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Fareed Zakaria GPS
Middle East in Crisis; Power Struggle in the Middle East; Reinvention of Atomic Energy Plants; Interview with Erin Meyer
Aired August 17, 2014 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": I'm Candy Crowley. "FAREED ZAKARIA, GPS" starts right now.
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.
We'll start today's show stepping back to try to understand what are the larger forces that have set the Middle East on fire.
In Iraq, Syria, Palestinian territories, is America inching back into military conflict there? Should it?
Also, if you think the relations between the United States and Russia are rough right now, just wait. Russia intends to soon have a spy station in Cuba again. "What in the World"?
And a cheap nuclear power plant that uses nuclear waste as its fuel. Sounds like a pipe dream? Well, I will introduce you to a woman named one of "TIME's" 30 under 30 who says she can make it a reality.
Then in the workplace, Germans will unabashedly tell you that your work is terrible while Americans will say nice things before they criticize you. A cultural map of the world and how to navigate those differences.
But first here's my take. Hillary Clinton expressed what has become Washington's new conventional wisdom when she implied in her recent interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in "The Atlantic" that supporting moderates in the region might have prevented the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. In fact, America has provided massive and sustained aid to the moderates in the region.
Remember, ISIS was created in Iraq and grew out of that country's internal dynamics and went into Syria later. Over the last decade the United States helped organize Iraq's moderates, the Shiite dominated government, gave them tens of billions of dollars in aid and supplied and trained their army. But it turned out the moderates weren't that moderate and they turned authoritarian and sectarian. Sunni opposition movements grew and jihadi opposition groups like ISIS gained tacit or active support from the population.
This is a familiar pattern throughout the region. For decades now American foreign policy in the Middle East has been to support moderates.
Great. The only problem is there are actually very few moderates. The Arab world is going through a bitter sectarian struggle that is, quote, "carrying the Islamic world back to the Dark Ages," says Turkey's president, Abdullah Gul. In these circumstances moderates either become extremists or they lose out in the brutal power struggles of the day. Look at Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, and the Palestinian territories.
The Middle East has been trapped for decades between repressive dictatorships and liberal opposition groups between Hosni Mubarak and al Qaeda, leaving little space in between. The dictators tried to shot down all opposition movements and the ones that survive are vengeful, religious and violent. There was an opening for moderates after the Arab spring in 2011 and 2012 but it rapidly closed.
The best example is Egypt where the Muslim Brotherhood had a chance to govern inclusively but refused. Then without waiting for vindication at the polls, Egypt's old dictatorship rose up and now bans and jails the Brotherhood and other opposition forces. All this leads to an underground and violent opposition.
Perhaps the biggest stretch is the idea that the moderates in Syria could win. It's one thing to believe that moderates can organize the world, make their case and go to the polls, but the Assad regime turned its guns on the opposition very quickly. In that circumstance the groups that are going to gain power are those who will fight, fight back and with zeal and ferocity. Consider the new head of the Western-backed Syrian opposition Hadi al-Bahra who now urges more support from moderates like him.
A successful businessman of decency and sincerity, al-Bahra left Syria in 1983, more than 30 years ago. How likely is it that people like him can take over from those on the ground who are fighting and dying? In an excellent essay for the "Washington Post" George Washington University professor Mark Lynch cites careful historical studies that demonstrate in a chaotic, violent civil war such as Syria's with many outside players funding their favorite groups, U.S. intervention would have had little effect other than to extend and exacerbate the conflict.
Had the plan to arm Syria's rebels been adopted back in 2012, Lynch writes the most likely scenario is that the war would look much as it does today except that the United States would be far more intimately and deeply involved.
Believing that the moderates in Syria could win is not tough foreign policy talk, it is a naive fantasy with dangerous consequences.
For more go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week.
And let's get started.
OK. You heard my thoughts about the big picture and moderates. Let's get in a great panel that is going to have diverse views on these subjects.
Emma Sky was the chief political advisor to the commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq, Ray Odierno, from 2007 to 2009. She's now a senior fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale.
Richard Haass was the director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department in the early years of the Iraq war. He is now the president of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Shadi Hamid is a fellow at the Brookings Institution Center for Middle East Policy and the author of "Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in the New Middle East." And David Kilcullen is a former Australian army officer, a counterinsurgency expert who served as senior advisor to U.S. General David Petraeus during the Iraqi war, was an architect of the surge.
David, militarily, is it fair to say that U.S. operations in Iraq have succeed in their objectives so far?
DAVID KILCULLEN, FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN, CAERUS ASSOCIATES: I think it's a little unclear what the objectives are beyond the immediate humanitarian relief of the population on the mountain in Sinjar. It's certainly true that the introduction of U.S. air power has changed the tactical calculus for the Islamic State which has gone from being much more conventional, operating in daylight, and, you know, raiding cities in a very open way to now embedding within the population, in urban areas, and acting much more like the original al Qaeda sort of guerrilla style.
ZAKARIA: But you can operate like that and be a spoiler but it's tough to hold territory if you can't operate in daylight the way you would.
KILCULLEN: Yes. I think we can say that American air power will successfully blunt any further expansion of ISIS to capture cities but air power alone is going to be very difficult to roll them back from where they are now.
ZAKARIA: Richard, what should one do next? What is the strategic objective the United States should have? Should it stay as limited as President Obama wants it to be or should we double down and provide the Iraqis with much more support?
RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: To begin with, we need a strategic objective that goes beyond humanitarian protection of Yazidis and protection of U.S. personnel. We need a strategic objective of degrading as far and as fast as we can ISIS. And what that means is concerted air power against them in Iraq but also across the border in Syria.
This border has gone, for all intents and purposes. We ought not to respect it. Plus the model of the last few days should teach us something. We do need ground forces. Air power can do some things but not everything. Good news is, we have a partner. The Kurds. What we ought to do is get as many arms and as much intelligence and training help to them as quickly as possible and work with them. They can essentially be the ground forces married up to American air power. That could make a real difference against ISIS.
ZAKARIA: You make a point, David, I think that I think is very important that people understand. So we're trying to degrade ISIS. And that's very important, and we're doing it in Iraq to support the Iraqi government, but once it crosses the non-existent border to Syria, ISIS is actually trying to do what the United States wants, which is defeat Bashar al-Assad.
KILCULLEN: Well, I think it's a -- it's a problem in a sense in successfully defeating ISIS without also changing the relationship between Iran and the Iraqi government could end up with a result where you have Iranian dominated territory all the way from western Afghanistan to the Golan Heights, which is going to be very hard to spin as a strategic success for the United States.
But as a military matter, it's just a question of secrecy. We need to deal with ISIS first. That doesn't mean that Assad's off the hook. ISIS is the greater threat. As we say in Australia, it's the crocodile closest to the canoe, right, but after that there are other things that need to be done.
ZAKARIA: You argue that crushing ISIS is paramount. That the battle against Assad should almost take a backseat.
HAASS: I don't quite understand the crocodile reference but I agree totally with sequencing. The priority now has to set back ISIS. They're a global threat, not just a Middle Eastern threat. They could be a threat to ourselves, to European societies. Assad, despite how unattractive he is, despite all of his war crimes, he's a local threat. And we need to deal with that in due course.
But right now the focus ought to be on ISIS. It ought to be on bolstering the Kurds. And I also think in the midst of this we need, therefore, to put a backseat or put the idea of an attacked Iraq. Again, for all intents and purposes, that story is over. We've got to prioritize in foreign policy and right now we face a different kind of threat. Unlike al Qaeda, these guys are not content just to destroy. They have a positive agenda. They want to create. That is a really dangerous agenda not just for us but for all the people in the Middle East.
ZAKARIA: Emma, one of the things the Obama administration has been very fixated on is the idea that without some kind of significant political restructuring in Iraq, all this doesn't matter. You watched -- you were the chief political advisor during Maliki's prime ministership and you watched after you left -- you know, take the stern. Do you think Humpty Dumpty can be put together again?
EMMA SKY, FORMER POLITICAL ADVISOR TO U.S. GENERAL ODIERNO: I don't think Humpty Dumpty can be put back together in the same way. So I think there really has been a change and a shift. At the end of the day, the only people who can defeat ISIS are Sunnis. Yes, the U.S. can help contain them. The Peshmerga can help contain them. But it has to be Sunnis who can defeat them.
At the moment we've seen in different areas of area that the local population has given sanctuary to ISIS and is sometimes supporting ISIS. Why is this? This was not inevitable. In 2007, 2008 we saw the Sunni sheiks rejected, totally rejected al Qaeda. They worked together with the U.S. not only to contain but actually to defeat. They have changed their attitude because of the policies of Nouri al- Maliki over the last few years.
Nothing is set in stone. People make alliances and change allegiances all the time in the Middle East so that is possible, but it's going to need the recruitment locally of new Sunni forces that then decide they're going to take on ISIS. And they're quite a long way from that.
ZAKARIA: One quick thought before we go to break. You see Syria as much more central here, correct?
SHADI HAMID, FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Yes. Definitely. I mean the --
ZAKARIA: We're focusing on Iraq, but this all -- it started in Iraq but grew in Syria.
HAMID: Yes. I mean, the rise of ISIS is tied more to the Syrian civil war and Bashar al-Assad is really the root cause of the problem in many ways, that you had peaceful protesters in 2011. They were being shot down and then more and more Syrians took up arms.
We had an opportunity early on, in early 2012, to intervene militarily in Syria and many of us were calling for that, not just arming the so- called moderate rebels but targeted airstrikes, the creation of safe zones. That's what was necessary then. And many observers warned the Obama administration, if you don't do more now, this is going to come to haunt you in the future, that the radicals are going to rise, they're going to gain ground. And that's precisely what's happened now.
And I think in some ways it's too late. Even if we had the ideal president doing the idealist of things, so much damage has been done over the last three years, and this is why sometimes if you keep on waiting, if you keep on dithering, the costs are tremendous.
ZAKARIA: We're going to have to take a break. When we come back we're going to talk more about Syria, about Gaza, and of course inevitably about the Obama administration. When we come back.
ZAKARIA: And we are back with Emma Sky, Shadi Hamid, David Haass and David Kilcullen.
Shadi, I want to pick up on something that you point out in your book. Explain why you have the situation where you have all these brutal dictators on the one hand and you have groups like ISIS on the other which is that the dictators, the leaders of the Arab world are actually much more threatened by moderate opposition groups than they are by extreme opposition groups.
They kind of like the idea that the only thing that -- that the only alternative to them is al Qaeda, right?
HAMID: Yes. I mean, groups like ISIS are perfect for dictators like Bashar al-Assad because he can point to them and say, well, this is what you get when you have an opening of political space. And I think one of the most dangerous developments of the past three years is that you did have mainstream Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood.
Yes, they're deeply illiberal. They're religiously conservative. We as Americans don't share their values, but they do believe in the democratic process. They're not using violence like groups like ISIS. They try to work through the process in countries like Egypt, and of course there was a military coup last year. There was a devastating crackdown.
So now groups like ISIS are saying forget about the Muslim Brotherhood approach, they're gradualists, they're soft. We can give -- they're saying we can give you the Islamic state not in 20 years or 50 years, we can give it to you right now through brute force, through violence. And what I'm really worried about now is violence is working in today's Middle East. That is one of the legacies, ironically, of the Arab spring.
ZAKARIA: Emma, what do you think about this issue looking at it on the ground in Iraq? You saw these Sunni extremist groups, you saw Shia, you know, militias of various kinds. If you -- if we support some of these guys, will they turn out to stay moderate?
SKY: I think when you speak to ordinary people across the Middle East what they want for their lives is similar to what people all over the world want. They want to live in safety. They want to send their kids to school. They want to be able to earn a living.
We can't say that the only choice for these people is either Iranian backed sectarian authoritarian regime or al Qaeda ISIS type. That cannot be the only choice given to them. So I think there is the potential to build a different type of government.
ZAKARIA: OK. We're going to have to -- I just want -- before we go, I want to ask, is there something that the Obama administration should be doing right now specifically with regard to the Iraq ISIS situation that it isn't?
HAASS: I would say, yes. We should articulate a much larger strategic purpose which is to weaken ISIS across the board. We should attack them wherever we can find them.
ZAKARIA: And what are the resources that would be required to do that?
ZAKARIA: You're then committing yourself to what is still a fairly sectarian government in Baghdad.
HAASS: No, we do not do it on behalf of the government of Baghdad.
ZAKARIA: Through the Kurds?
HAASS: With the Kurds or just directly we go after these guys. They are not just a local threat. They are a strategic threat to the security of the United States.
ZAKARIA: And you do that militarily?
ZAKARIA: You can --
KILCULLEN: Whether you campaign about the scale of Kosovo or Operation Unified Protector in Libya, it wouldn't necessarily involve, you know, invading, occupying any territory.
ZAKARIA: No, but the key is you wouldn't be doing it through what might be seen as a Shiite dominated government. You see what I mean?
ZAKARIA: You don't want the Sunnis to think that the United States is engaging in an anti-Sunni war. If it's done by the Kurds it has a different flavor.
KILCULLEN: I think so. And it's actually already happening. I mean, if you talk to the Yazidis who are on Mount Sinjar, they've been saying that they were people, Americans calling in airstrikes from the top of the mountain for the last week. So it's not like, you know, we just turned up and did an assessment.
ZAKARIA: You're comfortable with that?
SKY: I would say that you also need outreach to the Sunni population. You can't just have a military response and not have people reaching out to the tribes, reaching out to Sunnis to try and say, look, we will support you if you turn against ISIS.
ZAKARIA: I'm trying to like an auctioneer get consensus there. We seem to have a strategy that the United States should follow. Would you buy it?
HAMID: Yes, I agree generally, but, again, let's not forget about Syria. And again, I just go back to this is the root cause in many ways. We as Americans, we're obsessed about Iraq. We're always fighting the last war. That's very American centric. This has been going on in Syria for the last three years.
Let's understand -- let's understand Syria, focus on Syria, and I think we have to introduce airstrikes there as well. And that goes along with supporting the less extremists, I'll use that term, the less extremist Syrian rebels who can fight both ISIS and the Assad regime.
ZAKARIA: On that note of some measure of consensus, thank you all very much. Fascinating conversation.
Next on GPS, Putin's aspirations in eastern Europe are half a world away from the United States. But now he's getting cozy just about 100 miles from America's shore. What in the world? I'll explain when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. Remember last December when President Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's memorial service and got a lot of criticism for it? In truth, it didn't signal any sort of real (INAUDIBLE) between the United States and Cuba.
The Cuban (INAUDIBLE) of note is a different one with Vladimir Putin who recently made the long trip to Havana. While there, Putin forgave about $32 billion worth of debt that Cuba had accrued from the former Soviet Union decades ago and that Russia had inherited. That's 90 percent of Cuba's outstanding debt to Moscow.
In addition, Russian officials recently confirmed that Cuba has also provisionally agreed to re-open a spy post. This eavesdropping facility 150 miles off the coast of Florida allowed Russia to spy on the United States until it closed in 2001. Putin denied claims that he's reopening the listening post in Cuba, but many experts doubt his denial.
What in the world is going on? Remember that when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Havana lost billions in aid and subsidies from Moscow. The Cuban economy plunged contracting by about a third. Then Cuba found another oil rich regime to prop it up, Venezuela. Trade with Venezuela accounted for about 20 percent of Cuba's GDP in 2012, but plunging oil production and political instability in Venezuela means that Cuba needs to build new ties.
Enter Vladimir Putin who is in his latest incarnation trying to show the world that he doesn't need the West and that Russia can forge its own global ties. The Moscow/Havana alliance is a sad setback because Cuba was actually on the road to reform.
Since Raul Castro replaced his brother Fidel as president in 2008, he's begun a series of changes that point to liberalization. In the past three years parts of the economy were transferred from the state to the private sector as Cuba slowly edged towards capitalism. For the first time in 50 years Cubans were allowed to openly buy and sell homes and to set up restaurants. They could even purchase modern foreign cars.
Farmers can now work on land that is not state opened. Cuba seemed also to be gaining traction in other areas. Remittances in travel have increased. Cuba had even renewed stalled relations with the European Union.
These are all positive steps even if some of the reforms have been half-hearted and tepid. Of course Raul Castro is trying to do what so many autocrats do. Reform fast enough to fix the sluggish economy but slow enough for the communist party to maintain control of it.
Well, now Cuba's transition to openness may have suffered a major setback given the news of its renewed alliance with Russia. But the United States is guilty as well, of empowering the Stalinists within Cuba's government who are making the road to capitalism hard and slow.
What is Washington doing? Maintaining its highly ineffective and outdated 50 year embargo against Cuba. Every year for the past 22 years the United Nations has demanded an end to the blockade to no avail. The embargo, an exclusion from institutions like the World Bank, have isolated Cuba from America and its influences and instead allowed countries like China, Cuba's second largest trading partner, and now Russia to make deals with Havana. It's not just Putin who is leaving in the Cold War past, it's Washington as well. Up next, you will hear about a plant that eats nuclear waste, is relatively inexpensive, and doesn't have the same dangers as Fukushima. Really? Really, when we come back.
ZAKARIA: President Obama recently announced big plans to cut carbon emissions from power plants. Will this be a death blow to fossil fuels and lower CO2 emissions? Well, no. Under these new restrictions carbon emitting coal and natural gas are still expected to make up about 2/3 of American electricity in 2030. So it led me to wonder, is there another way? My next guest says yes. Leslie Dewan is co-founder and chief science officer of Transatomic Power. She's one of "Time's" 30 people under 30 changing the world. She has a fascinating idea that could be a game changer. And I wanted to have her on to talk about it.
So, Leslie, you came up with this idea after finishing your qualifying exams for a Ph.D. at MIT. You had some free time and so you and a friend decided, what?
LESLIE DEWAN, CEO, TRANSATOMIC POWER: Well, my classmate and I, Mark Massie, right after we finished our qualifying exams decided that we wanted to do something big, and different, and interesting. We figured that this was the smartest we were going to be for a while because we had just finished studying for 14 hours a day for about two months.
ZAKARIA (voice over): So Dewan and her classmates started looking into nuclear reactor designs. They reasoned that nuclear power is carbon free, sustainable, scalable and can generate great quantities of electricity. In fact, they couldn't imagine tackling climate change and keeping up with the world's energy demands which are projected to increase by 50 percent in the next three decades without a significant expansion in nuclear power, so in 2011 she incorporated a company called the Transatomic Power Corporation.
(on camera): What are the problems that you are trying to solve?
DEWAN: So, each conventional nuclear power plant in the U.S. today produces about 20 metric tons of high level waste that's radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. And there isn't really a solution for it yet.
ZAKARIA (voice over): Until now perhaps. Using a design that was invented 50 years ago, they created the Waste Annihilating Molten Salt Reactor or WAMSR. The WAMSR uses molten salt to dissolve nuclear fuel. That ultimately reduces both the radioactivity and the amount of waste. The new reactor could create just 10 to 20 kilograms of long lived waste per year instead of the 20 metric tons produced by a traditional commercial plant. 20 kilograms of waste is about the size of a grapefruit.
DEWAN: And the remaining waste that comes out, it's waste that's radioactive for just a few hundred years, so much shorter than the hundreds of thousands of years from other plants.
ZAKARIA: And here's another big plus. Around the world today there exists about 270,000 metric tons of high level nuclear waste. WAMSR could eat that waste and turn it into electricity.
(on camera): So this sounds great. Why wouldn't everybody -- why wouldn't everybody adopt this design?
DEWAN: That's what we're hoping ultimately.
ZAKARIA: Is it more expensive? Is your plan more expensive?
DEWAN: We -- it's actually about half the cost per megawatt overnight construction of conventional nuclear reactors. And that makes it - we can be on par with coal, and we're trying to reduce the costs further to make it on par with natural gas.
ZAKARIA (voice over): The idea may be cost effective, but innovation in nuclear is often thwarted because of concerns over safety. While coal, natural gas and even air pollution kill many more people every year than nuclear power, nuclear energy does have the potential to be catastrophic. Everyone remembers the disasters, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima.
(on camera): So what would have happened if your plant had been at Fukushima?
DEWAN: So my plant uses the liquid fuel rather than a solid fuel so if it lost electricity, if the operators had to leave the site, the liquid fuel would drain out into an auxiliary tank completely gravity fed, just based on the inherent physics of the design, and it would freeze solid over the course of about two or three hours, so if it fails it fails in a solid state rather than a meltdown liquid state or gaseous state.
ZAKARIA: And the big problem with Fukushima, is that it is in a liquid state and it is therefore producing huge amounts of radioactive water?
DEWAN: Yes, that was one of the biggest issues there.
ZAKARIA (voice over): Transatomic power has about $3.5 million in funding and the Department of Energy recently awarded its founders the first ever energy innovation award but Dewan faces several obstacles. She'll need to convince companies that it's worth up ending the industry and investing in new technology, and perhaps the biggest hurdle, the regulators. She'll need the federal government's support and money.
(on camera): Do you think looking at this whole world of advanced nuclear reactor designs that American technology in this area leads the world?
DEWAN: I think that for now the U.S. is still leading the world in nuclear technology, but one of my biggest concerns is that that won't always be the case. Just to put some numbers on it, the U.S. right now has 100 operating commercial power reactors and five new ones under construction, and China has I believe 21 reactors operational, another 86 under construction or planned to be under construction soon and then another 150 plants proposed.
ZAKARIA: Is it realistic that, you know, between issues of not in my backyard and all those kinds of issues and regulatory issues, is it likely that you're going to be able to build this plant in the United States or is your best hope that your first plant will be built in China?
DEWAN: We're committed to building the first plant in the United States for a range of reasons. This is American technology. It was invented here 50 years ago and so we want the U.S. to gain the benefits of it first before we bring it somewhere else. (END VIDEOTAPE)
ZAKARIA: Dewan hopes to have a fully built environmentally friendly nuclear reactor within eight to ten years, and then she'll have to sell it, of course, but if she can make it happen in an industry that's impervious to change, the rewards could be great. She could help get rid of much of our nuclear waste and generate enough electricity to power the globe for the next 72 years.
Up next, a culture map that will explain to you how to deal with the various and different cultural types you're going to encounter as you live and work around the world these days. Stay with us.
ZAKARIA: In today's globalized economy you might be an American doing business in Rwanda, a French woman making a deal with Japan, or an Argentine trying to woo a new customer in Australia. You can do your business over the phone by Skype or hop on a plane. That's the easy part. The tough part is figuring out how to conduct yourself in a different culture. Is it Americans who don't like criticism and Germans who don't want you to mince words or is it the other way around and do you bow or not bow with your Japanese counterparts?
Erin Meyer is a professor at INSEAD, an international business school, with campuses all over the world. She is the author of "The Culture Map." So, Americans are fascinated by the world, but what we really want to know is, what do they think of us. In this map what are the traits that you think of and you live in France now so you have a good perspective, what are the traits that people think of as distinctively American when it comes to doing business and interacting?
ERIN MEYER, PROFESSOR & AUTHOR, "THE CULTURE MAP": Well, one thing that you brought up a moment ago was this tendency to give a lot of positive feedback. And that might come off as being superficial or just confusing to people from other countries. So as you said, I've lived in France now for 15 years, and in France people are trained to give positive feedback a lot more implicitly and to give negative feedback a lot more bluntly than we do in the U.S.
And I worked with a French client a while ago who had moved to the U.S. She had a new American boss. Her American boss called her into his office to tell her that her performance was unacceptable, but he started by telling her in the way we do in the U.S., the things he felt she was doing well, and then by the time he got to the real message, she wasn't even listening anymore. She left that meeting thinking, wow, this was the best feedback I've ever received. So leaders today need to be -- managers, all of us, need to be really aware of these cultural differences.
ZAKARIA: And flip it around. So if an American goes to France or Germany, they will tend to -- they'd give a presentation and the German might say, well, these are the four things I didn't like about what you -- he'd be right blunt and upfront about the disagreement, right?
MEYER: It could be very surprising for an American, and when you're first getting used to it, it can be unsettling.
ZAKARIA: And what do you think of as some of the other dominant characteristics that, you know, in other countries that people should be aware of? For example, if you're doing business in China, what would be -- can a key Chinese cultural, you know, traits.
MEYER: Well, one might be when should you speak and when should you be quiet. And that's a very simple thing that we learn in our own cultural environment when we're children. I had a team I was working with recently where I had a group of Americans and one Chinese on the team. The Americans were all jumping and talking on top of each other and the Chinese person just sat quietly. Afterwards I asked them how the meeting had gone. One of the Americans had said, well, you know, this Chinese guy, he doesn't have anything to contribute. He's really shy. And I spoke to the Chinese and he said, well, I can't find an opportunity to speak in all of this chaos and jumping in. Just knowing when to be quiet can help.
ZAKARIA: A friend of mine who has a CEO as operations in India and China, and I asked him, what's the big difference? He said, in China it's very hard to get the managers to talk frankly and explicitly about what the problems they face are. And I said, what's the problem in India? He said, India, it's the opposite problem. I can't get them to shut up.
ZAKARIA: So, now how would you? You know, the map is itself quite complex. How would you explain to people, what are the tools you need to navigate? Obviously ideally everyone will be an expert in the cultures of all of these places but that's going to be difficult. So what are the simple rules one can apply?
MEYER: One of the rules is that the way that you perceive another culture may be very different than the way that another culture perceives that culture. So if you're working in a global organization you have to understand cultural relativity. Just to give you an example of this, I worked with a British and a French team a while ago, and I asked the British at one point, what it's like to work with the French. And the British said to me, well, Erin, you know, the French there really chaotic, they are always late, they are really disorganized. A little bit later I had a group from India who joined the same team and I asked the Indians after a little while what it's like to work with the French and the Indians said to me, well, Erin, you know, the French, they are really rigid, they are really inadaptable, they are so focused on the structure and timeliness of things that it's really unsettling for them if you change things at the last minute.
ZAKARIA: So, you have to understand that what you perceive about a culture might say more about you than the intrinsic qualities of that culture?
ZAKARIA: So in a sense the big piece of advice you're giving is the hardest, which is know yourself. Know how you perceive things and how that is a bias that you need to try to overcome?
MEYER: Putting yourself in someone else's shoes, being curious and humble I would say are the three things that are most important when you're working internationally. Now I can't do much to help people be humble or curious, but with the culture map I hope to help people be able to put themselves in other people's shoes so they can see not just how do I view them but how do they view me?
ZAKARIA: Erin Meyer, pleasure to have you on.
MEYER: Thank you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS" the art of penmanship may be lost, but one dead dictator's handwriting has come back to life. I'll explain.
ZAKARIA: The pope is visiting South Korea this week in part to celebrate Asian Youth Day with young Catholics from around the continent. Almost 1/3 of South Korea is Christian. That brings me to my question of the week. What is the most religiously diverse country on the planet according to the Pew Research Center? Is it, a, the United States, b, India, c, France, or d, Singapore. Stay tuned. We'll tell you the correct answer.
This week's book of the week is "Temptations of Power: Islamists and Iliberal Democracy in the New Middle East" by Shadi Hamid who was on the show earlier. If you want to understand the strange dynamic of the modern Middle East between brutal dictators on the one hand and jihadi opposition groups on the other, you must read the smart, well- written analysis.
And now for the last look. Last month in honor of what would have been Hugo Chavez's 60th birthday, his supporters in Venezuela remembered his life. And for some reason his handwriting. A new font Chavez pro was unveiled during the birthday celebrations. The font mimics the commandante's clear, bold block handwriting style. It's a neat idea. If you're shooting for the history books, you may not be able to get your face on a coin or dollar, but you might be able to get your handwriting in a typeface. We thought we tried out a few fonts of our own: the Secret Service might have something to say about Barack Obama oblique. Easy access to the president's handwriting would surely invite forgeries. It's a bit hard to read anyway. Our neighbors to the north might enjoy Steven Harper M.S.
It's immaculate cursive certainly easier on the eyes. If you thought a font fit for a queen would be even neater, think again. Queen Elizabeth's distinctive handwriting is even more difficult to decipher so times new royal is a bust, but I suppose the queen has her face on all the money anyway. The correct answer to our "GPS" challenge question was, D, Singapore. This tiny island nation scored the highest in the Pew research center's religious diversity index. The Pope's home Vatican City, by the way, came in last place. The U.S. known as the great melting pot actually only has moderate religious diversity. It ranked 68th out of the 232 areas that were studied. That ranking falls behind historically catholic countries like France and traditionally Muslim countries like Bahrain. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, I'm Alexandra Field. "Reliable Sources" with Brian Stelter is coming right up. But first here are the big stories we're following at this hour. Bloodshed at a protest in Ferguson, Missouri. Early this morning, police say one person was shot during demonstrations. That broke a new curfew war. He's in critical condition. And investigators don't know who shot him. Police arrested seven people who refused to leave the streets during the midnight to 5:00 a.m. curfew. Officers used smoke and tear gas to break up the crowds. This all comes one week after an officer shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown who was unarmed.
And turning overseas now, there's a battle ranging over the (INAUDIBLE) dam in Mosul, Iraq. Overnight, the U.S. carried out more airstrikes against ISIS fighters in Mosul in nearby Erbil. Kurdish fighters are now battling ISIS militants on the ground in an attempt to retake the dam from ISIS militants. Officials say if the dam fails, it would be catastrophic causing flooding all the way to Baghdad some 250 miles to the south.
There are also significant developments in the Ukraine crisis. Officials there say pro-Russian militants shot down a Ukrainian fighter jet in the Lugansk region where battles with government forces are outraging. Ukraine says its troops are making gains there. Officials also report a Russian convoy with three rocket launcher systems crossed into Ukraine from Russia overnight. I'm Alexandra Field in New York. "RELIABLE SOURCES" with Brian Stelter starts right now.