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Interview With Former Saudi Ambassador To U.S. And U.K. And Former Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Turki Al Faisal; Interview With "Barbie" Actress America Ferrera; Interview With Former U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser And Stanford University Hoover Institution Distinguished Visiting Fellow Matt Pottinger. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired January 17, 2024 - 13:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.

Strikes in Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and now Pakistan. All as Israel's war on Gaza continues and fears of a wider war intensify. Prince Turki Al

Faisal joins me, the former Saudi intelligence chief.

Then, as "Barbie" mania hits award season, actress America Ferrera on its blockbusting impact.

Also, ahead, Former Deputy National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger tells Walter Isaacson how Taiwan's recent election could transform U.S.-China


Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

And we start in the Middle East where the crisis may intensify as the U.S. redesignates Yemen's Houthis as a global terrorist entity. Of course, all

roads lead back to Gaza and Israel. According to the health ministry in Gaza, more than 1 percent of the enclave's population has been killed since

the war began, including more than 10,000 children.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken described it as heartbreaking.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: What we're seeing every single day in Gaza is gut-wrenching. And the suffering we're seeing among innocent

men, women, and children breaks my heart. The question is, what is to be done?

We've made judgments about how we thought we could be most effective in trying to shape this in ways to get more humanitarian assistance to people,

to get better protections and minimize civilian casualties.


AMANPOUR: Blinken also talked about after the war, about the Arab world normalizing relations with Israel. But he insisted that Palestinian

statehood is now crucial to "a genuine integration." A point that was hammered home at different events in Davos by different U.S. officials and

by Saudi Arabia's foreign minister.

Joining me now is Prince Turki al Faisal, a senior member of the Saudi royal family and elder statesman. He served for many years as head of

intelligence before representing Saudi Arabia as ambassador to Washington and London. And he's joining us from Jeddah now.

Welcome back to our program, Prince Turki. Let me start by asking you about this reopening the idea of normalization. This was apparently practically

on the table before October 7th and has obviously been, you know, swept away in the interim. What do you make of this being raised now, seriously?

PRINCE TURKI AL FAISAL, FORMER SAUDI AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: Well, it has never been closed, Christiane. There were several statements before and after

October 7th. When Saudi officials maintained that reaching a settlement for the Palestinian issue will lead to normalization and mutual recognition

with Israel.

As you know, that's the whole basis of the Arab Peace Initiative that the Kingdom proposed 21 years ago and Israel has refused to accept.

So, that door was never closed. What is perhaps necessary now is instead of having Secretary Blinken lament the deaths of the Palestinians, maybe he

should go forward to implementing the United Nations resolution that call for the recognition of a Palestinian State. That is the only way that the

conflict will be stopped finally.

AMANPOUR: How do you get from there to here now, in the midst of this really unprecedented war, the catastrophic events of October 7th, and the,

you know, thousands and thousands, according to the Palestinians, of casualties inside Gaza? How do you put statehood and an end to occupation

back on the table?


AL FAISAL: Very simple. You can simply announce it. You know, there is a U.N. resolution back in 1948. 181 I think it is, of the General Assembly

that called for the establishment of two states in Palestine, a Palestinian State and the Israeli State.

The Israelis, of course, went on and established that state. The Palestinians did not. Now you can simply say we go back to a Resolution 181

and the Palestinian State will come out. It doesn't require magic or Einsteinian logic or genius to figure a way out.

AMANPOUR: Yes. But -- I mean, you know, the fact is that that's been on the table for a long, long time, and it hasn't happened. And they're endless

peace proposals, including the one you just mentioned that Saudi Arabia presented in 2002. And now, we have this terrible war.

So, I guess, given your experience, I just wonder whether you see any political way out, and maybe, you know, as awful as it sounds, this

terrible catastrophe might lead to a political resolution. Or is that just a pipe dream still?

AL FAISAL: Well, we'll have to wait and see. There is a lot of talk being put out by Americans, by Europeans about a two-state solution. But they've

been talking the talk without walking the walk.

I think what is needed is for them to put their feet down and simply go ahead and work with Saudi Arabia and other countries in the area to

establish a Palestinian State and to end the fighting.

The first important thing that must be done is to stop the killing. This is something that America and Europe has not yet reached as an immediate

necessity. And I think there is more to be blamed on the West in that than anybody else.

AMANPOUR: You went somewhat viral with a speech you made two weeks after October 7th at Rice University in Texas at the James Baker Center. He, of

course, was, you know, one of America's, you know, most esteemed secretaries of state, has a huge amount of experience. experience in the

Middle East, obviously, from the Gulf War on, and help convene the first sort of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue around the Madrid Peace Conference

back in -- yes, in 1991.

I want to play a little bit of what you said, and then we'll talk about it.


AL FAISAL: I categorically condemn Hamas' targeting of civilian targets of any age or gender, as it is accused of. Such targeting belies Hamas' claims

to an Islamic identity. There is an Islamic injunction against the killing of innocent children, women, and elders.

But equally, I condemn Israel's indiscriminate bombing of Palestinian innocent civilians in Gaza and the attempt to forcibly drive them into

Sinai. I condemn Israeli targeted killing and the indiscriminate arrest of Palestinian children, women, and men in the West Bank. Two wrongs don't

make a right.


AMANPOUR: It was a much longer speech. I wonder how it was received by your American audience. And then, I want to ask you a question about Hamas,

because, look, I guess Saudi Arabia has no love lost for Hamas, but it does have representation in Qatar. It is talked about by certain Arab leaders,

certain Arab analysts about having to be part of any kind of solution.

And I wonder whether you think that's even likely, and what Palestinian entity could be part of any new negotiations?

AL FAISAL: Ms. Amanpour, I wrote an article, I think about two weeks ago, in which I said that Hamas has to declare it's joining the Palestine

Liberation Organization under the Palestinian recognition for statehood in the area. And to accept the Palestine Liberation Organization position on

peace with Israel. That is a compulsory first step for Hamas to become a party to any peaceful solution in the area.

The other thing I called for was that should there be a settlement that the present leadership of Hamas, of the PLO, and of Israel should be excluded

from any participation in any future political role. They have to pay for what they have done in this process.

All of them are failures. They have not achieved either strategic gains or military victory. So, they have to be swept off the table and new

leadership be brought to the fore.


And then let it -- leave it to the Palestinian people to choose a leadership. It's not for the Israelis to dictate Palestinian leadership,

nor for us, nor for the United States. It's the Palestinian people that have to do that.

AMANPOUR: Interestingly, Secretary Blinken also addressed the issue of leadership, in this case the Israeli leadership, and said that would be up

to the Israeli people after this war to decide whether it was going to have leadership that wanted to go towards a two-state solution and ending the


But do you believe, because historically, the United States has played the biggest heavyweight role in terms of "honest broker." Do you believe that

today it has that same, you know, credibility?

AL FAISAL: That is much under question. I mean, there seems to be a visceral embrace between the United States governments, both Republican and

Democrat, with any Israeli leadership. That umbilical link between them is what keeps the United States losing any credibility as a mediator in this

process. That said, we all accept that it is the United States that can pressure Israel to reach any accommodation.

I remember when Henry Kissinger, in the old days after the Ramadan War, actually forced Golda Meir to resign in Israel because she was standing

against his disengagement talks. That was the time when Israel -- when the U.S. put a lot of pressure on Israel and got things accomplished. This is

what we need to see now.

AMANPOUR: Can we just talk about also, as I mentioned, the widening war? You've seen the Houthis, which are Iran proxies, firing at shipping in the

Red Sea. And recently, the U.S. and U.K. firing back at their bases in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia spent a long time firing at the Houthis. Do you have any words of wisdom? Because you didn't solve that problem either.

AL FAISAL: We were trying to solve it through political means. We never felt that military means were going to solve the situation. And that's why

we worked with the United States and with the United States and with the U.K. and other countries, with Sweden and so on, to establish some roadmap

for peace in Yemen between Yemenis.

And we were almost there, and there was an announcement by the U.N. representative to the Yemen of a roadmap for peace between the Houthis and

the legitimate government. But unfortunately, the Gaza affair upended all of that. And we go back to the original issue, which is solve the

Palestinian problem. And that will open the doors for peace, not just in Palestine, but in Lebanon, in Syria, in Yemen, and in other places as well.

This is the same thing that we've been telling the Americans and the Europeans since 1948. You have to be fair to the Palestinians and give them

their state.

AMANPOUR: You know, you condemn Hamas very viscerally, but you also wrote that -- you know, I'm just going to get this right, so I don't misquote

you. You accused Hamas of sabotaging the peace process but you also wrote that they put the Palestinian in a recent interview, awakened the world to

the existence of a Palestinian cause.

I want you to explain that a little bit, because, I mean, let's face it, you all also have a lot of power, and there wasn't a huge amount of love

for the Palestinian cause when the UAE made their normalization. And who knows, if it hadn't been for this war now, whether Saudi Arabia would have

insisted that there be an end to occupation in a Palestinian State, as everybody seems to say now, in return for normalization.

AL FAISAL: Well, that's why Hamas has to be brought under control. So that it cannot be a spoiler of any peaceful solution to the Palestinian problem.

But the way that the situation has been left with Israel weakening the Palestinian Authority. And actually, it was Israel that was financing

Hamas, bringing Qatari money, and handing it to the Hamas people. Mr. Netanyahu made that a cardinal political practice that he did for many

years. This is unacceptable.


And then, we see the results, that it's more conflict and more indecision and more -- everything going up in the air. But the only way that you can

reach a solution is if you go back to the originals of the problem. The problem is the occupation of Palestine by Israel.

Israel has to give up Palestine in order for the other issues to be put in place.

AMANPOUR: When you say give up Palestine, can you just please be clear about what you mean?

AL FAISAL: Well, it has to withdraw according to Resolutions 242, 338 of the United Nations Security Council, and the Arab Peace Initiative, and the

roadmap of the Quartet. All the solutions are there. You know, defining how Israel can with -- you know, leave Palestine to become a state.

It's not something miraculous that needs to be done.

AMANPOUR: So, you were intelligence chief for a long time and you've been, you know, around for a long, long time dealing with this issue and many

others in the region.

When you see -- you said, you know, Hamas needs to be brought under control. That's what Israel says that it's trying to do and doing in Gaza.

They say that they've -- I think they say that they've dismantled Hamas control, at least in parts or all of Northern Gaza. Do you think this is

going to be what does it?

AL FAISAL: I don't think Israel can do it. It has to be done by the Palestinian people. They're not going to allow the Israelis to do their

stuff for them. There has to be -- as I mentioned, there has to be a recognition of a State of Palestine and the stop of the killing, have a

ceasefire in Gaza. And then, you can talk about how the procedures can be taken from there.

And Hamas has to declare its alignment with the Palestinian Authority. It has to give up its previous positions of not accepting a peace solution

with Israel. So, these are things that can be worked out. But once the ceasefire has been put in place, then we can work together with the United

States and the United Nations and figure out how we can go forward.

AMANPOUR: So, I talked about the Houthis a moment ago, but do you see any real evidence? And are you concerned that this whole thing spins out into a

wider war? And I just listed the number of countries where we've seen military activities in just in the last couple of weeks. You've got Iran

hitting into Pakistan, into Iraq, into, you know, other places.

What do you see -- and obviously, the Hezbollah, Israel trading fire in the northern border there. Do you see it spinning into a wider crisis?

AL FAISAL: I hope not. But I don't think the Iranians wish for a wider crisis. I don't think they want to be bombed, for example, by Israel or by

the United States. And that's why they use their militias, whether it's is Hezbollah in Lebanon or the Houthis in Yemen or some of the militias in

Iraq to do their bidding.

We just saw a day before yesterday, and I think yesterday, Iran launching missiles and drones into Iraq and into Pakistan. That is totally

unacceptable. But it is something that -- these are the tools that Iran uses to further its aims. I don't think it wants confrontation with the

United States, at least not as far as going into direct war with the United States.

AMANPOUR: You talked about Henry Kissinger and you mentioned, you know, shuttle diplomacy and, you know, the U.S. impact in the years past. Do you

see -- when we sort of touched on whether you thought the U.S. still had the credibility to be able to do that, but it is the only heavyweight that

has that convening power.

So, I mean, do you see that kind of leadership being at least willing to be deployed now? It was interesting to see at Davos how there's a confluence

of both the national security adviser, the secretary of state, as I said, your own foreign minister talking about how the future should shape up

there with the Palestinian Statehood as the end goal.

And even the Jordanian -- former Jordanian foreign minister said that should be something that's given an actual reasonable timeline, like let's

say, three to five years, he said.


AL FAISAL: Well, I remember with you, Ms. Amanpour, when Kissinger and America at the time, President Nixon, came to the rescue of Israel during

the Ramadan War by sending all of that armament and support when Israel nearly conceded defeat in that war. They got a lot of political cards out

of that. And one of them was to -- as I mentioned, to push Golda Meir out of office and have the disengagement talks.

Mr. Biden's embrace of Mr. Netanyahu, only a few days after October 7th, I think, gives him that kind of card to play. And as I see from polling done

in Israel, Mr. Biden is more popular in Israel than Mr. Netanyahu. So, that should be something that Mr. Biden can play. As well as Secretary Blinken,

and his statements about, you know, going to Israel as a Jew and not as an American had an impact on the Israeli public there.

So, these are cards that the U.S. can use to push Israel. And they're not going to push them into hell. They want to push them into a peaceful

situation. This is what is so amazing about the present Israeli government resisting the calls for a ceasefire and other things that the world wants

them to do.

AMANPOUR: And finally, I want to ask you about the idea of forcible, you know, displacement or transfer of the Palestinian population. You know that

-- well, certainly at the beginning, there was a feeling that the Israelis were trying to push Gazans into Egypt via Rafah to, you know, sort of empty

the West Bank into Jordan.

And at that time, the president of Egypt and the king of Jordan made very, very clear that that was by no way acceptable and they wouldn't allow it.

Do you think that is a done deal now, or do you worry that, you know, trying to force the Palestinian population out is still on the cards, you

know, by some in Israel?

AL FAISAL: Well, I have to go by what Israel is doing. It is -- as I mentioned, and as you mentioned, there was a talk about displacement of

Palestinians into Egypt by Israelis. And some -- one of them actually, a minister even recommended using the atom bomb on Gaza, to blow it off the

earth -- the surface of the earth. So, that is one thing.

But look what they're doing in the West Bank, while everybody's attention is on Gaza. There -- they've already arrested, I don't know, 6,000 or 7,000

Palestinian residents of the West Bank under whatever excuses that they have put up. They have killed over 500 Palestinians since October 7th. That

is not a sign that they want the Palestinians to stay where they are.

And I'm reminded of 1948 when we heard even Israeli soldiers who participated in that war talking about a deliberate policy by the Israelis

then to create fear among the Palestinians by genocide and by murder and by driving them out of their homes.

So, that has been a consistent Israeli policy since 1948.

AMANPOUR: We'll see --

AL FAISAL: And I hope that the world would not allow them to do that anymore.

AL FAISAL: We'll see what happens in this case now. Thank you so much, Prince Turki Al Faisal.

Tomorrow, Mark Regev, senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will join me.

But next tonight, one of the most talked about movie moments of the year, this breakout scene in the billion-dollar blockbuster, "Barbie."


AMERICA FERRERA, ACTRESS: It is literally impossible to be a woman. We have to always be extraordinary. But somehow, we're always doing it wrong. You

have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line.

I'm just so tired of watching myself and every single other woman tie herself into knots so that people will like us.


AMANPOUR: America Ferrera there as the non-Barbie Gloria with a speech that moved audiences around the world.

As awards season goes into high gear, I spoke to the actress just before she nabbed the See Her Prize at the Critics Choice Awards in Los Angeles.

It's given to women who advocate for gender equality with the decisions they make on and off screen. Here's our conversation.



AMANPOUR: America Ferrera, welcome to the program.

FERRERA: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: How surprised were you at the huge impact that monologue had, your speech in "Barbie," which was already such a successful film?

FERRERA: It was amazing to see how it hit the audiences and what the responses were. I know that when I first read the script, everything before

and after and including the monologue --


FERRERA: We have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we're all extraordinary. Always doing it wrong --


FERRERA: -- I know that I was just blown away. And it was all just so unexpected. And as a woman, I was just so excited, you know, that, you

know, it's the "Barbie" movie that no one asked for. That no one thought we needed, you know.

AMANPOUR: And kind of subversively, seriously feminist.

FERRERA: Yes. Yes.

AMANPOUR: And nobody believed that. They thought it was just going to be another telling of a really incredible doll that so many millions of girls

around the world played with.

FERRERA: Yes. And it could have been that, you know, it very easily could have been something bright and fun and exciting, and probably would've made

a lot of money and been successful. But what Greta and her partner, Noah, did with the script, and then Greta is the director, creating this world,

it was so generous and it was so exciting.

And, you know, as an adult woman, mother, you know, to get a third of the way into the script and then to meet this adult real flawed, you know,

insecure, but having ambition woman like struggling to be, you know, so many things to so many different people, it was so exciting to feel like we

had a voice in the story.

And, you know, that -- I felt that way, independent of being asked to be a part of it, just as a woman in the world.

AMANPOUR: How did you come to get this role?


AMANPOUR: And did you -- were you a bit nervous about accepting a role about a plastic doll?

FERRERA: Well, I had no desire to be in a "Barbie" movie. I didn't grow up playing with Barbies. I didn't -- you know, the idea of a "Barbie" movie

wasn't necessarily exciting to me. But the idea of Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie being behind it was exciting to me.

And so, when I read the script, it was just all right there. Like, every expectation. I didn't even know what to expect, you know. But everything

that you imagined is just totally turned on its head. And like I said before, like, seeing how many perspectives were included. And that this

wasn't just, you know, a bubblegum pop movie for, you know, people who are already fans of "Barbie" or who, like, want to see bright colors or really

want to see Ryan Gosling in no T-shirt and Margot Robbie wear really cute clothes, it really had something to say.

AMANPOUR: As you said, it was very fun as well, as well as the seriousness. We were going to watch a clip of your character, Gloria, and daughter,



FERRERA: I love rollerblades. Where are we going?


ARIANA GREENBLATT, ACTRESS, "BARBIE": What? Mom, are you really going to let Barbie take you and your tween daughter to an imaginary land?

FERRERA: Yes, and you want to know why? Because I never get to do anything. I didn't even go on that cruise I won at your school raffle because I

didn't have enough vacation days and your dad's allergic to sun.

GREENBLATT: What about dad? You can't just leave him.

FERRERA: He'll be fine.

GREENBLATT: Yes, yes. He'll be fine.

ROBBIE: Ready for fun?


AMANPOUR: What was that scene like to do? What was the -- you know, the impact of all of that?

FERRERA: I loved that -- shooting that whole sequence and what that whole sequence of Gloria driving the car and the car chase and then getting on

rollerblades, and it's such wish fulfillment. But to put a grown adult mother, working, wife, woman in the middle of that, who gets to be the

center of the adventure and who does finally get to say, like, I'm going to do what I want to do, and this is the crazy thing I want to do. It was so


And as a woman, as a mother, it resonated so deeply. So, yes, we're having fun, but we're also talking about something so true in our culture.

AMANPOUR: And so is zeitgeist. Right on the zeitgeist.

FERRERA: Yes. Yes.

AMANPOUR: It's almost like a Trojan Horse --


AMANPOUR: -- for those who are afraid of feminism.


AMANPOUR: I think. Certainly, some women still are. They don't even like to say the word.


AMANPOUR: A certain number of men are still, you know, worried about it. The idea of doing what you all did through humor and through fun must have

been kind of the way to make it even more accessible.

FERRERA: Absolutely. I mean, I think in a way to bring people into something that is maybe uncomfortable for them. You have to make it a

party. You have to make it irresistible. You have to make it more fun over here than what's happening over there so that people perk up and listen and

show up and then get exposed, you know, underneath the laughter to something that they weren't expecting to get hit with. And I mean, that's

the brilliance of Greta.


And I know there's been conversations about like, well, this isn't very, you know, advanced. It's not saying anything we don't already know. First

of all, there are plenty of people who don't know. There are countries around the world that banned this film for what it is and what it's saying.

There's plenty of young women and people of all genders who've never had the words or thought about patriarchy and the role of women in the way that

this film illuminates.

And I think that we're in trouble if what we need is for everybody to be at an advanced entry level to what we want them to understand. Like, we've got

to meet each other where we are and have a conversation, whether -- whatever it's about. Inviting people in and not trying to speak down to

people and say, well, this is the right way to talk about your experience as a woman.

AMANPOUR: But you've been doing this for a while. You're also politically active. And, you know, even since "Ugly Betty," you have been really

forging this path for identity, for having that common commonality of conversation and listening to the other, hearing the other. What was it

like for you when you, you know, got stuck into the "Ugly Betty" role?

FERRERA: I loved playing Betty. I mean, I think the opportunities that came my way had everything to do with how the industry saw me, how the world saw


AMANPOUR: And how did they see you?

FERRERA: Well, everything was a lot about like, I was there to fulfill an ethnicity or I was there to fulfill a body type. And that from the outside,

you know, I got these opportunities because they did check those boxes. But my role as the actor, as the artist was to make that stereotype a full

whole human person. And that's the opportunity and storytelling, to give someone back their humanity through telling their story beyond a


And you know, what I've come to really believe throughout my 20 plus years of working and being also an advocate in a number of issues is that all we

ever do is story tell. All we ever do is tell stories about who matters, about who deserves what, about who's allowed their humanity and who isn't,

whether that's in TV, film, politics, business, war, we are always telling and then believing and internalizing stories about who we are, and that

creates the world we live in.

AMANPOUR: What is it like for you, starting off and now, being a Latina representative? If I'm not mistaken, I don't know whether I read this

wrong, but I think it said that you're the only Latina to have won an Emmy for a TV series?

FERRERA: For -- yes, for lead actress.

AMANPOUR: Is that actually possible?

FERRERA: It's true. It's true. You know, it brings me no joy to be the first or to be the only -- you know, I think that's any novelty around

getting to be exceptional in any way at the cost of the invisibility of everyone else who is like you is -- it's really -- there's no joy in that.

AMANPOUR: Do you have any reason to believe that, I mean, as time marches on, that, you know, people are understanding this deficit in your business?

FERRERA: Yes, I believe that it's changing. I mean, the truth is, is like you can't win awards for roles and opportunities that don't exist. You

know, I look at the acting categories in television. The lead acting categories in television, they are very, very mono ethnic.

And -- you know, and it's not because we're leaving out some fabulous performance that happened, the opportunities aren't there, they don't

exist. And sadly, and enragingly, there are opportunities that should be going to Latinos when -- you know, when you talk about, you know, roles

based on real people who were Latino being cast with white actors or non- Latino actors, it's -- it is very, very difficult to imagine that any of the awards and the acknowledgement side of things will change until the

opportunities change.

AMANPOUR: You're about to take on your first movie directing position, right?

FERRERA: Yes, yes, yes.

AMANPOUR: Can you tell us what it's about?



FERRERA: I'm directing a feature film for Orion. Based on a YA, an amazing YA novel called "I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter." And it's a

beautiful coming of age story. In a lot of ways, very full circle for me.


I -- my first film ever was "Real Women Have Curves." I was 17. It was this beautiful coming of age story. And it's very -- it's a very different world

and different -- it's a different story, but there are similar themes. And so, to come back around and to start my feature directing career is very


AMANPOUR: And all the characters are presumably Mexican.

FERRERA: Many of them. Most of them.

AMANPOUR: And you will be casting them all from the Latino community.

FERRERA: Yes. Absolutely, yes. Yes.

AMANPOUR: So, that's the statement.

FERRERA: Yes. Well, and you know, Eva Longoria just did that with her amazing directorial debut in "Flamin' Hot," which I think became, for their

studio, the number one streaming premiere.

And even, you know, what we know from the research that's coming out of Annenberg and their inclusion work is that not only is it more difficult to

get our stories told and get our stories made, but then when they are made, there's such a difference in how they get supported, how they get marketed.

AMANPOUR: Marketed, yes.

FERRERA: How they get written about by critics and talked about in the culture. And so, it's all of a piece. And that's why it matters so much

that we that we have the conversations, and that we don't just assume one big, wonderful success is going to lead to things changing. We have to

point and we have to keep saying, look, look at what this is and what it defied. And let's start changing our minds about this. And so --

AMANPOUR: And, finally, the strike, the A.I. part of it. Are you satisfied with the way the strike was ended in terms of protecting you all from the

dangers of A.I. that you had, you know, put down as a reason for the strike?

FERRERA: I don't really think that it's possible to be satisfied. I think there was a lot of relief about being able to get people back to work. I

think that it's a bigger problem than our industry. It seems to be global, and like something that needs federal regulation, something that really

needs our leaders, our country's leaders, our world leaders to step up and to protect people in every industry, in every country from something we're

going to face together. I don't think it's something that we can necessarily solve in an actor's strike.

AMANPOUR: Do you have any political dreams? Do you think you'd ever run for office?

FERRERA: I don't have any political dreams. But I can never help myself from being an engaged citizen of the world and always wanting to do my part

as a global citizen, as a U.S. citizen of, you know, advocating for what matters to me.

AMANPOUR: America Ferrera, thank you so much, indeed.

FERRERA: Thank you. Thank you.


AMANPOUR: Next, we turn to Taiwan, where people voted for a historic third term for the Democratic Progressive Party. President-Elect Lai Ching-te won

more than 40 percent. So, what does it mean for relations with Mainland China and diplomacy with other nations like the United States?

Matt Pottinger is a former U.S. deputy national security adviser, and he's joining Walter Isaacson to discuss this now.


WALTER ISAACSON, CO-HOST, AMANPOUR AND CO.: Thank you, Christiane. And Matt Pottinger, welcome back to the show.


ISAACSON: So, we had those elections in Taiwan, somewhat of an unnerving surprise if you're worried about our relationships with China. Very much of

a government that will try to keep its democratic independence from China. Tell us how to assess it and what happened there.

POTTINGER: Yes, well, what you had was the democratic expression of the society that's one of the most successful democracies in the world. People

showed up in huge numbers. Percentages of turnout that should really be the envy of the democratic world.

And what people decided to do was something unusual. This is the first time that the -- a party has been returned for, in essence, a third term of

office after it had really been in sort of eight-year cycles that the opposition would switch with the ruling party.

But I think what you're seeing is, in part, the opposition vote was split between a couple of candidates which helped boost Vice President Lai to the

presidency. But he still obtained 40 plus percent of the vote.

ISAACSON: The president-elect has said that this was an expression of democracy over authoritarianism, the great struggle in this world today. Do

you think he's going to be able to get along with China? Or is that going to provoke China to try to assert more control over Taiwan?


POTTINGER: Yes. Look, the truth is, if Beijing had played things differently, and they still have the opportunity to play things

differently, they probably could have had a somewhat productive relationship with the current, outgoing president, President Tsai Ing-wen.

When President Tsai was elected eight years ago, she made -- she went out of her way to, in some sense, buck her party platform in order to extend an

olive branch to Beijing. She made clear -- you know, she did several of the things that Beijing would have wanted to hear. But Beijing decided rather

than to build on that and start a dialogue with her government, they froze her out. And for eight years, they have not actually engaged in any kind of

productive dialogue. Barely any dialogue at all, other than perhaps a little bit of back-channel diplomacy.

And so, here we are again. You know, Beijing's preferred candidates did not win for a third time in a row. Beijing could actually open a dialogue and I

-- my guess would be that Vice President Lai, now President-Elect Lai would be willing to entertain the idea of some kind of dialogue. I just don't

think Beijing's going to offer it.

Beijing is more interested in control than in dialogue. And so, unfortunately, I think that Beijing's going to miss yet another opportunity


ISAACSON: And to what extent do you think that this could lead to a military confrontation over Taiwan? And what would the timetable be? Does

this speed up that timetable?

POTTINGER: So, Xi Jinping has made clear that he's impatient. He doesn't talk the way that his predecessors did about there being time. So long as

Taiwan doesn't declare formal independence, that time is on Beijing's side. That's not how Xi Jinping sees it.

But the other thing is that Xi Jinping has really changed the game. It -- a lot of his predecessor's rhetoric about Taiwan was designed to restrain

Taiwan, to ensure that Taiwan did not declare independence. Xi Jinping is not trying to maintain the status quo the way that the rhetoric might have

suggested by some of his predecessors.

Instead, what he's trying to do is compel Taiwan to move toward unification under the People's Republic of China, and that is not something that the

vast majority of people in Taiwan want to see.

ISAACSON: If China right now decided to blockade Taiwan, or decided to move on it in a military way, what would the -- what do you think the U.S.

should do, and does the U.S. have the capacity right now to fight a war?

POTTINGER: Yes. Well, look, the lesson from Ukraine is that deterrence would have been a whole lot cheaper than war. So, let's succeed at

deterrence. We can do that. We know how to deter. We did it during the Cold War. It's why the Cold War stayed cold. But we were spending twice as much,

Walter, in the 1980s under Reagan as a percentage of GDP on defense as we're spending right now. This is a mistake. This is a mistake.

We need to be showing that we have decisive capabilities, conventional capabilities, that, in fact, we already have the technology and the

platforms to deliver. It's just that we haven't been building enough of these anti-ship missiles. We haven't been making sure that our attack

submarines are cycling out of port and maintenance quickly enough to be a real problem for Beijing. Let's focus on that.

Look, if Beijing ends up pulling the trigger, it makes that fateful decision that Vladimir Putin has made. I actually believe that President

Biden has been pretty clear. I don't think he was speaking off the cuff. You might be able to say that he's speaking off the cuff once or twice. But

President Biden has now said four times, quite deliberately, that he would back Taiwan militarily in order to prevent a -- what he called an

unprecedented military attack on Taiwan. I think we should take the president at his word.

ISAACSON: Well, the president said that, and that goes against what was official, I think, U.S. policy, which is sort of a strategic ambiguity.

Well, we don't quite say outright that we would get involved militarily if there were an attack by China on Taiwan.

Should we change U.S. policy and make it unambiguous that we give defense protection to Taiwan?


POTTINGER: You know, I would argue that President Biden already has made that shift. You know, it is not the staff of the president, but the

president under Article 2 of our constitution who makes our foreign policy. I think we should take President Biden literally, take him at his word. And

in essence, he has already removed at least a lot of that fog of ambiguity from the policy.

I think it would be unwise for any other presidential candidate to back away from the position that President Biden has staked on this. And I think

that that will actually help keep the peace.

You know, wars begin with optimism. It's one of the things that we often overlook or forget, because it sounds counterintuitive. But if you look at

the beginnings of wars throughout history, whether they were launched by, you know, a democracy like the United States or by dictatorships, it often

starts with this idea, this kernel of optimism that, my goodness, I think that through war, we can achieve things that we couldn't achieve through

diplomacy A and B. I think the war will go really well for us.

This is a miscalculation that all sorts of governments make, including our own, has believed that wars will be short and decisive when in fact they

turn out to be murky, incredibly costly, and long. The troops don't come home by Christmas the way that leaders often promised.

ISAACSON: So, you are an adviser to President Trump. You're on the National Security Council. What is his view, do you think, and what should it be?

What would it be on this notion of being unequivocal that if China goes after Taiwan militarily, we will defend Taiwan militarily?

POTTINGER: Yes. Well, look, I mean, I can speak for what the policy was during President Trump's last term in office.

He -- I think that over the course of his time in office, he came to appreciate how problematic a crisis in the Taiwan Strait would be for the

U.S., for our economic prosperity, for our alliances with Japan and South Korea and the Philippines and Australia and others. So, he was careful to,

you know, not say exactly what he would do.

I remember him actually saying, look, I'm not going to say what I'm -- what exactly what I'm going to do, but Xi Jinping needs to understand that this

would be a pretty serious matter. So, in essence, I think President Trump was sustaining that tried-and-true policy of, as you called it, strategic


I think that President Biden has now moved the needle to something that is more than ambiguous.

ISAACSON: You mean less than big ambiguous.

POTTINGER: Yes, it is less ambiguous, in essence. So, I don't know what president Trump's policy would be in a second term. But I think it would be

a miscalculation on Xi Jinping's part to test any U.S. president.

ISAACSON: Let me ask you something personally. I mean, you worked with Trump both on that and on COVID as it came out of -- you know, across from

China to the U.S. And I've read a lot of the things you've said. And you too have a bit of ambiguity now in your feelings about the Trump


So many people you worked with, like Defense Secretary Esper and others, has said he would be dangerous now. Tell me what your thoughts are about

looking at the possibility of a second Trump term.

POTTINGER: I don't want to predict how this is all going to turn out. What I will say is that any president who indulges isolationism, any president

who doesn't have the back of American allies, whether they are in the Western Pacific, like South Korea and Japan and the Philippines, or whether

they're in Europe, our incredible alliance structure with NATO, it's the most successful, you know, multilateral alliance probably in history, any

president who does not have the back of those alliances and institutions will be welcome, in essence, by America's adversaries.

Because America's adversaries view those alliances as the primary obstacle to them achieving their aggression -- you know, their aggressive,

expansionist, revanchist ambitions.


So, President Trump in his first term, I think, did maintain the strength of those alliances. He put a lot of fear into our allies, particularly in

Europe, where they were afraid that the United States would back away. But in the end, those allies stepped up, spent more money, and President Trump

reaffirmed those alliances. I very much hope that that would be his policy in a second term, if in fact he's elected come November.

ISAACSON: Well, wait. Wait a minute. I mean, he has not been supportive of either Ukraine or NATO in this current situation -- this current invasion

by Russia into Ukraine. And I think I'm hearing you say that that really worries you, but you're parsing it a bit too carefully there.

POTTINGER: Oh, look, I don't think we should turn our back on Ukraine because it -- the cost of Ukraine falling is going to be radically higher

than the cost of us supporting brave Ukrainians to fight a war for their national survival.

That -- if Ukraine falls, the cost to NATO of even just continuing to deter Russia from going further is going to be dramatically greater than the

relatively small -- I'm sorry, but it is in real terms, a pretty small investment. We're not putting American lives at risk. We're not shedding

American blood. We're helping brave Ukrainians defend their country so that we don't end up with Russia threatening our NATO allies and pushing us to

the brink of a third world war. I think it would be unwise to turn our backs.

Europe has to do a lot better. President Trump, I give credit, particularly in his first term, to basically pointing out how European support for their

own alliance structure has fallen short. I think that there's an opportunity to get the Europeans to do more for their own defense.

But at the end of the day, he did still stick with that alliance structure.

ISAACSON: Well, wait. Don't you worry about the rising isolationism? There's a rising isolationism on the populist right of the Republican Party

from --

POTTINGER: Yes. it's funny. There's -- I agree with you. And it reminds me of the 1930s. The isolationism is not limited to that -- a sizable chunk of

the Republican Party. It's -- there's a different brand of it that is sort of sneaked up on us in the Democratic Party as well. It has different

motivations and it has different expressions.

But nonetheless, we're in a very 1930s moment right now, Walter, where, you know, as I've been reading a lot of 1930s history over the course of the

last several months, I've been struck by the similarities. And I'm hopeful that we learn the lessons, remember the lessons that we learned in blood

that had to be written in blood in the 20th century so that we don't fall into the trap of isolationism, believing that the two oceans are going to

keep us safe from the sorts of dynamics that we're seeing play out in Europe or in the Middle East, or if we really play our cards badly in the

Western Pacific as well.

ISAACSON: The Chinese foreign minister has been talking about trying to help negotiate the Palestinian -- the Hamas-Israel situation. We've spent a

lot of time over the past 60 years trying to establish the U.S. as a primary player in the Middle East. Do you think it's a good idea for us to

want or to allow China to be involved in the Middle East and to try to sort this out? Is that in our interests?

POTTINGER: Well, look, I think that we have to start -- the question almost answers itself when you consider the fact that Beijing has been one of the

agitators that has inflamed the problems that we're dealing with in the Middle East right now. Beijing is the chief propaganda and diplomatic

supporter for Russia. Russia has provided a lot of diplomatic and possibly material support for Hamas.

Remember, right after the massacre of the innocent Israelis on the 7th of October, Vladimir Putin's government hosted a trilateral meeting in Moscow

between the leaders of Hamas and leaders of Iran. Beijing has provided propaganda support for Hamas through platforms like the Chinese Communist

Party controlled TikTok platform.


We've seen Beijing standing up for, you know, basically undermining Israel and it's need for security, even Israel's borders have been erased from

Chinese websites like and So, Beijing is an agitator here. It is not interested in maintaining stability.

If we -- if you read the speeches of Xi Jinping, he talks quite a lot about chaos. He said in a speech in 2021, chaos is the defining word for our era.

And then he went on in that speech to make clear that he thought that was something advantageous to China in its ambitions that chaos was something

bad for western democracies. And as he said, you know, the West is fading and the East is rising, China's authoritarian agenda.

So, I don't think that China's really interested in being a constructive partner with us in the Middle East or pretty much any other part of the


ISAACSON: Matt Pottinger, thank you so much for joining us.

POTTINGER: Thanks, Walter. Thanks for having me.


AMANPOUR: And that is it for now. Thank you for watching. Goodbye from London.