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Fareed Zakaria GPS

: Interview with John Yoo and Jane Harman; Interview with Moazzam Begg; Chinese Economic Slowdowns Affecting Global Economy; Controversial Law in Israel; New Autobiography by Diane von Furstenberg

Aired December 14, 2014 - 10:00   ET


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

We'll start today with the revelations from the Senate's torture report. Did Congress know all that the CIA was doing? Were the techniques outlined in the report justifiable and how badly will the report -- did the report damage U.S. standing around the world, especially the Arab world?

Then, Moazzam Begg wants an apology. He was held in U.S. prisons and says he was abused and witnessed torture. What is his response to the report? I will ask him.

And the man who might be Israel's next prime minister, a man to the right of Bibi Netanyahu. You'll Naftali Bennett who is adamantly opposed to a two-state solution.

Finally, that's a wrap. A wrap dress, that is. Diane von Furstenberg and her invention that made her one of the world's most powerful women.

But first, here's my take. Even some of those who have supported the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report agree that it could damage American interests abroad. Of course, opponents of the report are quite sure that, in Senator Ted Cruz's words, it will endanger lives, drive away our allies and undermine national security.

But will it really? Remember that Cruz's argument is similar to many we heard during the Cold War. America was at a disadvantage compared to the Soviet Union, it was said, because it had to operate with its hands tied behind its back, with congressional interference, media exposure and all of the trappings of a democracy.

Moscow, on the other hand, could act speedily, effectively, lethally and in secret. In fact, the Soviet Union pursued an utterly disastrous foreign policy. It so brutally pressed its allies that by the 1980s it was in so-called by a group of countries in Eastern Europe that had become deeply hostile to it. It pursued an arms race with the United States that by some estimates consumed 10 to 20 percent of its GDP. It invaded Afghanistan and bled itself dry in a war it could not admit it had lost.

All these flaws were the product of a closed system with no checks and balances. The Kremlin and the KGB had complete freedom of maneuver, no oversight, no requirement ever to reveal any operations, and no media that reported on them. The result was that errors persisted and ultimately broke the back of the entire enterprise.

Now America made its share of mistakes during the Cold War but because of a democratic system of contestation, transparency, checks and balances, many of them were exposed early. New administrations could shift policy without losing face. Course correction was routine.

Let's keep in mind, it is the big, ruckus, contentious democracies, Britain and the United States, that have prevailed in the world, not Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and the Soviet Union.

The CIA claims that its program after 9/11 worked very well and suggested the best judge of this should be itself. The Senate report provides an alternative view with substantial evidence and argumentation. This debate will make the CIA better not worse. After all, what organization has ever benefited from being able to be the sole judge of its own performance?

The touchstone example of congressional revelations that are said to have damaged American foreign policy is the Church Committee. It became an article of faith for many that the committee set up in 1975 in the wake of the Watergate scandal, destroyed the CIA and weakened America.

But what were its revelations? That the CIA had attempted to assassinate a series of leaders across the third world, often in hand- fisted and botched operations that provoked a nationalist backlash for decades, that it covered up its mistakes assiduously, that it had spied on American citizens.

The reforms of that era included a ban on assassinations, congressional and judicial oversight of intelligence agencies. The requirement of the president formally approve a covert action to create accountability and more. It's a measure of how sensible these reforms are that today they are utterly uncontested.

As for the broader consequences for American foreign policy, a few years after the Church Committee, the revolt in Afghanistan, dissent in Eastern Europe and dysfunction inside the Soviet Union all assisted by America's intelligence agencies, caused the total unraveling of the Soviet empire.

Keep that in mind when you hear the same kinds of warnings today.

For more, go to and read my "Washington Post" column this week.

And let's get started.

Let's dig in some more on the Senate's torture report and the larger picture. I have three important guests, all with special expertise. Jane Harman sat on the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the post- 9/11 years rising to become its ranking member. She now runs the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.

John Yoo was a Justice Department official in the Bush administration and one of the authors of the government's so-called Torture Memos. He's now a professor at Berkeley Law School. And Marwan Muasher was the foreign minister and then deputy prime minister of Jordan in the post-9/11 years. His nation was an important U.S. ally in the war on terror.

John, let me start with you. You did author or have authored some of the memos on -- that authorized the use of enhanced interrogation. When you read this report and you read about the techniques that were used, forced rectal feeding, agency officials threatening to rape the mothers of prisoners, people with broken limbs being forced to stand for hours and hours, deprived of sleep for up to one week.

Doesn't that strike you as torture?

JOHN YOO, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL DURING GEORGE W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION: Well, those are very troubling examples. They would not have been approved by the Justice Department. They were not approved by the Justice Department at the time. But I have to question whether they are true because I can't take the face value of the committee's report because there were no Republicans involved. You know, the investigations intelligence committee are traditionally bipartisan and the worst thing, from a lawyer's perspective, from my perspective, is the committee didn't interview any witnesses.

And so you have these reports but they never gave a chance -- gave a chance to the very participants of the people being accused to explain themselves. And so I will want to know more about what happened in any of these cases and to see what really happened. But I agree with you, if there were people who had to undergo what you have just described, none of those were approved by the Justice Department. I don't believe they're approved by the headquarters at CIA, too.

Instead what you had I think you was a lot of chaos and miscommunication going on in the very first months after 9/11 when both people in the White House, the executive branch and Congress, were demanding that the CIA become aggressive and get started on going after al Qaeda.

ZAKARIA: But, John, if you'd made a fair point that the Republican minority did not join in, and it would have given it more credence, but the practices that they're describing, as I understand it, are taken from the CIA's own accounts, are you saying that you think the committee has doctored those reports?

YOO: What I'm worried about -- and this is what -- don't take my word for it. This is what CIA ex-directors have been saying over the last few days and they appear in the CIA's own answer and in the minority report to the committee, that these were all cherry picked out of millions of documents and that we don't have the context to understand these are classified documents, of course, many of them, so we can't see the underlying documents. That's why we really need to rely in these kind of situation under

being bipartisanship and a chance for people to appear and testify before the committee.

But I agree. Look, Fareed, I agree with you, if these things happened as they are described in the report, as you describe them, those were not authorized by the Justice Department. They were not supposed to be done and those people who did those are at risk legally because they were acting outside their orders.

ZAKARIA: Jane Harman, how does this strike you?

JANE HARMAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, THE WOODROW WILSON CENTER: I strongly disagree. I get the argument that context matters. I was there. I was walking toward the dome of the capitol which is where the Intelligence Committee rooms were located on 9/11. It was the intended target of the fourth airplane that went down. I was on the U.S. Commission on Terrorism that predicted a major attack on U.S. soil.

I spent years trying to make sure our country was safe and I want to thank the CIA and the FBI and our intelligence community for helping keep it safe. Nonetheless, I think several things that happened were completely out of line. And I just want to read from the so-called torture memos which defined political abuse that does not result in organ failure, impairment of bodily function or death as not constituting cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

Well, a narrow definition like that could easily have led to the techniques that were used and I think looking back on this chapter is very painful. Again, many of the people involved thought they were doing the right thing but we failed them by not having a clear legal framework around their activity.

ZAKARIA: Jane, let me ask you about Congress' involvement, though. There is the argument that this report whitewashes one element of the system, which was congressional oversight, that the CIA briefed Congress 30 times, that, you know, not -- there wasn't a lot of push back from Congress, that David Ignatius has a column in the "Washington Post" pointing out that if -- you know, if there is a failure here, it is also Congress' failure in any way to seriously exercise its oversight of the CIA.

HARMAN: Well, I would push back. Congress was briefed, first, just this so-called gang of eight was briefed. I did push back. I also asked for the Office of Legal Counsel memos and I asked for the location of any black sites. I was not given either. It took years for Congress to get the OLC memos and only after they leaked to the press were they turned over. But -- I don't think Congress is faultless. I would agree with that.

And I think the partisanship in Congress hurts the effectiveness of Congress but the Intelligence Committees at the time were functioning on a bipartisan basis and John McCain, in particular, who I think was enormously forceful this week in defending the findings of the Feinstein report, John McCain pushed back. Congress passed several acts, including the Detainee Treatment Act in 2005 that began to cut off the use of these enhanced interrogation techniques.

ZAKARIA: Maruan, there's an issue in which you are personally or at least have -- must have some personal knowledge. Human Rights Watch claims that Jordan was one of the proxy renditioners, in other words, the place that the United States will engage in these interrogations and that one of those sites existed when you were foreign minister of Jordan.

MARWAN MUASHER, FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER, JORDAN: Well, I am not privy to any such information even when I was foreign minister. This information is classified, has been classified and is still the case. So I cannot comment on this because I have no knowledge of it. Certainly, the Jordanian government and the American government worked very closely on counterterrorism activities against al Qaeda throughout the years but whether we have detention centers or not is not information that I have.

ZAKARIA: But are you saying that as Jordan's foreign minister, that would not have been information that would have been shared with you?

MUASHER: No, this information was not shared, certainly, if at all, you know, if it -- if that was the case at all. But I was not privy to any such information.

ZAKARIA: Does this debate and the revelation in these reports, does it weaken America as, you know, many people, particularly Republicans, have been arguing? Or does it strengthen America in showing that it is a country that is willing to air its dirty laundry and have a full accounting?

MUASHER: Well, Fareed, you know that America does not have a great standing in our part of the world. Iraq -- the Iraq war is one principal reason other than the Arab-Israeli conflict. So this is not going to help America's case in any matter. But having said so, as I said, I think that most people will just shrug this off in the Arab world and just look at it as something that they expected anyway and that they will not really result in any of the heated discussions that you are having here or there in the United States. This is not, so far, generating any buzz here.

ZAKARIA: Fascinating conversation. Thank you all very much.

Next up, we've heard from former officials. Now we will hear from a former detainee. Moazzam Begg was a U.S. prisoner in Bagram and Gitmo who says he was abused and witnessed true torture.

What was his reaction to the report? You will hear that in just a moment.


ZAKARIA: An enemy combatant. That's the label the U.S. government gave to Moazzam Begg, whom it accused of being affiliated with al Qaeda and having attended terror training camps. Begg, a British Muslim, says he was abducted in Pakistan in January 2002 and then began a three-year journey in U.S. government custody from Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan to the Guantanamo Bay Naval base in Cuba.

Earlier this year he was arrested by British authorities charged with providing training and funding for terror in Syria. In October those charges were dropped. In the years in between Moazzam Begg has been an outspoken speaker against torture and false imprisonment and more generally against the way the war on terror has been conducted.

I wanted to understand what effect reading the terror report would have on a man of Begg's point of view. So I talked to him this week. I was in Mumbai, he was in Birmingham, England where he lives.


ZAKARIA: Mr. Begg, thank you for joining us. Let me ask you, first, you say that when you were in custody, in U.S. custody, you witnessed acts of torture. Does the report accurately describe the kind of acts you saw?

MOAZZAM BEGG, FORMER DETAINEE OF THE U.S. HELD IN GUANTANAMO AND BAGRAM: It does. Some of the torture I witnessed, of course, actually led to death. I saw one prisoner in the Bagram facility which is Afghanistan with his hands tied above the top -- to the top of the door being repeatedly punched and kicked and I know that this prisoner actually died as a result of the beatings he received.

Now some of the techniques that have been mentioned mercifully I wasn't subjected to but there are others that are not mentioned that I was subjected to. For example, I was tied with my hands behind my back to my legs. I was punched and kicked. I had the agents showing me pictures of my children with the sound of a woman screaming next door that I was led to believe was my wife and then forced to sign confessions as a result of this.

So it's unsurprising completely since my return from Guantanamo I've been documenting numerous cases in the U.K. and around the world of people who were beaten and abused and tortured in various ways through this -- through this rendition program.

ZAKARIA: Do you believe that the release of this report will incite a certain greater degree of anti-Americanism among radicalized youth in the Middle East, for example?

BEGG: I don't think so, no. In fact, I think what it will do is that it would suggest that at least America is attempting to be open, at least it's trying to make some confessions in public. I know that there's no sense that there's going to be any prosecutions but at least America has come clean and it's setting a record, a standard, for other countries to follow. We know there are at least 54 countries involved. What did Britain do? What did Pakistan do? What did Syria do? What did Egypt do?

All of these countries, they also now have a template to follow. And let's remember, the people were already being dressed in orange suits and executed in Iraq in 2005 and into 2014 and this was well before any of these details came about. The fact is that the occupation of Iraq, of Afghanistan, the torture program, was well known all around the world. Everybody was talking about it. So I don't think there will be any particular reaction to this -- specifically because of this release.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about the general idea of this kind of critique, you know, because a lot of people watching might wonder, you yourself have admitted that you did attend -- witnessed some terrorist training camps or camps at which Mujahideen likes were trained. You moved your family to live in the Taliban regime -- in Taliban of Afghanistan.

And so, you know, it seems odd for somebody who seems to have sympathy for regimes that were brutal in terms of their oppression of human rights would never have some kind of Senate report like this that looked at their own practices, that routinely behead people, amputate arms, you know, discriminating massively against women, for you to be turning your eye on the United States, you know, wouldn't it be fair to say that there are far more great human rights violations taking place in the name of Islamic states and Islamic movements?

BEGG: Well, I think you're conflating many, many things here. I went to Afghanistan first in 1993 and visited a camp that was -- that was for Kashmiri. That had nothing to do with al Qaeda and I think this is one of the -- one of the problems that we've seen, is that there is a refusal to look at the details, a refusal to look at the nuance and in fact, to be honest with you, not let the facts get in the way of a good story.

When I lived in Afghanistan where the Taliban were present, it's true. I did live there. And I took my family there. But then there were plenty of non-Muslims NGOs who were living there and they never get scrutinized or mentioned or demonized in the way that we have. And of course, one could easily argue that even if I did live in Afghanistan at the time of the Taliban and even if I did think that they'd make some progress compared to the 25 years of war that have preceded there, then is it right that I'm tortured? Is it right that I was held without charge or trial?

Is it right that I'm abused cruelly, inhumanely and degradingly? Is it right that pictures of my children are waved in front of me while I'm being beaten and tortured and abused by people who claimed to be the bastions of freedom and democracy and human rights? Is this all correct? And if it is, what is the evidence for it? Why was I never tried? Why was I never taken to court? Why was I never charged?

Why the world's most powerful democracy unable to produce any of these things despite that I was being interrogated by the world's most powerful law enforcement and secret intelligence agencies? It was me against all of this and still I came out with no charges. It doesn't make any sense.

ZAKARIA: No, but I'm wondering, you're very eloquent and you're very intelligent. Why don't we hear that eloquence and intelligence directed against the ISIS' enormous human rights abuses which continue to this day?

BEGG: Well, what makes you think that I don't talk about these things? I think -- you're again once again jumping the gun perhaps not knowing what my position on some of these organizations and individuals has been. But I do it in my own time and in my atmosphere and my own place so that I can be most effective. But I can't let what was done to me by the United States --

ZAKARIA: Why not do it right now here? You'd be heard all over the world.

BEGG: Well, let me just explain this. Because for whatever the situation was, the Taliban and the ISIS, they didn't torture me. They didn't put me into dungeons. They didn't beat me. They didn't threaten to, you know, abuse my family. They didn't do that to me. So I can only talk to my experience.

ZAKARIA: OK. Moazzam Begg, you've been kind to talk to us. I appreciate it. I hope we can do it again.

BEGG: Thank you.


ZAKARIA: Next up, is China blowing up? What happens if the bubble bursts? I'll explore when we come back.


ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. This week, China launched a massive expansion of its high-speed rail, which is already the world's largest system. The 32 new train routes are all domestic but China actually wants to build beyond its borders as well. "The Beijing Times" says China wants to build a Eurasian route that goes all the way to London, a North American route that goes across the Bering Strait to Alaska, a pan-Asian route that connects many nearby capitals, a Central Asian route and on and on. That's amazing but it is raising questions about whether these big infrastructure plans are being launched, in part, to boost China's sagging growth rate.

China's GDP grew at 7.4 percent in the last quarter according to the government data. That sounds impressive, but it's in fact China's slowest growth rate in more than five years. And remember, these are official figures, the validity of which many question. New data also shows that both imports and exports were weaker than expected in November. Then there is the housing bubble. Deserted skyscrapers, ghost towns and all. Against this backdrop you might be surprised to learn that China's stock market is soaring. Chinese stocks are up about 40 percent since the end of June.

Given the weakening of the overall economy, it's led many to fear that the world's second largest economy may be creating a bubble. For insight, "GPS" talked to one of the closes and best watchers of the Chinese economy, Ruchir Sharma, the head of Morgan Stanley's emerging markets investments. Sharma says the stock market is just the latest game in town, the newest bubble forming in the Chinese financial sector. The culprit, he says, the huge amounts of liquidity that the Chinese government has supplied over the years injecting lots of money into the economy through the real estate boom and the shadow banking system.

Given the crackdown on these two sectors now, the liquidity is now flowing into the stock markets. No one is talking about a crash. But what would a sustained slowdown in China mean for the global economy?

While people worry about Europe's slump and its implications, Europe is not that significant. By contrast, China, which in 2007 replaced the United States as the largest engine of global growth, is far more important, says Sharma. JPMorgan Chase attempted to quantify China's global footprint and found that a one point reduction in Chinese growth was associated with a ten point decline in oil prices and on average almost a half point decrease in global GDP growth.

While it's clear that the Chinese economy is in a downturn, Joe Lupton, a senior global economist at JPMorgan Chase cautions that we shouldn't think of this as a traditional crisis in the making. A house of cards about to collapse. Even if people stopped lending to China, Lupton reminds us, the Chinese economy's heavily stayed on and the government can and will intervene to avoid a crisis, no matter what, just as it has done in the past and it has plenty of cash to spend.

Still, the credit binge will way on China's economy for years to come, he adds, and it's not a pretty picture even if it's not a picture of collapse. But even if China weathers the crisis, what happens to so many countries from Brazil to Australia that had gotten used to a turbo charged China buying all of their goods? In a strange way, China might be able to adjust to its slow down better than the rest of the world.

Next on "GPS," does Israel need a law that says it's a Jewish nation state? What happens to the almost one-quarter of its population that is not Jewish? It's a controversial proposal that my next guest, the country's economic minister is firmly in support of. I'll ask him why when we get back.


ZAKARIA: Late last month, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet approved a bill which would codify that nation's status as the nation state of the Jewish people despite millions of citizens who are Arab, Christian, Hindu, Baha'i, et cetera. It's a very controversial bill that almost 40 percent of Jewish Israelis think would damage the interest of their nation, according to a recent poll.

My next guest is a big supporter of the bill. Naftali Bennett is the economic minister in Netanyahu's cabinet and the leader of the powerful Jewish home party. He's also further to the right than Netanyahu who has set new elections for mid-March. Some in Israel say Bennett could play spoil alert in the Netanyahu's ambitions to be re- elected to the top job.

Naftali Bennett, pleasure to have you on.

NAFTALI BENNETT, ECONOMIC MINISTER, ISRAEL: Great to be here, Fareed. ZAKARIA: So Israel is going to the elections March 17th and the polls

I have seen, or at least some of them, show that your party is going to be the single biggest gainer, correct?

BENNETT: That seems correct, according to the current polls. Things change. There's been a significant amount of Israelis who are joining my party because they think that Israel has to have a tough stance in this crazy environment called the Middle East. So we've got the Hezbollah in the north and ISIS in northeast and Hamas and all around and there's a greater feeling today that we should not go down the route of appeasement but the route of strength, being strong, being tough is the only way to survive and, in fact, thrive in this region.

ZAKARIA: But what is the problem with Prime Minister Netanyahu's leadership?

BENNETT: You know, I think -- I've been - I'm in government with Prime Minister Netanyahu. I certainly am not going to attack him or criticize him publicly. We do have our differences and that's OK. But it's in policy, it's not on character. I'm not going to attack ...

ZAKARIA: Yes what would you do, what is he doing wrong that you would do different?

BENNETT: Well, first thing I would say Israel will not divide its capital. Israel will not divide its land. We are already too small. You know, Israel from the ocean, from our western front to our eastern frontier, it's a 15-minute ride. 15 minutes in a car. You cut Israel. Are we crazy? You can't defend yourselves.

ZAKARIA: So, no Palestinian state ever.

BENNETT: I will not give up land to Arabs anymore. Every time we did it over the past 20 years, it caused a mass attacks on Israeli citizens. It's just not smart policy. I'm not going to do that. And I'm very clear about that. I think others are sort of vague about this. I'm very clear. You know what you get with me.

ZAKARIA: You don't want a Palestinian state ever?

BENNETT: That's correct. The notion of injecting a state, dividing Jerusalem, dividing up the country and splitting and slicing it is not sustainable. When we did it in Gaza, we gave them Gaza, right? And it turned into a terrible Afghanistan in the middle of Israel. We can't do it again. We can't commit suicide. We have to be more rational about things.

ZAKARIA: OK, I've got to ask you about this new proposed law in Israel, which would specify that Israel is a nation for Jews that, in a sense, would give being Jewish a kind of privileged status. There are a number of people within Israel, there are a number of American Jewish supporters of Israel who believe that this is a terrible mistake. What do you believe?

BENNETT: It's been distorted. It's really simple. Israel is a democratic state and a Jewish state. It's the state of the Jewish people, of the Jewish nation. Now, we don't have a constitution, but about 20 years ago the constitution was -- has begun to get formed by piecemeal, by a law by law. So we only have the democratic side legislated. So the idea is that to rebalance it so it's both a democratic state and a Jewish state. We will continue to provide full, equal rights to all Arabs in Israel. In fact, I'm ...

ZAKARIA: But what does it mean to an Arab, to an Israeli Arab who is a citizen of Israel to have in the constitution it say that Israel is, you know, a state principally for Jews, that its character, its identity ...

BENNETT: It is ...

ZAKARIA: ... is one that they can never partake in.

BENNETT: No, they can partake in, but they have to understand that if they desire to have their own state within state, that's unacceptable because they have 23 countries. The Arabs have 23 states, we only have one. In fact, in the whole world, the Jews only have one state and that's all we need but it's got to be the Jewish state.

ZAKARIA: Do you worry that the passage of this law might provoke further issues with regard to the divestment movement? Or European countries that are - that have been criticizing Israel?

BENNETT: No, I mean I think boycotting divestment against Israel, in my opinion, is simply anti-Semitism because we're the only country that takes care of its minorities, the only country where everyone can vote, Arabs and Jews. We are not cutting off heads. We allow women to drive, not like in other Arab countries. So to pinpoint the Jewish state as a target for a boycott in divestment is blatant anti-Semitism and I have no sympathy for that. So, the short answer is no.

ZAKARIA: Naftali Bennett, pleasure to have you on.

BENNETT: Fareed, this was great. Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next, Diane von Furstenberg. The story of a great entrepreneur and a powerful woman. It's an only in America story. When we come back.


ZAKARIA: I want to bring you now an amazing success story, a uniquely American story about a woman from the old country who has now been on the top of her field for 40-plus years. That woman is Diane von Furstenberg, the designer and business woman extraordinare. She has a new memoir out, called "The Woman I Wanted to Be" She recently came to the studio to tell me the secrets of her success.


ZAKARIA: Diane von Furstenberg, pleasure to have you on.

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG: Listen, honored to be here with you. ZAKARIA: You were kind of an unlikely entrepreneur, the way you described it. How did it happen?

VON FURSTENBERG: Well, you know, I did, as a young girl in Belgium, I did not know what I wanted to do, but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be. I wanted to be independent. I wanted to pay for my bills. I wanted to be in charge of my life. Where was my door going to be? You don't know when you are between 19 and 25. What is the door you are going to push? What is it?

And then my door happened to be this man I met in Italy who I had interned for. He had a printing plant and made jersey, and then I went to America to visit my boyfriend. Then I came back and I say, oh, I'm going to use everything in this factory, make a few samples. Then I got pregnant, then I got married and before I knew it, I was in America selling dresses and before I knew I had lived an American dream.

ZAKARIA: But let's stop --

VON FURSTENBERG: That was fast.


ZAKARIA: At the point, in which -- so you're looking at all of this stuff, these options and you move to America. It must have been hard. You're just - you're nobody in the fashion world. You just decided to start selling dresses?

VON FURSTENBERG: Yes. I was nobody. I was a young princess. I had married a prince. So, I came to New York. And we were young and handsome, and so we were invited everywhere. So that, you know, allowed me to meet Diana Vreeland, who was the big doyenne of, editor- in-chief of "Vogue." She - nobody understood what I was doing. Everybody said, what are those little dresses? She said, this is genius. She pushed me. Because the dresses were simple, easy, inexpensive, you know, it was very different than anything that there was.

ZAKARIA: So the whole thing took off in a big way?

VON FURSTENBERG: In a big way.

ZAKARIA: But then you write about the fact that you overextended yourself?

VON FURSTENBERG: Well, that's what happened, you know, you're on the cover of "Newsweek" at the time there was no CNN, to be on the cover of "Newsweek," five continents, everybody who has a shop wants to where, you know, to buy your clothes. And everybody wants, and anyway, I oversaturated and I went down and up and I had to do this and then I started in cosmetics and then I sold the business. I mean, it's all about the ups and downs.

ZAKARIA: How did you deal with the downs? Because you -- VON FURSTENBERG: Well, how I dealt with the downs, you -- first of

all, you just have to accept it I mean and just say, OK, this is the reality. How do I deal with it? And then you deal with it. And then you deal with it something good will come out of it and so you won't even remember that it all started from something negative. And that is, again, when my mother told me, you know, always look for the little bit of light, you know, go for the little bit of light and build around the light.

ZAKARIA: And you say in the book, hard work is important.

VON FURSTENBERG: Hard work is so important. Yeah. And discipline. You have to be so disciplined, so disciplined. You have to be serious and then if you're serious at the base, you can be frivolous on top. My big advice to anyone starting or not starting is that -- and where I was lucky is that the most important relationship in life is the one you have with yourself. And if you have that early on and if you are demanding on yourself and at the same time, if you're demanding and if you're disciplined and also kind to yourself, so you like yourself, you like your company. That is the key for everything. It's all about confidence.

ZAKARIA: And how does one have a good relationship with oneself?

VON FURSTENBERG: By being - by being undelusional.


VON FURSTENBERG: Truth. Truth is it. Truth is it.

ZAKARIA: Diane von Furstenberg, pleasure to have you on.

VON FURSTENBERG: Thank you. Thank you.


ZAKARIA: Up next, I'll go through the looking glass or, rather, this golden box to connect with people 6,000 miles away.


ZAKARIA: The U.N. climate change conference was in full swing in Lima, Peru, earlier this week and it brings me to my question. According to the 2015 climate change performance index, a report released by European NGOs, which of the following countries is the worst performer when it comes to emissions and climate policies? Australia, China, Kazakhstan or the United States? Stay tuned for the correct answer.

This week's book of the week is Jack Goldsmith, "The Terror Presidency." Goldsmith was in a system to attorney general in the George W. Bush administration. It is a story of his rising concern that in an atmosphere of fear, his government was expanding its powers, operating in secret and violating the Constitution. What gives the book its force is that Goldsmith is clearly throughout a dedicated conservative who is dismayed by an executive branch gone wild.

And now for "The Last Look." When I went to Tehran in 2011 to interview then President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, relations with the United States were at a low, and distress between the two nations was at a high. So, it was unsurprising that Iran's leader played to type perfectly, spouting nasty rhetoric when he sat down with me. What was surprising was the stance of ordinary people. Iranians on the street, in cafes, in my hotel who expressed an admiration for America and an interest in improving relations across the board, but not everybody gets the chance to travel to Iran and meet the locals as I did.

Well, we found the next best thing. Inside an art gallery in downtown Manhattan sits a large golden box. It may look like a fancy shipping container but enter and you will discover it is actually a portal to Iran. The artist Omar Bakshi, a former GPS producer, set up a web- connected camera in New York and partnered with an artist to do the same in Tehran, enabling face-to-face conversations between people who would not otherwise meet. Despite being 6,000 miles and a world apart, participants can easily slide into conversation with each other about their daily lives. Some even demonstrate their passions, like this dance. I went into the portal and spoke with several Iranians about their lives and their country and how they see the United States.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are not like bad people. It's not like all of the stereotypes you're hearing about all the time or what they say out in the press and on news. It's totally different. The normal life, the actual life here is totally different.

ZAKARIA: Perhaps Presidents Obama and Rouhani should meet this way. Call it their diplomatic dance.

For more on the project, go to

The correct answer to the GPS challenge question is a, Australia ranks last in OECD countries and second to last overall in the climate changes performance index. According to the report, Australia dropped 21 places in the policy evaluation component this year, thanks to some climate policy reversals by the new conservative government. The report didn't award any country first, second or third place, saying that no country is doing enough to prevent dangerous climate change. Denmark, the best performing nation overall, was awarded fourth place.

Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.