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The Amanpour Hour

Putin Waits Out The West; COP28: Breakthrough Or Breakdown; Former COP President's Verdict On Climate Summit; Bleak Taliban Rule Sparks Surch In Female Suicides In Afghanistan; Vogue: Still In Fashion 131 Years Later. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired December 16, 2023 - 11:00   ET



LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, JOURNALIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": I myself have used one of those drugs. And I think it is a real key moment, because there's been a lot of stigma about these weight loss drugs. There's been a lot of discussion in the media, and elsewhere, really excoriating celebrities for using them, and her coming out and saying I have no shame, I'm glad I did it, I think will change the debate.

CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: We should also point out that yes, she does say she's using the drug, she also says she takes long hikes, she drinks a gallon of water and she eats her last meal at 4:00 in the afternoon. And boy, if that's all that you need to get slim, I'm in real trouble.

Thank you all for being here again this week. And thank you for spending part of your day with us. We'll see you right back here next week.

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

Welcome to THE AMANPOUR HOUR. And in the next 60 minutes we will take you around the world to ask the tough questions, tackle the big problems and let history be our guide.

So here is where we're headed this week.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Putin is banking on the United States failing to deliver.

AMANPOUR: Ukraine watches the clock run out as military aid stalls in Congress. Former national security official and Russia expert, Fiona Hill calls it the winning ticket for Putin.

FIONA HILL, RUSSIA EXPERT: This is the tipping point where the United States and Ukraine and Europe and everybody loses.

AMANPOUR: Then former COP president Alok Sharma who cried tears of regret when he failed to wean the world off coal reacts to the new climate deal out of Dubai. ALOK SHARMA, FORMER COP PRESIDENT: I certainly think this does spell

the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era.

AMANPOUR: Also ahead, an Afghan family fights for their teenage daughter's life, after Taliban rule drove her, like so many other girls, to total despair.

And finally, from the archive, as "Vogue Magazine" turns 131, my conversation with its power house editor, Anna Wintour.

ANNA WINTOUR, EDITOR, "VOGUE MAGAZINE": There is something about sitting with a magazine and luxuriating in it that is very special.


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

U.S. intelligence revealed this week that Russia has lost a staggering 87 percent of its active-duty ground troops and two-thirds of its tanks since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began almost two years ago. It is a very heavy toll.

But perhaps what is even more significant is that despite all this, Russian President Vladimir Putin seems more emboldened and more upbeat. With Republicans in Congress holding Ukraine support for ransom over border politics at home, President Biden has warned that Putin is watching and waiting.

Quite a prediction.

Putin delivered in his first press conference with journalists since launching his war, reassuring Russians that the West pipeline of aid to Ukraine is indeed sputtering.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: Today, Ukraine produces almost nothing. They're trying to preserve something but they produce almost nothing. They get everything -- excuse the bad manners -- for free. But this freebie may end some day and apparently it is ending.


AMANPOUR: This week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy came to Washington in a bid to persuade holdouts in Congress; that the fate of his nation was also the fate of the free world.

So was Putin right to wait out the west? It looks like it. I turn to the world-renowned Russia expert Fiona Hill for some answers. She knows Putin and how he operates and was a senior national security adviser at the white house. If Russia wins, the U.S. loses. So does democracy and our way of life.


AMANPOUR: Fiona Hill, welcome back to the program.

HILL: Thanks so much Christiane. Great to be with you.

AMANPOUR: So Fiona Hill, if you were what you were before, an adviser in the national security apparatus to the president, what would you be advising this president now about Ukraine and about fulfilling the pledges because the big picture obviously is President Biden and his allies, pledging to defend democracy on the Ukrainian battle field and quote, "supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes".

HILL: Yes, look. I mean we're in the same kind of inflection point and at the same juncture as we were in World War II.

Now you know, if we kind of want to do a counter platform, think back into history of Pearl Harbor, how it happened in 1941, and Japan's attack having brought the United States into the war, what the hell would everybody have done with Great Britain? Would we have left Churchill and the U.K. out to dry? I mean that's that kind of question that we're being asked right now.

Biden gets this, the administration gets this, a lot of people in Congress and the Senate, irrespective of political party get this; obviously in Europe, the same thing is happening.


HILL: But the focus in the United States, as in many other European countries, is really about domestic politics, about their own elections, their own constituencies and we have to find a way of breaking through that log jam.

Because right now Vladimir Putin thinks that he's got the winning ticket here, the winning edge. And he is already, as we speak, sending out feelers, to try to gauge whether the United States and European countries are ready to capitulate, give up Ukraine, and actually push forward on negotiations.

He is sending emissaries out, lots of people are getting approached now. Putin thinks that this is the propitious time for him to basically declare a ceasefire, and basically to partition Ukraine. That's the moment that we're in.

AMANPOUR: Ok. So that is really interesting. That is very interesting information. I hadn't realized that he was serious, because up until now, we have heard that Putin doesn't want to negotiate. He just thinks time is on his side.

But this is fascinating because --

HILL: I mean he didn't actually, in many respects, Christiane, want to negotiate. What he wants to do is basically lay out the terms of Ukraine's surrender. So negotiation is a bit of a misnomer here.

When he says I'm ready to negotiate, he is basically saying are you ready to give it up and we will negotiate those terms, my terms, which is not giving up Ukrainian territory. So we have a deterrence problem, you know, across the horizon here.

Russia will maintain a major military force, it will replenish its depleted stocks, and of course, you know, Putin thinks that he has an unlimited supply of man power, when he's pulling people out of jails, and you know, out of remote areas of Russia.

So this will be on Russia's terms. That's not a negotiation. That's a capitulation.

AMANPOUR: And precisely, I'm glad you corrected me, because I was going to then say, he's got some willing, I don't know what to call them, willing believers in the U.S. Congress. Senator JD Vance said that it is time --

HILL: He absolutely has.

AMANPOUR: -- now for Ukraine essentially to give up territory.

HILL: Well yes, and it's not just in the U.S. Congress. It is kind of globally at this point. I mean now that we have this absolute disaster in the Middle East, a lot of people are saying, look, we got to focus, you know, on what is happening there, you know, we've already had two years of coming up to two years of discomfort in Ukraine, and that's not the main issue anymore.

AMANPOUR: Can I just ask you bluntly, do you think if this continues, that Putin could win, Ukraine could lose, and if so, what does that mean for Europe and for the United States?

HILL: Well, in answer to the first two points, of course, Putin, you know, a win for Putin, it doesn't matter how many men he's lost, I mean there's more than 300,000 Russian casualties, including people who have died or been seriously injured.

Putin doesn't care about that. That is beside the point. He doesn't care about the fact that he has had to distort his whole economy to a war economy, for now, the Russian economy is adapted, and is doing reasonably well.

Over the long term, this is very detrimental to Putin, but he is not thinking about the long term. He thinks over the long term, he will win. And right now, this is the tipping point where the United States and Ukraine and Europe and everybody loses and he turns everything to his advantage.

Right now, that's what he is thinking. And so what does that do to all of us in the long term? I think that that actually, you know, shows that the west is incapable of sticking to its ground, and there will be a deterrent effect after this. And I want to explain that in a moment.

Putin will be emboldened. It doesn't mean he's necessarily going to send tanks into the Baltic States tomorrow. It's just that he will now know that the United States and West, and NATO as well, have no sticking power. He will turn around and say we defeated NATO. Not because NATO was directly involved in Ukraine. But because NATO member countries have been involved in supporting Ukraine.

He always says, and he said before, when he threatened she delivers on the West, promises much to partners and never delivers. And it will have a chilling effect of every ally of the United States and the West, Japan, South Korea. I mean remember, North Korea was also involved in supporting Putin here.

So it will be a win for North Korea and Iran and it will bleed over into every other arena that we're concerned about at this moment. This will not solve a problem. It will just create a host of other problems. And American and Western leadership will be greatly diminished by this.

AMANPOUR: The entire effort of Europe and the United States has been to weaken Putin through sanctions, through all of these things, for the last many, many years, particularly since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

But we are hearing, and you alluded to it, that the domestic economy is ramping up, that even there's a construction boom, rising real estate prices, and we have Mikhail Zygar who is an exiled writer, writes in the "Washington Post".

"Business leaders, officials, and ordinary people, tell me that the economy has stabilized. Defying the western sanctions that were once expected to have a devastating effect.


AMANPOUR: "Putin's regime, they say, looks more stable than at any other time in the past two years. The Soviet Union's Cold War isolation is not repeated itself. Putin's Russia can get many of the supplies it needs from China."

So how worrying is that?

HILL: Well, it's very worrying because again, this is a short to medium term perspective, and because Zygar is absolutely right. I mean one of the effects of sanctions and sanctioning Russian business people and oligarchs has been to make them bring all of their capital, you know, from outside in Europe and back into Russia, or to basically put it into the Middle East, U.A.E., you know, for example, and as Putin would probably say, like the old crypt goes over the longer term, we're all dead. He doesn't care about that.

He cares about the short to medium term, his own election next year in 2024, which seems like a pretty sure thing to be president again until at least 2036.

So that is what he is playing for. And so Mikhail Zygar is right and many others are to call the alarm here. The only way that Putin changes his mind is when he feels pressure from a very large number of actors and that's not what he feels right now.

There is no pressure coming from the Middle East. He's just been in recent weeks in the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia. He doesn't feel any pressure from China. He's not feeling any pressure from other players in the world system to end this war.

In fact all the pressure is on the United States and on Europe, not on Russia at all.

Putin doesn't get any scrutiny rather from his own press. He is basically scot-free right now. And that should be something that people should be contemplating.

Every time that we step out there, in search of a critical way, about American players, irrespective of our parties and position, we're handing again another opening to Vladimir Putin to mess about in our domestic politics.

We have Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, messing about in our domestic politics as well.

America has now become a playground for other interests in ways that we have not seen for a very long time in our political history. This should be a real concern for people, thinking about how vulnerable and how fragile U.S. politics and the U.S. political system has become to outside interference.

AMANPOUR: So I would like to you stand by because this bring brings us to a huge potential extra problem, given what he thinks about U.S. and NATO, that is President Trump, if he gets a second term. We'll be back with that question after a break.




AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program, where we continue our conversation with Fiona Hill, the former U.S. advisor on national security and especially on Russia and President Putin about this debacle that is happening right now with the U.S. Congress refusing to send Ukraine the aid it desperately needs.


AMANPOUR: So Fiona Hill, we were talking about all of the things that could go wrong, and not just for Ukraine but for the United States. And I asked you, what would happen to this war if Donald Trump were to be re-elected.

So I want to play a sound bite of what he said about NATO and the alliance.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're not going to protect you any longer. And I remember the head of a country stood up, does that mean that if Russia attacks my country, you will not be there. That's right. That's what it means. I will not protect you.


AMANPOUR: So how sharp were you, or was that par for the course, Fiona Hill? He is basically explaining in a speech why he thinks that, you know, the U.S. will not do that and, of course, his aides are saying, he might even, if there was a second term, pull the United States out of NATO all together.

HILL: Well, this is par for the course. I mean right from the very beginning of his presidency, Trump made it very clear that he saw NATO as really a very costly U.S. protection of countries, and if they were not going to pay their dues, the 2 percent of their GDP (INAUDIBLE) to defense, and also contributions, you know to NATO more broadly, he didn't see why the United States should be stepping up, because this was just basically a rip-off of the United States for protection.

AMANPOUR: Yes, but he is saying, Fiona --


HILL: But what's diff about what President Trump -- yes, but what he is saying is different, is he is willing to pull out of NATO and he has made that clear. That's not what any other president has said before.

AMANPOUR: Well, well -- and to abandon the whole principle or Article 5. Let's not forget the only time -- HILL: Correct.

AMANPOUR: -- that Article 5 has ever been invoked was on behalf of the United States after 9/11. So that's a fact.

I want to ask you --

HILL: And that's -- that is absolutely right. That's not something that he would even, you know, acknowledge. In

fact, he doesn't acknowledge. So there is a very serious step here, but the larger point, you know, that Europeans have to really think about this is, and in fact, you know, what I would advise at this moment, given the fact that he has telegraphed this so clearly is, that European countries need to be already thinking about, you know, Plan B and Plan C, and how they are going to manage, you know, what could be, you know, an extraordinary rupture between the United States and the rest of the transatlantic alliance. He is serious when he says that.

AMANPOUR: I want to add one more layer on and ask you about what you yourself have written about the other war that has broken out that the U.S. is heavily involved in. Of course, the war of Israel and Hamas.

You have written, "These could be global system-shifting wars. Something like World War I and World War II which reflected and produced major changes in the international order. In a sense, the Hamas attack on Israel was a kind of Pearl Harbor moment. It opened a second front.

HILL: Yes, I mean this is obviously an attack on Israel, Hamas on October 7th. I just want to, for the record, just a little point of interest, October 7th is Vladimir Putin's birthday.


HILL: This is just coincidental but it's still worth noting this that, you know, when that date is reflected upon, there will be all kinds of different dimensions on it as well. And it is very close to the whole anniversary of Pearl Harbor in any case.

Because in many respects, you know, the United States is in jeopardy in three different arenas, where many of the same players are very active. And the whole perspective is one of a proxy war against the United States. Against the United States as a global and regional hegemon.

And we're really getting -- seeing the United States being put in the spotlight by Russia, by China, obviously North Korea, Iran and many other countries, as really being the cause of all of this turmoil. The United States is getting blamed for what is happening in Israel and Gaza, just as much as it is in Ukraine. And there's now a push by Russia and other countries to isolate the United States.

The United States, I would suggest right now, is on the back foot here. And Putin is obviously going to take every advantage of this. And so will China. This looks like a world where three major fires -- two, you know, fully combustible in Ukraine and in the Middle East, and one that is still, you know, still simmering and smoldering -- simmering fire but smoldering, looking kind of like it also might be ignited in the Indo-Pacific region as well.

We have to keep an eye on all of these fronts at the same time. The United States global position is really challenged here.

AMANPOUR: Also, I was going to ask you, what is the antidote to this, and does the action by Congress simply put the U.S. in more danger?

HILL: It does put the United States in more danger. I mean if we want to have any kind of leadership, in any role, in shaping the system that comes out, instead of Pax Americana we get (INAUDIBLE) and this is done on China's terms with Russia, you know, heavily involved.

We'll have a very different world, one in which it will be much more difficult for the United States and the Western alliance to play in. There is a great desire all around the world now for more say in world affairs, for having the United States taken down, not seeing Russia weakened.

We don't necessarily want to see China as the dominant power but there is no real desire to see the United States on top. That unipolar moment for the United States is long gone and this is, you know, really what we're seeing playing out here the last moments of this.

And you know, the sub factor that's not being fully recognized here in the United States and elsewhere. It is again, one of those really pivotal moments.

And you know, if we want to step up, this is the moment to do so and if we want again to see how this plays out, again, not necessarily to our benefit, then you know, we just sort of sit back.

AMANPOUR: Fiona Hill, thank you so much for putting that all out for everybody to hear.

Thank you.

HILL: Thanks, Christiane. Thank you for having me.


AMANPOUR: And the other even bigger existential struggle of our times, climate change. And for a change, some good news, as COP28 wraps up in Dubai, my conversation with a former COP president, Britain's Alok Sharma. Why he thinks we have reached, quote, "the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era".



AMANPOUR: Welcome back.

For the first time, a climate summit has explicitly called on countries to transition away from fossil fuels. There were sighs of applause and lots of happy faces as COP28 in Dubai issued its final communique this week.

This year has racked up record temperatures and wildfires and floods. So many world leaders and activists are praising the agreement as a turning point. Just take a listen to U.S. climate envoy John Kerry.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. CLIMATE ENVOY: Now, we have to obviously push but I will tell you what's going to make the greatest difference in my judgment. The signal that comes out here today is that the whole world is going to be moving even harder to try to make this happen.


AMANPOUR: Right after the summit wrapped up, I asked Alok Sharma, who was the U.K. COP26 president two years ago in Glasgow to tally up the pluses and minuses of what transpired in Dubai and to assess humanity's chances of survival now.


AMANPOUR: Alok Sharma, welcome back to the program.

SHARMA: Thank you so much.

AMANPOUR: At the end of this very, very tense negotiation, I would like to hear your verdict. The U.N. climate chief said this is the climate lifeline, not the finish line. So vital but not all that we wanted. SHARMA: Well Christiane, we made significant progress at COP28, and if

I just go back to COP26, it was the first time in 26 COPs we got the language for the first time on phasedown of coal. Here we went further. We got language on the transition away from all fossil fuels.

Of course, many of us would have liked language, very clear language on phase-out of fossil fuels but I certainly think that this does spell the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era.

But I would just make this one point, which is that whichever COP you talk about, these are just words on a page. And for them to have real meaning, it now needs countries and companies to step forward and deliver with real action. And so the proof in the pudding will be, if in a year from now, we're sitting here and discussing the progress that's been made, or whether in fact, you know, people will just disregard the international commitments that they have made.

AMANPOUR: Give me just a sense of what it is like, what you went through in Glasgow two years ago. What it is like to look like you're coming against the precipice and then manage to, you know, claw back, at least something?

SHARMA: Well, the U.A.E. faced a number of question marks going into their COP. Frankly every presidency faces question marks. But at the end of the day, and I said this at this time, in the U.A.E. as a petro state was in that unique position to bring the oil and gas sector together.


SHARMA: And I can tell you, you know, at the time lot of people said to me, going into the COP discussions, do you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. And I can tell you, in those final few hours, at COP26, I absolutely felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.


AMANPOUR: And there was a very famous image of you, almost -- well you had tears in your eyes. What was going through your mind then?

SHARMA: We had concluded on the language that was a compromise, so rather than phase out coal, we had a phase down coal. The thing that I was most frustrated at was that we've been open, we've been consistent, we've been transparent and yet in the final few hours it looks a little opaque about how that deal had emerged.

But nevertheless, it was the first time in 26 COPs, we actually got language on fossil fuels on phase-down of coal.

AMANPOUR: Secretary of State John Kerry is President Biden's climate czar and it appears he made some really -- he leveraged all his incredible contacts, he spoke directly with the Saudi energy minister, with the Chinese counterpart that he has on this because the Saudi and OPEC countries were threatening not even to talk about this transition.

How important is it for America, not just to be at the table, but to really throw its weight behind this?

SHARMA: Well look, I have got to know John Kerry very well over the past few years. I'm a huge fan of John's and he was incredibly helpful at COP26 and I'm sure he will have played a critical role at COP28 as well.

But what ultimately matters is what countries do. What does the U.S. do in terms of its policies, its domestic policies? What does the U.K. do? What does China do?

And this is the critical point for me is until and unless countries are prepared to act, we will not see the progress that we need. And you know, one of the things that all of us want to see is to keep alive the prospect of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.

We're not there yet. We're not there yet. We need to see much faster progress.

AMANPOUR: The island nations for instance were very worried. We heard them say at one point that this agreement, as good as everybody else thinks it is, it is still a death warrant, because they see the seas rising and they have nowhere to go.

How much -- how can one -- how can one mitigate what they are going through, because clearly, as you say, the final, you know, most important result, probably won't be achieved in time to save them.

SHARMA: Well, you know, I think back to my friend Mia Mottley the prime minister of Barbados at COP26, that a 2-degree world is a death sentence for her country and that is the same for very many climate- vulnerable countries on the front line of climate change.

And you are absolutely right. I mean the latest science shows that unless we accelerate action, we are going to blow through that 1.5- degree target.

And therefore, what we need to do is to support developing countries, take part in that, that transition, which is so vital.

AMANPOUR: You're a father. You have two children. What keeps you awake at night, regarding their future?

SHARMA: Well, I think a lot about this. And in fact, you know, when I took on the COP (INAUDIBLE) between then and now, I think my outlook has definitely changed. It has affected me.

And you do think that this is about what we do, not just for our generation, but for future generations. My children's generation, you know, the generations that come afterwards.

And so the question that I think has to be asked at every single COP by world leaders is have we done enough? Are we on the right or the wrong side of history? And frankly, we can't afford to fail this generation.

AMANPOUR: Where are we now, right or wrong side? SHARMA: Well, I think we're making progress but it is just not fast


AMANPOUR: Alok Sharma, thank you so much, indeed.

SHARMA: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And indeed, a year from now, those benchmarks will have to be accounted for. Either they'd be met, or they haven't.

Coming up next on the program, a heartbreaking story. The surging number of desperate Afghan women and girls being driven to suicide under Taliban rule.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

A heartbreaking consequence of the Taliban's misogynistic grip on Afghanistan since the U.S. abandoned it more than two years ago is the rising number of girls turning to suicide out of their despair.

Correspondent Anna Coren introduces us now to 15-year-old Azo, who was once a care-free and fun-loving teen. Now she's fighting for her life, after drinking battery acid to escape her harsh reality.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a small dimly-lit room in the outer suburbs of Karachi, Pakistan a 15-year-old girl we'll call Azo lays on a cot.

With eyes closed, she slowly inhales. Her skeletal frame rises slightly, an action causing pain and an enormous amount of difficulty.

"Don't worry. You'll be fine," says her brother kissing her hand. "We are with you always."

Her oldest siblings who asked not to be identified for security reasons smuggled her in from neighboring Afghanistan five months ago Following a series of events that would irrevocably change the course of their lives.

"We don't try to force her to remember what happened," he says. "But once I asked her and she replied crying that she was tired and had given up all hope.

But Azo did not always feel this way. Seen here in pink, dancing on cell phone footage, the teenager was happy, studious and had big dreams to one day become a doctor.

[11:39:51] COREN: But that all changed in August, 2021 when the Taliban re-took control of Afghanistan, after the U.S. withdrawal, following a 20-year war. And one of the first edicts the Taliban enforced was a ban on female secondary education.

She would say, "I have to be removed from this place," explains her sister. "I don't want to be here. There is no education."

Over the following months, her mood darkened but nothing that alarmed her family until one day in July, this year.

"She came into the room, and I saw her eyes were abnormal," she says, "I asked her what had happened, and she said she drunk acid. I didn't believe her, so I put my fingers in her mouth and she vomited up blood."

Azo's sister says she had drunk battery acid in their home in an attempted suicide, a trend that is spiking among teenage girls across Afghanistan, according to health professionals and human rights groups.

An Afghan doctor who spoke to us anonymously fearing retribution from the Taliban tells CNN he's seen a 50 percent rise in the number of mental health cases among girls at his clinic who have considered suicide in the past two years. Of these cases, at least 10 percent have taken their own lives, drinking chemicals, overdose on pain medications, even consuming rat poison.

He related this is the direct result of the education ban and other draconian restrictions that have been placed on girls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I try to give them hope, that education will start again. But they don't see any good future for anyone in this country. Everything is in a very dark situation.

COREN: From her home in a remote Afghan province, Azo was rushed to a clinic, but doctors said there was nothing they could do. So in a desperate attempt to save her life, her family decided to smuggle her into Pakistan.

Azo has since had three operations at a private hospital in Karachi as doctors try to repair her severely-damaged esophagus and stomach. But so far, it's not working. Weighing a mere 25 kilograms, or 55 pounds, azo is slowly wasting away.

She's fed a nutritional drink, and separately juice four times a day by a tube in her stomach but she is not gaining weight, which may jeopardize her next operation, scheduled in a matter of weeks.

Adding to the family's worries is Pakistan's recent decision to expel Afghans living illegally in their country. Her siblings fear, if they're forced to return to Afghanistan, Azo will die.

"I don't cry in front of her but when I kiss her at night while she's sleeping, I will cry," he says. I'm so worried for her future, her treatment and if she will be able to survive." A daily anguish for these siblings, doing everything they can with

what little means they have, to keep their sister alive.

Anna Coren, CNN.


AMANPOUR: It is a real tragedy. And despite international pleas and pressure, there is no sign that the Taliban intends to lift its iron grip on women and girls in Afghanistan.

Now, if you or anyone you know needs help, in the United States, you can call or text 988 to reach the suicide and crisis lifeline.

And outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has a list of organizations that can help.

And we'll be right back with much more of the show right after this.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back.

It's a happy birthday to "Vogue Magazine", a titan of global publishing. Its very first issue came out 131 years ago this weekend.

Evolving dramatically over the years, it has spent a quarter of its lifespan under the successful and imperious watch of editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, a woman whose sunglasses and blunt bob have become almost as iconic as the magazine itself.

So now we look back into the archives for a rare interview with Wintour. I spoke to her in New York, in 2019 just as she was planning for her annual grand society event, the Met Gala.

And in this excerpt, we speak about Vogue's commitment to women's right and the focus on first ladies who have taken a stand even through their fashion.


AMANPOUR: Anna Wintour, welcome to the program.

WINTOUR: Thank you for having me.

AMANPOUR: Look, can I just address the elephant in the room? You're wearing your dark glasses. I'm not sure that I expected you to wear them during the interview, but I know that you do wear them inside. I just want to know because everybody wants to know.

WINTOUR: Yes. Well today, I will be brutally frank, I've been unbelievably ill all week and plus just had eye surgery, so those are the real reasons I'm wearing them today. Otherwise, I would brave you without them. AMANPOUR: Are they an inscrutable protection? You wear them in the

front row of fashion as well. You wear them sitting next to the Queen.

WINTOUR: Yes. They're incredibly useful, because you avoid people knowing what you're thinking about. They help me when I'm feeling a bit tired or sleepy. And I don't know, maybe they have just become a crutch and part of who I am. But today, I really did need them.


AMANPOUR: Your magazine, the most important fashion bible in the world, does profile some very, very important women who are in politics. Tell me about that. I mean you're overtly political in your profiles and in what you stand for.

WINTOUR: I think one has to be fair, one has to look at all sides, but I don't think it is a moment not to take a stand.

I think you can't be everything to everybody. We profile women in the magazine that we believe in the stand that they're taking on issues. We support them in the fact that we feel that they are leaders, that particularly after the defeat of Secretary Clinton in 2016, that believe women should have a leadership position and that we intend to support them.

AMANPOUR: I was really interested to hear that, I believe, Secretary Clinton, when she was first lady was the first first lady to be on the cover of "Vogue".

WINTOUR: She was.

AMANPOUR: Not even Jackie Kennedy was on the cover of "Vogue".

WINTOUR: She was photographed many times within the magazine with her husband and her children and I think with her sister, iconic pictures. But I think it was a time when I felt that the first lady at that time had behaved in a very brave way.

AMANPOUR: Was this surviving the slings and arrows of the husband's accusations and the impeachment.

WINTOUR: Slings and arrows of misfortune, yes. So we felt it was a time to, you know, support her and to stand up for women. And we were very honored that she agreed to be our cover at that time.

And we were also very honored, obviously I think Mrs. Obama was on the cover three times while she was in the White House. I think Mrs. Obama redefined the role of a first lady.

I mean she was so open to everybody. She made the White House a place for everyone. And she was just so, I think, inspiring to so many women and obviously on a very selfish note, speaking as the editor in chief of "Vogue", she did wonders for fashion. She loved fashion.

AMANPOUR: And high and low, right? WINTOUR: She mixed high and low. She supported designers that one had never heard of. We had always had the tradition at "Vogue" to photographing the first ladies when they first came into office and some extraordinary, wonderful women.

It was an honor to photograph them. But they were always super cautious about what they wanted to wear and the image they wanted to present, nearly always a jacket, maybe some pearls if you were Mrs. Bush, but with Mrs. Obama, you know, she was fearless and was just such a joy for all of us that work in fashion.

AMANPOUR: "Vogue" is sort of the cultural bible, the touchstone. And yet online is sort of really obviously way overtaking print.

WINTOUR: I think -- we're fortunate today have so many different channels in which to speak to our audiences, if you go back to when I was a young girl growing up in Britain and I went for my first job and it was considered a great thing if you reached an audience of 90,000 people with a monthly magazine.

Now we have I believe 22 million follows on Instagram alone at "Vogue U.S." We are talking to men and women all over the world in a way that we couldn't possibly have imagined even ten years ago, 15 years ago.

AMANPOUR: Do you think the magazine will last, will stay?

WINTOUR: I do, I do. I feel that there is an engagement with a glossy, rich magazine like "Vogue". That experience, it isn't the same when you look at something online. I mean, it peaks in a day, it trends in a day. And it's great the news gets out there, and we're so excited to see it. But there's something about sitting with a magazine and luxuriating in it that is very special.

AMANPOUR: Anna Wintour, thank you very much indeed.

WINTOUR: Thank you for having me.


AMANPOUR: The style queen, never underdressed or uncoifed.

When we come back, more of your questions and my answers.

"Ask Amanpour" is next.



AMANPOUR: Welcome back.

In our complicated world, clarity is more important than ever, which is why I'm taking your questions about the events today that shape tomorrow. Let's find out what's on your mind this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to ask you if there was ever a time in your career as a foreign correspondent where you were really scared or frightened. It seems to me that you must be used to these kind of situations, which can turn bad at a moment's notice.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the answer is an unequivocal yes. There were many, many moments and continue to be where I got very afraid, like all sensible foreign correspondents.

The issue is trying to manage the fear in order to do the work of being the eyes and ears for our viewers, for our users, for those who need to know what's going on in the world.

Bosnia, where I started with the first war where journalists were actually targets of those who wanted to stop (ph) us up. We were wounded, we were killed, many of our colleagues, in huge numbers.

And just to remind everybody, according to the CPJ more than 60 journalists and media workers have been killed in Gaza in just over two months trying to get the story out.


AMANPOUR: That's all we have time for. If you want to ask me a question, scan the QR code on your screen or email And remember to tell us your name and where you're from.

Don't forget, you can find all our shows online as podcasts at and on all other major platforms.

I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Thank you for watching. And I'll see you all again next week.