Return to Transcripts main page


Interview with Hank Paulson and Evan Osnos; Interview with Larry Summers; Interview with David Brooks; Interview with Jeffrey Sachs. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired April 19, 2015 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:02] JIM SCIUTTO: Thank you for watching STATE OF THE UNION this Sunday. I'm Jim Sciutto in Washington. And "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" starts right now.

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.

We'll start the show with two former United States Treasury secretaries, one from each side of the aisle. Larry Summers on the left and Hank Paulson from the right.

On the U.S. economy, growth is back, but there's a problem and it gets wider every year.

On China, is it a friend or a foe?

Also, a Pope and a politician trading tough talk. Why is the president of Turkey taking on the vicar of Christ? And what does it say about Turkey today?

Then David Brooks games out the 2016 presidential field.

And Jeffrey Sachs tells us why 2015 is our last chance to act on climate change.

But first, here's my take. The Obama administration's foreign policy energies are now fully engaged in the Middle East. Negotiating the Iran deal, sending special forces into Iraq, supporting Saudi airstrikes in Yemen, working with the Syrian rebels. Whatever happened to the pivot to Asia?

Remember the basic argument behind the pivot was that the United States was over invested in the Middle East, a crisis-prone region of dwindling importance to the American national interests. Asia, on the other hand, is the future. Of the world's four largest economies, three are in Asia if measured by purchasing power parity.

As Singapore's former leader Lee Kuan Yew often told me, "America will remain the world's dominant power in the 21st century only if it is the dominant Pacific power."

And yet, the United States is once more up to its neck in the Middle Eastern morass. President Obama and John Kerry spent little time in Asia, few new initiatives have been announced. The Transpacific partnership, a trade deal that was at the heart of the pivot, faces a tough road in Congress despite the fast-track agreement reached this week. The opposition comes mostly from the president's own party.

The administration lobbied hard to get its closest allies to spurn China's new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank only to be rebuffed by everyone, including Great Britain.

The future stability of the world will not rest on whether the Houthis win or lose in Yemen. Yemen has been in a state of almost constant civil war since 1962. Global stability will be shaped by how the world's established power handles the new rising one, China. As Harvard's Graham Allison notes, since 1500, of the 15 cases where this transition of power has taken place, 11 times the result was a war.

Most of the attention of the pivot has been focused on deterring China. That's a necessary and important component of maintaining peace and stability, but an excellent new academic volume "The Next Great War: The Roots of World War I and the Risks of US-China Conflict" highlights that in addition to deterrents, the United States also needs to work hard at cooperation, at integrating China into the global system.

And on this front, Washington gets poor marks so far, something we touched on last week. China is now the world's second-largest economy. Actually, the largest when measured by purchasing power parity. And yet, its voting share in the IMF is equivalent to that of the Netherlands and Belgium combined. The United States Congress, mainly Republicans, refuses to pass legislation that would change this, even though it won't affect America's voting share in this group at all.

The Obama administration's opposition to the Asian infrastructure bank was, quite simply, dumb. The bank is just one more way to fund infrastructure projects in Asia. If China can't set up a regional bank to finance bridge building, what influence is it legitimately allowed to have? Of course, having chosen to oppose the bank, the administration then ended up with the worst of all worst -- being defeated in its ill-chosen fight.

Washington has a strong hand. It remains the dominant rule-setting power in the world in a way that has never really existed in history. It's militarily in a league of its own. It has more than 50 treaty allies. China has North Korea. But the Obama administration needs to start believing in its own grand strategy. Let the Iraqis and the Saudis feud. Let Yemen continue it's now 50-year-long civil war. Let Iran squander resources in Syria. Washington should turn its energies, attentions, and effort to Asia.

[10:05:27] For more, go to and read my "Washington Post" column this week, and let's get started.

Take a look at these satellite photographs. They show something physically small but geopolitically huge. China is bulking up and building up many disputed islands in the South China Sea. Here are some before and after photographs of China's work released

just this week on the Admiral Harry Harris, the commander of the U.S. Pacific fleet, recently said that what China is doing in the area is, quote, "creating a great wall of sand, more than 1.5 square miles worth so far."

It raises questions about China, questions that are being asked more and more these days like, is China an enemy? Is it going to overtake America as a superpower? And what are the intentions of China's new leader, Xi Jinping?

To help us get to the bottom of all of this, I have with me two of the sharpest people I know on the subject. Hank Paulson was the 74th secretary of the Treasury and is the author of a great new book "Dealing with China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Super Power." And Evan Osnos was the "New Yorker's" China correspondent for years and is the author of "Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China."

Hank , let me start with you. And how would you answer that question? People say -- first, you begin your book by saying China will likely overtake the United States as the world's largest economy.

HANK PAULSON, FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY: Yes, Fareed. As you well know, China is right now the second largest economy. It puts up more than half the buildings on earth. It consumes half the cement, half the coal, half the steel.

This is a country that's a new China. They've emerged as a formidable competitor. I think there's nothing wrong with competition, we just can't let it disintegrate into debilitating or destructive competition. And it's very, very important, it's in the United States' best interest that we look for ways to get important things done with China because we have many shared interests, and again, I think we need to be a bit more strategic as we think about the U.S./China relationship.

ZAKARIA: Evan, what do you think of these foreign policy moves mean? Because a lot of people say Chinese government needs growth, this is what the communist party has promised to deliver. They know growth is slowing, so they search for alternatives, and nationalism is the alternative, which means they push, you know, the -- their own boundaries and they push up, bump up against their neighbors.

EVAN OSNOS, FORMER CHINA CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORKER": Well, the economy for them is priority one. They've got to re-energize what's going on with the economy, and knowing full well that over the next 30 years they're not going to be able to count on 10 percent growth a year the way they have for a generation. And so how do you energize people? How do you keep them together? How do you get people thinking about the country as a power house in the world, the great power?

One of the ways you do that is by what the naval strategists in the U.S. are describing as facts on the water, building these reefs into islands in the South China Sea, creating essentially the physical infrastructure for the day when China feels that its territorial claims can now be asserted.

You know, China believes that it has the rightful claim to a vast portion of the South China Sea, which is claimed by other countries. At the moment, China is not interested in provoking a conflict, a physical military kinetic war with the United States. It knows that would be a doomed proposition. But what it is interested in doing is letting the world know that it's going to take a much more assertive posture in advancing its own interests. It's not just economically but also in terms of its physical security.

ZAKARIA: Hank, you -- part of the fascinating thing in the book is you have met with every one of these Chinese leaders, including Xi Jinping before he was president. In conversations with them, I mean, a lot of it is formal, I'm sure, but what is the sense you get of them in terms of do they want to be number one?

PAULSON: There is no doubt that Xi Jinping is going through a massive transformation of a country where reform is stalled. And it's not just the economy. It's the urbanization process. It's the military. It's the foreign policy. You know, it's the media. So he is -- he's not waiting for people to declare China major power. He believes they already are a major power.

[10:10:21] He's looking to influence on the global scene, you know, and it's not surprising. That's what every other great power has done, including the United States. Now he also wants and needs a good relationship with the United States of America. So --

ZAKARIA: He wants. You think he wants --

PAULSON: Oh, absolutely. They -- he has got multiple challenges on his hands. And, you know, some of the things he's trying to do are not only very important to China, they're very important to us in the United States of America.

ZAKARIA: Hank, I have to ask you since I have you here. Around the world, everybody talks about the fact that the U.S. economy at the end of the day is the strongest economy certainly among the major economies in the world. It's the one economy that seems to be once again the engine of the world. What's your take on where we are today?

PAULSON: Well, you're right. That's the good news. The good news is we're growing, we're creating jobs, property values are rising. The bad news is we're not growing quickly enough, and there's tremendous income disparity. And to me, and I want to turn this around with China again, the greatest threat to our long-term pre-eminence is not China. Not at all. The greatest threat is our own political inability to deal with the sorts of things we need to deal with to strengthen and revitalize our economy, restore its competitiveness.

And so to me, what do we need to do to revitalize our economy? It's not just education and training. We need a tax system that will let our companies be competitive. We need a federal income tax system, lets us raise the money we need while creating jobs. We need to be aggressive in terms of trade policy. China is leading in the trade area. We need to be there. And the

last thing I would say is for all those that are rooting against China, be careful what you root for because all of our economic issues become greater if we don't have China contributing to global growth.

ZAKARIA: Hank Paulson, Evan Osnos, terrific conversation. Thank you so much.

Next on GPS, another secretary of the Treasury, this time from the other side of the aisle. He will give us his take on the U.S. economy.

Larry Summers, when we come back.


[10:16:59] ZAKARIA: We just heard from the 74th secretary of the United States Treasury. Now let us hear from the 71st. Lawrence Summers was Treasury secretary under President Clinton, director of the National Economic Council under President Obama, and was, of course, a president of Harvard University as well.

Welcome back to the show, Larry.


ZAKARIA: You have been writing a great deal and very concerned about something that you call secular stagnation. And it's important that people understand what this idea is. The idea is the economy is growing, but jobs are not being created, productivity is not rising anywhere near what it used to in the past because we have reached a point at which for some reason the economy's basic growth rate is just not going to be very high. Is that fair?

SUMMERS: That's right. And what I've emphasized that this is really a global phenomenon of the industrial world, and what it's got to do with is that we seem to have a lot of savings. More savings because there's more inequality. More savings because developing countries are accumulating reserves. More savings because people are paying down debt.

And we've got much less demand to put that savings to use. Hardly any demand for investment, but all that saving, all that foregoing spending, and no investment imparts a basic sluggishness.

ZAKARIA: And so what you're saying is that because this is a kind of deep structural problem, not just about this cycle, not just about the banks being overleveraged, that what we need is a kind of entirely new and aggressive government policy or maybe a return back to something that was done in the '30s, which is really significant fiscal stimulus government spending.

SUMMERS: I think it's madness that at a moment when the interest rates are at a record low, when the non-employment of men is at a near high, that we are doing less investment in infrastructure than in any time since the Second World War on a net basis.

It is crazy that we don't take advantage of this moment to fix Kennedy Airport, to do something about 30,000 schools with chipping paint. But it's also about private investment. We need to figure out how to stimulate both public investment and private investment. That's really the priority for our children.

People worry about the deficit. And yes, the deficit is a concern, but we're borrowing money at 1 percent or less on average to finance the federal government. That's not the real problem. The real problem is that we're not making investments that could be paying off with very high rates of return for our children, that we're deferring maintenance and leaving them with a large liability, and that's what I think we ought to be worried about as a country.

And I think if we worry about that, we've got the prospect of doing what's most central and important, which is delivering for the middle class.

[10:15:08] ZAKARIA: Delivering for the middle class is clearly going to be the centerpiece of Hillary Clinton's campaign. People say the Democratic Party has moved to the left. What does it mean -- specifically, what can a new president do to deliver for the middle class?

SUMMERS: Well, investing heavily in infrastructure, take a burden off the future, put a lot of people to work, expand the economy's -- economy's capacity.


ZAKARIA: How do you --

SUMMERS: Raise the -- raise minimum wage, give unions a chance to organize in a way that they haven't really had a chance because the way the labor law has been enforced or not enforced for the last quarter century.

These things would make a difference over time for the middle class. Move to a more progressive tax system where we close tax shelters and use the results of closing tax shelters to provide benefits to middle- class people.

These are all elements of a strategy that would accelerate growth in overall incomes and make sure that a larger share would go to the middle class, and that's got to be the central priority for the country. And my hope would be that the presidential campaign will be about different strategies for doing that, but to start with, we need to know what the fundamental objective is, and I believe that objective should be raising middle-class incomes.

ZAKARIA: So when you look at all these Republican plans, economic plans, which focus very substantially on deficit reduction and also on tax reform. What do you think of them?

SUMMERS: I don't think the deficit is our biggest economic problem. We've reduced the deficit from 11 percent of GDP to below 3 percent of GDP. It's lower now relative to the economy than it's been on average over the last 40 years, certainly than it was when Ronald Reagan was president.

That's not the deficit I worry about. The deficit I worry about is a huge backlog of deferred maintenance that we're leaving to our children. The deficit I worry about is an educational system that's not meeting the needs of more than half of the kids in American public schools. The deficit I worry about is in equal opportunity, when the gap between rich kids and poor kids in terms of their ability to go to college has never been greater.

I worry about providing enough demand to put everybody to work in our economy going forward. This is not the right moment for a lurch to austerity. This is not the right moment to cut the FBI or to cut further the IRS, which is already losing the ability to keep the tax system honest by auditing tax cheaters. This is a moment of record low interest rates.

That is a moment for us as a country to do what a business would do, which is to take advantage of low borrowing costs to invest in our future. And that's what I hope we will do increasingly in both the public and in the private sector.

ZAKARIA: Larry Summers, pleasure to have you on as always.

Next up, a president versus a Pope. Whom would you bet on?

This week President Erdogan of Turkey condemned Pope Francis. What is behind it and what does it tell us about Turkey?

I'll explain when we come back.


[10:27:50] ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. This week, there was a serious war of words between Turkey and the Vatican.

At a Sunday mass, Pope Francis called the mass killing of over one million Armenians in the early 1900s the first genocide of the 20th century. That's blasphemy to Turkey's leadership, which denies that its forefathers, the rulers of the Ottoman Empire, ever perpetrated such an organized, malicious act. Many scholars would accept the Pope's characterization.

In retaliation, Turkey summoned its ambassador back from the Vatican. But Turkey's prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, went much further, reportedly condemning Pope Francis and claiming he had joined a conspiracy of an evil front against Turkey.

This paranoid rhetoric is not an isolated case. A two-hour documentary called "The Mastermind," which aired on a pro-government news channel and featured interviews with top officials from Turkey's ruling party, claimed there was a vast international conspiracy against Turkey. And last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly said so-called outsiders, "look like our friends, but they want us dead. They want to see our children dead."

What in the world is going on here? Turkey is an ally of the United States and has been a member of NATO since 1952. All of this nasty talk is a symptom of Turkey's sad metamorphosis into a textbook illiberal democracy.

In my 2003 book "The Future of Freedom," I pointed out that while some governments may be democratically elected, they can use their popularity to behave in very authoritarian ways. President Erdogan's party has won election after election over the years, and things were hopeful at the beginning of its rule, notes Turkish commentator Musta Akyol.

Here was a group of moderate Islamists who truly believed in democracy, a potential example for the entire Middle East. But over the years, says Akyol, power has corrupted the party, and its reforms are a distant memory.

[10:30:12] The Turkish government is now one of the strictest Internet sensors in the world. For a while, it blocked access to Twitter and YouTube, and Twitter said that in the last six months of 2014, Turkey had more requests for content to be removed on its site than any country in the world. President Erdogan has called social media the worst menace to society.

The government recently passed a controversial domestic security law that greatly expands the police's power. Meanwhile, President Erdogan has built a $600 million palace that is more than 30 times the size of the White House. To keep his grip on power, he plays the victim, with conspiracy theories that are as nasty as they are ridiculous.

Still, things could be a lot worse. President Erdogan is no Vladimir Putin. Akyol points out he's demonizing his opponents, he's not killing them. And despite the ruling party's devotion to Islam, Turkey has not and will not impose any kind of Sharia law and become Saudi Arabia any time soon, Akyol predicts.

Turkey supports the nuclear deal with Iran. It has taken in more Syrian refugees than any other country in the world. In many ways, it is still a responsible actor on the world stage. But the upcoming elections expected in June could give Erdogan's AKP Party even more power.

The party is sure to win, says Akyol, and it might even get enough votes to change the constitution, allowing it to create a super presidency with fewer checks and balances.

It looks like Turkey, that was once a promising model for moderate Islamist democracy, will be an illiberal democracy for the foreseeable future, which is sad for all of us who love that country and its people.

Next on GPS, David Brooks gives us his take on the ever-growing 2016 presidential field. Who does he think has the right stuff on the right? I think you'll be surprised.


[10:31:33] ZAKARIA: "The New York Times" columnist David Brooks has a fascinating book that I think might make you re-evaluate your life. The book is called "The Road to Character" and in it he challenges us to think about what he calls our resume virtues versus our eulogy virtues. In other words, what helps propel our careers versus what makes for a life well lived.

I'll talk to him in coming weeks about this book, but he's first and foremost a great observer of politics, and I wanted to get his take on the burgeoning 2016 presidential field.


ZAKARIA: David, pleasure to have you on.


ZAKARIA: It feels like for Bush there's an inevitable status just because he's going to be able to raise money. He has so much name recognition. But there is a potential for a candidate other than Bush. And will that be, I'm guessing, to the right of Bush? Because Bush, on immigration and on education, is pretty centrist.

BROOKS: Right. Yes, the way I look at it is this. I think at this stage in the campaign, it's not useful to look at who's raising a lot of money. I mean, Rudy Giuliani was raising a ton of money. It's not even useful to use these big organizations. Just pretend you're a scout, a baseball scout. You're at spring

training, and you're watching the pitchers work out. And they're throwing their curve balls, their sliders, their fastballs. Who's got the best stuff? Who looks like a politician who's got skills? And if you'd done that with Obama and Clinton in '08, you would have said well, Obama is better. And so that's all I do at this stage. Who's better?

ZAKARIA: And what are you noticing right now?

BROOKS: I think Marco Rubio is the best. Just the best stuff. Creative, on top of his game, very intellectually smart and going after interesting policies. Scott Walker, very practical, very sharp. He's got a great story because unlike the others, he actually was governor. He actually did stuff. He's got a great story. So those are my two, two aces.

Bush, you can see that he's been out of the game for a little while. Sometimes puts in a good performance, sometimes extremely flat and soft around the edges. Chris Christie, he was so strong before. Now he's trying not to be obnoxious so he's so weak. And he's too self- conscious, wrap around the axel. But I think there are really only three candidates at this moment who look plausible. That's Rubio, Walker, and Bush.

ZAKARIA: On the Democratic side? What does she do in terms of the change continuity issue? Does she run -- you know, does she run for the third term as a Democrat, or does she say, no, I'm actually the change you're looking for?

BROOKS: Yes. They seem -- you know, they seem to be leaning a little on the continuity side. I think they've taken a look at Obama's ratings. One of the interesting pieces of data right now is when they ask people, would you like experience or would you like something fresh, historically experience is rating very highly these days. People just -- in a weird way, she's so temperamentally different from Obama, she automatically has a bit of change.

So if he was hope and change and high idealism, she's not that. And stylistically, she's sort of different and she's more managerial. And so she might be able to run her way to the presidency as sort of a managerial person who just -- I'm just going to run the thing well. And you know, I think a lot of people are sort of in the mood for that. She does have some strength.

The other thing, we underestimate international trends and electoral tastes. Tough people are winning. Bibi Netanyahu is winning, Angela Merkel may be the most representative figure of our age. Tough people are winning. And she sort of fits temperamentally into that mold. And so there seems to be sort of a global, historical drift in her direction.

ZAKARIA: Does the fact that she's a woman -- does it have the potential to scramble some of these political calculation. I mean, if 10 percent of Republican women decide they'd rather vote for Hillary, that's a big deal.

[10:40:11] BROOKS: Yes. And 53 percent of the electorate will probably be women. So yes, it's a plus. It's a definite plus. And it gives her -- even if she's not fresh in anything she says, it gives her the freshness of that. And so it's -- I think it's a net plus.

One of the interesting things is on foreign policy, does she always have to be the toughest person, or is she worrying about some stereotypes there? But I think she's naturally the toughest person. I think, you know, we remember what she was like when she was in the Senate. And she was not that far from John McCain on a lot of issues. I'm not sure she's going to run that way. But somehow one feels that's where a lot of her general intellectual bent is.

ZAKARIA: When you look at all the people running for president and you think about your book, which of them has cultivated the inner virtues, the eulogy virtues, that you admire?

BROOKS: You know, you look at those who have a deep inner voice, you know, people like Abraham Lincoln. And I can think of -- I have friends now, Samantha Power, the U.N. ambassador, I'm a great friend of hers. And I think she has deep inner passion and good in her life and then external life. But the politicians right now, they are so busy all the time. They are their own product. It's all me, me, me, me.

They have very little time to cultivate. They're very ambitious. And if they did really step back and say, I want to really be introspective, I want to have a good life, they might not be able to take the awfulness of our campaign. So I would -- I think -- we both know a lot of politicians. I generally think they're good people. They're better in private than they are in public. But --

ZAKARIA: But you're saying something important, which is that the system -- and it's not just the political system, but the age we live in selects out for that kind of inner life.

BROOKS: Right.

ZAKARIA: You can't be successful on the resume if you have too much of that inner life.

BROOKS: It's attention. And they're in a hypercompetitive business. When John Hay was running -- he was one of Abraham Lincoln's staff and he was writing these press releases about how the civil war was going. And the press releases were all, we're going great, the North is winning, we're tying -- General Meade is awesome. And then he's also writing diary entries at the same time. And the diary entries all, cataclysm, we're losing, this is terrible, we have no generals.

And so I say that because he had a distinction between his outer voice, which he had to say for politics, and his inner voice, which he knew was true. And a lot of the people I cover don't have that distinction. They don't have that inner voice. They're all outer. And so they haven't stepped back to say, who am I, what's absolutely true that's separated from my own self-interest or my own party line.

ZAKARIA: David Brooks, great and rare pleasure.

BROOKS: Thank you.


ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, a stark warning from economist Jeffrey Sachs. He says 2015 is our last chance to act on climate change. Why? Well, he'll explain when we come back.


[17:47:13] ZAKARIA: Wednesday is Earth Day. That day when we all seem to recommit ourselves to saving the planet only to forget that pledge by the 1st of May. But my next guest, the famous economist Jeffrey Sachs, says this is our last chance.

Sachs is the author of a new book "The Age of Sustainable Development." He's also unabashedly an alarmist. But he says we really have only a matter of days to act, 256 days, to be exact.

Why? Well, listen to him.


ZAKARIA: So you come bearing some pretty grim news, particularly about climate change. Describe why you think this is sort of the last chance we have. JEFFREY SACHS, AUTHOR, "THE AGE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT": We've

known for decades about climate change despite propaganda to the contrary. The earth has been getting warmer, and the climate is becoming more unstable. 2014 was the hottest year in instrument record. And we felt it not only in high temperatures around the world but in floods, in droughts, in extreme storms, and there's a lot more to come.

And the world set this year as the time to change course because negotiations failed, failed, failed. They finally said 2015, this is it, and arithmetically if we don't do it this year, we're not going to be able to stay safe in terms of the climate system which is -- it's going to run out of control.

ZAKARIA: Step back. In your book, you describe just the nature of the problem historically. So in 1750, you point out there were about 800 million people on the planet. There are now over seven billion. And you say once we get to -- the next 20 or 30 years are very dangerous.

SACHS: The point is not only has the world population increased roughly 10 times, but what each person does on average in terms of the resources that are used has also increased roughly tenfold. So the world economy arithmetically has grown 100 field, roughly speaking, as a macroeconomist would measure. But what it really means is, well, while the planet hasn't increased in size at all, what we're doing to the planet has just exploded.

The pressures on the physical earth have reached thresholds that are very dangerous, unprecedented, and, therefore not understood, not part of our political, social, cultural, historical context. So new that we're having a very hard time getting our hands around issues like climate change or the massive destruction of biodiversity, the massive amounts of pollution that are being caused. These are new phenomena.

[10:50:05] ZAKARIA: What about the argument that technology gets us out of this problem? A lot of people feel, look, between more -- greater efficiency, recycling, desalination, technology can solve these problems, and you will be able to have fresh water endlessly.

SACHS: There's some truth -- in fact, I think it's a core truth, that technology can solve these problems or at least can help us solve these problems. But technology always cuts two ways. Just take the technological advances in energy. Solar panels, which don't produce carbon dioxide emissions, therefore are clean energy, have become much less expensive and they're spreading around the world.

But also the fossil fuel industry, coal, oil, and gas, has become much more productive as well because of modern technology. How to find deep reserves, how to drill, hydro fracking, horizontal drilling. All of a sudden we can produce a lot more. We can have ultra deep sea drilling, arctic drilling, floating liquefied natural gas plants.

The biggest ships in history to take up methane from the seabed, natural gas, liquefy it on a floating vessel that can withstand a typhoon, and then ship it off for burning some place for electricity. So technology can accelerate the disaster or it can solve it.

ZAKARIA: And what is the path to sustainable development? Because when you describe the problem, you know, and you talk about the world economy doubling in a generation, the population getting much larger even though it will then taper off, it feels like it's impossible. You know, when I think about something like China and India developing and building a coal-fired power plant every week, I wonder, does it really make that much difference if I use a little more solar energy?

SACHS: No. If China and India continue to completely depend on coal as they are, it's true that the major parts of the world don't participate, then no, it doesn't matter what you and I do. And that's why we need a global understanding and a global agreement. And that you know very well better than anybody how tough that is to get all parts of the world seeing eye to eye that we need to take a different course.

Not just the one that the market or that the short-term profits would lead us towards, but the one that we need to take for safety.

ZAKARIA: Are you at the end of the day hopeful?

SACHS: This year is key. At least the world leaders -- I'm seeing them all over the world, week by week they know that this is the year either it gets done or we have missed our generation's opportunity.

ZAKARIA: Jeff, thanks. Good to have you on.

SACHS: Thanks so much.


ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, presidents, Popes, and powerful people are protected around the clock, but what kind of world do we live in that this guy needs guarding 24 hours a day?

When we come back.


[10:57:08] ZAKARIA: A week ago today, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she would be running for the Democratic nomination in next year's presidential elections.

It brings me to my question of the week. Who was the last secretary of state to be elected president? James Madison, James Buchanan, John Quincy Adams, or Martin Van Buren? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.

This week's book of the week is David Brooks' "The Road to Character." I told you about it earlier. He makes his very important points about life through 10 richly told biographies. It's a wonderfully written book that will make you think deeply. Really a must-read.

And now for "The Last Look." The Secret Service protects President Obama. The Queen's guard safeguards Britain's royal palaces. The Swiss Guards work to keep Pope Francis safe.

Who would have thought a rhinoceros would need similar protection?

Meet Sudan. He's the last male northern white rhino on the planet, and he's under 24-hour protection by rangers, armed guards, and an electric fence in a Kenyan conservancy. Sudan and his two female companions are three of the last five members of this species in the entire world. This is especially tragic considering rhinos, often called the last dinosaurs, have been on the planet for 50 million years.

The rangers are in place to stop poachers from killing Sudan and his lady friends. With Earth Day just around the corner, these rhinos are a stark reminder that humans threaten the planet in many ways. Thanks to us, Sudan's cousins, the Western black rhinoceros, will never walk this earth again. The Javan tigers won't either, just as the Baiji River dolphin will never grace our waters.

Saving these rhinos and other animals from extinction isn't about cute animals or tree hugging. Biodiversity is considered crucial to human health, from medical implications to providing food to air and water purification, the list goes on, and the World Wildlife Fund says half of the earth's wildlife has been lost in the past 40 years.

As Harvard University professor Edward Wilson says about ants, we need them to survive, but they don't need us at all.

The correct answer to the GPS challenge question is B. All four presidents listed were former secretaries of state, but James Buchanan was the last one taking office in 1857.

If Hillary Clinton takes office in 2017, 160 years after Buchanan, she will be the seventh secretary of state to do so. Thomas Jefferson, the country's first secretary of state, became America's third president, and the one not mentioned so far was James Monroe.

Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.