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Haitians Migrants Try to Reach United States; Interview With Former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Anthony Gardner. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 21, 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's time to ring the alarm bell. We are on the verge of a precipice and we are moving in the wrong direction.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): A warning from the U.N. on climate, COVID and the democratic transatlantic alliance.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Anthony Gardner and Beijing insider Victor Gao join me.
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: One cannot weaponize a horse to aggressively attack a child. That is unacceptable.
AMANPOUR: Haitians are the latest to experience this kind of abuse. We look at what many call the unnecessary cruelty of America's broken
LEE MCINTYRE, "HOW TO TALK TO A SCIENCE DENIER": Science denial is not really based on doubt. It's distrust.
AMANPOUR: Author Lee McIntyre tells Michel Martin how to talk to science deniers.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
President Joe Biden has addressed the United Nations General Assembly today, using the podium to reach out and reassure the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are not seeking a new cold war or a world divided into rigid blocs. The United States is ready to work
with any nation that steps up and pursues peaceful resolution to shared challenges, even if we have intense disagreements in other areas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Talking up alliances and global cooperation, as well as America's commitment to lead, but in the background, a brewing realignment
that France calls a crisis and a breach of trust, after being cut out of a submarine deal in the Pacific, a deal that has also angered China, as it
looks like Washington has decided that Beijing is in fact an adversary.
With me to assess all of this is Anthony Gardner, former U.S. ambassador to the E.U. And, in a moment, we hope to bring in Victor Gao, vice president
of the Center for China and Globalization, which is one of Beijing's biggest think tanks.
So let's start with you, Anthony Gardner.
Who wins out of this? You can see President Biden's trying to reassure, we're not trying to have a Cold War. They're trying to downplay it and spin
it, saying that this is just a spat that -- with Europe that's going to pass.
What is it, in your mind, and who wins?
ANTHONY GARDNER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE EUROPEAN UNION: Well, Christiane, no one wins, unfortunately.
It's really -- it's, I think, unfortunate timing, because things were going so well. The first six months, the Biden administration, we were hitting
the reset button with Europe and with the E.U. in particular, and things were moving in the right direction. We were defusing our trade tensions. We
were moving the direction of getting a good tax agreement at the OECD in Paris, which is very significant.
We changed the tone of the whole debate. We launched at the U.S.-E.U. summit what would have been and still could be an important dialogue by the
Trade and Technology Council. And now we have this spat.
And I say it's unfortunate because it could have a lot of ramifications. In terms of the Pacific, it could mean that the E.U. is not going to go
forward with this deal with Australia. It could mean that this Trade and Technology Council is going to be delayed. In fact, we have got a bit of a
hint of that from the European Commission president.
And it could mean that the French are going to do even less favors for the British on the Northern Ireland protocol. And the French could now say,
well, to its E.U. member state colleagues, I told you so. America is back means America is back in America. And, therefore, we need to do more in
terms of strategic autonomy.
So it's unfortunate. The only people who win, I think, are those who want to see a divided alliance.
AMANPOUR: So that's really interesting. And let's just back up to make it clear that we're talking about AUKUS, this new deal that the United States,
Britain and Australia have struck to take nuclear-powered submarines for Australia to the Pacific. France is furious. It thought it had the deal.
Before we get to this division that Beijing might seek to exploit with the alliance, some are saying that, actually, the United States, for all the
answers might be causing right now, is staking out his position. It's asking the world to bet on it as eventually being, I don't want to say
triumphant or dominant, but winning the competition with China.
It's a big bet by Australia to realign its position in the Pacific and also potentially an attempt to keep China in its zone and not elsewhere. Do you
understand -- I mean, do you buy that at all?
GARDNER: Yes. Yes, I do.
And let's remember that there are some countries who are applauding this. The Japanese have said so. The Indians have said. I think other countries
in the Indo-Pacific are pleased that this agreement is going ahead. The French are obviously extremely angry.
It is true that there have been other moments of crisis. This is not the first. I remember, when I took up my post in Brussels as ambassador the
E.U. in 2014, it was a few weeks after the Edward Snowden affair. And, of course, we had the Iraq War.
But this is also a very serious crisis. So I hope we can we can deal with it swiftly and involve France perhaps in this deal. It should not be seen
as exclusionary. And I think the White House has said that. It should not be seen as excluding France. It has real assets in that area and has real
interests in the Indo-Pacific.
AMANPOUR: Assets are very important. You're right. I mean, it's one of the few of all these countries that actually has a naval and other assets out
But to your point about France's position, you have obviously, like many people, been listening to the foreign minister. He's been very, very
undiplomatic, indeed. And he has said things. And let me read it.
He has said, for instance: "The unilateralism the unpredictability, the lack of consultation between allies that we have seen displayed in the
decision taken by Australia and the United States is the persistence of reflexes from an era we hoped was over."
Well, you read that as saying, what, that we hoped the Trump era was over, the blatant me-first-ism was over?
How do you think now allies and others will look at a Biden administration vs. a Trump administration?
GARDNER: It's very unfortunate language, because, clearly, this administration is like night and day compared to the Trump administration,
wants to work with allies. This is the most pro-European administration, frankly, I can remember. And I worked with one version pro-European
You just look at the people who are staffing the State Department and the White House at the highest levels. These are people who know Europe and are
very sympathetic to Europe. So -- and I say this because I think, at its core, it's anger about the way it was announced.
Clearly, it's not about the decision itself, because any country, Australia included, has the sovereign right to decide how it wants to protect itself,
what kind of military systems it wishes to purchase. In this case, it made a decision to move away from the French system to a U.S. and the U.K.
Look, it's very hard to judge in terms of the complaint about how it was announced without having access to the confidential information, which I
don't have. But I -- again, I think it's unfortunate to make such a big deal out of this, because there are much bigger issues, frankly, at stake,
climate change, China, and the challenge that China poses to us in the Pacific, and also transatlantically.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you, because one of the other big things that this obviously comes off the back of is the perception, maybe the reality,
as far as we know, the reality, that the Europeans, of which France is a major player, with troops on the ground, were very, very upset about what
happened, obviously, with the Afghanistan pullout.
They felt blindsided. NATO was sort of defanged. You have heard the European Commission president tell me just yesterday that members of our
alliance are being treated in ways they shouldn't be, and we need to understand what's going on.
Is there a fundamental realignment that you can see or a moving away by the United States in major aspects? Obviously, COVID and climate and all of
that kind of stuff will still be on the table. But from NATO and from the traditional post-World War alliance, is it finally now time to fully focus
GARDNER: No, I don't think that's the view in Washington.
I think there's a full appreciation that Europe remains important, indeed vital, to achieve our common objectives. I lived this. And I think it's
still the case. I mentioned climate change as one example. Without the E.U., we're not going to get an agreement. Obviously, we need China, but
without the E.U., we won't.
And there are many, many other issues, from law enforcement to trade and so forth, where Europe continues to punch not only at its weight, but indeed
above its weight, in terms of regulation, and indeed also on trade.
So I don't think the view is that there's been now a full pivot to Asia. And I would also add, Christiane, I'm not sure that there are that many of
the E.U. member states who share France's ire, and not only the Baltic states, but also the Central European states, who view the Indo-Pacific as
very far away and view the United States as actually critical to their defense, and think that the French perhaps are making too much out of this.
If they have -- they have clear reasons to be upset, but, in my view, this was perhaps better handled in private.
AMANPOUR: So, let me just ask you about that, because that also leads me to ask. Yes, they think the U.S. -- I mean, clearly the Australians like to
be under the U.S. military umbrella.
But what does this say, if you signed up to be under the military umbrella, and then your partner sort of deserts you for somebody, is taking somebody
else to the dance, basically?
GARDNER: Well, hopefully, there are not many states who share that perception.
And that is why I started out by saying we have a long, rich, deep agenda, which we should be working on. There are some really serious issues here.
And the digital agenda, the trade agenda are so important, and we just can't -- we just can't push them into the distance because we have
disagreement about this particular dispute.
But I'm not downplaying the fact that the French are very annoyed. I just don't know all the reasons why they think this was sprung on them without
I find it just, frankly, difficult to believe. I know a lot of the actors in Washington. And I find it difficult to believe that there was absolutely
no consultation before this was done.
AMANPOUR: Well, I agree with you. It sounds undiplomatic.
I have talked to the highest levels of French diplomacy as well. And, apparently, it was. They were told at the end of August that this was going
to happen, and then it didn't. But we may have more revelations. And I'm prepared to obviously engage with that afterwards.
But can I ask you, because it's not just so much about a spat that I'm trying to get to. I'm trying to figure out what, finally, the U.S. and
Europe can do to increase their position vis-a-vis China, which everybody is calling in some -- as you have just said, in some areas a partner, on
COVID and climate. In some areas, it's a competitor, on digital, on intellectual property, on all the other things, and, in some, an adversary.
Some are saying that the United States has chosen to turn China an adversary now with this move. That's the signal. Biden said no cold war.
And the Chinese are pretty angry, because they're -- they think it looks like it might be.
Let me just play this from the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZHAO LIJIAN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN (through translator): Relevant countries should abandon the outdated cold war, zero sum
mentality, and narrow-minded geopolitical outlook. Respect the will of the people of regional countries, and do more to contribute to regional peace,
stability and development.
Otherwise, they will only end up shooting themselves in the foot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, the secretary-general has called the relationship between China and the U.S. dysfunctional. It's probably one of the most important
in the world.
What do you think the United States now and Europe can actually get out of China as partners, for instance, in the issues that we have just been
talking about, COVID, climate and all the other things that they have?
GARDNER: Well, climate is number one. I mean, China is absolutely essential to getting any meaningful agreement. And the clock is ticking,
but not just climate, I think also nonproliferation and COVID as well, and preparing for future pandemics.
Those are just three examples. And I think the president made it clear today that, even in areas -- even with countries where we have intense
disagreements, there are areas where we will -- or hopefully we can collaborate.
The fact that the Chinese are upset, I think, is -- can be discounted. I think it's rather a good sign, that this is a country that continues to be
rather aggressive, very aggressive, and has been bullying its neighbors, and, hence, a lot of the countries in that region are happy with this deal.
So China has to realize that, by continuing to engage in what is called wolf diplomacy, right, that they're pushing a lot of countries into the lap
of the alliance and that they're undermining their own interests.
But you mentioned something important, look, that there's a very full agenda here. And this is what the Trade and Technology Council is supposed
to do. We're supposed to have a dialogue on export controls, on foreign direct investment, on making sure that the supply chains are more robust
and are more resilient.
These are all things that are incredibly important. How do we together set the rules, trade?
GARDNER: We should be getting on with that work.
And this is a perfect jumping off point for me, because Victor Gao has now joined us from Beijing.
So, stand by, Ambassador Gardner.
And thank you, Victor Gao, for joining us.
So, first and foremost, Victor Gao, you just may have heard Anthony Gardner say that quite a few people in the region don't have any qualms with this.
They're quite happy. They see Beijing -- and, indeed, your president has said that -- and he said it a few years ago -- that Beijing's foreign
policy will be backed up by its military.
And it has had, as you know, I'm sure, a more aggressive policy over the last few years.
Are you really surprised that this has happened, Victor Gao?
VICTOR GAO, VICE PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR CHINA AND GLOBALIZATION: No, I don't think China has an aggressive foreign policy or national defense
China's national defense is purely for self-defense. China does not have a single soldier stationed abroad, except for a small presence in Djibouti.
And this is comparing with more than 200 military bases of the United States in all corners of the world.
I think what you see in China over the past few years is really pushing back against tremendous amount of anti-China hostility launched against
China by the United States in particular. And I think people should be accustomed to this kind of pushback, because China will need to stand up
and defend its own national sovereignty and national interests.
AMANPOUR: So what does China do now, Victor Gao?
President Biden told the world that no cold war, he said, and we have been discussing this a lot, that there still has to be cooperation on the vital
issues, climate being the biggest one, with China.
Is China in a position now -- what do you think President Xi Jinping will do? Cooperate on climate, take evasive action, or compensatory reaction for
this AUKUS deal? What do you predict will happen?
GAO: Well, first of all, I listened very carefully to what President Biden had to say just now.
And I think he, to a very large extent, said and talked the right talk, but it's more important to see what the talk and -- what the walk the United
States will walk, because I think some of the points he made quite eloquently is exactly against what the United States doing right now.
For example, for AUKUS, you mentioned, from the Chinese perspective, it looks like a strong violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. And, also,
it takes a lot of risk, because it is really depriving Australia from that very coveted status of being part of the Nuclear-Free South Pacific Zone.
And, going forward, it really invites Australia to be targeted with nuclear warheads going forward, just in case, a war, God forbid, really breaks out
among or between major powers.
So this is actually against the fundamental interests of the Australian people. And in embracing AUKUS, Australia actually loses its very unique
status as being part of the nuclear-free South Pacific region.
AMANPOUR: And yet Australia seems to have bet that the United States will come out on top, or whatever word you want to use, in its competition with
China in the region.
You mentioned war. Clearly, there is a lot of worry. Your country has talked a lot, your president has talked a lot about Taiwan. And I wonder
what you think about that. I know you believe that, by all means necessary, it needs to be reunified.
What message do you get from the United States and NATO from what they have done in Afghanistan, for instance? Do you think Taiwan will be defended by
GAO: First of all, what the United States did regarding its withdrawal from Afghanistan is a complete chaos and complete sign of weakness.
The United States Army choose to run away ahead of informing the NATO members, informing the Afghan national troops, and informing their
counterparts in Afghanistan, also leaving behind not only U.S. citizens, U.S. green card holders, but also their allies among the Afghan people. It
really does not look well.
And I hope the United States government, the United States military will really reflect as to why they went that low in terms of cutting loose and
run away from Afghanistan.
Now, you mentioned Taiwan. Taiwan is part of China. And all the international organizations, including the United Nations, acknowledge
that. The United States government, ever since 1979, acknowledged that. That's actually the basis of China-U.S. relations ever since 1979.
The national reunification of China's mainland with China's Taiwan will happen. And I don't think the United States will decide to shed blood of
its sons and daughters for the sake of China's national reunification. The United States seems very eager to be the big arms dealer in selling more
arms to Taiwan, but they will not, I'm sure, send troops to fight for the independence of Taiwan.
Therefore, despite of all the bluffings, for example, I don't think real war will take place between China and the United States as far as Taiwan's
reunification is concerned.
And I hope countries like Australia will not be misled by some of the misrepresentations of the United States. And choosing to embrace nuclear
submarines really will take away Australia's very coveted status of being a nuclear-free country or nuclear-free zone.
AMANPOUR: It's really interesting. And we're really pleased to have your insights, Victor Gao from Beijing, Anthony Gardner from here in London.
Thank you both for joining us on this.
Now, at America's Southern border, thousands of Haitian migrants are trying to reach the United States after a series of disasters struck their
homeland. And lest we forget, Haiti was battered by an earthquake and a tropical storm just this year, after the assassination of their president.
Now, as they approach the United States, Haitian migrants are being met with force. Just look at these images from Texas, appearing to show mounted
U.S. border agents aggressively confronting them.
The United States Homeland Security Department has called the action extremely troubling and vows a full investigation, but it is still not
And Matt Rivers has this report on their desperate journey.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A packed street in Southern Mexico resembling something out of Port-au-Prince. Hundreds of
Haitian migrants fill the sidewalks of Tapachula. This city is often a stop for those traveling north to the U.S.
But the amount of Haitians making that journey right now, both government officials and activists say, is unprecedented.
"We have seen lots of migration before," says Ruben Figaroa (ph), "but we have never seen this many people from Haiti. It's unbelievable."
Nearly 19,000 Haitians and counting have applied for asylum in Mexico this year, already three times higher than all of 2020. But, for many, asylum
claims won't keep them here. They will head north, arriving by any and all means.
Here, a few days ago, dozens of migrants, many of them Haitian, take a ferry to cross a river, the only way to get across. Most will then pay a
few dollars to a motorcycle taxi to take them along the next leg of the journey.
RIVERS (on camera): So, he's basically saying that he's never seen this amount of Haitian migrants come through here before.
(voice-over): The goal for many is to make it to a place like here, seven hours away in the town of Malpaso, where there is fierce competition to get
on the buses headed north.
Tensions boiling over at times, arguments erupting outside of ticketing stations. These buses will eventually take them to the U.S., which is how
recent scenes of thousands of Haitians trying to get into the U.S. came to be. The U.S. says it will deport these people by the thousands. But there
are more coming.
(on camera): So this base in Southern Mexico up until just a few days ago was actually a place where hundreds of Haitian migrants were staying on a
temporary basis every single day. This community actually set up this shelter because of this recent influx.
As you can see now, though, it's empty. All the Haitians that were here left. They're headed north to the United States.
(voice-over): And this surging migration has every chance to continue, after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti six weeks ago. Hundreds of
thousands were displaced, and immigration activists say many could leave the island soon, and eventually end up right back here in Southern Mexico,
AMANPOUR: Matt Rivers reporting there.
And joining me now for more is Bridget Cambria, an immigration attorney and co-founder of Aldea, an advocacy group that provides legal and social
services to vulnerable immigrants once they reach the United States.
Welcome, Bridget, to the program.
I assume that, in all your years of this work, you're quite shocked by what you just saw, as the vice president has said, Kamala Harris, as the DHS
secretary said, that this is not normal behavior.
BRIDGET CAMBRIA, CO-FOUNDER, ALDEA: Well, thank you very much for having me.
And I will say that the images that we're seeing right now are shocking, and the images that we're seeing for the response, the enforcement response
by Border Patrol, are shocking. And the numbers that we see located and isolated in this particular area are rather large.
But I will say that the existence of the asylum seeker on the Southern border is not something that's new, and neither is the really targeted
enforcement against particularly black immigrants and particularly Haitians in our history.
It's just for the first time I think we're actually seeing it live in the news. And the images that we're seeing are shocking, but I don't think we
should discount the fact that the targeted enforcement against the black immigrant on our Southern border has been happening for some time.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me play this by the homeland security secretary with regard to what you just said, to see if what he promises you think has a
chance of happening. Let's just play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYORKAS: One cannot weaponize a horse to aggressively attack a child. That is unacceptable.
That is not what our policies and our training require. Please understand, let me be quite clear, that is not acceptable. We will not tolerate
mistreatment. And we will address it with full force base on the facts that we learn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, major promises from very senior Americans right now about this.
Do you think they will have a proper investigation? And how will they not tolerate? What will be the outcome of this? Do you think? We have -- when
the kids were put in cages -- we have seen all this terrible stuff for way too long now. What do you hope will be the outcome of any investigation?
CAMBRIA: Well, I do welcome the comments of the secretary. I think that an investigation is absolutely necessary.
But I will say that an investigation might not be enough. We have had children die in our Border Patrol stations. This has been ongoing issues
with U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the United States. And it just seems to not go away.
We need more than investigations right now. We need action, and we need immediate action. And I think that what would live up to the secretary's
words is not only a full-force investigation now, but the immediate response, humanitarian response, of sending people to the United States
Southern border right now to this Del Rio region, and addressing the humanitarian concerns of the asylum seekers on the border.
And what does that mean? That means permitting full and fair access to our asylum system. It means not expelling Haitian migrants that are on the
United States border right now, because they have a legitimate and legal right to seek asylum. And it means stopping the removal flights to Haiti,
while we figure out what's happening.
That would live up to what the secretary expressed right there. An investigation that drags on is not going to address the immediate response
that's needed right now. The images that we're seeing, that we saw just yesterday with the horses who charged at children or were using reins as
whips against migrants, they were not only startling and shocking, but it's triggering.
With the history of our country, it's triggering images. And there were also other images that came out from wonderful reporting on the border,
mothers and fathers, children that were trying their best to live, to survive. It's really important to understand why these families are on the
border right now, the history that's behind it, but to understand that they're not there for any other reason but to lawfully seek protection in
the United States, which is their legal right.
So what would live up to the secretary's words is to give these families full and fair access to our laws.
AMANPOUR: Well, let's just talk about that in a moment, but, first, the fundamental humanitarian necessities that you just said they needed at the
Let's just listen to one of these Haitians trying to get across, because they're essentially dying without food and water. Here's what one of them
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I have been hungry for four days with children. And now I have left the United States to find food in
Mexico. People in the United States don't give us anything, just water. Since children only receive water, children are going hungry. We're out in
The United States government has no conscience. Don't deport Haitians, because, in Haiti, there is no life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Bridget Cambria, clearly, what the United States is doing, it has a policy of is trying to cut the pull factor and trying to just push
Do you think that that will work?
CAMBRIA: It won't work, and it hasn't worked in the history of our country.
The treatment of asylum seekers on the border, pushing people back doesn't work, because they're trying to save their lives. Most immigration
attorneys when they talk about their clients use the reference of a burning house and how a parent would react if they were in a burning house. would
you leave the house or would you stay and die? You wouldn't.
Expelling families, pushing people back into Mexico, even deportations, will not deter the asylum seeker. So what we see on the border, denying
them basic necessities, denying them access to the legal process, which is exacerbating the conditions on the border, right, they're going to be there
longer if we're not giving them a full, fair and quick legal process, they're going to sit there and they're going to suffer.
And it's going to be, you know, horrible images that we're going to have to see but these are the lives that they're living and this is the level of
fear that they have. They have no choice but to sit on the southern border right now with the hope that America is going to do the right thing, going
to follow their own laws. And frankly, up until now, they're not.
So, today, we know that there's at least three to six expulsions flights that are leaving Haiti, that are carrying Haitian migrants without the
opportunity for them to seek any type of protection in the United States, which they're legally entitled to. It's really hard when -- as an
immigration practitioner -- go ahead.
AMANPOUR: No, no, no. It's OK. I wanted to broaden it out to what you were saying, practicing the laws and immigration practitioner. You know, we've
seen, we're read, we've seen these horrendous situations at the border over the years and it just seems to get worse and worse and worse and more and
more inhumane, but it's upheld or underpinned by a fact there is a broken immigration system and Congress and everybody can't seem to get it
You know, there's something like 25,000 people who are trying to come in who are detained across the facilities across the United States. And it's
very different from -- in any other countries that uphold human rights and democratic rule of law. And in the U.S., it's been called unnecessarily
cruel, it's been suggested that deterrence or rather detention is a form of deterrence and, you know, people have just kept endlessly without rule of
How significant is that in the United States and how does it, you know, compare to how other countries similar to the United States deal with this
kind of immigration and asylum seeking?
CAMBRIA: Well, I wouldn't seek to comments how other countries receive their asylum seekers. I think that every country has their issues. The
United States and its use of detention is probably one of the most horrible parts of our immigration system. We can detain an immigrant and asylum
seeker indefinitely in the United States in many circumstances, we can detain children indefinitely in the United States under certain
And this really has a relevant connection to the issues on the border right now with Haitians because the black immigrants and Haitian immigrants are
by and large the longest detained population, not only the most common population that is detained in the United States, they're more likely to
not receive bail and immigration, it's called bond. So, they're likely to not be released from custody. And during the period of Title 42 where we
see the United States government refusing to provide access to the asylum system for migrants on the southern border, primarily those expelled by
flight out of the United States are flown to Haiti.
It's targeted types policies that target the black immigrant and most notoriously, the Haitian immigrant. And what we see on the southern border
is this mass of people, all that have a legitimate right to seek asylum and all that are fleeing extremely terrible situations going on in Haiti right
now. Political violence, it's -- and an earthquake and other types of natural disasters. There's a reason they're there.
And really, the United States' government's response is really what's going to tell, you know, who we are as a country and whether we are still a
country of immigrants and we're willing to receive people and give them a lawful process that they deserve.
AMANPOUR: And finally, and quickly, it obviously costs a lot of money to deal with all of this and I just wondered whether you think some of the
countries do, for instance, provide social services, make sure that these legitimate migrants and asylum seekers can have their social and basic
livelihood needs met. They get classes and integration and things like that.
Do you -- and I'm talking about European countries and the like, do you think that has a hope and heck of ever happening in the United States while
these legitimate people pursue their legitimate reasons for asylum in the United States? Do you think there's anything that tells you there might be
a change in the system ahead in the U.S. at the border?
CAMBRIA: Well, I'll tell you that during the last election, we were promised a humane immigration system. The Biden administration made that a
campaign promise. So, does it stand a chance and heck? It better because the majority of advocates that work in the immigration profession, they've
rallied behind the administration because we were promised the humane immigration system.
We're not seeing that right now. We're not seeing it. And it's really devastating to the people that work in this profession but it's also
devastating to the people that it's affecting. Tens of thousands of people are being harmed because the government is not living up to the expectation
that they set, which is to provide full and fair access to humanitarian immigration services, whether that is the asylum seeker, whether that is
families. For whatever mechanism of immigration that exists, there's a high expectation that we're going to turn the corner of the last administration,
which really works to hurt the immigrant and instead, work to help the immigrant.
That can very well be fixed by doing exactly what you mentioned that other countries do. Instead of high levels of enforcement and detention, using
compassion, using communities, using social services and, you know, you're going to find that that's going to make a more functioning immigration
system because right now, it's not working and it will be able to process people like the Haitians who are sitting on our border waiting for full and
It will process them quicker and result in more positive outcomes. And frankly, I mean, we all want to see better images than what we've seen in
the past couple of days. We have high expectations that the government is going to do the right thing. Stop expelling immigrants. Give them access to
asylum and that's what we expect.
AMANPOUR: OK. Well, thank you very much for your experience there and your expertise, Bridget Cambria.
Now, the U.N. secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, has been addressing leaders in New York today. He says, the world has never been more divided.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: On one hand, we see vaccines develop in record time. A victory of science and human ingenuity. On the
other hand, we see their triumph and damn (ph) by the treasury of lack of political will, selfishness and mistrust.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: With mistrust comes disinformation, of course. Lee McIntyre, research fellow at Boston University examines this in his new book, "How to
Talk to a Science Denier." And here he is telling Michel Martin what we must do about the conspiracies that keep gaining dangerous ground around
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Professor Lee McIntire, thank you so much for joining us.
LEE MCINTIRE, AUTHOR, "HOW TO TALK TO A SCIENCE DENIER": Thank you for having me back.
MARTIN: Your book is called "How to Talk to a Science Denier" and I'm tempted to go, just please, how do we? But let's back up for a minute.
MARTIN: Because how would you say sort of science denialism started in this country? Because I think particularly, once the space exploration
started, I thought, you know, Americans sort of took pride in their interest in science, in their commitment to science. So, I'm asking like,
when did this science denialism start in the United States?
MCINTYRE: Well, Americans have tended to love science, but I'm not sure they've always understood it and they've always reserved the right to be
skeptical of anything that they didn't want to believe. And so, you know, understanding that that was out there, it was just a matter of the --
really, the first disinformation campaign around science in the modern era, which was the cigarette companies, the tobacco companies in the 1950s who
came together at the plaza hotel because there was an impending study that was going to show that smoking was linked with lung cancer, and they
brought in a public relations expert who advised them to fight the science. And so, that's exactly what they did.
Of course, before social media, they took out full page ads in American newspapers, reached about a sixth of the American population. And they
hired some scientists in a precursor to the American Tobacco Institute. And they didn't need to prove that cigarette smoking didn't cause lung cancer.
All they needed to do was to make it sound like the scientists publishing the other study were hasty, that there was a debate and that we needed to
slow down and reconsider the question, which they managed to turn into a 40 yearlong campaign of continuing to sell cigarettes while there really
wasn't any scientific doubt.
MARTIN: So, now, I think a lot of us are seeing how this is playing out with people who are resisting vaccinations, that are resisting mask
mandates. So, what percentage -- I don't know if this is a productive way to think about it, but what would you say sort of a percentage of the
American population that are science deniers?
MCINTYRE: It depends on the topic. It's hard to get a reliable number just in general, but, you know, when you think about COVID denial, anti-vax,
climate denial, flat earth, evolution denial, you know, you could put different numbers on different ones. The most recent statistic I saw, now
this was pre-COVID, this was anti-vax, pre-COVID, was that 22 percent of Americans self-identified as anti-vax. That's a pretty high percentage if
you think about it.
MARTIN: And then, we have seen these, I don't know, really shocking videos of incidents across the country where people are getting to physical
altercations around mask wearing. We've seen this at school board meetings. We've seen this on the street.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No more masks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep it calm. Keep it calm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN: What do you think that's about?
MCINTYRE: Look, it's important to remember that with beliefs around these sorts of topics, with science denial beliefs in general, you're not -- when
you attack somebody's beliefs, you're not just attacking what they think, you're attacking who they are. So, you know, if you think about somebody
who believes that, you know, rebreathing into a mask is going to give them carbon dioxide poisoning or somebody who is skeptical of vaccines but
thinks that Ivermectin is OK, those are not evidence-based beliefs. Those are ideological beliefs. They got there from somewhere. They got them,
really, from a disinformation campaign. Somebody wanted them to believe that.
And so, you know, once they've taken that up, once that becomes part of their belief system, to challenge them is really a sort of a direct insult
to them as a person. Now, compare that with the way that scientists think about a belief. You know, if you give me the evidence, I'll change my
belief. That's the way science is supposed to work. In this case, these are not scientific beliefs, these are denialist beliefs where there's something
else is on the line, their ideology, their politics, you know, there's something else going on.
MARTIN: There's so many things about your book that I found fascinating, but one of them was that a number of people who are, in fact, science
deniers, don't think that they are. They think that they just have questions, or they actually think that they are following their own
scientific method, but only so far and a lot of it is just garbage science. And I'm just -- so, I was so fascinated by that. What's that about?
MCINTYRE: I've met a denier. Everyone claims that they're being more scientific than the scientists. I think the whole thing gets back to this
question of skepticism because skepticism is an important part of science. I mean, scientists, they're supposed to be skeptical, they're supposed to
also be openminded to new evidence but they're supposed to be skeptical until something has been, you know, demonstrated based on the evidence.
What I've noticed often happens with deniers is that they will consider themselves skeptics but they really don't understand what the term means.
For instance, they -- I guess, they're what I call cafeteria skeptics. They will believe in science. They're not anti-science. They will believe in
science on the things that, you know, don't step on their ideological beliefs or their political beliefs. But then when scientists cross over
into territory that something that they feel personally committed to, then all of a sudden, they'll ask for proof.
Well, science doesn't work that way. Science doesn't work on the basis of proof and certainty, it works on the basis of evidence and what they call
warrant, you know, is there enough sufficient -- is there sufficient warrant for your beliefs? So, the problem with science deniers is that they
think of themselves as skeptical, but what they actually are is more opportunistic, and in some cases, quite gullible.
I mean, think about the mindset of someone who doesn't understand or won't accept the scientific evidence which shows that the vaccines are safe and
effective, but will watch a news program and then go out and buy Ivermectin, that's a quite gullible thing to do. And it comes back to my
idea that science denial was not really based on doubt, it's distrust. Because if you doubted something, that can be overcome by evidence. But if
you distrust the person who's done the research or who's sharing the evidence with you, that really can't be overcome through evidence. And so,
that makes it, you know, much harder to get past.
MARTIN: You know I have to ask you about Nicki Minaj, right? You know, I have to. Because this -- as we are speaking now like one of the big stories
around is this, you know, yes, famous pop star, Nicki Minaj. So, she says that she was skeptical of the vaccine and she's doing her research, but she
said she is not getting -- or hasn't gotten it to this point because her cousin's friend in Trinidad have some -- she says, had reported some
unusual side effect related to his genitalia after having -- and this caught -- and the reason we're bringing this up is because it caused a huge
ruckus. The public health minister of Trinidad had to go and have a press conference saying that they had investigated this matter and that this is
not the case. Like, what is that? This is an intelligent person.
MCINTYRE: That's right.
MARTIN: Who's very efficacious about her career and other things. You see my point? That's what I'm asking you.
MCINTYRE: And that's why people are so worried about it. That's why, I think, President Biden had offered to call her, because somebody with a big
platform like that can amplify disinformation and it reaches millions of people. And remember what I said, they don't have to prove it, it just has
to raise enough doubt that it keeps people from getting the vaccine.
Here's the problem. Nicki Minaj didn't -- and I wager her cousin or even her cousin's friend didn't come up with that on their own. That was fed to
them, that was disinformation that was the result of a propaganda campaign of someone who wanted to put that out there, and they feed -- the people
who create this information feed that sort of thing out there. And then, people who get victimized by it.
MARTIN: What you're saying in your book is that maybe it's less productive to ask why do people believe that than to ask who wants them to believe
MCINTYRE: That's right.
MARTIN: So, who wants people to believe misinformation about the COVID vaccines?
MCINTYRE: It's a great question. And I'm glad you asked it because very few people are talking about that. We seem to be, for the most part, in
government, in media, treating all of this disinformation as misinformation, and thinking that it's an accident or it's a mistake. It's
not. Science denial is not a mistake. It's a lie. And a lie is intentionally created by somebody for a purpose, somebody who's profiting
We already saw how the tobacco companies could profit from the doubt that they raised, you know, out of thin air. So, sometimes, the way that people
profit from disinformation is economic. Let's say that happens with climate change as well. But sometimes it's ideological or political.
And in this case, I think that a lot of the anti-vax, especially the anti- COVID vaccine propaganda is coming out of foreign intelligence services, most egregiously, out of Russia. Now, you don't have to break into CIA
headquarters to know that this is the case. This was all in the major media in about March of this year. And then, it was a one or two-day story and
nobody looked at it very much after that.
But what seems to have happened is that the -- Putin has a -- there was a story in the "New York Times" I think a year and a half ago called Putin's
Long War Against American Science. He has been interested, especially around health-related issues, of polarizing Americans, having us at each
other's throats, really creating chaos, you know, this confusion, this, you know, raising doubt and distrust where there shouldn't be any, and it's
So, I mean, the question you ask is precisely the right one, not, why do people believe such things, but who wants them to believe it? And that's
what we should be asking about Nicki Minaj, by the way, not why she believes it. She believes it because somebody told her and she doubts. You
know, she's raising questions that everybody raises. We've all got cognitive biases, we all trust the people around us. The real question is,
who wants her to believe that? And the answer is the people who created that disinformation around things like that the vaccines had microchips in
them or the most recent one, that it will cause people to go infertile.
MARTIN: Earlier this year, the Center for Countering Digital Hate found just 12 people are responsible for the majority of the misleading claims
and outright lies about COVID-19 vaccines on social media. What do you make of that?
MCINTYRE: It was actually not just a majority, it was 65 percent, which is quite a bit. People who are amplifying misinformation this way, they don't
have to be that many of them. I mean, once you figure out how twitter works, once you figure out how social media works, you know, people
understand that they can amplify their message out to millions of people, and that's a very bad thing.
I think of that as sort of a pinch point in the disinformation network when you realize that it's so few people who have such a big megaphone. And
another statistic that I heard was that on Facebook, they did an internal study that got leaked and it was reported in the "Washington Post," 50
percent of the anti-vax propaganda on Facebook was due to 111 people. That's not that many people. I mean, you're probably never going to
convince those 111 people or those, you know, dozen people. But if you found a way to keep them from amplifying their disinformation quite so
much, coupled with mandates, I think that might be the way to go.
MARTIN: And what's their agenda? What do they want?
MCINTYRE: It depends. In some cases, they want to make more money. In some cases, they want attention. In some cases, they're true believers. I think
that often different types of science denial have different motivations. Quite a bit of it now is based on ideological or political polarization. I
think that in some cases, we're now so polarized that, you know, people get the script that this is what folks on our team believe. And so, they go
ahead and believe it.
MCINTYRE: What is to be done here? You've written a whole book about it. How do we talk to a science denier and is there any evidence that makes a
MCINTYRE: There are three problems. One is the creation of disinformation. The other is the amplification of disinformation, which can be on social
media or partisan media. And the third is the uptake of the disinformation. What happens, you know, once people already start to believe it? What can
The mistake, I think, is when we go at it with the idea that they -- with something called the information deficit model. All we need to do is give
them the facts and they'll be convinced. Well, that doesn't work because, again, if this is part of somebody's identity, you know, sharing new facts
is just not going to do it. What you have to do, the appropriate way to handle it, one I advocate in my book, is to build trust.
If you look at the anecdotal accounts of people who have changed their mind about vaccines, about COVID, and about climate change, they all happen
because that person was approached by somebody that they trusted. Somebody who engaged with them. So, you shouldn't yell at somebody, obviously, or
insult them. That's just going to put up the wall of distrust. The best way to approach it is with patience and calm and respect, and to actually
listen to what the person's concerns are.
MARTIN: It sounds like a slow, long process though. I think a lot of people are sick of these people. I mean, I think they're sick of people who
they feel are endangering the health of their neighbors, friends and fellow countrymen's school children because of their intransigence on this issue.
So, I guess what I'm asking you is, you know, it that -- it just sounds like a long slow process. Is that the only choice?
MCINTYRE: You know, to the folks who don't want to do this, I say, what's your plan? What would you do instead? Science denial is just going to
continue to get worse. If you yell at them, maybe you'll feel better but you're not going to convert anyone. And the last time I checked, this
problem is getting worse and worse. Because over my shoulder, I see that it's not just science denial. We've now got QAnon. We've got the folks who
maintain that the 2020 election was stolen. That the protesters on January 6th were peaceful protesters. This is all from the same blueprint, the same
type of reasoning, this is all denialist reasoning. And I think that we need to figure out how we're going to do it.
Once this problem has gotten out into the community, and you got people who are self-identifying as anti-vaxxers, what's going to get through to them?
I think that the only thing that's going to get through to them is empathy. If we're just going to stay home and be right, then we're in trouble. And
by the way, we're deniers too. We're deniers because there's scientific evidence now, there was a study in nature human behavior in the summer of
2019 which provided the first empirical evidence to show that this was possible, that this actually worked.
So, to the people who say, oh, I don't want to bother because it won't work, they're wrong. This can work. I went to a flat earth convention. You
don't have to do that, but you do have to talk to your uncle at Thanksgiving or pull your cousin aside or, you know, your friend, somebody
that you can make a difference with. And don't just have one conversation, have many conversations. Let's start to get a virtue of circle working
rather than a vicious circle. And I think we could make some difference on this.
MARTIN: Professor Lee McIntyre, thank you so much for talking with us today.
MCINTYRE: Thanks for having me back. I enjoyed it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Defending facts and truth, of course, can work as we've just heard, and trust is such a vital tool.
And finally, tonight, farewell and a tribute to a trail blazer. A fashion forward journalist known for spotting the next big thing, whether design or
designer, renowned editor, Richard Buckley, has died at the age of 72. Over 25 years, he rose through the influential magazines to become editor-in-
chief of "Vogue Hommes International."
He met the creative genius, Tom Ford, earlier in his career in an elevator in 1986. And Ford once said, their eyes locked in that ride. And by the end
of it, he knew he had found the one. It was literally love at first sight, he said. They were partners for more than 30 years. They were husbands and
husband and fathers of nine-year-old Jack.
In a statement, Ford's team said that Richard died of natural causes for long illness. He's kind, he's gentle and, yet bold spirit will always be
missed by all who knew him.
That's it for now. You can catch our show online, on our podcast and across social media. Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.