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Interview with U.N. Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All Damilola Ogunbiyi; Interview with Council on Foreign Relations President Emeritus and "The Bill of Obligations" Author Richard Haass; Interview with Bloomberg Columnist and Hindustan Times Former Editor-in- Editor Bobby Ghosh; Interview with "America Outdoors" Host Baratunde Thurston. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 06, 2023 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
It's official, this has been the hottest summer on record. As African leaders wrap up their first ever climate summit, I ask Damilola Ogunbiyi,
the U.N. special representative for sustainable energy, if they made progress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Were you afraid you could die?
STEVE NGUGI, RECOVERED FROM MALARIA: Of course, yes. Because my -- the timing I reach the hospital, I couldn't manage to move my head.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: -- a special report on rising temperatures in Kenya creating a malaria crisis.
And China's prime minister warns against a new cold war ahead of G20 summit in India. What we can expect with veteran U.S. diplomat, Richard Haass, and
Bobby Ghosh, former editor-in-chief at one of India's largest papers.
Also, ahead --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now --
BARATUNDE THURSTON, HOST, "AMERICA OUTDOORS": My name is Baratunde Thurston. I'm a writer, sometimes a comedian and I love being outside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: -- a step into the wild. Writer and comedian Baratunde Thurston guides Hari Sreenivasan through his new season of "America Outdoors."
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The summer has seen nations across the world battle wildfires and extreme temperatures. Now, it has dubious distinction of being the world's hottest
summer on record, that's according to the latest European Union data.
Just take a look at this graph that shows the soaring temperature over the past 35 years. In response, the U.N. chief, Antonio Guterres, says this
shows that "Our climate is imploding faster than we can cope with extreme weather events hitting every corner of the planet. Surging temperatures
demand a surge in action," he said.
Now, this comes just as the first ever African climate summit comes to a close, hosted by Kenya and the African Union. The event called for the
establishment of a global carbon tax system. And in a joint declaration called out the world's richest nations saying, Africa is not historically
responsible for global warming, but bears the brunt of its effect, impacting lives, livelihoods and economies.
So, joining me now to discuss all of this from Kenya is Damilola Ogunbiyi. She's the U.N. special representative for Sustainable Energy for All and
she's co-chair of U.N. Energy. So, welcome to the program from Nairobi.
I really -- I guess, I have to ask you first, we've seen many, many talking shops. Year after year, we have pledges, we have the crisis explained, as
the U.S. secretary general did. What is your assessment of this summit? How did it end?
DAMILOLA OGUNBIYI, U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL: Well, thank you for having me on the show to start off with. I think
the summit was a great success. For the first time, we had almost 19 heads of state in Africa coming together to explain the fact that they want to
lead in climate action. I think this is one of the first times we had over 60 ministers saying that we want to grow our economy in a green sustainable
So, the narrative had changed from Africa just being a victim of climate change, which it is, but Africa being the leader in climate action, in
green growth, in manufacturing, using our critical minerals for electric vehicles. So, really, really leading the charge and then asking for the
global audience, which included the U.N. secretary general and also the E.U. president to come on this charge with Africa and have Africa really
the solution provider.
AMANPOUR: So, look, let me go through some of those points then, because yesterday, at the summit, the president of upcoming COP 28, which will be
in the UAE said, we're not delivering the results that we need in the time that we need them. So, how concerned are you by all the numbers we've been
talking about, we can put them up the Copernicus, you know, E.U. graph again showing this, you know, soaring an exponential rise, plus, what we
know what this now to be the hottest summer on record?
OGUNBIYI: I mean, I'm very concerned. The 1.5 degrees has to stay alive, and that's what we're pushing for and that's what was key about this summit
as well, that Africa also has a role to play. But Africa have been least emitting continent also recognizes that it does have solutions to bring to
the table and it should also drive global ambition, but it needs financing to do this. And this financing has to be affordable and has to be
accessible, and that was the whole quarter action in terms of the new architecture and how we have to reform the DFIs and the MDBs to actually
lead this chart.
I mean, what is really important on continent is that this isn't only a climate issue, this is a development issue. And we know on continent that
we have to develop in a green sustainable way. So, this is really a once in a lifetime opportunity to say we do not want to develop like the Global
North, we do not want to develop on fossil fuels, we want to develop on clean energy. We want jobs for our young people with green jobs from the
start, but we need the whole global architecture to support us in doing this.
AMANPOUR: So, you know, you started in your first answer, talking about the many, many African nations that did turn up. But I wonder what you feel
about the very important and resource rich African nations that didn't turn up. So, these would be South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, as well as, you know,
forest rich and mineral rich, resource rich Congo. Nigeria, oil producing countries, says they should be able to use these resources for economic
growth and all the energy access.
So, if these important powerhouses, which they are in Africa, didn't show up, what does that say about Africa's commitment to be part of the solution
not just endlessly a victim, as you put it?
OGUNBIYI: I mean, the heads of states might not have turned up but the ministers were definitely in the room. And it's really important that even
the Nigerians and South Africa are looking at a proper energy transition plan Nigeria does have an energy transition plan. And the former president
has said 2060 to a point of net zero. And this would take a lot because this is the number one country with an energy access issue.
So, one of the things the world recognize here is that, again, it's a development issue. Apart from transitioning, it's very important that
there's still 600 million people on this continent that have no access to electricity at all and over 900 million people that have no access to clean
cooking. So, it's important while we talk about our development, our transition, to really leave no one.
AMANPOUR: And some of the solutions, those were also -- and they are historically, you know, very, very tricky to navigate. For instance, the
President Ruto of Kenya said, it is time to have a global conversation about a carbon tax on polluters.
The U.S. climate czar, John Kerry, said that President Biden has not yet embraced any particular carbon pricing mechanism, whereas the, you know,
president of the European Commission says, setting a price on carbon emissions is one of the most efficient and one of the most effective tools
in our hands.
So, with those important constituents and stakeholders seemingly at odds, what do you see as the likelihood for a carbon tax, for instance?
OGUNBIYI: I mean, I think it's really important that the nations that pollute do pay for it. And it's very, very paramount that you also need
this financing to finance development and climate friendly solutions. So, I don't think that anybody should be let off to continue polluting. I think
we all know we have a 1.5-degree target. We all know we have a net zero target, but if you continuously pollute, I think the G20 countries should
be held to account. And we should see how transparently we can get this done to allow these funds to be needed -- that's critically needed, sorry,
in Africa to be used for development and climate friendly projects.
AMANPOUR: So, you know, western countries and others announced various investments, you know, to Africa during this submit. But again, John Kerry
acknowledged that, you know, there's a huge gap, there's a huge problem because so many African countries are beset by debt. This is some of what
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR CLIMATE: If justice is to mean anything, it certainly has to mean that if there's going to be a
transition, everybody has to be able to share in the benefits of that transition.
Right now, it is clear that you can't talk about a trust transition, about a just transition when some people there's no transition at all. Or when
some people, there is acute unfair debt that swallows and drowns the choices that those countries have to make.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What did you think when you heard that? How important was that statement?
OGUNBIYI: Well, we've all been at this for quite a long time about the debt crisis, and it's critical. Because already governments are strained.
They're already spending a lot of money on adaptation and mitigation in their current budgets. Now, that they're paying so much for debt servicing,
they just don't have the headroom and physical space to also pay for climate. And this is why President Ruto and the presidents that were here
today were like, we have to do something about the debt crisis. And we really have to treat this as a crisis.
If it's a crisis and leaving no one behind and connecting people to energy to live a dignified life is truly a crisis in the world, and you have to
recognize access to energy has to be by 2030, we have to treat it and the financing has to be affordable, has to be accessible and we have to find a
solution to the current debt crisis that a lot of these countries are suffering from.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And as you say, this has been an issue that has plagued this whole, you know, continent, for sure, for decades. So, President Ruto
said and acknowledged that $23 billion in commitments had been made at this summit.
But, you know, you know the continent has heard all of this before. In 2009, as part of COP 15, you know, developed countries committed to
mobilize $100 billion annually in climate finance by 2020. Have they even done that?
OGUNBIYI: No. We have not achieved the $100 billion that we've been asking for and we're really hoping the COP 28 is the turning point. But what we
thought this summit, which I think was exciting, was the number of bilateral agreements that were also sought after and the UAE COP president
did put forward a pledge to install 15 gigawatts of clean energy into the continent by 2030. That's roughly an investment of about 4.5 billion.
But I want to like to put it in context. Today, all the latest figures show in Sub-Saharan Africa, and we only have an installed capacity of 81
gigawatts of energy. So, you can imagine if 15 gigawatts of clean energy comes into the system, how it would transform the system and how it would
like let Africa be a forward thinking voice.
I mean, we've already seen leadership in this country, Kenya, with having over 90 percent of its grid already being supplied by renewal energy. I
think it's important that people should understand they can learn from African countries as well, not just see Africa as a place that they have to
AMANPOUR: So, you know, to that point, Africa, you know, comprises about 17 percent of the world's population and contributes only 4 percent of the
global carbon emissions. Yet, it is the most vulnerable to the effects. Where do you see the light? Apart from what we've just spoken about, the
promises and some of them have been unmet for years, where do you see the light for Africa on this issue?
OGUNBIYI: So, first, you know, in my lifetime I never thought I would see African governments coming together and such a force and saying that they
want to commit to climate ambition. But more importantly, they want to lead the world on climate envision. So, I think that we need to appreciate this
moment that we have right now.
The second part is really with the youth. The entrepreneurial spirit that's going on here, the different kind of innovations that people are coming up
with for energy access, for power supply, for growth, for tech businesses, for climate friendly solutions that's just happening organically because of
the environment that they're in without a lot of funding. You can imagine if we created force of funding to really, really grow this invocation at
scale, we would be able to solve our issues. So, that is the hope that I see from this summit. The youth have had a very, very big voice.
The other hope that I see is just a penetration of renewal energy, really exciting technologies, green manufacturing. You know, here we have, you
know, an electric vehicle bus manufacturing hub. I went to see some e-bikes hubs, you know, in Ghana, we're seeing it in Nigeria, we're seeing it. So,
people are doing things organically to -- and the private sector is driving it to actually go away from harmful fossil fuels because they know it's not
sustainable for their environment or their economies.
AMANPOUR: Damilola Ogunbiyi, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us.
As we've discussed, global warming is disproportionally hitting areas like Africa, even though their carbon output is nowhere near that of other parts
of the world. In Kenya, where that climate summit was held, the hotter temperatures increased the risk of diseases, like outbreaks malaria, as
Larry Madowo is now reporting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Mary and both her sons are in hospital from malaria. Four-year-old Mark (ph) says he's
doing better, and so is his big brother, Joseph (ph), who's 12.
They keep getting malaria, Mary says, and she can barely afford the treatment.
MARY ACHIENG, MALARIA PATIENT (through translator): Malaria has hit my family hard. In a month, I use about $35 on drugs, and the following month,
one of them falls sick yet again.
MADOWO (voiceover): Mary lives in Western Kenya, a hot region, where residents have an especially high risk of malaria. More than 10,000 people
die each year from the mosquito-borne disease in this East African nation, but kids are especially vulnerable.
Researchers are collecting mosquitoes here to study how they're evolving. Rising temperatures let them grow faster and live longer.
MADOWO: Why do you come to collect mosquitoes here specifically?
KWOBA CELESTINE, KEMRI RESEARCH PARTNER: The mosquito densities here are very high.
MADOWO (voiceover): They're tracking the full life cycle of mosquitoes to get ahead of this tiny insect before it does even more damage.
MADOWO: This is a typical high malaria zone. It's hot and humid, swampy. Those are rice growing fields back there, a lot of water right next to
where people live. But as temperatures warm across the board, scientists are concerned about malaria causing mosquitoes breeding in new places.
DAMARIS MATOKE-MUHIA, PRINCIPAL RESEARCH SCIENTIST, KEMRI: Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals on earth.
MADOWO (voiceover): Damaris Matoke-Muhia has made it her life's work to neutralize the insect that causes malaria, the female Anopheles mosquito,
after her brother died of the disease.
Her team of scientists at Kenya's largest research institute is studying mosquito samples from around the country to guide Kenya's response to
malaria and how to beat it.
MADOWO: Are we any closer to eradicating malaria?
MATOKE-MUHIA: We were. But with the change of climate, we are seeing more mosquitoes than we were before. We're seeing new species. We are seeing it
going to places where we didn't expect before. Then we are taken back to zero.
MADOWO (voiceover): Climate change is helping mosquitoes responsible for transmitting malaria reach colder parts of the continent, scientists at
Georgetown University Medical Center found, drawing on data going back 120 years.
But heat is also helping mosquitoes live longer and to become infectious sooner, worrying public health officials.
MADOWO: Are you concerned about a resurgence of malaria in your work across the continent?
DR. GITAHI GITHINJI, GROUP CEO, AMREF HEALTH AFRICA: We are concerned that areas that have central imminent malaria are now having malaria. And we are
now seeing that, actually, the public health system is not prepared for this resurgence.
MADOWO (voiceover): Malaria is having devastating effects on more people suffering from serious cases. Steve Ngugi says he was sick for nearly three
MADOWO: Your malaria was very serious?
STEVE NGUGI, RECOVERED FROM MALARIA: Very, very serious.
MADOWO: Were you afraid you could die?
NGUGI: Of course, yes. Because by the time I reached the hospital, I couldn't even manage to move my head.
MADOWO (voiceover): Ninety-six percent of people who die from malaria are in Africa, the World Health Organization says. As the continent warms
faster than the rest of the world, malaria persists, and experts warn it risks spreading into a global threat.
RICHARD MUNANG, CLIMATE CHANGE PROGRAM COORDINATOR, UNEP AFRICA: What is happening in Africa will gradually see it happen elsewhere. Because with
the warming climate, with the changing temperatures, malaria, mosquitoes are migrating to other areas that are conducive for them. Malaria will
displace people. They will migrate to other areas within the continent and out of the continent.
AMANPOUR: Larry Madowo reporting from Nairobi on the impact of climate change, not only on individuals but on global health as well.
Now, from rising heat to fears of a frozen conflict. The Chinese premier, Li Qiang, has warned against a new cold war at the ASEAN summit in
Indonesia, calling on countries not to take sides and to a vote -- sorry, to avoid "block confrontation." China's president, Xi Jinping, will not
join fellow world leaders at the G20 meeting in India this weekend, where they will be discussing global issues like climate change and Russia's war
in Ukraine. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is also skipping the event.
Joining me now is veteran U.S. Diplomat and president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass. Also, Bobby Ghosh, a columnist
for Bloomberg, now he also once served as editor-in-chief for the Hindustan Times, which is one of India's largest newspapers.
So, welcome both of you to the program. Can I start by asking you, Richard Haass, as an American diplomat, what you make of very clear attempt by the
West, notably President Biden, hosting Prime Minister Modi at the White House, then the French president hosting Prime Minister Modi on Bastille
Day, having him at the Elysee, where we know there's, you know, human rights issues, there's, you know, nationalist issues, there's democracy
issues, what's going on in that relationship?
RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS AND AUTHOR, "THE BILL OF OBLIGATIONS": Well, Christiane, what I think is going on is
optimism about the upside of economic interaction with India, the world's most populous country growing at a rapid rate. I think that's probably
Second of all, India is a strategic counterweight of sorts to China, and that is a part of also people's thinking in the United States. You have the
added aspect of domestic politics. The Indian American community is increasingly politically active, is, per capita, arguably the wealthiest
community in the United States. So, I think there's lots of reasons, from foreign policy to domestic politics, which argues for India being front and
AMANPOUR: I'm going to come back to that, because the question is, how does it sort of amplify President Biden's democracy agenda around the
world? But as an example, Bobby Ghosh, I want to ask you. You were the editor-in-chief of Hindustan Times and you know the country incredibly
well. What do you make of what's been causing a little bit of a bruhaha, because it's sort of exemplary of a certain tendency that the government's
invitation to the dinner for the summit was identified not as India but as Bharat, which is an alternative name for India, recognized in the
constitution but it's quite unusual to use it like that? Is it a deliberate signal?
BOBBY GHOSH, COLUMNIST, BLOOMBERG AND HINDUSTAN TIMES FORMER EDITOR-IN- EDITOR: Well, yes, it is part of Prime Minister Modi and his party's nationalist -- Hindu nationalist agenda. It's a little bit off a
distraction from other problems that the country is facing, including quite serious levels of poverty despite the wealth that is on show during this
conference, and also a sort of programs against minorities within India.
So, using the Bharat name is a way to distract attention. It is associated with the ruling party, of course, which is the Bharatiya Janata Party.
There's an echo in the name. It's an historical name but it's not in common use international and frankly, even within India. So, this is a little bit
of smoke and mirrors, look here, not there. That's what is being attempted.
AMANPOUR: It's really interesting, again, because it just says -- I think the whole thing that you're talking about puts into stark focus the maybe
competing ideals of human rights and democracy versus real politics as, Richard Haass, you've laid out. What do you think President Biden is mostly
hoping to get out of this summit, you know, and out of relationship with India at this time?
HAASS: Well, I would say -- and Bobby, feel free to disagree with me -- I would hope the president's goals are modest. The United States is a
history, I think, of erring on the upside of what could be expected from India. Bilaterally, he's hoping for continued trade and investment ties to
grow. India is quite protectionist in many ways.
I think he would love to see India distance itself from Russia. Unfortunately, India spent a large purchase of Russian energy. I don't see
that ending. I think the president wants to signal something to China by being close to Mr. Modi.
But, Christiane, I think your larger point is what I think we're seeing is real polity, the idea of a democracy first, American foreign policy has
gone by the way side, whether you're talking about India, whether you're talking about Saudi Arabia, we can go around the world. What we're seeing
is the primacy of strategic considerations and economic considerations rather than ideological considerations.
AMANPOUR: And yet, you could say that the war in Ukraine and America's strong defense of that does go to the defense of democracy and the
international rules-based order. I'm going to come back to you on that, Richard Haass.
But, Bobby Ghosh, from your perspective, what does Modi want to get out of this? I mean, clearly, he wants to be the voice of the Global South, he
wants to be -- potentially, I'm just sort of speculating, but you tell me - - the crucial fulcrum between the United States and China at this very difficult moment between the United States and China. Is that right? And
why do you think then Xi Jinping isn't coming?
GHOSH: Well, he would like us to think of him in those terms, as a voice for the Global South, as a player, as of somebody who has a seat at the
high table. But if you look at his actions, they don't actually match the rhetoric. As a voice of the Global South, India isn't really put putting
forward any interesting new proposals that represent the Global South.
For the most part, what Modi has done is use the G20 summit for domestic political propaganda or publicity purposes. Now, to some degree, many
leaders have done that. But in this case, it's quite striking the gap between the rhetoric and the reality. I think he would be perfectly happy
if everybody came away from the summit saying, oh, look, India is such an important player, without actually reckoning with any ideas that are being
proposed by Delhi.
Unfortunately, for him, Xi Jinping is sort of undermined that image by refusing to even turn up. It's a little hard to claim that you are a
representative of the Global South and that you have a seat at the high table if one of the most prominent people of the international order just
simply refuses to turn up.
So, I think Modi would be -- Modi's own expectations from this summit and from India's presidency of the G20 are fairly limited, much to do with
propaganda and publicity but not a whole lot to do with actual actions on the ground.
AMANPOUR: Do you agree, Richard Haass, and why do you think Xi Jinping is not going to be there?
HAASS: That is the favorite topic of conversation and what passes for foreign policy circles. There are those who think it was something of a
signal to India and happiness over India's greater strategic association with the United States and the West possibly over the border.
But, Christiane, the far more interesting speculation is that it has to do with things domestic. You just had the annual Chinese retreat of the
leadership. Speculation has emerged of a degree of unhappiness with both the concentration of power in the hands of Xi Jinping. There's been a major
move away from what people thought was the established or tradition of collective leadership in China.
Plus, as you see every day, there's article after article after article about China's economic roads. China faces real domestic challenges, far
greater than any challenges coming from us or challenges there they're creating for themselves by their -- allowing politics to dominate economic
policy. So, a growing number of experts think that Xi Jinping is staying home because, right now, that's where the priority is not in India for him.
AMANPOUR: Bobby Ghosh, you're shaking your head.
GHOSH: Well, everything Richard said is absolutely correct. But the one area where Xi Jinping has been able to project, some kind of success for
his domestic audience to the extent that matters, is in the international sphere. Under his presidency, China has risen, just as Modi would like to
achieve, to the sort of high table of international affairs.
So, I think the temptation for Xi Jinping to go out into Delhi for a day or two would have been quite great. And the rewards for doing that would have
been quite great. I'm not entirely convinced that he skipped that chance, that opportunity for the sort of favorable photo opt because of domestic
politics. I think he's also sending a very strong signal to Narendra Modi, to India, as well as to Biden, saying, if you guys want to have this sort
of bromance, that's fine. I don't have to turn up to watch it at close quarters.
AMANPOUR: So, that's interesting. And a little bit of what you both say overlaps and then there's differences. But, Richard Haass, I spoke
yesterday on the program to the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, and a lot of it was about, obviously, the China relationship and managing the
And he was saying that all actually -- and to your point about all this data showing of weaker economy and high youth unemployment and all that
kind of stuff, that actually China appears to be declining, the U.S. appears to be rising. The U.S. has a lot of, you know, allies now in the
region that want to help deter.
So, my question keeps on being, so what do you do? How does the U.S. engage with China that is vigilant about, you know, what the U.S. cares about but
also doesn't hurdle into a misguided war?
HAASS: The United States is trying to reach out to China. We've sent any number of cabinet members there the last few weeks. The Chinese have pushed
back in some way. They haven't reciprocated by sending people here. It's almost as if they're saying, diplomacy is a favor, you haven't earned it. I
think we should stop chasing after them.
Look, I think we should be narrow in our economic sanctions or limits. We should be open to a trading and investment relationship so long as it
doesn't leak over into militarily significant technology. Our goal should not be to commit economic warfare against China, to stop its rise. We
should be willing again to trade and invest so long as it doesn't involve sensitive technology. We should try to avoid a crisis over Taiwan.
Sometimes in foreign policy, Christiane, it's not what you can accomplish together, it's what you can avoid. And I think that's where the United
States and China have reached, at this moment, in their historical evolution. They're not going to come together to deal with climate change
any more than they dealt with the pandemic. They're not going to solve the Taiwan problem. They're not going to solve the war in Ukraine.
The real question is, can we get the United States and China not to have a crisis over Taiwan, not to get China to provide arms to Russia, to continue
to trade rather than have a total decoupling of the relationship? I think a modest U.S. China agenda is possible. It's certainly desirable. But that's
the diplomatic challenge to both countries. We'll see if they're up to it.
AMANPOUR: I'm coming back to China in moment. But on Modi again, Bobby Ghosh. Richard just brought up the idea of, you know, leadership on climate
and leadership on other issues. India has clearly, you know, wanted to do that and has deep skepticism as to whether it will be a leader on climate.
But most especially, we just hear from the E.U. official, at least one has told the press, that the draft G2 declaration on Ukraine presented by India
simply is not going far enough. And I wonder whether that's a blot on the copybook? Is that something that would have stood Modi in good stead on
the, you know, P.R. stage? And if he doesn't accomplish it, what happens?
GHOSH: Well, it will certainly be very awkward, because at the last G20 summit, which was in Indonesia, despite wide differences between the
various participants, they were able to in up with a communique. Now, the communique we can debate until the cows come home, how important they are.
But there is a symbolic issue. There's a symbolic substance to it. And it looks like they're not going to be able to come to any kind of a consensus
on Ukraine to put in that communique.
In diplomatic terms, Richard has for greater experience of this than I do. But in diplomatic terms, it's not so much a blot on the copybook as an
awkward moment. Particularly, if you are projecting yourself as a global power that has the ability to come up with solutions for the world, if you
can't even organize a communique at the end of a high-profile conference in your capitol city, it's not a good look.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you because, Richard Haass, you know, you were, last spring, part of a group that met with the Russian foreign minister,
Lavrov, in New York. And then, when news broke, you got -- you know, you got a little bit of a bollocking (ph).
In response, you made it clear that you oppose what you call Russia's unjustified war of choice. But you also said, and this is crucial, I'm
skeptical that Ukraine will be able to liberate all of its territory any time soon using military force, and worry that an open-ended war will leave
the country and its people in ruins.
Do you still maintain that position? And are you worried that that sort of undercuts what your own government is basically saying publicly?
HAASS: I don't see that it undercuts. I'd love to be proven wrong. I would love for Ukraine, with American and European help, to be able to libertate
its territory. I'm skeptical it will be able to, simply because of the balance of forces, the nature of Russian defensive positions. But again, I
think we're going to find out how this plays out.
And if that -- if I'm right, and if it turns out Ukraine cannot libertate its land militarily, then I think we need to think about an alternative
foreign policy, not where it gives up its claims. Let me be clear. I don't think it should. But where it perhaps turns to other instruments,
politically, diplomatically, economically. And it settles for something as an interim arrangement, which stops the war where Ukraine can rebuild its
economy and its society without giving up its long-term goals.
I don't think we're at that point. Ukraine is not yet there. Is not willing to make such a compromise. Russia is not there. Putin has persuaded that
time is his friend. But my prediction is the day is likely to come, not definitely, but likely to come when both sides, for various reasons, have
to look closely at a second-best outcome for this without sacrificing their long-term goals. And I think that's -- I think it's quite possible we'll
will get to that point, if not at the end of this fighting season, perhaps when -- just over a year from now.
AMANPOUR: It's interesting. I just came back from Ukraine and discovered that actually the counteroffensive is kind of going according to plan, but
they still don't have the big weapons that they should need for this, as you correctly say, punching through these very sophisticated and lethal
So, on the other hand, then, what do you make, Bobby Ghosh, of the U.S. publicly revealing intelligence suggesting that there may be an arms deal
afoot or wannabe arms deal between Russia and North Korea and that any time soon, the North Korean dictator could be meeting with President Putin?
GHOSH: Well, I suppose it's not that surprising. Putin doesn't have a whole lot of other places to turn to get replenishment for his armaments.
The North Koreans have some capacity, limited capacity to make arms and it doesn't have a whole lot of markets to which to sell those arms. So, this
is a marriage of convenience.
And as far as the Biden administration making it widely known, couldn't hurt. It sort of shows the corner into which Putin has been driven. It
suggests a certain level of desperation, if you're reduced to buying arms from North Korea, then you're -- it's hard for you to argue to the rest of
the world that the war is going swimmingly.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Finally, Richard Haass, back to India. What is -- what do you see is the future? Honestly, literally crystal balling. This is a very
powerful prime minister, very nationalist, you know, with the religious bent. He's obviously got a huge amount of opposition from people who think
the press should be freer and many other aspects of politics there should be freer even, you know, the opposition parties there. Where do you see
India, the world's most populous democracy, going in the next, one, two, three years?
HAASS: It is a complicated and controversial question, and I'll now add to it. I think India will do just fine economically over the next few years. I
think it continue to underperform or disappoint when it comes to strategically associating with the United States and West. India has a
transition of hedging. I don't see that changing.
And I think you put your finger on the biggest question mark, Christiane, which is the nature of Indian society, its politics, and whether the legacy
of Mr. Modi is ultimately one at illiberalism, of reducing the democratic space and then the question is, what does he hand off to his successors?
Does India become more of a Hindu society rather than a secular democracy? If so, what does that mean for domestic political stability? You've got
hundreds of millions of Muslims in that country, what will India be and mean for them?
AMANPOUR: Huge questions. Huge questions. Richard Haass, Bobby Ghosh, thank you so much for joining me and answering a lot of those questions.
Now, for a little adventure. Our next guest is encouraging everyone to reconnect with nature. Author and activist Baratunde Thurston is back with
a new season of "America Outdoors." Exploring how we interact with the world around us. And he's joining Harry Sreenivasan to discuss his travels
and the lessons he's learned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Baratunde Thurston, thanks so much for joining us.
This is the second season of your program. What is ""America Outdoors"? What are you trying to do with it that, say, hasn't been done?
BARATUNDE THURSTON, HOST, "AMERICA OUTDOORS": "America Outdoors" is a show that explores our deep connection to nature. We spend time with a really
diverse array of Americans who work in outdoors, who play in outdoors, who interact and have a deep relationship with nature, and it helps tell a
story of who we are through the places we're connected to.
My name is Baratunde Thurston. I'm a writer, activist, sometimes comedian. And I'm all about telling a better story of us. This country is wild. And
its natural landscapes are as diverse as its people.
SREENIVASAN: You know, you start this season in the Suwannee River, and I didn't know until I was watching a preview of the program that, what is it,
the longest running sort of -- you had a phrase for it.
THURSTON: The watical (ph) wild river.
THURSTON: Sometimes these rivers get wild, Hari, and we got to keep them that way. So, wild means it's not damned. Its course hasn't been altered.
So, it is a truly old-school wild river. And a lot of people depend on it. A lot of fresh water for 10 million or so people. The way it starts up in
the Okefenokee Swamp in Southeast Georgia. There's people working to protect that swamp and not drain it to keep all the carbon that it
sequesters naturally in place as opposed in our atmosphere where, you know, it warms things up.
The river connected and guided our episode. We literally flowed down river from head to mouth in the language of that geography. And, you know,
starting off with Reverend Nixon and being a part of a church service in what is probably the greatest church, right, is earth, it's, you know, very
reverend, very spiritual, a very powerful place, but he felt called to safeguard his home, to safeguard the natural resource. And to safeguard, in
his words, God's creation.
And so, you have this overlap of religious conviction and climate action, which is not the common image of either community in this country. So, you
have people who are doing science on this river to preserve the creatures in the land, you have people on the land trying to save climate, you have
folks who are just playing and loving what it means to be in North Florida and what it means to be a part of this river and to see this river
SREENIVASAN: Yes. You know, you get to go to a state that sort of makes you now, what? You've hit all 48 after you've hit Arkansas.
THURSTON: Yes. Arkansas this season, that was -- I've been everywhere in the lower 48 except for Arkansas until filming season two of "American
Outdoors." So, I can complete the set.
SREENIVASAN: So, what was it -- what was intriguing to you about the kinds of -- the different kinds of experiences that you had? Because in one part
of that episode, you were out there skeet shooting. Talk about how your relationship with guns has been very different than the people you are
skeet shooting with?
THURSTON: If I'm going to experience the outdoor culture in Arkansas, I should experience the gun culture too. But I admit, that makes me uneasy.
Guns are a big part of outdoor life in America. There's no denying it. But they're not a big part of my life. So, I'm going to need to keep an open
I mean, I grew up in the '80s in Washington, D.C., when it wasn't just the nation's capital, it was the nation's murder capital. My father was a
victim of one of those gun murders. And so, I don't have a lot of love intrinsically for firearms. I wouldn't say a deep hate, but I would say I'm
very distant from it. Because I live in the same country as you, and so we see the headlines and a lot of us live the reality of various forms of gun
So, it's been largely a negative idea outside of some fun with some action movies. Watching, not starring in. And so, to be in Arkansas, to be with an
Olympian who -- for whom this is a sport, to be with hunters for whom this is a source of food and there are conservationist and it's a family ritual
and tradition, we got to spend time.
This is the heart of the show, moments like this, where people who clearly come from different political, social, ideological perspectives can share
common ground, who are standing on the same earth, we're on the same plot the land and we're in a relationship with each other because we're also in
a relationship with nature. And in that environment, that's like a safe container to have some really thoughtful exchanges. And ones that get well
beyond the talking point.
So, I learned something in that exchange. The people I was shooting with learned something in that exchange. And I think we were, both sides, not on
a separate side necessarily. We were human together. We were Americans together. We were laughing together.
THURSTON: And I was shooting pretty good, which helped.
SREENIVASAN: Yes. Yes. So, you know, what was interesting to me was also that you shared that history about your father to the camera, to the
audience. Why was that important?
THURSTON: I love breaking expectations. And I love the idea of taking what could be a show about nature and making it a show about people. This is
America. Long pause. Outdoors. And when we invest in that relationship with nature and with each other on that shared foundation of nature we can find
a bit more America. We can find a bit more in common. We're still going to be disagreeing, but for me to share that part of myself felt very important
because it helps me connect with the people, I'm in the field with and ultimately, the people who don't get to travel around all these states with
all these resources and all these safety like I do.
SREENIVASAN: Yes. Yes.
THURSTON: You know, it's a really privileged position to be able to drop in to some of the most beautiful, most ancient, most indigenous, most
joyful, most regenerative, like all kinds of scenes that I've been able to be a part of communities that have let me in with trust. So, they're going
to trust something with me, I'm going to trust, you know, something with them, and we're trusting ourselves in that case.
SREENIVASAN: You were sleeping out under the stars one night, waiting for the sun to rise, and it looks like a spectacular setting. Tell us a little
bit about these moments that you had in New Mexico.
THURSTON: Yow, New Mexico is so much more than I thought it was. A lot of the show was just me saying, whoa, like a lot. It was just like the whole
show with Baratunde. But I was in place called Chaco Canyon. This is very old place that was occupied by people who were here before the European
colonizers arrived, the (INAUDIBLE).
And they've designed their city in this region in perfect alignment with the stars. They were attuned to the universe. And I reflected in New
Mexico, time means something. It's a very, very old place. We think of America as a young country, and it is a young construct, but it's old land.
And there's people who have been here for far longer than our constitutional modern version would have you believe. So, to sit under the
stars, to look up at the Milky Way that we're also inside of is mind- blowing, humbling.
SREENIVASAN: You know, one of the things that happened in I think the episode in Oregon where you were literally climbing up a tree on a rope
with an expert, and you had an intense moment and then you kind of let the camera and the audience in on it when you got back down. And that was kind
of an even bigger moment for people watching the show. Tell us a little bit about that and why it was important for you to just be open and honest at
THURSTON: Yes. There -- it can be -- it would be easy to make a postcard show, where we celebrate natural features and beautiful animals and
majestic creatures. It would be easy to make a celebratory show where everything about the outdoors is great, nature is great, camping is great,
campfire is all just wonderful.
THURSTON: But that would not be a true show. And the truth is there's more to nature than landscapes and animals. We're part of it. The truth is that
nature sometimes hurt. It hurts. It's been used to hurt. And so, you have people who've had accidents in nature. Taken terrible falls. Broken parts
of themselves or their identities. You've had people who have been forced to work and been tortured and murdered and slaughtered in nature. That's
the history of a big group of us in this country.
THURSTON: So, to just be like, yes, let's go out to the forest. I mean, the forest is the scene of the crime as well. And the exclusion that many
people have experienced in the outdoors makes it -- can make it a troubling, unsafe, unwelcomed, nonjoyful place.
I was climbing this tree. It's 80-foot-tall maple. When you climb a tree that big, you're not actually climbing the tree, you're climbing a rope
parallel to the tree that's looped on a high branch. And I was with this beautiful man, Dustin Marcello (ph). And he really held a great space for
him because about halfway up, I just had to stop. And it wasn't merely the height. The height had a little something to do with it. That was higher
than I've ever climbed anything --
THURSTON: -- but more on that, it was kind of memory and a recognition of the setting of being a black American, being a black man in a tree with a
rope and not wanting to go any further. Just acknowledging history, pain, trauma and really feeling it. And I wasn't able to understand it as it
happened. I just thought, I'm tired, I'm hurting, there's some psychological emotional block, I don't know what it is, but I'm not pushing
myself beyond this point.
And so, what I end up sharing in this episode and people really should watch this, I won't repeat it because it was for the moment, I shared with
you everything I was feeling and going through. And that felt important to do.
SREENIVASAN: So, Dustin, the man you were with, in that tree, when you guys started walking around in the forest, what was interesting was that
you started to see the outdoors as a place for healing. And it's kind of through line that I saw in so many different episodes that you had, whether
it's, you know, teaching foster children how to fly fish in a stream or it's, you know, people dealing with substance abuse issues, snowy shoeing
in Maine or you and the other folks that were just literally inhaling the forest, that there is kind of a -- and it's been something that
civilizations and societies have known for so long, that there is a healing capacity to nature, but to actually see it at work is something different.
THURSTON: We know so much already. Our intuition is pretty good. But we forget. And so, this show has helped me remember things that I have known
and helped me find people who've remembered things that they've known, which is that nature can be very healing.
Louie Hina (ph), I was with this brother in New Mexico rafting down the Rio Grande. He's a member of two different indigenous groups. And he's pointing
out the features of nature and he's like, it's my pantry, it's my altar, it's my classroom, it's my medicine cabinet. He's not seeing trees, just as
trees. He's seeing how we relate to them and what they offer us, you know, which is to breathe on our behalf beyond the lungs in our own bodies.
And so, to tap into the healing power of nature, whether it's a cold plunge in Maine or the forest bathing in Oregon, or the collective trauma that we
explored in the Arkansas episode around the site of a very large race massacre in U.S. history, but he way that town is trying to move forward
with this current leadership is to use access to nature to write a different story.
SREENIVASAN: You know, I had no idea until I watched the episode about a race massacre in Elaine, Arkansas. I mean, it just really never showed up
in any of my history books. Tell me a little bit about that conversation with the mayor.
THURSTON: We've been a very, very sneaky show, Hari, you know. Come and watch our nature show, and they get hit with indigenous land rights and
histories that are not documented in formal education, about race massacres and people who are in recovery from substance abuse and the foster child
THURSTON: Because it's just people. And so, part of the relationship that we as Americans have with this land is a traumatic one. And it is hardly
clearer than in place like Elaine, Arkansas, in the Mississippi River Delta, which in the summer of 1919 was the place of one of many race
massacres. Let me be clear, when I say race massacres, I mean, white Americans descending on black communities and destroying the property and
murdering the people Tulsa is one of the more famous ones.
And what happened in Elaine was literally an order of magnitude greater in terms of number of people killed. And I'd never heard of it. And race is my
whole thing. I mean, I wrote a book on "How to Be Black." I know a thing or two about race. I never heard about this part of the story until making a
And so, that history was buried purposefully, deflected purposefully. The mayor, first black mayor, first woman mayor, she didn't know about it.
LISA GILBERT, MAYOR OF ELAINE, ARKANSAS: I only learned about it 15 years ago. And I only learned about it when researching online and I came home
and asked my grandmother about it --
GILBERT: -- and she confirmed the stories were true. And I spent the next five to six years getting old stories out of her about the Elaine massacre.
THURSTON: So, she's taken the opportunity that has come with her own status as mayor with her own status as a decedent of the victims of this
massacre, and with the status as Elaine sitting on the Delta Heritage Trail. This rails to trail bike path.
SREENIVASAN: You know, I grew up -- I was fortunate to grow up, probably middle school, high school camping and backpacking in the Pacific Northwest
and it definitely changed my relationship with the outdoors. And one of the things though I still remember vividly was that there just weren't that
many people of color out there, much less on camera hosting programs about the outdoors.
But I wonder how you have navigated these spaces where you might not be who somebody expects when they get a call, hey, there's a program out, this
host is going to come out to you?
THURSTON: I navigate it with joy and with curiosity. I grew up with a good amount of outdoor access, and I was with my mother, you know, the only two
brown folks in the southern neck of the woods, like literally, some neck of the woods, and it's just us and maybe my friend, Reggie, you know, and
whoever else was going camping with us. So, I -- it's familiar to feel unfamiliar in these spaces.
I found that as we've made the show, especially the more we've made the show, folks have a sense of who I am and then, what I'm trying to do with
this show, with public media. This is all of our show, to some degree. We're trying to select us back to us with beautiful respectably --
respectful and interesting way. And so, I felt welcomed by everybody who we've had on the show.
As we moved through some of these spaces, folks who were not part of the show, they're not always the most welcoming. That's humans, that's people.
There's folks who want to take issue or make some assumptions, and I've had the benefit, you know, of being able to travel with others. And so, you
know, to be one of the few or the only does sometimes come with actual risk, you know, physical risk, certainly, psychological risk.
I've been able to be shielded from some of the negatives of that. I've definitely enjoyed the benefit of multiple types of people's open minds.
And I've gotten the respect for the folks who don't get to travel with the film crew and have some challenges that are not of their making, because
other people, you know, have insecurity about their identity.
SREENIVASAN: The show is called "America Outdoors" on PBS stations around the country. Check your local listings. Baratunde Thurston, thank so much
for joining us.
THURSTON: Hari, it's so good to see you again. Thank you. And my best to Christiane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Best back, Baratunde. I look forward to seeing the new series.
Now, make sure to tune in tomorrow night for my conversation with author Franklin Foer about his eagerly anticipated new book, "The Last
Politician." It takes us inside the first two years of Biden's presidency. He tells me the president is a creature of come backs and always exceeds
expectations. That's tomorrow night.
Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.