Return to Transcripts main page


Republican Race to be the Most Outlandish?; Interview with John Sawers; Why is Germany Being Condemned for Taking Huge Numbers of Refugees?; Interview with Egyptian Billionaire Naguib Sawiris; Interview with Head of 'The Nudge Unit'. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired September 13, 2015 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:04] 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, coming to you today from London.

We have a very special guest from here who will help us understand the top threats to the United States and its allies.

Is it ISIS, al Qaeda, Iran, Russia, China, cyber terror? I will talk to the real-life counterpart of M, James Bond's fictional boss. John Sawers, the chief of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service.

Also, why is Germany taking in so many refugees? And why is the rest of Europe's reaction to it solemn at best, spiteful at worst? I'll explain.

Also, meet the man who wants to take in 100,000 refugees. This Egyptian billionaire says all he needs is for Greece or Italy to sell him an island.

Finally, paying taxes, donating organs, helping others, rather than send in the police, pass more laws and ban more stuff. Can the government nudge you to do the right thing?

Well, there is a "nudge unit" right here in the United Kingdom and we will talk to the head of it.

But first here's my take. As 16 Republican candidates try to get noticed perhaps we shouldn't be surprised to hear crazy rhetoric and outlandish ideas. In recent weeks Chris Christie has proposed that all legal visitors to the United States, anyone with a visa, be tracked every minute like a FedEx package. Mike Huckabee has compared Planned Parenthood to ISIS because he said they both take people's heads off.

And I haven't even gotten to Donald Trump. The brunt of this extremism has been borne by immigrants, especially Mexicans. It's crude and obnoxious but ultimately inconsequential. The policies being proposed could never really be enacted or implemented and, although Mexicans might be deeply offended and rightly so, their country has to find a way to make its peace with its gigantic neighbor to the north.

None of this is true about China, the new target of irresponsible Republican rhetoric. China is the world's second largest economy, almost two and a half times the size of the next largest, Japan. Even if growth slows substantially there, China will continue to have seismic effects on the global system.

Governor Scott Walker has declared that the upcoming state visit of China's president. Xi Jinping. should be canceled. Marco Rubio would allow Xi to come but would downgrade his trip and use it as an opportunity to, quote, "speak bluntly to this authoritarian ruler. " In a speech billed as outlining his foreign policy, Rubio argued that China is a rising threat to our economic interests and a growing danger to our national security. Christie explained that Washington needs a military approach to China. Trump of course goes further and is coarser.

I asked the senior most foreign policy statesman in the Republican Party, Henry Kissinger, what he makes of this rhetoric. "It is foolishness," he said, "but dangerous foolishness." It could have extremely grave repercussions."

Part of the problem is that China's government remains a black box and few people understand what's happening there, which makes it easy to ascribe malign intentions to Beijing's every move. Take for example the Chinese central bank's recent decision to allow its currency to fall, instantly denounced by politicians in Washington as an effort to flood the U.S. market with cheap goods.

Well, actually, over the past few years the renminbi has appreciated substantially against the dollar and the yen. The Chinese government appeared to be responding to Western pressure to allow market forces to reign, which in this case made the currency fall. That's why the International Monetary Fund praised Beijing's decision to devalue.

Beijing's policies have been inconsistent and ineffective in both the currency and stock markets, but that does not mean they're evil. The Republicans' rhetoric on China, Mexico and immigration reveals a breakdown of the party's ideological vision and internal discipline. For decades Republicans have favored internationalism, engagement and free markets. In 2016 it's quite possible that the party's nominee will be populist, nativist and protectionist.

[10:05:16] The consequences of this new climate of China-bashing could be serious. "It might turn out that over time we determine it is not possible to cooperate with China," Kissinger said. "But we should exhaust every effort to have a serious, constructive relationship. If not, the tensions will build, misunderstandings will grow, and I worry that we would find ourselves in an atmosphere similar to that of Europe before World War I, a war no one wanted but no one knew how to stop."

For more, go to and read my "Washington Post" column on this topic.

And I will be listening to hear what the candidates say on these topics and more when CNN hosts the next GOP debate at 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday night. I hope you will be watching and listening, too. Now let's get started. The Cold War was easy. America and the West knew who the bad guys

were, the Soviets. Today it's a whole different game, of course. The struggle to keep us all safe today was laid out concisely by the fictional head of England's Secret Intelligence Service in the latest James Bond movie "Sky Fall."


JUDI DENCH, ACTOR, "SKY FALL": I see a different world than you do. And the truth is that what I see frightens me. I am frightened because our enemies are no longer known to us. Our world is not more transparent now. It's more opaque. It's in the shadows. That's where we must do battle.


ZAKARIA: That was Judi Dench as the fictional head of England's very real MI6. Her code name is the bond movies of course is M. The real head of MI6 code name is C. That stands for chief, chief of the Secret Intelligence Service. And that is the job my next guest had until late last year, the equivalent of the director of the CIA in the United States. John Sawers now has another C title. He is the chairman of Macro Advisory Partners.

John, pleasure to have you on.


ZAKARIA: Let me ask you, do you think that the world today is safer than it was when you took on your job as the head of MI6 five years ago?

SAWERS: I think it's pretty chaotic and dangerous at the moment. And I think the -- for example, I was chief of MI6 during the London Olympics, where we were able to assure the prime minister, myself and my colleagues at MI5, that we were pretty confident that the London Olympics would be terrorism free. And thanks to a lot of hard work, it was.

I don't think you could be quite so confident now if a London Olympics were in 2016, for example, because of the rise of ISIS, because of the way in which terrorist tactics have evolved. They're not trying now to fly airliners into buildings. They do simpler things. They're picking up Kalashnikovs and taking them into shopping malls and they are attacking people with knives. That's much harder to stop and obstruct as an intelligence service.

I think we also have the whole cyber dimension, which is creating vulnerabilities to everyone. And we don't really have an international process to set the limits for cyber activity or to recognize what would be a justified response to cyber attack. United States has been -- both the government and the private sector, have been subject to a whole series of cyber attacks. And people think they know what the sources of it was but there is no real ability to deal with this in a conventional way. So we're going to have to find a new way to deal with new threats. ZAKARIA: When you look at this migrant crisis and you hear voices in

Europe and there are some in the United States who worry about the fact that, among these waves of migrants, there may be jihadis, there may be people who ties to ISIS. How worried are you about that? And how much do you think that can be -- these people can be vetted and you can be sure that you can sort this out?

SAWERS: Well, I understand the sensitivity and the concern about that. That's not my biggest concern about the terrorist threats caused by the crisis in Syria. I think the great bulk of these refugees are people genuinely fleeing conflict and fleeing for their lives and seeking a better life for themselves and their families. So I don't think we should treat the refugees as potential terrorists. I think the real problem, certainly in Europe that we face, is that so many of our own citizens have been out to Syria, have signed up with terrorist organizations like ISIS, Daesh, and have -- pose a risk because they can come back, radicalized, and keen to carry out terrorist attacks in their home countries.

[10:10:23] We saw attacks in Paris at the beginning of this year, in Copenhagen at the beginning of this year. I mean, lots of attacks around the Middle East as well.

ZAKARIA: And what can you do about that? Because people say, you know, oh, it's because these people are unemployed or some other people say it's because of the ideology. The way I look at it, you know, you're talking about a continent of 300 million or 400 million people. There are going to be some misfits, crazies and -- how could you in the intelligence, how could you possibly preemptively know that this seemingly middle class guy is going to go crazy?

SAWERS: Well, that's one of the secret skills that intelligence and security services have to develop. You have to have sources of information. You have to win the trust of key figures in Muslim communities, in our own countries, and we have to be able to penetrate, with secret agents, the terrorist organizes overseas. These are very hard tasks that we have. We have had some success in this. We foiled many terrorist attacks, attempted terrorist attacks, in this country and elsewhere.

I don't think that we can expect to have 100 percent record on that. Some of these terrorist attacks at different times will get through. But actually the intelligence community in America, in Britain, in France and elsewhere have by and large been quite successful. But you still can't have a hundred percent record there.

ZAKARIA: I think we've got to move on because there's so much I want to cover with you. What does your intelligence tell you about the Iranian government? How divided is it? You have Khomeini coming out with these increasingly hardline statements. What's going on?

SAWERS: Well, I think what we're seeing is a country that is going through a transition from a sort of revolutionary basis to being a more normal state. But there are struggles going on inside the country. And I know President Rouhani from my time as the chief British negotiator on the Iran deal between 2003 and 2007. We started it that long ago. And I know the foreign minister as well.

I think they have a different vision for Iran in terms of Iran's security than the hard-liners in the Revolutionary Guard and the Quds Force and so on. And so there are different concepts for the future of Iran. And frankly, when I visited Tehran, not in my last job. I visited Tehran when I was a diplomat and negotiator. The -- you get the sense that the Iranian people, especially young Iranians, they don't really have much respect for the concept of revolution and a revolutionary state in Iran. They want to have a normal life. They want to be able to do business, travel, use their iPhones, access the Internet just like young people in all other countries do.

I think we need a bit of strategic patience with Iran to allow it time to evolve and develop over the coming 10 to 15 years. At the end of the day we still have an ultimate guarantor in terms of a potential military strike if Iran tries to break out. But I think there is a potential for Iran to become a more normal country over the next 10 to 15 years and that we should maximize that possibility.

ZAKARIA: When we come back more with John Sawers. We're going to ask him about Putin, about Saudi Arabia, about China, when we come back.


[10:18:21] ZAKARIA: And we are back now with the man who used to be known simply as "C" until late last year. John Sawers was the chief of England's Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6. That job was made famous in books and on screen by James Bonds' boss known in films as "M." I'm going to call him Sir John.

Let's talk about Vladimir Putin. Have we miscalculated -- when I say we I mean the West put in place the sanctions, it condemned the annexation of Crimea, refused to accept it, told Russia to stop meddling in eastern Ukraine. The sanctions are in place, the condemnations has held but nothing has changed for Vladimir Putin.

SAWERS: Well, I wouldn't go that far. I think the Russians were quite surprised at the level of the reaction, agreed reaction between the United States and Europe, to -- in response to the annexation of Crimea and to the conflict that he has helped contribute to in the east of Ukraine. And the situation in Ukraine is calmer now than certainly it was this time last year. I think President Putin understands that, if he wants to have any prospect of the international sanctions on Russia being lifted, then he is going to have to cooperate and work with the Ukrainian government.

And we in the West, we have to understand that Ukraine has a special hold for people in Russia. It's right on their borders. It's a traditional part of Russian culture and history. And we need to take into account Russian sensitivities, justified sensitivities, as well as insist on the Ukrainians being able to take their own decisions and make -- determine their own future.

[10:20:08] ZAKARIA: What about what's going on in China? You look at China. You know, you have a powerful leader. More powerful some people say than since Mao. He's consolidated power. But now he's presiding over a -- you know, a period of economic slowdown, a stock market collapse, a currency fiasco. What do you think is going on?

SAWERS: Well, I wouldn't be quite so strong on the -- in terms of the challenges they're facing. They are trying to make a transition from an economy which has been export-led, really highly successful, the most successful economy in the world at the last 30 years at this rate of growth that it's managed to achieve and sustained. And they are having to adapt to -- or they're trying to adapt to a more market-led rather than state-led economy.

It's hugely in our interest that China manages this transition effectively and that the relationship between the United States and China is going to be the key relationship for global stability through the rest of this century. So it's really important that China succeeds in some way in its transition. A failed China is a much more dangerous China. And we should bear that in mind.

ZAKARIA: What is your reading of Barack Obama as president in terms of foreign policy? If you were preparing an intelligence, an analysis for the prime minister of Britain, what would you say about Obama's foreign policy?

SAWERS: Well, first of all, we didn't spy on the United States.


And we have a very good cooperation with the United States in terms of the intelligence side. In terms of President Obama's performance, I think the first thing you have to say is he had the entree from hell. He had a series of issues on the security side. Troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, a financial crisis that had really set back the Western economies. So he's had a series of issues, huge issues, he's had to deal with. And he -- his focus has been on the domestic side, on health care issues, on rebuilding the American economy.

I think on the -- on his external policy, I think he's been cautious, possibly to a fault. I think he's been hesitant to get back involved in military engagements in the Islamic world, for example. Scarred by what had happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. And recognizing that public opinion, the political appetite for further engagements, is very low.

But equally, he's taken risks. He took risks with the Osama bin Laden killing, which I think has really shaken the capacity of al Qaeda to launch attacks. I think his political initiatives on Iran and Cuba I think will -- are important steps forward in terms of normalizing both those countries. So it's -- as with all presidents, there are elements on both sides of the ledger. But he has been a calm and steady and reliable president, and as a partner for European leaders as well. So I think overall the assessment is positive.

ZAKARIA: Great to have you as a guide to help us through it. John Sawers, pleasure to have you on.

SAWERS: Thank you very much indeed.

ZAKARIA: Coming up, why are some of Germany's neighbors comparing its current policies on refugees to those off the Nazis? What in the world? When we come back.


[10:27:48] ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment.

Of the four million Syrian men, women and children who have fled their country, the Obama administration now wants the United States to take in 10,000 over the next year. Britain has promised that it will revise its policy and resettle up to 20,000 Syrians over the next five years. And then there is Germany, where an estimated 800,000 asylum- seekers will arrive this year. More than in all of Europe in 2014.

You would think that German generosity would spur other countries to emulate or at least thank and praise it. Not quite. Some European politicians have been quick to criticize Germany for violating European Union rules, for creating a magnet that will attract even more refugees and for increasing risk of jihadi infiltration.

Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban says, "The problem is not a European problem. The problem is a German problem." Marine Le Pen, France's populist leader, went so far as to accuse Germany of trying to, quote, "recruit slaves through massive immigration." It was almost certainly a deliberate sly reference to the Nazi policy of forced labor during World War II.

Europe is under stress on many fronts, and many politicians have found an easy way to deflect the blame. Conjure up the ghosts of the Nazis. Germany's leading magazine, "Der Spiegel," points out that Nazi symbols have become de rigueur at anti-austerity demonstrations, pointing to posters and caricatures, some with Angela Merkel turned into a Hitler look-alike, at rallies in Poland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and, of course, Greece.

During the debt negotiations, the Greek government approved a propaganda video that played inside subway trains in Athens. The video included footage of the Nazi invasion and occupation of Greece with text that stated, "We claim what Germany owes us." Newspapers in Greece have often compared Germany's positions on its debt

[10:30:00] restructuring to Nazi policies.

Now, one can disagree with certain German policies, the emphasis on austerity, for example, but it is shameful to use that to stoke up old hatreds that have no basis in today's world. Modern Germany has tried as hard as any nation ever has to repent for its past. It has behaved as an exemplary liberal democracy and model global citizen. It's paid out hundreds of billions of dollars in reparations and foreign aid. Its culture is steeped in the memory of its misdeeds, with memorials, museums and monuments all marking the most gruesome chapter of German history. I cannot think of any other country that has dealt with its demons as thoroughly as has the Federal Republic of Germany.

Its migration policies are part of its effort to overcome its past. After World War II, West Germany accepted around 13 million people from Soviet-ruled Eastern Europe, according to Reuters. In the early 1990s, it took in more than half a million people displaced by the Balkan wars. Nothing can erase the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust, but modern Germany is the most powerful example of the idea that people can change, cultures can change. And that over time, redemption is possible, even for a nation soaked in blood.

For more on this, go to and read my Washington Post column this week.

As you just heard, Germany, a nation of 80 million people, will take in an estimated 800,000 asylum-seekers. But next on GPS, you'll meet one man who wants to take in 100,000, even 200,000, all by himself.



ZAKARIA: After many years of ignoring the ever-growing tide of desperate refugees flowing out of Syria and the greater Middle East, the world suddenly sat up and paid attention in recent days. The reason, the striking image of Aylan Kurdi, a 2-year-old Syrian boy who died while trying to reach freedom.

My next guest has a novel idea to help and also has the means to do so. Now he wants to name that idea after the dead Syrian boy. Aylan Island is Naguib Sawiris's dream. The Egyptian telecom billionaire with a net worth of around $3 billion has sent letters to the prime ministers of Greece and Italy asking them to sell him an island so he can house and employ 100,000 to 200,000 of the world's refugees. As Sawiris himself admitted on Twitter, it's a crazy idea. But he says, if he gets his island, he can and will take care of all the rest. He joins me now. Naguib, thank you for joining us.


ZAKARIA: When did you think of this? It must have been something you were thinking of even before the tragic case of Aylan.

SAWIRIS: No, I actually must admit it's the picture of Aylan that woke me up. It was a very touching picture. In addition to that, the way these pictures were coming out of Hungary, the way these refugees were being treated by the authorities there and being beaten and put into the trains and buses, I mean, it was just too much. This was the moment that I said, I mean, I cannot just sit like that and just do nothing, you know, and pretend it's not my problem, you know.

ZAKARIA: So explain your idea. Let's say you get the island. What exactly would you do? How would it work?

SAWIRIS: Look, it's not about just getting the island. I will tell you that the challenge for this idea is not just finding the island and buying the island. The challenge of this idea is that -- I would -- that it's an island in Greece or Italy. It falls under the jurisdiction of Italy or Greece. The first part is I would like to have the consent of the prime minister of Italy or Greece to house and host these refugees in this island, you know. Finding an island and buying the island is the second point. But I think the challenge here is really to get -- because you can't

just take people and put them on an island that you bought that falls under their jurisdiction. They don't have visas. We need a passport control agency, we need people to check them out. You need their data, you need customs.

So the real challenge of the idea is that -- to have the authorities accept the fact that you will host immigrants there, and specifically Greece has a lot of islands that are for sale, and they should offer me an island for sale, but mainly accept that we host these immigrants there.

After that, the rest I can do. I mean, it's very simple. I will build a small, temporary marina. I will build temporary housing and temporary school and temporary hospital, you know. Then we will use these people and provide them jobs to build a new city on the island, to build this island, you know. Because this war is not going to end in weeks or in months. Maybe years even. So what do we do with these people meanwhile, you know? I was just -- I am here in Belgrade and I met the minister of interior today. And he was telling me that his biggest fear is that the winter is coming, it is going to be snowing, and how will they sustain this weather and everything? We need to move fast.

ZAKARIA: When you look at the people who have fled Syria, what is striking is, in the Middle East, the countries that have taken these people are often not the richest. Jordan has taken I think over a million. Lebanon has taken a huge number. Turkey has taken 1.5 million. But Saudi Arabia has barely taken any. Your own country, Egypt, has barely taken any. Wouldn't it be fair to say some of those countries should? After all, there is a lot of land in Saudi Arabia.


You don't need the island in Greece. You could talk to the king of Saudi Arabia. He has got millions of square miles of land on which these people could build houses.

SAWIRIS: Let me first defend Egypt, because Egypt is hosting 400,000 Syrian refugees. But I think we could do more. But you are right when you mention Saudi Arabia or Kuwait or the Emirates. You know what, I guess they have their own reasons, or the Qataris, instead of financing the wrong guys in this story, they should really be pitching in or trying to help these poor people, you know.

But there is one consensus, okay. Actually, the Iranians, the Saudis, the Egyptians, the whole world are united that the one that needs to be fought is ISIS. They are the main -- they are the ones chopping heads, killing innocent people, kidnapping and ransoming and raping women in front of our eyes, and we are sitting there and watching. These countries should at least do something. With all respect to your President Obama, I mean, sending 300 trainees -- people to train the Iraqi army is not a solution for what I call the soldiers of the devil. These are people who are not just terrorists, they are criminals. So what are we doing about that? That's the real problem. I mean, I think with Assad, one could come to a political compromise, but how can you come to a compromise with these killers and gangsters?

ZAKARIA: Naguib Sawiris, pleasure to talk to you.

SAWIRIS: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Up next, ever try to get your kids to do something they don't want to do? I know from experience it's a tough battle. It's even tougher if you are the government, trying to get people to do something like pay taxes. But the government here in the United Kingdom set up a nudge unit to do just that, nudge people, persuade them to do the right thing. And apparently, it works. Find out how to get your child to make his bed and some more important things too when we come back.



ZAKARIA: Paying taxes in countries where an annual tax bill comes due surely ranks at or near the top of the least favorite activities of the year. So many people procrastinate until it's too late and send in their checks after the deadline. Here in the United Kingdom, almost a million people are said to have filed late last year. The government then loses out on revenue. So what to do about that kind of problem? It confounds officials around the world. Well, a few years ago, the British government set up a team called Behavioral Insights Team to solve that problem and others like it. How to get people to donate organs or simply to do good for others? David Halpern is the chief executive of the unit, commonly known as the nudge unit, for nudging people into doing things they might not otherwise do. He joins me now.


ZAKARIA: So how do you get people to pay their taxes on time?

HALPERN: That's a good puzzle. It was something that the British government was certainly worried about in 2010 when we had a big gap in our budgets. We took a block of people who were late paying their tax. And instead of the normal letter, we just added one line into it, which is told people something which is true. Nine out of ten people pay their tax on time. And it turns out just telling people this, that your fellow citizens are more virtuous than you thought, it actually then boosted the payment rates. And it became--

ZAKARIA: It's peer pressure, a subtle kind of gentle peer pressure.

HALPERN: That's right, and it's a much nicer way to encourage people to pay their tax. And then it led to many other variations to see if they would be more effective. For example, if you say most people in your area pay their tax on time, it is even more effective. Actually, you are one of the few who have yet to pay their tax, actually turns out to be even more effective.

ZAKARIA: What are the other kinds of things that you're trying to nudge people to do? HALPERN: There is a whole range of things that governments do.

Because if you think about it, most things that governments do actually concerns behavior. You want people to get back to work faster, you want kids to work harder in school, and so on. So it's a whole range of things. I mean, when you go into a job center in the UK if you are unemployed, you have to prove you are looking for work. We say, well, how many jobs did you, which jobs did you look at last week? So we turned that around and we said, forget that, from a psychological point of view. We should really ask people, what are you going to do next week? So we turned it around. We asked people, what are you going to do, what kind of work and so on. Because we know that from the literature, you're much more likely to do something if you plan ahead.

And sure enough, asking people what you're going to do next week instead of last, meant that they were much faster to get into work. And in fact, we've since replicated that result in several other countries.

ZAKARIA: So let me understand, what you're asking people is what do you hope to do next week?

HALPERN: Yes. So we would say, what kind of work are you looking for? Actually, I want to be a TV presenter. Well, you're -- fair enough. How are you going to go about it? Are you going to look in the local paper? No. I'm going to call my friends. And we will say, when is a good time? Tuesday morning is a good time. So you encourage someone to think more precisely, when, where and how they're going to do something.

ZAKARIA: Rather than accumulating all this useless information about what they did, how they had been searching in the past.

HALPERN: So you're much more likely to do it. And in fact, it's true for lots of other areas. If you are going to get someone to take an injection, for example, to get an vaccination. If you just add on the letter, just think about when you're going to do it, they are much more likely to do it. The same is true for voting and many other areas. If you just prompt someone to think, you know, how are you going to get to the voting booth and so on, just prompting the question makes them more likely to do it.

ZAKARIA: So don't have them think in the abstract. Have them think in the particular with a time, you know, when do you plan to do this?

HALPERN: Concrete terms. And it particularly helps, as you might imagine, with people who are less organized in terms of their job search activity. So it's a remarkable result, if you think about it. Because we're not changing people's skills, we're not changing the labor market, but just asking the questions in a different way means people are much more effective in their job search and they get off benefits much faster.

ZAKARIA: What about the famous examples that people give that come out of the book, nudges, if you put the fruits and salads at the start of a buffet, people are more likely to consume good things. HALPERN: That's right.

ZAKARIA: Then if you put the bad stuff at the end of the buffet. Is part of it how you structure these choices?

HALPERN: Absolutely. It's very important. Because in your example, it's not government that does that. It's lots of other private-sector players too, which is one of the intriguing things about it. But in the UK, for example, there have been discussions on a voluntary basis getting retailers, for example, not to put so many -- so much chocolate and sweets by the checkout. Right? You're at the checkout, your child is there, oh, could we get one of those?


So on a voluntary basis the retailers have removed the chocolate, which makes it easier for us to make healthy choices, as opposed to an impulse buy.

ZAKARIA: Why would the retailer do that? The kids want chocolate. If you put carrots there, at least my kids are not going to buy -- my kids aren't going to clamor and say, please, please, buy me carrots.

HALPERN: Well, they are finding that you are more likely to. If you put little cartoon characters and things on carrots, they're more likely to. But yes, it's because we all have an issue in society about obesity, and at least some retailers want to do the right thing. So sometimes governments, rather than passing a law, you can engage in a conversation. Not the least because their customers themselves want that. When you're in the store, would you rather go to a place where you feel actually, I'm not going to be pestered when I get to the checkout, actually sometimes customers ask about that too.

ZAKARIA: And the other kind of example that has been tried in America is if you want people to withhold money, to save money, if you make the saving the default and say, check a box if you don't want to save this money, you ended up with a much better outcome than the other way around.

HALPERN: That's right. Not only in America, in Britain we changed that from 2012 also. Since then, even though it was large firms, more than 5 million people are saving. It's spectacularly effective. So it gives people a choice. We always thought, maybe Anglo-Saxons don't like saving. It turns out it's not that. We just don't like doing paperwork. If someone else does it for us, we still have the choice to opt out. Generally about nine in ten people stay in. It's phenomenally effective compared to the normal instrument we use, which is a tax subsidy. We put more money on the table, which does not work at all well.

ZAKARIA: Final question. How far can this go? Is this a substitute for legislation? In a way, it would be ideal if it could organically shift people's choices.

HALPERN: It won't do everything. It's not going to solve global warming by itself or stop war, but there are very many areas where I think it can be effective. So in relation to health. Most years of healthy life lost are behavioral factors, lifestyle. We don't exercise enough, we don't eat healthfully enough. The same is true for crime, for many things, even economic growth. Economies bounce up and down because of what we think other people are doing, and we're often wrong in those perceptions. So it's been great successes in the UK, we've talked about it, actually written a book about it, "Inside the Nudge Unit," but it's also that we think we still are scratching the surface. There is a long way still to go.

ZAKARIA: Best of luck. Fascinating ideas.

HALPERN: Thank you very much.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, the queen just became the longest-serving British monarch. But who has got the crown for the whole world? Find out when we come back.



ZAKARIA: This week, Queen Elizabeth II became Britain's longest serving monarch when she broke Queen Victoria's record of 63 years, seven months and two days on the throne. Despite those more than 23,000 days on the throne, she is not the world's longest-serving monarch. Who is? Is it the king of Sweden? The king of Thailand, the sultan of Brunei or the queen of Denmark? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.

This week's book of the week is "The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives," by Leonard Mlodinow. We all know that a lot of life's successes and failures are because of luck. This excellent book makes you think about that in a systematic and serious way. If you like Malcolm Gladwell and his ilk, you'll really enjoy this book.

And now for the last look.


CARLY FIORINA, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the United States honestly, sadly, cannot relax our entrance criteria. I mean, we're having to be very careful about who we let enter this country from these war-torn regions to ensure that terrorists are not coming here.


ZAKARIA: That was Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, voicing an opinion many in America share. Despite the fact that America was founded by those fleeing religious persecution, the first refugee legislation in this country was not passed until 1948. President Truman wrote, quote, "I believe that the admission of these persons will add to the strength and energy of the nation." And there is evidence to say that Truman was correct, in regard it refugees and more broadly migrants.

For example, according to one study of Australian migrants out this week, the longer humanitarian migrants stay in a country, they are more likely to start their own businesses than other migrants.

And some in Europe get it. Germany's minister of the economy said on Thursday that training refugees will, quote, "solve one of our biggest problems for the economic future of our country, the skills shortage." But it's more than just the economics. Refugees who fled strife in their eras include people like Frederic Chopin, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and Madeleine Albright.

Now, should there be thorough screening of refugees and migrants entering this country? Of course. But as Truman reminded us, it is not just the potential for terror we need to think about, it's the potential for strength and energy as well.

The correct answer to our GPS challenge question is B. The king of Thailand is the world's longest reigning monarch, having ruled for more than 69 years.

Just one last note. Don't forget to tune into the next GOP debate this Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.