tv PBS News Hour PBS April 17, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight... >> the era of strategic patience is over. >> woodruff: ...vice president pence's warning to north korea after its failure to launch a test missile over the weekend raises questions about what the trump administration is prepared to do. then, in turkey, a narrow referendum victory expands the role of turkey's president-- what does this power play mean for a deeply divided country and its allies? also tonight, one man in india aims to break through a taboo by making hygiene products affordable. >> this is the model for how muruganantham would like to see his product distributed. thousands of small factories run by groups of women producing
these sanitary pads at very low cost and selling them directly to women. >> woodruff: and, ahead of a closely watched special elecon tomorrow in georgia, our politics monday team maps out the week. all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
>> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> supported by the rockefeller foundation. promoting the well-being of humanity around the world by building resilience and inclusive economies. more at rockefellerfoundation.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
>> woodruff: the long-simmering standoff between the united states and north korea is heating up again, with new warnings from both president trump and vice president pence. our chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner begins our coverage. >> warner: the warnings started at the demilitarized zone dividing the koreas, where mr. pence demanded a nuclear-free korean peninsula. later, in seoul, he pointed to recent u.s. military action as >> the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in syria and afghanistan. north korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the united states in this region. >> warner: mr. pence also declared again the u.s. and allies will act, unless china
reins in north korea. in washington, president trump took a moment out from the white house easter egg roll to send his own warning. >> any message for north korea? >> they gotta behave. >> warner: but at the united nations, the ambassador from north korea, officially, the democratic people's republic of korea, was having none of it. >> of the headquarters, the d.p.r.k. is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the americans. >> warner: all of this, after the north launched a ballistic missile on sunday that u.s. officials say blew up within seconds. a day earlier, the communist state paraded what appeared to be new long-range ballistic missiles through the capital, pyongyang. there had been expectations the north would carry out its sixth nuclear test, but no such test occurred.
today, though, the vice foreign minister told the bbc that his government will be testing missiles weekly, and he warned of a "pre-emptive nuclear strike" if the u.s. takes military action. opinions among south koreans are sharply divided. >> ( translated ): as trump became president, the policies seem likely to become more oppressive, and it worries me that war might actually break out. >> ( translated ): in fact, i believe we have to strongly respond to north korea's provocation. >> warner: pence today echoed other top officials who said the obama-era policy of "strategic patience" with the north is over; he'll look for more regional support as he travels on to japan, indonesia and australia. for the pbs newshour, i'm margaret warner. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, wall street rallied broadly after the weekend passed without military conflict over north korea. the dow jones industrial average gained 183 points to close near
20,637. the nasdaq rose 51 points, and the s&p 500 added 20. south korea's recently ousted president park geun-hye was indicted on charges of bribery, extortion and abuse of power. she could get life in prison, if she's convicted. park was arrested after being removed from office. it's alleged that she and a longtime confidant solicited bribes from businesses while she was president. hundreds of palestinians in israeli prisons launched a hunger strike today, in the largest such action in five years. meanwhile, thousands staged solidarity marches in the west bank and gaza. they condemned conditions in the jails, and israeli policy of detention without trial. >> ( translated ): when prisoners go on hunger strike they feel the freedom, it is a way to resist. we can win the battle with our empty stomachs, and it is a message to the international community and the free people in
the world, that palestinians seek freedom. >> woodruff: israel says the strike is politically motivated, and it denies inmates are being mistreated. in sri lanka, search teams have now recovered at least 29 bodies from a massive garbage slide that buried dozens of homes friday night. today, soldiers kept looking in the huge dump near colombo, joined by relatives of dozens of people still missing. crews worked with heavy equipment to clear the mud and trash. newly minted supreme court justice neil gorsuch heard his first set of arguments today with fellow justices. it was an employment discrimination case, and it was only 11 minutes into hearing when he asked his first question. at one point, gorsuch said he was "sorry for taking up so much time." britain's prince harry now says he suffered from repressed grief and depression for 20 years
after the death of his mother, princess diana. harry was 12 when she died, he's now 32. he tells "the daily telegraph" that he came close to "a complete breakdown" more than once. he says he's now in counseling, talking openly about his feelings and doing better. and, president and mrs. trump hosted their first easter egg roll at the white house today. the first couple welcomed the crowd from the truman balcony, for the annual event that goes back nearly 140 years. later, the president greeted visitors while the first lady read to children. more than 21,000 people attended, down from 35,000 last year. still to come on the newshour, north korea's failure to launch and the implications for u.s. policy. turkey's president wins expanded powers in a controversial power play. making essential products in india more affordable, and much more.
>> woodruff: we return to our top story: north korea; its missile and nuclear programs; and the tougher line being drawn with the regime by the trump administration. to look at what options are available for the u.s., its allies and china, we turn to william perry who served as defense secretary under president bill clinton. after mr. perry left that post, he led a diplomatic effort on north korea. started by asking how he interprets the trump administration position, the time for strategic patience is over. >> i think it means that they're prepared to take more drastic action and they're certainly implying that military action could be a part of that. >> woodruff: and do you think that that's an approach that is likely to bring about a response from the north korean regime that the u.s. wants? >> well, i think that this is an unusually dangerous time because both what north korea is saying
and doing and what the administration is thinking of doing. my own view is that a military action while might be appropriate at some time is not yet appropriate. i think there is still time for diplomacy and effective diplomacy but it must be coercive diplomacy. the diplomacy for the last two administrations has been ineffective. paradoxically, because of the dangers, i think we have the opportunity to conduct effective diplomacy though this will be coercive diplomacy. >> woodruff: what do you mean by coercive diplomacy? >> diplomacy which threatens actions which are going to hurt north korea. we have in the past two administrations had sanctions as our element and course of diplomacy but they were very ineffective and weak. now, because of the present situation, we're in a position to provide really powerful
diplomacy, much more so than the sanctions. the two changes are china, which in the past has not shown much concern over the north koreans, are greatly concerned seeing this could threaten their very core interests. i think china would be willing at this stage to take very powerful actions in their economy like holding back food and fuel. on the other hand, the threat of military action against north korea in the past has not really been a credible one but i think may have become credible in the last few months. >> woodruff: and why do you think the chinese would be ready to be tougher right now than they have been before? >> they see their core interest being very heavily threatened right now. certainly a war on thecine peninsula would be very detrimental to their core interests, and the possibility of south korea and japan going nuclear are quite december meant toll their core interests. so having that in mind, i think they're willing to take serious action. i do not see that china can
solve this problem alone, i do not suggest that. but china and the the united states working together could put together a very powerful set of disincentives that can affect a coercive diplomacy that could have a good chance i think of being effective. >> woodruff: when you say the u.s. suggests it's prepared to take military action, isn't there a very real risk the north could go after successfully hit south korea because it's so close? >> i think there is a great risk in taking military action and i do not recommend that at this time. my point, though, is north korea has to believe there is a possibility now, a real possibility of military action, and that has to affect their calculus on how seriously they will negotiate. so i'm not recommending military action, but i think that the threat of military action has become credible to north korea now, and i think, therefore, they may be much more willing to
negotiate seriously. >> woodruff: and you see the leadership in the north, kim jong un, the people around him as being rational, thinking rationally about this? >> i think that the regime in north korea today is not crazy. it's evil and it's reckless but it's not crazy. their primary goal which assuredly has been effective for many decades is to assure their regime and power. that's what they're trying to do and that's their calculus and reactional calculus. we need to respond to that. if we think they're crazy, we would have to be worried about making a preemptive strike against south korea. we know they're not crazy, and they know their country will face devastation and leadership swept out of power. >> woodruff: what dance --
chances do you that would lead to military action? >> once a military action starts, it will escalate and is all too seas to get out of control. it can escalate on to a yearn war. it's a war which north korea would, in fact, lose, but as they were losing it and saw their regime being swept away and country devastated, they might then lose nuclear weapons, one last dangerous but one last armageddon before they were swept out of power. so the danger of the nuclear war here is not that north korea would deliberately provoke like a surprise attack on south korea. the danger is they would blunder in the nuclear war by military conflict, a conventional military conflict and a conventional war escalating into that. >> woodruff: finally, how worried should the american people be about this? >> i am very alarmed. i'm alarmed because, if we move into a military action, even
mind a military action, the dangerous is very great. this is not syria we're attacking. that is country that undoubtedly would respond to w a military response to south korea. that action could very well escalate into a general war and even nuclear war. so i'm concerned for that reason. so i think this is an opportunity -- this is an opportunity to conduct coercive diplomacy that can be effective. the question only is will we see that opportunity and seize it. >> former secretary of defense william perry, we thank you. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: in a controversial referendum yesterday, turks voted by a thin margin for the biggest overhaul of turkey's politics since the founding of the modern republic. among the most-significant changes: a transition from a
parliamentary to a presidential system, that could lead to a major consolidation of power by the nation's leader. jeffrey brown has that. >> brown: flag-waving supporters greeted turkish president recep tayyip erdogan in ankara today, after he won sweeping new powers in sunday's referendum. >> ( translated ): we have put up a fight against the powerful nations of the world. the crusader mentality attacked us abroad, inside their lackeys attacked us. we did not succumb, as a nation we stood strong. >> brown: but amid the celebration: questions about the vote's validity. turkey's main opposition party decried an unprecedented move by the national elections board, to accept ballots without an official stamp. >> ( translated ): the only decision that will end the debate about the legitimacy of the vote and ease the people's legal concerns is the annulment of this referendum by the high >> brown: international observers pointed to the intimidation of erdogan's
opponents. >> our team observed the misuse of administrative resources and the obstruction of efforts by parties and civil society organizations supporting the 'no' campaign. >> brown: the referendum passed with just 51% of the vote. it authorizes constitutional changes allowing the president to directly name government ministers and other senior officials, appoint half the members of the country's highest judicial body, and declare states of emergency and issue decrees. the outcome could also cement erdogan's hold on power for more than a decade. throughout turkey, reactions were mixed: >> ( translated ): it's obvious that a large part of the society does not accept this referendum. >> ( translated ): i don't know what the new system will bring but i am happy because the person i support has become an executive president. >> brown: erdogan says the changes will bring stability, in a country battling the islamic state group and kurdish rebels.
opponents say he'll be able to rule unchecked. they also fear he will re- institute capital punishment. he's already carried out a wide- ranging crackdown since surviving a coup attempt last summer. the growing repression has strained relations with the european union, a body turkey is trying to join. germany's foreign minister warned today the referendum could make matters worse. >> ( translated ): we will only be able to help turkey with their business and social development if the country stays in the line of democracy, not a for instance, the introduction of death penalty would be the end of the negotiations to enter the european union. >> brown: in washington, the white house said today it has noted concerns about the referendum, and awaits a final report by european observers. for more on this referendum and what it means, i'm joined by steven cook of the council on foreign relations, and kadir ustun, the executive director of the foundation for political, economic and social research, a washington think tank focused on turkey and us-turkey relations.
welcome to both of you. steven cook, you wrote a scathing response that's provocatively entitled western peace in turkey. do you think this is a threat to turkish democracy? >> it is certainly the end of the modern turkish state founded in the mid 1920s. we're moving on to something else with president erdogan's accumulation of power, that may be something new but has echoes in turkey's past. president erdogan set things up so he has so much power he rules like a sultan. >> brown: what do you see as that kind of power for president odor wan? >> this is an historic referendum. for the first time in modern turkish history, the civilians are decidin deciding the form of government. >> brown: so you see it as a positive step potentially?
>> yes. >> brown: because this was needed? >> this was needed because you had two elected heads of government with overlaps and conflicts in their powers and responsibilities over each other. >> reporter: what about that? that's the argument president erdogan and supporters made that this was necessary for the democracy to actually go forward. >> it's a actually a funny argument because this was never a problem till 2011 when then prime minister odor wan declared turkey need add new constitution. the turkish had been the head of the government. the locus of power had been with theprime minister. the president had a number of important powers but spoatsd to be above politics and a statesman. once it was clear erdogan was going to be president to have the republic, this issue became more urgent for him. >> brówqiñ the size to have the the victory was smaller than
erdogan and supporters thought. what does that tell you? >> an average of 52 to 53% was expected, so it's in that range, but this was about the referendum, this was about the system change. when you ask about people's votes, about their parties, you'll get similar numbers to the last election. so you see that people didn't really vote along their party affiliations but more on this particular change, whether we should p go to a presidential system and whether what erdogan is proposing is the way to go, and they voted yes. >> brown: what do you see in the lower vote than expected? >> well, it was an extraordinarily controversial move to fundamentally alter turkey's political system, and there is about half the country that is opposed to it. and this is consistent with the akp era where president erdogan
rules half of the country that supports him and seeks the intimidate the other half of the country. there are allegations of electoral -- questionable tech torl practices and the opposition is calling for an investigation into it. it's unlikely that anything is going to change, but it does suggest a deepening of polarization of turkish society. >> brown: do you see going forward that he will have to now reach out to opponents to be more accommodating or less so? >> look, he has tried many times, at parliamenty commission to draft a whole new constitution failed because of political realities, and this was the product of a deal between the opposition nationalist party, and the ak party, and i don't see this as changing the system wholesale in a desirable way.
>> brown: does president odor wan reach out to opponents, more accommodating to all turks or tougher? >> when you look at the turkish political landscape, you see identical policies, kurdish policy, nationalist party and chb are consolidated just as ak party's votes are more or less consolidated. you have that kind of situation in the turkish political landscape and that won't change all that much. and we're going to see in 2019, when you have the presidential and the general elections held on the same day, if there will be significant changes, but i don't expect those votes to change all that much in the next election. >> and what about the turkish relationship with the west especially the u.s.? what should the response be from the u.s.? well, there's a difference between what should the response be and what the reality is likely to be. i think that the obama
administration over the course of eight years was too quiet about the axes of prime minister and president odo erdogan. president trump's priorities lie with fighting the islamic state and, of course, the united states looks to turkey as an alply in that fight. >> brown: what do you think the u.s. response should be and europe? >> in relations with the u.s. plarls, that's what -- particularly, i'm focused on the strategic differences especially with the u.s. support for the ypg in northern syria the groups fighting i.s.i.s., and that they are linked to pkk. that's a significant problem in u.s.-turkey relationsin relatiog several other relations, but i think both sides will need trump administration. turks see trump administration as a new opportunity and they
will need to talk more on this and there have been talks and we see the lessening of the tensions. in the coming years, i expect that to move to a better place, but in terms of the authoritarianism argument, i find it overly simplistic and sort of easy explanation, oh, turkey is authoritarian. that doesn't answer the question about why 50% are voting for this party and erdogan. >> brown: all right, we'll leave it there and watch going forward, kadir ustun and steven cook. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: a murder posted online, a killer still at large. and "a world in disarray"-- a selection from the newshour bookshelf. but first, an unlikely innovation from an unusual innovator.
special correspondent fred de sam lazaro has the story of one man who has made it his mission to bring affordable hygiene products to women in india. its part of our series agents for change. >> reporter: arunachalam muruganantham was a born tinkerer, obsessed with figuring out how things worked-- from toys to bicycles. he grew up in poverty after his father died young. muruganantham dropped out of school and became a welder, a lower middle class occupation in india. >> to support my mother i quit my schooling. >> reporter: but his natural curiosity apparently knew no bounds. years later it took him into a strictly taboo area in india's tradition-bound society: menstrual hygiene. >> that is why we are able to break the taboo. >> reporter: he's become known as india's pad mad. your goal is to have every woman in this country use sanitary pads, if they need it? >> yes, i'm building a movement. it's a movement, yeah. >> reporter: a movement begun by
a man who knew almost nothing about the female body until after he was married. you did not even know what menstruation was, is that correct? >> yeah i don't know how it is happening, when it is happening, even where it is happening, i don't know. >> reporter: and, he says, his wife shanti wasn't particularly interested in discussing it. >> it's the biggest taboo. wife never talks to husband, mother never talks to daughter, >> reporter: that comes at a high cost in public health. some experts say millions of girls across the developing world miss school during their periods and remain susceptible to infection throughout adulthood. sanitary pads are widely advertised in india but surveys suggest only about one in ten women uses them. at first muruganantham suggested them to his wife. >> i asked simply, there is some products in the market. why you're not using that? she instantly told we have to
cut our family milk budget. >> reporter: milk budget? >> then i find it's a matter of affordability. >> reporter: he could afford one package of sanitary pads and gave it to shanti as a gift, partly to find out how they were made and why they had to be so expensive. >> the white substance inside used is cotton. then even being illiterate, i thought, why not try to make an affordable pad for my wife. >> reporter: over the next few years, he tried, using local cotton, to replicate the commercial pads. his wife suffered through early prototypes that didn't work and went back to using a rag. muruganantham then coaxed some female medical students to try his subsequent models, figuring the future doctors would be less shy. and he even began wearing a pad himself, creating an artificial uterus and rubber bladder, coaxing a local butcher to provide the raw material and
testing it out. >> filled goat blood, animal blood in it, i tied on my hip. there is a tube connection to napkin and bladder. >> reporter: shanti had had enough >> everyone in the village was saying he'd gone off his head. people said he had become like a vampire, that he was doing crazy things. >> she asked me to drop her at her parents' home for a few days. she never came back. and third month i got a divorce notice from my wife. >> reporter: she filed for divorce? >> yes. >> reporter: his mother, who lived in the home, also left him. but his curiosity did not leave him. he called an american supplier posing as an industrialist looking to branch into feminine hygiene products, and asked for some samples. >> i claim myself i'm a mill owner in coimbatore, i'm going to diversify my business into sanitary pad, please send some samples. she took the courier cover, she scratches it. oh my god i saw the secret.
the fiber. >> reporter: so the dog opened this for you? >> scratched it. >> reporter: it was cellulose, he discovered, that when scratched vigorously, becomes sponge-like and highly it took two years to perfect a machine to fluff up the cellulose, he said; a modified food blender in which the blades have to be angled just so. >> it got prestigious award from i.i.t. best innovation. >> reporter: it's simple, easily replicated and can be modified to work without electricity, he says. the pads can be made and sold for a fraction of the commercial varieties. this is the model for how muruganantham would like to see his product distributed. thousands of small factories run by groups of women producing these sanitary pads at very low cost and selling them directly to women. women are far more comfortable buying the pads from women
directly, rather than from a store, muruganantham says. feminine hygiene is not discussed in open company. our own questions elicited nervous laughter from the very women making them, even as they praised their product. muruganantham is determined to change this. >> i want to make this as a low- sanitary pad movement across the globe. >> reporter: helped by awards and his own advocacy, more than 4,000 small factories have started making his sanitary pads across india, each with its own local branding and language >> this is tamil, it means" flower," this is hindi. >> reporter: he gets no royalties from any of this. his workshop does sell the machines, enough to earn him a modest living. but nothing is patented. he wants others to copy or even improve the machines and
>> the world has a shortage of solution providers. everybody they want to be in the forbes list, hundred, two hundred. nobody want to be a solution provider. >> reporter: in the end, shanti decided her husband was a solution provider. she returned after a five-year separation, somewhat sheepishly, she admits. >> ( translated ): they had his interview on tv, that he had discovered sanitary napkins. so i called him and then i came back. he was angry. i told him i did not want to get in his way, that's why i stepped aside. now we are happy. >> reporter: happy for what her husband's work may mean for young girls like their eight- year-old daughter preethisree. >> the strongest creature created by god in this world, not the tiger, not the elephant, not the lion. the women. >> reporter: if any man doubts this, he says, see how long you
can endure a sanitary pad in your daily routine. for the pbs newshour, this is fred de sam lazaro, in coimbatore, india. >> woodruff: fred's reporting is a partnership with the undertold stories project at the university of saint thomas in minnesota. >> woodruff: a cold-blooded murder uploaded onto the social media site facebook on sunday sent shockwaves reverberating across social media and beyond today, as the manhunt for the killer intensified. john yang has the story. >> yang: the 57-second video shows a man identified as steve stephens driving the streets of cleveland while talking on the phone ... he then steps from the car and confronts robert godwin senior...a 74 year-old retired foundry worker, father of 9 and grandfather of 14 -- and shoots him dead ... the online killing reportedly
remained on the site for nearly 3 hours before facebook removed it... in a statement late today, the company said... that "the video has no place on facebook and goes against our policies and everything we stand for." the company said they are reviewing how it operates, "to be sure people can report videos that violate our standards as quickly as possible." this incident raises fresh questions about the role and responsiblity of social media sites. before the latest facebook statement i spoke with emily dreyfuss, a senior staff writer at wired magazine... i began by asking her what can they do?... first of all, you know, it is true that facebook is working very hard to keep videos like this often of its site. it's easy in a moment like this to say, you know, this is absurd, that it was on facebook for even three hours. but the fact is that a large apparatus of content moderation and work went into the effort to be able to even get the video
down after three hours and in order for it to be removed, that means people on facebook had to flog it as inappropriate and then that flag had to be sent to people that facebook employs all over the world to get rid of content like this and they took it down and sometimes this can take up to 48 hours. so three hours here is not even long in the scheme of things. now, facebook could do more and they are working hard to figure out what they can do. one of those things would be to use a.i. and allow artificial intelligence to help humans who are having to flag this sort of terrible, gruesome material so that we don't see it. one of the problems is that a.i. is not really necessarily ready and up to the task of that yet, so facebook is still trying to figure out how to make this work. >> yang: they're allowing facebook users to flag this or do they have people on staff
watching videos being uploaded? >> they don't have staff watching videos being uploaded. facebook employs hundreds of thousands of people who they call content moderators whose job is just to watch videos and if they see something inappropriate, to them down. they're watching them after a video has been uploaded and then after someone like you or me or someone else on facebook has flagged that video as potentially being inappropriate, at that moment the video will be sent to the team of content moderators who will look at it. right now facebook doesn't have a system in place to look at the video, moderate it and decide whether what's on it is appropriate before it hits the web site. that would radically change facebook as we know it. >> yang: rapid change as facebook as we know it. they want to be a crowd-sourcing content, they want to have raw, emotional videos like this. >> eyes. >> yang: but at the same time
they don't want to cross the line, it seems to me. so how do they define what they do and what they are? >> yeah, so this is an incredibly difficult challenge not just for facebook but society at large for us to decide what is and is not okay to be shared on social media platforms. now, facebook has resisted calls to say it is a media company like pbs or wired. now, we as journalists have guidelines for how to deal with what kind of content is appropriate that we would put on tv or in our magazine. facebook, by refusing to call itself a media company tries to take responsibility away from itself and say, look, rather than being a media company, we are actually a mirror on society and going to reflect society at its best and worst. what we saw yesterday with steve stephens video was the worst. facebook wants to encourage people to upload video and wants to encourage people to upload emotional, raw, intense video, and it is succeeding.
that's part of its business model. fit goes too far and allows videos like this one to show up on people's time lines, it will also destroy itself because you and i are not going to continue to log into facebook if when we go on to see videos and pictures of our nieces and nephews if we accidentally come upon a gruesome, horrific homoside. so facebook has an incentive not make us not want to upload things, which they may do if they were to censor us. you can imagine the outcry of people if you went to facebook to upload a video and it didn't show up because facebook was waiting to approve it, people wouldn't like that either, but nor do we like having videos like this in your time line. it's a really tough challenge for them to walk that line. >> yang: they're also trying to bolster the facebook live feature. this was a video posted although this man used facebook live to talk about what he did. what's this going to do to their efforts to boost facebook
live? >> with facebook live, what was, as we were describing, as a very difficult challenge becomes almost impossible, unless they were to put facebook live on a delay and it would cease to be live, there is no way they can avoid things like this from hitting the site, and it's honestly a miracle that homicide and horrible, gruesome violence have not been already used in that way. that's something facebook has to know and it's deciding it can depend on users to flag content soon enough to take it down but it is definitely taking that risk to push this product that's live. >> yang: yes, ma'am yes -- emil, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, john. >> woodruff: now, why a special congressional election in georgia is getting national attention. protesters demand to see the
president's tax returns, but do most americans care? and does president trump's travel indicate his priorities? we delve in to all of it in politics monday, with amy walter of the "cook political report" and tamara keith of npr. and welcome to both of you. so, amy, we are looking at a special congressional election tomorrow. democrats think they have a chance. >> they think they have a chance. >> woodruff: do they have a chance? >> they absolutely do. here's the thing about this district. we talked a little about it last week, but it's suburban atlanta district, very wealthy, very well educated. this is a republican district but not trump country. this is a district mitt romney won by 20 points, a district republican congressman tom price, now h.h.s. secretary, easily carried, but trump only won by less than 2 points. this is the kind of district democrats think they can win when this becomes a referendum
on the president and his popularity much more so than the democrats. we'll get an interesting test of that. also helping the democrats are the fact there are 11 republicans and that's very fractured and they're fighting each other. the democrat is benefiting from national excitement about this race. he's raised a ton of money, and enthusiasm among the democratic base, while the republican base not quite as enthusiastic. >> woodruff: this is different from the kansas race we watched last week. >> this is because it's closer, it's not kansas, it's the suburbs of atlanta, and the democratic candidate has been able to consolidate democratic support, and the republicans are fighting each other as much as they're fighting him. he -- this democrat john ossoff is running for congress for the
first time. he raised a loft money, $8 million, but most from outside the district. 95% of it came from outside of the district. 80% of it from outside of the state. so what this says, this is a proxy war. this is democrats all over the united states looking at this as an opportunity to send a message. this becomes about president trump and about the message they can send and less about the local issues that this could be about. >> woodruff: you both have covered politics all over the country, but, amy, i read something today they were making the point that democrats are spending a lot of money on television and online, on ads, but they're not putting enough into actually turning out the vote, this so-called get out the vote effort. is this a factor here? >> you're seeing both things. the democrats, the committee
responsible for electing congressional democrats, put morgue people on the ground in districts saying we understand we need to do more to motivate our base to get out. we have to touch them rather than to just put ads. but the fact is this democrat has, as tam pointed out, has over $8 million, maybe close to $10 million, and getting spent everywhere in this congressional district. this is what we'll be looking for, whether the president's low approval ratings and lack of enthusiasm for republicans fired up the democratic base. they send a warning signal to republicans, if a democrat wins here, i think if you're a republican up in 2018, you say, huh-oh, an. >> woodruff: and it gives heart to democrats if he wins, clearly. >> yes, potentially, if he wins, and, of course, this is just the primary. it's sort of a jungle primary, so if he gets more than 50%, he wins. if he doesn't, there's another race there's a general election which will be a more traditional
race where the democrat can go after the republican and the republican is go after the democrat, though the republicans trained their fire pretty much at jon ossoff because he consolidated the support. >> woodruff: so we're looking at a rise of democratic energy across the curnghts we have been talking about it for the last -- across the country, we have been talking about it for the last couple of months. we mentioned the rallies across the country, marches pointing out tax day is coming up tomorrow and the president hasn't released his tax returns. the question, is is that something that gets people excited or disturbed? >> it certainly is motivating to the democratic base and i think, for a lot of voters, the issues of transparency is very important. despite the fact the president said nobody cares about his taxes, i think a lot of people care he didn't release his taxes. the important issue is it was the most important issue for the
voters. the challenge now getting something accomplished. this is why you're seeing republican enthusiasm weighing in, the sense of frustration. i talk to a lot of republicans who say we have the house, the senate, the white house, we still can't get things done. i think the bigger challenge for the president will be in a tax reform bill doesn't pass, more so than whether he releases his taxes -- >> woodruff: and by the way, the treasury secretary, tam, said today they do not intend or don't anticipate getting a tax reform plan out there before the august recess which is late in the summer. >> that's right, and based on everything we've seen leading up to this point, it doesn't look like they've found cohesion on what they want on the republican side. the house wants something different than the senate, and the white house, i think, has some internal divisions even about what the trump administration wants. so tax reform is a lil really bg
thing. it hasn't happened since 1986 and took them more than six years to get it. >> woodruff: it was complicated and took a long time. >> it took a very long time, and there was some level of bipartisan horse trading that is not currently happening between the president and congress, and if his own party doesn't agree, that presents a challenge. >> and i think that's what republicans are finding out is even though they have all the levers of power, they remain incredibly divided. to me the most interesting number that came out today was a poll that asked democrats and republicans do you think your party is mostly united or divided, overwhelmingly the republicans said divided, overwhelming majority of democrats said i think we're reunited. you're seeing the divisions on healthcare and will see it on the taxes, too. >> woodruff: tam, a story today that the president has done less traveling both in the u.s. and abroad and both his
predecessors obama and george w. bush. does that say something that should tell us anything about whether he's going to be successful or not? >> i don't know if it's a predictor of success. what it does tell us is those predecessors, they were campaigning, they were out pushing for policy proposals. president obama was out there holding town halls, trying to build support for his stimulus package, and president bush was out there trying to build support for no child left behind and tax proposal. president trump had a 17-day period where he could have gone out the push for the healthcare bill but it was in flux and wasn't clear he held a couple of rallies and didn't really campaign for it. so he's not had the policies to go out and sell to the public and that might be part why he spent less time. >> he likes to preach to the choir rather than convert new groups. his travel schedule is more like
comfort food than an attempt to broaden his base and that will be a bigger challenge for the president going forward. his approval rating right now, about 40%, he can't survive just at 40% or get big things done with that. >> woodruff: i'm getting my head wrapped around comfort food now. amy walter, tamera keith, thank you both, "politics monday," thank you. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: now, a former american diplomat takes a candid look at the state of international affairs today. it's the latest addition to the newshour bookshelf. margaret warner is back with that. >> warner: president trump has discovered in his first 100 days that the world is as messy and menacing to u.s. interests, as he contended during the campaign. and much more difficult for washington to manage. this is the product of forces driving the world apart for nearly three decades since the
end of the cold war. that's the theme of a new book by richard haass, "a world in disarray: american foreign policy and the crisis of the old order." president of the council on foreign relations, haass served in senior foreign policy positions in the administrations of both presidents, and richard haass welcome. >> thank you. >> warner: so as you and i both recall at the end of the cold war, we in the west had this surge of optimism, a new era of international cooperation was at hand. instead, you write in your book, we're seeing a declining sense of order, was that inevitable? >> turns out not. very little about history is inevitable. in part though, we reflected the end of the cold war, you had two centers of power controlling things, now we have any numbers of players on the field. lots of capacity and lots of hands. the united states to some extent has arguably made things worse, both by things we've done, 2003 iraq war, possibly going into libya, and things we haven't done. not responding to syria's
chemical weapons use four years ago, not following up the libyan invasion, and then you have globalization. the fact that so much is traveling, the quantity and the speed across borders and the world simply hasn't caught up. if anything the gap is getting larger. so all this makes for a world in disarray. >> warner: you write at one point in the book, i think close to the end that, and as you just said, "action has consequences, but so does inaction." and you counsel against drift. so with that in mind, i mean what could president trump do that's new about the conflict in syria? >> well, i think he has to avoid both too much and too little. to simply wash our hands of it, we've seem to be a mistake. we've seen the refugee flows into europe, we've also got all sorts of terrorist. on the other hand, we're not going to transform syria into a democracy anytime soon. we're not going to be able to get rid of the government of bashar al assad anytime soon. so what i would do, is focus on going after isis, we're going to liberate some territory, let's sure we can with others, make sure any liberated territory
remains safe so people can go back there. we don't want to have a situation where we win the battle and lose the war, and we want to slowly begin a diplomatic process. work with the u.n. and even with russia, no matter how strained that relationship is, to begin the process of saying, "how do we move syria towards a government that it can live in peace with it's own people?" >> warner: at the nub of a lot of crises that are confronting this new president, let's take syria, ukraine, north korea. it seems to me, what you really have are tensions between two newly assertive powers, old powers, russia and china. are we moving towards a tripolar world, in which these three countries will all have client states? or is it even messier than that? >> on one level it's messier than that, cause globalizations a problem and medium states. the iran's, the north korea's, groups like isis. i'm actually not worried about what you suggest margaret.
i think russia is a one dimensional power, largely military force, largely cyber too, to do things in the middle east and europe. but we can also push back. we can strengthen nato. i think mr. putin is not going to use large amounts of military force if he realizes it's going to be costly, and potentially unpopular back at home. china's not a revolutionary power in many ways like say russia. china's integrated in the region and in the world economically, it doesn't much like the north koreans. i think the real question is what they're prepared to do about it. but i actually think that china could something of a partner of the united states, and by the way we should hope so. it's a very different 21st century that the united states and china can work together. >> warner: but i mean every past president, at least the last two have been talking about getting china to do more on north korea. what leverage does the new president have that the others didn't? >> china doesn't want to see the united states use military force there and no other president until donald trump, faced a very stark reality.
that on his watch china, north korea is going to be able to put nuclear weapons on missiles that can reach the united states, and threaten the lives of millions of americans. this now has drifted since the presidency of what-- bill clinton. this is a very different situation. this is an urgency now and china has to know, that simply allowing things to drift is no longer a viable option. what i don't know margaret, is how much of the leverage they deny they have, that you and i know they really have, are they prepared to use? >> warner: another place in this book, you make the comment that, really at the turn of the 20th to 21st centuries, "the great powers were not so great anymore." do you think americans realize that? do you think this is something that kind of a new world order, or something we have to get used too? >> i'm not sure we realize it but, it's real. in part, because there's so many things going on out there that we can't control. but also look at what we've done in places like iraq and afghanistan. those massive interventions, and even those two places we culdn't control.
so there ought to be a bit of humility. but i do think you've put your finger on a big, big issue, what is the relationship the united states and the world. we can't control things, we're still the single most important country. what we do and don't do. what and how we define success in the world, more than anything else will make a difference. because we know the world left to its own devices, doesn't sort itself out. >> warner: do you think the american public though is ready to continue shouldering that responsibility? >> i'm concerned that we're not. i think there's a degree of fatigue after iraq and after afghanistan. i think there's some misunderstanding about how much it costs for us. if you look at the inaugural speech, the president talked about it. but what we're spending on defense is only a fraction of what we spent during the cold war. we can have our cake and eat it. we can have the guns we need we can have the butter, we can have the domestic policy we need. we've got to understand that what we do in the world is not only good for the world it's good for us. it's not a form of philanthropy, it's a form of national security. >> warner: and that's a case any
president has to make. richard haass, thank you so much. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now, read an appreciation of a danish writer whose poems celebrate the beauty of farming and working the earth. all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, the controversy over new plans for student loans from the department of education. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and by the alfred p. sloan
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