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Possible Second Government Shutdown; Parkland School Massacre First Anniversary; Interview with U.S. Senate Republican, Pat Toomey; U.S-China Trade Deal in Beijing; Interview with Author, Parag Khanna. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired February 11, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
Whiplash is yet another deadline looms over another government shutdown. I'm joined by a Republican who's not afraid to challenge his president,
Pennsylvania Senator, Pat Toomey.
Then a deadline for U.S.-China trade talks is also fast approaching. We dig into how that entire continent will reshape our world, the author of
"The Future is Asian" joins us.
Plus, striking up the band with Jon Batiste, the man who brings the beat to Stephen Colbert's show is taking a detour to Broadway.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Will it be shut down the sequel? Hopes are fading fast for a deal to avoid the second government shutdown in less than a month after congressional
talks broke down over the weekend. It means that hundreds of thousands of Federal workers could be furloughed again this Friday.
The point of contention is, well, the same, migration and the border wall. Democrats are demanding limits on the number of unauthorized immigrants
that can be detained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.
Meantime, the president mulls over declaring a national emergency to get his $5.7 billion for his wall, something that's got even Republicans up in
Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, previously warning Mr. Trump that Congress would likely overrule any such executive action on that front.
Republican Senator Pat Toomey seems increasingly comfortable breaking with the president on major issues like trade, even publicly disagreeing with
him as we discussed when he joined me from Philadelphia.
Senator Pat Toomey, welcome to the program.
PAT TOOMEY, U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN: Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, we were talking admits to sort of a bad drop of yet another looming showdown, another potential shutdown. But I wanted to ask you to
sort of delve in a little bit as to why you were gaining a reputation to sort of differ a little bit with the president and come out publicly
against some specific issues, whether it's Syria, trade, tariffs?
TOOMEY: Well, you know, I think it's really quite simple, I'm elected separately from the president and the people of Pennsylvania expect me to
do what I think is right. When I agree with the president, as I often do, on tax reform, on regulatory relief, on judicial nominees, we work together
and I'm very happy to work with the president.
But when I think when I think he's mistaken or when I think he's advocating policy that's not good for Pennsylvania and for America, then it's my job
to stand up and do what I think is right.
AMANPOUR: Do you think there are more of you willing to do that? Because the Congress, the Senate, particularly now, that is in Republican control
seem to be, you know, reluctant, even on issues such as the ones you're talking about, do you think it's right to actually push back on things that
effect the economy, effect the American people, whether it's trade, tariffs and all the rest of it? Do you think there are more and more people
willing to do that?
TOOMEY: Well, I think the Senate has done that. You saw the recent vote, Senator McConnell himself introduced an amendment that really is critical
of the administration's proposal on Syria, there's been a lot of pushback from Republicans in the Senate about certain aspects of the president's
But if you look in the first two years, the president's remarkable successes generally were consistent with Republican orthodoxy and so,
Republicans were naturally, you know, quite happy to cooperate.
AMANPOUR: OK. Now, that that's interesting, consistent with Republican orthodoxy. So, let's now talk about what's happening right now. It looks
like then maybe hopes that a government funding bill could be reached, a deal could be reached but apparently, over the weekend, you know, things
just went a little south.
What do you think we're going to see? Are we going to see a deal or another shutdown by the end of this week?
TOOMEY: Well, I certainly hope we see a deal and we'll get a briefing later today from our colleagues who are members of this conference
committee and learn the status of that. But to me, first of all, I think the president made a very reasonable request for the border security
measures that the Border Patrol has asked for. I understand that some of our Democratic colleagues have newly decided that wall funding is somehow
Well, I think the obvious solution is a compromise, that we settle somewhere in between. I'm pretty sure the president is willing to
compromise and I hope the Democratic Party leadership is willing to also. That's the way these disputes have been settled in the past and that's the
way it should be settled today.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, where do you think would be a place where the president could compromise? Because, as you say, it's new actually, the Democrats
have resisted this $5.7 billion wall ticket for a long time and the president just tweeted, "The wall will get built one way or another," and
some are concerned that that might mean he invokes a national emergency and diverts funds for that.
TOOMEY: So, no. I would say that the opposition for a wall is actually quite recent. Just last year, every Democratic senator voted in favor of
$25 billion of additional border security, which would have included constructing portions of the wall. The request from the president, from
Republicans is not for a 2,000-mile continuous wall, it's to simply add, somewhat, to the existing physical barriers, the last four consecutive
presidents have added to this system of barriers along our border, two Democrats, two Republicans, and the Border Patrol is suggesting that we
need to add some more.
I don't know exactly where the president will end up landing but I don't think that his position is $5.7 or nothing. I think the president is
willing to compromise on that figure. I don't know exactly where but I think a deal could get done.
AMANPOUR: What do you think? What will you say if there's an attempt to, you know, exert executive power and declare a state of -- or a national
emergency to do that, in other words, to get funding without congressional approval?
TOOMEY: Yes. So, I'm hoping that we don't go down that road. I'm still studying the legal framework and I don't know exactly what legal framework
the administration might invoke if they decide to do that. There are options available to them. It's not clear to me that these circumstances
really fit the intent of that law. It's probably a gray area in terms of the legality of it.
And so, that's why I'd rather not go down that road. This should be resolved through the legislative process, through a compromise, that's the
right way to solve this problem. And hopefully, we still have time to do that.
AMANPOUR: So, in pure political terms, just the politics, the art of the deal, so to speak, to coin a phrase, do you think the president potentially
overplayed his hand the first time around, A, allowing the shutdown, B, allowing it to go on for so long and then sort of retreating without having
TOOMEY: Look, you know, we can argue about these tactics. I think all along it was clear to me that the administration and Republicans in the
Senate were willing to negotiate on this. The person who refused to negotiate was Speaker Pelosi, she made it very clear that all of a sudden,
a wall is somehow immoral, which is kind of breathtaking that she would think that, she made it clear that the only acceptable dollar amount for
further expanding the existing walls is zero, she made it clear she would not even negotiate while the government was shut down.
So, the government is reopened now. And hopefully, she's no longer in this completely inflexible mode and hopefully, she's open to a compromise,
somewhere between zero and 5.7.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, I mean, one last question on this. Look, it wasn't resolvable when the Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress. Now,
as you correctly mentioned, they don't and the Democrats control the House. Is it going to be any more easy to resolve this?
TOOMEY: It was always going to require Democratic support because, as you know, a funding bill in the Senate requires 60 votes to pass and
Republicans have never had 60 votes in the Senate, certainly not in recent memory and not in the last Congress.
So, it was always the case that there had to be some bipartisan support. And by the way, there has been, as I mentioned earlier. Every Democrat in
the Senate voted for tens of billions of dollars for border security including wall construction. So, if they're consistent with where they
have been in the past, this should be easy to resolve. I'm not suggesting it is easy, but we certainly should be able to get there.
AMANPOUR: OK. Senator, let me move on to tariffs because here's yet another deadline looming and everybody's a little bit concerned about the
March 1st deadline to reach a deal with China. This is what the president said about this issue in the State of the Union and then we'll discuss it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Tonight, I am also asking you to pass as the United States Reciprocal Trade Act so that if another country places an
unfair tariff on an American product we can charge them the exact same tariff on the exact same product that they sell to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Senator, you are gaining a reputation as being a pretty harsh critique of unilateral imposed tariffs and you are apparently -- you
know, you put forward a bill to limit the authority to impose these tariffs. Do you feel that by sticking your head over the parapet on this
one, you know, you can gain more momentum, support? Tell me why you're taking this stance so publicly.
TOOMEY: Simply because I believe it's the right thing to do. I think the president, I disagree with how he characterizes. The tariffs he wants to
impose are taxes on Americans. It's not a tax on the -- on some foreign country, it's a tax paid by Americans when they choose to purchase
something that might originate overseas.
I think that in the case of the tariffs on steel and aluminum, they've done much more harm than good. And with respect to Canada and Mexico, my
goodness, to suggest that that's a national security threat for us when, in fact, we have a trade surplus even in steel with Canada, which is our
closest ally in the world and has been for centuries.
So, look, I think it is time that we restored to Congress the responsibility that the Constitution gives to Congress with respect to
regulating trade with other countries including the establishment of tariffs. That's very clear and unambiguous in the Constitution, Congress,
mistakenly in my judgment, gave that authority away to the executive branch. This is a good time to reclaim it.
AMANPOUR: So, you mentioned Mexico and Canada. So, that brings us to NAFTA and the new -- let's see, what is it called now, the USMCA. I want
to play what the president said about that and then ask you about where you think that one's headed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I hope you can pass the USMCA into law so that we can bring back our manufacturing jobs in even greater numbers, expand American
agriculture, protect intellectual property and ensure that more cars are proudly stamped with our four beautiful words, "Made in the USA."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, do you think that will happen? I mean, let's just spell out, it's the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Will it bring more
jobs? And do you think this is the right alternative to NAFTA?
TOOMEY: No. I am not a fan of this because if you look at the changes that were made in the USMCA as compared to the existing NAFTA, the changes
are meant to diminish trade among the three countries, and that's the opposite of the purpose of a continental free trade zone. A continental
free trade zone has been very, very good for America.
In my state of Pennsylvania, since NAFTA was signed, we have quintupled our exports to Mexico, for instance, and it is a good thing for us to have
access to low cost range of products from Canada and Mexico. What the new USMCA does is it diminishes our opportunities to trade, it creates a
complex regime that puts quotas and minimum wage requirements on automobiles manufactured in Mexico, there is no precedent for that in a
free trade agreement and it's inconsistent with the spirit of a free trade agreement, there's an arbitrary and artificial expiration date which can
only have a chilling effect on people's willingness to invest in the three countries, there is a dramatic reduction, really, almost elimination of the
investor state dispute settlement, the mechanism by which American investors, especially, would get a chance to adjudicate a problem they
would have with the host country.
So, in my view, there are some good features, I should point out, there is some better protection of intellectual property in some respects than what
we have today, there is a title on digital trade, which is a useful modernization. But the big items in this agreement, it seems to me,
diminish trade and that's why my suggestion to the administration was let's address those items in the implementing legislation, let's improve on that
and get this thing ratified last year when Republicans were in complete control.
Now, it's not clear to me what the path forward is. It's not clear to me that Speaker Pelosi is going to prioritize passing President Trump's NAFTA
2.0 and I worry about the direction she'll want to take it.
AMANPOUR: Can move on to gun safety, actually, because that's another area that you are obviously interested in. And this week, we're going to see
the first anniversary of the Parkland School massacre.
You don't particularly -- you know, you're not really have a maverick on this issue but you support tougher background checks for gun purchases.
Again, it's different, it's new and it's a question why take on the gun lobby and risk losing that kind of support or do you think this is the
moment where public opinion is backing your position?
TOOMEY: Yes. Actually, I think the public has been backing my position for many years. You know, back in 1999 when I was a freshman member of the
House of Representatives, Republicans very broadly supported and the NRA supported expanding background checks. It was actually Democrats who took
down the bill for other reasons.
I still think it makes perfectly good sense to require background checks on all commercial sales. You know, I'm a big believer in the Second Amendment
but you lose your Second Amendment rights if you are a violent criminal or if you're dangerously mentally ill.
And so, a mechanism to determine if somebody is in one of those categories it's just common sense and it's not an infringement on the rights of law-
abiding citizens. So, I still believe this is the right thing to do. I'm trying to generate more support on my side of the aisle for it.
AMANPOUR: And do you think there is that support there? I mean, is it there for you to generate? And do you think the NRA can see that it needs
to maybe, you know, meet the prevailing tides and currents of public opinion in order to survive?
TOOMEY: I'm not sure. The NRA did not support this when Senator Manchin and I went down this road, actually several times, some -- a little while
back. I'm not sure they've had a change of heart on this.
But look, you know, every individual member of Congress has to do what they think is right. This is something that I think is important. I think it's
right. It doesn't solve the problem of gun violence by any stretch of the imagination, but our legislation would make it more difficult for someone
who shouldn't have a gun to acquire a gun.
So, I don't know whether there's enough support among Republicans to get this done but I'm going to take a run at it and see if we can make some
AMANPOUR: Well, I wonder whether you think there's enough support to do what you and a Democratic Senator, Chris Holland, wants to do, and that is
compel the president to have an actual plan, a strategy, an alternative for Syria before pulling out all the troops. Well, how -- I mean, how much
legs do that have, do you think?
TOOMEY: Well, you know, we didn't get a chance to have a vote on our amendment, which would have required that and would have, you know, sort of
laid out the priorities that members of Congress think is important with respect to Syria.
So, we didn't get that particular amendment voted on but Senator McConnell offered an amendment that was really meant to go at the same idea with some
different specificities. His amendment passed pretty -- by a pretty healthy margin and the underlying legislation passed as well.
So, the Senate is, on record, advocating that the U.S. president and Syria be only withdrawn if certain conditions are met. But as, you know, under
our system, a great deal of latitude is given and the prosecution of a military conflict to the commander-in-chief. So, it's going to be very
difficult for the Senate to really control that but I do think it's important that we weigh in with our priorities prior to this deadline that
the administration appears to have set.
AMANPOUR: Really interesting. Senator Pat Toomey, thank you so much for joining us from Pennsylvania.
TOOMEY: Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: Well, as Washington struggles to make a deal to keep the government open, overseas, the Trump administration is working against
another tight deadline with another round of U.S.-China trade talks kicking off this week in Beijing. Amid rising fears that the world's two largest
economies will fail to make a deal by March 1st.
At which point, the U.S. is threatening to crank up tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, which could trigger the same back from China. Much
is vested in the relationship with that Asian powerhouse.
But for my next guest, Parag Khanna, China is a distraction. Author of "The Future is Asian," Khanna argues that the West must view Asia and not
just China as a powerful economic force, and he's joining me now from New York.
Welcome to the program.
PARAG KHANNA, AUTHOR, "THE FUTURE IS ASIAN": Thanks so much, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So, let's just take that first nitty gritty and then we'll go into the bigger picture. How much do you see is at stake and possible to
resolve this now trade showdown between the United States and China, and yet another round of tariffs and, you know, as you just heard Senator
Toomey say, it's a tax on the American people?
KHANNA: That's exactly right. So, on the one hand there is evidence that both sides might be feeling a little bit of pain, we see decline in
consumer confidence in China, for example, that may be more cyclical however than structural.
Meanwhile, the senator is absolutely correct, that industry after industry in the United States, by which I mean, soybean farmers, other food
exporters, steel where the costs, the rising cost of imports are being passed on to consumers, the tech sector with declining revenues in China
across the American economy, when it comes to those sectors that do depend to some degree, large or small, on exports to foreign markets, particularly
a rising Asian powers like China, they are suffering indeed.
So, there is an incentive on both sides to come to some kind of a compromise, face saving gestures before the end of the month, and I think
that that's certainly on track to happen. But the bigger picture is certainly one where China will continue to try to displace foreign
technology, foreign imports in its value chain and aggressively continue to export with its national champions to conquer foreign markets as well.
AMANPOUR: Let's just stay quickly on this one for a second. I want to play you what Treasury Secretary, Mnuchin, has said about the process of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Right now, the intent is that we meet this deadline. As you know, the president is involved in a very
detailed way in these negotiations and (INAUDIBLE) Lighthizer or myself and the economic team update the president, at least, weekly, in many cases
daily. He's involved in these issues. And if there are remaining issues that we can't get closed, I think President Trump expects that he's going
to sit down with President Xi and address those issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, you know, that's an interesting statement to end on, that if, you know, sort of worker bees can't get it done then President Trump
continues to believe in the sort of face-to-face or voice-to-voice between the top leadership, people who can actually get something done. What
chances of that, do you think?
KHANNA: I think it would be unfair to the worker bees to say that, you know, they can't resolve all the issues, the fact is that, you know, they
are working on all of the issues and that each issue has a different timeline, and that's really what's going on here.
Can we accept that they will reopen their markets or they will reduce the reciprocal tariffs on some American exports, which they've already said
they're going to do and are doing, and that was that enough to forestall Trump's raising tariffs on the final batch of $200 billion worth of Chinese
exports? And I think that they are probably going to get there.
At the top level, it is obviously worrying, disturbing to many people in diplomacy and observe negotiations, trade or otherwise, that president --
the president would allow himself to simply take the word of a foreign leader rather than allow things to be more legally or, you know,
circumscribed in informal agreements.
Because, of course, he's going to believe President Xi that they're making all efforts to reform their economy, to open, he's going to send other --
there are other sort of arrows in the quiver that China has, it has a major effort this year around capital account liberalization, opening its debt
equity and bond markets to foreigners, it wants that to go very well, it's going to promise that American investors are going to have very, you know,
sort of enhanced access to those.
And remember that finance is trillions of dollars for China. When we're talking about trade, we're talking about billions. So, let's be clear that
there's a much broader set of issues on the table here and they will work through them incrementally, I'm quite sure.
AMANPOUR: So, let's go broader on the big picture, not just these trade issues, but basically, the substance of your book. I am really fascinated
by one of these things you say, you point out that in terms of trade China's priorities are, number one, regional partners, number two, Europe
and number three, America. That's kind of amazing because we do hear President Trump and the administration saying, "Oh, China's going to have
to do X. Y. and Z, whether it's trade, whether it's North Korea because they value the relationship with the U.S. so much."
KHANNA: I'm very glad you brought this up, Christiane, because there is a difference between the two largest economies in the world and the two
largest trading powers in the world. The two largest trading powers in the world are those that represent a largest proportion of global trade, and
America does rank third in that area because, actually, North America in general and America in particular have the most self-sufficiency, autarky,
you might say. Whereas, Europe and Asian powers including China, are very dependent on trade.
So, in fact, as you rightly quoted, you know, China's largest trading partners as a block are its neighbors. If you add up China's trade with
Japan, with South Korea, with the Ozzy on countries of Southeast Asia, with India, with Russia and so forth, it far exceeds China's trade with the
United States. And its second most important is the European Union as a whole, which still actually represents a larger share of global trade than
And so, what you actually have happening right now is a process where in the longer-term no matter what happens in these ongoing bilateral trade
negotiations, there's many players in this trade war and we're ignoring the other ones.
What's happening right now is that China is seeking to substitute its dependence on whatever imports it does get from the United States with its
neighbors. So, if it's not going to buy as much oil and gas from America it shall get it from Russia. Semiconductors, high-tech processors and
components. Why subject yourself to the political manipulation, even if it's justified, of the Trump administration's export controls, if you're
China, when you can get those same components from Japan, from South Korea, from Taiwan, which are very high-tech economies.
And this is what I call, in the book, permanent substitution. What China on the short -- in the short-term is going to try to do is to have a
compromise that doesn't disrupt its supply chains for the goods it gets from United States.
In the long run, it obviously wants to permanently substitute any dependence it has on the U.S. And, of course, Japanese, South Koreans and
Europeans are all too eager to displace American technology and exporters in that market.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let's -- this is really interesting because you say that, you know, much of when people talk about Asia they automatically just
think about China because this is the huge big powerhouse. But you say Asia is much, much bigger and spans a huge and potentially sort of, you
know, unexpected century. You say the Asian century is even bigger than you think, far greater than just China, the new Asian system taking shape
is a multi-civilizational or the spanning Saudi Arabia to Japan and Russia to Australia, linking 5 billion people through, trade finance and
infrastructure, networks that together represent 40 percent of global GDP.
So, it kind of falls into what you're saying about priorities and size of markets. Is the U.S. missing out when you put it in dark terms?
KHANNA: Yes and no. It's missing out in the sense that by not joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, for example, the U.S. is giving
itself a disadvantage sort of position with respect to fast growing Asian markets.
You know, as the senator previously would also point out, Canada and Mexico proportionately have almost the same deficit to China as a share of their
total trade than -- as the United States does but their response is not to launch tariffs against China, it's to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership
trade agreement so they can have better access to Asian markets. And hopefully, they're also trying to have bilateral trade liberalization with
China. So, the response has to be to want to compete more to engage more.
The other reason why it's not too late is, as I point out, the fast-growing markets of the rest of Asia, if you just take South Asia and Southeast
Asia, from Pakistan through India, through Myanmar and Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and so forth, that, Christiane is 2.5 billion people, that
is a billion more people than China. And some of those economies, like India, already have a faster growth rate than China does. And if they grow
it just 5 percent, they will equal China's present GDP size in less than 10 years.
So, have we been overly fixated on China because it is one single market? Yes. Is it time and is it not too late to go after not just China but all
of these other fast-growing rapidly urbanizing and young populations? Yes, also yes.
AMANPOUR: You know, you just mentioned the TPP. And obviously, the President Trump pulled the U.S. out of it. There's a whole new one that's
been underway, the CPTPP, nut also there's another one in the works right now, another big Asian Pacific trade deal, it's called RCEP, Regional
Comprehensive Economic Partnership, that is a lot of initials.
However, what does it actually mean if the Trump administrations, you know, doesn't partake the whole protectionism, America First, is continued to be
his trade policy?
KHANNA: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is one of the acronyms that embodies the idea that I talk about in the book, which is
Asia First, you know, we are obsessed with this idea of America First, what does it mean. But Asia has been doing Asia First for quite a while,
basically, since the collapse of the Soviet Union almost 30 years ago.
Asian economies have been pursuing the resurrection of the ancient Silk Road that go back 500, 1000 years times that which they had more
interactions, more trade, more commerce with each other than with the rest of the world.
And, Christiane, just to be clear, that is already too true today, as we already discussed, Asians trade more with each other than they do with the
rest of the world, and that is going to accelerate because you have the energy trade from the Persian Gulf suppliers to the thirsty East Asian and
South Asian markets, you have the growing volumes of infrastructure investment through China's belt and road initiative, you have many of these
new trade agreements like the RCEP, all of that, before the trade war, adds up and points in the direction of Asians wanting to internally integrate
They have so many complementarities, whether it is the financially rich countries, the industrial centers or the commodities producers, they still
have a lot more complementarities to exploit. So, I fully expect Asia First to continue no matter what American policy is.
AMANPOUR: And you actually also sort of pause it and kind of reverse export syndrome. You know you say the world has gotten used to hearing
America first but it's ready for Asia first as you just said.
What happens when Asia no long just produces for the west but the west produces for Asia? And when Asians don't aspire to live like the west but
rather western societies wish they had Asian stability and far sided leadership. Get ready to see the world and the future from the Asian point
of view. Really?
KHANNA: Absolutely. Now, let's break it down by the economic or commercial issues and the political and maybe cultural issues around pride
and confidence. First of all, in terms of them no longer producing it for us but us producing for them, if you look at everything from luxury brands
and cosmetics to Hollywood studios, automobiles, high tech goods, and electronics; sure America is a huge market.
In many cases the largest consumer market in the world for these categories and the top destination of sales. But ask yourself what the market
capitalization would be of those companies were it not for the fact that they also have tremendous exports and sales in -- in Asia.
Just the example of Apple. Look at what has happened to Apple's valuation as a result of the reports that it has declining revenue in China. And
that's why it's rapidly shifted to say we're also going to manufacture -- sorry, to assemble iPhones in India as well.
So if American companies, western companies don't diversify their footprint around Asia and lose out to Asian competitors, they will, Christiane, be
smaller and smaller companies. There's no question about how important it is to sell into Asian markets today. They are the fastest growing middle
class in the world.
AMANPOUR: OK. But we're talking also the second -- the corollary point to that was that you posit (ph) the notion that potentially western societies
-- I mean free democratic, culturally diverse, or (ph) politically, religiously, all the rest of it might aspire to live like Asian societies
and envy their stability and farsighted leadership. That's a stretch.
KHANNA: Well, look at -- if you look at the Trump and Brexit phenomenon today and imagine yourself being a millennial or a young Asian person who's
grown up since the 1990s or 2000s, it's not a stretch at all.
It's the world that about 5 billion Asians live in, in which they really do feel that they have experienced a quantum leap in economic growth and
modernization and while maintaining political stability all this time.
And they, the young Asians, Christiane, many of whom you know and have met and live among as I travel across the region really feel what I just said
and what you just quoted to be perfect -- a perfectly natural sentiment. It's not about rejecting democracy. I want to be absolutely .
AMANPOUR: No, but you're suggesting that westerners might want to live like that. Not other Asians.
KHANNA: Well, there's two things. So there's a couple of facts that we need to remember. First of all, more Asians live in democratic societies
than in the rest of the world put together.
In just the next few months; India, Indonesia, the Philippines are having elections. They're 1.8 billion people just across those few countries. So
they're -- Asians have plenty of experience with democracy, there are many Asian democratic systems.
It is -- just like it's a mistake to conflate all of Asia with just China, it's a mistake to talk about Asia as if it is a, you know, monolithic set
of authoritarian powers. It certainly isn't. It's the most culturally defused region of the world.
Then there's the fact that they've learned a lot from the inheritance of European colonialism, parliamentary democratic systems, a strong civil
service. They've also learned a lot from the American world of the 20th century, which is to say the love of freedom, democracy,
An Asian century is not one in which those ideas, those legacies that have made the west great and continue to define its greatness are being cast
aside. It's about Asians actually taking some of those ideas and incorporating them and carrying them forward.
And I think that's what we're starting to see. Now Asians have maybe a deference for a strong executive with a long term vision of national
modernization. Some of the most popular leaders in the world today, Christiane as you know, based on public opinion surveys are people like
Prime Minister Modi or Duterte in the Philippines.
We often talk about them and report about them in their -- for their very illiberal kinds of characteristics. And there's a lot to criticize about
them. However, ask yourself why they have such strong support.
It's because they're also trying to deliver a collective vision of national progress. Think about where they're coming from and where they have --
what they have achieved so far. And you can fairly well understand why many Asians today are confident in their systems and don't look to the west
for lessons in how to improve themselves. They do look a lot to each other though.
AMANPOUR: It's -- it's really fascinating and the horizon you've just laid out is huge. The future is Asian. Parag Khanna, thank you so much,
indeed, for joining us. So now, from the world of trade and other such issues to the uplifting power of music and last night's Grammys. Thirty-
nine -- Alicia Keys drew raves (ph) for her tone as host, and there were some very, very special guests.
The former First Lady Michelle Obama was brought onto the stage, in what turned into a celebration of love, unity and diversity.
It's a very welcome note for these times. Jazz musician Jon Batiste was there, nominated for the very first time himself - and you'll know him best
as band leader on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert." And he has many strings in his bow, including an upcoming Broadway musical, which he talked
about with our Walter Issacson.
WALTER ISSACSON, CNNI HOST: Jon Batiste, welcome to the show.
JON BATISTE, BANDLEADER, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Yes, indeed.
ISSACSON: So your new album is called "Hollywood Africans."
BATISTE: That's right. That's right.
ISSACSON: What does that mean?
BATISTE: Well, it's a statement about the history of the music and where it came from - the history of our music in this country, particularly the
blues, jazz, rock and roll, soul music, gospel; all the stuff that I'm playing on the recording.
African-American entertainers and performers, these artists created this psalm that influenced the world. And no matter the amount of oppression or
marginalization that they faced, it was divine; it had something in it that was meant to reach the world and heal people and bring people together.
So it's kind of framing the music that was created here, and also paying homage to them, while me being a link in that chain; takes it forward and
reinvents it and exposes it to new people.
ISSACSON: But there seems to be an undercurrent in the album that to be - have a mainstream appeal, you got to make compromises for the audience.
BATISTE: Well, in that time, in particular, in the past in our country, it's fraught with a lot of racial and social issues that barred people from
having the - the freedom to be themselves on stage. You know, a lot of great performers had to wear a mask and not be who they were in the public.
And they were these geniuses who wanted to say really, really deep, profound, complex things, and they wanted to be treated, or taught - they
were taught to believe that they were lesser. And a lot of those people fought to really push beyond what was placed on them by society.
So for me, I don't have wear a mask now as much as a lot of the greats who I look up to - you know, Nina Simone, Louis Armstrong - all of the greats
that I've studied and - and really been moved by.
And although, I still am in the spotlight and there are certain things that I do have to compromise on, I don't have to do it nearly as much as them -
and I really want to pay homage to them with this record, by - by - by sharing with people all of this music, because it's our superpower.
And I feel like, a lot of times, in our country, we forget that these are truly American ideals in this music that we can learn about togetherness
and learn about integration and learn about how everything that we aspire to be, that's written in our constitution, can actually be achieved and has
been achieved a lot of times first in our music.
ISSACSON: Louis Armstrong grew up in New Orleans, like you did. New Orleans is a city of mass, but when you were growing up in New Orleans and
you watched Louis Armstrong wearing his mask, doing that big smile, waiving the handkerchief, what did you think?
BATISTE: Well, honestly, I didn't like Louis Armstrong at first; I thought he was Uncle Tommin' (ph). But the thing is, you look behind that, under
the history - you know, I'm a - I'm a kid at the time, maybe even earlier than a teenager - you know, 11 or 12, when I'm first exposed to Louis
At a - in fact, the camp that we all went to at the time was the Louis Satchmo Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp. And you would go there and you would
be exposed to the wide history that comes from New Orleans - and Louis Armstrong being the progenitor of many of the things that we still do
But I - I didn't really understand why he had to do that, because, you know, in the year 2000, people - people didn't have to do that onstage;
they didn't have to go (inaudible) and wave and smile and do all that stuff. But if you studied the time and the context, he's a genius of the
And he has to do all of these things; and you still have the fabric of that in our culture today. Black performers still have to deal with certain
things that are a part of our lineage, whether they know it or not. And that's not just black - it's not a race issue; it's a cultural issue.
And that's something we still are facing and we look at the -- the -- the political climate of today and we look at all the things that we're dealing
And people trying to become "woke" and their consciousness is -- is elevating. And -- and these are things that have been a part of the fabric
of our country and in our entertainment. And our entertainment feeds us. So if we want to deal with that, we have to address it.
ISSACSON: One of his great songs, Louis Armstrong sung that he made popular was "St. James Infirmary". And you've reinterpreted for this new
album and it's being nominated for a Grammy. We're all rooting for you for it. But what did you do with "St. James Infirmary" and maybe you can show
us on your melodico (ph).
BATISTE: Yes. Yes. So the album is very intimate to me at the piano for the most part. T Bone Burnett and I really went to a place that was the
most raw, stripped down place that you could go to make an album.
Cut all of the lights off and went into a church in New Orleans and for three days it was just me and the piano. T Bone wasn't even in the room. I
couldn't even see him, it was dark. I just channeled all of the -- the spirits of -- I called them ancestors that I wanted to channel through this
We read them (ph) -- read that literature and -- and I -- I played them (ph) music and I just did one take of "St. James Infirmary". I just -- one
take of most of the stuff but "St. James Infirmary" was really just a stream of consciousness. I kind of did the tempo slow like a dirge to
You know it's like the feeling of -- and my left hand is doing that and then over the top I'm singing, I went down to St. James Infirmary. And I
saw -- I saw my baby lying there. She was stretched out on a long white table, yes. So sweet, so calm, so fair.
ISSACSON: And you're doing that and it seems to be showing the pain behind the joy of some of that music and of Louis Armstrong.
BATISTE: Well that's what it's all about. People all across the world are in pain these days and people all across the world need healing. And I
wanted to great an album and a beacon in the culture that not only teaches us about our history and all of the great things that we've created but
something for everybody across the world to listen to and meditate to and reflect to and lead them to a place of hope, not a place of despair.
ISSACSON: And one of the songs on the album that I think you wrote as an original song was supposed to move us forward to the optimism called "Don't
BATISTE: Yes. Yes.
"Don't stop dreaming. Don't stop believing because you know that our time is coming up. So with all you've got, don't stop."
We are here for a short while and then when the creator says it's time, we're gone. And in this moment what do we want to do. How do we want to
be remembered? What is our legacy? And what do we want to setup for the next generation so that they know better?
You know when you know better, you do better. And that's really what the song is talking about. If you're in place where your humanity is
challenged and today with all of the stuff online and Twitter and all over the news and all these things that just bombarding you with lifestyles to
adopt and opinions to take on and all this stuff.
It can be easy to feel that you can lose your humanity in all of that. And I'm just saying don't stop dreaming, don't stop believing, believe in the
higher ideals of your humanity. Love, hope, joy, peace because you know that our time is coming up. We don't have time to waste. So with all
you've got, whatever you have left, don't stop.
ISSACSON: You grew up in New Orleans. At age eight you're playing with your family, the Batiste Brother's Band.
ISSACSON: Long musical tradition there.
What did you learn from New Orleans that helps inform what you talk abut in terms of race and the need to get together?
BATISTE: New Orleans had a very unique history with Congo Square and the enslaved people, our people had the chance to really spread the culture and
infuse the culture that they brought over in to the culture of what has become New Orleans.
And you can see all of that and other cultures aligned and the confluence of all of these things has created a special place for a guy like me born
in the ate `80s to come up and then still have red beans and rice every Monday and have music for everything. Music to dance to, music to sleep
to, music to eat to, you got second line when somebody dies.
All these different things that to me I thought were normal. I thought it was just how every part of the world was. And then once I started touring
and going around and seeing different cultures and experiencing that stuff that is really important as an artist to see the world beyond your block
and to understand human beings.
I really was fortunate to have come up in New Orleans, because New Orleans is the place that celebrates the spirit, the human spirit.
ISSACSON: And you got mentored too by (inaudible) --
BATISTE: Well, yes.
ISSACSON: -- up here in New York at Juilliard, right?
BATISTE: Well, I went to Juilliard for -- I graduated high school early at (inaudible) and St. Aug (ph). I still have my class ring.
ISSACSON: St. Augustine High school.
BATISTE: Verbal knights.
BATISTE: So, I went from St. Aug (ph) and (inaudible). At 17, I moved here. And I went to school right over here at Juilliard. And I studied
for two years and during the time that I was there, Winton (ph) was still coming in to the program. And when I was 17, my first he came in.
And I had known him since I was a kid. And he was like you know you want to join us on the road with the septet? And I joined them on the road and
we went to Mosaic (ph) and we performed. And then from there we kind of had a relationship.
I still call him and talk to him about things that I'm working on. I'm actually working on my first large -- by large assemble, I mean orchestra
big band rhythm section choir and soloist. My first large assemble symphony.
So, I'm going to do it at Juilliard where he's not a running jazz program. And Danny and Wetzel is over there running the president of the school.
It's a goo friend of ours. So, that's going to be exciting.
ISSACSON: OK. How does being on the Late Show affect you, your music, your life?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, LATE SHOW HOST: John Batiste, "Safe Human" everybody. Right over there, give it up for the man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BATISTE: The Late Show, it's a production in the sense that there's a department for everything. Graphics, research, there's a lighting team and
the heater crew and everybody who's in the band. We're all working together every single day to create this show that is lead by Stephen and
gives voice to a perspective in the culture.
And everyday we look at the news and that's what we're speaking to. So, I find it to be -- it's fascinating for me to be a part of that, to be a part
of that machine and to figure out how to do it better and better everyday. It's like a craft.
It's different to anything that I've done, because you never really are given a second chance. It's live almost. And sometimes we have done live
shows. But you do it. And however it was, the next day is another one. It's like a tissue box, endless.
And I find that to be inspiring. There's nothing like playing for people who are not only in the theater but everywhere at home.
ISSACSON: Do you send your afternoons working with Stephen Colbert, looking at the news, preparing for the shows and thinking of the commentary
that you all want to do on the show?
BATISTE: I don't do that.
BATISTE: I typically unplug from the news when I'm not working on the show, because I find that I need balance. And it's funny because I have
never really been politically engaged to the degree that I am now.
ISSACSON: Is Stephen making you more politically engaged?
BATISTE: Well, I think the times are. You just have so much going on that you have to know what's happening. There's so many people who are
suffering that I feel like it's a part of - as a human being, you have to care. Right?
You have to care. But also, just doing this show, I want to have an understanding of what's happening, because that affects my craft; I want to
be great. And we're talking about what's going on everyday, and I want to connect to that in a way that's meaningful.
ISSACSON: "Hollywood Africans," besides being the name of your new album is a painting by the great artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Tell me about the
show that you are planning to do.
BATISTE: Yes, so it's a Broadway show, so - a Broadway musical. And Basquiat's estate, his family and everyone who was in charge of his work
today, has signed off to green-light this product.
And John Doyle, who was the director of "The Color Purple," which recently won the Tony on Broadway, and many other great things - Sweeny Todd - he's
worked with Sondheim partner, in fact, is what he would call himself - is working as the director.
And I'm writing the music and the lyric and the story arch. And it's going to be - in fact, I don't even know what it's going to be but I would
definitely say that it's going to inspire people to want to create and want to find that - that - that creative resonance that's within them, because
everybody has it.
And Jean-Michael Basquiat was a superstar, in terms of exploring who he was through his art and being vulnerable, at the same time, as he's enigmatic;
he was so many things at once.
So he's the subject; and how we explore that subject is something that we're crafting right now for Broadway, which is going to - is going to be
something that I - I'm having a really good time doing this. The music that I've come up with already is just - it's beyond.
ISSACSON: You talked about Louis Armstrong being somebody of great joy. Is there a difference between joy and happiness?
BATISTE: Joy is something that comes from going through pain and coming out on the other side. Happiness is fleeting; happiness is something that
you feel. It's a rush; it's almost like adrenaline, but then it goes. Joy doesn't go. Louis Armstrong had a sense of joy that you can only have when
you know something - you know something about yourself and your self-worth - and you understand something about the value of people and the human
And that's really important, especially now, there's so much that we devalue - with the mudslinging - with all of the things that we're doing
publically to each other. And I really find that joy, for me, comes in knowing that there's something better - there's something greater on the
ISSACSON: So you've achieved that sense of joy in your life?
BATISTE: I'm trying.
ISSACSON: And you're doing it partly by taking the song in which Louis Armstrong explores joy (ph), which is "What a Wonderful World," and you
reinterpret it for your new album. Can we end with that?
BATISTE: Yes, absolutely. Let me see.
(BATISTE SINGING "WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD")
ISSACSON: Jon Batiste, I love you; thank you for being on.
BATISTE: Thank you, Walter. I love you, brother.
ISSACSON: Thanks a lot.
AMANPOUR: Important to remember, it is a wonderful world. And it is goodbye from us, for now. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast -
see us online at amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching, and goodbye from London.