Return to Transcripts main page
FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Interview with David Petraeus; Increased Tensions with Tehran Over Syria Strike; Iran and Syria Discussed; World Food Insecurity Examined; Trump-Xi Meeting Overshadowed by Syria Strikes; Britain, Spain Argue over Gibraltar. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired April 9, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:11] 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 from New York.
We'll begin today's show with the Tomahawks Donald Trump rained down on Syria. Did the missiles accomplish their mission? Did they send enough of a message to Assad? What's next? I will talk to David Petraeus, the former director of the CIA and a highly decorated four- star general.
And mullahs mull over the Syria strikes. We'll dig into Iran's reaction to America's attack against its staunch ally Bashar al-Assad. Robin Wright and Karim Sadjadpour joining me to discuss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: President Trump says images of children horrifically murdered with chemical weapons changed his mind on Syria, but how about these images? Could they change Donald Trump's mind on cutting foreign aid?
Also, let's not forget the leaders of the world's two most important nations met this week when President Xi went to Mar-a-Lago. What happened and are China and the U.S. destined for war? I have a guest who says yes.
But first, here's my take. There is much to applaud in President Trump's decision to attack the Assad regime this week. It punished a regime that engaged in war crimes against its own people. It upheld an international norm against chemical weapons. It ended Trump's strange flirtation with Vladimir Putin on the Middle East and most significantly it seemed to reflect a belated recognition from Donald Trump that he cannot simply put America first, that the president of the United States must act on behalf of broader interests and ideals.
Trump as candidate and as president have so far avoided the language of global norms and international order yet in explaining his actions Thursday night, he invoked both and ended his remarks with a prayer that Barack Obama would never have dared to make. "God bless America and the entire world."
But as former Defense Secretary William Cohen pointed out on Friday, one strike does not make a strategy. U.S. policy on Syria remains quite unclear. The Trump administration had repeatedly announced that it had shifted away from the Obama administration's calls for regime change in Syria. In fact, Trump had indicated he was happy to leave the country to Assad as long as this would help defeat ISIS.
On Tuesday, the day of the chemical attack on Idlib, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer basically stuck to that script. The missile strike appears to have reversed that entire policy. If so, it is a major shift and raises important questions, is the United States now engaged in the Syrian civil war? Will it use military force to help oust Assad? Do these actions help ISIS and al Qaeda which after all are fighting against the Assad regime? And what happens next in the overall war against the Islamic State?
Many of America's allies have expressed support for the strike, but in an increasingly complex global system, countries look to the United States for a consistent strategy that can be relied upon over time.
Trump's foreign policy seems to change with every meeting, event or crisis. Trump doesn't even deny these changes of mind, in fact, he embraces them as a virtue, describing himself as flexible. "I'm proud of this flexibility," Trump said this week, adding that he also likes to be unpredictable.
But there is a difference between unpredictability and incoherence. This week's strike does leave one with the impression that foreign policy in the Trump administration is not being made by carefully consistently evaluating a situation, assessing options, weighing costs, and benefits and choosing a long-term path.
Instead, it is a collection of reflexes, responding instinctively to the crisis at hand. Trump's military advisers provided him with a tactically brilliant option, a small air base whose destruction would produce fairly little physical or diplomatic fallout. But the strike will thus also have minimal impact on the balance of power. Assad will remain in place as will his opposition. If anything, the strike might embolden opposition forces to fight on rather than surrender and the bloodshed will actually intensify.
[10:05:04] The long-term prospects for peace in Syria remain very gloomy. But no matter the complications, in the short term, the president struck a blow against evil for which I congratulate him and if he was moved to this action because he saw heartrending pictures of children, that's fine. I would only ask that he look again at those images, perhaps they would move him not simply to drop bombs but also to provide more aid and food to these war-torn people. Perhaps they would even move him to let some of these people escape their misery and find a home in America.
For more, go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week and let's get started.
For more on the Syrian strike and its aftermath, we have a rare treat. My guest is David Petraeus, who was the commander of coalition forces first in Iraq, successfully during the surge, then in Afghanistan, and later served as the director of the CIA.
Dave, welcome. Let me ask you --
GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Good to be with you, Fareed. Thanks.
ZAKARIA: You -- when you were director of the CIA, repeatedly urged that the United States get more involved, in a sense pick a side in the Syrian civil war. You were in favor of, as I recall in 2013, some kind of strike at that time when it used chemical weapons. So in a sense Trump is implementing the David Petraeus-Hillary Clinton-Leon Panetta strategy right now.
Are we, as a result, engaged in the Syrian civil war?
PETRAEUS: Well, we're certainly engaged in Syria. Now whether or not you can say that our support for the Sunni opposition translates into engagement in the civil war directly against Bashar al-Assad I think is actually still premature.
The strike that we saw is potentially a strategic inflection point. It certainly sends a message to friends and foe alike that this president will take action when lines are crossed and that is, again, potentially very significant.
But as you've just pointed out, echoing the sentiments of Secretary of Defense Cohen, one strike does not a strategy make. And we really have to see what unfolds now, and this week we'll see some of that. Secretary Tillerson travels to Italy to meet with his G7 Foreign minister counterparts and then onto Moscow where certainly among the topics will be the way forward in Syria.
I think that there could, be out of this, some degree of solidifying by the National Security team, which I think has shown a real stroke of professionalism and indeed strategic sense in this case. H.R. McMaster guiding this policy development. You've got rock solid folks at the Pentagon in Secretary Mattis, in General Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and indeed in General Joe Votel at Central Command.
Secretary Tillerson rapidly, again, mastering the issues. I think you could term him an engineer. He's looking at each piece of this quietly but very rapidly I think starting to take hold there. And then our ambassador of the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has been hugely impressive.
But, again, now we have to see what is the follow-on policy beyond the focus on the defeat of Daesh, of the Islamic State, and of the al Qaeda affiliate. Could we then say that the focus is on stopping the bloodshed, stopping the eruption of this geopolitical Chernobyl that is Syria, spewing violence, instability, extremism, and a tsunami of refugees not just into neighboring countries but into our NATO allies as well.
ZAKARIA: How does one -- when looking at the next step, how does one -- how does one find a way to attack ISIS while at the same time attacking its principal opponent? You know, if I remember when Obama had proposed a strike like this, Ted Cruz said you'd be acting as the Air Force for ISIS if you bombed Assad because in a sense Assad and ISIS are the two dominant military forces in Syria.
Is there a way -- is it strategically too complicated or trying to be too clever by having to say you can attack Assad, you can attack its principal opponent ISIS, and you can find some third force that will stabilize all of Syria?
PETRAEUS: Well, again, I think premature to get that far along. I think the focus rightly will stay on first the liberation of Raqqa that's solidifying the gains around the dam at Tabqa and so on. Going after the al Qaeda affiliate that is still in northern Syria, as well.
[10:10:06] But let's point out, also, that Syria has not gone after ISIS. Bashar al-Assad, the majority of his strikes and the majority of those by his Russian Air Force helpers, has been on the Sunni opposition that we have largely been trying to help. So there are many complicated facets to this.
At some point, I think we're going to have to see the lines just start to solidify. And while Bashar al-Assad can't be part of the long-term future in Syria, I think it would also be premature to say that he needs to go tomorrow, if we don't know precisely what follows.
So again, I think the big objectives, in addition to defeating Daesh and the al Qaeda affiliate, now become this effort to stop the bloodshed. And I think ultimately that is going to include notions such as security zones, perhaps some no-fly zones, and perhaps some further strikes against Bashar al-Assad's air forces, if indeed they continue to carry out the horrific actions that they've been known for over recent years, not just with the chemical weapons in a repeated basis but also with barrel bombs, often striking deliberately on civilian facilities like hospitals. In fact, first bombing civilian targets and then the places where they're going for their medical assistance.
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you very quickly before the break, really 30 seconds. Do you believe that the battle against ISIS will be won in the next three to six months, that Raqqa will fall?
PETRAEUS: Well, I think Raqqa may well fall, but this battle is a generational struggle. And I think everyone in the White House and the Pentagon, State Department, is keenly aware of that. That therefore you have to have a strategy that is sustainable, measured in blood and treasure, and I think there's a lot of consciousness of the need to have a strategy that is sustainable over the long-term. Not just a decade or a few years but, again, the generational type of struggle in which we're engaged.
ZAKARIA: When we come back, I will ask David Petraeus what the Syrian strike tells us about that other looming crisis, North Korea. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[10:16:37] ZAKARIA: And we are back with General David Petraeus.
Dave, before we get to North Korea, let me ask you one more question about the Syrian strike, because it does represent this remarkable reversal for Donald Trump. He tweeted 24 times in 2013, do not get involved in Syria. And I'm wondering, you have advocated for a long time that once ISIS is defeated in Syria, the only way they will stay defeated is if the United States helps create some kind of political order that is legitimate and solid.
That would sound a lot like the kind of nation building that Trump has denounced. You met with Trump when he was effectively interviewing you for secretary of State. Do you feel he might reverse himself and that the United States might get more deeply engaged on the ground in Syria?
PETRAEUS: Well, there's very likely to be further engagement, but I wouldn't actually advocate that kind of solution at this point in the game. This has been transformed since 2012, 2013 when various alternatives were being examined. You now have Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia to name a few on the ground supporting Bashar. So I think that the focus will be on an interim resolution that can again stop the bloodshed, establish security zones, stop the flow of refugees, stop the killing and so forth.
And then over time, there will be a discussion about what the central government, if one can be established, will look like. Again, I've said before I'm not sure that Humpty Dumpty can be put back together again in this case in Syria.
ZAKARIA: You're probably I suppose talking about partition then.
PETRAEUS: Well, I don't think you do that as a formal long-term solution. I think what you do initially is an interim way forward, just so that you can stop all the tragedy that's happening, and then try to figure out where can you go from here.
ZAKARIA: So let me ask you, while all this was happening, Xi Jinping and Donald Trump were meeting at Mar-a-Lago. There is often a belief that American assertions of power in one area deter a group on the other. So people say, you know, the Chinese would have looked at this, or the North Koreans would have looked at this strike and taken heed.
But I just wonder, you were commander in Iraq at a point where the United States had committed hundreds of thousands of troops to military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan under the Bush administration, and yet, the North Koreans kept testing nuclear missiles. Can one really draw a connection and believe that these strikes will now deter Kim Jong-un?
PETRAEUS: Well, I don't know that they're going to deter Kim Jong-un. They do send a message, as I mentioned earlier, to friends and foes around the world. I do think that that is significant, just as the red line that turned out not to be a red line sent a message. And however the outcome of that situation at the time did undermine U.S. credibility around the world. So I think this is an important message probably to China, not just North Korea/
[10:20:03] Because this president faces a strategic reality that is different than any of his predecessors -- the prospect that a madman could have a nuclear device that could actually hit an American city within a few years. In other words, during this particular term in office. But when you look at the options, every military possibility is relatively unattractive. That's shorthand for ugly. And the "then whats" are very, very difficult as well.
So I think in the interim period here, there's going to be more pressure through China on North Korea, secondary sanctions, enforcement of the sanctions on Korea on Chinese firms that are continuing to do business. More pressure on President Xi about reducing the flow in the umbilical cord from China to Pyongyang that essentially keeps the lights on in that country.
But of course China's concerned that it could precipitate a collapse. It doesn't want to see the Korean Peninsula reunified under Seoul. So there's a lot of complexity to this particular issue. But to come back to it, I think the strike does send a message but only if there is continued thoughtful assertive leadership by the United States, which then leads us to believe that America first can still mean that America leads the rules-based international order.
ZAKARIA: Final thought, Dave. What does this tell you about Donald Trump as president? Did you learn anything new in this week?
PETRAEUS: Yes, I think this is the week in which Donald Trump became the commander-in-chief. You know, this is the "welcome to the White House" moment. And I think that his team did very well in providing the options to him. I think he chose wisely. I think his statement after the strikes was a very thoughtful and responsible statement, as well. So I think this has been an important moment. Again, we have to see what follows and to see if this path can continue.
ZAKARIA: David Petraeus, always a pleasure to have you on. We hope to have you on again soon.
PETRAEUS: Thanks, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS among world leaders there was near universal approval for President Trump's strike against the Syrian air base but there were four conspicuous objectors, Russia, China, North Korea and Iran which is right on the ground. We will talk about Iran's reaction when we come back.
[10:27:00] ZAKARIA: On Saturday in Tehran, Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, did not hold back his criticism of America's strike on Syria. He said Trump didn't ask the U.N. or his own Congress for permission ignoring all international principles and laws. He continued that the attack was done with aggression, blatantly and outrageously. The Iranian regime is of course staunchly allied with Syria's Bashar
Let's bring in two great Iran experts to talk about how this plays out. Robin Wright is a contributing editor for the "New Yorker." She has reported extensively from Iran and about Iran. Karim Sadjadpour is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment. His work focuses on Iraq.
Robin, let me ask you, here is the Iranian Foreign minister's tweet about this strike. "Not even two decades after 9/11, the U.S. military fighting on the same side as al Qaeda and ISIS in Yemen and Syria. Time to stop hype and cover-ups.
Does he have a point? Is this in effect something that will help ISIS?
ROBIN WRIGHT, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: I don't think it does really. Technically this has been a very limited strategic strike. It did not change the balance of power militarily inside Syria. The bigger picture for Iran is really much like Russia that Syria is the most important ally it has. Syria is the strategic center of the Middle East. Iran has put an enormous investment. It's lost over 1,000 troops by its own count. I counted eight generals who died in Syria. Its ally Hezbollah in Lebanon has thousands and thousands of troops inside Syria. It's lost more than 2,000, 10,000 injured.
The stakes really are not just President Assad for Iran as well as Russia. The really bigger picture is, do you have some influence on this important strategic property so that your one alliance, your one friend is not suddenly becoming whether it's ally of the West, friendly with Israel, and that Russia losing its -- its port in the Mediterranean, Iran losing its access to other nearby countries. There is a lot at stake for Iran and so it's going to be making a lot of noise about the U.S. military strike.
ZAKARIA: So, Karim, does this now place the United States in active opposition to Russia, to Iran? How will the Iranians react? I mean, there are American troops in Syria. There are American troops in Iraq and Iran has a lot of militias on the ground there.
KARIM SADJADPOUR, SENIOR FELLOW, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: I would say, Fareed, that Iran, if it responds too softly, it risks losing faith. It if responds too aggressively, it risks losing their heads and inviting potentially more U.S. military involvement in Syria, which they obviously don't want. As Robin said earlier, Iran is consistently doubled down on Bashar Assad over the last six years. They've invested tons of billions of dollars in Syria.
And in contrast to the United States which really just has air power in Syria, Iran has not only their own ground forces but they've assembled tens of thousands of militias of Lebanese, Shiites, Iraqi Shiites, Afghan and Pakistani mercenaries. So Iran is firmly committed to the continued rule of Bashar Assad, and I think that's unlikely to waiver. ZAKARIA: What is the state of play, Robin, in Iran?
You know, last we heard, where we left off, the Iran deal happened, Rouhani and Zarif, the supposed moderates, were emboldened, but nothing much seems to have changed in their foreign policy, right?
WRIGHT: That's right. And Iran faces a presidential election next month. This is pivotal for President Rouhani. He has faced increasing challenges from hard-liners, which play out in a lot of activities at home and also the arrests of foreigners who, including many Americans, who are held inside Iran.
So the pressures are on and a lot will be determined, in terms of how Iran moves forward with the outside world by the outcome of this election.
I think people expect President Rouhani, at this stage, to win, but the question is, will the hard-liners only up the pressure on him and make him, much like former President Khatami, a man who won re- election but was so -- so challenged by hard-liners he never moved forward on reform, never was effective in reaching out to the rest of the world, and that great hope that was represented by someone trying to normalize a revolutionary environment failed miserably.
And so a lot will be determined by this election and the kind of internal power struggle that is playing out, some of it affected by what happens in places like Syria and in other neighboring countries.
ZAKARIA: Karim, wouldn't you say that this -- these strikes, the one thing it suggests is I think there was a while where people in the Middle East thought they were going to be left to their own devices by the Trump administration. For better or worse, there was a sense the Trump administration's view seemed to be "let them all kill each other." And this -- that no longer seems to be the case. The Trump administration is engaged in the Middle East. And I assume, from Iran's point of view, that's not a good thing?
SADJADPOUR: That's right. Iran, obviously, for the last four decades, has tried to fight what they call U.S. hegemony, U.S. influence in the Middle East. And one of the regions of the world which is very happy with the Trump administration are the Gulf Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, which saw President Obama as tilting towards Iran.
You know, but the reality is that the United States, and certainly American citizens, are -- have tremendous fatigue with the Middle East after a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan. They don't want to send American sons and daughters to fight on the ground in Syria, whereas Iran is firmly committed to those fights, and Iran really thrives in countries which have power vacuums, whether that's Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon.
So, you know, the question is whether the balance of power in the region is really going to change as a result of these strikes. Is this a sign of renewed U.S. involvement in the region or was this merely, kind of, a one-off symbolic strike? ZAKARIA: Karim, thank you, a very good point. Iran will be there for a long time. We will be there and gone, probably, in some sense.
Thank you both -- fascinating.
Next on "GPS," pictures of children killed by sarin gas were enough to convince Donald Trump to attack a Syrian air base. What would you do in response to looking at pictures like these? We're going to show more when we come back.
ZAKARIA: And now for our "What in the World" segment. Since Assad's chemical attack, we have been talking about the power of pictures. These pictures were so powerful that President Trump says they forced his hand and made him fire 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Syrian air base responsible for that chemical attack.
Well, we have some other powerful pictures that perhaps the president ought to look at. This is the face of what U.N. officials are calling the worst humanitarian disaster since 1945, and it is happening right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN O'BRIEN, U.N. UNDERSECRETARY GENERAL FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR: Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: That's the U.N.'s top relief official Stephen O'Brien, and an alarming new report from the World Food Program backs him up. The leading humanitarian organization fighting hunger says that, in 48 countries around the world, 108 million people face crisis-level food insecurity. That is up dramatically from 80 million just two years ago.
So what is going on? Why do so many face starvation right now?
Much of this current famine was brought on by a deadly mix of drought, lack of aid and poor governance, but four countries in particular face especially big dangers, South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. Each is in the midst of devastating conflict, meaning each has a dire humanitarian crisis which is largely man-made.
In all, more than 20 million people in those four countries alone face an immediate threat of starvation, and 1.4 million children there are severely, acutely malnourished.
So how can this rapidly approaching catastrophe be avoided?
Well, so far, in 2017, the world's humanitarian organizations, including the U.N., have appealed for $21.5 billion for all types of aid. But there is widespread donor fatigue. The U.S. so far has given about $640 million in 2017, in stark contrast to the $3.6 billion it gave in 2016. Worldwide to date, only $3.7 billion or 17 percent of the total money needed has been committed. That leaves a shortfall of $18 billion.
And the prognosis for more aid money isn't looking good. President Trump has proposed shrinking the State Department budget from $52.8 billion to $37.6 billion, a 29 percent reduction. That leaves only a few scraps for famine relief or humanitarian aid.
Remember, Trump's budget does increase military spending by $54 billion, bringing the total defense budget to $603 billion. Ironically, the overwhelming majority of Americans don't realize how little money already goes to foreign aid.
According to a recent survey, Americans guessed, on average, that 26 percent of the federal budget is used to assist other countries. The truth is only 1 percent of the federal budget is used on foreign aid. So what is the argument in favor of continuing to spend even this small amount of money to help other countries?
There's a strong case to be made that it is in America's national security interest. It makes the United States more safe. Fragile populations can cause weak states to crumble, becoming safe havens for terrorist organizations. We saw this happen in Afghanistan in the late 1990s, with consequences that are still being felt today.
Helping people on the brink of starvation isn't expensive. According to the World Food Program, it costs about 20 cents, less than a postage stamp, to help feed a malnourished child for a day. But perhaps the best reason to invest in foreign aid is because it embodies what is best about the United States. By helping those millions of people who are now suffering, America will affirm its leadership in the world while at the same time upholding its values as a nation and saving human lives.
Next on "GPS," the Sino-U.S. summit, but are these two nations destined for war?
That's what one of my next guests will tell you, a very distinguished scholar. Don't miss it.
ZAKARIA: For dinner at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday night, President Trump and Chinese President Xi were offered a choice of New York steak or Dover sole. We don't know what Donald Trump ordered to eat, but we do know that, before dinner, he ordered the strike against Syria.
Without the strike, the summit between the leaders of the two largest economies in the world would have been the top headline. Instead it got buried. So what did we miss? And what does the future hold for relations between the United States and China?
Joining me now are Elizabeth Economy, director for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Graham Allison is director of the Belfer Center at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He's the author of an important forthcoming book, "Destined For War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap."
Graham, you have to begin by very quickly explaining what Thucydides's trap is and why you think that there is a, sort of, better than even chance that the United States and China could go to war.
ALLISON: Well, Thucydides's trap, as you know, as the deadly dynamic that occurs when a rising power threatens to displace a ruling power. Think about what was happening in Europe 100 years ago this week, when Germany's rise created an interaction with Britain that ended in a war -- or think about the relationship between China and the U.S. today.
Now, Thucydides wrote about ancient Greece, but historically, when a rising power threatens to displace a ruling power, alarm bells should sound, "Extreme danger ahead."
ZAKARIA: And you point out that, historically, you've counted there were, what, 18 cases, and in most of them...
ALLISON: Well, in the last 500 years, I have been able to identify 16 cases, and in 12 of the cases, like Britain and Germany, the outcome was war. In four cases, the outcome was not war. So when Thucydides said war was inevitable, that was hyperbole. But while destiny deals the hands, the players have to play the cards, recognizing that the severe structural stress that would therefore lead business as usual to produce history as usual, but it's not -- it's not inevitable.
ZAKARIA: So it's not inevitable because of people and personal diplomacy. Who are these two people and did they get on, from what you could tell?
ECONOMY: So I think expectations were certainly modest for this summit, and much more modest than trying to address the Thucydides trap, I have to say. But, actually, I think that the expectations were largely met. And it was a positive first step in the U.S.-China relationship. I think, you know, President Xi and President Trump began to establish a personal relationship. To some extent, I think they're kindred spirits in ways that, you know, are somewhat counter- intuitive. So I think there's a...
ZAKARIA: In what sense?
ECONOMY: Well, I think both of them were children of privilege. I think they both tend to identify political -- politics in terms of friends and enemies and relatively aggressively go after those enemies. And both of them sought a political base by going around the liberal political elite and stoking nationalism and identifying issues that were important to the broader masses.
And so I think that there is probably a deal of -- a good deal of healthy understanding, respect, that perhaps the two, sort of, engendered from this meeting.
ZAKARIA: I assume, Graham, the one thing that Trump was not able to get from Xi was some kind of an OK that, you know, a strike like this, like the Syrian strike, would be OK against North Korea, China's ally. ALLISON: Well, certainly, the timing of the bombing of Syria
underlined the threat that Trump has made that he's prepared to strike North Korea unless Xi can find some way to cause North Korea to stop acquiring ability to deliver a nuclear warhead against the U.S.
But Xi is terrified by that idea, as are most of the neighbors, like South Koreans or Japanese, or even analysts like us, because, if we were to strike North Korea, is Kim Jong-un just going to sit there?
No, he's most likely to South Korea, perhaps triggering a second Korean war. And you and I, at least as historians, remember the first Korean war didn't turn out very well for either party, and certainly not for the U.S.
ZAKARIA: So probably no agreement, "agree to disagree" on North Korea, on trade, which was meant to be the one that Trump was going to have these tough negotiations. What do you think happened?
ECONOMY: So I think what's important is, in part, that the U.S. did set the agenda. So the main issues that were discussed were the two that were most important to the White House, namely North Korea, where, quite right, we didn't get a major agreement -- and I at least hope for some assessment that maybe we would move forward on contingency planning or something a little bit more than what we seemed to get, which was basically nothing.
But I think, on the trade front, the two sides agreed that we would establish this 100-day study that each side would undertake for how we might be able to begin to improve the trade relationship. And, frankly, leading up to the summit, the one area that Chinese analysts and foreign policy officials were discussing as the one where they could see some Chinese movement was on the trade front.
So I think there's some optimism, perhaps, that we're going to get to some progress on this issue.
ZAKARIA: All right. This is television. You're a distinguished scholar, but we have 30 seconds. What grade would you give the summit? I mean, how did it go?
ALLISON: Well, you'd have to give it an incomplete since we don't know all the elements, but I would give it a B-plus. I think that the two, sort of, alpha males are beginning to, you know, assess each other, and nothing bad happened. And Trump showed he can manage a show, which of course he can, with dignity, and actually, I think, gave Xi the thing that he wanted most, which were vivid images of respect for China and respect for himself as a great leader.
ZAKARIA: That's right. Ivanka Trump gets -- gets an A for getting her daughter to sing that song.
ALLISON: Absolutely -- in Mandarin, after all...
ZAKARIA: That's going to be viral in China, for sure. Next on "GPS," saber-rattling between two major European nations, both members of NATO. Is this Europe in the wake of Brexit? We'll dig in when we come back.
ZAKARIA: A week from today citizens of one country will head to the polls for a referendum amending the constitution and replacing the system of parliamentary government with an executive presidency. It gets to my question of the week. Which country will vote on abolishing its prime minister in a referendum next Sunday: Romania, Indonesia, Turkey or Kyrgyzstan? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
This week's book of the week is Gideon Rachman's "Easternization." From the Financial Times's always intelligent foreign affairs columnist comes this superb survey of global affairs that describes the great eastward shift of world power and politics. Rachman's book is a much-needed reminder that the world has already become multi- polar, with countries like China, Russia and India exerting power and influence over their neighbors.
And now for the last look. The United Kingdom and Spain, two NATO members and the fifth and 14th largest economies in the world, are in a spat over a 2.6-square-mile piece of rock. I'm talking about Gibraltar, the British overseas territory whose only land border is with Spain. In the early 18th Century Britain took it from Spain during the War of Spanish Succession. In 2002, the people of Gibraltar voted nearly unanimously to stay exclusively under British sovereignty.
Yet, in the Brexit referendum last year, they voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union. Now that Brexit is real, a draft of the E.U.'s negotiating guidelines published last week suggested Gibraltar could only be part of future trade deals with Spain's permission. The response was fast and furious, with rhetoric heading up faster than you can say "Barbary macaques." For the uninitiated, that is the name of the misbehaving monkeys that inhabit the peninsula.
A former Tory leader suggested Prime Minister Theresa May ought to show resolve to go to war with this Spanish-speaking nation, just as Margaret Thatcher did with another such nation 35 years ago this month. The E.U. negotiating guidelines no longer include references to Gibraltar, but angry debate persists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(UNKNOWN): You've shown yourselves with these demands to be vindictive, to be nasty. All I can say is thank goodness we're leaving.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Gideon Rachman summed it up best in a tweet. "Gibraltar row shows why we have the E.U. in the first place, to get countries to drop nationalist grievances. Without E.U., it all pops back up." The correct answer to the "GPS" challenge question is C. Turks will head to the polls next Sunday for a referendum about amending the constitution. If successful, some of the sweeping power changes will include abolishing the prime minister and giving the president the power to extend his term in office until 2029. Reuters points out that recent poll results have been mixed, but if we've learned anything from elections of late, we need to wait until the votes are counted.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.