tv Amanpour Company PBS September 27, 2018 12:00am-1:01am PDT
hello, everyone, and welcome to "amanpour & co." here's what's coming up. from bill cosby to allegations against a supreme court nominee, the me too movement faces its biggest test yet. with me to discuss this watershed moment is gretchen carlson, the former fox news anchor who started the ball rolling on sexual harassment and won. also ahead, my exclusive interview with the saudi foreign minister on trump's opec oil attack, women's rights in the kingdom, and saudi's war in yemen that has turned into a humanitarian catastrophe. and the president of the international rescue committee david miliband shared his eyewitness report with our hari
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welcome to the program, everyone. i'm christiane amanpour in new york. bill cosby woke up in jail today. once america's favorite tv dad. he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs and in disgrace having been sentenced to three to ten years at a maximum security prison for drugging and sexually assaulting andrea constand 14 years ago. at least 60 other women have accused the comedian but hers was the only case that fell within the statute of limitations. this is the first major conviction since the emergence of the me too movement. a defining moment, the reckoning around sexual abuse and consent continues as so many levels of society including the supreme court and the allegations against president trump's nominee brett kavanaugh. a third witness has made new allegations of sexual misconduct, and capitol hill is preparing for what will be among the most watched hearing since anita hill took on supreme court nominee clarence thomas back in 1991.
with me to discuss this is gretchen carlson, who is no stranger to taking on the powerful. she blew the whistle on sexual harassment at fox news and she sued her former boss, the late but once mighty roger ales. and she shared her own experience in her book "be fierce: stop harassment and take your power back." gretchen is joining me here right now. welcome to the program. >> great to be back. thanks for having me. >> as the new allegations come out in the last few seconds, president trump has called them lies. and judge kavanaugh has publicly denied them. but it does seem to be a mounting pattern of these allegations. i just want to ask you given all that we said leading in to this moment now, where do you think the reckoning is, and are we at a very dangerous, precarious moment, or do you think this could be a moment to push it over the top? >> i think this example with kavanaugh is different than the other me too examples we've seen
over the last two years because we have so much politics involved in it. both sides have probably made mistakes with the way in which they handled information and the way they politicized it. so if you take politics out of it, i think it's not surprising to see once you have one accusation you have another and another. we've seen that pattern play out over the last two years. i think it will be a mistake to try to rush this vote before we can actually hear from more of these women. and more witnesses, for that matter because, unfortunately, christiane, we're still in this he said/she said and without actual evidence it remains he said/she said. >> are you amongst those who tend to believe the first accuser, the first witness, christine blasey ford? >> well, i think here is what's changed since my story broke more than two years ago. women are actually believed or at least they're given a second thought. right? it's not just immediate -- some people immediately say they
don't believe them, but i think that's changed dramatically. i think in the past when a woman would come forward, and this is why women didn't come forward in the past, you were automatically maligned, you're a liar, you're doing this for fame. i think that's changed dramatically. as i said before usually where you have one person, you tend to see them develop a pattern. >> i want to bring up a "new york times" full-page ad that was in the newspaper today, and it is almost a replica of an ad that came out in 1991 and it's 1,600 names remembering the 1,600 african-american women who said that they believed anita hill back when she was making these accusations against clarence thomas and of course he, as a supreme court nominee, was then confirmed and he sits on the supreme court today. but now this latest one, mirrors the number, 1,600 names, but they're men who believe christine blasey ford along with the women who signed petitions for her. how much of a dramatic move is
that to see men standing up and having their names in print to be counted? >> huge. my first television job was actually covering the anita hill hearings. >> really? >> yes. and i was promptly sexually harassed thereafter on the job. >> by your own -- by people inside -- >> where i was working, yes. so my initial inclination as a young woman in her early 20s at the time, of course i believe her. why would a woman put herself up to something like that unless she was telling the truth? so i was horrified at the way she was denounced. the idea that 1,600 men now in 2018 would sign their names to say that i'm standing up for these women is huge because, to me, christiane, the final part of this tipping point in this cultural revolution we've been experiencing the last few years is men. >> and that is so important because at the same time you've got very powerful men, the president of the united states -- at first he said she
should have her say. now since it's gotten more and more close to a vote and maybe kavanaugh's confirmation hangs more in the balance, he is joining the bandwagon against these accusers. that's a very powerful man. and then you have the spector of very powerful men, an all-male republican majority on the senate judiciary committee. and they've had to be dealing with this. do you agree with what they've done which is to call in a female prosecutor, mind you, a sex crimes prosecutor, to interrogate both christine blasey ford and, presumably, to ask questions of judge kavanaugh. >> and this is what i was saying earlier about politics. listen, those same senators who were there 20-some years ago for anita hill, they saw what happened to the way in which they were portrayed after that and even more so now all of these years later. they don't want to be in that same situation. so i understand politically why
they want to bring in a prosecutor and especially a woman. it's very transparent. my one hope would be that in the sense it's a prosecutor who specializes in this that she would be able to understand exactly how to ask the questions and maybe we won't be listening to members of congress go on and on about themselves and we might actually get to the facts. >> it's interesting because you're not a lawyer, i'm not a lawyer, but i did speak to a very prominent defender this morning of women who have made these allegations and she's won cases in court. she said, look, this isn't a trial. to bring a prosecutor has all sorts of risks and it does allow the men on the senate judiciary committee to sort of dodge their responsibility. apparently the democrats will get to actually ask their own questions. >> i think they're choosing to do that. it would be interesting to me to see how that plays out. it's going to be criticized no matter who does what but, again, i think this case is so
different from other cases that we've looked at in the me too era because it is so heavily politicized. >> i want to bring up you're a former fox news anchor. you know all about the power of the interview, the power of public relations. i want to play a little bit of what judge kavanaugh and his wife -- they were sitting together in a fox news interview earlier this week, tears and the whole thing -- i want to play you what judge kavanaugh said and ask your opinion whether this was the right pr move. >> i've always treated women with dignity and respect. i went to an all boys catholic high school, a jesuit high school, where i focused on academics and athletics, going to church every sunday at little flower, working on my service projects. i did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter. >> i mean, that's what he says. what do you think, was it a smart move to take to television?
>> i can see why his advisers suggested that he do that. >> it is unprecedented in the history of -- well, modern history of supreme court nominations there's never been the public statement or a public interview like that. >> i can understand why his pr people may have recommended that, but i do think there's a difference between whether or not you're celibate or you haven't had any sexual encounters as a young person and whether or not the accusations could still be true. those two things aren't necessarily the same. but i understand from his pr perspective why he wanted to get out that messaging. >> and presumably you watched the interview. what did you think? how did he do? >> i think he repeated a lot of the same answers over and over again so you could tell that's exactly the message that he wanted to get out. but, listen, if he has not done any of these allegations, then that's how he would continue to answer it no matter what the question was. >> what about so many -- and it's not just, you know, the men on the senate judiciary committee but sort of there's
quite a wide debate going on about should indiscretions -- i'm saying indiscretions now, not serious allegations but indiscretions -- when you're a high school student, be considered so many years later? 50-odd years later. or should what goes on in high school, as judge kavanaugh has alleged, stay in high school? >> i guess it depends on what the accusation is. i mean if it's drinking too much, you know, well, i'll just share that -- i mean, i did that, too. i'm not sure that that is something that should keep you from becoming a supreme court justice. obviously if it's sexual harassment or assault, it's a completely different conversation. >> i want to play what president trump has said about one of the witnesses who has come through, ramirez, deborah ramirez, who talked about she alleged the judge, well, at the time, at yale exposed himself to her and this is what president trump has
said about it. >> there were gaps and she said she was totally inebriated and she was all messed up and she doesn't know if it was him but it might have been him. oh, gee, let's not make him a supreme court judge because of that. >> again, there's a lot of this going on in public trying to discredit these witnesses. now, of course, if they're lying, of course the judge needs to have his day on capitol hill and his testimony, but they, too, need to as everybody has said. again, you know the politics of all of this much better than i do. how do you think this will play out in the senate judiciary committee in the wider senate which has to actually vote on whatever the senate judiciary committee recommends at this time? the at this time is really important, this time of me too. >> here is what i think about seeing the president do that or any other member of congress or anyone for that matter is it
harms the entire movement and women in general feeling the confidence and the courage to come forward when you automatically say to somebody, i don't believe you no matter what. we have members of congress who have said i'm voting a certain way no matter what. well, that harms everything that we've worked so hard for over the last couple of years and before that time. harassment is apolitical. you can't choose who you want to believe based on your politics. so statements that are so black and white on both sides harm the entire movement because how does president trump know what the truth is? he doesn't know. i don't know. you don't know. but to automatically come right out and say from the outset i absolutely don't believe anyone, it's not fair to the process. >> the obvious question is will this process be one that gets us to the truth or is it going to be a continued sort of each side will get their say for a certain
number of minutes or hours and just before i ask you to respond to that because, you know, the senior most leaders in the senate are saying the following. >> the weaponization of unsubstantiated smears, that's what we have here, the weaponization of unsubstantiated smears, will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from service. >> i mean, you know, it's kind of tortured logic because the whole idea is to see whether each side can have their say. do you think we're going to get to the truth? >> if it's just one witness and one witness, probably not. because it will go back to the he said/she said which is why i advocate in my book and everywhere i go across the world, please try and get evidence. i know it's difficult. and certainly we're talking about 36 years ago, so there probably was no evidence.
but because we're still in this culture where it is he said/she said, having another witness would certainly help in this process. >> they just said, no, we're not going to have that. apparently there are others and bits and bobs of notes and various other -- apparently there's a polygraph test result that has not been admitted or will not be allowed, and the senator said this is not the fbi's job to do this kind of stuff. this is what we are meant to do. you're working on a bipartisan effort, aren't you, to address some of these issues. >> yes. >> tell us about it. >> it's a taking away arbitration bill we introduced back in december. and bipartisan, imagine that. wouldn't it be great if we did something for women together. it was introduced in the house and senate on the same day. it's the ending arbitration act of sexual harassment. arbitration is a clause added to millions of employment contracts in america and all around the world, and basically what happens is if you're being sexually harassed or
discriminated against, you have no choice but to have your case go to arbitration. why is that a problem with this issue? because it's a secret chamber. so you give up your seventh amendment right here in the united states to have an open jury process and, instead, you go to this land of secrecy where no one ever knows about your story. so imagine how that changes if suddenly a woman in the work place has a voice and the perpetrator they're on equal footing now. maybe the harassment doesn't happen to begin with or at least this person has a voice and others within the work place also understand that person has a voice and they may, too, come forward. >> again, because of your work on this, your experience, the fact you took on the powerful at your own network and essentially started this whole ball rolling, i wonder what you make of some of the men who have been accused who are now coming forward testing the waters to see if they can get back their reputations, their employment, their jobs. and obviously there are to an extent certain gray areas. not everything is an attempted
rape and not everything is just a sloppy kiss. there's stuff in the middle. there have been two comedians who have come out, louis c.k. and aziz ansari. they came and did their routines, and they were very open, but they didn't start by acknowledging the massive elephant in the room and that's been criticized by many. then there are two others, a professor and, indeed, a former radio reporter who had more serious allegations against them, and they've also come out and they've written long 1,000-word articles, but the criticism has been they focused on themselves and the pain they've gone through and the jobs they've lost and the prestige they have lost. without, at any point, doing a massive mea culpa. what's not -- i mean, the denial is still there. that's very strong. >> it's very strong and my answer to that is that these men may be able to be rehabbed. i don't know.
the discussion shouldn't automatically be from the beginning where are these men going to end up next? in other words how are they going to have their careers brought back to life? you know what the focus should be? the focus should be the thousands of women and maybe millions across this world who have lost their professions because they simply had the courage to come forward and say that they were treated wrongly. right? now why aren't we giving those people back their jobs? all of those women. to me that's what the focus should be on. i've talked to thousands of these women. 99.9% of them lost the career that they loved and the profession that they worked so hard to achieve simply for having the courage to stand up and say this happened to me. and they never work again. and that is outrageous. >> so just remind our audience, i mean, it's in your book. you've been very public about it and you just mentioned right after covering or amidst covering the anita hill hearings, you were sexually
molested -- harassed. can you tell me what happened then and just remind us how bad it was for you and the courage it took to stand up? >> so this is when i was in my early 20s and i was with my cameraman and we were out on assignment in a rural part of the state. when we got back into the car he asked me how i liked it when he put on my microphone and touched my breasts. and it went downhill from there. i actually envisioned myself rolling out of the car door on the passenger side just to get away, like i had seen done in the movies. the absolute panic that a woman goes through when you're going through something like that and you have no escape. but i didn't want to come forward, and so i understand completely why women don't. i didn't tell that story to anyone until i wrote my first book 25 years later, and other assaults that had also happened to me in my 20s. so for people to say, well, women are part of the problem because they don't come forward, well, why would they? look what happens to women when they do.
it's improved. but look what happened to me when i came forward just two years ago. maligned, liar, just doing it to be famous. end of your career potentially. so i think we need to take a long, hard look about why women don't come forward and why they wait so long. >> do you have any thoughts about your former boss, bill shine, being president trump's main communications director and adviser at this particular time, particularly since we've seen the fox news interview? maybe that was his idea. >> it could have been. unfortunately because i signed a settlement, i can't comment on any of the employees that used to work there. >> what do you think then of what will radically change not just individual situations but just change the society? is it what we're seeing right now the sort of backlash movement of women in their
hundreds running, unprecedented numbers, for office in the upcoming elections? >> that's part of it. i think watching the cosby verdict for me and his sentencing, that's emotional for me. that's emotional for any woman who has ever gone through this because, wow, to think that actually happened, we could have never ever predicted that. but fixing harassment in our nation and around the world is a tangled web. i wish it was just one easy solution but it's changing laws. it's changing the way we raise our young boys. it's changing the way in which we handle it inside the work place, making it safer for victims to want to come forward. it's changing the way we train our employees. it's changing the way the person at the top sets the tone in the company. it's changing the way that women are promoted and paid fairly and women are put in positions of power because guess what happens when you have more women in power? you don't have as much
harassment. so it's a tangled web of all coming together to decide that we're going to fix this and i'll finally say men, as i said earlier, we need them. we need them to help us in every single area. and we're seeing that start but we have a long way to go. >> gretchen carlson, thank you so much indeed. turning now to the u.n. general assembly in new york where president trump met with the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu and publicly came out for a two-state solution for the palestinians and the israelis. >> a two-state solution. >> mr. president -- >> that's what i think -- that's what i think works best. i don't even have to speak to anybody. that's my feeling. now you may have a different feeling. i don't think so, but i think a two-state solution works best. >> and with mr. netanyahu firmly in his corner, president trump then turned on iran warning even
his allies to boycott trade with iran or face severe consequences from the united states. iran is still reeling from last weekend's attack on a military parade in the city of ahvaz that injured 53 others and killed at least 25. a separatist group which touts its links to saudi arabia claimed responsibility for the attack. after listening to mr. trump's opening speech at the u.n., the saudi foreign minister, adel al jubeir, came here to the studio to talk about that in an exclusive interview. we talked about their strong support for president trump's iran policy, chances of a two-state solution in the middle east, and those rising oil prices. foreign minister, welcome to the program. >> thank you very much. >> president trump launched a broadside at opec companies. saudi arabia is the biggest opec company. we're going to play a sound bite of what he said regarding high oil prices at the moment.
>> opec and opec nations are, as usual, ripping off the rest of the world and i don't like it. nobody should like it. we defend many of these nations for nothing, and then they take advantage of us by giv high oil prices. not good. we want them to stop raising prices. we want them to start lowering prices and they must contribute substantially to military protection from now on. we are not going to put up with it, these horrible prices, much longer. >> saudi arabia, as i said, is the biggest and most powerful opec nation. were you surprised by that? we're not going to put up with these horrible prices any longer and accusing opec of being responsible for these high
prices. >> it wasn't surprising because the president has articulated this before. saudi arabia is committed to balancing the oil markets, that prices are at moderate levels so that consumers are not hurt and producers are not hurt. we have seen an increase in the demand for oil and we'll see a reduction in the supply of oil by iran. i think the markets are putting upward pressure on the price of oil. we continue to increase our oil production to bring more oil to the markets so we have moderate prices. you see production increases in the united states. you see production increases elsewhere. there's a commitment to a stabilized market at prices that do not harm consumers or producers. it has been our policy for the last four decades and we continue to explain this to our friends in the u.s. >> and isn't it true that it is your friends in the u.s. who potentially may have been responsible for the spike in prices by taking off more than a million barrels and,
of iran oil, and therefore, lowering the supply. >> the price of oil began to increase when the world began to cover, when shale production came down. as a consequence of lower prices. now american supply is increasing and we're providing more supply to the market. with regards to the iran sanctions we're fully supportive of the president's policy on iran. we believe it's the right policy whether it involves imposing more sanctions on iran to make iran comply with international laws and international behaviors. we're fully onboard with that policy. >> that's true. saudi arabia has been, along with israel, the government of benjamin netanyahu, very, very pro getting out of the iran nuclear deal. which leads me to ask you because the iranians alluded to it and almost accused you of it. somehow being behind the terrorist attack on the military
parade in ahvaz over the weekend where dens were killed including kids, what do you make of that? >> it's a ridiculous and laughable charge. the iranian regime has consistently lied about things. the iranian regime has had very difficult situation interminally and have responded usually with force and brutally against their own people. every time they have a domestic problem, they try to point the finger at others. they accuse us of being responsible for their economic misery when it was mismanagement by their leadership. they accuse outsiders of the revolts that happened after the elections were rigged to allow ahmadinejad to have a second term. they accuse others of the problems when it was the iranians interfering in the affairs of other countries. iran is the largest sponsor of terrorism. >> what about the group that's an ethic group with links to
saudi arabia, they claimed responsibility and a lot of the claims came through saudi linked channels. >> i want to say the iranian charge is preposterous and outrageous. >> these are people who are claiming -- >> there are people who have their rights denied, they cannot learn their language. they cannot practice their faith. there's massive discrimination against them. there has been opposition against the regime for decades. >> you mentioned yemen and the nefarious activity in yemen. the problem is now the saudi campaign backed by the united states is coming under quite a lot of pressure from congress, from even the president today talked about it in a round about way but there is a backlash against your campaign because cnn and many other journalists
can see what a terrible civilian catastrophe there is now. you can't work your way out of how to stop this. is there a plan to figure out some kind of diplomatic end to this humanitarian catastrophe? >> this is a war we didn't want. it was a war we didn't seek. it was imposed on us. we worked on a transition to temporary government. we worked with establishing a national dialogue where they came up with a vision for their future. they appointed a group to right a constitution and then the houthis struck and took over the country and now we have a situation where a radical militia has taken charge of a critically important country. >> is this just a military solution to the end? >> we have said from the beginning this is a political -- the solution has to be a political solution based on the three points of reference, the gcc initiatives, the outcomes of the national dialogue in yemen and resolution
2216. every one the houthis have rejected. the houthis agree on peace talks and then they go back and renege. they have launched 197 ballistic missiles at saudi arabia. random cities, terrorizing people. they have hijacked yemen. they have laid siege on towns and villages and led to starvation. they have prevented the world health organization from vaccinating people from cholera. and then the world, cnn included, blames saudi arabia. there's something not fair about this. >> it may or may not be fair but saudi arabia is the big power backed by the biggest power which is the united states. you're not winning. >> that's not true. the houthis used to control 80% of the country and now control less than 20%. >> do you still feel that peace in the middle east, the greater middle east, the gulf region or wherever, is very much tied to the israeli/palestinian situation? do you still believe that?
or is it an irrelevance now? >> everything helps. the israeli/palestinian conflict is one that permeates throughout the arab and muslim world. every time you have radicals emerging, they claim to be doing it in order to liberate palestine. we have a political settlement there. we need the political will to implement it. >> jared kushner is meant to be the guardian of the new u.s. peace plan. jared kushner is also saying at the same time, he's kind of playing hardball in the last couple of weeks we've seen the united states increase its pressure on palestinian civilians, frankly, withdrawing money from unra, from ngos and israeli/palestinian civilian organizations that might be able to promote a little peace and tolerance and understanding, obviously closing down the office here in washington and et cetera, et cetera, not to mention moving the embassy from
tel aviv to jerusalem. they believe, because they've said it, this increases the odds, this pressure of punishing the civilians increases the odds of the palestinians coming to the negotiating table in a serious way. is that the saudi position? >> our position is that the palestinians are the ones who have to make the decision in terms of what they accept and what they don't accept. our position is we support a two-state solution with the palestinian state within 67 borders and we believe that putting pressure doesn't work but it has to be a cooperative approach. and we're hoping that we can turn around the situation of mistrust that now exists between the u.s. and the palestinian authority so that they can focus on building towards peace. >> you see, there's a thought that's running around washington which is that at this moment now
with president trump, with your global attempt to isolate and whatever, weaken iran, that saudi arabia's interest is in moving closer to the israeli government of benjamin netanyahu, further away from the palestinian cause. even the israeli ambassador to washington says he senses a change among arab countries to israel saying you are all dancing reflexively to the palestinian tune. is that correct? >> i think that may be an exaggeration. we have no relations with israel. our position on the peace process is clear. the position -- our position on iran is very clear and the fact the israelis see it in similar term does not mean we're allies nor does it mean that we will work at the expense of the palestinian cause. for us we have said time and time again the number one issue is palestine.
his imaginetist named the last arab summit the jerusalem summit. we tripled our support with the palestinian authority. we gave $150 million to islamic institutions in jerusalem or trusts. we provided $50 million to make up the gap in their deficit. >> what would you say to your friends, the united states, who are your friends and the trump administration supports you and you are supporting them. even though chaz freeman, a former u.s. ambassador to saudi arabia said to "newsweek" as a result of the joint combined obama/trump sort of withdrawal from activity in the middle east that saudi arabia does not see the united states as a reliable protector anymore. would you agree with that? >> no, absolutely not. i don't believe the trump administration has disengaged in the middle east. quite the contrary.
>> they wan to you pay more. you saw the sound bite. >> i don't believe this was directed at us. we have always paid our fair share since the beginning of our relationship with the u.s. and we believe in burden sharing and making sure we pay our own way and we carry our own costs. >> do you think a two state solution is closer or further away now? >> we have to always be hopeful that everything is possible. this is the longest running conflict in the middle east and resolving it will help stabilize the region and will help remove an issue that has been taken advantage of by radicals. every coup d'tat, all the terrorist organizations, many of them, that emerged under the pretext of wanting to support palestine. >> does jared kushner understand that? does president trump really get it? do you think a solution involves moving the embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem, for instance?
>> these are tactics and the way i see it they move the embassy to west jerusalem. the boundaries of jerusalem are to be determined in final status talks. and they said that the status of the holy sites remains as is which basically means they don't recognize israeli sovereignty over east jerusalem. they recognize it over west jerusalem. west jerusalem is not occupied territory. >> let me then move on to something the world is really watching and that is you and i go back a long time to the first gulf war when the u.s. first came to defend saudi arabia against saddam hussein and at that time there were, in fact, demonstrations by women, very tame, inside parking lots at supermarkets. not even outside to drive. and now the crown prince has allowed it and it's happening. how far will this go? we have cinemas that opened for the first time in 35 years. we have local elections that women can stand for.
how far will it go? women are upset about the guardianship law, they can't go to a shop without their male relative's permission. >> the changes that are happening in saudi arabia are amazing. to reclaim our lives and introduce a culture of innovation and progress and you can't do that if half your country is not part of it. women have to have their rights and be participants in our society. we now have women who are ceos of some of our largest banks and companies. we have increased the rate of women in the workforce and we continue to add to that. the cinemas and the entertainment and the driving are secondary issues but they're important signals. society is moving forward. guardianship system has been exaggerated. women can now go get jobs.
ask them and see. when you say they can't go to the shops, that's not true. >> you know what i'm saying, they can't leave the country, do important things, drive, take a trip across the border. they can't do a lot of things without their husband or if they don't have a husband the next male relative. >> i think the guardianship has been exaggerated. there are some restrictions and i believe it's a matter of time. i think the way people describe it today is vastly exaggerated. >> to that point it does seem a little bit one step forward, one step back, because even just as the driving ban was being lifted quite a lot of female activists were, in fact, arrested. one of them, she's a shia activist and potentially faces the death penalty for protest related charges. these may not be about driving but other kind of political protests. what's the world meant to make of that? >> christiane, i think the
notion that these were activists and they were arrested because they're activists is not correct. the public prosecutor said their charges are related to national security. the charges are related to working with foreign governments. their charges are related to working with people who seek to undermine the kingdom of saudi arabia. their charges were related with trying to recruit people in sensitive positions to extract information to then pass on to hostile powers and those charges are being investigated. some have been released. others will face trial. when they go to trial the world will know what the charges are and will see the evidence. the idea that these were activists that were arrested because they support women driving is ridiculous. >> well, i did say they necessarily weren't. these weren't but previous ones were protesting for more freedoms around the driving ban and they were arrested and put in jail. >> but not for that reason. this was not about human rights or seeking rights. these arrests were about national security.
>> all right. on that note, adel al jubeir, thank you very much for joining me. >> always a pleasure. so going back now to the issue we discussed, the u.s.-backed war in yemen and saudi arabia's widely criticized role in the ongoing human suffering there, our next guest gives us a look at the cost of yemen's bloody conflict. david miliband was the british foreign secretary. but for the past five years he's been head of the international rescue committee. and he told our hari sreenivasan what he learned from his own trip to yemen and how the world is failing its refugees. >> david miliband, thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> you were just in yemen. impressions? >> it's the worst humanitarian crisis according to statistics and it's heartbreaking when you see it with your own eyes. this is a country which was always poor. it has real stress from climate change. 3 1/2 years of war, 18,000 bombing raids have left a
country where 80% of the population depend on humanitarian aid, where half the population have no access to clean drinking water, where 3 million kids are out of school, and where the world saw the largest ever cholera epidemic last year. a million people affected. and i got this terrible sense that things are more likely to get worse than better because guess worse than better because the fighting looks like it's going to intensify in this critical port city of hodeidah. i got within 50 kilometers of it. and that is the port in the northwest of the country 70 to 80% of all humanitarian supplies and commercial supplies go through there. that is the center between the saudi-led coalition trying to re-establish control and the houthi rebels who took power in 2015. >> and there's been a challenge getting humanitarian aid in. >> there's a choke there. and we have good stock in port, we have the u.n. calculates a
fraction of the food, of the medicines that need to get through are getting through. despite the fact the port of hodeidah is still open. the airport, which is key for commercial operations, is closed. and this war is a stalemate, frankly, because neither side is advancing its position. the only people thriving in the chaos are extremist groups like al qaeda or isis and the victims are the poor civilians of yemen, 7,500 killed in the fighting. you reported this appalling bombing or missile attack on the coach of 40-plus kids. and then you have the wider ramifications for society that frankly are on the edge of meltdown. >> how can it be a stalemate? it seems on the one side, the saudi side, which the u.s. supports, is lopsidedly better armed?
>> it's lopsidedly strong. it has total monopoly of air. there's no asymmetric conflict. the rebel group, the houthis who took power, are dug in to the cities, and you can't bomb your way to victory against an occupying force on the ground. and the saudi led coalition don't want to fight street by street through hodeidah, the port and the city, and the houthis know that. the terrible thing is the pain is being felt by the civilians as a u.n. envoy extremely experienced martin griffith. he needs a ceasefire that allows the humanitarian aid to go through, allows commercial traffic to be re-established and gives him space to try to broker an enduring peace. >> do the yemenis know the world is watching? do they feel the world is not watching? >> they want the world to wake up. they know there's american bombs
dropping on them. as we drove to hodeidah, the checkpoints are manned sometimes by child soldiers. one of the kids chanting as we went through in a u.n. land cruiser death to america. because they say america is bringing death to us. and that is -- gives lie to the idea what starts in yemen stays in yemen this is how yemen becomes a center of radicalization that can go further and this war is making no progress. i'm not coming on this program to say to you the costs of war are too high because of the humanitarian costs, the costs are too high in humanitarian terms, and in geopolitical terms. because this is not a war that anyone is winning. it's an all lose, no win war. and it will take bold leadership to say we need a ceasefire, to
create a space for a political settlement. >> what is the responsibility of the u.s. in geting to that settlement? >> i think it's high. the u.s. is a permanent member of the u.n. security council. it's the most powerful member of the u.n. security council. it's the leading backer of the saudi-led coalition. this isn't just about the trump administration either. it's important people understand in 2015 the u.n. passed a resolution which, frankly, was a carte-blanche for war not a road map to peace. it was an unbalanced resolution, and it came at a time when the obama administration wanted to reassure the saudis that they had their back when they were doing the iran nuclear deal. it was a payoff for the iran nuclear deal in some ways. we need to start again because it's not the basis for the kind of political settlement a complex society like yemen needs. >> you have syria, you have the rohingya, people migrating out
of venezuela -- there are migrations happening all over the world, refugees being created by different causes. it seems the world is on the move in certain ways. >> not that different cause. the cause is conflict. the biggest driver of extreme poverty today is conflict. some of that is seen in the internal displacement. some in refugee flows. the world is on the move for economic reasons, which is a different issue to do with immigration. it's on the move because of a failure of peacemaking. you have fragile states that can't contain the religious differences. myanmar would be a good example of that. where the rohingya, 700,000 fled across the border into bangladesh. tumult in the islamic world. afghanistan, syria, big flows of refugees. and you have a weak and divided
international political system in which the u.s., i'm sorry to say, is in retreat, the western powers are in retreat. powers at least in word upheld human rights alongside states rights as the foundation of the international system are in retreat. and into the vacuum all sorts of movement. russia moves in to the syria theater. al qaeda and isis move in in parts of yemen that i was talking about earlier, and this retreat from global engagement under the excuse all politics is local is dangerous in a world that's more connected than ever before. what starts in syria doesn't stop in syria. what starts in yemen doesn't stop in yemen. >> part of the trump administration's rationale is, listen, let the rest of the world start picking up some of the slack. we've done more than our fair share. maybe we need to focus on our own problems at home. >> there's nothing to stop you fixing the bridges and airports of new york because you're also
doing active diplomacy around the world. walking and chewing gum at the same time is meant to be started here. european countries together now spend more on humanitarian aid than america. that's a big change. and the danger is that what richard haass, the president of the council on foreign relations calls the abdicationist foreign policy, the retreat from global leadership. the retreat from a rules-based international order. the great danger is far from serving america's interests, that retreat actually compromises those interests. >> it makes us more at risk over time? >> it makes you more vulnerable and exposes your allies. i put it this way. you can't have the blessings of globalization unless you're willing to bear the responsibilities, the burdens, of globalization. and so what i would like to see president trump and his administration recognizing, fine
to put america first, but america first is not served by american retreat. >> there seems to be an anti-refugee movement that's happening not just in the u.s. but across europe as well. much more talk of walls, much more talk of borders than bridges. >> that's a good point and there's a lesson in the countries that are hosting refugees. where are the most refugees? 1% of the world's refugees in america, 6% or 8% in europe. 86% of the world's refugees are in developing countries. so bangladesh, when those 700,000 rohingya were driven out of myanmar, bangladesh didn't say we'll build a wall. we'll look after these people. kenya when a million people came from south sudan over the last year and a half didn't build a wall. they said it could have been us. we'll look after these people. you're right to say in the countries that created the u.n. refugee convention in 1951,
the u.s., the uk, after the second world war, there's a retreat from the values that led to that long period of peace and prosperity but that doesn't make it right. one other thing, it's true the administration here is reducing drastically the number of refugees allowed to come here. >> last week secretary pompeo said the cap would be 30,000, the lowest since the refugee act went into effect, what, 1980? >> the historic average was 90,000 refugees arriving to the u.s. a small proportion of that around the world. they slashed it to 30,000. this year there's only 21,000 refugees being allowed. america retreating from its global responsibility. but we as well as being international humanitarian aid agency resettle refugees who are allowed to come. and the american spirit when a refugee arrives next door is to help them. it's not actually to be fearful. and america has a proud tradition of being a home for refugees. my organization was founded here in new york by albert einstein who was a refugee.
he was stuck in america when hitler came to power in germany. he couldn't go back. he was jewish. that proud bipartisan tradition is under threat, and that doesn't serve america's interests. >> you're a child of refugees. >> i'm a child of refugees. my parents were lucky because they were allowed into the uk. my dad was allowed into the uk in 1940. my mom in 1946. i'm no refugee myself but i was a child of refugees. and i think that -- >> does it change the way you look at this work? >> i certainly feel when i hear someone say i fled my country when it was invaded, i think of my dad. when i hear people say i was in hiding, i think of my mom. i don't want to put my pedestal in any way but it may be a different religion these people have these days, they're not jewish like me, they might be muslim, or any number of christians who are being -- minority christians being allowed in the u.s. is being
slashed. it's not just the muslim population. so the religion may be different than mine. the region of the world may be different. the sense of fellow feeling is strong. >> one of the things you're working on along with the sesame workshop is creating an infrastructure. you were both awarded $100 million grant from the mcarthur foundation. what are you working on? what are you doing? >> we're working to address something really telling. a child who is traumatized by war and forced to flee their country suffers what's called toxic stress that's effectively the damage to the brain that comes from being exposed to traumatic experiences. we're working with sesame workshop because we've shown between the two of us that we can reverse that toxic stress. if you get to those kids early enough you can help them. children between the ages of 0 and 8 in the middle east, in jordan and lebanon, in iraq and actually inside syria itself, we're setting up a program to reverse the effects of that
toxic stress to help 1.4 million children by visiting them in their tents, in their homes -- >> with puppets? >> yes, that's the short answer. >> with elmo. >> with educational material that includes a sesame character, a special new version of "sesame street" that will reach far more than the 1.4 million, it's a five-year program. so it's not the short term -- we're not promising a quick fix. we're promising that evidence-based systemic engagement can rescue a generation rather than leave them on their own. >> as we look across the world this is a generation of young people when they're in these refugee situations education stops. >> isn't that a scandal? half the world's refugees are kids and 2% of the world's humanitarian budget goes on education. what a stupid thing to do not only immoral.
>> is there a crisis we're not paying attention to or that's not gathering headlines the way all of them are not? >> you mentioned rohingya which is right, you mentioned syria and yemen. i would mention a couple of places. there are more poor people in nigeria than in india today. that's a transformation he t situation of the world. the world has set these sustainable development goals to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. the places it's not are the places affected by violence and by conflict. northeast nigeria on the border with cameroon and niger around the lake chad basin, displacement by a group boko haram. that doesn't get much attention. it goes to the heart of the question. the geography is being changed and we're not going to meet the sustainable goal of eradicating global poverty, of extreme poverty unless we get to grips with the failure of diplomacy leading to more people fleeing than ever before.
>> david miliband, thank you for joining us. >> thank you very much. just fascinating diverging views of the war in yemen and also america's leadership in the world from a former british foreign secretary and the current saudi foreign minister. amazing conversation. and just a final note, tomorrow we'll have all the developments from the senate judiciary hearing where the supreme court nominee, brett kavanaugh, and christine blasey ford, one of the women accusing him of sexual assault, are set to testify about her allegations. we'll also have my interview with the president of colombia where a peace process hangs in the balance. and cocaine production is soaring. but that's it for our program tonight. thanks for watching "amanpour & co." on pbs. join us again tomorrow. >> uniworld is a proud sponsor of "amanpour & co." when bee tollman found a
collection of boutique hotels, she had bigger dreams, and those dreams were on the water. a river, specifically. multiple rivers that would one day be home to uniworld river cruises and their floating boutique hotels. today that dream sets sail in europe, asia, india, egypt, and more. bookings available through your travel agent. for more information, visit uniworld.com. >> additional support has been provided by rosalind p. walter. bernard and irene schwartz. sue and edgar wachenheim iii. the cheryl and philip milstein family. and by contribution to pbs from viewers like you. thank you. there's a lot of talk
about borders these days. the city of tijuana sits right on the border of the united states. the only thing that separates it from san diego is this wall. with over 10,000 people going both ways everyday, this is one of the busiest border crossings in the world. people come from all over mexico and latin america in search of something new, something better. some cross the border, but others find opportunity right here in tijuana. and when people move, they bring their food, and that's the beginning to my favorite kind of story. in my kitchen, the border experience is an inspiration. first i'm going to recreate one of mexico's most popular tortas,
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