Return to Transcripts main page


A Look at Trump's Foreign Policies; Interview with Creators of "Call Me by Your Name. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired January 11, 2018 - 14:00:00   ET


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, New Year, old treat threats. From North Korea to Iran, an in dept look at president Trump's biggest

foreign policy challenges. With The New Yorker's Robin Wright and Daniel Kurtz-Phelan from Foreign Affairs.

Plus, my conversation with the stars of the hit indie movie, Call Me by Your Name. the film's won a whole host of awards with Oscar nominations

around the corner, Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer talk about their touching coming of age film on life and love.


AMANPOUR: Good Evening everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York. And Donald Trump meets with his national

security team today to strategize on a challenging year ahead dealing with North Korea as a fledgling nuclear power and whether or not to keep the

Iran nuclear deal alive.

This as the White House announced the president will attend the annual policy (INAUIDBLE) in Davos, Switzerland later this month. Inside sources

describing it as an America first vindication tour. Correspondent Robin Wright has witnessed the tension first hard in both Iran and North Korea.

Her latest piece for The New Yorker is called Iran in Turmoil to Trump's Delight and Daniel Kurtz-Phelan served in the state department as a policy

planner and he was foreign policy advisor to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. He's now the executive editor of Foreign Affairs and welcome to

both of you.

It couldn't be more challenging or more exciting or more scary, right? What to both of you do you think we should be looking at? We just

mentioned North Korea and Iran, but is that really where we should be focusing?

DANIEL KURTZ-PHELAN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: I would start with North Korea and zoom out form Trump. A lot of Trump's policy in North

Korea has been more sound and fury you could can than fire and fury. It's changed less than many people thought.

But the next year is going to put to the test a stated policy of three or four American administrations which is that we will not accept a new

greater North Korea. And as this crisis comes to a head, Washington's really going to have to recon with the question of whether that is really a

redline we're willing to stand by.

ROBIN WRIGHT, THE NEW YORKER: I actually would take two other countries and say they are more important to the future of the Untied States, more

important to our long term foreign policy.

One is Russia, clearly in a critical year because Putin faces reelection. His expansionous desires, ambitions are ever clearer and then China, of

course, when president Xi Jinping is really the major power of Asia, the major challenge to the Untied States whether it's in terms of military

might of economic strength.

I think that there are a whole range of issues that we once though we kind of had a (INAUIDBLE) and we don't anymore.

AMANPOUR: Well, let's pick up on China because it dub tails with North Korea, as well. In fact, Richard Haass who's head of the council and

foreign relations - former state department says that the U.S. under President Trump is engaged in an abdication of global leadership and

walking away from institutions and alliances that set the rules for the world in at least in the Pacific.

Do you think that is an accurate depiction of where America is today?

KURTZ-PHELAN: I think that is an accurate depiction, I also think that the consequences are going to be long term rather than short term. In some

ways, in the short term, this reduces friction between the United States and China so it's a good example of the transactionalism that Donald Trump

has made the centerpiece of his depiction of the world.

It's really going to be probably the next presidency that we're going to start paying for that when we see challenges in the south, trying to see

will if rise, when we see the effects of a long term American avocation and leadership on human rights, on democracy, on global economic openness on

green energy.

I would look at the effects of that, not now but in a few years.

AMANPOUR: And when it comes to North Korea, it's a little bit like whiplash at the moment, you've got this issue of leadership, you've got

President Trump on the one hand talking tough military sort of game and comparing sizes of nuclear buttons and this and that and on the other hand

saying that he'd be willing to engage with North Korea under the correct conditions and terms.

Do we know where the policy is headed on North Korea?


WRIGHT: No, the problem is he talks about not allowing North Korea to keep it's nuclear weapon and the problem is, it's so far along in it's program,

it's dispersed in so many places around the country that it'd be very hard to take it out militarily and the cost of a war would be so devastating for

that part of Asia, for the United States for some of our alliances, it's a military option.

So that means what do you try to do? You try to figure out a policy that will contain North Korea so that it will feel OK, they've got the

capability but they're not going to sue it, they know the price will be too high and that's where I think the president's policy is in some ways


AMANPOUR: Given that this week - there was kind of a break through, I mean this first meeting in several years between North and South Korea, I mean

again, it's kind of whiplash. We don't know whether they're at each other's throats of are they trying to sort of deconflict? What do you -

how do you assess that? And of what president Moon of South Korea said that it was President Trump who helped contribute to this sort of


KURTZ-PHELAN: So I think President Moon was being very savvy in giving Trump credit for something he did not in fact deserve credit for, it's a

strategy that leaders around the world have employed to go to fact which is to be as obsecrease (ph) as possible to President Trump and then do

whatever you need to do on the side to mitigate the dangers in his behavior and I think that's exactly what happened with the talks in Korea this week.

AMANPOUR: Interestingly, Robin and Daniel, in fact, the read out from South Korea was that the South Korean leader quoted the President a saying,

"you let them know - IE Pyongyang that there will be absolutely no military action as long as inter Korean talks are going", that's what President

Trump said.

Is that wise to sort of signal that? Maybe it is wise to take this military threat off the table right now?

WRIGHT: That's great and let's all hope that diplomacy makes some progress. My great fear is that this is a PR stunt by Kim Jung Un and that

especially getting the South Koreans to pay for the delegations, not just the athletes but the cheerleaders and all the others the delegation that

will go with them -

AMANPOUR: To the Olympics.

WRIGHT: To the Olympics and that in the mean time, the North Koreas kind of work away at the program. They have given every indication that they're

not going to roll back their program and the danger is that we get to this period of brotherly love and dialogue and that we come out of it and all it

takes is one set of tweets, one test to get things back to exactly where we were and maybe with North Koreans a little bit more capability.

That's why I don't read a lot into the potential yet of this dialogue, let's hope.

AMANPOUR: And one final wrap up on North Korea before we move onto Iran, the Wall Street journal and other have talked about the so called bloody

nose strategy that the Untied States is seriously considering some kind of military tap exercise if there's another test or whatever of the North

Korean nuclear capabilities or it's intercontinental ballistic missile.

Is that realistic and what actually do you think that would do? What would be the consequence?

KURTZ-PHELAN: It's the kind of option that sounds appealing at a very high level but when you look at the actual consequences, it gets terrifying very

fast. You have hundreds of thousands of Americans within range.

You have millions of South Koreans and Japanese and if there's ever a reason to think that Kim would be inclined to respond on an American attack

coming and that bring pretty scary consequences.

WRIGHT: Totally, there's something called use it or lose it and if there is some kind of - even if it's limited, the North Koreas will almost

definitely view that as the first round of U.S. aggressive policy. Whatever our intentions, they are not going to buy this bloody nose option

and they'll worry about well if we don't use it now, that we're going to lose it down the road.

Especially with an impetuous young leader who doesn't have the kind of worldly experience of either his father or his grandfather.

AMANPOUR: This move to Iran and try to drill down on what will make America and the rest of the world safest in this now big kafuffle in the

White House and the Trump Administration. Should we keep the Iran deal shall we? Should we waive the sanctions again shall we not?

In a nut shell of an American who maybe sort of dubious about this, what is the value of the nuclear deal as it stands today?

KURTZ-PHELAN: The most in front - in fact, I'm most interested in Robin's views on this but the most important effect is that it has contained a

North Korean nuclear threat. Everything we worried about early in the Obama administration, the lighter years of the Bush administration has been

contained and there's no indication of that change -

AMANPOUR: The Iranian nuclear threat?

KURTZ-PHELAN: The Iranian nuclear treat.



WRIGHT: It's the most important non proliferation treat in a quarter century, it sets a precedent, it's important for our North Korea policy and

for any other regime that is considering developing the world's deadliest weapon. It'll also open the door to the discussion of other things. To

try to unravel it.

The bigger question, Christiane, it really is what is Trump's ultimate strategy? Is he - they talk about, they don't want to deal with the regime

unless it changes it's behavior but when you press them, does that mean regime change?

They claim, no. It just means they have to stop doing the things they're doing but the danger is that the current set of actors in Iran, the current

policies would not be acceptable for the Trump administration and what they're effectively talking about is the regime change and these protests

have pushed that argument forward.

The president on New Years Day, before most of us were awake, tweeted time for change and if the Iranian people want freedom. And so he's taking this

agenda a little bit further.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Much further than President Obama because we saw the same protests in 2009. I was there on the ground and it was

absolutely notable that in fact, President Obama did not step forward in a way to defend the protesters.

And of course you and your article I said is turmoil in Iran to Trump's delight. What - how did this start? We understand that President Rouhani

calls for this budget basically made it transparent that's he's forced to give billions of dollars to the hardliners, to the conservatives, to the

religious. Was it his gambit or was it a plot against him?

WRIGHT: It was a perfect storm. You had escalating prices anyway, in part because the governments trying to undertake reforms that the IMF for the

World Bank would want him to take. At the same time you had the calling of poultry for fears of aid influence.

So, that jacked prices up. And then you had the President trying to be transparent; showing his budget. But shows in also how much the religious

institutions receive and of course that means the regime. And you had hardliners who want to discredit President Rouhani because there is - the

bigger context of this is the transition.

Who will succeed the supreme leader who is aging and sometimes a little bit ailing? And Rouhani is one of the alternatives and so it is a hard line

cleric who ran against him for President. And the consensus opinion is that it was the hardliners in Mashhad who started this to discredit

President Rouhani. And then it took off in a way that was beyond anybodies control.

AMANPOUR: Yes, and it is beyond anybodies experience. 31 cities or more around the country, they're not as huge as the ones in 09, but they're much

more (inaudible). I mean, they sort of tape it off a little bit, but there's still a sense that people are angry. I was staggered by President

Rouhani actually saying to his own cohort, how can we expect these young people to live like we live; these are different generations.

As you said, the majority weren't even born before the revolution.

WRIGHT: And the majority of voters now have been born since the revolution. You have among that young generation you have official

statistics claim 29 percent unemployment. If you include under employment it could be as high as 40 percent.

That's not sustainable, so you had the working classes who are feeling the brunt of the economic issues, plus the young that took to the streets.

But, this is not 2009 at all we had eight days of protests. The green movement lasted for six months then you had millions of people.

What was stunning about these protests is you didn't have the reformers getting out on the street; the people who were the green movement

protestors. There's not that coming together of the different factions in Iran.

AMANPOUR: And Daniel, obviously people are looking at the whole sort of big picture. 1979 the revolution was a pivotal year for hard line personal

politics, religious politics in the region. And people are looking at the somewhat sort of lifting of restrictions by Saudi Arabia on the people and

trying to liberalize Islam there.

They're looking at potentially Iran sort of changing its stripes. Do you see it that way? Is it huge and transformative right now or are we still

not quite sure the way this is going?

DANIEL KURTZ-PHELAN: I think we're not quite sure. It's a moment of turmoil throughout the region and different kinds of governments are

looking for different strategies to deal with that turmoil in various way. I think the temptation from Washington is to see it as all about us and all

about U.S. policy.

I think that's true with Iran where we would like to think that the protests are all about Iranian foreign policy and the kinds of activities

that U.S. officials don't like. But, we should remember in each one of these cases it's fundamentally about local conditions and local politics

and not try to make it all about The United States.

AMANPOUR: Daniel Kurtz-Phelan, Robin Wright, wish we had more time, but thank you so much, it's fascinating really. And now to some of America's

cultural diplomats, its actors, it's an odd season and this year perhaps the fastest rising star is one Timothee Chalamet.

The 22 year old wonder kid arrived in a big way this year with Call Me By Your Name, a coming of age romance which tells the story of a 17 year old

and an older graduate student who began a secret gay affair in the sundrenched Italian countryside, look at this clip.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That sounds different, did you change it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I changed it a little bit.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I used to play it the way (Liz) would have played it if he altered Bach's version.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Play that again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Play what again?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thing you played outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, you want me to play the thing I played outside?



AMANPOUR: A flurry of awards and nominations has descended on this film. The latest from the (Baster)'s and fresh from the Golden Globes I sat down

this week with Chalamet and his co-star Armie Hammer. Their banter and their chemistry continues off screen as well.

Timothy Chalamet, Armie Hammer welcome to the program. This film has really struck a cord, I mean everybody who's seen it is knocked out by it,

but it's kind of an independent, little movie, right? Were you surprised by the reaction and how it's been received?

ARMIE HAMMER: Well, I definitely didn't go into the movie thinking that it would be sort of bibulously accepted and celebrated like this. I mean,

it's a beautiful script, but it's also - it's very much an indie movie. We shot it for almost nothing in a little tiny town in the countryside of

Italy that was gorgeous.

But, it just felt more like a passion project and a labor of love. It wasn't anything that anyone was expecting to blow up. And now that it's

been so wonderfully received, especially considering how much of our blood, sweat and tears we put into it; it feels really nice.

AMANPOUR: (Timmy) what about you, how do you account for how it's resonated?

TIMOTHEE CHALAMET: I guess there's no formula to people ever - to knowing why people like things, but similar to what Armie just said; even in my

short experience so far I've been a part of a lot of indies that just don't get seen or don't get the distribution for the possibility to be seen.

So, I don't what it is there. It can't be discounted that there really was like a fan base for the book already. Andre Aciman's novel that came out

in 2007 so that was part of it. And also I just think it's the right time for a un-cynical, un-abashed, pure celebration of love and all the sorrow

that comes with it.

But, a lack of gross, dark, subject matter for the sake of being cynical, you know?

AMANPOUR: That is a really good way to put it because I think everybody has relished exactly what you just said; the lack of cynicism and the pure

beauty, not just visually, but also in terms of the characters.

So, the characters you were a 17 year old, you were a 20 year old graduate student and working for your father during the summer. How did it come

about, I mean you are straight guys playing gay guys in very - I mean how did that happen? Was it the director, did he throw you into the deep end?

How did you create that chemistry?

CHALAMET: Well, I mean they say experience is the greatest teacher and it was just about spending as much time with each other as possible in such a

way if we had four days with each other before we started filming and then sometimes my instinct with other actors and is intimate scenarios and

stories is to try to as much information as possible about them in a kind of artificial way.

When you have that gift of three or four weeks like we did, it's not even about that. I mean we just spent a lot of time with one another.

And then there's also - and I'm sure Armie would have a lot to say about this as well, but I just feel like it's the random luck of the universe

that we hit it off as human beings and that you can really - it's not about that first impression or randomness, but rather we just hit it off we had


HAMMER: We just genuinely liked each other too. We - our relationship really kind of grew really and obviously to how the film would work. I

showed up and he had been in the small town of Pandino where we shot it for weeks at that point.

Familiarizing himself with the place. So, I showed up and we got on bicycles and we rode around and said that's a great place to get coffee,

that's where you want to go get gelato, that's where - there's great antiques there. And we just spent a lot of time together.

AMANPOUR: And the film was all about you guys on bicycles as well.


CHALAMET: Exactly.

HAMMER: It's an easy way to get around a small Italian town.

AMANPOUR: Exactly, but what did the director Luca - what does he do to make you comfortable with these scenes?

HAMMER: He didn't treat anything preciously. It wasn't like on days where we were riding bikes, he would come up to us and go OK don't forget,

tomorrow we have to do a scene with nudity and you guys are going to have a love scene, so don't forget. Every scene was dealt with - in sort of this

wonderfully sort of like languished, beautiful Mediterranean style where it was just a relaxed enjoyment of everything. Whether it was a scene where

we were picking fruit off a tree; that became the most enjoyable we could do.

Or if it was a scene where we were going to be laying in bed then that was the most enjoyable thing. Every single scene was celebrated in a way where

the same way that love is celebrated. And the fact that love it love is celebrated; every scene felt like that.

So, it just made us comfortable.

AMANPOUR: Is it a gay movie, is it about - I mean, your characters we think that you're gay, but towards the end of the film - I don't want to

make a spoiler of that every bodies seen it. And you call up and say that in fact you're engaged to be married to a woman you've been on and off

dating and we're not sure whether your character is gay. You have relations with girls in the movie. How would you describe the film?

CHALAMET: You know, I think it's to each his own and I think that goes for (Alwyn Olivier), but more importantly I think it goes for the audience

member and I think - and these are fair for anybody who watches this move and say it's a gay movie, or bisexual movie, or a coming of age story, or a

coming out story, or a northern countryside in Italy summer movie.

Or a first romance - I don't know, I'm always careful with this movie - to any project that I'm a part of. The art for me takes place in the head of

the viewer not on screen so to each his own.

AMANPOUR: One of the most arresting dramatic speeches was your father. When Oliver leaves for the summer and you're left alone and you're very

sad. I mean your father's speech brings real tears to the eyes.

CHALAMET: Absolutely and in the speech he's saying essentially live and let live. Accept the pain in your life and the sorrow and that if your

feeling bad, badly or grieving whether that is for the loss of romance or another human being your doing it perfectly. Pain is enough; you don't

have to beat yourself up because of pain. That's a whole another layer you don't need. That's how I always understood it.

AMANPOUR: I mean it is, it's incredibly timely. It's all about tolerance as well. And how do you think that, I mean do you think this moment is a

moment that needs to hear that message of pure tolerance?

ARMIE HAMMER: I think it, I think that that is a message that is always timely. I think that's something that people can always stand to hear more

of. I think that there is always a place for movies that are about love which is love is love is love is love. And it should be celebrated in any

form it kind of takes.

Especially if it's genuine and from the heart and beautiful and to go back to Michaels speech it's kind of that thing that don't cry because it's

over, smile because it happened. And I think that's a beautiful thing to remind people of.

AMANPOUR: And I wonder whether you a guy's also twig that he is basically telling you as a young man that it's OK to have feelings and it's OK to be

emotional. Because so many young boys are told be brave, stiff upper lip.

HAMMER: Don't cry.

AMANPOUR: Don't cry, yes.

CHALAMET: Man I love that you say that. And that's been one of my favorite things to hear in response to the movie particularly about a young

male character that is expatriating the spectrum of emotions like any human being. Because I think it's a particularly like recent phenomenon be like

very American as well that like you said it's supposed to be stiff upper lip.

Or moodiness, or like Brando, or alcoholism or what ever you know? And that it's fine to just be. There's nothing wrong with that. If anything

wants you to embrace that.

AMANPOUR: I want to get to the MeToo movement because obviously Hollywood is sort of the crucible of what's going on in terms of women's rights and

women's push back against sexual abuse, harassment, and quid pro quoi in your business.

How is that affected both of you? And do you also believe that it is you guys who have to help us women?

CHALAMET: I think absolutely and the importance of doing this interview with you as opposed to another journalist is not lost upon me. I get - I

went to the "Golden Globes" with my sister and it was really great as it relates to the second part of your question as far as what's the guy's role

in this. Beyond the importance of the movement independently how does the guy fit in? And it was like an education talking to her.

And she said you know your part of this new wave, you're a new generation, you're a millennial, you're the new generation you have to be talking about

this. And I guess I always thought - I always think I'm unknown anyway but I guess I always thought as a consequence of my age or lack of clout or

something it's not ones responsibility but I guess that's where the problem lies. You know it's everyone's responsibility.

AMANPOUR: And you you're slightly older generation you probably have seen this over misogyny in Hollywood.


AMANPOUR: What do you think? I mean there's this feminist writer Lindy West who just said it is men who created sexism and misogyny. And they

have to help us fix it. It will be if useful if one day Robert Downy Jr. wakes up and demands equal pay for his co-star exedra, exedra, exedra.

What do you think of that aspect of it?

HAMMER: I think that there is, I don't disagree I think that there is a system in place that has a very wonky set of rules. And it seems kind of

one sided but like any system it's not one element at fault. It's normally like a confluence of things. Part and parcel with sexism there's almost

like a (powerism) in play as well.

The male dominated nature of a lot of systems in the world. It's the men who have the power who are able to abuse it. I do that there is a big role

to play. I think that there is - Kurt Vonnegut said it well when he said artists are kind of like the canaries in the coal mine. Because we're

sensitive we're really in tuned to what is going on. It will kill us first because we are so sensitive.

And the fact that this movement sort of found it's genesis in the entertainment industry shows you that this is something that is now

starting to kill canaries and it should be something that expands past that. So there is a role to play, there is something to do and you want to

be aligned with the side of doing something as opposed to being part of the problem.


AMANPOUR: Do you have any qualms Timothy about working with Woody Allen? I mean your next film has him as the director and as you know he's been

accused by his daughter of sexual abuse. He's never been charged he hasn't been arrested none of that. But I wonder whether you think about it and

whether you ask how has he escaped the MeToo revolution?

CHALAMET: It's going to be really important for me to talk about that and to really - there's - I hesitate to talk about it right now because what I

say will only, it's only going to anger people. So when that film comes out, if it comes out it's going to be really important to talk about. But

that's not the time right now.

AMANPOUR: And what's next on the horizon for you?

HAMMER: I will be making a Broadway debut this next summer, here. So I'll be here for the summer. Yes just trying to enjoy right now this process,

this kind of crazy wave of call it by your name love that the film is getting trying to enjoy as much time with my family.

AMANPOUR: Armie Hammer, Timothy Chalamet thank you so much.

CHALAMET: Thank you.

HAMMER: Thank you so much, nice to talk with you.

AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program for tonight. Remember you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at and of

course follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and good bye from New York.