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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

3,000 U.S. Troops To E. Europe; Whoopi Goldberg Suspended; 8-Year- Old's Hit New Book. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired February 02, 2022 - 17:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. This is THE GLOBAL BRIEF. I'm Bianca Nobilo in London.

Tonight, the U.S. president deploys thousands more troops to Eastern Europe, but the White House also says a Russian invasion of Ukraine is not

imminent after all. We're live in Moscow and Washington, D.C.

Then, Whoopi Goldberg is suspended from "The View" over her Holocaust comments. I'll be talking about the recent spike of anti-Semitism with the

author David Baddiel.

Plus, the most popular new book in one Idaho city has an unlikely author, an eight-year-old. That story, coming up ahead.

Just as new satellite imagery reveals the increasing extent of Russia's massive troop build-up around Ukraine, the United States is announcing a

new troop deployment of its own to protect NATO's eastern flank. It's sending almost 3,000 troops to Poland and Romania, calling it an

unmistakable message to Russia that it will defend its NATO allies.

The U.S. is deploying several hundred more troops to Germany as well.

CNN asked President Joe Biden about the move a short time ago at the White House.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's totally consistent to what I told Putin in the beginning, as long as he's acting aggressive, we're

going to make sure we reassure our NATO allies in Eastern Europe that we're there and Article Five is a sacred obligation.


NOBILO: The U.S. says it has not determined that Russia will attack, but these satellite images from Maxar are deepening concerns. It says they show

increased Russian military activity near Ukraine's borders including tents and shelters for troops at virtually every deployment location in Belarus,

Crimea and western Russia.

And while Moscow hasn't yet formally answered the request to security demands, we now know exactly what the U.S. and NATO wants, they don't back

down on the right of NATO expansion or countries to choose their alliances but they do offer dialogue on arms control. The Pentagon says the leaked

documents show there is a diplomatic stand-off ramping up to this crisis.


JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We did not make this document public. But, now that it is, it confirms to the entire world what we have

always been saying. There is no day light between our public statements and our private discussions. NATO and its partners are unified in their resolve

and open to constructive and serious diplomacy.

The United States has gone the extra mile to find a diplomatic solution, and if Russia actually wants to negotiate a solution as it claims it does,

this document certainly makes clear that there is a path forward to do so.


NOBILO: Our Kylie Atwood is live at State Department and Nick Robertson is in Moscow.

Kylie, first to you, Biden says that the U.S. troop deployment will happen in the coming days.

What timeline are we looking at and where are these troops are going to be based?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, so the Pentagon not being explicit the on what day we expect the new U.S. troops to arrive

in Europe but say it will happen in the coming days. There is an active effort underway to deploy these troops now. That is different from before

when they were just put on high alert.

And here's what we expect to see in the coming days. There's going to be 2,000 troops from the United States that are going to Germany and Poland,

and there are 1,000 troops that are currently in Germany that are going to be going to Romania. Now, in addition to that, the Pentagon said that there

are still 8,500 troops on high alert and they are set to go over to Europe if NATO decides that they need to bolster their presence in any additional

countries, in some of those countries, perhaps, where the U.S. already has troops going, and, of course, the Pentagon saying this isn't something that

is going to be a long-term posture for the United States, it is based on the conditions on the ground.

President Biden saying himself that as long as President Putin continues with his aggression, the United States will be very clear in expressing its

support to its NATO allies and its devotion to Article Five of NATO which is an attack on one is an attack on all. So, that is why they're sending

all these U.S. troops over there right now, not counting out the possibility of sending anymore should the circumstances call for it --


NOBILO: Thanks, Kylie.

Nic, now on to these leaked NATO and U.S. documents. What are the key revelations in those papers?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yeah, as the Pentagon spokesman was saying, what they've said in the papers is very much what

they were saying publicly. But, of course, there was a little bit more detail and one of the interesting details was how the United States wanted

to engage Russia in a track of diplomacy that would build trust between the two sides.


Russia concerned that the United States has missile systems based in Romania that are a threat to Russia and the United States was offering

Russian -- Russia the opportunity to send people to look at these Aegis missile systems and inspect them, two different sites, confirm of

themselves that these were not going to be a threat to Russia.

The reciprocal side of that, of course, the United States, saying it would choose two missile sites in Russia that it could also go inspect. Other

places where there was interesting detail on what could be considered for, you know, for discussion in missile controls, short-range, medium-range,

intermediate, nuclear range missiles could be considered for conversations. You know, again, part of that track for diplomacy.

And another area where the United States was sort of taking, not taking Russia at its word, if you will, saying something that it hadn't been

making quite so public, you know, where Russia has said the United States is not sticking by previously, previously agreed international treaties on

respecting the security of neighboring states. The United States response pointed at a number of treaties that Russia had agreed to that allow for

the sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations like Ukraine to be respected and their right to choose for security and political partners

that they want to.

Those were some of the interesting details in it, but very much in keeping with what we've been hearing publicly from all U.S. officials.

NOBILO: Nic Robertson, Kylie Atwood, thank you both.

Looking ahead, President Putin is set to head to Beijing on Thursday evening, a Kremlin aid says Russia and China will hold high level talks on

Friday, with the two sides expected to issue a number of joint agreements. Mr. Putin also set to have a one-on-one with China's President Xi Jinping.

The summit happening, of course, right now in the context of this Ukraine crisis is likely to overshadow the Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony

later that evening, which Mr. Putin is also expected to attend.

To unpack the geopolitical path ahead, I want to bring in CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser.

Susan, welcome to THE BRIEF. Good to have on the program.


NOBILO: So President Xi Jinping and Putin meeting at the Winter Olympics will no doubt be watched closely by all international observers and the

pair is fostering this increasingly close partnership as their relations with the West deteriorate. So how consequential do you think these talks

are going to be, and specifically when it comes to Ukraine?

GLASSER: Yeah, I mean, the timing is really remarkable, isn't it, you know, that the Beijing Olympics would be happening right now. Putin has

this extraordinary buildup of, you know, something like some 130,000 troops on the border of Ukraine, a relatively limited window over the window in

which to use potentially them in an invasion so it seems like a high stakes summit as these go, I also think it's important to note that, you know, Joe

Biden, the American president has talked about this moment in geopolitics as a conflict between the autocracies and democracies of the world and this

is out on display in a tinder box moment.

So, you know, Russia and China, historically, of course, in the 20th century had close relations then an enormous rupture during the Soviet

Union time. They're closer now than they have been in many, many decades and, you know, one fear I have is, is this the moment that we're seeing?

The actual creation of a new axis of authoritarians?

NOBILO: Well, Putin obviously, likes to be in the center of global affairs and the world stage and when it comes to his diplomatic dialogue with the

West, we're hearing now from the Elysee Palace that Macron will be speaking to Putin tomorrow. We know that Boris Johnson spoke to Putin today.

What can be achieved in these types of calls and discussions?

GLASSER: Well, I do think that it's -- you're right, on the one hand, it clearly flatters Putin's personal ego as well as Russia's broadly speaking

notion of itself that it should be a superpower that matters, that it should be the focal point of the world's attention and not just China,

China, China, which is what you heard from the new Biden administration, just like the previous two U.S. administrations.

So part of it is diplomacy, I think is very important from the Europeans that Putin hears from them as well as from the United States, this idea

that, you know, there isn't a division where it matters, when it comes to this. But also, that could play to Putin's advantage.

You know, remember at a previous crisis, when he invaded Georgia back in 2008, it was the French president at the time, Sarkozy, who brokered a

truce that Russia broke its word over.

So, he may be looking -- Putin may be looking to use the Europeans to divide the allies further as well.


NOBILO: And we've been talking about President Biden's commitment today to deploy almost 3,000 more troops to Eastern Europe, but at the same time,

the White House announcing that they don't believe a Russian invasion is imminent, which is a real reversal of the latest rhetoric.

What do you make of both of those things?

GLASSER: You know, I wouldn't frankly make too much of the change in the language. This seems to be bowing and deferring to the very loudly stated

preference on the part of Zelensky's government and Ukraine. They fear that that use of the word imminent was destabilizing, the government in Ukraine

that was potentially, you know, leading towards panic and the kind of political unrest that would benefit Putin, frankly.

So they're say, we're not going to use the word imminent anymore but saying an invasion is very likely. So it seems to me kind of a semantic shift

without a difference.

NOBILO: And you obviously have seen the leaked NATO and U.S. documents seeing the response to Russia's demands and Pentagon press secretary said

this will confirm to the entire world what they've always been saying.

But do you think the leak will have perhaps restored some public confidence in how the West is handling the crisis that they are really trying to

pursue other means and it's not all about military build-ups?

GLASSER: Yeah, I think that's very important for publics in the United States, as well as across Europe, that are certainly not looking to get

into conflict.

I can't, you know, emphasize this enough, but this is a manufactured crisis by Vladimir Putin. He's put 100,000 plus troops on the border, already

destabilized European security in a very significant way and yet the Russians are almost brilliant at gaslighting and now every response is met

with cries from Moscow -- well, you were, you know, inflaming the situation.

And so, I think it's important that the U.S. and its Western allies be very transparent about the diplomatic steps that they're taking and how much

Russia has been driving this crisis. It's important to get the facts out too, given the great success of Russian disinformation and lies.

NOBILO: Susan Glasser, thank you so much. Great to hear from you.

GLASSER: Thank you.

NOBILO: Germany's defense ministry says it has no plans to pull troops out of Mali, where the military has refused to hold elections. This comes after

the German foreign minister mentioned Mali during interview and asked whether her country's mission there had a chance of being successful.

Germany has deployed about 1,000 troops to the African country and supposed to decide by the end of May whether to extend its mission there.


COL. ARNE COLLATZ, GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): Achieving our goals is only possible in a very limited way.

We welcome the United Nations support for all nations active in Mali and the efforts to call on Mali's interim government to reinstall the original

status. Should it not work, we obviously need to reevaluate but until then, we will remain on stand-by. In direct response to the question, there are

no concrete troop withdrawal plans yet.


NOBILO: Earlier this week, Mali gave France's ambassador, 72 hour to leave over what it called hostile and outrageous comments. Germany is calling the

move unjustified.

The West African nation of Guinea-Bissau is recovering from what officials there are calling an attempted coup, a gunfire was heard on Tuesday, right

near a government compound where the president was holding a cabinet meeting. The president says several arrests have been made and that drug

traffickers and corrupt agents were involved.


UMARO SISSOCO EMBALO, GUINEA-BISSAU PRESIDENT (through translator): We face an assault. We were the middle of a council of ministers with all the

members including the prime minister. We were attacked with very heavy weaponry for a duration of five hours, but now, everything is under



NOBILO: The West African country has had 10 coups, or attempted coups, since becoming independent in 1974. Only one democratically elected

president has completed a full term.

Now, Tonga is reporting three new COVID-19 cases, its first locally transmitted one. That brings its total case number to five. The island

nation was previously COVID free for the whole pandemic. But now, it's under lockdown and has been pouring in from all over the world because of a

massive volcanic eruption there a few weeks ago.

And Tongans are in need of water, food and shelter. Many fear the influx of international ships and planes putting front line workers at risk.

Let's take a look at other key stories making international impact today.

The European Commission is proposing to designate natural gas and nuclear power as sustainable energy sources. The plan would set carbon emission in

the midst of gas powered plans but could unlock a wave of investments into nuclear and gas projects. The proposal ha angered climate activists and

could still be blocked by European lawmakers.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is dodging questions about a newly reported party during COVID lockdown.


The Scottish national party leader brought up a report by "The Telegraph" in parliament today about an alleged party in Mr. Johnson's flat in

November, 2020. The prime minister responded by saying the investigation must go on.

You're watching THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Coming up, the prejudice notion that Jews don't count when discussing the oppression of minority groups. We'll break down the misunderstanding around

anti-Semitism when we come back.


NOBILO: The persecution of Jews has often called the longest hatred, and has existed for over two millennia. One-third of the world's Jewish

population was killed during the Holocaust because the Nazis considered the Jews inferior race. Today, a survey show a quarter of people in over 50

countries believe common Jewish stereotypes are mostly true and a disturbing increase in anti-Semitic attacks in 2020 and 2021.

Television host Whoopi Goldberg's comments Monday saying the Holocaust was, quote, white people doing it to white people are being criticized as anti-

Semitic, offensive and ignorant. She since apologized and has been suspended for two weeks from her show, "The View".

The notion that Jews are part of a white power structure and cannot be oppressed in the same way as other minorities is not uncommon. In fact,

it's widespread.

I spoke with David Baddiel, author of "Jews Don't Count" earlier today. Both of our families were persecuted during the Holocaust. I shared with

him that I didn't believe my grandfather would have survived five years in Nazi camps if he'd been Jewish instead of Catholic, and asked him for his

response to Goldberg's comments that the Holocaust was not about race.


DAVID BADDIEL, AUTHOR, "JEWS DON'T COUNT": The prime thing to see about Whoopi Goldberg's comments is that they illustrate a basic misunderstanding

about what anti-Semitism is and I think that is and a lot of people still, despite the very clear racial history of anti-Semitism, think of it as

religious intolerance. There's a kind of resistance to anti-Semitism seen as racism, particularly actually in America where I think racism is a very

ring-fenced word, but I get it here as well, a pushback which is people say Jews aren't a race, it's a religion. Therefore, they can't suffer racism.

And actually, whether Jews are a race, scientifically or biologically or not is irrelevant. Jews clearly have suffered racism because I'm an

atheist, I don't believe in god. I don't practice Judaism. That would have got me no free passes out of Auschwitz. I would indeed be been dead long

before your grandfather was.

My great uncle Arno who was a observant Jew did die in the Warsaw ghetto, and this doesn't just apply to the Holocaust, it applies to many other

types of anti-Semitism including the present moment where white supremacists carrying torches in Charlottesville chanting "the Jews will

not replace us," are not interested whether Jews practice or keep kosher, they will set fire to your house if you got a Jewish name.


And the point about is that proves that what anti-Semitism is about is discrimination because of your blood, because of your name, because of your

basic identity, because of your birth and thus, it is racism.

NOBILO: One of the arguments which you make very clearly in your book and you just touched on is this notion, this cruel paradox in anti-Semitism

that Jews are both subhuman and reviled for these observed characteristics but at the same time considered to be masters of the human race or

puppeteers controlling events. Do you think that's part of the reason why anti-Semitism is something be witness clearly on both sides of the

political spectrum?

You mention what you see from some progressives but also, obviously, from the far right.

BADDIEL: Yeah, so in my book, "Jews Don't Count", I give numerous examples of what I consider not a straightforward, active, "I hate Jews and want

them to die" thing that you get from the far right, but this kind of erasure or neglect or absence of concern for anti-Jewish racism compared to

other types of racism in the identity politics space. So within the culture of very, very extremely intense concerned for minorities, which is a good

thing, that we've seen over the last 20 or 30 years, within that conversation, there seems to me, to be a lowering in the mix of concern

about anti-Jewish racism and then I examined the reasons for that and there are many reasons for it.

Jews are the only minority with this double thought of imagination of them by racists, i.e., that they are both low status, i.e., vermin and thieving

and lying and dirty, all the things that racists say about many minorities, but they have this other thing as well which is that they are powerful and

privileged and rich and seek control of the world.

And you do see that on both sides of the political spectrum, actually, and the problem for the progressive community, as far as, you know, me as

someone who thinks to himself as progressives is concerned, is that if Jews are in any way thought of somehow powerful and privileged and control the

world, then we can't afford them the protections we afford other minorities, they don't need it. They're invulnerable, they're powerful and

the thing these minority protections are about is protecting minorities against power.

I think the other thing that's important is the perceived whiteness of Jews. This is very important. It comes back a little to what you were

saying about parsing, but I think that Jews in my view, and doesn't necessarily apply to Jews of color which there are very many and often left

out of discussion as well.

But I think an Ashkenazi Jew like me, what I would describe myself as in terms of the way I'm viewed is what I call Schrodinger's white, which is to

slightly play around the Schrodinger cat, by which I mean Jews are seen as white or non-white depending on the politics of the observer. So, a far

right person totally sees Jews as non-white, I mean, for centuries since Voltaire. Voltaire described Jews as part of the Asiatic races. Harold

Covington who created the constitution for an ethno state, which is a white supremacist documents for Americans, he said Jews will not be welcome in a

white American state, because they are not part of the white races.

On the other hand, you see from progressives I think an idea of Jews as being sort of super white, sort of extra white because there's this idea

that Jews are associated with power and privilege and in, you know, notions that we have of white power that tends to be associated with power and


NOBILO: I'd love to get your reflection, given the work that you do and the book that you've written on, it sometimes seems that there is

competition of almost a monopoly on suffering in society or like sympathy or empathy as a zero-sum game when it comes to racism or groups being

ostracized. What's your view?

BADDIEL: Yeah, I think that's a big problem. One of the things I've noticed, since I've been talking about this and since writing about "Jews

Don't Count" is sometimes I would get push back and I'm not the only one this happens to, not the only minority this happens to, but I get a

pushback in the sense of -- that saying that within the identity politics space, Jews are perhaps lower in the mix than other minorities is throwing

the other minorities under the bus in some way, and that is not my intention at all and not the point, the point is that all racisms are bad

in a very banal wait of putting it, shouldn't be a league table of minorities, racisms and whatever, and there is in fact an infinite space to

talk about it.

You know, we're human beings. We have the space to talk about all these things and to examine them all in different ways.



NOBILO: That was David Baddiel, author of "Jews Don't Count", speaking to me earlier.

You're watching THE GLOBAL BRIEF. We'll be right back after this.


NOBILO: Now, for a heart warming tail of a hand-written tale, one that was crafted by a young boy and quickly became a surprise hit in his hometown of

Boise, Idaho. Eight-year-old Dillon Helbig wrote and illustrated his first book, then snuck the 81-page story on to a bookshelf at his local library

without telling a soul.

When the library staff discovered it, they decided to include it in their collection. Now, almost 90 people have joined the wait list to read.

The book is called "The Adventures Dillon Helbig's Christmas" and it tells a story of an exploding Christmas tree that magically transports Dillon

back in time to the year of 1621. The young author says that he's already planned a sequel title, "The jacket eating closet". The humble beginnings

of a next great American novelist, no doubt.

Well, thank you all for watching, and we will see you again, tomorrow.