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Interview with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar; Interview with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Interview with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Interview with "Taming the Street" Author Diana B. Henriques. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 19, 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 CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
President Biden leads world leaders at the U.N. summit. What will be accomplished? I speak to a key E.U. leader Ireland's Prime Minister Leo
Varadkar. And from Asia-Pacific, Australian Foreign Ministry Penny Wong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENS STOLTENBERG: No one ever said that this were going to be easy, the offensive. It was clearly stated this would going to be a bloody, difficult
and hard offensive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: -- will Ukraine overwhelm the agenda? I ask NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who warns we're in for a long war.
And Walter Isaacson talks to financial journalist Diana Henriques about how America's financial security is on the ballot in 2024.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour at the United Nations in New York, where more than 100 world leaders are gathering to
discuss pressing world issues, from climate to grinding poverty.
President Biden called for cooperation in the face of these challenges. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: My fellow leaders, we gather once more in an inflexion point in world history. With the eyes of the world upon all of
you, all of us, as president of the United States, I understand the duty my country has to lead in this critical moment, to work with countries in
every region, ranking them in common cause, to join together with partners who share a common vision of the future of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Chinese President Xi Jinping are missing in action here. In fact, President Biden
is the only president and leader of the Security Council. But President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is also there, and both of them stand together at this
critical time as an alliance for the defense of democracy.
The Ukraine war dominate so much of the agenda here in the Assembly, in the halls and corridors of power. Is it so diverting attention from other vital
priorities, like climate change or promoting global equality?
Ireland's Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, told fellow leaders, we are not where we need to be in meeting these sustainable development goals. And he's joining
me now for an exclusive interview outside. I'm sure you're speaking to your own press, but you're exclusive to us on the international field.
LEO VARADKAR, IRISH PRIME MINISTER: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, welcome. I'm sure I mispronounced the Irish way of --
VARADKAR: No, no, no.
AMANPOUR: Did I get it right?
VARADKAR: That was spot on.
VARADKAR: Well done.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, I guess, first and foremost, does Ukraine take too much of the attention, the oxygen out of the other major issues that we've
listed that are challenges now for you and everybody else?
VARADKAR: I think it's always been the case that the world faced a number of different challenges. And that's just the nature of the world that we
live in. What is happening in Ukraine though, I think is so important. Because this is 2023 and we want this to be the time when we say once and
for all that no country can invade and take the territory of another and that no country can try to change another country's government by force or
What President Biden said today which really resonated with me is that this isn't just about Ukraine, whose independence is safe, whose democracy is
safe if we don't draw a line in the sand in Ukraine and say, thus far, no further, never again.
AMANPOUR: So, how do you explain, given that so many people want to have the right to self-determination no matter where they come from, that so
many of the leaders in the General Assembly Hall are still on the fence? I know the vote criticized the invasion. But there's still not whole hearted
100 percent behind Ukraine self-defense.
VARADKAR: I think there's two aspects to that. There are some countries that have a relationship with Russia, received military or financial aid,
but there are also a lot of the countries in the Global South that feel that some European countries are hypocritical, you know, given what
happened in terms of the war in Iraq, or given what European countries have done as part of their colonial enterprises supporting coups, for example,
what I always say to them coming from Ireland, a country that has never had any colonies, a country that have to fight for their own independence,
don't blame the Ukrainians for what others may have done in the past.
We should stand by them. Their country fighting for their sovereignty, their democracy, their independence, they're just like you.
AMANPOUR: Do you think your people and the people of the NATO alliance whose leaders are giving all this support, will they stand firm?
VARADKAR: Yes, I believe so. Ireland isn't a member of NATO, but we are very much the heart of the European Union and Eurozone and we're going to
stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes.
AMANPOUR: Do you want to be part of NATO eventually? And if not, why not? I mean, you're so involved in every other aspect of this, obviously, a main
member of the E.U. and this whole alliance that has really gathered to defend global democracy since this second illegal Russian invasion.
VARADKAR: Well, we do cooperate with NATO. We're part of the partnership for peace arrangement.
VARADKAR: So, we're updating that at the moment and we're a founding member of PESCO, which is the European Union and defense policy. But we've
taken a view as country, as a society that nothing a member of a formal military alliance like NATO comes with its advantages, and the fact when it
does come to talking to the Global South, talking to other parts of the world, that can make sense for us too.
AMANPOUR: So, you feel that Ireland's actual kind of historic role as a bridge builder is more significant at this time?
VARADKAR: I believe the fact that we don't have a mutual defense pact with any other state allows us to speak to countries around the world in a way
that we otherwise couldn't. But we very much appreciate that we need to take more responsibility for our own security. We're increasing our defense
budget. We're working with NATO. Working with the E.U. And also, we're a major contributor to U.N. peace keeping. And I when we serve in places like
the Gerland (ph) or Lebanon, the fact that we are a neutral country actually does carry some weight and does matter.
AMANPOUR: Climate is obviously huge on your agenda, trying to reach the sustainable development goals of reducing inequality as well. I spoke to
the secretary-general, Guterres, just before opening session. And he basically said a couple of things, that as secretary-general, no matter how
loudly he shouts about this issue, how big a convening power he has, you know, he doesn't have the executive power. He doesn't have the money. And
even today, in the major climate session that he's hosting, President Biden will not be there.
How hopeful are you that these goals are going to be reached? And I mean, all we have to do is look around what happened this summer.
VARADKAR: I met with the secretary-general yesterday, and I think the U.N. secretary-general must be a very difficult job because you have a lot of
authority, but no real executive power. And all you can do is plead with us to do more and do better.
VARADKAR: Ireland coordinated with Qatar, the current critical (ph) declaration on the state of development goals, something we're very
committed to, really hasn't been adequate progress in recent years.
But just to mention two areas of progress that we have really seen. Most countries now in the world, 146 countries, meeting its target for mortality
of children under five. Things are really improving when it comes to mortality in early years. And also, since 2010, the number of age-related
deaths having. So, global cooperation can work and we just need to redouble our efforts in the years ahead.
AMANPOUR: Basically, only 15 percent of targets are on track. And then, the declaration reads, millions of people have fallen into poverty, hunger,
malnutrition are becoming more prevalent, humanitarian needs are rising, the impacts of climate change are more pronounced. This has led to
increased inequality exacerbated by weakened international solidarity and a shortfall of trust to jointly overcome these crises.
You know, we hear that the shortfall of trust, the lack of faith in institutions, whether it's that one or any of your democratic institutions,
is responsible for so much of the disintegration of the joint project and the belief in a common set of values. How much of a challenge is that for
you to recognize?
VARADKAR: Well, I do recognize it, but we can never give up hope and we can never stop trying to set a minimum standard around the world as to what
-- citizen should have to experience no matter where they live. And that's what the same goals are all about, around health, education, freedom,
institutions, making sure that we have those global standards for everyone around the world.
I do think our international institutions are out of date. They were formed after the Second World War. The world is different since then. And it was
encouraging to hear President Biden talk about reforms of the Security Council, having more permanent members, but that's been talked about for a
long time. And I really think we owe it to the Global South to say that 70 or 80 years after the Second World War we need institutions that reflect
the world that we now live, not that post war world, which is almost unrecognizable now.
AMANPOUR: Now, to go back to your own country. You've recently said, you believe there will be a United Ireland in your lifetime. And Northern
Ireland secretary basically called you unhelpful. Your reaction?
VARADKAR: Well, I remember when we voted for the Good Friday Agreement in Ireland, we did it by referendum, passed by 97 percent and we changed our
constitution. We no longer have a territorial claim over Northern Ireland, but we did enshrine our constitution and aspiration to unity, a United
Ireland by consent. And that's something I believe in.
AMANPOUR: A few months ago, the world, we all celebrated the 25th year since the Good Friday Agreement. When you come here and you see this huge
division between, let's say just Russia and Ukraine, what do you think are the possible lessons from Good Friday Peace Accord, even in today's most
VARADKAR: Well, I think the situation between Ukraine and Russia is a very different one to what we experienced in Ireland. But I think what it does
show is that peace is always possible. And that you can never give up on reconciliation, but peace has to be a just peace. And I don't think there
can be any peace in Ukraine unless its democracy, its security, its territorial integrity are protected.
AMANPOUR: Some might say, you know, it's kind of risking around (ph) with the Brits at this time, with the government, but also, the Northern Ireland
troubles legacy bill today becomes law, it prevents new prosecutions, future civil cases (INAUDIBLE) into offenses committed during that time
grants certain people amnesty if they confess. Very controversial and opposed by your government. Also, by all the parties in Northern Ireland
and the British Labour Party, by the Americans, by the E.U. lawmakers, facing a lot of legal challenges.
This is what Ben Wallace, the recently stepped down British defense secretary, told this program about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN WALLACE, FORMER BRITISH DEFENCE SECRETARY: What's important is if people want to come forward and want to engage with investigations, be they
terrorists or ex-former security force personnel, then they have potentially the ability to be effectually forgiven, to be given an amnesty.
If you don't come forward, if you're an IRA terrorist who refuses to cooperate, you will still be open to prosecution. Instinctively, I would
say that those terrorists who killed my soldiers should face justice, but I'm also interested in peace on the island of Ireland and peace in Northern
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, he thinks it's great a thing, but you all don't.
VARADKAR: Yes. We profoundly disagree with that assessment. Essentially, this new law will give an amnesty to ex-British servicemen, former IRA and
loyalist terrorists who have committed terrible crimes in Northern Ireland, and we think it's the wrong approach. And the people we listen to most, the
voices we hear most strongly are the survivors, people who were injured in the troubles and also, the family members of people who died, and they are
saying to us that this is the wrong approach and the Irish government and the five main parties in Northern Ireland really think this is the wrong
AMANPOUR: Thank you very much, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
VARADKAR: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you very much for being with us here.
VARADKAR: It's been a pleasure. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
Now, outside this center of diplomacy row brewing and heating up between Canada and India, the two countries are expelling each other's diplomats
after Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, leaked India to the assassination of a Sikh leader information on its soil, on Canadian soil.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: Over the course of the summer, we have been working closely with our intelligence agencies moving forward in
their analysis. We wanted to make sure that we had solid grounding in understanding what was going on and analysis and indeed, in facts. We
wanted to make sure we were taking the time to talk with our allies, to share what we knew. We wanted to make sure that we fully shared with the
government of India the seriousness and the depths of our preoccupations and conclusions.
But Canadians have a right to know and need to know when things are going on like this, and that's why we made the decision to do this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Wooing India away from China and towards the democratic alliance is central to the Biden Indo-Pacific policy. And central to that is
Australia. The foreign minister, Penny Wong, is key to reshaping the balance. And she's joining me now. Welcome back to our program. We spoke
this time last week.
PENNY WONG, AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We did. And good to be with you again.
AMANPOUR: And you too. Thank you so much.
WONG: And 40 years. Congratulations.
AMANPOUR: Thank you very much.
WONG: That's impressive.
AMANPOUR: I appreciate it.
WONG: And such an impressive --
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
WONG: -- contribution to internal affairs.
AMANPOUR: Thank you, thank you. And one for the women. How's that?
AMANPOUR: Let's get back to allegation of murder on Canadian soil by the Indian government as what Prime Minister Trudeau said. This is an activist.
India has labeled him a terrorist.
As we know, Prime Minister Modi received kind of a hero's welcome in Australia. When you had him in May, he received a very warm welcome at the
White House, he received a very warm welcome a Bastille Day in France. The G20 was just held in India. How troubling is this allegation and how does
it cause you either to calibrate or not how closely to hold Modi, how tightly?
WONG: Well, the first point I would make is, you know, these are serious allegations and, you know, they are deeply concerning for all of us.
I would note, investigations are still underway. So, you know, I obviously, the Australian government, wishes to wipe those investigations being
finalized. But we've made our concerns -- we've conveyed our concerns about the allegations and we'll keep abreast of the developments in these
investigations and --
AMANPOUR: Conveyed your concerns to the Indian government?
WONG: Well, we have a general proposition, don't we, Christiane, which is, you know, Australia has a view about the rule of law and we will always
express that view.
AMANPOUR: Prime Minister Trudeau says he spoke to all the allies about this before, I guess, he made his public statement. Did he speak to
WONG: Well, I wouldn't --
AMANPOUR: Your counterpart?
WONG: Yes. I wouldn't go into details of diplomatic engagements and nor do you expect me to. But, you know, we have expressed our view about these
issues to our Indian friends.
AMANPOUR: Now, on the bigger picture then, you know, it definitely looks like it, and that's what we're hearing from all of you, that India -- it's
really important to try to peel India away from close relationship with China and God forbid, Russia. Do you think that's going well? And how does
this kind of thing, you know, cause a hurdle or an obstacle?
WONG: Look, I think the way to think about it is we share an interest in a world that is peaceful, stable and prosperous. And what is required for
that sort of world is, you know, a balance or a strategic equilibrium to which all of us have to make a contribution, and India is a part of that,
but so too are other countries of our region, in the Indo-Pacific region. And we will continue, Australia, to work with a range of the countries to
contribute to that equilibrium, which is really key to making sure there is a region and a global order in which no one country dominates and no one
country is dominated.
AMANPOUR: So, that obviously brings us to the threat from China, as you perceive it, that it's trying to dominate that region.
WONG: Well, I think rebels (ph) do what rebels (ph) do. So, I wouldn't use the language but, you know, you obviously use your language.
AMANPOUR: So, how is deterrence working then?
WONG: Yes. That's -- look, it seems to us the way in which you contribute to their strategic equilibrium is really to ensure you have military
deterrence, also economic strength and resiliency, as well as diplomatic reassurance. So, all of those go to that balance or reshaping, I think as
you described it in the introduction.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Where do you -- how do you assess -- there's a huge sort of difference of opinion of how one is meant to deal with China. President
Biden has gone out of his way to say, we don't seek conflict, we don't seek to contain, we seek to have a relationship based on mutual interest, but
also, we're not going to just out and give away the Pacific region because we're Pacific powers.
Is that message getting across to China? I mean, we see, you know, strange are developments. The foreign minister is being sidelined. The defense
minister has disappeared from public view. Lots of shifts at the top of the Chinese hierarchy. How do you read what's going on there? I mean, it is
inscrutable, but you must have analysis?
WONG: Well, look, I've read and understood those developments. But obviously, they're matters for China to deal with. But the knob of your
question went to the management of competition. And we welcome the position that the United States has taken, and President Biden rearticulated it
today, which was a commitment to responsible management of competition. Because what we don't want, none of the world wants, competition escalating
And I think powers like Australia, we're a middle power. All of the powers that are represented at the sovereign nations, which represented the United
Nations have a role here too, which is to urge, encourage and expect the great powers to manage their competition wisely.
AMANPOUR: And do you think, despite all the worries around, that it is closer to -- you say, we don't want war, we don't want conflict. Are we
taking the steps away from it or are we taking steps towards it? I mean, there's a lot of inflammatory rhetoric all over.
WONG: Well, I think that we are probably at a greater risk now of conflict than we have been for many years. And we have said these are riskiest
strategic circumstances the world has seen for many years, and that means we all have to elevate our effort. We all have to redouble our efforts to
managing, ensuring that competition is managed, but also, to deal with some of the issues that, you know, you've been talking about on your program,
how do we deal with inequality? How do we deal with climate change?
You know, these are about peace and stability, as well as prosperity, and they are part of the agenda that all nations have to --
AMANPOUR: And climate change, we've heard many here. You, we've heard the secretary-general. I mean, we're pretty much this close to midnight, to
coin a phrase. You have said climate is the number one national security issue for the Pacific. You visited many times the Solomon Islands, you
know, all sorts of areas. And yet, the government is expanding coal mining this year. A new one opened in May, facing legal action from green groups
Can you honestly say that your record on climate is in the right direction?
WONG: Look, Australia has been a very fossil fuel intensive economy. I mean, that is a reality. And so, part of what we are having to do is to
transition, you know, a very carbon intensive economy to a clean energy economy, and that is a big task.
And in many ways, it reflects the task that the global economy has to engage in. Because, of course, there are still many nations who are opening
new coal fire powered stations who are going down that path. So, you know, we have a very ambitious set of targets. We will be, by 2030, in excess of
80 percent renewable energy. When we came to government, we were just over 30 percent. That's a big transition in a short space of time.
So, what I say to the Pacific, and I have visited every member of the Pacific Islands Forum, is I say, look, we recognize our history and nature
of our economy, what I can say to you is we are genuinely motivated to change that. And that's what we're working on.
AMANPOUR: Can I you about -- talking about history, there's a voice to parliament referendum coming up in about three weeks. Australians will vote
AMANPOUR: -- to put potentially indigenous people in the constitution and set up an advisory body to give them voice --
AMANPOUR: -- because they don't have it, on the policies that affect them. But polls show that support is low, around 45 percent. A, do you think it
will pass? B, if it doesn't, what does it say about -- to the world about Australia's commitment to indigenous, especially at this time when all
countries are trying to reckon with it?
WONG: You know, look, we've had like so many countries around the world, a journey when it comes to reconciliation with our first nation's people,
with our indigenous people. A journey that has -- we've had many steps. We have the referendum in 1967, in which changed our constitution for the
better. We've had the apology to the Stalin generations, which was given by Kevin Rudd, a prime minister, an Australian prime minister in the
government in which I served.
So, this is another important step. It is referendum, hard to win in Australia because of the nature of how our voting -- of what is required to
change the constitution. But, you know, we remain hopeful and we remain, you know, looking at the future. We remain focused on the future. Because
ultimately, this is about that future and whether or not we can have a future in which indigenous and nonindigenous Australia can walk together.
AMANPOUR: And I guess one last question then about the big picture of China. How do you assess, you know, the Russian, North Korean, China, Iran
kind of, whatever you want to call it, alliance, anti-democratic, anti-U.S. alliance and how much does it setback your attempts to deter China?
WONG: Well, I think it's important to recognize, first, that Mr. Putin reaching out to North Korea, for example, shows a degree of desperation.
So, I would make that point. The second point I'd make is, in relations of the world who are not superpowers, and we're one of them, need to
collectively continue to advocate, encourage, urge, perhaps put some collective pressure on great powers to act responsibly. That's what we'll
continue to do.
AMANPOUR: And this is the place to do it. Even though --
WONG: Well, this is the place to do it.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Even though a lot of them aren't here.
WONG: Well, let's -- I did hear the secretary -- your interview with the secretary-general yesterday actually, and I would make the point, there is
-- you know, there is no place in the world where we have this convening power, where we have this high-level representation of all nations and
where we can deal with all of the issues that matter to us.
AMANPOUR: And I might just say, if anybody can hear the noise outside, that's the convening corner for the opponents of all sorts of governments
who are represented here.
WONG: It's democracy in action, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Indeed. Just to explain the noise now. Thank you so much, Foreign Minister.
WONG: Good to speak with you again.
AMANPOUR: This is the second U.N. General Assembly where it is slightly overshadowed by Russia's war in Ukraine. And NATO Secretary General Jens
Stoltenberg says that may not be the last. I spoke with him about his warning to brace for a long war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Secretary General, welcome back to the program.
JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: Thanks so much for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, you have just said that this is going to be a long war. That it's a lot longer than anybody accounted for. Are you sure that the world's
support will last for this long war?
STOLTENBERG: Well, what I've said is that we need to be prepared for a long war, for a long haul. Nobody knows how long this war will last. The
wars are by nature unpredictable.
STOLTENBERG: But brute reality is that they tend to last longer than we expect them to start, and we have to send a clear image to Moscow that
President Putin cannot wait this out. We need to be there for as long as it takes. And then, that's the message to make.
AMANPOUR: And do you think he would see his mind concentrated more if there was more help given to Ukraine? I mean, we do know and we've talked a
lot about all that you've given as a NATO alliance, but some of it has been late, some of it has been, no, no, no, yes, some hasn't come in time for
What do you think needs to happen to make Putin really understand that he can't just wait you out?
STOLTENBERG: So, first of all, we need to send a message that we will continue to be there, and that's exactly what we are communicating. Second,
we need to back up that with real action. And President Putin made at least two big strategic mistakes when he invaded Ukraine. One was to totally
underestimate the Ukrainians, their courage, their bravery.
STOLTENBERG: But the other strategic mistake President Putin may also underestimate, us NATO allies and partners. There is all the commitment we
have demonstrated in delivering support to Ukraine was something he didn't expect. And we just need to continue to do that. We can discuss the
specific platforms, but the overall message to be a substantial mutual support.
AMANPOUR: Are you concerned with this latest visit between Putin and Kim Jong Un where Putin very conspicuously showed Kim around all the, you know,
relevant military factories and like and there's a fear that he might transfer technology and vice-versa? What do you -- I mean, are you
concerned about that?
STOLTENBERG: Yes, of course. Any support to Russia's illegal war is a bad thing, it's a blatant violation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions.
AMANPOUR: Do you think they will do it?
STOLTENBERG: There is at least an obvious risk. What it demonstrates is that Russia is isolated. They have the go to North Korea and Iran to get
weapons, ammunition and surprise. And any support from any of these countries will violate core principles of the U.N.
AMANPOUR: And when you look at the battle going on now right now, how desperate do you think Putin is in terms of material?
STOLTENBERG: Well, he expected this war to last a few weeks or days, and that was a big, big mistake. So, he hadn't planned for anything like this.
And what we have seen is that Ukrainians have been able to push them back in the north. around Kyiv, in the east, around Kharkiv and in the south,
around Kherson. And now, they are conducting an offensive where they're gradually gaining ground.
And, again, if you want peace in Ukraine, a lasting just peace, the only way to achieve that is military support Ukraine, that's the only way to
convince President Putin that he will not win on the battlefield but has to sit down and negotiate. And what Ukraine can achieve around the negotiating
table is (INAUDIBLE) their strength on the battlefield.
AMANPOUR: So, as you know, there have been a lot of Americans, some people call them armchair warriors, you know, Monday morning quarter backers, who
basically been criticizing the pace of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. And now, General Milley, the outgoing, you know, top American general has said
that Ukraine pretty much has about 30 to 45 days of good fighting weather left this season.
Do you see it like that? And how do you see, you know, the ramping up or the solidifying of whatever gains they might have made?
STOLTENBERG: I think everyone would have hoped for more advances and would quickly speed the liberation of Ukrainian territory. At the same time, it's
extremely, let say, difficult or wrong thing to do to sit in Brussels or in New York and to tell the commanders, the soldiers on the battlefield
exactly what they should do.
This is their war. They are paying the price of soldiers' lives, and they have to make the difficult decisions. Our message and what we have to do to
support them and then, they have to do the fighting.
AMANPOUR: And President Zelenskyy spoke to an American broadcaster, "60 Minutes" ahead of this trip and he talked about taking the war into Russia.
And as we've seen it's been happening more and more, certainly with drones and other such things. He said -- and I'm going to paraphrase, if they cut
off our electricity, if they attack our civilians and our infrastructure, you're going to have to expect us to do the same thing. Is that what you're
seeing as a potential next phase of this war, that it will be taken more and more into Russia?
STOLTENBERG: I think we need to understand is what this is. This is a war or aggression, a war of choice by President Putin and Russia. They invade
another country that, in no way, was a threat to them. And Ukraine has the right for self-defense. That's also an end shrine in the U.N. Charter. And
therefore, they defend themselves, that's what they are doing, and we help them to uphold that right.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, you're not going to say yes or no that they should take it into Russia. But I, kind of, hear you. I mean, that's what they're
doing. President Niinisto of Finland, the outgoing president, has also given an interview. Basically -- and I know he's the latest member of NATO,
warning you all about Putin's intentions. And warning you that, you know, even the nuclear option, Putin is not going to stop brandishing that
around. As the next phase of this war or the longevity of this war starts to set in, what do you expect from Putin?
STOLTENBERG: Well, we should never underestimate Russia. And what President Putin has demonstrated is that he is willing to sacrifice Russian
people in an unjust effort to concur a neighboring country. Then on the nuclear rhetoric, what we have seen from the Russian side is reckless, it's
dangerous. And that's also why NATO is so clearly has communicated again and again that the nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought.
And also, why we have increased our military presence in the eastern part of the alliance. Because NATO has, fundamentally, two tasks in this
conflict. One is to support Ukraine, as we do, and the other is to prevent escalation of this war beyond Ukraine to a full-scale war between Russia
and NATO. And we've done that by increasing our military presence in the eastern part of the alliance.
AMANPOUR: President Zelenskyy is here to not only appeal to the rest of the world community, the like the global south, as we call it, who are not
necessarily on board, they straddle the fence. And also, to persuade the American Congress that this is a war that the United States needs to keep
helping them with. He's done a clean-out of his ministry of defense, you know, taking on corruption. Trying to prove that, you know, everything
you've given will be used for the right purposes. Did he need to do that before coming here?
STOLTENBERG: President Zelenskyy has demonstrated again and again that fighting corruption is a top priority. That was a top priority for him
before the war and it continues to be during the war. At the same time, I think they have demonstrated to what they have achieved that our support
actually reaches the front lines, that the support we give makes a difference. Because we need to remember that many experts believed that
they will lose this war within weeks. They are now starting to actually really push back the Russia from big parts of Ukrainian territory.
AMANPOUR: Are you satisfied? You believe they're pushing them back in a significant way?
STOLTENBERG: I'm impressed by the courage, by the determination of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, by the Ukrainian people, and also by the Ukrainian
political leadership, President Zelenskyy. But of course, we all would like to see more advances and even quicker advances. But again, wars are -- they
are difficult. And no one can predict exactly how long time it will take for them to liberate the country.
AMANPOUR: And you still think as long, as it takes, the NATO will stick with them?
STOLTENBERG: Absolutely. And I think that partly because it would be a tragedy for Ukrainians if President Putin wins. But it will also be
extremely dangerous for us because then the message to President Putin but also to other authoritarian leaders, not least China, will be that when
they violate international law, when they use military force, when they invade a neighbor, they get what they want and that will make us more
That's the reason why I, of course, welcome the U.S. leadership, the U.S. support, but also the European allies and Canada are providing billions of
support and weapons and economic support to Ukraine. So, this is their -- actually, North American and Europe standing together in protecting our own
security interest and ensuring that President Putin does not win the war.
AMANPOUR: Very quickly, how do you think the much-delayed fighter jets will affect the battlefield? And do you not think that without this kind of
weaponry, it just signals to the Kremlin that you are, sort of, not doing it fast as possible as a Ukrainian official has said?
STOLTENBERG: I think the fighter jets, of course, will make a difference on the battlefield.
It will give them stronger air defenses, more air cover. But it also signals another important thing. It signals the readiness of NATO allies to
be there for the long haul. Because this is a complicated advanced weapons system. It will take time to train, and therefore it also sends a message
of commitment to stay for a long haul. And the paradox is that clearly, we are able to communicate that we are ready to be there a long time, the soon
it is working out.
AMANPOUR: Secretary General, thank you very much indeed.
STOLTENBERG: Thanks so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that's clear. And now, many speak of a new deal type rebuild for post-war Ukraine.
So, next, we take a look back at the 1930's in America, and the extraordinary story of how President Franklin Roosevelt accomplished the
new deal. His plan to end the economic damages of the Great Depression. That is the focus of the new book, "Taming the Street, The Old Guard, The
New Deal, and FDR's Fight to Regulate American Capitalism." Author and financial journalist Diana B. Henriques joins colleague Walter Isaacson to
talk about the benefits that Americans still wreak today because of the new deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Thank you.
And Diana Henriques, welcome to the show.
DIANA B. HENRIQUES, AUTHOR, "TAMING THE STREET": Thanks for having me, Walter.
ISAACSON: Now, this great book, "Taming the Street," it's a wild ride about Franklin Roosevelt and his regulation of the securities industry. But
one thing I in light was how you have to start with the jazz age. You have to start in the 1920's to get what it's all about. Tell me why 100 years
ago we were laying the groundwork for what Franklin Roosevelt had to do.
HENRIQUES: Well, it's important to know that that was the world of Wall Street that Franklin Roosevelt and his new deal allies grew up with. That's
the world they knew, the world of the 1920's. And it was not a safe place for ordinary American investors. Stock market prices were routinely rigged.
Bonds and stocks were sold with deceptive material, false promises. Banks failed with great regularity, and when they failed, you lost all your
savings almost overnight. Mutual funds, main stay of our current investment life were basically private piggy banks for the brokerage firms that
So, that was the world that FDR knew. Beyond the world of Wall Street though, it was a world of almost seamless corruption, Walter.
ISAACSON: You know, these respectable lawbreakers, as they seem to be in the book, the ones who were doing all that financial shenanigans. They seem
to so to be the close cousins, almost the, you know, the image of some of the rum runners and gangsters and scoundrels of the jazz age.
HENRIQUES: And they did. In fact, it was some journalists at WAG who termed them banksters, instead of gangsters. And that name, unfortunately,
ISAACSON: How important was all of these shenanigans in causing the great crash of 1929?
HENRIQUES: The pundits of the day thought that the stock market crash would be a nonevent for ordinary Americans because a very small percentage
of them owns stocks. Those stock market had become in the jazz age quite the popular game. You know, it was covered in the newspapers and all the
celebrities have their favorite stocks.
But ordinary Americans were not deeply involved in terms of having their wealth at risk in the stock market. But what those pundits had not allowed
for was the fear that would induce people to start tightening their belt from the very top-level right on down. So, as rich people stopped spending,
they stopped hiring maids, they stopped buying luxury products, they cancelled the order on the new condo. They shrunk their spending and that
rippled down in an -- in a vicious circle down to the lowliest of Americans.
ISAACSON: How much did Franklin Roosevelt's time as the governor of State of New York help lay the groundwork for what he does with the new deal?
HENRIQUES: Well, I lay out in "Taming the Streets", some of his really instructive foxhole experiences as he was governor of New York. He presided
over in December of 1930, what was then the largest bank failure in U.S. history. The eighth largest bank in the country. A bank called the Bank of
United States in New York City failed almost overnight despite desperate efforts by Roosevelt's banking superintendent and his Lieutenant Governor,
Herbert Lehman, to try to rescue the bank. And when it failed, the damage it did to small merchants, all through the garment industry in New York
City and beyond was devastating.
And that experience was a shock. It was a wake-up call to FDR. Previous to that, he had presided over two other bank failures, much smaller. But he
had, kind of, let the banking interest who controlled the legislature in Albany persuade him that bankers could regulator themselves, no great
changes and laws were needed. And if he would just leave them alone, they'd work this out. So, when the Bank of the United States failed, it was a
splash of cold water in the face that showed him that no, more was needed.
ISAACSON: In 1932, he runs for president. Touting his new deal policy to - - after the stock market crash and after it's now ignited the what becomes the Great Depression. You write mainly about his regulation of the
financial industry. How important was that type of promises to his 1932 campaign, or did people quite get the need for financial regulation?
HENRIQUES: Well, I think in my thesis in the book is that these financial reforms were the heart and soul of the new deal as Roosevelt presented it
in the campaign of 1932 and in 1936 as well when he ran for reelection on the strength of what he'd done. And he laid out the specific financial
reforms that he intended to implement.
You know, there's a lot of conventional wisdom that no one really knew what he planned to do in the new deal. He was kind of vague. And that really all
he had to do was not be President Herbert Hoover and he would get elected. But the evidence from the newspaper coverage of his campaign just does not
support that at all.
He was explicit. He was going to regularity stock changes. He was going to improve the regulation of banks. He was going to make sure that securities
were sold with honesty and truth, not with deception. He was going to make sure giant holding companies couldn't stuff all sorts of overhead cost on
the backs of their consumers. He was very explicit.
So, you know, I think we -- because of so much that happened in Roosevelt's career as president, one of the most eventful, probably in this country's
history, the role of financial reform in the very early days of his campaigning and of his presidency has been, kind of, obscured. And part of
what I wanted to do with this book was correct that. To show how central financial reform was to Roosevelt's thinking and for a good reason, Walter,
that's still ran today. He was firmly convinced that a healthy democracy required a healthy economy.
ISAACSON: One of the colorful characters in your book, of course, is Joseph Kennedy, the father of President Kennedy and Senator Kennedy. And
sort of intertwines quite a bit with the life of Franklin Roosevelt. Tell me about that relationship and what Joseph Kennedy saw in Franklin
HENRIQUES: Well, it was -- and I agree, it was a strange, kind of, relationship. There's nothing on the surface of it that made it look
plausible. Joe Kennedy was a buccaneer. He was a squash buckling speculator who is committing many of the crimes that Franklin Roosevelt later wanted
But he saw in Roosevelt the man for a moment. And the moment that Joe Kennedy saw, and perhaps more clearly, because of the world he occupied,
was an America that was just about to come apart between the angry demands on the left, a rising interest and communism and socialism, and even
scarier forces on the right. People who were looking at fascist authorities in Germany and in Italy and saying, maybe that's what we need right now.
Stamp out these labor unions, you know, get business in charge.
And Kennedy saw all of that is adding up to a time of, perhaps, terminal unrest in the United States. He felt it was essential that democracy show
it could work in this moment. It could address this economic crisis. He said once, I would -- I decided in those days I would give half of what I
had to be able to enjoy the other half under law and order. He felt that the society was falling apart and that Roosevelt was the man who could fix
ISAACSON: So, Roosevelt in his -- one of his early acts creates a security and exchange commission. A key thing in your book. And so, then the SCC to
run it, he appoints Joe Kennedy. I mean, it's like Joe Kennedy was a stock speculator and all.
ISAACSON: Wasn't that like putting the fox in charge of the hen house?
HENRIQUES: Washington exploded, Walter. I mean, it absolutely exploded when -- now, there were some journalists who said, I don't believe it. I
just don't believe that this rumor is true. But in fact, FDR was very, very savvy to name Joe Kennedy. First of all, Wall Street which had fiercely
fought not only this bill creating the SCC but the early one that had required truth in the sales of securities. And, you know, they could hardly
say, well, you know, this guy doesn't know anything about Wall Street. You know, you're putting an idiot in charge of our marketplace. No one knew
Wall Street better than Joe Kennedy did.
So, FDR saw it as a way to disarm Wall Street's, you know, predictable objections. But he knew, as most of the American public did not, that Joe
Kennedy have always been an outsider on the street. He played a loan game. He kept his cards very close to his chest. And he was no more beholden to
those Wall Street titans than Roosevelt was.
ISAACSON: So, how well did he do?
HENRIQUES: It was a masterpiece of public service, Walter. It really was. And given the rest of Joe Kennedy's career, it seems odd to say that, but
it really was as I reviewed in great detail the daily workings, the minutes of the meetings he ran, the appointments he made, the people he hired. It
was truly a remarkable act of public service. He took a bunch of words on paper. And in a few months, turned them into a watch dog agency that was on
the street. That was on the job right away.
ISAACSON: Franklin Roosevelt has an incredibly active first hundred days, as it was called. That's all sorts of things to try to tackle the Great
Depression. Tell me about some of the other things besides in addition to financial regulation and how those who were connected to his Wall Street
HENRIQUES: Well, the -- one we know best, of course, is his banking reform, and I consider that as well part of his financial reforms. As you
know, Walter, when Roosevelt was sworn in on March 4, 1933, we were in the midst of the most serious banking crisis the country had ever experienced.
Around 3:00 in the morning on the day Roosevelt was sworn in, New York became the final state to shut its banks. The -- they were being shuttered
across the country to protect them from panicky runs by their customers. And with the banks shut, particularly the money center banks, the stock
exchange closed, the commodity exchanges closed. The financial machinery of the country had come to a dead stand still by dawn on in inauguration day.
So, job one for Roosevelt was to get those banks open again. And the tale of how he did it, to me, is one of the best bits of the book. It was really
remarkable. The lessons he brought from his governorship were brought to bear. He understood that the banks were in trouble not because people
didn't trust the new deal, they were in trouble because people didn't trust the banks.
And so, his idea was to intervene a bank moratorium, to give regulators in every state and in the Treasury Department time to sort which banks were
strong, which were weak, which needed new capitol. What could be done to rescue them. And then he had a fire side chat, the first of those radio
addresses to the American public that became so famous was on the banking crisis. And he explained to them in just every day kitchen table language
how the banking system worked. How it had gotten in trouble. What he was doing to try to fix it. And what they should do when their banks reopen.
And he assured them that any bank that reopened after this moratorium could be trusted.
And so, within 10 days, banks started to reopen. And in defiance of Herbert Hoover's predictions, people lined up to put money back in. So, it was a
remarkable display of how much in the infusion of confidence could matter just as much as an infusion of capital.
ISAACSON: One of the things always said about Roosevelt is that his style was to just try anything, to keep trying, to make sure you were seen
ISAACSON: That can lead to some missteps. What failures, do you think, happened in the new deal?
HENRIQUES: Well, there were -- no doubt the National Recovery Act which was struck around -- down by the Supreme Court very early in the new deal,
I think, was a wrong-headed idea.
And the National Recovery Act was an effort to allow industry to work together, to coordinate together, supposedly to support prices and wages.
What it was devolving into was, you know, price fixing and wage suppression. And by the time the Supreme Court struck it down, the rest of
the new dealers had basically said, this is not working. We need something else. So, that was a misstep.
Perhaps his worst failings on the financial reform front, however, was the handling of the 1937 recession, which I deal within the book. It's hard for
someone I admire as much as Roosevelt for me to say, he really flubbed it. But he really flubbed it. He was getting a lot of advice from more
conservative new dealers, Joe Kennedy among them, that he needed to balance the budget.
OK. We were out of the emergency, we've cured the depression, things are on the rebound. Now, we've got get -- got to get back to brass tax, to the old
pail (ph) and party truisms of a balanced budget. So, he cuts spending in 1936 and in -- going into 37, long before the economy was ready to absorb
that kind of cut.
ISAACSON: You say it's so urgent that we understand this today. Well, we're having a crisis of democracy, and sometimes a crisis of confidence
when it comes to the financial sector. Explain why you think this is urgent now.
HENRIQUES: Well, in a very real sense, Walter, these reforms that we've inherited from FDR, which we take so much for granted today, they're on the
ballot in 2024. One of the major candidates likely to be running for president has an open track record of hostility to financial regulation. He
bragged -- President Trump bragged in his 2018 state of the union that he'd done more than any administration in history to reduce financial
regulation. And that's not just Trump hyperbole, he did, and he will again.
His track record was to put appointees in charge of regulatory agencies who were openly hostile to the mission of those agencies. He appointed pro-
business anti-regulatory judges every time he could. So, another Trump term would mean further destruction of the financial regulatory machine that
served us pretty darn well for nearly 90 years.
ISAACSON: But aren't there some regulations that you think need to be revisited?
HENRIQUES: Oh, absolutely. And more than revisited. Another way that financial reform is on the ballot in 2024 is we've got to elect people to
Congress and the Senate who can get to work wisely and quickly, modernizing the financial regulatory system that's grown up around the core of
Roosevelt reforms and prepare it for a new century.
So, we've got to have people who are committed to financial protection, to investor protection, but who are going to work together to produce with
industry. A modernized financial reform that can continue Roosevelt's work to have a Congress full of people ready to tear all this stuff down would
be disastrous. Because we've got our 401(k) plans, our pensions are tied up in the stock market. Our mortgages are important to our financial security.
We are -- Americans today are so much more engaged with the world of finance that they would be so much more at risk if the rules of that world
devolved back to what they had been in the jazz age.
ISAACSON: Diana Henriques, thank you so much for joining us.
HENRIQUES: Thank you, Walter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And finally, photography is now allowed. After nearly three decades, Spain's Reina Sofia Museum has lifted the picture ban on Pablo
Picasso's famous Guernica, known for symbolizing the horrors of the Spanish civil war. And visitors are clamoring to get near it for their selfies and
hopefully to learn from history. Picasso's work is named for the City of Guernica which Germany bombed in 1937 in support of General Francisco
Franco, one of the first times a civilian population was targeted by aerial bombing.
It is a deeply anti-war piece and a 25-foot tapestry replica of the painting hangs right behind me in the U.N. building. And this week, leaders
here are discussing yet another targeting of civilian populations, this time by Russia in Ukraine.
That's it for now. And you can always catch us online and allover social media. Thank you for watching and goodbye from New York.