tv Amanpour on PBS PBS April 19, 2018 6:00am-6:30am PDT
welcome to "amanpour" on pbs. laying the ground work. president trump's pick for secretary of state meets north korea's leader to discuss denuclearization. the highest level contact between the two sides in almost 20 years. and i speak to a former u.s. diplomat at the first talks wendy sherman. plus, he called for the referendum that took britain out of the eu and once lost a parliamentary vote to launch strikes on syria. my conversation with the former british prime minister david cameron on the state of our world today. ♪
good evening, everyone. welcome to the program. i'm christiane amanpour in london. few americans have ever set foot in north korea let alone met its leader. know we know cia director mike pompeo has done just that, making him the highest u.s. official to ever sit face-to-face with kim jong-un. pompeo traveled there over easter almost three weeks ago to lay the groundwork for a possible upcoming summit between kim jong-un and donald trump. trump this morning said the meeting went smoothly and a good relationship was formed, but in mar-a-lago yesterday, alongside japan's prime minister shinzo abe, president trump added caveats. >> we have not picked a site yet, but we picked five sites where it's potentially g going be. we'll let you know fairly soon. and let's see what happens. we'll either have a very good meeting or we won't have a good meeting, and maybe we won't even
have a meeting at all, depending on what's going in. but i think there's a great ance to lve a rlproblem. >> until now, former secretary of state madeleine albright was the highest level u.s. official to hold such a meeting. then is was kim jong-il, father of the current leader. here's what she told me recently about possible traps. >> i think it's a question of definition, because people are pleased kim jong-un wants to talk about denuclearization. the question is what he means and what we mean by it. >> and that is the all-important question. former undersecretary of state wendy sherman was in north korea with madeleine albright and you can see her there behind kim jong-il, and she joins me now in washington. welcome to the program. >> thank you. good to be with you. >> that really is the question. we do hear president trump tweeting a lot about this word, "denuclearization" and heard kim jong-un say he's prepared to talk about it, but as secretary
albright said, perhaps it means different things to each side. what do you think? >> well, it's interesting, christiane. jeffrey lewis, a noted expert at the middlebury institute did an op-ed in the "new york times" to explain to people the history of that word denuclearization. it's not what people think. not about disarmament or nonproliferation. it was created in 1992 in a north/south joint declaration to talk about all things nuclear. the year before in 1991, then president george bush wanted to make a decision about whether to take the only nuclear weapons on the korean peninsula, american nuclear weapons, off the peninsula in hopes to encourage the north not to start down that road and keep the south from starting down that road. he did remove our weapons. we got this joint declaration. the joint declaration used the term denuclearization, purposely
vague and included not only weapons but the security, nuclear security umbrella we provide in the region. it includes our permissibility of having nuclear weapons anywhere and means quite a different thing that i think the president of the united states believes it means and i don't think for one moment at least at this moment that kim jong-un expects to destroy his nuclear weapons. i think he's looking for a very different kind of denuclearization. >> well gosh, what does that mean then for an american president about to hold an unprecedented summit? face it. the whole of the western alliance in south korea use that word. they want a summit, a meeting, to be about, i don't know, disarming, the word not included in this situation. >> agreed, and i hope that when mr. pompeo went and had his meeting, they got beyond the phrase that's used all the time, which is, "comprehensible
irreversible verifiable denuclearization" to really get down to what that means. does it mean all the weapons are destroyed? does that mean they're just inspected and kept under lock and key? does -- what does it mean? and what does he want in return? in the past, he's wanted in return the end of any u.s. military in the region. it's meant he wants no exercises between the u.s. and south korea. it means that he wants a peace treaty, which looks like it's going to be on the table in the north/south summit. it comes up before the president's meeting. so there are a lot of pieces to this puzzle, and they're all very, very difficult. >> so those issues that you just brought up, the things that kim jong-un might want, are they eve's starters or non-starters? >> well, i would suspect at least at the start of this
negotiation, they are non-starters. because one of my concerns about how this is proceeding is that it appear that we're putting things on the table. we and the south koreans, without getting anything in return. so what may happen here is that south korea has a summit. they put out a statement that is high principles, because they know that the real negotiation is between the united states and north korea, because the north seas the united states as the only country that can threaten its regime with military force. and so we get this nice statement that's supposed to be filled out by president trump and by the americans. i hope in consultation with the japanese as well. i think prime minister abe put on quite a game face in a very difficult situation in mar-a-lago. and that we get down to the details of what all of these definitions are. what is possible. a peace treaty means what? what are these countries? what's rights do they have? we don't want to throw south korea or japan under the bus to
protect our security. we are all in this together. >> wendy sherman, clearly shinzo abe, i assume, was making sure with president trump that japan wouldn't be thrown under the bus and japan's interests wouldn't be ignored in any u.s. deal with north korea if there was to be such a thing, but he did also say, and he praised president trump's maximupressure strategy for bringing the situation this point. in other words, sort of off the boil. remember a few months ago everybody thought would be war between the two countries, and president trump, who does like a bit of praise, said the following -- >> south korea is meeting and has plans to meet with north korea to see if they can end the war, and they have my blessing on that and have been very generous that without us, and without me in particular, i guess you have to say, that they
wouldn't be discussing anything, including the olympics would have been a failure. instead it was a great success. they would have had a real problem. >> well, you know, i mean, it's sort of typical, but nonetheless, these meetings are happening. just from kim jong-un's perspective, when he looks at the world and the word "disarmament" he sees saddam hussein, and he sees saddam hussein out. he sees moammar gadhafi, gave up his weapons of destruction program, out. he clearly can see that it's not the best bet in this environment to give up nuclear weapons. he's right. right? i mean, he needs also some assurances? >> yes. this is a very rational box that he is sitting in, and he's actually in the driver's seat at the moment, because everybody wants him to do a variety of things, and he has nothing else to worry about in the world, except these summits and these negotiations, while the presidents and prime
ministers of the other countries are have many things on their plate to deal with. he will be extremely well prepared. extremely on top of his game and, yes, he wants to make sure his regime is secure. so part of that original definition that we were talking about, denuclearization, what's what mean? what are we and he trying to achieve? he wants regime security. and he'll have some very particular things that he will want reassurances about. >> and, of course, the chattersphere was consumed by director pompeo's secret trip to north korea. amazing it stayed secret three weeks. in any event, clearly that was the right thing to do. i mean, the president had to send an emissary to prepare the groundwork. >> indeed, and he knew at the time that the secretary of state, rex tillerson, was about to be out the door, and we know that theres a channel between the intelligence communities for two reasons. one, the south koreans sent their head of intelligence as part of their opening to the
summit which was the conduit back to the united states. so i'm sure he was talking to mr. pompeo at the cia, and in the obama administration we saw james clapper, director of national intelligence going to north korea to get out an american hostage. clearly, there was an intelligence channel of some sort that was working, and i will be curious to find out whether mr. pompeo raised the fate of the three americans, who are currently held in north korea, because while we're looking at everything else we have a responsibility and obligation to get those americans home. >> we know what a success would look like, obviously. i spoke to one of your successor negotiators, chris hill, about what a failure of such a summit would look like. basically what he said was, failure would look something like, i've had a good discussion with mr. kim and am sure we'll arrive at something. that wouldn't do it. or, that we've achieved a moratorium on existing testing of either weapons, warheads or missiles that wouldn't do it either.
so there has to be a bar. doesn't there? to be able to declare such a meeting a success? >> right. i think what's important here is that the president is not likely to in one meeting, to say the least, negotiate a full-blown agreement. the iran nuclear deal i was involved in, took years and is quite technical and detailed because verification and monitoring and enforcement of important in any agreement. you can't get this done in a meeting. the only thing you can get done, probably a set of principled commitments and teams with a timetae to begin the detailed negotiations, and i hope that the presidens tht keep expectations considerably low about what this is, and doesn't think this is a photo opportunity he can claim success, mission accomplished,
as he just did in a way that makes no sense regarding syria, and does the same thing here with one photo opportunity with the north korean leader, giving the north korean leader legitimacy he has not yet earned. >> wendy sherman, thanks so much. you mentioned the iran nuclear deal. president trump has a date in may to decide whether to keep the u.s. in it or not, and that would have a big impact on the north korea talks. so turning now to one of the greatest challenges facing the world today, that is fragile states. my next guest, the former british prime minister, david cameron, has been focusing a lot of his time on this issue, since his own political career was brought to a dramatic end after the brexit vote in 2016. when the uk voted to leave the eu. he called that referendum. he's become the new chairman of the new commission on state fragility and growth, unveiling controversial remedies in washington tomorrow and he recently testified before the
senate foreign relations committee about changing the whole premise of aid to fragile nations. i sat down with cameron earlier in the week before he took off for washington and we talked all about this as well as those strikes in syria and how brexit will define his legacy. >> prime minister cameron, welcome. >> great to be here. >> can you just define for us fragility? what is fragile for the purposes of your report? >> a fragile state is one that has been racked by conflict, affected by corruption. one that is not really capable of delivering the basic services, like health and education, that its people needs. it's often got a very divided society. and as well as obviously leaving people trapped in poverty for generation after generation. these fragile states have a huge affect on the rest of the world. can be the source of problems, mass migrations, sometimes terrorist training camps, centers for people trafficking. it's a real problem in our world and one in many ways is getting
worse and that's what this report i've been chairing the last year has been looking at. >> and some might find sev controversial points. you're not arguing to keep giving aid to some states, throwing good money after bad, nor are you arguing to make a transactional relationship with countries. one point you say is about elections and it's not necessarily the greatest thing to immediately have democratic elections after a civil war. tell us why not? >> first of all, on the aid point. i'm an enormous supporter of aid as prime minister of britain was the firsts g7 countries going to aid. that was a promise we made to the poorest people in the world, e poorest countries in the world and i'm proud we kept that promise and it's paid for vaccinating millions of children against diseases we wouldn't dream of our own children dieing of. it's educated children. helped rebuild countries and made our world safer. lifted millions of people out of poverty.
i'm not saying stop giving aid to fragile states. our report said do it in a different way. one of the things we do first with these very fragile countries is, completely overload them with priorities. we need to strip that back. say actually the most important things are, bake security and -- basic security and basic economics. am i safe in my bed at right and i can put a meal on the table in the morning? we're saying we're in favor of democracy, of election, but don't rush to the multipart election in some of these very fragile complicated states. make sure there is genuine peace, genuine security. make sure there's proper arrangements for power sharing. if you go straight to the election, you might get one person one vote, but it may be one person one vote once and one of t parties to the conflict wins the election and then
overrides the system and you don't get the genuine democracy. one of the points in our report is that building blocks of democracy. the rule of law. checks and balances. making sure no one becomes over powerful. some of the basic freedoms. those building blocks in many cases are more important than the actual act of holding elections. we're not anti-elections. we just say let's try and sort out the internal dynamics of these countries first. >> just to sum it up. perhaps because, as you say, after a civil war, the powerful are left standing. the militias, warlords. if they get power immediately in a democratic election, it's not quite the free and fair political -- >> that's right. you may end up -- arguably this happened in iraq with then a shia dominated government. instead you want to try to do with these countries -- easy to say, much more difficult to do it. what you have to try and do is make sure you got proper arrangements for power sharing.
are you going to have an iraq that works for shia, sunni, kurd and christian? a rwanda looking both tutsis and hutus? trying to make sure there are checks and balances. there are ways of power sharing that are working. so sometimes it might be better, our report finds to have a provisional government that can fix some of these things first. make sure you put those building blocks for democracy in place and then go to the multiparty elections. >> and you said just to follow-up we're not coming in with a whole list of priorities. one of the problems is that the west comes in says we want this, we want this. we want to make you in our image. what do you want? you can't just give the aid. they must at least be able to govern and stamp out corruption. >> i think the first thing is, if you -- first, you have to be realistic. sometimes we look at a country, like somalia. deeply broken, conflict affected, problems with terrorism and migration and the rest of it. the international community says, we have a great plan to
turn you into denmark in a short period of time. totally unrealistic. strip back the priorities and make sure they're the country's priorities. in the end, fragile states only become unfragile when they have capable government, legitimate institutions and crucially when the people in those countries look to those governments and institutions and say, yes. they're mine. i'm prepared to take orders from them. prepared to obey them. prepared to work with this country. so it's very important that the priorities are set by the countries and the governments themselves. sometimes in the past we've always undermined the governments and the institutions of these countries. all out of good intentions, but we need to change the way we do things. that's why this report is radical in saying, instead of telling you, here's the money. here are the policies to pursue. no, no. scrap that. it's your plan. your priorities. we will help you. we will fund it, but --
there's a big but -- governance conditionality. if you waste the money, steal the money, can't show how the money's been spent, there isn't proper order or governance we won't give you any money. a very big and important change that our report suggests. >> you mentioned, the report has quite startling figures. >> the big figure, the world agreed, eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. those were the millennium development goals. of course, we won't meet those goals unless we deal with the fragile states, because some of these countries, democratic, republic of congo, liberia, some are poorer than 40 or 50 years ago. there's no prospect of tackling extreme poverty unless we tackle state fragility. the truth about our world, india and china with growth and
development are lifting their own poor out of poverty. and by 2030, we'll find half of the world's poor will be in the fragile states. the somalias, the south sudans, yemens, countries which are badly fractured. we're arguing for is very difficult, because it's much easier to vaccinate a child, to build a school. that's not easy but relatively straightforward compared with building honest tax authorities and honest governments and tackling corruption, but doesn't mean we should. try. >> are all the governments feeling besieged either by immigration, by refugees. annumber of populist politics, the economy, are they going to do it? are they going to have the political will? >> if we say to them we're going to stop piling up priorities on to you. stop telling you what to do and how to do it. we want you to come up with a plan to bring your nation together. to bring disputed parties together, to develop your
country and we will back you. that's a far better prospect of long-term success and this applies not just to donor governments and usaid. sometimes those fragile states are treated same as other countries. take the imf, pointless saying to the poorest country in the world you've got to have the same sort of program and the same sort of goals as some of the richest countries in the world. i'm the biggest enthusiast for getting rid of deficits and dealing with debt, but when dealing with a totally broken country you have to start with are there roads to get your goods to markets? ports to export your products? do you have electricity and energy for your people to be able to start and run businesses? you have to get some of the basics in place. >> talking about broken countries, syria is very, very broken. you were prime minister in 2013 when a similar situation came up. using chemical weapons and should the world respond or not.
you wanted to. you took it t parliament and th said no to you. how much of a mistake was that and do you agreeith what the british prime minister did this time, not taking it to parliament and striking assad's chemical weapons. >> i back theresa may and what president trump has done, the use of chemical weapons is abhorrent. we cannot allow it to become normalized in our world. it's sort of part of the battlefield picture and what they've done is right. i deeply regret parliament didn't vote for similar action in 2013. i think i know why. a lot of people were so unhappy what had happened in iraq, and so bruised by that. i remember talking to mp after mp, i quite support what you're proposing with respect to syria but bruised by the experience with iraq, i can't vote for it. a huge problem. she's done the right thing. this is not about regime change in syria, although god knows we need it.
it's not about intervening in the civil war. it is about making a point that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable. >> i want to ask about brexit. let me quote. pete mantleson said" history will remember prime minister cameron as the man who took us out of the eu. i don't think there will be anything else. a man who took this tactical risk that turned into a strategic blunder." and you basically said that this was a mistake, brexit, but not a disaster. it's turned out less badly than we first thought. i don't know whether you're willing to put a value judgment on brexit but i wanted to ask you personally what you feel about your political obituary if you like bei this? this being the first line of it? >> obviously, people will make the judgment about my 11 years leading the conservative party and 6 years leading the country. i hope people will look at the fact when i became prime
minister we had one of the biggest budget deficits in the world. we became the fastest agreeing country in the g7. an economic record and other things i'm proud of. we were the first g7 country keeping our promise to the poorest countries in the world is something to be proud of. brexit is a huge event in our country's history. i don't regret holding a referendum. i think it was the right thing to do. i don't think you can belong to these organizations and see powers grow and treaty after treaty, power after power going from westminster and brussels and never asking the people whether they're happy governed in that way but i haven't changed my mind about the result of the referendum. i wish the vote had gone another way. i think we've taken the wrong course. to be frank, britain is the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world. it is a legitimate choice, to try to be a friend and a neighbor and a partner of the european union, rather than a member of the european union.
that's what the country has chosen. i accept the result. i wish my successor well in the work she's doing. being prime minister is a hard enough job without your predecessor giving -- that's why i haven't been given interviews -- >> the successes you've done, changing and transformations, are you worried this will be what people remember you for? >> i think people will make up their own minds. i obviously believe i was right to hold a referendum. i made a promise to the british people. i kept that promise. the point i would make is that, you know, people say this was all about politics. of course, there's always politics involved in these decisions and also i believe a fundamental problem that britain had and britain was seeing with development of the single currency and beginning of decisions being made about us without us, and we needed to fix our position. i wanted to fix it inside the european union. the british public chose we would fix from outside the
european union and i wish my successor well with her work in being what i hope will be a good and friendly and close neighbor to the european union rather thans we were -- perhaps we were a slightly rectant and sometimes unhappy tenant. >> david cameron. thank you. we hope to continue this conversation when you have written your book. >> thank you. >> thanks very much. and about those syria strikes, of course, it was because the british parliament rebuffed his call for action in syria in 2013 that president obama decided against going to congress and therefore against enforcing his red line on syria's use of chemical weapons. and that is it for our program tonight. thank you for watching "amanpour" on pbs. join us again tomorrow night.