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Interview with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg; Interview with former Foreign Secretary Simon Fraser on Trump's UK visit. Aired 2- 2:30p ET

Aired July 12, 2018 - 14:00   ET


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST, AMANPOUR: Coming up, we're outside parliament as President Trump kicks off his visit to the UK, but he'll

bypass his capital city.

Meantime, NATO allies say they never agreed to double their military contribution as the president reportedly demanded. My conversation with

the man at the center of it all, NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Plus, with protesters preparing to send their message to Trump while he's here, I speak to the former head of the foreign office about the future of

the special relationship. Simon Fraser joins us.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

President Trump has arrived for a controversial visit. He'll be channeling Churchill, taking tea with the queen, and dodging protesters in London,

before setting off to meet Russia's Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

What could have been a disastrous NATO summit, like what happened at the G7, in fact, ended better than expect, with Trump reaffirming his

commitment to the 70-year-old military alliance, but also claiming that allies had made much bigger spending pledges than they actually have done.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For years, presidents have been coming to these meetings and talked about the expense - the tremendous

expense - for the United States and tremendous progress has been made.

Everyone's agreed to substantially up their commitment. They're going to up it at levels that they have never thought of before.


AMANPOUR: But are they upping it so substantially? Since those comments, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the French President

Emmanuel Macron say they are raising their defense spending, but in line with the 2 percent commitment they made at the 2014 summit.

Now, just after President Trump's press conference, I spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about that magic number.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, thank you so much for joining me from brussels. Welcome to the program.

JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: Thank you so much by having me.

AMANPOUR: So, can I just first start by asking you, all the allies were really concerned and nervous, hoping that this summit was not going to

devolve into a debacle like the G7 summit did with disunity and pulling out of communiques.

How would you say you assess the unity and the success of this summit?

STOLTENBERG: This has been a very good summit because, actually, we had very open and frank discussions. There's no problem to have different

views and open discussions as long as we're able to conclude and deliver decisions.

And that's exactly what we have done. Yes, there have been different views. We are 29 allies discussing different issues, but we have also

agreed on how to strengthen NATO with the higher readiness of forces, stepping up to fight against terrorism, reforming our command structure

and, not least, we have agreed that we need to spend more.

There's a new sense of urgency on the importance of investing more in our defense.

AMANPOUR: So, let's take that issue, the new sense of urgency. President Trump, as we know and we saw it publicly throughout the summit, keeps

demanding this 2 percent. In fact, he even demanded more, up to 4 percent.

He not only did that, he demanded more to happen almost immediately rather than by 2024 as you NATO allies have agreed.

So, first and foremost, has President Trump secured a pledge from NATO allies, as he said today, to immediately start spending more, up to 4

percent, putting down a huge marker? He himself said $33 million more. Have the allies agreed specifically to figures demanded by the president


STOLTENBERG: The allies have heard his message loud and clear and his strong message on defense spending is having a real impact. Just since

last time President Trump was here in Brussels at a NATO meetings last May, European allies and Canada have added $41 billion extra for defense

funding. So, we have turned a corner. Before that trend was down, now the trend is really going up.

And all allies agree that we have to make good on the commitments we have made. We need to increase defense spending substantially, but also all

allies agree that we need to stand united in NATO.

[14:05:03] So, for me, this was a good summit because we all expressed our support to NATO, also the president, but also we all expressed our support

to investing more in defense.

AMANPOUR: So, let me be specific again. I want a clear answer from you please. President Macron denies that the allies agreed to up their

spending beyond the 2 percent. Can you confirm to us what are the facts? We need to know the facts.

STOLTENBERG: The fact is that we have a clear commitment to increase defense spending. And we all agreed that we have to deliver on that.

There's a renewed or new sense of urgency on the importance of delivering that.

But perhaps even more important is that we have actually started to invest more, more than 40 billion just since last year.

And it is my task to make sure that we deliver, that we have a substantial increase in defense spending in the years ahead and I will work together

with all allies, but also, of course, work closely with President Trump. And his leadership, his strong message is having a clear impact. Allies

are increasing defense spending.

AMANPOUR: Which is what you said before. In fact, 100 percent of allies are increasing spending. You've said that it's up to about 5.2 percent


My question to you is, are you being told now that you need to raise individual spending by 4 percent or more than 2 percent?

STOLTENBERG: We have agreed that we need to make good on the pledges we have made. The problem has been before that - we have seen promises being

made, but not always being followed up.

Now, we have to make sure that we follow-up, that we implement, that we deliver. And I'm an optimist partly because we have seen already that

allies have started to increase.

Last year was the biggest increase in a generation in defense spending across Europe and Canada, but also because I witnessed the discussion we

had both yesterday and today at the NATO summit. And allies understand that we really need to step up and redouble our efforts.

So, I see both the decisions we have made, but also the common understanding we have about the importance of delivering.

AMANPOUR: So, I'm going to take it from what you say that you are committed to 2 percent and nothing further at this time. Am I correct?

STOLTENBERG: So, we have a commitment to spend 2 percent. The important thing now is that we need to invest more, we need to get more money. And

the good thing is that since - very much because of the very clear message from President Trump on this meeting, I think that allies understand that

there is a need to do that.

There's a sense of urgency when it comes to delivering on that commitment.

AMANPOUR: So, can I ask you whether it is correct that President Trump said that he would make a decision, he would go it alone if he didn't get

the commitments that he was demanding?

Any kind of implication that the United States would pull back in any way whatsoever?

STOLTENBERG: Well, as the president said himself, he didn't say that. He actually said that he is very committed to NATO.

And I think the fact that we have made many important decisions on increased readiness, stepping up the fight against terrorism, a new command

structure, combined with more defense spending, makes NATO stronger.

And we are more united because we had open and frank discussions. I think that actually helps us to really create a real unity in the alliance.

AMANPOUR: So, can I just play a little back and forth that you and President Trump had during your morning meeting? And, of course, it's all

about what President Trump accused Germany of.

He said, as you remember because you were sitting opposite him, that Germany was captive, totally controlled by Russia because of a commercial

natural gas pipeline that's being built and that was started, as you know, 15 years ago.

This is the back-and-forth. And then, I would like to get you to talk about it afterwards.


STOLTENBERG: We've had two world wars and the cold shows us that we are stronger together than apart.

TRUMP: But how can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the person you want protection against or from the group that you want

protection against.

STOLTENBERG: Because you understand that, when we stand together, also when dealing with Russia, we are stronger. I think what we have seen is

that -

TRUMP: No, you're just making Russia richer. You're not dealing with Russia. You're making Russia richer.


AMANPOUR: So, how did you take that? Did you find it to be apples and oranges? Did you think the president had a point about this pipeline?

And, obviously, what do you feel about accusing Germany of being controlled or captive to Russia?

[14:10:07] STOLTENBERG: There are very strong views and positions when it comes to the question of this new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. And

within NATO, there are nations with different positions.

It's not for NATO to decide on gas pipelines. We are a defense alliance.

I welcome the fact that President Trump and Chancellor Merkel sat down during the NATO summit. They had an open discussion about these issues and

they left each other agreeing that they all support NATO, despite the disagreement on the gas pipeline.

For NATO, what is important is that allies are focused on diversification of energy supplies, that we are not - that we invest also in renewables,

which can reduce the need to import energy and that we also protect our energy infrastructure.

But it's not for NATO to decide on specific energy projects. That's for nations to do.

AMANPOUR: So, I was speaking to the former US Ambassador to NATO, Victoria Nuland, and she was - she's also written that this summit and then the

summit with President Putin will either show America's commitment to leadership of the Western alliance or it will kill off American leadership.

She was very concerned by the sort of disarray that the meeting started with, the back-and-forth between you all over the breakfast. And she sort

of suggested that this was music to Putin's ears, this discord and that - in her words to me - President Trump's sort of disruption of this alliance

for whatever reasons he wants to do that leaves those on the opposite side of fence "drooling."

Are you concerned about his position going into the meeting with Vladimir Putin?

STOLTENBERG: President Trump has a different style. He's very direct, but I think also that has helped allies to really hear his message, especially

on burden sharing, defense spending.

I welcome the fact that he will meet with President Putin because I have been strongly in favor of dialogue - or NATO is strongly in favor of

dialogue with Russia.

For us, dialogue is not a sign of weakness. Dialogue is a sign of strength. So, as long as we are united and as long as we are firm in our

approach to Russia, we should also sit down and talk to Russia, partly to aspire for a better relationship with Russia, but even without the better

relationship with Russia, we need to manage a difficult relationship with Russia.

So, when tensions are high as they are now, it's even more important to talk. We have more military presence along our borders. We need to avoid

incidents, accidents, miscalculations and, therefore, we need military lines of communications and dialogue with Russia just to make sure that we

try to keep tensions down and avoid incidents and accidents.

AMANPOUR: So, let me just get your reaction to two things President Trump said during his press conference. One that he was open to potentially

considering permanent annexation of Crimea by Russia. That Russia's claim to own Crimea now, he could consider potentially accepting that.

And, two, that he might also consider calling a halt to the joint NATO exercises around the Baltics, those very important exercises there.

What is your reaction to that?

STOLTENBERG: Well, we had a very good meeting with President Poroshenko where we reiterated our strong support to Ukraine, to the territorial

integrity, to the sovereignty of Ukraine, and that, of course, includes Crimea.

And all allies have expressed again and again that we do not, and will not, recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea.

When it comes to exercises, actually, what we do now is that we are exercising more together. I think we have to understand that the military

presence - or NATO forces and US forces together in - NATO and US forces together in Europe, it's partly about protecting Europe, but Europe is also

important for projecting stability beyond Europe, into Middle East, Africa.

So, the US presence in Europe is also about power projection for the United States beyond Europe.

AMANPOUR: So, just explain that for the sake of American voters because President Trump is always saying that the Europeans, the allies get much,

much, much more out of NATO than the US does.

You wrote an op-ed saying that you live in Brussels, not far from some of the bloodiest battlefields of World War II and how that has convinced you

of a number of issues in this regard.

[14:15:00] So, what would you say to the American people about the value of NATO for them?

STOLTENBERG: The NATO is important for Europe, but NATO is also important for North America and United States because NATO is an alliance that

provides friendship - 28 friends and allies of the United States, meaning that European soldiers and Canadian soldiers have been together with US

soldiers on battlefields from Korea in the 50s, Afghanistan and Iraq today.

And the presence of US forces in Europe helps to protect Europe, but is also the platform that the United States has used to project power into the

Middle East or Africa. The US Africa Command is in Europe. So, Europe is important also beyond - the US presence of military forces in Europe is

important also to address crisis far beyond Europe.

Then, there are forces, infrastructure, bases, intelligence in Europe, which also helps to protect United States. So, we're together. And as

long as we're together, we are safe and secure.

NATO allies together represent half of the world's military might and half of the world's economic might. So, as long as we're together, we're able

to deal with any potential threat and challenge.

AMANPOUR: Secretary general, thank you so much. Just one last one before I go. Can you just give me a yes or no? Have NATO allies agreed to a 4

percent share of their GDP for military spending? Have they agreed to up it from 2 to 4 percent?

STOLTENBERG: We have agreed to make good on the commitments we have made, meaning increasing defense spending substantially. And there is a new

sense of urgency. And new money is coming in just since Trump was here last time, more than 40 billion has come in from European allies and


AMANPOUR: Thank you so much for joining us from Brussels, NATO headquarters, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.


AMANPOUR: So, just to be clear, NATO allies are saying that they have committed to that 2 percent over the next few years up until 2024, which is

what was called for at the summit where they all agreed on this back in 2014.

Now, as we've said, President Trump and the first lady here now are being hosted by the Prime Minister Theresa May to a dinner at Blenheim Palace.

That is the ancestral seat of the Churchill family.

On Friday, they'll have a working lunch - or rather, President Trump and Prime Minister May will - at the PM's country residence, Chequers, which is

a far, far drive away from massive protests which are planned for here in London.

Now, Trump shrugged all of that off telling reporters that the British people agreed with his policies and quipping about the prime minister's

cabinet woes. Take a listen.


TRUMP: I'm going to a pretty hot spot right now, right, with a lot of resignations. There might be protests. But I believe that the people in

the UK, Scotland, Ireland - as you know, I have property in Ireland. I have property all over - I think that those people, they like me a lot and

they agree with me on immigration. And I think that's why you have Brexit in the first place.


AMANPOUR: So, let us get down to the expectations and the tone today around the long time special relationship. Sir Simon Fraser, the former

head of the foreign office, joins me live. Thanks for being here.


AMANPOUR: So, right out of the bat, what do you make of the value of this visit? It has been controversial. It's not a state visit, as was first

mooted, a working trip, far away from London. How important is it nonetheless?

FRASER: Well, I think it is important. I think it's good that President Trump is coming to the UK.

Let's talk about the special relationship and maybe deal with that, first of all, because I think people get too hung up on the label. So, I will

say, look, I think it is an exceptional and special relationship between these countries on a whole range of issues and, therefore, it's entirely

sensible and appropriate that the president of the United States, which is the most important country in the world, most powerful country and the

closest ally of this country, should visit us.

AMANPOUR: So, let's put that then to the test because Britain has always punched above its weight, has been very powerful for many reasons including

its closeness to the US and Europe, occupying that vital space.

How relevant in cold, hard terms will Britain be to the special relationship or any other one out of the EU?

FRASER: Well, I think it's true that the special relationship, or the relationship between our countries, is going through some testing times for

two reasons really.

First of all, because, let's face it, a lot of people in this country don't agree with a lot of the policies of President Trump internationally and

some of them don't actually appreciate him as an individual greatly either, but also because, as you identify, we are leaving the European Union.

And so, the leverage that this country has traditionally had both in Washington and in the capitals of Europe is likely to be reduced. And I

think that's a challenge for us.

[14:20:03] AMANPOUR: When it comes to his relationship with his closest ally, the prime minister of Great Britain, President Trump has sort of

talked out of both sides of his mouth.

He's polite about her, then he tweets against her. He talks about it's up to the British people to decide about Brexit. And then, he says, well,

actually - I mean, in coded language, if it's not a hard Brexit, that's not what the British people voted for. And we know how he retweeted offensive

racist videos by a Britain First group.

How difficult is it to try to figure out is he friend or foe?

FRASER: Well, I think people in this country, as elsewhere, have probably got used to his tweeting habits and discount quite a lot of the tweets. He

has, as you say, said different things about the prime minister and about this country.

I don't know what their personal relationship is. But I do think that as president of the United States and prime minister of this country, it's

really important that they work together.

They're having this lunch tomorrow. We're told there's a long agenda of international affairs under discussion. I welcome that. They've got to

get on and they've got to make the most of it.

And as for Brexit, frankly, I'm not sure that President Trump is very well placed to know what the British people did vote for. I'm not sure that

most of the British people themselves know what they voted for.

AMANPOUR: And yet, how appropriate do you think it is that President Trump's very close strategic ally, now defenestrated from the White House,

Steve Bannon, is here right now. He has invited a whole load of hard Brexiters and nationalist, populist leaders, not just British, but

Europeans, they're here at Mayfair Hotel. And they are trying to stir up this kind of, well, very nationalistic populist policies.

FRASER: Well, I don't know what the agenda is for them, but what I'd say is this.

AMANPOUR: It is all over Europe. That's what Bannon is doing.

FRASER: Yes, that is true. But in this country, it's a democracy. People are allowed to express their views. We welcome people from other countries

to come and join the debate. That's what democracy is about, in this country, as in the United States.

I don't think you'll find much of that were he to get into Russia. Of course, he's going to Helsinki, but that's not the same in Moscow.

AMANPOUR: It is not indeed. So, we've talked about - you hope there's a deep agenda for the Chequers lunch tomorrow, but what about the agenda for

the meeting with President Putin?

We haven't really seen an agenda. We're not quite sure - you've heard what he's been saying about Russia over the days and weeks and even including

suggesting perhaps that they might accept the annexation of Crimea, might call a halt or suspension to some joint NATO, military exercises. What do

you make of that?

FRASER: Well, I don't know what that conversation is going to be. What I would say is this. We know that Russia has been engaged in a lot of really

unacceptable activities in Crimea, in Ukraine. In this country, somebody died last week.

AMANPOUR: Because of the Novichok nerve agent.

FRASER: Because of the Novichok incident. And, of course, many people think in the United States as well. So, I hope that when President Trump

talks to President Putin, he doesn't forget all that.

I agree with the Secretary General of NATO that it's perfectly sensible for the president of the US and the president of Russia to meet and have

dialogue. That's much better than there not being dialogue. But I do think that President Trump needs to bear in mind the realities of Russian


AMANPOUR: And what do you think is the impression President Putin will have, who's closely scrutinizing these meetings ahead of his own meeting,

of what came out of NATO?

FRASER: Well, I mean, I think, as you have said yourself, that the outcome of the NATO summit was better than many of us had feared. President Trump

started off in quite an aggressive mode, but by the end, clearly, there'd been agreement on stepping up burden-sharing across the alliance, on which

I think he has a point.

So, I think that a signal of solidarity will have been sent from NATO. And after all, there were some initiatives agreed, including a new readiness

package for NATO force deployments.

So, I hope that President Putin will see a message of NATO work continuing to stick together.

AMANPOUR: You don't think President Trump should accept the annexation of Crimea?

FRASER: No, I don't think he should do that.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you just to flesh out a little bit? This whole idea of burden-sharing, of course, and presidents, as you pointed out, going

back to Kennedy have said that the US pays too much, the Europeans pay too little.

But let's put it a little bit into context. The Americans have never wanted Europe to have a standalone army. They've never wanted European

allies to fly off on their own. They quite like being the benefactor and the great protector.

So, it's a difficult needle to thread, particularly as Europe sort of pulled back a little bit after what we thought was the peace dividend from

the fall of the Soviet Union.

FRASER: I think there is probably some ambivalence in the American position. You're right to say that the US has not favored Europe becoming

strongly autonomous in defense and security matters.

But as the US is facing a whole new set of geopolitical challenges around China and in other parts of the world, I think it's probably reasonable to

expect the Europeans to step up a bit to regional defense in Europe, and that's the request that's being made. I think it's an a reasonable one.

[14:25:01] Although I do think that, as with some other things, President Trump would get a better response if he moderated the manner and the way in

which he made his requests.

AMANPOUR: And stuck with the 2 percent rather than moving the goalpost to 4 percent by tomorrow.

FRASER: Yes. But also not being rude about people he's asking to pay money.

AMANPOUR: Well, exactly. And one last question, you said this is a democracy, everybody has a right, et cetera. What do you think about the

protests that are planned here, and particularly the blimp, but just the protest that are planned for his visit, which means he's not going to be in


FRASER: Yes. Well, he is actually staying the night in London (INAUDIBLE).

AMANPOUR: In a fortified compound in the middle of Regents Park.

FRASER: Look, we have a tradition here that people are allowed to express their views on the streets peacefully. The mayor of London has asked for

it to be peaceful and that's what will happen.

Tony Blair, when he went to war in Iraq, had many more people on the streets demonstrating against him and he was the prime minister of this

country. So, I'm sure that President Trump will understand the political tradition here.

AMANPOUR: And finally, in just a few seconds we have left, what do you make of the disruption on the international stage right now? I mean,

people don't quite know which way is up.

FRASER: I think it's really worrying. There are so many moving parts. Things are changing very fast. The really big issue in the world is the

reality of Chinese power now, both economic and in other senses, which is preoccupying America.

And one thing I'm concerned about is that it's not just about personalities and President Trump, that there is a structural potentially shift,

divergence between the geopolitical preoccupation of America towards China and the issues which are affecting the Europeans. And that would be


AMANPOUR: And China filling in a vacuum that is perceived to be left by the United States.

FRASER: Well, and then that might happen.

AMANPOUR: So, Simon Fraser, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

FRASER: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And we will have a lot more on President Trump's visit as it unfolds through Friday, but that is it for our program now.

Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at And, of course, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for watching. And goodbye from London.