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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Examining Inequality in Society; Looking at Ukraine's Election for Ways to Improve U.S. Elections; "Hotel Mumbai" Film Discussed. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired March 17, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:12] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you around the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria coming to you live from New York.
ZAKARIA: Today on the show, the mosque massacre in Christchurch. The prime minister called it one of New Zealand's darkest days. We'll bring you the latest.
And Brexit breakdown. What's next on Theresa May's quest to pull Britain out of Europe.
Also, Ukraine will elect a new president two weeks from today. Russia has been trying new ways to cyber-meddle in the elections. Might this be Putin's test drive for the 2020 American polls?
I'll ask the man who heads up Google's sister company that monitors and counters cyber attacks.
Then the 2008 Mumbai attacks. A city invaded by terrorists who killed scores of people but also a city that fought back. These stories and a new film, "Hotel Mumbai." I'll talk to the star, Dave Patel.
ZAKARIA: But first, here's my take. One of the great strengths of democracy is that bad policies are often reversed. That's a consolation when we look at the flurry of pandering programs being enacted as the populist wave works its way through the Western world. When a new government is elected, much of this can be undone. Except for Brexit, which if it goes through, might prove to be the most profound and lasting legacy of this decade.
Britain, famous for its prudence, propriety, and punctuality, is suddenly looking like a banana republic as it makes reckless decisions, misrepresents reality, and now wants to change its own self-imposed deadline. As Martin Sandbu writes in the "Political Quarterly," Brexit has always been a solution in search of a problem.
To me the best evidence of this is that Britain's Euro skeptics generally want to leave the EU because they see it as a status juggernaut. But in virtually every other member country Euro skeptics see the EU as a free market juggernaut, that's why they don't like it. So either all those other countries, 27 countries, have it backwards, or Britain's conservative party has gone nuts.
When I asked Anne Applebaum last week how historians would understand the road to Brexit, she suggested that it all centers around the Conservative Party. The Tories could probably claim to be the most significant political party of the 20th century, governing Britain for most of that period, producing Churchill, Thatcher and other iconic Western statesmen. But after the Cold War, as left-wing parties abandon socialist ideas and move to the center, the right faced an identity crisis.
In America, this mobilized the Republicans to emphasize social and cultural issues like abortion, gay rights and immigration. In Britain, Tories found themselves in the same mushy middle that Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron inhabited. So, as Applebaum noted, they went radical on Europe.
We're all weary of the drama.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the contrary, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Division. Clear the lobby.
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ZAKARIA: But keep in mind, Brexit will be a disaster. As Sandbu points out Britain's economy is competitive and productive only in high-value manufacturing and in services, both of which depend on a deeply integrated market within Europe. The foreign policy impact of Brexit might prove to be even more consequential. Within a few years Scotland and Northern Ireland will probably loosen their ties to Britain in order to maintain their association with Europe.
The United Kingdom will then be reduced to just England and Tiny Wales. London, a city that has shaped global affairs for 250 years, will become the West's Dubai, a place where lots of money sloshes around, but of no great geopolitical consequence.
Europe will also lose a lot with Brexit. Britain is a big vibrant economy. It's been a crucial voice in the community for free markets, openness, efficiency and an outward looking foreign policy. It has a powerful army that it deploys.
As non-Western countries like China rise, the central question of international relations is, can the international system built by the West that has produced peace and prosperity for 75 years last? Or will the rise of China and India and the revival of Russia erode it and return us to what Robert Kagan calls the jungle of international life, marked by nationalism, protectionism, and war?
[10:05:04] The world order as we know it was built over two centuries during the reigns of two liberal Anglo superpowers, Britain and the United States. Brexit will mark the end of Britain's role as a great power. And I wonder whether it will also mark the day that the West as a political and strategic entity began to crumble.
For more go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
We will get back to Brexit in a bit. But first, the massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand. The death toll is now up to 50. To put the number in perspective, more people were killed in one hour on Friday in two mosques in Christchurch that were killed in all of New Zealand in 2017. New Zealand's prime minister has vowed to change her country's gun laws and her cabinet is meeting tomorrow to start those discussions.
Joining me now to discuss are David Miliband, the president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. He was the UK's Foreign secretary from 2007 to 2010. Anne-Marie Slaughter, the CEO of the think tank New America. She was a top official in Hillary Clinton's State Department. And Ian Bremmer is the founder and president of the Eurasia Group, a global risk consultancy.
Let me start with, you know, the big picture on New Zealand. And Donald Trump was trying to suggest something. I want to ask you, Ian, whether it's true, which is, this is not a big deal in the sense that it is not a global phenomenon. I think that, again, he was implying it's not like Islamic terrorism which is, you know, it's a widespread phenomenon with many centers, states that have promoted it over the years.
These are one-off events, and while they're terrible and tragic, it's not -- you know, I think that's what Trump was trying to get at. Is that a fair point?
IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT, EURASIA GROUP: It's not a fair point. If you look at the United States itself in the last 10 years, if you want to look at all of the extremist violence in the U.S. 70 percent of those attacks have been carried out by white supremacists on the right. There is still of course a danger of Islamic terrorism in the United States. Globally the numbers are much more tilted towards Islamic terrorism. Most of that violence, a staggering, overwhelming number is about Muslim terrorists on other Muslims.
ZAKARIA: Right. Within Syria, for example. Once you take those numbers, the numbers go way down.
BREMMER: Absolutely. And if the argument is that the United States has overspent and overhyped fear about extremist violence and terrorism as a whole post-9/11, the answer to that is certainly, yes, in the context of what else we could be spending that money on. But I'm pretty sure that's not the message that President Trump was trying to put across to his supporters last week.
ZAKARIA: David Miliband, what does one do about this? So you have this -- you know, some segment of the white population that is enraged by immigration, by what they see as a, you know, changing culture. How should politicians deal with this?
DAVID MILIBAND, FORMER U.K. FOREIGN SECRETARY: The first thing is that the numbers that you cited at the beginning are shocking. But the most terrible thing about this week is that in some ways we shouldn't be shocked. We had the Finsbury Park attack on the mosque there. We had the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
This is a global movement, founded on hate, on the idea that Western societies are being, quote-unquote, "invaded" by other people. And that says you've got to think both about defense, you've got to think about how do you make sure that you track these people, you find them, that ensure that gun laws are of the appropriate kind.
But you've also got to play offense because their hateful ideology, what the Hope Not Hate, which is an organization in the U.K. dedicated to exposing what these essentially fascist organizations are up to. What they talk about is an ecosystem of far-right hate. And that takes offense, as well, if you're going to break it up and make sure it doesn't become this kind of global movement.
I just want to say this as well. I don't think people know that, to my knowledge, most of the effort of Western security services is now dedicated towards the danger of far-right extremism, more effort dedicated to far-right extreme and its potentially violent impact than it is to Muslim -- to Islamic terrorism. And obviously they feed off each other. And that's the other element of this that I think we have to watch.
ZAKARIA: The ecosystem of hate, as David says, have you been surprised by how many of these kind of groups there are in the United States, in Europe, and places like Australia and New Zealand?
ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, CEO, NEW AMERICA: No, because this is -- it's a movement. It's a white power movement. It's -- it's a terrorist movement that has a common both ideology and methodology. And it's very deliberately trying to fly under the radar by portraying people as lone wolves, as disturbed individuals, when actually they are in touch and they're also citing each other.
[10:10:11] I mean, the shooter in New Zealand cited the Norwegian shooting, cited Dylann Roof in Charleston. And at least in the United States we simply have not paid enough attention to white extremist violence, white power. We pay much more attention on the left. But as Ian said, actually 70 percent of the attacks in the United States since 9/11 have been extremist violence on the right.
ZAKARIA: What do you make of the manifesto, Ian?
BREMMER: Well, I mean, we've talked a little bit in the United States, everyone said, oh, he's been inspired by Trump. 74 pages, there's one reference to President Trump, where he says that he likes what he's doing in terms of supporting whites but also strongly oppose his policies. Overwhelmingly through the entirety of the 74 pages, he's talking about Europe.
This is a person who was radicalized much more inside Europe, inside France. He goes after Merkel. He says Merkel is enemy number one. He think -- he calls for the death of Erdogan. The level of identity politics, white on Muslim, if you see the average French, they think that 33 percent of France is Muslim when in reality it's only 6 percent or 7 percent. The most popular nonfiction literature a few years ago was "The Submission" by Michelle Houellebecq, which is all about the Muslims taking over.
If you really want to talk about where some of these ideas have been germinated and are exploding across the world, it's not here in the United States. You know, we like to think it's all about us. It's actually in Europe. And that -- if you look at where his ideology has come from, where he's been motivated, inspired from, those are where the problems are.
ZAKARIA: We were going to have to come back to all this later. But when we come back, we're going to talk about Brexit and what the hell happens next.
[10:16:10] ZAKARIA: It was an extraordinary week in British politics. For those keeping score at home, this week members of parliament voted down Prime Minister May's second try at a Brexit deal. Voted against the possibility of a second referendum, and voted to ask the E.U. to delay the date of Brexit. It's a bit of a rush on this one as deadline is just 12 days away.
We are back with Anne-Marie Slaughter, David Miliband and Ian Bremmer.
David, you're the Brit here. What is going to happen on Tuesday?
MILIBAND: Fareed, first of all, you called my country a banana republic in your introduction.
MILIBAND: And that -- I must say that grieves me very, very deeply. This is not a laughing matter, for all that you are enjoying this, because the truth is that the referendum that was held three years ago has driven a stake into the heart of parliamentary representative democracy. It's left MPs not knowing what their job is.
Is it to use their judgment in the best interests of the country or is it to follow a direction of the people that itself was completely unclear in its meaning? And so where we are is a situation where -- and another distinguished commentator in the U.K. today called Britain a global joke, so you're not alone in this.
Where we are today is that Mrs. May has said if you don't follow me, then I'm afraid there's a gun on the table, you're going to have to blow your brains out. And I still think there's a chance, in fact a better than even chance that she will get her deal on Tuesday or conceivably even Wednesday. But --
ZAKARIA: And that deal means what?
MILIBAND: That -- right. That's exactly the right question. That deal means that Britain will leave but it does not define the future relationship of Britain with the European Union. So all the arguments that are made against a second referendum that it will divide the country, that it will prolong the agony, that it will fuel the far right, all those things are going to happen, as Mrs. May's, quote- unquote, "deal" is shown only to be a quarter of the way towards the long-term relationship of the Britain needs on economics, on security policy, on the rest of it.
So I'm afraid what Mrs. May's deal offers is more agony for Britain. And the parliamentary arithmetic, plus, I have to say, the real fear of the Labour leadership of going in for another referendum, means that she's likely to get it and that will only presage further real trouble for the U.K. economically. There's already been an economic cost but also politically.
ZAKARIA: Anne-Marie, when you were at the State Department, you dealt a lot with your European counterparts. How do you think the Europeans are looking at all this and looking at Britain kind of go through a kind of national trauma-slash-suicide?
SLAUGHTER: Well, I think with amazement, with -- it's watching Britain essentially commit suicide as a power, as your column makes clear. On the other hand they're also saying this is the cautionary tale. There are many Europeans that are saying this will actually strengthen the E.U. because we talk about a Grexit and a Frexit and every conceivable version of that, but looking at just how hard it is and what it's doing to business confidence actually means that it's strengthening the rest of the E.U. On the other hand, it's a terrible thing because the E.U. will be weaker without Britain. And just watching a country self-destruct.
ZAKARIA: Ian, distinguished scholar of European politics, Anne- Marie's husband, Andy Moravcsik, says and wrote this in the "FT," look, at the end of the day they're not going to leave, they can't leave, the economic logic is too compelling, and you will end up with a Norway-type situation where there is some association with Europe, and they'll accept most of the European rules, bizarrely they won't have much of a vote. So it's slightly worse deal for Britain but life will go on. Is that the most likely outcome?
BREMMER: So the other side of David's call where May get her deal in the run-up to the final deadline is that they decide that they can't get that because a longer extension is plausible.
[10:20:11] It goes beyond the term limits of European parliamentary elections, a nine-month, a 12, even some say 21-month delay. And what we've seen from a lot of parliamentarians in the U.K. is to the extent that you can delay the final day and avoid taking tough decisions that you personally don't want to be responsible for, just like in the U.S., you're willing to do that.
Now I think that's reasonably likely. But I will also say that most of the real pain of Brexit is already being experienced. The U.K. has already lost a lot of that credibility, a lot of its capacity to be a global and the European leader. A lot of the jobs have already gone away. The trajectory of the U.K. economy compared to the E.U. economy has already deteriorated so as we get through not just these votes, but then the additional years of working out how that transition actually occurs, the other shoe that we're all waiting to drop will have slowly, slowly hit the ground.
ZAKARIA: David, why is the left not playing a role here of saying, we demand a second referendum, we will campaign on it, Britain's future is inexorably tied to Europe? I mean, what happened to the Labour Party of Tony Blair and David Miliband?
MILIBAND: There are two reasons. There are two reasons really. The first reason is that some of the Labour leaders are themselves extremely skeptical about the European Union. Jeremy Corbyn voted against joining the European Union in 1975 as a, quote-unquote, "socialism in one country" crowd, who believed that the answer to the pressures of globalization is to put up the shutters and try to build your own fairer, economy and society at home. That's one reason.
The second reason is fear of the electoral consequences. Two-thirds or 77 percent of Labour voters voted to stay in the European Union but a significant number of Labour seats voted to leave the European Union. My former constituency had never elected anyone other than the Labour MP since 1832. No Tory had been elected since 1832. The only constituency in the country, but it voted 65 percent to leave.
And among some Labour figures there's a fear of the electoral consequences of being seen to deny the electorate what they voted for. That's why --- I spent three years as Foreign minister arguing against a referendum. Between 2007 and 2010. Why? I quoted Clement Attlee and I quoted Mrs. Thatcher. Referendums are the refuge of dictators and demagogues, and in a parliamentary democracy you risk a referendum, not just you're risking the results. You're risking actually a representative of democratic process. And that's what Britain is struggling with today.
ZAKARIA: But now you think that the only way to undo the ill effects of the referendum is to have a second referendum?
MILIBAND: Paradoxically. You can't stop the Brexit process simply by annulling it. It will take a doubling down. And I would say this, which I think is important. in Ireland, deep questions of national identity around abortion, around gay rights, have been solved through referendums that have been very carefully curated with citizens panels, and really have involved a doubling down on democratic and popular engagement to try and mitigate that demagogic dictatorial aspect of the referendum process.
ZAKARIA: Fascinating. We've got to stop this fascinating stuff, but we'll get back to it.
Next on GPS, how did America go from having almost the top life expectancy in the world to among the worst among major developed nations today? Sanjay Gupta has a fascinating report on exactly that. He'll be with us when we come back.
[10:27:23] ZAKARIA: And now for our "What in the World" segment. One of the experts in Dr. Sanjay Gupta's new HBO documentary tell him that health gives us a measure of how we're doing as a society. If that's the case, American society is in trouble. Take just two
statistics. Life expectancy has been on the decline in America for the last three years. That hasn't happened in 100 years, the documentary points out. And then there's this. In the 1960s, the film says Americans had among the highest life expectancy in the world. Now it ranks toward the bottom of the list of major developed cities.
Sanjay is of course CNN's chief medical correspondent as well as a practicing brain surgeon. And he's diagnosed the heart of the problem in a new film called "One Nation Under Stress." It premiers 9:00 p.m. Eastern on HBO, March 25th.
Sanjay, you point out that the decline in American numbers comes very specifically from a particular segment. It's not blacks, where their mortality rates are actually declining. It's not Hispanics. It is just whites, mostly I think between 50 or 45 and 54, mostly with a high school but not a college education. And you say that what that tells us is that this medical problem is caused by essentially inequality and dashed expectations.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, that's really it. I mean, when you look at these numbers you just quoted, Fareed, it's worth pointing out first of all, look at other wealthy nations around the world that may have gone through some of the challenges, ups and downs of the economy and the labor force over the last several years.
They don't have the same problems. Their mortality rates continue to go down in a good direction. Life expectancy goes up. So what is specific to the United States, what is specific to whites, and what is specific to the white working class, as you said, Fareed? Well, this idea that these are the sons and daughters of the greatest generation. I mean, the idea was that they were supposed to inherit the earth, or certainly inherit the United States at least at a minimum.
That did not happen. Automation, outsourcing, jobs left, wages went down and now they find themselves dying at a faster rate, Fareed, than any other cohort in the world. And again, compared to developed nations, compared to other populations within the United States. The white working class in particular continues to decrease in life expectancy.
ZAKARIA: And this idea of dashed expectations causes a psychological trauma that is actually well-documented. There's this amazing monkey study that you show in the documentary.
Tell us about that.
GUPTA: Yeah, you know, we really wanted to approach this from a sociological angle but also a developmental biology angle. So in this -- this particular experiment, you've got two monkeys, capuchin monkeys. They're doing a task, and they get a reward, which is a cucumber, over and over again. At some point, the monkey on the right starts receiving a grape, a more desirable treat. Look at that; the monkey on the left, sort of recognizes this and gets a cucumber again, literally is not sure what to make of it, sniffs it and throws it back at the examiner.
I mean, they were perfectly happy with the cucumber over and over again, but now the glaring inequality, the glaring injustice is obviously causing stress levels in that monkey on the left because they now see that -- that inequality face-to-face.
What is interesting, as you think about this experiment, Fareed, was that the stress levels went up in the monkey on the left. Subsequent experiments show that the stress levels go up for the monkey on the right as well. No matter where you are on the spectrum, it turns out, living in a society that has glaring inequality is bad. It's unstable. It's unsettling. And it's stressful. And that's part of what we saw.
ZAKARIA: You have a friend; you guys grew up in Michigan together. And you say he's a middle-class kind of guy, and yet he is more stressed than you, a brain surgeon who also has a CNN job.
Explain how that could be.
GUPTA: Well, I think people tend to equate busy-ness and amount of work that you have to do with stress. And that's actually not as big a predictor, we found, of the sort of toxic stress that we're talking about. When you're -- when you're, sort of, middle -- middle management or middle class, whatever, first of all, you could easily become upwardly mobile but you could also become downwardly mobile. So you constantly have this sort of feeling of you don't know where you're going to go.
That loss of control, that inability to feel autonomous with regard to your own destiny, that turns out to be very, very stressful as well. So people often think of the very poor, people living on the fringe, as having the most stress, and there's lots of reasons they do. But if you're constantly worried about coming down or going up; you're not sure which, for my friend Frankie, that's probably the most stressful thing in his life.
ZAKARIA: Fascinating. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much for -- for joining us.
And make sure to watch the documentary.
GUPTA: Thank you. Thank you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: "One Nation Under Stress" premieres on HBO on March 25th at 9 p.m.
Next on "GPS," Ukrainians will go to the polls in just two weeks' time to elect a president. Russia is already meddling in the election. Will the vote be hacked? And what can America learn as it prepares for its 2020 election? Back with that story in a moment.
ZAKARIA: When Ukrainians go to elect their next president on March 31st, which is just two weeks from today, they will be faced with a list that started at 44 candidates and is now somewhere south of 40. The top contender is a comedian, and that is not a joke. The current president, Petro Poroshenko, is close behind, as is former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. There is also a candidate named Yuri Tymoshenko. And many observers believe the other Tymoshenko is there simply to siphon votes away from confused citizens who make the mistake between the two of them.
That is far from the only trick that is being played in Ukraine's elections, and there are lessons to be learned as America prepares for its own presidential election next year.
Jared Cohen joins me now. He is a a former top State Department official who runs Jigsaw, which is Google's sister company that, among other things, works to combat fake news and hack attacks.
So, Jared, Google Jigsaw is, sort of, like Google's geostrategic arm. And you are the CEO. Why would you go to Ukraine, of all countries?
COHEN: Well, Fareed, first of all, thank you for having me. I think the question I would ask is why would I not go to Ukraine. Ukraine is an innovation hub for the most nefarious cyber activity happening in the world. It's where you have innovation in disinformation, hacking of traditional systems and infrastructure, in addition to the deployment of these tactics in a military context.
ZAKARIA: Why? Why Ukraine? Why does it have all this?
COHEN: Well, because, right now, we're all thinking about how do we protect democratic institutions? What do we do to make sure that there's not a repeat of 2016 in 2020?
And my view there's nothing that Russia will do to the U.S. that it won't do to Ukraine first and worse. And we're not going to solve the problem of how do we protect ourselves against hacking of the 2020 election by just analyzing the president or just looking backwards. We have to forecast what's going to happen. And if I'm going to forecast what's going to happen, my goal is to find the places that our adversaries are using as target practice.
ZAKARIA: So what did you learn? Because you went to Ukraine; you've been to the Donbass, to the part of eastern Ukraine that is, sort of, occupied by the Russians. What did you learn about what they're doing?
COHEN: Well, first, we saw a number of tactics that we've never seen before. So we're seeing the systematic and customized targeting of disinformation on messaging platforms. It's very clear to me that the new front for disinformation is platforms where the barrier of entry is a phone number. It's much more believable, if somebody is in your contacts list, and you get information from them, you're much more likely to believe it.
We're seeing the manipulation of audio and the spoofing the phone -- spoofing of phone calls. We're seeing manufactured revenge porn, manufactured hacking of e-mails that then get dumped onto the public domain. And we're seeing a growing ecosystem of illicit merchants who are selling these capabilities to the highest bidder on the deep and dark web.
ZAKARIA: So when you -- when I hear all this, it sounds very difficult to figure out how to counter it. Do you think the American government is on top of this? Do you think the Trump administration is sufficiently attentive to it?
COHEN: Well, I think they -- what's interesting about Ukraine is you have the convergence of foreign policy and domestic policy. From a domestic perspective in the U.S.., we care about protecting the election, but Ukraine is a very important foreign policy priority. If we connect the two, all of a sudden, we look at building resilience in Ukraine as a very effective way to protect our own election.
And Ukraine has something very interesting. It has some of the most robust civil society in the entire world, but it's one of only two countries where it has world-class engineering talent who also understands geopolitics just because of where they live, Israel being the other example.
The problem is civil society doesn't have the technology expertise, and all the engineers want to work in e-commerce, and they're losing the commercial advantage to Belarus right next door. So if you look at what the U.S. government can do, the U.S. government has lots of mechanisms to support civil society, lots of resources to support civil society. And it does it all around the world. But the U.S. government can bring those two ecosystems together and build world- class companies, invest in world-class capabilities to fight disinformation in Ukraine.
This is already happening with cybersecurity. All of us rely on top, world-class talent for dealing with hacking and traditional cybersecurity issues in Ukraine because they're the best in the world. The same, too, can be true for disinformation.
ZAKARIA: Do you think, though, that the -- is the Trump administration, sort of, attentive enough to how -- how malign Russia is?
Let me ask you, does it strike you that this is all coming out of Russia, out of the Kremlin, and the attempt is to delegitimize the Ukrainian election?
COHEN: There's certainly an attempt to -- to delegitimize the Ukrainian election, and particularly at a moment when the Russians don't have a chance of having their candidate win, running too low in the polls.
You know, on the one hand, you have democracy working pretty well in Ukraine right now because nobody knows who's going to get to the second round, let alone who's going to win. On the other hand, that ambiguity makes it more of a target for Russia.
What we're seeing also is the democratization of these capabilities. So the Iranians were all of a sudden, you know, making similar attempts in the U.S. midterm elections. We've seen other countries get into the game. So, you know, Russia has a particular focus on Ukraine. But the capabilities are going to be on full display for other countries to latch onto. And there are certainly plenty of countries out there that have an interest and an incentive to try to disrupt the U.S. presidential elections.
ZAKARIA: Let me switch tacks, finally, and just ask you, you watched the New Zealand attacks, of course, and you hear about how much of it was an online phenomenon. The -- the terrorists were in some sense fed the stuff online. They posted online. And then they broadcast online. Does social media have a responsibility? How should we think about that online component?
COHEN: Well, of course -- of course they have a responsibility. I mean, I think, as I look at the horrific attacks in New Zealand, there's a long tradition of deeply disturbed people espousing hatred and then trying to engage in violent acts as a response. I think what's different in the social media era is the access that they have to niche communities that aren't constrained by geography and the access they have to instant superficial Internet fame. I think those two incentives are new in the era of social media.
ZAKARIA: And sometimes, some of those niches that the Internet has created are wonderful things. I mean, it allows all the stamp collectors of the world to, kind of, reinforce each other and gain camaraderie. But it also provides this dark side for people who are demented.
COHEN: Of course. And my view is, look, the Internet, to me, is still a -- a net positive. I'm an optimist about it. And I think that there's two things we have to be cautious about: one, not to neglect all of the benefits that come with the Internet, but at the same time I think that we need to be responsible and pay attention to these moments where we're seeing a darker side.
ZAKARIA: Fascinating. Jared Cohen, pleasure to have you on.
COHEN: All right. Thank you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," the inside story of an earlier terror attack. It's now a feature film, "Hotel Mumbai." It's all about the heroes of the 2008 attack on that city. I'll talk to the star, Dev Patel, and the writer-director, Anthony Maras, when we come back.
ZAKARIA: On November 26th, 2008, 10 members of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba arrived on the shores of Mumbai. Armed with guns, grenades and IEDs, they stunned the city with a series of gruesome attacks at six separate locations, reporting to commanders back in Pakistan during a rampage that lasted for three days. The terrorists killed more than 160 people and wounded hundreds more.
This was a personal story for me. The terrorists' last stand was at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, where my mother had an office. She edited the hotel group's magazine. Luckily she was out of town that day.
In 2009, I narrated a documentary for HBO called "Terror in Mumbai," which featured phone calls intercepted by Indian intelligence services between the terrorists and their commanders in Pakistan.
Now the story is being told again, this time in a new Hollywood film, "Hotel Mumbai," which intertwines the stories of the terrorists who wanted a payday for their families, the fearful guests trapped at the Taj for days, and the brave hotel staff who stayed behind to help. It's a story about the very worst and the very best of humanity.
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(UNKNOWN): There is no shame in leaving.
(UNKNOWN): I've been here 35 years. This is my home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: "Hotel Mumbai" premieres nationwide on March 29th. I'm joined by one of the film's stars, Dev Patel, and its co-writer and director, Anthony Maras.
Thanks for coming on.
PATEL: Thank you.
MARAS: Thanks for having me.
ZAKARIA: Anthony, what did you learn about the terrorists?
Because what strikes me about the portrayal, which is remarkable and vivid and accurate, I think, is that they are so calm in the way they go in and slaughter people, much like you hear about the New Zealand attacks, you know, where -- was it -- was it a particular kind of training? Were they naive? What did you learn about what motivated them?
MARAS: Well, we went through over 3,000 pages of documents for the trial of Ajmal Kasab. We heard those phone-ins...
ZAKARIA: The one surviving...
MARAS: The one surviving -- the one surviving gunman. And, you know, it was over many months, not just the final 10 terrorists that made it into Mumbai. There were over 100 people, originally, 100 young men from impoverished parts of Pakistan, you know, who were brought into the training camps. And they whittled them down over the course of many months, not just looking at who could shoot the straightest or who was best physically, necessarily, but who could take an order and who could be relied upon to -- you know, to continue the attacks.
And, yeah, more than anything else, I think, you know, what became really clear through reading these transcripts and through listening to what had happened live, you know, a play-by-play account through these intercepts that the Indian security forces made, was -- you know, was just how strong that brainwashing was. They -- they had, you know -- yeah, it was -- it was a very difficult time.
ZAKARIA: Right -- and you portray one thing which I remember being, again, true to life, which is they had never seen a hotel of this kind before. They -- some of them had actually never seen flushing toilets.
MARAS: Yeah, that -- that's the thing. It was, you know, a huge chasm in terms of education. You know, they came from very impoverished backgrounds and they were easy to radicalize. And -- and that came through in spades in the intercepts.
ZAKARIA: Dev, why do you -- you portrayed a Sikh, you know, this northern Indian religious group that wears -- that has a turban and a beard. Was that a conscious decision?
PATEL: I think that was one of our first meetings with Anthony. We had this, kind of, eight-hour script session. Part of it was wanting to stretch myself as an actor and, kind of, go in and embody a different kind of performing space. But also, I read these articles during September 11th about these Sikh cab drivers that were being targeted. And just the -- the ignorance to what their culture represented, who they were, was striking to me.
And I pitched it to Anthony, you know, because this hotel essentially is a microcosm of India. You know, you've got the rich; you've got the poor; you've got the staff members; you've got, you know, billionaires coming in from other countries. And, you know, when the terrorists strike this one place, you are able to have a discussion and break down barriers of naivete, essentially. And that's what he stands for there is a -- is a religious man who is -- who holds his religion at his forefront but he uses it to guide him to help other people.
ZAKARIA: What did you learn about the hotel staff?
Because, you know, one of the most extraordinary things about the whole Mumbai attacks was, you know, the hotel staff, which is, you know, kind of a private sector but a very -- you know, a great hotel, respond with this incredible sense of public, you know, civic- mindedness toward the guests. They -- the police, the actual public sector, does basically a hopeless job. You guys portray them a little bit better than was the actual reality. But the hotel staff were incredible. Did you spend time with them?
PATEL: I mean, I've spent time at the Taj, and that's where I saw some -- some waiters and some staff members wearing turbans. Yeah, I mean, there is a slogan in the kitchens, which we bring up in the script, which is, "Guest is god." And the level of service and the -- the level of gratitude they have -- this place is sacred to them. It represents opportunity to many people coming from the streets and getting a chance to work in a place which I think was, like -- is one of the first places to have electricity in Mumbai.
PATEL: So it was a -- it was a beacon of -- of real aspiration to the people. And they -- you know, we read accounts in the -- in the transcripts of waiters and staff members putting on baking trays and arming themselves with, you know, meat cleavers and running out in front of AK-47 fire to save others, which just -- you know, takes my breath away. MARAS: The example of the staff of the Taj hotel was why I wanted to
do the film. When I first heard about the attacks, I couldn't understand their response. I couldn't understand how it wasn't just one or two staff members who chose to stay. En masse, with no prior warning or organizational communication, they decided as a group to stay, to remain to protect one another, to protect -- and to protect their guests.
It was even the case that once the bullets were flying and the bombs were dropping, you had some staff members who had made it outside, who had shepherded guests outside the perimeter, and then they turned back and went back in. You know, would you do that? I don't know if I would.
And it's -- you know, if your audience are interested, they can go and Google the Harvard Business Review, "The Ordinary Heroes of the Taj Hotel," where a team of psychologists from Harvard went to the Taj, as you probably know, to try and examine what is it about the culture of the Taj, you know, that created the environment that allows this to happen. It's extraordinary, you know.
ZAKARIA: Or they could just watch your movie, which is...
MARAS: Even better -- even better still.
ZAKARIA: Dev, Anthony, thank you so much.
And thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.