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Elections in France; Interview With Former Prime Minister of Togo Gilbert Houngbo; Interview With Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired April 11, 2022 - 13:00:00   ET




Here's what's coming up.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Ukraine does not have time to wait. Freedom does not have time to wait.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): As Russia prepares to unleash the next wave of its attack on Ukraine, is the West prepared to stand together? We look at

strategic and political pressures inside the U.S. and Europe.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): I want a France that is part of a strong Europe that will continue to forge alliances with

the major democracies to defend itself.

GOLODRYGA: Take a close-up view at how France's presidential election could shift the balance.

Then: As war in Ukraine disrupts food supplies around the world, could there be widespread famine?


KATHERINE WU, "THE ATLANTIC": A lot of cases are going to happen before we really start taking actions again.

GOLODRYGA: Hari Sreenivasan speaks to "Atlantic" Katherine Wu without America's first "So what?" coronavirus surge.


GOLODRYGA: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.

Well, the next phase of Russia is brutal invasion of Ukraine begins much as the last one did with a massive military convoy of armored vehicles heading

into the fight, this time in Eastern Ukraine.

Citizens there witnessed the brutality of Bucha, Kramatorsk and the ongoing devastation in Mariupol, where President Zelenskyy claims tens of thousands

are dead following weeks of Russian bombardment and wonder how they will survive in the coming onslaught.

In an interview with "60 Minutes," the Ukrainian president put the onus on America to defend desperate citizens trapped in the war zone.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): All depends on how fast we will be helped by the United States. To be honest, whether we will be able to survive

depends on this. I have 100 percent confidence in our people and in our armed forces. But, unfortunately, I don't have the confidence that we will

be receiving everything we need.


GOLODRYGA: So can the U.S. deliver the heavy weapons Ukraine needs in time to block Russia's full-scale attack?

Leon Panetta was America's defense secretary and CIA director, and he joins me now from California.

Director Panetta, always great to see you.

So, let's start there with the comments from President Zelenskyy, because what I heard was thankfulness, appreciation for all of the assistance

coming from the West, in particular the United States, where the U.S. has contributed, I think, nearly $2 billion in aid, militarily, economic, since

this war began.

But, in his mind, he's saying that is not enough. Do you agree with his assessment? Can the U.S. be doing more?

LEON PANETTA, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: My sense is that the U.S. is really reaching out to provide as many (AUDIO GAP). I'm sorry. I just

got some feedback on...

GOLODRYGA: The technology. Yes, yes, yes, I heard a bit of that, too. I'm sorry about that. Hopefully, that will go away.

Do you want to try to continue?

Secretary, can you hear me? Secretary Leon Panetta?

I believe we're having...

PANETTA: I can hear you loud and clear.


GOLODRYGA: Oh, you can hear me now. OK.

So let's try that again. What do you make of President Zelenskyy being thankful and appreciative for all the assistance that the U.S. has provided

thus far, but, in his mind, at least, it's not enough?

PANETTA: Well, on one hand, I understand his concerns.

He's facing now a very decisive phase of this war. And the Ukrainians, having put up a very good fight, have to continue to push back the

Russians. And the only way they can do that is with the weapons they need in order to be able to be on the offensive.

And the United States and our allies, I think, are really reaching out to provide those weapons systems to the Ukrainians. They need to have,

obviously, the Stingers and the Javelins, but they also need anti-aircraft capabilities. They need anti-missile capabilities. They need anti-tank


There's a lot of weapons systems that I think we could provide and should provide to the Ukrainians that could really help them push back on the

Russian. So, whether or not this is arriving quickly and timely, I think that the United States and our allies are clearly intent on making sure

that the Ukrainians have the weapons they need in order to be able to conduct this new offensive against the Russians.


GOLODRYGA: Well, talk about the logistics and some of the challenges facing this new offensive in the east in terms of transporting some of that

weaponry, because, up until now, obviously, it is all coming from the western border there through Poland.

And it was easier to get through to some of the fighting around the Kyiv area. Now you're going to have to transport all of that weaponry cross-

country to the east. Is that going to be a challenge, in terms of making sure it gets there, making sure it's not targeted by the Russians, and

making sure it gets there in time?

PANETTA: Well, there's no question there are additional logistical problems because of the distance that we have to bring these weapons to the


But I can't imagine that the Pentagon or our allies have not taken that into consideration, because it's vital in order to be able to get the

weapons to the Ukrainians. So, I think they are capable of being able to move these weapons systems to the Ukrainians quickly.

I think that there are obviously some air capabilities as well that can be used in order to be able to deliver those weapons systems. So, I am very

confident that the Defense Department is very aware of what they have to do in order to make sure that the Ukrainians are getting the weapons they

need, and in time.

GOLODRYGA: One of the asks that we have heard since the start of the war was for more military planes. Obviously, there had been some kerfuffle that

came out in the public about transferring Russian MiGs through -- Poland wanted to transfer it through Germany. And the U.S. said that that wasn't

an option.

Going forward, given that even Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Milley says this isn't going to be a war that's measured in months, but likely years,

do you envision a point where the West, the U.S., with its backing, will be delivering planes to the Ukrainians?

PANETTA: I think the most important thing right now is to deliver to the Ukrainians the weapons they need in order to protect their airspace.

In essence, they need to provide a no-fly zone from the ground with anti- missile capabilities, these Patriot missiles that are now being provided, the S-300s, the S-400s. These are all systems that can really go after

aircraft in the air.

And the Ukrainians have been pretty skillful in the use of these weapon systems. Will there be a point at which they will need additional aircraft

in order to be able to protect their airspace? I think that's an option that both the United States and our NATO allies have to keep open.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, another option is, given that how long this war will continue to go on, that the Soviet weaponry that they're used to working

with and have been trained on will be exhausted. And thus, at some point, the West will be, I would imagine you agree, forced to or choose to provide

Ukraine with newer, more modern-day NATO, Western weapons.

PANETTA: You know, I think it's very important right now that the Ukrainians have a real opportunity, with the Russians in retreat, having

been forced out of the capital, trying to reinforce, trying to be able to regroup, getting a new commander now in the field, having suffered a lot of


In many ways, the Russians are on the run. This is the opportunity to continue to press the Russians now, because they are in retreat, and

because they are on the run. So, I would hope that we would provide as many weapons as necessary, and that the Ukrainians would be able to continue to

fight courageously, as they have, in pushing the Russians back.

I think this is a critical phase of the war, which will determine whether or not they can force Putin to the negotiating table.


GOLODRYGA: Yes, I was just going to say, I couldn't agree with you more. I'm looking at the calendar here. And in terms of a win, a -- quote,

unquote -- "win" that Vladimir Putin would want to deliver to the Russian people, I look at May 9, and their Victory Day parade.

And I just don't see how him saying, we have Donetsk and Luhansk, is going to be enough of a prize, especially given the costs that this has come for

the Russians, thousands of lives there.


You look at a city like Mariupol, I worry that is what, at least in the short term, they are going after. What, if anything, can the Ukrainians do

to continue their fight for that important port city?

PANETTA: Well, this has really been three phases that we have been in. And this is the critical phase that we're entering now.

But phase one was the failed invasion by the Russians to try to get the capital. Phase two was siege warfare and total destructive warfare in which

the Russians targeted innocent men, women and children, hoping to break the will of the Ukrainians. That didn't work either.

This final phase is their final effort to try to regroup somehow, in order to be able to gain territory in the Donbass region and create this arc on

the east side that runs to the Crimea. I think that is going to be a test for the Russians, because I'm not so sure that they have the military

capability or the troops necessary to be able to conduct an effective offensive in that region.

That's why it's so critical that the Ukrainians are able and armed to be able to go after the Russians, because these convoys that the Russians are

now sending to the east, those are targets for the Ukrainians to be able to hit. And they did that successfully against the Russians in their effort to

go after the capital.

I think they can do the same thing when it comes to the Russians trying to regroup on the east. And I think Mariupol, although it's obviously been

almost totally destroyed, I think the fact is that Ukrainians there continue to resist the efforts by the Russians to gain control of that


GOLODRYGA: Yes, I was struck by President Zelenskyy saying Mariupol is the heart of the country and the heart of the fight right now, and that they

will not give up in defending that city.

Obviously, we -- I think we're just starting to see the first signs of what devastation, both physically and obviously humanity, and the death toll

there is just going to be enormous.

You mentioned the new commander on the ground there, General Aleksandr Dvornikov, who has a reputation of being called the -- quote -- "Butcher of

Syria," given the war crimes and atrocities that we saw out of Aleppo in 2015.

Can you give us a sense of who the man is? And what do you know about him?

PANETTA: Well, none of the Russian commanders are good guys. I think they're all basically those that are interested in conducting the kind of

butchery and destructive warfare that we have seen in Syria.

And Dvornikov is one of those. He was in Syria. He basically made decisions to totally destroy these towns in Syria, at incredible cost to the civilian

population. So, he clearly is a commander that Putin has a lot of trust and confidence in to try to pull the Russians together and to continue the kind

of vicious warfare that we have already seen take place.

So, it is -- a commander is important, but a commander isn't everything. If the forces are not there, if they're still struggling to get their recruits

online, if they're still struggling to put their forces together, if they're still struggling with regards to logistics, you can have any kind

of tough commander you want; it's not going to succeed.

GOLODRYGA: Right. If they're still sending conscripts, right, how does that move forward with success?

Let me finally ask you about your thoughts when you saw that really powerful image over the weekend of President Zelenskyy walking the streets

of Kyiv there with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. That obviously sends a message around the world, shows the strength and resilience of the

Ukrainian leadership.

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, there on the ground in the country's capital sends a message to the Kremlin as well. I'm just curious to get

your thoughts on that and whether you think we could see an image like that of President Biden in Ukraine with President Zelenskyy?

PANETTA: Well, it's certainly not out of the question.

I think that it is important to be able to have Western leaders now go into Kyiv and make very clear that the capital has now been protected, that

Ukraine is a sovereign democracy that will continue to survive, and that the allies and the United States are unified in the effort to provide

whatever is necessary in order for them to protect their democracy.


this is a fight for democracy. We have a lot invested in what happens in Ukraine. And I think we have to do everything necessary to be able to work

with President Zelenskyy to make sure that they win this war.

GOLODRYGA: No doubt, and a reminder, as we have said earlier, this war is something that will likely go on for months, if not years, ahead.

And Vladimir Putin would love nothing more than our attention to get diverted. So staying focused on this front and center is our obligation

here in the media.

Secretary Panetta, always great to have you on. Apologies for the technology issues at the start of the show, but we appreciate it. We got

through a lot.

PANETTA: Thank you. It was good to be with you. And keep up the good work.

GOLODRYGA: Thank you.

Well, with Western unity more critical than ever before, France's presidential election could disrupt the hard-won global alliances. Current

President Emmanuel Macron faces a tight run-off against the far right candidate Marine Le Pen, a vocal admirer of Vladimir Putin's.

And on the far left, another NATO skeptic, Jean-Luc Melenchon, made a strong third-place showing with 22 percent of the vote. Altogether, in this

first round, a majority of votes went to critics of the transatlantic alliance.

So how will the French election impact the war in Ukraine and France's role in the world?

Sophie Pedder is the Paris bureau chief for "The Economist." And she joins me now from the French capital.

Sophie, good to have you on.

So let's talk about what got us to this point, because it does appear that, for the past three months, President Macron has forgone campaigning, as one

typically would do in a run-up to an election, and focused entirely on this conflict between Russia and Ukraine, this shuttle diplomacy, flying back

and forth leading up to the war, and then obviously on the phone with Vladimir Putin, it appeared, weekly as the war unfolded.

That didn't seem to win him much support domestically. Why?

SOPHIE PEDDER, PARIS BUREAU CHIEF, "THE ECONOMIST": Well, I think it did initially. He got a pull bump out of all that diplomatic effort. I think

the French like to see their president engaged in world affairs, engaged in European affairs.

And they recognized that he was at least making an effort, if it hadn't -- even if it didn't come to anything. But it just didn't last. And I think

that was the problem, that, after a while, the poll bump evaporated and Macron was back to where he was and had, at the same time, given an

impression to the French that he was too busy to campaign.

And I think that sense of complacency didn't go down too well. And that's when his polls started really to slip back and to where they were before

the Ukraine war.

GOLODRYGA: And Le Pen is a recognizable figure, obviously, domestically, but globally as well. This is her third run for the presidency. And she's

had a softer approach this time, not necessarily bashing immigration and NATO, as much as focusing on domestic issues, particularly the economy.

Talk about how that has helped her rise so quickly, I would say, in just the past few weeks, in the polls.

PEDDER: Well, I think you need to set it in the context of what she's been trying to do over the last decade, since she took over the party that, as

you know, Jean-Marie Le Pen, her father, founded in the 1970s. So this is a dynastic operation that has been in place in France, gradually growing.

And what she's really tried to do is sort of shift it to a respectable party that could be ready to govern. And that was -- is very different as

an objective to the one that was espoused by her father, who was really all about protest and anti-establishment, sort of being an irritant to the


Now, what Marine Le Pen has done in this particular campaign that is -- what is quite smart is that she has left a lot of the anti-immigration

elements of her campaign to another far right contender, who was actually eliminated last night. That's the far right Eric Zemmour.

Because those elements are already part of her campaign, she let him do the running on them. She was able to focus on cost of living. And because of

the war, because of worries about inflation, energy prices, prices of filling up the tank, these are things that are right at the top of voters'

concerns in France right now.

And she clicked very early on that mattered. And she went right out to the grassroots, traveled all the way across France, meeting voters, promising

that she'd bring down the cost of living. And that, I think, has really helped transform the image and made her appear, appear, at least, a lot

less extreme.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, but -- though we shouldn't deny her past ties, given the context of the war unfolding right now, with Russia, her sympathies and

meetings that she's had in the past with Vladimir Putin. In fact, her campaign is still paying off debts to a Russian bank for their support in

funding in the 2017 election cycle.

So, is she able to remove herself from Vladimir Putin and her past support for him, or is this not a front-and-center issue for many voters in France?


PEDDER: Well, I think this is exactly the question that we're going to see coming under a lot of scrutiny in the next two weeks running up to the

second round vote on April 24.

And Emmanuel Macron, the president and her final run-off contester, along with harsh, he will be absolutely pushing this link. It's -- as you said,

Marine Le Pen had -- in 2014, she taken a link -- a bank loan from a Russian bank linked -- with links to Putin that he has denied. She is -- in

her campaign literature, she rich originally had a photograph of her posing with Vladimir Putin as a sort of evidence that she had what it took to be a

global statesman.

But I just -- I think one has to be very clear about where she's coming from. Her allies in Europe are people like Viktor Orban in Hungary, who is

also -- has close links to Putin, is a friend of Putin. One has to know that she, although has taken off the top of her programs some of the sort

of anti-European rhetoric that she used to embrace, it's still effectively a campaign that would set France, if she were ever elected, on a sort of

collision course with the European Union institutions, with European Union law, with NATO with the Western alliance in some respects.

She wants to pull France out of NATO's integrated military command. And I think, despite this sort of softer image, one has to be quite clear-eyed

about what sort of president of France she would be, were she ever to be elected.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, right.

And this flirtation with illiberalism is not isolated, as you note, to just France. You had an overwhelming victory, again, in Hungary, with Orban, a

Putin sympathizer in the past, who is still his closest ally, among NATO members.

Serbia had an election as well with the sort of strongman figure with closer ties and sympathies to Vladimir Putin. And look even at Poland. If

you look at their policies -- obviously, a lot can be said about their benevolence and generosity in terms of handling and bringing in millions of

refugees. But, just politically, this move towards illiberalism is really a challenge that the continent and the E.U. and NATO members are going to

have to continue to face in the months and years ahead.

PEDDER: Of course.

And that's why I think France has been seen as such a pivotal election. It really is a test of whether the sort of liberal democratic center that is

embodied by Emmanuel Macron can hold against the forces of populism. And we have seen that, as you said, all over Europe.

At the moment, Emmanuel Macron's France is very much a kind of motor alongside Germany of efforts to strengthen the European Union and to

integrate it further. But if ever he were to lose the second round against Marine Le Pen, it would set Europe on a completely different course, and

would have implications way beyond France's borders about -- to do with the alliances that you would see emerging within Europe, and an effort to

really shift diplomatic -- the diplomatic direction that the European Union has been on.

So, I think one needs, again, to be very clear about what the choice is here...


PEDDER: ... and what sort of test case and how important France is for the rest of Europe and beyond.

GOLODRYGA: It is quite damning to centrism, right, and to the establishment, when you look at these numbers; 58 percent of voters backed

a populist, a nationalist or a radical candidate both on the right and the left.

So in these two weeks ahead of campaigning, what does President Macron have to do to regain the trust of his voters?

PEDDER: Well, I think one point to note is that probably in that score, 58 percent, that you mentioned, which is, of course, correct, there are

probably some voters who voted tactically. They may not end themselves be extremist voters.

They possibly saw Jean-Luc Melenchon, who you mentioned earlier, as -- and came in third place, as the candidate who might be able to keep Marine Le

Pen out of the final. So, there is a possibility that that score is slightly inflated.

Having said that, you're absolutely right. Populism has not gone away. Even at the last election in France in 2017, there was -- nearly half of the

vote went to these sorts of candidates. And I think that what Macron has got to do -- and you have seen it today already. He's been out there in

Northern France.

He's headed straight into territory that is extremely hostile to him. He's got to reconnect. He's got to go and talk to people on the ground.

He's got to be seen not to be the candidate from Paris, not to be the sort of former investment banker that he is, but to be seen to be someone who

cares, who cares about ordinary people, who has a more sort of -- has a program and a vision for how to revive the French economy and bring down

unemployment even further, which he already has done, make sure that revenues grow for everyone, which they already have, protects people from

inflation up to a point.


He started to do that. But I think that that is what we are -- we need to see a president or a candidate, or at least he needs to see -- to show that

he can fight for that vote, that he's not complacent, and that he can reconnect with the French people and their sort of everyday concerns. I

think that's his challenge.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, the more empathy, I guess, the Bill Clinton model of "I feel your pain," is what he's got to be projecting over these two weeks.

I think it's probably safe to say that what we won't be seeing is more shuttle diplomacy or phone calls with Vladimir Putin in the weeks to come.

And listen, I mean, the Austrian chancellor was just meeting with Vladimir Putin today, walked out of this meeting saying he wasn't optimistic. It

does raise the question of who can be that leader in Europe who finally can break through to Vladimir Putin? Clearly, at this time, it was not Macron.

Thank you so much, Sophie. Really appreciate you breaking this down for us.

Well, the rising cost of food is a ballot box issue in France, but in much of the world, it's shaping up to be an existential threat, as the global

food system faces major disruption from the war in Europe. Together, Russia and Ukraine account for about 30 percent of the world's wheat exports.

So, on top of climate shocks, and COVID-19, the fallout from Russia's invasion could drive millions to starvation.

Gilbert Houngbo is the president at the International Fund for Agricultural Development focused on food security in rural areas across the country.

And he joins me now from Rome.

Thank you so much for coming on this very important subject matter to talk with our viewers about what is happening now in terms of food security and

distribution seven weeks into this war between the world's breadbasket, between Russia and Ukraine. Talk about what we're already seeing across the

country, the world.

GILBERT HOUNGBO, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF TOGO: First of all, I thank you for having me today.

Clearly, what we are seeing is the -- a huge, a direct impact on the supply chain, from the grain, because we know that both Russia and Ukraine, as you

mentioned, they produce more than 30 percent of the grain. So, a lot of countries that are net-net food importers and net energy importers are

really suffering with the -- not only the inflation, but the price skyrocketing, but also the disruption in the whole supply -- the supply


And what is more alarming is those that are paying the price are the -- those that are much more small-scale producers, low income earners that are

really paying the price. So the situation is quite very alarming.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, since the war began, wheat prices have increased 21 percent, barley up 33 percent, some fertilizers at 40 percent. And we're

just talking anecdotally in Western countries, whether European and even here in the United States, where people are already starting to feel the

sticker shock.

What is the impact this is happening on developing countries, countries that are already having food insecurity, whether it's in Africa, the Middle

East? How is this impacting them?

HOUNGBO: Yes, first of all, the impact is huge in the Middle East and the -- and Africa, and particularly countries that already were or are a low-

income country, from Gambia to Central African Republic, to Mozambique, or Malawi, Yemen, Somalia.

And what we are seeing is countries that, if you take, of course, and I believe you have already covered, Egypt, for example, or Sudan, huge, more

than 30 percent or 40 percent of the imports are coming from Ukraine and Russia.

So, in addition of the disruption, what is happening, the small businesses in those countries, the bakers, for example, they do not have the access to

the supply they need to produce the -- and the bread or related products.

The other side of the challenge we have -- and you mentioned it at the beginning -- is the price of all the imports, starting with the

fertilizers. And that, coupled with the energy price that is the increasing in general, it makes it very worrisome for the next planting season.

GOLODRYGA: I just look at what we went through globally with stockpiling of vaccines, and each nation turning inward and making sure -- obviously,

politics, it plays a huge role in all of this.


You just heard the conversation about the elections in France and the focus there on inflation and prices going up. Are you concerned that we could see

a repeat here where nations will be stockpiling -- among the richest nations, will be stockpiling their food and thus not permitting the

distribution that should be going into effect for some of those countries that are most at need?

HOUNGBO: I am afraid, that has already started. I am afraid, that has already started. First of all, from some nations, some countries start

stockpiling. And the second, I mentioned, that makes us really very, very, very concerned is the speculation. Part of this whole inflation that -- and

the price -- prices challenge we have is coming from also the inflation.

We know that globally, the production, we see the worst it produced enough to feed the whole world. So, it's the matter of distribution, it's the

matter of the accessibility that is really challenging. So, this is why it's quite very, very important, particularly, for the low-income countries

to encourage the domestic production. To encourage basic transformation so to reduce the food waste and loss. And for us to encourage the access to

the local and the regional market. In short, what is important for us is really continue building on the resilience of the small-scale producers.

GOLODRYGA: As you know, this isn't a short-term shock to the system. Farmland covers 70 percent of Ukraine up to 10 percent of their GDP depends

on these products. And this isn't a war that any -- most people are expecting is going to end anytime soon. It could go on, in fact, for years.

Having so much of this country devastated and decimated by the fighting, not to mention that the farmers aren't allowed to do their jobs there, this

could go on for a very long time. What are some of the alternatives that are already in the pipeline now or are there any in terms of addressing

this situation?

HOUNGBO: Of course, you can look that maybe three -- on three dimensions. First of all, how do you still encourage? Go -- we need to also think about

the producers. The rural producers in Ukraine. And despite the war, you need to see how do you maintain minimum of production. The second

dimension, is the humanitarian side, of course, which the immediate response is our colleague from the humanitarian world doing, really, the

best as the -- as they can. Then the third dimension, is really the sustained, long-term -- medium to long-term sustained investment in

building the resilience.

I'm very, very pleased the way you put it at the beginning. We have already climate change that can cause damage anytime. In addition to climate

change, we have to face COVID-19. And now we have this. We don't know what tomorrow is going to bring for us. So, it is important for us to invest

particularly on the -- if you look at the low-income countries, you talk about 10 percent of GDP in Ukraine. In most of OCD countries is less than

three percent on the agricultural portion in GDP. But in some countries in Africa, the agriculture can go up to 25 percent in the GDP. So, it's huge.

So, it's important for us to focus investment in -- not only the access to improve seed, the fertilizers, but also the feudal roads and ensuring that

we do it in respectful way of the environment. Not only are the challenges doubled, we can't go backward when it comes to the spread of the adaptation

and perspective. But the same token is critical for us to step up the whole production and the transformation.

GOLODRYGA: How do you -- last question, how do you stress test for a trifecta of crises, like, now? Like, we're seeing play out now? First,

obviously, there's climate change. Then the COVID-19. And now, this war that is impacting nations across the world. How do you prepare for a crisis

like this and what does it teach you about coming out of it making sure perhaps that there is a default? That there are other options given the

dynamics at play?

HOUNGBO: First of all, by producing more than what we need at the national or local level so that this market producers can sell part of their

production and having -- the principle, having reserves.


Secondly, in our ability to redeploy quickly and diversify our sources, being geographically or sectorially (ph) speaking be able to develop that

diversification is going to be crucial. Third is the -- we really need to make maximum use of technology so that to help us improve our productivity.

Not only just the human productivity, but the total factor productivity so that we can help the producers, particularly this market producers to be

much more competitive on the market.

So, when we have this type of shock, they can much more easily redeploy, either produce other type of good depending on the type of choice or depend

on other regions. This is exactly when the transportation system came to a standstill during the COVID. This is one of the lessons we learned. So, a

country say enough is the resilience building the medium to long-term that is really the answer.

GOLODRYGA: That's crucial, yes.

HOUNGBO: So, it's going to be the most important for all of us to really move in that direction.

GOLODRYGA: It is a global, joint effort, that is for sure. Gilber Houngbo, thank you. We appreciate it.

Well, in Shanghai, China, many residents are currently starving. Facing food and medical shortages as the city combats a rise in COVID cases with

one of the world's harshest lockdowns. While city officials announce an easing of restrictions, the military is mobilizing to establish field


In contrast, our next guest believes the U.S. is staring down what it's called, the so what, wave of the pandemic. Katherine Wu, staff writer for

The Atlantic, joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the dangers of ignoring the latest variant.

HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Katherine Wu, thanks for joining us. Let's start with the big picture here. We have been waiting

for what is another wave, another variant. And we see reports of it in different parts of the world. Where is the United States and where is this

wave now?

KATHERINE WU, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Yes, so things in the United States are kind of in this weird limbo period where I think a lot of people

are waiting for the other shoe to drop. We are in still in kind of a low plateau. We are certainly, down from where we were in January, but we have

seen those cases in, you know, roughly half of States are now starting to rise. That might be a little bit noisy in some states that haven't seen a

rise for a couple of weeks. But certainly, in the Northeast, things are looking a little rough again.

We have to also square that with the idea that BA.2, this subvariant to Omicron, kind of the sister to the variant that caused that giant wave

throughout December and January, is now the dominant version of this virus in the United States. And that has boded somewhat poorly for certain

countries in Europe. The United Kingdom, which has often been ahead of us in terms of surges, just had another massive one. And people are wondering

if we're going to see a bit of a bump here. Can't tell yet when that will be or how big they will be.

SREENIVASAN: So, in terms of response to this wave, it seems that our federal and local guidelines have certainly softened since the last one.

Most cities in the States are easing back on their restrictions and mitigation efforts. So, is it -- you know, are we setting ourself up here

for a wave that might not have had to be so bad if we just were as vigilant as we were, say, a year ago?

WU: That's definitely the worry. And, you know, I of course want to be charitable here. I know how tired people are. We have really been buckling

down for the past couple of years and people do really want a reprieve. I think the big concern here is, you know, not that we are relaxing when

cases go down, but that we're not really prepared to take up action again when cases go back up.

Ideally, you know, we would start masking again. We would be vigilant again as cases rise early on so that we prevent the enormous wave that could

happen. But right now, CDC guidelines, in particular, have really raised the threshold at which people are told to mask up again. You know, it's

multiple times the threshold we were at before. And the focus now really seems to be on preventing severe disease, hospitalization and death.

Obviously, that's essential. But that also means that a lot of transgression, a lot of cases are going to happen before we really start

taking actions again. And the big concern here is, you know, as one research group recently found, we could walk ourselves on to a path if we

wait that long to mask again, that we will reach the point again where we have about 1,000 Americans dying each day.


SREENIVASAN: Wow. That's a threshold that oddly, we have seemingly become comfortable with. I mean, that -- just in any other era, if we had said

there were 1,000 Americans dying a day, we would be tripping over ourselves to figure out what is causing it? How do we stop it? But, in this case,

we've now almost reached a million people dead and 1,000 people dying a day seems normal.

WU: Yes, I mean, I certainly wish that weren't the case. But there has been this numbness that, I think, has really set in over the past couple of

years. I think part of the psychology here is we have all gotten locked into paying attention to national curves. And especially coming away from

the January peak, people saw it down, down, down, down, down. And it was very easy to think, wow, things were getting better. That must mean things

are great.

But I think we do have to remember that, you know, even as cases come down, cases are still happening. Even on the down slope, something is keeping

that curve from being at zero. And hospitalizations lag behind cases. Deaths lag behind hospitalizations. And we see the repercussions of a wave

long after the wave starts to, sort of, contract. And we're going to be dealing with, you know, things like, long COVID, this long-term

consequences for a very long time.

So, it is still absolutely worthwhile to be trying to keep case limits as trim as we can. And I think this is really about having preparedness.

Having capacity. And reacting as early as we can when we get the signs that cases really are starting to go up again.

SREENIVASAN: Our ability to measure is pretty crucial in our ability to react. And right now, there seemed to be guidelines from the CDC and

elsewhere that are decreasing what we report and how often we report it to these State and federal databases.

WU: Yes. This is a huge issue right now. And so, you know, everything I said earlier about cases looking like they're going up and you know, cases

looking like they're flat, nationwide still. All that has to be caveated with, you know, our tests and surveillance systems being kind of on the

wane right now. You know, many, many community testing sites have gone offline. People are still using home tests to some degree, but most of

those are not being reported. You know, even enthusiasm for those tests seems to be going down. And we are just, sort of, losing sight on where the

virus is and where the virus is moving.

Testing is not just important for, you know, oh, I'm sick, I should go to the hospital, maybe, get some treatment. It's also important for figuring

out where the virus is starting to explode. And also figuring out, you know, is there a new variant popping up? We've had a lot of variants enter

the country in the past couple of years, but our next one could be home grown. And we won't catch it early enough unless we're testing enough,

sequencing those samples enough. And this is going to be a huge issue. You know, we cannot stop a wave that we don't see coming.

SREENIVASAN: Right now, Congress is maybe set to approve. I always use, you know, squishy language when it comes to that. But right now, it's about

half of what the president wanted in the bill when it comes to funding COVID research, COVID distribution. Even international efforts. What does

that mean when it actually comes to what the researchers get? What the State agencies get?

WU: Yes. I think there are a few things to talk about here. First of all, the fact this is basically all domestic. That is going to be a huge, huge,

huge issue. I think this sort of is unfortunately in line with this very nationalistic mindset that we have adopted throughout this pandemic. But

the fact that we are not devoting any of that money to helping, you know, for instance global vaccination efforts, distributing resources equitably

across the world.

Cases are still high extraordinarily high in many other countries. Vaccination rates are extraordinarily low. We need to fix those disparities

because, you know, it is baked right there into the word. A pandemic is something that affects everyone. It's something that moves across the

entire globe and impacts everyone. The disparity is that we are going to reenforce by not helping other countries are going to come back to bite us.

You know, we know that if we give the virus the opportunity to spread elsewhere, it will come here. We know that, you know, if we allow people to

remain unvaccinated, we are going to have high mortality and suffering and a lingering of this virus in places that we don't want it to be.

I think the domestic focus, you know, we can sort of see why that decision was made, but it is not going to be a sustainable solution. And we

absolutely need more funds to come through to help the international situation.

SREENIVASAN: One of the things that I think every American in the last two years has at least heard is the role that vaccines play in mitigating the

spread of a virus.


And here we are entering year three and we still only have less than two- thirds, about 66 percent of the population that has taken both shots or gotten a booster. And you know, early on, we heard about these ideas of

herd immunity and what the population threshold was. Have we gotten to that or can we with 66 percent?

WU: I think we need to let the notion of herd immunity go. It has been a long time coming, but I think you know, these vaccines were certainly

initially built as tools that could help us, you know, stop all transmission and by themselves end the pandemic. That is not really the

case, you know. They operate incredibly well. These are extraordinary vaccines. But like most other vaccines, where they operate best is in

preventing severe disease and death. And they may not have massive effects on blocking, you know, all infections on transmissions, certainly, there

will be some effect of that.

But, you know, even if our vaccination rates were much, much higher, we would really, really struggle to get rid of the virus or stop it from

transmitting to any degree. And certainly, with the rates we have now, that is absolutely off the table. I certainly don't think that means we give up

on vaccination. I don't think that means we give up on boosting. We absolutely need those to, again, lower transmission and certainly lower

severe disease and death. But I think we need to move away from this complete elimination mindset and recognize that this is going to be about

maintenance. About control. About keeping levels low so that we can live our lives in a sustainable way. You know, have some semblance of normalcy

but that the virus is going to be a part of that normalcy.

SREENIVASAN: Part of the fatigue with this has also changed people's opinions on how to mitigate. There are, now, more people who have survived

a few months of low viral spread rates. Who say, you know what, there's 80 million people in the United States who've already had this. There's a

bunch of other people who have the vaccine. Well, other vaccine -- other viruses are going to come, let's just let it run its course. What's wrong

with that thinking?

WU: Yes, the -- interestingly the answer to this question is actually kind of a throwback back to the early days of the pandemic. You know, I

certainly do want to acknowledge that a lot has changed since then. Having a relatively highly vaccinated population is going to make a huge impact.

Again, lowering severe disease and death. It means, the typical case for a vaccinated individual is going to be far less likely to cause a severe

outcome. And that is huge.

But still, we are not vaccinated enough that we could ever, in any universe, let the virus safely run its course and not see serious

repercussions. You know, think back to the early days when we were talking about flattening curve. If the virus were to, you know, run -- rush out

over all of us at once, that would lead, still, to a massive wave of hospitalizations. It would overwhelm the healthcare system. Even if we have

a very small percentage of the cases resulting in severe cases. A small percentage of a massive number can still be a massive number.

You know, we did see the effects of this with Omicron quite recently this past winter. And we don't want to repeat that. Yes, immunity is important.

Yes, immunity is sort of shifting our fates. But I don't think we can get complacent. We know that this virus can mutate. We know it can change the

game. And if we get a variant that escapes our immunity to the same degree that Omicron did, or even worse, we would really, really -- I think, shoot

ourselves in the foot by just saying, this is no big deal. You know, a lot of us already have immunity, whatever. The virus can always shift the

playing field for us.

SREENIVASAN: We seem to have collectively started to put the onus back on to the individual versus us as a collective taking different types of

measures and responsibilities. By that, I mean that there is an emphasis on return to work, return to office, get the economy going again, et cetera.

Where that is part of our return to normalcy, I understand that, but at the same time, how successful can we be when every single person is responsible

for knowing their status? Where they've been? Whether they're infecting other people versus as a society if we do it together?

WU: Right. I really appreciate how you phrased that. I think that is exactly the problem that we have been dealing with in the past two years. I

-- I'm not sure that America ever really had a collectivist approach to this pandemic. Which is unfortunate, because the problem is at heart, a

collective problem. I think -- unlike a lot of the other diseases or problems that trouble Americans, this is something that is infectious.


It spreads from person to person, which means the actions that I take don't just affect me, they affect the people around me. My neighbors. My family.

My friends. And those problems compound. I think what I'm seeing, certainly now in the guidance in the messages from the administration, has repeatedly

been, you know, for many months now, your health is in your own hands. Your decision, you know, to boost. To mask up.

Even when cases get to a level at which the CDC recommends masking, it is a recommendation. It still remains to some degree, personal choice. And below

those levels, there's language about, you know, if you feel like it, it's a matter of personal preference. You know, mask if you feel like it, that's

cool. But also, if you don't or whatever.

It's -- it -- I think it just reenforces this idea that people are making their own decisions and out for themselves. Where this really becomes a

problem and when you consider that in those situations, there are people among us who are far more vulnerable than others who have far less access

to resources, tests, treatments, vaccines, booster shots, which is getting even more difficult as funding continues to dry up.

These individuals are going to be asked to, sort of, bear the burden of early caseloads before they get to those sky-high levels, you know, that

will be unfortunately the burden that is thrust on them if we don't come together and decide we need to protect these people. We need to make sure

that, you know, long COVID does not balloon even further out of control. We need to make sure we are not imperiling the people who can least afford it.

SREENIVASAN: Let's talk about long COVID. I mean, often the conversation focuses on the infection that you or I could get and the small flu-like

symptoms, et cetera, et cetera. But the people that you've spoken to, not just the sufferers of long COVID, but also the researchers, what are they

concerned about when it comes to the scale of the population that might have it? And what sorts of impact this could have on our overall healthcare

system going forward?

WU: Right. This is such an important issue and unfortunately, it's so difficult to talk about because there are so many open questions still

about long COVID. You know, certainly I'll start with what we are certain about. You know, this is definitely something real. This is definitely

impacting millions of people. And, you know, current estimates are still being worked out, but it's thought that 10 to 30 percent of all infections

from SARS-COVID to BA.2, this coronavirus, could result in long-term symptoms that persist for weeks, months. For some people, they are years

into suffering these symptoms. And this does not mean, oh, I feel like I have a cold for two years. This can affect you know, all the organ systems

that we can think of.

People are struggling to return to work. Their lives have been permanently altered by this incredible constellation of symptoms. You know, we know

this is not unique to COVID, but the fact that COVID has torn through our society to such a degree over the past two years means that so many people

are dealing with this. It has become a crisis. And I think because this is chronic, people really need to wrap their minds around the idea that it's

not something that, you know, goes up and comes down. You know, we're sort of ascending this hill. Cases are accumulating and accumulating and that

means we will be dealing, potentially, with many millions or hundreds of thousands of these cases. Not just throughout the rest of the pandemic but

for years after potentially.

SREENIVASAN: How do researchers need to begin tackling this? Because if they don't know what is causing some of these underlying organ system

failures and how that's connected to this specific virus, people who are suffering from this right now, there's not a pill they can take.

WU: Right. Well, fortunately, there is a lot of research that is going into this. You know, and the government as allocated funds. They're

recruiting for, you know, a national study at this point. So, many are going on in different parts of the country. And that is heartening. But

this is not something that invites a lightning-fast solution. And I think that's another reason people need to stay invested in this idea that the

pandemic is still happening. That COVID is not going away. That we will need to keep thinking about this whether we like it or not, for quite some

time to come.

SREENIVASAN: Katherine Wu of "The Atlantic", thanks so much for joining us.

WU: Thank you for having me.

GOLODRYGA: Such an important reminder that COVID is still, definitely, with us and people are still suffering and dying from it.

And finally, Mimi Reinhardt, the secretary who actually typed Schindler's list, has died at the age of 107. A Jew herself, Reinhardt worked alongside

Oskar Schindler to save as many Jews as possible during the holocaust. Recruiting them to work in Schindler's factories rather than face

deportation to Nazi death camps. Together, they saved over 1,200 people. Take a listen.


MIMI REINHARDT, OSKAR SCHINDLER'S SECRETARY, TYPED SCHINDLER'S LIST: He gave us the list of those people and he requested more from.


He said, he needs more workers when he is going to transfer his factory. Since I typed it, I could put friends on it. I put myself, my name on it,

and I put names of my friends on it.


GOLODRYGA: Such an incredible story. So much faith she had there in humanity. May her memory be a blessing.

Well, that is it for now. Thank you so much for watching. Good-bye from New York.