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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Trump Becomes First Sitting U.S. President To Step Into North Korea; Interview With Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi On Tensions Between U.S. And Iran; Trump's Strategy On Iran And North Korea; Kushner Promotes Peace To Prosperity Plan For Palestinians. Aired 10- 11a ET
Aired June 30, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:21] 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 coming to you live from New York.
Today on the show, North Korea and Iran. Trump's radically different approaches to his two biggest nuclear problems. A friendly meet-and- greet in the DMZ with Kim, as words of war fly back and forth with Tehran. I will talk to the Iranian ambassador to the U.N. and with a great panel.
But first, here's my take. Given President Trump's mean spirited and often bigoted attitudes on immigration, it pains me to say this, but he is right, that the United States faces a crisis with its asylum system. Democrats might hope that the out-of-control situation at the southern border undermines Trump's image among his base as a tough guy who can tackle immigration. But they should be careful. It could actually work to the president's advantage.
Since 2014, the flow of asylum seekers into the United States has skyrocketed. Last year, immigration courts received 162,000 asylum claims. A 240 percent increase from 2014. The result is a staggering backlog with more than 300,000 asylum cases pending and the average immigration case has been pending for more than 700 days. It's also clear that the rules surrounding asylum are vague, lax and being gamed.
The initial step for many asylum seekers is to convince officers that they have a credible fear of persecution in their home countries. And about 75 percent meet that criteria. Some applicants for asylum have suspiciously similar stories using identical phrases. Many simply use the system to enter the U.S. and then melt into the shadows or gain a work permit while their application is pending.
Asylum is meant to be granted to a very small number of people in extreme circumstances. Not as a substitute for the process of immigration itself. Yet, the two have gotten mixed up. As the Atlantic's David Frum has pointed out, the idea of a right to asylum is a relatively recent one dating to the early years of the Cold War. Guilt ridden over the rejection of many Jewish refugees during World War II the U.N. created a right of asylum to protect those who are fleeing regimes where they would be killed our imprisoned because of their identity or beliefs. This standard has gotten broader and broader over the years. And now
includes threats of gang warfare and domestic violence. These looser criteria coupled with the reality that this is a safe way to enter the U.S. have made the asylum system easy to abuse. Applications from Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorans have surged even though the murder rate in their countries has been cut in half.
More broadly, hundreds of millions of people around the world who live in poor, unstable regions where threats of violence abound could easily apply for asylum. Do they all have the legal right to enter the U.S. through a backdoor, bypassing the normal immigration process? The Trump administration's approach has been mostly to toughen up the criteria. Hire more judges, push Mexico to keep applicants from entering the U.S.
But a much larger fix is needed. The criteria for asylum need to be rewritten and substantially tightened. The number of courts and officials dealing with asylum must be massively expanded. People should not be able to use asylum claims as a way to work in America. There needs to be a much greater cooperation with the home countries of these applicants rather than insults, threats and aid freezes.
No one fix will do it, but we need the kind of sensible bipartisan legislation that has resolved past immigration crises. Democrats have spent most of their efforts on this topic, assailing the Trump administration for its heartlessness. Fine. But that does not address the roots of this genuine crisis. If things continue to spiral downward and America's southern border seems out of control, Trump's tough rhetoric and hard line stance will become increasingly attractive to the public.
Keep in mind, that the rise of populism in the Western world is almost everywhere tied to fears of growing out of control immigration.
For more, go to CNN.com/Fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
[10:05:09] Just hours ago, Donald Trump became the first sitting American president ever to set foot in North Korea. It all happened at a meeting with Kim Jong-un that started in the most Trumpian way, with a tweet. The president tweeted earlier this week about his planned trip to South Korea. "While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the border DMZ just to shake his hand and say hello," paren, question mark, exclamation mark. During the meeting, Trump says the two agreed to restart nuclear talks.
What to make of all of this? Joining me now, Tom Friedman, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for "The New York Times" and the author of "Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations." Ian Bremmer, founder and president of the Eurasia Group and Sam Vinograd was a national security official in the Obama administration. She is now CNN national security analyst.
Sam, what do you make of where we are after this historic photo-op?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Fareed, North Korea is certainly acting like a normalized nuclear power. We think back to when President Obama came into office, when Obama left the -- left office, and North Korea was a pariah state. Their nuclear program was the focus of sanctions and under Trump was the focus of a lot of attention with respect to denuclearization and trying to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.
By taking 20 small steps into North Korea, President Trump really took a giant leap backward when it comes to a nonproliferation agenda. He has solidified North Korea as a normalized nuclear state. And he has moved the goalpost on the goal that he set for North Korea which was denuclearization.
We are at a point now where in the short-term leash. Security is better. Missiles aren't flying and nuclear tests aren't happening. But when North Korea takes a step back and thinks about whether it has to denuclearize it doesn't feel a lot of pressure to do so. Kim is being invited to the White House. He's shaking hands with President Trump. And the best that we can hope for right now is a freeze in North Korea's nuclear program while potentially gains access to revenue, to more friends and to more normalcy on the international stage.
ZAKARIA: Ian, isn't it fair to say that these goodies that Trump has offered, meeting with Kim in the first place in Singapore, visiting North Korea, potentially inviting Kim to the White House, these were prizes that the North Korean regime had always wanted because they wanted to be seen as legitimate? They are seen as a rogue regime. Very few countries even have extensive relations to them. Trump has given them all this in return for something very small which has been an end to the suspension of testing.
IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT, EURASIA GROUP: Well, that would be the way that the foreign policy establishment would read it. President Trump of course reads it as something big for him which is, he's the first president to meet directly be with the North Korean leader. He's the first president to go into North Korean territory. He is making history. So, it's a give for the North Koreans as a government. It's a give for Donald J. Trump as an individual.
I mean, sitting here doing the analysis, we're going to say that's not a really great trait. Having said that, leaving aside the legitimization of North Korea, let's recognize that China is on its way to world's largest economy. Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, who was no fan of Kim Jong-un's, also just legitimized Kim Jong-un. He made his first trip to Pyongyang just a couple of weeks ago, which helped to set all this up, made the meeting between Trump and Xi Jinping much better than it otherwise would have been in Osaka at the G20.
The fact that the Chinese are engaging with the North Koreans, that the South Koreans had that joint team at the Olympics that we saw a few months ago. I mean, North Korea is getting legitimized by everyone and the fact that Trump has jumped on the bandwagon is obviously what we're going to focus on in the U.S. But the reality is that Kim Jong-un is seen as less of a rogue leader even though he runs the world's worst totalitarian prison state. ZAKARIA: Tom, what do you make of this meeting?
TOM FRIEDMAN, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, you know, this all started, Fareed, with the president raising the tensions, promising to use fire and fury to wipe North Korea off the map. He then lowered those tensions in a sense by offering a freeze for freeze -- a freeze in our military exercises with South Korea in terms -- in return for a freeze in North Korea's testing of long-range missiles and nukes.
And now I think the best we're going to get from this as -- is going to be a longer term, verifiable freeze in return for some kind of goodies from the West. And you have to say Kim has played his hand very well. You know, everyone is running to Pyongyang not to buy North Korean nuclear microchips. It's because they are a nuclear power and they intend to remain so. That said, the world is a better place if we can get a freeze of their program, a verifiable freeze for some goodies in return.
[10:10:07] I don't think we're going to be better than that until there's long-term, internally driven change in North Korea. So, net- net for the world it's better that there's less tension than more. Donald Trump will oversell it, you know, as the greatest deal in the milky way galaxy. But if we reduce the tensions there, altogether a good thing.
ZAKARIA: Ian, I want to bring you back to the point you made about China. Do you think that the Chinese -- because the Xi -- China and North Korea this is the only treaty ally that China has. I mean, the United States has almost 60 treaty allies. China has one. So, this is one they have carefully maintained relations with.
Do you think they would be comfortable with a denuclearized North Korea, in other words, a North Korea that did not have this insurance weapon that allows them to feel like they can withstand Western pressure?
BREMMER: I mean, historically they've been very uncomfortable with that idea but if you ask me, does China thinking that over time they're going to have a closer relationship and economically dominant relationship with South Korea, and a South Korean young population that thinks that the United States is the problem on the Korean peninsula and not Kim Jong-un, not the North Koreans, the Chinese I think are also changing their views.
North Koreas have never liked the Chinese historically but they got on that plane, and Kim Jong-un used the Chinese plane to Singapore. A lot of people would have been surprised by that. They said, wait a second, remember they killed the brother -- the half-brother as well. He was someone that we now find out was actually cooperating with the CIA while the Chinese were protecting him in Macao.
So, I think the level of comfort the Chinese and the North Koreans have with each other today feels so much greater than it was two years ago, four years ago.
ZAKARIA: And if he comes to the White House, Kim Jong-un will of course probably fly on a Chinese plane.
The panel will be back in a bit. But I will talk next on GPS to Iran's ambassador to the United Nations. Will Iran's leaders meet with Donald Trump like Kim did this morning?
[10:15:49] ZAKARIA: As we have been reporting this morning, President Trump says nuclear negotiations with North Korea will be restarted. But as the president tweets coy invitations to meet with Kim Jong-un, his tweets to Iran take a very different tone.
On Tuesday, he wrote, "Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force in some areas overwhelming will mean obliteration." How does Iran receive such threats?
Well, joining me now is Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht Ravanchi.
Ambassador, a pleasure to have you on. Iran's response in general, to that particular one, has been to say particularly because the Trump administration has now imposed sanctions directly on the supreme leader that there is no prospect of talks with the United States. Why rule out the prospect of talks? As Trump shows, whatever he says there's a lot of rhetoric, but he's willing to cut a deal it seems. Why not keep the possibility open?
MAJID TAKHT RAVANCHI, IRANIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: First of all, I should say that the talks and threats are mutually exclusive. You cannot start a dialogue with somebody via -- he or she is trying to intimidate you, who's trying to frighten you, who's trying to impose sanctions. Coercion, intimidation do not go well in dialogue. Therefore, as long as the threats are there, as long as intimidation and coercion are there, I think we do not consider any dialogue, any offer of a dialogue as a genuine and productive one.
ZAKARIA: But is it conceivable that if the threats stopped and if the Trump administration -- if Donald Trump were to say, I will meet with Iran's president, that could happen?
RAVANCHI: This is a hypothetical question. I think the first thing that the U.S. should do is go back to the negotiating table. They left the negotiating table while the other members of it -- the international community they're talking to Iran about the nuclear issue. All of a sudden, the U.S. decided to withdraw and the whole problem, the whole mess that we are seeing around ourselves is geared to that decision, to withdraw from the nuclear deal and you compare the situation in early 2018 before -- before President Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal.
Compare it to what you have today. It's a totally different story. So, all the things that started that decision, in order to make things going back to normal, that decision has to be reversed.
ZAKARIA: Until now, even though the United States withdrew from the Iran deal, Iran has adhered to that deal. This week -- well, next 10 days you face a moment where you may violate the deal. You may, you know, begin to go beyond the limits that were set out in the deal. Has Iran decided that it will exceed those limits?
RAVANCHI: First of all, it is not the violation of the deal. There are certain paragraphs in the deal which allow Iran not to honor certain commitments and what we have done is exactly based on paragraph 26 and paragraph 36 of the nuclear deal which allow Iran in the face of U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal, it allows us to cut short our commitments -- certain commitments we have identified to for the first phase.
And in the next 10 days if nothing happens, we will go to the second phase and we have already announced the elements of the second phase. So, our European partners with whom we are now talking, they have to hurry up because we are running out of time. That is why in the next 10 days, we have crucial negotiations and talks with our European partners in order to see that they can compensate what we have lost as a result of U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal.
ZAKARIA: When you say hurry up, what you are referring to is the Europeans are trying to create a payment mechanism that would allow -- that would bypass the dollar to -- for food and humanitarian -- for food and medicine.
[10:20:08] So far it has not been successful. Do you get the sense from your European counterparts that they are trying to do what it will take to make this mechanism succeed?
RAVANCHI: They have been -- I should say that they have been rather slow. It took them more than a year to establish such a mechanism. The establishment of this mechanism is a good thing. But it is not sufficient. They have to hurry up, they have to put money in this mechanism. Otherwise, that mechanism is not going to be of any health because the establishment of a mechanism is not per se something that can alleviate the problems that we face.
ZAKARIA: The Trump administration of course claims that Iran -- the Iranian government is behind the recent attacks on ships and that this is the way that Iran is exercising leverage. Is that in fact true?
RAVANCHI: Not at all. We have already rejected such a claim. In fact, the claim is not being supported by some of the regional countries, by some of the closest U.S. allies. So how can they claim that this allegation is true? We have already said that this is not -- this is not something that Iran is looking after. We are not looking after trouble or tension in our region. We are not looking after conflicts. Therefore, it is not our job.
ZAKARIA: You do admit though that the sanctions, that because the American -- because of the power of the dollar, nobody else is willing to trade with Iran right now because those deals tend to be denominated in dollars. And you are facing real pressure. Iranian economy, the IMF says, will shrunk six percent. Iran's Iranian currency has plummeted more than 50 percent. Can you sustain this pressure? RAVANCHI: I believe we can. We have already faced the difficult
situation during the Iran-Iraq war, during eight years of imposing Iraqi war on Iran. We managed to survive and with it, and I'm sure that we can. It is true that the economic sanctions are putting pressure on the Iranian people. That is a fact. But that does not mean that we can succumb to pressure. In fact, the American people are not in favor of putting pressure on other nations.
And this is not -- this is not the way that the Americans talks to other people, or deal with other nations but you are right. The pressure is on the Iranian people, but we will manage and we have managed in the past.
ZAKARIA: Mr. Ambassador, a pleasure to have you on.
RAVANCHI: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Thank you so much.
RAVANCHI: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, my all-star panel will be back with me to talk about the rest of the week's news including trade wars with China, peace plan in the Middle East, any real progress made on any of this at the G20.
[10:26:43] ZAKARIA: Back now with my all-star panel. Tom Friedman in D.C., Ian Bremmer and Sam Vinograd here with me in New York.
Tom, what do you make of this difference that Donald Trump has between North Korea and Iran? Do you understand why he treats one so much more optimistically than the other?
FRIEDMAN: I really don't, Fareed. I think that -- first of all, listen to the Iranian ambassador, I did have to laugh when he said that coercion and diplomacy don't go together. A coercive diplomacy is how Iran has pursued its interests in Lebanon and Syria, and Iraq. So, they're the experts at coercive diplomacy.
Now vis-a-vis I think that what Trump has done is create real pain and pressure on the Iranian government. We have basically choked off their oil exports which are the primary source of income for that country. So, Trump has created real leverage on Iran. For me, the question is, what does he want to do with that? And I think there's real confusion and real split in the administration.
I think if Trump were to go now to our European allies and say to them, look, the Iranian nuclear deal that Obama negotiated basically imposed a ban on any kind of nuclearization weaponry on Iran for about 15 years. Let's take that to 30 or let's take that indefinitely, OK, and let's also ban any missile testing on Iran outside the radius of the Middle East. I think you'd get the Europeans, the Russians and the Chinese to sign on to that, and if we put that on the table to the Iranians, I think there'll be a real fight inside Iran whether to accept that or not.
But when Trump goes beyond that, when he starts sanctioning the leader -- sanctioning the very people he's negotiating with, what it says to me is that he is -- he's afraid of cutting a deal that will look like just Obama plus. That he's afraid of his base or he's worried about people in his own administration or he's confused in his own mind. That what he really wants or some of them want is regime change. They want transformation, not a transaction. And until Trump resolves that in his mind, I don't think we're going to make much headway here.
BREMMER: I think that Trump's position towards Iran and North Korea are pretty similar. It's just we're in a different stage in the cycle. At the beginning, Trump was every bit as hard towards North Korea as he is right now on Iran, but as soon as the North Koreans were willing to show that they're willing to engage with him directly, suddenly he's best pals. Right?
Do I think he could best pals with the Iranians if they were willing to accept him at his word in saying I'm prepared to engage with you with no preconditions? He said. I'm opening diplomacy. Obama wouldn't do that. He had Kerry meet with Foreign Minister Zarif, but Obama was unwilling to have the personal sit-down. Donald Trump would be willing to do that. He'd be the first president that would.
So, I take Tom completely right that we've been hitting them hard. It's much harder for the Iranians to respond now because they have domestic politics, the North Koreans don't. Right? But that offer that Tom suggested that could be placed on the table is still absolutely placeable on the table.
ZAKARIA: You would advise the Iranians, say, let's meet in Geneva, Rouhani and Trump, a summit?
BREMMER: Since we know that this is all about Trump, the ease for the Iranians to give something that matters to Trump, the individual, and get some relief from the sanctions that are really crippling their government, enforcing them to respond in ways that are dangerous for them in the region and dangerous for them internationally.
They've been so reluctant to break out of this Iranian deal even though the Americans have pulled out, and it's crippling them domestically because they're risk averse. If you're really risk averse, you need to find a way to actually take Trump up on his offer and flip him to being a friend, like Kim Jong-un has much more intelligently done.
ZAKARIA: Tensions, Sam, are pretty high. I mean, you're in a situation where the Iranians are really choked. They are looking for ways to exercise some leverage. There might be some miscalculation in the Persian Gulf.
VINOGRAD: Well, Iran is firing on all cylinders when it comes to their own maximum pressure campaign. In response to U.S. sanctions, in response to President Trump, listing the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, Iran is throwing its weight around in multiple vectors. We have the conventional threat in the Gulf, Fareed, which is impacting U.S. interests, U.S allies and potentially U.S. personnel.
We also have Iranian cyber attacks that we are seeing an uptick and we don't know what else Iran is doing with respect to covert operations potentially. So the question is whether Iran is going to continue upping the ante to try to bring us back to the negotiating table.
And we can't quite compare North Korea and Iran in one important respect, Fareed. Sure, President Trump has a despot double standard between these two countries, but Iran has the ability to activate proxies all over the region in the Middle East, which really puts U.S. personnel on the ground and U.S. allies in direct risk of Iranian ballistic missiles.
So at this point, if I was President Trump, if I was advising President Trump, if I was thinking about how to get Iran to the negotiating table, I would be seriously thinking about steps I needed to take to protect American personnel in the region. We withdrew diplomats from Iraq. We have thousands of other American citizens in the region and Iran has demonstrated willingness, intent and history of attacking Americans, and that would be my foremost priority right now.
ZAKARIA: All right. We're going to get to China in the next block, but I also have to ask. Tom Friedman has won three Pulitzer Prizes writing on the Middle East. I'm going to ask him what he thinks of Jared Kushner's peace plan.
ZAKARIA: We are back. Joining me again are "The New York Times'" Tom Friedman, Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group and the former Obama National Security official, Sam Vinograd.
Tom, so I've got to ask you, what do you think of Jared Kushner's peace plan and the Bahrain conference?
FRIEDMAN: Well, on the Bahrain conference, Fareed, it reminds me something my grandmother used to say. She said if you're having an Israeli/Palestinian peace conference and neither the Israelis nor Palestinians send representatives probably not going to succeed.
Here's a little thing grandma used to say. This is going nowhere. This peace plan is basically predicated on the notion that you can do leverage buyout of the Palestinians on the West Bank, offer them enough goodies and they will basically overthrow the Palestinian authority and agree to be permanent, live in a state of permanent autonomy under permanent Israeli authority. I just don't think that's going to happen. You know, people, Fareed, god bless them, have bodies and souls and the greatest mistake diplomats make in history is thinking you can feed just one and not the other, thinking you can just give the Palestinians the money and they will give up their dignity national aspirations.
Now, that said, Kushner made one point that I do agree with. The Palestinians have failed miserably at Self-Rule. They got rid of Salam Fayyad, who was trying to build institutions. They suffered, no question, under the owner's conditions, you know, by the Israeli occupation. But, basically, this is another peace plan that's going to end up in the dust bin of history.
ZAKARIA: Ian Bremmer, what do you think of the Bahrain conference?
BREMMER: Well, first of all, far be it for me to disagree with Tom Friedman's grandmother, right? But having said that, I think this was a successful conference. It was not a successful conference in bringing about Israeli/Palestinian peace, but that wasn't the intention, right?
The Palestinians were not there, but Israel is getting normalized, right? I mean, you actually had Israeli media covering this in Bahrain for the first time ever. You had the Bahraini Foreign Minister saying they recognize the right of Israel to exist and would like to open diplomatic relations in the future.
I mean, fact is that the Palestinians are becoming irrelevant to most of the actors in the region, the Saudis, the Emiratis, the Egyptians, and these are Trump's best relationships in the world, added to Israel. First trip he ever made was to Riyadh and then to Israel, right?
So it would shock me to me if he wasn't going to try to take advantage of those relationships to marginalize the Palestinians. It's the most anti-Palestinian administration we've had in a very long time, but it's also the most anti-Palestinian Middle East we've had in a very long time.
And the fact that they are both recognizing that reality, and the Europeans are not, allows them to make progress. If you're Trump this weekend, you think that was a significant success.
And by --
FRIEDMAN: But, Fareed, if you're Jewish, I just want to say, if you're Jewish and you believe in a Jewish democratic state in the land of Israel, this is very depressing. Yes, there is Israeli-Arab peace, but what Israel? And the Israel that Trump is facilitating is a bi- national Israel in which it will permanently rule over 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank who will have a lesser legal status, and then in the long-term will undermine any hope of a democratic Jewish state in the land of Israel.
ZAKARIA: Tom, you know a lot of people in Israel on the right say, look, why is this not permanently viable, you know? We think the Palestinians just have autonomy and a kind of self-rule. But we will never give them the vote, so that they'll never overwhelm the Jewish democratic majority.
FRIEDMAN: Maybe so. But it will be a permanent thorn undermining Israel's legitimacy. And I can tell you from the Iranian point of view, Fareed, rule number one for Iran is is Israel must never get out of the West Bank because it creates a permanent thorn in Israel's side, and a permanent way for Iran to deflect the tension from itself and on to Israel as depriving Palestinians of statehood.
So I don't think -- you'll get Israeli Air Peace (ph) because they both hate Iran but in terms of the future of Israel, I think it really bodes ill for the future of Israel as a Jewish democratic state.
ZAKARIA: Sam, it does feel though like -- Ian's point about the new dynamics of the Middle East, I have been noticing this ever since the Iraq War, that the old dynamic of Arab nationalism, of solidarity with the Palestinians, all that has melted away, the new dynamics that's Shia versus Sunni, Arab versus Persian. And in those dynamics, it turns out that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are much closer to Israel than they are to the Palestinians.
VINOGRAD: Certainly, Fareed. And that plays into the point that the administration's policy right now is not the two-state solution that successive presidents have embodied. As Ian said, President Trump has made very clear that his policy when it comes to Middle East peace is a strong, vibrant State of Israel. The Palestinians are trying to be bullied into accepting that new status quo. But that is not Middle East peace. That is peace on President Trump's terms and President Netanyahu's terms.
What we're seeing is that various Arab countries are making cost benefit calculation here and deciding that it is better to work with Israel and to work with Israel to fight Iran than it is to fight with Israel over the Palestinians. The Palestinians are being left by the wayside as part of that new cost benefit calculation.
And when we think about Israel's long-term security, if President Trump keeps bullying the Palestinians and we do get a de facto one state solution that benefits Israel, that will not remove the threat from Iranian proxies in Palestinian territories and that may not be in the long-term security interests of Israel.
So President Trump has been clear on his policy when it comes to Israel. And what we're seeing is the Arab states again choosing to fight Iran rather than to support the Palestinian claims for statehood.
ZAKARIA: Fascinating. We will have to come back to China some other time.
Next on GPS, something completely different, you will meet the face of white nationalism right here in the U.S. of A., a preview of my latest special, State of Hate, when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ZAKARIA: Tonight at 8:00 P.M. Eastern, my latest documentary will premier. It's called State of Hate, the Explosion of White Supremacy. In it, I take a deep dive into racial, ethnic and religious hate and look at how and why it is rearing its ugly head again. We have seen it in Pittsburgh and Charlottesville and Charlestown. Where is that hatred coming from? What is happening in the minds of those who long for an all white version of America?
Well, you're about to meet Jared Taylor who holds many of the answers. He's a leader of America's new brand of white nationalists. Taylor doesn't want to kill or hurt members of other races but nor does he want to live beside them. So having essentially given up on limiting the flow of people of color into America, Taylor now wants to create a section of America that only whites can live in.
Some of what you're about to hear may disturb you. Some of you may be angry that we have given this man any air time. But I have always held the belief that you need to listen to all views, even those you find offensive, perhaps especially those you find offensive.
White nationalism is on the rise and Taylor and his followers will not go away just because you ignore them.
ZAKARIA: Tell me what is your basic objective? You know, if you think about this philosophically, what are you trying to do?
JARED TAYLOR, AMERICAN WHITE SUPREMACIST: I consider myself a white advocate. That is to say I speak up for the legitimate interests of white people. Every other racial group has organizations, lobbies, even congressional caucuses that look out for their interests, but only whites are not considered a legitimate group for those purposes.
ZAKARIA: And to your mind, what are those interests? What is your objective? If you could achieve it, what would it look like?
TAYLOR: Well, one of our objectives, of course, is to end racial discrimination against whites in the form of affirmative action. That's obviously in our interests. Another is to slow or stop or perhaps stop the dispossession of whites as a majority in this country. The idea that we're supposed to be celebrating diversity means only that whites are to celebrate their dwindling numbers and declining influence.
I don't think any healthy people wants to become a minority in its own country, especially for those of us who are living here in the nation that was built by our ancestors. Why should we wish to become a minority?
ZAKARIA: Who are whites? TAYLOR: Whites are the people whose ancestors are living in Europe about 500 years ago. And most of the time, we have no difficulty distinguishing whites from other people. I think the idea that the race is somehow is a sociological optical illusion is some kind of modern fad and it's not based in biology, it's based in wishful thinking.
ZAKARIA: But let me ask you about that because most of these racial categories come out of the 19th century and many of them with Germany, German scholarship, and the original term used, as you know, was Caucasian.
ZAKARIA: Now, I think scholars would agree, I have as good a claim on being Caucasian as you do, Caucasian, meant people who come out of Central Asia, out of the caucuses. In fact, the term Aryan, which is another one that is often used, comes specifically out of India, which is where I grew up and it comes out of about 2000 B.C. There was an invasion which drove the original inhabitants of India way down to south. So why am I not a Caucasian?
TAYLOR: By certain definitions. You might very well be a Caucasian.
ZAKARIA: So I'm a Caucasian and an Aryan but not a white according to you? If you are advocating policies based on racial categories, I just want to understand where I fit in.
TAYLOR: I think most people would not consider you white.
ZAKARIA: You don't know why white means.
TAYLOR: Oh, I know very well what white means. You don't, but I do.
ZAKARIA: That was Jared Taylor. Sunday night on my special, you will hear from him but you will also hear from those who passionately disagree with him.
I will also tell you a story of an obscure novel that holds the key to some of the worst white supremacist violence this country has ever seen. As well, I'll take a deep dive into the meaning of whiteness for white supremacy to exist, we need a standard for whiteness, right, the law and the science on all of that.
The special is called State of Hate, the Explosion of White Supremacy. And it airs tonight at 8:00 P.M. Eastern on CNN and CNN International.
ZAKARIA: Climate activists and scientists from around the world gathered in Bonn this month to address the growing need for intervention. It brings me to my question, from 1998 to 2017, what percent of all natural disasters were climate related, 44 percent, 56 percent, 72 percent or 91 percent?
Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
My book of the week is Amor Towles' "A Gentleman in Moscow."
If you're looking for a summer novel, this is it. Beautifully written, a story of a Russian aristocrat trapped in Moscow during the tumult of the 1930s. It brims with intelligence, erudition and insight, an old-fashioned novel in the best sense of the term.
The correct answer to our GPS challenge is D, from 1998 to 2017, 91 percent of all natural disasters, like floods, droughts and hurricanes were climate related, according to the U.N.'s Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. These are the kinds of extreme weather events exacerbated and sometimes caused by green house gas emissions. The global economy lost $2.25 trillion from climate related disasters. To make matters worse, such events disproportionately affect poorer nations putting a major break on efforts to fight poverty worldwide.
As the Trump administration continues to roll back environmental restrictions, it is a useful remind that these policies will hurt the most vulnerable in the world first.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. Next Sunday, don't miss a special edition of GPS, "How to Lead." I will sit down with Congressman John Lewis, General Stanley McChrystal, presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and Bill Gates to try to answer the question, what does it mean to lead well? It's always an important topic, but particularly relevant given the current president's, shall we say, unique leadership style.
That is "How to Lead" next Sunday at 10:00 A.M. and 1:00 P.M. in the United States. International viewers, check your listings.