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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Interview with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter; Interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired January 24, 2016 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:15] 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 from Davos, Switzerland.
We have great show for you this week. Two big interviews. I will talk to U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on the fight against ISIS, the Iranian nuclear deal and troubles in Afghanistan, and we talk to the biggest opponent of the Iranian nuclear deal, Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. What's his reaction to the deal's implementation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: Look, I hope that I'll be proved wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: And is there any hope of Middle East peace while he's still in office?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NETANYAHU: You have to sit down and negotiate. We're willing to do it. They're not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Also, are dollars done? Are loonies a legacy? Are pounds a part of the past? Imagining a cashless future. It's already happening in one major European country. We'll take you there.
Finally, scientists say we are in a new age. The Anthropocene. We'll tell you what that means.
But first here's my take. Conversations here at the World Economic Forum in Davos might begin with the global economy but sooner or later they turned to Trump.
The Republican primary contest has gotten everyone's attention. Some remained entertainment. But many of the people I've spoken with are worried. As one European CEO said to me, we're moving into a very difficult world. We need grownups in charge. That sense of a difficult world is palpable here. There's more
anxiety in the air than at any time since 2009. The worry is reflected in the world's stock markets, which have collectively lost trillions since the start of the year. People still believe that the worst will not come to pass. China will not crash. America will not fall into a recession. Europe will not come apart. But in recent years the conventional wisdom has been wrong on many, many issues.
Roger Altman, the former deputy treasury secretary, pointed out to me that few experts predicted that oil prices would collapse or that growth would slump in China and crater in Brazil, South Africa and many of the other emerging markets. No one saw that even as America achieved full employment wages would not rise, inflation would stay stubbornly muted, and interest rates would remain low. And no one predicted the rise of ISIS or its ability to inspire terror attacks in countries far outside the Middle East.
Many of the trends now afoot, interacting with each other, could move faster and further down than people realize. As the stock market falls, businesses and consumers get worried and pull back, spending less, saving more.
A fall in oil prices is generally good for all countries except the major producers of petroleum. But a fall this far, this fast could produce a credit crisis and a deflationary spiral. And technological innovation is not quite the silver bullet people once thought, suddenly not to raise the average worker's waves.
I don't know where all this goes. But in periods like it, open systems like America's will do better than closed ones. The U.S. often looks like a dysfunctional country because all its problems are on display and debated daily. Everything. Economic strategy, monetary policy, homeland security, police practices, infrastructure. It's out there, open for constant criticism.
But this transparency means that people have information and it forces the country to look at its problem, grapple with them and react. While it's a messy, sometimes ugly process, the American system actually takes in a lot of diverse, contradictory information and response. It seems dysfunctional but it's actually highly adaptive.
Closed systems often look much better. A country like China with its tightly centralized decision-making has been the envy of the world when it was growing. We watched with amazement as it built gleaming infrastructure and move millions out of poverty. But now the growth has slowed down, no one is quite sure why, what went wrong, who's to blame or whether it's been fixed.
[10:05:05] A black box produces all when things go well. But when things don't go smoothly, that same opacity causes anxiety and fear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm telling you, I will say it tonight. If only you look at --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: These days American politics is showcasing turmoil, rage and rebellion. But ultimately that's a strength in these fast changing times. People are angry. The economy, the society and the country are being transformed. The fact that politics reflects these changes is a strength, not a weakness. It allows the nation to absorb, react, adapt and then move on, at least that's what I tell foreigners and myself with fingers firmly crossed as I watch the craziness on the campaign trail.
For more go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
Joining me now, the secretary of defense, Ashton Carter.
Secretary Carter, a pleasure to have you on.
ASHTON CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Good to be here with you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: A lot of people, a lot of Americans wonder, the Islamic State ISIS, ISIL, call it what you will, is by most accounts about 30,000 likely armed people, likely armed compared to the U.S. military. Why is it so hard to defeat them?
CARTER: I think we will defeat them. And I think we can defeat them and we need to defeat them quickly.
You're right. It's a force you're talking about in Iraq and Syria. We need to defeat them there first. I'll come back to that in a minute. Remember that's the parent tumor of a movement that is cancerous. And so there are metastases elsewhere -- Libya, Afghanistan and so forth. But it needs to start in Iraq and Syria, because that is -- it's not sufficient but it's necessary to defeat ISIL there.
And speaking in geographic terms that means especially and this is what the operations plan that we have been -- we have formulated and carrying out, if you think about World War II documentaries and arrows on maps, one big arrow going towards Mosul in Iraq, and another big arrow going towards Raqqa in Syria.
ZAKARIA: Mosul being the second largest city in Iraq, which they captured and Raqqa being the capital in Syria.
CARTER: Right. The supposed capital of their supposed country in Raqqa. And in order to debunk and demolish the myth that there can be an Islamic State based upon this ideology is necessary to take those two cities back. I'm confident we'll do so.
In this case, of course, we offer the capabilities of the finest fighting force the world has ever known namely ours. That is -- but we're also asking for contributions from others in the world who are also threatened and, you know, we don't ask favors strategically. But neither do we grant favors. So we are asking all the countries that have signed up for the Counter ISIL Coalition to put forward their capabilities. When they see this operations plan, they'll see the capabilities it
requires. And it's not just airplanes and it's not just troops and it's not just special forces. It's things like police and police training, sustainment, logistics.
ZAKARIA: Do you want major Arab troops involved in this campaign? Because so far you have almost none.
CARTER: This is one of the great ironies which is that the countries of the region are -- have made the least contributions to the Counter ISIL Coalition, including the Gulf countries. Now I'm hoping and believe that if we show them what they can do and what they can accomplish, that they will do more because if they are better suited culturally and historically to deal with some of these complicated situations than we are.
Remember, our overall strategic approach is to defeat ISIL in a lasting manner. I emphasize the word lasting because after they had been defeated, somebody needs to keep them defeated. Somebody needs to govern, somebody needs to hold. That can't be Westerners. That just fuels the whole narrative that it's a foreign occupation. We've had that experience before. That was very difficult for us.
And so we need capable local forces. The Gulf states can make contributions to galvanizing recruiting such local forces. Up to now, they haven't done enough. We want them to do more.
ZAKARIA: How will you press them? What will you say to these countries that will convince when so far they haven't been convinced?
[10:10:05] CARTER: We're going to be the winning side. And so when they see a plan to win, I'm hoping that that will itself cause them to see where they can make a special contribution. You know, I should also say that, you know, we expect our friends, we stand with our friends. We stood with them through many difficult situations. And we expect our friends and allies to stand with us. We're prepared to lead, but we do expect them to -- and again, I say we are not asking for favors, we're asking for things that we think are in their interest. But we'll win. And when we do win, we'll remember who contributed.
ZAKARIA: Just to be clear on one thing, you said that you want to accelerate the fight against ISIL and you talked about ground troops. So to just be very clear. Do you believe that there need to be more American ground troops as -- whether it's Special Forces or in other ways in theater?
CARTER: Well, we're -- in fact we're looking for opportunities to do more. We're not looking to substitute for local forces in terms of governing the place and policing the place. But we are looking for opportunities to do more. That's why we put some special forces in Syria which we've acknowledged. We don't talk much about what our Special Forces are doing. But they are tremendous force multipliers. They are the ones who locate those forces that want to combat ISIL. They're the ones who connect them to the great might of our military. Boots on the ground, there's so much to talk -- we have 3500 boots on
the ground. I just went to Fort Campbell last week. The headquarters of the 101st Airborne Division. Storied American airborne division. They're going to be the next unit going in to Iraq. A whole division. And I was describing to them what I've described to you. This is your mission which is to get the Iraqi's position to go to Iraq.
Is that hazardous duty? Is that boots on the ground? Is that -- yes. That's -- but it's just that the strategic concept is not to substitute but to enable. But is it dangerous? Does it involve being on the ground and so -- you know, absolutely. So when we send these people off, I think the American public needs to understand this is serious business. At the same time it's business that we have to do and that we can do and we're going to succeed.
ZAKARIA: We're going to come back with more of my conversation with secretary of defense, Ashton Carter. I'm going to ask him whether American troops are destined to spend another decade in Afghanistan. When we come back.
[10:15:57] ZAKARIA: And we are back with secretary of defense, Ashton Carter.
Mr. Secretary, when we look at Afghanistan, what's striking is the U.S. forces have started to draw down. The Taliban has gained some strength, has been able to make some impressive headway even in places where they didn't seem that strong.
What does that tell us that 14 years after we went in, tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of American and foreign forces, the Taliban is still very strong?
CARTER: Well, one reason for that is that the Afghan Security Forces are still getting off the ground. Remember there were no Afghan forces to speak of at all. And we had to build them from scratch, including taking young people who didn't know how to count and didn't know how -- the letters of the alphabet. That's the world of Afghanistan that was left by previous Taliban rule. And turned them into an armed force.
So one of the reasons that President Obama decided to keep 9800 troops in Afghanistan through this year is to help them get -- consolidate the Afghan Security Forces. So they're going to have a tough season ahead with the Taliban, but the Afghan Security Forces are going to be much stronger this season simply because they're further along.
ZAKARIA: You can imagine a lot of Americans thinking, well, will this ever end?
CARTER: Well, it's certainly winding down. We're having to do less than we did in past years. But our plan and in fact it's not just our plan but it's NATO, an entire coalition's plan is to stick with Afghanistan for a long time. Not in the sense of being their security force, but if continuing to provide them with training, continuing to help fund their military so it can be self-sustaining. So we're on a kind of glide slope to a situation where they are self-sufficient. But they're not going to be self-sufficient for a while.
But we're not in a position anymore of having to substitute for Afghan forces. We're in a position of having to assist Afghan forces and we'll need to be in that position for some time.
ZAKARIA: The "New York Times" recently editorialized that you were essentially slow walking the president's desire to shut down Guantanamo. That the Defense Department was opposed to it and that you were kind of sabotaging it.
CARTER: I don't see how where you get that because I've said from the day I was nominated to be secretary of Defense, I think on balance it would be a good thing to close Gitmo. I completely agree with President Obama about that. And in fact, but here's the issue, there are people in Gitmo who are so dangerous that we cannot transfer them to the custody of another government no matter how much we trust that government. I can't assure the president that it would be safe to do that.
So the reality is that this portion of the Gitmo population has to be incarcerated somewhere, has to be detained somewhere. So if we're going to close Gitmo, which I think would be a good thing to do on balance, I would prefer not to leave this to the next secretary of Defense and the next president. We need to find another place.
ZAKARIA: In the United States?
CARTER: That would have to be in the United States. So I've made a proposal for the president and he has indicated that he's going to submit that to the Congress. Why is that? Because it's against the law now to establish another detention facility. So therefore we have to get the support of Congress. I hope they will support a reasonable plan. We'll have to see. But so I'm the one who has been saying it's not a matter of one guy here and there going to one country or another.
Let's be realistic about this. We're not going to be able to close Gitmo by magically making safe everybody who's in there. So if you want to close Gitmo you have to find another place. That's the serious answer to a serious question.
[10:20:14] ZAKARIA: You've met with a lot of technology leaders why you are here. Leaders of all the big technology companies. Do you think you will be able to convince them that they should not encrypt their data so that the United States government can have access to it? To identify terror threats to the United States and other countries?
CARTER: Well, I wouldn't try to convince them of that particular technological method because I don't believe that's necessarily the best technological method for doing something which I think reasonable people do think has to be done, which is not enable terrorist organizations with the very Internet whose whole purpose is to liberate people, unite people, make commerce around, be a tool of civilization, not a tool of evil. The people who represented this particular form have given their lives to that vision of the Internet. They don't want to be part of something evil either.
As you probably know I'm a technologist myself. So I'd say with certainty that combating encryption would be foolish as a secretary of Defense because I count on good encryption because defending our own networks, defending our own security, not just in the Defense Department where it's essential but also in our critical infrastructure and the country depends upon good network security. One of the parts of that is encryption.
I find that people here and elsewhere in the tech community -- remember, innovators are people who have something in common. With those of us who work in national security which is we want to be working on something that really matters.
One of my reasons for being here other than seeing other world leaders about today's problem is to talk to tomorrow's leaders and the leaders of innovation and tomorrow's companies. But how do I make the Defense Department of tomorrow the very best? It's a competitive world out there. We compete with China, we compete with Russia, we compete with terrorists. And we have to win. And to do that we have to be completely up to date but first with the most always. And that's not a birthright. That's something we have to keep working at.
ZAKARIA: Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, pleasure to have you on.
CARTER: Good to be with you, Fareed. Thanks.
ZAKARIA: Next, I'm going to tell you about a world without cash. Not without money. You'll still need that but cash is actually disappearing in one important country. Find out where when we come back.
[10:26:29] ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. Can you imagine life without cash? I don't mean to take away your money but rather a world in which you bought everything using credit or debit cards, apps and smart phones. Those dollar bills, pounds, loonies and yuan in your pocket might become relics of the past like VCRs, answering machines and compact disks.
So what would it mean for our lives if cash disappeared all together? Well, one country is giving us a preview after of a cashless society might look like. Sweden. Sweden was actually the first European country to issue paper money way back in the 1660s, but it could be the first to be virtually cash free by 2025 or even before, according to one prediction.
In 2015, 42 percent of the value of consumer transactions worldwide were made with cash. But in Sweden that rate was just 11 percent, according to Euro Monitor. In the last six years, Swedish currency in circulation dropped by 25 percent, according to Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
Sweden's largest banks eager to rid themselves of the expense of holding hard money have led the charge. More than 500 bank branches went cashless between 2010 and 2012, according to Credit Suisse. 900 cash machines were removed during that time, too, the bank says.
All of this has produced a sea change in the ways Swedes do business. Instead of passing out a donation basket, Swedish churches now accept electronic offerings. Even homeless vendors selling newspapers now take mobile payments.
So what might a completely cashless future mean for Sweden? And for the rest of us? For one thing convenience. Imagine never having to take a trip to an ATM machine again. There's also evidence that crime could go down with less cash in circulation. In Sweden there's been a remarkable decrease in bank robberies from 110 heists in 2008 to just seven in 2015, according to the Swedish Bankers Association.
Tax evasion, corruption and terrorist financing are all easier to prevent with an all-electronic monetary system that leaves a trail for every transaction. But a cashless society may also have its downsides. Segments of the population with less access to mobile phones and the Internet may be excluded like the elderly and the poor. Crimes like bank heist may be less frequent. But electronic fraud would likely increase. Cases of e-fraud in Sweden more than doubled last year compared with 10 years ago, the "New York Times" has pointed out.
Perhaps most concerning overall in a cash free society would be the potential for big brother to look over our shoulder, thanks to the complete digital blueprint of our financial lives that would exist. The basic trade off of the digital era -- greater access and efficiency in return for the loss of privacy has now moved from the world of information in general to the world of cold cash.
Next on GPS, my interview with Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. He has been the main opponent on the world stage of the West nuclear deal with Iran. Has his position softened any since the deal was implemented last weekend?
[10:30:24] ZAKARIA: There were many people who were quite pleased when the Iran deal was finally implemented last weekend, for sure the negotiators, Secretary Kerry and his counterpart, Foreign Minister Zarif, and also their bosses, President Obama and his counterpart, President Rouhani. But there is at least one world leader who is is decidedly displeased, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
I interviewed the prime minister here at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday.
ZAKARIA: Mr. Prime Minister, the International Atomic Energy Agency now says that Iran has destroyed 98 percent of its enriched uranium, that its plutonium pathway, the Iraq facility, has been rendered inoperable, that it has done more than most people imagined, and more importantly that the setbacks to its program, the discontinuation of the vast majority of its centrifuges to enrich uranium, that these setbacks are much more substantial than most military experts believed would have been possible by air strikes, by military strikes. Shouldn't you be happy and celebrating this?
NETANYAHU Well, we always wanted this result, but we wanted something else. We wanted to make sure that Iran doesn't reconstitute a much larger capability to enrich uranium with 200,000 centrifuges, which they will be free to do after 15 years.
So the issue is never what happens now. The issue is how to prevent later.
ZAKARIA: But to be fair, Prime Minister, you were suspicious about the interim agreement, said they would not abide by it. They abided by it. You were skeptical that they would actually make these changes that they have made particularly to Iraq, which was the facility you wanted the bunker boss (ph) to have bussed (ph) their bombs for.
Isn't it fair to say that Barack Obama has achieved, through diplomacy, what you could not achieve through military action?
NETANYAHU: I always said that you could achieve through economic sanctions and the threat of potent military force results that would set back Iran's program. So that has been -- that's the first part that I think is important. But the concern that I have and that others have in the region, just about everyone, is that, after a period of time, Iran could resume, on a much larger scale, its military program because there's no connection to the lifting of sanctions or the lifting of restrictions on Iran's nuclear program to Iran's behavior. It can continue to send its terrorists and its covert armies and overt armies throughout the Middle East and would have the freedom to enrich as much uranium as it wants, which is the critical component for bombs.
That was the source of our differences, the main source of our differences. And, look, I hope that I'll be proved wrong. I hope that Iran will be seen to be a moderate country, moderating its -- changing its internal repression, stopping its external aggression. I hope I'll be proven wrong. I'll be the happiest person...
ZAKARIA: But you don't have to be...
NETANYAHU: But I'm not sure -- I'm not sure that I'll be proven wrong, and I have my doubts. And we shall see very soon.
ZAKARIA: The Iranian foreign minister, when confronted with some of your arguments and objections, said publicly, "How can Israel, which has nuclear weapons, sit in judgment over Iran, which does not?"
What is your response to him?
NETANYAHU: Well, I'm not going to talk about his allegation, but I will say this. Israel doesn't seek to destroy anymore. In Iran, still today, after the agreement, during the agreement, before the agreement, Iranian leaders are talking about their goal to eradicate Israel off the face of the earth, to annihilate the 6 million Jews of Israel while denying the Holocaust that murdered another 6 million. That's what they say.
They give $1 billion a year to Hezbollah for the purpose of creating a war front and the ability to bomb Israel's cities with (inaudible) missiles, 100,000, and thousands of precision guided missiles. It's all Iran. You take away the scaffolding of Iran and Hezbollah collapses. They support Hamas to the tune of about $100 million a year for the purpose of bombing us. And Iran -- Hezbollah and Hamas say "Our goal, like Iran, our patron's goal, is to wipe out the Jewish state."
So I think that, to have a country committed to our destruction and a conquest of the Middle East, to have nuclear weapons -- well, that ought to raise some concern. And so there's no symmetry. Israel doesn't seek to eradicate Iran. Iran seeks to eradicate Israel.
ZAKARIA: In your struggle against Iran, you have made some unlikely allies. There is kind of a tacit alliance between the major, what are called the moderate Arab states, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others, with Israel. Is that an awkward situation to be in, given that Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state? It practices many of the -- the forms of Islam that people regard as highly puritanical, quasi-medieval, even medieval. They chop people's heads off. They chop hands off. They have laws about blasphemy and apostasy; not a lot of churches in Saudi Arabia, certainly no synagogues. How comfortable are you with that tacit alliance?
NETANYAHU: I see the world as it is, not as I'd like it to be only, or not as I -- we remember it nostalgically, and I work from that premise. I think Saudi Arabia recognizes today that it needs a path to reform as well. And they see, as do many in the Arab world, that -- they see Israel as an ally rather than as an enemy because of the two principal threats that threaten them.
The first is Iran and the second is Daesh. If you're closer to the Persian Gulf, Iran comes first. If you move to North Africa, to Egypt, Daesh comes first. But there's always the second. And so, when they look around and they say, "Well, who can help us in this battle that threatens our very future," obviously, Israel and these Sunni Arab states are not on the -- on opposite sides, and that's natural.
That, I think, tells you there's a bigger story. I said this yesterday. I went to, with my wife, to a dinner, the opening dinner here, and I met some of our European friends, including members of the E.U.
And I said, "Look, I have one request, that the E.U. policy that's shaped in Brussels, not the individual European countries, but the E.U. policy vis-a-vis Israel and the Palestinians, merely reflect now the prevailing Arab policy to -- to Israel and the Palestinians. And there is a great shift taking place. And it might be -- we used to think that, if we solved the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it would get -- solve the Israeli -- the larger Israeli-Arab conflict. The more I look at it, the more I think it may be the other way around, that by nurturing these relationships that are taking place now, that could actually -- with the Arab world -- that could actually help us resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And -- and we're actually working towards that end.
ZAKARIA: We'll be back in a moment with much more with Benjamin Netanyahu. I will ask the Israeli prime minister how the Palestinian problem will ever end and what his legacy will be, when we come back.
ZAKARIA: We're back now with more of my interview with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, from here at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
ZAKARIA: What do you think is going on in Syria, and is there any path out?
You and I have talked about this in the past and you have essentially said they're all killing each other; we're staying out of it except when it affects our core interests.
Is it getting so messy, so bloody, that inevitably you will have to be more involved?
NETANYAHU: So far the only way we have been involved is, first of all, to offer humanitarian help. I've set up a field hospital, a military field hospital, right about 50 yards from the Syrian-Israeli border, on the Golan Heights. We've taken in thousands of children, women, men, amputees, horribly disfigured, taken care of them at our own expense. And we take care not to have their photographs taken because if their photographs are published, they could never go back to Syria. They'll be executed on the spot. So that's one involvement, the humanitarian involvement.
The second is I've said, look, we will not allow Syrian territory to be used against Israel. So if anybody tries to pass, which is Iran, tries to pass to Hezbollah through Syrian territory, game-changing weapons, and we see it, we interdict it. If Iran tries, through its proxies, to set up a second war front along the Golan, we take action to prevent that.
That's the extent of our intervention. Now, if you ask me, what will happen in Syria; can a unitary Syrian state be put together again, I doubt it. I wish it could -- it could happen, but I'm not sure you could put Humpty Dumpty back together again. I'd say the best result you might be able to get is a benign -- sort of benign balkanization, benign (inaudible), in Syria. That's as good as you're going to get.
But, right now, we have two concerns in Syria. We don't want ISIS to -- to win, and we don't want Iran to have a Syrian dominion from which it can operate these two war fronts against us. And those are our concerns. And we take our actions accordingly.
ZAKARIA: But isn't there a problem there, which is ISIS and the Assad regime, which is supported by Iran and Russia, are the two main fighting forces. In other words, you're searching for or hoping for a third outcome, a third force, in a way. So are the Arabs; so is the United States. Is it viable?
NETANYAHU: Well, my rule is simple. You know, when both your enemies are fighting each other, don't strengthen either one; weaken both. And that's more or less what we try to do.
I think -- I think ISIS -- and there's a difference between ISIS and Iran. They are two sides of the militant Islamic coin. There's a difference. ISIS wants the caliphate now, here and now. That's the power of ISIS, the idea of here and now, so we'll redeem history, if you call it that -- a really sick redemption. And you, the individual fighters, will be redeemed and you'll go to this Islamist paradise with all the trappings right away. That's how they get all these people to come to fight for it.
Iran says, not caliphate now, but Imamat (ph) -- later, the Hidden Imam will come back later, and first we have to establish, step by step, our power.
But both of them want to dominate first the Middle East and from there well beyond. I think that the first order of the day is to defeat ISIS. I don't think it's an -- I think it's a doable thing. I think ISIS can be defeated. ISIS is an idea plus territory plus oil. It is possible to knock out the oil, which takes away half their revenues. It is possible to get at the nerve centers of their ideas, which are concentrated basically in two places. That's in Raqqa and it's in Mosul. It doesn't require taking care of all of Syria and Iraq.
And we have these discussions with the United States and with others about this task. But, to the extent that people our view, that's our view.
ZAKARIA: You have had a long tenure in Israeli politics. You might have an even longer one. You know, they say that you should be -- choose your father carefully if you want to live long. Your father lived to 102. What do you want your legacy to be? What do you want people to think of?
There were many people who thought you might be the Nixon who takes -- who took the United States to China, by which I mean the hard-line conservative Israeli politician who would make peace with the Palestinians and create a two-state solution. Do you still hope, or did you ever hope that that would be your legacy?
NETANYAHU: Yes. I mean, first of all, I'm not through yet.
Let's get that -- let's get that straight.
I think my first responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of the one and only Jewish state. That's not an easy feat. But if I look back 60, 70 years since the founding of Israel, we were -- you know, we had a few hundred thousand people. Today we have eight million. We had a tiny GDP. It's much bigger today. Our GDP per capita has grown by leaps and bounds. We have built an army that can defend ourselves and can also offer a modicum of stability in our neighborhood.
I want to ensure the future of the Jewish state while trying to achieve peace and stability in our region. That's a tall order. We've revolutionized our economy -- I had something to do with it -- to create a market economy.
We need to -- you know, my father's generation was entrusted with regaining for the Jewish people what was lost in antiquity, that is a state of their own. My generation is charged with protecting and nurturing what was regained. And in so doing, I think we can also change the world. The things that we're doing in Israel are changing the world. You know, they're changing it in medicine; they're changing it in communications; they're changing it in cyber. They're changing it just in so many things that can benefit our neighbors and the rest of humanity. To do all that, I have to make sure that the future of the Jewish state is safe and sound. That's my one goal. And I would like to be remembered as the protector of Israel. That's enough for me, protector of Israel.
ZAKARIA: Mr. Prime Minister, pleasure to have you on.
NETANYAHU: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," houses of worship come in all shapes and sizes. This one is a size 880. I'll explain.
ZAKARIA: This place was in the news for building an unusual church in the shape of a high-heeled shoe and for electing its first female president this week, though I don't think the two are related.
Where am I talking about? Andorra, Malta, Turkmenistan or Taiwan?
Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
This week's book of the week is "Ronald Reagan," a new biography of the president by Jacob Weisberg. This is one of the best studies of Reagan, one of the best biographies and simply one of the best books on American politics that I've read in years. He asks three big questions about Reagan and answers them with intelligence, insight and elegance. And here's the big bonus. It will take you just a couple of hours to read this slender volume. So run, don't walk -- or whatever the equivalent is when you order a book on the Web.
And now for the last look. We're not only in a new year; we are in a brand-new era of life on earth, a new epoch.
Is this news to you? Well, it turns out we've been in it for decades. According to a new study in Science magazine, since the mid-20th century, we have been living in a new geological epoch known as the Anthropocene, meaning "New Man." This shift is pretty markable considering that the former epoch, the
Holocene, started 11,700 years ago, and the one before that, the Pleistocene, began about 2 million years ago.
Epochs are ushered in by catastrophic events like the thawing of the Ice Age or mass extinction of the dinosaurs. So what is the cause of this new age?
Well, we are, us humans. This idea is not new. But by studying sediments and other man-made markers different than those found in any era before, the study's authors say there is now more of a consensus that we are indeed living in new times. They say that humans have essentially changed the planet, much like the natural forces of earth's orbit or an asteroid strike. Just look, they say, at concrete. In the last two decades we have manufactured more than half of the over 110 trillion pounds of concrete ever produced. And consider the abundant plastic particles that end up in rivers and lakes across the globe.
In fact, according to a new World Economic Forum report, 8 million tons of plastic currently leak into the oceans every year. That's the equivalent of emptying a garbage truck into the ocean every minute. At this rate, by 2050, the report says, the oceans will contain more tons of plastic than tons of fish. Remarkable. The World Economic Forum said this year that the greatest global risk is the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The correct answer to the "GPS Challenge" question is D. Taiwan elected its first female president this week. Tsai Ing-wen, leader of the Democratic Progressive Party, won with more than 56 percent of the vote. After more than six decades in power in parliament, the Beijing- friendly KMT party lost their majority this week.
If you are still wondering about that shoe church, it's real and it will open next month. And CNN estimates it is a size 880.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.