The McLaughlin Group
Host: John McLaughlin
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast;
Tom Rogan, National Review/Daily Telegraph;
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report
Taped: Friday, October 3, 2014
Broadcast: Weekend of October 4-5, 2014
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Mr. Modi Comes to Washington.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) It is an extraordinary pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Modi to the White House for the first time. It is critical for us to continue to deepen and broaden the existing framework of partnership and friendship that already exists.
INDIAN PRIME MINISTER NARENDRA MODI: (Through interpreter, from videotape.) I am happy that we are meeting here, just a few days after the Indian and the U.S. mission reached Mars around the same time. So after the India-U.S. summit on Mars, we are meeting here at Earth. This happy coincidence captures the potential of our relationship.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi capped a five-day U.S. trip this week with a working dinner with President Obama and an overnight stay at the White House.
In New York, Modi met with Fortune 500 CEOs and courted investors with his ambitious program to modernize India's economy.
India is a democracy the size of Western Europe, with a population of over 1,250,000,000. It has figured in Washington's Asian great game since the presidency of George W. Bush.
In 2001, President Bush lifted sanctions imposed by the U.S. on India after that country secretly developed and tested a nuclear bomb in 1998. Lifting the sanctions set the stage for President Bush's policy of pursuing a strategic relationship between India and the U.S. to counter China's growing influence.
Alongside a standing army of over 1.3 million soldiers, India has around 100 nuclear weapons. Last month India displayed its technological prowess by sending a satellite to Mars.
President Obama wants India to play a prime role in his Asian pivot. For his part, Mr. Modi seems receptive. Under the foreign policy he calls, quote, "look east, link west," Modi affirms that the U.S. and India could build a genuine strategic alliance.
PRIME MINISTER MODI: (Through interpreter, from videotape.) I have a one-word answer: Yes. And with great confidence, I say yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: How much progress was made in India-U.S. relations this week? Pat Buchanan.
PAT BUCHANAN: Considerable, John. But, look, Mr. Modi, up until a little while ago, was on a watch list for virtually having been a war criminal when it was believed that he had been indifferent to a massacre of Muslims.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How many years ago?
MR. BUCHANAN: That was about in 2002, I think. And I think he's been on that list since then.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that's 12 years ago, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, well, he's been off it now. But here's a budding relationship between the United States and India. Clearly India looks to the Indian Ocean, where the Chinese navy is. The Chinese control parts of this territory they took 50 years ago. It's a democracy.
We are no threat to India, and we can offer him something and he can offer us something. But you can't exaggerate the strategic relationship. This is not a military ally. We have far more important geostrategic relationships with Russia and with China and with countries like Iran than we do with India.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't forget the BRIC nations. What are they?
MR. BUCHANAN: They are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. What's the relationship of Russia to India today?
MR. BUCHANAN: Russia has been - was a Cold war ally of India's when we were an ally of Pakistan. And this is one of the problems with this Indian relationship. The Pakistanis are really paranoid about India. It's their central concern. And this meeting here, my guess is, has probably caused some problems up in Rawalpindi.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
ELEANOR CLIFT: Well, India is a peaceful nuclear power, and it's an emerging economic powerhouse. It will be. Business in this country loves India, and they're looking to open more markets. There's tension over India wanting to get around the patent protection. They want to make low-cost generic drugs, which I think is a good position morally and ethically, but it would cut into the bottom line of American corporations - that's an issue of tension - and climate change.
I mean, I think this was a nice meeting of the minds between President Obama and the prime minister. And, you know, they went to the MLK memorial together. You got the feeling that there was a foundation laid there for a much warmer relationship.
But in terms of climate, India has given nothing. They basically say they won't deal with it for 30 years, that the U.S. polluted the atmosphere and we got away with it; now it's their turn. But you've got to start talking. And I think what this president did, our president did, was lay down a basis for a good future -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm hmm.
MS. CLIFT: - for the next president. He's going to hand over a good relationship to Hillary.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The chemistry between the two men was fantastic - the chemistry.
MS. CLIFT: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to -
TOM ROGAN: Yeah, I think you're right and Eleanor's right about that. The chemistry was noticeably different than previous prime ministers and presidents. I thought that was a very good sign. And it's clear that the president now is looking towards his legacy. And with India, with Modi trying to do these massive economic reforms, there's an opportunity there, a big opportunity.
I also think it comes into the security context of trying to buffer against China, which is making big steps into the Indian Ocean, towards Africa. And there's real potential there. But again, the devil is in the details, and we will wait to see what happens.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, India borders China along the Himalayas. Its navy has access to open waters through the Indian Ocean. And it is a nuclear power. From the U.S. vantage, a strategic alliance with India is far better than a non-aligned India.
MORT ZUCKERMAN: Oh, for sure. There's no doubt about that. India is a burgeoning power. They're going to be, I think, exploding in terms of their economy under the leadership of this man. I suspect that they're going to have an increased, shall we say, military capability. But that's not the issue. They'll have both political and economic strength that will be much more tilted on our side - to our side - and will be a very good counterbalance to whatever China may want to do. So it's a plus-plus, it seems to me, for them and for us.
MR. BUCHANAN: But we don't want the United States committed to go to war for India if they get in a fight with China, as they did about 50 years ago. And you talk about strategic partnerships. You can work with them and you can sell weapons to them and all the rest of it. But as for a NATO-type alliance, it would be insane.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, no, no. I don't think that's what's involved. I mean, that - but I think we can give them a certain kind of, shall we say, indirect support at a lot of levels, particularly if the Chinese get to be too aggressive.
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible) - problematic friend. We don't want them in the enemy camp, that's for sure.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, let's get up to date here. Last month Modi visited Japan, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping went to India to meet with Modi. Both countries offered development packages. Modi is playing them off against each other.
MR. BUCHANAN: Sure, he is. But, I mean, look, the Chinese are sitting there occupying Indian territory. It wasn't so long ago, very recently, they've had skirmishes up there, John. I mean, these are great rivals, and we don't want to be on one side or the other if they get involved in a clash.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you have a feeling that this is a powerhouse?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, I don't.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, I don't. I think China is a far more important, powerful, serious nation, a rising superpower. I think militarily Russia is far more impressive.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who has the -
MR. BUCHANAN: India is going to pass China, but it's not there yet.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish. Go ahead, Mort.
MS. CLIFT: I would say Russia is more impressive, but I would say India is certainly far behind India in the capitalistic pursuit.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: India -
MS. CLIFT: But they're on the march.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: India is gorgeous.
MS. CLIFT: It's a beautiful country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I don't mean in that way. It's just gorgeous from the point of view -
MS. CLIFT: Go to Delhi -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - of where it is now and -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: There is absolutely no - nothing but gains for us, OK, as India, frankly, is going to become a much stronger country, both economically and militarily. And we will not - we're not going to get involved in a war, I hope, and I don't think they want to get involved with a war.
MR. ROGAN: No, they don't.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Nevertheless, they're a very good counterbalance to the whole Chinese influence in the region.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will you sum this up?
MR. ROGAN: I think the sum-up is there's divided opinion on what happens next in terms of India's objectives with China and the United States. But there is a big opportunity, because India is a democracy. I think China has real issues. We're going to talk about that later. But India has a real opportunity on the economic level, security level. And Modi certainly presents a new face, a kind of Margaret Thatcher, in a way, of India.
MS. CLIFT: They don't -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think there was a natural meeting of minds between these two men?
MR. ROGAN: I think in their own ways it was. I think Mr. Modi is more of an economic - (inaudible).
MR. BUCHANAN: The commonality -
MR. ROGAN: But there's an opportunity.
MR. BUCHANAN: There's a commonality of interests, undeniably. I wouldn't get too very close to them. But we have no real frictions between us and a lot of things in common.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm talking about the two leaders getting together. We've seen all kinds of relationships between leaders who get together. This seems to be authentic.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think -
MS. CLIFT: I agree.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It seems to me they like each other and they like each other's company.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think you put too great an accent on personalities, John -
MS. CLIFT: Yeah.
MR. BUCHANAN: - rather than national interests.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't at all.
MS. CLIFT: In India -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't at all.
MS. CLIFT: In India, they look at Modi as their Barack Obama, because when he was elected, it was similar to the excitement -
MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)
MS. CLIFT: - exactly -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think you -
MS. CLIFT: - (inaudible) - when Obama was elected in this country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you notice how he habitually underestimates the importance of personality and the meeting of minds that can take place as a result of a connection that's made socially between the two people?
MR. ROGAN: John -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He underestimates it.
MS. CLIFT: Obama -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, he does.
MS. CLIFT: Oh.
MR. ROGAN: India is about to -
MS. CLIFT: Obama doesn't anymore.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, no.
MS. CLIFT: Obama did, but I don't think he does anymore.
MR. ROGAN: John -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No. And also he's meeting him on the intellectual level, that clever way that he introduced himself as we're both on Mars together, you know.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, Modi remembers he was on the watch list of the United States for 10 years. Don't worry about it. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, big deal. That's 12 years ago, Pat.
MR. ROGAN: India is about to have state-level elections, which Modi is hoping are going to consolidate his position. And then I think you'll see the big push of the reforms and how much of this is rhetoric transitioning into reality.
MS. CLIFT: He's got the same problem with expectations that Obama had. The expectations for him are enormously high.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Tremendous Restraint?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) The Secret Service does a great job. I'm grateful for all the sacrifices they make on my behalf and my family's behalf.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: President Obama praised the Secret Service last week after the arrest of 42-year-old Iraq war veteran Omar J. Gonzalez for climbing the fence at the White House and sprinting into the executive mansion.
This week the House Oversight Committee took a different perspective on the Secret Service when they grilled its director, Julia Pierson, about the security breach. Despite the security lapses which allowed intruder Gonzalez, armed with a knife, to reach deep inside the White House to the threshold of the Green Room, the Secret Service nevertheless issued a press release praising its handling of the intrusion as exhibiting, quote, "tremendous restraint and discipline," unquote.
And there's more tremendous restraint. Three days before Gonzalez's fence-jumping incursion, the Secret Service let an armed security guard with prior criminal convictions for assault board an elevator with President Obama. The man, a contract employee at the Centers for Disease Control, proceeded to take pictures in the elevator and did not obey when told to desist. The Secret Service did not realize the man had a loaded weapon with him in the elevator until later.
Collectively, these failings prompted Director Pierson to resign Wednesday. But questions persist. Has the Secret Service lost its edge in the three decades since the assassination attempt against President Ronald Reagan? The man ultimately in charge of the Secret Service is Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa has called for a special congressional probe of the Secret Service's management.
Question: Has the length of time since the Reagan assassination attempt eroded the Secret Service's sense of risk, do you think? Eleanor Clift.
MS. CLIFT: Well, I think it's possible that some complacency has set in. And I think if you're, you know, patrolling the White House, for all the - it's been penetrated now, but if you're ever over there, it's like an armed camp. I mean, as a reporter, you have to go through several checkpoints. It's not easy to get into.
And so I think agents who sit in guardhouses and walk around the perimeter, probably their attention wanders sometimes. And that is unacceptable.
So I think, you know, the Secret Service as a whole - I mean, everybody I've ever dealt with is very professional. There are a few people that are not doing their job. I think it's a question of management and I think it's a question of resources. They don't have enough money.
And Julia Pierson, I think she was installed in that job because it was thought that she could, merely because of her gender, change that sort of frat-boy, devil-may-care attitude that had infected the service, particularly on overseas trips. But, you know, she apparently comes out of the same bureaucratic attitude, and she failed. And I give her a lot of credit for resigning as quickly as she did.
MR. BUCHANAN: That was a very sad -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. Before you have your questions, how many presidents were assassinated?
MR. BUCHANAN: Four have been assassinated: Kennedy, Lincoln -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Garfield.
MR. BUCHANAN: - Garfield -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Kennedy.
MR. BUCHANAN: - and McKinley.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: McKinley.
MR. BUCHANAN: And listen, Harry Truman -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who was the fourth?
MR. BUCHANAN: McKinley. President Kennedy and Garfield and McKinley and Lincoln - Lincoln.
But, John, look, Ronald Reagan was shot -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How many altogether - four? Four out of how many presidents?
MR. BUCHANAN: You've got - they've had about 43 now. But here's the thing. Ronald Reagan was shot. Harry Truman - they attempted to assassinate him right in front of Blair House.
MR. ROGAN: Teddy Roosevelt.
MR. BUCHANAN: Teddy Roosevelt took a bullet, but that's when he was out of the Oval Office. But also, Gerald Ford was fired at twice.
Look, the Secret Service - and I had the fortune to have their protection - they're outstanding people. They've got a tremendous reputation. They put their lives on the line for you. They're great guys. But something has happened when somebody jumps over the fence, runs through the White House lawn, pushes over the gal at the door of the White House, which isn't locked -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MR. BUCHANAN: - and is running around the East Room and is stopped by a Secret Service guy who was leaving the building.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So something's wrong?
MR. BUCHANAN: Something is terribly, terribly wrong. And there's other incidents that - seven shots were fired at the White House and they didn't tell the president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How come they gave you Secret Service protection? Did they think you were president?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, because, as Jimmy Carter said about Andy Young, they thought I was, quote, "a national treasure" at that particular time.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.) Have you put that in your column?
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why don't you just sign yourself, instead of Buchanan, "a national treasure"?
MR. BUCHANAN: They're great guys. I've got a dozen stories about them, and they are the greatest guys you'll ever run into.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are the Brits saying about this?
MR. ROGAN: I don't know the Brits are covering it that much. My own perspective, though - you know, I actually did some work as a summer job in protection at Wimbledon. It's very difficult. Clearly the Secret Service is at the highest level of difficulty, you know, working the rope line. They don't know if there's a suicide bomber, someone with a gun -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Whom were you protecting?
MR. ROGAN: Tennis players at Wimbledon.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Tennis players.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, tennis players.
MR. ROGAN: Yeah. It's a much lower level. But the point of protection is it is immensely difficult. The elevator example, that's something -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean the man in the elevator -
MR. ROGAN: Yeah. That's something that actually sometimes you're not going to be able to avoid, because the advance agent is going to go there. There's a lot of trust placed on the hosting organization and the government -
MR. BUCHANAN: You've got to - look, if it's somebody you don't know - when I was there, they had the elevator cleared. My sister could have gotten on. They knew her. But if they didn't know somebody, they'd say please wait for the next elevator.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, what are your impressions?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, I mean, there has clearly been some kind of a breakdown on some level. I mean, you can't imagine that this is going to happen. There have been several incidents that have really undermined the general confidence in this critical agency. What they clearly need is different leadership, and they're going to get it. And they're going to have to really review a lot of their procedures, because this really - we came this close to a major disaster in this country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about the chap that - what's his name, Gonzalez? Should the Secret Service have used lethal force against Gonzalez? Yes or no?
MR. BUCHANAN: No.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No.
MS. CLIFT: No. First of all, the first family wasn't there. So - and I think the agents' guard goes down somewhat. And he is a mentally disturbed gentleman. And I think he'd been hanging around the White House -
MR. BUCHANAN: John -
MS. CLIFT: - to some extent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Letting him get inside the White House was a complete failure of security that could have had horrific consequences -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: - if he were wearing a suicide bomber's vest.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, what you should have done is had the snipers on the roof have rubber bullets, and as soon as he got over the fence, take him down with those, which wouldn't kill him. They'd knock him down. But you would shoot -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quick comment from you about Joe Clancy. Do you know who Joe Clancy is?
MR. BUCHANAN: He's the new head of the agency, temporarily.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you know Joe?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, but Bill Clancy was head of my detail, part of my detail. I don't know that he's related.
MR. ROGAN: They should -
MS. CLIFT: The first family has a comfort level with him because he was the head of the detail for their first two years in the White House. And so he is their personal selection. He also was there when the Salahis made their way into the state dinner.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: Nobody's holding that against him for the moment, anyway.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What Secret Service - former Secret Service worker, man, was protecting the Reagans - the Kennedys - and he was -
MR. ROGAN: Clint Hill.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Clint Hill. He wrote a book, right?
MR. ROGAN: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Very moving book.
MR. BUCHANAN: Clint Eastwood did a movie in which he was that Secret Service agent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the book called?
MR. ROGAN: I don't know. But I'm just going to make one comment on -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (You don't fail with ?) your memory, usually. He wrote a book, and the name is Clinton Hill. For those who are interested in this issue, it's a very moving book about how he also made it to where he could have used his own body to protect Kennedy. It was after the first bullet but before the second.
MR. ROGAN: (Inaudible.)
MR. BUCHANAN: He's the one the first lady reached out to.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Hong Kong Heat.
Supporters call it the umbrella revolution. Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters, mostly students, have jammed the streets of Hong Kong around the clock, deploying umbrellas to protect against rain, sun, and when the police spray tear gas and pepper spray.
Ordinary citizens are lending their support, calling for C.Y. Leung, Hong Kong's chief executive, and also its top politician, to resign.
How did Hong Kong get to this point? A decision by Beijing, China's seat of government, to vet all candidates who want to run in the 2017 election for the powerful office of Hong Kong's chief executive. Hong Kong has long enjoyed a special status as compared to Mainland China, ever since the British returned their former colony to China in 1997, 17 years ago.
China back then agreed to a, quote-unquote, "one country, two systems" policy that has allowed Hong Kong, a flourishing financial hub of China, with 7.1 million residents, an independent judiciary and press freedoms that are currently forbidden on the mainland.
But after China's current president, Xi Jinping, took control in 2013, last year, restrictions have been tightened, including on public dissent and the use of social media. Disallowing Hong Kong residents to choose their own candidates in an open and fair election now puts Beijing in a conundrum.
It is unclear how long the communist party will tolerate such revolt, especially because of its spill potential into other parts of China. On the other hand, the legacy and memory of 1989, Tiananmen Square, when China violently cracked down on an earlier generation of student protesters, still lingers. And a repeat would cause not only chaos and death, but also condemnation from the West.
What is Xi Jinping to do?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think he's going to let them have a bit of a leash, John, until they tick off enough people in Hong Kong. But if push comes to shove and he's got to crack down, he will do it. This man is not going to back down.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: I think he's going to try to wait out the protesters, just like the capitalists in New York waited out the Wall Street - the anti-Wall Street crowd. Hong Kong is the economic engine for China.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm hmm.
MS. CLIFT: It's their New York. He - if he does a severe crackdown, that would only, I think, cause -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MS. CLIFT: - protests to spread on the mainland.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Ten seconds.
MR. ROGAN: I think he doesn't give up, but I also think the broader issue in China is that there are big problems in terms of separation of wealth between very poor rural populations and rich in the urban areas. And I think in the future, as China's export model becomes more difficult to maintain, they're going to have major social problems.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, 10 seconds.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah, I think you're going to have a real clash between an educated, well-to-do population and a much less, shall we say, successful population. He's going to have to find a way to reconcile those two.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, the U.S. and Hong Kong. One thousand four hundred U.S. firms are situated in Hong Kong. U.S. companies enjoy the city's business environment, legal system, low taxation, solid infrastructure. And over 60,000 U.S. residents live in Hong Kong.
Last year, U.S. goods and private services trade with Hong Kong totaled $64 billion. U.S. exports to Hong Kong totaled $51 billion, while imports from Hong Kong to the U.S. totaled $13 billion - a $39 billion trade surplus in favor of the U.S.
China's communist party has accused the West of abetting the protests. The party's main newspaper, People's Daily, claims that the activists in the streets of Hong Kong have sought support from, quote-unquote, "anti-China forces" in the U.K. and the U.S., and called them a, quote, "gang of people besotted with western democracy," unquote.
Secretary of State John Kerry met with China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, on Wednesday and said this.
SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY: (From videotape.) And as China knows, we support universal suffrage in Hong Kong, according to the basic law. And we believe an open society with the highest possible degree of autonomy and governed by rule of law is essential for Hong Kong's stability and prosperity. And we have high hopes that the Hong Kong authorities will exercise restraint and respect the protesters' right to express their views peacefully.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Foreign Minister Wang had this response.
WANG YI (Chinese foreign minister): (Through interpreter, from videotape.) Hong Kong affairs are China's internal affairs. All countries should respect China's sovereignty.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Why are Chinese authorities blaming the unrest on America meddling? I ask you.
MR. ROGAN: Well, because they don't want to address their own internal difficulties in terms of the absence of democracy and the rule of law. And I think it's appropriate and right that the United States is making - Secretary Kerry deserves credit for doing that, because, you know, the Chinese government's engagement with the United States with cyberespionage, the restrictions on people's freedom, bullying their neighbors - Vietnam, Philippines - and the broader vein of what they aim to bring to the world in terms of (global politics ?) deserves to be confronted internally and externally.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute. What's the broader aim?
MR. ROGAN: Of China, or of the United States?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: China.
MR. ROGAN: I think the broader aim of China is to be the world's next superpower and to continue with the domination of the communist - Chinese communist party.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, Xi Jinping has been talking -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think it's a superpower already?
MR. ROGAN: Not yet, but it's getting there.
MR. BUCHANAN: Xi Jinping has been talking to Vladimir Putin, who believes, not wrongly, that the United States uses NGOs and the National Endowment for Democracy, all these agencies - democracy agencies, if you will - to subvert their governments. Putin believes that's what's what happened in Ukraine. That's what happened in Serbia. That's what happened in Kyrgyzstan.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm hmm.
MR. BUCHANAN: That's what happened in Georgia. He's told Xi Jinping. And you're going to watch. These NGOs are going to be more and more an issue, and they're going to be expelled from -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: An NGO is a nongovernmental organization. Correct?
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why didn't you do it that way instead of -
MR. BUCHANAN: Because they're called NGOs. And they feel -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're using this jargon to try to -
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, that's the jargon that is being used by Putin and Xi Jinping.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, we don't need that opacity.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, but -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We don't need it.
MS. CLIFT: - China has promised Hong Kong universal suffrage. That's part of the deal. I thought what Secretary Kerry said was pretty anodyne. And the Onion, which is a satirical newspaper, its headline was Obama to Hong Kong, another issue we're not going to pay attention to. And the president has really not gotten involved in this. And blaming internal unrest on outside agitators has a long history. It goes back to the civil rights (episodes ?) in the South here.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Suppose Beijing uses violence to break up the protesters. What should President Obama do?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, he's not going to do anything in the way of using force or anything like that. That is just outside of the bounds of reality.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hit them in the pocketbook?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: In one form or another. And I think there will be a major opportunity to use that as a platform in which to go after the Chinese for the kind of state that they have developed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Could Jack Lew declare China to be a currency manipulator?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't think that that's what's involved here.
MR. BUCHANAN: Let me tell you, John, you want to bring the markets down crashing -
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: - you get into an economic sanctions war with China.
MS. CLIFT: And you don't pick a fight with your banker, I don't think.
MR. ROGAN: But it -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which is the stronger - which is the stronger market, Hong Kong or Wall Street?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, no, no. Wall Street is still the strongest market.
MR. BUCHANAN: Hong Kong -
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you sure of that?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: By far, yes.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, Hong Kong is 3 percent of China's economy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Which is the stronger city, Hong Kong or New York?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, I would take New York as well.
MS. CLIFT: Which is the stronger index -
MR. ZUCKERMAN: There's no city in the world -
MS. CLIFT: - Dow Jones or Hang Seng?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think?
MR. ROGAN: New York.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: New York is?
MR. ROGAN: The United States will remain the world's sole superpower.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right now. And you're not a Brit. You are a Brit.
MR. ROGAN: I'm a U.S. citizen. I don't like this teasing abuse because of my accent. We're a country of immigrants.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, pal, you can vote.
MR. BUCHANAN: Ebola virus contained here, but it explodes in West Africa.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Half a dozen Republican-led states will accept Medicaid under "Obamacare" after the November elections.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Tom.
MR. ROGAN: In the November elections, it's going to be 52-48 for the Republicans taking the Senate.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: The housing market is going to continue to weaken. This is going to create a wider impact on the already weak economy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If ISIS makes good on its threat to slaughter the families of American troops here in their homes in the United States, the pressure on President Obama to launch an all-out attack will be unbearable. It will trigger a full-scale American assault on ISIS and its sponsors in the Middle East.