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CONNECT THE WORLD
Chinese Dissident Chen Guangcheng Leaves U.S. Embassy; French Presidential Candidates Sarkozy/Hollande Square Off In Televised Debate; Bolivia Nationalizes Electricity; Taliban Strike Against U.S.-Afghan Agreement; Arctic Beauty and Industrial Pollution in Photos
Aired May 2, 2012 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Tonight on Connect the World, under duress or of his own free will? Confusion surrounding the case of this Chinese activist his reemergence from the safety of the U.S. embassy in Beijing.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is connect the world with Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: Well, the U.S. version of events is that Chen Guangcheng left its embassy voluntarily. This hour, why he says that is not the whole story.
Also tonight, under new ownership Bolivia turns up the heat and seizes a Spanish owned power company. And as Obama vowed to get the job done in Afghanistan, a veteran war correspondent tells me why that is easier said than done.
Well, it's been hours now since Chen Guangcheng emerged from hiding, but the mystery tonight only deepens. We begin with the dramatic story of the dissident at the center of a dispute involving two of the world's biggest powers.
Well, Chinese activists have left the U.S. embassy in Beijing, but what he coerced? And what happens to him next? Well, CNN's Stan Grant just got off the phone with Chen. He joins us now live from Beijing.
Can you set this in context for us? Remind us just who this guy is, Sam?
STAN GRANT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, an extraordinary story. A man who has really become a symbol for dissent in China particularly over the past week as he's been holed up in the U.S. embassy. He's a man, a blind man who is a self-taught lawyer. He defended women who claimed to have been forced into abortions and sterilizations under China's one child policy. That brought him very much to the ire -- or caused the ire of the Chinese Communist Party. He was later charged with damaging property and disrupting traffic by organizing demonstrations. He spent four years in prison, after being released from prison he's been locked down in his village for the past 18 months 24/7. He says his family had been violently beaten throughout that time and being denied crucial medical care.
Well, just about a week ago he made an extraordinary escape. This blind man at night managed to climb over a wall, cross a river, get to a secret rendezvous point where he was met with a getaway car and brought to Beijing and that's when he went to the U.S. embassy which as seen these extraordinary events playing out in the days since particularly with Hillary Clinton arriving today under news that he had left the embassy.
Now the question is, Becky, under what circumstances.
ANDERSON: Yeah. What did he tell you tonight?
GRANT: Yeah. We got to speak to him at 3:00 am. He was still up in his home -- in his hospital room with his wife. Now he says that things have changed dramatically since he left the embassy. Now you've seen the earlier photographs, perhaps, of him leaving the embassy surrounded by officials, smiling.
The U.S. says he was very happy to leave. He left of his own volition. Since then he says he has learned about threats that have been made to his family. He says that his wife was tied up and interrogated after officials found that he fled, that there have been violent threats made of guards who were waiting in their home with weapons, that if he did not leave the embassy that there would be a violent retribution to his family, his wife, and his children.
He now regrets the decision to leave. He says he feels let down by the United States. He said they didn't give him all the information What he wants now is to get out of China and fly to the U.S. Otherwise, he says, he fears for his safety, Becky.
ANDERSON: Is it clear whether the U.S. embassy has offered any further support at this point?
GRANT: Yeah. Well, he says that the U.S. embassy promised that they would always have someone with him at the hospital. Now he tells us that there is no one there with him. He's in the room just with his family. His wife came on the phone and said that she's not even free to leave the hospital at this moment. So they feel let down in that way.
But you've got to look at the time-line here, and you've got to look at the different comments that have happened at different stages. The U.S. have stressed all along that they asked him repeatedly, they followed their protocols, three times they asked him do you want to leave? He said yes on each occasion. Let's go.
At that point, they said they took him to the hospital to get the medical care that he needs. At that point, they said, he wanted to stay in China. He expressed that very, very definitely.
Since then, he's had a change of heart as he learned more about these threats and the fears for his safety and wants to fly to the U.S., Becky.
ANDERSON: Stan Grant for you out of Beijing on a complicated story that had many legs as it were as the hours have passed during this day. Stan, thank you for that. Stan Grant out of Beijing for you.
I want to get you state side now and to a man called Bob Fu who was on this show last week when we heard the news that this dissident had actually managed to escape his home. We didn't know where he was at that stage. Bob has been in touch with friends of Chen's. He's the founder and president of ChinaAid. It's based in the U.S. state of Texas. And he joins us now live.
Bob, you've heard the latest from Stan as he understands it having just spoken to Chen himself. Your reaction.
BOB FU, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, CHINAAID: I think it's a shame that the U.S. would -- would let him walk out of the U.S. embassy and with that message received by the Chinese government leaders and -- the U.S. officials condemn that message basically said if you don't walk out the U.S. embassy tonight, you will have no chance to have family reunification. And your wife and children will be returned back to the hellish -- I mean, the house arrest prison.
ANDERSON: Let's hear from the assistant secretary of state who is on the ground in China with Hillary Clinton. This is what he told CNN just earlier of the circumstances of Chen's departure from the U.S. embassy. Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KURT CAMPBELL, U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: All I can say is I spent an enormous amount of time with him over the course of the last several days. And we have very strict protocols on how we handle these things. And I saw on at least three occasions our wonderful ambassador here, Ambassador Locke, ask him specifically as we are required to do with witnesses around Mr. Chen, are you ready to leave the embassy voluntarily? And each time he said Zo (ph), which mean let's do it, let's go.
We have never had a Chinese person who came into the embassy that wanted to go back. Almost in all cases they end up leaving, sometimes to a future in the United States that is sad and lonely, but he was determined to go back to China. He wanted to return to his country and to create the parameters for that to happen, to work with him, to work with the government, to work with our colleagues was enormously challenging.
ANDERSON: Bob, it's clear that there has been some serious diplomatic rambling here. I mean, this episode is threatened to overshadow what are pretty critical bilateral talks between the U.S. and China at present. It can't have come at a worse time, let's face it, for U.S. officials. But you've heard what the assistant secretary said there to our Jill Dougherty just earlier on today.
Effectively, he's right in what he's saying, Chen it seems only after he left the embassy then decided he wanted to go to the States, then felt threatened for his life. My sense is that you feel as if the U.S. has somewhat let him down tonight, but is that fair?
FU: I think that's fair. And also I would dispute the U.S. characterization of Mr. Chen's mood when he walked out of the U.S. embassy. According to what he told his -- at least three friends and I have all their accounts, basically he felt he was -- he was very reluctant he he felt very much pressured that he has to make a choice to go, because he was told by the U.S. officials that the Chinese already said if they don't -- if he doesn't go this time, then he has no time for family reunification. His wife will be returned to his village.
What does it mean to return to his village? Seven years of torture and brutal treatment. And his wife...
ANDERSON: I hear what you're saying, but it must be extremely difficult for that family at this point. He is there in the hospital. We believe his wife was with him earlier on today.
What happens next? What does he believe will happen next?
FU: Well, he was very fearful already. I mean, at 9:00 this -- Beijing time tonight he and his family were together. The six year old daughter was crying for food. There was another meal even sent to them by the hospital. So it took a U.S. embassy intervention for one evening meal for the first night after he stepped out of the U.S. embassy's protections.
And I -- you know, I'm very, very concerned. I think his very safety are still in -- you know, in jeopardy and in danger. I would suggest that Secretary Clinton to visit him and his wife, to listen to their concerns directly and bring them back to the U.S.
ANDERSON: Bob, with that we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight. The founder and president of the ChinaAid based in the U.S. state of Texas and a good friend of the dissident now holed up in a Beijing hospital.
He is a Chinese dissident who says he left the refuge of the U.S. embassy in Beijing after Chinese authorities made threats to his family members.
It's unclear whether the U.S. has offered any further support in an episode that is threatening to overwhelm crucial bilateral talks between the two superpowers.
You're watching Connect the World here on CNN with Becky Anderson. Still to come, is Latin America sending the wrong signal to international investors? An expert weighs in on what is the latest in asset seizures.
Sparks fly as Nicolas Sarkozy and rival Francois Hollande face off ahead of France's presidential election this weekend.
And the Taliban's deadly attack just hours after U.S. president's short trip to Afghanistan.
All that and much more when Connect the World returns.
ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World here on CNN with me Becky Anderson. Welcome back.
Now Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande have been trading barbs in the first and only televised debate ahead of the second round of the French presidential election on Sunday.
Hala Gorani is in Paris for us. She's been watching that debate. We didnt' did expect them to be polite to each other by any stretch of the imagination, but how nasty were they?
HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it got a little bit nasty. And interestingly it also got a little bit personal. Francois Hollande actually attacked Sarkozy, because Sarkozy used the world malsonge, which means lie of course. And he said it must have something to do with your profound sense of self. So it became personal.
And you sensed that there was some antipathy between the two men at one point during the debate. Now, just for our viewer's information, it's still ongoing. We don't have excerpts from it yet. We will a little bit later on CNN, of course. But they also talked, of course, about the big issues and that is unemployment, the economy. And both were attacking each other on what solution to this current economic crisis and the crisis of the debt burden that country's in the EuroZone have been carrying. And Hollande said to Sarkozy well you just want austerity and not growth. And Sarkozy said, look, you can't keep criticizing me for wanting to emulate the German model and then tell me France isn't doing as well as Germany. You have to pick one or the other.
So right now they're talking about foreign policy. And we'll get back to you on that once we have it. But they did sort of trade these very tense barbs as you mentioned, the tense exchange on a personal level.
And you know, it's very important for Sarkozy now to come out swinging. He is trailing by up to eight points in the polls and we're only four days away from the second round.
ANDERSON: Now Sarkozy, of course, however holds a fairly strong record when it comes to these sort of debates. In 2007 he effectively extinguished his opponent who happens to be the mother of Hollande's kids. Of course, all very confusing in French politics.
When it -- you say we're nearly through, we're nearly at the end of this. To your mind who has come out top at this point?
GORANI: Well, you know, it's kind of hard to tell. You have to wait until the next day and see how French voters themselves react to it. But it seemed to me as though Hollande really came prepared with more precise attacks. It seems to me as though at this stage at least he's landed more punches against Sarkozy.
Sarkozy has come out swinging as well. It's not like he's been sitting there taking it, but Hollande has come out with some very precise attacks on the economic front, using numbers in order to go after Sarkozy. And you know it is always the burden of the incumbent, his record is a record that his challenger can pick apart.
In the case of Francois Hollande, he blamed Sarkozy for driving France deeper into debt. Sarkozy said, look, you can't blame it on me. This is decades of institutionalized structural debt. And what we added to the debt of France is a result of the economic crisis.
It's going to be interesting to see how French people analyze this debate, but to me it seems as though Hollande is a little bit more precise in how he's attacking Sarkozy and he's able to get a little bit more mileage out of his speaking time, because in France as in the United States of course it's very measured how many minutes each individual candidate can speak and so they each get equal time.
But as you mentioned, interestingly there's only one debate between the two rounds. By American standards that's nothing. You know, by now we would have probably three or four.
ANDERSON: All right. Well, that's ongoing as Hala says. More on CNN as we move through the hours to come. Hala, thank you for that.
A look at some of the other stories that are connecting our world here tonight.
And clashes erupted near Egypt's defense ministry in Cairo ahead of presidential elections there. Witnesses say armed thugs in plain clothes attacked demonstrators in protesting the disqualification of an Islamist presidential candidate. Medical sources say at least 11 were killed and a health official says at least 100 others were wounded.
Well, pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi is being sworn in as a member of Myanmar's parliament. (inaudible) next to many of the soldiers she has spent decades fighting against. It is the first time the Nobel laureate has held public office and marked a significant step in the country's path towards reform.
Well, the UN has given Sudan and South Sudan 48 hours to hold all hostilities or face potential sanctions. Now the security council has also called for peace talks within two weeks endorsing a plan laid out by the African Union. Tensions between the two sides reached a boiling point last month when South Sudan sent troops into the disputed oil fields of Heglig. Sudan has followed with a series of bombing raids.
And the death of a British spy was found naked in a padlocked bag in his bathtub may never be fully understood. Coroner Fiona Wilcox has said there in the UK that Gareth Williams was probably suffocated or poisoned, but it was unlikely his death would ever be satisfactorially explained. The body of the MI6 code breaker was discovered, I believe, in August of 2010 a week after he died.
We are going to take a very short break here on CNN. This is Connect the World. When we come back, an emotional appearance by Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton midfielder who survived death after collapsing during a match six weeks ago. He's there at what is a crucial game for his club. Details ahead.
ANDERSON: Your watching Connect the World live from London. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back.
On a day packed with decisive European football matches, one pre-match greeting stole the show. Fabrice Muamba appeared before the Bolton and Tottenham clash in England, thanked fans for their support just six weeks after his near death experience due to cardiac arrest on the pitch.
For more on what is an inspirational story, we're going to go to Mark McKay at CNN. That couldn't have been more motivation for his players to step up tonight, his team members. They got to win this anyway to effectively stay in the Premier League. But my goodness, what a show.
MARK MCKAY, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, and you could see him wiping away tears, Becky. I bet so many others at Reebok Stadium were doing the same when Fabrice Muamba appeared before opening whistle. He actually spoke to the crowd, Becky. He said he thanked the fans for their support. He's saying he's getting stronger each and every day.
We all remember the story, technically dead for 78 minutes, unconscious in hospitals for days. Fabrice Muamba, amazing doctors and supporters alike.
Next hour we will show you more of the inspiring scenes and hear from the footballer himself.
Yes, it is a potential title clinching Wednesday across Europe as titles are on the line in Italy and in Spain. Now of course in Spain Real Madrid can win its first La Liga crown since 2008. Tonight a win at Atletico Bilbao will get the job done for Jose Mourinho's men. Real seven clear of Barcelona, three to play. While Barcelona has already won, beating Malaga, Real is currently out in front.
There you see the situation in Italy. Juventus beginning tonight's play in Serie A, clinging to a three point lead on Milan. Juventus needs to win, Milan needs to lose, but at the moment both clubs are winning. So that could keep going.
Meanwhile, it's all over in Holland. Ajax Amsterdam securing their 31st Dutch League title, beating Venlo 2-0. I would say the party is beginning in Amsterdam, Becky, but that's already a given.
ANDERSON: Let me just put some of the English football fans out of their misery. I believe that game at Bolton despite the motivation provided by Fabrice, in fact 3-1 Tottenham Hotspurs, right?
MCKAY: Yes. Yes. That is.
ANDERSON: OK. All right. (inaudible).
A team that I support, not that I would be denigrating any of the Bolton -- the Bolton fans' enthusiasm for the game tonight. Yeah, big game, of course, for Tottenham. And big game Chelsea/Newcastle game as well.
Staying with football, a bit of fair play from the Asian's Champion's League I believe.
MCKAY: Yes. You know we see football related controversy, how about something very good from the Asian Champion's League? I want you to check out this sequence. It's a Champion's League match where a player is injured Foolad Sepahan were playing the ball back to Al Nasr of UAE, but Sepahan player misunderstood. He pounced on the ball, fouled by the Al Nasr keeper as he rounds him trying to score.
The referee not only awards a penalty, but gives a red card to the keeper: correct decision, what else could have have done? And as the replacement keep comes in. Watch this, he shakes the hand of Sepahan's penalty taker (inaudible) and Sepahan, who are already leading 2-0 at the moment -- watch what they do, they do the right thing by passing the penalty kick directly to the keeper.
Sepahan went on to win the match 3-0, certainly winning high praise for a bit of good sportsmanship as well.
Tragic note for American football, former NFL Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau found dead Wednesday of an apparent self inflicted gunshot wound. He was found dead in his home in California. Junior Seau played two decades in the NFL. He was 43 years of age. Much more, Becky, on World Sport in just over an hour from now.
ANDERSON: Good stuff, Mark. Always a pleasure to have you. Thank you for those updates. Mark McKay with your sports news, back as he says in an hour's time.
Still to come on Connect the World this half hour, the investment fallout from more asset seizures in Latin America.
As Obama pledges to finish the job in Afghanistan, we speak to a veteran correspondent with more than 30 years' involvement with that country and ask if it's really possible to end the conflict there.
And we take you on a freezing fusion journey as our Lebanese fashion photographer arrives in the Arctic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, welcome to our viewers across Europe and around the world. I'm Becky Anderson. These are the latest world news headlines here on CNN. A [permanent] Chinese dissident tells CNN his life could be in danger if he remains in China. Chen Guangcheng is now in a Beijing hospital after agreeing to leave the U.S. embassy. He says Chinese authorities didn't fully explain the consequences of his decision.
Francois Hollande and the incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy are going head to head as we speak in a televised debate in France. The debate has been measured so far with 18 (INAUDIBLE) points against the other at Sunday's final round of these presidential elections.
Deadly clashes leave this capital with (INAUDIBLE) in plainclothes attacked demonstrators who were protesting the disqualification of an Islamist presidential candidate there. Reports say at least 11 people are dead, (INAUDIBLE) at least another 100 were wounded.
The Taliban say this suicide car bombing is their answer to the U.S. president's visit to Afghanistan. The bomb went off just hours after President Barack Obama left Kabul after a surprise visit there. At least seven people were killed in that event. Those are headlines this hour.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Tonight Bolivia is getting an earful from Spain and from the EU. Madrid and Brussels are demanding to see some compensation after Bolivian National, the local arm of the Spanish power company Red Electrica, and it runs about three-quarters of Bolivia's grid. Bolivia claims Madrid hasn't invested enough in Bolivia and sent soldiers to the company's front door on Tuesday to change the locks. We hear now from CNN's Rafael Romo.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bolivian President Evo Morales made the announcement at a cabinet meeting attended by electrical workers. His decree effectively nationalizes the Bolivian interests of Red Electrica SA, a Spanish power company. The president later appeared at a facility in Cochabamba Province owned by ENDE, the Bolivian government's power company.
Sitting right next to his defense minister, Morales ordered the armed forces to take control of Red Electrica's facilities in Bolivia. In Spain, Red Electrica released a statement to defend its track record in Bolivia and demanded fair compensation. "We hope we will be able to reach an agreement for an adequate compensation so that we can defend the interest of our investors at the national and international levels," Red Electrica said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos, just before a meeting with his European counterparts in Brussels, said his government expects full compensation from Bolivia.
LUIS DE GUINDOS, SPANISH FINANCE MINISTER (through translator): The information that I have available by the minister of industry and foreign minister is that the Bolivian government is willing to pay a fair price, is willing to offset what the cost that has been incurred by Red Electrica and what has been the investment and maintenance of Red Electrica.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMO (voice-over): At the headquarters of the Spanish power company in Cochabamba and under a banner that said "nationalized," Morales cited lack of investment in Bolivia as one of the reasons for his degree.
(on camera) It's been a hostile environment in South America for foreign companies, mainly European ones. In recent years, President Hugo Chavez has nationalized the supermarket chain in Venezuela owned by a French company, as well as a number of other foreign businesses, including an American glass-maker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(voice-over): And in Argentina, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner two weeks ago nationalized YPF, a subsidiary of Repsol, another Spanish company.
CRISTINA FERNANDEZ DE KIRCHNER (through translator): We will preserve its status as a corporation and we will keep operating under the laws of private enterprises. We will manage this company in an absolutely professional way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMO (voice-over): Back in Bolivia, the nationalization eclipsed protests by workers and indigenous people, who took to the streets yesterday to complain that President Morales' promises of better salaries have not materialized. As the economy continues to hurt, a once-popular president is now facing widespread discontent. Rafael Romo, CNN Atlanta.
ANDERSON: Well, today the European Commission said seizing assets sends, and I quote, a "negative signal" to international investors. Anna Szterenfeld is Latin American analyst of the Economist Intelligence Unit joining us now from our New York bureau.
Cristina Fernandez was criticized for sacrificing her country's relationship with its biggest foreign investor, that being Spain, in order to, as one article suggested, satisfy her hunger for cash and nationalist symbolism. Do you see the Bolivian president doing the same?
ANNA SZTERENFELD, LATIN AMERICAN ANALYST, ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT: Well, certainly resource nationalism is not new to Bolivia. I mean, Eva Morales is a socialist president, and since he came to office in 2006 he's implemented a string of expropriations and nationalizations of companies in various sectors, natural gas, oil and even a tin smelter.
And in so doing, he's reversed the privatization process of the 1990s. But this has actually been for ideological reasons and also for domestic politics. Bolivia's not suffering the kinds of economic constraints that Argentina is suffering, so he is not at this moment looking for cash per se in nationalizing the Spanish company yesterday.
ANDERSON: Well, certainly Spain and the EU are looking for compensation on this. I mean, I think Bolivia's impacts on Spain is going to be a lot less than that on Argentina, of course. I mean, and we're not talking about as significant a company as Repsol is. How would you expect the Spanish and the EU government to pursue this at this point or to chart their success, I guess?
SZTERENFELD: Well, I think -- well, certainly they're going to seek compensation, and I think this is the crux of the issue is will there be a dispute over compensation? Will there be a difference in terms of how much money this Spanish investor wants back for its assets? And if there is a disagreement, effectively Spain has very few options in terms of seeking what it wants. I mean, Bolivia in 2007 pulled out of the World Bank's International Dispute Settlement Commission, so that is no longer a venue for solving these kind of disputes, but I think that at this point they're hoping that there will be some amicable negotiation of price.
ANDERSON: The Bolivian government, of course, has justified its nationalization by saying the company failed to invest enough in Bolivia. So this begs the question, is this going to happen again and again and again? Are there other companies that maybe set to be nationalized, as this one was? And what is the message here to international investors?
SZTERENFELD: Well, certainly this is going to defer the damage to Bolivia's reputation as a safe place for foreign investment, but it's fairly running out of options at this point in terms of privatizing strategic industries. So this is one of the companies that was left over from prior rounds of privatization, the last being in 2010, when the government nationalized energy generators, because this is an energy transition company.
At the same time, I would say that Bolivia's being very careful to try to have favorable relationships with oil and gas companies, because it needs their investment, and very ironically, Repsol, the same company that's been nationalized in Argentina, is a very big player in the Bolivian market, and President Morales has been careful to showcase that the relationship with Repsol is solid. In fact, the same day of the nationalization of the electricity company, he had a photo op with the head of Repsol as they inaugurated a new gas facility in Bolivia.
So I think the record is mixed, certainly does damage to Bolivia's reputation, but in some sectors like oil and gas, they will try to retain the interest of foreign investors.
ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff. Without moving to there, Anna, thank you for joining us this evening on a story out of Bolivia, which, of course, has ramifications or repercussions around the world.
Coming up, Barack Obama says reconciliation with the Taliban is still possible. Two suicide bombs on (INAUDIBLE) compound in Kabul suggest the opposite. That and more on (INAUDIBLE). Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end, with faith in each other and our eyes fixed on the future. Let us finish the work at hand and forge, adjust and lastings peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Speaking from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, President Obama said that America will finish the job it started there, but he suggested the negotiated peace with the Taliban could be the way forward, but just hours after he made that speech, the Taliban responded with two car bombs killing at least seven people. The suicide attacks hit an area mainly inhabited by foreigners. The Taliban have said the bombings were in response to a security agreement Obama signed with the Afghan president that reaches beyond the 2014 pullout of troops.
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh joins me now live from Kabul. We referenced to Obama's speech, a pretty optimistic one, at least in principle.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Deeply optimistic, a very edifying thing to listen to, to be honest. At times it seemed like he was talking about a situation alien to some people on the ground here in Afghanistan, particularly when talking about reconciliation. The position he described seemed very familiar to where the U.S. was in January when it tried to start these talks with the Taliban in (INAUDIBLE).
Since then they appeared to have collapsed. The Taliban made it clear that pulling out, waiting for the U.S. to clarify its position and U.S. and Afghan officials saying channels of communication were pretty much broken down, but we weren't hearing very much, almost attempts, I think, by the commander in chief to make troops feel their sacrifices have paid off, to explain to Americans why it was okay to start broiling down and to end this decade-long war. But we also heard today, of course, a warning sound from the U.S. ambassador here in Kabul that there was still great work ahead and America needed heart in this fight when he spoke to Christiane Amanpour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN CROCKER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO AFGHANISTAN: I think the one thing that can really defeat us here is ourselves. If we decide we're tired, we don't want to do this anymore, that we're just going to pull the troops and we're going to go home before the Afghans are fully capable of assuring their own security, then we can lose this. And I think the president was very clear on this. We are going to end this war but we're going to end it responsibly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Ryan Crocker speaking to Christiane. What of today's suicide bomb, then, Nick, tell you about security in Afghanistan for the normal man and woman on the street?
WALSH: With Barack Obama it was easy to come around to the secrecy of (INAUDIBLE) to a certain extent, make the speech to the American people while Afghans, for the most part, were asleep, but they would've been woken two hours after his Air Force One wheels left the tarmac here in Kabul by the sound of this explosion, the Taliban targeting foreigners but Afghans once again caught in the crossfire, caught in the bars, 10 schoolchildren wounded, the U.N. condemning the fact that the insurgency struck 200 meters away from a school, and I think really while it's possible for foreign forces, for the president of the United States to come here under great security, ordinary Afghans just see the insurgency having the potential to strike at will, particularly in what's supposed to be the secure (INAUDIBLE) of the capital, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nick Payton Walsh in Kabul for you this evening. Nick, thank you for that. And you can see the rest of the interview that we showed, some of the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan on "Amanpour" tonight, right after this program. Well, few Westerners know more about Afghanistan than Sandy Gall. The veteran war correspondent has spent over 30 years reporting at times from the country, and he is adamant that the West is losing the war. In a big interview, Gold tells me why he thinks things went wrong in Afghanistan.
SANDY GALL, VETERAN JOURNALIST: The Americans first (INAUDIBLE) admittedly not until 2003, but, I mean, that wasn't very long after. They switched their attention to Iraq and they concentrated all their resources, particularly when Iraq started going very wrong. All their resources, intelligence, surveillance, (INAUDIBLE), whatever, and empire all went to Iraq. And so Afghanistan was left on the back burner and kind of forgotten about, and what they didn't see was that the Taliban were coming back thanks to the Pakistanis, who were encouraging them to go back and saying, "You go back and fight and we'll support you."
ANDERSON: So what are your thoughts, then, when you hear the U.S. secretary of defense saying U.S. and NATO forces would like to end their combat mission and transition to a training role by next year 2013?
GALL: Well, we'll see what happens. Nobody really knows how successful it's going to be. When the American main combat forces and British, which are much more of combat troops, rubs its jaw, will the Afghan army be able to cope with a resurgent, presumably, Taliban, who their one view is they're just waiting for us to leave and then they will come back? And I think they'll be encouraged. The key is Pakistan, and will Pakistan encourage them to come back? Right now it looks as if they will, so that will cause a very considerable problem, and I think that would mean that we've had a failure, we failed to solve the problem.
ANDERSON: Given your experience, do you talk to the Taliban as the West's diplomats are now wont to do in this sort of effort to withdraw?
GALL: Well, I mean, I think the West is -- well, how do you end a war like this? I think you have to negotiate, and I think the Americans, as they did in Vietnam, are trying to negotiate now with the Taliban, because they want out and we want -- everybody wants out. It's a very long running, and you will never have a military victory is the conclusion, I think. The Americans were very reluctant to come, in my view, very reluctant to come to that conclusion, but they now feel there is no military solution.
ANDERSON: Sandy Gall speaking to me on Afghanistan. You're watching "Connect the World" here on CNN, Becky Anderson for you. When we come back, find out why one man's dragging ugly pictures of industrial pollution all the way to the Arctic.
ANDERSON: Well, in tonight's fusion journey from Lebanon to the Arctic fashion photographer Roger Moukarzel braving minus-15-degree temperatures, hardly the effects of global warming. This is chilling stuff. Take a look.
ROGER MOUKARZEL, PHOTOGRAPHER (voice-over): My name is Roger Moukarzel. I'm a photographer. I'm based in Beirut. I'm creating an exhibition of pictures to shock people into thinking about global warming. I'm on a journey to Sweden taking pictures of ugly industrial pollution to the natural beauty of the Arctic region.
I'll be working with Carl-Johan Utsi, a member of the indigenous Sami people, who live there. He's a part-time photographer and full-time reindeer herder. You're finding a lot of difficulties now to live a nomadic life?
CARL-JOHAN UTSI, PHOTOGRAPHER, HERDSMAN: We have the climate change, which make the ices on lakes even more insecure. So, we cannot travel on the lake systems and we have to travel difficult path in the mountains, and two years ago it was a really bad accident up in the mountains, where a whole herd of reindeers went through the ice and 300 reindeers died. And that had never happened before. I think that's a direct effect of the climate.
MOUKARZEL (voice-over): Carl-Johan has photographed the Sami way of life by working as a herdsman. His model are the landscape, the indigenous people, and of course the reindeer.
UTSI: Hey, you know, the river system are affected by hydropower.
MOUKARZEL: Hydropower plant?
UTSI: Yeah, hydropower dams. See, this area, they have cut down every tree and they have grown up again. So, for me it's not natural forest. If you see (INAUDIBLE) pine plantations made for --
MOUKARZEL: Not for either one.
UTSI: The forest company, they chop down and make toilet paper and stuff like that, so we're going to find the natural forest, old forest. It's much more beautiful.
MOUKARZEL (voice-over): I'm going to add a shocking new element to the mix, images of industrial pollution.
UTSI: Where do you want this?
MOUKARZEL (on camera): Somebody has to hold the other (INAUDIBLE).
(voice-over) We need to create this clash of civilization between the nature and the industry and the city only destroying this nature directly.
UTSI: What I think about this is it's kind of crazy, but creativity's a bit of craziness.
MOUKARZEL: Okay, guys, I'm ready.
UTSI: I'll bring them to you.
MOUKARZEL: Let the kids come with you. (INAUDIBLE), look at me, both the three of you. Very nice. They are eating the equipment. You can sit. No, don't sit. Fantastic. Look at me, boys.
UTSI: Boys? There are two girls and one man.
MOUKARZEL: Two girls, at me.
UTSI: I think this will be good. It will be something that have never been done here before, that's for sure.
MOUKARZEL: Put your hand over her.
UTSI (voice-over): Roger is one of the most eccentric photographers so far, and we come from a different kind of cultures, but I think the photography joins us.
MOUKARZEL: Come closer to me, yes? Stop.
UTSI: I thought this was me and you working together. I thought we were --
MOUKARZEL: Now move the models.
UTSI: All right, we can change models.
MOUKARZEL: It's too hot.
UTSI: Moustache man.
MOUKARZEL: The minus-15 when you work, it's feasible. You forget about it. Then you remember them when your camera freeze. Why it freeze? Hello. Come back. And you have to eat it.
(INAUDIBLE). You can relax a bit. That's it.
The change from Beirut and it puts you through another world, where the climate change -- you can really feel it here, and you see these people. They cannot travel any more with their reindeer because they have not sufficient ice on the lakes.
I think we ended a two days shoot. Now we're going to go back to Beirut and print our pictures, shoot and print them, retouch them. I think it's a very good experience.
ANDERSON: And for a sneak-peek of some of Roger's striking photos, you can go to our site. Type CNN.com/fusionjourneys. You can read all about his Arctic adventure there and the impact that it has on his career. And in our parting shots this evening, does this face bring back any memories? Generations of student rooms around the world have been plastered with post-ups of Edvard Munch's "The Scream." In a few hours, this original goes on the auction block at Sotheby's in Manhattan. Dubbed "the face that launched 1,000 therapists," it's expected to fetch at least 80 million bucks. That was the highest presale amount ever listed at Sotheby's. And there's another three if you don't get that one.
I'm Becky Anderson. That was "Connect the World." Thanks for watching. World news headlines up after this short break.