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North Korea Calls New Sanctions "Act of War". Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired December 25, 2017 - 13:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS: And require North Koreans working abroad as they give hundreds and millions of dollars back to the regime to come home within two years. We're back now with CNN Political Analyst, Brian Karem and Josh Rogin with us from Florida. So Josh as you look at this, North Korea calling these sanctions an act of war. This is to be clear a resolution and you can expound on this; it cuts exports of gasoline, diesel; other oil products by a total of 89 percent. This bans the export of industrial equipment, machinery, transportation vehicles and then it tells countries who host the migrant workers from North Korea who pump $500 million back into the North Korean economy that they have to repatriate them within two years. That sounds pretty robust, but what kind of effect is it really going to have Josh?

JOSH ROGIN: Well first of all we should that the North Koreans say everything's an act of war, but -- so this isn't unique but this is a profoundly dangerous situation that's getting riskier and riskier every day. Now the sanctions themselves are only as good as their implementation and we've seen uneven implementation, especially by Russia and China; but also by other countries for many, many years. But overall sanctions are not an end, they're a means to an end.

Well the point of the sanctions is to raise the pressure on North Korea so that Kim Jong-un changes his calculus and sits down at the negotiating table on terms that we can accept. That hasn't happened, so while we should praise the administration for being able to corral international support around these sanctions, it doesn't seem that there's any level of sanctions that's going to make North Korea give up its nuclear weapons. So if we're going to avoid war and have talks...

ROMANS: Yes I was going to Josh, Brian is totally, go on Josh.

ROGIN: I'm just saying at some point, the President of the United Sates is going to have to come with a scheme by which he can say the American people, we're sitting down with North Korea and they're not going to give up their nukes right away. He's not there yet, so what we've got is a stalemate and the sanctions are fine and well and good, but that stalemate in and of itself is extremely dangerous and until we come up with a way to - -

KRAMER: And it's a 65-year old stalemate.

ROGIN: - - that danger will continue. ROMANS: Yes, it's decades long.

KRAMER: Yes since the end of the Korean War, it's been a stalemate. And at some point in time, what do you do? Instead of sanctions maybe close it off, build a Trump Tower and throw in some McDonald's and maybe we'd be better off investing in them. You don't know, I mean nothing that any president has done and he's talked about flipping the switch and changing the game plan, but so far he's been ineffective and its -- and he's been following pretty much the same script as every other president. So looking forward what is he going to do differently to bring him to the table and Josh is right he hasn't been able to do it and I don't think he's going to be able to do it with sanctions although we do see recently with a ratcheting down of some of the sanctions and the rhetoric that's gone one, people have been defecting, I mean risking life and limb to get out of North Korea in numbers that we haven't seen in a while. So this is a big wait and see, it is a dangerous situation.

ROMANS: It just seems Josh like -- I mean why would you -- it seems if you're the Kim regime you are -- the incentive there is to keep plowing ahead in the direction that they're going because they have had such considerable success launching ICBMs.

ROGIN: Well that's right, the consensus view amongst the experts is that the Kim regime will only come to the table after they have established the ability to hit the United States with a nuclear weapon on top of ICBM. It seems like they're or they're almost there so that raises the natural question, OK are we willing to sit down with them? If you listen to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, he says yes, he says all they have to do is stop testing for a couple of months and we'll sit down with them; we'll talk about the weather, it doesn't matter.

If you listen to the President of the United States, he says the exact opposite thing, some people think they're playing good cop, bad cop that Trump is engaged in some sort of madman theory, but that only really works if you're doing it deliberately and if you just have chaos at the top the administration, you're just sending mixed signals to your allies and adversaries alike and I think that's what we've got. So in that environment where we can't have talks and we definitely don't want war, we're headed towards inevitable escalation, deterrents, containment and arms race in Asia, that's not a great outcome either, but if you're not going to be willing to talk and you can't go to war, that's where we are.

KRAMER: Yes that's pretty much it and the bottom line is you do have Rex Tillerson saying one thing, the president another and as Josh pointed out - -

ROMANS: It would be weird if they weren't at this point though Brian.

KRAMER: You almost wonder do they ever get together on anything, but the real -- I mean what you hear in the press room with Sarah Huckabee Sanders as we ask these questions is quite different from what we hear out in the field from Tillerson and the point being is, is it a coordinated strategy or is it actually just fumbling about and it appears more and more every day as if it's incoherent fumbling about and no concrete strategy to deal with the problem.

ROMANS: And it is such a hard problem, we should also - -

KRAMER: Sixty-five years.

ROMANS: Yes but to the point that where North Korea is at this point in time with their technology, this is a very difficult problem to solve if it can be solved. All right, Brian and Josh thank you so much to both of you a very difficult problem to solve --

MALE: Yes, absolutely.

ROMANS: -- if they can be solved. All right, Brian and Josh, thank you so much to both of you. A very Merry Christmas -

MALE: Yes (ph). Merry Christmas.

ROMANS: -- and Happy Holidays. And up next, we're going live to Kuwait. We're going to visit with service members who are fighting to defeat ISIS. We'll be back in a moment.


MALE: About the (ph) Divisions 20-30, there is going to be a view of the (ph) martyr. The inoperability (ph) goes within (ph) store within the camp ground (ph) of Saudi Arabia. We have a lot to do and we have too much (ph) to do.

We have to use the solar energy (ph) within our country. Things will change. I would love to be one of the leaders in the dream of our (ph) ability. And top leader (ph) I will be one day.

TRUMP: Today, and everyday, we're incredibly thankful for you and for your families. Your families have been tremendous. Always under appreciated, the military families, the greatest people on earth.

ROMANS: Well, that was President Trump wishing our troops overseas a merry Christmas and thanking them for their service as they spend the holidays apart from their loved ones. And my next guest knows all to well what that is like.

Colonel Thomas Dale, (ph), he is the Director of Public Affairs for Combined Joint Task Force Operation, (ph) Inherent Resolve. And he's joining me know from Kuwait. So Colonel, first of all, I want to thank you very much. This is a big sacrifice to be away from your family on Christmas and really for months on end.

You're used to this as so many men and women in our - in the Armed Services are. How much time, do you think, over the course of the last couple decades, that you have been, how much time do you think you've spent deployed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've spend -- I wouldn't know how to quantify it in terms of months, but let me put it this way, this is my second Christmas and New Year's out of three year that I've been away. So, for a... ROMANS: Second two out of the last three.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes. This is a great way to say Merry Christmas to my loved ones though, so thank you for having me.

ROMANS: OK and so this is in the family for you, right? You have two sons who are in the Army. I know that Luke is in Germany. He's with the First Calvary division based out of Fort Hood that you served with and also you have another son who is in flight school and I want to highlight that because he just had -- he and his wife just had a baby and you have yet to meet the grandbaby, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is right. My son Christian and his wife Heidi, they had young baby Carson Alexander Bale right around Thanksgiving. So, I got to see pictures, that's about it. I got to hold Luke's new daughter, Aurora, right before I left, so that was a good thing.

ROMANS: Oh, that is good. But, it just speaks to some of the moments, of course, that I know you'll be home here in a few months, but it's some of the moments that are so important that you're missing. What is that like for you? What is that like for your family?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really hard in the beginning. I've been in uniform for about 24 1/2 years, so it's getting a little bit easier because of the technology, things like Skype and FaceTime make it a lot easier, but in some ways it makes it harder, seeing someone's face more regularly. But, as I was telling you during the break, it doesn't get easier, but we're thankful for every opportunity we have to make a connect.

ROMANS: And I know that it makes the time that you're at home with your loved ones certainly that much sweeter when you're with them. What have you been able to do with for Christmas with the other men and women who are there with you in Kuwait?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we have an office decorating contest. I think I sent you some pictures of that. So...

ROMANS: We have it, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...that was a little bit of frivolity while we're preparing for the holiday. And the dining facility lays out some really great meals and the moral director, they threw a concert for us here today and our troops up in Iraq, there's two locations in Iraq that had the USO tour come through and there's movies and things like that. So, we are our own family away from home. So, we do our best to celebrate the holidays together.

ROMANS: How does -- how do your sons, how does your family handle -- I'm sure they're -- with 24 years in the military, they're used to it, but it also is still difficult. How do they handle having you away?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, they're used to it. It was fairly frequent for me to be gone while they were growing up and it's funny, they both swore that they'd never join the Army and here they are, they're in the Army now. So, we do our best to keep touch through computer means mostly and we spend as much time as possible when we're back stateside.

So Luke and I were stationed at Fort Hood together, which was great. Christian's about a 12 hour drive away, so that was also -- that's about as close as you can get.

ROMANS: Yes. You heard -- I don't know if you were able to hear, but President Trump did speak to the troops and he said, that military families are quote, "Always underappreciated."

Do you think that military families are underappreciated, do you think it's that a lot of Americans don't necessarily understand because really, so few Americans serve in this all volunteer military. What are you thoughts on his description of that and how military families feel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well yes, I think it's not a matter of underappreciated, but I don't think that the average American fully understands what a military spouse goes through.

You got to any post and you'll see a bumper stick that says, Army wife or Amy spouse, hardest job in the Army. It's absolutely true. Until you've lived it, tried to corral three kids and groceries and dogs without the help of a spouse who's been deployed, you'll never fully understand what they go through.

We pack up and we go, we're on a mission, we have all our buddies with us. It's a lot harder, I think at times, for the families back home. But we truly appreciate their support.

ROMANS: Yes, it just seems very difficult all around. I'll tell you, this is my first Christmas as a military spouse with my husband deployed and I never did appreciate until now just how much families do go through. But, I want to give you a chance just to say whatever you would like to say before we let you go Colonel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, first of all I'd like to thank the American people for their support. For sending their sons and daughters out here to help us out with this important mission. At this point we have freed 7.5 -- actually 7.7 million Iraqis and Syrians, who for three years, were under Isis control.

We helped them take back 98 percent of the land, and things - things are turning around. There's a lot of work to be done, ISIS has demonstrated it's still a global threat. And we're going to focus on security operations like policing and border control. But you know the out pouring of support from the American people has been phenomenal. I told a producer, I've never seen so many Christmas cookies in my life, so we really appreciate that. We also appreciate our coalition partners; we've got 70 nations and four international organizations. Plus the Iraqi security forces and the Syrian democratic forces, and they're doing a lot of the heavy lifting for us, and we truly appreciate what they're doing. And I'd like to point out I think everyone knows this; (ph) is celebrating its first Christmas in three years today. And we're proud to say we had a little bit to do with that and setting other people free. So, I'd just like to say Merry Christmas to everyone, and hello and I miss all my loved ones. And they're with me in my heart.

CHRISTINE ROMANS: Well, Colonel Thomas Vale, we do thank you. And we certainly appreciate that you are spending your Christmas away, and I know that your family misses you very much. Thank you so much for being with us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

ROMANS: Coming up, soaring markets of fit coin boom, and a massive data breech that exposed the personal information of 143 million Americans. We're going to look at the top money stories of 2017 next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 2017 is almost a wrap and one of the most remarkable stories of the year has been the soaring stock market and strong economy. CNN's Christine Romans and Richard Quest explain in their look back.

RICHARD QUEST: Bit coin explodes.


QUEST: CEO's revolt.

ROMANS: And investors cheer.

QUEST: Here are the top seven money stories in 2017.

ROMANS: Number seven, Brick and Mortars retail apocalypse. A record 67 hundred plus locations shuttered in 2017. A stunning list of bankruptcies, more than 70,000 retail jobs lost, but online sales are soaring. Wal Mart's pivot to ecommerce pays off. Online sales sky rocketed. And Amazon the king of digital shopping saw its stock price cross a $1,000 dollars a share. Making CEO Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world.

Amazon has so much cash it actually bought a Brick and Mortar chain bringing us to our next story.

QUEST: Mega mergers. Amazons $13 billion dollar purchase of Whole Foods. It was one of the splashiest deals of the year and in true Amazon style. The retails juggernaut immediately dropped prices. Verizon, yep, closed it's purchased of Yahoo and as the year came to an end CBS plans to buy Aetna it's an eye popping $69 billion dollars. If approved it will rank as the largest health care merger in history.

It all relies on the regulators; will they sign up on these deals? Just before thanksgiving the justice department sued to block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner. All(ph) in company of CNN. And that's causing uncertainty for future deals and puts a chill on MNA next year. ROMANS: Number five. The bit coin crave, the virtual currency started the year below a $1,000 dollars then a speculative frenzy took bit coin from $6,000 to $16,000 in less than a month. Driving it all that this speculative investment will some day be mainstream. And the rally starting a get rich quick fever in retail investors. So is bit coin a bubble in made up internet money? Or a profound shift to a viable digital currency? Nobody knows for sure so buyer beware. QUEST: So to number four. Your data that's under attack. In September credit reporting agency Equifax disclosed a colossal bridge on a monumental scale. The data of 143 million Americans, nearly half the country have been exposed. Due(ph) executive Richard Smith resigned although he still got a tongue lashing from law makers in the U S.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Equifax did a terrible job of protecting our data.

QUEST: The lesson for corporate American, hacks are a threat to your brand(ph). Prioritize cyber security or be prepared to pay the price.

ROMANS: Number three, chief executives bail on the Trump administration. The CEO president made a big show of bringing business leaders to the white house, but his hand picked job to manufacturing councils started to unravel and then eventually imploded. In January several high profile CEO's criticized Trumps travel ban. In June Teslas Elon Musk and Disney's Bob Iger both quit the group after the administration with drew from the Paris Climate Accord(ph). Then came Charlottesville, one CEO after the next resigned from the council until president had no choice but to just ban(ph) them all together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just in, two of the presidents CEO groups for jobs now totally gone, disbanding(ph).

ROMANS: It was stunning reversal considering the euphoria among many business leaders following Trumps election.

QUEST: Number two, the most sweeping tax reform in decades. It will touch nearly every American citizen, and it's billed as a middle class tax cut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to cost me a fortune, this thing - believe me. Believe this is not good for me.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: The bigger relief goes to those who need it most.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The middle class are the biggest winners in the Senate tax plan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government's own analysis tells a different story. It finds the rich and corporations benefit the most of the cost of trillion dollars added to the deposit. Republicans insist tax cuts will ignite explosive economic growth benefiting everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The (ph) report is adopted without objection of others to reconsider, it's laying upon the table.

ROMANS: Trump administration and the Republican Congress on the break of their first major legislative victory of 2017.

DONALD TRUMP: It's the largest tax cut in the history of our country, and reform but tax cut.

ROMANS: And number one, the Trump (ph) takes off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 20,000 it's an historic moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've gone right through 20 - 21 - 22,000 just another day at work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, we do have breaking news. Look at that number right there, 24,000.

ROMANS: It seems nothing could stop this rally. Not a growing nuclear threat from North Korea, not the Russia investigation, not the nomination of a new Federal Reserve chair. President Trump delights in praising the market's rise.

TRUMP: We have a (ph) market that has hit record high as 81 times since our election victory.

ROMANS: And he often helps the strong economy.

TRUMP: Total unemployment is now at a 17 year low; think about it, not bad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every president takes credit for booming economy, but cheering on the stock market, not risky. Just think about it, after all what goes up sometimes - not usually in the fall of some time might go down. And the second strongest bold market in history could be overdue for a serious pullback. So, I question now, will it happen in 2018? Or will the (ph) continue to run?

ROMANS: And coming up in the next hour of news room, the devastation of hurricane Maria haunts the children of Puerto Rico this Christmas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kid yesterday asked me to bring back hi house the way it was before Maria.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN, the most trusted name in news.