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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Interview with Ben Rhodes; Interview with James Baker; Interview with James Baker; Lifestyle Reversing Diseases. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired April 5, 2015 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:17] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.
Iran comes in from the cove. Or does it? Inside the deal on the Persian nation's nuclear program. I will talk to Benjamin Rhodes, deputy National Security adviser about the deal and the next steps both with Iran and the U.S. Congress.
Also, an exclusive interview with one of America's greatest statesmen, former Secretary of State James Baker on the turmoil in the Middle East. The end of a two-state solution. The new Cold War with Russia, and the 2016 GOP field. Then --
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's not humane.
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ZAKARIA: Why was this Supreme Court justice pleading his case in front of Congress? And what was he talking about? Something he thinks is deeply flawed about America, and I agree. And I will explain.
Finally, something a little lighter and it might make you a little lighter, too. Doctor Dean Ornish on what you and the rest of the world should be doing to live long and prosper.
But first, here's my take. When making up their minds about the nuclear deal with Iran, people are properly focused on its details. But to figure out whether an agreement that limits and inspects Iran's nuclear program is acceptable, one has to consider in detail the alternatives to it, and there are really only two.
First, a return to sanctions. Let's say that the U.S. Congress rejects the final deal that is reached in June, what then? The current sanctions regime against Iran is almost unprecedented in that all the world's major powers and Iran's neighbors support it. Usually, sanctions wear thin over time.
If other countries believe that Iran made a reasonable offer that the United States turned down, they're unlikely to continue to support a tight sanctions regime. Remember, countries like China and India are eager to trade with Iran and buy its oil, which sells at a discount. If, however, the sanctions can be maintained, Iran will be in trouble. Oil prices have halved and Iran is bleeding resources in Syria and Iraq.
But would continued sanctions halt Iran's nuclear program? That's highly unlikely. Iran has expanded its nuclear program under sanctions for the last two decades. In 2003, Iran had under 200 centrifuges, today it has 19,000. All built under sanctions. The restrictions are now tighter, if they last, but Iran's nuclear establishment is also much larger today.
That raises option two, a military attack. When people speak of strike on Iran like Israel against an Iraqi reactor in 1981 and a Syrian facility in 2007, it's worth keeping mind that those were single facilities. Iran, by contrast, has a vast nuclear industry comprising many installations spread across the country. Some close to population centers, others in mountainous terrain.
It's not realistic to think of this as a single strike. The United States would effectively have to go to war with Iran. Destroying its air defenses, then attacking its facilities, and dozens, perhaps hundreds of sorties. The bombers would be equipped with highly explosive weapons demolishing buildings, reactors, laboratories, but also producing considerable collaborative damage.
What would be the effect of such an attack?
What when any country is bombed by foreigners, its people tend to rally around the regime. The Islamic republic would likely gain domestic support. It would also respond in various ways. Through its allies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere. These attacks might be directed at U.S. troops or its allies.
An attack would also mean the splintering of the international coalition against Iran. Russia, China, and many other countries would condemn it. Iran would be seen as the victim of an unprovoked invasion. The sanctions would crumble. Its nuclear program would be devastated, but Iran would begin to rebuild it. Even under the current sanctions Iran makes tens of billions dollars in oil revenues. More than enough to afford to rebuild its facilities.
[10:05:06] Finally, once it had been attacked, Tehran would invoke the need for a deterrent against future attacks and invasion and it would work directly and speedily, not on a nuclear weapon, but in nuclear weapon.
In his op-ed advocating war with Iran, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton argues that military attacks should be combined with vigorous American support for Iran's opposition aimed at regime change in Tehran. But bombing and then threatening the Islamic republic's existence would likely produce exactly the opposite effect -- a government strengthened at home now with a clear rationale to acquire a nuclear deterrent.
For more go to CNN.com/fareed. And read my "Washington Post" column this week. Let's get started. So let's dig into the deal. The chances of reaching a final one in
June and its hopes of passing the Republican held Congress. Benjamin Rhodes is assistant to the president and the deputy National Security adviser for Strategic Communications.
ZAKARIA: Ben, thanks for joining us.
BEN RHODES, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Good to be with you.
ZAKARIA: So the president had said in 2012 that he wouldn't accept a deal that didn't end Iran's nuclear program. And yet what you have is a program that will have thousands of centrifuges that does not ship its enriched uranium or ways have been initially imagined with the Fordow facility which was meant to be entirely destroyed has not been destroyed.
Are these all concessions you have to make?
RHODES: No, look, Fareed, we've always said that Iran would be able to access peaceful nuclear energy. The question essentially is, could we design a program with the Iranians and the P5+1. That's what the program does. Because if you look at their Iraq facility -- they're not producing weapons grade uranium. If you're looking at their Fordow facility, they're not enriching uranium.
If you look at their Natanz facility, the only place where they will be enriching uranium, they're dramatically reducing the number of centrifuges that are operating and only operating their first generation centrifuges. That extends to break our timeline also in part because they'll be shipping their stockpile out of the country. That goes in two to three months, that breakup timeline, to at least a year for 10 years. And there are additional limitations that continue.
So this meets our needs particularly because there's such a robust inspections regime to verify that they're meeting commitments.
ZAKARIA: When I had Prime Minister Netanyahu on this program, I asked him at the time, this was months ago, I said my sense, my reporting is that the deal is somewhere in the range of 5,000 centrifuges, is that acceptable to you? And he said that's way too high.
Why is he wrong?
RHODES: Well, he's wrong because there's no deal that could be reached that involves Iran just dismantling -- entire nuclear infrastructure. Obviously, that's the preferable solution but the fact is Iran was never going to agree to a deal in which they got rid of their entire nuclear infrastructure. No other country in the negotiation would have supported us taking the position that they would have zero centrifuges.
And also the fact of the matter is they know the nuclear fuel cycle. They already have this knowledge. Even without centrifuges operating, there's still a breakout timeline because they can reinitiate their nuclear program. The question is, can we sufficiently limit the numbers and types of those centrifuges and the stockpile to put them further away from a weapon and then have inspections such that if they try to break out and pursue that weapons capability, we would see it almost immediately and be able to take action.
ZAKARIA: So let's talk about the inspections regime. The document says the inspectors will have to verify that Iran takes key nuclear related steps and then the sanctions will be lifted. Will the inspectors be allowed to go into facilities any time anywhere without any notice?
RHODES: So, Fareed, you have the declared facilities. Arak, Fordow, Natanz. And we'll have daily access to those facilities, those enrichment facilities, Fordow, Natanz, they'll be both a mix of inspections and also other means of keeping an eye on what's taking place there. Across the nuclear supply chain there are Iranian mines and mills, there are centrifuge production and manufacturing -- and where they warehouse those centrifuges.
That will all be under supervision. The reason that's important is to have a covert pathway to a weapon, you don't just need an enrichment facility, you need the raw materials and the centrifuges. Looking across that supply chain means if they want a covert path they have to construct an entirely secret means of getting those materials, producing centrifuges and having a facility to operate them.
What the deal also has, though, is the ability to seek access to a site that we're concerned about. So if there's something that we see in Arak that concerns us it seems like it's not for peaceful purposes we'll have the ability to go to the IAEA and investigate that site.
ZAKARIA: So the -- what Iran has done in the past, which is to build, as with Fordow, an entirely secret new facility, would be impossible?
[10:10:09] RHODES: There are two reasons that guard against that in this deal. One is when they built that facility at Fordow they used materials from their uranium mines. They used centrifuges that they're producing and we didn't have inspections there. So we didn't see that material being diverted to a secret site. Being able to look over to the whole nuclear supply chain is a hedge against them being able to have that type of facility.
Because they'd need a much broader support mechanism in order to support the nuclear infrastructure at that facility. Beyond that, though, if we saw something, construction that raised our concerns, we could go to the IAEA and get access to investigate that site.
ZAKARIA: Prime Minister Netanyahu is still not convinced. What will you do to try to convince him?
RHODES: I think that we're not going to convince Prime Minister Netanyahu. Frankly, he has disagreed with this approach since before the Joint Plan of Action, the first interim agreement that was reached with Iran. What we will say to Prime Minister Netanyahu, as we're saying to our Gulf partners, too, is we're making a nuclear deal here. It's the right thing to do, it's the best way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon for the longest period of time.
At the same time, though, we're not at all lessening our concern about Iran's destabilizing actions in the region, its threats towards Israel and our other partners, its support for terrorism. And we can have a dialogue with them about what else can we be doing to reassure you of our commitment to your security, to counter those types of destabilizing activities, and make clear that, again, while we may have a nuclear deal here, we're going to be very, very vigilant in confronting other Iranian actions in the region that concern us.
ZAKARIA: And for now the Republicans by and large seem opposed. What are you going to do to try and get it through Congress because otherwise there's no deal?
RHODES: Well, first of all, we're going to lay out the details of this. Both the framework and then when we have a final deal in June. And I think on the merits we'll make the case that this is a very strong deal. And I think people have seen there are more specifics here, there are more constraints and limitation here. The duration is longer than people thought. There are limitations that go 15 years. There's transparency measures that go 25 years.
There are elements that are permanent, permanent commitments from the Iranians. So we'll make a case on the merits for the deal that will be backed up by not just our National Security team, but the leading scientists and nuclear experts in this country who can validate the fact that this adds up, this prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. But secondly, we'll be making the case that we're dealing with a set of options, as the president said.
Essentially, number one, we can have a long-term verifiable deal like this to prevent them from getting a weapon. Two, we could take military action which doesn't set the program back by as long as this type of deal and carries huge risks in the region. Or three, you could sanction them more. But the fact is every time we imposed sanctions on Iran they've advanced their program. And if they do that from a position of two to three breakout months that breakout time will collapse and we'll be confronted with that decision about whether or not to take military action.
So in a world of alternatives this is the best alternative. And Congress killing this deal will both collapse the international unity we need for the sanctions regime and potentially leave us with that greater risk of war.
ZAKARIA: Ben Rhodes, pleasure to have you on.
RHODES: Thanks, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, former secretary of State and Treasury and White House chief of staff, James Baker, on Iran, Syria, Russia, and that other center of conflict, Washington, D.C. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[10:17:55] ZAKARIA: I would suggest to you that the five top jobs in the executive branch in Washington after the presidency, of course, are the secretaries of State, Defense and Treasury, the White House chief of staff, and the National Security adviser. Only one man in history has held three of them and he did it in succession.
James A. Baker was secretary of state under the first President Bush, secretary of Treasury under President Reagan and chief of staff under both presidents -- under President Bush very briefly. He is now the honorary chair of the Baker Institute at Rice University.
Welcome back to the show.
JAMES BAKER, SECRETARY OF STATE UNDER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Thank you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: So first I've got to ask you about the Iran deal. Henry Kissinger has said that, you know, if you look at it geo-strategically Iran and the United States have many overlapping interests. In Afghanistan we -- we both don't like the Taliban. We don't like ISIS.
BAKER: Yes, that's right.
ZAKARIA: But then he says but it's -- you know, the problem is it is a cause not a country. It has been ideologically driven.
BAKER: It is.
ZAKARIA: From a strategic point of view, do you think that there is -- that there is a great upside to a dialogue with Iran?
BAKER: Well, I think there's perhaps an upside to it provided that you can trust the Iranians. And you could not trust them the entire time that I was in public service, the entire 12 years I was there. So would there be an upside to a strategic reorientation of that? Yes, but I'm not sure you can get there with the current leadership in Iran. I think you have to be very, very leery of that.
Furthermore, that's going to alienate all of our allies in the region. Not just Israel but all of moderate Arab states that are now fighting Iran doing battle in Yemen and elsewhere. So it's a very, very difficult concept, in my view, to think that that's where this is going to go. If we can get an agreement that is verifiable, that is tight, that doesn't lift sanctions against no real assurance that they're going to abandon their nuclear program that would be a very good -- that would be a very good accomplishment whether there was a geo-strategic reorientation or not.
[10:20:12] ZAKARIA: You have been pretty disciplined, I would say, about not wanting the U.S. to get overly involved in Syria, particularly with the use of any American forces.
BAKER: Boot on the ground.
ZAKARIA: Boots on the ground. Do you still feel what way with the rise of ISIS? You know there are a lot of people who are saying, no, no, no, now we really have to get in.
BAKER: I still feel that way very much, yes. And I think that we've shed quite enough American blood in the sands of the Middle East. We have allies there. If America would go to these allies and say, look, we'll supply the air, we'll supply the intelligence, we'll supply the logistics, you put together a force to put boots on the ground, that's the way we ought to destroy ISIS.
And for the first time, we are now seeing our Arab allies come together and build a coalition to create a ground force. When I was secretary of State after the First Gulf War, I went to the GCC countries, and I said, you know, you ought to put together a joint ground force so that if Iran or someone else should begin to do what Iraq has done here, you'd have time to hold them off until America could get there. They never did it. Now it looks like because we are not picking up they're --
ZAKARIA: That's right. Because they like to free ride off of America.
BAKER: Yes. They love to free ride off America. And it's time for us to stop sending young American men and women to die in the sands of the Middle East. We can't be the policeman for the world. Are we going to go put out the fires in Syria? Are we going to put out the fires in Yemen? We're going to put out the fires in -- against Boko Haram? I mean, go all over the world? We can't do that. We shouldn't do that and we shouldn't be asked to do that.
ZAKARIA: You've negotiated with some very tough people. Vladimir Putin strikes me as right up there.
ZAKARIA: And there are two schools of thought about what to do. Those people who say, and you've heard them, you need to be very tough. This guy needs to understand that he has to pay a price for what's happened in Crimea and with Ukraine. And if we don't stand up to him, you know, you'll have huge consequences.
There are others like Henry Kissinger who say you've got to give them a way out. You've got to provide Putin with some kind of way to get out of this. You can't push him to the wall. This will only feed Russian nationalism.
BAKER: I don't think it's an either-or, notwithstanding what my friend Henry has said on the subject. I think you -- I think you can have a combination of both. I think he does understand strength and resolve and discipline, and power. So I think you can have -- you can have some of that. But also, we do need to find a way -- we, and our western European allies, to bring Russia back into the community of nations. In 1993, Fareed, I wrote an op-ed piece, it said, "In the aftermath of
the Cold War and the implosion of the Soviet Union, we really should find a way to permit Russia to join NATO. It's a political alliance as well as a security alliance, and treat them the way we treat not with a Marshall plan or anything but the way we treated Germany and Japan in the aftermath of the World War II. Give them a way in to the community, bring them in to the tent.
That didn't happen. And I -- I wrote another one in 2002, I think, to the same effect. I think if that had happened, we might not be at this juncture today. Because if you remember, we had 15 years of very reasonably good relationship with Russia under both Yeltsin and Putin. The first five years of Putin's running the show there, he leaned toward the West, and we did a lot of things cooperatively and we weren't in this position that we are today where you have Russian bombers flying over Norway or over the Baltic's, and are close to them and -- it's almost like we're back where we were for 40 years.
So I think if you had a combination of strength, resolve, discipline, stop this salami slicing of Ukraine, and find a way with our partners to go to the Russians and say hey, look, this is nonproductive for you, it's nonproductive for us. Here's a way back into the international community.
His political strength at home of course has been enhanced tremendously by the nationalist approach that he's taken. But this reminds you a lot of what happened in the '30s. This is the way Hitler went about it. Slice here, slice there, slice there. Don't do anything about it. Talk about it but don't do anymore. I worry about that.
[10:25:09] ZAKARIA: When we come back more with James Baker. I'm going ask him about some news he made very recently in a speech on Israel. And I'm going to ask him to handicap the Republican primary contenders when we come back.
ZAKARIA: And we are back with James Baker, former White House chief of staff, former secretary of State, former secretary of the Treasury.
When you were secretary of State, you gave a speech. A very rare case. You gave a pretty touch speech to one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington -- AIPAC. The lobby that support Israel. And you said very bluntly Israel has to stop settlement activity, it has to reach out to the Palestinians, you got -- you got a lot of pushback on that. But you're back at it. You went and gave a speech --
[10:30:00] BAKER: Well, here is my view on that, Fareed. I think that the two-state solution is critical to Israel's future. I don't -- I think its future is going to be extraordinary difficult for Israel if she can't find a way to get to a secure peace with the Palestinians. Because I think that it's going to be very hard to maintain both her Jewish character and her democratic character as long as she continues to stay in occupation of those Arab lands. The demographics, I think, will overwhelm it. ZAKARIA: One of the guys who at the time when you were secretary of
state bitterly criticized you for that speech was one Bibi Netanyahu.
ZAKARIA: What did he ...
BAKER: No, no - well, he didn't. That wasn't my problem with Bibi at the time. My problem with Bibi at the time was he was a deputy foreign minister of Israel. And we went out in Israel and he said American policy in the Middle East is based on lies and distortions. And I said now wait a minute. We wouldn't take that from the deputy foreign minister of Soviet Union. We sure shouldn't take it from the deputy foreign minister of Israel for whom we do so much.
ZAKARIA: And you banned him.
BAKER: And I banned him from the State Department. You bet. That's right.
ZAKARIA: For this thing or for ...
BAKER: For going out and saying this.
ZAKARIA: What do you think ...
BAKER: Well, I think he's a very adroit political figure. He's a strong leader. I happen to have had a personal - a good personal relationship with him. I think he's been a very strong prime minister for Israel, but I feel very strongly about this two-state solution.
ZAKARIA: And you were disappointed by what he said.
BAKER: I was disappointed when he went out and he said there will never be a two state solution as long as I'm prime minister of Israel.
ZAKARIA: And you don't - you don't abide that? Z
ZAKARIA: Do you abide that recantation (ph)?
BAKER: Well, yeah, I accept him at his word, but you have to ask yourself what are the chances now of a two state solution. They're very bleak in my view in the short term. They're very bleak. And I think that is a tragedy for Israel. Of course, it's a tragedy for the Palestinians and for stability in that part of the world. Now we've got so much instability there that it almost dwarves the Arab -- the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. There's so much else going on that is so -- that creates such instability. ISIS, the problems in Yemen, the problems in Syria, the problems in Iraq, the problems in Libya. Some of these things we've done, these adventures we've embarked upon have not turned out very well for us.
ZAKARIA: I have got to ask you about politics. When you look at the Republican primary, do you think that the dynamic is - is still at work, that in order to get to the primary these candidates are going to have to move so far to the right that they will become unelectable in the general election?
BAKER: I don't buy that argument. I know the argument. I know that that was the argument as to why Mitt Romney didn't win the general. I don't believe that. I think that it's a given that Democrats have to move to the left to get their party's nomination. It's a given that Republicans better move to the right to get their party's nomination. But that doesn't mean that in the general election either one of those can't win the general. This administration has not accomplished a lot of things that I was hopeful of initially that it might be able to accomplish, and it has really not accomplished a lot in the foreign policy realm. So, I think there's a lot of issues out there that we Republicans can capitalize on, and, you know, look, you're talking to a Texas Republican. There aren't any liberal Texas Republicans. We're all conservative, and I'm just conservative as any of the others, particularly on economic issues. I was Ronald Reagan's treasury secretary, I was his White House chief of staff for four years. You can't be in those jobs and be too liberal.
ZAKARIA: When you look at the lineup of Republican contenders, can you be objective about this, or are you going to be working hard for Jeb Bush?
BAKER: You know, well, I'm going to be working hard for Jeb Bush because I think he's clearly the cream of the crop of the Republicans who are going to run for the nomination. And I've known him since he was a young man. I know, what kind of president he would be. He would be an extraordinarily good president. He's very knowledgeable. He's very temperamental. He's suited for the job. But yes, I'm close to the family.
ZAKARIA: What did Barbara Bush mean when she said we've had enough Bushes ...
BAKER: You think I would ever answer a question about what did Barbara Bush mean? I mean I've spent years not answering questions like that.
ZAKARIA: Jim Baker, pleasure to have you on.
BAKER: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Up next, imagine a country where prison sentences average less than a year. Prison cells look like college dormitories, and the system works. Sounds crazy? Global lessons on prisons coming up.
ZAKARIA: Now for "What in the World" segment. Supreme Court justices don't often appear before Congress, but recently Justices Stephen Briar and Anthony Kennedy spoke before a House subcommittee and denounced America's criminal justice system.
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JUSTICE ANTHONY KENNEDY, SUPREME COURT: California, my home state, had 187,000 people in jail at a cost of over $30,000 a prisoner.
KENNEDY: Compare to the amount that they gave to school children, it was about $3500 a year. This idea of total incarceration just isn't working.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Justice Kennedy is dead right. We're always looking for things where USA is number one, right? Well, this, alas, is the best or really, the worst case. America imprisons the most people worldwide by far with over 2 million prisoners, according to the International Center for Prison Studies. Nearly one in four of the world's inmates are locked up in America. And the United States has only 120th of the world's population. The U.S. has about 700 prisoners per 100,000 people, according to the center. Multiple times more than other developed countries like France, Italy, and Japan. And even less developed countries like Russia, Brazil, and Mexico had many fewer prisoners per capita.
This is one of those cases where America really could learn something from other countries. Take a look at Norway's prison system. Featured recently in "The New York Times" magazine. The longest possible sentence there is 21 years except for committing crimes against humanity. Even Anders Breivik, the notorious gunman who killed 77 people in 2011 just got 21 years. In fact, offenders are sentenced in Norway to around eight months on average. More important, the focus there is less on punishment and more on getting inmates back into society.
Quote, "Life inside prisons will resemble life outside as much as possible and offenders shall be placed in the lowest possible security regime," says Norway's correctional service. Because a sentence should be aimed as much as possible at returning an inmate to the community. Case in point, Norway's house in prison which "The Times" said was so pleasant you could be forgiven for doubting whether it is a prison at all. Inmates are able to walk outside routinely and corrections officers are in close contact with them often sharing coffee or a meal. The prison doesn't house only petty criminals, "The Times" says. Almost half are there for violent crimes like murder and rape, but violence is rare, it says, and the system works. Norway's overall incarceration rate is about ten times lower than the United States. And with a low recidivism rate, that is the number of released prisoners who then go back to crime.
Denmark also has a healthy outlook on incarceration based on the principle of normalization. In fact, many inmates in Denmark are incarcerated in open prisons where some prisoners leave their confines to work nearby on a regular basis. They earn wages and even get sick pay. The incarceration rate in Denmark is also around ten times lower than the United States, and the recidivism rate there is also low.
In his testimony, Justice Kennedy also highlighted the use of solitary confinement in America.
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KENNEDY: Solitary confinement literally drives men mad.
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ZAKARIA: Today in Europe's prisons they lock up some of the worst offenders in groups of three or four with apparently better results. Justice Kennedy said. In America, prison is meant to be all about punishment with little effort at redemption. Thousands of petty offenders are locked up and treated inhumanly. When they're eventually released they lack the skills, ability, or psychological capacity to integrate back into society. Inevitably, many of them end up back in prison. It is a dark, unforgiving, and extremely expensive cycle.
Next on "GPS." Do you want to live to be 100 or even longer? Well, my next guest helped President Clinton turn his health around. Your life depends on your staying with us through these commercials. So come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Mr. President. I'm Kevin O'Fry (ph), a manager of the store. And I just want to thank you for stopping by, again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, thank you, Kevin. You have got a real American family place here. Is it too late for an egg and muffin?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Bill Clinton's love of McDonald's was ridiculed by "Saturday Night Live." But his weight and his eating habits were no laughing matter. 11 years ago the former president had a bypass surgery, then an angioplasty. Many - the troubles up to genetics, but after an exchange with my next guest, the president decided to make a serious change and today partially thanks to the advice of Dr. Dean Ornish, President Clinton is slim and trim, and even eats a modified vegan diet.
So, what did Ornish tell him?
DR. DEAN ORNISH, PRESIDENT, PREVENTIVE MEDICINE RESEARCH INSTITUTE: What I told him is that, you know, you're not a victim of your genes. You know, our genes are a predisposition, but our genes are not our fate. In a series of studies, not it's almost 40 years in randomized trials and demonstration projects, we showed that when you make lifestyle changes, and we tend to think of advances in medicine as something really high-tech and expensive. But these very simple changes, you know, whole foods plant-based diet, modern exercise, stress management techniques including yoga and meditation, and perhaps most important how much love and support we get. That we are using ...
ZAKARIA: What you call - you can say, it's eat well?
ORNISH: Eat well, move more, stress less, and love more. You know, in very simple terms. And we are using these very high tech state of the art scientific measures to prove how powerful these very simple and low tech and low cost interventions can be. And we showed for the first time that even severe heart disease can actually begin to reverse in a series of studies. That over time the arteries that feed the heart can get less and less clogged. Instead of what usually happens, which there's more and more clog. The blood flow to the heart improved by 300 percent. The chest pain goes away in almost everyone in just a few weeks. And we found with later studies that the same life style changes that can reverse heart disease can slow, stop, and often even reverse the progression of men with early stage prostate cancer.
ORNISH: And we think by extension for early stage breast cancer. We found that when you change your lifestyle, it changes over 500 genes turning on the genes that protect us, down regulating or turning off the genes that cause all these chronic diseases.
ZAKARIA: And the hardest thing for people, probably, is you say it in a way that makes it sound a little easier. Plant-based whole-foods diet. What you are basically saying is people should essentially go vegan. Do you believe the research shows animal protein is kind of bad for you?
ORNISH: It is.
ZAKARIA: The less you can have the better.
ORNISH: It's true. But if you're trying to just stay healthy as opposed to reverse disease, the more you change the more you improve. And so, what matters most is the overall way of eating and living. If I tell somebody eat this and don't eat that. They immediately want to do the opposite. It goes back to the first dietary intervention, and, you know, when God said, don't eat the apple, and that didn't go so well, and that was God talking.
So, what I said what matters most is the overall way of eating and living. So, to the degree you can move in a healthy direction you're going to look better, feel better, there's a corresponding benefit.
ZAKARIA: You believe yoga and meditation, the science against suggest that it has powerful benefits.
ORNISH: It does have powerful benefits. We all know that chronic emotional stress can increase the risk of not only heart disease, but almost any illness, and can even shorten our telomeres, the ends of our chromosomes, that can tell how long we live. By managing stress more effectively - it's not - you know, so often people think I have to choose between being in a stressful situation and being productive or sitting under a tree and watching my life go by. That isn't the choice. Because the stress comes not simply from what we do, but more importantly is how we react to what we do. And if you do some simple yoga, meditation, prayer, if you are spiritual, you know, it can be secular. Whatever works for you? Then your fuse gets longer.
ZAKARIA: You say Obamacare is a game-changer. Because it actually incentivizes doctors to do more of this kind of prevention and health care and lifestyle intervention.
ORNISH: That's right.
ZAKARIA: As opposed to expensive kind of crisis care.
ORNISH: That's exactly right. Because in the past in a fee for service environment, the more operations you do, the more stents you put in, for example, the more hospitalizations you have, the more money is generated. Under Obamacare it really turn all that on its ear by saying, look, here is X amount of dollars to take care of somebody. You, the doctor or the hospital get to keep what is left over. So the fewer procedures and hospitalizations you have, the better.
So, there's a perfect storm in a good way for lifestyle medicine.
ZAKARIA: Dean Ornish. Pleasure to have you on.
ORNISH: Thanks, Fareed. Great to see you.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, why an army is getting ready to attack Mount Everest? But it's a good thing. I'll explain.
ZAKARIA: This week a president with a famous name. Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat in the Nigerian elections. In another election this one widely considered to be rigged, a president with a less memorable name was re-elected by a sweeping majority in Uzbekistan. You may remember the president of that country became a point of controversy during the last presidential campaign when GOP candidate Herman Cain was asked if who could name him.
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HERMAN CAIN: Knowing who is the head of some of these small insignificant states around the world, I don't think that is something that is critical to focus on national security.
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ZAKARIA: Cain took lots of flak for that answer, but it brings me to my question, which I'm sure Herman Cain now knows the answer to. Do you? Who is the president of Uzbekistan?
Ilham Aliyev, Rafiq Nishonov, Akmal Saidov, or Islam Karimov? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer. This week's book of the week is, pardon the self-promotion, my new book. It's called "Indefensible Liberal Education." And it's my effort to explain what will make you innovative and successful, and perhaps more importantly, what will make you live a happy and fulfilled life. I tell you a bit of my own life story and then I use history, and research, interviews, and common sense to make my case. If you like the show, I think you'll like the book. So, please buy it, gift it, read it. Remember, I can track the Amazon numbers. So I will know whether you did so in just one hour.
And now for the last look. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set about to clean up India, literally. He's building toilets, clearing the Gang (ph) and now the Himalayas as well. And he's using every means at his disposal. This week the Indian government announced that a team of army mountaineers would head to Nepal to scale earth's highest mountain. The trip is in honor of the 50th anniversary of India's first successful ascend up Mount Everest. 12 years after, Sir Edmund Hillary's history summit, with a Sherpa-Tenzing Norgay. Decades later, footprints aren't the only things humans have left on the mountain. There's now, as many have noted, a mess of food containers, equipment, oxygen canisters, and human waste polluting the majestic mountain. The Indian mountaineers will bring almost 9,000 pounds of garbage down from the mountain as India today pointed out. Some estimates put the total amount of trash on Everest at 50 tons.
If that's the case, then after this trip there will be a mere ten more climbs to go. If Prime Minister Modi can succeed in cleaning up Mount Everest, ending corruption down on Earth should be a breeze.
The correct answer to the GPS Challenge question is D. Islam Karimov. He's been in power since 1989.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: When asked me who is the president of you U beki beki beki beki stan stan, I'm going say, you know, I don't know. Do you know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: If like Herman Cain, you didn't know the name of the Uzbek president, that's understandable. But if you also thought Uzbekistan is insignificant or small like Cain did, you would be wrong. It has a landmass roughly the size of California, four times the size of North Korea, and it's strategically important for the United States with a location that has been crucial for supplying U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
ZAKARIA: Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.