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Actions That May Trigger Another World War; Growing Up Poor on a Kansas Farm. Aired 11p-12m ET
Aired September 27, 2018 - 23:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST, AMANPOUR: Hello, everyone and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up. Harrowing testimony on Capitol Hill
rivets the nation and much of the world. A woman's right to be heard against the highest levels of power at the height of the #MeToo Movement.
Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh appeal to the court of public opinion.
With me to discuss is the former Clinton campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle; and John Avlon, political analyst and former political aide to the
New York City mayor back then, Rudy Giuliani. Plus, we get a reality check on President Trump's jaw dropping press conference at the United Nations
from the conservative American historian and foreign policy expert, Bob Kagan.
And our Michelle Martin speaks to journalist Sarah Smart about her new memoir on growing up white and poor on a farm in Kansas.
Welcome to the program everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York. In a public hearing on Capitol Hill, the #MeToo Movement and a woman's right
to be heard had been put to the test like never before. Christine Blasey Ford, the first of three women to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett
Kavanaugh of sexual assault delivered a powerful opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the alleged abuse.
Her voice cracking and at times, visibly shaken, referring to Kavanaugh as quote, "the boy who sexually assaulted me."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, ALLEGED VICTIM: I am here today not because I want to be, I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to
tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.
Brett approached me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time because he was very inebriated and because I was wearing a one-piece
bathing suit underneath my clothing. I believed he was going to rape me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: For about four hours, she took mostly sympathetic questions from Democratic senators while Republican senators had employed a veteran
prosecutor to ask their questions for them.
Christine Blasey Ford said that she is 100% certain that Brett Kavanaugh attacked her at a party in the summer of 1982, but then it was Kavanaugh's
turn and he came out swinging and categorically denied all the allegations. He was emotional and combative saying the confirmation process had become
quote, "a national disgrace."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: This whole two-week effort has been a calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent
up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons
and millions of dollars and money from outside left-wing opposition groups.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Joining me now from Washington to break all of this down are two well-placed guests. Patty Solis Doyle who served as an adviser to Hillary
Clinton and just wrote a piece called, "Burn down the 'boys will be boys' club," and John Avlon, who has had a front-row seat to partisan battles as
chief speechwriter for the former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani and of course, he has editor-in-chief of "The Daily Beast," and now is a political
analyst. Welcome to both of you.
I guess, really I have to start by asking you how you think this all played out. First and foremost, Christine Blasey Ford's testimony and then of
course followed by a very combative and partisan Brett Kavanaugh. First to you, Patty.
PATTI SOLIS DOYLE, FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, thank you, Christiane, first for having me. I think Christine Blasey Ford was an
incredibly compelling witness today at the hearing. She was believable. She was sympathetic. She was courageous. There isn't anyone watching, I
think, who thought she wanted to be there. She did not want to be there; and she was very relatable.
When she spoke about the indelible mark of the laughter, of the uproarious laughter at her expense, I don't think there was any woman watching,
including the women in the room and the women senators who didn't feel for her and if they had ever been attacked or assaulted or harassed, didn't
relate to that. So, I thought she was very powerful.
AMANPOUR: You referred to the laughter that she says she heard as the two alleged attackers - Brett Kavanaugh being one of them - went down the
stairs after she managed to escape this. That's what she alleges.
I want to ask from your perspective, John, how do think this went in the court of public opinion. I mean, for a while, it was almost as if
Christine was potentially on trial as we heard the prosecutor question her and the Democratic senators kept saying, this is not a trial, this is a job
AMANPOUR: ... for Brett Kavanaugh.
JOHN AVLON, FORMER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF "THE DAILY BEAST: Yes, that last line was how Senator Feinstein framed it. This is not a trial for Dr.
Ford, it is a job interview for Judge Kavanaugh. The Republicans, because they had the fundamental optical problem of being all-men, and never having
a woman ever serve on the Judiciary Committee for the Republican Party, they opted to have a professional prosecutor interview Dr. Ford.
And as a result, the Democrats really praised her and the expert witness was very clinical and Dr. Ford came across - she came in warm. She was
unassuming. She was honest. Obviously, authentic and deeply compelling. And in contrast, Brett Kavanaugh, former political operative, someone who
had been coached for this for two weeks came in hot and angry and outraged.
And the contrast between the two is stark. We have high stakes, high drama days on Capitol Hill, but perhaps never one this emotionally raw on both
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you both because you do point out as sort of a political flavor that is clear in the Brett Kavanaugh opening statement, I
mean, over and over again, he talked about a fully paid campaign by the opposition. He talked about left wing highly paid campaign against him and
all of those things.
You heard what - the little bit that we just showed. He accused people of still being angry about President Trump's election of concocting all of
this against him. I just want to get from both of you, how political this has become even though it's meant to be an attempt to get to the truth.
Patty, how political is it going to be?
DOYLE: Well, this is obviously very political. This is about an appointment to the highest court in the land and the Republicans very much
want to get this nomination through before the midterm elections. The problem that they are having however is the women's vote heading into
The damage really actually has been done with the women's vote, I would argue and that the way this process has been run, not giving the FBI the
ability to investigate this, these three credible allegations against Judge Kavanaugh, the calling the female prosecutor a female assistant not
allowing the other two women to testify.
So women are watching and I would argue that the damage has already been done, so right now, Republicans need to get this nomination through to
cater to their base to at least make them happy and to get another conservative judge on the Supreme Court.
However, I want to go back to John's original statement when he said that Judge Kavanaugh today was very much in contrast to Christine Ford who
seemed very compelling obviously and very believable, very credible, did not want to be there and Judge Kavanaugh came in hot. But he was not only
in contrast to Christine Ford, he was in contrast to his own persona on Fox News two days ago.
On Fox News, he was very sort of quiet. He was a choir boy. All he did was focus on studies and sports and go to church, and today, he was angry
and he was combative and he was - yes, of course, I had beer. I drank with my friends. It was very sort of, as I said, not in keeping to the persona
that he - or the portrait that he painted two nights ago.
AMANPOUR: I mean, of course, his supporters would say that he had just sat through some four hours of hearing the testimony against him and
potentially came out very raw. Certainly that seemed to be a really combative performance from him in the opening statement, butt can I ask
you, John, whether you think this moment, as I said, this #MeToo moment is really at stake right now.
And it has just played a little bit of Anita Hill's testimony when she talked about her also reluctance to come forward back in 1991 during the
Clarence Thomas hearings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANITA HILL, ALLEGED VICTIM: Telling the world is the most difficult experience of my life. But it is very close to having to live through the
experience that occasioned this meeting.
It would have been more comfortable to remain silent. It took no initiative to inform anyone. I took no initiative to inform anyone but
when I was asked by a representative of this committee to report my experience, I felt ...
HILL: ... that I had to tell the truth. I could not keep silent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, John, from your perspective following all of this, it's 27 years later and still, still, the question of referring to something of
historical occurrence and this idea that they didn't come forward earlier is being brought up regarding Christine Blasey Ford. The moment has - the
time has changed, but it looks like the upticks and the politics and the feelings around it hasn't really.
AVLON: Well, I think a great deal has changed, but there certainly are echoes between Anita Hill's testimony and her testimony, the personal
difficulty of coming forward with a sense of civic responsibility she felt, and what we heard today from Dr. Ford.
There are great echoes and there are probably eternal aspects to the difficulty of coming forward and speaking publicly about sexual assault.
What changed is I think, Anita Hill was very much ahead of her time. Obviously, Clarence Thomas was accused, but in that next election, there
was a major backlash that doubled the number of women in Congress and tripled the number of women in the Senate. I think the entire national
conversation - international conversation brought about by the #MeToo Movement. Maybe in sharp contrast with President Trump, but it is clearly
a rising tide in ways that are indelible.
The one key difference I would also state though is that the allegations with Clarence Thomas at that time where, both were adults, well within a
window that could be investigated by the FBI and was at George H.W. Bush's request, notably in contrast to President Trump, between two adults, one of
whom was running the office, the other working for him, and I think part of what has blind-sided Judge Kavanaugh is that these allegations at the 11th
hour that when he felt his confirmation was virtually assured and many people were treating it as a fait accompli, all of a sudden go back 36
years to 1982 and so I think that accounts for part of the anger he feels, justifiably or not, that is a grave difference in the standards we have
applied, but it indeed was out of her time, and the #MeToo wave is cresting, I think in powerful ways at this moment. And whatever happens,
it is not going away. It is changing our culture as we watch.
AMANPOUR: I mean, that is really fascinating, Patty, you know changing our culture and this #MeToo Movement is not going away. But to the specific
question of historic abuse and allegations of such, and the time and the memory and the recollection of why didn't you report it and why aren't
there contemporaneous notes to authorities et cetera, you just wrote and important article and I had mentioned it, "And the boys will be boys club,"
because you went through your own horrendous and frightening experience like this.
DOYLE: Yes, when I was young in my early 20s, I was assaulted on the streets of Chicago. I was attacked by a man on the street who said he was
going to rape me and if it were not for other people on the street, he would have done so and I never told anybody. I ran, I fled and I got on my
bus to go to work and I tried to forget it. I didn't tell my husband, I didn't tell my children, I didn't tell my parents, I didn't tell my
Because I didn't want to, I was ashamed of it. I was afraid to. It didn't occur to me to tell police and so when Dr. Ford spoke today, she very much
spoke to me and I think she spoke to millions and millions of women. I think women of our age, I am 53, who have at one point in their time
suffered something like that.
And I mean, this was the 1980s, much like the incident that Dr. Ford went through with Judge Kavanaugh or the alleged incident that she went through
with Judge Kavanaugh, and it was a different time then. There was this boys will be boys attitude, and I think several members of Congress and
several pundits have said even if this were true, is it really disqualifying? And I think it's time we say, yes, it is disqualifying.
We need to tell our sons that if they attack a woman, it is disqualifying and it will affect the rest of their life for their entire life.
AMANPOUR: I mean, to be honest with you, Brett Kavanaugh has said in his opening statement that this will be with him for the rest of his life -
these allegations - and that he will never be able to shake them. He said, I'll never be able to coach kids' basketball or whatever the sport he was
AMANPOUR: But let us play just to remember a sound bite, a little exchange between Senator Leahy and Christine Blasey Ford and then we will play Judge
Kavanaugh's denial of these allegations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK LEAHY, US SENATOR, VERMONT, DEMOCRAT: What is the strongest memory you have? Strongest memory of the incident, something that you cannot
forget. Take whatever time you need.
FORD: Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter - the uproarious laughter between the two and their having fun at my expense.
LEAHY: You'd never forgotten that laughter? You've never forgotten them laughing at you.
FORD: They were laughing with each other.
LEAHY: And you were the object of the laughter?
FORD: I was underneath one of them while the two laughed. Two friends having a really good time with one another.
KAVANAUGH: I am innocent of this charge. I intend no ill will to Dr. Ford and her family. The other night, Ashley and my daughter, Liza said their
prayers and little Liza, all 10 years old said to Ashley, "We should pray for the woman." It's a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So to both of you, I mean, both very anguished testimonials, and it though is a he said-she said situation right now. What more could or
should have happened to make this defining or is it? John, what do you think?
AVLON: Well, what many people have suggested especially the Democratic senators is an FBI investigation which Judge Kavanaugh says he welcomed but
President Trump has not green-lit as George H.W. Bush did in the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings. In that case, both people were Federal
employees. It took three days. These allegations may take much longer because you're dealing with a 36-year time gap. That may help solve - that
may be still something that occurs. We will see, Kavanaugh's reports, this is still ongoing.
But it's hard to hear both of them, and I think when you're dealing with a two vastly different emotional truths at the very least that there was an
incident that has haunted Professor Ford in very indelible ways that Judge Kavanaugh may not remember and may not recognize in himself and it raises
real questions. It is a new standard that we will apply going forward. It's one that many senators may be uncomfortable with.
Not simply that in the past, it has been the ideals of your past, the content of your present, your vision of the future and this creates a
degree of culpability for someone's ugliest, dumbest, worst moment because that moment because that moment may have seem stupid to you, may have been
unspeakably cruel to the other person and that's a large gap to bridge over that amount of time. It's a very different standard when someone says,
I've been adjudged, I've worked in the White House, I've had six FBI background checks. This does not resemble the way I've lived my life as an
And the anger he is expressing is that fury of watching a reputation in the light on national television.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you then, Patty, because you also have obviously been through the political process for many, many years. Why is it that
background checks may not have brought this to light before? And what do you make of Judge Kavanaugh saying that so many of the - even her friends,
he claimed were refuting what she said. Obviously, there's a huge amount of supporters for her and for him, and a huge amount of opponents for him
and for her, but the issue of the FBI background check, it wasn't - further investigation, in this case, wasn't done. But why do you think this didn't
come up before?
DOYLE: Well, as you know when you go through an FBI background check, they really go through years and years. They want to know everywhere you've
lived, they talk to your landlords, they talk to your family members. They talk to people you've worked with. They talk to a lot, a lot of people and
they go through your entire life, but I think that something like this, a sexual assault at a party, when you're in high school, first of all, other
people don't remember because it didn't happen to them, right?
DOYLE: When I was assaulted, I was walking to a bus stop. I can recount exactly what my assaulter was wearing and what he said to me and what he
looked like, but I can't recount every single walk I ever made to a bus stop, I just can recount to you that one.
So if his classmates weren't the one attacked, I doubt that they will remember a party that they went to in high school. And also, I don't think
this is something that for instance, Mark Judge, who was a witness in the room during the assault, allegedly, is something this was - he would want
to talk to or confess, too, obviously. So, I think that's why it didn't come up in that actual background check.
AVLON: Yes, and ...
AMANPOUR: And let me just - go ahead.
AVLON: No, I would just say first of all, these are six background checks that Judge Kavanaugh has had, which is an unusually high number of course,
and I think the Senate Republicans made a big mistake in not calling Mark Judge because this is one of the rare cases where the he said-she said,
there's a third-party witness who has denied that this occurred under oath, but - in a sworn testimony, but it also should be said as Judge Kavanaugh
has said that the individuals cited by Professor Ford at the party have said this did not occur or they have no memory of it. There may be good
reasons for that. But the absence of corroborating evidence is troubling as part of a precedent that is being set.
AMANPOUR: Now ...
DOYLE: But this is the reason why there should be an FBI investigation so all of these witnesses -- Mark Judge, the therapist, Christine Ford's
husband, her friends -- they can all speak privately to the FBI and then the FBI can present its results to the Judiciary Committee and then that
wasn't done and that's why there is this cloud hanging over this nomination, which unless there is an investigation, it will never be
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, you led me to what I was just trying to do and that is the nomination, and what is going to happen. I want to play
something from President Trump who said it during his free-wheeling press conference yesterday, he sort of looked like he was giving himself a little
bit of an out, at least in that moment as he said it despite his fierce support for Judge Kavanaugh that he might reconsider. Here is what he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can always be convinced. I have to hear it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounds like what you're saying is there is a situation, there is a scenario under which you would withdraw Brett
Kavanaugh's nomination. Is that correct? And have you talked about that?
TRUMP: If I thought he was guilty of something like this, yes, sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you will wait until tomorrow to make up your mind.
TRUMP: I want to watch. I want to see. I hope I can watch. I'm meeting with a lot of countries tomorrow, but I will certainly in some form be able
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So of course, he is here in New York at the United Nations referring to meeting with a lot of countries, but this is obviously front
and center because it's his Supreme Court nominee. What is your gut instinct about what is going to happen?
DOYLE: To me?
AMANPOUR: Yes. First to you Patty and then John.
DOYLE: Well, honestly, I think for President Trump, it's all about theatrics and the reality show that is his presidency and I do believe him
when he said he wanted to watch and see how each witness performs, and I think that he saw Dr. Ford perform quite well and I think the jury is still
out as to whether or not he thought that Judge Kavanaugh performed well.
We do know that he was unhappy with his performance on Fox News and he wanted to see him fight and he wanted to see him defend himself more
dramatically. Judge Kavanaugh did that today, but I think in contrast to Christine Ford, it probably came off a little too hot and a little tone
deaf. So, I think for President Trump, unfortunately, it's not about the substance of the testimony or even the qualification of the judge. It's
about who performed better and I guess, we'll find out tomorrow.
AMANPOUR: Well, I want to dig in a little bit to the memory, sorry, go ahead, John. What do you think? Was President Trump laying the groundwork
for his own potential withdrawal of this nomination?
AVLON: He certainly left the door open and I agree with Patty that this in some ways was such a clear contrast to the Fox interview that the President
apparently was critical off that it may have been speaking to that Presidential desire for more passion and forcefulness and fight.
Now, whether that's in contrast to judicial temperament, that's perhaps in the eye of the beholder, but this certainly was a departure from anything
we've ever seen. This will come down to these six swing votes -- three Republicans, three red state Democrats, and their votes will be critical.
Kavanaugh has made it clear, he is not going to resign and it would be unusual for the President to pull, but the Democratic game at this point is
in some ways about delay.
AVLON: That has been an accusation, perhaps, they will be called for further investigations before final vote. That would achieve a goal of
delay because behind this all is the politics, not just of a more polarized court, but Merrick Garland, the insult done to President Obama's nominee
and that is driving a lot of the animas as much as the emotions of this individual accusations and the politics behind this all.
AMANPOUR: I want to play another couple of sound bites from these hearings. First, one questioning and it's Dianne Feinstein going into the
memory issue with Christine Blasey Ford and then it is Judge Kavanaugh's broad side about the nature of this entire process.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DiANNE FEInSTEIN, US SENTOR, CALIFORNIA, DEMOCRAT: So what you're telling us is this could not be a case of mistaken identity?
FORD: Absolutely not.
KAVANAUGH: This is a circus. The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades. This grotesque
and coordinated character assassination will dissuade competent and good people, of all political persuasions from serving our country. And as we
all know, in the United States political system of the early 2000s, what goes around comes around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, a very brief final wrap from you both on what you think it means for the future of this country, of civic programs or civic duty and
also these kinds of political appointments, nominations and this tribalism? Patty?
DOYLE: Yes, well, I think this - I do agree with Judge Kavanaugh that this has been a circus. And I have to go back to the lack of an FBI
investigation. Without an independent body looking into all of these accusations, politics takes over. It has to, so you have Republicans
versus Democrats fighting it out on national television for all to see.
I personally think that today's hearing however was a real teaching moment and I tweeted today that I wish every high school in America have sort of
dumped the curriculum for the day and made this mandatory viewing for all of our high school boys and girls in this country because it is about -
yes, it is about the #MeToo Movement, it is about our civic discourse, it is about the way we treat each other and it is about these young people who
are growing up in a different world than 27 years ago with Anita Hill and the choices that they have to make every day when they get in a car, they
go to a party and I just - it has a been a circus, but it's also a teaching moment for all of us, I think.
AMANPOUR: And John ...
AMANPOUR: Yes, your final word. Go ahead, you have the final word.
AVLON: It is certainly a teachable moment, but there is nothing murkier than adolescence and alcohol and the distance of time and add on to this,
the fire storm of tribalism and hyper partisanship and you get something quite ugly and foreboding, and there may be some cosmic irony at work that
Brett Kavanaugh worked on the Starr commission which was an early time when a President was attempted to be embarrassed out of office because of sexual
- real indiscretions that occurred in the Oval Office and Kavanaugh was involved.
But now this is all - these themes keep getting dredged up and the court - the Supreme Court is traditionally in the American supposed to be above
partisan politics. It is no longer. The latest insult to it was the non- vote on Merrick Garland and maybe it will take some kind of rebalancing in the wake of Garland.
But this is going to get uglier. This is ugly. There is a teachable moment here, but the politics and personal destruction are unfortunately
alive and well and they are likely to escalate further in this way.
AMANPOUR: John Avlon, and Patty Solis Doyle, thank you so much for talking to us about this really incredible watershed moment. So, the Kavanaugh
hearing was front and center on President Trump's mind as we said all this week, even as he held days of meetings and conferences at the United
Nations just across town from where I'm sitting.
For 83 minutes, he gave us an unfiltered look into how he thinks and explain subjects from North Korea, China, Iran, to the Middle East. This
was on a free-wheeling press conference yesterday. Again and again, seeming to praise adversaries and take swipes at allies.
So what did we learn from this peek into his foreign policy thinking? Robert Kagan is a conservative thinker and the author most recently of "The
Jungle Grows Back: America and our Imperiled World," and he's joining me now from Washington.
Robert Kagan, thanks for joining me.
ROBERT KAGAN, AMERICAN HISTORIAN: Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: I mean it does seem that these two are very in trying. I mean President Trump is thinking both what's happening to his nominee on Capitol
Hill and projecting, you know, his power on the world stage at the United Nations. What first did you make of that extraordinary press conference?
Honestly, we haven't seen much like that in a long long time where he spoke about everything and also kept mixing in the Kavanaugh and all the other
KAGAN: Well, I mean there was a certain ADHD quality about all that. And I would say at least on the foreign policy front, the sort of astonishing
lack of depth on any particular issue. But you know, my concern is foreign policy. I don't know what's going to happen on the Kavanaugh case but I do
know the direction that the world is heading in and that Trump is hastening the world toward and that's not a good one and that's my principal concern
AMANPOUR: Well, I want to get into that because you've written this article, this book talking about an imperiled world. And some are saying
that President Trump is withdrawing U.S. leadership at a precipitous rate, while others -- I spoke to the British foreign secretary who says, "No,
this is a very activist, not a unilateralist present in foreign affairs."
KAGAN: Well, I guess the British foreign secretary is entitled to his own opinion. I don't think there's any question that Trump has certainly
redefined America's role in the world from, you know, going from one where the United States in its own flawed way tried to support a kind of liberal
world order that benefited Americans but also benefited many others to heading in the direction of what I would call a kind of rogue superpower.
He's very straightforward about saying it's about America first, that American should be looking out for their own interest, and he even at the
U.N. General Assembly urged other countries that they should be doing the same thing which is really, you know, pushing the world toward anarchy and
a kind of struggle of all against all, which is sort of you know brings us back to a much earlier a darker period of our history. I'm thinking about
the two world wars or the first half of the 20th century which is precisely what we've built a liberal world order to get out of. And I fear that we
are heading back to it now.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's interesting you say that because you've also said that one of your biggest concerns is not necessarily about far-flung
countries no matter how much of a challenge they are for the United States. But it's something much closer to home and that is Europe and at the United
Nations. At the president chairing the Security Council meeting, practically the only person who push back against the kind of description
that you're making of the Trump foreign policy was President Macron. And I just want to play for you what he had to say to President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: France shall remain there to ensure that the world not forgets that nationalism always leads to defeat, that is courage is lacking
in the defense of fundamental principles, the international order becomes fragile and this can lead as we've seen already twice to global war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So explain to me, first of all, do you think that Macron is being strong enough and the others in trying to keep the multilateral post-
war order in place? And what happens in your worst nightmare, because you've identified it as such, if "we lose Europe"?
KAGAN: Well, I think Macron is exactly right. And I must say I find with talking with Europeans that, of course, that history is much more real and
alive for them than it is for Americans. Well, I think don't even think about what may have happened in two world wars. You know, what the
Europeans can do about it I think at this point, there's no way to effect Donald Trump's behavior.
He's not someone that you can befriend. He's not someone that you can convince that you're on his side. He looks at things through his own very
narrow perspective. So what you're pass to do, insofar as Europeans can is pull themselves together, support liberal democratic values and wait for
the United States to get out of this funk if the United States is going to get out of it.
I wish I have to say, I wish I were more optimistic that Europe could do that but, of course, the United States is behaving in this way just at the
time I think when Europe is actually moving in the opposite direction. So it's an increasingly concerning situation. I do think that Europe can,
unfortunately, can slide back to an earlier period which would be devastating for the world order and for Americans ultimately.
AMANPOUR: You mean the sort of puffiness nationalist wave. And I've been having a lot of chat this week with the E.U. Foreign Policy Chief, the
Hungarian Foreign Minister. [23:35:00] She said, "Let's just now call it populist, let's call it what it is, extreme right-wing policies that are
going on." Hungarian Foreign Minister pushed back very hard saying we are friends of the United States we believe in the sovereignty of keeping our
borders strong, of being our own and wanting to do and having the right to our own sovereign policies no matter what the rest of the world thinks.
Let me just play what President Trump said about sovereignty and then we can talk about what in fact that means in today's world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It doesn't matter what world leaders think on Iran. Iran is going to come back to me and they're going to make a good deal. I think, maybe
not. Deal, you never know. But they're suffering greatly. They're having riots in every city, far greater than they were during the Green period
with President Obama, far greater when President Obama stuck up for government, not the people. He probably would have had a much different
Iran had he not done that. But I'm sticking up for the people. I am with the people of Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So Bob, we're going to play the other sound bite in a second but let's talk about Iran because that is the focus of intense allied
conversation, trying to save that Iran nuclear deal. What do you make of that? You know, they'll come back to me. What I mean is that style of
relationships, you know, making very very sort of extreme policies and then hoping that those are just negotiating and bargaining tactics.
KAGAN: Right. I mean that clearly is Trump's style. And just, you know, as an example of that, obviously that was his approach to Kim Jong-un.
First, he threatened him and called him names and then he decided that he could do business with him. I think it was wrong both times and I don't
think he's actually made any progress with North Korea and I doubt that he'll make any particular progress with Iran either.
But I do think, look, I mean let's face it. The United States does have an awful lot of power. I think it's been good that the United States has not
always used that power, especially against its own allies but Trump does have the capacity to push the world around a lot. And my concern is that
if he does this, if he keeps going like this, he will destroy all sense of common community and everyone will start looking out for themselves. And
that, again, is the route back to the sort of dark past that we've tried to get away from.
AMANPOUR: Before I get to North Korea because we have an extraordinary sound bite from on what he claimed about North Korea but I want to ask you
about, you know, he can push the world around. Can he push China around without, you know, negative consequences to America?
KAGAN: Well, it's interesting. I think on the economic front, you know, we don't know yet how this trade war is going to turn out but I wouldn't be
surprised if the Chinese make concessions. I think it's probably the case that the American market is of greater importance to China than the Chinese
market is to us, and that the United States has leverage.
My concern about China is that they may make concessions on the economic front but they may respond asymmetrically by making moves on the
geopolitical and the military front where I think Trump is far less in a strong position. And so, you know, I'm for trying to get China to behave
better in the international trading environment. God goodness knows they have taken advantage of it but we also need to understand that China does
have other options to a powerful country. And I just don't think that Donald Trump thinks that way.
AMANPOUR: So about North Korea and to follow up on what you said. He said that I've made friends with Kim Jong Un, I like Kim Jong Un. He called him
very very courageous but he also said something in the press conference which took a lot of people by surprise and I certainly never heard this
before about President Obama and North Korea. Just take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If I wasn't elected, you'd be in a war. And President Obama essentially said the same thing. He was ready to go to war. You would
have had a war and you would have lost millions, not thousands. You would have lost millions of people, sold his thirty million people, forty miles
and thirty miles from this very dangerous border. If I wasn't elected, you would have had a war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Had you heard that before that President Obama was so close allegedly to that?
KAGAN: Not only have I not heard it, I'm fairly confident it's not true. But it's interesting that Donald Trump makes that point because, you know,
he's walking an interesting line when it comes to his base and the American people in general. On the one hand, he wants to look like a tough guy who
can get the world to do what he wants. On the other hand, he wants to make it clear that he's not going to use military force.
And so he wants to use just economic tools and his own brilliance as a negotiator to get what America wants. And I think that other countries are
going to figure that out, other countries that are probably adversaries to the United States and have military capability. [23:40:00] And again, this
is what's sort of worrying about Trump is that he wants to push countries very hard but at the same time, he's not prepared to deal with the possible
consequences of that if it does lead to some kind of military confrontation.
AMANPOUR: And just again about the sovereignty issue, he said America will never surrender sovereignty to an unelected global bureaucracy and he seems
to be conflating alliances in multilateralism with somehow being against the notion of sovereignty. I don't know whether you think that as well
that there's some sort of exclusivity that he seems to be claiming there.
So far as your book and what you've been talking about, you know, The Jungle Grows Back, America and Our Imperiled World. What do you mean by
the jungle growing back?
KAGAN: Well, I don't mean a threat to America's sovereignty which is not something that I think we should be concerned about. And just on that
point, I mean I don't think we've heard an American president talk like this since the 1920s. And he's playing to this sort of old American fear
that somehow international organizations are going to take away American sovereignty which I think when you're the strongest power in the world,
it's kind of a silly kind of a fear.
When I talk about the jungle, what I'm talking about is, you know, if you think about the liberal world order that was created after World War II,
it's really been a remarkable period. We certainly know what's gone wrong and we can all list the failures of it including the failures of American
policy. But overall, it's been a period of great power peace, it's been a period of unprecedented prosperity and also a period of the spread of
democracy like we've never seen at any other time in history.
And, you know, this is a kind of precious but also very fragile kind of an order and there are a lot of natural forces working against it. You know,
the international system tends toward anarchy and conflict. We've been able to avoid that at least at the level of great powers. And, you know,
the human spirit yearns for individual freedom and democracy. But as we see today and as we've seen throughout history, it also yearns for strong
leadership and tribal security and order.
And so it's not enough to say we all want democracy. We can see that the human spirit is always at war with itself. And what we're seeing today is
basically, if you think of this liberal order as a kind of garden, what you see today are the natural forces, the winds, and the vines growing back.
And what we need to do is constantly fight against these basic and unending tendencies in both the international system and in human nature.
AMANPOUR: It's really fascinating. We really are at a watershed moment and we're living through that right now. Bob Kagan, thanks so much indeed
for joining us.
KAGAN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now, Washington can seem a world away from the everyday Americans. Journalist Sarah Smarsh grew up on a poor white and working
class Kansas Palme. Smarsh says that she escaped poverty by breaking a generational pattern of teenage pregnancies and says her greatest
achievement was graduating from high school.
Her new book Heartland, A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country tackles shame and class. And our Michel Martin sat down
with her. She reflected on what poverty did to the women in her own family.
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR CNN: Sarah Smarsh, thank you so much for speaking with us.
SARAH SMARSH, AUTHOR, HEARTLAND: Thanks so much for having me.
MARTIN: When did you realize that your story was a story?
SMARSH: I really sensed as a kid, a budding writer even at a very young age, that I was surrounded by a cast of kind of wild characters. So I
think I felt drawn to writing about my own family just as an inquisitive kid in the context of a culture where people didn't do a lot of reflecting
or talking about themselves.
But it wasn't until I was older and went to college, did some work as a journalist that I understood the ways in which my family's private story
might be worth telling for public reasons.
MARTIN: One of the things about your book that stands out is that you really highlight the stories of women and their particular struggles and
their hopes and to the degree that they articulated their hopes. I was going to ask you if you would kind of just describe each one for me as
briefly as you could.
SMARSH: Sure. Dorothy is my maternal great-grandmother. She's no longer living but was vivacious, you know, sassy, Midwestern broad basically and
worked in the airplane factories in Wichita which calls itself the Air Capital of the World during World War II. And at that same time, while she
was living a very hardscrabble life, she had a daughter named Betty who ended up being one of my primary caretakers.
And definitely followed in her mother's and father's footsteps as a member of the working poor of this country. She lived a particularly chaotic life
even within the context of poverty which often begets chaos and --
[23:45:00] MARTIN: She's married a bunch of times?
SMARSH: Married a bunch of times. If anyone's counting. And so Betty, my maternal grandmother, this chaos of her life had everything to do in some
ways with her gender. So you're talking about the importance of female stories within, you know, the tales that we tell about poverty. One of the
reasons she married so many times was she had fled an abusive husband for her own survival and my mother's survival. And her second child was
essentially kept from her by a small town guy who knew the cops in town and she was told that if she wanted to ever get custody of her son back, she
needed to show she had a stable home and a provider which meant being married.
So she was shamed in the court process for being intentionally a divorced very young woman with a kid. And so she would take that advice and
sometimes marry unsavory characters for the immediate purpose of trying to get her son back. But through all of the hardship that's documented in the
book, her humor and dignity, and just raw power is something that I was in awe of even as a little kid. And people focus I think on the downside of
poverty but often within that experience, there is beauty and she was one piece of that.
MARTIN: And your mom?
SMARSH: Jeannie got pregnant with me when she was 17 and Betty also have been a teen mother and I'm the child of generations of teen pregnancy
actually. And for that reason, perhaps among others, my mom Jeannie was extremely frustrated and had a hard time as a very young mother out in a
rural area. There's geographic isolation on top of the economic struggles that she was facing as the wife of a construction worker and farmer.
She worked all along too when she could but she had her kids in 1980 myself and 1984 so this was before the Family and Medical Leave Act. And so
whatever, you know, job that she had when she needed to go have a baby, she lost. And she was a brilliant woman, just a talented artist, and was great
with a turn of phrase. And, you know, she represents to me somebody who -- she and I have a lot in common in disposition and maybe just professionally
inclinations. But her life played out so differently in some ways because of those early pregnancies.
MARTIN: One of the things that you talked about in the book that I found really moving was about the emotional toll of being poor. You said I was
the proverbial teen pregnancy, my very existence, the mark of poverty. I was in a poor girl's lining like a penny in a purse, not worth much
according to the economy but kept in production. It's heartbreaking. How early did you start to kind of make the connection between the fact that
your existence changed your mom's life but you understood how she felt?
SMARSH: I think I was tapped into my mother's frustration at a very early age. And I understood that you know, she didn't intend ever to have me.
And while there was a man's love within her, these realities and forces that were at work in her life meant that you know, the children that she
ended up raising, you know, had everything to do with the woes of her economic station.
So what I understand now is that what I perceived as a very private experience was actually the result of public policies and realities and
forces that she as an individual could hardly contend with, knowing a life that she herself survived, it's kind of a miracle that she even just like
kept going and kept us fed.
MARTIN: All the women in your family had babies young and that really did set the course of their lives. And you determined at a really young age
that you weren't going to. And I wonder how you figured that out.
SMARSH: The best I can answer that is I was just a very hyper-vigilant child which is can be, you know, just a psychological feature of any kid
who is in a chaotic or even abusive environment. A lot of substances going around in my family, a lot of alcohol, and these things require a child to
be kind of standing in an environment. And what I understood was that there were these patterns that were the same about so many people in my
family, the teenage pregnancy, they're not finishing high school, the addiction to something or another.
And all I could figure was well I love these folks and I want to carry their strengths with me in the world. If I want some of the outcomes of my
life to look different, then maybe those patterns I see, I should do the other thing.
[23:50:00] MARTIN: I get the sense that wanting to tell their stories is part of what drove you is. Is that right?
SMARSH: I think it probably at the most personal sense and that's, you know, where the passion that would drive such a project comes from, was a
sense that I know who these people are and I know who I am and yet when I see our place or our demographic, our piece of the United States
represented in movies or television or books or even the news media that I'm proud to be a part of, so rarely gets it right. And, in fact, often
gets it wrong with insult by which I mean caricature stereotypes even perhaps by well-intentioned storytellers.
And feeling that goals between the integrity and dignity and complexity of the people I knew and the stories that were being told about this, I guess
as just someone who was going to end up telling stories, that's why that's the one that became so important to me to provide maybe kind of a
corrective I guess.
MARTIN: You talk a lot about shame. You said in the United States, the shaming of the poor is a unique form of bigotry that's not necessarily
about who or what you are, your skin color, the gender you're attracted to, having a woman rather, it's about what your actions have failed to
accomplish, financial success within capitalism, and the related implications about your worth and the supposed meritocracy. You say that
poor whiteness is a peculiar offense in that society and views whiteness with power. And so how did that occur to you?
SMARSH: It is a fact that whiteness is a privilege in many ways, including economic in this country. And because of that, sometimes -- let's say when
I was that first generation kid on a college campus, people who saw me perhaps for their ideas about what poverty manner represented, my own
disadvantage was kind of physically invisible to them.
MARTIN: When you were in college, did people know you were poor or at least thought you were poor? Did you feel poor?
SMARSH: You know, when I was a kid I never would have used that word and I didn't feel it. I thought, you know, when I was raised, you usually got
enough to eat, a roof over the head, no complains. College, when I started, you know, brushing up against kids from very different
backgrounds, like damn, I really had to like work a lot harder to get here and nobody bought me a car for high school graduation. And I've got three
jobs just to pay the bills. They're having the time of their life and these are the hardest years of my life and they were.
MARTIN: You feel like you made it?
SMARSH: You know, the day that I graduated from high school, when I'm being the first person from my farmhouse to do so, I remember at that
moment and I think I might even write about this thinking, I'm not pregnant and I graduated from high school, I made it.
MARTIN: What do you want to happen as a result of your book?
SMARSH: What I hope is kind of twofold I guess, that on one side of the coin, that the people who feel like someone hasn't told their story will
read the book and be able to say like that flatland and that wheat field and that female body, that's where I'm from. And then on the other side of
that coin, that the people for whom the class and place and experience that I tried to document might feel utterly foreign that that reader could
perhaps both have her eyes opened to some reality that she hadn't previously known.
And I won't sell my younger self-short by saying I didn't work darn hard because I did. But, you know, when I'm here to say is not I made it, then
why can't you? You should too. It's to say I made it. I guess. So what I'm here to say is most people will not because it's almost impossible and
it shouldn't be and it doesn't have to be. And as the subtitle of my book says, the richest country on earth.
MARTIN: Sarah Smarsh, thank you so much for talking with us.
SMARSH: Thanks for having me. This was great.
AMANPOUR: And on that very important note, before we go, do tune in tomorrow for my interview with the legendary Oscar-Winning Actor Anthony
Hopkins. We talk about his long career in film and theater and why playing King Lear at 80-years-old feels like his best role yet.
That is it for our program. Thanks for watching. And remember, you can always listen to our podcast. See us online at amanpour.com and follow me
on Facebook and Twitter.
Good night from New York.