Return to Transcripts main page

Fareed Zakaria GPS

Trump Announces U.S. to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel Capital, and International Reaction; Is Cold War Between Iran & Saudi Arabia Key Driver in Mideast; Interview with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired December 10, 2017 - 10:00   ET



[10:00:16] 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.

Today, on the show, President Trump breaks decades of tradition on Jerusalem.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.



ZAKARIA: Those words upset America's allies and enemies alike.

One ally was, of course, pleased.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: President Trump, thank you for today's historic decision.


ZAKARIA: But will it put peace keeping further out of reach? I have a great panel to debate.

Also, it was the United Nations that laid out the plan for Jerusalem in 1947. I have an exclusive interview with the secretary-general to get his reaction, and to talk about his broader relations with President Trump.

And also, what can possibly be done about North Korea?



ZAKARIA: But first, here's my take. With his decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, President Trump did something puzzling for a person who claims to be a great dealmaker. He made a massive preemptive concession to one side in a complicated negotiation without getting anything for it in return. If that's how he operates, it's no wonder so many of his former colleagues think he isn't actually a very successful businessman after all.

Jerusalem is Israel's capital and will remain so. I don't dispute the fact or its merits. But the reason that all 86 countries that have embassies in Israel have so far located them in Tel Aviv is that Jerusalem is an integral part of the final settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinians claim the city as their capital as well. It contains sites sacred to all three of the Abrahamic faiths. It has a large Arab population that, even after decades of Israeli settlements, comprises more than a third of the city's total. So the formal status of Jerusalem has always been seen by Republicans and Democrats, Europeans and Asians, as a matter to be codified in the context of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Thought to be part of a larger strategic plan, Trump's announcement appears to be a one-off position designed largely to delight core elements of Trump's base at home, evangelical Christians and the Israeli donors. The only strategic aspect appears to be that it will help shore up the GOP base on the eve of Roy Moore's Senatorial contest in Alabama. That is not diplomacy. That's pandering.

There are ways to solve the Jerusalem problem, such as by carving out some neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city and allowing the Palestinians to claim those as their capital. Trump's announcement did not specifically foreclose this possibility, which makes the move even more puzzling. It actually achieves little on the ground, all the while offending millions of Palestinians, hundreds of millions of Arabs, and public opinion almost everywhere. When China, European allies, the pope, the kings of Saudi Arabia and Jordan all voice strong opposition, it is worth questioning the wisdom of the policy.

While many people have predicted violence in the Middle East, it's likely this will be contained. Israel is now the regional super power, and its neighbors know it. It also has tight control over the Palestinian territories with the network of barriers, checkpoints and intelligence operations. Terrorism for most Israelis is a problem that has simply gone away.

The real danger is that this decision only adds to the mounting despair of Palestinians, who are already weak, divided and dysfunctional. They've never had good leadership. They barely have any leadership now. They live in an unusual, almost unique condition in the modern world, citizens of no state without a country of their own.

Meanwhile, Israel will continue to prosper economically and maintain its genuinely democratic character. But with this one large caveat. It will rule over lands with millions of people who lack full political rights. That cancer at the heart of Israel's democratic system and culture will remain and might intensify as Israeli Arabs grow in number. There will be an Israel that looks like Switzerland surrounded by a Palestine that looks like Bangladesh. It's possible that at some point this inequality of income and status and political rights will lead to some kind of explosion. It will certainly lead to greater polarization and discord. And America's action this week will have deepened these fissures and exacerbated those tensions.

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

And let's get started.

Let me bring in our guests to continue the conversation on the president's controversial moves on Jerusalem. Richard Haass is the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of "A World in Disarray." Hanan Ashrawi is a Palestinian lawmaker, a member of the executive committee of the PLO and a former negotiator and spokesperson for the Palestinians. She joins us from Ramallah. And Dore Gold was Israel's ambassador to the U.N., amongst many other diplomatic posts. She is the president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and joins us from Los Angeles.

Hanan Ashrawi, let me start with you.

What do you think the effect of this decision will be? Does it not simply ratify reality?

[10:06:04] HANAN ASHRAWI, PALESTINIAN LAWMAKER & PLO EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER & FORMER PALESTIANIAN NEGOTIATOR AND SPOKESPERSON: Not at all. On the contrary, it undermines the chances of peace, totally destroys American creditability, standing, influence, and disqualifies it from taking any role in peace making in the future. It also sends a message to the whole world that you can impose unilaterally outside the law and get away with it. But if you commit to a negotiated settlement based on legality and justice and international law, then you get no compilation. This has moved the U.S. from being a so-called peace broker and being even handed to becoming complicit with Israel and its crime. Israel has annexed east Jerusalem illegally in 1967 and has placed west Jerusalem under its sovereignty in 1948, even though its legal status remains as separate. Now we have so-called peace broker that has taken sides blatantly and has rewarded impunity and has sold out the Palestinian people as well as the chances of peace and has succeeded in one fell swoop to undermine the security and stability of the whole region.

ZAKARIA: Dore Gold, isn't it fair to say that while this might provide some emotional satisfaction for Israelis, that it ratifies the sense of Jerusalem as their capital, which it is, de facto, it does complicate at the very least, perhaps threaten the peace process and any ultimate deal with the Palestinians, and it feels like in return for the emotion, you're giving up a lot.

DORE GOLD, PRESIDENT, JERUSALEM CENTER FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS & FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: I view it quite the opposite. I think in order for negotiations to succeed -- and I've been involved in a series of negotiations from the days of the Hebron Accord to the Y Agreement (ph) and onward. There has to be -- you have to get the parties into what I call the box of realism. And unfortunately, those who have been engaged in peace negotiations on the Palestinian side haven't been there. Partly, it's not their fault. Partly, it's the fault of the international community, which has organizations like UNESCO, which in May 2017, adopted yet another resolution which disqualified Israel, cut off the historical and legal ties of Israel to Jerusalem. And in a certain sense, what President Trump has done, he's introduced an important correction, I may say a brave correction in the whole history of UNESCO resolutions. They're not based on international law. They're not based on truth. They're based on political power being exercised against the state of Israel.

ZAKARIA: Richard Haass, can you split the difference on this? Can you be Solomon?

RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS & AUTHOR: In some ways, this conversation raises the issue of why would you want to put Jerusalem out there naked, alone at the beginning, as the engine rather than the caboose? The sense was it was going to be the most difficult issue to contend with as part of a final status. Yes, it does recognize one side of reality. On the other hand, why would you do it in an isolated way. If you are going to introduce Jerusalem, give something to the Israelis, why not ask something from the Israelis on settlements or something else? Why not give something or ask something both from the Palestinians? My problem with this is to trot out one thing now, the most combustible, volatile, emotional of issues, in isolation from the rest of diplomacy, I just don't understand what's the potential upside? But I do see a lot of potential downside?

[10:10:01] ZAKARIA: Hold that thought.

We're going to come back to talk with the terrific panel about something perhaps bigger than the Israeli/Palestinian struggle and is now surpassing it, the Cold War between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Is that now the key driver in the Middle East? When we come back.


ZAKARIA: We are back with Richard Haass, Hanan Ashrawi and Dore Gold.

Hanan Ashrawi, is it fair to say that the Palestinian cause has never been particularly strongly championed by the Arabs other than as a rhetorical matter, and is now even less central to the views of Arabs? If you look at Saudi Arabia today, it seems to be in an alliance with Israel because it is obsessed with Iran. The Palestinian issue has been thrown to the wayside completely. Are you now really on the losing side of this new -- this next great power game in the Middle East?

[10:15:18] ASHRAWI: Certainly, the Palestinian question is in a difficult position given the realities of the region, given the transition we are undergoing, given the fact that we have proxy wars in countries like Syria and Libya, and since the war on Iraq, and now the war on Yemen, and since there is a new polarization attempting to create a Sunni-Shia divide at the expense of the stability and unity of the whole region. Of course, all these have side lines on the Palestinian question. It deprives us of much support that we really need. I think that given also the fact that Israel's impunity has continued without any intervention, without any question, without any accountability, and destroying the two-state solution, by the way, and given the fact that U.S. cover for Israel has come out into collusion and destroyed the charade over this process, so now we find the Palestinians have to turn inwards and look towards themselves, on the one hand, to strengthen their ability to remain on the land and to withstand all these pressures and changes, and on the other hand, to reach out to the international community for sources of protection and accountability for Israel. So I would say, yes, these changes are extremely drastic. I think the whole region is on the verge of serious transformations that are not necessarily positive.

ZAKARIA: Dore Gold, one of the points that Hanan Ashrawi made in the "New York Times" op-ed, and Saeb Erakat, the chief Palestinians negotiator for many years, also made is that perhaps the Palestinians will now move away from a two-state solution to a one-state solution, to say all right if there are these millions of Palestinians being denied full political rights, the rights to have their own country, perhaps what we need then, the Palestinians would say simply voting rights within Israel. We have to be citizens of some country. And we will take -- we ask them we begin citizenship in in Israel. Isn't that a real danger here if the two-state solution evaporates that you will end up with a one-state solution with a majority Arab population?

GOLD: Let me address what the real danger is in the Middle East. You hinted at it before. But just to answer your specific question, I was the director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, and we had a very clear diplomatic doctrine. Our doctrine was, first, we seek to negotiate with our Palestinian neighbors. Second of all, we're prepared to reach a generous compromise with our Palestinian neighbors. Third, we seek that any structure of a solution be based on cooperation between our two societies, between our two political entities. And that's what we have been pushing. Unfortunately, we have gotten a flat no on all three of these fundamentals of our diplomatic doctrine. Making it all the more complex is something you eluded to. The main diplomatic actor affecting the future of the Middle East is a man by the name of General Qassem Suleimani, who is the commander of the Quds forces of the Revolutionary Guards. Today, Iranian forces have boots on the ground in Lebanon, in Syria, in Yemen, and in Iraq. That is really what's changed the nature of the Middle East. And if there is a consensus among all of us, all of us who support stability and support progress, it is that this Iranian role must be discontinued. We hope that in our diplomacy and connections, whether above the table or below the table, we can put the Middle East on a better footing to oppose Iranian expansionism, which is seeking to build a land bridge from Iraq all the way to the Mediterranean, and a military presence in the areas in between.

ZAKARIA: Richard, could you imagine a one-state solution with Palestinians demanding almost in a kind of Gandhi-esque, Martin Luther King way, kind of civil disobedience that just says, look, you have to give us some kind of rights, we live on this land, you control it, you know, we can't be stateless. HAASS: I can imagine people pushing for it, but I don't think it

could be a solution. Israel can't be a secure, prosperous Jewish democratic state. To have things move in that direction, some things have got to give. There's an irony to this whole conversation. People like me have sat on your show and criticized this administration for a lack of diplomacy towards North Korea and what they're doing to the State Department. Here you have a diplomatic initiative, but it's the wrong one. And it's actually, among other things, going to make it more difficult for the United States to work with the Saudis and others against the Iranian 2imperial push. We finally get diplomacy, that's the good news. The bad news is it's a counterproductive example of it.

[10:20:22] ZAKARIA: Because the Saudis, the Jordanians, all say, look, to the Trump administration, you've just complicated our lives because it's hard for us to ally with you while you are being so seemingly one-sided on this.

HAASS: All these regimes sit uneasily on top of their populations. This is an issue that has potentially real popular interest and emotion. And the Saudis, who are so interested in consolidating power, this is just the sort of thing that might make it more difficult for them to be seen by their own people to be cozying up to the United States.

ZAKARIA: This, and spending $500 million on a painting and $500 million on a yacht all in a few months.

HAASS: All in the name of an anti-corruption campaign. Yes, it's hard to square that circle.

ZAKARIA: Hanan Ashrawi, Dore Gold, Richard Haass, thank you very much. Fascinating conversation.

Next on "GPS," Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett have as much wealth as the poorest half of the United States population. So where does inequality come from historically? I'll give you a hint. It seems to have started with big, strong horses and cattle. I will explain when we come back.


[10:25:55] ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. We told you on the show a few weeks ago how just three Americans, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos, have more wealth than the entire bottom half of the entire United States population. By some calculations, the U.S. has the highest level of economic inequality in the entire developed world. The tax bill that is working its way through Congress is probably only going to make things worse. It will further enrich families like, well, Donald Trump's.

Now a new study published in the "Journal of Nature" gives us some big historical perspective going way back. A team of researchers, led by the archeologist, Timothy Kohler, at Washington State University, examined ancient or prehistoric societies using a very modern tool. It's a scale you might have heard of called the Gini Co-Efficient. Developed by an Italian statistician in the early 1900s, the Gini measures inequality on a scale of zero to one. In a group of people who all had the same amount of wealth, you would have a Gini score of zero. In a group in which one individual has all the wealth and the others have nothing, you have a Gini score of one. So zero to one.

The German bank has one of the most quoted Gini scales out there. It ranks the United States as the most unequal nation with a score of 0.81. Germany is lower with 0.73. Russia is at 0.69. The most equal countries on the scale are South Korea with a 0.54, China with a 0.53, and Slovakia with a 0.48. All of them are far from totally equal, which would be zero.

So Kohler team to the Gini Co-Efficient and applied it to archeological data from 63 societies, some dating back 11,000 years to the beginning of the new Stone Age when society started to settle down with permanent structures and plant crops. Kohler had few records to drawn on from this period. And some of the archeological sites were better preserved than others. But what they all have and what Kohler's team decided to physically measure were the remains of houses. Big ones for richer people, smaller ones for their poor neighbors. What the research suggests is fascinating. Before the advent of agriculture, which is recent in the long perspective of human history, beginning around 9000 B.C., there was very little inequality. Hunter-gatherer societies had low median Gini scores, 0.17. Then came the domestication of animals, especially the large ones that made to Europe and Asia that did all the heavy farming work. So if you had oxen or horses to help you till your fields, you were a much more efficient farmer, thus, you could sell more crops and get richer. With that extra wealth, you would buy more horses or oxen and plow more fields and get even richer. Then you could leave it all to your children. Meanwhile, the farmers who could not afford animals were left behind. Thus, began human inequality. And it often perpetuated itself.

Now, modern societies found ways to break the cycle, through capitalism and meritocracy, which allowed bright and successful people of no means to rise up. But this new elite had, in my countries, found ways of perpetuating itself by stacking the deck in its favor, as the tax bill does. The greatest inequality the team found was a 0.68, in Khoum (ph), an Egyptian settlement. It's bad, of course, but not as bad as the Gini score of the current-day United States. Kohler, who studied the rise and fall of societies across millennia, had some words of warning for us, "If we become too unequal, violence and state collapse could follow."

Next on "GPS," my exclusive interview with the secretary-general of the United Nations on Jerusalem, North Korea, and his relations with President Trump.

Don't forget, if you miss a show, go to for a link to my iTunes podcasts.

[10:30:00] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Don't forget, if you miss a show go to for a link to my iTunes podcast.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAKARIA: It was almost exactly 70 years ago the United Nations passed Resolution 181 that calls for the city of Jerusalem to be a separate entity under international control. After fighting the following year, 1948, Jordan took control of the city's east, while Israel got the western part.


ZAKARIA: In 1967, Israel wrested control of the entire city.

Two years following that original 1947 resolution, Antonio Manuel de Oliveira Guterres was born in Lisbon, Portugal. A life-long activist, politician and diplomate, Guterres serves as the secretary-general of the United Nations. On Wednesday, after the president's announcement, Guterres said we were in a moment of great anxiety.

I sat down with him later in the week in the chambers of the U.N. Security Council.


ZAKARIA: Mr. Secretary-General, pleasure to have you on.


[10:35:12] ZAKARIA: What do you think is the danger of President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem? You spoke out with some concern about it.

GUTERRES: Well, you know, I was quite open in relation to the efforts of President Trump was making with his team to try to bring Israel and Palestinians to accept a solution. In the past, we had several times a peace process. But the peace process goes on and on and on. They would break and things were worse than what they were. And I think President Trump had intuition that's probably the best would be to try to negotiate the full package. I know that Kushner and others were involved in this dialogue with the Palestinians and Israelis and there was hope that it would be possible. There was a hope that it would be possible to finally bring this horrible conflict between Israelis and Palestinians to an end. The decision that was taken Wednesday risks to compromise this effort and, if that is the case, it will be a pity because it will be so important to find a solution to this crisis. In my opinion, it must be a two-state solution, but it is so important to find a solution for this crisis.

ZAKARIA: You said you were hopeful and even impressed by some of the things President Trump was saying to you, I imagine, on the Israeli/Palestinian side. On many other issues, he has seemed to take a very negative view of international institutions, multilateralism, global agreements. He's pulled out of the Paris Accords, he's defunding or pulling out of U.S. funding of UNESCO. Do you think this is the United States turning its back on institutions like the U.N. that it created after World War II?

GUTERRES: Well, I think that there is a vision that is expressed in the sentence America First. The vision that the interests of the American people are best protected by the U.S. and itself, and that international organizations do not contribute much to it, and that the engagement of the United States and many of the global issues of today are irrelevant for the interest of the American people. I believe it's not true. U.S. is too big and too relevant to be able to think it alone. The way it seems happening in the world is a very important impact as the way things happen in the United States. So in my view, it is very important for the world and for the United States that the U.S. engages, engages in climate action, engages migration, and engages in addressing crises like the crisis in Palestinian or Afghanistan or South Sudan where the role of the U.S. can be extremely important to offer solutions to the crisis, with leverage to have pressure on the conflicts in order to be able to make them understand that it's necessary to stop those conflicts.

In the end, what is clear is that wherever the U.S. doesn't occupy the space, someone else will do. And this, in the end, will be detrimental to American interests. And also the lack of capacity to have a stabilizing in the world, in the multiple crises we have, and so much interlinked and linked to problems of global terrorism, I think to disengage in the world affairs impacts negatively on the security of any people, including the American people.

ZAKARIA: When the United States steps back, others step forward, and naturally their interests and values might be different. I feel as though you are already seeing this with the rise of China, with China saying it's more than happy to play a larger role. Of course, you have a certain amount happening with Russia. Is that dynamic already accelerating?

[10:39:31] GUTERRES: I think that dynamic is evident, first. We are no longer in the bipolar world of the Cold War. We are not yet in a multi-polar world. We are in kind of a chaotic world where different countries are trying to assert themselves in different ways. Not only the big powers, like China or Russia. You see countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This is a world that became difficult to predict. Where unpredictability and impunity are the new rules of the game. That is why American influence is so important as a stabilizing factor.

Now the truth is that for a country like China that has a long-term strategy, I believe China can see they have chances to become the largest economic power in the world. It is clear that wherever the United States leaves some space, China will occupy it from the development point of view. If one looks at geometric considerations in the Middle East, for instance, wherever the U.S. withdraws, Russia or Iran or Saudi Arabia will consider that an opportunity for them. It is obvious for me, from the point of view of the international community as a whole, the fact that the United States does not engage in a situation is not positive. It makes things less predictable. And from the point of view of the United States, it also represents a threat in the long term. Because we live in a world where the dangers are real for all of us. We have no concerns with the nuclear -- with the North Korea crisis and with the questions about the future in relationship of the U.S. and Iran, in relationship to the nuclear question. I think that there is a risk that non-proliferation enters in a difficult mode the future. Again, we thought about this since the Cold War, a nuclear threat.

If you look at the global Middle East, now it's not only the Syria crisis or the Iraq crisis. Everything is now interlinked. You have the memory of the Cold War still, the U.S./Russia relationship. But you have the Israeli/Palestinian question and the Shia/Sunni, and all these contradictions are now piling up, interacting with each other and making the whole Middle East become a very dangerous area for the world, in my opinion because it's linked to problems of global terrorism. And then we have climate change, which is probably the defining one of all times. I believe that when the world is facing these kinds of threats, it's very important to come together. It's very important for all organizations. And it's very important that a country like the United States plays a constructive and engaged role.


ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," I'll be back with much more of my interview with Secretary-General Guterres. We'll talk about what to do about the world's thorniest problem, North Korea.


[10:46:26] ZAKARIA: When the United Nation's Secretary-General Guterres and I sat down together in the Security Council chamber, our backdrop was a stunning mural by a Norwegian artist, the phoenix at the center of the artwork is set to represent the world rising from the ashes of war to an era of peace. It was a fitting place perhaps to talk about the drums of war starting to sound between North Korea and the United States.


ZAKARIA: The general feeling is that North Korea, the situation is at an impasse. There's no good military option. The North Koreans seem determined to acquire a large and robust nuclear capacity. They already have it, in many senses. And the only country that can do something about it is China, which will not cut off fuel supplies because they worry about a collapse. If that's the reality, is there a solution or is the world going to have to live with a nuclear North Korea that might have an arsenal in a few years larger than that of Great Britain?

GUTERRES: Well, on interactions with Pyongyang at the present moment, so hope is the last thing we can afford to lose. There is a very important factor here, the unity. Of course, that does not solve the problem, but it is clear there is now a large pressure over North Korea. And I think the North Koreans are feeling it. If that unity is maintained, and I strongly hope it is maintained, I think it also paves the way for a diplomatic initiative to be possible. I don't think China controls North Korea. I think North Korea became an entity in itself. But I think for the North Koreans there's also a question of survival. That is very important. And my belief is that if the unity of the Security Council is maintained, I think North Korea can be forced to come to a meaningful dialogue, namely the United States -- that is probably the only power they fear -- and to pave the way for the denuclearization. And we should do everything we can to reach that objective. And I believe that a diplomatic solution is the way to achieve it without a level of danger that, again, would be unpredictable in its consequences if a military option would be taken.

ZAKARIA: You were the high commissioner for refugees and we look at the situation for refugees around the world, which is the worst it's been since World War II. The Trump administration's new travel ban has just been OK'ed by the Supreme Court. What do you say to the American administration which appears -- the United States already takes very few refugees, and appears to be closing its doors even to that small number?

GUTERRES: What I say to the American administration or to Europe or to countries in the north in general is that it is essential to re- establish the integrity of the refugee protection regime. That is basically international law. It's essential to understand that refugees are not terrorists. They are the first victims of terror. They are those that flee because of the action of terrorists. And when one looks at countries like Jordan or Lebanon, that have received millions of refugees, or Kenya and Uganda, it's important that we show that we are ready to have our share, to receive also a meaningful number of refugees. Of course, there are security concerns. And there are ways, fortunately, in relation to registration, to screening today to be able to detect those situations in which there could be a security risk.

I have to say that my experience is that those that really have terrorist intents, they look for other ways to move because the refugee movement is so scrutinized, that it's not the best opportunity from that point of view. But there are ways to do effective screening and to guarantee the security, namely of the settlement program. My appeal to the global world, to the developed world is be more generous to refugees. Be more able to share the huge contribution that countries in the south, like the ones I mentioned, and that will be in my opinion have very important factor to increase peace and stability in the world.

[10:51:06] ZAKARIA: You mentioned that you felt the world was getting more chaotic, not so much multipolar. Do you worry the chaos is getting to the point where it's turning into anarchy?

GUTERRES: Let's hope not. I think the role of the United Nations is exactly to avoid it. As its mission, it's primary mission to preserve peace and security in the world. We have seen that the divisions in council have made it difficult. It's our role to do everything possible to avoid these rather -- and structured situation of global power, not to lead to the kind of chaos that would make the terrible dangers we're already facing to become much worse. I think it's time for people to understand that what divides the countries is much less than the vital interests to preserve global security and the vital interests to address challenges like climate change.

ZAKARIA: Mr. Secretary-General, pleasure to have you on, sir.

GUTERRES: Thank you very much.


ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," the state of terror around the world. Are terror attacks and deaths in decline or do we have an upswing? We can tell you what the trends look like when we come back.


[10:56:50] ZAKARIA: The success of the Make America Great Again slogan has been put into numbers. A new Pew Research study out this week found that 41 percent of Americans feel like in the U.S. is worse than it was 50 years ago, while only 37 percent feel it's better. But the global survey also assessed the mood in other countries and it brings into my question: Which nation will strongly believe life to be better in their country today than 50 years ago? Vietnam, Turkey, Germany or India? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.

This week's book of the week is David Miliband's "Rescue." This is a powerful book, part memoir, part urgent plea that we take a more urgent and compassionate look at the plight of refugees around the world. It's holiday season. So read this book and please let it move you to some action.

And now "For the Last Look." More than 300 people were recently murdered in a heinous attack at an Egyptian mosque. When the president retweeted questionable anti-Muslim videos posted by a far- right ultra-nationalist group, his press secretary justified the tweets by saying --


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Whether it's a real video, the threat is real.


ZAKARIA: Of course, it is. But this year's news is that it is actually diminishing. Let's look at the numbers. Overall, the world saw a 13 percent decline in the number of terror-related deaths last year according to the most recent global terrorism index. The largest improvement was in Nigeria where deaths attributed to Boko Haram decreased by an astonishing 80 percent. In fact, four of the five countries most heavily impacted by terror, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria and Pakistan, recorded a reduction in the number of terror deaths in 2016. Those countries, however, along with Iraq, did still account for three-quarters of all terrorism deaths. ISIS was particularly active in Iraq and, globally, deaths attributed to the group increased by 49 percent. The report does note another increase, the number of countries that experienced terror deaths increased from 2015 in 2016. Overall, 25,673 people were killed in terrorist attacks around the entire world last years. Each of those deaths is a tragedy. But the numbers should be kept in perspective. After all, CDC data shows that more than 38,000 people in America alone died from gun-related injuries last year.

The answer to my GPS question this week is, A, 88 percent of Vietnamese found life in their country to be better than it was 50 years ago, with only 4 percent that they thought life was now worse. Vietnam's booming economy can take part of the credit for the positive consensus in the country. But bear in mind that 2017 minus 50 equals 1967. That year the U.S. military stepped up its efforts to crush the Vietcong, escalating the violence of the Vietnam War. On the other end of the study spectrum, Venezuelans were the most pessimistic with only 10 percent saying they thought life in their country today was better.

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

[11:00:10] BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: Hey, I'm Brian Stelter. And this is RELIABLE SOURCES, our weekly look at the stories behind the story.