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Fareed Zakaria GPS
President Yanukovych Flees Kiev; Interview with Poland's Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski; Panel Discusses Current Geopolitical Situation in Russia, Ukraine, Iran; Interview with Adam Gopnik
Aired February 23, 2014 - 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.
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ZAKARIA (voice-over): We will start today with the extraordinary turn of events in Ukraine. I will talk live with one of the men who brokered the peace deal, Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski.
Then a terrific panel, Nicholas Kristof, David Remnick and Robin Wright. We will talk about Ukraine, Venezuela, Sochi and the Iran talks.
And are manufacturing and trade skills more valuable than an art history degree? That's what President Obama said. I will ask a best- selling author with an art history degree, "The New Yorker's" Adam Gopnik.
Also from dining at midnight to siestas at midday, why Spain might want to turn back the clock about 70 years. I'll explain.
But first, here's my take. 2013 seemed in many ways to be the year of Vladimir Putin. The Russian president had consolidated power in his country, crushed any possible opposition, kept his ally in Syria from being toppled and brokered a deal to remove Syria's chemical weapons.
2014 was also going pretty well for Putin. The Sochi Olympics was not the disaster many had suggested and, above all, Putin had maintained Russia's historic relationship with Ukraine, outmaneuvering the European Union, which had made Ukraine a complicated and conditional offer that Ukraine's president turned down in return for cold Russian cash.
That's what it had looked like until just a few days ago. But now, on the central issue of Ukraine, Russia does not look so triumphant. Ukraine's President Yanukovych, who is now its former president, overplayed his hand.
Putin assumed that force would solve the problem and disperse the protests. Western observers were despairing and assigning blame for all that had happened from Washington to the European Union.
And then things started to change. President Yanukovych and the opposition made a deal, brokered by the Europeans, calling for a coalition government, national elections and a new constitution.
But even that was not enough for the protesters, who have managed to achieve change much faster, ousting the president and beginning the process of transformation right away. In this long and complex situation, it is the people on the street who have shown determination, courage and persistence.
Now one has to be cautious; everything we know about these kinds of revolutions is that this is the thrilling moment which is often followed by turmoil, tension, violence and chaos. Destroying the old order is a lot easier than building a new one.
This is going to be particularly true in Ukraine, which is riddled with corruption and, in many ways, is on the brink of economic collapse. The opposition will have to act with wisdom and include those whom it despises, including the supporters of former President Yanukovych.
And Russia will not allow Ukraine to slip completely from its grasp. One of its main fleets is based in the Black Sea in Ukraine. Russian pipelines crisscross the country, carrying natural gas to Europe.
Russia will demand a say in what happens there as it has for 300 years. That's why the Ukrainian opposition turned government needs to approach things with caution and a sense of national unity.
But Russia, too, will have to be careful; as the last few weeks have shown, it has created a deep sense of opposition among tens of millions of people in Ukraine and their hostility to Russian domination might well grow.
For now at least, let's just marvel at the spirit of the Ukrainian people, let's keep our fingers crossed for their future and let's note that 2014 is not looking quite as good for Vladimir Putin as it did a week ago.
Let's get started.
ZAKARIA: Now let's go to CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Kharkiv, in the Eastern Russian-dominated part of Ukraine. This is where former president Viktor Yanukovych is believed to be after fleeing the capital in Kiev.
Fred, is Yanukovych there and what is the mood where you are?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fareed. Well, that's a very good question. No one at this point knows where Viktor Yanukovych is. As you said, there were some rumors that he apparently came here after leaving Kiev. Then there were others who said that he apparently tried to get on a flight from the eastern city of Donetsk and fly to Russia. That was actually confirmed by Ukrainian customs officials. They said his plane was not allowed to take off because it didn't have the proper documentation.
At this point in time, it's totally unclear where Yanukovych is. There are rumors flying around as to his whereabouts, as to where he might be, but the current government, the new government that's in place right now, says they just simply have absolutely no idea where he is, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: What is the mood there?
What is the narrative of events? What is the atmosphere?
What is the crowd saying over there about what has happened in Kiev?
PLEITGEN: That's a very interesting question, because it's so different than it is in Kiev. What you have here is a real divide. You have many people who are of Russian heritage here but you also have a lot of pro-Europeans, especially younger people. It's so interesting, because right behind me, Fareed, you have a demonstration that's pro-Russians and only a couple of feet down the road, there is the pro-European crowd.
Now the Russians are very fearful. They were really surprised by how quick all the events went and now they really fear that their culture here in this country is under threat, they feel that their language might be under threat. They fear that their culture is under threat. They fear that the Russians here in this country might be marginalized.
And you can see that here on the street. Right now they're demonstrating for a statue of Lenin that the pro-European movement wants to topple, wants to tear down. They say that's absolutely not going to happen. They've erected a fence around it and they say they're going to stay there as long as it takes.
So it really is a very charged-up mood here in the east of Ukraine, very, very different than the scenes of jubilation that you see in Kiev, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Thanks so much, Fred.
Let us now go to Phil Black in the capital, Kiev. It has been a wild turn of events since the peace deal on Friday.
Phil, is Tymoshenko, the jailed opposition leader who has been released, is she now in charge or who is in charge and is everyone listening to this new government?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fareed, I think, at the moment, it is the opposition together acting as one, maintaining unity that are directing events in Parliament. So in that sense that's a positive step.
Yulia Tymoshenko, when she was on stage here last night, returning to Independence Square, speaking to the crowd when I spoke to her afterwards, briefly, she certainly sounded like someone who wants to maintain or play a very dominant role in the future politics of this country.
Today, however, she has released a statement, saying she's not interested in being the prime minister. The prime minister, under the new constitutional arrangement, will be quite a powerful role.
But her daughter told me that she's someone who wants to play a role in uniting the country, which I think very strongly implies that she's got her eye on the presidency.
But she's going to face competition for that from within her own party, from (INAUDIBLE) while she's been in prison and of course from the former heavyweight, Vitaly Klitschko, who's become a very dominant political figure. These are the people that are going to be interested in the presidency.
So the challenge for the opposition moving forward from here is going to be maintaining unity and not tear down (ph) in this country in the past.
ZAKARIA: Thank you, Phil.
We are now going to go to Radek Sikorski. Radek Sikorski is the foreign minister of Poland. He was one of the three foreign ministers who, on Friday, brokered a peace deal between the government of Ukraine and opposition forces.
It is not entirely clear what happens to that deal since events have overtaken it. As the deal was wrapped up, television cameras picked up an exchange between Sikorski and the leaders of the Ukrainian opposition.
In it Sikorski said, if you don't support this deal, you will have martial law, you will have the army. You will all be dead.
Joining us from Milan is Radek Sikorski.
Radek, did you -- were you surprised by the turn of events?
Because clearly your great fear, when you were talking to those Ukrainian opposition leaders, was that Yanukovych was going to bring out the army and start firing on the troops in Maidan.
RADOSLAW SIKORSKI, POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER: Hello, Fareed. Yes, that was a very tense moment and I think if the opposition hadn't supported the deal, Yanukovych's hand would have been strengthened and maybe his security operations would not have disintegrated.
And then what happened was something really strange. Within minutes of us signing the agreement, the protection, the security forces, started leaving the vicinity of the presidential palace, which they didn't need to do, and the decompression of the regime started very quickly.
ZAKARIA: Radek, you lived -- you've seen this up close in Poland. You've seen in other places.
What do you think is happening?
Do you think that this is now a complete collapse of Yanukovych and his regime? Will they fight back?
Or do you think the opposition is now firmly in control?
SIKORSKI: Well, we have a legitimate source of authority in Kiev, which is the democratically elected parliament and a democratically, constitutionally elected speaker of parliament, who is acting president.
And that, I think, is the source of authority that needs to unite the country. They need to be inclusive; they need to represent the kind of spirit of compromise that the agreement envisioned and they have to respect the regional and ethnic variety of Ukraine.
I think the Friday agreement has been superseded by events; apart from anything else, President Yanukovych was supposed to sign literally by now the change of constitution. And we have no news of him having done that.
So you might say that the agreement is not being effected, because events have gone ahead.
But the spirit of it, the compromise, the inclusiveness, the respect for diversity, I hope, lives on and I hope Ukraine creates the kind of government which starts implementing difficult, necessary reforms that will prevent bankruptcy and hopefully put Ukraine back on the European track.
Because, remember, Fareed, your introduction was excellent but it didn't mention one thing, namely how it all started. It all started with President Yanukovych refusing to sign the association agreement with Europe and the protests that -- against that decision.
ZAKARIA: Radek, one thing I noticed was that there was a Russian envoy at your negotiations, but he did not sign the agreement.
Then Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Lavrov, have said things that have not been complimentary, to say the least, about the turn of events recently, even characterizing it as a coup.
Do you think Russia will accept what is happening in Ukraine right now?
SIKORSKI: Ambassador Lukin actually played a constructive role in the negotiation and he initialed the agreement that we reached at dawn. He was then under instructions from Moscow not to sign it.
But within 24 hours, when still -- when President Yanukovych's authority started unraveling, the Russians actually then began to like the agreement and wanted it respected.
I think, just like President Yanukovych, they also overplayed their hand. But the new Ukrainian government needs to be in touch, needs to have a conversation with Russia, which is an important neighbor, just like Poland, because, apart from anything else, Ukraine needs the lower gas price and doesn't want Russia to play the separatist card.
ZAKARIA: You know, I think it was in George Bush's memoirs -- I might be incorrect, but in George W. Bush's memoirs, I think he recounts a conversation where Putin said to him, you know, George, Ukraine is not a real country; it is a province of Russia.
I may have this slightly wrong, but that is the general attitude that people assumed that many in Russia, including the -- those at the top, feel about Ukraine.
Do you think Russia would ever allow Ukraine to be a fully independent country with an association with the European Union?
SIKORSKI: Ukraine is a fully independent country and her sovereignty and her borders are actually guaranteed by the Budapest Declaration of the United States, United Kingdom and Russia.
Remember, Ukraine gave up voluntarily its nuclear weapons and in return she received those guarantees. And I think we should hold Russia to those guarantees.
And Ukrayina (ph), Eastern Ukraine, these are large areas. Ukraine is a country of over 40 million people. This is no Transnistria, no Georgia. And playing with separatism would be a very dangerous game.
ZAKARIA: At the end of the day, do you think the Ukrainian opposition will hold?
I mean, one of your concerns clearly was to get them to compromise. You've been in the room with these people.
Are they -- do they have the ability to stay together?
SIKORSKI: Ukraine missed her chances before, after the Orange Revolution, for example, and some of the players are the same.
And by the way, my sense is that the Maidan wants a new class of people, clean people. Part of this movement was against kleptocracy.
But there are people in -- that I've talked to who are capable, who know what needs to be done and who would have the confidence, both of the West and the ability to talk to Russia.
ZAKARIA: Radek Sikorski, thank you very much.
Lots more ahead on GPS. I have a great panel to talk about the situation in Ukraine and outside.
ZAKARIA: Now I want to bring in a great panel of experts.
David Remnick is the editor of "The New Yorker;" he has reported from Russia for many years and was in Sochi.
Nicholas Kristof is a columnist with "The New York Times."
And Robin Wright is the author of "Rock the Kasbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World."
David, I've got to start with you since you are just back from Russia, what do you think is going on here? Is this a game Putin is playing, a geostrategic game?
Or is it fair to say that -- even the liberal Russian friends I have all sort of think Ukraine is part of Russia.
DAVID REMNICK, "THE NEW YORKER": In Russia's eyes, Ukraine geostrategically, ethnically, historically, is one and the same. Not one and the same, but linked in by blood.
And if you look through Putin's eyes specifically, this is his area of interest. It's not the United States, and even not Europe. The -- this is really complicated for us.
ZAKARIA: He's not going to let it go quietly. Do you think --
REMNICK: Absolutely not.
ZAKARIA: Do you think after Sochi, it frees him up, that he's been constrained?
REMNICK: Well, I think frees him up makes it sound nice. I think what might well happen after Sochi is some of the slight liberalizing gestures right before Sochi, letting free Pussy Riot and Khodorkovsky, the magnate who was in jail for a decade, and other gestures, I think those are going to be off the boards.
And I think Putin is in a very tough, assertive mode and it has nothing to do with snowboarding. It has to do with his geostrategic regional interests, it has to do with differentiating himself from the West, morally as well as politically, and I think he's a very, very tough figure to deal with now.
ZAKARIA: Nick, your family, actually, again, comes from Ukraine. Your father grew up in Ukraine.
Do you think that, again, are we overplaying this ethnic difference? Because some people actually say to me -- and Ann Applebaum (ph) wrote in "The Washington Post" -- this is old-fashioned thinking, that -- I think the implication is that there's a new generation of Ukrainians and they really all want to be free of a kind of Russian domination.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think that divide goes very, very deep. You know, it's regional, it's linguistic, it's religious and it's a sense, especially in the West, that everybody knows people who have gone to Poland, who have made -- prospered there, and then you see at home the country is stagnating.
It's not just resentment at the political repression. It's also resentment at the economic mismanagement in our ancestral village in southwestern Ukraine. The roads are worse now than when my dad lived there in the 1940s.
And the resentment of the corruption, but all that is much more felt in the West than in the East.
ZAKARIA: Robin Wright, I'm going to ask you to start us off when we come back. But we have to take a break right now. We have lots more ahead. We will be right back.
ZAKARIA: There are lots of other stories to talk about this week: unrest in Venezuela, nuclear talks with Iran, the Sochi games, of course. We have a great panel. David Remnick is the editor of "The New Yorker;" he's just back from Sochi.
Nicholas Kristof is a reporter from all over the world. He is, of course, columnist for "The New York Times."
And Robin Wright is the author of "Rock the Kasbah: Rage and Rebellion across the Islamic World."
Robin, I want to start with you. When you watch what's happening in Ukraine, this all feels good and it feels telegenic, it's happening in real time, but what the experience of at least the Arab world has been, is it's very easy to get rid of a bad government. It is very hard to put in place a good government.
ROBIN WRIGHT, AUTHOR: This is when the hard part begins because you have to get all these diverse forces together and come up with constitutional reforms and then address the very economic, social and political issues that drove people to go out -- to turn out in Independence Square.
What we've learned through kind of the last 60, 70 years in these dramatic transitions throughout the world, is, as Sam Huntington (ph), your former colleague at Harvard, wrote, that it takes at least three waves.
And we've seen this in Ukraine already. We had in 1990-91 the anti-Soviet protest; in 2004-2005, the Orange Revolution and today a decade later you see the uprisings at Independence Square.
And so it takes time as we look at what's happened elsewhere in the world in South Africa; blacks are today are worse off than they were under apartheid. The reality is in the -- in the end of the Soviet Union, you still have a generation later of former communist and KGB chief in power. Change takes hellishly long.
ZAKARIA: And when I look at what's happening in Venezuela, again, student uprisings that are leading to anti-government protests and part of what I think is going on is Chavez, for all his flaws, was popular, was charismatic. This guy isn't and so has to use brute force.
KRISTOL: I think that's exactly it. I mean Chavez used violent rhetoric, but he didn't for the most part actually use violence on people. He was a magnetic person. He had charisma. And Maduro just does not. And I think that leads him to be more repressive and creates potentially a more dangerous situation in Venezuela.
ZAKARIA: Nick, you've been -- you've been for a more assertive pro-democracy stand, I suppose one would call it, in a place like Syria. You wish the U.S. were more involved.
Do you think the Obama administration should be more engaged actively in Venezuela, in Ukraine?
KRISTOL: You know, I think we don't have a lot of leverage in either place. In -- I think we can marginally raise the cost of massacres in Ukraine, but only marginally.
I think we do have influence on the opposition. In the Orange Revolution I remember everybody hearing that I was an American, wanting me to sign their orange ribbons. All that is pretty modest. I think for the most part we're going to be bystanders in both places.
ZAKARIA: David, a lot of people focus on this and think about Putin and think about Obama versus Putin. And certainly there does seem to be the kind of the -- there is a feeling that there is something new about the way in which Putin is, you know, whether on Syria, whether on these issues, whether on, you know, gay rights, there's something going on in a kind of an assertion of Russia, of Putin, of his authority. You're just back from there. You have this big piece in the "New Yorker." What do you ...
REMNICK: Well, I think Putin came to office about two years ago when there were hundreds of thousands of people on the streets asserting not just gay rights, but human rights and Democratic impulses and all the rest. And this was not necessarily the majority of the country, but it was an extremely successful series of demonstrations and Putin came into office and his first order of priority was to crush it. To crush it. He will not count instead, because he sees what happened in Tahrir Square, he sees what happened in the Orange Revolution. He sees what happens in large squares all over the world and he will not allow that to happen in Russia. He has what bridges on a paranoia about it and thinks that the United States is trying to ferment it in Russia or Ukraine. So when the Nuland phone call - the Victoria Nuland phone call, which was so well publicized in Russia, fed into this fervor and Putin was very eager to publicize it, Putin is trying to establish and re-establish Russia as a source of power and greatness again after a generation of demoralization.
ZAKARIA: And probably is popular in that sense.
REMNICK: In some ways yes. And it's not just geopolitical. It's even moral and ideological. You're starting to see the creation of a kind of Putin-like conservatism that by the way was endorsed on line by one Pat Buchanan. That's what the anti-gay propaganda law is about, that's what all the speech is about, the kind of -- the west good and evil are the same and the reevaluation of history, that's what that has to do. It's a holistic look at the position of Russia in the world and Putin wants to be the Peter the Great of it. But instead of looking West, it's looking inward.
KRISTOF: So, was that conservative nationalism kind of the new glue to hold the country together?
REMNICK: He hopes so. He hopes so and he hopes it counteracts any uprising in the opposite direction.
ZAKARIA: Robin, Iran talks are under way. You were in Iran, you're going back there. Do you think - the big question everyone has, is the supreme leader and the conservative forces in Tehran behind the kind of painful concessions that it would take to get a deal here on the Iranian side?
WRIGHT: Well, I think the Iranian calculations on the nuclear deal really involve an awful lot more. I think they've gone through a strategic recalculation that a decade ago when the United States moved into the region and eliminated its two big rivals, the Taliban and Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Iran looked like it had the muscle in the region. Today with the U.S. drawdown, ironically Iran feels more vulnerable because it's seeing the rise of al Qaeda franchises, the Sunni Salafis, the potential comeback of the Taliban and it actually shares many common interests with the United States. It's also at a point that it has enough technologically in terms of a weapon that it feels confident in brokering. It's just a matter of saying, whether they have the incentive to develop a weapon, that if they wanted to turn around and make it they could. The question is, can they be stopped from wanting to do it? And I think they actually feel that they are at that turning point. I often say that Iranians want to get back into their traditional place in the world. If you want to understand Persian nationalism think of your most chauvinistic Texan and add 5,000 years and then you begin to see that it's not just the kind of regional player they want to be, they want to be back on the world stage, the kind of great place that it was before. And all of this comes together and I think is one of the reasons we're likely to see them really try get a nuclear deal and even try to do it in the six months allocated.
ZAKARIA: Very optimistic. Thank you for joining us. Robin Wright, Nicholas Kristof, David Remnick. Lots more ahead on the show including the story of one European nation that wants to turn its clocks back all to save the economy. I will explain.
ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's your host, Jimmy Fallon!
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ZAKARIA: This week Jimmy Fallon took over as host of "The Tonight Show." More than 11 million Americans tuned in at midnight to watch his debut, that's about 3.5 percent of the population.
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JIMMY FALLON: Thank you. Please have a seat. Welcome, everybody. Thank you so much.
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ZAKARIA: Americans love their late night TV. But there's one country that loves it even more, Spain. An estimated 25 percent of Spaniards are up watching TV at midnight according to Jim Yeardley in a great piece in "The New York Times" this week. And it's not just TV. Staying up late is part of the culture. Restaurants rarely serve dinner until well after 10:00 p.m. According to one survey Spaniards sleep on average 53 minutes less than other Europeans. During the day Spaniards are known for taking long lunches and breaks and, of course, siestas. Well, a number of Spanish economists are saying this needs to stop. By some accounts Spain loses eight percent of its GDP to reduced productivity. So what can be done? One suggestion is, that Spain turn its clocks back.
On Greenwich Time you have countries like the U.K., of course, but also Portugal and Ireland. Spain falls in pretty much the same longitude and range, but Spain is actually an hour ahead of England along with France, Germany, Poland and many other Central European countries. It wasn't always so. Before World War II, Spain kept the same time as Britain. But during the war, when Hitler sought to gain Spain's support the Spanish dictator Franco moved to align his country's clocks with those of Germany's. Seven decades later that remains the case, despite Spain's geographic location. Economists say that turning the clocks back would make Spaniards more productive and boost the economy. It's an interesting thesis and I don't know if it would work.
The good news is that Spaniards are thinking hard about improving their economy. We tend to think of Spain as a European basket case. Unemployment is at 26 percent. Youth unemployment is double that. Every second person between the age of 18 and 25 is out of a job. Spain has been in a recession for several years. The Eurozone has had to bail it out so that it could avoid default. But beyond those headlines there is now some good news. After years of recession, GDP has finally begun to grow by 0.3 percent in the last quarter. Economists predict double that rate in 2014. Exports grew nearly six percent last year and will grow by that amount once again this year. Spain's main stock market is up by a third since June. Foreign investors are back, even Bill Gates bought a $150 million stake in a Spanish construction firm. What's changed? Well, Spain has been willing to take its medicine and put in place some tough economic reforms. Both the public and private sectors have become leaner and more efficient. In the face of stiff opposition, Madrid has raised the retirement age, it's tweaked the rules to make jobs more flexible. Companies can now hire and fire more easily. Spain's relative labor costs have declined steadily even as those of Germany, France and Italy have risen. All of these measures have made Spain more competitive, boosting exports. Growth is bringing in tax revenues and stabilizing the country's finances. But Madrid can and should do more. Spain's revenue from taxes as a fraction of total GDP remains among the lowest in all of Europe. And the greatest challenge remains unemployment. Especially youth unemployment. If Spain can't create jobs, an entire generation of Spaniards will be lost.
European countries have accepted painful austerity measures, but what they really needed was structural reforms. I don't know if turning the clocks back will make much of a dent, but if it sparks a conversation about productivity in general, it is high time.
Up next, a different economic question. What is more important? Technical skills or knowledge of art history? We have an answer.
ZAKARIA: President Obama made amends this week not with the Republican caucus, but with an art history professor in Texas. What was the issue? Take a listen to what the president said at a speech at a G.E. plant last month.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Folks, you can make a lot more potentially with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree.
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ZAKARIA: Those words upset Ann Coll0ins Johns so much she wrote an e-mail to the president. She was shocked when she got a handwritten apology back. But did the president's off the cuff remarks have a point? Should we be pushing kids toward the trade skills he mentioned? What is the value of art history? Let's ask an art history major who has managed to make a decent living. Adam Gopnik has been writing for "The New Yorker" for almost 20 years and he's written a slew of wonderful books including my favorite "Paris to the Moon" and my kids' favorite "The Steps Across the Water." A wonderful children's book.
Adam, what was your reaction as an art history major when you first heard what the president said?
ADAM GOPNIK, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Well, first of all, you have to say, if the apology tour has come to art historians it's at the absolute last stop. You know, he apologized to Muslims, to Russians and finally apologized to art history majors. You know, here's what I thought. First of all, I thought it spoke well for the president. He has a lovely ironic self-consciousness. He's a man who knows when to apologize, even to an art historian, I thought that was great. But I also thought this, that what he was saying was alarming a little bit because what it implied is that there's a kind of consensus that the arts, art, history, English, whatever it might be are secondary to our lives and I've been trying to think of ways in which you can counter that a lot. And it seems to me the wrong way to try to counter that is to say, oh, well, art history majors end up working for Google anyway, they end up being software entrepreneurs in any case. That sometimes is true. That's true more often than not. Right, Steve Jobs cared much more about the courses he took in calligraphy and graphic arts than in anything else because that was the basis, in which he made Apple the company it became.
ZAKARIA: And that is what sometimes can distinguish you. I mean everybody is coding.
ZAKARIA: But what distinguishes you is some creative sensibility.
GOPNIK: Apple is primarily an enterprise in the arts and design, perhaps before anything else. That's true. But I also think it's true that we don't have to apologize for the humanities and the arts in that way, because the truth is, Fareed, that in every civilization that we know of, that interests us at all, there's an ongoing conversation about books and pictures. You know, when I went out to the Google campus a few years ago those guys didn't want to talk about Google Translate. They wanted to talk about an Alice Monroe story or they wanted to talk about "Breaking Bad," a kind of natural conversation in life. It's conversation about books and pictures. That's an ongoing conversation. It doesn't depend on universities. But what universities do, what humanities programs, art history programs do, I think, is that they do two things. They take the conversation back into history so that we know that that conversation we're having about homeland is also a conversation we can have about George Elliott or Dickens, and they do something even more important I think, Fareed, they democratize the conversation.
You know, my father's father, my grandfather, was a little grosser, a butcher, no knowledge of the arts at all. Wonderful man, but a simple immigrant. My father became a professor of 18th Century English literature. Why did he do that? It's because you can go to school and walk into an English department and so when people say well, the humanities are elitist, it's just the opposite. It's when we don't have humanities departments that that conversation about civilization is elitist. When we have them at universities it means anybody can take part.
ZAKARIA: But wasn't what the president was saying true in this sense, that not everyone should aspire to a kind of four-year liberal arts degree, that there are some people for whom a two-year course in mechanics or some trade like that is going to be a much more productive path because that person's talents or skills might be better suited to that? Or is that fundamentally kind of classes divide? Because most of Europe works that way, where there's much more streaming where people are kind of moved into. And that's why the German economy has not had some of the employment problems we've had.
GOPNIK: Sure, and Canada too. They country outcome found it. You have a lot of two-year programs right out of high school. These things are fine, right? But I think if we start amputating the life of hands and eyes from the life of the mind we're going to regret it, partly for the reason of the Steve Jobs principle, that a lot of real innovation comes out of the arts, but also because finally it's a question of values. Why do we want to be prosperous? It's not just because we want to put things in our pockets and in our stomachs. It's also because we want to put things in our head's, we want to put things in our children's heads, we want them to feel that they're part of a conversation that extends back beyond them and that it will extend in front of them. And the humanities are uniquely good at doing that. We need the humanities because we're human and the crucial thing about being a human being is we know that we're at one place in an arc of time and that there's a future in front of us and the past that stretches behind us.
ZAKARIA: So, why did you become an art history major?
GOPNIK: Oh, because for all of those most high might (ph) reasons. Because the prettiest girl I had ever seen was studying Renaissance Art every morning at McGill University. And I thought, if I'm sitting near her in the dark - in the dark I'm going to be able to insinuate myself into her good graces and 37 years later we are still married.
ZAKARIA: Cherchez la femme. Always. Adam Gopnik, thank you so much.
Up next, why fashion designers around the world should knock off this African church attire.
ZAKARIA: 72 years ago last week President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066 authorizing the secretary of war to create military areas in the United States, from which anyone could be excluded. Although Japanese-Americans were not specifically mentioned in the order, it was clearly meant for them. Roughly 120,000 were forced from their homes and exiled to camps in remote areas where they remained surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards for much of the war. It brings me to my question of the week. Which U.S. president officially rescinded President Roosevelt's executive order? A, Harry Truman, B, Dwight Eisenhower, C, Gerald Ford, D Ronald Reagan. Stay tuned, we'll tell you the correct answer. This week's book of the week is "The Steps across the Water" by Adam Gopnik whom you just heard from. This is a children's book written with style. It's a fantasy set in New York with Central Park, skyscrapers, zeppelins and the Chrysler building and much, much more. Buy it for a young relative.
And now for the last look. After the kind of winter we've had here in New York, upgrades on winter coats have been the style of the season. And at the city's recent fashion week, one of the must-have items was a fabulous fur. Halfway across the world these South African men are sporting fur of their own during a religious ritual. Carrying Zulu warrior shields the men are wearing the traditional ceremonial attire of the Shembe religion, a monkey tail loin cloth, ostrich feathers on their head, a leopard skin belt and a leopard skin cape and perhaps fashion designers should copy this African custom. You see, for some of the members, the fur is fake. In fact, it's made in China. The international trade of leopard parts is illegal and the skins used in the ceremonial attire usually come from poachers. Thanks to a project by the wild cat conservation group Panthera, a fake fur material is now being made in China and shipped to South Africa. Ten percent of members are estimated to have made the switch to synthetic fur and thousands of these fabulous faux shoulder capes have been shipped to the region. It's a strange day when African animal skins are manufactured in China and shipped via DHL, but it is certainly the bright side of globalization.
The correct answer to our "GPS" challenge question is C, while most of the camps holding Japanese-Americans were emptied by the end of World War II, executive order 9066 was not officially rescinded until 1976 when President Ford issued a proclamation declaring that the evacuation had been wrong. In 1988, President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act, which awarded $20,000 to each of the survivors of the camp for their hardship and loss of property.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.