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Fareed Zakaria GPS
Interview With Former Vice President Al Gore; Coronavirus Pandemic; More Than Half Of America's States Reporting Increases In Cases. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired October 11, 2020 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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: Today on the show, the former vice president of the United States, Al Gore. I'll talk to him about many things but among them the lessons from his own presidential contest in 2000. That election, of course, went all the way to the Supreme Court where he lost.
AL GORE (D), FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: While I strongly disagree with the court's decision, I accept it.
ZAKARIA: Making George W. Bush the nation's 43rd president. Twenty years later, could this election be decided the same way?
Also, as the nation's attention has been focused on COVID-19 in the White House, the pandemic has been getting more problematic in many other parts of America and Europe. Just how bad will it get this fall and winter?
And a preview of my latest special about the U.S.'s role in the world after four years of Donald Trump. What does the rest of the globe make of America? And most important, can it come back?
Don't miss the premiere of "HOW THE WORLD SEES AMERICA" tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
ZAKARIA: But first, here's my take. At this point with over one million COVID-19 deaths worldwide, spikes in various places from America to Argentina, most of us have recognized that this pandemic is not going away tomorrow, that we will be living with it and its aftereffects for quite a while. But that realization can make us very gloomy and for understandable reasons.
The world that is being ushered in as a consequence of COVID-19 is new and scary. The crisis has accelerated a number of forces that were already gathering steam. It's revealed to us in the most vivid way possible that human development as it is happening now is creating ever greater risks. The backlash from nature is all around us, from wildfires to hurricanes to pandemics of which COVID-19 may simply be the first in a series.
The pandemic has intensified other things, too. For demographic and other reasons, countries will likely see more sluggish economic growth, inequality will get worse as the big get bigger in every sphere, and computers, machine learning is moving so fast that for the first time in history human beings might lose control over their own creations. Nations are becoming more parochial. Their domestic politics more isolationist. The United States and China, the world's two largest economies, are headed toward a bitter and prolonged confrontation.
It's a dangerous moment. But it is also in times like these that we can shape and alter such trends. To complete the story of our future, we must add in human agency. People can choose which direction they want to push themselves, their society, and the world. In fact, we have more leeway now. In most eras, history precedes along a set path and change is difficult, but the coronavirus has upended society.
People are disoriented. Things are already changing, and in that atmosphere further change becomes easier than ever before. Think about the changes we have already accepted in our own lives in response to the pandemic. We have agreed to isolate ourselves for long stretches. We have worked, attended meetings and had deeply personal conversations by talking to our laptops. We've had classes online and seen doctors and therapists using telemedicine.
In a month, companies changed policies that would normally have taken them years to revise. Overnight cities turned avenues into pedestrian walkways and sidewalks into cafes. Attitudes towards people previously ignored or overlooked are shifting as can be seen in the newly adopted phrase, essential workers.
Governments have opened up their coffers in ways that were once unimaginable and could lead to much greater willingness to invest in the future.
Now these changes could be momentary blips or the start of something new. We could, after the pandemic, continue with business as usual and risk cascading crises from climate change, new pandemics, deepening inequality, or we could get serious about a more sustainable strategy for the future.
Put a price on carbon, build a 21st century infrastructure, train workers, expand the safety net. We could turn inward and embrace nationalism and self-interest, or we could view these challenges, which are not confined by borders as a spur to more global cooperation and action.
We have many futures in front of us. We could choose to take one of them.
In the sweeping historical drama "Lawrence of Arabia," the young British diplomat adventurer T. E. Lawrence, played unforgettably by Peter O'Toole, leads a band of Bedouin warriors across the desert to mount a surprise attack against the Ottoman empire. They cross through the blistering heat, braving swirling sandstorms. At one point they discover that one of the soldiers Gasim has fallen off his camel. Lawrence instantly decides that he must turn around and find the lost man. Sherif Ali, the chief Arab leader, objects.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you go back, you'll kill yourself is all. Gasim you have killed already.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of my way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gasim's time has come, Lawrence. It is written.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing is written.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go back then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: He searches amidst the sand and cyclones and finds Gasim, staggering about, half dead. Lawrence brings him back to the camp to a hero's welcome. Sherif Ali offers him water.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing is written.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Lawrence was right. Nothing is written. We get to make our own future.
I have drawn this commentary from my new book "Ten Lessons for a Post- Pandemic World" which is excerpted this week in "The Washington Post."
You can go to CNN.com/fareed to buy my book which I hope you will. And let's get started.
I want to get right to my discussion with Al Gore, the 45th vice president of the United States, and almost the 43rd president of the United States.
Welcome, Mr. Vice President.
GORE: Thank you for having me, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Let me first ask you, you know Joe Biden well. You served in the Senate with him. You campaigned with him for the presidency when you were both primary contenders in 1988. Is the man you see on the campaign trail, is the man you heard in the debate, is he the same? How would you characterize Joe Biden today?
GORE: Well, I think that the American people saw during the first presidential debate that he is older and wiser. I thought that he trounced President Trump in that debate or maybe you could say President Trump trounced himself. I know my view is partisan, but I think that was the nearly universal conclusion. He has put together an outstanding campaign. He is in command of the issues.
He has a lifetime of valuable experience, and a predilection for reaching across the aisle to try not to give up on the principle, but to try to work out bipartisan solutions, and there is always a struggle about whether that's the right approach. But, boy, in this year of 2020 and in the next presidential term, that it seems to me is a skill and a predilection that will serve this country well if he is elected, as I hope he will be.
ZAKARIA: You know that there are people in the Democratic Party who worry about that predilection that you mentioned, who think that, for example, it means that, you know, he will not be sufficiently committed to things like climate change, that he will give in to Republicans, and, you know, there are people in the Democratic Party who worry that the enthusiasts, the activists on the left will not come out because they are not sufficiently enthusiastic as somebody they see as more of a centrist. What would you say to them?
GORE: Well, first of all, if you look at his climate proposals and his economic plan, it is by far the most expansive and responsible climate legislation or proposal that we have ever seen in a presidential campaign. He actually puts it at the centerpiece of his economic plan, as he should, because it's a huge job creating engine. You know, the last five years solar installer jobs have grown five times faster than average job growth in the economy.
The fastest growing job right now is wind turbine technician. The Oxford Review of Economic Policy with Joe Stiglitz and Nick Stern and others recently found that a dollar spent on renewables and the transition to a sustainable economy creates three times more jobs than a dollar spent in any other way. So it is exactly the prescription that we need, and his proposal to completely decarbonize the electricity grid by 2035 is an outstanding proposal. And to be carbon neutral by 2050. He is serious about this.
There are a few things on which I would like to see him go further, but I don't think you're going to see and you're not seeing now any diminished enthusiasm on the part of those who share the views I feel so strongly on climate. Bernie Sanders and AOC and others are making note of things they would like to push harder for after the election. Again, if Joe Biden wins. But they are very clear in saying priority one is to win this election. Then we'll have debates on the margins of what more we could do after the election. But what he's already proposed is truly outstanding.
ZAKARIA: What do you -- what are your worries about what could happen after November 3rd? If there is a certain amount of mess around the mail-in ballots, you have seen this movie before. Tell us what -- you know, what did you learn from that process in terms of challenges, court contestation. How messy could it get? GORE: Well, number one, the American people and our Constitution must
be respected. Anyone who refuses to rule out unleashing violence if he doesn't win the election is really launching a grave and contemptuous insult to the Constitution and to the American people.
You know, there is a story in my faith tradition, and all the Abrahamic traditions, including Sunni Muslimism, Islam at least, about Solomon as a judge who had to decide which of two women claiming a baby, you know, was the real mother and he, in the parable, which appears in other civilizations, he said, OK, I'm going to cut the baby in half and give half to each of you. And the woman who said, no, no, no, give it to her, and he immediately awarded the baby to its true mother.
The parable applies here. If one of these candidates is threatening to tear the country apart if he does not win the vote, then that is instructive as to who the right choice in this presidential election should be. He has expanded the range of possible chicanery and trouble making that we have to prepare for. But I'm certainly among those hoping that the outcome in the election will be decisive.
We have to be cautious that because there is an historic percentage of mail-in ballots differentially by seniors who are both more vulnerable to the pandemic and therefore probably more attuned to the outrage many feel about the gross incompetence and recklessness with which President Trump has approached the pandemic, that's why he is trying to discredit the idea of mail-in ballots. But people are not buying it.
But what it does mean is that on election night there may be what's called a red mirage that people who vote on the day of the election may be more in Trump's favor and then a blue shift as the mail-in ballots are counted. Again more of them this time than ever before for reasons everybody understands.
We have to be patient and let the votes be counted. And when he says we may not know the result on election night, I thought to myself, well, I think that's actually happened before. It was a 36-day delay in 2000. But the American people have a right to be heard. And I hope that they all will be.
ZAKARIA: Al, stay with us.
Next on GPS, I am going to ask the former vice president about climate change. Can we stop the absolute calamity that might be upon us? Is there time and what happens if there is a Trump second term?
ZAKARIA: In 2006, 14 years ago, Al Gore released his magnum opus "An Inconvenient Truth." The documentary laid out the calamities that would befall the earth if humans didn't change their ways and quickly 14 years later it's obvious that the millions of people have seen the film, not enough heeded its warnings. Climate change continues all but abated.
Back now with Al Gore.
Let me ask you, Al, as you know, in my new book one of the things I try to stress is that the pandemics, the fires, the droughts, the hurricanes, this is all part of a kind of problem, which is that we are continuing human development without thought to what it is doing to nature and, meanwhile, you are seeing these natural back lashes.
Do you think COVID-19 could be the wake-up call that we need?
GORE: Well, it could be because, first of all, it gives us obvious evidence that when the leading scientists, in this case virologists and epidemiologists, start warning of an impending danger, we best listen to them and prepare. In the same way, the climate scientists have been warning in even more dire terms about the danger we are facing with the climate crisis. A danger whose consequences don't last months and years, but centuries. And if we don't get a handle on it quickly, millennium.
So I do think that it is part of a broader awakening which we've also seen in the recognition of these long-standing institutional racism problems and injustices. So I do think that it is a wake-up call for many. And by the way, I read an excerpt of your new book, Fareed. And it was absolutely excellent. It does tie all these things together.
There is some good news. First of all, the new demographic projections indicate that we are not likely to see population go to 11, 12, 13 billion. It may stay under 10 billion because women and their partners are choosing smaller families and we are succeeding in reducing infant mortality and making fertility management more available and educating girls and women.
We are seeing a historic drop in the cost of solar electricity, wind electricity, battery technology, electric vehicles, and a lot of other less well-known efficiency improvements, hyper efficiency options that are really creating new options. Last year worldwide, 80 percent of all of the new electricity generation installed was solar and wind. And we're seeing now the cost of new solar plus battery storage is significantly cheaper now than a new gas plant.
It already beat coal-powered generation. And within a few short years it will be much cheaper than old existing fully depreciated gas plants. So if we can overcome the political inertia and the legacy political and economic power wielded by the fossil fuel companies to try to fool people and also to buy -- to influence legislative decisions to keep subsidizing fossil fuels that are 38 times greater than renewables, I think we can see a pathway now. But time is a wasting as they say. We've got to get on it.
ZAKARIA: Where do you stand on fracking? As you know, Joe Biden has tried to find some kind of a middle path in the election. He says he'll ban new fracking but not existing fracking. The advocates, of course, point out that the United States has been able to reduce its emissions, in fact it often meet the Paris climate goals because natural gas has lower emissions than oil. How should we think about this?
GORE: Well, it's a great question. It's one of the areas where I would like to see him go further. But that's OK. And I think he's made some proposals that move in the right direction. And again the backdrop of all these discussions, Fareed, is what the technologists call a cost down curve, continuous reductions in the cost of renewable energy. Every year it changes.
Five years ago, electricity from solar and wind was cheaper than fossil electricity in 1 percent of the world. Now it's cheaper in 70 percent of the world. And within five years, it will be cheaper in 100 percent of the world.
Now the physics of the problem really should rule the day, not politics. It's not that clear that the global warming potential of gas is that much less than coal because it leaks in the fracking process. And each molecule of methane, which of course is what natural gas is, is 84 times more powerful as a molecule of CO2 in trapping heat. So if you get 2 percent or 3 percent leakage, which some observers think we do, it wipes out that advantage.
But even more important than that, the key fact is what is already accumulated in the earth's atmosphere. We have -- it stays there roughly 100 years on average, and the accumulation already traps as much extra heat as would be released by 600,000 Hiroshima class atomic bombs exploding every single day.
We've got to stop using the thin shell of atmosphere around our planet as an open sewer. And that means moving as quickly as possible towards the elimination of burning all fossil fuels. The transition stage for gas is just about over. I think it is over. It was called a bridge to the future. Well, it's a bridge to nowhere now. We've reached the end of that bridge because renewables can pick up the slack just as electric vehicles will soon begin to take over from internal combustion engine vehicles.
ZAKARIA: Al, we have just about 60 seconds left. I do want to ask you one thing. Do you ever reflect on that 2000 race and think about how different the world might have been if the Supreme Court had decided with one justice changing his or her vote differently?
GORE: Well, for anyone who does look back at that election and wish that it turned out differently, I would say this. You have an opportunity to vote right now in this election. Make a plan. Vote early. Convince others to vote. If there is a particularly decisive outcome in this election, and I know that we don't even know what the outcome is going to be, I get that.
But if everyone votes, and it's a decisive outcome, that's the best way to reflect back on what happened in 2000, to just make it an overwhelming turnout and then we will accept the will of the American people. I think that most of the American people would like to see a steadier hand and a wiser head in the Oval Office.
ZAKARIA: The former vice president of the United States, Al Gore. Thank you, sir.
GORE: Thank you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, new COVID-19 cases are climbing across much of America and Europe. A snapshot of how bad it is and an expert will tell us whether it will get worse.
ZAKARIA: On Tuesday, Washington, D.C. saw 105 new COVID cases. That is the highest number the city has seen since June. But the White House and the city that surrounds it are far from the only places where the pandemic is a growing problem right now.
More than half of America's states are reporting increases in cases. Across the Atlantic, France, Spain, the U.K., the Czech Republic and the Netherlands are among the nations really struggling right now.
Is the West in for a particularly deadly winter?
Joining me now is Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease, Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
Welcome, Professor. Let me begin by asking you, if I may, about what happened with Donald Trump.
And I ask this because about three months ago you essentially predicted this would happen. And I'm wondering what was it about the -- the regimen that the White House had set up?
You know, they said everyone who is getting to see the president was being tested; everyone in the White House was being tested repeatedly. Why did you think that wouldn't work?
MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE, RESEARCH AND POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: Well, first of all, they were not using the right test for the right purpose, meaning that they were using a test that was actually quite insensitive. About -- up to half the individuals who might be actually infected with the virus would actually turn up with a negative test result.
And so we said back in July, you know, trying to protect the president with a test that had that kind of performance characteristics was a lot like giving squirt guns to the Secret Service and hoping that they could protect the president against an assassin. It was just a matter of time.
ZAKARIA: So what does that tell us about our testing programs nationally or -- I mean, I realize there isn't really a national program -- I mean, the accumulation of the 50 state programs? Because it does seem like, all these months into it, we still don't
have some kind of rational comprehensive testing program.
OSTERHOLM: Well, we don't. And in fact, I think I would take it one step further and say that, if this is the level at which we're able to protect the president of the United States, what does it say about our national plan or the lack thereof to protect U.S. residents?
And, see, this is exactly what we've been talking about for months and months, is we don't have a national plan.
ZAKARIA: And right now you are seeing states with fairly sharp increases. Are they doing the right things to bring those -- those numbers down?
OSTERHOLM: We're going exactly in the wrong way. We are on a collision course right now with destiny. You know, I had made a prediction a month and a half ago that, following Labor Day, when students came back to colleges and universities, we'd see extensive transmission there which would spill over into the community.
Then you combine that with pandemic fatigue, people who are just tired of trying to deal with this virus. You have weddings, funerals, family reunions, any kind of activity where you might have lots of people coming together. And then you have bars and restaurants. And you put that all together, along with now what's going to be an increasing number of people being indoors because of the fall, and you have exactly the worst mix for transmission.
You know, I said a month and a half ago, and I'll stick with my numbers here, we are going to far exceed the 67,500 cases we saw a day at the peak in July. We're going to blow right by that. We're already at 57,000 cases reported in one day. And that's up from 32,000 cases just a month ago.
ZAKARIA: What about Europe?
Because in many of those places, they did seem to be following better practices, and they had better testing programs. But you're seeing a lot of spikes in Europe?
OSTERHOLM: Well, you know, they, unfortunately, learned all the bad lessons that we taught them, just as we should have learned from them earlier.
When we look back in April, it didn't matter where you were in the world. The world had these areas that were houses on fire. And we all, in a sense, locked down at that time, a terrible term. We were trying to basically keep people apart, distancing.
And what we did is we got from 32,000 cases a day in April down to 22,000 cases a day on Memorial Day weekend and decided we were done; we had had enough of this; we were going back into everyday activity. The protests happened. People thought just being together wasn't a problem. And you saw what happened. We shot back up to the 67,500 cases by July. Europe largely continued to stay shut down, and only in August did
they really start to release the break. But when they did it, they did it so quickly that then we're seeing what's happening now.
And so they're trying to recapture in a sense some of the work that they had done earlier in the year. And it's our hope that they can do that. There's still, in many instances, much, much lower rates than we're seeing here in the United States.
ZAKARIA: And what explains the East Asian numbers?
Because, even when they have flare-ups, it's from such a low base. I mean, you look at the number of dead -- COVID deaths in Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, and they are just astonishingly low. And they have stayed low -- as I -- even their flare-ups are -- you know, would be considered successes by our standards.
OSTERHOLM: Well, you know, they're doing exactly what New York is doing. Basically, they are monitoring it very closely. And when there is a slight increase in cases, they're on top of it immediately.
In the United States and, unfortunately, in parts of Europe, have just in a sense said, "Well, you know, we, kind of, are not interested in doing anything about this virus right now, you know, we're done with it."
But, unfortunately, the virus wasn't done with us. And so I think the Asian countries are a model of what can be done. And we're not asking people to do this forever. We're asking people to do this until we get vaccines that can then help protect us, as opposed to having to distance only by itself.
ZAKARIA: Michael Osterholm, pleasure to have you on.
OSTERHOLM: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," a plot to assault the Michigan state capitol building and kidnap the governor. It may sound like a movie, but according to prosecutors it is real life. Why it may be emblematic of the rise of the far right in America and around the world, when we come back.
ZAKARIA: Raids this week resulted in the arrests of 13 people who were alleged to be involved in a plot to kidnap Michigan's Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
According to the criminal complaint, the conspirators had already surveilled the governor's vacation home twice. They allegedly wanted to snatch her before Election Day and try her for treason.
The arrests were perhaps the starkest reminder yet of the threat of violence surrounding the American election.
Joining me now to talk about extremism in America and beyond is Cynthia Miller-Idriss. She is the director of Polarization and Extremism Research, an innovation lab at American University, and the author of "Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far Right."
Professor, welcome. The first thing that struck me about this was how well planned this plot was. I mean, this is not -- this was not a fly- by-night thing?
CYNTHIA MILLER-IDRISS, DIRECTOR, POLARIZATION AND EXTREMISM RESEARCH AND INNOVATION LAB, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: Exactly. This was in the planning for months. It was well-executed in terms of its, you know, elaborateness, involving a lot of people, involving the purchase of expensive equipment for surveillance. So this was a clear escalation in the kinds of plots and planning that we have been seeing from anti- government extremists in recent years.
ZAKARIA: Do -- do you see that there is something at heart that motivates these people, or is it a -- is it a mixture of things?
I mean, people talk about white supremacy. You know, there's other kinds of almost libertarian type, you know, anger at the federal government. What is -- is there a common or main engine here?
MILLER-IDRISS: The thing that all of these extremist groups have in common is -- is a sense of threat. So it's just how they define that threat that varies.
And the threat is, when it gets to the very extreme fringe into terrorism, defined in existential terms as posing a dire threat to one's own existence or their future or the future of their people or their nation or their race.
So you have white supremacist extremists who see that as a threat from multiculturalism or immigration or demographic change. And for these anti-government extremists, they see the threat from what they perceive to be a tyrannical government.
ZAKARIA: Some of the language in the -- in the group that was plotting against Governor Whitmer was fairly misogynistic. Is this -- is this another piece of it?
MILLER-IDRISS: This is a very big piece of it that's often overlooked, is that the -- the extremist fringe, on the white supremacist and the anti-government side, often has intersections with misogynistic or even male supremacist ideologies. We've seen that in the incel, or voluntary incelibate, attacks on women, for example. And we also see it in the use of misogynistic language like this.
ZAKARIA: And how would you rate the degree to which they take comfort or some sense of encouragement from politicians?
You know, I mean, there is this issue that President Trump seems to dance around where he will condemn but not quite condemn, or, in Charlottesville, he said "There were good people on either side." Is -- is this an important thing we should look at, or are these groups motivated, you know, largely for their own reasons? MILLER-IDRISS: This is an important factor. There is no doubt that the
incendiary racist language from this administration, from the president, has legitimized and is perceived to be, you know, calls to -- calls to action and legitimization for these fringe groups.
But I also think it's not -- we can't pin everything on only one administration, particularly when you look at the fact that we have had a 320 percent rise in right-wing terror globally over the last five years. This is not just an American problem, and it's not going to be solved just by moving away from one administration.
ZAKARIA: Yeah, I want to talk about that -- that global rise, because the statistic that stunned me was when I saw that there -- I think it was just this week, German domestic intelligence came out with a report that said they found 1,400 suspected instances of right-wing extremism among soldiers, police officers and the intelligence community in Germany. That is an almost chilling fact.
MILLER-IDRISS: It is chilling, and it's particularly chilling because the Germans are better than anyone in the world at paying attention to this threat of right-wing extremism because of their history. And so they have a much better built-out infrastructure within their intelligence and security services to monitor right-wing extremism and track it, as well as intervene.
And so, if they're picking up on this and being proactive about these investigations into, you know, the military and security services and police engagement in right-wing extremism, you can bet that it's happening elsewhere as well.
ZAKARIA: How worried are you that this is going to flare up again after November 3rd, after the election?
MILLER-IDRISS: I'm very worried about the period of time around the election and between the election and the inauguration. I think what we have seen in this country, even though this is indeed a global phenomenon, is that there are so many factors combining right now to create a kind of perfect storm for radicalization and recruitment.
And then, with so many people, you know, in the streets for protests, there is, sort of, a tinderbox potential, I think, for spontaneous violence. So I think we should all be quite concerned and be paying attention to what we see around us.
ZAKARIA: Thank you, Professor, fascinating insights.
MILLER-IDRISS: Thank you for having me.
ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," I will give you a sneak peek of tonight's premiere of my new special about America's sadly diminished role in the world.
ZAKARIA: Donald Trump has upset America's allies, buddied up to dictators and walked away from more international pacts than any prior president in history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: To the cheers of many of his supporters, the president has run roughshod over America's traditional role in the world. But is there really anything to cheer about?
That's what I examined in my latest CNN special, "How the World Sees America." It premieres tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Here is a sneak peek.
ZAKARIA (voice over): Our story begins in London. December of last year, Donald Trump arriving in Britain for a high-stakes NATO summit.
He had left behind a Washington in turmoil. Impeachment hearings were just beginning.
PAMELA S. KARLAN, STANFORD LAW SCHOOL: Article 2 does not give him the power to do anything he wants.
REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): What a disgrace to this committee
ZAKARIA: Passionate arguments about high crimes and misdemeanors.
In London, the mood was tense. Trump had alienated many of Europe's power brokers. France's Emmanuel Macron had embraced Trump at first.
TRUMP: We do have a very special relationship. In fact, I'll get that little piece of dandruff off.
ZAKARIA: Now, amid threats of a trade war, relations had turned icy.
TRUMP: Would you like some nice ISIS fighters?
EMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: Let's be serious.
ZAKARIA: Germany's Angela Merkel had little patience for the American president. Boris Johnson of the U.K. appeared friendly, but hadn't always been.
JOHNSON: I think Donald Trump is clearly out of his mind. He is betraying a quite stupefying ignorance.
ZAKARIA: Now, the queen was holding a reception for NATO leaders at Buckingham Palace. The mood grew edgy as everyone waited. Donald Trump was late.
One group of leaders was enjoying itself. Canada's Justin Trudeau, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Princess Anne and Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister.
They were caught in a hot mic moment, making fun of the American president.
CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU: He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference.
I've watched his team's jaws just drop to the floor.
(UNKNOWN): They were essentially laughing at the U.S. president there. That's remarkable.
ZAKARIA: The president of the United States, the most powerful country in the world, being mocked by some of its own staunchest allies.
ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR OF POLICY PLANNING: How low can we go? How far can we fall?
We are the United States of America. We're being laughed at.
EVAN OSNOS, THE NEW YORKER: Donald Trump ran for office saying that other countries were laughing at us and that they wouldn't laugh at us anymore.
TRUMP: They're laughing at us. We don't know what we're doing.
They're laughing at us, because they think we're stupid.
OSNOS: In that image, what we saw was in fact actually the literal exhibit of what he was talking about. How did that happen?
THOMAS FRIEDMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: I think the world doesn't know what to make of us anymore. And for the first time, we have actually become frightening for people.
ZAKARIA (on camera): In the special, I will take you through what has happened to this nation's reputation. It is a sobering but very important hour. Don't miss it.
"How the World Sees America," tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.