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Boris Johnson`s Suspension of Parliament in U.K. Supreme Court; Tehran Denies Responsibility on the Attack on Saudi Oil Fields; David Miliband, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee, is Interviewed About the Attack on Saudi`s Oil Fields and Boris Johnson; Combating Maternal Mortality Around the World; Christy Turlington Burns, Founder, every Mother Counts, is Interviewed About Her Campaign, "Every Mother Counts." Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 17, 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Everybody all over Twitter about what we`re doing to come out of the E.U. But believe me, we`re going to
get it done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The clock is ticking on the British prime minister as the U.K. Supreme Court gets set to rule on his suspension of Parliament. Former
foreign minister, David Miliband, on Brexit and tensions in the Persian Gulf.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTY TURLINGTON BURNS, FOUNDER, EVERY MOTHER COUNTS: What seemed like an instant, I went from feeling invincible to powerless.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The super model Christy Turlington Burns on how her own baby`s dangerous delivery led her to combat maternal mortality around the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA POWER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: It was a mistake?
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: It was a mistake to go to Congress?
POWER: Well, it was a mistake in the sense that the votes weren`t there and --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: President Obama`s U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power, on her administration`s failure to intervene in Syria.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I`m Christiane Amanpour in London, where the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in what will surely be one of its
most momentous decisions for these times, whether Boris Johnson broke the law by asking the queen to suspend Parliament ahead of the Brexit deadline
The British prime minister met with E.U. leaders on Monday who were still waiting a detailed proposal for a deal from Johnson. The Luxemburg prime
minister pulled off a bit of political theater holding a press conference next to an empty podium because Johnson didn`t want to speak outside near
My guest tonight is David Miliband who served as both British foreign secretary and a leading member of the Labour Party. He`s now president of
the International Rescue Committee. And so, he`s well placed to discuss the other global crisis, the fallout from the attack on Saudi oil
Tehran has denied its responsible and President Hassan Rouhani says that the attacks, whoever is responsible, are all about the devastating proxy
war in Yemen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HASSAN ROUHANI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I look at it more as a question of security and stability rather than oil, but the root cause
of it goes back to the Yemen problem. Those that attacked Yemen and conduct daily bombardments and have levelled great parts of the country and
taken hundreds of thousands of Yemeni lives and supported by waves of American and European armaments, they must be held to answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: David Miliband is joining me from New York.
Now, welcome to the program.
DAVID MILIBAND, PRESIDENT AND CEO, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: Thanks, Christiane. Good to be with you.
AMANPOUR: So, let`s just take where the president of Iran left off, talking about the bombings and, obviously, he was referring to Saudi Arabia
and the coalition with the United States and others in Yemen.
From your perspective, as president of the IRC and with such an obvious interest in what happens to the people there, the refugees, just give us,
you know, a layout of what is happening on the ground, what this war is doing to the people there.
MILIBAND: Yes. The International Rescue Committee has about 600 staff in Yemen, in the northern part, which is controlled by the Houthi rebel
alliance and the south where there are remnants of the Hadi government and a range of other forces who are in control.
I was in Yemen myself at this time last year. And essentially, what is happening is that the war strategy that has been prosecuted by the Saudi-
led coalition over the last five years, four to five years, has comprehensively failed in its principle war aim, which was to dislodge the
Houthis from Sanaa, which used to be the capital of Yemen.
It`s also failed in its secondary aim which was to push back the Iranians. The Iranians are stronger today than they were four or five years ago. And
then there`s a third element to this. In the south of the country, the Saudi-led coalition is breaking up. The United Arab Emirates have
essentially backed some secessionist forces. And so, you`re seeing fragmentation in the country and radicalization, alongside a desperate
humanitarian crisis, 24 million people are in desperate need of humanitarian aid to survive. Levels of malnutrition are unprecedented.
Cholera had the largest outbreak last year.
And so, we`re there, the International Rescue Committee, on humanitarian grounds. But frankly, the country is imprisoned by this political military
AMANPOUR: So, I mean, really, it is extraordinary to hear you even say four nearly five years that this has been going on. The tens of millions
of people at risk and those who have died of cholera and the rest of it. Why do you think, and what is your view as to who might have been
[13:05:00] responsible? Why do you think the Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack on the Saudi insulations given what might be
the repercussions and it might hurt them?
MILIBAND: Well, I think that the argument about the relationship between the Houthis and the Iranians is obviously the center of the geopolitics of
this dispute. My own view is that the Houthis have long standing roots in Yemeni society, there are branch of Shia, the so-called Zaidi branch of
Shia, they don`t have historic links with the Iranians.
But over the last 10 years, or so, five to 10 years, those links have strengthened. And in the last four to five years, the Iranians have seen a
cheap way to tweak the tale of Saudi Arabia and its Western allies by supporting the Houthis in this civil war.
The claim of responsibility is, obviously, being looked at in a rather skeptical way because the drones that seem to have been used go way beyond
anything that the Houthis have ever shown before and there are some significant claims from the U.S. amongst others that the Iranians were
But here is the terrible truth, there`s a crisis of diplomacy not just in Yemen. The crisis of diplomacy applies across the Middle East and
significantly revolves around the role of Iran in the region. The U.S. tore up the nuclear agreement, which tried to take off the table, the
ultimate weapon that the Iranians were feared to be chasing.
And, of course, by backing the Iranians into a corner, by allowing the hardliners in Tehran to say that the reformers were always wrong to believe
they have come to a deal with the West, you`ve got a situation where Iran feels it`s got nothing to lose. And so, I don`t have any background
intelligence on the precise location of the origin of this sort of this very devastating strike on the Saudi oil field.
What I do know is that there are more options for the Iranians than there are for the Americans or Saudis at the moment. That`s the case for two
reasons. And the Iranians are prepared to escalade because they`re already being economically strangled.
And secondly, they`ve shown or it`s been shown over the last 72 hours that the Saudi defenses of their all-important oil installations are very weak
indeed. And that leaves the American administration in a real fix because they can talk about being locked and loaded, as the president said in his
rather unfortunate phrase the day before yesterday. But it`s clear that they lack allies and lack strategy for dealing with some pretty
incompatible questions in the Persian Gulf.
AMANPOUR: So that`s really interesting, that analysis. And just to be clear, after the locked and loaded statement, the vice president`s chief of
staff denied that it necessarily meant a military intervention. But be that as it may, and as you say, the administration seems to have A, few
allies and B, few options in dealing with Iran, nonetheless, it`s possible that Yemen and its people could be dragged further into this morass. Here
is what the U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen said about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN GRIFFITHS, UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL ENVOY FOR YEMEN: As a minimum, this kind of action carries the risk of dragging Yemen into a regional
configuration. Because of one thing we can be certain, and that is this extremely serious incident makes the chances of a regional conflict that
much higher and that the reparational (ph) that much lower.
And with Yemen, in some way or other linked, none of that is good for Yemen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, there he is delineating what is not good for Yemen. We know that Syria is still in the midst of a war, Assad is still trying to
neutralize, annihilate the remnants of the opposition and there is, you know, the potential for conflict and more war in the region.
You, as IRC, have put out a rather calamitous or envisioning the catastrophe that is unfolding in some of the refugee camps inside Syria.
We had a report from the ground from there just last week, particularly with 70,000 people, many women and children at the al-Hawl Camp. What is
your report saying about that?
MILIBAND: Well, look, Martin Griffiths, just to finish on that point, the U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen is an outstanding diplomat. The only
difference I would have with him is he says that Yemen is threatened by being engulfed with regional configuration. I would say, it already is
engulfed, that`s what 24 million people in the humanitarian need means. And the pursuit of the war strategy by the Saudi-led coalition is being
justified on the grounds that they can`t afford to comprise with an Iranian-backed side. So, Yemen is already the crucible for this.
The report that we`ve put out on [13:10:00] al-Hawl is really devastating reading. It shows that over 300 children have died in the al-Hawl Camp.
This is a place, you`re right, to say 70,000 people are there. 7,000 of them are suspected ISIS foreign fighters. And they are in a secluded part
of the camp, where it`s difficult to get in to deliver humanitarian aid. We are there. But we are literally seeing children under the age of five,
babies dying in their tents of malnutrition-related diseases before they even get to the health centers that exist in the camp.
So, there is a real tragedy of enormous proportions because these are the innocent victims of the war. These are children under the age of five who
are literally at the end of their lives, on the edge of death. And our report shows that the rate of death has more than doubled since March this
year. There are around 150 deaths in the run up to March. The rate of death has more than doubled. And that speaks to the desperate conditions.
But it also speaks to this diplomatic stasis about what happens to the people.
MILIBAND: Some countries have volunteered to take them back to face justice, that`s the right thing, but too many are refusing to do so. And
that leaves the innocent victims, as well as the potentially guilty ones stuck.
AMANPOUR: So, not to put too fine a point on it, but pivot to something that is happening right here in Great Britain, which is in the middle of
the Brexit mess. You`re a former foreign minister, foreign secretary. Britain used to actually take very interventionalist actions in diplomacy
and humanitarian care and trying to solve some of these great global problems. And yet, Brexit seems to be taking all the oxygen out of all of
Having said that, I just want to get your take on what I said, which was that the Supreme Court here is about to rule this week on whether the prime
minister broke the law in suspending Parliament and getting the queen to agree to that. What is your view on that?
MILIBAND: Well, you`re right to say that Brexit has sucked the life out of British foreign policy over the last three years, and threatens to do so
for many years to come. My view is that Boris Johnson, the prime minister, is on the run from Parliament. He`s on the run because he knows he doesn`t
have a majority for the policy that he is pursuing. The policy is Britain will leave the European Union on the 31st of October, whether or not
there`s a deal. He`s ready to pull us out without a deal.
And not a single expert will tell you there`s time between the European Council on the 17th and 18th of October and the end of October to get
through the necessary legislation. And so, that`s why he`s on the run and that`s why he is flaunting constitutional and political norms in such a
cavalier way. And it grieves me to see the state of British politics at the moment. But the country has to come to terms with the fundamental
choices that are posed by the Brexit referendum, not least to the legitimacy of Parliament.
Because, obviously, Britain is a Parliamentary democracy and pitted against that now is the result of a referendum and it taken three years ago. And
really worries me that the idea of a no-deal Brexit, no relations with the European at all after October the 31st, should have been normalized in the
process of trying to justify the pursuit of the goal set out three years ago.
AMANPOUR: And as I also said in the introduction, the prime minister, Boris Johnson, went to Europe, to the seat of Europe in Brussels, first
time meeting with the head of the European Commission, and by all intents and purposes, afterwards we were told there were no new British proposals
put forth to even contemplate some kind of a new or amended deal.
So, it looks like they`re hurdling toward a no-deal. That`s what people are saying. Boris Johnson compared himself to The Hulk and said he`ll get
out of this not one way or another and get out of the E.U. one way or another.
So, the question then is, given what Parliament has done by a majority saying that, we cannot have a no-deal Brexit. Do you believe that the
prime minister might kind of break the law and have a no-deal Brexit anyway? That`s a huge point of discussion and debate here in the U.K.
MILIBAND: Well, I find it very hard to believe that a British prime minister would disobey the law. And your viewers around the world, I
think, would find it extraordinary. That country renowned for its pragmatism, for its stability should be taking leave of its senses, never
mind taking leave of its legal history in the way that you describe.
The good news is that there are parliamentarians willing to stand up for the rule of law and they will take this to the ultimate conclusion, which
eventually is to threaten their support for the government. The [13:15:00] government now does not have majority because of the way it tried to purge
its enemies within the Conservative Party.
And the important point is that Parliament continues to stand up for its rights. Because when the role of MPs is subjugated, then democracy itself
is at risk. And that`s why I think the passions are so high and why the attention to the Supreme Court, the judgment or Supreme Court case that you
mentioned is so important.
There is a way out but it involves all sides acknowledging that in the end the people have to be the arbiters of this. And so, whatever final deal is
done, including no-deal, is put to the British people in a final judgment about how to at least end this stage of the Brexit saga.
AMANPOUR: And very quickly, we`ve only got about 45 seconds left. You`ve seen David Cameron`s book, "The Exerts." He has said he`s very depressed
and upset about this result and that, you know, he accused Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, a former leave minister, of being economical with the
truth. Truth twisting, he said. Are you glad he`s saying that now?
MILIBAND: Yes. I think it`s important that he speaks out. Many people feel it was his decision to launch the referendum that got us into this
mess in the first place. And I think it is very important that someone from the Conservative Party is able to speak up in this way, especially
someone with his experience and background. I`m obviously sorry he`s depressed. I can commend to him work in international NGO as a way of, at
least, mitigating the frustration that ex-politicians feel from the sense of impotence that comes from leaving office. But there is a world outside
AMANPOUR: There`s a whole another layer to that last answer. David Miliban, thank you so much indeed.
MILIBAND: Thanks very, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: And we turn now to someone who is using her life in the spotlight to illuminate a dark issue. She is Christy Turlington Burns, one
of the world`s original super models. She`s walked thousands of runways and appeared on countless magazine covers, including most recently British
"Vogue" September issue. It`s most important of the year. But her focus for nearly a decade has been the issue of maternal mortality. And this
became personal as she explained in her documentary "No Woman, No Cry."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TURLINGTON BURNS: The labor itself was intense. Not pretty much went the way I imagined it would go. Then in what seemed like an instant, I went
from feeling invincible to powerless. The midwife called for backup, they took my baby away and I began to hemorrhage. I`ll never forget the fear
and panic of that moment. Fortunately, I got through it. But too many women around the world don`t.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And that`s what makes it so urgent. And we sat down in New York to talk about her campaign "Every Mother Counts."
Christy Turlington Burns, welcome to the program.
TURLINGTON BURNS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: We have just seen a really dramatic piece in my introduction to you of a very intimate scene in which you are in distress in labor, you`ve
just given birth to your child, and then it gets very dangerous for you because you hemorrhage. Remind of us what happened when you gave birth to
your daughter, Grace.
TURLINGTON BURNS: Yes. So, after a very good pregnancy, no complications at all, lots of birth options, a great team taking care of me and a
supportive partner, the unexpected happened. I delivered Grace. I didn`t know that she was going to be a girl. So, the most exciting thing was that
I was meeting my daughter for the first time.
And then after having, you know, a few minutes, really, bonding with her. She latched on to breastfeed. Everything was sort of going well, as it
should be. And I was, you know, sort of euphoric, I could sort of feel the feeling in the room just changed. The nurses and the midwife got a little
bit nervous and what I later learned was that after a certain period of time, when the placenta doesn`t expel it becomes quite toxic inside the
And so, it needed to be extracted. And because I had an unmedicated, natural delivery, that meant without any pain medication or anything like
AMANPOUR: What about it led you to your activism? Because you could have thought, well, you know, it was my bad luck.
TURLINGTON BURNS: You know it took a little while to process. I would say I think in those first few days, I was sharing my story with people who
came to visit me and I would talk about it and I learned other people had had a similar kind of complication or other complications that I was not
aware of in my pregnancy. But then, I don`t know, a year or so later, when I was pregnant with my son, I was able to travel to El Salvador, which is
where my [13:20:00] mom was born and where I spent some time in my youth and visiting NGO and some programs there, that`s where I had the aha
I was about six months pregnant and it`s my mother`s country and we`re in very, you know, poor communities, hours away from the capital city. And In
one particular site visit where we were visiting a water project, a lot of women had come either with small children on their backs or pregnant. And
that`s where I kind of, you know, put my feet in their shoes.
And I thought, had I had the delivery with my daughter in this community, where women had to walk miles to get to clean water, where all the homes
were tin roofed, where there was no electricity, where the roads weren`t paved and you`re two hours away from a hospital. I learned that a woman
could bleed out with the same complication I had, if you don`t get to that emergency obstetric care within two hours, maybe sooner.
AMANPOUR: And I was stunned to learn and I assume you were, that in terms of maternal mortality, the U.S. is the only Western country where this is
TURLINGTON BURNS: Exactly. So, in 2003 when I delivered my daughter, the global estimate was 530,000 girls and women were estimated to die every
year and that those numbers hadn`t budged in decades.
It was only when I was traveling in El Salvador that I learned where the U.S. was. And I was shocked to learn that the U.S. was ranked 41st at that
time. And I learned, also, that, you know, really of all the developed countries in the world, we are doing the worst. We`re one of 13 countries
with the rising maternal mortality rate. And that was completely shocking.
And I learned in New York that we`re also really poorly ranked. In fact, New York City, African-American women are 12 times more likely to die than
Caucasian women. And that`s three to four times more than the national average, which is shocking.
AMANPOUR: Why is this happening in the United States? What is it that makes this figure keep rising?
TURLINGTON BURNS: It`s interesting, because the U.S. is complex for many reasons. It`s -- it could be 50 countries versus 50 states. When I was
going through the exploration of figuring out how I would be a good advocate, I went back to school to work on Masters in Public Health at
Columbia and then I started a documentary film.
And that film, "No Woman, No Cry" was really kind of a thesis in a way of my exploring what were the barriers and challenges in a number of
countries, and the U.S. was part of that exploration process. There are a number of reasons why we`re doing so poorly.
For one, we have a lot of chronic health conditions that are on the rise, such as diabetes and obesity. That impacts the outcomes of pregnancy. Not
only for babies but for mothers. There`s also racial disparities that are -- have been a problem for a very long time.
But now, we`re really focusing on what is driving that. And what we`re learning from talking to women and hearing more stories from women who
experience, you know, near misses, which is very, very common, if women don`t die, there are 20 to 30 others who will suffer lifelong disabilities
related to childbirth and pregnancy. And we`re hearing from women that they`re not listened to or they`re disregarded in hospital settings.
AMANPOUR: I mean, the stats are crazy. Some doctors can enter the specialty of maternal fetal medicine, even complete training without
spending any time labor delivery unit. I mean, it`s extraordinary. Serena Williams who is, obviously, a major star, who had her first baby girl and
nearly died in that process, she also wrote about it and focused on what you`re talking about, which was the racial disparity. What can be done
about it? What does your organization do?
TURLINGTON BURNS: Well, we`ve been really trying to educate the public about this as an issue, generally, at the local level, at the national
level and at the international level. But we`ve also tried to really invest in health care providers, midlevel providers, not every pregnancy
required a physician. We partner with a lot of community-led organizations. So, it`s very important for women who are most vulnerable
to see themselves in the providers that provide care for them.
And so, it`s really important for them to be getting care prenatally as well as throughout their pregnancies and post-partum. We try to educate
people about family planning and family spacing, which is controversial but it is the most effective way to keep a mother safe throughout her -- the
rest of her reproductive nursing.
AMANPOUR: And I guess it must be gratifying to you to see and I think it`s for the first time that all the major Democratic candidates are putting
this issue, you know, pretty heftily on their agenda. Are you satisfied with the way the Democratic candidates are pledging to combat this?
TURLINGTON BURNS: I am. I mean, 10 years ago, when I started "Every Mother Counts,` there were a few bills that were introduced and they just
passed at the end of 2018.
AMANPOUR: Ten years.
TURLINGTON BURNS: Ten years. I spent an early part of this year, actually, in May around Mother`s Day [13:25:00] on the Hill talking to
members on both sides, and a lot of them had the attitude of well, we passed the other two things. Why do we need more? And if there are
Democrats introducing these bills, we don`t want to be on their side. So, we can`t possibly -- so that`s frustrating, the way it works at the
AMANPOUR: Your film, you talked about "No Women, No Cry," and there are scenes from other parts of the world where you were investigating this.
And we`re going to play a clip and this one is from Tanzania and it`s all about a woman in distress trying to get to somewhere safe, a hospital to
have her baby.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`ve been laying here in pain, waiting, thinking that the baby is coming, but it isn`t. Why hasn`t God helped me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need a car because of the severity of your condition. Do you have any money to go to the hospital?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing at all?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
TURLINGTON BURNS: Janet`s labor birth is not progressing and a threat of death for baby and mother is palpable. With no money to pay for food or
transport, the nurses ask us to help. We arrange for a van to take Janet to the nearest hospital, an hour away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Did that shock you that you actually had to intervene? There was nobody else but your team to actually pay for a vehicle to take this
woman to somewhere safe, a clinic to have her baby.
TURLINGTON BURNS: I mean, I think if we hadn`t been there, probably the nurses would have come together and found some way to pull together funds
and they do do that from time to time. It`s very -- I mean, I`m not a traditional filmmaker and that was my first film. But we did break that
fourth wall because the last thing that I wanted to do was sit by and watch if we could help.
At that time, I really hadn`t taken in that even a hospital that is 45 kilometers away is the difference between life and death. And Janet
happened to live far from the main road. So --
AMANPOUR: I mean, it was about two hours away by vehicle.
TURLINGTON BURNS: Exactly. In the end, I think, some of that vehicle ride, it`s a very bumpy ride, a lot of people watch it and they just griped
their seats. I think some of that helped to induce the labor and I think it was actually helpful. But it had to be excruciatingly painful.
I mean, I drove from Downtown Manhattan to Midtown Manhattan while in labor, and I remember leaning over the backseat of the car and asking my
husband how much further and he was lying to me saying like, five minutes. But I could see as we were passing the different streets and I knew how far
and that was a 15-minute ride.
So, to imagine someone who is in the state that Janet was for an hour, and that`s not even an average distance a woman will have to travel.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it is really dire when you think about it. And then there are other issues that affect women as well, customs, the idea of
shame, the idea of what you can say in public, what kind of help can you ask for in the public, and you came across that in Bangladesh. We`ll just
going to play this clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have heard people say that at the hospital babies are taken away and sold. Then I heard from someone that a woman had given
birth to a baby who was healthy but then the baby died.
TURLINGTON BURNS: While their husband away in the countryside working, Monica (ph) has no choice but to deal with her pregnancy on her own.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why don`t you want to give birth in the village? Why are you having the baby here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m going to have it here because I`ve been here so long already. Imagine if I have to travel in this state? I`d be a bit
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`d feel embarrassed that everyone would see you are having a baby?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You wouldn`t be able to go on the bus in your condition?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: How much did you find? Were you surprised by that?
TURLINGTON BURNS: That`s just probably the first example where I took in the reality that women wouldn`t necessarily feel comfortable articulating
how they feel or to express what they want for themselves.
In Bangladesh, I think it was a pretty typical picture of the lack of decision making that so many women have in many parts of the world.
Monica, for example, her husband works far away. She`s at home with a small child. Her sister, I believe, was the person who is closest and who
had the decision-making power in her family dynamic during the time we were with her. Had we not travelled with her to the hospital, seen the way the
doctors treated her there, even with a crew and even with people, like it was unbelievable to me how she was treated and disregarded.
AMANPOUR: Tell me how.
BURNS: In that particular program where we met Monica, she had a skilled birth attendant, a sort of patient advocate who traveled with her to kind
of help navigate the hospital. So the doctor talked to the navigator, not to Monica.
And when he talked about her, he was so dismissive. She could understand every word that he was saying. She didn`t speak a different language.
But it was so dismissive and so judgmental, that when we left that appointment that day, I remember thinking there`s no way she`s going to go
back. Why would she go back? Why would she risk traveling for half an hour to get to a hospital where a doctor is going to diminish her and treat
And that happens in the United States. That happens all over the world. But I really saw it out there and the impact of that.
So what happens when women are fearful of the way they`re treated and the discrimination they might face in an institution, they just stop trusting
and they think I`ll just take my risks and I`ll stay home.
And sometimes they might need care and it might be too late. And other times, it might work out perfectly fine. But they really do leave it up to
AMANPOUR: Let`s just remind everybody what we`re talking about and the gravity of this. In a country like this one, maternal mortality is rising.
The only place in western democracy, western hemisphere.
You mentioned that you are partly from El Salvador. Your mother is El Salvador.
And you see what is happening to people coming from El Salvador, all the other places in Central America, including pregnant women, women who have
seen themselves separated from their children at the border.
How do you feel when you see what is happening to people who obviously are -- I mean you came from that culture?
BURNS: The thing that worries me the most is how many so Americans are disconnected from the history, our history and our hand in creating
countries that the people from those countries want to leave. My grandfather left in the `40s and he left before their war and before things
were in the state they`re currently in.
And he left, in some ways through political asylum, but it was a time when we weren`t closing our doors and we weren`t slamming the door in people`s
faces. And so my mom was separated from her dad for a few years until the rest of the family moved over.
She didn`t recognize her father when she arrived in Los Angeles. She was 8-years-old.
So I had my mom`s story that is so visceral for me that, you know, if I saw any child of any age, I would feel strongly but I think because I have that
story and that connection, it really breaks my heart.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you, because you`ve spoken about it and it`s really interesting in this divisive time. I mean, as I said, you come from
El Salvador, your mother does.
And you entered the modelling field here. What was it like being El Salvadorian entering that business? Did you ever feel like an outsider?
Was it an advantage?
BURNS: No. I found it to be an advantage always to have had -- to come from someplace that either people didn`t know of but everybody always gets
them confused, Equador and El Salvador. As I know, one is South America and one is Central America. People don`t even know where it is.
But if people did know what El Salvador was or where it was, they only associated it to war and guerilla warfare and it had very negative
connotations. So I kind of liked revealing. I had sort of look that people couldn`t really -- where was I from, what was the mix I was and I
kind of liked that.
And then when I would be able to reveal that it was El Salvador and it was slightly edgy place at the time when I first started, that was, to me,
always a good thing.
AMANPOUR: Tell me about your recent foray back on to the cat walk for Marc Jacobs.
BURNS: Well, of all the -- that part of my career, the runway was not my favorite thing ever. Not even -- not in the beginning, not in the middle,
not at the end. So to have spent so much time away from it, to go back to it was a little bit scary.
But Marc is a really dear friend. We grew up together and I felt as safe as I could possibly feel. And, also, fashion shows are so different than
they used to be.
First of all, they last all of seven minutes. Each model wears one outfit. It`s not like in my day when we changed 10 times and it was complete chaos
and a show could last an hour.
It`s so much easier. Just kind of jump in and jump out. It was actually perfectly pleasant. But I have no desire to do it again.
AMANPOUR: Was it something you were also saying about a woman`s choice, a woman`s right, a woman`s age?
BURNS: Yes. I mean there have always been models who have come back from a period and, you know, it`s been like, oh, you know, look at Gerry Hall.
And they have come back, that they`ve had some kind of career and legacy.
So I don`t feel like it was so outside of the box. If anything, it was just sort of like why not. You know, why not and wouldn`t it be OK for
people to see someone who is ageing naturally?
And, you know, if there was going to be a time, this was the right time. And then we did the campaign after, which was not part of the original
plan. And that was really lovely, too, because Marc and I are in the pictures together and the photos are taken by Steven Meisel and we`ve all
just been friends for 30 plus years.
And the images are very kind of classic and retro, also.
AMANPOUR: Black and white, yes.
BURNS: Before my time, they`re more kind of `40s and `50s. And that also felt fun to do something a little bit more of a characteristic than who I
am. A little escapism for the day.
There was a long time in my career after I stopped working regularly as a model and went back to school that I really wanted to separate myself from
the industry and kind of reinvent myself. And it`s hard to do that when you have a name in one field or another.
AMANPOUR: But does your name help in this field, in "Every Mother Counts"?
BURNS: It might sometimes. Certainly when I`m in a field that doesn`t matter at all.
In fact, I think if people are told this is a person who is a public figure, they see me and they`re like, oh, you are? Because I`ve never -- I
don`t present myself that way. I`m not -- I`ve never really presented myself in any kind of way like that.
I think it was media certainly. Because I think media always cares to have a name. It always helps.
In fact, my legal name does not include Turlington but I cannot shake it because nobody will accept just Christi Burns. So I just incorporate it as
opposed to -- like I don`t mind my name. I love my name but it`s long and it`s at the end of the alphabet. So I was really happy to have B.
AMANPOUR: You want it to come up, yes.
BURNS: So I was really happy to have the B.
AMANPOUR: Well, Christi Turlington Burns.
BURNS: Yes, (inaudible).
AMANPOUR: Thank you very much for being with us.
BURNS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: A really important issue there. And we turn now to another woman who wears a lot of hats, so to speak.
Former U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power has been an activist, a journalist, an author, and a policymaker. Her first book on genocide, "A Problem from
Hell" won a Pulitzer Prize.
But when she served on President Obama`s National Security Council and later as Ambassador to the United Nations, she found that too often, the
road to hell is paved with good intentions.
She sat down with Walter Isaacson to discuss her new memoir "The Education of an Idealist."
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
WALTER ISAACSON, CONTRIBUTOR: Samantha, thank you for being with us.
SAMANTHA POWER, AUTHOR, THE EDUCATION OF AN IDEALIST: Thank you, Walter.
ISAACSON: This is an extraordinarily personal, intimate memoir. And it really begins with your relationship with your father and sort of growing
up reading mystery stories in a pub in Ireland when you were a kid. Tell me about that.
POWER: So the it pub in Dublin was called Hardigans. It still exists. It`s a bit grimy. It`s probably not the place I would want my children to
be hanging out reading mysteries.
But there were some -- there`s something at least in my memory that is quite magical about my father, who died subsequently, when I was 14 years
So who I don`t have as many memories as I would like to have with but he would bring me to the pub. He would park me next to him. He was such a
regular of this pub and, unfortunately, was a big drinker that the seat at the bar was called "The Seat of Power" for Jim Power, my dad.
And I would sit next to him and I would go down into the basement and I would just while the hours away reading my books and coming up when I was
done with one, looking for another. He would run to the car and get me another one.
And again, no environment for a child. But when you`re a child, the fact that you can capture your father`s attention when you need it, you know,
can end up being the only measure of the man. And that`s how I felt at the time. I certainly didn`t feel, at that time, like I had a difficult
But my mother and my father separated and there was no divorce in Ireland back then. So the options for her, she had met somebody else, also an
Irishman from Dublin, and they wanted to build a life together.
So they decided to make their move to this country. But it ended up in tragedy because after we came to America, and really before I got to spend
more meaningful time with my dad, my father died, to me, very suddenly.
ISAACSON: And you talked so much about the anxieties that came out of that. I think it`s very useful for readers to know, too, that people like
yourself can be deeply anxious because you had to, in some ways, choose when you were in America between your mother and your father and then his
drinking happened. And then you deal with it the rest of your life.
BURNS: You deal with it and you don`t even know what you`re carrying. You know I think it`s -- for me, it was years later before I really started to
unpack just the sense of responsibility I felt, you know, as often as the case with children who grow up to be adults and look back, they exaggerate.
They impose their adult selves on their child selves and think that when they were children, they have the power and the agency that they have when
they`re looking back.
So unpacking all that was really important, but, yes, again, whether because of these events or for other reasons, but I found myself at
different times in my life, actually -- usually when I was in unstressful environments, with just horrific kind of constricted breathing and it was
often the case I could free myself from these feelings.
Only when I was, for example, a war correspondent or when I was operating under a deadline or even later in life when I was in a very high-stakes
negotiation. Whereas when things were still, you know, whenever lay within, whatever sort of would come bubbling up.
And so I write about trying the therapist to understand that a little bit and, you know, sometimes you feel very alone when you`re going through
episodes like that or you`re feeling, I mean, there are people with many more significant challenges than I have faced.
But whether it`s that or writing about our efforts to conceive a child and infertility and IVF and all of that, it`s just like this is life. This is
what it looks like.
It doesn`t look like the veneer of all these polished people running around. There`s a great saying that I come back to in the book which is
never compare your insides to somebody else`s outsides.
And I feel like there`s something deep in that but to open up the insides and then let people know out there that, you know, everybody has their
ISAACSON: Tell me about getting to know Obama.
POWER: Well, it came about because he read "A Problem from Hell", the book on American responses to genocide. And I was surprised. He was the only
senator who reached out to me, had reached out to me at that point, at least having read the book.
And I thought maybe he would want to talk about the book in its narrow sense, focusing specifically on mass atrocities and what can be done. But,
in fact, he was really interested. It was a very creative read or a kind of broader read in sort of what that set of responses indicated about the
tendency of the U.S. government not to think about human consequences more broadly on a whole set of issues.
And he was new to the Senate, on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and wanting to put forth already what he called a tough, smart, and humane
approach to foreign policy.
ISAACSON: So you become a foreign policy advisor to his during the campaign. And you get to know Cass Sunstein who becomes your husband.
POWER: I do.
ISAACSON: So it`s all rolled into one.
POWER: Yes. Well, that one, that was a bit of America. That`s more serendipity because I was sitting on my desk one day and Cass -- I received
a letter, excuse me, an e-mail from Cass Sunstein, the Cass Sunstein whose books I`ve read.
And the e-mail basically was an e-mail lambasting the state of the campaign or at least one subset of the campaign that worked on Obama`s rule of law
ISAACSON: And it`s a blast e-mail he didn`t mean to blast out.
POWER: Well, he was trying to send it to one person and I received it.
ISAACSON: And so it was that great e-mail mistake.
POWER: Yes, completely. I`m thinking did he just send to that one person because it was addressed to one person. Am I the only one? And then very
soon I realized it had gone to the entire Obama campaign.
ISAACSON: And that made you decide you wanted to marry him?
POWER: I thought like poor guy. I mean what else to think? Nobody else is going to marry him. No.
I thought to myself, I`ve done that and it sucks. My heart, I just went out to Cass Sunstein. And so I wrote him.
I said just don`t worry about it and next time you`re in Boston, let`s get a coffee, I promise you people will forget. And next thing I knew, we were
ISAACSON: Well, he had to walk you through your big mistake.
POWER: Yes, he did.
ISAACSON: Which is on book tour, you make the mistake of offhandedly using the word "monster" when you`re talking about Hillary Clinton.
POWER: Not my finest hour.
ISAACSON: And so you have to step down from the campaign for a while. You`re in the penalty box.
POWER: Yes. Sinbin as my Irish relatives called it, indeed. It was my first campaign. You know, I was so emotionally invested.
I did not have the kind of distance or the experience of prior campaigns. So, you know, what were probably, in retrospect, pretty traditional, OK,
maybe not ideal campaign tactics but a bit run of the mill, for me, were just these transgressions.
And so basically I went off and was all upset about something that the Clinton campaign was doing and then a reporter published it and it included
the denigrated comments about Senator Clinton and it was mortifying.
For the first time, really since the community of reporters I`ve been with in Bosnia, I was on this amazing team. And the next thing, poof, it was
And I had just started dating Cass, at the time. And my impulse was to push him away and go through this period where I was very embarrassed and
ashamed as to what happened. But to go through it on my own, and he just wouldn`t let me. He was just like nope.
ISAACSON: And your mentor Richard Holbrooke decides to give you a wedding gift.
POWER: He decided -- you know he was one of the great negotiators in American foreign policy history, and he decided to put those skills to use
and went to Senator Clinton after Barack Obama had secured the democratic nomination and he said I would like to broker a meeting between Samantha,
who stepped down from the campaign for the things she said about you, and you, would you indulge that? And she was great.
ISAACSON: The real hitting of reality that happens to you is Syria. Explain why you were so adamant
that America needed to do something when Assad uses those chemical weapons.
POWER: Well, I mean, technically everyone in the world was adamant that someone needed to do something. I mean it was the largest chemical weapons
attack in 25 years.
The challenging question was what was the thing that needed to be done? And what was the tools that could be employed at manageable risk or cost
that would bring about the benefits that you saw, which is no more chemical weapons attacks of that monstrous nature.
And what I describe in the book was what many remember, which was global revulsion over what had occurred at very swift response on the part of
President Obama and basically a resolve to punish the chemical weapons attack with limited military air strikes followed by a tasking to me to go
and get U.N. weapons inspectors out of Syria. Not to go physically to Syria but go to the secretary general and to get him to pull those
inspectors out because they were there to answer a question that didn`t need to be resolved, which was not who did it, that would have been a very
useful question to resolve because Russia and other countries were claiming it wasn`t the Syrian regime.
But they were only there with the mandate to discover whether or not chemical weapons had been used. And everybody knew they had been used.
Russia, Iran, Syrian government, nobody was denying it.
The only relevant question was who had done it and what to do about it. And so the secretary general, for a set of reasons that I explained in the
book, said they`re there. We`re going to fulfill the mandate.
And they stayed and they gathered samples and they talked to survivors and they established, of course, what everybody already knew which was that it
had been used. But over the course of that week where they didn`t come home, in the meantime, David Cameron went to his parliament and was
thwarted in his effort to get support to join the United States and France in this limited military action.
And President Obama himself began to hear from members of Congress who said come here. You shouldn`t be going into a country like Syria. This doesn`t
have anything to do with the military authorization that the president was given in the wake of 9/11. You should seek a new authorization.
Or people criticizing him for other reasons but what ended up happening is in that week, President Obama decided to change course not in his ultimate
dispositions. He was still intent on using air strikes again to try to disable dimensions of the program, but he decided that in order to do so,
and in order to not take on the risk of this lasting a long time and Assad being able to in effect wait the United States out, he decided to go to
ISAACSON: But in your book, you say you ask a very important question when he surprises you.
ISAACSON: And says OK, I drew the red line but I`m not going to do the attack until I get congressional approval. And you say?
POWER: What happens if you don`t get the votes? And I had just gone through Senate confirmation.
And so as I write in the book, every fiber in my being was thinking it doesn`t really feel like it`s on the level up there. You know, it`s not
the case, really, that the very Republicans who have been calling on you to use force and, you know, denouncing your -- what they call your
fecklessness that they`re going to turn around and now embrace what you do, they seem to want to do the opposite of whatever you want to do on a given
And, you know, there is, also, the great exhaustion and disillusionment and despair over how the war in Iraq went and Democrats, especially, and
Progressives are very disturbed by that and very concerned about something that might lead us to be entangled.
So I had the sense of I`m not sure among Republicans or Democrats like is there a quorum here for this? But he, you know, again, his logic was very
sound, which was you`re stronger as America in the world when you have domestic backing and you`re weaker when you`re out there, you know, kind of
alone without the ballast of a constituency behind you.
So what ends up happening, as I write, is we very quickly realize that there is no meaningful constituency for the approach that the president has
already publicly committed himself to. Republicans who had been for the use of force on a Monday, you know, as soon as Obama was for it, flipped
and opposed it. And Democrats were very sorry.
ISAACSON: But surely, he knew that that was a risk. He must have felt that Congress was not going to give him the authorization. Even you said
it at the meeting.
POWER: You know there`s a lot of revisionism because the president was elected to get the United States, in part, to get the United States out of
wars and drew down our presence in Iraq and substantially reduced it, I mean, to the levels, really, roughly they`re at now in Afghanistan. And
has skepticism certainly about war in the Middle East and where -- and all the ways it can go wrong.
I think people believe that this was like a ploy on his part. That he went to Congress in order to fail. As I wrote in the book, he went to Congress
thinking he was going to succeed. It seems very naive and reckless. It`s really a mistake.
ISAACSON: But wait, the--
POWER: I mean it was a mistake.
ISAACSON: It was a mistake to go to Congress?
POWER: Well, it was a mistake in the sense that the votes weren`t there and we were publicly committed to a course of action that then to take that
course of action in defiance of congressional will was impossible. So, in a sense, the president`s hands were tied by the procedural pathway that we
But in the end, and I credit President Obama for his improvisation here, he went to President Putin and said, hey, you know, in the kind of, I think,
bluffed a bit about the prospects for being able to secure congressional authorization or perhaps the willingness to go ahead even in the -- because
he always said that his commander in chief authority gave him license to go and he reserved that.
ISAACSON: Would he have gone ahead?
POWER: No. I don`t think so.
ISAACSON: And was that a mistake?
POWER: Again, I think it was very reasonable when Putin said yes, I will work with you to take -- what Putin said at the time was all the chemical
weapons away, you know, to get them out of a madman`s hands so that strikes of that magnitude would not happen again. That was hugely important.
But the cost of Congress` will being exposed or lack of will being exposed, the cost of a kind of an impression globally that the president couldn`t
deliver domestically the support he needed for a foreign policy priority that he had said he had, there was a cost to U.S. credibility that was
profound and, of course, the Syrian war itself rages on.
ISAACSON: Was there a cost more to just credibility, which is the entire refugee crisis that has now destabilized Europe?
POWER: Yes. I mean I think if you ask about what are the costs the Syrian war, I mean, 500,000 people killed. This issue of America saying that it`s
going to do something and then not following through, you can debate that.
And then the spill over into the neighboring countries which ultimately in 2014 and `15 led to this huge migration across the continent, which without
which, I`m not sure we would have Brexit. and I`m not sure even that immigration would have been so salient to allow someone like Trump to be
elected in this country and all of the consequences of that.
But having said that, Walter, in fairness, because hindsight is 20/20, I can`t also say to you that had we had taken limited military strikes in
August or September of 2013 that those limited actions would have averted all those consequences.
ISAACSON: Samantha, thank you so much.
POWER: Thank you, Walter.
ISAACSON: Great to see you.
POWER: Great to be with you.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
AMANPOUR: But the failure to cross that red line is a decision that many analysts say will always be a stain on the Obama administration, especially
with Assad on the verge of total victory in Syria.
Now, be sure to tune in tomorrow when I`ll be speaking with Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt about his highly anticipated new film "Ad Astra". It`s
an emotional turn for the sci-fi genre. Here is is a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRAD PITT, ACTOR, AD ASTRA: We all carry, I think, great pains, great regrets. We`ve all experienced loss. We`ve all experienced great
loneliness, at times.
And we`re good at packing that away. Not dealing with it. Some are good at getting through it and coming out the other side in a more well-rounded,
I think, more confident and loving human being.
So we just wanted to, like, no holds barred. Let`s just go. Let`s get it out there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: "Ad Astra" and that revealing conversation is tomorrow.
But that`s it for now. Remember, you can listen to our podcast and see us online at amanpour.com. And you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter.
Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.