08/07/2017 Dateline London


08/07/2017

Foreign correspondents currently posted to London look at events in the UK through outsiders' eyes, and at how the issues of the week are being tackled around the world.


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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to Dateline London, I'm Jane Hill.

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This week we discuss what the world leaders meeting in Germany

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We look at continuing problems on India's border,

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both with China and Pakistan; and also - after an exceptionally

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busy few months - just how desperate is everyone for a holiday?!

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Iain Martin, columnist for The Times;

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Nabila Ramdani, the French-Algerian journalist;

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Henry Chu, the Europe Editor of Variety;

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The discussions in the Germany city of Hamburg this weekend involving

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the World's leaders, come at a delicate time

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North Korea; climate change; the immigration

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crisis; Trump in Europe, the list goes on.

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Iain - President Trump now tells us there's going to be a very fast

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Yes, so it seems. Good news for Britain, and bad news. The good news

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there seems to be a trade deal. The bad news, Donald Trump has confirmed

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at some point he's coming to the UK. Depending on one's review. Britain

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is a very divided country. He may do us a service, uniting Britain

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against such a visit. The other big story out of the G20 is the

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weakening of American power. I am reminded, having seen a lot of these

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summits some are thinking back to the violence in Nice, Genoa. This

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backdrop of chaos and extreme violence, 15 years ago, these events

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were about American power, the projection of American power.

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America solving the world's problems. That is now clearly no

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longer the place. Power has become diffused. We focus on Trump for

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obvious reasons, he is entertaining, controversial figure. He is not as

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powerful as he thinks. Or as a lot of Americans think. Everybody is

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nodding around the table. I do agree with what you have just said. The

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violence we are seeing on the streets Hamburg this weekend is the

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perfect metaphor for international diplomacy. Intense passions have

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been aroused. The principal person responsible is Donald Trump's

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position as the alleged leader of the free world. Hardly an

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environment for constructive policy making. In the past, summits of

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these kind used to be all about adhesion and problem solving. --

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cohesion. Now all about PR and showboating. All the leaders

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marching off to the next meeting. Posing for these endless pictures.

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In effect, this testifies to a crisis in confidence, and in fact,

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the Western consensus so prevalent for many years. People talk about

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post-capitalism. This is almost posted diplomacy this commentator is

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far more concerned about misspeaking, that kind of thing.

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Rather than anything of any substance. No one dares say what

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they really think? The IDE can get any consensus, let alone policy done

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at these kind of meetings, frankly absurd. Let's not forget, these

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leaders can link up at any time, nowadays in the great communication

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era. The idea of going to get anything done over a very violent,

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hot and socially awkward meeting is ridiculous. I agree what comes out

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of these meetings is often bland to the point of pointless. How many of

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us can remember a communique issued from one of these summits. I don't

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necessarily think there is a complete break from the past.

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Interesting you mention 15 years ago from protest against American might.

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Then you had President George W Bush talking about, for example, imposing

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tariffs on steel, exactly what is happening today. Continuity with

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what happened 15 years ago and today. I do agree, the isolation the

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US is undergoing because of our current leader is not anything I

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have witnessed in my lifetime. Usually America was seen as ahead of

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the curve, at least trying to leave. This is America retreating, finding

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itself not just being shunned by powers that we thought were

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unfriendly, but those we thought were friendly. When you have won

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against 19 in a communique against climate change, that says something.

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That was a process begun by President Obama, the retreat after

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the disaster of Iraq. I am not associating Obama with Trump given

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their approach to world affairs is entirely different. Trump may be

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accelerating the process of America's retreat from the world.

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Obama took a very different view from Clinton. Even longer than 15

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years. The tail end of the Clinton era. Demonstrations, the early Bush

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years. Democrat and Republican leaders saw America in terms of

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world leadership. Which announced looks ridiculous. That is all driven

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by Trump. Would not been that different from George Bush's view.

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Out of Kyoto. The difference with Obama, he did not project the same

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kind of persona we have become accustomed to with US leaders. His

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idea of leading was three multilateral organisations. Trump is

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pulling himself out of that, becoming isolationist. We cannot

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afford that. Important to bear in mind, while the policy of

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withdrawing did begin under Obama, there is a vast difference. To date

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we have the first Detroit dilly Matty Gee 20 where the United States

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is playing a peripheral role. Significant change from the past.

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You have four big agenda items. Either the United States is not a

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part of this, or they're being obstructed. Climate change, for

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instance. International trade. North Korea has been outsourced to China

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by President Trump. There is an element of incense and is in the

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area of counterterrorism. There is more or less a consensus between the

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G20 countries. Having said that, the problem is the wording of the

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documents. There has to be a strong enough wording which rarely happens

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that T20 or any of these summits. The bigger the group, the more

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difficult to get stronger wording this then comes the matter of

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follow-up. We are nine years after the economic meltdown, still in

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austerity. That tells you how much the action which has followed the

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resolution is taking T20 summits, have done or not done. Beyond the

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T20 summits, there is strong indication world leaders take

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bilateral meetings more seriously than general ones. Theresa May met

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with Donald Trump, they did not hold hands on this occasion this we heard

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from Donald Trump, saying they will be big trade deals. The reality is

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Theresa May could be gone before proper negotiations start. As to

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Trump. This is an example of how the G20 meeting could not come across as

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more hot air rather than anything being achieved. All about good

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pledges this which can turn pretty hollow. Are we all saying, the big

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set piece meetings are worthless? Just have the bilaterals? The nature

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of those meetings have changed. We have to accept that. For example, I

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am pretty sure a lot of people in France and Europe would have been

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shocked at the way the French president and many well Macron was

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paddling up with Trump. -- getting friendly with Trump. Of course you

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have two be respectful, but that is different from being friendly.

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President Macron will have to learn international politics is much more

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politics than treating him like a buddy. Having meetings like this

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does serve a purpose. After the financial meltdown there was a T20

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that focused on having to repair the financial system and came away with

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good ideas. Right now, with the US being isolated, historically having

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been the leader and no longer, there is a real deficit. A thought on

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Theresa May, how she has performed. We mentioned the meeting with Trump.

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She goes on to a curiouser difficult time in this country. What is your

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take on how she has performed? Leeway to understand it is think of

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the leader propped up by the Cabinet. They cannot necessarily

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agree on a replacement. It sounds cruel, she's a cutout. A cardboard

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cutout pro minister. This month the focus is on can she make it through

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to the summer, the Conservative Party conference in October? Will

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she go by Christmas? Do the Conservatives skip a generation. Go

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for someone younger. Might be some untried and untested. She is there

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is a placeholder pro minister. Where that really complicates Brexit, very

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often, and this is where diplomacy does matter, the connection between

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leaders. Leaders can bridge the divide. If the talks get bogged down

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on Brexit, it would need a strong British pro minister to say to

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Angela Merkel and Macron, there was a gap, a compromise to be done which

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can make Brexit happen more smoothly than otherwise might be the case.

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That requires a Prime Minister with confidence and some clout and

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authority. Which it is fair to say Theresa May does not have.

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Problematic for the British, in terms of how the negotiations go.

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Looking at it from the other side. Donald Trump saying things like a

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trade deal will happen quickly does not mean anything. Does not even

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know what he's talking about. Sorry to say this, these deals do not

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happen quickly. They take a very, very long time. Completely

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misleading people by saying that. As is the EU, trumpeting a trade deal

:12:27.:12:32.

between the EU and Japan which does not exist yet. Taking four, five

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years. Never thought about climate change? Will it go Angela Merkel's

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way? The well's biggest polluter is not part of the Paris deal. How does

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the world proceed with this deal? The rest of the world may continue

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to do what they have committed today. Without the United States, a

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difficult one to achieve the targets set in Paris. The only consolation I

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take from this, in the US you have states, for instance, my home state

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of California, committed to reducing carbon efficiency. And have much

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more environmental sense. The idea climate change is real and

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happening, and needs to be counted as much as possible. Although it may

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not be happening on federal level, there are states trying to take

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action. That is so interesting. One of those issues, if big polluting

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industrial countries are not united, people will say, what is the point?

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No use being as green as you can be in California, despite its size and

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economic power, if everyone is not on board. We will see whether China

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and India live up to their commitments. Good they are pledging

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to. China has a history of environmental degradation, even

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though they have policies supposed to alleviate that. Hopefully they

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will live up to those commitments. We will be discussing that all

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again. Well before he arrived at the G20,

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Israel -

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the first Indian PM But he left behind growing

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tensions and anxiety between his country,

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Pakistan and China, especially There is a dispute between China and

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India over the border. The two science disputing the Dili new

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nation. There was a five-minute chat between the two leaders. The outcome

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is not known. Neither side has confirmed whether the stand-off was

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discussed at all. A lot of attention of late. China refusing the meeting

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to start with, they said the atmosphere is not right for such a

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meeting. Eventually what happened, there was a meeting of BRIC country

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leaders. There was a polar side, the two had a chat for five minutes.

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China has been playing very tough in recent times. The China and Pakistan

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axis really endangering India at the moment. Of late, this is a bit

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unusual. In the last 25 years or so, since the peace and tranquillity

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treaty between India and China things have been going very well. On

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the trade front, they have been going extremely well, particularly

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for China. All of a sudden in the last three years, the Chinese

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approach has become very tough. There is of course a reason for

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this. At the same time, there is a condition which needs to be sorted

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out between these two major Asian countries. You are nodding. I'm glad

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there was a five-minute talk. What concerns me more India and Pakistan

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are not talking. That border I find much hotter than the Indian in China

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border. Given what has been going on Kashmir, at the heart of the

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conflict, the fact both our nuclear armed states. Pakistan doing a test

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fire Fellaini Killeen missable earlier this week. That seems much

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more concerning them Pakistan and China. I think in general the

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tension between India and Pakistan is always at a higher level than the

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tension between India and China. Between India and China matters had

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cooled off considerably for a number of years. Nearly a quarter of a

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century. Between India and Pakistan there is inevitably a face-off. The

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Kashmir situation is very hot of the moment. As you rightly said, there

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is no dialogue between the two countries at ministerial level.

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Maybe the officials will get together at the civil service levels

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soon. Ambassadors exist in both countries. Rather High Commissioners

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in this case. Fundamentally, it is a very tense situation between the two

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countries. What is at stake, it seems to be potentially the defining

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relationship of the first half of the 20th century. India versus China

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this a new book, on the retreat of Western liberalism makes that point.

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Two models tested alongside each other. Both newly capitalist, one

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autocratic, one Democratic. Whoever wins the battle, as American power

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declines, the West offers an identity crisis, will become the

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great power of the future. That is indeed true. China has certainly

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been off to a much faster pace in the last 30 years or so. Where as

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democratic injury Dili Mecca India had challenges. At the Mehmedi

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situation interesting, China and India have slowed down. Part of this

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meltdown catching up, not quite allowing the two countries to take

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off as they would have liked to have done. There was a time India grew at

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10% plus GDP. Remarkable for a country democratic way you have

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hurdles, court cases to deal with before you can start a project like

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motorway. In that situation India was doing quite well. Inevitably,

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the pace is faster in China this ultimately India may get there, but

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a very interesting two models competing with each other. I do

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think, it seems to me that China's encroachment on that small disputed

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territory at the intersection between China, India and Bhutan,

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where the dispute is all about. All about the budding superpower China

:19:32.:19:35.

trying to expand its sphere of influence beyond East Asia into

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South Asia. This time around is not an armed conflict. All about a

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geostrategic Cold War with India. Not the first time they have had a

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stand-off. One going back to 1962, unarmed one. Tensions over Tibet and

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along the border. China had emerged victorious. This is the longer

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stand-off so far between the two countries. We have been talking

:20:07.:20:13.

about America's retreat, going in on itself, in relation to June 20. Does

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America have a role to play, in relation to China? Between China and

:20:18.:20:24.

India, I am not so sure. What has been commented on a lot, I find it

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ironic living in China, and being America, is China extending its

:20:32.:20:34.

sphere of influence into places that the US had occupied. Whether it is

:20:35.:20:42.

on climate, the projection of power, through naval forces, for example,

:20:43.:20:46.

in the shipping lanes around Asia, that has historically been the US

:20:47.:20:53.

protecting their shipping lanes. I find it worrisome that China is

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stepping into the breach. Another sign of American retreating from

:20:58.:21:04.

what had been its historic duties, the role it played. While I am

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concerned about the decline of America diplomatically. I would not

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write off the US. Even though it has been through economic turmoil, it

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has still been by far the most innovative economy on earth. As a

:21:20.:21:26.

believe in democracy, there is something inherently necessary for

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innovation, competition to happen, you have to have a free society this

:21:31.:21:35.

theft is the problem, the unknowable thing with China, in an autocratic

:21:36.:21:42.

society, can you innovate? You can replicate, become very efficient and

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successful, but can you produce the answers to climate change? The next

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wave of the Internet. All the stuff that has come out of America in the

:21:52.:21:56.

last 25 years has its roots in Bill Gates being rebellious, a battle of

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ideas. I'm not going to go off and during the state-run company, take

:22:03.:22:07.

other people orders. I will go off and innovate and invent, my ideas

:22:08.:22:13.

are better than the other guys. That runs right through American society.

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Even though America is in a bad place, should not be written off. I

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would add, if I make the withdrawing from expensive wars will lead singer

:22:25.:22:29.

and economic bounce back for the United States. -- will lead to stop

:22:30.:22:37.

whether it happens under the Trump model, we don't know. Coming out of

:22:38.:22:40.

these very expensive situations in the Middle East and Afghanistan was

:22:41.:22:44.

helpful, and gradually leading to prosperity. That said, there was a

:22:45.:22:51.

strategic agreement between the United States and India which China

:22:52.:22:58.

saw as being against China. An agreement between present Obama and

:22:59.:23:04.

Prime Minister Modi, but that seems to have slipped away under President

:23:05.:23:10.

Trump. Also to do with an arms race. President Modi's visit to Israel

:23:11.:23:16.

testifies to that. Another example of a populist global leader trying

:23:17.:23:19.

to humiliate millions of Muslims around the world. Not only in his

:23:20.:23:25.

own country but neighbouring Pakistan. He wants it betrayed them

:23:26.:23:29.

as the enemy within and threatening externally. Instead of installation

:23:30.:23:36.

to Lee McKenzie DH and can he sees the future in a constant armed

:23:37.:23:40.

struggle, his side being armed to the teeth, being ready to dispatch

:23:41.:23:44.

as many Muslims as possible when trouble arises. I would call it the

:23:45.:23:46.

Israeli model. He has broken decades of support for

:23:47.:23:58.

the Palestinian cause. Tallying up with on a ferry Terry and hawks like

:23:59.:24:08.

Benjamin Netanyahu. He snubbed Palestinian leaders, and also

:24:09.:24:12.

stocked up with weapons. I found it quite outrageous a leader like him

:24:13.:24:16.

chooses to side with the state of Israel, which regularly breaches

:24:17.:24:22.

international and humanitarian laws, whose leaders past and present stand

:24:23.:24:26.

accused of war crimes this who are constantly expanding illegal

:24:27.:24:31.

colonial entity. I found it quite distasteful. Some of the big

:24:32.:24:36.

question is, we will continue to debate. It is July. Every journalist

:24:37.:24:43.

in the UK and abroad is worn out after events of the last few weeks.

:24:44.:24:45.

The Queen has gone on holiday; Westminster can't wait

:24:46.:24:47.

And everyone you talk to seems desperate to get away and forget

:24:48.:24:51.

the troubles of an exceptionally busy few months.

:24:52.:24:53.

How do you all intend to recharge your batteries?

:24:54.:24:55.

Iain, every political corr I know is worn out!

:24:56.:24:57.

The South of France as quickly as possible in three or four days'

:24:58.:25:04.

time. I have never known a period where people are so much in need of

:25:05.:25:10.

a holiday. Brexit, Trump, Britain on a cycle, Scottish referendum. Three

:25:11.:25:15.

or four years of intense activity. Combined with the heat. The

:25:16.:25:20.

political and media establishment in London has gone off its said. Needs

:25:21.:25:30.

to go away for a while. Journalists have trouble switching off the

:25:31.:25:34.

revenue cycle is 20 grams a day. Getting sucked into all of this.

:25:35.:25:38.

Every time there. I remember a time I would go on holiday, come back,

:25:39.:25:44.

catching up with the world. Watching the TV news bulletin, reading a

:25:45.:25:47.

newspaper. Now TV screens are everywhere. You are encouraged to be

:25:48.:25:52.

connected to your devices at all times. Do not do it, switch them

:25:53.:25:57.

off. To me, this is the most enjoyable time of the year. I go to

:25:58.:26:03.

laws to watch Test cricket, go to Wimbledon to watch the tennis. The

:26:04.:26:07.

British Open golf coming up. Looking forward to it. And in nearly the

:26:08.:26:13.

Proms. With Brexit looming, I should go to countries I don't need a visa

:26:14.:26:19.

to visit, I have picked Scotland. I will be visiting the Highlands,

:26:20.:26:22.

which I've never done before. You will love that. Enjoy,

:26:23.:26:27.

well-deserved. Switch off the iPhone. For anyone watching, going

:26:28.:26:34.

on holiday, have a wonderful time. Those who are not going holiday, we

:26:35.:26:41.

will see you over the course of the summer. See you again soon, goodbye.

:26:42.:27:05.

On balance, pretty decent day ahead of us.

:27:06.:27:10.

More cloud in southern areas compared to

:27:11.:27:13.