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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Is U.S. Economy Recovering?; Interview With Richard Holbrooke

Aired October 24, 2010 - 10:00   ET


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.

So, nine days from now, Americans will pass judgment on President Obama and the Democratic Party, but I think most people would agree that the underlying issue for most Americans is actually not President Obama but the American economy.

We're barely out of the worst recession since the 1930s, and the light at the end of the tunnel looks dim. Unemployment is still higher today, 16 months into the so-called recovery, than it was in the worst moments of all but one postwar recession.

Now, many experts think this pessimism will go away once the economy bounces back. But, if you read the polls, many Americans believe that we're in the midst of something that is more than a cyclical downturn. It is a structural shift that is hollowing out the American middle class. For them, the American dream is fading.

I happen to think that the experts are wrong and most Americans are right.

Now, why is this happening? There are two big forces at work in the world today. The first is technology.

Technology, particularly information technology, did not actually create massive efficiencies in corporations until the mid- to late- 1990s. Then it began, and now it's become a tidal wave of efficiency.

Here's one example. Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, is now an investor in what was in 2007 a $12 billion business, with 26,000 employees. Listen to him explain what that business will look like when it gets out of the recession.


JACK WELCH, FORMER CEO, GENERAL ELECTRIC: The fact there (ph), with the technological improvements and the changes in business, we'll have 14,000 employees, not 26,000. So you've got almost a 50 percent fewer employees to do the same amount of business.


ZAKARIA: So that's the technology effect. The second force at work is globalization. America's great companies have all gone global. The 500 largest American companies now get 46 percent of their profits from abroad, and the biggest ones actually get up to 60, 80 percent of their profits from abroad.

They can now access cheap capital, low-cost labor, booming emerging markets, and global supply chains. But the average American worker cannot surf this world. He's stuck in America. So what is the answer to his or her plight?

Well, it's a huge subject, and I can't give you a quick fix now. But I'm spending a lot of time thinking about this and writing about this.

My first cover essay in "Time" magazine is about just this question. It's out on the newsstands right now. And, next week, we will have a GPS special that will air next Saturday night at 9:00 P.M. Eastern and Pacific, in addition to our regular times on Sunday.

So, read "Time" magazine, watch the special. It's called "Restoring the American Dream."

We have a terrific show for you today. First up, if you read the headlines this week, there are reports that the Taliban is finally being beaten back and its commanders now want to talk.

The quagmire in Afghanistan seems as though it's turning around. Is it true? I'll put this question to the president's man in the region, Richard Holbrooke.

Then, a top NATO official says Osama bin Laden, the most wanted man in the world, is living comfortably, not in a cave, but out in the open in Northwest Pakistan. We'll talk to Peter Bergen about why we still can't catch him.

"What in the World?" The premiere of China, Wen Jiabao, argued eloquently against censorship in my recent interview with him. But then, our interview was censored in China -- twice. What's up?

Next, what does this wild American political campaign look like to the rest of the world? And what's going on in the rest of the world anyway? We'll ask our panel of great global thinkers.

And finally, a "Last Look" at Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khameini. He's a revolutionary again. You'll be surprised at what kind.

Let's get started.


ZAKARIA: After years and years of dismal, dreary reports out of Afghanistan, there was something of a change this week. Headlines this week said that allied forces were routing the Taliban in Kandahar, that highest level Taliban commanders were coming to the table for peace talks. We're going the find out the reality behind the headlines.

Joining me now is Richard Holbrooke. Holbrooke is the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He joins me from the State Department.

Welcome back, Ambassador Holbrooke.


ZAKARIA: So let's start with the -- with the talks. Is it, in fact, the case that we are seeing senior Taliban leaders, the kind of people who can commit the Taliban to some kind of a peace deal, come out and do -- and actually talk to us?

HOLBROOKE: In the exact sense you just asked the question, my answer would be negative. I -- I think the press has left the impression that negotiations of the type which ultimately ended the war in Vietnam in 1973 and ultimately ended the war in Bosnia in 1995 are somehow breaking out. That is just not the case, Fareed.

What we've got here is an increasing number of Taliban at high levels saying, hey, we want to talk. I think this is a result, in large part, of the growing pressure they're under from General Petraeus and the ISAF command. And that -- and, in that sense, your introduction linking the two issues is very appropriate.

ZAKARIA: But -- so this is sort of the precondition for negotiations. They're beginning to show an interest in negotiations.

Do we know whether these people are the right people? Are they the -- the kind of people who have -- who have a large following, either among parts of the Pashtun community or actually soldiers of the Taliban?

HOLBROOKE: You know, once again, words matter here, and -- and you've used the word "negotiation." I would not use that word. I know what a negotiation looks like, and these are -- things that you're referring to, are mostly described by contacts and discussions not involving the United States.

Let's not leave the viewers with the impression that some kind of secret negotiation like the famous secret negotiations on Vietnam, is taking place, because it's not.

ZAKARIA: But wouldn't it be necessary to -- to -- for something like that to happen for -- for some kind of a peace deal to -- to be struck?

HOLBROOKE: A peace deal requires agreements, and you don't make agreements with your friends, you make agreements with your enemies. But, in this particular case, unlike the two issues I mentioned a moment ago, there is no clear single address that you go to.

There's no Ho Chi Minh. There's no Slobodan Milosevic. There's no Palestinian authority. There is a widely dispersed group of -- of people that we roughly call the enemy. There's al Qaeda, with which there's no possibility of any discussion at all. There is the Afghan Taliban, sometimes called the Quetta Shura, under Mullah Omar, and that seems to be a loose organization with a very shadowy arrangement.

There's the Pakistani Taliban, the TTP, the ones who trained, rather fortunately, ineptly trained the Times Square Bomber, targeting Pakistan. There is the Haqqani network, a notorious, separate group of Afghan Taliban inside Pakistan who do a great deal of the -- of the mayhem and carnage inside Afghanistan.

And then, finally, there's the LET, which you're very familiar with. You did that extraordinary "Terror in Mumbai" program. And the LET is one that Americans don't pay much attention to, but their goal here is clearly to provoke the maximum amount of conflict between India and Pakistan.

Now, I've just listed five groups. An expert could add another 30. So the idea of peace talks, as you -- to use your phrase, or negotiations, to use another phrase, doesn't really add up to the way this thing is going to evolve.

ZAKARIA: You've from the start put a very high priority on Pakistan. So let me ask you about some of the reports that have come out over the last month about Pakistan.

There are -- there are reports that the Pakistani military and the ISI have been warning the various factions that are -- that are battling the Afghan government -- the Haqqani faction, the Quetta Shura, the Pakistan -- the Taliban -- don't make a deal -- don't make a deal, the Americans are going to leave. You will still need us, and we would -- and we need to make sure that Pakistan's interests are safeguarded. We need to make sure that Pakistan's equities are taken care of, as the -- as the phrase sometimes goes.

What is your reaction to those reports?

HOLBROOKE: I do not have personal evidence or intelligence that supports that interpretation of what has been going on.

ZAKARIA: What about the litmus test for the Pakistani military? We have discussed this before, and I asked you -- I think it was the last time you were on. I said would it be fair to say that the -- the test is does Pakistan go into North Waziristan?

North Waziristan, to explain to our viewers, is -- is where most of the militant groups that attack non-Pakistanis are -- are based. That is, people who attack Afghans, who attack Indians, who attack Westerners.

So far, the Pakistani military has launched a bunch of operations, but never yet gone into North Waziristan. Is it still fair to say that until they do that it is impossible to say the Pakistani military has gotten serious about getting rid of -- of the Afghan terror men (ph)? HOLBROOKE: I'd like to say I'll stand by my previous answer, but I can't remember it. So let me -- so let me -- let me just say that we have discussed this with the Pakistanis. Right now, they have 70,000 of their troops working on flood relief in Pakistan. I've seen that personally when I visited the area. And --

ZAKARIA: But there always seems to be a reason why they can't get to North Waziristan.

HOLBROOKE: Well, it's --

ZAKARIA: This has been going on for five years now.

HOLBROOKE: I'm not -- I'm not here to defend the Pakistani military or to attack them. They know our views on the importance of this area you're talking about, and that's really all I feel comfortable saying on that issue, except to acknowledge the importance of the subject you've raised.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you finally, Richard, you sound like you're a little bit less optimistic than some of this flurry of news reports. Is it -- is it fair to say that you still -- this is still looking like a pretty difficult challenge?

HOLBROOKE: Well, you know, Fareed, you and I have known each other a long time, and I tend not to fall into either the optimistic or the pessimistic camp on issues in which I'm a participant.

We have our goals. We have our strategy. It is of the most vital importance to our national security interests, and it directly affects the homeland security of our nation, as everyone knows. And we are determined to see it through.

President Obama personally oversees every critical detail refer -- related to our homeland security. And I am -- I'm not in the spin patrol of the people who are giddy with optimism on the op-ed pages of some papers or the people who say it's another Vietnam and it's hopeless.

It's certainly not another Vietnam, for reasons you and I discussed before. And it is certainly not hopeless. But anyone who doesn't recognize what a daunting task it is is misleading.

And the American public should understand that this is not going to be solved overnight. It -- it is going to be a difficult struggle. It has a political component, where you're not trying to win this war militarily, and a Dayton-type negotiation is also very unlikely.

But some kind of political element to this is essential, and we are looking at every aspect of this. We are talking to all our other nations about it. Forty of them assembled in Rome with me a week ago, including --

ZAKARIA: What do you mean when you say you -- you don't want to win this militarily? HOLBROOKE: I didn't say we don't want to win this militarily. I said we can't win it militarily, and we don't seek to win it militarily because a pure military victory is not possible, as General Petraeus and his colleagues have repeatedly said. And military --

ZAKARIA: Because the Taliban has to be integrated because it's part of the Pashtun community? Is that -- is that right?

HOLBROOKE: Everybody understands that the Taliban is part of the fabric of recent Afghan political life. They were a government that controlled the country until 9/11.

Secretary Gates has said this, Secretary Clinton, myself. Mullah Omar himself, however, was sheltering Osama bin Laden, and that presents unique difficulties to anyone talking about reconciliation. And this is just something that we have to examine carefully.

The Pakistanis also have a role to play here, and you've raised a very important issue. I think we'll return to it many times in the coming months, because we're just at the front edge of it. There's a lot more in the press about this than there is in reality at this point. But it is a vitally important aspect of the war.

ZAKARIA: Richard Holbrooke, thank you very much.

HOLBROOKE: Thank you, Fareed.



PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: They can't answer some basic questions that I think American taxpayers want answered. Where is bin Laden? Where is his number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri? Where is Mullah Omar, the -- the leader of the Taliban?

And if this was a private company, the management would have been fired and the -- the shares would be tanking.




ZAKARIA: Where in the world is Osama Bin Laden?

A senior NATO official answered the question this week, telling CNN that the al Qaeda leader was not in a cave but living in relative comfort in Northwest Pakistan. Now, this is a guy who is 6 feet 6 inches tall. There's a $25 million bounty on his head. He is probably the most wanted man in the world, and yet we can't find him.

Joining me now is Peter Bergen, who interviewed Bin Laden in 1997 and has been on his trail ever since. Peter, what did you make of that -- of that news report? Is Bin Laden likely to be in Pakistan, in some city, perhaps?

BERGEN: Fareed, the consensus is he's in Northwest Pakistan. The consensus is that he's not living in a cave. He's living in a house. It's -- that's clear from videotapes that he occasionally releases. His clothes are pretty well pressed. Caves don't usually have laundry facilities.

He's well read. He's talking about Norm Chomsky books he's recently read. You know, this is not the sort of activity you do in a cave.

ZAKARIA: What do you think is the basic reason that, you know, he's eluded us so far?

BERGEN: Yes, Donald Rumsfeld was asked this question some time ago, and he said rather, you know, in this very Rumsfeldian way said, well, the world's a big place. And, you know, there's an element of truth to that.

Northwest Pakistan where, you know, Bin Laden is believed to be hiding, is 30,000 square miles. It's the size of Virginia, you know, peaks going up to 10,000 feet. You know, very hostile to outsiders. It's not an easy place to find people.

And, you know, historically, the United States has always had problems trying to find people. Fareed, if you go back to, you know, Somalia in 1993, we had 20,000 American soldiers in Somalia looking for the Somali warlord, Mohamed Aidid, and they never found him. The Israelis spent 15 years trying to find Eichmann. They finally found him in -- in Latin America.

So, you know, I don't want to -- I don't want to say that it's easy to find people. It isn't.

On the other hand, I think that, you know, we've been throwing a lot of money out the window, half a trillion dollars on -- on our intelligence agencies since 9/11. They can't answer some basic questions that I think American taxpayers want answered.

Where is Bin Laden? Where is his number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri? Where is Mullah Omar, the -- the leader of the Taliban?

And if this was a private company, the management would have been fired and the -- the shares would be tanking. But these are not private companies. Instead, their budgets have spiraled upwards.

ZAKARIA: You -- you actually wrote about this -- or have talked very intelligently. You think there's a basic shift that needs to take place in intelligence, probably easier to say than to do, but why don't you say it anyway?

BERGEN: We need to get back into the sort of espionage business. That's a word that -- people don't usually use this word, "espionage." But we're not very good at spying.

What we need, if we're ever going to find Bin Laden, is going to be a penetration of al Qaeda or a group affiliated with al Qaeda. You know, I think that we have got better intelligence coming out of the tribal regions in Pakistan, hence the, you know, the better drone program.

But I think that as the intelligence community's risk averse, if -- maybe if the stakes were higher and we face a bigger threat from al Qaeda, some of these concerns about can -- can somebody pass the background check? Do they have relations in Arab countries? Have they visited Pakistan? The kinds of things you'd actually want are actually, you know, hindering people being hired at these intelligence agencies.

ZAKARIA: I think it would -- it would stun people. I don't know the exact number, but I know it's pitifully small. If you were to take the number of Americans in the embassy in Pakistan, the embassy in Afghanistan who can actually speak the local languages, whether it's Urdu, Dari, Pashto, and therefore even plausibly begin to talk to people who can penetrate those communities, it must be very, very low.

BERGEN: Yes. And there's a total -- it's absolutely premium on force protection, which is very understandable, but it means that no one goes outside the wire or very infrequently.

And so, you know, I was in Helmand last year with -- with Anderson Cooper, and, you know, there were, you know, 10,000 marines but three American, you know, State Department officials in this whole massive province.

And so, you know, if you're -- you know, even if you're in these embassies and you speak these languages, it's hard to -- you know -- you know, there's a lot of -- there's a lot of rules about what you can and can't do. They're understandable, but they're not very useful in terms of getting the kinds of information you need, not just about finding Bin Laden but also what is the tribal structure of these places, who are the power players, the kinds of things that Major General Flynn, the Head of Intelligence in Afghanistan, complained publicly about is that there isn't much a sense of the intelligence community of the kinds of things we really need to know.

Who are the political power players in a particular area? What is the tribal structure? These kinds of things. It's kind of amazing that nine years after 9/11 these are still things that we don't really understand.

ZAKARIA: Nine years and half a trillion dollars, as you say.

Peter Bergen, thank you very much.

BERGEN: Thank you, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: And we'll be back.


WEN JIABAO, PREMIER OF CHINA (through translator): I believe freedom of speech is indispensable for any country. (END VIDEO CLIP)


ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment.

Let me read you a quote. "I believe freedom of speech is indispensable for any country." Whose words are those? Thomas Jefferson, Barack Obama? No. Those are the words of China's Premier, Wen Jiabao, to me when I interviewed him just a few weeks ago.

Powerful words from a powerful man. And it wasn't just about freedom of speech, but about political reform as a whole and about the future of China. His words were called path breaking and eyebrow raising by scholars. That's why what happened next really got my attention.

Chinese officials, quote, "harmonized", unquote, my interview with the premier. That's the Chinese lingo for "censored." There was an official news blackout of the entire interview.

China's official news agency reported that there had been an interview, but it didn't report any of what Wen Jiabao said. And if you clicked on links to real news reports, this is what you got -- a blank page. So essentially the only place in China to read discussion of what he actually said was on blogs and social media that had been able to evade censors.

Then, one week after CNN aired the Wen Jiabao interview, an open letter was sent from 23 senior communist party elders in China to the top politicians in the land. The letter quoted Wen Jiabao's words from his interview with me, using those words as fodder for their case against the invisible Black Hand of censorship. These former high-up officials called on the current leadership to respect what they say is China's constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech.

Then, Chinese media began to flout the official censorship and ran quotes from the interview. Some papers putting the "Time" magazine cover right on their front page.

And then Chinese officials re-censored it all, reportedly ordering all websites to remove mentions and excerpts of the interview. Truly extraordinary.

Amidst all of this, the Nobel Committee awarded its Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo, and once again mass censorship ensue. This time, it was blocked out all over in print, on air and even online. If you type Nobel Prize or the winner's name into Google, all you get back is an error page.

Now, China has dazzled the world by the way it handles economic issues. But there's one area where it still remains extraordinarily backward, and that is politics, dealing with political dissent, dealing with simple information, free speech.

You know, I was in India last week, and I was struck by how on this important issue India actually has a real leg up. India handles politics, political differences, diversities, speech with great skill and openness.

For China, which is such a modern country in so many ways, to have this primitive kind of phony censorship of -- of its own premier's interviews strikes one as unworthy of a modern nation. China is a world power. It's a great modern nation. It is a great civilization, but it has to be able to deal both with economics and politics with ease and fluency. Until it does that, there will always be a gap between the world's expectations and China's reality.

And we will be right back.


SIMON SCHAMA, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I'm the president at last. Too late shows a little sign of knuckle, much, much too late. He's getting into it a bit now, I think.




ZAKARIA: Election Day in the United States is nine days from today. What does it look like from abroad and what is going on abroad? We are fortunate to have in one place three great global thinkers.

Shashi Tharoor is a member of the Indian parliament. He's been everything from undersecretary-general of the United Nations to deputy foreign minister of India.

Simon Schama is a world-famous historian born in Britain. He's now professor at Columbia University.

Kishore Mahbubani is the dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, where he teaches students all he learned in his first career as a diplomat, former foreign secretary of Singapore.

Welcome, gentlemen.

I -- I should say the -- you know, this -- this line John Kennedy has when he had all these Nobel Laureates in -- in for an evening. He said, "There's never been this much talent in -- in one room -"

SCHAMA: "-- since Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

ZAKARIA: So -- so --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would join in?

ZAKARIA: We've never had this much talent around the table since Larry Summers had a sandwich alone.

Simon, what do you make of the -- of the campaign? I know you've been following it.

SCHAMA: Well, with a very interesting manner (ph), I think, actually. There are some signs that, as a column in "The New York Times" today say, rage might not be working across the country. We might be going back to 2004, where we had a virtual cultural civil war coming out of that election, and different parts of the country very, very bitterly divided and polarized.

So where there are kind of states that are in play, we'll all be on the edge of our seats. West Virginia -- California is really terribly interesting, whether or not Meg Whitman wins that or --

ZAKARIA: And she's slipping behind.

SCHAMA: She's slipping behind a little bit.

Harry Reid, I think, is -- is unlikely to beat Sharron Angle, I would say. I don't quite know why.

But there is sort of -- you know, oddly enough, the Democrats, by feeling so timid, pusillanimous and apocalyptic, might actually have a sour little grin on their faces at the end of election night. It's not completely impossible now.

And the president, at last, too late, shows a little sign of knuckle, much, much too late. He's getting into it a bit now, I think.

ZAKARIA: Shashi, when you look at this from India -- God knows India -- Indian politics can be pretty wild and crazy -- what do you make of the campaign and -- and particularly the Tea Party?

SHASHI THAROOR, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, INDIA: Well, the Tea Party is a bit difficult for most people to swallow in democracies that are organized on something other than outrage. However, I think there is a certain degree of -- of befuddlement about the fact that he's been given barely two years to begin to get things right, that manifest many of the problems that country is enduring now are legacy of -- of a decade of somebody else's problems, somebody else's policies, and that now he's being punished so quickly for something that perhaps he couldn't have done better.

I mean, it's -- it's a very interesting alert, as it were, about the short termism of many voters' political calculations.

ZAKARIA: Kishore, how does it strike you?

KISHORE MAHBUBANI, DEAN, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE: Well, I think -- I would say, globally, there's very profound worry about what's happening in America, because the world, as you know, needs a strong America, not a weak America.

And American power, as we all know, has peaked. From now on, in the next few decades, America's challenge is to manage decline.

Managing decline is extremely difficult. And it's even more difficult when the country is divided and getting more divided. So that leaves the whole world wondering what are going to be the consequences to us when the biggest pillar of the international system, that is that has carried it for the last 60 years, and they seem to have kind of a solidity all this time, is finally shaky?

THAROOR: And we do worry, with an America, which sold the world on globalization for a couple decades before this, at a time when the rest of the world has bought that prescription and is organizing itself in order to be able to -- to benefit mutually from that process, whether suddenly America is now shutting down and -- and moving away from the very principles they've so long advocated.

SCHAMA: Very often (ph) there's more talk about China than there is about Afghanistan right now. It's really something.

ZAKARIA: And you've seen this movie before, in a sense. I mean, managing decline, Britain -- I mean, what was the politics of Britain like? Where the -- I mean, because there were many similarities where there were people who were saying, you know, we're still a great global empire. We must maintain every outpost everywhere.

SCHAMA: You know very well, dear Fareed, that Britain has long been a sucker for the romance of ruin. It's not -- it's not really been a fabulous way to sort of sell your national identity.

The notion of Britain becomes a kind of, you know, a sort of sage, Athens, really, where manufacturing sort of atrophies becomes sort of picturesque. But Britain lives on its creative wit.

That is actually a recipe for the future. There's plenty of, you know, technological wits for America to live on, too.

MAHBUBANI: I think it's a mistake to compare what we are going through today with any previous historical moment, precisely because for the first time you're living in a world where the experts don't know what's happening.

ZAKARIA: For the first time?

MAHBUBANI: I mean -- I mean -- seriously. I mean, mine -- my own case. In the last 20 years, I've never seen this kind of global uncertainty. And therefore we are in the much more worrying phase of history and we -- than we have ever been. And that's precisely why at a time when you need more leadership rather than less leadership in the world, the United States' capacity to provide leadership has diminished significantly.

ZAKARIA: Well, what does that mean when you say more leadership? Do you -- when -- of course, when the United States is more active -- Kishore, I remember --


ZAKARIA: You -- yes. You used to write eloquent articles denouncing the United States for being more active.

MAHBUBANI: You know, I --

ZAKARIA: We -- we just get it right, then (ph).

MAHBUBANI: I think when you -- when you have restructured the global order and you, in a sense, reassign responsibilities over the global system, and so become the head of the IMF -- you don't have to be a European to become a head of the World Bank. You don't have to be American.

When you -- when you -- after you reshuffle the global order, then, yes, you (INAUDIBLE) spread out the leadership. But, as of now, the system, as we have today, relies a great deal on American leadership, and America has been happy, willing, ready to provide it.

But now you have an American president who's amazingly weak, you know? And perceived to be amazingly weak domestically -- perceived to be amazingly weak --

THAROOR: He may be the right kind of president for -- you know, where, really the U.S. has to stop behaving like the CEO of a global system and function more as a chairman of the board. I mean, there are others who -- (INAUDIBLE) written about the rise of the rest. I mean, many countries have risen to positions of prominence, exercising and displacing far more weight around the global table than they did.


THAROOR: Well, I'm speaking of India and China and Brazil and South Africa, and, yes, parts of Europe. And the fact is you can well imagine that when Kishore speaks of leadership, it cannot be the old directive leadership of the past. It has to be leadership in concert with others, in a cooperative arrangement, a sort of chairman of the board arrangement, and frankly it has to be broad based.

The idea of a G-2 condominium that was flouted a couple of years ago, America and China running the world would be simply be unacceptable to the rest of us.

So you need a kind of cooperative board system. And, in my own view, we need to go away from an America that used to issue 10 commandments to the others and to one that perhaps comes up with 10 suggestions once in a while.

SCHAMA: And, yes. Kishore, I mean, you're the American president who's decided to offer the world leadership. You. What are you about to do about it? Give me one concrete thing which would demonstrate leadership to the world without actually the -- the rest of the world taking offense.

MAHBUBANI: There is wonderful things that the United States, in many things --

THAROOR: For example?

MAHBUBANI: For example --

SCHAMA: Revalue (ph) the Chinese currency. You can't do it. You can't order them to do that.

MAHBUBANI: Well, I think, first of all, the --


MAHBUBANI: -- United States -- United States can get its house in order. You mentioned earlier a five percent consumption tax. Something as simple as that could -- could change the situation.

SCHAMA: And that's just going to thrill Singapore.

MAHBUBANI: No. I think --

SCHAMA: It isn't. You know it isn't.

MAHBUBANI: No, no. I think -- I think it's --

SCHAMA: The world's going to say, my God, there's leadership. It's a consumption tax.

MAHBUBANI: I think it is -- it is a mistake -- it is a mistake to think that nothing can be done. It was absolutely --

SCHAMA: I wasn't suggesting that. I was suggesting that you produce something that --

MAHBUBANI: And I -- and I -- and that you -- you can't do something on the environmental front?

SCHAMA: The United States is trying. Which is the great world power that actually decided to resist any serious environmental regulation? Not Washington. Beijing.

So that's absurd.

MAHBUBANI: The fundamental mistake we're making here is to think that the Western world view reflects the global world view.

ZAKARIA: All right. And that --

MAHBUBANI: And I -- and I would say, by the way, China's view enjoys much more sympathy in the rest of the world than the Western world view.

ZAKARIA: We will -- we will return to precisely that point when we get back. China's world view and what the rest of the world thinks of it.



SCHAMA: I'm quite prepared, unapologetically, to say actually Jeffersonian philosophy of pluralism and religious tolerance --


SCHAMA: -- is an absolute and unequivocal good thing. And I don't really care what they think about that in Tehran, actually.



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Fredricka Whitfield at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Back to "FAREED ZAKARIA: GPS" in a moment. But first, a look at the day's headlines.

The U.S. is rushing relief teams and supplies to Haiti to help combat an outbreak of cholera. More than 2,600 people are sick, at least 208 people have died, and five cases have just been confirmed in the capital of Port-au-Prince.

U.N. officials say those five patients were infected north of the capital where the outbreak began and they have been isolated. Health officials are trying to keep cholera out of Port-au-prince where tens of thousands of people still live in tent cities after January's earthquake.

A new video message from militant cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. He warned Islam is being exposed to fateful dangers. Right now, hundreds of soldiers are searching for members of al Qaeda in Yemen, in a region where the U.S. believes al-Awlaki may be.

And two American hikers detained in Iran for over a year will stand trial next month. The country's official news agency reports that Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer are due in court on November 6th. A third hiker, Sarah Shourd, was released on humanitarian grounds last month.

Iran says the three crossed the Iranian border in July of 2009.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Back to "FAREED ZAKARIA: GPS."



ZAKARIA: And we are back with our galaxy of stars, Shashi Tharoor from India, Kishore Mahbubani from Singapore, and Simon Schama from London, New York, and God knows where else.

Kishore was saying before that the -- you know, we don't understand the -- the Western world view is dying. The Chinese world view is -- is something that more people have more sympathy for these days.

MAHBUBANI: On the environment.

ZAKARIA: So -- on the environment, but I want to ask a more general question to Shashi.

I'm actually struck by the opposite of what Kishore is saying, which is that over the last month, what you have seen is an international kind of condominium, almost, of countries agree with the United States that China is -- is deliberately undervaluing its currency, that China is threatening Japan unnecessarily, that China is rattling the -- the saber in Southeast Asia.

That is to say China's peaceful rise has hit a kind of big speed bump, where people are beginning to realize, wait a minute, a bigger, more assertive China is -- we're not so sure we love that idea. And I particularly found that -- I was in South Korea two weeks ago and India last week, and in both cases they were quite concerned about China.

THAROOR: I think, by and large, most countries see China as understandably very focused on itself, that its relationship with the rest of the world is very much about what it can get in terms of resources and other benefits for its own growth. And, therefore, I think to suggest that the Chinese world view is considered more attractive, would stretch credulity to me.

We in India respect China, but I would be hesitant to say that we find the Chinese world view more attractive than the --

SCHAMA: Good. You don't want to lock up Nobel Prize winner. Yes.

MAHBUBANI: Yes, the editorial opinions depends in India on that with Italian favor (ph).


ZAKARIA: You can respond to the Chinese world view.

MAHBUBANI: No. It's very simple. There are seven billion people in the world. Eight hundred million people live in the west. The rest live outside the west.

If you go to the Islamic world, among 1.2 billion Muslims, tell me that the Western world view is much more attractive than the Chinese world view.

SCHAMA: I wish it was. I feel totally -- I'm defensive about that. I don't care. I don't care. I don't care if the view of Jeffersonian democracy --

MAHBUBANI: Let me -- let me finish. Let me finish. Then you have Latin America -

SCHAMA: It's a shocking thing to say.

MAHBUBANI: -- then you have Latin America, and then you have Africa --

SCHAMA: I don't care about -- I don't care about demographic arithmetic.

The face of the world depends on actually judgments about, you know, what the moral nature of a society is.

MAHBUBANI: You don't care -- you don't care -- you don't care what the majority of the world thinks?


MAHBUBANI: And if you think -- if we don't think like you, you're not happy. I totally understand that. But it's important, empirically, to try and understand --

SCHAMA: (INAUDIBLE) principle on which the peace of the world depends.

MAHBUBANI: The -- the peace of --

SCHAMA: The tyrannical theocracy or Jeffersonian tolerance.

MAHBUBANI: The peace of the world?

SCHAMA: I'm quite prepared, unapologetically, to say actually Jeffersonian philosophy of pluralism and religious tolerance --


SCHAMA: is an absolute and unequivocal good thing, and I don't really care what they think about that in Tehran, actually, except as a threat to everybody else.

MAHBUBANI: Well, I do -

SCHAMA: So if you're telling me that "x" number of millions of people are willing to surrender to theocratic tyranny, I think so much the worse for them.

MAHBUBANI: But, you see, democracy means, essentially, that you listen to the voices of the people. The west has forgotten --

SCHAMA: Oh, that's happening in Iran, for example?

MAHBUBANI: -- how to listen.

ZAKARIA: I would -- I would caution you, Kishore, it is fair to try to make a distinction between the people in many of these countries and their regimes.

MAHBUBANI: Yes. Sure. Sure. I accept that.

ZAKARIA: The leadership of many of these countries which might prefer China to America are actually not being --

MAHBUBANI: No. What I -- let me just finish. It is -- it is very difficult in a Western setting to explain the point that actually the majority of the world look at the world quite differently, and that's a simple empirical point.

ZAKARIA: But they don't necessarily agree with the Chinese, is all I'm trying to say.

MAHBUBANI: No, no. Right. But you see -

ZAKARIA: I don't find a great Brazilian love for China. I don't -- I mean, I don't find a great South Korean love for China. And I don't -- I would -- Japan, for example, I find that they are much more suspicious of China than they are of the United States.

MAHBUBANI: I completely agree with all that and I know that they -

ZAKARIA: So, you know, we're adding up countries, even your demography is not working so well.

MAHBUBANI: No, no, no. But you see the -- you are also addressing a very awkward moment when China has gone through a very bad spot. And China overplayed its hand on Japan. That's very clear. It's obvious they overplayed their hand.

And what did the Chinese prime minister do? Arranged to speak to the Japanese prime minister after that. And then they switched off. I think they made a mistake.

ZAKARIA: And, on that note, Simon Schama, Kishore Mahbubani, Shashi Tharoor, thank you all very much.

And we will be right back.



ZAKARIA: Our question this week from the "Fareed Challenge" is, violent protests have crippled France for weeks. It's all over a plan to raise the retirement age in that nation to what? A) 60, B) 62, C) 66 or D) 70. Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer. And go to to try your hand at 10 more questions from this challenge. While you're there, don't forget to sign up for our weekly podcast. That way you will never miss a show, and the price is nothing.

This week's "Book of the Week" is Robert Kaplan's great new book, "Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power." Kaplan, who's a great geostrategist come reporter says that while wars of the past were fought in the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Persian Gulf, in the coming years, the central arena of global geopolitics is going to be the Indian Ocean because of the rise of China and India, and so that's where America must concentrate its efforts and that's where the kind of geopolitical cockpit of the world will be.

Now for "The Last Look." That the Ayatollah Khameini is a bit of a revolutionary we already knew. But did you know that he is also a social media revolutionary? It turns out that Iran's supreme leader has a Twitter account, or at least his office does.

So we were able to follow along this week with a travel log of pictures as Khameini went to Qom, Iran's holy city. Here is his vehicle making its way through a throng of crowds. Do they call it the Ayatollah Mobile, I wonder? It's quite a bit less fancy than the Pope's.

Here are some dedicated fans. And here some doves of peace, perhaps? Probably not in his case. The most interesting part, perhaps, we did a little digging and it turns out that the Ayatollah had -- had a Twitter account since before the green revolution. But while he may be the supreme leader, he is not a supreme tweeter. At last check, he had 800 followers.

The correct answer to our "Fareed Challenge" question is B) 62. That's the new retirement age that has Frenchman so upset. By comparison, U.S. retirement age had been 65 and is now rising to 67.

Go to the website for more challenging questions and answers.

Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week. Stay tuned for "RELIABLE SOURCES."