Return to Transcripts main page
Fareed Zakaria GPS
Interview with Henry Kissinger; Two Experts Chime in on The World's Most Important Relationship
Aired June 09, 2013 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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 an important show for you today starting with the Sino- U.S. Summit. Henry Kissinger will tell us who China's President Xi Jinping is and what China wants.
Then, we have two great scholars to dig deeper on China and the U.S. How is President Obama handling this challenge?
And, in five days, Iran will go to the polls to elect a new president. Could a new president mean a new direction for that increasingly isolated nation?
Also, the protests that have set Turkey on edge, what is actually going on there? A report from one of the smartest voices in Istanbul.
First, here's my take. Some American commentators want summit meetings between China and the United States, such as the one in California this week, to turn into a kind of G2, a relationship of equal powers to manage the world's problems.
But that's not the way to think about this relationship. China is not the world's other superpower and we should not treat it as such.
China has always played a weak hand brilliantly. In February 1972 when Richard Nixon went to China and restored Sino-U.S. relations that had been broken for 23 years, Beijing negotiated as if from commanding heights.
In fact, China was in the midst of economic, political and cultural collapse and chaos. Its per capita gross domestic product had fallen below that of Uganda and Sierra Leone.
Now, today, of course, China has tremendous assets. It is the world's second largest economy and, because of its size, will one day become the largest. But power is defined along many dimensions and by most political, military, strategic and cultural measures; China is a great but not global power.
Its military spending, for example, is not even a quarter of America's. Perhaps, most crucially, it lacks, for now, the intellectual ambition to set the global agenda. The scholar David Shambaugh, who has always been well-disposed toward China, put it this way in a recent book, "China is," he wrote, "In essence, a very narrow-minded, self-interested, realist state, seeking only to maximize its own national interests and power."
"It cares little for global governance and enforcing global standards of behavior, except its much-vaunted doctrine of noninterference in the internal affairs of countries."
"Its economic policies are mercantilist and its diplomacy is passive. China is also a lonely strategic power, with no allies and experiencing distrust and strained relationships with much of the world."
Now, Beijing wants good relations with the United States and a general climate of external stability. That's partly because it faces huge internal challenges.
Chinese leaders want to embark on a serious program of reforms at home and they're searching for ways to generate greater legitimacy for the Communist Party of China, experimenting with both a return to Maoist rhetoric and a revival of nationalism.
Also, Beijing wants to rise without creating a powerful anti- Chinese backlash among Asia's other powers like Japan and India. For its part, the United States is right to seek good and deep relations with China. They would mean a more stable, prosperous and peaceful world.
Further integrating China into an open global system would help maintain that system and the open world economy that rests on it.
But this can happen only if China recognizes and respects that system and operates from the perspective of a global power and not that of a "narrow-minded" state seeking only to maximize its interests.
In other words, when China starts acting like a superpower, we should treat it like one.
For more on this, go to cnn.com/fareed, there is a link to my Washington Post column this week. And let's get started.
There is no American who has spent more time negotiating and meeting with the highest levels of the Chinese government than Henry Kissinger starting with his historic meetings with China's leaders in 1971 and '72 which opened the door to that country.
He has also probably spent more time with China's new president, Xi Jinping, than just about any other American. So who better to talk about the personalities and the possibilities between the two countries?
Kissinger, who turned 90 this week, was, of course, National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State under Richard Nixon. He now chairs Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm that works with American companies doing business in China and other countries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Thank you for joining us, Henry.
HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Great pleasure to be here.
ZAKARIA: You have been to China for 40 years, but you have also been over the last several months and you've met this new leadership. What about Xi Jinping particularly? What do you make of him?
KISSINGER: Xi Jinping is a strong personality, very thoughtful. And he, I believe, knows that he has to define a new direction for China, no matter how successful their previous efforts have been.
ZAKARIA: So what do you think this leadership is looking for from the United States, in its relations with the United States?
KISSINGER: The leadership, as I understand it, looks now for a period of stability. They know that they have formidable tasks in adjusting many of their domestic activities. And they don't want to complicate those by a crisis with the United States.
ZAKARIA: So people say that the Chinese are flirting with nationalism, that Xi Jinping while making moves on economic reform has also been stoking nationalism. Do you see that? Roderick MacFarquhar says, "This is their search for legitimacy."
KISSINGER: I don't think it is. You can say that they're stoking nationalism. Nationalism exists in China now. It is a unifying element with a decline of some of the communist methodology that used to be so dominant.
And any Chinese leader now has to consider what the nationalists' reaction will be so it has to be effective, but the question is, is he -- are they serious or is this a tactical device?
ZAKARIA: Are they serious about what?
KISSINGER: Serious about the fundamental question of trying to establish a relationship between two potential adversaries that avoids confrontation, but permits each side to continue with dignity to put through its own national objectives.
I think they are serious about making the (inaudible). We are similarly have to be serious because what is the alternative that we will do?
If it works well and both sides are lucky, then at the end of 10 years this may have become the habit that has transformed into national relations. If it doesn't work, each side will look after its own interests. We surely will.
And I am usually considered a realist and these talks should be conducted with the conviction that each side knows its interests, will try to protect its interests, but will try to adjust them to a vision that will bring a new approach to a situation that has never existed before.
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about the news of the week, what do you make of the departure of Tom Donilon and Susan Rice as his replacement?
KISSINGER: I would not have chosen this moment for such a fundamental change at the beginning of a series of meetings with senior foreign leaders.
The second thing I think Tom Donilon has done a superb job. Certainly, security advisor -- it's in many ways a principle -- maybe the key resource for the president. So one has to wish it every success and it should be given every opportunity from the outside to succeed.
ZAKARIA: The single question that the administration faces probably most urgently that is being pressed upon it is should the United States intervene militarily in Syria.
KISSINGER: Let somebody define for me a strategic objective for the United States. What is it we're trying to achieve? And, then, one can judge the various kinds of interventions in relation to that objective.
We've now had four wars we have entered since World War II. We've entered them with great enthusiasm, but after some measurable period of time, we found ourselves in a position where the public would not sustain the effort and where the only debate in the United States was to withdraw.
But, by definition, you can't undertake military interventions for which you have to withdraw at the end and you have divided the country.
Somebody has to explain what is it we're trying to accomplish, what is the outcome, what is the specific country (inaudible) and to remember not to get drawn into something whose consequences we don't understand fully and whose outcome we cannot manage.
ZAKARIA: You had your 90th birthday this week. Every living Secretary of State other than one was there, Bill Clinton was there, the former President of France was there.
So, after 90 years, what is the most valuable piece of advice? What's the lesson of turning 90?
KISSINGER: I'll give you an answer when I'm 95.
ZAKARIA: We will check in when you're 95, but probably before that. Henry Kissinger, thank you.
KISSINGER: Good to see you.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ZAKARIA: Up next, more on China and America. Let's forget all the rhetoric. What is really going on? We'll dig in.
ZAKARIA: Let's break through all of the rhetoric after the summit and ask, what is the real relationship between the United States and China these days, where do these two nations fall on the spectrum between allies and enemies and how is President Obama handling this challenge?
Joining me now, two of Harvard's finest minds; Joseph Nye is the former dean and now a professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and Noah Feldman is a professor of international law at the Harvard Law School. He's also the author of an extremely relevant new book called, "Cool War: The Future of Global Competition."
Noah, you say that relations between China and the United States are almost destined to get cooler, perhaps worse.
NOAH FELDMAN, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: The fact is that the U.S. remains the sole global superpower and it's not in China's interest for the long-term for that to be the case in the future. China wants, at least within Asia, for itself to be the regional superpower.
At the same time, what separates this from heading for a Cold War direction is that we're deeply cooperative with China. We still need to them to buy our debt and they still need us to buy their goods and that's going to continue to be the case going forward.
So we're both cooperating and competing at once.
ZAKARIA: Joe, this is a kind of strange, new world in that if you think about the Cold War, we had no trade relations with the Soviet Union, we actually sanctioned them.
So can you imagine a situation where the two -- the world's two great trading partners also end up with an adversarial military relationship?
JOSEPH NYE, FORMER DEAN AND NOW PROFESSOR, KENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: It could happen, but, on the other hand, there's strong incentives to keep it under control.
Because there's such interdependence between the two countries, I think there's a strong interest on both sides to keep this from getting out of control.
We're going to be able to manage this relationship if we don't succumb to neuroses and paranoia and that the Chinese don't succumb to hubris.
ZAKARIA: It's not rising in a vacuum and it's not rising in the Western Hemisphere, which was a kind of relatively calm place, it's rising in Asia.
And every time it rises, the Japanese get scared or angry, the South Koreans, the Vietnamese, the Philippines, the Indians, even the Australians. What does that look like?
FELDMAN: Well, I think the relevant strategic question is can those countries do anything about the fact that they're threatened by China.
And, you know, with the possible exception of a future Japan that armed itself in a more serious way, none of those countries really has anything like the military capacity to stand up to China. They are reliant upon us to stand up to China.
And here's where things get tricky because the cyber attacks that have been such a topic of discussion, both, presumably, in the summit and more broadly have really shown that you can close the military technology gap much faster today than you could have 25 or 50 years ago.
So in that world where they can really close the gap with greater speed, the countries in Asia have really little choice but to look to us and that put us on a potentially confrontational footing.
I will also just add that those other countries still have close economic ties to China and, in many ways, their ties are getting closer to China than they are to us.
So they're in a paradoxical situation, too, and that's what a cool war looks like where those countries are tied to us for security, but increasingly tied to China for their economies.
ZAKARIA: That's painting a picture of -- you know, of a fairly different world than the one we have now; one where there is a great deal of tension, potential hostilities and it could spiral downwards pretty easily.
NYE: Our relations with China are going to be, as Noah said, mixed. We're going to have some areas of competition, but there are also some areas of cooperation.
And if you want to manage a global financial system without a crisis, if you want to do anything serious about climate change, if you want to manage pandemics, you're going to have to cooperate with China.
So at the same time that there'll be competition, there'll be cooperation. I would say what we need as policy toward China is what I call a "Goldilocks" policy, not too hot, not too cold.
And sometimes that's hard to manage because of nationalism on both sides. But, so far, we've been able to do it.
ZAKARIA: Let me ask about one piece in specific, the cyber attacks. What would you do about the cyber attacks? NYE: I think the administration is doing the right thing, which is basically raised the level at which it's being dealt with. It's a major issue on the agenda.
By having it addressed first by the national security advisor, then the president, you're getting the Chinese to realize that this is serious and is top of our priority list.
It doesn't mean you're going to stop espionage. That's as old as humankind, but it does mean that you can mean have rules of the road as to how bad it is.
You know, in the past, the Soviet's had espionage, they got caught, you'd expel some attaches and so forth. We've got to do the equivalent with the Chinese that as they continue at the level they're continuing now, we've got to do some things that are costly.
But, at the same time, let's not be sanctimonious. If one looked at the streams of electrons, they go both ways.
ZAKARIA: What do you think?
FELDMAN: Well, we're doing it, too. I completely agree with Joe. But I also think that ...
ZAKARIA: But we're not doing economic espionage ...
FELDMAN: No, we're not ...
ZAKARIA: (inaudible) way.
FELDMAN: Exactly, but they don't have the intellectual property secrets that we want to steal.
ZAKARIA: Well -- and the U.S. government does not spy on behalf of General Electric.
FELDMAN: Absolutely right. In fact, we're probably trying to figure out through our spying mostly what they've stolen from us.
That said, I think we do need to identify a real lever that would actually put pressure on China to hold back here because, right now, it looks to me as though China doesn't really have a disincentive to continuing given that our trade relationship is so strong.
So, in the long run, what we need to do is signal that this close economic relationship actually can't be sustained in all of its closeness and openness provided that China continues to treat us, in some ways, as though we're on a cyber war footing.
ZAKARIA: Gentleman, thank you both very much, fascinating conversation.
NYE: Thank you.
FELDMAN: Thank you. ZAKARIA: Up next, What in the World. Despite all the dysfunction in Washington, there is an America that works. Where is it and why is it successful? My take when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Now, for our What In The World segment. In the past few weeks, we've all watched tornadoes hit Oklahoma. One of them was the widest tornado in U.S. history, ravaging an area longer and wider at points than Manhattan.
Now the state is out of the news. But away from the media spotlight, Oklahoma is rebuilding itself in a determined fashion that is characteristic of its spirit.
I got interested in Oklahoma's recent history because, the week before the tornado, I was asked to deliver the commencement address at the University of Oklahoma. And in preparing for it, I was struck by the state's recent revival of fortunes, one that gave me a lot of hope about America.
You see, in recent decades, experts were sure that the Oklahoma and the states around it that make up the Great Plains could not compete in a post-industrial age, that the area was becoming a wasteland.
But about ten years ago, the numbers started to show the opposite. In a smart report, the urban development writer, Joel Kotkin, points out that, "The Great Plains have outperformed the national average on population increase, on income growth, and in job growth."
We tend to think Americans leave the Great Plains for the coasts. But the data shows that since 2000, there has been a large net migration from southern California to Oklahoma City.
Look closely at Oklahoma's capital. Of the 49 U.S. metropolitan areas with more than a million people, Oklahoma City has the lowest unemployment rate of all. It has grown three times faster than San Francisco in the past decade.
Why is this happening? Well, there's no one answer, but it's not all about oil and natural gas. In part, the global economy has created new markets for agriculture. Oklahoma is very good at that. New technologies coupled with smart government regulation have spurred an energy boom in oil and gas.
And investments in good education programs, state universities for example, have set up a conveyer belt of well-trained managers and workers for manufacturing.
The revival of the Great Plains touches on another hopeful sign in America.
We all believe that America's politics is broken. And it is if you're looking at Washington. But as the great speaker of the House Tip O'Neill liked to say, "all politics is local," and at that local level, there is a revolution brewing.
It is what scholars Jennifer Bradley and Bruce Katz call a "Metropolitan Revolution." Cities and counties across the country are getting over political divides, partnering with the private sector, and revitalizing America.
Look at Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ambitious plans for Applied Sciences in New York, Rahm Emmanuel's Infrastructure Trust in Chicago, Denver's transit system, or the $7 billion in public and private investments that transformed Oklahoma City.
The "Metropolitan Revolution" is a much-needed reminder that America often works from the bottom-up. So when you despair about Washington, turn your gaze at a town or a city or a state in America that's getting it right, maybe take a look at Oklahoma.
Go to cnn.com/fareed for a link to the transcript of my speech at the University of Oklahoma, which I drew on for this report.
Up next, Iranians go to the polls next week to elect a new president. So, who's going to win and what will it mean for the rest of the world? We'll game it out.
CROWLEY: I'm Candy Crowley in Washington with a check of the headlines.
Police have identified the gunman in the Santa Monica, California shooting that left four people dead. 24-year-old John Zawahri killed his father and brother before carjacking a woman and opening fire on a public bus Friday. Zawahri was later killed by police at Santa Monica College. Sources say the gunman had a history of mental health problems and confirmed there is no link to domestic or international terrorism.
Two U.S. troops and an American civilian have been killed in Afghanistan in a suspected green on blue attack. The incident happened Saturday in the country's eastern Paktika province. The attacker, who was killed, wore an Afghan army uniform and opened fire during lunchtime.
At least 28 people are dead after clashes between protestors and a Libyan government backed militia in the city of Benghazi. The violence began Saturday when protesters attacked the militia's headquarters. Libyan authorities are calling for calm. At least 55 were injured in the fighting.
Signs of a thaw in tensions along the Korean peninsula. North and South Korea government officials today held their first talks in several years. Friday, the North reconnected a hotline between the two countries that it had cut in a dispute over its nuclear program. The two Koreas are scheduled to hold more talks later this week.
President Obama and China's leader Xi Jinping have wrapped up a two day summit that the president described as terrific. The two leaders met in Palm Springs, California on a range of issues. They agreed to keep up the pressure on North Korea about its nuclear program, work together to prevent cyber attacks and limit the production of greenhouse gases.
Those are your top stories. Reliable Sources at the top of the hour with Glenn Greenwald, the columnist who broke the story of the U.S. government's massive surveillance program.
Now back to Fareed Zakaria GPS.
ZAKARIA: Next week Iranians will head to the polls to elect a new president. The incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is ineligible to run, because he has already been elected twice. So who is likely to win? And what does it mean for Iran and the world?
I'm joined by two experts. Hooman Majd is the author of "The Ayatollah's Begs Defer" as well as "The Ayatollah's Democracy." And Karim Sadjadpour is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment. He was previously chief Iran analyst for the international crisis group. Welcome.
So Hooman, set the stage. What is the choice that an Iranian faces when looking at this array of candidates?
HOOMAN MAJD, AUTHOR: Well, I mean, there's eight candidates in the race, but probably two or three of them are the ones that are most likely to emerge as a winner. I think they have got a choice between continuing along the path that Iran has been on since 2009 certainly, but probably since 2005, and that's the Ahmadinejad very defiant -- the resistance path.
Or to pick someone slightly more moderate or even a lot more moderate, someone like the Cleric Hassad Rouhani, who is running who is a protege of Ayatollah Rafsanjani who was not allowed to run in this election, partly because of his support for the Green movement back in 2009.
ZAKARIA: And this is the sort of pragmatic wing of the...
ZAKARIA: Of the Iranian regime. Still very much a part of the regime...
MAJD: Part of the regime...
ZAKARIA: But pragmatic, worldly, thought to be quite corrupt in the sense of having lots of business dealings, but not the kind of hard liners.
MAJD: No the hard-line, yes, the absolute resistance to any kind of relations with the -- with particularly the United States, but even, you know, just the kind of resistance that Ahmadinejad has shown in the last eight years, it's like, the defiance of the international community, not worrying about the consequences, not worrying about the economy even, the consequences to the economy which affect voters' pocketbooks.
ZAKARIA: And on the other side is Jalili, who represents, in effect, really the continuation of that hard line strategy.
MADJ: Very much so. But even -- and less socially liberal than Ahmadinejad even and more pious than Ahmadinejad, and more of an -- has more of an allegiance to the supreme leader than Ahmadinejad has shown certainly in the last three or four years.
ZAKARIA: Karim, do these distinctions between these two strike you as important?
KARIM SADJADPOUR, SENIOR ASSOCIATE, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR PEACE: Not terribly, Fareed. I preface all of my comments by saying that Iranian presidential elections tend to be unfree, unfair and unpredictable. But this time around is more predictable in the past and that it's increasingly looking like it will be one man, one vote and that man is the Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader.
And I think what he's done is rig the candidates in advance. Eight candidates, all of whom he's okay with. And I would compare it somewhat akin to having a presidential election in the United States in which only members of the Tea Party can participate.
So there is diversity amongst the candidates. There is competition in that all of them want to be president. But none of the fundamental issues in Iran have been raised. You know, why are we supporting as Bashar al-Assad in Syria? Why are we spending billions of dollars in Syria when we could be spending that money at home? Why are we pursuing this retrograde nuclear program which has cost us over $100 billion in economic sanctions and lost foreign investment when we could be pursuing a more conciliatory global approach.
So those types of questions aren't being raised in this election.
MAJD: I would disagree with that. Actually they are being raised. Rouhani is one of the people, and so is RJ (ph), who has actually raised all those -- he's raised civil rights. He's even raised the nuclear issue. And if you look at his Twitter feed, you'll see where he has been raising it. And in his debates, he has raised that. He has raised the Assad issue. He said, you know, we should evaluate -- as has Rafsanjani as well.
So I do think there is a choice. I'm not saying it's a completely free and fair election like it would be in what we consider to be a democratic process in the United States or in the western world, but there is a choice. There is a choice that is a distinct choice. Now it may not be to the preference of many Iranian citizens, many Iranian citizens want to see much greater reforms, whether social, economic or political reforms. But it does represent a difference.
Now, whether -- there are a lot of questions to be asked here. Whether -- if Rouhani even is able to get some excitement into the campaign where people do come out and vote, the middle class particularly and the youth come out and vote, and if there is a huge turnout as there was in 2009 which at this point looks very unlikely. It seems like the streets in Iran are very quiet, there's not much campaigning going on. If that were to happen, will he be allowed to be proclaimed the winner.
So there are other issues, or what other obstacles are going to be put in his way?
ZAKARIA: What does that quiet tell you, Karim, because I'm struck by that, that there seems to be no protest about this very rigged set of candidates. The two candidates who seem slightly more unpredictable, Rafsanjani the 80-year-old doan (ph) of the kind of pragmatic movement, but also Mashaei, who was Ahmadinejad's deputy chief of staff who seemed sort of his own man and somewhat opposed to the clerical establishment at least, were both ruled out.
Does this mean that Ayatollah Khamenei, despite being what the longest serving dictator in the Middle East now, is completely in charge? The Green Movement has been crushed and is quiet?
SADJADPOUR: Fareed, I will say this about Iranian society, that in 1979 Iranians experienced the revolution without democracy. And I think today they aspire for a democracy without a revolution.
And so I think they've -- it's the society has reached an impasse in that they don't have -- they have revolutionary ends, they would like to see fundamental change in the same way that much of the Middle East would like to see, fundamental change, but they don't have the stomach to pursue revolutionary means.
And in this sense I think that what's taken place, especially in Syria, has actually had a dampening effect in Iran, because, you know, 100,000 people killed, a quarter of the population displaced. No one in Iran has an appetite for that type of tumult.
And I think Ayatollah Khamenei in some ways is taking advantage of that. So he's now set up a situation in which almost every single major institution in Iran, whether it's the Revolutionary Guards, the Guardian Council, the Assembly of Experts, all of these Byzantine bodies, are led by individuals who are either appointed by him directly or unfailingly obsequious to him.
And for that reason, I find it tough to believe -- and we'll see what happens, but I find it tough to believe that he will allow the presidency to go to an individual whom he's not totally comfortable with.
ZAKARIA: Any change on nuclear policy if Rouhani were elected?
SADJADPOUR: I think there could be cosmetic changes. You will have a president who wouldn't be denying the Holocaust and calling for Israel's demise. And frankly, Fareed, I think the person who may miss Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the most is Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, because he has to figure that, you know, if Iran is going to be continue to be led by the Supreme Leader, who is going to continue to have veto power over the nuclear issue and other major decisions, it's better to have an Iranian president who is very blusterous and rallies the world against Iran rather than a more moderate face like Hassan Rouhani who may cause the Russians, Europeans and Chinese to say let's have another shot at engagement.
ZAKARIA: Fascinating conversation. Thank you both.
Up next, protests in Turkey. We will go to Istanbul to make sense of what is going on. Right to Taksim Square.
ZAKARIA: When Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan came to New York for the UN general assembly in 2011, I interviewed him. I was struck by the prime minister's strong confident demeanor. He projected the image of a no nonsense leader who had the full support of his people. Erdogan had, after all, won three consecutive terms.
But last week, something changed in Turkey. Protests over plans to convert a park into a shopping center have escalated into something much larger. Broader calls against Erdogan's government. Why is this happening? Where is it headed?
I'm joined now by one of Turkey's top political analysts. Mustafa Akyol joins me from Istanbul, from Taksim Square where this all began.
MUSTAFA AKYOL, AUTHOR: Thank you so much, Fareed. It's a pleasure to be on this show.
ZAKARIA: Mustafa, is this the beginning of some kind of Arab Spring in Turkey?
AKYOL: I would not say that this is something that is similar to the Arab Spring, because the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt or elsewhere was basically a series of uprising against dictatorships. These were countries which never had free and fair elections.
But in Turkey, what we have is an elected government. We have a spring since 1950, if you want. I mean, there are free and fair elections in Turkey.
And Erdogan is elected repeatedly. But the problem is that the people who did not elect him, the people who do not support him, got growingly frustrated with some of his policies and also his rhetoric.
So I would say it is not a spring in the sense that Turkey has no democracy, but I would say it is the crisis of a not fully matured, not liberal enough democracy.
I would also say one more thing, the political culture in this country, we generally values confrontation rather than consensus, which loves defiant, strong leaders who never back -- take a step back, that is a part of the culture.
And Erdogan is someone who represents that culture. Some people love him because he never takes a step back, as he said in one of his recent speeches.
ZAKARIA: You don't see this, then, as fundamentally about kind of Islamization versus secularism, you see this more as the case of an elected leader who may have overreached his mandate, who is acting in an authoritarian manner? Would that be accurate?
AKYOL: I would say so.
I often say in my writings that Erdogan is not too Islamic. Maybe he's a bit too Turkish in the sense that he represents this elected authoritarianism tradition in this country. I mean, honestly some of the other center right governments in Turkey have acted the same way. And this led to other people on the left, or on the more secular side to go for the military, to save them in their own logic. But of course the military in this country did horrible things by launching military coups against elected governments and -- like torturing people and killing prime ministers.
That era is thankfully gone. I mean, the military is not in the picture and that's good news for Turkey.
But now, the more secular, or left wing part of society, which is generally in the minority, has to find a better way to compete with Erdogan and -- or whomever is elected and who is not on their side. And these protests -- I mean, vandalism left aside, there has been some vandalism, and for example, Erdogan's party headquarters were attacked and there was an arson in Izmir, in one city. Let's leave them aside, but the generally protests that we are seeing on the streets right now maybe is a step forward for Turkish democracy, because democracy on the one hand is election, but as President Gud emphasized again a few days ago, it's also about the right to have a peaceful assembly and peaceful demonstrations.
ZAKARIA: Bottom line, Mustafa, Erdogan is going to stay prime minister, is going to stay what he is now, which is the dominant political figure in Turkey. A few years from now, we will look back at this as a momentary blip?
AKYOL: We will see what happens. I mean, many people, including me, think that. If actually Erdogan takes a few steps back, if he just says, OK, I will revise my plans about the reconstruction in the square that you see behind me, Taksim Square, if he takes a few steps back in the symbolic issues, many think the tension will be diffused and Erdogan will keep on running the country in a successful way, because he's by most definitions he very successful in terms of the economy in also some liberal issues. I mean, he's the one who initiated the peace process with the Kurdish separatists, something that Turkish liberals have always dreamed, but no one dared to do.
So if Erdogan takes a step back, diffuses and listens to the opposition a bit, I think this will be a gain for Turkish democracy.
However, if he keeps pushing, if he remains defiant, angry people will get more angry and I think these protests will reemerge. And that will be bad, because Turkey I think in the past 10 years, he had an important achievement, a democracy, functioning democracy in a Muslim majority country with a market economy, even a sort of Muslim liberalism emerging as I try to explain in my book. But it will be bad if he really ruin this, because of this mutual anger and defiance and unwillingness to compromise.
ZAKARIA: Mustafa Akyol, fascinating report. Thank you so much for joining us.
Up next, the face of the modern protester. You saw it in Turkey and you've seen it elsewhere, but where does it come from? Stay with us.
ZAKARIA: This week's news about the changing of the guard of the National Security Council brought to mind the birth of that body. The NSC, the CIA, and a few other three letter acronyms were all created in the National Security Act of 1947, which brings me to my question of the week, which President was the first to have a National Security Adviser? Was it, a, Franklin Roosevelt, b, Harry Truman, c, Dwight Eisenhower, or d, Richard Nixon?
Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer. Go to CNN.com/Fareed for more of the GPS challenge and lots of insight and analysis. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Remember, you can go to itunes.com/Fareed if you ever miss a show or special.
This week's book of the week is Christian Karl's "Strange Rebels." 1979 and the birth of the 21th Century. The book explains how at the end of the 20th Century two coiled forces, religion and markets, sprung on to the world stage. China's reforms, Margaret Thatcher's rise, Ayatollah Khomenei's revolution, they all began in 1979 and have been shaping international life ever since.
Karl tells the story of that pivotal year and its consequences with intelligence, grace and lucidity.
Now for the last look. This has been become the face of the modern protester. We saw it on the streets of Turkey this week, worn masks by airline workers, but by many others, too. And in Thailand this week, too, covering the faces of anti-government protesters. They were used by the anti-austerity protesters in Greece, by the Occupy movement, by the protesters in Tahrir Square, by the mysterious hackers known as Anonymous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Greetings citizens of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: And the visage is apparently so frightening that this week the Saudi interior minister is said to have banned the masks all together in his country following in the footsteps of his neighbors in Bahrain and the UAE. What do you think? The likeness is that of Guy Fawkes, an explosives expert in the early 1600s in England who was part of a plot to blow up the state opening of the British Parliament. He is still burned in effigy in England every fifth of November.
But the credit for his worldwide resurgence in popularity is given to the film V for Vendetta, which was released in 2005 by CNN's corporate cousin Warner Brothers.
I doubt Guy Fawkes could ever have imagined as he died a torturous death, hung, drawn, and quartered, that 400 years later he would have so many doppelgangers so far flung across the world.
The correct answer to our question was c, while the National Security Council was created under President Truman, President Eisenhower was the first to have an assistant for national security affairs, commonly referred to as a national security adviser.
The first person to hold the position was Robert Cutler.
Thanks so all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week. Stay tuned for "Reliable Sources."