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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Not the Time for Big Sticks; Interview with Bill Clinton; Will Germany's Merkel Practice What She Preaches?

Aired September 22, 2013 - 10:00   ET


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS, the Global Public Square. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria. We have a very special show for you today, an important exclusive interview with Bill Clinton, on the plan to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.



ZAKARIA: On President Obama asking Congress to approve a Syrian strike.


CLINTON: I don't think he had to go.


ZAKARIA: On America's dueling political parties.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You got to give it to the Republicans.


ZAKARIA: And on his family's future in politics.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would never discourage her. I think it is still a noble cause.


ZAKARIA: Plus, a European country where unemployment is at a 20- year low and the stock market is hitting record highs. No, this is not fiction. It is not Monaco. I will explain where this is.

And the symbolism of the one-fingered salute is understood around the world, but there is a powerful new sign of protest in Egypt, the four-fingered salute. I'll explain.

But, first, here's my take. When the Obama administration was selling its case for military action against Syria, it used every argument it could come up with, from preserving international norms to preventing another Holocaust. Most of these were exaggerations or bad history, but one could have dangerous consequences for U.S. foreign policy.

Almost every senior U.S. official, President Obama, John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, asserted in some way that we had to act militarily in Syria to preserve U.S. credibility with Iran.

Now, a mountain of scholarship in international relations shows things don't work that way. Countries know that what you might do in one situation says very little about what you might do in another, different situation.

In other words, you really don't need to attack country A to let country B know that you're a tough guy.

Now, this has been a particularly bad time for Obama officials to thump their chests about credibility because for the past few months, the Iranian government has been sending remarkably conciliatory signals.

These started with the election of Hassan Rouhani as President, a repudiation not simply of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but also of the ruling Iranian establishment.

During the campaign, Rouhani vigorously attacked the previous administration for being unable to come to an agreement with the international community and ease the sanctions against Iran. "It is good to have centrifuges running, provided people's lives and livelihoods are also running," he said in a debate, to great applause.

Since his election, President Rouhani has been sending conciliatory signals every few days. He has exchanged letters with Obama. A Sept. 4th tweet from a Twitter account said to belong to the Iranian President wished Jews everywhere a blessed New Year.

Germany's Der Spiegel has reported that he is prepared to shut down the Fordow nuclear-enrichment plant altogether in return for a relaxation of sanctions.

Of course, Rouhani is not the man actually running the country; that's the Supreme Leader, Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, who is deeply anti- Western and anti-American. But Khamenei is also a smart and sophisticated politician who wants to stay in power by limiting internal discontent.

And so, on Sept. 17th, Khamenei said Iran would engage in "heroic leniency" to try to come to an agreement with the international community. He also affirmed, "When we say that no country should possess nuclear weapons, we ourselves are definitely not trying to possess them." Now, of course, this could all be camouflage and smoke screen. But there is another possibility. The international sanctions against Iran are hurting that country badly.

Its support for Bashar Assad's brutal regime in Syria is costing money and arms every month and has tarnished its legitimacy at home. The Arab Spring, for all its problems, has put the spotlight on Iran's Supreme Leader, who has been in power for 24 years, unelected of course.

One of the chants heard in Tehran two years ago was "Mubarak, Ben Ali, now it's time for Sayyid Ali." That's Khamenei. In these circumstances, coming to a deal with the West, defusing some tensions, easing the sanctions and reviving the economy would be extremely useful to the regime in Tehran.

At the very least, it would be worthwhile for the Obama Administration to come up with a reasonable offer that would signal to the Iranian people that if the regime is willing to credibly forswear nuclear weapons, ordinary Iranians will have a brighter future.

But it has difficult to sound reasonable while you are beating the drums of war. Let's hope that will now change.

For more, go to, you can read my Time column this week. Let's get started.

We'll spend most of the hour today with Bill Clinton, who, this week, will open the Ninth Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative which has done ground-breaking work to lower the cost of drugs available to the world's poorest people, among its many initiatives.

I sat down with the 42nd President of the United States at his offices in Harlem earlier this week and he spoke candidly about the topics of the day; Syria, Snowden, Larry Summers, the American economy, politics and, of course, the possibility of another President Clinton in the White House.

Listen in.


ZAKARIA: President Clinton, you've seen the agreement that the United States and Russia have reached on Syria, you've heard some of the criticisms. What do you think of it?

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First of all, I think if it is implemented, a big IF, it is a good thing. And I agree with the president and Secretary Kerry and everybody else who has been involved in this that the United States needs to stand strong against chemical weapons, against the proliferation and use of them.

We ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention when I was president. It passed 74 to 26 in the Senate, had big bipartisan support. The effects of chemical weapons are horrid as we have documented in these pictures.

The United Nations issued a very strong report and the Secretary General says there's no question that sarin gas was used on people in the larger Damascus area and elsewhere. So, I think it's a good thing to do.

Now, there are some who say well, you know, this gives the initiative to Putin. And who cares how it came up? John Kerry got asked, "Well, what can we do to stop you from bombing?" And he said "make the problem go away."

So Putin says "OK, I'll do that.: And so they say well, this puts Russia in a position of leverage and it guarantees that Assad is going to be in power for a while longer.

That's a separate issue. But there is inherent and enduring benefit in taking a step that has the potential to rid the world of these chemical weapons because it's going to be difficult for anybody else to use them if this happens.

Now, we're a long way between where we are today and whether this happens, but it's worth doing.

ZAKARIA: Let's go to that separate issue. You said the issue of Assad's survival. Should the president have stated two years ago that Assad has to go?

Should the United States have an active policy perhaps in some ways that verges on military assistance that is designed to produce regime change in Damascus?

CLINTON: The United States does have a policy and it was started back when Hillary was still Secretary of State opening the talks in Geneva. But Assad has no interest in going to those talks as long as he thinks he is certain to survive.

I supported, two years ago, the proposal that Hillary and Secretary Panetta and then CIA director, General Petraeus, made to give more robust armed support to the Syrians.

But I well understood why the president was reluctant to do it because, as you see in Libya, there's still lots of militia groups there who like America.

On the day our ambassador and the other State Department employee were killed in Benghazi, the ambassador was still the most popular foreigner in Libya. Libyan citizens marched on the headquarters unarmed of two of these militia groups who forced them to disarm. But it's chaotic.

So, I get why the administration's been reluctant to do that, but I think this renewed determination to get arms there, which has not been challenged. We have not been asked to back off of it and Russia can't because they're flying lots of arms in to the Assad regime.

Give them a chance to keep the conflict going and, as cruel as that sounds, that's the only shot we've got for a negotiated settlement, trying to make sure that we balance up the forces a little bit.

So, I support what is apparently being done to do that. I'm glad that we're now supporting the groups that are friendly toward the West. Maybe the al-Qaeda-related groups will get some of the weapons we're sending to the people we think are more responsible, but I don't see any alternative.

I think this two-track that we're on is inevitable. It doesn't require any boots on the ground. It doesn't require us to put our airplanes in the sights of the world's fourth biggest air defense system.

And there may be going on things that I don't know about because I don't take security briefings unless they ask me to. So -- but I -- in general, I support the two tracks that I think the administration is on; trying to make sure the rebels have sufficient arms so that they're not run out of the country because that means no peace process.

But, ultimately getting back to the peace process in Switzerland.


ZAKARIA: There's lots more coming up in my exclusive interview with President Clinton from why he says you have to give credit to the Republicans to why he wouldn't discourage Chelsea from entering politics.

But, first, President Obama's decision to ask the U.S. Congress for approval to strike against Syria.




ZAKARIA: Back in a moment.


ZAKARIA: On December 16, 1998, the United States, with Great Britain, began a blistering bombing campaign to strike a blow against Saddam Hussein's attempts to produce and stockpile weapons of mass destruction.

The president did not go to Congress for authorization or approval. That president was William Jefferson Clinton.

So, how did he feel about President Obama's decision to go to Congress on Syria to seek its approval. I asked him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ZAKARIA: Mr. President, did the president need to go to Congress for authorization for what sounded like two or three days of cruise missile strikes?

You didn't go to Congress to do Desert Fox, which was four days of strikes against Iraq. The president didn't do it when he launched a seven-month campaign against Libya.

So, was it a diminution of presidential power?

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No. I think that he was not required to go because Syria was clearly in violation of international law. Even though they didn't sign on to the Chemical Weapons Convention, there was an international pact against chemical weapons going back nearly 100 years as a reaction to what happened in World War I.

So, I don't think he had to go, but I think he believed that, first, there were partisan divisions in the Democratic Party and the Republican Party; that is he had strong support within the Republicans for doing something, Senator McCain, Senator Graham, some of the Iraq War veterans in the Republican House Caucus.

And he knew he'd have some opposition in the Democratic Party. I think after he saw the debate in the U.K. even though you might say well, that ought to frighten anybody off. You know, he had a parliamentary majority and Mr. Cameron didn't -- couldn't deliver it.

I think it made him think, you know, this is something the country ought to do together. We can't pretend that this is not important. And I think he thought it would give him an opportunity to convince people that we weren't send soldiers and we weren't going to fly our airplanes into the air defense systems; that is, they wanted to take action with rockets and missiles.

ZAKARIA: But if ...

CLINTON: But there are always bad consequences so I think he did. Now, whether that was right or wrong, there's no question that it had one positive impact.

The Russians and the Syrian knew that he wanted to bomb them and they knew that he might bomb even if he lost in Congress ...

ZAKARIA: But this issue might come up again because if the this agreement falls apart and if the president asks the Congress to come back and give him some kind of approval if not authorization, you may still have a situation where the Senate votes yes and the House votes no.

Do you think the president could use force in those circumstances?

CLINTON: I do. First, I think the Senate is generally viewed as the more important body on these things and the Senate has to ratify treaties, for example, under our Constitution. And, secondly, he does have some international law to fall back on because of the chemical weapons issue.

But let's cross that bridge when we come to it. Right now, we have a situation in which Mr. Putin and President Assad, they m y think that they've dodged a bullet, but they've also stepped into the arena of accountability with people who are not naive.

And that's I think what we want for everybody. We shouldn't want to escape accountability and they shouldn't. Getting them into the arena of accountability and raising the prospects we won't have to look at pictures of those kids and what they went through with those chemical weapons, murdering them, that's worth doing.

ZAKARIA: President Clinton, do you believe -- when reviewing this whole business of Edward Snowden and the revelations, do you believe we've crossed a line in terms of government intrusions on privacy for security?

Do you think we need to have a kind of a national conversation or some kind of a real comprehensive overview and say to ourselves, you know, we may have gone too far, we've got to reign this back in?

Or are we, broadly speaking, the right place?

CLINTON: Well, both things could be true. That is, I think -- I was talking to a friend of mine who was in this tech business. He said, "I'm a civil libertarian who's not a Luddite." That is, he said I believe we have to try to protect ourselves and we have to use big data to do it.

The stated policy which is that we are going to look for patterns in telephone calls, patterns in e-mails, patterns in communications, but, in the absence of some evidence to tie you or me or anybody else to terrorist groups, the underlying messages would not be penetrated.

We now know that's not exactly the case. And it's interesting, we -- and we know that this Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has done a better job than we thought.

That is that they've tried to be vigilant about this and that the NSA or other agencies apparently inadvertently went beyond what the court had authorized them to do.

It's a good thing that we know this and I would encourage more disclosure on the procedures not the details, but the procedures. I think it would be a good thing for the American people to have a debate on this.

I suppose we have to wait for a little of the smoke to clear over Syria and some of these other things that are being debated now, but we have to use big data, we have to protect privacy.

I think it would be a good thing if there was just a little more transparency about the decisions of this court and because they clearly have tried to do a good job.

And they were clearly disturbed when they found out that even though it may have been unintentional, the government went beyond on a couple of occasions what they had authorized them to do.


ZAKARIA: Much more to come with Bill Clinton, including why this ultimate Democrat gives some credit to the GOP.

But, before we get to that, a major world economy is at the polls today, but the big areas of contention between the parties aren't Syria or the economy. Instead, the public is debating whether to dedicate a day of the week to vegetables.

What in the World ...


ZAKARIA: Now, for our What in the World segment. Imagine if we had national elections this week. There would be no shortage of big debates over the deficit, taxes, Obamacare, the size of government. You name the big topic, and our two parties would have a big disagreement.

Contrast that with another major country which actually is at the polls today. The hot topics there are whether or not to have one day of the week set aside for vegetarianism, whether or not mothers should pick subsidized childcare over keeping their kids at home, or get this one: whether or not foreign motorists should pay tolls.

Seriously? Where in the world is this wondrous country with no real problems? Well, it's one of the world's largest economies, and Europe's largest: Germany.

Part of the reason why Germans are debating mundane issues is because, unlike in the rest of Europe or indeed much of the rest of the world, the overall picture is quite rosy.

Unemployment is at a two-decade low. The main German stock market, the DAX, is trading at record highs. Economic sentiment is at a three-year high. Growth is coming back. Chancellor Angela Merkel is popular as the mother hen who is presiding over this house at peace with itself.

Germans also applaud her for dealing well with Europe. Despite all kinds of dire predictions, the euro has survived. The Economist recently ran this cover about Merkel, "One woman to rule them all," referring to her influence in Europe. Forbes has called her "the most powerful woman in the world."

Merkel has taken important steps to help Europe's struggling economies, spending tens of billions of dollars directly and indirectly on them. On the other hand, Merkel has imposed austerity on much of Europe, which has been excessive and counterproductive.

Her argument is that it is the only way to get governments like Greece and Italy to become more competitive. Now here's the irony. That's not how Germany reformed its own economy. Exactly a decade ago, her predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, passed a major package of reforms called "Agenda 2010." Taxes were cut, restrictions were placed on unemployment benefits and companies were given more freedom to hire and fire workers.

But this was not coupled with massive cuts in government spending. Maybe that's why those reforms worked much faster in restoring growth than what Europe is attempting right now.

Another irony is that Merkel was at the time the leader of the opposition and yet those very reforms that Schroder passed have given her government a huge advantage over other countries. But that will not last for long without the next generation of reforms.

You see, Germany is an aging country. According to U.N. projections, by 2050, the percentage of Germans over the age of 65 will increase by half. Nearly one-third of Germans will be retirees.

As a result, pensions and welfare spending will increase dramatically, health care costs will soar. Meanwhile, productivity will decline. Germany's population is expected to shrink by about 10 million people by 2050.

France's population, by contrast, will increase by nearly the same amount. All of these factors will likely result in France becoming a bigger economy than Germany within a single generation.

Low fertility rates are, of course, part of the problem for Germany. But it also has very low rates of immigration. Remember, Germany is one of the more difficult cultures to assimilate into.

Merkel can do more to forestall these problems. For all her skills though, she has long been a very reluctant reformer. If she gets a third term, as is widely expected, she will need to become bolder and enact just the kind of reforms she wants the Italians, the Irish, and the Spaniards to do.

I wonder if there's a way to say "practice what you preach" in German?

Up next, more of my interview with Bill Clinton, the former president on the future of the Democratic Party.


CLINTON: I still believe that if we stay together, we're going to have a good long time where we can win the White House. I'm far more worried about something mundane.


ZAKARIA: What exactly is he worried about? Find out just after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Candy Crowley in Washington with the latest on this morning's breaking news. An ongoing hostage crisis after a terrorist attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. About 30 hostages and an unknown number of gunmen remain in the five-storied building. Officials say the attack left 59 people dead, at least 175 injured. Just now Kenya's president revealed his nephew and the young man's fiancee are among the dead. The building is surrounded by Kenyan forces, also Israeli special forces are on the scene at the Nairobi mall and working with their Kenyan counterparts on the hostage crisis.

It's been about 17.5 hours since the attack began. About 1,000 people managed to get out safely, some after hiding for hours. And al Qaeda-linked Somali group claims responsibility. For more on the terrorists, let's bring in CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto. Give just some perspective for us.

JIM SCIUTTO, CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, al Shabab started as an internal threat in Somalia, but it's clearly become something bigger than that now. It has an intent and now clearly an ability to strike outside of Somalia in these spectacular terrorist attacks choosing this mall, a place where internationals gather as a perfect place to get our attention, right? As all terrorists do. It's tied to al Qaeda. It's essentially become an affiliate, subset area of al Qaeda. And it has similar tactics. Anti-western. Brutal. Another thing of concern to Americans, they've had a good history of recruiting American members from the Somali- American community in the U.S., by some estimates up to 50 members, one of their senior leaders, until recently he was killed in an internal dispute, was someone from the southern U.S., an American Omar Hammami.

So, of course, the worry is do they attack American interests abroad. Nightmare scenario that they can get one of these guys into the U.S., that's not considered an immediate threat, but U.S. -- U.S. interests abroad certainly. And one other point, the Kenyans have been doing a good job of bringing these guys under wraps in the last couple of years. This is a worrisome sign that they are having a comeback.

CROWLEY: It is worldwide sign of not good things, Jim Sciutto, our national security correspondent. Thank you so much. Back to Fareed Zakaria, GPS.

ZAKARIA: One week ago Larry Summers withdrew his name from contention to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. Summers tenure as Treasury Secretary under President Clinton is part of the controversy surrounding him. So what does Clinton think about Summers and his decision and about the new contender in chief, Janet Yellen. Listen in.


ZAKARIA: Are you disappointed that Larry Summers has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Fed chairman job? CLINTON: Well, he's a friend of mine. And I think that a lot of the criticism for which he's been subject about what he did in my administration is not accurate. I also consider Janet Yellen a friend and I think she's shown good judgment. She's done a fabulous job at the Fed. She was really good at the Council of Economic Advisers when she worked in our administration. I think she would be great if the president chooses to appoint her. But I think there's this kind of cartoon image that's been developed that somehow Larry Summers was a one-note Johnny just trying to let big financial titans ravage the land and it's just ludicrous. I mean he played a central role in helping President Obama use the power of the government to try to bring the economy back. When we were on the brink of just sliding into depression when he took office. When he worked for me, he played a central role in implementing much more balanced policies than have been let on where we had more private sector growth, but we also had good sensible regulatory oversight.

I think that he and Janet Yellen -- I was actually thrilled when I heard that president was down to two choices of two people I knew, liked and, you know, Janet's judgment at the Fed has been good. She's been right on everything that's happened in this whole aftermath of the financial crisis. So she gets the job, I'll be thrilled too.

ZAKARIA: President Clinton, when you look at the reaction that so many Democratic senators had to Larry Summers and you look at the election of Bill de Blasio and the kind of rhetoric he used in the primary for the mayorship of New York. There are couple of very smart commentators who have written this is the end of the Clinton Democrats. This is the end of that turn that you made the Democratic Party take toward the center and this is the reaction. This is the new much more liberal Democrat.

CLINTON: Well, first of all, there's probably something to that. America is growing more liberal culturally and more diverse. But again, let's not get carried away here. I ran on income inequality in 1992. When I was the governor of my state, I took 25 percent of the people out from under the state income tax. The bottom 25 percent. In my first congressional session, we raised taxes on high income people, on corporations, we cut taxes on the working poor, we eliminated the tax deduction for lobbying for corporations, we tried to put a cap on the tax deductibility of executive compensation. And that didn't work, but we tried.

What happened? The American people gave the Congress to a group of very conservative Republicans. When they passed bills with the veto proof majority with a lot of Democrats voting for it, that I couldn't stop, all of a sudden we turn out to be maniacal deregulators. I mean, come on. I know Senator Warren said the other day, admitted when she introduced a bill to reinstate the division between commercial and investment banks, she admitted that the repeal of Glass-Steagall did not cause one single solitary financial institution to fail. Canada did a fabulous job in this financial crisis. And they have always allowed banks to issue securities and make loans. Why? Because they have good capital requirements, good transparency, good regulation. That's what's at issue. So I think we need to just calm down -- there's not as much difference in the Democrats as people think. And I still believe that if we stay together, we're going to have a good long time when we can win the White House. I'm far more worried about something more mundane.

ZAKARIA: Win the White House with who is the ...

CLINTON: Whoever we nominate. I'm more worried about a more mundane problem, which is that we have not succeeded in persuading people to vote in the off-presidential years in the same numbers as they do in the presidential years. Now, that's something we have to do. If we don't do that, we're going to have trouble. Just like we are today.

ZAKARIA: So you're not worried about the Democratic Party?

CLINTON: No. We've got a lot of good people in the party. We've got a lot of good ideas. But I think you got to give it to the Republicans. They have a much more reliable media base. And they just say no. They know what they want. They want power to cut taxes, eliminate regulation, take government down except for what they like and they can fill the atmosphere with a lot of static. When you're trying to get something done, it requires a much more deft strategy, because you have to explain what you're trying to do. And it's a little tougher for us, but I feel pretty good about where we are and where we're going.

Demographically, the country is moving toward not liberal, but communitarian solutions, we're all in this together solution. That's the sort of -- we have announced that as sort of the founding value of our foundation, and I think that has to be the founding value of the country. To preserve individual liberty and even allow the most libertarian influences of the Tea Party. We still have to recognize that we have some things in common we have to do together.


ZAKARIA: Coming up next, President Bill Clinton can't have four more years. On the other hand, there are not just one, but two potential future President Clintons. I asked him about both possibilities.


CLINTON: I would always want her to do what she wanted to do. What makes her happy. What makes her feel fulfilled.


ZAKARIA: Was he talking about his wife there or his daughter? Find out when we come back.


ZAKARIA: This coming week is a big one in New York. It's the Super Bowl of foreign policy. The United Nations General Assembly. But it's also becoming known for another big meeting. The Clinton Global Initiative. The program brings together world leaders, business titans, NGOs, philanthropists to try to find solutions to the world's problems. CGI says that it's able to document an astonishing 400 million people, whose lives it has been able to help in less than a decade. In recent years, President Clinton's famous family members have taken a larger role in his foundation. I asked him about that and about the political futures of both Hillary and Chelsea.


ZAKARIA: President Clinton, you renamed your foundation and you've added your wife Hillary's name, of course, but also Chelsea. What does all of that mean?

CLINTON: Well, first of all, it reflects the reality that it's a joint enterprise now. Chelsea has been very active for the last couple of years and she's helped us reorganize the foundation and try to put it on a sounder operational footing. Making it the kind of thing that can last beyond my ability to, you know, oversee the thing on a daily basis and raise all the money every year, and all of that. She is just -- she's very good at all of that. And she's the only one of us that has any training in public health. She has got a masters in Columbia -- from Columbia in public health and about to get her Ph.D. at Oxford. So, she's -- this is her area. Hillary is bringing significant new projects to the foundation, especially this Too Small to Fail initiative for child development, and she was the youngest person ever to chair the Legal Services Corporation when President Carter was in office, so she's almost like coming home for this. And I wanted to rename the foundation, because it's really a joint enterprise, and because it's part of my determination to see that it lives beyond me.

ZAKARIA: But that implies, and you can see that this gives me an opening to ask -- that implies, perhaps, that she will be staying actively engaged in the foundation for the next few years. And I'm wondering, do you have a sense as to whether that will be true or whether she has other plans?

CLINTON: I don't. Somebody may know, but I don't. I'm not one of the people who does.

ZAKARIA: When you look at her poll numbers, can any other Democrat even get into the race? I mean how would you raise money when you have -- I don't think I've seen numbers like this -- close to 70 percent Democrats say they would vote for her.

CLINTON: Well, I think partly that's because she served well as secretary of state. And because people across the political spectrum finally got to see her the way those of us who know her see her. And, you know, when you -- when I was president, and, she, like me, was subject to long line of relentless criticism and she did it in the Senate. And she made a lot of friends in the Senate among Republicans as well as the Democrats and people in New York liked her across the political spectrum. It was the first time the country had ever gotten to see her as somebody who just what you see is what you get. She shows up for work every day and gets stuff done. And is very strong about it. I think that -- but these polls don't mean much now. We're a long way ahead. I think she would be the first to tell you that there's no such thing as a done deal ever by anybody. But I don't know what she's going to do.

ZAKARIA: And Chelsea. I mean she's a remarkable accomplished young woman, but there is also -- there's also talk that she might want to run. And I'm just wondering as a father, you have got -- you've seen the highs of politics, but you've also seen the lows that you said you have been subject to relentless attacks and you didn't have to deal with some of the worst in some senses. Fox News only came -- you know, only started in 1996 halfway through your presidency. Given the incredible, you know, scrutiny that inevitably, she's going to = she's got to go through if she were to jump into policy? Would you advise her to take on a political career?

CLINTON: Well, what she said about it, I think as -- shows as usual good sense. She said, you know, right now she likes the people who represent her. And she's happy doing what she's doing. If there ever came a time when she thought she could make a unique contribution, she would consider running. I would not ever advise her not to do it, if she wanted to. Look, politics is like pro football. It's a contact sport. If you don't want to get hit, you should stay on the sidelines. But you can't complain when you get into an arena where you know particularly in the modern age, the power and influence are as wildly diffused, and there's so much static in the air it's hard to establish a common basis of just facts. But it's still an incredibly rewarding thing to do. So, I would always want her to do what she wanted to do, what makes her happy, what makes her feel fulfilled. But if she wanted to do it, I would never discourage her. I think it is still a noble calling.

ZAKARIA: Mr. President, thank you very much.

CLINTON: Thanks.


ZAKARIA: Up next, a new symbol of protest. Why four is better than five or even one.


ZAKARIA: The annual U.N. General Assembly begins this week in New York and that brings me to my question of the week. Every year the representatives of all member states get to give a speech. Every year the same country goes first. What country is it? A, Brazil, B, the United States, c, the United Kingdom, or D, China? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer. Go to for more of the "GPS Challenge" and lots of inside and analysis. You can also follow us on twitter and Facebook and remember, if you miss a show, go to and you can get it. This week's book of the week is "Innocent Abroad" by Martin Indyk. If you look closely at photographs of John Kerry shuffling around the Middle East, you will see one key aide at his side, Martin Indyk. He was also the Clinton administration's pointman on the Middle East. And these memoirs of those year are gripping, giving you a behind the scenes account of diplomacy and high politics that is surprisingly relevant today, largely because little has changed. For example, the Israeli prime minister Indyk dealt with for many of those years was Bibi Netanyahu.

And now for the last look. Egypt's revolution has entered a new phase. The war of symbols. On the one hand, you have Egypt's current custodian, General Sisi. Here is his face painted on the chocolate. If you don't get for sweets, here's a sandwich named after him. The Sisi mix. There's an entire Tumbler site dedicated to spotting images of Sisi. Now, on the other hand, literally, a hand has become the other side of the story. This four fingered salute is being considered the symbol of defiance against military rule. It's a reference to the Rabaa Al-Adawiyah mosque where Muslim Brotherhood supporters clashed recently with the Army. Rabaa means for. Hence this symbol. And the message is spreading outside of Egypt. Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan has done the four finger salute in support of the Muslim Brotherhood. Behind these symbols lie the two great unresolved issues in Egypt today. Will General Sisi cede power to a democratically elected government eventually? And will the Muslim Brotherhood be allowed to participate if there are elections?

The correct answer to our "GPS Challenge" question was A. Brazil volunteered to open proceedings at the special session of the General Assembly in 1947. The tradition has been upheld ever since. The United States usually goes second.


OBAMA: Mr. President.


ZAKARIA: In 2011, by the way, Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff became the first woman to ever open the General Assembly. This year she's in the news for a different reason. Rousseff has called off her state visit to Washington. A rare occurrence in international relations. She's protesting in the wake of revelations that the United States allegedly spied on her personal conversations.

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