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Fareed Zakaria GPS
America's Role in the World. Aired 10-11a
Aired December 31, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, GPS: This is GPS, the Global Public Square. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria. On today's show, America's role in the world. The question many are asking is simple. Thanks to this man, Donald Trump, is America's place in the world better or worse today?
We will have a spirited conversation about it. Then, the man who hosted the Apprentice says he wants to create 5 million apprenticeships in America in just five years. I think it's a great idea and there is a secret to how to make it work. I'll let you in on it. Also, Vladimir Putin wants to make Russia great again. But who's footsteps is he following in? Stalin, Lenin or Peter the Great?
I will discuss with one of the world's foremost historians of Russia. Finally, how to write clearly. It is not as easy as you think. Lessons from the man who was voted the greatest newspaper editor of all time, the inimitable Sir Harold Evans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAROLD EVANS, FORMER EDITOR, THE SUNDAY TIMES: The real bad language is not swear words, it's deceptive words.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: But first, here's my take. In early December, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel gave a remarkably thoughtful and wide- ranging speech. It serves as a powerful starting place for understanding how sharply and quickly the world is changing. Gabriel set out (ph) what he described as the most important changes effecting our western world and indeed the world as a whole, by which he meant the abdication of America's international leadership.
He noted the United States' current withdrawal under Trump from it's role as a reliable guarantor of western influence multilateralism is accelerating the transformation of the global order. The foundations of security and prosperity are being called into question and the risks of trade wars, armed races and armed conflicts is increasing. The American retreat is coming at a particularly dangerous moment, in Gabriel's view.
The open rule-based liberal international order that was created by the United States after World War II is now under it's deepest and most sustained pressure since it's inception. He observed tried and tested principles and foundations of international relations, such as multilateralism, international law and the universal validity of human rights are being called into question rather blithely by some, more shamelessly by others.
He pointed specifically to the international activism of rising powers by China, Russia, Iran and Turkey in this context. For Europe, Gabriel argued, the situation is almost existential. Because the United States has ceased to see Europe as a special place. In 1947, Secretary of State George Marshall laid out his vision for the Marshall plan, calling for the rehabilitation of Europe, a vast responsibility which history has clearly placed upon our country.
As Gabriel pointed out since that speech, Europe has been an American project in the United States clearly understood interests. However, the current U.S. administration now perceives Europe in a very distant way regarding previous partners as competitors and sometimes even at the very least economic opponents. Gabriel quoted a prominent thinker who (inaudible) in 2000 (ph) that Europe had failed to define it's interests and therefore had no real foreign policy.
But in 2017, Gabriel declared that is no longer an option. He urged Europe to define it's interests and take its destiny into it's own hands. Now this view mirrors those expressed earlier this year by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, under whom Gabriel serves, even though they're of different political parties and persuasions.
His speech was also consistent with the views articulated in a speech in June by Canada's foreign minister Chrysia Freeland in which she thanks the United States for it's seven decades long stewardship of the international system and strongly implied that under the Trump administration, American leadership of that system had reached it's end.
This, then, is the condition of the new international system today. It's creator, upholder and enforcer, the United States, has withdrawn into self-centered isolation. The second great supporter and advocate of the open rule-based world, Europe, has not been able to act assertively on the world stage with any clear vision or purpose. And in this period, China, Russia and a host of smaller, illiberal powers are surging forward to fill the vacuum.
Some years ago, I described a post-American world, brought on not by the decline of America, I said, but rather the rise of the rest. That process has been well underway but has now been dramatically accelerated by the Trump administration's foolish and self-defeating decision to resign as the world's leader. As the president might say in one of his tweets, sad. Now let's get started.
So let's keep talking about America's role in the world after almost a year of President Trump's residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I have a great group today for just that conversation. Zanny Minton Beddoes is the editor-in-chief of The Economist. She joins us from London. And here in New York, Gideon Rose is the Editor of Foreign Affairs and Walter Russell Mead is a professor of foreign affairs at Bard College and a distinguished fellow at the Hudson Institute.
Walter, you tried to make sense of Donald Trump's foreign policy or -- I think you say Donald Trump brings foreign policy back to Earth. So I thought it was perhaps the most articulate, plausible account of what -- what might be -- you know, the best case, as it were. So lay it out.
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD, PROFESSOR OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, BARD COLLEGE: Well, you know, I think that in some ways, American foreign policy, since the end of the Cold War, has been to build this very imposing edifice of increasing complexity, weight and density. But we never really, as a -- as a country, after 1990, had the same kind of conversation we had, say in 1919 or 1945 to 1947.
The sense was it was the end of history, we could do a lot of things, we could do a lot of things, even as we cut defense budgets and cut aid budgets. And it just wouldn't be a problem. Over time, it's become more of a problem. The foreign policy is harder to explain to the average person.
There's been a kind of a palpable withdrawal of public consent from this large, global foreign policy. And I would (ph) say that -- that to the extent there's a constructive agenda in the Trump administration, it would be recognizing that gap. And I think with people like Secretary Mattis, national security advisors that we're seeing an effort to try to rebuild some kind of strategy that can be -- that can be defended politically to the American people and have some kind of support.
ZAKARIA: So Gideon, is that fair? This is -- this was global overreach under the last three presidents and Trump is simply recognizing that the public doesn't want a globalist foreign policy?
GIDEON ROSE, EDITOR OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: One could make that case for the administration's -- for certain aspect of the administration's foreign policy in terms of what they're doing. But in practice, the idea that the Trump administration has anything resembling -- or certainly the president -- a coherent foreign policy that we can actually take guidance from and -- in response to the real problems of the world I think is fanciful.
I mean, that's like saying that, you know, Roy Moore was concerned with youth problems. That -- yes, they are pulling back, but the idea that there is actually a coherent strategy from the top and that anything is coordinated and there's (ph) other than a sort of interregnum, American foreign policy taking a gap here I just think is fanciful.
ZAKARIA: Zanny, when you look at it, do you think, you know, from -- from outside in, had the American foreign policy project become too, kind of vast, ambitious, expensive or was it an essential part of keeping the -- the open world economy and the open world -- the international world order going?
ZANNY MINTON BEDDOES, JOURNALIST, THE ECONOMIST: Well I think there's elements to -- truth to both of those viewpoints. I do think it's been, for the last 70 years, an absolutely essential part of the open world order. But I also think that it is time and was time, Trump or no Trump, in the aftermath of some of the overambitious exercises of the past years and in the light of the rise of China, it was time to have a serious conversation about how you reshape and how you fashion the international system for the 21st century.
I'm with Gideon in that I don't think very many people in the administration are having serious conversations of that sort. There may be a few, but President Trump himself has, I think, an extremely transactional approach and an extremely zero sum view of international relations. Their deals where (ph) I win you lose. That serious conversation ought to be happening. It's not.
And so from the rest of the world's perspective, it is as though the U.S. has essentially checked out. And it's checked out at a time when conversations about the world order need to happen, at a time when China is increasingly exerting it's role, it's definitely wanting to move center stage and create a different kind of world order. And so I think we have a shift that will go beyond the Trump administration.
It's a very real shift and it's unfortunately happening not in a way one would want, which is a real conversation about the 21st century global order. It's one where, you know, the big guardian of that order is now absent.
ZAKARIA: Walter, wouldn't it be fair to say - I think you characterized the American foreign policy over the last 25 years exactly right, but it did get more ambitious and it did get more resource-starved in some ways, except after 9/11. But isn't that partly because the whole world kind of became American? You know, the old communist bloc entered and as a result, you did have many more allies, many more countries wanting to share in this process.
The United States no longer had to battle international commune (ph) - all it had to do was kind of set the rules of the road a little bit. So it became ambitious but as a product of incredible success that you would want to build on.
RUSSELL MEAD: Well, look, again, I'm somebody - I think all three of us here are probably in the - in the group of people who think that the last 70 years, while some things went better than others, on the whole, in trying to build this global order, United States was trying to do the right thing and the best thing under the circumstances. And I imagine for all of us, the question is more, how to adjust and go forward rather than just have to throw in the cards and walk off and go find another planet that we enjoy more.
So, so far so good. But I do think that actually, had we been looking more carefully, in the 1990s, while neither Russia nor China was prepared to actively challenge this - this post Cold War order, both of them concluded, A, that they weren't going to join the party; and B, that this global liberalization that the United States was pushing was a threat to their domestic order and security.
And so what we saw was a kind of a gradual move on the part of those countries picking up what help they could, gradually to assert first some more independence and then more outright opposition.
ZAKARIA: Gideon, isn't it fair to say that Walter's (ph) central point is, the public isn't buying in. And you can't, in a democracy, have a foreign policy that the public just doesn't buy into?
ROSE: That is absolutely true and it's correct to say that, over the last generation, certainly the forces of globalization have created an ever more stratified society that has produced a lot of losers as well as winners, and that elites in the advanced industrial world were not as attentive to the side effects of the globalization policies that benefited them for the middle or lower orders of advanced industrial society.
So you have an outpouring, a lot of the populist wave that's coming now is because people are fighting - they don't want peace, they want equal rights and justice. And they - there's a sense that the last generation has been unjust the way it's played out, the outcomes of globalization. But the answer to that is not to take even more from the poor, give even more to fewer rich people as the tax bill does and then stick the globalization process and make everybody poorer. The answer is to address the problems and reform the liberal international order the way Macron is trying to do in France, not the way - not walk away from it the way the Americans are trying to do.
ZAKARIA: All right. When we come back, we're going to switch gears because we have this terrific panel. What should we be looking out for around the globe in 2018? Big trends? I'll ask my esteemed panelists when we come back.
MINTON-BEDDOES: Facebook and other social medias were threatening democracy. Concern about Google's power, I think that momentum for that is going to build in 2018. Secondly I think there's going to be increasing concern about China's economic and political ambition internationally. China's swagger if you will, on the international stage. At the 19th party congress, president Gi-Gi-Ping(ph) was pretty clear about this. China has now emerged and China now wants its role- center stage.
And then the third, and this is - you've already alluded to him. Emanuel Macron, the new president of France. I think he bares watching very closely, he is someone who could succeed in forging a new kind of progressive internationalism that might be the repost to this kind of global order that will be sustainable and politically popular. I'm not sure he'll succeed, but it's someone I will very carefully be watching.
ZAKARIAS: Walter(ph) you have been one of the great interpreters of populism. You could talk about it, whatever you want, but throw in also what will the future of populism be in 2018? Will we look at it as prizing(ph) further, plataueing (ph)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well populism is much better at channeling dissent than at developing policy answers. So I think a frustrated populism is going to be with us for awhile, it's almost the nature of the case. But I think there is one big trend that we'll see unfolding in a lot of dimensions and that really is sort of massive geo-political shift with the change in energy markets.
The fact that Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, other countries, face long term loses of trillions of dollars in revenue. We're already seeing dramatic impacts in all of those countries and their foreign policies.
ZAKARIA: Even with oil at 66...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that's compared to 100, and 150, and with no sort of rising price line to peak oil, you know peak oil demand. It's different now, and it's clear too that when Opex exceeds in disciplining it's members, it simply transfers revenue to the US shale industry and so on. So this is different. It also means long-term lower energy prices, less inflation. I think one reason that southern European economies have stabilized in the last year, has been that the energy situation has been quiet and favorable.
It's almost as if we're undoing the 1970s. That enormous shift of power and geopolitical centrality to the Gulf, to those countries, the creation of these immense boom-towns. I think we're going to see a reversal - it's good for China, it's good for Japan, it's good for India, good for the European Union, good for the United States, bad for Russia, bad for Iran, bad for the Gulf States, for the Arab world generally.
ZAKARIA: And bad for Venezuela and our...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And very bad for Venezuela. So this is going to - this is one of these things that comes from outside politics really, but which then - it will change the international environment in all kinds of subtle and sometimes quite dramatic ways. I agree with what Walter(ph) just said and what Zanny(ph) just said, but you have to come back to Trump, because in the midst of this, where China is doing exactly what Zanny(ph) just said and what - appreciating the realities Walter(ph) just said and realizing that it's mercantilist strategy of consolidating control over its supply chain in ener- energy- energy is not actually a good strategy.
And going heavily into renewable, at that exact same time, Trump is pulling the United States out of climate agreements. It's trying to boost domestic fossil fuel energy of the worst, most retro-grade kind and essentially clouding the trends of history that should benefit the United States. The globalized world that we're living in, is largely the product of US engagement and strategy for a world that's ever- knitted together in beneficial ways.
The challenge and interesting question is at what point after this holiday from history will the Trump Administration ever reengage? And there's a wonderful place to do it. Korea, after all the hubbub of this year, of all the posturing back and forth, and the tweeting and the things, you could actually have a situation in which you're ripe for some deal. If you would manage not to criticize Korea, but legalize it's nuclear programs in some sense, try to craft a deal that would freeze things. A really good deal like that could be there but the US has to be
leading it with the state department and negotiations and that's not something that this administration is doing. So the big question is what's going to happen with Trump and the US because that'll affect everything else.
ZAKARIA: Zanny(ph) since I have you and you have an almost unique perspective, what do you think about this whole issue of sexual harassment in the United States. Is it a parochial American phenomenon, is it a trend that you think will catch on around the world, what do you make of it all?
BEDDOES: First of all, it's already not appropriate- not only a parochial, and I wouldn't use the word parochial, but it's not only an American phenomenon. There's been lots and lots of discussion and lots and lots of cases here in the UK and in France and in many other countries. I hope, I hope very much that it is a cultural moment from which we will learn and we will move - and we will have a new equilibrium after it in the same way that we had a cultural moment when it was no longer okay to be racist.
We had a cultural moment when it was no longer okay to be homophobic and I think that these kinds of cultural moments are in some sense, painful. They demand a lot of soul searching, but I really hope that permanent change comes from this. I don't - it's not clear yet whether will do. But I'm amazed an impressed and kind of in awe of how much has happened, how many people have come forward, and then the MeToo(ph) whole meme is extraordinary and for me it's something remarkable to watch and I hope that it translates into a much broader cultural shift that can only be, in my view, for the good.
ZAKARIA: On that note, thank you all. Fascinating panel. Next on GPS, I've already said that when Donald Trump has a good idea, I will tell you about it. Well, he has one, and I'll tell you about it next.
ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. I've said that when Donald Trump has a good idea, I'm more than happy to support it. Well the president has latched onto a terrific idea. Back in March at a roundtable discussion, at the White House, attended by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and business leaders from Germany and the US. Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, made this challenge to the president.
MARC BENIOFF, CEO, SALESFORCE: We'd like to encourage you to take a moon-shot goal to create five million apprenticeships in the next five years.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And let's do that, let's go for that five million, okay? Very good.
ZAKARIA: Later at a joint press conference with Merkel the president said this.
TRUMP: We just concluded a productive meeting with the German and American companies to discuss workforce development and vocational training. Very important words. Germany has done an incredible job training the employees and future employees and employing its manufacturing and industrial workforce.
ZAKARIA: The former star of the Apprentice had every reason to express his admiration for Germany's real life apprenticeship program. It is considered the world's most well developed. A majority of the German workforce - at least 54% have received a professional job certification through the program. In 2013 for example, nearly 1.4 million apprentices were in the program and that helps explain why Germany has the lowest youth unemployment rate in the European Union. It sits at seven percent in 2016 by comparison the youth unemployment rate in the US was 10.4 percent. 13 percent in the UK, 24.6 percent in France, and a staggering 44.5 percent in Spain.
Clearly the German's are doing something right with their apprenticeship program and Donald Trump would understandably like to replicate it here in the US. The German program is innovative, well- planned and well executed. But that's....
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN GPS HOST: ...staggering 44.5 percent in Spain. Clearly, the Germans are doing something right with their apprenticeship program, and Donald Trump would understandably like to replicate it here in the U.S. The German program is innovative, well- planned, and well-executed.
But that's just half the equation. It is also very well-funded. In 2013, the German government spent about $3.5 billion on its apprenticeship program, with private industry kicking in another $9.5 billion, approximately. By comparison, this year the U.S. Congress provided $95 million on apprenticeships--that's it. And remember, America has almost four times the population of Germany.
On a per capita basis, Germany's apprenticeship programs have more than 10 times as many enrollees as the U.S. Which is really a shame, because according to a study commissioned by the Labor Department, Americans who go through an apprenticeship program earn roughly $240,000 more over the span of their careers than people who don't go through such a program.
On June 15th, Trump issued an executive order called "Expanding Apprenticeships in America," which officials said would reallocate funds within the Department of Labor to bring up the total funding for apprenticeships to $200 million. That's right, $200 million compared with $3.5 billion in Germany.
It is a pittance. We talk a lot on GPS (ph) about the dangers of inequality in America. This is a relatively easy, relatively inexpensive way to start to bridge the gap between rich and poor. We'll be watching, Mr. President, to see if you stay true to your word and get to 5 million apprenticeships in five years. The clock is ticking.
Next on GPS, placing Putin in Russian history. Is he more like a tsar, or more like Stalin? The terrific historian of Russia, Simon Sebag Montefiore, joins me next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ZAKARIA: Tensions between the United States and Russia are arguably at the highest point since the Cold War. But the history of antipathy and distrust between these two powerful nations goes back further than the Cold War. How much further, and how does history inform today?
Well, let's ask my next guest. Simon Sebag Montefiore is a historian and novelist who has written extensively about Russia. He recently wrote a 300-year history of the Romanoffs, and the screenrights (ph) to his book about Catherine the Great have been snapped up by none other than Angelina Jolie.
But before we get to all that, Simon, welcome.
SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE, HISTORIAN: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: And let me ask you, first, about Putin. We're all fascinated by him. When you look at him, with all this knowledge of Russian history, does he seem to you like just another tsar?
SEBAG MONTEFIORE: Yes. I mean there are-- there are, of course, very modern things about him. I mean, he's a master of asymmetric (ph) warfare and the internet, as we know, so he's a very modern figure, too. Of course, he's also a successor of the Stalinist (ph)-- the Soviet State (ph). But, the third strand to him is definitely Romanoff-tsarist (ph).
He has a great concept of the grandeur and majesty of the Russian motherland (ph), the Russian Empire (ph). And much that he's doing in Crimea, even Syria, is from the Romanoff playbook. I mean he has a great sense of history, and though he's not a great intellectual or reader (ph) as Stalin was, for example, he's fascinated by the division-- the un-ideological division between what he regards as great tsars, like Peter the Great and probably Stalin, and bad tsars, like Gorbachev or Nicholas II (ph).
ZAKARIA: In your book about the Romanoffs, one is struck by the absolute brutality of the family. I mean, they-- you know, the way (ph) the father kills his son in front spectators. That kind of brutality and almost unimaginable barbarism is part of Russian history, and do you think that informs the present in any way?
SEBAG MONTEFIORE: It very much is part of Russian history, and you're right. You know, the Romanoff story is a story about how families and individuals are corroded and destroyed by power. Peter the Great tortured his own son to death, as you said, Catherine the Great overthrew her husband and he was strangled to death, Alexander I was downstairs while his father, Paul, was beaten to death, strangled, and had his head stomped on.
So, yes, this is a family story, but not a family as we know it. But it does inform the present, too. I wrote this book to explain "Why Russia?" "Why Putin?" (ph) "What is exceptional about Russia?" (ph)
And when you take away all the modernity and the facade of elections in Russia, and you look at how Putin runs Russia, you see this (ph) tiny group of people competing and jockeying for the attention of one man, and a tiny group of people making secret decisions, becoming vastly wealthy--
ZAKARIA: It's a court. (ph)
SEBAG MONTEFIORE: It's a court. It's definitely a court, and Russians often call him "the Tsar." (ph) They know that the key to power, just as it was in the Romanoffs, with favorites like Rasputin, who was the spiritual advisor to Nicholas Alexandra (ph), or Potemkin, who was sleeping with the tsarina, or Count Kutaissov, who was the barber of Emperor Paul, is access to the body.
In an autocracy, everything is about access to the body, or access to the person.
ZAKARIA: And now, we talked about the hostility between the West (ph) and Russia, or the antipathy certainly between the United States and the Soviet Union. Each thought itself the model for the future. So then, what explains Donald Trump? Do you have any historical perspective on why Trump does seem remarkably benign in his view about Russia, almost alone in the world?
All the other countries are out to screw America, but Russia he thinks we can deal with.
SEBAG MONTEFIORE: Well, I think it's an interesting phenomenon, psychological and political. The political side of it is Donald Trump wants to be the first American czar. He wants to be the first, he wants to be the American Romanov. He rules by decree, very small circle. He treats ministers like personal servants. He promotes family to people of power, they're the only people he really trusts. So in this sense, you know, he really is the first American czar.
Fortunately, there are checks and balances to prevent him doing that. I think the other part of it has to be psychological. I mean he looks at Vladimir Putin and he just sees a man who has, has control of violence, who can order interventions in foreign countries at the click of a hand. I think for that, it's a slightly boyish crush on the idea of the gangster boss, the swagger and godfather, and I think that's something that derives from Donald Trump's personal psychology.
ZAKARIA: Putin will probably out last Stalin as the longest serving leader of Russia. Do you think in a sense modern Russia is Putin's Russia? . MONTEFIORE: Yeah, I think Putin will probably be the dominant figure
of the early 21st Century and he's ruling it according to Russian tradition and he's been incredibly successful. First of all at concentrating all power in his hands, which is a hell of a job in Russia, and he's done that systematically. But abroad is where he's really been successful. Russia has an economy as you know, the size of Spain or something, and yet it is punching way above its weight.
You mentioned Stalin. I think Stalin is the recent ruler against whom all modern Russian rulers measures themselves. And, of course, they put to one side the excesses that cost 20, 30 million lives, the appalling repression. And they look at successes and successes were vast, as well. The cost was totally unacceptable, let me make that clear. But you know, he left Russia a super power with a bigger empire than the czars could ever have dreamed of - the whole of Eastern Europe. And he's the one they measure against and of course the greatest founding myth of Putin's Russia is 1945, the fall of Berlin. So this is the sort of school or a kind of company that President Putin is comparing himself to, the company he wants to keep.
ZAKARIA: A tough man for Donald Trump to outwit, don't you think?
MONTEFIORE: I think, I think, I think the Kremlin, the bare pit (pf) of the Kremlin, one of the most in a terrifying and ferociously competitive arenas and tournaments of political power on earth is certainly a tougher place than reality television.
ZAKARIA: Simon Sebag Montefiore, pleasure to have you on, sir.
MONTEFIORE: Thank you very much. Lovely to be here.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, in 2018, Sir Harold Evans will turn 90. This all star editor, terrific writer, and celebrity journalist has led a thousand lives in those nine decades. And when we come back, he will tell us all his life lessons. You will not want to miss this.
ZAKARIA: Harold Evans is one of my heroes. He was voted the greatest newspaper editor in all of history and he has had a storied career in which he's headed, the London Times, the Sunday Times, the New York Daily News, in addition to New York News, the Atlantic, and Random House. This editor has now written a terrific new book this distills a life's worth of lessons, rules, and anecdotes into a spirited, punchy book, it's called "Do I Make Myself Clear, Why Writing Well Matters." Harold Evans joins me now.
HAROLD EVANS, BRITISH JOURNALIST AND WRITER: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Tell me why you felt moved at this stage in your career to write this book. Do you feel that you're confronting lots of bad writing when you look around the world today?
EVANS: Yes, I'll tell you what I feel. It's not bad writing in the sense that I don't expect everybody to write like Charles Dickens or William Shakespeare. I don't care if you have a misplaced semicolon. I'm not even worried if you use the wrong word occasionally, but I'm really incensed when in business and politics and insurance in particular, I see much distortion and deception of ordinary people.
ZAKARIA: You have an example in the book of Donald Trump and how he talked about climate change.
EVANS: OK, this is -- the most important scientific decision probably we'll take in our life time and this is, this is the precision this being brought to this problem by the 45th President who wants to overturn, or will overturn, or likely to turnover, has overturned the Obama policy. So this is precision of his language.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And actually we've had times where the weather wasn't working out so they change it to extreme weather and they have all different names, you know, so that it fits the bill. But the problem we have if you look at, you know, our energy cost and all of the things we're doing to solve a problem that I don't think in any major fashion exists. I mean Obama thinks it's the number one problem of the world today and I think it very low on the list. So I am now a believer and I will, unless somebody can prove something to me, I believe there is weather. I believe there is
change and I believe it goes up and down and it goes up again and it changes depending on years and
centuries. But I am not a believer and we have much bigger problems.
ZAKARIA: What's wrong with it?
EVANS: What wrong is that first of all, that shows no comprehension of what the climate change is all about. He just thinks its weather. It's not, and everybody who's studied it for five minutes knows that it's not just weather, it's what's happening meteorologically and other ways. Secondly, it's repetitious. Now let me get me right about Donald
Trump. When he wants to be clear, he can be emphatically and insistently clear and uses really good, strong words. We have to stop immigration. We have to stop it. We have to stop immigration. We have to build a wall, Walls work. We have to build a wall. Israel's got a wall. Walls work. We have to stop immigration well that's actual wording and actually it's not bad English, it's wonderful English.
FAREED ZAKARIA: Short, punchy, direct --
EVANS: Sure, punchy (ph) sentence in an active voice; we have to do this whereas many politicians would say in the circumstances considering how is pretending (ph) at the moment, we might reconsider our policy on the immigration -- he doesn't say that, he goes straight to the point. Now we know and I don't think it's -- I'm not going to get arrested as I leave the building because now everybody says it, he doesn't tell the truth, but it doesn't seem to matter so you might say to me and if you -- I hope you won't (ph), why does it matter if it's not true?
ZAKARIA: But no what I would -- so what you're saying is that when he wants to be clear and direct, he knows how to use good, short, punchy, active English. What the climate change paragraph suggests is that when he wants to be deceptive; when he's confusing; when he wants to obfuscate, it then turns into this complicated sentence with lots of subordinate clauses and fragments and dangling participles.
EVANS: That's right. He's not to be underrated and with due respect to the mass of the population, they're not likely to disentangle this -- it took me some time to realize exactly how the effect was achieved and it's very worrying because actually here is somebody who's quite capable of being direct and decisive.
ZAKARIA: One of your pet peeves is redundancies.
ZAKARIA: You talk about how everybody will say things like acres of land.
ZAKARIA: And you as the editor say, strike out the last two words, what else could it be acres of?
EVANS: I mean you're quite right, I mean business people to me (ph) say you know it's going to depreciate in value. I said what else can it depreciate in? But then the point about this Fareed, is when you -- the language and so much of the communication has excess words, they're like a weight on your shoulder. You have to read them.
ZAKARIA: And clarity maybe is the thing that I worry about because people over the centuries learned different ways; Homer told us tales orally and before Gutenberg there wasn't that much printing. But it does seem that in the modern era, we have been able to achieve some degree of analytic clarity and create a common conversation with common standards and facts and that -- you worry that that goes away if it all just imagines and emotion.
EVANS: You're quite right, you're quite right. One of the things that really offends me; we see a bombing, we hear what happened in California or Paris. How was Paris reported; the assassinations and the murders of those people? Many news organizations said nobody has yet claimed credit. Credit? Credit means honor. Why didn't they say the murders, nobody has yet admitted; no perpetrator, et cetera, et cetera. But when -- words matter because then we feed into some mind that's half made up, there's something credible in taking a machine gun (ph) and killing 40, 60 people. So in fact I've named all the news organizations in this book who use the word credit and wild horses won't get the name out of me today.
ZAKARIA: Words Matter, Howard Evans, pleasure to have you on.
EVANS: Thank you, Words Matter, bigly (ph) is the language.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, pollsters called the 2016 Presidential election for Hillary Clinton and the Brexit Referendum will (oh) remain. They were wrong on both counts of course, but what if we crowd-source predictions instead? I'll ask you to look into your crystal balls for 2018 when we come back.