so it is not much. it is. >> rose: it is close to the center -- it is not very far, is it from -- >> we have a large number of citizens there. well, historically, it so happened there is this facility which our navy has been using from time to time, of course it is nice to have it, but to say it is a major reason for us to have a policy which we do, which i have been trying to explain to you on the higher level, i think that would be a misinterpretation of our policy. >> rose: i think that what people would like to hear from the government, whoever it is, is that the world is really, it seems to me, whatever their -- whatever you would be ascribe to them as motive, weaken iran, for example, or whatever motive there might be, they would like to see some sense of -- and you
may be able to tell me now exactly how that is expressed, some sense of outrage about what is going on there and the level of killing that is taking place. >> well, there is outrage, yes. there is indignation, outrage, indiagnosis in addition what do we do to stop it. >> rose: and you say the only thing to do is is stop it is -- >> is dialogue. >> rose: what is wrong with sanctions? >> because sanctions in the absence of any indication of the opposition willingness to enter into dialogue would mean that we are subscribing to the policy of unilateral pressure on the government in damascus, and the policy which has been announced by the united states and others from the outset of the conflict. >> rose: has this, has syria caused the u.s. russian relationship to be damaged at all? >> i think in a way, yes. i think in a way, yes, because i think the united states unnecessarily put too much blame on russia or tried to shift
blame on russia for what is going on there. i think that could have been avoided. >> rose: how could they have avoided that? >> well, for instance, i don't think it is always necessary to blame the security council when they know that russia is going to veto it. i know that -- >> rose: and the purpose might be simply to embarrass russia? >> not only that, but i think the idea is that if a resolution is blocked in the security council, you have some motivation, some explanation for, from the outset of the security council, but in that case, the relations with russia are going, in a way to stuff, dialogue of various international issues. i hope it can be corrected. first of all i hope that there is still a potential of cooperation, including in the security council out of the veto the next day, on the same subject we did adopt unanimously in the security council we needed to adopt the previous day on the extension of the monetary
mission for another month, so we continued to work together even in the security council, i hope that this can be overcome and i hope still there is a possibility for us to work on syria and certain various other international issues. >> rose: vitaly churkin, thank you for coming, in telling us how your government views this crisis that has the focus of the world's attention. when we come back, kurt andersen, the novelist, stay with us. kurt andersen is here, an author, a journalist and astute observer of the political landscape and writes books, he contributes to vanity fair and host as public radio program called studio 360, the la has said of him the public intellectual is a rare creature, kurt andersen helps it from going extinct his latest book is a novel about the tumultuous 1960s and the impact on the present-day. i am pleased to have our friend .. kurt andersen back at this
table. welcome. so it will me about the creation of true believers. >> it really began, actually, as a throw away idea in i first novel. now, 13 years ago. this idea that thes children in the early 1960s would get obsessed with james bond as they were 12 years old and then that would stick with them as the late sixties became the late sister ticks. so that germ was there all along and just never got out of my head and i thought this could be a great story to tell and so i told it in ten, as a girl who becomes a woman and told through her eyes. >> rose: let me just say, you decided that you wanted to look at how children of the sixties are influenced by literature and fiction? >> that was one of the ideas, i mean, i also -- i had never read a book about the late sixties that did two things i wanted to do. one, show how the early -- how lives in the early sixties
became lives in the late sixties, how adolescents who went from 12 to 18 in exactly that decade, how that worked. and then i was also interested in looking back at it from the future. so it slips -- it skips back and forth from the present to the past to have some -- a long view of what was that all about? >> rose: so the idea came first and the characters later? >> the idea, and then -- the idea of these kids in the sixties going through adolescence and then the other ideas of bringing in to the present-day as well. >> rose: and the title true believers? >> well, they are, they were an certainly in the 1960s, 1968. >> rose: true believers in the war against vietnam? >> true believers in all of it, that america was maligned, and that the war was horrible and that the conviction that was rampant then and, you know, 18 years old especially especially
can feel strongly. >> rose: you believe that in novels you have found your medium? >> i believe that -- novels are a medium. >> rose: not are a medium, but the one you feel that is best suited to who you are and want to be? >> yes. yes. >> rose: because? >> because you can do a lot, you can get into people's heads and skip around in time, and imagine things that can't happen in real life and know things that you can't know in real life, and it is a bigger palate to try to tell stories in. and i like telling stories, i find. i mean, when i was a young journalist i told nonfiction stories, and writing es says is fine, but telling these big stories that can really resonate with people. >> rose: so someone young coming out of your alma mater today and your child's alma mater says i want to write, who
do you say go write. >> that's all i say. >> rose: reall really, really? >> i say the more you can put yourself in a position to be forced to write every day, the better. some people do that by going to graduate school and getting msa's and having the parents pay a lot of money for them, other people like i did just got a job at a magazine and so, really, there is write and read i would say, there is no other -- there is no other recipe. >> rose: by the time you became editor of the lampoon was it set for you? >> pretty much. i had gone into college thinking i would be an academic like my older sister, but thin i, but then i realized this writing thing was what i was probably better at than i would ever be as a scholar, so, yeah,. >> rose: this is what you decided to include in the front of this book. in that dawn to be alive but to be young was heaven, oh time in which the forked by theeing ways of custom, law and stature took at once the attraction of a
country in romance. mark twain, i dreamed i was born and grew up and the dream goes on and on and on and sometimes seems zero so real i almost believe it is real, i wonder if it is. and mick jagger, i shouted out who killed the kennedys, when after all, it was you and me. that's the book on a nutshell. >> that's it. >> kind of. no, i always loved that woods worth quote he wrote that about his youth as a brit looking on the french revolution, which of course didn't, you know, didn't work out entirely well for everyone. and then -- >> rose: well, some lost their heads. >> exactly, and the mark twain quote was new to me, i don't know where i came across that and i kept it thinking i will use that some time. >> rose: and the mil mick jagger quote? >> that is one of the classic quotes from that song, in the
1960s, sort of suggesting that the times and all of us together are, share some responsibility for the madness that happened. >> rose: when we meet karen, your character and your narrator, she is about to remove herself from consideration for nomination to the supreme court? >> yes. >> rose: and do what. >> and come clean, and tell -- >> rose: it is going to be an issue at -- >> well, no, it won't be an issue because nobody knows, nobody knows, and she has been -- she was a supreme court clerk, she worked for the justice department as associate attorney general and gotten through these vetting processes with nobody apparently knowing this secret of her youth so she thinks for a moment this is serious maybe i can get through it again and decides no, programs i could but don't want to live my life. >> rose: what has the secret meant to her and her two friends? >> well, to her friends, it has meant different things to her and all we know is her, really, because me is telling this
story, is it has meant this this sense of another shoe always just about to drop and living a lie, living not being forthcoming with anyone, including her late husband about this extraordinary episode she was involved with as a young -- >> rose: it goes back to ann fleming. >> which does in some way go back to ann fleming. she and her childhood friends growing up in suburban child become obsessed with ian fleming and have these little playacting missions into the real world with they tremendous tend their bond villains, bond himself and, you know, within a relatively few years they are as anti-war radicals taking that into real life. >> rose: taking it to -- >> taking it to unfortunate -- >> rose: there is a reason -- and there are consequences. >> absolutely, they go offer the deep end, no question.
>> rose: and she lives with that. >> and she lived with that and doesn't know why she and her friends were able to, the ones who were able to walk away were able to walk away and have these fancy lives, and never be arrested, never be indicted, never be anything, and she admits i am not spoiling much because this is in the first page she says, basically, i once plotted this horrible, this murder and people died, so why she as they were able to walk away is a miss i have to her and that is the mystery that in the present-day,? se writing this book and spend her time trying to solve. >> rose: and does she solve it. >> she does. to the best of her ability. i mean part of -- one of the point of, that she realizes in this book is that the truth is always imperfect and fragmentary, but, yes, she solves it. >> rose: and part of the story lynn as i suggested earlier is that literature can have an impact on young buys in a profound way or at least in that time. >> well i think culture can,
whether it is a james bond book or james bond movies or batman movies or whatever. >> rose: why do you say that? >> i do think that what you read and watch and listen to shapes who you are and from emma bovary on people get over invested in their figure shuns. >> rose: but when you think of the consequences today it becomes, you know, enormously, when you look at aurora and whatever connection it had to batman and we will find out motive later -- >> well, and in a way, it raises that conversation, but whether this guy was -- how and if he was influenced to do what he did by pop culture looks like programs he was but the question is, whether or not movies or video games or fiction caused people to do extraordinary things, the fact is, i think we have created a culture in which
certain kinds of violence is taken as heroic, interesting, spectacular, normal. >> rose: the culture says that. >> it does. >> rose: or does distorted minds? >> well, again, i played a lot of violent video games and i have seen a lot of violent movies, i don't go out and kill people and 99.99 percent of people will not. however, i don't think we can -- if we say, as we do, and i don't know how we have gotten off on this, but if we say that -- >> rose: trust me. >> television shows and movies can improve things socially, can make america more welcoming of black people and more welcoming of gay people and everybody in show business signs on to that idea, i don't think we can say that there is no responsibility on the down side. >> rose: i agree with you, so therefore people who create culture have responsibility for the impact of culture. >> to think about it, to feel
something. >> rose: and what kind of accountability should there be? >> there should be no, in my view, no legal accountability, we shouldn't ban things. but. >> rose: to self censor is the question? >> i think they should think about what they are doing and think about whether they are comfortable making spectacular images of emotionless mass killing. there are always going to be lunatics, a and psycho paths and barbarians and there always have been and always will be, but, you know, there is just no question that you could reduce some of this, the efficiency of the killing by certain crimes with gun regulation, and there is no question to me that -- i am not saying people shouldn't make violent movies or video
names but i think they have to think about it. that's all. >> when you created this character, where was hillary clinton? your mind? >> it is a good question. not much in my mind, actually. >> rose: because she was, in fact a child of the sixties, came of age, had this kind of resume. >> yes. >> and a likely supreme court nominee if she hasn't chosen and you have been quoted as saying somewhere i wonder what would have been happened if she hadn't met and married bill. >> well after i finished and i was asked to describe what this book was and people would say -- and i would give a short description and people wow say oh like bernadine -- >> to more like hillary clinton if she hasn't married bill and in fact my character groiz up on the north shore of chicago like hillary, hillary as a 16-year-old cameo in this novel. but i wasn't thinking of hillary effect everything, esque woman i
have other women i know in funny ways that sort of inspired me more. >> rose: whom? >> like our friend nora ephron, in a way, like my friend susanna moore, in a way, women who are a bit older than i, but who all through their lives when they had our vital, vibrant, sexy, smart, interesting important opinionated women like i hope my comairk is. >> rose: like she is. and the first person narration is because something you had not used before and something some people say is very difficult to do, because you are at center stage always. >> well, and exactly. and therefore your character and my character admits she did this terrible thing when she was young, the likability of that person telling a story becomes more important, and risky. >> rose: the likability becomes more important for telling the story because they
will be turned off. >> correct, correct. i thought it was important for -- to this to be about a secret and living a life with this secret and finding out the truth about the secret, that that was important to tell from that fern feeling that lifelong anxiety, from her point of view, that's why i chose it to be first person. >> rose: what she says on page 1, but it is not a simple story, it needs to be unpacked very carefully, i like that word unpacked, trust me okay, i am reliable, i am an oldest chide, highly imperfect but no stretch a goody-goody but i was a reliable diva supreme court court clerk and a reliable legal aid attorney, giving all the, pathetically strategically unreliable people on earth. i have been a reliable partner in america's 19th largest law firm, a reliable author of five books, a reliable law professor, a reliable u.s. justice department official, a reliable law school dean and reliable
parent, trustworthy and i think on any given day at least one or two of them would agree. >> reliable, reliable, reliable. >> yep. >> rose: why that word? >> well, apparently i was having fun with the idea of a first person narrator who, depending on whether the critics read first person narratives are inherently unreliable. so that was one -- that was part of it. also, i really wanted to make clear that the areas that this is her memoir, and she is not -- you know, she may be writing it like a novel, but this is nonfiction, this is my memoir, karen hollander and i want you to trust me that to the best of my ability i am giving you the factual truth. >> rose: trust me is before the relyle. >> trust me is the title before true believers. >> rose: why did you change. >> conversation with my editors,
i was persuaded true believers is a better title. >> rose:. >> trust me would be interesting. maybe another book. >> or one of the translations. >> rose: exactly. one of the translations. so we are now set in 2013, though. >> yes. >> rose: and we are looking back and saying, what about 1960? >> we are saying what kind of, really, normal kid she was living in wilmette, illinois with these two other smart kid that she palled around and best friends with, and how before they knew it, both because they were going from 12 to 17, because of what was happening between 1962 and 1968, they changed as things were changing they changed dramatic way that adolescents do that the world, suddenly on this unprecedented way was changing in its dramatic way, and the lines between fantasy and reality and madness
and reason became blurry. >> rose: did you need to go back to the research and do any research and/or just be a part of who you are. >> i had to go back, i am younger than these people a little so i had to go back and check on things, but i didn't -- certainly not like writing about the 1840s i didn't have t to go back and -- i wasn't there, so, no, i was there, and -- an it is interesting. one of the things about writing a novel is that you realize or perhaps any book, but you realize how much is there in your head, memories, scenes, all kinds of things that there is a reason to dredge them up you are not aware of. that's my experience. >> rose: and the sixties for you, when you look at the sixties as an observer it represents what? people coming of age and this is the interesting thing, it is the belief in the individual. >> yes. >> rose: belief of true
believers is believing in oneself. >> and whatever i want to do is fine. it if it feels good, do it. >> rose: right. >> >> rose: and why does that, who does that relate to in 2013, in 2,013 this idea if i want to do it, fine? >> yes, well i think we have -- we have -- we have a narrative. we have shared this common, everybody knows it narrative of what the 1960s meant, the left likes it, the right doesn't like it. the left likes it, partly because there are these other -- you know, civil rights, we stopped a war, we got to do our own thing and live in unorthodox ways and more tolerance and all of those things, and the right things, that's where we went off the rails and one of the things i realized from thinking about the sixties and writing this novel is that, yes, but i believe that there are other unanticipated and unacknowledged consequences of the big bang of the late sixties, the
individualism, the do your own thing, that i think you can draw line to our unregulated -- i can do whatever i want as a capitalist or investor world of the last 20 years. i think those are also, admission to me wearing blue jeans or, to some degree, aftereffect os the late mean sixties. >> rose: so i thought you might aue the other thing which some people interested that all of this freedom exploded in the 1960s, you know, fueled in part by the miewfks in the fifties, by the way, all of that freedom and individualality is not going to do anything and i am the master of my ownership. >> my own truth. >> rose: my own truth. >> yes. >> rose: all of that happened in everything but economics, we changed everything but the economic order. >> well, we did change the economic order. we didn't change it like the -- >> rose: became civil rights we didn't change -- >> we changed culture.
>> rose: income inequality and the level of poverty is the highest now it has been in 60 years or thereabouts. >> right, right and again i don't make this case in this novel at all, however, i have made the case since that i think -- i don't think it is as incongruous, oh we lost on the economic front, that is what people in the sixties would say. >> rose: right. >> i think that the hyperindividualism of the late sixties also has evolved in creating the i have got my jack paradigm economically of the present-day. >> rose: and do you think sort of the prototype or the profile of the hedge fund guy or woman as, you know, i am an economic buccaneer and i am the new capitalist and i am making untold risms and i will do things with them that other people didn't? >> well, i was talking about this bach a couple of weeks ago
to my friend walter isaac son that wrote the biography of steve jobs and wrote about this, we had this very conversation and he said, oh, well steve jobs is the ultimate guy who was both versions of the sixties, who was the hippy and the buccaneer, i can -- >> rose: that is a interesting thing about the book how he merged those two ideas. >> exactly but i can also make my computers in china and not give any money to philanthropy and that is selfishness that has -- you know, a good side -- >> rose: in his development he saw himself as a, quote, flower child. >> yes. late in the day. >> rose: and he still was when he was thinking about, you know, changing the world in terms of hard know nosed business develo. >> he is -- he and all what david brooks calls the bohemians are the people who, for whom all of those, what i think are all the results of the sixties were kind of a win-win, they are
prosperous and the they also geo be bohemians. >> rose: where do you put -- you wrote a book, i mean you wrote a magazine story, time magazine, the protesters, person of the year, where do you see that going? >> well -- >> rose: do you look at what is happening in syria today and look at what has happened in libya and what may happen in other parts. anybody in the middle east who thinks they are immune from this has not read our recent history. >> well, yeah, i don't think -- i don't think we have seen the end of it, certainly in the middle east and north africa. and syria as well. >> rose: but you wonder whether that is an idea, an idea fueled by all of this stuff that we know that will have profound consequences outside of the middle east. >> well, i think the sort of stutter stop version of occupy wall street and elsewhere that we saw last fall is that might
be it. that quarter or two of protest might be it for this generation. >> rose:. >> rose: and it all started after you began this book. >> oh, in fact, my current granddaughter wavily is a protester, anti-global station activist and suddenly i finished a draft and suddenly there is this thing called occupy. >> rose: but it is an interesting -- one of the great relationships is between karen and her granddaughter did you take that from wave liane, where you like to eat or something else? >> i don' i don't remember, butt was no product of -- at all. >> rose: but she wants to take her grandmother. >> yeah she is going to go protest with her boyfriend and her friend, the g-20 summit in miami and persuades her grandmother karen to go along. >> rose:. >> essentially her parent will only let her go if her grandmother is chaperoning. >> rose: what do we make of that as a story telling device. >> well one thing karen admits
she didn't spend enough time with her own daughter, wavily's mother when she is growing up because she was a big fancy manhattan lawyer, and this is kind of a do-over, her relationship with her granddaughter and the fact her granddaughter is this protester, perhaps going down something like the same line that karen would have 45 years ago becomes an interesting conversation with them, especially since the granddaughter doesn't know what the grandma did back in the day. >> rose: kurt andersen how can you not love him, the book is called true believers, thanks for joining us. see you next time.
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