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Unrest in the Arab World; U.S. Budget Battles

Aired March 6, 2011 - 10:00   ET


FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: This is GPS, THE GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.

I'll give you my take on what the Arab uprisings mean for al Qaeda in a moment, but first let me give you a preview of the show.

Today we'll take you inside the mind of the Gadhafis. Perhaps a scary place to be, but we're going to talk to a man who has spent many, many hours with both Moammar Gadhafi and even more with his son, Seif Gadhafi. Seif is the PhD from the London School of Economics, who went on TV warning of rivers of blood.

What were they thinking? What are they thinking?

First, an all-star GPS panel to talk about revolutions abroad and revolutions back home in America over budgets and politics. Nick Kristof, just back from the Middle East; Eliot Spitzer, the former governor all too familiar with the problems of balancing budgets; David Frum; Chrystia Freeland.

Also, "What in the World?" We found a nation even more divided than our own.

And finally, we'll take a last look at the ultimate Mubarak bling. I'll explain.

Now, there's an interesting debate about whether the events in the Middle East are good for the United States, the West, good for peace and stability, but I think there can be little dispute about whom they are bad for -- al Qaeda. In fact, the Arab revolts of 2011 represent a total repudiation of al Qaeda's founding ideology.

Think about it. For 20 years al Qaeda has said that the regimes of the Arab world are quasi-dictatorships (ph) and that the only way to overthrow them is to support al Qaeda and its terrorism. And then, in a few weeks, the people of the Arab world have overturned two despotic governments by means of nonviolent demonstrations, and they have begun a process of reform and revolution that will alter the basic bargain between the ruler and ruled in the Middle East.

Al Qaeda also insisted that people follow its path to create a perfect Islamic state, drawing from the 7th Century and reject democracy and freedom as Western imports. Well, so far the demonstrations have been strikingly secular, largely devoted to calls against corruption and dictatorship and affirmed the importance of democracy and freedom for Arabs.

Of course, there are some important Islamic movements within these societies, and they will surface and some of them will gain strength. But they, too, seem to want democracy. And, in any event, they seem balanced by many non-Islamic groups.

The basic point is that al Qaeda seems to have little appeal in the Muslim world and even in Arab countries, where it originated. Polls affirm this, reporting suggests this, and the revolution confirms it. There really is no hankering in the Middle East for a return to the 7th Century, only a desire for jobs, pluralism, freedom, good government.

Now, al Qaeda has embraced violence precisely because it has no political strength or strategy. It cannot bring a million people into Tahrir Square in Cairo to demand the ouster of Mubarak. So, it hopes to shock and awe people with spectacular acts of violence. But these too are harder and harder to pull off as the public turns against them and governments all over the world pursue them.

Now, I've been making these points for years, but it is as if we are all much more comfortable being terrified of a phantom foe that is seven feet tall. So just let's look one more time at the facts.

Since 9/11, al Qaeda has been unable to launch a single attack in the United States. Small groups of people inspired by it have managed a few smaller attacks in some cities in Europe and the Middle East and Asia, but even these have been getting fewer and fewer and further and further between. Most terrorism is now the product of lone, would-be suicide bombers rather than an organized political movement with a central figure or central organization.

Political support for al Qaeda, Islamic terrorism and suicide bombings has been dropping in every Muslim country in the world on which we have polling data. If the Arab world becomes more Democratic, those numbers will continue to fall.

In Iraq, for instance, support for political violence is tiny, lower than it is in the United States. So can we all take a deep breath, stop cowering in fear of the impending caliphate, and put the problem of Islamic terrorism in perspective? It's real. but it is not going to take over the world any time soon.

Let's get started.


ZAKARIA: All right. We have so much to talk to our panel about today from the strife in the Middle East to the strife in the middle west of the United States.

Joining me are "New York Times" columnist, Nick Kristof, who is just back from Cairo and Bahrain; Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York and now, of course, anchor of CNN's primetime show "IN THE ARENA"; Chrystia Freeland, the global editor-at-large for "Reuters"; and David Frum, editor of, and at one time speechwriter for President George W. Bush, mostly about economics, originally.

Nick, give us your sense on the ground, you know, the most recent reactions that you've had.

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I mean, it -- it feels like one of these years when everything is contagious, 1848 or 1989, and just every country you go to you see these explosions.

When Oman began to blow up, I mean, Oman was maybe the last place in the world that felt like it was going to explode, and -- and now it has, as well. And what also just is maybe hard to convey is just the degree to which this is all bubbling up and being supported from one country to the next. America isn't really part of the conversation in many of these places.

I was just awed the way Egyptians, for example, were going into Libya to support the democracy movement there, sending doctors, sending supplies. And, you know, I hope that contagion will continue.

ELIOT SPITZER, CNN HOST OF "IN THE ARENA": I want to pick up on something that Nicholas just said. It's amazing what has not been at the center of these revolutions.

And I have pretended to have no knowledge about where it goes and ends up, but the United States, Zionism, Israel, the issues that had always been at the center of the rhetoric of the outsiders has not at all been part of what has motivated this organic welling up of a desire for freedom. And I just think it is one of those moments in history when you marvel at the human spirit, almost regardless of where it ends up two months from now or six months from now.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND, GLOBAL EDITOR-AT-LARGE, REUTERS: Yes. And I think it's one of those moments when all of those cultural relativism arguments that we still hear made quite a lot actually about China.

You know, it's a different culture, the people really don't want democracy, they don't want to be free. We shouldn't impose our western values and imperialist way on these people. I mean, those arguments have been shown to be incredibly hollow because, you know, as Nick was saying, this really is a revolution of the people, not just of the streets but, you know, of the new technical elite of these society. And it turns out they want the same freedoms we do. It's terrific.

DAVID FRUM, EDITOR, FRUMFORUM.COM: But it's also a revolution driven by economic failure. If these regimes have been able to deliver anything like Chinese economic growth, the story may be a little different. And I think one of the things that sums it up in the Egyptian case was when Hosni Mubarak took power the Egyptian standard of living was two and a half times greater than that of China, and today China's is 75 percent greater than that of Egypt.,

And the thing I worry about, one of the things that -- that really worries me is all of the economic problems that led to these crises are all going to be there the day after. But the regimes are going to -- and the regimes are going to now have some expectations they're going to meet these problems, and what happens if that doesn't happen?

What is the next wave of governments like in these countries?

ZAKARIA: I want to ask you something, Nick, because you've written very optimistically about all of this, and I just wonder. You very optimistically -- you say how can we not support democracy when these people are willing to die for it? Are you --

Wanting to get rid of a bad regime is one thing. Being able to set up a liberal democracy, with a functioning rule of law and constitutionalism and all that stuff is another. Have you seen things there that gives you a lot of hope that these places will not turn into, you know, illiberal democracies, chaos, dysfunction, anarchy?

KRISTOF: I mean, I -- I hesitate to say. You wrote the book on illiberal democracies.

But, you know, look, the history of overthrow of dictators or the -- or the departure of dictators suggests that there will be problems. You know, there -- one of these countries may be a Yugoslavia and people celebrate the end of Tito and then look what happens. Or -- or a Congo and the end of the regime there and leading to the worst civil war in his -- in post-World War II history.

But, at the same time, in general, it seems to me that the history is that, you know, there are bumps and they get over them. And I don't think we really have a choice, and -- maybe especially when you're out there and you just see the passion that people have and the willingness to support ideas that we emulate. I mean, how can we take any position other than supporting that?

And I guess I would also say that I think that we overdo the Islamist boogieman, and that has certainly been a factor. It seems to me it's much less of a factor now than it was five or 10 years ago.

And, you know, maybe my favorite moment covering all this was I was in Tahrir Square. It was being attacked by Mubarak thugs, and I was in a little field hospital there. And I was photographing this guy who'd been hospitalized seven times in 24 hours, fighting these Mubarak thugs, and each time he totter off to get attacked again. And I backed up to take his picture and ran into this guy in a wheelchair, who'd had both his legs -- he's lost both his legs at some point, and wheeled his wheelchair in to fight for democracy.

You know, in a situation like that, how can we be doing anything else but coming on the side of those people?

ZAKARIA: Now, the -- the skeptics are actually mostly on the right. I -- I was on Eliot's show, and I was struck by the fact that Eliot was presenting this very eloquent, kind of Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy defense of spreading democracy in the Middle East, and the -- the two conservatives on the show were very cautious, very -- and on the right -- further right, in a sense, there's outright hostility, right?

FRUM: Yes. Well, there are a lot of ideological elements and some of them aren't so nice. Some of them are just mistrust of -- you know, that -- you know, whenever you have 300,000 Muslims in the street, that has to be a bad thing.

I think some of it is having been burned on Iraq, and that people -- that whether you acknowledge or not, some people say things because they feel the need to be consistent with the things they said with Iraq. They basically recite old lines. And other people recite old lines and hear the old lines and go, gee, that didn't come out so well the last time I gave that show. Maybe I should look for a new script this time.

I think, also, one more thing for the -- when you look at Iraq, where right now things do look relatively stable, and where the regime has been governed with a relatively light hand compared to some others. But you think with all that was invested in Iraq, and you look at the results and how disappointing they were, if that's what you get with this huge American infusion, all of that technology, all of those troops. It was not wasted. It was a real effort, and this is the result, you think, now what happens in Egypt?

When you try to go through that process with a poor country, one in seven illiterate, and without that American infrastructure, what happens then?

FREELAND: But maybe it's a false analogy. I mean, isn't it a difference between a revolution from the out -- regime change from outside and regime change from within? I mean, isn't the right analogy Eastern Europe? Or even post-Soviet Russia.

And you could say post-Soviet Russia didn't go so well, but a lot of people would argue that's because there wasn't enough support of the transformation.

SPITZER: But here's what I say. We don't know yet which the better analogy is. But, given that uncertainty, I come down where Nick did, which is if there is this organic, homegrown drive for democracy, how can we not be there to support it if we believe in anything at all?

FRUM: But, you know --

SPITZER: And I that that is where --

FRUM: But we have -- we have smuggled in something. We know there's -- what there's a drive against. But when you say they are fighting for democracy, you don't know that. You know (ph) what they're fighting against?

You hope they're fighting for democracy. You hope they even -- maybe they don't have a positive agenda at all. Sometimes just not one more day of this is all the agenda the people need to get them into the streets.

ZAKARIA: And -- and we got to take a break, and when we come back we're going to talk about the far less consequential but important budget battles in the United States when we come back. (END VIDEOTAPE)


KRUM: We have to go through -- American society is going to go through a great shake down, and there are going to be squeezes on all kinds of concentrated interests (ph).

In the health care sector, and we know that --

FREELAND: I don't see a lot of squeezes on Wall Street yet, David.

KRUM: Well, that's maybe not the place to -- but look at the health care sector where you --

FREELAND: That's not the place you should squeeze? I mean, aren't they the guys who are responsible for the financial crisis?

KRUM: You know, the place that's --




GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We must work together to bring our spending in line with reality. We were elected not to make the easy decisions to benefit ourselves, but to make the difficult ones that will benefit our children and our grandchildren.



ZAKARIA: And we are back with our all-star panel, Nick Kristof, Eliot Spitzer, David Frum and Chrystia Freeland.

All right. From the Midwest -- from the Mid East to the Midwest. Is the Wisconsin battle one that A) Governor Walker is going win, and, more broadly, is -- are these governors going to be able to take control of their budgets, put the unions on the defensive? How do you read things?

SPITZER: Well, I -- I don't know if he will win or lose technically in terms of getting his -- his legislation through that will end collective bargaining in Wisconsin. The unions are already on the -- playing defense, which is never a good place when you're in politics.

Having said that, the public is now beginning to take the other side. Sixty percent are saying, you know, collective bargaining is a right. But I think, at the end of the day, the governor went a bridge too far, Governor Walker, and he made a big mistake. And he's wrong. FRUM: I think he's being judged on style, not substance. The issue here is not pay, not benefits, it's -- it's not deficits -- it's work rules.

And the example that I used to bring home was going on in Wisconsin. They have a rural county, on the shores of Lake Michigan, where they have a juvenile detention center with six employees and one inmate. The county wants to close the juvenile detention center and pay another county to house the inmate for it, and they're not allowed to do that under the terms of the contract.

Now, I don't care what those people -- what those six employees can see (ph) on pay and benefits. The problem is the existence of the facility. And the problem is the structure of rules, I don't have to tell a New Yorker about this, that makes it impossible to rationally administer public services.

ZAKARIA: But presumably you too -- you would go even further and you would argue, I assume, that -- that public -- public sector workers should not be able to unionize because in effect they are on both sides of the bargaining table.

KRUM: I do -- I wouldn't want to be as -- quite as categorical as that, but I think we should have a big burden of suspicion against it. And I think the record is a lot of cases it's led to great rigidities and great waste of money, and, by the way a great failure of governmental institutions.

People on the left who want government to work should be aware that one of the reasons government has worked -- works so much worse today than it did 30 and 40 years ago is because of the spread of these work rules.

FREELAND: Just to comment on your point, Fareed, about being on both sides of the bargaining table, which is one of the arguments we're a lot about why public sector unions shouldn't have the right to collective bargaining.

I think we need to be careful about making that argument, because there are a lot of actors in society that vote, that contribute to political campaigns, and also have an economic relationship with the government. And a lot of those actors are big business, right?

The health care industry, GE for example, oil companies, the financial services, these are huge contributors to political campaigns. A lot of people from this industry go into top government jobs. And, you know, so we just have to be a little bit careful about saying just because you vote for politicians, which all of us do, doesn't mean that you can't get an economic benefit from them.

FRUM: That -- that's a -- that's a feature, not a bug.

We have to go through -- American society is going to go through a great shake down, and there are going to be squeezes on all kinds of concentrated interests (ph).

In the health care sector, and we know that --

FREELAND: I don't see a lot of squeezes on Wall Street yet, David.

KRUM: Well, that's maybe not the place to -- but look at the health care sector where you --

FREELAND: That's not the place you should squeeze? I mean, aren't they the guys who are responsible for the financial crisis?

KRUM: You know, the place -- the place to start is in the health care sector. America spend four points more of GDP than anybody else.


KRUM: And that is going to be squeezed out, and that is going to be very painful.

FREELAND: But I want to -- teachers are at the heart of darkness (ph), which is how it looks in (INAUDIBLE).

SPITZER: Take your example. I agree with you. The give backs are necessary. We need to get rid of the rigidity. We need to manage better. All of these things are necessary for -- if we're going to compete.

But the way to get there is not say to workers you can't bargain collectively. That is to change and take away a right rather than to focus on the changes we need in outcomes.

FRUM: Listen, don't judge the struggle because you don't like Governor Walker's manner.

FREELAND: No, no. No --

FRUM: Which I think a lot of people are doing.

FREELAND: But teacher -- turn to our Middle Eastern --


ZAKARIA: But it's right that has only existed for -- since the 1960s. FDR believed that public employees should not be able to unionize for precisely this reason.

SPITZER: That's right. And this is not the first amendment. You know, let's -- let's not confuse this with something that is as sacred as the first amendment.

But I think we confuse the debate which should be about the -- the other things that David is talking about. We need flexibility. We need to be efficient. We need to drill down on health care cost.

But collective bargaining with civil service isn't the issue.

ZAKARIA: See, when -- when you travel around the world, Nick, you know, as I do, I'm always struck by how much new competition there is coming at every level.

I was -- I was traveling to Singapore and watching this ad about the Singapore and real estate developer, you know, and at the bottom of the crawl, as they call it in television, it said maximum 20 percent income tax. No capital gains tax. No value added tax. No --

And you think, you know, everyone is trying to hustle for the same people.

KRISTOF: Yes. And I think that maybe we don't do as good a job as some other countries in distinguishing between consumption and investment. And one of the things that troubles me about this larger budget debate in this country is that instead of paring away at consumption, we're -- you know, we're trimming the investment in education and infrastructure, which is precisely what Asian countries have been so good at investing in.

FRUM: The reason we have squeezed our infrastructure budgets, they have been devoured by health care budgets. And if you are going to unleash the process of change on the health care sector, which is going to be very painful, it's going to mean less money for a lot of -- for pharmaceutical companies, for doctors, maybe for nurses too.

But if Governor Walker loses, this is I think a real test case of can America make the adjustments it needs to face a future that is going to a lot less comfortable --

FREELAND: David, I totally disagree --

FRUM: -- than the recent past has been.

FREELAND: -- because we see absolutely no willingness from the governor -- I agree with your analysis, but I don't see any Republicans out there saying let's take on the health care industry. Let's take on --

FRUM: I'm a Republican. I'll say it.

FREELAND: OK. Yes. You're not in -- you're not in office, however.

I mean, I think what's happening here goes back to our Middle Eastern discussion, which is part of what happens is the distributional effect. And one thing we have seen in America in the past 35 years is the people at the very top taking a huge share of the increase in productivity of the nation and the middle class getting squeezed.

ZAKARIA: All right. We're going to have to go, but I have to ask you this, Eliot, you're passionately concerned about the future of the country, the future of the state, the future of the city, a huge canvass, New York City. Mike Bloomberg is not going to be there forever. Are you going to run for mayor of New York?

SPITZER: You know, all I can say is don't believe what you know -- you read in the newspapers. If it's on TV, believe it, not in the newspapers.


SPITZER: I'm sorry about. Not your -- your newspaper exempted.

ZAKARIA: Wait, wait, wait. I want to hear -- is that -- is that Trumanesque --

SPITZER: I think -- that's not Trumanesque. I'm hosting -- I love doing what I'm doing here at CNN. That's what I plan to do as long as I can stay.

ZAKARIA: All right. So that means the next stage is an exploratory committee.

SPITZER: No, no, no.

ZAKARIA: (INAUDIBLE). We'll be right back.



ZAKARIA: Time now for our "What in the World?" segment.

Here in the United States we spend a lot of time arguing about politics. The divisions have hardened, the parties are at odds, and it feels like sometimes the country is split in two.

But we should take solace. There is a nation far more divided, and it may have some lessons for us.

Belgium hasn't had any government for 266 days and counting. When the Northern European nation went to the polls almost nine months ago, the party that won the most seats was called the New Flemish Alliance. The alliance's main aim is to split the country in two, not politically but physically.

You see, a slight majority of Belgium's population, the Flemish, speaks Dutch and lives in the north of the country, in Flanders. A minority of the country speaks French and lives in the south of the nation, in Wallonia. And the winning party wants to take their majority and split into an independent nation.

Already the country is divided at every level. Almost every public service you can think of, schools, hospitals, and they are split along the lines of language. There are French schools and Flemish schools; Flemish hospitals and French hospitals, and so on.

Then there's Brussels. It is the capital of Belgium and of Flanders, but Brussels is French speaking, which is why it is also the capital of the European Union. So if you partition the country, the French speaking capital would end up in the Dutch speaking Flanders. All clear?

You wouldn't normally compare Belgium with Iraq, but that's the country with the previous longest record without a government. For 249 days the Iraqi parliament could not decide how to form a government and then it took another 40 days for that government to actually assume power. Iraq's democratic experiment was much maligned at the time. It was falling down while taking its baby steps of democracy.

But the Belgians have had a bit more practice. The country gained its independence and started its current form of government in 1830. It's a parliamentary democracy, where the king is the constitutional monarch.

So, amid all the political machinations, what should Americans do if the government stalls, if division simple make it impossible to get on with the business of the country?

Well, what the people of Belgium seem to do is grin and bear it. Some Belgians quite literally did that, stripping down in the cold winter to make a point. Whatever that point was, however, got lost in the stunt, I'm afraid to say.

On February the 17th, the day when by some counts Belgium overtook Iraq as the country with the most days without a government, Belgians marked it in style -- street parties, D.J.s churning out music, funky costumes. They had it all.

And there was some political messages. In Dutch speaking Flanders, locals handed out free French fries, while in French speaking Wallonia, you could swig some free beer , probably Heineken.

Some went as far as to create a fake government website. It had this message, "Government not found. The requested government was not found in this country. Please come back, well, later."

We live in an era of unrest and political uncertainty in many parts of the world, so you have to hand to it the people of Belgium. They're taking it in stride, with an admirable sense of humor.

And we will be right back.



BENJAMIN BARBER, FORMER BOARD MEMBER, SEIF GADHAFI FOUNDATION: I felt with Seif that he had somehow made a choice in that internal struggle he had. He made a choice that I am the son. Clan, blood is powerful in the Middle East and in North Africa. He made the choice. If my father is under attack, if my brothers are going to die, I will stay and die with him.



(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ZAKARIA: What we have heard from the Gadhafi family in recent weeks can be summarized thusly rambling speeches that verge on the megalomaniacal. What's puzzling than the father, however, is Seif, the Son. He was educated at the London School of Economics where he got a PhD and he was know for his rather liberal, progressive views. Now, however, promising, rivers of blood in his speeches. That sounds neither liberal nor progressive.

To help us sort through all of this, Benjamin Barber, who resigned two weeks ago from the board of the Seif Gadhafi Foundation and spent much time with both father and son. Barber is, of course, a very distinguished American academic. Welcome.

So, when did you first meet Moammar Gadhafi?

BARBER: In 2006, just a few years after the regime had yielded its weapons of mass destruction and was seeking to improve relationships with Europe and the United States and that was a two-way process, when they were still negotiating Lockerbie and when Gadhafi had come in from the cold as the head of a rogue state and became a potential ally and oil supplier for the west.

ZAKARIA: Now, when I met him I thought he -- I thought he was on drugs. I thought it was sort of some very strange, hallucinogenic kind of moment. But that might have been a special circumstance.

You spent many, many hours with them -

BARBER: Well, I think -

ZAKARIA: -- how did he strike you as a person?

BARBER: Well, I think two things. He has a very weird affect. As long ago as the 1980s, I was part of a television program that interviewed him in the desert and he doesn't look at you in the eye. His face is slack. He speaks in a kind of very low mumble and the affect is certainly weird.

ZAKARIA: And is he -- but he -- he strikes you as intelligent?

BARBER: Highly intelligent. My own view is that a fool and a lunatic could not stay in power for 42 years in a tribal state like Libya.

ZAKARIA: You knew Seif much better even.

BARBER: You say much better and better, too, because Seif was a young man. He's 38 now. He was a student for most of the time I knew him at the London School of Economics. The last two years, he finished his dissertation. And we interacted the way, you know, I might with other young scholars and young students.

ZAKARIA: And how did he strike you?

BARBER: He struck me as somebody who was torn from within with perhaps three different views of the world. You have the scholar. You have the Gadhafi son who we saw in the "rivers of blood" speech. And then you also had a typical corrupt son of a Middle Eastern dictator, kind of playboy, European yachts, Polish and Russian financial connections, making a lot of money, part of the oil industry, developing hotels.

So he had these three pieces inside of him kind of at war with one another. I mostly saw, for obvious reasons, the young scholar, the young liberal, the head of the Gadhafi Foundation, trying to do internal reform. But these other two people were there, the one who won the battle clearly last week was the Gadhafi son.

ZAKARIA: Is that what you thought when you heard the "rivers of blood" speech?

BARBER: I did. I thought maybe a little foolishly about "The Godfather". The character, Pacino played the young son of the Godfather who had gone straight, who was a war hero, who was going to be a civilian, who is not going to be part of the Sicilian family, but when his father came under attack, changed sides, joined him and eventually became the Godfather himself, and the most demonic and brutal of the godfathers.


BARBER: I felt with Seif that he had somehow made a choice in that internal struggle he had. He made a choice that I am the son. Clan, blood is powerful in the Middle East and in North Africa. He made the choice. If my father is under attack, if my brothers are going to die, I will stay and die with him.

And that makes him in some ways the most dangerous of the Gadhafis because he's rational, he's coherent, he's thoughtful. He understands the west, but he has now, I think, thrown his lot in with his father. And unless there's a way he can be separated from them, which seems highly unlikely, it seems he will suffer the fate of his father.

ZAKARIA: Do you think that the -- the Gadhafis will fight to the bitter end?

BARBER: I do think that. I think we sometimes forget that Moammar Gadhafi, delusional as he may be, suffers from delusion rooted in reality. He is not Mubarak, a second or third generation bureaucratic guy in the military.

He's a first generation revolutionary founder on the model of Castro or on the model of Nasser in Egypt. And thus, he believed deeply in the revolution. I suspects he sees what's happening now as a counter revolution, not a liberal uprising against him. And that I think will mean that he intends to fight to the death.

Seif Gadhafi said on Turk-CNN and asked, do you have an option B if this fails? He says, yes, I have three options. Option A live and die in Libya. Option B live and die in Libya. Option C live and die in Libya. We wouldn't know -- was all that posturing for seven years? Possibly. Was it all an honest commitment that then went off in the "rivers of blood" he talked about last week? That we wouldn't know.

My own belief is that he spent seven years trying to be a reformer and in the end was swallowed up in clan loyalty and revolution in ways that may set back rather than further the prospects to democracy in Libya. I think this is a clan family and a tribal land that will fight to the end for what they believe, foolish and delusional and repressive, as those beliefs might be.

ZAKARIA: You know that there are people who look at -- at you and the people -


ZAKARIA: -- like you who say you became tools of a very -- of one of the most repressive regimes in the world, you know? You became fellow travelers of this -


ZAKARIA: -- of this Stalinist regime.

BARBER: Right. And let me say two things about that. One is that there are Americans representing business interest, government interests all over the world in Burma, in Saudi Arabia today, in Iraq and pakistan who represent nothing other than an interest in exploiting for their own benefit those regimes.

My presence and the presence of the Gadhafi Foundation International Advisory Board had been from the beginning to try to work in a static, long-term dictatorial regime for internal change. When it became apparent that Seif had joined his father, at that point, the entire international board -- you can talk to other members, resigned.

But to say we resigned because now Seif Gadhafi and the foundation are no longer instruments of potential change and then try to go back and rewrite history back in 2006 and 2007 when the Bush administration was working hard to create new alliances, to recognize, to send an ambassador and say those of us who were in Libya trying to work internally for change is, I think, more than dangerous and I think people have to ask then should we never go to regimes which are dictatorial and try to work from within for change.

ZAKARIA: Are you hopeful about what happens in Libya?

BARBER: I'm -- I'm torn myself because I'm always hopeful when people rise up in the name of freedom and demand self-determination and demand freedom.

ZAKARIA: But you sound like you think there's going to be chaos.

BARBER: But my fear there is partly because the world is assuming it's Cairo all over again that we're overlooking the presence of al Qaeda down the line. That we're overlooking the presence of a possible civil war. That we're overlooking the possibility that tribe rivalries will come out if and when Gadhafi is gone, and you'll find different tribal chiefs asserting themselves.

My fear is that we have not yet established the foundations for democracy and here, Fareed, you've written so eloquently about this. We know historically that most revolutions in democracy's names have not achieved revolution. In part because it takes protesters, brave and courageous protesters to make a revolution but it takes citizens to make a democracy and that's a long, slow process. And that process has not yet gotten underway in Libya. It's underway in Cairo, not yet underway in Libya.

I hope it will, but I'm -- I wouldn't say I'm skeptical, but I'm ambivalent. I -- I pray for and am excited by the turn of events, but also worried as a historian and a political scientist that too much is expected with too little foundation for real progress towards democracy.

ZAKARIA: Benjamin Barber, thank you so much.

BARBER: Thank you, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: And we'll be back.



HANS ROSLING, CO-FOUNDR, GAPMINDER FOUNDATION: You see this very clear, how the west took off first and then how the rest is following and catching up. And how will this continue?



CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Candy Crowley and here are today's top stories.

Supporters of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi celebrated in Tripoli's Green Square today after the government claimed to be in control of several cities. But witnesses tell CNN opposition forces remain in control of key areas.

A small British diplomatic team is in Benghazi, Libya talking with the country's rebels. Sources tell CNN that negotiations are under way to secure the release of eight British Special Forces troops being detained in Eastern Libya by opposition forces.

The U.S. State Department is warning Americans against traveling to Yemen. Today's advisory says the threat level in Yemen is extremely high due to terrorist activities and civil unrest. It comes the same day as suspected al Qaeda members killed four Yemeni soldiers.

In Bahrain, there was a large but peaceful protest outside the palace where the country's cabinet met today. It was the first time a demonstration had been allowed at the site. Protesters chanted slogans calling for the ouster of Bahrain's prime minister.

Twelve people were killed and five others injured in a mine explosion today in Southeastern Afghanistan. The blast occurred when a vehicle that people were traveling in hit a land mine. The dead include two children and five women.

Those are your top stories. Up next, much more FAREED ZAKARIA GPS and then "RELIABLE SOURCES" at the top of the hour.



ZAKARIA: I want to tell you about something I think you'll really enjoy and learn a lot from. Tonight on CNN, you can see a GPS Special. It's another in our ongoing series, "Restoring the American Dream." This one is called "Getting Back to Number One." You can catch it at 8:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M. Eastern and Pacific.

The idea is this. Politicians love to talk about how exceptional this country is and America is exceptional. But in many places where the United States once ranked number one, it has fallen, in some cases, fallen quite far. America's enrollment rate for elementary school ranks 79th in the world. We are 12th in the percentage of college graduates among rich countries. America's 15-year-olds are ranked 19th in science, 24th in math. Our infrastructure now ranks 23rd in the world. We're 41st in the world on infant mortality, 49th on life expectancy.

Where are we first in the world? Well, on external debt. We have more debt than other nations. Of course, there's lots of positive places we're number one. We are still the world's largest economy. We have the largest military, by far. The most dynamic technology companies, a highly entrepreneurial climate. But the rhetoric of American politicians does not seem to match the new reality.

So how did we get to where we are? We begin the special with Hans Rosling. Hans Rosling has an amazing way of making statistics come alive. In this case, with bubbles on the graph. The bubbles represent countries. The bigger the bubble, the bigger the population. The vertical axis is life expectancy. The horizontal axis is income. We start here in 1954 right after the Korean War.


ROSLING: And at this time United States was on top. Europe had fallen behind and Japan was trying to catch up here and interestingly a small country on the equator, Singapore was just behind.

Latin America was in between and China and India were still down here with low life expectancy and with low incomes, but they had gained their independence and look what happened after 1954.

Here. U.S. continues to lead, but Europe is closing in. Europe is closing in. And Japan there, they make this amazing catch up together with Singapore and now the tiger economies in Asia.

And here, China and India got educations, more families and health before they start this amazing economic growth where they catch in together with more and more emerging economies and they keep up the speed through the last economic crisis and here we are today. 2010.

And what is most interesting here is, if you look at the replay, you see this very clear how the west took off first and then how the rest is following and catching up.

And how will this continue? Well, let's make a projection into the future by going backwards first. This is where China was in 1980. They're very low income over there. And U.S. was all over here in the other end. And we never thought this would happen that China in 30 years would move so much faster than the United States.

Now, if both countries would keep the same speed in economic growth in the coming 30 years, where would the U.S. end up? It will end up there. And where would China end up? They would end up here, the same spot.


ZAKARIA: So how did everyone catch up? Well a frequent GPS guest and Harvard historian Niall Ferguson explains.


NIALL FERGUSON, HARVARD HISTORIAN: If you take a 500 year timeframe, the story of world history is quite simple. For 500 years, the west, it wasn't just the United States. It started in Western Europe. The west patented six killer applications that set it apart from the rest and left the rest essentially stagnating for half a millennium. And those six killer applications were in fact open sores. They were available to be downloaded by any non-western society that wanted to.

The first to do it was Japan, beginning in the late 1973 (ph). And so what we're seeing actually is the fulfillment of a roughly century long process whereby one Asian country after another has downloaded the killer applications of competition, of modern science, of the rule of law and private property rights, of modern medicine, of the consumer society and the work ethic. Those six things together are the secret sauce of western civilization.


ZAKARIA: And we will explain what the United States can do in light of all these challenges. Tonight at 8:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M., Eastern and Pacific. You will hear the whole story, much more from Rosling and Ferguson, the founders of Foursquare and many others. And as I said, I will tell you my fixes for how to get America back on top. All in our special, "Restoring the American Dream: Getting Back to Number One." 8:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M. Eastern and Pacific tonight.

It's also my cover story in "Time" magazine this week. You can check it out on

We'll be back in just a moment.




ZAKARIA: Our question this week from the "GPS Challenge" is, Pope Benedict has a new book coming out. In it which group does he exonerate for what act or acts? Is it, A, Jews for killing Christ; B, Muslims for 9/11; C, Christians for the Crusades; D, Aztecs for human sacrifice.

Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer. Make sure you go to for 10 more questions. And while you're there, you will notice things have changed. I'm thrilled to announce the launch of the Global Public Square blog. There you'll find smart, fun, surprising posts that will change your view of the world and inform you. You'll be able to spark up conversations with world thinkers, the occasional global leader and one another. It's a place where you and I together can make sense of the dazzling events unfolding around us every day. You can find the way you've always found our website,

Now, "The Book of the Week." Jonathan Powell's "The New Machiavelli: How to Wield Power in the Modern World". The author is the highly intelligent former Chief of Staff to Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair. It's actually two books in one. An insider's view of life at 10 Downing Street and the decisions to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it's also a sort of a super self-help book on how to wield power, as the title suggests. Very intelligent.

And now for "The Last Look." If you've been wondering as I'm sure many of you have what to get your favorite dictator for his next birthday. I have a suggestion. For the man who has everything, this one comes straight from the files of the recently deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak was known as a sharp dresser who thought rather highly of himself, and what dictator doesn't after all. But we didn't know to what extent until we saw this.

Now, this looks like a regular picture of Mubarak in a suit, right? Let's zoom in a little. Focus on those fancy pin stripes. Look closer. It's unmistakable. Mubarak had his name printed across his suit over and over again in the pin stripes. His name is in the pin stripes. By the way, we did a little research. Turns out a suit like that could set you back $25,000. Mubarak's orders for the suit have presumably slowed after all his assets have been frozen around the world.

Now, if you have $25,000 to spare and you want one of those suits, go to our website. We actually have a link that will get you there.

The correct answer to our "GPS Challenge Question" was A. In Pope Benedict's book out next week, he says Jews aren't to blame for the death of Christ. Whew. That's been called a big break through in relations between the two religions.

Don't forget tonight at 8:00 and 11:00 P.M, Eastern and Pacific, you can catch my brand new special "Restoring the American Dream: Getting Back to Number One." Don't miss it.

Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you tonight. Stay tuned for "RELIABLE SOURCES."