tv Charlie Rose PBS February 25, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
>> charlie: welcome to the program. tonight, susan rice, president obama's national security advisor, talks about i.s.i.l. russia, china and the challenges we face. >> i think in the breathlessness of our 24 hour news cycle and political echo chamber some think we're facing the greatest existential crisis of history and i was simply pointing out that when you look back with an historical perspective, with the many challenges we need to face that need to be taken seriously there are a call tift difference
of the threats we face in history. >> charlie: susan rice next. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: >> rose: additional funding provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> charlie: susan rice is here. she is the president's national security advisor. she previously served as a u.s. permanent representative to the united nations the white house released its second and final national security strategy earlier this month. report comes as the united
states tackles crisis unfolding in the middle east and ukraine, and introduction to the document president obama writes america leads from a position of strength but doesn't mean we can or should attempt to dictate the trajectory of all unfolding events around the world. as powerful we are and will remain, our resources and influences are not infinite and in a complex world many security problems we face do not lend themselves to quick and easy fixes. i am pleased to have susan rice back at this table. welcome. >> good to be here. >> charlie: a pleasure to have you here. let's talk ability i.s.i.s. first, or i.s.i.l as the government seems to say. there's a question as to whether there will be an attack against mosul. what will dictate when that attack takes place? >> very simple, charlie when the iraqi security forces are ready and frierpd undertake a counter-offensive against mosul. the reality is we're in the process with our allies.
we have over 60 countries in this coalition. we're in the process of training, advising and equipping iraqi security forces in four different locations across iraq and we have supported them obviously in their ongoing operations as they've sought to take back territory captured by i.s.i.l, we've supported the kurds as well in their campaign in areas they've sought to retake. >> charlie: but the kurds in peshmerga say they're not getting the supplies to do what they need to do themselves. >> they're getting tons and tons of supplies from the united states and other members of the coalition and it's with those supplies that they have been able to make the progress that they have made including taking back areas like around sinjar mountain which was, as you recall, the starting point for the campaign. they have enormous assistance from the united states in terms of air support and targeting of i.s.i.l from the air. >> charlie: and in kobani. and in kobani where being in
syria as opposed to," where a month-long standoff where i.s.i.l made it a really signature operation and in show of strength they were routed ultimately and conceded defeat. so the strategy we have been employing is to gradually build up the capacity of the iraqi security forces the kurds as well, and in the case of syria not only the kurds in the north but over time the moderate opposition such that they can take back territory on the ground as we support them from the air and provide the training and assisting and equipping they need to do. >> charlie: how long will it take to get the ground forces ready? a year, two years? >> well, it's going to take a while to get the iraqi security forces ready for an operation such as mosul. i'm not going to telegraph exactly how long or when it might be, and it has to obviously be subject in part to conditions on the ground. but mosul is an important piece to have the poz bull it is but one piece of the puzzle. the fight against i.s.i.l is
taking place in anbar province, south of mosul in and around baghdad, and, of course across parts of syria. >> charlie: of all the air strikes that are launched, what percentage are u.s. and what percentage are other coalition partners? >> the u.s. is conducting the lion's share. i think about 80% is a rough estimate. but in iraq we've had excellent support primarily from our european partners as well as the australians and the canadians. in syria, we have had excellent support from our arab partners who have been very much involved in the strikes there. the number of strikes that we've taken, charlie in each country are roughly half and half half in syria half in iraq and approaching about 3,000 now. >> charlie: what kind of american forces will have to be on the ground in this kind of attack against mosul. >> at this point, we anticipate there will not be american
forces engaged in ground combat in either iraq or syria. right now we have a couple thousand u.s. forces engaged in two different kinds of missions in iraq. one is securing the -- our embassy and personnel primarily in baghdad and the others are in these training and advising sites i've described. we're in two of the four where we're actively training iraqi security forces as well as sunni tribal forms and the kurds, and then we're in some joint operation centers, one in baghdad one up in erbil where we're working in a sort of command and control environment with the iraqi forces and the kurds. >> charlie: the the amir was in washington to see the president and you. >> i think he came to see the president. >> charlie: i bet you talked to him. >> i was there. >> charlie: what can you tell us about qatar's attitude about this and the fact their
neighbors believe they're too close to some of the extremist groups? >> well, in the case of the counter-i.s.i.l campaign, qatar has been a valuable partners. we stage a lot of our operations out of qatar as we do other countries in the gulf. the qatarys are flying in the coalition operation over syria. they're not striervegging as much but they're engaged in resupply and air cap and other operations, and they're also very much involved in the training and equipping efforts of syrian moderate opposition. so countries have committed to support and provide fa facilities for training effort and qatar has been an important partner in that regard. but it is a fact and matter of concern and something that was discussed today in the oval office that, at different times in the course of the conflict in
syria, the united states and some of our other partners have taken something of a different view than qatar has -- >> charlie: who you are supporting. >> -- as to which elements of the opposition merit support. i think we're now on the same page and have been for some months, but i think there was a time when some of the groups that we would deem on the extreme edge of opposition, they'd deem less extreme and more worthy of support. >> charlie: al-nusra? including al-nusra and i think we have a common understanding. >> charlie: they will be full members of the coalition. >> they are full members to have the coalition, but we think it's very important we are all together not just the u.s. and qatar, but the other partners and there are about eleven of us actively involved in this, that we're working together on training and equipment. >> charlie: was in any way the burning to death in a cage to
have the jordanian pilot a turning point, as far as you see? >> well, charlie, first of all, this is an horrific and barbaric act, but i.s.i.l has committed a number of outrageous atrocities. >> charlie: but it was said in the region somehow people said this is a step too far? >> well, everything is a step too far. beheading american journalists is too far. killing coptic christians on the beach is too far. but killing the pilot had an effect in jordan and the broader region and galvanized and renewed and invigorated commitment on our very valued partners in jordan to do all we can together, and they have been a leading card-carrying member of this coalition from the outset, and one of our most
important partners in this endeavor, but i think, clearly the killing of their pilot in such a brutal way horrified the world. >> charlie: exactly, and especially the arab neighbors who were there. it is sometimes said and recently by former ambassador robert ford that we should give up believing that you can build a viable military force from the moderate syrian rebels that we have considered supporting. >> well as you know, i think ambassador ford has changed his views over time. he served ably in the administration and worked closely with the syrian operation, was a big proponent in terms of arming and training and quipping the opposition. i think his perspective has changed over time. i haven't had a chance since he's left the administration to talk to him about why and how his views have evolved. >> charlie: are his views today right? >> obviously we don't think so because the administration and many of our partners in the region and beyond are involved
and trying to support the moderate opposition, but this is no doubt that they are weak and they need both political strengthening and strengthening on the battlefield, and it will be a long-term endeavor to build up their capacity. indeed, there are some among the opposition whose leadership credentials may not be stellar but others have shown a commitment both to efficacy on the battlefield but also a commitment to a political solution of the sort that we all seek. >> charlie: but they're not sufficient as ground troops to do the job in syria. >> not yet, and that's the point of our effort to build them up and it will take a great deal of time to build them in the numbers that could begin to change the balance on the battlefield. >> charlie: with respect to bashar al-assad is he a secondary priority now and
i.s.i.l is the primary priority in syria? >> well, charlie, we're engaged in the fight in syria from the air and training syrian forces on the ground to deal with the i.s.i.l threat. that is our purpose. having said that, the larger conflict in syria which has given fertile ground to i.s.i.l is still originally and remains a function of bashar al-assad's behavior. >> charlie: but is the secondary project the priority now? >> the united states effort is against i.s.i.l. our efforts against assad are political diplomatic, economic and we have supported in various ways the moderate opposition, not only against i.s.i.l but we supported the moderate opposition in various ways to counterassad. but we are not at present in combat against assad and, indeed, we have prioritized both the fight against i.s.i.l and
the efforts of some offshoots of al quaida, which are known as the khorasan group who are present in syria and directly plotting against the united states. >> charlie: and there have been military attacks against them. >> yes. >> charlie: you have said recently that we need not be alarmists over the threats opposed by i.s.i.l and even russia and ukraine. >> obviously, we're living in a world where there are a multiplicity of challenges and threats and they range from the threat posed by i.s.i.l and the metastasis of elements of al quaida to new revaunchist powers and ebola and even climate change over time. some are long-term, some immediate. there's a wide variety of challenges we face. but i think in the
breathlessness of our 24-hour news cycle and our political echo chamber, some have sought to suggest that we're facing the greatest existential crisis of u.s. history and i was simply pointing out, if you look back with an historical perspective, while there are many different challenges we need to face now all which need to be taken seriously, and we do, there are a qualitative difference than those we've faced in history. >> charlie: characterize the threat you see to the united states from i.s.i.l. >> first of all, charlie i.s.i.l has the potential and perhaps the intent to try to attack the u.s. homeland. to date, their a ability to carry out attacks against u.s. persons, interests facilities, even overseas, is thus far limited, but we recognize they
have an ambition and an ideology that poses a threat not only to the people and the countries of the middle east but also have acted in europe and elsewhere more broadly, so we take that very seriously and that's why we have been able to lead and build a coalition of more than 60 countries around the world that are committed to defeating the threat. >> charlie: the operative word in terms of goal is defeat them? >> it's degrade and ultimately defeat them. >> charlie: and destroy would be another way. >> destroy is another way of putting it. >> charlie: is that a one-year two-year, three-year, 30-year? >> it's a multi-year effort. it's not a one-year, it's not a two-year. i'm not going to say it's a generations-long challenge but we need to recognize this is a multi-facetted threat. it's present primarily in iraq and syria but increasingly and at least in nascent ways in
other places and we're going to have to stay at it. >> charlie: and are they somehow becoming, a whole range of these groups, a kind of first among equals and a place a lot of groups are prepared to be subservient to? >> it's more complicated than that. if you look alt what's happening in the region you will see a great deal of tension and friction among the extremist groups. so al quaida in the arabian peninsula, the one active in yemen and quite a serious al quaida affiliate, is very much in opposition to i.s.i.l, and they are competing with one another. same is true in south asia and afghanistan and pakistan where i.s.i.l is trying to grow from green shoots and al quaida views them as a threat. so it's not that simple. but i.s.i.l certainly has, through it's propaganda and
savvy media, attracted some degree of following that is of a different nature than what al quaida has done. >> charlie: are we able to stop that in terms of their attraction to young people who go with a passport and come back to western europe or the united states? >> it's a very significant challenge and that was the purpose of countering violent extremism summit we held at the white house last week. again, we had a somewhat different group of almost 70 countries, all of whom share the concern and the challenge of trying to prevent their nationals from being radicalized either for domestic attacks or to go and join i.s.i.l in iraq and syria. and there are many aspects to this -- we've got to cut off their financing, we've got to make it harder for young people to travel we need to rehabilitate people when they become radicalized -- i mean, this is a multi-facetted challenge. we also have to find better ways
of counter their messaging, which is not something that any one country can do alone. we're working with arab partners to try to do better in that regard. >> charlie: with respect to labels, i realize you and the president and even king abdullah in the conversation do not want to call these people radical islamists but radical extremists. >> how about terrorists. >> charlie: how about territories okay. but can't you label them as radical islamic terrorists without it being a war against islam someit's? it's not a war against islam but a war against people who are predominantly radical jihadist islamic terrorist. >> my personal opinion is this debate has consumed too much -- >> charlie: fair enough. but a different question is being asked.
>> in the first instance, the people committing many of these acts are people who have a bastardized and manipulated version of islam they're exploiting. >> charlie: and call themselves muslims. >> yes, but they do not represent islam. they are rejected by the vast majority of muslims who see nothing familiar or attractive in their ideology. so for us to enable them to appropriate the moniker of islam for their purposes counterproductive. that's exactly what they want. they want to have -- bear the banner of islam and destroy it's purposes and intentions and convince the world that's the legitimate version of islam when in fact that's the opposite of what they are, any more than radicals of other religions can rightly appropriate that entire religion and claim it as their
own in the service of violent and extreme acts. we call them terrorists, charlie. >> charlie: i understand, but they are islamic terrorists. >> these ones have bastardized islam for their purposes and are muslims. >> charlie: these are one of the conflicts which people who are normally enemies are on the same side -- iran and the united states, for example. saudi arabia and iran, for example. my question is what's the role of iran in this conflict, because they are as opposed to i.s.i.l as everybody else, if not more. >> so well, this is one to have the interesting things about i.s.i.l is there are no responsible states that claim them or even irresponsible states that claim them as their own and that have provided them
deliberately with sanctuary or safe haven. iran's role is as follows -- as a neighbor of iraq and a government that has a close relationship with the government of iraq, which is as you know, a multi-sec tarn shia-led government. it responded to iraqi request for support and provided advice and equipment. >> charlie: to? in the fight to the iraqi government and shia militia fighting i.s.i.l within iraq. >> charlie: is that okay with the united states that the iranians are supporting iraqi militia who are shia? >> our concern about support of the militia is often the militia are acting in a sectarian fangs and engaged in the kind of violence against civilians we think is not only reprehensible
but counterproductive, that is a problem and a problem we have very clearly signaled both to the iraqis and the iranians. >> charlie: but are you okay they're doing it? >> no we're not okay with support to militia we think are fueling the conflict. >> charlie: but whatever they're doing, they're being very effective on the ground against i.s.i.l. >> well, there are different pieces to this. there's the support that has been provided to the iraqi government the iraqi government is taking the fight to i.s.i.l and we're doing our part with the iraqi government, other countries are supporting the iraqi government and as long as those are not working at cross purposes we take a the view the iraqi government as sovereign can invite support from countries it chooses and we are not coordinating with the iranians on the ground we are not communicating any way shape or form about operations. the iraqi government as sovereign is working with us and our partners and iran. but on the militia perks we do
have a concern, and there, while it is truly some of the shia militia served and fought effectively on the ground in some instances, thails fought in a way that galvanized sectarian tensions and has gone against the sunnis in a number of places and that's counterproductive. our view of how this needs to work if it's going to succeed is if the iraqi government has to be sectarian. all elements of iraqi society need to feel protected and part of the iraqi state and to the extent the shia militia have exacerbated sectarian tensions we consider that a problem. >> charlie: iran nuclear negotiations, where does it stand? >> well, charlie as i think you know, we've had a number of rounds. we just finished one yesterday in geneva, and there has been some progress.
some of the issues are being worked through, but i have to tell you there are very significant gaps that remain. >> charlie: like what? well, i'm not going to get into all the details, i don't think that would be very productive, but let me just explain the categories of issues that we need to work through. >> charlie: please. first of all there's iran's enrichment capacity what will it be allowed to retain, and how will we be certain that whatever they retain is fully transparent and we and the international community are able to validate with certainty that they are not able to use that enrichment to produce a bomb. that's one big category. then there are issues like, you know, within that and it's related, what kind of stockpile, if any would they be allowed to retain, how many centrifuges, in what configuration any research and developmental loud? what and the underground facility? what about iraq the plutonium
facility? how do we ensure answer the transparency. we have to deal with all the issues. we may not have every i dotted and t crossed. >> charlie: their question is what do we do about sanctions. >> it's all on the table. >> charlie: if you want us to restrict our nuclear program, whatever it might be, without acknowledging what it is they say you've got to stop sanctions. are we prepared to stop sanctions if they convince us that they are limiting their nuclear program? >> the short answer charlie, is they're not going to be able to convince anybody on day one that they have stopped. they're going to have to prove over time through their actions which will be validated that
they are in fact upholding their commitments. so this will be a phased process any way you slice it. and one thing that's interesting to note is that over a year ago, when we agreed this interim arrangement, there were many who questioned whether the iranians would uphold their end of the bargain, whether they'd allow the transparency and inspections, get rid of their 20% highly enriched uranium, et cetera, et cetera. theythe mod approximately of validation will need to be sustained. we'll be able to need to see and test and verify that the commitments they've made are actually being implemented. >> charlie: michael more reel was here the other day talking about this issue, former acting director and former director of the c.i.a. as well. he said it's not necessarily
about centrifuges, what we have to worry about, whether they have a hidden program somewhere is the more important question. >> it's one of the important questions. first of all, the first important question is can we extend the breakout time which means the time it would take them if they decided that they were going to break all their commitments and rush to make a bomb, how much time would it take them to manufacture the material, the material for that bomb separate and apart of if they have a device. the breakout time needs to be sufficient, that we and anybody else could not only detect that they are breaking the rules but act in response to the broken rule. >> charlie: it is said that time is a year.
is that reasonable? >> we think it is reasonable. more than what would be needed -- >> charlie: break out time. it's the time to make the material that would be used in a bomb. >> charlie: do we know -- you asked something i don't want to leave untouched is what about stuff they may do covertly and that's another critical part of any deal. so not only are we trying to extend breakout times to what we would deem an appropriate distance but also to make sure that the other multiple pathways they may have to a bomb like this underground facility at fordo, like the plutonium path that's in the iraq reactor, and arak not iraq, and any covert path can be detected, that's the transparency measures, we can
see everything in a chain of the very beginnings of the material of what might come out and to account for every step in the supply and manufacturing chain. >> charlie: what's the difference between the u.s. position and the israeli position? >> well i mean it's hard to answer that question, charlie, because i've sat in many, many hours of exchanges with my israeli counterparts and their experts from the intelligence community, from their nuclear experts my counterparts as national security advisor and each of those discussion or assessments have been virtually identical. >> charlie: assessments of where they are? >> not only where they are but what would be necessary to give a greater degree of comfort. now, that is not a political-level discussion, that's an expert-level discussion. >> charlie: so you see no space between where they are and where we are in those discussions you're having with them on a technical level? >> we have been very, very closely aligned, both in our
assessment of what is going on and in terms of our assessment of what would be tolerable. >> charlie: how serious is the administration about the fact that the israeli prime minister wants to come speak to congress about how he sees the iranian threat so that the congress will want to make sure that sanctions are not eliminated? >> well, i don't think it's a question of being furious, charlie. >> charlie: how would you describe it? >> this way -- first of all, the u.s.-israeli relationship, one of our most important in the world and obviously our closest ally in the region, which has always been based on a shared commitment to security and a the u.s. commitment to israel's security and shared values and principles has always, always, always been wholly and completely and entirely bipartisan. politics have never been in a sustained way -- >> charlie: the defense minister sat where you're
sitting and said on the security aspects and the u.s. support in terms of military things, we could not ask this administration to be any better than it is. >> the security and intelligence cooperation between the united states and israel has never been better. >> charlie: that's what he was saying. >> but what i'm saying is something different, the relationship between israel as a country and the united states as a country has always been bipartisan and we've been fortunate the politics have not been injected into that relationship. what has happened over the last several weeks by virtue of the invitation issued by the speaker and the acceptance of it by prime minister netanyahu two weeks in advance of his election is that on both sides there has now been injected a keg of partisan -- a degree of partisanship which is not only unfortunate, i think it's destructive of the fabric of the relationship. >> charlie: it's destructive of the fabric of the relationship... >> well charlie, take my point,
it's always been bipartisan. we need to keep it that way. we want it that way. i think israel wants it that way, the american people want it that way, and when it becomes infused with politics that's a problem. >> charlie: do you think he's coming here because he wants to influence the election in israel? >> i'm not going to ascribe motives to the prime minister. let him explain for himself. but i think the point is we want the relationship between the united states and israel to be unquestionably strong, immutable, wharldz of political -- regardless of political seasons in either country and regardless of which party is in control in either country. we worked hard to have that and working hard to maintain it. >> charlie: there's some talk, and this is reading newspapers and talking to people, that a possible agreement might very well be for, over a period of time, there would be a restriction on --
>> back to iran? >> charlie: yeah, back to iran. i didn't get away from iran, i didn't think. but the prime minister coming here is also part of the question and the difference between iran and the united states is an iranian question, i think. there is some possible agreement that might be in the works in which there would be over a period of time a restriction on what they do. >> well, charlie, first of all, i think we need to be careful because the deal is not cut. it's very much in the works, and i don't want to get into predicting exactly what, if anything, will come out of these negotiations. first of all, there's not an insignificant chance there isn't a deal, we're not going to take a bad deal we're only going to take a deal that we have confidence our interests and the interests of our partners in the region are secured so i don't want to foreshadow with any specificity what may or may not come out of this deal burks we
are looking, obviously, for an extended period of time, at least double-digit years of assurance and transparency. >> charlie: 12 to 15, something like that? >> again, this is part of the negotiation. >> charlie: right. but double-digit years of a set of arrangements in which we have complete confidence, and any deal charlie, needs to be weighed against the alternative. the alternative, if a deal were not to materialize, could be that the restraints that we have agreed and obtained over the last year where iran is not enriching to 20%, it is managing and maintaining a limited supply of uranium and we are able to have inspectors every day inside their key facilities, they could use to abrogate that and that
could be a casualty of a failed negotiation. in that event if the iranians were to resume all of the activities that we have managed to suspend and act in a way as they were prior to the agreement, then we could be in a very significant situation where we would need to maintain if we could the support of the international community for sanctions, and i think we would presuming the iranians failed to accept a good deal. but the fact of the matter is, p the iranians were -- if the iranians were to rush towards the making of a bomb, we have committed ourselves to prevent that from happening and there is a risk of -- >> charlie: suggesting military action? >> there's a risk of that.
>> charlie: do you think the president -- >> let me say one thing here. we have to weigh a perspective deal which will not be perfect against the alternative which service our interests and our friends' better. >> charlie: a naive question on my part, how do we know they don't have enough physical material right now? >> because we're able to get inside and see the quantity they have. >> charlie: they couldn't have hidden it away? >> we think it's highly highly unlikely, and we're more confident of that now than before this interim agreement because we have eyes on many, many aspects of their nuclear program. >> charlie: if you could reach an agreement with the iranians on nuclear aspirations on their part, would that be the crowning foreign policy achievement of this administration? >> charlie, i wouldn't put it in those terms. >> charlie: okay. by the way i think we've had some others. >> charlie: yeah, i know.
but the second term. how about the second term? >> no, i wouldn't say that. but let's be clear about what it would and would not mean. a nuclear deal with iran would not mean our concerns about iranian behavior would evaporate. we're concerned about their concern for terrorists groups, efforts to destabilize the region, conduct, those things are serious issues between the united states and iran. we'll do what we need to do to protect our partners and counter their aggression. however, iran without the ability to produce a nuclear weapon is far less a threat to israel to our gulf partners to the united states and the international community. >> charlie: and to the idea of proliferation. >> exactly. so that's why it's important. >> charlie: ukraine. the president of russia just gave an interview a couple of days ago within the last 48
hours, i think and talked about saying, look we don't want a war in ukraine. we don't want a war over this. we are seeking every measure to make sure this is handled peacefully. do you accept him at his word? >> how dumb do i look? (laughter) >> charlie: okay. in all seriousness no one cannot accept vladimir putin at his word because his actions have belied his words repeatedly particularly in the context of ukraine. >> charlie: where is it? they keep supplying arms to the portions opposed to the kiev government, the separatist forces. they haven't stopped. they continued to. they had the minsk conference. where are we? >> we're at a point charlie,
where we'll know very, very soon if the separatists and the russians have any intention of implementing the so-called minsk 2 agreement, which they have violated in the earliest days, particularly by the retaking of debaltseve in a bloody siege. >> charlie: some people look at that and say it's just the beginning. >> it's either the beginning middle or end. if it's not the beginning, the cost to russia will escalate. >> charlie: sanctions. sanctions, certainly. and russia's political and economic isolation are mounting. >> reporter: do you think sanctions or economic isolation is going to stop vladimir putin? do you think that? >> first of all let's recall recent past. when putin invaded georgia in 2008, he got away completely
scot-free. >> charlie: exactly. that was the bush administration. >> i'm not saying -- >> charlie: no but they acknowledge -- >> there was no price paid. now with the sanctions that the united states, europeans and others have imposed, the value of the ruble has plummeted, capital flight is extreme and with oil prices down, that is not sustainable. >> charlie: but are you clear that he knows that and he has communicated -- >> i think he knows it. how much he cares is a bigger question. >> charlie: and does he care some. >> i think he has to care. now, will that in the short term cause him to take the steps that we think are critical for him to take? that's a question to be answered. but this will come at a mounting and painful cost to the russian economy and to russian interests, particularly if he continues down this path.
you know, our approach to this charlie, has been, first of all, above all to try to help ukraine, which has made a choice to try to reach out to europe, so our effort has been to help sustain it economically, provide political support, technical assistance and make the ukrainian choice a sovereign choice viable. secondly, we have sought to reassure and support our n.a.t.o. allies who obviously on the eastern front feel shaken by -- >> charlie: and we're prepared by a n.a.t.o. agreement to defend them at all costs? >> absolutely. >> charlie: at all costs. absolutely charlie. that is the sacred, solemn commitment that the united states and the president of the united states deems unshakeable. >> charlie: so this is about ukraine, and don't even think about going anywhere else. >> don't think about any single
member of n.a.t.o. >> charlie: do you wish that ukraine was a member of n.a.t.o.? >> i don't quick -- my job is better not to wish, it's better to take things as they are. but what i was trying to say charlie, with respect to our n.a.t.o. allies, the united states and our other nate to partners -- n.a.t.o. partners beefed up our presence in the eastern flank of n.a.t.o., and we're now there in larger numbers air, land and sea. >> charlie: it's humiliating to see the troops have to leave. >> what troops? >> charlie: the ukrainian troops when they moved. >> you're making a different point. you're trying to -- what are you trying to do? (laughter) >> charlie: go ahead. i'm trying to keep you on track. >> i'm on track. you're trying to get me off track. no, i was just simply saying we're taking very serious steps
to reinforce n.a.t.o.'s presence, air, land and sea, in the n.a.t.o. countries that are on the eastern flank, to give them support and confidence and make it very clear to russia that we mean business. and then the third thing and this is what we were talking about is to raise the economic costs and political costs on russia for its aggression and we will continue to do that as long as putin remains on this course of aggression. >> charlie: and if it fails? if it fails, charlie, we will have -- first of all weakened russia fundamentally over the long term which is frankly not our desire but it is going to be a consequence of this action because russia is integrated into the global economy for better or worse, and the major partners with which it has to trade are prepared to raise the
cost on russia incrementally as we have for its aggression. >> charlie: my understanding of the chinese on this question -- >> it's interesting. >> charlie: tell me. no, you go ahead. tell me your understanding. >> reporter: my understanding is they ways -- they basically, i've read this, support russia's theory of the case which is somehow what happened to the previous government in kiev that those demonstrations were you know encouraged from outside and they believe russia who has that belief, is right in that belief. >> well, i think it's much, much more complicated than that. >> charlie: then help me understand. >> first of all. >> charlie: view me as naive. no, you're not. china's rhetoric to some extent supported the case that you've just made, but their actions are telling. so in the first instance rather
than vote with russia in the security council, and when the council voted to condemn the invasion and easier and annexation of crimea and russia's subsequent actions in eastern ukraine, china didn't vote with russia, which it almost always does on every other issue. it abstained. it struck a middle course. china has a great many reasons to worry about meddling in the internal affairs of other nations and its own nation. so what russia did with ukraine is exactly what china has opposed and feared for its own purposes in its own backyard. >> charlie: sure. and one other thing, china has a long history of a close relationship with ukraine. many people don't know this, but, in fact, their bilateral
relationship historically has been quite strong. so china is conflicted at best and is looking at this as a very complex problem both from its own domestic point of view and from its relationship with russia which it highly values and its historic relationship with ukraine, so it's tried to strike a very low key and middle course on this issue and not gone whole-hog in its support for russia which it often does on other issues. >> charlie: why is that? i never quite understood why that is. >> why they -- >> charlie: go with russia. you can see it clearly in security council votes. >> that's where you see it most. >> charlie: right. they have formed a partnership, the chinese will be very quick to say, not an alliance, on many issues of mutual concern. in some instances they do so in
opposition to the vast majority of other countries particularly in the security council, but in most issues, they're actually coming along with the rest of the international community. so we have been talking a lot about iran. that's an example. where russia and china and the other permanent members of the security council, the u.s. the u.k., have been in agreement. north korea -- >> charlie: that's exactly where i was going to go. >> we're largely many freedom. >> charlie: the u.s. and china are largely in agreement on north korea? >> yes. >> charlie: and what are they doing to influence the north koreans about that? >> when i say we're largely in agreement, i mean we all understand and agree it's contrary not only to international law but our interests for north korea to have nuclear weapons. so we all want to see a denuclearized korean peninsula, that's the term of art.
and the chinese have joined us on norms occasions -- numerous occasions in imposing tougher and tougher sanctions on north korea through the united nations security council. i worked closely with them on that when i was our u.n. ambassador. and more recently over the last couple of years, the chinese government has, on a bilateral basis, on a national basis, very quietfully but meaningfully changed the nature of their relationship with the north koreans. so the quality of their diplomatic contacts their economic relationship and orthoforms of their -- and other forms of their bilateral obligation has been reduced and downgraded. >> charlie: has the hacking at sony and these other commercial enterprises has that raised the concern about the threat we have of cybersecurity? >> absolutely. but we've had a very significant concern about cybersecurity and this has been an issue you will
see highlighted in the national security strategy, an issue about which the president has been very much focused going back several years because we've seen both domestically and internationally we need to take steps to shore up the vulnerabilities, and what the north koreans did was somewhat unprecedented in that a nation state hacked -- not just hacked but inflicted destruction -- >> charlie: wreaked havoc. -- physical destruction on a private entity. >> charlie: and embarrassed everybody in the country. >> and then stole some data. >> charlie: right. this president on national security, have you seen him, and you were very close and there during the campaign in 2008 and the u.n. and national security
advisor, have you seen him changed? have events caused him to say i thought this, but now i think this or this has arisen dramatically as an issue for our concern? >> i think certainly the landscape and issues have evolved andel come back to that in just a second, but i think his basic judgments and instincts and his intellectual appz quite consistent. the landscape has evolved, and we've talked about this in the national security strategy. remember when he came to office, our economy was in crisis, we were trying to prevent a global economic collapse, unemployment was much much, much higher, we had not re our burgeoning energy production and thus enhanced energy security so from a variety of perspectives, the strength of
our economy, our employment, our energy, security, the fact that now millions of americans that didn't have healthcare have healthcare, we're graduating more people from high school than ever before, the fabric of our nation is frankly substantially stronger than it was when the president came to office and that gives us added freedom and flexibility in some respects, but also greater national strength. >> charlie: okay -- and that, then, impacts our ability to lead internationally. >> charlie: that's what i was coming to, because in the speech at west point i think it was west point, he said no nation can maintain its prime si on the global scale if it doesn't have a strong economy to back it up. if you -- we have an economy that's growing, almost leading the world. >> it is leading the world. >> charlie: it is leading the
world. does that give us added incentive to play a larger role on the world stage where we have influence, notwithstanding the president saying we can't solve every problem, we can't heal every wound, we can't be the world's policeman, there are limits to american power. >> there will always be limits, but, charlie, our leadership is unparalleled, and you've got to step back and ask where would we be and the world be if the united states were not leading with vision and vigor as we are. >>are. let me touch of a couple of things. because of the united states we are taking the fight to i.s.i.l and joined by over 60 countries in doing. so without us, that would not have happened. it's because to of the united states we were able to get global economic sanctions applied to iran and bring iran to the negotiating table. that wouldn't have happened
without the leadership of this president and the united states. the ebola epidemic which was raging throughout west africa and threatening other parts of the world including the united states is now being brought under control, no mission accomplished, we have still have a long way to go, but is being contained because of american leadership. as frustrated and concerned as we are about the situation in ukraine, had it not been for american leadership, vladimir putin again would be pay fog price for his aggression. there would be no international effort to bring sanctions against him or isolate him in any respect. so in all of these key respects from the fight against terrorism to the fight against aggressive powers to pandemics to climate change where we're also leading as we did in this landmark agreement with the chinese, it would not be happening but for strong and committed american leadership. >> charlie: you've got a lot of criticism for using the red
line and then not striking as you remember. did that make you wary of saying there's a red line? >> well charlie, you know, in international affairs, rarely are things black and white. you know that. >> charlie: right. i think mostly of your viewers understand that. >> charlie: very smart group by the way. >> exactly. that's why it's fun to talk to you. so, you know, there are times in which it may be necessary to draw a line in the sand. i don't say there are not. but more often than not, in international relations, we are dealing with some kinds of shades of grey. part of the challenge is it's not as simple as some want to make it, and those of us responsible for making decisions, above all the president of the united states has to confront these shades of grey and not always with perfect
satisfaction on all sides. >> charlie: thank you for coming. >> good to be with you again. >> charlie: good to have this conversation with you. >> thanks for having me. >> charlie: susan rice, national security advisor to the president of the united states. thanks for joining us for the hour. see you next time. for more about this program and others, visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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