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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS

Interview With Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg About NATO; Interview With Nigel Farage On Britain's Future; Trump, Farage And The Special Relationship; The Economist Reports, Britain Is In A Nightmare Before Christmas; Iran Cracks Down On Mass Protests. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired December 8, 2019 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:00:18]

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria coming to you today from London.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA: On the show today, NATO. The Western alliance celebrated 70 years at a summit this week, but is the septuagenarian organization suffering from brain death as President Macron claims?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You just can't go around making statements like that about NATO.

ZAKARIA: Is it obsolete as President Trump said during the 2016 campaign?

TRUMP: NATO is obsolete.

ZAKARIA: I'll talk to NATO's secretary general. And as Britain heads to the polls, Brexit is now a real possibility.

NIGEL FARAGE, BREXIT PARTY LEADER: We are now going to get Brexit.

ZAKARIA: I sat down with the man who started it all, the head of the Brexit Party, the always colorful Nigel Farage.

FARAGE: Utter, complete, total rubbish.

ZAKARIA: Also unrest in Iran. People are rising up again, and the regime is reacting with deadly violence. I'll talk to the Iranian journalist (INAUDIBLE) who was arrested in the uprising and crackdown during the 2009 Green Revolution.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA: But first, here's my take.

Republicans have rallied to Donald Trump's defense with a vigor and ferocity that might have even surprised the president. It was only a few years ago that many of them suggested he was not really a Republican and certainly not a conservative. But now all Republicans love Trump. And purist conservative groups like the Tea Party Patriots, Freedom Works and the Club for Growth are mobilizing their millions of supporters to fight for the president.

Why? The answer given most often is that when you look past the circus and the histrionics, the president has been a reliable and staunch conservative. And while this is undeniably true in some areas, it's mostly in the realm of social and cultural policy. Appointing judges, tightening rules relating to abortion, immigration and asylum.

In what Republicans used to call the core of their agenda, limited government, Trump has been profoundly unconservative. Take the issue that produced the Tea Party. America's runaway debt. In 2012 future House Speaker Paul Ryan said --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL RYAN (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: In this generation a defining responsibility of government is to steer our nation clear of a debt crisis while there is still time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: In his first year in office, Trump, with the eager assistance of a Republican House and Senate, blew up the American budget with a tax cut that ballooned the deficit this year to almost $1 trillion and will add nearly $2 trillion to the national debt over 10 years.

Now the hypocrisy of Republicans about deficits has often been noted but what is most striking is that this abandonment of limited government and fiscal conservativism is part of a larger remake of conservativism itself. Trump has now added more than $88 billion in taxes in the form of tariffs according to the Tax Foundation.

Despite what the president says, please remember, tariffs are taxes on foreign goods paid for by American consumers. This has had the effect of reducing GDP and denting the wages of Americans. Even the administration acknowledges the pain caused by its trade wars, responding to one bad policy with another. Massive subsidies to favored victims. For example, farmers. The bailout to farmers, just under $30 billion now, dwarfs the $12 billion that the 2009 auto bailout cost the federal government.

More even than free trade, conservatives have believed in the idea that governments should not pick winners and losers in the economy. An idea so fundamental to Republicanism that Trump tweeted it out in 2015 soon after announcing his candidacy. Yet the Trump administration has behaved like a central planning agency, granting waivers on tariffs to favored companies while refusing them to others.

Salmon, cod, bibles and fracking chemicals are among the products that have escaped being taxed for now. In true Soviet style, lobbyists, lawyers and corporate executives now line up to petition government officials for these treasured waivers which are granted in a totally opaque process. All this favoritism fits very well with Trump's desire to engage in

industrial policy but shaped to fulfill his own personal agenda, not some national economic one. He consistently helps companies and workers in key battle ground states he hopes to win in 2020.

[10:05:06]

When he decides that he doesn't like a company or its chief executive, like Jeff Bezos, he attacks them by name. On the core issue that used to define the GOP, economics, the party's agenda today is state planning and crony capitalism. And this is what so-called conservatives are doubling down to defend.

For more go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.

The leaders of the Western world gathered on the outskirts of London this week to celebrate the 70th anniversary of NATO, and to continue a debate that has been raging recently about its future.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in 1949 with 12 original members. The big four at the time of course was the Soviet Union. Today NATO has 29 members who face threats as varied as Russia, Islamic terror, and cyber and space war.

President Trump has shaken the membership of the organization by waffling on its raison d'etre, its most important reason for being, the collective defense of its members. Article 5 states that an armed attack against one or more member nation shall be considered an attack against them all.

Now the president of France also believes that NATO is in very bad shape. So I sat down with the head of NATO, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the summit this week.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA: Mr. Secretary General, pleasure to have you on.

JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: Thank you so much for having me.

ZAKARIA: So I've heard some of your defenses about many of the things that have been said this summit. You know, President Trump after all as a candidate said NATO was obsolete. Now the French president says NATO is brain dead. And you point out there have been disagreements in the past, but this time -- in the past it was over policies or, you know, Suez or the Iraq war. This is almost a disagreement about the existential nature of NATO itself. Should it exist? Is it functional?

STOLTENBERG: Well, the clear message from this meeting, the leaders' meeting this week has been that all allies, also those who have expressed some critical concerns, they are committed to NATO, to the idea of one for all, all for one because we are safer when we stand together. And they're not only committed in words, but the reality is that North America and Europe, we do more together now than they've done for many, many years. The increased armed forces. For the first time in our history we have combat troops in the eastern part of the alliance. European allies are investing more in defense.

We have modernized our command structure and for the first time in our history we're addressing, for instance, the consequences of -- for NATO for -- of the rise of China. So NATO is adapting. NATO is changing. That's what we've done for decades and that's what we continue to do.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about the points Macron made. One was that if you listen to President Trump, he is saying, I do not take responsibility for European security. I do not think the threats to Europe are threats to the United States. When he talks about terrorism in Europe, he says those are your problems. In a sense he's saying that the United States under Trump is detaching itself from European concerns and President Trump this week said we benefit the least from NATO of all countries.

Do you worry that without the anchor of the U.S. NATO will not be what it used to be?

STOLTENBERG: I am confident that the U.S. will remain committed to NATO for several reasons. First of all, that is something the president has expressed, meeting the 28 other NATO leaders in London this week. Second, I met the U.S. Congress this spring and it was very strong bipartisan support to NATO in the Congress. Thirdly, if you look at opinion polls in the United States actually record high support for NATO.

And then on top of that, the United States is actually now not decreasing but increasing its military presence in Europe, the U.S. is leading on the battle groups in the eastern part of the alliance. So the fact that there are more U.S. soldiers in Europe, I can hardly think of a stronger commitment to European security than that.

ZAKARIA: So President Trump was asked about NATO's purpose and he said, well, you know, it used to be that we were allied against a foe, a so-called faoe, he said, who may not be a foe anymore. Do you think Russia is no longer a foe of NATO?

STOLTENBERG: We don't list foes. We don't define Russia as an enemy. What we see is a more assertive Russia, which had used military force against neighbor, Ukraine.

[10:10:04]

We see a more unpredictable security landscape with the rise of terrorism of ISIS. We see cyber threats. We see global bans or power shifting with the rise of China. And in uncertain times, we need strong national institutions like NATO.

ZAKARIA: But is Russia a foe or a friend?

STOLTENBERG: We don't define -- we don't divide the world into either foes or friends. ZAKARIA: It used to be said, you know, Lord Ismay makes this famous

line that the purpose of NATO is to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down. What's left? Just to keep the Americans in, then?

STOLTENBERG: To be honest, that doesn't apply today. So first of all, NATO is to keep all of us in. It's good for U.S. it's good for Canada. It's good for Europe that we stand together. Russia, well, we strive for better relationship. But Russia is not the same as the Soviet Union was during the Cold War.

Germany is now playing a more and more important role in NATO. They haven't reached 2 percent defense spending but they have increased significantly. So now Germany is the -- is the second largest defense spender in Europe just after the United Kingdom. So we welcome the Germany is playing a more and more important role in NATO.

ZAKARIA: Mr. Secretary General, pleasure to have you on.

STOLTENBERG: Thank you so much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, the other big buzz in Britain this week has been anticipation of the nation's elections this coming Thursday. Will Boris Johnson win and remain prime minister? Will he be able to pull Britain out of the E.U. three years after voters chose to leave it? I'll talk to a man who was one of the few original advocates, who in many ways gave birth to Brexit. The always outspoken and controversial, Nigel Farage.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:15:44]

ZAKARIA: On Thursday voters in the U.K. will go to the polls. They will be voting for whom to send to parliament from their local constituency. But the biggest stake of course is which party gets to name the next prime minister.

Boris Johnson, the leader of the Conservative Party and current P.M., is at the moment ahead in the polls and with the bookmakers of Britain. If he does win, he's promised a Brexit. And I would say that outcome might have been impossible without my next guest, Nigel Farage, a.k.a, Mr. Brexit.

Farage has been one of the earliest, loudest and longest proponents of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union. He's the head of its upstart Brexit Party.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA: Nigel Farage, pleasure to have you on.

FARAGE: Thank you. ZAKARIA: So this has been a tough week for you in a sense that the

party that you lead has four members of the European parliament who've quit the party and urged people who were thinking of voting for the Brexit Party to vote Conservative. Theory being Boris Johnson is the guy who's going to deliver Brexit.

Isn't it fair to say that this is now the role you have been cast in history that is you were one of the earliest, loudest proponents of Brexit, but your very success is that the Conservative Party has adopted your agenda?

FARAGE: To some extent, yes, absolutely. In February this year Brexit was stuck in the weeds. We had half a million people marching through the streets of London. A second referendum was the cry. We had I think the worst prime minister in Theresa May since Lord North lost North America as she was pretty hopeless.

ZAKARIA: We thought he was pretty good.

FARAGE: Well, I know and Johnny well done you, but this is the battle for our independence from the European Union, and I just having spent 25 years building a fringe movement called UKIP to a level where it posed an existential threat for Conservatives. They gave us a referendum. We won the referendum.

I was happy in 2016 to take a backseat, but here's the thing. The Brexit that Boris has been offering doesn't actually take us out fully of European law, of European institutions. And potentially makes even doing a trade deal with America very difficult. So yes, I accept the point I've shifted the agenda. We are now going to get Brexit. It's going to happen. You know, we're going to leave at the end of January.

I've got no doubt about that. The debate now isn't whether we get Brexit. It's whether it's Brexit in name only or something meaningful.

ZAKARIA: When you look back, what do you think turned your movement for Brexit from as you called it a fringe?

FARAGE: Yes.

ZAKARIA: Which it really was.

FARAGE: Yes.

ZAKARIA: Into something broader? I look at it and it seems as though immigration was the central issue that seemed to make it more mainstream.

FARAGE: Yes, I think all the while E.U. membership, and let's remember particularly for Americans watching this, this is not NAFTA. This is not a free trade club with rules. This is actually the growth of a new state based in Brussels where the guys were the real power. The unelected European Commission. And sector by sector we saw E.U. rule affecting different industries but you're right. The real mass effect was in 2004 when eight, then 10 former communist

countries joined the European Union with complete rights of free movement. Now, if you say to people in poor countries, you can move to a rich country, what do you think is going to happen? That clearly there are going to be massive transfers of people. For 60 years after World War II, net migration to our country ran at roughly 30,000 to 50,000 a year.

Well, that was kind of -- it worked and we had integration, assimilation within our society. We open up the doors to former communist countries and that number became 10 times that number. I mean, we have had an eight million increase in our population since 1997 and 80 percent of that is directly as a result of migration policies.

[10:20:01]

And what ordinary decent -- and by the way, these aren't knuckle dragging racists, horrendous (INAUDIBLE). They're normal people who saw their quality of life diminishing, their access to public services diminishing. So yes, opening up the doors made a lot more people realize that being involved with Europe was not what mom and dad voted for. My mom and dad would rather be friends with our neighbors, to do more business with them, not to be run from Brussels and have open borders.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about Britain's role. What I noticed is that Brexit seems to be part of a larger British kind of withdrawal from the world. And this begun under several prime ministers.

FARAGE: Utter, utter rubbish.

ZAKARIA: It feels like that.

FARAGE: Utter rubbish.

ZAKARIA: You're not interested in the world that much, Europe?

FARAGE: Utter, complete, total rubbish. Now, look.

ZAKARIA: Look at the size of your army. Look at the size of the Navy. Everything is being hallowed out. Foreign services is being -- I mean, by every indication.

(CROSSTALK)

FARAGE: I'm appalled by all of that.

ZAKARIA: Open a British newspaper. There's almost no foreign news anymore.

FARAGE: The existing establishment have virtually since the Soviets crisis of 1956 with a brief 10-year aberration called Mrs. Thatcher.

ZAKARIA: Thatcher. FARAGE: All right? But no, we've -- our principle has been managed

decline. Managed decline. And that is the defeatism of the British establishment. The fault that we're not good enough to run ourselves anymore. I want to tell you this as a Brexiteer. And in fact I'm the father of Brexit in many ways. I view Brexit at far from being insular, far from pulling our homes in from the world. I view Brexit as the opportunity to reach out to the world.

Brexit is about us reasserting our place in the world. Do you know as members of the European Union, we don't even have a seat on the World Trade Organization? We've become nothing. We're becoming a province of the United States of Europe. I think we're better than that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, I will ask Nigel Farage who greatly admires Donald Trump why the president is just so unpopular in Britain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:26:30]

ZAKARIA: Back now with more of my interview with Nigel Farage.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA: You know President Trump pretty well.

FARAGE: I do, yes.

ZAKARIA: Do you think that there are real similarities between the kind of what is called populism that you have, you know, sparked and what's going on in America? I ask this because on the central issue of immigration, it's quite different. The United States actually has at this point, for example, net migration from Mexico is essentially zero. There is no European Union type freedom of movement.

FARAGE: Sure. Sure.

ZAKARIA: We don't have vast numbers of people coming in. What's going on -- when you look at it, what's going on in America?

FARAGE: The -- there are similarities between the Brexit movement and the Trump movement and big differences, too. The similarities are the belief that the nation state is the essential building block. That there is nothing wrong, nothing shameful about flying the flag or being patriotic.

And that you are naturally suspicious of organizations like the European Union with its super national structures or even the United Nations if it goes in the wrong direction. The basic belief that immigration should be managed sensibly to the benefit of a country.

Again, those are strong similarities. The idea that you should actually put your own people first just as we all put our own families first and not our next-door neighbors, those are strong similarities. ZAKARIA: So then explain to me why is Donald Trump so unpopular in

Britain. I mean, he's toxic. Right? Obama's approval rating in Britain was 70 odd percent. He's at 18 percent.

FARAGE: Yes, I mean, it's literally the wall-to-wall anti-Trump, anti-Trump media, anti-Trump PC storm. Nobody, I mean, literally nobody, with the exception of myself, prepared. And I always say, look, this guy is a New Yorker. He's from Queens. He's a bit out there. He's a bit what we would call in this country, a rough diamond. You know? Rough around the edges.

ZAKARIA: I think many would not call him a diamond at all.

FARAGE: Well, it's just -- it's an English expression so excuse me for using it. From our perspective, you know, the point I want to keep making to British people is that when it comes to defense, our most important partner is the USA. When it comes to intelligence sharing and in dealing with potential global jihadi threats or whatever else it may be, our most important partner in the world is the USA.

When it comes to money and investment, we are the biggest investor, foreign investor in America and America is the biggest foreign investor here. Just think, if we broke down some of the other trade barriers, how much closer that relationship could be, and culturally, do our teenagers, to my kids, look to Europe for their culture? No, they look to America. So we are -- you know, we are very, very close.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you something. Trump did not interfere in the British elections this last week when many people thought he can't stop himself from opining on issues. You tried to get him, too, on your radio program, and he didn't. Were you surprised by the kind of discipline?

FARAGE: Do you know something? If he wants to be disciplined, he can, but generally he doesn't generally think that's very important. And, you know, he's in a way, in a way, he's been a gift, of course, to CNN. He's been a gift to "The New York Times" and many of his opponents.

[10:30:02]

But there is a certain openness about Trump, which whether you like him as a person or not, I think, it is rather endearing.

ZAKARIA: If you ask him, what you think what Trudeau said, he won't give you a politically correct -- he will actually tell you --

FARAGE: Yes, he was pretty clear, the guy is two-faced. I'd rather agree with him.

And we're so used now, aren't we? We're so used to these robots who leave the best universities in North America in the United Kingdom, go into political research, become congressmen or members of parliament. We're so used to the career politician, not wanting to make any mistakes, never really telling the world what they actually think but more what they think the world wants to hear. I think it's good to have people who got passion.

ZAKARIA: And do you think that's part of his appeal?

FARAGE: Absolutely. I think, plain speaking, you've got Middle America, the flyover states, we've got Middle England, and these are people who couldn't give a damn about what our Westminster village or the Washington swamp think is important. They know what they think and they like people. Even if they disagree with their views, they like a certain frankness, a certain honesty.

ZAKARIA: That's what we get from you. Nigel Farage, a pleasure to have you on.

FARAGE: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, what to make of the NATO Summit, the state of transatlantic relations and the upcoming British elections. I have a terrific panel to talk about it all.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:35:00]

ZAKARIA: There is lot to talk about in Britain and the world with today's great panel. Alastair Campbell was Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman and director of strategy. Zanny Minton Beddoes, of course, is the Editor of The Economist, the current cover story, which is Britain's Nightmare Before Christmas, referring to the elections.

Zanny, what's the big picture in terms of what are we seeing in terms of the Tory party, the labor party, if you pull back, what's the story?

ZANNY MINTON BEDDOES, EDITOR, THE ECONOMIST: I think the big story is that both of Britain's two major parties have moved more towards the extreme. The Tories have moved very clearly towards a harder Brexit, get Brexit done as Boris Johnson's slogan. The labor party has moved to a kind of radical socialist manifesto.

And so Britain, it's the reason we gave the cover, the title, the Britains of the center. The moderate center have really no home in the two major parties. It's a choice between two incredibly unappealing extreme options, Hard Brexit, radical socialism.

ZAKARIA: And the Tories seem to have been remade in the kind of image of Brexit, suspicious of Europe, in much the same way that the Republicans have been remade into the party of Trump.

BEDDOES: I think there are real parallels there actually. The Tories who, under David Cameron for much of the last 15, 20 years, had modernized themselves as they put it into being a kind of outward- looking liberal internationalist party are shifting thanks to Brexit to becoming a much more nationalist populist party, and their electoral strategy is to win the election, and it looks likely that they will with a majority, by grabbing seats from labor, traditionally working class seats in the north of England. ZAKARIA: And labor, why has labor moved so far left?

ALASTAIR CAMPBELL, FORMER DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND STRATEGY FOR TONY BLAIR: Well, because Jeremy Corbyn, that's what he believes. And it's true, I think it's not just the parallels in terms of what might Britain might become of Britain, I think we see parallels in the nature of the campaign as well. A bit like Donald Trump, Boris Johnson doesn't care whether what he says is true or not. He cares about the impact that he makes. Get Brexit done is just another lie. They're not going to get Brexit done quickly at all, because we're now into the next stage of a very difficult process.

BEDDOES: This is, I think, unlike any election I can think of in the recent past in the U.K. where there is kind of outright lying on both sides and people are completely unembarrassed about it.

ZAKARIA: And that sense of the system is corrupt, so getting a disrupter is fine. They all lie, so what difference does it make if he lies more, right?

CAMPBELL: I'm afraid that he has done that and he has played on that. And actually my experience in politics is most politicians do most of the time try to tell the truth.

But when you have something like Trump who becomes president and is elected knowing that he's a liar, knowing that he's a racist, knowing that he's a misogynist, and I think we are doing the same thing here now. And I think that is really, really dangerous for democracy. I think it's why the Russians are very, very happy with the way that it's going.

And I think, for the public, yes, I can see why lots and lots of people in some of these more working class areas of the U.K., they're thinking, well, they've all let us down, but actually, the guy that they look like they might be rewarding for that, he is going to be the one who's really going to make their lives difficult because hard Brexit is going to hit those places hardest of all.

ZAKARIA: What did we learn about Johnson and Trump this week? He seemed very, very reluctant to embrace Donald Trump. Is Donald Trump that toxic?

BEDDOES: Yes, he is toxic. And that was frankly a sensible thing to do, to keep as far away from Donald Trump as he possibly could a week before election in a country where Donald Trump is not at all popular.

CAMPBELL: On Brexit, his big strategy is we can get rid of Europe and we're going to do just great trade with the Americans. He will pay a price.

BEDDOES: (INAUDIBLE) advising Boris Johnson, you would have said, keep away, get nowhere near him. But I'm not at all surprised by that.

CAMPBELL: I wouldn't have said be rude to him. And I actually thought -- listen, he's going to pay a price for that. BEDDOES: The real problem with the U.S. trade deal, which is clearly something that many in the Tory party are hoping for, we're going to leave -- get Brexit done, leave very fast. Alastair is right. That's not going to be at all easy, but their great hope is a trade deal with the U.S.

I can't see that happening and I can't see it happening for two reasons. Firstly, it is very clear that two priorities for the Americans are, one, greater access for U.S. pharmaceutical products or, two, greater access for U.S. agricultural products.

And for good or ill in this country, there is an allergy to any sense of any access to the NHS and there's absolute allergy to having American chlorinated chicken for some. People really don't want it. So that makes the politics of giving away on either of those really, really difficult.

So from the U.K. side, I can't see how a deal gets done. I mean, on the U.S. side, as you know, the notion that you're going to have Congress approve a trade deal rapidly in the U.S. political environment, and, frankly, whoever wins the U.S. election next year, I can't see this being very high.

So I just don't see that happening. And that's a pillar of the sort of if there is a logic to the Brexit process, it is to have great possibility for trade deals for the U.K., the biggest one out there, I don't think is going to happen.

[10:40:06]

CAMPBELL: And which part of America first is, well, are we not listening to hear. So I think we're going to be weakened with Europeans, we're going to be and weakened with the Americans, and Johnson, yes, he might win with his get Brexit done slogan, but he's going to find, like a lot of people do, when they campaign on a pack lies that once you get into the truth, it gets hard.

ZAKARIA: It sounds like it's Nightmare Before Christmas and nightmare after Christmas.

BEDDOES: There's one silver lining. Our nightmare process before elections doesn't take as long as the one in the U.S. At least we get some resolution, for good or ill.

ZAKARIA: And it doesn't cost as much. I noticed the Tories raised ten times as much labor, and it was like 3 million. I thought of myself that's a congressional seat in America.

BEDDOES: We do things on the cheap here.

ZAKARIA: Zanny Minton Beddoes, Alastair Campbell, a pleasure to have you on.

BEDDOES: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, some say Iran is seeing its greatest unrest since the 1979 revolution that toppled the Shah and installed the ayatollahs. Is this regime ready to topple, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAKARIA: Observers say the Islamic Republic of Iran is in the midst of the biggest protests since its founding. A massive fuel hike amidst a bad economy has brought Iranians in some hundred cities into the streets in protest and the regime crackdown has been swift and violent.

[10:45:00] Indeed, a U.S. official said as many as 1,000 may have died. To put that into perspective 72 people were killed in Iran's 2009 Green Revolution.

Let me bring in Maziar Bahari, an Iranian- Canadian, a former colleague of mine at Newsweek. He was imprisoned for 118 days for his reporting during those 2009 protests.

Maziar, what are you hearing? You run a very important source of Iranian news, Iran Wire. What are you hearing about what's going on right now?

MAZIAR BAHARI, CANADIAN-IRANIAN JOURNALIST: Well, the country is in a security situation right now, basically a state of siege. We're receiving videos of police shooting at people. We've talked to doctors, I've talked personally to doctors who have been telling me that they saw people were getting shot in the heart and in the head, even though their training says that you have to shoot people in the leg in order to disperse demonstrations.

So the country is still in shock. They don't know what happened during those two or three days after the protests, during the protests.

And people -- many people in Iran want regime change now. What they want to change the regime to, that is a big question. And there's no cohesive alternative to this regime. There are some people who support Reza Pahlavi, the son of the former Shah of Iran.

There are some people who support different groups. Even the leader of the Green Movement in Iran, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who is under House arrest, he has basically said that the Islamic Republic is dead and that Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, reign is illegitimate now.

So the regime, on one hand, is seeking legitimacy and is trying to crush people's protests. And on the other hand, people are facing a new reality. They knew that the regime was brutal. They knew that the regime was violent. But in the last two weeks, they've seen it with their own eyes. And many people in Iran -- it's difficult to say how many, what's the percentage, but many people in Iran, they want a regime change.

ZAKARIA: But as you say, it isn't clear what that would mean, because there isn't a clear opposition in 1979, they said death to the Shah, long live Khomeini. So, today, if they say death to this regime, death even to the leader, who are they saying long live? BAHARI: Well, some people say that long live to Reza Pahlavi, who is the --

ZAKARIA: The son of the Shah. But my sense is that's a minority.

BAHARI: But we don't know whether they are minority. But it's very difficult to report in Iran. It's difficult for the reporters who live in Iran to report on the streets. All foreign media, they've been banned from reporting in the streets. They've shut down the internet, of course. Some cities still don't have internet. It's very difficult to communicate with people, and people are still in shock. So --

ZAKARIA: But the regime also must be paying a price here because, I mean, you shut down the internet. Today's world, you can't do banking, you can't do --

BAHARI: Exactly. What's interesting is that many -- the Iranian is using the Chinese technology in order to shut down the internet, and many Iranians are using the technology developed by Chinese opposition in order to circumvent those.

ZAKARIA: So both sides are using Chinese technology?

BAHARI: I think Iranians are -- they see themselves as part of this global movement, which is from Chile to Lebanon, to Iraq, to Hong Kong.

ZAKARIA: How does American pressure play into this? Because the U.S. -- the Trump administration has put a lot of pressure, a lot of sanctions on the regime.

BAHARI: When the American government sanctioned the Revolutionary Guards, that meant that many financial institutions that are owned by the revolutionary guards, they were subjected to sanctions, because right now, Revolutionary Guards is not just a military force. It is the biggest industrial institution in Iran. It has many universities. It has many hospitals. So all those institutions within the Revolutionary Guards were subjected to sanctions, and as a result, Iranian people are suffering.

ZAKARIA: The U.S. now says it's going to deploy forces to deter Iran in the gulf, not quite sure what that means. But, again, ratcheting up the pressure, do you think there's a likely that something explosive could happen in the next few months?

BAHARI: Well, I hope not. But in this very volatile, very explosive situation, something can happen. That can be counterproductive for the U.S. and for Iran.

[10:50:01]

And a military confrontation with the U.S. frightens many Iranians who still they are scarred by years of war with Iraq, and they do not welcome it. They welcome President Trump's speech who expressed solidarity with the Iranian people. They even support certain sanctions against certain human rights violators and Iran's nuclear program. But a war with the U.S. that will result in many death and much destruction is frightening Iranian people.

ZAKARIA: Maziar, a pleasure to have you on.

BAHARI: And that's happening now. I'm sorry.

ZAKARIA: We will be watching what happens next, and we will be back.

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ZAKARIA: You heard my interview earlier with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg here in London where the alliance was celebrating its 70th birthday. You may know that NATO has only invoked Article 5, its agreement to treat an attack on one ally as an attack on all once in all that time, when member states close ranks to support the United States after 9/11.

[10:55:03]

But that wasn't the first time a member state was attacked. It brings me to my question. Why didn't Argentina's 1982 invasion of the British-controlled Falkland Islands trigger NATO's article 5? Britain declined help, the U.S. vetoed, attacks in the southern hemisphere don't count, or everyone forgot about it? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.

My book of the week is Prisoners of Geography, ten maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics, by Time Marshall. This is a good idea superbly executed. The book explains the world starting with geography, which in many ways is an idea of a starting point. It explains Russia, Ukraine, Kashmir, Tibet, Iraq, all through the rich lands of the map.

The answer to my GPS challenge this week is C, while NATO's Article 5 designates an armed attack against any member to be an attack on all members Article 6 specifies that only attacks on territories or forces north of the tropic of cancer count. So when Buenos Aires took aim at those rocky islands with more penguins and people way down by Antarctica, Britain was to fight alone.

But don't get it twisted. Just because NATO didn't intervene on the Queen's behalf in 1982 doesn't mean it wouldn't today. Invoking Article 5 is ultimately a political decision in the hands of NATO's ruling body, meaning, even unconventional threats to the alliance's overall security, like the attacks of September 11, 2001, can mobilize the combined might of 29 nations. Of course, that can only happen if the organization survives the remainder of the Trump presidency.

Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.

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