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Interview With Country Director For CARE Turkiye Sherine Ibrahim; Interview With The Washington Post White House Bureau Chief And "His Name Is George Floyd" Co-Author Toluse Olorunnipa; Interview With Senator John Hickenlooper (D-CO); Interview With "All Quiet On The Western Front" Co- Writer And Director Edward Berger. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired February 07, 2023 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to AMANPOUR. Here is what's coming up.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking in a foreign language).
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AMANPOUR: We get the latest on the desperate search for earthquake survivors in Turkey and Syria as the casualties relentlessly rise.
Then, as President Biden lays out of the State of the Union, we dive into a critical issue facing the nation, climate change and the war over water
with Colorado Senator John Hickenlooper. And.
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TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF, THE WASHINGTON POST AND CO- AUTHOR, "HIS NAME IS GEORGE FLOYD: He's going to have to get more support and more enthusiasm behind him if he wants to win a second term.
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AMANPOUR: Biden thinks things are going well. How do Americans feel? "Washington Post" White House Bureau Chief Tolu Olorunnipa talks to Hari
Sreenivasan about whether the president's message will stick. Plus.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Get down.
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AMANPOUR: The horrors of World War I. For the first time, the classic, "All Quiet on the Western Front" is filmed from the German perspective.
Director Edward Berger joins me.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
It is a race against time in Turkey and in Syria where a massive magnitude seven-point earthquake struck yesterday. Rescue teams are working around
the clock in freezing conditions trying to find survivors. The emotion, sometimes too much to bear.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They are alive but nobody comes. We heard them. They are calling out asking for help. They asked to be
rescued. We cannot rescue them. How can we rescue them?
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AMANPOUR: It is tragic. With more than 6,300 dead and counting, plus over 26,000 injured, it's a daunting task but no one is giving up. This young
girl was rescued from the rubble today to the enormous relief of her family. So many others, however, are not so lucky. In this heartbreaking
image, a father, holding the hand of his trapped daughter, who didn't make it.
The world is coming together though to help. Even Ukraine is sending emergency personnel and neighboring Greece is jumping into the fray as well
despite the sky-high political tensions between these two NATO nations. The Greek prime minister tells CNN this maybe the worst, but not the first, of
the terrible quakes to strike their region.
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KYNAKOS MITSOTAKIS, GREEK PRIME MINISTER: We had a big earthquake in Turkey in 1999 where Greece offered its assistance. We had earthquakes in
Greece where Turkey has offered its assistance. At the end of the day, this is time to, sort of, temporarily set aside our differences and try to
address what is a very, very urgent situation.
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AMANPOUR: Now, Sherine Ibrahim is the country director of the CARE Organization in Turkey. And she's on the ground in Gaziantep, very hard
hit, and she's joining me now.
Sherine, tell me, you just heard all of that about the disparate help that is required. You are right there. Is it coming in enough quantities to make
a difference in these crucial times right now?
SHERINE IBRAHIM, COUNTRY DIRECTOR FOR CARE TURKIYE: Thank you, Christiane. Obviously, the needs are great and they are growing. It is day two since
the earthquake that hit the southeast portion of Turkiye. So, we are still to assess the full extent of the damage. But from what we know and what we
see, the needs are mounting and they are not insignificant. So, we expect to see much, much greater need being -- materializing over the course of
the next couple of days.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you --
IBRAHIM: It's far from --
AMANPOUR: Sorry to interrupt you. But I wanted to ask because you are right there and it's a terrible, terrible disaster zone. And you're in your
IBRAHIM: I am.
AMANPOUR: Why are you in your car?
IBRAHIM: Well, since the earthquake struck at 4:17, and since then all of us, all the residents of the southeastern provinces of Turkiye that have
been hardest hit, have found it hard to go back to their homes. We've had approximately 250 aftershocks. So, people are feeling like it's safer to be
out in the open, despite the extreme weather conditions that you spoke about. All of us are feeling that it's safer to be in our cars, you know,
for the night. We are expecting more aftershocks, so it is deemed to be safer.
AMANPOUR: Gosh. I mean, I can only imagine what you must be going through. The IRC Turkey head has said, again, appealing to the International
Community and anybody who can to send critical funds and lifesaving support, "Before it's too late".
What kind of the timeframe are you operating on? We have seen people being pulled out alive, thank God, but we also know that there are many who are
desperate to be taken out before it's too late.
IBRAHIM: Sure. I mean, time is off the essence. Every minute counts. We know that there are approximately 11,000 buildings that have collapsed. And
with every passing minute, there are people who can be saved from under the rubble. Already, we've seen Turkiye in its coordination bodies has save
approximately 8,000 persons.
So, it -- every minute counts. If we can save more lives, now is the time to do it. With the winter conditions that we have, the snow of last week,
the rain of this week, we can expect that people will not survive under the rubble for much longer.
AMANPOUR: And Sherine, as bad as it is where you are, it must be just as bad, if not maybe worse, across the border in Syria, which is already --
AMANPOUR: -- got so much of its critical health and other infrastructure bombed to smithereens by the Russians and the Syrians during the war. We
are hearing now that the U.N. in Syria, UNICEF, is seeing hospitals there are absolutely overloaded, that's coming from Aleppo.
IBRAHIM: That's correct. Aleppo and Idlib have been the hardest hit. What we do know, Christiane, is that some of the smaller towns have been
completely wiped out. So, they have no longer -- they're no longer on the map, which is significant. Prior to this earthquake, already as you
mentioned, infrastructure was decimated, hospitals, schools, roads, homes.
Right now, the urban centers of northwest Syria are the ones who are more heavily impacted than the informal tented settlements that are scattered
across the northwest. So, it is understandable that, you know, population centers are the ones that are experiencing the greatest damage. The
situation before the earthquake was dire, catastrophic even, and now it is even more so.
AMANPOUR: And we understand that because of the situation there was really only one properly passable route between Turkey and Syria for humanitarian
and other assistance. And even now, that is apparently compromised. Also, global sanctions that are on Syria. Does that make an impact or
humanitarian needs, you know, carved out of any sanctions?
IBRAHIM: I mean, the reality is the one remaining border crossing of Bab al-Hawa is a critical lifeline. It will remain a critical lifeline for
Syrians in the northwest. We are hoping that it is not severely compromised. I have not yet heard of assessments of the road and the
transportation system that allows the United Nations to get its 800 to 1,000 trucks a month across to inside the northwest of Syria.
We are still hoping that the U.N. will be allowed and able to continue crossing humanitarian supplies regardless of what the political positions
are right now. The humanitarian imperative is far greater than it has ever been before.
AMANPOUR: I mean, just beggars' belief. Sherine Ibrahim from CARE. Thank you for joining us from inside of your car, like so many, so many civilians
who hope for a modicum of safety.
And with all of these aftershocks, it must be terrifying.
And my colleague, Senior International Anchor Becky Anderson is joining me live also from Gaziantep. Becky, it's a race for survival before it's too
late, according to the IRC. What are you hearing from rescuers and, I guess, family members who are standing around?
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL NEWS ANCHOR: Yes. And we are surrounded by people here, Christiane, who did live in a building like the one behind
me, which has now completely collapsed. That was a 10-story building, Christiane, including the garage space, and it has entirely collapsed.
And if you can see above the ambulance, there's a building very similar to it, of a similar size, that has cracked all the way up the side of it. And
there are concerns that one has been moving all day and may, at some point, come down. So, obviously, massive concern. And that adds to the challenges
that these search and rescue teams are up against here. But they absolutely not giving up however.
We've been talking to some members of the team today and the family members who are standing in silence, basically, waiting to see whether anybody who
has, as yet, unaccounted for in this rubble will be brought out alive. As we understand it, there are as many, if not more than, 15 people in the
rubble behind me who have been -- who are unaccounted for as we speak.
So, the rescue -- the search and rescue goes on. Many of these team members have been here for, now, 40 hours at this point because of course it was
4:15 in the morning on Monday morning in bitter cold and rain when that huge earthquake struck, a 7.8 magnitude quake. As you rightly point out,
more than 100 aftershocks, one of which was as big as -- nearly as big as the original quake.
And so, people, you know, people are literally just waiting and hoping that there will be some signs of life. And we are getting signs of life. In
fact, amazingly there have been people in the rubble below us, as we understand it, who have had mobile phone signal and have been able to
communicate with the rescuers, and that hasn't happened for some hours.
ANDERSON: But certainly, that's the sort of hope that these team members have. And it's the reason why you see them continue. It is bitterly cold,
but none of them, at this stage, of course, are giving up. This is still search and rescue. This is not as of yet a recovery situation. Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Becky, what a terrifying drama. Of course, with slight glimmers of hope. Let's just hope that that rubble there can bring out all the 15
that you are saying are still buried. At least, 15. Thank you.
President Biden has authorized an immediate U.S. response to the earthquake, deploying American teams to assist with the search and rescue
efforts. And with the 2024 presidential campaign slowly kicking into gear, Biden is also expected to announce his candidacy in the coming weeks.
Toluse Olorunnipa is the White House bureau chief for "The Washington Post" and he's joining Hari Sreenivasan to evaluate Biden's presidency as he
delivers his first State of the Union under divided government.
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HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Toluse Olorunnipa, thanks so much for joining us.
First, this is kind of a big week for President Biden, besides the State of the Union. There are some poll numbers that "The Washington Post" and ABC
News put out. 62 percent of Americans think that the president has not accomplished much in his first two years versus just 32 percent who think
he pulled off a great deal. So, those are some bleak numbers for a president. What explains all of this?
TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF, THE WASHINGTON POST AND CO- AUTHOR, "HIS NAME IS GEORGE FLOYD: It's failure to translate what the president has done, what the Congress has done over the past two years to
the American people who are struggling with high prices, inflation, and not seeing the impact yet of some of these laws that were passed in the couple
-- last couple of few years. And it makes it very difficult for the president who wants to talk about his agenda, talk about the economic
agenda, talk about the fact that we have millions of additional jobs since he was sworn into office. But people aren't necessarily feeling that impact
and that makes it very hard for the president to sell his message to the American people when they are struggling with high prices and uncertainty
in the economy.
SREENIVASAN: Right. I mean, the White House keeps wanting to highlight the fact that we've got a, you know, $50 billion investment in domestic
production. You've got moves on climate change, a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal that passed. I mean, those are legit accomplishments,
but as you are pointing out, like, the -- there's still a disconnect here between what people feel either in their own pocketbooks or in their own
communities versus what should be a victory lap for the president.
OLORUNNIPA: That's right. The president has said for much of the last year that his number one domestic priority was to bring prices down, and we
haven't quite seen prices coming down. I mean, we've seen inflation slow but prices are still high though. People are still paying quite a lot of
money at the pump and at the grocery store. And, you know, for your average everyday American, they are struggling to make ends meet even though the
economy and the labor market seemed to be pretty tight, and people seem to be working, and unemployment is at, you know, the lowest level we have seen
in almost 50 years.
And so, it is a bit of a disconnect for people looking at those numbers who would think, if you have such low unemployment, you have people working,
that people would feel good. But generally, we are seeing people who are really uncertain about where the economy is going to go. Worried about how
they're going to make ends meet, and still dealing with inflation that has been with us for such a long time. And it makes it hard for Biden to be
able to take the victory lap that a president might take when you have 3.4 percent unemployment and 12 million jobs in just two years.
SREENIVASAN: You know, I hate the sort of, horse race and prediction game about how the presidential election coming up. Right now, though, the --
there is not a majority of Democrats, only about 37 percent of Democrats want President Biden to run again. I mean, we are now well past the
midterms. This is definitely the time when the opposition party, the Republicans, there are people who are either about to announce or planning
on running for the nomination. Where, you know, where is the president's thinking in this as you report on the White House and the closest advisers
to the president?
OLORUNNIPA: The president and the closest advisers to him say that he intends to run for re-election. He's 80 years old. He would be the oldest
person running for a second term, but he plans on running. He says, he has a strong record to defend, and there haven't been very many challenges in
terms of other Democrats willing to take him on.
So even though he doesn't have a very enthusiastic, energetic base of support of people who are just saying give us Joe Biden or bust, he does
have the support of the leaders of his party who say that he's done, you know, a pretty good job over the first two years, that's he's passed a lot
of legislation, and that there is no one else in the party who had beaten Donald Trump before and has what it takes to potentially beat him again.
So, he's planning to run. We expect an announcement here in the next several weeks. He doesn't feel any pressure because there aren't any other
Democrats challenging him for that position. But this poll shows that he doesn't have that level of enthusiasm that you would expect from an
incumbent president with a record like his in part because of his age, in part because people are not really pushed in terms of their support for
him. You know, there are a lot of people who are tepid supporters of Joe Biden or at least willing to vote against the other side, as opposed to
voting for President Biden.
And so, right now, he seems to be in a position where he's going to run for re-election, but he's going to have to get more support and more enthusiasm
behind him if he wants to win a second term.
SREENIVASAN: And what about the coming year and a half? At this point, he does not have a house that will savor the type of legislation that he
supports. He obviously has a relationship with Mitch McConnell from his days as a senator even, but Kevin McCarthy not so much. You can already see
a House taking a far more conservative turn in the types of legislation that they want to pass. And at least to make statements on where they sit
OLORUNNIPA: Definitely. Over the next year, over the next two years, the president is going to be spending a lot of time talking about what happened
in the past two years. Trying to implement legislation that he was able to pass under unified government. Implementing a lot of the bills that were
passed last year, and not focusing so much on passing new bills, because the Republicans have said that they want to rein in the spending that took
place over the first few years of Biden's administration and frustrate his agenda.
And so, he's not looking to get much done in terms of passing bills through Congress. There are a couple of things they have to do. They have to raise
the debt ceiling. They have to make sure the government remains funded and just, sort of, doing those basic functions of government are going to be
enough of a battle for Biden that it's not likely that he can -- he's going to be able to get much more of his agenda passed.
So, the next couple of years will be really focused on implementing the agenda that he's already passed and trying to get the American people to
see the impact of the things that he's done over the first two years in office. Because right now, according to this polling, the American people
don't quite give him credit yet for getting much done. And so, they want to change those numbers over the next year, the next year and a half, as he
gears up for re-election.
SREENIVASAN: Let's talk about some of the things that have been in the news recently, and how those might affect how President Biden, not just
positions himself so -- as the Democratic Party. And most recently we had this balloon incident with China and, you know, it immediately drew
criticism from, kind of, the expected corners.
Why did you wait so long? Why didn't you take more aggressive action? Does this change what is arguably one of, if not, the most important and tenuous
relationships for the United States which is with China?
OLORUNNIPA: It definitely remains to be seen how the U.S.-China relationship will be impacted by this event. Whether it will be just a blip
or whether it will be a broader disruption. We have already seen the secretary of state, delay, postpone his trip to Beijing. And the president
is under a high amount of pressure from Republicans and Congress who are saying that he mishandled the situation. That he didn't speak clearly. That
he hasn't taken concrete action on this issue, and making sure that the United States is protected from aggressive moves by China.
And so, the president is under pressure and that's going to make it hard for this relationship to normalize because the president feels the
political pressure of having to run and win a re-election when the opposition party is trying to make China and -- taking a tough stance on
China. A litmus test for his presidency.
So, he's in a very tough position. And I would expect to hear more from him in the coming weeks about how he is going to reset the relationship with
China. What steps he's going to take to protect the United States and make sure that not only is he preventing a strong united front to Beijing, but
also that he's presenting to the American people and presenting to the people who would vote to him -- vote for him this image of a strong
president. Of someone who's going to defend the United States, who's going to make sure that in this competition with China, that the U.S. comes out
SREENIVASAN: Now, the other story that sometimes gets short shrift is the continuing war in Ukraine. And it seems like another tightrope that the
president has to walk here because he's got members of his own party disagreeing on how to proceed, not to mention the opposition. Are you
sending aid? Are you sending enough aid? Is it getting there fast enough? How come you are not giving more money or more tanks, et cetera?
Really -- I mean, whatever decision -- every decision that he does make gets, you know, kind of shot down from members of his own party as well as
OLORUNNIPA: Yes, this time last year, there was a lot more bipartisanship around the idea that the United States should step in to help Ukraine
defend itself against Russian aggression. Now that the year -- now that the war is closing in on the one-year mark, there's a lot more partisan split
between the two parties about whether or not the United States has done too much. The tens of billions of dollars in aid and military aid and
humanitarian aid that's been sent to Ukraine.
Republicans, in our latest poll, are not happy with that. There's a large percentage of Republicans who say that the United States is doing too much.
And you even have some Democrats who are saying that the United States is doing too little. So, the unity that we saw around this issue just a year
ago has largely disappeared and that's going to make it much harder for the president, especially as he is operating in a divided government, to bring
all the parties together and make sure that the United States is presenting a united front when it comes to the war in Ukraine.
Right now, there's no unity in the Congress about what to do, about how far to go, and about how much money to spent in defending Ukraine -- in helping
Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression.
SREENIVASAN: You know, speaking of things, there seemed to be more bipartisanship around -- or at least, a national conversation around --
after the murder of George Floyd. We had attempts by Congress to pass the George Floyd Act, which has not happened. And I know in the State of the
Union, the family of Tyre Nichols are guests of the Bidens. And I wonder if there is any room that President Biden has to implement in a divided
Congress any kind of significant structural reform.
OLORUNNIPA: It seems highly unlikely that Biden, the Democrats, the White House will be able to push through any legislation to reform or address
policing in America. Not only because Republicans have said that they don't want to do this, but also because there is a lack of trust between the two
parties. They negotiated over this in 2021, and they tried to push this through in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, and things fell apart.
The talks broke apart even as it appeared that they had the momentum behind them, they had the support of various groups that aren't always in support
of doing police reform, groups like the police unions seemed to be on board, but things fell apart. And we're very far from that position now
that more than a year had passed since those talks fell apart. And it doesn't appear that the different sides are willing to come to the table
and try to negotiate over those issues that were sticking points.
So, I don't think there will be a likelihood that new legislation gets passed to address policing in America. Biden will try to use the bully
pulpit which he'll try to use as executive authority. But when it comes to broad federal legislation to reform policing, it doesn't appear that the
cards are available to have both sides come to the table to work things out.
SREENIVASAN: Another big topic has been immigration. I mean, since his last State of the Union, the president has traveled to the border. He has
made it easier for some immigrants to get into the country, the state department has been rolling out different programs depending on which
country you are from. And at the same time, you also have the Biden administration oversee about 4 million border apprehensions.
So, what is the approach that the administration says it's going to be trying to take between now and I guess re-election season, to try to
convince enough Democrats that this is the right way forward? I mean, if we are talking about such a divided Congress, it also seems like immigration
reform is not going to be something that they agree on between now and '24.
OLORUNNIPA: Yes, this is another area where it does appear that legislation is unlikely, but it doesn't mean that Biden and the White House
will not be held accountable for what is happening at the southern border. And so, that's one of the reasons you are seeing the president trying to
use his executive authority, his authority as the president to try and work with some of these foreign allies in Central America and elsewhere to try
to stem the flow of irregular migration across the southern border.
He's put in a number of different policies. He tried to stem the flow of migrants coming across, but it's been very difficult for the White House.
It's an area where Republicans are seizing on this issue. They're going to be holding a number of different hearings and calling -- the president
calling the White House to account, and really trying to seize the momentum on this issue to say to voters that Biden has not protected the southern
border. Biden has not been a strong president when it comes to defending America's borders. Making sure that immigration is normalized.
And so, that is a vulnerability that he has. And that's why he went to the border last month. That's why he's tried to spend some time talking about
this issue and implementing new policies. But it doesn't appear that he's going to be able to get what he wants, which is legislation to not only
legalized people who have been here for a long time, but also to put in new measures to make sure that the southern border is secure and the southern
border is more -- is operating at a more normal way.
And so, until we get to that place, it seems like Biden is going to only have to be able to use his executive authority, and that really ties his
hands and it makes it much more difficult to achieve the goal of it. Not only the Democrats have but a number of independents have as well which is
to make sure that we are a humane system. That we are welcoming people in, that we are not building walls, but that we're also making sure that the
border is normalized and secure, and that people are coming across the appropriate way, the legal way, and the humane way as opposed to being
smuggled across with all the dangers that come along with that.
SREENIVASAN: We spoke a little bit about this. Is there another generation of leadership that is ready to step in here should, for whatever reason,
President Biden, say six months from now, you know what, I'm kind of done with this? You know, does it automatically fall to Vice President Harris to
lead the party?
OLORUNNIPA: There are a number of young and ambitious leaders in the Democratic Party who are looking to see what the next moves might be. They
have kept their powder dry on 2024 in part because Biden has proven himself to be pretty formidable leader when it comes to the midterm elections
where, you know, he seemed like he was down and out. But his party was able to outperform expectations, outperforms historical norms.
And so, because Democrats did so well in the midterms there are fewer people saying that Biden needs to step aside. That they need to represent a
younger generation. And so, a lot of those Democrats, whether they'd be in governors' offices or in Congress, a lot of them are looking at 20 28th as
opposed to 2024.
OLORUNNIPA: But if Biden were to say that he is not going to run again, I would not expect that the vice president, Kamala Harris, would be the heir
apparent. There are a number of Democrats who have challenged her and said she hasn't done a great job as vice president. That she has not risen to
the occasion. And that she would be vulnerable as the leader of the party in 2024 and a number of Democrats, I think, would challenge her if she
found herself leading the pack as we head into 2024 were.
And so, that's one of the other reasons that Biden is likely to run again. It's because he knows that if he steps aside, there will be a free-for-all
with a number of Democrats vying for that position. And that could be detrimental to the party's hopes of holding on to the White House for four
SREENIVASAN: Toluse olorunnipa, Washington Post White House Bureau Chief. Thank you so much for joining us.
OLORUNNIPA: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And right after delivering his State of the Union, President Biden will crisscross the country to tout his administration's
achievements, including the massive infrastructure and climate bill. And so, we focus on the climate story tonight that impacts millions across the
United States, the Colorado River drought crisis. Seven states rely on it and months of bitter negotiations between them has resulted in a battle
which essentially pits California against the rest.
So, why is the river drying up? What is the impact and why can't the states come to an agreement? Who better to ask than Colorado Senator John
Hickenlooper, who just announced a Senate Colorado River caucus.
Senator Hickenlooper, welcome to the program. And of course, you were the governor of Colorado. Before I get into the river crisis, I just want to
follow up on our previous discussion about President Biden's challenge in his State of the Union before a divided Congress. He apparently is
suffering from an enthusiasm gap, as people have been saying, and he wants to set himself apart. He wants to, apparently, set himself up for re-
election. What does he need to do?
SEN. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D-CO): Well, I think he's done it. I think what he really needs to do is find new ways of talking about it and make sure he
gets not just senators and congresspeople, but governors, people all over the country, talking about how, in the last two years, we came through the
worst pandemic in 100 years. And we're able to not only restart the economy, we are seeing record numbers for unemployment, for job creation.
And at the same time that we got more substantial bills passed, certainly in the last 16 months, than we've seen in a comparable period over the last
40 or 50 years.
AMANPOUR: So, let's go now to how some of that has been targeted towards your region, and specifically the Colorado River. So, the major
accomplishment that President Biden touts is the Inflation Reduction Act. It gives hundreds of millions of dollars for climate programs including --
sorry, billions of dollars, including $4 billion to help the Colorado River. What is the gist of it? Before we get into the crisis, I want to
know how important the Colorado River is, not just for your state, but for the west in general?
HICKENLOOPER: Well, it's not just the west. When you look at the importance of the Colorado River, there are obviously, you know, close to
40 million people in southwestern United States. So, California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. We all depend. So, that's
almost 40 million people that depend directly on what the Colorado River provides, what that water means.
And in -- for winter crops like lettuce, being able to have lettuce in the winter, a huge amount of our winter crops of winter vegetables come out of
irrigated props produced with water from the Colorado River. If it really runs dry and again, the aridification, I'm not sure we can still call it a
drought, it's been going on so long, most climate scientists think it's going to stay drier. So, we got to re-adapt and re-figure or else we are
going to have to, you know, kind of recreate our entire supply chain for food.
AMANPOUR: OK. And, of course, people drinking, I guess. I mean, it must affect everything and all the uses.
AMANPOUR: Yes, you rightly say that this has been going on for 23 plus years. Most importantly, in your state it chokes off the Lake Powell and
Lake Mead. There are dams there. And we can see, you know, if you look at a picture of Lake Powell, for instance, you can see that famous bathtub rim
thing, you know, where you can see how low it's gotten.
AMANPOUR: What exactly does that mean to those states? I mean, literally in the next years.
HICKENLOOPER: So, it's happening so much more rapidly than predicted. And the drought worsened and accelerated in ways we didn't -- nobody
anticipated. So, now we've got to have a sense of urgency because what happens, you get to a certain level in those lakes and they can no longer
generate electricity which is -- again, we have other sources of energy, that's somewhat replaceable but at much greater cost.
But you get a little lower and then you lose -- there is no flow through. There is what they call a dead pool. The -- there's no water coming out of
those dams. And then there's real trouble for Southern California, for large parts of Arizona, and obviously Nevada. It becomes a real challenge
for the lower basement states and we just can't let that happen.
AMANPOUR: You say you can't, but the federal government has stepped in and asked your state and others to come to an agreement amongst yourselves. And
apparently, as we said in the introduction, it's basically California versus the rest.
Why can you not come to an agreement given the existential nature of what you are describing?
HICKENLOOPER: Well, there is a long history around water in the west. You know, the old cliche is that, whiskey is for drinking, and water is for
fighting. And we've got 100 years agreement created 100 years ago based on pretty faulty science. There's just not as much water coming through the
Colorado River as people believed back then.
And water laws devolve (ph). It never really said, all right. How do we make a better set of laws? How do we incentivize not just the states, but
every ranch or every farmer, how can we give them an incentive to use water more wisely? Avoid evaporation. In many cases, if a farmer saves water and
uses less water to get the same amount of crops, they lose that water right that they're not using. That's a crazy law on the face of it.
AMANPOUR: Yes. No, no -- yes. I mean, I'm agreeing with you because it means there is no incentive as you say. So, what do you do? You've just
announced this -- the Colorado River caucus with your western colleagues. What do you hope that does to kickstart the need to come to an agreement?
HICKENLOOPER: Well, it's funny, I had put together kind of a western states bipartisan caucus just because I think by having people from both
parties comfortable talking each other about difficult issues, if you have that as a foundation to build on when you do get a crisis, you are going to
have a better chance of finding a solution that serves everyone. It really is the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
And all of a sudden almost immediately the acceleration of the drought and the aridification meant that we had to move very quickly. And I think my
goal is to try and make sure it's a seven-state solution. So, we're not trying to replace the work being done by the all seven states, and they've
been working on this for a long time.
I -- as a governor, I created a statewide water plan for the first time in the history of Colorado, and it was like pulling teeth sometimes, but we
got there. We had over 32,000 people participate in that process. People care about the water in the southwest.
So, I think the key here, what the senators can do, is we can provide, maybe more carrots, less sticks, but incentives to try and help California
and Arizona and Nevada really sort through how they can do this in the wisest possible way. You know, how can we adjust for a -- to a new reality
in such a way that we try to protect those people most vulnerable, especially the small farmers and small ranchers.
AMANPOUR: So, you talked about things that make no sense including, I wonder if you would agree, the fact that the major problem is that fossil
fuel producers continue to profit from massively generous government subsidies and other protections. So, I wonder whether you think that is
still a problem, and I'm assuming that you think that this aridification, as you are saying, is climate linked. It's about the climate crisis.
HICKENLOOPER: It really is. It's a reflection of the climate crisis. And I worry that this is just a harbinger of things to come. What is going to
happen is what we are doing here in the Southwestern United States with the Colorado River is going to be repeated again and again all over the world,
because we see aridification almost everywhere. Not everywhere but almost everywhere.
And in places where water, irrigated water has been put to use in almost every case, about 80 percent of it is for irrigating crops. Just like it is
in Southwestern United States. And I think that, you should -- we all need to recognize, we should recognize that we have to start getting our muscles
in shape to collaborate and compromise and really deliver solutions that are as beneficial as possible to all people concerned.
AMANPOUR: So, I want to read you some, you know, pretty extraordinary statistics. So, a recent study says that subsidies, as we mentioned, to oil
and gas producers totaled $20 billion a year. Tax breaks worth another $11 billion. And this, I'm saying at a time, I mean, today BP, British
Petroleum, posted almost $30 billion in profit. At the same time backtracking on corporate promises to reduce carbon. And this comes about a
week or several days after Shell announced $40 billion in profits. I mean huge in record profits.
This is what Bernard Looney, who's the CEO of BP told me about his pledge to try to, you know, behave in a more corporately responsible way. This is
what he told me after COP26.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNARD LOONEY, BP CEO: We are the only company that I'm aware of who has an objective. Having spent 112 years trying to grow production, we are
going to take our production down by 40 percent this decade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And yet, the figures are showing, and we're hearing that, you know, there's some backtracking on some of those pledges. What can you do
about that? Especially given, you know, the Colorado River's crisis.
HICKENLOOPER: Well, in Colorado is a -- we're fifth or sixth or seventh hot -- largest producer of oil and gas in the United States. We have a
healthy industry. But I think, while I was governor and Governor Jared Polis who's the current governor, have made it crystal clear that we are
all in this together. And that we need to work with the oil and gas companies for them to help deliver solutions to, you know, the expanding
And there is no question that the aridification and the watershed of the Colorado River is 90 -- at least 90 percent, maybe 100 percent caused by,
you know, CO2 and other pollutants in the atmosphere. It's time now -- we got to think -- I think the key thing we have to remember is not to
begrudge high profits. But to say, why aren't you using those high profits instead of doing stock by batch (ph)? Why aren't you using those profits to
look at how do we get better, you know, better transformers that are more efficient? How do we get battery systems that allow wind and solar to be
used on a broader scale and be used in peak -- to deliver peak loads?
Those kinds of answers, we're not hearing. And I think that's where, as a senator here, I'm pushing every chance I get in front of one of the CEOs of
one of the large companies. And I talk to him, not often, but as often as I can. We have to be more demanding.
HICKENLOOPER: And just say, this is a problem that was created and you are trying to deliver energy to the world and I get that. But now we have an
unintended consequence. You've created a nightmare if we are not careful. I mean, this could evolve into a worst nightmare anybody ever dreamed of and
we need to nip it in the bud. And the oil and gas industry should be there --
HICKENLOOPER: -- at the forefront --
HICKENLOOPER: -- helping solve the problem that they helped create.
AMANPOUR: Right. Senator Hickenlooper, thank you so much indeed for joining us. And of course, the nightmare of profits much accrued on the
back of the rising profits because of the war in Ukraine.
So, now, we turn to a classic. It's known as the seminal novel about the horrors of war, "All Quiet on the Western Front". It was written by Erich
Maria Remarque, a German World War I veteran almost 100 years ago. It's been adapted to film and television, but never by a German, until now.
Director Edward Berger's version is getting global acclaim, notching a staggering nine Oscar and 14 BAFTA nominations. Here is a clip from the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Next.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Paul Baumer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I can't wait to get going.
CROWD: (Speaking in a foreign language).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We're on the Western Front now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Get down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Director Edward Berger is joining me now from Rome. And welcome to the program. Clearly, congratulations on the impact of this film. And
it's so resonant today because of what's happening in Ukraine, of course. But why has it taken nearly 100 years, Edward Berger, for somebody like
yourself, a German director, to commit it to film?
EDWARD BERGER, CO-WRITER AND DIRECTOR, "ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT": Hi, good evening. Well, it's not that easy, you know. There's been a big
American movie made that won two Oscars, a classic, that many people -- many filmmakers looked up to. And so, you need the courage and the timing
to, sort of, feel like, OK. Now, is the time. I can make this.
AMANPOUR: Why did you think now was the time? I mean, clearly, you started making it before Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
BERGER: We did -- when we started, we really did think -- we really did discuss this topic a lot. Like, why is now the time? And we felt that
around the world, there was no war in the Ukraine, there was one in Syria though, which we, somehow, don't talk about anymore.
But we did talk a lot about parliaments that suddenly in all over the world in parliaments, you know, you had a right-wing government in America. You
had Brexit. You had Orban. You had in Poland, in Germany (INAUDIBLE) right- wing party. And we felt that there's a discourse in parliaments that this, you know, sort of full of antagonism and hate speech. And that trickles
down to the street. And sometimes I heard sentences on the street in Germany where I thought, I heard that last, maybe, in the -- or I thought
the kind of language would -- last been used in the '30s or '40s in Germany.
BERGER: And suddenly it was back. So, it felt like the right time of full of nationalism everywhere to make a film about how it was 100 years ago.
And it didn't seem that different.
AMANPOUR: And of course, Germany now turning on a dime and helping Ukraine militarily. We'll get to that in a moment. But I just want to -- just quote
something because it's -- the film is so realistic. I know there's a lot of CGI, but it's very, very, very hard to watch because it is so realistic.
You've written, despite, you know, the Oscar nominations, there's nothing celebratory. It's about these kids becoming killing machines and losing
their soul, their innocence, their youth. Losing everything. And of course, you focus mostly, the -- this -- the key character is a 17-year-old, Paul,
who defies his parents and goes to war. I would like to just play this clip because he has just killed a French soldier, and this is the aftermath of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FELIX KAMMERER, ACTOR, "ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT" (through translator): I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It is such a gripping scene. And here's this young boy who's killed somebody who looks to be much older than him. And it looks like he
just can't believe what he's done in such close quarters. This film, the book, is an anti-war treaties, right?
BERGER: I think so. I mean, it's up to everyone's interpretation. I would be surprised if someone comes out of it and thinks it's a pro-war
manifesto. We clearly meant it as something -- because it's -- you know, we obviously, in Germany, we grow up with the inheritance, with the DNA of
war, of what Germany has brought to the world. And so, I always feel a deep sense of guilt or shame and responsibility towards that history to talk
about that. To make sure that we don't forget what we did.
AMANPOUR: You've said -- I'm sure it must have been very emotional to actually be the director on this film. And you've said, you know, every day
I thought I'm not going to get through this. How difficult was it?
BERGER: Well, it was just incredibly complex to -- just from a technical level. Incredibly complex to coordinate many, many elements coming
together. And I always thought, in very long coordinated camera movements, I always thought, at the end of one camera movement, I always thought
something would go wrong, and it usually did. And eventually just before sunset, we happened to just get it right. But you always have this panic
that you don't, that you won't, and we didn't actually never get this shot.
But more so than the technical aspect, it's also the psychological aspect. What you don't realize during shooting, I think none of us did, we just
plowed through it and you go from shot to shot. And somehow there's a psychological effect that sets in that I only noticed when I had finished
the film and was editing that I felt I just needed a break. And I think a lot of us felt that way that, you know, there's some kind of, you know, to
crawl around the mud with all these awful images. It leaves a trace.
AMANPOUR: Yes, it does on the viewer as well. I want to ask you, though, about your decision to alter or omit and add some bits to your film that
were not in the book. Most notably, in the book, Paul, the key character, occasionally is able to go back from the front to home, that you do not
show in the film.
But then, interestingly, the book does not depict the negotiations and this -- the demand by the French for the armistice. The Germans basically --
almost begging, certainly the way you depicted to end this war. Tell me what went into your thinking to make those alterations.
BERGER: So, one was the home holiday. It came basically from the decision of including the armistice negotiations into the film and that it had a
consequence that the second half of the movie plays towards the end of the war, and you didn't have the, like, the time for the boys to go home in
that time. You know, because in just -- we depicted the last week of the war.
But we included that feeling of going home by a letter that was sent to the front. And by -- that sentiment is still in the movie, for me, very much.
And it's a beautiful letter scene that Kat -- that Paul Baumer, our main character's best friend is read by his wife. And it just, sort of -- it
gives you the feeling of that they don't belong there anymore. And that the problems or the issues at hand in this letter are very different from what
they are dealing with day to day. And they have -- they're worried about -- yes, not having a home anymore. So, that feeling we set -- that sentiment,
we kept, but changed the way we depicted it.
The armistice negotiations came very much from two things. First of all, I read a quote by Remarque who encouraged the adaptations that -- of his work
to add things, to change things, to find new interpretations, to be very subjective because otherwise why do it again? He already wrote it. That was
one thing. That gave me the courage to do it by the -- he allowed me to do it, in a way, you know. I see a part of it that way.
But the other part that I found more important was that Remarque wrote this book in the '20, after under the impression of the first world war. It just
ended. And he had been in the first world war and people still knew about it. We have forgotten about this, largely.
BERGER: And it's -- this was overshadowed very much by the terror of the second world war.
BERGER: But also, I felt that I wanted to shed a light on what was yet to come. Remarque didn't know yet there was a second world war coming. He knew
maybe rising nationalism. We had signs of that, which we have two now in Europe. And -- but he didn't have the signs of the -- he didn't know there
was a second world war.
Now, from our perspective, we have sort of the privilege of the perspective on history. I was born late. So, I know now there was a second world war.
BERGER: And this armistice negotiation was very much the seedling of what was yet to come. And we wanted to -- the second world war because Hitler
used Erzberger, the character played by Daniel Bruhl gets killed a couple years later in history. He gets killed by a German nationalist. And Hitler,
he later uses this to legitimize the second world war. He said, politicians stabbed us in the back. They betrayed us. Germany would have won the war.
So, let's take revenge.
BERGER: That's what all myth (ph) happened. So, we wanted to include that and shed a light on that.
AMANPOUR: Yes, I mean, that came across very powerfully. And I guess finally, you know, you said -- you know, you've had feelings of shame and
guilt of Germany's history. And I wonder what you think now watching Germany sending so much armament, sending tanks, helping defend Ukraine
against an illegal invasion? And honestly, when I see some of the shots from the trenches in Bakhmut, it could be taken from your movie. The snow
is falling. You know, it's really grim.
BERGER: Shockingly, it looks very much the same as 100 years ago. The trenches, the mud, the soldiers freezing their end, the burnt tree stumps.
And I do feel that we have -- you know, Germany is a big country in Europe and it's a central country with its neighbors France and Poland and Italy.
And so, there is a responsibility that German politicians have.
And I find it -- it took us very long to come to this decision. But, of course, understandably so, born from our history. Never again were we
supposed to send tanks into battle, into an armed conflict. But now, there's a sentence said by Joschka Fischer when the Croatia -- the war in
the Balkans, and Germany also aided in that. And he said, I know, never again was this supposed to be a war. But also, never again there was
supposed to be Auschwitz.
And so, sometimes there are responsibilities --
BERGER: that we have to -- there are tough decisions, and I feel like it's part of our job, part of our duty to help other European nations to keep
the peace or defend themselves.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's a massively powerful anti-war film. Edward Berger, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
And finally, tonight, the Venice Carnival is back in full force. People on decorated boats descended on the city's grand canal to celebrate the
beginning of the iconic festival which runs for another two weeks. This year, a seven-meter papier-mache rat led the parade, releasing colorful
balloons when it arrived at the Rialto Bridge.
Dating back to the 11th century carnival, it's an annual festival that sees thousands of Venetians and visitors dressed in lavish masks and costumes
parading around the floating city. Now, perhaps the rat could remind us of the dirty waters again after the pandemic so famously brought the canal
back to its original clear and pristine state.
That is it for now. You can always catch us online, on our podcast, and across social media. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.