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Trump Resufes to Back Down on his $5 billion Budget Demand for Border War; Government Not Fully Functioning, Impacts on Trump's Foreign Policy for 2019. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired January 7, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
A new here, a new Congress in Washington and Trump's shutdown enters its third week. The president now threatens to declare a national emergency
and we hear from the Trump strategist, David Urban.
Then, America's global leadership at the start of this New Year, backtracking on Syria, an economically perilous trade war with China and
even European allies. I discuss all this with foreign policy expert, Kori Schake, who worked on national security in the Bush White House.
Plus, rock icon, Lenny Kravitz, tells our Hari Sreenivasan how his new album came to him be in a dream.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Seventeen days and counting as President Trump refuses to back down on his budget demand of $5 billion for a border war with Mexico, and the
government remains in partial shutdown. The impasse has a dramatic impact on about 800,000 federal employees who are out of work or working without
pay, plus tens of thousands more federal contractors are also out of work, and the fallout for the country is also immense.
Many national parks and museums are closed for instance and the ones that are open lack basic services such as waste disposal. The agency that
processes loans for small businesses is not working, home buyers seeking federal mortgage approval could have to wait and scientific research is
disrupted by a lack of access to data and government support, and that is just a small sampling.
President Trump is warning that he can just declare a national emergency and take money from the military for his war. Could that really happen?
And has the president in fact walled himself in?
Here to discuss is David Urban, Trump campaign strategist in 2016 and now a corporate lobbyist in Washington but he's also a member of the Trump 2020
David Urban, welcome to the program, welcome back to our program.
DAVID URBAN, ADVISER TO TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN: Thanks for having me, Christiane, and Happy New Year.
AMANPOUR: A Happy New Year to you. So, just let's talk about this new year. I don't know whether you think it's starting auspiciously or not but
would you support as the president warns a continued situation whereby it could be months, I mean, incredibly or even years he has said where the
government could remain in this state of partial shutdown.
URBAN: Look, I don't think it (INAUDIBLE) to anybody's benefit of having the government shutdown for an extended period of time. That being said,
this president has come to the table with and offered a compromise saying, "Here's what I'd like, I'd like the $5 billion for some -- for security
along our southern border," and he hasn't heard back from the Democrats as to what they would propose.
So, you have kind of one hand clapping in the situation and you need two parties to negotiate a resolution, and the Democrats haven't come forward
with any proposal. So, it's going to be quite some time, I think, until the government reopens.
AMANPOUR: Well, before I get to the Democratic counterproposals because there have been some, we've heard Senator Chuck Schumer quite detailed
proposals. But let me just first ask you about the question we raised and what President Trump has been saying, we hear he's going to the border this
week, could he just declare a state of national emergency and remove money from one agency to fund another one, take it from the military to fund his
URBAN: Well, this president likes to push the limits of presidential executive power. I suppose he could do that, he'd be challenging the
courts, I believe. Also, the president just can't simply reallocate funding without some congressional authorization. He can do it at a
certain limit but there is -- there are limits as to how much money he can reallocate and move around.
But, you know, that the president can issue an executive order, you've seen it done in the past, and do that a national -- declared a national
emergency and do it. But I imagine he'd be challenging the courts quite quickly. So, I think that would be the last step.
And he is -- as you point out, he's going to the border on Thursday. So, I don't think you'll see any resolution before at least that visit.
AMANPOUR: Well, what do you think then he would -- he will do at the border? What -- how will he use that visit to the border? What's the
URBAN: Christiane, I think that the president's going to reiterate his -- you saw that his acting budget director sent a letter to Democrats laying
out and outlining the things that the administration would like to see done. There is a humanitarian crisis on the southern border and then
heading from the countries out Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, as you know, in the northern triangle there below Mexico.
The president would like to see the administration, like to $8 million more for humanitarian aid for beds, helping process some of these refugees that
are coming in, there's a comprehensive letter that was sent for to Democrats. I think the president will use that to highlight his proposals.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, that's interesting because that would show a sort of more humanitarian side of an administration that's widely considered
internationally to being very harsh at that border. But I do want to, you know, question you more about this issue of the Democrats.
So, Chuck Schumer, Senator, Minority Leader, has detailed the quite detailed compromise that he and others leaders in the House now have
apparently proposed to the president, this was before Christmas, in the early days, whereby they had a proposal that would open, you know, most of
the government and let most of the government carry on with the work of the American people while still, you know, continuing to negotiate over this
one demand of the president.
The president didn't accept it, you know, the Congress didn't accept it. Why not? If you really want to get the government working.
URBAN: Sure, sure. Because I think you give up. The president viewed it as giving up all his leverage if he agreed to that proposal, he had given
up every bit of leverage.
Look, Christiane, the U.S. budget, as you know, is trillions of dollars, trillions, and the president is asking for $5 billion, which is a
relatively small amount to secure the southern border, he views it as one of his most important -- one of his most important jobs is keeping America
safe, keeping our borders secure. This president has stated on the campaign trail and over and over again, he feels a very strong need for a
secure border on the southern border, it's a centerpiece of his administration, I think it's political, that's part of the reason why the
Democrats don't want to agree and I think this president didn't want to take it off the table by simply conceding the rest of the spending bills
and saying, "Look, we'll just negotiate on this one small part of DHS." I don't think that's -- he would withdraw all leverage you had over any other
AMANPOUR: So, that's why I'm really pleased that we have you on tonight because you just said it's political and you obviously infer that it's
political for the Democrats. But surely, it's political --
AMANPOUR: -- for the president as well. I talked to -- about Chuck Schumer and he was talking, as the "New York Times" has reported and I'm
going to read you exactly why this border wall has become so important. "As Mr. Trump began exploring a presidential run in 2014, his political
advisers landed on the idea of a border wall as a mnemonic device of sorts, a way to make sure that their candidate who hated reading from a script but
love boasting about himself and his talents as a buildup would remember to talk about getting tough on immigration, which was to be a signature issue
in his nascent campaign."
So, you know, the rest is history. I see you smiling there. You were a campaign advisor.
AMANPOUR: Did you box him in?
URBAN: Well, listen. So, I don't think he's boxed in any way, shape or form. I think the president is willing to -- you know, to give. He said -
- look, we talk about a wall, the president recognizes and has stated that he realized there's not going to be a physical barrier built across the
entire southern border, it's impossible in some places. And I think the majority leader -- the minority leader, Senator Schumer, forgets that he
voted in 2006 along with a majority with vice -- that vice -- you know, Senator Biden, Senator Obama, Senator Clinton, they all voted for a very,
very robust structure, a wall along the southern border and the Bush administration.
It passed the Senate by 80 votes. I think only 19 members of the Senate didn't vote for a wall in 2006. And so, suddenly it has become anathema to
moving forward anything that they're going to build a physical structure along the southern border, it smacks of politics, it's screams of politics
on the Democratic side as well.
AMANPOUR: So, we're talking 10 plus, 12 years since that first vote that you're talking about. Times have changed.
AMANPOUR: Things have changed, our facts have changed, as you know.
URBAN: God works, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: No, facts have changed. And in fact, a huge number of people have been deported back across the border under the Obama administration.
But let me ask you this because the facts really do matter.
AMANPOUR: Again, Senator Schumer, but I'll bring up other facts in a moment, talks about the reality, the factual reality of what's -- what --
you know, what are the, you know, security and other issues at the border. Here's what he said earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK SCHUMER, U.S. SENATE MINORITY LEADER: It's ineffective. Just about every expert you speak to says that there is far more effective ways to
deal with the border. Second, it's expensive. The president is asking for $5.7 but that's just for a small piece of the wall. Estimates are it could
go up to as much as $70 billion, OK. And of course, that $70 is not being paid for by Mexico.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, firstly, what's your response to that?
URBAN: To which piece?
AMANPOUR: Well, both, that there are other ways to deal with it, that it's really expensive --
AMANPOUR: -- that the president's claim --
URBAN: No, I agree.
AMANPOUR: -- that the Mexicans are going to pay for it simply is not going to happen.
URBAN: OK. So, it is expensive. But when you look at it, you compare it to -- so we're talking about securing our nation, securing our border.
When you look at it to what is being spent in Syria and Afghanistan and abroad to secure our border, it is a -- it pales in comparison to those
places. I think the president views it through that lens as well. He looks and sees what is being spent abroad and foreign aid, what's being
spent domestically and he sees it as a small drop.
I do agree with Senator Schumer that they are effective ways, that there are more effective ways than a wall in certain places along the southern
border, absolutely. There are ground sensing radars, there are drones, there are lots of technological ways that can be used to enforce the
border. But in fact, the wall works very effectively in certain portions along the southern border and for him to ignore that is just factually
AMANPOUR: So, again, you know, this administration talks about drugs and terrorists and all the rest of it, which, frankly, don't bear up to the
facts and to fact checking. Here's what the president's own favorite news channel, "Fox News," talk to Sarah Sanders, White House spokeswoman, over
the weekend. This is Chris Wallace talking to her about their claim that terrorists are coming over the Mexican border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We know that roughly nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally and we
know that our most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern border.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS": Wait, wait, wait. Because I know the statistic. I didn't know if we were going to use it but I studied up on
this. Do you know where those 4,000 people come? Were they captured? Airports?
SANDERS: Not always.
SANDERS: But certainly, a large number --
WALLACE: The State Department says there hasn't been any terrorists that they have found coming across the southern border.
SANDERS: Certainly, it's by air, it's by land and it's by sea, it's all of the above. But one thing that you're forgetting is that the most
vulnerable point of entry that we have into this country is our southern border and we have to protect it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: You know, the thing is, we have to get honest about this and Sarah Sanders was not correct and Chris Wallace picture up on it. What --
you know, what would you advise now? I mean, let's face it,s everybody is in an impasse, they're playing games and facts with the facts and
something's got to happen because, as you say, this government can't stay shut down for a months or years.
URBAN: No. It can't. But, Christiane, that's presupposes that the Democrats want to get a deal, right? I don't know the Democrats want to --
you heard Nancy Pelosi said she will give $1 for a border wall. Well, you have somebody saying that. When the majority leader saying that, you're
not going to get a deal done, that is not a realistic proposal.
URBAN: I don't hear her coming forth with -- I don't care coming forth and -- you know, when she's sending aides to negotiate with the vice president
and the chief of staff as opposed to sending the principals to negotiate, that seem -- that just shows me that the Democrats are not serious about
getting a resolution.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let me then drill down on this. And then they seem not to be serious, one reason, not to be serious the way about the wall,
because they don't believe the administration's facts. For instance, President Trump says that drugs are pouring into this country, they don't
go through ports of entry. On the facts he's wrong because according to the DEA the most drugs that come into America go through legitimate ports
of entry, that's what the US DEA says.
He says, "The new trade deal with how -- with Mexico and Canada will just pay for the wall many times over." No, it won't. The fact is that
Mexico's not paying for the wall, no trade agreement would cover those costs.
But here's the thing, in December the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill to fund the government through February. And from what we can tell, and
it's out there and, you know, just go back and look at all the soundbites, it was then when the -- I don't know what you want to call them, but some
of call them the fringe of the Republican Party. the Ann Coulters, the Rush Limbaughs, the Matt Drudges, unelected officials screech again at the
president and he runs away from it.
Is it legitimate that these people should govern or should the president and Congress govern?
URBAN: Now, look, I think the president got -- the president and Congress should obviously govern. Look -- and I don't know that that -- that is in
fact the case. I was not in those meetings with the Senate where they agreed to and I don't know what Senator, you know, McConnell and the
president and then Chief of Staff Kelly, the discussions they had as to, you know, compromise and reaching that agreement when they did. I don't
know if it was -- if the president had, you know, shaken hands with Senator McConnell said, "OK. You pass this and I'll sign it." I'm not quite sure
of those conversations were.
But getting back to the broader point, you know, irrespective of the claims of, you know, how many people are captured where or what drugs get where,
there is a basic underpinning, there's a basic issue underpinning this entire debate as to whether a nation has the right and responsibility to
secure its borders.
A nation without a secure border is not a nation. And this this president views it very, very seriously, he takes that charge very seriously and he
believes that there should be a more secure border on the southern -- on our southern border. And not just this president, go back to President
Obama, President Bush, President Clinton, every one of these presidents have had to deal with this issue and this president just has it higher on
his agenda items.
AMANPOUR: Well, look, Mr. Urban, you're absolutely right, every nation has the right to secure its borders. The argument is over whether what the
president wants is in fact effective or is it just a political slogan that has no chance of being enacted and brings the government to a complete and
utter, you know, shutdown.
URBAN: Christiane, you saw -- this week, you know, you saw in the White House a large gathering of folks from the Customs and Border Patrol, agents
who patrol the border that say, "Look, we work this border, we drive along here, we work here. We tell you that a physical structure does work." And
so, when you hear from the folks who are on the ground firsthand, the people who are the tip of the spear enforcing this and they say it works, I
have to believe them that it works.
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, ironically, of course, some of this shutdown affects those very peoples --
AMANPOUR: -- continued work. So, that's --
URBAN: Well, they'll get paid, they will get paid. And it's unfortunate they're not getting paid, it's unfortunate that our government doesn't
work. Remember -- and I don't forget this ever for one bit, our government is -- they are employees of the people, the people send them to Washington
to do their jobs. I would implore both sides, I want implore the House, the Senate and the administration to all, you know, roll up their sleeves
and try harder. You know, you don't -- I don't see the Democrats coming forward and trying hard.
AMANPOUR: And of course, just to point out that you can get all sorts of agents and agents in the past have said that actually a wall is not the
But anyway, let's move past that for a moment --
AMANPOUR: -- and talk about, you know, key leadership, you know, the president and leadership going forward. Many, many of his cabinet
positions are unfilled. If I'm not mistaken, in his first cabinet meeting of this year, a third of the cabinet posts were filled by officials who are
not actually cabinet appointees. I don't know whether you consider that an issue going forward.
URBAN: I mean, the cabinets -- the agencies are running and working. You know, most notably, you're probably talking about, you know, the secretary
of defense decided to resign and withdraw after the president decided that he was not going to, you know, continue to stay in Syria, a very, you know,
somewhat controversial decision but not. You know, the president, you know, seemed to unite both sides, you know, the left and the right in terms
of having an honest and open debate about open ended, you know, U.S. involvement globally.
And so, Secretary Mattis have said it was no longer time, he no longer do his job, so he stepped down. But, you know, these agencies have very, very
capable acting heads and I don't think it really impacts the administration or this government one bit by having an acting in there versus somebody
that the Senate confirmed.
And, Christiane, I'll just point out that, you know, that that is a problem due to the minority leader, Senator Schumer, requiring -- and this is a
little bit inside baseball, but requiring the full 30 hours to be burned on each nominee no matter how, you know, insignificant or inconsequential
Senator Schumer required the full debate of everybody to be put forward. So, that created a backlog of some 300 executives on the calendar in the
Senate to be confirmed, it's not fair. If you're going to point fingers, Senator Schumer should be the top of the list.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, we got a backlog, we got a shutdown, we've got backpay issue. I mean, things seem to be getting stuck.
URBAN: Not good.
AMANPOUR: Not good. Let me just ask you one thing since you brought up Secretary Mattis. Obviously, it was over Syria, that was your sensible
reason for his departure and his resignation. And there was a bipartisan backlash and a global backlash against the president's move. And now, you
see the president sort of retracting a little bit and sending his chief national security and diplomats around the world, Secretary Pompeo,
National Security Advisor Bolton are in the Middle East trying to patch things up. And in fact, saying, "We're not moving from Syria until ISIS is
done and until that could Kurds are safe, our partners on the ground."
What would you say to the president on that?
URBAN: I think the -- listen, I think the president had been asking. I don't have any direct information on this. So, I think the president has
been asking his military leaders for options to withdraw from Syria for quite some time. I think that he thought that it was a fight that we
should not be in, that nothing was getting advanced. We've been on the ground there for quite some time. I mean, ISIS, ISIL have been -- you
know, the caliphate have been kind of dissembled and nothing for with -- nothing was moving forward beyond that and I think the president thought it
was time to withdraw. It was not getting options.
And so, he announced that we would withdraw and didn't put forward really a timeframe. I know he said originally it was going to be shorter than he --
that is anticipated now. But you see Secretary Pompeo on the road, as you noted, and Ambassador Bolton traveling to Turkey to make sure that nothing
happens to our allies, our Kurdish allies in the region and I think the president fine with that.
He -- you saw he tweeted out this afternoon, you know, he was completely on board with that, wanted to make sure that things were being done
deliberately but does not -- let's make no mistake, the president does not want to be in Syria and the president is seriously questions and as well as
others should what our long-term open-ended objectives are in Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires as you well know.
AMANPOUR: David Urban, thank you. Thank you very much for being with us. And in fact, we ended with you on a subject that we're going to dig down
further with our next guest.
So, with the government not fully functioning, what impact does that have on President Trump's foreign policy 2019.
Traditionally, of course, the president has a freer hand with fewer congressional checks in that regard. National security advisor, John
Bolton, and Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, as I've said, are crisscrossing the Middle East trying to reassure allies right now over
President Trump's what was a shock announcement to withdraw troops from Syria.
Indeed, the administration, as we've been discussing, is rowing back after a fierce backlash.
Joining me now is Kori Schake. She was a national security aide in the George W. Bush administration and she is also right now the deputy director
general of the ISS, The International Institute for Strategic Studies. So, that and a trade war on all these things that are looming, let's discuss.
You heard what Presidential Advisor David Urban said about the Syria issue. And he did talk about, you know, what Trump said then and what he said now.
We just want to play that little bit of sound of President Trump explaining his move in December and now, what he's going to do about Syria and then
we'll drill down on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Our boys, our young women, our men, they're all coming back and they're coming back now. We are pulling back in Syria.
We're going to be removing our troops. I never said we're doing it that quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
So, Kori Schake, what do you make of that? What has just happened in -- you know, with President Trump and his own people at home plus his allies
KORI SCHAKE, FORMER U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, the first thing is that the president is clearly trying to reverse himself and denying that
he said things he said on the record, and over which Secretary Mattis resigned.
And it looks like Secretary Pompeo going to the region and the National Security Advisor are hearing from allies what all the rest of us heard from
allies, which is that ISIS isn't defeated. If the United States withdraws, we believe our forces in the region, our allies in the region and other 74
other countries are part of the anti-coalition, anti-ISIS coalition, all of them are left and they are lurch by this. And the president underestimates
how damaging it is to American policies, and not just in the Middle East, for the United States to be unreliable like that.
AMANPOUR: So, we are talking essentially about presidential leadership as this new year starts. We just heard about leadership at home and now,
global leadership. One of the criticisms is that he has sort of distanced allies and accommodated adversaries and competitors and seemed to, as you
just said, be an unreliable friend, in other words not necessarily want American global leadership.
AMANPOUR: What do you think -- I mean, clearly, he got the message and he under advisement is not going to do this shock thing in Syria immediately.
That's a good thing, right? There was a debate, there was a statement, there was backlash, there was back and forth and he's now reversed himself
or adjusted the move right now.
SCHAKE: You're absolutely right. It's a better policy that he appears to be adopting. But that policy was also available to him a month ago and he
would have still had a competent defense secretary and he would have still had American allies fighting in the region who believed they could rely on
us and that is the opportunity cost of the president choosing to make policy in such an erratic way.
AMANPOUR: So, before I get to Secretary Mattis because you wrote a book with him, you edited a book that with him and you are quite close to his
thinking and you know quite a lot about him. Now, before I get to that because he was considered by -- certainly by allies all over the world as
somebody with the experience and the heft that they could rely on to continue traditional American foreign policy. Let's get to that in a
I want to ask you what you think beyond ISIS would have happened if President Trump had left the field open to Russia, to Iran, to Assad. And
he even said, you know, at this same press up, "Iran can have it. We don't care, it's just a bunch of sand and death."
SCHAKE: Yes. So, several things. First, I think you should anticipate that Turkey will move against the Kurdish forces certainly in Syria,
possibly even in Northern Iraq because the weakening of the government of Iraq is another consequence of President Trump's, obviously. I think you
should expect Russia to have a long-term military presence in Syria because after all Bashar al-Assad would not still be in power if Russia hadn't
moved in militarily to protect him.
I think you should expect Iran and Russia to be elbowing each other for the glory that comes with that. The Iranians did the hardest most dangerous
work on the ground, they are now even in Southern Syria, something they Israelis are having to deal with, that too is a consequence of President
Trump saying that the Iranians can do whatever they want. And it destroys our policy towards Iran, which --
AMANPOUR: Well, I was going to ask you that.
SCHAKE: -- seems to be their top priority in the Middle East, was focusing everybody on Iran.
AMANPOUR: I have to tell you, I have been trying to figure that bit of it out because the whole rationale for getting out of the Iran nuclear deal
was to gather a coalition against Iran and precisely to affect Iran's behavior in places like Syria.
AMANPOUR: Iran's negative behavior in Syria. And now, the president is saying, "Well, they want it more than us, they can have it."
SCHAKE: Right. If you were an American regional ally, if you were in Iraq or even Saudi Arabia or the UAE, the United States has not only destroyed
our policy, we've destroyed their policy. And the president did it sequentially, you know, encouraging the Saudis and the UAE to -- in their
feud with (INAUDIBLE) and not taking account of what -- how Russia was going to play this, how Turkey was going to play this.
I think the problem with your analysis is you assume there's a guiding logic to it instead of just a bunch of sloppy erratic undisciplined choices
where they are not thinking their way through the consequences of it nearly as well as you were thinking your way through the consequences of it.
AMANPOUR: So, let's talk about the real -- well, one of the real issues and that was, you know, to end ISIS's dominance. Now, the president and
others say that it is all but defeated. But some people, a Pentagon report and others have said, "Actually, that's not the case." They are still
pretty strong in Iraq despite, you know, being turfed out of Mosul, they still exist in Syria, there are still tens of thousands of them around.
What is -- what are the facts about ISIS and about them potentially coming back to the West?
SCHAKE: So, the president is right that ISIS no longer holds major swaths of territory in the way that it had. But he wrongly believes that defeated
means never coming back. And we've seen this movie so many times before, we saw it in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, where if you don't stabilize
communities, if you don't ensure that governance is working and people have the ability to support themselves, that leaves fertile ground for the rise
of (INAUDIBLE) organizations. It did in Iraq, it did in Syria, it is in other places. Stable governance is the solution to this problem.
AMANPOUR: Fine. But what happens when all the United States and its allies is doing -- are doing is war and not really promoting stable
governance? And the president presumably has a point that we can't have these never-ending wars, it's just gone on for so long, 17 years and
counting in Afghanistan. In fact, he kind of blamed Secretary Mattis a little bit saying, "Well, he didn't -- you know, I gave him billions of
dollars when he asked me to stay in Afghanistan. I want to pull out. And look, we're still in a major problem here."
What should the United States be doing to actually get rid of the military and the insurgent threat but also pave the way for stable governance?
SCHAKE: If anyone has a better strategy than the patient nation building strategy in Afghanistan, I would love to hear it, I would love to adopt it.
But the strategy that we have taken is with governance at the center of it, to train the forces and grow the political leadership of countries so that
they can carry on these problems.
AMANPOUR: And do you believe that, you know, 14,000 U.S. troops are going to be pulled out, that there was some suggestion that the president had
alluded to that? Is the -- you know, the community of foreign policy experts, military experts expecting that to be the next shoe that drops?
SCHAKE: So, the challenge is, is Afghanistan making enough progress for us to continue to keep those troops there? And that is exactly the right
question. Should the United States still be fighting in Afghanistan?
[13:30:00] And I think the answer to the question is it depends on whether Afghanistan is making the progress in recruiting, training in governance
and Afghanistan is. It's slow. It's uneven.
It's unpleasant but Afghans are still signing up for their own security forces even though they are the targets of the Taliban and other Jihadist
forces. They deserve our help to try and get to a better place because the alternative is an American strategy where we swoop in, kill bad guys, then
leave the place for bad things to happen.
And that's how your intelligence sources dry up. That's how the goodwill that your forces are operating under dry up. That's how the belief that
the United States has a better solution to problems than people just accepting the bad forces in their midst. That's what we know about
fighting these problems.
AMANPOUR: So let's just get back to Secretary of State Mattis who, of course, was the commanding general. In his time, he was force commander
and a major military strategist on the ground. You've written that his resignation letter was perhaps one of his biggest contributions to
democracy and strategy in the two years that he was secretary of state. What do you mean by that? What specifically?
SCHAKE: So Secretary Mattis and his resignation letter did two important things. First, he made the case for an allied centric American policy.
That is by helping allies, we help ourselves. That has been more or less American strategy since 1945. And President Trump is the first big
departure from it.
So the first thing Secretary Mattis did, Secretary of Defense Mattis did was re-enforce that the American policy that has allies at its center isn't
some nefarious deep state effort to constrain the president. There's a reason it's the establishment view. And that's because there's not a
better alternative. As unsatisfying as it may be.
But the second important thing Secretary Mattis did in his resignation was point out that the president deserves to have a cabinet that supports his
policies and works to carry them out. And that it's wrong for major political appointees to work in opposition to the president's objectives.
And that too is an important part of American governance.
AMANPOUR: It is indeed. But you also found a little bit of fault with the guy you clearly admire. You say that his silence over the years -- his
public silence over the years as secretary, he didn't give many interviews, hardly any.
He didn't want to be seen as contradicting the commander in chief in public. You said that he missed an opportunity to be both secretary of
defense and sort of guardian certainly for the troops and for those who fall under his purview.
SCHAKE: Absolutely right. The president is not making the case for the wars. The vice president occasionally makes the case for the wars. It
really matters. Forty-five years into an oval interforce and 19 years into the war that we're fighting in Afghanistan.
For the country's leadership to explain to the American people and to validate for the people we're putting in harm's way what it is we are
doing. And the president is not willing to do that. And I think Secretary Mattis for understandable reasons didn't do it but it's bad for the war
effort that he didn't do it.
AMANPOUR: So let's get beyond the war effort if we can. Because it is quite troubling that America has been locked in these wars for so long.
And there seems to be no real sort of discussion, certainly not publicly about how to make the work, how to bring the American people on board if
necessary. But certainly nation building does not happen and that is a problem basically.
SCHAKE: Oh, absolutely.
AMANPOUR: But let me just ask you this because what do you see as this year in terms of let's just say the Saudi Gulf strategy. The president
went there. His first trip as president, January 2017 or early 2017, he went to Saudi Arabia and Israel and they concocted a plan to contain Iran
and et cetera.
Where does that all stand? How do you see that piece of the Middle East going forward?
SCHAKE: I think that's in tatters both because of the president's erratic behavior but also because of the behavior of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
That it is -- that at the (INAUDIBLE) dialogue in the fall, the Saudi foreign minister said that Saudi Arabia has a vision of light for the
region and Iran has a vision of darkness.
And it's very hard for the rest of us to see the difference given the Saudi government's behavior. So I think the president's policy is in tatters. I
think Secretary of State Pompeo is traveling to the region to try and figure out where we can go together from here.
But it's very hard that America's traditional [13:35:00] allies in the region are unnerved. And America's new friends in the region are unnerved.
The only people who aren't, America's actual adversaries.
SCHAKE: Russia, China.
AMANPOUR: Well, let's talk about China. Because as we speak, there were talks underway in Beijing to try to head off the worst effects of the trade
war that could affect the whole global economy. What do you see and where do you see strategically that confrontation over tariffs and the rest of it
SCHAKE: Yes. I don't see the basis for much cooperation on that. The "Wall Street Journal" came out editorially saying that the biggest owned
goal of the Trump administration and possibly ever was the U.S. withdrawing from the Transpacific Trade Partnership.
AMANPOUR: Which is one of the first things the president did.
SCHAKE: Exactly. Not only because of the damage it does to American markets and Japan and other places but also because this was our
opportunity to consolidate the ability to contain China's behavior that is trying to upset the rules of the game in Asia.
We have lots of friends and allies but the polling now suggests that while countries in Asia don't want Chinese dominance, they also don't trust
American reliability and that is something that President Trump's behavior in office has created.
AMANPOUR: And that is new frankly when it comes to America. One last question. You also wrote that President Trump's announcement to pulling
out of Syria was also an owned goal. He did something that the Obama administration hadn't done. He had a better policy you say in Syria than
the Obama administration.
SCHAKE: Yes, he actually did. And -- but with the national defense strategy -- the national security strategy and the national defense
strategy, both said we need to refocus on rising powers and great power competition. So you could withdraw from Syria drawing down gently in a way
that supported our allies and created stability in the region. He chose not to and that really invalidated his own strategy.
AMANPOUR: Well, and this is a really dangerous region as we've seen over the last many, many years. It's going to be really important to keep an
eye on it
Kori Schake, thank you so much for joining us.
SCHAKE: It was a great pleasure.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
And now, we turn to a globe-trotting superstar musician. Lenny Kravitz has been rocking out for three decades, releasing hit albums and starring in
mega movies like The Hunger Games.
Now, he's putting out his 11th studio album which is called "Raised Vibration". He sat down with our Hari Sreenivasan and spoke about how he
slept his way through this latest album and how growing up with his Russian Jewish father and his African-American mother shaped who he has become.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CONTRIBUTOR: Raised Vibration, new album, tell me a little bit about it.
LENNY KRAVITZ, MUSICIAN AND ACTOR: Very inspired.
SREENIVASAN: By what?
KRAVITZ: Very inspired by life. Before I started the album, I had to think who am I at this point. You go through so many different versions of
yourself over the years. It's been 30 years now.
And you can be a little confused as to what do I want to say, where do I want to go, what am I feeling. So the first thing you have to do is stop.
So I went to the Bahamas where I live and I got really quiet.
And after several weeks because you're in this environment, nature, quiet, so few people, you begin to come down and decompress and then the dreams
begin. And all of these songs on the album were given to me through dreams. So they were direct downloads and that happens to me --
SREENIVASAN: From your own consciousness?
KRAVITZ: -- a lot. Yes. But I've never dreamt an entire album. I may dream two or three songs on an album and the rest come just out of the air
but these were actually in dreams clicking up between the hours of 3 and 5 a.m.
SREENIVASAN: So do you hear in your brain complete pieces of music?
SREENIVASAN: So you're just trying to what, get it out and saying, OK, write this down?
KRAVITZ: Well, you hear -- you're asleep. You're in your dream. You hear it. And then you have to make yourself wake up because you're in bed, it's
comfortable and you're hearing it. And you think maybe I'll remember it in the morning.
But when you do that -- at least for me, when I've done that, they are normally gone. So You have to get up. I keep a recording device next to
the bed. I keep a guitar in the room. And I begin to transcribe what it is that I'm hearing in my head onto the recording and then I go into the
studio. And I have that framework to work from.
SREENIVASAN: Right. So does music come first? Do the lyrics come?
KRAVITZ: It depends. [13:40:00] Sometimes I hear the whole thing. For instance, on a song like "Here To Love". That was a direct download. The
words and the music all came. A lot of the time --
SREENIVASAN: So you got up out of bed, pressed record, and that just happened?
KRAVITZ: Yes. Yes. And it's beautiful because you're not in -- your conscious self is not involved. And that's when it's the most beautiful.
Where did this come from? I didn't do this. I was given this. And that's when it's really beautiful. It's really pure.
SREENIVASAN: When you work with other musicians, do you find a similar process that people are somehow getting it from somewhere beyond
KRAVITZ: When I produced Mick Jagger and we were writing together and I was watching him come up with the lyrics and it was the same way that I do
it when it's not in a dream when I'm not being given the lyric, the total lyric. But you start with this sort of scatting of words that aren't
And I watched him do it and I was like that's how I do it. You just kind of start to get this dream. And when you listen back to it, even though
you haven't said one real word, you listen back and you hear the lyrics.
And I watched him do it. It was the same thing we wrote this song together. And it's very interesting. I'm sure a lot of people do it that
SREENIVASAN: For non-musicians, that -- this seems like a totally foreign idea and process but it's really fascinating to hear that somehow your
brains are able to process and it's totally different.
KRAVITZ: It is. You just -- either you hear it or you create it from this mumble jumble thing which then turns into real thoughts and feelings from
your subconscious. It's really interesting. It's like your subconscious speaking.
SREENIVASAN: Without words getting in the way?
KRAVITZ: Notice how people, when they talk about speaking in tongues in churches, like you're speaking this language that doesn't exist but God can
understand it. So it's interesting. Your subconscious is speaking this language and then you understand it.
SREENIVASAN: You also play a lot of the instruments when you're doing it in your own recording studio.
KRAVITZ: Yes, it depends on the track. Sometimes I play all of the instruments. Sometimes --
SREENIVASAN: So was that all in your head and you're trying to sit there and go back with, OK, this is what the drums are going to be?
KRAVITZ: Well, yes, I hear it all. So I'm able to run from one instrument to the next. So I'll start on the drums and the guitar and the bass, and
maybe more guitar, whatever keyboard I might use. And I might do percussion or an orchestrate.
SREENIVASAN: There's a track about It's Enough that has, for me anyway, a kind of a Marvin Gay, Curtis Mayfield sort of vibe to it.
KRAVITZ: Absolutely comes from that school.
SREENIVASAN: And what were you thinking? What was the story behind it? Was this a direct download?
KRAVITZ: Again, it was a download. But that song for me is a very easy song to write because it's a mirror to what's happening in this world.
SREENIVASAN: It's much more political.
SREENIVASAN: Most political on this album.
KRAVITZ: Absolutely. It's hard not to reflect what's going on. We're living in really trying times, very interesting times.
And it just boggles my mind that human beings are going in this direction that we are completely destroying ourselves and so much is based on greed
and power and business and control. But we're at a cross road and we're either going to take the road to destruction and then maybe we'll learn or
we're going to take the road to turning this around and putting all of our energy into trying to fix these problems.
SREENIVASAN: Another track on there, you have a lyric, hug me like Johnny Cash. What does that mean?
KRAVITZ: What happened, we're going back 21 years now. My mother was fighting breast cancer. And she lost the battle.
But when I got the news, I just came home from a tour of Japan. I went straight to the hospital. She was already at the stage where they had her
on morphine and she was in and out of consciousness.
And after being there all the day, we all decided, people in the family, let's all go to wherever we're staying. We'll get some food, take a shower
and come back and spend the night there. And at that time, I was living with Rick Rubin, the producer. He gave me a section of his house to live
in for several years.
And in the time it took me to get me from the hospital [13:45:00] to Rick's house, my mother passed. And so when I got to the house, I got the phone
call. And Johnny Cash and June Carter were living in that same house at the same time as well because Johnny was there making an album. That
acoustic record that he made, the legendary record.
And when I got the news, I was at the bottom of the stairs getting ready to go upstairs to my room. And I had no idea she was going to pass that
quickly. And I was shocked and obviously dealing with the finality of that.
And Johnny and June were coming down the stairs. Johnny said, "Hey. How are you doing?" He just saw me walk in. And I said my mother just died.
I was just standing there against the wall, couldn't really move.
The two of them came down the stairs, surrounded me and they both grabbed me and held me really tightly and were saying things that were really
beautiful. They were comforting me.
It was a really beautiful moment because we knew each other but we weren't close friends. We were sharing the same home. We passed each other in the
hallways. We didn't know each other like that.
And they took that moment to just be really beautiful people. So the song is not about that. But what it's about is a break up that I had just gone
through. I was singing to this person and I was saying hold me like Johnny Cash when I lost my mother, whisper in my ear like June Carter.
And though I fight these tears that I hide, just hold me tight for the rest of my life. So obviously, the last time that I was comforted in such a deep
way was the day my mother died when Johnny Cash held me and I was singing to this person saying I need your comfort so hold me like Johnny Cash.
It was a very interesting way to get to that message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRAVITZ: Just hold me like Johnny Cash when I lost my mother. Whisper in my ear just like June Carter
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SREENIVASAN: When did you know this was your calling? When did you start getting the downloads? I mean are these different points when did you know
music was going to be the thing that you wanted to do?
KRAVITZ: When I was about five, I was listening to the Jackson 5 on those wonderful Motown singles. I had Stop The Love You Save, and ABC, and all
of these great 45s that my mom and my grandmother bought me.
And I was obsessed with the group. Not only the music but their whole look and their way of performing. And Then my father took me to Madison Square
Garden when I was in first grade. I would have been six u suppose.
SREENIVASAN: That's your first concert?
KRAVITZ: My first concert, Jackson 5 at Madison Square Garden --
KRAVITZ: -- with the Commodores opening. I saw this show and my life changed. The next day, everything was different. I knew that's what I
wanted to do.
SREENIVASAN: Your dad was around a lot of famous musicians,
KRAVITZ: Yes. My father worked at NBC News. My parents met at 30 Rock. My mother was a secretary for an executive there and she was moonlighting.
In the evening, she was doing theater and eventually she did theater full- time and then moved on to television.
My father was a producer, an assignment editor. He worked with people like Peter Arnett back in the day and Liz Trotta and all these journalists and
he also was very interested in jazz music. So we were always around jazz musicians and going to see everybody.
I remember my fifth grade, going back a year, we went to see Duke Ellington at the Rainbow Room. And we showed up for sound check and Duke sat me on
his lap and had me sit there while he played the piano.
Being around people like Miles Davis and Sarah Vaughan and Myla Hampton, all these great people, Lincoln Center, going to concerts, going to the
operas and ballets and Shakespeare in the park and the public theaters, seeing James Brown. New York at that time was just so vibrant with the
SREENIVASAN: Your mother's black, your father is Jewish. She goes onto play one of the first interracial couples. Did you realize what a big deal
that was because you see this -- ?
KRAVITZ: Well, to me (CROSSTALK) because my father was white. So it was very interesting that Norman Lear chose her. In fact, I just saw Norman
Lear recently. I haven't seen him since I was a teenager.
And I walked up to him and I was just thanking him because him choosing my mother, [13:55:00] this role changed our lives. I would not be sitting
here with you, I don't think if that hadn't happened. I learned so much and my life changed so much. I, musically, ended up doing a lot of things
out there musically.
But back to that question. It's interesting that he chose this woman. He had no idea that my mother was married to a white man.
And so he had her come out to Los Angeles to audition. He decided that he wanted her to play the role. He said, "Listen, I just want to talk with
you before I hire you. I just really want to make sure you're comfortable because you're going to have to be with this man, you're going to have to
play his wife, and you're going to have to kiss him and hug him. Are you OK with this?"
And my mom went into her purse, pulled out her wallet, had a picture of my dad. She showed it to him. He said, "OK, you got the part".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know who made those things up, don't you? Rich people. To keep poor people happy about being poor. I got plenty of
nothing and nothing's plenty for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SREENIVASAN: Music critics have always had a tough time figuring out and they've put you unto these boxes. They've tried to put you. The music is
not black enough, it's not white enough, it's not rock enough. Partly because of where you came from but also that your music goes all sorts of
KRAVITZ: Which is what it's all about to me. I love music. There's no color to music. I love music and I incorporate all styles.
But in the selling of music, people want to be able to have a place to put it. Where are we going to market you? You're black. You're supposed to
fit into the R&B category or at that time, hip-hop, early hip-hop.
SREENIVASAN: Here he is with a guitar.
KRAVITZ: And I didn't. I came in with this guitar-oriented music that leaned more on the Rock & Roll side, which of course, Rock & Roll is black
music but somehow wasn't considered that at that time.
But my record label that I signed with, Virgin Records, was very honest with me and they said they believed in the music. They weren't sure
exactly how they were going to market it. Thus they sent me to Europe first where they thought there was less of these putting folks in a box and
SREENIVASAN: That's where you became more successful.
KRAVITZ: That's where I started. I went to Paris. I went to London. I went to Amsterdam. And I went to Hamburg. And that's where it started.
They accepted me as I was. And then I came back to America later toward the end of the Let Love Rule album. I did a whole tour and Tom Petty took
me on tour. Bob Dylan took me on tour. David Bowie took me on tour and then I started doing my own gigs.
SREENIVASAN: There's also a throw line of spirituality in your music. And I don't think most people recognize that.
I'm wondering when did that start, how did that start for you? When did you -- how would you consider yourself? You have a Christian and a Jewish
person in your household. How did your parents --
KRAVITZ: I grew up going to church. I grew up going to temple. I was not forced to go any certain direction. My grandmother was a devout Christian.
And I had all of that and I had my own experiences with the teachings of Christ. It was all beautiful. It was all -- it's all still part of me.
And the same thing with color. I mean my mother at a very young age sat me down and said, "Listen, I'm black. This is our history. The Bahamas,
African-American. Your father is a Russian Jew. You're no more one than the other. You have both sides. Be proud of both sides. Embrace both
But she said society is only going to see you as black. That meant that people were not going to see the diversity. They weren't going to accept
all of this beauty within you. Your skin's brown. That's what you are.
AMANPOUR: And you can see part two of Hari's interview with rock star Lenny Kravitz tomorrow.
But finally tonight, we let another star shine bright. Congratulations to the actress Glenn Close on her gong at the Golden Globes. Accepting her
award for best actress in a drama for her performance in The Wife. She hailed mothers, wives, women everywhere who often expected to be nurturers
but who also she says must be allowed to follow their dreams and discover what fulfills them.
I interviewed Glenn about her role in The Wife and you can watch it online at amanpour.com. It was an amazing interview because she has an incredible
That's it though, for us for now. Remember, you can listen to our podcast and see us online and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.