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America Exceptional No More?; Interview With Fmr. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL); Future of Women in Afghanistan?. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 06, 2021 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): As the Taliban are accused of killing a pregnant police officer, what lies ahead now for Afghanistan's women?
Then: the alarming rollback of women's rights in the United States. I ask former Senator Carol Moseley Braun about the Texas test case.
Also ahead: Twenty years after 9/11, is America done with being exceptional? Discussion with correspondents Susan Glasser and Peter Baker.
KAI-FU LEE, COMPUTER SCIENTIST: There will be a lot of turmoil and change.
AMANPOUR: A vision of tomorrow. Scientist Kai-Fu Lee imagines a world of artificial intelligence.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Emerging horror stories show the real fears for women in Afghanistan these days. In one case, the Taliban murdered a pregnant police officer in front
of her family this weekend, according to relatives and local journalists. The Taliban denies it and says that it's launching an investigation.
But they did violently break up a woman's march in Kabul. And in a very dramatic sign of the new segregation, men and women sit separated by a
curtain in university classrooms, this under new rules from the Taliban's Ministry of Education.
Now Shkula Zadran was an Afghan youth representative to the United Nations back in 2020. And she's joining us now from Afghanistan.
Shkula, welcome to the program.
You're 26 years old. You are still in Afghanistan. You have been at college, and you're trying to get your master's in international relations.
I'm just laying all that out as a sort of a way of showing what's at stake for you.
Do you believe that you can pursue your goals today in Afghanistan?
SHKULA ZADRAN, FORMER AFGHAN YOUTH REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Well, thank you very much for having me.
As you mentioned, that I was the Afghan U.S. representative to the United Nations. And, additionally, I was a working woman, and I was pursuing my
master's degree in international relations.
It's needed to be mentioned that I am -- I belong to a restless generation, a restless generation who was born in war, grew up in war, and getting old
in war, and perhaps, and unfortunately, might die in war.
But it is needed to be mentioned that this generation is still committed, determined and hopeful for a better Afghanistan, though the situation is
totally unclear and unfortunate. But we still strongly believe and firmly believe that we need to get together, uphold each other.
And we need to make them understand that they cannot eliminate us from the scene and they cannot marginalize us from the scene. Afghan young women and
Afghan youth, they have been bright, they have been committed, and they have this very clear and hopeful vision for Afghanistan, despite all the
ZADRAN: ... and that we lost Afghanistan for the moment.
And despite the new rules and restrictions and regulations declared by the Taliban, we still believe that there is room and there is opportunity for
us to influence them, with the help of international community, to make them understand that they cannot -- they cannot ignore us and to ensure
meaningful inclusion of Afghan women and Afghan youth into political and strategic decision-makings.
So, that's really -- those are fighting words. They're also words of compromise and words of hope from your generation for the future of your
So, I guess the question is -- I don't know whether you have had time to formulate a plan. But then how do you do that? And I guess I was going to
ask you what message you take from the Taliban in the killing of this policewoman. They deny it, but, nonetheless, her family says that's what
You have seen the women's rights marches, small ones, being broken up, some violently, over the weekend. You saw the heavy-duty segregation in
education facilities right now.
How do you, as a young woman, plan to get them to -- or plan to work with them to be able to continue your dreams there?
ZADRAN: Well, one thing is very obvious, that Afghan women and this generation is totally different from the '90s.
And they are courageous. They have the courage. They are outspoken. They are brave enough to come out and to speak for themselves and speak for
everyone around them.
I strongly believe that through my voice, through my presence, through my abilities and skills, not only me, but all my friends and my generation,
they can convince Taliban, especially keeping in mind that, if they eliminate all sideline women, they will not receive any support or they
will not get the legitimacy from international community.
So, they are -- they have to. They must recognize us. I think we need to seek the international community's assistance and -- to -- in order to
observe the human's -- women's security in Afghanistan, in order to get assurance that they will not sideline Afghan women.
So, with the help of international community and with our own struggles from very basic things to very big things, we can assure that they give us
what we really deserve and what we really own.
I strongly believe that these protests and demonstrations, these are very beginning steps for -- to confront them, to make them understand that we
exist here, and we will not keep silent and do not react to whatever they are doing.
Due to that -- regarding these...
AMANPOUR: ... So
ZADRAN: ... new steps and regulations that they are announcing, I think we can change that as well.
But, of course, we will need time, since we are still living in a political vacuum. There is no political system or leadership or government. We need
time, of course.
All sides and parties involved in Afghanistan need time to reach to a point that they discuss the violent things and the prominent issues.
So, some of the women who took part in the weekend demonstrations, they tried to do what you're talking about right now, tried to take the Taliban
at their word, try to go out onto the streets and say, well, you guys said that we can still work and that women are part of the Afghan community.
But listen to the reaction of one of the women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SORAYA, FORMER AFGHAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE (through translator): Together with a group of our colleagues, we wanted to go near the former government
offices for a protest.
But, before we got there, the Taliban hit women with electric Tasers, and they used tear gas against women. They also hit women on the head with a
gun magazine. And the women became bloody. There was no one to ask why.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, I know that you have been telling me that you think that you can overcome this by somehow letting them understand that you're going to
stand up for your rights and that the international community won't cooperate with them, unless they do respect and protect women's rights.
You know, I still wonder whether that's brave talk at the moment. And I wonder whether, when push comes to shove, do you believe that the current,
your current generation -- and, I mean, the numbers are just staggering. You said three-quarters of Afghans are under the age of 25, which means
almost none of them, that the majority of the country have no recollection of the last time the Taliban was in power. And, as you say, they have
But what if they continue the violence? Do you think people will just have to accommodate, go back underground in the similar way that they did back
in the '90s?
ZADRAN: Before answering this question, I would like to mention that, when we talk about Afghan women, there are two type of Afghan women, the
outspoken ones and the privileged ones, the courageous ones who have this ability and who have this opportunity to come out and to speak for
And the other type of Afghan women are the marginalized one who have been in a very bad situation since past two decades in conflict zones and urban
areas and remote areas. We need to consider -- when we talk about Afghan women's right, we need to consider both type of Afghan women.
And any action and any decision should bring amendments and betterments to the lives of both Afghan women, both type of Afghan women.
See, the protests and conflict, the clash which happened between Afghan women and Taliban, there are some points. Like, for example, the fighters
that are roaming around in Kabul, they are the very -- like, they are fighters. They are Talib soldiers. They have been in battlefields.
And they -- all of a sudden, they came to Kabul, and they don't know how to behave with people, and especially with women. I think, this time, Taliban
government must have realized that they have no any other option but to give the God-given rights of Afghan women.
This will -- obviously, this will take time. This will take lots of observation. This will take lots of monitoring by international community,
by the Afghan civil society, by Afghan women's right activists in order to ensure they are actually doing what they are saying.
They are making promises. But in order to believe that they are actually changed, we need to...
AMANPOUR: All right. OK.
Shkula Zadran, thank you so much. You have really put your point of view out pretty strongly.
I'm sorry about the connection, which seems to get a little bit worse. But thanks for joining us from Afghanistan.
And the real question, obviously, as we go forward is whether, in fact, the international community will keep its eye on the ball in Afghanistan, as
women like Shkula and so many other civilians are hoping that they will do, hold them accountable to what they say.
Of course, as first lady, Hillary Clinton's rousing speech at the U.N. Conference on Women in 1995 set the stage in the global battle for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human
rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights once and for all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, now we look at how those rights are holding up closer to home in the United States, something that's become a flash point, of
course, with the recent passage of a Texas law which all but bans the right to choose, which was guaranteed by Roe vs. Wade in 1973.
And with similar cases on the horizon, fears are rising amongst many American women and activists that this might just be the beginning.
And I have been speaking and getting valuable perspective from the former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley Braun, who herself made history, becoming
the first female African-American U.S. senator.
AMANPOUR: Senator, welcome back to our program.
Nobody's making comparisons, obviously, between Afghanistan and America. However, it is glaringly obvious that women's rights in many areas are
under assault and are being rolled back. Would you agree with that statement?
FMR. SEN. CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN (D-IL): I would.
And thank you very much for having me.
I welcome the opportunity to have this conversation because it's an important one for the world, and particularly for American women, who may
not see the parallels and may not see the connection between what's going on in Afghanistan and what's going on in Texas.
But the fact of the matter is, you can draw a straight line from one to the other. And it all -- it has to do with culture. It goes back, actually, to
have some medieval legal precepts that had been around forever, and that we thought we were changing, but I guess we weren't -- not as much change as
we thought we had.
AMANPOUR: Senator, just what you just said is going to create shockwaves are in the Republican and probably conservative circles.
But I just would like you to explain sort of what you mean, because, obviously, in Afghanistan, you have got this Islamic fundamentalist group
that have taken over again. They don't have the same constitutional guarantees, despite the rights that they have won over the last 20 years,
as women in America.
How significant is it that something that was guaranteed, Roe vs. Wade, by the Supreme Court, by the Constitution for the women of America, despite
the political and religious fault lines around it, how significant is it for women's rights in general going forward?
Because Texas was just a test case. There's another one coming up in the fall.
BRAUN: It's a very significant change, and it's a very significant challenge.
And people need to wake up and pay attention to what's going on here. The fact is, when I referred to ancient antique legal doctrines, the whole idea
of culture, which existed from the Middle Ages, right, that said that women could not make decisions for themselves, we too addled-brain or too small-
brained to make a decision, it's one of the underpinnings of male supremacy.
And it is. I mean, and it's one of the underpinnings also of white supremacy. It's the same stuff. And so the idea that somebody has to make
decisions for you, and you're not capable of making decisions for your own life is deeply rooted in our legal system.
And so that is what is being challenged, frankly, across the board, and it's not just Texas. It's really -- it really is an ideological -- it's a
cultural touchstone that people, frankly, have been debating about an arguing about.
And you mentioned guarantees in the Constitution. Roe was just a decision of the Supreme Court. It was not a guarantee. And so, just like Plessy vs.
Ferguson did the same thing, said the black people had no rights at all, and ensconced white supremacy, this issue of Roe being overturned by the
Supreme Court is one that is very significant.
And we need to look closely at it and pay attention and be alert and recognize what -- the challenge that it is to our liberties, because, at
the end of the day, the idea that women's rights are human rights is exactly the point. It's a matter of liberty, it's a matter of freedom to
make decisions for yourself about your own life and about your own body.
And the fact is that that's under assault right now in the United States. It's shocking that it is, but that's reality we're facing.
AMANPOUR: So, Senator, it's also a fact that those who've committed to this issue in terms of trying to overturn Roe vs. Wade or severely limit it
have been at it for a long time.
As you said -- and I was wrong -- it's the Supreme Court decision, not constitutional. It was passed in 1973. But, since then, over 1, 300
abortion restrictions have been enacted, more than 560 of them since 2011. And here's what one of the one of the very committed activists has just
They have spent a long time trying to lay the groundwork for what's going on right now. "This has been the crux of our political strategy for
decades. It has been to elect pro-life presidents, pro-life senators, and put in these pro-life legislators so they could nominate and confirm pro-
life Supreme Court justices."
OK, so that is the vice president of communications for the Susan B. Anthony List. That's their mission, and they succeeded.
So, politically, have they outplayed you and the women of America?
BRAUN: Well, Christiane, I have to say this. They have outplayed those of us who believe that choice is better personal freedom. They really have.
And they have won that argument.
It's shameful to have to admit, but it's true. They have won that argument. And I actually had a friend of mine yesterday, a male, ask me -- he said
had -- every woman he had talked to in the last hour, the last couple of hours, had told him they had had an abortion.
But women who've had abortions won't admit to it. And they won't admit to it, frankly, because it is so -- it cuts against the grain on so many
different cultural points, not to mention religious ones. And so -- and so the really is a bigger battle than just a single case, a bit of bigger
battle than just a single person or a single issue.
It really does go -- culture trumps politics. And it goes to culture. And it goes to it not just here, but that's the connection with Afghanistan.
It's not just here. It's in the Muslim world as well. And the idea that women are to be told how to live their lives and are to be told how to
function and can't make decisions for themselves, that's very fundamental.
And that's a bright-line division in terms of mind-sets, political mind- sets, wherever in the world you might be. And I just don't know -- I don't know where we're going to go with this. It does look like the pro-choice
people are losing this battle, losing the argument.
And that's -- I think, for me, that's tragic. I mean, understand, at my age, choices are hypothetical. So it's not that I have a personal
investment in this, except in the sense that I want to see every woman free to make her own decisions about her own body.
And there's no reason why a woman should not be able to do that which is fundamental for men, which is to make their own decisions about their
personhood. And, again, it's one of the underpinnings of male supremacy, of misogyny, et cetera.
And that's the bright line between Texas and Afghanistan.
AMANPOUR: So, you were the first female senator elected from the state of Illinois. You were the first black female senator ever elected to the
United States Senate.
And I wonder whether you -- I know you said this is not something for your generation, but you want to make sure that women are protected in their
freedom of choice. Can you see a political battle or a political backlash mounting?
Because, as I said, there's another test case in Mississippi coming up in the fall. And then you have the midterm elections coming up the following
year. Do you think Democrats and women in general will mobilize politically? Because, let's face it, there's still a majority view in the
United States for freedom of choice.
And that is a question, Christiane. I mean, I don't know what's going to happen. I don't have a crystal ball. But that is the question, whether or
not there's going to be a backlash, whether or not women are going to start to stand up for themselves and to say, we're done with this being told what
to do their bodies. We're done with being told how to live our lives.
We are -- this is not something that the church or anybody else has anything to do with. Think how many billions of dollars have been spent
behind the pro-life movement, I mean, the pro-life -- behind the anti- abortion movement.
It's been a lot. There's a lot of money, a lot of attention, a lot of major structures from the -- I mean, you have got right now the Catholic Church
threatening to not give communion to our president. Whoever heard of such a thing? This is just an outrage, in my opinion.
But that's where we are. And so the question is, to what extent will the people who believe in freedom stand up for women's freedom to make
decisions about their bodies? And that is the issue. That is what we're going to be facing.
AMANPOUR: I just want to ask you another sort of detail about this Texas law, which essentially bypasses all sorts of government structures.
And the Supreme Court just stayed silent on the modalities of it, but it empowers what might be called interested parties. Some might call them
vigilantes, who just disagree with what a woman might do, and can then reap a bounty by bringing a suit against a woman who might choose to have an
abortion, and not just that, sue everybody around who -- quote, unquote -- "aids and abets," right up to the taxi driver who may or may not drive her
to the hospital.
What actually, in terms of community relations and just daily life, what do you think that could spark?
BRAUN: Well, let me say this, Christiane.
Being both black and female, you get to see both sides of this issue, and get to see a lot of parallels and connections that others might not
appreciate. If you think about it, in the history of the United States, there was a time when a person could make money by turning in the runaway
One of the things I'm proudest of in terms of my Senate tenure, I passed a legislation calling for the preservation of the Underground Railroad. And
the fact is that people had to slip away under cover of darkness to get to freedom. even though -- I mean, they were human beings, but human beings
had to slip away under cover of darkness to get to freedom.
And if anybody turned them in, they could -- the Fugitive Slave Act. They would get rewarded. And so history does repeat itself. And so what we're
looking at is the repetition of history. Instead of black people, it has to do with women. And it's the same stuff, if you ask me.
And, frankly, any historian will tell you it's the same stuff, because It is exactly the Fugitive Slave Act. The guy I replaced in the Senate, the
senator who had been there before when -- in a contest with Abraham Lincoln, had sponsored the Fugitive Slave Act.
And so I was really proud, when I sat down in that seat for the first time, I thought, here I am, 100 years later, replacing somebody who thought it
was a good thing to pay vigilantes to turn in runaway slaves.
And here I am. The state of Illinois has sent me to be his successor in office. And I just -- I felt so good about that. And so here we are
repeating the same thing again. This time, instead of black, you can just substitute women, the fugitive female act, right? It's the same stuff
repeating itself in another way.
And I just think that, again, it depends on how incensed women are about being treated like this that -- whether or not there's going to be a
backlash, or whether or not there's going to be any response. And I certainly hope, from my perspective, I'm very much -- I very much believe
in women should be able to choose for themselves what to do with their bodies.
But I hope that these young women will not let this stand, will not let this pass, will stand up to the Supreme Court, to the church, to whoever,
and say get your hands off my body. It's up to me to decide whether or not I want to be pregnant or not.
And I think that's only fair.
AMANPOUR: Senator Carol Moseley Braun, real unique perspective. Thank you so much, and for spending some of your Labor Day with us. Thank you.
BRAUN: It's my pleasure.
Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: Now, of course, the rights of women at home and in Afghanistan are among the many challenges confronting President Biden these days.
So, with his domestic agenda on a knife's edge and global allies, even adversaries wondering where America goes from here, we turn to a pair of
powerhouse journalists who are also married and co-authors, "The New Yorker"'s Susan Glasser and Peter Baker of "The New York Times."
Their latest book on the former Secretary of State James Baker, no relation, is called "The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of
James A. Baker III." And it's out in paperback tomorrow.
And they're both joining me now.
Welcome. Welcome to the program. Welcome back to the program.
We have spoken and really enjoyed your insights, obviously, into James Baker when the book first came out. And it's a great opportunity, I guess,
to go right ahead and ask you, the man who ran Washington, would he have done a better job running the pullout of Afghanistan than the current crop?
SUSAN GLASSER, "THE NEW YORKER": Well, thank you, Christiane. And thanks so much for having us.
It's really interesting. Baker actually is still around at age 91. We spoke with him earlier this year after President Biden made the decision to
withdraw from Afghanistan. And he was very supportive of it. As you know, many Americans both right and left across the political spectrum were.
Baker certainly prided himself on exuding not just a kind of realism when it came to foreign policy, but also was famous for his competence, and, in
particular, for consulting with allies, I think that, more than anything, right?
Crisis can happen. There can be a breakdown in terms of planning or things. That can happen to any administration, especially in the first year. But it
seems to me that one thing Baker probably would have done differently is work the allies, many of whom were very distraught both about Biden's
decision and about the execution of it.
AMANPOUR: And, Peter, let me turn to you, because, clearly, in America, there is the consensus that this should have happened. But, obviously,
there's also the consensus that it was incompetent and it was completely chaotic.
What do you think, beyond consulting with allies -- or fill in the detail. What could have been done, do you think, to make it less of a chaotic and
violent and very dangerous withdrawal, particularly for America's allies and, as we have seen, Afghanistan's women?
PETER BAKER, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Yes, I think one of the things that made this a surprise was because Joe Biden ran on
the idea of being a competent president after four years of a president who didn't seem to know how government worked, right?
Joe Biden has been in national politics for 50 years. He was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, vice president for eight years. And there
was the assumption -- and, certainly, this was promoted by the Biden campaign -- that they would handle things in a more mature and competent
and effective way.
So I think that's one of the reasons why this has been such a problem for him. And he I think he set himself up to some extent with some of his
predictions. He said there was no circumstance in which there will be a chaotic, Saigon-like exit. He said it was very -- highly unlikely the
Taliban would take over very quickly. He said that this would be an orderly withdrawal.
And it wasn't that any of those things. But there are some things that people are looking back on and questioning, could they have done it later
in the year, when it wasn't during the fighting season? Could they have done a better job of making sure that Afghan allies and Americans were
evacuated before the troops began pulling out?
They say that Ghani, now ousted president of Afghanistan, asked them not to do it. Certainly, they did not foresee what was going to happen, because,
if they had, they would have handled it differently.
AMANPOUR: And I just wonder whether -- I mean, the fact of the matter is that this began under Trump. And what the Trump administration did was to
cut out the actual elected government of Afghanistan and basically hand the negotiating upper hand to the Taliban.
I just think it's still worth probing, because James Baker was around -- obviously, he was responsible or chief of staff and campaign manager for
Ronald Reagan, and then secretary of state, secretary of the Treasury, all the rest of it. And, of course, during the first Gulf War, there were huge
numbers of consultations that had to happen with very ornery allies and adversaries.
There's a sense of ineptitude, at least some analysts are saying, in terms of global politics right now, COVID, Afghanistan, all the rest of it.
Just again, maybe, Susan, give us an idea of the old-school kind of machinations that somebody's pragmatic and consensual and negotiating like
James Baker might have might have done in this case.
GLASSER: Christiane, I'm really glad you brought up the actual deal itself with the Taliban that was negotiated by the Trump administration and that
the Biden administration and President Biden decided to stick with, while pushing back the timetable a few months, because I think that is a huge
And it's hard to imagine Jim Baker ever agreed to a deal like that. One of the things that, in our research over a number of years for the book,
became clear is that his gift for making a deal was not only understanding where there was the narrow opening that others might not perceive, but also
understanding that, if all parties to the agreement didn't feel that they came
away from it, not having had, you know, their pocket picked or not having been forced to pay an unacceptable price that the deal wasn't actually
going to stick.
And I think that's what you have here, by cutting out the Ghani government, which was the Taliban's assistants throughout, you essentially had a
situation where you had already undercut the people whose problem was already that they were seen as dependent on the United States.
And so, in that sense, was used viewed probably also in a practical sense, what did the deal say? The deal was pretty vague on what the Taliban had to
do, but it was pretty clear on what the Americans had to do. They had to get essentially lean on the Afghans to release 5,000 prisoners who then
seeded the military campaign against them. In fact, the new leader, de facto leader of Afghanistan right now, there is no legally recognized
government, is Mullah Baradar who was released by Pakistan at the insistence of the Trump administration in order to have someone to
And I just -- I would find that inconceivable that someone like Baker who understood that a deal isn't really a deal if you are just using to it to
be able to announce something and move on, that if you actually want the deal to stick, you have to understand all parties. And one of the things
that Trump said he was going to do and then it never really happened was well after this deal with the Taliban, then there would-be follow-on
negotiations with the Afghan government. That really never happened. There never was an actually negotiated peace settlement. And I think that people
don't really understand that. Certainly, we can ask the question, well, why did Biden stick with it? And that, I think, is a question for him.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And I guess, now, what does it mean going forward? Peter, you are a former White House correspondent. What kind of leverage does the
president of the United States have these days? What kind of ability does he have to marshal his NATO allies and others who have also promised to
hold the Taliban accountable?
You may have heard our first guest saying, the young woman, Shkula Zadran, saying, I'm staying. We're going to -- you know, we're going to hold the
Taliban to their promises to us as women and we're going to hold the International Community to their promises to hold the Taliban accountable.
Is there any hope in heck that that will actually happen, Peter, or will the eye remove itself from the ball very soon again?
BAKER: Well, first of all, of course, we have a lot less leverage today than we did months ago, right? Not only do we not have military forces on
ground, not only do we not have intelligence assets on the ground, we don't have an embassy, United States there anymore. So, there is not even a
diplomatic presence to assert any kind of, you know, accountability on Taliban. They said that that was even possible.
Obviously, the president does have tools. We has economic tools, he has diplomatic tools in terms of the -- you know, the neighbors and the region.
But we're in a much different place than were a few months ago. And I think you are right. You mention the eye turning away from the ball. I mean, even
in the last few days, you know, a lot of the news attention has drifted away. The political attention has drifted away back to the issue of COVID
back here in the United States and the issues of infrastructure and legislation. And once Americans are no longer directly involved, you know,
you often see a situation in Washington where they don't pay much attention to overseas events and what happens on the ground in Afghanistan, with a 38
million people who are now being left to the intended mercies of the Taliban, it becomes less and less of a political imperative.
AMANPOUR: And of course, you are still chief correspondent, White House correspondent for the "New York Times." So, let me ask you one more
question about this, because we're obviously heading towards the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with this as the marker, I really don't even know what
to say. But nonetheless, handing back that country to the people who harbored the terrorists who attacked the United States.
Has America, Peter, had enough in these last 20 years of being the exceptional nation? Is 9/11 so much more than a day, an event and really an
era defining, shape shifting, empire changing event of 20 years? What do you think?
BAKER: Yes. I think it is that, exactly. Susan and I were both in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11 to do reporting on the ground for the
"Washington Post" and we were both there. We saw up close what the country that had been ruled by the Taliban was like. It wasn't a pretty sight. It
had brutalized people.
And the idea that here we're coming up to this 20th anniversary with them back in charge, with the Taliban flag flying over the presidential, you
know, headquarters in Kabul, it was pretty unimaginable back then. But, you're right, I think America has gone through an awful lot in these 20
years. Is redefined and re-examining its place in the world, re-examining how it wants to shape or not shape, as the case maybe, international
You heard President Biden says, it's the beginning of a new era, we're basically nation building. We're out of the business. We're out of the
business of using military force to shape other countries. He wants to be an internationalist unlike his predecessor. But like President Trump, he
also is tapping into that very American sentiment right now of America First, the idea that we need to spend more time focusing on our own issues
at home rather than those of other people abroad. And I think that is a very big change from 20 years ago when America was reacting to this
terrorist event and asserting itself on the world stage. And there's been a lot of cost in the interim.
AMANPOUR: Except, Susan, he also said, the world is changing. We're engaged in a serious competition with China. We're dealing with the
challenges of multiple fronts with Russia. How much of an issue of competition is that going to be for America in the way that Peter has laid
out and certainly President Biden seems to see it going forward?
GLASSER: Well, I think you are right to spotlight that, Christiane. You know, this is a moment where Biden really sees being more focused and
strategic, I would say, in foreign policy, the idea that because there are so much more significant, great power thrusts in the United States now than
there were 20 years ago. Remember, we were essentially coming out of the Cold War and out of the 1990s as the lone super power. China was nowhere
near the economic powerhouse it is today and China has invested more in its military over the subsequent two decades than any other power (INAUDIBLE)
the United States. Russia was still reasserting itself. That's where Peter and I were based when 9/11 happened.
And so, you know, you flash forward 20 years and I think the idea -- part of the idea that Biden has tried to make the case for the Afghan withdrawal
is the idea that the U.S. needs to be more focused and more strategic on these other great power threats. But, you know, the question I have, 20
years later is, what is the state of American democracy?
You know, two decades ago, we were focused on what seemed to be the march of democracy around the world. And, you know, never conceiving of the kind
of internal division and threats to democracy that we've been talking about for the last few years. And so, to me, that is the marker of the moment,
along with that Taliban flag flying over the presidential palace in Kabul.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Really important point to end on there. Susan, Peter, thank you so much indeed. And, of course, your book coming out in paperback now.
Thank you so much.
And now, let's fast forward to 2041, the Bestselling author, Kai-Fe Lee, knows the world of tech like no other. Once president of Google China and a
senior executive at Microsoft and Apple, he's not CEO of Sinovation Ventures. And he's out with a new collection of short stories that imagines
how artificial intelligence will shape the way we live for better or for worse. And here he is speaking to our Hari Sreenivasan about why A.I. could
in fact be the economic issue of our time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Kai-Fu Lee, thanks for joining us.
Now, we have spoken before about artificial intelligence a few years ago. You are out with a new book now which is kind of mix of sci-fi as well as a
projection into the technologies that might be impacting us in the next 20 years. And when we think about this kind of socially and structurally,
usually, people fear what they don't know. And one of the fears that a lot people have is that artificial intelligence will create a massive shift to
our economy, where it will leave lots and lots of people out of jobs.
KAI-FU LEE, CO-AUTHOR, "AI 2041": Yes. So, on the one hand, I think because A.I. is trying to replicate human intelligence, it will obviously
take over some jobs when it is successful. And it will be successful because A.I. is learning on data and there is more and more data. So, A.I.
gets smarter. So, I think on the one side, we definitely see substantial job displacements for blue and white-collar jobs, especially those that are
But at same time, there are new jobs being created. People who have to write A.I. algorithms, who are repairing robots or who are collecting data
and labeling data, and many more jobs will be created. We just don't know what they are.
So, we have two engines. One of job disruption and one of job creation. It is hard to tell which ones will go faster. The pessimistic side of me would
say, it doesn't look good because the disruptions will come before the creations. But the optimistic part of me would say, hey, look at all of
this in the past, it has happened before. The industrial revolution, the invention of automobiles and so on. They were all destroying jobs and
creating jobs. And ultimately, there are more jobs and there are more interesting jobs at the end of the day. So, I can't tell you definitively,
but there will be a lot of turmoil and change.
SREENIVASAN: So, what do you think? By 2041, what percentage of the economy, as we know it today, do you think will be impacted by artificial
intelligence? And more important, how do governments and societies prepare for that? You have whole chapter on this. And what kinds of things should
we be doing and thinking about?
LEE: Well, A.I. will disrupt every imaginable industry. For example, we've already seen in the internet space because of A.I. all these internet
companies can make all that money help us become more efficient but also sometimes becoming brainwashed and perhaps losing our privacy.
All financial companies will also become A.I. driven. Stock trading will be done by A.I. And in transportation, we'll be using autonomous vehicles all
the time. We don't have to buy cars or own cars. And garages will be no longer needed or parking lots. In manufacturing, A.I. will produce
everything. And that will essentially drop the cost of labor down to near zero, thereby making products much more available more cheaply, thereby
potentially eradicating poverty.
So, this can -- I can go on for healthcare and education and every industry. So, huge changes. And I think that governments really have to do
several things. I think one is to regulate the use of A.I. so that it doesn't do all the bad things that could happen that would be done by
humans behind A.I., not A.I. itself. I think the other is to manage the transition of jobs. Jobs lost. Jobs gained. How to train the people and
also, deal with the wealth inequality. Because with the success of A.I., some tycoons will make a lot of money while many jobs will be lost.
And also, governments will have to rethink what's the future of education. You know, road learning will be useless. We want kids to have creativity
and compassion and teamwork, and how do you train for that? And finally, the economy will change because if cost of goods comes down a lot and if
people change the way they believe that their lives revolve around having a good job and making money, but many jobs are gone and products are becoming
cheaper, then accumulation of wealth is probably not the only thing that matters. How do we change that mind set, and what does the government need
to do with the economy?
So, the list goes on. There are many big headaches. But I think at end of the day, when this is all done, we'll no longer have to do routine jobs and
we can do work that we love rather than repetitive work that we currently hate. So, it is a good outcome but very tough process to getting there.
SREENIVASAN: You know, one of the interesting chapters you had was on education. And how essentially kids with different learning styles could
have the equivalent of an A.I. companion that adapts, almost listens and helps those students achieve in a way that perhaps individual teachers just
do not have the time to focus per student.
LEE: Yes, that is something I envision for the future. Because today's education, there just isn't enough tuition to afford one teacher per
student on an individual basis. Yet, we know everyone is different. They are slow in -- each child is slow in learning something and an A.I.
companion or a teacher can find that and build a stronger foundation. Each child is excited by something, perhaps basketball, perhaps super hero, and
that could be integrated with the curriculum to make learning more fun.
And also, each child may have some, you know, inner capability that needs to be distilled. And of course, a human can do that but there isn't enough
time. So, I believe in the future, a lot of the optimizing will be done by A.I. A.I. can teach a course, give an exam, build the foundation, make
things interesting. But the human teacher will actually evolve to be more of a mentor/coach to each student in terms of having the right values and
knowing right and wrong, learning creativity, learning to work with the other people and learning to be a good contributing member of the society
So, by taking the routine and individualizing, optimizing part of teachers' work today, I think we make everything better for both the teachers and the
students. The teacher's work is more interesting. The student learns what he or she needs from the A.I. and from the student simultaneously.
SREENIVASAN: Right now, there is a lot of talk about when, for example, autonomous driving will hit the streets. And at the core of that, besides
the technology being refined enough, there is also this ethical dilemma that people wonder about. I mean, we call it the trolley problem, right?
How do we program ethical decisions into machine that is driving itself? Should I swerve to avoid this one person? And if the cost is that I hit
these other two people, how am I making those kinds of decisions? I mean, because A.I. is only as good as the how humans that program it.
LEE: Right. Those specific decisions about priority of, you know, two children lives versus two adult lives, that's, I think, beyond capability
of the programmer. The programmer would set some goals and then, the A.I. would look at all the data and figure out for itself how to achieve those
goals. So, those goals could be getting from place A to place B as quickly as possible and without hurting anybody in the process. And then the A.I.
would, based on data, to do a better and better job over time.
And this is a product you have to launch, and then it gets better over time. So, the story in the book talks about what is the process of
launching? What is good enough to launch? It seems like you have to be better than humans. But still, mistakes will be made. Then what happens?
And there are different mistakes than humans would make.
But the good thing is, it will improve over time. I mean, we're seeing this today, when Tesla launched the summoning feature. People made a joke and
said it was horrible in the first few weeks. Then they collected all the data, then the feature worked great. So, that is the same thing that will
happen. So, question is do we, as the human race, have the courage or the audacity to accept that there is an intermediate process towards a future
where perhaps 90 percent of all the fatalities can be cut down but there is a price the pay along the way? So, that is a moral question we, the human
race, have to answer.
SREENIVASAN: We have capacity to automate defense systems. Would we ever allow an A.I. to determine who is an enemy and wipe them out?
LEE: Yes, all technologies are a double-edged sword. Think about drones that can automatically shoot to kill. It is -- there are some positive
attributes in sense that if all wars were fought by autonomous weapons, then people, soldiers don't die as much. And autonomous weapons may be more
accurate. So, there would be less collateral damage.
However, there is an overwhelming negative, which is building a drone that can recognize someone and kill that person can be done for $1,000 today,
and that lowers barrier of assassination one at a time or genocide, a hundred thousand at a time by terrorists and non-state actors. Furthermore,
they are very likely not to get caught because it is just a drone or robot who is going -- how can you tell who is behind it? So, I think there really
needs to be effort. This is probably one exception in the book where I generally feel technologies will tend to go to positive direction, even if
there are concerns. Autonomous weapon one where I feel regulation needed today and people really need to put their minds to this problem because it
is weapons, it is lives, it is directly taking lives and it is putting a powerful weapon in the hands of potentially malicious or evil people.
SREENIVASAN: So, I wonder, right now, there is not -- or at least, there doesn't seem to be any kind of global agreement on what the rules of the
road of A.I. should be, what kind of ethical standards, you know, every researcher should be taking into consideration before they publish
something, whether this can be used against you or against humanity. I mean, between now and 2041, that infrastructure seems more and more
LEE: Yes. There are so many problems. There's, you know, how do we store personal data? And who gets the right to use it? What is the consequence
for violation? And also, deep fix. What if a video is distributed that says you committed a crime that you didn't commit, but no human or A.I. can tell
it is real or not? So, all those things, I think, need to be put in place.
And also, fairness. How do we detect an A.I. that might discriminate against people or do things unfairly? And also, how do you hack into an
A.I. system? What if you fool an A.I. and fool the autonomous vehicle into thinking a stop sign is not a stop sign and thereby, having someone killed
though it looks like an accident. So, the list goes on. Yes.
SREENIVASAN: You know, the pandemic is part of the storylines that you have coming 20 years from now. But I wonder what the impact of the pandemic
now is today on the workplace. What has A.I. shown that it can do pretty well? Where has it fallen short?
LEE: Well, actually, A.I. has done a great job in advancing the combination of A.I. and healthcare. My day job is an investor. And we've
invested in the company that uses A.I. to find drugs for rare diseases. And it is able to do that much faster than humans. So, that has the long-term
impact of potentially making rare diseases treatable because they were not economical enough for large pharmaceutical companies to go after them
because of cost invent drug to fix the problem, but now, A.I. can reduce the cost.
Another example is the automation of the laboratory. People might assume that factories are easier to automate. Assembly line workers are easier to
replace. But actually, many jobs in the factory require a high degree of dexterity that is very hard to replace. But lab technicians or the people
who currently manually do the COVID tests, those jobs that they do, if you think about it, are relatively routine and repetitive.
And once you cover COVID -- so, you know, we invest in a company that makes one giant robot that can do a 120,000 COVID tests per day and that robot
with some modification modifications can work on crisper growing organoids and can work in molecular biology, can do drug discovery. So, essentially,
lab technicians are being replaced with robots making it much faster to invent new drugs and treatments and do experiments.
So, there are many technologies like that that are becoming faster, robots for social distancing, the use of robotics, we see that a lot. And of
course, also, people working from home, and this is more in the U.S. than perhaps in China, makes the workload digitized. Then A.I. can be applied to
either replace or enhance parts of those workloads. And I would predict that is probably what we'll see in the coming years.
SREENIVASAN: Do you think that we are going to recognize because of this pandemic and this disruption that humans should be providing a different
type of value, don't compete with the computer, do something complimentary, do something that computer or the robot cannot do?
LEE: I think that is wise advice. And A.I. is fundamentally limited in certain areas. And also, what A.I. is good at is generally things that we
don't want to do anyway, you know, routine work, repetitive work, whether it is blue collar or white collar, those are not the most rewarding. They
are not really delivering self-actualization to many people.
So, if we can be elevated from that and open up a whole wide spectrum that you -- if you are a creative, then go after it. Because the society has the
wealth for people to explore their dreams. And if you are someone who's very warm, then you should spread your warmth, whether it is in an elderly
home or foster home. So, I think people can really do what they are passionate about and find things that they can contribute to the society
even though the contribution may not be measurable in money but it might be measurable in some other way such as making the world a better place.
SREENIVASAN: The book is called "AI: Ten Visions for the Future, 2041." Co-Author Kai-Fu Lee, Thanks so much for joining us.
LEE: Thank you, Hari.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Making the world a better place.
So, finally tonight, we want to tell you about a story we recently brought to you, the story of Little Amal. The 12-foot-tall puppet of a Syrian
refugee girl maneuvered by an army of volunteers and walking 5,000 miles from Turkey, across Europe and ending up here U.K. eventually.
The project started as a way to remind people of the plight of refugees around the world. Standing now at a record 26 million. It's all the more
poignant, of course, with thousands of Afghans fleeing the Taliban now.
Little Amal has mainly received a warm welcome on this journey and her name means hope. But in one Greek town, she did have stones thrown at her.
Still, she is walking into Italy next shining her light on the need for solidarity with the world's refugees.
That's it for our program tonight. Thanks for watching. Goodbye from London.