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Fareed Zakaria GPS

The Worldwide Fight For Freedom Of The Press; Taiwan Put Its Military Might On Full Display Earlier Today In Massive Military Parade; Cold Weather To Meet High Prices For Oil And Gas. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired October 10, 2021 - 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 program, the latest Nobel Peace Prize winner, Filipino journalist Maria Ressa. She joins me with her attorney, Amal Clooney. Ressa won, along with a Russian counterpart, for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression. We'll talk about Manila's ongoing efforts to silence her and the broader global fight for a free press.

AMAL CLOONEY, INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ATTORNEY: The message is clear, it is open season on journalists.

ZAKARIA: Then as China makes a record number of incursions into Taipei's territory, Taiwan's Defense minister says tensions are the worst in over 40 years. Is there a danger of war? I'll talk to the former National Security adviser H.R. McMaster.

Also, it seems that we face a long, cold, crazy winter. Tom Friedman tells us that in the next few months the United States may see an energy crisis with huge consequences. Who is to blame? We'll explore.


ZAKARIA: But, first, here's "My Take." After an eight-month review of America's trade policies towards China, the Biden administration has concluded that Donald Trump was right and Joe Biden was wrong. You see, on the campaign trail, Biden relentlessly attacked Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods, calling them disastrous. Now he has adopted those same disastrous policies.

In fact, candidate Biden was right. Trump's tariffs did not work. China's behavior did not change. Highway jobs did not come back, and while the U.S. deficit with China decreased, this caused the overall U.S. trade deficit to go up. Beijing responded in kind, slapping its own tariffs on American goods. One 2020 study found that approximately 100 percent of the costs of the U.S. tariffs on China were paid for by American consumers and businesses. A 2021 study found that the tariffs cost the U.S. economy up to 245,000 jobs.

Trade policy in Washington has become an entrusted bipartisan ideology, driven by a set of unquestioned assumptions. But as Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, points out in a brilliant "Foreign Affairs" essay, every one of them is wrong. We've embraced the dogma that over the last two decades America opened its economy to the world and that American workers suffered as a result.

But the facts show the opposite. Posen writes that the United States has increasingly insulated the economy from foreign competition while the rest of the world has continued to open up and integrate. He adds, "The country suffers from greater economic inequality and political extremism than most other high-income democracies, countries that have generally increased their global economic exposure."

Much of the impetus for protectionism in general and toward China in particular has come from claims that trade with China was responsible for about two million American manufacturing jobs lost, the so-called China shock. Now it sounds like a huge number until you put it into context. The number is for the period 2000 to 2015, so the average job loss for each year was 130,000. Now how many jobs do American workers lose in a typical year through the normal churning of the U.S. economy? Sixty million.

Of those, a third are voluntary, a third can be attributed to cause not related to foreign trade, such as an employer closing or relocating, and that leaves a third, 20 million jobs, caused by external shocks. "In other words," Posen writes, "For each manufacturing job lost to Chinese competition, there were roughly 150 jobs lost to similar feeling shock in other industries." Posen points out that only about 16 percent of noncollege educated workers are employed in manufacturing anyway.

And much of the decline in manufacturing jobs, if not most of it, can be attributed to changes in technology rather than trade. America's manufacturing output keeps rising even as the number of workers it takes to produce those products has fallen over time.


And this is not just an American trend. Posen's institute produced a chart tracking manufacturing employment in Ohio over the last three decades, and compared it to Germany's North Rhine-Westphalia, a similarly important manufacturing region. Unlike American, Germany has a trade surplus. It provides much governmental assistance for manufacturing, which is seen at the heart of the German economy. Yet the job losses are even more pronounced in that region of Germany than in Ohio.

Even China has overall been losing manufacturing jobs as its economy branches into software and services. It's also worth noting that manufacturing jobs in the U.S. are mostly held by workers who are male and white, a policy that obsessively focuses on them, devalues the many good jobs in other sectors, which have more women and minorities working in them. These groups being poorer are also disproportionately impacted by the higher cost of tariff affected goods.

Very simply, more protectionism means more economic pain for the vast majority of America's middle-class workers. Posen points out that the chief reason for many of America's economic inequities and discontent is not open trade but stingy domestic spending. He argues that all workers would gain from a more security safety net, one in which benefits like health care are affordable and not tied to employment. That's when misguided market economics have distorted public policy.

More and better benefits of the very kind Joe Biden is now proposing would help displaced workers, reduce inequality and improve job readiness for everyone. Saying all this sometimes feels pointless. Protectionism has become one of those zombie ideas that continue to move forward despite all the evidence showing them to be wrong.

Most worryingly, it's part of a sea change in America's basic outlook from an optimistic and confident view that we can thrive in a world in which others also do well -- a view, by the way, borne out by the data, we are now retreating to a cold, curdled view of international life, one that is dark and zero sum, in which we search for villains to blame for our problems. It's a world in which we try to gain some narrow benefit for ourselves by screwing everyone else. In other words, it is the Donald Trump way.

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

On Friday, the Nobel Committee in Oslo announced this year's Peace Prize laureates, Filipino journalist Maria Ressa and Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov. The two have long struggled with those in power in their respective countries for the simple right to report the truth. The committee said of Ressa that she uses freedom of expression to expose abuse of power, use of violence and growing authoritarianism in her native country.

And for doing so she has been repeatedly harassed by the regime of Philippine's President Rodrigo Duterte and she has been served with arrest warrants 10 times. Maria Ressa and her lawyer, Amal Clooney, join me now.

Maria, first of all, a huge congratulations to you. I'm personally thrilled. Obviously, CNN is delighted. You have a long and distinguished history with CNN. But I mean, it's a great thrill, honor, joy for you but it's happening, is it not, because the Nobel Committee feels this is a dark time for journalists and for freedom of expression in the world?

MARIA RESSA, 2021 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE LAUREATE: Absolutely. And, you know, I have never lived through anything like this, and we've lived through a lot of difficult moments with CNN, but war zone coverage has a beginning and an end.

This feels like every day you're in an environment where you must be constantly alert like you're in a war zone. So yes, absolutely. And it's great that the Nobel Committee recognized it has become harder and more dangerous to continue holding power to account not just in the Philippines but everywhere around the world.

ZAKARIA: I want you to talk a little bit about the challenges you faced. For example, the thing you were convicted of, the libel suit. This was for a story that you didn't write or edit. Explain -- you know, it just sounds so bizarre.

RESSA: I didn't write, edit or supervise the story. That was published in 2012, a public interest story.


And it was at a time when the law we supposedly violated wasn't even in effect. So yes, it is, I kind of felt like Joseph in -- well, anyway, look, I long said, and you have my lawyer here also, I long said that these cases, imagine, after 35 years as a journalist, in two years, a little less than two years, to get 10 arrest warrants, and it's not just me but also our company, Rappler. Right? So the cases stem from cyber libel to tax evasion.

Six months before we got the tax evasion cases, the government gave us the top corporate taxpayer reward. Which one do you believe? And then a whole bunch of other cases. All I know is that we will fight these and win them in court.

ZAKARIA: Amal, I have to ask you about that because Maria -- the documentary that Maria has done about Rappler, her publication, is called "A Thousand Cuts," and it seems to me that that is the strategy so many of these populist or authoritarians or liberal democrats use, which is they try in some way to kill the media with a thousand cuts, right?

CLOONEY: Absolutely, Fareed. I think, you know, I'm so grateful to the Nobel Committee for shining a light on Maria's courage but also on the broader problem around the world because Maria's case is emblematic of many of the challenges that journalists face just for trying to report the truth. So we've seen with Maria, you know, attacks start on social media and she's trolled, then there are civil cases that try to bankrupt her, that at one point revoked her license.

And then the ultimate, you know, sort of weaponization of the law, which is the use of the criminal justice system so she's facing multiple cases, each one as spurious as the other. She's actually now a convict. She has been sentenced to up to six years. That is now on appeal. And the reason she's doing this interview in the Philippines and not in your studio is because she is not allowed to travel or leave the country.

You know, she's now the Philippines first-ever Nobel laureate, and she should be a source of pride for all Filipinos, and instead what we've seen since the award was announced is a very muted response, silence from the palace. And I really hope that this prize can help turn things around, not just for Maria but for all journalists who are facing these types of extraordinary challenges simply for doing their job.

ZAKARIA: Stay with us. When we come back, I'm going to ask Maria and Amal about what Facebook and social media have to do with the problem of press freedoms around the world, when we come back.



ZAKARIA: We are back here on GPS with Maria Ressa, a brand-new Nobel laureate, and her attorney Amal Clooney.

Maria, you've talked about the problem with Facebook and particularly in a place like the Philippines, where it is the -- it is in a sense the gateway to the internet, it is the dominant distributor of news which it is in some ways around the world but in particular it plays a fairly central role in the Philippines. How would you describe the problem?

RESSA: So, look, this is the sixth year in a row that the Philippines -- Filipinos have spent the most time on the internet and on social media globally. When all of the attacks began in 2016, Facebook was our internet. But just this year alone, YouTube became number one, Facebook a close second, just by 1 percent.

The problem is this. Social media, American companies, are actually governed by algorithms so they determine news now as distributed over social media platforms. The world's largest distributor of news is Facebook. And yet how it distributes the news that is governed by algorithms that determine -- that essentially are dividing us, right? It spreads -- this is from research, it spreads lies laced with anger and hate faster and further than facts.

What that does is it divides society and radicalizes if you're a user. So when you say a lie a million times, it becomes a fact. And what we've seen -- and you've heard me say this repeatedly for five years now is when you don't have facts, you can't have truth.

When you don't have truth, you can't have trust. If you don't have this, you don't have a shared reality, you can't have democracy, you can't have any kind of human meaningful interaction to solve the existential problems we face, coronavirus or climate change.

ZAKARIA: It must hurt substantially when you have those lies being promulgated by the president of your country. For example, President Duterte has said that your media platform, the Rappler, is owned by Americans. That is not true, but he has said it and it is widely believed now in the Philippines.

RESSA: And he said it in the State of the Union, it's like our state of the nation, right? And I was covering it and I tweeted immediately, Mr. President, you're wrong. But it is what it is, and what we do is we just keep doing our jobs.


ZAKARIA: Amal, how much of this climate do you think has been caused, fueled, accelerated by Donald Trump? The Duterte line is straight out of the Trump playbook. Simply say black is white and say it loudly enough, and people will believe it. CLOONEY: Well, absolutely. I mean, Duterte called Maria's reporting

fake news. You know, Duterte and Trump were both running in 2016 and there were some very unfortunate parallels in how they treated the press. Duterte's team called the journalists press-titutes. You know, this kind of language we had from both administrations. In the Philippines, it obviously goes further where we saw 19 journalists murdered since Duterte came to power.

But I think, you know, looking forward, we are seeing in the U.S., you know, a very different tones and very different approach by the Biden administration where they're, you know, saying that human rights is back on the foreign policy agenda and, you know preserving democracy and proving that democracy works, as President Biden put it, is now a priority. We're coming up to a democracy summit.

And let's see if concrete improvements can result and, of course, in the Philippines, there are upcoming presidential elections where it's a very stark choice for Filipinos between literally going back to the brutal Marcos era where you have a Marcos now running three decades after, you know, people ousted the parents.

And against that you have some, you know, other candidates talking about the rule of law and preserving freedom of speech. And I hope that Filipinos will elect a leader who will preserve their rights and not continue to trample on them.

ZAKARIA: Amal, so much of the recourse you tried to get for these journalists -- and you do an amazing job -- is in courts. Are you finding in places like, you know, the Philippines and Turkey and India, and the many other places that you work, are the courts holding up? Are they independent, or are they caving to the pressure from the president or the prime minister?

CLOONEY: You know, I think for the Philippines, we don't know yet. Maria's cases are at different levels and I think there's still a chance for appeal courts to rectify the wrongs if the executive branch doesn't dismiss the cases, which is what should happen.

You know, in many cases you have to sort of find creative solutions where, you know, once the government realizes they want to resolve the case, they also don't want to necessarily show that they did anything wrong but there are sometimes cases that are resolved through pardons and those kinds of outcomes.

It's a rare case where you triumph directly through the court system. You know, some of these repressive countries, unless there's a reason, you know, because the judges and prosecutors and their government need to know that the world is watching, first of all. You have to shine a light on it.

That's why, you know, our foundation, the Clooney Foundation of Justice, is monitoring cases like this all over the world, so that, you know, all of those complicit in these abuses know that people are watching them but then also what we need to work on is improving, you know, what happens after the misbehavior. What I see in this space is what I called a new era of shamelessness.

It's not only that the press are being silenced but literally a "Washington Post" columnist can be chopped up on foreign soil and a consulate commercial airline can be diverted in order to arrest a journalist, and then what is the consequence? You know, we see too little too late, if anything at all. And so, you know I have argued that there is a lot more democracies can do and a tall kit of responses that should be the norm.

Because autocracy is on the rise, there are more autocracies now than democracies and I think democracies need to be doing a much better job of responding to these abuses that are unfortunately commonplace today.

ZAKARIA: Amal Clooney, Maria Ressa, thank you. And Maria, of course, congratulations, again, from everyone. We just wish you all the best.

CLOONEY: Thank you so much, Fareed. Thanks for having us.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, Taiwan put its military might on full display earlier today in a parade, but the world is wondering, will the island need to put those shiny weapons to actual use soon to defend itself against a Chinese invasion?

That story when we come back.



ZAKARIA: Last Friday on China's National Day, when it celebrates its founding, the People's Liberation Army sent 38 planes into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone. On Saturday it sent 39 planes. On Sunday another 16 planes went in and on Monday, 56 Chinese warplanes enters the zone, the most incursions in one day on record.

On Wednesday Taiwan's Defense minister said the tensions between his island and mainland China were at their worst in 40 years. Then earlier today on Taiwan's own National Day, Taipei held a massive military parade showing off its shiny hardware for all to see.


So are the two headed for war?

Joining me now is the former national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster.

Welcome, General.

Some of this is -- is a ritual posture. This is Taiwan's Double Ten Day, the Independence Day. There's usually been Chinese activity before.

How much of this feels like a real escalation, and how worried are you that we are heading into a very dangerous period? GENERAL H.R. MCMASTER, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Hey, Fareed,

it's great to be with you. We are entering a very dangerous period, I think. I think that the Chinese Communist Party thinks it has a fleeting window of opportunity to realize, you know, the annexation of Taiwan as part of this campaign of national rejuvenation, which, of course, is tied back to the party's obsession with its exclusive grip on power and its fear of losing control.

And so I think Xi Jinping is more and more nervous. You mentioned the 100th anniversary of -- of the party that just took -- that just took place, but also, he's cognizant of another anniversary, which is the 30th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

And you see the -- the party racing to extend and tighten its exclusive grip on power internally and then step up its aggressive actions externally, from, you know, bludgeoning Indian soldiers to death on the Himalayan frontier to the -- the militarization of the South China Sea and ramming and sinking vessels there and -- and declaring that it would fire on -- on vessels that did not recognize what would be the largest land grab in history, the economic coercion aimed at -- at Australia.

And, of course, Taiwan is the -- is the area that they are most obsessed with in connection with this campaign of national rejuvenation. And I think it's worth pointing out, Fareed, that Xi Jinping made a speech two days ago where he made that explicit connection.

ZAKARIA: When -- when you think about all these things, we do know that the Pentagon has done war games, where the United States has tried to come to the aid of Taiwan in -- in the wake of a Chinese invasion. And all reporting tells us -- and I've talked to people who have participated in these games -- the United States has lost every one of those war games.

You know, China is huge. It's right there. What can be done to deter such a Chinese invasion?

MCMASTER: Well, we're in a race, Fareed. I think we're in a race to restore deterrence by denial, to convince the Chinese Communist Party and the People Liberation Army that they can accomplish their objectives on Taiwan through the use of force at an acceptable cost.

And I'll tell you, for the first 15 years of -- of this century, Taiwan was complacent; the U.S. was complacent; I think Japan was complacent, and Australia was complacent.

Now I think we are awake to this danger. We're awake to the sense, I think, that the Chinese Communist Party leadership believes it has this fleeting window of opportunity to accomplish its objectives for the use of force.

So it's really a combination, Fareed, of capability, improving military capabilities, and demonstrating the will. This is important for Taiwan in particular, to build up not only the shiny weapons that you saw on parade there but asymmetric capabilities, you know, like smart sea mines and long-range precision fires capabilities and electronic warfare and -- and tiered and layered air defense capabilities.



MCMASTER: ... gave a very -- a strong speech today about that and these priorities. And I think the United States has to provide all the assistance it can. Almost like a Lend-Lease effort, I think, is necessary at this stage, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: What about having better crisis management with China?

You know, in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis, when the world almost went to nuclear war, the two sides, the Soviet Union and the U.S., put in place a hotline between Moscow and Washington.

I look at the U.S. relations with -- with China today. They're not very good. There's not much communication, not much contact. There was the -- the report of General Milley calling his Chinese counterpart in the middle of the -- you know, an American crisis, because he got wind of the fact that the Chinese thought that the U.S. was about to invade.

This all sounds very scary. Shouldn't we have better communications with the Chinese?

MCMASTER: Well, there are communications with the Chinese. You just saw President Biden speak with Xi Jinping. You saw the -- the U.S. national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, meet with Yang Jiechi.

The problem is, a lot of times that communication really doesn't amount to much. I mean, the party officials, they tend to come, you know, with their -- with their talking points; they read off of cards.

And what you're seeing is really a Chinese Communist Party that is much, much more aggressive, Fareed. And we've seen it internationally, right, with this wolf warrior diplomacy. I mentioned the campaign of economic coercion aimed at -- aimed at Australia.


So I -- I think having the lines of communication open are one thing, but I don't know if the Chinese Communist Party leadership on the other end is listening.

I think that they also have a perception these days, Fareed, that we're weak. Right? They've been watching the traumas we've gone through, you know, of a pandemic, a recession associated with a pandemic, the social and racial divisions laid bare by George Floyd's murder, the vitriolic partisanship with -- that culminated in a -- in an assault on the Capitol.

And I think they're looking at all this and they're thinking, "Hey, the United States is weak." If they're also looking at our defense budget, our defense budget, I don't think, is doing enough, Fareed, to make up for really what has been a bow wave of deferred modernization, to answer some of the asymmetric capabilities that the Chinese Communist Party, People's Liberation Army have developed.

I mean, they've -- they have increased their defense spending 400 percent since 1995. And so I think it's really important for the United States, Japan, Australia -- and we saw the new -- the AUKUS agreement, right, between Australia, the U.K. and the United States. These are all positive developments.

But I'll tell you, Fareed, we're behind, as you mentioned. You know, in a speech just a few days ago, the Taiwanese minister of defense said, "Hey, by 2025 the People's Liberation Army may be able to accomplish its objectives on Taiwan by the use of force at low cost."

ZAKARIA: General McMaster, thank you very much -- very, very important words. Thank you, sir.

And we will be back.



ZAKARIA: Winter is coming. Although it's only October, the first major snowstorm is expected in the Rocky Mountains this coming week. And if you have been to a gas station recently, you've noticed that fuel prices are high and only getting higher.

My next guest is worried about what happens when the cold weather meets high prices for oil and gas.

Tom Friedman is a New York Times columnist and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner and the author of "From Beirut to Jerusalem."

Tom, explain first of all what is likely to happen over the next few months in large parts of the Western world?

TOM FRIEDMAN, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, Fareed, already, as you've noted, you know, gasoline prices are up $1 from last year in America, up much larger in the rest of the world. Natural gas prices in Europe are up like 500 percent.

So why is this happening?

Three things really came together, one, the pandemic. So the pandemic, kind of, did a head fake to the oil industry. When it hit, we thought we were going into a prolonged recession. And so a lot of investment in oil and gas was just, you know, shut down. It hadn't been a great seven years anyway, so banks weren't really interested in doubling down on that.

But the governments came in with a lot of stimulus, so the economies recovered, but there was -- far faster than the oil and gas industry recovered. So there was a mismatch there, more demand for oil than -- oil and gas in particular. Second, Europe, and the world in general, we've all, kind of, moved to

this great thing, you know, thinking about cleaner fuels everywhere to prevent climate change. But it's been done in a really uncoordinated way.

So countries were shutting down their nuclear, their coal industries really faster than they could produce the alternatives, wind, solar, hydro and, of course, the bridge fuel, natural gas, which is about half as polluting as -- in terms of carbon emissions -- as coal.

And then, lastly, you had one country in particular, Great Britain, that, for some really bizarre and -- miscalculations -- shut down its gas storage facilities, and therefore it had no real buffer when demand went up. And that really shot gas prices soaring in Great Britain.

ZAKARIA: So what you're describing, I mean, the -- the fundamental mismatch, it seems to me, is we want to get off these fossil fuels, particularly oil and gas. So we're, kind of, not investing a lot in them. But we don't have the new green stuff, you know, to, kind of, come in its place. What is the answer?

FRIEDMAN: So, you know, Fareed, the answer is policy, policy, policy. I mean, you think about Germany, after the Fukushima reactor disaster in Japan, in which I think one person was killed, Germany decided, under Chancellor Merkel, that it would basically phase out all of its nuclear power by 2022.

Well, that nuclear power in Germany, Fareed, provided about 30 percent of the country's total electric needs, and it was clean. And they didn't -- they couldn't replace that clean power as fast as -- as they needed to.

And so the natural bridge fuel is natural gas, as I said, but that then hugely increased Germany's demand for natural gas. And who's the biggest supplier of that in Europe? It's Russia.

And those similar things, kind of, played out everywhere. So we've simply failed to appreciate that shifting your energy system to cleaner fuels is a scale project. If you don't have scale, you have a hobby. I like hobbies. I used to build model airplanes. I wouldn't try to deal with climate change as a hobby. And so you need a long-term plan to do this properly, and everyone has, kind of, done it in a very haphazard way.

ZAKARIA: If you look at California, the state you're in, right, I mean, something similar seems to me to be happening there, shutting down nuclear; they say they don't want any natural gas.

And as a result, because of shortages, I noticed the governor just authorized something like 50,000 diesel-powered generators as backup facility. So all of a sudden you're now in a dirtier fuel than national gas because you don't want to do natural gas, right?

FRIEDMAN: You actually need a long-term plan that can phase in these clean energies to the extent that we have them at scale. And that's what we're not doing.

I mean, look, you know, Fareed, this is, like, right down your alley. What would we be doing today if we had a long-term plan?


We'd actually have a kind of a natural gas Marshall Plan for Europe. We in America would build a set of LNG, liquefied natural gas, terminals, to export our national gas.

Because we're the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. In fact, we're even more than the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. We almost have, like, 100 years of supply. But if you can't liquefy it, you can't export it.

And then we'd partner with the Europeans and build the receiving terminals over there, and then you have a long-term plan to counterbalance the influence of Russia.

ZAKARIA: So play out some of the other political consequences of this energy crunch and energy crisis. Clearly, Russia gets empowered. What else happens?

FRIEDMAN: Well, another thing that I think people aren't paying attention to is -- and you've had this on the show before -- which is that Iran is getting closer and closer to developing enough fissile material now to build one nuclear bomb.

So you, if you listen to American security officials and Israeli security officials, they've been telling us we're not going to let that happen; we're not going to let Iran get that close.

Well, they are getting that close. And so if they're considering some kind of kinetic action to -- to stop the Iranians in their tracks, imagine what would happen, Fareed, if the Iranians just sent one drone -- one drone to attack the national gas, you know, facilities in Qatar, or to -- to interdict a natural gas super-tanker leaving the Persian Gulf.

The price of natural gas would go through the stratosphere. So suddenly the Israelis and American planners, they've got to really think, like, boy, if we do something kinetic right now, what will be the implication for the whole global economy? And if we don't do it, what will be the implications of a nuclear-armed Iran?

ZAKARIA: Tom Friedman, pleasure to have you on.

FRIEDMAN: Thanks, Fareed.



ZAKARIA: Now for the last look.

As we enter the fall, the United States is slowly entering a post- pandemic world. So are other places, many, in fact, more fully. It's time to take stock of what we have learned. And I did this as I wrote a new afterward for my book "Ten Lessons For a Post-Pandemic World," which came out in paperback this week.

I have to confess I feel vindicated that much of how I described the future, politics, the economy, work, cities, seems to be taking shape. That's largely because I was not trying to predict what the next few months would look like but rather lifting my gaze and looking at the broader forces that were being accelerated by the pandemic.

But there was one big lacuna in my book, and I address it in the afterward.

In the preceding pages I spend a lot of time and energy discussing all the programs and policies that were needed to deal with the pandemic and its consequences. But I gave little thought in the book to what each of us needs to do by ourselves, for ourselves, to cope with and adjust to these new, radically different circumstances.

I was focused on the external response to the pandemic, while ignoring the internal response, the one within us that is often far harder to shape.

I'm not a highly introspective person. And I dealt with COVID the way I do with most challenges, making the best of the situation, taking care of my family, exploring new opportunities.

I jumped at the chance presented by having more free time to make sense of the pandemic by writing a book about it and its consequences. The writing was a kind of therapy for me.

But then, in the midst of the pandemic, my mother died, around 8,000 miles away in India. And that was a brutal reminder that, however much you might try to deal with life by constantly doing, moving, acting, sometimes the key is not what you do in the external realm, but how you feel within.

I recall once, when I was very young, hearing an Indian philosopher, a guru type, explain that the Western world had spent centuries focused on how to solve problems by controlling the external world, taming nature, building machines, organizing activities.

The Eastern tradition, he noted, was less about forcibly changing the world than coming to terms with it, using techniques like meditation and mindfulness.

There are things in life that are best handled not by trying to bend them to your will but by bending one's will itself, which is often a harder task.

I also discovered during this pandemic, like many of us, the power of technology and of its limits. We would not have been able to put on this show every week if not for the information revolution.

But at a deeper personal level, the screen has its limitations. Technology can enable a low-grade connection, but physical proximity, using not just sight and sound but touch, builds intimacy in a way that a computer or phone cannot.

I ended up watching my mother's burial by video link, and I felt sadder than I could have imagined. I had wanted to take my kids to India to see her in her final state, walk with her body to the burial ground and take part in the ceremony that would place her in her resting place.

My children had visited their grandmother over Christmas every year until the pandemic.


Being present for that collective ritual would have marked her passing, honored her life and closed a chapter in all of our lives.

Watching it all on video was a paltry compensation, and it only made clear what we were actually missing out on, heightening my sense of loneliness.

So if there is an 11th lesson from this pandemic, it's one that I have learned in these last months, spend time, effort and energy to try to build up those inner resources of mind and spirit that are as important as the external ones. I'm trying to do just that in my own life.

Go to if you'd like to buy the paperback edition of "Ten Lessons For a Post-Pandemic World," or you can visit your local book store nowadays.

And, anyway, thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.