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What Should U.S. Do About North Korea?; Reports Indicate Mike Flynn was in Touch With Russian Ambassador About Sanctions; Implications of the Travel Ban; Interview with Michael Mukasey and Larry Tribe; Trump to Meet with Israeli PM on Wednesday. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired February 12, 2017 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:07] 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.

We'll start today's show with a tough week for President Trump's foreign policy. The travel ban stuck in court. The detente with Russia, new complications there. That outreach to Taiwan? Reversed. What is going on? I have a great panel to discuss. Then, is that ban legal? Is it constitutional? We have two great legal minds to explain.

But, first, here's my take. Maybe it's just me, but a few weeks into the Trump presidency, between the tweets, executive orders, attacks, counterattacks, I'm feeling dizzy. So, I have decided to take a break from the daily barrage and try to find the signal amidst the noise.

What is the underlying philosophy of this administration? If there is an ideologist for the Trump era, it is surely Stephen Bannon - by many accounts now, the second most powerful man in the federal government.

Bannon is intelligent, broadly read, and has a command of American history. I've waded through his many movies and speeches; and in these, he does not come across as a racist or white supremacist as many people have charged.

But he is an unusual conservative. We've gotten used to the idea of conservatives as economic libertarians, but Bannon represents an older school of European conservative thought that is distrustful of free markets, determined to preserve traditional culture, religion, and unabashedly celebrates nationalism and martial values.

In a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2012, for example, Bannon explained his disgust for Mitt Romney and admiration for Sarah Palin, whose older son, Bannon noted, had served in Iraq. Listen in.


STEPHEN BANNON, CHIEF STRATEGIST TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's got five sons and not one has served a day in the military and he wants to be commander-in-chief. He will not be my commander-in-chief.


ZAKARIA: The core of Bannon's worldview can be found in his movie, "Generation Zero." It centers on the financial crisis of 2008 and the main point is that the financial crisis happened because of a larger moral crisis. The film blames the 1960s and the baby boomers who tore down traditional structures of society and created a culture of narcissism.

How did Woodstock trigger a financial crisis four decades later, you might ask? Well, according to Bannon, the breakdown of old-fashioned values created a culture of self-centeredness that measured everything and everyone in one way - money.

A more accurate version of recent American history might be that there was a cultural shift that did begin in the 1960s, but was fueled by a powerful deeply American force - individualism. America had always been highly individualistic. Bannon and Trump, by the way, seem nostalgic for an age from the 1930s to the 1950s, roughly, that was actually an aberration for the nation.

The Great Depression, the New Deal, World War II had created a collectivist impulse that did transform the country, but after a while Americans began to reassert their age-old desire for personal freedom, individual fulfillment and advancement.

The America that allowed individuals to flourish in the 1980s and 90s, of course, was the place where the young and enterprising Stephen Bannon left a large bank to set up his own shop, do his own deals and make a small fortune.

It then allowed him to produce and distribute movies outside of the Hollywood establishment, build a media startup into a new powerhouse, and become a political entrepreneur entirely outside of the Republican hierarchy.

This America allowed Bannon's brash new boss to get out of Queens and into Manhattan, build skyscrapers and also his name brand, all the while horrifying the establishment. Donald Trump is surely the poster child for the idea of a culture of narcissism.


DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think I have the best temperament.


ZAKARIA: In the course of building their careers, Trump and Bannon discarded traditionalism in every way. Both men are divorced. Bannon three times, Trump twice. They have succeeded in achieving their dreams precisely because society was wide open to outsiders.

Breaking traditional morality did not stigmatize you and American elites were actually not that powerful. Their stories are the stories of modern America, but their message to the country seems to be an older, more familiar one - do as I say, not as I do.

[10:05:16] For more, go to and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.

On Saturday night, as President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe were at Trump's Florida home, the North Koreans were launching a ballistic missile. It was the first such launch of the Trump presidency, surely meant as a provocation. It was, of course, a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

What should the United States do about North Korea? What can it do? I'm joined by New America CEO and President, Anne-Marie Slaughter. She was Director of Policy Planning in the State Department during President Obama's first term. And the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haas. He held the same position at the State Department during George W. Bush's first term. He is the author of a terrific new book, A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order.

Richard, you know, when Trump met Obama, that first meeting at the White House, it was Trump, I think, said Obama talked to me about something very important and urgent. I can't tell anyone what it was. Well, it turns out - we learn from reporting - it was that North Korea was likely to do a ballistic test. Now, it's happened. Why is this one important? And they've done several. What does this one mean?

RICHARD HAAS, PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: This test in and of itself isn't important. It's just North Korea's version of station identification, want to remind the world that it's there.

But sooner or later, probably on Donald Trump's watch, North Korea will get good enough with ballistic missile technology. It will marry it with the nuclear weapons they already have and they will be able to threaten the continental United States with a nuclear strike. If anyone every wants -

ZAKARIA: Just to explain what that means, right now, they've got the missile, the thing that - the next thing is to be able to take the nuclear weapon, which they have, and put it on the missile.

HAAS: Right. With the reentry technology and have the missiles of sufficient range and accuracy. The general thinking is that they're a couple of years away, but that's just an estimate. It's a pretty difficult intelligence target.

So, if anyone ever wanted an example, Fareed, of a world in disarray, this is it. This is a medium-size power, but it's a real power now. It's got all these conventional military arms. Now, it has this. It's very difficult for the world to contain it.

So, the question is, what we do? And we're moving towards a situation where either, I think, we get the Chinese on-board and we increase the pressure on them through sanctions and the Chinese are in the unique position to do it. Or Mr. Trump is going to have to face a truly fateful decision about whether we're prepared to live with that, a North Korea that has that capability against us, or we are going to use military force, one way or another, to destroy their nuclear and missile capabilities. That would be a truly consequential decision either way.

ZAKARIA: And to be clear, this is way beyond Iran because it is a country that has actual nuclear weapons, now has actual missile technology and could marry the two.

The conventional wisdom is that the problem is that the Chinese are too worried that if they push the North Koreans hard, the country will collapse. They'll be flooded with refugees. There'll probably be a Korean unification on American terms, that is - South Korea's terms. Isn't that right? I mean, that's why they are hesitant to do much more.

ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, CEO AND PRESIDENT, NEW AMERICA: That's why they are hesitant, but I think this is a bigger deal than Richard does because we knew this was coming. Most of us predicted that North Korea would challenge Trump very soon and he did it right when Prime Minister Abe is visiting with Trump, so Japan and United States together.

What's important here are two things. One, Secretary Clinton called for a tougher North Korea policy. There is a tougher policy. We can impose much more personal sanctions that strike at the heart of the actual North Korean regime. It does - China doesn't want us to do that, but it has been effective.

The question is whether Trump will use this to get a tougher policy, but, equally important, this is our first chance to see what happens when Trump has said not going to happen, he's going to escalate this, they're likely to escalate.

We're either going to see a kind of war of words and diplomatic solution or we could see something that really is more of a dangerous kind of escalation and it's not quite clear what Trump will do.

HAAS: Just to be clear, first of all, you don't think it's a bigger problem than I do. I think this is the biggest national security problem facing the United States.

SLAUGHTER: You said it was station identification.

HAAS: No, the missile test is. The North Korean nuclear missile challenge is the biggest national security challenge facing us. Current policy, for several decades, bipartisan, has not worked.

[10:10:00] Will China do something? We can try to incentivize China, reassure them about the political complexion of Korean Peninsula. I don't know if that will be enough. They kind of like a divided peninsula. We can, in some ways, threaten them as we are with missile defenses, conceivably greater nuclear presence. I don't know.

We've also got to bring Japan and South Korea on board. ZAKARIA: Let me suggest. You know, is it possible that we need to do something much more dramatic in the sense that - as you say, we have to reassure them. Do we have to tell them, look, if you push the North Koreans and the regime collapses, we will not - you know, what they're worried about is a unified Korea, which has 30,000 American troops, a treaty with the United States and nuclear weapons all on their border.

HAAS: Most of the need for that disappears. You certainly don't need the number or kind of troops you have now. You certainly don't need them up against the 38th Parallel. We should be committed, first and foremost, to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

I think there are things we can and should put on the table with China. I simply don't know whether that'll be enough to get them to use their economic leverage.

ZAKARIA: I got to move on. Mike Flynn. Is he in hot water with these reports that he not only made contact with the Russian ambassador, not only talked about potentially lifting sanctions or implied it, but then seems to have misled the vice president - the vice president-elect at the time?

SLAUGHTER: Well, so he's clearly in hot water and it's a boon for the Democrats who're beating him up, and particularly to know that he's talking to the Russians saying, don't worry about Obama's sanctions, things can be reviewed.

But what will happen, I think, is more a function of internal White House politics than external politics. This has happened before. It's impossible to think that the Reagan administration wasn't talking to Iran over hostages back in -


ZAKARIA: Yes. That piece is not. It's misleading the vice president and the American public.

SLAUGHTER: Yes. But it's also -

ZAKARIA: David Ignatius makes this point in the -

SLAUGHTER: I think that's true. But I also think it's a question of who Steve Bannon would prefer to have in that position, whether or not if you get a replacement that's going to roil White House politics.

ZAKARIA: A quick thought about - this does prove there's something strange about Russia. Trump basically doesn't like any other foreign country, except Russia.

HAAS: That's the most interesting part of this. Beyond the White House machinations, beyond the Logan Act is why is Russia singled out for consistently benign treatment.

But at the same time, we have the new US representative at the UN taking a rough line towards Russia, we have some talk about bringing Montenegro into NATO. So, we're beginning to see here, as we're seeing across the board, a tension between candidate and transition Trump and President Trump. So, we simply don't know what the real nature of Russia policy will be.

ZAKARIA: We will be back to talk about just that. The Trump reversals when we come back.


[10:17:33] ZAKARIA: And we are back with Richard Haas and Anne-Marie Slaughter. So, when Trump was a candidate, he says he's going to tear up the Iran deal, he's going to reconsider One China policy, he's going to move the embassy to Jerusalem. It seems to me - it's pretty clear none of those things are going to happen. As it happens, you wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal urging him to do none of those things. You think he read the article.

HAAS: I think there is a better chance he read the article than read my book. But it is good news. Forget about the article. This is good news. It is the difference between campaigning and governing. And the fact that he didn't do these three things and he hasn't done some other things that would've simply added to an already overflowing inbox, we ought to welcome.

Life's pretty tough. The inbox that greeted him or would've greeted Hillary Clinton is plenty tough. And the fact that he hasn't added to it by taking these policies - I mean, we just talked about North Korea for ten minutes. The idea of trying to work with North Korea, at the same time you threaten the One China policy, good luck with that. So, I'm actually relieved to see that in at least some of these cases Donald Trump is not making good on his campaign utterances.

ZAKARIA: The Taiwan one strikes me, though, as a particularly odd one because he makes the overture to Taiwan and everybody says, 'oh, maybe this is the brilliant negotiator who has gone for the thing that China cares most about,' but then he gives it up entirely without getting anything in return.

And the implication clearly was from Trump's own tweets he was going to get something on trade, he was going to get something on jobs, and the Chinese just said, no, there will be no contact between President Xi and President Trump until he reverses himself on this and then he did.

SLAUGHTER: Well, I think part of it is the narrative between his tweets and his statements and what actually happens is the gap is widening. And he is assuming people won't actually notice what's actually happening, at least the people to whom he's tweeting. But, yes, he essentially lost that round. China said nothing. He needs to talk to China. He needed to talk to China before Prime Minister Abe came because that's a big issue with our relations with Japan.

But I agree with Richard here that the people who said, 'nope, he's going to run one way and govern another, thus far that looks like what's happening.' ZAKARIA: Part of it, I assume, is the reassertion of the departments. What happens, White House gets staffed first, the departments are getting staffed later, so, initially, the White House makes all of these announcements. But I'm still struck by the fact that the State Department doesn't have a deputy, the Defense Department doesn't have the deputy. How much - I mean, what are you hearing about the disarray?

HAAS: In a sense, there really isn't a Trump administration yet when it comes to national security or foreign policy. I'm not sure how much this is the pushback of the departments because the departments don't really exist.

[10:20:00] Now, he's also talking to various people on the outside. He's also talking to foreign leaders. He just had Prime Minister Abe here. He is talking to others. He is talking to the Henry Kissingers of the world and so forth.

I think he's getting a sense of realism. And there are disconnections. When you campaign, you can choose every in isolation. You can be a purist. As Mario Cuomo said, you can campaign in poetry. But now you've got to govern in prose. And part of governing in prose is seeing the connections. And I think, essentially, reality is coming to this administration and they're realizing they can't do everything they said they wanted, even though it resonated well during the election.

SLAUGHTER: Except I do think the Muslim ban woke up certainly General Kelly and Rex Tillerson and General Mattis as - wait a minute, that was very badly handled. And I do think there are stories that General Kelly at DHS just said, I don't report to Steve Bannon, I report to the president. So, at least, they were woken up on one to one, not the Department. I agree with Richard, there's no administration. But it's hard to believe that they're not weighing in as cabinet ministers.

ZAKARIA: On the Iran - on the travel ban, I assume this must have complicated things with the Iraqi government considerably.

HAAS: Well, Iraqi government now and Iraqi governments of future. How are we going to get people to work with us if we make pledges that we're going to essentially take care of them if they get threatened and then we don't. So, this is now going - it deals with Iraq, but it really deals with the entire business of American intelligence, working with local citizens in hazardous situations. We have got to make good on our word or the kinds of things that Mr. Trump has promoted here will not make us safer.

So, above and beyond the legal arguments, which I can't make about the travel bans, there's a security argument here. We have got to be good to those who put their lives on the line to help Americans.

ZAKARIA: Final thoughts?

SLAUGHTER: Well, the other thing is we're handing an absolute gift to terrorist recruiters. All you have to do is now point to, 'Muslims can't enter the United States, we're all terrorists,' and you are feeding the ISIS narrative.

ZAKARIA: Thank you both very much. We will just be back to discuss what Richard said he was not competent to discuss. What about the legality of the travel ban? I will talk to two of the country's leading legal experts. Laurence Tribe and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey joining me to talk about what happens next.


[10:26:34] ZAKARIA: "See you in court. The security of our nation is at stake." That was President Trump's tweet on Thursday after a three- judge panel from the Ninth Circuit Court ruled against reinstating the president's travel ban.

The White House has given indications that it won't immediately appeal to the Supreme Court. In commentary, both the ban and the panel's decision have come under some criticism. Why?

Well, joining me here in New York is Michael Mukasey, former Attorney General of the United States at the end of the George W. Bush administration. And from outside Boston, Laurence Tribe joins us. He is a Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard. He received tenure there at the astonishing age of 30 and has argued 35 cases before the Supreme Court.

Laurence Tribe, let me ask you. Summarize the Ninth Circuit's decision. What can we make of it?

LAURENCE TRIBE, PROFESSOR OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Well, the Ninth Circuit quite carefully and unanimously held that the decision of the District Court that put the ban on hold until a full hearing could be held and until its serious legal flaws could be examined, that decision essentially was a defeat for the administration and a victory for the rule of law because the administration, after issuing a ban that was a thinly disguised form of religious discrimination and offering justifications for it that just didn't pan out in the hearing before the Ninth Circuit, essentially was sending a signal to Muslims all over the world and the United States that they're not welcome here.

And as your guests in the last segment, Richard Haas and Anne-Marie Slaughter indicated, far from protecting us from terror, that made it harder for us to work with people in countries like Iraq and became essentially an advertisement for ISIS recruiting. So, I think we're much better off now that that ban has been stayed and is not going to quickly be reinstated.

ZAKARIA: But, Larry, let me ask you, though, on the specific question. All that may be unwise, why is it unconstitutional? Why does the president not have the authority to do something that might be bad foreign policy?

TRIBE: Well, of course, what makes it unconstitutional is not simply that it's bad foreign policy. That wouldn't suffice. It's the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which says that the government cannot draw religious lines. And this was a religious line if ever there was one.

Their argument that not all Muslims are being excluded and discriminated against is like saying that if only a few Jews are the subject of a ban that only hits Jews, then it's perfectly all right. There are still some who aren't being hurt.

And, in fact, the US Supreme Court in a case from McCreary County, Kentucky, in 2005, made clear that in judging whether something is a form of religious gerrymandering, you look not only at the people who are favored, like in Section 5 of this ban, the Christian minorities of these countries are favored, but you also look at the context, the history, the statements made surrounding the ban. And this couldn't be an easier case from that perspective.

Donald Trump campaigned on an anti-Muslim slogan. He said he was going to leave all Muslims out. Then having been told he couldn't quite do that, he apparently asked Rudy Giuliani to put lipstick on the pig. And what we end up with is still a pig.

ZAKARIA: Michael Mukasey, what do you make of that decision, the Ninth Circuit?

[10:30:00] MICHAEL MUKASEY, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, the 9th Circuit decision, unfortunately, was wrong on just about every count that it decided, starting with giving standing to the states of Washington and Minnesota to represent the, quote, "rights" of people who have no rights, that is, aliens who are overseas who have no connection to this country.

What they said, what the 9th Circuit said, essentially, was that, if the states, the universities and so on, had made arrangements with students or with lecturers to come here, then they had a third-party right to defend the rights of those people.

That assumed that those people have a right to come here in the first place. The -- the universities do not have -- cannot confer rights on aliens, and there was no right that was conferred here.

It may very well be that lawful permanent residents have a right to be here and that -- that visa holders have a right to be here, but those could have been carved out. The 9th Circuit specifically refused to do that.

Insofar as the question of whether the decision was -- was properly based, there's a statute that defines the president's authority to do this. Not only wasn't it distinguished, it wasn't even discussed or mentioned in the opinion.

The statute says, "Whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation and for such period that he shall deem necessary suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non- immigrants or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate." ZAKARIA: What about -- what about the '65 -- 1965 Immigration and

Naturalization Act which says you cannot discriminate on people on the basis of national origin?

MUKASEY: It entirely -- it's entirely consistent with that. This was not a discrimination on the basis of national origin. This was a discrimination on the basis of -- of countries that are -- that are failed states.

ZAKARIA: Isn't that national origin, though, if that's a blanket ban on...

MUKASEY: No. It is not -- it is not a blanket ban. What the statute bans is discrimination, i.e., drawing a distinction that has no basis in fact. If the distinction has a basis in fact, i.e., you come from a failed state, that's perfectly permissible.

ZAKARIA: So you think this -- the decision was wrong and you think -- you think it would be reversed by the Supreme Court?

MUKASEY: That's a whole different -- that's a whole different matter. And as I understand it, what they're doing now is redrafting the statute to carve out lawful permanent residents and visa holders. I don't know that that's precisely what they're doing, but there is talk of redrafting the order and then possibly going back, either in a case out of this circuit or in a case out of another circuit where the decision went the other way, or other circuits where it might go the other way.

ZAKARIA: All right. When we come back, we will talk about exactly this. What happens next and what happens in a new Supreme Court with one new member?


ZAKARIA: And we are back with Michael Mukasey and Larry Tribe.

Larry, let me ask you, Michael Mukasey says, whatever you think of the decision -- and I should point out that Michael had written an article against a Muslim ban during the campaign -- it's clear that this is a core authority that the president has; this is foreign policy; courts don't have a role?

TRIBE: Courts do have a role. They've exercised it 17 times, at least, in their history. Although I respect the former attorney general, he was wrong on every count. He said that the 9th Circuit didn't even refer to the statutory authority. It did. It cited it on page four. But statutes are subordinate to the Constitution. And the former attorney general said not one word to respond to the arguments that have been made and that I repeated earlier about why this is a form of religious discrimination.

And his idea that the states don't have standing is, kind of, funny because I think he was in favor of Texas having standing to attack President Obama's immigration order, even though its only injury was having to pay for some driver's licenses. So I think he's wrong in every respect. He was a better attorney general than he is a constitutional lawyer.

ZAKARIA: Michael Mukasey, this -- and talk about this issue that Larry mentioned, which is, if you have all the surrounding literature, Trump's speeches, the original Muslim ban, the Supreme Court has in the past -- as I understand it, it has said that's all relevant because we're trying to figure out whether the intent here is to discriminate on the basis of religion?

MUKASEY: Sure. The -- the rhetoric that was quoted from -- from Mr. Trump, I think, was -- what he was talking about was protecting the country against terrorists attacks. He was not talking about the practice of Islam but rather about an extreme version of Islam. So it was, in his mind, a safety issue, not a religious issue. And the fact is that they chose only states that were failed states, that had been listed in a list of states...

ZAKARIA: Well, Iran is not a failed state. Iran is a highly competent -- our problem with Iran is the exact opposite...

MUKASEY: And they are...

ZAKARIA: ... it functions very aggressively.

MUKASEY: Right, and they have -- and they have -- that makes my point. They have terrorist designs on the United States. They say the United States is "the great Satan" that they want to destroy. Those are precisely the kinds of states...

ZAKARIA: Well, but you can't have it both ways. Iran is actually -- there is actually no Iranian who has committed a terrorist act in the United States, and Al Qaida and...

MUKASEY: Well, Iran -- Iran has financed terrorism all over the world.

ZAKARIA: But tell me about the legal issue. Is he right that, if you can show -- because it's not just that the ban was against all Muslims, not just extreme or radical -- I'm saying in the campaign...

MUKASEY: In the campaign? As you pointed out, I wrote an article saying I thought that was ridiculous.

ZAKARIA: But is that evidence that this is -- that this was religious discrimination?

MUKASEY: No, it's not. No, it's not. What he was talking about was something that was directed at the safety of the United States to prevent terrorist attacks. He was not talking about discriminating against the Muslim religion. I think that's pretty clear even in the extreme statements that he made during the campaign, in fairness.

But the notion that somehow this is the business of courts is just false. The -- the 9th Circuit said there is -- that there's no precedent to support the claim that this was not reviewable, which, as I say, runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy. And you can practically see the announcers break out in goosebumps when they read that.

Well, there's plenty of authority against that, including Justice Jackson in -- who said that these decisions are given to the political branches of government, Congress and the president, that judges are not equipped to do it and have no authority to do it.

ZAKARIA: We've got to leave it on that.


ZAKARIA: Thank you both.

Up next, Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, when they meet this week, will talk about the U.S. embassy and its location. We have Rashid Khalidi to explain more about that.


ZAKARIA: On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Donald Trump in Washington. Surely among the topics they will discuss is Trump's declared intention to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

To understand why this is a big deal, a little history. In 1949, negotiators drew a green line that divided Jerusalem in two. Israel controlled the west, Jordan the east. It was so divided until 1967 when Israel began to occupy the east during the Six Day War.

In 1980 Israel declared Jerusalem to be the capital of the country. The U.N. immediately passed a resolution declaring Israel's actions illegal and calling for embassies to be withdrawn from Jerusalem. There are currently no embassies in that holy city, zero. So what would happen in the Arab world if the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem?

Joining me is Rashid Khalidi, professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University.

So, what would happen?

RASHID KHALIDI, PROFESSOR OF MODERN ARAB STUDIES, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, in the Arab world, it would be a huge embarrassment for allies of the United states and Israel, countries like Jordan and Egypt that have peace treaties with Israel, countries like Saudi Arabia and the Emirates that have very close but covert relationships with Israel.

The moving of the embassy would be seen in the Arab world as a very unfriendly act.

ZAKARIA: Why? I mean, to explain to somebody why would -- look, it is Israel's capital. Aren't Israelis right in saying, "Look, this has been our functioning capital. Every other country in the world, the functioning capital is where the embassies are"?

KHALIDI: Because, even before the bit that you mentioned in the lead- up to this, in 1947 the United Nations, when it gave legitimacy to the idea of a Jewish state and an Arab state said that Jerusalem had to be a separate entity.

And the United States has said and other countries have said, until there is a final status resolution of the question of Jerusalem, nobody should change the status, including moving embassies there, proclaiming it your capital, building settlements. There are 200,000 Israelis living illegally in occupied Arab East Jerusalem today. All of these things, in the eyes of American policy, until President Trump was elected, and in the eyes of the world, every country in the world, are illegal, until and unless Israel and the Palestinians come to terms over Jerusalem.

ZAKARIA: So the idea was -- correct me if I'm wrong -- but, you know, Jerusalem is special because it has, kind of, religious significance...


ZAKARIA: ... both to -- you know, to three religions. And so it should remain -- it should have some kind of special status and, in the context of this two-state solution, you don't want to create facts on the ground...

KHALIDI: Exactly.

ZAKARIA: ... that make it impossible to have negotiations?

KHALIDI: Which pre-empt or prejudice a possible outcome of a negotiation.

And Israel, of course, has been doing this, moving the signposts in the occupied territories and in Jerusalem since '67. And American administrations, up until this one, have always resisted that, in word, at least. They haven't done very much about it, but they've said, at least, "We don't accept these things."

ZAKARIA: But what would really happen -- I mean, the Arab countries are powerless compared to Israel. What are they going to do?

KHALIDI: Well, it would destabilize a country like Jordan, for example, a large proportion of whose population are Palestinian and many of whose population, including East Bank Jordanians, are nationalists and really believe that their country rolls over in front of the Israelis.

ZAKARIA: So there would be street protests and people saying the Jordanian government...

KHALIDI: There would be instability, exactly, exactly. There would be instability in the occupied territories, which would worry the Jordanians. That always concerns them.

It should concern the Israelis. My guess is the Israeli security services and the military are not in favor of this because they know it will create trouble in the occupied territories.

ZAKARIA: So you think Netanyahu might come to Trump and say "Cool it; don't do this so..."? KHALIDI: Possibly. I'm sure that the State Department and the

permanent bureaucracy which understands all of these ramifications have been quietly trying to tell the president and his advisors, "Take it easy on this."

ZAKARIA: We had on the program Bernard-Henri Levy last week talking about his new book...


ZAKARIA: ... about anti-Semitism. But in it he said that the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel that is prevalent on come college campuses in the United States is essentially anti- Semitic. It drew a very sharp response from many of our viewers, including you.


ZAKARIA: And you e-mailed me. And I want you to explain what it is that you objected to in what Levy said.

KHALIDI: I mean, first of all, it's grotesque, in a time when there is real anti-Semitism, Jew hatred being publicly expressed by people who are supporters, among other things, of President Trump, when there is an increase in -- and we had, in the subways here, swastikas, in New York, that people are talking about Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions as anti-Semitic.

Many of the people who support it are Jewish, so presumably they are "self-hating." Moreover, this is a time-honored tactic. The Boston Tea Party was a boycott. Selma, Montgomery, every -- every major campaign in Civil Rights involved boycott. The South African freedom struggle used boycott, divestment and sanctions as a central element.


KHALIDI: Why are the Palestinians not allowed to do this?

ZAKARIA: But the argument is that this is -- this is, sort of, anti- Zionist; it questions the right of Israel to exist and therefore is anti-Semitic.

KHALIDI: There's absolutely nothing in -- Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions says Israel has to end the occupation; Israel has to treat its discriminated-against, second-class Arab citizens, 20 percent of the population, equally; and Israel has to give Palestinians who lost their homes, whose homes were stolen in 1948, the right to get those homes back and/or to return.

There's nothing anti-Semitic in that. Property rights -- what's anti- Semitic about property rights? The right to live in your homeland -- what's anti-Semitic about that? The end -- an end to the longest occupation in modern history -- what's anti-Semitic about that?

I think that, when you are defending the indefensible, as Bernard- Henri Levy and many extreme supporters of Israel are doing, you have no -- no alternative but to resort to smears and slurs against the people who are making a very -- in my view -- a very, very strong case that the United States has not done, the international community has not done what it said it wanted to do in terms of stopping occupation, settlement, land theft, and that it's up to people, ordinary people, to try and push their government and push people with a moral conscience to put pressure on Israel so that it stops all of these -- all of these violations of human rights and of -- of civil and property rights.

ZAKARIA: Rashid Khalidi, always a pleasure to have you on.

If you want to see the interview that was referenced from last week with Bernard-Henri Levy, you can go to to view it. We had sequential balance here, if not simultaneous balance.

KHALIDI (?): Ah, balance.


ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, why Yemen, one of the poorest nations in the world, engulfed in a civil war, has become such a crucial target in the U.S. war against terror.


ZAKARIA: According to a new PricewaterhouseCoopers report, China will become the largest economy in the world in less than 15 years. And it brings me to my question of the week.

By 2050, of the five largest economies in the world, how many are projected to be countries in Asia? Is it two, three, four or all five?

Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.

This week's book of the week is one that Stephen Bannon is apparently recommending that all in the White House read, David Halberstam's "The Best and the Brightest," a brilliant critique of America's stumble into Vietnam.

Bannon, like many others, believes the book is a case against the brainy experts, as the title implies. Actually, if you read it, you'll see that it is an indictment of the arrogance of America's top officials who were blinded by anti-Communist ideology and ignored and dismissed the advice of the real experts, Foreign Service officers, historians, scholars who knew Vietnam and China, the region, the history, the countries, the cultures, and who argued against America's policy from the start -- in any event, a classic of journalism.

And now for the last look.



(END VIDEO CLIP) ZAKARIA: You are listening to the voice of the leader of Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Qasim al-Raymi. In this recording released last week, the AQAP leader says, "The new fool of the White House received a painful slap across his face," ridiculing President Trump over the recent U.S. raid on an Al Qaida compound in Yemen.

The Pentagon claims al-Raymi was never the target of this intelligence-gathering raid, but a senior military official told CNN targeting al-Raymi was one of several operational goals.

The details surrounding this ground operation, one that killed a Navy Seal and civilians, in addition to militants, are murky, though Eric Schmidt and David Sanger of the New York Times described it as a case where "almost everything that could go wrong did."

This is not the only recent action in Yemen, of course. The U.S. has ramped up activity in the skies over this war-torn nation in recent years. As many as 174 AQAP members were killed in strikes last year, according to the Long War journal. That's up from 97 the previous year. There were 38 strikes in 2016, up from 22 in 2015. There have been at least five strikes already this year, as the New York Times points out.

What is going on? Well, for one, Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is considered to be the most capable Al Qaida offshoot. And while ISIS is target number one globally, a resurgent Al Qaida would be very troublesome.

The Yemen government has requested for a review of last month's commando operation, the New York Times reports, following outcries over the civilian casualties. And Yemen was, of course, included in the Trump travel ban, increasing tensions with that country. It will be hard to fight ISIS or Al Qaida without friends on the ground in that region.

The correct answer to the "GPS" challenge question is C. When ranked by projected GDP, the United States is expected to be the second- largest economy after China in 2050, followed by India, Indonesia and Japan. PricewaterhouseCoopers points out that, when examining GDP in terms of purchasing power parity, another measure, India will surpass the United States by 2040 to become the world's second biggest economy.

Overall, the report says the world economy could more than double in size by 2042, mainly due to technology-driven productivity improvements.

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