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Interview With Author Lindsey Fitzharris; Interview With Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor; Interview With Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski; Interview with The Atlantic Contributing Writer Tom Nichols. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired July 26, 2022 - 13:00:00   ET




Here's what's coming up.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): This is an overt gas war that Russia is waging against the united Europe.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Ukraine keeps fighting, but how long can Europe keep up the support? I ask Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel


Then: reconstructing a face. Author Lindsey Fitzharris brings us into the world of a pioneer plastic surgeon who changed the lives and looks of

soldiers wounded in World War I.


TOM NICHOLS, "THE ATLANTIC": The conservative movement and particularly the conservative home in the Republican Party has completely fractured into

something that I don't think conservatives would recognize.

GOLODRYGA: Writer Tom Nichols talked to Hari Sreenivasan about a question he wrestles with: What does it mean to be a conservative in the Trump era?


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

Well, we are just hours away from a critical moment in Ukraine. Will the 20 million tons of stuck grain finally start flowing? After a deal struck on

Friday, a joint coordination center comprised of Russian Ukrainian, Turkish, and U.N. officials is set to get up and running on Wednesday.

Excuse me.

But a recent Russian strike near the Ukrainian port of Odessa has cast doubt over whether the agreement to alleviate the global food crisis will

actually hold, all of this while Europe attempts to tackle yet another crisis. And that -- it's on energy.

To prevent a severe supply shock. E.U. ministers have agreed to reduce natural gas consumption by 15 percent between August and next March.

Ukraine's neighbor Poland was initially opposed to the deal, though it has now approved it.

Pawel Jablonski is Poland's deputy foreign minister, and he joins me now from Warsaw.

Mr. Foreign Minister, thank you so much for joining us.

So, you initially opposed the deal. You finally signed off on it. Hungary was actually the only country that in the end opposed the deal, Hungary

obviously having the closest ties with Russia of all E.U. members.

Why was Poland initially hesitant?

PAWEL JABLONSKI, POLISH DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: First of all, we have agreed to some measures, and in a spirit of solidarity, because we believe

that this is the principle that should be holding us all together.

It has been holding us together and has been making as much stronger in the way of Russian aggression. Now, obviously, there are many European member

states that may face an energy crisis, especially those countries that unfortunately failed to diversify their resources.

Most of all, it is the case of Germany and a few other. But we believe in solidarity. We believe that we should be helping each other. For this

reason, we have accepted some solutions. Actually, we also made some negotiations to make it more flexible, because we believe that it should

still be at the competence of national sovereign states, rather than E.U. Commission.

But we are working towards a solidarity -- a solution based on solidarity in order to help those in need, while at the same time encouraging everyone

to use all the tools that are at their disposal, mostly other energy sources, such as nuclear energy.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, Russia shut off gas to Poland and Bulgaria back in May. You have had to rely on other allies to provide your gas supplies.

And this comes on a day when Russia has once again said that it would shut off gas supplies to European via Nord Stream 1 to 20 percent. It was

already cut down to 40 percent. And now we're at 20 percent. And this is as Europe as a whole collectively is trying to build up supplies as we get

into the warmer -- the colder months ahead.

The Kremlin -- there's a Bloomberg report today on the Kremlin strategy here. And that is to -- quote -- "keep up its gas squeeze on Europe."

And I'd like to read from this report. It says: "It's not likely that Russia seriously hopes that energy problems will force a change in the E.U.

stance on Ukraine. But, theoretically, it's possible that accelerating internal difficulties will lead to changes in government in a number of

European countries, and the new leaders will be far more focused on domestic affairs, and less so on Ukraine."


What is your response to that what appears to be strategy on the part of Vladimir Putin to sort of play the long game here and put more pressure on

democratic countries and Europe, hoping that domestic pressure from residents there and citizens will force their attention away from Ukraine?

JABLONSKI: Well, the only viable response is solidarity and consistency.

We should continue what we have been doing, and actually not just since February 24, since the war started, but also before. This was the case also

with -- if I remember correctly, with your home country, with Moldova, that also was threatened with Russia cutting of gas supplies a couple of months

ago, and then also Poland, with some other European country, extended the support.

We should continue in this spirit. We should support each other in Europe, because we are much stronger. We are much stronger. Together, we are much

stronger than Russia. This is what Russia is doing. They are fighting with weapons. They are inflicting death and torture in Ukraine.

They wish to inflict coal. They wish to inflict destroying European industry. This is what's happening -- what's happening on the continent.

They also wish to inflict hunger on Africa and Middle East, on the countries that are dependent on Ukrainian grain. That is why they broke the

deal -- they breached the deal they signed on Friday.

On Saturday, they made a strike on Odessa. This is what Russia is doing. But if we remain consistent, we are much stronger, and we will prevail. If

we continue to support Ukraine, Ukraine will win this war.

GOLODRYGA: Well, let me ask you about that deal signed on Friday, because, clearly, there was mounting pressure from not only the West, which it

appears that Russia doesn't care much about, but from African countries and other developing countries, in terms of getting grain and other supplies,

food commodities to those countries that are desperately in need of it.

And we have seen prices skyrocket as a result of the blockade there at the ports. Are you at all confident that the 20 million tons of these grains

can finally be released? Or do you think that Russia is once again not living up to its word?

JABLONSKI: We would wish that this can happen.

But, unfortunately, Russia's credibility is right now at rock bottom, and they have displayed this last Saturday, bombing, shelling Odessa port.

Commercial port is absolutely pivotal in this chain of supply. This shows very clearly that Russia's words are not to be believed.

If anyone wishes to continue this false notion, continue to live in this illusion that Russia can be trusted, is either blind or naive or is simply

acting outright in the interests of Russia. We should be making all that it's possible striving to defeat Russia and to force it to withdraw from

its aggression, to force it to observe international law.

And so this is the way to go. Just talking and negotiating with the criminal is simply not a viable option, because he will always lie. He will

always cheat. He will always use what he can, because he sees simply that this might be effective.

GOLODRYGA: When was the last time you spoke with your Russian counterpart?

JABLONSKI: Well, we hardly have spoken even before the war, because Russia has been perceiving Poland as an enemy for many, many months and many

years, probably because we never -- we were never hiding that we deem Russia as a threat to Europe.

We have been warning other European allies about this. Last year, there was also an attack on a Polish border, Polish border with Belarus using

artificial wave of migrants, which was also orchestrated by Belarus and Russia together. It was on Poland, on Lithuania, on Latvia.

So, unfortunately, Russia -- we would wish that Russia would someday become a credible and trusted partner. But, unfortunately, this is not the case

unless we change our policy, and the West. This policy in the previous decade, policy of many European countries, was simply misguided.

Unless we change it, Russia will never change.

GOLODRYGA: You have captured the hearts of millions around the world from your openness to take in so many of these refugees from Ukraine.

As of July 19, the U.N. says nearly six million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded living throughout Europe. Some 1.2 million Ukrainian refugees

have applied for temporary residence in Poland. We -- as you know, CNN has spent a lot of time in Poland on the ground there talking about all the

efforts that your country has made, the investments that not only the government, but average citizens have made in welcoming these refugees and

giving them homes.


What is the status of the refugee flow at this point? And is it sustainable?

JABLONSKI: So, obviously, the numbers are lower than in the first weeks of the war.

We have recorded that almost five million people have crossed directly from Ukraine to Poland. Probably additional one million have crossed from the

southern border, from Hungary, from Slovakia to Poland as well. Obviously, this doesn't mean that five million people still remain in our country.

Some of them went further to other European countries.

So, some of them went overseas. And many of them already started to come back to Ukraine to start reconstruction and rebuilding of the country,

especially in these areas that were under Russian attack in the first weeks of the war and now are free of the occupation.

So what we are now struggling with -- and this is obviously a global phenomenon -- that, with the rising prices, with the economic crisis, it is

increasingly more costly to maintain especially this additional group of our population.

But nonetheless, we extended -- we opted for a full integration with the society, with free health care, free education, access to labor market,

social security. This might be a more costly approach, but we believe this is more sustainable. And, so far, this has been quite a good decision.

The situation that we have shows that the decision was correct. We wish to continue this approach.

GOLODRYGA: On Wednesday, Poland is due to approve a significant arms deal with South Korea for the purchase of nearly 1,000 tanks and hundreds of

fighter jets. I guess this is in response to all the weapons that you have given to Ukraine in this fight.

As we end this conversation, I'm just curious as to whether there is concern at all, especially in countries like Poland and the Baltic neighbor

-- neighboring countries there, that not enough attention is being focused on any potential military assault on the part of Russia vis-a-vis your

countries, given how close you are, because of all the attention that the economic assault that Russia is blowing and delivering against Ukraine,

against Europe.

All that attention is taking away from some of the more domestic concerns you have on a military front.

JABLONSKI: It is true that this should always be increased, especially in times like this, when we need to increase our defensive capabilities.

But, luckily, because of a lot of work that has been done on the hand of our diplomacy and our -- the Ministry of Defense, the government, working

hand in hand with our allies, we are improving our defense system. And, obviously, we have already provided Ukraine with several hundred tanks and

lots of other equipment. Many other countries have done so as well.

And we believe that this is the best use and best moment to do it, because, simply speaking, Ukraine is defending itself today. But, by doing so, it

also prevents Russia from attacking other countries. So this is the best way to deter Russian aggression on other European countries, which Russia

certainly intends also to implement, if it has the chance.

Right now, it doesn't have the chance because Ukraine is doing it. And we - - in this time, we obviously need to increase our own ability to defend itself. That is why we increase defense spending over 3 percent of GDP, and

perhaps even more if this will be necessary, because this is the area that we are living in.


JABLONSKI: We need to be able to defend yourself.

GOLODRYGA: Pawel Jablonski, thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it.

JABLONSKI: Thank you very much. Have a good evening.


And listening to that is Bill Taylor. He served as America's ambassador to Ukraine under Presidents Bush and Obama and again as the acting charge

d'affaires under the Trump administration.

Welcome to the show from Washington. Great to have you on.

So, you heard there from Mr. Jablonski. What is your response to what he says is, A, an increase in defense spending on the part of Poland because

they think that, if Russia has the opportunity, they too will be under assault, but also on some of the disputes now and tension among E.U.

countries over gas supplies and concerns about what this means for the approaching winter months?

WILLIAM TAYLOR, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: So, Bianna, the deputy foreign minister is exactly right when he said that the Ukrainians are on

the front line. The Ukrainians are defending Europe. The Ukrainians are obviously defending themselves. They're defending their land.

That's why they're fighting so hard, is, it's their communities. It's their homes that they're defending from this unprovoked, unjustified attack by

the Russians.

And so the Ukrainians are on the front line of Europe. And so countries like Poland, the rest of NATO are providing the kinds of equipment and

support and military support that the Ukrainians need and are starting to put to great use. And the Americans are -- we Americans are providing this

as well, because exactly what the deputy foreign minister said.


Ukraine has to win this war. And so NATO is helping the Ukrainians to do that. You asked about the solidarity of the Europeans. The Europeans have

been putting sanctions on the Russians for their invasion of Ukraine since 2014. We remember that this invasion didn't start on the 24th of February

this year. It started in 2014, when the Russians invaded Ukraine for the first time in Crimea and then in Donbass.

And the United States led with harsh sanctions. Could have been harsher, but some serious sanctions at that time. The Europeans followed up. And the

Europeans, Bianna, they had a harder job keeping those sanctions on because they had to renew them every six months.

GOLODRYGA: Right. But you know...

TAYLOR: And they did. So they have been constant. And I hope they will continue.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, but you know those sanctions didn't come in the form of gas and oil supplies.

And now we see the result of depending on Russia for so many years, and not using alternative sources of energy. And you also see the results in terms

of the democratic process in many of Ukraine's top supporters, most ardent supporters, whether it be the United Kingdom and Boris Johnson, Mario

Draghi in Italy. Now both countries are set to continue their financial support, both publicly supporting the -- Ukraine's war against -- defending

itself against Russia, and also financially.

But this was cause for concern in Kyiv, as you know, to see one of its biggest supporters, Boris Johnson, go, and especially in Italy, which has a

history of closer ties with the Kremlin.

TAYLOR: You're exactly right.

And the Ukrainians were concerned. However, the Ukrainians know that it's not just Draghi and Johnson. It's not just those personalities. The British

people and the Italian people, by and large, overwhelmingly, like Americans, support Ukraine in this fight against the Russians.

So, yes, it's great to have a strong leader, a popular leader. But the real support comes from the nation. And the Italians and the Brits, the

Americans and others, other NATO nations have been there. And my bet is now they will continue to be.

GOLODRYGA: Give us a status as to where you see the war right now and where it could be leading in the months to come.

I'm curious to get your response to the MI6 spy chief making comments in Aspen last week, telling CNN that he believes that Russia is running out of

steam. Do you see it that way? Do your sources in Kyiv see it that way?

TAYLOR: They do. They do.

Both sides -- let's be clear. Both the Ukrainians and the Russians are -- have been fighting for over five months. They're into their sixth month.

This is a brutal battle on both sides. Both armies are tired or exhausted. But the Ukrainians, as I said, are fighting for their own land. They're

fighting for their own freedom.

They have been independent, they have been free of the Russians, of the Soviets for 30 years. They don't want to give that up. So they have got the

motivation. Ukrainians have the motivation to fight.

And what I see is a counteroffensive coming. Ukrainians are mounting the ability, preparing for a counteroffensive against the Russians, in

particular in the south, that will take back some of the territory, some of the land that the Russians have occupied so far.

And when that happens, then that should -- that could break -- break out the Ukrainians in moving in that direction.

GOLODRYGA: It caught my interest over the weekend in an interview with President Zelenskyy in "The Wall Street Journal" was when he said that he

would rule out a cease-fire without recovering any lost territory, that he would not allow for Russian soldiers to remain there, Russian troops to

remain station there on his land.

He has said from the get-go that he will accept nothing less than going back to pre-February 24 landscape, and where Russia invaded and the

aftermath is not acceptable to him. But quietly, behind closed doors, CNN has reported White House officials are losing confidence that Ukraine will

ever be able to regain that land.

What is your take of the situation? Obviously, President Zelenskyy has a constituency that -- to report to, not like President Putin, who can decide

everything sort of unilaterally.


TAYLOR: And the strength of President Zelenskyy is exactly that.

He's got the Ukrainian people with him. And the Ukrainian people and President Zelenskyy both are of the strong view, of the determined view

that they're not going to give up Ukrainian land to the Russians.

They don't say they're going to take it back right away. They do say that this counteroffensive will push the Russians back in the direction of the

dispositions on the 24th of February, just exactly as you say. And when that happens, that may set the stage for some negotiations.

But to negotiate now, to declare a cease-fire now, with the Russians in control of more than 20 percent of Ukrainian territory, is unacceptable,

not just to Zelenskyy, but it's unacceptable to the Ukrainian people. And the United States is supporting Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people in that


I don't think anyone believes they're -- that the Ukrainians are ready to take back all of Donbass and all of Crimea anytime soon. But I think we are

making it clear through our provision of weapons to the Ukrainians that we believe they can mount a counteroffensive to push back and then see what

they can negotiate from the Russians.

GOLODRYGA: It's important that you put that into perspective. The Russians now control 22 percent of the country, Ukraine, the second largest country

in Europe, obviously second only to Russia, but that is three Estonias, as I heard one expert put it.

So that is a large swathe of the country that I don't see how it could move forward as a sovereign country with Russia still remaining hold of that


And let me finally get you to respond to a headline that crossed on Russian state media, that Russia's Defense Ministry plans to hold strategic

military exercises August 30 through September 5.

How alarming is that, in terms of just continued saber-rattling on the part of Russia?

TAYLOR: So, Bianna, on your point about whether or not Ukraine can develop and be a sovereign nation, which is what President Biden talked about, an

independent sovereign nation, they can do that.

Think about South Korea and North Korea. I mean, South Korea was able to develop, even though it didn't control North Korea. And it was able to

develop its economy. Think about West Germany, East Germany. West Germany was able to develop, even to join NATO, while the Soviets controlled East


So it is certainly possible to do that. But the Ukrainians are not willing to give up that 22 percent. They are saying that, sometime, they're going

to have that land back. Right now,they're going to push back at least towards the borders of the 24th of February, and I believe the United

States government supports that.

GOLODRYGA: Ambassador Taylor, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate your time.

TAYLOR: Thank you, Bianna. Good to be here.

GOLODRYGA: Well, we are all too familiar with the catastrophic injuries that war can inflict, yet modern reconstructive surgery can often offer

remarkable hope for men and women whose bodies and faces have been torn apart by conflict.

It's a hope that owes a great deal to one surgeon born 140 years ago, Dr. Harold Gillies. The New Zealand doctor witnessed horrific facial injuries

during World War I, as well as the ways in which many of those facially injured soldiers were shunned by society off the battlefield.

He set out to do everything he could for these men and became a pioneer in the nascent practice of plastic surgery. Working without a textbook or

antibiotics, he came up with innovative ways to rebuild faces and thereby rebuilding lives.

Author Lindsey Fitzharris explores this story in her book "The Facemaker." And she joins me now from London.

This is really a fantastic book, Lindsey, not only from a historic perspective, but also just from a scientific one as well. I learned so much

about the art of plastic surgery and the artwork that actually is incorporated in it.

First, let's talk about World War I, sort of the first modern war of our times, and the innovation in technology and weaponry, trench warfare. What

did that do to soldiers -- and I'm talking about those lucky enough to survive -- in terms of facial injuries?

LINDSEY FITZHARRIS, AUTHOR, "THE FACEMAKER": Yes, absolutely. Thank you so much for having me on the show.

There were an incredible number of advances in artillery and weaponry during the First World War, in fact, so many that A company of just 300 men

in 1914 could deploy equivalent firepower as a 60,000-strong army during the Napoleonic Wars. There were all kinds of ghastly inventions at this

time. Men were maimed, they were burned, they were gassed. Some were even kicked in the face by horses.

Before the war was over, 280,000 men from France, Germany and Britain alone with suffer some form of facial trauma. And this created this enormous need

for facial reconstruction at this time.

GOLODRYGA: What was life like for soldiers with facial wounds, abnormalities, however you want you want to describe it?


Because, obviously, people were not accustomed to seeing these types of injuries. And they never didn't necessarily receive the hero's welcome, or

at least publicly, the way some of their other comrades did, if, say, they lost a limb.

FITZHARRIS: Yes, you're absolutely right.

I often say that this is a time when losing a limb made you a hero, but losing a face made you a monster to a society that was largely intolerant

of these facial differences.

This was an incredibly isolating experience. In fact, when these men left the hospital, they were forced to sit on brightly painted blue benches, so

that the public knew not to look at them. So what Gillies was able to do was not just mend their broken faces, but also their broken spirits.

GOLODRYGA: And it's really interesting too, because, for many of these men who were treated, if those medics saw that they had facial injuries,

because of the amount of blood vessels in the face, the amount of blood loss, they assumed that they weren't able to be saved, even if perhaps they



GOLODRYGA: And people -- someone like Dr. Gillies, who you spend time on in this book focusing on, changed that and saw that as an opportunity to

give these soldiers a new chance at life.

Tell us a little bit about Dr. Gillies.

FITZHARRIS: Well, you're absolutely right that half the battle was just getting off the field at this time.

In fact, I talked about a man named Private Walter Ashworth, who was injured during the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and he laid on the

battlefield for three whole days without a jaw unable to scream for help.

So that was a real challenge to get these men off the field and then to get them into the hands of a surgeon like Harold Gillies. He was trained as an

EMT surgeon. And when he volunteered with the Red Cross, he met this incredible character named Valadier, Charles Valadier. He was this French

American dentist. He was bigger than life.

He had this Rolls-Royce that he retrofitted with a dental chair, and he literally drove it to the front under a hail of bullets. This guy was a

legend. And he's really the one who shows this young Harold Gillies this desperate need for facial reconstruction near the front at the time.

And he also demonstrates the importance of dental surgery when rebuilding a face. So Gillies takes all of this back to Britain. He goes to the War

Office in London, and he convinces the pencil pushers there in the War Office that there is this need for a specialty unit. And that's how it all


GOLODRYGA: Yes, Dr. Valadier was one of, I believe, only two dentists that had been knighted.

FITZHARRIS: That's right.

GOLODRYGA: But really gives us a sense of Dr. Gillies being a collaborative professional and scientist, as opposed to wanting to focus

solely, exclusively on his work. He knew that it required others from different fields to really come together in terms of facial reconstruction.

Let's talk about his work there at Queen's Hospital. It was innovative at the time, but, as we noted, there were no textbooks that he went by. And he

sort of made it up as he went along just going off his gut instinct. You talk about taking piece by piece, piece for piece.

So, in today's, terms in modern world, you have -- you can make your own plastic nose or pieces. But back then, you could only replicate a piece of

skin by using another piece of skin or another piece of bone. Talk about some of the work that he pioneered.

FITZHARRIS: Yes, I mean, you're absolutely right to say that he had no textbooks. There was no precedents for this.

Plastic surgery did predate the First World War. In fact, the term plastic surgery was coined in 1798. At the time, plastic meant something that you

could shape or you could mold. So, in this case, a patient's skin or soft tissue, that's what plastic surgery meant.

But attempts in earlier periods to alter a person's appearance really tended to focus on very small areas of the face, such as the ears or the

nose. So, Gillies is presented with these enormous challenges in an era before antibiotics.There are no textbooks. And he has to reconstruct these


And there are photos in my book "The Facemaker" which are a bit daunting to look at, but are important that we look at these men, that we don't put

them on the metaphorical blue bench in 2022. And what he's able to do is, he takes -- he improves on old methods, and he also invents new methods.

And, of course, just because of the sheer need for facial reconstruction at this time, it allows plastic surgery to enter this modern era, one in which

new methods can be tried and tested and become standardized into practice.

GOLODRYGA: We want to show our viewers some of these photos.

But we should warn that it may be a bit difficult to look at, because it's not the modern-day rendition of before-and-after plastic surgery, given all

of the advancements we have in the present day. That being said, huge game- changers in terms of the quality of life and appearances following Dr. Gillies' work.

What went into your thought process in which pictures to include in the book?

FITZHARRIS: Well, I didn't want this to be medical voyeurism, the sake for looking just because you were curious about it.

And I actually worked with a disability activist named Ariel Henley, who wrote a fantastic book called "A Face For Picasso."


And we talked about language. In fact, the word disfigured might not be a word we use today. But, at the time, these men were disfigured to the

society they lived in. In terms of the photos, I only include photos of the men who are included in the book, because I feel like the context of their

stories and their voices are needed for us to look at that those photos.

But there is an exception. If a man died in Gillies care, I didn't include the photos. So, there is a pilot, named Lumley, who dies in Gillies care.

So, I include a pre-injury photo and a surgical diagram but not any of his photos after he was injured, because he never got to complete that

reconstructive process.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. You talk about that pilot's death and I want to quote from the book. You say, despite all the lessons, he, Dr. Gillies, had learned in

all of the intubations that he had been made, failure was Gillies constant and unwelcome companion at the Queen's Hospital. The death of a patient was

just as hard a blow in this late stage of the war as it had been in its earliest days.

And that's important to include, that he didn't give up.


GOLODRYGA: But he lost many of his patients.

FITZHARRIS: Yes. You know, and I think that -- I am a historian of medicine. So, I think we need to talk about failure more. You know, people

need to understand that medicine and science grows on failure. A lot of things don't work at first. Now, of course, that is Gillies' experience.

The story of Lumley, who dies in his care, is a very sad story, personally. But it is an important story to the history of plastic surgery because it

teaches Gillies a very important lesson, which is that, when you are rebuilding a face, you have to do it in some small increments or the body

will get overwhelmed.

So, again, we really need to acknowledge failure as a part of the story as well. And not all of the patients who Gillies has operated on had those

happy ending stories.

GOLODRYGA: And there had been doctors around the world who were trying to address this very issue as well. Gillies being a pioneer in this field, but

you talked about doctors in Russia. And those in the artistic world, even in the United States, focusing on face masks, which were, you know,


A lot of time had been spent on creating them, to replicate what a soldier looked like before his injury in a picture. Dr. Gillies, he encouraged

their use, but only as a temporary aid, not as a permanent solution. Talk about these face masks, some of their benefits, and, obviously, some of

their pitfalls.

FITZHARRIS: Yes. So, there were a credible number of artists who were offered nonsurgical solutions to disfigured soldiers at this time. And a

lot of these masks go -- people will be familiar with them through the fictional character, Richard Harrow, in "Boardwalk Empire." They were metal

masks that were made.

And when you see these still photos of these masks, they are incredibly realistic. But you have to remember that if you were sitting across from

someone wearing one, it would be different. The masks doesn't operate like a face. It doesn't have motion. It is fragile. It doesn't age. It is

uncomfortable to wear. We have all been wearing masks through this pandemic. We know how uncomfortable that is.

Now, imagine a metal mask over an injured face. And I say this because I want people to realize that those masks -- those men were not wearing them

for themselves. They were wearing it for you so that you were comfortable looking at their faces. And I think we really need to acknowledge that

aspect. If we could have accepted their faces, they would not have needed these masks.


FITZHARRIS: But as you say, Gillies did employ mask makers. He kind of hated them because they reminded him of the limits of his own craft, but he

used them in between surgeries. And, in fact, there was a patient who would leave the hospital grounds and sometimes, he would take it off in London

because it would get hot. And when he came back to the hospital, he would hold up one, two, three, or four fingers to indicate how many people had

reacted negatively or fainted at the site of his face.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. You mentioned that the children would be horrified when they would see their fathers return home in these masks. You also give us

insight into some personal stories from some of his patients as well. You talk about Corporal X, who -- you know, Gillies shunned mirrors in the

hospital and in the rooms where his patients recover because he didn't want them to see their faces.


GOLODRYGA: And Corporal X snuck in a mirror and his whole world changed after he saw his own reflection. Talk about him.

FITZHARRIS: Yes, you are right. So, Gillies banned mirrors in these hospitals, and he did this under the guise of protecting these men. But, of

course, it inadvertently instilled in them an idea that they had faces that weren't worth looking at. Corporal X came into the hospital. He was heavily

bandaged. He kept talking about how he needed the bandages removed because his fiancee, Molly, would be so scared.

And eventually, the bandages were removed. And he had snuck in this shaving mirror and he caught a glimpse of his face. He became very despondent and

depressed. And when the nurse asked him to invite Molly to the hospital, he said that he would never see Molly again because he had written to her and

he had broken off their engagement and told her and lied to her, essentially, that he had met another woman in France.

So, he felt that he was saving her, you know, from this life burden to him as an injured soldier, which is a really sad story and not that uncommon

for a lot of these men.


GOLODRYGA: Yes, a really sad story. But so uplifting in other aspects too, those soldiers who he did say felt so indebted to him. Many went to go work

for him and they lived happy and healthy lives.

FITZHARRIS: That's right.

GOLODRYGA: And would really be proud of the work that he did on them and their faces. One quick note is that Dr. Gillies also was a pioneer in

sexual reassignment surgery.

FITZHARRIS: That's right.

GOLODRYGA: And it's something we don't learn about until the end of the book. But it just talks about the breadth of his work and innovation.

FITZHARRIS: Yes, that's right. He was a pioneer in gender-affirming surgery. He performs the first phalloplasty on a trans man named Michael

Dillon in 1949. I don't think a lot of people would think that it was going on that early, but he does do this operation. Eventually, Michael Dillon is

outed by the British press. It is a very sad story. There is a media circus and he's driven from Britain.

But Harold Gillies stands by him. And I think that speaks to him not just as a forward-thinking surgeon, but as a forward-thinking with human being.

He's a really incredible person.

GOLODRYGA: Really incredible. And I was just about to say that, that he had a wonderful bedside banner, and you give us some insight into not

wanting to charge people too much. He wasn't great with money. He wasn't doing this for the money. But he really helped people, not only physically,

but emotionally as well. Just a fascinating man all around.

Thank you so much for joining us. We really appreciate it. It's a wonderful book.

FITZHARRIS: Thank you so much for having me on the show.

GOLODRYGA: Thank you.

Well, as the U.S. midterm elections approach, our next guest is asking what it means to be a conservative in the Trump era. Tom Nichols is a

contributing writer for "The Atlantic" and tackles this question in his latest piece. He joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the current state of the

Republican Party.


HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, thanks. Tom Nichols, thanks so much for joining us.

Now, you are a -- died in the wool conservative. And yet, your recent column sort of takes a look at what that even means in this era. Why are we

at this point where someone who has held a steadfast to their beliefs for so long is questioning these things?

TOM NICHOLS, WRITER, THE ATLANTIC CONTRIBUTING: Well, I am not questioning all of my beliefs about being a conservative in the sense of a smaller

government or a strong national defense, but the conservative movement, and particular, the conservative home in the Republican Party has completely

fractured into something that I don't think conservatives would recognize.

The people who think of themselves as conservatives or describe themselves as conservative today are the very opposite of conservative. They are in

favor of big government, strong that executive power, imposing their values by judicial fiat, all things that they used to accuse people on the left of

doing, which is somewhat ironic that the conservatives have become -- or the Republican Party and the people in it who call themselves conservatives

have become the party of big government, big government spending, isolationism.

And so, I think for anyone who was a conservative, even a center-right conservative in the 1970s or 1980s, this is not something any of us would

recognize as conservatism.

SREENIVASAN: In the piece, you lay out kind of your two key questions that you ask yourself before figuring out where you stand on something. Explain

to the audience kind of how you came up with those questions and what they are.

NICHOLS: Well, what I did was I pushed aside policy differences, and I know that is hard to do for anybody in a coalition. Political coalitions

are difficult because you don't get the things you want. And so, rather than ask, do I agree or disagree on any one policy, I only asked two

questions. Does -- when voting, does a particular issue strengthen or weaken the institutional Republican Party in its -- I would say, in its

quest to become on authoritarian minority governing party?

And the second is, with any particular politician, with whom will of this person caucus? Is this politician going to vote to make Kevin McCarthy the

Speaker of the House or Mitch McConnell the majority leader in the Senate? And if the answer is that this policy strengthens the Republicans or this

person is going to caucus with the Republicans and make that party institutionally stronger for the next time it takes a run at attacking the

constitution, then I think that my guideline for those two questions is to vote against anybody who would strengthen that party or caucus with its



SREENIVASAN: You know, you've got a quote I want to read out. It says, I will root for GOP defeats on policy even where I might otherwise agree with

them. The Institutional Republican Party must be weak enough so that it can't carry out the larger project of undermining our elections and

curtailing our rights as citizens.

Put that in some context for us.

NICHOLS: I think the Republican Party has lost its faith and its ability to convince anyone to buy anything it is selling. The current Republican

Party doesn't stand for anything. They are 20 platform amounted to whatever Donald Trump says. They didn't even -- I mean, a political party that

didn't even bother to write a platform.

You know, it was really -- if you think about how strikingly authoritarian and coltish that is, because I don't think they really believe and what

they are selling and I don't think they have any faith that they can make anybody else believe it either. And so, their answer is suppressing the

vote, put -- make it harder to vote, put through measures like the one that is about to go to the Supreme Court where the legislature can simply decide

who wins the electoral votes no matter what the will of the people might be in that particular state. And I think their goal is minority rule, less

democracy, authoritarian measures that are meant to constrain individual freedom.

The Republicans back during the Cold War especially were about more freedom and smaller government rather than the last freedom and bigger government.

And I think they are doing that because they realize that if any kind of fair national test their ideas would fail to win a majority. And I think

that they've just given up on that. They have given up on the idea of winning a majority. And now, they are going to use the courts and careful

manipulation of voting rules to see how long they can prolong the unnatural condition of minority rule. And that is anti-constitutional, it's

undemocratic, it's un-American.

SREENIVASAN: Well, you mentioned the courts. And you have written a long time ago that you thought that the Roe decision was at the hands of an

activist court. And we are speaking now not too long after the Dobbs decision. And you said that, essentially, now, we have another act of this

court. Tell us about how you wrestle with your own thinking on abortion.

NICHOLS: Well, there's two parts to that. One is the legal problem that even Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrestled with about the way Roe was decided, that

a court in the '70s said -- the Supreme Court in the '70s said, this somehow should be legal and we are going to figure out why it ought to be


And again, when you have even liberal justices saying, yes, that probably wasn't the best foundation for creating this right, you know, there is a

problem. On the other hand, I think the court in 2022 had, at least, three members on it in the majority who said, we just don't like abortion and we

don't really care about how things were decided one way or another.

We just don't think abortion should be -- we want to give it back to the states knowing, of course, what exactly a lot of the states were going to

do with it, and I don't think that is any better of a reason, especially once you have instituted a right for 50 years that people have woven into

kind of the set of rights in America, you know, to simply remove it because the majority now feels confident enough in their own beliefs to do that, I

think is dangerous

For myself, I have always struggled with this because my mother was the -- nearly died from an illegal abortion. And I don't know, you know, what -- I

think what I have always said about that, once I learned that, I didn't learn that until I was in my 30s. And I have said, you know, I don't know

whether her choice was the right choice or wrong choice. It is a choice though that I think only she could make and I want that choice to rest with


Looking back now, I didn't find out about this until after my mother had passed away. And I came to the conclusion that whatever the content of that

choice, no one should have made it for my mother but my mother. And that's where I stand on it now to say, this is not -- this is a woman's decision,

not the decision of the Supreme Court or anybody else.

SREENIVASAN: What are you concerned that this court could do? I mean, play out the scenario, not necessarily kind of the worst-case or a hypothetical,

but I think there's a lot of legal minds right now looking at the way that the court has written their opinions and saying, here are the things that

can and reasonably happen the way that the court is thinking today?


So, fast forward 20 years with the same bench. What do you see?

NICHOLS: You know, I don't know. I mean, it depends on how much the court is like somebody like Justice Thomas who says, yes, let's revisit

everything about privacy. You know, privacy is not in the constitution. And yet, you know, as Justice Brandeis said, one of the most essential freedoms

in our country is, the freedom to be left alone. But once you decide that the state -- and again, this is what I mean about being completely


Once you decide that the state can regulate so many aspects of your life from decisions with your doctor all the way to who you can marry, what you

can do in the privacy of your bedroom, whether what you can buy in a drugstore when it comes to contraception. You know, when Justice Thomas

says, yes, we have to revisit all of those things, that is pretty unnerving.

I think a lot of this is just the kind of sense of -- that there would be a lot of decisions that are just a matter of getting even with people for

decisions that were lost over the years. There is a huge amount of resentment and a grievance in the Republican Party that has taken the place

of any kind of ideological content. It is now nearly about -- a sense of injury and grievance and envy and anger. And that, to me, seems to be now

driving at least some of these court decisions.

As I wrote in another piece in "The Atlantic" a few weeks ago, I just assumed that all bad things in American life are going to be announced with

the phrase, in a six to three decision because of that.

SREENIVASAN: Do we have a patchwork of states that represent the two Americas if the court continues on this trajectory?

NICHOLS: Well, I think if democracy begins to fail in the United States, it will fail, Hari, as you pointed out, in a patchwork, that in some states

it will be 2022. In other states it's going to be 1954, especially if you are a woman or a person of color, you know, that your rights will be

contingent on what your locality or your state or district court thinks your rights are. And that the power of the federal government to enforce

the constitution, which I think is what we all -- that should be the main job of the federal government, to protect the country, enforce the

constitution, I think that will become spotty.

I don't -- I think this notion that democracy collapses everywhere all at once in some kind of civil war, we are not that kind of country. We don't

have -- we don't really have red and blue states. We have red states with blue cities. And blue states with red rural and suburban areas in them.

And so, I think what you really look at when you see democracy collapse is a kind of uneven and patchy collapse of democracy where, you know,

depending on who you are and which civil authorities you happen to get crosswise with at any given moment, your rights are -- your constitutional

rights are up for grabs. And I think that's -- that would be a tragedy but I think that is where we are headed if this -- if we do not roll this back.

SREENIVASAN: Many Americans have been watching one episode or another, so to speak, of the January 6th hearings, going into this September break.

What's struck you?

NICHOLS: The clarity of what happened, I think, is what struck me. The -- you know, January 6th Committee has put together a very effective narrative

using Republicans, using people who served Donald Trump. There is no way to somehow claim that this was a stacked deck or a bunch of Democrats or, you

know, liberals speechifying against Donald Trump.

I mean, when you have Donald Trump's attorney general, when you have, you know, Donald Trump's White House staff, telling you point blank that this

was a planned coup against the constitution and it is with electoral processes, what's strikes me about that is, not just the clarity of that,

but how it's still -- although it's moving the needle with some Republicans, it still can't dent this incredible kind of loose site bubble

that surrounds so many Republicans that is impenetrable by facts.


And again, this is partly why I -- certainly why I left the Republicans and why I'm not sure I even call myself a conservative. I mean, if this -- if

conservatives stand for anything, it's for order and the rule of law, and for the application of the constitution without favor and without

hesitation. And Republicans now, it seems to me that the constitution matters unless it's an inconvenient obstacle to taking power.

And I mean, this -- watching the January 6th hearings, you would think by the end of it, this should be a national crisis. This is Watergate on

steroids. This is beyond anything we have ever seen in the United States. And I'm just concerned that millions of Americans, including millions of

ordinary Americans who are not Republicans, but that are just watching this are kind of shrugging and saying, well, you know, what are you going to do?

And I think if we really were a more engaged country, we would realize that this is an existential political crisis and one that is not over.

SREENIVASAN: There were recent announcements by 5:38 (ph) and I want to get the numbers right here, it says, of the 340 Republican nominees for

Senate, house, governor, attorney general, secretary of state so far, again, of the 340 of those that they are counting, 120 are full blown

election deniers. Another 48 have expressed doubts about the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

What do you think about this? Because, as you mentioned, there are so many people who can't seem to be bothered with this or don't see this for the

crisis that it is, and they are electing, some of them are electing people, or at least they want their representative to not believe it or that this

is the reality that we all live in. They want to live in a big lie.

NICHOLS: Yes. There are two separate problems here. One is that there are so many of these local officials who are dedicated to the big lie, which

means that, you know, in a state like Pennsylvania where the Republican candidate for governor has basically said, if I don't like the outcome of

the election, I might seize voting machines.

You know, this could provoke a crisis on the ground in the next elections that will lead to violence. This is really dangerous. And I think it's

especially heartbreaking because in the United States, we control our own elections right down into the grassroots. The people who believe the big

lie somehow believe that their friends and neighbors who volunteered to go and spend their nights, you know, collecting ballots and running voting

machines are all part of some grand conspiracy. I mean, it is really incredibly toxic and poisonous.

But the second problem with it, and I'm going to take Democrats to task here, is how many people don't care about state and local elections and

then, are shocked when they find out that their state legislature, their state legislature or their city council or their election officials turn

out to be a bunch of, you know, big lie believing cooks. People have to really pay attention.

I worked in state government. I worked for a Democrat, in fact, in the days when we could still be that bipartisan in Massachusetts for two and a half

years. State government, there is a huge amount of power resonant in state government in the American federal system. And yet, I think a lot of people

have gotten into their heads that as long as they vote for president, and their guy for president wins, then everything is going to be OK. It doesn't

work that way. You have to show up for every election. You have to vote in every -- for every seat, right down to dog catcher because all of those

parts of our government all work together during an election.

And I think there are a lot of folks, particularly on the left, who have gotten it into their head that the presidency is really the only thing that

matters. And I'm hoping that that trend reverses itself in November and in November 24.

SREENIVASAN: Tom Nichols, thanks so much for joining us.

NICHOLS: Thank you.


GOLODRYGA: Some passionate words there from Tom Nichols.

And finally, tributes are pouring in for David Trimble, former first minister of Northern Ireland who passed away yesterday after a short

illness. He was one of the architects of the Good Friday Peace Agreement, along with nationalist John Hume, that helped bring an end to the country's

sectarian conflict known as The Troubles.

He led the Ulster Unionist party, who's currently, Doug Beattie, called him a man of courage and vision. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton also paid

tribute, saying his lifetime of service helped bring peace to Northern Ireland.

Time after time during the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement, he made the hard choices over the politically expedient ones

because he believed future generations deserved to grow up free from violence and hatred.


Trimble was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Hume in 1998. A towering figure in North Irish politic, and we honor those peacemakers


And that is it for now, you can always catch us online, on our podcast and across social media. Thank you so much for watching and goodbye from New