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German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck on Ukraine, Energy, And Climate; Heather Cox Richardson On American Gun Culture; Nobel Laureate Speaks Out On "The Power of Women. Did Not Air Live.
Aired May 27, 2022 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Hello everyone and welcome to Amanpour. Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT HABECK, GERMAN VICE CHANCELLOR: It's simply not understandable that the use of weapons in such amount is allowed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Germany's Vice Chancellor gives a frank assessment from overseas of America's shooting epidemic in a wide ranging discussion. He also says
the EU is not unanimous about banning Russian oil, then --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON, BOSTON COLLEGE: We need to fix this. And the way we fix it is for people who care about it to speak up and demand that we fix
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The widely followed historian Heather Cox Richardson, what's America's relationship with guns in context for Michelle Martin. Plus --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Russians are just a kilometer on the brow of this hill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: A special report from Ukraine's front lines. Also ahead --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR DENIS MUKWEGE, NOBEL LAUREATE AND AUTHOR, "THE POWER OF WOMEN": Everywhere in the world where war conflict, armed conflict is happening
right is used.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege discusses how rape is still being used as a weapon of war and how the women he helps give him
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. The world is at a turning point that is the verdict of the German Chancellor
Olaf Scholz, who warned the annual Economic Forum at Davos that more than just Ukraine is at risk in Russia's war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): What is at stake is a system of international cooperation that emerged from the never again of
two devastating world wars, an order that binds power to law and order that outlaws violence as a means of achieving political aims. And that has
guaranteed us freedom, security and prosperity over the past decades.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The chancellor has said that Germany and the European Union are doing their best to win themselves right off Russian energy and stop
feeding the war machine that devastating Ukraine. But my first guest tonight told me there's a roadblock to an EU embargo. The German Vice
Chancellor Robert Habeck is naming names and telling me an EU nation is dragging its heels.
The Green Party politician join me this week amid the catastrophic mass shooting in Texas, which killed 19 children and two teachers, a 2009
shooting at a German high school spurred immediate legislation. And the Vice Chancellor says like so many others watching from overseas, that he
just cannot understand America's gun laws.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Vice Chancellor Habeck welcome to the program.
HABECK: Hello, and good evening.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you what your reaction as a German is to this horrendous massacre of children by a gunman in Texas in the United States?
HABECK: Well, first of all, let me express my deepest condolences for the families who lost members and the people in Texas who lost friends and
partners. This is another terrible attack on humanity, I would say. So first of all, all the best all the strengths in the world, for the ones who
are now suffering, or has -- have these grief losses.
And then secondly, of course, it's us interior business. But I mean, from a German point of view, it's simply not understandable that the use of
weapons in such amount is allowed. And I can't understand why. Really, armed weapons are allowed free on the market in the US.
So from a European perspective, from a German perspective, the loss of lives is too high. It surprised too high to pay for this allowance, in this
role. So maybe the second thought would be helpful.
AMANPOUR: You mentioned the idea of military style weapons being bought by civilians and used in this way. I want to just ask you to reflect on the
fact that so many in the United States attribute the use of guns. I'm not talking about massacres, but the ability to buy guns, have guns to the idea
of freedom. It's kind of become a strange sort of slogan that that freedom exists even up to this level. Again, how do you see that connection?
HABECK: Well, I would always argue that Europe is continent with a lot of freedom.
And we haven't these grief attacks, of course, there are other terror attacks in Europe as well. And I would also argue that Germany is a safe
and maybe safer country than the U.S. and we don't allow the use of weapons and the selling of weapons and such amount. So I mean, isn't -- from my
point of view, it's not so -- it's not too difficult to understand lesser weapons lesser that.
AMANPOUR: Let me move to the big geopolitical issue of our time. And that is the legitimate defense of freedom and independence and sovereignty of
Ukraine, which Germany, NATO, the West is all committed to.
You've just returned from Davos where you must have been having conversations with many of the officials involved in helping Ukraine. And
you also heard via remote from President Zelenskyy. How do you assess the current status of the war right now, between Russia and Ukraine?
HABECK: Well, the war lasts longer than most of the experts, even experts have expected. And this says something about the estimations, the Ukraine,
they fight with huge bravery. Putin get it all wrong. He underestimated the power and the willingness of Ukraine Army to fight. He overestimated the
power of his own army. He underestimated the solidarity given in Europe and in the transatlantic partnership.
So and he hoped that he was welcomed as a liberator. But he's not. The Ukraine people they see him as an aggressor. So he got it all wrong. But we
must admit that also some of our experts in the West estimated the situation wrong. The Ukraine Army with the solidarity of the West, and with
the weapons Europe and the U.S. and Canada deliver, they are really doing a great job.
This is sound cynical, but of course, defending the country, defending the democracy, defending the freedom is a great job. But make no mistake, a lot
of people are dying there, young soldiers and definitely on both sides. They had better ideas for their lives, better plans for their lives than
dying for Putin are dying in this terrible war.
Right now, the situation seems like this war will ongoing over a period of time, maybe weeks, maybe months, though, this means that we have to change
our strategy as well. We have to deliver more weapons and other weapons to Ukraine. And we're doing it in Europe, in the U.S. and in Germany, as well.
And we have to give energy and money as well to Ukraine to support the country in this difficult period.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Vice Chancellor, you just said we in the West got certain things wrong. As you know, President Zelenskyy has said that about 100
people, citizen soldiers, members of the military are being killed every day right now.
You said in April, we certainly should have supported Ukraine military much earlier. And I'm not just talking about days or weeks, but years. You have
turned your military on a dime. For the first time in your post war history, Germany is involved in lethal aid to another country, but you
still say it should have happened earlier. Explain what you mean, and how it might have changed the current status on the ground.
HABECK: We haven't helped Ukraine enough. And especially in Germany, also in my party, I'm from the Green Party in Germany. I've also strong attitude
that we will not deliver weapons to Ukraine, because the fear was that we would that we raise the conflict even more of heat the conflict there in
I personally thought this was wrong. I had this argument with my own party one year ago when I visited Ukraine. But this was the overall idea in
Germany. But this was wrong. Nobody knows, of course, but will happen if we delivered more weapons to Ukraine before. But definitely the idea was that
a war would be -- would not happen. And now it's happening and now we're delivering the weapons fine enough, but maybe it would be have -- would
have been better that we have done it before.
AMANPOUR: And Germany is spending something like $100 billion to actually modernize the military. Again, that's a complete shift on your military
policy. At Davos, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said and I quote, we are draining the Kremlin's war machine. So she's
saying that the sanctions are having an effect, but as you know, President Putin is still able to sell oil.
Oil is very expensive. He's making a good profit. Do you feel confident that his ability to wage this war is being affected by the EU sanctions, by
the global sanctions?
HABECK: Yes, the sanctions are working. They are economic sanctions, always takes time. But think about the end of the Soviet Republic, this was mainly
also, because of economic decrease. Yes, of course, the economy in Russia is still ongoing, but on a level, like 1980, or something.
So the longer it takes, the more they lose track of the word economy and the word development. So this is severe damage to the rational economy. But
of course, it's a big country. It's a country full of energy, fossil energy, gas and oil. They have enough food for the people and the soldiers.
So they can go on feeding the war out of their own resources for quite a long time.
So we can't even say that our bans on whatever economic goods are direct, have a direct impact for their capability to lead the war, but an indirect
impact they have definitely. So Ursula von der Leyen is right. And about the ban on oil, well, we have a little bit of a problem there because, of
course, it's right. And it's morally necessary that we ban oil, and maybe later on gas, and other products from Russia.
But because they sell it on the world market, a ban on oil, as U.S. has started in I think it was end of February, has increased the prices on the
world market. So Putin earns more money with less or selling of oil. And this is a problem, of course, and we have to find a solution there
otherwise, we destroy with the right hand, but we build with the left hand or vice versa. So actually, the ban on oil hasn't had the effect we hoped
AMANPOUR: Wow. So let me ask you this, because a couple of days ago, you yourself said that the Russian oil embargo by the EU would actually happen
in a couple of days. Then we hear from the FT that the Hungarian Prime Minister or ban has ruled out discussing the EU's proposed oil embargo of
Russia at next week's summit of leaders. He sent that to Charles Michel, council leader in a letter. And his spokesman told me a few weeks ago that
Hungary had no physical alternative to Russian gas and oil for the moment.
So there's two questions there is Hungary going to hold up unanimity in the EU? But what you've just said is, it may be having the reverse effect this
HABECK: Well, that's right. We have a great majority for a ban on oil with all the problems I mentioned before in Europe, but Hungary is against it.
And this must be a unanimous vote in the European Council. So therefore, I hope and I hoped that the leaders will find a solution on the council. This
is in some days, and I know that intense talks are ongoing with Hungary and Hungary they get a lot of oil from Russia. So say tomorrow we stop it this
is -- this will bankrupt Hungary I understand their problem.
But working on a problem can be mirrored in the sanction package so saying what we have a ban on oil now, but some states they have more time this is
a possible solution. The question is Viktor Orban and Hungary willing to stay in the solidarity of Europe and the transatlantic partnership? And
right now, it does not seem this way
So, if it's fine -- if it's about finding a practical solution for existing in reality, existing problem, this can be solved. If it's about bargaining,
then you never know what's what the Hungarians, Viktor Orban will negotiate.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Vice Chancellor, you are also the Minister for Economic and Climate Affairs, the Federal Minister, I just want to ask you about some
practicalities. You yourself have been securing deals with countries like Norway, Qatar, UAE, in order to replace Russian gas, but also your country
has decided to move away from nuclear energy.
Was that short sighted? Was it a mistake for Germany to say no to nuclear energy? We know that even the Finland Green Party has voted overwhelmingly
to adopt a fully pro nuclear stance at its national meeting. And it has done that this week.
HABECK: For Germany, I can say that our strategy is very good one and I think we will have a cheap and affordable energy, and we will have clean
energy, and we will be very competitive in the market because the renewables, they are flexible, that need digitalization.
So we will invent the new form of economic models here in Germany here in Europe. Coming to nuclear energy, we have now still three nuclear power
plants running, they stand for 5 percent of the German electricity, electricity production, it's only 5 percent. And this is, I wouldn't say
this is nothing, but it's a very small amount. And we replace the other nuclear power plants, mainly by renewables.
AMANPOUR: Except Mr. Vice Chancellor, you're talking about green and renewable and sustainable and you are the Green Party, you plan to phase
out nuclear, which is clean about 10 years or eight years sooner than you plan to phase out dirty, horrible coal. That doesn't make sense.
HABECK: Well, this is the plan the old government made and the contracts are written. And I think we should -- we can and we should stick to the
contracts with the firms. Otherwise, we have to rebuild the whole energy system, the grid, systematic that was built in the past years.
So, if you would start from the scratch, maybe you have second thoughts about the order of phasing out, I can imagine that the discussion would be
in another way, but not right now. We have the rules. We have the laws, and we have a clear path that we will follow.
AMANPOUR: And finally Mr. Vice Chancellor, I guess I'm asking you to predict as best you can, what you think is going to happen down the line.
How much pain can your citizens take and our citizens of the world take with the sanctions with the inflation with the rise of prices, with the
threat, because Russia is blockading very important quantities of Ukrainian wheat, even stealing that Ukrainian wheat, a recession maybe some people
are talking about down the line. What is your big nightmare right now?
HABECK: Well, looking at the world economy, one must be serious that we are facing a difficult situation. And, of course, this is also the case in
Germany. And in the US we have high inflation, we have high energy prices, a lot of people and a lot of companies, they are really worried if they can
pay all the prices. There are solutions, of course, increased amount of energy, and state aid for the transformation. We are ongoing right now.
Maybe the central banks, they can do their part as well.
But, but really worries me. And I think where we really need some political concentration is the global situation. You're right. Ukraine and Russia is
a great supplier of food of wheat, actually, most of the wheat is going to the Arabic Peninsula or North Africa. If people get into staff there next
summer. So this winter would be alright. But next summer, this would be really horrible situation, then it's not a very stable political
environment there. What's going to happen?
So we are facing maybe the next crisis, the next security crisis in these countries. So we need more wheat on the market, we have to keep the markets
open, we maybe -- we need to find a solution that all the wheat in the Ukraine harvests can be shifted out. And if this is not going to happen,
then we are not talking about inflation alone, but about a world food crisis, which will lead to a worldwide recession if we are unlucky.
But actually, when -- we are politicians, we are human beings, we can decide about are afraid (ph). So facing a knowing a problem, the beginning
of solving the problem.
AMANPOUR: That's really fascinating. Thank you so much. It's been great to talk to you Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck. Thanks a lot for being with us.
HABECK: Thank you all the best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I'd started by asking the Vice Chancellor about Tuesday's mass shooting in Texas. So let's look closer at this enduring phenomenon.
Historian Heather Cox Richardson wrote this week quote, America's gun free for all is a symptom of the takeover of our nation by a radical extremist
Richardson has built a huge following with her missives entitled "Letters from an American." Here she is speaking to Michel Martin about American
democracy and the failure to tackle gun control.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, AMANPOUR AND COMPANY CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Heather Cox Richardson, thank you so much for talking with us.
HEATHER COX RICHARDSON, HISTORIAN AND PROFESSOR, BOSTON COLLEGE: It's a pleasure to be here.
MARTIN: How did we get here? It is a fact is it not that a majority of Americans favor some form of gun safety regulations. Correct?
MARTIN: So given that a majority, an overwhelming majority of Americans favor these kinds of things, how did we get to the point where a minority
of the population including a gun owning minority, so controls the policy here, the policies under which we all live?
So, so take us back to the beginning. I mean, obviously, the National Rifle Association, essential to that, which was founded what in the 19th century?
Did they always have this uncompromising position toward regulation of firearms?
RICHARDSON: No, they didn't. And that's part of the really interesting story of how we got to this moment. The NRA actually starts in 1871. And it
starts as an opportunity for people who fought in the Civil War, men who fought in the Civil War to continue their firearm skills. And the
camaraderie of being in camp together doing things like having shooting games at tin cans, for example.
At the same time, there was the rise as well of sport of shooting, especially in Europe, for which there were pretty large prizes. And so
Americans get together and begin to have shooting competitions that are eventually under the umbrella of the National Rifle Association, and that
association is designed not only to promote the sport of shooting, the camaraderie of the camp fire from the Civil War days, and also gun safety.
So when I was a kid growing up in rural Maine, the NRA actually was in our schools teaching us gun safety, because we were a hunting community. And
there were a lot of guns around. That changes dramatically in the 1980s.
MARTIN: What Why did it change? And how did it change?
RICHARDSON: The story of the change is an interesting one, because it's so deeply embedded in our politics. And this is something important to
remember when we talk about gun safety or gun regulation, is the idea that it's not just about guns, that that you can't separate that issue off, it's
very much part of what happened to our American politics in the 1970s and the 1980s.
And what happened then was a dramatic backlash against the New Deal coalition that had used the government to regulate business and provide a
basic social safety net and promote infrastructure, you know, that world that we had lived under since the 1930s, and especially since after the
1950s had protected American civil rights.
That backlash against that activist government that protected Americans take shape in this image of the American cowboy who stands alone against a
grasping government, a government that by the way, in the 19 -- 1870s when the cowboy image rose was called a socialist government, that whole
language is not new.
And that image of the gun toting cowboy takes its shape from people like Barry Goldwater, who runs for president in 1964, as a Republican as a
cowboy. It's an image that Ronald Reagan picks up remember the image of Reagan in his cowboy hat. And what that image does is it solidifies a
political movement that pushes against business regulation, primarily, taxes, a basic social safety net, the idea of investment in our
And part of that attack on government regulation focuses on things like civil rights, of course, but also on regulations about guns. And that image
of the lone cowboy is really the image that comes out of the 1980s. And you can think about things like the fact that in 1977, the blockbuster image
was that of Luke Skywalker, who is this individual guy taking on the Empire, and a lot of Americans envision themselves as that in that period.
And that's the moment that the NRA changes from being about gun safety, and about protecting the sport of shooting, which is still a big sport in
America, and becomes about what they call gun rights, the right of the individual to act as he almost always wishes.
MARTIN: So how did it get to be that the level of violence that we are now experiencing in communities across the country that this kind of violence,
especially mass violence has become so prevalent, and yet the political system seems completely unable to deal with it? How did that happen?
RICHARDSON: It's crazy. It's worth it -- I will answer that. But it's really worth sitting for a moment with the idea that we are literally a
country in which our children, our elderly, our churchgoers are gunned down. And our system says, this is the way -- this is the price of freedom,
as Bill O'Reilly once put it.
So the question of the -- to answer the question that you just asked of how we got to a place where the government seems unable to handle the fact that
90 percent of us want common sense gun regulations, and at the same time, we have legislators saying, you know, this is not the time to talk about
gun safety regulations, again, is about politics.
So beginning in 1986, we get the Republican Party beginning to talk about voter suppression. They call it valid integrity at the time but their
private memo saying that they're expecting to throw black people off the rolls.
We get opposition to the Motor Voter Act of 1993, which enables people to enroll in voting at motor vehicle registration places and welfare offices,
for example. And we increasingly get focusing on -- we get to focus on voter suppression and making sure that only certain people get to have a
say, in our society.
Now, at the same time gerrymandering in the States, which really takes off after 2010, with what was called Operation Red map, the idea of controlling
a state legislatures by the Republican Party in such a way that they could redistrict those states dramatically to favor, Republicans took off after
And then, of course, we get a number of Supreme Court decisions like the Citizens United decision that enables corporations to pour money into
political contests and decisions that Shelby versus Holder decision that cuts back on the Voting Rights Act, those things enable, first of all,
people like the NRA to funnel money into the Republican Party, and also make sure that the majority really does not have the power to influence our
-- the direction of our country.
And then if you throw on top of that the Senate, which is heavily weighted toward rural communities, and the fact that the Senate filibuster which has
been so extraordinarily abused of late, it means that the majority of Americans don't get to have a say in their government.
And when you look at the horror that is happening right now in the country, part of the fury, I think, is that the murder of our children and our
elderly and our churchgoers illustrates that we are in fact experiencing a tyranny of the minority, and a lot of the majority is no longer willing to
put up with that.
MARTIN: Former President Ronald Reagan was shot and nearly killed by a gunman in 1981. His Press Secretary James Brady was paralyzed for life. And
we'll get a Secret Service agent, Tim McCarthy and a police officer, Tom Dillahunty. And after that, then Congressman Schumer, now Senator from New
York introduced legislation that became known as the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to require background checks before gun purchases.
Now, Ronald Reagan, a lifetime member of the NRA, he actually endorsed this bill, but the NRA opposed it. And there have been similar instances where
people who are members of the NRA came forward to say trigger locks are acceptable, but somehow these measures continue to be killed. And so then
the question is the NRA more powerful than the political leaders who presumably represent all of these parties? I guess I'm just trying to
understand how does a small interest group wield so much power over people who represent the entire country? Does that make sense?
RICHARDSON: It does. It's worth remembering. First of all, if you're just looking at the NRA, that they're extraordinarily effective at pressuring
lawmakers, it also puts a ton of money behind political contests. Nonetheless, I mean, there's plenty of lobbies that do that sort of thing.
Nonetheless, I think what's really important to look at when we look at gun safety issues in America is that the confluence of the interests of the
NRA, which by the way, really no longer represents the average gun over owner. The NRA represents the guns, arms industry and the ammunition
industry, which are both big businesses. Guns and ammunition are very expensive, and their sales are off the charts.
So, you have the interests of the NRA as a body that represents the gun industry. You also have the confluence of our political moment with that.
The Heller decision that Justice Antonin Scalia, very famously wrote the opinion for in 2008 said that the government could not regulate the under
the terms that the case -- that were in that case, and Scalia was famous for his insistence on what he called, I think, quite unjustly actually an
originalist interpretation of the Constitution.
Well, the whole point of originalism and the justices in the Supreme Court is to get beyond regulation, to get before regulation to say that the
original Constitution didn't have this sort of regulation, not only of guns, but also of business and of civil rights, and of the many things that
the modern day Republican movement doesn't want to have.
So the idea of regulation of guns is not just about guns, it's a wedge issue that talks much more largely about our government about who gets to
have a say in our government and what that government can do.
At the same time, the people who oppose that have that cultural image of the cowboy and the idea of having your guns which again, I grew up with
people having guns on the back of their pickup trucks. It was not part of people's identity, it was not part of their political identity, it becomes
so as a political movement after 1980, as this image of the cowboy who was standing against a government that that does, in fact regulate what our
society, members of our society can do.
So, we're in this weird moment, which is a new moment, it's very much a new moment in our society, because not just because of the NRA, but because of
the confluence of the interests of what is now the National Rifle Association with the political moment that says that any kind of regulation
is bad. And those two things have married and they have produced this American identity that depends on the idea that a single person can be
armed to the teeth. And there's nothing that the rest of us can do about it.
MARTIN: So your argument is that this is no longer just a political issue, it's become a matter of identity, some argue just to be frank about it,
it's become a part of white male identity or white nationalist identity.
Well, if freedom is so profound, why are some of the same people who are most likely to own guns, the most willing to regulate access to abortion?
Just to be honest, I mean, just to be brutally frank about it. Why is it like white evangelicals, for example, are far more likely to own a gun than
just about any other segment of the population. But white evangelicals, for example, are far more likely to disfavor abortion, right?
So how is it that on the one hand, there's this belief and ultimate freedom sort of an absolutist view -- vision of freedom, but that doesn't extend to
women's rights to control their bodies.
RICHARDSON: So I think that you are missing the distinction between logic and image. So logically, of course, which is where somebody like Barry
Goldwater would have been in 1964, in which he said, Yes, I don't want the government to regulate civil rights. I don't want the government to
regulate women's rights, because I believe in a sort of a libertarian branch of freedom.
That's no longer where we are. You know, we're a generation further along than that. And one of the things that was crucial about that cowboy image
when it rose with Barry Goldwater, and actually slightly before him and with the Republican Party in the 1980s and post 1980s, is that the image of
the cowboy was never about freedom, that that wasn't even really part of the language when it rose in the late 1860s, immediately after the American
Civil War, it was an image of a man, a young man, almost always unmarried, and the image was of a white man.
Now historically, cowboys, a third of cowboys were men of color. That's not the way the image played out. And that man lived in what I call a world of
bromance, that is there are not women in the cowboy mythology except as wives and mothers or a sex workers. And the cowboy is this independent guy
who doesn't need the government for anything, which again, is not true, the government is more invested in the American plains than it is in any other
region in the country.
And at the same time, what he's doing is he's using his gun, again, something that would not have been in a cowboy setting because it spooks
the cow, his using his gun to protect his people against the bad guys. And those bad guys are indigenous Americans, Mexican Americans, sometimes
Chinese Americans and Mexicans as well.
There is encoded in that cowboy imagery, not only racism, but also a brand of sexism. And that dovetailed really beautifully, of course, with the rise
of evangelical Christianity in its current incarnation in that same period.
So when town people who embrace that cowboy image now and we know about 3 percent of Americans own 50 percent of our guns, they're not embracing
libertarian, a libertarian world where they say, Hey, women should be able to do whatever they want. They're embracing an image that is very
deliberately a hierarchical image in which they're the ones on top, and they get to exercise dominance over women, and people of color, and the
government should not do anything to stop them from doing it. And then that seems very logical that you take away women's rights at the same time you
insist on your own right to own a couple of AR-15s.
MARTIN: For those who consider the level of violence in this country unacceptable. What do they do? How does that -- how is that addressed?
RICHARDSON: I do think that you have put your thumb on a crucial problem. And that is that in the 1980s, the beginning to start this snowball rolling
of being an American as being a good cowboy, has now moved beyond the political class that started that. I think that the Republican leadership
is now running behind those people who insist that their gun ownership is crucial to their identity. And that's a crisis. Our political system
doesn't automatically create this kind of minority rule. Then we have gotten here by a series of deliberate decisions and they are deliberate
decisions have managed to give us a system that frankly does no longer work.
I mean, think about it, realistically, are Americans going to put up with minority rule? I mean, every once in a while, in our history, we've gotten
a president who was elected with a minority of the popular vote. I mean, Rutherford B. Hayes, William -- Benjamin Harrison, but it's happening all
the time now.
We need to fix this. And the way we fix it is for people who care about it, to speak up and demand that we fix it. And obviously, that means voting,
but it also means talking about how our system works. And it means talking about who we are as Americans, that we are not cowboys. We are not Shane.
We're the people in the community after Shane rides off, and we move that person out of say, offstage. And we write our government in such a way that
it in fact does protect our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and that our government is now to move us to Lincoln, a
government of the people, by the people and for the people.
That's our history. That's who we are not this skewed moment, but has been put in place in the 20th century by a minority, really reaching back all
the way to 1929 when they began to mess around with the Electoral College. This is itself an unusual moment, what I'm hoping we can do is reclaim the
meaning of American democracy. And we can only do that if everybody pitches in.
MARTIN: Professor Heather Cox Richardson, thank you so much for talking with us today.
RICHARDSON: Thank you. It's been a pleasure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now of course in Ukraine, where a fierce fight for freedom and sovereignty is underway, Russian forces have ramped up attacks across the
Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Several Ukrainian officials describe the situation as very difficult and say their troops are outnumbered and
outgunned. Correspondent Nick Paton Walsh traveled to another area in the east. That's also seen heavy fighting near the Russian occupied city of
Israel. Here's his report.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): Putin would leave little of what he claims to liberate an artillery jewel has
been raging for days, torching around the vital Russian held town of Izium, up on high in a position we were asked not to reveal.
These Ukrainian troops dug in and buoyant, have a clearer view of the damage below but also the enemy.
(on camera): So the Russians are just a kilometer on the brow of this hill in that direction. This unit only here two days but say they have already
destroyed a Russian tank. Yes, they play to the cameras but it's pretty clear up here. Their morale is sky high.
(voice-over): They are exposed but ready keen to show off actually gleeful at the international menu of weapons they've been sent, almost a silly
amount. The Swedish anti-tank munitions and of course a British NLAW, then from out of the grass, a German one which they particularly like a Polish
grenade, no training on them just practical use stay joke, giving them the widest experience of anti-tank weapons in Europe.
Writing (ph) also what the Russians left thermal optics and a Soviet era anti-tank weapon that they wind up like a telephone. Yet still the Russians
persist even as the prisoners these trips have taken have revealed how young the soldiers they're fighting are.
STAFF SERGEANT MAXYM, UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: They're children who have grown up only under Putin. They don't know any other kind of power. They say, Putin
said so, he can't deceive us. We're doing everything right. Like zombies. It's like the firmware in their brains was updated because they only quotes
phrases. Poor and unhappy. Sad to look at them.
WALSH: In the village below, the endless shelling is flushing the remaining life out. This woman said telling me her name would make no difference.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were eleven explosives around my house last night. Holes. Eleven. Go and count them. I sat in the cellar, on my knees
asking God to put goodness in people's brains. Will the brain hold up? It will. See? I am here.
WALSH: They really don't know where they'll go or what, if anything, they can come back to just that life has no space left here.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
AMANPOUR: Correspondent Nick Paton Walsh near Izium in eastern Ukraine. And next, as the reports of rape by invading Russian troops mount, one person
was not in the least bit surprised, Dr. Denis Mukwege, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018.
For the past three decades, he's treated victims of sexual violence in his homeland, the Democratic Republic of Congo. He joined me this week to talk
about the use of rape as a weapon of war, his book, "The Power of Women," and also continuing this hard work, despite the threats on his life. And
just to note, this conversation focuses on these difficult topics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Dr. Denis Mukwege, a welcome to the program.
MUKWEGE: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: You know, I just want to start by asking you to put your career in context. At one point, you wanted to be a pediatrician, but instead you
became an obstetrician. What was it that caused you to choose that field?
MUKWEGE: When I finished my study, and become a medical doctor, I discovered and other things. There, I discovered that women were dying in
giving birth. And this was totally for me, unacceptable.
AMANPOUR: I do want to ask you also about your work, which deals with the consequence of rape as a weapon of war. And I know you had to deal with it
in the DRC. How was it being used in the conflict that ravaged your country?
MUKWEGE: After my study, I went back in my country. And really, I work as an obstetrician, and I was very happy with what I'm doing. But in 1996,
when the war started in Congo, there, I discovered another pathology is raped with extreme violence. And it was for the first time to see that
people could rape and after to rape to destroy the genital of women.
And I was obstetrician and gynecologist in the region. So I started to treat women who rape with extreme violence. And this is another step of my
AMANPOUR: Dr. Mukwege, why do you believe from your experience, that militants, soldiers use rape as a weapon? It's obviously not a sexual crime
alone. It's a much deeper issue of torture and control.
MUKWEGE: Yes. When I saw the first case in my country, I just think that it was just people lose control who were doing things like that. But slowly,
when we start to talk with women, we discovered that each arm group were using his own strategy of rape. So and we saw that it was metastatic. It
was massive, and systematic.
So, we -- you can't be methodical, systematic, and massive without really getting a plan. And then we conclude that rape was used as a method, a
strategy of war as a weapon of war, and the body of women become the battlefield of the different armed groups.
AMANPOUR: Let me just talk about what's happening in Ukraine at the moment. When we were there we heard stories that soldiers, Russian soldiers were
raping Ukrainian women in the towns. Now we hear from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, and I'm going to read it to you a few days ago. Today
in just one hour, 10 reports of rape by the Russian occupiers, including eight children were received from newly liberated villages in the Kharkiv
region. Yesterday, 56 reports. Among the children two 10-year-old boys and a one year old boy who died of his injuries.
Now, because of your experience, you have recently said that you are not surprised by the tales of rape, but why not?
MUKWEGE: Everywhere in the world where war conflict, armed conflict is happening, rape is used. And I just in February, I said that we should be
aware and try to prevent rape in Ukraine.
And, of course, I was sure because also in 2017, I was in contact with women of Ukraine, from Donbas, who were raped during the first invasion of
Russia, for once the war starts, again, we advertised that it can happen again. And really, the victims need to be supported as soon as we can. And
this is very important. We can't wait too long to help them.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Mukwege, as you know, the Special Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia did put in the law, that rape as a weapon of war was a
crime against humanity. It's been adjudicated at a very high level, and yet it continues, as you describe now in Ukraine, in parts of your country, it
happened to the Yazidi women who were enslaved by ISIS.
You talk in your book about it, in part being used to demoralize the male fighters, that the soldiers do this, or the militias against the women to
demoralize their fighting men? Can you explain that?
MUKWEGE: Yes, of course, I think that, when they use rape as a weapon of war, they are using different kind of technique to dehumanize, to destroy
the moral, and even to try to destroy the moral of troops. And for this, I have really -- I have talked with some Syrian young men who were in the
resistance of Syria. And what they told me showed me really that it's a way to demoralize troops, and destroy our confidence in men when it happened.
And what these guys from Syria told me was really very special, because when soldiers of Assad were raping their women, they're just calling them
so they could follow what was happening to their own wives. And after this, they told me, we will not be able to fight against it, to get and to
destroy all the confidence in the so called enemy. And it's really very effective.
AMANPOUR: Wow, that is an incredible story. By contrast, you write about a parliamentarian leading a militia group during the DRC war. And you talk
about accountability, and that it actually did work. Can you explain that story?
MUKWEGE: Yes, in 2014, what struck me when I tweet for the first time, a baby, and they're really I didn't understand what was happening in our
area. I discovered that it was a parliamentarian who was leading an army. And in their way to do things was to rape, to kidnap children, babies, and
So, I tried to get to stop him, but I couldn't get him to be arrested. But one day I met soldiers who was a judge, and a military judge, and these
soldiers, I told him this story. So he told me, Doctor, I will do my best. This is a crime against humanity. We can't let it and punished.
And he took a decision to arrest this guy, just one week after, all the rape of the children under five years stop in this village, until today we
don't have any case from this village. So I think that justice very important, it's very important to let impunity reign is just to let women
suffer. We need really justice because this case show clear that without justice, it's very difficult to stop this kind of atrocities.
AMANPOUR: Let me read a little bit from your book "The Power of Women," I want to -- I just want to read what you write in the introduction. My work
is long term and sometimes frustratingly slow. As a doctor, I can examine a patient diagnose the source of the problem, and then work to solve it
through treatment or surgery. As a campaigner, I face a struggle to change minds, attitudes and behaviors. It's a battle not with disease or
anatomical failure, but with far more stubborn adversaries, discrimination, ignorance and indifference.
Where do you get the strength then to continue because you talk about the women who inspire you?
MUKWEGE: Yes, exactly. But when it came to campaign, or to try to stop the rape in our society, this is really sometimes very complicated. Because the
attitudes of many people who believe that women belong to them, they can use them as they want. We're in a patriarchal society, where really, there
is not equality between women, and men. And when men grow up, thinking that they have a right on the body of women, this is really completely wrong,
and it's destroying our society.
So when I start to work with women, what I discover is that women are really very strong. And the women are not strong for themselves. They are
strong also for our society. And for me to go on doing what I'm doing, and when I can see that, even if the women go through terrible things, but they
still working for other with life.
I think that this is wonderful for me, and is really something pushing me to go on in what I'm doing because I think that I just feel that I'm really
very small if I can compare to what women are, and how strong they are.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's great to have such a supporter as yourself, obviously. And the women in turn have been protecting you, I understand, because you
say that you've had some six attempts on your life because of the work you do. Who on earth would want to stop you doing this work?
MUKWEGE: Yes, it's true. I think that when I was attacked in my house, and my friend Joseph was killed, this was a terrible situation for me. And I
decided to leave my country. But who brought me back? It was women of Egui (ph), they decided that they want to get me back. And what they did was
just enormous, because they wrote to my president, he didn't answer. They wrote to the Secretary General of the UN, he didn't answer. So they decide
to come each Friday, to sell fruit and vegetables at the hospital, and give each Friday $50 to pay my ticket back from Boston to Congo.
And when they start to do it, I could not believe, but when it's happened three times, I understand that when women decide to do things, no one can
stop them. So, I just decided to return in my country and gone working with them.
And I'm sure that the people who don't want me to go on doing what I'm doing, it's only because impunity reigns in our region. It must beat them.
We're trying to put an end on my life and threaten me trying to silence me. But I think that with women, we are sure that justice will prevail.
AMANPOUR: What an amazing story. Dr. Denis Mukwege, thank you so much. The Power of Women is your latest book, and you've really got an amazing,
amazing mission. Thank you for joining us.
MUKWEGE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It's a truly inspirational tale from a modern day hero. And finally tonight, some old favorites, taking another chance on the stage.
That's right, ABBA is back. 40 years since the world conquering Eurovision champions broke up. Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, and Anni-Frid, a belting out
disco anthems again, kicking off a new show and a purpose-built London arena tonight.
Now, if you think they're looking pretty good for abandon their 70s, well, it's because these are holograms. The avatars will rock digital designs by
Dolce and Gabbana, among others as they perform new music and old favorites.
And that's it for now. Remember, you can always catch us online on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Thank you for watching and goodbye from