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The Next U.N. Secretary-General; Remembering Muhammad Ali; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired June 6, 2016 - 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 top job at the United Nations is open.
But who wants to mount this wobbly pedestal?
Argentina's foreign minister Susana Malcorra does and she joins our program live.
Also ahead: he was the greatest in the ring but he was truly great outside as well. We'll discuss Muhammad Ali's real legacy with his friend and
biographer, Davis Miller, who heard from his wife on the day Ali died.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVIS MILLER, MUHAMMAD ALI'S BIOGRAPHER: She said, "I'm telling God that Muhammad needs to stay with us. This is a really tough time and we need
his presence in the world."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone. and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
"The most impossible job in the world," that is how the first U.N. secretary-general, Trygve Lie, described the post. And nearly 70 years
later, with the world in the midst of some of its greatest crises since the U.N. was founded, 11 people so far have stepped up for a shot at this
When Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon retires at the end of this year, five of the contenders are women amid a growing clamor for the first female
secretary-general. And this year too sees a much more transparent selection process. Our Richard Roth has more on the race and the stakes.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A global race with a pack of contenders is now underway, the top prize: to be the next
secretary-general of the United Nations. The 70-year-old organization once again struggling in a crisis-riddled world.
HARDEEP SINGH, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: The biggest challenge for the next secretary-general is to put the United Nations back into the
ROTH (voice-over): The road to U.N. headquarters to succeed current secretary-general Ban Ki-moon resembles the early crowded U.S. Republican
primary stage. So far, a mere diplomatic dozen are official candidates.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Imagine that you are appointed --
ROTH (voice-over): And for the first time, candidates underwent two-hour grilling sessions from the nations of the world.
Eastern Europe thinks it's their turn for the job, citing an unwritten U.N. tradition of rotating the post between regions. Eight candidates come from
there, including the current leader of the U.N. agency, UNESCO, plus, a bevy of in-and-out-of-power politicians.
Elsewhere, New Zealand blew its own horn to announce Helen Clark, current U.N. development chief, as its candidate.
Antonio Gutierrez, the former U.N. Refugee's leader, is the only candidate from Western Europe.
And Susana Malcorra was Ban Ki-moon's chef de cabinet before becoming Argentina's foreign minister.
The Security Council chooses the next secretary-general but its permanent five powers can veto any contender. As you scan the portraits of the eight
secretaries-general in U.N. history, you notice they were all men.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is high time for a woman to lead the United Nations.
HELEN CLARK, SECRETARY-GENERAL CONTENDER: Obviously I'm a woman but I've never sought election on the basis of being a woman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be great to have a woman, I personally think, as a secretary-general but do we need to limit our options?
ROTH (voice-over): No matter who wins, he or she won't be celebrating for long. There is Syria, hundreds of thousands dead and division among major
U.N. peacekeepers accused sexually abusing civilians in African countries that they're supposed to protect.
Terrorism won't stop and unpredictable countries like North Korea continue to frustrate the U.N.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Acting with humility, without arrogance.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wish I had a magic bullet.
ROTH (voice-over): It's an age-old U.N. question: should the job be a secretary or general?
You would think after 10 years in office, the current secretary-general would be well-known.
ROTH: Who is the secretary-general of the United Nations?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Indian guy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's embarrassing. I should know that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no idea. Sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, is it Kofi Annan?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ban Ki-moon or something like that.
ROTH (voice-over): Richard Roth, CNN, United Nations.
AMANPOUR: And as Richard said, one of those candidates is --
AMANPOUR: -- Argentina's foreign minister, Susana Malcorra. She's the latest to throw her hat into the ring and she joins me now from the U.N.
headquarters in New York.
AMANPOUR: Foreign minister, welcome to our program.
SUSANA MALCORRA, ARGENTINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Thanks, Christiane. Thanks for inviting me.
AMANPOUR: So first and foremost, why in the name of all that's, I don't know what, would you want to take such a job on?
And do you believe that it is high time for a woman to take on this job?
MALCORRA: Well, first of all, having been very close to the decision- making in the U.N., having been the secretary-general's chief of staff, chef de cabinet, I think I have learned the nuances of what can be done.
And as difficult as it is, I think I can bring something to that position that can really, really help and support the United Nations and the members
of the United Nations.
About being a woman or having a woman, I think the fact that we are discussing that is, in itself, a big question mark.
Of course it's high time. I mean, it's the 21st century. We are 70 years- plus into the U.N. and never woman held the position.
I mean, we are 50-plus percent of the population.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me then ask you, because you do mention that you were the chief of staff, chef de cabinet. You are the insider's insider. And
you know there has been a lot of criticism about the sclerotic nature of the U.N.
Your -- one of your former deputies, Anthony Banbury, has gone very public with his criticisms of the U.N., calling it, you know, a Remington
typewriter in a smartphone world. I mean, that's one of the things he said.
What do you think you can bring, as an insider, to what many believe is, in many parts, a dysfunctional system?
MALCORRA: Well, first of all, I've been in the United Nations for 11 years. Before that, I have 25 years in the private sector. So being an
insider is true, because I know the system.
But it's also true that I have made my career in the United Nations. So I didn't race through the bureaucracy of the United Nations. I think that
gives me a good balance perspective between things that need to change -- and there are many things that need to change -- but also a fresh
perspective from outside and what are the tools and how can you do it while understanding the constraints that you have, because, as your colleague
introduced, there's a delicate balance between the secretary and the general in the secretary-general.
So all of that has to do with being in -- at the helm of this complex organization.
AMANPOUR: You know, that is actually the key point. In all the times that I've covered U.N. efforts on the ground and the world crises on the ground,
I've heard, from the secretary-general on down, that we are only as good as our constituent members. We're only as good as the five permanent members
of the Security Council.
In other words, what can you really do in the face of mass slaughter in Syria, for instance, as we're watching, if one or two members of the
Security Council veto every possible humanitarian attempt to stop it?
So how do you face this kind of world, with, you know, so much opportunity and so much power as UNSG but hands tied behind your back in a way as well?
MALCORRA: Well, I think that there is a need to highlight and to reinforce the notion of the good offices of the secretary-general. Of course, you
referred to Syria that is five-years-plus into crisis and into a severe crisis. Good offices there are hard to use.
But I think what needs to be done is to put focus on prevention. And I know everybody says this and it doesn't happen as it should. But we need
to focus on early warning and prevention. We need to work on the issues before they become crisis like the one in Syria.
And one can argue that Syria and, as the Arab Spring at large offer plenty of opportunities of signals in which we all understood that there was need
for something to be done early on.
So unless we shift into this early warning approach, where the secretary- general can do shadow diplomacy, low-key approaches, talk between member states and try to provide options to member states before they become real
serious tragedies and cement positions from each side that are hard to overcome, that, to me, is the key and is what we need to do in this day and
age with so many complex challenges in our hands.
AMANPOUR: Ms. Malcorra, Foreign Minister, you have a day job. You are foreign minister of Argentina and you know there's a massive crisis on your
continent now in Venezuela.
AMANPOUR: The Organization of American States, the leader of that organization or the secretary-general, has accused Argentina of blocking
action on Venezuela and even intimated that you're part of a blocking action because you need Venezuela, which is sitting on the Security Council
right now, to help move your candidacy forward.
MALCORRA: Well, first of all, let me say that we haven't blocked anything. In fact, the secretary-general of the OAS has put forward a request for
member states to look into what we call the democratic charter of the OAS, to see whether it applies. And he makes the case that it applies to the
This is now being viewed by all member states and it will be discussed in the next few days among member states.
In the meantime, there was an effort by member states -- and we have the presidency of the council in the OAS at this moment -- to really reinforce
and send a message to all parties in Venezuela for the need of a dialogue to find a solution moving forward.
This is what we deeply believe, that the Venezuelans -- and particularly the government and the opposition, one in the executive, the other one in
the legislative -- need to sit down and forge an agreement on how to move forward.
AMANPOUR: Foreign Minister, do you believe -- Human Rights Watch is calling on Venezuela to revoke the emergency decree. I mean, people are in
desperate straights right now. There are food fights. There are unbelievable desperate humanitarian straits there.
Should Venezuela revoke the state of emergency?
MALCORRA: Well, I think definitely. We need to find a way to bring ease at the needs of the people. And in fact, part of the discussion we are
having as member states is how to support Venezuela in these short-term demands and bring in some additional resources, medicines, basic goods for
the people to ease their tensions. That's absolutely needed. It's desperately needed.
But going back to your point of using these as a trade-off in securing my candidacy, that will be absolutely not the case because, yes, Venezuela is
a member of the Security Council but there are 15 members of the Security Council and that type of horse trading, when I am representing the view of
my country, of my presidency, will be wrong.
And it's not the case and I assure you that it's not the case.
AMANPOUR: All right. I hear you on that.
Very briefly, we have got a few seconds left. Further north in the United States, there is a Republican candidate for president, who is making a
habit of tweaking and irritating South America, Latin America, presumably primarily Mexico.
How do you feel about that?
How would a President Trump be for Latin America?
MALCORRA: I feel sad because I think that there has been a huge effort with this administration to strengthen the relationship between the U.S.
and Latin America, which was long needed. And now having somebody who really lacks the understanding and the knowledge of Latin America makes me
feel very sad.
AMANPOUR: On that note, Foreign Minister Malcorra of Argentina, thank you very much indeed for joining us from the United Nations.
MALCORRA: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And meantime, "Forbes" has named its most powerful woman in the world and she is the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who takes the title
for the sixth year in a row, with Hillary Clinton coming in second and the IMF chief, Christine Lagarde up there in the top 10.
Next, we remember the man who was simply The Greatest. Muhammad Ali's friend and biographer tells us about his flying fists.
But first, an art attack from Banksy. No Ali-style boasting for him, he's still hiding his identity but not his kindness. Turns out he's just
painted a little something on the walls of a small British school, a gift worth a ton of money if the school was selling, which it says it won't.
And Banksy left a letter, telling the kids, quote, "If you don't like it, feel free to add stuff."
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
Many public figures are boastful and arrogant. But when Muhammad Ali declared himself The Greatest, he just was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUHAMMAD ALI, BOXING CHAMP: Fifteen times I've told the clown what round he's going down. And this chump ain't no different. He'll fall in eight
to prove that I'm great. And if he keeps talkin' jive, I'm going to cut it to five.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And that's him, waging what some might call psychological warfare on Sonny Liston. And, as many have also said, Ali, who died on
Friday, was bigger than boxing and perhaps even greater outside the ring, whether fighting for his own freedom and that of his fellow black
Americans, ditching what he called his slave name, Cassius Clay, or refusing on principle to be drafted into the Vietnam War at the cost of his
title and millions of dollars in lost earnings and taking on the chin his long and public battle with Parkinson's disease.
His biographer and long-time friend, Davis Miller, tells me that in some ways Ali considered himself a better man after he became ill.
But in other ways, the illness robbed him and the world of a powerful voice in our difficult post-9/11 world.
AMANPOUR: Davis Miller, welcome to the program.
MILLER: Thank you, Christiane. This is a great privilege and honor.
AMANPOUR: You have known Muhammad Ali for so long. It must have been a very, very sad moment for you when you heard that he had gone.
MILLER: Oh, yes. I mean, it's hitting me every moment still. I'll miss him quite literally until my last breath, every day.
AMANPOUR: Can you tell me what you'll miss most about him?
MILLER: Oh, my gosh, what I will miss most about Muhammad Ali is his great generosity. He had the capacity that, no matter what was going on in his
life -- now this is the older Ali in particular but I think it was also true of the young Ali -- that no matter whether he was having a
particularly horrible day or whether he was elated, he would stop almost anyone on the street who came up to him and he would treat them as if they
He would take astoundingly nurturing interest in their lives.
AMANPOUR: As he did with your son?
MILLER: -- I've never seen anything like that before or since.
AMANPOUR: As he did with your son. I want to play this amazing piece of video, where he is talking to you and your son. Let me just play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI: This man will win the title in 2020. Look at the face, 2020, he will be the medium weight in the United States (INAUDIBLE).
And there I will be the manager, and I'll be 93 and we will be the greatest of that day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MILLER: My son, Isaac, was 6; he'd never met Ali. I took him. We drove all the way from North Carolina, a little over 1,000 miles, to Ali's home
in Barium Springs, Michigan, in celebration of Muhammad's 50th birthday and my 40th. Muhammad and I share a birthday. We were both born on January
17th, 10 years apart.
AMANPOUR: He was obviously really beginning to be very severely afflicted with Parkinson's when you first met him.
What did he say to you about that?
MILLER: We talked about that at length many times. And he said that he considered it to be his gift. He said that it had been given to him by
Allah, who he would often refer to simply as God.
And he said that, "It makes people continue to care about me. Now I'm more like them. I ain't superman no more. They see me as being like them and
And I think that's a particular part of Ali's mythology, that people don't talk about much, that in his -- in the ways he -- with his --
MILLER: -- Parkinson's disease, he became sort of an ailing family member to the world. To some of us, he's grandfather; to others, father or
brother. I don't know of anyone else in the history of the world who's had that particular mythology.
AMANPOUR: It's extraordinary to talk about this side of his life, because his public life, his boxing, his, you know, "float like a butterfly, sting
like a bee," all of that was so incredibly documented. But this last part of his life was so poignant.
But I want to go back a little bit. I want to go back to where he stormed out of the ring and into the public consciousness. He wasn't always
beloved. He was reviled for a while when he turned his back on the U.S. Army and people thought he was behaving traitorously by refusing to go to
Vietnam. Again, let me play a sound bite and we'll have you comment on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI: I'm not going to help nobody get something Negroes don't have. If I'm going to die, I'll die now right here fighting you, if I'm going to
die. You my enemy. My enemies are white people, not Vietcong or Chinese or Japanese. You're my oppose when I want freedom. You my opposer when I
want justice. You're my opposer when I want equality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: You know, Davis, watching that all these years later, it's actually breathtaking in its audacity and in its courage and strength.
MILLER: Yes, and isn't that amazing, since so many people, particularly in the United States, regarded him as a coward for those acts?
I think it's some of the bravest stuff he ever did.
And a remarkable thing to me, Christiane -- and I bet you've had not dissimilar experiences when talking about Ali -- is, in the United States,
many people, as you have implied, reviled him, loathed him for those acts.
But as you travel the world, that's a big part of what made him a hero to quite literally hundreds of millions, if not billions of people, just that
enormous and distinctive ongoing courage it took to stand up and say, no, I'm not doing that; it's not the right thing to do.
You're -- those people are -- those little brown people are not my enemies. And he lost his fortune, he lost his license to box. He was not allowed to
travel outside of this country. And, arguably, he eventually even lost his health because of the three years and seven months that he was forced into
AMANPOUR: The fact that he took and embraced Islam was a huge deal around the world.
How do you see it now and how did he see it, particularly in the post-9/11 world, the absolute friction between much of America and much of Islam?
And, obviously, the current presidential campaign on the Republican side is very demonizing of Islam, the nominee has been, anyway.
Was he aware of all that?
And how did he take that all in?
MILLER: Muhammad was startlingly aware of 9/11 and was deeply hurt by it and regularly made statements, saying that was not Islam.
And it's -- one of the things -- my last communication so far with Muhammad and his wife, Lonnie, was the day he was dying.
And she sent me an e-mail after I'd sent her one, in which she said, "I'm telling God that Muhammad needs to stay with us. This is a really tough
time and we need his presence in the world."
And she felt and he felt that he wished he'd been able to use his voice a bit more because he would have been, I think, notably persuasive. And,
yes, all the terrorism stuff, all the jihadist stuff greatly, greatly hurt him and disappointed him.
AMANPOUR: Davis Miller, thank you so much for sharing your memories.
MILLER: Thank you in return.
AMANPOUR: And a measure of what Davis was saying about how Ali had inspired the world, two world leaders are coming from the Islamic world;
Turkey's President Erdogan and the Jordanian King, Abdullah, will both be at Ali's funeral on Friday.
And next, his fans try to imagine their world without him.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, he was a photographer's dream, creating the most iconic images in sporting history.
Imagine a world where a star doesn't avoid the paps but poses for them. Muhammad Ali's brilliance, his beauty, his wit and his courage inspired all
four corners of the globe, proven by the grief and the tributes pouring in since his death on Friday night.
His larger-than-life persona has taken over the O2 arena right here in London, where visitors can see the young Cassius Clay, a descendant of
slaves, before he renounces that name and takes what he called the free name of Muhammad Ali.
His clippings even show him teaming up with Superman. Ali was never shy. He called himself tall and extra pretty. Whether knocking out Sonny Liston
in the first round in their 1965 main bout or faking it with the Fab Four on their first tour of America.
This man who had embraced Islam even posed as the famous Christian martyr, St. Sebastian, who also happens to be the patron saint of athletes.
Muhammad Ali was no martyr but by standing up and fighting back against injustice wherever he found it, he did become a patron saint for all.
And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can now also listen to our podcast, see us online anytime at amanpour.com and follow me on
Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.