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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  December 15, 2021 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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judy: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, raising rates. the chair of the federal reserve signals a coming increase in interest rates as inflation surges. then, picking up the pieces. president biden visits western ntucky, as the region undertakes a fifth arduous day of recovery. plus, d's toll. more than 800,000 americans have already lost their lives to covid-19, as hospitals brace for another potential wave from the omicron variant. and, heightened tensions. china's increased focus on taiwan sparks a debate in the u.s. about how and if the united states can protect the island. >> china has built up its military significantly.
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it's got real capabilities to to overwhelm taiwan if left alone. and there's real doubts in china's mind about america's willingness to come to taiwan's aid. judy: all that and more on tonight's "pbs newshour." ♪ >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by -- ♪ >> moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and contributio to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. judy: federal reserve officials announced they are prepared to fight inflation with a series of interest rate hikes next year, suggesting it will begin earlier than they projected just months ago. the fed's benchmark interest rate, which affects borrowing, lending, and economic growth, has been near zero since the start of the pandemic in an effort to boost the recovery. but today, fed chair jay powell said there could be as many as three rate hikes next year, starting in the spring, in an effort to cool persistent rising prices. >> high inflation imposes significant hardship, especially on those least able to meet the higher costs of essentials, like food, housing, and transportation. we are committed to our price stability goal. we will use our tools both to
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support the economy and a strong labor market, and to prevent higher inflation from becoming entrenched. judy: the fed also announced it will scale back even further its efforts to stimulate the economy though major bond purchases. for more on these moves and their potential impact, we turn to julia coronado. she is an economist at the university of texas at austin, the founder of the firm macropolicy perspectives, and a former economist for the fed. julia, welcome back to the newshour. this is a dramatic announcement. why is the fed doing this? >> the message from chair powell today was, it's not just about inflation that has been running pretty high in recent months, but the labor market is really strong, the economy is basically running pretty hot. we have seen the unemployment rate dropped substantially. we have seen significant wage gains, interest sensitive
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sectors like housing are running really strong. the economy doesn't need as much support from monetary policy as it once did. despite all the turbulence from ongoing waves of covid, the economy is doing really well and the fed has concluded it needs to start pulling back, start stepping away. it is n trying to kill the recovery, it is just trying to cool things off and keep that inflation in check, as the clip you played indicated. judy: what effect is the increase in interest rates expected to have on the economy? >> over time as the fed raises were -- interest rates, consumers should see higher interest rates for mortgage loans, car loans, and businesses should see may be tighter terms to obtain financing. we have seen some really easy financial conditions in the last year, and we should expect a bit tighter conditions and a little
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bit higher prices to obtain credit in particular. it is those credit sensitive sectors that the fed would like to see cool down a little. judy: the other thing, the fed announces they are shrinking monthly bond purchases. they will be doing this much faster than they had said. how will that affect the economy? >> same channels, the bond purchases work by lowering, putting downward pressure on longer-term interest rates after they have lowered short-term interest rates to zero. as they back away from these purchases, we should see some of those longer-term interest rates move higher. also, there are still other areas of the financial market. the stock market has been running really strong, we have seen, you might call it froth in areas like cryptocurrency and that sort of enthusiasm may see some cooling as the fed stops injecting liquidity into financial markets. judy: are most analysts at this stage saying these are the right
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moves at the right time? and the right pace? >> there is a lot of mixed abuse eerie let's be clear, the uncertainty around even just next year continues to be really high, given the pandemic, given different potential outcomes for fiscal policy. there are differing views erie of the markets took the fed's announcement actually extraordinarily well, surprisingly well given they were unambiguously declaring the easing of policy was going to be in the rearview mirror soon. there isn't really any indication from financial markets that the fed is either tightening too soon or even really, that it is tightening too late. right now they are giving the fed a lot of credibility, and there is no real indications of turmoil or concern that they are about to kill the recovery. judy: to what extent, you listened to the fed chair today.
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to what extent did you hear him acknowledge that the fed had been misreading the economy over the last year? >> chair powell was actually very forthcoming. he has been pretty clear all along, that this is an unprecedented economic environment. we have never been in a global pandemic, when it looked like the global economy was sliding into a depression. the fed and fiscal policy makers threw everything they had at it and the other side of that, that maybe we have a recovery that is hotter than they anticipated so they are recalibrating policy accordingly, but he has been clear that they don't have any magic wand, they don't have a crystal ball, they are reading things as best they can. part of the idea that inflation would be transitory was that so much of it has come from supply chain disruptions, things like semiconductor shortages that
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have pushed car prices higher, rather thanort of wages and a broad base of prices. that dynamic is shifting a little and that is one reason they have shifted strategy a little bit. they will continue to be very flexible as we move forward, given the uncertainty. the economy could evolve in unanticipated ways, and they will be there to recalibrate policy accordingly. with the ultimate objective of a long, stable expansion like we had last time. judy: we heard him use the word stable, stability. finally, how soon should consumers who are listening to this and watching, expect to feel that things are changing? >> it will be a gradual process. they have sped it up, but they are still indicating three rate hikes for next year. that means they will end their bond purchases in march, so we could see rate hikes in june, may be june, september and
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december would be a reasonable baseline expectation. you could start to see rates creeping higher over the next year. this is not a ripping off the band-aid, this is a gradual, more methodical removal of accommodation the consumers will feel over time. judy: julia coronado, thank you very much. >> my pleasure. ♪ vanessa: i'm vanessa ruiz, in for stephanie sy. we'll return to the rest of the program after these headlines. now to move on from economic recovery to tornado recovery. it's been 5 days since twisters shattered towns and killed 88 people across kentucky and neighboring states. another person died today, of a heart attack, while cleaning up storm debris. that came as the region got a presidential visit. stephanie sy reports. stephanie: the scope of destruction was on full display as president biden traveled to western kentucky to see for
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himself. five tornadoes blasted the region last friday, including one that cut a roughly 2-mile long path. the president began his visit, meeting with local leaders at fort campbell and commenting on how the tragedy was uniting communities. >> there's no red tornadoes or blue tornadoes. there's no red states or blue states when this stuff starts to happen. and i think, at least, in my experience, it either brings people together, or it really knocks them apart. they are moving you together here. stephanie: kentucky governor andy beshear said more than 600 members of the national guard are assisting in the 18 counties that were hit. >> it's something that feels pretty therapeutic. we're actually hauling some of this debris out of town. hauling a little bit of that chaos and devastation, death, out of town. stephanie: from fort campbell, biden visited the town of mayfield, which was almostll
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flattened. melinda gouin is one of dozens of now-homeless tornado victims staying at this community shelter. >> in three minutes you walk outside, your town doesn't even look like a town anymore. 's nothing but rubble, you know? some of those buildings, they carry your story, they carry your memories, and they're on the ground. you know, there's nothing left of them. it's heartbreaking to see that. stephanie: ray mcreynolds' apartment complex for seniors in downtown mayfield is also gone. >> everybody lost everything. the thing we need right now is, we need money. because we don't have no place to live and we don't have the money to rent another place. stephanie: 70 miles northeast of mayfield, a similar story in dawson springs. some 75% of the town is now destroyed, and it may be a month before residents and businesses
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get their electricity back. to make matters worse, a third of the 2,500 residents fall below the poverty line, and many don't have insurance. >> with the shock of losing a home or a business, the grief of losing someone, it's happening right before the holidays. i said we're gonna make sure that you have all the help you need. stephanie: for every tale of grief, emerges a story of giving. reina guerra perez has opened her small home to no less than five families. >> there are 26 of us sheltered in my house. some of them are out helping, but they're all back by the afternoon, after they help clean up the destruction with some neighbor'' houses. stephanie: her home survived, but she doesn't have water or electricity. what they do have, she says, is each other. for the pbs newshour, i'm stephanie sy. vanessa: a new storm front brought record warmth, dust storms, power outages and reports of tornadoes across
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states from the west to the great plains. temperatures topped 70 degrees in some places. winds gusted to more than 100 miles an hour in colorado, and whipped up dust that took visibility to zero and knocked out power. a federal appeals court in new orleans lifted a nationwide ban today on a federal covid vaccine mandate for heal care workers. the court left the ban in place for the 14 states that sued to block the mandate. it's blocked in 10 other states under a separate injunction. meanwhile, los angeles schools have postponed a january deadline for students 12 and older to be vaccinated. the new deadline is next fall. there are also new signs that the omicron variant is rapidly gaining ground. u.s. health officials said today the delta variant still accounts for most cases, but omicron is catching up. >> in looking at early data on transmissibility of omicron from
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other countries, we expect to see the proportion of omicron cases here in the united states continue to grow in the coming weeks. early data suggests that omicron is more transmissible than delta, with a doubling time of about 2 days. vanessa: european union officials predicted today that omicron will become the dominant strain across the continent by mid-january. so far, data suggests the new variant is more contagious, but most cases are less severe. the death toll has reached 75 in haiti after a fuel truck explosion late monday. residents in the northern city of cap-haitien walked amongst the rubble and charred debris today. early reports say the tanker swerved to avoid a motorcycle, then flipped and exploded. in hong kong, firefighters averted disaster today, and saved 770 people from a skyscraper that caught fire. smoke started billowing from the 38-story building in the early
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afternoon. firefighters used extendable ladders to reach people on a lower floor. the cause was under investigation. back in this country, the u.s. senate gave final approval to the national defense authorization act. it calls for $770 billion in spending, about 5% more than last year. the bill includes a pay raise for troops, military aid to ukraine, and a new initiative against china's moves in the pacific. >> with both china and russia flexing their military power, and the growing danger of a further russian invasion of ukraine, it is critcally important that we ensure that our nation is always prepared to defend itself and our vital national interest, whatever the threat. vanessa: the measure also takes responsibility for prosecuting sexual assaults and some other crimes out of the hands of military commanders. former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin pleaded guilty today to violating george
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floyd's civil rights. chauvin is already serving a 22-year prison term for a state murder conviction in floyd's death last year. the maximum sentence on the federal civi rights charge is 25 years. a federal grand jury in los angeles has brought charges in an oil spill in southern california in october. amplify energy corporation and two subsidiaries face a misdemeanor charge of illegally discharging oil when an underwater pipeline ruptured off long beach, spilling about 25,000 gallons of crude. new york city is getting its first female police commissioner, and the first black head of the department since the 1990's. keechant sewell was tapped today to lead the nation's largest police force. she is currently chief of detectives for nassau county, new york. and also in new york, and appeals court blasted manhattan prosecutors today for filling out harvey weinstein's rape
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trial last year with what one judge deemed "incredibly prejudicial testimony" from women whose allegations weren't part of the criminal charges against him. several judges on the panel appeared open to considering reversing weinstein's conviction, and ordering a new trial. a decision isn't expected until january. still to come on the newshour, how melting ice at the earth's poles could cause a drastic rise in sea levels. a mountaineering group aims to be the first all-black team to climb everest. remembering the prolific author and activist bell hooks. and much more. ♪ >> this is the pbs newshour from w eta studios in washington and in the west, from the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. judy: as the omicron variant is
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spreading rapidly, top federal health officials warn it could bring a massive wave of new infectns to the u.s. as early as january. john yang has our report. john: judy, there are now confirmed cases of omicron in at least 36 states. the cdc estimates the new variant represents about 3% of positive u.s. cases. dr. saad omer is an epidiologist, and the director of the yale institute for global health. thanks for being with us. given what we know about omicron or more importantly what we don't know, how concerned should people be about it and how, should we expect omicron to become the dominant strain? john: here's what we know. we know it is a highly infectious strain. we know that it evades immunity, especially by two doses of the vaccines we use, but we also
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know that it response to three doses, so people have better protection with three doses of vaccine. what we don't know is how severe it will be. so there are two ways of looki at severity. you look at severity at the individual level. it seems, there are early signals that there may be sort of at least the same or less severity per infection. t at the population level, is something more infectious, it is three times more infectious and half as severe, it will still produce more hospitalizations. so i'm giving you an example, that from a public health perspective, public health authorities should absolutely be on alert. from an individual perspective, we have a lot of self-efficacy. we are not helpless in the face of this new variant.
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we can get vaccinated and boosted, we can take other precautions in the interest of public health and personal protection, like testing before gatherings, including family gatherings, like wearing masks and having good ventilation. john: given what you just said, that it may be more contagious but less severe but that will still result in a lot of hospitalizations, how worried are you about what apparently the cdc talks about as the worst case scenario, the twit will -- triple whammy of omicron, delta and seasonal flu? >> we may see a mixed picture. influenza, this is a season where people are mixing so for the last couple of seasons what has happened is especially last season, there was a lot of social distancing that people had due to covid. therefore you didn't get that big a wave of influenza. so it is a possibility, but it's not a certainty. so there is an element of chance still there, but we are still
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learning about this. but as i said, we are not helpless bystanders in the face of this virus. john: you have talked and written about the role of misinformation in what is going on. what is your prescription to fight that? >> that's a really good question. i think the prescription to fight that is first of all, at the overall government level, a lot of interventions governments can do including the u.s. government. there is a nice surgeon general's report that lays out a roadmap for responding to misinformation and disinformation at various levels, from the federal to the state to local governments. without going into details of the report, it is a good recipe. at the individual level, what we can do is fofriends and family, make sure they have
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access to the right information. so the second thing is, we should be argumentative. the third thing is, we should lead with facts and empathy rather than their instinct to correct the disinformation and by doing so, repeating disinformation. the last thing is to have a long engagement with our loved ones who have misinformation or disinformation readily accessible, rather than the expectation that in one righteous conversation, we are going to convert people to the cause of vaccination and actually sort of remove them from all the exposure they have to misinformation and disinformation around covid and vaccines specifically. john: dr., thank. >> -- thank you very much. >> my pleasure.
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♪ judy: there's troubling new research about the impact that climate change is having on both of earth's polar regions, and how that could affect people all over the world. william brangham has the latest. william: that's right, judy. a warming atmosphere is creating serious problems in the arctic circle, and on the continent of antarctica. the arctic report card is out high temperatures, shrinking sea ice, and extreme melting events are transforming that region. and at the opposite pole, in antarctica, a key ice shelf that sits in front of the thwaites glacier could break up much sooner than expected, within 5 years. joining me now is david holland. he studies atmospheric and ocean sciences at new york university, and is a leading researcher on the global initiative that's studying the thwaites glacier. david holland, great ot have you -- to have you back on the newshour.
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i should explain why you look dapper tonight. you are being elected in the -- a fellow in the american geophysical union. congratulations. the last time we saw you on the newshour, you were on the thwaites glacier itself doing research. can you help us understand what this most recent research showed? >> yes. we have been seeing for the last couple decades a large change in antarctica, in particular on this one glacier called thwaites in west antarctica. it is a special glacier because it is marine based, it is largely in the ocean and the ocean can in theory easily melted. -- melt it. that is what looks like is coming to pass. warm ocean waters have arrived at the glacier and they are about to get crazy. william: it is the ice shelf that sits in front of thwaites that is in particular jeopardy. why do we care about the ice shelf as opposed to the glacier
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itself? >> one way to think of it is if you think of a bottle of water with a cork. all the water in the bottle is the water that represents the potential sea level rise from thwaites and the cork is the ice shelf. william: so the breakup of the ice shelf itself would lead to thwaites more quickly moving into the water? >> exactly. effectively, there would be nothing to hold it back. william: if the ice shelf were to break up, and thwaites were to move into the ocean, what kind of impacts are we talking about? >> it would be absolutely massive. on a timescale of the last century, we would see a dramatic rise of several feet of sea level. it could be, thwaites itself, 2-3 feet. but thwaites is holding back its neighbors and they could fall apart number raising the sea level by an additional may be
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six feet. altogether, something on the scale of 10 feet. if you try to wrap your head around it, we are talking around the entire earth, the entire ocean. it is a massive amount of water. it is a rewriting of the global coastline in that sense. william: w are talking hundreds of millions of people all over the earth who are living on those coastlines, that are facing inundation, flooding and having to move, having to migrate. >> absolutely. as we look back at records, the sea level at the end of the last ice age was down 300 feet, something on that scale and it has since come up. it naturally changes on the planet by big numbers. this could be a relatively large change but in short order, perhaps with our fingerprint on it. william: i would like to switch to the other polar region, the arctic circle and t recent arctic report card that came out. it referred to the disappearance of sea ice, rising temperatures,
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extreme melting events on the ice sheets of greenland. what stood out to you in that report? >> i started my phd working in the north in the arctic. when i started in the early 1990's, not a human being on earth would have said the arctic would ever change in our lifetime. then within a decade, it began to fall apart. it has been the largest change on the planet, half of the arctic sea ice now gone. what struck me in the report where the ramifications of that change, for example shipping, which is more noi in the ocean disturbing marine mammals. the change in vegetation, species, animals like beavers have moved into alaska. it is a change and it is a disruption to what was there. it is very significant and it goes beyond just the melting of ice. william: broadly speaking, i know there are lots of influences in these regions but we are talking changes that are
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being driven both in antarctica and the arctic because we burn oil and gas and coal and it is warming the atmosphere. is that right? >> i would have been the first when i started my career, i found that difficult to believe. however, data and modeling outcomes now make it almost certain that is the case. william: david holland of new york university, good to see you and congratulations again on your honor today. >> thank you so much, william. have a great day. ♪ judy: a group of mountaineers is aiming to make history and inspire others in a field not known for its diversity. amna nawaz reports. amna: most days, for dom mullins, start like this. runs through the woods, workouts in his makeshift gym, and
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post-exercise plunges into a freezing cold pond. it's a grueling regimen, all to prepare to climb a mountain synonymous with the ultimate challenge, mount everest. >> to climb a mountain like everest, you need to have a lot of endurance. so that's what i'm doing, i'm building my endurance over time. amna: mullins, who has been climbing for more than a decade, is part of a group that aims to become the first all-black team to summit the world's highest mountain. lled full circle everest, the team of ten experienced mountaineers and climbers, from the united states and kenya, is set to climb everest next spring. >> two unassuming men have climbed the 29,000 foot monarch of the himalayas. amna: since tenzing norgay and edmund hillary first climbed everest in 1953, around 6,000 have followed in their footsteps. but, the team says, only 10 of those have been black. as you were making your way up through the years, did you see or know a lot of other black climbers? >> actually, i knew none.
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amna: none. >> i knew none. so, in fact, the only black climbers that have ever been within the mountains are all on the full circle everest mountaineering team. lots of people would remark, when they would see me in the mountains, like, "wow, i've never seen a black person climbing before. i've never seen a black person in the mountains." amna: people would say that to you. >> oh, absolutely. amna: the numbers reflect mullins' experience. black people make up just 9% of all those who participate in outdoor recreation in the u.s., and just 1% of the climbing community. mullins, an iraq war veteran, was introduced to climbing through his work in veterans organizations. he says it helped fill a void left by the military. >> it was a part of my identity, to be able to meet an obstacle, to be able to discipline myself enough to overcome it, and then achieve that thing. it gave me pride in myself, and so climbing became this other
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vehicle in my life for that. that same process. stephanie: when you think -- amna: when you think back to the first climb you did, not knowing what it would take, do you think you would have known back then that you would be attempting to summit everest? >> absolutely not. absolutely not. amna: by attempting to scale mount everest, he hopes to inspire others to connect with the outdoors, and to highlight the access barriers black communities often face. >> there was absolutely no one i knew in my community that even hiked or camped outside. if you don't have people who are -- who live within proximity to you that you can learn certain things from, you don't learn those things. >> we will tries 20 -- try to raise $5,000. amna: the cost is a hurdle. full circle everest has so far raised more than half a million dollars from sponsors and fundraising to make their summit attempt possible. team lead
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philip henderson. >> everest expeditions don't happen unless you have sponsorship or you're pretty wealthy, you know, you've made a lot of money. that's the only way it happens. so for most people, especially in those communities that are underrepresented in the outdoor community, for most people everest is untouchable. amna: conditions on everest have been under scrutiny in recent years. record numbers of climbers raising concerns of overcrowding, and 11 climbers dying over a two week period in 2019. a recent study actually found despite crowds, the rate of deaths for everest climbers has slightly decreased over the last two decades. despite safety worries, henderson, who attempted to summit everest in 2012, is confident. >> i know that people die on everest every year. they always have. we look at managing the risk the best we can, knowing that there are a lot of things that are out of your control. but the things that are within our our control
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is what really makes the difference. amna: mullins too believes all the preparation will pay off in nepal. >> i have had so many hurdles, as you do when you train for something like this. but it is meeting those hurdles and overcoming them that really allows you a certain belief in your your ability for the main event. amna: reaching for new heights, and forging a new path for others to follow. for the pbs newshour, i'm amna nawaz. ♪ judy: this week, taiwan's ministry of national defense warned that chinese military exercises now being conducted could be cover for a future invasion. china's president xi jinping has said he wants to reunite with taiwan peacefully, but beijing has increased the pace of its exercises, and boosted its
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capacity to invade taiwan. that has led to questions about how the united states would, or should, respond if beijing tries to take over. here's nick schifrin with more. john: -- nick: on chinese army videos, the world's largest military practices launching missiles quickly. chinese navy drills improve ships' ability to fight combat. and a slickly produced package shows off soldiers rehearsing amphibious assaults, and beach landings. the unmistakable target, taiwan. the island is across the taiwan strait, about 100 miles wide. and taiwan has its own islands, just off mainland china's coast. taiwan worries china could turn these exercises that chinese tv releases with the english language subtitles, into a surprise attack to reunify taiwan with china, which has been a dream of beijing's for decades. >> in formosa, 80 miles from the
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china coast, chang kai shek presides ovehis nationalist remnants. nick: in 1949 general chiang kai-shek and his kuomintang party fled to taiwan, then called formosa, after losing a civil war to mao zedong's mainland communists. communist china never controlled taiwan but has always considered taiwan a breakaway province. ♪ for decades, taiwanese lived under martial law, and the island was a one-party state. but in the last 30 years, taiwan has tried to create a multi-party democracy with respect for rule of law, human rights, and a booming economy. last year, president tsai ing-wen was re-elected on a platform of protecting taiwan from chinese domination. today, she highlight -- highlight u.s. military and diplomatic support. >> this collaboration between the defense industries of taiwan and the united states signifies the solid vow of partnership. nick: but the requirements of that partnerip are deliberately ambiguous. in the
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early 1970's, president nixon and national security advisor henry kissinger launched us-people's republic of china diplomacy. in a joint communique the us acknowledged, all chinese on either side of the taiwan strait maintain there is but one china and that taiwan is part of china. in january 1979, president carter officially normalized relations with chinese leader deng xioping, and broke relations with taipei. but he also signed the taiwan relations act that says, "the united states will make available to taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capility. the act is ambiguous about the us military responding to a chinese invasion. but in an october cnn town hall, president biden seemed to end that ambiguity. >> are you saying that the united states would come to taiwan's defense? >> yes. we have a commitment to do that.
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nick: but white house press secretary jen psaki immediately walked that back. >> well, there has been no shift. the president was not announcing any change in our policy nor has he made a decision to change our policy. nick: so should the united states be more clear about whether or not it would defend taiwan? should the u.s. come to taiwan's defense? for that, we get three views. richard haass is the president of the council on foreign relations and has served in a number of jobs at the state department and national security council staff since the 1980s. bonnie glaser is the director of the asia program at the german marshall fund. she's written extensively about us-china relations. and charles glaser, not related to bonnie glaser is professor of political science and director of the institute for security and conflict at george washington university. welcome to all three of you. thank you very much, richard haass. let me start with you. has u.s. policy of ambiguity about whether it would defend taiwan from chinese invasion run its course? >> well, it has worked well for about four decades. the chinese have not been able
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to dismiss the possibility that we would come to taiwan's defense. taiwan could not be assured we would, and that's kept everybody essentially on their heels a bit. the problem now is china has built up its military significantly. it's got real capabilities to overwhelm taiwan if left alone. and there's real doubts in china's mind about america's willingness to come to taiwan's aid. they look at what's happened in afghanistan. they look earlier at what we did with the kurds. the red line and syria. how we didn't respond to hong kong. how we didn't respond to crimea. so there's a lot of people in china who think there's a major opportunity. so i would essentially say we need to be much more explicit about our willingness to come to taiwan's defense. our allies in the region, japan, australia and others, are expecting that, they want to see that. and i much prefer to deter china through certainty, through specificity, through clarity, rather than leaving this up to ambiguity. nick: bonnie, deter china group
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specificity? >> well, richard makes the assumption that strategic clarity would deter china, and i would argue that it would likely provoke china. i think that beijing would view the u.s. stance of strategic clarity as reneging on the understandings reached between our two countries when we normalized relations in 1979, which included breaking our mutual defense treaty with taiwan, under which we had an ironclad commitment to taiwan's defense. so i agree with richard in that he has argued that the united states has to make significant investments in developing capabilities to defend taiwan. but right now, we have questions about whether or not we can come to taiwan's defense. so perhaps the most dangerous thing we would do would be to say yes, we will under all circumstances defend taiwan, but then not have the capability to do so. we might tempt china to take that action today rather than postpone it until the future. nick: charles, should the u.s. defend taiwan a doll?
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>> i think it is time to reconsider that commitment. and i think we should actually break our commitment. the key issues have already been touched on in a certain way, which is that china's much more capable. the leadership is much more determined to achieve its sovereignty aims, its identity aims. and so i wouldn't say war is likely in the next few years, but i wouldn't say it's unlikely over the next couple of decades. and that's going to be a large war. it's a war that could escalate to nuclear war. and i think given u.s. interests, the risks are too large, the risk being the probability of war and then the potentially huge costs of a large conventional war and a war that could go nuclear. nick: richard, is taiwan important enough to risk war? lax let me disagree with both of my colleagues. taiwan is important enough. at stake is the entire american position in this critical, this critical part of the world where a lot of 21st century history is going to be written. it begins with our relationship
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with japan. if the united states is not there for taiwan, we not only allow a democracy to disappear, the principal producer of semiconductors to come under china's sway. china would gain strategically in terms of its ability to use taiwan as a forward base. but japan and other countries would conclude they could no longer rely on us. and i think you'd either see appeasement of china or the nuclear proliferation in places like japan. so what we would do is take what has been the most stable, successful region of the world and turn it into anything but. let me just disagree with bonnie on an important point. there is nothing that is inconsistent with the one-china policy, with our commitments to china by the united states articulating a position of strategic clarity. she's right. it just can't be verbal. we should tell china this is, we are not supporting taiwan's independence. this is not a two china policy. we continue to be committed to a good relationship with you. if you, in turn, are are committed
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to the same. nick: bonnie, could the u.s. be more explicit and maintain one china policy? lacks i believe, again, that we would provoke an attack from china if we did so. i think that the chinese know that the united states would come to taiwan's defense. richard and others have argued that in fact, the chinese could miscalculate. i think that all the pla modernization over the last few decades has been based on the assumption that the united states is likely to intervene in a war in taiwan. i believe that we should wait until the contingency arises and allow the president the flexibility to determine based on circumstances. nick: charles, why not wait and maintain that flexibility, like bonnie said? ask i think the ideal -- >> i think the ideal policy is a clearly conditional commitment, one that's clear that we will protect taiwan if it's attacked by china, an unprovoked attack. but at the same time, clear to taiwan that we will not come to taiwan's aid if taiwan provokes the attack by declaring independence or moving too close
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to china's red lines. but i'd like to return to richard's point about essentially that if we break the commitment to taiwan, we're giving up in east asia. and i think this greatly exaggerates the risk. we can explain to japan and other allies that taiwan is very different than they are from the u.s. perspective. and most importantly, from china's perspective. china does not think japan is part of china. second, we can do many things to make clear that our commitment to japan and the other east asian allies stands, including increasing our defense spending, increasing the tightness of the alliances and so forth nick: richard, could the u.s. explain the difference between japan and taiwan? lacks i think we're kidding ourselves. if china's allowed to take taiwan, the united states does not respond. japan, australia, india and every other country inhat part of the world, including south korea, will recalibrate their dependance on the united states. it gives china tremendous geographic and strategic advantages to pressure its
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neighbors. what worries me is by -- nick: bonnie, in the last few minutes, richard mentioned afghanistan. the withdrawal from their. we have also seen a desire from multiple administrations to reduce the us footprint in the middle east. there is a perception around the world that the us is not committed as it once was. how do you believe that affects the taiwan question? >> i don't believe the chinese draw the conclusion from the u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan that the united states would not come to the defense of taiwan. taiwan is extremely different from afghanistan, as is hong kong. hong kong was already part of china, having been returned to china in 1997. so i think the united states has to to make statements and actions that will ensure that china doesn't draw the wrong conclusion and see the
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u.s. as weak. but we have many different ways of doing that , that fall short of a position of strategic clarity. so in other words, the u.s. government has to walk a very fine line. nick: charles, can the u.s. thread the needle? >> i'm not confident that even if we thread it as well as we can, that we can avoid war over the next few decades. we could get into a really large war with china over taiwan, and it could be an extremely costly war. and hopefully, if we maintain our current policy, deterrence will work, but it may not work. there are a variety of reasons it could fail, no matter how well we manage that policy. so i would come to the hard conclusion that we should break the commitment. nick: we'll have to leave it there, charles glaser, bonnie glaser, richard haass, thank you all very much. >> you're welcome. ♪
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judy: the influential critic, author, and feminist bell hooks died today at the age of 69. she was at home surrounded by friends and family. amna is back with a look at her work and legacy. amna: born gloria jean watkins, bell hooks grew up in segregated kentucky in the 1950s and 60s. the daughter of a janitor and a maid, hooks left home to attend stanford university, where she earned an english degree. she went on to earn a phd and authored more than 30 works under her pen name, taken from her great-grandmother. her prolific writing spanned poetry, essays, and children's books, examining the intersection of race, politics, and gender, and making her one of the most infuential black feminist scholars of the last half-century. in 2004, hooks returned to kentucky to teach at berea college and later founded the bell hooks institute there. here to talk more about her life and impact is imani perry, the hughes-rogers professor of african american studies at
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princeton university. professor, welcome to the newshour. thank you for making the time. >> thank you for having me. amna: you reacted to the passing of bell hooks by sharing this thought, for exactly 30 years, she was not only an intellectual influence, but a presence in my life. professor, tell us about the impact bell hooks had on you. >> i met her when i was 19. i was an intern where she published. and she was a teacher to her core, even though i didn't have her in the classroom. she brought ideas to life. she was a person who bridged the space between high critical theory, european scholars and marxist thinkers, and everyday life. she wrote and spoke in a way to make all of that eerie applicable to our daily lives
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and also she wanted it to bear upon the way we thought of each other ethically, our relationships, our personal stories. she was both an intellectual, and she was also a kind of curate, a person who standard -- tended to souls as an educator. to be brought under her wing as a teenager was incredibly influential. it allowed me to imagine how to live a life of the mind, but also how to pursue right relation to other human beings. amna: we mentioned she was born gloria jean watkins and took the pen name bell hooks, which was her great-grandmother's name. do you know about why she took that name and why all lower case when she used it? >> it was consistent with the leftist organizers of the era to think of the individual in the lowercase, that one spoke in
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collective. so her name was both an homage to her great-grandmother, but it was a humility dish -- to choose the lowercase. she was very much, she traveled the world, she had a massive influence. she was a southern country woman to her core, and she had never lost touch with that. so there was a kind of intimacy with that identity that she held onto through her pen name. i always called her gloria. amna: she mentioned those southern roots, growing up at the intersection between racism and sexism. she spoke about it in wisconsin. >> i think many of us as females find sex sums -- sexism is so normalized while people of color, when we hear a racist joke or racism spoken not as a joke, we really feel assaulted,
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and our sensibilities. but sexism is so woven into the fabric of our daily lives that i think it is harder for people to resist. amna: professor, how did that lived experience show up in her work? >> she told a lot of stories from her own life. in many ways she was an open book. she allowed herself to be vulnerable. she contemplated, the way that she engaged with people, and she was outspoken and she could be really challenging, was to open that up, to explore those questions of internalized sexism, internalized classism, how do we love each other? that kind of exploration was -- i mean, that was consistent with who she was. for me, it allowed me to think, all of the sort of academic things i was pursuing, they boiled down to the very core
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about how we are going to live and how we are going to coexist on this planet. that is who she was. amna: it has been four decades since her first full-length book , "ain't i a woman." the ideas she brought up about white nizam and black feminism and race and sex, we are still grappling with those things today. what you think a legacy of the ideas she raised four decades ago is today? >> i think her legacy is enormous area part of her body of work that she created, the legacy is that there are so many young people, the first time they think seriously about class, sexuality, gender, identity, vulnerability, spirituality, is through her work. her work has never gone out of print. you can still purchase "anti-woman -- ain't i a woman."
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in every sector of the society, organizing, nonprofit world, corporate america, it really, she has shaped several generations of thinkers, people who are members of communities. i hope at this moment, it becomes a timed for us to reflect how much she helped us think and grow and how she pushed world closer to justice. amna: an incredible life and a great loss. professor perry, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you. ♪ judy: on the newshour online, louisiana abortion clinics are seeing an influx of patients from texas seeking access to abortions. and a case before the supreme court could complicate matters further. read more at
6:54 pm and the washington national cathedral today marked a somber milestone. the cathedral's funeral bells tolled 800 times this evening to commemorate the 800,000 americans who have lost their lives to covid-19. [bell tolling] judy: and our hearts go out to everyone who has lost a loved one in this pandemic. a heartbreaking reminder of the enormous toll the pandemic has had, and continues to have, every day, on this nation. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us on-line and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe and we'll see you soon.
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this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ this nshour west, from w eta studios in washington and from our bureau at the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. ♪
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♪ ♪ >> lidia bastianich: as the pandemic continues to take a toll across the nation, i've mourned the loss of life, as well as my ability to share my food and my table with others. ♪ ♪ as grandma says... >> both: tutti a tavola a mangiar >> lidia: i also endured the passing of my beloved mother. she was always part of my life till the very end. she died at 100 years, in my arms. ♪ ♪ as the nation struggles to fully reopen, i'm excited to set out across the country once again. hi. >> how are you? >> lidia: hi, tony. >> how are you? >> lidia: all right. oh, my goodness. this time to meet individuals who,


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