Americans Are in Despair During Global Crisis

Wendy Sherman was U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs under President Obama and an architect of the Iran nuclear deal. She says Americans tell her they are in despair at the vacuum in moral leadership in Washington at a time of worldwide crisis.

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: when you see the deployment of federal forces in the world’s greatest democracy, what do you think this means for your country and how does the rest of the world look at it, do you think?

WENDY SHERMAN, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR PUBLIC LEADERSHIP, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Well, I think it’s quite concerning. It’s very interesting, Christiane, and thank you for having me on this afternoon. I was talking with some folks in another country yesterday, and their view was that there were riots going on in Americans cities all over our country. There are not riots in every city around the country. There has been a bit of an uptick in some crime in cities, because we are in the midst of an economic downturn, we are in the midst of a coronavirus, we’re in the midst of racial injustice and racial disparity both economically and in terms of health outcomes in COVID. And so, when we see the president of the United States use federal forces to go into a city, most of us are just absolutely outraged and shocked by it, because in the past there have been only two instances where this has happened. Once when mayors or governors — more likely governors — ask for federal assistance, as quite frankly the Kansas City mayor did. He didn’t ask for troops to come in to help enforce. He helped — asked for federal assistance in investigation of where all the guns are coming from that are fueling some of the murders in Kansas City. So, this really undermines the federal system we have here. And what’s so curious about it is that the president around the coronavirus has said that it’s up to the states to take control of the coronavirus. There isn’t going to be a one size fits all national response, but when it comes to what’s going on in cities, mayors who are really connected to people in their communities, he’s got another point of view, and it is quite concerning about the state of our democracy.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane speaks with former diplomat Wendy Sherman about the global democratic order. She also speaks with Sweden’s chief epidemiologist about COVID-19 and Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project, about how those who are anti-vaccine could impact the coronavirus battle. Hari Sreenivasan speaks with philosophy professor Jason Stanley about what fascist regimes have in common.