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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Fareed's take on the problem with today's elite; Charlottesville, Bannon and a divided America. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired August 20, 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 HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: This is GPS, THE GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.
We'll start the show with Steve Bannon exiting stage right. What will a Trump administration look like without the president's chief strategist? Will a deeply divided country become slightly less so or has the die already been cast?
Then more vehicles used as weapons. The Spain attack. Is there any way to protect against such acts of terror? Is this the new normal? I'll talk to Peter Bergen.
Also, no one has done better than Germany in tackling an ugly past. Can America learn any lessons from it?
And President Trump and the nuclear deal with Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The stupidest deal of all time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Why the president's disgust with that deal could lead a major showdown next month?
But, first, here's my take. Much of America has reacted swiftly and strongly to Donald Trump's grotesque suggestion that there is a moral equivalence between the white supremacists who converged last weekend on Charlottesville, Virginia and those who protested against them.
But the delayed qualified and often mealymouthed reactions of many in America's leadership class tell a disturbing story about the country's elites and the reason we're living in an age of populist rebellion.
The least respected of today's leaders are, of course, politicians. The public largely views them as craven and cowardly, pandering to polls and focus groups, and that is how too many Republican officials have behaved in the face of Trump's words and actions.
Men and women who usually cannot stop pontificating on every topic on live TV, with some honorable exceptions, have suddenly gone mute on the biggest political subject of the day.
I know. They worry about the base, about primaries, about right-wing donors, but shouldn't they also worry about their country and their conscience? Shouldn't they ask themselves why they went into public service in the first place?
And if they see someone at the highest level, trampling on the values of the country, shouldn't they speak up directly, forcefully, and without qualification?
Business leaders meanwhile are still among the most respected and envied people in America today. They run vast organizations, get paid on a scale that makes their predecessor from just 25 years ago look middle class and live in a bubble of private planes, helicopters and limousines.
In other words, they have all the wealth, power and security that should allow them to set standards and, well, lead. Instead, for the most part, business leaders have also been cowards, most of them surely think Trump is a charlatan, a snake oil salesman.
In the past, many chose not to do business with him because they believed he was unethical. Others were initially amused by his candidacy, but regarded his rhetoric on trade, immigration, refugees as loathsome. And yet, almost none of them spoke out against him.
Few even distanced themselves from him after he blamed many sides for the violence in Charlottesville. Had Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier not resigned from one of Trump's advisory boards, it's unclear whether others would've spoken out.
And even then some jumped ship only when it became clear there was really no alternative, after Trump doubled down on his initial comments.
America once did have more public-minded elites, but they came from a small clubby world, the Protestant establishment. Not all were born rich, but they knew they had a secure place atop the country.
They populated the country's boardrooms, public offices, and its best schools. This security gave them greater comfort in exercising moral leadership. Today, we have a more merit-based elite, what is often called a meritocracy.
It has allowed people from all walks of life to rise up into positions of power and influence, but these new elites are more insecure, anxious, self-centered. Politicians are likely to be solo entrepreneurs, worried about the next primary or the fundraiser.
CEOs live with the constant fear that they might lose their jobs or their company might lose its customers in an instant. They may not think they have the luxury to be high-minded, but they do. They are all vastly more secure than most people in America or in human history.
If they cannot act out of broader interest, who can? The group of leaders who deserve the most praise this week are the military brass. In a remarkable active leadership for people who work under the president, all five of the heads of the armed forces independently issued statements, unequivocally denouncing racism and bigotry.
Perhaps this is because the military has been the institution that has most successfully integrated America's diverse population. Perhaps it is because the military remains an old-fashioned place where a sense of honor, standards and values still holds.
[10:05:11] The military chiefs have shown why they still command so much respect in the country. America's other elites should perhaps take note.
For more, go to CNN.com/Fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
In the wake of the Charlottesville rally and attack last weekend, "The New Yorker" published a fascinating, frightening article entitled, "Is America Headed for a New Kind of Civil War?"
The reporter talked to the experts and came to some startling conclusions. What is going on in America, how did we come to this?
Joining me now Robin Wright, the reporter of that "New Yorker" article. She is a contributing writer for the newyorker.com. She's also a joint fellow at the US Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.
Angela Rye is a CNN political commentator. She is a former executive director and general counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus.
Mark Lilla is a Professor of the Humanities at Columbia and the author of a terrific new book the Once and Future Liberal.
And Roy Blount Jr. is an author, humorist and former reporter. He spent his formative years in the American South and that region continues to be somewhat of a muse for him. He's written a book after book about it, including a biography of Robert E. Lee.
Mark Lilla, let me start with you. Steve Bannon is out of the White House, but his intellectual influence seems to still dominate, in the sense that he said - in effect, he said, I agree with Mark Lilla. I agree with the thesis of your book, which is that as long as the left plays identity politics, it's great for the right, and he said bring it on, I would love to see more of it.
And it does appear that Donald Trump, whether he still has him in the White House or not is still listening to Steve Bannon because that is the strategy the Trump administration and Trump personally is pursuing.
MARK LILLA, PROFESSOR OF HUMANITIES, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, AND AUTHOR, THE ONCE AND FUTURE LIBERAL: If Steve Bannon says it works for him, I'm inclined to agree with him. He is someone who knows his business.
Identity politics in this country really means two things. On the one hand, it means a focus on understanding our social problems. And to understand any problem in America, you need to understand identity.
But when it comes to addressing those problems, identity politics as a strategy has been disastrous because rather than establishing a connection between those who are affected by these problems and those who may be unaware of them or unaffected, you need to build a bridge between people.
ZAKARIA: So, you're saying, when blacks said these are black issues, whites don't feel like they connect with them.
LILLA: Well, it's even worse than that. I think in some of the more radical identity groups, they say you must understand my problems and you can't understand me because you're not me, because you don't belong to my group, and that's a terrific turn off to people and it's a missed opportunity to build a bridge and to see that there are certain principles and certain experiences that we share in this country. It's an opportunity to gain allies. And identity liberals just keep shooting themselves in the foot.
ZAKARIA: Angela, the problem is identity politics has been played by non-liberals as well. The sense the right has always played with some form of identity politics, just white identity politics, that's what all the dog whistles about race have been, Reagan starting his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, all that stuff, right?
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Even you think about the war on drugs, you think about when the Tea Party rose for the first time and they started talking about let's take our country back, you think about Donald Trump saying make America great again, what makes America not great, well, he announced at the very first moment, he came down the escalator on to his campaign, that Mexicans were drug dealers and rapists.
So, it's very clear that anything other, right, is wrong, is bad, is something that you can relate to and it's damaging the country.
I was initially nervous about what you would say identity politics and I couldn't agree with you more about building bridges.
I think the challenge is when I'm forced to communicate my issues in a way that's digestible or comforting to you, then that means that I'm uncomfortable. And so, where is the bridge that goes both ways to ensure that we can have a dialogue where we are fostering understanding.
And I think, for me, as an African-American person, often find myself on the defense, not just because someone can relate to me, but because so often I'm in the minority. So, it's a minority view for a minority person that you assume is angry. And so, there are so many hurdles you have to overcome just to get across that bridge.
[10:10:01] ZAKARIA: But your point is find those issues that unite economic issues, issues of redistribution, right?
LILLA: No. It's even more than. It means reinterpreting what the problem is. For example, I'm not a black male motorist. I will never be a black male motorist and I will never fully understand what it's like to be in the situation when you look in the rearview mirror and you see the lights going.
However, I'm a citizen. And I understand what it means not to be equally protected under the law. And if you put the experience under a principle we all share, then people can identify.
But if you say that you cannot understand my experience because of your background, you're inviting people to close the door.
ZAKARIA: Robin Wright, this gets to the - it seems to me, the fundamental issue in your article, which is we seem to be so far apart, we seem to be so far apart as a country.
What I've been struck by in the last few days is the stunning degree of support for Donald Trump's position after Charlottesville, the very high support for maintaining every Confederate monument. These are in the 70 percent range for Republicans. I think the 80 percent range on some, depending on how you ask the question.
And that gets to your article. Is this gulf so wide that you think, on the basis of that reporting, we really are in for a new kind of civil strife, if not civil war.
ROBIN WRIGHT, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, NEW YORKER: Well, I think no one is talking about the kind of pitched battles along the geographic lines that characterized the Civil War 150 years ago.
What people are talking about is low intensity conflict with sporadic, episodic violence that results in calling out the National Guard and that challenges traditional political authority.
I think you've seen a number of conditions in this country that get far beyond identify politics, although emerged from identity politics, and that's the polarization, with no middle ground, no meeting place to resolve it.
It's the weakened institutions, such as the courts, and it's the abandonment of the higher moral ground by leadership. It's the legitimization of violence as means of engaging in discourse or resolving disputes, that there are a lot of things that are very worrisome.
Now, I'm a child - I went to college in the late 60s and the early 70s during the period of the Civil Rights Movement and the antiwar movement. And the United States has, in the past, had a process of self-correction through the courts, through legislation. We got back on track.
What's worrisome now is that you find that the leadership in the country is not taking that higher moral ground and it is fanning the flames of polarization.
And the firing of Steve Bannon is not going to get us beyond this moment in history, beyond the divisiveness. The problem started long before Charlottesville and the danger is that because of the kind of support we see by so many behind Donald Trump that this is something that is going to be with us for quite a while.
ZAKARIA: Roy, how much of this is the south? How much of this is the fact that we have never completely come to terms with? But then I think about it because when people said, there's some similarity to what the Germans dealt with their past.
Well, the Germans dealt with their past partly because it is absolutely clear in modern German interpretation that Goebbels and Himmler and Rommel and all of the Nazi henchmen were bad, terrible, evil people. You will never find a statue to them.
There is ambivalence about Robert E. Lee.
ROY BLOUNT JR., AUTHOR, HUMORIST AND FORMER REPORTER: Yes. Well, Robert E. Lee was a symbol. The South, and not just the South, but the whole country seem to need somebody after the Civil War.
The Civil War was a horrible, sordid carnage. It was just a horrible thing. The more you read about it, it's just disgusting, that war.
So, they put up statues. There's a statue in Augusta, Georgia that says carved on it, no nation rose so right and fair, none fell so pure of crime.
That's just like, standing out in the corner and saying, we never did anything wrong. We didn't. It's embarrassing. It's ludicrous.
So, to me, I'd love to take those things down. But then Robert E. Lee was a living statue or a recently deceased statue, who was supposedly pure and he never earned a demerit at West Point and he was a much more complicated man than he was held up to be.
ZAKARIA: We've got to come back. And when we come back, I want to come right back to this issue that Robin Wright raises, which is just how much political conflict and strife are we in for going forward.
[10:19:20] ZAKARIA: And we're back with Robin Wright, Angele Rye, Mark Lilla, and Roy Blount Jr.
Mark, I want to come back to you to ask about again going forward. It does seem as though the Trump strategy right now is go to your base and play this game of white identity politics. Will it reinforce a kind of diehard opposition on the left? What should the left do?
Your book is written as, as you put it, as a Once and Future Liberal. You don't want them to play identity politics. But what do you with the other side that's playing identity politics?
LILLA: Well, the first thing you have to recognize is that it works for them and it doesn't work for us. But beyond that, I think what's important here - and it showed up in Robin Wright's article is that there's some glue that's missing in this country, something that keeps us together.
[10:20:12] It's not so much we're at loggerheads, but we're drifting apart. There once used to be a Democratic Party vision, a liberal vision of what we stood for as a nation, what made us citizens, how we could work together in a political way on the basis of solidarity and equal protection.
Then there was a Reagan view, which was that the less government the better, we're all by ourselves in our families and churches and good luck to you.
That vision was destroyed by Donald Trump. He destroyed Reagan's party. And now neither party and neither ideology -
ZAKARIA: And in a sense, you're saying liberals never had a response to Reagan's vision. They just kind of retreated into identity politics.
LILLA: Exactly. That was a time - you see Reagan's vision was antipolitical. And it was a time for liberals to make the case for democratic political life and the legitimacy of government and the legitimacy of helping each other out.
And by retreating, they made a tactical mistake, I think. And I don't think many people had a sense and I don't think Democrats have the sense of what their vision of the future was, is.
If you listen to the rhetoric of JFK or FDR or Reagan, you very quickly get a sense of what kind of world they want to create. We don't have that.
Without a national narrative, without ideologies that even bring parties together, we become like elementary particles flying apart, and that's when trouble starts.
ZAKARIA: Angela Rye, how do you bring the Democrats or the country together?
RYE: Well, I think first on the Democratic - obviously, as a Democrat, at least someone who votes Democrat, I disagree a little bit.
I think, recently, they've introduced a plan that leans more into economics, which, of course, is a more unifying principle. And I think that there is a struggle. When you are known to be a big tent, right? There are a lot of different interests that you have to cater to.
And I think that, historically, Democrats have struggled to figure out what is that sweet spot, as well as this country that some folks call melting pot. I prefer jambalaya because we're all different and I like that we can appreciate differences.
The only path forward, I think, is to begin to tell the truth about our history. It's one that is troubled. It's one that is challenging, full of conflict and full of hypocrisy. And until we can embrace what that narrative is, as uncomfortable as it might be for some, we're not going to get further ahead.
ZAKARIA: Robin Wright, that seems to me to be a recipe for more conflict because, as we tell that history, there are a lot of people who will say that's not my history. And Roy Blount was saying, you're politicizing it. Or I just feel like you're going to get a backlash.
WRIGHT: Well, we haven't resolved many of the issues that surfaced during the Civil War, including how do you ensure people of color, not only voting rights, but equal rights. And so, there are a number of haunting questions that still have to be addressed.
The 14th Amendment is still deeply divisive in this country.
One of the things that's striking about parties is - if you look at the period that - in the run-up to the Civil War, you saw the disintegration of the two parties, the disintegration of the Whig Party that opened the way for the Republicans and the emergence of Abraham Lincoln and the Democrats dividing into Northern and Southern Democrats - that there are some kind of uncanny parallels and some haunting questions that this nation has not moved together to try to resolve and it plays out in this issue of statues. How ironic, pieces of steel?
ZAKARIA: Roy Blount, you covered the Civil Rights Movement, the early 60s. You interviewed Martin Luther King. It seems to me Robin Wright's article really suggests that what we might end up with is not another Civil War, but another period like the late 50s and 60s where you had deep political divisions, some violence, a kind of conflict that didn't seem like it could be mediated.
What seems similar and what seems different?
BLOUNT: Well, I was living in the South. And you had the majority - the majority white people were on the wrong side, and so were majority of the governors and the police.
But had the national level, particularly in the White House, we had Kennedy and Johnson and they were pretty good.
But now, we have, all the way to the top, it's on the wrong side. We've got a president who can't tell the difference between Nazis and anti-Nazis. And that's very unsettling, very confusing and very encouraging to the Nazis.
[10:25:05] And so, in some ways, it's more indefinite and scarier now, I think. People haven't - I don't even want to get into shooting, but there was lots of that in the Civil Rights Movement and there are lots of guns out there now.
ZAKARIA: On that sobering note, we have to leave it at that. Thank you all.
Next on GPS, from Charlottesville to Spain, cars and trucks used as weapons. Peter Bergen will tell us how we should think of this new favorite tactic of terror.
ZAKARIA: Almost 16 years ago, 19 terrorists hijacked four planes, crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and killed 3,000 people in the process.
Today, for now at least, terrorists seem unable to weaponize planes. So, they have turned to other vehicles, cars and vans. We've seen it in France and the United Kingdom, now in Spain.
These attacks are less deadly for sure, but still able to meet the aims of these criminals and terrorists to terrorize the population.
What to make of it all? Joining me now is CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen. Peter, what is the big picture - what was your reaction to watching once again a vehicle used?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Fareed, since 2014, we've seen -
[10:30:00] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN GPS HOST: -- now is CNN National Security Analyst, Peter Bergen. Peter, what is the big picture of -- well, you know, what was your reaction to watching once again a vehicle used?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, since 2014 we've seen 14 of these vehicle attacks in the west. They've killed 129 people and just as school shooters learn from other school shootings and try to copycat them, you know, terrorist kind of look at tactics that work and copycat them. And obviously, you know, as you referenced the 9/11 attacks that required a great deal of training, and money and time. The type of attack we saw in Barcelona, that doesn't require any of that.
ZAKARIA: When you look at these attacks, does it appear to you that it's fair to say these guys can't do something more spectacular and that's why they're doing these as this sort of the weapon of the weak? It's the most convenient, easy way to do something?
BERGEN: I agree because as you look at what unfolded in Barcelona, Fareed, I mean, they blew up a bomb which didn't succeed in doing what they wanted. They had some fake explosives. Some of the terrorists who were killed, they used vehicles to ram. You know, this is not the ISIS directed trained finance attack we saw in Paris where everybody was armed, everybody was well trained. They had bombs, they killed 130 people. So this from what we know right now, looks like an ISIS- inspired attack. ISIS has claimed that the attack was soldiers of the caliphate, that is a formulation they use when they're not actually directly involved other than an inspirational way. And that's what this looks like right now, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: The Obama administration had warned that as ISIS was losing ground, losing territory, losing money in Syria and Iraq, it would start -- there would be a wave of terror attacks, particularly returning ISIS warriors going back to Europe, has that played itself out and is this one of them?
BERGEN: Well yes and no. I mean the yes of that is the French said earlier this month that they've had 271 militants return from Iraq and Syria. And so, you know, there is a concern about foreign fighters who may have come back over the last several years. But the -- but that concern is reseeding now because so many are now dying in place on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria.
ZAKARIA: What does one do about this kind of attack? Is it new normal and I guess relatedly, who are these people?
BERGEN: Well I think it is the new normal and we've seen it. It's not just Jihadi terrorist. We've seen an attack by an anti-Muslim fanatic in North London killing a Muslim attending a Ramadan celebration outside a London mosque. We saw of course in Charlottesville, right wing extremist killing somebody.
I mean and so protecting against these attacks I think, is impossible because there's so many potential targets. So you will -- you can protect obviously, you know, very high profile events, very symbolic targets but, you know, then you run into the problem of well, you protect those targets and then there are just a lot of other tarts to go after.
So really, the key here Fareed, I think is peers and family members. Again and again, when law enforcement has looked at this question, the people who know most about radicalization and potential plot planning are peers and family members, and enlisting them and getting them to come forward which is obviously not that easily necessarily, is the way to stop this.
ZAKARIA: Peter Bergen, always a font of wisdom on this subject. Thank you so much.
BERGEN: Thank you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, global lessons on how to memorialize a troubled shameful past without lionizing the perpetrators. What the American South can learn from, all of places, Germany.
[10:37:44] ZAKARIA: Now, for our "What In The World" segment. I want to start by pronouncing, I hope correctly, a huge German word, "Vergangenheitsbewaltigung" by saying that twice. In typical German fashion it is a word that means something very specific, reckoning with the past. And it's entirely appropriate that it should be a distinctly German word because the concept is one that has been taken more seriously by modern Germany than any country in the world, certainly including the United States.
Over the years since World War II, Germany has gone through the difficult national process of reckoning with its history and the country has gradually come to accept a sense of collective guilt. It has not been immune to push back and backlash. They have been far- right nationalist parties. Today there's one called the alternative for Germany, but by and large the country has rejected its Nazi past.
Some of this is because of laws. Anyone who uses the Swastika or performers a Hitler's salute in Germany, faces potential prison time. There are strict prohibitions against hate speech. Hitler's book, "Mein Kampf" was not published in Germany for 70 years until the copyright expired.
Nowadays you can barely walk the streets of Berlin without being reminded of the dead. Around the country there are tens of thousands of brass plaques in the ground called stumbling blocks which each bear witness to a Nazi victim who lived at that location. It's an ongoing project, privately funded and overseen by German artist who started it in the 1990's.
Around the same time, the German government commissioned an official monument with a design that followed essentially the opposite approach, rather than memorializing each individual victim throughout the country, the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe is a symbolic cemetery at the heart of Berlin to collectively honor the victims. Most of whom never got a proper burial and many of whose names are still unknown.
These memorials haven't been without controversy that so-called stumbling blocks have offended some people who say the holocaust victims have been tampered (ph) daily. And the city of Munich so far is to ban them.
But this kind of debate is healthy. Wrestling with the country's history is not easy and should not be easy. America is now wrestling as well. There is a museum of African-American history. But museums and monuments serve two different purposes.
[10:40:02] The south is still littered (ph) with monuments honoring, celebrating. The people who's only claimed to fame was that they've marched in forth in mutinous opposition to the government of the United States because they wanted to defend slavery.
A study by the Southern Poverty Law Center last year found there were still more than 700 confederate monuments and that's on top of all the counties, cities, public schools and military bases named for confederates. By contrast there are relatively few memorials to the millions of slaves who were violently oppressed in these same lands.
Ironically, one of the reasons why Germany was able to successfully confront its past was America. When it occupied Germany after World War II, the allied powers prohibited the display of any monument, memorial, poster, statue, edifice, street or highway name marker, emblem, tablet or insignia which tends to revive militarism or commemorate the Nazi party.
They US urged Germany to demonstrate to Europe and the world that it could bury its militarism and Naziism, and welcomed a new Germany with honor into Europe and the world. The circumstances are very different, of course, but some of the lessons from Germany might well apply in America today.
Next on GPS, President Trump has never hidden his disdain for the nuclear deal with Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: The stupidest deal of all time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Now it appears he is ready to kill it, what would that mean? We'll explore when we come back.
[10:45:45] ZAKARIA: Tensions between the United States and Iran have been red hot in recent weeks and they might be about to get even hotter. There have been warning shots fired by U.S. ships against Iranian ones and very and close calls when Iranian drones have buzzed the US military.
President Trump would be called upon to certify that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal. Remember, he once termed it the worst deal ever. But twice now as required on the law, his administration has declared Iran in compliance. However, he personally has said he expects to declare Iran noncompliant when the next review is due. And a report in Foreign Policy says the President has put together a team of aids to pull together the intelligence so he can do just that.
Earlier this week, presumably responding to these news reports, Iran's President Rouhani said his nation's nuclear program could be restarted within hours if new U.S. sanctions are imposed.
My next guest was key to putting the sanctions into place that caused the Iran deal to happen. Former treasury and CIA official David Cohen joins me now. David Cohen, pleasure to have you on.
DAVID COHEN, FORMER CIA DEPUTY DIRECTOR: Glad to be here.
ZAKARIA: So Donald Trump says that he is sure that Iran is not in compliance but he wants to do a review. I don't understand this. Is this standard? Is this completely unprecedented for the president to kind of arrive at a conclusion first and then have a process?
COHEN: Well, it's very disconcerting. And it stands the intelligence process on its head. The question that the president is asked to certify every 90 days under legislation that congress enacted that in as part of the Iran nuclear deal is whether Iran is complying with its obligations under the deal or whether it's in material breech of any of those obligations.
That is I would say a political judgment but undergirding that is an intelligence assessment. Our intelligence analyst who have access to all of our (INAUDIBLE) collection, access to what our allies around the world are collecting and access to IAEA reports and other open source information are in the best position to make that assessment of whether Iran is complying with the nuclear deal. What the president has said is that, in his judgments, Iran is not complying. And then he has asked a group in the White House to provide him with justification with intelligence to support his preconceived notion that Iran is not complying with a nuclear deal.
If our intelligence is degraded because it is politicized in the way that it looks like the president wants to do here, that undermines the utility of that intelligence all across the board. Whether we're talking about North Korea, or they're talking about counterterrorism, Venezuela, you name the international problem, we need others around the world to work with us. And one way we get others to work with us is by being able to use our intelligence and for people to believe that it's credible and reliable. If it's politicized that credibility and reliability is undermined.
ZAKARIA: What would it mean for the U.S. to say that Iran is not complying in the context that the agency tasked with figuring this out internationally, the IAEA has said it is compliant.
COHEN: Right, the problem is mirthful (ph). The first is if the United States determines that Iran is not compliant, the President refuses to certify or any compliance, it can go to the United Nations and seek to have the sanctions that were suspended snapped back into place.
But as a practical matter, you're not going to have the rest of the international community, you're not going to have our allies in Europe, you're certainly not going to have the Russians and the Chinese coming along with us to re impose real pressure on the Iranians. So you'll this fissure between the United States and essentially the rest of the world in trying to reinstate pressure on Iran.
[10:50:05] ZAKARIA: And how do you think the oth -- those other countries will react? Because the way I look at it, they would say well look, the IAEA tells us Iran is in compliance, you think they're not. You can put back whatever sanctions we want, that way we get to do business without any American firms to worry about and compete with us.
COHEN: Right. It fundamentally won't work, right? Because if you don't have the other countries agreeing to adhere to these sanctions, they will have their own domestic laws that is allows their businesses to do -- to do work with the Iranians. And, you know, American businesses will be disadvantaged and there won't be any real pressure on Iran.
On the other side, the Iranians with the U.S. having pulled out of the deal will feel that they're absolved from adhering to their commitments under the nuclear deal.
So, maybe they will begin spin more centrifuges, maybe they'll begin to build up more enriched uranium, everything that the deal is design to prevent Iran from doing.
ZAKARIA: And it's important to point that they do something to the U.S. objects doing protest and that are in fact antithetical to U.S. interest --
ZAKARIA: -- Like testing missiles --
ZAKARIA: -- but they were never part of the deal. They are -- they were never disallowed under the deal from testing missiles.
COHEN: That's right. That was not part of the nuclear deal but it's significant. The Iranians, you know, continue to engage in behavior that is destabilizing the regime, they continue to supports terrorist activities.
We continue to have sanctions in place addressing those activities. The nuclear deal was designed to address Iran's nuclear program. It wasn't designed to address everything about the Iranian regime that is troublesome. And we need to continue to address those other issues but there's no reason to, you know, throw out the nuclear deal because we are dissatisfied with Iranian behavior in other areas.
ZAKARIA: David Cohen, pleasure to have you.
COHEN: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, you don't hear much about Guam usually, thanks to North Korea, though, it was top in the news recently. Now that threat has seemed to have subsided but there is another problem, this one rather slithery (ph) but the island has to content with. I'll explain.
[10:57:05] ZAKARIA: Last week Google fired a male employee over his 3, 300 word memo that claimed women are under represented in tech partly because of biological differences such as high and neurogasm and interesting people. Today, only 31% of Google's employees are women. In the company's tech sector that number falls to 20%. It brings me to my question of the week. What percentage of Fortune 500 CEOs are women 32%, 27%, 19% or 6%?
Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
This week's book of the week is Mark Lilla's new book "The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics", which you heard about early in the show. It's a terrific short book about the decline of American liberalism explaining how they went from the successes of FDR's collation to the fit falls of today's identity politics.
It's an accessible book that's essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how we arrive in the Trump era and where the Democrats go from here.
Now, for the last look, this week residents of Guam breathed a sigh of relief after North Korea announced that Kim Jong-Un would watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees before deciding to launch missile near the island. But there is another problem pestering this paradise.
Although there are only a 163,000 people on the island, there are as many as 2 million brown tree snakes. That's right, for every one human there are 12 of this invasive species slithering through the trees. These serpents have reportedly cost millions by regularly shorting the island's electrical system. They have killed most of Guam's native bird species, and did I mention 12 snakes for every human.
The solution seems to be drugged mice. You see terns are brown tree snakes love to eat mice and are easily killed by acetaminophen, in other words Tylenol. Put that in dead mice and parachute them around the island and you deliver it last meals for many snakes.
The USDA has done this multiple times before going back at least seven years and they are now set for another round in October giving the beleaguered Romanians (ph), a slightly less terrifying reason to look toward the sky. The answer to my GPS challenge question this week is "D", only 6% or a total of 32 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are female. While this might seem startling this small, there are more female CEOs in the Fortune 500 list than ever before. Meaning this tiny figure still does signify progress.
Women says (ph) slightly veteran tech world at large of all computing employees and that includes jobs like programmers, developers and I.T. support. Only 26% were female according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But even with things looking up, there is a long way to go.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.