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Ukraine's President on Clinton & Trump; Ukraine's President on a Trump Claim; Ukraine's Poroshenko on Russia's Putin; Interview with Aung San Suu Kyi. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired September 25, 2016 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:00] FAREED ZAKARIA, GPS 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.

On the week that the world's leaders came to the U.N., we have a very important show for you. Two heads of state with important stories to tell. First, the president of Ukraine on Donald Trump's contention that Russia is not really in Ukraine.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's not going to go into Ukraine.

ZAKARIA: And on dealing with Vladimir Putin. Petro Poroshenko gives us his views.

PETRO POROSHENKO, UKRAINE PRESIDENT : If you reach any agreement with Putin now that it means nothing.

ZAKARIA: Then Aung San Suu Kyi, the dissident who spent 15 years under house arrest only to become the leader of her nation. Does she think she is the Mandela of Asia? And what to make of the accounts of massive human rights abuses in a country led by a Nobel Peace Prize winner? And understanding Ahmad Khan Rahami, the New York City bomber, what radicalized this American citizen? But we know who it was, a preacher, but he's been dead for years. I will explain. Finally, how many skittles or refugees would you have to go through before you got to a bad one? We will tell you.

But first, here's my take. It's the annual gathering of world leaders in New York this week, and for most of them, it's time for group therapy. Around the globe, leaders of all stripes seem afflicted with the same melody, low approval ratings.

Morgan Stanley's Ruchir Sharma has pointed out that the median approval rating for leaders of the top 20 emerging and developed economies has dropped by 17 points over the last decade. What is going on? Well, as I argue in a fourth coming foreign affairs essay, today's western countries face four structural challenges, demography, globalization, automation and increasing debt burdens.

The demographic challenge might be the most fundamental. In almost every advanced economy, fertility has dropped sharply from Japan to South Korea, Germany to Italy. Globalization and the information revolution, while positive overall, concentrate the costs on skilled and semi-skilled workers particularly in basic manufacturing industries that once provided large numbers of stable high-paying jobs. And as a response to the global financial crisis, governments everywhere have taken on huge debts. The aging population, in addition, means that spending on the elderly is crowding out all the investments needed for growth, in infrastructure, education, science and technology.

So facing all of these force, leaders have no easy path to restore economic growth and revive their countries. Deep radical reforms are always unpopular. And in this climate, they don't even seem to lead to growing growth. Ireland, Portugal and Mexico have all enacted broad market reforms and yet growth has not boomed in those countries. Japan has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on stimulus plans and yet it is just muddling along.

So even the leaders who come to office with very strong public approval and much promise find themselves strapped by the same forces. Very quickly, their approval ratings begin to drop and new populous anger grows. Italy's reformist prime minister, Matteo Renzi, has seen his numbers fall to below 30 percent. The populous and once very popular Greek leader, Alexis Tsipras, is down to 19 percent.

Now in his U.N. speech, President Obama outlined many solutions to the problems of growth and inequality. He explained how the United States has focused its reform and recovery efforts on helping the middle- class gain better access to jobs, health care, training, retraining, housing. He argued that furthering these efforts with new investments in child care, infrastructure and basic research would keep this momentum going. He pointed that immigration and assimilation can work for all in society. But the policy solutions he put forth and the ones that other countries are adopting are all small-bore, specific and incremental.

Meanwhile, populous promise dramatic bow solutions that sound much more satisfying. After all, Donald Trump tell Americans that their lives are hard and there's a simple reason for it, foreigners. They steal American jobs, burden America's welfare state, and make Americans less safe. His solution, get tough on them.

It's not hard to understand the appeal of simplicity in a complex world. There's little drama in plans to expand early childhood education and yet, they work. The persistent and energetic efforts had reform do pay off.

[10:05:08] A recent Census Bureau report shows the biggest one-year drop in poverty in America in almost 50 years. It highlights that these efforts in the United States are working.

To America's north, Canada is handling a slowdown in growth, welcoming thousands of refugees and celebrating diversity. And the two major leaders in the western world with the highest approval ratings today are Barack Obama and Justin Trudeau. The center can hold. For more, go to and read my "Washington Post" column this week. Let's get started.

ZAKARIA: If there's a foreign leader who has dominated the 2016 presidential campaign, it is without question, Vladimir Putin. He is at the heart of the debate on Syria that heated up this week. And of course, Donald Trump has praised Putin repeatedly and taken much heat from Hillary Clinton for doing so.

Well, I had the opportunity to sit down with one of his main adversaries, the president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko. I asked Poroshenko about rumors that Trump had refused to meet with him about Trump's questionable claims about Ukraine and about Putin as an adversary, a man he's negotiated with for many, many years.


ZAKARIA: Mr. president, pleasure to have you on.

PETRO POROSHENKO, UKRAINE PRESIDENT: That's a pleasure for me too. Thank you for the invitation.

ZAKARIA: You met with Hillary Clinton, what was your impression of her?

POROSHENKO: I know her maybe for 16 years. And we have quite an intensive dialogue when I was the minister of foreign affairs, we launched together the strategic cooperation commission between Ukraine and the United States, and I can confirm that she's very well informed and deeply ready for the development of the situation in Ukraine. And I was pleasantly surprised on that.

ZAKARIA: You met Vice President Biden?


ZAKARIA: There's one more person you wanted to meet while your where in New York which was Donald Trump. Why do you think he refuse to meet with you?

POROSHENKO: First of all, this is not true and we don't have any refusal. That was the protocol matter. And as far as I understand our schedule was so stressed that we should find out the window of that.

ZAKARIA: But we were told that your office approached the Trump campaign and you never heard back from them?

POROSHENKO: We demonstrated we were ready to meet and we don't have -- they have a dialogue but they don't find out the place and the schedule before the acceptable for both of us because I can inform you, during the last two and a half days, I meet with the 22 head of states and the prime minister.

ZAKARIA: Do you think he's avoiding you?

POROSHENKO: I don't think so.

ZAKARIA: But let me ask you, Trump said something very -- has said a few things that have taken some people, many experts, by surprise. He said at one point, Russia is not in Ukraine. And then he said it's there but in a certain way.

Now, in a sense, this is what the Russians often saying that they are actually not in Eastern Ukraine, that those are not Russian soldiers in Eastern Ukraine, those are -- they maybe Russian citizens, but they are volunteering, that this is not a planned act. Explain to us, whether you have proof that the people who are in Eastern Ukraine are Russian soldiers directed by the Russian military.

POROSHENKO: I hate the idea to have just a common phrase. I want to give you some absolutely practical examples. For example, in the August 2014, we take 22 Russian paratroopers, take them in prison, demonstrated to the whole world, receiving a lot of their parents who asking me as a president to use my pardon right and give him back.

And that situation, Russia do not command how they appeared in Ukraine. And then they said at the end of the day, when they have their tanks, their military ID, their forms, they said, OK, they lost their ways and was --

ZAKARIA: They got lost in Ukraine?

POROSHENKO: Got lost in Ukraine and get 72 kilometers inside my territory, killing Ukrainian civilians, killing Ukrainian soldiers, just providing an offensive operation, and this is the only way how they can use it, aggression. And we have a lots of video, a lot of their testimony in the court and they recognized that.

[10:10:08] In the year 2015, we have many cases. And just to finish give you the figures currently, only on occupied territory on the east of my country, we have more than 700 Russian tanks, more than 1,250 artillery system, more than 1,000 armed personal carrier, more than 300 multi-rocket launch system. And this is the huge army, more than 50 percent of the all the number of armies in the European Union and this huge army supplied by Russia and keep occupying territory, attacking Ukraine.


ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, lots of people have opinions about Vladimir Putin, some love him and some hate him but few know him and his tactics as well as Petro Poroshenko who dealt with him as a businessman and has faced-off with him since the Russian invasion of Ukraine two years ago. I will ask President Poroshenko what kind of a leader Vladimir Putin is.


[10:15:43] ZAKARIA: Back now. More of my interview with the president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko. What is it like to face-off with Vladimir Putin? listen in.


ZAKARIA: Another thing Mr. Trump has said which I assume worries you is he has talked about how he would look into whether or not to accept the Russian annexation of Crimea. Does that worry you? POROSHENKO: Look, first of all, I think that the election -- this is the matter for the American people. And this is not only privilege to be American to vote for the next president but also, if you will allow me, their big responsibility because you elect the president of the country who will be the global leader. And this global leader is vitally important not only for the United States but to keep freedom, to keep democracy, to keep failures in the very difficult world we have now and very difficult situation in the world.

If you allow me, I can command that this is the part of the election rhetoric. I think that after the election, no matter who would be elected, it would be better responsible leader of the great American nation.

ZAKARIA: Who has recognized the annexation of Crimea by Russia? What countries?

POROSHENKO: It's very few. Mostly, this is the Cuba and Venezuela, just three. And I think this is a very self-explained. No. Sorry, I double-check. Cuba is not yet recognize. That was just a statement ut not official paper. So Cuba is moving a little bit back from Putin style of democracy.

ZAKARIA: A lot of people think, not just Mr. Trump, that Putin is a strong leader. You have actually dealt with Putin -- you've actually dealt with him in several circumstances. You were a big businessman, you still have a big factory in Russia. You've dealt with him as the leader of Ukraine. Is Putin a strong leader?

POROSHENKO: Look, Putin, when I have an opportunity to speak with him, ten years ago, Putin in the year 2014, 2016, completely different person.

If you reach any agreement with Putin now that means nothing.


POROSHENKO: Because he do not keep his word. And this is not the characteristic of a strong leader, if you allow me to be absolutely straightforward. Because strong leader means responsibility. Strong leader means the bright perspective for the country. Strong leader means to keep their words. And with that situation, strong leader is the ability to provide reform and make life of your people better. And with that understanding of the strong leader, I wish Putin to become a strong leader.

ZAKARIA: Has he lied to you personally?

POROSHENKO: Sometimes he do not keep his word, that's true.

ZAKARIA: There was one other peculiar thing that happened in the United States with regard to policy toward Ukraine which is, during the Republican national convention, there were planks in the platform, you're well aware of this, that called for lethal aid being provided towards Ukraine and then they were taken out. A lot of people wondered whether Paul Manafort who was then chairman of Mr. Trump's campaign had something to do with this?

Ukrainian investigators argued said that the former pro-Russian president of Ukraine who was ousted, Mr. Yanukovych, was providing cash payments to Mr. Manafort. Can you confirm that?

POROSHENKO: Look, in the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau, there was evidence of the possible participation of the Paul Manafort in this type of operation.

[10:20:08] I hate the idea to have any commands because with the democratic civilized country and this is a responsibility of the investigation but I can confirm that the investigation now is going on and without any political interference neither from president nor from the government. And I want to confirm that we are open to cooperation with any Americans, partners, law enforcement agency to --

ZAKARIA: Who wants to see the evidence.

POROSHENKO: -- who wants to see the evidence and who want to have a cooperation.

ZAKARIA: You've spoken often about Russia's hybrid war and about Russia's ways of affecting the internal policies of Ukraine, other European countries, financing of elections, cyber warfare. Do you think it's possible that Russia is trying to do something similar in the United States?

POROSHENKO: I think Russia try to do that in all the global centers of influence. They are quite active in United States. If you see what's going on in the certain European capitals, we said about Ukraine, so this is financing, all Russia financing all the Euro skeptic movements. Russia want to destabilize the Europe.

The danger for Russia is European unity. And all the European skeptics received a strong support, not necessarily financial from the Russian Federation. And if you know now the number of people who is listening and viewing this state-sponsored Russia Today Television in the United States, that would be quite a big number of people and this is in every cable networks. I think that this is not dangerous for the United States because United States has a very strong injection against this hybrid war.

But in Europe or in Ukraine, the Russian-sponsored mass media, social network, political parties, the main purpose is just to destabilize the situation, to ruin the unity and to move the situation back on the bilateral relation with Russia. And with that situation, when I was asked, what we need the most from leaders of European union member states, from the United States, my answer is very simple, not money.

Money, yes, but not in the first priority, not assistance of the reform. Yes, but not on the first priority. Even not the lethal weapons. We can defend our country by ourselves. First of all, we need unity, European unity, and transatlantic unity and solidarity with Ukraine.

ZAKARIA: Mr. President, pleasure to have you on. POROSHENKO: That's a pleasure.

ZAKARIA: Thank you.


Up next, what radicalized the American bread bombing suspect causing him to wreak havoc in New York and New Jersey last weekend? It turns out his inspiration might have come from beyond the grave. I will explain when we come back.


[10:27:25] ZAKARIA: Now from 'What In The World' segment. There will be much speculation in the weeks to come about what motivated Ahmad Khan Rahami, the 28-year-old charged with executing the bombings in New York and New Jersey last weekend. Rahami was after all a naturalized U.S. citizen who raised stateside since childhood.

Well, some early clues about his road to radicalization may lie in his own musings. An FBI affidavit says Rahami was carrying a notebook in which he praised the American-born cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki revolutionized the world of terror. Once a (modric), he swiftly became jihad's most prominent English-speaking recruiter with such a vast digital footprint that his sermons are sold in box sets. His violent message became a calling card for terrorists. There was the underwear bomber who was ordered by al-Awlaki to blow up a plane and tried to do just that above Detroit on Christmas day 2009. There was Omar Mateen who was inspired by al-Awlaki. Two months ago, he committed the deadliest shooting in American history at an Orlando nightclub.

Indeed, CNN national security analyst, Peter Bergen, points to research from his Think Tank New America that shows that since 2011, al-Awlaki's writings and sermons have appeared in 99 jihadist terrorism cases.

Now the irony is that al-Awlaki died five years ago in a U.S. drone strike. He was reportedly the first American citizen since the civil war to be executed on the orders of a president and without a trial. That turned al-Awlaki into a martyr in some eyes. So while the messenger is dead, the message is not.

"New York Times" journalist, Scott Shane, who has reported extensively on al-Awlaki argues that there was one pivotal step in al-Awlaki's radicalization --

ANWAR AL-AWLAKI, AMERICAN IMAM, LECTURER: There are pawns in this games of politics.

ZAKARIA: -- that was the unintended consequence of being under constant surveillance by the U.S. government. Because two of the 9/11 hijackers had prayed at al-Awlaki's mosque, the FBI watched the imam for months. The bureau did not find any evidence that al-Awlaki was directly involved in those brutal attacks, still the FBI did discover a damning secret. Al-Awlaki, a married man and father of three, was visiting prostitutes in Washington hotels. Scott Shane reveals that is the real reason al-Awlaki fled the U.S. in 2002 and ultimately ended up in Yemen where he landed in prison and eventually joined the ranks of Al-Qaeda.

[10:30:00] Now, Awlaki wasn't the only one included in Rahami's blood- soaked journal. The New York-New Jersey bombing suspect also mentioned the Boston marathon bombers. The Tsarnaev brothers, who in turn were inspired by Awlaki themselves, were not particularly religious. CNN's Peter Bergen points out that Tamerlan was a non-practicing Muslim, an unemployed one, who only became violent when he failed to fulfill his dream of becoming an Olympic boxer. Bergen found no indication that the younger brother, Dzhokhar, was into radical Islam at all. Actually, he was more interested om marijuana, alcohol and women.

But why do so many of these immigrants respond, then, to the rhetoric of Anwar al-Awlaki?

The scholar Reza Aslan told me that Awlaki's allure comes not from his ability to tap into what is inherently Muslim about American Muslims, but what is inherently American about them. Awlaki appeals to immigrant Americans who tend to be more politically conscious, feel marginalized and are searching for a sense of purpose.

Aslan says the message resonates, "You who live in the land of the free, you are responsible for the actions of your government and the ways in which these actions oppress and murder your fellow Muslims around the world. You have to do something about that," he says. That's why Awlaki rants in perfect English about America's foreign policy in his sermons. His appeal is not religious, but instead political. His influence comes less from being deeply Islamic and more from being, in style and substance, fully American.

Next on GPS, my exclusive interview with the leader of Myanmar, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

Don't forget, if you miss a show, go to for a link to my iTunes podcasts.


ZAKARIA: In his farewell speech at the United Nations this week, President Obama singled out the presence in the hall of the newly elected leader of Myanmar.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We welcome a democratically elected leader of Myanmar to this assembly.


ZAKARIA: He meant Aung San Suu Kyi, the democracy icon whose party won an election in 1900 which the country's military dictatorship refused to recognize. It then put her under house arrest for 15 years.

Twenty years later, reformers in the military government realized they needed to open up to the world. They released Aung San Suu Kyi and allowed her to run for a seat in parliament. She had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 while under house arrest and was finally able to accept it in person in 2012.

Today she leads Myanmar after landslide elections last fall swept her opposition party into power. It is a rare story of peaceful transformation from dictatorship to democracy.

President Obama considers his administration's re-engagement with the country and support of its transition one of his foreign policy successes. And just last week he announced the end to virtually all the remaining American sanctions on Myanmar.

Here now, my exclusive interview with Aung San Suu Kyi.


ZAKARIA: Aung San Suu Kyi, pleasure to have you on. Thank you for being on.


ZAKARIA: I have to start by asking you a very important question that perplexes many people. What is your country called?

SUU KYI: Well, officially, it's called Myanmar now. It used to be called Burma, in English, but of course, in our own language, we always referred to it as Myanmar. Myanmar is -- is how we pronounce it.

ZAKARIA: Is it -- I noticed you used Myanmar at the U.N. And you used to sometimes call it Burma. Is that a conscious shift because of your position?

SUU KYI: Because Myanmar is the official name under which we are a member of the United Nations. I don't think that, just because we are now in the administration, we should go about changing everything. It's a little bit like flexing one's muscles. And as I explained, what we want is reconciliation, not domination.

ZAKARIA: What does it feel like to have been a dissident, somebody under house arrest, and now you're the head of the country?

SUU KYI: Well, there were lots of decisions I had to make while I was in house arrest, perhaps more than now...


... because you have to live from day to day by yourself, just with yourself, and that requires many, many important decisions. So the difference, of course, is in the whole setup, but on the other hand, I don't think I'm doing anything very different from what I was as the leader of the opposition.

ZAKARIA: Do you think about comparisons like Nelson Mandela? One of the things Mandela seemed to -- the lesson he seemed to impart to the world was really one of forgiveness. He forgave the people who had jailed him unjustly for, you know, over 25 years.

SUU KYI: Well, when people ask me about forgiveness, I always explain that I don't think it is for me to forgive or not to forgive. I really don't have any feelings of bitterness. That, I think, is just my good fortune. Perhaps it's something you're born with, your attitude towards life. I'm not very good about remembering things done unto me, as it were. I -- I like to think that I have a deep sense of gratitude and never forget any nice thing that anybody has ever done for me, to me. I try not to forget. But I'm fortunate in that I don't dwell on the -- on what might be called the unpleasant -- unpleasantness of others to us -- to us as a -- a working force, not just to me individually.

ZAKARIA: Now, your country is a country in transition, and it's a transition from, really, a military dictatorship to something else. There were many people who felt that it was important to keep the pressure on, on Myanmar, and thus it was important to maintain sanctions. But this week, all U.S. sanctions have been lifted.

You, yourself, only in May, thought it was important to maintain some of that pressure and some of those sanctions. Do you think you have really made enough progress that you don't need that pressure anymore?

SUU KYI: I think we have made enough progress for us to try to move on to another stage. After all, sanctions were just supposed to help us along the way. It was a means, not an end. And as I was explaining to our friends in Congress, sanctions were in a sense crutches to help us when we were not very strong. Now I think we have got to lay aside our crutches and strengthen our own muscles.

ZAKARIA: But the military remains remains very powerful. It is written into the constitution that they are 25 percent of the parliament. There must be red lines that you still can't cross with the military?

SUU KYI: Yes, there are, because we do believe in the rule of law, and we accept the constitution for what it is, for the moment, as long as it is enforced. But we want to amend it. We have been very open about it. This is part of our election platform, that we would amend the constitution.

ZAKARIA: And -- and remove some of those...

SUU KYI: Well, we want a truly democratic constitution. You can't say that you are a working democracy unless the constitution is democratic to begin with. As it is, many countries have perfectly democratic constitutions which are not implemented fully.


ZAKARIA: Up next, I will ask Aung San Suu Kyi about one of the biggest puzzles about her nation. Hers is a Buddhist country, which is supposed to be the most peaceful of religions, run by this Nobel Prize winner, but it is roundly condemned for its systematic persecution of a minority, a Muslim minority, as it happens. How does that make sense?

I will ask when we come back.


ZAKARIA: Back now with more of my exclusive interview with the Nobel Peace Prize winner, turned leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi.


ZAKARIA: I have to ask you about something that I think puzzles most Westerners and particularly Americans, which is that one -- when one reads reports about your country now, mostly they are about the treatment of the Rohingya Muslims. This is -- Muslims are 5 percent of the country, but this is a group that is, by every human rights organization's accounts, systematically persecuted, denied citizenship, denied even an identity. Until recently, people wouldn't even refer to them as the Rohingya

So here's the puzzle for people. They look at a Buddhist country that is yet, you know, persecuting violently a Muslim minority, and the country is led by a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Why?

SUU KYI: Well, it's been led by a Nobel Peace Prize winner only since the end of last March, and we have a lot of trouble trying to bring about the kind of harmony and understanding and tolerance that we wish for. I think you will have heard that we formed a commission headed by Dr. Kofi Annan to look into the problems in Rohingya state, exactly to ask the questions that you have been asking. What are the problems? Why have we got this?

Now, mind you, I think I'd like to take the opportunity to say that this is not the only problem we have to face, but this is one on which the international community has focused. So when we formed this commission, there were a number of political parties who opposed it and who are still opposing this for various reasons. So it's an uphill battle. And we also -- for us, also, it's puzzling, why are we so intolerant when Buddhism is the most tolerant philosophy imaginable?

ZAKARIA: You know, there are people who argue that, given the scale of the atrocities, it isn't enough to form a commission. I mean, another Nobel Peace Prize winner, the Dalai Lama, has been very critical of -- of Myanmar in this regard. Is there not something you can do more immediately to ease the plight of these people?

SUU KYI: We have done everything we can immediately. For example, we have started a nationality verification, and we've started -- there were restrictions against Muslims which were not really spelled out by -- by edicts or laws or anything like that, and we have lifted a lot of these restrictions which we are in a position to do.

ZAKARIA: Do you envision a circumstance where the Rohingya will be treated as citizens, with a vote and full rights? SUU KYI: First of all, all those who are entitled to citizenship must

be given the rights of citizens. And -- but that's -- that's legal. And what is more important is that we must try to bring back harmony and understanding and tolerance between the different communities. It's not just enough just to legally make people equal. You can't make -- you can't make laws that make people love each other, you know.

ZAKARIA: The first trip you took as state counselor, as the head of your country, was to China. And I'm wondering how -- do you feel that China is too dominant in your country?

There was a dam being built, and it was a Chinese project, and you -- the previous government, not yours, essentially canceled it or froze it because of public concern that -- that, I think, that there was a sense that Chinese domination was too strong. How do you feel?

SUU KYI: I don't think China is trying to dominate us. I think everywhere big powers do try to do as much as they can economically, because this is the age of soft power. But China is a neighbor, and we can never move away from each other. And since we became independent, we have managed to maintain good relations with China. And this is what -- exactly what I intend to do.

ZAKARIA: What was your impression of President Obama?

You've -- you spent time with him this week.

SUU KYI: I like him. And I like his dogs very much.


ZAKARIA: What did you all talk about?

SUU KYI: We talked about sanctions, about relationship between our two countries, about what we are trying to do to bring about democratization in Burma.

ZAKARIA: Is he well-regarded in Burma?

SUU KYI: He is well-regarded. He met some young people on one of his -- he's been to Burma twice. And in the first visit, he had a very good meeting with some of our young people.

ZAKARIA: What is your goal for Myanmar?

Do you think it should be a multi-party, democratic system, with the full kind of panoply of rights and such, or do you think, because it is a small Asian country, it's going to have a different development?

SUU KYI: All countries develop differently, but I think a multi-party democracy, if you can make it work, is the healthiest and the best in the long run.

ZAKARIA: And that's your aspiration for Burma?

SUU KYI: That's my aspiration. I want to say that my aspiration is to do myself out of a job, that I will no longer be needed, that I would have discharged all the duties that I took on when I first became part of the movement for democracy.

ZAKARIA: And then what will you do?

SUU KYI: And then I'll sit back and read some of your latest books.


Have you written any recently?

ZAKARIA: No -- well, one, but it's a very short one. You might even be able to read it with your current responsibilities.

SUU KYI: Even now, yes.


ZAKARIA: Exactly.

Aung San Suu Kyi, pleasure to have you on. Thank you so much.

SUU KYI: Thank you.


ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," can we please stop talking about Skittles and focus on the real tragedy in Syria? These are the photographs you should be tweeting.


ZAKARIA: New York City was flooded with world leaders this week for the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. It's been five years since the U.N. admitted its most recent member, the Republic of South Sudan. And it brings me to my question: Which of the following countries has been a U.N. member state for less than two decades, China, Cuba, Somalia or Switzerland? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.

This week's book of the week is Jonathan Tepperman's "The Fix: How Nations Survive and Thrive in a World of Decline." This is a truly refreshing read. Anyone looking for good news, genuine, smart, factually grounded good news in today's world, should read this vividly written book. It is a collection of case studies highlighting the smartest, most effective strategies that nations are pursuing to tackle all the problems you always read about, stagnation, immigration, radical Islam, corruption. Think of it as a guide to best practices among governments in the world today.

And now for the last look. Death, destruction, suffering. These are the images of Syria that the world should have been focused on this week. Instead we were distracted by this image: a bowl of candy. It went viral this week when Donald Trump Jr. used poisoned Skittles as an offensive metaphor for the Syrian refugee crisis. The Washington Post's Philip Bump pointed out that the odds of an

American being killed by a refugee in a terrorist attack are roughly one in 3.64 million -- or to make the comparison Trump Jr., using those facts, Bump points out that if one grabbed $69 million handfuls of Skittles, chances are you'd get to a poisoned one.

Trump Jr.'s callous candy comparison happened at a time when there is a strong spotlight on Syria, during the U.N. General Assembly. So let's change the focus back to images like this. It was taken by CNN's senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen on the destruction in Daraya. These haunting images quietly come out of Syria every single day. All of these photographs were taken in the last few weeks alone. Sometimes we just need images like these to remember what all this talk at the U.N. is really all about.

The correct answer to the "GPS" challenge question is D. Despite the fact that the U.N.'s European hub is located in Geneva, Switzerland, Switzerland itself did not become a member until 2002, following a referendum in that country. China, on the other hand, was actually the very first nation to sign the U.N. charter, as it was the first victim of aggression by an axis power. It became a U.N. member in October of 1945.

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