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The Amanpour Hour

Netanyahu's Endgame Unclear As Gaza Humanitarian Crisis Deepens; Everybody Loves Raimondo; Interview With Commerce Secretary; The Tale Of The Capitalist And the Communist; Is Technology Reprogramming Our Relationships. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired November 11, 2023 - 11:00   ET



JONAH GOLDBERG, EDITOR IN CHIEF, THE DISPATCH: Because I think that her performance in the debate was geared for attracting a lot of big donor money. There's a lot of big donor money that says Tim Scott can't win, that Chris Christie can't win. They don't want to give it to Ron DeSantis and Ron DeSantis is not going to drop out.

And Tim Scott he's just not been able to figure out an explanation for why he's running for president. Great guy, but just hasn't been able to figure (ph) that out.


CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: Do you see -- in 20 seconds -- any way that Trump doesn't get the nomination?

GOLDBERG: I think it's possible but I wouldn't bet anything of great value on it.

WALLACE: Not even a panda.

GOLDBERG: I said anything of great value.

WALLACE: Thank you all very much for being here once again.

Thank you for spending part of your Sunday -- Saturday morning with us. We'll see you back here next week.

And THE CHRISTIANNE AMANPOUR HOUR is up right now here on CNN.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Welcome to THE AMANPOUR HOUR.

In the next 60 minutes, we will take you around the world to ask the questions, tackle the big problems, and let history be our guide.

So here is where we're headed this week.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody's hands are clean. AMANPOUR: Is America reaping a bitter harvest, consequences of failure

in the Middle East?

A former IDF soldier joins me. He fought during Israel's last invasion of Gaza.


BENZI SANDERS, FORMER IDF SOLDIER: This is a leadership that I don't really trust. Guns alone are not going to defeat Hamas.

AMANPOUR: Also ahead, two super powers, one state (ph), a high stakes meeting months in the making.

GINA RAIMONDO, U.S. SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: It is time to ratchet down the temperature.

AMANPOUR: My exclusive conversation with one of Biden's top China whisperers -- U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

Also ahead --


AMANPOUR: 34 years ago this week, that wall finally did come down. From the archive, my interview with Reagan's partner, the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

And finally, why the world's top relationship expert says we're evolving into something else.

I've never heard you say anything like that. I mean are we becoming a different species?


AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christianne Amanpour in London.

This week, the war in the Middle East brought us the loudest voices yet for at the very least humanitarian pauses to get life-saving food, water, medicine and fuel into Gaza. And to help pave the way for the release of more Israeli hostages.

The White House is also feeling the pressure now from all sides as a new AP poll shows Americans are divided over whether Israel's response to the horrific October 7th massacre has gone too far.

David Miliband, head of the International Rescue Group told me a long break is essential now.


DAVID MILIBAND, PRESIDENT AND CEO, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: A humanitarian ceasefire has to be at least five days. It has to cover the whole of Gaza, it has to be properly monitored, there has to be the flow of aid workers, but also the flow of aid itself, of water, of food, of nonfood items.


AMANPOUR: Also this week, mixed messages from Israel about what comes next after the fighting. Here's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I think Israel will, for an indefinite period, will have the overall security responsibility, because we've seen what happens when we don't have it. When we don't have the security responsibility, what we have the eruption of Hamas terror on a scale that we couldn't imagine.


AMANPOUR: But a senior adviser Mark Regev told me, a takeover is not on the table.


MARK REGEV, SENIOR ADVISER TO BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: We are interested in establishing new frameworks where the Gazans can rule themselves, where there can be international support for the reconstruction of Gaza, hopefully we can bring in countries, Arab countries as well, for a reconstruction of a demilitarized post-Hamas Gaza.


AMANPOUR: And just to be clear, the United States again says Israel must not reoccupy Gaza. Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer went even further.


DANIEL KURTZER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL: If you take the long view of Israeli-Palestinian interaction, peace negotiations and conflict, the reality is that none of us is exempt from criticism, and all of us bear responsibility.

The Israelis for maintaining a 56-year occupation. Building settlements, onerous occupation practices.

Palestinians for continuing violence and terrorism. And not responding when peace process offers were put on the table by Israel.

And the United States as what might be called the essential third party, of not doing its homework, and not being tough enough to see this process of peace making through to its conclusion.


AMANPOUR: Now, the IDF this week surrounded and entered Gaza City saying that they have now destroyed hundreds of tunnels, taking the fight to Hamas.


AMANPOUR: So we decided to ask a former IDF soldier, Benzi Sanders, about urban warfare. He was deployed to Gaza in the last ground war in 2014. And he wrote in the "New York Times" why he's convinced that it is, quote, "a catastrophic mistake" to believe that military force against Hamas will make Israel safe."

Sanders is Israeli-American, and he is a Jerusalem program director of Extend, which is a Jewish advocacy group for human rights for everyone in the Holy Land.

Benzi Sanders, welcome to the program. Can I just ask you first, as a former IDF soldier, what did go through your mind on October 7th. What did you think of what happened obviously as an Israeli? And what did you think was going to come next?

BENZI SANDERS, FORMER IDF SOLIDER: You know, actually on October 7th, I was not too far from the Gaza border, and my wife's family's house. And it was terrifying, per the reports, and immediately, when I started seeing the images of the massacres, my heart went out.

And when I saw the images of the retaliation and the bombing, I felt a deep pain, because I felt like I was seeing what I had experienced in 2014 seen happening all over again.

You know, like then on a smaller scale, we also saw a horrific terrorist attack, with three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered which led to the ground invasion then.

Before we went in, we were told that, you know, the areas had been cleaned out of terrorists, of civilians and the only people who remained were terrorists, and that ended up not being entirely true. The entire neighborhood was bombarded before we went in. And you know, we lost soldiers from my unit, and you know, after I came out, I just hoped and prayed that we had decisively eliminated the threat. And that was the only thing that gave me a little bit of consolation for the death and destruction that I saw.

And what I discovered in the years after that was, not only did we not decisively eliminate the threat, but my own government actually was party to the bolstering of Hamas and the strengthening of Hamas.

And I started becoming a peace activist and calling against these policies, which actually weren't as interested as much in defeating Hamas as they were interested in expanding the settlement project and preventing a Palestinian state.

But when I think about the leadership of my country, my government, and the statements that they're making, basically, you know, saying that the entire civilian population is accountable, they should have rose up and overthrown Hamas, or you know, the minister of finance who said he doesn't differentiate between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, I think that this is a leadership that I don't really trust. AMANPOUR: Benzi you, after 2014, became a peacemaker, and you're also

a reservist. What is it like for you at this moment, when so much of the Israeli people, people around the world, in fact, believe that this war should happen, that Hamas should be wiped out, and that this kind of situation cannot continue. Do you feel out of step with your own nation?

SANDERS: Well, you know, I think that fundamentally, I am aligned with the interests of my nation, and I do the work that I do, because I care about the future of my people.

I think that what is still a question that needs to be answered, and that people are starting to answer the questions, ask this question to themselves is, is the lie that we've been told, that the only way to defeat Hamas is only through military force?

I think the defeating of Hamas is a very, very worthy and very, very moral cause. But I know that guns alone are not going to defeat Hamas because Hamas is not just a terrorist organization, it is an idea. Even if we kill every single member of the al Qassam Brigade, you know, the idea of Hamas will be strengthened unless we change direction and start working toward a political solution.

And I think that the majority of people in my country maybe don't fully agree with me on that right now, but I speak to the diaspora Jews, because I think their voice and their involvement in what is going on in Israel is crucial. To pressure their own government, and to pressure their own communities, to make sure that they're supporting a way forward that involves independence and rights, for both Israelis and Palestinians. Because that's the only way we're going to have peace and security.


SANDERS: And I think that's crucial and, you know, nothing will bring back the lives of the thousands of civilians who have been killed in the past few weeks.

But in order to prevent this from happening again, and it will happen again -- maybe it won't be as bad, maybe it will be worse -- we need to work towards a political solution.

AMANPOUR: Benzi Sanders, thank you so much indeed.

And before this Middle East war, the United States had pivoted to Asia. Up next on the show, why everyone wants to talk to Gina Raimondo, especially China. My exclusive interview with the "Time 100" Biden cabinet secretary is next.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

And now to the delicate dance between two super powers that impacts us all. President Biden is set to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping

at the Asia Pacific Economic Forum in San Francisco next week. Until now Xi has been playing a little hard to get. But as California Governor Gavin Newsom told me, from Beijing last month, this relationship cannot fail.



GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Divorce is not an option. We have to define the terms of the future. We have to live together across our differences.


AMANPOUR: Now, in a moment, I will speak with one of President Biden's top China whisperers, cabinet secretary Gina Raimondo, but first, let's look at this rollercoaster relationship which is nearly 75 years old now.


AMANPOUR: Since Mao Zedong, brought communism to China in 1949, the U.S.-China relationship has been one of the most complicated and consequential of our time. From the Korean War to panda and ping pong diplomacy leading to President Nixon's history-making 1972 visit, and then the restoration of ties between Beijing and Washington.

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This was the week that changed the world.

AMANPOUR: As economic links tightened between the two, the Tiananmen massacre of 1989 raised political and strategic tensions.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We deplore the decision to use force.

AMANPOUR: Issues like trade imbalances and intellectual property theft, Human rights abuses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The claims about genocide and forced labor in Xinjiang are poor lies.

AMANPOUR: Territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: China has illegally dragged (ph) nearly 200 acres of new land.

AMANPOUR: And the fear of a collision over Taiwan have made the modern relationship between these two super powers complicated at the very least. And now it is President Biden's challenge to manage.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We seek competition, not conflict with China. AMANPOUR: And today, there is some hope for a reset in relations. The

very same diplomat Henry Kissinger whose secret trip to Beijing in the 70s paved the way for Nixon's landmark visit met with the Chinese President Xi Jinping in July and president Biden has dispatched his most trusted deputies to smooth the way forward, including our guest, the U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.


AMANPOUR: After all of her prep work, Raimondo will be at the summit which starts today. She is a rising star in the Biden administration, is on "Time Magazine's" 100 most influential people list, and as the "Wall Street Journal" said, everyone wants to talk to Gina Raimondo, even China.

Well, I have also been speaking to her. Here is our conversation.


AMANPOUR: Secretary Raimondo, welcome to the program.

RAIMONDO: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: So I said, as everybody knows, that the world is in a total war footing right now, from the Middle East, to Russia-Ukraine. So I want to know from you, ahead of this meeting between the two presidents, should we be prepared and buckling in for war in Taiwan?

RAIMONDO: I don't think so. I don't think so. First of all, thank you for having me.

As you say, we are in turmoil all around the world. And I will tell you, at least once a week, when I'm, you know, with the president, and watching him with world leaders, I feel so grateful that he is the man in charge of our country right now. He has the right temperament and experience.

I was in China recently. I think they have the desire and we have the desire to stabilize the relationship. In my case when I met with my counterparts, we talked about using the economic relationship as a ballast for the rest of the relationship.

You know, we have to protect what we must but trade where we can. And I think that is really, that's the direction from President Biden, as it relates to China. And I think that is where China is. You know, it's time to ratchet down the temperature, and look to, I think the world, truthfully Christiane, is looking to the U.S. and China to be responsible in managing this relationship.

AMANPOUR: So this is a really big deal. And the previous governor of California, Jerry Brown, told me that there is no substitute for real conversations and getting a measure of each other for these two leaders.

So what do you hope will come of a face-to-face sit-down over more than just 30 seconds? RAIMONDO: I would say, having worked with the president now for three

years, he is at his best with these person-to-person meetings with world leaders. He has an amazing ability to relax with them and just have an honest, authentic direct discussion. And that's what I would expect.

I will be meeting with my counterpart, Minister Wang Wentao and that's what I will look to do. You know, not to sugar coat anything, not to pretend that this isn't a great competition, but to be direct and honest, and also to, as I said before, figure out what are the ways to most responsibly manage this relationship.


AMANPOUR: So what do you think that you achieved when you were in Beijing, talking to your counterpart?

RAIMONDO: Well, first let me say, I was the first U.S. Commerce Secretary in more than five years to be in Beijing in person. So candidly, the fact that I showed up and spent hours with the premier, the vice premier, my counterpart, was in and of itself extremely important. You know yourself, having covered the world for so many years, when there is no dialogue, that tends to devolve into conflict and increase tension.

But once again, we are talking. What I'm able to put on to the table, the fact that U.S. businesses are feeling that China is increasingly uninvestable because of the Anti-Espionage Act, because of the lack of predictability in the environment, because of raids on U.S. businesses, and at least give them an opportunity to respond and make changes.

AMANPOUR: I understand they really came at you hard to try to give on some of these major trade issues. And that is, for instance, the stringent controls on exports and most advanced semiconductors as well as the equipment to make them. What was your response to that?

RAIMONDO: My response to that there can be now no negotiation when it comes to matters of national security. My response was that we need to, I need to protect the most sophisticated U.S. technology and I have to use every tool in my toolbox to make sure that our most sophisticated semiconductor chips, artificial intelligence models never get into the hands of Chinese military.

That being said, we also need to promote where we can. You know, the vast majority, we have a $700 billion trading relationship with China -- the vast majority, 99 percent of that, has nothing to do with export controls.

AMANPOUR: And what about jobs? American people, people all over the world, are worried for their jobs.

RAIMONDO: I would say that President Biden is so focused and obsessed with bringing manufacturing back to the United States. It's why I took this job, Christiane. When the president called me and said, hey, governor, will you join me

to be the commerce secretary, and be my partner in revitalizing U.S. manufacturing. I leapt at that opportunity, and that's exactly what we're doing.

You know, by the time I'm done doing the work, implementing the Chips Act, we'll have hundreds of thousands of new high-paying, semiconductor manufacturing jobs in the United States.

By the time we're done implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, we'll have thousands upon thousands of new manufacturing jobs in the United States.

So we cannot give up the ghost on U.S. manufacturing. And that's why we're making these investments to bring back a great deal of manufacturing jobs to the United States.

AMANPOUR: Madam Secretary, stand by. When we come back, we're going to continue our conversation. We're going to talk about peace building over pasta.





AMANPOUR: Secretary Raimondo, welcome back. What about A.I.? You were last week here in the United Kingdom, along with Vice President Kamala Harris, Elon Musk, all those people, at a very important A.I. summit.

And Elon Musk has said something really scary, that actually in the future, there may be no need for any jobs, except if people just happen to like to want to spend their time working.

RAIMONDO: We cannot let that happen. That is a terrible outcome. It's within our control. Obviously, this is a very powerful technology. We will make those decisions. And we will not let that happen.

And that is the whole point of all the work that we're doing. President Biden signed a comprehensive and bold executive order recently, related to artificial intelligence.

A.I. is exciting. You know, when you think about using A.I. to find cures for cancer or deal with the climate crisis, it is unbelievable. That being said, we can only harness the good of A.I. if we first keep a lid on the risks.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you about being a woman in the top job. I have spoken to so many strong and powerful women around the world. Hillary Clinton obviously comes to mind, but there are many, many of them. Nikki Haley is vying to the be the first-ever female president on the Republican side. You were the first female governor of Rhode Island, and you've had so

many career milestones like that. How have you found it, you know, the race to the top being a woman, and what is the effect of having women in top decision-making positions?

RAIMONDO: It's hard. You know it yourself. You know, I should ask you the same question. It's hard, there is no doubt about it. It's harder for women. People are used to seeing men in the top jobs, particularly in executive positions.

At the time I became governor, I was one of four female governors in the country. I remember constantly being at governors' conferences with being the only woman. But I will tell you this, I'm not sure the state of Rhode Island, the state where I was the governor, would have universal all-day kindergarten if we didn't have a mother that was a governor. I was the first mother to be governor of Rhode Island.

In the Chips Act, that I'm implementing now, I've asked the companies who want to receive chips money, what are you going to do about child care, so women can work successfully in your facility? I'm not sure that would have happened if there were a man as commerce secretary.


RAIMONDO: And I know that having women in tough jobs results in, you know, a different point of view and better decisions. I would argue, Christiane, as you look around the world today, it is hard to escape the conclusion that we need more women in positions of leadership, leading countries, leading companies, Leading major nonprofits.

So I won't pretend it's easy. I won't pretend that it's, you know, women are judged by a different standard. But I will say we have to stay in it, because the world is a better place because of it.

AMANPOUR: And I obviously would agree with you 1,000 percent. And also, in the realm of peace negotiations, national security, and the like.

But I did tease a bit of pasta peace-building. You famously had a rapprochement between the slightly recalcitrant Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and the chief of staff at the time Ron Klain. Tell me about it.

RAIMONDO: Well, it may be that I'm Italian more than the fact that I'm a woman. Although I will tell you, my mother who is the most incredible woman I've ever known, had a strong belief that there's no problem that can't be cured with a good Italian meal. And I do sort of believe that as an Italian mother myself.

I think it matters, to your point, about the meetings we'll have next week. At the end of the day, we're all people with the same, you know, humanity. At the end of the day, solving these problems is to the benefit of our shared humanity. And there's truly no substitute for getting together in person, perhaps around a meal, perhaps in a casual setting, where you first talk about things that have nothing to do with the subject at hand. And then that will pour that little bit of trust, that recognition of

you know, this person is a mother or a father, too. This person has their own health struggles they're dealing with. That basic bit of trust building can go such a long way.

And I would say we've lost some of that. You know, I would say arguably here in Washington today, you know, it sounds trite, but breaking bread, getting to know people, really does make a difference.

And so throughout my entire career, I have always said, I'll go anywhere, I'll talk to anyone, I'll work with anyone, if it helps to get the job done.

AMANPOUR: Well, we hope that when President Xi and Biden meet, that there will be some of that ingredient in there to lower the temperature for the whole world.

Secretary Gina Raimondo, thank you so much indeed.

RAIMONDO: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And coming up next, turning down the heat, back in history, Ronald Reagan called on him to tear down that wall. 34 years ago this week, he did just that.

From the archive, my conversation with Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

34 years ago this week, the Berlin Wall came down and communism started to collapse. And so we're going back to the archive to remember the two leaders who made that happen. President Ronald Reagan, whose bombastic anti-communist rhetoric gave many people nightmares about tipping into a nuclear war, that is, until he threw down this gauntlet while visiting West Berlin in 1987.


REAGAN: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.


AMANPOUR: And two years later, the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev did just that, or at least he allowed the East Germans to peacefully tear the wall down, as the communist and the capitalist, Gorbachev and Reagan were ideologically an iron curtain apart. But their shared determination to avoid a clash between their two super powers, ultimately set them on a path to cooperation and later friendship that brought the world back from the brink. From the archive this week, my interview with President Gorbachev, ten

years after that Berlin Wall was torn down.


AMANPOUR: Ten years ago, the Berlin Wall came down, piece by small concrete piece. East and West Germans chiseling in a frenzy of newfound freedom.

Today, some observers say a statue should stand in every East European capital, a statue for Mikhail Gorbachev, for it was he who allowed their independence, he who changed history.

For the West, it was a moment of triumph over tyranny. But Gorbachev had been a committed communist. So how did he feel when he saw everyone tear down that wall.

MIKHAIL GORBACHEV, FORMER SOVIET UNION PRESIDENT (through translator): By that time I had changed my mind about many things. And in 1988, I came to the conclusion that the system could not be improved. We needed political reform. And more freedom, freedom of choice, political parties, give people some oxygen.

AMANPOUR: How did you feel yourself, watching that wall come down?

GORBACHEV: You know, there's a lot of talk about the wall, but for me as a politician, it is just a moment. It's a sign, a symbolic event. The wall had been built when confrontation reached a very acute stage.

AMANPOUR: Now, confrontation was ending, and mostly peaceful revolutions swept across Europe that year. First Poland, then Hungary, East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania.

In the midst of all of this, Gorbachev met the U.S. President George Bush on a war ship off the island of Malta to declare the Cold War over.


GORBACHEV: You know tomorrow, that had been implemented in the Soviet Union and forced an East and Middle European countries after the Second World War lost. But I'm still devoted to socialism. If you think of socialism as freedom, social justice, democracy, where individuals play a significant role.

Look at western Europe. Most of them are run by social democrats. And there's nothing bad about it.

AMANPOUR: Indeed, ten years later, many are saying the unbridled capitalism that followed communism has unleashed misery on citizens who had had all of their social needs taken care of especially in the former Soviet Union.

Mr. President, you were regarded by many people in this world as a hero for causing the end of tyranny and the collapse of communism. But you are also criticized heavily by those who say you opened a Pandora's Box. And they say look at the strife now, look at the economic chaos, look at the mafia structure, look at the corruption.

They say that you opened and started a plan that you did not know how to finish.

GORBACHEV: That's an accusation of fake news. I do not accept it. I can give you the following answer. First, that there are no reformers. We had a concept. Give up totalitarianism. Lead society to freedom, political and ideological and religious pluralism, economic freedom, too.

So I did know where we were heading, but when such developments get under way, no one can predict specifically what it will lead to.

Look at how the West was teaching Russia market reforms. Just that one thing, and see how they got mixed up. And look what we have in Russia as a result today.

AMANPOUR: When Gorbachev and his wife Raisa (ph) first stepped into the limelight more than a decade ago, they electrified public opinion, especially in the West.

But this summer, Raisa Gorbachev was diagnosed with cancer. She died after two months in a German hospital. The press, the Russian people, immediately became sympathetic.

Gorbachev says that he worshipped his wife, that her illness hit him like snow in summer.

GORBACHEV: These are very hard times for me. I feel like my soul has been ripped out of me.


AMANPOUR: Gorbachev himself died last year at 91. Vladimir Putin refused to give him a state funeral. And with his war in Ukraine, demonstrates again and again how hostile he is to the new world order Gorbachev helped usher in. Indeed Putin said that the collapse of Soviet Union was the greatest strategic catastrophe of the 20th century.

Coming up next on the show, the U.S. surgeon general says loneliness is a major threat to our health, but is technology reprogramming our relationships?


AMANPOUR: I never heard you say anything like that. I mean are we becoming a different species?


AMANPOUR: America's top relationship expert, Esther Perel tackles sex and loneliness and love, when we return.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back.

Esther Perel is arguably the most famous relationship therapist on the planet. Her best-selling books, live audience therapy sessions, her podcasts, "Where Should We Begin?" have helped millions of people.

America's surgeon general Vivek Murthy calls loneliness a profound threat to our health and our well-being. Fortunately, though, Esther Perel is here with some of the antidotes and to talk about artificial intelligence reprogramming our relationships.

I caught up with her recently during one of her trips to London.


AMANPOUR: Esther Perel, welcome back to the program.


AMANPOUR: Here you are doing a whole new show and you've got a new series of your podcast, and you've also got new ventures. You have talked about social atrophy. What does that mean?

PEREL: That means just the way that technology is influencing and shaping human relationships. In particular, I'm looking at the intersection between technology, loneliness and love.

AMANPOUR: So I want to read you some stats. There's a number of Americans who report having no close friends at all, has quadrupled since 1990. What is the antidote to that?

PEREL: So the loss of social capital, the loss of people that you can turn to when you are in pain, that is actually been gradual. There are plenty of studies that tell you that many people don't have one person to call when they're in the middle of a crisis.

So what it creates is more seclusion, more virtualization of our lives. People have sex but with themselves or online or in the virtual world. But it is not that they're not being sexual, they just do not interact with real life other people.


PEREL: And it leads us to, this is the big question, are we becoming a different species, when we ultimately become something else? And I think there is a good chance that that's been happening.

AMANPOUR: So that's pretty revolutionary to say something like that. I've never heard you say anything like that. I mean are we becoming a different species?

PEREL: I mean I could answer it slightly differently. We can live without sex, but we can't live without touch. We are creatures, who when we are not touched, we become irritable, we become angry, we become depressed. We are embodied creatures. What we make us become different people is

all these experiences are disembodied experiences to which I am often told, but no VR is going to make it as real as real. And you know, simulation will no longer be a simulation. It will be a real experience.

But what is changing is virtualization of our lives is the disembodied practice of our lives. And that is what creates the fundamental change.

AMANPOUR: What do your tell your patients and clients? What do you tell them?

PEREL: I spent a lot of time helping people reach out to people, have real conversations, be physical with people, go dancing. Sex is one expression of physical connection. For some of them, you know, how do you reach out? Basic skills around being sexual and physical and sensual with each other.

AMANPOUR: The head of safety systems at OpenAI tweeted on X/Twitter the other day, "Just had a quite emotional personal conversation with ChatGPT in voice mode talking about stress, work/life balance. Interestingly, I felt heard and warm. Never tried therapy but this is probably it?" Your thoughts.

PEREL: So somebody created an A.I. Esther. So there is a therapy bot of me. And he wanted to have a session. He had just broken up. He couldn't get a session, so he decided to create me. And now he texts me regularly.

And he thinks that I am fabulous. First of all, I'm pure, I'm always there available for him. I have no personal life, nothing stands in between. I don't forget anything, and my entire corpus of work is available to him 24/7.

You know, and he thinks what I have given him is clarity beyond and I believe him.

AMANPOUR: But what are the risks? I don't want to -- maybe I should say dangers. What are the risks and dangers for mental health?

PEREL: There is a sense that it makes therapy more accessible, more affordable, more available. My podcast is one version of this. It was to (INAUDIBLE). But you know, devices, bots will remind you to take your meds, will remind you to do your thought exercises, your breathing exercises. There are a lot of tools that are very helpful.

On the other hand, much of what people are grappling with are existential issues, are complex problems. Should you put grandma in a nursing home is not something that the app can answer you. It's a different set of questions. These two need to live side by side. It's not which one will win and which one is a threat to the other. They need each other.

AMANPOUR: That is food for thought for our times. And everybody should get on to your new series. Esther Perel, thank you very much indeed.

PEREL: My pleasure to be here.


AMANPOUR: So many questions for Esther.

But when we come back, more of your questions and my answers. "Ask Amanpour" is next.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back.

In our unbelievably complicated world, clarity is more important than ever to cut through the noise and the confusion. So that's why I wanted to hear some of your questions about the events today that shape our future.

Let's find out what's on your mind this week.


PATRICIA: Hello. I'm Patricia McCambridge, age 70. I grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Of course, our difficulties were a lot less than what is happening in Israel, no comparison whatsoever. But is there a chance that there can be peace through dialogue?


AMANPOUR: Well, that is what everybody is hoping for right now. What I want to say is this, that whether it was the British government and the politics of Northern Ireland, the nationalist community there, whether it was the Oslo Peace Accords that in 1993 those secret talks that brought together Palestinians and Israelis trying to seek a way towards peace, whatever it might be, including the fraught relationship between the United States and China.

Just go back to what Gina Raimondo, the commerce secretary said to me during our interview, that often peace talks have to begin just by getting around a table, maybe sharing a meal, maybe talking about your family. You have to bring the temperature down before you can get to the real meat of the matter of resolving often long-term conflicts just like they did in Northern Ireland.

And just what so many are telling us now they hope we'll come out of this terrible war in the Middle East.

That's all we have time for. I'll have more of your questions and my answers next week.

[11:59:49] AMANPOUR: Remember, if you want to "Ask Amanpour", just scan the QR code on your screen right now or e-mail Do remember to tell us your name and where you're from.

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