09.27.2018

Robert Kagan

We get a reality check on President Trump’s jaw-dropping press conference at the U.N. from the conservative American historian and foreign policy expert Bob Kagan.

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So about North Korea.

And to follow up on what you said.

Because he said that you know I've made friends with Kim Jong un.

I like Kim Jong un he called him very very courageous.

But he also said something in the press conference which took a lot of people by surprise and I certainly never heard this before about President Obama or North Korea.

Just take a listen.

If I wasn't elected you'd be in a war.

And President Obama essentially said the same thing. He was ready to go to war.

You would have had a war and you would have lost millions not thousands you would've lost millions of people Seoul has 30 million people 40 miles and 30 miles from this very dangerous border.

If I wasn't elected you would have had a war.

Had you had that before.

The President Obama was so close allegedly to that.

Not only have I not heard it I'm fairly confident it's not true but it's interesting that Donald Trump makes that point because you know he's walking an interesting line when it comes to his base and the American people in general on the one hand he wants to look like a tough guy who can get the world to do what he wants on the other hand he wants to make it clear that he's not going to use military force.

And so he wants to use just economic tools and his own brilliance as a negotiator to get what America wants and I think that other countries are going to figure that out.

Other countries that are are probably adversaries the United States and have military capability.

And again this is what's sort of worrying about Trump is that he wants to push countries very hard but at the same time he's not prepared to deal with the possible consequences of that if it does lead to some kind of military confrontation.

And just again about the sovereignty issue he said America will never surrender sovereignty to an unelected global bureaucracy.

And he seems to be conflating alliances and multi-color multilateralism with somehow being against the notion of sovereignty.

I don't know whether you think that as well that there's some sort of exclusivity that seems to be claiming there but in so far as your book and what you've been talking about you know The jungle grows back America and our imperiled world.

What do you mean by the jungle growing back.

Well I don't mean a threat to America's sovereignty which is not something that I think we should be concerned about and just on that point I mean I don't think we've heard an American president talk like this since the 1920s.

And he's playing to this sort of old American fear that somehow international organizations are going to take away America's sovereignty which I think when you're the strongest power in the world it's kind of a silly kind of a fear.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour interviews John Avlon, CNN Senior Political Analyst and former Chief Speechwriter for NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani & Patti Solis Doyle, former Senior Advisor to Hillary Clinton; and Robert Kagan, author of “The Jungle Grows Back” and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State. Michel Martin interviews Sarah Smarsh, author of “Heartland.”

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