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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Unusual Unrest in Iraq Will Spill to Full Blown Revolution?; South and North Korea Come Together; U.S. and Pakistan Drift Apart; Bannon Receive Backlash on His Quotes About Trump; Trump Angered Scientists With His Tweet; Good Judgment Challenge. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 07, 2018 - 10:00   ET



[10:00:17] FAREED ZAKARIA GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE 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 coming to you live from New York.

On this first show of 2018 we'll take you on a tour of the world's hotspots starting with the unusual unrest in Iraq. Will it spill over into a full blown revolution?

Then a war of words between Trump and Kim over the size of their buttons. What's next with North Korea?

Also, the two states solution. Is Israel making it a virtual impossibility?

And, the United States withholds a billion dollars from Pakistan. Will that nation finally get tough on terror?

All that with the top minds in foreign policy.

Timely war in the South China Sea. How likely is it to happen in 2018?

GPS viewers looked into their crystal balls. I'll tell you what they, what you, told us.

But first, here's my take. The most enlightening commentary on what is going on in Iran right now was written a 162-years-ago. In his book on the French Revolution, Alexis de Tocqueville explained, revolutions are not always brought about by a gradual decline from bad to worst. Nations that have endured patiently and almost unconsciously, the most overwhelming oppression often burst into rebellion against the yoke the moment it begins to grow lighter. The regime which is destroyed by a revolution is almost always an improvement on its immediate predecessor, and experience teaches that the most critical moment for bad governance is the one which witnesses that first steps toward reform.

Why are these protests place in Iran today and not, and say North Korea? This is the question Tocqueville answers for us.

The deeply antagonistic relationship between Washington and Tehran makes it easy to forget that Iran today is actually more open than many other countries in the Middle East. Compare the status of women in minorities in Saudi Arabia and Iran and you will find there's really no comparison.

Over the pass two decades Iran has consistently elected presidents who are oppose by the hard line establishment of that country. In 1997 it elected Mohammad Khatami who is now under virtual house arrest. Then came Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who's radical renegade had a mass effect that he was a rank outsider to the (INAUDIBLE) that had run Iran since 1979. Ahmadinejad was a street smart politician with no theological credentials and was dusting the threat to the clerks hold on power.

Today, it has another reformist president, Hassan Rouhani who has been twice elected, the second time with a thumping majority. Iran's hardline establishment has actively sought to undermine Rouhani's reform agenda. In fact some serious observers of the country speculate that the protest have been engineered by the hardliners who will then used them to justify a crack down and total end to reform.

Off the French regime Tocqueville wrote, the abuses with which the French Government was charged were not new but the light in which they were viewed was. More (INAUDIBLE) has existed in the financial department at an earlier period but since then changes had taken place both in government and in society which made them more keenly fell than before.

Similarly, the Iranian economy has always been a dysfunctional mess, a toxic mixture of protectionism, socialism, and corruption. But in the recent year's people have had their hopes raise by the promises of reformers, the expectation that sanctions would be lifted, and the knowledge of life outside Iran. In fact the protests were triggered by a series of economic reforms.

In Bremmer's smart 2006 book "The J Curve" argued that some countries are stable because they are close, North Korea and Belarus for example. While others are stable because they are open like the Unites States and Japan. The former shield themselves from the winds of globalization, the latter are flexible and resilient enough to adapt to these forces.

The most difficult period is when a country is moving from being close to being open. If the regime is enlightening and strategic, it might be able to reform enough to wither this rocky transition.

[10:05:01] But there are two other more likely tasks. The chaos produces a return to repression and or a collapse of the state. Iran has the ingredients for a revolution. Over half the population is under 30, large of its youth are educated yet unemployed.

Almost 15 million Iranians have smartphones with which they can learn about the world. And reform has have consistently raised the expectations but never been able to deliver on their promises. But the regime also has instruments of power, ideology, repression, and patronage. All of which is ready to wield to stay in control.

What appears most likely for Iran is a period of instability in an already volatile Middle East.

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

And let's get started.

Iran's national police said on Sunday, the ongoing anti-government protest there are now over. The disturbances have ended. A spokesman declared, or perhaps he was more than a bit premature of fresh calls for protest reportedly came shortly after that announcement. When will the unrest really end? What is the endgame?

Thomas Erdbrink joins us on Skype from Tehran where he is the bureau chief for the New York Times. And here with me in New York is a top expert on Iran, Karim Sadjadpour, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace.

Thomas, let me ask you first. Can you tell us anything about the news that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been arrested, that he has been out there fueling the protest? And, does that suggest that there is a schism within the regime?

THOMAS ERDBRINK, TEHRAN BUREAU CHIEF, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, thank you, Fareed. Look, there has been a report that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been arrested. And of course, one of Iran's top generals, General Jafari, head fo the Revolutionary Guard Corps has implicitly accused President -- their former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of being involved in this protest. But, I don't know at this point that there's really an involvement by Ahmadinejad into this protest.

Of course, there is schism in the regime. This protest have a lot to do with the upcoming -- with the fixation issue for president -- for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and also play into the ongoing debate here between hard-liners and reformist and why is that so (INAUDIBLE) because President Hassan Rouhani released and publicized part of a budget fund, a very sensitive information that (INAUDIBLE) many people, information that said that religious institutes here and parts of the Revolutionary Guard Corps were getting lots of money from the upcoming post-government budget.

At the same time, the first protest, the first protest that kicked off this wildfire that spread across the country was according to many initiated by hard-liners. So definitely, there's a lot of going on inside the establishment.

ZAKARIA: It's just strike me Thomas, that is fascinating that the -- that what seems to fuel this as you say were, Rouhani's decision to publish the budget for the first time, revealing how much money the military hard-liners, religious foundations were getting. And of course, the cell phone revolution where you have 48 million smartphones in Iran. Also something Rouhani pushed for faster internet speed. So there you have the two things that, you know, that were caused by openness rather than closeness. Karim, what do you make of this schism within the regime? You know, political scientist say that's a very, very tough moment for dictatorships when you start having internal divisions.

KARIM SADJADPOUR, SENIOR FELLOW, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: Well, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been shrinking, the insiders had been shrinking. I think, what will the key as whether there will be schisms within Iran security forces. We haven't seen schisms within the Revolutionary Guards.

And at popular level, I think this is interesting because you have a lot of people protesting because of the price of food, you have some people protesting because of lack of freedom, but we still haven't seen a critical mass of people who are protesting both.

And I think, one of the reasons is because Iran's regime, the one thing they do very well is repression. And they're very good at decapitating any alternatives to themselves. Labor leaders, intellectual leaders, Iran's (INAUDIBLE) had been exiled and imprisoned.

But, the keepers have remains, the supreme leader of Iran who is now almost the longest serving leader, dictator in the world. I mean, there are a couple more -- couple older than him but he -- Ayatollah Khamenei is 77 years old, he's been supreme leader since 1989, he hasn't left the country since 1989.

[10:10:07] And I think, you know, we're dealing with this psychology of 80 million people but also this psychology of one individual autocrat.

And in 1978, five months before the Shah of Iran's government collapse, the CIA assist with high confidence that the Shah's regime was secure. What they didn't know was that the Shah had advance cancer and didn't have the mental or physical fitness to call an insurrection. And likewise, we don't know about the physical fitness and mental fitness of Ayatollah Khamenei. That's something that we'll only be able to tell in retrospect.

FAREED: You know, what's striking to me is, if you do look at when this regime start to seem vulnerable, it really is more when they start opening up. And yet, you know, U.S. policy particularly under the Trump administration but actually in general is always had tighten the screws which tends to make the country more isolated, make it more nationalistic, make it more resilient. That if you think about Cuba where for 50 years, we tried to do regime change.

So what is the right strategy when you watch this kind of openness? How would one encourage it and not reinforce the hard-liners?

SADJADPOUR: You know, one of the paradoxes of Iran is that the worst elements of the Iranian regime resembled North Korea and the best elements of Iranian society want to be like South Korea. And it's a challenge for U.S. foreign policy because to prevent Iran from becoming North Korea requires political and economic isolation, but to help Iranian society become like South Korea requires political and economic integration.

So it requires a very depth sophisticated U.S. approach which is very difficult because the official slogan of the Iranian regime is death to America. So invariably, every American politician wants to oppose to the Iranian regime and support opponents of the Iranian regime.

ZAKARIA: Thomas, what is the mood feel like in Tehran? I mean, you've written about how much smaller this progress are than the green revolution or the green movement was in 2009? Why is that? What do Iranians tell you particularly in Tehran whereas you've noted the protest are quite muted?

ERDBRINK: Yes. Well, look, a lot of people in Tehran are basically middle class people seeking stability, yes security and proposing gradual change within the system. Now, that doesn't mean that also these people are incredibly upset with anything, everything that's happening in the economy, but at the same time, they see Iran's outside enemies, President Trump if you will, Saudi Arabia, the Islamic state that are also threatening their existence.

So, these people feel that any form of increased tanks on the street might hurt them. So what you get in Tehran, the base where 3 million people went down the streets in 2009, is that a lot of people are saying, well, you know, I share a lot of the things that the protesters are saying, but I'm afraid of violence, I'm afraid of instability.


ZAKARIA: And you do have the regime constantly pointing out that you'd be playing into Donald Trump's hands if you would've continue with this protest which is a fascinating in on itself

Thank you both gentlemen, fascinating discussion.

Next on GPS, the Koreas come together.

The U.S. and Pakistan drift apart.

The world worries about American leadership. I will talk to Richard Haass, Jane Harman, and Dan Senor about all of that and more when we come back.


[10:16:55] ZAKARIA: There's much to talk about in the world and we're going to do just that. We're going to start with the North Korea.

At the beginning of the week, we had the battle of whose nuclear button is bigger. On Wednesday, the telephone hotline between North and South Korea was re-established after two years. At the end of the week, the two Koreas announced face to face talks to be held in two days.

And then on Saturday, Trump said he would absolutely be willing to talk to Kim on the phone under the right conditions. Joining me now to discuss it all are, Jane Harman, the former congresswoman from California who is now the director, president, and CEO of the Wilson Center. During her 16 years on Capitol Hill, she served in key roles on the intelligence, arm services, and Homeland Security committees.

Richard Haass is the president of Council on Foreign Relations and the author of "A World in Disarray" which is now out in paperback with a new introduction or conclusion or something suite up. He's a top foreign policy adviser to both Bushes. He was last in government as director of policy planning under the second President Bush.

Dan Senor was the chief spokesman for the coalition in the early months of the Iraq war. He's been a senior adviser on foreign policy to both Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney.

Much to discuss, Jane but it seems to me the big news here is not one more Trump tweet, you know, which is going on. But that the North and the South are moving towards some kind of possible deal.

JANE HARMAN, CEO, WILSON CENTER: Well, it's a conversation about the Olympics. Let's understand it's a sports event in the next few weeks but that will get world attention. What I like about this is, it's an opening conversation to the right conversation. And the right conversation includes South Korea, the United States, I would hope China, possibly Russia which has been a major proliferator to North Korea, let's understand that and others. And that conversation is about how to reach a deal which has to be a freeze for a freeze before North Korea becomes totally nuclear capable.

ZAKARIA: Freeze of North Korea's arsenal and return force some steps that the U.S. and South Korea would do.

HARMAN: Right. Freeze of their arsenal and their further development. The only thing they haven't master is the re-entry cycle for their missiles.

ZAKARIA: But Richard, that means Trump and the administration to be fair, not just Trump, the entire U.S. foreign policy establishment would have to walk back from the declared goal which is the total denuclearization of North Korea. Of all presidents from (INAUDIBLE) -- well, you know -- I asked this as a question, at one level, he's very flexible because he doesn't really believe in anything. But on another level, for him to walk back and to, you know, to make a concession seems not in his territory.

RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Although it would be a way to say that denuclearization remains the ultimate goal but we would be willing to say -- accept certain types of interim arrangements whether it's a freeze on testing or freeze on production of war heads and missiles.

The danger in this though is the bilateral dialogue between South Korea and North Korea. It's unlikely that at the top of the South Korean agenda will be just this, North Korea and nuclear weapons and missiles. South Korea has historically cared most about the stability of the peninsula for good reason.

So I would feel an awful lot better if the administration will drop its pre-conditions to a dialogue and get a seat at the table.

[10:20:02] That would be the best way to defend American interest here.

ZAKARIA: How much does it matter that in the midst of all these Trump is doing these tweets?

DAN SENOR, CHIEF SPOKESMAN, COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY IN IRAQ: Look, I think that the International Community and our different players around the world have sort of become to like discount this tweets. It's like it's noise but they really deal with Tillerson, Mattis, Pompeo, McMaster, Haley. And so long as those players in the U.S. Government are dealing with them in a sort of conventional way, there's a discount factor applied to the tweets.

ZAKARIA: But does -- doesn't, you know, his response to the book which we will get to you latter, doesn't assure that you can only control them so much.

SENOR: Absolutely, and I also think there's a danger internationally if the president starts to look irrelevant. I think more and more players around the world are saying, yes, we'll deal with his cabinet secretaries, we'll deal what national security adviser, the Trump -- the president's tweets doesn't matter. What happens when it does matter? What happens when the president lays down the line on an issue that he wants to enforce and the world was saying, oh it doesn't matter, it's just the president on Twitter.


HARMAN: It was Trump who focused on North Korea first which Obama didn't. Trump personally tweets or no tweets so I think he should be given some credit for that. And also for a focus on Israel and Palestine which I'm disappointed how it's playing up but nonetheless, if he can make a deal or be part of a deal on North Korea which his predecessors couldn't make we are to salute him.

ZAKARIA: You say in the new book that the United States under Trump now is the principle disruptor in the international system. That's a pretty strong charge.

HAASS: It's a strong charge, it has the virtue however on the unfortunate virtue of being true. Look, you had an important book years ago about a post-American world, the one thing neither you and your eye imagined was the idea that that would come about not because of the rise of China or someone of because of American exhaustion. It simply came about because of choice.

Donald Trump does not see many of the virtues or advantages in American world leadership has pulled the United States out of any number of global arrangement from the past, climate pact, questions about, you know, the --

ZAKARIA: (INAUDIBLE) in the Denver conference of migration --


ZAKARIA: -- in the world not to attend.

HAASS: Exactly. TPP, , you know, was a major decision on the third day or whatever of the administration. So this is an administration that has voluntarily abdicated the traditional American world leadership role. And the sad truth is, there's no one else out there who's ready and enable to fill those shoes certainly not in ways that are sensitive to American interest.

So this is a consequential presidency. Don't get me wrong for it but it is -- you know, an expensive presidency all the same.

ZAKARIA: And isn't that's the problem with the -- this episodic problem solving with the -- you know, North Korea. Is it going to work if the United States is, Jane, really pulling back, kind of enforce a deal like that.

HARMAN: Well, I don't know. The prior deals, the deal Bill Clinton made wasn't enforced and then Bush 43 abrogated that deal which I think was another strategic mistake. The U.S. doesn't seem to have anymore a global strategy. And when you link North Korea and Iran and Pakistan which I know we're going to talk about, the proliferation problems they will require a global strategy.

And I agree with Richard that we need to lead. We haven't been leading for a long time. I don't blame this all on President Trump. All I was saying was at least he is calling attention or did first thing in his presidency to what is the most urgent proliferation problem.

SENOR: And he's gotten some things right from a policy standpoint. He got two resolutions through the U.N. Security Council 15 0 votes. I mean, it's pretty extraordinary toughest sanctions we've ever had.

The relationship between the White House and Abe in Japan is very strong. Tokyo seems to be very enthusiastic directionally at least as it relates to North Korea and security threats in the region with how the White House is handling it.

So, they have made some -- they deserve some credits, it's very to criticize them and I agree that there's no sort of global comprehensive strategy but they -- it doesn't mean they aren't getting some things right. And I do think on North Korea, they have got some things right.

ZAKARIA: When we comeback, we're going to talk about something else that they might have gotten right on Pakistan. The Trump administration is playing tough, announcing it will withhold almost all security aid to Islamabad. Will that make Pakistan's government finally stop giving safe havens to terrorists as President Trump claims they do when we comeback.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [10:27:42] ZAKARIA: All right, now, another topic, another Trump tweet. This one came on Monday and said, "The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit thinking of our leaders as fools. They have safe haven to terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan with little help. No more."

Well, the flow of aid has been shut off on Thursday. The administration announced it was withholding almost all security aid to the nuclear tip nation. Will that stop Pakistan from offering terrorists safe haven as the president claims.

Joining me are Jane Harman, Richard Haass, and Dan Senor.

Dan, you went to deal with this in -- even in the Iraq situation. Pakistan is, it seems to me a problem with no solution.


ZAKARIA: You give them money, they help jihadists, you don't give them money they help jihadists.

SENOR: Well, you don't give them money in this environment and they not only continue to help jihadists but they potentially start moving to other players globally like China and you loss less influence inside the country in dealing with the government.

This is -- there's a rationale for doing what the administration has done, and it always -- the rationale is always obvious except for now. You can always say that except in this moment, it feels dangerous to do that and that's what I feel.

I feel like in this moment -- I'd spoke to someone from the White House over the weekend now about this issue and the rationale behind it. And they said, look, we are getting some back and forth. This wasn't just a Trump tweet, there was actually a policy process behind this and they are actually getting a reaction from the Pakistani government that they think is positive, that is actually a little bit of a wakeup call that could produce results. It remains to be seen.

HARMAN: I tried to do something in Congress. In 2009, I wanted to condition our aid on wrapping up A.Q. Khan who is the father of the Pakistani nuclear bomb, and they were --

ZAKARIA: Who particularly sold the secrets to North Korea and --

HARMAN: -- to North Korea and to Libya.


HARMAN: That was the bomb that was intercepted in that's when Gaddafi went clean. And by the way, his murder I think has persuaded Kim Jong-un that he should never abandon his nuclear ambitions. And I don't think he ever will, we can just contain hopefully.

But back to this, I think this is the right move. I understand there's a downside, some of the experts at the Wilson Center warning about this. But I've been to the tribal areas where the Haqqani network is headquartered, it's very close to the Afghan boarder and they have murdered our troops for years. And they have fermented these unstable efforts in Afghanistan.

[10:30:11] And I don't think this ever changes unless a sharp message is send to the Pakistani government.

ZAKARIA: You went to deal with this when you were in the Bush administration?

SENOR: I did, yes.

ZAKARIA: They cut off at one point -- they cut off the -- there's only one access for supply road into Afghanistan for U.S. troops that comes to Pakistan. There's another one but the Russians shot that down.

So, could they retaliate by --


SENOR: They can and this will complicate our ability to re-supply forces in Afghanistan, put us in slightly more and they're aiding the Russians. But let me say two things, and as you said correctly, going into this, no matter what we've done with Pakistan, we got (INAUDIBLE).

I mean, I get that. I got a bulls eye to that when I was in government. (INAUDIBLE), that it does makes sense to do this so publicly, I would have said no. I would have done this quietly because what you're now getting is the kind of nationalist reaction that makes it more difficult. And once in a while, it's OK to do diplomacy diplomatically. It's not the worse thing that the United States could do at Pakistan.

Secondly, this sorts to be in Donald Trump's wheelhouse. What we want with the Pakistan is not an alliance relationship. Who are we kidding? They're not allies.

The idea by the way that they are considerate non-NATO ally, a major ally for getting our arms is notch. But, I wish that we would have a transactional relationship with them. Quietly say, we will give you this piece of equipment in returned to (INAUDIBLE). What we can never do with Pakistan is assume or presume that they will do what we want down the road.

Every inch of the way, this has to be a transactional relationship.

HAASS: What's terrible about this is, you know, if you look at history, it has never been possible to destroy an insurgency when the insurgency has a safe haven across the boarder. And that's what the Afghan insurgency. Yes, it has a safe haven across the boarder where they --

HARMAN: And do we think that the Paks did not know that Osama bin Laden was living there for years? They have to know.

HAASS: Either way, I'm not sure of course. If they did know and they got do anything right or they didn't know, it's a sign just how out of control Pakistan is.

ZAKARIA: We got to get to Jerusalem. Dan Senor, you know Israel very well. What happened -- what exactly happened? It seemed like the Israeli, right, decided they were going to make it essentially impossible for there to be any deal on Jerusalem, that the Palestinians could accept. And therefore kind of lacking in the idea that there is now no two state solution.

SENOR: So what the (INAUDIBLE) is the Israeli problem in past legislation that basically said, if there's any change to the boundaries of the city of Jerusalem, the context of a peace deal, that instead of -- right now, the lies, there's going to be a change. It has the either be past by referendum or majority in the parliament. Now it's says, it's going to be a super majority in the parliament (INAUDIBLE).

So it raises the threshold for a deal that involves the future boundaries of Jerusalem to get ratified. The law of course can be overturned by some of majority. So the reality is, if there's actually a real deal that involves change boundaries to Jerusalem which is I think is unlikely to happen anytime soon. But if it were to happen, and the prime minister of Israel were behind it, that means his party is in control of the coalition of parliament that they could get this law overturned.

So I think, there's a lot of heat around this and a lot of concern. I think it's all overstated. I do think though there is -- the White House is behind a lot of these moves. Both actions -- the U.S. -- the administration is taking supportive of what the Israelis are taking because they want to send a message to the Palestinian leadership, the train is living the station. The history is sort of, you know, moving past you, and unless you've come back to the table without pre- conditions, more and more of these actions are going to be taken.

ZAKARIA: Well, if Jared Kushner's strategy work, you've got a minute?

SENOR: The short answer is no, the longer answer is no. Look, the real question is the one you put on the screen, is there still a two state solution? Time is running out, if Israel wants to be a secure, prosperous, Jewish democracy, it needs a two state solution. And right now, the path it is on is actually a threat to the Jewish project, the Zionist project.

ZAKARIA: And a lot of Palestinians are now saying, why not a one state solution?

HARMAN: Well --

ZAKARIA: Just give us voting rights in this room.

HARMAN: I think that that's a mistake, I don't think that will work, and pushing Palestine for Jordan is a non-starter. That will be stabilize the monarchy. The sadness here is, there is an opportunity right this minute for the Sunni states plus Israel, plus Palestine to confront Shia expansion.

You were talking about Iran before, that's the part of Iran's behavior that we don't like. They are observing the nuclear deal, they are not otherwise the spirit of the agreement. They are not doing the right things in the neighborhood. And this opportunity which I command Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt for trying to get this outside deal has failed or is failing. It's very disappointing.

ZAKARIA: All right. When we come back, I will ask three veterans of the corridors of power in Washington.

What they make of Steve Bannon's reporter remarks about Donald Trump in which he said, many things but among them, he has lost it. And the backlash against Bannon when we come back.

[10:35:04] Don't forget, if you miss a show, go to for a link to my iTunes podcast.


[10:35:34] ZAKARIA: The talk of Washington and the chattering classes for most of the week was a new book by Michael Wolff called "Fire and Fury". Wolff's extraordinary access to the White House resulted in a damning portrait of the president. The most damning quotes arguably are from Steve Bannon who said the president has lost among many other things. In the aftermath of the publishing, Bannon has been condemned and ostracized by the Trump establishment.

How to think of it all was been the reaction around the world. Joining me are Jane Harman, Richard Haass, and Dan Senor.

Dan, you know and have worked with Paul Ryan, what do you make of this?

SENOR: I think the book -- I mean, I haven't read the book but I've read the crowd source, you know, highlights from other journalists who are reading it intensively. I think it's seems to me like it's basically a colorful compendium of anecdotes that illustrate what we already knew about the president, about how the White House functions.

But to the extent that this has catalyzed a real break between the president and his architect of insurgency, Steve Bannon, I think it's a big moment. And that's what would be most significant about this book. If you look at the last year sort of bookends, the opening of January 2017 with the president's inaugural address where he talked about American carnage, it was deeply populace, it was very dark was basically a Bannon speech.

And then a year later, the year ended with a massive cut in corporate taxes by about a third. You know, a big deregulation campaign, both of which had strong influence by Paul Ryan.

[10:40:04] You had judicial nominees swarming the courts in a strategy orchestrated by Mitch McConnell. Mitt Romney is running for the Senate.

I mean, this is not exactly this like this like Bannon insurgency and in fact, that the end of this year, the beginning -- the beginning of this year we have Bannon being completely cut from Trump.

And so I think what we're reminded of is you need experience, you need people, you need people with real knowledge in how to make government work. If you want to actually have revolution in government, Donald Trump doesn't have this. Bannon is out --

ZAKARIA: But isn't it a sign that -- Bannon has a point which is that Trump came in as a populist and -- I mean, what is he done, he's repeal ObamaCare, he's cut corporate taxes, he stopped the rate for the, you know, highest income earners, he's deregulated. Where is this helping the Pennsylvania coal miners again?

HARMAN: Well, I don't think it is helping them. I mean, there is a role for insurgents in both parties. People are dissatisfied with the way the traditional party is working, they bolster change. But I think there's a big role for a strong Congress and we've been missing that too. We may have a dysfunctional White House but we have a dysfunctional Congress.

Bipartisanship is a dirty word --

ZAKARIA: But why is Paul Ryan is getting everything he wants?

HARMAN: Well, I don't -- I think that tax bill bought off enough people to get it past. I don't think it's a popular bill. I think tax reform is a good idea. I think entitlement reform is a good idea.

I think infrastructure building is a good idea done on a bipartisan basis. So my only pitch is, and I do want to say this on this show, poor John McCain who is been a strong voice for national security and bipartisanship has a weaker voice than he did. And I just want to say to Captain John McCain who has got the country and bipartisanship first, we're going to miss you.

ZAKARIA: Would you -- you've been in White House since, have you ever seen anything like this with -- I mean --

HAASS: This is not exactly the Jim Bakker White House, if that's what you're getting at or what it was under 41. Forty-one was probably the most organized organic White House, this is the least.

Let me say one thing though about Bannon. I'm not -- you know, Bannon maybe going, there maybe alienation but Bannonism is doing pretty well, what I could say. And look at that, United States got out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The relationship with NAFTA is really in jeopardy. We are doing all sorts of the tax on the World Trade Organization, immigration policy is what it is.

So you look at a lot of the things and Bannon must be sitting and saying, not bad for one years work. This year, you can have a major U.S.-China trade confrontation. So I think, it just too soon to say even if Bannon and the president, they wedge between them. I worry about what they've done.

SENOR: So I would say, I -- there were parts of Bannonism that are being implemented. But the truth is, where the country has moved on issues like trade is not limited to Bannon. Hilary Clinton came out for getting out of the TPP, so I think this is a broader issue than just what's going on with this administration.

I still believe that the president, most of his agenda is a conventional Republican agenda and he's basically outsourced the development, the implementation of that agenda to experienced Republican hands, Ryan and McConnell.

ZAKARIA: There's a quote I think in the book which says, attributed to Mitch McConnell, the president will sign any piece of paper we put in front of him.

SENOR: Right, he just wants some wins, he hasn't -- he can't characterize what those wins are, he just wants wins, he wants points on the board.

HARMAN: But, let's put the country first, I know it's right, let's try that. Now that everything else seems to be in some tatter and American leadership is desperately needed. The voices that come forward from this and put the country first are going to be the voices for leadership for America, and that's wonderful.

ZAKARIA: You know, Richard, the part that strikes me about this is however, you look at it, the one thing that does seem consistent is, there's very little voice for American engagement in the world. You know, because on those issues with Paul Ryan I think feels very strongly, he's decided, he's not going to fight Trump.

Trump's instincts have very parochial and narrow. And the world is watching, I mean, you and I travel a lot and everybody is struck by this and we're turned -- , you know, that the United States has both become isolationist but also unpredictable.

HAASS: Both of those -- also the image, the example we're setting has not won the rest of the world respects in many cases. A lot of people are telling me, this isn't the United States I thought I knew, this is something very different. And we saw it this week at the U.N., the United States wanted to get the U.N. to go -- to criticize Iran, your previous conversation here, and we we're on our own.

The Europeans wanted no part of it? The Russians said, let's talk about Black Lives Matter. What he chose to be is the shrinking voice of the (INAUDIBLE) because one, we're speaking less in many ways, we're not speaking into discipline thanks to the tweets. And the rest of the world is beginning to turn us out.

We have moved in to a world where others are deferring less to the wishes and the priorities of the United States. It means our interest will suffer, and what the president I think in this history, is he wants to make America great again. He can't make America great again at home if the world is beginning to unravel. I think at the core -- there's a contradiction, at the core of his moving away from our traditional world leadership rule, and what we wants to bring about at home and that's at the end, what could be his own doing.

[10:45:10] ZAKARIA: And how do you think this plays out, you know, with the schism, with this, you know -- is -- do you think Trump is now feeling more secure to implement his own ideas, you know, because some of these things are -- you know, with Pakistan while there's a policy, clearly you can tell it's his almost personal frustration with the hypocrisy of our policy to Pakistan.

Are you going to see more -- you know, is there going to be more Trump or less Trump in 2018?

SENOR: I think the focus of the White House and the congressional leadership in 2018 is hanging onto majorities in the Senate and the house. If they lose -- if Republicans lose the majority in the House because right now, if you look at the polling, Democrats are running about 12-points ahead of Republicans for the House. If they lose control of the House, you could see impeachment proceedings begin.

So at this point, this is not about policy priorities. It's the president and his team saying the congressional leadership, what do we need to do to hang on to majorities. And I think you can see the House Republicans running on tax reform very conventional. That's going to be --

HARMAN: But it's going to move the (INAUDIBLE) to the center in order to gain enough voters to keep them in office. It won't work to keep thrill extreme policies in place. And I think that tax bill is going to be unpopular. There's going to be a fixing --

SENOR: It's the only thing they have to run on.

HARMAN: They're going to have to do a fix to health care. Not totally repeal it because that won't play in states like Maine of Ms. Collins --

HAASS: Economies are going to three or four percent --

SENOR: I think the tax cut ultimately help them.

ZAKARIA: All right, (INAUDIBLE). Thank you all very much, fascinating.

Next on GPS, this week, it has been absolutely frigid on the East Coast on seasonably colds throughout rest of the United States. The president says, that cold weather like this means we need global warming. I will explain to you the science of why cold weather like this might actually mean we have too much global warming.

Back in a moment.


[10:50:22] ZAKARIA: And now for our What in the World segment.

As 2017 was turning into 2018, President Trump angered many scientists around the world with a simple tweet. It read, " In the East, it could be the coldest New Year's Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old global warming. Bundle up!"

And it was frigid, hovering around 90 degrees Fahrenheit in Times Square.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You would not know that it is so freaking cold by looking at that aerial shot.



ZAKARIA: And it wasn't just in New York. The New Year brought an arctic chill to the low of 48. It was disturbingly cold across most of America for much of the week. There was even snow in Florida, the result of a so-called bomb cyclone humbling the East Coast.

And that brings me to the second part of Trumps tweet suggesting that this bitter cold maybe indirect opposition to concerns about global warming. It's a question that does seem to confuse a fare amount of people not just the president himself. If the earths climate is warming so much that it's melting the ice caps, why in the world is it so bloody cold where I am.

First of all, let's be clear. Global warming is real. NASA shows us that 16 of the 17 warmest years in the 136-year-old record have all occurred since 2001 with one exception, 1998. And even as we are freezing here, a lot of other places in the world are recording warmer than normal temperatures.

To put some science behind our current misery, we can look to the polar vortex. You might have heard this menacing name added by your local meteorologist as they warn you to bundle up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Polar vortex, let's not go there.


ZAKARIA: The polar vortex is the zone of frigid air that encircles the Arctic. It's counter clockwise spinning jet stream usually holds the bitterly frigid air in place up there. Think of it like a dam. But sometimes a change in pressure disrupts the spinning jet stream releasing icy arctic air southward and the polar vortex blast us with frigid winter weather.

But is it random when this happens? Some scientist have a new research that suggest that it's very much not random and that it is in fact global warming that is responsible for pushing the polar vortex on us more often and for a longer durations as it used to.

Here is how, over the pass40 years there's been a steady melting of arctic sea ice. NASA says it had a rate of 13 percent for decade. As the ice melts and the footprint of the polar ice got shrinks, more of the ocean's surface is exposed and that's more heat escapes into the atmosphere. Study show that the arctic is warming faster than any other part of the globe.

The authors of a new study published by the American Metrological Society have correlated the increase of ice melt overtime with more frequent polar vortex disruption. That dam way up north (INAUDIBLE) and thrust cold air down south to us. One of the study's authors, MIT climatologist Judah Cohen told us, believes these episodes will continue and maybe even become more frequent in the future.

And one more bit of bad news. As this cold arctic hits the low of 48, it displaces warmer air west and north. During recent freezes of the East Coast warmer than normal temperatures have been recorded in Alaska, where the Permafrost is already also melting and could be further accelerated in this kind of cold air, hot air feedback loop.

So in short, we might be getting colder in many places precisely because overall we are definitely getting warmer. Don't let the president convince you otherwise.

Next on GPS, what do you viewers think will happen in the world in 2018?

More with Iran or in the South China Sea. Will Bashar al Assad still be Syria's leader next New Year's Eve. Find out what you predicted when we comeback.


[10:57:32] ZAKARIA: It's a New Year and everyone is wondering what the future will bring.

Last week we told you about a project we have with Good Judgment Open, a crowd sourcing platform that asks everyday people to forecast the future. Some 2,000 of you have gone online to participate in the Global Judgment Challenge off with more than 8,000 forecast. So let's take a look at what you say is in the cards for 2018.

When ask if there would be a deadly conflict between Iran and the United States this year, forecasters predicted only a 10 percent chance. But there is a slightly larger 15 percent chance of lethal confrontation in the China seas between China and another country this year.

There's good news for at least one dictator, GPS fortune tellers say there is an 88 percent chance that Syrian President Bashar al Assad will stay in power this year.

And here at home, your crystal balls predict that the Democrats will gain control of Congress in the midterm elections. You say there's about a 20 percent chance that Republicans will retain power in both Houses which is a good news for the Democrats who you believe have an 80 percent chance of taking back at least one chamber.

There'll be more questions posted throughout the year so visit and we will of course check back at end of the year to see how you did.

This week's book of the week is Bruce Riedel's "Kings and Presidents: Saudi Arabia and the United States Since FDR. For decades, Riedel was one of the top experts in the American government on the Middle East and South Asia. Now he has written an absolutely fascinating, vivid, and highly intelligent book about one of the oddest geopolitical relationships in history. This book superbly illustrates the kind of talent we have in government and why it is so sad that the current administration won't use it.

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