Return to Transcripts main page

Fareed Zakaria GPS

Interview With Britain's Former Prime Minister, Tony Blair On Brexit; Has A New World Order Begun?; Condoleezza Rice On Russia's Election Meddling, Race And Division In America, Donald Trump, The Republican Party And Race Relations. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired September 15, 2019 - 10:00   ET



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.

Today on the show, Tony Blair and Condoleezza Rice. We'll start with the former prime minister of the United Kingdom on the chaos caused by Brexit and Boris Johnson. What really is going on and how will it end? Also, what advice would he give to the leaders of his Labour Party?

And Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of State, former National Security adviser. When she served President Bush, the world came together to tackle the terror threat after 9/11. Now it is coming apart. How does Rice rate President Trump on his foreign policy?

But first, here's my take. As he moves on to his fourth National Security adviser in less than three years, it's become clear that Donald Trump's foreign policy is in shambles. It has produced turmoil, but achieved almost nothing. Despite all the boasts, there are no new deals with China, Iran, North Korea, the Taliban, or between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Just uncertainty, disappointment, and lots of bruised feelings.

Trump informed the world that he was a great dealmaker, yet other than minor changes to NAFTA and the U.S.-Korean trade pact, he has achieved little. There are many reasons for this. The Trump administration has been chaotic and undisciplined, bringing the ethos of a mom-and- pop real estate shop to one of the world's largest and most complex institutions, the United States federal government.

The central problem, however, is that Trump is a bad negotiator. With both Kim Jong-un and the Taliban, he gave away crucial leverage right from the start. The North Koreans have wanted one-on-one meetings with the U.S. president for decades. Trump gave away that prize right away, hoping to charm Kim into giving up his nuclear weapons. So far, Kim-1, Trump-0.

With Afghanistan, Trump excoriated President Obama for announcing deadlines for troop withdrawals, and yet he's done something similar, repeatedly announcing his eagerness to quit and then being surprised that the Taliban sought to press its advantage. Consider Trump's model on Afghanistan. He fired John Bolton,

apparently, because Bolton objected to making a deal with the Taliban, except that Trump then canceled talks with the Taliban, effectively agreeing with Bolton.

Anyway, with Bolton gone, Trump does have the opportunity to act on his instincts and get something, a new Iran deal. Let's face it, his re-imposition of sanctions on Iran has been surprisingly, brutally effective. But Iran is a proud, ancient civilization and a canny regional power. It will not simply surrender. It might agree to a new deal, one that achieves more than the Obama accord. But for this to work, Trump will have to overrule some of his most hawkish advisers and find a path to a real negotiation.

The Iranians will likely sit down only if sanctions are suspended during the negotiations. They will want to describe any changes that are made as additional measures to implement the existing deal, rather than a new deal. Whatever. That's what diplomats are there for. Trump's goal should be to get the Iranians to agree to extend the time horizon of key parts of the deal by approximately five years.

He will not be able to make much headway on Iran's ballistic missiles. Iran views them as its defense against the vast Saudi military. On Iran's other regional activities, its support for Hezbollah, for example, it might well be willing to talk, but Trump will have to consider whether this would extend the negotiations into an interminable conversation, involving Israel and the broader Middle East.

Most important, to get an Iran deal, Trump would have to work against his fundamental urge always to claim total victory. Maybe that works in business, where there are single transactions, though it may explain why so few businesspeople ever do business with Trump again. Anyway, foreign policy is not about solo transactions, it's about long-term relationships. Both sides have their own domestic politics and constituencies. Each needs to be able to say it has achievement success.


If Trump can stomach that, he could emerge with something rare in his tenure so far, an actual foreign policy win.

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

"The decision of British voters to leave the European Union will have vast consequences for Britain, for Europe, and for the world." Those were the words of Britain's former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, published in "The New York Times" in June of 2016, the day after the British people elected to leave the European Union. Blair said he felt great personal and political sadness over the decision.

Today, three years and three months later, there is perhaps even more reason for sadness. Britain is in total political turmoil. Some say its worst crisis in its modern history. To help us make sense of it, I'm joined by the author of those words, Tony Blair.



ZAKARIA: For all of us outside of Britain, for the world, what is going on? What is the big pictures here? What are we to make of the last few weeks?

BLAIR: Well, I was kind of hoping you wouldn't ask me to explain it because it's extremely difficult to explain, but essentially, I think what has happened now is that there is a complete blockage in Parliament, and because the government is now wanting to do Brexit, even with no agreement, no deal, as it were with the European Union, about the future, or indeed any agreement to the terms of Britain's withdrawal from Europe.

Parliament is against that. Parliament's blocked. And I think the big picture is, there's now an acceptance, you've got to go back to the people to break the deadlock. In other words, ask them what they mean. Do they really want to go forward with this more extreme form of Brexit? And now the issue is, do you do that through a general election, which is the preference of the government, or do you do it in a specific referendum, which personally I would think is a much more sensible way of dealing with it?

But so you've got blockage, you've got the acceptance that the people have the right way to break the blockage, and the question is then, what's the means?

ZAKARIA: And so why is Boris Johnson trying to do this by triggering a general election rather than a referendum?

BLAIR: Well, it's a very good and pertinent question. I think the reason is essentially political. He believes that if you look at the opinion polls, the Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is very weak in the polls.

Labour is still really not doing what you'd expect an opposition party with this turmoil to be doing. And so, he thinks if you have a general election, then he can mask the unpopularity of the no-deal Brexit by pointing to the greater unpopularity of the Labour leadership. That's one bet that I think he's making.

But the other thing is under our political system, we have first passed the post in constituency. So it's the person with the most votes. The Conservative and pro-Brexit forces probably will be reasonably united. They won't get, I don't think, above 40 percent.

They may get less than that. But the opposition is then severely divided. And each constituency between the Labour Party and then the third party, which is the liberal Democrats or Scottish Nationalists and others, who've got more or less the same position on Brexit, but very different positions on the general election issue.

So that's why there is a political advantage, if you like, in trying to do this in the general election, though I have to say, in these last couple of weeks, the government itself has been acting in quite an extreme way, probing Parliament, expelling longstanding Conservative members of Parliament from the party, going for this no- deal Brexit, whatever the cost. And, you know, it's -- I would have thought it's quite an uncertain bet, actually, even for the Conservatives now.

So, for all of those reasons in my view, if you've got a problem and the problem is Brexit and you want to ask the public what does it think, go back to them on the specific. Don't mix it up with the general election, but that's where I think the debate is going to be in the next few weeks.

ZAKARIA: Tony, what if you get your wish, and there is a second referendum? And the public votes to leave again? Because there is some evidence -- first of all, Britain has long had an awkward relationship with Europe. But also, there's this feeling, let's rip the bandage and get it done with.

BLAIR: Yes, that's absolutely true. And if that happens, then that's the end of it. You know, I've said to people and I mean it, you can't carry on with this. And by the way, the overwhelming -- the only thing that unites the British people at the moment is a desire to have the thing over with. So, if there was another referendum and people voted to leave, well, you'd just have to accept that result and make the best of it. I'm not sure they would.


And one of the reasons for the reluctance of the arch Brexiteers to have another say with the British people is I think an underlying anxiety that when we look at it, we'll realize that, you see, leaving Europe is not the answer to any of Britain's problems. I mean, most of the big decisions about Britain are made in Britain. They're not made in Brussels. On our health care system, on our education system, whether we put our taxes up. Whether we spend more money or how we reform our welfare or pensions, law and order. Defense. War and peace.

They're all decisions made in Britain. So the Brexit thing is really part of this populist movement across the Western world where in the face of big challenges, people look for someone to blame. They look to ride the anger and not provide the answer. And that's the problem.

ZAKARIA: Stay with us. Next on GPS, I will ask Tony Blair about populism around the world. With Brexit on the brink and President Trump faring poorly in horserace polls, has populism seen its peak?


ZAKARIA: And we are back with Tony Blair, former prime minister of the United Kingdom and founder of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

One of the things that last week -- I think it was George Osborne, the former chancellor of the Exchequer, said that Britain is going to face an awful choice between a hard Brexit advocated by a party, that is Boris Johnson's Tory Party, and a socialist, even a Marxist Labour Party leader, Corbyn.


Why is it that the center left seems to have lost ground here? Which seemed -- you know, what you represented, what Bill Clinton represented, what is your diagnosis of that?

BLAIR: My diagnosis is twofold. One, we stopped providing the momentum for change, in an era where people want change, if you're the guardian of the status quo, you're in trouble. So the center left, center right appeared to be in that position. Secondly, I often say to people, it's also because social media is transforming the entire way politics is conducted. But one of the interesting aspects of that is that social media creates the circumstances in which a takeover of a traditional political party is very easy.

And therefore, what I would say is, for example, in Britain at the moment, a centrist proposition is not really on over. So when people say it doesn't work, well, it doesn't work for either of the two main political parties. It's a much more open question as to whether it's actually lost support among the people.

And if you look around Europe today, if you see the victory of Emmanuel Macron in France, for example, it's not entirely clear to me that the center ground can't win, but it's got to be offering a politics of change, it's got to show a narrative of optimism about the future, which, I think, by the way should be focused around the technological revolution that's happening at the moment. And it's got to be offered by a credible political party.

ZAKARIA: Part of what seems to me to be happening is that in these kinds of uncertain times, the left always assumes that the answer is economics. That if you offer people more of good ease, you look at what's happening in Democratic primaries, but what really happens is people don't move left economically, they move right culturally.

BLAIR: Right.

ZAKARIA: And the right is very good at offering cultural solutions, immigration, you know, whatever it is.

BLAIR: Yes. Absolutely. And this is -- so my view is that there is a certain peaking of this populism, because in the end, of course, these people say they provide answers and they really don't. And after a time when you're experiencing them, you're saying, OK, but we were promised everything was going to be fantastic, and look, my life is not that changed.

But it is cultural as much as economic. And a low may peak and provide an opportunity for, I would say, sensible, serious-minded politics to recapture the initiative. It's got to do it. And the risk is that people say, well, look, people have gone for a populism of the right, so maybe if we provide a populism of the left, then they'll go for that, too. Well, first of all, I don't think that's true. I think in the end, a

populism of the right faced with a populism of the left, I think the right usually wins, I'm afraid. Because the tunes, the right player are more immediately attractive and appeal deeper to the emotions of people. But quite apart from that, if you're going to deal with the current situation, you have to focus on the culture as well as the economic.

And these questions to do with immigration and the values around that, it's very, very important that if you're from a center left, progressive, liberal tradition, you don't just dismiss those anxieties or say people who are engaged in worrying about them are somehow sort of quasi-racist. So this is -- you know, my view is, the right wins when the left facilitates.

And the most important thing right now, therefore, in any politics in which you're fighting a right-wing populism, is you've got to build from the center. It's just, in my view, a fundamental strategic mistake if you then say, well, look, OK, what we really want to do is to get in and we're going to give you a revolution from the left. Particularly if that revolution seems to people to be ignoring what are genuine cultural issues and simply focusing on economic ones.

ZAKARIA: Sol I think if I would translate Tony Blair's, you know, message and attitude to the Democratic primaries, for example, it would be Democratic candidates should be saying things like crossing the border illegally is a crime. You know, there is a reality to a problem of illegal immigration. We have -- in other words, you have to sound like you're credible on those issues.

BLAIR: Well, you have to sound like you understand that there is a genuine problem and you want to deal with it. But I always say to people, if you don't deal with these types of problems like immigration, and deal with it properly, consistent with your values, of course, you should treat people properly.

Immigration, by the way, is a good thing, not a bad thing for a country. All of that is true, but if you want the permission to make that argument, you've got to understand that there is genuine anxiety if immigration is uncontrolled or it's happening illegally.

If you're not prepared to reach out to those people and understand that, then I'm afraid you're just going to be left in a position where, sure, you'll get a round of applause from a group of party activists, but I'm afraid those don't decide the election.


So, this is -- you know, this is the age-old perennial problem of progressive politics. That it's -- and, you know, I obviously have followed the Democrat debates here, but it's important if you're standing to win an election in a country, right, you want the country to come behind you, you've got to appeal to more than your base.

ZAKARIA: And what do you say to those who say, yes, but, that is not going to excite the Democratic debate, the Labour base. In other words, your argument is there's a kind of cold national centrism, but what's going to stir people and bring them out, you know, in droves, which is what you need is some kind of -- you know, the drama, the romance?

BLAIR: Yes. What I say is, but without power, these are just words. I mean, they're just words. They don't advance anyone. Look, before I came -- let me give you two specific examples from my own experience in government. Before I came to office in 1997, there was no minimum wage in the U.K. The policy against a minimum wage from the Conservatives used to be used against Labour time and time and time again.

We then introduced a minimum wage that's now part of the consensus politically in the U.K. But we only did it because we reached out to business anxieties and worked with them in order to do it in a sensible way.

The other thing is gay rights, right? Before I came to power, the Conservatives, as a political party, used to use this issue the entire time as a sort of wedge issue with the right-wing vote. Today, gay marriage is actually an accepted part of the political consensus between Conservatives and Labour. So if you want to make real change, you've got to -- you've got to have your politics motivated by strategic discipline, not by self-indulgence. And it's just -- it's a simple thing that you've got to do.

And if you're not prepared to do it, then what it means is, in the end, it's all about you. It's not about the people. It's about you, it's about how you feel about yourself as a political activist. But, no, it's not, in the end. You know, your political activism is pretty meaningless unless it ultimately results in a better life for them, for the people you want to represent.

ZAKARIA: Tony Blair, pleasure to have you on, sir.

BLAIR: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, Donald Trump isn't the only one erecting trade barriers. In fact, some of the former biggest boosters of free trade are now turning their backs on him. But there is one large part of the world embracing free trade. I think you'll be surprised to learn where it is, when we come back.



ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment. The best word to describe the mood of the global economy these days is gloomy. That pessimism is closely tied to the loss of faith in free markets and free trade, the two forces that have propelled the world economy for the past seven decades.

The United States, long the staunchest supporter of these ideas, has moved into full-scale mercantilist mode. Britain, the original free trade superpower, is pulling out of the European Union. China is striving to become less reliant on foreign firms. Everywhere the trend seems the same, except in Africa.

Last week at a World Economic Forum summit in Cape Town, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa declared the arrival of Africa Century. He was referring in part to a monumental recent event on the continent that was unnoticed by much of the media. In July, Africa's leaders announced the creation of a continent-wide free trade area that would potentially bring together 1.3 billion people in a $3.4 trillion economic zone.

As I wrote recently in "The Washington Post," the success of this project hinges on whether nations actually do reduce tariffs and other trade barriers. But if they do, trade could rise by as much as 50 percent in the next few decades, according to the International Monetary Fund. As the IMF put it, this could be an economic game changer for the continent.

Africa has six of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies already. By 2050, a new African middle and upper class of $250 million people could stimulate a five-fold rise in demand for goods and services. More than 400 African companies already have taken at least $1 billion in annual revenues. These data points come from a recent Project Syndicate op-ed by Landry Signe and Ameenah Gurib-Fakim.

One country that has bet big on Africa is China. In 2000, trade between China and the entire African continent was just $10 billion. Today it's $200 billion, making China its largest trading partner. Beijing has invested heavily in aid and loans for the region, and President Xi Jinping has declared that China will spend more in the years to come.

But it may be premature to declare the arrival of Africa's century. It's easier to announce the intention to reduce trade barriers than to actually enact such laws. Africa continues to face massive problems in the form of corruption and mismanagement, not to mention actual conflict. Some of the continent's promising growth statistics reflect the simple fact that Africa is rich in natural resources and a growing world economy has created high demand for these products.

Africa will, however, demand the world's attention over the coming decades. It will add one billion people to its population by 2050 and two billion more by the end of the century, at which point more than one in three people on the planet will be African. That demographic boom could create enormous problems if it's not accompanied by jobs and political stability.


ZAKARIA: But it could provide the world with energy and dynamism as populations, age and growth slows in most of the rest of the world. Much of this will depend on Africa's leaders who would have to finally fulfill the promise of the continent and its people. Too many of them have stolen from their people for too long.

Africans know the price that they have paid by being locked out of global markets and trade and of living in countries with limited private enterprise. They understand that the only real and sustainable path out of poverty is expanding free markets that are, of course, well managed and well regulated by effective governments.

Much of the world today could be reminded of that simple lesson.

Next on GPS, former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice on the Trump era, her view of the world and the nation under Trump.


ZAKARIA: In a couple of months, on November 9th, the world will mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This was, of course, one of the most important events of the 20th century, marking the end of the cold war and the triumph of capitalism over communism.

The coming anniversary inspired my next guest, Condoleezza Rice, to begin researching and writing a terrific book that has just been published written with Philip Zelikow, the scholar. The book is called To Build a Better World, Choices to End the Cold War and Create a Global Commonwealth.


Condi Rice was national security adviser and then Secretary of State for President George W. Bush. Today, she's a professor at Stanford and a founding partner at RiceHadleyGates, a consulting firm.

Condoleezza Rice, a pleasure to have you on.


ZAKARIA: You talk in this book about a kind of new moment of rupture. The book is a really terrific read, is about the way in which the cold war ended, that moment of rupture when a new international system is being born. And you seem to feel like we're at a moment like that?

RICE: I'm afraid that we are, because I think that the system that was essentially built after World War II, a system of free trade and free markets and an international economy that was not zero sum, the NATO alliance, all of the great institutions of that period, that really then proved themselves in 1989, 1990, 1991, when we were able to unify Germany, liberate Eastern Europe, the peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union, and on to what everyone thought was a new world order, as President George H.W. Bush put it.

But that system is under a lot of strain now. And I've said it's really under strain from the four horsemen of the apocalypse, whether it is populism or I'll call it nativism, not nationalism, which I think has a different connotation, protectionism, isolationism, and we're seeing a real challenge to that system that worked so well for us.

ZAKARIA: A lot of people would say it's under threat because the principle, the creator of that system, the upholder of that system, the United States, under President Trump, doesn't seem to believe in it anymore, whether it's NATO, whether it's the Trans-Pacific Partnership. RICE: Well, in fact, this has been coming for quite a long time in the United States. Somebody asked me once, is this a revolution or an evolution? I said, a revolution is what happens when you don't see an evolution coming.

And I think that what we've seen is that going back, really, even to President Obama, if you read President Obama's interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic, one of the last ones that he did, it talks about how our allies dragged us into the Libya conflict, that they didn't even have enough ammunition. They got me into that. They're freeloading. This has been going on for a while, the kind of breakdown of America's role, as what some have called the system's operator.

The fact is though, the system won't operate without the United States of America. And one thing is that, really, without the role of the United States, without the role of George H.W. Bush, I don't think we would have unified Germany completely and totally on western terms to allow it to remain in NATO. I don't think we would have seen the peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union. It took great skill and diplomacy, but it also took reliance on the institutions, the relationships, the alliances that had been built over a period of almost 50 years.

ZAKARIA: Do you understand where President Trump is coming from on Vladimir Putin, when he stands up in Helsinki and says, essentially, I believe President Putin's denial that he meddled in the 2016 election compared to my own intelligence agencies?

RICE: Well, I don't think he said it in exactly that way. He said that, and I should believe him --

ZAKARIA: He said admiringly and he said it very strongly.

RICE: I think part of the problem is you're standing next to the president of another country, it's kind of hard to be really critical. President Trump is in something of a difficult position, I think. Because in his mind, it seems to me, wherever somebody talks about the

Russian meddling, it's done in a way that seems to discredit or delegitimize his own election. And so it's a delicate situation.

ZAKARIA: Do you wish that the United States government had taken stronger measures against Russian meddling in the 2016 election?

RICE: I still hope that we're doing the hard work. The measures, I think that we took, on sanctions and so forth, mostly being -- coming out of the Congress, were right.

I do wonder how much we're doing to make sure it doesn't happen again. We appear to know a lot about how they did what they did. And so the real question is, are they going to be able to do it again. Because shame on them the first time, shame on us the second time, if we allow that meddling.

They also, Fareed, as you know, were exploiting deficients that are real in the United States. It was the old playbook from the Soviet Union. You take the effort to exploit disaffected populations, what Stalin had called the fifth column. But now it's much more efficient with social media, and you can get networks of people who have some disaffection and you rile them up. And that was the game that they were playing.

Now, we know a lot about how they did it. We should be trying to stop that. We should also be dealing with the divisions that are real divisions in American society.


ZAKARIA: Up next, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will talk about race in America. Is the president fomenting bigotry? How do we get out of this downward spiral?


ZAKARIA: And we are back with Condoleezza Rice, the former Secretary of State, and co-author of a new book, To Build a Better World.

Let me ask you about something you do write about in this book, which was that one of the reasons that America is turning is these divisions and these divisions have something to do with sort of people who feel like they're looked down upon by city dwellers and such.

But some part of that, and I ask this as a question, is some part of that also a way of telling certain groups of white people, working class whites in particular, you know, you're better than immigrants, you're better than black people, which is historically been one of the tropes that has been used. And a lot of people argue, looking at some of President Trump's rhetoric, that he's playing the same game, that he's playing the game of trying to reassure some part of the white population by demeaning immigrants or black people. How does it look to you?

RICE: Well, there clearly is some divisive language. And there is some language that calls up old ghosts that we ought to leave buried. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. I know and understand language of that kind.

But I'll tell you, it wouldn't have an appeal if there weren't something deeper going on. And I think there are two things going on.


Some people have been left out. You cannot tell the unemployed steel worker in Pennsylvania or the unemployed coal worker in West Virginia that actually your life has been made better by all of this globalization, and especially, if elites say, well, just listen. It is better for you. See all of those cheap goods you can buy at Walmart. The conversation is not working.

And so some people really do feel left out. And there are ways to address that. Better job skill mismatches than we have now.

But something else is going on too with culture. The fact is, we've lost the notion of a common American narrative. And that was a narrative in which people could come as immigrants and at some point, with the exception of Native Americans, everybody came from some place, and so there was that sense, that people could come seeking, it doesn't matter where you came from, it matters where you were going. There was also a sense that you are trapped in class. And that has broken down.

And I do think that some of that is also identity politics, for all the right reasons, groups that were disadvantaged, groups that had been left out, needed voice. But we have to be careful that it doesn't become just a set of grievances or a narrative that is one that pits one ethnic group against other ethnic groups. Because in that case, you are going to see the rise of white identity, and that's something that I think we really don't want to see.

ZAKARIA: But when you hear President Trump say of congressional representatives that are Somali-American, you know, they should go back to the country that they came from, when he says in Charlottesville, there were good people on both sides, this seems to me such a contrast from President Bush, Bush II, the man for whom you served, in terms of having -- he had the first black Secretary of State, he had the first female black national security adviser, you. The way he talked about Islam after 9/11 was so thoughtful in trying to not demean the Islam, as a religion.

When you hear Trump, this must -- this is the repudiation of everything you and Bush were trying to do.

RICE: Look, the president needs to be a lot more careful in the way he speaks about these things, because race is a very delicate and raw nerve in America. We have a birth defect of slavery, we have a birth defect of a number of people being treated badly, and so you need to be careful.

But I will tell you, Fareed, it's not all coming out of the White House. I hear a lot coming out of the left on these issues too that I don't like the language that is used about people, the notion that because somebody looks a certain way or is of a certain color, they ought to think a certain way, and if they don't think a certain way, then they're really not black.

And, you know, come on, we need to all back off. We need to watch our language toward one another. We need to start to apply that golden rule. Don't say something about somebody that you wouldn't what to be said about you, and I think we'll all be better off.

So I think this is a national project, not a White House project, not a congressional project, it's a national project.

ZAKARIA: But by saying that, you have so much moral authority given who you are and what kind of jobs you've had. Do you have a responsibility to not just pretend that this is -- there is an equivalence here?

Look at the Tory Party in England, senior Tory members, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, have essentially quit from the party, allowed themselves to be thrown out of the party rather than go along with what they saw as really bad policy. Why are there not Republicans doing the same?

RICE: Well, there, it's not really bad policy. They're objecting to something quite different, which is the -- and by the way, thank goodness that our founding fathers gave us separation of powers, because whatever happens between the president and the Congress, he can't actually disband the Congress. So I think the British situation is different. And I think people have to make their own determination.

Look, I think there's an argument that we have a president of the United States and you've got to try and fight for the right things from whatever perch you have within, without, however you wish to do it. I've said, and I think everybody understands, that I don't like a lot of the language that this president uses. I especially don't like the language about immigrants, because, in so many ways, immigrants are an easy target.

But the reason that I emphasize all of our responsibilities is if we just point fingers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we're not going to solve this problem. This is a very deep, now, set of divisions in America, in which we're all looking at each other through a lens of our own narrative and our own grievances.


And that is going to backfire in a multi-ethnic democracy that is not held together by race or ethnicity or nationality or religion for that matter. But we're held together by an idea. And we had better get back to that unifying idea or we are going to be in very deep trouble.

ZAKARIA: Condi Rice, a pleasure to have you on and this is a really great book, a kind of study in American statecraft at its best.

RICE: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: And we will be back.


ZAKARIA: From Brooklyn to Berkeley, foodies recoil in horror last week when President Trump threatened to extend tariffs on billions of dollars of European goods, including are artisanal cheeses and olive oils. The WTO will weigh in before any tariffs go into effect, so you've still got a few weeks to gorge on goods (ph). But dietary habits around the world have already been affected by trade tariffs.

It brings me to my question. What food product shortage has China attempted to alleviate by bringing into its national strategic reserves, A, chili oil, B, rice, C, pork, D, mooncakes?


Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer. My book of the week is an old classic that I finally got around to read. Stephen king's On Writing. It's part manual, part instruction manual, all of it written luminously only as Steven king can. This is the back to the school month and it's never too late for all of us get better at writing and related thinking clearly and eloquently.

The answer to my GPS challenge is C. Municipal and provincial governments in China have begun to release thousands of tons of frozen pork from the national strategic reserve in order to alleviate a severe shortage in the middle kingdom.

Now, you may be surprised to hear Beijing keeps vast amounts of pork in case of emergency, but it's difficult to overstate the importance of pork in China. Half of the world's pigs live in the People's Republic. And by 2018, the OECD reports Chinese diners were consuming some 54 million tons of pork a year. That is more than China can produce, it turns out. Meaning that despite eye-watering tariffs, the U.S. Meat Export Federation reports sales of American pork in China are up compared to last year.

The root of the shortage is a massive outbreak of African swine fever that "The New York Times" reports has led the Chinese government to kill over a million pigs this year alone. 100 million more have died from the disease.

Oh, and in case you've forgotten, 2019 is the year of the pig. evidently, a very expensive and sick one.

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