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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Russian Forces Besiege Ukrainian Cities; Ukraine Agrees To Talks With Russia At Belarus Border; Interview With Former President Petro Poroshenko About Ukraine's Resistance Against Russian Invasion. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired February 27, 2022 - 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 (voice-over): Today on the program, Ukraine's capital Kyiv is under siege. And Putin's military assault has rallied Ukrainians and much of the world against the Russian president. Will the military challenges plus sanctions cause Putin to reconsider this war?

I'll get the latest from CNN reporters on the ground. Former Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, will join us to tell us why he is willing to risk his life to take up arms against Russia. And I will have an exclusive interview with the former U.S. secretary of Defense, former CIA director, Robert Gates.


ZAKARIA: But first, here's "My Take." Russia's utterly unprovoked, unjustified, immoral invasion of Ukraine would seem to mark the end of an era. One that began with the fall of the Berlin Wall in about 1989. In that post-Cold War age Western ideas about politics, economics and culture spread across the world largely uncontested and American power undergirded the international system.

It was not a period of tranquility. Think of the wars in Yugoslavia and the Middle East. But it was a time in which American power and liberal democracy seemed triumphant. And the international system seemed to work more cooperatively than at any previous point in history. That Pax Americana began to wane for many reasons including the rise of countries like China and India, the disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan, the financial and democratic crises in the West.

But the most disruptive force has been the return of an imperial Russia determined to recreate a sphere of influence in which it could dominate its neighbors. For the past decade Putin's Russia has been the world's great geopolitical spoiler actively attempting to unravel the rules-based international system.

For many commentators, the current crisis is proof that the system has collapsed and that the democratic age was a brief fantasy. David Brooks writes that history is reverting toward barbarism." Robert Kagan has said, "The jungle is growing back." But is that kind of pessimism justified?

I am more hopeful that within the terrible news of the past few days lies some powerful positive forces. Afterall, what caused this crisis in the first place? It's very simple. The overwhelming desire of Ukrainians to live in an open democratic society. Let us not forget what it was that enraged Putin and led him to invade Ukraine for the first time in 2014. It was not a Ukrainian declaration to seek NATO membership.

It was the efforts of the Kyiv government, a pro-Russian government at the time, to finalize an association agreement with the European Union. When the president of Ukraine ultimately balked at this deal under pressure from Russia, he was greeted by massive street protest and the parliament voted him out of office. That is what triggered Putin's first invasion of Ukraine.

And Ukraine was not alone in choosing a pro-Western future. Over the past three decades most of the countries that were part of the Soviet bloc have chosen one by one to become more open, liberal, democratic and capitalist. None are perfect. Some far from it. But from the Baltic States to Bulgaria, from large countries like Poland to tiny ones like Moldova, most have adapted some version of democratic politics and open market-based economics.

There has been backsliding in countries like Hungary and Poland, but in broad terms, the movement of these countries toward Western values since 1989 is a powerful affirmation of the vitality of the liberal democratic project.

And Putin's reaction is a bloody brutal effort to stem this tide of democratization. He has watched with horror as the movement swept across Ukraine, Georgia, and even by 2020 into Belarus which experienced the largest pro-democracy protest in that country's brief history. They were of course savagely repressed with help from Russia, and now Putin has one more country in which he can maintain control only through fear and force.


As for the liberal international order, it has more defenders than one might imagine. The most eloquent statement in support of it came last week at the U.N. Security Council. Not from one of the Western powers in the room, but rather from Kenya's ambassador to the United Nations, Martin Kimani. He explained that almost all of Africa's countries have borders that are deeply flawed. They were drawn by colonial powers often dividing ethnic and linguistic groups.

But, he pointed out, Africa's leaders have decided that they would live with their imperfect borders because to challenge them would be to invite endless wars and insurgencies. These countries chose to honor international law and the U.N. system instead.

Far from Europe, what is the crux of the problem between China and Taiwan? It's the fact that the Taiwanese people want to live in an open, free, liberal society and they fear that that way of life would be snuffed out by a communist dictatorship.

I don't want to minimize the troubles that democracy and liberalism faced. Almost 25 years ago, I noted with alarm the rise of illiberal democracy and spotlighted in particular the nasty turn that Russia, among other countries, was taking. I've seen the erosion of liberal democratic values that I hold dear in the country of my birth India and the country in which I'm a proud immigrant, the United States of America.

But what that backlash shows is that liberal democracy and the rules- based international order need to be defended robustly. Even aggressively. With the voices of nationalism and populism so loud these days, it seems the liberal values have few willing to defend them unabashedly. So to those who dwell on liberal democracy's problems rather than its promise, I say let them go to Ukraine.

The people of Ukraine are showing us all that those values of an open society and a free world can be worth fighting for and even dying for. The question to all of us is, what will we do to help them?

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

Ukrainians huddled in a shelter in Lviv yesterday singing their national anthem. The first words of that anthem are "Ukraine has not yet perished." And indeed I can report that those words ring true despite an unprovoked invasion by the Goliath of Russia, Ukraine's David seems to be successfully slowing the assault at least for now. Kyiv is still standing. President Zelensky is still in Kyiv. The army and armies of regular citizens are still fighting.

Let me bring in some of CNN's great reporters on this story. Clarissa Ward joins us from Kyiv. She is CNN's chief international correspondent. And Nic Robertson is in Moscow. He is CNN's international diplomatic editor.

Clarissa, explain for us as best you can understand the state of play because it does seem like Kyiv is holding back Russian assault. On the other hand, the Russians have many, many troops that they could bring in, that are still deployed at Ukraine's border. Is it your sense that the Russians are pausing or that they had been halted and thwarted by Ukrainian forces?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that depends who you listen to. If you hear what Ukrainian authorities have to say, Fareed, they're saying very much that Ukrainians are putting up an incredibly stiff resistance. There were some videos shared recently on social media which reportedly shows Ukrainian military forces destroying a column of Russian armored personnel carriers and various vehicles in a western suburb of the city called Bucha.

And you can hear the man who is shooting the video on his phone, he says something as this is transpiring. He says, "They came to our land. I wish you all to burn in hell. I would give my life if needed."

And Fareed, I do think that that is a very kind of accurate assessment or a sentiment I should say that is shared by so many people here in Ukraine who are picking up arms wherever they can. We saw yesterday a long line of men, waiting around the corner. They're being registered at various sort of civil defense volunteer places where they can then go give their name and pick up a weapon. People have been instructed to make Molotov cocktails, to drop them out of their windows if it's not safe for them to leave their home.


And so you do have the sense that Ukraine is putting up an extraordinary fight. Now we have had some news in the last hour that Ukrainian delegation will be going tomorrow morning to the Belarusian border town on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border by the Pripyat River to participate in some negotiations with a Russian delegation. Earlier in the day, President Volodymyr Zelensky had said that they would be willing to go to Belarusian territory because of course it's not neutral.

But since then there have been some apparently concessions or guarantees of security made by Belarus' leader Alexander Lukashenko which apparently changed that calculation. And so those negotiations are expected to take place tomorrow morning, Fareed, though it remains to be seen what fruit, if any, they will bear.

ZAKARIA: Nick, what are you hearing about those negotiations? Is there any indication that the Russians are pausing or are willing to seriously engage in any kind of talks? Afterall, the Russians engaged in a lot of negotiations for the weeks before all this which turned out to be -- at least seemed to be largely phony.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, it's very hard to see if this is an extension of that when there was the threat of force on Ukraine and at the same time, Russia saying it wanted diplomacy as it built up its force. Now of course it's executing on that threat and it actually has Ukraine under attack and it's saying no, it wants to go on a diplomatic track.

So it's very hard to see given the recent narrative, that this is something different. It's quite possible that President Putin is recognizing that this fight isn't going as well as he wanted. The narrative from the Kremlin yesterday was that they put a pause giving -- in the fighting giving Ukrainian officials an opportunity to talk yesterday. That was turned down. Russian forces went back into action.

But to be clear, Russian forces didn't really hold back. They were still piling military troops into the country and trying to take control of different towns and villages in Ukraine. And at the moment they seem to be continuing with that offensive while saying they want to talk. So it's not clear what the Russian terms are going to be because until now the Russian terms have been that the current leadership, President Zelensky, should relinquish power and hand over to yet to be announced person. So it's not clear how authentic, if you will, and valuable that these

talks can be. But it certainly is offering the possibility of at least a pause but it really -- again, there is so much skepticism you have to inject into this because of Russia's behavior until now. So I think it's too soon to be in anyway kind of optimistic that there can be a useful outcome in the longer term, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: That's right, Nic. Let's not forget that President Putin has called the government in Kyiv he now claims to be negotiating with a band of drug dealers and Nazis despite the fact that President Zelensky is of course Jewish.

Clarissa, what worries me when I look at the picture in your brave reporting is, the Russians seemed to have control of the air in the sense that they are able to bomb, they are able to launch missiles. How much is that a factor? And do you get a sense that the Russians are escalating that air campaign?

WARD: So this is what we were warned about last night by Ukrainian authorities who essentially asked us to take down our live position from the roof. They said that we couldn't use any bright camera lights when we were doing our live reports. We all had our body armor on. And we were essentially waiting for what was presumed to be the beginning of some sort of massive Russian air assault.

Now obviously that did not transpire. But you can tell how difficult it is for Ukrainian forces to try to, you know, mount an effective defense when the Russians are able to take out specific targets opportunistically when and as if they come across them.

We were driving from Kharkiv back here to Kyiv a couple of days ago and we saw a Ukrainian multi-rocket launcher which had been taken out, just, you know, presumably in the hours beforehand by some kind of air assault and several vehicles, military vehicles in that convoy were destroyed.

We saw at least one Ukrainian soldier who was killed in that attack and I think it gives you a sense of how difficult it is for them to move their weaponry around undetected. Now we had hoped with the announcement of these talks going ahead, there was a quiet half hour and we thought maybe there will be as Nic said some kind of a pause. But I have to say in the last half hour now, we are continuing to hear steady thuds and booms in the distance.


It does appear that some of that might actually be outgoing Ukrainian defenses. But for now there is no sign at least that any kind of pause is imminent, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: Thank you both for extraordinary reporting, and of course if something is happening, we will come back to you, if we can.

Thank you, Clarissa Ward and Nic Robertson.

Next on GPS, the people of Ukraine are fighting back against Russia. I will talk to one of those people, none other than the former president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, when we come back.


ZAKARIA: The people of Ukraine are rising up against Putin's invasion. Regular citizens are grabbing guns, making Molotov cocktails and fighting back.


Petro Poroshenko is one of those who is ready to fight. He's no ordinary citizen. He is the former president of Ukraine and he joins me now from Kyiv.

President Poroshenko, pleasure to have you on, sir. I remember visiting you in the presidential palace, I remember you visiting us on this set in CNN, and now we find you in the most extraordinary position. Give us a sense from the ground there, how is the fight going?

PETRO POROSHENKO, FORMER UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Fareed, thank you very much indeed for supporting us for the eight years, and thanks for ever-growing Western support of Ukraine from the very first sign of invasion. Leadership of the President Biden has been really tremendous. All the West stands united in support of Ukraine. Even those who yesterday were more skeptic and restrained to punish Russia hard, today they're among the first of our supporters.

And I thank here, Chancellor Scholz, thank you for difficult but brave and right decision that was admired by yesterday's session of their Bundestag. And now it's clear, Putin has launched a war not only against Ukraine but against the West.

Ukraine is on the precipice of this war, and today's Putin decision to put Russian nuclear deterrent forces on the high alert creates a completely new security situation. Somebody said that it is not exist for eighty years. I think that this has never existed in the world history before. But this nuclear madness Putin posed has much greater threat to the world than bin Laden.

And helping Ukraine to counter invasion, you are helping yourself to minimize potential losses of your countries in the next phase of the Putin madness, and the regime of Putin is driving Russia to abyss. His days I think counted. He is simply crazier than ever. But even most of his allies, for example Kazakhstan and others, have already refused to join his personal war of hatred against Ukraine, against the free democratic world, against all of us.

And not only ally who supported crazy is another crazy self-proclaimed dictator of Belarus, Lukashenko, because exactly from the Belarussian territory, it was the cruise missile, missile of Iskander, which killing Ukrainians, attacking Kyiv, air bomb, and this is a disaster. And all of us need to stop them together as soon as we can. They are dragging the world into the absolute nightmare.

And today, the whole territory of Ukraine is aflame. Airstrikes, missiles, constant bombardment every single night are hitting as far as Dnipro or Kyiv but Lviv, which is just 50 kilometers from the Polish border. They hit both military infrastructure and civilian building, hospitals, kindergartens, schools.

ZAKARIA: Do you -- President Poroshenko, do you believe that this pause, this negotiating offer from the Russians is a ploy?

POROSHENKO: I think this is -- needs to have a strong combination of factor. (INAUDIBLE), readiness for the negotiation, but without any precondition and the only precondition should be please withdraw your troops from Ukrainian territory. This is very simple. And hundreds of Ukrainian, and everybody should know that, for the last four days, military and civilian has already lost their life, and thousands of Russians already also give their life in Ukraine.

And miraculously, the new Chernobyl disaster was avoid after Russians shell it. Can you imagine radioactive storage facility at a (INAUDIBLE) station. And --

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you, Mr. President, you were instrumental in helping to build this army that Ukraine now has. Quite a formidable army. What do you need now? What is the -- what has been the most effective weapons? Is it the Javelins, the anti-tank missiles? Do you need stingers? Give us a sense of what Ukraine wants.

POROSHENKO: Fareed, first of all, thank you very much because since the year 2014, I'm really proud that me and my team built up one of the strongest army in Europe, and today Ukrainian soldiers and the Ukrainian demonstrated how strong we are.


And, first of all, our societies do our best, but all the nation is fighting. Instead of the glory flowers, Russian receive Molotov cocktails or, like we say now in Ukraine, Bandera smoothies. For the first three days, Russian lost four and a half thousand soldiers, hundreds of vehicle tanks, about 50 aircraft and helicopters. But, what we need, I just return back from the frontline of Kyiv, this is just in the Kyiv suburb, where battalion which territorial defense which was created by my team is keeping defense.

We need radio stations. We need the armed, armored jacket. We need a helmet. But the most we need the anti-aircraft missiles, like stinger for attacking the Russian distant helicopter. We need anti-tank Javelin, AMLO, and everything because that every single combat operator should be equipped with anti-tank missiles and that will stop Russian tanks.

Russian tank drivers will refuse to go to Ukraine because that would be unavoidable, and we definitely need the anti-aircraft missile, which needs to be supplied. But we'd also very much need the sanction. Sanction is another instrument who make Russia weaker. And Joseph Biden, I want to thank Joseph Biden. I want to thank American people. And I want to thank NATO for their contribution in this success.

Ukrainian army proves that Ukraine is a real asset to NATO. Just imagine how strong and resilient the alliance could be with Ukraine, humongous strength. And today, the Western assistance is unprecedented. Sanctions against the (INAUDIBLE). Sanctioning almost every day, and we are waiting that sanctions should be sanctioned from the hell. We should go more to weaken Russia aggressive potential.

Please, I'm very much happy that we are ready to pull the switch Russia and Belorussia from SWIFT. Belorussia from the SWIFT. We blocked all Russian airplanes and ships in the airport and seaport of E.U., NATO, G-7 member states. Please stop issuing visas for Russian and Belarussian citizens. You should switch off MasterCard, Visa for all Russian and Belarussian citizen which support Putin's aggression. We definitely need to freeze assets of Russian and Belarussian state and state companies and banks, and we conduct massive and targeted cyberattacks.

ZAKARIA: Mr. President, Mr. President, thank you. Thank you so much. It was an honor to talk to you. And I think it sounds absurd to say this, but please stay safe and we hope we will get a chance to talk to you again.

POROSHENKO: Thank you for your prayers, Fareed, and thank you for all American citizens for being together with us in this fighting from -- with the devil. Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, Robert Gates.



ZAKARIA: Robert Gates served as director of the CIA under President George H.W. Bush and secretary of defense under George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He is also by training a Soviet and Russian expert, which is what he got his Ph.D in.

Welcome, Secretary Gates.

Let me begin by asking you, you've always been very clear-eyed about Putin. You told President George W. Bush that, when you looked in his eyes, you didn't see his soul; you saw a cold-blooded killer.

But I want to focus on the cold-blooded part. You've always viewed him as rational, calculating. His military interventions have been carefully planned, often limited, the one in Georgia. Does this strike you as something different?

This feels like more reckless. He doesn't seem to be worried about the enormous costs he's -- he's taking on. What do you think Putin's strategy is?

ROBERT GATES, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, I think you're absolutely right, Fareed. This is different. And this behavior is different than in the past. He's been a calculated-risk-taker in the past. And he's made at least two terrible miscalculations in launching this war.

One was the resistance of the Ukrainian people, what President Poroshenko and you had just been talking about. The other miscalculation was I think he -- he didn't expect the kind

of united response from -- from the West, not just from NATO and the United States but from others that are not part of NATO. And he's ended up with Russia being completely isolated.

And I don't understand at all putting the nuclear forces on alert. This all seems to me like, in some respect, he's gone off the rails. Maybe it's two years of isolation at his dacha outside of Moscow. Maybe it's the fact that he's only talking to the hardest-line people from his intelligence past.


I don't know. But this behavior is different and it's very worrisome.

And the fact that he launched this war, I think, speaks for itself, that it's -- that he -- he has made a gigantic miscalculation, regardless of how the war turns out.

ZAKARIA: So that -- that worries me even more when you -- to hear you say that. How would you then deal with somebody who has become unpredictable, mercurial? What would be your advice to President Biden?

GATES: I think the president and his team are -- are handling this pretty well. I think that maintaining the unity, the solidarity of NATO and the rest of the world is very important. I think the Chinese are very uncomfortable with what Putin has done.

So I -- I think that keeping calm, not doing anything that would make Putin think that we might get involved directly in Ukraine. The putting on alert of -- of the nuclear forces, to me, is quite worrisome and frankly inexplicable.

So I -- given what we may -- what his state of mind may be, I think we need to continue to make clear we're not going to engage directly, military.

By the same token, I think the administration's sending of additional forces to Europe, and particularly the armored brigade, is very -- is the right thing to do and sends the right signal, particularly to the East Europeans and the Baltic states.

ZAKARIA: You know, people keep saying that this is a new era because the West is declining. But what I'm struck by is the real new era might turn out to be the decision by Germany to cross the 2 percent barrier and spend on defense. I mean, this may revitalize the Europeans to actively take the kind of forward-leaning defense posture that you advocated when you were secretary of defense.

GATES: Well, this is another one of -- another one of Putin's miscalculations. He thought he would divide NATO, that NATO was falling apart. He's given NATO a new sense of purpose, a new sense of -- of unity. It is increasing its military forces. He wanted to push NATO away from the Russian border. You're -- he's going to end up with more NATO forces in Eastern Europe

and the Baltic states for the foreseeable future. I think he wanted the -- he thought he would pull Ukraine back into Russia's orbit. In fact, he's driven the Ukrainians to be even more pro-Western at this point.

This is all totally different from his expectations, I think.

ZAKARIA: Secretary Gates, stay with us.

When we come back, I'm going to ask the secretary, Secretary Gates, what is the long-term solution here? What is the long-term strategy for the West, and how might Putin respond?



ZAKARIA: We are back on "GPS" with the former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Secretary Gates, in your -- in your memoirs, you talked about how Russia had some legitimate grievances. The Treaty on Conventional Forces did restrict Russia from moving troops even within its own country, that even Ukraine and Georgia becoming members of NATO was something you could understand alarming the Russians.

But can those legitimate concerns of the Russians be dealt with now after they have violated so many laws, norms, breaches?

You know what I mean, is there -- how does one get to a point of strategic stability in that part of Europe?

GATES: I thinks that's going to be very difficult, Fareed, with -- as long as Vladimir Putin is in power. I think what we have to understand is that the post-Cold War era is over. And in many respects the United States and our allies face a situation we have not faced since World War II. And that is we have two superpower adversaries, one in Europe, one in Asia.

Our so-called holiday from history is over. And we have to figure out how do we conduct a global struggle against both of these powers, a global competition?

And we have to -- a pivot to China is not sufficient. We have to consider how we're going to deal with a hostile Russia, at least for as long as Vladimir Putin is -- is around.

I think -- I think Russia will be a problem for us, a security challenge in Europe, as long as Putin is there. But I think we can hope for a different kind of Russia once he's gone. We face a much longer-term kind of problem and challenge from the Chinese.

So we have to figure out how do we reboot, in effect, our national security strategy?

And it can't just be now focused on China but is much broader.

And this is going to be tough. And -- and the American people need to be educated about why this is different and why it's important and why the international environment now is -- is much more perilous than it has been for the last 30 years.

ZAKARIA: And Russia and China are very different, Russia a, kind of, fundamentally declining power, using military muscle to make itself more relevant, the Chinese a long-term economic rising power.

Do you think that there is -- there is a way to create space there?

You pointed out the Chinese are very uncomfortable, even though they are -- they are supporting the Russians. They do not seem to like the fact that they have to do that.

GATES: Well, I think that -- I think they see benefit in having a partner in working against the United States and trying to create as many problems for the United States as possible.


But this invasion of a sovereign -- of a sovereign country is contrary to everything the Chinese say they believe in. And in fact, a week ago their foreign minister said that they continue to believe in the importance of non-interference in other countries, and that included Ukraine.

So I think this particular issues is a problem for them. But they do see convenience in this partnership, if you will, with -- with Russia in working against U.S. interests wherever they can.

I think that -- I think that the security situation in Europe actually -- the invasion of Ukraine has -- has awakened the West and awakened, I hope, political leaders in this country to the reality that this challenge has been building for several years. And -- and the invasion of Ukraine basically is a cold shower that has finally awakened everybody to the fact that these two powers represent a global challenge to the United States and to our allies in Europe.

ZAKARIA: A final question, and I don't have a lot of time. Mr. Secretary, is it possible that there could be domestic opposition to Putin or opposition within his circle, and that we could see, maybe not now but a few years from now, a Russia without Putin?

GATES: Well, I think we inevitably will see a Russia without Putin, and it could -- as I said, it could be a very different kind of Russia. But -- but clearly there's opposition. The demonstrators going out in the streets, the humiliation of the head of his intelligence service at Putin's hands that was televised a few days ago suggests that there -- there are a lot of people who have concerns about this decision. And all we can hope is that that opposition inside Russia builds as -- as they realize the costs of this invasion of -- of Ukraine.

ZAKARIA: Secretary Gates, a pleasure to have you on always, sir. Thank you.

GATES: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: And we will be back.



ZAKARIA: Vladimir Putin believes Ukraine is really part of Russia and doesn't deserve sovereignty. That seems to be the heart of his argument.

Now, the most interesting reaction I've heard to this idea that borders can be altered at whim came, as I mentioned earlier, from Kenya's envoy to the U.N., Martin Kimani.

I want to play what he said at the Security Council's emergency session on Monday for a minute.


MARTIN KIMANI, KENYAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Kenya and almost every African country was birthed by the ending of empire. Our borders were not of our own drawing. They were drawn in the distant colonial metropols of London, Paris and Lisbon, with no regard for the ancient nations that they cleaved apart.

Today, across the border of every single African country, live our countryman, with whom we share deep historical, cultural and linguistic bonds.

At independence, had we chosen to pursue states on the basis of ethnic, racial or religious homogeneity, we would still be waging bloody wars these many decades later. Instead, we agreed that we would settle for the borders that we inherited, but we would still pursue continental political, economic and legal integration.

Rather than form nations that looked ever backwards into history with a dangerous nostalgia, we chose to look forward to a greatness none of our many nations and peoples had ever known.


ZAKARIA: Powerful words. I asked Ambassador Kimani to share his concerns with me when we talked.


ZAKARIA: You also talked very eloquently in the latter half of your speech about the dangers this poses because, you know, the U.N. system rests on the idea of respecting borders, of respecting sovereignty. The post-1945 dispensation has been that no borders are changed by force.

Are you worried that the U.N. system, that these values of the post- 1945 world are under threat or weakening, are eroding?

KIMANI: Kenya is tremendously worried, Fareed.

When I spoke about multilateralism being on its deathbed -- and I think that was not being melodramatic. The fact of the matter is, powerful countries, including members of the Security Council, over the last two decades or so, have chosen to take unilateral actions that fly directly in the face of this core tenant of -- of the international system we live in.

And now, understand that the countries in the Security Council, and especially the Permanent Five, were there during the formation of the rules-based order that we joined. Kenya was not a member of the Security -- of the United Nations when it was formed.

So we voluntarily adopted those rules.


And we live by them. And we depend on them to make sure that the world we live in is not a world where the powerful can trample over weaker states at will.

And I like to think of the multilateral system like an insurance scheme, which you pay in, in terms of trust. Because, at the end of the day, you will need the instruments we have forged together. Today Ukraine needs them. Tomorrow it may be Kenya that needs them. And so we need to come together to protect our system, our United Nations.


ZAKARIA: You can watch more of this terrific interview with Ambassador Kimani at And thanks to all of you for being part of my program on this very important week. I will see you next week.