tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg May 19, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm EDT
♪ announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: robert gates is here. he was secretary of defense from 2006 until 2011 under president bush and obama. his memoir "duty" has just been released in paperback. some call it the most candid account ever written. it comes at a time as we addle issues in the middle east -- as we battle issues in the middle east. the defeat marks a major setback for the iraqi army and government. meanwhile, in syria, special operations forces killed a
senior isis leader identified as the group's chief of finances. all of that as we are pleased to have robert gates act at the table. -- back at our table. what are our options, and what is necessary to stop isis and turned the tide against them? former secretary of defense robert gates: i think you need to step back a little bit charlie, in real life there are actually four conflicts going on at this day and time, and syria is really the epicenter. there is the sunni in saudi arabia versus shia led by iran secularists versus islamists and that the fundamental question, whether these artificially created countries like syria, libya, and iraq
comprised of historically adversarial ethnic groups, can hold together or whether they go the way of yugoslavia, and as i say, they all kind of come together in syria, which is one of the reasons it is such an intractable problem. the problem with the isis phenomenon, in my view, is fundamentally the result of the civil war, a spillover of the civil war in syria, and the anti-sunni policies followed by iraqi prime minister maliki, and i think our withdrawal of all of our troops had a role, but i think these other two things were the major cause to the point where the sunnis saw isis originally as liberators, because they were so antagonistic towards the government in baghdad, so it is a very tough problem and i think that we are seeing the
difficulty of getting the iraqi forces trained, the security forces trained. the anbar tribes, we are not seeing the kind of organized resistance that we saw in 2006 that led to the uprising there against al qaeda and the extremists. the kurds seem to be holding their own and doing a pretty good job, but it is a very tough problem. charlie: so what do we do? robert gates: we have to keep doing what we're doing with the iraqi forces, and the truth is it is going to take some time. actually, when we left in 2011 the iraqi army was in pretty good shape area -- good shape. we had a role in choosing their leaders, and they were competent, and they were capable. the trouble was that maliki replaced them with a bunch of
political hacks who had no military experience, did not have the respect of the troops and that is why the troops turned and ran. they were worthless. so now, we have basically had to almost start over, because in the 3, 3 .5 years since then, the quality of everything in the iraqi security services has deteriorated so badly, so we have got to accelerate that in some way. i believe that we need to change the rules of engagement for the limited number of forces that we have their, so we can be -- that we have there, so we can be more effective. i think it was right to ask for political change, get rid of maliki and he is right that the boots on the ground, the ground on me -- ground armies have to be others not american. to empower our special forces
and have some on the ground spotters and air controllers and spotters, and we can have some trainers embed some traders down with the iraqis -- i think we could move this process along a little faster. charlie: i was told recently that the arena ian on the first lines -- that the iranian advisors are on the first lines. robert gates: i do not know if they need to be on the front lines, but they need to be forward from where they are now which is back in big training camps where the basic training and so on is carried out for the iraqi security forces but they are not close enough to be helpful in advising when it comes to the fights themselves. charlie: my understanding is we have been trading iraqi soldiers in saudi arabia, jordan,
everywhere else. -- we have been training iraqi soldiers in saudi arabia, jordan everywhere else. robert gates: i do not think those trade outside of iraq are going to have a significant role. -- those that trained outside of iraq are going to have a significant role. charlie: reminding -- ramadi is not that far from baghdad. robert gates: thanks mostly to iranian-led shia militias and then, ultimately, u.s. air power, they were able to take back the city of to create -- of tikrit, but the city is in ruins and the city was largely destroyed by the fight, and so
what you see happening is that isis is beginning, is continuing its spread to basically areas that are coincident with where the sunni population lives, and i think what stops them the natural barrier for stopping them, is when they get moved closer to the shia areas, where there are a lot of people who will fight and who see them as bitter enemies, partly because isis is sunni and so i do not think you are going to see large chunks of iraq outside the sunni areas fall. but you're looking at a good part of western iraq in the hands of isis, and i think getting them out of there is going to be a real chore, and especially getting them out of ramadi and falluja and mosul. charlie: places where americans
have spent a lot of lives, as you know. is it back to try to put together american airstrikes american advisers, and shia militia to try to bring together as much firepower as you possibly can, because it is that serious, that threat of isis? robert gates: well, i have a difficult time accepting a significant iranian presence and military world in iraq given our sacrifices and everything else. charlie: but you just said they were, in part, responsible for what happened in the previous victories. robert gates: so the government is clearly using the shia militias, but the idea of having general soleimani, the iranian general, on the ground and on the front lines, i just have a
hard time dealing with that, frankly. charlie: because he was an enemy. what about my enemy is my friend? robert gates: netanyahu once told me that the enemy of my enemy is my frenemy. we have to work with the situation that we find, but we also must do what we can to limit the extent of iranian influence in iraq. it is already significant, and so i think figuring out the way forward with the iraqi government in a way that limits or at least prevents further iranian influence i think is important. whether we can't accomplish that or not, i honestly do not know. -- whether we can accomplish that or not, i honestly do not know. charlie: that is huge.
when does it become an emergency? robert dates: the problem we -- robert gates: the problem we have is that some areas are in the hands of isis. as i say, i think it is going to be tough for them to expand beyond the sunni areas of iraq. the danger is that they nest their long-term, and it becomes a base -- that they nest there long term, and becomes a base for further action in lebanon and syria and else where and a place where they can plot terrorist acts against us. it also validates this idea of the caliphate, to have this caliphate which has such appeal in their propaganda, including in this country, that this islam
extent has to occupy territory and government, and if you take that away from them -- that this islamic state has to occupy territory and government, and if you take that away from them -- charlie: you get whatever, 3, 4, 5, 6 7 eight, a leader in charge of finances, which is important for them, because they have to sell the oil and they need to have resources to carry on and to recruit and all of that. robert gates: we used to sell my joke in the situation room -- we used to semi joke that the worst position to have is the number three position, because the number one we could not find and the number two, we could not five, but number three, it was a short term position.
they do have enough intelligence that they at times can go after these leaders, that they can strike behind the line, and this is the kind of thing -- behind the lines and this is the kind of thing i had in terms of the empowerment of the special forces. charlie: it was written that the push dissolution of the iraqi army -- you were not there in that time -- the bush dissolution of the iraqi army -- you were not there in that time -- was catastrophic, in that he helped create the iraqi insurgency. robert gates: i agree with that entirely, and i would add that the second worst decision was the deep gasification -- deba thification. no one read almost about the denazification.
you had to be a member of the party, and the same thing was true in iraq. you had to be a baathist. and you had 4000 people trained in arms out on the street with no way to support their families and you basically took every civilian who knew how to make anything run and made them -- put them out of a job, so the two were, i think, terrible decisions. charlie: tell me who made that decision. robert gates: i am told that our coalition provisional government made that decision. charlie: he made it and not donald rumsfeld or george bush? robert gates: my understanding is that it was made in the field. charlie: nobody challenged it? so there was nobody with a reading of history to say, you cannot do this. robert gates: one of the many
what ifs, what might have been. charlie: a lot of saudi and arab leaders coming here to talk to the president, and they had a very good session. whatever comes out of it, we do not know yet. it was said this morning, you wish they did it a lot earlier. robert gates: the sad thing is they said they wished they had done it earlier, and it is the seventh year of the administration, and i think we have not done a good job of reaching out to our friends and allies in the region. i think that the saudi disenchantment with the u.s. really did not begin with isis or with the iranian nuclear negotiations but rather with the way we handled mubarak.
the red line in syria was huge as well. charlie: they were also opposed to the invasion of iraq. the foreign minister of saudi arabia did a show with the about the same time in washington and that, -- and said "don't do this. you do not know what you are getting into." robert gates: the question a lot of the republican candidates seem to be wrestling with is what would you have done, and i think that is the wrong question. i think the right was jeanette has value is what are the lessons -- the right question that you draw is what are the lessons? for sure one of the lessons is we overestimate our ability to shape events in the middle east and the second is the law of unintended consequences is always in effect, and as the military says, sergeant murphy
is on every mission. if something can go wrong, it will. charlie: suppose you had been advising the president, and the cia came in and said, "oops, guys, before we launch this mission, we just found out there are no weapons of mass destruction. we can go in and topple saddam but there are no weapons of mass destruction." what would you have advised? robert gates: first of all, i think the president probably would not have invaded. but i think that the intelligence was wrong. i always believed that the charge that he lied us into the war and misled us is all wrong. he believed the intelligence he was given, and as i mentioned to you, may be the one thing i would have done differently was maybe ask carter questions -- maybe the one thing i would have
done differently was maybe ask carter questions. i think that to be able to get down beneath in terms of the currency of the sources, how recent their information was how reliable they were maybe those questions were asked. i don't know. charlie: they got the wrong answer. robert gates: they got the wrong answer. the cia got that wrong. charlie: it did damage. robert gates: i think it did do damage but i think there is an important lesson to be taken from it, and that is we ought to be very, very cautious ever again to launch a war purely based on intelligence analysis and reporting as opposed to the actions of another country.
charlie: what lessons do you think they learned at the cia? who do you trust? robert gates: one of the things i always try to do when i was at the agency, particularly when i ran the analytical side, was to try to do each analytical piece like a lawyer's brief. here is what we know. here are the facts that we have accumulated. here is what we hear from our sources, and here is what we think, and i actually separate it out, sort of the evidence from the analysis, from what we think, so that people could evaluate -- you know, could evaluate what the actual intelligence was before the analysts got to work on it. now, the other side of that coin is that the entire case on osama
of negotiations with the iranians. as you think they are rational actors. robert gates: in their own context. i think this specific -- first of all, getting them to the table was an achievement for american foreign-policy. they did not show up out of goodwill. they showed up as their economy was being strangled, and they were in fear of being overthrown by their own people. and i think there are some good things in the agreement. what happens to the stuff -- charlie: the iranians were in fear of being overthrown by their own people? robert gates: i think first of all the green revolution. but it took a lot of force, and it is a scary thing. and i think that there are aspects of the agreement that have to be approved for it, i think, to be a good, solid agreement.
one is the pacing of the lifting of sanctions. another is on the verification. a third is -- charlie: ok, here is a question. based on what you think has been done -- on the one hand, iranians are saying sanctions have to be lifted immediately, and the u.s. says it has to be phased and on the inspections they seem to be rather intrusive inspections, based on what john kerry said. robert gates: but the ayatollah said they will not be able to draw on military facilities, so that is a nonstarter, and the other question is, will there be no-notice inspections? can we go anywhere, anytime? we are at the front gate. knock, knock. [laughter] charlie: so if, in fact, those two things are not done -- and what is three? robert gates: i sort of have
this cartoon image of countries and companies hovering on the iranian border with billion's of dollars to invest, and the notion you are -- with billions of dollars to invest, and the notion you are going to get them back out to reimpose sanctions once they are lifted is a hard case. charlie: and that is part of the fear people have with this deal. we will not be able to put them back. but the iranians will take all of this money and do nefarious things. robert gates: that gets to the larger point and that is that the premise of the agreement based on the administration's own words, is that the hope over the 10-year. keeper of the agreement, the 10-year or 15-year period of the agreement -- over the 10-year period or 15-year period of the
agreement, they will abandon their theological positions and abandon their interest in having a nuclear capability and abandon their meddling, and i think that is a very big leap. i think that is an unrealistic expectation. a stock everything we had seen. charlie: but is it a risk worth taking? robert gates: the risk is worth taking if the deal is worth taking, and so the question is, what is the quality of the deal at the end? the deal has to stand on its own, regardless of iranian -- charlie: you and jim baker and henry cushions are -- henry kissinger all say the same things. if he does not back away, what happens then? robert gates: i do not believe that the only alternative at that point is war. as ice they, the iranians did not come to the table out of goodwill -- as i say, the
iranians did not come to the table out of goodwill. they came because they were in trouble. that may be where they were headed in the first place despite all their protestations that they had no interest in a nuclear weapon and that it is contrary to their biology -- theology. charlie: this deal makes it one year. robert gates: maybe. charlie: you have a lot of questions here. this is a lot. you have to assume a lot. robert gates: i have done -- charlie, i have done a lot of arms control with the soviet union, and as an intelligence officer and an intelligence adviser to the negotiating team, i had some responsibilities when it came to the verification regime and how we could monitor compliance. those agreements were very simple and mainly relied on our
own satellites. we still found anomalies and we still found evidence that we thought the soviets were in violation of that agreement. this agreement is much more complex, requires access, erect access to many places to assure they are not cheating, so -- direct access to many places to assure they are not cheating, so this is really important and the devil is in the details, and my concern is we will find evidence of an ambiguous compliance, and we will have a big interagency debate about it here in the united state about whether the information -- in the united states about whether the information is valid or not and the intelligence community will be saying, here is the intelligence we have, and we will be wrapped around the axle and we will not know for sure, and that is why the details of this their vocation are so important. charlie: most of the debates
between cia and state and defense, or is that just one example that you use? robert gates: that is just one example. particularly in arms control. those who have negotiated arms control agreements do not want to have intelligence say the other side may not be compliant. charlie: do you believe, a, the president -- he has shown he is prepared to use force in many ways -- that the president is of a mind that that this is so important that it is worth taking the risk, a or do you believe that the president simply once this -- wants this too much, and it is a real danger to us? robert gates: i think anyone engaged in negotiation, to be successful you have to be able to walk away from the table, and i worry that the agreement has
taken on such important that even if these ambiguities and questions are unanswered there will be a great reluctance to walk away. even if your intent is simply to come back to the negotiations and try to get a better deal. charlie: so you think the president may want it too much. robert gates: maybe. charlie: but you are worried. robert gates: i am worried. charlie: that they may change their behavior, do they have an incentive to change their behavior, with respect to supporting hezbollah, with respect to the role they are playing in yemen, supporting the rebels? robert gates: i don't think so.
i think the iranians inc. that in terms of the way things are going in the region, they are clearly concerned -- i think the iranians think that in terms of the way things are going in the region, they are clearly concerned. they have a significant influence in iraq, a significant influence in lebanon, a significant -- they are playing a role in yemen. and so i think that they -- i think that they think things are going pretty well from their standpoint in the region, other than isis, and that is no small issue. charlie: and that is why the arab countries are worried. robert gates: that is why the arab countries are worried, and it is never going to be all or nothing. if the iranians get a whole bunch of new money, sure, some of it will go into their economy. maybe most of it will go into trying to revive their economy but i think it is naïve to think that some significant part of
those additional resources won't go to further iranian regime -- iranian interests in the region. charlie: are the actions of president obama today, since you have left government different than your understanding of how he viewed the world? robert gates: i think there have been some changes from what i wrote about in "duty," but i think those were beginning to happen in the last six months that i was there. the decision to basically tell mubarak he had to leave immediately. that decision, as i write in the book, was opposed by every senior security official in the government, beginning with the vice president. including the secretary of state. charlie: all opposed to telling mubarak he has to leave.
then who influenced the president to say that? robert gates: there were younger people on the back benches that said you have to be on the right light of history, and i am sitting -- you have to be on the right side of history, and i am sitting on my side of the table and the decision to intervene in libya divided the administration , and the president was very clear to me that it was a very close call on his part. charlie: you were on one side. robert gates: i was opposed to the intervention. and secretary of state clinton happened to be on the side of intervening. charlie: along with susan rice. robert gates: but on the other side were the national security adviser, me, the chairman of the joint chiefs. charlie: that is what makes the presidency a tough job. robert gates: he had this huge
array of huge problems and every now and then we would be alone in the oval office. he would be talking about these things, and i would just kind of smile at him and say "tell me again why you wanted this job?" it makes me wonder why this gaggle of people who want to run for president think this is a good idea. we will wait and see. each of them has an interesting background. some governors, some senators. as i told bob schaffer, most of them have not had jobs that require you to them to have any foreign-policy background, and so my guess is their attitudes and their views on foreign policy will be fleshed out and get deeper as time goes on. charlie: you, at the same time, are the guy who writes and said barack obama, facing the
toughest test of his presidency, the osama bin laden mission, which you had some reservations about, and it was the best example of leadership you had seen in a while. robert gates: i wrote that it was the most courageous act i had seen, one of the most courageous acts i had ever seen. charlie: what is it that enable someone to do that? what qualities enable someone to be there and to be right more often than they are wrong? robert gates: i think what is really important, out of all of the presidents that i worked for, certainly, what they had is a lot of self-confidence. president obama, one of the things that surprised me and pleased me was very early in the administration was it became clear to me that here is this guy who had never really run anything he was a decision-maker. he did not hesitate in making
decisions. he did not worry about it. he did not fret about it. and if you have the time to spend a lot of time analyzing a problem, he would do it. he would tell me "i can't defend it if i do not understand it," but if he had to make a life-and-death decision, he could do that, too and that was what was impressive, and then he never looked back once having made that decision. charlie: so from the time you left government to today, you have not really changed your opinion about him as an effective leader? robert gates: i have not changed my opinion about him about him being a decision-maker and his willingness to make a decision. i have disagreed with some of the things that have happened. as i said, i disagree with the way he dealt with mubarak. i disagree with the decision to go into libya. i think that the crossing of the red line was a terrible terrible development.
the united states has to be -- the presidents of the united states has to be very careful about drawing a line in the sand, but when he does so for the sake of the credibility of the united states, it must be fatal to cross that line because once you, as i used to tell presidents if you call that pistol, you had better be willing to fire it -- if you cock that pistol, you had better be willing to fire it, and to back away from that red line has consequences, not just in that specific country. charlie: even though the russians came up with an idea that he found appealing. the red line is more significant than getting chemical weapons out of syria. robert gates: at that point, 1400 people had been killed in a
terrible chemical weapons attack, but by that time 150,000 people had been killed by conventional weapons. charlie: how will that war end? robert gates: i wish i knew. i don't see -- you know, it has kind of seesawed back and fourth. some suffering, some losses, but the tragedy is before it ends, a lot more innocent people are going to die, and nobody seems to have a good idea of how to bring it to an end. charlie: will it be a political solution, or will it be a military solution? robert gates: my hope that then that it had got bad enough that his own military would get rid of him and then settle for some kind of a deal. charlie: he has to take himself out. robert gates: it is pretty clear
-- as long as he is there, problem. charlie: let's turn to russia. where do you think russia is today? we just saw some evidence in news reports that they captured two russian soldiers. robert gates: my own view is that putin is not going to be able to rest until he has a land bridge to crimea. charlie: will that be enough? robert gates: well, it depends. i think it probably is. the question is whether there is some kind of a negotiation that can take place that keeps eastern ukraine part of ukraine even if it has considerable autonomy. charlie: you mean autonomy just to eastern ukraine? robert gates: yes, but i think putin has played hard he has
been very tough in his resistance to the sanctions and everything else, and right now it appears that that situation is going in his direction, and the ruble has regained some of its strength. oil prices are up a bit. my guess is that he is feeling pretty good. charlie: the sanctions are not working then? robert gates: well, they are having some effect, but i think the drop in oil prices had more of an effect. i worry about him stirring things up there. i am not particular concerned about a direct military action but his ability to use many russians who live in all of those countries, particularly estonia and latvia to stir
things up and create instability, i think we should not underestimate that. he has already launched a cyber attack against estonia in 2008, so i think -- i do not think we should relax when it comes to the baltic states, but i think the pressures are more likely to be more subtle and covert than they have been in eastern ukraine. charlie: do you think about a return to government? robert gates: know and i think having written this book pretty much takes care of that -- no at i think having written this book pretty much takes care of that. charlie: will you write another book? robert gates: i have already written another book, about leadership, specifically about how you change and reform organizations to make them work
♪ charlie: archbishop vincenzo paglia is here, appointed to the pontifical council in 2012. in his position, he has traveled around the world, advocating the gospel of the family. he is in new york to deliver an address at the united nations as part of the 2015 international day of family. i am pleased you have the archbishop here at this table. welcome. it is a pleasure to meet you. what is your mission with respect to the family? archbishop vincenzo paglia: my mission is to help all churches all over the world to understand better and to proclaim better the gospel of the family.
family is a good news for a contemporary world when a lot of people are alone. a lot of people are depressed. a lot of people suffered. in a sense, it is to be a good news for all people of the world. charlie: the church has something out on the family, does it not? archbishop paglia: around 400 bishops from around the world gathered together in order to discuss about family about the gospel, about the problematic situation of today. charlie: you have sent in your remarks that the facts speak for themselves. the number of weddings has reduced. the numbers of people living together or divorced increases.
and legally protected procreation is more and more separated, not even from marriage but even from inter-worse, the combined technical aspects with other things producing for the first time in western history a situation where the intergenerational and heterosexual family discovers it is seen no longer necessary in the organization of society. archbishop paglia: you know, in the bible, in the first pages it says god says it is not good for man to be alone. in the sense that we need to rediscover and to re-announce the beauty to stay together, so in this sense, the family is the source of society. a strong family means a strong
society. a feeble family means a feeble society. charlie: and here is where i am a bit interested in asking. my understanding is that the pope when he assumed the papacy , you know, said that all of these issues you were talking about were very controversial divorce, homosexuality, the state of marriage. i just read that. the pope, i thought, was trying to say let's focus more on the pastoral role of the church and not get so engaged by these things that create so much controversy. our mission is pastoral. our mission is to expand the church. archbishop paglia: the church is to stretch its arms in order to welcome everyone.
above all who suffer. pope francis, he exalts bishops priests. do not judge the others, but to help the other, to improve their situation, to comfort who need some good news, good words, good people in a sense that the pope wants a church near all people. no one has to be alone. charlie: let me ask you about this pope. tell me. how is he doing? archbishop paglia: so i remember when i met him for the first time.
two days ago, i was visiting my apartment. not so rich, not so large, a lot of rooms and i said, oh, i don't want to be alone. i will remain where im. -- where im. -- i am. what does that mean? he is friendly. he makes all people feel comfortable with him. i remember when in the first celebration in st. peter's square he went in the middle of the people and on the one side
there were the vip people and we meet a little child. he stopped. so this is the style of pope francis. in my opinion, it has to be the style of the church. at the beginning of this millennium, we have to show to the others the message of god. charlie: how is he changing the church? archbishop paglia: so more famig lia. less structure. our real structure is humanity. our real mission is to touch the other with our hands, with our
love, with our passion. a desire to change in a better way a world really sad without joy. often, i meet people not so happy. happiness and friendship helping each other. our common dreams. charlie: i understand he is also trying to change rome, the vatican, the curia. archbishop paglia: once, i said to the pope, holy father, [speaking italian] -- you
change the curia. you change our lifestyle. because he injected in the curia his passion for meeting with the others, and this is, in my opinion the reason and the effect of his first trip in the united states. in september, pope francis will, to the united states. he will visit washington and then new york and then philadelphia, and the pope knows that this is a historical trip
and he will exalt the american people to be more human, to be more open, to rediscover the mission of the people of the united states, of the church of the united states to play a big role in the world. in order to humanize our contemporary world. charlie: as you know, he has been involved in trying to bring cuba and the united states together. archbishop paglia: exactly. the way he stopped finally the cold war. with this encounter between the united states and cuba pope francis showed that the encounter has to be the main
actor of history. charlie: he also wants to recognize and have the world recognize the palestinian state. archbishop paglia: in order to reach the piece in order to create a new kind of encounter so pope francis gives to us new dreams. he wants to push all of us to a new world, a new encounter among people. charlie: how is the church handling, and i think he has been more out front than some, the terrible incidents in the church of pedophilia? archbishop paglia: the pope is really hard in this perspective. in the gospel, it is really clear not only for the respect
but to defend childhood and the youth and the young people. charlie: and not to cover it up. archbishop paglia: absolutely. because jesus said we take really clear words, that the angels of the child are in direct contact with god. we have to remember this. all crime are crimes but the child against a crime -- charlie: are you optimistic for the church? archbishop paglia: if we follow pope francis. i have lived in rome since my childhood. every wednesday, every sunday,
st. peter's square full of people not only believers, but people from everywhere, in a sense rediscovering a new father in a world where the father disappeared. we rediscover and pope francis papa. charlie: archbishop paglia thank you for coming. archbishop paglia: i hope you continue to see and to hear we will see you in rome. . charlie: we will see you in rome. thank you for joining us. ♪
angie: recall record. takata gives in to u.s. pressure and doubles the number of cars to be checked. a call for clarity. the r.b.i. governor says uncoordinated policy poses a substantial risk to grow. greece is given till the end of the month to strike a deal on debt. welcome to "first up." i am angie lau coming to you live from hong kong and streaming on your mobile and bloomberg.com.
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