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Interview With Anti-Corruption Action Centre Executive Director Daria Kaleniuk; Interview With "The New China Playbook" Author And London School Of Economics Professor Keyu Jin; Interview With "American Prometheus" Author Kai Bird. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired July 20, 2023 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
As Russia bombard Southern Ukraine, I'm joined from Kyiv by activists Daria Kaleniuk. We discuss the reality of daily life, and I ask her if cleaning
up corruption could unlock NATO membership for Ukraine.
And, excitement abounds at a historic Women's World Cup. While nations began battling out on the pitch, I get the latest with top sports
journalist, Christine Brennan.
Also, ahead U.S. China relations reached a crossroads. As America's elder statesman, Henry Kissinger, meets with Chinese president, Xi Jinping, I
talk to author and China expert Keyu Jin what lies ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CILLIAN MURPHY, ACTOR, "OPPENHEIMER": We're in a race against the Nazis, and I know what it means if the Nazis have a bomb.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: -- as a new film about the father of the atomic bomb explodes at cinemas, Walter Isaacson's talks to author Kai Bird whose book on Robert
J. Oppenheimer inspired the movie.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
The Ukrainian port city of Odessa has faced its third consecutive night of Russian strikes. This bombardment of Odessa comes after Russia left the
Black Sea Grain Deal that allowed Ukraine to export food stocks amid the war.
Top E.U. official Josep Borrell is accusing Moscow of causing a global food crisis and deliberately attacking grain storage facilities in Odessa. These
kinds of attacks punctuate live from for my first guest, the journalist and activist Daria Kaleniuk, the head of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre in
Kyiv. She's been holding her government and others to account during the war.
Just listen to her questioning of U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan when she pressed him on NATO membership for Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARIA KALENIUK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ANTI-CORRUPTION ACTION CENTRE: Jake, please advise me, what should I tell my son that President Biden and NATO
didn't invite Ukraine to NATO because he's afraid of Russia, afraid of Russia losing, afraid of Ukraine winning or the (INAUDIBLE) channel
communications with Kremlin, which terrorist organization, to reach the main (ph) three deal? Should I prepare my son to be a soldier and fight
Russians when he will be 18 years in seven years? Thank you, Jake.
JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: So, first of all, thank you for the work that you do every day to try to advance Ukraine's democracy,
deepen it, to try to deal with the challenge of corruption which continues to exist and I know that you have been a big champion for that.
And what I would say to your son and to everyone in Ukraine is, you know, the rest of the world is in awe the bravery and courage of every Ukrainian
citizen who is standing up in the face of Russia's brutal war, it's brutal aggression.
So, I think the most important thing in this respect is for us to be able to have the kind of honesty that was inherent in your question, but also
for us to make sure that in having that honesty certain insinuations or implications inherent in your question, which are not founded get checked
at the door so that we can talk to one another in goodwill, in good faith. And, you know, there has been a lot of conspiracy theorizing that simply is
not based on any reality whatsoever.
And also, I would just say, the American people have sought in watching and wanting to stand in solidarity with the brave and courageous people of
Ukraine to step up and delivery, and I think the American people do deserve a degree of gratitude.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: And Daria Kaleniuk joins me now from Kyiv. Daria, it's good to see you. It was clear that you were exasperated and frustrated in that
questioning there, and I'm just curious if you can explain for our viewers over a year into this war now, what ultimately drove you to ask Jake that
question, given what you've been enduring in Ukraine for all this time now?
KALENIUK: Well, I'm advocating for support for Ukrainian victory for more than a year. And we talking about tanks, about long-range munitions, about
fighter jets. Now, we are talking about NATO. And every time we're starting to talk about specific weapons or specific decisions of various
administrations across the world, particularly in the U.S., especially in the U.S., first, there is no, then there is hesitation and then there is
the final decision, which is actually broadly support by the American people.
However, this delays with the final decisions of supporting commitment for Ukrainian victory means that somebody will lose his or her life. It means
that more and more Ukrainian kids will be sleeping in corridors like my sons are doing. It means that more and more people in the world will be
struggling because of the hunger, as Russia just blocked Ukrainian Black Sea ports militarily and is not allowing our farmers to trade with the
world with our grain and to feed the people across the globe.
So, therefore, I'm frustrated with this hesitation, with this non- escalatory approach, non-provocative approach. And I believe that if you show weakness to Russia, it is provocative. If you show hesitation, it is
provocative. This is the way how Russia behaves and we'll learn for decades exactly that.
GOLODRYGA: We heard from Jake offering sympathy for your children and obviously the situation that the country is been put in now, given this
unprovoked war from Russia and the work that you're doing to fight corruption. We'll get to that in a second, but I'd like for you to respond
specifically to what he ended saying, and that is that the U.S. deserve some gratitude for all of the help and aid that it has provided to Ukraine
because, you know, that was subsequently followed by similar words from the British defense secretary who said that the U.K. and allies should not be
treated, in his words, like an Amazon.
KALENIUK: You know, Ukrainian people are super grateful to every nation, every people who is supporting us with even the small, you know, way of
weapons or even humanitarian aid. Especially, we are in huge gratitude to American people because Americans are providing the largest part of the
support. But still, you know, we feel that American people would support more firm and decisive support for Ukrainian people.
And particularly, I can't understand why there is such a delay sending fighter jets to Ukraine as it could stop suffering for many Ukrainians and
would to unblock the Black Sea Ports, and we are talking about fighter jets for more than a year and still, there is hesitancy from the administration.
And as for the gratitude and expressing the gratitude, I differentiate people of various nations and their administrations. So, we are very
thankful to the people of the United States and people of the U.K., but we think that administration, particularly in the U.S., could be much more
decisive. And one of the reasons why is because Ukraine simply decided to give up our nuclear weapons, which we had, and it was the second largest
nuclear arsenal in the world in 1994 in exchange for security assurances from this particular two nations, from the U.S. and from the U.K., and by
the way, from Russia.
So, Russia invaded us with a genocidal war. Every night they are terrorizing all our civilians and killing somebody. They kidnapped
hundreds, thousands of our kids. I can't understand what they are doing with our kids, whether they are alive or not. And U.S. and U.K. are
expected gratitude from Ukraine.
We are extremely grateful. However, we try to explain to the world and particularly to the leaders of the free world that while we are -- while
you are hesitating, we are dying. So, what is left for us? Simply to be patience, strategically patient and to die? That's the open question.
GOLODRYGA: Ukraine walked away with continued security guarantees not only from NATO leaders but from G7 leaders as well, but as you know, Ukraine did
not walk away with an invitation or a timeline to join the alliance.
Shortly thereafter, you tweeted a picture of the sons that you've mentioned, Danylo and Stefan, and here's what you said. You said, my sons
are sleeping in the corridor during night air raids in Kyiv. I will tell them to be "strategically patient when arriving home tomorrow after Vilnius
Tell me, Daria, how many Ukrainians do you speak for when you express sentiment like that?
KALENIUK: I'm hearing it from everybody. When I asked this question, it was not unnoticed among Ukrainian audience and I received so many feedback
from people whom I know and from people whom I don't know that, thank you for asking this. That it is in the minds of millions of Ukrainians. And
particularly, it is in the minds of the parents, of Ukrainian parents who have to grow kids in the situation of the constant air raids, of the
constant attacks and the constant terror coming from Russia.
But important thing which I want to mention is that I don't feel that we walked away from NATO summit with security guarantees. The only security
guarantee, which is real guarantee, which matters something is invitation to NATO and the clear path with clear deadlines for Ukraine NATO
We already had security assurances. We thought these were security guarantees, but then, everybody told us, well, the U.S. and U.K. told us
that in exchange for us giving up nuclear weapons that there were no guarantees. We are not obliged to do anything. It's just assurances, just a
piece of paper. So, guys, survive. We will send you some weapons.
And now, we've got commitments from various nations, and we are thankful for that commitment to keep supporting Ukraine with weapons. And -- but,
you know, the decision how much weapons to send, what quality of weapons to send directly depends on the strategy of the NATO and particularly of the
most powerful members of NATO, like the U.S. What is the endgame?
KALENIUK: What is the endgame of the political leadership of these countries that will impact the decisions of the military when they will
decide what kind of equipment to send to Ukraine? And I don't understand and many people in Ukraine, they don't understand what is the end game
coded in the words, which is like we are ready to support Ukraine as long as it takes?
So, whenever I am hearing this message, I'm asking myself, what does as long as it take mean? Does that mean as long as it takes all of our
soldiers to die? Does that mean as long as it takes all of our critical infrastructure to be destroyed, or as long as it takes Russia to blow up
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which they are occupying and which they simply mined and they can blow it any moment like they've done with
Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant?
So, we would want to expect from the leadership from the U. S. and also from NATO leadership, NATO members leadership, clarity. What are their
endgame strategy? And the reason I've asked, you know, that we feel that there is smell of some back channel communications with Russia, there is
hope within administration in the U.S. and probably some other nations, particularly in Germany, that Ukraine and Russia will reach certain level
of the ceasefire. And we don't believe in any ceasefire with Russia, under Russian terms.
We in Ukraine, and sociology supports, it's absolutely majority of Ukrainians, we believe in the full reoccupation of all our territories and
return of our people and Russian troops must leave Ukrainian territory.
GOLODRYGA: Daria, I have to tell you the question of how long will it take and what will the end result be is a question not only being asked in
Ukraine but also, as you know, in the United States as well and in Washington in particular. I do want to get your thoughts on the work that
you are doing and fighting anti-corruption.
You are the head of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre. You've been part of this organization since 2011. And as you know, the decision not to invite
Ukraine into NATO not only focused on the war but also on other thresholds that NATO members say Ukraine has yet to make, one of that being fighting
corruption. you have acknowledged yourself that there is still more work to do, but here's what you told "The Financial Times." You said, if Ukraine
hadn't changed since 2013, Russia wouldn't have needed the full-scale invasion, but would have taken over from the inside like in Belarus.
In 2022, the Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, Ukraine came in 116th. Talk about the achievements that you've made thus
far, and objectively, what work still needs to be done?
KALENIUK: That was my question to Jake Sullivan as well. So, if corruption is a problem for not inviting Ukraine to NATO, please specify what the
homework we need to do, and we will get it done. So, my particular opinion is that the reason, the only main reason for not inviting Ukraine to NATO
Corruption is a very, you know, good face-saving excuse. It is not taking into account that there is still corruption in Ukraine, and still, we have
to do a lot, particularly in the security and the (INAUDIBLE) sector. But what we were arguing and we were trying to encourage leaders of the free
world to do is to invite Ukraine to NATO, it doesn't mean that immediately Ukraine will be a member of NATO.
And then, how the joint work with Ukrainian civil society, with the Ukrainian reformers, with Ukrainian government on the least of the reforms,
like the E.U. did for Ukraine, they gave us the list of seven reforms, including five anti-corruption reforms, and we will fulfill this list until
the summit in Washington.
So, I would have expected Jake Sullivan and NATO leaders to present this kind of list of reforms for our homework. My personal opinion that, well,
built successfully anti-corruption infrastructure in Ukraine. We have separate anti-corruption agencies, which are now throwing into jail judges
for corruption. Recently, the head of the Supreme Court was caught on bribe, and there is investigation ongoing.
KALENIUK: We have -- as a disclosure system, we have quite a lot which we have achieved. In the security and defense sector we are now working, we
pushing hard our government to delivery on the defense procurement and digital systems of logistics. It would be much more easier for us, for
civil society in Ukraine to have leaders of NATO to say also something on that and send their experts on the ground in Kyiv to work with our minister
of defense and work with civil society so that we know clearly what is needed to be done.
And we have timeline until next summit in Washington to come again to the summit and say, you know, guys, we treat corruption in Ukraine very
seriously, and this is what we have done. Please, let's go for the next step towards NATO integration.
GOLODRYGA: All right. Daria Kaleniuk, thank you so much for your time, and we, like you, really truly hope this war comes to an end very soon. And we
do not want to have your boys worrying about whether they too will be fighting in it in years to come. We appreciate your time. Thank you.
Well, next, we turn to the world of sport. The Women's Soccer World Cup in Australia and in New Zealand, with both host nations winning crucial early
victories. It's a historic tournament with teams from across the globe competing in the hope of glory.
Record attendances are expected. The hot favorites are Team USA, who are hoping to clinch a hat-trick title, three World Cup wins in a row. Joining
me with all the details is Christine Brennan, a leading sports journalist and commentator.
Christine, I hope I didn't just jinx Team USA with that wish for a hat- trick, but, you know, I'm not the only one that is really hoping that that's what we see. This is the ninth Women's World Cup. And as we said, a
lot of positive signs, record attendance, we've even seen a boost in salary, though nowhere near where we should be for these players. Talk
about what we can expect to see at this World Cup.
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Oh, Bianna, you've actually nailed it, this is part sports and history and culture. And once again, we're
seeing women athletes from around the world take center stage and start to get the attention they deserve.
I've been covering the World Cup since 1999, and that really is the through line when those stadiums in the United States were filled to capacity,
football, American football stadiums filled for women's soccer in 1999. The nation fell in love what it created with Title IX, of course, the team won.
Brandi Chastain is amazing, an infamous iconic penalty kick to win it, ripping off her shirt. The team, Mia Hamm, et cetera, all of them becoming
That really was the start of what we are seeing today, which is Australia and New Zealand using their big stadiums. Those stadiums are full. Women
are taking over the headlines. Female athletes getting the respect that they -- that is deserved for them.
Now, you are right, the pay is nowhere near. It's about one-fourth of what the men got in Qatar, just a few months ago, but it is so much better than
it was. And these athletes are heroes in their countries and it's just beginning, as you said, and already an upset, New Zealand upsetting Norway,
which is a very big deal. So, on we go and away we go to what should be a fascinating few weeks.
GOLODRYGA: It's interesting how much the focus in the U.S., since the last World Cup was on, this pay gap and women not getting the accolades that
they deserve, especially on Team USA. But what really struck me is that seemed a global consensus, that this isn't just a U.S. problem and it can't
just be western countries that are focused on this World Cup and making the attendance record here. It is something that has changed globally in
response to women sport, in particular women soccer.
BRENNAN: Yes, I agree with you. And there are eight new countries. FIFA decided to treat the women equal to the men, again, by having 32 teams,
just like the men did a few months ago at their World Cup. And so, you've got nations like, Vietnam and the Philippines and Haiti, they have never
been here before, Ireland, Portugal, and that means -- what's happened, for example in Portugal, from a tiny little budget a few years ago they didn't
think women cared about soccer, football, I mean, how ridiculous is that? This is your untapped market. This is the place where you can go and
encourage the other 50 percent of your population to play this game than everybody in Portugal loves and around the world loves so much. And
Portugal has just invested money. And now, they have a team. We'll see how they do against the U.S. in the same group.
But absolutely, this became a chant at the west world compass, you know, equal pay, that was in France. And countries around the world are starting
to say, why aren't we giving our women athletes at least a percentage of what the men get, as well as respect? And that's the conversation that's
starting to change.
GOLODRYGA: A major headline before the games even began came in the form of Megan Rapinoe, star of Team USA, announcing that she would be retiring.
It's hard to imagine this sport and this team without her, and I don't want to call them an aging team, let's call them a highly experienced team. It's
what we're going to be seeing play this summer.
What are you going to be watching for? And do you think Team USA has what it takes for that coveted hat-trick?
BRENNAN: It gets harder every year. The nations around the world have caught up to the United States, in large part, Bianna, because of the
United States. The U.S. team being the Johnny Appleseed, planting seeds around the world to encourage women to play the game. And so, of course,
actually, the world has gotten better.
I think the U.S. can win it. But you're right, it's a combination of the 30 somethings, like Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, who is 38 years old, with
young talent like Trinity Rodman and Sophia Smith and others that have not been to the World Cup before. It's also the most racially diverse U.S. team
ever, with nine women of color on the 23-member team, as that should be as the game grows in other places, not just with suburban white girls in the
And so, I think the U.S. can do it, but it's not going to be easy. And those European countries, where the men's pro leagues have women's teams
now. So, they are investing big-time in the pro league for women in Europe, England, Germany, Sweden. And of course, Canada is the reigning Olympic
gold medalist from Tokyo two years ago, and they have 40-year-old Christine Sinclair, one of the greatest to ever play the game. So, let's not rule out
Canada as a possible rival for the U.S. as well.
GOLODRYGA: Listen, I love sports so much, and as a journalist, I specially love it because it's the only time that I can show my true colors and my
favoritism, and I am going all Team USA. And speaking of colors, I can't wait to see what color Megan Rapinoe's hair will be during these games. So,
go, Team USA. Go women's soccer. Go women sports. Christine Brennan, great to see you.
BRENNAN: Bianna, thank you very much. You too.
GOLODRYGA: Well, America's elder statesman, Henry Kissinger, is in China to meet with the country's leader. No, it's not the early 1970s, when he
and then-President Nixon opened the door to that country, it is the present day. And the centennial -- former security of state -- secretary of state
visits at a time when relations are at a historic low.
Earlier this week, U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry left with little after talks on the climate crisis hit a wall. I spoke with the current -- about
the current tensions with Keyu Jin, an expert on China and a professor at the London School of Economics. Her latest book, "The New China Playbook,"
aims to dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings the West has about Beijing. Here's our conversation.
Hey, thank you so much for joining us today. Let's start with the lesson stellar economic out of China for the past several months now. We just
found out the second quarter of GDP grew at 0.8 percent compared with the previous three months. Property investment has been in decline, it makes up
about a quarter of the overall GDP, it slid 8 percent in the first half of the year. We also know the trade is down as well. And this is prompting
concerns among many economists that it's time for China to consider both a monetary and fiscal stimulus for the country.
It doesn't appear that that's the direction that President Xi is prepared to take right now, and instead, some observers are saying that he is
adhering to a position of maintaining strategic focus. One expert put it this way, he said, Xi Jinping does not define economic success in terms of
GDP growth, he defines it in terms of tech, self-sufficiency. Would you agree with that assessment?
KEYU JIN, AUTHOR, "THE NEW CHINA PLAYBOOK" AND ECONOMICS PROFESSOR, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: I think that's broadly right. You know, look, there
are some serious confidence issues in the Chinese economy, and we got to understand whether this is really cyclical matters or long-term structural
decline. And I'm more inclined to believe that it is more towards the former.
I mean, just to put things into perspective, China did grow three times the world's average growth rate in the second quarter and is likely going to
contribute to 35 percent of global growth. So, that is all fine, relatively speaking, but of course, it's much below market expectations.
And as you rightly pointed out, there's a clear preference of the state, of the leadership towards the supply rather than towards demand. There's this
view of harnessing resources for a longer-term strategic goals like high- tech and national security rather than short-term stimulus that can help on the demand side, which is really actually what the economy is in trouble,
the lack of demand in the country.
GOLODRYGA: Why do you think that there's not a long-term structural issue at play here given that we're seeing a decline, a shrinking demographic in
the country, and real concern about what the future there looks like and about a 20 percent unemployment rate among the youth population there in
JIN: I think the structural factors are still a bit overestimated currently. But if we're looking at an economy that's trying to wean off of
property, which broadly, broadly speaking accounted for a third the country's, GDP and a highly indebted government, local government,
especially when you count the hidden debt, there's a real problem with short-term unemployment for the youth, confidence, issues, et cetera. But
if we look at the consumption numbers, 8.2 percent woe (ph) suggests an economy is slowly recovering from the structural -- sorry, from the kind of
lingering pains of the pandemic.
So, I think, you know, the demographics will play out over the long run, we're talking about a 0.1 percent decline in population when we're seeing 6
percent, at the very least, productivity growth. The current problem is not the aging, it's exactly, as you pointed out, it's those people with college
degrees, 25 percent of them are without jobs. So, it's a skill job -- a mismatch rather than aging issue right now.
GOLODRYGA: So, what are some of the policy suggestions that we're hearing from Xi on down in terms of addressing that mismatch?
JIN: So, first of all, if we just look at the structural problems, as you pointed out in your earlier questions, there is one really big one, which
leads to the unemployment issues but why they're not doing so much stimulus, and that is the fundamental element of the financial system, the
capital, the stimulus just doesn't reach the bottom, sort of the real economy, the private sectors. They're having a high cost of capital, 6 to
10 percent, and it doesn't transmit because it's all stuck in the banking system.
So, I think that's kind of currently why the stimulus are not as effective, and also, they don't have an appetite for a huge stimulus, again, because
they want to gear towards longer-term goals. But the unemployment problem is fundamentally because that the education has raced ahead of the economy.
It's not like there are no jobs around, 25 million manufacturing jobs around a gap by 2025 300,000 talent gap in semiconductors, et cetera. But
you are talking about a new generation that's privileged, confident and highly educated, and they simply do not want to do a lot of the Foxconn job
workers that previous generations were happy with.
GOLODRYGA: Let's talk about new your new book, "The New China Playbook." And you talk about the level of the West not really understanding the
Chinese economy. Why do you think there are certain blind spots here and why do you think that you and given your background and your father's role
in the previous governments there have more insight into what's actually taking place in the Chinese economy today?
JIN: Well, first of all, I've studied thoroughly western economics. And I think the primordial view is that there is really basically one model that
works, and I think that underlines some of this most misunderstanding about this state or managed capitalism or the major economy, whatever you want to
give the Chinese economy a label, a strong role of the state, but still, very much that markets works very well and a very decentralized economic
system. It's not just the centralized political approach but, you know, local mayors around competing with each other, galvanizing creativity,
pushing for innovation all over the country. I mean, that is a very, very unique model that I think fails to get the kind of attention outside.
And it's not like there are no challenges, there are some serious challenges about the Chinese economy. It's not just -- it's just not the
ones that the West have been pointing out in the last two decades, predicting of Chinese economic demise every single time.
And in my position, look, you know, I'm an economist. I work with data. There's evidence. There's a huge amount of vast -- you know, great
scholarly works on China that tells a real side of it, the good, the bad and the future. And I think we need to look at it holistically rather than
GOLODRYGA: As you know, we're really at a crossroads in terms of U.S. China relations not only economically and sort of the trade structures
between the two countries, bleeding over from one administration to another in the West, but also, geopolitically. And there's the confluence here of
have western leaders being concerned about where this may lead, and thankfully, we have seen a number of high-level meetings over the past few
weeks to sort of simmer down detentions.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen continues to say that there can continue to be cooperation, and decoupling isn't necessarily the outcome
that some people are saying is inevitable. Let's take a listen to what she said on this front.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANET YELLEN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: President Biden and I do not see the relationship between the U.S. and China through the frame of great
power conflict. We believe that the world is big enough for both of our countries to thrive. Both nations have an obligation to responsibly manage
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Is there a desire, I guess, from the Chinese perspective, to reciprocate in that approach, that you can have competition without
JIN: The answer is a resounding yes. And I think that is the kind of strategic goal or strategic objective that China would like to achieve. I
think the best-case scenario or very likely scenario is a return of normal trade, and hopefully, to a certain extent, investment relations. Well, I
think both countries are also clearly aware that in terms of high-tech and technology, it will probably be moving in parallel ways. But that doesn't
mean that they shouldn't keep on talking, keeping on communicating, keep on shaping global norms, and especially, the green transition and the climate
change, lots of things to work on.
So, I think the, you know, global public goods collaboration and competitive collaboration is something that China does want to pursue with
the U.S. But I think one of the problems is that of communication, and that stems from the lack of communication, miscommunication lacks stems from
somewhat of a different cultural perspective, and from China's perspective, the need for -- to feel that it is respected, and from the U.S.'s
perspective, to have China, you know, open up the markets and level the playing field for their countries.
GOLODRYGA: That also raises the question of trust, which appears to be very low from both sides at this point. And in the middle, you have Europe,
which, over the course, definitely since the war began in Ukraine, it does appear that Europe is leaning more to the United States and being very
skeptical about long-term relations with China, and this is coming as China is trying to court western countries, European countries, and western
Do you see a disconnect in attempting to court to these companies, while at the same time, as you know, many private sector executives are concerned
about stability inside the country right now, some of the recent crackdowns on the private sector in China have many businesses alarmed, and we've seen
raids of western companies as well take place?
JIN: I think all countries are looking to stabilize relations, all economies are doing very poorly, I'm not even going to mention Europe's
growth numbers this quarter. And I think different countries also have a different priority between, you know, security or perceived national
security, and economic interest. Even within Europe, there are divergent interests.
China, certainly for sure, is looking for a more pragmatic approach. And I think there's also quite a bit of misunderstanding about the regulatory
crackdowns and the perceived hostility or (INAUDIBLE) towards entrepreneurs. If we really look at, you know, what's happened in the last
few months, the government has backtracked on a lot of these regulatory reforms, they have come out and openly embraced these platform economies
that were once the subject of the crackdowns. Because, you know what, the government needs the private sector, that's just how it works. And today,
you need the private sector to drive the economy.
And, of course, they were thinking a lot about, you know, harnessing resources for high-tech, but the truth is, they're not really against
entrepreneurs. If you look at the entrepreneurial dynamism on China on the ground, on the ground, very different from the rhetoric up top, it
showcases that it's still a market economy at work. But I think China does a poor job of communicating these things with the markets, with the West.
There's, you know, a big rhetoric and tone, things that can be improved, and that scares capital markets. So, don't forget the western government
took us a hundred years more to perfect the arts -- and perhaps, not perfect yet, of managing expectations and sustaining confidence, and that's
just a learning by doing for China today. So, don't take anything as permanent. It's always recalibrated, and you will see the pendulum swing.
GOLODRYGA: We'll see if President Xi is capable of recalibration, as you say, perhaps he is. Keyu Jin, thank you so much for joining us and
congratulations on the book.
JIN: Thank you. Great to be with you.
GOLODRYGA: Well, Christopher Nolan's nuclear thriller, "Oppenheimer," starring Cillian Murphy and Florence Pugh lands in 30 theaters Friday.
Pugh, exactly. Sorry. Forgive me for that. It's about the 1945 Trinity Test in New Mexico, where the world's first nuclear device was successfully
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CILLIAN MURPHY, ACTOR, "OPPENHEIMER": We're in a race against the Nazi there. And I know what it means if the Nazis have a bomb.
MATT DAMON, ACTOR, "OPPENHEIMER": They have a 12-month head start.
DAMON: How could you possibly know that?
MURPHY: We've got one hope. All America's industrial might and scientific innovation connected here. A secret laboratory. Keep everyone there until
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go recruit some scientists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: The film is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book, "American Prometheus," written by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. Bird discusses the
triumph and tragedy of Robert Oppenheimer, and the impact of his creation on our modern world with Walter Isaacson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Thank you, Bianna. And, Kai Bird, welcome to the show.
KAI BIRD, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN PROMETHEUS": Great to be with you, Walter.
ISAACSON: You and our beloved late friend, Martin Sherwin, wrote "American Prometheus," the epic Pulitzer Prize winning biography of J. Robert
Oppenheimer. Now, it's the most anticipated film of the year, opening this weekend. Tell us first, who was J. Robert Oppenheimer?
BIRD: Well, he was an incredibly fascinating American physicist who brought the quantum physics, the new physics to America in the 1920s by
founding the -- a physics department in Berkeley, University of California. And he then became -- he was chosen in a very odd choice by General Leslie
Groves, the head of the Manhattan Project, to be the scientific director of Los Alamos, the secret city they built in the desert of New Mexico, to
build the gadget of what became the atomic bomb.
And then, he -- you know, his odyssey is incredible. He becomes America's most famous scientist in 1945 as the father of the atomic bomb. And then,
nine years later, he's brought down in this witch hunt of a kangaroo court trial in 1954 and publicly humiliated and becomes a nonentity. It's an
incredibly complicated story.
ISAACSON: You mentioned General Leslie Groves tapping him to run the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. Interesting scene in the book, in the
movie too with Matt Damon playing, who is then-Colonel Leslie Groves, he was about to be promoted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON: Tolman (ph) thinks you have integrity, but he also strikes me as the guy who knows more about science than people.
MURPHY: Yet here you are, you don't take much in trust.
DAMON: I don't take anything on trust. Why don't you have a Nobel prize?
MURPHY: Why aren't you a general?
DAMON: They're making me one for this.
MURPHY: Perhaps I'll have the same look.
DAMON: Nobel prize for making a bomb?
MURPHY: Alfred Nobel invented dynamite.
DAMON: So, how would you proceed?
MURPHY: You're talking about turning theory into a practical weapons system faster than the Nazis.
DAMON: Who have a 12-month head start.
DAMON: How could you possibly know that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ISAACSON: So, General Groves says, I don't take anything on trust. How in the world did he pick J. Robert Oppenheimer to run the Manhattan Project?
BIRD: Well, it was the most unlikely choice. You know, Oppenheimer and he were like oil and water, particularly politically speaking. Oppy was a man
of the left. General Groves was rather conservative, gruff, hardworking, determined general who wanted to build this weapon of mass destruction. And
Oppenheimer is a nerdy physicist.
But Groves sees in Oppenheimer that he is a synthesizer, that he is someone who can actually speak in plain English. He's a polymath. He's not only a
physicist but he's someone who loves French poetry and the novels of Ernest Hemingway. And he can explain things. And that's something that Groves
appreciates and he can see that there is something in Oppenheimer that is both charismatic and a young man filled with ambition. It turns out to be a
ISAACSON: You describe how he becomes a public policy figure, talking about the need for arms control. There is a great scene in the movie, with
one of my favorite historical characters, Niels Bohr, the great physicist, who understands the atom for the first time, played by Kenneth Branagh, one
of the greatest actors of all-time. And he says, you're going to have to deal with this once it's all over. Let's show that clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENNETH BRANAGH, ACTOR, "OPPENHEIMER": I am not here to help, Robert. I knew you could do this without me.
MURPHY: Then why did you come?
BRANAGH: To talk about after. The power your about to reveal will forever outlive the Nazis, and the world is not prepared.
MURPHY: You can lift the stone without being ready for the snake that's revealed.
BRANAGH: We have to make the politicians understand this isn't a new weapon, it's a new world. I'll be out there doing what I can, but you, you
are an American Prometheus, the man who gave them the power to destroy themselves, and they will respect that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ISAACSON: I love the phrase he uses, you are an American Prometheus. Of course, you title your book that. Tell me why, being a Prometheus, does
that turn him into somebody who fights on the public policy front?
BIRD: Well, Prometheus, of course, is the Greek God who gives a fire to man, stealing it from Zeus, giving it man. And then Zeus punishes him for
doing this, and this is exactly what happened to Oppenheimer. He gave mankind atomic fire. And then, nine years later, he was publicly humiliated
and sort of tarred and feathered in this kangaroo court because of his policy differences with the defense establishment.
ISAACSON: Something very poignant at the end of the movie, sorry about the spoiler alert, but after they tested and it works, Oppenheimer starts to
think, maybe we were right. We set ourselves on a path to destroy the world. What did he mean by that?
BIRD: Well, he means that he has given us fire, atomic fire, and the story is not finished. You know, will humanity survive the atomic age? Well,
we're not sure. We still have weapons of mass destruction. We are still coping with living with the bomb. Just look at the war in Ukraine, where
Mr. Putin has threatened to use tactical nuclear weapons. So, it's a question mark. I think this film is so very relevant to our times.
ISAACSON: It's partly relevant to our times because we keep unleashing new technologies and we don't worry about them quite as much as Oppenheimer and
Einstein worried about having unleashed the bomb. For example, this comes just as we are debating artificial intelligence. Did you think there was
some connection to sort of how we were going to deal with our technologies?
BIRD: Oh, absolutely. And, you know, we're a society drenched in science and technology. And yet, we don't seem to have many scientific gurus
around, scientists who are public intellectuals, who can get up and explain, again, in plain English the choices, the policy choices. You know,
we need to figure out how to integrate these technologies, particularly something as revolutionary as artificial intelligence, into a humane
And I think part of the Oppenheimer story, and it comes across in the film brilliantly, is that what happened to Oppenheimer in 1954, the public
humiliation of America's greatest scientist, sent an unfortunate message to all scientists to be aware of becoming a public intellectual, beware of
getting out of your narrow lane and talking about politics or policy because you could be tarred and feathered like Robert Oppenheimer was in
ISAACSON: Let's explain exactly what that problem was in terms of the loyalty and the security clearance. It was because people were very afraid
that the Russians had suddenly gotten a bomb and actually correctly, they had gotten it from a spy at Los Alamos, Klaus Fuchs. Not somebody
Oppenheimer had hired, but this was a real scare and possibility.
Oppenheimer had been -- his brother had been in the communist party, he had been generally sympathetic, never a party member. Explain that to us.
BIRD: Yes, it's complicated. You know, they used the fact that he had been a man of the left. He'd been pinko (ph) but not red. He had been
sympathetic to some of the communist parties' activities, like the desegregation of a public swimming pool in Berkeley and raising money to
send an ambulance to the Spanish republic cause during the Spanish civil war.
And so, they used the fact that he had given money to the communist party, although he had never joined it himself, to bring him down in 1954. But
their real concern was not that he was a security risk or even a spy, there is no real evidence of that, but their real concern was that here, the
father of the atomic bomb, beginning in 1945, just months after Hiroshima, had begun speaking out against reliance on these weapons. And specifically,
after 1949 when the Russians acquired an atomic bomb, he spoke out against the development of the hydrogen bomb, the super bomb.
And this was a threat to the budgets of the Defense Department, the budget of the air force and the navy who wanted to spend more money on these
weapons. So, the father of the atomic bomb, Oppenheimer, was becoming a threat to their budgets, and this was the real motivation to bring him
down, his policy differences with the national security establishment.
ISAACSON: One of the most interesting scenes, both in your book and in the movie, and I'll say in the movie, it's exactly the way it is in your book,
is when Oppenheimer decides he has to go see President Harry Truman. And he says, I've got blood on my hands, Oppenheimer says. And Truman gets mad.
Explain that to us and what Truman ends up saying.
BIRD: Well, Oppenheimer went into the Oval Office with an agenda, he wanted to take advantage of this one moment, his meeting with the
president, to explain his worries about the bomb and how to contain it. He wanted to make the argument for international control, for coming to some
kind of arms control agreement with the Russians, and not to have an arms race.
And before he can make the argument really, Truman interrupts him and says, so, Dr. Oppenheimer, when do you think the Russians are going to get this
weapon? And Oppenheimer replies, well, I'm not sure. But in a few years. And Truman again interrupts and says, no, I know, never. They're never
going to get it.
And at that moment, Oppenheimer understands that the president of the United States does not understand that there are no secrets, that the
physics is known by everyone and that it's a simple engineering problem. And that any country, however poor, with whatever resources, can indeed
build these weapons. And of course, the Russians are going to get it.
You know, they did have some spies at Los Alamos who helped them along early on, but at some point, the Russians were going to develop these
weapons. And so, out of frustration, Oppenheimer turns to Harry Truman and says, sir, you don't understand, I have blood on my hands. And of course,
this is exactly the wrong thing to tell Harry Truman, the man who made the decision to drop two such weapons on two Japanese cities. And so, he
becomes very offended, the meeting ends abruptly. And as Oppenheimer walks out, as you see this in the film, it's -- as it's portrayed directly from
the book, Truman says to one of his aides, I don't ever want to see that crybaby scientist ever again, and he never did.
ISAACSON: Tell me about Oppenheimer conflicted feelings on whether or not we should drop the bomb, and whether your feelings, I've read about you
over the years dealing with this issue, whether dropping the bomb by Harry Truman but also all the scientists there was the right decision.
BIRD: So, Oppenheimer, he didn't actually select the target of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but he knew that the weapon was so large that it needed --
that the only -- it needed a large target, and that meant a city, not a military installation, not a battleship, it needed a whole city.
And he was very ambivalent. On the one hand, he was extremely aware of the tragic human consequences this was going to be used on whole city in which
most of the victims are going to be civilians. And yet, he was convinced of Niels Bohr's argument.
When he arrived in Los Alamos on the last day of 1943, Niels Bohr, the great Danish physicist said, Robert, I have one question for you. Is it big
enough? Is the bomb big enough so that humanity will understand that it can no longer fight wars? Will it end all wars? And Oppenheimer convinced
himself that, you know, the weapon had to be demonstrated in this war, on a target, so that people would understand its horrible destructiveness. And
therefore, the next war would not be fought with -- by two adversaries, both of whom would be armed with nuclear weapons, and that would, of
course, be Armageddon. So, it's a very complicated, even philosophical argument --
ISAACSON: And how do you feel now, because it's been almost 80 years? And in some ways, the Niels Bohr, Oppenheimer argument, that if we use it, it
will be so terrible, we'll never use something like this again, has held true for 80 years. Also, we wake up in the morning and think, maybe Putin
is going to do something. Have do you feel the resolution is so far?
BIRD: Well, it's a gamble, isn't it? And yes, it's true, we have not fought a war like World War II. We fought little wars like Vietnam and
Korea with great casualties, but we haven't use nuclear weapons again. We haven't had total warfare as we did in World War II. So, maybe Niels Bohr
and Oppenheimer were right.
On the other hand, in the course of human history, it seems the odds are that these weapons will be used again unless we do it Oppenheimer
suggested, which was to essentially ban them and create an international atomic authority that would have the ability to monitor and inspect every
laboratory, every factory everywhere in the world to make sure that no one is building these weapons. You know, he was trying to make the argument
that we need to control this technology.
So, coming back again to artificial intelligence, I think if he was with us today, he would be making the same argument, that we need to understand the
consequences, socially, for society of artificial intelligence and regulate it. And he would be making the same argument today, he'd be appalled that
we had an arms race. He'd be appalled that Mr. Putin is threatening tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, and he'd be very fearful, as I am
today, that someday we might actually see another nuclear war fought.
Maybe not between Russia and America, but between Pakistan and India. You know, they're both nations who are enemies and they're both armed with
nuclear weapons. So, I don't know. The story is not over. And it could still end badly.
ISAACSON: Kai Bird, thank you so much for doing this.
BIRD: Thank you, Walter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Such an interesting conversation. And finally, after five months raising baby seahorses, marine scientists have successfully released
a record number of the endangered species into Sydney Harbour.
380 white seahorses will now be monitored and live in their custom seahorse hotel at Chowder Bay. Yes, there is such a thing, apparently. Male
seahorses can birth up to 2,000 babies at a time but have a very low chance of survival.
The scientists were able to achieve a 90 percent survival rate by setting the temperature above 73 degrees Fahrenheit and feeding them brine shrimp.
There are already plans for another released next year.
I could just watch this video all day. Well, that is it for us for now. Thank you so much for watching and goodbye from New York.