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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  May 11, 2022 12:30am-1:01am BST

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this is bbc news. we will have the headlines and all the main news stories for you at the top of the hour as newsday continues straight after hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk from washington. i'm stephen sackur. when vladimir putin made that momentous decision to invade ukraine, maybe he calculated that the us was too weak, too polarised to offer anything more than ritual condemnation. if so, he was wrong. american weapons are now flowing into ukraine. unprecedented sanctions have been imposed on moscow. my guest today is the senior democrat senator mark warner. is this ukraine war the wake—up
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call america needed? senator mark warner, welcome to hardtalk. thank you so much. is there an attitude in this city, washington, dc, that you politicians are now prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure ukraine's victory in the war with vladimir putin? well, my sense, stephen, is that this is not only an attitude that's reflected by politicians, by the american public, quite honestly, i think it is the british government, the british public. what has taken place over the last few months is, you know, the west, nato have come back together, an organisation that candidly a year ago at the end of the trump presidency
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was totally broken. i think a lot of that was due to the fact that the american intelligence community, along with the british had been very forward—leaning up to the beginning of the conflict about vladimir putin's intentions and made the case that he was going to not only invade ukraine, but invade in a massive way, as he has. i remember as recently as ten days before the invasion started being in munich at the security conference and sitting down with the head of... i'm chairman of the intelligence committee, sitting down with the head of the german spy services, and they still didn't believe that he was going to, putin was going to come in at this level. so i think there is this unity of purpose that we, america and the west, will take on the aggressors. but you know that zelensky�*s message, when asked, "what do you still need?" is, "weapons, weapons, weapons. " so the question is, how far will america go
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in the arming of ukraine? so far you've talked about defensive weaponry. you've also backfilled — you know, you've given new weaponry to nato allies in eastern europe so they can release some of their equipment to the ukrainians. are you going to go further? could you envisage in the next few months, maybe even years, giving us warplanes, us tanks direct to ukraine? i'm not going to weigh in on what could happen in future weeks, months or years. i will say that the level particularly of artillery assistance — we are giving american artillery that frankly is real—time, ukrainians are training on out of country. again, the british government has done some of the same. and this notion of where we draw the line between what is defensive versus offensive weaponry, i think that is becoming a more and more blurred line. another question which is
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about how far america goes is about personnel, boots on the ground. we know american service personnel are training ukrainians in countries neighbouring ukraine. are there us personnel inside ukraine? there are no operating military personnel inside ukraine. you phrase that carefully. people training inside...? clearly we are seeing, and i think it's appropriate, that the...diplomat... diplomats that exited the country as the war started are coming back notjust to lviv, but going actually back to kyiv, which i think is terribly important. again, we've done this... one of the things that i think is so important is that we've done this in concert with our nato allies. and if there had not been that kind of all for one togetherness, i'm not sure that president zelensky, no matter how resolute he's been, and we all have enormous respect for the ukrainian forces, but without that total western support? and that, again, is something... there are many things
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the biden administration may have not got right, particularly in afghanistan. but in terms of rebuilding the coalition and keeping that coalition united. the fact that the germans took the lead on stopping nord stream 2 — i don't think any of us could have predicted that three to four months ago. as you just said, you're the chair of the senate intel, intelligence committee. you know a lot of what is going on. how surprised have you been by the depth, the extraordinary depth of intelligence cooperation between the united states and the ukrainians? we know, at least according to sources who talked to the new york times, that a dozen russian generals have been targeted by the ukrainians thanks to us intelligence. we believe that the moskva, the black sea flagship russian vessel, was sunk thanks to us intelligence cooperation with the ukrainians. this is extraordinary. but those items you've stated, i've seen the public reports, but there's been no official us government confirmation. but you know the inside story.
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yeah, but that's not my role to share that information, particularly on a broadcast show. but i will say this — that leading up to the invasion, one of the things that... and again, intel, whether it's british intel or american intel, you know, by nature those folks in that community don't like to share information. so what we... one of the things that was remarkable was early on, putin expected not only to be militarily successful, but actually had ideas that he could launch a coup in ukraine. it was american intelligence leaning forward, saying if a coup happens, it's going to be the russians, and then our friends, the british a few days later even identified the individual the russians wanted to put in place. that has really, i think, put putin off his game by that willingness to share intelligence and frankly share, as we had to convince our european allies that this threat was real. but senator, everything you are talking to me about, that is the incredibly close intelligence cooperation, the arming of ukraine, the feeling that we will do whatever it takes — it feeds into a russian narrative, a narrative that
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vladimir putin has just repeated on his victory day speech, when he basically says, "we in russia are facing a war with the west, with nato." what lavrov — sergey lavrov, the foreign minister — calls a proxy war. that's the truth of what's happening now, isn't it? my belief is this is what putin and his... ..cabal have brought on. i fully agree that this has become much bigger than ukraine versus russia. i think most of us in the west over the last few years, particularly here in this country, have felt, whether it's with covid, some of the political dysfunction in this country — can liberal democracy be successful against authoritarian regimes like russia or china? and i think what at least the ukrainian people have said is they are voting with their lives to say
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we will give up our lives to have a taste of the kind of freedom that we in the west enjoy every day. and i think we all do need to rise to that occasion. but is there a danger of going too far? we've talked about the weaponry, the intelligence. also, we could talk about the unprecedented economic sanctions that you in the us have imposed on russia. what it looks like to russia, but also to some observers outside russia, is that here in washington there is now an intent to effectively neutralise russia and destroy vladimir putin's regime. if this was only an american action alone, even though america is far and away the pre—eminent military power in the world, if this was only american action alone, it would not carry near that weight. the fact that we have nato united, the fact that countries like japan, australia and others are engaged... but what matters is the united states. when the defense secretary, lloyd austin, said not long ago, quote, "we want to see russia weakened to the degree
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"that it cannot do the kinds of things that it has done "in invading ukraine ever again," that's a message to russia that putin has no future. biden, in an unscripted moment, talked about the fact that he felt putin could not be allowed to remain in power. is that the prevailing feeling today in washington? here... sometimes i have the luxury to say things that perhaps senior administration officials should take a bit more care. but i look at, i believe liz truss, the uk foreign secretary, calling out as well the war crimes that putin has committed. we see german leaders, french leaders. the truth is, potentially in the world of diplomacy, maybe some of these leaders should have been a little more careful with their language. but when you see the butchery that took place in a community like bucha, how does the west not call that out? now, that does raise
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the concern of when you've got someone like putin who rules with a small cabal, when this individual who's become more and more disconnected from, in a sense, reality... the pictures we've all seen of putin meeting with, whetherforeign leaders or their own russian leadership, him at one end of the table versus the other — it speaks a thousand words. where this allows putin an exit ramp, that's a valid question to ask, but not being willing to call out the atrocities for what they are i think would be a grave mistake as well. but the point is that on that table you talk about that vladimir putin sits in front of, there is a button... i mean, let's call it a metaphorical button, but there is a button which he can press to launch a nuclear strike, whether it be a limited battlefield nuclear weapon or something very much more terrible. we are dealing with the leader of the world's second nuclear superpower. when you take the stance you are taking, that in essence, putin cannot be allowed to continue, are you risking nuclear war?
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and the countervailing risk is to turn a blind eye to the type of atrocities that we in the west have said we will stand firmly against. where this leads... i think that is absolutely the right question to pose me and to other leaders across the west. but the notion that we would suddenly turn a blind eye and say, when this is, all is forgiven and we're going to invite you back in to the to the club of respectable world leadership... you know, i'm not sure how that meeting goes. to quote the cia director, bill burns, just a couple of days ago, "putin does not believe he can afford to lose. "he has staked so much on this invasion, "he is committed to doubling down." the question is what doubling down means and whether you in the united states have prepared the american public properly for the degree to which there is now perhaps a greater danger of an escalating conflict between nuclear superpowers
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than there has been since 1916. we live in a very, very dangerous time, and an aggression that was purely started by putin's grand design of recreating the greater russia and whether we stand with democratic—elected nations. our failure to do so, and if we'd allowed this aggression to go unchecked, we all know putin would not have stopped with ukraine. you not only sit there as chair of the intelligence committee, you're also, i believe, a co—chair of the cybersecurity caucus here in the senate. you keep tabs on what russia is up to. do you believe, having seen what they tried to do in 2016, that russia is going to try to make a concerted effort to disrupt american democracy in this year of midterms, 2022? well, having led the
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investigation when russia massively intervened in our elections in 2016, i think the american system, the western systems have gotten better at protecting our election security. but on the capacity of the russian cyber operations, this has been the dog that hasn't barked. the russian military may be a bit inept, but we've seen... there was a cyberattack called solarwinds where russia gru got into 18,000 companies. luckily, they only used it to take out information rather than shutting down those companies. but as we saw in the notpetya attack, where russia launched against ukraine in 2017 and that rebounded around the world because the malware knew no network boundaries, that we know they've got these capabilities. and quite honestly, it has been probably the greatest surprise that russia did not shut down the internet in ukraine,
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that there's still videos getting out, that they've not launched a more massive cyber attack against whether it be america or the west. but the notion that they don't have... is it coming, in your view? i've been remarkably surprised that we've not seen it to date. and i think we should assume that at some point there will be a more massive russian cyber effort, whether it's directed against ukraine, whether it's directed against eastern europe, whether it's directed against the uk or america. but i think we have to keep what's called, in a sense, shields up for the foreseeable future. if it comes against the united states, will it be regarded as an act of war? that is, again, one of the things that diplomats term in strategic ambiguity. my fear was at the beginning of this conflict that putin would've shut down circumstances in ukraine, it would've bled over into poland, and whether it would've caused nato troops to die or polish hospitals to shut down, that is an area that has not ever been tested yet. a wider geopolitical thought —
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some of your opponents here in the us senate, and i'm thinking of people like marco rubio and lindsey graham, want biden to be even tougher, send more weapons, impose tighter sanctions on vladimir putin. and they say notjust because we have to win this fight in ukraine, but also they say it has huge ramifications for our wider struggle, particularly with china. they say that unless putin is defeated and seen to be defeated, president xi of china will see it as some sort of green light to invade taiwan. do you agree? well, first of all, i would take issue with your notion that they are my political opponents. matter of fact, senator rubio is my vice chair on my intelligence committee. i work regularly with senator graham. on this issue of unity of stance against putin, it is overwhelmingly bipartisan. now, again, some of my colleagues may want to go quicker, faster, sooner,
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but i think we do stand united. on the question of china, china is the true economic challenge, technology challenge and long—term military challenge. i believe... you would china an adversary? i would call china's goals, with their authoritarian capitalism model, a model that, frankly, the soviet union, russia, was a military threat and an ideological threat. it was never really an economic threat. the whole size of russia's economy is smaller than italy's, but china is the first nation post—world war ii that in technology domain after technology domain... i was an old telecom guy, so what's called 5g, the huawei chinese company, we're seeing that kind of same chinese advancement in artificial intelligence, quantum computing and a whole series of areas. and one of the things that we're launching right now is this alliance of democracies, so that we can try on a technology competition
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basis to maintain both innovation and that technology lead. because as we've known, china has been stealing close to $500 billion of intellectual product a year from western companies all over the world. so, let me now turn inward before we end this discussion and just discuss whether america has the strength, the internal coherence right now to meet these challenges. i look at a united states, i see deep political polarisation. i see a country not well—equipped to meet this challenge. do you? it's never been a good bet to bet against america. are we going through enormous challenges? absolutely. i think, frankly, again, this goes back to the question i was asking. over the last few years, you know, we've seen liberal democracies, whether it be in america or in europe or elsewhere in many ways have some level of disarray. we've seen disinformation tools, but what i think has showed us in the battle in ukraine and russia is this notion of moral ambiguity.
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i think most of us in the west have realised we need to get rid of that moral ambiguity. we are the good guys in this case... well, hang on... ..and i think we will rally to the rally to the occasion. you speak as though things are clear—cut. they're not clear—cut, even in the united states. you're a democrat. you have your guy in the white house, joe biden. joe biden promised to rebuild america. what we see today is that his build back better programmes and $1.7 trillion of new tax—and—spend measures is stuck, not least because people in your own party, in the senate, your own colleagues, manchin, sinema, they won't vote for it. and the public is thinking — where's the leadership here? i guess... were there aspirations that were beyond what a 50/50 senate could provide? i do think if president biden had said a year ago when he came in, you know, let's see if we can get covid behind us. let's make sure that we do, for the first time in a0 years, a major infrastructure investment from roads to broadband. can we end up reunifying nato? but it's stuck, senator, it's stuck. those are all things that have taken place. well, with great respect,
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half, more than half of his build back better programme is stuck in your place, the senate. an infrastructure bill that took... for the last eight presidents, people have said it was going to happen. broadly bipartisan, and i was proud to be one of the guys to put it together. well, you know the facts just as well as i do. let's think about biden and time. he's running out of time. the midterms are coming up in november. look at the polls. his approval rating is down at a0%. the democrats are going to lose the house, according to all the polls, probably going to lose the senate, too. you've had your moment, and you've wasted it. you know, we have this circumstance... you know, there's no such thing as calling snap elections in the united states. president biden is about 18 months into his first four—year term. and as we sawjust recently in the french presidential election, i think macron went into the runoff with le pen at about 35—36%. biden�*s numbers look soaring compared to that. well, here's what alexandria ocasio—cortez, a fellow democrat in the house, says. she says, "we are in big trouble "if we can't
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even govern decisively." within the democratic party, there's always been divide between those of us who are on the more moderate or pro—business side and those who are on the extreme progressive end. bernie sanders, talking of progressives, he says the democrats still have to decide whether they want to become a party which stands for the working class of this country or remain corporately controlled, beholden to wealthy contributors and the corporate media. which party do you want to belong to? i want to belong to a party that is pro—growth, that is pro—worker, that recognises america has an essential role in a world that is complicated and challenging. and i think at the core, the democratic party that i've been proud to be part of represents those values. do you want to be part of a party which fights the republicans on the grounds of culture and social issues? and i'm thinking primarily today here in the united states about the extraordinarily
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heated debate that has already begun about the future of abortion rights, the so—called roe v wade supreme court decision of 1973, which, according to all the leaks coming out of the supreme court, is about to be overturned. is that to be a battleground between democrats and republicans over the next few months? i am personally very disappointed that the supreme court is jumping feet—first into these so—called culture wars in the notion that... with respect, they're coming up with a legal decision. the notion... they're not characterising this asjumping into the culture wars. the notion that a woman's right to have control over her own body, that has been basically precedent—driven law for 50 years, is going to be reversed. i think that will drive many people to the polls, because what starts around the very challenging question around abortion can morph to contraceptive rights, can morph to gay rights, marriage equality rights.
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and i don't think americans... is this the territory on which the democrats are going to run and fight the midterm elections of 2022? you want to take the republicans on in a culture war? one of the things that about, at least politics in this country, is it's hard to predict umpteen months out. but the fact that this has been forced onto the political centre—stage by this extraordinary potential decision... and it's not final yet, so your viewers know there could be some change... i understand that, but if... if this much of retreating of rights... one of the things about this country, whether it goes left or right, it generally has not taken rights away. i understand... and that's what at stake at this point. but what i'm trying to get to is the words of house democrat sean patrick maloney, who said just the other day abortion is going to be "the central choice in the 2022 election". you'rea main... you're seen as a centrist democrat. do you see it that way, too?
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i believe that as people think about going to the polls this fall, will inflation be on their mind? absolutely. will the world circumstance vis a vis putin, china and elsewhere, be on your mind? but if people are literally having their rights taken away, that will drive voters to the polls, i think, in record numbers. and a final thought, and it's about leadership and about this country. we talked about putin. we talked about president xi of china. right now, america is led byjoe biden. you referred earlier to the possibility... you implied that he will be running again for a second term. you know better than i that if he runs again for a second term, he will, just... he'll be 82, 82 by the time the next election comes around or just a few days after. that means he'll be 86 when he is still in office as president of the united states if he wins a second term. is that healthy for america? let's see where the future leads. i think president biden is providing the kind of leadership, the reunification of nato, the re—establishment
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of america's leadership on the world stage. were there overly ambitious plans in a first year? but the fact that we have managed to take on covid, that we do have job growth at record levels and that we finally put on the board a massive infrastructure plan. i think if we put those out as goals, there would be much greater support for what was already a very, very successful first 15—16 months. senator mark warner, sadly, we are out of time. thank you very much indeed for being on hardtalk. thank you. hello there.
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tuesday was a day of sunshine and showers — most of those showers were across scotland and northern ireland. and there was quite a lot of rainfall across parts of western scotland at times — some of these showers quite heavy, even some rumbles of thunder, too. for the next few days, it's going to remain breezy, rather unsettled, low pressure nearby, and we'll see showers or even longer spells of rain. now for wednesday, this feature could bring some significant rainfall to parts of england and wales throughout the day. now some of that rain really will be quite heavy across parts of wales, southwest england through wednesday morning. and then, that rain will push in towards the midlands, parts of eastern england into the afternoon — i think the northern extent of it being around the greater manchester area, not further north than that. but, as this rain band begins to move southeastwards in east anglia in the southeast, it will begin to fragment again. another windy day to come, particularly across southern britain with that rain band. quite gusty, as well, across the north west of scotland, where we'll see sunshine and showers. and temperatures will range from around 14—17 celsius. pollen levels on wednesday, again, will be rather high, but maybe not quite as high
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across england and wales as we'll have that rain band. now, that rain will clear away from the southeast as we move through wednesday night, then skies will clear. winds will turn a little bit lighter, as well, but there'll be further showers across the north and the west of scotland in particular. now, with the clearer skies, a slightly cooler air mass — it'll be a fresher night to come for wednesday night, with temperatures down into single figures for most. the pressure chart for thursday, then, shows more weather fronts affecting northern parts of the uk — so again, it'll be quite breezy and showery here, a little bit drier further south. so, best of the sunshine for england and wales throughout thursday. after that fairly fresh start, temperatures will begin to rise. more cloud, though, for northern england, northern ireland, and scotland — there's the northwest of scotland, which will see most of the showers and also the strongest of the winds. after that cool start, temperatures will reach highs of 14—19 celsius across the south. for friday, again, weather fronts bring more showers and blustery conditions across the north of the uk, but as we head into the weekend, this area of high pressure begins to build in. it turns sunnier and warmer,
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but we could see potential of some thundery showers across southern areas, especially on sunday. so, those temperatures will be building as we head on into the weekend, as that area of high pressure starts to establish itself. and there'll be increasing amounts of sunshine, but also some heavy showers in the south.
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welcome to newsday, reporting live from singapore. i'm mariko oi. the headlines: sri lanka brings in new shoot—on—sight orders to try and quell protests calling for the president to step down. once again, russia targets the crucial port city of odesa with missile strikes hitting a shopping centre. last night where we were here it was difficult to see the full extent of the damage but this morning you can. the rocket has completely ripped into the back of the shopping centre here, you can see it has completely folded. pomp, pageantry, but no queen. the prince of wales stands in for his mother for the first
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time at the state opening of parliament.


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