tv DW Interview Deutsche Welle July 15, 2021 8:30am-9:01am CEST
after the exclusive interview with george w bush on d, w i, we've got some hot tips for your bucket list, who's magic corner check spot for food and some great cultural memorials to boot the w travel off we go. now the exclusive interview with george w bush president george w bush doesn't give many interviews anymore. but because of his special relationship to chancellor uncle a medical he invited us to his summer home in may. we talked about the past and the future of the trans atlantic relationships alumni. so let's take on china, on russia. the also explains how he felt when he was rubbing her shoulders.
president bush, you have mad to chancellor uncle america. so many times do you recall kind of a defining moment? you know, the last time i saw was defining because she flew all the way over to my dad's funeral. and we are at the blair house, which is right across the street from the white house. my whole family was there and somebody said i merkel would like to call on you, and i just meant a lot of, you know, i was very close to my dad. the fact that she would take time to come really defined, i think our relationship, she's a very thoughtful kind of person and i think another time was at the ranch. we've got a ranch, we love in central texas and she and professor sar came revisit, learn me. and i remember she and i walked across our prairie. we went for probably an hour walker, so just visiting about a variety of things and it was oppertunity not to conduct diplomacy,
but an opportunity to get to know or get to know each other better. and that was a kind of a defining moment to you painted the portrait of her. i'm sure all that kind of is seen in this portrait. maybe you can talk a little bit about the process and the picture itself. sure, well, you know, i was just the new painters. i was a little worried about making sure i captured the person that i was trying to paint and ankle in case i wanted to paint a kind person with a lovely soul. and that's a person i got to know. i mean, she's plenty tough in order to survive. and i, and what was a man's world german politics for a long time. she's gotta be pretty tough and she's resolute. but i also saw side of her that was very compassionate and decent. and that's what i, that's what i tried to do in the portrait. i hope she likes it. and where you can tell people at my head, great respect for like and some and i want to close to when you look at the
portraits i painted and hers is one of on the plus side. i liked her a lot, talking about more complicated relationships. the relationship with god screwed up the previous s or at the end was a little bit icey variation. yeah. which role did you a personal relationship with the mac or pay for the improvement of the transatlantic relationship? well, i think, i mean it again, her schroeder used me as a political pawn on his re election and it became very personal. and people in his cabinet says some things that they shouldn't want to compare me. they are of hitler or something like that. and they have policy, there's roommates, there's one thing, but to personalize it in a way to help one's self politically, really was i didn't think very good that didn't represent
a good friendship. angela came in and change that completely. we had our disagreements, of course, i mean, what was your biggest disagreement with her? you know, probably whether or not georgia should be given, the membership application processed and nato and, and she was very resolute and didn't think it was the right thing to do. and i thought the right thing to do, but we conducted ourselves in such a way as not to personalize it. because because above all the politics, there was just friendship and. and so she, you know, whether or not she intentionally tried to repair relationships with me. i don't, i don't even know if she need a relationship needs to be repaired. i guess she saw what schroeder did, but anyway, it was, it was a different relationship and much more positive and constructive. what about going to animal be that was also a huge disagreement. right,
and you're not really not. yeah. and i wasn't going to change my attitude there was is that if you're worried about guantanamo bay, go down there and inspect it, like to international read, crossed in on a regular basis. but i don't remember any friction over that talking about difficult relation relationships. what triggered i'm going to medical in donald trump and cost the house house. he was refused shaking her head. i don't know. i don't know. that was just a, not a good period in german or us relations and i don't know, i don't, i don't know. donald trump met him one time at the very same funeral. then i feel a miracle game too. and so it's hard for me to guess, why am i germany is a very close ally and a very important friend, germany of really important for europe and. and germany's got a lot of way in terms of helping shape kind of world opinion on key issues. and therefore it makes sense for you as president to be close to the german chancellor
. and even though the girl schroeder and i had a disagreement on issues, we nevertheless were able to send the signal that us german relations are very important. how does this work, mister president, after you left the office? do you stay in contact with chancellors or presidents from other countries to, to talk to america after that or not? really? i'm like, i'm out and i don't, and i'm happy to be out as you know, i become a simple painter and i, i'm out of politics. i kind of got into us politics a little bit when i, when i published a book on immigrants, one of them was a great german named dirt which we both share the same hometown now dallas, texas. he's a remarkable guy, loyal and community activist for children, and he's a good man. and anyway, we have an immigration debate going on in the united states. now. i was unhappy
with the toner of it and i think we start with the premise that we're all gosh children and every life matters. then all of a sudden one has a different perspective on how to enforce the border and how to deal with people who are escaping tyranny. and anyway, but other than that, i'm pretty much out of politics. talking about immigration, that's what that was. something which will define probably uncle michaels chancery . what's your take on her reaction when she didn't close the borders and led in like a 1000000 or so? yeah. you know, my 1st reaction was there's a one with a big heart, and i'm sure she was motivated by human compassion. and it was, it was clearly a tough political decision for her. but she took a lead, like i made a lot of tough decisions too. and i hope when people look at my record as president, they say he did what he thought was right. and student ground. and so i admire,
i admire her steadfastness and uncle is not afraid to make a decision was not afraid to lead. and the world needs leadership that has based upon principal and that's what she did. and i know it cause political points, but seemed like she doing pretty well. here's the thing that amazes me. 8 years in a democracy is a long time. i know for well people who have tired over year and they retire to reagan every years. there darnesha tired of me after 8 years and merkle has managed to survive in a pretty tough political environment for more than a years. and it's pretty amazing when you think about it at the 10 year reflects something and i think it reflects the german voters trust. they may not agree with them, but they trust her and they trust her most 1st and foremost because she's a good person. did she, in your perspective, make any major mistakes?
you know, i don't, i'm not, i'm not very close to german politics. not really. you know, i'm, and i'm sure that i'm sure, as you, i hope are 10 years, not defined by the decision on refugees. what's your to, can you be defined by me? i think it ought to be on bringing honor and principal leadership to the chancery of germany. what we will say, what's your greatest legacy? my light grays legacy was you know, my girls love me after being present. others as their profound principles that are important with leaders and leaders. my set examples, i bet a legacy about merkle was, there's a lot of girls watch on the la merkle say. i too can have a position of responsibility and power because she conducted herself with such dignity. and you know that there's no such thing as accurate, short term history. others on the list place in history won't be known until other
chancellors come until events from around the world unfold. and i think there's people beginning to realize the premium on character when it comes to leadership. and the lack of character is very notable people with character. it seems like they take people take that for granted, but nevertheless in a period were characters been lacking, all of a sudden people are going wow that, that, that's an important trait for a later. and i'm going to merkel later, she's not a follower, which is which i admire a lot. this is changing leg in the world with facebook or social media, like political leaders are more populous or a better on twitter than really like with a principal. yeah, it's interesting question i'm i got out of there before all this stuff happened.
and you know, i probably would have made my time at more washington different, although i can assure you, i wouldn't have been on twitter. and i would have been on facebook. but yeah, it's, i think populism though, is a result of more than just social media platforms. i think populism reflects a frustration with, with, with society. and other words here in the states. you know, i made a decision in 2008 to use tax payers money to bail out wall street to, to prevent a worldwide depression. and that made a lot of people mad. really mad. i mean, the average guy out there were raised in texas pages mortgage and all of a sudden george bush uses his taxpayer money to give it to wall street. and there's something unfair about that in their mind. and i wouldn't have done it had not been necessary to save the economy, but you can explain that to somebody. you know,
you can't prove a negative. and so in that created this anger. and then wages were stagnated, which created anger, then. and then people felt, you know, immigration kind of begin to crowd them out, which i think it's a multiple set of factors. what, what the mass media does, or the current media does, is enables him to talk among themselves. and the real danger is a conspiracy theories that arise and it's going to require strong leaders to knock that down. and to refute some of these ridiculous extremist ideologies on both the left and the right. oh, glad that you were out of the white house before that happened before twitter took over. so yeah, i think, well, yeah, i'm glad look, i'm glad i survey years in the family say years in my life and and i'm glad i'm out of the political maelstrom. you know,
it's weird about america right now. so i have a stablish is friendship, because i sit next to her at funerals with michelle obama. and i, one time i gave her a met al toyed and a my, my daughter said to me, you're trending an order. ok. what is that? is that good? now you're on social media, you and michelle obama and the country was shocked that a republican male and a democrat female can have some kind of bond other than you know, debating politics. and it just goes to show how little rice things are now. the question, and i'm sure they are in germany as well. and the question is will we be able to merge out of this? and my attitude is so long as there's democracy, we can because most americans don't like the hostility and the political system, most americans are not populous, raging popular shoot,
express their anger through conspiracy. theories and elections were reflect that so long as the elections are opened and people vote in germany is about to have a big election. and, and that's part of the healing process. coming back to angle america. mr. president, so you were just out of office when metal was informed that her mobile phone was tab by the n s a and i quote her her. and she said spying among amongst friends is not at all. okay. do you understand that? totally. yeah. i've question, i had no idea hang on a miracle, but yeah, i mean that's not the definition of friendship and she had every right to be straightforward in her criticism. she is also seen as kind of a world leader who is taking climate change really seriously. what role did she play and you're alive, to make you understand or actually on your take when it comes to the climate?
well, i understood the issue. i just didn't want to have a global treaty that didn't include china and india otherwise as a waste of time. now i had she was, i remember when i came with schroeder was the chancellor and they went to the boon in stock and sat down with all the leaders there. and the green party guy was, you know, this, giving me lecture on that. i said, fine, why don't you support me? civilian nuclear power is clean and so renewable. i mean, it's the best thing you can do for the environment. after all, your neighbor in france just figure out a way to get rid of this waste and all of a sudden conversation with quiet. and you know, there's a lot of competing interest in a lot of different views. but no question. was very strong on the environment and i don't blame or the other thing she was strong on though at the same time the world should be focused on, on the environment when people were dying of age and they kind of africa. and of
course, i was concerned about having a agreement that work, but on climate. but i was also deeply concerned about rich people standing by as people were needlessly dying. and as you may know, we put together a giant initiative during my administration and i was very supportive. and as a result, millions now labor would have died and and anyway, it's shutting priorities are important, but solving problems are very important to some people criticize her over her politics with china, saying that like the trade was with this country is more important for her than human rights, i don't know, i am follow that closely, but that's going to be a dilemma for everybody. and in china's certainly a problem for the western world, because not only are they becoming an industrial competitor,
but they are pretty autocratic and you know, they gotta go, declared himself almost leader for life. and it's just a different set of pressures on the chinese leadership and you know, the, the world has to figure out how they're going to deal with human rights abuses. i hope when people study my presidency, they say george bush cared about human rights abuses. every time i go to china, i talk about religious freedom. and i do show in a way as not to embarrass a chinese leaders or anger them or create phone met disorder. but i told them all the time i said look, it matter to my, my life. and i think you'll find our society with religious people is going to be a society that's more compassionate. and they want to hear from la metro's relationship with let me put it is somewhat special, sometimes is really close. sometimes it's more confrontational. how do you see her
relationship, or how did you see it when you were in office? well, 1st of all, i fully understood the importance of russia to germany can become more important as germany relies upon russia, natural gas to power. her big industrial economy, which i thought was a mistake. but you know, i didn't, i didn't view it as a demonstration of our relationship because she had to deal with a rep, glamour, boone. i mean, after ivy it is very practical. i mean, food got big influence and he speaks german and, and i want, you know, he's wiley and it can be pretty tough. and so can i go so i wasn't worried about putting, running over. i like she, she can hold her own, and i'm sure she did talking about putting, talking about russia. we have to talk about northridge too. are you disappointed
that on the la method kept promoting supporting this pipeline? yeah, i think it's a mistake. and i told that to get her schroeder and i tell it on to let you know, i think it's a mistake because, you know, the motivation is, of russia are, or can be pretty confusing. and i think of more that a nation that is not an open democracy, has an economic strangle hold on a democracy. it puts people in a very difficult strategic position. as one of my, i just never understood why there's dismantling of the civilian nuclear power. my both chancellor schroeder and and algo, and it just didn't make any sense to me and, but the decision they made and i guess the countries comfortable with it as a germany on the michael who supported by the way. i'm sure all of us know that the
intervention in iraq and 2 or 3 did not support the bonding and libya or any further intervention in syria. what was that approach? a mistake in your eyes? now? i don't know. i, you know, i wasn't involved. i was very pleased, she was supportive of troops in afghanistan. i'm by the way, and one of the reasons why is because she saw the progress that could be made for young girls and women in afghanistan is unbelievable. how that society changed from the brutality of the taliban and our sudden sadly, i'm afraid i have gained women and girls are going to suffer. unspeakable harm is a mistake. so withdrawal, i think it is. yeah, i think because i think the consequences are going to be unbelievably bad. and i'm sad and i spent a lot and i spent a lot of time with afghan women and, and they're scared. and i think about all the interpreters and people that help not
only us troops, nato troops, and they're just, it seems like there's, you can be left behind to be slaughtered by the very brutal people and it breaks my heart. and i'm sure uncle of him, doctor about it, but i suspect she feels the same way after all. she was a little girl who grew up in a pretty close society. and now i remember going to her hometown and talking to her about her childhood and it was a it's just so amazing to me to be talking to a young, a woman who as a young girl was trapped in a closed society. and in here she becomes the chancellor of a democratic free country. people say, germany approach to military invention is not really honest. it's like a little bit on the one hand. and on the other hand, let's get the americans do the dirty work and we drove and stay out of it. what's
your take on that? yeah, you know, it's interesting. i mean there was a universal outcry in germany. it seemed like to me, even amongst conservative legislators about some of my decisions after 911 and, and it was really a reaction. it seems to me to any military involvement because a previous war. and, and i came to understand that there's a, it was a psyche in every country and, and i understood the psyche and it because it didn't mean we couldn't be close friends. and so it didn't bother me that germany sent police trainers. we sent shooters, they sent police trainers, but it was a reflection of how the german people felt at the time. and that's how democracy works. should an american have known better in that regard that she comes from the
place where she comes from so that sometimes military action is needed? now, i don't know, you know, that's just everybody has to examine their own conscious. but again, people who are elected in democracy tend to reflect the, the culture or the attitudes, the history, the tradition of the country. and i just said that both she and her schroeder reflected that and so you see the key thing is the termination of alliance versus difference of opinion. and i always kept in mind the importance of us, german relations for our own country, from my own country shake and. and therefore when they disagree much, i refuse to let that disagreement or personal slice, if there were any interrupt the, the, the larger goal. and the best thing for the united states is to be close to germany . and i think it's the best thing for germany to be close the united states.
certainly. so after donald trump and so off is, america was called the leader of the free world. what do you make of that? and is there such thing as a leader of the free world? i think i think there are influencers people have got influence to rally nations who share basic values. free press, free religion, the right to protest. and a country like the united states and germany has got a little extra oomph. and those relationships and those collectives of nations that share the same values because of the size of our economies and the size of our populations. did you navigate well? i think so. i mean, i think so to the point where, i mean there was a lot on her agenda and she got reelected
a lot which i think speaks volumes about her successes. and but you know what's interesting and history works. both she and i mean to worry about short term history because we're not going to know where we stand until long after we're dead. if you would read the history books, what would be your paragraph about an america on merkel brought clash and dignity to a very important position and made very hard decisions and did so though with what's best for germany. and if so, based upon principal, and the principal one focused on her, the principal was larger principles that are important in life. and i think it was a compassionate leader, a woman who is not afraid to lead. there is one image, the world remembers of you and michael that, that,
that's at the g. a meeting in saint petersburg when you were massaging her shoulder and i walk by a game or yeah, i wouldn't call it an extended massage. i'd call it a. yeah, i mean, she was here, it's kind of a spontaneous reflection of friendship. and i'm sure people didn't know what to make of it. i didn't mind that was kind of i thought it was a wow. and it can, i don't know. yeah, i mean one of those things that just happened, it certainly was scripted. did you ever talk with her about it? no, no, but if i need to underline shari, i did that and put in the public spotlight, but on the other hand, is a reflection of my, my friendship with you. thank you so very much and happy to do the
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