Return to Transcripts main page
FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Interview with Tom Donilon; The Next Big Crisis in the World?
Aired April 27, 2014 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is GPS, the Global Public Square. And welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.
Ukraine and Asia. We will start with the two topics that have dominated American foreign policy this week.
First up, I'll ask the president's former national security adviser, Tom Donilon, what Putin's real intentions are in Ukraine and whether the Asia pivot is working.
Then we'll look at the next big international crisis. That's the one you will read about in a few months, even. We have the maps and the experts on hand.
Also, what is the most important economic trend of the last three decades? There is better an even odds that it's you. I will explain.
But first here's my take. Foreign policy commands attention when it's crisis management. A street revolt breaks out in Egypt or Libya or Kiev and everyone asks, how should the president respond?
Now these are important parts of America's role in the world, but they are essentially reactive and tactical. The broader challenge is to lay down a longer-term strategy that endures after the crisis of the moment. The Obama administration has tried to do this with its Asia's strategy, and the president's trip this week is a part of that, but progress has been halting and incomplete.
So for all its problems, the real threat to a serious Asia strategy comes not from the administration but from Congress and maybe the American public. In fact, the difficulties in the execution of the Asian pivot raised the broader question -- can America have a grand strategy today?
Obama's basic approach is wise and in many ways a continuation of U.S. foreign policy since Bill Clinton's presidency, including George W. Bush. On the diplomatic front, it has two elements -- deterrence and engagement. All countries in Asia as well as the United States seek stronger and deeper economic ties with China and want to ensure that that country does not become an expansionist regional bully.
Now getting the balance between those two elements -- engagement and deterrence -- is hard to do and easy to criticize. There is, however, a broader aspect to Asia policy, one that is constructive. At the center of this is the Transpacific Partnership. It would not only be the largest trade deal in decades if it happened involving most of Asia's large economies and perhaps eventually even including China but it would strongly reinforce America style rules about free and open trade worldwide.
Yet the president has not been able to get the fast track authority that makes it possible to negotiate such a trade deal. The Democratic Party, once the greatest champion of free trade, has long turned its back on it. A sad shift in a once open and optimistic party. And in recent years, Republican support for trade has also gotten much weaker.
America's military strategy in Asia requires significant budgets, and these are under pressure from both sides of the aisle. Public support for any kind of ambitious, generous foreign policy is pretty low these days.
Now the most worrying obstacle to a serious American strategy might seem at first to be a highly technical issue. The administration has proposed reform of the International Monetary Fund which congressional Republicans are blocking. But reforming the agency is crucial to America's future global vote.
Let me explain. The IMF governing board has long been dominated by the United States and Europe. As Asian countries have become a large part of the global economic pie, the Obama administration has proposed enlarging their votes on the board. Now this mostly would take power away from Europe, not the United States. And yet congressional Republicans have held up this plan for three years, and they show no signs of being ready to pass it.
This issue has united Asian countries from China to Indonesia to Singapore who see it a sign that the West will never let them share real power in these institutions. And you know what? They have a point. After World War II, the United States confronted Soviet communism but it also built a stable world order by creating many institutions that set global rules and norms, and shared power from the U.N. itself to the IMF and the World Bank.
The urgent task is to expand these institutions to include the rising powers of Asia. If Washington does not do this, it will strengthen those voices in Asia, especially in China, who say that their countries should not try to integrate into a Western framework of international rules because they will always be second class citizens, and they should, instead, buy their time and create their own institutions, played by their own rules and do their own thing.
And at that point, we will all deeply regret that we did not let these countries into the club when we had a chance.
For more go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
Of course, President Obama couldn't concentrate completely on Asia this week as the crisis in Ukraine continued and even heated up. I wanted to delve into both of these issues and how to handle them. That is the kind of advice that Tom Donilon used to give President Obama. Until nine months ago, Tom was President Obama's National Security adviser and one of the architects of the Asian pivot.
Tom, pleasure to have you on.
TOM DONILON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: OK. Nice to be here, Fareed. Thank you.
ZAKARIA: And Vladimir Putin.
DONILON: Yes. Do you believe that Putin really could actually in some way invade eastern Ukraine at some point?
DONILON: I think that the Russian government led by Putin is engaged in the destabilization effort currently Ukraine. I think that the Russian view here is that is destabilized Ukraine is superior to a stable, successful Ukraine that's oriented to the West. And I think you'll see them continue to use leverage that they have to try and destabilize the situation. I think the job of the United States and the West is to support politically and economically the Ukraine government, to have the elections take place in May and to move forward and to build a successful Ukraine.
A difficult task given the fact that I think that Putin and his -- and his team and the Russians are engaged in an express effort to destabilize via -- through a variety of covert operations.
ZAKARIA: Anything about this surprised you? You spent a lot of time with President Putin to then hear him say, you know, bald-facedly there are no Russian troops involved, these -- I don't know who these guys who wear black masks are.
DONILON: I think it is unusual for a leader of a country to engage in bald-faced lie. I think that is unusual. It's an unusual thing to do, frankly, and it really does obviously hurt his credibility. And I think that's one of the reasons that you've had some of the surprising tough reactions you've had from Europe, for example.
ZAKARIA: How does this end? As you say Russia seems to want an unstable Ukraine.
ZAKARIA: It would be difficult, I think, for the West to totally stabilize it given how close it is to Russia, how deeply penetrated Ukraine already is, whether it's, you know, Ukrainian intelligence services penetrated by Russians, Ukrainian army is penetrated, the eastern Ukraine as well. Where does this go?
DONILON: Well, I think -- I think that where it goes in the short meeting terms are here. I do think that our effort should be support for the Ukraine government going forward here politically and economically, support for and reassurance for our NATO allies and substantial increasing of the price for Russian conduct.
ZAKARIA: So you would favor a third round of sanctions?
DONILON: If there is no change in behavior by the Russian government. If there's no effort to meet the commitments that they made in Geneva to defuse the situation, to have the militias stand down, leave the buildings that they're occupying, and engage in a political dialogue with the authorities in Kiev, if that doesn't happen, I think absolutely we need to go ahead with the next -- with the next round of sanctions and increase the -- and increase the price of Russian conduct.
ZAKARIA: You know, a lot of people argue that the pivot has been well articulated, well conceived but fundamentally, badly implemented. That there isn't enough energy and attention on Asia, there aren't enough substantive pieces to it, it's sort of good in theory but bad in practice. As essentially the architect of the pivot, what do you say?
DONILON: I don't think that's correct actually. And of course the president this week is in Asia visiting four countries. And if you look at all the elements, I think that actually a number of these things are moving along. We've worked very hard on restoring our alliances and our alliances are in very good shape in Asia and indeed tremendous demand for U.S. leadership and engagement in Asia for a lot of different reasons.
ZAKARIA: Surely one of the things that strikes you is this rivalry between China and Japan that has never really abated, has gotten worse in many ways now because you have a stronger Chinese government in a sense and one that's tougher, but also the rise of a Japanese government that is quite tough and some people would say nationalistic, wants to rearm in ways that Japan has never done since World War II.
What do you make of it?
DONILON: Well, a very tense situation, frankly, because we know -- when you talk to leaders in both these countries, the level of emotion here is very high as between China and Japan. And this is our problem.
ZAKARIA: And they won't even talk to each other.
DONILON: Exactly. Right. They're certainly not talking at the political level. And these are the -- these are the second and third largest economies in the world. And it is I think ultimately in the region's interests to have -- to have them lower tensions but it is a very -- it's not there at this point.
What the danger here of course is that when you have this level of emotion, when you have this level of nationalism on both sides, and you have both sides testing each other, that you can have a mistake or a miscalculation which can really spiral to places that you can't -- that you can't predict. That's the real danger.
One encouraging note this week was that there was a naval conference that took place during the last week where the Navies, including China, of the region agreed on a code of conduct for unanticipated encounters. That's the kind of thing we really do need -- we really do need to do to avoid the kind of mistake or accident that can take place in situations like this. Over all, though, all sides need to try to reduce tensions, which is why some of the conduct of the Chinese was so troubling last fall when they declared this Air Defense Identification Zone unilaterally, and of course we pushed back very hard as did the Japanese. But that's the kind of thing that increases tensions, it doesn't lower, it can really result in -- really anticipated consequences.
ZAKARIA: Tom Donilon, pleasure to have you on.
DONILON: OK. Nice to see you.
ZAKARIA: To discuss just how these unanticipated accidents, miscalculations and tensions could actually lead to the next great international crisis, we will come back with some maps and two great experts to explain the next crisis in Asia and the world when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Tom Donilon just talked about the tensions, the emotions, the nationalism that are all in play in Asia. I wanted to delve deeper in just how serious the dangers are and what kind of crisis we should imagine, anticipate and plan for. So I asked two of the top experts I know to join me.
Robert Kaplan is the chief geopolitical analyst for Stradfor and the author of "Asia's Cauldron: The South China Seas and the End of a Stable Pacific" and Geoff Dyer is the foreign affairs correspondent for the "Financial Times" and the paper's former Beijing bureau chief. He is the author of a new book, "Contest of the Century: The New Era of Competition with China and How American Can Win."
Bob Kaplan, Geoff Dyer, thanks for joining me.
ROBERT KAPLAN, CHIEF GEOPOLITICAL ANALYST, STRATFOR: My pleasure.
ZAKARIA: Let me start with you. So is it fair when we look at the next big crisis, a crisis that could involve major powers to look at this part of the world that you've been writing about, and particularly to look at the eastern South China Seas?
KAPLAN: Yes, it is, but a major crisis doesn't equate into a war. It equates into a nervous, anxious, more complicated world. Seas crowded with warships, submarines, merchant shipping, fifth generation fighter jets that can easily create incidents that in turn could enable a crisis. In other words, this is a region that's going to be on the boil for years and years to come.
ZAKARIA: And there we have it -- there you can see the countries we're talking about, Japan, China, the two richest countries in Asia, but next to it lots of small countries that are many concerns.
And, Geoff, when you look at this, is it fair to say at the heart of what's going on, the kind of motor that might drive a crisis, is the China, as it has gotten richer, has become more expansive in its definition of what it considers its vital interests, what it really wants to control around its region?
GEOFF DYER, AUTHOR, "THE CAULDRON OF THE CENTURY": Absolutely. I've been thinking the last five years as though China has gone through this very sort of important transition, starting to say, you know, this is our time. We've built up this military for the last 20 years. We now can start pushing back. We can now start making a claim.
And that's the thing that's underlying all these different tensions that we're -- come to the fore in the last two, three years.
ZAKARIA: And that's interesting. China has had these territorial disputes with all these other countries. Interestingly, they've solved most of the land ones, but it's the naval ones that seem to be still at issue. Why is that?
KAPLAN: That's because what China wants to do eventually to the south and east China seas is what the United States did to the Caribbean in the 19th and -- early 20th century. Dilute American influence in west Asia so that China could expand its continental land mass into the blue -- adjacent blue waters. The South China Sea has the potential to give -- make China into a great military power in the way the Caribbean gave the United States domination of the western hemisphere.
ZAKARIA: And then you have the East China Seas.
ZAKARIA: Which is the area between China and Japan, basically.
ZAKARIA: To me this is the most dangerous because it involves two very big, rich countries, the second and third largest economies in the world. And countries with huge defense budgets. What could -- you know, we saw one version of what could happen. A ship captain takes his boat into these waters. Play out for us what you think could happen.
KAPLAN: All right. First of all, the East China Sea is a more acute problem for the United States because frankly speaking the United States probably will not go to the war to defend the Philippines. It's a poor country, it's a treaty ally, but not a serious one like Japan is. Japan is a real serious ally in the United States and on holding back Japanese nationalism could be as much of a challenge for the United States in the future as dealing with Chinese nationalism.
What could happen is don't think of Navies as just great haul warships. You could -- the Chinese love to use Navies these fishing boats, coastal patrol boats, coast guard vessels, Chinese fishermen could lay claim to a rock that Japanese could try to intersect. You could have a tit-for-tat sort of incident that could escalate into a major exchange. So far it's all been very formulaic. You know, Asian countries like to strike poses. But it could escalate into something where neither side can pull back and you could have what's been -- what's been forecast short, sharp war.
ZAKARIA: And you can imagine some crisis of the kind Bob is describing and then neither side, the Chinese nor the Japanese can back down because they can't appear weak to their publics.
DYER: Absolutely. If you look at opinion polls in China and Japan recently, they're really very alarming. I mean, you get figures of over 90 percent and people in China saying they don't trust Japan and very similar figures in Japan.
Remember, this is the second and the third biggest economies in the world. This is not just two small countries. And for one there are underlying risks, as Bob said, if you get people talking about this idea of a short, sharp war. And there's this danger sense you get both in -- from hawks in China and hawks in Japan that maybe we could -- we could have this fight and it could be isolated and we can control it.
But when these things do start it is very hard to control. It's very hard to just contain and limit it to a narrow conflict and it can easily spiral out of control. That's one of the underlying risks as well.
ZAKARIA: People thought that World War I would be a short war.
DYER: They thought they'd be home by Christmas.
ZAKARIA: What should the United States do? Because if -- you know, there is this balancing act where if it tries to support its allies like the Philippines, Vietnam, let's call it de facto ally, it will get the Chinese to feel like we're trying to -- the United States is trying to encircle them.
KAPLAN: The United States needs to steer between two extremes. On the one hand, it has to make -- it has to prevent China from Finland- izing, if you will, countries like Vietnam and the Philippines and Malaysia.
ZAKARIA: Meaning that --
KAPLAN: Meaning that Finland, because of its long land border with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, didn't really have control of its own foreign policy. And China is going to seek to do that in countries of the South China Sea. But on the other hand, the United States cannot allow Vietnamese or Filipino nationalism to drag the United States into a military conflict with China given how important the bilateral relationship between China and the U.S. for the piece of the world in the 21st century. ZAKARIA: So the United States, China, Japan and all these Asian countries in this cauldron, as you describe it, almost certainly going to be one of the big next crisis that we face in foreign policy.
Thank you both. Fantastic.
KAPLAN: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Next up, if you are a woman, you might be part of the most important economic trend of the last 30 years. Whatever your agenda, you will want to hear about this trend in any event.
ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. If you watch even just one episode of "Mad Men," it's clear that since the 1960s, women in the workplace have come a long way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He may act like he wants a secretary, but most of the time they're looking for something between a mother and a waitress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: But a new study shows that they still have a long way to go. Women today make up about half the American work force, a big leap from the 1960s, the "Mad Men" era, when they constituted about a third. But, for example, only 23 Fortune 500 companies have CEOs who are women.
We'll look at average wages. In 1963 a woman in the United States made 59 cents for every dollar a man made. Today women have made good gains but on average they make 77 cents for every dollar a male counterpart makes.
But the most startling data on women in the workplace came from a study just out from two left-leaning think tanks -- the Center of American Progress and the Center of Economic and Policy Research.
It turns out that the most important economic trend of the last 30 years might not be high tech, but rather high employment of women. If women hadn't entered the work force by the millions over the last three decades, the study says, the U.S. economy would be about 11 percent smaller.
The report, which was partially funded by the Department of Labor, found that if women worked at 1979 levels, the U.S. economy would have lost over $1.7 trillion in economic output in 2012. That amount, $1.7 trillion, is roughly the GDP of Canada.
One way to see what a country looks like when women don't work so much is to look at Japan. Japanese women are amazingly well educated, but for various cultural reasons, they do not enter the work force and stay in it. And those who do struggle to break the glass ceiling or the bamboo ceiling. Goldman Sachs estimates that if Japan could increase the female employment rate, the country's labor force would expand by more than eight million people and its GDP would grow by as much as 15 percent.
That's significant for a starting economy with a rapidly aging population. And it's probably why Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Abenomics Growth Strategy has been infused with womanomics. Last year he announced he wanted to support women so that they could shine in the economy.
And it's not just Japan. According to the IMF, increasing women's employment rates around the globe could result in huge gains. If women worked at the same level as men in Egypt, the country's GDP could grow by 34 percent. The UAE would see a 12 percent boost. Germany and France 4 percent and even the United States could see 5 percent more growth.
But let's be honest. Women working has produced economic complications. A larger, more competitive work force has arguably kept wages from rising much. Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney of the Brookings Institution point out that if you look at all working age men, the real earnings of the median American male have decreased by 19 percent since 1970s. Now this is for a variety of reasons.
Women working has also produced social complications regarding raising children. The Harvard Business Review conducted a study of American women who had left work to have children. 93 percent of them wanted to return to work, but only 7 percent of them managed to do so and just 40 percent were able to return to full-time jobs.
The transformation of women's lives has been one of the great changes in history. It will take time to get it right and to put in place laws and practices that make it work. Perhaps this will be one of the tasks that Hillary Clinton takes on if she gets that new job everyone is talking about in 2016.
Up next, does President Putin's pugilism represent a future of conflict? And is that a good thing? I have a distinguished historian who will look into the future for us.
"War: what is it good for?" Those were of course the famous words sung here by Edwin Starr as a protest in the Vietnam era. But those words also form part of the title of the author Ian Morris' new book "War! What Is It Good For? Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots."
I think Morris' answer will surprise you.
Thanks for joining us
So first I've got to ask you, Your book comes at an interesting time because people talk about Putin and his tactics and strategy as being -- is this the new world we're in? Are we deluding ourselves? And then the administration says, no, this is a throwback to the past.
What do you make of it?
Is he the true face of the 21st century or a throwback?
IAN MORRIS, AUTHOR: I think perhaps both at once and certainly a throwback. This is the way great powers have done their business since the beginning of recorded history.
But one of the great changes we've seen across history is people have used war less and less, particularly in the last couple generations, less and less to solve their problems.
ZAKARIA: Is that data pretty clear that, particularly among the major states of the world, there has been a decline in war?
MORRIS: Yes, I think so. What you see is this huge paradox, and strategists love saying everything about war is paradoxical, but the biggest paradox is that in this weird way, war has driven processes. It has made the world a less violent place over the very long term.
ZAKARIA: Explain that. So you're saying war makes peace.
MORRIS: Yes, which again just sounds completely insane. But the way it seems to have worked is if you go back 15,000 years, the end of the Ice Age, the world, of course, warming up to the end of the Ice Age and farming begins, populations begin to grow very rapidly, and before that if two bands of hunter-gatherers got into a fight with each other, the losing band always has the option of moving up and hunting and gathering someplace else. The world is relatively empty, low populations.
Now as the population starts going up, that gets harder. And so a new thing starts happening. The winners of wars start swallowing up the losers and forming a bigger society. And as they do this, the people who run these societies figure out very quickly that the only way to hold these societies together and to stay in power is by pacifying their subjects, driving down the rates of violence and violent death.
Because if you're a ruler, what you want is people who get up in the morning, go out and plant your fields, pay your taxes and so on. You don't want angry murderous subjects who are killing each other.
ZAKARIA: So you're saying if you looked at in 1500 there were about 500 small states in Europe, all quarrelling with each other and often going off to war. And the creation of the large states -- France, Germany, Austria, Hungary -- in a strange sense, subdued the level of violence because now there were only five or six of them.
MORRIS: Exactly, yes. So wars of course carrying on being fought, but there are fewer big powers fighting the wars, and the wars that are now being fought are often more violent than the earlier ones because the societies are bigger. But within the societies, the rate of violence goes down and down. People are not feuding with each other violently, not fighting civil wars all the time so long as they have a strong government.
ZAKARIA: What about Hitler?
ZAKARIA: You discuss this in the book.
MORRIS: Yes. In fact, in the book I call it "The What About Hitler Problem" because obviously the argument in the book is that the long-term effects, is it movement in this direction, is there pressure on rulers all the time to try to pacify their societies, not because these rulers are angels, but because this is in their own interest.
But of course, that's not to suggest for a moment that everybody conforms to the norm. And so of course you have got characters like Hitler or Stalin or Mao or Idi Amin, you know, a long list of these guys who are doing things which don't at all fit the pattern.
And yet, the overall long-term effect is that the people who behave way off the path of rational behavior tend not to do very well in the long run.
ZAKARIA: Does this make you very hopeful about the future?
Does it make you very optimistic looking forward?
MORRIS: I'll give you a yes and no answer on that. I think the no part would be that I think there is a number of reasons to think that coming generation or so might be the most dangerous in the history of the world, that we might be entering a period as unstable as the run-up to the First World War --
ZAKARIA: Wait a minute. You just burst my optimistic bubble.
MORRIS: Well, this is the -- armed with weapons even worse than the Cold War. So there is reason to worry very, very much. But on the other hand, which I think the other hand is --
ZAKARIA: Wait, that's not what's changed. We've had these weapons for a while. So what makes this period we're entering so dangerous?
MORRIS: Well, I would say that what makes it so dangerous is that if current trends continue, it looks like the big force that I would say has made the world so secure in the last few decades has been the presence of the U.S. as a global -- able not to rule the world or anything like that, but to deter other governments from doing violent actions, which we see most of the time.
And I think we're now entering a period when it's just less obvious to other governments that the U.S. is in a position to play -- to perform that deterrent role. And that I think really raises the risks not of someone deliberately saying, oh, yes, let's start a nuclear war. I think that's just deeply unlikely. But if things perhaps spiraling out of control, but I remain optimistic that's not going to happen. I think what we learn from this story of human cultural evolution is that while we can't wish war out of existence the way the song suggests, we are really good at responding to changes in the chaos, changes in the environment, and the environment is one that just makes large-scale wars really, really bad ideas for everybody.
And that, I think, is why we're seeing this decline.
ZAKARIA: Thank goodness we can end on an optimistic note.
Ian Morris, pleasure to have you on.
MORRIS: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Next up, what's wrong with Washington politics? Some might say where would you like to begin? But my next guest has a diagnosis and a prescription. We'll be back in a moment.
ZAKARIA: If I asked you what the biggest problem in the United States is, you would probably say partisan politics. We've heard time and again how there's gridlock in Washington because Obama and Boehner won't talk or because the parties are so diametrically opposed and there's no middle ground.
But my next guest says that isn't the heart of the problem. The real problem runs much deeper than all that. Philip Howard is a writer and reformer. On the latter front, more than a decade ago, he founded Common Good, a bipartisan coalition that set out to restore nothing less than common sense to American government.
He is also the author of a new book, "The Rule of Nobody"
So explain what you see as the sort of central problem that has developed in American government. One of the things you've always said is that America uniquely, perhaps because it's a society founded on law, has a reverence for law that has kind of has gone into a kind of a warped place, where our laws are so detailed that nobody has any judgment.
Give a few examples.
PHILIP HOWARD, FOUNDER, COMMON GOOD: Law is supposed to be a tool of democracy. Instead democracy now just does whatever the law orders it to be, as if it's on auto pilot.
I give the story -- well, here's an example. Special Ed laws are very important, passed in 1975, because we had a history of locking away disabled children. Now that law has morphed into using up over 25 percent of the total K-12 budget in this country. There is no money for gifted children, almost no money for pre-K education.
Is that the right balance? Nobody's even asking the question. These laws just take a life of their own.
ZAKARIA: And the administrators don't have any leeway to kind of use judgment.
HOWARD: Right. And so there's no room for judgment or using -- in 2009 we had an $800 billion stimulus plan. And the point of the plan sold by President Obama was to rebuild America's infrastructure.
They came out with a five-year report recently where -- I tried to find how much was used for rebuilding the decrepit infrastructure of this country. Well, it turned out only 3 percent was spent to rebuild America's transportation infrastructure because no one, not even the President of the United States, has authority to approve even the most obvious rebuilding jobs. We're not talking about power lines through virgin forests. We're talking about just fixing up an old bridge.
ZAKARIA: Because you would have to waive certain environmental regulations or labor --
ZAKARIA: There's all that stuff that's now written into law that no one has the judgment --
HOWARD: Yes. We have all these procedures. You have to do this review, and if somebody complains, you have to go to there. If they don't think it's fair, it goes into litigation. And the density of the system of law can hardly be overestimated.
Literally you go in, you want to fix something, you've got to send out notices to fix a bridge in New Jersey, had to send out notices to Native American tribes all over the country, to ask them -- to get permission.
You had -- the law required them to do a survey of historic buildings within a two-mile radius when the project wasn't touching any buildings. The law is piled high with literally millions of requirements like that that prevent anyone from actually moving forward and doing their job.
ZAKARIA: So one of the things I liked about this book is that you have a series of constitutional amendments that you proposed and the first one is the 28th Amendment would propose a mandatory sunset on all wars.
HOWARD: Right. So Congress is never going to go back and clean up all these laws because it violates the laws of legislative physics to take anything away from any special interests.
So I think the only solution is to have a constitutional amendment that says every 15 years any program with budgetary impact must expire and Congress doesn't have the authority to reauthorize it until an independent commission is actually given a report, made recommendations and we've had a chance for a public debate. Because right now, the government -- democracy is like a runaway train. ZAKARIA: And as a lawyer, you have one, the 31st Amendment, which was about the whole issue that everyone talks about when they come from outside America, which is the ability to sue people recklessly in America.
HOWARD: Yes. We have this crazy idea that -- again, it's this -- with no one is in charge, the rule of nobody, nobody's in charge of the courtrooms, either. We have this idea that anybody should be allowed to sue for anything, as if suing were act of freedom. It's not an act of freedom. It's an act of state power. Coming down to a verdict, the sheriff will come take your home away.
So what's happened in this country because of fear of litigation, is that teachers will no longer put an arm around a crying child. Environmental review statements run to tens of thousands of pages sometimes because everybody is trying to protect against the inevitable litigation that happens.
ZAKARIA: So what's your -- ?
HOWARD: The solution is judges have to make rulings of law at the beginning of cases about whether this claim actually is in the -- is -- complies with law. And including social norms; if you allow somebody to bring a lawsuit because a child fell off a seesaw, all the seesaws will disappear. It doesn't matter what happens in the lawsuit.
So you -- someone has to make a ruling as to whether a seesaw is a reasonable risk on behalf of society. That's got to be ruling of law. And if the legislature is not doing it, the judge has to do it.
ZAKARIA: I think in a way the book is quite hopeful, because what you're saying is the problem isn't that our bureaucrats are horrible, terrible people; the problem it's not that our politicians are mindless, venal partisans.
It's that they operate within a system where they really have no authority nor responsibility, that in a sense if you free them up to use good judgment and common sense, things will work better.
HOWARD: Absolutely. It's a problem of institutional design. We're paralyzed by design right now. You can't run a society with literally hundreds of billions of words of law.
So if you actually freed it up, not get rid of law, not get rid of regulation but make it into more of an open corral where regulation sets goals and principles, we have ways of resolving disputes, but there's always room for the official and the citizen to ask what's the right thing to do? That's how democracy is supposed to work.
ZAKARIA: Philip Howard, best of luck on this quest.
HOWARD: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Up next, why some in Europe still live by the boundaries of the last Cold War. This will really surprise you. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ZAKARIA: Thousands of mourners gathered in Mexico City to bid farewell to Gabriel Garcia Marquez this week. The presidents of Colombia and Mexico both attended a state ceremony for the author best known for his novel, "100 Years of Solitude," and my favorite, "Love in the Time of Cholera." Marquez won the 1982 Nobel Prize in literature for his novels and short stories.
It brings me to my question.
Who was the only head of state or government to win the Nobel Prize in literature?
Is it Benjamin Disraeli, Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill or Vaclav Havel? Stay tuned and we will tell you the correct answer.
This week's book of the week is Philip Howard's, "The Rule of Nobody." Howard has been explaining to Americans and people everywhere really how a few simple changes to the way government works could make it so much more effective if only people listened. Now you can by buying this book.
Now for the last look. Pundits have said that the crisis between Russia and the West over Ukraine is a symbol of a new Cold War. There has been much talk about old dividing lines. Russia has been accused of building a new Berlin wall. Putin has said he doesn't want another Iron Curtain.
But did you know that those old Cold War boundaries are actually still dictating lives today?
Here's how. Straddling the border between the Czech Republic and Germany lies the largest protected wildlife zone in Central Europe. During the Cold War, when that border was between Communist Czechoslovakia and capitalist West Germany, it was heavily fortified divided with electric fences. Just as people were physically divided, a large herd of deer were split apart.
A recent study of deer population used satellite tracking to follow the movements of 100 red deer, 50 in Germany and 50 in the Czech Republic. The fences have been gone for a quarter century and the land is open for migration.
But researchers found the new generation of deer still respect the boundaries of the Iron Curtain. According to the scientists who led the project, biologically it would make sense for a mountain range to be the natural barrier between populations of deer, not this invisible fence.
But mothers pass on to their young a sense of where it is safe to go. The electrified fence was a no-go, and these habits live on a generation later. Perhaps the deer are teaching us all a lesson. It can take a lot longer to break down barriers than to put them up.
The correct answer is C. While 25 heads of state or government have won the Nobel Peace Prize, Winston Churchill is the only leader to win the literature prize, joining the likes of Kipling and Faulkner, Churchill won in 1953.
If you guessed Disraeli, by the way, he was indeed a novelist, but he lived before the prize was established so he couldn't have won it.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, I'm Erin McPike live in Washington with a check of our top stories. The long-time owner of the LA Clippers is under fire this morning after racist comments he allegedly said were made public.
TMZ posted the recording that it claims is Donald Sterling arguing with his girlfriend, seen in these pictures. In the recording the man alleged to be Sterling said he doesn't want her associating with African Americans like Magic Johnson at Clippers games. We have not confirmed the recording is authentic, but the news has reached President Obama, who answered a question about it in Malaysia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything. You just let them talk. And that's what happened here.
MCPIKE (voice-over): The NBA says it is investigating.
President Obama says the world must unite to show its disapproval of Russia's actions in Ukraine. Speaking from Malaysia today, the president said an international coalition is needed to avoid the perception that this is strictly a U.S. versus Russia issue.
Moscow has refused to pull back thousands of troops at the Ukraine border. And pro-militant Russians in Eastern Ukraine are still holding a team of European and Ukrainian military observers against their will.
At the Vatican, history was made today. For the first time, two popes, John Paul II and Pope John Paul XXIII became saints; 800,000 people crowded into and around St. Peter's Square to witness it.
Also for the first time, two living pontiffs were present, Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
"RELIABLE SOURCES" starts right now.