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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Ayatollah Khamenei Leads Anti-America Friday Prayers; Putin's Plan To Stay In Power?; America's Decade Of Dominance; Populism, Polarization And Prosperity; What Will Be The Big Story Of This Decade?; Australia Ablaze. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 19, 2020 - 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 GPS, the Russian government resigns en mass. The unexpected move makes people wonder, has President Putin just pave the way to make himself Russia's ruler forever? We'll dig deep into the Kremlin analogy.

Also, Iran. Less than two weeks ago, it seemed to be on the brink of war with America. Now it is absorbing new sanctions and dealing with the aftermath of its downing of a civilian airline. What is happening in Tehran? Is this a lull before the next storm?

Then Australia on fire. We've seen the heart-wrenching pictures these past weeks as down under has been devastated. More than a billion animals are thought to be dead. Australia's former prime minister Kevin Rudd explains the politics behind it all.


ZAKARIA: But first, here's my take. President Trump's phase one trade deal with China is largely a win for Beijing. Just measure the agreement signed this week against the initial demands made by Washington in a May 2018 document that Beijing promptly leaked. As the "Financial Times" concludes with regard to the central U.S. goals after almost two years of negotiations, tariffs and counter tariffs, Mr. Trump has achieved none of these objectives.

This outcome is partly a reflection of the two sides' staying power. China is a one-party state that can take the long view. Trump had gambled that he could hurt the Chinese economy enough with the imposition of tariffs that the pain to American consumers who actually paid for those tariffs would be worth it. But eventually the president apparently decided that he wanted to smooth the economic orders as he runs for reelection. So he folded.

From a broader perspective, however, this trade deal reflects something new on the international landscape. Something the United States is going to have to grapple with for decades. As I argued in an essay in "Foreign Affairs," China is the first real pure competitor that the United States has faced in the modern era. Even the Soviet Union was never really an economic peer.

China after all is the world's second largest economy. In fact by some measures, it is the largest. It is the largest trading partner of most countries in Asia and many around the globe. It holds the world's largest foreign exchange reserves and it leads the globe in many industries including high tech sectors like 5g.

Perhaps more significantly, it is not part of the American security system. You see Washington has faced an extraordinary benign international environment in one key respect. After World War II, the countries that emerged or reemerged to wealth and power were all, to put it bluntly, American protectors, Germany, France, Britain, Japan, South Korea. China is most decidedly not in that group.

Add to this a very different political system and cultural background as well as a desire to project power in Asia and beyond, and you have the makings of a complex relationship that is perhaps destined for some degree of conflict. But as Trump's failed negotiations demonstrate, this is not a case where threats, confrontation, and bluster will always work. China too has leverage.

And on China, the fault does not lie solely with Trump. Democrats have turned equally hawkish on China and protectionist in general. Trump's deal has been criticized by all the leading rights of the party but had a Democrat been in the White House, the outcome probably would not have been very different.

The geopolitical threat of a rising China is poorly understood. Often prompting knee-jerk references to another Cold War. A comparison might help. Forget the Soviet Union and just look at Russia today as it tries to degrade even destroy the open international order that the West has forged since 1945.


China has actually been trying to grow rich and powerful within that order. China is not a rogue nation like Russia seeking to interfere in Western democracy and invade its neighbors. As I noted in "Foreign Affairs," China under Mao used to be a leading sponsor of revolutionary insurgencies across the planet. It is now the second largest funder of U.N. peacekeeping. In fact Beijing has not gone to war since 1979, a record of non-intervention that makes it unique among the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

America is going to compete with China for the bulk of the 21st century. But it will have to do so wisely, enlisting allies, and trying to keep the competition within the international system. If instead we go down a path of confrontation and containment, China is now powerful enough that this struggle would destroy the open international order and the open global economy, we would end up with government control on trade, technology and travel, a ceaseless struggle for allies and influence around the world, lower levels of economic growth and the dangers of a nuclear arms race and even war. With China, the challenge is not how tough you can be but how smart.

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

Less than two weeks ago, the world was bracing itself for a potential war between Iran and the United States. That fear has lessened for now. But on Friday, Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei led the Friday prayers in Tehran for the first time in eight years. He said the U.S. government had no credibility and that France, Germany and the UK are simply servants of America. He went on to call Iran's missile attacks on bases housing American service people acts of god.

On the American side, the Pentagon had originally announced there were no casualties from those attacks. But CNN learned late in the week that 11 service members had actually been injured. Where does this all go from here?

Let us bring in the experts. Karim Sadjadpour is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and has been a regular on GPS and Ariane Tabatabai is an associate political scientist at the RAND Corporation.

Ariane, let me start with you and ask you, what do you make of these -- what Khamenei has said is the atmosphere in Iran right now. This was the first time he led prayers since the Arab spring. After the Arab spring, people were rattled everywhere in the Middle East and he came out as a show of support. What is going on with Tehran now?

ARIANE TABATABAI, POLITICAL SCIENTIST, RAND CORPORATION: Well, you know, as we said, this is highly unusual for the supreme leader himself to lead the Friday prayers, particularly when he has a promise to make, he makes them from different platforms. But he really rarely actually leads the prayer himself. And he does that when there is something big going on and clearly this is something that the regime considers as a big enough deal for him to comment.

Now nothing he said was particularly surprising. I think the main thing to take away from this, though, is that the regime is clearly seeing itself at a point where it does need to do some damage control, following the downing of the airliner when it was striking the two bases in Iraq, and that the supreme leader came out to make comments to make sure that, you know, he was kind of getting ahead of the narrative that the regime was able to pick up the pieces after several weeks of essentially show incompetence and corruption with the crackdowns on protesters and the downing of the airliner.

ZAKARIA: Karim, what to make of this dueling pictures, right? You have what seemed like millions of people out on the mourning of Soleimani's death, probably some that the government organized of course. Some of it probably heartfelt. And then you have protesters, and you know what I'm struck by, in America you have dueling narratives. One saying the regime, you know, Soleimani was much loved. What one is saying, no, he was a war criminal and actually the protesters are the real face of Iran. What is the real face of Iran? KARIM SADJADPOUR, SENIOR FELLOW, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL

PEACE: Well, similar to the United States, Iran has a deeply polarized society. To millions of Iranians. Qasem Soleimani was a war hero. He was a Shiite Che Guevara, but to many millions of Iranians, he also symbolized the police state which people are tired of living under. And I think that the reaction to the downing of the Ukraine airliner was significant because when people saw the Iranians who died in this crash, a lot of highly educated young professionals and Iran is also a young modern society.


And I think people could identify with the victims of the Ukraine airline crash much more than they could with Qasem Soleimani and his blood-soaked career.

ZAKARIA: Ariane, this is all happening in -- you know, in the run-up to parliamentary elections. What do you think happens? The -- there is a sense that the hard liners are now firmly in control.

TABATABAI: Well, one thing that's been interesting to watch is the number of people who've been disqualified so far just for some contexts. You know, this is not unusual again. The Guardian Council and the regime more generally tend to try to put forward the preferred candidates. They do tend to sideline anyone who would not fall in line with the regime holistically. And you could have -- you know, you have a presentation from different spectrums within the political system, but it has to be within the bounds of the Islamic Republic, nothing outside of it.

But what has been interesting to watch is that there is a concerted effort already to disqualify even people who are currently sitting members of the Iranian parliaments. There's been by the raw estimates 90 people who have been disqualified so far and there may be more. So this tells you something about where the regime sees itself currently, how much it is concerned about the elections and how it fears the sort of polarization that Karim was describing on Iran.

ZAKARIA: And the people who have been disqualified, over 100 people who are more in the kind of Rouhani-Zarif liberal faction of the Iranian government, correct?

TABATABAI: Well, the official narrative is that most of them have been disqualified because of financial issues. So they're still trying to frame it under this umbrella of anti-corruption effort. But that's certainly not the case. There might be some financial issues but for the most part this is about politics and it's about making sure that this conservative and hardlined side of -- of the regime are more represented than those that are along the reformist, for example, or Rouhani's camp that is more moderate.

ZAKARIA: So, Karim, explain to us what is happening in terms of Iran's economy and the regime's ability to manage because the data seems pretty clear. The IMF said the Iranian economy because of the sanctions has shrunk 10 percent last year. The estimates are it will shrink at least that much again this year. And yet the regime does seem in control. What's going on?

SADJADPOUR: Well, I think the reality of the Iranian politics is that the regime is highly organized, highly armed and ready to kill to keep power, and the society is unorganized, unarmed, and not ready to die to take power, and so despite the fact that Iran's economy is in terrible shape and they're also hemorrhaging a lot of money to fund the overseas allies. And Iran is one of the most strategically lonely countries in the world. Its only reliable ally has been the Syrian government.

The reality is that the most powerful actors in Iran, the supreme leader and the Revolutionary Guards, remained committed to staying power. And we know about dictatorships. That while they rule their collapse appears inconceivable. After they fall and they collapse appear inevitable. And I think at the moment the short-term collapse of the Islamic Republic appears inconceivable to most people.

ZAKARIA: So what happens if the Americans keep this pressure on, which seems entirely likely. The -- you know, Trump now says he wants a Trump deal, but there are no outlines of what that would mean. Is it -- where does this go? I have a hard time seeing them now negotiating but I have a hard time seeing them being able to withstand this level of pressure.

SADJADPOUR: I think the supreme leader's hope is to sustain this pressure until November 2020 and hope that a Democrat is elected. If it's Donald Trump, it goes back to the nuclear deal and status quo. And I think that, you know, he's now -- Ayatollah Khamenei is the longest serving dictator now in the Middle East because of the sultan of Oman's passing last week. He's been ruling for 30 years and I suspect he feels confident that he can rule for another eight, nine months and try to worry about Donald Trump.

ZAKARIA: Fascinating. Karim, Ariane, thank you so much.

Next on GPS, is Russia's President Putin setting himself up to rule Russia for 30 years or even more? He made political moves this week that have people talking. We will discuss when we come back.



ZAKARIA: Trading places. In 2008, Russia's deputy prime minister Dmitry Medvedev was elected the nation's president. He then swiftly named then president Vladimir Putin as his prime minister. In 2012, they switched back. This was Putin's way of staying in power.

This week, Putin made another move that many analysts see as a way to ensure he could perhaps rule Russia forever. The dusk hasn't settled but the facts are these. On Wednesday, the entire Russian government resigned including Medvedev. Putin swiftly named a new prime minister, the bureaucratically leader of the nation's tax service.

What does all this mean? Is there a master plan? Joining me now are Anne Applebaum, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian

who studies Russia and Eastern Europe, she's a staff writer at "The Atlantic," and Alexander Gabuev is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center. He joins us from the Russian capital.

Anne, put this in perspective for us because it is a big and kind of slightly precarious mystery. Russia seems to be the only country that is ruled in a way that nobody understands what the structure and succession is.


You know, I mean, if you -- if Xi Jinping were to leave office, we assume that the standing committee of the Communist Party would elect a new person. If a monarch dies, you know, that -- you know, who the heir apparent is. With Russia, we have really kind of only Putin. And we don't have a system so there is -- you know, it's understandable that these speculations is important which is what happens after Putin?

ANNE APPLEBAUM, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Yes. I think it's important to make three points and one of them reflects what you just said namely that, all the best experts will start by saying we don't really know what this means. It may have -- that he may be signaling people that we don't know. There are very, very few people who are close to Putin now. He may have a plan that he hasn't revealed yet. You know, just with everything you hear about this, you have to start with that caveat.

The second point is that, although this is styled as a constitutional and governmental change, it's clearly Putin has declared it by (INAUDIBLE). In other words, it's not a constitutional change of the kind you have in a democracy where there is a national debate and voting and so on. This is just Putin saying right, I'm changing the constitution right now. It's interesting that he wants to preserve some democratic forums and language. The word constitution that have helped give him legitimacy but really he's telling us that he's going to decide what's next.

And then the third point which you also alluded to is that this looks to most people like Putin doing planning for the future. If he's created a new state body that he can be the head of after he leaves the presidency. He's juggled around the powers within the system so that he can go on, staying in control, even after he leaves office. He's passed -- he's included some rules actually that limit Russian access, ordinary Russians' access to international laws so he seems to be saying, right, the world can kind of back off of Russia.

And he's also included a couple of rules that say the next president of Russia can't be somebody who spent any time abroad and that seems like it's intended to eliminate some rivals. So, yes, he's planning ahead for the end of his current term which is in 2024.

ZAKARIA: Yes, Alexander, much closer, closer analyst of what's going on. How do you read this? ALEXANDER GABUEV, SENIOR FELLOW, CARNEGIE MOSCOW CENTER: I think

that's a first shot in a longer game which will probably take a decade. Pew the in Putin is on his way out but he wants to remain in charge as long as he's active. What (INAUDIBLE) that he signals he will leave the office at 2024 and he will not come back to the Kremlin as a president. So he will be in charge but he will not be in the throne or on the throne but he will be somewhere above the throne.

And the second point is that the next president will not be another Vladimir Putin. That will be not somebody who can carry to swap jobs with his prime minister or anybody else. There will be very firm term limits from now on. Just two constitutional terms as a president for six years and that's about it. So he could not pull the trick like he did with Dmitry Medvedev back in 2008.

And I think that we should see that in a broader context of Putin planning to architect his legacy. He's both an authoritarian leader who values power and who cares about what happens to him or his family and his friends. But he also feels a sense of historic responsibility as a Russian leader. He believes that he has made Russia great again and now is the time to set the clock moving into some normalized power transition.

ZAKARIA: Anne, one could read it that way, could one not, that Putin has wanted to rule as an absolute ruler, but he is now putting in place a structure that has some checks and balances? Parliament does seem to have a little more power. The state council, presuming, you know, is this possibly a scenario where after Putin, Russia will become a bit more liberal, a bit more Democratic?

APPLEBAUM: I mean, I think if you begin -- you know, if we begin with the point you made to start out with namely that there is no succession process in Russia then you have to wonder whether that's true. I mean, the fact of the matter is when Putin is gone, we don't know what will happen next. There isn't a rule book. And even putting this in place doesn't mean that the people who are in charge of it at that time will follow it.

I -- I would also say another explanation for these moves is that Putin is increasingly unpopular. He may need some scapegoats to explain to the Russian people why -- you know, why the economy isn't growing as fast as it was, why there is -- you know, there's still a lot of discontent about infrastructure and pensions and so on.


And this has allowed him to say right, I got rid of that old government led by a famously corrupt, actually, Dmitry Medvedev. And now I have someone else. So this may also be in attempt to -- you know, to kind of prolong his rule by -- you know, by placing the burden of government on someone else.

ZAKARIA: Alexander, the one sign that Anne might be pointing to something, you know, that is telling is, the new prime minister is this bureaucrat who apparently has a very good reputation for being both relatively clean but also very efficient that, you know, tax collection and things like that. So is -- do you read anything into that choice? Because that guy is going to be prime minister.

GABUEV: I'm not sure that he is that clean and already there are many investigations done by Alexei Navalny, one of the opposition leaders and many others, which show some wrongdoing. I don't think that many Russians believe that anybody at the top, on the minister level and above, is 100 percent clear. That's probably impossible in the Russian system.

The choice is between very or more efficient bureaucrats by the Russian standard or absolutely ruthless inefficient bureaucrats who are there because they are very loyal to Mr. Putin. And Mikhail Mishustin is not part of Putin's inner circle but he's definitely pretty efficient by the Russian standards. And I think that he's seen more as a technocratic leader, as a technocratic prime minister who could be a better leader of the government.

At the same time I wouldn't say that for Mr. Medvedev that's a demotion. He will be Putin's deputy at the Security Council and if you read carefully Putin's statement when he announced that Medvedev will resign and he will be given a new role, I think that's partly removing Medvedev from a very unpopular job that could make him very popular to a new job that probably will make his reputation somewhat better, and allow him to be Putin's successor in 2024. That's one of the opportunities but Mr. Putin wants to keep many options open and he has this potential.

ZAKARIA: Well, thank you both for trying to unravel what was famously called, you know, by Russia, the riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

Next on GPS, what can we learn from the last decade about what might happen in the next one. A lot it turns out. That story when we come back.



ZAKARIA: Now for our 'What in the World' segment. We've just passed a major inflection point on the calendar. One decade has ended, a new one has begun. It's an excellent chance to take stock of where we've been and where we're going. What were the decade's top trends and what can we guess about the future?

We dig into all this with our friend Ruchir Sharma, Head of Emerging Markets and Chief Global Strategist at Morgan Stanley. Ruchir, you have these amazing charts. The first one is if you look at the investment theme by decade, what you notice is for the 20 - for this last decade, it's America, right? We started the financial - global financial crisis but by the end of it we've come out of it better than anyone else, I say we, the United States.

RUCHIR SHARMA, HEAD OF EMERGING MARKETS AND CHIEF GLOBAL STRATEGIST AT MORGAN STANLEY INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT: Yes. So if you look at this chart, what's telling is that every decade in post-World War II history, there is one theme which has dominated the economic and financial landscape and the 2010s was really all about America in two ways.

So America's share in the global economy actually increased from 23 percent to 25 percent. Now you can say that's not much of an increase but given what people thought that America was going to do at the turn of the decade when there was so much declinism about America, this is a pretty surprising outcome.

In financial terms what we have seen is just out of control because we have seen the American stock market over the last decade go up multiple times compared to any other stock market of major countries in the world.

ZAKARIA: In fact you have a - you have a chart that shows that's right.

SHARMA: That's right and so China for example, that's one thing people ask me that why was it not China's decade because China did end up increasing its share in the global economy quite significantly from 9 to 16 percent but in financial terms China just can't match the United States.

So when it comes to stock market returns, when it comes to the use of the U.S. dollar in the international system, the U.S. completely dominates in a way that no other country does. In fact, the dominance of the U.S. today is so complete that the U.S. share in the global stock markets today is 56 percent.

ZAKARIA: And part of the explanation is the next chart which is technology, right? I mean if you look at the returns by industry, technology is by far the biggest. Now we think this is normal but this is actually not normal. This is - you know for one sector to be so dominant.

SHARMA: Yes because the last decade which is the 2000s, the exact opposite happened which is that you could flip this. At the bottom of the chart, you have all these commodities - energy. This is what the world thought at turn of this decade that those are the sectors that are going to dominate the world, that China needs much more commodities, that it's going to consume all these commodities.

Africa was going to boom and instead what we got was technology came back in a very big way and America dominates today in tech game.


In fact seven of the ten largest companies in the world today by market value are technology companies, mostly American.

ZAKARIA: Now of course, what you're describing is also part of this great income inequality and so when you look at the political effects of this, you have this great chart about the share of Right wing and Left wing populist parties and what you see is far from waning, actually populist voting is going way up.

SHARMA: Right, so this is the dominant trend across the wood which is that we're seeing much more polarization and we're seeing parties on both the left and the right come up. So this could be the result also of this great financial imbalances that we are seeing. So the number of billionaires in the world doubled this decade from 1000 to 2000.

So this may be sort of feeding into all of this. But yes, this chart is telling the only problem is the fact that the last time we got this was in the 1920s and 1930s so that is somewhat worrying to me but I think this explains a lot of the trends in the world today from increased polarization to also now increased calls to do something about the fact that income inequality and wealth inequality is so extreme.

So this could be something which we have to watch for the counter attack.

ZAKARIA: So I want to close with this one very interesting chart you have where you took those six hot themes decade by decade and then what you did was ask yourself, OK, how did that hot theme, technology or Japan, how did it do the next decade?

In other words, was one decade of prominence a good predictor of how they did the next? And what you found was the median performance of a hot trend was actually -11. In other words, the basically model seems to be here, nothing lasts forever.

SHARMA: Right and especially in decadal terms that when something is very hot, the next decade it is never that hot. In fact it almost gives up the entire outperformance that it has compared to the rest of the world. So this is my sort of the big concern here. That yes, we've had a great decade for America, this has been America's decade but we maybe at peak America that if you look at the coming decade, what's going to be hot this decade, will be very different.

That's been the one lesson of post-World War II history that never extrapolate based on what's happened in one decade.

ZAKARIA: Ruchir Sharma, fascinating as always. Thank you.

SHARMA: Great, thanks.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, the devastating fires down under. What does politics have to do with it? Actually quite a bit. I will talk to Australia's former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd when we come back.




ZAKARIA: We're less than 20 days into the New Year and already the news about the climate has been devastating. We learned last week that 2019 was the second hottest year on record. We also learned that the ocean is warming at the rate of get this, 5 Hiroshima bombs dropping every second.

And then there is of course the tragedy down under. After an extremely hot dry spring, the driest on record, wildfires have burned now in every state in Australia. The area that has burned is larger than Belgium and Denmark put together. More than 2 dozen people have died as a result of the fires. More than 3000 homes have been burnt and an Australian professor has estimated that more than 1 billion animals have died in the fires. Yes billion with a B.

And perhaps not surprisingly, there is a political angle here. For that, I want to bring in Kevin Rudd. He's a former Prime Minister of Australia. Now the President of the Asia Society Policy Institute. Kevin, this is in a sense the underside of Australia's miracle.

Australia's grown without a recession for what is it? 25 years something like that?


ZAKARIA: Twenty-eight years but at the heart of that, there has been a fossil fuel extraction economy, a lot of coal and other things, right?

RUDD: Well, to some extent Fareed, I mean, the energy sector in Australia has been important. LNG and your right to--

ZAKARIA: Natural gas.

RUDD: But of course there are other sectors of the economy, there's iron ore, there's agriculture, there's information technology, tourism, financial services. It's not just a cold story but the truth of the matter is that for the better part of a decade now, we've had a continued conservative governments in Australia which is run on an agenda of climate change denial, reinforced by their partners in crime, the media in Australia.

The climate change debate is intensely polarizing in Australia like it is in the United States, like it is frankly in few other countries and as a consequence, it becomes very hard to a, introduce measures which measurably reduce greenhouse gas emissions and b, transform our economy over time and c, take out proper place as leading global climate change action in the councils of the world, rather than as the current conservative government doing, which is undermining global consensus on climate change action.

ZAKARIA: So you had a former Prime Minister Tony Abbott. He just weeks before the fires began explaining that ou know the left in Australia was - had been taken over by a cult of climate change, likening it to kind of religious fervour. Is that kind of thing difficult now given the extent of the damage?


RUDD: I think former Prime Minister Abbott and his political policy, the what's called the Liberal National Party coalition in Australia is now having to look at it so very closely given the sheer magnitude of these fires.

I grew up on a farm Fareed and I know what bush fires are like. Every decade or so, we'd have a big one but none of us, I repeat, none of us have seen anything like this and the politics of fear around, let's call it the cost of climate change action has been well mobilized by the conservatives and Murdoch in Australia just has been well mobilized in United States by the conservatives through the Echo Chamber of Fox news.

ZAKARIA: Explain the role of the Murdoch press in Australia? This Murdoch, of course Australian comes from there but we're more familiar with Fox news and such.

RUDD: Well, the actual corporate heart land of Murdoch's Global Empire News Corporation is Australian. Murdoch owns 70 percent of the print media in Australia, one television network as well and of course a very big online presence.

And so therefore for any political party to negotiate their future in Australia like mine, the Australian Labor party which has been committed to climate change action for the last 15 years, it becomes very heavy weather indeed when every day in every capital city in Australia, the equivalent all the New York Post or the London Sun unleashes its broadside against you for daring to propose to increase renewable energy use, to decrease carbon use, to improve energy efficiency.

It's been not just an assault in Australia, but it has had an effect on the global consensus on climate change as you said, through Maddox power, reflected in Fox news in America.

ZAKARIA: When you look at the politics in Australia, what lesson do you draw for the United. States, which as you say has a very similar and unusual for a rich country, large climate denial political movement, media movement.

RUDD: What you've seen in Australia was predicted by our scientists, 10-15 years ago. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, CSIRO said climate change would produce in South Eastern and Southwestern Australia deeper, longer, more intense droughts, coming earlier in the season, more intense and destructive fires.

And in the northern tropical half of the country, we're going to see wild weather events, cyclones and the like, huge storm damage in the rest.

ZAKARIA: All of which has happened.

RUDD: All of which is happening. Now look at America. A Mediterranean climate that we have in southern Australia frankly, is like California and so when you see these massive fires in Australia, to our friends in California, I'd simply say get ready for much more than you've seen.

When I look to the tropical parts of the United States, the subtropical parts around Florida, the reality of coastal inundation, the impact of wild weather events. We've seen what's happened with hurricane activity in the United States in recent years, more extreme, more frequent. The physical cost, the economic cost, the financial cost, the social

cost, the health cost through fires and inhaling smoke is of massive proportions and if anyone watching their program doubts it, ring up your local insurance company and ask what is the cost of premiums now for insuring against extreme weather events, drought, flood or fire.

Going through the roof. Why? Climate.

ZAKARIA: And it's only going to go on and on. Kevin Rudd, thank you very much.

RUDD: Good to be with you, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: Up next, how good are you predicting the future? Are you a so called super forecaster? We want to know what you think is going to happen in 2020? Will Donald Trump be re-elected? Will Iran and Saudi Arabia go to war? Stay tuned.




ZAKARIA: The New Year has started darkly from concerns over a potential of war with Iran to those wildfires tearing through Australia. But what does the rest of 2020 have in store for us? Some turn to pundits, some turn to fortune tellers, some turn to intelligence analysts. We wanted to turn to everyday people.

In 2015, I introduce GPS viewers to the concept of super forecasters. Average individuals with a higher than average ability to forecast the future. The people we profile had their answers aggregated into predictions by a company called 'Good Judgment,' which has since expanded into a public prognostication platform.

Then two years ago, 'Good Judgment' asked you, the Fareed Zakaria GPS audience to help crowdsource answers for our global judgment challenge. In 2019, nearly 7000 of you went online to participate in the challenge, weighing in from 109 countries with 41000 forecasts.

Let's take a look at what you predicted. Despite volatility in the Middle East, you accurately guessed that Mohammed bin Salman would continue to be Saudi Arabia's crown prince with a relatively stable upward trajectory. From 69 to 91 percent.

Another one. Would liberal leader Justin Trudeau remain Prime Minister after Canada's October election. Prognosticators did not think his admission that he had won black face would hurt his chances but they were concerned about a potential corruption scandal that erupted in February.

His numbers fell from 85 percent to 50 percent over the next two months. Despite that forecasters rightly held Trudeau would remain Prime Minister, a speculation that never dipped below 50 percent.


Closer to home, the predictions were less compelling. When the House first authorized impeachment proceedings, forecasters only thought there was an 18 percent chance that President Trump would be impeached by the year's end.

Not convicted, just impeached. The numbers began to tick up as the House heard revealing testimonies, reaching 60 percent when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requested that articles of impeachment be drafted.

I was wondering what were the other 40 percent thinking. If you think you can do better and if you want to try your hand at predicting the future for the coming year, go to

What do you think the next year will hold? Will Donald Trump be re- elected? Will Iran and Saudi Arabia go to war? Will there be a vacancy in the U.S. Supreme Court? Tell us what you think. Again, that is and as always tune into GPS as we stay up to date on these questions and more.

And if you're interested in catching that 2015 segment on what it takes to be a super forecaster, you can visit my website Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week and I will see you next week.