tv Amanpour Company PBS February 20, 2019 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
. hello, everyone, and we will come do "amanpour & company." here's what's coming up. >> foreign-born isis fighters and their brides want to come home as the caliphate collapses. but should they be allowed to return? then, is cancer a test of character? how one woman's diagnosis opened her eyes to that controversial take. she explains in her book "everything happens for a reason and other lies i've loved". the chasm widens. has the western alliance suffered lasting damage?
uniworld, is served cruising through europe, asia, india and europe. to travel is to eat. bookings available through your travel adviser. for more information visit uniworld.com. >> additional support has been provided by -- roslyn p. schwartz, the sheryl and phillip middlesteen family, judy and josh westen, the jpb foundation and for contributions from your pbs station from viewers like you. welcome to the program, everyone. i'm christian amanpour in london.
isis is again in the news not because it's growing stronger but because its caliphate is on the brink of extinction and foreign-borne are returning home, including to europe and here in the united kingdom. president trump has tweeted over the weekend the united states wants these countries to take back 800 or so captured isis fighters and put them on trial. the president is also threatening to release them if they are not taken back. right now public sympathy is being tested by pleas from isis brides who left of their own accord to marry a fighter and the cal fight, including terrorist attacks that killed innocent people across the world. one such bride is 19-year-old shamina begum when she and two school mates left the uk for the caliphate when they were just 15. take a listen to what she's saying now from a refugee camp
in syria to journalists who have managed to track her down. >> reporter: did you know what islamic state were doing when you left for syria? because they had beheaded people, there were executions. >> yeah, i knew about those things and i was okay with it at first because, you know, i -- i started becoming religious just before i left, you know, from what i heard islamicly that's all allowed. >> your family have made an appeal for you to come home. they are pleading with the british government to allow you to come home. do you have a message for your family? >> no. just keep trying to get me back. i really don't want to stay here. >> well, this is a very, very
real problem, a real issue that has to be dealt with. joining me now is veteran counterextremism peter neumann, center for study of radicalization and political violence and aimen dean, former al qaeda member who turned spy who infiltrated the heights of the organization for british organizations. gentlemen, welcome you both back to the program. at what point did you think we would have to be dealing with precisely this issue? aimen, you know it from a very personal experience. but are you surprised that the whole isis take two, if you like, is unfolding right now? ghters and brides?e foreign >> after every con flinflict we the same problem. after the soviet invasion of afghanistan ended, many of the veteran, you know, volunteers of the afghan jihad returned back home and they started a campaign of terrorism in many countries includie ining algeria and asia.
in is not a new phenomenon but there weren't many europeans and now we have europeans. >> you set up this center and you have watched this quite a lot, peter neumann. that makes a big difference because we're in europe and we've seen this spate of terrorism in europe for the last several years. >> yes. so, it's been the most significant mobilization of jihadi foreign fighters that has ever happened. it's estimated between 5,000 and 6,000 western europeans have gone to syria and iraq. of course, going back to your question, they've want only been returning since recently, they've been returning for years. for example, british government estimates that already 400 are back in the country. so, when president trump tweeted this weekend, it wasn't him causing this situation. he was prompting or addressing something that's been happening for a number of years. that's become more urgent now
because everyone fears that this kurdish/syrian autonomous region is going to collapse. and a lot of people currently in the captivity of the sds, of the kurds in syria, are going to be free at some point. >> those are u.s. allies fighting isis on the ground. as you say that whole area falls apart. let's take it piece by piece. you said they've come back to britain. you know very, very well, both of you, from different vantage points, how britain has been dealing with this historically as well. i just want to quote you the home secretary who said just this week, as home secretary my priority is to ensure the safety and security of this country and i will not let anything jeopardize that. these are not judgments to be taken based purely on emotion and empathy. we look at the facts of each case, the law and threat to
national security. he's reacting to shamina begum, 19-year-old girl, she went away at 15. you can say she's misguided but she doesn't say she's misguided. she went willingly, knew what was going on and she even supported beheadings and things because she thought it was islamicly acceptable. >> when i went to bosnia i was 16 and i knew what i was doing. and then at the age of 19 i pledged allegiance to osama bin laden. at age 20 i realized the errors of my way and left. but when i left, you know, you just -- can't just go back into normal life. you have to atone for your sins. you have to do something to undo what you've done. i ended up basically working for the uk intelligent services. that's why when we deal with each one of them, we have to deal with each one as individual cases. because someone asked me the question, what do you think
shamina should do? i said, look, if shamina wants the uk as a government, as a country, as the people, to take a risk for her, she must take a risk for the uk. she needs to open up. she needs to provide intelgliget services with everything that happened from the day she left, or before, groomed, who purchased her tickets, where did she move, which safehouses, which camps until the -- before she ended up in this refugee camp. >> one of the things -- you make a good point. she needs to divulge everything she knows. but one of the things i assume people like yourself, government types look for is remorse and their state of mind. she doesn't sound very remorseful except for her own current discomfort. i'm going to play another sound bite from another interview she did. let's discuss her state of mind and how you rehabilitate people like that.
>> some of the kids from manchester who were killed in the manchester arena, you must have heard about that attack. what did you think about that? >> i was shocked. >> what? >> i just couldn't -- i didn't know about the kids, actually, but -- i do feel that is wrong like innocent people did get killed. it's one thing to kill a soldier that is fighting you, it's self-defense, but to kill people like women and children, like women and children in beghum are being killed, the bombings, it's a two-way thing really because women and children are being killed back in the islamic state right now. it's kind of retaliation. like, their justification is that it was retaliation so i thought, okay, that is a fair justification.
>> how would you assess her fitness for rehabilitation? >> i think right now it's not very good. however, i want to emphasize that we need to see this in context. so, from our experience having watched a lot of these fighters going to syria, the experience of syria caused typically one of two reactions. some people have become more radicalized, have become brutalized and are utter wrecks. it's very difficult to deradicalize them. it's not impossible to deradicalize everyone. other people have been turned off to experiences of isis, perhaps you, and are ready to leave, leave that experience behind and are perhaps ready to open up. for those who have radicalized further, absolutely, they should be prosecuted and they should be locked up as long as they pose a threat to society. but those who have turned away, they should be given the opportunity to open up and, perhaps, even for that evidence
they use to be used against other people who are more difficult cases. that would, in my mind, be a smart strategy of dealing with people who are british citizens and who, because of that, actually have a right to come back if they choose to do that. >> let's just make a little bit of a potential separation, if one can. she doesn't seem to be a fighter. so, there's a difference between these women who rushed off because they thought they were on some romantic religious journey and the men who may have groomed them and who were actually fighters. you could hear the baby in the background. she's had a baby. apparently she's had two others but they died from inhospitable conditions several years ago. so, you kind of have to make a distinction between who is trying to come home and who isn't. >> unfortunately, in the case of isis women, you know, we cannot make that distinction. i tell you why.
their husband, there were incidents where isis women, even in the company of their own babies, set off suicide devices against kurdish and iraqi forces. this happened in mosul and it happened in te-- it's well documented. they created the condition in which you cannot trust any one of them. this is a deliberate policy by the leadership, to make sure, well, you want to escape. no one will trust you. so, they have now created a condition where, you know, it's impossible to know what's in her mind except what she divulge. the problem is, everything she says indicates some sort of, you know, deep connection with the islamic state ideology, almost psychopathic ideology. she referred to it as dola. >> sort of stockholm syndrome or genuine allegiance?
>> it is genuine allegiance. people say, we don't have evidence she is a member. no, there is evidence. you don't live within islamic state boundaries without swearing allegiance to the caliphate. she took that oath of allegiance. there's no question about it. she did. >> it's proven, i agree with you from from. from a legal point of view, however, it's more difficult to prosecute women because they haven't fought. in the netherlands, for example, they are applying an interesting principle which really goes along the lines of what you said. they are basically saying, everyone who was within that territory between 2014 and 2017, we assume that they were supporters and active supporters of islamc state and they can be punished accordingly. >> so, i started by saying president trump had threatened to release these people if the netherlands, britain, france, germany, belgium didn't take
them back and put them on trial. over the weekend the german foreign minister said, it's certainly not as easy as they think in america. what is the answer? i mean, is trump just saying what may happen anyway if this place where the kurdish -- the syrian kurds collapses, the ypg, sdf and they can't hold them anymore? is he talking about what's obviously going to happen? >> well, it's happening because trump is withdrawing from syria and everyone assumes, all the experts assume that without the american support, the kurdish autonomous region will not be strong enough to survive. i personally think we have a window of about 12 months to bring these people back. so, my -- >> why do you think 12 months? >> well, because trump said march/april he wants the last american troops to be out. i think the kurds can survive for about eight months against the turks. but, of course, their priority will be to fight against the
turkish, not necessarily to keep isis fighters from countries who they don't even care about. >> who betrayed them, by the way. >> absolutely. so, within 12 months i do think most european countries will have to successively bring some of these people back unless they want them to be uncontrolled across the region, perhaps even smuggling themselves back into european countries. so, my recommendation would be, bring them back, bring them back successively, start with the easy cases. use the evidence they provide you with in court against the more difficult cases. so, sort of chain situation. >> do you know any countries that are doing that well right now? you have just said there have been over the year some 400 who have come back to britain. >> in britain, surprisingly, very few people have been prosecuted. i never quite understood why. in france, the government said, we're going to bring all of our citizens back, 130 of them, all at once. i think that's a mistake because
the french currently do not have the capacity to deal with so many people, including women and children and prosecute them. i do think the best way is to bring them back successively one by one almost. >> how were you deradicalized? >> that's a very difficult question. if i knew the answer to this -- well, all i can tell you is you have to use the stick and the carrot. you have to have -- up, you have to organize kindness on one hand and deteerrrence. you use leniency and heavy monitoring. for those who don't cooperate, it's a very radical problem that requires a radical, out-the-the-box solution which means you build an offshore situation, an island of yours legally, and you put them there far away from the general
population. nothing more than a jihadist feel is isolation far away from the general population. that's how you deal with it. on the one hand those who cooperate admitted back to the society on stages. those who do not, the hard-core cases, you put them on an island somewhere. >> like a guantanamo? >> not guantanamo. legally your jurisdiction. the uk has islands around the world governed by uk rules and regulations but you build a facility there because basically this is a different kind of threat. the problem is they are not your usual criminals where if you put them in prison they know the errors of their way or their punished. if shamina comes back and put in prison, she will create 20 other shaminas. >> that's what i was going to say because prison is a radicalizing -- >> that's the point i want to
make. austria doesn't have any islands so that wouldn't be possible, but you're absolutely right to raise the point about prisons. one thing is to prepare to get people prosecuted and convicted. the second step is to think about prisons. do we have the capacity, how do we prevent people from radicalizing other people within prisons. the third step is to think about prevention and rehabilitation for those cases where we think that is appropriate. and one thing, we haven't thought about enough is most of these rehabilitation programs are for young men. we now expect a lot of women to come back. >> and kids. >> we expect very young people to come back who are both victims and potential perpetrators. both at the same time. and that requires a lot of psychological -- >> i'm very much opposed to any rehabilitation or deradicalization to anyone who refuses to cooperate in terms -- >> of course. >> the first path to rehabilitation and come to terms with what you've done is to divulge every piece of information.
>> that should be part of the deal. >> you said that at the beginning. i want to pay another clip of shamina begum where she's talking about why she shouldn't be held culpable for this. >> me just going there and being a housewife and them taking care of me is not helping. i'm not paying for their bullets, i'm not training for them to tb trained. i'll admit, i'm the one that made the choice. i was only 15 years old, i did have -- i do have, like -- i could make my own decision. i do have the mentality to make my own decision. i did leave on my own knowing that it was a risk. >> i mean, she is a little all over the place. yes, i went voluntarily. no, i didn't do anything to materially help them. i guess whether she's somebody that's taken to court, i don't know, but how does one build a case in britain or france or in the netherlands. diane foley, the mother of james
foley, who was brutally beheaded, throat slit, one of the first of the major victims of isis publicly has said that the beatles who did this to him need to be held accountable. she does not want them to be sort of left out there, you know, wand ering around. she wants them to come back and be held accountable in court so people can see and hear what they did and they can be punished. how does one build a case? what's the evidence? >> so, i think -- >> i don't mean in her case because it's clear, obviously. >> three sources of evidence. one is secret intelligence information. second point is, especially people who went early in 2014 were still poetsing a lot of stuff online. there's a lot of social media that has been confiscated that can be used. the third source like in every criminal case is other people who were with them. we know, especially with european foreign fighters who
often didn't speak arabic, they were staying with other people who spoke the same language. you can assume shamina knows a lot of other english fighters and they know her. once you get four or five to open up and implicate others, you can use that as evidence in court. >> so, i refer to the beatles. they're the four major known killers and captors of the journalists and aide workers in isis. finally to you, aimen, do you think that as the caliphate winds down and it looks like it's on the brink of falling, that isis is going to die off and will they still have that -- you know, that sort of ability to project their terror here and there in the west? >> in 2010, when it was thought that the predecessor of isis was
dying or dead, you know, i made it absolutely clear to all those who would listen at the time that, no, they still have the money. they still had $120 million in cash and they were buying businesses in iraq all over the place in order to facilitate their return so they used to call it aggressive hibernation. now, the question is, there were between $450 to $550 million in isis cash. where is it? their cash is safe to the fact they can hibernate again, wait for the right conditions to come back, and on top of that they have a network of cyber caliphate, people who pledge their allegiance to them but they're spread all over the world because they couldn't go to their territories so they remain where they are, in their countries, north america, europe, middle east, waiting for the time isis will return. as long as the cash is there, i
believe that this isis will come back in some form in the future. >> aimen dean, peter neumann, we couldn't have had better experts to discuss this dilemma. thank you both so much, indeed. in a moment, we'll examine how the trump administration's america first doctrine has stoked high tension with transatlantic allies. first we're going to turn to an extraordinary personal story. people often like to believe that everything happens to them for a reason. in suffering, for instance, you're given what you can handle. for those on of faith, god has a plan. four years ago kate bowler was a mother, a difen sti historian and just finished writing a book. then came the phone call from her doctor who told her she had incurable stage four cancer. this, of course, turned her life upside down, including her relationship with god. her memoir, "everything happens for a reason and other lies i've
loved," examine how to handle everyday life when nothing makes sense anymore and how to cope when you lose faith. she sat down to talk all about it and to tell her story. >> kate bowler, thank you so much for joining us. >> i'm so happy to be here. >> let's back up for people who aren't familiar with your story. you are married to your childhood sweetheart. you bought your first home after a long struggle with infertil y infertility, you have your beautiful son. you're publishing your first book which is a groundbreaking study of prosperity gospel and then having these pains. and you're going to doctor after doctor and you're like, what are these pains all about? and then you get that phone call that you know is going to change everything. do you mind talking about that? >> yeah. i really thought i had gotten to
that place. i had so much after deferment of school and then so much of paying into this life you thought you'd have. i had it for about six months and i had random pains. there's no history of cancer in to me. i'm a pretty articulate, i think, narrator of my own experience. so i was begging people to take me seriously in the hospital, i just couldn't believe that it was as bad as it was. so, when they called and said i had stage 4 colon cancer, it was like a bomb went off. i couldn't even put thoughts together and i certainly couldn't imagine what life would mean after that. >> there's so much to talk about here because you're a professor at a difen sti school, duke difen sti school adif difen divinity school and thinking about the gospel and what does it mean and what does it mean in the present moment. >> yeah. >> how did that strike you,
given it's your daily work. >> it did feel pretty ironic to have spent ten years studying religious explanations for suffering. and then to be struck with such a terrible situation that people started explaining to me. i honestly had never had that experience of being a problem to be solved. that when people met me, all they wanted to do was explain why it was me, not them. and that was hard because i kind of thought -- i mean, in a divinity school or any other more compassionate i hoped for context that people would have more resources to say -- to just say, i'm so sorry this happened. but instead, i mean, people reached into their theological back pocket for all kinds of things. some of it was the more, like, let's dig into your spiritual past and see what you might have done. >> it's a punishment for what sin? >> yeah. it's an indictment. and that's a lot of what i -- i
mean, my first reflex was just to try to process it through my theological background and say, honestly right now i'm really struggling to explain what feels unexplainable. honestly, i can't believe people keep trying to explain me as i'm suffering. and so i wrote this in a piece for "the new york times," mostly forgetting a lot of people read it and then not taking my e-mail off the response thing, and then getting thousands of people's immediate response, which i thought i'd said, hey, can everybody simmer down for a second, not explaining other people's pain. and everyone's response was you might have had sin in your past life, god is obviously -- closing a door but there's definitely a window somewhere that's opening for you. and then just, i think, and this falls on women mostly, the endless performance of cheerfulness and gratitude. all i was supposed to say was,
i'm so blessed. i'm sure the doctors and god, et cetera, will work it out. just the scripts around being sick are thick, that people didn't leave me a lot of room for ambiguity? >> is that why you wrote this book "everything happens for a reason and other lies i've loved." i want to unpack that. everything happens for a reason, that's the main -- >> everyone wants to give that to me. >> and why is that, for people who are not as familiar with this. because there are people who think, that's ridiculous. the universe is random and cruel and who doesn't know that? and for a lot of people that's absurd. you're saying that's an unacceptable answer for a lot of people. >> there's a range of people who will give you that answer. among the christian there's a very large group i had studied in that first book i wrote called "the prosperity gospel," which has a rarefied view of what faith is.
if i -- you're a seminary grad so if i said, what is faith, you'd probably say hope or trust or something. and their answer is that faith is a spiritual power. that every believer is given. if they think positively and speak positively, you unleash those forces that bring things into being. they look for that in wealth and in their body. in health and wealth to figure out if their faith is working. and so because of that, any -- any, you know, setback is a setup. >> there's a lot of those. >> there's only lessons. this is life is a kind of obstacle course and if you do it with cheerfulness and joy, god will always work it out for you. and then there's less overtly religious versions like all my adorable hippy friends who were immediately friends i had not eaten kale or sufficiently taken my essential oils or -- >> you ate too much sugar or
th that rice crispy treat. >> it's the blame game. not to be trite but when someone experiences, they're close to someone suffering, they do that inventory. was it in your family? i wonder what environmental reasons they can think of so they're always wondering, why you and not me? the result is quite cruel because it expects that i'm supposed to learn from this lesson and somehow accept that this was supposed to be my pain, my suffering, my fate. and all i wanted was to just reach back through that plexiglass that went up the second i got sick and a, one second ago i was just like you. and this blew my life apart. and i wish i could go back to that kind of naive optimism. >> why do you call it other lies i've loved? >> i guess, honestly, i wrote
the book because i was trying to be honest with myself. as much as i'm saying, you know, it was other people. it was me, too. i mean, i wanted to figure out, maybe i could have worked harder, done something different. i was trying to do archaeology. what is it in there that believes life was supposed to work out for me? so, i tried to use it as a kind of reckoning for the, i think, individualism that i was always obsessed with. i mean, i think i -- i might not have said i believe in the miratocracy. i certainly performed it. i thought i was special. >> how do you understand it religiously? it's hard because cancers makes you feel like nothing. >> why is that? >> i don't know if it's just
because you have to wear a lot of rough cotton. you go to the hospital and you see a lot of death. you have this feeling like you're at the edge of the cliff and you're being dangled over. and it makes you feel like paper. and so everything in my ris christian background says, you are loved. god loves you so much. you are made with joy and with purpose. but then the experience of being so near death and other people who are dying is you just wonder what was so special about you in the first place. so, i think it's just hard to -- it's hard to reassert that sense of belonging and purpose. especially being that sick, you go out in the world and everybody has a job and has a starbucks order and you just don't remember what you were doing anymore or why you were doing it. >> is there any part of you that feels angry? >> yeah, yeah. i mean, i was less angry for
myself. i was really angry when i looked at my son and my husband. and i thought, this is -- this is a very poor substitute for the life that i promised you. you know, to my husband when i married him. to my son when i expected that i was always going to be his mom. so, that was the part that made me the most angry. and then some of the other anger just came from wanting so much to feel close to people again and feeling so lonely. >> what is it that makes people want to say, everything happens for a reason? you just have to name it and claim it. well, you know, god doesn't give you more than you can handle. >> yes. >> that's a classic. what is it that makes people want to say that? is that about them or what do you think? >> i think partly it's -- it's that people don't want to
surrender that part of our lives that we all have that just wants to make meaning even out of the worst moments. and i think that's a beautiful hope. the problem is, it's really oppressive when you just dump that on somebody who maybe for reasons of illness or, you know, random tragedy or institutional evil puts them on the losing side of life. and so i think also people are trying to help people who are suffering to get back to that place of agency where you want to stand up again and fight. and that's so important for everybody trying to manage their tragedy. but it also totally lets them off the hook because, surely the universe has given you all the resources you need to handle this. >> did you grow up in a family that had a faith commitment? >> yeah, super mennenite. >> did your illness shake them, did it shake their faith?
>> you know, in one way it didn't because they're so communal. in their mind set it was wonderful to know that they never made me feel like i was going to be alone in this. they're wonderful as communal suffering. as a faith tradition they get it. life doesn't always come together. but i think like everybody else, they were always just looking for that way that we could climb out of the pit. and there just wasn't one. >> there's always been suffering. i mean, there's always been suffering. many of our sacred texts speak to that fundamental fact. so that leads me to wonder, do you still believe in god? >> yeah, yeah, i do. i mean, honestly, in the hospital -- i don't want for this to sound terribly pius. just because i'm from a divinity school. we're very uncomfortable talking
about our spiritual beliefs. but ifsz blown away by the fact that the closer i felt to death, the more i felt intensely loved. and not just by other people, but just a supreme and beautiful peace. i'm kind of just hoping that that's sort of what god does when we're preparing for death is we get this sense of calm. but the more i went on living, the louder life became and then the more it was easy to forget. and then you go back into the world and everybody's on instagram and people want their bikini bodies and you're just excited to be living. >> the guy in the short lane at the checkout actually has 16 items, not 15. >> i do remember my first feelings of pettiness after the hospital. i just sort of hoped they would go away but, no, i was as petty as before. >> let me just read something from the book. you say that control is a drug. and we're all hooked. whether or not we believe in the
prosperity, gospel's assurance that we can master the future with our words and attitudes. you write, i can barely admit to myself i have almost no choice but to surrender but neither can those around me. i can hear it in my sister-in-law's voice, i can see my academic colleagues. they ask, is this hereditary. buried in all the concern is the unspoken question, do i have any control? >> yeah, yeah. >> what answer have you come up with? >> it's so hard because i used to use faith as a language of certainty. giving that up has been tough work. i guess, i mean, i just pictured my life as one that i could control. i would have a long career with a neogothic tower. just these dreams of what --
supposed to do. and i never imagined that i would have a horizon in which i can't be certain. it's hard just with parenting because everything about a kid is the language of the future. it's the growth chart against the doorsill. it's what's next and should he be in soccer. you just want to speak that language with such certainty because it's all the stuff that is under our control. and giving that up has been really painful. like, it's -- it's most lily sud because sometimes i feel like the future is just a language i can't speak like other people. >> can i ask, though, and apologies if it's too personal, how are you preparing? i mean, the reality of it is, and it sounds so terrible, but it is true, that we're all going to leave here at some point, but you're right, that's not something that most of us spend time thinking about. >> yeah. >> how are you --
>> well, it's -- >> -- preparing or do you true not to? do you try living as you put it in ordinary time? what are you doing? >> because it's a both -- i mean, the problem is, i think maybe just in the course of the day and the week and the year we're all running the math on what we're supposed to do. like every decision requires a lot of just decisions about investment. do i really -- how do we spend our time? i struggle add lot with that because, a, i'm in a career that while i was in the hospital, i had to decide if i was going to write a book to keep a job i didn't know i'd live to keep. i had to decide almost immediately, do i act like i'm going to live or do i act like i'm going to die? and i want to be able to live solely in the present be but i sort of have a job to do. so, i struggled a lot with that. then i decided that i have to choose the parts of myself that fully express whatever gifts i have to give.
in this case, i happened to be a historian, as boring as it is, so i decided that part of managing cancer would be that i would work really hard and write a new book and that i would section off a huge part of my day just to be with my kid and the people i love. and that i would have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. but, i mean, i struggled a lot with whether or not -- i mean, i think we all do. like, is this worth my time? is this worth my life? >> you express quite a lot of doubt in this book. your book is hilarious. don't get me wrong. it's hilarious. but it's -- it's filled with doubt that the certainties that so many people cling to are not that that. and some people will not appreciate that. and i wonder what that's like for you are in a world that teaches the divine, right? >> yeah, yeah. well, i'm hopeful -- >> can you still do -- >> yeah. >> -- your job? >> it's such a fun question
because are we supposed to be experts in certainty if we're people of faith? and i really hope not. i mean, i -- i like to imagine that my students at the divinity school who are mostly going to be pastors or nonprofit workers or casserole burners of all kinds, my hope is that since they're the front lines, other than doctors at the places people go when they're in pain, that they will be the thing that holds space for people to struggle. and we need other people. i mean, that was a massive lesson to me the second i was in the hospital. i don't have family here in the states. i only have my university, really. and i -- i've just been so -- i mean, so needy. my church and my community fed my family for over a year. i mean, we just need everyone to fill in all the gaps. and so, part of letting go of
certainty has led me to a real humility a hope that says, i'm actually not the right person to say that everything's going to turn out, but i hope that my experience points to the fact that kindness and love is always the way forward, because pain creates this horrible gap that everyone wants to explain. but all that does to me is say that everyone else needs to step in with the kind of kindness that -- that puts people's lives back together. and my stuff is mostly irreprable but i could use a casserole. >> what kind do you like? >> i'll do tuna. >> thank you for talking to me. and your family. and that you get a really good casserole. >> kate bowler continues to fight her cancer. she's still going through treatment and her condition is stable for now. now we want to return to the health of the relationship between the united states and
its european allies. after two years of absorbing the trump foreign policy doctrine, they feel america is turning its back on them. and might not be there for them in a crisis. this showed up at this weekend's munich security conference where trump's representatives were given a cool and weary reception. "new york times" columnist and european patriot roger cohen was there and he's here with me now to dissect the decaying alliance. am i right, decaying alliance or are we overegging this, whatever, pie? >> no, i think decaying is right, eroding. i don't think you can criticize nato to the degree president trump has or leave nato and suggest you're more at home with dictators than elected leaders like angela merkel without there being a response. it was very evident this week in
munich and to some degree in warsaw that the europeans are thinking again. >> well, you wrote in your latest column, while you're in munich and subsequent to that conference, you wrote that it was a little like a requim for the west. that's like a funeral mass. it's dire. >> i think it is pretty dire. look, it's not all president trump. the balance of power in the world has been chasing for a decade. china is rising, india is rising. it couldn't keep going. it's had a good run. >> are you saying it's gone? >> it's going. i think president trump has made clear that the united states doesn't any longer want to be -- wants to underscore, underwrite the world's security. in that sense i think it's gone, yes. and i think that's what we felt this week. to see americans in munich, which is kind of the temple of western unity greeted with such
coldness suggests to what degree -- >> you're talking about the now sort of viral clip of vice president mike pence speaking -- doing his piece there and saying, i bring you greetings from the 45th president and there was a deafening silence. >> it was very strange, chr. it was strange for the speech, it was strange for president trump mentioned in every other sentence, there was a frostiness in the room, there was an arrogance about vice president pence in the way he instructed the european allies to leave the iran nuclear deal, the so-called jcpoa. and, of course, this is -- this is an agreement enshrined in international law through united nations resolution. and europeans think it's working. think it's keeping iran from becoming nuclear. >> on the frostiness and the weariness, we talked to senator
chris coons. he was in munich. i talked to him yesterday. he said actually they were leading the largest conk congressional delegation ever so they were trying to send a signal, from the legislative branch of the united states of government, that america was still in it with its trans-atlantic allies. did that convince people like angela merkel other others there? >> well, there was a large delegation, and former vice president joe biden spoke and said, we will be back. but the sense you have is that the united states is no longer there to defend the world's security in the same way. what was alarming is listening to the alternatives. because somebody from chinese bureau got up and talking about multilateralism, which europeans believe in, talking about cooperation, talking about dialogue, words that did not appear at all in vice
president's pence speech. then he said, ethnic groups in china work together in perfect harmony. completely forgetting the uygurs. and then the russian foreign minister saying, we want a common european house from lisbon. you and i both know that's code for the end of nato. we want a sort of russian umbrella for europe. i don't think europe is ready to buy into that either. what does that leave for the europeans? i think that leaves the option of trying against all the current political difficulties to become the voice of a rules-based world order of multilateralism. >> cue angela merkel. she delivered a speech, we'll play a clip, by her standards much more energetic than usual. she often says the right words, but in this regard, her tone spoke volumes.
let's just play. >> translator: will we abide by the principle that we have learned our lesson from the second world war that was caused by the national soldiers, my germany, that even though multinational work may be slow and arduous, but putting yourself in other people's shoes, trying to forge win-win situations, is this not better? i am firmly convinced than trying to solve all of these issues alone on your own? >> well, the multilateral approach got a big clap. it was shot across president trump's bow? >> it was an extraordinary speech. it was extraordinary for the manner of the delivery. i mean, there you saw angela merkel who is generally fairly restrained, she was gesticulating throughout and she was pointing barbs at the united states, clearly. it was a passionate speech, who
believes the multilateral rules, it might seem boring at times but it has more or less kept the peace for upwards of seven decades. and against this you have a president who seems to enjoy his time with a north korean leader or with the saudi leaders or with the philippine leaders much more than he does in the company of democrats. what was extraordinary is there was a standing ovation after it, virtually the only people who didn't stand up were ivanka trump and jared kushner, who was sitting right beneath the podium there. they remained seated. as soon as vice president pence arrived, she lept to her feet, gave the vice president a little peck on the cheek and then afterward when mike pence had finished this, frankly, illustrious speech, the whole room remained seated. there was virtual silence, virtually no applause. who shot to their feet like two
mushrooms popping out of the ground were ivanka and jared kushner, who stood there alone, applauding. so, that in terms of the choreography summed up everything really. >> they kind of had to. >> well, they had to, but it's extraordinary to have the vice president of the united states at the munich security conference -- >> which is mostly the western alliance. >> and helped underwrite the alliance for so long. the vice president meeting with this kind of facility. it has to be said his speech made not a single gesture toward the europeans. >> except to tell them to get out of iran nuclear deal. >> as vessels. >> so just on this issue, did the other americans there, the congressional delegation others, did they -- did anybody sort of -- was there sort of a mood in the room that, you know, this might go on for another couple years but maybe there won't be a
second term, you know, america will be back. what that sort of -- was that -- >> as i said, joe biden used those very words. we will be back. but i think there's a lot of skepticism about that at this point. i'm not saying nato is going to disappear in the next five years but the balance of power in the world has changed. this american retreat, this america first has opened the way for china to step forward and say, we are forming our version of multinational. for russia to step forward, to move absolutely unopposed into syria and dictate the end game there, and the russians are feeling very good about this. i mean, lavrov was clearly feeling very confident. >> they seem to have won in syria. i mean, let's not make any bones about it. let's go back to iran. the same u.s. officials were in warsaw. and it looked like it was, for want of a better word, getting everybody to pile up against
iran and to do whatever they plan to do there, to the point that also the israeli prime minister netanyahu was there, and before the conference he posted, in order -- saying that arab leaders and israeli leaders sitting together in order to advance the common interest of war with iran. that -- is that a freudian slip? is there any thought -- it was deleted, that message afterward -- laying the paving stones, that this is what's happening with iran right now? >> well, i certainly hope not. it would be absolutely disastrous. you just look at president trump sending 7,000 or so troops to the southern border with mexico for a threat that is largely nonexistent or fictional or exists only in his own head and extrapolate from that the election in 2020 and he needs something to bolster his re-election bid in the last few
months. i think some kind of conflict with iran would certainly be a candidate for playing that role at that point. look, you know, prime minister netanyahu has -- >> who's also got an election coming up. >> that's right, in april. and the administration has bought into this entirely. prime minister netanyahu thinks with the help of the saudis and gcc and given iran is a shared enemy of them all, that they can build some sort of alliance. i think there's a real limit to that, because whatever they feel about iran, and they have very intense feelings about iran, we all know that, i don't think the gcc countries are going to sell the palestinians down the river. essentially prime minister netanyahu, with the help of president trump, is hoping against hope that he can impose some kind of peace plan on the palestinians that would leave them with some tiny fragment of the west bank and they would accept. the palestinians were invited to warsaw. did they show up? no. there's a reason for that.
>> it's really -- it's really actually quite fascinating, because it's not just netanyahu who used the word war in his tweet, but then john bolton, u.s. national security adviser, also threw a barb at ayatollah khomeini. this is what he said. >> so, ayatollah komen any, for all your boasts, for all your threats to the life of the american president, you are responsible for terrorizing your own people and terrorizing the world as a whole. i don't think they'll have many more anniversaries to enjoy. >> i don't think you'll have many more anniversaries. again -- >> not so veiled threat. the iranian regime can be a very ugly and oppressive regime, but it has proved stable over 40 years. and i won't underestimate its durability. >> really a lot to keep an eye on. thank you for guiding us through this. columnist for "the new york times."
before we go, we want to update you on our top story. we've just received word that the british government has revoked the citizenship of shamina begum, the young woman who joined isis in 2015 and wants to come back here to the uk. according to a statement from her family's lawyer. we'll continue to follow it. join us tomorrow with the chi chilean writer as we discuss her life, her work and latin america. that's it for us tonight, though. thanks for watching "amanpour & company" on pbs and do watch us again. ♪ uniworld is a proud sponsor the "amanpour & company."
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