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Fareed Zakaria GPS
The New World Order; What's Next for the Middle East?
Aired March 27, 2011 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GLORIA BORGER, GUEST HOST: This is GPS, THE GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and those joining us from around the world. I'm Gloria Borger.
Fareed is off this week, but you'll see his conversation with Malcolm Gladwell later in the broadcast.
Meantime, the topic at hand today, Libya. Was action the right choice for coalition nations? What happens if a no-fly zone succeeds and Gadhafi stays in power? And who sets the mission for NATO?
The conversation starts right now.
Let's get straight to our panel. Richard Haass is the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. John Negroponte is the vice chairman of McLarty Associates and also the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and former director of National Intelligence. Robert Kagan is a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution. And Jane Harman is a former Democratic congresswoman from California who chaired the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, and she is now the new president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson Center.
Ambassador, I'm going to start with you, because you have been generally supportive of this action in Libya. There is an international coalition against Gadhafi, as we know, and now NATO is assuming responsibility for the no-fly zone, although how that's going to be worked out is a bit murky.
So let me start by asking you, is this mission, this new world order, if you will, going as you would have liked?
JOHN NEGROPONTE, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Well, I - I think it's going probably about what the way you would have expected it to. The command and control arrangements are being worked out. The opposition has now consolidating itself in Benghazi, whereas a week ago it looked like it was on the verge of extinction, and let's not forget that that was the - those were the events that propelled this rather rapid turnabout in our position.
So, yes, I think what you're getting is a - a paused situation where the opposition can regroup and plan its next steps. The international community can get itself organized in terms of command and control, and President Obama can put our country in a position of rather than always being in the lead and out in front, is playing more of a support role, together with NATO, the selected Arab countries, and the international community generally.
BORGER: Well, let me - let me go to Richard Haass then, because you've been quite critical of this and you have called this a war of choice and you see how this is unfolding. What is - what is your take on the way this is going?
RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, it absolutely - absolutely is a war of choice, Gloria, in my view an ill- advised one, speaking personally, because I don't think the - the U.S. interests at stake are vital. They're not nearly the most important interest the United States has in the greater Middle East, given all that's going on there, much less the - the rest of the world.
And I also think the difficult part of this processor or this intervention have yet to come. And there's all sorts of scenarios. This is - there's the scenarios where the intervention, quote/unquote, "succeeds," either you have a cease-fire, and then what do you do because you have these opposing armies, these opposing sides in place. Or you could have situations where the intervention fails and you have all sorts of questions then about what the United States does with Gadhafi.
And even if it does succeed, again, then we have all sorts of fundamental issues about exactly who it is we're helping, and are we so sure that the opposition will necessarily pursue an agenda that is in the interest of the United States or in the interest of the people of Libya. I'm very uncomfortable with such a large commitment, given the - the - all these unknowns.
BORGER: Go ahead, Jane. You want to talk?
JANE HARMAN, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, our Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough called the - the situation pre-no-fly zone "Srebrenica on steroids." This is the Benghazi situation. And that, to remind viewers, is about what happened in Bosnia.
We had a no-fly zone going and yet there was this hellacious massacre in Srebrenica, and we only ended that conflict when we armed the Bosnians and the Croats, and then, finally, Richard Holbrooke, our - our fabulously talented ambassador who died just a few months ago, negotiated a settlement in Dayton.
Why do I mention this?
HARMAN: I mention this because there is no magic in a no-fly zone. I believe that the purposes of this mission have not been adequately articulated yet, and it also is not the late '90s. This is post 9/11, when we are involved in two interventions on the ground in Muslim countries.
And so I think the context matters a lot, and I'm not sure enough thought was given to that, and there still is this conflict about what our mission truly is. BORGER: Well - and - and let me bring that to Bob Kagan. I mean, there is a conflict about what the mission is. The United States says that Gadhafi must go. Members of the coalition say this is strictly a humanitarian mission. How can the coalition work together when they can't agree on what the goals are?
ROBERT KAGAN, SENIOR FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Well the United States is not the only government that has said that Gadhafi must go. And I think the way things are being finessed right now, with NATO in charge of the military operation overall, but it's clear that the United States, United Kingdom and France are free to do what - what they think is necessary.
I think it's clear that, first of all, it's not just a no-fly zone. We've got coalition forces attacking Gadhafi's tanks and artillery on the ground. The goal is clearly to help the opposition.
I think we need to do more. I think we should arming the opposition because we can't end up at the end of the day with Gadhafi in power.
I also don't' think we are going to wind up with Gadhafi in power. I think there's far too much -
BORGER: Well, how do we know?
KAGAN: We never know -
BORGER: How do we know?
KAGAN: You know, Gloria, we start wars, whether it's World War I, World War II, the Civil War - we don't know. We don't know everything. And this - this demand that we have to know how something ends before we take any action whatsoever, that would be truly debilitating. We would never do anything if we did that.
I think there's a reasonable assumption that Gadhafi's forces are ultimately going to break from him if it looks like their lives are - are on the line. I think we have to have a little patience. This thing has been going on for five days and people are running around and screaming as if we've already failed.
I think a little patience is necessary, and this is an important interest of ours, by the way. What's happening in the Middle East is connected to what's going on in Libya. If we stand by and let a dictator in the region like Gadhafi slaughter his people, that's a terrible setback and not in America's interest.
BORGER: Well, how do you - Richard Haass calls this a war of choice. Obviously, you don't think so.
KAGAN: No. of course it's a war of choice. Ninety-nine percent of all the wars that the United States have ever fought have been wars of choice. I can barely think of a war that we fought, maybe World War II, that was not a war of choice. The question is, is it a good choice or a bad choice? Richard seems to think if he says it's a war of choice that's the end of the discussion. The question is, is it a good choice? I think it is.
BORGER: Richard, I'll let you respond to that.
HAASS: Oh, no. I think the United States has had a number of wars that's a necessity beyond World War II. I would say the Korean War was a war of necessity, and I'll also say the first Gulf War was a clear war of necessity where the United States had vital national interest at stake.
KAGAN: How did the Korean War end?
HAASS: The Korean War ended just fine in the sense that we have liberated the part of Korea that had been overtaken. The mistake in the Korean War was beginning with what was - what began as a war of necessity and then when MacArthur went north of the 38th Parallel we turned it into a war of choice and that became extraordinarily expensive.
I'm not against wars of choices per se, but there's a very high standard, particularly given what Jane Harman said, the United States is already involved in two - the war in Iraq and what became the war in Afghanistan, when this administration expanded it. So (INAUDIBLE) -
KAGAN: But you're not (ph) -
HAASS: Let me just finish - if the interests aren't vital and if you do have other policy options, then you've really got to think twice, and in my view, here, the interests are clearly less than vital. I disagree with the idea that what happens in Libya will have a fundamental impact on what happens in Egypt or Bahrain or - or Saudi Arabia or Syria. I simply disagree with that analysis.
And, again, I'm very uncomfortable with launching a military intervention given the fact that we're setting in motion a chain of events. It's not simply that we don't know. We have no reason to be confident that the people we are trying to help prevail will institute a form of governance -
BORGER: Well -
HAASS: -- that will necessarily be in our or Libya's interest.
BORGER: Well, that raises the question, obviously, about the rebels. I mean, who are they? And let me go to the ambassador and then to Jane Harman. Are we sure, as Richard Haass asked the question, are we sure that these rebels in the end are going to be exactly what we want to have there?
NEGROPONTE: Well, first to Bob Kagan's point about certainty, we're not sure. We don't - we - we're - very often we have to make these kinds of decisions, particularly when it involves conflict. In the absence of all the facts, sometimes you have to act on an urgent basis. But this is a committee. There are a couple of retired ministers in there, a former Minister of Justice, a former Minister of Interior, people who have worked with the previous regime.
We're not entirely certain of the shape of the organization so far, but I think one of the important things we need to do is get our diplomatic representation down to Benghazi, start dealing directly with these people, and get our own assessment of what - of what the opposition is shaping up to - to become.
BORGER: I know -
NEGROPONTE: Now, the question of the vitality of - of the interest, if I just could make one point of what - what Richard said earlier, I would agree that the interest may not be entirely vital, but let's not forget that in terms of proportionality here we're not intervening in Libya at the level that we intervened in Iraq or Afghanistan. It's a limited action by us, a limited military action within a broader political context.
And we are also following and going along with the lead of other countries whose vital interests are probably more affected than ours, namely -
NEGROPONTE: -- the Europeans and the Arab states.
BORGER: Well, and - and we'll talk more about whether in fact the United States, if it's part of a coalition, can ever actually not lead. People mostly assume we are leading.
But I - I know Jane Harman wants to get in. We're going to get back to her after the break. So I ask you all to stay with us. There's so much more to talk about.
And I'd also want to mention that if you're here looking for Fareed's take on the events in Libya, we have your fill for you. Make sure that you go out and pick up the latest issue of "Time" magazine. It's on the newsstands right now. And you can also find it at Time.com, or on the GPS website, which is at CNN.com/gps.
We'll be right back.
BORGER: And welcome back to GPS. Fareed Zakaria will be joining us later in the program.
Right now, though, our topic is Libya, and let me get back to Jane Harman and ask the question, should we ever begin a military operation without knowing exactly how we intend to stand down?
HARMAN: Well, let me respond in two ways. First of all, my colleague at the Wilson Center, Aaron David Miller, has saying - is saying that we're no longer talking about how we win any of these interventions, we're always talking about how we can leave them, and that projects a certain weakness. In this case, however, I don't think our objective ever was to win, and I - I have been thinking about President Obama's call for regime change here.
I think a lesson we should have learned from Iraq, which I agree with Richard, was a war of choice and which turned out - or was - was prosecuted fairly poorly and took our eye off Afghanistan, which was a war of necessity, in my view.
But, at any rate, a lesson we should have learned is that we shouldn't be calling for regime change. That's the call of local populations. Our objective ought to be good governance, transparency and anti-corruption objectives in these countries, political space in participation. If local populations achieve those things, they will decide who should lead them.
We're in a transformation in the greater Middle East. All of these countries are going to change their governments and we can't view Libya as a one-off, just a weekend adventure, that will turn out in some good way in the - in the next few days. This could be a very long intervention, run by NATO now, not by us, but we have a lot of expenses involved in being in NATO.
And this is not a zero-sum - this is a zero-sum game in terms of military assets. Whatever we're putting into this war, through NATO or on our own, we don't have to put in somewhere else in a very dangerous and changing world.
BORGER: So let me pose this question. What if Gadhafi does agree to a cease-fire and the United States is out there saying that Gadhafi must go. Will this mission then be seen as a failure?
Let me go to you, Bob Kagan.
KAGAN: I - I think it's a failure if - if Gadhafi remains in power, if Libya is divided into two separate states. I - I don't think any cease-fire would last for a - for very long, and we would be in a constant state of civil war.
One thing we shouldn't be in the business of is supporting an endless civil war in Libya. I don't think that's good for Libya. Obviously it's not good for the region, it's not good for the world, it's not good for oil issues. I think that's a mistake.
And I'd just make a comment about the military forces we're using. This is almost entirely a naval operation. Our navy is not heavily engaged in - in Iraq and certainly not in Afghanistan. We are capable of doing this.
I want to agree with Ambassador Negroponte. This is not a major American mission. This is not, you know, a third war like Iraq and Afghanistan. I really think it's somewhat - it would be depressing if we are not able to engage in the kind of activities that we've engaged in. That's not going to bankrupt our capacity to do other things.
BORGER: No, but it does speak to our leadership role in the world, doesn't it? KAGAN: Well - well, I don't think we - this is not - this leadership question is I think a kind of a silly debate that we're having. I think it's very good that we have got strong European partners who have been willing to deal with the problem, which after all is much closer to them than to us.
KAGAN: It is absolutely necessary for the United States to play a leadership role in - in diplomacy. I think the United States played a critical role in getting the U.N. Security Council resolution and getting NATO motivated. I think it also played the obviously necessary role in terms of its opening salvos (ph).
KAGAN: And then, good. I'm glad that the French and the British are taking over a big part of the load.
BORGER: But let me go to the - to the ambassador and then - and then to Richard Haass here, because, as a result of this coalition, you have to kind of live with a certain amount of ambiguity that we're not used to living with in this country when we're part of military action. And Congress wants answers, timetables, solutions, end games, and that doesn't seem to be something the administration's able to deliver right now.
First to the ambassador, then to Richard.
NEGROPONTE: Well, that - that's part of our mindset. We're so used to doing things unilaterally that even when that kind of unilateralist approach has come under criticism, sometimes it's hard for us to put ourselves in the other frame of mind, which is to look at a multilateral way of doing things. I think this is a very interesting experiment, if you will, after the Iraq and Afghanistan adventures, and we're - we're working with others.
I think we - we have to look also at the possibility of some kind of a United Nations role here. It's not inconceivable to me, for example, that at some point the U.N. Security Council might vote for the establishment of some kind of peacekeeping force in Benghazi, for example, with a - with a robust mandate to - to facilitate the eventual political accommodation in Libya.
BORGER: Richard Haass?
HAASS: Look, any time you've got a coalition, it complicates, to some extent, the military operations, it complicates the diplomacy. On the other hand, it gives you greater legitimacy and it spreads the burdens.
On balance, I tend to favor this type of a joint approach, but I think Bob Kagan and John Negroponte also made points that I think are worth reiterating. You could have a situation now where Gadhafi complies -
HAASS: -- with the U.N. resolution.
You could then have a really awkward situation where the opposition doesn't, then what - then what does the United States and the world do? Or, if he does, I think it's quite possible at some point you will need boots on the ground to - to separate the sides, because the last thing you want in the name of humanitarian intervention is a prolonged civil war.
BORGER: And whose boots?
HAASS: Well - the president has done two things unilaterally. He's basically said we want to get rid of the regime, which I think was - was a mistake because it makes it harder to add the diplomatic dimension to this. Then he ruled out American boots.
You're probably going to need European boots, if they're willing to - to put them there, possibly some Arab or - or international, whether it's under blue helmets of the U.N. or otherwise. But it's very hard for me to see a scenario where ultimately you do not need some sort of an international presence to provide order throughout this country, because neither the regime nor the opposition, I would argue, is going to be any time soon in a position to essentially establish and police the sovereignty of the area. And the last thing we want to see is a Libya where you have ungoverned spaces and which, among other things, terrorists can put down roots.
As bad as the situation has been in Libya, you don't need a really big imagination, Gloria, to - to see things getting even worse.
BORGER: Right. You don't.
Jane, you have -
HARMAN: And I totally agree with that and would point out that both the African Union and the Arab League, who were, according to President Obama, some of the initial input that justified the action we took in support of a no-fly zone, are not really participating in the no-fly zone.
The UAE and Qatar are now going to provide fighter jets, but there's no major buy-in by either of these organizations, and it is yet unclear what tomorrow, Monday's, action is going to be in terms of a more robust NATO presence. We don't really know yet what the NATO objectives will be, although we know that NATO is taking over command from the United States.
And my final point is - and I've made this over and over again - about limited brain cells. Yes, you're right, Bob, that we mostly have our navy in place, although imagine if the Straits of Hormuz were blocked, we might need our navy there, or if something happens in another part of the world, we might need it there. We've got a lot of assets offshore Libya.
But - but my point is that brain cells are limited. And if we have most of the White House tied up trying to make this come out right, oh, by the way, what about the unrest, the transformation sweeping every country we can name in the greater Middle East?
BORGER: That's right. Jane, you know, actually that's exactly what we want to talk about in the next segment because I think the question we need to ask is, is the focus on Libya becoming a distraction? What about Syria? What about Yemen? What about Bahrain?
What's next in those countries, and are we paying enough attention? Coming up.
BORGER: And welcome back to GPS.
We were just talking about whether the focus on Libya is causing the United States not to focus enough on the rest of the world and the seismic events going on in the Middle East. And let me go to you first, Richard Haass. Do you consider this a strategic distraction, in a way?
HAASS: The short answer is yes. There's only so much bandwidth. There is the concept of opportunity cost to the extent you invest your focus on one thing, it leaves you less time, and policymaker time is often really important. It's also not simply a question of military assets. There's economic assets, there's diplomatic assets.
You know, that said, you know, I'm just hoping the administration does focus on all it can do to encourage change in Syria, to encourage change in Iran and, perhaps more than anything, to focus on two countries, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Those are ultimately the - the twin pillars, if you will, of Middle Eastern stability.
And I worry about the political process that's taking place in Egypt, its speed, the economic problems that the country continues to face. And I worry about what the Saudis are doing in Bahrain because I really do think it's narrowed the possibility of political compromise there, and ultimately what that might mean for Saudi Arabia itself.
BORGER: And - and you mentioned Iran, of course, which seems to be the elephant in the room. Let me go to you, Bob Kagan, on this. I mean, if you're sitting in Iran and you see what's going on, not only in the rest of the Middle East but particularly in Libya, what are you thinking?
KAGAN: Well, I think the - the question is, is Iran immune from this tidal wave that's sweeping through the region? And I think surely the answer is no. if I were sitting in Tehran, in the government, right now, I would be shaking in my boots.
I mean, they're - with Syria now under tremendous political pressure, I don't think there's any government in the region that's immune. And one of the truly positive outcomes of - of this entire Arab spring may be finally a real pressure for political change in Iran, and I think - I think we should be supporting that.
I also don't think, by the way, that what's happening in Libya has prevented the administration from taking Egypt seriously. Egypt is the most important game. I'm not thrilled with absolutely every detail that's going on in Egypt, but otherwise I would say it's going fairly smoothly. And of course the economics are important. I think the administration is looking very carefully at that.
BORGER: Jane Harman, can we walk and chew gum at the same time, I guess is the question, huh?
HARMAN: Well, let's hope so. But the government of Iran is not just sitting in Iran. They're playing in all of this. They're playing in Bahrain, they're playing in Lebanon, they're playing in Gaza. Arms with Iranian markings were just picked up by the Israelis, fortunately before they went into Gaza. They're playing in Egypt. They're -
You know, we should assume that this may not come out to be - to be an Arab spring. It could be an Arab winter, and that would happen if we take our eye off what I think is our central problem here, which is a - an expanding Iranian hegemony over the region.
And, finally, let - let me just mention Yemen. Yemen is the place where -
HARMAN: -- in the boonies we have the folks who are plotting to attack us.
The Christmas Bomber was trained in Yemen. The parcel bomb plot was hatched in Yemen. Al-Awlaki lives and is protected by a local tribe somewhere out there in Yemen, and he is called for active attacks by our - against our country and in our country. And, finally, the fellow - whoever he is - who is writing this English language magazine called "Inspire", which teaches you how to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom, is in Yemen.
And so I worry about the threat to our homeland being greatest from Yemen than from any other place.
BORGER: Well, and - and let me put that to - to Ambassador Negroponte. Put on your director of National Intelligence hat here, if you will, and talk about what Jane Harman is talking about, which is the fact that Yemen is a haven for al Qaeda, and this could be distracting us from paying enough attention to that.
NEGROPONTE: Well, first - yes. First of all, I think we do have the bandwidth. The president's got the bandwidth to deal with Libya and these other situations in the Middle East.
I think Yemen definitely is a concern both its inherent political stability, the fact that there might be a real political vacuum there if President Saleh falls or the situation falls into disarray, just create more opportunities for the extremists. But I would agree with both Richard and Bob that - that Egypt is probably the single most important country and I think it's vitally important that the political process there evolves in a satisfactory way. This is the largest Arab population in - in the Middle East. And I think it's critically important that it succeed.
And the last point I would make is that the reason Bahrain is so important, is if that situation goes awry, then I think that could have very serious implications for the stability of Saudi Arabia.
BORGER: Well, Ambassador, you're going to get the last word here this morning for us. Thank you so much to all of my guests for joining us.
And up next on GPS, Fareed is back with his take on the Facebook and social media effect on this revolution and he's going to bring Malcolm Gladwell into the conversation.
GPS will be right back.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Candy Crowley and here are today's top stories.
Rebels in Libya are claiming victory in the key oil town of Brega. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Robert Gates tells CBS there's evidence Moammar Gadhafi is faking civilian casualties by coalition air strikes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We do have a lot of intelligence reporting about Gadhafi taking the bodies of people he's killed and putting them at the sites where we've attacked. We have been extremely careful in this military effort.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: The air strikes are continuing as NATO prepares to take command of the Libyan mission.
Tokyo's electric power company is reexamining test results from its Number Two nuclear reactor at the Fukushima Power Plant after the country's Nuclear Safety Agency questioned some extremely high radiation figures. Earlier, the company said radiation levels in contaminated water were 10 times the norm at that reactor. The company appears to be backing away from those figures.
Scattered violence broke out after thousands of people protested spending cuts in London yesterday. More than 80 people, including 31 police officers were injured. Police arrested 214 people.
California is recovering from heavy rain storms. Flooding hit the town of Capitoli yesterday. In nearby San Pablo, the storms caused a massive mudslide. Those are your top stories. Up next, more FAREED ZAKARIA GPS and then on "RELIABLE SOURCES," Howard Kurtz's interview with former anchor Ted Koppel.
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, "GPS": Now, "My Take".
One question that sits behind the turmoil in the Middle East is what exactly was the role the technology played in these events? Was this a Facebook revolution?
I'll talk about this with Malcolm Gladwell in a few moments. But I thought you want to hear - might want to hear my own take on the topic. As you know, when I have guests on, I try to hear what they have to say rather than constantly interrupting with my own views.
I think it's important to remember how recent the entire information revolution is. Fifteen years ago in Tunisia or Egypt, all you could read, hear and see was government propaganda. State television, the main source of information for the vast majority, was a daily catalog of the great deeds of Hosni Mubarak or President Ben Ali or whomever.
The first great revolution was the Satellite TV revolution, which brought images and information and real reporting to the Arab people for the first time. It was not just CNN, it became Al Jazeera, Al Arabia, and all of the other channels that broke the state's monopoly of information and let Arab see the world around them. The regime might not have wanted people to know of the 2005 protests for democracy in Egypt, for example, but people quickly learned of it any way.
Then came the Internet revolution, which provided even more information and gave people the opportunity to post information and opinions anonymously. There was a superb and hilarious website that would make daily fun of the turgid propaganda put out by Egypt's state newspaper, Al-Ahram.
Finally, the social networking revolution, which allowed people to share information, opinions and organizing ideas. It helped them organize. And they could not - they could do this not just using a computer, which is still a luxury product for the wealthy in the Arab world, but with a cell phone which is a basic necessity that everyone owns.
So, the combination of these three revolutions was to move information from what I call a one to many system to a many to many system. What do I mean?
What used to be the revolutions began by seizing the radio station or the TV station because that allowed the new regime to broadcast its message to the masses, controlled information from one to many. But today's technology is many to many epitomized by the Internet where everyone is connected but no one is in control. This system helps the individual. It breaks the regime's monopoly on information. It allows people to organize and it allows people to refute the lies put out by a regime. It's not a silver bullet.
But clearly, today's information technology has the effect of dis-intermediating. In other words, it breaks down hierarchies. It breaks down monopolies. That's got to be good for the individual and it must be bad for dictatorships.
Let's get started.
And we are now joined by Malcolm Gladwell. Pleasure to have you on.
MALCOLM GLADWELL, AUTHOR, "OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS": Glad to be back.
ZAKARIA: So you've written lots of things about all kinds of subjects, but one that's caused a certain amount of controversy has been your claim that Facebook has nothing to do with revolutions. That's putting it a little strongly.
But in light of all of things happening in the Arab world, you have been distinctly unimpressed by social media as a way of generating political discontent. Why?
GLADWELL: I - I think it's very important to say that my article was written back in the summer well before this has happened. I've been as dumbstruck as everybody else by what's happened in the Middle East. And I would love to kind of - I mean, people are going to do that over course of the next months and years, just to try and figure out what exact role - what exact role did these new tools play in shaping these uprisings?
But I can't look in the past at social revolutions and see examples of cases where people had a problem under - under dire circumstances of getting lots of people together to voice their concerns, right? I mean, in East Germany, a million people gathered in the streets of Berlin. They were - the percentage of people in East Berlin in East Germany who even had a telephone in 1989 was 13 percent, right?
So, I mean, in cases where there are no tools of communication, people still get together. So I don't see that as being a - in looking at history, I don't see the absence of efficient tools of communication as being a limiting factor on the ability people to socially (INAUDIBLE).
ZAKARIA: But isn't there some difference between the information technology of the past, which was really sort of one to many, right? You had a radio station. You broadcast to lots of people and information technology today, which is sort of many to many, and therefore, it is much more difficult for a regime to control information to propagate its stories.
That's - see, it feels like it changes something, that they used to be a kind of method of propaganda, which was in the old days the revolution - the revolutionaries always wanted to take over the radio station -
ZAKARIA: - so that they could now propagate their - their message.
GLADWELL: You know, there is something, absolutely. However, you could also make the opposite argument that some of these new technologies offer dictators a - give them the potential to crackdown in ways they couldn't crackdown before.
And the other thing that I would say is that that, you know, the previous paradigm also offered protesters a certain route to - I mean, the example I gave of this was if you look at the way the Civil Rights Movement manipulated - I used that word not in a pejorative sense, but collaboratively used the mass media in the '60s, it's extraordinary. I mean, they were able to kind of commandeer the machine - this set of monolithic machinery of media effusion in a way that made their own cause a much stronger than it would have been otherwise.
In '68 in Markham, in Birmingham, they were able to - the Civil Rights Movement was, all they had to do was essentially capture the three networks. If you could capture the interest of "Life" magazine and CBS and NBC and to some extent ABC in that - in that era, you were home. That was it. Right? Four networks, right? Four platforms.
Today, there's thousands of them - I mean, infinite number of platforms. You can't capture and commandeer and craft your message in the same way as you could.
So, my point is that for everything that looks like it's a step forward, there's another thing which says, well, actually, you know, there was a cost involved. And I don't know whether - what I don't know at this point is whether the balance of benefits and costs to the new technology will work out in the favor of the oppressed or whether they will work out in the favor of the oppressor, that's what we're going to figure out when we look at the Middle East with in hindsight.
ZAKARIA: In the next step going forward in the Middle East, we face the challenge that you were describing, which is for these revolutions to be successful, the oppressed have to have some kind of political organization.
ZAKARIA: They have to - they have to be able to replace what the regimes or elements of the regime that they're trying to take over and there what you look at in that - in that piece is the Civil Rights Movement. You point out for all of the fact that it was very much about equality and about egalitarianism. This was a very tightly controlled centralized, hierarchical organization.
ZAKARIA: You know, it's not the kind of thing that - that is about a bunch of people on Facebook.
GLADWELL: Oh, no. It was the most extraordinarily discipline that was 20 years in the making. I mean it was a kind of - and the -
ZAKARIA: It was sort of a Leninist organization, the Civil Rights -
GLADWELL: Yes. I mean, yes.
ZAKARIA: -- the (INAUDIBLE) was very tightly controlled, everything was scripted.
GLADWELL: And that has nothing - that's not made easier or worse by Facebook and Twitter, it just has nothing to do with it. It's just a separate kind of discipline that you have to -
So, that's sort of my - when I - when I - I'm a little bit skeptical of some of the more grandiose claims on behalf of social media is because I come back to this position. The real work is elsewhere, right?
So my question is not can you - can you reach someone in two seconds? Fine. Have you done the 20 years of preparation necessary to build a coherent movement? And when you look at the really successful revolutions, they've done that, right? Castro did it, you know? The Civil Rights - the Civil Rights Movement in America did it.
And interestingly, I was on a panel with John Lewis, the great civil rights leader a couple of weeks ago and I asked him, looking back on - how would you have done - looking back with the benefit of hindsight, how would you have done things differently during the 1960s? And he said - he said, well, I think we actually needed more ideological kind of sophistication and rigor.
I mean, of all the things - so he didn't lack for an ability to reach people, to coordinate with people, to get their message out. You know, logistics wasn't a problem. To him the problem was we could have even spent more time in kind of - he was particularly interested in this notion that they should have spent more time elaborating and deepening their understanding of the principles of nonviolence. That to him was the great lost opportunity. I find that was - I thought that was fascinating.
GLADWELL: Knowing all that he knows now about modern technologies and what he really, really wanted was more kind of thought and patience and sophistication in thinking about what they stood for.
ZAKARIA: Time now for the segment that makes you go, "What in the World?"
You'll often hear that the magazine market is fairly saturated. It's a tough industry to break into. One group thinks differently - al Qaeda. That's right. The terrorist group led by Osama Bin Laden.
Last year, their media wing debuted a glossy English language magazine called "Inspire." As we told you at the time, it had all the works, a letter from the editor, an index, feature stories, one of the articles was called "I'm proud to be a traitor to America." Another had instructions teaching you how to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom and so on.
Well, they're back. The marketing guys at al Qaeda have identified another gap in the market. They've got the want to be jihadist English-speaking male market covered. Now, they're after ladies who launch - launch terror attacks, that is. It's being dubbed "Cosmo for Waziristan." Take a look.
It's called "Al-Shamikha," which translates loosely as "The Majestic Woman." The cover story, "Meeting the Wife of a Mojahed". The crack (ph) team of GPS has been flipping through the glossy and translating some of the more interesting pieces.
Page 13, while "Elle" or "Cosmo" might have steps to a perfect tan, this one has steps on the path to Jihad. This article on jewelry tells Jihaddy Janes that they have the right to buy jewelry, but it says they must be willing sell it off to support jihad. Then, there are beauty tips. Avoid the sun, it says, which you can do if you minimize leaving home and so on.
The grooming advice aside, this is a magazine that's actively calling on women to support terrorism. Now, women have long been used as subversive, sometimes counterintuitive options to launch terror attacks. That's not new.
But basically, al Qaeda has now gone from conducting the most horrific terror attacks, September 11th almost 10 years ago, to launching fluffy magazines. It remains one of their desperate attempts to stay relevant.
The recent events in the Middle East, which have been completely overwhelming to al Qaeda have shown that regular Arabs want modernity, jobs and democracy more than they want an Islamic caliphate. Women are part of that yearning for change and for modernity. They played a key role in the changes that have taken place this year from Egypt to Tunisia. They continue to play a role in Bahrain and even in Libya.
If al Qaeda is trying to reach that particular market, Arab women and its best effort is this, advice on how to get hitched to a terrorist, it makes one wonder, the world must be a safer place. We'll be right back.
ZAKARIA: Is your internet feeling a little sluggish these days? Probably not, if you're in South Korea. Their broadband is fast and getting faster.
Which brings me to "GPS Challenge Question" of the week, by the end of 2012, every home in South Korea will have broadband which is how many times faster than the U.S. average? Is it, A) 2; B) 20; C) 200; D) 2,000.
Stay tuned. We'll tell you the correct answers. Go to CNN.com/GPS for more questions. While you're there, don't forget to check out our podcast. You can subscribe to it on iTunes as well. You wouldn't miss a show and it is free.
Now, our "Book of the Week" happens to be a picture book. We're going to give you a combo "Book of the Week" and "Last Look", two for the price of one, which is zero.
The book is called, "Don't Get Me Wrong: The Global Gestures Guide". And if you're a citizen of the world, which you probably are, if you're watching the show, you might want to take notes here.
The book is all about how different hand gestures mean different things in different places. For instance, here in the States, in you want two sugars in your coffee, you might make this gesture at the barista. But in many Northern European nations, instead of doing that, you would do this to signify "two." And that same gesture means eight in China. And the same hand signal with a little movement added means "not good" in Italy. Put those fingers on your forehead and it means "loser" in the U.K. and in Kenya.
Let's go back to Italy for a second. I would suggest being very careful with your gestures there. President George W. Bush and his wife Laura may very well have made some enemies out of married Italian men on Inauguration Day in 2005.
Why? Well, they flashed the cameras with the symbol of the Texas Long Horns, the "Hook 'Em Horns." In some parts of the world it's the symbol for "rock on." But, unfortunately, in Italy, it means your wife is cheating on you.
By the way, I realize for all of you listening to the podcast, none of what I said makes any sense because you can't see the images. So buy the book or watch the show.
The correct answer to the "GPS Challenge Question" was C. By the end of next year, every South Korean home is set to have broadband speeds 200 times faster than the U.S. average.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week. Stay tuned for "RELIABLE SOURCES."