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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Foreign Affairs Under President Trump; Interview with Sergey Karaganov;Russian View of U.S. Election; Netanyahu's Visit Examined; Discussion of Abe Visit. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired February 19, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:00] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria coming to you live in New York.
Today on the show, Donald Trump's White House in turmoil. The national security adviser has been fired. Meanwhile Russia and North Korea have taken bold steps. Trump seems open to a one-state solution in the Middle East.
What is going on? I have three people who ran national security in the White House. Three deputy national security advisers to help explain.
Then Russia's reaction to the firing of Michael Flynn and the underlying question -- just how close is the Kremlin to the Trump team?
And, Caroline Kennedy, the former ambassador to Japan on Prime Minister Abe's visit to President Trump and the role of women in the Land of the Rising Sun.
But first here's my take. Let's say you are a Trump voter. The kind we often hear about, an honest hard-working American who put up with Donald Trump's unusual behavior because you wanted a president who would stop playing Washington's political games, bring a businessman's obsession with action and results, and focus on the economy.
How's that's working out for you?
The first few weeks of the Trump administration have been an illustration of that line from the writer Alfred Montapert. "Do not confuse motion with progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
We are witnessing a rocking horse presidency in which everyone is jerking back and forth furiously and yet there is no forward movement.
Since winning the election Donald Trump has dominated the news nearly every day. He has picked fights with the media, making a series of bizarre, mostly false claims about the magnitude of his victory, the size of his inauguration crowd, the weather that day, the numbers of illegally cast ballots among many other issues. Now he's embroiled in a controversy about ties to Russia. But in the midst of it all, what has he actually done? Hardly
anything. This week Trump said at a news conference there's never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time.
Matthew Iglesias of Vox observes that at this point in his presidency President Obama had signed into law an almost trillion-dollar stimulus bill to revive the economy, extended health insurance to four million children, and made it easier to challenge discriminatory labor practices.
Iglesias notes that the Trump White House has not even begun serious discussions with Congress on major legislation. Trump has issued a series of executive orders with great fanfare, though fewer than Obama at this point, but they are mostly hot air. Lofty proclamations that direct some agency to review a law, report back to him, consider some action or reaffirm some long standing practice.
His one order that did something, the temporary travel ban, was so poorly conceived and phrased that it got stuck in the court system and will have to be redone. But what about plans to reindustrialize the Midwest, bring back jobs, revive the coal and steel industries? What for that matter of the explicit commitments that, quote, "on day one," unquote, he would begin removing critical illegal immigrants and would label China a currency manipulator, push for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress? Get rid of gun free zones in schools and military bases?
All were promised, almost none has been done.
There are two aspects to the Trump presidency. There is the freak show, the tweets, the wild claims, the fake facts, the fights with anyone who refuses to bow down to him, the media and judges included, and the ceaseless self-promotion.
But then there's Trump the savvy business person who named intelligent heavyweights like Gary Kohn, Rex Tillerson and James Mattis to key positions and who had at times articulated a serious reform agenda.
For many people the bargain of the Trump presidency was that they would put up with the freak show in order to get tax reform, infrastructure projects and wise deregulation. That may still happen but for now at least reality TV is in overdrive and not much is happening in the realm of serious public policy.
The Romans said that the way to keep people happy was to give them bread and circus, sustenance and entertainment. So far all we have gotten is the circus.
[10:05:07] For more go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week, and let's get started.
President Trump is said to be interviewing candidates today to be his national security adviser after Michael Flynn exited the post on Monday night after just 23 days in office. One potential replacement has already turned down the job. Meanwhile at the end of the week a shakeup at the State Department left many career officers anxious about what their future will be.
So who is actually running national security at the U.S. government?
Let's ask three people who have held top jobs doing just that. Tony Blinken, Avril Haines and Elliott Abrams were all deputy national security advisers. An absolutely key position in government.
Blinken was also deputy secretary of State under Obama, he is now a CNN global affairs analyst. Haines was previously the number two at the CIA under Obama, the first female deputy director at the agency, and Elliott Abrams had many different senior roles at the National Security Council including deputy national security adviser during the George W. Bush administration.
Elliott, let me start with you, to just ask you a question about your own personal story. You were effectively offered the deputy secretary of State job by Rex Tillerson. Met with Trump, with President Trump, and -- that was then withdrawn. What happened?
ELLIOTT ABRAMS, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER UNDER G.W. BUSH: Well, the president vetoed it, which one has to say it's his absolute right to do. These are presidential appointments. But he looked back to the campaign and decided I had been too critical of him during the campaign, during the primary fight and said no to Tillerson.
ZAKARIA: But what I'm struck by is that there have been many people who were critical of Donald Trump. Betsy DeVos. He just met with Paul Singer who effectively funded the entire never-Trump campaign and was lavishing his praise for him.
ZAKARIA: So it seems as though if you're a billionaire or a general, you can have criticized him but nobody else.
ABRAMS: Well, unfortunately I'm neither.
ABRAMS: I think there is a varying standard. I think that's clear and it's disappointing.
ZAKARIA: Tony Blinken, let me ask you. The government -- the way the U.S. government actually works in national security is it is run by these deputies committees. The deputy national security adviser that you all were chairs the committee of the deputy secretary of State, deputy secretary of Defense, deputy CIA director. They actually run the government. Push out the final decisions that need to be made by the president, secretary of State, et cetera.
At this point, you don't have a national security adviser. You don't have a deputy secretary of State. You don't have a deputy secretary of Defense. How is government actually running? What do you think is happening? TONY BLINKEN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Fareed, it's a great
question. Yes, we like to think we did all the hard work as deputies. But here's the thing. The National Security Council and all of its processes, they're the center of gravity for making foreign policy. And when it's out of whack, the policy is going to be out of whack. And it starts with the personnel and it starts with the process. And there are four things this administration hasn't done and needs to do if it wants to get this back on track. First they need a national security adviser and someone who can bring people together as an honest broker. Second, they need to get all of the agencies of government in the room. State Department, Defense Department, Joint Chiefs, Treasury, Energy, you name it.
Third, they need to listen and loop in the National Security Council staff. These are career professionals who know exactly what they're doing. Who've been marginalized to date. And finally they have to check politics at the situation room door.
This is one of the most troubling aspects of what they've done. Mr. Bannon seems to running a parallel process divorced from the National Security Council to try to formulate policy. That is a recipe for ending up in a very bad place.
ZAKARIA: Avril, when you look at the issue of intelligence, you know, one of the things that people, friends of mine have told me, sources at the intelligence community is that they have in a sense probably lost -- the intelligence community has lost confidence in the president. It's very rare to have the kind of leaks that you've had about the connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.
That something is going on in the intelligence and law enforcement community, FBI, that is making them resort to something they rarely do which is leaking to the "New York Times," the "Washington Post."
AVRIL HAINES, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER UNDER PRES. OBAMA: Yes, I mean, I think the relationship between the intelligence community and the White House is absolutely critical obviously. And the intelligence community has to feel as if it's capable of telling the White House exactly what it thinks, providing the best analysis that it can in the most objective way that is possible.
And right now I think you see a lack of trust there that can affect frankly the degree of information and the quality of it that comes to the White House so that the president frankly can make better decisions that are informed by the intelligence that is at his disposal.
ABRAMS: Can I just --
ZAKARIA: Yes. Yes.
[10:10:15] ABRAMS: Let's just remember, we're not quite, I think it's tomorrow is one month. And I think it's a mistake to take a snapshot today and say the problem is we're going to be in this position in the summer. I think Tony is right and these jobs are going to be filled. It's too slow, but they will be filled. So come back, say, June 1st you'll have the deputies, undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, a functioning deputies committee and principals committee. And those problems at least I think will be behind us. Those are the kind of teething problems.
ZAKARIA: But I want to ask you what your reaction is to what we're seeing right now which is on the one hand at the Munich security conference, you have the vice president, the secretary of Defense making these very strong and very traditional reassurances of American policy, restatements of American policy. We are with Europe. And then you have Trump at these campaign rallies in Florida seemingly still suggesting a very different kind of -- you know, the body language even in terms of -- it seems -- you know, he's outside the government.
ABRAMS: Well, I think that's -- that is what they perceive. That is what Europeans perceive. I like your speech, Mr. Pence. I like your speech, General Mattis, but do you really represent the president, is their question. And with the exception of Theresa May none of them have met the president. One would hope that in the course of this, say, six months, the president goes to a NATO summit or meets individually with European leaders and they get, for example, a commitment to NATO directly from him the way Theresa May got it.
So again, the hope would be yes, this is happening in the first month. It's natural with a unique candidate and president like Trump, but it will get better not worse. That would be the hope.
ZAKARIA: All right. Stay with us. When we come back what we're going to talk about is actual policy. What does the Trump White House have to decide on foreign policy in the next few weeks. Stay right here. We'll be right back.
[10:16:33] ZAKARIA: And we are back with Tony Blinken, Avril Haines, and Elliott Abrams, all former deputy national security advisers.
Tony, one of the pieces of news that we are getting really as we sit here discussing this is that Mosul appears to be falling or falling more. Iraqi troops are moving in. The U.S. effort seems to be paying off. At this point, don't we have a series of important decisions to make about what happens next and particularly who will govern these spaces that are now being liberated from ISIS.
BLINKEN: Yes, Fareed, that's exactly right. We are on the verge with our partners on the ground in Iraq and even in Syria, in taking away the so-called caliphate that ISIL has tried to establish. That's going to have a critical impact on their ability to continue to do what they have been doing. It's going to take away the space to send foreign fighters, too. The resources that they've been exploiting, that's being squeezed. And it undermines their entire narrative of actually building a state.
So we're at a moment now where we are on the verge of being able to at least get to the defeat really of Daesh, of ISIL in Iraq and in Syria with Mosul and Iraq, Raqqa and Syria. But there are critical questions about pursuing that campaign, including what to do about Raqqa? Who's going to take that city? Are we going to actually go ahead and arm some of the Kurdish fighters who are on the ground, working with Arab fights, to take Raqqa? How are we going to proceed?
And also critical questions about, as you said, the stabilization of governance of cities that are newly liberated. The Obama administration handed off a very detailed, coherent, convincing plan to the Trump administration across the board. My hope is that the Trump administration will take that up and implement it.
ZAKARIA: Avril, when you look at the operation in Yemen, the counterterrorism operation that seems to have gone awry, do you think that some of that could be the lack of staffing, the lack of coordination, or was it -- you know, was it just bad luck sometimes these operations go well, sometimes they go badly?
HAINES: Honestly, it's hard to tell. I just don't know exactly what came to the president. What was approved by him and how it was dealt with. What I would say is that, part of what you were discussing earlier, you know, about the structure of the NSC and how it is being implemented and the process that they are engaged in, how that relates to policy comes into play here which is to say that if you run a process that is stable and transparent to the inter agency essentially then what you do is you end up having an integrated policy.
And one in which departments and agencies and the professionals who are responsible for the policy are actually able to raise issues, bring them up, and make clear to the White House here are things where we need to interface with our, you know, sister agencies and departments. And in the way that the Yemen counterterrorism operation played out is you -- you know, we're asking about, I think one of the questions that we had was just whether or not the State Department was as involved as they should have been, frankly, in rolling out that kind of an operation and ensuring that things go well because they have a critical role to play.
And there were at least reports that they weren't as involved as you might expect them to be. And that could have led to, for example, some of the friction that went on with Yemen after the operation. But I couldn't tell you whether or not we would have done things differently under the circumstances, whether we would have proved what came up because I just don't know what exactly was approved and how they were dealing with it.
[10:20:11] ZAKARIA: Elliott Abrams, sometimes having -- not being encumbered by all these bureaucratic procedures can help. You wrote in the "Weekly Standard" that you thought Trump's attitude on the two- state solution could be refreshing. Explain.
ABRAMS: Well, what he said in the press conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu was essentially, one-state, two-state, whatever you agree, we can do. I think that's the right attitude because the goal is actually peace. And there can be many paths to peace. And he -- actually it was Netanyahu who seemed to surprise the president by revealing what they were thinking which was this so-called outside in approach. You don't make peace between Israelis and Palestinians and then bring
in the Arab states. You go to the Arab states first and try to get their help on an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal which is perfectly sensible and worth trying.
I'm a skeptic myself. But -- so I think what we actually saw in that press conference was a willingness to undertake a new approach which is refreshing.
ZAKARIA: Tony Blinken, very quickly one final thought about Russia policy. Is the administration boxed in? Can it now do much on Russia with all eyes pointing and looking at Donald Trump? What if there were a sensible amount of cooperation that could be done with Russia? Won't everybody wonder is Donald Trump doing this because, you know, he is the Manchurian candidate and Putin has something on him?
BLINKEN: Well, at the end of the day, Fareed, it's always this, do the right thing. And yes, maybe there's a box the administration has put itself in. But the question now is, is the administration going to stand up to Russian efforts to basically undermine the entire liberal international order. That's what's going on.
And yes, there are areas of course where we can and should try to cooperate with Russia. And indeed we have done that in the past. But Mr. Putin seems bent on trying to take on the very system that defines us. And if we're not ready to stand up to that, we're going to have a big problem.
You know, our friends in Europe now are experiencing an acute sense of whiplash because they heard good things just in the last couple of days from the secretary of Defense, from the vice president, from the secretary of State, and then they hear exactly the opposite often in a tweet storm coming from the president.
The most troubling thing to them is that at the very time when they are being challenged in Europe, a threat to liberal democracy from profoundly illiberal actors supported by Mr. Putin, we continue to seem to stand occasionally at least with Mr. Putin. And of course the president's attacks on the media, on the press, are deeply, deeply frightening to Europeans, again. who are being challenged by a threat to liberal democracy.
ZAKARIA: All right. We've got to leave it at that.
Up next the Russian side of all this. I will talk to Sergey Karaganov who has frequently advised Vladimir Putin on foreign policy. What does he make of it all?
[10:27:06] ZAKARIA: Let's dig in deeper now to the Flynn resignation and the Russian side of the story. What is Moscow's relationship with the Trump campaign and what is Russia's take on this whole situation?
Joining me now from Moscow is Sergey Karaganov. He is widely known and widely cited as a leading foreign policy expert in Russia, has often advised Vladimir Putin himself.
Mr. Karaganov, how are people in Russia reacting to the stories and the news that Russian intelligence services were in constant contact with the Trump campaign and with the -- to the reports about Flynn and the Russian ambassador?
SERGEY KARAGANOV, FORMER FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER TO PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: We view that with kind of dismay, disgust and sympathy. Sympathy towards American who have to retort to this kind of wild games in the internal affairs. Of course, I'm not in any way connected with intelligence. But I assume that of course the general have never been anywhere close to be connected to Russian intelligence.
ZAKARIA: Do you think that there are any connections that Trump has with Russia that we should know of? What do you make of those reports?
KARAGANOV: To the extent I know, there were no serious connections. Fortunately or unfortunately. Now I will say fortunately because of the heat of the fight within your country. I mean, all connections which we could have had would have been to the detriment of Russia or to the detriment of your president.
ZAKARIA: Do you think that -- you know, there have been reports that Russia has gotten very good at cyber warfare in general, in western Europe and the United States? Do you give credence to these reports?
KARAGANOV: I hope that Russia is very good in cyber warfare. And because cyber warfare is one of the ways to deter, I mean, all possible partners or even enemies. I do not believe, unfortunately, that we were that important in playing any role in American internal affairs and in any way it would have been too humiliating for the United States to accept that, although of course you have this very strange debate.
But personally, I would have loved that Russians would have interfered like that. Our American partners should be educated that they live in the crystal palace and they should stop interfering into internal affairs of other countries, should stop regime changes, et cetera. I mean, if we do that, that will be a great lesson for Americans. I'm not sure whether we were able to do that.
[10:30:00] ZAKARIA: You have a new essay out in Russian Global Affairs in which you point out that -- and I think you're speaking here for the Russian foreign policy elite -- that Hillary Clinton was viewed particularly negatively as a symbol of liberal interventionism, of neo-conservatism, of a kind of expansionist American foreign policy that tried to maintain America's, kind of, central status in the world.
Is that true?
KARAGANOV: That is true, but we were even more concerned not about Mrs. Clinton, who was relatively predictable, but people around her, those neoconservatives and liberal interventionists who lost in the previous decade and who were eager to make revenge. They were dangerous.
And it's -- though, of course, Mr. Trump is unpredictable and we don't know what will come out of it, but at least he looks like a possibility of some fresh air. Otherwise, we would have been doomed to a very rough and very dangerous confrontation.
ZAKARIA: You say in that essay that you think that the American-built liberal world order is eroding, perhaps even crumbling. Do you see Trump as helping end that order because he wants to withdraw America from that kind of leadership role; you know, he's not particularly keen on the NATO guarantees; he's not particularly keen on the station (ph) guarantees. Where do you see Trump fitting into that prediction you make?
KARAGANOV: Mr. Zakaria, neither you nor me know where Mr. Trump or/and the United States are going. The United States are totally unpredictable. The liberal order, as you call it, or I would say the liberal disorder, which it was, or hegemonic disorder which was introduced by the United States and the allies since the '90s, has crumbled. Donald Trump is one of the results of this collapse.
The question of where he leads the country -- I believe that he could lead the United States towards -- towards becoming a more powerful nation if -- if and when he's allowed to do that. Whether that is good for Russia, I'm not sure, because we will be competitors, even if we understand each other and even if we cooperate at margins. But the order which the United States tried to introduce since the '90s has collapsed; that's it.
ZAKARIA: What do you imagine the relationship between a Trump administration and the Putin administration will be?
I know -- you're right we can't predict, but what is your sense?
KARAGANOV: My sense is that, unfortunately, your country is divided. Mr. Trump will be fighting. He is a good fighter, it seems, but we don't know whether he survives political or else. If he survives and wins, I mean, eventually we could have somewhat of a more cooperative relationship, if we understand our interests properly and act on the interests.
ZAKARIA: So, at the end of the day, are you optimistic?
KARAGANOV: I am much more optimistic than several years, two, three years ago. Russia is winning. It has restored its might and it has restored its possibility to deter. And we are leading towards a more balanced world.
ZAKARIA: Sergey Karaganov, pleasure to have you on, sir.
KARAGANOV: It was a great pleasure, too.
ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," Bibi Netanyahu and Donald Trump both bitterly oppose the Iran deal. But both sidestepped all questions about tearing it up at their press conference this week. Why? We'll tell you.
ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment.
ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: It's the art of the deal.
ZAKARIA (voice over): Benjamin Netanyahu was all smiles and giggles at the White House this week. The Israeli prime minister's tone was very different during his last trip to Washington in March of 2015. Back then, Bibi Netanyahu made an impassioned plea to a joint session of Congress imploring them not to approve President Obama's nuclear agreement with Iran. He put it in stark terms, saying Israel's very existence would be jeopardized if Congress passed that deal.
NETANYAHU: I feel a profound obligation to speak to you about an issue that could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people: Iran's quest for nuclear weapons.
ZAKARIA (on camera): He predicted disaster if the deal went through. It did. And it's been more than a year now. Did Bibi's predictions come true?
No. First, Iran has kept its side of the bargain. That's according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. watchdog of scientists and experts tasked with enforcing the agreement and monitoring Iran's nuclear program. The IAEA has verified that Iran is in compliance with the agreement and confirms that Iran has eliminated 97 percent of its low-enriched uranium, removed two-thirds of its centrifuges and has taken out the core of a nuclear reactor capable of making weapons-grade plutonium, rendering it inoperable.
Back in 2016, the Forward reported that Israel's top general, its military chief of staff, Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot, actually said that the Iran deal was good for Israel and has removed the greatest threat to Israel's existence.
Reuters reports that Israeli officials privately acknowledged that Netanyahu would not advocate ripping up a deal "that has been emphatically reaffirmed by the other big power signatories, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China."
At his press conference with Trump, Netanyahu was asked what changes he wanted made to the deal, but skipped that part of the question. Trump, who had promised on his campaign trail to tear up the deal, has forgotten that promise as well.
Peter Beinart points out in the Forward that Netanyahu probably well understood that the nuclear deal was a good one back in 2015, but he had his reasons to focus on it. Netanyahu exaggerated Iran's nuclear capacity, but he also knew that Israel had a powerful deterrent, its own large nuclear arsenal, which could deliver a nuclear weapon straight to the heart of downtown Tehran. Beinart says that what concerned Netanyahu more was that Iran was becoming a regional threat, filling the void left by a war-torn Iraq and threatening Israel's eastern flank.
Remember, Iran also supports Israel's arch-rival Hezbollah, which constantly threatens that country's northern border. Americans who opposed the Iran deal, like Donald Trump, don't even have this strategic rationale. They have never admitted to being wrong about the Iran deal, but none of them is clamoring to tear up an agreement that, so far, has frozen Iran's nuclear program in a way that no previous policy was able to.
Up next, Caroline Kennedy, daughter of John F. Kennedy. She was President Obama's ambassador to Japan. She will join me to talk about Prime Minister Abe's visit to the White House and Mar-a-Lago last weekend and much more.
ZAKARIA: President Trump hosted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whom he incorrectly called Prime Minister Shinzo in a tweet, at his club/resort/residence in Florida last weekend. The terrace at Mar-a- Lago played host to an unusual scene in international diplomacy. President Trump, with Abe sitting next to him, took a phone call on Saturday night telling him that North Korea had launched a ballistic missile.
Both men then proceeded to read documents using flashlights on cell phones, raising concerns about both information security and protocol. What to make of Trump and Abe's first meeting?. joining me now is Caroline Kennedy.
Well, joining me now is Caroline Kennedy. She was ambassador to Japan from November 2013, when she presented her credentials to Emperor Akihito, until shortly before Trump was inaugurated.
What do you make of Abe? He does seem as though, in many ways, a very different man from Donald Trump.
KENNEDY: Well, I think that he has proven to be an incredibly stable leader and a great partner for the United States. So that he and the new president spent so much time together, I think, was actually very important for Japan but also, I'm sure, very useful for President Trump.
ZAKARIA: You know, a few years before you got to Japan, there was debate about the Japanese wanted to boot the Americans out. They wanted Americans off the bases. There was all this controversy. Now you see a very different Japan. What has changed in the last, you know, five, seven years?
KENNEDY: Well, I think that the relationship between the U.S., U.S. military and Japan, is still something that is a difficult issue. However, the region is changing. And so our presence there is really the key to stability in the region, and I think the Japanese government recognizes that. And so do the other countries in the region. What's really changed is China.
ZAKARIA: They see the rise of China and all of a sudden the United States looks like a useful partner?
KENNEDY: Right. Right. And then you have the North Korean provocation and threat, and the number of missile tests, missile launches, nuclear tests has been increasing, you know, steadily under the new leader. And we just saw one last weekend, as you said.
And so I think that everybody is, you know, as a short-term threat, that's number one, and then you have China as the longer-term challenge.
ZAKARIA: President Trump, at one point in the campaign, spoke about how maybe Japan should get nuclear weapons. I know from my readings and visits to Asia this was -- the Japanese were very taken aback by this. How was that interpreted? And are the Japanese even thinking about going nuclear?
KENNEDY: Well, the Japanese public -- I can tell you from having accompanied President Obama to Hiroshima and the outpouring among the Japanese and the overwhelming support for de-nuclearization, non- proliferation, President Obama's work on disarmament, that is an issue that resonates incredibly strongly with the Japanese public as well as the government. So I -- and Prime Minister Abe has said repeatedly that that would never happen.
ZAKARIA: You -- during your -- on your watch, there were these two memorable visits. Obama went to Hiroshima and Abe went to Pearl Harbor. Was this -- you know, was this part of a decision by the two countries to, sort of, try to bury the past? What's going on here? Help us understand the symbolism.
KENNEDY: Well, I think we also celebrated, in between those -- or it was before -- the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. And I think that year was really marked by a series of commemorative events, and the prime minister's address to a joint meeting of Congress was, I think, one of the centerpieces, as well as his statement at the end of the war.
And I think what you really saw was Japan becoming more of a player on the world stage under Prime Minister Abe, traveling throughout the region, trying to play a greater role in humanitarian assistance and development assistance to countries in the region. And I think that this was part of that effort, as well as just the progress of the alliance.
And I think Americans often take for granted what is going on, or we don't hear much about it because it's all going well. But the work that has been done over the last 70 years to bring our countries closer, the work that's being done now to bring Japan and Korea closer, partly to cooperate in the face of an increasingly tense regional environment but also just to -- the publics in both countries really support reconciliation, friendship and moving beyond, I think, the past, and building a future together.
ZAKARIA: When I've gone to Japan, I still find that most of the rooms you go into, it's all men and women tend to often stand and be seen more than heard. It's very traditional in many ways. I mean, obviously, you wouldn't experience that because you're a superstar and you're the ambassador, but did you feel like there was -- there was different, that there was something -- that you could do something about it?
KENNEDY: Well, I think what I felt was that just being a woman and being -- having the access and being able to work on these issues, I think, was inspiring to the broader Japanese public and made them, maybe -- helped them look at women as possibly being able to make a contribution. And under this government in Japan and now, I think, with their demographic challenges, women are increasingly taking leadership roles. The governor of Tokyo was just selected. And the head of the opposition party is a woman. And so I think that people say that, even though change is just painstakingly slow there and there's a lot of frustration, that maybe this time they will make progress in a sustained way.
ZAKARIA: In this country, no matter what you do, you are always John F. Kennedy's daughter. Is that true in Japan as well?
KENNEDY: Oh, absolutely.
ZAKARIA: You keep getting asked questions?
KENNEDY: Absolutely. Well, I think being the first ambassador, I think, to be a daughter or son, child of a Pacific war veteran also had tremendous meaning. And President Kennedy was really popular in Japan just because his presidency coincided with Japan, sort of, coming out of the first, kind of, phase of the post-War period.
So -- so I felt like I was walking into a room where people were just so happy to see me. And -- and I think that I brought to that, also, kind of, a great commitment by President Obama and really a willingness to engage by Japan, who had a lot of things they wanted to accomplish. So I felt really fortunate that I was me and -- as I always do, but also that I was in that place at that time.
ZAKARIA: Caroline Kennedy, pleasure to have you on.
KENNEDY: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," people are taking to the streets again in France. It's not Marie Antoinette they're protesting this time but the Gendarmerie. I will explain how this all ties back into politics when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Fake facts are not just an invention of this White House or this country. We often hear that the economic numbers coming out of China might not be accurate. Specifically, local governments there have often been accused of inflating economic data in order to meet high growth targets. We now have some estimates from Reuters as to the scale of the exaggeration. It brings me to my question of the week.
In 2016, roughly how much larger was China's GDP as reported by its provinces compared to the central government's numbers: $4 billion, $20 billion, $40 billion or $400 billion larger?
Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
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And now for the last look. Riots in the streets, clashes with police, vehicles engulfed in flames. Protests both peaceful and violent have rocked French cities and suburbs this month. They ignited over the French police's alleged beating and rape of a 22-year-old black man named Theo. The case currently under investigation garnered national attention and has increased racial tensions across the country as calls for justice were shouted in the streets.
President Hollande put out a picture of himself visiting with Theo in the hospital, and candidates in the upcoming presidential election weighed in, too. Most strikingly, the far-right Marine Le Pen called for a crackdown on rioters, whom she referred to as "scum."
These protests could galvanize Le Pen's base if the violence escalates, while moderates will have to balance earning voters' trust with the risk of alienating law enforcement.
But I think the violence tells us of a larger frustration in France today. The French sociologist Michel Wieviorka points out that almost every established candidate has been knocked out of the election so far, from President Hollande to the leader of the Greens to former President Sarkozy to former Prime Minister Juppe. Like in so many places these days, France is a country where they just want to throw the bums out.
The correct answer to the "GPS" challenge question is D. The discrepancy between cumulative provincial and national GDP data in 2016 was $400 billion, according to Reuters, roughly the equivalent of Thailand or Norway's GDP. But the days of fake numbers, well, may be numbered. This week the head of China's National Bureau of Statistics vowed to severely punish those responsible for creating these alternative facts. Perhaps we need an agency like that right here in the United States.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week, and I will see you next week.