Is ‘hostage diplomacy’ happening in China? | DW News


Is this the latest pawn in a global power
game? Spy novelist and blogger Yang Hengjun was
a Chinese diplomat before he became an Australian citizen. He flew from the New York to Guangzhou last
week, where he mysteriously dropped off the grid. Friends raised the alarm when he couldn’t
be contacted. Beijing at first denied all knowledge of his
whereabouts. But now officials have confirmed Yang is in
residential detention in Beijing and has been charged with espionage. Australia is demanding consular access at
the earliest opportunity. It’s also seeking urgent clarification as
to whether Yang’s detention, is linked to Canada’s arrest of top Huawei executive Meng
Wanzhou in December. China has detained several foreigners since
then, widely seen as retaliation. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne sees
no evidence of a connection, for the moment. I would be concerned if there was an indication
of that. So we are calling on the Chinese authorities
to ensure that this matter is dealt with transparently and fairly. Feng Chongyi, a friend and colleague of Yang’s,
says the arrest is clearly linked to what he calls, Beijing’s “hostage diplomacy”. Because of the Huawei case, I believe they
are using these people as hostages to exercise pressure on Canadian government, on the government
of the United States and the government of Australia as well to release Meng Wanzhou
back to China. China’s recent detention of foreign nationals
is straining its international relations. But Beijing appears determined to play hard
ball, in a high-stakes dispute with the West.

North Korean Nuclear Threat: A Model Diplomacy Case Study


North Korea is located in Northeast Asia.
It is a socialist system. It was established on a Soviet model.
The economy is centrally controlled. That system worked well in the early 60s but it ran into roadblocks, in part because of North Korea’s isolation. China is a kind of lifeline for goods, energy, and food to
North Korea, and North Korea is reported to have as much as one quarter of its GDP
devoted to the military. North Korea is estimated to have enough material to build 10 to 16 nuclear weapons in 2016. They’ve also been trying to develop a nuclear bomb
small enough that it could fit onto a missile– in other words they’re trying to expand their ability
to deliver a nuclear weapon to a neighboring country, or, in the long term,
possibly even to the United States. The U.S.-North Korea relationship may be
the most enduring hostile relationship the United States has had with any country in the world. Arguably the origins of the nuclear program in
North Korea go back to the 1960s. It didn’t really become of concern on the part of the U.S. until the late 1980s, at which time a nuclear reactor was detected by satellites.
The U.S. began to focus on what could be done in order to stop North Korea
from pursuing further nuclear development. One method has been to
negotiate with North Korea. Subsequently, the United States has used sanctions
following North Korea’s nuclear tests. Another important priority of U.S. policy toward
North Korea has been deterrence. The main concern that the United States
has related to North Korea is in maintaining the stability of South Korea and
preventing a war on the Korean Peninsula that could evolve into a regional conflict. Since the end of the Korean War,
the United States has maintained troops in South Korea, and the U.S. interest in the
peninsula is directly related to its security commitments to South Korea. In addition
the U.S. has an alliance with Japan. Another U.S. interest is the fact that
the North Korean regime is probably the worst human rights violator in the world. China is the country that North Korea
is most dependent on, but its views about the desired end state on the Korean Peninsula are different from those of the United States and South Korea.
One policy option for the United States in confronting the challenge posed by
North Korea’s nuclear development might be to manage the problem.
The U.S. could try to slow down the North Korean nuclear program through
isolation, through sanctions. The U.S. could continue to pursue deterrence, and they
can try to put pressure on North Korea to get the North Koreans to move
in a different direction. A second policy option would be to
go back to the negotiating table. Another policy option might be
a preventive strike against North Korea’s nuclear program. There’s really no direct means that
the United States and North Korea have to address their differences that does not ultimately involve North Korea’s neighbors
and American allies.

Columbia Law School Campaign: We Were There


I love being able to learn how other
people live their lives. I’ve been to 43 countries so far. I feel a very strong
sense of urgency and of purpose to improve society and make it more just. When I was 10 years old I got involved in political campaigns. I wanted to go to
law school to help protect the right to vote. I was advising some of the biggest
corporations out there doing tax consulting, and I thought: all right
what’s next? Corporate law just fascinated me. Growing up, my father would be pulled over by the police and referred to as
boy. I remember the first time I was called the n-word. As a kid, I wanted to
rectify this societal problem. When I found out that I got into
Columbia, I can’t even describe the joy that I felt. I probably called everyone I knew. To be walking in these halls is quite humbling. We are a force in the world. We were there when history was made. We are leaders and changemakers. To me, Constance Baker Motley defines what it
means to break barriers. She drafted the first complaint in Brown versus Board of Education. Harvey Goldschmid was an absolutely
fierce defender of shareholder rights, and I sincerely hope that one day I can
do the same. You can start here a student and you can become a justice on the U.S.
Supreme Court. Harlan Fiske Stone enabled a minimum wage. Stone’s bold stance is
very inspiring to me. Lou Henkin is considered to be the forefather of human
rights law and I’ve been following his legacy. The movement continues to build
and expand in ways that he might not have seen coming. To be surrounded by these students is
inspiring. To really be a part of change. To protect this project of our democracy. Advocating for those that don’t have a seat at the table. We have a responsibility. It’s now or never. In the moments that matter we are called upon to really make an impact. We are Columbia Law.

Toy Story 3 (Political Oppression)


“New toys!” Toy Story 3 is the latest installment of the
beloved Pixar series that appeals to the child in all of us. But the movie also contains some surprising
insights into the human rights abuses of totalitarian regimes. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
guarantees a wide range of democratic freedoms that are a threat to governments who oppress
their people. Although expressed through the vehicle of
Pixar’s famous animated toys, Toy Story 3 depicts the abuses that befall people in many Communist countries, like the Soviet Union, China, and North Korea. Now that Andy is heading off to college, his
toys are torn between staying with him in the attic or going to a daycare, where they
can be played with every day. Upon arriving at Sunnyside Daycare, the seemingly
benevolent teddy bear leader Lotso places them in the toddler room. There they are harshly handled by the toddlers,
whereas Lotso’s favorite toys are all played with by the older kids. One of the hallmarks of totalitarian regimes
is their tendency to oppress people by separating them into classes. While promising to serve the masses, with
benevolent rhetoric reminiscent of Lotso’s, these regimes always structure society to
guarantee privilege for the regime’s ruling party at the expense of the masses. Lotso refuses Buzz’s request to transition
into the older kids’ playroom, thus denying him freedom of movement. He then brainwashes Buzz by reverting him
to original factory setting in order to punish Buzz for challenging his authority. Lotso then forces the now-compliant Buzz to
jail the other toys, thus violating their rights by arbitrarily imprisoning them. Does any of this sound eerily similar to life
under Communism? Citizens in Communist nations are denied freedom
of movement. If citizens in North Korea challenge authority,
their entire family is punished with imprisonment or execution. They are also forced to undergo reconditioning
where they are brainwashed with North Korean propaganda. “Listen up, folks. We got a way of doing things here at Sunnyside. If you start at the bottom, pay your dues,
life here can be a dream come true. But if you break our rules, step out of line,
try to check out early….well, you’re just hurting yourself.” “Woody! What did you do to him?” “You all get a good night’s rest. You got a full day of playtime tomorrow.” As Andy’s toys escape the daycare, Lotso bars
their exit. The toys refuse to return to their oppressive
system, declaring it unjust as Lotso rules with an iron fist behind his benevolent rhetoric. They proclaim their right to democratic government. “And I’d rather rot in this dumpster than
join any family of yours.” “Jessie’s right. Authority should derive from the consent of
the governed, not from the threat of force.” When the toys successfully rebel against Lotso’s
regime, they create a more representative and fair system for all. Unfortunately, tyranny in the real world couldn’t
be overthrown as easily as in a Pixar film. Human rights are essential to stopping dictatorial
regimes from treating people as things, so the deep and tragic irony is the fact that,
by the end of this movie, the inanimate toys of Toy Story 3 have more rights than many human
beings that live today in Communist countries such as North Korea, China, and the Soviet
Union.

How to end up in a Chinese internment camp


[TEXT: Jewher Ilham, Daughter of jailed academic]
Since 2017 the Chinese government has detained more than 1 million Uighurs
and other Muslim minorities in internment camps across Xinjiang, with reports of torture and death. But why? [TEXT: Geng Shuang, CPC
Spokesperson, June 11, 2019]
China’s Communist regime claims the detentions are: “…to help a small group of people who
are eroded by terrorist and extremist
thoughts to return to the right track…” The reality: It’s incredibly easy
to be labeled an “extremist” and sent to an internment camp. You can end up there by practicing your faith, speaking your native language, wearing traditional clothing
or growing a beard, traveling abroad, especially to Muslim-majority countries or even for refusing a marriage proposal
from a Han Chinese suitor. Practicing one’s culture and religion isn’t extreme. 
It’s a right. [TEXT: Select Media © AP Images
Produced by the U.S. Department of State]

Venezuelan politician strips after colleague arrested over Maduro plot – Daily News


 A politician stripped down to his underwear inside his country’s parliament in a desperate bid to protest against the arrest of one of his colleagues  Venezuelan congressman Gilber Caro took off his clothes in the National Assembly in a show of solidarity with legislator Juan Requesens, 29  The gesture comes after a video was shared online of Mr Requesens in deplorable conditions and dressed only in underwear sparking fury over human rights violations  Mr Caro was giving a speech in parliament in front of the whole assembly when he started to strip off his clothes  Video footage shows the man taking off his shirt and his trousers whilst passionately shouting into the microphone, amid applause from fellow politicians  While taking off his shirt Mr Caro can be heard saying: “The dignity of a man is not in his clothes the dignity of a man and this institution is not in what we have on, or what we have, but who we are ”  “The government has stripped the people of food, health and medicine.  “Where is the dignity of the people?”  Congressman Juan Requesens was arrested almost a week ago by officials of the Bolivarian State Intelligence Service  Shortly afterwards, Venezuela’s Minister of Information, Jorge Rodriguez accused him of participating in the failed attack against Nicolas Maduro  The report claims that he participated in the attack where two drones exploded during a public act with the military headed by Maduro, at the request of former parliamentary president Julio Borges, who was exiled to Colombia  His family and colleagues in Parliament have claimed that Requesens was the victim of an “enforced disappearance” as he was forcibly removed from his home and it was only on Sunday that he was allowed to contact his father via telephone  The National Assembly, with an opposing majority, said the video shared of Requesens “demonstrates conditions which reflect not only cruel and degrading treatment but also torture ”  They also pointed out that Requesens’ rights were violated because he was detained and then stripped of his immunity in an express procedure by the National Constituent Assembly, made up only of Chavistas and not recognised by a large part of the international community Read More Top Stories from Mirror Online  Caro, who was also jailed for more than a year when he was a delegate and was accused by the government of possessing weapons and explosives, begged the legislative to unite to defend his fellow congressman  He said: “You have all our support brother Requesens, all our support goes to political prisoners ”  Venezuela is in the midst of an economic, political and humanitarian crisis.  The population faces severe food and medicine shortages, soaring crime rates and an increasingly authoritarian regime by head of state Maduro

Boko Haram in Nigeria: A Model Diplomacy Case Study


Boko Haram is a movement centered in
northeastern Nigeria that comes out of the Salafist tradition of Islam. Boko Haram seeks to create God’s kingdom on earth through justice for the poor by the strict implementation of Islamic law, or sharia. Boko Haram regards the secular Nigerian state as evil. Whenever it can, it kills government officials, police, military. Further, going back to the seventh century reading of sacred texts, Muslims who participate in the secular state are not Muslims. They are in fact
heretics or apostates and as such deserve to die. The long term causes of Boko Haram’s rise in Nigeria are progressive impoverishment, issues like climate change as the Sahara moves south, and political marginalization. Overlaying this is a
significant Islamic religious revival. There are three largely mutually hostile
strands of Islam. Salafist Islam and Shia Islam exist side by side with the traditional Islam of northern Nigeria. The stability and the success of Nigeria is in direct U.S. national interests. Because Boko Haram seeks to destroy the Nigerian secular state Boko Haram is contrary to U.S. interests. But Boko Haram is not a security threat to the United States. The Leahy Amendment is a U.S. law that suspends military assistance where there are credible accusations of human
rights abuses, unless or until the host country investigates those charges and
takes appropriate action. As far as we can tell, common people in northern Nigeria are as frightened of the security services as they are of Boko Haram. There have been numerous reports of security service abuses. Were Nigeria to request that the U.S. supply heavy weapons the issue would be balancing U.S. interests threatened by Boko Haram with U.S. concern about human rights abuses. The United States would have three options. One would be to decline the request, as
we have in the past, on human rights grounds. The second would be to determine that U.S. security and other interests required that we respond favorably, and the third option would provide assistance to the Nigerian government with the operation of its courts, conditions in its prisons, and providing training to government officials but also to the military. If the United States looks at Africa, Nigeria is the natural partner on issues of mutual concern that it cannot be now because it’s under assault from Boko Haram. But we would hope that it can be again in the future.

Debate: Is Trump-Putin Summit a “Danger to America” or Crucial Diplomacy Between Nuclear Powers?


AMY GOODMAN: Here on Democracy Now!, Democracynow.org,
the war and peace report. I’m Amy Goodman. President Trump holding a summit with Russian
President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, today, beginning with a one-on-one, 90-minute
meeting, only their translators attending the meeting with them. Putin kept Trump waiting for the summit by
landing in Finland about an hour late. This morning, Trump and Putin made a statement
at a photo op before their private meeting in which Trump said he and Putin would discuss
China, trade and nuclear weapons. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think we have great
opportunities together as two countries, that, frankly, we have not been getting along very
well for the last number of years. I’ve been here not too long, but it’s
getting close to two years. But I think we will end up having an extraordinary
relationship. I hope so. I’ve been saying—and I’m sure you’ve
heard—over the years, and as I campaigned, that getting along with Russia is a good thing,
not a bad thing. … And I really think the world wants to
see us get along. We are the two great nuclear powers. We have 90 percent of the nuclear. And that’s not a good thing, it’s a bad
thing. And I think we hopefully can do something
about that, because it’s not a positive force, it’s a negative force. So we’ll be talking about that, among other
things. AMY GOODMAN: President Trump faces pressure
to confront Putin over Kremlin meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, after
a grand jury indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for their alleged role in hacking
email accounts controlled by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s
campaign. Before today’s meeting, Trump tweeted he
blamed poor relations between the U.S. and Russia on Justice Department’s probe, writing,
“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness
and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” Trump also tweeted, “President Obama thought
[that] Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the FBI
about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn’t happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about
it.” In an interview at Trump’s golf course in
Turnberry, Scotland, that aired Sunday, he told CBS [Evening News] anchor Jeff Glor what
he expects from his meeting with Putin. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I go in with very
low expectations. I think that getting along with Russia is
a good thing, but it’s possible we won’t. I think we’re greatly hampered by this whole
witch hunt that’s going on in the United States, the Russian witch hunt. JEFF GLOR: The Russians who were indicted,
would you ask Putin to—to send them here? PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I might. I hadn’t thought of that, but I certainly—I’ll
be asking about it. But, again, this was during the Obama administration. They were doing whatever it was during the
Obama administration. AMY GOODMAN: For more, we are hosting a debate. In Washington, D.C., we’re joined right
now by Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, author
of Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late and Bomb Scare: The
History and Future of Nuclear Weapons, his recent Defense One article headlined “A
No-Cost, No-Brainer of a Nuclear Deal.” Joining us from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Glenn
Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, one of the founding editors of The Intercept,
recently returned from a trip from Russia, where he met with NSA whistleblower Edward
Snowden. He tweeted a photo of them together with a
caption reading “So excited to reunite today with one of this generation’s greatest whistleblowers
and my colleague in defense of press freedoms, Edward Snowden.” We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Joe Cirincione, you’re deeply concerned
about nuclear weapons, about the nuclear arms race. Do you think this meeting, this summit that
Trump has called in Helsinki, is a good thing? JOE CIRINCIONE: No, I do not. This is a danger to America and to the West. This is without precedent in modern American
history. We have never had an American leader that
was this weak, this obsequious towards a murdering tyrant like Vladimir Putin. Both of these gentlemen have terrible records
on freedom of the press, on encouraging a participation in the rule of their countries. There is one good thing, and only one good
thing, that I could see that could come out of this meeting, and that is the extension
of the New START agreement, the agreement that limits U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear
forces. We’ve been limiting these forces since Richard
Nixon agreed to do so in 1972. This deal expires in 2021. If those limits come off, we will not only
be in an arms race, which we now are, but we will be in an arms race without guide rails,
without limits, without any kind of structured talks to limit the arms race. That is the only good thing that could come
out of this summit. AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, good or bad,
the summit? And what do you want to see come out of this? GLENN GREENWALD: I think it’s excellent. And I would just cite two historical examples. In 2007, during the Democratic presidential
debate, Barack Obama was asked whether he would meet with the leaders of North Korea,
Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and Iran without preconditions. He said he would. Hillary Clinton said she wouldn’t, because
it would be used as a propaganda tool for repressive dictators. And liberals celebrated Obama. It was one of his greatest moments and one
of the things that I think helped him to win the Democratic nomination, based on the theory
that it’s always better to meet with leaders, even if they’re repressive, than to isolate
them or to ignore them. In 1987, when President Reagan decided that
he wanted to meet with Soviet leaders, the far right took out ads against him that sounded
very much just like what we just heard from Joe, accusing him of being a useful idiot
to Soviet and Kremlin propaganda, of legitimizing Russian aggression and domestic repression
at home. It is true that Putin is an authoritarian
and is domestically repressive. That’s true of many of the closest allies
of the United States, as well, who are even far more repressive, including ones that fund
most of the think tanks in D.C., such as the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia. And I think the most important issue is the
one that we just heard, which is that 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons are in the
hands of two countries—the United States and Russia—and having them speak and get
along is much better than having them isolate one another and increase the risk of not just
intentional conflict, but misperception and miscommunication, as well. AMY GOODMAN: Joe Cirincione, your response? Your banner says “Ploughshares Fund: Building
a Future Free of Nuclear Threats.” Why not support a conversation between the
people who are in control of, well, essentially, the nuclear trigger in the world? JOE CIRINCIONE: Right. Let’s be clear. Glenn, there’s nothing wrong with meeting. I agree with you. Leaders should meet, and we should be negotiating
with our foes, with those people we disagree with. We’re better off when we do that. And the kind of attacks you saw on Barack
Obama were absolutely uncalled for, and you’re right to condemn those. What I’m worried about is this president
meeting with this leader of Russia and what they’re going to do. That’s what’s so wrong about this summit
coming now, when you have Donald Trump, who just attacked the NATO alliance, who calls
our European allies foes, who turns a blind eye to what his director of national intelligence
called the warning lights that are blinking red. About what? About Russian interference in our elections. So you just had a leader of Russia, Putin,
a skilled tactician, a skilled strategist, interfere in a U.S. election. To what? To help elect Donald Trump. And you now have Donald Trump coming to meet
with him, which is essentially a staff meeting for Vladimir Putin. To do what? To excuse all this behavior, to deride America
for the bad relations between Russia and the United States. He’s airbrushing away everything that Putin
has done over the last five years, from shooting down a Malaysian airliner, MH17, to murdering
people in the U.K., to cyberinterference in the U.S. democracy, to his murderous assault
in Syria. He’s just excusing all that away. For what? For what gain? The only thing we can get out of this is the
extension of New START, but we don’t need a summit to do that. Vladimir Putin offered to do that in his very
first phone call, in February 2017, with Donald Trump. Donald Trump didn’t know what he was talking
about. He had to put the phone on hold, according
to staff members who were there, ask his staff what this treaty was, and then he got back
on the line and blasted the treaty as being one-sided, “another Obama giveaway,” he
said. Yes, extend New START. But the price of the other—what’s going
on here, that what we might get out of this, this excusing of Vladimir Putin’s behavior,
what many people think is the greatest threat to American democracy in decades? No, it’s not worth the cost. AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, your response? GLENN GREENWALD: So, I mean, I think this
kind of rhetoric is so unbelievably unhinged, the idea that the phishing links sent to John
Podesta and the Democratic National Committee are the greatest threat to American democracy
in decades. People are now talking about it as though
it’s on par with 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, that the lights are blinking red, in terms of the
threat level. This is lunacy, this kind of talk. I spent years reading through the most top-secret
documents of the NSA, and I can tell you that not only do they send phishing links to Russian
agencies of every type continuously on a daily basis, but do far more aggressive interference
in the cybersecurity of every single country than Russia is accused of having done during
the 2016 election. To characterize this as some kind of grave
existential threat to American democracy is exactly the kind of rhetoric that we heard
throughout the Bush-Cheney administration about what al-Qaeda was like. And I would just remind everybody, as well,
that if you look at Russia’s—at the United States’s Russia policy during the administration
of Barack Obama—look at what he did and said. In 2012, he mocked the idea, spread by Mitt
Romney, that Russia was our greatest existential foe. Yes, that was before Crimea, but it was after
Georgia. It was after they were accused of murdering
dissidents and imprisoning journalists. He mocked that idea and said we have all kinds
of reasons to try and get along with Russia. Even after 2016, after Crimea, after he was
told that the Russians interfered in the U.S. election, he didn’t talk about it as 9/11
or treat it like 9/11. He expelled a few Russian diplomats and urged
everybody to keep it in perspective, and said that Russia is the seventh- or eighth-largest
economy in the world, behind even Italy, and not a grave threat to the United States. This kind of talk, this kind of climate, it’s
amazing. Joe’s work is something I vehemently support,
which is eliminating the threat of nuclear weapons. Yes, it’d be great if we had better leaders,
but the leaders of the countries that have 90 percent of the nuclear stockpile happen
to be Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. That’s not going to change. So the question is not “Do we wish we had
better leaders?” The question is “Do we want these two countries
trying to talk and resolve their differences peacefully, or do we want them isolating one
another and feeling besieged and belligerent and attacked, which heightens all the tensions
that Joe has devoted his career to combating?” And I think it’s much better to have the
kind of dialogue that Barack Obama advocated with Russia than the kind of belligerence
that Democrats now demand of our government. AMY GOODMAN: Joe Cirincione, do you find it
unusual that you are—you know, you share the same views right now, for example, as
Dan Coats? When the—as the Russian indictments were
coming down, the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats raised the alarm on growing cyberattack
threats, saying the situation is at a critical point, coming out forcefully against Russia. This is President Trump’s national intelligence
director. He said, “The warning signs are there. The system is blinking. It is why I believe we are at a critical point.” Joe? JOE CIRINCIONE: Yeah. Well, let me say where I agree with Glenn. I agreement that many Democrats are trying
to get to the right of Donald Trump on lots of issues—for example, on North Korea. And you see them trying to out-macho Donald
Trump, and that is dangerous. And, of course, I support dialogue. I think the only solution to a lot of these
issues, whether it’s nuclear arms control or Syria or the Korean Peninsula, is diplomacy. There are no military solutions to these issues. What worries me here is not just what Russia
is doing, not just its cyberattacks, not just its efforts to splinter the NATO alliance. What worries me is that Trump is cooperating
with these, that we’re not fighting back, that in the almost two years, as the president
points out, that he’s been in office, he has not once taken a step to counter the cyberattacks
that Russia perpetuates on a—to quote the director of national intelligence—a daily
basis on the United States. He’s not doing anything. He’s opening the doors. And that’s what worries me about this meeting. It’s not quite—and I—it’s not Neville
Chamberlain in Munich appeasing Hitler, but it’s on that spectrum. You have the leader of the country going in
an obsequious posture towards Putin, excusing everything he’s doing, basically brushing
it away, saying, “It’s OK. I don’t care about your attacks. Your attacks on electoral process, it’s
OK with me. I agree with you that European Union is a
threat,” these kinds of things. That’s what’s so worrying. Glenn is right: Russia alone is a small country,
economy about the size of Italy, less organized than Italy’s economy. It’s strong on a periphery. It’s not a global threat. But this stuff? This cyberwarfare? This is a threat to us, and it’s only going
to get worse, unless we fight back, unless we take the kinds of steps we need to protect
our country. President Trump is not only not doing that,
he’s actively cooperating with Putin to promote these kinds of attacks on democracies
all over the world. AMY GOODMAN: So, Glenn, right now President
Trump has, you know, repeated what President Putin says, that he denies that he was doing
any cyberattacks on the United States, but at the same time Trump blames the Democratic
Party, says they should have protected—you know, that the DNC and the DCCC should have
protected their cyberspace more. GLENN GREENWALD: Well, first of all, you know,
in terms of what Joe just said, it’s really not true that the U.S. is doing nothing about
the threat posed to cyberwarfare. We spend $70 billion every year on the intelligence
budget, a large portion of which is spent by the NSA on how to fortify computer systems
and to prevent those kinds of attacks. You know, it is true that if you see what
the Russians allegedly did in 2016 as some kind of 9/11-style attack on the U.S., that
does get pinned on President Obama. He was the president at the time, which means
he allowed it to happen on his watch, that kind of an attack. And he also had six months in office where
he did very little in response, except expel a few diplomats and impose some sanctions,
because he didn’t treat it like some grave attack on American democracy, but it’s the
kind of thing that these two countries have been doing to one another for decades. And I agree with him completely. And let me just say, I do not think that—this
idea that if you meet with a leader, it means that you’re legitimizing all of their abuses. I mean, again, look at Washington. Joe just worked for and just left ThinkProgress,
which is affiliated with the Center for American Progress, that takes money from one of the
most repressive regimes on the planet, the United Arab Emirates. And when he left, he cited that kind of money
drowning Washington as a reason. We deal with regimes all the time that are
incredibly repressive. The United States government is often repressive. We destroyed Iraq. We set up a worldwide torture regime. We still have a prison in Guantánamo where
people have been imprisoned for 17 years on an island with no trial. We have to deal with other countries who violate
human rights. Our own governments deal with human rights—abuse
human rights. And I think to look at dialogue with other
countries as legitimizing human rights is the kind of rhetoric that the right used for
seven decades to delegitimize attempts to reach peaceful negotiations with the Soviet
Union. And that is what I worry about. I actually think that Joe and I are largely
in agreement on most of these questions, with the exception of how to look at what happened
in 2016. And I think it’s time that we move past
2016, fortify our computer systems, try and of course have cyberdefenses, like we’re
already doing, but instead of looking at the world through the 2016 election, look at it
through The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock, that is now at two minutes
before midnight, the worst rating since 1953 for the threat to humanity, largely because
of the threat of nuclear weapons, along with climate change, that is in the hands of these
two countries. And let’s hope for more and more and more
dialogue between Russia and the United States, and move away from the rhetoric that says
it’s treasonous or dangerous for us to meet and talk and have dialogue. AMY GOODMAN: So, Joe, that point, that you
are not condoning your opponent when you have a meeting? JOE CIRINCIONE: No, not necessarily. But Donald Trump is, with this meeting. He is praising Vladimir Putin. I actually think the protesters in Finland
have this just about right. Both of these men are dangerous. Both of these men oppress basic human rights,
basic freedoms. Both of them think the press are the enemy
of the people. Putin goes further: He kills journalists. He has them assassinated on the streets of
Moscow. Donald Trump does not go that far yet. But I think what Putin is doing is using the
president of the United States to project his rule, to increase his power, to carry
out his agenda in Syria, with Europe, etc., and that Trump is acquiescing to that, for
reasons that are not yet clear. There is a very mysterious and suspicious
relationship that Trump has with Putin. He has never attacked him. This is the guy that just undermined the Conservative
prime minister of the United Kingdom. This is the guy that refused to sign the statement
of the G7. But he has never once criticized Putin for
anything. What’s going on there? I wish Glenn would use some of his investigative
powers to find out what the real story is. What does Putin have on Trump? That’s what worries me. In the course of this— GLENN GREENWALD: Amy, can I address that? Can I address that? JOE CIRINCIONE: —can they just—yes, please. AMY GOODMAN: Yes. JOE CIRINCIONE: This is my final statement. In the course of this, can we get an arms
control agreement that can at least extend New START? Yes. Do I expect either one of these guys to seriously
disarm, to seriously reduce their about 6,000 nuclear weapons that each side has? No, I do not. I think both of these men think of these things
as instruments of great power status and are not going to shed them without tremendous
global pressure to do so. AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, do you think
Putin has something on Trump? GLENN GREENWALD: No, I mean, I’ll believe
that when I see evidence for it. So let me just make two points. Number one is, if you look at President Obama
versus President Trump, there’s no question that President Obama was more cooperative
with and collaborative with Russia and the Russian agenda than President Trump. President Trump has sent lethal arms to Ukraine—a
crucial issue for Putin—which President Obama refused to do. President Trump has bombed the Assad forces
in Syria, a client state of Putin, something that Obama refused to do because he didn’t
want to provoke Putin. Trump has expelled more Russian diplomats
and sanctioned more Russian oligarchs than [Obama] has. Trump undid the Iran deal, which Russia favored,
while Obama worked with Russia in order to do the Iran deal. So this idea that Trump is some kind of a
puppet of Putin, that he controls him with blackmail, is the kind of stuff that you believe
if you read too many Tom Clancy novels, but isn’t borne out by the facts. The other issue that I want to make is that,
you know, again, this idea that somehow that you are endorsing the repression of other
countries’ leaders if you meet with them—it is true that Trump has never criticized Putin,
although he has taken all the steps I just outlined against Putin. But he’s also never criticized Benjamin
Netanyahu. He’s also never criticized the incredibly
repressive leaders of Saudi Arabia. He’s never criticized the fascist president
of the Philippines. It is true President Trump likes fascist and
authoritarian leaders, and that is a problem, but it’s not like Putin is the only leader
that he doesn’t criticize. But what he has been consistent about for
a long time—and this is something that Joe himself recently said, that I agree with completely—is
that a lot of these international institutions that are supposed to be off limits from criticism,
like free trade organizations, the World Trade Organization, NATO, the EU, have devastated
the working-class populations of multiple countries. And if we want to understand why we have a
Donald Trump and why we have a resurgent “alt-right” throughout Europe and why we have Brexit,
we need to start asking questions about whether or not these institutions, that have been
so sacred for so long, are actually ones that are serving the interest of our country. And until we figure out how to solve the root
causes that have given rise to Trumpism and to fascist extremism in Europe and in the
country I live in, Brazil, which is that these institutions are destroying the economic future
of tens of millions and hundreds of millions of people in order to benefit the rich, we’re
just going to have more Trumps, no matter how much we kick our feet and call him names. And that, I think is the issue that is most
being ignored by all of this rhetoric. AMY GOODMAN: Listen, we have to go to break. It’s really hard to do that, but we’re
going to break for 30 seconds. And when we come back—Glenn, you just got
back from Russia. There are a number of Democrats—I’m not
just talking Republicans, mainly Democrats—who are saying Trump should have done what Obama
did, and that’s cancel this meeting with Putin once the indictments came out. And they’re citing the precedent of Obama
in 2013 when Putin gave Edward Snowden political asylum. Obama canceled their meeting. You just came back from visiting Snowden. I’d like to ask you about that and also
get Joe Cirincione’s view. This is Democracy Now! Our guests are Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
Glenn Greenwald and Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund. Stay with us. [break] AMY GOODMAN: “Police State” by Pussy Riot,
who protested President Putin this weekend at the World Cup. Massive protests in Helsinki, as there were
throughout Europe, with President Trump coming. Also at his struggling Turnberry golf course
in Scotland, the protests were there, with a paraglider saying Trump is below par, flying
over Trump as he was outside at his golf course. This is Democracy Now!, as we host a debate
between Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund, president of the Ploughshares Fund,
and Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, one of the co-founders of The
Intercept. Now, in past years, Joe and Glenn would probably
not be debating in fierce combat over an issue. It is fascinating to see the realliances that
are taking place right now. Now, Glenn, this issue of Democrats calling
on Trump to have canceled the summit, which is already underway, saying Obama canceled
a summit with Putin in 2013 when he gave Edward Snowden political asylum in Moscow. You just came back from visiting Ed Snowden. Can you talk about what’s happening with
Ed Snowden right now? The focus of the Helsinki protests, one of
the main themes, with these 300 billboards, was freedom of the press. What do you want to happen? I don’t think you would share President
Trump’s views on Ed Snowden. GLENN GREENWALD: No, nor did I share President
Obama’s views on Edward Snowden. He wanted to put Edward Snowden in prison
for many decades and actually took down the plane of a sovereign president of a country,
Bolivia, because he thought, mistakenly, that Edward Snowden might be on that plane. You know, and I just want to say, I mean,
I really admire Joe still. I support most of his work, and I think we
are in agreement on most issues, though there is an interesting realignment taking place
that I think deserves a lot more attention. But let me just say this about the press freedom,
because Joe brought it up, as well. You know, a lot of times when people talk
about Trump’s attacks on press freedom, they talk about his rhetoric, his mean tweets
about Wolf Blitzer and Chuck Todd, and his criticisms of the media. I don’t think that those are meaningful
attacks on press freedom. I think what are meaningful attacks on press
freedom are investigations into the work that journalists do with sources, in the attempt
to imprison sources for giving journalists information that belong in the public domain. We at The Intercept have had two of our alleged
sources the subject of investigations by the Justice Department, including one of whom
who is now in prison. And my colleague Jim Risen, who the Obama
administration threatened with prison for many years, wrote an op-ed in The New York
Times after Trump was elected, saying if Trump ends up being able to attack press freedom,
it will be because—due to the infrastructure that Obama created, this obsession with investigating
and prosecuting and imprisoning sources, like my source, Edward Snowden, under the espionage
statutes. And, of course, the Obama Justice Department
prosecuted more sources under the espionage statute—in fact, three times as many—than
all previous administrations combined. That, to me, is a real threat to press freedom,
not some insults on Twitter, that Donald Trump is now taking advantage of. And so, yeah, the idea of canceling a summit
between two nuclear-armed powers because Putin gave asylum to somebody who was a source for
Pulitzer Prize-winning exposés that people all around the world view as heroic and important,
I think, was insanity also and shows that the roots of the attacks of press freedom
that we now see from Donald Trump have their origins in the Obama administration, just
as Jim Risen said. AMY GOODMAN: And the Snowden refugees, as
The Guardian talks about them, those that harbored, that sheltered Ed Snowden to protect
him in Hong Kong before he made his way out of the country, now facing possible return
to Sri Lanka? They’re appealing that decision. Very briefly. We only have a minute. GLENN GREENWALD: Yeah, I mean, it’s a terrible
humanitarian story. I hope people pay attention to it. They deserve asylum, not because of the random
connection they had to Snowden, though they did hide him and house him during the time
he was hiding in Hong Kong, but because they’re refugees who face serious threats if they’re
returned home. And civilized countries grant asylum to people
who face persecution. Whether it’s Edward Snowden or the refugees
that are at the border now in the South of the United States or these refugees in Hong
Kong, they deserve protection. AMY GOODMAN: Joe Cirincione, as we wrap up—and
we’re going to continue this discussion in Part 2, so folks should not go away—but
your thoughts on Ed Snowden? Should he be allowed to come back to this
country? Do you hail him as a whistleblower? JOE CIRINCIONE: This is outside my area. I mean, I admire some of the things that these
whistleblowers have done in disclosing the kind of surveillance that our own government
is conducting on us and the kinds of techniques they’re doing in secret. I believe we do need more sunshine on these. But I also believe that WikiLeaks was clearly
used by Russian military and intelligence sources, directed by Vladimir Putin, to disrupt
the 2016 election and help elect a president of the United States that is probably the
worst president we’ve ever had in our lives, and may lead us down a path of self-isolation
from the world and weaken our national security. So, yes, I think WikiLeaks played an insidious
role in that. I don’t know whether they knew who they
were dealing with, but that has—we’ve got to talk about that. And we have to understand that sometimes our
anger at our own government in the things that we do— AMY GOODMAN: Glenn, five seconds? JOE CIRINCIONE: —can lead us down a very
dangerous path. AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to have to
leave it there, but we’re not going to leave it out. We’re going to—go to democracynow.org
for the rest of this discussion. I want to thank Glenn Greenwald, as well as
Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund. Thanks for joining us.