Return to Transcripts main page
FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Nervousness about a Nuclear Middle East; Interview with Samantha Power; Interview with Richard Haass and David Rothkopf; What's Going on with Denmark?; Governments Trying to Promote Procreation; Oil Fracking Importance for U.S. Economy; Expensive Luanda; 800 Years to Magna Carta. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired June 14, 2015 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:11] 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.
Today we'll start with the two biggest foreign policy challenges facing the president and the world. First off, the cold war between Russia and the West over Ukraine is getting worse. Ukraine's leader says his military must be ready for a full-scale invasion from Russia. I'll talk about Putin's plans for the summer with the American ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power from Kiev.
Then, this week the White House announced plans to beef up operations in Iraq. More troops, more training, more weapons, maybe more bases. Will it work? Is it the right way to take on ISIS?
Also, how to get people to have more unprotected sex. Really. Well, actually, how to get them to have more babies. That's what many countries from Denmark to Singapore are trying to figure out. A report on the declining demographics of rich countries.
Finally, would you pay $10 for a can of coke? How about a Ben Franklin for a fresh melon? These sky high prices are found in a place where the U.N. says almost 70 percent of the population live below the poverty line. We'll take you there.
But first here is my take. Of the many unnerving aspects of the future of the Middle East, a nuclear arms race would top the list. And it is to feed that unease that Saudi Arabia has been periodically dropping hints, that if Iran's nuclear ambitions go unchecked it might just have to get nuclear weapons itself. Last week the Saudi ambassador to the United Kingdom made yet another explicit threat warning that all options will be on the table.
Oh, please. Saudi Arabia isn't going to build a nuclear weapon. Saudi Arabia can't built a nuclear weapon. Saudi Arabia hasn't even built a car. By 2017, after much effort the country is expected to manufacture its first automobile. Saudi Arabia can dig holes in the ground and pump out oil but little else. Oil comprises 44 percent of its GDP, a staggeringly high figure, according to the "Wall Street Journal." Oil makes up almost 90 percent of the Saudi government's revenues despite decades of massive government investment, lavish subsidies and cheap energy, manufacturing is less than 10 percent of Saudi GDP.
Where would Saudi Arabia train the scientists who would work on its secret nuclear program? The country's education system is backward and dysfunctional having been largely handed over to its puritanical reactionary religious establishment. The country ranks 73rd in the quality of its math and science education according to the World Economic Forum, abysmally low for a rich country. Iran, despite 36 years of sanctions and a much lower per capita GDP, ranks far higher at 44.
And who would work in Saudi's imagined nuclear industry? In her penetrating book on Saudi Arabia. Karen Elliott House, formerly of the "Wall Street Journal," describes the Saudi labor market. One of every three people in Saudi Arabia is a foreigner. Two out of every three people with a job of any sort are foreign. And in Saudi Arabia's anemic private sector fully nine out of 10 people holding jobs are non-Saudi.
Saudi Arabia, in short, is a society in which all too many men do not want to work at jobs for which they're qualified, in which women by and large are not allowed to work, and in which, as a result, most of the work is done by foreigners.
None of this is to suggest that the kingdom is in danger of collapse. Far from it. The regime's finances are strong, the public spending keeps rising and oil revenues have declining. The royal family has deftly used patronage, politics, religion and repression to keep the country stable and quiescent. But that has produced a system of stagnation for most with a gilded elite surfing on top with almost uninimaginable sums of money.
[10:05:13] So couldn't Saudi Arabia simply buy a nuclear bomb? That's highly unlikely. Any such effort would have to take place secretly, under the constant threat of sanctions, Western retaliation and interception. Saudi Arabia needs foreigners and their firms to help with its energy industry, build its infrastructure, buy its oil and sell its goods and services.
Would isolated like Iran or North Korea its entire economic system would collapse. It's often claimed that Pakistan would sell nukes to the Saudis. And it's true that the Saudis have bailed out Pakistan many times but the government in Islamabad is well aware that such a deal would jeopardize its own future and its unlikely to do that even for its sugar daddy in Riyadh.
In April Pakistan refused repeated Saudi pleas to join its air campaign in Yemen. So let me make a prediction. Whatever happens with Iran's nuclear program, 10 years from now, Saudi Arabia won't have nuclear weapons because it can't.
For more, go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
The United States' ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, spent the better part of the week in Ukraine where tensions with Russia are once again spiking to dangerous levels. Ukraine's President Poroshenko told his military last week that it must be prepared for a full-scale invasion along the border with Russia. He had earlier said that summer was the most likely time for such an event. And summer starts in just a week's time.
As for Power, she has long been a critic of Russia's actions against its neighbor and tweeted this week that the U.S. stands with Ukraine on countering Russian aggression.
Ambassador Power joins me exclusively now from Kiev.
Ambassador, first, give us a sense of how dangerous it is that this cold war could actually get quite hot. Are there actual signs that Russia is planning an invasion?
SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Well, let's be clear that over the course of the last year and a half Russia has already lopped off part of Ukraine or attempted to in its annexation of Crimea, justified by a phony referendum that gave voters two choices -- join Russia or be fully independent. So that's where this all started. And then in eastern Ukraine you've already seen the flow of, you know, thousands and thousands of tons of weapons, rocket launchers, artillery, surface-to-air missile sites.
Recently a Russian UAV was downed and, of course, UAVs don't fall from the sky in Donetsk o Luhansk. Those require great sophistication in terms of operation and in terms of bringing them to bear in a conflict. So a lot of the facts on the ground have been created by Russia. And in this period since the Minsk agreements back in February it's clear that Russia has made an effort to wage a kind of train-and-equip program that will leave the separatists also with much more sophisticated command and control.
ZAKARIA: If there were a Russian escalation, whether irregulars or actual Russian forces would the United States militarily provide assistance to the Ukrainian government?
POWER: Fareed, we're not focused on hypotheticals. We're focused on the Minsk agreements which were signed by all the relevant parties including the Russian federation, including President Putin at the helm, and implementation is the key. That's why we are hopeful and have reason to believe that Europe will re-up the sanctions isolating President Putin, inflicting costs for the aggression that has been carried out first against Crimea and then of course against eastern Ukraine.
But the one thing I really want to stress is that the Ukrainian people here are also getting on with it. They are embarking upon a major reform effort to try to get the economy in shape, to try to fight corruption, break up the monopolies, take on the oligarchs. And it's quite extraordinary the extent to which they're compartmentalizing. On the one hand they need to defend against a potential ramp-up in Russian aggression but on the other recognizing that their best defense over time is to get their democracy in order, which has really struggled over many decades.
ZAKARIA: You say in your speech this week that the Kremlin made some serious miscalculations, miscalculated that Ukrainians would have resolve and resilience. But isn't it fair to say that Washington -- that you also miscalculated? The economic sanctions have not altered Putin's strategic calculus. His popularity ratings have hit new highs. He does not seem in any way to be backing down. You know, isn't that a miscalculation?
[10:10:18] POWER: I think it's fair to say that sanctions as a general proposition take time to bite and to change calculuses. So it's true that President Putin has his own way of doing business, but it's also true that, if you look at where sanctions have worked elsewhere in the world, whether Serbia, the Iran sanctions regime, even dating back to Apartheid, it does take time for sanctions to affect the calculus.
What is true up to this point is that they've had a great effect, a very significant effect on the Russian economy. And it's very important to note, we don't want sanctions. Right? Our end state is to see Minsk implementation. We would like nothing more than for everybody to take an off-ramp and, you know, begin to restore diplomatic relations, but that's going to require Ukraine regaining sovereignty over its international border.
ZAKARIA: So the end game, the solution is Russia gets to keep Crimea but it has to get out of eastern Ukraine in substantial part.
POWER: No. The end game in terms of eastern Ukraine is the Minsk agreements. Crimea we've been very clear. The U.N. maps are never going to change. Crimea is part of Ukraine. It has been part of Ukraine, it will remain part of Ukraine.
ZAKARIA: Ambassador, while I have you, those are very tough article in the "Wall Street Journal" about your tenure last week. It was called, "The Obama Doctrines' U.N. Failure," and it argues that despite having been a very eloquent and intelligent critic of the Bush administration on U.N. reform, on multi-lateralism, on human rights interventions, your own tenure has been marked by failure in all those areas particularly the responsibility to protect civilians in places like Syria and Ukraine, that ultimately you haven't delivered for them.
What would you say to that?
POWER: I'm focused on the job that I have to do every day. I think if you talk to the people of South Sudan or the Central African Republic or certainly if you come to Ukraine, you would hear a very different message about the Obama administration and what we've done on behalf of their rights in order to prevent atrocities. So my focus is on the next year and a half and making sure we get as much done as we can in the time we have available to us.
The fact that there's been an awful lot of aggression carried out by regimes that have committed unspeakable atrocities is not exactly something I think that can accrue to any one individual, but it is incumbent on us to call out those regimes and to look at the tools in the tool box and try to get as many deployed as we can to protect people in the time that we have. ZAKARIA: Ambassador Samantha Power, pleasure to have you on.
POWER: Thanks, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, the Obama administration's other big headache, ISIS. This week it announced some extra resources thrown into the fight. But are 450 more U.S. troops really going to make a difference? We'll ask.
[10:17:36] ZAKARIA: This week mark the one-year anniversary of Mosul falling to ISIS. The second largest city in Iraq still remains under ISIS control today, of course. Also this week the White House announced plans to reinforce its current strategy to defeat ISIS. The plan consists of sending up to 450 additional U.S. military personnel to a base in Anbar Province, bringing the total number of U.S. military advisers in country to 3,550.
The plan also provides for weapons and equipment to be sent in to reinforce various Iraqi fighting groups including the Kurdish Peshmerga and tribal fighters in Anbar. And General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said on Thursday that the United States might establish more training bases like the one in Anbar.
So will these seemingly small adjustments to U.S. policy really tip the scales against ISIS? Are they a good idea?
Joining me now to discuss are Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and David Rothkopf, the editor of "Foreign Policy" magazine and Foreignpolicy.com.
David, you think this is a step in the right direction?
DAVID ROTHKOPF, CEO AND EDITOR, FOREIGN POLICY: I think it is a step. It's a small step and there are a lot of other steps that are required, but one thing that's important about it is that it shows that the White House recognizes these things are not working, that they're adapting and recognizing that changes need to be made. Whether this addition of troops and the possible setting up of other bases and other troops is enough is unlikely, however, because, of course, we know from past experience that trainers work best when they're able to go out into the field with troops, and that's not part of this plan.
We don't know how well the Iraqi will do recruiting Sunnis. That's not part of this plan. We have a bunch of big blank spaces. And so while it's encouraging, big question marks remain.
ZAKARIA: Richard, isn't this -- to me the central lesson of the last 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan is, you can do all this military stuff. More trainers, more equipment, better bases. If you fix the military stuff but don't fix the politics behind it, that is, create an Iraqi government that people want to fight for, that the Sunnis in particular want to fight for, it doesn't matter because the minute the United States leaves or puts -- you know, takes their foot off the accelerator the whole thing crumbles.
RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: That's absolutely right. And there's nothing here that changes any of the basics of what's essentially a sectarian Iraqi government.
[10:20:06] This doesn't change any of the political basics of either Iraq or Syria, which are essentially now part and parcel of the same crisis. And even militarily to say this is a step in the right direction. Maybe, but we're talking about a baby step. And we shouldn't kid ourselves. This is the kind of decision you get by consensus when people know the policy isn't working but they reject anything that's dramatic or decisive.
And this is simply going to be the first of what's going to be decision after decision after decision. This is incrementalism. And that's something we've also learned over the years. The incremental adjustments tend not to work. They're going to be overwhelmed by the pace and the dynamic of events beyond our control.
ZAKARIA: You say it's a baby step. I'm really asking, is it even the right direction? Because you know how this is. You've been in that hot seat in the White House. You commit the United States with more troops. You give these briefings. And if it's not going to work, and I don't think this is going to work, you then face the problem, which is you've now committed your prestige, are you -- are you going to escalate?
HAASS: We know this isn't going to work. It's too small to make an appreciable or measurable differential. So the real question is either you do a lot more on behalf of this Iraqi government, and I see no reason to do that. I don't -- I don't think it's the basis of a partner. The alternative is you essentially switch strategy, and instead of doing everything through Bagdad, through what I think is an Iranian dominated sectarian government, you would essentially say that Iraq is essentially behind us. Alas, it didn't work.
We've now got to work much larger and much more directly with the Kurds and the Sunnis and the Sunnis of western Iraq and eastern Syria. That would be a different strategy. That's your choice. You either you do different things with your existing strategy or you choose a different strategy. I think the time has come for the latter.
ZAKARIA: What about that? Les Gelb, Richard's predecessor, wrote a piece of turned out a thing, a very pressing piece of maybe 2004 saying Iraq is not a country. We should be treating these three communities as three separate groups and be dealing with them -- you know, independently.
ROTHKOPF: Well, I think that's what's happening right now. I think the Kurds have proven to be dependable allies for us. They've proven to be effective fighters against ISIS. They've scored some gains recently in Turkey. And I think the emergence of Kurdistan as an entity is likely to continue. And I think that would ultimately be a good thing. Certainly I hope we would support it. We've been much too much on the fence on it. The Iranians have sort of seized a big chunk of Iraq. I don't think
they're going to give it back. I don't think we are going to get it back from them. And so the question becomes what happens to the Sunni part of Iraq? Does is it become a state onto itself controlled by ISIS or by somebody else?
HAASS: Fareed, I think one day we're going to be talking on this show about Saudi Arabia. I've been saying for some time about a group that calls itself the Islamic State is never going to be content until it has sway over the country that controls the two holiest cities of Islam. So not only do I not think the course we're on will succeed in Iraq, I think the Middle East is probably going to get worse before that. It gets even worse.
ZAKARIA: It gets worse before it gets even worse. You want to disagree with that?
ROTHKOPF: I don't want to disagree with that. But I do think --
HAASS: Please do.
ROTHKOPF: Well, I understand you might think that that validates your position, but I -- you know, I think that the reality is, if we don't make gains in the context of the Sunni region, if we don't solve this problem now, and ISIS establishes this as a base, then almost inevitably you're going to end up with what Richard is talking about. Almost inevitably they're going to say, OK, we've got a base. We can solidify. And now where do we go from here?
HAASS: What we're seeing is an administration whose trajectory was to retrench and get out of the Middle East. And what's happening is events in the Middle East won't let it. It's almost like the "Godfather." They keep bringing me back. That's what we're seeing here. But the United States is going back in very small, reluctant ways. It's not going to work. So we should even make -- we need to make some bigger decisions. Do less and leave it to its own devices, which is problematic. Do bigger things, do different things.
But this kind of incrementalism along the lines of existing policy is the one thing that we know will not succeed.
ROTHKOPF: It's the illusion of action. And that's a mistake.
ZAKARIA: Fascinating conversation. And on that the two of you agree.
Next on GPS, how in the world do you get people to have more babies? Believe it or not, this is a burning question for governments around the world. We will bring you some of their best ideas. You'll probably try them at home.
ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment.
Something is odd in the state of Denmark. A Danish travel company has been wooing Danes to take a romantic trip abroad, pointing out that Danes have 46 percent more sex on holidays and that 10 percent of Danish children are conceived during vacations.
The ad offers a three-year supply of baby goods if a couple concedes on their trip before delivering this memorable catch phrase.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do it for Denmark.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: What in the world is going on?
Denmark and other countries are very worried about their stagnant aging populations. According to the U.N., the average woman needs to have 2.1 children to maintain the population of a developed country. But in the European Union, every single country is below that 2.1 level including Denmark. By 2050 some countries like Greece, Portugal and Germany will see their populations drop by double-digit percentages according to Pew.
Japan is the poster child for this population crisis. Its government projects that it will lose over two million people in just the next five years. By 2050 it will have lost 1/5 of its total population and there maybe only 43 million in Japan by 2110. Not only will some countries' population shrink they will also get older. Europe's over 65 crowd will increase to over a quarter of the population there by 2050, according to the U.N. Japan's will be over 1/3.
That means that already cash-strapped countries will have higher bills to pay to provide retirees with pension and health benefits.
So, it's no wonder that Denmark and other countries are getting creative to promote procreation. The Japanese government has funded matchmaking events, South Korea's government is trying to reduce the extravagant price of weddings to encourage more marriage, working with religious organizations to cut costs, according to "The Korea Herald." A region in Russia encouraged citizens to bear a patriot on June 2012, Russia Day, offering money, refrigerators and even cars.
And in 2012, Singapore was treated to national night.
ANNOUNCER: A national night. And I want a baby.
ZAKARIA: A campaign to encourage baby making on Singapore's national holiday. So, are these kinds of measures actually working? Demographers told us that in general it's difficult to get people to have children purely using financial incentives. That said, France has championed child-friendly policies like paid family leave for parents of newborns and preschool for three-year-olds and its fertility rate is one of the best in Europe. In the United States, the fertility rate hit a record low in 2013 according to the CDC, but Pew still predicts that America's population will actually grow by 27 percent from 2010 to 2050. Why? One big reason is immigration. The U.S. has a younger population than Europe to begin with, and it takes in lots of immigrants. And immigrants tend to have more children than native-born Americans.
So the United States, compared to many other large, rich countries in the world, will be demographically vibrant and growing for decades, and immigrants will help drive that growth. I am guessing that is an ad that no one is going to make anytime soon in America.
Next on "GPS," the U.S. has a new crown to wear this week. It has been named the world's biggest oil and natural gas producer knocking Russia off the top spot. Many argue that's good for the economy, but bad for the environment. Michael Porter says it's good almost all around. When we come back.
ZAKARIA: A report out this week by BP says that in 2014 the United States became the world's largest oil producer, overtaking Saudi Arabia and, it says, America is now the biggest oil and natural gas producer, knocking Russia off the top spot. Much to the chagrin of environmentalists it is an extraordinary time for carbon based energy production in the United States. But my next guest will make the case that it's not bad. In fact, he says it's almost all positive. How so? Michael Porter is a professor at the Harvard Business School, and is said to be the world's most cited scholar on matters of business and economics. He and the Boston Consulting Group have just published a study called "America's Unconventional Energy Opportunity, a Win-Win Plan for the Economy, the Environment and a Lower Carbon Cleaner Energy Future." Long title, it says a lot. But let's start by understanding how surprising this has been. In 2005 what did America look like on energy?
MICHAEL PORTER, PROFESSOR, HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL: America was nowhere in terms of this new resource. We just had the conventional depleting supplies of oil and gas. We were approaching in the conventional ways. And then this technological revolution that had been bubbling along, that had been supported, actually, by public policy took off. And we ended up with being the leading energy producer in the world.
ZAKARIA: So, let's look at the natural gas production, which - if you look at this chart, it's just as you say, it just spikes up extraordinarily. Now, what I think most people don't realize is that this is also true of oil.
ZAKARIA: So that if you look at what oil production looks like in the United States, it's declining, declining, declining, declining. And then you see this extraordinary spike. What's this about?
PORTER: Well, that's about the technology allowing you to actually develop a resource that we didn't think was that valuable, which is this oil or gas locked into shale. And this took a -- the hydraulic fracturing, which people call fracking. Which is something we should talk about. Because the word fracking is really getting in the way here in terms of the reaction people have.
ZAKARIA: What do you say that the word fracking is getting in the way?
PORTER: Well, I mean if you're at a party and you talk about - you say, what do you think of fracking? You know, the typical person is going to kind of recoil because they're going to hear stories about earthquakes and they're going to have read about water and contamination and all kinds of environmental issues. And by the way, they're real. There are those issues. But what I don't think people understand is that those environmental issues are -- we're making huge progress in kind of beating those down and doing it better, and what people don't associate with fracking is this enormous economic transformation that's going on.
We now are, by far, the lowest energy cost nation in the world. Every household has gotten $800 bonus every year in terms of lower energy prices. We have had 2.7 million jobs, we estimate, created since 2005. That's about half of all the jobs created since 2005. And we have an opportunity to continue this growth process and spread it throughout our entire economy. So, at a time when our economy is not performing well, where we are facing real challenges, where the middle class are not moving ahead and growth is slow, this is by far the single biggest opportunity we have.
ZAKARIA: Your calculation, in this report, is that oil and natural gas are -- fracking essentially, are adding $430 billion to the economy every year.
PORTER: At least. Yeah. That's our best estimate. And that's like -- that's as big as a large state. This field is much bigger than the auto industry. This is a huge field. And it's just starting because it really starts with the production of gas and oil. But then that -- then it gets used to generate power. That's growing. It will continue to grow. It starts getting used as a feed stock. Our petrochemical industry is revitalizing in America. Our plastics industry is revitalizing. A lot of ...
ZAKARIA: Because energy costs are so low.
PORTER: Energy costs are so low.
ZAKARIA: And in advanced industrial country, energy is such a large part, labor is actually not such a large part of it.
PORTER: Exactly. So, for example, our electricity - industrial electricity prices are about one half of our other major trading partners. And our gas prices are about a third of our major trading partners'. So, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a bunch of crazy guys, you know, in Texas mostly have created this enormous competitive advantage for the United States. But it's come with some environmental concerns.
ZAKARIA: So, let's talk about the environmental issues. There are earthquakes that people talk about. Let's talk about what happens to water. And let's talk about methane that gets released.
ZAKARIA: Which of these should we worry about and can good regulation deal with them?
PORTER: Well, I think we should worry about them all. And I think one of my big concerns here is how the U.S. industry has really been working kind of productively to its own long-term interests. There has been too much denial in the industry. There's been - oh, no, we're not causing those earthquakes. Oh, no, the water is not a problem. And it is. I mean there are - real documented problems that are significant.
The good news is that - and we've done a deep-dive on this. In all of these areas, and there are areas of congestion and there's even more than you mentioned. In all these areas, practice is improving. We're getting better. We're able to control most of these problems. And what we did also was to actually do a study, and it doesn't cost much to reduce these problems. You just have to do things right. We can control these problems, including earthquakes. But we're not telling that story. The general public hasn't heard that story. They think that these problems are endemic and unfixable but they're really not.
ZAKARIA: Well, pleasure to have you on. It's a terrific report.
Up next, we'll bring you the odd tail of the most expensive city in the world for expats where poverty levels run wild among the nation's own citizens who can barely afford to feed themselves let alone pay $10 for a can of coke. Inside Luanda, Angola in a moment.
ZAKARIA: Next week, MERSA will release its annual cost of living survey that shows where it is most expensive for an expat to live. A betting man might put his money on Moscow or London or Tokyo. But it is much more likely to be the relatively obscure city of Luanda, Angola. Luanda has been the world's most expensive city for four of the last five years. And that fifth year, it was in second place. It's a place where my next guest tells of $10 cans of coke, $110 melons. Fancy cars, an exorbitant rent. In a nation racked by poverty. How does it all happen? Here to explain is Michael Specter, staff writer at "The New Yorker" and author of the magazine's piece "Extreme City." Welcome to the show, Michael.
MICHAEL SPECTER, STAFF WRITER, "NEW YORKER": Thanks for having me.
ZAKARIA: So, explain, how does this happen? How can Luanda, Angola be the world's most expensive city?
SPECTER: For expats. And there's a simple reason - oil. There is a lot of oil. It's the second biggest exporter of oil in Africa after Nigeria. And America and to some degree European companies are there. And the people who work for them want to live like they live in south Houston. And that costs a lot of money. They don't make very much in Angola. So, you have to ship it all in. It costs a fortune. You can buy a melon for - It's only $105 for a melon. But that's flown in. Those things are brought in. And people insist on having that kind of stuff, and the oil companies need their expertise. And, you know, every major city in the developing world and even in our part of the world has a huge discrepancy between very rich and very poor people.
ZAKARIA: But this is outrageous.
SPECTER: This is outrageous. I mean it's like nothing I've ever seen. It has most often, though, this year maybe not, the highest infant mortality rate in the world. Most people there earn less than $2 a day. And yet, if you want to buy a range rover, which are readily available, you'll pay twice what you pay in London or New York. Because people will do that.
ZAKARIA: And, you know, when you take a taxi, for example, the price escalates. Explain that story.
SPECTER: Well, first of all, there aren't really taxis, but there are car service type things. And I was going out to one of these private little oases to have a barbecue and I asked the people at my hotel if they could provide a driver. It's a ten-mile drive. And on Friday afternoon, it takes two hours because it's traffic and there's kind of one road. And he said, yeah, we can provide one, but it will be $150. And I said OK, I didn't have a lot of choice. Fine. So, about an hour later I came back and he was frantically waving at me. And he said, I was wrong about the cost. I said, oh, really? He said, yeah. It's $450 each way. $900 round trip, 20 miles. I actually got a ride from another kind journalist.
ZAKARIA: What's odd about this place is that this has all happened so fast.
ZAKARIA: Because before, was it 2010, Uganda isn't doing any of this. Explain why.
SPECTER: Well, there has been a civil war going on there since 1975 when the Portuguese gave up their colony and left. And it's been very vicious. The general estimate is that 10 million landmines have been planted around the country. And many of them have been dug up, but it's really hard to get them all. And almost no one was unscarred. So that stopped in 2002. So, you're looking at kind of 12 years out of the last 400 years, in which this country is a, quote, democracy or had some ability to decide what to do itself.
ZAKARIA: And that's when the oil companies came.
SPECTER: And so, the oil companies came a little earlier, but they dominate because they create a lot of revenue. And Angola went from having sort of $3 billion in the bank in 2002 to $70 or $65 billion today. But nobody sees it except like 170 friends of the president. I mean I've lived in Russia for a long time, and I am familiar with oligarchs. These guys make Russian oligarchs look like pikers. I mean it's just crazy what they do and how they live and how ...
ZAKARIA: And you see no general economy beyond oil.
SPECTER: Well, there could be a general economy. It's a beautiful country with rich agricultural possibilities, an incredible coastline. It could be a great place for tourism and agriculture. But the roads are very bad. The infrastructure is terrible. It's getting better because the Chinese are building everything. But they have a long way to go before someone is going to say, hey, let's take the kids and go to Angola for a vacation. And also, the landmine thing is a legitimate issue. I mean you don't - you don't ...
ZAKARIA: I would imagine you would be a little worried.
SPECTER: There are a lot of beautiful places you don't want to go hiking. And there a lot of - It's a beautiful country. So, in theory they could get beyond their dependence on oil. In reality, they're not trying very hard.
ZAKARIA: Michael Specter, fascinating piece.
SPECTER: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, popes, princes and politicians. Well, some politicians are coming together on one issue. We'll tell you why next week promises to be a historic one, when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Tomorrow is the 800th birthday of Magna Carta. It was agreed upon by King John and the country's rebellious barons on June 15th, 1215. But in less than three months it was nullified. Which brings me to my question. Who declared the Magna Carta to be, quote, null and void of all validity forever in 1215? Richard the Lion Heart, Henry III. Louie VIII of France or the pope? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
This week's book of the week is a magazine essay that's getting some attention by me in the Atlantic.com. You know how people are always saying that kids today are career obsessed and shallow? Well, this is my defense of the millennials titled "The Try-Harder Generation." It's adapted and expanded from my new book in defense of a liberal education. You can find a link to the essay on our website and you can always buy my book.
And now for the last look. Next week Pope Francis will do something historic. He will issue an encyclical, only his second one so far. A powerful letter to all the people of the world on climate change. It's expected to be a great call to action from a pope named for the patron saint of ecology. The news prompted GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum to say last week that the pope should, quote, "leave science to the scientists." He may not have realized, though, he was soon informed that Pope Francis studied chemistry and worked as a chemist before deciding to enter the seminary. In the past century eight popes have issued a grand total of 120 encyclicals on topics ranging from child poverty to contraception to disarmament after the Cuban missile crisis.
This climate change letter comes at a key moment for climate policies, as "The Washington Post" points out, with the possibility of an ambitious global climate change agreement on the horizon this year. The state of the planet is not just on the papal radar. Prince Charles also addressed the subject last week, calling for a magna carta for the earth, what he called a, quote, "long-standing contract for the Earth and humanity's relationship to it." His prime minister joined in too when the G-7 leader set a new goal this week to end fossil fuel usage by the end of the century. Whether or not Mr. Santorum agrees with his holiness or his royal highness, climate change is on the agenda of popes, princes and politicians this year, not to mention many, many scientists.
The correct answer to the "GPS" challenge question was D. Another pope. Pope Innocent III, who was at the time the religious overlord of England nullified the Magna Carta at the request of King John thrusting England into civil war.
As the British library chronicles, when both King John and the pope died in 1216, the regent looking after John's nine-year-old son, Henry III, issued a new version of the great charter. It was revised several times, until it became a part of England's statute law in 1297. Today the document is often considered the foundation of the rule of law, a symbol of modern democracy and the inspiration for the authors of many constitutions including that of the United States.
ZAKARIA: It's a good thing it was not null and void of all validity forever. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.