Channel: Fareed Zakaria

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Why upsetting Saudi Arabia will not be a nasty factor

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The Saudi regime fears that any kind of empowerment of the Shi'ites - anywhere - could embolden the 15 percent of Saudi Arabia's population that is Shi'ite - and happens to live in the part of the country where most of its oil reserves can be found. That's why the Saudis sent troops into neighboring Bahrain in the Arab Spring of 2011, to crush the Shi'ite majority's uprising. Saudi royals have been rattled by the events in their region and beyond. They sense that the discontent that launched the Arab Spring is not entirely absent in their own population. They fear the rehabilitation of Iran. They also know that the United States might very soon find itself independent of Middle Eastern oil. Given these trends, it is possible that Saudi Arabia worries that a seat on the U.N. Security Council might constrain it from having maximum freedom of action. Or that this position could shine a light on some of its more unorthodox activities. Or that it could force Riyadh to vote on issues it would rather punt on or ignore. It is also possible that the Saudis acted in a sudden fit of pique. After all, they had spent years lobbying for the seat. Whatever the reason, let's concede that, yes, Saudi Arabia is angry with the U.S. But are we sure that's a sign Washington is doing something wrong? Read more on this in TIME

Hayden: If the president says he did not comprehend, he failed to comprehend

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Fareed speaks with former CIA and NSA chief Michael Hayden about the controversy over alleged U.S. spying on allied leaders. Watch the full interview today at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN. What about the issue of whether or not the White House knew, whether or not the president knew? Dianne Feinstein claims that she didn't know. What troubles many of us is not the actual activities here... Yes. But the idea that they are happening in some kind of strange gray zone where it's not entirely clear who is authorizing this stuff and whether it’s being overseen in an appropriate manner for a constitutional democracy. Yes. Here's how I would look at it.  If the president says he didn't know, he didn't know. I just take that at face value. If, however, Fareed, we get sentences like the White House didn't know or the administration didn't know or the National Security Council didn't know, boy, I've really got problems accepting that. What is it they thought we were going to do with those intelligence requirements? And where did they think this stuff was coming from when we answered those requirements?

Regulation of the jungle now not excellent sufficient

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By Fareed Zakaria The revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency and its spying on foreign – even allied leaders – has been embarrassing for the Obama administration at a time when it hardly needs more bad news. Last week, European leaders reacted angrily to claims that the United States had been eavesdropping on calls, including listening in on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. The revelations prompted Merkel to warn relations with the U.S. had been severely shaken. But is all this more than just an embarrassment? And should it raise alarms abroad and at home? At first glance, this is a story that is less about ethics and more about power – the great power gap between the United States and other countries, even rich European ones. The most illuminating response to the revelations came from Bernard Kouchner, formerly the foreign minister of France. He said in a radio interview: "Let's be honest, we eavesdrop too. Everyone is listening to everyone else." Kouchner went on to add "we don't have the same means as the United States, which makes us jealous."

On GPS Sunday: Michael Hayden on the Europe spying controversy

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Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN On GPS this Sunday: The revelations over alleged tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone by the U.S. National Security Agency have strained relations between the two nations. But how serious are the current tensions? Fareed speaks with former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. Next, the American side of the story. Who would have given the NSA permission to spy on leaders of ally countries? Former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden gives his take. “[O]ccasionally, what you have is political guidance kind of being placed on top of your operational planning,” Hayden says. “I had political guidance while I was director of NSA.  I had targets. I had legitimate needs. But I was told, frankly, back off. That target is too sensitive. I don't want you doing that at this time, for this purpose.” And, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on his legacy as he prepares to step down.

And the perfect metropolis on this planet for meals is…?

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Fareed speaks with Anthony Bourdain, renowned chef, food critic and host of Parts Unknown, for his take on the world's greatest city to dine out in. Watch the Tokyo edition of Parts Unknown this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CNN. You go to Tokyo, you have been many times. I think most will be surprised to know that the city that gets the most Michelin three stars is not Paris, is not New York, but Tokyo. Do you agree with that? Yes. Tokyo is the great... If I would ask ten great chefs that I know around the world what city in the world would you like – if you had to be stuck in one city and eat every meal there for the rest of your life, where would that be – nine out of ten would say Tokyo. There’s a level of perfectionism, attention to detail, quality ingredients and tradition and technique that's really unlike any place else. It's endlessly deep subject and with the show that I did there most recently, we tried to draw a direct line between that excellence and attention to detail – that fetishism, really, for food and quality with the sort of subterranean repressed ids of the Japanese male. So it's probably going to be a parental advisory type show. Uh-oh.

Gladwell: Why now we have received David and Goliath fallacious

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Fareed speaks with Malcolm Gladwell, longtime ‘New Yorker’ staff writer and best-selling author of ‘The Tipping Point’ and ‘Outliers’ about why we have it wrong about one of the bible’s most famous stories. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN. David and Goliath. Of course, one of the most famous stories in the world. But you retell it. Explain why you thought it was important to retell. What is the real story of David and Goliath? Well, I think we have exaggerated the extent to which David is an underdog in that situation. And I think that feeds into a very dangerous line of thinking, which suggests the only way that the weak can ever triumph is by some improbable miracle. In fact, and this an insanely fun thing to do when I was doing my book, if you talk to endocrinologists, the rabbis, Israeli Defense Force people – I mean anyone who's thought about the David and Goliath story – they will tell you, first of all, that the sling that David has in his hand is not a child's toy. It’s one of the most devastating weapons in ancient warfare. David had superior technology. I mean, once he decided to break the rules, he's the guy in charge. And then there's Goliath. There's all of these hints in the biblical story in Samuel that Goliath is not what he appears to be.

Why world cannot agree over local weather trade

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For more What in the World watch Sundays at 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. ET on CNN China has brought us a new English word: "Airpocalypse." The northeastern city of Harbin was paralyzed last week by terrible smog and air pollution. Visibility was down to just a few meters. Highways and schools were closed, the airport was shut down. Pedestrians could barely get around.  The images are a vivid reminder of the impacts of industrial growth, especially when powered by dirty fuels like coal, which accelerates not only pollution but also climate change. The latest report from the United Nation’s scientific panel says it is “extremely likely” – more than a 95 percent probability – that human activity was the dominant cause of the temperature increases of the last few decades. Another study, published in Nature, showed that we are on track to reach unprecedented highs of temperature by 2047. Findings showed the coldest year in the future would be warmer than the hottest year of the past. So, if the science is not really in dispute, why is it so difficult for us to actually do something about it? There’s a clever explanation. To understand it, we need to tell you about one more study. This one is a game –but one played with real money.

India learns a lesson

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For more Last Look, watch GPS, Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN In 1999, 10,000 people were killed when a ferocious cyclone hit eastern India. A week ago, the same region, the state of Odisha, formerly known as Orissa, was once again in the crosshairs. This time it was the region's most powerful storm this century. But there was a much better outcome. A million Odishans were evacuated to shelters ahead of time. Only 21 people seem to have lost their lives. Thousands of others were saved. Extreme climate events may be getting worse, but technology has truly enabled us to save lives. We're now better than ever predicting the scale of storms and cyclones and we're better than ever at getting the message out. Of course you still need a government that manages these situations well, and for that all credit to the government of Odisha, which has learned from the mistakes of 1999.

Zakaria: Can conservatives love ‘actual’ The usa?

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For many conservatives today, the "rot" to be excoriated is not about economics and health care but about culture. A persistent theme of conservative intellectuals and commentators – in print and on Fox News – is the cultural decay of the country. But compared with almost any period in U.S. history, we live in bourgeois times, in a culture that values family, religion, work and, above all, private business. Young people today aspire to become Mark Zuckerberg. They quote the aphorisms of Warren Buffett. They read the Twitter feed of Bill Gates. Even after the worst recession since the Great Depression, there are no obvious radicals, anarchists, Black Panthers or other revolutionary movements – except for the Tea Party. Now, for some tacticians and consultants, extreme rhetoric is just a way to keep the troops fired up. But rhetoric gives meaning and shape to a political movement. Over the past six decades, conservatives’ language of decay, despair and decline have created a group of Americans who fervently believe in this dark narrative and are determined to stop the country from plunging into what they see as imminent oblivion. They aren't going to give up just yet. The era of crises could end, but only when this group of conservatives makes its peace with today's America. They are misty-eyed in their devotion to a distant republic of myth and memory and yet they are passionate in their dislike of the messy, multiracial, capitalist-and-welfare-state democracy that America actually has been for half a century – a fifth of this country's history. At some point, will they come to realize that you cannot love America in theory and hate it in fact? Watch the video for the full Take or read more in the Washington Post.

James Baker on the debt ceiling

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Former U.S. Treasury Secretary James Baker offers his take on the recent debt ceiling negotiations. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET. Well, if I'm wearing my Treasury secretary's hat, which I wore for four years, I would love to see us do away with the requirement for increasing the debt ceiling. But as a taxpayer and as someone who thinks that the greatest threat facing the United States today is this huge ticking debt bomb out there, that has been created by our continuing to spend and borrow without restraint, then I think it's something we pretty much need to keep. I know you're aware, and your viewers are probably aware of the fact, that when he was a senator from Illinois, President Obama, Senator Obama, voted against increasing the debt ceiling. He wasn't willing to increase it. He was ready to see us go into default. So this is a political exercise that occurs any time there’s a necessity of raising the debt ceiling.

The place are Africa’s nice leaders?

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For more What in the World, watch GPS, Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN The world has welcomed another batch of Nobel Laureates for accomplishments in the sciences, literature, and global peace. But there is another prize, perhaps just as important, for which there was no winner. We are talking about the Mo Ibrahim Prize, established by the Sudanese billionaire Mo Ibrahim. The criteria for winning are listed publicly on the prize website: You need to be a democratically elected African head of state that has left office in the last three years, and demonstrated excellent leadership. If you meet the criteria, you get a $5 million award, plus an annual pension of $200,000 that kicks in after a decade. The point, of course, is to provide a financial incentive for African leaders to shun corruption. And yet, for the fourth time in its seven year history, the awards committee was unable to find a winner from any of Africa's 50-plus countries. Bravo to the Ibrahim prize for holding high standards, even if that means no grand ceremony.

On GPS Sunday: James Baker on the debt ceiling and shutdown

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Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN On GPS this Sunday: Can Washington bounce back from the recent shutdown and debt ceiling crisis? Fareed speaks with an old Republican Party hand who has held the following positions: White House Chief of Staff, Treasury Secretary, and Secretary of State – an exclusive with James Baker. “I'm convinced we will bounce back. That's not to say that this was not a harmful episode,” Baker says. “My party, the Republican Party, I think was a loser. But I also think that the president and the Democratic Party was a loser because the world saw us in disarray. It really saw a failure of governance.” Later, in our What in the World segment: Why Africa's leaders stay in power for so long. And also: A one-on-one interview with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.

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