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Fareed Zakaria GPS

The Bergdahl Deal; Interview with David Rohde; Supreme Court to Decide on Teeth Whitening Case

Aired June 08, 2014 - 10:00   ET


FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.

We will start today with the prisoner swap for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl and the firestorm it has produced. I have a great panel to talk about the issues that the case has brought to the fore. What is a human life worth? And what about when that human is an American soldier? Then what is it like to be held by the Taliban? What goes on in the heads of the Taliban foot soldiers?

I will talk to David Rohde who was held by America's enemy in Afghanistan for seven months and 10 days.

Also why one of the most important cases before the Supreme Court is about teeth whitening.

Then the consequences of global warming may seem far off for you, but for this man, they are now. The president of an island nation struggles to figure out how to stop his country from sinking literally.

And white, black, Asian, we're all the same, right? My guest says wrong. New research shows that the races have different genes that make us different people. A controversial theory that we will explore.

But first, here's my take. The controversy over Bowe Bergdahl has largely obscured what should have been an important initiative by the Obama administration. The president's trip to Poland was one more step in what is going to be the central task of American foreign policy over the next decade -- deterring a great power challenge.

You see, the world today for most countries is stable, peaceful and open and it rests on an order built by the United States. Since the end of the Cold War, that order has not been challenged by any other major world player until now.

Russia's actions in the Ukraine are a serious challenge and President Obama has responded to them seriously enacting some sanctions, rallying support in western Europe and reassuring eastern Europe.

The president's critics in Washington feel this isn't enough, that he is showing dangerous weakness. In a spirited essay in "The New Republic", the conservative writer Robert Kagan argues that Obama is forgetting the chief lesson of modern American foreign policy. Instead of leaning back, Washington needs a, quote, "pervasive forward involvement in the affairs of the world," unquote, he says.

Kagan's model of a successful American strategy is the FDR/Truman administration as World War II ended. Even when new threats were unformed, that administration maintained massive military power and talked and acted tough. But Kagan then notes, seemingly unaware of the implications, what followed in the later years of the Truman administration was the Soviet Union challenged America across the globe, China turned communist and deeply anti-American, and North Korea invaded South Korea.

In other words, all of the things that leaning forward were meant to deter happened anyway. Kagan's main example undermines his central logic. And today's tasks are far more complicated than previous ones. The United States is seeking to deter China from expansion while also attempting to integrate it into the global economy and global order.

Even with Russia, the goal is not to force the collapse of the Russian regime, which would not be replaced by a pro-western liberal democracy, but rather to deter Moscow's aggressive instincts and hope over time it will evolve along a more cooperative line.

Imagine if the United States were to decide to combat China fully and frontally, building up its naval presence in the Pacific, creating new bases and adopting a more aggressive and forceful attitude. China would surely respond in a variety of ways -- military, political and economic. This would allow almost all the countries in Asia, even the ones worried today about Beijing's assertiveness because China is their largest trading partner and the key to their economic well- being.

What they want from Washington is a kind of emergency insurance policy, not a new Cold War. Even with Russia while European countries have understood that Moscow needs to pay a price for its behavior in Ukraine, they all want Russia as an economic partner. Their goal is to set a price for bad behavior but maintain economic and political bonds and hope that these grow over time.

The challenge for Washington then is not simple deterrence but deterrence and integration. A sophisticated, complicated task, but the right one.

Leaning forward sounds great. Echoing as it does show Sandburg's famous mantra to lean in. But while that's a powerful and inspirational idea for women in the workplace, it is a simplistic, dangerous guide for a superpower in a complex world.

For more, go to and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.

So let's get to some of the deeper issues surrounding the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl and the swap of Taliban prisoners for him. Joining me is David Rohde, the Reuters columnist who was taken hostage by the Taliban and held for more than seven months. Bret Stephens is the foreign affairs columnist for the "Wall Street Journal" and Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst and director of national security studies of the New American Foundation.

Welcome. Bret, I have to start with you. Even for you, you have written a fiery column this week in which you asked a former -- a soldier what he thought should be done with Bergdahl. The former operator suggested a firing squad might be appropriate.

BRET STEPHENS, WALL STREET JOURNAL'S "GLOBAL VIEW" COLUMNIST: Well, I wrote that in part because this was just after the weekend where the administration, you heard Susan Rice talk about Bergdahl having served with honor and distinction but in the military community it became very clear very quickly that he had perhaps served with not the greatest honor and distinction and there's a great deal of anger.

This Special Forces operations soldier I talked to was involved in trying to locate him and at least he claimed that American soldiers died in the search for Bergdahl. I know that's controversial. So my point wasn't to endorse that view. It was simply to suggest that not everyone shared in the administration's enthusiasm for the release of the soldier in exchange for these five hardened Taliban commanders.

ZAKARIA: So should we have done everything we could to bring him back as we do with other prisoners of war?

STEPHENS: We should have made a great effort to bring him back, absolutely, irrespective of the questions of his desertion. Ultimately I don't think this is about the circumstances of Bergdahl's service. I think it's about the price the administration was prepared to pay for his release and also the -- the way in which they played this. Because I understand that there are agonizing moral choices that an American president faces when dealing with the lives of servicemen.

But I'm wondering whether we didn't pay too high a price to have him redeemed. This is one soldier being exchanged for five of -- five Taliban commandoes --

ZAKARIA: The Israelis is good for a thousand.

STEPHENS: I'm glad -- I'm glad you're citing Israeli military policy as a precedent. I think Israelis make a mistake and they pay for it in the fact that it creates a moral hazard so that Hamas, Hezbollah, have an incentive to take other Americans. Who is the next American, by the way, who's going to be taken hostage in exchange for a ransom?

ZAKARIA: So, Peter Bergen, you understand this very well. What is the distinction here that we should think about between an army officer -- you know, an army sergeant, who is regarded as a prisoner of war and we routinely do prisoner of war exchanges as does every country in the world and a hostage for a terrorist group where we are told that we shouldn't do this thing because of moral hazard, it encourages hostage taking. You don't want to reward terrorism.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, I think Bret is right. You know, it was not the circumstances of how Bergdahl left his post is immaterial. But, you know, we are talking about a prisoner of war exchange. I think you raise a very good point, Fareed. It's not -- you're not negotiating with a terrorist from a technical point of view. By the way, the Afghan-Taliban is not designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist group. The Haqqani network which is a subset is, and there was a long debate in the administration whether to designate it or not. In the end they were designated.

The point is -- but I think on the question of -- the big question that Bret has raised is, who are these people? How then to resolve it. I think there are three points you can make here. One, you know, Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world, it's also a very efficient police state. They have made a guarantee that these guys will be bound from travel. By the time they are allowed to travel a year now, combat -- U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan will be over by then for six months.

We will not be in this state of war in Afghanistan in quite the same way. So both from a legal and military perspective, it's a very different situation at that point. And at that point, you know, American presence will be much smaller so the idea that they may well pose a threat, no one is pretending otherwise, but the threat they pose is a year if now whereas we got this guy back right now and that was a definite delivery rather than some punitive problem that may exist in a year from now. It may not even be that a big deal.

ZAKARIA: So would you have done it, Peter? You feel like --

BERGEN: Yes. I totally -- we are fully -- this was always the deal. There was no, you know, we'll send you maybe two people or three people. There's deals for these five guys was a deals. You either have a deal or you don't.

ZAKARIA: What do you think, when listening to this question of, is he a prisoner of war, is he a hostage of a terrorist group, you were a hostage. You were not -- you were a reporter.

DAVID ROHDE, COLUMNIST, REUTERS: I'm surprised this case unfolded that there has been less -- so little scrutiny of Pakistan. I was held for seven months in Pakistan. Bowe Bergdahl was held there for five years. Last night on CNN, David Sedney said that the Pakistani military made no effort to pressure the Haqqanis to get Bowe released and they made no effort to find him. We've given at least, you know, $15 billion in aid to Pakistan in this entire thing. So that's a huge question to me.


ZAKARIA: Impressive. Your original -- in your original -- if I can just interrupt.

ROHDE: Sure. You have this -- in your original "New York Times" article there's this one compelling moment where you escape with a couple of people, Afghans, and you finally make it, you escaped from the Taliban and you make it to Pakistani army post and your guys, the Afghans coming with you say, well, for god's sake, don't go there. They'll just take us back to exactly the place we came from.

ROHDE: And I agree. And I don't know why there isn't more anger at Pakistan for example. And there was a mention of Israel and its trades. You know, France and other European governments in the last three years have paid over $100 million in ransom to al Qaeda affiliates. So they were looking for U.S. soldiers before this case was done. They're looking for U.S. civilians. There's a half dozen U.S. civilians in captivity right, you know, now today.

So Bowe must answer questions but vilifying this one soldier instead of looking at this larger dynamic I think is unfair.

STEPHENS: David rightly points out, there are Americans that are being held all over the place. We have a set number of things that we can give them. Do we really want to get in the business of constantly bribing Haqqani network people, Taliban people, al Qaeda people, because Americans who get themselves into trouble in --


ZAKARIA: But this is American tourists. This is American --


ZAKARIA: This is an American soldier who was fighting in a military operation.

STEPHENS: Yes. And there is -- there is good evidence that there's a former CIA officer who is being held by Iran. Exactly what price -- or may have been held by Iran for many years. What price are we going to pay for him?

Judgments have to be made by any administration about the value and the sacrifice a country exacts for the redemption of the -- this is a difficult moral issue and I can understand how this administration had wrestled hard with this issue and said quietly we're going to bring him back. This was treated as an occasion, what was supposed to be a great triumph for the administration, a clear cut case where all Americans were supposed to celebrate.

And I'm not surprised that a lot of soldiers who paid a very high price looking for Bergdahl are not -- are not so impressed by the administration's claims.

ZAKARIA: Thank you, gentlemen. David Rohde, stay with us. When we come back we're going to go in-depth with you on what it is like to be held by the Taliban.


ZAKARIA: What we probably won't hear for a long time from Bowe Bergdahl are details about just what it was like to be held by America's Afghan enemy. One man who knows just what that is like is David Rohde. He was reporting in Afghanistan for "The New York Times" on November 10th, 2008, when he was taken captive by the Taliban. He remained their hostage for seven months and 10 days, most of the time over the border in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Rohde is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. He is now a columnist for Reuters.

So tell us, what was the first thing that happens to you when you're taken captive?

ROHDE: The first thing is you think they're going to kill you frankly. And I was grabbed just outside of Kabul in Afghanistan and then what they immediately did and I think they did this with Bergdahl is they moved me over the border into Pakistan. And it's -- that's one of the worst moments because you realize once they've gotten you in this safe haven they have in Pakistan, it's not are they going to kill me, it's how long is this going to last?

And it -- you know, they give you food. They, you know, give you water. When I got sick during the seven months, they would give me medicine. And then it becomes a sense they're going to hold me, you know, forever. They're going to keep me barely alive, you know, for as long as it takes to get what they want.

ZAKARIA: Do they talk to you? Do they --

ROHDE: They did initially. And then it gets very boring. You're completely isolated. You know, weeks turn into months. And, you know, you just, you know, wonder if you're going to be forgotten.

ZAKARIA: And what do you think about that in that period? Are you at this point after a while do you lose the fear that one morning somebody is going to come in and kill you?

ROHDE: Yes, you do. I mean, you're this thing they're keeping alive to sort of trade for what they want later on. And it's incredibly isolating. I had this Afghan journalist with me who spoke English and I could talk to him. What's different in the Bergdahl's case is that he was completely alone.

Pashto and local language, I learned a bit of it. You try to humanize yourself, you're trying to keep yourself alive so you tell them stories about your life, you talk about family, anything human to stay away from politics.

ZAKARIA: And you say stay away from politics because they would get -- they would very angry?

ROHDE: Well, they had these sort of delusional ideas about the United States and about, you know, what would they ask to do for a hostage. The initial demands for my release were $25 million in cash and 15 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. When we escaped it was $7 million in cash and seven prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. And once they have you in Pakistan, where the is a safe haven exists, they're under no pressure to make a deal.

In the end I escaped from captivity by going to a Pakistani military base that was only a half mile from the house where we're being held captive. The Pakistani soldiers never came out of bases to see what Taliban were doing. They just had total control of these towns.

ZAKARIA: And when you get there, you insist that you are able to make a phone call to the United States to let people know because you were worried that the Pakistani military would just hand you back to the Taliban.

ROHDE: Yes. And I want to be very specific here. I am here because this brave, Afghan journalist helped me escape that night and then there was a brave Pakistani army captain. There are many brave soldiers in the Pakistani army that are fighting the Taliban and dying. That captain let us on the base and he apologized to me, he said as a Pakistani, as a Muslim, for my captivity.

You know, there are moderates in Pakistan that really hate the Taliban as well. But there seems to be a real serious problem with the policies of Pakistani generals in terms of the Taliban.

ZAKARIA: The Taliban, the people who captured you, the people who kept you, what were they like as human beings? Tough, kind of guerrilla warfare types?

ROHDE: The -- I felt, you know, that the younger men were really naive. They knew very little about the world. They see Afghanistan and essentially Islam as under threat from a global Christian, Jewish and Hindu conspiracy to obliterate Islam from the face of the earth, and they're told this over and over again and they live in -- it's really an alternate reality.

ZAKARIA: What did you feel like when you escaped?

ROHDE: I sort of couldn't believe it was real, you know, we had talked about escaping for a while. And we basically -- our guards were asleep at night and we snuck out of the room and went on a roof and used a car tow rope to lower ourselves down a wall. And, you know, we were desperate. And I really came to actually loathe my captors, particularly the commanders who grabbed us. This was a commander who invited me to an interview in Afghanistan.

And I remember stepping over that wire onto this Pakistani military base and meeting this captain and it was just -- I couldn't believe it. And I -- people have asked me maybe what is Bergdahl is going through, the first few days I remember being worried that I would wake up, you know, before I went to bed, you know, the first night I was on the air base in Bagram, that I would wake up the next morning and it would all be a dream.

ZAKARIA: And did it take you a while to kind of adjust? I mean, again, you -- he's been there more than six times as long.

ROHDE: Yes. Exactly. Seven months versus five years. So it's much more -- you know, much longer and much more difficult experience for him. I had, you know, issues sleeping but I eventually was, you know, thrilled to be home. And he's going to have a lot of challenges and a lot of issues and -- but he, you know, should be able to -- there are Vietnam prisoners of war and people do live full lives after this happens and I know there's anger at him and he has many, many questions to answer. But it was also -- you know, whatever caused him to leave the base that night, I guarantee you, you know, he regrets that.

He regretted it every day the last five years and he's going to have this enormous burden to carry for the rest of his life.

ZAKARIA: David, pleasure to have you on.

ROHDE: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: When we come back, why one of the most important cases before the Supreme Court is about teeth whitening. Really. I will explain.


ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. All eyes will be on the U.S. Supreme Court this month as it issues its final decisions before recessing for the summer. When it comes back in session on the first Monday of October, it will likely hear a critical case. The case is not about money and politics or affirmative action or the powers of the presidency. It's about whether you can get your teeth whitened at a kiosk in the mall.

"What in the World?" You see, teeth whitening services have been in high demand since 1989. And as with any billion-dollar business, people are keen to capitalize on the trend. In 2003, non-dentists in North Carolina started to provide peroxide whitening at significantly lower prices than dentists. Not surprisingly, the dentists started complaining.

In this case, North Carolina's Doctors of Dentistry complained to the state's Board of Dental Examiners, the agency that regulates dentistry in the state. The Board in response issued dozens of cease and desist letters to no-licensed whiteners in salons and malls. But in 2010, the Federal Trade Commission found that the Board, which consisted mostly of dentists, was trying to squash competition and had violated antitrust laws.

This legal battle is not just about teeth whitening as you might have guessed. The ruling will have far reaching implications for all of us. But first, let me explain what the case says about the U.S. economy.

In the last 60 years, America has seen an explosion in licensing. In the 1950s, only 5 percent of the workers of America were licensed. Today, almost one-third of the workforce has to be licensed from fortune tellers to shampooers to florists. Many states require a certification before you can practice your profession. And that large rise in credentials has caused a rise in costs for us consumers.

According to a paper in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, occupational licensing can raise wages by as much as 18 percent and those higher wages get passed on of course to the consumer. More than 800 professions now have to be certified or licensed at the state level. Joining what used to be a select group like lawyers and doctors.

Morris Kleiner, a University of Minnesota professor, makes a compelling argument for the increasing absurdity of mass occupational licensing. He points out that in Minnesota to become a cosmetologist, you have to put in more school time than to become a lawyer. In Texas you need to rack up 300 hours of course work just to work in the wig trade.

Now I'm sure wig making is a fine art but regulations like this are ludicrous and they hurt the working poor the most.

Let anyone who thinks they can arrange a bouquet set up shop as a florist, please, and let the market decide if they're any good, not some absurd board of accreditation, mostly made up of florists. In late May, Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor decided to take on beauty salon licenses. Cantor urged governors from across the country to reform licensing practices which he argued create barriers for low-income workers. That's a start. Of course, there should be safeguards and regulations, but for the most part these certificates are simply a way for groups to restrict the number of people entering their fields. In other words, to keep out competition. And it is a serious problem for the American economy. Hampering growth and burdening the system with nonsensical rules and regulations. Republicans and Democrats seem to have found some common ground on this issue, so maybe we can get bipartisan reform of immigration or taxes or energy policy, but we might get it on wig licensing.

Up next on "GPS" paradise lost. While the battle begins over the Obama administration's new carbon emissions cap, another nation is slowly, but surely being submerged by rising sea levels. I'll speak to the president who is not going down without a fight.


ZAKARIA: President Obama's ambitious cap on carbon emissions sparked a lot of debate this week, but for another country, the climate change debate is more than words and policies. It is a matter, literally, of survival. Kiribati, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean that 100,000 people call home is the canary in the coal mine. It could be uninhabitable just 30 years from now thanks to rising sea levels. Understand that this would be an entire nation wiped out by climate change. Here to talk about the problem and the plan to save his people is Kiribati President Anote Tong. The president, pleasure to have you on.

ANOTE TONG: Thank you for having me and giving me this opportunity.

ZAKARIA: Tell me about your country. Why is it particularly susceptible to climate change?

TONG: Well, I think what's important to understand, the geography of atoll islands. Atolls are very small islands barely two meters above sea level. So, unlike most countries, if the sea level rises, we don't have anywhere to move back toward. We don't have any high ground to move towards. And so, we are so vulnerable.

ZAKARIA: You have - you have 33 islands. And nowhere are you more than seven feet above sea level, correct?

TONG: We have one single island, but it's the small island, but the rest are atoll islands with that sort of structure that I've explained to you.

ZAKARIA: So, you would - so, 32 of the 33 would be underwater in other words?

TONG: They would all be underwater given the projections being put forward by the IPCC.

ZAKARIA: And what does it look like right now? What are you beginning to already see?

TONG: We are the severe inundation of the coastline in all of the different islands. Just earlier this year, the first three months we had very high tides, unprecedented, which destroyed a lot of the coastline and destroyed a lot of property and our neighboring island country, the Marshall Islands, they declared a state of emergency. We suffered the same problems. We have to sustain a lot of damage and we have to do a lot of repair work.

ZAKARIA: And what does daily life look like because you need drinking water, you need - you know, how do you -- what are the effects already in terms of those kinds of things?

TONG: I think the disturbing thing that we see more frequently is it's happening in more communities. With the attrition of the sea water into freshwater lands, into the freshwater ponds destroying food crops. So, that is happening.

ZAKARIA: How long do you think you have?

TONG: Perhaps by 20 years' time we'll see some very drastic, drastic impacts.

ZAKARIA: So, people might say why don't you just build some sea walls?

TONG: We have been building sea walls over the years. That has not provided us with the answers and the question is what do you propose to do? Well, it's been a very difficult question to answer.

ZAKARIA: But you have two plans that I've read about. One is a Japanese company makes floating islands that you want to buy.

TONG: Well, in fact we have many plans. We have to look and consider all possible ideas no matter how unseeingly unrealistic. No matter how impossible because we are faced with an impossible situation. Yes, the Japanese have come, they have come up with potential solutions. We are looking at that seriously as we are looking at alternatives also very seriously.

ZAKARIA: The other alternative you are looking at very seriously is to buy land in Fiji.

TONG: Well, we have actually bought land in Fiji.

ZAKARIA: How much land?

TONG: It's about 6,000 acres. And that is a lot of land, very good land. And the question you would ask me, which I probably would not answer you is do you propose to relocate your people there? And my answer at this point in time is not immediately. But I think it's an investment. It's going to provide food security, but let me make this point. Earlier this year I had a visit, a state visit from the president of Fiji and he was kind enough to speak on behalf of the Fijian people to say in the event that (INAUDIBLE), that's need to relocate their people and Fiji would be willing and ready to accommodate.

ZAKARIA: What role does America play in all of this?

TONG: Well, America up to now has been on the sidelines of the debate of climate change. I think the recent developments that I'm watching with a lot of interest and I'm sure, the rest of the international community is doing the same is the change in policy. And we see this as a very significant change not only in the U.S. government's position, but I think it will have - it will send a lot of very strong signals to the rest of the international community.

ZAKARIA: What do you think will eventually convince the United States and China and India to get serious about climate change?

TONG: Let me make the point that whatever is agreed within the United States today with China, it will not have a bearing on our future because already it's too late for us. So we are that canary. But hopefully that experience will send a very strong message that we might be on different line today, but others will be on the front line next and the next and the next.

ZAKARIA: But you do think it's too late for you?

TONG: According to the science and the projections, I don't think -- the science is telling us it is already too late for us. And so, we have been asking the global community to say, OK, think about the future. The speculation of what would happen. But don't forget those who are already affected, those for whom it is already too late. We're working together collectively with the countries in the like situation, the Marshall Islands, the Maldives. Where the impact of climate change is about total annihilation of our nations.

ZAKARIA: President Tong, pleasure to have you on.

TONG: Thank you for having me.

ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS." All people are created equal, right? Not so fast according to my next guest. He has some controversial new science to share with us.


ZAKARIA: Common belief in the 21st century is that skin color tells us nothing other than skin color, that underneath it all people are the same. Not quite according to my next guest. Nicholas Wade is the author of the controversial new book "A Troublesome Inheritance." He's a journalist who covers science, most notably genetics for "The New York Times." So, first, set out what you see is the important scientific finding that undergirds this book, that, you know, we have always thought that essentially there was no real genetic difference among the races. That we might all look different but that underneath it we're the same.

NICHOLAS WADE, AUTHOR "A TROUBLESOME INHERITANCE": Well, the main scientific finding of the book is there's human evolution as we can now tell from looking into a human genome, which we decoded about a decade ago, has been very rapid and very recent and it's also been regional. And the regionality underlines the fact of race because the population on each continent have been evolving independently since we left our African homeland about 50,000 years ago. So since evolution happens all the time, it's a continuous, unstoppable process that as population splits, the two halves will continue to evolve, but now independently. So, over time they will accumulate differences between each other and eventually they'll become new species.

ZAKARIA: So that as these groups sitting on different continents evolved, they acquire different characteristics and that therefore it's fair to say that different racial or ethnic regional groupings of people, whites, blacks, Europeans, Asians, are going to have different characteristics.

WADE: Right.

ZAKARIA: Now, the first question I would have is so that part of it I think people can understand. And you see, for example, that East Asians are generally speaking lactose intolerant. But you go onto say that while those differences are there, there are also probably differences in terms of the political, social organization. That Europeans are probably better at living in rule based societies that have, you know, democracy and liberty.

WADE: Yes. I say that there's no reason to assume that the head is exempt from evolution. Our social behavior is as much subject to evolutionary change as any other part of our body.

ZAKARIA: Another thing you talk about is how people adapt to extreme circumstances and your examples are the Eskimos or the Tibetans who live at very high altitudes and so develop the capacity to deal. And you compare that then to Jews with capitalism. That the Jews have been able to adapt so well to capitalism because they were persecuted so much. Now, I think there is a mystery of Jewish, you know, super achievement for sure, but when I look at that, I think yes, but there were so many other small populations that were treated badly, discriminated. You know, expelled from various countries and in that case it didn't seem to produce high achievement. So why did - you know, this seems like an argument backwards. In other words, you found the one case where there was high achievement and you attribute it to genetics, but all the cases where there was low achievement and they were persecuted, you didn't attribute to genetics. WADE: Well, I don't think the persecution had anything to do with Jewish achievement. I think the answer more probably lies in literacy. So, from a very early time, you know, about six from 6380 onwards, there was a requirement that all Jews should be literate and should teach their sons ...

ZAKARIA: But then that's not genetic at all. That's just - that was a decision because it was a religion of the book and it was a cultural institutional, historical reason why this happened.

WADE: But, I mean, this is not genetic. But it puts a constraint on there. So, if you have a population where you need to be literate to be a member of the population, then - generation after generation you can imagine people dropping out. And it is - there was an enormous reduction in the Jewish population as it seems that many of Jews opted out. Remember everyone was living by farming in these days. Education is of little interest to a farmer. It's very expensive. So, the size of the Jewish population did, in fact, reduce substantially in the four centuries after the first century and one possibility is that this sort of created a natural selection for people who took easily to literacy.

ZAKARIA: You've had people say "The New Republic" has run an article, there are others that this book is simply racist. What do you say about that?

WADE: Well, that's entirely untrue. Many people including the social scientists, have based their opposition to racism on the idea that race does not have a biological basis. But this is factually untrue. It seems to me one should oppose racism as a matter of principle and if you - about principle, you don't care what the science says because your view is never going to change. As it happens, and as I make very clear in the book, there's nothing in the human gene that supports racism of any kind. But nonetheless, although my book in my view is basically the science book, it does have - has roused political opposition from people who cling to this view I mentioned to you that we should pretend that there is no biological basis to race.

ZAKARIA: Nicholas Wade, pleasure to have you on.

WADE: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Coming up next, why the anniversary of Tiananmen Square in China is sometimes called Internet maintenance day.


ZAKARIA: After Pope Francis' recent whirlwind tour of the holy land, today the holy land comes to Rome. The presidents of Israel and the Palestinian authority Shimon Peres and Mahmood Abbas are visiting Vatican City. It brings me to my question of the week. When did the Holy City in Israel establish diplomatic relations? A, 1948, the year Israel was founded. B, 1978, the year of the Camp David Accords. C, 1993, the same year Israel and the PLO mutually recognized each other, or, D, 2000. The year that Pope John Paul II traveled to Israel? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer. This week's book of the week is "Age of Ambition" by the New Yorker's Evan Osnos. China has changed in many way since the Tiananmen Square protests 25 years ago. This superb book is an excellent well written guide to China today and to the rising expectations among every day Chinese. It talks about the Chinese dream in business and governors even in religion. If you want to understand modern China, read this book.

Now for the last look. Wednesday was the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Despite the massive protests, it wasn't news in China. June 4th, the Anniversary of the protest, is sometimes called Internet Maintenance Day in China because of all of the temporary censorship the government imposes. And if you were behind the great firewall on Wednesday, you couldn't search for terms like June 4th or Tiananmen according to "The Wall Street Journal." Things like campus upheaval, May 35th, which is, of course, June 4th, between spring and summer, the Roman numerals for 1989, student movement, 8 squared which is 64. Three days after June 1st, March 96, the list goes on and on and on.

The correct answer to the "GPS" challenge question is C. It wasn't until 1993, 46 years after Israel's founding that the Vatican and Israel established diplomatic relations. The early '90s were a swift moving time for Israel and its foreign affairs. The peace process was proceeding and more and more countries were starting to recognize Israel. Israel's foreign minister at the time was Shimon Peres, the same man who visits the Vatican today as president. And when Peres met with Pope John Paul II in October 1992, he felt hopeful that the Vatican would soon recognize Israel. It took more than a year until it happened, but it did. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I'll see you next week.

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. I'm Erin McPike. And here's the big stories we are following this hour. California Chrome's co-owner Steve Coburn is blasting the owners of the top finishers in the Belmont stakes. This is what he said after his horse's fourth place finish.


STEVEN COBURN: Our horse had a target on its back. Everybody else lays out one or they won't run in the Kentucky derby or the Preakness. They'll wait until the Belmont. You know what? If you have got a horse, run him in all three. If you have got a horse that can - if you've got a horse that earns points to run in the Kentucky Derby, those 20 horses are starting Kentucky are the only 20 available - eligible to run in all three races. This is the coward's way out.


MCPIKE: Neither of the horses that finished ahead of California Chrome competed in the previous Triple Crown races, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and it's been 36 years since the horse has won the Triple Crown.

The Belmont was won by - which put on the last minute search to win by a hat.

A truck driver charged in the crash that critically hurt comedian Tracy Morgan turned himself in. Police say 35-year-old Kevin Roper of Georgia was driving the tractor-trailer that hit Morgan's Limo bus from behind early Saturday. Comedian James McNair who goes by Jimmy Mac was killed. Morgan and two others are still in critical condition today. I'm Erin McPike in Washington. "Reliable Sources" starts right now.