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Pressure Mounts on Aung San Suu Kyi; IRC Humanitarians Meeting Wall of Silence in Myanmar; South Korea Tests Long-Range Air-to-Surface Missile; The Music and the Machine. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired September 13, 2017 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN HOST: Tonight, the violence in Myanmar that's had critics against its once face de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. I'll

hear from a man who knows her well, biographer Peter Popham.

Plus, former British foreign secretary David Miliband.

Also ahead, former CIA director Michael Hayden on the top security concern facing the United States and the world.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Nima Elbagir in for Christiane Amanpour.

Nobel Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi cancelled her planned appearance before the United Nation's General Assembly next week as the humanitarian

crisis in Myanmar continues to spiral out of control. A government statement claims Suu Kyi the de factor leader of Myanmar is cancelling

because of the possibility of further terrorist attacks in Rakhine state, where in the face of a brutal response by the military, hundreds perhaps

even thousands are dead.

Almost 400,000 Rohingya including more than a thousand unaccompanied children fled to Bangladesh and hundreds of homes are burned to the ground.

The United Nation Security Council meets today to discuss the on going crisis. Here Secretary General Antonio Guterres.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATION'S SECRETARY GENERAL: The current situation is catastrophic. When we met last week, there was 125,000 Rohingya

refugees who had fled into Bangladesh. That number has now tripled to nearly 380,000.


ELBAGIR: Suu Kyi, of course, has no constitutional control over the nation's military even so human rights activist find her silence baffling.

Just today, a spokesman announced she will at last address the nation on the crisis early next week.

David Miliband is a former British foreign secretary and now president of the International Rescue Committee. I asked him what his organization is

dealing with on the ground and whether aide is reaching those who need it most.


DAVID MILIBAND, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE: We've been the largest healthcare provider in the Rakhine state in Myanmar for a good few

years now. I saw many of these services that we provide, both for Muslim and non-Muslim populations when I went there last year.

Obviously, the biggest issue is that we can't get to those populations who are most in need at the moment, but all of the stories that we are hearing

are of desperate fear, desperate threat to life and to livelihood, and complete bemusement that there is no proper humanitarian relief being

provided because neither we nor other NGOs, nor U.N. agencies are being allowed into the north of the state.

ELBAGIR: There has, of course, been a lot of criticisms, but I think the question now is what is that criticism achieving? What do you tangibly

need that pressure to be directed at.

MILIBAND: There is one big issue that is facing the populations in Rakhine estate now, and that is humanitarian access. That means we have people,

medical supplies, doctors, nurses, staff ready to go into the north of the country but they are not being allowed in.

And so the central demand is not a criticism, it's a demand at the moment that the government facilitates the exit access of humanitarian bona fide,

humanitarian agencies both NGOs and UN agencies to allow them to do the immediate lifesaving relief work.

There's obviously a very complex situation that needs to be addressed over the more medium term, but that will be 10 times harder. The greater the

bloodshed, the greater the suffering over the next few days and weeks.

ELBAGIR: The government's line is that this is an extremist insurgency and it's responding to that. They say that they are cooperating.

Are you optimistic that you will get the access that you need?

MILIBAND: I can't be optimistic when I have dedicated humanitarian workers desperate to go and make a difference, and then meeting a resolute wall of

silence or resolute wall of nay-saying.

It's vital that people understand that the humanitarian situation in Myanmar contributes to political instability is not just the Civil War --

set of Civil Wars that have contributed to humanitarian problem.

Everyone should be unifying their call, which is for access to the besiege populations and immediate relief for the suffering of their undergoing.

[14:05:00] ELBAGIR: Some of the recent statements from Aung Sang Suu Kyi's office have really concerned much of the humanitarian community. It has

been felt that some of those sentiments about the need to investigate, where the U.N. aid workers were collaborating and working alongside

extremist, that really has people worried.

Are you concern for the safety of those that are waiting to go in?

MILIBAND: Well, obviously, the most important thing for any humanitarian agencies to preserve its commitment to independent help for anyone in need,

I think the suggestion that U.N. workers or NGO workers are somehow colluding in some kind of insurgency doesn't match any of the experience

that I have, all that we have of the work that we do.

And I think that this is a moment for unified defense of the principles of humanitarian access, of humanitarian aid and is obviously tragic that this

becomes focused on the person of Aung San Suu Kyi who was so much a beacon of light and hope for so many people. She is facing extremely complicated

internal political situation, obviously.

ELBAGIR: You, yourself, said back in 2007 that you thought that Myanmar would be 100 times better when Aung San Suu Kyi took her place as rightful

leader of a free and democratic Burma.

Looking back at that statement now, how do you feel about that? How do you feel about the person who you are making those comments on?

MILIBAND: That was in a time when oppressed minorities -- minorities oppressed by the military, where marching cost the British Embassy in

Rangoon and cheering and calling on the British government to continue his stand for opening up in Burma for democratic elections and for the release

of political prisoners.

It's not just about individual person, but she would be, Aung San Suu Kyi did and does represents the hopes of many Myanmar citizens of all stripes,

and I think it's very important that we continue to hold on to the right standards that I think we will depend on.

ELBAGIR: Do you think she can ever kind of forge through the will of the generals to come out to the other side of this.

MILIBAND: I think that one has to have faith not just in one individual, but in the people of Myanmar. These are people who want to lead free

lives. They want to lead lives that are unable to get on with their own business.

There is deep and historic internal tensions within the country, and the violence that is meted out against different minorities is obviously

horrific. The important thing for those of us who are outside is in addition to the obvious humility in the face of a complicated situation is

to stand firm by some principles that have proved their worth over the years. Those principles include the respect for all individual rights.

Those principles include the need for alleged -- for that to be legitimate and credible institutions of political power sharing. And they also

include the responsibilities of the regional states.

ELBAGIR: And, of course, whether or not those principles continued to be embodied in the past and of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mr. Miliband, thank you so much for joining us.

MILIBAND: Thanks very much for your time.


ELBAGIR: Myanmar's de factor leader and long-time democratic icon Aung San Suu Kyi has defended her government's response to the Rohingya's crisis.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said its security forces have been instructed to avoid the harming of innocent civilians.

Well, joining me now in the studio is Aung San Suu Kyi's two-time biographer Peter Popham, who wrote "The Lady and the Peacock" and "The Lady

and the Generals." And who is now calling for her resignation.

But before we start I want to read the following passage from Aung San Suu Kyi's famous 2012 noble lecture.

"Wherever suffering is ignored, there will be the seeds of conflict. For suffering degrades and embitters and enrages".

Mr. Popham, looking back on those words now, how does that feel to hear that?

PETER POPHAM, AUNG SAN SUU KYI'S BIOGRAPHER: Well, it once reminded of what an incredibly eloquent gift she had and presumably still have. I

mean, she was rightfully awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She showed incredible courage over a long period of time. And the fact that the world

is so unhappy with her now just shows to me that she has got herself politically into an impossible situation where the reasons that I am sure

she would explain in private, but which are mysterious to the rest of us. She cannot say what is blindingly obvious to the rest of the world.

ELBAGIR: Is it prejudice on her part, or do you believe it's political expedience.

POPHAM: I'm sure that a lot of people at this point assume that she must like many of her Buddhist compatriots have a sort of paranoid suspicion

about Islam in general and about Muslims on the Bangladesh border in particular.

I don't think that's true of her. She has said -- practically she said nothing on the record that I have seen that suggests she has prejudiced

against Muslims.

[14:10:15] She has always insisted that this is a problem with two sides, the Buddhist side and the Muslim side, which is true. So I don't think

that's the answer and if it was the answer, I don't think she would have taken the step of appointing Kofi Annan, a diplomat of huge stature

internationally to head the inquiry commission to propose solutions for the Rakhine crisis.

So I think the idea that she has actually swallowed the prejudices of many of her compatriots is reading it wrong.

ELBAGIR: But in a way, isn't that kind of worst. I mean, the reality is that the Buddhist Nationalist vote is a key one. And we understand from

those within the diplomatic community, who was speaking there at the time, pre-election, that she felt that that was one of the reasons she couldn't

speak out. But then she won by a landslide and yet she is still not speaking out.

POPHAM: Well, I mean, in my opinion, at some point after her release from house arrest in 2010, she underwent a terrible loss of nerve.

In the old days, back in '88, '89, she was able to stand up against the -- the violence within the Democratic campaign and tell it to stop. This must

be a non-violent campaign.

In 2011, 2012, right after 2015's election, she could have stood up and said no. We are one nation. We must have citizenship for everybody who

has been here for a decent length of time. These prejudices belonging in the rubbish bin of history. And the fact that she didn't find herself able

to say that is tragic. And I think it's why her position is now untenable and why I called for her to quit.

ELBAGIR: I mean, your words -- the beauty of your words, describing her life and her work definitely contributed to the mythology that surrounds


Do you think that we saw -- the world saw a beautiful woman having this beautiful start and espousing these beautiful positions and we projected

perhaps too much onto her?

POPHAM: I think there's a lot of that. I was doing my best not to contribute to the myth may.

ELBAGIR: It wasn't a question.


POPHAM: There have been a lot of people because she is so sparklingly beautiful. People have led to the conclusion she must therefore be good.

Both of these books I have been trying to dig deeper and to see what makes it tick, and in "The Lady and the General's," the more recent book, I have

actually explain that since 2011, she has basically walked into a trap, persuaded into it, unfortunately, by the Obama administration, desperate

for a good news from going.

ELBAGIR: To win.

POPHAM: And therefore win. Foreign policy win, which they got. And perhaps also by the desire to fulfill her destiny and become the head of

the country and somehow she has let the courage -- or she's lost the courage to spell out the simple rights and wrongs to her people.

ELBAGIR: Very quickly I could talk to you all day, but unfortunately our time is limited.

What do you think at heart most affect her? Is it power?

POPHAM: It's complicated. I think they -- the quote that you read out and it certainly motivates. She's never been corrupt him.

I think fulfilling her sense of family destiny. Doing what her -- following on her father's footsteps. He was, of course, the founding

father of independent Myanmar. I think that's been very important.

And possibly that has clouded her mind to the fact that if she is not actually being effective in power, then the power itself is, it's not worth


ELBAGIR: So is there any chance she will stand out?

POPHAM: I think it's unlikely. I mean, she is addressing her country next week. If she were to say I've made a terrible mistake, I'm pulling out, I

would be enormously surprised.

But I -- unless she can pull some extraordinary rabbit out of the hat, I can't see what else she can do.

ELBAGIR: Peter, fascinating insights. Thank you so much for joining us.

When we come back, a look ahead as world leaders prepare for the U.N. General Assembly, I asked the former head of the CIA and the NSA. What

will they make of President Trump and what does it mean for global security. That's next.


[14:16:05] ELBAGIR: Welcome back to the program.

For the first time, South Korea's Air Force said it has tested a long-range air-to-surface missile. A warning, no doubt, to North Korea, which is

closed to perfecting its merge between nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

The missile strengthens the South's ability to launch attacks against military installations in the North.

Pyongyang will be at the top of the agenda next week in New York where world leaders gather at the United Nations. It will be President Trump's

first housing in that high pressure forum.

To find out what he will be facing, I turned to Michael Hayden. No stranger himself to the holes of power as the former director of the

Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency. I started by asking what the president should do to prepare.



president and if I were to have that one more Mister President, a private moment perhaps, I would add, look, read your book.

The government of the United States is good at this. We're going to give you a lot of good background information. I would also suggests that when

he's giving public speeches because, you know, everyone's going to be taking book on him, that he sticks to the script of the of the publicly

prepared speeches and that it may be off moment, they have more spontaneous moment, kind of calm down, pull it back, don't feel as if he's got to force

himself into every situation.

Nima, you know what I used to tell my CIA station chief before they went out. I have met with everyone of them before they went. I said, you know,

when you are sitting with our friends, all right, there are two things I want you to remember, you are the only superpower in the room, OK?

Remember that. And also remember that they already know that and you don't have to impress that upon them.

In fact, put another way, act as if you weren't. Act more humbly. And this is not about America First or American not first, just on a human

level. You know that as president of the United States, you have more gravitas than anyone else in that room by that position. Act calmly with

that kind of power.

ELBAGIR: This is a president, who has made very clear with very self- referential, very isolationist America first rhetoric, that the international allies can't rely on the U.S.

What do you think the United States allies are going to be looking for from him at the UNGA?

HAYDEN: So the president made a virtue of being unpredictable. And sad fact, he said that explicitly. I like being unpredictable. But you're

right Nima. The allies look upon that as being unreliable.

The fundamental issue is we're seeing the melting down of the post-World War II order that's largely created some American ideas created by American

energy. I got that. That's a natural occurrence. Everyone understands that.

The rest of the world is now looking at the American president as to what it is he and his country think, the American role is in 2.0. What is it

when you say America first, Mister President, do you really mean? Is it really America along? And I will be looking for answers to that kind of


We've, of course, seeing a continuing ratcheting up of the rhetoric on North Korea with the president most recently accusing South Korea

appeasement. It may seem that it's not being particularly helpful. But when you hear these reports that adviser link to President Trump are

looking into gaming what potentially a conflict with North Korea could look like, what does that say to you?

Now that's prudent. I've serve a couple of tours in Korea. They are my last tour admittedly. Two decades ago at most now. We spent as much time

thinking about what to do with the collapse of North Korea as we did thinking about the defensive South Korea.

So it is prudent planning, underscore planning, to begin to game out what would it look like gift. And by the way, that doesn't suggest an

inevitability that you're going to go do this. In fact, this might be very useful in terms of what I call permanent government.

Departments and agencies are out in Washington, being able to lay out. Mr. President, of course, all options are on the table, but you do realize, Mr.


ELBAGIR: And we've heard that from the president itself.

HAYDEN: Right. Right. And you do realize, Mr. President, if you're to -- this path here, this is what we're foreseeing as what you're going to face

for your second, third and fourth moves.

So this is not necessarily alarmist in another sense. In one sense, it may actually be cautionary so that the president is fully aware as to

implications of perhaps some of his unattached rhetoric over the past month or so.

ELBAGIR: One last question, climate change famously is considered by the Pentagon as being a national security issue. And now we've seen the Iraq

event in Florida and Texas.

Do you think we are at a point now where the White House will have to come out and say climate change is real?

And that meaning to happen.

HAYDEN: I'm less interested in some public recanting of a previous position and more interested in frankly how we use to handle it. And the

intelligence community, which was -- we never got a debate about anyone's climate change theory.

We simply said if this particular theory is reasonably correct, you can expect with some confidence the following national security implications.

So maybe if we just keep the conversation down here at that level --

ELBAGIR: What kind of implication?

HAYDEN: One is desertification of sub-Saharan African. Migrations of people for example is one that always came to mind given how unstable the

Sahel and the Trans-Sahel is right now.

You can point to what's going on in East Africa and Sudan -- South Sudan and Djibouti as being reflective of climate change in those regions. Look,

a lot of other stuff going on. There are pure policy questions to consider. But the subtext of this is that realities are changing for the

people on the ground.

You will be foolish not to take that into account. And you don't even have to debate whether those are man-made or not, all right. You know this is

happening. That's going to happen because of it. What are we going to do?

ELBAGIR: So we have to accept that we are living in a less safe world, because of this environmental health.

HAYDEN: I think that's obvious. And, again, I don't even have to vote on how much of that I'm responsible for and how much of that is just a natural

cycle. It's happening. We need to deal with it.

Now a separate policy question for the amount of environmental protection agency, which is not in my old lane to decide on how much this is man-made.

But for me, for the national security implications, I don't have to argue that. That is just happening.


ELBAGIR: When we come back, a glimpse of the future as we imagine the history making debut of the world's hottest new conductor. Find out just

who we're talking about, next.


ELBAGIR: And finally tonight, imagine a world where old masters make way for the new. In Tuscany, classic beauty has taken a back seat to wonders

of the modern world in Italy's first robotics festival.

And perhaps the most impressive exhibit is Yumi, the world's first robot conductor.




ELBAGIR: After learning the arm movements and gestures of the conductor, Yumi helped the baton with confidence on Tuesday as it led Opera superstar

Andrea Bocelli and an orchestra through pieces from Verdi's opera Rigoletto. Some argue, though, that the passion of a conductor can never

really be replaced by cold hearted machine.

On top of that, the robot's inability to improvise could prove (INAUDIBLE), an any unexpected changes in tempo just like that leading to disaster, but

luckily it all went well for Yumi who made an assured debut in the world of classical music.

That is it for our program tonight. And, remember, you can listen to our podcast, see us online Thank you for watching and it's

goodbye from London.