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Interview With Andrew Lloyd Webber; Trump Faces Tough Re-Election Campaign; Jared Kushner, Senior White House Adviser to President Trump, is Interviewed About Israel-UAE Peace Deal and Trump; Interview With United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash. Aired 2 -3p ET
Aired August 14, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Jared Kushner, Senior White House Adviser to President Trump: The people of Israel trust President Trump to make the right decisions that are in the
best interests of Israel's security and prosperity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I speak with President Trump's right-hand man and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, about the landmark Israel/UAE peace deal and election
politics. And we get details of the plan with Anwar Gargash, the United Arab Emirates minister for foreign affairs.
Plus, what in the world, American foreign policy in the time of Trump and beyond. Middle scholar, Vali Nasr, and former Dutch MEP, Marietje Schaake,
And finally, the show must go on. Award-winning composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, plays his part to help theaters reopen.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The last Arab-Israeli peace deal was with Jordan, a quarter century ago. And the Landmark New Deal Israel has struck with the United Arab Emirates
highlights the shifting political dynamics in the region which is broadly marked by a rivalry between Shia Iran and its allies and Sunni Saudi Arabia
and Gulf nations.
The reaction falls along those lines, too. Iran, Turkey and the Palestinians denounce the accord with the Iranians calling it strategically
stupid. Palestinian authority, President Mahmoud Abbas, calls it an aggression on the Palestinian people. But the deal's most immediate impact
would be to stave off Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to annex huge chunks of the occupied West Bank for now.
In exchange, the UAE would establish full unified relations with Israel. And European powers like France are calling it a positive step that could
kick-start peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians again. This deal has been in the works for more than a decade and there could be a
signing ceremony at the White House in the coming weeks. As Trump gets a foreign policy boost, he faces a tough re-election campaign, struggling to
control the coronavirus pandemic, an economic meltdown and trailing in the polls. We get all the latest from Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law
and senior adviser.
Jared Kushner, welcome to the program.
JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. It's good to be with you.
AMANPOUR: So, look, 24 hours after the announcement of this landmark peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, I just want to ask
specifically what precisely, you know, your administration did. I mean, you know obviously better than I do that this has been in the works for at
least the last 10 years between the parties and, you know, with the help of previous U.S. administrations. Can you tell us how and why it happened now?
KUSHNER: The first thing President Trump did was he went to Riyadh in 2017, he assembled the leaders of the 54 Muslim countries and said, guys,
we need to be thinking about things differently. We need to solve these problems together and we need to bring the regions together around common
solutions and in a new way.
Since then, we've seen a lot of changes. We've seen Israel become closer with the Arab countries, we've rolled back a lot of Iran's aggression in
the region, terminated the really flawed Iran deal, we've taken back the physical caliphate of ISIS and we've done a lot of work to counter
financing of terrorism and to fight the long-term battle against extremism through counterextremism centers by fighting the battle online.
So, I think that President Trump was able to build the trust back with all the region allies that America had and to lay out a strategy and then we've
worked very closely together over the last years to execute that strategy, culminating in the first peach agreement in the region in the last 26
years. So, again, there's a lot of problems that we've had in the Middle East overtime, but very politicians and leaders have been able to create
the breakthrough that President Trump was able to get yesterday.
AMANPOUR: So, obviously, this is progress in the region. And specifically, on an issue that you and I spoke about when you unveiled the Trump
administration peace plan for the region. You remember one of the first questions I asked you was, will Prime Minister Netanyahu be annexing the
West Bank as was provided for, because he had said that, and you said, no. No, we don't expect that, that shouldn't happen. It's no secret that you
did not want that to happen. Is one of the side benefits, or the side benefit of this deal the announcement that that annexation will be
suspended by Israel?
KUSHNER: So, politics are messy, and in the Middle East if there was an elegant solution to solve all these problems, they would have been solved a
long time ago. And so, you have a lot of different parties that believe in a lot of different things. But ultimately, was happened here was that
leaders came together, great leaders like Prime Minister Netanyahu, the crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, and President Trump, and they were able
to put what are the interest of the people, the region and the world ahead of different, maybe, things that would have been good in the short-term but
less help in the long-term.
So, that's why we're able to get to this normalization and peace which facilitate great trade between the United Arab Emirates and Israel that
facilitate exchanges in technology, health care, tourism. A lot of Muslims throughout the world don't believe that they're able to visit the Al-Aqsa
Mosque because their countries don't have diplomatic relations and they can't fly into Tel Aviv and then go visit the mosque.
Now, Muslims throughout the world can fly through Dubai and Abu Dhabi, go to Tel Aviv and they can pray at the mosque, and that will help fight
against the notion that the extremists put out there that says that people are not allowed to pray at the mosque and the mosque is under attack. And
that's a trope that's been used for, you know, over 100 years.
So, in the short term, Israel has agreed to focus their attention on strengthening their relationship with regional partners to improve the
security and economic opportunities that exist. And for the time being, they've suspended any efforts to apply Israeli sovereignty to areas of the
AMANPOUR: So, I just wanted -- you know, you say for the time being and suspended. I assume Arab nations don't want that to happen, and some of
them say, you know, this deal was kind of a victory for us because we managed to get that off the table.
My question to you is, is annexation off the table? Because yesterday Prime Minister Netanyahu said, there is no change to my plan to extend
sovereignty, our sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, in full coordination with the United States, using those biblical words for the West Bank. I
mean, is it off the table or is it just for the moment?
KUSHNER: Right. So, one of the tough things about your job is you have to look at the snapshot every day. You know, President Trump is a deal maker,
he's a pragmatist, he's somebody who is quite flexible. And what we've seen in the Middle East is that things are very fluid and they change. And,
again, we knew where we wanted to get to when we've done a lot of different that have been unconventional to get to this point. And quite frankly, I
personally have been criticized by a lot of the experts who worked on this and failed in the past for not doing it the same way they did.
But where we are today is we've created an environment where we unveiled a 180-page vision for peace and prosperity for the Palestinian people. We've
shown -- we've earned the trust of the Israeli people. We've put out a plan to secure Israel from a security point of view. We've put out an economic
plan that can double the GDP for the Palestinian people, create a million new jobs and allow them to improve their way of life.
The map in -- between Israel and the Palestinians now is something that's existed for a long time. President Trump was in the real estate business
before. He knows metes and bounds really well. We looked at very it very carefully. And there are certain realities that have existed after three
wars and many years of failed political leadership trying to make a deal that we just took and tried to work accordingly.
So, President Trump was able to get Israel to agree to a Palestinian state and also agree to a map. And the reality with the map, the areas in the
West Bank right now, is it's populated by Israelis. Israel is controlling the territory and they're not leaving. And so, the notion here is how do we
save the possibility for the Palestinians to have a state of their own, to have ability for economic prosperity, to have dignity and a future, and we
really outline that.
So, what this does today is it takes one of the pillars of what's caused this conflict and the instability in the region really off the table,
because what you're doing now is you're taking the mosque issue, which quite frankly, conflated the dispute between the Muslim world and Israel
over all these years, and you really diminish that because now Muslims throughout the world feel like they can go visit the mosque, and they can.
Israel, in our vision for peace, agree that the king of Jordan was able to stay as custodian of the mosque. And, again, so, the religious issue that's
caused all of this tension over the years should now be resolved. And now, there is a real estate proposal on the table from Israel to the
Palestinians, and it's really up to their leadership when they want to engage, and if they do, we're there to help them and we want them to see --
to have a great future and we've got a good plan to help that happen.
AMANPOUR: OK. Let me ask you a couple questions about what's happening in the news around the White House around the election right now. So, the
president obviously has raised a lot of eyebrows by commenting and seeming to agree and certainly spread this notion that has been perpetuated in the
"Newsweek" by a conservative lawyer that somehow Kamala Harris is unqualified to run for vice president. Why would your father-in-law, your
candidate, the president actually do this? What is the point of spreading that kind of disinformation, that is contrary to the United States
KUSHNER: Look, right now, you're the one spreading that disinformation. The president was at a coronavirus briefing. He was asked by a reporter
about a report in "Newsweek" and his words were, I don't know anything about that. And since then, the media has been going wild, basically saying
that he was pushing a theory. I'll take him at his word that he said he doesn't know anything about that, and that's what he said.
But, again, I'm here today to talk about the historic peace agreement that President Trump just accomplished in the Middle East, and I'm not sure why
that's a topic that's relevant.
AMANPOUR: I'll ask you another question about that, but we agreed to talk about a couple of issues in the news. Look, you know, he did it before with
Barack Obama until finally in 2016, he agreed that Barack Obama was born in the United States. Why would he do it again? It didn't work then, why would
it work now?
And I want to ask you this also. You know, Kamala Harris is African- American, she's Indian-American and she's a woman. So, you've got racist overtones, you've got misogynistic overtones. Why would the president want
to be associated with someone who wrote that?
KUSHNER: So, Christiane, again, I have so much respect for you so I'll answer this in the most polite way possible, which, again, is that the
president was asked a question. He said he didn't know anything about it, and now that you're insinuating that this has something to do with race,
look, if you look at the president's track record over the last three years, before the pandemic, we had the lowest black unemployment in the
country. The president passed opportunity zones to bring much needed access to capital to lower-income communities.
He passed the historic criminal justice reform, which, by the way, again, I -- when I was working on that issue, because, again, there was a lot of
sense in disparities that had a disproportionate impact on the black community here in America. I reached out to Senator Harris's office for a
meeting to see if she could become part of that solution and she never returned the phone call. And I worked with Senator Booker and Senator
Durbin across the aisle. We got 87 votes in the Senate. And President Trump was able to deliver on something that rolled back very racist laws.
And so, again, President Trump's actions have been very consistent. We're trying to fight for all forgotten Americans. He's done a great job and that
he's got an unimpeachable track record in terms of delivering success. But for whatever reason, the media likes to chase down rabbit holes and try to
create controversies when one shouldn't exist.
AMANPOUR: Jared, you know that we're not actually doing that, we're just trying to get an answer, because this went on for years over President
Obama, and it just seems completely outside the moment, given what's happening in your country right now, and it violates the notion that was
perpetuated by that op-ed, violates the U.S. constitution and goes directly against the 14th Amendment.
Look, let me put it this way. Sometimes I like to use this platform as like a place for a peace offering or a mea culpa. You know, you're also a
campaign adviser to the president. Would you apologize on behalf of your candidate for that -- for him spreading that information?
KUSHNER: Yes. Look, the president is about to do a press conference any minute. I'll let the CNN reporters ask him about that. Again, we've spent
now just as much time on this as we had the president's historic peace deal, again, the first peace deal in the Middle East in the last 26 years.
And again, that's a great accomplishment.
And again, I'll go back to the fact that the media often gets distracted and confused by the president, right. They said that if President Trump was
elected, there would be wars all over the world. He would alienate our allies and the world -- President Trump has been ending the war in
Afghanistan. He's cleaned up ISIS in the Middle East. He's cleaned up this. And now, he has the first peace deal in 26 years and he's rebuilt the
alliances that the previous administration had alienated.
And so, again, let's just focus on what exactly impacts the people. I think that this deal will make the Middle East safer. I think for the American
people, it gives us less necessity to have troops in the region. Under President Trump's leadership we've become energy independent as a country,
which is critical, so we no longer rely on the Middle East for energy.
And most importantly, the real risk from this conflict that impacts every country is radicalizing youth. And if you look at the Jihadists, they use
the notion of the Palestinian conflict and use the notion of the Al-Aqsa Mosque being under attack as an excuse to try to radicalize youth
throughout the world.
So, look, President Trump today accomplished great peace in one of the toughest regions against all odds. Nobody thought that he could do it,
nobody thought that I could do it. And I do believe that President Trump has shown he can do this internationally and he's also going to try to
bring people together here at home and bring peace through results, through shared prosperity and through doing a great job as president, which is what
AMANPOUR: Jared Kushner, you know, many would agree with you that this president has not started any new wars, and that is to the pleasure,
obviously, of many, many people. So, I want to ask you this. Do you believe -- because yesterday when he announced this deal, he said it's big and big
things are happening. He didn't elaborate. We've heard from our Israeli sources, in fact, on my show last night, that there could be other nations
following. Do you think Oman will? Do you think Bahrain will? Will Saudi Arabia follow by normalizing relations with Israel?
KUSHNER: Sure. Well, I'm not a traditionally trained diplomat but we were able to keep that deal very, very quiet until the announcement, which were
such big news amongst three countries and a lot of bodies was a big accomplishment.
One reasons why we've been able to do this is because people trust working with the president, they trust working with me and that's because,
unfortunately, for you and the business you're in, we don't show more cards than we need to. But I can assure you that the work that the president has
done over the last three and a half years has really set the table for this success and for a lot more to come.
We've seen a lot of, you know, again, the move sometimes, people understood what he was doing, other people didn't. Tom Freedman wrote a phenomenal
column in the "New York Times," and we don't always agree with Tom Freedman, saying this basically was a diplomatic bomb, an explosion that
went off in the Middle East that now makes everything possible.
And I will tell you this, Christiane, because you've been covering this region for a lot of years and have tons of expertise, is that, when I first
started, you know, working in the Middle East, one of the old hands, the experts, said to me that, you don't make money betting on success in the
Middle East. And the truth of the matter is, is that people in the region had grown very full of despair. It was very -- you know, when I would go
out and say that things could change, everyone called me naive and they said that, you know, I was putting forward a too optimistic vision.
Well, this shows people that change actually is possible. And for the people in the region who feel so hopeless and who feel like they've just
had setback after setback after setback, this shows them that change is possible, there are great leaders in the region. At the end of the day,
people do want to have security, they want prosperity, they want their children to have better jobs than they have and more economic opportunity,
and that should be very helpful.
And that -- one other thing I'll just note is that we did call this the Abraham Accords because Abraham was the father of the three religions, and
this agreement is bigger than just bringing two countries together, it's hopefully bridging the relationship between multiple phase so that people
can focus on the fact that we're all human beings, we all deserve to live a better life, and that's, again, another accomplishment that President Trump
was able to do to bring people together.
AMANPOUR: So, we're fortunate to be speaking after you to the foreign minister of the UAE. So, we'll ask him also about how it impacts on the
peace proposal or the peace possibility between Israel and the Palestinians.
But before I go, I just want to -- before you go, I just want to ask you a question about mail-in balloting. Again, the president has raised a lot of
eyebrows by suggesting that there wouldn't be the financial help to the Post Office that needs it to be able to process all the mail-in ballots and
implied that it might just not happen because he doesn't want to see it used for mail-in voting.
So, President Obama, former president, has just weighed in on a podcast with one of his former advisers, David Plouffe, saying, Trump is actively
trying to kneecap the Postal Service. He says, what we've seen in a way that is unique in modern political history is a president who is explicit
in trying to discourage people from voting. How do you answer that, and will the president support the Postal Service in what they need to get
these ballots, you know, processed?
KUSHNER: First of all, 100 percent. He's doing everything they can to make sure they have the resources they need. But, you know, you could argue it
just the other way, Christiane, which this is an unprecedented attempt by people to use an unproven method that, quite frankly, they don't have the
time or the infrastructure to set up correctly.
What you're saying is basically is, no, we're relying on the Postal System and the federal government to run an unprecedented mass operation in a very
efficient way where there is, you know, a lot of examples of -- that's ripe with abuse and fraud. I think what you're seeing on both sides is a lot of
posturing. You see that from what President Obama has said, you're seeing it from what President Trump has said. But at the end of the day, what
everyone wants is just want a fair election where we know what the rules are, where people are not playing games and trying to create opportunities
where there's the opportunity for fraud and gamesmanship.
AMANPOUR: Jared Kushner, thank joining me.
KUSHNER: Thank you. Have a great day.
AMANPOUR: And just to lay out, all the experts say there is virtually no evidence of fraud in any of the mail-in balloting, and yes, everybody does
want a free and fair election.
So, we move now to find out exactly what this deal between the UAE and Israel means for the United Arab Emirates. Joining me from Dubai to discuss
is Anwar Gargash. He is the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
Minister Gargash, welcome to the program.
Can I just ask you just to sum up for us how and what this means to you and the Persian Gulf region there? What material change will happen in the wake
of this formalizing of your relationship with Israel?
ANWAR GARGASH, UAE MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Good evening, Christiane. I think this is a very historical breakthrough, and I would sum
it up that three things are being achieved.
I think on the one hand, we have been able, through suspending annexation, to diffuse a bomb that was threatening the two-state solution. It's not
really resolving the Palestinian/Israeli issue, but it is buying time in order for a resumption of these negotiations and to see the two-state
solution. Because the history of this crisis clearly shows that effects on the ground change possibilities. So, I think we should really not lose this
opportunity because we've been very good at losing opportunities in our region.
I think the second thing is the deal clearly has a give and take. That's really the teeth that we have gotten. The give that United Arab Emirates
has given is normalization of relations with Israel. And here, I would say that this is a process that has started with inviting Israel to expo,
Israel having a delegation in IRENA, which the removal energy organization. So, for us, this was really a matter of time. But we thought that if can
actually get this suspension of annexation, then this would be a win-win situation.
I think the third and last thing here is that this is truly a strategic shift. It's a strategic shift of who? Clearly, 70 years of not
communicating with Israel has led us nowhere. And I think we need to shift to a new method of doing things. And that method simply is we can disagree
with you on political issues, but we can work together in nonpolitical issues, and I think this is the sort of model that we've been calling for.
There has been soul searching and reviewing of this. But that is really the crux of the deal, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So, let me take a few of those issues, because they're all really important. The idea of the -- of staving off annexation. I mean,
you've probably read Horet's (ph), you know, they basically have said that Bibi Netanyahu never had a plan really to annex, he never presented a plan
to parliament, there was never anything formal, but they surmise that it was, you know, sort of a bit of leverage that he had. And now, he has this
diplomatic recognition from you.
And to that point, he has said that it is still on the table. I read it out to Jared Kushner, as you could see, and Jared Kushner admitted that this is
for the moment, for now, this annexation has been staved off. What leverage do you have and do you believe that this is staved off forever?
GARGASH: Again, Christiane, nothing is forever. But what is clear to me is a clear differentiation between the politics of a country and the
commitments of a country. And for me, I differentiate between these because you have here clear commitments. I mean, the United States is involved. The
process also of normalization is a process. It's not going to happen tomorrow or the day after. And at the same time, Israel really has a chance
now to really create a confidence with a major Arab economy, a country that doesn't really have borders with Israel. So, I would differentiate, really,
between the murky politics of all Middle Eastern countries and the rhetoric that we hear both the commitments of states.
I will tell you that we in our contacts with many, many Arab capitals, many, many European capitals, the issue of annexation has actually been
like a timebomb that everybody has been worried about. So, we've taken that annexation issue off the table. We bought time. I'm not going to say that
this is perpetuity, but it really does give us time, because otherwise, the two-state solution would be dead.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, this is what I want to ask you about. You've bought time for what? Because you're right, the two-state solution looks like it is
dead. And you've also said something that others agree with, that staying away from engaging with Israel, the Arab nations, has brought you not much.
But the question is, what will you do now that you are at the table? Because the Palestinian leadership has called this a betrayal, and as you
know perfectly well, the Arab League position was no separate deals unless there is a deal between Israel and the Palestinians.
So, the Palestinians say they had no idea. They were blindsided. They didn't know about this deal. So, you didn't tell them. Now, what can you do
to use your leverage at the table to re-engage and create a process that may revive the idea of a two-state solution?
GARGASH: Well, Christiane, here I have to emphasize that as Jared Kushner said, we talk nobody. All of our contacts with our Arab friends, brothers
and strategic partners were really after the announcement of the deal in order for us to make sure that there is no leak. So, this is something that
we decided was essential for the deal.
Right now, of course, the whole idea is that we are urging the Palestinian leadership to take this advantage. I mean, the United Emirates is not one
that will actually conduct the negotiations, but we've been urging the Palestinians to stay engaged. Difficult and despairing times are here, they
are all around us, but this has been the state of them all these years. And for us, we've been consistent with our message.
And I think it is important here that we have been a traditional and historical supporter of the Palestinians, and I think we saw an opportunity
here where we leveraged the issue of normalization and Israel's wanting to normalize with one of the largest Arab economies, and said, well, we're
going to do that, but what we need in return is the suspension. And we understand, as I've said, that this suspension will buy us space, will buy
us time, and I think we all need to all urge the Palestinians to engage.
If you really look at the responses that we are hearing from the E.U., from European capitals, from everybody that has been a traditional supporter of
negotiations in a two-state solution, everybody is ecstatic about taking this off the table and being able to come back and to engage. And I think
our urging the Palestinians is to use this opportunity and not to lose it because our history in the region is a history of missed opportunities.
AMANPOUR: OK. Well, as you heard, the head of the P.A. has called it a great betrayal. But I want to ask you, are you prepared for people to
disagree even in the United Arab Emirates? You know, we always wonder what will the street do and what will the street say? So, the Arab Spring
activist, Iyad el-Baghdadi, has tweeted that the government, your government, linked tweeter feeds are calling on a crackdown on decent
within the UAE over this deal.
What do you make of this? He says, UAE government linked verified account calling upon UAE security authorities to monitor the tweets of UAE
residents who disagree with the UAE/Israel normalization plan and expel them from the country. Is that really your policy now?
GARGASH: I mean, Twitter in our region is a jungle. But what I have really seen in the Gulf here -- of course, you will hear different opinions, you
will hear -- you know, I mean, this is a very emotive issue. The Palestinian issue is a very emotive issue. But I think a lot of the younger
generation, you know, we hear all the time, we have tried what our fathers and grandfathers have done and we have gotten nowhere. We do need to try
differently. We need to look at things differently.
Of course, there are many activists who will have this view or that view. And I think this is a nature of Twitter. I mean, there is an argument on
Twitter in our region, very violent arguments every day about everything. But I think overall in the government, I am really seeing a new sense of a
new reality that we really need to do things differently. And that's the strategic shift and the rays of hope that I am seeing.
AMANPOUR: So, finally, Minister Gargash, would you then say that it looks like the shift that you're talking about is kind of away from the
Palestinians and more towards solidifying and building up an alliance against Iran? This whole situation that we've been talking about and
certainly the Trump administration with its maximum pressure has wanted to, you know, put forth.
GARGASH: Well, again, it's not -- the whole announcement is not about Iran. It's really about our Arab priorities and mainly vis-a-vis our
relations with Israel and about suspending annexation.
It's not about Iran. Iran is tangential in this. But it's not really in the Arab spirit today. There is heavy polarization of Iran and Turkey trying to
expand their influence within the Arab zone. It's not only about Iran.
But what we are really seeing today is not about Iran. It is mainly about trying to find other ways, through strategic shift, first of all, by taking
away the annexation issue off the table, looking at this issue and encouraging the Palestinians to reengage.
As we do that, we think we will have more leverage on the Israelis if we have channels of communication, if we have more normalization, and we can
have, with the Israelis, disagreements that are political about how they do things with regards to the Palestinian issue with regards to their
relationship with the Arab world, but at the same time look with a fresh eye on other issues, because we have tried the old methods, and they
So, very quickly and very finally, do expect Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia to follow you and do the same thing?
GARGASH: Well, again, these are sovereign decisions.
But I am -- I'm very encouraged by statements coming out of Oman, statements coming out of Bahrain. I'm very encouraged about the Saudi
press, about statements coming out from the Egyptian president.
I think that this is a polarized region. There is never the right moment. And we need to understand that decisions like these need to come without
much attention of waiting for the right moment...
GARGASH: ... because, clearly, and we need to do what we have to do, and I think we have been successful and suspending annexation.
AMANPOUR: All right, and we will follow up with you in the days and weeks that come.
Anwar Gargash, minister of state for foreign affairs, thank you so much for joining us.
GARGASH: Thank you. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now, global approval of the U.S. foreign policy, of course, has taken a hit during the Trump presidency, illustrated starkly in this Gallup
poll, which paints the picture from 2012 onwards.
But could the deal between Israel and the UAE market shift?
For more on what we could expect, I'm joined by Middle East scholar Vali Nasr, professor at the Johns Hopkins School of International Studies, and
former member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake.
Welcome, both of you, to the program.
Vali, because you know this region so well, I wonder what your thoughts are about this peace deal, what you have heard Jared Kushner say tonight, what
you just have heard Anwar Gargash say, where it leaves the region as a whole.
VALI NASR, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Well, the region as a whole will not see much change, because the Israeli-UAE, Israeli-Saudi relationship has
been there for some time. It has been an open secret that there are intelligence, military and diplomatic ties between them. Now it's been
And, largely, this has been formalized, because -- not because of the region, but because it benefits all the parties at this moment in time.
President Trump desperately needs a foreign policy victory. North Korea hasn't panned out. With China, things are going sideways. He has not been
able to get Iran to the negotiating table.
This way, he can basically claim a victory, and it's a victory that will be popular with evangelical voters in the United States. And he needs that.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is a big winner. He's facing corruption charges. He really could not go forward with annexation. And, for him, this is a
wonderful victory he can tell Israelis that there is no trade-off between being aggressive on the Palestinian issue and normalizing relations with
And he's now historically important, in having established diplomatic ties with a third Arab country.
And, for UAE, I think it is a worry more about Washington than is about Iran. We know that UAE and Saudi Arabia got very close to the Trump
administration, that they are worried about a Democratic backlash when a new administration comes in, or if the Congress becomes even more
The progressive wing of the Democratic Party is very critical of the war in Yemen. And a good news of peace buildings with Israel in the Middle East
will help cushion some of the blow that they might expect after the election.
And I think all of them sort of saw this moment as necessary to come forward and try to take maximum advantage of this deal. But, on the ground,
it doesn't change anything between UAE and Iran. It doesn't change the lay of the land in Syria. It doesn't change Libya.
It just formalizes what has already been there as an axis of cooperation between the Persian Gulf, Emirates and Israel.
AMANPOUR: Really interesting to get that perspective.
Marietje Schaake, let me ask you from the European perspective, because we have had European leaders react to this deal. We have had them praise the
deal, but with the condition, of course, as Mr. Gargash was talking about, of using it an ability or method to restart negotiations between Israel and
Palestine for a two-state solution.
Do you see that as possible? And how much does that mean now still for Europe?
MARIETJE SCHAAKE, FORMER EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: Well, I think it is definitely still the priority for the European Union.
And I encourage leaders to be more active in the geopolitical sphere, and especially in the Middle East. And it is clear that, with everything that's
already happening in the Middle East, the last thing people there, but also the E.U., need is more instability, more conflict and more polarization.
And so I think that should be the priority for European leaders. And it is unfortunate that the United States under President Trump has become much
less of a reliable partner there.
We have seen the surprise withdrawal of troops from Syria, but also the walking away from the Iran nuclear deal, which, even if it was sold in the
United States as a big success or a necessary step, was really perceived as a big disappointment and a slap in the face for Europeans, who were deeply
invested in that, and where we still see the instability and the tensions that have come from the U.S. not adhering the deal.
And that for a president that promises and actually prides himself in being a deal-maker shows that there's a lot of deal-breaking going on as well.
AMANPOUR: Well, so let me ask you, Marietje, before I go back to Vali on the Iran nuclear deal, because that was one of the hallmark things that
President Trump said he was going to get out of when he came into office, and he did.
What impact is it having on Europe? And does it make you feel safer, less safe? And do you hope that, if there is another administration, a new
administration, that somehow there's enough of it that can be stitched back together or a deal-plus?
SCHAAKE: Well, it is clear that the E.U., along with many global partners, was actually very invested in this diplomatic deal with the Obama
administration as well.
And so, even if it was announced, it was still very disappointing, and I think harmful for the perspective of allowing diplomatic negotiations
between global powers to render success.
And so we have seen European leaders scrambling to cushion the fallout of the U.S. walking away, for example, by economic instruments. And there's
still ongoing questions about the extension of the arms embargo playing out at the U.N. as we speak.
So, definitely, Europeans will look with great hope to a new administration, if that indeed is elected, to renegotiate diplomatically
with the Iranians. And I can only hope that it will not be too late, because not only will the Middle East suffer more than it already does, but
also the E.U. will be the first to feel the effects of further escalation and militarization of any conflict in the Middle East.
AMANPOUR: So, Vali, let me ask you, because you know this deal just about as well as anybody does.
And we're hearing reports that members of the Trump administration, either in the open or behind the scenes, are trying to do everything they can to
make sure that coming out of the deal is irreversible, hedging their bets in case -- in case he should lose and tying a future president's hands.
What future do you see for any deal at this level with a new administration?
NASR: Well, I think, whether President Trump gets reelected, or there's a new administration, I think the current situation with Iran cannot
The United States has shown that it can exert enormous amount of pressure on a country, as well as on its allies, but it cannot force a change in the
policy of that country.
I think the problem with President Trump has been that he has said that he wants a new deal with Iran, but, in reality, has behaved like he wants
regime change. And that has destroyed any trust in what U.S. intentions might be.
So, I think a new administration would have to basically try to reconstitute trust in American policy, not Iranian trust in American
policy, but also European, Chinese and Russian trust in American policy.
And I think one of the problems is that we don't know how much damage will be done between now and January. I mean, as we're talking today, the United
States is launching its resolution at the United Nations to try to force an extension of the arms embargo on Iran, over European, Chinese and Russian
objections, and essentially running roughshod over the Security Council rules over multilateral policies.
So, in a way, the U.S. objective now is very simple, which is that the current deal has to break apart, it hasn't over the past four years, to
force Iran to sign a new deal. But he actually doesn't have a pathway of how he gets there.
So that I think the Biden administration, as it said, will try to go back to the deal, at least as a ground-level baseline, from which they can then
think about how do you get Iran back into negotiations about other things, and how do you get the Europeans, Chinese and the Russians to support an
AMANPOUR: I want to start sort of -- well, I want to ask you both to cast your minds back to four years ago, convention season four years ago, 2016.
And in Cleveland, at the Republican Convention, that's when President Trump, just as he was getting there, basically poured cold water all over
the idea of NATO, remember, calling it obsolete, and then going off on NATO.
I don't know how much NATO and the allies took him seriously or what they thought might happen if he did become president. But let us just play a
little mash-up of what he said back then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Number one, NATO is obsolete. And, number two, the people aren't paying their way.
It's obsolete, and we pay too much money. NATO, we're going to have to people that aren't paying, they're going to start paying. It's obsolete.
We're getting ripped in NATO. They don't pay their bills. They are delinquent. NATO is obsolete and has to be rejiggered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, we get the point, guys.
AMANPOUR: So, Marietje, when you all heard that four years ago, and now four years later, how is that working out for the alliance?
SCHAAKE: Well, I think, as Vali said about the relationship with so many global partners, it is clear that trust and a sense of predictability, and,
especially in NATO, a sense of alliance has really moved very, very far apart since that speech four years ago.
I think it may not be something that politicians will say out loud. But, as a former politician, I still speak to a lot of my colleagues. There is a
permanent sense of damage control, of trying to avoid disaster and of trying to really avoid any kind of fallout, and keep together what can be
done, so really tiptoeing around this president.
And I think that that, in and of itself, is very damaging for an alliance like NATO. Now, having said that, I think the spending issue has improved
since four years ago.
And, generally, it is important that we don't dismiss the significance of NATO as an alliance, in partnership with the European Union, as it
strengthens its defense and security capabilities, because, clearly, the threats that the alliance is facing, tensions with Russia, violations of
international law, the annexation of Crimea, wars that are really threatening or escalations of tensions that we're facing, it is very
important that we don't dismiss the alliance too easily, as we just heard that speech of four years ago in which the president has.
And, even more recently, I think there was concern about the U.S. not taking the alliance seriously enough and potentially even stepping away
So, the urgency could not be greater, and I really hope that we will not see further escalations there either.
AMANPOUR: So, Vali, when it comes to Joe Biden and whether he might win the next election, we have got a lot of commentary about what might happen.
Dan Drezner, professor of international politics at Tufts, says there is a chance of a V-shaped recovery, i.e., in foreign policy and the alliance, if
Biden wins, similar to the way Obama helped change America's image after he beat -- or after he came in after George W. Bush and the Iraq War.
But then another international observer, James Traub, has just written in "Foreign Policy": "The great question that Biden will face, how must
America adapt to a world that looks very different from the one you left in 2016? America is wounded today in a way that it was not then, in a way that
it has not been since before Joe Biden was born."
Vali, what could happen, then, if there was another administration to try to right some of the imbalance that Marietje has just been talking about in
terms of America and its allies and the trust that you have just all been talking about?
NASR: Well, I think the idea that we will have a V-shaped recovery back to where we were is perhaps optimistic, although one never knows.
But I think there are a number of things here that are at play. One is that the financial burden of the pandemic will make it very difficult for the
United States to resume the same degree of leadership in the world as before. We will be internally focused. The virus may not be even gone
before 2021 or sometime in 2022.
And, therefore, the idea that this is only a matter of change of president is perhaps optimistic.
Secondly, there's now new facts on the ground that have happened. In other words, the nuclear deal with Iran is in trouble. Or, with China, the
president has really changed the tenor of the relationship and put it on a collision course and a cold war. This will not just snap back if he goes.
And I think, thirdly, if you're sitting outside the United States, whether you're in Europe or you're in China or you're in the Middle East, what you
see is that this president still has about 30 percent at least popularity among the American electorate. He has spent four years educating Americans
that Europe is the enemy, Russia is the friend, and that Americans have once elected somebody like Trump.
They may do it again. Maybe in four years' time, there will be another one. And I think it's not just trusting the American leadership. It's trusting
the American people. And I think countries are going to try to protect themselves from a repeat of a populist, disruptive American president again
coming to power.
And Biden has to deal with all of these things. He cannot basically just pretend this hasn't happened.
AMANPOUR: So, just very quickly, then, to Marietje.
Obviously, Trump is trailing in the polls, but he could win. What does Europe or the world expect from four more years of Trump? What might that
look like in terms of foreign policy?
SCHAAKE: Well, I think the world is clearly holding its breath.
And, certainly, I know many European people are. When you walk outside, you're in the park, that's definitely what you hear, but also politicians.
I think the biggest concern is what it will mean for the public of democratic countries to work together.
We just heard Jared Kushner repeating attacks on the press again. There's deep concerns about the elections and the democratic rights of the American
people being respected in November. And that clearly hurts and undermines the ability of the United States to play a leading role in defending
democracy and defending human rights, right at a moment where they're already under pressure and under attack.
So I think that is the thing to watch out for most. And I can only hope that the E.U. steps up, where the U.S. steps back.
AMANPOUR: All right.
Marietje, Vali Nasr, thank you so much indeed.
And, finally tonight, something different. Now, after 34 years on London's West End, "The Phantom of the Opera" is now just a memory. The end of that
hugely popular musical is a major example of the damage COVID has done to theater.
And its composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, has been the U.K. government's point person throughout the pandemic. And he is now taking part in a COVID-19
vaccine trial and paraphrased a line from another musical, "Oliver," to tweet: "I will do anything to get theaters, large and small, open again,
and actors and musicians back to work."
For months, he has been streaming some of his classics free on YouTube.
We talked about it when we spoke at the height of lockdown.
AMANPOUR: Andrew Lloyd Webber, welcome to the program.
ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER, COMPOSER: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: I want to start by asking how you're doing with your sort of online performances now, particularly what we just talked about.
You have started "The Shows Must Go On." And it's not just for entertainment, although it is. What's the bigger purpose, as you decided to
put "Phantom" and the others streaming?
LLOYD WEBBER: Well, one of the most important things is, we were able to - - if people wish to donate to the Actors Fund, that is really terrific.
LLOYD WEBBER: I have been doing my bit as a producer through Broadway Cares.
But it's a wonderful way of being able to help. But also, at this point, I mean, I have been very lucky in my career, and I think it's a way of giving
back to the audiences who have been so good to me.
And maybe it also introduces people to the theater who may not have even thought of going to a theater. You never know.
AMANPOUR: And "Phantom," of course, is the first one. It is on now. And it obviously -- he knows, the Phantom knows a little bit about being in
lockdown, because he's locked under the opera. Tell us a little bit about it relates, how "Phantom" relates to this moment we are going through.
LLOYD WEBBER: Well, I don't know that he specifically -- other than the fact he wears a mask, I don't think there is a -- no, I think that the
"Phantom" really is an extraordinary love story. And I think one has to think of it as that.
But the production that you can see today is the 25th anniversary concert of it that was -- it was shot in London about five years ago now, six years
ago. And it was done in the Albert Hall. It's not the theater, but it is a very, very fine production. And I think we are all very pleased with it.
AMANPOUR: I think you have got a musical that I think has been either stopped before it started or closed very quickly, "Cinderella." LLOYD
LLOYD WEBBER: Oh, yes. Well, it hasn't closed, no. It has been stopped in its tracks. We were supposed to be doing a workshop for the last three
weeks, not been able to do it, although, thanks to Zoom, of course, and things, we have able to continue with all the writing.
And we have been able to make sure that we finished it. Of course, quite when we're going to be able to put it on now is an open question, because
the big question all of us are asking is, when is it going to be possible to go back to the theater again? When are the theaters going to be open?
And then, of course, when the theaters are open, are audiences going to feel safe to go?
I think we have got a moment now, I think particularly on Broadway, where I think it's very, very important that everybody pulls together. I don't mean
just the writers and the actors and everything, but I think everybody, backstage, stage hands and indeed the theater owners, have got to pull
together to make it possible for the public to go.
I don't think there's going to be the money around to spend on theater tickets in the way perhaps there has been. And I feel very strongly that we
have got to try and make theater as accessible and as safe as possible for people to go to.
AMANPOUR: Just talk to me a little bit about the everyday actors, many of the people who work in theater, even if they're not on stage, just to make
it happen, what they must be going through right now in terms of loss of revenue, loss of job and uncertainty. What are you hearing?
LLOYD WEBBER: Well, it's practice. It's so much hearing.
It's seeing. It is just very, very difficult for absolutely everybody. You know, I, as a theater owner in London, what do we do? We have not made any
of our staff redundant. But we can't go on forever, because we're a -- in the end -- I mean, I run my theaters not-for-profit. And it is very
difficult for all of us.
I have chosen in Britain to support the Musicians Benevolent Fund, because our musicians here are freelance, in a way perhaps that they aren't to the
same extent in America. And it's a very big issue for the musicians. But, of course, the big issue that you have, which, of course, we don't have
here, is, is that we do have free health care. And my biggest concern for the actors and for everybody in New York and all over America in the --
where our shows has been is the health care issue that I feel most, most, most concerned and worried about.
AMANPOUR: I know that you have a foundation. You provide free music for many people who may not be able to and scholarships and this. Just quickly,
before we end, tell us what you have found and what you think is the value added of music to people, whether when they can come to theater or when
they can't and when they're closed off in a moment of such deep anxiety.
LLOYD WEBBER: Well, I think, as I ponder it, I think we all know, over the years, really, that music empowers And that's why I'm particularly,
particularly keen and passionate about music in education, because one has seen in schools, where perhaps, in difficult areas or backgrounds where
they have social problems, music has been the common denominator force for the good. And the thing about music is, is that it transcends all
I can give you an example of one school where I thought it was 46 different languages, but, in fact, it was 60 different languages that were spoken
there. And music is the common denominator. And I feel passionately that music should be the right of every child everywhere. And I think that, at
this moment, music is a great leveler.
AMANPOUR: Well, we have seen so much fantastic music online during this. And I just wondered whether you would be so good to play us out as we say
LLOYD WEBBER: I will do. What I will do is play a little bit of "Think of Me," because, on Sunday, I have been doing these challenges.
"Think of Me" ends with a cadenza, where the singer sings something which is really very difficult. I have asked people this coming Sunday to make up
their own cadenza. And I tell you what. If we get some good really ones, we will put them into "Phantom of the Opera" when we reopen in London and
LLOYD WEBBER: So, a little bit of "Think of Me."
Here we go.