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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS

Interview With Incoming National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 3, 2021 - 10:00   ET

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


[10:00:00]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: He's making that true, with the help of many, many Republican office holders. If it's not technically sedition, it is the work of enemies of American democracy.

Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us. The news continues next.

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 live from New York.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA (voice-over): Today on the show, we'll start the new year with an exclusive interview with President-elect Joe Biden's incoming National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan.

JAKE SULLIVAN, INCOMING U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I am honored and humbled by the immense responsibility that you've placed in me.

ZAKARIA: In 17 days, he will be tasked with managing crises and challenges around the globe.

Are we entering a Cold War with China? Can Vladimir Putin be deterred? Nuclear dangers from Iran and North Korea. What may be the largest cyberattack in American history. Wars in Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria. How will the Biden administration tackle all these? And is it getting enough cooperation from Donald Trump?

And just who is Jake Sullivan, the man who will soon have one of the key jobs right next to Joe Biden? We'll find out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA: But first, here's my take. We now find ourselves in the twilight days of Donald Trump's presidency and perhaps the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump and the virus have had one common consequence. They've caused nations everywhere to turn inward. To think in one narrowly self-interested ways and to champion a certain kind of realism on the international stage.

So as we enter a new presidency and a post-pandemic world, we have an opportunity to regain the sense of optimism and idealism that has been America's distinctive contribution to international life. From a historical perspective, it's strange to watch our present crisis make leaders so narrow minded and nationalistic. The pain of the pandemic is real and deep, but it doesn't begin to compare to, say, the period between 1914 and 1945.

A great war that ripped Europe apart, a pandemic far deadlier than COVID-19. A global depression, the rise of totalitarianism. Then another world war that destroyed Europe yet again, and laid waste to Japanese cities with atomic weapons. All told, these catastrophes left more than 150 million people dead.

And yet, after those hellish crises leaders pushed for more international cooperation. You see, having witnessed the cost of unbridled nationalism and narrow self-interest, the warriors and statesmen of World War II believed they had a duty to create a world that did not lapse back in denialistic competition.

Franklin Roosevelt was a great admirer of Woodrow Wilson's vision of a world made safe for democracy. He watched that idealism collapse in the years after World War I. But the lesson that FDR drew from Wilson's experiences was to try international cooperation again. This time with the U.S. at the center of the new system and this time giving the great powers stronger practical incentives to commit themselves to peace.

A few months after America entered World War II when victory was still uncertain and distant, FDR began formulating plans to create international institutions and systems of collective security that made future world wars unlikely. Now, Roosevelt was known to be an idealist at heart, but his successor Harry Truman had no such reputation.

Truman is credited as the hard-nosed realist who dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, helped create NATO, worked to contain the Soviet Union, and waged war in Korea. But Truman was also a deeply idealistic man and he, too, had drunk from the well of Wilsonian internationalism. In his last year of high school in Independence, Missouri, he was enraptured by a lofty poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, "Locksley Hall," that spoke of the need for the end of war in a federation of the world.

He copied it out on a piece of paper and decades later, whenever officials or members of Congress asked the president why he so fervently supported the United Nations, Truman would pull the paper out of his wallet and read them Tennyson's lines.

[10:05:05]

Truman's successor Dwight Eisenhower had battled the German and Italian armies across Europe as the commander of Allied Forces on the continent. He had seen that human nature could be dark and vicious. The German Wehrmacht fought ferociously until the bitter end and the conclusion he drew from his wartime experience was go the extra mile for peace and cooperation.

As president, Eisenhower made proposals that would be unthinkable today. He called for the abolition of nuclear weapons and that all nuclear energy be placed under international control and used only for peaceful purposes. Eisenhower spoke in language that few left-wing peaceniks would dare to employ today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DWIGHT EISENHOWER, 34TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. Those who are cold and are not clothed. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: It is now common to view such lofty aspirations with cynicism. Today many leaders probably advocate a narrow vision of their nation's interest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries will always and should always put your countries first.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: But the world that we inhabit that has had seven decades of peace, stability and economic growth for billions of people, was built by states men who took a broader view that collective security and collective endeavors were in each nation's enlightened self-interest.

For more, read my new book "Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World," which you can always buy for New Year. And let's get started.

Shortly before noon on January 20th, Joe Biden is to be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. After the new president recites his oath, his key staff, the ones not in need of Senate confirmation, immediately assume their roles.

One of those people is Jake Sullivan, the incoming National Security adviser, the top job for tackling global challenges. He's played that role for Biden during his time as vice president and was a key aide to Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of State.

Welcome to the show, Jake.

SULLIVAN: Thanks for having me.

ZAKARIA: First, let me ask you, what is the state of play regarding the Trump administration's cooperation with your transition? You made some comments that they were being less than cooperative, particularly in the Defense Department. The acting secretary of Defense fired back. Where do things stand and is it actually dangerous, or is it just an inconvenience? SULLIVAN: Well, first, we want to thank the career professionals and

many of the key National Security Agencies who have been forthcoming, who wanted to cooperate in the national interests because these transitions are so critical to get the handoff from one administration to the next, and make sure that it's seamless so that we don't exacerbate threats facing our country.

But it is the case, Fareed, that the Department of Defense has dragged its feet, has spent weeks over the course of the last two months refusing to meet with our key experts, has refused written requests for information, and now finally they have started setting out a set of meetings for the days ahead, which is a good thing. But we've lost valuable time.

And this isn't just some bureaucratic inconvenience. The 9/11 Commission found after those terrible terrorist attacks that a delayed transition, a lack of sufficient opportunity for the outgoing and incoming administrations to work together, creates a heightened set of national security risks. And that's what DOD's lack of cooperation thus far has done.

ZAKARIA: So let me ask you about one of those risks. It seems to me that it has become ever more grave the more we learn about it, which is the Russian or apparently Russian directed hack into U.S. government agencies. "The Times" is now reporting that it was not about 18 or 20 government networks, but 250 government networks that have been penetrated.

It has taken place over nine months, and the United States government was caught completely unaware to the end. If not for a private cybersecurity firm, FireEye, the U.S. government would not have known this was happening. It is as if Russian bombers, fighter planes and intelligence operatives were roaming through the United States and nobody knew.

[10:10:09]

Is this not some kind of military act by Russia? Has the Trump administration responded adequately, and most crucially, what will the Biden administration do to push back that the Trump administration has not done?

SULLIVAN: Well, as you say, Fareed, the scope, scale, and nature of this breach, of this attack, is so significant that the Department of Homeland Security correctly called it a grave risk to federal government systems, to critical infrastructure, and to private sector entities. Those 250 entities actually span both federal government systems and key private sector systems as well.

There is still a lot, even three weeks later, even three weeks after FireEye revealed this breach, that we don't know about the intent of the attackers, about how far and wide this has spread, and about precisely what will result from it. But we do know this. The sheer extent of the access of the penetration means that not only is there the rampant opportunity for espionage, but there is also the opportunity to take destructive action if the threat actor chose to do so.

And what we believe, based on what we've heard from former attorney general Bill Barr and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the rich and recent history of Russia's actions, is that this most likely was Russia, although the government has not yet attributed it to Russia. And in that regard, Russia has shown us repeatedly in multiple different contexts that it's prepared to go beyond espionage to harm power grids, to interfere with elections, to disrupt commercial entities with the NotPetya virus.

So we need to wait and have the opportunity to come into office to determine exactly what the intent of the threat actor was here.

ZAKARIA: But, Jake, you can -- let's assume it was Russia and let's assume it is roughly speaking what you are describing in terms of scope. What are you going to do about it? How are you going to deter Putin? I mean, at the end of the day the Trump administration's policy on Russia as opposed to Trump's bizarre rhetoric about Putin was really tough. He armed the Ukrainians.

He gave them anti-tank weapons that you guys in the Obama administration were not willing to give. None of it seem to make a difference. What are you going to do that will deter Putin that he didn't?

SULLIVAN: Well, so, first, I'm not going to telegraph our punches, but the president-elect has said that he will impose substantial costs for attacks like this. And he's a man of his word. He will respond at a time and place of his choosing. But in addition to imposing costs, we are going to enhance our capabilities by putting the people in place, the tools in place, the cooperation with the private sector in place, so that we can more effectively detect, deter, disrupt, and respond to these attacks when they take place in the future.

So this is going to be a combination of imposing costs and then improving our capabilities and our defenses so that we are better prepared as we go forward, and Joe Biden has made clear to us that from day one this is going to be a top national security priority of his administration because of the nature and scale of the attack that we have just faced.

ZAKARIA: Do you see areas for cooperation with Putin's Russia?

SULLIVAN: I think that even at the height of the Cold War, when we had thousands of warheads arrayed against one another on a hair trigger, when our two leaders were, you know, speaking in existential terms about the competition with the other, there were areas of cooperation. Most specifically, in arms control and nuclear nonproliferation.

Today, I very much believe that the United States and Russia can act in their national interests to advance an arms control and strategic stability agenda to deal with the threat that nuclear weapons pose to the world, and that is something that President-elect Biden has also tasked us with pursuing right out of the gate in the early days and weeks of the administration because, of course, a key treaty between the U.S. and Russia, the new START treaty, expires just a little more than two weeks after we come into office and we will have to look at extending that treaty in the interest of the United States.

ZAKARIA: All right. Stay with us, Jake, and all of you, stay with us. Next up here on GPS, relations between China and the U.S. were already icy when Donald Trump took office. They got even colder. Is a Cold War between the two nations inevitable?

[10:15:02]

Can Biden reverse course? Should he? When we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAKARIA: Close to four years of relations between China and the U.S., Beijing is now cautiously optimistic about what will happen after a new president is inaugurated in Washington. The foreign minister said this weekend that a new window of hope is opening. We hope that the next U.S. administration will return to a sensible approach.

So what is that sensible approach, and will it? Joining me now, Joe Biden's appointee for National Security adviser, Jake Sullivan.

Jake, one of the things that Joe Biden said on the campaign trail often and forcefully was that Donald Trump's trade wars with China had not worked, that it had imposed huge costs on American consumers, there was an ad, I recall, that aired in which he pointed out, you know, manufacturing is in recession, farmers are paying the price, the whole thing has not worked, and that we've lost.

And yet the Biden administration, Joe Biden says he will not reverse those tariffs. So explain to me, if you have a bad policy that didn't work, why would you continue it?

SULLIVAN: Well, the fundamental shortcoming of the Trump administration's trade strategy was that it was a go-it-alone strategy. It was taking on China as the United States by itself without allies and partners that comprise up to 60 percent of the global economy. And frankly, worse than go it alone, it was also open two and three front trade wars by picking fights with those very allies and partners that we would want on our side.

So what President-elect Biden wants to do is have a period where he can consult with our partners and allies in Europe and Asia and elsewhere to talk about how together we can bring leverage to bear on China to change its most problematic trade abuses, including dumping, including illegal subsidies for state-owned enterprises, including forced labor and environmental practices that hurt American workers and farmers and businesses.

[10:20:15]

He hasn't had the opportunity to do that during the transition because of the one-president-at-a-time principle. We're not engaging with foreign officials while President Trump is still in office. So we need that opportunity to consult. That will give us the chance to develop a common strategy with allies and partners to exercise the kind of clear-eyed leverage-based approach to bring China to the table and get them to alter or amend their most problematic trade practices that harm the American economy.

ZAKARIA: You talk about allies in Europe and Asia, but yet they seem to be going along and cutting their own deals with China. "The New York Times" points out that you tweeted essentially hinting to the European Union that they should hold off on this huge China-European Union Investment Treaty until you guys got a chance to consult with them. In fact, they accelerated and have already signed it.

Asian allies, 50-nation countries signed up with China for this Regional Comprehensive Economic Treaty. I mean, it feels as though the world is moving ahead, forging these trade alliances, and the country that used to do that, the United States, is sitting at the back of the bus putting up tariff barriers and walls. And again it seems like Joe Biden is not really changing that course.

SULLIVAN: Well, but, Fareed, that's not a repudiation of Joe Biden's approach. That's a repudiation of Donald Trump's approach. That is the wages of four years of alienating our allies and of refusing to work with them on these issues, and that's true. Both in the Asia-Pacific and in Europe.

And so when Joe Biden takes office on January 20th, and sits down in consultation out of mutual respect with key like-minded economies that as I said collectively comprise almost 60 percent of the world's economy, we are confident that we can develop a common agenda on issues where we share deep concerns about China.

And it's not just on trade. It's on technology. It's on human rights. It's on military aggression. And so our proposition, which we will begin testing when we take office, because, of course, we are not in office yet, is that that will put us in a stronger position to be able to deal with China effectively, in a clear-eyed way and in a way that ultimately delivers the kind of results that have entirely escaped the Trump administration over the last four years.

ZAKARIA: There is a domestic political reality about the China -- about China policy, which is that the Republican Party or certain key Republicans have clearly decided that they are going to attack you relentlessly from the right and claim that whatever you do is some kind of soft on China policy, is appeasement.

When the Democratic Party has faced those kinds of attacks from the right in the past, it is often gone along with a kind of, you know, me-too hawkishness that hasn't ended up so well. I'm thinking about the Johnson administration terrified that it would be attacked from the right, that it was going to lose Vietnam to communism. I'm thinking about the Iraq war when a whole number of Democrats, including Joe Biden, were clearly worried about being outflanked on the right by the Republicans.

Is this a real and present danger in China policy now? Are you -- do you have the room to maneuver and create a sensible China policy without worrying that it is going to be excoriated by Republicans?

SULLIVAN: This is the -- one of the many benefits of having somebody with the experience and the judgment and, frankly, the relationships on Capitol Hill that President-elect Joe Biden has. He knows his mind on China and he is going to carry forward a strategy not based on politics and not based on being pushed around by domestic constituencies, but based on the American national interest.

It's a clear-eyed strategy. It's a strategy that recognizes that China is a serious strategic competitor to the United States, that they act in ways that are at odds with our interests in many ways, including in the trade realm that we were talking about before, but others, too. It is also a strategy that recognizes that there are areas where we will work with China when it's in our interest to do so on issues such as climate change. And so Joe Biden is going to work hard to invest in our sources of strength here at home so that we can more effectively compete with China on technology and economics and innovation.

[10:25:07]

More effectively invest in our alliances so that we're building up leverage to be able to shape China's choices going forward and to be present in international institutions so that it's the United States and our partners and not China who is calling the shots at the key tables on issues ranging from nuclear proliferation to international economics.

The Trump administration walking away from those tables has given China a golden opportunity to advance its agenda in the world. So this is the approach that we intend to take. It's an approach rooted in a clear assessment of the challenge we face, a clear assessment of America's national interests, and what our sources of strength are that we can bring to bear in this competition.

ZAKARIA: And just, finally, and returning to the top, are you going to then waive or reverse the tariffs on our European allies and on Canada, for example?

SULLIVAN: Well, this comes back to the point I was making earlier about not having had the chance to consult with them, to work them. Our goal is to go out right away and sit down not just on the question of China, but to work out the economic differences that we have so that we can end the multifront trade war that the Trump administration started. And we intend to do that work right out of the gate in the early days and weeks of the administration.

ZAKARIA: All right. Stay with us. Next, the Iran nuclear deal. Biden says he will get back in. How will Israel, Saudi Arabia react to this, and what will the incoming administration do about the many ongoing conflicts in the Middle East? When we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:30:21]

ZAKARIA: My guest today the incoming national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the Iran nuclear deal. Then he saw all that work crumble when President Trump announced in 2018 he was withdrawing the United States from the pact. In recent weeks both Biden and Sullivan have made clear they hope to get back in, but only under certain conditions that Iran must meet.

Let me start, Jake, by asking you something from a slightly different angle, which is it's about a year ago, in fact, I think exactly a year ago, that Qasem Soleimani was assassinated by the United States, very senior, perhaps the most important, Iranian military leader.

You wrote an article at the time right after it with Bill Burns in which you said essentially that the Iranians will retaliate, will use this to press their advantages and I think the last line of the piece says, "The wisdom of particular tactics, including the killing of Qasem Soleimani, is best judged by the strategic results they produce. America is stumbling into a tragedy of its own making. And the Iranian regime is poised to once again reap the rewards, turning Soleimani's loss into a long-term gain."

Would it be fair to say that that did not really happen? That the Iranians have stayed remarkably quiet? They did not react? And could it be that the Trump administration accurately gauged that Iran is really very weak and in a box and that you can press them hard, the maximum pressure campaign will work, and you can get a better deal from them?

SULLIVAN: Well, first, as President-Elect Biden said shortly after the killing of Qasem Soleimani, no American would mourn his passing with all the blood of American soldiers that he has on his hands. But the basic question that Bill Burns and I were posing in that piece was, did that action make America safer? Did it protect our national interests? And I would submit to you one year later the answer to that question is no.

Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon today than they were one year ago. Iran has been emboldened to continue its attacks on shipping and oil infrastructure in the Gulf. We did see proxies of Iran attack American interests in Iraq over the course of the past year, and that remains a continuing ongoing concern.

So all of the promises that we got from this administration about how their policy was going to get us a better deal on the nuclear front, was going to stop Iran's maligned behavior across the region, those promises did not bear out. In fact, Iran continues to act in ways that are at odds with the interests of the United States and its allies, and nothing about the action that was taken one year ago today set that back.

In fact, in some ways the case that Bill Burns and I made and the case I would continue to make today is that a strategy that is so focused on one aspect of American power and completely sets aside diplomacy is not a strategy that is ultimately going to achieve the strategic objectives the United States wants to achieve.

ZAKARIA: So if you go back into the deal, let's assume that the United States goes back, Iran goes back into compliance, the timelines are already now much shorter at the point of which the deal essentially begins to lapse or to expire. What would you look for in a follow-on agreement?

In particular, the issue that most people seem to be most concerned about is Iran's ballistic missile capability. That is what the Israelis, for example, are most exercised about. And it strikes me that would be the hardest one because the Iranians view that as an existential defense. They have memories of the Iran/Iraq war, eight years during which they suffered from a rain of ballistic missiles.

Do you think that you could get a ballistic missile deal with Iran?

SULLIVAN: Well, first, just to set the groundwork here, President- Elect Biden has said that if Iran comes back into compliance with its terms under the nuclear deal, that is to say it reduces its stockpile, it takes down some of its centrifuges and other measures so that its program is back in a box, then we would come back in. But that would become the basis for this follow-on negotiation.

To your question directly about ballistic missiles, our view is that ballistic missiles and Iran's ballistic missile program has to be on the table as part of that follow-on negotiation. We also believe that there can be conversations that go beyond just the permanent five members of the Security Council, the P5+1.

[10:35:07]

And then involve regional players as well. And that in that broader negotiation, we can ultimately secure limits on Iran's ballistic missile technology and that is what we intend to try to pursue through diplomacy that involves both the direct nuclear file and a broader set of regional issues.

ZAKARIA: You spent a lot of time negotiating with the Iranians. And so I want to ask you whether you had some hopes that the Iran nuclear deal would lead to a more general possibility of some degree of easing of tensions and cooperation even with Iran.

In other words, forget for the moment that the goal of the nuclear deal, which was to put Iran in a box where it would -- it was not able to get nuclear weapons, and let's say that you succeeded at that admirably, was there a larger hope that the Iranians would be more cooperative and conciliatory on some regional issues and such and is it not fair to say that that hope was not in any way fulfilled after the Iran nuclear deal, even during the Obama years?

SULLIVAN: Well, Fareed, the very logic of the Iran nuclear deal was that it would be narrowly focused on the question of Iran's nuclear program and that the United States would retain all of its capacities, its sanctions abilities, its intelligence abilities and others, its deterrent capacities, to push back against Iran on all other issues.

So it's not like we went into this thinking, hey, we'll get the nuclear issue plus we'll just assume Iran changes its behavior overnight. We did not assume that.

We did believe that if you had the Iranian nuclear program in a box, you could then begin to chip away at some of these other issues. If you had the kind of clear-eyed diplomacy backed by deterrence, that it was the hallmark of what produced the Iran nuclear deal in the first place.

Now, obviously, that did not come to pass, but it was never fundamentally part of the Iran nuclear deal that we had the expectation that it would. And as we go forward, we will continue to look at each of the significant issues we face with Iran, each of the threats and challenges that Iran poses in its own distinct way without presuming that by doing a deal on one aspect we are necessarily going to make progress on another.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you quickly about Afghanistan.

Zal Khalilzad, the Trump administration's negotiator, seemed at points very close to a deal with the Taliban. The Kabul government seemed somewhat unhappy with it at times.

Will you pursue the same negotiations that the Trump administration has to achieve some kind of deal of modus vivendi, some kind of deal with the Taliban?

SULLIVAN: Well, there is currently a U.S. Taliban agreement and it imposes some obligations on the United States and it imposes some obligations on the Taliban. The obligations on the Taliban include cutting ties with al Qaeda, not just in word but in deed, reduces violence, and participating in good-faith negotiations with the Afghan government because, ultimately, it's a deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government that is going to produce the kind of outcome, peaceful settlement that will allow us to achieve what is everybody's goal, which is an end to the conflict in Afghanistan.

And the United States, under President Joe Biden, will support diplomacy along these lines, even as we ensure through America's national security strategy that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists to attack the United States.

ZAKARIA: All right, stay with us. When we come back, I will ask Jake Sullivan to tell us a little bit more about himself and to tell us more about Joe Biden's foreign policy for the middle class. What does that phrase mean -- when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:42:49]

ZAKARIA: The role of national security advisor is often one of the most powerful in the U.S. government. My guest, Jake Sullivan, will assume that office when he is 44 years old. He will be the youngest person to hold the job in 60 years.

This is his first TV interview. And as the appointee, I thought you, the "GPS" audience, should know more about him.

Jake, if somebody were to ask you, tell me the one most important thing about you that I should know to understand you, what is that thing?

SULLIVAN: Probably that I'm an Irish catholic kid from the heartland. You know, grew up one of five kids, caring deeply, even though I grew up in Minnesota, caring deeply about America's role in the world and the way in which that role in the world related back to the lived experience of the American people, our interests and, yes, very much our values as a -- as a people and as a society. That's what shaped my life more than where I went to school or, you know, my professional experiences. It's really my roots that are probably the most important thing.

ZAKARIA: If one looks at where you went to schools, it is almost like, if Hollywood were to try to create a kind of poster child for the meritocracy, they would come up with Jake Sullivan. You went to Yale. You went to Yale Law School. You went to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. You clerked for the Supreme Court.

This, of course, has led some people to worry that you are too much a product of this meritocracy. So Marco Rubio quoted -- tweeted, I think right after you got the appointment, Biden's cabinet picks went to ivy league schools, have strong resumes, attend all the right conferences and will be polite and orderly caretakers of American decline.

Do you think there is a kind of class resentment at work? And, if so, do you think it's justified? I mean is there -- are you willing to defend the meritocracy that you are so obviously a product of?

SULLIVAN: Look, all I can do is look people in the eye and tell them where I come from and what I believe.

[10:45:05]

And it's true that I went to those schools. I also am a proud product of the Minneapolis public school system from elementary school, junior high school, high school. You know, I didn't come from a background that, you know, would have automatically placed me in the positions that I have been able to achieve with, you know, a combination of hard work and a lot of just really good luck.

So, I'm not defending any particular system. What I would say is this: ultimately, we have to judge people by the results that they can achieve based on the principles that they bring to bear in their work. And the one thing that actually bothered me about the tweet that Senator Rubio sent out is this notion of caretaking America's decline because my deep passion is in believing in the vitality and the capacity of this country to bounce back, as you talked about at the beginning of your show, from really hard hits. And we've been hit hard over the last few years.

And yet the genius of America is that we have the capacity for self- correction and renewal and improvement. And that goes not just for our society as a whole, but for our foreign policy, too.

And I believe that what Joe Biden is going to bring when he comes into office on January 20th is that capacity for renewal and improvement, is the ability to make this country once again a beacon for the world and an effective results-oriented actor on the world stage that is delivering positive outcomes for the American people, and in doing so is delivering broader positive outcomes for the global common interest as well.

That's what I'm bringing to this job. Whatever the debates and the politics and the snide jabs that may come along with that, that's what I will walk into work every day in the White House and try to achieve as long as I hold this position.

ZAKARIA: Tell us about the foreign policy for the middle class. I mean, it sounds like a great slogan. You can understand why one would craft it. It feels true, Americans worry that there's this elite in Washington making deals that don't worry about them.

But does it mean anything substantively? What would you do differently?

SULLIVAN: Well, really it is about a strategic North Star. It is saying that what we do in the world, the alliances we invest in, the institutions we join, the agreements we sign are these things making life better, safer, and easier for middle class and working class people in the United States. It says that foreign policy is domestic policy and domestic policy is foreign policy.

And, Fareed, one thing that struck me about your opening take on the show is you were tracing a line in the post-World War II era from Truman to Eisenhower and beyond and talking about an effective American foreign policy.

One of the ways in which that policy was effective is during that time period we had a strong vibrant American middle class.

So this isn't just about what we do abroad helping people at home. It's about the most fundamental source of America's strength. The backbone of America as Joe Biden has put it, a strong American middle class. That is the foundation upon which the United States can act in the most effective way in the world.

So this is not just a slogan. It's an organizing principle for our priorities, for the types of threats that we have to confront, whether it's pandemic disease that has ravaged America's working families or climate change that is ravaging American communities or these cyber- attacks that are undermining the confidence in the global technology supply chain and the things we do every day online and many other threats as well.

So for me, this will be a fundamental part of how we design and execute a national security strategy for the United States under the leadership of our new president.

ZAKARIA: Jake Sullivan, pleasure to have you on. Best of luck on the new job and we look forward to you coming back to the show.

SULLIVAN: Thanks. I look forward to being back.

ZAKARIA: And when we come back, we will introduce you to something completely different. A chicken named Ian who, along with some smart scientists, might actually change the world. Really.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:53:24]

ZAKARIA: And now for the last look. These I think most will agree are tasty looking chicken nuggets. But you might be surprised to learn that the meat inside them was ground not on a flesh and bone chicken, but in a lab. It is chicken meat, though, not some substitute. All of the cells are copied from this chicken named Ian.

This feat was achieved by a California startup called Eat Just, one of several companies in a high-stakes race to get lab-grown meat to market. The cultured chicken meat is made in a device called a bio reactor through a process its creators say is biologically similar to brewing beer.

In December, Singapore became the first country to approve the sale of the lab grown chicken. Eventually, the company's plan is to offer a wide range of cultured meat including seafood and beef.

If you're thinking all this sounds like a pointless science fair gimmick, think again. Cultured meat has revolutionary potential. According to the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization, mankind currently slaughters a whopping 80 billion animals a year for food. As Ian the chicken can attest, this technology's most obvious potential benefit is it could eliminate the need to kill any animals for their meat.

There are vast implications for animal welfare. No more inhumane conditions at factory farms and for human health. After all, deadly diseases like the swine flu have transferred humans from farm animals which are also commonly affected with coronaviruses.

Perhaps most importantly, lab-grown meat could be a turning point in humanity's battle against climate change. That's because raising livestock for human consumption is a leading cause of carbon emissions.

According to a new study published in "The Lancet", the food system is responsible for 20 to 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Most of which originate in meat and dairy livestock.

In his book "Billion Dollar Burger", Chase Purdy notes, a single cow produces about 100 kilograms of methane, about the same as a car burning through 230 gallons of gasoline. To put that in perspective, it means two cows produce roughly the same amount of greenhouse gases annually as a new car sold in America does in a year on the road.

Once you know the worldwide count for heads of cattle stands at 1.5 billion, it should become clear just how polluting raising farm animals has become. Growing cultured meat has a much, much smaller footprint, creates a tiny fraction of the emissions, and is far more efficient. A 2011 study found while it is energy intensive, producing cultured meat involves up to 99 percent less land use, up to 96 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and up to 96 percent lower water use compared to conventionally produced meat. When you look at it that way, being weirded out may be a small price

to pay, and to answer the question you may be thinking, yes, it apparently really does taste like chicken.

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

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