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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Crisis in Ukraine; Will Sanctions Work?; What in the World; America's Place in the World; The Story of Anti-Semitism

Aired April 20, 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 live from New York.

On today's show, we will bring you the latest from Ukraine. Then we will go in depth on sanctions. Many said they would never work, that Putin wouldn't care, but have they done the trick and what would they look like if things get worse?

Also a fascinating new international ranking done by Harvard's Michael Porter. Is the USA number one? Try number 16. I'll talk to Porter about the study.

And a week after three people were killed in an anti-Semitic attack in Kansas, I will talk to Simon Schama, the author of the "Story of the Jews" about why Jews have been a target for more than 2,000 years.

But first, here's my take.

Over the past two months, we have watched what has looked like a minor version of the Cold War between the West and Russia. Many people are wondering, how did we get here? Was this confrontation inevitable or did the West mishandle Russia from the start?

And the mishandling camp is Jack Matlock, former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union in the late 1980s who watched from Spaso House in Moscow as Mikhail Gorbachev presided over the end of the Cold War and then the end of communism. He argues, as the title of his recent "Washington Post" essay puts it, "The United States has treated Russia as a loser since the end of the Cold War."

In the years right after the Cold War ended, several American statesmen and writers urged a more generous policy toward Moscow. I was one of them. My logic was fairly simple. We have had two historic experiments with peace settlements after world wars. After World War I, the victors punished Germany and left it outside the new international system. It proved to be a disaster, leaving a wounded and angry Germany pining for revenge.

After World War II, on the other hand, the United States and its allies were magnanimous towards Germany and Japan, integrating those countries into the new global order. That peace, the Peace of 1945, succeeded brilliantly. And so I thought we should do our best to try to integrate Russia into the structures of the new post-Cold War world, give it significant aid and help it rebuild its economy and society.

Now Western countries did provide some help, but not really on the scale that a vast country like Russia needed after the complete collapse it had gone through in the early 1990s. But if the West did not do enough, Russia also pursued policies that made integration very hard. By the early 1990s, Moscow had launched a ferocious war against Chechnya, a part of Russia that had been seeking independence from Moscow for more than a century.

Estimates vary, but many believe that the Russian army killed over 200,000 people in the first and second Chechen wars. Meanwhile in Europe, Moscow was ardently defending Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic as he massacred Bosnians and later Kosovars. This is not how Germany and Japan behaved after World War II as they sought integration.

And at home, Russians were quickly developing a prickly resistance to outside interference, and Russian politicians who urged integration with the West became marginal figures with tiny followings. Looking at this record, the historian Anne Applebaum has argued, also in the "Washington Post," that the West fundamentally misunderstood Russia. It saw the place as a quasi-Western land. Think of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky. A Western country in the making if only we had put forward the right policies.

In fact, she argues, Russia derives its identity from being a non- Western country, perhaps even from being an anti-Western country in the sense that it is distinct and different from the West.

Perhaps the West could have done more to help Russia, but it does appear to me looking back that the Russia of the late 1980s and early 1990s of Gorbachev and Yeltsin may have been a special conciliatory moment in its history, a time when Russia was weak, its leadership enlightened and its populous worn out by decades of communist failure.

The mood of that country changed quickly as oil prices rose in the 1990s. The Russian economy grew and the Russian state reasserted itself. In Russia there has always been a great debate, at least since the 1840s, between Westernizes and Slavophiles. The Westernizes wanted Russia to become Western, while the Slavophiles felt that its destiny lay in its distinctive Slavic civilization that was different from the West. Today, at least, it looks like the Slavophiles were right.

For more, go to and read my take. And let's get started.

The truce brokered in Geneva last week may have made sense to those at the negotiating table, but does it work where it matters -- in eastern Ukraine? There it seems fragile at best. The deal calls for Russian separatists to lay down their arms and give back the government buildings they've seized.

For the most part, this hasn't happened. And any hope of an eastern peace in eastern Ukraine has been shattered with a shooting today. Four people are reported dead after the incident at a pro-Russian checkpoint outside the city of Slavyansk. Let's go to the CNN's Arwa Damon who is in the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk.

Arwa, what is your sense of what the people on the ground are going to do now that the Russian Foreign minister has said, you've got to get out of these buildings and hand them over to the Ukrainian authorities?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this stage we're seeing absolutely no indication whatsoever that they have any intention of doing that. They point to the fact that the agreement, the rhetoric of the agreement said that illegal groups needed to leave public spaces, needed to leave those various buildings, and they don't consider themselves to be illegal. In fact, they consider the government in Kiev to be illegal.

So all we're seeing on the ground here is they're continuing to fortify themselves, and they fully believe that no matter what, the Russians are going to continue to support them. One of the protest leaders sarcastically thanking Europe for waking up the Russian bear. The situation we have right now with the violence overnight, that possibly could escalate tensions here even further.

People understandably incredibly concerned, and it's a fairly tough job that is facing the organization for security and cooperation in Europe that is tasked with trying to convince these groups to surrender these buildings. They have around 100 monitors on the ground here trying to move around, meet with the various parties, restore a sense of order. But at this stage, it really seems as if those groups are not going to surrender the various buildings, and more and more areas saying that they are determined to hold a referendum about independence -- Fareed.

ZAKARIA: Superb reporting. Thank you so much, Arwa. Stay warm.

For the bigger picture on Ukraine, let's go to the capital of Ukraine and ask CNN's Fred Pleitgen.

Fred, what is your sense of what Ukraine will do? You heard what Arwa said. These separatists do not intend to get out of those buildings. Will the Ukrainians send in an army and take control of what is their country?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fareed, you know, the Ukrainian government told me that they really had very low expectations for this Geneva agreements to begin with. And they said that if those people in the east don't leave those government buildings they are going to continue what they call their anti-terror operation in the east of the country and move their military in.

Now the big question, of course, is does the Ukrainian army actually have the capability for such a complex counterinsurgency operation, and certainly the view that I'm getting here from inside the Ukraine, from defense experts, also from people inside the military as well is that this army clearly does not have that. It has several problems. One of it is the general staff which in many ways have shown itself to be incompetent, not just with what happened in Crimea but also with the operations so far that have been going on in the east.

You recall that last week a convoy of armored personnel carriers was sent to eastern towns and some of those armored personnel carriers actually got taken away by Ukrainian troops by Russian separatists and were then driven across to some eastern Ukrainian town, sometimes those separatists even doing donuts with those trucks.

And the other big problem that the Ukraine army has is that it simply does not have the material, it doesn't have the gear for such an operation. A lot of the tanks that it has, a lot of the armored personnel carriers, but for the 1970s. A lot of the gear that this army had, the best gear, was actually sold off to third countries who were trying to bolster its armed forces.

So the big question is, what are they going to do and do they have the capabilities to do so? And certainly if they try and re-launch this anti-terror operation, it really is very much unclear whether or not they would be able to even clear those buildings. And then, of course, you have the broader picture, the even bigger problem that you could have Russian forces going across the border if they feel provoked.

So at this point in time, the sense that we're getting is that the Ukrainian government hopes that this Geneva agreement is something that will stand, that would lead to something. Right now, however, there is no disguising the fact that that Geneva agreement is in a lot of trouble, not only from those people inside those buildings in the east of Ukraine but also, of course, internationally with the Russians seemingly making new demands all the time even as the government in Kiev says it's trying to de-escalate, by, for instance, calling a truce over east which of course hasn't led to very much as we saw by that shooting incident that happened in the east of the country and that Arwa was just talking about -- Fareed.

ZAKARIA: Smart reporting. Fred, thank you so much.

Coming up next, did sanctions bring Russia to the negotiating table, at least? I've got a great set of experts to answer that and much more.


ZAKARIA: We are back to talk about what the United States and the West can do to influence Russia. I have two great guests.

Richard Haass is the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and Robert Legvold is professor emeritus at Columbia University. He specializes in the foreign policies of Russia and Ukraine and joins us from Moscow.

Richard, let me start with you. The conventional wisdom is that sanctions don't work. You wrote a terrific book about it many years ago. But I now look at the sanctions that the United States has used against Iran and is beginning to use against Russia. These are more targeted, smart sanctions. They really try to take advantage of the fact that the U.S. financial system is at the center of global commerce, and they try to freeze offending countries or companies out of that financial system.

Do you think that that's enough pain to exact a real price and put a real cost in place for the Russians?

RICHARD HAASS, CENTER ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, you're exactly right, Fareed. What's different about these sanctions is how targeted they are. And second of all, they take place against the backdrop of a much more integrated world. But the key to it all is whether the United States can get sufficient international, in this case, largely European support.

That's what makes the Iranian sanctions so powerful, and I would -- I would think the biggest question now is what happens or doesn't happen between the United States and what Donald Rumsfeld might have called Old Europe, essentially Germany, France and old Britain.

ZAKARIA: Bob, when you are in Moscow, what is your sense of what Moscow's game is? Is it a kind of Crimea style annexation, or are they just trying to put a lot of pressure on the Kiev government and then get the best deal they can? Autonomy for the east, a pledge that Ukraine will never join NATO? What is the ultimate end goal here for Putin?

ROBERT LEGVOLD, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Almost certainly I think it's the latter. That is, I think they're primarily concerned with producing a Ukraine they can live with that protects Russian influence within Ukraine, and that does prevent it from moving toward the West.

The issue of how much autonomy you give to the east is simply instrumental as simply a path to that broader and basic objective. And that objective is not yet in hand, therefore, I think we're in for a long period of what I would call dangerous, suspended animation.

ZAKARIA: Richard, one of the things that strikes me about this situation is that the prize here, if you win in this little struggle, you get Ukraine. And, you know, the tag right now is $15 billion as a starter. Should we be thinking about this somewhat differently and trying to get the Russians as involved as we can, to put it bluntly so that we can split the bill?

HAASS: That opportunity may have existed in the past. My sense is now, Fareed, it's probably too polarized. But you make a good point. You know, we're focusing so much on what Russia is doing. One of the dramatic or most critical factors here is going to be what Ukraine does. And one of the reasons the Russians are able to be as influential and to sow as much dysfunction as they have is simply because of the political and economic disarray that has been and continues to be Ukraine.

So a big part of Western policy has got to be shoring up Ukraine politically, economically, and in the news report that you just ran, it also shows the military inadequacy. This is a nation state, if you will, of, what, 45 million or so people, but it really isn't functioning on eight cylinders in any one of the critical dimensions of what it takes for a modern country to operate. ZAKARIA: Bob, what is your sense of how this is -- how this is going to work domestically in Russia? Of course, Putin is wildly popular now because this is kind of a tough, nationalist thing to do, but do you think people worry about the cost, the long-term costs of integrating Crimea, of perhaps having to deal with, you know, as I say, if they win they have to deal with Ukraine.

How do you think -- is Putin thinking economically at all, or is this all just history and nationalism?

LEGVOLD: I don't think they've begun to come to terms with it either at the top or in the media or among the population in general. The cost to go back to the earlier conversation on sanctions is already being felt, but not because of the sanctions. They're primarily visa freezes and freezing assets for people on a particular list.

The sanctions that are being contemplated haven't been put in place, and yet the economy is already beginning to tank. The report for the first quarter was very close to negative growth. Another quarter in Russia will be in recession. The last report yesterday indicated that bond issuance by which they would finance a debt is down 74 percent over last year, and there are going to be costs down the road.

That is they'll have to -- since they can't finance their debt and they may be moving into recession, that will mean a cut in social benefits, a cut in aid to or support for education, for health. What's going to happen at that point, I think, is unpredictable. The Putin administration leadership is going to make the argument, look, your grandparents made enormous sacrifices to deal with a lethal threat in the Second World War.

I know that you, the Russian people, are capable of doing the same thing. And that's going to work for a period of time. But how long this lasts is uncertain. In answer to your question, though, they have not begun, even in the smallest way, to be coming to terms with that proposition.

ZAKARIA: Richard, we've got 30 seconds. Do you think that the Obama administration is pursuing this correctly, or very quickly, what would be your central advice to them?

HAASS: I would pursue it, Fareed, with much more urgency and intensity. I would do something about American energy policy to begin the process of waning the Europeans from dependence on Russia. I would put much greater diplomatic emphasis on ratcheting up the sanctions even do more to strengthen the rest of NATO. I just don't sense the degree of commitment and urgency that this requires.

ZAKARIA: Fascinating discussion. Thank you both.

Up next, the world's biggest sporting event is less than two months away. But the host country has gone from boon to basket case. Why? Stay with us and we'll tell you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. This $32 million cable car has not been used since 2012. This is a federally funded extraterrestrial museum, also abandoned. And look at this multi- billion dollar railroad.

An article in the "New York Times" reports it was supposed to help farmers from impoverished remote areas transport soybeans. Construction began here eight years ago but the railroad will probably never be built.

What if I told you that these shattered big ticket infrastructure projects are in the country that will host the world's biggest sporting event in June?

What in the world, right?

I'm talking about Brazil, of course, host of this year's FIFA World Cup and the only major economic power in South America. There is even speculation that bus and rail systems being built for the soccer tournament won't be completed until after the games are over.

This is a big comedown for a country that was seen as an economic powerhouse, the bee in the brick countries and even made a bid to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.

Now, over the last five to seven years, Brazil did experience a boom. It lifted some 40 million people out of poverty in the last decade. It kept unemployment rates at record lows. But as Ruchir Sharma of Morgan Stanley points out, the Brazil boom was really just a side effect of the China boom.

It was a time of cheap capital, emerging markets were hot, and China was growing fast and sucking up Brazilian raw materials and oil. Brazil rode the commodity wave as China imported its soy, iron, oil and other natural resources. By 2009, China had eclipsed the U.S. as the leading importer of Brazilian goods.

The following year Brazil experimented a 7.5 percent growth rate. But it was short-lived. GDP growth dipped to just 2.7 percent in 2011 and declines further to 2.3 percent by 2013.

Why? Well, as Sharma also points out China also experienced a downturn, seeing its growth rate dip below 8 percent in 2012 for the first time in a decade. If you feast on high commodity prices, you fast when they fall. Most important, Brazil wasted the good years, postponing reforms, lavishing subsidies on its people and convincing itself that it had found a magic growth formula that required no pain and no discipline.

That complacency now has a cost. Standard & Poor's downgraded Brazil's credit rating in March. It is not quite in junk status territory, but S&P warned that it would make further cuts if Brazil did not change its policies.

Brazil's public spending has been downright wasteful. According to one study, corruption across the country cost $53 billion in 2013 alone. To complicate matters, Brazilians will head to the polls in October. In the face of slipping approval ratings, President Dilma Rousseff has now vowed to cut public spending, rein in the deficit and enact reforms. It may be enough to get her reelected, but will it be enough to save the Brazilian economy?

Coming up next, one of the world's best business minds, Michael Porter of Harvard Business School, takes me through his groundbreaking new look at how America compares to the rest of the world.


ZAKARIA: The United States spends more on its military than the next eight highest spending countries combined. The U.S. has the highest GDP in the world. The rest of the world can't get enough of America's sneakers and songs and sodas and movies and iPhones. Eight of the ten richest people in the world are American. But what does all this mean for the average American? Are his or her basic needs being fulfilled? How does the average American's quality of life compare with the rest of the world? The answers aren't pretty. America fares surprisingly poorly in the groundbreaking new social progress index recently released by a team led by Michael Porter. Porter is, of course, the professor at the Harvard Business School, a hardcore capitalist, a registered Republican. He is said to be the most cited scholar in economics and business in the world. Welcome back to the show.

MICHAEL PORTER, HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL: Thanks, Fareed, pleasure to be here.

ZAKARIA: So, this is absolutely fascinating stuff. You were shocked at what you learned about America.

PORTER: Yeah, I think this was not the picture of America that I think many of us Americans have, that we are a leader a social leader, that we've advanced the ball in terms of opportunity and the needs of our citizens. And it shows anything but that.

ZAKARIA: So, if you look at the social progress index on the whole, what's striking is that the top countries are New Zealand, Switzerland, Iceland, smaller countries. But basically then a lot of European countries and Canada beat the United States.

PORTER: Correct.

ZAKARIA: The United States is 16. Ireland is ahead of it, Japan is ahead of it, Britain is ahead of it, Germany is ahead of it. What does that tell us? What does that measure?

PORTER: So, this effort tries to, really, for the first time ever take -- let's call it the social or community or quality of life dimensions of a society and capture those in a rigorous measurement framework using the best data available in the world, that's the best in objective measures of these various multiple things. But, of course, social progress is a broad concept.

ZAKARIA: Right. And that's why you break it down.

PORTER: And that's why you break it down.

ZAKARIA: Into these subcategories.

PORTER: Right.

ZAKARIA: Health and wellness. Japan is number one, Italy is number two, Switzerland is number three. You have to go all the way to 70 to get to the United States.

PORTER: It's an area where the U.S., if you actually look objectively, we're just not delivering. We actually spend the most money on this of any country in the world, probably in all of recorded history in terms of our health care budget every year, but in terms of the actual outcomes, and that, by the way, the social progress index measures the outcomes you achieve, not how much you spent, not how much you care, not whether you have a big heart and ...

ZAKARIA: So, this is mortality rates.

PORTER: Mortality, obesity rates.

ZAKARIA: Life expectancy, obesity.

PORTER: Right.

ZAKARIA: You know, child mortality.

PORTER: Right. And it turns out that we're number 70 in the world.

ZAKARIA: We are where -what I was struck by as you look at the countries that are around that number.


ZAKARIA: It's Iran, it's Kuwait.

PORTER: Yes. Right.

ZAKARIA: And there is no European countries that come close.

PORTER: No European countries. We're way below - we're way below the Europeans on that.

ZAKARIA: Now, health care, I think, people understand we do badly, at least a lot of people understand it.

PORTER: Right. Right.

ZAKARIA: Here's one that I was struck by. Access to information and communications.

PORTER: Right.

ZAKARIA: We think we are the most networked, plugged-in society, and if you look at our top five percent, I suppose that's true. But again, if you look at the rankings, and I look at how you measured. This was very rigorous, this is all very quantitative. Iceland is number one, Norway is number two, Sweden is number three. To get to the United States, we have to go down to 23 on access to information and communication.


ZAKARIA: What did - What's that - Does that surprise you and what does it tell you?

PORTER: It does surprise me. I mean again, at some level in America we have incredible access to information and communication, but if you look at objective measures of whether that's penetrated very broadly throughout our population and to, really, all our citizens, that's where we start to come up short. You know, our mobile telephone subscriptions, you know, on that particular sub-metric, it's we're 83. Even on press freedom, where we - you know, we are the land of the free, you know? But if you actually look at the nitty-gritty on the grassroots level, the international objective ranking systems show us to be, you know, 21st on that.

ZAKARIA: On this overall category, Jamaica scores higher than the United States.

PORTER: Exactly.

ZAKARIA: We are between Jamaica and Latvia.

PORTER: And Latvia. Yes.

ZAKARIA: Access to basic knowledge, another category which I was fascinated by.


ZAKARIA: Number one, Japan, number two New Zealand, number three, Norway.


ZAKARIA: 39, the United States.


ZAKARIA: And again, if you look at the company we keep there, Cuba is ahead of us and Georgia is just behind us.

PORTER: Yes. Yes. And that gets to things like really - enrollment in primary school. Now, of course, most Americans go to primary school, but the percentage that do is actually not that high relative to some of the other countries. Enrollment in the secondary school.

ZAKARIA: The dropout rates - right, the dropout rates for secondary school are very high.

PORTER: Very high. And so you start to see that -- I think we as Americans don't necessarily see ourselves the way we really are. You know, we have this sort of idealized view that we pioneered all this stuff. You know, the universal education and press free, and we did. But to keep up and to keep driving and to expand and access more and more people takes a very determined effort. And I think in this country, we haven't delivered in many respects.

ZAKARIA: That's the great story, isn't it? I think because you're right, so many of these areas, access to education in the United States, is absolutely the pioneer in the 19th and early 20th centuries. But the great story seems to me the catch-up.

PORTER: The catchup.

ZAKARIA: The (INAUDIBLE) of the rest.

PORTER: Everybody is caught up, and a lot of people have caught up and even passed us. I think, you know, hopefully Americans can -- we can start to look at ourselves honestly here. We can look at ourselves objectively. We can understand that there is a tremendous both social and economic interest in moving America forward, back closer to a leadership position on many of these areas. And frankly, I think the reason we are such a leader economically is because many, many years ago, we made commitments to be leaders in all these areas. But now that's kind of frayed, and it's interesting that this message all over the world is -- has been strikingly received in the sense that people are very -- because it turns out that no matter who you are, even if you're Sweden or New Zealand that are on the top of our list, there are still red marks on your report card.

ZAKARIA: Michael Porter, pleasure to have you on.

PORTER: Thank you, Fareed.

Next on GPS, a Klan member kills three in an anti-Semitic attack in Kansas. Is this 1941 or 2014? We'll look at why this persists with Simon Schama when we come back.


ZAKARIA: Last Sunday this man, Frazier Glen Cross, is said to have opened fire at two Jewish centers in Kansas, killing three people. Plus a leader in the Ku Klux Klan was said to have been a raging anti- Semite. It is astounding to me that incidents like this still happen in 2014 in the United States. Where does this virulent anti-Semitism come from? I couldn't think of a better person to answer that question than Simon Schama, who has just published an extraordinary new book called "The Story of the Jews." It's also a TV series. I think it's his 40th documentary. Simon is a professor at Columbia, was a professor at Harvard and a long time ago, one of my professors. The history of the Jews is intimately linked with the history of anti- Semitism. When does anti-Semitism begin?

SIMON SCHAMA, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA: SIMON SCHAMA, AUTHOR, "THE STORY OF THE JEWS": Oh, God, incredibly early. Um, with the Romans, or even possibly before that. Um, well before Christianity creates a problem for the Jews because of the fact they, inadvertently or otherwise, kill the Savior. No, the Romans -- it's an extraordinary story, um, that you find in the great Roman Jewish historian, Josephus, who has discovered a virulent -- he's a -- a Jew who's both an aristocrat, from a priestly family, he's a great historian of the Jewish rebellion against Rome.

He goes to live in the emperor's apartments in Rome and expects to be embraced and discovers that he's treated like a bad smell and wonders why. And he discovers this extraordinary story of Jews who are alleged to have waylaid Greek merchants, abduct them, fatten them up and then summon Jews from all around the known classical world to have a kind of barbecue on fattened Greek.

So the madness that these are kind of demonic, murderous, almost inhuman people, begins extraordinarily early. Even before the Jews and the Christians have a problem with each other.

ZAKARIA: And you talk about an incident at Antioch and which ...


ZAKARIA: Which begins a very familiar pattern...


ZAKARIA: Which is when there's trouble, when there's a - the economy is bad, when ...

SCHAMA: Right.

ZAKARIA: ... something goes wrong, you look for some group to - to ...


ZAKARIA: ... to blame, and, invariably, it's the Jews.

SCHAMA: Yes, it is -- it is particularly, because the Jews seem to have a loyalty to each other rather than the place they're at, even though the Jews in Syria and Antioch and in the 4th century are very much of their own place.

And it's also -- The Jews are thought to have a possession of a kind of secret interior knowledge that, uh, is unavailable to other people. And that adds to this witches brew.

ZAKARIA: What do you make of the kind of modern anti-Semitism that Frazier Glenn Cross represents?

SCHAMA: Well, well, we're in a -- you know, I mean that it's a -- it's a -- a one-off eccentric, mad thing. Much more troubling in a way is the fact, in case, you know, nobody knows this, 17,000 neo- Nazis marched through the streets of Paris at the end of January, with raised arms, the full-armed salute, shouting, "Juif hors de France!", "Jews, Get Out of France!." That is a lot of people, actually, to be marching through the middle of Paris. Now, the problem now is that exactly as you said, Fareed, when things go wrong or when you feel there's a world that's outside your control, the world of IT, um, the world of (INAUDIBLE)...


SCHAMA: You know, whatever it's going to be, something that's beyond your control, somebody must be manipulating the strings, pulling -- pulling the strings. Somebody must be controlling the media.

The notion that the Jews are city types, money types, types who talk too much. Like I'm doing now, who think too much and therefore, are not part of this kind of, you know, panorama...

ZAKARIA: Right. Yes.

SCHAMA: Of pure village life, in a way. And, you know, the -- the more complicated our life gets in the 21st century, these horrors notwithstanding the gas chambers or the crematoria, the kind of, you know, feverish imagining that someone else must be pulling the strings, this does not go away. ZAKARIA: So, what do you make of what is happening in Europe? I agree with you that the American case seems to be just a one-off, a, you know, a craziness.

But what is happening in Europe, and in Eastern Europe, as well as in France ...

SCHAMA: Right.

ZAKARIA: -- is peculiar partly because there are so few Jews left in Europe.


ZAKARIA: And Europe is achieving something extraordinary, which is anti-Semitism without Jews.

SCHAMA: Yes, well, that's -- there are some Jews.


SCHAMA: Not in France -- France has half a million.


SCHAMA: It's twice as many as in Britain. However, the real issue, Fareed, you know this almost better than anyone else, is nobody knows what Europe means anymore, um, especially as a result of, you know, there's a sense if you're Greek, um, or if you're in Southern Europe generally, um, that you're run by Angela Merkel or by the, you know, the northerners who don't really care about you. There's an incredible tension in countries which were intensely, passionately, pro-European, like the Netherlands, of drawing in once more and worrying about actually foreigners in your midst. These extraordinary issues of actually where does your allegiance lie and who do you give it to and why are the great issues of our time.

ZAKARIA: Does it leave you -- Did -- did writing this leave you more worried, more proud? How -- what was the ...

SCHAMA: It left me more proud. I mean I think -- I think, in many ways, it left me awestruck with the richness and, you know, wonderful complexity. I mean the things that really threw me over were the brilliance of Medieval Hebrew poetry, which I thought I knew and I didn't at all. Um, the speculator role that -- the imagery of those mosaic floors, which we're always told to believe that, you know, Jewish arts is the smallest subject in the world. But it turns out it isn't.

Um, you know, the beauty of the debates even in enormous apparently inaccessible books like "Talmud", the cleverness, the digressiveness, you know.

So -- and it made me realize there are -- there are Jews who talk even more than I do and much more sensibly.

ZAKARIA: Well, um, we do -- we weren't able to get to enough of it, but you've got a huge television show. The book is amazing. You're one of the world's great storytellers.

SCHAMA: Thank you. Simon Schama.

ZAKARIA: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Up next, if you needed to be convinced not to spy on America for a foreign government, they FBI has a new must see spy (INAUDIBLE) for you.


ZAKARIA: Early next month, President Obama will host the leader of an African country that is home to the only long-standing U.S. military base on that continent. It is a command help for counter-terrorism efforts, so important that over the next 25 years, more than a billion dollars will be spent on improvements to this camp. And it brings me to my question of the week. Which African country is home to the only permanent U.S. military base on that continent? Is it Algeria, Djibouti, Eritrea or Somalia? Stay tuned and we will tell you the correct answer.

This week's book of the week is Simon Schama's "The Story of the Jews." Everything Schama writes is compulsively readable. And this is no exception. While this is the story of a people that spans centuries and civilizations, Schama focuses in on the lives of ordinary people as well. I rarely recommend a book that I haven't finished, but I am a third of the way through this one, and I can confidently say it is already worth recommending.

Now for the last look. There is an interesting new spy film that's just been released called "Game of Pawns." Never heard of it? It is the dramatization of a heroine true story and it is not by some Hollywood fat cat studios. Rather, the FBI was behind the release of this 28-minute anti-espionage film. It's about an American student who is currently serving four years in prison for sharing secrets with China. Grab the popcorn. Glenn Duffie Shriver starts out a wide-eyed college student who falls in love with the city of Shanghai.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I loved everything about it, the language, the culture, the night life, the people.


ZAKARIA: Looking for a visa to prolong his stay, he starts writing papers for the Chinese government.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As long as they pay.


ZAKARIA: The stakes and the money increased until his handler suggests that he apply for a job at the CIA.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it wasn't like I had actually done anything wrong. There is a good chance the CIA wouldn't even accept me.


ZAKARIA: He soon finds himself sweating through a Langley (ph) polygraph, quitting in the middle, and attempting to flee to China.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was actually going to pull it off.


ZAKARIA: Not so fast, Glenn. This is U.S. law enforcement. They were already on to you. It is certainly a cautionary tale. But is this generation of college students having already been fed a lifetime of reality shows and slickly produced entertainment going to sit through a half hour of badly acted scenes that critics point out were shot in D.C.'s Chinatown instead of actually China?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Life is like a game of chess, changing with each move.


ZAKARIA: Probably not. An idea for the feds. If you want to get through to this crowd, maybe next time try Snapchat. The correct answer to our "GPS Challenge" question was B, Djibouti. Situated between Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, the country is home to Camp Lemonnier, 4,000 military and civilian personnel are stationed at this 500 acre camp and the large investment of the base shows the crucial role it will play in countering al Qaeda and its affiliates in the region. President Obama will host Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh on May 5th. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Victor Blackwell live at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. Here're the big stories we're following at this hour. For the second day in a row, a suspected drone strike has killed AL Qaeda militants in Yemen. Today an air strike killed four suspected militants in southwest Yemen. Yesterday another strike killed ten suspected AL Qaeda members in a neighboring province. A source says Saturday's strike was targeting three operatives linked to terror training camp there in Yemen. Civilians were also killed in that attack.

Divers are back in the murky waters off South Korea's coast inching through a sunken ferry hoping to find survivors. Bodies were recovered earlier as heartbroken families just stood there and watched. At least 58 are dead and that number is expected to rise. According to a radio transcript that just came out, a crew member says passengers aboard the doomed ferry couldn't board lifeboats because the vessel had tilted too much too fast.

Pope Francis joined Christians around the world in celebrating Easter Sunday today. In a second Easter message since becoming head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis prayed for an end to conflict in the Middle East, Africa, Venezuela and Ukraine. He delivered a speech from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. I'm Victor Blackwell. "Reliable Sources" starts right now.