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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Inequality Major Discussion Topic at the World Economic Forum; 1-on-1 Interview with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani; The Myths of Foreign Aid; Interview with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; Interview with Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el Beblawi

Aired January 26, 2014 - 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 coming to you from Davos, Switzerland, the site of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

We have an extraordinary show for you today, three world leaders at the center of the news. First up, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran tells me despite all the progress, there might be a fundamental disagreement with the West on the way forward in the nuclear negotiations.


FAREED ZAKARAIA, CNN HOST: So there will be no destruction of centrifuges -- of existing centrifuges?

HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (via translator): No, no, not at all.


And, what would the Iranians do if Israel bombed them? You will want to hear his response.

Then, Prime Minister Abe of Japan on his plan to turn around the world's third biggest economy, on his nation's conflicts with China and on the Japanese dolphin hunts that have been shocking the world.

Next, the Prime Minister of Egypt on the third anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. Has that revolution gone badly awry? I ask him just that.

All that and we'll show you one more head of government doing something odd with another one. Don't worry, it's kosher.

But, first, here's my take. Much of the talk at Davos this week has been about inequality. President Obama will focus on inequality in his State of the Union. The pope is holding a meeting on it, which Obama will attend.

USA Today has a new poll out that shows that the American public is increasingly concerned about inequality and wants the government to do something about it.

People are bandying about new statistics, such as this one released by Oxfam this week. The world's 85 richest people own as much as do the poorest three-and-a-half billion put together.

If you put this in American terms alone, the six heirs to the Walmart fortune have a net worth that is larger than poorest 48.8 million American families put together.

These are staggering numbers and it does make for some envy and resentment, but as I've argued before, inequality is made of three different factors: the rise of the super rich, the rise of a larger group of poor people, and the stagnation of the great middle class.

We're actually beginning to see a healthy discussion about the first two, especially about the poor. Smart government policies could easily and effectively reduce poverty in most countries.

It's less clear what to do about the super rich, but, frankly, if we could help the poor move up, it matters less to me, at least, that the rich move up even faster.

But the great problem, the largest one involving the most people, is the great stagnation. Middle class people have seen their incomes stagnate for decades now. And with technology taking away work and globalization outsourcing jobs, these trends have actually intensified in recent years.

A new book, "The Second Machine Age," argues that in the first machine age, around the industrial revolution and all through the information revolution, technology was used to create power systems to work with and enhance human muscle power and human control.

Human control was a crucial process every step of the way. Think of a factory where thousands of workers, foreman, managers, all played a large role in manufacturing a product.

In the second machine age, the authors argue, we are starting to automate cognitive tasks, control, judgment, calibration. The machines are replacing human control and cognition. They can make more consistent decisions than can humans.

And the effect is massively compounded because of new information technologies like big data. The result, you don't need many people. You can see it in the numbers.

General Motors, when it was one of the world's biggest companies, employed around 600,000 Americans. Apple today, one of the world's very largest companies, employs around 50,000 Americans.

There's lots of technology progress and economic dynamism in the world today, there's lots of good news about poverty alleviation and better health care. There just aren't a lot of jobs for the great American or even Western middle class. And I haven't heard any new ideas here about that central issue.

Let's get started.

The most watched man at Davos this year was the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani. It was the first time an Iranian president had been to the meeting in a decade. And, right now, Iran holds many cards in arguably the two biggest crises in world affairs.

First off, its own nuclear program. On Monday, the West rolled back a series of sanctions against Iran after the Persian nation was found to be in compliance of its side of the nuclear agreement, steps that essentially slow the country's nuclear development program.

Iran is also a crucial player in the vexing problem of the Syrian civil war. Tehran is the one of the biggest supporters of President Assad, Moscow being the other.

Iran was first invited and then disinvited to this week's Geneva II conference which sought a political solution to the crisis. I asked President Rouhani about both and more. Listen in.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: President Rouhani, it s a great honor to have you.

HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (via translator): I am also happy to be here.

ZAKARIA: In an interview last week with The New Yorker magazine, President Obama said that he thought there was a 50/50 chance of completing a comprehensive agreement with Iran, not the interim one that's just been signed.

But there are a few crucial issues which seem to me make it quite difficult. There is a widespread feeling in the United States and France, in many Western countries, that Iran should have almost no enrichment capability. That it should instead get its enriched uranium from outside.

You said, in an interview with the Financial Times, Iran will absolutely retain its enrichment. Do you believe that it would be possible to bridge this gap by allowing Iran to have a small enrichment capacity, but, for the most part, to forgo enrichment.

ROUHANI (via translator): Iran will not accept this. And the peaceful nuclear technology, including enrichment, is part and parcel of the inalienable rights of states.

We are only willing to move forward within legal context. If somebody wants to talk with us outside these legal contexts, that tells us that they don't want to have an agreement.

When it comes to nuclear technology, the Iranian people are very sensitive. It is a part of our national pride and nuclear technology has become indigenous and recently we have managed to secure very considerable prowess with regards to the fabrication of centrifuges. So, in the context of R&D and peaceful nuclear technology, we will not accept any limitations and, in accordance with Majlis, or parliament law, in the future we are going to need 20,000 megawatts of nuclear power.

We're are determined to provide for the nuclear fuel of such plants inside the country at the hands of local Iranian scientists. We're going to follow on this path.

ZAKARIA: So there will be no destruction of centrifuges -- of existing centrifuges?

ROUHANI (via translator): No, no, not at all.

ZAKARIA: This feels as if there is a big divide here. Do you think, in your understanding of the negotiations, that the two sides are -- that there is enough goodwill, that there is enough trust that there can be a bridge between what seem to be very different positions?

ROUHANI (via translator): Of course, one cannot say there is full confidence and trust. These negotiations -- one of the goals of the negotiations is to create trust.

The six-month implementation of the initial agreement has been devised to provide more confidence. There are certain conditions when it comes to certain countries and confidence cannot come about easily.

The Iranian people, with regards to the policies of various American administrations in the past, 30 years, are very worried. They don't trust them. So this trust needs to be built.

This is a newly founded structure. We only have the foundations in place. We need to bolster the foundations, to be very precise, to have a beautiful building we need time.

ZAKARIA: You know, I'm sure, that in the United States Congress there is a debate about a bill which would put -- impose further sanctions on Iran if, after the six-month period, the negotiations -- the permanent negotiations were unsuccessful.

What is your reaction to that potential legislation from the U.S. Congress.

ROUHANI (via translator): At face value, the U.S. Congress -- there's a -- they have a long way to go before they fully appreciate and understand Iranian people.

And to know that when, from a religious point of view, religious leaders to be more specific, the great and eminent leader of the revolution, announces and states that the fabrication and the stockpiling of nuclear weapons is haram, religiously forbidden, this should tell you that we don't want to build the bomb.

So when it comes to sanctions, have they been successful so far? Sanctions, first and foremost, are illegal and a Congress which claims to be making laws should not contravene international laws.

So these sanctions translate into the weakening of the MPT, the weakening of international laws and regulations, no other country can decide for another country.


ZAKARIA: When we come back, lots more important stuff from President Rouhani.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: What would happen if Israel were to launch a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities?


ZAKARIA: Al that plus my conversations with two Prime Minister, from Egypt and Japan. Stay with us.


ZAKARIA: More of my interview now with Hassan Rouhani, the president of Iran.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Looking at regional issues, when Iran has presented itself, it has often seen itself as a more open government than perhaps some in the Middle East and a more moral government.

And, yet, you support the government of Hafez al-Assad -- I mean of Bashar al-Assad that has, by some accounts, killed two or three hundred thousand people, caused millions of people to flee. There is widespread killing, suffering in Syria.

How can the government of Iran support the regime of Bashar al- Assad?

HASSAN ROUHANI, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (via translator): Well, in a civil war, you cannot just consider one party's position. What has created a huge problem for the region today is terrorism.

You know well, governments know well, even Western governments know well that all terrorist groups, the most dangerous terrorists have converged inside Syria. And, unfortunately, some countries are providing means and money to these terrorists.

The Bashar al-Assad government has been there for some years now. It has been running the country for some years now. And if the people have some grievances, they need to go through legal channels and engage in a free elections to -- for everyone to find out what the people need.

Today, a civil war rages inside Syria. We should come together to stop that.

ZAKARIA: If you had been at the Syrian talks, would Iran support a process which would lead to genuinely free and fair elections even if that meant the removal of the Assad regime?

ROUHANI (via translator): Well, the issue of Bashar al-Assad is not the main issue here. First, we need to push the terrorists out. We should all work together to prevent access to terrorists.

I'm seeing -- I'm sure you have seen these videos, what the terrorists are doing, how brutal they are. And, first, so terrorists need to leave the country.

So all countries need to come together, work hand-in-hand. Later, conditions should be helped to come about, those who oppose the Syrian government should sit at a table with the Syrian government.

A conducive atmosphere should be helped to come about. Then, whatever the Syrians decide, that is fine. Of course, the Syrian have the right and every right.

In this road, whatever help we can provide, we will not fail to do so.

ZAKARIA: Mr. President, during the campaign, you were quoted once as saying, "It is not enough to say 'Death to America' with words. We must show what we mean by 'Death to America' in action."

What do you mean by putting the phrase, "Death to America in action?"

ROUHANI (via translator): Well, the people, when they say "Death to America," do you know what they are really saying? What they mean to say relates to the aggressive policies of the U.S. and intervention and meddling by the U.S. We don't want those to continue. We want people to decide for themselves."

All countries in my part of the world, rather, want democracy -- or rather we want democracy to prevail. I told the people, if you want American policies to stop, we need to take action. We need to make the U.S. understand that its meddling is inappropriate.

ZAKARIA: Would you like to see Iran have normal relations with America?

ROUHANI (via translator): This is totally dependent on the U.S. The Iranian and American peoples, for many years, used to enjoy a relationship despite the differences and difficulties we had with the U.S. administrations.

So they need to change their behavior, they need to change their policies, and they will undoubtedly receive a positive response by the Iranian people.

ZAKARIA: What would happen if Israel were to launch a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities? ROUHANI (via translator): Israel will not do that. Israel knows very well what the response would be. Israel knows well our regional capability, Iran's capability and we know what capabilities the Israelis have for that matter.

So, with all of these mind, these are empty slogans. When it comes to practice, the Israelis can't do that.

If they do such a crazy thing, our response will make them rue the day.

ZAKARIA: Mr. President, you are now the center of the world and I think it's fair for people to wonder who are you.

And so there are some people who say that you are a real liberal in the Iranian system. There are others who say that you are a wolf in sheep's clothing. How would you describe yourself?

ROUHANI (via translator): I am an open book. I have been chosen by the people in free and fair and competitive elections. The people participated and voted for a president who was uttering the slogan of moderation and wisdom.

He says that he wants to have constructive interaction with the rest of the world. So the administration or the president, for that matter, is not important. What is important is the Iranian people. The administration represents the people.

In the most recent elections, the Iranian people spoke very clearly with the rest of the world. Windows have been opened. I very much hope that the rest of the world and others will use this opportunity optimally.

ZAKARIA: Mr. President, it's a great honor.

ROUHANI (via translator): Thank you. Thank you, sir.


ZAKARIA: Lots more ahead on the show. We have the Prime Minister of Japan as well as the Prime Minister of Egypt, all here in Davos.

But, up next, What in the World. One of the world's most successful entrepreneurs explains why handouts work when we come back.


ZAKARIA: Welcome back to GPS. I'm coming to you from Davos, Switzerland, today, the site of the World Economic Forums annual meeting.

It's time for our What in the World segment. I usually give you my thoughts about something that struck me, but I'm going to cede this space to someone else today, to Bill Gates. His annual letter is out. It debunks three myths about fighting poverty and it's gotten a lot attention for its claim that by 2035, there will be no more poor countries in the world (using today's definition of poor, of course).

But what caught my eye was myth number two: foreign aid is a big waste. Now this might not strike you as a myth. Lots of people believe that what we send abroad doesn't really help countries alleviate poverty and develop.

Well, Gates does a very nice job of carefully explaining why foreign aid has in fact been a pretty spectacular success. The largest piece of evidence for this is literally the life-saving effect of aid.

Gates gives us the numbers: since 2000, 440 million children have been immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases, since 1988, 2.5 billion children have been immunized against polio. The results are stunning.

Twenty-five years ago, the number of polio cases each year was 350,000. In 2013 it was 400. It's not just about health either. The percentage of children in school in Africa, for example, has gone from the low of the 40 percents to 75 percent over the last forty years.

Savings people's lives and making them healthy and giving them education is not simply and deeply a moral, it has practical benefits. These people now work, earn a living, and help make their countries less reliant on aid.

Many countries that received large amounts of foreign aid from the West are now developed enough that they don't need it anymore. Among them, China, Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Morocco, Peru. China is, in fact, now a big donor of foreign aid.

Part of the problem here is that we lump together all kinds of aid. There's assistance that was given during the Cold War, say to Mobutu in Zaire for purely strategic reasons with no attempt to develop the country.

There is aid for research and science. There is aid for public health. And then there is aid for general economic development. The reality is that foreign aid programs have to be well designed, properly targeted, and well implemented.

Like any other effort in the real world, whether public or private, they must be monitored for corruption and unintended effects. But when these conditions apply and they do in many, many cases foreign aid has a big positive effect.

And how much are we spending to get these benefits? Americans guess that their government spends 25 percent of its annual budget on aid. How much should it be spending, they are asked? Ten percent is the answer.

Well, the reality is that the United States spends less than one percent of its budget on aid. That's $30 for every American. Is this money a waste?

If you add up all the money spent on health-related aid since 1980, and divide that by the number of children's deaths that have been prevented, you get a figure of just $5,000 to save a child's life.

Go to for a link to the complete letter. Up next, the country that used to be the world's second biggest economy after the United States, but now has slipped behind its great rival, China. My interview with the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, on how he's going to revitalize his country.


ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. I'm Erin McPike, live in Columbia, Maryland, where there was a shooting at the mall here yesterday morning around 11:15. Earlier this morning the Howard County police chief, Bill McMahon, briefed reporters on the identity of the shooter, but still there is no motive.


BILL MCMAHON, HOWARD COUNTY, MD., POLICE CHIEF: Darion Marcus Aguilar is the shooter. We do not have any -- we have not been able to verify any type of relationship at this point between him and either of our victims. We can't establish that there is one. We have not been able to establish there is not one. That is an open question.

We know that's an important piece of information our community's interested in.


MCPIKE: Now, the investigation will continue. The mall is set to reopen Tuesday. It may open earlier. FAREED ZAKARIA GPS continues now.


ZAKARIA: In a moment, an exclusive interview with the man who is trying to put Japan back on the map. It's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Once admired and feared by much of the world, especially America, the great Japanese economy has since become moribund. The economy has grown less than 1 percent on average for the last 20 years. And the amount of debt the nation has accumulated is 200 percent of GDP, twice the size of its total economy.

Can anyone make this economy work? Enter Abenomics. That's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plan to turn the nation's fortunes around.

The prime minister promised to fire three arrows to fix the economy. First: reduce interest rates and increase the amount of money in the economy -- quantitative easing. Second: spend government money to spur the economy -- fiscal stimulus. Third, reform: make hiring and firing easier -- reduce barriers in government subsidies, open up long-entrenched structures.

The whole world is talking about Abenomics. Some praise it, but many of its critics point out that the first two arrows are the easy ones, take on debt and goose the economy. And they've been done.

The hard work is enacting reforms, the third arrow.

Why has so little happened on that front? Well, I asked Prime Minister Abe just that question. Listen to what he said.


PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE, JAPAN (through translator): Two years ago the Japanese economy was facing a crisis situation. People were saying that Japan was in its twilight years and it was no longer possible for Japan to grow.

It was necessary to change this mood to restore the confidence of Japanese people. As a matter of fact, there were voices in the fiscal and money circles that strongly criticized the first and second arrows.

But I cast aside this criticism. In working with Mr. Kuroda, the governor of the Bank of Japan, we were able town leash the first and second arrows. And the results are now being reaped.

It's true that what will become important going forward is the third arrow. What is important about the third arrow, structural reform, is to convince those who resist the steps I'm taking and to make them realize that what I've been doing is correct.

ZAKARIA: Would it be fair, Prime Minister, to say, given what you've said, that the hard work is yet to come, that if we do not see very bold reforms, particularly in the labor market, in the ability to hire workers and fire them much more freely, that the third arrow will have failed?

ABE (through translator): I also believe the labor market is extremely important. At the same time, the general public is very sensitive about issues related to the labor markets. So it is important that we explain things to them carefully.

I will change the labor market to make it more flexible for those who have specific professional expertise and for women and for those who want to rebalance their personal and professional lives. And I will also change Japan so that foreigners with specific professional expertise can flourish in Japan.

International corporations operating in Japan have criticized Japanese employment rules, including employee terminations for being unclear. I will make sure that they are clarified. It's not a matter of whether we do this or not. I believe we have no alternative.

ZAKARIA: Prime Minister, let me ask you about another subject, since we don't have a lot of time.

Do you believe that China wants to be the hegemon of Asia?

Do you believe that China wants to dominate Asia?

ABE (through translator): Regarding the growth of the Chinese economy, Japan, along with the United States and the rest of Asia, welcomes the economic rise of China.

But year after year they have been increasing their defense spending by 10 percent. They have done this for the past 20 years. And this is a source of concern for the countries in Asia as well as for Japan.

For China to continue to enjoy economic prosperity it needs to foster trusting international relationships, not tension. And it is important for China to understand this.

It is also important for China to recognize that any attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion cannot be accepted. The rule of law must be respected. We must share this common basic understanding.

ZAKARIA: Many people believe that President Xi Jinping and his new administration have tried to be more aggressive in certain areas around the East China Seas, the South China Seas, drawing certain lines relating to issues of territorial possession, such as what the Japanese call the Senkaku Islands.

Do you believe that the new leadership in China is more expansionist than perhaps over the last 20 or 30 years?

ABE (through translator): China has been expanding for the past 20 years. This is not something that the current president, Xi Jinping, suddenly started.

I hope that the current president will change their current direction. Military expansion will contribute nothing to China's future, its economic growth or prosperity. I will work to ensure that he understands that.

ZAKARIA: Do you believe that Japan could be a counter, counterweight to China? A rising Japan under your leadership?

ABE (through translator): I have no intentions of countering China militarily. But I am responsible for protecting Japanese waters, territory and Japanese lives and property, and I intend to execute those responsibilities.

When it comes to military expansion, and this applies not only to China but Japan, ASEAN in East Asia, and the Asian region as a whole, it's important to enhance transparency of military capabilities. On the question of military power, it's important to be managed properly while ensuring transparency.

ZAKARIA: Mr. Prime Minister, you know that there is around the world now a controversy. I was wondering what your reaction was to the idea suggested by the U.S. ambassador that it is inhumane.

ABE (through translator): The dolphin fishing that takes place in Taiji town is an ancient fishing practice deeply rooted in their culture and their practices and supports their livelihoods. We hope you will understand this.

In every country and region there are practices and ways of living and culture that have been handed down from ancestors. Naturally, I feel that these should be respected.

At the same time, I am aware that there are various criticisms. I have also heard that they are making major improvements in their fishing methods. Both the fishing and fishing methods are strictly regulated.

ZAKARIA: Mr. Prime Minister, thank you very much.


ZAKARIA: Up next, has Egypt given up on real democracy? My next guest is the interim prime minister of that country.


ZAKARIA: Violence marred the third anniversary of the Egyptian revolution this weekend, starting with a series of bombings on Friday against the nation's police force. The Arab Spring has brought Cairo mixed results at best.

The military was overthrown. The people are now rallying for the current army chief to run for president. Egypt had a brief experiment with democracy, but it didn't work out so well. And violence and bloodshed seem to be endemic in the nation now.

Was it all for nothing? Where is Egypt headed? I sat down for a discussion this week with Hazem el Beblawi, the interim prime minister of Egypt. Beblawi holds a Ph.D. in economics and is a former finance minister. Listen in to our chat at the World Economic Forum.


ZAKARIA: Prime Minister, thank you so much for joining us.


ZAKARIA: So looking at it three years out from the revolution, what I'm wondering, and I think what a lot of people are wondering about, is have things gone in a direction which looks very dangerous in this sense?

The Muslim Brotherhood, which came to power, which won, in a sense, three elections in one year -- the constitutional referendum, the parliamentary elections and the presidential elections, that party now has been banned. Its members are being oppressed in various ways. And a party that had maintained non-violence for decades now appears to be turning violent. Just a few days ago policemen were shot.

So haven't you now created a situation where the worst scenario is unfolding, which is that political Islam has no democratic voice, it is itself turning more extreme and violent and the people who benefit are, of course, the jihadis, who say we always told you democracy was a bad idea, don't go to the ballot box, use violence instead?

BEBLAWI: I am one of those who believe that the only way to progress is to commit mistakes. Without trial and errors humanity would have been left. So we all regret, and we are unhappy to see many mistakes taking place. This is the first part of it. This is the cause aspect.

But as I told you, without making mistakes, we will never learn. I think we are learning. We are learning the hard way. And we have to pay a price. And we are paying the price. But the end result, I believe, will be beneficial to ourselves, to the coming generation.

ZAKARIA: But what are those mistakes and what are you learning? Was there too much repression?

BEBLAWI: First of all, as I told you, that the pressure which we inherited from the previous regime educated the people that they must take things in their hand. And this is why January 25th, 2011, was -- erupted.

But also there was another experience that people have dreams about the project of Islamic -- political Islam. They went through a difficult time in management, because the -- we have to admit that the Muslim brothers have a long experience over eight decades and they survived.

All regimes starting with the British, with the kingdom and then the revolution and so on. But they failed to learn management. So when it came to take power, they failed miserably in management, and I think this is a major lesson for them and for us.

ZAKARIA: Amnesty International has just put out a scathing report on Egypt, arguing that there is absolutely massive abuse of human rights, that there is essentially no freedom of assembly; there is essentially no freedom of speech left in the country.

BEBLAWI: I must say that what I have seen is that there is a little bit of a distorted picture that we see. I haven't seen much of blame on the number of explosions that are taking place on the pipelines, on the government building, on the schools, on these metro stations.

There's only one fixation, that there are some activists who taking to prison. It might be some of them are innocent.

But I feel it's a bit unfair that of all what we see in Egypt, explosions in Mansoura, demolishing building of the police office, explosions in the pipeline for the 20th or 24th time, killing today -- there is killing of police, four or five policemen. Of course when they are killed they were receiving bullets, not sending bullets. No one talk about these things.

ZAKARIA: You said that Egypt has said good-bye to military dictatorship.


ZAKARIA: Yet it appears that General al-Sisi might run for the presidency.

If he runs for the presidency, how is this different from Mubarak taking off his uniform and becoming president?

BEBLAWI: No. The difference is great.

Before Mubarak decided to run for presidency, almost no one in the country knew him and definitely no one asked him to come. But the problem is that al-Sisi, as far as I know, he's under popular pressure asking him to come.

This has happened to some extent with de Gaulle, who's a general, but don't tell me that de Gaulle was looked upon as a general in the Second World War, the same was Eisenhower.

These are national symbols in a very crucial moment where they move the popular feeling. And they go to them because they believe that they can bring -- but this is -- I might agree, I might not disagree, but this is a fact that those who are pushing General al- Sisi to run are not in the military camps. Definitely they are in the streets, women in the first place.

ZAKARIA: You said --

BEBLAWI: Don't forget his answer, man.


ZAKARIA: Prime Minister, thank you so much.

BEBLAWI: Thank you very much.



ZAKARIA: Up next, what happens when world leaders find their true voice?


ZAKARIA: This week marked 95 years since the official proposal to create the League of Nations, which would eventually be housed in Geneva, Switzerland. It brings me to my question of the week. Which country was one of the founding members of the League of Nations? A, the United States; B, Russia; C, Germany or D, Japan? Stay tuned, and we'll tell you the correct answer.

This week's book of the week is "Amsterdam" by Russell Shorto. "If you want to find the origins of Western liberty," says the author of this engaging history, "you'll find it in this small city."

Battered by the seas, ravaged by war and revolution, through all these struggles, Amsterdam became the home of individual rights in the West. It was true in 1600. It's even true today. Amsterdam is the place where gay marriage was first legalized and celebrated.

And now for the last look. Take a listen to this rendition of The Beatles' classic "Hey, Jude."


ZAKARIA: Not the best you've ever heard, of course, but perhaps the best by a world leader.

That is Stephen Harper, prime minister of Canada, rocking out on the keyboard. Harper was serenading Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to Israel this week.

And yes, that's Bibi singing along.

If there's any doubt about the state of Israeli-Canadian friendship, yes, that is Harper singing "With a Little Help from My Friends."


ZAKARIA: The correct answer to our GPS challenge question was D, Japan. Even though the League was first proposed by President Woodrow Wilson, the United States was never a member. The United Nations, of course, replaced the League of Nations after the Second World War.

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