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Russian Warships Launch Rockets into Syria; Chinese Couples Hire Surrogate Mothers in U.S.; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired October 7, 2015 - 14:00:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: Russia ramps up its Syria strikes with cruise missiles as President Assad intensifies his

ground offensive. I speak to two top foreign policy experts from Moscow and Washington, D.C.

Plus: children of the new revolution: we lift the lid on the growing number of Americans becoming surrogate mothers for wealthy Chinese couples.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The child growing inside Audra Anderson will be going to parents in China.

WATSON: Who are the future parents of this child you're carrying right now?

AUDRA ANDERSON, SURROGATE MOTHER: A Chinese gay couple. And they are the most wonderful people that I know.



AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.

One week after beginning its campaign of airstrikes in Syria, Russia has now dramatically escalated the bombardment to support President Assad's

forces, according to Moscow, launching cruise missiles from Russian ships in the Caspian Sea.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): They say 26 of their caliber NKs have flown 1,500 kilometers to hit ISIS targets. But just 3.5 percent of Russia's

strikes have been against ISIS, according to the Turkish prime minister. The rest apparently targeted against other anti-Assad opposition, like on

the outskirts of Hama and Idlib today.

Meantime, the U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter in Rome today stepped up his criticism of the Kremlin's policy.


ASH CARTER, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We believe Russia has the wrong strategy. They continue to hit targets that are not ISIL. We

believe this is a fundamental mistake. Despite what the Russians say, we have not agreed to cooperate with Russia so long as they continue to pursue

a mistaken strategy.


AMANPOUR: And right after he said that, the Pentagon revealed that, in the last few days, a U.S. aircraft had to divert to avoid a close

encounter with a Russian plane over Syria as Russia continues bombing positions of forces armed and trained by the United States, when Putin

truly got stuck in on Assad's side after meeting President Obama at the U.N. last week, the American president fired back at his critics.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And when I hear people offering up half-baked ideas as if they are solutions or trying to downplay

the challenges involved in the situation, you know, what I'd like to see people ask is, specifically, precisely what exactly would you do and how

would you fund it and sustain it?

And typically what you get is a bunch of mumbo-jumbo.


AMANPOUR: Well, to discuss the policy and how it's playing out, joining me here on set in London right now is Fyodor Lukyanov, who's

chairman of Moscow's non-governmental Council on Foreign and Defense Policy.

Welcome back to the program.


AMANPOUR: What is Moscow's game, not cooperating with the United States, not doing the whole deconfliction bit?

Are you not worried?

Should Moscow be worried, should Washington be worried that there will be more than a close encounter, that this is going to come to a strike

between the two sides?

LUKYANOV: I think everybody should be worried, of course, because it's the first time since I don't know which period when Russian and

American air forces operate in the same field without any clear cooperation or even without any coordination.

So that's why military people on both sides actually are interested to get involved to establish some kind of link.

AMANPOUR: What is it going to take?

Why isn't it happening, from your perspective, from the Russian perspective?

LUKYANOV: It's happening because I think the political communication about Syria has been disrupted since I don't know which time and we see a

total dysfunction of the political communication. And I, in this particular case, I trust military more than politicians.

AMANPOUR: So let's talk about military and political because Russia is potentially going to move on from Syria into Iraq --


AMANPOUR: -- if you believe what Iraqi officials are saying to Reuters, which have had an interview with a senior Iraqi parliamentarian on

the defense side, who has said that we may very soon ask Russia to come in and use its aircraft and strike capacity against ISIS.

In other words, appearing to push the U.S. out and bring Russia in.

Why do you think that's happening?

And is it in Russia's interest to align itself with the minority in the Islamic world, the Alawites in Syria, the Shiites in Iran and in Iraq?

LUKYANOV: Yes. That's a question which has very much discussed in Russia as well nowadays. And this is quite an unusual situation because

Russia and Soviet Union before used to be, if not allied, then at least had most of communication with the Sunni Muslims because most of Russian

Muslims are Sunni.

At the same time, this particular case, I don't think it was any religious calculation in this.

AMANPOUR: We're just talking about a majority. Forget religious, this is like the vast majority of the Islamic world; Russia has pitted

itself against them.

LUKYANOV: Yes, but it happened.

AMANPOUR: It happened.

LUKYANOV: It just happened. It was not planned.

AMANPOUR: All right. Well, let me then ask you this, I'm going to play a couple of sound bites regarding the U.S. position on Assad, whether

he stays or goes. This is what the President of the United States said a while back.


OBAMA: We both agree that Assad needs to go. He needs to transfer power to a transitional body. That is the only way that we're going to

resolve that crisis.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: That was the original statement way back when. We've changed that over a period of time. We said now that's

not going to work. We need to have an orderly transition.


AMANPOUR: So, in stark Technicolor, you have got the president and the secretary of state at different times making contrasting statements.

I read that President Putin, you know, is following perhaps a comment attributed to Lenin, "If you probe and you meet mush, keep pushing; if you

meet steel, stop."

Is this happening because Moscow thinks the U.S., the West, is weak?

LUKYANOV: It's not about weakness. It's about difficulty to understand the real strategy.

So Mr. Carter, in our -- we heard him saying that Russian strategy is mistaken. Maybe. But what the American strategy is, we cannot understand.

And as for the particular conflict, I think the logic which is prevailing now, it's a purely military logic. And Iraq, the extension of

operations to Iraq, is actually logical step.

It has nothing to do with religion. It has little to do with policy, politics anymore. It's about military enhancement to deliver most of


AMANPOUR: And is this what Moscow wants, an expanded presence in this part of the world?

I mean, it was decades ago that it got shoved out of the Middle East. And now, for the first time in decades, it's well and truly back in the

hottest war that's going on in the Middle East right now, the thing that's confounded the world for the last four and a half years.

LUKYANOV: I don't think that Russia ever can dream about to come back to this region as Soviet Union did. It's gone forever. Russia is not a

superpower anymore in the sense the Soviet Union was.

And the decision was to support government in Syria and government in Iraq, to use them as a vehicle, as a tool, to try to defeat ISIS because,

really, ISIS is seen now in Russia as a big threat to Russian security in the future.

AMANPOUR: Except that President Assad is blamed for the rise of ISIS and Russia is going in on Assad's side.

Again, I'm going to play you a couple of interviews, clips that I've done regarding Assad staying. I spoke to a Russian MP, Mr. Nikonov, just

recently about well, why are you supporting Assad? Listen to what he said.


VYACHESLAV NIKONOV, RUSSIAN MP: If they are going to choose someone else, OK, if you have some better plan, please provide us with a plan or

give us some names with whom we can talk.

STEPHEN RAPP, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR AT LARGE FOR WAR CRIMES: There's certainly other names in the community. I talk to Syrians that are

communicating across the Alawite-Sunni divide. There are people that are ready to see a future in this country. That's the future that I would see.


AMANPOUR: So a very real argument over, is Assad somebody for the future or not?

What do you think? Is he?

And you heard the special prosecutor there, the former war crimes ambassador of the United States, who actually also said to me that Russia

stands vulnerable, could face war crimes prosecutions by supporting a leader who's so clearly got a hefty amount of evidence against him and his

regime --


AMANPOUR: -- crimes against humanity, torture starvation, killing of prisoners.

LUKYANOV: I'm afraid a moment when all those things had to be discussed has gone. And now it's not about this. Now it's about whether

Syria will exist in the future or not at all.

And, yes, I agree very much with those who say that Assad is a very bad stake in this game. But I agree also with those who say that it is

impossible to find a good stake there. And at least the official government is a force which can be seen as a chance to improve military

capacity to defeat Islamists.

AMANPOUR: Tell me what is really at stake for Russia?

Because nobody believes that President Assad can be a force to go against these real bloodthirsty Islamists, who, even your own president,

Vladimir Putin, at the U.N., said we need to gather a coalition, such as the anti-Hitler coalition in World War II, to face down these thugs, these

murderers, these extremists.

But nobody believes that Assad can do that. I mean, you just saw also that your own country, Russia's strikes, are hardly against ISIS; they're

more against the forces arrayed around -- against Assad.

LUKYANOV: I think, again, it's a military logic. They clean up the area around the place where Russian base is situated in order to continue


Again, the problem is that, if you decide to get involved in such a terrible mess, you need to stick to one force because it's impossible to

fight those and those and those and not to have clear strategy. Actually, what Russia is trying to do is exactly the same what NATO did in Libya four

years ago.

AMANPOUR: So it's traumatized by Libya. Let's just get down to the nitty-gritty of this. It's traumatized because, what, it feels like it was

deceived in the Security Council?

It feels like, you know, what was billed as a humanitarian rescue turned into a hotbed of terrorism?

Is that kind of what is going on here?

LUKYANOV: Russia was of course traumatized by Libya very much. And the whole policy on Syria was a continuation of this trauma. But what I

mean now it's not -- it's just a technical military thing, exactly the same what NATO did with rebels from Benghazi.

AMANPOUR: I want to bring in David Rothkopf, who's the editor of "Foreign Policy" magazine and he joins us from Washington, D.C.

David, you probably have been listening to this conversation. We've been talking about the U.S. policy and the Russian policy, both, obviously,

at loggerheads in Syria.

Can I play for you something that the Iranian President Rouhani told me in an interview about the current Russian presence? Listen to what he

told me.


HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): He told me that he had even spoken with Mr. Obama about this topic. And he would like

to renew his commitment to the fight and the defeat of daish or ISIS. And he told me, President Putin said that Mr. Obama welcomed that analysis and

that plan. So even previously, the United States of America was made aware.


AMANPOUR: What do you make of that, David Rothkopf?

DAVID ROTHKOPF, CEO AND EDITOR, "FOREIGN POLICY": Well, I heard the same thing at the United Nations General Assembly from Rouhani. When he

told the story there, he also made the point that Putin said he was looking to conduct a more effective policy against ISIS, which had an implicit

criticism of how the United States was doing it.

I think the message is clear, though. The Russians and the Iranians see the United States leaning back, see the policy not working and are

trying to step in, both because they have interests in pushing back on ISIS and because they think they can gain geopolitical advantage at a moment of

United States' hesitancy.

AMANPOUR: You've been critical and you've written very critically of the Obama administration's policy on Syria. And now today we hear from

Iraq that they may even invite Russia to strike ISIS in Iraq.

Obviously, the United States has been engaged there for the last year, including with forces on the ground.

What do you see as the logical outcome of where we are today?

ROTHKOPF: Well, I don't think it's going to resolve either of these crises because I don't think the objective of the Russians is to resolve

the crisis. I think what the Russians and the Iranians are trying to do is to establish footholds in each country, to establish the regime in

Damascus, either in a strong position or to assure that they have aw veto over future regimes in Damascus and to do the same with regard to propping

up the regime in Baghdad.

This will give the Iranians and the Russians the kind of geopolitical influence that they want in this part of the world.

Frankly, from the Russian point of view, having the rest of Syria in turmoil, sending refugees into Europe --


ROTHKOPF: -- stimulating the right wing in Europe and thus weakening the E.U. is also in his interest. So I think it's a mistake for Americans

to think that what Russia seeks in this part of the world is the same thing that the United States would seek.

AMANPOUR: And just as we conclude this, perhaps from both of you, and again, your piece, your article sort of launched this, you believe that the

big winners in the world right now are not the United States and the democratic forces but Russia, Iran, et cetera.

Who are the big winners in the foreign policy stakes over the last year?

ROTHKOPF: Well, certainly, over the last even seven or eight years, the biggest winners are those that have stepped in where they've seen an

American void. Ayatollah Khamenei, President Rouhani have seen Iran rise enormously in international prestige and also seen their Sunni rivals fall,

which used to have the backing of the United States more aggressively.

Putin, despite breaking international law left and right, has seen his influence grow. Even the head of a non-state like Baghdadi with ISIS has

seen his group grow to have standing on the international stage. The problem here is that a void has been created and geopolitics, by nature,

abhors a vacuum. And these people are stepping in to fill it.

AMANPOUR: David Rothkopf, Fyodor Lukyanov, thank you both very much indeed. So much more to discuss. And we will continue to do so as this

crisis continues.

And after a break, we leave the United States to go back to China and back again, as the stereotype of the foreign family picking up a Chinese

baby is turned on its head. That's next.




AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. For years, childless American couples and European couples have looked to countries like China to adopt.

Now a growing reverse phenomenon is underway as well off Chinese couples are coming to America to produce a child through surrogacy. The

market is soaring as infertility soars in China because of pollution and also to get around Chinese laws that bar same-sex marriage and parenthood.

In a moment we'll discuss the implications of a made in America generation for China.

But first, here is our Ivan Watson.


WATSON (voice-over): Eight months' pregnant.



WATSON (voice-over): -- weeks away from giving birth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There you go. You saw that one.


WATSON (voice-over): -- but this is not your typical pregnancy.

ANDERSON: I know it's not my baby.

WATSON (voice-over): The child growing inside Audra Anderson will be going to parents in China.

WATSON: Who are the future parents of this child you're carrying right now?

ANDERSON: A Chinese gay couple.


ANDERSON: And they are the most wonderful people that I know. They are loving and caring and, if I didn't think that, I wouldn't have given

them two wonderful children.

WATSON (voice-over): Anderson's surrogate pregnancy is not unusual. A growing number of women in the U.S. are becoming surrogates for wealthy

Chinese couples who can't have children of their own for biological or legal reasons.

Agencies like West Coast Surrogacy in Irvine, California, are seeing an influx of customers from overseas. In fact, 40 percent of their clients

are from China.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They can choose. We have basic plan, then we have VIP plans.

WATSON (voice-over): It costs around $150,000 U.S. to have a child this way.


WATSON (voice-over): The company's founder says Chinese clients first started knocking on her door around four years ago.


KAPLAN: They feel that it's safe here. The laws are completely supportive of their having children here.

WATSON (voice-over): Surrogacy is banned in China. Parents can still face fines for having a second child and Beijing does not recognize gay

marriage, all reasons that would attract would-be parents to surrogacy in the U.S. And there's an added bonus.

KAPLAN: Coming here to the U.S., they -- for one, their child will be a U.S. citizen. I'm sure that has some draw to it.

WATSON (voice-over): There are other American companies trying to get in on this growing surrogacy industry. Unlike international adoption,

there are very few rules governing international surrogacy. Some industry insiders are calling for more regulation.

KAPLAN: We've seen agencies that were unethical and have been caught basically doing unethical behavior. And there is always that fear, that

they're not following the standards and the guidelines.

WATSON (voice-over): Audra Anderson represents a small but significant swing in international family planning. For generations,

wealthy Americans adopted unwanted babies from China. Now a growing number of wealthy Chinese are hiring American women to give birth to their

children -- Ivan Watson, CNN, Thelan (ph), California.


AMANPOUR: So joining me to discuss this phenomenon is Xinran, a Chinese journalist, whose latest book, "Buy Me the Sky," focuses on the

country's one-child policy.

Welcome. So we saw a lot of things going on in that report by Ivan.

First and foremost, is this in order to get American citizenship?

Is that the primary motivating factor?

XINRAN, CHINESE JOURNALIST: One of the main reason.




AMANPOUR: And how is it going down in China?

XINRAN: Well, that is become the public secret in last 10 years. I won't say before. Actually, this kind of surrogacy in China with a long

history because for any family, if you don't have a child, it could become criminal to a family to the village. So they always have this kind of --

produce the children.

If you can't do that, you get other people to do it for you. But after '49, when the Chinese government Communist party took over, they

stopped it.

AMANPOUR: Why did they stop it?

XINRAN: Because human trafficking become very serious by this case.

AMANPOUR: So are they going to have to allow it, do you think?

Is the law going to change?

XINRAN: No, I don't think so because we have a one-child policy. And when you have this one-child policy, the very thing, control, and this

could be a damage or challenge to the one-child policy.

AMANPOUR: And it is obviously being challenged in all sorts of ways. Wealthier Chinese can challenge it with their money.

How much of this is also a rising inequality amongst people with wealth and people without wealth?

XINRAN: This is a huge gap in China between-- I think I would say my personal research in last 30 years, almost like 500 years' difference if

you drive from Shanghai to any direction to the west. You will see 200 years' difference in five, 10 hours of driving.

So in this case, I think that the most that happened is between the bigger cities like Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing but in the countryside,

this issue not --

AMANPOUR: It's still not there.

And what is the implication in these big cities and in the sort of centers of power for a so-called made-in-America generation coming to


XINRAN: That's right. This is why, when Chinese talk about Chinese dream or China dream, many Chinese joke it's like maybe we are in that

America dream. Because lots of young couple, particularly from the first generation of one-child policy, they devote their lives to making money,

improve their life condition and the personal career.

They have no time -- not very much thought about their own child. So when they are at the age over these physical needs so they won't have a

child, they have to, for their family, for the traditional Chinese justice. They don't want to be a criminal.


But what about the authorities?

Are they going to start getting worried if more and more wealthy Chinese start having babies by American surrogates?

Are they going to say, whoa, that might harm us politically?

Maybe these children will be born with the freedom gene?

XINRAN: Compared to 1.4 billion population, this is a very small percentage. In the bigger city, among 800 Chinese cities, that's not very

big number.

AMANPOUR: So, obviously, gay marriage is, like in many parts of the world, banned. A lot of those going to America are gay couples.


AMANPOUR: What happens when they bring these children back --


AMANPOUR: -- to society? If it's banned, if it's illegal, could they not face penalties or worse?

Are they not worried about the children being taken away?

XINRAN: According to our culture, people never talk about marriage or never talk about -- particularly never talk about adopted children, you

know, birth children or other children. This is a secret. We talk about people, how much money you earn and how much your house worth. It's

completely different culture. So many couples, they start making up a story before they have the baby.

AMANPOUR: I see. So they prepare, they lay the groundwork. So interesting, an amazing phenomenon.

Xinran, thank you very much indeed for talking to us about it.

And from those rejoicing in new births to those celebrating their own accumulating decades, imagine who is sharing a birthday today. You might

call it a last chapter of "War and Peace." That's next.




AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world where two very different men are united by birth, an accidental astrological convergence.

The Russian president Vladimir Putin is being wished a very "S dnem rozhdeniya" today as he turns 63, squeezing in a quick game of ice hockey

in Sochi as his cruise missiles soar through the skies to Syria. And just as he led his team to victory on the ice, perhaps his birthday wish is to

lead Assad to victory in Syria.

There's this as well, twin exhibitions in London and Moscow, depicting Putin as everything from Batman to Buddha to Mahatma Gandhi.

And speaking off the world's most famous peace activists, Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu is celebrating his birthday today in South Africa.

The archbishop is 84.

With the fires of war burning in so many flashpoints now, we wonder just who will be this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner. That will be made

public in Oslo this Friday.

And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always see all our interviews online at and follow me on Facebook and

Twitter. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.