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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Exclusive Interview with President Barack Obama; How Did Mexico React to Trump's Visit?; Jibo to Create Social Robots to Be Your Friend. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired September 4, 2016 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:19] 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.
ZAKARIA: We have a very important show for you today, starting with an exclusive interview with the President of the United States, Barack Obama. Obama is on his last trip to Asia, the region that he believes is essential to America's future. China, meanwhile, is laying claim to more and more of the South China Sea. Will President Obama confront President Xi about it?
Also, does Turkey's recent unrest concern Obama? After all, it is NATO 's second largest army and a crucial American ally.
And I asked President Obama what he thinks is motivating the unqualified support that working class whites seem to have for Donald Trump.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we have to pay close attention to what's going on.
ZAKARIA: Then, understanding Trump's trip to Mexico from the Mexican perspective. Former Foreign Minister Jorge Casteneda tells us what his nation thinks of The Donald now.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: They don't know it yet, but they're going to pay for it.
ZAKARIA: But first here's my take. As we're all concerned with the ups and downs of this bizarre campaign, President Obama is on his last trip in office to Asia. One of the purposes of the trip is to breathe life into one of the ideas that has animated his foreign policy: the pivot to Asia. It's a big idea and it is the right approach, but Obama is now the last man standing who is willing to push for it.
Foreign policy is consumed with momentary crises, often created by failing states or violent gangs, but in the long run, the future is defined by the winners, not the losers. And when the flash points of today have passed, the rise of Asia will remain the dominant trend of our time. In just ten years, according to the World Bank, four of the five largest economies of the world will be in the Asia Pacific.
How should Washington approach this region? One central task is obviously to prevent China from dominating it. That job has been made somewhat easier by Beijing's recent expansionist moves, especially in the South China Sea, moves that have alienated other countries. But this policy can't just be about containment. China is not the Soviet Union, but rather the most important trading partner for every country in Asia.
The larger project for America, explains Kurt Campbell, until recently the State Department's top Asia hand, in his smart book, "The Pivot", is to bolster Asia's operating system. In other words the arrangements that have built peace and prosperity in Asia for decades, like free trade, freedom of navigation, multilateral groupings and institutions and the peaceful resolution of disputes. The most important of these right now, Campbell notes, is trade. The Trans- Pacific Partnership is the sina qua non of Washington's pivot to Asia, he says. It boosts growth, shores up American alliances, sends a powerful signal to China and, as President Obama points out, writes the rules of the 21st Century in ways that are fundamentally pro- America. Without it, expect China to begin drafting those rules in ways that will be very different very soon.
And yet the TPP is now under assault from every quarter in America. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump flatly oppose it. Hillary Clinton and Paul Ryan say it doesn't meet their standards anymore. What these standards are they never really specify.
Harvard University's Robert Lawrence points out that the gains from TPP for American workers far outweigh the losses. The notion often peddled by Trump, that the United States comes out badly in trade deals, can really only be said by someone who doesn't know much about the details. The simple reality is that the United States has the world's largest single country market. Officials from other countries have often pointed out to me that Washington uses this leverage by asking for exemptions that no other country ever gets. On TPP, the vast majority of concessions have been made by Asian countries.
[10:05:01] And since their markets are more closed than America's, the deal's net result is to open them far more.
I suppose one could argue that Bernie Sanders is at least acting out of conviction, though it is strange to hear Sanders, a self-proclaimed idealist and socialist, viciously denounce policies that have lifted hundreds of millions of the world's poorest people -- in China and India -- out of poverty. The other politicians, most importantly Hillary Clinton and Paul Ryan, are shamelessly adopting positions that they must know are wrong. The Republican Party in particular has now reversed itself on two of its core beliefs, immigration and trade, going from being a party of openness to one that wants walls and tariffs.
With the Asia pivot, Barack Obama is pursuing the enduring long-term interests of the United States. But he's doing so increasingly alone in a Washington that is pandering to populism, protectionism, and isolationism. For more, go to cnn.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column
And let's get started.
ZAKARIA: Earlier in the week I had the opportunity to sit down for an exclusive interview with President Barack Obama in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Later in the week, Obama left Washington for a trip that ended up in Asia and China.
Let's start with the topic I just gave you my take on, the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. Don't worry, we'll get to the South China Sea, Turkey, and of course Donald Trump later in the interview.
ZAKARIA: President Obama, thank you so much for joining us.
OBAMA: It's great to see you.
ZAKARIA: One of the centerpieces of your foreign policy has been the so-called pivot to Asia...
ZAKARIA: -- the idea of moving toward that part of the world where all the dynamism, economically certainly, exists.
One of the architects of the pivot says that the sine qua non of the pivot is TPP, and it looks as though that pact is in trouble. Hillary Clinton is now against it. Donald Trump is against it. Paul Ryan is even against it.
OBAMA: Well, no, the -- I don't think that's correct. But the, look, the politics of trade have always been complicated.
Let me back up and say that the idea of the rebalance was not to neglect other parts of the globe in favor of Asia, it was rather to recognize that, for a decade, we have not been paying attention to Asia at a time when it was undergoing this enormous transformation, that it was going to be the world's most populous region, the most dynamic market. And that we had to make sure that we reminded ourselves as well as the region that we're an Asia-Pacific power.
And the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a historic agreement cobbled together among a very diverse set of countries. And the basic argument is simple. This is going to be the world's largest market. And if we're not setting the rules out there, somebody else is.
And what we have been able to do is not just establish a trade agreement among these countries, because many of them we already have trading agreements with. What this does is it raises the standards for trade so that there is greater protection for labor rights, a greater protection for environmental rights, greater transparency, greater protection for intellectual property, which is so important to a knowledge-based economy like ours.
It removes 18,000 taxes, effectively, tariffs. Because we're a relatively open market and many of our trading partners the have been closed, it gives us a huge lever to open up markets for American goods and services.
And so there's no serious economist who hasn't looked at this and said this is actually not only a smart trade deal, but it actually, makes up for some of the failures of previous deals to have fully enforceable labor or environmental components.
But what is true is that there have been, in the past, always, a vocal, you know, set of interests that are opposed to trade inside my party, the Democratic Party. And what's been new is some populist anti-trade sentiment inside the Republican Party.
Having said all that, it was said that we couldn't get the authority to even get a trade deal done and we got it done. And I remain confident that we can get TPP passed
ZAKARIA: There's a similar pact for Europe that is being negotiated.
ZAKARIA: And the vice chancellor of Germany just said that's dead, implying that trade is just not a -- are we at a turning point where trade is -- free trade is no longer popular in Western societies?
[10:10:14] OBAMA: Well, if I'm not mistaken, the German government then said...
ZAKARIA: Walked back (INAUDIBLE).
OBAMA: -- that wasn't the case. But what is absolutely too true, Fareed, is that the combination of globalization and automation have integrated the world economies like never before. And what I think has been the fault of those in charge of that integration process has been to not pay attention to the winners and the losers.
Overall, it has created enormous growth, prosperity and wealth for all the countries involved. And, you know, part of the reason that we've seen billions of people rise out of extreme poverty during our lifetimes has been because of that integration.
But what's also true is, is that there has increasingly been, because of this integration, a tendency toward those of us who are highly skilled, highly resourced, have access to capital, to be able to get a bigger and bigger share of that growth. People who are low skill, low wage, not mobile, have had trouble getting leverage in this system. And so that divergence has created more and more inequality within advanced economies, whether it's the United States, countries like Europe.
And so part of the argument that I've been making consistently, part of the argument that I will be making when I go to my last G-20 meeting is that if advanced countries don't pay attention to inequality, if we don't pay attention to not just growth in the aggregate, but how is that growth distributed? And do people have ladders of opportunity in this new global economy? Then yes, there's going to be a reaction against globalization and against trade, even though -- whether that resistance is coming from the left or the right, the prescriptions that they're describing, somehow cutting off global trade, aren't really viable.
And so, you know, the argument I make to my progressive friends is you are absolutely right to worry about inequality, but the answer is not to pull up the drawbridge. The answer, rather, is to make sure that everybody has high labor standards, that all countries are accountable to their citizens in terms of things like minimum wages, workers' standards, making sure that there's an education system that people can access.
And unfortunately, we haven't done enough of that.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, much more with President Obama including his theory on why Donald Trump has so much support from white working class Americans.
[10:17:18] ZAKARIA: On Friday, Air Force One took President Obama on his last planned trip to Asia for his presidency and his last G-20 meeting. Chinese President Xi is the ringmaster of this year's G-20, hosting major world leaders in the coastal city of Hangzhou. We'll get to the president's thoughts on Donald Trump and his supporters in a moment, but when I went to the White House earlier this week, I wanted to know what the president intended to say to his Chinese counterpart. Listen in.
ZAKARIA: When you're in China, are you going to be having a different series of conversations with the Chinese leaders? By which I mean a lot of China experts look at what is happening in China and say you are seeing a new form of nationalism, you are seeing a new specifically anti-Western and anti-American nationalism, whether it's in regard to cyber theft and cyber crime, cyber attacks, the way Western companies are treated, the business in the South China Sea where China is doing what apparently violates international law and is worrying its neighbors.
Is it time to get tougher on China?
OBAMA: Well, first of all, I don't think any of that's new. Remember, China has been run during our lifetimes by a communist party that has been much more anti-Western in the past. We went through a period over the course of 20 years, in the '90s and on through maybe the onset of my presidency, where, because state-sponsored capitalism and an export-driven model was very successful, China was less interested in making waves.
But, you know, you've got over a billion people, one of the largest economies now in the world. And so it's to be expected that they will want a bigger seat at the table when it comes to international affairs.
And what we've said consistently is we welcome the peaceful rise of Chin, consistent with international norms. That's good for everybody. An impoverished and collapsing China would be dangerous for everybody.
And, you know, we should want China to take on more responsibilities, not only for its own people, but also for a wide range of international problems and conflicts, whether it's climate change or disaster relief or dealing with things like Ebola.
[10:20:00] But what we have said to the Chinese -- and we've been firm consistently about this -- is you have to recognize that with increasing power comes increasing responsibilities. You can't pursue mercantilist policies that just advantage you now that you are a middle income country, in many ways, even though you still have a lot of poor people. You know, you can't just export problems. You've got to have fair trade and not just free trade. You have to open up your markets if you expect other people to open up their markets.
When it comes to issues related to security, if you sign a treaty that calls for international arbitration around maritime issues the fact that you're bigger than the Philippines or Vietnam or other countries, in and of itself, is not a reason for you to go around and flex your muscles. You've got to abide by international law.
And part of what I've talked to communicate to President Xi is that the United States arrives at its power, in part, by restraining itself. You know, when we bind ourselves to a bunch of international norms and rules, it's not because we have to, it's because we recognize that, over the long-term, building a strong international order is in our interests. And I think over the long-term, it will be in China's interests, as well.
So where we see them violating international rules and norms, as we have seen in some cases in the South China Sea or in some of their behavior when it comes to economic policy, we've been very firm. And we've indicated to them that there will be consequences.
But what we've tried to emphasize to them is, if you are working within international rules and international norms, then we should be partners. There's no reason that we cannot be friendly competitors on the commercial side and important partners when it comes to dealing with the many international problems that threaten both of us.
ZAKARIA: I got to ask you one question about the campaign.
ZAKARIA: As you watch the support that Donald Trump has...
OBAMA: Yes. ZAKARIA: -- and you watch where it comes from, I'm wondering what you make of it, because, you know, you've written in the past that you're -- the Kansas side of your family is white working class, Scotch- Irish. These are the people who support Trump. These are the people who seem to have the most suspicion about you.
ZAKARIA: What do you make of that?
OBAMA: Well, look, there's a long tradition in the United States of inclusion, immigration diversity, but also people, once they're included in what they consider to be the real America, worrying about outsiders contaminating, polluting, messing up a good thing.
That's not new. That dates back to you know, the beginning of this country. And what I'm always reminding people is that, although you'll see bumps, whether it's the Know-Nothings or, you know, other (INAUDIBLE) of anti-immigrant sentiment directed at the Irish or Southern Europeans as opposed to Northern Europeans, or the Chinese, or today, Latinos or Muslims -- the long-term trend is people get absorbed, people get assimilated, and we benefit from this incredible country in which the measure of your patriotism and how American you are is not the color of your skin, your last name, your faith, but rather your adherence to a creed. Your belief in certain principles and values.
And I don't expect that that's going to change simply because Mr. Trump has gotten a little more attention than usual.
And I think if you look at the current polls, they're -- you know, he's been able to appeal to a certain group of folks who feel left out or are worried about the rapidity of demographic change, social change who, in some cases, have very legitimate concerns around the economy and feeling left behind. But that's not the majority of America. And if you talk to younger people, the next generation of Americans, they utter -- completely reject the kinds of positions that he's taking.
So, you know, we have to take it seriously. I think that any time we hear intolerance, any time that we hear policy measures that are contrary to our values, banning certain classes of people because of who they are or what they look like, what faith they practice, then we have to be pretty hard about saying no to that.
[10:25:19] And I think that America will do that this time, as well.
So overall, I'm optimistic. But, you know, I think we have to pay close attention to what's going on.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, I asked President Obama if Turkey is still a safe ally after the attmped coup and counter coup. Should the United States still house its nuclear weapons there?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAKARIA: It's been seven weeks since the world was shocked by the images being transmitted out of Turkey, as we watched a coup being attempted in real time. Much of the world has also been shocked by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's autocorrect response - mass arrests, crackdowns and the silencing of many media outlets.
I wanted to get President Obama's take on all this.
[10:30:01] ZAKARIA: When you look at the news that has come out of Turkey over the last few weeks and months, the coup attempt, but then the purges afterwards...
ZAKARIA: -- very -- the issues around Turkish foreign policy, are you confident that Turkey is a liberal democracy, a staunch NATO ally, where we have nuclear weapons, and is a force for stability in the region? Or should we be worried?
OBAMA: Well, they've gone through a tumultuous event. You know, this coup was serious. You had members of the military engaging in treasonous acts against a democratically elected government. And what was encouraging was the degree to which the Turkish people, including those who are opposed to President Erdogan, stepping up and saying this is unacceptable. And that was, I think, the -- the ray of hope that came out of what was a really challenging event.
You now have a reaction by the Turkish government that understandably is scared and concerned. Imagine if something had -- like that happened here in the United States, the challenges that we would have in figuring out how to re-stabilize our country.
I have long said to President Erdogan directly, even prior to this coup, that he began his career as a democrat and a reformist, and the danger, I think, of any leader is the longer you're in here, you have to constantly remind yourself of the values that you came in with. And that if Turkey cracks down on journalists in ways that are inconsistent with democratic practices, if dissidents' voices and civil societies lose more and more space. That, you know, the mere act of voting is not the only part of democracy. Rule of law, free press, freedom of assembly, those are all part of it as well.
I think the Turkish people are going to be debating this and working through this over the next several months. We haven't seen a diminishing effect on our security relations. Turkey continues to be a strong NATO ally. They are working with us to defeat ISIL and are an important partner on a whole range of security issues in the region.
But, you know, no doubt what is true is that they've gone through a political and civil earthquake in their country. And they've got to rebuild. And how they rebuild is going to be important and what we want to do is indicate to them the degree to which we support the Turkish people. But like any good friend, we want to give them honest feedback if we think that the steps they're taking are going to be contrary to their long-term interests and our partnership.
ZAKARIA: We'll actually have more of President Obama later in the show when he will do part of my job for me. Stay tuned.
Next up, Trump's trip to Mexico seemed a success to him, but what did Mexico think? The nation's former foreign minister will tell all when we come back.
[10:38:21] ZAKARIA: Wednesday was a bit of a Jekyll And Hyde today for the Republican nominee Donald Trump. In the daylight hours, he appeared diplomatic and even presidential at a meeting in Mexico with President Pena Nieto.
But then when nighttime fell --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We will begin working on an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: -- he reverted to his anti-immigration rhetoric that has been his trademark since the start.
That's how it looked at least from the United States. But how did it look from Mexico?
ZAKARIA: I want to bring in Jorge Castaneda, Mexico's former foreign minister, now a professor at NYU.
Jorge, before we get to the event itself, I want to ask you about the invitation. Why would President Pena Nieto do this? It provided Trump with this extraordinary platform, the appearance of being presidential, the photo-op of the two lecterns.
What did Pena Nieto get out of it?
JORGE CASTANEDA, FORMER MEXICAN FOREIGN MINISTER: He got not -- absolutely nothing out of it, Fareed, and I think it was a huge mistake to have sent the invitations to both him and to Hillary Clinton in the first place.
Bbasically, nobody in Mexico understands what in the world he was thinking when he decided to bring Trump down and give him this marvelous forum for -- in which to look, as you said, presidential and even statesmanlike. It's a -- it's an incredible enigma, mystery, to everybody in Mexico, Fareed. ZAKARIA: And the response seems pretty strong. I was reading some of it. Enrique Krauze, one of Mexico's most respected intellectuals, I think almost compared it to Neville Chamberlain meeting with Hitler.
[10:40:08] There have been lots of people who have been -- who are saying things like the way you deal with tyrants is you oppose them. The way, you know, for Mexico to show that it was displeased was to in some way demonstrate, you know, that displeasure rather than surrendering and accepting Trump without even asking for an apology.
Is that response more widespread in Mexico?
CASTANEDA: Well, Fareed, there is a poll in this morning's pap -- main paper of the country, "Reforma," where about 85 percent of those who were asked last night whether they thought it was a mistake or not for Pena Nieto to have invited Trump said it was. That's about as high as you can get before you get to unanimity.
I don't think anyone here except the president, his cabinet and his party, are supporting this. It's a huge fiasco for the president, partly the result of his own weakness. He is not only very low in the polls, but he's facing a serious economic downtown, social unrest, political divisions within his cabinet as the 2018 succession comes up. And so he probably did this as an act of desperation, hoping to get something out of it.
What he got out of it was to give Trump more power and help him in his campaign in the United States and not get from him nor an apology nor a retraction on any of the major issues -- the wall, who's paying for the wall, deportation, taxing remittances, reopening NAFTA, et cetera. It was a pretty pitiful day for Mexico and for our president, and that is how everybody in this country views it, Fareed.
But it's even worse in the sense that this goes and helps someone that Mexicans really detest. He has become a hateful figure in Mexico, like no one I can recall at least in my life, Fareed. And he went back to his blustering, bullying, hateful nature just a few hours after he left Mexico when he gave his speech in Arizona.
ZAKARIA: Now, you know, do you worry that that -- those amicable relations between the Mexican government and the American government, you know, that work closely together on everything from illegal immigration to drug interdiction and all that -- all that is going to be, you know, is that -- is that going to be jeopardized?
CASTANEDA: What I'm worried about, Fareed, is that this is generating, in Mexico, an anti-American feeling, which always makes it more difficult for any Mexican government to manage the relationship, to work as closely with the U.S. as we started doing back 15 years ago, as you mentioned, and as have several governments since then. The substance hasn't really changed. The style, perhaps, has.
The big difference is that now, you have public opinion here which is really ferociously anti-Trump. But that can move over to anti- American very quickly.
ZAKARIA: Jorge Castaneda, thank you. Thank you for those insights.
CASTANEDA: Thank you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Up next, "The Jetsons", R2-D2, how would you like a friendly, social robot in your home? That is what my next guest, a robot whiz at MIT, is working on. Hear her up when we come back. Maybe you will order one too.
[10:47:42] ZAKARIA: Many people are worried that a robot could take away their jobs, but how would you like to have a personal robot? Maybe one to help you learn, help you play, possibly even to be your friend. It may sound like something out of "The Jetsons", but my next guest says it's much more real than the 1960s' space age cartoon.
Cynthia Breazeal is the director of the Personal Robots Group at the MIT media lab, and founder and chief scientist of a company called Jibo, which makes what they have dubbed the first family robot.
Pleasure to have you on.
BREAZEAL: Thank you for having me on the show. It's a delight to be here.
ZAKARIA: You got interested in robots first by watching "Star Wars" and watching R2-D2?
BREAZEAL: Those were my initial sources of inspiration. You know, it was such a phenomenon back then and it was the first time that I was really captivated by any movie, truly. And just seeing robots like R2-D2 and C-3PO was -- these wonderful, full-fledged characters that could relate to people in this interpersonal way forever kind of shaped my -- my ideas of what robots could be.
ZAKARIA: So explain Jibo, the robot you've designed, because we have some examples, I suppose. Amazon now has this Alexa, I think it's called.
ZAKARIA: And, obviously, Siri. So one piece of it, obviously, is it can hear human commands. But there's a lot more to it.
BREAZEAL: There's a lot more to it. So first is to recognize is there's a big difference between a information agent like Siri or Alexa versus a social robot that's actually much more like an R2-D2 experience. You know, Jibo is designed to be an interactive character as much as it's been designed to be a helpful device for the home.
So it brings together the sort of utility and helpfulness, but with this fun and companionship that I think is a much more welcoming, warm experience.
ZAKARIA: But so explain it. I mean with -- I suppose I'm going to get lost in the detail. But you can actually write code, or you will write code that will have the computer, the robot tell a joke, make some helpful suggestion about what you're cooking, talk about the weather. Is that part of the idea?
BREAZEAL: Yes, so starting back just with the field of social robotics, one of the really different things about the field is to say not only what is it to create an artificially intelligent machine that can make decisions in this cognitive sense, but for the first time it asks the question, what would it mean to create a robot or a machine that had emotional intelligence or social intelligence.
[10:50:16] As humans, we have all these different ways of being able to experience and -- and know and interact with one another. So social robotics, like Jibo is really looking at all of these different dimensions.
So some of the tasks it may perform are leveraging its autonomy and its ability to, say, take pictures more like an interactive photographer than the way we use apps in our phones today. So you could just say, "Jibo, take pictures." It can find your face, it can track you, it could take those pictures.
So, you know, I'm the family photographer in my family, I'm not in any pictures with my kids because of it, right. That's my big frustration. But with Jibo, I can just say, "Jibo, take pictures." And it uses the autonomy, but also his personality to engage us, to make us smile, to be able to get that picture.
So you can imagine taking that example of photo capture and applying that to story-telling. So we have e-readers that just tell you a story. But with a technology like Jibo, it can engage you. It can get you to contribute things to the story, to be able to have you put in inputs that allow it to put together an experience that's a shared, interactive experience.
So it can, you know, almost reimagine what interactive story-telling could be on a robot that now not only can tell the story but through its body, the way it can move and its graphics, can actually perform and express the story, more like a really engaging story-teller than just a display or an e-book reader.
ZAKARIA: But the key here or the key differentiated, it seems to me, in what you're doing is that these machines, these computers that have all this information, are finding a -- an emotionally warm, approachable, sociable way to communicate with human beings.
BREAZEAL: Exactly. It's -- it's saying what is it about people and how our minds work that lead to our most successful, most rewarding ways of interacting and experiencing the world? There's important social and emotional factors in doing that.
So it's, again, just saying let's just appreciate what the human experience is, what we need to thrive, and start to design technologies that really support us more holistically in all of those areas, because when we do, lo and behold, people are actually more successful. They learn better, they're healthier.
ZAKARIA: Pleasure to have you on. Thank you so much.
BREAZEAL: Thank you so much.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, we have more of my exclusive interview with President Obama. If you are looking for a good book to dig into, he actually has a couple of suggestions.
[10:56:23] ZAKARIA: Mr. President, it's become a GPS tradition that when we have you, we have the honor of having you on the program, rather than me making a book recommendation, you do. You've just come back from a vacation. You must have taken a pile of books.
OBAMA: I did.
ZAKARIA: Which among them would you recommend?
OBAMA: On the fiction side "The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead. A terrific book. Powerful. Discussing some of the issues that we discussed here today around race and American history.
The other book that I really enjoyed a book by an Israeli author, Yuval Harari, called "Sapiens." And it -- it's a sweeping history of the human race from 40,000 feet. And part of what makes it so interesting and provocative is that, because it's such a condensed, sweeping history, it talks about some core things that have allowed us to build this extraordinary civilization that we take for granted but weren't a given. And it gives you a sense of perspective in how briefly we've been on this earth, how short things like agriculture and science have been around, and why it makes sense for us to not take them for granted.
And, you know, it goes back to keeping the long view in mind. You know, oftentimes when I'm going through a really difficult problem in the presidency, I think back to one of my first foreign visits to Cairo. And after I gave a speech there, we went to pyramids. And I had all afternoon to wander through it. One of the perks of being president was they kind of cleared out the crowds.
And, you know, the pyramids live up to the hype. They're magnificent. But as you're looking at the hieroglyphics and you're getting the background on how they were built and the Egyptian government at the time, you're reminded that I'm sure they had their versions of polls and scandals and you know, economic ups and downs.
And, you know, what's left is those pyramids. So that's what I mean about not sweating the small stuff. You know, it -- in the sweep of history, we get a very small moment in time. We try to treat people -- I always tell my daughters, treat people kindly, be useful, use your time well. But remember, you're part of a larger sweep of this big story that that brings us all together.
ZAKARIA: Time and chance happen to them all.
OBAMA: Yes, that's exactly right.
ZAKARIA: Mr. President, thank you so much.
OBAMA: I enjoyed it.
ZAKARIA: Thanks again to President Obama for his time and his thoughts. And thanks to all of you for being part of this special edition of GPS.
[11:00:01] I will see you back here next week for another special edition, this time marking the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.