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Biden Heads Overseas; Unrest in Sudan; President Biden Meets With Pope Francis; Interview with Sudanese Journalist Mohanad Hashim; Interview with "The Burnout Epidemic" Author Jennifer Moss. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired October 29, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American people have never ever, ever, ever let the country down. So let's get this done.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): President Biden heads overseas with his legacy- defining agenda stalled. What this could mean for America and its reputation around the world.
BIDEN: You are the most significant warrior for peace I have ever met.
GOLODRYGA: As the president meets the pope, we discuss why some U.S. bishops are turning on Biden.
And protesters take to the streets of Sudan to demonstrate against a coup. So has the country fallen off the path to democracy?
JENNIFER MOSS, AUTHOR, "THE BURNOUT EPIDEMIC": After 20 months of facing your own mortality, you have to imagine that we have changed.
GOLODRYGA: Author Jennifer Moss tells Michel Martin how the pandemic has transformed our relationship with work and stress.
GOLODRYGA: Welcome to the program everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour, who will be back next week.
President Biden is stepping back into the global spotlight, meeting with G20 leaders and Pope Francis in Rome ahead of the U.N. climate summit in
Glasgow next week. He was hoping to ride to Europe on a wave of congressional support for his ambitious infrastructure package, a bill that
would spend $555 billion on climate and clean energy, boosting his credibility before COP 26.
Well, that didn't quite happen. Although his framework for the bill was endorsed by the Democrats' progressive wing, the legislation has been
stymied in Congress, as talks continue.
So, what is the current state of the president's domestic agenda? And how could it impact a critical week for American diplomacy?
Let's get some answers now with "New York Times" London bureau chief Mark Landler, and Mo Elleithee, the executive director of Georgetown Institute
of Politics and Public Service.
Welcome, both of you.
So, Mark, let's begin with you, because this is the first in person G20 summit since the pandemic began, obviously, a lot on the agenda here,
whether it's future pandemic prevention, global supply chain crisis and other issues, including economic issues.
But front and center, we saw the president really try to fix what was a bit of a rift with the U.S.' oldest ally, and that obviously being France, in
his meeting, an uncomfortable meeting, with President Macron, a bit different from the one that we saw the G7, when they were hugging each
other on the beaches there in Cornwall in -- back in June.
But it does seem as if the president himself acknowledged that what the U.S. did was clumsy. Obviously, this is regarding the nuclear submarine
deal with Australia, where France was really left in the dark, the president seemingly throwing some of his advisers under the bus about how
this was handled.
So is that it? Is this all water under the bridge? Is this sort of a check mark on one of the issues he had to face?
MARK LANDLER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, Bianna, it's a big check mark.
It's one thing to have the secretary of state apologize or an ambassador apologize. In a way, the U.S. has been engaged in a -- sort of a long-
running act of contrition with the French over the past few months. But to have the president of the United States do it himself I think sort of does
draw a line under this.
Emmanuel Macron will have reasons if he wants to keep the specter of the United States front and center in France. After all, he is running for
reelection, and stirring up a little antagonism, whether with the Americans or with the Brits, which is also happening in parallel, isn't a bad
political play for the president of France.
But at the end of the day, France and the U.S. have so many shared strategic interests that I think both leaders are probably eager to turn
the page to some extent. And I think President Biden today may have managed to do that.
GOLODRYGA: But we know that the president was eager to leave for his trip to Europe with a vote, at least on the bipartisan infrastructure package,
as he devoted some extra time yesterday and delayed the trip by presenting at least a framework of a $1.85 trillion Build Back Better deal that he had
hoped would at least get the ball rolling here.
That did not happen. And let's quote the president himself and what he told members of Congress. He said that: "My presidency will we will be
determined by what happens in the next week."
And I'm just curious, Mark. From your perspective, is that how world leaders are viewing this as well?
LANDLER: Well, I think, to some extent, it is.
President Biden said over and over again that national prestige was writing on this, that he didn't want to fly into a crucial climate summit without
something concrete in hand. So the fact that it looks like he won't is a setback for the president. There's no other word for it.
The fact that he has a framework, that he can point to this direction of travel, is something that he will probably try to make the most of that he
can. The interesting thing about the legislation, as it appears to be finalizing, is that, with $555 billion in climate-related spending, climate
is actually the centerpiece of this bill. It wouldn't perhaps otherwise have been until things like paid leave and free community college and all
these other Democratic priorities were systematically stripped out of it.
So what you're left with is a bill, a large percentage of which is about climate. But it does lack some of the most important mechanisms that make a
climate package really sweeping. One of those would be a system of incentives and punishments to force energy companies to get out of fossil
fuels and into renewables.
That was pulled out of this Biden package. And so when the president goes to Glasgow, he will just simply sort of not have a full quiver of arrows to
present. And I think, as the nation -- as the world's second largest emitter, it will be a setback for the conference at large to have the
United States not be able to step up with an ambitious, concrete initiative to offer the rest of the world.
GOLODRYGA: So, Mo, a setback timing-wise, right? He doesn't have that to bring and present for the global stage yet, as he is meeting with world
leaders and ahead of that COP 26 meeting in Glasgow.
But we are seeing this legislation move forward. There is still momentum riding here. And this is still an unprecedented bill, even though it's
pared down. As the president was highlighting yesterday, that's what compromise is all about. We're still talking about an unprecedented sum,
$555 billion, dedicated towards fighting climate change.
I'm just curious, from your perspective, we're focusing on this week and the past few days. Longer term, if this actually is enacted, how big of a
game-changer would this be for his administration and legacy?
MO ELLEITHEE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GEORGETOWN INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE: I don't think it is an understatement for him to say that
his presidency in many ways rides on what happens in the next week or two.
Our institute has been doing a lot of polling, and in our most recent poll, it shows that, if you look at the trajectory of the Biden presidency, he
was very strong in the early days, in large part because he had big results he could point to.
The message of the Biden administration was crystal clear. We put checks in your wallet, and we put shots in your arm, talking about the COVID relief
and the vaccination efforts. They were about -- they were poised to add a third component to that, checks in your wallet, shots in your arms, and
jobs in your communities surround -- referring to the infrastructure, physical infrastructure legislation.
They were getting ready to add that. And then it, of course, stalled. And over the past few months, the conversation shifted away from those tangible
results that people could embrace to an argument about a big pile of money.
And that's all that penetrated. As a result, you have seen the president's job approval numbers fall. You have seen congressional Democrats' job
approval numbers fall. You have even seen congressional Republicans' job approval numbers fall. People are frustrated at the lack of results.
ELLEITHEE: And when you give them a choice...
GOLODRYGA: Let's bring up that poll. I just want to...
ELLEITHEE: You just give them a choice between someone who will compromise -- yes.
GOLODRYGA: I want to show our viewers some of the poll numbers that you were just citing there. This is from the Georgetown University Politics'
And you are seeing that President Biden's approval rating dropping to 45 percent down from 53 percent; 66 percent of voters believe the economy will
be worse off for the next generation. How do you account, though -- and maybe this is what you were getting to with this rising frustration...
GOLODRYGA: ... given that, in many ways, I don't think it's an overstatement to say that the Republicans haven't been doing anything. They
have been sitting on the sidelines just watching this all play out.
And in many ways, it seems like it's all happening within the Democratic Party, as you say maybe, focusing a bit too much on the numbers and not
what's inside this legislation.
ELLEITHEE: Well, I think that's part of the problem, is that the entire conversation is about what's happening with Democrats.
And so Democrats are the party in charge. They're being held responsible. The best thing Democrats have going for them, though, is that they are in
the midterms going to be running against Republicans, who have 27 percent approval rating. They don't have a lot to hang their hat on as Republicans.
But at the end of the day, people are feeling very pessimistic. They do, as you alluded to see -- predict that the economy -- economy will be worse for
the next generation. They believe that the polarization that is crippling us now will be worse a year from now.
And so the best thing that the Biden administration and Democrats can do is get results. And that's why people are so frustrated. They see Democrats
fighting an internal ideological battle that is not well-defined. It's being defined by how much money they want to spend, not by what it actually
delivers to the American people.
And so Democrats need to get back to that simple formula of saying, here's what you are getting. And voters are happy to compromise. What's
fascinating is, in the poll, both moderate Democrats and progressive Democrats both say they want people to compromise in order to get results,
as opposed to lose the whole thing over an ideological stance.
So the framework is there. It's now up to the Democrats in Congress to show that they're listening to people's desire for those results through
GOLODRYGA: And, Mark, obviously, this is all playing out in capitals around the world, whether it's U.S. allies or adversaries that are seeing
what's taking place in Washington, and all eyes now on the midterms and, from their perspective, what happens in 2024.
I mean, we have just heard President Biden talk about America being back. And whether its allies who he's trying to wrangle to meet some of the
challenges that he says that democracies around the world are facing or whether it's adversaries that don't know how to respond to these new these
new lines from the president and his policies, how are they now positioned to welcome the president to the G20?
LANDLER: Well, as you said, President Biden made a very big point of saying America's back. He did so when he came here for the G7 back in June.
I think, for European allies, there's been a series of disappointments that American foreign policy hasn't proven as different from the last
administration as maybe they had hoped. And, partly, that points to underlying changes in global geopolitics that just mean the United States
isn't going to be the same kind of partner it might have been 10 years ago, 20 years ago.
That said, there was a great deal of hope about President Biden. The body language he's used on all of these trips has been such a stark contrast to
President Trump. I think that probably Europeans are holding their breath, much as Democrats are in the United States, looking at the next week or two
as extremely consequential, and really hoping that this isn't a presidency that's crippled or blocked.
There's an old saying that, for the rest of the world, they don't get a vote in the U.S. election, but a U.S. election is still vitally important.
I think that feeling has never been stronger in Europe than it is now. Europeans will be following the midterms extremely closely. They will be
following the next presidential election really closely.
And so, for President Biden to get this program through, you probably would be surprised at the level of interest and scrutiny that all this is getting
in Europe, because they understand the longer-term consequences of it for the Biden presidency.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, no doubt, and it impacts their politics at home as well.
What's notable is who's not going to be at this meeting, and that's President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China. As we know,
following the G7 summit back in June, we had the summit between President Biden and President Putin.
How big of a setback is it that we won't see a face-to-face now between President Biden and President Xi, who he has put even above Russia as the
greatest challenge to the U.S. in the years ahead?
LANDLER: Well, that would no doubt have been the most eagerly anticipated meeting between any two leaders in the world.
The Biden administration got out of the blocks with a fairly tough policy toward China, President Biden characterizing it really as a strategic
competition. And yet the two men have not met since President Biden's been in office. They have spoken. They have had contact.
President Biden knows President Xi very well. He's, in fact, hosted him on previous trips to the U.S. that Xi Jinping has taken. So that would have
probably been a centerpiece of the diplomacy of the coming days. And the fact that it's not happening is not just a setback for U.S.-China
It's also a setback for the global climate summit. China is the world's largest emitter. Not sending the president sends a signal. It takes a
little bit of the air out of what could have been a major Chinese commitment to an initiative on reduction in emissions.
So I do think the lack of Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin -- Russia is the world's fourth largest emitter. Biden and Putin have had, as you say, a
summit meeting in Geneva. The two men have met. But I do think that it sort of deprives the world of an opportunity to see China step up and play a
bigger role. And for the U.S.-China relationship, it would have been a very important diplomatic milestone.
And, obviously, Russia continuing to battle its fourth wave now of COVID back in Russia. Perhaps that's one of the reasons Vladimir Putin is not
Mo, let me end with you and just get your stance on how you read Americans' views on the significance of how the country and the administration, in
particular, President Biden is welcomed around the world by these global leaders and as he heads to Glasgow.
ELLEITHEE: Yes, from -- excuse me -- from the polling that I have seen, it's -- I think people have a lot of faith in President Biden's ability to
sort of reclaim America's standing internationally as the preeminent global leader.
That took a hit after the Afghan -- the Afghanistan withdrawal. And people began to question that. He's now got two big opportunities to address it
and once again reestablish his own credentials in reestablishing America's credentials, this week and then, of course, Glasgow and COP 21.
And I think there's real opportunity there. The polling shows that climate is becoming increasingly important across all demographics of voters. It
used to be sort of the issue that animated progressives and animated young people, but we're seeing its growth as an issue across the board.
And so I think people are going to be watching that, watching how he handles not just the national economy, but the global economy. And those
issues, those are real opportunities for him to sort of regain some of that credibility.
GOLODRYGA: No doubt President Biden has really presented climate as an economic issue, which it definitely is.
Mo Elleithee and Mark Landler, thank you so much for joining us. Obviously, we will be continuing to cover these summits over the next few days. We
appreciate your joining us.
Well, we turn now to a different kind of diplomacy.
Today, Biden met the pope at the Vatican. This is his fourth time coming face to face with Pope Francis and a symbolic encounter for America's
second Catholic president. During the lengthy 90-minute meeting, they discussed a wide range of issues, including climate and inequality.
Someone who understands the significance of this relationship is Cardinal Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago.
Cardinal, welcome to the program. Thank you so much for joining us. And it's really valuable to have your insights here, as someone who is so close
with the pope, because there is a special connection, religion aside, between President Biden and Pope Francis. Obviously, this is the second
U.S. Catholic president. And Pope Francis is the first pope from the Americas.
Talk a bit more about their history leading up to today's meeting.
CARDINAL BLASE CUPICH, ARCHBISHOP OF CHICAGO: Well, good to be with you, Bianna. Thank you for having me.
I think that they have met now -- this is the fourth time that they have met. So they have a connection with each other. And they come at the --
their leadership is -- in a way that looks for ways in which the church and society can work together.
And so I think that this was an opportunity to deepen that relationship and that conversation.
GOLODRYGA: And it is a relationship that is personal too, because we know, in 2015, when the pope was visiting the United States, it came just months
after then-Vice President Biden had lost his son Beau.
And, in condolences, he expressed his warmth in private meetings. And Biden was -- I don't want to quote him directly, but said something along the
lines of he meant more -- that meeting meant more to him than anyone would ever know.
Today, they exchanged gifts. And we saw the president give Pope Francis a coin. And he said: I know my son would want me to give this to you because
on the back of it, I have the state of Delaware, the 261st Unit my son served with. If next time I don't see you, you don't have it, you have to
buy me drinks.
But their personal relationships and some of that humor aside, today was more than just symbolic, obviously, because there has been some real
backlash that President Biden has faced from within his own religious community here, from the pope's -- in the United States, obviously, given
his stance on abortion.
And a really big headline came out of this meeting today. Obviously, it was private. But we did hear the president say that Pope Francis told him that
he was a -- quote -- "good Catholic" and that he should continue receiving communion.
For our audience around the world who may not be as versed into this controversy, how significant were those words from the pope?
CUPICH: Well, of course, I wasn't at the meeting, but I'm not surprised by that.
The -- of course, the pope would say something like this. He's a pastor. And I think that's the lens through which we need to look at this
relationship. The Holy Father wants to be a pastor to people and to accompany them. And I think he's calling all of the bishops to follow that
He has said before, we have to be pastors, not politicians. And he's setting the example here.
GOLODRYGA: Well, and it is significant, because it would now directly come in conflict with American bishops, who are moving forward with a plan where
-- that would allow many of them to deny communion to any politician who does support abortion rights.
Does this statement from the pope today, does this impact what bishops are planning to do perhaps the next time that they meet?
CUPICH: Well, in fact, the last time we met in June, the president of our conference made very clear that this was not documented in terms of denying
people communion. It was a document in which we could re-enliven the sense of the meaning of the Eucharist for people.
And that is part of an effort that we're taking up as pastors in the church today. So our document is not about that we're going to be passing -- not
about refusing people or keeping, excluding people from the Eucharist, but about including them.
And what the Holy Father said today is right in line with my intention and a number of bishops as well, as we move forward with this document.
GOLODRYGA: The president did not go into detail about what they discussed. But he did say that abortion did not come up.
Does that surprise you at all?
CUPICH: Well, I know that they talked about a number of issues that have to do with protection and respect for human life. So I can't comment on the
full range of them.
But I do know that the climate concerns are very close to the heart of the Holy Father. We're in a very difficult situation. In fact, he released a
statement today, in view of the upcoming meeting in Glasgow. We're at a very critical moment. And so we're talking about the survival of this
planet, the survival of the human race that we need to take seriously.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, climate, whether...
CUPICH: It is a pro-life issue.
And, in a sense, whether it's climate-related or COVID-related or poverty- related, the two men are closely aligned on how significant these issues are for them.
GOLODRYGA: And I just want to point one thing out, whether that's vaccines. And they both agreed.
The pope had spoken out that the vaccine patents should be shared globally. Some other countries did not agree with that and pharmaceutical companies
didn't either. But President Biden did.
And I think the other thing is, the pope has been an advocate of vaccinations. He has said that is an act of charity to be vaccinated,
because we're all in this together in this moment of the pandemic. So he's in line with the president and many, of course, in the medical field about
the need to get vaccinated. And he has pressed hard on that.
GOLODRYGA: And it is important, and it is important to hear his voice on the issue of climate as well.
Cardinal Cupich, wonderful to have you on. Thank you so much for joining us.
CUPICH: Yes, good to be with you. Thanks for your good work.
GOLODRYGA: Have a great weekend. Thank you.
Well, we turn now to Sudan, which is mired in yet another political crisis. The military have seized power from the transitional government, and
thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in the capital, Khartoum, in defiance of the coup.
At least eight have been killed and more than 140 injured. After the ousting of autocratic President Omar al-Bashir in 2019, the Northeast
African nation was on a fragile path to democracy. But all of that now is in doubt.
Correspondent Nima Elbagir has more.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sudan once again forced to a crossroads.
One month after a failed coup attempt, the military arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Monday, along with other civilian members of the
transitional government, bearing all the hallmarks of military takeover, a coup.
Since the toppling of long-serving ruler Omar al-Bashir in 2019, military and civilian groups have been sharing power in the Northeast African
nation, intending to lead eventually to democratic elections in 2023.
The transition has seen Sudan emerge from international isolation under Bashir's nearly-three-decade rule. That democratic experiment now hangs in
Via a televised address, the head of Sudan's armed forces, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who is also the head of the Transitional Sovereign
Council, announced that the military has dissolved the government and declared a state of emergency.
GEN. ABDEL FATTAH AL-BURHAN, CHAIR, SOVEREIGNTY COUNCIL OF SUDAN (through translator): We stress here that the armed forces intend to complete the
democratic transition until the country's leadership is handed over to an elected civilian government.
ELBAGIR: Prime Minister Hamdok's home appeared to be surrounded by armed forces on Monday. According to the Information Ministry, apparently still
loyal to the country's erstwhile civilian rulers, Hamdok was told to release a statement in support of the takeover, but instead called on the
people to take to the streets in protest.
Tens of thousands demonstrated in Khartoum, burning tires and barricading roads. One eyewitness told CNN three key bridges had been blocked by
protesters in the capital, and the crowd could be heard chanting, "The people are stronger and going back is impossible."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Thanks to Nima Elbagir for that reporting there.
President Biden and the U.N. Security Council are calling for the civilian government to be restored. And both the State Department and the World Bank
have suspended aid to Sudan.
We're joined now by Mohanad Hashim, a freelance Sudanese journalist who has just returned to London.
Thank you so much for joining us.
Can you give us a sense of why this is happening now, why this coup is happening right now? We know that, in just a few weeks, the Sudanese people
were expected to have their first civilian-led government since 1989. So should we have seen the warning signs leading up to this?
MOHANAD HASHIM, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Hi, Bianna.
Well, it's -- in one way, it's simple to say this was inevitable. The writing has been on the wall since June the 3rd, 2019, when the military
tried to -- when General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan tried to stage his first coup, had a very strong crackdown back then on civilian protesters who were
holding a peaceful sitting outside the army headquarters.
Subsequently, the political class went into an agreement with the military in July 2019 that culminated in the constitutional document, which governs
this transitional period. But there and then, that was the problem, is because, as people label it, that was a partnership of blood. And,
eventually, it led to the normal conclusion that we saw on Monday.
It was surprising that it happened so fast after high-level visits from the U.S.' most senior envoy to the Horn, Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, was in Khartoum
on Sunday night, and he was in direct talks with the generals.
And only hours after he left Khartoum, the takeover happens. I mean, the thing we need to understand is that the military has been stalling and
trying to suffocate this transitional period, and putting all sorts of obstacles in the place for its civilian partners all along.
And if we go back just recently, I was in Khartoum when -- a month ago, when a coup attempt was declared then. And it has set this creeping
momentum that ultimately culminated in the tanks being rolled out and the horrible brutality that we're seeing at the moment in the streets of
Khartoum and in other cities across Sudan.
GOLODRYGA: So help us explain why, on the one hand, as you mentioned, Jeffrey Feltman, who's the U.S. special envoy to the Horn of Africa, had
just warned the general last week not to interfere with the transition and even threatened to withhold U.S. aid, which ultimately did happen, why
would he orchestrate this coup just hours later, but then obviously seem a bit surprised by the response, given that the World Bank has now frozen aid
And now he's even saying that the prime minister was free to go back to his own home. Why, on the one hand, do you think he was as brazen to do what he
did, but yet not anticipate this kind of response?
HASHIM: As a Sudan observer, it's slightly surreal and very difficult to try to explain why General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan did what he did.
On the one side, today, he's giving statements suggesting that they are happy to have Prime Minister Hamdok to lead another government, but on the
other hand, he went and kidnapped the Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Monday and had him until there was pressure to reveal whether he was and
then return him home.
I think the general has experienced, long experienced for three decades, the generals who control the military and the security apparatus in Sudan
have mastered living under sanctions, being pariah, and having agreements with other parts of the world and relying on the gun to -- for aid and for
support. It seems that there were visits between Khartoum, Abu Dhabi, and Cairo. We don't know the nature of these visits. We don't know exactly what
went wrong, but he clearly feels that he has some -- he had some sort of regional backing and that's why he was going to do this.
Also, it's worth to note, that this year alone, across the Sahel in Africa, there was a coup in charge -- or there was a coup in (INAUDIBLE) and then
the coup in Guinea. All of these coups were opposed by the African Union, but things seem to go as normal, or at least, that might be part of the
calculations that the general has.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Sudan in a region where many people look towards the Sudanese people and their sacrifices in the street and are
inspired by it. And of the authoritarian regimes around the region would be looking at car Khartoum and hoping that it fails and -- or actively try to
subvert the civilian and democratic transition that the Sudanese have been struggling for the past two years.
GOLODRYGA: So, in your view, is this possibly a test of U.S. influence, given the relations that, as you just mentioned, the military has with
other nations, and I would say Russia, as well?
HASHIM: Absolutely. From a geostrategic point of view, it's a very big test for the United States and for President Biden. Only precisely, people
in this region remember when there were red lines before announced over Syria and nothing happened. And we've had the Arab Spring where a lot of
gains have been reversed. People are looking next door into Ethiopia and what's happening.
And this perhaps that particular point is that when international mediators at the moment are talking about finding a way to mediate between the
civilians and the military, they are out of tune with the Sudanese street, which is demanding that General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and General Hemeti
are out of any future settlement. And not only that, they are calling for them to be tried.
And this is the strange things, looking at all of this. Sudan has had a long history of coups. This is the first coup to have been proposed before
it was even announced on the national television. People who were out barricading the streets at 4:00 in the morning and 5:00 in the morning on
Monday to prove one particular point, that they marched in the millions, only last Thursday, to say to the military, no, to a military takeover. And
then, the military went ahead and did this.
HASHIM: And then, suddenly, you have people who have experienced in Darfur, who perpetrated Syria's atrocities, mass atrocities, and now, they
have no genuine political backing in the country, and they are only going on doing what they know how to do.
GOLODRYGA: So, how do you explain then that the military and the general in particular would calculated that he would have support from key allies
internationally and yet, not the support of the Sudanese people? Because it seems to have surprised even him to have seen the turnout to the streets by
professionals, by thousands of people who were demanding that this come to an end right now and, obviously, everyone will be focused on the protest
that are in plan for this weekend.
HASHIM: I think the strategy of the military is two pronged. On the one side, cut the internet, put Sudan in a blackout, where people can't deliver
to the outside what's happening, unleash a very violent crackdown against a civilian population, arrest the activists, professionals, any people who
speak to the media or to the outside world. And on the other hand, the Pan Arab television networks are going to be putting forward so-called Sudanese
security analysts who are all former military retired personnel, retired generals and the like, to say that they support what they call not a
military coup or a military takeover. They call it corrective move.
So, this corrective move has a very unholy alliance around it, and as far as there is the military, there is the army, there is RSF and their own
vested interests, naturally the security companies, the military companies, they control a large part of the Sudanese economy, but not only that, you
also have two former opponents of the military, the signatories to Juba Peace Agreement, which was signed in October last year. They include the
justice and inequality movement, which is a Darfuri rebel group and the Sudan Liberation Army, Minawi, which is another Darfuri rebel group.
And both these groups have broken ranks and have joined the ranks for the military. So, for this small group of people, it's very difficult to see a
way forward for them with the strong and defiant stance that the street is showing and it's very difficult even to see the politicians within the
forces for freedom and change accepting to sit down on the table if some of the reports, we're hearing that some of the ministers have been brutally
beaten or tortured, come out to be true. It will be very difficult to see the Sudanese standing down from the removal of General Burhan.
GOLODRYGA: Yes., And as we end here, we just note from the State Department, U.S. officials that tens of billions of dollars debt relief
that Sudan seeks will not happen as long the military is attempting to direct Sudan unilaterally. Obviously, this is a fast-moving developing
story and we appreciate you breaking this down for us, Mohanad, thank you so much for joining us.
HASHIM: Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: Well, from a crisis of democracy to a crisis in the workplace. And as the pandemic eases in some parts of the world, we're seeing a so-
called great resignation. Since April, 20 million people in the U.S. have quit their jobs according to federal statistics. Our next guest, Jennifer
Moss explains this phenomenon in her new book, "The Burnout Epidemic." Here she is talking to Michel Martin about the causes and why this is a
cultural, not an individual problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Bianna. Jennifer Moss, thank you so much for joining us.
JENNIFER MOSS, AUTHOR, "THE BURNOUT EPIDEMIC": Thanks so much for having me.
MARTIN: So, why don't we talk about what burnout is, because I think this is a term that a lot of people have started to use. You're saying it's not
just like needing a break. What is burnout?
MOSS: In 2019, the World Health Organization did identify burnout as a workplace phenomenon. It's stress unmanaged at work. And that was a
milestone. Because for a long time, you know, we've been trying to think of it in a totally different context outside of work. But they really nailed
that down and I think that's been very effective for us to actually deal with it.
But it also shows up in these big three signs. So, exhaustion. How exhausted are we at the end of the day? You know, do we feel like we're
completely depleted? Do we feel like we have no interests anymore, that we're not spending time with family? We're not doing anything in our life
that contributes to our happiness? You know, that level of exhaustion in the morning, we're completely so tired and demotivated that it's like,
walking through cement to try to get in the shower and get started. Those - - that's exhaustion.
Then there's disengagement. So, essentially, emotional distance from your work. Do you feel like you're chronically overworked, so you no longer feel
connected to the job anymore? You start to wonder, am I even good at this? Do I -- is there any kind of value that I'm contributing? And that kind of
uncertainty, that frequency of feeling like that creates burnout.
And then, finally, the third sign is cynicism. And that is sort of a biggest warning sign, when we have cynicism, because you -- imagine, we're
in a pandemic, we're exhausted. We might feel disengaged from work, that makes sense. But when we start to feel hopeless, like we have no agency, we
can't control any of the controllables, we starting to say things like, I'm going to feel like this forever, this is how it's all going to be that,
that kind of fatalist sort of language, that's when we're really at risk of hitting the wall.
MARTIN: And I take it that you think it's really important to associate to burnout with the workplace, because I know we use term in other contexts.
Like, wow, I'm really burned-out on video games or I'm really burned-out on yard work or something like that, but I think you think it's really
important to sort of identify this as a workplace-related syndrome. Something that's really focused on your work. Why do you think that's
MOSS: It's important because the only way that we're going to solve for burnout is if we have an ecosystem approach to it. If we have policies at
the government level. If we have structural changes. I mean, we cannot solve for burnout, you know, when it's systemic discrimination and lack of
psychological safety at work when we're feeling like that in our personal lives, as well. So, I'm really trying to narrow the fact that down burnout
is a consequence of unmanageable workloads makes it so that there's accountability on all side fix it.
You know, when we just say, this is burnout, it can happen in your personal life, then it becomes your fault if you're burned-out. And we don't want
that. We need to move away from just use self-care as the cure. Instead, it needs to be that there's a lot of other people and work being done to
actually fix the problem.
MARTIN: And why does this matter? You literally have a sense of urgency around this as an economic problem as -- not just an individual workplace
problem, but as a societal problem that you think has significant economic ramifications. So, why do you think that is?
MOSS: There's so many implications of burnout. And I don't think a lot of us realize what those trickle-down impacts are. You know, the fact that
lack of fairness has disproportionately impacted women and those in vulnerable groups inside of pandemic, that's a huge problem. We're seeing
mass exodus of women from the labor force, and that's due to, you know, lack of proper care-giving policies and family planning policies and
inequity inside of -- even just paternity and maternity leaves, really forcing it on women to manage all of the unpaid labor at home.
Women's unpaid labor went from four hours, which I think was underreported per week to 20 hours. I mean, and a lot of that has to do with the fact
that we aren't doing a good job with these policies. When you think about the impact on the GDP in 10 years from now, they're saying this long-term
unemployment of women and women leaving the workforce could equal about $1 trillion in deficit. I mean, that's macroeconomics.
When you look at communities like nurses, for example that are so burned- out, they can't go to work, because they're completely exhausted. And you then have hospitals shutting down. So, then, people can't actually get
care. I mean, there's all of these tiny little pieces of the puzzle that trickle down into our, you know, communities and into how we're going to be
treated from a health care standpoint. And when you actually even look at just the most catastrophic impacts, overwork kills 2.8 million people
globally a year. I mean, that is pretty serious.
So, when you think about burnout in this way that's diminished, it really makes those stats seem like they're unimportant, as well. We can't diminish
the fact that it does have these serious results if we don't solve for it.
MARTIN: Some of the reasons we called you right now is what a lot of people are calling it The Great Resignation, The Great Quit. I mean,
millions of people are leaving their jobs. I mean, we're talking about just in the United States right now. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor
Statistics, in August, more than 4.2 million people handed in their two weeks' notice. People are quitting their jobs. And do you think burnout is
a significant factor here?
MOSS: I do. And the data is representing that. When you look at the Microsoft survey, for example, that looked at 30,000 employees globally,
only 4 percent said it was compensation, as their reason for leaving. Most people were saying that unsustainable workloads, which is a strong
predictor of burnout. They are talking about not feeling supported in their mental health at work. We're seeing a lot of people describing this sense
of loneliness and isolation, working apart from teens.
Our younger workforce is extremely burned-out, what you're seeing a lot of shift in that group, and it's before they feel like they started this job
in the pandemic, they haven't met their boss, they haven't met their coworkers. They feel like they have not enough time with those folks that
are going to help them advance their careers. I mean, all of these things are just contributing. And, of course, like we said, the fact that there's
certain groups and certain sectors that were really hard hit, a lot of those in marginalizable groups are now long-term unemployed.
So, you know, these are the things that people are deciding after 20 months of facing your own mortality, you have to imagine that we've changed. We
have different expectations of work. We have different expectations of our own lives. And if work is going to make us feel unwell on top of this other
macro stress that we're dealing with, we're going to say, I'm done, I'm going to figure out a new way to live my life, because this isn't working
for me anymore.
MARTIN: How widespread is this phenomenon? I know that you've done new research on this, specifically focusing on the COVID experience, like what
impact COVID has had on this. Can you share some of those findings?
MOSS: Yes. And I had the privilege of working with foremost experts in burnout, Dr. Christina Maslach, Dr. Michael Leiter and Dr. David
(INAUDIBLE), we gathered data from 46 different countries, thousands of responses, not just quantitative data, but qualitative data like what
people were feeling. And 85 percent of people said their well-being had declined in the pandemic.
We saw workloads significantly increasing, and that was playing into their burnout. People that had to identify that they couldn't talk about mental
health at work, 67 percent of them said that they were extremely or often burned-out. So, all of these pieces of the puzzle, you start to realize
that there's a need to be able to have these conversations when you are in this sort of collective traumatic event. And you instead are finding that
employers have -- you know, have made this as sort of a business as usual. Where still, you know, growth at all cost. Innovate or die. You know, kind
of that same mentality, because that's what the legacy has been for so many years. We didn't pause and realize that we need to think about differently
about it in the moment.
And so, what's happened is, we've had to work, you know, 30 percent more each day to hit those same goals. And we saw that in the data, just this
level of tiredness and feeling disconnected and disengaged, across the globe.
MARTIN: Tell me a few more things from your study that really stood out to you.
MOSS: We found that -- and this is pre-pandemic as well, that women are more likely to burnout than men. But in the pandemic, it was even more
significant. One stat was really surprising to me that 89 percent mentioned that their work life had worsened, never -- you know, according to Maslach
and Leiter that they've never seen that kind of level of burnout inside of their data, and they've been measuring it for many years. We found that
only 2 percent of respondents rated their well-being as excellent.
So, you can imagine that there's just a strong feeling of lack of well- being. We also found, too, that there was a significant amount of people feeling disconnected from both coworkers', family and friends. We heard a
lot of, you know, our respondents in their own words just share this feeling of, I love having the agency, but I hate the fact that I'm so
lonely. I'm so disconnected. And that our most burned-out group were gen-Zs and millennials. They were describing the loneliest they've ever felt, and
74 percent of them said it was across the board that it was the loneliest they've felt, which was different than 52 percent pre-pandemic.
So, there's a lot of data, obviously, that is showing up, and that it's worsened. And I think that, you know, the research is really demonstrating
that the pandemic exacerbated all of those existing issues and that people are really struggling right now.
MARTIN: Forgive me, I have to play devil's advocate and just ask, I think some people listening to our conversation might say that this generation
has just gone soft. You know, you can see where some people who listen to this conversation say, A, this is an elite conversation. You know, we only
care about certain people who are highly educated and hard to replace. And B, you know, maybe people should just toughen up. So, what would you say to
MOSS: You know, I validate that sentiment, because I do think that we've swung the pendulum really far to one direction and that there are people
that, you know, when you look at the demographics of those who are burned- out than others, there is a difference in age. The older you get the less likely you're going to self-burnout because there's different expectations
around that. But there are also are -- is more agency for those in those professions as they start to get, you know, more senior, they have more
And I love, as a well-being expert, you know, the fact that we are driving more conversations, you know, around mental health at work, that we are
pushing the limits around flexibility and giving people more agency. I mean, that's really important. But I still think we need to have a level of
compromise. You know, it's not purely transactional anymore between employer, employee. I get that. But we do need to get to a point where
employers can say, you know, I would actually like you in the office two days a week and then, you work remote three days a week or whatever that
looks like. And there's a compromise with that.
But employers have just been acting really badly for a very long time. And I think this is almost like, you know, a cancel culture moment or an
accountability moment, whatever's happening right now, that is sort of highlighting that this has been an underserved problem for a long time that
we haven't treated. So, I'm hoping that somewhere in the middle becomes this -- just this healthier way of behaving across the board. And the bad
actors that get called out and those that are doing a good job get called out, too.
MARTIN: So, what do you say employers are doing wrong here? Because, you know, we hear that at least employers who can, you know, afford it, are
trying to do nice things. On the other hand, like other people are taking pay cuts and having to take furlough days and things of that sort. So, what
is that it employers are doing wrong in your view?
MOSS: Well, you know, unfortunately, I have to say, you know, and I'm sort of in the role of the provocateur and calling out companies for are not
doing a great job on this so far. A big problem that is we are not bifurcating burnout prevention strategies with wellness tactics. You know,
it's really great to have these socials and, you know, these -- whatever, these happy hours at 4:00 in the afternoon with the family and your pet
show. And people see that as workload. Well-being is workload. And it shouldn't be that way, because that's just employers putting sort of band-
aid downstream tactics on things that are really not the problem.
The problem is way further upstream. And instead of, you know, pulling people out as they're drowning all the way down the river, we need to stop
them from falling in. I keep hearing these declarations of, well, we gave our, you know, burned-out employees a week off to recover. Well, that's not
going to do anything if you're sending them right back into the same unsustainable workloads of 80 hours a week. So, you need to be doing better
at sort of managing boundaries and making sure there's policies around -- you know, right to disconnect policies are really helpful. All of those
types of things happen upstream, so that when you give people time off, it's not recovering from something, it's actually -- you know, it's
optimizing them already being well.
MARTIN: So, how do we think about this? I mean, is there something that people could be doing right now to address this? There are so many moving
parts to this. I mean, if you're talking about health care, you're talking about how people are trained, how people are compensated. What -- the
funding streams for these institutions are -- that dictate how they pay people. But are there things that people could be thinking about right now
to address what you're calling an epidemic?
MOSS: I think it's understanding that there is a lot of work to be done and the more that we can actually talk about it and bring it to light,
people can be working on it in different places. I mean, the right to disconnect, for example, I'm based in Ontario and Canada. They're looking
at bringing that into this province and that changes then maybe how, you know, the rest of the Canadians are going to be able to remove themselves
from work at midnight when their boss pings them.
So, these are the kind of things that have to happen at all different levels. But we need to look at it in a hopeful way, too. That it's solvable
by controlling the controllables. So, no, we can't solve for this macro stressor, the pandemic. And nobody can really do that. There's some work,
but it's going to be a while. This is likely going to be endemic. So, how do we work within the constraints?
And a lot of it has to do is really leading with empathy and compassion. And I talk a lot about human-centered leadership, this idea that when we're
inside of organizations and we are a manager, how do we get to the root of the problem? And that is more frequency of communication, more consistent
communication, so it builds trust, providing a space where people can talk about their own mental health at work. Being able to destigmatize burnout,
making it not shameful or there's self-blame when it comes to burnout. Making sure that we have boundaries and policies around workload. More
discussions to make sure we're even, you know, efficient in how we work.
There's so many inefficiencies that happen in workload that's basically just on a manager not talking to their employee about what they're working
on. I mean, these are solvable things. Changing our paternity and maternity leave so they're equitable. You know, making sure that diversity just -- we
don't just see a whole lot of people that look different on the bottom layer, but then there's no one in, you know, the top structure that looks,
you know, any different than one another. I mean, we need to make sure that there's representation. These are solvable problems.
MARTIN: Jennifer Moss, thanks so much for talking with us.
MOSS: Thanks so much for having me. It was a great conversation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Indeed, such a great conversation and important advice there from Jennifer Moss.
And finally, as we've been discussing on this program, pressure is mounting on world leaders as the Global Climate Summit kicks off this weekend in
Scotland. The pope today called for a "radical response" and protesters around the world are taking to the street and echoing his message. They
want more ambitious action on the crisis, accusing those in power of just paying lip service to the issue.
In London, Greta Thunberg joined activists outside the standard Charter Bank demanding big finance defund fossil fuels and chanting, we are
unstoppable, another world is possible.
Join us next week when we'll be covering COP26 Summit from Glasgow asking world leaders what they're doing to save the planet.
And that is it for now. You can catch us online, on our podcast and across social media. Thank you so much for watching and good-bye from New York.
Have a great weekend.