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Fareed Zakaria GPS

The West Pursues Both Deterrence And Dialogue With Russia; Rana Foroohar Helps Us Understand Inflation, The Great Resignation And Supply Logjams. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 23, 2022 - 10:00   ET


DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for spending your Sunday morning with us. The news continues next.

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 (voice-over): Today on the program, Washington's top diplomat met Moscow's on Friday. Is the situation as volatile as ever?

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: If any Russian military forces move across Ukraine's border that's a renewed invasion.

ZAKARIA: Also --

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Mr. Speaker, I want to apologize.

ZAKARIA: How long can embattled Prime Minister Boris Johnson hold on?

JOHNSON: In hindsight --

ZAKARIA: I'll talk about all that and more with Richard Haass, Anne Applebaum and David Miliband.

Also, stocks are volatile, inflation is stubborn, oil hits seven-year highs, and China's growth starts to slow. What is going on with the economy?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now we need to get inflation under control.

ZAKARIA: I will talk to Rana Foroohar of "The Financial Times."


ZAKARIA: But first here's "My Take." What does Vladimir Putin want? It's a question Washington finds hard to answer because, let's face it, we Americans rarely put ourselves in other people's shoes. Two important essays by Dmitri Trenin in "Foreign Affairs" and Eugene Chausovsky in "Foreign Policy" provide some clues. Both suggest that Putin has stated power for over 20 years not by being a reckless gambler but rather by being careful, even rational.

Trenin points out that Putin has watched four waves of NATO expansionism since he took power. His military incursions have usually been reactions to events rather than grand initiatives of his own. In 2008, it followed Georgia's decision to retake the separatist province of South Ossetia. In 2014, it came on the heels of the Maidan uprising in Ukraine that drove President Viktor Yanukovych out of office.

His one significant military intervention in an area that was not historically part of Russia's core security sphere -- Syria -- has been limited, mostly using Russian air power. In the case of the invasion of Ukraine, Putin's first effort was to bribe Ukraine with an offer of $15 billion in loans and lower prices for gas, a reward in a sense after it rejected an association agreement with the European Union.

Yanukovych accepted the deal, igniting the Maidan protests, then fled his country. Then Putin annexed Crimea. In recent years, he's tried to get the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, to make a deal on the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass, which is home to the highest proportion of Russian-speakers in the country and where Russian army irregulars have been fomenting an insurgency.

He tried to get the Germans to push Zelensky to accept a referendum in eastern Ukraine on secession. From the arch-conservative Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to the liberal reformer Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian leaders have regarded Ukraine as fundamentally tied to Moscow. Ukraine's first two presidents, while asserting the country's newfound independence, were careful not to break too sharply with Moscow.

According to a census conducted in 2001, almost 30 percent of the country's population spoke Russian as their first language. Putin's dilemma is that Ukraine is, in slow motion, escaping Russia's grasp. In the last decade, the country has become more independent, democratic and pro-Western. The West, in turn, has been cooperating and assisting Kyiv in ever-greater measure.

But Putin is probably also conscious of the reality that an outright Russian invasion would create what he loathes most -- a permanently anti-Russia Ukraine. His goal, then, is to get the Americans and Europeans to recognize that Ukrainian membership in NATO is a step too far. He also wants Kyiv to recognize that, in the long run, it has to have good, by which he means respectful, even subservient, relations with Russia.

For the West, Ukraine is an important noble cause but not central to its grand strategy. For Putin, it is a key Russian national interest. And Russia is next door, has deep ties to the country.


Ukrainians have told me that Russian spies are active in every part of the country, including the government. So Putin can find many ways to keep Ukraine crippled, weak and dysfunctional. Trenin speculates that if Moscow's negotiations with NATO were to fail, Russia might recognize the two eastern Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, where separatists have already proclaimed people's republics.

Moscow has already used the same approach with Georgia, where Russia has recognized the two Russian-dominated parts of the country, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as independent states.

One crucial question that we should ask is why is Putin doing this now? Partly, he sees NATO creating a de facto alliance with Kyiv. But Putin must be aware that this is a moment of Russian strength. At a time when there is a growing energy crisis around the world, Russia has consolidated its position as an energy superpower. Energy prices are rising across the globe but perhaps nowhere as sharply as in Europe.

The price of natural gas used by most Europeans to heat their homes rose by more than 400 percent in 2021. And yet, in recent years, most European countries have been shutting down their gas production even as they have been unable to ramp up renewables to completely take their place. The result, they are critically dependent on Russian gas.

Meanwhile, Ukraine, which has received about $2.5 billion annually to allow Russian gas to travel through its country, could see those revenues plummet if Nord Stream 2, a pipeline designed to transit more Russian gas directly to Germany and Europe, is certified. In these circumstances, sanctions against Russia could trigger an energy crisis in Europe on the scale of the 1970s oil crisis, which no European government would want.

All of which is to say, Vladimir Putin is not engaging in reckless adventurism. He takes risks, but he has calculated the odds carefully. And right now, they're in his favor.

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

Let us keep talking about Russia and Ukraine. The British Foreign Office announced yesterday that it has information that Russia is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Russia called the report misinformation and said the Foreign Office should stop initiating in provocations.

Let me bring in today's panel. David Miliband used to run the British Foreign Office when he was foreign secretary. Today he is president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. Anne Applebaum is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and a staff writer at the "Atlantic." She is the author of "Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine." Richard Haass is the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as director of Policy Planning in the State Department.

Richard, what the West and the United States principally is trying to do is clearly some mixture of deterrents to keep the Russians at bay and diplomacy. Do you think the Biden administration is getting this balance right?

RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: With the exception of the press conference this past week, Fareed, I would say, yes, what they've done is essentially said if you go in there will be an economic price to pay. Second of all, we will give Ukraine the means not to stop your invasion, but to raise the costs of it and certainly to raise the costs of any subsequent occupation.

Third, we will then, the United States and NATO, reinforce other countries in NATO, including Poland. So what you're worried about, Vladimir Putin, is NATO's reach, but we can increase that, but -- and it's an important but, as you say, Fareed -- there is an off ramp here. Essentially the United States and the West are saying we're not trying to humiliate you here. We can't give you what you're asking for.

We're not going to say never about Ukraine or anyone else in NATO, that would be inconsistent with Article 10, but we can say not now, we have no intention to do so for the foreseeable future, plus we are willing to have a large conversation about what you might call the post-Cold War security architecture in Europe. There could be new arms control arrangements, pulling back of certain kinds of forces on the two sides, perhaps new diplomatic structures.

So I think essentially the choice is Vladimir Putin's. How does he calculate the costs and benefits of this package that's being put forward to him?

ZAKARIA: Anne Applebaum, what is your sense? Putin has clearly created the crisis, escalated the situation.


Does he -- is there enough there for him to deescalate? I mean, does he need a victory at least even in domestic politics to be able to say, see, I got these concessions from the West? And is what Richard was outlining enough?

ANNE APPLEBAUM, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Fareed, I would disagree a little bit with the characterization you made in your introduction, which is that -- which is this idea that Putin is very concerned about Ukraine and NATO or that NATO is a threat to Russia. For Putin, Ukraine is a fundamental challenge. The idea that Ukraine might be an independent sovereign and eventually democratic and prosperous nation, which is close to the West, presents a real existential challenge to Putinism, to his ideology, which is one of autocracy, kleptocracy and dictatorship.

And so the problem for him is not just his relationship with the West, the problem for him is how to prevent Ukraine from becoming that, from becoming a country that would be more successful than Russia, that would be more democratic than Russia, more prosperous than Russia or any way that could challenge Russia in that ideological sense.

And what he's interested in doing is finding ways to undermine the current Ukrainian government, whether it's through some kind of coup d'etat as was described by the British government yesterday, or whether it's through ongoing war or whether it's through other forms of destabilization.

I think that's his real aim there and that's why this is such difficult diplomacy for the United States.

ZAKARIA: But can I interrupt, Anne? If that's the case, and I think that's a perfectly plausible argument that that is the case, then he doesn't really want to deescalate. Do you think he really does want war?

APPLEBAUM: I mean, he certainly wants conflict, he wants to undermine Ukraine, yes. What the U.S. can do and it seems to me that the Biden administration is seeking to do this, is to raise the stakes to say this is what it would cost you to invade Ukraine, and while raising the stakes, as Richard said, offer him an off ramp so that at least he spends some time thinking about it, he decides maybe not to do it right now.

But raising the stakes involves military investment in Ukraine, it might eventually involve military investment in NATO or at least the threat of that, but that's -- but understanding that this is a really fundamental question for Putin, he wrote a 7,000-word essay about Ukrainian history that he published last summer under his own name, he's said many times that he doesn't recognize Ukrainian sovereignty.

Understanding that that's really at the base of this and not an argument about NATO or geopolitics is what's really important.

ZAKARIA: David Miliband, you have negotiated with Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister. Do you think there is a diplomatic off-ramp here?

DAVID MILIBAND, FORMER U.K. FOREIGN SECRETARY: Yes, I do, but I think it's very important that the revisionist history being presented by Dmitri Trenin which you quoted in which Russia is a victim and in which NATO is aggressive needs to be taken on. 70 years ago George Kenin said that the tragedy of Russia was that it looked at all its neighbors and all it could see was either a vessel or an enemy.

And I'm afraid that is the mindset that has produced the 7,000-word essay that Anne correctly references, and that I think explains a lot of the mixture of hubris and paranoia that we see coming out of Moscow at the moment.

I do think that the first rule of diplomacy is to put yourself in other's shoes, as you say, but the second rule is to focus on what you control and the West does control its own unity, it does control its own words and it does control the tools that it has at its disposal, and I think the costs that is Anne has rightly referenced, soft power costs, economic costs, rather than the hard power costs, are vital to the deterrents that needs to go on and to the off-ramp that you rightly referenced which I think is still possible and which I think Secretary Blinken's speech on Thursday and meeting on Friday did help with.

ZAKARIA: We will be back. We will talk more about Russia, Ukraine. I also want to talk about Afghanistan. All of that when we come back.


[10:18:38] And we are back talking about Russia and Ukraine with David Miliband, Anne Applebaum and Richard Haass.

Richard, I wanted to get your sense of this. I want you to weigh in on the issue of what is Putin up to, you know, what is motivating him? I tried in that opening -- what I was trying to do is put myself in Russia's shoes and see how they viewed it. You know, I tend to think to understand all is not to forgive all, but it is important to understand. What's your sense of what Putin is -- what motivates Putin?

HAASS: Yes, people often confuse analysis with advocacy, but to understand Putin I think the beginning of it is humiliation. And in my experience, Fareed, humiliation whether we're talking about the Middle East or Europe or anywhere else is one of the most powerful drivers of human activity, be it of individuals or countries.

Putin felt humiliated by the dissolution of both the internal Soviet empire, that was the Soviet Union, as well as the external empire that was the Warsaw Pact. Then I think the ill-advised decision in 2008 by NATO and led by the United States to open up Ukraine and Georgia to the possibility of NATO membership that has continued to advance in recent years. So the continuing slights of -- remember when President Obama described Russia not as a great power but as a regional power.

So this is a man who's done nothing to build a domestic legacy. There's not much in the way of an economy. There's not much in a way of a political system, as Anne described it. It is a kind of kleptocracy.


But he has done a lot in terms of not making Russia great again but making Russia in some ways a great power that is respected again, and I think that's a big, big part of this.

ZAKARIA: Anne, let me ask you about what the West looks like now because the United States, I think the Biden administration, has -- all of you seem to agree -- kind of a good mix between the deterrents and diplomacy, but in Germany, which is the key, the center of Europe, you do not see the kind of resolve that Angela Merkel showed. Is that -- how worrying is that?

APPLEBAUM: So Angela Merkel did many wonderful things, but one very large mistake she made was to shut down all of Germany's nuclear power plants. This has made Germany unusually dependent on Russian gas. It has some other sources of energy, but a shut off of Russian gas would, as you correctly said earlier, would be a major disruption in Germany.

In addition to that there's quite a lot of Russian influence both political influence but also financial influence in Germany, all of which makes Germany, in fact, right now quite divided on this question of what to do. And that makes it a kind of unreliable partner, whether it's going to be for unified sanctions against Russia or whether it's for helping Ukraine deter Russia. And I think, of course, Putin knows this and he's playing into this as well. He's a meddler in all of our politics, but including German politics.

And one of the really difficult diplomatic tasks of the Biden administration in the case of invasion would be to try to keep the Western alliance or even just the European alliance on board. The British, the Poles, the Czechs, the French, the Balts, a number of other countries have given weapons to Ukraine and have said they will help Ukraine deter an invasion but we don't know what Germany would do and it's very important that Biden continue to work on them.

ZAKARIA: David, I want you to quickly weigh in on this issue of Western unity but then I want to ask you about Afghanistan because you're very active there, the IRC is very active there. So first, a quick thought on Western unity.

MILIBAND: Well, divided houses fall and it's imperative that words and deeds are aligned by the West. I think that is possible because I think that the actions of President Putin have actually drained support in Germany for some of the attitudes that have led to Western disunity and there remain some serious strains, but I think this week was quite salutary in healing them.

ZAKARIA: So let's just talk about Afghanistan for a second because you really are one of the few organizations that is in there, in a sense is working with the Taliban, correct me, if you will, in terms of how you characterize that, but the point is you're there, you know what's going on. How bad is it and what should the Biden administration do?

MILIBAND: Yes, we have 2,000 International Rescue Committee staff working in nine provinces. It's really bad, Fareed. I want your viewers to know that the U.N. predicts that more people, more Afghans, are going to die of malnutrition than died in the course of the 20 years of war. The U.N. says that there's a 97 percent poverty rate in prospect for Afghanistan this year with nine million people and one million kids on the verge of famine.

International Food Insecurity standard level 4, level 5 is famine. The reason is very simple. After the pull out in August, the economy was frozen. 40 percent of the economy was government led international aid that paid salaries, that's been stopped. Another probably 20 percent was the war economy. And the end of international support for the payment of civil servants, including nurses and teachers, the freezing of Afghan assets, has created a liquidity crisis in the banking system and this is a Western-made policy catastrophe.

And I'm afraid it doesn't take much creativity, it just takes clarity and foresight and some strength and what needs to happen immediately is not just more aid. We need to turn on the economic taps so that not just civil servants get paid but they can actually catch the money that goes into their bank accounts which at the moment they cannot do. And we are in the bizarre situation where there's more security in Afghanistan for our staff than probably for 20 or 30 years, but actually the ability of us to do our work is impossible.

I would say that we are running up an escalator that is going down very fast. And while we can do more, the economic situation is so bad that the overall situation is getting worse. ZAKARIA: All right. Stay with us. Next on GPS, we will switch gears a

bit and talk about Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It does appear that his premiership is for the first time seriously endangered. We will talk about it when we come back.



ZAKARIA: In parliament on Wednesday a key member of the Conservative Party said to his party's leader, Boris Johnson, in the name of God, go. This follows revelation after revelation about Mr. Johnson and his staff partying while the rest of the nation was in lockdown.

Johnson has at times seemed to have nine political lives. Can he survive this?

I'm joined again by Richard Haass, Anne Applebaum and David Miliband, a former member of parliament from the opposition Labour Party.


Guys, we have a lightning round here, so just be brief because I really want to get to all of you.

David Miliband, you were in the thick of all of this. That -- that former cabinet minister was of course paraphrasing Leo Amery, who told Neville Chamberlain to go, who was himself paraphrasing Oliver Cromwell to the Rump Parliament. Will Johnson go?

MILIBAND: I think it's now a matter of when, not if. That is the consensus among the commentators. Essentially, two things have happened. A group of conservative MPs feel that Boris Johnson has debauched the premiership, and another group of conservative MPs fear that he is no longer a vote-winner. That spells trouble for any prime minister.

The big question for Britain is whether this is not just a crisis for Boris Johnson but whether it's a crisis for the Conservative Party as a whole. And that would mean a newly competitive landscape in British politics.

ZAKARIA: Anne Applebaum, what do you think on that -- on that key issue?

Is -- is the Conservative Party ready to abandon not just Boris Johnson but the whole Brexit, kind of, its own version of Trumpianism?

APPLEBAUM: So the reason why this scandal has stuck to Boris Johnson much more than his many other scandals is that it epitomizes something that people intuitively feel about the Conservative Party, that it somehow feels -- and Boris is the epitome of this -- somehow feels that it doesn't have to obey by the rules, the rules are for little people, we can do what they want -- we can do what we want. And that's been the language of the Conservative Party in particular over the last several years. And the question is whether the country will go on accepting this and

whether the party itself wants to continue being that -- you know, will -- can the Conservative Party find the old language it used to use? Can it -- can it reflect the values of middle Britain, which it used to do, rather than some kind of, you know, from de haut en bas, you know, higher level -- you know, higher level attitudes. And -- and that remains to be seen.

ZAKARIA: You -- Boris Johnson was a colleague of yours, Anne, when he was a journalist. Do you think he will go quietly, or will he put up a fight?

APPLEBAUM: He will do everything in his power not to go. He has lived through so many scandals and he has survived all of them. And he will at some level believe that he can survive this one. As I say, the difficulty with this one is that it underlines something that people feel deeply about him and his party right now, which is that they -- you know, that they don't act in everybody's interest, they act only in their own interests. And overcoming that will be difficult.

ZAKARIA: David, quickly to you. If he does go, could Rishi Sunak, an Indian-Brit become prime minister? Do you think Britain is ready for a -- for a brown-skinned prime minister?

MILIBAND: Yes, that's certainly possible. The big question for the Conservative Party is whether it doubles down on what you called a sort of Trumpian version -- a British version of Trumpism, or whether it moves back towards the center.

The Labor Party, thankfully, has moved back towards the center. It's under new leadership. It's newly credible. And so we could be in for competitive politics of a more conventional kind.

The site of conservative -- the Conservative Party trashing the institutions of Britain, from the judiciary to the BBC, is something that goes right against the traditions of that party, "Even though I have never been a member of it, or a supporter of it, I recognize what role it's played in British history." It's abandoned that for the moment. And that has big questions for the future of center-right politics.

ZAKARIA: Richard, I want you to pull back a little and to ask you about something, another tradition that Britain seems to have abandoned. My -- my sense of Britain, particularly post-Brexit, is it's not really that interested in playing a larger role, not a larger role in Europe, not a larger role in the world. There is a -- there's a kind of "little England" retreat under Boris Johnson.

Do you -- do you feel that way? And do you think it matters?

HAASS: Not only do I feel that way, Fareed, it's reality. It's such an irony. The whole idea of Brexit was in many ways portrayed that this was going to make the United Kingdom greater, increase its independence, increase its global role. Instead it shrunk it. It's diminished it. And Johnson's personal behavior further diminishes this -- the appeal of this country. Plus it has its hands full with Brexit. They still haven't come to a formula that is consistent with the Good Friday agreement that's the basis of peace in -- in Northern Ireland.

So my guess is, when history looks at the leaders, from David Cameron to Boris Johnson, they are going to see these people as pulling the thread that broke the fabric of the United Kingdom. And the day will come when Northern Ireland joins the Republic of Ireland. We could see things happening with Scotland. This is -- this is "little England," as you said.

And it's tragic for the United States as well. We have lost an important voice in European councils and we have lost, in some ways, a powerful neighbor that could be a real global partner. There is no -- there's no silver lining in this self-inflicted cloud that is Brexit.


Richard Haass, Anne Applebaum, David Miliband, a real pleasure, the three of you. We could go on talking about all kinds of things, but, alas, our time is up. Thank you very much. We will be back to all of you.

Next on "GPS," how to understand the spate of bad news that is plastered all over the business pages. I'm talking about inflation, the Great Resignation, supply chain logjams. Well, we have Rana Foroohar to explain it all to us, when we come back.


ZAKARIA: What is going on with the world of economics these days?

Inflation is rising almost everywhere, and we're seeing energy shortages. The supply chain is still gummed up, and workers are hard to find. U.S. markets have started 2022 poorly, and China has reached a reckoning on growth, both population growth and economic growth.

To help us understand it all, Rana Foroohar joins me.


She is a CNN global economic analyst and a global business columnist for the Financial Times.

So, Rana, first explain to us what is going on with the continued mismatch between supply and demand, goods being hard to find, all these kind of things. Why is this not resolving itself anytime soon?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, you know, like everything, it's all about the pandemic. When the pandemic first hit, you will remember it started in China; it worked its way from East to West. With the new variant, we now have, sort of, the opposite phenomenon, where it's caught fire in Europe and the U.S. and now moving to China.

All of this has created something that economists are actually calling a "bullwhip" economy now. If you think about, when you crack a bullwhip and you get a wave and dislocations that are not the same in different places at different times.

So, you know, we've seen supply chain problems throughout the course of the pandemic. Sometimes they will resolve in one part of the world, Asia, let's say, and they're still continuing in the U.S., or vice versa.

All of it is disrupting these very efficient global supply chains that we have had for the last half century or so. And they come with their own problems, but they're also making countries really -- and regions really reconsider whether they want to go back to the old system. We're seeing a lot of regionalization of supply chains, a lot of vertical integration of companies. That means companies trying to own more of what they're actually producing, the widgets and the inputs, the energy even, that they need to produce products. All of that is actually inflationary in the short term, even the midterm, and that's what we're seeing.

ZAKARIA: And what about inflation in wages?

Are we seeing a genuine rise in workers' wages?

And can you escape the reality that that means you're likely to see real inflation for the foreseeable future?

FOROOHAR: Well, I think the answer is yes, we are seeing real wage rises, and, yes, it does mean inflation.

And that's something, interestingly, that the Biden administration doesn't want to focus too much on. Nobody wants to declare a war on wages, particularly not a president that has a bust of labor advocate Cesar Chavez in his office. But the fact is that the president came in on a work-not-wealth platform. And that actually, kind of, dovetails with this previous point about globalization as we've known it for the last half century unraveling.

What we've seen for four decades is really companies putting jobs and production wherever it was cheapest to do so and then selling it globally wherever they could. Biden really wants to change that. He wants to have a system that's a little bit more Germanic, a little bit more balance between workers, consumers, companies, and even civic society and politicians.

Again, these are potentially good changes for the long term, but in the short-term to mid-term they are going to be inflationary.

And then of course you add in all the dislocations, again, from the pandemic, the fiscal stimulus payments, which, you know, have abated, and we are seeing more women, for example, going back into the workforce, but still issues with child care, issues with younger people saying, "You know, $15 an hour is not enough; it's going to take more than that to get me back into the labor force," and then that having a knock-on effect to workers higher up the food chain.

I'm hearing from a lot of CEOs that, because there's so much labor inflation at the bottom, that also puts pressure on wages at the middle and the top end of the spectrum.

ZAKARIA: I've got to ask you about China, dramatically lower birth rates than they had even expected. Growth has gone down. The tech industry in China, which was much vaunted for a while, is under fire.

Does this all matter, or is China becoming such a domestic economy that all of this doesn't really matter? For a long time, China was the key driver of global growth.

FOROOHAR: One hundred percent, absolutely, the major driver in the post great financial crisis period.

I think it matters. It's certainly going to be a headwind to global growth, no question about that. But is China going to become more of its own domestically driven economy? I think for sure, there is no question.

That's natural. That's -- that's welcome, I think, for all kinds of reasons. It will ultimately help balance not just China but the global economy.

The question is, how many bumps on the road there?

You know, they have a huge debt crisis right now. We've seen some major real estate developers go bankrupt, and the government is not stepping forward as the U.S. did, for example, post-2008, and baling out these companies. It's saying, "You know what, let's deflate this bubble and see what happens."

So these are big experiments. And we don't know what's going to happen. I think -- that's something I'm hearing in the market, too. Investors, smart investors, will argue either side. They'll say "China is on the path to becoming the most powerful nation in the world; China is about to collapse."


And I'm not sure we know the answer.

ZAKARIA: What -- what we do seem to know is there are going to be a lot of bumps along the road in 2022. Rana Foroohar, thanks so much for helping us.

FOROOHAR: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," we all know what feminism is, but what is anti-feminism, and why is there a growing movement in a powerful Asian country?

I'll tell you all about it, when we come back.



ZAKARIA: Now for the last look. In South Korea young men are coming out onto the streets to protest what they see as an unequivocal social evil, feminism.

That's right, as the New York Times reports, there is a growing men's rights movement among young South Koreans, fanned in forums online and opportunistically courted by the country's right-wing politicians.

The aggrieved men feel that policies to advance women in government and the workplace have left them behind. According to a poll last May, nearly 79 percent of South Korean men in their 20s feel that they are victims of serious gender discrimination, this in a country that has by far the highest gender wage gap among rich nations. Only 5 percent of board members of publicly listed companies in South Korea are women. The average for OECD countries is nearly 27 percent.

So what is going on?

South Korea long has been a patriarchal society, but as its economy grew rapidly in recent decades, the country modernized quickly. As the Times notes, women now go to college in higher numbers than men. They have flooded the workforce. And the government has introduced plans to expand women's representation in the public and private sector.

All these gains are important, but they come against a backdrop of scarcity. Youth unemployment has risen in South Korea in recent years; housing prices are soaring; and inequality is deepening. And it appears that young men are feeling the twin pangs of entitlement and insecurity that scholars often say lead to reactionary attitudes.

And they are aided by the Internet, where misogyny runs rampant. A survey by the National Human Rights Commission found that more people witnessed hate speech against women online than against any other group.

As the journalist Hawon Jung wrote in the times, people posting on online columns called a female advertising agent a "cancer-like creature," one among an "anti-social group" of feminazis." Her crime was designing an ad that they said was man-hating, using highly dubious evidence.

And for some time activists have demanded that the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family be abolished. That's the same ministry that helped to revoke the discriminatory Hoju system, which had all citizens registered under a male head of the family. It also helped single mothers collect child support and provides aid to immigrant women.

The issue has heated up ahead of national elections in March. The presidential candidate for the conservative People Power Party has vowed that, if elected, he would abolish the ministry.

All of this might seem like some strange quirk of South Korea's political culture, but misogyny as an animating feature of right-wing politics is not new. Online right-wing culture all over the world is rife with a deep vitriol against women.

As Helen Lewis wrote in The Atlantic, "Anti-feminist rhetoric is a powerful gateway to violent white nationalism in the West." And an undernoticed part of right-wing authoritarian movements globally is a deep antipathy to women's rights. As the Times notes, the Spanish right-wing party Vox has advocated for banning a law protecting women from violence, saying that men are also victims of violence from women.

In 2010 Hungary's Fidesz party shut down the government's gender equality unit, then reconstituted it with just two members.

Many scholars have noted that Islamic fundamentalism, in its own way a right-wing religious reaction to liberalism and secularism, is strongly tied to extreme and harsh attitudes towards women.

So the South Korean story reminds us that, even with impressive progress and economic growth as there has been in that country, there is always the reality of a backlash.

Before I say farewell to you, I want to say a final farewell to a treasured colleague who left this world too soon.


ZAKARIA (voice over): Jay Conroy worked as our floor director for almost all of the 13-plus years that "GPS" has been on the air.

Jay brought a joyful, playful energy to our set.


This is the last selfie he took of the two of us together.

And here is Jay putting me in my place, as usual.

JAY CONROY, FORMER CNN FLOOR DIRECTOR: I'm trying to make you look good, all right? That's what I'm trying to do here. And it's not easy.


ZAKARIA (on camera): He always made me look good.

Jay's first love was actually rock 'n roll. But even more than that, he loved his four kids.

We send our condolences and love to his family and friends.

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