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Finding a Cohesive Strategy to Fight ISIS; American Superstar with Global Passions; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired November 26, 2015 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: the British prime minister takes his plan to bomb Syria to Parliament for a second time and
the French president continues his anti-ISIS world tour. Today, Moscow and Putin's turn. The Pentagon's former top Russian policy expert joins the
And on this U.S. holiday, an American treasure we're thankful for: Tom Hanks talks spies, heroes and women fighting for their rights in Hollywood.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM HANKS, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: Let's go on strike. Let's shut it down. Let's make it so that it's not just business as usual.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The case for action: British prime minister David Cameron tells Parliament that for its own protection Britain must take the fight to ISIS in Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER, GREAT BRITAIN: The reason for acting is the very direct threat that ISIL poses to our country and to our way of life.
ISIL have attacked Ankara, Beirut and, of course, Paris, as well as the likely blowing up of a Russian plane with 224 people onboard.
They've already taken the lives of British hostages and inspired the worst terrorist attack against British people since 7-7 on the beaches of
Tunisia. We shouldn't be content with outsourcing our security to our allies.
If we believe that action can help protect us, then, with our allies, we should be part of that action, not standing aside from it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, it's the second time that he's seeking authorization from Parliament to bomb targets in Syria. His first attempt against Assad's
forces in August 2013 was rejected, despite evidence of the Syrian dictator had used chemical weapons on his own people.
Now Cameron wants to strike ISIS in Syria, betting that the attacks in Paris will convince MPs that Britain must take the fight to the heartland
in Syria. Echoing French President Hollande's call for not just compassion but action.
Joining me now to talk about all of this is Evelyn Farkas, who just stepped down from her post as Deputy U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense,
overseeing much of the Pentagon's military relations with Russia and Ukraine.
Evelyn Farkas, welcome to the program.
EVELYN FARKAS, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Thank you. Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: Right now we're waiting to hear what will come out of Putin and Hollande's meeting in Moscow.
What do you expect is the best-case scenario?
Will Russia join a coalition against ISIS?
FARKAS: Well, I think it would be fantastic if Russia joined a coalition against ISIS. And President Obama's been pretty clear about that as well.
But the problem is that up until now the Russians really have been conducting just a fraction of their bombing directed at ISIL or ISIS or
daish, whatever you want to call them.
So I think we have a ways to go. It would be wonderful if the French president could convince the Russians that they need to change their target
set. And of course then if they could convince them to change their ultimate objective, which is to keep Assad in power.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you because obviously Russia is there. It's got as much control of the skies as the U.S. has, now that everybody's trying to
have sort of a unified policy towards ISIS.
I mean, do you see that happening?
FARKAS: I do not see that happening. And the reason I don't see it happening is, first of all, the overall objectives, as I just mentioned,
are not aligned. So the United States and our allies, a 65-member coalition fighting in Iraq and Syria, we have been very clear that we don't
believe that Assad can stay in power. He's lost his legitimacy.
This is a dictator who's barrel bombed and used chemical weapons against his people. But the Russians insist that Assad has to stay. They've made
some noises, they've indicated that maybe they would be amenable to having him transition out.
But we really haven't seen any evidence in terms of Russian actions that they would support a transition and would be able to compromise with us.
AMANPOUR: So the obvious question is then what happens? How does one get past the current stalemate war, the support for Assad, the increased
ability for ISIS to operate and against the West, what happens next?
And by the way, given the context also of a NATO ally, Turkey, and Russia actually already having had a military confrontation?
FARKAS: I think, Christiane, that --
FARKAS: -- there are a couple things that have to happen involving military and then other things that are non-military nature.
So we have to increase our bombing. And I think it's important that the Brits join us in this effort and that's something that we should applaud.
There are other NATO members who can also probably increase their participation with regard to targeting ISIS or ISIL on the ground in Syria.
But we also have to do more than that.
And I think we should really think about the safe zone, creating a safe zone so that the citizens coming out of Syria, who are fleeing for their
lives, have a safe place to go. So again, that would probably be on the border with Turkey.
The other issue is, of course, the political negotiations. And I think a lot of Russia's military action is aimed at first of all giving them a
place at the table and then also making sure that Assad has a place at the table.
So we have to make sure that we proceed smartly with our military operations so that they back up our diplomacy.
And then, finally, I think we need to encourage our partners in the Middle East and our allies in the Middle East to have a really open dialogue and
strategy aimed at countering the ideology that these terrorists, whether it's ISIS or ISIL or Al Qaeda, et cetera, all these affiliates are
espousing and using to recruit their citizens as well as ours.
AMANPOUR: Can I just drill down on what you said about a stepped-up military campaign?
You've just mentioned the word "safe zone." I mean, that is kind of heresy if you were still inside the administration because this Obama
administration does not believe in that -- or at least publicly says that's not going to happen.
What are the conversations going on inside?
How much dissent and debate is there?
Because, as you know, there are very high-level former administration, national security officials, who are telling the president, Mr. President,
you must change your strategy.
FARKAS: Yes. I think you can well imagine that this is an issue that's been hotly debated for quite some time. And, of course, some former
Cabinet officials have been quite frank about the level of debate internally. And I would imagine that has not abated, even since I've been
gone over the last three weeks.
It's an important issue. For the military, of course, it costs a lot of money. It takes a lot of effort. It doesn't solve the political problem.
But it is an interim measure that we can actually conduct for quite some time. We did it in Iraq. We had Operation Northern Watch and Southern
Watch, as you may remember in the '90s, coming out of the first gulf war.
AMANPOUR: Evelyn, I really do remember it. I remember it and it was successful for more than a decade. And I can't get my head around why
everybody's shying away from it now.
Can you explain that?
FARKAS: I cannot explain it. The only thing that I can say is that it has to be linked to a political resolution and maybe the problem is that we
can't make a clear enough linkage to the political resolution.
And certainly the Russians are a huge obstacle, again, because they refuse to understand that Assad cannot stay, that the opposition, that Saudi
Arabia, that Turkey, that all of our coalition allies will not accept Assad as a solution, in any part of a solution.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you finally then, so many people -- in fact, everybody who's militarily -- understands what's going on says that ISIS
will not be defeated from the air, that there has to be boots on the ground. The coalition have made it clear none of their boots are going on
I mean, even those 50 highly trumpeted U.S. special forces, I understand, haven't even arrived, the advisers. And so far the United States has
failed to properly stand up, arm and train a force that could do the job for them.
What is the solution then?
What's going to happen?
FARKAS: Well, I think most of the experts on this have mentioned, of course, that they need to be local. They need to be coming from the Middle
Eastern states. And, you know, that's probably where we're headed.
I want to make another point, too, if I could, just going back to Russia because one of the things that we fail to understand is why is Putin so
adamant about Assad staying in power.
And I think it's really important to note that Russia is adamantly opposed to international interventions in order to save civilians from their
abusive dictators. They really believe that there should be non- intervention. And there are many other countries, of course, who ally with them with regard to this position.
But I think it's important to understand why they care so much about Assad. They don't want to see a Gadhafi-like situation occur in Syria. And
regardless of what the dictator has done, for the Russians, they just are adamantly opposed to changes in leadership brought on through international
AMANPOUR: And finally, finally, really 10 seconds, at this pace, how long will it take to defeat ISIS?
And I said defeat.
FARKAS: I can't speculate on that. Obviously we just have to continue the fight both militarily and otherwise.
FARKAS: And I really hope we do take on their ideology as well because that would be a big part of the problem that we haven't yet addressed.
AMANPOUR: All right. Evelyn Farkas, former Deputy U.S. Assistant for Defense (sic), thank you very much indeed.
FARKAS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And now while the British prime minister, David Cameron, pounds his parliamentary dispatch box over Syria, the opposition is throwing the
book at him -- Mao's little red book, to be precise. Britain is all abuzz, wondering whatever caused the hard left shadow chancellor to quote
from that book in Parliament yesterday and then fling it across the aisle. He says it was a joke to make a point about the government's China policy.
But quoting the dictator responsible for tens of millions of Chinese deaths?
After a break, fighting communism on the Western front. Actor Tom Hanks talks "Bridge of Spies," heroes and Hollywood women. That's next.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. It is Thanksgiving Day in the United States where many are, of course, celebrating, as are Americans
around the world. So here is an American treasure, Tom Hanks, the actor who relishes history and global affairs personally and through his films.
And his latest, "Bridge of Spies," opens today here in the U.K.. It is a legal thriller based on a true story where Hanks plays an American lawyer
who's made to defend a Soviet spy at the height of the Cold War. I sat down with him when he was here in London to promote the film.
And the first thing you might notice are his looks, because he's already shooting his next role as Captain Sully Sullenberger, the American pilot
who safely landed his passenger plane on New York's Hudson River.
AMANPOUR: Tom Hanks, welcome back to our program.
HANKS: Always a pleasure.
AMANPOUR: Good to see you again. And you, there is something about World War II, the Cold War, you have not just been acting; you've been a
So let's take this film. Right at you're dinner table, you're having practically an existential discussion with your wife and your children and
they are convinced that what you're doing, defending this Soviet spy, is really defending a traitor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "BRIDGE OF SPIES")
AMY RYAN, ACTOR, "MARY DONOVAN": It's all about this man and what he represents.
"MARY": He's a threat to all of us, a traitor.
NOAH SCHNAPP, ACTOR, "ROGER DONOVAN": Who's a traitor?
"JIM": The Rosenbergs were traitors.
"NOAH": Who were they?
"MARY": Let your sisters have --
"JIM": They gave atomic secrets to the Russians. They were Americans. They betrayed their country.
But you can't accuse Abel of being a traitor. He's not an American.
(END VIDEO CLIP, "BRIDGE OF SPIES")
HANKS: The Red scare was a nationwide phenomenon. And it did permeate our lives. This is when I was alive. I was 5, 6 years old. And I remember
distinctly my parents discussing Khrushchev when he said, "We will bury you."
But for a 5-year-old, 6-year-old kid, I thought he meant he was going to dig a hole and pour dirt on us.
The us-versus-them dynamic was so prevalent throughout daily life, it was in every newspaper every single day.
Now, the Red scare is also a version of a panic and the idea of defending, as a lawyer would do, someone who was quote-unquote, "a spy" and therefore
a traitor to our country, well, that was not what you were supposed to do.
You were supposed to instead dig a bomb shelter and be on the lookout for spies in your neighborhood. And so it did run -- Donovan did run counter
to the status quo at the time. And he did it through constitutional means. I mean, he was a lawyer. He had helped prosecute the Nuremburg war crimes.
AMANPOUR: And it's quite clear, without being a spoiler, that Abel never gave up the story.
HANKS: He did not.
AMANPOUR: He was faithful to the Soviet Union.
AMANPOUR: And therefore, in the finale, in the actual courtroom, he was given a life sentence instead of a death sentence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "BRIDGE OF SPIES")
DAKIN MATTHEWS, ACTOR, "JUDGE MORTIMER BYERS": Pursuant to the verdict of guilty as to all counts, the defendant is committed to the custody of the
attorney general of the United States for imprisonment in a federal institution to be selected by him for a period of 30 years.
Marshals, you may take the defendant into custody.
MARK RYLANCE, ACTOR, "RUDOLF ABEL": No electrocution?
"DONOVAN": No, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why aren't we hanging him?
In the name of God, why aren't we hanging him?
"BYERS": Sit down!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a spy!
(END VIDEO CLIP, "BRIDGE OF SPIES")
AMANPOUR: What does that say related to then but also to today about the notion of due process, about we're actually maybe better than them because
we have a Constitution, they didn't have the rule of law?
HANKS: Well, change the color of Rudolph Abel's skin to brown. Change his name to something with a dash in it in a Muslim-sounding name and turn him
into something other than agent provocateur but instead a person who just perhaps goes to the wrong place on Fridays and worships the God that he
Now that man could have been born in America or he could have been nationalized as an American but there would be people who would say, how
How dare you go off and defend this Muslim for potentially being a traitor to the United States of America?
That might be a much tougher case for a lawyer.
AMANPOUR: One of your most famous films, certainly abroad, you've said, is "Terminal," where you did play a refugee. Again, it was a Steven Spielberg
film, one you did together.
HANKS: In Europe, parts of it, many people have come up to me. "I was 'Terminal,' I was 'Terminal.' You made my story. This was me."
And I think that what it is, it's holding up America to still some degree of the Promised Land. The United States of America is still held up as
this place where freedom reigns and they can be free from the degree of tyranny and there was -- even though -- look, life will be one damn thing
after another; they will not have the sword of Damocles hanging over their head throughout.
AMANPOUR: And you modeled your character in that after your own father --
HANKS: My father-in-law, yes.
AMANPOUR: -- Rita's father.
HANKS: Yes, who was -- who escaped every brand -- he escaped the communist camps. He was beaten and slapped and tortured and he was in camps where
people were hung for no reason whatsoever.
And he made five daring escapes, only the last of which succeeded, in order to get him away. And I cannot look at anybody who is not an American who
wants to come to America and not see it through my father-in-law's eyes.
AMANPOUR: So what do you say, then, in today's presidential race in the United States, demonizing immigrants?
HANKS: Well, yes, let's not demonize them. Let's humanize them. Let's not call them refugees. Let's call them men, women and children.
AMANPOUR: I just want to go back to "Bridge of Spies."
AMANPOUR: A truly gee-whiz moment comes after the film during the credits, when you realize that James Donovan not only negotiated this exchange
successfully but then went on to be asked by President Kennedy to talk about to exchange prisoners from the Bay of Pigs, that invasion of Cuba,
shortly after --
HANKS: From "Bridge of Spies" to Bay of Pigs.
AMANPOUR: -- well, there you go. And when you see 9,000 people your character managed to get back to the United States, it's breathtaking.
HANKS: It really is. And I think it goes -- again, here's a fellow who utilized all of his skills as a negotiator, learned as everything from a
prosecutor to an insurance lawyer in order to make the other side feel as though they were getting something out of the deal as well.
And I don't know how anybody puts on a light shirt --
HANKS: -- goes down to Cuba after the Bay of Pigs invasion and says, you know what, Castro? I've got a great deal for you. You let 9,000 people
come home with me and we'll get -- I don't know, you'll get some cash. You'll get some trade deals. You won't get another invasion.
I don't know how he did it. But it's funny, as an actor, I find myself learning skills that I do not have instinctively by some of the roles that
I play, some of the research I end up doing. And I must say, the next time I'm in any brand of a negotiation of any sort, I'm going to do what James
Donovan does, which is make the other feel like he wins, too.
AMANPOUR: And are you surprised to see Cuba and the United States reopening diplomatic relations?
HANKS: Dear Lord. Now there's a number of things in my lifetime I thought, well, just kiss that good-bye because that ain't going to happen.
One of them was, of course, the Berlin Wall coming down. That wasn't going to happen. If you would have told me that in 1966, I would have -- and
here's what was so magnificent about re-establishing ties with Cuba.
It happened in the wink of an eye and everybody said, oh, yes, I guess, yes, of course. It's just time. It was just time to do that.
Now look what can be done when some degree of -- what's the word I'm looking for -- oh, let's just call it common sense -- reigns and there's no
reason to continue along in this way anymore because, at the end of the day, everybody just wants to be able to sleep a little bit better and eat a
little bit better and make sure their kids can have a slightly better life than we had. And that's what's happening now.
AMANPOUR: This could be the year of the woman, let's say. There's a lot about gender equality going on.
A lot of your female co-stars are also saying it's time for Hollywood to get real and to get equal, give us equal pay equal billing, equal respect.
What do you make of that?
HANKS: They're right. There is -- the deck is stacked in that it seems to be there's an awful lot of films where there's only one woman, 14 guys and
one chick of the piece. That's what we call them, "Oh, I see; you're the chick of the piece here."
HANKS: Well, sometimes you do. You got to be pretty, you got to be flirty, you got to be smart and what have you.
AMANPOUR: And you've got to be paid less.
HANKS: Well, they got to be, for some reason, they end up, yes, they do end up paid less, which is, I'm sorry. That's just -- let's go on strike.
Let's shut it down. Let's make it so that it's not just business as usual. There are women out there that are carrying movies; there's female -- look,
I work -- my bona fides for working with women is pretty good.
But I think what would happen different if there were actually more women who were actually running things -- and there was a handful that I've
worked with, almost all of them -- but when there are actually women executives and women on corporate boards and what have you, then things
will be -- change.
But just the very fact that people are now realizing that it's out there and it's vocal, I think there's some agents and producers and -- what do
they call, business affairs representatives at the studios? They'd better start ponying up.
AMANPOUR: Now, I have to ask you, the white hair, the mustache, it's not James Donovan.
HANKS: I would like to say that I stopped dyeing my hair but --
HANKS: -- and this is what actually -- no, I'm playing Sully Sullenberger, the US Airways pilot who landed the crippled plane in the Hudson River.
You know, the definition of a hero -- I think there's only one -- and that is someone who voluntarily puts themselves in harm's way. I'm playing a
fellow right now who was an awfully good aviator. He's as professional an aviator as you're going to find.
And in 208 seconds, every aspect of every moment that he'd ever spent in the air was put to the test. And he ended up not only doing the right
thing but doing the right thing to the point that 155 people survived. Everybody on his plane made it off.
AMANPOUR: The nerves of the man, amazing.
HANKS: I can't get past that number, 208 seconds from takeoff to forced water landing, in which somehow the clarity of all of his experience and
the purity of all of his training -- and his motivations for wanting to be a pilot anyway -- made him the coolest person on the planet Earth for those
208 seconds. He judged everything instinctively; he took into account everything from delta vectors to velocity rates and angles of decline --
all of this stuff so coursed through his head and he put a plane down in a place where planes are not supposed to be.
He wouldn't call himself a hero. And he hasn't. He would just say, look, I was just doing my job -- true. But the preparation for doing that job, I
think, took heroic acts over decades and decades and decades of his career as an aviator.
AMANPOUR: Tom Hanks, thank you very much.
HANKS: Christiane Amanpour, always a pleasure.
AMANPOUR: An extraordinary story that the film is going to be great and from the man whose career has taken him to space in "Apollo 13," now to an
astronaut's Thanksgiving Day in orbit today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. MARK KELLY, ASTRONAUT: Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): And they had some rehydrated turkey tetrazzini, which looked pretty awful but we hope it tasted good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: After a break we imagine the humble origins of the annual feast. Who were the Pilgrims, really? Innocents, invaders or both? Find out
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, as Americans across the world carve up their turkeys and pecan pies, we look back at the people who may have been
the first refugees to seek shelter in America.
When the Mayflower landed in the New World in 1620, packed with Puritans yearning to breathe free, popular history remembers them as the huddles
masses fleeing religious persecution in England, who gathered to celebrate their first harvest and feast with Wampanoag Indians.
But imagine a less forgiving version, with the Puritans as religious zealots, outliers seeking their own religious state rather than the
bedraggled refugees seeking asylum.
The Pilgrims who broke bread with the Native Americans on that fateful day in November 1621 would then spend ensuing centuries purging them from that
promised land that they believe was their divine and heavenly kingdom.
Imagine a world of irony, as now Thanksgiving is celebrated as the least religious, the most secular blowout on America's holiday calendar.
And just to hammer home the point, the day after is dedicated to worshipping at the altar of the almighty dollar in that frenzied Black
Friday shopping bonanza.
And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always see us on our podcast, online, on Facebook and on Twitter. Thanks for watching and
good-bye from London.