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Fareed Zakaria GPS
Examining Global Internet Freedom; Discussion of Women in US Legislatures; Facebook Celebrates 15 Years. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired February 10, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:22] 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, Venezuela on the brink. Maduro maintains his hold on the presidential palace but more and more governments are backing the opposition.
How will this standoff end? I'll ask the experts.
Also Ronald Reagan thought of America as the shining city on a hill, a beacon of freedom.
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RONALD REAGAN, 40TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And she's still a beacon. Still a magnet for all who must have freedom.
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ZAKARIA: Bernard-Henri Levy says that era is over.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America first.
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ZAKARIA: That America has abdicated its global role. What does that mean? I'll ask him.
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UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Welcome to your first day. We will never go away.
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ZAKARIA: From the Women's March of 2017 to the Me Too Movement.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Me, too. I have been sexually harassed. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: The incredible power of women's anger.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody believes me.
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ZAKARIA: Rebecca Traister on how this indomitable force is changing the world.
But first here's my take. The Trump administration faces a test in Venezuela. It must pursue a policy that helps usher out the odious regime of Nicolas Maduro without triggering a backlash against perceived American imperialism. It must support a political transition that doesn't threaten the oligarch so much that they fight to the end. This requires careful diplomacy, multilateralism, quiet pressure, and not bombast.
But Venezuela also poses a challenge for the Democratic Party. Can it find its voice on Venezuela and foreign policy more generally? So far there are worrying signs that the new democratic foreign policy could turn out to be a reflexive isolationism that is not so different from Trump's own "America First" instincts.
Representative Tulsi Gabbard says the United States needs to stay out of Venezuela. Let the Venezuelan people determine their future. Representative Ilhan Omar says we cannot hand pick leaders for other countries on behalf of multinational corporate interests. Senator Bernie Sanders notes we must learn the lessons of the past and not be in the business of regime change or supporting coups.
The left-wing hero Noam Chomsky and 70 other academics and activists have signed a letter largely blaming the crisis in Venezuela on U.S. actions.
Does one really have to explain that Venezuela's problems are primarily caused by its nasty government? That the Venezuelan people have not been allowed to determine their own future or pick their own leaders? The current government has clung to power by rigging elections, crushing opposition parties, muzzling the media, and using lethal force against protesters.
Since 2015 an estimated three million Venezuelans have fled the country. That's 10 percent of the country, equivalent to an exodus of 30 million Americans. But millions more Venezuelans are staying and fighting. They have come out in droves to vote against this government almost defeating Maduro in 2013 despite an unfair election and successfully bringing an opposition parliament to power in 2015.
For the last few years Venezuelans have organized protests against the regime enduring tear gas, arrests and killings. They have now rallied behind an opposition leader Juan Guaido and are using a constitutional process to shift control of the government from the regime to the elected parliament.
There's a larger debate to be had about the path forward for progressive foreign policy. There is appropriate skepticism about a $700 billion defense budget that is growing. There are lessons to be learned from the over extension of American power, from interventions that have gone on too long.
Policy toward Venezuela will require tack, caution, regional engagement, but to shield us from the danger of mistakes and bad actions, the answer is surely not resolute inaction.
In a brilliant book released last year, "A Foreign Policy for the Left," the political philosopher and card-carrying leftist Michael Walzer argues that the default position of the left has tended to be inaction. The world is complicated, American power can be misused, information is never enough. So best to just stay the hell out.
But of course those criteria could be a counsel for inaction at home as well. After all, a swift transition to Medicare for all would also be fraught with complexities and risks.
[10:05:05] Walzer makes a powerful case that in a world beset by wars and civil wars, religious zealotry, terrorist attacks, far-right nationalism, tyrannical governments, gross inequalities and widespread poverty and hunger, the world requires intelligent leftist attention.
Walzer writes, "Our deepest commitment is solidarity with people in trouble."
Right now there are millions in trouble in our hemisphere who are trying to help themselves. They deserve the active support of the American left.
For more go to CNN.com/fareed and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
Let's dig in deeper on Venezuela's crisis. Joining me now in D.C. is Moises Naim, Venezuela's former minister of trade, once also the director of the country's central bank. He is now a distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment.
Here in New York Shannon O'Neil joins me. She's the senior fellow for Latin American Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Moises, explain what is going on in Venezuela right now because there's so much confusion. From your point of view, how do you see it?
MOISES NAIM, FELLOW, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT: As you say, there is plenty going on but I see three main battle grounds. One is they keep placing the border between Venezuela and Colombia. It has to do with humanitarian aid. The United States and a bunch of Latin American countries are providing food and medicines to be sent to Venezuela that desperately needs it, and the Maduro government wouldn't let it in. And that tension is going to build because it is -- again, there's a
starving country waiting for it. And so it's going to be part of that. The second battleground is in the international financial system. The new government, Juan Guaido government, is trying to get control of the assets that the government of Venezuela has internationally. Not only there is an oil company and energy company called Citgo that is owned by the Venezuelan National Oil Company so the control of Citgo is now an important legal and financial battleground.
And the third is in the military garrisons, in the military bases between the rank-and-file and the top officers. The top officers are well. They are, you know, corrupt. Some of them are drug traffickers. Some of them are strongly incentivized with money and other incentives by the government to be loyal. But the rank-and-file is suffering like most of Venezuela's population is suffering. So there is a tension there between the top officers and the mid-level officers and the rank-and-file.
ZAKARIA: Shannon, when one looks at this in other historical cases, you know, Samuel Huntington always said that the moment when you see a transition is when there's a crack within the ruling elite. So far no crack in Venezuela by which I mean you're not seeing generals defect by and large, there've been one or two minor ones.
Why are the generals staying so close to the regime?
SHANNON O'NEIL, FELLOW, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: So part of the reason you're not seeing the military pull away, at least we haven't seen it so far, is that this is in many ways, shapes, and form, this is a military regime. We have seen many of the ministers, those who run food, those who control the state-owned energy company, those who are in control of governors and other positions, they are all military generals.
So the military -- while Maduro is a civilian, the military really controls this government. So it's their government to decide to keep or to stay or to keep Maduro or not. The other reason I think we're starting -- we're still seeing this coalition of cohesiveness, we haven't seen the cracks yet, is that there are outside players who are propping these people up. So far we have seen, while the U.S., Latin American nations, Europe, have all stood against Maduro, China and Russia in particularly have not. We've seen them at least give tacit if not explicit support. So these military officers feel that they have that backing.
ZAKARIA: So, Moises, what is the path to accelerate this transition? Is it external pressure? Is it internal demonstration? What do you -- what is the most likely one to be effective?
NAIM: Everything. Everything has to be put in play. I think the people in the streets and pressure there is important. The international community and as Shannon said, we have a divided international community. We have the democratic country in the world by and large supporting President Juan Guaido, and we have dictators and autocratic governments, Russia, Cuba, Iran, Turkey, so on, supporting Maduro.
So that will continue. And of course pressure on the military and financial pressure. The government, the Maduro government will soon run out of money or will have just very limited resources and that -- the generals depend on that. And once they start suffering for lack of money, they may start rethinking their alliances.
[10:10:09] ZAKARIA: Shannon, there seems to me to be an interesting difference between the attitude of Russia and China. Russia is really the spoiler, wants to, you know, pursue a kind of anti-American path here.
What is China's view? They're the ones who have the means to support this regime indefinitely.
O'NEIL: They do. And they're the ones who have been the biggest financial supporter so far. China at this point wants to make sure that its investment in Venezuela pays off. And in fact, as China has gone all over the world and gone into Latin America, Venezuela have been its biggest bet. So it wants to get paid back. It has bet on the Maduro government as the one who will send oil and return for their loans, but I do think with the right pressures, with the right reach-out and cooperation they would also work with a new government that would be democratically elected.
ZAKARIA: Moises, and what about the government in Washington? How has the Trump administration handled this?
NAIM: Well, they have been very active and very engaged. The main player has been Senator Rubio, Marco Rubio. In many ways the government when -- when it came, it outsourced the Latin American especially the Venezuelan portfolio to Marco Rubio who has become very active, he's very well-informed. He spends time and energy and political capital on the Venezuelan issue.
And so at this point they are staying as closely aligned with the Lima Group, which is this group of Latin American countries plus Canada and the United States that is coordinating the international pressure against the regime.
ZAKARIA: So it's a sort of South Florida strategy towards Venezuela coming out of Washington?
NAIM: There is --
O'NEIL: That's what it seems so far. Yes. It seems that there's room for the Democrats, though, I think, to come in here. Democrats would support free and fair elections, the Democrats would support this humanitarian aid. But the one thing it seems missing to me in the Trump policy is what do you do with the three million Venezuelans who have already left the country? And there are hundreds or thousands more that are leaving, particularly if this regime lasts. So there's room for the United States to accept more of those refugees, perhaps provide a temporary protective status, TPS, until this crisis passed. And also to help those people who are living mostly throughout Latin America today. ZAKARIA: Shannon, Moises, pleasure to have you both on. Thank you.
Next on GPS, the Trump administration's activist approach in Venezuela is an aberration on many international issues. The White House is hands off, get out. My next guest, Bernard-Henri Levy, says this means America has abdicated its responsibility to the world. He will explain when we come back.
[10:16:53] ZAKARIA: After withdrawing from the Paris climate deal, the Iran nuclear deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the massive Pacific trade deal, and threatening to pull out of NATO, President Trump's latest "America First" gambit seems to be withdrawing America from its overseas military interventions.
In December, Trump announced via Twitter of course that all American troops were coming back from Syria. This week the head of Central Command testified he hadn't been consulted on that decision. And now an American envoy is negotiating a withdrawal from Afghanistan.
So how does American foreign policy look to the rest of the world?
Bernard-Henri Levy has just written a new book called "The Empire and the Five Kings: America's Abdication and the Fate of the World."
The book couldn't be more timely. When you hear those facts that I pointed out, Trump saying we're getting out of Syria, we're getting out of Afghanistan. How do you think that is seen in the rest of the world?
BERNARD-HENRI LEVY, AUTHOR, "THE EMPIRE AND THE FIVE KINGS": What's the most sad that from the rest of the world it seems that America sometimes does not exist any longer. We have entered into a sort of pre-Colombian world.
ZAKARIA: What do you mean by that?
LEVY: Putin acts as if America had not been discovered. Xi Jinping acts as if Erdogan with an incredible -- he's so daring now. He acts as if he had nothing to fear from America and so on. So for a lot of America, like I am, the image of this world is so despairing and pre- Colombian world.
ZAKARIA: And pre-Colombian, you mean pre-1492.
LEVY: Pre-1492, pre -- a world without America. This is a very new situation. A world without America. This is how it seems from Moscow, from Ankara, and also from the damned of the earth who all over the world had always hope in America when they were wrecked, when they were killed, when they were even massacred. They had this light of candor which was the shining city upon the hill. Democrat, Republican, no matter. This candor is switching off from their point of view, too.
ZAKARIA: And, you know, people have talked about it as being an age of impunity or the return of the dictator, the return of the strong men. You see these trends as very linked. America withdraws and as one writer Robert Kagan says the jungle grows back.
LEVY: Robert Kagan is completely great and his book is a great book, and it is not only the jungle. It is the political nature. Hate the emptiness. Hate the void. When America withdraws, what happens in the space which is liberated, all of these new powers try to take advantage so you have those are what I call the five kings.
[10:20:02] They are former empires where big empires five centuries, 10 centuries ago --
ZAKARIA: China, Iran, Turkey --
LEVY: China, Russia, Persia, Turkey, Ottoman empire, Russia, they were empire. They were defeated. We -- France of liberal values and of democracy thought that they were to defeated forever. No, they are coming back. You have a comeback of these illiberal as you said yourself, the first. Undemocratic authoritarian powers turning into imperials. If there is an imperialism today, imperialism, the worst, it is not the American imperialism. It's the Russian one, which in Ukraine, maybe tomorrow perhaps not. Either Lithuania or Estonia.
It is Iranian imperialism, look at what happened to the poor Kurds. It's the Chinese imperialism. Commercial. It's Ottoman imperialism. Erdogan believes himself not as a Turk but as the revival of the old Ottoman imperialism. This is the world of today. And American people may be, if I dare say, they are so obsessed by the domestic policy. So obsessed by the tweets of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is nothing. He is just a phenomenon of this big picture where America is no longer playing and the West in general, their role is gone.
ZAKARIA: You have a great sense of history. You've watched this personally since the 1990s, the crisis in Bosnia, in other parts of the world, in the Middle East. Do you think this is a temporary pull back and that eventually we will be back on track to a world of expanding liberty and democracy and order?
LEVY: What I think that's at the beginning of the '90s, first of all we saw that Francis Fukuyama who is a great thinker was wrong. He was wrong. History has not ended. There is a reset at this moment, beginning of the '90s, a reset of history with new stakes. With new agents. With new actors. And with these new empires which I described in this book. This is number one.
Number two, what will be the outcome of this new game, everything is possible. It is in our hands if we want. Because the West, first of all, the flame of liberty is not dead. Look at what happens in America. Look at this real wall. Wall. Which is not the wall between Mexico and America, which is the wall of public opinion on which your president is breaking his own head.
In Europe same, you have a growing number of people who stand with Macron and not with (INAUDIBLE) or the crazy buffoons and clowns of Italy. They may win. The other point which is encouraging, that these five kings who pretend to reinvent their own imperialism, and truly will achieve. Because to make an empire, you need more than military force. You need more than trade and like China, you need the news. You need culture. You need spirit. And when you see these five kings, what strikes you is that they are zombies at many regards.
Putin is a zombie. Erdogan is a zombie. The ayatollahs in Iran are ghosts of themselves. It is a sort of dance of ghosts in these place. So maybe they will invent something. Maybe they will address the humanity in general. For the moment not, so we have, if we want, if we wake up, if we refine the sense of our duty, if that mission, they can lose. Still can lose.
ZAKARIA: Bernard-Henri Levy, always a pleasure to have you.
LEVY: Thank you, Fareed. For me.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS we're all so addicted to our phones and computers, what would happen if the Internet suddenly went off? It is increasingly happening across the globe when governments decide they don't want their citizens to have access.
I will tell about this disturbing trend when we come back.
[10:28:33] ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World segment. Nearly a quarter century ago the activists and grateful dead lyricist John Perry Barlow released a now famous declaration at Davos on the revolutionary power of the Internet.
Chief among the worldwide Web's virtues he said was its intrinsic liberty. The internet was naturally independent of the tyrannies the governments would seek to impose. Since then, a lot has changed. Last month Zimbabwe became the fifth country this year to shut down the Internet. After protests over fuel prices the government ordered telecom companies to block internet services domestically. The high court eventually ordered services restored.
Before that the Democratic Republic of the Congo cut off internet access for 20 days after a contested election. Gabon, Sudan and Bangladesh have also shut down access to the Internet this year. In 2018, 188 full or partial shutdowns of the internet were ordered by governments around the world, according to the advocacy group Access Now. That's up from 75 in 2016.
These shutdowns ranged from blocking certain Web sites or social media sites to full internet blackouts. And it's the crux of the great paradox of the internet today. More and more people all over the world are coming online and that's obviously progress, but governments are increasingly controlling online spaces, and the easy optimism about a free and open internet that marks its inception feels a bit misplaced.
According to an October report from Freedom House, 2018 marked the eighth consecutive year in which Internet freedom declined worldwide.
Now, there's been one big exception to the idea of a free Internet from the start, China. There the Internet always has been a walled garden. Its 800 million Internet users are protected by a "great firewall" from the apparently corrupting influences of Google, Facebook, the New York Times. The authorities in China shut down the Internet in the fractious western region of Xinjiang, as far back as 2009, for almost a year.
As more people come online all over the world, more countries are borrowing the cruder tools from China's playbook. And these shutdowns aren't only happening in small, fragile democracies or autocratic states. India, the largest democracy in the world, also leads the world in the total number of Internet shutdowns, more than 100 in 2018, according to Freedom House.
These kinds of measures have a great disruptive effect economically. An Indian think tank estimates that shutdowns from 2012 to 2017 cost the Indian government $3 billion. Nevertheless, it appears that more and more governments are expanding their control of the Internet beyond shutdowns. Last year Egypt enacted a law in which social media users with more than 5,000 followers have to register with the government and face regulation as media outlets. Similar laws have appeared in Russia, Iran and China.
What we're seeing is the Internet not creating one big, open, connected world but developing along two increasingly divergent paths. There's the flawed but relatively open and unrestricted version of the Internet seen in much of the West and then there is the shackled version seen in China, and increasingly exported to other parts of the developing world.
All of this has drowned out the early optimism of technology's democratizing power. Technology, it turns out, is no more free of bias or abuse than the humans who develop it and the leaders who control it.
Next on "GPS," how did we get from the Women's March of 2017 to the "MeToo" movement to a record number of women elected to serve in the U.S. Capitol? Rebecca Traister traces the awesome power of women's anger.
ZAKARIA: As President Trump took to the podium in the House chamber on Tuesday to deliver the State of the Union, splayed out in front of him was a veritable sea of white. Many of the Democratic women of the House had decided to color-coordinate to honor their suffragette forebears and mark their own accomplishment. There are now a record 131 women serving in Congress.
This surge in women who were elected in 2018 followed the Women's March of 2017 and the "MeToo" movement. And yet the percentage of women in the American legislature is still low for the developed world. My next guest, Rebecca Traister, wrote a book that digs deeply into
what she calls "the revolutionary power of women's anger." The book is called "Good and Mad."
Rebecca Traister, pleasure to have you on.
TRAISTER: Great to be here.
ZAKARIA: What I love about your book is you are telling us a kind of hidden history of the politics of the Western world, really. What you say is, ever since the French Revolution, every 50 years there has been something I certainly was not aware of, a kind of a moment or a movement of women's anger.
TRAISTER: Um-hmm. And a lot of them -- I think we often, to the degree that we have been taught of the political import of women's anger, it's been in the context of explicitly women's movements, the feminist movement of the 1970s, the suffrage movement in the United States and in England in the early 20th -- late 19th, early 20th century. And yet, in fact, women's anger has been catalytic in movements that we don't necessarily associate with women, for example, in the United States, the labor movement in this country.
In the 1830s it was young women working in the Lowell textile mills in New England who went on some of the -- staged some of the first walkouts, the first strikes, formed one of the first unions in this country. In the early 20th century, it was immigrant laborers like Clara Lemlich who called for the walkout of 20,000 shirtwaist manufacturing workers.
And -- and yet we don't think of the labor movement in this country as having been initiated by women, and yet it was. And so part of what I'm doing in this book is looking at how women's anger particularly anger at economic, racial, gender inequality, been actually been incredibly catalytic at the start of so many of the movements that have wound up transforming our laws, our institutions, our customs. And yet we've never been taught the story or given the view of women's anger as politically potent.
ZAKARIA: Now, you use the word "anger," which is -- which is, to me, interesting. Because there are so many of these issues you think of, and you look back and say, "How could it possibly be that women were largely not allowed to be doctors or lawyers?"
You know, there are all these inequalities; there are all these various ways in which women were suppressed. And you think, "Thank goodness they were overcome." Did it take anger, or was it possible -- you know, you -- are you, kind of, characterizing it correctly?
TRAISTER: Well, part of the project of this book is to seek out where there was anger and to question the role that it did play in getting women to do the work of organizing, of talking to each other, of forming the kinds of coalitions that might then lead to social movements. And it's very hard to do that. Because women's anger, even when it has existed, has often been covered over by the people telling the story of it. A very clear example of this is the way that we in this country have
been taught about Rosa Parks, for example, the woman who did not give up her seat in 1955 on the Montgomery bus. I was taught in the American school system about Rosa Parks as noble, demure, exhausted, heroic -- undoubtedly heroic and undoubtedly catalytic to a Civil Rights movement, but that she was a calm seamstress.
In fact, she was a furious worker against racial inequality in the Jim Crow South. She was an investigator for the NAACP who went into the South and investigated the gang rapes of black women by white men and the often false claims of sexual violence made by white women against black men to justify their lynchings. Her act was political and conscious.
Now -- and she herself wrote and talked about her life as -- as having been, in many ways, shaped by her anger at injustice. And yet that was never the story of her that we were transmitted. So we have to ask ourselves that question. Were there anger in places that -- was there anger in places and in people that was never transmitted to us?
And it's a very hard question to answer because we have to uncover so much of what these women were thinking and in some cases might have committed to a letter or told a story about, but in many cases were encouraged to never express it all, which is fury or -- or dissatisfaction.
And how to make sense of the fact that, when -- when Betty Friedan and that movement of feminism in the '50s and '60s comes up, lots of women, by many polls the majority of women, disapproved. They disapproved of that anger. And, of course, the same question is sometimes asked about the vote for Donald Trump. How could it be that so many women, particularly white women, voted for him?
TRAISTER: Well, one of the things that was made clear but has long been true to those who look at it, is that white women have often -- have always, since they've been keeping track, the majority have voted for the Republican candidate for the presidency in all but two elections, '92 and '96.
And one of the things that I think we're talking about more and that we need to talk about more is the incentives put in place within a country that was built by white patriarchs around white patriarchy. It was white men who built our systems, our government, our banks, our laws, our courts. There are incentives put in place. And one of those incentives is offered to white women, which is that defense of a white patriarchy from which they benefit as white women and through their associations with white men and as white people in the United States.
ZAKARIA: So they are voting their race rather than their gender?
TRAISTER: Well, yes. I mean, that's a -- it's an oversimplified way of putting it, but they certainly -- a significant number of white women, in many cases the majority, will defend a fundamentally regressive, conservative white patriarchal system, and have done so in elections for a very long time. ZAKARIA: I guess what I'm trying to understand is why would you zealously uphold an order -- you know, people often say women are socially conservative. That's one of the lines that explains it. And I always think it's odd because the social structure, the traditional social structure, is quite unfair to women.
TRAISTER: Yes, it is.
Well, in part, it's their recognition that they do benefit as white women, even as they may be subordinate as women to men. But also, sometimes it takes a moment. One of the things that we've seen in these recent years since the election of Donald Trump is one of these moments of revelation that in fact white women aren't protected within white patriarchies, even though there is a sense that if you're attached to white men and that as white women in a fundamentally racist nation, you will enjoy certain benefits and certain kinds of power.
In part, the loss of Hillary Clinton, a white woman, who in fact had worked her way to the top of a white patriarchal system, the political system; the -- the stories of some of the actresses who first spoke of their experiences with Harvey Weinstein and then with a whole other series of people; again, women who were wealthy, had privilege, had benefits, had, sort of, won white patriarchy and yet were still assaulted, in many cases violently, had their careers damaged, told the stories of how sexism had reshaped their lives.
The testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, a white, married, middle-class woman, not protected within white patriarchy. In fact, her story was not believed she could still be assaulted according to her account. Her story was not believed; it was not taken seriously enough to halt the further accrual of power of Brett Kavanaugh.
This has been a moment of revelation. It's one of the things you're talking about, when there are a series of events that reveal that even white women who enjoy some of the greatest and most obvious forms of power and privilege within this country are not, in fact, protected from sexism, from misogyny, from the subordination within patriarchy.
ZAKARIA: So you're saying that the whole culture of male/female dynamics, whether in the office; whether at a bar; whether in a restaurant; whether, you know, one-on-one groups, has all been written, shaped, determined, with male preferences in mind...
TRAISTER: Of course, yes.
ZAKARIA: ... and that what we need is a very different kind of one that incorporates how women would like to experience all this?
TRAISTER: And again, that relates to some of what people worried about around "MeToo," saying, "Oh, categories are collapsing." Because, during the hashtag "MeToo" movement, you heard women telling all these stories that had clearly been bottled up for a long time inside. And not all of them fell into the category of sexual violence or even sexual harassment. And yet it was about the feeling that they've sustained harm, that
they had been -- they had suffered consequences, you know, for reasons having to do with their gender in their workplaces or perhaps within their relationships.
We're having a conversation in this country where we're actually doing the very hard work of addressing sexism and misogyny and the toll that it takes on women, personally, professionally, politically. And that is a broad category, when we actually start to break down the ways that sexism and misogyny has affected and shaped women's experiences in this country and the way that we've built things around men and, as you say, their preferences, their needs, their power.
That's a conversation that contains multitudes, and it's not -- it doesn't fall into neat categories because that is describing a world.
ZAKARIA: I have to ask you, what do you think of Nancy Pelosi and her wielding of power...
... not female power, not male, but -- does it -- is it a moment?
TRAISTER: Well, it's -- she's a remarkable figure. And, yes, the way -- the lack of apology with which Nancy Pelosi has in fact always approached power is very unusual, when you look at the history of female politicians in this country and how they have been taught up until very recently to apologize for or disguise the degree of power that they have and the degree to which they may enjoy using it.
Nancy Pelosi has been totally unapologetic about this. She will say openly, "I am great at my job." I interviewed her this fall. This is what -- you know, she said, you know, "I'm good at my job."
She will talk about the way that she, you know, exerts control over her caucus, that she whips votes. And it's -- it's actually a tremendous model. It's interesting. I think a lot of the reasons that people don't like Nancy Pelosi, both on the right and often on the left, are ideological, right? They either see her as a far-leftist from San Francisco, or want to portray her that way, or, on the left, they see her as a, sort of, centrist squoosh who's giving in to all the -- but in fact her job isn't ideological at this point. It's herding cats in her often fractious caucus. And she's so good at it, it's something to watch. And I think it's -- I think she is a fascinating model of a -- of a woman who is totally unafraid to use her power.
ZAKARIA: Totally fascinating. Thank you so much.
TRAISTER: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: And we will be back.
ZAKARIA: This week Facebook turned 15 and founder Mark Zuckerberg celebrated, unsurprisingly, with an upbeat Facebook post, too upbeat some felt, given the barrage of criticism the platform has garnered for what Zuckerberg referred to as "new social and ethical issues." And it brings me to my question. Which of the following humanitarian crises was fueled in part by a Facebook campaign: the civil war in Yemen, genocide in Myanmar, the Syrian refugee crisis or gang violence in El Salvador? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
My book of the week is Michael Walzer's "A Foreign Policy For the Left," that I spoke about in the take. Whether you are left or right, you'll find this thoughtful, short book will make you think deeply about the basic issues of whether, why and how we should feel involved and engaged with events happening outside our country to foreigners.
And now for the last look. President Trump, not satisfied with making policy only on Twitter, seems to be just as comfortable politicking on Instagram as well. On Tuesday he reposted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's picture of a huge billboard that's gone up in Tel Aviv showing the two leaders standing side by side.
Ahead of Israel's April elections, Bibi is hoping some of the U.S. president's star power will rub off on him. Trump is a very popular figure in Israel at the moment, but closeness to Trump might not be enough for Israel's second-longest-serving P.M. to be re-elected. According to the former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, Bibi is facing a two-front challenge to his leadership. The veteran P.M.'s first headache, of course, is that he could be indicted on corruption charges before the election. If that were to happen, key coalition partners have signaled they would not side with him even though Netanyahu denies wrongdoing.
Bibi's second problem is his surprisingly popular opponent, Benny Gantz. The new party of this former head of the IDF is currently polling second to Netanyahu's Likud, despite Gantz's lack of political experience. If he can join forces with other politicians capable of wooing votes from the right, Indyk says, the currently comfortable lead Bibi has over Gantz could melt away.
He also notes that, since the late '70s, the right has only lost power in Israel twice, and both times it lost to centrist generals like Gantz. Watch this space for a possible three-peat.
The answer to my "GPS" challenge this week is B. Facebook has played a determining role in inciting ethnic violence against the Muslim minority in Myanmar, according to the U.N. While the proliferation of hate speech on Facebook is hardly new, the U.N. warned that it is especially problematic in Myanmar, given the sudden and recent access to a barrage of online information.
Facebook has since taken down many of the offending pages and invested in country-specific training and technology, but it acknowledged that it was too slow to act on misinformation and hate speech in Myanmar. All eyes will be on Facebook to see how it handles misinformation ahead of Myanmar's 2020 elections and of course the 2020 elections closer to home.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.