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Fareed Zakaria GPS

One-on-One with Henry Kissinger; Democratic Elections in China; Will Israel Attack Iran?

Aired March 11, 2012 - 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. We have a terrific show for you today. Our main event, Henry Kissinger. We'll talk about the Middle East, Iran, Russia, China, all the current hot spots, all places he knows well.

Also, is that the drums of war we hear? Certainly from some corners. How does the Iran-Israel showdown end? I've got a great panel.

I'll also bring you an amazing story. Free and fair elections in China. I'll explain.

But first here's my take. President Obama has been trying to cool down the war fever that suddenly gripped Washington earlier this month. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit and the flurry of statesmen surrounding it have created a dangerous dynamic.

It is easy to see how things move toward war. It is difficult to see how they don't. The pressure is building on Iran, but there are no serious discussions of negotiated solutions. Israel has already discounted the proposed new talks. Republican candidates will denounce any deal no matter how comprehensive the inspections.

So either Iran suddenly and completely surrenders or Israel will strike. And Bibi Netanyahu knows that the window presented by the U.S. political season is closing. If he were to strike between now and November, he would be assured of unqualified support from Washington. After November the American response becomes less predictable no matter who is elected president.

The clock is ticking. Before we set out on a path to another Middle Eastern war, let's remember some facts. First, Iran does not have nuclear weapons. And the evidence is ambiguous, genuinely unclear, as to whether it has decided to make them.

But what if Iran did manage to develop a couple of crude nukes several years from now? President Obama says a nuclear Iran would set off an arms race in the Middle East, but a nuclear North Korea has not led the two countries directly threatened by its weapons, South Korea and Japan, to go nuclear.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt did not go nuclear in response to Israel's build-up of a large arsenal of nuclear weapons. After all, Egypt has gone to war three times with Israel. By contrast, it has not been in a conflict with Iran for centuries so why would it go nuclear in response to Iran when it didn't in response to Israel?

Obama explained that a nuclear Iran would be a problem like India and Pakistan with their nuclear weapons, but India and Pakistan went to war three times in 30 years before they had nuclear weapons. Since they went nuclear, they have actually been restrained and have not fought a full-scale war in 40 years.

It's actually a case that shows the stabilizing, not destabilizing effects of nuclear deterrents. If Israel genuinely beliefs that deterrents doesn't work in the Middle East, why does it have a large nuclear arsenal, if not to deter its enemies?

Iran's weapons could fall in the hands of terrorists, says the president. But would a country that has labored for decades to pursue a nuclear program suffer huge sanctions and costs to do so then turn around and give away the fruit of its efforts to a gang of militants? This kind of reasoning is part of the view that the Iranians are mad and messianic people bent on committing mass suicide.

When General Martin Dempsey explained on this show last month that he viewed Iran as a rationale actor, he drew house of protest. But Dempsey was making a good point. A rationale actor is not a reasonable actor or one who has the same goals or values that you or I do. A rationale actor in economics or international relations is someone concerned about his survival and prosperity.

The one thing we know about Iran's leaders is that they are concerned about their survival. The question right now is not whether Iran can be rationale, but whether the U.S. and Israel can accurately reason through the costs of a preventive war and its huge consequences, and weigh those against the modest and temporary benefits of a military strike.

For more on this, you can read my column in this week's "TIME" magazine. Let's get started.

Everything old is new again. Many of the trouble spots vexing American foreign policy today -- Iran, Russia, China -- were just as problematic if not more so in the 1970s. That is, of course, when Henry Kissinger was secretary of state. I wanted to get his unique perspective on events today.

Welcome, Henry.

HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Always a pleasure to be here.

ZAKARIA: Let's start by talking about Iran because if we are to avoid a war with Iran, and maybe that's a good thing or bad, but if we were to avoid it, it seems we have to have some negotiated solution, and I'm wondering as somebody who had to negotiate with the Chinese at the time when the height of Mao's craziness, he was running revolutionary guerrilla movements against the United States around the globe. He negotiated with the Soviets about -- you know, negotiated with the Vietnamese at the height of the war.

How do we get there? Do you think there is a path forward that can get us to some kind of negotiated solution in Iran?

KISSINGER: I'm not against the principle of negotiation. In fact, I have practiced it when I had an opportunity. The question with Iran is not whether we should negotiate, but nearly three-fold. Can we conceive some time limit presented which this negotiation takes place? The second, can be a defined objective that really meets the need? And third, can we conceive that Iran will, as a result of all of this, join an international system in which they are a substantially responsible member? Those are the three aspects that seem to be crucial.

ZAKARIA: When you -- when you look at the situation with Iran right now, do you think that the situation is so dire that Israel would need to strike militarily in the next few months or even a year or year and a half?

KISSINGER: I think -- I am very uneasy with the so-called intelligence report that say we don't know whether they are actually working on nuclear weapons. I think we should start from the premise that they are undergoing all this in order to achieve a military capability. I don't think that is a disputable point. But the -- Iran is more isolated than it has ever been. So I can see why the Israelis would think that if they strike now Iran will not have a great deal of international support.

ZAKARIA: You were always very good as a negotiator at understanding that the other side had to get something as well as we -- our side getting what we wanted. How do you do that in the context of Iran now with all the domestic politics around it? Do you see what I mean? I mean of course, they have to make concessions but presumably we would have to, in some way, move as well?

KISSINGER: The argument -- the concern is the proliferating countries will always argue that they're under military threat and that they needed to protect themselves. And we should certainly be prepared to meet those concerns if in response to nuclear program is in fact irreversibly ended. And the second aspect is that --

ZAKARIA: Wait, but let me -- let me spell out what you're saying. You're saying if the nuclear -- if they end their nuclear weapons program and they want some assurances from the United States about this security -- if they want to kind of reenter the international community we should -- we should facilitate that.

KISSINGER: Yes. Now this government -- the current -- the ayatollah government in Iran has made hostility to the United States. The organizing principle of its intentions so whether they can bring themselves to do this or whether they can survive in the world that I have described. That should -- doesn't matter, but Iran is an important nation. It should find the place (INAUDIBLE) positions.

ZAKARIA: When we come back we're going to talk about Russia and China, and perhaps a little bit about the Republicans with Henry Kissinger.


ZAKARIA: And we are back with the only man who has been secretary of state and national security advisor simultaneously. A very good way of making sure there was no rivalry between those two positions.

Henry, you've met with Vladimir Putin probably more often than any senior American including any senior American official. You've had something like 20 odd one-on-one meetings with him. What do you think of Vladimir Putin? You were very good -- you know, if you look at your memoirs, one of the things that strikes me as always the portraits of people. Is he a thug? Is he a modernizer? Is he a -- kind of pro-Western, anti-Western?

KISSINGER: I want your audience to understand that when I meet with Putin, I always -- in any administration -- inform the White House first and I convey the substance of the conversation, and Mr. Putin knows this.

ZAKARIA: I think that may be one of the reasons he's meeting with you.


KISSINGER: Probably, could well be. I don't think he is anti- Western. He is, above all, a -- Russian patriot who feels humiliated by the experience of the 1990s, which were in the most formative period of his career. He is not anti-western. When I first met him, he was very anxious to have a kind of strategic partnership with the United States.

He is very resentful of what he interprets as intervention in Russian domestic affairs and even more, of course, in what he may interpret and does interpret as some American tendencies to support his political opponents in order to encourage his overthrow, so -- but I believe that a dialogue is possible and on specific issues he can turn out to be a constructive partner.

ZAKARIA: OK. So I've got to ask you about the Republican Party and its foreign policy and its candidates, because if you listen to candidates on the campaign trail now on issues like Russia, on Iran, on Israel, they're taking very strident positions, very tough in ways that, frankly, I think make it difficult for the United States to pursue a bipartisan foreign policy.

This is not a new phenomenon for you. The Republican Party in 1976, you know, the -- you know, Reagan road to power criticizing you. That was one of his -- one of the most spirited attacks he would make on campaign trails and in the convention.

Do you think that -- the Republicans right now are putting forward just campaign rhetoric, or do they actually believe what they're saying? KISSINGER: Well, I don't normally like to discuss political things on television or publicly. I will support the Republicans, but that doesn't mean that I support every argument that every candidate makes and when you mentioned Reagan, during the campaign he was advocating some things on China which were the antithesis of what Nixon and I had done, but even before he came into office, he asked me to send messages that he would stick to the existing commitments and as president he conducted a foreign policy that I totally supported, so I --

ZAKARIA: So you're saying although what they say on the campaign trail doesn't mean --

KISSINGER: I have confidence that the Republican candidates, the ones I know personally, that they will examine the issues from the point of view of Americans having responsibility for the security of the country and the future of the world. And then I think they will come to conclusions around which a non-partisan and bipartisan consensus has evolved over the decades and that, of course, there are specific points on which they may be no (INAUDIBLE), they have to be taken seriously.

But on the mainland of the foreign policy, as I described it here, I think there will be a consensus. Not on every tactical point, and so I'm quite confident, even though some of the things that are being said I would not have drafted.

ZAKARIA: You think it's just campaign rhetoric?

KISSINGER: I don't think it's campaign rhetoric. I think when you are a candidate the emotions of the moment and the emotions of you're advisors have one set of impacts. When you are in the Oval Office and you know that you are part of a history and that the -- that the lives of millions of people are affected, you take a more comprehensive look, and the point is not whether they agree with me, but on certain issues, serious people on both parties have studied them for many decades.

And while there is always a margin for change, there is rarely a margin for total reversal, and so in that sense I have every expectation that whoever emerges from the presidency will operate on that basis on either side.

ZAKARIA: Henry Kissinger, the one thing we didn't get to was China, and we're going to save that for another show. Always a pleasure to have you on.

KISSINGER: Good to be here.

ZAKARIA: Up next, what in the world real, clean elections in China. No, it's not a dream. I will explain.


ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. You rarely hear the words China and election in the same breath. You see, unlike the U.S., France, or Egypt, all of which do have elections coming up, China has a leadership transition this year. A planned event where handpicked individuals are promoted up.

But there were real elections in China last week. Of the people and by the people. A democratic vote with real ballots, real candidates, and real clean results.

Welcome to Wukan. It's a small fishing village in southeast China just a few hundred miles from Hong Kong. The story began a few months ago when the villagers of Wukan protested against a land grab. These are not so uncommon in China. Corrupt officials often snatch privately held agricultural plots and then sell them to developers for high prices. Protests are not uncommon either. It is said that tens of thousands of demonstrations just like this one in Wukan have taken place in China every year. Two-thirds of those are because of land disputes.

So what made Wukan different? For one, the people didn't give up. They were remarkably organized and holding noisy mass rallies and they drove out the local leaders who were complicit it in the land grabs. But what's unusual here is the response. The provincial government led by this man, Party Secretary Wang Yang, conceded to the villagers' demands. On his call the province returned some of the disputed farmland, released detained activists and allowed the villagers to hold their own elections.

All that led to these scenes last week. Six thousand villagers voting in an organized fashion. The media both local and western were allowed full access and the main winners were the same protesters who led the rebellion.

So democracy is possible in China. Wukan is now being talked of as a model for other Chinese villagers. The theory goes that a Wukan effect will sweep the country and create more uprisings making it harder for the government to crack down. That, in turn, will lead to a larger democratic movement at the highest levels of government.

I'm not so sure that's going to happen any time soon in China. For every Wukan, there is a Tibet. China's leaders know how to brandish an iron fist just as they know how to use a velvet glove.

The key here is to understand the way China functions. Villagers, where rebellions are most likely, fall under the rule of provincial leaders. These leaders are immensely powerful and with great levels of autonomy, so they make their own independent decisions on a case by case basis, but the idea that central command in Beijing would allow broader national move towards democracy is probably a fallacy. Try protesting a Tiananmen Square in central Beijing, and you'll see for yourself.

There is one larger potential trend here. Watch China's leadership transition later this year very closely. The top posts seem to be decided. But if reform-minded provincial leaders like Wang Yang make the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee, the group that actually runs China, then perhaps there may be a shift towards some loosening of controls. So Wukan is a heartening story, but remember one thing. Change in today's China is rarely bottom-up and sweeping in nature. If there's going to be change for now, it's going to be incremental and it will come from the top down.

We'll be right back.

Up next, will Israel attack Iran, and where does Washington fit in? I have an all-star panel. Right back.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Candy Crowley in Washington. Fareed Zakaria "GPS" continuous in a moment, but first, a check of the top stories.

This is video from the scene where a U.S. soldier opened fire on civilians in Afghanistan's Kandahar Province. The Afghan government says the soldier shot and killed at least 16 people. A NATO spokesman expressed deep regret and called the incident appalling.

The spokesman said the shootings were not a part of any military operation and that an investigation is underway. The soldier is in custody.

The U.S. special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, held a second round of talks today with Syria's president about a deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Annan met with Bashir Assad yesterday to lay out plans for cease- fire. At least 15 protesters have been killed in Syria today.

And another win for Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. The former Pennsylvania senator won the Kansas caucuses racking up twice as many votes as Mitt Romney who won caucuses in Guam and the northern Mariana Island.

The next contests are Tuesday when Alabama and Mississippi hold primaries while Hawaii and American Samoa have caucuses. Those are your top stories. Now back to Fareed Zakaria "GPS."

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave President Obama a gift in Washington this week. It was a copy of the book of "Esther," which tells the tale of a benevolent king who saved the Jewish people from an enemy who wished to destroy them, a Persian enemy, not very subtle.

So where does the Israel-Iran conflict end? I have an excellent panel to talk about that and much more. Daniel Levy is co-director of the Middle East Task Force of the New America Foundation.

Bret Stephens, of course, is the foreign affairs columnist for the "Wall Street Journal." Rula Jebreal is an Israeli-Arab journalist who has worked as an anchor woman in Italy and Egypt, and Elliott Abrams was deputy national security advisor in George W. Bush's administration. So Elliott, tell us what you think Netanyahu took back from his visit to Washington? What do you think -- how did he read the mood and what did he tell his cabinet when he went back?

ELLIOT ABRAMS, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I think he would have read the desire on the part of the president that he not bomb Iran, but I don't think things changed much during the visit.

He knew that it was the president's view. Certainly in the public discourse, the president did not offer him much more than he had previously done in terms of what the United States would do about Iran.

A slight toughening of the American rhetoric, but not enough, I would think, to change the fundamental Israeli view that they're probably going to need to take care of themselves.

ZAKARIA: But you don't think that by saying containment is not our policy. That was a big shift. That was a kind of unequivocal explanation that, you know, we are going to try to prevent this from happening. I thought that was further than either your administration or Obama had gone.

ABRAMS: Obama in 2009 used the p-word, prevent, and even in the state of the union message he was pretty tough. To say now, yes, it's good that he said containment is not an option.

But when you say things like it's unacceptable or it is my policy to prevent, that still falls short of saying this will not happen, and saying it to the ayatollahs as well. This will never happen.

BRET STEPHENS, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COLUMNIST, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, there are some subtleties here. First of all, there's an issue of timing. I think what the president really wanted from the prime minister was don't bomb between now and the first Tuesday in November.

I think there was an aspect of the political calculation. There's also a strategic nuance that's very important between Israel and the United States. For Israel an Iranian nuclear break-out capability is tantamount to a nuclear capability.

That's to say if the Iranians have part of their nuclear program here and another part here and another part there and can rapidly assemble it, that is -- that gives them a de facto nuclear capability.

The United States is saying that break-out capability isn't quite the same thing as being a nuclear power, and that's a distinction that I don't think a lot of people got except that fairly high levels of policy making.

But it's the distinction that matters most of all for Israeli decision makers pondering whether to strike, whether to strike Iran. Can they allow Iran to get to that break-out point, not the point where they can actually test a bomb? ZAKARIA: You are the only one here with an Israeli passport. What -- the two people with Israeli passports. Interestingly, the Israelis are, shall we say, a little less eager, as far as I can tell, to bomb than the Americans on this table. What do you think the people in Israel will take from this trip?

RULA JEBREAL, JOURNALIST AND NOVELIST: Well, the newspaper in Israel said yesterday that 58 percent of the Israelis today are against any decision or actually against any attack towards Iran without the U.S. backing it and without the U.S. actually starting it.

Israelis today are actually very worried about the economy in their country. Especially after the last summer we had huge protests in the streets for the high cost of living, and Netanyahu, you know, tried to calm down the things.

But the prices of living are becoming very high. Iranian issue is not the first concerns of the Israelis today.

ZAKARIA: Would you agree that most Israelis -- do you think -- I think what you are saying is that in a way Netanyahu is trying to change the subject from a topic where Israelis are really concerned, which is social unrest?

DANIEL LEVY, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: This is a fantastic distraction issue. Both in terms of domestic, social, and economic issues and, of course, in terms of internationally the Palestinian issue.

For an Israeli leader to come to the United States, make a load of speeches, not mention the Palestinians, a dramatic success in his terms for his right wing coalition. This is top-down driven. Not bottom-up inside Israel.

The kind of speech that the prime minister gave in Washington, holocaust analogies, everywhere, he hasn't made that speech in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. He was criticized for doing that. The opposition leader said it was scare mongering, it was hysteria, it was shameful use of the holocaust.

But I think the most important outcome of the visit this week is that the Israeli security establishment folks who are not enthusiastic about an Israeli solo mission, vis-a-vis Iran, I think they got the kind of assurances that they wanted to hear from the American president or enough of them.

Because the Israeli and American positions are actually rather close, ruling out of containment, ruling in at some stage of a military option. In fact, the critique that should be heard perhaps of {resident Obama's position is not that it's not hawkish enough.

But perhaps that given everything going on in the region, given that the Iranian regime is actually weakened now, we're not right sizing the Iranian threat.

We're not looking at how do you shift the balance by not focussing nuclear, by focussing on other issues?

ABRAMS: -- view of the Arabs with whom I speak in the Middle East and particularly the Gulf Arab --

LEVY: This is the non-elected, non-democratic don't have to that public Gulf Arab.

ABRAMS: And if you look at opinion polls, you know that opinion polls in those countries are very grim when it comes to their views of Iran.

LEVY: No, sorry. Opinion polls put the Palestinian issue first. America is a greater threat than Iran.

ABRAMS: These countries have people that are responsible for their security, and those people are extremely worried about the Iranian threat as is the president of the United States. Put yourself nicely to his left. That's fine. Our leadership is convinced that Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.

LEVY: It's also convinced that Iran has not made a decision to cross the threshold to get a nuclear weapon. That's what Dempsey said, the chief of staff.

ABRAMS: Whether they've made the decision yet, as long as they have the opportunity to make it next week. Then the question is what does the United States going to do about it?

JEBREAL: Let's listen -- we've already made this mistake, and I'm sorry, and I understand your position working with the ex administration. We made this mistake ten years ago. We didn't listen to the secret service.

We had confused information from the intelligence about Iraq. We had -- we went to Iraq. We spent trillions of dollars killing thousands of soldiers, American soldiers, and thousands of Iraqis, and in the end the outcome, they didn't have any weapons of mass destruction.

Plus, you are talking about Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Honestly, the -- if you go to the real Arab mainstream, the streets, and you ask the people shall we attack Iran, do you think today they don't have any sympathy for Iran after the Arab spring, but do you think really they would support that attack? I'm not sure.

STEPHENS: Part of the problem that you have here, if I may say so, is you are making this out to be an argument against shady intelligence sources, vis-a-vis Iraq. That dog won't bark because the argument you have is with the International Atomic Energy Agency and I'm sure you read the report --

JEBREAL: It was ambiguous.

ZAKARIA: They claim it's ambiguous. They say we can't certify because they're not cooperating. They do not say there's any kind of smoking gun. I'm going to take a break. When we come back, we're going to talk more about the potential war, but also the Palestinian issue when we get back.


ZAKARIA: And we're back with Daniel Levy, Bret Stephens, Rula Jebreal, and Elliott Abrams. Elliot, I was struck a piece in the "New York Times" this week pointing out that with all this talk about Iran.

And the way in which the subject has been -- as Dan was saying, redefined by Bibi, the Palestinian issue has just fallen by the wayside and the article described how the Palestinian leadership was almost kind of so marginalized they didn't know what to do.

ABRAMS: Well, it's true. If you look at the Obama-Netanyahu White House appearance together in the oval office, the word Palestine did not escape the lips of either man. Nor did it get mentioned by Netanyahu in his big APAIC speech.

I think this is partly because they're expecting not only the American election this year and a possible Israeli election this year. Nothing will happen until 2013. So I think there is a certain satisfaction that they're off the front page because if they were on it, they would not know what to do.

ZAKARIA: Dan, isn't it fair to say that Obama kind of miscalculated, whatever your position on the issue, he got out maneuvered by the Israeli government.

LEVY: Of course, opposing settlements which I think is what you are referring to is a position that every administration has taken. I think it wasn't that he made settlements an issue. The settle in numbers in the west bank alone have trebled since the beginning of the Oslo process.

This is an extremely serious obstacle to any potential of a future two-state solution. I think he didn't back it up by being able -- well, he didn't back it up by being able to win that argument with the Israeli prime minister.

I think that what you are seeing at the moment and this -- the president said quite clearly in his APAIC speech, this isn't about me being a supporter of Israel. I have given the military support. The Israeli says president said there's been unprecedented assistance under this presidency.

He said if you are going against me, either it's pure politics, or it's because you don't like the fact that I'm pursuing a two-state solution, and we have to recognize that this is a changing Israel and an Israel in which the majority of members of parliament of the ruling party don't support a two-state solution.

And you increasingly have a shrill debate inside the Jewish community where you have the majority -- people who represent the majority of American Jews, who have a liberal predisposition. The Tom Friedmans, the Jay Streets, the new Israel fund trying to walk a tight rope that says we're trying to save Israel as a democracy. We're trying to prevent what Israeli prime ministers have called a South Africa apartheid reality.

We need the help of the American president to do that because there are those of us who won't support apartheid, and imagine there are other people who will.

STEPHENS: That was a beautiful five-minute speech, and thanks for brooking no interruption, but I wish, Daniel -- I wish, and I say this as a guy who is on the other side of the debate.

That the -- it could be solved as easily by removing settlements because I think any serious person understands that if that were the only obstacle to peace, the settlements would have been gone long ago.

In fact, they never would have been put there in the first place. It would have been lovely to see Gaza turn into a showcase of what the Palestinians with their talents are capable of. They turn into a group of terrorism and a source for war.

That is why Israelis no longer believe, much as they would like to, that settlements are the primary issue here. This is a nice idea because it makes it easy, but the reality is not as easy as you would suggest.

JEBREAL: I am not sure that's how -- I'm not even sure that you ever have seen a settlement or how it works unless you have seen the facts on the ground. This prime minister, we remember, the heads of Israel is the one that actually destroyed any chance of two-state solutions.

And, you know what, Palestinians have to hold back and thank him because there would be only one solution, and that's one state for everybody. I'm not sure that one state would be a Jewish state in the future.

It will be -- that state will be demographically impossible to hold together, everybody, and it will be -- it will not be a Jewish state. One other thing, the Oslo agreement was signed in 1993. Since then, there are 200 settlements. There were 60.

He is right in saying that most of the steps that were made on the ground, look at even the wall. The wall -- the borders between Israel and Palestine are 380 kilometers. The length of that wall is 680 kilometers. What does that mean?

It's just about annexing more land. These are the facts on the ground. You don't like them. You like them. The problem is not only with settlements. With Gaza, you can't say, OK, I left Gaza, but then you left it so close that it became --

ABRAMS: It has a border with Egypt now.

(CROSSTALK) ABRAMS: He says the word terror. Terror built the wall. It was a wall for years and years and years after 1967, and Sharon built it when the second intifada was killing Israelis in buses week of week after week. We are not talking terrorists.

LEVY: There's a difference between building a wall on an internationally recognized armistice line and building a wall deep inside of the territory.

ABRAMS: It's the only country in the world that is under daily attack, rockets and missiles.

LEVY: It is not under daily attack, Elliot. It's not under daily attack. I'm delighted. The Israeli security establishment acknowledges it is not under attack.

ABRAMS: It's because of the wall you denounce and because of the wars you denounce. It's --

ZAKARIA: I want to ask one question to Rula because I was struck by one other piece in the newspapers, which was a controversy in Israel that the one Arab on the Supreme Court did not sing the Israeli national anthem. Do you think -- this caused a huge controversy. Now, you are an Israel-Arab.


ZAKARIA: Do you think it was OK for him? Do you think that his basic -- I think the basic view is that Israeli-Arabs are actually second class citizens in Israel, and so they have reasons to be -- to dissent, what do you think?

JEBREAL: I think the man was standing there respectfully holding his hand. He was listening to everybody else. He didn't attack anyone. He didn't feel like singing it.

It didn't represent his really deep value what the state should be and what it stands for, and he was attacked honestly because today in Israel you have to be -- like on this table, polarized either with or against. You know what, there's one side. We are all losers there today, all losers.

STEPHENS: Can I surprise you by agreeing with Rula. There's no question --

JEBREAL: Thank you.

STEPHENS: There's no question that Israel needs a new deal, a new compact between its Arab citizens and the majority. It needs a new deal also with its ultra orthodox communities. Israel is a democracy that has to do a lot of work to pre perfect its democracy like every other democracy.

That's a perfectly normal and healthy conversation for Israelis to have. They need to have more of it. That being said, my basic contention is that if it were -- if the character of the Palestinian state that comes into being is liberal and democratic, Israel is not going to have a problem.

If the green line is the 49th parallel, that is the line that divides the United States from Canada, there is not a problem. The issue that you have now among the Palestinians is not territorial. It is a state in which a party like Hamas with the charter that it has calling on the things that it has --

LEVY: It's a state that these people -- I'm delighted to use Barack Obama in suggesting that the 1967 lines should be the future line.

STEPHENS: I am saying that the --

ABRAMS: You just did.

LEVY: Excuse me. I'm happy with the 1967 lines if the state on the other side of those lines, the Palestinian state, is a liberal democracy.

STEPHENS: I'm with you.

LEVY: That has offered its minorities the same opportunities that Israel offers theirs.

JEBREAL: It's what people elect. Whatever people elect, that should be a democracy. Not what we suggest for them to elect. You know what, today we have to accept what Egypt is and what Syria is.

ZAKARIA: We are going to have to go. Daniel Levy, Bret Stephens, Rula Jebreal, Elliot Abrams, thank you. We will be right back.

You know that imitation is the best form of flattery. Up next, proof positive that the Chinese love us.


ZAKARIA: World oil prices are up around 10 percent this year, and here in the U.S. prices for a gallon of gas hovered around $3.75. Americans as they might say are freaking out, but how does that price compare to the rest of the world?

That brings me to my question this week from the GPS Challenge. What is the approximate price of a gallon of gasoline in Norway, one of the world's great oil producing nations? Is it, A, $1.50? B, $3.75? C, $6.60? Or, D, $9.90?

Stay tuned, and we'll tell you the correct answer. Go to for more of the "GPS" Challenge and lots of insight and analysis, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

This week's book of the week is by last week's guest Bruce Bartlett. It's titled "The Benefit And The Burden, Tax Reform, Why We Need It And What It Will Take." If you caught last week's show, you know Bartlett is in favor of a value-added tax, a VAT, and he lays out his case eloquently, but the book is much broader than that. Now, if you missed Bartlett on last week's show, remember, you can go to iTunes where you can get the audio podcast for free or buy the video version. Go to Now for the last look.

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, we should be very flattered, and by we, I guess America's movie poster artists. It seems China likes America's movies. Likes them a lot. Likes them so much that they sometimes use them quite liberally as guides for their own work.

Take a look. Here's the poster for the American movie "Daddy Day Camp." I somehow missed that film, but here three years later the Chinese movie. Is that head photo shopped on? How about this one? Valentine's Day in the U.S., and then "Hot Summer Days" in China. Our vantage point. Their "721."

In April 2010, American kids caught "Diary of A Wimpy Kid." Two months later China's "Welcome To Sharma Town," two different posters, two uncanny resemblances.

And, finally, this one, they not only seem to have taken liberties with the poster, but with a great American image. What's next? Mao crossing the Delaware? Thanks to the blog Off Beat China, a fun read for the great legwork on this story.

See more on our web site. The correct answer to our GPS Challenge question was, D, Norwegians are paying almost $10 for a gallon of gas, and Brits are paying just a little bit less. That is, of course, because almost all European countries have high gas taxes.

So even at $4 a gallon, Americans have very cheap gas compared with the rest of the world. Now, a quick programming note before we go. Next Sunday in addition to the regular show you are watching now, you can also catch a great new GPS special about how to fix America's health care system.

We travel around the world for ideas. It's called "Global Lessons" a GPS road map for saving health care. It airs in North America at 8:00 and 11:00 p.m. next Sunday, March 18th.

Go to our web site for international air times. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week. Stay tuned for "RELIABLE SOURCES."