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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Discussion of the British Election; Examining the Middle East Situation; Interview with Canada's Foreign Minister. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired June 11, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: 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 former FBI director's extraordinary testimony.
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: Lordy, I hope there are tapes.
ZAKARIA: What to make of Jim Comey's tough words and where will they lead?
COMEY: The Russians interfered in our election.
ZAKARIA: I have top former intelligence officials and legal minds to discuss it all.
Then, the stunning results of the British election, a dramatic setback for the conservatives and Prime Minister May, how long will she be able to hold on?
Also, as America withdraws from its role as global leader, somebody needs to step in. Can that be Canada? Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland gives a striking speech this week. She joins me to explain what she sees as Canada's new global role.
And, Qatar, a Persian Gulf peninsula nation not even twice the size of Delaware. It is also home to a crucial American air base. So why is the rest of the gulf turning against it? What in the world. I will explain.
But first, here's my take, the most troubling statement I heard on Thursday was not from former FBI Director James Comey. His testimony was riveting, credible, and disturbing but what worried me were words spoken not in the imposing rooms of Capitol Hill but rather across town in the windowless conference facilities of the Omni Shoreham Hotel. At a meeting of conservatives and evangelicals, Donald Trump reacted
to the Comey testimony and more broadly to the investigations into his campaign and administration. We're under siege, he declared. And added, we know how to fight better than anybody and we never, ever would give up.
Well, we now know what the first year of the Trump presidency, at least, is going to look like. The administration faces serious investigations by senate and house committees and by special counsel Robert Mueller. These will be long, complex, and detailed, following all leads and involving dozens of people.
Trump's response appears to be to fight. When Ronald Reagan faced an investigation into his administration over the Iran-Contra affair, he cooperated completely.
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You deserve the truth.
ZAKARIA: Perhaps conscious of the example of Nixon obstructing the Watergate investigations, Reagan ordered that all relevant files be made available and allowed his senior officials to testify freely, even when the testimony was damning toward the administration and even him personally.
The result, a serious policy error was exposed and the administration's deception was assailed but Reagan was able to weather the storm. Trump appears less likely to follow the Reagan model. He is a fighter but, more importantly, he does not have much regard for these independent institutions that make up the American system.
ZAKARIA: Whether they be courts and judges, government agencies and the free press, Trump has always viewed them simply as obstacles in the way of him winning. As he said on Thursday, we are winners and we are going to fight.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are winners and we are going to fight and win.
ZAKARIA: For Trump, winning justifies everything. When the conservative editorial board of the "Wall Street Journal" asked him days after his election if some of his campaign rhetoric had gone too far, his response was simple and telling. No. I won.
In other words, the ends justified the means but liberal democracy is premised on the notion that the ends do not justify the means. That respecting the institutions, norms, and procedures of the American system of government is more important than winning, even if you are the president.
My real fear is not that the investigations will yield something. It is that if the investigations yield something, Donald Trump's response might be to fight and fight dirty. No matter the cost to American democracy. Now, let's get started.
We are going to have a debate on the legal issues that arose out of the Comey hearings in a few moments but, first, I want to bring in James Woolsey to talk about what he heard and saw. Woolsey was CIA director under President Bill Clinton.
More recently, he was a senior adviser on national security to Donald Trump's campaign and transition. He quit the transition team in early January. James Woolsey joins me now here in New York.
Jim, what was your reaction to James Comey's testimony?
R. JAMES WOOLSEY, JR., FORMER DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE: I found it worrisome because we kind of know how to argue with one another in Madison structure in this country with the legislature going one way and the congress -- the White House going another in battles. It's what we do and Madison planned it that way.
We haven't had any dictatorships and that was the purpose but it works partly because most Americans, even if they did not support the President in an election, the person who won, they still have a certain allegiance to the presidency and the president symbolizes the country and so forth and that's not really functioning that way here.
We have --
ZAKARIA: So, you saw that in Comey's testimony, how?
WOOLSEY: Well, I find it amazing that he would take detailed notes of a meeting with the president and then leak them to a friend who's at, I think, Columbia Law School and then have them give them to the press.
ZAKARIA: But, let me just interrupt you because --
WOOLSEY: (INAUDIBLE) amazing. I --
ZAKARIA: He insisted the word -- I think, by obligation, the word leak is not appropriate. He was a private citizen. These were -- let me present his argument.
He was a private citizen. These were notes recollecting his conversation with the president. They were not classified. A private citizen is allowed to share the -- his notes, you know, in a conversation with any government official with a friend, with the press.
That's -- leaking involves disclosing classified government information in an unauthorized way, as you well know, having been the director of the CIA. WOOLSEY: No, not all leaks have to be classified. There are a number
of things that are extremely sensitive without -- meaning the technical requirements for classification and I just found it stunning that he would, I think, give up the secrecy of a conversation with the President of the United States.
I've worked for four presidents in different capacities and not everything you talk to them about is classified but, I think, that really symbolizes, to me, how -- where we've come in this battle that is internal to one of the branches. It's not a Madisonian struggle between but inside the executive branch.
ZAKARIA: Couldn't somebody say, well, Donald Trump is supposed to be this great leader. Why can't he control his own executive branch?
WOOLSEY: Well, I think, in part, what's happened is that people who opposed him and who opposed his general approach to things and some people don't oppose his policies as much as they oppose his personality, has created a situation where we are not focusing on the things that we have to focus on.
Take Russia, for example. We have a situation where Russia is never not interfering with our elections and with the elections of other democratic states. They call it dezinformatsiya, disinformation.
ZAKARIA: But, didn't it strike you, Jim, as odd? I agree with you. I thought the most interesting testimony that Comey gave was when he was asked, do you have any doubt that Russia was involved in interfering in the election? He said none and said they did it with purpose. They did it with sophistication. They did it with overwhelming technical effort. They will be back. They are coming after America.
Now, Comey had nine meetings with Donald Trump. He had only two with President Obama in all the years that Obama was President. In those nine meetings, in the first 100 days, he was asked, did Trump ever ask him about Russia and the Russian interference? He said, no. Isn't that odd?
WOOLSEY: Well, he didn't have any precise questions on what was in front of him right at that time but it's, certainly, something that we have to get our hands on and we have to do it now because the next time the Russians will try to interfere with our elections is a year and a half from now. We are going to lose our ability to elect our leaders if we don't understand this and deal with it.
ZAKARIA: Very quickly, we have 30 seconds. What would you do about this problem of leaking and things? Is there some --
WOOLSEY: We have to get the executive branch and particularly the intelligence community and the law enforcement community pulled together, working together and behind the president in pulling things into a working order.
We don't have that now and I think some elements of both the intelligence community and certainly the law enforcement community have veered off looking into their own interests and not looking into the interests of the country. This has to get repaired and repaired rather quickly.
ZAKARIA: Former director of CIA James Comey -- Jim Woolsey, another Jim. Thank you, sir.
Next on GPS, Laurence Tribe and Elizabeth Foley, go head-to-head on the legal issues that arose from the Comey hearing. Could Comey be charged with a crime? Could the president be charged with a crime?
ZAKARIA: Could President Trump be charged with obstruction of justice? Were Comey's leaks totally illegal, as a Trump tweet this morning seems to ask? Those are just some of the legal issues raised by Thursday's riveting hearings.
To answer them, we have Elizabeth Foley who teaches constitutional law at Florida International University and Laurence Tribe is a professor of constitutional law at Harvard University.
Larry Tribe, let me start with you. Alan Dershowitz has achieved some prominence recently by making the case that what Donald Trump did may have been politically, deeply unwise, wrong but it was not illegal or unconstitutional. You teach constitutional law at Harvard University, what is your judgment?
LAURENCE TRIBE, PROFESSOR OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: My judgment is that Alan Dershowitz is wrong. It's not even a close question.
Of course, we don't have all the facts but his position is the facts don't matter. The president simply cannot be guilty of obstructing justice because as head of the executive branch, he can completely control any prosecution.
The Supreme Court has twice rejected that view. Unanimously in the Nixon case, by a vote of eight to one in the Morrison case. The fact is that the President has all kinds of powers but if he abuses them, for example, by accepting a bribe from Russia or any of a number of other things, if he does in a corrupt way or with threats of the kind that he made to Comey about his retaining his job, if in either of those ways he interferes with the due administration of justice, that would be obstruction of justice, even under the federal criminal statutes of 18 USC Section 1503 but, even more important, it would be an abuse of power that could be an impeachable offense.
It's more serious than what Nixon did. It's really impossible to argue that no obstruction of justice could be present here. The facts, if they are as the very credible Jim Comey suggested, point powerfully to obstruction of justice and abuse of power and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If you look at all the facts but I'll stop here. I know we have a limited time.
ZAKARIA: Professor Foley, what do you say to that? There are these two Supreme Court rulings that pretty clearly say in the Nixon case and in the one that essentially established the independent counsel that the President can't just do whatever he wants even though he is the head of the executive branch.
ELIZABETH PRICE FOLEY, PROFESSOR OF LAW, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY: Look, I tend to agree with Professor Dershowitz on the constitutional questions but I look at this as a lawyer would look at it. I practiced law in addition to teaching constitutional law and there's a doctrine called the doctrine of constitutional avoidance which means that the courts will first look to the applicable obstruction statutes and if they can decide the question under the statutes, they won't reach the larger constitutional question.
So let's look at those statutes. For example, Professor Tribe just cited 18 USC Section 1503. There are two different obstruction statutes. They deal with obstruction of investigations and obstructions of proceedings.
One section, section 1510, for example, deals with obstruction of criminal investigations. So you'd say to yourself, hey, this is a criminal investigation by the FBI. Maybe, it's a violation of that statute but, no, you look at the statute, the statute requires an act of corruption that is a -- constitutes bribery that prevents the communication of information about a crime to a criminal investigator.
Even if you think there's an act of implicit bribery here, there's no impeding of a communication about a crime to a criminal investigator, so, 1510 is off the table and then you look at 1503 which Professor Tribe just cited or maybe 1510, or 1512, all of which deal with obstruction of pending proceedings.
The word proceeding is a legal term of art. It does not include an FBI investigation and every single court that has looked at that question has said an FBI investigation is not a pending proceeding within the meaning of the obstruction statutes.
ZAKARIA: All right, let me get to Larry Tribe in here because we're on television and this might be getting too technical.
TRIBE: Well, I obviously don't agree. I don't agree. I'm a lawyer, too. I've read those statutes, 1503 isn't limited in the way that Elizabeth says but there are bigger questions here, the broad question of abuse of power, to which she doesn't speak.
I think, clearly, there is enough here for the congress to go forward and for Mueller to go forward, as I think he is doing.
ZAKARIA: Professor Foley, let me ask you about another issue. What -- something that struck me during the hearings was the role of Jeff Sessions.
Jim Comey seemed to suggest that the attorney -- that the FBI already knew that the attorney general was compromised, that he was going to have to recuse himself. Does it strike you as -- I don't know what the right word would be but a violation of his pledge to recuse himself from anything relating to Russia, for Jeff Sessions to have then involved himself in the firing of Jim Comey, apparently, over the Russia investigation.
FOLEY: Look, I don't know, I have to look --
TRIBE: It certainly does.
FOLEY: I have to look at the --
TRIBE: Oh, are you asking -- sorry.
ZAKARIA: Let's start with Professor Foley.
FOLEY: I'm sorry. Look, I don't know without knowing the parameters exactly of Jeff Sessions' recusal. I'd like to look at the language associated with that but let me go back to the point about the obstruction statute.
Look, for your opening statement said that we need to care about process and the rule of law. If you care about process and the rule of law and this is not just about the ends justifying the means and taking down a president that you don't like, then you need to care about what the statutes of obstruction say in this country and I'm telling you that section 1503 has been interpreted by every court to be limited to a pending judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding. An FBI investigation is not that, so there is simply no violation of any existing statute under the facts as we know it right now.
If those facts on the ground change, I'll be the first one to concede that there may be an applicable pending charge but to try to Trump up an obstruction of justice statue is not respectful of the rule of law in this country.
ZAKARIA: I like the pun. Professor (INAUDIBLE) it's a political process, though. Impeachment by the house is not a purely legal process but I want to ask you about a legal issue, which is perjury.
If Donald Trump does agree to go through a sworn testimony, given his past statements where there have been many contradictions, is there a potential for him to perjure himself? I'm just thinking of the Clinton case where eventually all that they could get him on was perjury.
TRIBE: I think, there's serious potential and I must say, just being blunt about it, that perjury about a blow job is not nearly as serious as perjury about Russian attack on our democracy.
Talk about the end not justifying the means. It seems to me this is clearly a case where if you look at the constitution, which you cannot avoid under some principle of avoidance, even if the statutes as properly read don't outlaw what Donald Trump did, there are lot of things he can do that aren't covered by statutes, violating the establishment clause with his travel ban, violating the emoluments clause, as I think he did.
So, even if the statutes don't cover it, we have the broader question of whether the political process of impeachment should deal with a president who simply knows no limits of the sort that we need to preserve our constitutional republic.
ZAKARIA: All right, I noticed Professor Foley nodding slightly, so, I will take that temporary moment of agreement as the moment where we have to stop. We will be back with both of you. This was a fascinating legal discussion. Thank you both.
When we come back --
TRIBE: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: From Trump to Brexit, Britain and that nation's unexpected election results this week, what happened? What does it mean for the future of populism? I will talk to the man who plotted two conservative victories in a row when we come back.
ZAKARIA: In April, Prime Minister Theresa May called for new parliamentary elections expecting her conservative party to gain more seats and thus give her a stronger hand in executing Britain's exit from the European Union.
Well, when, what she got was a weaker hand, much weaker. Her party lost 13 seats and with it their majority status. She is still cobbling together a coalition.
What does it all mean? Joining me now is the man who brought the conservatives to victory twice, the first victory for David Cameron into 10 Downing Street. The second victory kept him there.
Cameron, in turn, made George Osborne the Chancellor of the Exchequer the U.K.'s finance minister. George Osborne is now the editor of "London's Evening Standard" and he joins us now from London.
George, let me ask you, May seemed to be riding a wave of populism. She distanced herself from Cameron and you. Presented herself as in favor of Brexit, against some of the excesses of free market capitalism, as she saw it. What went wrong?
GEORGE OSBORNE, EDITOR, LONDON EVENING STANDARD: Well, good to be on the show, Fareed.
I mean, a number of things. The campaign was very wooden. She didn't connect with voters. The party's platform had a couple of policies in it which really put off elderly voters but, I think, the big picture is the conservative party and then I'm a conservative, I voted conservative. I want the conservatives to do well but the conservatives made a pitch essentially for the white working class who had previously been labor supporters but May have voted for Brexit and in reaching for those voters, A, failed to get them, and B, put off metropolitan more -- small (INAUDIBLE) liberal minded voters who have previously supported us and the consequence was, as you say, it was a political gamble that spectacularly misfired.
ZAKARIA: And, what happens now that she has allied herself with a small right-wing party that is socially very reactionary and, sort of, runs against the entire 15-year project of modernizing the conservative party that you and David Cameron engaged in? This is a party that a conservative columnist today called homophobic, creationist, you know, it -- will that tar the conservatives' image?
OSBORNE: Well, you're right to say that the British conservative party and this doesn't always translate across the Atlantic but the British conservative party has been very socially liberal.
For example, we introduced gay marriage and as a result, more than half of the gay population in Britain voted conservative at the 2015 election as I say, not widely understood in the United States but, I think, has been a key to our success.
The problem is the current conservative leadership was taking our party away from the socially and economically liberal -- in a, kind of, European sense -- free-market, pro-business but also not socially conservative platform that I think had done us very well. And we're now in a situation where it's a hung Parliament. No one has an overall majority. And the only way the Conservative Party can stay in office is to ally itself with a small Northern Irish party that is, you know, quite socially conservative, as you say.
There's not as if there's another government out there. The math doesn't work for the Labor Party. But what I think this really means is unstable government, unfortunately. It probably means the end of Mrs. May as the Conservative Party prime minister, although that won't necessarily happen immediately. And it will mean a lot of hard thinking in the Conservative Party about how to recover all this lost ground.
ZAKARIA: And what do you think it means, George, for populism? Has populism peaked?
I mean, if you think about the Dutch elections, the French elections and now these ones, it does seem that some of the fire has gone away?
OSBORNE: Well, it certainly, in Britain, seems to be more of a return to classic left-right politics -- although the left leader, the labor leader here, is very similar to a, sort of, Bernie Sanders in his approach, and you could call that left-wing populism, although I personally believe that, if Labor had had a more credible and centrist candidate, there would now be a Labor prime minister in Britain.
I think one, sort of, piece of good news as far as I'm concerned is that this whole election has put pay, in my view, to the idea of a hard Brexit. I don't think the votes are there now in the House of Commons because the conservatives have lost their majority for taking Britain out of all of the economic arrangements that we have with the European Union. It's not clear what takes its place, but certainly, I think we're now on course for a softer Brexit than would have been the case a week ago.
ZAKARIA: Is that possible? Because the Europeans certainly want it to be a hard Brexit as well. They want to make clear that there is a difference between being in the European Union and out. And they will not give Britain, you know, a soft deal, you know, something that is almost the same as having been a member of the European Union.
OSBORNE: Well, I certainly agree with you that the Europeans aren't going to cut any special deals for Britain, although I think it would be helpful if everyone took in a deep breath and thought what was the best thing for the continent of Europe, given that Britain is such an important economy and such an important security partner. That's not the atmosphere at the moment, partly because Britain has adopted a very aggressive stance, or at least the British government has, and the Europeans have responded in kind.
But I think it is worth remembering you can be in the European Union; you can be out of the European Union, but you can also be in the single market and not in the European Union. Norway is a case in point. You can have bilateral agreements with the European Union, as Switzerland does. You can be in something called the Customs Union, as Turkey is.
So there are a number of different options out there that other European countries who aren't in the E.U. have adopted, and I think it's worth Britain now exploring those options, something that Theresa May and her team were not prepared to do just a few days ago.
ZAKARIA: The Wall Street Journal, which I realize is non-voting media in Britain, recommends that you take over, that Theresa May has shown that her brand of conservatism doesn't work, and suggested you should essentially quit your job, probably run for by-election and challenge her for leadership. Will you?
OSBORNE: Well, I'm enjoying editing the London Evening Standard, which is a big newspaper over here in Britain. And I want to go on making the argument with the newspaper and on programs like this essentially for a British conservatism that is outward-looking, internationalist, is optimistic about the future, whilst at the same time helps those who feel left behind by globalization, but doesn't completely re-orientate itself towards their concerns. And I think, if we do that, we will lose the urban support that has been so important for the success of British conservatism. So I don't really mind which platform I make the case from, but I'm arguing for that kind of conservatism.
ZAKARIA: As a private citizen. Pleasure to have you on, George Osborne.
OSBORNE: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," a new Middle East crisis, Arab nations ganging up on one of their own. What in the world is going on with Qatar? I will explain when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. Donald Trump returned from his first overseas trip convinced that he had unified America's historic Arab allies, dealt a blow against terrorism and calmed the waters of an unruly Middle East.
Since then, we have seen a series of Islamist terror attacks in Europe and the Middle East and an open split within the Arab world, with Saudi Arabia leading a group of countries to break off relations with Qatar this week. What is going on?
The premise of Trump's strategy was to support Saudi Arabia fully, in the belief that it would be able to fight terror and stabilize the region. In fact, Trump gave a green light to the Saudis to pursue their increasingly aggressive sectarian foreign policy.
The first element of that policy has been to excommunicate its longtime rival Qatar. The Saudis have always viewed Qatar as a troublesome neighbor and are infuriated by its efforts to play a regional and even global role by hosting large American military bases, founding the Al Jazeera television network, planning to host the 2022 World Cup and punching above its weight diplomatically.
It's true that Qatar has supported some extremist Islamist movements. So has Saudi Arabia. Both are Wahhabi countries. Both have within them extremist preachers. Both are widely believed to have armed Islamic groups in Syria and elsewhere. Their differences, in other words, are really geopolitical though often dressed up as ideological.
The open split between the two countries will create much greater regional instability. Qatar will now move closer to Iran and Turkey, forging deeper alliances with anti-Saudi groups throughout the Muslim world. The battles between various factions of militants in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and North Africa will heat up.
The terror attacks in Tehran on Wednesday, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility, are viewed in Iran as being part of a Saudi-inspired campaign against it. We should expect that Iranian-backed militias will respond somewhere and some way. So much for regional stability.
And America is in the middle of all this, keeping close relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates while directing U.S. regional military operations out of its base in Qatar.
Trump has issued anti-Qatar tweets and complained about the country at a press conference on Friday, but American troops will have to live with the reality that Qatar is their host and close military ally in the war against ISIS.
For a superpower, the best policy in the Middle East has always been to maintain ties with all regional players. One of the great successes of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger's foreign policy was that they were able to woo Egypt into the American sphere while simultaneously preserving an alliance with the Shah of Iran.
Two seismic events altered the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East. The first was the Iranian revolution of 1979, which ushered a radical revisionist power into the region and then triggered a reaction from countries like Saudi Arabia. Iran's promise to spread its version of Islam led the Saudis to ramp up their own efforts to spread their ideas and influence.
The next earthquake was the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, which destabilized the fundamental balance of power. You see, Iran's ambitions had always been kept in check by Saddam Hussein's Iraq, which had fought a bloody eight-year war against it. With Saddam gone, Iran's influence began to spread in the region, especially within the Shiites of Iraq, where it is now the most important external influence on the Baghdad government.
If the Trump administration wants stability in the Middle East, it should help to broker a new balance of power. This cannot happen purely on Saudi terms. Iran is a major player with real influence and its role will have to be recognized. The longer Washington waits to do this, the longer the instability will grow.
Donald Trump recently learned that health care is complicated. Well, welcome to the Middle East.
For more, go to cnn.com/fareed and read my Washington Post column.
Next on "GPS," as America withdraws from its role as global leader, somebody needs to step in. Can that be Canada? Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland gives a striking speech this week. She joins me to explain what she sees as Canada's new global role.
ZAKARIA: Last week, when President Trump decided to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement, I said the move symbolized that the United States was essentially retiring from its role as global leader. I was intrigued this week to hear somebody essentially offer to take up that mantle.
Chrystia Freeland is Canada's foreign minister. And in a very strong, important speech to her nation's parliament, she said Canada was deeply disappointed by the president's climate decision, although she didn't mention him by name, and provided a solution. Minister Freeland suggested the ways that Canada could step up its global leadership. She joins me now.
FREELAND: Great to be with you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: You -- you spoke in the speech almost elegiacally about the important role America had played in creating and sustaining this open international order. But do you think it's -- it's basically moved on, that America has withdrawn from the world?
FREELAND: It's not my job to make predictions, Fareed. I did say in my speech, and I mean this so sincerely, how grateful I am, how grateful Canada is, for the tremendous role the United States has played over the past 70 years in building this rules-based, liberal, international order.
And I think that -- you know, first of all, I think we maybe don't say that often enough to our American friends. And I also think that people of my generation and perhaps yours, Fareed -- you know, we were lucky to be born into these 70 fat years. And I'm not sure we always fully appreciate what the peace and prosperity was that that liberal, rules-based international order created and the horror that came before it.
And really, what I said to Canadians this week is, let's not take that for granted. As a country, we Canadians, we have to set our own sovereign course, and our course is to double down on that rules-based international order.
We as Canadians helped to build it in the post-War period, and we are really committed as a country to doubling down to help to renew it, to help to make it even stronger in the 21st Century, doing things like bringing the great emerging powers, including China, in, and certainly, Fareed, doing things like being strongly committed to the Paris accord and to fighting one of the great new menaces we're aware of today, which is climate change. So that's where Canada absolutely stands.
ZAKARIA: Why do you think there is such resonance for the idea of America first, of withdrawing from the world?
I mean, there's always been an isolationist streak in the United States. You're a student of this, but you're also dealing with the political system in Canada. Do you feel that same pull, where maybe working-class people feel the system hasn't delivered for them recently and so they just want to tear it down?
FREELAND: I think that is an excellent point. And I actually addressed domestic economic policy in my speech this week, which is not that usual for a foreign policy speech. But I really strongly agree with what you said, Fareed.
I think that the middle class here in Canada, as in many other Western industrialized countries, including the United States, is feeling hollowed out. It's feeling betrayed by this global economic order. And what I believe, what my government believes, what we say to Canadians is, it is not -- you know, blaming foreigners is always easy. Foreigners always make an easy target. But whether it is trade deals or immigrants, they are not to blame for the problems of our middle class. We really believe that the solution lies in domestic policy. If you are shooting for the wrong target, you're not going to get a solution that works.
ZAKARIA: Do you worry that, as the United States does seem to be retreating, you know, America first, it will cause a lot of instability?
There are parts of the world where America's guarantees, its activism, has had the effect of, kind of, calming the waters. If it withdraws, are we in for a rocky ride?
FREELAND: We absolutely recognize the central, you know, indeed the indispensable role the United States has played in maintaining this rules-based, liberal, international order, and in building it. And, you know, as Canadians, the argument that I want to make to my American friends is to say, we know that, for Canada, this international order has hugely benefited us. And we are committed to building it, to restoring it for the 21st Century. We think that it has brought great benefits to the United States, too.
And we really think it's to -- it benefits the United States to really stay at the table. And, you know, as you said, Fareed, our prime minister said we're deeply disappointed about the Paris accords, and we just look forward to continuing to work with our American partners. The world needs the United States. And we think the United States stands to benefit a great deal, really by maintaining its leadership role in the world.
ZAKARIA: But if not, you think countries like Canada and Britain and France might be the new leaders of the Western world?
FREELAND: Well, what I said to Canadians this week, Fareed, is we need to chart, as Canadians, our own clear and sovereign course. Every country makes its own national decisions. We're lucky to live in a democracy. America is lucky to be a democracy. So, you know, it's for the American people to choose their course. Equally, it's for the Canadian people to choose our course.
ZAKARIA: Foreign Minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland, pleasure to have you on.
FREELAND: Great to talk to you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," one nation has a plan to get rid of the gas guzzlers on its highways by selling only electric cars, starting in just over a decade. It will surprise you to learn the name of that nation, when we come back.
ZAKARIA: And now for some good news for the environment for a change. One country, the world's third largest oil importer and a top coal consumer, recently announced an ambitious plan for electric car sales. It brings me to my question. Which country recently announced plans to sell only electric cars by 2030: China, India, Russia or Japan?
Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
This week's book of the week is Graham Allison's "Destined for War: Can America and China Escape the Thucydides Trap?"
The biggest question in international affairs is will the United States and China inevitably clash in the way all rising and established powers have done through history. An eminent Harvard scholar considers this question, examines the history and comes to some fine conclusions -- a very smart, well written and important book.
The correct answer to the "GPS" challenge question is B, India. The government has said, by 2030, every car sold in that country would be electric. The World Economic Forum says, if India is successful, it would save the country roughly $60 billion in energy costs by 2030. India's energy minister says the country will help facilitate the switch by offering subsidies for a couple of years until the cars pay for themselves. Some are skeptical that India will achieve such a lofty goal, but we have to wish them well.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.