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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
U.S. and Russia Pull Out of a Cold War Treaty; The Crisis in Venezuela; Britain Bedeviled by Brexit Bedlam; El Chapo, the Drug Trial of the Century; Are Elites Saving the World or Wrecking It?; Aired 10-11a ET
Aired February 3, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:19] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.
Today on the show, Putin versus Donald Trump. On nuclear missiles and Venezuela, the two are surprisingly not seeing eye-to-eye at all. Why is the White House withdrawing from one of the most important Cold War treaties?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons, and we're not allowed to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: And why is Trump so strongly behind the opposition in Venezuela, while Putin backs Maduro? I have a great panel to talk about all of that, and more.
Then, El Chapo. Once, his was the most feared name in Mexico. Twice, he escaped from maximum security prisons in his home country. Now we'll tell you some of the extraordinary stories a Brooklyn jury has learned about his life of crime.
But first here's my take. This year's World Economic Forum, more than usual, prompted a spirited round of elite bashing, which has now become the trendy political posture on both right and left. On the one side, President Trump and FOX News host slammed the out-of-touch establishment that, according to them, has run things into the ground. On the other side, left wingers decry the billionaires and millionaires who, in one author's phrase, broke the modern world.
Underlying these twin critiques is a bleak view of modern life, a dysfunctional global order producing stagnant incomes, rising insecurity, and environmental degradation. But is this depiction, in fact, true? Are we doing so very badly that we need to bring back the guillotines?
On the simplest and most important measure, income, the story is actually one of astonishing progress. Since 1990, over one billion people have moved out of extreme poverty. Inequality from a global perspective has declined dramatically and all of this has happened chiefly because countries from China, to India to Ethiopia have adopted more market friendly policies and Western countries have helped them with access to markets, humanitarian assistance and loan forgiveness. In other words, policies supported by these very elites.
Look at any measure from a global perspective and the numbers are staggering. Since the early 1990s, the child mortality rate is down by 58 percent. Undernourishment has fallen 41 percent and on and on.
I know the response some will have to these statistics. The figures pertain to the world in general, but not specifically to America. Things might have improved for the Chinese, but not for the Dennisons of rich countries. That sense of unfairness is surely what is fueling America first agenda.
More bewilderingly, the left, traditionally concerned about the poorest of the poor, have also become critical of a process that has improved the lives of at least a billion of the world's most impoverished people.
And anyway, when were things so much better? In the 1950s, when Jim Crow reigned in America and women could barely work only anything more than seamstresses and secretaries? The 1980s when two-thirds of the globe stagnated on the state socialism, repression and isolation? What group of elites -- kings, commissars, Mandarins, ran the world better than our current hodge-podge of politicians and businessmen?
Even in the West it's easy to take for granted the astounding progress. We live longer. The air and water are cleaner, crime has plunged and information and communication are virtually free. Economically there have been gains, though crucially they have not been distributed equally.
But there have been monumental improvements in access and opportunity for large segments of the populations of these Western countries. People who were locked out and pushed down. In the U.S., the gap between black and white high school completion has almost disappeared. Hispanic college enrollment has soared. The gender gap between the wages of men and women has narrowed.
Female membership in national legislatures in the advance industrial world has almost doubled over the last 20 years. No countries allowed gay marriage two decades ago but more than 20 do today. In all these areas, much remains to be done but in each of them, there has been striking progress.
I understand that important segments of the Western working class are under great pressure and that they often feel ignored and left behind by the progress made. We must find ways to give them greater economic support and moral dignity.
[10:05:02] But extensive research also shows that some of their discomfort comes from watching a society in which other groups are rising, changing the nature of the world in which they had enjoyed a comfortable status. After 400 years of slavery, segregation and discrimination in America, blacks have been moving up. After thousands of years of being treated as structurally subordinate, women are now gaining genuine equality. Once considered criminals of deviance, gays can finally live and love freely in many countries.
The fact that these changes might cause discomfort to some is not a reason to pause nor to forget that it represents deep and lasting human progress that we should celebrate.
For more, go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States was suspending its compliance with the INF treaty, one of the most important agreements of the Cold War. The treaty signed by Reagan and Gorbachev in Washington in 1987 covers the deployment of intermediate range nuclear weapons, those that can fly up to 3,400 miles the U.S. and its allies say are Russian weapon system puts Moscow out of compliance with the treaty and has for years.
So will this bring back a nuclear arms race?
Joining me now, Tony Blinken was the deputy secretary of State in the Obama administration and a CNN global affairs analyst. Richard Haass was the State Department's director of policy planning under President George W. Bush. He is the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. And Anne McElvoy is a senior editor of "The Economist." She's just launched a new current affairs podcast called "The Intelligence."
Richard, explain to us why this matters. It feels like a relic of the Cold War.
RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, it is something of a blast of the past and a relic of the Cold War. But that's the last thing we necessarily want to return to.
For all the problems in the world today and God knows there's enough of them, Fareed, we thought at least this one had largely been put to the past. What this does is reminds us just how bad the U.S.-Russian relationship is. It's a reminder that with China on the world scene, some of the old agreements that were bilateral may no longer be enough and it reintroduces something that essentially we thought had been solved. This question of nuclear missiles, conventional missiles in Europe.
ZAKARIA: Anne, what does it look like in Europe? This was a very -- used to be a very controversial subject in Europe. In the old days, you had -- you know, you had the fears in Europe that it was going to be a nuclear war fought between Moscow and the United States in Europe, you know, over Europe's head, as it were. Is this registering as a big deal in Europe?
ANNE MCELVOY, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ECONOMIST: I think, given the many other strains in Europe at the moment it's coming on to the radar slowly, but I think these developments will definitely push it up the order of concern here. I think, you know, we have to bear in mind from the European
perspective, if you look at the divided Germany and 30 years after fall of the Berlin wall, which some of us covered, you saw then a Europe which thought that those divisions were healed and that the defense and security consequences would be benign and that we would, therefore, not have to kind of worry too much in the way that people used to go to bed sometimes in the 1980s, worrying about the real specter of nuclear acid or nuclear warfare.
And I think this is now a time where we're seeing those treaties which were glued in place outwards beginning to come unstuck. And it's interesting that Donald Trump has taken this course. Even in Helsinki, the recent meeting with Mr. Putin, he seemed to be saying, well, we'll see if we can get on, we can do business together. We have this START treaty in place. We might as well extend it, and a little bit of a braggadocio in the Trump style about what he might get out of that.
Obviously things have soured since, for domestic political reasons, but also generally speaking there seems to be a new fodder between Moscow and Washington and a new chill that's reflected here.
ZAKARIA: Part of what seems to be going on, Tony Blinken, is that the administration doesn't like the old elements of the international system, that they've viewed them as again always -- ways that other people cheat and the U.S. has to follow the rules.
I think about this decision on the heels of Mike Pompeo's speech, which I thought was underreported, where he basically said that the European Union is a bad idea. It's a German plot of dominate the continent, we would much prefer the -- he aligned himself with the euro skeptics who are essentially trying to unravel the European Union, which is another element of the sort of world order that the United States had helped build during the Cold War.
[10:10:07] TONY BLINKEN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, Fareed, I think you're exactly right. And, you know, what's so strange here is that in a sense this is exactly the right thing to do but in exactly the wrong way. It's right to confront Russia about its violations of the treaty. Profoundly wrong to pull out of the treaty in response.
If someone is breaking the law, you don't tear up the law. You enforce it. And this is going to be a gift to Vladimir Putin and Russia. It removes every legal restraint that Russia has under pulling these missiles. We get the blame instead of the actual culprit. It's likely to divide us from our allies and it could fuel a new arms race. And it's absolutely unnecessary. There are other steps we can take that would not put us in violation of the treaty, that would put the pressure on Russia to come into compliance.
At the end of the day, Fareed, you know, we have a long history of these arms control agreements. Starting with John Kennedy, every president through Obama negotiated an accord with Russia. We went from about 65,000 warheads between the two countries in the mid 1980s to about 8,000 today. The world is a little bit safer. A little bit more stable as a result. This heads in exactly the wrong direction. ZAKARIA: All right. Hold on. Don't go away. When we come back,
we're going to talk about the latest on the crisis in Venezuela. Who is really in charge? And I've got to ask Anne about Brexit when we come back.
[10:15:34] ZAKARIA: Back now with Tony Blinken, Richard Haass and Anne McElvoy.
Richard, looking at Venezuela, one of the things I am struck by, Max Fisher of the "New York Times have a terrific piece describing this -- the wonder is that this regime has not collapsed. It is in such bad shape, the economy is in such bad shape, you know, inflation is, what, 100,000 percent? Maybe, you know, much, much higher. The population has been immiserated. Two million, three million people have left. And yet it seems to be able to stay in power.
What is going on? Is it fundamentally that the army still hasn't decided which way to go?
HAASS: More than anything else it's the security forces, the army and some of the special police forces that are still propping up the regime. You've got quite a few Cubans on the ground, providing intelligence, military support. You've got Russia and Chinese financial help, which has helped float the regime, despite the fact that its oil exports are way down.
We've even in some ways kept it in power. We've been their principle importer -- of their crude oil. We've exported back to them refined product. Also the opposition. Lastly, you almost have to speak about it plural. You're finally now seeing a more concentrated opposition. But until very recently there was no serious alternative. So things have come to a head.
What we don't know, Fareed, quite honestly, is how long they can stay here. And where you began I think is exactly right. More than anything else will be the hearts and minds of the Venezuelan military are.
ZAKARIA: Tony, when you look at this, is it fair to say that the Trump administration has handled this reasonably well? You know, I always worry that it turns into a U.S. versus Venezuela, which it hasn't. They've enlisted the other Latin American countries, the Canadians, the Brits. What -- you know, A, would you agree? And B, what should they do now?
BLINKEN: Yes, I do agree, Fareed. I think they have to date handled it well. I would applaud the administration. Senator Rubio has played a big part in this, in actually rallying countries in the region to put pressure on Maduro, who is illegitimate, to legitimize the only democratically elected institution in Venezuela. And to bring other countries along. That's a good thing.
Here is the tough part. What I don't see, at least so far, is an actual strategy to advance a peaceful transition in Venezuela and a kind of plan B if Maduro digs in and lashes out. That's what we need. There is a comprehensive approach that you can take here, to continue to increase the pressure on the regime, the families, making sure they can't come here, anyone profiting from corruption.
Reach out to the military to make clear that it has a future in Venezuela, engage Maduro, to tell him he has a way out and he's not stuck in a corner. Bring in other countries, you have to engage the Chinese, the Russians, and the Cubans, who are propping up the regime. So there is a strategy here. We haven't seen it yet I hope it's there.
ZAKARIA: Yes. I often feel like with Donald Trump in negotiations he needs to be reminded that the other side has to be able to find some way to say that they win. Otherwise unlikely to have a successful negotiation.
Anne, let me ask you, I've got to -- you know, it seems like right now the British parliament is basically against everything. It is against a hard Brexit, it is against a soft Brexit, it is against the second referendum, and it is against the prime minister's own plan that was negotiation.
Would it be fair to say, Anne, that Theresa May has bought herself two weeks but the Europeans are unlikely to give much? So two weeks from now, really, Theresa May will either have pulled a rabbit out of a hat or perhaps her government will fall?
MCELVOY: Well, the reason this is a bit of a political thriller, Fareed, is it's not just any two weeks. This is two weeks with the Brexit looming date of March 29th in which case if no deal is reached and there's no extension, then we simply leave without a deal, which would be chaotic. I mean, I'm not even at the most hysterical end of the analytical spectrum about what it might mean, but it would certainly be incredibly difficult, it would very, very bad news indeed in Europe toward the UK. There would be difficulties of movement of goods, trade, services, all sorts of things would freeze up.
So it looks likely that if that happened there would have to be an extension. But the question is really, what does she think she can get? Now she may think that the closer the Europeans move towards March 29th, which is highly inconvenient for them -- they also have very difficult elections ahead, a lot of populists looking strong in these European parliamentary elections, that they may agree and put pressure on Dublin to rewrite the wording around, all the transitional nature of that complicated but essential backstop agreement.
[10:20:17] They might. But it doesn't look like it at the moment. And right now it's looking like Theresa May against institutional Europe. Brits like to be the underdog. But they don't want to be the underdog forever.
ZAKARIA: Thank you. Thank you all. Fascinating conversation.
Next on GPS, the U.S. economy has had some good news of late. But the outlook in China, the world's other economic superpower, is not so rosy. We'll tell you why, and this big and surprising reason why, when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. Finally, the unthinkable has happened. China has slowed down. The GDP numbers came up last month. China's growth in 2018 slowed to 6.6 percent, the lowest rate in almost 30 years. So when trade talks between the U.S. and China this week began, Beijing experienced something new -- vulnerability.
[10:25:07] Part of China's economic slowdown is perfectly natural. It is now a middle-income country and cannot sustain double-digit growth. But there's more to it than that, according to the economist Nicholas Lardy, in a fascinating new book "The State Strikes Back," he points to the astonishing rise in the subsidies granted to China's unproductive state-owned sector.
China has a long history of massive publicly owned companies in everything from steel to electricity to telecommunications. 43 percent of them are loss-making. When China reformed its economy in the 1980s it built a profitable private sector from scratch. That sector is responsible for the majority of the country's economic growth and new jobs, but under Xi Jinping the country has turned away from private companies and focused again on building up state-owned companies.
In 2016, private firms held just 11 percent of new loans and state firms had 83 percent. That's a huge change from just six years ago. State-owned firms are not a sound investment. Lardy estimates that privileging state firms and other such policies cost China as much as two percentage points of GDP growth on average per year from 2007 to 2015.
China has gotten into the habit of pumping money into the economy at any hint of a downturn, according Ruchir Sharma, the chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley. In many cases, the state is both the borrower and the lender so the money can move freely.
After the financial crisis, China issued a massive stimulus valued at over 12 percent of GDP, according to the "Financial Times." The stimulus kept growth up, but it led to a huge surge in debt. The proportion of China's debt to GDP is now 253 percent, extraordinarily high for a developing country.
Much of that debt belongs to corporations, including private and state-owned firms. And this is dangerous because debt is a ticking time bomb. It will likely lead to a long-term slowdown or a recession, possibly both.
Xi Jinping's government has promised to contain China's ballooning debt but faced with a downturn and more bad news if negotiations with the U.S. fail, policy makers are once again debating the reflexive move -- injecting the economy with easy money.
There's a reason to do so that has nothing to do with the economy. State-owned firms are organs of the Communist Party's control of the society. In the ongoing trade talks, the U.S. will press China to reduce subsidies to state firms because they crowd out farm competition. If China's only aim were growth, the U.S. might get somewhere.
But as the Beijing based journalist Michael Schuman writes in "The Atlantic," the fight between the United States and China is not just a spat about tariffs. It is a contest of two very different national ideologies. If China is doubling down on state control at the expense of growth, the two sides may find very little in common.
Next on GPS, almost three months ago, the trial of the most notorious drug kingpin in the world began. As the prosecution presented its case, there have been extraordinary revelations about the world of drug running. Those stories when we come back.
[10:33:05] ZAKARIA: Joaquin Guzman loves tunnels. The Mexican kingpin, better known as El Chapo, used them for running his drugs from Mexico to the U.S. He also used them to escape from authorities who were hot on his tail, and once he was caught he used tunnels again to escape from prison. This is all according to testimony at the trafficker's trial. It just went to the jury at the end of the week.
Keegan Hamilton, a Vice reporter, was in court just about every day for the 11-week trial.
KEEGAN HAMILTON, VICE REPORTER: Thanks for having me.
ZAKARIA: The tunnel. I think most of us know about El Chapo because of the tunnel. It's a breathtakingly ambitious tunnel. Tell the whole story of how did he -- how can you possibly build a tunnel like that, which comes out directly under the shower, the one place where the camera couldn't see what he was doing?
HAMILTON: So this being Chapo, there are several tunnels. The one that you're talking about was in his prison cell in 2015. In that instance it was a mile-long tunnel that went from basically a shack outside of the prison straight up into the cell of his prison, into the shower.
Now we heard testimony that other inmates were hearing rumbling underneath the prison and complaining about it. So, clearly, the prison authorities knew something was up. And you see the video of the day of the escape and El Chapo, you know, gets up from his bed, makes his bed up real nice and neat, puts on his shoes, walks over to the shower, looks around and ducks down, disappears. And then --
ZAKARIA: What we know is he ducks down and there's a motorcycle, right, waiting for him?
HAMILTON: This tunnel -- yes, this mile-long tunnel had a motorcycle and it was mounted on a rail system. They think it was used to move tools and dirt in and out of the tunnel. But we heard testimony that he gets into the tunnel and his brother-in-law is waiting for him on this motorcycle. Chapo hops on the back, rides off to freedom, and then -- once he escapes to the other end is flown off into the mountains of Sinaloa.
[10:35:03] ZAKARIA: We know a lot about his extraordinary activities even while he was in prison. He was sending letters to mistresses, his associates. How did we learn all this?
HAMILTON: So while he was in prison in 2014, he sent handwritten letters to his associates. One of them was to his right-hand man, giving him instructions on collecting drug debts, collecting heavy weapons like rocket-propelled grenades that he was owed and was sort of trying to pull together the pieces of his organization after he'd been captured.
He was also sending letters, as you said, to his mistress, who was a state lawmaker in Sinaloa, giving her instructions about, you know, buying drugs for him. He also met with his wife in prison, who we heard testimony was integral in plotting his escape.
ZAKARIA: And he was able to talk on a secure phone system while in prison. How did that work?
HAMILTON: So the secure phone system predated his time in prison but it's one of the more incredible aspects of the story. One of his Colombian cocaine suppliers recommended a guy who's basically a systems administrator or an IT guy to create an encrypted phone network, a custom network where all of the calls and communications would supposedly be secure, and it was for a time.
We heard an FBI agent said they couldn't crack this network until they approached the IT guy and said work for us as an informant. He gave them essentially the keys to the kingdom and the FBI was able to record wiretapped dozens of phone calls where Chapo was candidly discussing the drug business as if he's not being overheard because he thought this network was secured.
ZAKARIA: What did you learn about the sort of business model of the drug cartel that he ran? What was sort of the most interesting thing about it?
HAMILTON: In a lot of ways the Sinaloa cartel is like a multinational corporation. The headquarters is in Culiacan, Sinaloa and there's essentially a board of directors, which Chapo could be -- sort of viewed as the CEO. But they have partners in Colombia, who are supplying cocaine, who are supplying chemicals to make meth. They're a vertically integrated business that essentially ships products from one country to the next. That destination, for the most part, is the United States where they're moving cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and, to a lesser extent, marijuana but that for a long time was one of the main cash crops.
ZAKARIA: What did you learn about the Mexican government in the trial? How complicit is it and what level does that complicity go?
HAMILTON: There have been some shocking revelations about corruption in Mexico. Everybody, I think, knew that the corruption was pervasive in Mexico but one witness testified that the former president of the Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, took a $100 million bribe from El Chapo. Beyond that, there's been testimony that virtually every level of the government from local beat cops to state cops to the federal police to the attorney general's office, to the military, even Interpol in Mexico was accused by one witness of taking bribes. And without that corruption, the drug trade would not be possible.
ZAKARIA: So learning all that you did about the drug business and this drug cartel, what is your perspective on where the drugs come in from? I ask this because, of course, President Trump says we need to build this border wall to stop the drugs. But this most recent drug bust suggests that all this stuff is coming in through border checkpoints, through -- on trucks or buses. Is that your sense?
HAMILTON: You know, we've heard 11 weeks of testimony in the course of this trial. And I don't think a single shipment of drugs that we heard about would have been stopped by the border wall. The vast majority of drugs, Chapo's drugs, anybody's drugs from Mexico are coming through ports of entry, concealed in vehicles or, in Chapo's case, in tunnels that went underneath the border.
This Fentanyl bust that you talk about, something like 250 plus pounds of Fentanyl, the largest Fentanyl bust in Customs and Border Protection history, those drugs were hidden in a semi truck. I think it was carrying cucumbers. There was a false floor in the truck. That's, by far, the most common method that traffickers are using to get drugs across the border. Hidden in vehicles, crossing through ports of entry.
So if there's one lesson to be taken away from this it's invest in infrastructure at ports of entry, there needs to be more staffing, better technology to scan vehicles, and to make sure that people who are crossing through where they're supposed to be crossing are scanned properly, not building a wall in remote stretches of the border.
ZAKARIA: Do you think that El Chapo will just be replaced by somebody else or was he unique and indispensable?
HAMILTON: El Chapo already has been replaced by somebody else. As far as we know, his sons and his brother are now running the faction of the cartel that he used to lead and his long-time partner, El Mao Zambada, remains free in Mexico and is still running the Sinaloa cartel.
[10:40:07] ZAKARIA: So as long as there is demand for drugs from the richest country in the world, somebody south of the border will provide the supply.
HAMILTON: El Chapo himself said as much in one video that was shown to the jury, his interview with "Rolling Stone." He says as long as there is consumption, there will be sales.
ZAKARIA: Pleasure to have you on. Thank you so much.
HAMILTON: Thanks for having me. ZAKARIA: Coming up next, a debate. You heard my take at the top of
the show where I sort of defended the world's elite. Well, my next guest says I'm all wrong. Don't miss it.
ZAKARIA: A simmering battle of ideas was brought to the front burner by Davos last week. Are the world's billionaires and millionaires and other elites doing their part to fix the world or are they responsible, in large part, for many of the world's ills?
[10:45:02] At the top of the show I gave you my take on this debate. If you missed it you can go to my Twitter page, Twitter.com/fareedzakaria, and look for the pinned tweet at the top. But let's now bring in a writer who will surely disagree with me.
Anand Giridharadas wrote "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World."
So first let me give you a chance to explain in brief, what is the thesis of your book?
ANAND GIRIDHARADAS, AUTHOR, "WINNERS TAKE ALL": The thesis of my book is that -- and it's a book about the United States. That we live in this era defined by a paradox. On one hand, it's an age of extraordinary elite generosity, of the kind, you know, you see when people go to Davos and do stuff around Africa and do stuff around malaria. And yet the second half of the paradox is in the United States this has also been, you know, a time of rising inequality, the most unequal time in 100 years, a period in which the bottom half of the country has basically not benefited from any of the astonishing technological and global developments that have made your and my life, and many people's lives so much better.
ZAKARIA: So what I'm struck by is, I think you painted an accurate picture. The changes that are causing this widening inequality, basically globalization, technological revolutions, are happening all over the world. Inequality within societies is growing everywhere. Inequality around the world, as a whole, has actually dramatically dropped because of the rise of hundreds of millions of people in China and India.
But there are countries that I presumed you think handled this better. They tax the rich more. They have -- you know, they celebrate entrepreneurs less. They have, you know, bureaucrats deciding how to allocate resources better. I'm thinking of places like France and Germany. And they have widening inequality. They have the same sense of being dispossessed. They have the same tensions that are being produced.
So why is it that you think that the U.S. system is producing these problems? Isn't it much more likely these are very broad, structural changes sweeping the world? Inequality is rising in India dramatically, right? So if those broad structural changes -- what the billionaires and millionaires -- and look, I share your -- some of your aesthetic distaste for the way in which they boost themselves and self-promote. But what they seems to be doing at the best of them are trying to respond to these problems as best they can. Governments are also trying but nobody quite has an answer and so the problem persists.
GIRIDHARADAS: And I would agree and disagree with that. You're right that inequality is widening in a lot of places. But I think this -- your talk of forces is really important because I think that's been a very dominant rhetoric of our age that the things that are happening are because of these big forces. And one thing I think that's important to remember is forces actually hit -- these forces hit places very differently.
So, yes, you have widening inequality in Europe also. But if you work 29 hours a week at a retailer in Europe, as opposed to 30, right, you don't have our drastically different level of health care the way you do in this country. And that means that when the same forces of China and automation hit Germany, they, you know, don't lead to some people going bankrupt or dying of preventable diseases the way we do in this country.
So forces are important. But democratic choices around how to respond to those forces are also important. And what I believe has happened is that the billionaires, as you say, have realized that we live in this age. They're not dumb. They're very smart. They make a lot of money because they actually understand the world. They understand these trends, they understand rising anger, and they've been in some ways tried to get out in front of it by promoting forms of change that are meant to address these issues but meant to address them in winner- friendly ways.
So lean in, good. Maternity leave, which is a little too expensive for them, not good. Charter schools, great. You know, higher taxes to fund equal and adequately funded public schools for everybody, not so great.
ZAKARIA: But more broadly, I guess, my point to you would be what is the better system? You know, I grew up in a country -- the difference between us, I think, is we look alike, but you grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, which is an -- you know, upper class suburb of Ohio. I grew up in India. I grew up in a country where it wasn't where billionaires and millionaires were treated like dirt. Business was treated as a second-class citizen. It was the politicians and bureaucrats who made all the decisions about how to allocate resources.
That didn't work out so well because the politicians and bureaucrats turned out to be as venal and egotistical and corrupt and hypocritical as the businessmen you point to. So I look at our system and I said, first of all, there has been astonishing progress but, B, what's your alternative?
GIRIDHARADAS: I think there are many places in the world that are doing particular things better that we can learn from. I don't think there's one model. And people talk about the Nordic model. I mean, if America had -- if America consisted of four million blond people with a relatively small number of immigrants I think we'd find it easier to do a safety net of that model. I don't think --
ZAKARIA: Even there there's enormous --
[10:50:05] ZAKARIA: Enormous anger because maybe the problem isn't, you know -- a lot of the problem isn't about economics. It's about the fact that they don't like brown people coming into their country.
GIRIDHARADAS: Fair. So you said what can we do? I think we can start by acknowledging, as you said, that we do live in this age of extraordinary and kind of transformative forces, right, that are not going anywhere. Globalization, the rise of India and China which is this enormous and historical development that has an effect on everybody.
These are multiple tsunamis happening to many communities at the same time and elevating some people, some people are on the right side of all of those shifts and some people are in the wrong side of most of those shifts, and somewhere in between. I think we haven't had public policy keep up with the changing world.
ZAKARIA: I think the problem for many -- for a large segment of Americans, their status within society has changed --
ZAKARIA: -- with the rise of all kinds of new groups and that you're not going to fix with, you know, a shiny new tax. That is a deep anxiety about that place in the world. And I --
GIRIDHARADAS: I agree with that. And I --
ZAKARIA: I would submit that that's a different problem.
GIRIDHARADAS: And -- but I have done much reporting in those communities. I can tell you, you go to very white communities where there is that anxiety, right? And there's that resentment and there's that sense that this country used to be mine and now I'm sharing it. That is true and that is real. And I don't have a lot of -- you know, I'm not going to stop the country changing to soothe that emotion.
However, you give those same people a good school where they can feel confident that their kid is prepared for the 21st century, you actually give them a health care system where they're not sitting around the kitchen table, looking at bills every night wondering if they're going to be able to make it another year. And you actually give them a kind of work and re-skilling and training program so that when globalization hits they see a path forward.
ZAKARIA: Of course they are voting consistently against all --
ZAKARIA: -- the politicians who advocate for those programs.
ZAKARIA: And voting in favor of politicians --
GIRIDHARADAS: And I think they need to be better at it.
ZAKARIA: Right. All right. This is a fascinating conversation. It's a terrific book. Delighted to have you on, Anand.
GIRIDHARADAS: Thank you for having me.
ZAKARIA: Pleasure. We will be right back.
[10:56:51] ZAKARIA: At the heart of the crisis in Venezuela is a clash between two branches of government as its two presidents proclaim their power. But another nation's president found himself at odd with the judiciary in recent days. It brings me to my question.
Lawyers in which nation boycotted the courts this week? Was it Nigeria, Japan, Belarus or Colombia? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
My book of the week is, "Crude Nation: How Oil Riches Ruined Venezuela" by Raul Gallegos. This briskly written book nicely explains how the oil curse has worked in Venezuela especially in the Chavez era. Some of the greatest reserves of petroleum in the world have been stolen and mismanaged so badly that the result is the world's worst hyperinflation, corruption and now collapse.
Now for the last look. A debate over respecting the national anthem is brewing anew. Not ahead of this weekend's Super Bowl but half way around the world, in Hong Kong. In that semiautonomous city the Chinese national anthem frequently draws boos at soccer matches.
So a new bill introduced last week would punish anyone who intentionally insults that patriotic song with up to three years in prison. The bill which will likely pass in the pro-Beijing legislative council is seen as part of a larger move to reduce dissent in the semi autonomous region. Already in Hong Kong the pro- independence party has been banned, activists arrested, opposition candidates barred from office and free press in peril.
Why? You'll recall the months-long prodemocracy umbrella movement in 2014? Well, China felt it was a threat to the status quo and began to push back. Hong Kong has noticed. A recent poll found that 66 percent of those surveyed identify as Hong Kongers compared to only 32 percent who identify as Chinese.
When respondents were asked the importance of various identities, Hong Kong became first and citizens of the People's Republic of China came dead last, right behind Chinese. In fact it is the lowest of where Chinese has ranked on this measure since those umbrella movement protests ended in December 2014.
This distaste with the mainland was stronger in younger Hong Kongers and, of course, trying to change soccer fans' behavior is unlikely to help with this.
The answer to my GPS challenge this week is A, Nigeria. After President Muhammadu Buhari suspended the highest justice in the nation for allegedly failing to publicly declare his assets, the Nigerian Bar Association called for a boycott. Critics have argued that Buhari violated the independent judiciary with the suspension and that he was politically motivated at that.
You see Buhari is gearing up for a highly contested election in just a few weeks and any disputes or abnormalities could find their way to the Supreme Court led by that justice. Already the EU and the U.S. have decried the suspension of the chief justice and the main opposition party temporarily suspended its campaign in protest.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will --