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Interview with U.K. Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy; Interview with "Knife" Author and Award-Winning Author Salman Rushdie; Interview with The Atlantic Staff Writer Anne Applebaum. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired April 24, 2024 - 13:00:00   ET



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


RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Today, I'm announcing the biggest strengthening of our national defense for a generation.


AMANPOUR: With U.S. aid to Ukraine finally on its way, Britain's conservative prime minister says he's putting the economy on a war footing.

I asked David Lammy, who could be the U.K.'s next foreign secretary, about the Labour Party's commitment to NATO and Ukraine.

Then --


SALMAN RUSHDIE, AUTHOR, "KNIFE" AND AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR: What I really felt is that it was impossible to write anything else. It would seem kind

of absurd to write something else until I had dealt with this subject.


AMANPOUR: -- from Salman Rushdie, a deeply personal account of surviving the assassin's blade. In "Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder."

And, Walter Isaacson speaks to Atlantic staff writer Anne Applebaum about the defeat of the pro-Putin caucus in the Republican Party.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. After six months of Republican obstruction, today, President Biden signed a

massive foreign aid package with nearly $61 billion earmarked for Ukraine. Here he is speaking after he signed the bill into law.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: It's going to make America safer. It's going to make the world safer. And it continues America's leadership in the world,

and everyone knows it. It gives vital support to America's partners, and so they can defend themselves against threats to their sovereignty, and to the

lives and freedom of their citizens. And it's an investment in our own security, because when our allies are stronger -- and I want to make this

apparent again and again, when our allies are stronger, we are stronger.


AMANPOUR: The first billion dollars in aid is now on its way with weapons and equipment Ukraine desperately needs. But the months of inaction

highlighted Ukraine's vulnerability to western politics, as well as a worrying shortfall in defense production across NATO. That's why the

British prime minister, Rishi Sunak, announced plans to lift U.K. defense spending by almost $100 billion, investing 2.5 percent of GDP by 2030.

Sunak says that he's putting Britain on "a war footing," saying the world is at its most dangerous since the Cold War. But after 14 often chaotic

years of conservative leadership in the U.K., Sunak's Tory Party could well be tossed out by voters in elections later this year.

Labour M.P. David Lammy could become the country's next foreign secretary. He's making a case for what he calls progressive realism. David Lammy,

welcome back to the program. You are what's known here as shadow foreign secretary.

So, before I get to your manifesto, essentially, for foreign policy, I want to ask you about what the prime minister has done. First and foremost, do

you -- does the Labour Party, agree with this?

DAVID LAMMY, U.K. Shadow Foreign Secretary: A hundred percent: We have been clear right from the beginning that we must stand with Ukraine. We

haven't sought to be partisan and divide in the United Kingdom. And indeed, I went with my defense shadow, John Healy, to Washington to underlie the

cross-party support that we've got here in the U.K.

We think the 2.5 percent of GDP, we've also said when the fiscal climate allows, we'd have a strategic defense review on day one if we win the next

election. So, it may well be sooner than 2030. We'll see once we've had that review. But 100 percent we must stand with Ukraine. We're very close

to the Baltic States, Poland, Finland, Sweden and others who are right at the epicenter of this fight.

And Biden is absolutely right, when America's strong and allies are strong, the free world is strong. It's for all of those reasons, we stand together.

AMANPOUR: You know, there's been a lot of talk recently from Europe, from experts on this idea of the European economy and the war footing. We've

seen that President Putin has actually done his own economy a favor with this invasion, if it can be put that way, by turning the whole economy onto

a war footing, war production.

Europe, we've seen having promised the moon and the sun to Ukraine seems to have not enough in its own stocks. And now, they're saying perhaps Europe

should actually be on a war -- its economy should become more of a war economy. Do you think that's true?


LAMMY: I'd agree with that assessment. I mean, here in the United Kingdom, we have always been front leaning in our support for Ukraine. We share

America's concerns that there must be better defense spending across the European family of nations, and there are many nations still not meeting 2


But it is of concern that South Korea have provided more shells to Ukraine than the whole of the European family of nations combined. We have to be

much better at manufacturing munitions right across the board. That's why the British Labour Party is proposing a U.K., E.U. defense and security

pact so we can get serious about the challenge Putin remains a long-term threat.

AMANPOUR: So, this not just about -- I mean, Ukraine is the matter at hand, but it's about all of your security. It's not just supporting Ukraine

in an abstract, right? European security is threatened.

LAMMY: I think we have to have a posture that recognizes that Putin remains a threat to European security, notwithstanding the immediate

concerns around Ukraine.

The world is a very dangerous place. I set that out in my essay in Foreign Affairs just in the last few weeks, when we look at what's happening in the

Middle East, when we look at war here in Europe, when we look at the concerns in the Indo-Pacific, for all of those reasons, either you have to

stand clear on the freedoms that we all enjoy in the democratic family of nations and be really, really clear that we are in a very rough

geopolitical environment.

AMANPOUR: You mentioned the essay you wrote, and I mean, the basic thesis progressive realism. So, I just want to quote a bit. You say, "Progressive

realism advocates using realist means to pursue progressive ends. For the British government, that requires tough-minded honesty about the United

Kingdom, the balance of power, and the state of the world. But instead of using the logic of realism solely to accumulate power, progressive realism

uses it in service of just goals. For example, countering climate change, defending democracy, and advancing the world's economic development. It's

the pursuit of ideals without delusions about what's achievable."

And it's interesting because Senator Bernie Sanders, who's obviously on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, a responsible, comprehensive

foreign policy he wrote about as well. Tell me how that works. I mean, how do you make progressive really matter in everything, you know, not just in

defense spending?

LAMMY: Well, let me start with the realist. And this comes out of a tradition from my own party, best personified by Ernest Bevin, foreign

secretary after the Second World War. He was sent out by clematis (ph) to look into the world, what's really going on. And he came back and was

pretty sober.

The Labour Party birthed NATO because it could see that an alliance across states and with America was so important. The other hard headed response we

had at that time was a nuclear deterrent. That's the realist bit. And today, we have to be realist in the Middle East.

If you want peace in the Middle East, it does mean working with partners like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others. They may not -- their values may not

be aligned with our own, but that is how you broke a piece in the Middle East. If you're serious about peace here in Europe, you have to be pretty

hard headed about the hard defenses that we will need in terms of defense spending, ammunitions, and manufacturing capability.

And of course, in relation to China, we have got to be clear about the security risks, the posture of the communist -- the Chinese Communist Party

presents, but also clear that we have to cooperate with China, huge power in relation to issues like climate, health, and of course, trade as we move

forward. So, it's cooperate, is challenge, and compete where we need to.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you a question? I heard a major European entrepreneur speak earlier this morning talking about how the West had thought they were

doing the right thing by trying to bring in Russia, China into the WTO for instance. And if you remember Russia was brought into a G7, which became a

G8 until it invaded Ukraine.

But he's saying that they do not play by the rules of your game, and it is incumbent upon Europe, the United States, to freeze them out if they don't

play by the rules of the game. Do you think that that's, that that's reasonable?

LAMMY: Well, you know, I remember the huge optimism when the Berlin Wall came down, when Mandela walked out of prison, the late '80s, early '90s,

and I think our approach at that stage was the correct one. But we did get rather sleepy at the wheel. I think the West did take its eye off the ball.


And I think when we saw Putin's posture change in relation to Georgia and indeed his ambitions in relation to Ukraine back in 2014, of course you can

look back in hindsight and say the West was a bit of asleep at the wheel. I think we are clear now.

And actually, when I'm in Washington, Republicans and Democrats are pretty clear, despite how long it's taken to get the funding. And here in the

U.K., it's really important on foreign policy that these are not partisan issues.

AMANPOUR: So, can I ask you this then? Because, as you know, there's quite a lot of, sort of -- you know, people worried in this part of the world

about a second Trump term. On these issues, on the idea of defending democracy, territorial integrity, Ukraine, and I've been reading that

there's been quite a few European leaders, including the current foreign secretary, the prime minister of -- the president of Poland, the prime

minister of Hungary, all went to talk to Putin -- to Trump.

And they're coming up with this theory that instead of panicking, try to persuade Trump, like -- obviously they did over the Ukraine aid bill, that

actually this in America's interest, that actually all this aid and all this cooperation makes, you know, for American jobs as well. Do you see

that kind of policy reach out coalescing around what might be or could be another Trump term?

LAMMY: I think that here in Europe have to remember that the U.S. state and its institutions are strong. Let's be clear that, yes, if I look back

on Donald Trump's period in the White House, it's pretty noisy. And social media, particularly in that era, made it very noisy. But actually, did

Trump continue to invest in NATo the tune of 75 percent? Yes, he did. Did he send the first javelins to Ukraine? Yes, he did. Did he talk about

burden sharing on defense across Europe? Yes, he did.

But that conversation started with President Kennedy. And that's not unique to Donald Trump. So, I think we should look at the actions as well as some

of the rhetoric.

Look, I worry a little bit about the rhetoric. I worry about the rhetoric in my own country. Because in the end, when western democracies appear

divided, really polarized, that can only benefit our fundamental opponents. And those fundamental opponents are in very autocratic countries. They're

in Iran, they're in Russia, they're in North Korea.

And so, we do have to be very, very careful about how we maintain democracy, how we have rich and different opinions. But on the critical

issues, do you stand with freedom or not? Do you stand with all that we've gained in the 20th century, the benefits after the Second World War? The

rules-based order, the rule of law, the economic systems that we've set up, that, yes, of course, we still have poverty in our countries, but have

brought huge benefit to many. We have to be clear that those are things worth fighting for.

AMANPOUR: On the other issue, and you brought it up, the Middle East. What does progressive realism look like in trying to tackle the festering

problem? You know, the 75- or 56-year-old problem, however you want to count it, of a conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Up until now, it's been exclusively based on Israel's security, with, you know, words talked about for the Palestinians rights. But no real serious

movement in that area. You've seen how your people, how the American people, how people all over the world, young people, voters, are making

their voices heard on this. They want a change.

What would a Labour government do in the future to try to bring A solution, a real solution to this terrible war?

LAMMY: Well, look, we've got to reboot the contact group that supports both those who want a Palestinian State and, of course, Israel. Bring in

Arab partners, work closely with Arab partners on that. I'm really clear that actually we are prepared to recognize a Palestinian State working with

partner countries.

Israel's got to be secure and feel safe. And we've got to recognize the trauma that I think October the 7th has brought about. So, for that reason,

we do need a ceasefire. We need those hostages to come out. The aid has got to flow in. And we've been absolutely clear, we must support international

humanitarian law, the work of the ICJ, the work of the ICC.


But on that two-state solution, there is no other future. And those who believe in a one-state solution have really got to explain how that's going

to work. I suspect what they believe in is a no state solution, and I think the Global Community is looking on this problem and saying, look, that's

not going to cut it. Actually, we do have to get to peace, and that's going to take a lot of heavy lifting by all partners in the region and beyond.

AMANPOUR: Heavy lifting is what it takes. I mean, it really does take a very, very focused diplomatic route. But can I ask you about Rwanda? This

week the Rwanda bill actually finally passed after many, many defeats. Your views on this. I mean, obviously, immigration is a big thing. Is this --

we've had several people now die in the channel trying to get here. Is this going to stop this terrible situation?

LAMMY: I think in these tough economic times spending half a billion pounds, sending 300 people to Rwanda? Really? When actually the problem

with criminal gangs, working with partner nations, and dealing with the processing of those who claim asylum on British shores.

So, we're really clear that we would replace with one that really, really works. There's been a lot of rhetoric, a lot of noise, but a hell of a lot

of money blown, and not one person has gone yet.

AMANPOUR: And very briefly, we've got 30 seconds. The fraught relationship between Britain and the E.U. post-Brexit. I know you're not going to reopen

that debate if you get into power, but what is a way that you can, you know, make better relations?

LAMMY: We've got to get beyond Brexit. The European are our partners. That's why we're proposing a security pact. We've got the review of our

trade arrangements with the E.U. that are really important in 2025. I hope we can get back to structured dialogue about the issues that matter, like

climate, like energy, like cyber security in Europe. But we've got to move beyond the divisions that we've had in the past.

And, you know, it's good to see Rishi Sunak going to Berlin and Poland. It's surprising, given how long he's been prime minister, that he hasn't

bothered to go before now.

AMANPOUR: On that note, Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy, thank you so much for joining us.

LAMMY: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Thank you. Now, at the heart of the fight for democratic values, of course, is freedom of expression. You could call the author Salman

Rushdie a wounded veteran of the war for free speech. Over 30 years ago, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini imposed a fatwa calling for his assassination

over a book he'd never read but labeled blasphemous. That was the satanic verses.

In recent years, the threat seemed to have receded until August 2022 when a young American man with a knife viciously attacked Rushdie in Chautauqua,

New York, as he was about to speak on the safety of writers. Rushdie came close to death, but he survived. He is speaking about the attack at an

event in New York last year.


SALMAN RUSHDIE, AUTHOR, "KNIFE" AND AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR: Terrorism must not terrorize us. Violence must not deter us. As the old Marxists used to

say, La lutte continue. La lutta continua. The struggle goes on.


AMANPOUR: And the struggle goes on Salman Rushdie writes about the attack and about the love that helped him triumph over death in his new memoir,

"Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder." And Salman Rushdie is joining us from New York.

Welcome to the program. It's really good to see you there and such kudos for the book. Can I just start by asking how you are? How are you feeling?

SALMAN RUSHDIE: I'm OK. You know, I mean, I think I'm surprised myself by how well I feel. I think I'm pretty much repaired. Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And I mean, the repair takes up a lot of the book. It took a lot of time. And we can see that, you know, your eye -- one of your eyes is --

you've lost the vision and you're wearing a -- you know, a dark glass in that eye. And we know that you were stabbed so many times.

You say, in the book, I saw this murderous shape rushing towards me, so it's you, you thought. Here you are. I know you've been asked many, many

times, but that moment, those 27 seconds that you enumerate in what you call an intimate and deathly connection.

RUSHDIE: Yes. Sorry, I've lost the sound.

AMANPOUR: No worries. I'm going to move on. Can you hear me now, Salman?



RUSHDIE: Yes, I can.

AMANPOUR: So, I'm going to ask you -- I was about to ask you at that moment, but I want to ask you to read, in fact, one of the passages that

you write about how seriously you were wounded and you imagine it through the eyes of those around you. Could you read that passage?


RUSHDIE: Yes. They were looking at what I couldn't see, me, my neck and cheek on the right side had been slashed open by the knife and they could

see that both sides of the cut were being held together by metal staples.

There was a long horizontal gash along my neck, under my chin, and that was being held together by staples too. They could see that the whole neck area

was grotesquely swollen and darkly bloodied. They could see that the dried blood of the wound in my left hand looked almost like stigmata. Around the

wound were bandages and the hand was held stiffly in a splint.

And when the nurse came in to tend to my ruined eye, Eliza and the others saw what looked like a sci-fi movie special effect, the eye hugely

distended, bulging out of its socket, and hanging down on my face like a large, soft boiled egg. The swelling was so bad that the doctors didn't

even know, in these first days, if I still had an eyelid.

AMANPOUR: I mean, it's such a graphic description. And you really -- you know, you didn't -- Eliza, your wife, wouldn't even let there be mirrors

anywhere, anywhere near you. But you talk about the miracle of how the love of your family, the skill of the surgeons and your friends brought you

through that you technically maybe shouldn't even be alive today. Talk about the miracle of the healing.

RUSHDIE: Yes. I mean, I do -- I say somewhere in the book that I've always believed that love is a force, you know, that -- and when it's unleashed,

it can actually have a powerful effect in the real world. It can change things. And I have no doubt that the amount of love and support and

solidarity and affection that I was shown first by Eliza and my family, and then beyond that, by the wider world, people I don't know, had an enormous

impact on me and helped me have the strength to recover.

AMANPOUR: Salman, I find it really interesting because you say you don't believe in miracles and you there --


AMANPOUR: You also, you know, admit that your recovery is miraculous. But also, you say you don't believe in premonitions. And you did have something

that we might call a premonition or a dream just before going to Chautauqua, just before going to make this speech. We've asked you to read

just a little bit of that graph.

RUSHDIE: Yes. I had a nightmare. Two nights before I flew to Chautauqua, I had a dream about being attacked by a man with a spear, a gladiator in a

Roman amphitheater. There was an audience roaring for blood. I was rolling about on the ground, trying to escape the gladiator's downward thrusts and


It was not the first time I'd had such a dream. On two earlier occasions, as my dream self rolled frantically around my actual sleeping self, also

screaming, through its body, my body, out of bed. And I awoke as I crashed painfully to the bedroom floor.

AMANPOUR: So, those were those two times. This time, your wife woke you up and you didn't crash to the floor. But you said to her, I don't want to go.

Honestly, it gives me chills, that.

RUSHDIE: Yes, I really -- I was very spooked by the dream. And that's what my initial response was to say, look, I don't want to go. And then, you

know, I woke up a bit more, and I thought, really, we don't run our lives on the basis of whether we had a bad dream or not. And, it's just a dream,

and of course, I should go. But, in retrospect, I'd have done well to pay attention to the dream.

AMANPOUR: And again, you don't believe in premonitions or foreshadowings, as you write.


AMANPOUR: But why not?

RUSHDIE: Well, because it's -- you know, you can rationalize these things. The place I was -- I knew that the place I was going to speak in was called

an amphitheater. And we all know from movies and so on what happens in amphitheaters and arenas in classical times is this kind of combat.

So -- and as I say, over the years worrying about the attack on the satanic verses, I had had dreams every so often about being attacked. And I'd

learned to just deal with them. They're just kind of a traumatic dream And I don't have to believe them. This Time, unfortunately, it came true.

AMANPOUR: Salman, you talk about the A, that is the assailant, the assassin, the asinine. Aou call him the A throughout. You don't use his

name. You describe him as a murderous ghost from the past. And I found it really interesting that in the book you -- and in your life you grapple

with whether, at some point -- I mean, quite early on, before you even recovered, you were grappling with whether you should go to see him,

confront him, talk to him, understand his motivation.


RUSHDIE: Yes. I mean, I -- that was -- my first thought was as a kind of journalistic impulse to go and sit in a room with him and say, OK, tell me

why you did it. And I was disabused of that. I mean, first of all, it seemed very improbable that his legal representation would agree to that.

Eliza was very against it.

And then, you know, I read this story of Samuel Beckett who was also stabbed in Paris and in a street by a pimp. And he actually did go to the

court and ask the man, why did you do it? And all the man said was, I don't know, sir. I'm sorry. And I thought, well, that doesn't get you very far,

does it? It doesn't explain anything.

And I thought maybe if I did meet this guy, I would get some banality of that kind. You know, I didn't think I would get remorse. There doesn't seem

to be any sign of remorse. But I thought I'd get some cliche. And so, pointless. And I thought actually I would do better to use the skill I've

got of imagination and storytelling to try and imagine myself into his head and work out a kind of coherent portrait to somebody who could have done


AMANPOUR: It's really interesting, that chapter. And I want to ask you, because I think we know, because this -- the assailant gave an interview to

one of the New York tabloids, that he didn't read the satanic verses. He didn't sound like he had any motivation for this.

RUSHDIE: Yes, I mean, he didn't read -- he said he'd read two pages of something I'd written. He didn't say what. And that he'd seen a couple of

YouTube videos, and that was enough for him to decide to commit murder. I mean, it's a -- I mean, it shows me that indoctrination can be a very

powerful force.

There are people, like I suspect this young man of being, who kind of need to be led, who need to be given a direction in life because they don't feel

that they have it. And something put the force in his head. Well, clearly, he said he was an admirer of Khomeini and so on. So, clearly, he was

thinking along those lines. And at some point, he heard about me giving a speech at Chautauqua and decided that I was his target. It's kind of a

mystery why it became -- why it turned out to be me.

AMANPOUR: Yes. And you divide the book into two distinct chapters, the chapter of hate and death and the chapter of life and love. And you talk a

lot about, you know, your wife, about your family, but writing about happiness.

I like this little bit. You said, I've always been interested in writing about happiness in large part because it's extremely difficult to do. And

you quote a previous writer from a yesteryear saying that it's like writing with white ink on a white page.

So, do you think you actually succeeded in writing about your happiness in the second half of the book?

RUSHDIE: Well, you tell me, Christiane. I mean, I think I did, yes.

AMANPOUR: Yes, I think you did.

RUSHDIE: I think it's for the reader to judge.

AMANPOUR: I think you did.

RUSHDIE: I think it's for the reader to judge. Thank you. Well, I think it was -- we had -- I mean, Eliza and I had been together for, you know, five

and a half years before the attack happened. And we had had a very happy life, and it was as if we were in a love story, and then somebody tried to

turn that into a murder story, and then we worked very hard to turn it back into a love story.

So, it's a -- I say in the book that, yes, we did manage, I think, to reconstruct our happiness, but it wasn't exactly the same as it had been,

that there's a kind of shadow in it. There's a kind -- what I describe as a wounded happiness. But happiness, nevertheless.

AMANPOUR: And you do talk about, you know, a second chance of -- at life. You really believe that. You're living it right now. And I wanted to ask

you about your own -- you know, the country of your birth, India, where you set so many of your phenomenal books.


AMANPOUR: You were very upset during the satanic verses crisis when you didn't get much love, even from your homeland. And then even after you were

attacked, you say that there was pretty much silence, you know, from your homeland.

RUSHDIE: Silence from official sources.

AMANPOUR: Yes, yes.

RUSHDIE: I mean, I did get plenty of support from people, readers in India and writers in India. That was -- I got a lot of that and I'm very grateful

for it.


But no, I was making the contrast between statements made by President Biden or President Macron or Boris Johnson, God bless him. But nothing from

a kind of Indian official source. That was the contrast I was drawing.

AMANPOUR: OK. So, since I have you talking about Indian official sources. What do you make of -- I mean, we're in the middle of an Indian election

right now, where the freedom of expression, freedom of religion, all of those things are in great peril and it's the world's biggest democracy.

What are your thoughts about this issue there now?

RUSHDIE: Well, I mean, I've -- you know, I've always waited -- hoped and waited for the moment of the BJP's defeat. I don't know if that's going to

happen. I mean, it's a -- you know, India is so big that at the state level, there are very powerful regional parties that very often defeat the


So -- and I think I'm right in saying that there isn't a single BJP government in the whole of South India in the states. But at the national

level there has not yet been an alliance of those forces which could defeat the BJP at a national level. So, we'll see what comes together in this

election. But, you know, I'm -- I don't know. I don't think I'm that optimistic actually.

AMANPOUR: And what about in New York, where you live? You can see campuses roiling. You can see it spreading across the United States. The issue of

free speech is being, you know, really challenged by the issue of safety and respect.


AMANPOUR: What do you make of students today getting themselves into this kind of situation?

RUSHDIE: Well, you know, students have -- I mean, students demonstrated against the Vietnam War. This not the first time. And of course, students

should have the right of protest and historically often have, and that's it's right.

What's happening is that, very often, that right of protest is spilling over into menacing remarks and behavior. And so, a lot of Jewish students

feel unsafe on campus. And it gives the administrators an almost impossible job that whatever they do is wrong, really. And the temperature is so high

right now, there's so much anger that it's very hard for anybody to listen to anybody.

And it's -- you know, it's a very dark time for the academy, I think, in America. Universities across the country are wrestling with this. And many

of them, you know, not doing a perfect job.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you, in one part of the book, you refer to -- your attack was on August 12th, and you refer to August the 11th when you were

out looking at the moon. You called it the last night of innocence, I think, I'm paraphrasing.


AMANPOUR: But do you feel, now, a year and more later, that you have lost that innocence that you had then? Have you been able to rebuild it or will

you always be looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life?

RUSHDIE: No, I think I -- think we have managed to reconstruct it, but I also have to be sensible now and I have to understand that there are

circumstances and occasions in which it's very important that there should be precautions taken. And we've taken steps to make sure that happens. So,

I'm -- I can't be as happy go lucky as I was for the previous 20 odd years.

AMANPOUR: And what is your next project? And did you feel you had to write this book before you could do another novel?

RUSHDIE: Yes, yes. I mean, I just thought it was the huge subject sitting in my face and I couldn't ignore it. Now, I have to find the next novel.

And I mean, I don't know what it is yet, you know. I mean, I feel my last novel, "Victory City," only came out A year and a bit ago and then, there's

this been -- this book. So, I've had two books in very quick succession.

I think maybe I just need a moment to regroup and allow the imagination -- the juices to fill up again and start flowing again. I have no idea what

the next book is.

AMANPOUR: Salman, did you feel -- I mean, obviously you were, you know, mortally wounded just about, you took a huge number of weeks and months to

recover. And clearly, you were in no shape to write. But did you feel ever that it had destroyed also -- because, you know, the knife is also, you

say, words. There are many interpretations to the title that you chose for your book.

On the matter of words, and you being a master of them, did you feel maybe that had been taken from you?

RUSHDIE: For a while I did. I mean, there was -- you know, there was -- I mean, I guess six months or so, when I couldn't even imagine sitting at a

desk and writing. But then, you know, what else would I do? It's what I do. And the juices began to flow again, and that's where this book came from.


So, I think, you know, you're stuck with me. I might have to -- you might have to put up with some more books.

AMANPOUR: Well, Salman Rushdie, you know, we can definitely be afford to be -- to stick with you after all of this, most certainly. But I just --

again, you mentioned "Victory City," and just my last question. You were really pleased that it got so much goodwill, obviously, in many reviews,

but especially in India and in Southeast Asia.


AMANPOUR: It was one of the first in a long time of yours. Tell me how that made you feel, because I think you felt rejected by the land of your

birth for so many years.

RUSHDIE: Well, you know, on and off I have, and it -- you know, it became difficult for me to go for a long time, and that was very sad. But I do

think that, you know, "Victory City" had the most wonderful reaction in India. And probably, the best reaction to any of my books, maybe all the

way back to until "Midnight's Children."

And I -- you know, it's a -- it's like "Midnight's Children," it's a history novel. It's a way of saying this who we were, this what we were

like, this what we still are. And so, the response in India is unusually important to me, always has been.

AMANPOUR: It's nice to end there. Salman Rushdie, really good to see you. Congratulations on "Knife" and being back in the saddle. Thanks so much.

More now on our top story. Ukrainians are breathing a sigh of relief as the Senate passes its long-awaited aid bill. Hallelujah was the response from

their foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba. He said that to "The Guardian." But he also warned that Russia is out shelling Ukraine 10 to 1, and, "No single

package can stop the Russians."

Author and staff writer at "The Atlantic," Anne Applebaum's latest piece is called, "The GOP's Pro-Russia Caucus Lost. Now, Ukraine Has to Win." And

she joins Walter Isaacson to discuss how.


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


ISAACSON: After a torturous few months, the House has passed, and then last night, the Senate passed a Ukraine aid bill. The president is signing

it. And you begin your piece about it with this, "It's not too late, because it's never too late."

Well, sort of as a historian, I'm not sure about that. In history, we often have things that are too little, too late. How are you so confident that

this isn't a little bit too late?

APPLEBAUM: Well, I think the point is that, of course, it's too late. If the Ukrainians had had this money and they'd had the weapons, more

importantly, months ago, then there are Ukrainian cities that wouldn't have lost their power generation. There were Ukrainians -- it would be --

Ukrainians would still be alive. There would be soldiers who would still be fighting and territory not lost.

But by writing that I meant to say that the -- you know, the future of Ukraine will go on being in play no matter what we do. In other words, they

can suffer defeats or they could lose land, but they aren't going to stop fighting. And so, having the support of the United States and having the

confidence of being part of a larger alliance, it can help -- still help turn the war around and still -- can still help them achieve victory.

So, I meant by saying that there's always a second chance, and I think they've got it now.

ISAACSON: And you say that once the U.S. money starts flowing again, the dynamics of the war will change. Tell me what you think the dynamics, how

they will change.

APPLEBAUM: So, of course, there's a military dynamic. So, with more ammunition and with more weapons, the Ukrainians won't lose territory.

They'll be able to protect their cities. But there's also a very, very important psychological dynamic. In other words, the Russians still think

that they're going to win by outlasting us, that they will just keep fighting until we get tired. And part of their war effort has been a huge

propaganda effort to convince Americans, to convince Europeans that the Ukrainians can't do it, that they're weak, that they're corrupt, that

they're divided and to persuade us not to help them. And, of course, for them, that's the easiest way to win, is have is have Ukraine's allies give


And so, by taking this decision, by allotting this amount of money and especially, as I say, this amount of weaponry, we change that psychological

dynamic. So, now, the Russians aren't on -- don't think of themselves on a path to win easily, they now know that there's this -- there's renewed

western support, that there is renewed western effort behind Ukraine.

And so, this a -- you know, like all wars, this war has an important psychological element. And the passing of this bill means that the United

States is not yet so divided and not yet so isolationist and not yet so easily persuaded by Russian propaganda, you know, as to allow the Russians

to win without a struggle. And so, the Russians are now on a much -- suddenly facing a much steeper uphill path.


ISAACSON: This change in the psychological dynamic where Russia realizes we're not so divided, that we will -- and we're going to continue to

support for a while Ukraine, does that also change the diplomatic dynamic or is there any diplomatic dynamic to be had?

APPLEBAUM: So, there is a diplomatic dynamic in that, of course, there are behind the scenes conversations. And of course, people are constantly

testing the waters to see whether the Russians are willing to give up or retreat or even just stop fighting.

Up until now, it's been pretty clear that Putin has not wanted to stop. And this why all these conversations and comments about how, you know, the

Ukrainians should -- they should change -- exchange land for peace or they should negotiate or they should stop have really been a bit pointless

because until the Russians decide to stop fighting, until they decide they don't want to continue the war, then the war won't end.

In other words, in order to negotiate, you need to have someone to negotiate with. And until now, there's no one to negotiate with. Because

Putin's goal in this war is not just territory. He doesn't need any more land. Russia is a very large country as it is. His goal has been to

eliminate Ukraine as a state, to make it unviable, to perhaps to wipe it entirely off the map, certainly to capture and control its major cities,

perhaps to have a kind of Russian controlled government in Ukraine, but in any case, to have it cease to exist as an independent entity.

And it's only when they give up that goal, when they say, right, we're not going to eliminate Ukraine from the map. It's not going to happen. Their

alliances are too powerful. Their will is too strong. Their military is too innovative, whatever is the reason, or we're paying too high a price, then

they will stop. And so, yes, this decision, I would think, pushes us farther along that path.

ISAACSON: And so, do you think that there's a possibility of a major new diplomatic initiative? You know Russia pretty well, or do you think that's

just hopeless right now?

APPLEBAUM: I mean, eventually, there will be a diplomatic initiative. Eventually the war will end with a negotiation of some kind. You know, my

understanding right now is that the Russians are waiting for the results of the U.S. election. They're hoping that if Donald Trump becomes president a

second time, that he will abandon Ukraine and, you know, perhaps partition Ukraine, or there are many scenarios out there, and that they will be in

that way.

ISAACSON: But don't you think that has some validity to it, that certainly Trump would do that, and if you were Russia, wouldn't you wait and see?

APPLEBAUM: So, yes, I think there's validity to it, and he's -- and Trump has certainly given that impression, and people around him are also giving

off that impression, and there are even open conversations about it that I've heard. So, yes, of course, that's why the Russians are waiting.

You know, by the very delay of the aid, the delay of this bill that has just been passed, the delay was, as most people understand it, was

essentially caused by Trump. It was Trump's pressure on the Republicans and in the House and on Republicans in Congress that -- you know, that led to

the delay. So, Trump is already seen as playing a role in this conversation.

ISAACSON: Why do you think Trump didn't step in when Speaker Mike Johnson put it up? He could have said something in the past week or two, and he let

it pass.

APPLEBAUM: Trump appears to have been convinced that it would be a bad idea for Ukraine to lose, that he might be blamed for it. And it -- you

know, for reasons I don't have, you know, insight into Trump's brain, maybe he's distracted by other things at the moment. But he appears to have

decided that it was OK, and that may have been part of Mike Johnson's decision.

ISAACSON: Earlier this month, British Foreign Secretary Cameron and I think the Polish president all met with Donald Trump. Your husband is the

foreign minister of Poland. Tell me what you think the general significance of these meetings are. Are they trying to prepare for the possible second

term of -- next term of a Trump presidency?

APPLEBAUM: No. So, in the case of both Cameron and the Polish president, who's, by the way, he's from a different part of Polish politics than my

husband. But so -- that's just so that you know. But the point of those meetings was to talk to Trump about Ukraine in order to persuade him, to

allow Mike Johnson to put this bill on the floor. And there have been several other meetings similar that I'm aware of as well. And so, I think

these are more about that.


I mean, that we are in a strange position where the person who is the Republican candidate and perhaps the next president is playing a clear role

in U.S. foreign policy, you know, is clear. I don't think we've ever been in a position before where an out of power former president has so much

influence over Congress and over its decision, and they're trying to convince him to -- in the case of those two leaders, they're trying to

convince him -- you know, to allow weapons to go to Ukraine.

ISAACSON: You know, a lot of people refer to the GOP holdouts, people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, as ultra conservatives. I've never quite understood

that designation. I think in your piece, you call them the pro-Russian part of the Republican Party, or pro-Kremlin, pro-Moscow. Why -- you know, why

do you think that's a better description?

APPLEBAUM: So, conservative implies that you're conserving something, that you're -- you know, in the United States it implies that you're conserving

some kind of American tradition. I don't see that advocating on behalf of a foreign dictatorship is conservative. It seems radical to me or extremist,

or as I wrote, I mean, you could just call it pro-Russian, which is which is what it is.

Marjorie Taylor Greene comes to Congress and produces, you know, photographs and material that come directly from Russian propaganda sites.

And she, you know, describing Ukrainians as Nazis and so on. She actually uses the language of Russian propaganda, you know, in Congress, in public.

And that's -- that doesn't seem very conservative to me. It seems extremist and pro-Russian.

And so, you're absolutely right to point to this misuse of language, this misuse of the word conservative to describe her and the others in that

group who are now radically pro-Russian.

ISAACSON: Let me read you a quote from your piece. You say, "Anyone who seeks to manipulate the foreign policy of the United States, whether it be

the tin-pot autocrat in Hungary or the Communist Party of China, now knows that a carefully designed propaganda campaign, when targeted at the right

people, can succeed."

You're an expert in information, misinformation, and propaganda targeting, what do you mean by that? Do you think that the pro-Russian Republicans

were manipulated by propaganda campaigns?

APPLEBAUM: It is certainly the case that Russian propaganda was used by members of the U.S. Congress in their public debates and even in private


Republican Senator Thom Tillis has described how he heard his colleagues in debate about Ukraine using a story that we know is fake. This a story that

President Zelenskyy owns two yachts, OK, there was a photograph of the yachts circulating on the internet and the yachts actually belong to other

people and so on. I mean, this was an easily disproved fake.

And yet, there were Republican senators saying, we shouldn't give this aid money to Ukraine because it will just be used to buy some more yachts. And

this really extraordinary, this means that there's a direct path from an invented story to the U.S. Congress, probably via, you know, some kind of

internet echo chamber in which Russian and far right propaganda mix, but it is now possible to get those ideas into the heads of U.S. Congress. People

-- they aren't resistant to it in a way they might once have been.

And this a -- this by itself was an incredible success. You know, the Russians at least managed to delay the aid package for a year. By using --

by targeting this kind of -- these kinds of lies, by creating a campaign around the hopelessness of the war, around the pointlessness of supporting

Ukraine. And of course, there still are both senators and congressmen using that language.

But they did it successfully. And it has to be the case that others will look at it and say, oh, it's that easy. You know, you can -- if you can get

Congress to go along with your made-up stories, then it's certainly worth trying. I mean, sometimes the Russian efforts to manipulate conversations,

whether it's in the U.S. or anywhere else, can be a little nutty. I mean, it's almost like they throw spaghetti at the wall and they just see what


But this was a really carefully targeted, careful campaign. And as I said, yes, make it look hopeless. Ukraine can't win. Ukrainians are corrupt.

Ukraine isn't democratic. You know, we're -- the Ukrainians are Nazis. And all of that was eventually used by actual members of Congress in their

public statements. So, we know that it got through to them.


ISAACSON: Well, let me push back on that just a little bit because among the people who use that in the Senate, and you've been very critical of him

for doing it, is Ohio Senator J.D. Vance. And he talks about the fact that Ukraine needs more soldiers than it can field even if it has draconian

conscription methods, and that Ukraine just can't prevail even with our new materiel. That seems to be a sincere belief which he backs up with a whole

lot of arguments. Do you think he's just been manipulated or do you think he's just wrong?

APPLEBAUM: So, I don't know exactly what J.D. Vance's goals are or why he's doing what he's doing. But he does -- he himself manipulates facts. I

mean, for example, he talks about Russian -- the Russian ammunition outnumbering the amount of ammunition Ukrainians have is five to one, you

know, that happened because we stopped giving the Ukrainians ammunition. In other words, you know, he's -- he uses this narrative of inevitable defeat

by, you know, citing the fact that, you know, using the fact that we weren't helping them.

So, you know, the Ukrainians themselves, you know, are redoing their system of recruitment, they are retraining their soldiers, and they've proven that

they can evict Russians from Ukrainian territory that they occupy. They have already pushed the Russians out of -- 50 percent of the territory that

was occupied at the very beginning of the war. So, they've shown they can achieve things.

And for Vance to say, it can't be done, and therefore, we might as well give up, is genuinely giving in. It's first of all, giving into Russian

propaganda. And it's also -- you know, it also fails to account for how the Ukrainians will fight and how the war will progress once we are helping


So, yes, of course, if we're not helping them, then loss is much more likely. But if we are helping them, then we can turn it around. And so, by

Vance, you know, saying that they'll lose, you know, because we won't help them and therefore, they'll lose is, it's not a very honest argument.

ISAACSON: You wrote a wonderful book in 2020, it's a seminal book about our time, which is called "The Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of

Authoritarianism." And it explains why contemporary countries, and even some in the West, have been weak in defending the old-fashioned liberal

ideals of democracy. Do you feel that Ukraine is the frontline of that fight? And if so, do you see -- how do you see this fight going over the

next decade?

APPLEBAUM: So, I do think that Ukraine is the front line in the international, the geopolitical aspect of that fight. We are now living in

a world in which Russia is allied with Iran, China, Venezuela, Belarus, and other autocracies. They have, you know, different goals and different kinds

of political systems, but they do see themselves as aligned against democracy and particularly against the language of democracy, human rights,

rule of law, transparency, because those ideas, which are often the ideas used by their own internal opposition would be threatening to their form of


And one of the reasons why Russia invaded Ukraine was because Putin wanted to show Europeans, in particular, that he doesn't care about their -- you

know, we don't change borders by force, rules or their laws on human rights or their language, you know, never again, we mustn't allow mass murder to

happen in Europe again after the Second World War. He wanted to show Europeans he doesn't care.

And he can kidnap thousands of Ukrainian children, which he has done, and he's been sentenced by the International Criminal Court for doing so. He

can put Ukrainians in concentration camps. He can, you know, randomly murder Ukrainians walking down the street in occupied Ukraine.

If we really care about those ideas, if we believe that you shouldn't be able to occupy other countries and destroy them and change their identity

and murder their people with impunity, then yes, we -- this -- Ukraine in that sense is the front line in a broader war, whether it continues further

militarily into Poland, in the Baltic states, whether it continues further into Africa, where there's a large Russian presence already, whether it

means -- just means that Russia is emboldened to use its, you know, information warfare and propaganda in new ways all over the world that this

place to stop them.

ISAACSON: Anne Applebaum, as always, thank you so much for joining the show.

APPLEBAUM: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And finally, worlds of culture and sport collide. Le Louvre in Paris, normally a place of quiet artistic contemplation, will now be a

space for flowing and stretching. As the city prepares for the Olympics this summer, the famed museum plans to organize yoga and fitness sessions

in the iconic galleries.


They'll come alongside a new exhibition, Olympism, that explores how the world's largest sporting competition began, and thus, offering movement

amongst the muses.

That is it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. Remember, you can always

catch us online, on our website, and all-over social media.

Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.