Return to Transcripts main page

Fareed Zakaria GPS

Interview With Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis About COVID-19 Cases; America's Grim Exceptionalism In Policing; Rooting Out Racial Bias In American Policing; Is America Still The "Shining City Upon A Hill"? Aired 10-11a ET

Aired June 14, 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 coming to you live from New York.


ZAKARIA: On today's show, American exceptionalism is working in police shootings. Police in the United States fatally shot about 1,000 people in 2018. That is more than 20 times the rate in Germany and almost 70 times the rate in the United Kingdom. Why?

Also, Italy and Spain have had tough times with COVID. Almost a quarter of a million cases each. But across the Aonian Sea from Italy's boot, Greece has had only 3,000 cases. What did that southern European nation do right? I will talk to the prime minister.

Finally, it's graduation season on the internet, at least. I'll give grads my thoughts and share some of the smartest I've seen.


ZAKARIA: But first, here's my take. In much of the developed world the COVID curve has flattened. But this obscures a tragic reality. The second phase of the crisis has begun as the virus is now spreading to the developing world. Eleven of the top 12 countries with the largest number of new confirmed infections are now from emerging economies led by Brazil, India, Russia, Pakistan and Chile.

The resulting devastation will likely reverse years if not decades of economic progress. For a while it appeared that the developing world was being spared the worst of the pandemic. According to a Brookings report, as of April 30th, with 84 percent of the world's population, low income and middle income countries were home to just 14 percent of the world's known COVID-19 deaths.

This can be explained in part by lack of testing and a failure to attribute deaths to COVID-19, but there may be other factors. Nursing homes, which have accounted for a large share of deaths in wealthy countries, are uncommon in the developing world so the elderly are not clustered together. Heat may have some effect in reducing the spread of the virus. There's

another possibility, the developing world was spared the disease in the early months because it was less connected by travel and trade to the initial hot spots, which were China and Europe.

But over the last month, the coronavirus has moved slowly but steadily across South Asia and Latin America. Brazil now has about 1,000 recorded deaths a day and the cases are rising exponentially. Africa has not seen a large spike in confirmed cases, apart from South Africa, but anecdotal evidence suggests the disease is spreading. "The Wall Street Journal" recently reported that in the northern Nigerian city of Cano gravediggers were running out of space and have resorted to burying between existing graves or putting multiple bodies in a single grave.

If the curves in these countries do not start flattening, the damage will be worse than anything we've seen in the West. The population density and sanitary conditions make the rapid spread of the disease seem inevitable. In Mumbai, a fifth of all known cases come from Mumbai where one slum Dharavi houses about a million people and has a population density that is nearly 30 times that of New York City.

Africa's largest city, Lagos, has had relatively few infections so far yet the fact that two-thirds of its inhabitants live in slums, many taking crowded buses to work, means that it is likely only a matter of time before the numbers rise.

Hospital facilities in lower income countries are sparse. In Bangladesh there are eight hospital beds for 10,000 people, which is a quarter as much as the U.S. and an eighth as much as the European Union. There are fewer than 2,000 ventilators across 41 African countries, compared to 170,000 in the U.S.

In many of these countries, large segments of the population make just enough each day to feed themselves and their families, so governments face a deadly dilemma. If you shut down the economy, people will starve. If you keep it open, the virus will spread. And then there is phase three of the pandemic, the death crisis, which will hit the developing world very hard.

In the U.S., Europe, Japan and China, the economic damage is brutal, but it will be ameliorated by massive government spending.


These countries, America above all, can borrow trillions at low interest rates with relative ease. That is not the case for poor countries that are already deeply indebted. They have to take out loans in dollars, which they must pay back in their own rapidly depreciating currencies. Down the line they face the real prospect of hyperinflation or default.

Over the last few decades as global trade accelerated, the developing world grew faster than rich countries and standards of living rose. Even after the global financial crisis, developing countries recovered faster than the rich ones did. They were the less exposed to the complex financial products and they weathered the downturn relatively well.

The result of all this has been one of the great good news stories of our time. A massive reduction in extreme poverty. From 1990 to 2010 the share of humanity living on less than $1.25 a day was cut in half. This U.N. millennium development goal was actually achieved five years ahead of schedule. But now the work of decades is being undone in months.

Various studies estimate that somewhere between 100 to 400 million people will be pushed back into extreme poverty. In this, the most crucial measure of human progress, we are moving backwards and fast.

Go to for a link to my "Washington Post" column. And let's get started.

For the West, Italy was the canary in the coal mine of COVID. It was the first Western nation to have an out-of-control outbreak and the whole boot ended up being locked down. But another southern European country had a very different experience. While Italy is approaching 250,000 cases, Greece, a poorer country, has only had 3,000. How did that happen?

Joining me now from Santorini is the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Let me ask you about those case numbers to begin with. How did you do it? You know, do you think you got lucky? What explains -- because you really -- there are very few countries in Europe, really in the world, that have managed to have such a low incidence despite being a place that lots of travelers come to, you know, things like that. What do you attribute your success to?

KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS, GREEK PRIME MINISTER: Well, Fareed, we took decisions very early. We listened to the experts. We communicated clearly. We let the doctors do the talking. We strengthened our health care system. And we managed to convince the Greek population that they needed to practice social distancing, and they did. And I'm very, very grateful to Greeks across the country because the success that we -- that we have had is basically attributed to them.

But I guess it's not rocket science. We basically did what the experts told us we should do and we did it quickly, forcefully, and we've been able to open up our economy gradually over the past month. So far we haven't had any real outbreaks. So we feel comfortable that we've dodged the first bullet and that we've managed to contain the first wave of the outbreak.

ZAKARIA: As you open up, are you worried you're going to see a spike in infections and what is the plan? Because I noticed on June 8th, when you did announce some opening, you already had not a large number, but by most standards, but for Greece, I think 97 new cases. Is it inevitable that as you open up there will be a relaxing of social distancing and, therefore, there will be more infections? And what do you do about it?

MITSOTAKIS: Well, I think you're right to point out, Fareed, that, you know, as we do open up, obviously the risk increases. And you know, the big risk always is that we don't want to be victims of our own success. People do become complacent and we do stress that COVID is still with us. We need to stick to the basic social distancing rules. We need to wear masks. But of course, we're helped by the fact that primarily in Greece during the summer we are outdoors. And transmission rates outdoors are much lower.

So far as far as domestic cases are concerned, we haven't seen any real significant uptick in terms of new cases. We only had, for example, four new cases reported, you know, across the country today. But, of course, you know, our main concern is how do we handle opening up to foreign visitors? And we have a very elaborate plan to do that. We will do it gradually. And our first concern will always be the safety and health of our visitors.


I need to point out that over the past month we have tested every single individual who has flown into Greece. We have a pretty good database indicating positive cases for people who have traveled to Greece. Let me just give you one indicative number. Over the past four days we tested close to 4,000 people arriving at Athens airport. We had only two positive cases, both asymptomatic. So if we keep to that ratio, I think we can start gradually opening up the country to foreign visitors.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about the broader macroeconomic picture. Obviously, because of this lockdown and the lockdown everywhere, the Greek economy is suffering its worst blow in a long time. I've seen estimates that say the economy will shrink 5 percent, 7 percent, maybe 10 percent, in line with other European economies. But there is a difference this time. The Germans and the French have agreed finally to allow for a kind of Europewide bond, Europewide financing, which should provide a lot of resources to Greece.

Is this a kind of turning point for Europe? You know, the perspective of Greece that has needed these funds so badly, do you regard this as a real turning point?

MITSOTAKIS: You are right, I think it is a turning point. 2020 is going to be a very difficult year for all European countries, including Greece. So far we've done better than most European countries in the first three months of the year. We had a recession of 0.9 percent, the Eurozone average was 3.6 percent. But of course, we know that the second quarter is going to be extremely, extremely difficult.

We've always argued that Europe needed to make a big step forward to be very ambitious in terms of supporting the recovery post-COVID. And the proposal that has been put forward by the commission, which, as you rightly point out, is based on the French-German proposal is I think such ambitious step.

But I think you're right to point out that Europe, and in particular France and Germany, the powerhouses, you know, the two countries that were always at the foundation of the European integration project stepped up to the plate, delivered, and should this proposal be accepted, then I expect it to be accepted, it will be a true game- changer.

Just to give you an indication, as far as my country, Greece, is concerned, we will have additional funding for investments that will be close to 32 billion Euros for the next four years. It is a lot of money and we intend to put it to good use.

ZAKARIA: Prime Minister, pleasure to have you on.

MITSOTAKIS: Thank you. Thank you very much, Fareed. Pleasure. Pleasure was mine. Hope to see you in Santorini soon.

ZAKARIA: I will try my best.

Coming up in a moment here on GPS, policing in America. Why does it result in so many more fatalities than in the rest of the world?



ZAKARIA: I was struck by a graphic I saw on this week. It showed that in 2018 the police fatally shot about 1,000 people here in the United States versus 11 in Germany and just three in the United Kingdom. That's 31 people fatally shot by the police in the U.S. for every 10 million people compared to one person per 10 million in Germany and half that rate in the United Kingdom.

It made me wonder what makes American policing so different from its counterparts in the developing world.

Joining me now are Rosa Brooks and Paul Hirschfield. Rosa is a professor at Georgetown Law and Paul is a sociology professor at Rutgers.

Paul, let me start by asking you, if -- you know, you study this very carefully, what is the fundamental reason that American police shootings are so much higher than you see in Europe, for example?

PAUL HIRSCHFIELD, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: I think I could boil it down to three main reasons. First, American police are far more likely than European police to encounter civilians in possession of firearms. And so much of their training is oriented toward preventing scenarios and they are trained to respond pre- emptively and unfortunately sometimes that can result in tragic overreactions.

Second of all, the threshold in which police are permitted legally to use deadly force and other deadly tactics in this country is much lower than the threshold in Europe. In the United States they are permitted to use deadly force when they have a reasonable belief that their life is in danger whereas in Europe they have to have an absolute necessity threshold met. American police departments and state legislatures are perfectly free to set higher thresholds but they rarely do so. And finally, American police receive on average about three weeks --

I'm sorry. About 20 weeks or five months of classroom training, which is much lower than the European standard of at least two years. And so, in 21 weeks, they naturally spend time focused on essentials. The laws, rules, tactics, equipment, force, defensive techniques. Whereas in Europe they have much more time to provide a much more balanced set of educational skills and programming such as cultural awareness, communications, working with a variety of groups, and a variety of tactics that will help them resolve volatile situations more peacefully.


ZAKARIA: And, Paul, I noticed that -- well, we talk a lot about racism, you know, correctly in the sense that you have these enormous disparities. One of the things I noticed is that even in states that are overwhelmingly white, you still have per capita very high rates of police shootings.

HIRSCHFIELD: Yes. Relative to European rates, white Americans are far more likely to be killed by the police, which shows that you could reduce deadly force against African-Americans down to -- reduce that disparity down to zero, and it won't -- you could remove the scourge of racism from American policing, but it won't do nearly enough to actually solve the problems of police over-aggression, lack of training and lack of accountability.

ZAKARIA: Rosa, one of the things that I've been struck by in your writing and in looking at the subject, we think that this is part of kind of age old problem. American police have always been tougher, maybe it's the Wild West and things like that, but there seems to have been in the last 20 to 30 years a very specific move for the police to be armed and trained by the Defense Department.

ROSA BROOKS, PROFESSOR OF LAW AND POLICY, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, I don't think that's quite the way I would put it, Fareed. We have created a number of programs, several of them dating to the drawdown in Iraq in the mid-2000s where we have decided to make surplus military equipment available to American law enforcement agencies, partly, quite frankly, because DOD had too much of it and didn't know what to do with it, it was just sitting around.

That's not always a bad thing. A lot of police departments obtain things like filing cabinets and old desks that way. A great way to get your office furniture cheap. But I do think that there is a terrible problem also some of the equipment that was made available to law enforcement agencies were things like mine resistant armored protection vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers and so forth.

And quite a lot of American police departments, even in very small towns where there's really no conceivable need for them, no terrorist threat whatsoever, availed themselves of those programs and ended up looking like they're soldiers in Afghanistan rather than small town cops. And that's gotten a lot of media attention, quite rightly. It's ridiculous and those programs should be scaled back. ZAKARIA: But isn't it true, Rosa, that they're also -- when they get

the equipment, they also get the training? There is a kind of a counterinsurgency training that you get, which it seems to me is very different from what community policing should ideally be.

BROOKS: Sometimes but not always, Fareed. I think actually one of the problems with these programs is that a lot of police departments end up getting this equipment and not getting appropriate training in how to use it so -- or what training they get is extremely superficial. You know, I actually think ironically when people talk about the militarization of American police, they have a tendency I think to focus on the wrong issues or at least give too much attention to those programs.

Those programs are unnecessary. They should be scaled back, but in many ways I think -- there are both ways in which militarization runs even deeper and it's even more pernicious insofar as, for instance, most police academy training in most police departments around the United States seems to be modeled on a kind of 1980s parody of Marine Corps boot camps with a heavy emphasis on shouting and pushups and yes or no, sir, and that does all comes with bad things to police culture.

But there are probably frankly other ways where the American law enforcement agencies could stand to benefit from some of the insights the military gained very painfully. When you mention counterinsurgency, for instance, the American military learned quite painfully that you need to focus on population protection. You can't just focus on killing people. You need to focus on establishing legitimacy, otherwise you're going to fail.

And ironically that's a mindset, quite frankly, that some American police departments could use a little bit more of, that emphasis on legitimacy, provision of services, and protection of the population rather than just going out there and getting the bad guys.

ZAKARIA: Fascinating. Rosa, Paul, thank you so much.

HIRSCHFIELD: Thanks for having me.

BROOKS: Thanks, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, one of the big questions of course is, is it systematically systemically racist? We will look at the evidence.



ZAKARIA: Fifty-seven percent of Americans think police treat whites better than blacks, according to a CBS News poll. In a Monmouth University poll, that exact same number, 57 percent, think that police officers in a dangerous situation are more likely to use excessive force if the culprit is black.

So, is American policing systemically racist?


Well, there was a viral op-ed published in "The Wall Street Journal" that said decidedly no, calling it a myth.

Joining me now is a man whose life work is studying these issues. Phillip Atiba Goff is the co-founder and CEO of the Center for Policing Equity.

Professor Goff, thanks for joining us.


ZAKARIA: The central claim, I think that is made in in the in that op- ed, but is often made and is used on some studies, as you know, is that it is true that if you compare the number of arrests or searches or stops of Blacks versus their percentage in the population, it is high, it's often double.

But if you compare it to the number of crimes committed, given that - depending on how you counted, African-Americans account for 50 to 60 percent of the crime in this country, the police is actually less likely to stop them. How do how should we understand that data?

GOFF: Right. So if I can just bluntly say, this is some version of what about black on black crime? And there's two versions of that question. One is a really bad faith dog whistle, right? You'll hear it, "What about Chicago? That's the other version of it, which is essentially these people deserve it and don't bother me with it.

There's another version of that question, though, which is, well, if there's crime that's higher in one neighborhood, shouldn't police be in that neighborhood and shouldn't we account for that? And that's a responsible question, right?

And any scientist worth their salt has to be engaged in it if they want to get a real understanding of what portion of the disparities that we see that four to one, five to one, six to one, eight to one, black to white disparity in use of force, how much of that belongs to the police, right? So that's a responsible question.

But when you ask it responsibly, the answer that you get back is that crime isn't sufficient to explain those disparities, and poverty also isn't sufficient to explain those disparities. In fact, crime and poverty together aren't sufficient to explain those disparities.

So if you want to talk about so called black on black crime, right, and you want to do it in good faith, you have to say that's a portion of it, but it's not the whole picture. And in fact, there's some form of bias that's adding to it that leads to the disparities that we see.

ZAKARIA: What to you make of some studies that have shown that yes, this racial disparity does exist in terms of the police encounters, even in terms of arrests, but it disappears when you talk about the issue that we're now all talking about, which is a white policeman killing - allegedly murdering a black person. That you know that the study I'm talking about Roland Fryer at Harvard, that concludes that blacks and Hispanics are 50 percent more likely to have the police use non-lethal force on them. But that that disparity between minorities and whites disappears when you get to the issue of lethal force, when you get to a killing, what do you make of that?

GOFF: Yes, that's what he argues, but that's not what the data say. So to give a better sense of the right way to be studying this, right, I got to kind of explain, there are three levels - three entry points at which bias can come in. And I want to be clear, it's not all like individual police officers. It's really important to understand that.

So the first level that most people are thinking about is at that level of the officer, right, in the encounter. So an officer is going to use force against the black person where they wouldn't use force against the white person. That's one level of bias entering in, but it's not the only level, right?

You can also do that depending on where they go. Right. So if police are going into black neighborhoods, especially if they're going in at a higher rate than across would suggest that's another form of bias. Then even if the police are acting entirely fairly, by treating everybody exactly equally, there's going to be a bias in the way that our law enforcement is applied.

There's also a third level, which is that in some cities, law enforcement is just more likely to use force than other cities. Right? So you could have a city where law enforcement is just brutal and another city where they are much more gentle. But if the cities where they're brutal, happen to be majority black cities and the cities where they're gentle or not, it's still going to be a form of bias.

So you got to be able to account for each of those three levels. OK? That's the first thing that I want to make sure that folks understand. So when we're talking about, yes, they're more likely to have contact well, even if they're only 10% more likely to beat up a black person during contact, but they're 200 to 300 to 400 more likely to have contact with black people, that's going to be a compounding kind of bias. But it is specific study.

ZAKARIA: And to explain - let me just explain, I think, what you're saying. There's a lot of marijuana use on college campuses. There is a certain amount of cocaine use in inner cities. The police disproportionately go to the places where there is cocaine use and do not go to places where there is marijuana use, even though certainly historically both were illegal.


GOFF: That's right. And I'll be honest, there's marijuana use on college campuses. Marijuana use in black neighborhoods. It's higher on college campuses, but it's very rare that you see law enforcement busting into a frat party and making drug arrests.

In the same way that there's cocaine usage on Wall Street, but it's rare that a Wall Street party gets busted into a by narcotics. So, absolutely, those are different forms of bias. And in some of my congressional testimony that I gave in September, I cited a meta- analysis, a review of the 50 most cited papers. The 50 most cited papers on race and police bias.

And out of those 50 only one came back with an anti-white bias. Now in climate science, we understand this right? So out of the 90 - out of 100 studies 98 show human made effects on climate and two show something other than that. This is the same ratio. That's the degree to which science is clear that there is an anti-black bias in contact, in use of force in general and in use of lethal force.

ZAKARIA: Professor Goff pleasure to have you on. Thanks for explaining it all.

GOFF: Appreciate it.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, the world was watching as the Trump administration cleared the park across from the White House recently, so the President could have a photo-op. What happens to America's international credibility after something like that? Reports from Europe and Asia when we return.



ZAKARIA: China, Russia and Iran have all shown great glee at the unrest in America and how excesses in American law enforcement have been exposed. After the State Department spokesperson tweeted a criticism of China her Chinese counterpart tweeted, "I can't breathe."

I wanted to understand how the world is viewing America as it convulses. Natalie Nougayrede and Parag Khanna join me now. Natalie is the former Editor of Le Monde, now Columnist for The Guardian. She is, as you can see, in Paris. Parag joins us from Singapore. He is the Founder of FutureMap, a global strategic advisory firm. Parag, let me ask you. Looking at it from Asia, does this seem a decline of American power?

PARAG KHANNA, FOUNDER & MANAGING PARTNER, FUTUREMAP: Well, for you and I have both been around long enough to know that really there are these cycles that are much larger than just this immediate moment.

We can't really treat this one episode of the George Floyd protests and so forth as an isolated incident. We're talking about two decades of the delegitimation. of the American system in the eyes of many people.

And what do we mean by those people free most of the world's population is under the age of 40. And most of the world's population is Asian. So they don't actually have any tangible memory of America leading the western triumph over the Soviet Union in the Cold War.

Their first memory might be of the botched Gore versus Bush election of 2000. That was 20 years ago. Then they remember the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the ill-fated wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the global financial crisis that put predatory capitalism in the spotlight, then the polarized politics of the Trump election. And now the George Floyd protests, the handling of COVID-19. So we really are looking at 20 years of the delegitimation of America in many people's eyes.

ZAKARIA: Natalie, how does it look to you? In Europe are there still memories of that older American soft power or leadership?

NATALIE NOUGAYREDE, COLUMNIST, THE GUARDIAN: I disagree with the notion that this is 20 years of delegitimization of U.S. soft power. I disagree with that. I think there is a clear breaking point, a breaking moment with the Trump administration, with the election of Trump.

Donald Trump - when we watch what's going on in the U.S., we think about what Donald Trump has done since the beginning of his presidency. And in terms of foreign policy in terms of dismantling essential pillars of multilateralism, pulling out of the World Health Organization just recently, attacking the International Criminal Court, threatening people of sanctions if they cooperate with this institution, and so many other things that from Europe look, not just hostile to multilateralism, but in fact hostile to us.

Hostile to some of the values and principles that Europe and the European Union, in particular, has been created to defend. So I would really insist that this this administration is for people who care about international cooperation, the possibility of having a rules based international order. This administration is a particular breaking point. It only believes in brutal power rivalry. And I believe no other U.S. administration has been and no other U.S. President has been this brutal in his approach of international relations.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you, Natalie, if I can a follow up, which is. I see a very big distinction between the police brutality and then the protests after it. In other words, Europeans seem to regard the protests as a example of American democracy in action based on the commentary I've read and seen, and it actually has resulted in people in Europe looking at their own societies and asking themselves, do we have systemic racism in France or in Britain?


NOUGAYREDE: I think, you know, these debates do cross the Atlantic. We've seen debates cross the Atlantic in the past. So it's not surprising that some of this resonates in Europe. But we're talking about a different part of the world. We do have our own complexities here in Europe.

And I think that democracies have these debates. So you know, the hope surely on both sides of the Atlantic, for people like me, and you who care about defending democratic principles and rules based environments and individual freedoms and rights.

The hope must be that, you know, just like people in the U.S. are defending and fighting to uphold principles, essential principles, people in Europe are also interested in that kind of fight. So I'm not too worried also about, perhaps in the future there will be more bridges between us. But right now, with this U.S. administration, it's it feels like we're we belong to different worlds, you know, in terms of in terms of attitude towards what kind of world we want to have together.

And we mentioned Russia and China. We know here in Europe, that you know, we are a complex part of the world we risk being turned into a playground of rather hostile big powers, external powers.

And I think that one of the things we have to think about much harder in Europe, and this is happening slowly, in the face of all this, you know, confusion and hostility that we feel from the US administration is to think about how as Europeans, we managed to build the cohesion in Europe, among ourselves, so that we can defend things that we care about in this pretty - pretty complex world of, again, power rivalry.

ZAKARIA: Parag, let me ask you, to pick up on what Natalie was saying. Is there a sense in Asia, that perhaps the ideals that America wants - was seen as standing for, or the openness is now more available? I'm thinking of the rise in the number of Asians who want to go to Canada or Australia, or even parts of Continental Europe, because in many of those places the Masters level education is Now available in English.

KHANNA: It's a very good point you're raising. Fareed, I'm glad you mentioned students, because actually shaping the perception of the next generation around the world does begin with students with who captures the best and the brightest, so to speak.

And this is an important point because the decline in the overall number of Chinese and Indian students who either come to the U.S. or remain in the U.S. upon graduation began to decline during the Obama administration in the later year. So it actually predates the Trump administration.

Now, obviously, we have the factors of the last couple of years and you know that he's considering an Executive Order that would scale back on the H-1B visas as well. So we've already seen for the last few years that America's loss has been Canada's gain when it comes to the best and the brightest.

And also Europe is important to mention, because even though many countries in Europe are - or most are not native English speaking, they have been switching the language of higher education to English and being able to recruit from that global talent pool.

So that becomes yet another data point in terms of understanding this kind of mercenary, if you will, mindset of young people around the world who no doubt, admire the ideals that America has stood for and they sympathize with what they're seeing in terms of the Black Lives Matter protests. And even going back to even just the last 10 years Occupy Wall Street and I think that--

ZAKARIA: Parag, I'm sorry, I got to stop you. We are out of time. A fascinating conversation and we will have both of you back. Natalie Nougayrede, Parag Khanna, thank you so much. And we will be back (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


ZAKARIA: For this week's "Last Look," I thought I'd do something on TV for the last 15 years I've done mostly every year, which is deliver a commencement address. Don't worry, I'm not actually going to do that.

But a number of distinguished people have given speeches online and done an excellent job with an awkward task. A couple of messages resonated with me. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple gave a speech at Ohio State University, where I was honored to speak at the 2019 commencement. Cook told the graduates to use the disruption of the pandemic to rethink the value of work and workers.


TIM COOK, APPLE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Think about an undocumented father ignored or scorned by his community, who is putting himself at risk in the fields today to feed his family and yours. Think about a single mother who stocked shelves at night and drives the city bus in the morning without whom so much would fall apart.

Think about the hospital orderly scrubbing down the ward on hands and knees, whose work today is a solitary and sacred as a high priest purifying a temple. Most of all, think about how you blessed with a world-class education might act and work and be differently when all this is said and done.


ZAKARIA: It should be a wakeup call for all of us when the CEO of one of the largest capitalist enterprises on the planet is telling us not to judge people by their worth in the marketplace alone, but by their intentions, impact, work and dignity.

The second speech dealt with more recent events watching those ugly videos of police behavior. Many people despair that in some parts of society, things have changed very little. In a graduation address on YouTube, President Obama explained that many things have gotten better, though it was not by accident.



BARACK OBAMA, 44TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Because citizens took seriously the mandate that this is a government of and by and for the people. Well, bit by bit, generation by generation, we've made progress. From cleaning up our air and water, to creating programs that lifted millions of seniors out of poverty, to winning the right to vote and to marry who you love.

None of these changes happened overnight or without sustained effort. But they did happen usually because young people marched and organized and voted and formed alliances and just lead good lives, and looked after their community and their families and their neighborhoods, and slowly changed hearts and minds.


ZAKARIA: Looking at the extraordinary coalition of people of all stripes, who are demanding reform and change, I'm optimistic that finally change is going to come. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.