Axios (2018) s04e11 Episode Script

Season 4, Episode 11

Washington, D.
Madam Ambassador, Mike Allen.
Thank you so much for having us.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield / U.
Ambassador to the United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, you are the United States ambassador to the United Nations.
- Thank you for hosting Axios on HBO.
- Thank you very much.
The UN is a strange place.
Now that you're all back in person, what's it like for you interacting with every country in the world? I'm on a treadmill every single day.
I do four or five meetings with various countries on a daily basis.
But I also think it is important being the country that we are, that we engage with every single country at the UN.
I'm working down the list.
Hopefully by September, I will have met everyone.
President Biden, your boss, is on his first overseas trip.
A lot of fanfare and hoopla, but you're a diplomat.
So you always think about the downside.
What could go wrong? What are the risks of this big trip? Look, nothing can go wrong on this trip.
Everything that Prez Wait.
That's a jinx if I've ever heard one.
It's not a jinx.
The president has a very, very ambitious agenda.
He is meeting with our allies.
He's being embraced and he's being welcomed.
He's meeting with President Putin to lay out the concerns that we have in that relationship but to ensure that moving forward we have a stable and predictable relationship with the Russians.
His plan is very clear, and his agenda is very clear.
So I'm confident that nothing can go wrong on this visit.
Vladimir Putin has been basically taunting Washington in the lead up to this trip.
What happens if that meeting's a failure? What if it's impossible to do the friendly smiles that you diplomats do? I don't know that it will be a meeting of friendly smiles.
I think it will be a meeting that in which the president will be candid and frank with President Putin.
It's the first step in I think a process of rebuilding a relationship that is stable and predictable.
You said the president will be frank.
Will he be tough? I know he will be tough.
I know this.
He's very concerned about cyber hacking.
And clearly that's an issue, given what you've seen happen here in the United States over the past few weeks.
The president will make clear to the Russians that they cannot harbor cyber terrorists and criminals in their country and not be held accountable for it.
They need to take the responsibility for dealing with this issue.
Vice President Harris is just back.
Her message in Latin America was, "Do not come.
" Is that your message? The message that the vice president delivered was one that offers people hope where they live.
And what we'd like to do is work with these countries so that they can provide for the needs of people.
But that message could be awkward in your day job.
I don't find it awkward.
We still have a very embracing society.
We welcome people.
The president has made the decision to resume our refugee resettlement program.
Our immigration program is one that works.
But if you have people trying to cross the border illegally, it can't work for them.
I'm very blessed.
I have two nephews and two nieces who were adopted from Ethiopia.
Ethiopia right now has the world's worst famine in ten years, a human catastrophe, particularly in the Tigray region.
And you have been very assertive about what should be happening.
I have been very assertive, particularly in New York and particularly in demanding that my colleagues at the Security Council address this issue in an opening meeting.
But China and Russia are preventing that.
I wouldn't call out China and Russia.
It's the entire Security Council.
There are countries on the council who have pushed back against holding an open meeting.
- And it's not just China and Russia.
- What's their excuse? They're making a number of arguments.
One: that this is a sovereignty issue.
My view is sovereignty does not come into play when you have foreign troops in your country, when your people are crossing borders into other countries, and we're watching on national TV your people starve to death.
I've said I will say here as I've said in the Security Council: Don't African lives matter? You've taken a personal interest and put yourself out on conflict-driven hunger.
My first event as president of the Security Council was an event on food security.
We have seen what happens in conflict and the impact that it has on communities.
And this is a manmade disaster.
This is manmade-created famine that we're seeing in Ethiopia, and we have to address this.
You're a career foreign service officer.
And over that whole career, you've been an advocate for women's rights.
You've talked about investment in women and girls as an investment in peace and security.
And I have worked on these issues throughout my career.
We know that if we educate girls, we empower women, we empower their communities, we empower their nations.
Is there any hard edge to that? Is there anything that you're gonna insist on as you talk with other leaders or really push or prod them on? I will always push for women to be part of negotiation teams.
- I will always push- - You notice if they're not there.
I notice when they're not there.
And when they're not in the room.
When I'm in the room.
Sometimes I'm the only one.
And I will call it out.
I mean that's probably been the case a lot.
What's that been like for you? I raised that in a particular country before the head of state came in and the men laughed.
What country? I am not going to tell.
- What continent? - Africa, of course.
What was it like when you started compared to what it's like for a rookie, a new, a young foreign service officer today? When I walked into the State Department in 1982, there were very few people who looked like me.
There were even very few women in senior positions.
And we were dealing with a system that didn't necessarily appreciate the diversity that a woman and a person of color would bring to the table.
And I think that has significantly changed.
We still have some challenges.
It's not yet perfect.
And I would hope that young people who see me, who are Black, who are women, who are people of color will see me as an example for what they could achieve.
And I'm hoping that I can use my voice and my presence to give them a reason to be hopeful.
Madam Ambassador, thank you for mixing it up with Axios on HBO.
Well, thank you very much.
It's been delightful to speak with you.
Atomic bonds / the International Atomic Energy Agency Axios headquarters ARLINGTON, VA Margaret, I am officially jealous.
You're in Vienna to talk to Rafael Grossi, who runs the IAEA.
What is the IAEA? It's the International Atomic Energy Agency.
It is the agency that monitors and does inspections around nuclear power to make sure that it's safe, to make sure there are no secret weapons programs underway.
The only time that we hear about the IAEA is usually when there's trouble with Iran around the nuclear deal or there's some potential catastrophe dealing with nuclear energy.
It matters right now because in Washington there's a real heightened pressure to try to get back into the Iran deal that was signed under President Obama.
President Trump pulled the U.
out of it.
After that, Iran began enriching uranium at higher levels again.
There are a lot of questions about whether Iran has peaceful intentions with its nuclear program or whether it's trying to build weapons.
Vienna International Centre You have said recently that you can't certify Iran's program is peaceful now and that Iran by its own admissions is enriching uranium at levels that really are only used by countries that are making bombs.
Does Iran currently have an active nuclear weapons program? No, there is no information indicating that at the moment.
I'm not judging intentions.
I'm only saying this is very serious.
When you enrich at 60%, you are very close.
It's technically indistinguishable from weapon-grade material.
So when you combine this with the fact that our inspection access is being curtailed, then I start to worry.
The United States walked away.
Iran started doing more.
What's the upside of having a deal at all? It's essential to have a deal because Iran has a very big, ambitious, sophisticated, developed nuclear program.
No deal means no monitoring, and then you don't know what's going on.
As I say, we are flying blind.
Israel has a program that's not disclosed but everybody knows exists.
Iran is developing something.
If you're Saudi, if you're Turkey, if you're Egypt I wouldn't go into the analysis of individual political stances of countries.
But it is obvious, and this has been said publicly by some leaders in this region, that the presence of a new nuclear arsenal would trigger a nuclear arms race in the region.
Is Israel the only country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons? In the case of Israel, there is what analysts call an opaqueness.
So not denying or affirming that there is a program there.
There is a wide assumption that they do.
We do have a relationship with Israel, and we do inspect the facilities that are outside the program.
Are you comfortable with that arrangement? Should it change? There have been resolutions adopted by the General Conference of the IAEA that indicate that Israel should join the NPT, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
We believe that the less nuclear weapons, the better.
Give us the lay of the land on North Korea.
What is going on right now? Well, North Korea, it's a sad case where we as an international community were not able to contain the proliferation impulse.
North Korea proliferated.
In 2006, they crossed the line.
Our inspectors were kicked out from the country in 2009.
And we are constantly training and preparing for that return.
Without that return, on a scale of 1-10, how much do you worry about North Korea? Well, I worry about them in a sense that is different from other countries because they have developed nuclear weapons.
They have never excluded the possibility of using them.
So I think we have to work relentlessly trying to get to some form of a political agreement, from which we can build a system of containment, hopefully disarmament.
How much visibility do you really have into the full scope of every major power's program? Are you confident that you know everything that the U.
has? We don't have any visibility.
We know what is in the public domain because the NPT system was built under this assumption that those who had the nuclear weapons could continue to have them with a commitment to move towards disarmament.
So this is something that it is beyond the access of our inspectors.
Are you concerned that the numbers are much larger than anyone knows? I think we could do much better.
Jennifer Granholm, the U.
energy secretary, said in recent days that the power grid could be shut down now by hackers.
What are the implications for nuclear? There have been cases where through cyber-attacks facilities have been affected.
And we have been developing lots of methodologies and programs to assist member states to be prepared.
Should we still be thinking about weapons? Or about the misuse or the disruption of nuclear power that's supposed to be for safe purposes? The reality is that the possibility of misuse of nuclear material is higher than of a nuclear war.
There can be a malevolent group that steals a cobalt-60 unit which is used for breast cancer and then they have nuclear material.
It doesn't mean that they're going to have a bomb, but they are going to have what is called a "dirty bomb," which is simply a combination of explosive plus radioactive material.
This doesn't mean that it's going to happen, but we have growing alertness on this issue.
You have been moving into much broader directions globally in terms of the IAEA's role.
Climate change, recycling, pandemic.
Why? When you talk about plastics, you can recycle that with irradiation without using solvents.
So nuclear can have a role.
It's the same with the pandemics.
There has been good work to look into the use of nuclear techniques to detect pathogens that jump from animal to human.
For somebody who says, "Don't you have enough to concentrate on? Shouldn't you be fixing the situation with Iran or something?" why is this appropriate role for IAEA? I'm not looking for a job.
This is part of my job.
We have to look into everything nuclear science and technology can do for us.
We've been discussing about nuclear nonproliferation, climate change societal issues.
These are matters that you cannot simply go alone.
We need these institutions of global cooperation because when we cooperate, we get good solutions.
As simple as that.
Taking care of business / President & CEO, U.
Chamber of Commerce In March, Suzanne Clark became the first woman CEO of the U.
Chamber of Commerce, America's largest pro-business lobbying group.
The Chamber is now urging Congress to address "America's deepening worker shortage crisis.
" Washington, D.
Your hometown built us.
Hey Mike.
Suzanne Clark, thank you for welcoming Axios on HBO into this literal temple of capitalism.
Isn't it beautiful? This building was built 100 years ago, and we just completed a major restoration of it.
So I'm glad to host you here.
In the past when people thought of the Chamber of Commerce, they thought of a boys' club, and now you're the boss.
What's it been like to be in so many rooms full of white middle-aged dudes? I'm married to a white middle-aged dude, so they're kinda my people.
- And that was a lot of your career.
- Yeah, of course.
- Was being in those rooms.
- Of course.
And I think it's a really interesting conversation, is as the world gets diverse about what it's like to have these rooms open up.
And there is strength in diversity because of that.
You know, what's it like.
Did you know that the Chamber has had a majority-female management committee for over a decade? So it's not that unusual here in this building.
But you're not declaring mission accomplished.
No, of course not.
And I think the Chamber has a long way to go, particularly in getting more Black and brown people to work here.
So you're literally in the White House's front yard, right across Lafayette Park.
President Biden wants to raise your taxes and the taxes of a lot of your members.
Is this a business-friendly administration? Well, those are two separate questions, right? I find the administration easy to talk to.
They're easy to reach.
- They're professional.
- They've all been here, done this.
But sometimes they give us bad news very efficiently and quickly.
And we have this moment when we could have great economic resurgence, and instead we're looking at policies that would make us have the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world.
You're the world's largest business organization, so why aren't they listening? I think it comes down to having different economic philosophies.
And your philosophy is what? I think the American business community believes this is a moment of growth, this is a moment of innovation.
The U.
Chamber of Commerce has launched what you call Operation Warp Speed for Jobs.
Will you be as successful as the vaccines were? I hope so.
Look, this is the biggest economic challenge of our time.
The issue is we have too many people without jobs and too many jobs without people.
90% of those state and local chambers on that plaque say their biggest challenge to growing in their community is the workforce shortage.
You've called the worker shortage a national economic emergency.
It's absolutely an economic emergency.
I went to Rehoboth over the weekend, took my teenager to the beach.
And the number of restaurants, the number of small businesses that have restricted their hours, that aren't serving lunch, or aren't open at all because of the workforce shortage is tragic.
So you talk about that urgent worker shortage.
But if businesses paid a lot more, they'd have more workers.
The federal minimum wage, unchanged for a long time, is $7.
What should it be? Well, you know that wages are going up and you know that employers are offering hiring bonuses, even interviewing bonuses right now.
So supply and demand does work and it does drive wages up.
If supply and demand works, why is there the massive worker shortage? You still have a skills gap.
You still have people without the right skills.
You still have people being paid to stay home.
That's your way of saying supplement to unemployment benefits.
- That's right.
- That's a kind of cold way to put it.
It doesn't feel like a cold way to put it.
We're paying people to stay home.
What's a warm way to say that? Look, my answer is we have 8.
1 million unfilled jobs in this country.
And so we need those workers back in the workforce.
Do you honestly think that people are staying home, not working, because of $300 a week? I honestly believe it's part of the problem.
I'm hearing it too often in too many communities across the country for it to be made up.
I do think it's only one of the challenges.
Opening schools, opening camps, access to good childcare, those are really important pieces of this puzzle that we want to help solve.
Last year, the Chamber made the surprising decision to endorse 23 vulnerable House Democrats.
Yet you look at those House Democrats and their votes, you have very little to show for it.
They're voting against you again and again.
So at the end of last year, we were looking at a congressional session where 30 of the House Democrats had really helped push business's number one priority, the free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, over the finish line.
All of the Republicans that we work with on tax, on regulation, those people are really, really important to us.
There are more Democrats who help us on some of the trade issues, for example.
And so we have to be willing to have a different coalition on every issue.
How would you describe the Chamber of Commerce's relationship with Congress? - Strong.
- With Democrats? - Strong.
- With Republicans? - Strong.
- Not true.
Much more skepticism among Republicans.
A lot of hard feelings about those endorsements of vulnerable Democrats.
You asked me how I felt about our relationships on the Hill, and I said "strong.
" I'm stickin' with it.
Conversations I have with Republican leaders, they're disappointed, angry, surprised worse with the Chamber.
I'm not havin' the same conversations.
As we say goodbye, your bottom line: American business will be fully recovered from the pandemic when? So the goal is that by the end of this year the pandemic's over, we've achieved this 10% growth, we are not being hamstrung by the worker shortage, by big tax increases, by regulatory overreach, and we're letting business solve the problems that only business can solve.
The shipping news / Maersk CEO Soren Skou Copenhagen, Denmark Hi, I'm Nicholas.
- Welcome to Copenhagen.
- Thank you so much.
Maersk is the world's largest shipping company, handling one out of every five shipped containers.
The global pandemic and recent obstruction of the Suez Canal caused major disruptions to international supply chains.
You're CEO of Maersk.
The odds are good for most Americans watching this on a television or a smartphone that it came to the United States on one of your boats.
We operate a global network of more than 700 container ships.
- That's bigger than the U.
- Yeah.
I almost view it as the circulatory system for the global economy.
Coming out of the pandemic, what is your view of how the global economy is doing? Well, right now, the global economy is frankly booming.
A lot of stimulus packages, in particular in the U.
, is driving demand for consumer goods to new heights.
I imagine a lot of Maersk ships leave China full and go back from the United States to China empty.
It's not that bad, but clearly the trade balance is in favor of China so that we are full from China and maybe two-thirds full from the U.
Maersk itself was victim of a cyber attack a couple of years ago.
What lessons did you learn from the cyber attack that Maersk went through? I learned two lessons.
One, that there are two kinds of companies in the world: those that have been hacked and those that don't know they have been hacked.
Any company needs to build its defenses as high as they possibly can.
But any company also have to realize that even so, you can still be hacked.
We had two weeks where we didn't have any systems running in Maersk, and we are a $50 billion company with 80,000 employees.
It's pretty scary.
And we actually had to build the whole technology platform from the ground up.
So we went out, bought 50,000 new PCs.
It's not something I would like to try again.
Do you feel like you're prepared for the next one? We are much, much, much, much better prepared.
I've spoken to corporate leaders in the United States who feel like the government the United States government hasn't done enough, doesn't have a coordinated policy on cybersecurity.
Do you feel like you're supported by the US, by the EU sufficiently? Reality is if you get mugged on the street, you can call the police.
If you have an accident, you call an ambulance.
If your house is on fire, you call the fire brigade.
If you have a cyber attack, there is nobody to call.
You are on your own.
You gotta figure out what to do.
Let's talk a little bit about your relationship with China.
Is there a stronger position you as a company should take? Because this is something I think we experience a lot in the United States.
Customers and employees are demanding corporations to have policies, to say, "We oppose this kind of oppression.
We are in favor of these kinds.
" In engaging with countries like China and Russia, do you feel any pressure to take more public stances on democratic values? No, I think what we try to do is to provide good jobs to the people that are employed by us, give them a good wage so that they can live a good life, pay for their training and development, and in general be a good corporate citizen in every single country that we're operating in.
You're dodging it a little bit though.
Just giving them good jobs is different than saying, "They should have the right to vote for opposition parties," or, "Ethnic minorities in certain countries should be treated well.
" We cannot run a global business if we start to have views on politics yin every single country that we are in.
Then there would be plenty of countries where we would have to voice objections to this, that, and the other.
Supply chain fragility, right? We've been living for many years in a just-in-time moment.
We saw in the pandemic as well as we've seen with other problems recently, that the slightest thing can throw that off.
Does the system need more redundancy? For decades, we have been designing supply chains for cost efficiency, lowering inventory.
And now, we all realize we need to have a certain amount of agility and resilience in global supply chains.
That's a huge statement.
I think buried in that is like, a complete overhaul of the way the world economy works.
We need to have multiple suppliers of the same product.
We need to have them spread geographically.
The biggest thing we saw in the pandemic was the fact that we had very little inventory very quickly became a problem.
The line is that boats only get in the news when there's a problem.
You remember the Ever Given in the Suez Canal.
Not one of your boats.
There were four or five days when there were theatrical news stories that said, "Well, this could take three months.
" We never thought it would take three months.
That simply would not make any sense.
That incident in itself will not have any lasting impact on global trade.
Globalization has led to many great things but also a lot of inequality around the world.
In your travels around the world as the head of an international corporation, do you see that? Will you view it as your role? Having lived in in China in the middle of the '90s when the country was really poor, going back now and seeing what global trade has done to the people's lives, brought hundreds of millions of people into the middle class.
I also see it in the West that there are people that lost their jobs here and that have not been able to find other jobs.
So that's the downside of global trade.
And there I think we as companies and our governments have a role to play that we reskill people, that we find new roles and jobs for everybody.
It seems like a lot of your time, like most companies now, is less about the physical infrastructure.
It's the software infrastructure.
Do you hire more software engineers than you do sailors? Well, we're getting there.
We used to be mainly outsourced for IT.
And today, we are mainly insourced.
You still view global free trade as a force for good? Oh, absolutely.
Now, I have to ask you how to pronounce your name.
Now, I'm half-Swedish.
- So Soren Skou.
- That's impressive.
- That right? - Very good.
My mom's gonna be so proud of me for that one.

Previous EpisodeNext Episode