21/01/2017 Dateline London


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Hello and welcome to Dateline London.


Two stories dominate the week and are likely


The beginnings of the Trump presidency and the beginning


of the end for Britain in the European Union.


My guests today are John Fisher Burns of the New York Times,


Thomas Kielinger of Die Welt, Polly Toynbee of The Guardian


and Dmitry Shishkin of BBC World Service.


Donald Trump first, and as he begins the job of being 45th President


of the United States, to paraphrase a question


from the presidential debates, let's start by saying something


nice, positive or hopeful about the new President.


This is going to and stretch for you, but have a go! After that


inaugural speech in which he reached out to nobody at all, in which he


trashed all of the previous Presidents sitting around him very


politely, I think the only thing we can seriously hope for is that this


meglomaniac will overreach himself to such a degree that he will be


impeached as soon as possible, hopefully before that four years is


up. And that he will simply be removed. He is utterly unfit to be


President of the United States and I think we saw that writ large in his


speech which was the most outrageously ungracious speech I


think probably any President has ever made at an inauguration. John,


I challenge to you do a bit better than that, just a possibility here!


Um... Well, there was very little for anybody who is not an American


in that speech. There was very little for the people who have felt


that American Presidents in the last 30 or 40 years have achieved


significant things. But I think if we look at what he's promising for


America, rebuilding the infrastructure of America, bringing


jobs back to America, these are going to be df things to do. It's


not clear where the infrastructure he is going to find the money.


Anybody who has travelled through America, particularly anybody who


has travelled through the Ohio Valley will know that an attempt, a


serious attempt to bring jobs back, to rebuild American industries is


long overdue. Therefore, to sum that up in a slogan Put America First,


there is another context in the 1930s, but to say in the 21st


century I am going to put America first that strikes home, doesn't it?


It has, of course some pretty ominous overtones for anybody who


knows American history, including it in the 20th century. Isolationism


and protectionism then. Theagetives rolled out here in the press and the


last few days about Trump, it's hard to disagree on the basis of what we


saw in the campaign with very much of it. But on the other hand, 63


million people, maybe 66 million people voted for Hillary Clinton,


but 63 million people themselves and many of them are far from being


crass, vulgar bullies, they found something in Trump that persuaded


them that he would change the course of America to their benefit. I think


it's far too soon to conclude they were wrong. Thomas, you have covered


- been based in Washington and seen inaugurals, the first inaugural of


Ronald Reagan was greeted in Britain and Europe with perhaps not the same


amount of dismay but there were a lot of headlines saying he is just


an actor which was not true because he had eight years as Governor of


California. This perception continued throughout his years. In


Europe you could never get a set of opinion to understand America is


doing from our way of politics and Reagan comes straight from the bone


marrow of American identity and he was to be a great President. Nobody


recognised that really until today. There is not a single street in


Germany that says Reagan Street or Reagan Plaza although he was the guy


who said tear down this wall. I totally agree with the nature of his


speech with Polly. That leads to a positive conclusion, that he will


unite, not Americans so much because he didn't do much to do that in his


speech, but unite Europe. Nato will begin to understand that something


needs to be done to do better than they have so far. It will also cause


minds to pause in the Brexit debate. I don't think EU and Britain can


afford to go down the route into trade wars. We are going to have to


watch our trade relations with America. That might lead to a


unifying amongst Europeans and in relation to Britain, so it will have


a positive effect on the Brexit debate, I am sure. President Putin


is hoping to talk to Trump sometime soon, I take it the Russian response


has been in so far as we can read it positive? In the BBC interview the


press Secretary of Putin yesterday said they would go and celebrate the


Russian Christian holiday yesterday rather than watch the inaugural


address. However, what we know is the potentially summit with ly --


what Russian television has been saying and the positive thing is


they call him the man of his word and that's interesting in itself.


Politicians generally say they don't know what is going to happen really


because there is nothing to say anything concrete about his policies


moving forward but what they are definitely saying because the tide


is changing, they think actually making Trump think about America


only is actually good for Russia because it means that Russia can


comb and again start asserting its -- can go and aagain start asserts


its influence. In the look at the wish list it's not going to be


dissimilar to Trump's possible agenda. Maybe apart from Middle East


where Syria is one thing but actually long-term Middle East


strategy for Russia and America are quite different. It was also said


that there can't be real progress in Syria without the Americans, in


other words, the possibility of some deal with a deal-maker. Precisely. I


guess this is exactly right about Nato but I think even if America


withdraws itself from different types of bodies, from world bank,


IMF, UN, this is all actually positive, will be seen positive in


Moscow. I thought one of the first casualties of Trump's vision for


America is his hope for improved relationships with Russia and Putin


and the fact that he's appointed, for example, as Secretary of Defence


and he is not alone, amongst the Cabinet nominees, somebody who takes


a much tougher line on Russia. It's indicative and it won't be very long


before Trump and Putin fall out. You are right. That's why I think the


current feeling in Moscow is the feeling of let's wait and see what


will happen because actually I wouldn't actually be surprised by


hearing on the Russian television moving forward that Trump is our


guy, he is good, he really means well but he is surrounded by the


establishment and the hawks of Washington won't allow him. I think


what we see is two rather similar and perhaps impulsive characters. I


think the idea that they're going to somehow make great friendship, it


will take very little, there is a tinder box, it will take little for


either to take great offence at something the other one does. The


possibility of friction seems much greater than the idea of this -


unless of course it is true he is totally in Putin's hands and he has


blackmail material and all of that, but leaving that aside. I would


agree and also say they're both people - actually for Putin to be


seen alone with Trump in this kind of Russia-US really important summit


is an important thing. Interesting this choreography, if there is a


summit. People within the Reagan administration said the President


tried to give away all nuclear weapons. Afterwards people thought


what was wrong about that? Is this possible to dream that kind of


thing? The dream continues, I am sure quite rightly but the way


Reagan went about it without consulting with his allies was


totally negative. Mind you, Reagan started as far as Russia is


concerned with that famous statement in the first press conference the


day after he was inaugurated when he was asked what do you think about


the Soviet Union, he said they lie, they cheat and want to conquer the


world. For Trump to give Putin so much of the benefit of the doubt


already saying you can trust him when Russia has to reearn its trust


after all that happened recently with the Olympics, drugs scandals


and interfering in American debates, so to come out with this statement


to trust Putin, he says I trust Putin as much as I trust Angela


Merkel. It didn't go down well in Germany. In terms of what you think


he might do if he does spend a lot of money somehow domesticically and


rebuilding infrastructure which just about anybody thinks needs rebuilt,


where is the money going to come from, but also he has to persuade


Congress. Isn't one of the big, it may not be as obvious as foreign


policy to people in Europe and around the world but he has to deal


with people in Congress who are in the Republican Party who have power


and some of whom don't like him. The question is will they be close to


him because he is the President and they have to be seen to be or will


they look at the next election which is in two years as far as they're


concerned and say not sure? Many years I spent in China, the Chinese


Government, when asked a question they didn't want to answer, the


situation remains to be determined. This certainly, there are so many


uncertainties we can not know. It seems one plain point of friction is


going to be money. On the one hand Trump has talked about doing


something about this huge multitrillion dollar deficit. On the


other hand he wants to build up the Armed Forces on which the United


States is already spending the best part of $700 billion a year. Now he


wants to rebuild American - where is the money coming from? It has to


come via Congress. Congress, we know Republicans are very loath to spend


money. I think it's going to be a lot of conflict there. It's


interesting how little he was scrutinised. What's been


extraordinary about this election is that any normal election, a


presidential candidate would have to answer that question. You are going


to cut taxes and spend hugely on Armed Forces, huge amount on


infrastructure, you are going to save working class America, where


are the tax cuts coming? They're all for the rich, not for the poor. How


does he square any of that? Nobody ever got to force him to answer


those. I think there are more dissimilarities between Trump and


Reagan. One obvious dissimilarity is that Reagan was a charming


individual. Even his political opponents found him a likeable


individual. It seems to me that's not the case with Trump. In terms of


his relationships with Congress that may prove to be another difficulty.


Could I suggest one thing that - one strong positive you may dislike is


that he is a great communicator. People will look at the speech and


so on but to people he needs to contact or communicate with, the use


of Twitter which is just a thing that's said and is republished,


that's one of the reasons why he wasn't scrutinised in the way you


suggest because he was able to say in 140 characters make America great


again and people thought that's a great idea. Yeah, the Twitter has


been brilliant. He is plainly going to go on with it, all day and all


night tweeting away. It means that he doesn't get challenged or


questioned. He puts it out there to his own followers. That works very


well. I think that's a frightening lesson for modern politicians.


Listening to that rather doll inaugural speech yesterday, it was


indeed -- dull inaugural speech yesterday, it was indeed written by


Donald Trump. He said he was going to eradicate Islamic terror, that's


going to be a difficult job, but setting a tone that is something he


can clearly work with Moscow on. As you remember, the relationship


between Russia or Soviet Union and the West always were - they were


constructive on anything to do with nuclear missile treaties, irrespect


yaf of how bad the relationship were in early 80s, they still were able


to go and do something on the missiles. In terms of the


co-operation between the secret services, definitely post-9/11 when


Putin was the first to call Bush and he was proud of that, he has


suggested his help and this will continue definitely. Let's just not


make mistakes about why, what aims put isn't trying to achieve in the


Middle East or anywhere else and others because obviously as I was


referring to the wish list, the wish list goes much further than that.


There is a question about Ukraine and Georgia and not joining Nato, we


were - this is this legend, nobody knows whether it is true, whether it


was promised not a single country in Europe would join Nato after


reunification of Germany. There is mixed stories about whether this


happened. Here the same thing. I think I agree with you, if they hit


it off it will be really fabulous relationship between them two for


the next whatever years. But it's hard. The difference is Putin has a


plan. I don't think Trump has a plan, he has tweets, I don't think


he knows where Georgia is. A tired phrase already, in a world where


people believe with their hearts and react with their hearts, rather than


their minds, we are talking about scrutiny, we as journalists are


interested in that sort of thing. I guess societies in large around the


world probably are going to the fact that different thing. There are


obvious problems. For instance, Iran is a defacto ally in the Middle East


with Russia and Iran is one of the bogeymen Donald Trump has threatened


to change relations with. That's one of the questions they are not going


to be comfortable talking about. In the Middle East also if America,


obviously sides with Saudi Arabia, Russia clearly with Iran, so that's


the biggest issue. Relations with the rest of the world, the most


important is with the White House relationship with Congress. No


wonder we call Congress the other arm of Government. That is central.


He can't do anything unless he strikes an emoll yant or tolerant


relationship with Congress. Carter had a majority of his own party in


Congress but he was constantly bogged down by fighting in Congress.


He can't make peace with Congress. So it's essential that Congress and


Trump will get on. I am not sure they will. It's a terrible juvenile


habity of his to be pursuing. He communicate with people who will not


listen to White House speeches, it communicate with a lot of people. He


doesn't read anything himself, he says I haven't got time. All he can


read is tweets. He assumes all his followers read tweets. He


overpromises. That speech raised expectations in the wild sort of


fashion which Congress soon will shut down I am sure. We should


remember McMilline, events, dear boy, events. Some events may be


forthcoming and unimaginable, the events of 2016 were unimaginable a


year ago. It could not, for example - what if there is friction on the


borders with Russia and Estonia and Lithuania, how long would that last?


We don't know that, if he is convinced he needs to build


factories and whatever, then he said that America first and potentially,


you know, Estonia... At the end of the queue. I want to come on to


queues about trade and other things. Theresa May made clear her plans


for Brexit this week. Britain out of the single market


was clear enough but if we don't get a deal she said Britain is prepared


to walk away. Does anyone have any idea


what that might mean? And how is Mrs May's


clarity or otherwise First of all, we will get to the


trade talks with the head of the queue, back of the queue, whatever,


but in Germany when people heard what Theresa May had to say was it


much clearer what Britain is aiming for? Well, it's very hard for


Germans to understand the way the British mind ticks. Still to this


day they don't understand how a nation, a member of the EU can even


conceive of leaving it. This notion of the island nation going for the


global sort of horizon is totally strange to the way of thinking. We


are in Europe surrounded with nothing but friends at the moment


and we need to be collectively involved ap for Britain to go it


alone - I keep reminding them - a tradition that sea faring nations


reached out beyond the immediate continent and neighbourhood and


other than that they think they will look at it rationally and the


arrival of Trump on the scene as I said before gives me hope, the two


sides, the EU and Britain will come together at a workable sort of


solution. There is no advantage to be gained from going into a trade


war mindset between the EU and Great Britain. While you have to be


careful not to make it too easy for Britain to leave it because that


would bring up copycat mentalities of other European nations, who might


say we can also leave it. That's probably again unofficial hope from


within the Kremlin is that basically starting an avalanche for the same


trends in other countries. Other countries have their own... The


relationship between EU and Russia always subject to this exercise -


southern countries were more pro-Russian. I am generalising here.


But you definitely have Greece and some former countries... Now you


have Le Pen part-financed... If you look at probably the Britain leaving


the European Union is out of the public debate in Russia, just not an


issue. It's irrelevant? Regular Russians would say I wish we had


your problems generally, that would be one way of looking at it and


other people would say good for you, we all know how bad the European


Union is and go and do it alone because you are a great country. Do


you think we have clarity this week? Absolutely not. We got some fairly


ill-intent and the idea she would say we are leaving the single market


and the customs union but somehow we are going to have magical deal which


is just as good as being inside when the response right across Europe,


whether it was in Brussels or individual capitals was you can't do


that, you are either in or out, there is no way in which you are


going to have a better deal, you will not have to pay in, you will


not have to accept freedom of movement and then of course this


global fantasy, it was extraordinary sort of empire talk. She has an


Elizabeth I fantasy apparently she sees herself in this role and we


will have she is wonderful trade deals. If we want a trade deal with


India, for instance, they will demand more visas. Now a lot of the


impetus against Europe was also an anti-Asian, anti-Islamic feeling


about immigration as much as it was anti-poles or Hungarians, I don't


think people are going to tolerate the idea we have to have more people


from India in order to have an Indian deal. The idea we are going


to have a good deal with Trump, Trump will make a deal, I


interviewed him in 1988, read his appalling book, he always comes out


on top, that's the way you do it. Any deal with us and America means


we have to accept their regulations, not EU regulations. The moment we do


that then we cut ourselves off even more from Europe because we are not


accepting European regulations. I have said this on this programme


before, a lot of of the discussion about Brexit and where it will carry


us is conducted as if we live in a static kind of world and Europe


right now is not in a static condition. We know elections in


France, indeed in Germany and in Italy can radically change the


Europe that Theresa May is negotiating with. Not to mention the


Italian banking system and other economic factors. I wouldn't be


surprised if Theresa May is quite pleased at the possibility of delay


in invoking Article 50 because the further she can push these


negotiations into the era of the emerging Europe, the Europe where


there could be a referendum in Europe, for example, and in Italy


and in France, which could easily go the same way as ours did and I think


we might, a year from now... You hear Labour, most of Labour people,


a few rebels, Corbyn saying we are going to sign it, the Lib Dems


won't, but she will get it through, I am afraid. The other point of


clarity, with due respect, I felt it was clear in one aspect, she's


willing to go for brinkmanship with Europe. She has a way of taking - if


you don't agree, we have another way of becoming a different country.


That's a reasonable negotiating tactic. Expect in a terrible


prospect, she wants us to be a Singapore, a bargain basement lowest


possible tax. We would be cutting off our own nose to spite our face


if we did that. I agree and the impossibility of her suggestion of


course strikes you immediately because there's so many circles to


square as it were. One thing is where is the money? We talk about


money in the Trump case, where does she get the money for reforms she


promised? I think the UK goes into these negotiations with a few


advantages, to cite only one, how many BMWs are sold in this country?


265,000, I think. So where is German industry, the motor industry going


to be on this issue? They don't want to drive the UK into some sort of


isolation. It's holding Europe to ransom on that account. The Germans


and the rest of Europe, like us, are less motivated by economics when it


comes to the crunch than by principle and their principles about


Europe will be stronger, just as ours were. We have done ourselves


terrible economic harm for the sake of a fantasy belief in our great


independented pence. Have we done ourselves harm? We don't know. It's


likely. It hasn't happened yet. We haven't done anything yet. We are


not out. Markets are all predictive. The markets seem to have decided


this is a do-able thing. From somebody who came to this country


about 16 years ago, I can say that I can feel that actually


internationally, globally, Britain as a country where English is


spoken, part of Europe will still be extremely interesting for people


from Asia to come and do business with, from south Asia, east Asia,


Russia, other countries. Africa, as well. There is something culturally


and Britain will remain a big magnet. A large part of that is our


relationship with the United States and the fact that we have a common


language and to some considerable extent common culture. We will have


to leave it there. That's it for Dateline


London for this week. You can comment on the programme on


Twitter and engage with our guests. We're back next week


at the same time. Please make a date


with Dateline London. Hello. A hard frost for many of us


to start the weekend, some fog patches around too. Two views


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