tv Mc Laughlin Group PBS February 25, 2011 8:30pm-9:00pm PST
>> a revolutionary, i will die as a martyr at the end! 92 in libya this week, thousands of protestors demanded that the libyan head of state moammar gaddafi surrender his power. libya is a big nation, sandwiched between egypt and tunisia on the mediterranean sea. gaddafi has been in power for more than 40 years, since 1969! gaddafi is not stepping down, he is cracking down, cracking down on protestors. libya security forces are shooting protestors in the streets, shooting to kill. death toll estimates have ranged from 1,000 to 300, but gaddafi's hold on the company is slipping. the protestors gained the eastern section of the country in five libyan cities. throughout monday and tuesday, president obama was silent on the libyan crisis, late on wednesday mr. obama broke his silence with carefully chosen
words. >> first, we are doing everything we can to protect american citizens. and it's my highest priority. in a volatile situation like this one, it's imperativthe nations and people of the world speak with one voice, and that that has been our focus. the entire world is watching. >> question, what is the reason why president obama has been hesitant to speak out against gaddafi and. >> it was very weak statement, john. but the reason he's been hesitant to speak is there's 6,000 americans, something like that, as of friday still in that country in various places. gov a maniac responsible for the lockerbie massacre. he could attempt reprisals against americans, shooting of americans, and hostage taking and althe rest. but this crisis, john, gaddafi is approaching his end right now, and in my view lot of people are pushing for american intervention. if anybody's going to go into stop a massacre going on or start using poison gas, it
ought to be a nato operation and the italians and others ought to go in first for this reason, this used to be an italian province. we have no visit al person interests there. put together by the italians, you know. the eastern part of it that's broken way, italians captured in 1912. ram el left in 1943. this is a problem for the international community. if somebody has to move, we should help. but we should not take the lead. >> that's what he said. >> well, but i do agree with folks -- that it was a very, very weak statement. weaker than anybody else's delivered the europeans, for example. >> i think the president is handling it totally just right. first of all, there are americans over there. he's dealing with a lunatic personality, a personality who has chemical weapons. you don't want to do anything to set f those trip wires or create a hostage situation. secondly, i think this is not a fight, that the america is in
the middle of. this is more of the european concern, and the president is right, you have to speak with one international voice. i'm sure if there is a nato operation that does get to that, they do want to pursue a no-fly zone, the u.s. will be right in the middle of that. you almost wish we had a standing peacekeeping force that could be dispatched, but we don't. and the u.s. doesn't want to own this crisis because there's too much anti-american sentiment over there, in a u.s. intervention could come back and really hurt us in the end. >> do you think the europeans want a big influx of -- a huge influx of libyans into their territory? >> no. obviously not. but i disagree. i think this is an example crying out for american leadership. actually over the last two years there have been two clear examples that cried out for american presidential leadership. one started nearly two years ago with the iranian revolt that is ongoing and the second now is libya.
you're dealing with two regimes that are enemies of the united states, state son and supports of torque exports of terror and the peoples in those two countries are crying out for some sort of moral support. nobody is asking for the 10th division to walk through tehran or the streets of tripoli. but the president of the united states absolutely in this case should have come out with a much more morally clarifying statement and much earlier than he has. and as for the 6,000 americans, what he ended up doing was treating them as if they were already hostages, by backing of off and not adoing anything immediately. remember, president reagan called give the mad dog of the middle east. mpared to this, president oba is the chihuahua of the west. where is the leadership? >> you think that president speech was measured and appropriate? >> i think the president's speech was measured, appropriate. i agree with both pat and eleanor.
i think this might be a first, that totally the president has gotten it right. but i also think that the united states and president obama is mindful of this, cannot go into this alone. one, the united states doesn't have the same length in libya as it did in egypt. and also, again, as pat said, this is a european affair. if anything is going to be done, it's going to have to be done through the international community. it can be on led by the united states and it's going to be led by the europeans, and just one other word of caution as we saw happening in egypt. there are lots of things that are happening behind the scenes, out of the public view, that we don't know about yet. so while everyone is criticizing the president for not doing anything, i think down road we're going to hear about all sorts of things the administration has been doing behind the scenes to get a handle on the situation, to protect american lives on the ground, to protect not only american interests but european interests, because let's not
forget, oil. >> okay, more moammar. >> moammar gaddafi spoke to the libyan people on thursday by telephone. his one-hour message was transmitted by libyan tv and rebroadcast on the al-jazeera website. gaddafi tried to shift the blame to another outlaw, osama bin laden, and a supply of drugs for the uprising. he also minimized his role in libya's government. z >> committing criminals [not understandable] therare institutions that handle the issues of the state. >> question is osama bin laden in any way line the libyan gaddafi pushout? >> this one -- responsible either although its
sales will go down. what's his name, gaddafi said they were put in the cafe. but no, he is not, john. but you know, the united states of america, i think it's important here, unless there's a massive bloodbath or chemical weapons are used, that we let the libyans win their own revolution against these individuals. they do it themselves on their own. then if they want folks to come in and help them rebuild their country, i think that's vitally important. >> you think -- >> we don't win the revolution. >> you thinker going soft on osama? he was responsible for 9/11, pat? there's it doubt -- which. >> gaddafi hasn't -- the 9/11. >> a little 9/11, lockerbie. and that's his baby! >> the only way osama bin egyp and also, again, as pat that co ungoverned state, and it could become a haven for terrorists. that's an outcome that we don't want. but this is an unhinged personality.
and the president is trying to balance american national security interests because he is actually been an ally. he gave up his weapons of mass destruction program under the bush administration, and he has been playing ball with us. and so -- and he's controlling a lot of oil. so this is one of those tightropes. >> we don't have any evidence that osama bin laden and al- qaeda per se are behind this. but gaddafi may actually have a point in that there is the hidden hand of islamism moving through all of these revolutions, and definitely in egypt from the very beginning in the form of the muslim brotherhood. you have iran making mischief in about rain and now in libya you have an al-qaeda affiliate operating inthe east called the libyan islamic liberation group. so bin laden is not directing this per se, but you cannot exclude the influence of very -- [everyone talking at once] >> the thing that moammar
gaddafi who is laying blame on osama bin laden and gaddafi and the regime whenever anything goes wrong in that country, they blame al-qaeda. it's this umbrella name for anything and anyone who is against the regime. so i'm going to take what i just saw in that clip as just a mad man proving he is a mad man. >> he's deranged, john. but that's what makes him especially dangerous. >> the issue is, who is organize straighting or at least having a hidden hand in running or managing -- [everyone talking at once] >> good question. is now the time to topple gaddafi, through decisive u.s.- european action? >> decisive libyan action, let the libyans do it first. ifes there's a hard shore that starts there, have the europeans go in with the americans backing them up. if they start killing americans, shoot down his planes. but don't go in unless our own
people are imperilled. >> i think it's awfully hard for the world to stand by if this really does hundred in a horror show from the skies. but i'm with pat in the sense that i think it's not an american show. this is mostltla european show and has to be collective nato action. and i think over the weekends after we finish taping this she there will be a lot of conversations going on and things could change very rapidly. >> and i think -- >> you think it's time to topple him now? >> absolutely. he's been in power 42 years too long. but i think if we do have military intervention, it will be a nato operation. but the united states will play a visit al role because if you have a huge humanitarian crisis here, this is on moral grounds and economic grounds. jonathan points out, the fragil economic recovery. if this crisis is ongoing, that global and u.s. economic recovery is going to be very jeopardized along with his re- election chances. >> who who take over the government? >> in libya?
>> yes. >> nobody knows. that's why we need to wake up to the fact -- [everyone talking at once] >> is that an argument against toppling him now? >> give is a terrorist in word and deemed he needs to go. he's not an ally of the united states, unlike hosni mubarak. >> you know libya is a clan society and gaddafi is tribal. but clannish. and that means a lot of clans and a lot of centers of power. not unlike afghanistan, for example. and elsewhere. >> john -- >> but the point is this. if it's a clan society, and there's no real law running that society as gaddafi was, what will happen to that society? will it be a cancerous ongoing sore that really should be eradicated now? >> what we really don't know that yet. but what we're seeing -- eastern libya has already torn away from gaddafi so we're starting to get a view into what -- what a new libya could look like. but again, this is -- [everyone talking at once] >> who is on the ground over
there? >> this is three provinces of empire. in the east and the south, and you've got -- and the reason that device in the east now can't get to the west to help them, i talked this morning on television, there's a 49 in the center of the country which is strongly pro-gaddafi. >> think gaddafi should be taken down? >> everybody thinks he should be taken down. >> taken down now? >> it could come apart. nonow.w. the answer is issue work to organizing for america. >> as more protestors come from nevada, chicago and elsewhere, i'm not going to allow their voices to overwhelm the voices of the millions of taxpayers from all across the state who know we're doing the right thing. >> the right thing is republican governor of wisconsin scott walker's state budget bill. the bill is designed by
governor walker to close wisconsin's projected $3.6 billion deficit for fiscal year 2012 and 2013. the budget bill would save $1.7 billion. here's how he breaks it out. one, no layoffs. avoid 1500 immediate state worker layoffs and 10,000 to 12,000 long-term layoffs. two, underwrite education. wisconsin public schools gained $1 billion in savings. three, protect worker workers' rights. no mandatory union membership, no forced union dues. up to $1,000 in savings per worker. four, pension plan pay-in. workers contribute 5.8% of paycheck to a pension plan. their current contribution, zero. five, health insurance pay-in. workers contribute 12.6% of their paycheck to their health
insurance plan. up from a current 5%. six, no collecti bargaining rights for unions, except in the instance of wage negotiations. governor walker says that an end to collective bargaining would save the state $30 million in the remaining fiscal year. seven, protect bargaining for public safety unions. firefighters, policemen and state troopers retain all of their collective bargaining rights. president obama last week weighed in on the situation whe he was in milwaukee. "some of what avenue heard coming out of wisconsin where you're just making it hard for public employees to collectively bargain generally on unions." question, is republican gordon walker's intention to close the $3.6 billion shortfall or to crack down on wisconsin's state worker unions? jonathan? >> both.
there's a serious budget problem in wisconsin. but at the same time, governor waer tipped his hand in carving out the public safety unions from his collective bargaining gambit and also not taking yes for an answer when the public service union said yes, we'll do the five and 12, x yes, we'll pay into our pensions and health care, and he said, i'd love to negotiate but there's no one to negotiate with. >> you've got to stop -- they call it collective bargaining. it's collusive bargaining. what you've got is a union put enormousages of money in, they get together and cut a deal, give this. a sweet hart contract and give it to the taxpayers. what this governor walker is saying, those days are over. we've got somebody representing the people now, and this will be an adversary position you folks -- [everyone talking at once] >> since when does scott walker represent the people? >> he's elected! >> he's representing the money
interests. >> let her finish. >> including lots of money from the coke brothers. the unions have capitulated, they've said they would go for the higher commitments to the pension funds, higher health emiums, and he he is saying no he wants to wine out their right to bargain. this is drawing a line in the sand 2012. it's the republicans trying to dismantle the fund-raising arm and the political arm of the -- [everyone talking at once] >> it's going to do for the democrats exactly what the republicans did for the democrats [everyone talking at once] >> immigrants. >> i don't think so. i don't think so! look, governor walker got elected on the platform of through any means necessary, getting wisconsin fiscal house in order. he ran on the platform. he got elected. nearly 60% of the state assembly republicans. 60%, almost of the state senate, 60% republican. all voted in on this very platform. the state is broke.
there is no money. the governoree train is over. pat is right, the system -- the union negotiation, collective bargaining system is incredibly corrupt because the unions sit on both sides of the barking table and nobody has been representing the taxpayers. and you know what -- this battle is really about two other big things. it's about the debate er the proper size and role of government, number one. and number two, the battle between the give me end it's. ment culture. >> what about the -- >> organization for america, ofa? does that ring a bell with anybody? >> obama has made a terrible mistake. he went back to his community organizing role, came out all with these union guys. >> wait a minute! you know that he's got -- ofa is now mobilized and they've sent people there, and this obama's political entity, brought to win him the election is that appropriate behavior? >> i think it's -- look, he can do it sure but he's a community
organizer. the key is this is it going national. [everyone talking at once] the battle of wisconsin is the first battle, the battle for america. [everyone talking at once] unions are demonstrate engine every capital in the country. >> operations are still doing fine in america. [eveveone talking at once] >> cozy relationship with politicians, which is much -- >> will you let our guest in. >> jonathan, you think it's the makings of another -- >> which piece? >> well, and these that obama is utilizing his still standing ofa, to mobilize the crowd, to get the crowd there for taking his position? >> there's no question that no other issue, not the health care fight, not anything has mobilized the prressive movement and those folks who
were volunteering for ofa -- left, during the 2008 campaign, than this. and you know, i don't like the inference that this is being directed, that ofa has an office in the white house. that's not the case. [everyone talking at once >> show up, bring yoururson. >> that's illegal or just -- >> no, it's not illegal. >> i just want to mick that clear. >> if it's obama's concurrence behind that, is that inappropriate for a president of the unitedstates? >> yes. >> no! [everyone talking at once] >> you don't think so? >> personally -- speaking for myself. >> okay. >> the left is furious that president obama has not gone to wisconsin and they're playing the tape of him from the campaign saying i will put on -- >> look. >> excuse me, pat, want to finish! >> he wants to walk with the strikers and play that tape over and over again. and if only this were happening in the summer of 2012, it's a
little too early. >> i don't think as far as his re-election is concerned this is a mistake? >> it's the democrats, john. >> that he's -- >> he's a driven by obama or concurred with by obama that his political entity is back in at a gathering like that, where you have a -- [everyone talking at once] >> what will happen in november? >> obama balances the federal budget, then he can comment on state budgets what governors are trying to do. >> you cannot let these folks -- they've got teachers on wildcat strikes bringing kids in, they're crowding legislatures. legislators leaving the stissue >> respect to the issue of whether gays and lesbians should be able to get married, my feelings about this are constantly evolving. i struggle with this. >> president obama this week addressed the subject of gay marriage. two persons of (the same gender
marrying each other. he has decided that his administration will no longer defend the constitutionality of the law that was enacted by president clinton in 1996, almost 15 years ago. this law is called doma. the defensive marriage act. doma defines marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." doma denies federal benefits and inheritance rights to gay and lesbian couples, even if the couple was married in a state where gay marriage is legal currently. connecticut, iowa, massachusetts, new hampshire, vermont, and the district of columbia. two and i half years ago president barack obama was more traditional in his views on what marriage is. >> i believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. >> so? what has changed, mr. obama's
view? it could be the self-described shellacking he took in last fall's midterm elections which many a trip to a lackluster turnout by the democrats to prevents a repeat performance, when he runs for re-election in 2012, some say he is rallying his beral supporters with policy changes like the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" his reversal on gay marriage. question, is obama also mr. obama baiting the republicans to divert their attention from the economy to social issues at this particular time? >> can i take that question? >> you may. >> no. here's the reason why this issue is coming up now. there are two cases in the second circuit, new york and connecticut, that have a filing deadline of march 11th. the significance of this is that in that particar rcui there isno case law, no precedent as to whether cases where sexual orientation
is at issue, whether they can be argued on a rational basis or heightened scrutiny. and every other circuit, there's rational basis. here there isnd therefore, the administration and the defense, the plaintiffs, have to answer the question, should there be rational basis review of these cases, or heightened scrutiny? the administration was under an obligation from the court to answer the question. that's what is happening. the administration was asked the question, it's answered a question. and now it's the court that decides what -- how those cases will be viewed. >> you know that if we were not doing this issue, we would probably do the budget. the budget is coming next week, and it could involve the shutdown of the united states congress. >> right. >> big issue. we're not doing it. you know why? because he put this front of us. what he's done is, he's managed to divert the press attention, this whole weekends, so that the budget is not discussed and
he doesn't go in with anything that is going to appeal -- going to appeal to the -- those in congress. >> there's nothing stopping you from doing the budget. it's a huge deal! it's not like the folks in the white house decided let's throw this issue out to divert it. >> he has -- this card in his pocket. he can play when he wants. >> john -- >> he plays it on the threshold -- do you understand what i'm saying? controlling take one and the debate. >> this is a diversion but the key question here, john, he's told the justice department not to defend a federal law. when republicans get in what, will outs of time. bye-bye! vogeico, committed to providing service to its auto insurance customers for over 70 years. more information on auto insurance at geico.com
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u.s. foreign policy. i'm ralph begleiter. this week we ask, is u.s. power in decline? to help answer theuestion, we'll be joined by great decisions participants in connecticut; and by our experts: richard gowan, associate director of the center on international cooperation, and david shorr, a senior fellow at the stanley foundation. thank you both for being with us. so let me ask you the simple question, is aca