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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to “Amanpour and Company.” Here’s what’s coming up.
We live in a world of personality-driven politics these days. Leaders from Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin, even Angela Merkel to Jacinda Ardern, they
all embody their particular vision for their countries. Often, personalities drive diplomacy in foreign policy too.
This week National Security Adviser, John Bolton, is in the spotlight, shaping the hardline U.S. policy towards Iran, threatening, “unrelenting
Remember, the big personalities of Cheney and Rumsfeld marching the United States towards war in Iraq and big personalities at the centers of hopes
for denuclearizing North Korea. But Pyongyang continues to file off missiles and projectiles.
No one symbolizes the strength of personality driving U.S. goals of peace more than the legendary diplomat, Richard Holbrooke. For nearly 50 years,
he tirelessly worked in countries like Vietnam, Afghanistan, Bosnia and beyond. He embodied America’s muscular interventionist approach in the
20th century. Perhaps his greatest achievement was the Dayton Accords, which brought an end to the Bosnian War back in 1995.
So. what lessons can we learn from his life, one that’s filled with soaring successes and crushing defeats? Writer, George Packer, takes us on an
extraordinary journey in his new book “Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century.” And as we discuss that title, places
Holbrooke squarely at the intersection of the possibilities and the limits of American foreign policy.
George Packer, welcome to the program.
GEORGE PACKER, AUTHOR, “OUR MAN”: Nice to be with you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So, let me start by asking you about what’s happening right now in the field of foreign policy and diplomacy. You have got these big
larger-than-life characters, John Bolton as national security adviser and this sort of specter of him potentially him being one of those maybe
nudging America to some kind of conflict with Iran.
You know, we go way back to the early 2000s, we see the big larger-than- life characters of Cheney and Rumsfeld certainly nudging the Bush administration to war in Iraq. You know, given all the profiles you have
done, just talk about personality these areas of very sensitive and crucial policy.
PACKER: It’s sort of alarming to realize how important character is in foreign policy. I think it’s even bigger than in domestic policy because
there isn’t public opinion quite as strong to check it, there are not economic data that are sort of the facts that policymakers have to deal
with, instead it’s the world. And we fundamentally know so little about other countries that the impulses of a few people with a lot of power can
And John Bolton’s impulses seem to be mainly militaristic ones. And does he know Iran? Does he know the Middle East? Is he — has he studied the
history? Does he think about the far-reaching consequences? I don’t know but I don’t get that feeling.
So, it — and without a president who is a cautious check on the psyches of his top aides, because he himself is both ignorant of the world and acts on
impulse, character seems to be like an unchecked force, and it frightens me to think about that.
AMANPOUR: Well, that — at a time, when I think you also have written quite deeply about — to an extent America’s retreat, I think, from being,
you know, front and center in international global policy. Where do you see America under Trump, and to an extent a little under Obama, in its
traditional foreign policy role?
PACKER: I mean, there was a period after World War II when the United States was the main force behind international institutions and alliances
and treaties, and that lasted about 50 or 60 years, and that was what I think of as the American century, a little more than half a century.
Starting with the Iraq war, it began to unravel. I think President Obama saw it as his task to, in a sense, manage this decline wisely and
carefully. But nonetheless, I think he saw us as a diminishing world power that couldn’t command leadership in all arenas the way we had in the post
war era. And I think Trump is accelerating that and also making it a more destructive force by turning us into one more great power, like China and
Russia, acting on our own, very narrowly defined self-interest without much concern for allies or for global leadership.
AMANPOUR: Well, this obviously brings me perfectly, it’s a really, really great entree into the subject of your book, who is the great American
diplomat Richard Holbrooke and whose whole career was devoted to the opposite of what you’re saying, he believed in the alliances, he believed
in the power of American policy, not just for its own selfish good but for the good of the rest of the world.
But also, you bring up Vietnam and you cannot describe 50 years of American policy without going back to Vietnam, and that is where Holbrooke started
his illustrious career. Tell me what it was about Vietnam that Holbrooke sussed almost immediately about America’s adventure in Vietnam and how
that, to an extent, shaped his entire life.
PACKER: He was 22 years old in 1963 and had just entered the Foreign Service and his first assignment was to be an aide worker in the Mekong
Delta, South of Saigon, which is where, at that point, the war was at its hottest.
And so, he was immediately in a small town with the sound of gunfire at night and he saw and felt that the war was being lost. And whatever
reports were reaching Saigon or Washington, he was able to see through them because he was in the middle of it. And I think that became a lasting
trait of his, to want to see for himself, to not necessarily believe what people in the situation room were saying or hearing, and to — in a sense
to be as a diplomat, a very good journalist.
He had always wanted to be a journalist. He didn’t get the job he wanted at “The New York Times.” The Foreign Service called on him instead. And
so, instead he became a diplomat. But he always liked to be around journalists, and in Vietnam he hung out with two of the best, David
Halberstam and Neil Sheehan, learned from them that whatever the embassy thought was a gloss on reality, a very misleading gloss.
So, I think he learned to distrust the word of the higher authorities. But he didn’t give up on the war right away, it really took him four years to
descend through various stages of disillusionment that he describes very clearly to the point he saw that the war was unwinnable and we needed to
negotiate our way out.
And I think that was another lesson he learned, not only don’t believe reports, don’t think our firepower and our overwhelming military force can
win a complicated counterinsurgency but also, the importance of talking to the enemy, which we only began to do in 1968 and Holbrooke was part of the
Paris Peace talks under Averell Harriman that went nowhere and that was pretty much the end of his period on Vietnam, but it shaped him the rest of
his life. Vietnam was the formidable experience.
It did not destroy or even damage much his confidence that America had to lead but it did make him a skeptic of easy solutions and militarized
foreign policy and optimistic happy talk about other countries that we didn’t understand very well.
AMANPOUR: I just want to read something that you’ve written about him at this time. I mean, he was — he ended up — well, he started by not being
a cynic. This was somewhere he thought was a great place to be, and said it was fun, at least if you’re a diplomat or journalist. But he did end up
being one of the first serious doubters and to harbor doubts.
And you say, “I sometimes think this first year in Vietnam was the best of Richard Holbrooke. His ambition still had a clean smell and youth was work
in his favor. Physical courage, moral passion, the boundless energy and enthusiasm and sheer sense of fun. The skepticism, the readiness to talk
straight to ambassadors and generals.” That’s really an amazing portrait of this person and of a diplomat.
PACKER: He brought himself to the attention very quickly of the people at the top of the hierarchy in Saigon, Henry — Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge,
General Maxwell Taylor, General William Westmoreland. But he didn’t do it by just flattering. He did flatter. He was a huge flatterer, as you know,
Christiane, but he told the truth as he saw it about the war and won the trust of at least a few important people above him who were willing to
listen to it.
And that’s risky, because in government if you start expressing doubt about a policy, you’re putting a target on yourself. He never was afraid to do
that. But he also was a ceaseless operator. And very early on in that Vietnam period, he began to rise up by sheer talent and intelligence, but
also by shamelessness and constant networking.
And so, when he got back to Washington in the mid-’60s, he was already beginning to be kind of a known young diplomat but I think he never stopped
thinking and talking about Vietnam throughout his life and especially at the end of his life, which we should talk about, Vietnam came back as this
great shadow hanging over him.
AMANPOUR: I do want to actually ask you about that because I am going to get to the crowning jewel of his diplomatic endeavor, and that was Bosnia.
Obviously, that was the conflict that shaped the United States, Europe and a lot of the world throughout the ’90s and we’re going to get to that in a
But you talk about the end of his life and how Vietnam continued to inform his view of the world and of America’s adventures. It also brought him
sort of to a collision course with his boss at the time, and that was President Obama, who just didn’t like him on and on about Vietnam and
pointing out, I suppose, you know, this conflict, this endless conflict between America’s idealism and its hubris.
PACKER: You know, Holbrooke embodied both of those. I think he had enormous quantities of egotism and idealism in him, that was his core
character. And when they were in alignment, he did great things, and Bosnia is the greatest. When they got out of whack, whether out of
overconfidence or anxiety and insecurity, as it was with Obama, he could be quite difficult to take.
And Obama very early on had no patience for Holbrooke, for his long speeches about Vietnam and Afghanistan in the situation room and his
flattery and his leaks and in every way the drama that Holbrooke created wherever he went was the antithesis of Obama’s governing style and personal
taste. And so, from the very start there was no connection between them.
And the Obama administration undermined Holbrooke and Holbrooke made mistakes that allowed them to do so and he was utterly incapable of
functioning as he had been able to do in earlier parts of his career.
AMANPOUR: So, Obama called him a disrupter and Holbrooke, in your book, tells somebody that he thought Obama had ice water running through his
veins. So, that was his last ever assignment, being the Afghanistan/Pakistan envoy for the State Department and we know he died in
the midst of a job unfinished.
But let us go to Bosnia because that was Pete Holbrooke under President Clinton, who did actually believe in him. And I want to play you a little
clip from a documentary I did on Bosnia. And Talking to Holbrooke, I went back with him years after the war and after he had basically ended the war
about what it was that really made him want to be there and do something about it. Here’s what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What was it that you saw here?
RICHARD HOLBROOKE, AMERICAN DIPLOMAT: People were lined up and there were soldiers with weapons everywhere.
AMANPOUR: Here in the City of Banja Luka, he saw Bosnia Serbs forcing the Muslims to sign off their property, in exchange for their lives and a one-
way ticket out of town.
HOLBROOKE: And I thought, Christiane, I thought I’m seeing a color remake of the black-and-white scenes we had seen in World War II of Jews signing
away their property at the point of a gun and then being shipped of to who knows where.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It’s just so chilling actually, sort of goosebumpy to hear him say that. And of course, he had the experience in his own family of
fleeing Nazi oppression. And he gave it his all. He gave Bosnia and the end of that war his all.
PACKER: And he started out as a private citizen before he joined the Clinton administration, going to Bosnia twice, including kind of harrowing
24 hours in Sarajevo. I don’t know if you met him during — that was New Year’s Eve 1992 when he stayed at the Holiday Inn with John Burns.
It goes back to that lesson he learned in Vietnam that you need to see for yourself, you have to listen to people who are experiencing it in order to
understand a war or an issue. And he came back to Washington seized with Bosnia and telling everyone he could that the U.S. had to get involved,
that this would not end quickly, that it was a tragedy and a horror in Europe and that we needed to take the lead.
But Bill Clinton was preoccupied with the economy, he just came into office. He was not interested in foreign policy at that point. And for 2
1/2 years, though, as you know much better than I, the war burned on and people continued to be killed until they turned to Holbrooke in
the summer of 1995 as the war reached its climax —
AMANPOUR: That’s right.
PACKER: — and he brought all of his persuasive and conjouling and seducing and bullying talents to the Balkan warlords and forced them to
sign a peace deal.
AMANPOUR: And just to go back to that personal experience as a private citizen, and you said that he came back and he told anybody who would
listen what he had seen, and he went on television. We have a particular clip of a particular poignant memory for him where he came back with two
carved figures that he had been given by some Muslims who had been herded into a makeshift concentration camp at Manjaca, it’s a camp I also visited
and I saw these skeletal people in that camp. But this is how it affected him. Let’s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLBROOKE: These two things were made by a baker in the Manjaca prison camp. This is a cigarette lighter and a cigarette holder. He carved these
out of wood with a piece of broken glass and he wanted the American public to see how they were bound, if you turn them around, that their hands were
bound and that he — that they had to keep their head down or else they would get beaten. And they’re extraordinarily moving.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: He really, really did manage to sway people by his firsthand testimony really. And I think — I wonder what you think because at his
memorial service, which was held at the Kennedy Center and you had President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, President Obama, you know, listening
to the details and the tributes of his, you know, heroics in Bosnia. This is what President Clinton said about him and why he said he appreciated
Holbrooke so much.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I love the guy. Because he could do. Doing in diplomacy saves lives. Everything everybody said about him here
is true. But in the end, what matters is there are a lot of people walking around on the face of the earth today or their children or their
grandchildren because of the way he lived his life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, extraordinary, it also takes me back to that time I was with him in Bosnia after the war, many years after, and people were high-
fiving him and saying thank you, you know, “We’re alive because of the peace.” Now, it is not a perfect peace, as we all know. But just put it
into context in terms of late 20th century American diplomacy and activism, intervention in the world.
PACKER: I think Bosnia and the Dayton Peace Accords were, in a way, the high watermark of post-Cold War American power. At the time, it seemed
more like the beginning of a new era of American power where with the new confidence that came from having finally intervened and ended the war, we
would be able to intervene elsewhere, not only with military force but with diplomacy, which is what Holbrooke did.
Instead, it turned out to be something closer to the beginning of the end of that period because within a few years, 9/11 and the Iraq War changed
everything, I would say, and Holbrooke supported the Iraq War, I think for fairly political reasons, but didn’t — wasn’t really interested in the
Middle East and didn’t want to think about it too much.
But by the time he came back into government in 2009, the world had changed and we were no longer looked to for the kind of diplomatic and military and
even moral leadership that the end of the Bosnian War seemed to bring. So, I think it was the high point and maybe the greatest diplomatic achievement
of the last quarter century or 40 years.
AMANPOUR: It’s hard to turn now into the fact that, you know, his greatest ambition was never realized, even though he was the acclaimed peace
negotiator in the Balkans, he wanted to be Secretary of State or at the very least National Security adviser. He didn’t make it. He was
ambassador to the United Nations and did some amazing work on behalf of the United States there.
But how — why did he not make it? Why did he not earn that job?
PACKER: Because of himself. Because — and my book tells many stories of his relationships with friends, with women, with colleagues, with rivals,
with enemies, with friends turned enemies, none more important than Anthony Lake, the National Security adviser during the Clinton years.
Holbrooke, the very things that made him an indefatigable, tireless, relentless diplomat in Bosnia also made him in some ways and in
some cases an insupportable colleague and he alienated people all over the place. I’ve talked to several hundred of them.
And even Bill Clinton who did seem to appreciate Holbrooke as he was, passed over him for Secretary of State in ’96 and instead appointed
Madeleine Albright and said to someone at that time that he didn’t think Holbrooke had the self-awareness to keep his relationships from becoming
toxic. And that — so, it was Holbrooke’s character that kept him from getting the job he coveted ever since he entered government.
And it happened again in 2000 and 2004, where I don’t think he was going to be the one, if the Democrat had won the presidency. In 2008, Hillary
Clinton was probably his best shot at Secretary of State but, she didn’t get there either. So, it was the thing that kept alluding him which makes
the end of his life all the more dramatic, his heart burst in Secretary Clinton’s office during a meeting on opening talks with the Taliban in
Afghanistan. And so, that his life ended in a place he had never quite been able to attain.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it really is — it’s so, I mean, poetic. It really is. And to that end, I wonder whether his heart broke at what he saw going on
in American foreign policy, and particularly how he saw himself being marginalized. Because he said in his private tapes, to which you obviously
had so much access, “I feel embarrassed now to be part of an administration whose performance is this bad and that is so undisciplined and so self-
righteous and arrogant. One must conclude on the basis of the first two years that he was not ready to be president.” He is talking about
president Obama and foreign policy.
PACKER: Yes. I mean, there’s more than a little resentment in that because he had been so completely marginalized. He was even left off
presidential trips to Kabul, which was Holbrooke’s portfolio. You know, I don’t want to say foreign policy killed him and I don’t want to say, as
some people suggested, that President Obama killed him. I mean, he had an aneurysm in his aorta and that’s what killed him. But he was also driving
himself much too hard. He was not eating well. He was not sleeping well. He was unhappy, and the walls were closing in on him.
At the very end of his life on that last morning, he was in the White House trying to get meeting with President Obama and being told by Obama’s aide,
David Axelrod, that it was not going to happen. So, there was something sort of faithful and rather tragic about the way this old lion finally
collapsed in action, still trying.
When his friends are telling him, “Get out. Why are you still doing this? Go on to the rest of your life.” But I think for Richard Holbrooke, maybe
the rest of his life didn’t look so appealing if he really had to end it, his last go-around in government with a failure, and I think he couldn’t
quite face that. So, he couldn’t leave and kept pushing and finally drove himself to his own death.
AMANPOUR: It’s an amazing life, it’s an amazing story and it’s an amazing book. George Packer, thank you so much.
PACKER: Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Now, Holbrooke, of course, dedicated his life to public service for more than 50 years. But my next guest argues a single career path may
no longer be enough for us today. It’s a rarity to reach 100 years old. My own father did make that milestone and we had a great celebration. But
as life expectancies grow longer, what happens when that rarity becomes the norm? Is society prepared for it?
The economist, Andrew Scott, is tackling this topic in his book, “The 100- Year Life.” And Hari Sreenivasan sat down with him alongside aging expert Paul Irving to explore.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CONTRIBUTOR: Why “100-year life”?
ANDREW SCOTT, CO-AUTHOR, “THE 100-YEAR LIFE”: One of the things when I started digging into the topic was just understanding, wow, most people
aren’t aware, if you look at the 20th century, every decade, life expectancy increased two or three years. That means every generation is
living almost 10 years longer than their parents’ generation, but we’re still acting in the same way as our parents or even our grandparents. And
most people are not aware of that.
And if you carry on that trend, it does mean a lot of children born in the richer countries today have a reasonable chance of living to 100. In the
U.K., the government says that one in three chance of a child born today living to 100. So, “The 100-Year Life” was saying, “Wow. Actually, you
got a lot more time. How did you live your life differently?”
SREENIVASAN: So what are the consequences if we lived to 100?
PAUL IRVING, CHAIRMAN, MILKEN INSTITUTE CENTER FOR THE FUTURE OF AGING: Well, it’s a paradox. I mean, you know, science in many ways has done its
part. So, we’ve had incredible scientific advances over the last 150 years or so, improved sanitation. And as Andrew said, lives are longer
across the world.
But in many ways, we just don’t know what to do with these additional years. And that’s true on an individual level, it’s true, again, on a
societal level, it’s true in businesses and communities. And so, we have to change really everything, all institutions, to adapt to what is going to
be a much older world.
That’s really, by the way, a product of two things, a product of increasing longevity and lower birth rates. And across much of the world, people are
not having children at replacement rate, that’s true in the United States and that’s true in the U.K., it’s true in China. China has reversed the
one-child policy. But let me tell you, young couples are still not having the 2.1, 2.2 kids that they would have to have to replace the Chinese
population, which is actually likely to be smarter in years to come than it is today.
SREENIVASAN: I mean, if you are thinking that culturally and societally, we’re thinking you should be getting out of the workforce at 65 and if
you’re living another 30 years, that’s a full third longer.
SCOTT: You can’t. I mean, so the way I see what’s happening is I mentioned earlier every 10 years, life expectancy has grown two or three
years. That’s like nearly every day saying here’s another six to eight hours. And if you think about what would happen if the day went from 24 to
32 hours, we would restructure the day.
Now, how do we do it? I’m not yet sure. For me, I would get up earlier and I’d go to bed later and sleep in the middle of the day and I would not
have three meals, I might have five, hopefully smaller ones. But basically, I would restructure time.
Now, the 20th century, we introduced some new stages in life. We invented teenagers and we invented pension as retirees. And we are seeing the same
thing happen now, because as we stretch life to 85 or 90 or beyond, our existing structures don’t work. And one challenge is the retirement at 65,
it clearly doesn’t work. But neither just stretching that out to 75 or 80 because there’s nothing, I think, you can learn at 20 that will last until
So, we have to think also about education and thinking about getting more education throughout our life. But we’re already seeing massive changes in
society. The average age of first marriage in the U.S. is now around 30, not 21. In the U.K. you’re more likely, as a woman, to have a baby over 40
than under 20. So, we’re seeing all sorts of changes already happening but I think it’s just the beginning of a pretty significant rewiring of how
(INAUDIBLE) of our life. And then, of course, that requires change from our education, institutions, our corporate institutions and government
SREENIVASAN: I mean, what is retirement anymore? I mean, what is the idea of retirement itself has to change, it doesn’t — right? I mean, it’s not
necessarily sort of being on the margins anymore, out of the workforce. And you can’t keep people at bay for 30 years.
SCOTT: And it’s probably not healthy either. We know that, you know, it’s good to be engaged and work is one way of being engaged if the work is
good. So, you know, I think in the 20th century we invented a three-stage life, education, work, retirement. And that just can’t be stretched out to
85 or 90. So, I think we’re seeing people having multiple three (ph) stages now, a multistage life, with perhaps two, three or even four
And so, one of the questions about retirement, which has already come to an end is, what do I do? Do I carry on working? Do I do something different?
Do I do something for a charitable purpose? But is that quest to be engaged throughout our life and how to make that work financially, but also
not just financially, also in terms of your health, in terms of your relationships and in terms of your education.
We’ve got more time ahead of us because we’re living for longer. So, we got to prepare for that differently and invest in the future. And we too
often think of that as just about finances. Because if I am going to work until I’m 70, how do I keep my job? What skills do I need? How about my
health and fitness? How do I maintain this longer life?
SREENIVASAN: You know, we had one significant shift in productivity increases and labor decreases with automation, and it seems that we’re now
on the cusp of another one with artificial intelligence. An employer is going to say, “Hey, this is good for business, this is good for me. It
increases productivity, I pay humans less.” How do you convince businesses that it’s worthwhile to bring on a workforce say over 50?
IRVING: But I think what we’ve come to realize is the skills and talents of older people actually beautifully compliment the talents of younger
people. Younger people bring curiosity and risk-taking characteristics and imaginations to new jobs, but they also lack the skills that enable them to
navigate complex environments, to think in a multi sectoral way, to understand how to actually get things done, to move through a corporate
system, to deal, if you will, with the politics of a business, which comes from experience.
If they somehow figure out a way to effectively blend the characteristics of these older employees and these younger employees, they could have the
best of both and hopefully, potentially outperform what would be created by same-age teams of any age, young or old.
You want to have the most creative, most effective teams thinking about your new products and services, your innovations. You’re in the silicon
valley, you’re creating a skunk works product that you want to use to beat the competition, develop something, something exciting, put an old person
and young person on the team together. And by combining their skills and talents, I think you’re likely to outperform.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Are there companies you have seen that are doing this well?
ANDREW SCOTT: Some are and wrath of experiments that companies are doing. But actually something has been happening, because you look at the last 20
years in the U.S., employment has increased by 22 million. If you look at where those jobs have come from, it’s not the silicon valley miracle, it’s
not the hipsters of Brooklyn, it’s been coming from those over age 55. Twenty million of 22 million jobs have come from people aged over 55 and 16
million, I think has come from 55 to 64 and another five or six from those aged over 65. So something is happening, there’s a lot more people want to
work and many of them are (ph) being able to work. There are a lot much challenges but it’s a big contribution from U.S. GDP from that increase in
IRVING: It’s not just jobs, it’s actually business creation too.
IRVING: The expectation is again, kind of the culture bias is, you’ve got to be a computer — a very young computer scientist who probably drops out
of Harvard after your freshman year to create a brilliant business to make it in America. but the truth of the matter is, in the United States, more
businesses are created by people in middle age than are in their 20’s and that’s probably a good thing. Because they’ve been bumped around and got
SREENIVASAN: How do we change our entire, kind of education system? Because Right now it seems our goal is to get you through 12 years of
education, four years of college, and then we’re still operating under the assumption you’re going to be, what, working at the same company for 40
years for Rolex? That’s not how…
SCOTT: It’s a big challenge. You’re now more responsible for an individual to save for your own pension. You also a lot more
responsibility to invest in your own skills throughout life. So clearly what’s going to happen is you’re going to go from frontloading education to
spreading it out, so there has to be a big increase in adult education and making it more centered and central.
That’s going to lead to some really interesting developments because clearly what you learn, when you learn, how you learn and who you learn it
from are going to change pretty fundamentally. I don’t know if it’s going to be colleges, I don’t know if it’s going to be no degree space, but this
is a hugely interesting area, because we’ve got to prepare people for lifelong learning. I think what that means is at the beginning of your
education, you don’t learn things, you learn how to learn, because that’s going to be the skill that’s really important right (ph), the way through
the rest of your life.
And that’s pretty hard, because if you look at our education system, it was developed during the industrial revolution and said to people sit there,
there’s an authority figure, 9 to 4 take instructions, be used to having your performance measured and then go out and do that in the factory. But
that doesn’t seem to be what the workforce of the future needs. So it’s going to be a really big change.
IRVING: It requires all of us to change. It requires a fundamental culture shift that speaks to the way we should talk to our kids and
grandkids about education, about it being a lifelong process, about it not being something that you do for a period of your life and then stop. It
should be something that is ongoing that continues throughout life, frankly right to the very end.
SCOTT: It’s funny if you ask somebody what was your education or how skilled are you, they’re ready (ph) say I did a degree at Oxford 30 years
ago. If you said to someone how fit are you and they said I ran a marathon 30 years ago, that doesn’t have any sort of resemblance for what’s
occurring today and I think that’s the challenge. We see education as an event in the past but life and learning something, we have to do all the
So you can kind of see how longer life in technology means it’s going to be quite hard. You have to be hustling all the time, I’ve got to be
developing my skills, looking out for change. But it is that — that proactive nature that I think is going to be really important in this
longer life with new technologies.
SREENIVASAN: Look, I’m watching this as let’s say a Gen Xer and say, God, here are these two guys telling me that the older folks are going to be
around even longer. I can’t get farther ahead in my organization because they’re there and here you are advocating that we hire them back.
I mean, some part of this is also cultural and figuring out when is the time for companies, agencies, institutions to kind of renew — to get the
best of the next generation that’s coming, to give them opportunities to grow.
IRVING: But I don’t — I don’t suggest for a minute that — that the fact that we’re trying to figure out new roles for older people, that older
people shouldn’t — shouldn’t invest — invest and support and — and focus on the elevation of younger people. To the contrary, actually polling
suggests most older people are prepared to take pay cuts if they’re — if they’re given respectful roles they have an opportunity to mentor and —
and to play some kind of important part in the future of a company.
So I think the notion that is a zero sum gain, that — that if we keep old people on the job, that by definition younger people won’t be able
advance, is just wrong. Andrew is the economist, I mean, some of the same arguments were made about the advancement of women 45 years ago. Economies
and businesses and communities are elastic. The more people who were involved, the more they grow, the more they prosper and flourish. And so
this notion somehow this is a competition over this very narrow, constrained kind of pie, I think is just a — just a false narrative.
SCOTT: I think what is very interesting is how as a society, the U.S. and U.K. (ph) got a bit confused about age. So for most of human history,
people haven’t known how old they were, they didn’t know the year they were born, they didn’t know what their birthday was. The song happy birthday is
a 20th century creation. So we didn’t know how old they were and we judged people by really, their fitness and their sort of actions and attitudes.
But we’ve become very age centric as a society, so that, I think leads into this confusion that I don’t know what young people are like because I don’t
mix with them. I don’t know what old people are like because I don’t mix with them.
So we fall into these generations of Gen Z’s and baby boomers to sort of try and fill in the gaps. But actually, just people are people, and the
more we can try and get that dialogue going, I think we’re trying to so the same thing; we’re trying to refashion life. It’s a lot longer than we
previously experienced, and whether you’re in you 60’s or your 20’s, you’re saying hey, , I’m not going to do things they way they were done in the
past because that’s not going to work for me. How do I restructure things? So in the workplace I find that whether you’re 20, 40 or 60, everybody
wants meaningful, flexible, good work. That’s a common aim, it’s not really a sort of zero sum find (ph).
SREENIVASAN: What’s the cost if we don’t do this?
SCOTT: Yes, so I think there’s two things happening, so one is, there’s more old people, as the birthrate falls, we tend to live longer, we see
more old people. And that’s the narrative that normally comes out. But other thing is how we’re aging is changing. On average, we’re aging
better. So we’re going to try to make as many people as possible go around the second route to change well. That’s about all of life. It’s about
education, it’s about health and good work, it’s about the way we balance work and home.
But every one person we can go down that healthy aging route, they stay active and produce for the economy, they take taxes, they don’t cost much
in terms of health and social security. Every one person that does go down the sort of that age route and doesn’t age well is a burden. So there’s an
economic cost if we don’t make the most of this extraordinary development of the 20th century of the potential for longer and healthier lives. And
of course, what we’re seeing both in the U.K. and U.S., is life expectancy fall because of growing health inequality. And so tackling that, I think
has to be incredibly important policy.
IRVING: Yes, I would just — I would add part of the challenge is not just enabling changing institutions to enable this advantage group to take
advantage of their additional years to democratizing that opportunity, its figuring out ways that we can ensure that people in ZIP codes across town
could have the same opportunities that those of us who are fortunate enough to have that educations and exposure and all of the rest, do. So it’s
probably a longer conversation that, as Andrew suggests, we have a very significant challenge in making sure those opportunities are spread.
SREENIVASAN: Paul Irving, Andrew Scott, thank you both.
IRVING: Thank you very much.
SCOTT: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Well there’s age and then there are years. Now we’re traveling back 400 years in time to shed some light on a pioneer. Amelia Bassano
Lanier, she’s the first professional female poet in the English language. While her beauty may have been the muse about Shakespeare’s sonnets about a
dark lady, it was her words that she wanted to be remembered for.
Now a rollicking play with all-female cast is finally giving Lanier her due. It’s simply called Emilia and bringing it to the stage is the work of
the stage producer Kate Pakenham, who is joining me here to talk about it. Welcome to the program.
KATE PAKENHAM: Thank you very much for having me.
AMANPOUR: So 400-year-old story almost nobody knows about. How did you even find it? What made you put this on the stage?
PAKENHAM: Well, I can’t take all of the credit for this at all. This is a total massive group of women mainly who have brought it to the stage, and
it started with Michelle Terry, is the artistic director of the Globe theater.
AMANPOUR: Which is the famous Shakespeare theater on the banks of the River Thames, not too far where we are now.
PAKENHAM: Exactly. And Michelle, when she started as artistic director of the Globe, the first — this was the first play she commissioned, the first
new play she commissioned and her first season that was built around the place this character Emilia, the Shakespeare plays, that this character
Emilia character appears in. And so she wanted a play, a new play by a woman that told Emilia’s story.
AMANPOUR: What are the plays — I know Othello, Emilia appears in Othello, where else?
PAKENHAM: Two Noble Kinsman and Gentleman of Verona
AMANPOUR: It’s amazing. And then — and so she decided to look into that and discovered that actually this was a woman who was actually a published
poet, if we can put it this way.
PAKENHAM: Yes, and she knew that. In the 1970s, a historian called A.L. Rawsk (ph) connected Emilia Bassano to Shakespeare and decided she was the
dark lady of his sonnets. And so she — this woman — poetry had been existing — only specialists knew about her poetry. suddenly hit the
headlines in the 1970s because she was connected to this famous man…
AMANPOUR: William Shakespeare.
PAKENHAM: William Shakespeare, as the dark lady.
AMANPOUR: And do we think that’s true? I mean, I saw the play last night. I mean, it is a real rollicking show and it’s really interesting and has so
many parallels with life today, which we’ll get into. But do you come down on her being the dark lady? Because others say it’s a mistranslation of a
PAKENHAM: I’m — I’m — I’m absolutely convinced. I personally — I’m claiming the dark lady for Emilia. But, of course, there are a lot of
people who it could have been and I think in a way, that’s the fun of this play. It can’t be a pure history play. It’s a — in a sense, it’s a
memory play because, of course, history hasn’t been written from the point of view of women. That’s really the point of it. So Morgan Lloyd Malcolm,
the writer and the Nicole Charles, the director, took the pieces of information they could find about Emilia and then imagined her story, and
that’s the joy of it is, a group of — it’s an all-female creative team led by Morgan and Nicole, who have — sort of pulling Emilia across the
centuries and making her our own now.
AMANPOUR: And you just alluded to when it was first produced and even now, it’s an all-female cast. So you’re kind of flipping this historical, sort
of fetish at the time, when even women were played by men. Now men are played by women and women played by women in this performance. It’s pretty
remarkable in that way.
PAKENHAM: And fun, I think. The kind of to see Jackie Clune playing Lord Henry Carey, I mean, it’s just — its hilarious and its fun. And I think
that wasn’t originally, when Morgan set out to write it, that wasn’t originally the plan, but she realized there were all of these — important
men like Shakespeare, like the Lord Chamberlain who were going to need to have airtime in this play and she suddenly realized that the stage would
again, taken up by men. And so the way of dealing was, let’s make them all women. And I think you can have a lot of fun with that.
AMANPOUR: Not only a lot of fun, but it’s also quite remarkable, her story. Because Emilia was this young girl. Her father, family were
musicians appointed to the court. Her dad died when she was quite young and she was sort of taken by the countess or duchess of Kent, who gave her
a good education, right? And that in itself was a rarity.
PAKENHAM: Amazing. I mean, she was incredibly lucky in a sense. She was — as you say, her dad died when she was 7 and her mum died when she was
18. but Susan Bertie looked after her and educated her.
AMANPOUR: Who is the countess.
PAKENHAM: Who is the countess of Kent, yes. She had this remarkable luck throughout her life of these women who supported her. Her book of poetry,
Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum…
AMANPOUR: Yes, which is, Hail God, King Of The Jews, that’s her book of poetry.
PAKENHAM: That’s her book of poetry, is dedicated to a group of women, these female patrons, who supported her. And we never heard of that, and
at that time, for her to celebrate female patronage, and Susan Bertie was the first when she was 7.
AMANPOUR: Now, it is incredible. I will read a couple lines from this, most blessed daughters of Jerusalem who found such favor if your savior’s
sight to turn your face when you did pity him — and then all the way down to, your hearts think he dare the world were done when spiteful men with
torments did oppress. So she’s always writing about that — I mean not even second class citizenship but, you know, there were chattel, they had
PAKENHAM: No rights, and actually no rights to publish, to write.
AMANPOUR: How did she get it published? What did publish mean 400 years ago?
PAKENHAM: She did it in the traditional sense then, which was to get patronage to get it published and the play tells the story of the women who
get behind her in the end, but she had to make it a religious text, because the only way a woman could get publish is if it’s a religious text. So
this book of poetry, she’s fiercely feminist but its amazing subterfuge because she retells the story of Genesis from Eve’s point of view. She
looks at the crucifixion from the viewpoint of the women who love Jesus and that’s revolutionary.
AMANPOUR: It is revolutionary. And in fact all of the women supporting her in the play, which I saw last night, were saying it doesn’t matter.
Write this, write these poems, write this religious text and hide the messages inside. So they were in — not the joke but in on the subterfuge,
PAKENHAM: That’s the amazing thing in watching the audiences respond to this. Every day I’m getting emails and text messages and things on Twitter
which I don’t even know really how to use from amazing young women, older women, young men, older men, who are saying oh, my gosh, I feel my — she’s
telling my story. I feel like my voice is being released.
AMANPOUR: Last night — I think every night, first of all, it’s packed with all sorts of different generations and, you know, types of people
there, mostly women I notice, and girls. And you actually — you had carers and moms and babies matinee.
PAKENHAM: Yes, we did, the first-ever parents, carers and babies matinee in the West end. And it was incredible.
AMANPOUR: How many babies?
PAKENHAM: We had 200 babies.
AMANPOUR: Squalling, screeching.
PAKENHAM: Squalling, screeching. I mean, it was a kind of — t kicked off — if half came about — and this is the fun of the show, is an audience
member tweeted, saying — who was breastfeeding — An audience member, she was breastfeeding, and she said, I really want to see this show, how long
is it? And a writer, Morgan, responded saying, I’ll look after your baby whilst you watch the show. And we though, come on, let’s try this thing.
So we did this and we said no, we won’t do it for one woman.
Let’s try and to do this. So we had a theater full of largely breastfeeding mums and squalling under 1-year-olds, and it was the most
amazing electric sense of camaraderie. Because what it’s like when you have a small baby is you feel very isolated often. And so to go and sit in
a space with a group of other carers and babies and then to hear this story — I mean, what I loved was all of the little 6-month-old baby boys and I
look at you, you’re the future, you’re the feminist of the future and that really excited me.
AMANPOUR: And you know, it almost fits into the production because there’s so much sort of domestic work going on, onstage. And after she sort of has
her patronage, she falls into some destitution, Emilia, and she also tries to set up education for some of these completely illiterate women who work
as cleaners and prostitutes in the east end of London.
PAKENHAM: And that’s a bit of dramatic license on Morgan’s part.
AMANPOUR: So that wasn’t through then?
PAKENHAM: She did send for school in — actually just around the corner here in Soho, but we think it was probably more from genteel ladies who
could pay because she was having to support herself. After her lover, the Lord Chamberlain died, she was — and then her husband died spending all
the Lord Chamberlain’s money that he had left them, she had to support herself so the school was one idea. And she lived until she was 76 and we
knew she died a pensioner supporting her grandchildren. And that is an amazing, amazing thing I think.
AMANPOUR: It is. Let’s talk about you a little bit, Kate Pakenham, because you were the executive director, executive producer of The Donmar
warehouse which everybody in London knows, but it’s sort of a (inaudible) a small powerhouse theater. And you did produce quite groundbreaking —
trilogy of Shakespeare’s all women. How was that received? How did you even think of doing that all of those years ago?
PAKENHAM: That came about from the Director Phyllida Lloyd, when Josie Rourke and I started on (ph) the Donmar, we approached her saying we want
you to direct something here.
AMANPOUR: She’s a director too?
PAKENHAM: She’s a director.
Josie’s the artistic director of the Donmar and Phyllida is the director who is known for lots of works, Mamma Mia, The Iron Lady film, but also
opera and stage. And she — and we approached her and she said, “I want to do something that puts women in center stage.” And she came up with the
idea along with her friend Harriet Walter to do Julius Caesar, this all- female Julius Caesar set in a women’s prison.
And it was — it was in 2012, it was before Glenda Jackson did her King Lear. It was before —
AMANPOUR: But she’s on Broadway right now and, in fact, we’re talking to her next week about it.
PAKENHAM: — Amazing. I mean, that — one my favorites of all time.
AMANPOUR: But you were the pioneer.
PAKENHAM: But that was — yes, in 2012 we did it. And it was terrifying. And we got some incredibly sort of misogynistic backlash on — in some
quarters. And then in others we could hear this roar of, “Thank God. At last, let us be heard.”
And so, we were — within, sort of, a week later we said, OK, we’re going to do three of them. And so we set off on this journey to do three
Shakespeares. At the time, we didn’t know what they would be. They became Henry IV and The Tempest, more to New Yorkers in Ann’s Warehouse in
Brooklyn, and filmed them. Went out on BBC and PBS took Julius Caesar. And it was a most incredible and empowering journey. And I think I might
be a bit — I might be a bit addicted.
AMANPOUR: And really, and why not? I mean, this seems to be the moment. Do you think all of this — I mean, obviously the trilogy was done way
before #MeToo. But the kind of story of Emilia, people’s sort of — people being ready to listen to these stories, these untold stories. I mean, here
we are. You say, you know, our time is now on the playbill here. Would that have been possible, do you think? Or do you think the whole landscape
PAKENHAM: I — I hope the whole landscape is shifted. I definitely think that this is — this — you wouldn’t have seen this in the West End a few
years ago. I do think #MeToo has had a big impact on a big impact, on stage, and behind the scenes and in our — in all of our lives, and I think
that’s for the better.
AMANPOUR: I mean, you probably were pretty groundbreaking when you were made executive at — at the Donmar Warehouse. I don’t know how many women
directors there are of theaters.
But just the end of this play was an almighty roar of anger, and pain and release. And it really shocked the audience. The — the end, after all of
this story, Emilia in her old age, sort of, just lets rip about — about the patriarchy, about having no rights, and — and about — and about their
lives. It’s quite a dramatic way. It might have turned some people off, were you worried about that?
PAKENHAM: I think it’s a really critical moment in the play because she and we in that moment claim our anger. And I think as women, we’re not —
we’re asked to sit on it. And sometimes also asked to sit on our great joke telling, you know. And we see also in the play some extraordinary
joke telling from some great women that you don’t often see on stage.
But we also see that amazing anger, that power that I think is a fuel. You know, to let your — there’s a line of which I’m going to misquote — I’m
sorry, Morgan — but about turning your anger into hope. And — and I — that’s what I believe in. That’s the kind of work that I want to be
making. I want to make work that, from whatever fuel we can find, is hopeful.
AMANPOUR: And there’s this sign that’s written in Latin in the theater that you didn’t even know was there when you were checking it out.
PAKENHAM: Yes. So Nica Burns, who owns the Vaudeville and who’s a co- producer, so I’ve co-produced this with Nica and woman called Eleanor Lloyd and Eilene Davidson — it was a team of four women who have produced this
show. And Nica, as we — she was showing us the Vaudeville here and saying, “Would it work here?” to the creative team. And then we noticed
this sign which is time — I can’t do the Latin, sorry — but times are changing and we are changing with them.
AMANPOUR: Well, and so does your play. It fits right in there. Kate Pakenham, thank you so much indeed.
PAKENHAM: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: And tomorrow, we have a powerhouse that’s rocking Broadway again about owning this moment of anger to an extent. I speak to the Tony-
nominated playwright and actress Heidi Schreck about her latest work, What the Constitution Means to Me.
That’s it for our program tonight.
Thanks for watching Amanpour and Company on PBS and join us again tomorrow.