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Interview With "Just Boris: A Tale Of Blond Ambition" Author Sonia Purnell; Interview With Former NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe Richard Shirreff; Interview With Journalist Christine Ockrent; Interview With "The Great Experiment" Author Yascha Mounk; Interview With "The New Map" Author Daniel Yergin. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired April 12, 2022 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone. Welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
Boris Johnson becomes the first prime minister found to have broken the law. He'll be fined over Partygate, but will he resign? I'll speak to his
biographer about this very British scandal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Today, we heard a statement from the occupiers confirming they are preparing for a
new stage in their terror against us and our defenders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Ukraine is willing, but is it able to fend off the Russians as they mass for an invasion of the east? Former NATO deputy commander Richard
Shirreff joins me on the weapons Ukraine needs now.
Then, this war overshadows democratic elections in Europe. I speak with journalist Christine Ockrent and political scientist Yascha Mounk about the
very real contest now between democracy and autocracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL YERGIN, AUTHOR, "THE NEW MAP": I think Russia's days as an energy superpower are now receding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Author Daniel Yergin tells Walter Isaacson how Putin's invasion has forever changed the world's energy map.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Boris Johnson will have to pay, literally, for the so-called Partygate scandal. The British prime minister along with his wife Carrie Johnson, and
the U.K.'s second most powerful politician, the chancellor Rishi Sunak were all fined by the London's Metropolitan Police for attending illegal parties
in government buildings, which amounted to breaking their own COVID-19 lockdown rules. This means Boris Johnson is the first sitting British prime
minister to be fined for breaking the law.
So, what happens to his leadership now?
Here to discuss is Johnson's biographer, Sonia Purnell.
Welcome back to the program.
We've spoken before about this. So, what is your immediate reaction to not just defining, but the consequences of that fact?
SONIA PURNELL, AUTHOR, "JUST BORIS: A TALE OF BLOND AMBITION": I think it was a seismic day, a historic day. This is when Britain decides either it's
going to remain a fully-fledged functioning democracy with the rule of law being at the center of it or it doesn't.
I mean, the fact is, the prime minister, as he say, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, and others that we know -- we don't know their
names yet, broke the rules, broke the laws that they set themselves.
Now, other people in Britain have paid quite serious fines for doing that. A lot of us actually just stopped seeing people because those were the
rules. But the prime minister and his group continued to socialize. Now, if there are no repercussions, no consequences for them, then what is the
point of law? What are the point of rules? After all, why should it be something that's different for them to the rest of us?
On top of that, the prime minister told parliament repeatedly that there had been no parties, there had been no breach of rules. And so, he missed
that parliament on many occasions. The custom is if you do that, you resign. I don't think that's going to happen, certainly not willingly. So,
that is why I say this is a day of crisis of historic precautions in Britain and for our democracy.
AMANPOUR: So, let me -- you just mentioned how he had, you know, misled parliament, as you said, in terms of constantly offering precisely this
reaction, which we're just going to play when asked about these parties.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that I have been repeatedly assured since these allegations emerged that there was no
party and that no COVID rules were broken, and that is what I have been repeatedly assured.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that was in December. In January, you wrote for "The New York Times" that it appeared the beginning of the end for this man with nine
lives. But again, you've just said, you know, where will the accountability lie?
So, formally, officially, where does the accountability road lead? How does -- who goes after it now?
PURNELL: Well, it is very difficult because in Britain, we don't have a written constitution. We've actually always rather relied on prime
ministers being good chaps. They actually call it the good chap theory of government. There is no written constitution that can contain a prime
minister who has misbehaved.
We have a monarch (ph) who is the head of state. But really, her powers are extremely limited. So, as we've always relied on these good chaps before,
we are in a big mess now. There is -- if he absolutely refuses to go, if he refuses to follow the rules and customs that have been, you know, built up
over hundreds of years, there is only one way that the British people can get rid of this prime minister and the people around him, and that's
(INAUDIBLE). But, again, we're not going to get a chance to do that for two or three years.
So, then you start to have an elected dictatorship, if you like. Just as soon as you've won the votes and you've gone into number 10, that there
isn't anything anymore that you can do, that means you have to leave it again. And that's really quite serious. But that is, I'm afraid where we're
AMANPOUR: And when you consider that not only is his wife, but also this -- as we said, the second most important man atop political pyramid here, the
Chancellor of the Exchequer who already has had to answer for all sorts of issues regarding his wife's tax affairs, what do you think? I mean, you're
plugged in. What do you think they might do, like Rishi Sunak? And if he resigns, does that put even more pressure on Boris Johnson?
PURNELL: Rishi Sunak, if there was -- you know, if honor was still a fashionable concept in Britain, I think he would be resigning tonight. Now,
if he does and he certainly financially capable of walking away from his job, let's face it. If he does, that does put more pressure on Boris
But you can also see that all of these loyal Tory MPs tonight are all starting to say the same thing, oh, no. You can't get rid of a prime
minister during the war with Ukraine. He's just there to deliver what the British public wants. You know, there is absolutely nothing we can do. This
is a minor thing. Nothing to look at. You know, do pass on, kind of thing.
But, you know, I come back to the same point, I mean, what is Ukraine fighting for? Ukraine is fighting for a liberal democracy in the way that
we know where the rule of law is important. So, if the supporters of Ukraine are no longer obeying or following that concept, what is the point
of any of this?
And the other thing I would say too is that argument that you can't change leader during a war. Of course, in the Second World War, Britain changed
its leader famously from Chamberlain to Churchill at a point when we thought we were going be invaded any day. So, I really do not think that
argument helps. And yet, that's exactly what a lot of conservative MPs very disappointingly are saying tonight.
AMANPOUR: You know, none of them would talk to us. I don't know where they're talking, but none of them seem to want to talk about the prime
minister to us. So, I'm wondering, what does this actually mean as we go forward? Because Boris Johnson has kind of wrapped himself in this war
effort. He's even been praised by the president of Ukraine for being very robust and promising to send weapons systems.
So, do you think, again, you said, this is a nine lives kind of politician, is these another one of those nine lives? And are there any other shoes to
drop like the Sue Gray Service Civil Service Report?
PURNELL: Well, we are still waiting for the Sue Gray Civil Service Report. What was that, two months I think since it was finished, but I don't think
that will have any impact that police investigation hasn't had.
I agree. I mean, Johnson and his nine lives, he is someone who has extraordinary luck because, you know, COVID, which wasn't lucky for the
rest of us, in a way, it wasn't luck I for him. He was unwell. But managed to disguise a lot of the things that this government have gotten wrong. I
mean, they've been able to blame the economic problems that we've had, very severe economic problems, by the way, on COVID, it was actually very much
down to Brexit and previous decisions that have been made.
And just like now the war has been sort of -- you know, I hate to say it, but almost a convenient fig leaf for Johnson again. Zelenskyy giving him
praise, quite rightly so. Britain was one of the first to send to Ukraine, and I applaud that. But I think we have to be careful because Britain has
also fallen down on some other key aspects of the policy towards Ukraine, including taking refugees. We've been extraordinarily slow and, you know,
actually very unwelcoming on that front.
So, that was very lucky for Johnson. He does have these nine lives. He really shouldn't be there anymore. Let's see what happens. Let's see how
many conservative MPs, who are the ones who can, you know, take a stand right now. How many of them have the guts, the honor, the integrity and
actually, patriotism to get rid of a prime minister who is tainting the whole of British democracy now.
AMANPOUR: Sonia Purnell, thank you so much.
And just as we were speaking, it has crossed that Johnson himself has apologized and paid the full fine. Where that leads, we will wait to see.
Now, Vladimir Putin is ready to unleash on Ukraine's east, justifying his brutal invasions saying Russia had no choice. And now, claiming it was
always about the Donbas region all along.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I have no doubt the objectives are clear and the objectives are noble. I said that at the very
beginning. I draw your attention to the fact that in my very first speech, in my address to the nation and the army, I stated the objectives. The main
objective is to help the people in the Donbas region and the people's republic of Donbas which we recognized. We were forced to do it because
unfortunately the Kyiv authorities prompted by the West refused to stand by the Minsk agreements.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, Ukraine is preparing for a big fight. But urgency is rising over whether its troops have enough weapons and the right ones to take on
Here now with battlefield insight is the former NATO deputy commander general Sir Richard Shirreff.
And welcome back to our program.
So, quite apart from Putin basically boldly refocusing and redefining his actual aims, if indeed, there's this assault being prepared on the east,
which intelligence seems to suggest is and he says so, what do you think Ukraine needs right now?
RICHARD SHIRREFF, FORMER NATO DEPUTY SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER EUROPE: Well, thank you for having me back, Christiane.
I think all of the indications are, as you say, that is about to -- Putin is about to let loose another onslaught onto Eastern Ukraine, into the
Donbas to capture that area, there is a window of opportunity. The Ukrainians have won the battle at Kyiv. They've done outstandingly well and
the Russians have had to retreat.
The Russians are about to launch again. But all indications are that they're going to do so with units and formations which have been seriously
depleted by the fighting around Kyiv. So, it's by no means going to be a straightforward battle for Putin and his armies. And to think if the
Ukrainian -- if we can give the Ukrainians the capabilities that they need, long-range precision artillery, missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, aircraft,
tanks, armored vehicles, I think they'll stand a very good chance of not only blunting the forthcoming Russian attack but potentially defeating it
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let me play for you a portion of the conversation and interview I had with Ukraine's chief of military intelligence, General
Budanov. I was in Kyiv and we spoke on Friday, and I asked him about this next phase and what they would need. So, let's just play what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJ. GEN. KYRYLO BUDANOV, UKRAINIAN DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE CHIEF (through translator): I agree that this is an excellent opportunity to provide
supplies to Ukraine. Second priority is heavy artillery and missile systems. Our priorities include anti-air defenses and then heavy armament
Air defense systems and aviation system. Combat planes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And these, he said, were not just to fight in the air, but also to take out Russian troops. And if it's true that, apparently according to
the intelligence, basically the Russian convoy includes helicopter support, obviously, infantry and also aircraft, planes and helicopters moving into
position and heavy equipment coming in by train from Belarus.
Do you agree with General Budanov, that they need combat planes?
SHIRREFF: Yes, I do. And I -- particularly, the reason I say that is because the more attrition the Ukrainians can cause before the Russians are
able to launch the better, frankly. They should be striking the Russians in the deep -- in what the military call the deep battle to prevent them
deploying, lining up and attacking in the close battle.
The more -- as I say, the more damage they can do now, the easier it will be for them later. But for that to happen, they need the equipment. And so,
NATO has really got to -- and the West has got to ramp up its current plans to a tempo which guarantees that the equipment can get into the battle as
quickly as possible for the Ukrainians to have an effect with it.
AMANPOUR: OK. And so, President Zelenskyy has said the same thing, we need it to come now.
But let's talk about planes, OK? Because NATO, you know, there was this hullabaloo a few weeks ago where there was a possibility of Polish planes
and then, big back fill by the U.S. and all that stuff. Anyway, the whole thing apparently never came to anything.
NATO believes that any such movement would be escalatory and risk war with Russia. Do you think we've passed that moment and that caution is no longer
SHIRREFF: I think NATO has got to really take account of the risk, yes. But equally, now is an opportunity -- a time to take risk. As I say, the
Russians have been defeated in one battle and NATO needs to be ready to take risk. But there's an important provisor (ph) here, if NATO is to take
risk and, of course, any such supply of weaponry is going to be escalatory. Of course, it is. But nevertheless, already NATO has supplied huge amounts
of anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles and they've been really effective, too.
But the most important thing for NATO is to -- in order to guard against escalation by Putin is to be ready for the worst-case. And that means that
NATO has got to be able to -- has got to really ramp up to be ready for war and NATO is a long way short of that. We need to see significant NATO
forces deployed almost from the Baltic to the Black Sea, to dig in and be prepared to repel or deter any Russian counterattacks. We need to see NATO
missile systems deployed along the Polish border and the borders of the Baltic states, again, in order to deter any incoming missiles from the
Russians, as well.
So, NATO's got to be -- and, of course, all that means that the nations of NATO, the member states of NATO have now got to look to themselves and
AMANPOUR: It is urgent and many, many people told me when I was there that now is the window of opportunity, as you've described as the Russians have
been on the back foot. The Ukrainians have fought them back very bravely and very courageously and cleverly from Kyiv and elsewhere.
Do you actually think that the same fear by NATO that existed at the beginning of this war, that there might be a Russian lash out against a
NATO country? As a military commander yourself, do you really think that's what's on Putin's mind right now after all of the setbacks he's faced in
Ukraine? Would he dare?
SHIRREFF: I think -- good point. I think Putin is -- thanks to the, frankly, lamentable state of his army, he is pretty bogged down in Ukraine.
So, I think a land attack against a NATO nation and a NATO state at the moment is highly unlikely. He's got to focus on trying to achieve some form
of credit from this disaster that he's brought upon himself and, of course, dreadfully on the people of Ukraine.
However, he could still lash out with a missile attack on a NATO supply base, perhaps a chemical attack within Ukraine. So, that form of escalation
remains a very real and present danger, which is why I say that NATO has got to be ready for the worst-case.
AMANPOUR: So, it hasn't yet been confirmed either by the Ukrainian government or by any allied governments, this claim of chemical weapons
having been used in Mariupol. If that does happen, should NATO re-assess, you know, its political will to do more in terms of providing aircraft and
the big, big anti-missile systems and the like?
We've seen first Bucha, then we saw Kramatorsk, we've seen these atrocities just in the last two weeks alone, and they seem to stiffen the spine of the
allies. If it was proven and confirmed that there was chemical weapons used and there might again be weapons of mass destruction, I mean, you know,
should all options be on the table?
SHIRREFF: Well, all options will have to be on the table. But NATO will, of course, be very cognizant of the fact that any form of intervention, as
we've discussed before, or no-fly zone or any other direct attack into Ukraine against Russian troops is an act of war.
So, NATO has got to be ready for the worst-case. And the fundamental red line will remain any attack on NATO by Russia. But nevertheless, I think if
there was -- it's hypothetical, but, for example, if Putin used chemical weapons against Ukrainian civilians, which is precisely what happened in
the Syrian civil war, NATO will absolutely reassess, and I think that will place an even greater imperative on NATO and the Western states to ramp up
their supply of heavy weaponry into Ukraine.
AMANPOUR: You mentioned Syria. And apparently, Putin has announced a new general to -- you know, to command the forces in Ukraine and he is
Alexander Dvornikov. Apparently, he's known as the butcher because of his role in leading forces in the Syrian battlefield and we saw, the absolute
carnage that the Russians waged there, plus the Assad forces.
Do you think changing a general particularly to that one will markedly change Russia's performance on the battlefield?
SHIRREFF: Well, it seems to me there are many Russian generals who could go by the name of butcher after what we've seen. Will this command appointment
change things? It might. Yes. It will probably mean more effective and more streamlined command and control.
However, he's got some real problems to deal with. He's got an army that has completely failed to put together any form of offensive maneuver
capability, an army that clearly doesn't understand what combined coordination and operations are about. He's failed to win air supremacy and
he's failed to an army that simply can't provide the sort of logistic supplies that its soldiers need. And the consequence of all that is an
undisciplined rabble of an army with deep morale problems. So, he's got quite a leadership challenge if he's going to change the performance of the
AMANPOUR: General Sir Richard Shirreff, thank you so much, indeed.
Now, the war in Ukraine has overshadowed key elections in Europe, pitting democracy well and truly against autocracy from Hungary's Viktor Orban to
Serbia's Aleksandar Vucic. And now, with France's far-right Marine Le Pen within striking distance of the French presidency, the liberal world order
seems to be limping to the finish line.
Here to discuss are journalist and commentator Christine Ockrent and the political scientist Yascha Mounk. He's new book is appley titled "The Great
Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart and How They Can Endure."
So, Christine Ockrent, Yascha Mounk, welcome back to our program.
We've had these discussions many times before, but gosh, who would have thought, Christine, in France, that you could be within a couple of points
of seeing the first ever far-right president of your country. Can I just ask you for your reaction? And also, let's put it in context of what we're
seeing in Ukraine, you know, the whole fight for democracy versus dictatorship and autocracy.
CHRISTINE OCKRENT, JOURNALIST: Well, what a wide spectrum, Christiane. Let me say, first of all, that we're a few days away from the second round of
our presidential election. And what is quite remarkable is that both Emmanuel Macron, the outgoing president, and his contender Marine Le Pen,
the far-right candidate, they have both scored better than they did five years ago, which in the case of the president is quite remarkable.
Nevertheless, it is true that if you add up not only Le Pen, but the other far-right candidates, you will get to about 33 percent of the French one
voters who are now tempted with far-right populist views. Now, if you add to those 33 percent, the far-left where the candidate called Melenchon who
has done very well as well.
He's number three. But you know, more than 20 percent of the voters. That means that you have a majority of people in France who are really anti-
system, who saw the field that our democracy does not satisfy their needs anymore and who are angry. And that anger is, of course, the very center
(ph) of populism anywhere.
AMANPOUR: Let me turn to Yascha Mounk then because if Christine is describing the sort of populist trend that we've seen actually since 2015,
2016, how do you see it? You've just written this big book about diverse democracies. And in what we are seeing in France, in Serbia, in Hungary,
what do you think that adds up to, particularly, as I've said, we are in a battle for the survival of the liberal world order right now, at least
that's how our leaders are discussing the war in Ukraine.
YASCHA MOUNK, AUTHOR, "THE GREAT EXPERIMENT: Well, I think they're right on that, we are in a moment in which autocracies are really resurgent. For a
long time, we fought just about weakness of democracy. I think what we are seeing now is just the dictatorships have gained in self-confidence, gained
in strength, gained in ambition. And Russia and China really are trying to become nations that define the world order of the 21st century, and that is
what's at stake in Ukraine.
And, of course, if Marine Le Pen wins the second round of these elections, which seems unlikely but eminently possible, the Kremlin would have an ally
in the (INAUDIBLE) France were to become a real spoiler for any attempt to impose unified sanctions on Russia. So, we have to understand why that's
And there's a number of reasons for that. But one of the key ones where they talk about in my new book is the deep pessimism we now have about the
success of diverse democracies, about our ability to manage ethnic and religious diversity. Because what we've seen in France is an extreme
campaign by people like Marine Le Pen, Eric Zemmour to say that the current state of France is disastrous, that immigrants are not integrating, that
they are a danger to the country.
But there isn't a positive and realistic response from the middle of society or from the left of society saying yes, there are real problem, but
here's how we can build a future in which most people, whether they belong to a majority group or minority group, would actually like to live. And I
think it's this deep pessimism about that subject which has gotten us into such hard water over the last years.
AMANPOUR: So, let me play this little clip, Christine and Yascha, of an interview did I with Marine Le Pen just before the 2017 election. As part
of our coverage, I interviewed her and it was particularly about her support for Putin and how she simply refused to acknowledge that what had
happened in Ukraine in 2014 was against international law. Here's a little bit of our discussion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARINE LE PEN, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL RALLY (through translator): There was a coup d'etat, there was an agreement among different nations. And the next
day, this agreement was broken. And some people took power.
AMANPOUR: After the invasion and annexation? Yes.
LE PEN (through translator): No invasion of Crimea.
AMANPOUR: But they annexed Crimea. It was part of Ukraine. And the French were part of the deal that guaranteed the independence of Ukraine in 1994.
It is really important, this, because it's the fundamentals of international law.
LE PEN (through translator): Crimea was Russian. It has always been Russian.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, Christine Ockrent, she was a bit on the wrong side of history there. But even today, she has said, just a couple of weeks ago,
that Putin could become an ally of France again when the war ends. So, she's not even being tarnished or punished at the polls for cozying up to
Putin. Does that worry you or the French people?
OCKRENT: Well, it certainly does. But Marine Le Pen has been conducting a very smart campaign focusing on inflation, cost of living, togetherness and
(INAUDIBLE) and isn't she a nice person, you know, with so much more empathy than Emmanuel Macron, and she's been very clever at detaching
herself from Putin.
But trust me, now, it's going to hit her back. Not only has she been out staged on the far-right by Zemmour, whom Yascha mentioned a little while
ago, and he -- Zemmour was so violent that in contrast, Le Pen looked, you know, almost normal. But now, Macron is really into the campaign, which he
wasn't really busy as he was trying to talk to Putin and exercising his role as president of the European Union for a few months.
So, now, he's campaigning and all these hard facts about Marine Le Pen, the far-right, Putin, xenophobia, you know, anti-Muslimism and really, anti-
immigration items, which are the basics of any far-right movement in and within the European Union, that these are the themes which will really
activate rather muscular debate in the coming 10 days until April 24th.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, I want to bring up the idea of the media environment. I mean, I've just come back, obviously, from Ukraine where there's been a
terrible media environment on the other side of the border in Russia, where President Putin has pretty much managed to convince his people and vast
majorities of the nobility of his cores and the fact that he's there to protect them from all manner of evil that emanates from the West and from
And I'm saying all of this because you see what's happening in Hungary, for instance, where the prime minister declares that he's protecting the
Hungarians from who knows what, but all sort of mythical monsters. And also, it's happened in Serbia and to an extent, in France with the Zemmour,
you know, platform, you know, with the -- yes. Of the Islam, of the immigrants and this and that.
I guess what I'm trying to understand is, how much, Yascha, do you think hijacking the media landscape is actually helping these far-right
MOUNK: Well, I will distinguish between two different scenarios.
One scenario is where you have far right politicians already in power, and using the machinery of the state to reshape the landscape in such a way
that everybody is forced to agree with them, and those who try to disagree with them are ran out of business, are threatened, and, in many cases, even
So, we're seeing that, obviously, in the most extreme form in Russia. But in countries like Hungary and in India, the state has really used
regulatory power to intimidate private actors and has been able to consolidate pro-regime media as a result.
I think when we're talking about societies where that's not the advocate, societies like France, societies like the United States, that explains
less. And we always want to talk about the supply. People always want to say it's because of what these channels are sending or because of how
journalists are discussing it.
But at a moment in which anybody can start a podcast which might end up having millions and millions of listeners, where anybody can have a YouTube
channel, I think the most important thing is actually demand. It's, what our listeners tuning into? What do they want? And to compete on that
playing field, it's a question of the narratives which moderate political forces can present.
And that's, again, why I have been despairing over the kind of pessimism we have been putting forward in the last years, because I think what moderate
forces have failed to do is to present a vision of the future that actually is attractive to most people, is to present a set of ideals and a set of
values that tells people, hey, we can take your concerns seriously, and we have real solutions, whether it's through economic stagnation and living
standards that Marine Le Pen has been talking about, or whether it is through, actually, we can integrate immigrants.
We can deal with our ethnic and religious diversity without our country falling apart.
AMANPOUR: Christine, on the side of the president, Emmanuel Macron, there's plenty that he's done to improve the status of France and the state of the
people, whether it's unemployment has come down, whether it's education has been really invested in, and even controlling the COVID pandemic, when he
took a gamble and introduced the health passes, the vaccine passes.
Why is he unable to sell those successes, do you think?
OCKRENT: Well, I think he's able to sell those successes.
And I think the successes explain his rather high score. It's quite remarkable, compared to any of his predecessors in France. Macron does
better now than he did five years ago...
OCKRENT: ... in spite of all these crisis (INAUDIBLE) COVID, inflation, the war in Ukraine and all of them. So, actually, his performance in that
respect is quite remarkable.
Where I join Yascha's point, that the problem is the narrative. The French are very pessimistic. They are the most pessimistic people in the whole of
Europe, if you can believe it, when you look at what France has achieved and what it's really about.
But that's the way the French are. And you have a very split society, between those who consider that Macron has done good work, and these are
the guys -- it's good for them, it's the start-up nation. As you said, unemployment is down, a lot of foreign investment in the country. And
that's the globalized crowd.
And then you have the other half of the country. And it's almost geographical. The other half of the country, people who feel left behind,
people who have a sort of status resentment. They don't like globalization. They want to go back to the past.
And what has been extraordinary in this campaign is that the far right and the far left have only talked about the past, the golden past, as if it
ever was golden. And so I think that now that the campaign is really getting into full gear, I think Macron will be able, to some extent, to
actually put forward what he's been through.
But he also has to appeal to that sort of center-left vote at a time where, indeed, traditional political parties in France are really almost dead. And
so I think it's also the social media impact, that each voter is only comfortable with people who think alike. And so there's been hardly no sort
OCKRENT: ... horizontal debate between people who disagree.
Everybody sticks to his or her own silo.
OCKRENT: And I think that's really the problem in our liberal democracies, although I would never put France in the same basket as Hungary or Serbia,
where the media are totally under the control of Vucic and Orban.
AMANPOUR: And, finally to you, Yascha Mounk.
President Obama weighed in on the war in Ukraine, basically saying that it points out the apathy that we need to combat, he said, in the West, whether
-- when it comes to civil society and elections.
There's apathy in France as well. Despite Christine's optimism, there's apathy. There wasn't a big, big turnout, as they hoped. Do you see any ways
to combat that? I'm sorry. We have very little time left.
MOUNK: Well, very briefly, especially in Western Europe, I think we have enjoyed a very long holiday from history.
And the sun is setting. It's getting pretty cold out on the beach. But a lot of people want to pretend that we can continue to sun ourselves. And,
unfortunately, we're now in a moment in which standing up for functioning liberal democracies, making sure that Russia and China don't run the show
for the next 50 years, is going to take some action, and it's going to take some sacrifice.
I have been somewhat heartened over the last months by the willingness to have solidarity with Ukrainian refugees, for example. But I certainly think
that most countries and most governments still haven't understood what it will take to make sure that we can actually live in accordance with our own
values in the coming years.
AMANPOUR: It's on us.
Yascha Mounk, Christine Ockrent, thank you both very much.
President Zelenskyy is renewing his calls for an embargo on Russian oil, as the West continues to sanction Russia. Author of "The New Map," Daniel
Yergin, is a leading authority on energy and the global economy.
And he joins Walter Isaacson to analyze how this war has impacted everyone's reliance on Russian energy.
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Christiane.
And, Dan Yergin, welcome back to the show.
DANIEL YERGIN, AUTHOR, "THE NEW MAP: ENERGY, CLIMATE, AND THE CLASH OF NATIONS": Thank you, Walter. I'm glad to join you again.
ISAACSON: It's been two months since this war has been going on.
You wrote a great book called "The New Map" about energy and world politics. How has this war changed forever the energy map of the world?
YERGIN: The big change is the change it's going to make the role of Russia.
Russia has been an energy superpower. Putin said he didn't like the term, but he liked the money and the political clout. But I think Russia's days
as an energy superpower are now receding.
ISAACSON: Do you think that Europe can wean itself from Russian oil?
YERGIN: I think it can. I think it will take time to do that.
I think the pressure of since what's happened the last two weeks has really added to the momentum, not for sanctions that will play out in two years
from now, but sanctions much more quickly, because Putin is earning a lot of money from oil and gas right now.
ISAACSON: How much is he earning each day?
YERGIN: Well, I can tell you, I was just looking at the numbers. From Europe alone, if you annualized from where he is today, it'd be like $250
billion just Europe, and Europe's only about half of his oil sales.
ISAACSON: So if Europe cut off oil sales from Russia, how big of a dent would that put in Russia's economy?
YERGIN: Oh, it's a big deal, because oil and gas together are around 40 percent of the total Russian budget, and also obviously foreign trade.
So it would be a big hit. And I think that's why you see right now the Ukrainian government is really leading the campaign to get people to self-
sanction, and ultimately to get to sanctions. And we see -- we see that working. We see dockworkers refusing to unload Russian oil, banks not
writing letters of credit.
So it's going to get more and more difficult for Russian oil anyway. And I think the E.U. is getting closer to some outright ban.
ISAACSON: But isn't an oil a commodity. And if the Russian oil isn't sold to Europe, it'll just be shipped to China or somewhere else?
YERGIN: I think that's certainly partly true.
And we can already see India's saying, we want to buy Russian oil, particularly because we can get it at a big discount, and we can pay in
rupees, and not in dollars.
But I think that only some of that oil will get sold. I think it will be -- there will be physical logistical issues. There will be issues about being
able to get insurance for tankers and a host of other things that will impede it. So some of it will get sold. But some of it won't.
And, by the way, it will be sold at a big discount.
ISAACSON: Is there any way to get India and China to try to stop importing Russian oil, or are they totally dependent on it?
YERGIN: Well, I think China's not totally dependent. It gets a lot of oil from Russia. It gets a lot of oil from the Middle East.
I think there's very little influence on China to get them to buy less oil. I think there's going to be a lot of diplomacy with India, because, of
course, India has also gotten closer to the United States on this group of countries that are sort of around China, with Australia and Japan.
So I think there's going to be a big focus. And Biden just had a phone call with Modi, where you can be sure that this would have been one of the
ISAACSON: So when Biden talked to Prime Minister Modi of India, what would be his ask?
YERGIN: Well, his ask would be on the energy front, which is not to pick up the slack on Russian oil, and to talk about all the areas where the U.S.
and India can collaborate.
India, of course, has a long historic relationship with Russia. And unlike its relationship with China, which is fraught with tension, it's been a
partnership, and a substantial part of the Indian army is equipped with Russian armaments. So I -- what I hear from Indians is, they say, well, the
U.S. is some -- is a fickle friend, and Russia has been our long-term friend.
So I think India is still trying to find its -- is trying to balance between the two.
ISAACSON: One of the things President Biden did was open up the strategic oil reserve. In fact, he opened up the spigots pretty wide. Explain that to
me and what he can be doing in that regard.
YERGIN: Well, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was basically created after the 1970s oil crises, so that you were prepared for an emergency, a
And we are looking at a disruption in world energy right now, particularly as this war goes on. And it could be more serious than that of the 1970s,
because involves not only oil, natural gas and coal. It also involves the two nuclear superpowers. So using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, I think,
was a really smart idea, and use it at scale, because it got -- it gets a lot of oil into the market, helps reduce the potential shortage, because it
was a very tight market anyway going into the crisis.
So it's a big development. Walter, the other big development that's affecting the oil market right now is the resurgence of COVID in China,
which is taking Chinese oil demand down, and you see the oil price inching downward because of COVID in China, as well as the release of the Strategic
ISAACSON: Should Biden be doing more to promote U.S. domestic production of oil and shale oil and natural gas and liquefied natural gas? It goes
against his climate policy instincts, but isn't this a time where we need to balance those?
YERGIN: Well, we have certainly seen that change starting around November, when the Biden administration actually started calling for more oil and gas
production, because, right now, if it was not for the shale revolution in the United States, were it not for the fact that the U.S. is the world's --
going to be the world's largest exporter of LNG, Europe would be in a much worse situation.
And so I think there's been a grudging recognition that this is a great strategic asset for the United States and a great strategic asset for
Europe and increasing production.
I think, Walter, if I can add just one thing that would be helpful is to put away those old slogans like price gouging, which really don't connect
to what's happening in a global oil market.
ISAACSON: In other words, Biden is accusing the oil companies of price gouging. And you say he should stop.
YERGIN: No. And it's not -- this is a global market where you have basically a shortage situation.
And what -- I think the lessons of history show that, when you're in a crisis, when you're in a wartime -- and this is a wartime right now -- you
need close collaboration between government and the companies in order to manage the complex logistics and supply chains that keep 100 million
barrels a day of oil flowing around the world.
And so kind of political rhetoric is not what you need. What you need is cooperation.
ISAACSON: You run the most influential energy conference in the world, CERAWeek, which happens in Houston each year.
And this year, you had John Kerry, the envoy for climate. And I think he was pushed quite a bit on, shouldn't we balance our desire to fight climate
change with a need right now to increase oil and gas production? How did he play that out?
YERGIN: He did see that this is a grave international crisis, and that part of the solution to it does involve U.S. oil and gas production, because,
otherwise, you could see what happened in the election in France, the first round with Marine Le Pen.
If you have turmoil and shortage and prices shooting up, then this coalition to deal with Putin's war in Ukraine can really erode. And so you
need to balance your climate objectives, your long-term objectives with the realities that we're now in a crisis.
ISAACSON: But if you create more pipelines, if you allow more export of liquefied natural gas, if you allow more oil production, would that have
any impact within the next couple of years?
YERGIN: Well, I think so.
I mean, this year, U.S. oil production could increase by a million barrels a day, which is more than the entire increase in all the rest of the world.
That would be a significant factor. And I think that Europe, as well as other countries, now regard us LNG as a source of stability and security.
And -- now, but you can't build these things overnight. Pipelines take time. LNG facilities take time. Germany has said -- Chancellor Scholz has
talked in his Zeitenwende, his change of era, that Germany is now going to build receiving terminals for LNG. But it'll take two or three years to get
those built. But that's to -- so that they have to cut down on imports of Russian gas and be able to import LNG, some of which will come from the
ISAACSON: How is this new policy in Germany going to play out? Is this really going to be a shift in Germany's role vis-a-vis Russia?
YERGIN: Well, the Zeitenwende means a change of eras.
And I think is a change of eras. Germany has pursued a sense of interdependence with Russia. And I think the trade that Germany had with
Russia and had built up with Russia actually helped to erode and, with the Soviet Union, helped to bring down the Iron Curtain.
But I think Germany has now said, we're through. We don't want to be dependent upon Russia anymore. It's not a reliable supplier. It's an
And I think that is more broadly affecting the overall economic relations, because, remember, Germany is much more connected to Russia, as are other
European countries, than the United States, because of proximity. But they're saying, we're going to change and we're going to go in a different
direction. We're going to increase our defense spending. We're going to strengthen NATO.
This is all a big change. And one of the many miscalculations Putin has made, he wanted to undermine NATO. What he's done is reinvigorated NATO,
and he's turned Germany in a very different direction.
ISAACSON: You say NATO has been reinvigorated, but are you worried about the elections happening in France and that there may be a populist
backlash, especially with the prices going up?
YERGIN: Absolutely, because we're looking not only at an energy crisis, but a food crisis. And Marine Le Pen has very cleverly pursued a campaign based
on economic issues, less on immigration.
And, of course, she's touched people's pocketbooks. And so I think that goes back, Walter, to what we're talking about, the need to really manage
where we are today to avoid really big price spikes that will lead to the kind of political reaction that will undermine this unity.
I mean, she said that she's against NATO. So that's why you have to take a holistic view to this crisis, and not look at it in different pieces.
ISAACSON: Well, you talk about price spikes. Gasoline at the pump is like $6 some places in the United States. How long is that sustainable? And is
that going to cause political problems?
I heard President Obama once say that the correlation between his popularity and gas prices at the pump was the strongest political
correlation there was.
YERGIN: I think it's very much on the minds of both Democrats and Republicans looking at the November election, these prices.
If you're a nurse or a teacher, and you're driving 25 miles a day to work, these costs really hurt. And so they are very politically significant. It
gets you back again to the question to manage this in a sensible way. Obviously, in Europe, the prices, because of tax, are actually a lot
higher. And that is a very political -- very big political factor there.
So I think, around the world, we're going to see the politics of nations roiled by energy prices, and, by the way that other crisis, food prices.
ISAACSON: Well, let's start with energy prices.
What could be done to bring down the price of oil at the -- of gasoline at the pump?
YERGIN: Well, you have to add up a lot of different things.
You use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. You get this kind of cooperation I have talked about between government and industry to manage the logistics.
Obviously, some more oil from the Middle East would be helpful. And then you do have whether we will have some kind of demand restraint or people
just changing behavior.
But all of those things come together as we -- this is a very tight spot that we're in right now.
ISAACSON: You talk about the possible rise in food prices.
What would be driving that, and how could that be ameliorated?
YERGIN: Thirty percent of world wheat comes -- exports come from Ukraine and Russia. And a lot of that has just stopped. The Ukrainians can't use
their ports. The crops will rot out. And egg -- they're a major exporter of eggs. You go down the list. You have all those things.
And something else that people don't realize, but if you look at all the costs of food, about 70 percent of the costs of food actually is energy,
from fertilizer, from tractors, from trucks to move it. And so all those energy costs also feed into the price of food.
And the Middle East is particularly dependent upon wheat from Russia and Ukraine. And, of course, it was high food prices that set off the Arab
Spring in 2011, very much on the minds of leaders in that part of the world.
ISAACSON: We're in this struggle with Russia, and it especially involves your specialty, energy.
And yet we're trying to engage in this struggle while also having a bad relationship with China, a bad relationship with the Saudis, and up until
recently a bad relationship with Venezuela. Is it possible...
YERGIN: It's still a pretty bad relationship with Venezuela.
ISAACSON: So, shouldn't we have to repair our relationships with China and Venezuela pretty quickly?
YERGIN: Well, I'm not sure Venezuela -- I -- obviously, some people from Washington went down to Caracas to see more oil.
I think they ought to also go to Calgary in Canada and get some more oil, because I think the Canadians can help us out too, but they have been sort
of forgotten. But I think China -- Walter that, of course, is that China is the big -- that's the big question.
That's a huge geopolitical question for the 21st century is U.S.-Chinese relations. And, generally, they're going in the wrong direction. And that's
really the real threat. So, how to manage those relations.
And given that the politics of the U.S. is increasingly antagonistic towards China, and China's certainly increasingly antagonistic to the
United States, that is a -- it's a subject for another conversation, because it's so big and complex, and the risks are so obvious.
ISAACSON: Does this crisis increase the role that nuclear power can and should play? And should European countries be not shutting down nuclear
plants? And should we in the United States be more willing to open nuclear power plants?
YERGIN: That's a very sensitive question, because particularly the Germans made the decision over a weekend to shut down their nuclear power, which
provided I think about 20 percent of the electricity.
So they're using more gas, including Russian gas, to produce electricity, and they're shutting down at the end of the year their last three nuclear
power plants. But I think we're seeing -- we have seen a real turnaround on nuclear power.
President Macron came into office saying that he was going to cut back and French nuclear, which provides about 80 percent of electricity. He's now
said they're going to build six new reactors and maybe another eight. Britain has just come out with a new energy security doctrine that also
includes more nuclear.
And going back to our CERAWeek conference, Walter, I heard a number of CEOs talking about small nuclear reactors as though these are going to be
reality by the end of the decade.
So, I think there is a turn on nuclear power going on right now, seeing it as part of the mix, both for security and also for energy transition
ISAACSON: Dan Yergin, thank you so much for joining us.
YERGIN: Thank you, Walter, and good to be with you again.
AMANPOUR: And those transition issues so important.
And finally tonight, an exclusive conversation with Ukraine's first lady, Olena Zelenska.
We received written responses to a series of questions that we asked her. We couldn't meet with her for security reasons when I was in Kyiv.
But, first, I wanted to ask her, when was the last time she saw her husband, the president?
A narrator has voiced her words.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OLENA ZELENSKA, FIRST LADY OF UKRAINE (through narrator): Volodymyr and his team actually live in the president's office.
Due to the danger, my children and I were forbidden to stay there. So, for more than a month, we communicate only by phone.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And then she described him as a wonderful father and support for her and said that he's showing the same traits now leading Ukraine's war
I also asked her what message she wants to give to Russia's mothers and wives.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ZELENSKA (through narrator): The level of Russian propaganda is often compared to Goebbels' propaganda during the Second World War.
But, in my opinion, it still exceeds, because, in the Second World War, there was no Internet and access to information, such as now. Now everyone
can see the war crimes, for example, those committed by the Russians in Bucha, where the bodies of civilians with their hands tied simply lay in
But the problem is that the Russians do not want to see what the whole world sees. So, that feels more comfortable. After all, it is easier to
say, it's all fake, and go drink your coffee, than to read the story of a particular person who died, look at her relatives and friends who are in
For example, read the story of one of the victims in Bucha, a woman named Tatiana, who was shot by a Russian bullet, and her husband, who asked the
invaders to take away the body, but was beaten and thrown bound.
How to make the Russians see this? I am more and more inclined to think that, unfortunately, you can't. They are blind in belief. They do not want
to hear and see. I will not address them anymore.
The main thing for Ukraine today is that the whole other world hears and sees us. And it is important that our war does not become habitual, so that
our victims do not become statistics. That's why I communicate with people through foreign media.
Don't get used to our grief.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Don't normalize what we see, rare words from the first lady of Ukraine.
And you can read our full interview on CNN.com.
And that's it for now. Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.