Return to Transcripts main page
Interview With Former U.S. Diplomat, Council On Foreign Relations President Emeritus And Centerview Partners Senior Counselor Richard Haass; Interview With Former NATO Secretary General And Stanford University Lecturer Rose Gottemoeller; Interview With Aleema Khan Interview With The Atlantic Staff Writer David Graham. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired February 07, 2024 - 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 HOST: Hello, everyone. And welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: There's a lot of work to be done, but we are very much focused on doing that work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The U.S. secretary of state in Israel as Hamas responds to a hostage and ceasefire proposal. Former top state department official
Richard Haass joins me.
Then missile strikes across Ukraine, including the Capital Kyiv, But NATO's former deputy secretary general thinks there is a pathway to victory. I'll
ask her how.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEEMA KHAN, SISTER OF IMRAN KHAN: It's the voter that is being disenfranchised. It's not about Imran Khan anymore. He's not even a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Pakistan heads to the polls, and the man who was the most popular politician, former Prime Minister Imran Khan, is in prison and barred from
standing. I ask his sister how he's holding up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GRAHAM, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Maybe there's a hope that something else unexpected will happen, or there's just a refusal to believe
that this is really the way things are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: How do Americans feel about a potential Biden-Trump rematch? Michel Martin speaks to Atlantic Staff Writer David Graham, who says it's a
choice most voters never wanted.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Hamas has laid out its response to a proposed hostage and ceasefire deal. In it, calling for a phased Israeli withdrawal from Gaza during a four-and-
a-half-month truce that would also see the release of Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners and a massive humanitarian effort.
But in a press conference tonight, Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, says it's not happening, and the counteroffensive will continue
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We are on the way to complete victory. The victory is achievable. It's not a matter
of years or decades, it's a matter of months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Around 1,200 people were killed on October 7th inside Israel, and over 27,000 people in Gaza have been killed since then according to their
Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Hamas proposal was being looked at intensively by both the U.S. and Israel, and he's been
meeting with the prime minister and also with the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah.
Now, my first guest tonight served as director of policy planning at the State Department and for two decades as director of the Council on Foreign
Relations, and Richard Haass joins me from New York. Welcome back to the program.
RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Good to be with you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: I'm not sure in what order to start. But shall we just start with the prime minister, which is the latest news, basically nixing essentially
everything that has been reported all day with this release of the so- called, you know, the Hamas proposal. What do you make of him saying no and that they're going to continue to complete victory?
HAASS: Well, I'm not surprised. But what did take me aback a little bit was his comment that complete victory, that annihilation of Hamas, its
elimination is in sight. I find that hard to imagine because I'm not sure it's an achievable goal given the nature of Hamas, Christiane.
So, I just don't understand the logic that so many more days or weeks or months of Israeli military activity will solve the problem for them, and it
still doesn't obviously include anything about what would come afterwards in terms of governance. So, I don't think a lot of people in Israel are
going to be persuaded by that.
And, obviously, he's going to be -- come under pressure to at least not reject out of hand what Hamas is offering because it does open up the
possibility of getting the remaining hostages back. So, I heard what the prime minister said, but it seems to me not a not a sustainable position to
simply say, we're going to continue doing what we're doing, and we're not interested in anything that's being discussed.
AMANPOUR: Just on one issue, the general in charge of part of the operation in Gaza, particularly in the south, would fail to be drawn. He wouldn't
answer when he was asked, do they know whether Yahya Sinwar, the top Hamas leader that they're all after, is he still there? Have they got him? Are
they closing in on him?
And the reporters seem to say that, you know, he left open the possibility see that Sinwar could have escaped across the border into Egypt or
elsewhere. How significant would you say that is for, in light of what the prime minister said tonight, we're going to continue to total victory?
HAASS: Well, it is significant because one of the ways the Israelis could argue that a lot of what they've done was justified is by capturing the
Hamas military leadership. But you don't need massive military operations to do that. I would think something much more discreet or measured or
targeted is what you might have in mind.
It's also, by the way, one of the reasons I have trouble imagining any Israeli government, agreeing to an absolute open-ended ceasefire. If the
day after they agreed to it, they somehow got intelligence that they could get this or that Hamas leader, it's hard for me to imagine, at least -- I
don't know about you, but it's hard for me to imagine them not them not acting on it.
So, again, I could see the Israelis signing up to some type of a cessation of major military operations. I find hard to imagine them signing up to an
unconditional absolute open-ended ceasefire.
AMANPOUR: So, given the fact that the prime minister didn't make any distinctions between what he might and might not do other than go full
steam ahead on the military, where does that leave Secretary of State Blinken who's there still trying to conduct negotiations? He shuttled
between, as you know, other allies in the in the Gulf region, now in Tel Aviv and in Ramallah. Where does that leave the American effort?
HAASS: Well, essentially, now you've got two ideas out there. You've got the one the United States with Qatar, Egypt, And Israeli representatives
who are negotiating a more modest, what, 45-day or so, ceasefire proposal. Basically, another pause with various hostage and prisoner, exchanges.
And then you've got the Hamas idea, which is a much longer, but also calls for Israeli withdrawal, which is a big, big thing and essentially an end to
the conflict. And I -- that -- it's almost what Hamas has put on the table, Christiane, is a return to what existed before October 7th. And that's --
you know, my guess is that's a bridge too far for Israelis.
So, I think what Tony Blinken ought to be doing is work on something that doesn't rule out what Hamas is putting out there or something ambitious,
but one step at a time. So, I think the idea of continuing to press for a limited pause, whether it's a month, six weeks, two months, what have you,
with aid going in, hostages coming out, some prisoners being exchanged, I think is the smartest way to go, and it doesn't rule out something more
ambitious down the road.
AMANPOUR: And how did you -- how would you read, if you were still, you know, working for the secretary of state, the prime minister, basically in
a press conference, essentially criticizing, Tony Blinken's visit to the Israeli chief of staff, the head of the armed forces, basically saying, I
would never do that, I would just have when, you know, one stop conversations? I mean, that's not unusual, is it, for a secretary of state
to meet with all the constituents?
HAASS: Of course, you should be meeting with them. That's his job description. And whether it's to look for something to deal with the
immediate situation, ceasefires, hostages and the like, or whether ultimately, it's something more ambitious, to introduce a missing but
necessary political dimension to what comes after in Gaza and what ultimately comes down the road in in in the West Bank, which by the way,
people like me would argue is not only necessary for Palestinians, but in Israel's self-interest. But Israel wants to be secure and prosperous and a
Jewish democratic state.
But what you see Bibi Netanyahu doing here is pushing back against the United States. And I think this is part of his long-term political goal.
Obviously, he wants, to stay in office as long as he can. He wants to stay in office, in part, to stay out of prison. He wants to stay in office and
prosecute the war. He's hoping he can basically say what I did was justified. I don't think he'd mind staying in office until after the
November election in the United States and the hope that Donald Trump would be the next president, here.
So, what I think you see is the Israeli prime minister essentially beginning to occupy the political space in Israel and to some extent here
of standing up to Joe Biden, to the United States, even though this administration has had his and Israel's back ever since October 7th.
AMANPOUR: And as we were talking, I realized I got it slightly wrong. It actually could be even worse. It was an attempt by the secretary of state
to meet with General Halevi and Netanyahu nixed it.
You know, that just -- I haven't heard of that kind of thing happen before, especially since Netanyahu was able to come to Congress and completely
bypass President Obama, and speak, you know, to Congress at the invitation of the Republicans.
HAASS: Well, what I think it reflects is Netanyahu's recognition that there's massive dissent inside and outside the Israeli government with how
he is prosecuting the war militarily as well as politically and diplomatically.
And you make a really good point. It's one of the reasons. If he is not going to play the game, if you will, by the normal rules about how the
United States and Israel, two close friends, if you will, allies, how we conduct our diplomacy, then the United States has to think about playing
the game somewhat differently too.
President Biden has been extraordinarily supportive, but also restrained in his criticisms. And what I think this teaches us is he's not -- that's not
going to be enough. And I think he has to go over the head of this prime minister, speak to the rest of the government, speak to Israeli society.
And I think he has to make the case for whatever it is the United States thinks, need, saying, and doing when it comes to how the war ought to be
prosecuted, the terms for ending it, and ultimately, what the political dimension needs to be that gets introduced into the equation.
So, yes. We've got to continue to deal with Bibi Netanyahu. He's the prime minister, like it or not. But the United States needs a much larger
approach to the rest of the government and to Israeli society. And I think that's the message to take away from this.
AMANPOUR: Now, of course, Israeli society, their biggest desire is to see their families come back, the hostages that are being held by Hamas and who
knows who else, inside Gaza. And at the same time, you know, there's a huge humanitarian crisis happening in Gaza that maybe some Israelis are not
fully -- you know, they don't necessarily want aid to go until their hostages come back, and maybe they're not seeing the full extent of the
deaths, but, you know, 27,000 plus deaths, thousands of those are children.
The U.N. is now saying malnutrition is stalking, you know, really significant parts of Gaza, maybe 12 times, apparently, you know, more than
before October 7th. And this also puts a huge amount of pressure on President Biden.
HAASS: Absolutely. Both internationally, because the United States is quite isolated, and what's seen around the world as near unconditional support of
Israel and, obviously, at home, given important constituencies within the Democratic Party, younger people, African-Americans, Arab and Muslim-
Americans, particularly in critical states such as Michigan. So, that's why, again, I think the United States has to be prepared to put forward its
own policies. I mentioned just a minute ago publicly in Israel, I think the time has come for the United States to consider drafting and tabling its
own resolution in the U.N. Security Council.
If we don't have an Israeli partner in this prime minister and in this in this right-wing government, then I think we have to, United States, be
willing to take a more independent course internationally at the U.N. and also on what we say to the Israeli public. And I think after, what, nearly
what, four months of this war, it is clear to me that this prime minister and this president are not on the same page. And we can't operate in the
hopes that that will change.
So, again, I think the United States has to be more independent and more forceful in advocating for what it thinks is right.
AMANPOUR: And the second part of this equation or part of the equation is, Secretary Blinken going over to Ramallah talking to the, you know, accepted
president of the Palestinian people, the Palestinian authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who, as we always say, actually does recognize Israel, did enter a
peace, you know, framework with Israel.
But how -- you know, the idea, according to the U.S., is try to get a reformed Palestinian Authority, to be able to be a unified leader of a
unified Palestinian State, albeit in two parts, Gaza and the occupied West Bank. How do you see that shaping up? Is that a possible thing to try to
HAASS: Not in not in the near-term. I think the near-term emphasis is going to be on getting some Palestinian partner to perhaps work with us in Gaza
as a successor or a replacement of an Israeli occupying authority. It might have to be more technocratic than anything else. But we've got to start the
process you alluded to.
Ultimately, peace requires the willingness and ability of the various parties to step forward, to compromise, and to make those compromises
stick. We don't have that on the Palestinian side. We don't have anyone who's got the popular support, or in the case of Hamas, you don't have
anyone with the willingness to be a partner to any or party to any peace process.
So, the United States has to begin the process of developing one. And I think one of the ways to do is to start enunciating principles that
Palestinians could rally behind. So, again, I keep coming back to it. I think the United States needs to be willing to go beyond its traditional
role of working in lockstep with an Israeli government. We simply don't have that kind of an Israeli government. We also don't yet have a
Palestinian partnership or party we can work with. So, we've got to begin the process.
And it's going to take years to do of almost hatching and developing and strengthening a Palestinian leadership that has legitimacy on the ground,
but is also acceptable to Israel. Easier to describe than do, but that's the only path ahead here.
AMANPOUR: I want to switch gears for one final question, and that, of course, is Ukraine. The -- I don't know what you call it. The complete
catastrophe of trying to pass this this bill in Congress is happening right now.
Now, in the meantime, some interview with President Putin is about to drop. You yourself have had some, you know, extended, you know, second or third
track conversation. You've met with the foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov. What would you expect to hear that would be important from Putin right now?
What would you hope to hear?
HAASS: Look, I don't think anything he says is all that much worth listening to right now. And let me explain, Christiane. I think Putin's
watching what's going on in Washington. He's watching what's going on the battlefield, and he thinks things are finally beginning to move in his
favor. He wants to play for time.
So, to me, what's most important is, in Washington on the ground there, that we find a way to extend to Ukraine a new tranche of support, even if
not as large as it could or should be. I think Ukraine has to adopt a strategy, as it's beginning to, that puts most of the focus on defensive
operations, which require less, in the way of resources. The idea of militarily liberating territory is simply not on for the foreseeable
We need to start accelerating the development of an autonomous Ukrainian arms and ammunition industry, so they're less reliant or dependent on
outsiders, including the United States. We've got to disabuse Putin of the -- of his confidence that time is his friend.
But, you know, this year, I don't think, you know, there's any place particularly for diplomacy. Our goal ought to be to make sure that Ukraine
can maintain at least a stalemate. And then I think if President Biden wins, then I think there's potentially some diplomatic possibilities
because that ought to disabuse puke Putin of the notion that time is on his side.
If Donald Trump wins, I'm hoping that by then, Ukraine and the European -- Europeans have somewhat filled our place, and Ukraine has become a little
bit more self-sufficient and self-reliant. So, again, what matters to me right now is not what Mr. Putin has to say, it's what happens in
Washington, what happens in Europe, and it's what happens, in Kyiv.
AMANPOUR: All right. Richard Haass, thank you so much indeed.
And we turn next to Ukraine, which says it has come under massive missile attack this morning, which killed four people and injured 38 more in the
capital. At least six regions were struck and many were left without power. While President Zelenskyy announced a whole new military unit devoted to
unmanned systems like drones.
Meanwhile, in Washington, as we said, the long-awaited bill on Ukraine funding and border security faces its first vote in the Senate today.
Both the current and former NATO secretaries general have gone to Washington hoping to persuade Republicans to back it. But despite the
current pessimistic narrative, my next guest says that Ukraine has a pathway to victory. She is former Deputy NATO Secretary General Rose
Gottemoeller, and she's joining us from California. Welcome to our program. So --
ROSE GOTTEMOELLER, FORMER NATO SECRETARY GENERAL AND LECTURER: thank you so much.
AMANPOUR: -- it is a counterintuitive narrative, but you laid it out in your article. You just heard, maybe, Richard Haass, former, you know,
senior State Department official, saying how he thinks it's going to go and that Putin's playing for time, and that Ukraine must, you know, be able to
be in a defensive posture for at least until the elections.
But what is your view of how it could break out of just defensive posture?
GOTTEMOELLER: The argument that I made, along with my co-author, Michael Ryan, is that, in fact, Russia has seen a denial of superiority in the
Black Sea and in airspace over Ukraine because of Ukraine's indigenous capabilities.
The Ukrainians are great missileers during the Soviet era. They were the big producers of intercontinental ballistic missiles. They know the missile
business. And now, they know the drone business. And they have succeeded in shutting down Russian attacks on transit out of the Black Sea to the extent
that in early February, they had announced 20 million tons of grain have left Kyiv's ports.
And so, this is a situation that, I think, the Ukrainians now have to build out. They really have to take advantage of their indigenous capabilities.
We argue that, in fact, because of what they have been able to achieve in terms of denying the Russian's air superiority and the sea superiority, sea
control in the Black Sea, that they could now be putting those indigenous capabilities also to beginning to develop more maneuver and relentless air
attacks along the front.
Not all across the front. Haass is quite right about that, Richard said, you know, it's not time now to buckle down and try to resume attacks to
regain territory, but to really dislodge the Russians and begin to harry them along the frontlines in a way that I think gives the momentum back to
AMANPOUR: So, as you were talking about the successes in the Black Sea and you were talking about, you know, tons of grain moving again, we were
showing pictures that showed a Russian ship being blown up. That was about a week ago, and near Crimea. And so, they are claiming those, as you said,
But what I want to ask you is this, because, you know, the narrative has been that the Ukrainians are really, really, really demanding, pleading for
the kind of combat aircraft that would give them air superiority. But you say they do have it. I mean, they want the F-16s. Apparently, they're going
to get the F-16s finally.
Tell us, why do you say they have air superiority when we're seeing all these missiles and, you know, all this death and destruction and
infrastructure damage being reaped by Russia?
GOTTEMOELLER: I -- what I want to emphasize is that they are denying the Russians air superiority, and they can establish air priority in areas of
their choosing. For example, they have succeeded in dislodging the Russian navy from Crimea through a combination of air strikes that have destroyed
ships in port and also underway, and it's forced the Russians to move their navy back to Novorossiysk, on the Russian mainland.
So, the Ukrainians have been choosing the time and place of exercising some superiority in the air because they don't -- you're quite right, they don't
have the capability of commanding the skies in every place in Ukrainian air airspace, but they're denying the Russians that kind of superiority.
And the air defense capabilities that they have begun to, I think, really need extra help with now and assistance, that is an area that, I think, we
should be placing great emphasis on bolstering their air defenses. They have their own indigenous air defenses, but we need to be able to bolster
what has been provided by NATO allies.
AMANPOUR: As I said earlier today, President Zelenskyy announced a whole new department devoted to unmanned vehicles, presumably drones and the
others. But, you know, that is obviously air power.
Explain to those who might not understand why air power in a war like this is so important, not just for defense, obviously, but for offensive. And --
yes. Why is it so important?
GOTTEMOELLER: Well, the Russians obviously have vast superiority on the ground. And they are not at all concerned about throwing their troops
against Ukrainian defenders in a way that they are losing many, many to death and injury.
And so, the Ukrainians have to contend with that kind of superiority on the ground. And so, the key to dislodging the Russians is to subject them to
relentless and accurate air attacks, well synchronized with the maneuver of forces on the ground. So, the Ukrainians, in this case, once again, they
have to create temporary windows of localized air superiority to mass firepower and maneuver their forces.
Again, given their indigenous capabilities and their success at denying their airspace to Russia at points that they have chosen, such windows are
possible using the assets they already have at hand, their indigenous assets. And the assistance in working through how to do this more
effectively is something that NATO can provide. Of course, it would be good to give better -- give them better weapons tailored to this scenario, but
if the Ukrainians have to do it with what they have on hand, they are capable of doing it.
AMANPOUR: And do you think that they have the time to build their own defense industry, so to speak? Certainly, Russia has done that and has
certainly bolstered their economy, but it's also keeping them in ammunition, missiles, as well as obviously the deals they're doing with
Iran, North Korea, and the others?
GOTTEMOELLER: The Ukrainians have shown enormous initiative at -- from, you know, the public on up through their industrial figures to be building
things even in small workshops and then up to the level of plants. They're also beginning to get some assistance to build up their defense industry
capability in Ukraine. Foreign assistance, to build plants, to build drones, and that type of thing.
So, I think it's really on all fronts, speaking in this case about defense industry capacity. They have to keep doing what they're doing, and we have
to keep doing everything we can to assist them. If not with a major package, we need to be looking at other ways to get them help. And things
like using the interest payments against their frozen assets, in, Belgium in Brussels. That's one way to go about it. I know the E.U. is considering
that, but we need be looking for more stable sources of support for Ukraine also in terms of money.
AMANPOUR: I just want to know. Of course, 2020 hindsight is just great, but I want to ask you to comment on how things might have looked different. You
remember in April of 2022, just over a month after the war began, Ukraine was pushing the Russians back, certainly from Kyiv, even from Kharkiv.
There were moments where American military analysts described me as windows of opportunity, windows for Ukraine to win.
And the head of military defense there told me that Kyiv's priorities, at that time, in April '22, included air defense systems and combat planes for
precisely the reasons you've just laid out. How would things look different today had that happened, you know, a good year ago?
GOTTEMOELLER: Yes. I think, you know, we spent a long time preparing the Ukrainians for their famous summer counteroffensive, but during those very
same months, the Russians were digging in and laying minefields and laying down their defenses so that the Ukrainians, over the summer and into the
fall, were basically throwing themselves against a solid Russian line.
And, again, with the Russians ready to take a lot of casualties, to throw their soldiers into the meat grinder, as we were saying over the summer.
So, in 2020 hindsight, it probably would have been a good thing to try to keep some momentum going with the Ukrainian attacks at that time.
But remember, there was a good deal of concern during that period that the Russians were actually threatening the use of tactical nuclear weapons. And
I know that that concerned many in Washington. It concerned many among the NATO allies. And so, I think, in some ways, there was a reason to encourage
the Ukrainians to hold off and to prepare themselves for a more comprehensive combined arms, once again, operation.
AMANPOUR: Very briefly, if you can. You've lived in Moscow for many years. You were the first woman to negotiate a nuclear arms treaty with Russians.
Hillary Clinton had asked you to lead all sorts of talks. What do you think is going through Putin's mind? And I say him because he leads the whole
GOTTEMOELLER: He hasn't seemed to have changed his mind about the objectives of the special military operation. His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov,
said again today, it's denazification.It's demilitarization of Ukraine. It's the assurance of the rights of the Russian speakers in that territory.
And in the end of the day, it's absolutely no NATO for Ukraine.
And so, they have not changed their objectives, obviously, in a public way. And I think Putin still has very much in mind that he's going to stick to
his goals, come what may.
AMANPOUR: Rose Gottemoeller, thank you so much. Former deputy NATO secretary general.
And in another test for democracy, Pakistani voters go to the polls tomorrow, only it's become an election that is most notable for who's not
on the ballot. Former prime minister and cricket star, Imran Khan, who is in jail, sentenced to 34 years on what he and his supporters call
politically motivated charges. And former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is now the front runner to win power again.
So, tensions are high ahead of the vote as Correspondent Anna Coren tells us now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The aftermath of an explosion in Southern Pakistan, just one of a string of attacks
targeting political candidates across the country.
So, as the nation of more than 23 million people prepares to go to the polls, there's an air of unease.
Pakistan's widely popular former prime minister, Imran Khan, is behind bars, charged with corruption and revealing state secrets, and is banned
from running in the election. He denies any wrongdoing.
Atakan was arrested by paramilitary police in May last year. His supporters took to the streets, some of them aren't. What followed was an extensive
crackdown by what many say was led by the country's powerful military, a claim it denied.
Protesters were detained. Journalists censored. Among those jailed, social media activist, Sanam Javed, a supporter of Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-
Insaf, or PTI party. The 36-year-old mother of two is facing terrorism charges, accused of inciting her thousands of followers to commit arson on
the day Khan was arrested. She denies the charges.
Her father says her incarceration is an example of authorities silencing dissenting voices.
IQBAL JAVED, FATHER OF SANAM JAVED (through translator): I know that all of this is fake and created and being done to victimize the political party of
Imran Khan. This is a political case.
COREN (voice-over): Pakistan's information minister denied those claims, saying law enforcers and prosecutors have evidence against Javed.
With the fall of Imran Khan has come the return and rise in popularity of his predecessor, Nawaz Sharif. Sharif is back in Pakistan after corruption
charges led to years of self-imposed exile. He's now widely expected to win a historic fourth term.
TIM WILLASEY-WILSEY, POLITICAL ANALYST: The good prognosis is that Sharif is elected. He builds a coalition which includes Bilawal Bhutto, and starts
to run the country pragmatically. He's a pragmatist. And starts to, you know, balance relations between U.S. and China, get the economy back on
COREN (voice-over): Standing between Sharif and the top job is Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. The 35-year-old is descended one of Pakistan's political
dynasties. Yet, even with Zardari's youthful appeal, many young voters have been left disillusioned by Pakistan's recent political disorder.
RAJA IKRAM, ISLAMABAD RESIDENT (through translator): The whole country knows that the decision has already been made.
RABIYA AROOJ, LAHORE RESIDENT (through translator): I don't think I don't think stability will come, because I think after the elections, a lot of
problems will be created.
HASSAN, LAHORE RESIDENT: We as the voter feel disenfranchised because even if a certain government comes into play, all governments have, we feel,
disappointed us at most levels.
COREN (voice-over): Pakistan faces mounting challenges, from economic issues to climate catastrophes and militant attacks. Just last month,
Pakistan and Iran carried out strikes against alleged militant targets in each other's territory, citing the threat of terrorist attacks.
For Pakistan and its people, unified government, after years of uncertainty, will be a must to avoid tension spilling beyond the country's
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Anna Coren there. Now, Imran Khan's speeches have been banned from TV, and his party, the PTI, can't use its cricket bat logo on the
ballot, which would have aided millions of voters in a nation with some 40 percent illiteracy.
The caretaker government and Pakistan's powerful military have denied suppressing Khan or his party, yet analysts say this is shaping up to be
Pakistan's least credible election ever. Many others have been targeted ahead of these elections, including Imran Khan's sister, Aleema. She is
facing charges reportedly over anti-state speech. And she visited him in jail just yesterday. She joined me earlier from Lahore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Aleema Khan, welcome to the program. Now, you have visited your brother, Imran Khan, in jail. He is on -- we understand, in solitary
confinement for the last six months, but you could see him. How is he holding up?
KHAN: He's in extremely high spirits, and he's been like that since several months. He considers this to be a retreat, and he's had a chance to read a
lot of books. And he reads his Quran. So, he's very comfortable in jail. He's adjusted himself to his environment. Let's Put it that way.
The only reason we are able to see him is because they transferred the courts into the jail. So, there's a community center where they've set up a
courtroom. So, there is one judge who comes in after -- one after the other. Sometimes we spend about 70 -- 14 hours in jail. As I keep saying,
we should be given a certificate for being in jail for that many days, but that gives us an opportunity to, of course, meet with him.
And, I think our inspiration is, him. I'm not being biased when I say because he's our brother, because he's such an inspiration that he comes,
he swaggers into the room, and he inspires just about everybody. Nobody else. Only five members from our family are from -- our family are allowed
to attend that jail court. No cameras allowed. No footage allowed. No picture can come out. So, we do get to see him.
KHAN: And he -- as I will say, that he himself is an inspiration.
AMANPOUR: What is the impact on you, the family?
KHAN: We do have terrorism charges on my sister and myself. I -- we have four terrorism charges. We've got pre-arrest bails. So, we do have to
attend the anti-terrorist court after every few weeks. My nephew is also in the military jails for -- on terrorism charges. My son has had left the
country, and we do not need him to return because he's going to be arrested too.
So, my brother is in jail. My nephew is in jail. But that's fine. We are followed around by many people, but that's fine. We can deal with this. We
are willing to face it, and we are facing it.
AMANPOUR: The information minister and other Pakistani government officials say that, you know, there is a free and fair election underway, and they
say it'll go ahead as planned. But last week, an independent candidate, in other words, one of Imran Khan's party candidates who now has to run as an
independent was shot dead while campaigning.
The U.N. Human Rights office basically said there's a pattern of harassment, prolonged detentions, and arrests, which is disturbing. How do
you think his party is going to do?
KHAN: Remember, the symbol has been removed. So, most of the candidates were forced to file independently. And the fact that they're fighting back,
they are fighting for the voter. It's the voter that is being disenfranchised. It's not about Imran Khan anymore. He's not even a
candidate anymore. But what you're taking away from the people of Pakistan is a right to vote.
They are trying to create confusion. They are trying to basically arrest the candidates, create confusion. So, the whole objective is what? Take
away the people's right to select their own representatives. That's all that's happening. It's not about Imran Khan. He's in jail.
AMANPOUR: All right. Well, Aleema Khan, thank you very much for giving us your personal perspective and experience.
KHAN: Thank you. Thank you, Christiane. Thanks a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And that election is tomorrow. Next, we turn to presidential politics in the United States where a Biden-Trump rematch is looking more
likely than ever now. President Biden, of course, handily won Nevada's Democratic primary yesterday. And while Former President Trump was not on
that Republican ballot, Nikki Haley still came second to "none of these candidates." That was the option.
In his recent piece titled "This is Really Happening," Atlantic magazine staff writer David Graham details the main reasons behind this rematch. And
he tells Michel Martin how voters are feeling about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, NPR, HOST: Thanks, Christiane. David Graham, thank you so much for joining us.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
MARTIN: You've written a bunch of pieces lately that have caught our eye, but there's one in particular we wanted to talk about, where you basically
said out loud what a lot of people are thinking, which is that it looks like 2024 is going to come down to a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald
Trump, and that most people are pretty unhappy about that. So, how did we get to this point?
GRAHAM: Well, I think it says a lot about polarization. It says a lot about party structures. And it says a lot about, sort of, the disaffection that
voters have from the process and from our politics in general. And I think it's remarkable that this is an outcome that, in many ways, has seemed
foreordained for years now. And yet, it's one that in polls, consistently, voters say they don't want or they say they don't think they're going to
get. I think now maybe reality is starting to set in.
MARTIN: Well, that's one of the interesting things about your piece that -- and frankly, I couldn't figure out quite how to capture, is that a lot of
people seem to not want to believe it When the evidence is all there, that that is true. And one of the things you pointed out in your piece is that
seems to be kind of on both sides of the aisle as it were.
GRAHAM: That's right. I mean, you have Democrats saying that they don't want and don't expect Joe Biden to be the nominee. You have, apparently,
according to a Biden internal campaign poll, like, three quarters of undecided say they don't think that Trump will be the nominee.
And if you look at the way a lot of Republican voters are acting, they are acting like they hope he won't be the nominee. You even see this among
Republican office holders who are slow to endorse him, even as he is a juggernaut, and keep talking as though there might be some sort of deus ex
machina that would change that.
You know, I think part of this is just about how surreal a lot of politics has been the last few years. Things keep happening that people don't
expect. And maybe there's a hope that something else unexpected will happen, or there's just a refusal to believe that this is really the way
MARTIN: If you look at the polling, you know, Republican primary voters seem to be very committed to Donald Trump. So, I guess what I'm asking you
is the dissatisfaction or lack thereof or whatever it is, is it the same on both sides or does it have different flavors, depending on whether you're
on the Democratic side or the Republican side?
GRAHAM: Yes, I think it does have different flavors. You know, on the Republican side, what you have is a large core, a majority of primary
voters who want Donald Trump and are showing that. And then also a surprisingly large number who don't.
So, you know, we're looking at varying percentages. We see about half of Iowa caucus goers, a solid percentage in New Hampshire, and we'll see going
forward people voting against him, which if you think of Trump as being kind of a de facto incumbent is a remarkable number. But it's very much
true, the majority of the party is behind him.
What we see on the Democratic side is different. There's not really any energy behind any of the challenges to him, whether that's Marianne
Williamson or Dean Phillips, as we've seen most recently in South Carolina results where they both clocked in around 2 percent.
But what you see is a lack of enthusiasm, and also sort of a continuing hope maybe that something will happen and Biden will jump out and drop out
of the race and somebody else will end up in that place. So, I think what you see is unhappiness on both sides, but it isn't exactly symmetrical.
MARTIN: And also, just what people are unhappy about. I mean, on the Republican side, you know, I think, you know, people who are not
Republicans seemed to be continually surprised that a person with 91, you know, felony charges against him continues to enjoy the level of support
that he does. And on the Democratic side, people seem to be upset that Joe Biden is old. And that seems to be kind of different.
GRAHAM: That's right. Among Democratic voters, there's that concern that Joe Biden is old, and that is about, you know, their concerns about him.
Among Republican voters, even as those felony charges have -- you know, the sort of thing that has led Trump to have very low approval, and led many
Republicans to vote against him in primaries, but by and large, it's actually strengthened his support.
You know, among Republican primary voters, we see his support only strengthening since those charges. We've seen his rivals were unable to
capitalize on that. And in fact, we're often blasting the charges themselves. So, that's another way in which I think you're right. They're
not really exactly the same thing. The sorts of concerns you have are very different.
And I do think that part of the denial among some members of the electorate that Trump might be the nominee is about a kind of disbelief, an
expectation that charges like that would undermine his support when, in fact, they've just strengthened it.
MARTIN: So, the, among the Republicans who are not pleased that Donald Trump is their presumptive nominee or it seems to be sort of head in that
direction, what's the source of it? What is it that they're dissatisfied about? And what makes you so sure that they are, you know, what I mean,
given that his primary support among his base seems to only get stronger and more fervent?
GRAHAM: I think it comes into a few groups. One group is people who have always had policy differences with Trump. And I think you see that coming
out strongly in the Nikki Haley supporters. It's people who, you know, disagree on foreign policy or people who want sort of more traditional
country club Republican approach. That's one group.
And those people who voted against Trump in the primary in 2016. And then, for the most part, they got in line, or they left the Republican Party.
There's also people who are upset about the charges and think that it's dangerous. They -- you know, January 6th was a sort of alienating event for
them. That was when it went too far.
And I think the third group is people who have issues with Trump, but maybe will come around. And these are people who have said, again, since 2016,
you know, you hear people, well, I like that he tells it how it is, or I like this or that. But, you know, I wish he wouldn't talk that much or I
wish he wouldn't say it that way, or I wish you wouldn't tweet those things. And so, you have those people expressing their opposition in their
primary vote. And I think what we're going to see is a lot of those people still voting for him in the general.
And this is going to be a question -- to the point of enthusiasm on the Democratic side, this is going to be an election about turnout. And so, the
question is, will they turn out for Trump? What will they do? And will the people who think Biden is too old also sort of come around and vote for
Trump -- vote for Biden, especially if they are concerned about Trump potentially being reelected?
MARTIN: So, then the question becomes, how did this happen? That this becomes -- that this is an election of your least worst choice, at least
for a lot of people. How did that happen?
GRAHAM: I mean, I think we can trace a lot of this to the way the parties have changed. So, for one thing, both of these candidates are effectively
running as incumbents and incumbency is a big advantage.
You have a whole party infrastructure that is appointed by you that you have put in place and they're going to be working to reelect you.
So, for example, on the Democratic side. We've seen potentially, you know, strong Democratic candidates who not wanted to get into the race because
they don't want to get crosswise with the president. They don't want to lose the support of the whole apparatus. And so, they're not going to mess
On the Republican side, obviously, we've seen more eagerness by a lot of candidates to challenge Trump, but the effect has been the same. They just
can't get past the party infrastructure. And, you know, and if you look at a place like Nevada, where the Trump campaign or the Trump, sort of,
apparatus was able to basically gain the system so that they cannot lose in Nevada. It's a win-win situation for them. That's that power.
I think the other question is about polarization. So, in a time when both parties were, you know, full of -- they had a liberal, a moderate and a
conservative wing, you had to nominate someone who would appeal widely. And that's no longer the case, the people who are electing the president are a
relatively small base, people who come out for these primary elections.
And so, they may favor Biden and they may favor Trump, even if a large majority of the country disapproves of both of these candidates. There just
isn't the same need to appeal broadly, or there's not -- they don't feel the same need to appeal broadly to win the general election. And then they
assume, given the sort of, you know, negative polarization, that the fear and hostility towards the other party, that voters will, in fact, vote come
home, even if they don't like the nominee because they fear the other guy more.
MARTIN: You know, on the one hand, you know, I could see your point, which is that, you know, the parties decide what the primaries will be. The
parties decide how they'll be run and so on. On the other hand, I think you could make an argument that parties -- the political parties are weaker
than they have ever been.
Like, back in the day, you know, parties decided whether you could run or not. The parties organized the slates. They recruited people to run. They
kind of gave you the tools to run. A lot of that has really gone away. So, you know what I mean? Is it that they have too much power or they have too
GRAHAM: I think we're talking about parties in a different way than we did that. You're totally right about that. And what we don't have is the sort
of smoke-filled rooms of your (ph). And if you think about the 2016 Republican primary, where the party itself, the party apparatus, was
largely against Trump and not only was it largely against Trump, but it didn't have the power to do anything about that. They sort of spun their
wheels until suddenly Trump was the nominee.
I think what we see, for example, on the Republican side is the Trump apparatus and the Trump base, which is not a majority of the part of the
country and a majority of the party, but not a huge one, not an overwhelming majority, is able to make these things happen.
So, it's not so much about the RNC itself, it's more about the basis in these parties and these coalitions that have managed to sort of hijack the
primary and make it go to place they go, without the sort of moderating influence of a party establishment that might say, well, we understand that
this guy appeals to our heartstrings, but we need somebody who's going to win a general election.
The people who are coming out to vote for Trump, in many cases, aren't concerned about the general election, or they think that Trump will win
anyway, they think he has one, but they they're sort of voting expressively for somebody who speaks to their concerns, even if another candidate is on
paper, more electable.
We see Nikki Haley saying, look, I do better against Biden. And so far, that obviously hasn't -- that hasn't swung enough voters to help her out
and overcome Trump.
MARTIN: You know, the other question I had is, is it that politics doesn't necessarily mean the same thing to people that it used to mean. I mean, is
it more of an identity issue than a means to an end?
GRAHAM: Yes, I think expressiveness is the way to think about it. And you see people voting expressively for Trump. You know, what policies do they
support? Well, they support a tougher border policy. What does that look like? It's often not clear on that sort of thing. It's sort of vague. But
it's more about him saying the right things and the right tone of voice and standing up to the right people.
And on the Democratic side, I think you see that the lack of enthusiasm is the same way. You know, Biden's victory in 2020 was really about being able
to sort of be enough to enough people. And what you see the splintering is people are saying, well, wait a second, I disagree with him on this. I
disagree with him on that. And, you know, there's a real division among Democratic strategists and pollsters who I've talked to about whether
Democrats will come home.
Some think, well, these are Democrats. They're pragmatic. Eventually, they're going to see, do we really want Trump? But I think there's some
voters who will say, this guy just isn't -- he isn't doing it for me. And even if I don't like Trump, I'm not going to vote for that because he
doesn't express my hopes and dreams for America. So, I think that's an important factor in both of these, races.
MARTIN: So that leads to the question that some people might have, you know, particularly people who are familiar with the way politics is
conducted in other parts of the world, which is you have a lot of parties. That has not been the reality in the United States really ever, except for
short periods of time.
There's a group that you wrote about called No Labels, which is, considering a third-party presidential campaign as an alternative. What's
your take on it?
GRAHAM: I mean, I think it's fascinating to see this effort. It's very strange in many ways. And their diagnosis that people don't want the
choices they're given is, by and large, true. I mean, you can definitely find support for that.
I think the question is whether they are offering a real solution. You know, I think what's interesting about what they're doing is they're
offering valid access and they're going to choose a candidate, but then they're going to kind of turn things over to this candidate to come up with
their own platform. So, it's a quasi-party. It's not clear what they -- you know, what they stand for.
I think there are a lot of problems with this idea as much as I understand the motivation behind it and agree with their analysis that a lot of voters
want another alternative. One is that, although there is a thirst for some sort of moderate difference, once you start getting into the actual
specifics of policy, people get really divided. And there are voters who simply don't like the parties or voters who care about one thing or
another, but you're going to start getting people splitting on things like abortion, on things like immigration, and I think they're going to run into
And the other problem is structural. I mean, a third-party candidate just has so many disadvantages. There's very little prospect of them winning
states in the electoral college, much less winning a majority in the electoral college. And so, then you have them in a position of maybe
playing spoiler, which they say they're not doing, or maybe sort of playing some kind of coalition kingmaker, which they have talked about.
But I'm not sure how that works in the American system. I mean, we have an entire apparatus that's built around two parties. And they think they can
break that log again, but they haven't really explained how they would do that.
MARTIN: Look, I know that your pieces have been describing what you see, it's not -- it's descriptive. It's not proscriptive. You're not telling
people what to do. But do you have a sense of a way forward here? What do you think would make a difference?
GRAHAM: You know, I've been, just the last couple weeks, talking to a lot of political scientists about depolarization. You know, insofar as many of
these problems we're seeing or these things we're seeing are related to negative polarization, you know, fear of the other country -- or other
party, rather, or of polarization within the parties. How do we see those depolarize? You know, what could bring us back from that?
And I have to say, I haven't heard a lot of hopeful answers. We just don't see a lot of cases where countries without a major shock have gone from
something -- a situation like this to a less polarized one. And I think the U.S. system is unusual and that it is a two-party system. We don't have
alternatives in the same way. And so, that also locks things in a little bit.
So, I'm not really sure where I would expect things to change. We've heard both parties sort of -- you know, Democrats in particular talk about the
idea that a fever will break at some point. But I'm not sure what that would look like, or when we would expect that to happen.
MARTIN: And what about on the Republican side? I mean, you know, it's true that Democrats often talk about the fever, you know, they want the fever to
break and they sort of implies that some sort of virus has taken over the Republican Party, but, you know, what about on the Republican side? Is it -
- what do they think? Do you think that they think they'll just persuade people that they're right? Or, what do you think?
GRAHAM: I mean, insofar as the majority of Republicans support for Donald Trump, I think the message there is I alone can fix it. Trump is saying
that he will handle it. He will steamroll his opponents. And as we've seen from what he said on the campaign trail, as well as what we saw when he was
president, he's perfectly happy to go around the law and to, you know, use minority rule to do that.
So, it sort of sidesteps any need to do that. If you're just seizing power, you don't have to worry about persuasion, you don't have to worry about
assembling a governing coalition.
MARTIN: And before we let you go again, what is your sense of how -- we've talked about what the public thinks about these candidates. But do you have
a sense of what the public, broadly defined, thinks about the state of things? Do you have a sense of whether the public, broadly defined, thinks
that this is OK, that this level of polarization, it just -- is just something that they have to deal with? Or do they have a desire for
GRAHAM: Well, I think it's a mix. I mean, it's a bit of a paradox maybe. People bemoan this. They say they're unhappy about it. And I think they're
genuine about that, but they also then tend to blame the other party for it and think that those -- you know, those other people are the issue. And so,
even as people are upset about it, I think their analysis tends to feed back into the same dynamic.
MARTIN: David Graham, thanks so much for talking with us.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And finally, tonight, a brief but timely break from people. This photograph of a sleeping polar bear floating on a small iceberg north of
Norway won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award. It's called Ice Bed, and it was shot by amateur photographer Nima
He says that his image inspires hope that there is still time to fix the global climate crisis. Among the runners up, a murmuration of starlings
seeming to take the shape of one giant bird. More than 75, 000 people voted for photographer of the year in a contest held annually by London's Natural
And a quick programming note, don't forget, I'm taking your questions on my Saturday show. What do you want to know about the global events shaping our
future? Scan the QR code on your screen or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. "The Amanpour Hour" airs Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. Eastern and 5:00 p.m. Central
That is it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. And remember, you can always
catch us online, on our website, and all-over social media.
Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.