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Interview With U.S. Ambassador To Japan Rahm Emanuel; Interview With Former French Secretary Of State For Foreign Affairs And Human Rights And Atlantic Council Africa Center Senior Director Rama Yade; Interview With Cherokee Nation Congressional Delegate Designee Kimberly Teehee. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 05, 2023 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAHM EMANUEL, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO JAPAN: Russia's attempt at building an empire has become dependent on North Korea
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The American ambassador in Japan, Rahm Emanuel, tells me any arms deal with North Korea should be an embarrassment for Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRICE OLIGUI NGUEMA, GABONESE INTERIM PRESIDENT (through translator): I solemnly undertake on my honor to do my utmost to achieve national unity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: -- as Gabon's military takes office, Correspondent David McKenzie reports on the raft of recent African coups and I speak to senior director
of the Atlantic Council's Africa Center, Rama Yade.
Also, ahead --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIMBERLY TEEHEE, CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATE DESIGNEE, CHEROKEE NATION: The delegate of the Cherokee nation isn't about me, it's about the United
States keeping its word and honoring a treaty right and giving some measure of justice to those who lost their lives so long ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: -- fighting to make historical promise reality. Michel Martin speaks to Kimberly Teehee, the native American activist hoping to become
the first congressional delegate for the Cherokee nation.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The White House is publicly revealing intelligence that suggests the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un could meet President Putin soon. The
administration says Moscow is trying to drum up weapons and ammunition for its war in Ukraine.
On the other hand, Putin will not be meeting with G2 partners, world leaders who are gathering this weekend at a summit in India. And it is
widely expected the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, will also not attend. A stark reminder of the world's existing tensions and hardening divisions.
U.S. ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel is at the center of American policy in the Indo-Pacific region. He was also at Camp David when President Biden
hosted a rare gathering with leaders of Japan and South Korea last month. All designed to strengthen this alliance and deter serious challenges from
China and Russia. I spoke to Ambassador Emanuel earlier from Tokyo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Ambassador Emanuel, welcome to the program.
EMANUEL: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, look, the big news out of your region -- well, actually, from Washington affecting your region is that it appears the U.S. believes Kim
Jong-Un will be making a visit to President Putin, unknown date or place, but nonetheless, around the idea of potentially Putin getting more weapons
or ammunition for the war in Ukraine. From your perspective as ambassador to Japan and in that Pacific region, what do you make of that?
EMANUEL: Well, first of all, I mean, I think a couple things I would take out of this. If you think, which put aside the fact that this war is an
illegal illegitimate war, the entire endeavor here for Russia was to reestablish its empire, and this empire now is dependent on North Korea,
it's dependent on Iran, two isolated countries, two countries that are seen as pariahs, that tells you how much of a failure this war is.
Second point is both for North Korea, for Russia, also for China and Iran, they're all -- they have a genuine characteristics they share. One of
economic origin, one of aggression and one of repression at home. And all three -- four countries also share characteristics people are trying to
flee them. Their own people are trying to flee them.
And so, I do think at a fundamental level, while not helpful, not good for the embargo and the isolation we want of Russia, Russia's attempt at
building an empire is become dependent on North Korea. I think that says it all. There's not really much to add to that.
AMANPOUR: So -- but let's just drill down a little bit because when you analyze it, and I hear exactly what you're saying, does it seem to you and
to the United States and maybe to the Japanese government, the South Koreans, et cetera, your allies that it means that Russia is running out of
weapons or ammunition or something like that? And is it potentially dangerous in a weapons way for the United States and for this war?
EMANUEL: It's not welcome, but it's a clear seen when Russia, "an empire, a nuclear power," is dependent on North Korea for the very weapons. It does
mean the embargo is having an impact. Is it seal-proof? No. But it does mean that this has to -- you have to think about it this way, Russia had to
cross a lot of psychological, political and economic kind of thresholds to get to a place they had it publicly, and they haven't yet acknowledged it,
but we have done our job to expose it, that they dependent on North Korea.
There's hundreds of countries in the world that this is what the Russian empire, the endeavor of this war, it has a political implication at home
for Russia, for Putin, specifically, that you are now not the sponsor of North Korea, North Korea is your weapon supplier.
Think of the flip of that, what that means politically, diplomatically, economically and the consequences of that. Now, it is not welcome, but it
is a sign that the embargo is effective and working.
AMANPOUR: So, can I ask you then, because obviously China is involved too. China has a certain friendly relationship with Russia. Does this grouping,
this alliance pose a threat to the United States and its western allies, China, North Korea, Russia and whoever else, Iran?
EMANUEL: I'm not sure I would call it an alliance. What we have in the United States is allies and alliances, it's built on trust, built on common
interests and more importantly, common values. This a kind of like an agreement among players that are isolated in the world. And I really do
think the characteristics that define them and unite them are one of aggression, oppression and coercion. That does unite them.
And it also is a telling sign, now that those characteristics unite them, that the people in their own countries. I mean, remember, think about this,
Iran is literally coming up with the -- one-year anniversary where they're scared of their own people because they were killing their own people who
were literally trying to stand up for freedom. You have kids fleeing both St. Petersburg, Moscow, Beijing and Shanghai. And also, in North Korea.
That is a telling sign.
And I think sometimes those of us in the West, included myself, you, we forget how powerful a seductive force freedom is. Now, this is not a
welcome sign, this alliance, because we -- you think our embargo is having an impact on Russia's ability to wage a war, that said, it is a major,
major political embarrassment for Russia to be not the sponsor of North Korea but dependent on North Korea for the military capacity. That is not
where a super power wants to be.
AMANPOUR: So, let me talk about the country to which you are ambassador. You have recently said that this relationship, you know, in all its
dimensions is going from alliance protection to alliance projection. Tell me what you mean by that.
EMANUEL: Well, because it wasn't always just about alliance protection. And now, it's about alliance protection. A protection of those interests, those
values and working in unison and combination. And one example of that is when it came to the March 3rd vote in 2022 in the United Nations condemning
Russia's invasion and illegitimate illegal invasion of Ukraine, Japan got on the phone with the ASEAN countries and helped produce eight out of 10 of
the ASEAN countries to vote to condemn Russia. Four of them were co- sponsors.
Cambodia was one of those country. Cambodia is actually actively involved in helping Ukraine on minesweeping. That is alliance projection. It wasn't
like that 30, 40 years ago. It's a relationship also, when we say projection, when Japan decided to increase their defense budget from 1
percent to 2 percent of GDP, becoming the third largest budget with what I add is a capitol deed to deterrence, not militarily alone, diplomatically,
developmentally wise, as well as in defense spending.
That to me is what defines alliance projection into the region. And it's also when we we're working on the trilateral that was recently held in Camp
David, that too is taking the risk, taking -- going a little farther to help project a more unified, collaborative and cooperative relationship
into the region and a set of values. So, it's not just the United States the but it's the United States with the corn in the realm, its allies by
AMANPOUR: So, you mentioned that very important Camp David meeting and the accords, you know, several administrations have tried to get these, you
know, historic -- not adversaries maybe, but, you know, there's certainly animosity that lingers between South Korea and Japan. And this kind of
meeting that you've all got together has not been able to be achieved really in this way before.
How -- why do you think and what was the reason that it's worked out this time? Is it a threat from Russia? Is it a threat from China? What is it?
EMANUEL: Well, I would make three points that are think are really, really important. Put aside and blow all the smoke aside. The politics in this
region are pretty straightforward, from our perspective, the United States. We are a permanent Pacific power and presence, and you can bet long on
America. China? We're the rising power, they're the declining power, you either get in line or you're going to get it. That's it.
And China's entire -- one China's core principal strategies is that the United States and its allies cannot get on the same page and work unison.
That changed fundamentally the region after Camp David because of the president's leadership.
Second product of that that I think is really important is when you have trust, like President Biden has built with allies, trust also that they
have in the United States and in particular, a person in the Oval Office, they won't do the bare minimum, they'll go a little farther. And that is
what happened with Japan and Korea in their trust of the United States and specifically President Biden. They went farther because they changed
And then, third, I think this is a really valid point in my view, that sometimes gets lost. I think you could agree with me that given the war in
Russia -- rather in Ukraine, the first war since World War II in Europe. You have a very dark moment. You have an attempt, that I think in this
particular case, where Putin is basically chasing Peter the Great and Catherine the Great in the 17th and 18th century, and he's caught by the
ghost and he's caught by history in the past.
The president -- we have a complicated history with Japan and Korea individually. They have a complicated history. But neither one of the
leaders decided to get caught by the past, but more importantly, try to make something of the future. And in this period of darkness, I think Camp
David not only is strategically important, diplomatically important, but I think it stand as a symbol of where dialogue and diplomacy can be
successful rather than the war, where the future is more alluring and more seductive than were in the past gets you caught up.
And I specifically say it because not only is Russia caught in the past, China this weekend, Christiane, put a map out of their view of the world
and the region, specifically that Vietnam, the Philippines, India, even Russia and Brunei all complained about.
So, if you're going to chase the 17th and 18th century, do it on your dime and don't involve everybody else. They have a vision of the South China Sea
touches Vietnam. It touches the Philippines. They have a vision of also the border with India, island dispute with Russia, view of the South China Sea
that Brunei also and others don't -- do not agree with Indonesia. Everybody complained. And it's a vision that comes from the Qing dynasty of 17th and
18th century. It's caught in the past. It is not looking at projecting for the future.
And I do think that Camp David is a contrast point both on values, interest and how you proceed forward, one built on allies, alliances. And again, I
want to say this, America has a complicated history with Japan. We have a complicated history with Korea. Korea and Japan have a complicated history.
We did not let the historical facts and background capture or hold us captive to a different future. And one in which both diplomacy and dialogue
is better than the one that you're seeing play out in Ukraine or possibly play out in the South China Sea.
There is no neighbor to China right now. The Indian border, conflict. Philippines, hitting their coast guard constantly. There is no -- in the
South China Sea, the resources or Korea, there is no country in the region. They haven't had -- tried to apply economic coercion or has some form of
military or otherwise type of confrontation. And the map is an example of that. And that tells you one of the reasons why the countries of this
region want the United States in this region, both militarily, politically, diplomatically, economically because they do not want to untether China
running around, claiming areas that are not theirs.
AMANPOUR: This is the context in which the U.S., China and Pacific, you know, activity is happening now. You're right there. And I don't know what
you make, but in the last several weeks there has been a slew of articles written, mostly in the United States, and in the West, about actually the
manifest weakness of China at the moment.
The economic boom that they hope for after COVID has not transpired. They are in ill health economically. They have a terrible youth unemployment
spike. I mean, it's really bad. They're not even putting out the figures. It's that bad.
EMANUEL: China has economic weaknesses and vulnerabilities, mainly because of what Xi has done.
EMANUEL: Every one of those, whether it's the housing issue, the dead overhang, and a lot of people think that youth unemployment is closer to 30
to 35 percent, which I want to remind everybody in America, that means the youth -- full youth unemployment rate in China is far worse than you'll see
in any economically stressed area of America urban area. As a former mayor I will tell you.
That -- and when a country with a one child policy, that means one-third of your mothers are really, really upset. And it is an economic -- one-third
unemployment of youth in China is a consequence of all of Xi's economic policy.
EMANUEL: What he did to the private sector, what he's done to the housing sector, what he's done to the educational sector has led to this tremendous
unemployment. And it's a tinder box, politically, because if you go to 1990, the youth led the protests, Tiananmen Square, the youth led the
protest. Hong Kong, the youth led the protest. Post COVID, the youth led the protest. One out of three of your youth are unemployed, have given up.
And their strategy is to yell at them that they don't -- are not working hard enough.
And all of these economic liabilities that are now accumulating collectively in China are all the result of a policy that Xi adopted. He
turned his back on the international economic system that he could have been a part of, that was successful for the last 30 years. And now, the
country of China and the people of China are bearing the brunt of Xi's policies and consequences of those policies. Simple as that.
What we have done, and I think the president has led that effort here in the region, is build allies and alliances in collective interest. That's --
you saw it most glaringly during the Camp David process and putting together three countries that all produce this year national security
documents that are incredibly complementary about a set of ideals on freedom, rules and law, not one person's authoritarian rule and decision to
use raw exercise power rather than uphold the rules-based system.
China, when they were a part of international system, succeeded. China, when they turned their back on the international system, is failing, full
AMANPOUR: So --
EMANUEL: And that's a decision Xi has made.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let's take that given, as you say. So, what should the U.S. be doing? Is it hard ball or is it an attempt? Because of weak China,
certainly economically is not great for the United States or any other part of the world.
EMANUEL: Let me -- that's a fair question, but I actually think it's, if I could, not complete. You never, ever go to do and say one thing to
(INAUDIBLE). You have many tools in the tool box. There's sometimes, you're going to work together. Other times you're going to say, here are the
lines, you don't cross the lines.
When you clearly always develop, there's a clear strategy, as it relates to China, one that is deterrence. I also think back in the United States, too
often, too frequently, deterrence is only defined by your military power. I think what was accomplished at Camp David is part of deterrence. And a
growing economy in the United States that's investing in a strong robust economy that is basically the marvel of world right now, that's deterrence.
Your allies willing to join with you, that the deterrence. Making sure you're investing in part of the region, helping it grow economically being
part of that, that's deterrence. Deterrence involves all your assets of resources, not just one slipper.
Is the military component of it strong and an important part? Yes. Is it -- does it define deterrence alone? Absolutely not. Trust me what happened in
Camp David made China think twice. What we're doing when we just recently, two weeks ago, the United States, Japan and Australia, with the -- in the
Philippines and the South China Sea having a coast guard exercise, was that part of deterrence? Absolutely. Was the economic engagement that we do in
this region and our investments and development? That's also deterrence.
And when you take the full scope in it one of the things that China can't stand is that America has allies that will stand by them. When you think
about this region, in the last six months, they've had two border conflicts with India, multiple conflicts with the Philippines in the South China Sea,
they've harassed Australia on economic coercion and harassed their military boats and used military boats to get close to their shore, they've done it
to us, they've done it to Canada on a sense of surveillance over the Taiwan Straits, there's nobody they're not fighting with.
And that tells you why the countries of this region -- and in a couple weeks from now, the president will be in Vietnam, the countries of this
region are desperate for America's political, diplomatic, economic and military leadership because they think it's the best not only counterweight
for China, they also think it's the right thing for their own future of their people.
AMANPOUR: Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, thank you so much for joining us.
EMANUEL: Thank you
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that is America's view from the Indo-Pacific. But China and Russia are also challenging western influence on all those topics that you
heard from Ambassador Emanuel in Africa. But it is the legacy of French colonial power that's under the spotlight there now more.
In Gabon, yesterday, the leader of the military Junta was sworn in as president. According to "The Economist," since the year 2000, 16 out of 24
successful coups in Africa have been in francophone countries. But each one is unique as Correspondent David McKenzie now reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI BONGO ONDIMBA, GABONESE PRESIDENT: I'm Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): An extraordinary plea for international help. The ousted president of Gabon, Ali Bongo, under house
ONDIMBA: To tell them to make noise, to make noise for the people here have arrested me.
MCKENZIE (voiceover): The noise was not enough. On Monday, the new military leader sworn in.
I solemnly undertake on my honor to do my utmost to achieve national unity, says Gabon's Junta leader.
MCKENZIE: Is there a fear that there is contagion happening here?
CAMERON HUDSON, SENIOR ASSOCIATE, CSIS: Well, I don't think it's a fear of contagion, there is contagion.
MCKENZIE (voiceover): It's just the latest domino to fall. In just three years, a cascade of military takeovers spreading across west and now
Central Africa. Most of them former French colonies, but each with a specific cocktail of grievances over security, corruption, and a lack of
HUDSON: This is a wave who has -- whose time has not yet crested. I think we're going to see several more of these in the coming months and years
before we see a kind of return to what we thought was a normal state in the kind of post-Cold War era.
MCKENZIE (voiceover): The condemnations have been universal. The impact minimum. African and western powers face a dilemma. In Niger, there is
apparent popular support for the coup and deep anger towards France. Plans for regional military intervention have stalled.
French counter terror forces have withdrawn from two of the countries. The position in Niger is tenuous at best. At stake in Niger for the U.S.,
multimillion-dollar drone bases critical in fighting extremist groups. The State Department is treading carefully.
VEDANT PATEL, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We continue to advocate for a diplomatic solution that respects constitutional order in Niger.
MCKENZIE (voiceover): In Gabon, state media showed off bags of cash. They say they were found at the son of the president's home and at the home of
another official. CNN couldn't independently verify these images.
For more than 50 years Omar Bongo and his son Ali Bongo ran this oil rich nation. Much of their wealth was kept in France.
Most young Gabonese, young and old, had only known the rule of Bongo family and its cronies.
CHRIS FOMUNYOH, NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTE FOR INTERNAL AFFAIRS: So, for them, the military coup in the short-term looks much better than anything
that they've been living through. And one can understand that boost of immediate support. And what the military and various mercenary groups bring
to the continent is less opportunities for freedom, for democracy, than more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: David McKenzie reporting there from South Africa. Now, for more on this, I'm joined by Rama Yade, senior director for the Atlantic Council
Africa Center and she's also a former French secretary for foreign affairs and human rights. Welcome to the program, Rama Yade. Thanks for being with
RAMA YADE, FORMER FRENCH SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Hello.
AMANPOUR: So, I guess first and foremost, since you're a former French minister, I'm going to ask you this question, why is it that it seems that
France's power is being so front and center challenged there right now? We'll get into numbers of the coups and the places, but what is your first
reaction to that?
YADE: Yes. It seems that the military power is they exchange the recipe of the best coup in Africa with each other. I have visited most of these
countries when I was secretary in charge of foreign affairs and human rights in France, that's true. But it's not surprising that most of this
coup happened in ex-French colonies. There are many regimes of that.
First, there is some postcolonial grievances about the old French presence in of these countries. And, you know, that when they left, after the
independent days, they maintained military bases and defense bases in these countries. Economically speaking, it's the same with the franc CFA
(ph),that is currency of most of those countries. And these people want to be really independent actually. And there is also a failure when it comes
to the fight against the jihadist movements in the Sahelian countries.
And I think that all these regions brought together, explain why you have these anti-French sentiments. And there's also, on the political side,
questions about the French style democratic culture. Because on the one hand, the French government stands for democracy in Niger, but meantime,
France supports countries like Chad with its family's transition or even Gabon, what's going on right now with the possibility to discuss with the
new -- the coup leaders in --
YADE: -- Gabon too.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let's focus on Gabon, because the military junta hunter leader, who was head of presidential guard, was sworn in. Now, he says
interim president -- and this is what he said during his swearing in. We will play his speech, a little bit of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRICE OLIGUI NGUEMA, GABONESE INTERIM PRESIDENT (through translator): The dissolution of the institutions of the republic is temporary. The aim is to
reorganize them to make more democratic tool, more in line with international standards in terms of respect for human rights, fundamental
freedoms, democracy and the rule of law. But also, in the fight against corruption, which has become commonplace in our country, money laundering
and above all, the preservation of the environment, which is a battle dear to our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, he said that when he took power, but he said the same things about human rights in his fancy red outfit when he was sworn in yesterday.
The question is, do you believe it? I mean, since when has a leader of a military coup actually followed through on delivering either economic
success or human rights success or any of the things that the people, I guess, legitimately feel that they want?
YADE: Yes, that was a very quick swearing in on Monday, in order, I guess, to legitimate his power very quickly but also to reassure the business
community in the country. And that's why it happened less than one week from ousting Omar Bongo -- Ali Bongo, the former Gabonese president. But it
was a weird swearing in for (INAUDIBLE).
First, because he did that in front of a packed room of former officials of Gabon who seemed happy to be there. Two, the second reason is, the new
president of the transition is a member of the oligarchy. He used to be -- he is the cousin of the former and deposed president, Ali Bongo.
And three, you're right. There is a major actor everybody skips here, it's the opposition. The main opposition, Albert Ondo. He claims the power after
the recent presidential election in Gabon, and he questions the outcome, the results these elections. But nobody cares about him. He doesn't seem to
matter for the International Community.
But when it comes to democracy, the opposition should be at the heart of the conversations right now, which is not the case. And same in the other
countries where coup happened. So, there is -- there's absolutely something we're here. And you're right, we are not familiar with successful agendas
when it comes to development or even restoring democracy in the country.
AMANPOUR: So, let's talk about democracy, because, you know, it's been pointed out that what happened in Gabon may be different to what happened
in Niger. And in fact, I had the opportunity to speak with the E.U. high representative for foreign and security affairs, Josep Borrell, this week
about it. And he basically said not all coups are equal. This is what he said. I'd like your reaction afterwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEP BORRELL, E.U. HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: It was an institutional coup, because the elections were stolen, because the election
had so many pitfalls that it was also seizing the power illegitimate. No military coup is a solution, but no military coup is equal to the other.
And each has to be judged according with the circumstance. I cannot say that Gabon was a full democracy with the family ruling the country for the
last 50 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, what do you make of that, basically suggesting that Niger was more democratic, Gabon, obviously, wasn't and therefore, you know, you
can't make the judgments?
YADE: It's the same trend, obviously, but it's not the same kind of coup. That's right. It seems that for Gabon, after seeing that it was so easy to
make a coup, despite the -- you know, the protests coming from the original and international organizations, the coup leaders are still there in Niger,
in Mali, in Burkina Faso, so then it's pretty different. But they are still there.
And then, this easy way to succeed in making this coup may be -- may have encouraged the people you see on your screens to do their coup. But even if
it's the same trend, it's not the same really in Gabon. Gabon is a rich oil emirate and petrol state, first. Two, it's in Central Africa. There's no
jihadists there. It's not about losing the control of the country. So, it's very different.
And I think that the two main common points beyond this jihadist movement that threaten the Sahelian countries, you have first the easy way, the coup
happened previously, encouraged this coup leaders in Gabon to do the same.
And the second reason is what we just mentioned, the presence of the former French colonial power and the fact that the population is fed up with under
development. And in Gabon, you know that even if it's a rich oil country, the people lives -- the majority of the people lives under the line of
poverty. So, that is something that matters a lot.
But it does not mean that the protesters you see celebrating the new masters of Libreville, the population supports them. In fact, they are
happy to get rid of the former power, you know, because the Bongo family has been running Gabon for 56 years.
YADE: It's a lot. And -- but it doesn't mean that they agree with what the junta or the new masters of Libreville do.
YADE: As you -- as we said previously, it's not -- the problem is how to fight against poverty, how to restore democracy. And to do that, I think
it's more than seizing the power that is important here.
AMANPOUR: So, it's been said that there should be an African solution for this African problem. So, what can the main groupings, whether it's ECOWAS,
whether it's the African Union, whatever it might be, what can they do, because they don't seem to be being listened to at all by the coup leaders?
YADE: Yes. You know, Africa has changed. Africans have changed a lot. Even if we are here talking about poor countries for the Sahel and weak
governments, we have a very strong civil society empowered by social media. Nothing can be -- can remain hidden. And people are aware of double
standards. They are aware of cheap standards and they demand more than ever.
And beyond the poor Sahel, you have many countries, you have 55 countries in Africa, and most of them are experiencing a new reality. You know that
beyond this coup and these difficult and challenging situations, Africa is rising on the global stage, you know, with these high labels of growth
rate, economically speaking. The continent is building the largest free trade area in the world. And you have this global -- this competition
between global powers, that includes Russia, China and also the U.S. on the continent.
So, that said, the original organizations in Africa are struggling because, of course, there is a challenge because of these double standards. How can
you say that you are going to intervene in Niger because of the coup but you don't do the same in Gabon?
YADE: What is the difference between the two situations? That is a question this civil societies could ask to themselves and to these original
AMANPOUR: And lastly, you know, the former French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, has basically said, symbolically and politically,
this situation marks as strong decline for France, and unfortunately, there's a risk things will deteriorate.
And I could say the same thing about concerns for influence of West, like America seems to be being over-- out influenced by Russia and China in
Africa. What does this mean for relations between the West and Africa?
YADE: You know, the -- Africans are hungry for change. And obviously, no matter how, and on the one hand, we noticed it's -- they're willingness to
oust the former colonial powers, power in France, for example, that's true. And it -- what is happening right now with the coup marks the end of an
area for France.
But on the other hand, you have a vacuum.
YADE: The other global powers wants to fill. The U.S. first tried to decouple its strategy from the French policy to Africa.
YADE: That's what we can see in Niger. You know, the U.S. have sent a new ambassador in Niamey, while French didn't want to speak to the new junta
and there is some frictions between the two allies. Similarly, you have China. China is the first trading partner of African countries, including
YADE: We just mentioned. And Russia is -- tries to seize opportunities when it's possible.
YADE: In the past month, it was with Wagner, of course. Wagner tried to work with Mali and other Sahelian countries in the fight against jihadist.
AMANPOUR: All right.
YADE: And of course, with what's going on in Moscow right now between --
YADE: -- you know, Wagner and Putin, it's more complicated.
AMANPOUR: Yes. OK.
YADE: But I am sure that the Russians will do their best to maintain their influence on the African continent, and especially in the West.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Rama Yade, thank you so much for that analysis.
Now, In the United States, the Cherokee nation is fighting for a centuries- old promise to finally be upheld. The same treaty that forced them to give up their land in 1835 also promised them the right to have representation
Kimberly Teehee, has been designated the first Cherokee nation delegate, but she is still waiting to be seated in the House of Representatives. And
she's joining Michel Martin to explain the significance of the treaty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, JOURNALIST: Thanks, Christiane. Delegate Teehee, thank you so much for joining us.
TEEHEE: Thank you for having me.
MARTIN: You've had a distinguished career as an advocate, as an activist. But before we get into that, can I just ask you, if you don't mind, like
when you were growing up, what were you told about your heritage, do you remember?
TEEHEE: You know, I was born in Chicago. You know, and let me tell you why, because this has bearing on your question. Because my parents participated
in a federal Indian relocation program. It was a program designed to acculturate and assimilate the Indian behind this notion of kill the
Indians, save the man. So, assimilate them into mainstream society, culture -- you know, culture and -- was so connected to us.
But my parent were relocated to Chicago, where I was born. And that policy underestimated the attachments that Cherokees have to their communities,
that native Americans have to their communities. So, the failure of that policy is when you look back, you know, to where you came from. So, we
moved back to Oklahoma when I was a young girl. And I didn't know any different. My -- both of my parents, I'm still blessed to have them, spoke
Cherokee before they spoke English. They're fluent (INAUDIBLE) with Cherokee speakers. And they were raised on their Cherokee land allotments.
They both went to Cherokee boarding school.
I grew up in a household that spoke Cherokee. Grandparents only spoke Cherokee. Churches with a sermon was just in Cherokee. You know, we
participated in our dances. We use our Cherokee traditional spiritual leaders for medicine but also the spiritual aspect of it. We also went to
church. And so, I've lived in this duality all my life and I don't know any different.
And so, it's -- you know, and even when I went through school, my parent, you know, often sent me to Cherokee nation for internships, for all kinds
of youth programs so that I would stay immersed in my culture and my heritage, because those things would otherwise not be provided to me in the
public school system.
MARTIN: You've been designated by the Cherokee nation as the congressional delegate designee. And the treaty that led to the removal of the Cherokee
people from their traditional lands to what is now the Cherokee nation also included the provision that there'd be a delegate, a nonvoting delegate to
the United States Congress. What do you know about how that came about?
TEEHEE: Well, in the 19th century, it's important to know that the United States relationship with the Cherokee nation was pretty rocky with western
expansion, with cotton, gold, there was great pressure put upon the United States to use its treaty making authority to remove the Indians who were in
the way of those expansion efforts and goals of the United States.
And so, there was this small faction of Cherokee who illegally signed this treaty with the United States. The treaty which was ultimately ratified by
the Senate and sign by the president of the United States at the time Andrew Jackson. And so, to the United States, it was a very valid treaty.
It's one that's considered the law today, and the United States took the first steps in implementation of that treaty when they forcibly removed our
people, you know, in the Trail of Tears, where a quarter of our population perished, mostly elderly and children.
That's the quickest way I can give you context. But included in that removal treaty was Article 7, this delegate right that you described
MARTIN: And that delegate right has never actually been observed. It's never been respected. So, the removal was respected but seating of the
delegate was not. Which brings us to the current moment. The nation designated you as this person to fill the seat. Why aren't you there?
TEEHEE: Well, I think a part of the history and the story that we talked about earlier was the continuation of the Cherokee nation in rebuilding
mode. It took a really long time to rebuild the nation. And Congress had a role to play here because after removal, Congress kept passing law after
law dismantling the Cherokee nation, requiring allotment of our lands, taking away our ability to be governed by our own laws, even electing our
own chief. It took an act of Congress to give us back that authority to elect our own principal chief for the Cherokee nations in the '70s. That's
in my lifetime, and your lifetime.
And so, if you took -- look back at all that happened to dismantle us and then to rebuild us and to put us in place where we could actually start
focusing on other things, and so, you know, in the '70s, Congress started passing laws called self-determination laws to help tribes with the
resources they need to rebuild a nation, to bring back their home lands, to provide for their citizens. So, it look like with all of that history --
but you also realize, it wasn't until the 2000s that our chief even had the legal authority to appoint a delegate.
And so, I think that's a nod to all the rebuilding that we had done to get to a place where we could finally focus on this treaty right, which is, as
you mentioned, a valid right today.
MARTIN: So, what would it take for you to be seated, as a nonvoting delegate? And by that, I mean, I think for people -- people in certain
parts of country are familiar with this. Residents of the District of Columbia, of Guam, of Puerto Rico, for example, the Virgin Islands, they
have nonvoting delegates but they don't have floor voting rights but they have the right to speak on the floor generally. But the most important
thing is that they have the right to be seated in committee and to vote in committee. What is the importance of that, in your view, to the Cherokee
nation, and frankly, to native people more broadly?
TEEHEE: Well, I think, first of all, let's look at the fact that the treaty is a supreme law of the land. It is the federal law today. And because the
Senate ratified the treaty and because the president signed it into law, seating Cherokee nations delegate only requires house action. The house can
seat the delegate by resolution. Yes, Congress can pass a law to seat the delegate too, but we don't need the Senate to act again because it did that
nearly 200 years ago.
And so, we're seeking similar authorities of the delegates that you just described, the U.S. territories, which, you know, most of the delegates
that we've talked to have expressed support for seating the Cherokee nation delegate. But we're seating -- we're seeking that particular authority
because we do know that even though there are limitations on voting on the house floor and final passage, there is still a great deal that delegates
can do through the deliberative process of the Congress and making sure that, you know, we have a seat at the table and getting laws passed that
impact our communities.
MARTIN: And also, I want to remind people that you have -- you know, you've already been in Washington. I mean, you were -- you had an important
position in the Obama White House. In fact, you were the first person to fulfill this position as kind of a representative of native nations, you
know, more broadly in the White House. Why does that seat in committee, why does that matter so much in your opinion?
TEEHEE: Well, I think a couple reasons. One is representation matters. You know, we're at our best whenever these decision-making bodies actually
reflect the people that they're serving. Number two is that the deliberative process of a bill becoming law is really the behind-the-scenes
action of where things get done. Committee work is so important. You know, being able to introduce legislation, being able to vote in committee, being
able and sit in a committee, and as those bills get deliberate rated on voted on.
You know, and the reason that there's a legal distinction between a delegate and a representative of the house is that final vote on final
passage. Because that final vote means that it can change whatever happened in committee or they can concur with it and move it on.
And so, I think it's a very important process. One that I had the privilege of working on the Hill for so many years and working at myself, and I can
appreciate what all happens in order to get a bill to the floor of house to finally get voted on.
MARTIN: Can you give us a sense of what your top priorities are? If you were to be seated, in the current session, for example, what would some of
your top priorities be?
TEEHEE: The top priority is funding appropriations. Look, the United States has a legal responsibility to Indiana tribes, and a lot of that
responsibility hinges upon federal dollars that they appropriate to tribes.
We live in a constant state of uncertainty because Congress, you know, is often talking about government shutdowns, which are so disruptive to
tribes. When you think about the fact that federal dollars that flow to Indiana tribes, you know, over 90, probably 95 percent of those dollars are
considered discretionary dollars.
It is imperative that we put a mechanism in place that allows for either forward funding to tribes or in some instances, mandatory funding to tribes
so that tribes are not victimized by this process of uncertainty, you know, we're looking at that now when Congress goes back into session in September
as a possible government shutdown. I mean, those impact us severely.
But in addition to that, you know, like other governments, we look at our infrastructure needs, water needs, healthcare needs, education needs, farm
bill needs. And of course, what we remember uniquely about as being Cherokee nation is preserving things like our language, you know, and
getting the resources that are necessary in order to protect and preserve our language.
MARTIN: So, to this question of representation, what do you say those who argue that, in effect, this would give members of the Cherokee nation kind
of double representation? I mean, the residents of the District of Columbia don't -- that's it. They don't have anybody else to represent their
interest, except their elected delegate. Whereas, at least, members of -- you know, people who live on Cherokee nations lands have the elected
representative who already sits in the United States Senate, for example, and a member of Congress.
TEEHEE: Well, I think that, you know, what we say is there's no dual representation violation, because we're seeking to have a delegate seated
in the Congress, not a representative. You're right, we have Cherokee citizens. We have over 460,000 Cherokee citizens in this country. And we
are in every state. And they will still go to their member of Congress for their constituent needs in their Congressional district.
It's important that we understand that this treaty right is Cherokee nation, the government's treaty right. And so, the elected leaders of the
Cherokee nation are who nominated me and confirmed my appointment and my representation of them is to represent the governmental interest of the
nation in the United States Congress. In a lot of ways, it's akin to a U.S. ambassador who represents the interest of the nation before other -- and
So, that's the legal distinction and that's the distinction that I make between Cherokee nations delegate and its role and its representation of
MARTIN: And what do you say -- it's my understanding that there are other bands who claim this delegate right as well. That your band of the Cherokee
nation isn't the only one, that there are other bands who believe that they should have the right to appoint this delegate. How does that get sorted
TEEHEE: You know, you can just look to the treaties themselves. The treaties are between the United States and the Cherokee nation. And we are
the Cherokee nation. We have, throughout time, continuously been considered Cherokee nation, the courts and Congress that have interpreted our treaties
of past that legislated on matters related specifically to Cherokee nation have constantly and consistently always acknowledged that we are the
Cherokee nation that the United States treated with so many years ago and continues to work with today.
And so, for those other tribes that claim to have our treaty right, all I can say is the treaty is with the Cherokee nation. Those two tribes didn't
exist at the time this treaty was signed as their own political entity. And so, they're entitled to their opinion. But we have a duty to correct any
false interpretation of history and law.
MARTIN: I recognize your point is that this treaty specifically designates this seat for members of the Cherokee nation. I mean, that -- what? More
than 500 recognized you know, tribes, you know, in the United States. And I think we can all, you know, recognize that the process by which certain
tribes are recognized and certain were not is arguably racist and flawed.
But even having said that, is there an argument that other tribal nations have about representation? I mean, would you be their representative as
well or not? And is there -- is that -- could that be part of the hold-up that people who belong to other nations feel that perhaps that they are
disadvantaged in a way and that they equally deserve this kind of recognition? Do you understand what I'm saying?
TEEHEE: Yes. Well, certainly, you know, Cherokee nations treaty right is just that, right? We have a treaty that is the law of the land, right? We
also know that there are a couple of other treaties out there that apply to other tribes, one with the Delaware and another tribe the other with
Chickasaw and Chocktaws. So, that there's not going to be a flood gate of tribe seeking to have their treaty right acknowledged.
You know, one of the things that I took away from the hearing in the House Rules Committee last November was when, you know, one of the members on the
Dias (ph) said and observed, you know, consideration of other tribes that may have similar rights, you know, show -- and the examination of those
rights should not in any way delay Cherokee nation's right.
Ours is the most clear language. Why not start with Cherokee nation, the most clear language in the treaty and shatter that glass ceiling and get
MARTIN: I think people forget, perhaps, just how politically diverse native Americans, in general, and Cherokee -- the members of the Cherokee nation
in particular are. There are very some conservative Republicans among your members and some very conservative members of Congress, you know, among
your members, among your enrolled members. And so -- and also, who represent you in other ways. So, what do you think it's going to take to
make this happen?
TEEHEE: Well, I think education. You know, we focused our previous efforts on leadership, on committees, on committee staff. We've had conversations
with the majority caucus, this particular House of Representatives. And they've asked for help to educate members. You know, we -- there's a lot of
messaging that has to take place over and over and over again. And we don't mind telling our story over and over again until it's absorbed, until it's
appreciated and acted upon.
I was able to be mentored by the former chief of the Cherokee nation, Wilma Mankiller. She's a yellow dog Democrat through and through. The most
progressive person that I had ever met in my life at the time. One of her dearest friends is also former chief of the Cherokee nation, who she served
as deputy chief too, Ross Swimmer. He was appointed by Ronald Reagan to be the assistant secretary for Indian affairs.
They had this friendship. He was conservative, staunched Republican and she was this yellow dog Democrat, but they've learned how to work together.
They learned how to work in a bipartisan way, and that's what was taught to me. You know, you might choose a political side, but you have to work on
these issues with both sides of the aisle.
I'm in a red state, you know, as you mentioned, and we have Cherokees who are Republicans, we have Cherokees whose are Democrats and independents. We
have a governor that's a Republican and we have Cherokee citizen who is a U.S. senator right now. And so -- and we work so well with our
congressional delegations especially.
And so, my job will be to continue to work with them and do message to them in a way they can appreciate our issues and to continue to prove that we
work in a bipartisan fashion.
MARTIN: Before we let you go, you said that native people are patient, the members of the Cherokee nation are patient. I guess you'd have to be. But
do you think that you will see a delegate from the Cherokee nation seated in your lifetime? Do you think it will be you?
TEEHEE: I think I will see a Cherokee nation delegate seated in my lifetime. And it doesn't have to be me. But I -- because I will continue to
fight for this. This -- the delegate of the Cherokee nation isn't about me, it's about the United States keeping its word and honoring a treaty right
and giving some measure of justice to those who lost their lives so long ago. And that's much bigger than I could ever possibly be.
And so, if I'm not seated, then I will continue to fight until my last breath to get the Cherokee nation delegate seated, because I think that's
something that the United States owes to us, the Cherokee nation, but also owes to, you know, other tribes across the country, because it says, most
importantly, that the United States keeps its word.
MARTIN: Kim Teehee, thank you so much for talking with us.
TEEHEE: Thank you, Michel.
AMANPOUR: And that's it for now. If you ever miss our show, remember, you can always find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast.
And you can always catch us online, on our website and all-over social media. Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.