Return to Transcripts main page
Fareed Zakaria GPS
How Arab Spring Sent Shockwaves Through Moscow; Russia Was Determined Not to Follow The Fate of Libya; Understanding Russia's Ruling "Gerasimov Doctrine"; What would Reagan Make on Trump?; Trump VS. U.S. Intelligence?; James Baker on Israeli Settlements; James Baker on U.S. - Russian Relations; Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem?; What in the World; Panel Discussion of 2017 Outlook; Universal Basic Income Examined. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired January 08, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: All of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria. We have a big show for you today starting with James Baker. The great elder statesman of the Grand Old Party. I will ask the former-Secretary of State, former Chief of Staff, what he makes of President-elect Trump and his foreign policy. Then some startling, depressing new facts and figures from the Arab world. There is some hope. Also, welcome to 2017. What will the New Year bring? Predictions, trends, new topics with a terrific panel. Tina Brown, Ian Bremmer, Bret Stephens and the great Neil deGrasse Tyson.
But first, here's my take. I'm glad that Donald Trump has finally gotten a briefing on the unanimous conclusion of America's intelligence agencies that the Russian Government was behind the hacking of the democratic national committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign channel. But he should also request and receive a political briefing on Russia that can shed light on the backdrop to that country's actions. We need to understand why Russia might behave the way it has. It all started you see with the Arab Spring. The sudden mass demonstrations and demands for democracy took most of the world by surprise. In particular, they rattled Moscow at a precarious moment.
The Kremlin was in the midst of managing the country's political future and worried greatly about opposition at home. Parliamentary elections were scheduled in less than a year to be followed by a Presidential Election. And Vladmir Putin was not then president having stepped aside and allowed Dmitry Medvedev to ascend to the office and keeping with the Russian constitution. Roland Dannreuther, a professor at Westminster University in London notes that the crises in both Libya and Syria coincided with the rise of opposition to the re-election of Putin with unprecedented large opposition rallies in Moscow and other cities in Russia during 2011, 2012. He argues that the Kremlin watched in these countries as street protests morphed into broader opposition, created instability and then attracted the intervention of western powers.
Moscow was determined that no such scenario would play out in Russia or in any close neighbor like Ukraine. As Dannreuther writes, for conservative Russian elites, the evidence of the Arab Spring confirms that such factional divisions in the guise of democracy promotion only lead to internal disorder, societal conflict and the loss of the southern integrity of the state. And the fact that Hillary Clinton encouraged Russian democracy protesters at this sensitive moment branded her forever an arch enemy in the eyes of the Kremlin elite.
A year later in 2013, the Chief of Staff of the Russian armed forces, General Valery Gerasimov wrote an article suggesting that Russia's key strategic challenge was responding to the underlying dynamics of the Arab Springs and North Africa's color revolutions. He advocated that Russia better understand and developed the non-military asymmetrical methods including special operations, information warfare and the use of internal opposition so as to cripple an enemy society.
Since then, Moscow has made information and asymmetrical warfare central towards foreign and military policy. When asserting itself in Georgia and Ukraine, Russia has used a hybrid strategy that involves the funding of local politicians and malicious, fake news, and cyber- attacks. Leading German and Polish politicians assert that Russia is engaged in some activities in their country as well. And now of course there is involvement in America's election. The idea of information warfare is not new of course. The Soviet Union developed and practiced a strategy of disinformation throughout the cold war complete with fake news and the penetration of western political parties and media organizations.
But the revival of this approach and the aggressive manner and sophisticated manner in which it is now being used in a social media landscape mark a new and dangerous trend in geopolitics. This is the political backdrop behind the technical evidence that Russia interfered in last November's elections. It needs to move out of a partisan framework and be viewed in a much broader context. Since the end of the cold war no major country has substantially challenged the emerging international system. But now, a great vow strategy designed to work insidiously could well succeed in sowing doubt, division, discord and ultimately destruction within the western order. For more, go to CNN.com/Fareed and read my Washington post column this week. And let's get started.
ZAKARIA: In the pantheon of living republicans, James Baker looms very large. He has been White House Chief of Staff, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of State. He also ran presidential campaigns and ran George W. Bush's Florida recount effort, which was of course successful. Baker has met with Trump and was a key conduit in the President-elect selection of Rex Tillerson to be his Secretary of state. James Baker, welcome back to the show.
JAMES BAKER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Thank you, Fareed. Nice to be with you.
ZAKARIA: So, I was thinking to myself what did your great boss, Ronald Reagan stand for. And I put down for myself, free trade, free markets, cutting government spending, taking deficit seriously, reforming entitlements, particularly Social Security, engage foreign policy that supported democracy and human rights around the world. I think it's fair to say that Donald Trump disagrees with every one of those. What does it say about Trump, the Republican Party that he's the front --- the standard bearer of the party?
BAKER: Well, I'm not sure he disagrees with every one of those. I don't know for sure whether that's true. I also know though from my experience of having run five presidential campaigns, Fareed, that sometimes people say things when they're campaigning that they don't necessarily follow up on when they're -- when they're governing. And so, I don't know to what extent that may be in play here. We'll have to wait and see.
On the trade issue, I do agree with you that it's free trade is something that Ronald Reagan believed in. Free trade is something that George H.W. Bush believed in. I'm not sure President-elect Trump doesn't believe in free trade but he may believe in better free trade deals. Free trade deals that treat the United States in a better light. So, we'll have to wait and see until he becomes president to see where all that shakes out.
ZAKARIA: But let me ask you about the free trade particularly because he does say we've had lousy trade deals, negotiated by lousy people. We keep losing. Now, you're one of the guys who negotiated these. And I tend to think you have as one of toughest negotiators in the world. And you're protege Robert Zoellick negotiated a bunch of them. I mean, have we done so badly? Have we -- when I talk to other trade ministers around the world they say the U.S. gets whatever it wants.
BAKER: Well, I want to tell you, I think we got a hell of a good deal on a lot of those trade deals and so I disagree with some of the statements that the President-elect made while he was campaigning particularly with respect to Canadian free trade agreement which I did negotiate which morphed the course into Nafta and I think Nafta, I would disagree with the President-elect. I think Nafta has been a success, generally speaking. Yes, there are segments in every free trade deal that get hurt when the agreements are implemented but generally speaking, free trade creates economic growth, promotes economic growth and creates jobs and that's what we've seen happen with respect to Nafta.
Now, have we lost a lot of manufacturing jobs? Yes, indeed we have. That's the bane that I think that the President-elect tapped into and that's the reason that he was able to bring the so-called Reagan democrats back across the line in places like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and Michigan to win the election.
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about the intelligence briefings and, you know, what I want to ask you about is, is the attitude the President- elect is taking, you know, not taking the intelligence briefings, disparaging the intelligence community, is this kind of refreshing willingness to shake up the system or does it worry you?
BAKER: Well, I hope it's a willingness to shake up the system. Right now, so far, it does worry me because we don't really know what's going to -- what's -- again, what's going to shake out there. But let me say this to you, Fareed. When I was Secretary of State, I had the view at that time that there was too many -- that were too many conflicting intelligence entities and there was too much redundancy in it. Yes, today we have 17 intelligence agencies. And they're all to some extent or another doing the same job. And as part of the overall problem with our government and it's too big.
We have too many people trying to do the same thing and creates a lot of confusion and a lot of bureaucratic infighting. But we have -- you know, when I left the office a long time ago now, Fareed, 25 years ago, I was shocked to find out that we were spending $30 billion a year on intelligence. I hate to think of what we might be spending today with 17 different intelligence agencies. And I think it could be a very healthy thing for a new administration to take a look at that and see if we're doing the best job in the best way.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, I will ask James Baker about the U.N.'s resolution condemning Israeli settlements and about Russian foreign policy. What does he think on those two crucial issues?
ZAKARIA: And we are back with James Baker, the former Secretary of State and Secretary of Treasury and so much else. And Jim, let me ask you about the resolution in the U.N. in which the United States for the first time did not veto a resolution condemning the billing of settlements in Israel. You railed against these settlements when you were Secretary of State and you got in some hot water but you held to your position denying loan guarantees to the Shamir government. What do you make of what the Obama administration did?
BAKER: Well, first of all, Fareed, let me -- let me suggest to you it wasn't the first time that the United States didn't veto. Abstaining in that situation was very consistent with long standing U.S. policy. If you go back and look at a lot of the resolutions. In fact, it was one in 1980 specifically on settlements which -- to which the United States abstained rather than vetoing it. Very critical of Israel. In many instances you'll find resolutions that were critical of Israel that the United States supported. So, this was not some break with long-standing tradition.
Now, the reason I think settlements are a bad idea is that it -- they tend to create facts on the ground which prohibit or prevent negotiating those status of that particular land according to the land for peace provisions and requirements of U.N. Resolution 242 and 338. And if you create facts on the ground, there's nothing really then left to discuss about trading land for peace. And so, I don't think there's anything unusual about this. I think that a two-state solution is the only real solution to the Arab as Arab -- to the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
Without the two-state solution, if it's just a one-state solution, I don't see how Israel can maintain both her democratic character and her Jewish character because the demographics are such that sooner or later she will be overwhelmed with the Palestinian population and she will be faced with having to the -- face the issue of whether to deny them full voting rights and so forth. And as a matter of fact, it was former Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel who said, Israel needs to make the tough decisions if it wants to avoid becoming an apartheid state. And so, that's why I think it was appropriate in this instance for the United States to abstain. If we are -- if we're talking about abandoning the two-state solution
and leaving it, that's kind of creates serious problems for the United States. Not just respect to the Arab-Israeli dispute, it's going to create serious problems for us more generally in the region as a whole. Let me say one final thing. The President-elect, he said he would like to be the president that solves the Arab -- Israeli conflict or the Israel-Palestinian conflict. And let's hope he can do that and I hope he will immerse himself in it and really work at it because it takes leadership at the very top of America's government if that's got any chance of succeeding.
But you can't think you then can succeed at that if you are in effect so biased one way or the other. You cannot be Israel's lawyer and expect to solve the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. And so I hope he is successful doing it but you have to be -- you have to be seen to be at least semi -- a semi-honest broker.
ZAKARIA: What do you make of the decision then by the President-elect to choose as his -- as his ambassador of Israel, a man who argues it should be an ex-door, he'd be perfectly comfortable with it and advocates the moving of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
BAKER: Well, of course I don't agree with that position. I don't know the ambassador designate. I have no information whatsoever about him. But my -- I feel, generally speaking, the President of the United States ought to have the right to select whoever he wants to serve in his government. But if he expects to solve this terribly difficult problem of Israeli-Arab conflict, he's going to have to -- he's going to have to be seen to be somewhat of an honest broker or it ain't going to happen.
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about Russia. Russian foreign policy over the last five or six years has seemed to be very much directed at in some way or the other pressuring the western established order, sowing divisions within European union, sowing divisions with NATO.
There's the annexation of Crimea. What they did to Ukraine, Georgia. What do you think the American strategy in response to this should be? Because there are a lot of republicans who feel we need an even tougher response than the fairly tough one that Obama has but the President-elect again seems to have a different view.
BAKER: Well, I don't think it's a -- I don't think it's a question of all-out war or appeasement. I think that you can -- you can work with the country to manage the differences you might have with that country and cooperate in the areas where you might have common interests. And, you know, I would remind you that for 15 years after the collapse of communism and after the implosion of Soviet Union, the United States and Russian worked very closely together.
At a time when Russia was led by Boris Yelstin but also at a time when it was led by Vladimir Putin. And the west worked generally closely with Russia at that time. So, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that we can get back there. We sure as hell ought to try to get back there if we can. That doesn't mean that we have to accept some of the Russian behavior that you have allude to. Much of which is just -- is not acceptable. You -- if you don't like what's going on in every country, you don't just roll the tax the way the Russians did in Crimea.
And therefore, when we went out with our western allies and imposed sanctions on Russia for that, it was the right and appropriate -- and appropriate response as far as our concerned. And it may be that we'll have to use both Carrots and Sticks as we approach this Russia- U.S. relationship with a new U.S. Administration but it's really important that we try to -- that we try to improve it. It has been going in the wrong direction. Russia's going to have to know though that they can't -- that they can't push us around.
ZAKARIA: James baker will be back later in the show. But next on GPS, we all know the Arab world is in bad shape. But let me tell you really how bad it is when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Now for What in the World segment. While we were all paying attention to other things at the end last year, a new report about the Arab world came out from the U.N. It's obvious that it's a troubled part of the world but the statistics paint a stark picture. Even though the Arab region is home to just five percent of the world's population, it was responsible for 45 percent of global terrorist attacks in 2014. The data comes from the Arab Human Development report.
A frank and lengthy assessments of where the Arab world is headed. Historically, the report says, nearly 20 percent of the world's conflicts since 1948 have come from the Arab world but in 2014 it was responsible for almost 70 percent of the world's battle related deaths. These human development reports all authored by Arabs began to be an issue after 9/11 when they realized that the problem in Arab worlds were spilling out about affecting the entire world. Sadly, many of the problems they pointed to in the first report remain. For example, women's inclusion in the Arab regions labor force is at an all-time low. With their unemployment rate hovering around 47 percent. And only a comparatively small number of women have decision-making positions at political institutions in any Arab countries.
Since the tumultuous events of the Arab Spring of 2011, a new emphasis has been placed on the youth of the Arab world. And this is where the report has some good news. Almost 60 percent of the population of the Arab region is below 30 years of age. But contrary to popular conceptions, the U.N. report says that most of these young people are not prone to extremism and radicalization. Instead, they believe the Islamic state to be a terrorist organization and the vast majority of young people in the Arab world reject the violence that is perpetrated in the name of religion. Even though many are conservative in their religious and social beliefs.
This is not to say that all is well with Arab youth. Their unemployment for example is the highest in the world hovering at almost 30 percent. And the report estimates that at least 60 million jobs will be needed to be created by 2020 in order to just keep up with the number of people entering the job market. What happens in the Arab world does not stay there. Just look at the unintended effects of the war in Syria. The refugees entering Europe from that conflict, had been one of the main sparks for nationalist movements that are now sweeping across the United Kingdom, France, Italy and more. Is there a solution? The reports knows there are many.
Arab governments need to make improvement in education, healthcare, liberalize the economy, ushering greater tolerance for freedom of expression, equality for all and anti-discrimination. All this will take decades and honestly with the exception of oasis of progress like the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, the trends are not moving forward. And until they do, expect more turmoil from this region. Next on GPS. Looking into the crystal ball. What will 2017 bring for America and the world and the universe? I have a great panel to discuss it all when we come back.
ZAKARIA: One week down, 51 to go -- 2017 came in like a lion; will it go out like a lion or a lamb?
We have assembled a terrific panel together to gaze into the future and tell us what they see. Tina Brown founded The Daily Beast, edited magazines like The New Yorker and Vanity Fear and now runs Tina Brown Live Media, which brings us Women in the World and lots more. Ian Bremmer is the Eurasia Group, a global political risk consultancy and the author of "Superpower: Three Choices for America's Role in the World." Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, is the director of the Hayden Planetarium and the host of the terrific StarTalk podcast, which is also now a book. And Bret Stephens is a Pulitzer-Prize- winning foreign affairs columnist for The Wall Street Journal. If you're unimpressed by that -- those resumes, there's...
... something wrong.
Tina, what are you -- this is, for most people, 2016 has been at least a tumultuous years, depending on whether you -- you know, you liked it or not. What are you optimistic about?
Let's start with something to get people's spirits lifted.
BROWN: I am so optimistic about medical breakthroughs. I think we hear so much about the, sort of, sexy tech companies, you know, Uber and Amazon and Facebook. But the really exciting things are about the nexus between technology and medicine and all the amazing breakthroughs.
So we now have -- F.T. just this week reported on these new drugs that are preventative, which really have an effect on AIDS. We might see the final nail in the coffin on AIDS in the next couple of years. Even though we have 36 million people who are HIV-positive, these new preventative cures are really going to be extraordinary. We've got new diagnostics in terms of, you know, genetics, cancer with immune therapies. We have, you know, so many new things happening -- Alzheimer's and depression. I think that these things are going to get stamped out, sort of, starting, in a way, throughout this year.
ZAKARIA: And unlike companies like Uber and the tech revolution in San Francisco, they don't deny anybody jobs. People in the Midwest can be...
BROWN: Well, and they actually save lives, right, which is incredible. So I'm excited about that.
ZAKARIA: All right, Neil, I'm sure you can one-up on the, sort of -- on the optimism about science.
TYSON: Don't get me started here. Hold me back.
So a couple of things. What will be very important going forward to sustain just this kind of progress is how a nation, the United States, chooses to invest in its science and technology innovation.
And consider that you could put money just in medicine and hope or expect that there would be progress. But if you walk into a hospital and take a look at every machine with on/off switch that is brought into the service of diagnosing a condition without cutting you open, it is based on a principle of physics discovered by a physicist who had no interest in medicine.
So, in fact, these advances that you describe in medicine should not be thought of myopically. They should be thought of as the fruits of a entire moving frontier of investments in science and technology.
ZAKARIA: That's why you think it's very important to have big science projects like the mission to Mars, things -- you know, you want to go big everywhere?
TYSON: Well, if you go big, what happens is -- if you go big and audacious, you can attract the best people because you're challenging them to the limits of their intellectual abilities, which people like to have happen.
So, for example, if we went to Mars and we announced that, what do you need? You need, like, the best engineers of all stripes. You need biologists, if you're looking for life. You need chemists if you want to till the soil. And there will be patents; there will be innovations; there will be discoveries all along the way.
In Mars, you might want to extract the water from -- submerged in the soil. There won't be much, but someone who wants to do that might invent some device that you bring back to Earth and extract water from the deserts of Sahara. But if you told that person, "I need you to get the water out of Sahara," that might not excite them as much as doing that on Mars.
So if you want to -- from my experience and my read of the history of innovation, if you want to turn -- if you want to transform a sleepy country into an innovation nation, the large projects tend to galvanize everybody's energy and everybody's capacity to think about the future.
All right. Meanwhile, back on Earth, what are you...
What are you optimistic about?
BROWN: Yeah, I want to stay on that one...
TYSON: OK, good. Let's stay there. We can stay on that...
STEPHENS: Well, I mean, two things: starting at home, I actually think, despite all the discontent with the election of Donald Trump, the fact that you have a Republican president, a Republican house, a Republican Senate, means you're actually going to get policies through. And that -- I don't think it's irrational exuberance around the market and 20,000. I do think you're going to get tax reduction on corporates. I do think you're going to get some regulatory pull-back on things that will help industry.
I absolutely believe that we're going to spend more on infrastructure. And I think that, at the end of the year, people are going to be looking at the United States as still having a robust economy. Boy, we need that in 2017.
The other thing I would say that makes me optimistic is that, in a world where leadership from politicians is seen as lacking and lacking in trust, that we're going to find new leaders born out of adversity from very unorthodox places. It will be, you know, sort of, individuals, young people, your new Malalas, that people haven't heard of before, that are going to capture the -- the imagination. They're going to inspire and they're going to make a difference. Some will be private-sector; some will be public intellectuals; some will be religious figures.
But I think 2017 is going to show that the diversity of the human spirit actually is going -- it makes much more of a difference than the traditional organizations and institutions that we feel constrained by.
ZAKARIA: You showcase a lot of these leaders, who happen to be women, in your conferences.
BROWN: Absolutely. I mean, I think that's one of the I things that I'm extraordinarily optimistic about as well. And, you know, I think that the women are absolutely charging ahead in the most fabulous way and particularly younger women, too. And the millennial young women, I think, who are, kind of, a little smug, thinking, you know, that a tweet is a vote, now are realizing that a lot of things are in danger and a lot of things are in peril, and actually will bring forth a lot of very energized -- as you say, sort of, out of adversity, some incredible young leaders are going to come forward.
ZAKARIA: All right. We are going to tease to Bret Stephens. That is, you have to stay with me to find out what Bret Stephens is -- is excited about and worried about. We're also going to talk about other things. Don't -- don't go away.
ZAKARIA: And we are back with Tina Brown, Neal DeGrasse Tyson, Ian Bremmer and Bret Stephens.
Bret, I didn't let you in on this last one, so I want to ask you, what are you most optimistic about, but also, then, since we are going to turn to doom and gloom, what worries you about 2017?
STEPHENS: Yeah, I was almost relieved that I didn't -- I didn't get a chance in the last segment to talk about optimism because, as you were speaking, I was thinking, what am I optimistic about?
Look, a couple of things I'm hopefully optimistic about: One of them is a return to a normal interest rate policy. I think we have been too low for too long and this has fundamentally distorted the economy in favor of investors or speculators but against the interests of mom- and-pop savers. If you've had your money mainly in a checking account or in a savings account these last few years, it's been a very rough ride for you.
And you're watching a new class of people, people with -- savvy investors, money in the market, do very, very well at your expense. And so a return to a normal interest rate regime will in fact favor a middle class that has taken it in the chin for the past eight years.
And I've been trying to say nice things about the incoming administration on the theory that they should be treated as innocent until proven guilty. And one thing I will say gives me a great deal of hope.
I -- I travel around the country a fair bit and I talk to business leaders, especially businesses that are medium-size businesses. And time and again, they tell me a story of how regulations from Dodd- Frank and the compliance requirements, Sarb-Ox, one regulation after another, is killing them. And so if President Trump makes good on his promise to start paring back the regulatory state and allowing these companies to breathe, that's going to be a tremendous growth enhancer for the country. There's been estimates that, since 1980, regulations have taken $4 trillion off the U.S. economy. It's time to bring those back into line with reality.
ZAKARIA: One piece on the regulatory state, I imagine, that you would worry about is environmental regulations and, more broadly, this issue of, kind of, are we taking care of the planet -- is that fair concern?
TYSON: Yeah, sure. I think, of course, to hear it in those terms, yeah, regulations are a stranglehold, or at least can be, especially if you're not a large enough entity to just hire whole branches of your organization to deal with it, be they lawyers or compliance officers. But, of course, on the other side of that, regulations are for the
protection of our health and our well-being and on, a larger scale, for the protection of the planet, who, as the saying goes, we have borrowed from our descendants. And so -- so I think, sure, regulation can constrain what could otherwise be creative growth. But it should not be at the expense of what is just sensible protection measures for -- I mean, look at the airline industry. There was a day when people complained it was over-regulated. But now you don't hear that. It's one of the safest -- the safest way to travel.
ZAKARIA: What are you most looking forward to or dreading this year, 2017?
BREMMER: Well, the thing I'm probably most dreading is just the geopolitical environment. I'm worried about the end of Pax Americana, the fact that other countries around the world, as we engage in "America first," no longer know what we stand for, no longer believe we are committed to our alliances, no longer believer that we're committed to the international architecture that we actually created, whether it's the U.N. or the IMF or the World Bank.
And I think that, when you get rid of those guard rails, when you erode the trust that exists between major nations, then it's much harder to deal with conflicts and crises as they emerge.
You know, you and I have known each other for a long time. Since the Soviet Union collapsed, if you had asked me at any point did I think it was remotely possible that we could see a major world war, I would say no, not remotely possible. I still don't think it's going to happen, but I now think it's possible. And that worries me. And I think a lot of people feel fearful about 2017 and the world going forward because they understand that it's becoming more dangerous. And it's that lack of trust that's causing a problem.
ZAKARIA: I have to ask you about the other element that's new, that seems at least to have come to the fore in 2017, which is all this digital disruption by governments, fake news. I mean, you're probably the most successful magazine editor of your generation. What -- what do you make of this? How should we deal with it?
BROWN: This is my big fear, which kind of dovetails with your big fear, which is the collapse of credible information, the collapse of media, the corruption of media. Because what we're living in right now is a perfect storm. I mean, you have -- at the one point, you have, on the one side, the digital disruption, which has destroyed the revenue model, which has laid off so many journalists and decimated so many newsrooms, happening also at a time when you have an authoritarian sort of government coming in, when you have fake news, when you have just the proliferation of, you know, of mendacity. You have no idea what is true anymore.
And it's really undermining democracy. There's no doubt about it. People don't even know -- don't trust credible sources anymore. Everything is -- you know, somebody said to me who I ran into on vacation in the gym -- she was -- we were watching the news and we were hearing Kerry's address, for instance, about the whole question of Israel. And she said, "Well, they all lie anyway."
And I just was so aggravated by it. I thought, actually, are you really telling me that the secretary of state is standing up there lying? It's just this new thing that everybody says, which is that nothing is true; there's a kind of a...
ZAKARIA: Everything is...
BROWN: ... everything is a lie; everything came from a place that you don't believe. And it's very, very threatening.
BREMMER: We've had the most important election of any of our lifetimes and almost 50 percent of Americans couldn't bother to vote. And it's that lack of trust. Occupy Wall Street is not the issue; it's apathy. It's not going to be Occupy White House. And for me, that is the thing that disturbs me the most.
STEPHENS: I have a hard time -- I have a hard time faulting Americans who didn't vote...
... in this election. But I think Tina is putting her finger on something fundamental, which is the collapse of authority and its substitution with power or success as a value in its own right. And those institutions that were supposedly centers of authority have a lot of work to do to make themselves worthy of it. But the kind of corrosive cynicism that went into that comment of your -- of your companion at the gym, I think erodes the foundations of a -- of a democracy. You have to have institutions that, at some level, you trust -- like the intelligence institutions.
ZAKARIA: All right. We've got to close on a high note.
Give us one event...
BROWN: This is the high note.
ZAKARIA: ... one event that we should look forward to in 2017.
TYSON: Oh, OK, sure. This might sound a little jingoistic, but in August of this year, there is a total solar eclipse whose landfall will only be the United States of America.
ZAKARIA: So it is an American eclipse?
TYSON: It's America's eclipse.
ZAKARIA: All right.
TYSON: The Moon's shadow hits Earth in the Pacific Ocean and then it landfalls in Oregon, the Pacific Northwest, crosses the country, exits into the Atlantic and disappears forever.
BREMMER: Yeah, but it could be a metaphor...
... heart of darkness.
ZAKARIA: Neil -- Neil DeGrasse Tyson has made America great again...
... single-handedly, on this show.
You just heard my guests give me their predictions for 2017. Next on "GPS," I'll tell you one positive piece of news definitely happening this year. It is pretty big news. Stay with us.
ZAKARIA: By now you've probably heard of the universal basic income. Well, President Obama talked about it; I've discussed it here on the show; and Silicon Valley executives are intrigued by it. The idea is all citizens would receive an annual check from the government, no questions asked.
The proponents of UBI say it can help soften the coming job losses from robots and artificial intelligence. It brings me to my question of the week. Which of the following countries announced that they will experiment with a basic income scheme this year, giving a group of 2,000 citizens about $600 a month: Finland, France, Sweden or Switzerland?
Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
This week's book of the week is actually a television show, "Deutschland 83." For those of you who enjoyed "The Americans," this is another Cold War spy thriller. It's a German series. An East German army officer is sent into West Germany to spy at the highest levels in 1983. The result is a completely gripping picture of the Cold War at its height, as seen through the fulcrum of the two Germanys. It's on iTunes. And, yes, it has subtitles, but, trust me, you will forget about that within minutes.
And now for the last look. The world might have just avoided making elephants go the way of the dodo bird and the dinosaur. You see, tens of thousands of African elephants are killed for their tusks annually, and over the past decade, 20 percent of that continent's elephants have been slaughtered, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
The ivory that poachers get from their tusks can go for about $1,000 a pound, according to Save the Elephants. But there is some good news for these vulnerable animals. Just before New Year's, China pledged to shut down its legal, domestic ivory market, which is the largest in the world, in one year's time. I spoke to Secretary James Baker about this issue and about China's recent decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE JAMES BAKER: When I became secretary of state way back in 1989, I was instrumental in getting a global ban on the trade in ivory, which at that time brought the elephant populations back somewhat. Since that time, that ban has become quite leaky and we're now facing a really critical situation.
Most people don't know this, but we lose 35,000 elephants a year to poachers who slaughter them for their tusks. That's 96 elephants a day. And that's the reason for my interest in trying to promote a global ban on the trade in ivory. But it's not going to happen without leadership from the United States. And we have a new secretary of state taking office, and he's in the same position I was in 1989, to get that ban passed and get it supported by the countries of the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species. And I hope that's what he'll do.
And I -- my only interest in this -- I've never shot an elephant. And I'm a big hunter. I love to hunt. I love to shoot Cape Buffalo. There's plenty of dangerous game. But I've never shot an elephant in my life, and I never would shoot an elephant. I just think it's -- it's the wrong thing to do because they are majestic creatures. And I think that my great-grand kids, I would hope they would grow up in a world that has elephants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: That was James Baker.
The correct answer to the "GPS" challenge question is A, Finland. Two thousand Finns currently unemployed and receiving welfare will be given about $600 a month for two years, guaranteed, regardless of future income or wealth. If successful, the plan could be expanded to include the whole country and the hope is it could simplify the country's costly welfare system.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.