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The McLaughlin Group

Issues: Russia and International Stability / Trump and Immigration / Greek Debt Crisis

Participants:
John McLaughlin, Host
Pat Buchanan, Author & Columnist
Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast
Tom Rogan, National Review/Daily Telegraph
Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report

Taped: Friday, July 10, 2015
Broadcast: Weekend of July 10-12, 2015


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ANNOUNCER: From Washington, THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP, the American original. For over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, HOST: Issue One: International Stability.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): In a Fourth of July congratulatory message. Russian President Vladimir Putin saluted President Obama and himself, calling the relationship between Russia and America, quote, "the most important factor of international stability and security," unquote.

Mr. Putin suggested that the two nations cooperate on global threat and challenges, while respecting each other’s national interests.

President Putin suggested one area of mutual cooperation -- the defeat of ISIS. Russia and the United States are currently cooperating in the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran, which both sides see as a prelude to resolving other Middle East problems, such as a political resolution of Syria’s civil war.

But President Putin’s overture was clouded by two incidents that same day. Off the coast of Alaska and California, four Russian TU-95 bombers, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, approached within 200 miles of the coast, outside U.S. airspace but close enough to warrant the Air Force scrambling F-22 fighter interceptor jets.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: What’s going on here, Pat?

PAT BUCHANAN, AUTHOR & COLUMNIST: I think Vladimir Putin is really in the position of making up his mind, whether he’s going to make another effort to engage the United States in some kind of detente, or he’s going to move toward China.

John, this is the most important issue, I think, of the 21st century, a relationship between the United States and Russia, or a relationship between Russia and China, and I think it’s far more important than Crimea, far more important than Luhansk and Donetsk and all that. And I think what we need in the White House is a Nixon or a Reagan who realizes the central importance of keeping China and Russia split, and the United States basically on good relations with one and not bad relations with the other.

MCLAUGHLIN: What do you make of this, Eleanor?

ELEANOR CLIFT, THE DAILY BEAST: I don’t buy the notion that you have to play China off of Russia, and I would say Russia is no China. And I think the administration is much more concerned about the rise of China than what’s going on with Russia.

Putin is a complicated character. He’s sort of a good cop and bad cop rolled into one. Nice empatic/sympatico message on the one hand and then his planes are buzzing the West Coast. But if you Google "Soviet jets buzzing West Coast", you will get entries for every one of the last several years.

This is not new. He does it all the time. He loves tweaking the West. He’s also going to be receiving the Iranian prime minister and the Greek prime minister. He wants to be taken seriously as a co-equal superpower.

MCLAUGHLIN: Putin backs Assad, and Obama takes the opposite view. What do you make of that?

TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW/DAILY TELEGRAPH: Well, I think President Obama has sort of taken the hands off position vis-a-vis Assad, because he doesn’t want to get engaged there. I mean, dealing with Assad, I think we should. But that requires inherently a much bigger involvement.

But, look, Putin’s interests in the Middle East, whether it be Iran or Assad, is to exploit Russian power potential, to have access to energy markets, to be able to sell goods, to have some measure of stability. He knows -- they have very little concern about the kind of ideological or moral components there.

I think what President Putin is trying to do with these phone calls is to say to President Obama, look, there’s a potential of, you know, rebuilding the relationship. Why is he backing off a bit? Because the oil prices continue to come down and that is really painfully hurting the Russian economy.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort?

MORT ZUCKERMAN, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT: Yes, I agree. I think the one most important thing here is that the Russian economy is in the worse shape its been for quite a while, because of oil prices, and that is going to create a lot of problems for Putin. He’s going to try and, shall we say, change everybody’s focus by making these positive gestures.

But I think we have to very, very cautious. That man is one of the more extraordinary leaders that we have ever had to deal with. He’s one of the shrewdest and the toughest. And we’ve got to be very careful how we deal with that.

BUCHANAN: We have a lot of common interests with the Russians in the Middle East. We’ve got a common interest in not having this war get wider in Ukraine. We’ve got a common interest in space.

In Russia and the United States, John, now that ideology is gone, communism is gone -- have no strategic vital interests in conflict. They are compatible.

As Eleanor says --

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

BUCHANAN: -- China is a great coming power, and in this -- I don’t believe we ought to confront China -- but in this contest, we ought to have the Russians we have.

MCLAUGHLIN: You recall that the Vatican, the pope invited heads of state and he waited for Putin to come and Putin was an hour late, and he took him aside, the pope did, and engaged him in sprightly conversation.

Do you think the pope has anything to do with this rapprochement between Russia and the United States?

BUCHANAN: No, I think Putin is -- in reaching out to the pope and other moves -- is making moves that both antagonize the Americans, but at the same time are saying, what you said is, look, I think he wants to come back. Russia belongs with the West.

MCLAUGHLIN: So, is Putin espectable?

BUCHANAN: I think Putin is a man you can do business with.

MCLAUGHLIN: There you go.

CLIFT: Yes, that was said about Saddam Hussein at one point.

MCLAUGHLIN: That was said about Gorbachev by Thatcher.

CLIFT: That’s kind of cold language. Yes.

I would like to point out --

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear what he said? That was said about Gorbachev, and Gorbachev played ball.

CLIFT: There’s always been a lot of glorification of Putin on this set, frankly. And I want to --

(LAUGHTER)

ROGAN: Really?

MCLAUGHLIN: Wait a minute now. We got to look around.

(LAUGHTER)

CLIFT: I want to point out that he is, according to respectable surveys, he is the richest man in the world, with ill-gotten gains. He has --

MCLAUGHLIN: Do you have a number on that? We got Mort right here.

CLIFT: He has taken Russia from a point of -- well, of economic prosperity, to putting it in the basement. So, I don’t glorify him. I think you have to deal with him, obviously, diplomatically. And we do have a lot of common interests, and I’m all for that.

MCLAUGHLIN: The consoling thing here --

CLIFT: But I’m not for the bare-chested guy riding the tiger.

MCLAUGHLIN: The consoling thing is that Putin is not going to go away.

Exit question: What about President Putin’s larger point that the U.S. and Russia are crucial to international stability?

You got the point?

BUCHANAN: Yes, this --

MCLAUGHLIN: Is he right?

BUCHANAN: This relationship is critical to world peace, exactly.

CLIFT: Yes, he bailed Obama out when it came to the chemical weapons in Syria, frankly. But they’re different over Assad. I mean, President Obama thinks Assad has to go and Russia think -- wants Assad to stay.

So, our commonality in fighting ISIS is really hampered by that very strong difference of opinion.

ROGAN: The problem with the bailout, though, with goes to this credibility thing, we talk about their are potentials for international stability, but it has to be grounded on fact. And the WMD deal I would say is one that’s completely not vested in fact, because Assad is still using chemical weapons his own people, shredding American red lines, Putin knows it. It was a Ponzi scheme that President Obama has accepted because he doesn’t want to get more involved in the realities, as I said, in the Middle East.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. What other negative things you think about Putin?

ROGAN: Well, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, open relationship with China. Some of these are inherent, I think, because of their power politics. American interests are based upon international norms, free trade, et cetera.

MCLAUGHLIN: Are those the countries that Jeb Bush just visited?

ROGAN: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: What was all that about?

ROGAN: Just what I’m talking about, the power.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: Look, I think that Putin is one of the shrewdest and one of the toughest political leaders we’ve had to deal with in a long time. I’d be very cautious about his goodwill, his good intentions. This man came out of the KGB, he was the head of the KGB when he was 39, which does not happen because he happens to be, shall we say a man in a cloth coat, OK?

So, we have to be very careful about him. We can do business with him up to a point, and we have to very careful about what he’s trying to sort of maneuver us into.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk to him. But I wouldn’t count on him as a great ally of the United States.

MCLAUGHLIN: He’s a Catholic. Russian Orthodox Church.

ZUCKERMAN: Listen, not that I want to demean any religion, but he’s done a lot of things that no Catholic would do.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: He wasn’t raised as a Christian, though, John.

MCLAUGHLIN: He and W. got on famously together.

ZUCKERMAN: I’m not saying it’s impossible.

CLIFT: Not for long.

(CROSSTALK)

ZUCKERMAN: With all due respect, OK? I have to say, let me just --

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, they stood up there on the stage for the press, the full press.

BUCHANAN: George W. Bush looked into his eyes.

MCLAUGHLIN: He looked into his eyes. Did W. say that about him?

ROGAN: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: What did he see?

BUCHANAN: Former leader of the KGB.

ROGAN: His soul.

(CROSSTALK)

ZUCKERMAN: You know, I mean, I have to say, I have met him a number of times. I’ve had a great dialogue with him. I came out with meetings with him and my instinct was different. I want to be very cautious about, if I were an American --

BUCHANAN: But don’t we have common interests?

MCLAUGHLIN: OK.

ZUCKERMAN: I suppose we have common interests, and his interests are going to be --

BUCHANAN: He will pursue his interests.

MCLAUGHLIN: OK, they’re going crazy in there.

The General’s Take.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): President Obama’s nominee for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, was asked during Senate hearings which countries posed threats to the United States.

Here is his reply, quote, "My assessment today is that Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security. If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I’ve had to point to Russia. And if you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming," unquote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Does General Dunford’s assessment underscore the importance of finding areas in which we can cooperate with Russia? Yes or no, Pat Buchanan?

BUCHANAN: Of course, it does. Russia’s probably got the biggest nuclear arsenal in the world and you got to deal with him.

CLIFT: I think General Dunford was reminding us that they have missiles that can reach the United States, and we shouldn’t forget that, dealing with him. I think Putin is crafty but he’s rational, and I don’t really think nuclear exchange is in the cards. But I think --

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

CLIFT: But I think that’s what the general was referring to.

MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think Dunford was appallingly alarmist?

ROGAN: No, I don’t. And we were one of the few, you know, weekend shows that covered Dunford specifically a few months back, and I think this is a good sign of why Dunford would be a good chairman of the Joint Chiefs, because he’ll speak to President Obama, he’s the commander in chief, but he’ll give him honest, practical advice.

And Russia, yes, can we form a relationship or we have to be aware they act in their interest, we act in ours, we have to stand up for ours.

MCLAUGHLIN: If he is that limited or bad, why would the pope engage him in the private conversation --

ROGAN: Well, I --

MCLAUGHLIN: -- and engage him to do things?

ROGAN: The pope engages everyone. I mean, the --

MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, no, no, the pope does not do that.

ROGAN: No?

MCLAUGHLIN: No, no.

BUCHANAN: How about Evo Morales?

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: But where does he change his clothes?

ROGAN: The pope?

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

ROGAN: I don’t know. I’ve not been in the pope’s bedroom.

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: He’s in South America and he had his garments on, he didn’t have garment -- what was the story down there?

BUCHANAN: He really did. He’s over there speaking to Evo Morales and some others talking about how the church did some horrible things in Latin America.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

BUCHANAN: He’s on what we call here an apology tour, John.

CLIFT: Yes, right.

ZUCKERMAN: I find this conversation a little bit astounding. I mean, we have very little reason at this stage of the game to trust Putin. I’m not saying -- you know, "trust but verify", was the old cliche. This guy is going to be as -- he’s focusing on Soviet interest and Russian interest and he is going to be somebody we’re going to be careful of.

BUCHANAN: But where do they conflict directly with ours?

ZUCKERMAN: When he threatens our allies, OK?

CLIFT: But we trust the pope. And if the pope is in the middle of this, I’m for it.

MCLAUGHLIN: It could be a joint effort to defeat ISIS.

ZUCKERMAN: That’s fine --

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: We have in common an enemy in ISIS, given him terrible times in the Caucasus. He’d like to see ISIS destroyed, so would we.

CLIFT: I’d love to see some Russian troops deployed. I don’t think we’re going to see that.

MCLAUGHLIN: Putin’s larger point is that the U.S. and Russia are crucial to international stability.

ROGAN: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: Is he right?

ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

BUCHANAN: No doubt about it, John.

MCLAUGHLIN: Is he right? He’s right? He’s right.

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Immigration Trump Card.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you.

They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they are rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Donald Trump’s Republican challengers worry his comments are hurting the GOP. RNC chief Reince Priebus urged him, quote, "to tone down his inflammatory comments about immigration," unquote.

Jeb Bush stated in Spanish that the Donald’s comments, quote, "do not represent the values of the Republican Party and they do not represent my values", unquote.

Rubio says the next president, quote, "needs to be someone who brings Americans together, not someone who continues to divide", unquote.

Chris Christie called Trump’s comments, quote, "Wholly inappropriate", unquote.

Senator Ted Cruz took a different view, stating, "I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration."

The illegal immigration debate is not going away, and in part that’s because of individuals like Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican illegal immigrant. Mr. Lopez Sanchez had previously been deported five times before he was charged this Monday with the brutal murder of 32-year-old Katherine Steinle in San Francisco, a so-called "sanctuary city" for illegal immigrants.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Does Donald Trump have a trump card on immigration?

Pat?

BUCHANAN: He certainly does, John.

Look, what he has done -- what he said was politically incorrect, no doubt about it. But what he has done is elevated this issue that is deeply concerning to tens of millions of Americans who’s dealing with the border, and all of a sudden, this character out there in San Francisco comes in, you know, a guy that’s apparently been let go a number of times, and the whole issue of sanctuary cities has been raised.

And what Trump is doing, he is riding this issue into the Republican primaries where it is a tremendous issue, can garner him 15, 20 percent of the vote that he’s got now. He’s running first. And what he’s doing is making a lot of the other Republicans look like they’re real wimps on the issue. And there’s no doubt it, John. Whatever you say about him, these other guys are people of words and he is a man of action.

MCLAUGHLIN: Trump currently leads the GOP primary poll, besides what Pat mentioned, North Carolina. He’s number two in Iowa and New Hampshire.

What happens if he starts winning or placing second in the early primary states?

Eleanor?

CLIFT: Well, the dirty little secret is his views are not all that different from the rest of the Republicans in the field. Nobody in the Republican field supports a path to citizenship. They’re all pretty tough on immigration.

What Trump is doing is saying it in such a way that it really tarnishes the Republican Party. He’s tapping into the same voters that Pat Buchanan did. You could say that Trump is the 21st century version of Pat -- protectionist, anti-immigrant.

And while, Pat, while you were within the Republican Party, you really damaged the brand, you damaged the Republican who was running --

BUCHANAN: They should have done something about illegal immigration 25 years ago, when we brought it up, Eleanor.

CLIFT: Well, they should have passed the bill that the Senate passed last year and they wouldn’t be talking about this now.

So, frankly, from a partisan point of view, I’m loving what Donald Trump is doing, because he’s out there saying, you know, everybody else says you can’t be Archie Bunker in today’s changing world. Well, I can be Archie Bunker. I can shout it from the rooftops.

And yes, there’s going to be a certain element of the population that responds to that, but it’s not the majority. And it doesn’t help the Republican Party at all.

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: Mort, what are you going to say?

ZUCKERMAN: It’s not only not necessary critical. It’s not what America is about, if I may say so. America is about immigration. You know, to treat people like this, many of whom I agree are probably not as well-educated as we would like, you can go through X, Y, and Z.

But this is what America has been all about, which is taking people who come in from all over the world, and you know, they improve and if they don’t improve, their children do. I thought it was ridiculous what he said and I think it was terrible for the Republican Party, or would be terrible if they adopted that as an approach.

ROGAN: Here’s the thing, right? Look, the immigration situation in the country at the moment, the sanctuary city issue, I think the consensus of Americans would say there’s a big problem there, where you have cities releasing felons and they go and commit harm. At the same time, you know, Donald Trump, what he is talking about here, the rhetoric he is talking about to American citizens whose parents are Mexican, it’s incredibly aggravating, it’s incredibly rude, and it isn’t befitting the Republican Party.

And I would disagree -- Eleanor, you know, the path the difference between the sort of populist element of cultural sort of, you know, America, and Donald Trump is that Pat was coming from the position of an intellectual point of view, and articulating with honesty. Donald Trump is an oil snake.

CLIFT: Well, Pat -- Pat got --

ROGAN: He’s a snake oil salesman.

CLIFT: Pat did not get that kind of lofty critique when he was doing it, at all.

ROGAN: But Donald Trump was in it for himself. He likes listening to his own voice.

BUCHANAN: When I ran against George Bush Sr. in 1992, and we did very well in New Hampshire, and then we went on to California, it was four, five months later, I got 30 percent in the counties in Southern California, because Californians wanted us to do something, Mort, about thousands of people walking into our country on weekends, and the president of the United States and the government of the United States, unlike General Eisenhower who dealt with it, did nothing.

And that’s what Trump is riding. People believe the politicians --

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: The border is more secure now --

ZUCKERMAN: No, he’s not.

CLIFT: -- than it’s been for a long time.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

ROGAN: Trump says this --

CLIFT: Lots of people are being deported.

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: And the oil fields and his stupid comments, I mean, (INAUDIBLE)

CLIFT: And we have 11 million people here who take care of our kids, do jobs, many of them that Americans are not interested in doing.

BUCHANAN: And they are -- there’s a lot of crime that they bring in. It’s undeniable.

CLIFT: The statistics show --

BUCHANAN: For illegal aliens, are you kidding?

CLIFT: They commit far fewer crimes than natural born citizens.

BUCHANAN: But, look, you know, the warrants for felonies in Los Angeles County, take a look at them. They’re all from illegal aliens.

ROGAN: But that’s the argument in favor of serious immigration reform, not stupid immigration reform.

(CROSSTALK)

ROGAN: What Trump is talking about, get the Mexicans to build a wall. I like building walls. This is lunacy.

BUCHANAN: The problem is, you say, serious immigration reform, what have they done in the 25 years since we’ve raised it. Nothing, nobody believes the politicians. They think they’re all talkers, and he’s got a point there.

CLIFT: And they’re all scapegoating illegal immigrants.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.

CLIFT: It is convenient, politically.

BUCHANAN: Well, why don’t we just secure the border and --

CLIFT: Who do you think build Trump’s hotels?

BUCHANAN: -- find and punish businessmen who hire illegals?

CLIFT: Who do you think build Trump’s hotels?

MCLAUGHLIN: Assuming Trump wins -- assuming Trump wins the GOP nomination, will his views on illegal immigration be an impediment to winning the White House, yes or no?

BUCHANAN: No. If he won the nomination, that would be the reason he won it, but he’s not going to win it.

CLIFT: He won’t win the nomination.

MCLAUGHLIN: He won’t win the nomination?

CLIFT: It will burn out.

ZUCKERMAN: But your question is, if he does get the nomination, would that be --

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes. If he does get the nomination, assuming he does.

CLIFT: He would then lose --

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: Very specifically, he wins the nomination.

CLIFT: He would then lose the general election.

ZUCKERMAN: He would lose the general election, I agree to that completely. He would lose it by a large margin.

MCLAUGHLIN: Do you realize this man’s achievement?

ZUCKERMAN: I’m very, very comfortable with his achievements.

MCLAUGHLIN: Do you realize the buildings that he’s put up? Building contracts he’s arranged, Mort?

(CROSSTALK)

MCLAUGHLIN: -- marvels at the new buildings – they’re enormous, Trump Tower.

ZUCKERMAN: I never would say that I’m -- excuse me a second.

MCLAUGHLIN: Does he get any credit for that?

ZUCKERMAN: I never would say that I know -- let me finish one sentence, please?

MCLAUGHLIN: All right.

ZUCKERMAN: I never would say anything that I know more than you. But the real estate business, I do know more about it, OK? He’s very competent at this. I take nothing away from him. We’re not talking about his real estate skills here. We’re talking about public policy.

MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, yes. But you can’t divorce real estate skills as though it’s some creature from afar.

CLIFT: You can divorce from public policy, yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: Athena’s Greatest Battle.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEXIS TSIPRAS, GREEK PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I’m going to put that mandate to good use. I will do everything I can in order to find a more equitable, more lasting, more viable solution. But obviously, the other party also has to be amenable to negotiations.

MCLAUGHLIN: The prime minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, felt relieved last Sunday when his fellow Greeks overwhelmingly rejected a plan to reform Greece’s economy, a plan that was generated by Greece’s creditors.

Following that referendum, Mr. Tsipras promised to negotiate a better deal with the creditors. But he miscalculated, because Greece’s creditors, primarily the European Union, refused to yield. Instead, they demanded four major concessions from Mr. Tsipras in return for a new bailout -- public expenditure cuts, especially to the Greek military, increased taxes, cuts to pensions, and greater domestic competition in Greek industries. And as an E.U.-issued Thursday’s deadline for a deal proposal approach, Mr. Tsipras compromised with some of the creditors’ demands.

Though his Syriza Party reacted with fury, Mr. Tsipras insisted that the cost of a banking collapse would be too much for Greece to bear. For Greece and the E.U. to reach agreement, Greece’s debt may have to be restructured or even partially forgiven.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde are both calling for restructuring Greece’s debt. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel is skeptical about the idea.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Why has German been opposed to debt restructuring or debt forgiveness for Greece?

Mort Zuckerman?

ZUCKERMAN: Well, primarily, because they’re basically the banker for all of Europe. So, this is going to set a precedent for a lot of countries who are going to want to reduce their debts, and Germany is going to be the sufferer. So, they want to say, hey, we loaned you the money, we want it back.

And I perfectly -- I think I understand that.

CLIFT: Yes.

ZUCKERMAN: You know, they have to get Germany’s cooperation and agreement before they can make an agreement.

(CROSSTALK)

CLIFT: Yes, but my mother, who was German, would say you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip and they have basically destroyed the Greek economy. You have to give them some breathing space. You can’t smother them with all the restrictions.

And I think Tsipras has now offered significant concessions, and I would wager a bet that Merkel, pushed by the French and others in the Eurozone, is going to agree to some sort of restructuring of the debt. There’s got to be some relief.

BUCHANAN: They’ve got to do debt reduction because the Greeks cannot pay it. You’re hopelessly in debt and they can’t pay it all. So, they got to chop.

But there’s another reason, Mort, why the Germans -- Germans I think have come to a conclusions that the Greeks, because of their ethnic composition, because they’re a Mediterranean country, with different values and views, they simply can’t stand up to the kind of austerity -- the kind of -- not austerity, but the tough rigorous type of economy that the Germans and Northern Europeans have, and they’re better off with them out of the European --

CLIFT: Oh, I disagree with that.

MCLAUGHLIN: Would Merkel accept the lowering of interest rates on the debt?

BUCHANAN: She’s going to -- there has to be debt forgiveness. There has to be. Debt forgiveness.

MCLAUGHLIN: She could do that.

ROGAN: He’s --

MCLAUGHLIN: That would be no -- not big a deal.

BUCHANAN: It’s going to be a problem politically, but the German parliament.

MCLAUGHLIN: Yes, well, she can clear that with her popularity.

CLIFT: I think debt forgiveness is too much. But debt restructuring, some easing is in the thoughts.

ROGAN: I come down strongly on that. The long term problem here is that Greeks have been living beyond their means in terms of the size of the state, the lack of taxation, people avoid it, that’s an art form there. It’s accepted.

But at the same time, there has to be a process where you do have a debt repayment schedule that allows the Greek economy to grow. But the key here, to do that is that you have to breakaway from the structural inefficiencies the Greek economy. All the regulations to go and work in different industries.

ZUCKERMAN: Right.

ROGAN: The lack of, you know, actual transparency, the VAT regulation, the patronage -- that is the key.

BUCHANAN: Are the Greeks capable of doing that? Frankly, I don’t think this government is capable of imposing what’s going to be required. I think the government will come down.

ZUCKERMAN: There’s only one way that they might do it, OK, and that is if Germany says we’re not giving you any more money.

ROGAN: Right.

ZUCKERMAN: That’s the only --

ROGAN: That’s why he came to the table.

ZUCKERMAN: That is going to give them the political backing that they need if they’re going to do anything.

ROGAN: But Syriza might split it now.

ZUCKERMAN: From Germany’s point of view --

BUCHANAN: Look, if you don’t give anymore money, they go under.

ZUCKERMAN: Yes, that’s right.

CLIFT: Yes, they got --

ZUCKERMAN: Germany is not going to put up additional money.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: Well, they’re talking about asking for 80 billion more --

CLIFT: Yes, that’s the deal. That’s the deal. They have concessions and they get the deal and I think that probably will go through --

BUCHANAN: I think they’re going to get some more money.

CLIFT: No, they’re 2 percent of the Eurozone economy.

ZUCKERMAN: Right.

CLIFT: This is not a big deal.

MCLAUGHLIN: The way they’re going to do it is, that the Greeks can rely on their tourist trips, because it’s a wonderful country to visit. Do you understand?

ZUCKERMAN: I agree. I’ve been there many times.

MCLAUGHLIN: Many times. Have you been to the Parthenon?

ZUCKERMAN: Yes.

MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of the Parthenon?

(CROSSTALK)

ZUCKERMAN: Yes, and I had a house on one or the other.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: The Acropolis.

ZUCKERMAN: They’re spectacular, without question. But that’s not what’s going to save the Greek economy, OK?

ROGAN: It has to be more than that.

ZUCKERMAN: It’s a lot more than that.

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that’s a lot of money there.

Predictions, Pat?

BUCHANAN: John, this effort to Confederate graves and tear down Confederate memorials will split the Republican Party and there will be a national backlash.

MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?

CLIFT: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s deft handling of the Confederate flag issue in her state will guarantee her a spot on the vice presidential list for the Republican Party.

MCLAUGHLIN: Tom?

ROGAN: Iran deal next week, but the holes in it will become obvious in the coming months. So, I was going to say, good luck to my friend Elena Vesnina, who’s playing in the final of Wimbledon doubles.

MCLAUGHLIN: Mort?

ZUCKERMAN: The weakness of the economy, despite a tremendous amount of monetary stimulus is going to weaken the support for monetary stimulus and shift them over to fiscal stimulus.

MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that if the E.U. and Greece reach an agreement this weekend, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will be hailed as a hero for standing up to the E.U. and wringing hard won concessions on debt relief for Greece through his political brinksmanship.

Bye-bye!

END