Return to Transcripts main page
FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Mosul Liberated from ISIS; President Trump's Second Overseas Trip; Discussion of U.S Leadership in the World; Russian Opinions of Trump-Putin Meeting; Thoughts on Independence Day. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired July 9, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:32] 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.
Today on the show, President Trump's second overseas trip, the G-20 meeting. The face-to-face, one-on-ones with Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. How did the president do? We'll talk all about it with a terrific panel.
Also 50 billion objects will be connected to the Internet in the not- too-distant future. Sounds great, right? But that is 50 billion potential entry points for hackers. We'll tell you about it.
And America celebrated Independence Day this week. But are Americans forgetting their own history? A fascinating conversation with billionaire philanthropist David Rubenstein.
But first here's my take. In Washington there is a conventional wisdom on North Korea that spans both parties and much of elite opinion. It goes roughly like this. North Korea is the world's most bizarre country, run by a crackpot dictator with a strange hair cut. He is unpredictable, and irrational and cannot be negotiated with. Eventually this weird and cruel regime will collapse, meanwhile the only solution is more and more pressure.
But what if the conventional wisdom is wrong? The North Korean regime has survived for almost seven decades, preserving not just its basic form of government, but also its family dynasty. Father to son to grandson. It has persisted through the fall of the Soviet Union and its communist satellites, the Orange Revolution, the Arab Spring and the demise of other Asian dictatorships from South Korea to Taiwan to Indonesia.
The Kim dynasty has been able to achieve striking success in its primary objective, survival. Kim Jong-un is a young man but has been highly effective at preserving his authority. Look at the world from North Korea's perspective. The regime saw the collapse of the Soviet empire and an even more unsettling transformation in its key ally, China, which went from being a fiery ideological soul mate to a pragmatic trading nation. China now often votes to condemn and sanction North Korea at the
United Nations. And the world's most powerful country, the United States, has made clear for decades that North Korea is destined for the ash heap of history. Donald Trump now says he wants China to, quote, "end this nonsense once and for all," which again can only mean getting rid of the Kim government in some way.
So the North Korean regime has tried to buy insurance. And in the realm of international affairs, the best insurance is nuclear weapons. North Korea has accurately calculated that China and South Korea are more terrified of the chaos that would follow a war or its collapse, then of North Korea's nuclear arsenal.
Perhaps the right way to look at North Korea then is as a smart, rational, calculating government that is functioning shrewdly given its priority, regime survival. More pressure only strengthens its resolve to buy even more insurance.
So how to handle it under these circumstances? Well, the first way to break the logjam in U.S. policy would be to convince China to put real pressure on its ally. That won't happen by serving President Xi chocolate cake at Mar-a-Lago.
Beijing faces a potential nightmare. Under sanctions and pressure, North Korea could collapse and the newly unified country would become a giant version of South Korea, with a defense treaty with Washington, 30,000 American troops and possibly dozens of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons all on China's border.
Washington will have to promise Beijing now that in the event of unification, it would withdraw its troops, change the nature of its treaty relationship with the new Korea and working with China eliminate Korea's nuclear arsenal.
But pressure will work only if there's also some reason for North Korea to make concessions. Pyongyang has indicated in the past that it seeks a formal end to the Korean war. Remember, Washington signed only an armistice in 1953. North Korea also wants a recognition of the regime and the lifting of sanctions.
[10:05:04] Obviously none of this should be offered right now, but there is no harm in talking to Pyongyang and searching for ways to maybe trade some of these concessions for the complete eradication of the North Korean nuclear program.
It's a bitter pill to swallow for Washington and the world, but the alternative is to hope that China will act against its interest and crush its ally, or hope that North Korea will finally collapse. Hope however is not a strategy.
For more go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
It is not often on the show that we can break good news about Iraq, but today is one of those days. Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in Mosul today and declared it liberated. This was after three years of control by ISIS. It was a bloody fight to recapture Iraq's second largest city. But it is apparently over.
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in Irbil, near Mosul.
Nick, this was said to be one of the most bloody, urban battles that has taken place since World War II. What did U.S. and Iraqi troops learn about ISIS in this process of almost liberating the city? I know there's some fighting still going on.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think frankly that it's incredibly hard to fight an enemy that actually courts and welcomes death. This has been the major challenge particularly in the old city where we still hear there are slight pockets of fighting going despite Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al- Abadi's tweets saying that they, quote, "have liberated Mosul."
It's been an issue of suicide bombers in these closing moments. The remaining ISIS fighters said to be many of them foreign. Emerging from the rubble. Detonating their own devices. Using civilians as human shields. There are still so many questions at this point about how many civilians have been killed in the final moments of this very brutal, bloody battle about how many Iraqi Security Forces have died, too.
There is a moment I think of sort of a weight being lifted from the shoulders of Iraq here, a nation burdened by 15 years almost of war here. Yes, they appear to have kicked ISIS out of the remaining pocket it had in this largest population center effectively declaring an end to the caliphate.
Three years and 10 days since Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared its beginning in his ideas from the mosque in Mosul, which is very close to where that final moments of victory that's supposed to have happened when Iraqi forces reached the Tigris River running through Mosul.
It's a day of joy in Iraq but there are enormous challenges ahead, Fareed, of bridging the sectarian divide between the ethnicities of Sunni and Shia, which initially caused extremists in the Sunni group to perhaps to give sucker to ISIS, unnerved the Shia who now run the country after years of being repressed against the majority. And the Sunni-Saddam Hussein of finding a way of being generous in government and the military to bring the Sunni back into the fold again, to build again, to use their money in the best way.
But what many fear I think that in the years ahead we'll see some sort of new form of ISIS come forward, but that is the future's challenges, today we are dealing perhaps a momentous moment in Iraq, perhaps even for the world, too, that's dealt with the offshoots of ISIS' ideology and terror attacks in Manchester in the UK, London, Paris, Brussels, Nice, you name it, I could go on. It's terrifying how the idea has spread.
But today the idea faces an enormous symbolic setback of them basically being finished, apart from a few small towns where they've retained a presence finished in Iraq -- Fareed. ZAKARIA: It's unfortunate that the symbolism does not include being
able to fly Iraq's flag from the Al Nuri Mosque where Baghdadi declared the caliphate because of course ISIS destroyed that mosque as one of its final acts of barbarism.
Nick Paton Walsh, pleasure to have you on. Thank you so much.
Next on GPS, the G-20 meeting and the much awaited, much anticipated Putin-Trump meeting. Was it worth all the fuss? We'll discuss when we come back.
[10:13:41] ZAKARIA: President Trump landed last night at Joint Base Andrews after three days in Europe, first in Warsaw, then in Hamburg, Germany for the G-20 Summit.
So what did he accomplish? How did he advance America's interest? How did he hinder them?
Joining me in New York are Anne Marie Slaughter, former director of policy planning at the State Department, now the president and CEO of the think tank, New America. Ian Bremmer, the founder and president of the global risk consultancy group, the Eurasia Group.
Eliot Abrams joins us from Washington, he was a deputy national security adviser for President George W. Bush and was reportedly a top contender for the deputy secretary of state job in the Trump administration. In Warsaw, we have Anne Applebaum. She's a columnist for the "Washington Post" and a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian.
Let's do this sequentially.
Anne, what did you think of Donald Trump's speech in Poland? I was struck by the way in which he spoke of the West really as a kind of civilization more than an idea.
ANNE APPLEBAUM, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Yes, that was very striking to everybody who heard the speech. It was as if the West was a civilization or even almost a kind of tribal organization which is at war with other people and that was left slightly unclear who the other people were. It sounded as if he was talking about Islamic radicalism.
[10:15:05] Of course American presidents for years and years have been coming to Warsaw. Obama did it, George W. Bush did it. And making speeches about the importance of the West, but they usually use different language. It was about NATO -- at length about NATO. It was about our democracy, it was about Poland's journey from dictatorship to democracy. It saw the West as a kind of positive political group community.
This was something very different. It sounded a little bit tribal. No mention of democracy or very little. A very distant, very glancing reference to NATO and to Russia. It seemed to be offering something quite different. People here were a little bit confused by it. ZAKARIA: Elliott Abrams, what do you make of that? You know, it did
sound like for Trump, and I think Steve Bannon might have written this speech, this was the West as religion, race, tribe, culture, not the West as democracy, liberty, the rule of law, and as somebody in the Reagan administration as I recall, had the portfolio of spreading democracy around the world, what do you make of it?
ELLIOTT ABRAMS, SENIOR FELLOW, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I thought it was a very good speech, and I'm afraid I have to disagree with Anne. He must have used the word freedom about 15 times. He talked a lot about Polish history which is a history of resisting Russian aggression and Russian control.
He did talk about culture. We all took courses in Western civilization, it shouldn't be a great shock. He talked about culture but so did Pope John Paul talk about culture and Western culture.
Look, this was not a U.N. General Assembly speech at universal values. It was a speech in Poland which wants to be part of the West. So I think his criticisms are really extreme and wrong.
ZAKARIA: Anne Marie, let's go to the Russia part of this, the Putin meeting. How do you think it went? What do you make of Trump going to Europe and, you know, getting on well with Putin?
ANNE MARIE SLAUGHTER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NEW AMERICA: And he got on far better with Putin than he did with our allies at NATO and the G- 20. But I think the most important thing to me about his meeting with Putin is that the Russians are celebrating. It was deemed a triumph for Putin in Russia. And he gave Putin the two things that Putin wants most. One to be treated as an equal on the world stage with Syria, with cyber security. You talk about the fox guarding the hen house. I can't imagine better.
ZAKARIA: This is Trump saying that they might have a joint task force on cyber security.
SLAUGHTER: They might have a joint task force on cyber security. Yes, we'll hand over some more of the keys to our cyber kingdom. But the other is that Putin wants to be treated as an equal on the world stage and to have no questioning of what he does at home. And there was nothing, there was nothing about Ukraine, there was nothing about human rights violations, there was nothing about the way he has cracked down -- and his corruption.
The kinds of things that George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Clinton, Obama, all pushed Russia on the difference between the West universal human rights, right, which applied to everyone and the way the Russian government behaves, and there's none of that.
IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT, EURASIA GROUP: He went to Saudi Arabia before he went to Europe on the last trip. The reason for that, they'd promote him, they could control dissent. His transactional, doesn't care about human rights. He went to Poland first. They bussed in 15,000 people. They say Trump, Trump, Trump. They control dissent, it's not about liberal democracy. Then he goes to Europe where it's a lot harder.
His best meeting is with President Putin. And absolutely the fact that Trump is not going to promote democracy and is not from the perspective of the Kremlin, going to try to delegitimize the Russian system is a win for Putin.
The other thing that's a win for Putin is the fact that the United States gets more divided. Divided internally, divided from the Transatlantic relationship, and Europe is divided, too. And if you're Putin who wants a more multipolish system where everyone has a smear of influence in their backyard, the U.S. gets Latin America, Russia doesn't get bothered by the Americans, China's their biggest problem.
So I think from that perspective it's positive. But look at Trump's tweet this morning where he says until we have movement on Ukraine and Syria, I can't move on sanctions. Look at what he had to say to the Russians, you know, had to at least say, look, I did actually push them on the hacks.
Now we know he doesn't care about the hacks, we know there are no consequences, but the reality of these investigations which are only going to pick up steam constrains the ability of Putin to ultimately have a win, vis-a-vis the United States and that means that there isn't going to be a serious reset between the U.S. and this country.
ZAKARIA: Anne, how did Trump's meeting with Putin go down in Poland? He seemed very popular in Poland but they -- did they like the embrace of Putin?
[10:20:07] APPLEBAUM: Well, here it's very complicated to say what Poland thinks of Trump because Poland like the United States is very divided. One of the previous speakers alluded to the current government which is illiberal or illiberalizing is the best way to put it and actually brought in people to cheer for Trump at the speech to make sure that there was no disharmony.
Therefore people who are pro the government are confused by the meeting with Putin, people who are anti the government are pointing fingers and saying, look, we told you so, why are you trusting this man?
And I would say that's actually a common sentiment across Europe. And people are -- people notice the gap between some of the language Trump uses in written speeches, his talk about the West and so on. And then the difference between that and the way he tweets and the way he speaks extemporaneously when he seems -- when he criticizes the media which he, by the way, did here in Poland where the media has been under attack, and where he criticizes -- you know, he's criticized the judicial system and so on.
He talks about enemies of the state. This is all kind of totalitarian, communist language that we know from the past. And so these differences between the different way he speaks in different occasions, basically means that people in Europe don't trust him. I mean, they really don't know what he stands for or when he can be relied upon.
ZAKARIA: We will keep going. When we come back, next on GPS, as the G-20 meeting was ending, France's president Emmanuel Macron declared the world has never been so divided. Is he right? I will ask the panel when we come back.
[10:25:56] ZAKARIA: We are back here on GPS with Anne Marie Slaughter, Ian Bremmer, Elliott Abrams, and Anne Applebaum.
Elliott Abrams, what did you make of the G-20 Summit? You've prepared presidents for many of these kinds of summits. How did this one go from your point of view?
ABRAMS: I think it went the way most of them do, that is you get the communique at the end, but the real work is done in the bilateral meetings. And I think there were a lot of bilaterals. Trump obviously trying to work with Xi Jinping on North Korea. It may work and it may not. Trying to work with Putin on Syria. And today we get a ceasefire that maybe will save some lives.
On other things where you can't work with other people, what does he do after the summit? He immediately sends Tillerson to Kiev and appoints a new Ukraine envoy who is a known -- Kirk Volcker, a known hardliner on Russia who was Bush's ambassador to NATO.
So I think this summit is pretty standard except for one thing. Trump has a separate position on climate change. And that leads President Macron to make what frankly is a silly statement, the world has never been so divided.
Yes, how about the Cold War and World War II and World War I? I mean, let's put things in perspective here really.
ZAKARIA: Anne Applebaum, what do you think about Trump and the Europeans? Is this much ado about nothing?
APPLEBAUM: Well, I think the difference between this summit and Trump's last trip to Europe is that Europeans are now a little bit more prepared for Trump. Last time people really didn't know what to expect. Everything he did came as a surprise.
This time there was preparations so we knew that -- the Europeans knew that Trump wasn't going to go along with the climate change agreement so language was written, the kind of G-19 declaration was made.
I would disagree with Elliott on one slight point, which is it's not just climate change where he's different, it's also trade, and again Europe dealt with that by announcing right on the eve of the summit a new trade agreement between the European Union and Japan.
So people are now determined to go ahead here with their agenda, with a trade agenda, with a climate agenda, and other issues that Europeans care about. And they're simply going to go around the American president now. So I agree, it's over saying it to talk about a divided world. I'm sure there are going to be ways in which everybody is going to work together on issues of concern to all of us.
But it is also true that Europe has now recognized that the U.S. is different from what it was in the last three, four or five really administrations, and they're looking for workarounds, they're looking for ways to do things without them.
ZAKARIA: Anne Marie Slaughter, it is striking how the Europeans are stepping on to the world stage that the United States seems to be somewhat stepping back from?
SLAUGHTER: I think the sort of way to look at this trip is America first means America alone, which means America last, because essentially what he has done is hand the banner of an interdependent global rule governed world, tackling global problems to the Europeans. To Macron and to Merkel. And suddenly they are building a global trade area that will extend to Japan, Australia, all the way across Russia and China.
ZAKARIA: And of course the EU is a larger market than the U.S., so these other countries are interested.
SLAUGHTER: Absolutely. And China is the EU's biggest trading partner in some ways, so now you have the EU and Xi Jinping and Japan and Australia, our allies, creating trading agreements. They're taking the lead on climate. They're taking the lead on how you shape globalization. That's what this was about. We're shaping globalization.
We're pulling out. We say we're America first but basically we're just America isolated.
ZAKARIA: You talked about a G-0 world. Suddenly the G-20 there's no leader. Is that the world that you saw?
[10:30:00] BREMMER: Well, certainly these countries around the world are seeing the United States as much less of a leader, and that's where you get Macron. It's not just on climate and trade; it's also on values, the fact that the United States is not seen as a partner in sharing the values that underpin the institutions that have actually run the world, which was the G-7, the G-7-plus-1, and now the G-20.
Merkel -- Angel Merkel in Germany has the biggest problem with that because she's the one who sees the West in the least transactional ways. That relationship is fundamentally more broken. But the other big takeaway from this summit is the meeting with Xi Jinping. And so, you know, you had the magic of Mar-a-Lago, Trump and Xi Jinping ostensibly getting along well. But now, with tensions over North Korea, new arms sales to Taiwan, concerns over trade, that relationship is clearly deteriorating.
So some countries are going to bet on the U.S. no matter what, because we're the only superpower -- Japan for security; Modi, to a degree, same reason; Mexico, Canada, geography. But with the countries that aren't, Trump is betting on countries like Poland and Saudi Arabia. He is not betting on countries like Germany and China, which, long term, strike me as better bets. So, I mean, if you think about the United States not being alone but
being the superpower that only a few have to be with -- the rest aren't -- we do see it unwind.
ZAKARIA: Elliott Abrams, 30 seconds: "America alone" -- is that a fair characterization?
ABRAMS: No, I think it's not a fair characterization. I think, you know, one of the things that Trump has done is to reaffirm the commitment to NATO. He's talked just now about a new trade agreement with the U.K. I think we are building, under Bush, then Obama, and we will continue to build now, a much closer relationship with India.
So I think this is really overstated. I think people are frankly looking for ways to pick apart Trump foreign policy. There's plenty to criticize, but I actually do think the -- the criticism is quite silly. The G-20 doesn't stand for our values. With China and Russia in it, it has nothing to do with our values; it's a method of getting heads of government, heads of state, to meet to try to solve problems. And that's all it is.
ZAKARIA: All right. We will -- we will leave it at that. Next on "GPS," the Russian view of the Trump-Putin meeting. One of Russia's foremost foreign policy thinkers, once a closer adviser to the government, will join me in just a moment.
ZAKARIA: You heard earlier what other American foreign policy experts thought of the much-anticipated Trump-Putin pow-wow. But what did the other side think? What did Russia's top minds in world affairs have to say?
Well, we're about to find out. Joining me now is Sergey Karaganov. He is the dean of the School of International Economics and Foreign Affairs at Russia's National Research University. He has advised President Putin himself.
Pleasure to have you, Sergey. What did you make of the meeting?
KARAGANOV: Well, it was -- it was long-anticipated good news. Some civility is being restored; people are -- well, leaders are starting to talk to each other. It might have -- cast a good shadow on the overall state of Russian-American relations, which are bizarre, I would -- toxic, on both sides, but especially, I'm sorry, on the American side, and are completely counterproductive and even dangerous.
ZAKARIA: Do you -- the way it has been characterized by the Russian side, President Putin explained to President Trump that the Russians had not interfered in the U.S. elections, and that President Trump agreed with that assessment. Is that your understanding of what happened?
KARAGANOV: That is my understanding of what happened, but I had not been in that room, as you might expect. So I don't know what was -- what was happening there, but I know that Russians are saying and believing that they have not interfered, first, and I think Mr. Putin has a lot of first-class information to support his views.
But, anyway, I mean, the fact sides are starting to discuss the cyber warfare things is a healthy development. I think we have to deal with these matters much more seriously than we used to.
ZAKARIA: Russia and Israel were the only two countries where a majority of people preferred Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton. Do you think that President Trump's embrace of Putin, the fact that they had a good meeting -- has this, sort of, vindicated the Russian view that they were right to think that Trump would be a better president from Russia's point of view than the alternative?
KARAGANOV: I don't think that there was real support for Mr. Trump, and I don't think there is a deep support for Mr. Trump even now because we all know that he's handicapped by this kinky inside struggle which you have in your country, which undermines your position in the world and your prestige.
So what we were sure of was that the accommodation of neocons and liberal internationalists who would have come with Mrs. Clinton would have been the worst possible scenario. They would have had to vindicate their -- the defeats that they have incurred on their country and the destabilization they have incurred on the world. So Mrs. Clinton was the worst possible -- not her, but her administration was the worst possible outcome. We'll see what happens now.
ZAKARIA: It seemed to me that Vladimir Putin must have had a single strategic goal, which he has publicly articulated often, which is the -- the end to the sanctions that were put in place by the Western countries after the annexation of Crimea and the activities in Ukraine.
Do you think that Donald Trump's tweet this morning, in which he said "I cannot move on sanctions unless the Russians move on Ukraine" -- was that disappointing? Do you think that there was hope that Donald Trump would in some way both relax the American sanctions but more importantly, you know, allow the Europeans to relax theirs, which is of course the crucial issue for Russia?
KARAGANOV: There are many people in my country who believe the sanctions are useful. There are others like myself who believe the sanctions will continue indefinitely in one way or another because we are entering a different, very economically liberal world, unfortunately.
So -- and, of course, Mr. Putin, or any Russian's, strategic goal is not about sanctions. We want our world to be more secure; we want to avoid a war; and we -- we want to restore Russia, which we have, partially. We have restored our might. And now we will have to restore our economy to become a full-fledged great power. That is the strategic goal. These -- so the sanctions are a hindrance, but not a severe one, and it is not among the items on our agenda.
ZAKARIA: And briefly, Sergey, finally, do you think Putin left the summit a happy man?
KARAGANOV: Mr. Putin is a happy man. He has been winning. And he believes that he is morally and intellectually right, but he is clever enough, and I applaud him, for hiding that.
He is very correct, very forthcoming, and I think he wishes good relations with the United States. I am -- I am a happy man after this meeting because we -- I believe that our relations were very dangerous.
ZAKARIA: Putin is winning. Pleasure to have you on, Sergey Karaganov.
Next on "GPS," George Santayana said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." How to get people interested in the past? A billionaire has an idea and he's spending tens of millions of dollars to test it out.
ZAKARIA: This past Tuesday, Americans celebrated one of the nation's most treasured annual holidays. For many, July 4th means hot dogs, parades and fireworks. But it should really be seen as a celebration of one of America's most important documents, the Declaration of Independence, which was approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. It is thus the date inscribed on that document.
The original sits highly protected in the National Archives. But 47 years after the declaration was signed, when the original was already said to be fading, an engraving was made off it. My next guest owns four of the 50 surviving copies of that so-called stone engraving. He doesn't keep them in his living room. The copies are on display at the State Department, the National Archives, the National Constitution Center and the New York Historical Society.
He also owns one of only four surviving copies of Magna Carta, also on display at the Archives. The 13th Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation are among his possessions as well. Those are on display at the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
The owner of all these and more, David Rubenstein, the billionaire businessman who made his money as the co-founder and co-CEO of the private equity firm the Carlyle Group. I sat down with him in Aspen to understand why he collects these pieces of paper and why it is so important for people to see them.
ZAKARIA: Explain why you do these, because it's an unusual kind of charity. Most people think the government should be doing this. Why are you doing it?
RUBENSTEIN: One, the government doesn't have as much money as people think it has or should have. For example, take the national parks system, which everyone loves. It has $11 billion of unfunded commitments to make the parks system what it should be, $11 billion. The government's not going to come up with that money. The private sector probably isn't going to come up with all of it, but it can come up with some of it.
The reason I'm doing it is to draw attention to several things. One, we need to know more about American history. Americans know so little about history. I think, if you go to visit some of these monuments and memorials, you learn more about history. Now, you can learn everything you want to learn online. You can go look at the Washington Monument online and learn about the Washington Monument. But there's something about the human brain that says, "When I go to the monument, I'm going to go back and learn more about it."
Right now, Americans' knowledge of history is so limited that, in a recent survey, less than 50 percent of Americans could name the three branches of government. And 10 percent of Americans said that Judge Judy was on the United States Supreme Court, which is not the case...
ZAKARIA: So when you look at these projects you get -- I mean, sometimes you just buy a document so it can be preserved.
ZAKARIA: What are you looking for? What is the criteria?
RUBENSTEIN: I'm looking to buy historic documents, like the Magna Carta, the 13th Amendment, which freed slaves, the Emancipation Proclamation, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, that are well known; put them on display at the Smithsonian, the National Archives, Mount Vernon, other places, the U.S. Constitution Center, where people will go and see them. And if they go and see them, they might be inspired to learn more about it.
It's clear that, if you look at a document in a book, you might not be inspired to learn that much more about it. But when you see the original, you say, "Wow, that's original; let me learn more about it."
Now, for example, take Hamilton, as a play, a terrific play, of course. More people are now inspired to learn more about Hamilton and the founding fathers than ever was the case before, because, by seeing that play, you want to learn more. Hopefully, by seeing the original copies of these documents, you might be inspired to learn more. And my theory is, if people learn more about our country's history, we might have a better country and a better democracy.
ZAKARIA: What's -- what has been your favorite project of all these ones that you've done?
RUBENSTEIN: Well, I liked many of them, but take Monticello, for example, which was Thomas Jefferson's home. When I went to visit it the first time, it needed some repair, and I talked to Leslie Bowman, who was the president of Monticello and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, and we agreed on how much money was necessary. And now she has helped transform it to a much better place than I think it was before. Or take the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta is the only copy in private
hands. It's the only copy in the United States. Enormous numbers of people go visit it now at the National Archives and they learn more about American history, because it was very important in our own history, not just in British history.
ZAKARIA: Do you think that there is an educational component here, that we don't teach enough civics?
I can't tell you how many places I go around the country and people say, "We don't teach enough civics; that's why we have a broken politics."
RUBENSTEIN: You can graduate from almost any American college today as a history major and not have to take American history. And in case of most colleges today, you're not required to take any courses in American history or American government to graduate. There are no civics courses taught, largely, in senior high anymore.
So the truth is, people who are naturalized citizens, which you are -- you're a naturalized citizen -- the test you took to pass and become a citizen, I doubt if most native-born Americans could pass that test without an enormous amount of studying. We don't teach people these kinds of things anymore. It's unfortunate.
Now, George Santayana famously said, Those people who don't remember history are condemned to relive it." My view is that people that don't keep historic documents are unlikely to remember as much of the past as they should. So I'd like to preserve these documents and preserve things that people should visit, about historic homes, monuments and memorials.
ZAKARIA: You were the first person in the private equity industry who signed the giving pledge, essentially pledging to give away most of your money in your lifetime. Why do you think more people don't -- don't do that?
RUBENSTEIN: Well, if you come from very modest circumstances -- and many people in the Forbes 400 do -- they work their way up. All of a sudden, working very hard to make this money and then saying, actually, I'm going to give it away -- it takes a, you know, a change of thought. In my own case, I came from very modest circumstances; I was very lucky in my business career, and I feel I owe a lot to the United States, which made it possible for me to be able to do what I'm doing.
So I'm really viewing it as a downpayment on my obligation to give back to the country. And I hope other Americans will feel the same. The United States does have a disproportionate amount of people giving away money compared to others. We now have about 169 people who signed the giving pledge. But I'd say about 85 percent of them are from the United States. Americans are just more philanthropic by nature than people from around the rest of the world. Hopefully that will change.
ZAKARIA: Pleasure to have you on.
RUBENSTEIN: My pleasure.
ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," you just heard David Rubenstein say he doubts that most native-born Americans could pass the citizenship test. Could you? Whether you're native born, naturalized or never even set foot in America, you'll be able to test your knowledge when we come back.
ZAKARIA: You just heard my guest David Rubenstein talk about the citizenship test that immigrants take to become naturalized American citizens. He wondered if most Americans could pass it. I thought I would give you a taste of that test with two questions from the current rotation.
How many voting members are there in the House of Representatives: 376, 400, 435 or 538?
The test asks about American government today and about U.S. history. And that brings me to the next question: What territory did the United States buy from France in 1803: Florida, Louisiana, Maine or Washington?
Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
This week's book of the week is only 81 pages long but filled with insight and intelligence. If you've ever wanted to understand physics better, read Carlo Rovelli's masterful book "Seven Brief Lessons on Physics."
One of the world's leading scientists, he explains concepts like relativity, quantum mechanics and black holes with an elegance and clarity that reminded me of Richard Feynman. It's 81 pages, but you will probably find yourself coming back to it again and again.
And don't forget to subscribe to our "GPS" podcast. If you haven't already, go to iTunes or wherever you find your favorite podcast. Just search "Fareed Zakaria GPS," and you'll find us. Then hit the "subscribe" button, and you'll get us every week. That way, you will never miss a show.
The answer to my first "GPS" challenge question was C. There are 435 voting members in the House of Representatives. While each state's allotment is determined by population, 435 is actually the maximum number of representatives in the House as set by law. There are also six non-voting members, one from each of the five territories, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and one from the District of Columbia.
The answer to my second challenge question was B. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of the United States by purchasing the 530 million acres known as the Louisiana Territory. France sold it for a mere $15 million, which today would be roughly $300 million, or what some experts say is the worth of Mar-a-Lago, President Trump's Florida club. Jefferson really understood the art of the deal. If you'd like to see if you can pass this test, go to cnn.com/fareed
for a link. To become a citizen, an applicant must correctly answer six of the 10 questions selected from a list of 100. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there is a 91 percent pass rate.
Let me know how you did by tweeting at me @fareedzakaria. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.