Return to Transcripts main page

Fareed Zakaria GPS

Is The World Ready For A Recession?; Britain Still Uncertain On Deal Or No Deal Brexit; Global Instability: Tour Of The World's Hotspots; Climate Injustice: The Rich Pollutes, The Poor Suffers?; From No Formal Education To A PhD From Cambridge. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired August 18, 2019 - 10:00   ET


[10:00:28] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.

We'll start today's show with fears of a global recession. The U.S. and China are in a trade war and it's been more than 10 years since the last recession ended. This week markets were rattled. Do we need to buckle up? I have a great panel to discuss.

And the climate crisis. The world's wealthy are disproportionately responsible for it. While the planet's poor suffer the most.

Ireland's former president will tell me how to turn this climate injustice into justice.

Then from the mountains of Idaho to the hallowed halls of Cambridge University, how did author, Tara Westover go from a family that forbade education to a PhD from one of the world's great universities. She will tell me her amazing story.

But first, here's my take. The Trump administration has an emerging deal with the Taliban. And it has the potential to bring greater stability to Afghanistan after an 18-year inconclusive war in that country, or it could reignite the Afghan civil war, emboldening terrorist groups and plunging the nation into another decade of turmoil, which might then force the United States to return to the battlefield in large numbers. That is, after all, what happened after the U.S. withdrew too quickly from Iraq in 2011.

It all depends on how it is handled from now. The key must be a political settlement between the Taliban and the Afghan government, and not the rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops.

President Trump deserves some credit for having authorized the negotiations in Doha between a special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, and the Taliban. The next step is to broaden the talks to involve the Afghan government itself. The end result would be a national unity government that includes both the current Afghan government and the Taliban.

But the crucial issue for Washington is to ensure that it does not make concessions that are hard to reverse, such as drawing down American troops, while the Taliban for its part makes paper commitments that it can easily violate.

The former ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, worries that we may be watching a replay of Vietnam in which the U.S. got commitments from North Vietnam in return for its withdrawal. But once U.S. troops were withdrawn, North Vietnam reneged on its commitments and invaded South Vietnam.

The most effective way to ensure this does not happen in Afghanistan is for Washington to delay the troop drawdowns until tangible gains have been made in terms of political power sharing and national reconciliation. It can push the Taliban to keep its promises by formally bringing neighboring powers such as China, Pakistan, and even Iran into the discussions.

The United States has faced this exit strategy problem every time it has waged a war against a guerrilla force. Henry Kissinger described the dilemma memorably in a "Foreign Affairs" essay written prior to his appointment as National Security adviser in 1969. While the U.S. pursues a military strategy, he wrote, the guerrillas have a psychological strategy, which is simply to exhaust America's willpower. Thus, America loses by not winning. But the guerrillas win just by not losing.

The Taliban has gone one step further than a guerrilla operation, having established its own governance independent from the Afghan national government in some areas. But the group's core strategy does appear to be wait out the United States. If the deal between the Taliban and Washington is to hold, Trump must signal that he would send back the troops if the Taliban breaks its end of the deal.

Trust but verify, Ronald Reagan said. That should be the mantra for these negotiations. Everyone will seek gains from the U.S. up front in return for promises to be fulfilled later. Washington should not be fooled.

The United States has actually achieved a lot in Afghanistan. The country is in a decent place after 40 years of civil war and Taliban rule.

[10:05:05] Let me give you one example. Under the Taliban there were only one million Afghan children in school. Today there are more than nine million. The terrorist organization that the Taliban harbored, al Qaeda, has been severely weakened. And the cost for America today, 14,000 troops, are not nearly what they once were. The U.S. could cut that number to 8,000 or 9,000 under the new deal while still maintaining order in Afghanistan and fighting terrorism.

But first, Washington needs to make sure it doesn't just end the war but also wins the peace.

For more go to and read my "Washington Post" column. And let's get started.

The U.S. and China are in a trade war that is rattling markets, for certain. But let's not forget that Japan and South Korea are also in a trade tussle and then there's the future mess that Brexit will inflict on global trade. If you add in the fact that it's been more than 10 years since the last recession ended, and make note of the wonky fact that the two-year treasury yield has has topped the 10-year rate, you get to an understandable fear of recession.

This is a serious matter and we have a very serious panel to discuss it. Rana Foroohar is CNN's global economic analyst, Edward Luce is the "FT's" U.S. national editor, Richard Haass is the president of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Rana, you wrote a piece saying the global recession has actually already begun. Now, that is still sort of a minority view. Tell me why you think it's happening.

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, even before you have this inverted bond yield curve which is a very wonky way of saying that people are worried about the economy going forward, and that's a big predictor of a recession. Even before that you had a lot of signs that all is not well. If you look over the last 18 months at manufacturing indexes, they are down in basically every major country except for India. In Europe in particular, in the Eurozone down very sharply. Germany has gone into recession. China is slowing down.

Also, the U.S. consumer, which, you know, we hear a lot about how buoyant the U.S. consumer has been, there's actually signs of fragility there, too. People are very worried about prescription drug price hikes, you're seeing actually some interesting voting patterns, working class white women turning away from Trump because they're concerned about the slowing economy. You're seeing people scaling back on gasoline purchases in the middle of a summer travel season. So I've been looking kind of beyond the headline figures and I think there's just a lot of weakness.

ZAKARIA: And, Ed, do you think that the -- shall we call it policy uncertainty because there really is, you know, Japan-South Korea, U.S.-China, U.S.-Europe. There's still dangers of trade wars. That adds to it?

EDWARD LUCE, NATIONAL EDITOR, FINANCIAL TIMES: Hugely. I mean, with any previous downturn you can think of, there's been policy coordination across borders. The U.S. is -- you know, in the '80s, there was the Plaza Accord. In 2008 there was the G-20 meeting in London. In the many recession or fears of recession in 2015 and 2016, again, international coordination.

The prospect of any international coordination with Trump as president is extremely low. And so, the policy uncertainty really comes from the White House. America is not playing the role and is very unlikely to play the role to help, to coordinate an international response to a global downturn that it's been playing for 70 years. That's a huge factor here.

ZAKARIA: And Trump is -- you know, seems to be almost worried about the politics more than the policy where he's trying to position it as if this is all the Federal Reserve's fault, right?

RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: He is at war with his own chairman of the Federal Reserve. And just as an aside, you know, interest rates are already historically low. There's not a lot of stimulus, shall we say, still to be played out. Fiscal stimulus is already great given what we've done. We're leading the cycle, as anyone who follows the market.

ZAKARIA: Just to explain what you mean by all that is, interest rates are low, they can't be cut too much further. We've already done a big tax cut. So the budget deficit is high. You can't do more government spending. So, we're out of ammunition?

HAASS: Pretty much. We're close to being out of it. You have all the geopolitics, which are an overlay, plus one other thing, Donald Trump's trade war. He's at war with himself in an odd sort of way. That his biggest talking point has been the stimulus he's given to the American economy. And what he's doing on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays is essentially offsetting that with tariffs, be it against China or everybody else. And he's now become, in some ways, the greatest overhang over his own biggest accomplishment.

ZAKARIA: The Chinese have tried to calm the waters. This is a very rare thing to see.


ZAKARIA: It's not the U.S. The U.S. is roiling the waters and Chinese is saying, no, no, don't worry, guys, we'll probably come -- we'll meet them halfway.

[10:10:03] FOROOHAR: Well, the Chinese have always said, look, we're willing to come to the table but they've also made it very clear that they want any trade deal to be a deal between equals. Unfortunately, President Trump seems constitutionally incapable of creating a win-win situation. In order to win, for him to feel he's won, he needs to crush the other side.

The Chinese have drawn a line in the sand. And when they do that, they don't back away. And there's not a lot of (INAUDIBLE). I think the other thing that the markets are worried about is the fact that this most recent Fed rate cut really just didn't juice things. And I agree with Richard, that we're at the end of a long period of easy money. And I think that all the psychology is now coming to the fore and you're going to see fits and starts, but I think the next few months are going to be a downward cycle.

HAASS: Fareed -- you know, with China, it's almost like North Korea. We're asking for things they cannot give.

FOROOHAR: Right. Exactly.

HAASS: We're telling North Korea, you've got to give up your nuclear weapons. They're not going to do it. Iran, regime change, they're not going to do it. China is not going to take the state out of the economy. They're not going to become capitalists tomorrow. It's going to remain a guided economy. So we're asking for things that mean either we fall off our own demands or there cannot be a trade deal. ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, don't go away, we will go from fears of global

recession to concerns about global instability, though Brexit, of course, combines both. And I'll ask Ed Luce about that.


ZAKARIA: And we are back with Rana Foroohar, Ed Luce and Richard Haass.

Ed, your country of origin, Britain, is still on the precipice -- it seems as though it's been on this precipice for months and years but now it's getting serious.

[10:15:04] October 31st, if something doesn't happen, Britain crashes out of the European Union. What is the most likely scenario?

LUCE: I think that's becoming more likely every day. Boris Johnson has said it's do or die. We leave by October 31st, Halloween. He was only elected by 160,000 people so a lot of the parliamentarians are saying, look, you need to go to the country. You need to call a general election. And they're going to --

ZAKARIA: Between now and October 31st?

LUCE: Well, the theory is his sort of Svengali, his Man Friday, if you like, the guy called, Dominic Cummings, kind of the Karl Rove for Boris Johnson, would like to call a general election on November 1st. So Britain crashes out with a no deal on the 31st, thereby insulating the Conservative Party from Nigel Farage's accusation that they betrayed the voters and hope they've delivered a no-deal Brexit, but too soon into no-deal Brexit for the Tories to be punished for the chaos that will follow.

So this Halloween scenario is becoming more and more likely and there's going to be a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson and his government in early September. Likely to succeed. He will then have a choice as to whether to step down, as has happened throughout British history if a prime minister loses a vote of no confidence, or simply in Trumpian way, brazen it out. At which point we get the real sort of "House of Cards" or "Crown" scenario where it's the Queen's prerogative to decide whether to accept his continuation as prime minister or not and, indeed, his choice of November 1st as the election date.

There is no precedent for this in British history.

ZAKARIA: The Queen has always accepted the prime minister's word so far.

LUCE: She's never been given a political choice in her life. She's, what, 93? It's quite late to be starting.


ZAKARIA: Economically does this matter to the world if Britain -- FOROOHAR: Hugely. And, you know, I think you get a little taste of

what might happen looking at the Argentinean market which crashed a few days ago, went down by about 40 percent or so on one day on the back of an election. The country was leaning left. If you get a situation with Brexit where, say, the Labour Party comes in, in the U.S. if you get Warren or Sanders as the Democratic candidate, I think that all these things are going to have a market impact. The thing that I struggle --

ZAKARIA: You're saying the market will be scared with so many kind of hard left --

FOROOHAR: Well, absolutely, absolutely. But I think what's interesting is that this isn't already priced in. And I think that the market has become really complacent, not only because of all the quantitative easing and easing money and low interest rates but the fact that all these very worrisome political signals have been masked by the fact that on every dip -- every time Trump says something ridiculous or there's an issue with Brexit, the market goes down.

But then algorithmic traders which are 80 percent of the market come in and buy on the dip. So you get the cycle where these deep signals are being masked and I think that that sets us up for bigger downturns in the future.

ZAKARIA: Richard, let me ask you about the political crisis because it does feel as though even there, we have a lot of stuff flaring up and the Trump administration does seem to -- you know, kind of turned up the heat on all of them without a clear strategy in mind. So, you know, North Korea, there was this maximalist pressure that was tried and didn't sort of work. On Iran the maximalist pressure. On U.S./China, you know, it seems like there may be a slight withdrawal. But we're still in a point where a lot of stuff has been set to bubble.

HAASS: Yes, an optimist would say with a normal administration they've turned up the heat, they've teed it up, to switch metaphors, and now there's a deal to be had. Not denuclearization with North Korea but some kind of an interim agreement that puts a limit on what North Korea can have. They dismantle some things. With Iran, maybe gets a new nuclear deal with extended limits on Iran. With China, we don't solve all of our differences but we solve some of them.

That would be a normal -- that's called diplomacy. Not a word we hear a lot about. But this administration so far has an all or nothing approach. And if you have an all or nothing approach, what we're seeing is you end up with nothing. So that -- that's the real pattern. So the question going forward is whether they continue to insist it's our way or the highway or whether they're willing to deal. And up to now they haven't been.

Ironically, if they want to, if they're prepared to, I actually think there are some deals out there, but so far at least they're not willing to play the traditional game.

ZAKARIA: And it's even beyond the U.S. Everybody seems to be kind of -- being more -- a little bit more reckless. I mean, that at least is how I would read India's decision on Kashmir. You were a correspondent in India for many years. What do you think of it? First, explain to people, I think it would be fair to describe it this way. India basically de jure control Kashmir, a third of Kashmir. It essentially has made that de facto and dispensed with any of the special status provisions that Kashmir had.

LUCE: Absolutely. And Kashmir, in general Kashmir is India's only majority Muslim state, as you know.

[10:20:04] And it's had this special status within India's Constitutional Article 370, giving it strong autonomy from the rest of India's interference. Narendra Modi abruptly ended that last week. You know, put all its elected leaders and political figures under house arrest. Journalists as well.

Tens of thousands more troops have been put into the Valley of Kashmir. The interesting sort of larger context of this is Kashmir's a bit like one of those so-called frozen conflicts. The sort of benign umbrella of the United States around the world.

You mentioned Japan-South Korea situation earlier, has managed to keep a lid on some of these antagonisms. The context for Modi's decision is, A, he got re-elected thumpingly a few months ago and that has obviously given him a mandate, in his view, to roll back Kashmir of its autonomy. But, B, Trump, when he met Imran Khan, Pakistan's prime minister, a few weeks ago in the Oval Office, offered to mediate the U.S. -- the India-Kashmir-Pakistan dispute. And India, its absolute cardinal rule, rejects any third-party mediation.

So the offer to Imran Khan -- Imran Khan could not believe his luck. And I think this was taken as a severe provocation, even by Trumpian standards by Narendra Modi and helped precipitate this to very abrupt decision to close down Kashmir's autonomy. So we have a very, very unstable situation there that America would ordinarily be attempting to help rather than fuel.

ZAKARIA: So this seems to be another example, Richard, of the kind of -- the lack of preparation leading to something, because I don't think Trump intended that but I think Ed makes a good point. Modi essentially changed the facts on the ground so -- you know, to bypass the possibility of America.

HAASS: It was preemptive diplomatic strike by the Indian prime minister to essentially take Kashmir off the agenda. They don't want the United States to do this. But historically, we have played a role. Not to mediate Kashmir, not to solve the frozen conflict, as Ed put it, but to make sure that these two nuclear-armed countries, which have not even the basics of a real relationship, that they don't go to war. Because even if they don't begin with nuclear weapons, it could all too easily escalate.

In May 1990 Bob Gates and I, for example, were sent over there to basically calm down exactly this. And what worries me is they may now be heading in that direction and the United States no longer practices the art of constructive diplomacy. That is -- my hunch is when the world looks at the problems, this might be right now suddenly at the top of the queue of the most underestimated or really dangerous crisis in the world.

ZAKARIA: And meanwhile, Rana, you are cashing your stocks and going into an all-cash portfolio?


FOROOHAR: I -- I announced myself, I came out this week and said, yes, no, I -- six months ago I actually took my children's college money to cash and last week I took my own retirement savings largely to cash.


ZAKARIA: Don't try this at home, folks. Do whatever you want.

Next on GPS, there is a movement in South Africa to seize land held by white people. It has echoes of what happened just to the north in Zimbabwe two decades ago. That event unleashed horrific violence. Will South Africa follow suit? We'll tell you when we come back.


[10:26:59] ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. President Cyril Ramaphosa's government in South is facing a fierce debate over an age-old problem -- land, specifically who owns it and who doesn't. That issue is an open wound in the country's post- apartheid era. On the left there are calls for the government to seize land held by white South Africans putting serious pressure on President Ramaphosa's government.

For white farmers these calls for expropriation without compensation are familiar. They evoke the violence of government-mandated seizures of white-owned farms in neighboring Zimbabwe nearly two decades ago under Robert Mugabe. And for many the debate stirs up fears that South Africa could fall to economic devastation like its neighbor to the north. Emotions about land reform run high and misinformation abounds.

But here are the facts. Expropriation without compensation has happened before in South Africa. In 1913 the government passed the Natives Land Act. Back then it grabbed 87 percent of arable land for whites and corralled black South Africans onto reserves where they had no individual ownership rights. Black livelihoods were destroyed.

Today not enough has changed. Of all the agricultural land owned by individuals across the country, 72 percent is owned by whites who make up just 9 percent of the population. Four percent of that land is owned by black South Africans who make up 79 percent of the population.

Nelson Mandela pledged that 30 percent of South African land held by whites would be distributed to poor black citizens after apartheid, but progress is painfully slow. It's not hard to see why. Land reform is disruptive in a Robinhood sort of way. As "The Economist" notes, it involves the government grabbing land from the relatively well-off and doling it out to the poor.

This often involves a fight. Take China, in 1949 after the Communist Revolution, the government began grabbing land from landlords who were the victims of brutal violence. Almost half the country's arable land was distributed to 300 million people. The violence was horrific, but the reform had immediate effects. According to "The Economist," grain output soared by as much as 70 percent in the decade following 1945.

But revolution isn't always bloody. For instance, South Korea in the 1950s peacefully bought up private farms and distributed the lands to tillers minting 1.6 million small landowners. Taiwan also benefitted from reforms around the same time.

Scholars have often noted that good land reform policies help build a middle class that then helps democracy flourish.

But let's return to Africa, specifically Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe allowed unconscionable violence against white landowners, he doled out land to cronies which caused deep economic suffering.


The dominant narrative was that it was an unmitigated disaster.

But as Ben Cousins of the University of the Western Cape points out, the legacy of Zimbabwean land reform is more complex than the dominant narrative, particularly when you consider the case of tobacco farmers.

As The New York Times reported, when 2,000 mostly white tobacco farmers were forced from their land, tens of thousands of mostly black farmers took their place. At first production ebbed but it rose impressively in later years, creating livelihoods for the once landless.

In the end, the case for land reform in South Africa is not merely a moral one. Properly and sensibly executed, land reform is also good economics and good politics.

Next on GPS, over the last century, the world's wealthiest countries have been the main drivers of the climate crisis while the world's poorest suffer the most from its effects. Is it possible to change that calculus?

My next guest, a powerful woman on the world stage has made that her mission.


ZAKARIA: I was recently in Aspen, Colorado, and taped some interviews there, including the one you're about to see. Now, that ski town is, of course, a well known playground for the world's wealthy. And an Oxfam study found the globe's wealthiest 10 percent are responsible for about 50 percent of green house gas emissions. On the other hand, poorest half of the global population are responsible for only about 10 percent of those emissions.


But the poor are most vulnerable to the climate crisis, which is in large part caused by those emissions.

The guest you're about to meet is trying to right that wrong and achieve what she calls climate justice for the poor. Mary Robinson is not just an activist, she was the first female President of Ireland. She was then the U.N.'s High Commissioner for human rights. She is now Chair of the Elders, a group founded by Nelson Mandela that brings global leaders together to cultivate a world that is peaceful and just.


ZAKARIA: Welcome.


ZAKARIA: Tell me how you solve this problem because it just seems like a conundrum. It is true that, certainly, historically, the world's rich countries have caused this problem of climate change, but the most vulnerable, the issues of the world that will face flooding and they can't afford the dikes, how do you do something about this?

ROBINSON: I think the first thing is to make it more people-centered. And that means looking at it from the point of the view of impact on people now. This isn't a problem of the future, which quite a few people still think it is. Melting glaciers, melting slowly somewhere and it will affect us, no. It's an absolute problem now, all over the world, including here in the United States.

And what we need to do is, I think, get everybody to take three steps. The first step is make it personal in your life. Do something that you wouldn't have been doing and deal with your own carbon footprint in some way. That might mean recycle more carefully, change your eating habits. I've been a pescatarian. I don't eat meat anymore.

The second step is get angry and get active. Get angry with those have more responsibility, like governments and cities, et cetera, to do more and get active in supporting with your voice and your vote, but also those who are trying to deal with conservation, planting trees, bringing solar energy to poor countries, et cetera.

The third, and this is the most important, we have to imagine this world that we need to be hurrying towards because we have -- the scientist told us last October, we have 12 years. Now, we're in August of the 11th year. So we have less than 11 years, in which to reduce global carbon emissions by 45 percent globally.

At the moment, we're not going the right direction. Last year, carbon emissions went up. This year, they will go up.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about another issue you're very active on, which is the state of women, and particularly women's health worldwide. And you're very worried about it because of something that's come out of the Trump administration recently. ROBINSON: Yes. When President Trump was elected, he reintroduced what's called a global gag rule, which is supposed to prevent abortions in developing countries. But the rule is so broad that it prevents proper family planning, family planning advice.

And over --

ZAKARIA: The version of the Trump administration, the gag rule, is broader than any previous one.

ROBINSON: Yes. President Reagan was the first to introduce it, President Clinton removed it, President Bush put another gag rule in, President Obama removed it. But President Trump is putting a much broader gag rule, and it' really serious.

I mean, the number of abortions that go wrong when you don't have any legal abortion in countries, women would still want to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. And so there's a great loss of life of mothers in Africa.

I mean, African friends have spoken to me about the problem. There's an unmet need. There are 200 million women who would wish to have family planning services in Africa and South Asia, et cetera. And then countries are coping with population increase, which is preventing them from having good development, literally, because Africa's population is doubling before 2015. And there are -- it's a problem that we need to address in a holistic way.

What's the solution? Educating girls and women and having a health system that functions that brings down maternal deaths and brings down child deaths. And then, very quickly, as we've seen in other countries, the graph will turn and women will have less children because they space them.

ZAKARIA: And, in general, we tend to think of those broader trends for women as positive. Would you share that view?

ROBINSON: Well, I'm very focused at the moment on one trend, which is a very good one. Women have suddenly become very aware of the climate issue. They were aware in Africa, of course. They were aware in South Asia because they deal -- this problem is so much a part of their lives.

But until recently, European women and women in the United States and Canada just were not aware. They would talk about Me Too, equal pay issues, health, education, and then they've mentioned climate but not know how to talk about it. And I think the report of the scientists last October has changed that.

Suddenly this is a big problem for my children and grandchildren. And suddenly women leaders are really moving. And I'm so pleased. And I can't tell you how many meetings I'm attending now where women are having declarations on climate justice. Women are meeting to take control of this issue.

ZAKARIA: Mary Robinson, a pleasure to have you on. ROBINSON: A pleasure, thank you.



ZAKARIA: Up next, my next guest grew up in rural Idaho with a Mormon survivalist father who did not believe in school. She ended up getting a PhD from Cambridge University and has now written a memoir of her journey to educate herself in more ways than one. Tara Westover's fascinating story when we come back.


ZAKARIA: September is around the corner. That means kids across America have either had their first day of school or will have it soon.

My next guest never knew that feeling. Tara Westover grew up on a remote mountainside in Idaho, the daughter of Mormon survivalists. She did not have a birth certificate, never went to the doctor and never attended school. Instead, her childhood was spent assisting her father and mother with their businesses, including scrapping metal in a dangerous junkyard.

Quite remarkably, Tara was able to teach herself enough to earn an ACT score that gained her admission into Brigham Young University. She'd gone under Master's degree from Cambridge University, became a visiting fellow at Harvard and then returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in 2014.

Westover's beautifully written memoir of her journey from the mountainside to academic success, Educated, has spent 77 weeks on "The New York Times" best-seller list and counting.


So it's a fascinating story. And there are so many parts of it that I don't know how to get at it. One thought I had is, for you, what in retrospect seems the most totally bizarre part of your upbringing with regard to the lack of education, or the not going to a doctor even when you would get -- you know, because you're dealing with scrap metal and you point out you'd keep getting hurt. When I read all of that seems so bizarre.

For you now, what part of it do you look back and say, I can't believe I survived that?

TARA WESTOVER, MEMOIRIST: You know, I have to reconstruct the feelings because I think part of being a kid is that you only have the one life and whatever life your life is, that's normal to you. You don't have anything else to compare it to.

ZAKARIA: When did you -- when did you realize that it wasn't -- it was unusual? WESTOVER: I knew that other kids went to school and I knew my family was particular -- peculiar, you might even say, but as a child, I experienced that as we were right, doing (ph) the right way, God wanted us not to go to school, not go to the doctor, we didn't deal those things, so we were better.

And maybe some time, I think I was a good way through college actually before I began to identify with a different way of thinking.

ZAKARIA: Was going to college already a betrayal from your parents' point of view?

WESTOVER: My dad was not terribly supportive when I wanted to go to college. He had a much more traditionalist idea of what a woman especially should do, which is you're supposed to get married and have children and stay at home. So that was very difficult for him to begin with.

And then he was also a little bit of a paranoid person and he was very anxious that I would go and get brainwashed at the university and come back with a whole lot of ideas, which is kind of what happened. So --

ZAKARIA: So talk about that for a second. Because that part of it, he does, and you later discovered he was bipolar. But the idea that education would brainwash you to become a kind of socialist, that the Illuminati control large parts of the country and the world, these kind of conspiracy theories, this enormous suspicious power, that is something that people who live in cities don't recognize, there is a lot of that out there and there is a great deal of distrust of metropolitan elites.

Where do you think it comes from?

WESTOVER: I think it is something that is based in reality. I think that the manifestation of it is not based in reality, and I'll try to explain what I mean by that. I think that there is a real sense in which people who don't live in the urban centers in this country are disenfranchised in meaningful ways.

I did this experiment the other day where I took the 21 -- the 25 poorest states in the union. And 21 of them, I discovered, voted for Trump. So I think if you're looking for a source of populism, why is it that people are so frustrated with the system? When I go home to Idaho, what I hear is how frustrated they are with the system.

I think you have parts of the country that are dying. I was in my hometown, the county seat of my hometown a couple months ago of my cousin, and all the shops were closed, every store that we'd been through as a child. And there was a funeral parlor that had been there since I was a kid and there was a new funeral parlor. And my cousin turned to me and said, you know, it's getting -- so the only thing there is to do in town is die.

And I don't think it's a bad metaphor for what these people are experiencing. Their whole way of life is just evaporating. And I think a lot of things that might be good for the country as a whole, whether it's globalization or technology or all the ways that the economy is changing, that economist will tell us, this is good for the country as a whole are disastrous them.

And this feeling that they have that there's an elite crowd, the global crowd that has interest, that are totally different from theirs, that they are the ones in charge, I don't think that's crazy. I don't necessarily agree with the conclusions that they come to and the way that it manifests. In fact, I don't agree at all with them. But I think the sentiment is rooted in something.

ZAKARIA: There's so much in this book. But there's one part I do want to ask you about where you say that you think that the most crucial lesson you might have gotten was at a point at which you started to read the book of Mormon. You couldn't understand it. You were sort of puzzled. But you knew out of deference and because, you know, it was the most important book in your life, you had to read it. Explain why that might have been the best thing that happened to you.

WESTOVER: I think a lot of people are angry with my parents because I said they didn't provide me with a good education. In some ways that's true. They were not attentive to my education and I struggled a lot as a result. But on this point, I was brought up to read the book of bible and book of Mormon and other 19th century texts and they were difficult.

And I was very conditioned to a way of thinking that my education was my responsibility and it was important for me to wrestle with hard things and it was okay to read things that were too -- but I couldn't understand yet. And I actually think in a lot of ways that old biblical style education, just engaging with very difficult texts.


In a lot of ways, I actually feel it was a pretty good education. There were some holes and I would struggle because of some of those holes. So it's not as though if -- if I had my own kids, would I do the same thing? No. But I think that there were things to be learned there.

ZAKARIA: And things to be learned by all of us from your book. Thank you.

WESTOVER: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: A pleasure.

And we will be back.


ZAKARIA: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says his nation will exit the E.U. on October 31st come hell or high water. And it just became clearer that the Trump administration has Johnson's back even if the U.K. hurdles out of the E.U. without a deal.

While National Security Adviser John Bolton was in London this week, he told reporters, I think if that's the decision of the British government, we will support it enthusiastically and that's what I'm trying to convey. We are with you. We are with you.

That brings me to my question, which of the following countries will see the largest increase in exports to the U.K. after a no-deal Brexit?


The United States, China, South Africa or Japan?

Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.

My book this week is actually a T.V. show. Our Boys is an intense dramatization of the 2014 kidnapping and murder of three Israeli boys and the subsequent murder of a Palestinian boy. The series is airing Mondays at 9:00 P.M. on HBO which like CNN is owned by Warner Media.

Our Boys tells the stories from both the Palestinian and Israeli sides. It had an Israeli director for the Israeli storyline and a Palestinian director for the story from that side of the border. It's a novel technique that helps to form a very powerful series about two devastating hate crimes with vast repercussions, a cautionary tale in an age when hate runs far too rampant.

The answer to my GPS challenge this week is B. China could add $10.2 billion in exports to the U.K. if the British and European economies split without a deal, according to a U.N. report. The U.S. and Japan each stand to make roughly $5 billion in British-bound exports. Of course, the hardest hit would be the European Union, whose exports to the British market would shrink by an estimated $36 billion.

So while all eyes might be on London and Brussels, make no mistake, Brexit will affect countries all across the globe.

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