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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Interview With John Kirby About The War In Ukraine, Taiwan, Iran Nuclear Deal, And Afghanistan; Is The Iran Nuclear Deal On The Brink Of Being Revived?; The Next Big Idea: Car-Less Cities; Hot Job Market Defies Fears Of Mass Automation; The House Of Windsor 25 Years After Diana's Death. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired August 28, 2022 - 10:00   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Jim Sciutto, filling in for Fareed Zakaria who is on a very well-deserved vacation this week. Fareed did some great interviews before he went away. We're going to have those for you later in this hour. In the meantime, let me welcome all of our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world.

Today, on the program, I'll have a conversation with former U.S. Energy secretary Ernest Moniz about the state of the Iran nuclear talks. But first, this week marked six months of Russia's brutal war in Ukraine. The true cost of this war difficult to measure. There are the military costs, the billions of dollars spent, the cities destroyed and the territories seized. The human toll as well, the lives lost, the refugees forced from their homes, the disruption to daily life for Ukrainians living in the shadow of Putin's war.

Not to mention the spike in food and energy costs beyond the theater of war, and these costs all continue to mount. This week, the U.S. pledged nearly $3 billion in additional security aid to Ukraine. This comes as Putin decreed an increase in the size of the Russian military as well. After half a year of war, what would it take to bring to this conflict to a close?

I want to speak now to John Kirby who is the coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council.

Admiral Kirby, thanks so much for taking the time this morning.


SCIUTTO: First let's begin with the state of the war, if we can, a half year in. The U.S. has given its biggest military assistance package so far at $3 billion, and you increasingly hear from Ukrainian officials not just about holding ground, not just about defending territory, but we're seeing them attack behind Russian lines in Crimea, and even talk about gang back territory that has been previously taken by Russian.

In the U.S. view, has the momentum of this conflict fundamentally changed to Ukraine's favor? KIRBY: I think what you're seeing, Jim, is a very kinetic fight along

this entire front, from the Donbass all the way down to the south of Ukraine, near Kherson, and the Ukrainian and Russian forces continue to actually trade territory back and forth. But what you said at the outset is so right. I mean, even from the very first weeks of this war, Ukrainians have not been satisfied to simply defend territory, but to strike behind Russian lines to try to win back some of the territory that the Russians have gained.

And the fight particularly in the Donbass is a one of miles, sometimes it's block by block, where Russian forces will take a certain part of the city, and the Ukrainian forces will take it back. Now the Ukrainians have said, President Zelenskyy has said that they're going to continue to go on the offense where and when they can, and they certainly have shown a proclivity and certainly a capability to do that, armed of course with all the support they're getting from the United States as well as so many other nations.

SCIUTTO: Particularly those HIMARS weapons systems. Putin is certainly not backing down. In fact he announced this week as you know an increase in the overall size of the Russian military by more than 100,000 forces. Is there any indication that the U.S. is observing that Russia, that Putin is making any preparations to pull back or to head to the negotiating table?

KIRBY: We've seen no indications of either, sadly, Jim. In fact, quite the contrary. Everything that Mr. Putin is doing indicates to us that he intends to continue to prosecute this war. You talked about him trying to bolster the size of the army. He's desperate for manpower because he's losing a lot of manpower in this fight. Both killed and wounded. And morale and command and control, unit cohesion is still a problem for Mr. Putin.

So he is making steps to try to make sure that he's got the resources and the assets available to continue to fight this war for the long term. And he has said publicly, in fact, in just the recent few days the Kremlin has said they have to intent of sitting down in good faith with President Zelenskyy.

SCIUTTO: You, the U.S. and others have been paying attention to fighting around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine. Of course Europe's largest. And yesterday, Ukraine said Russia renewed shelling around that plant. Tell me, what is the U.S. view? Is there still a genuine danger of a nuclear accident as a result of this fighting so close to it?

KIRBY: Yes, we're deeply concerned about that. Look, a nuclear power plant is not -- should never be considered a site for combat in an armed conflict. And we believe that maintaining a controlled shutdown process would be the safest course for all. Look, a reactor needs a reliable and redundant power source.


And as we saw earlier this week, Jim, they had to take it off the grid because the power source off site had a fire going on based on a fire caused by some of the shelling back and forth. So without a reliable and redundant power source that can be maintained inside the plant, again, we believe a maintained controlled status would be the appropriate step, and we obviously continue to encourage the Russians to make sure they allow IAEA inspectors in so they can see what the operation of the plant actually looks like.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Plant has never been shut down by a war. I want to move on to a different topic because in the last 24 hours, two U.S. warships transited the Taiwan Strait. Announcement from the Seventh Fleet. What message exactly were these ships sending to China?

KIRBY: Very clear message, very consistent message, Jim. That is that the United States Navy, the United States Military will sail, fly, and operate wherever international law permits us to do so. This Taiwan Strait transit between these two cruisers, this was planned a long ago. In fact about two or three weeks ago, I myself said publicly that while Speaker Pelosi was on the ground in Taiwan, that we would be conducting a Taiwan Strait transit in the next couple of weeks.

This is that transit. Very consistent with our One China policy, very consistent with our desire to make sure that we can continue to work towards a free and open Indo-Pacific. This is consistent with that policy.

SCIUTTO: I want to move on to another topic here and that is the Iran -- ongoing Iran nuclear talks. We've seen Iran pull back on some of their initial demands here. Are the U.S. and Iran closer to a nuclear agreement than they were a week or two ago? Is it moving in a positive direction in your view?

KIRBY: We are certainly closer today than we were about two weeks ago thanks to Iran being willing to concede on a couple of major issues, and so we're still working our way through this. There are still gaps that remain between all sides there. So we're not there yet. We're going to continue to work at this. We did make our response back to the E.U. That is now being looked at by the E.U. and by Iran.

We're obviously hopeful for a positive outcome here because no problem in the Middle East, none, is easier to solve with a nuclear armed Iran, the president still believes diplomacy and return to the dela is the best possible outcome and we're going to keep working on that.

SCIUTTO: Afghanistan, it's been a year since the U.S. left Afghanistan. Currently, the U.S. has frozen some $700 billion in Afghan central bank reserves. The Biden administration, to our knowledge, considering splitting those reserves, in effect, that some going to Afghan humanitarian relief, other to 9/11, the families of 9/11 victims here. Will the administration release some of those reserves to Afghanistan?

KIRBY: Yes, we don't have a decision on that right now, Jim. We're still working through the process there. I would tell you the United States remains the largest humanitarian contributor to Afghanistan through nonprofit organizations, through NGOs, obviously not through the Taliban regime. But we continue to look for ways to alleviate the humanitarian suffering in Afghanistan and we'll do that through international partners.

SCIUTTO: Briefly, before we go, it's a year out as we mentioned. 96 percent of special immigrant visas or SIV Afghans still remain inside the country. Will the U.S. make a commitment to get them out of the country?

KIRBY: Even though the military mission is over, Jim, the mission to continue to get our Afghan allies and partners out of the country and to safety remains. The State Department is working on this very, very hard. They have taken a series of steps to make the process a little bit faster and more efficient. They're working through that. But I can tell you that we are 100 percent committed to getting our Afghan allies and partners out of that country.

SCIUTTO: John Kirby, we appreciate you joining the program this morning.

KIRBY: Yes, sir. Good to be with you.

SCIUTTO: When we come back, more on Russia's dangerous occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine which of course as mentioned it sparked fears of a nuclear disaster. I'm going to speak to a nuclear physicist, former Energy secretary, about it and about those attempts to revive the Iran nuclear deal. That's when we come back.



SCIUTTO: President Zelenskyy said this week that Europe faced a possible, quote, "radiation disaster" when the Russian occupied nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia was disconnected from Ukraine's power grid. It has since been reconnected, but fears are mounting over continued fighting and shelling around that complex.

Meanwhile, Washington and Tehran edged closer to reviving the nuclear agreement. The State Department said Wednesday the U.S. had sent its response to the European Union's latest proposal to try to save that deal. Tehran confirmed it was reviewing Washington's response now.

Let's speak now to the former U.S. Energy secretary Ernest Moniz to discuss it all. Secretary Moniz, a nuclear physicist and was one of the architects of the original Iran deal.

Sir, thanks so much for joining us this morning.


SCIUTTO: I spoke to John Kirby just a couple of minutes ago. He said that the U.S., Iran, and its partners are indeed closer to a deal today than they were a week or two ago. You've been deeply involved in the negotiations going back to 2015. Is that your view? Do you believe that a deal can be resurrected here?

MONIZ: Yes, it does seem that we are closer. I'm not sure what the odds are. There may still be, say, 50-50. But there's no doubt in my view that even though we have lost basically five years since the Obama administration, five valuable years I might say, mainly due to President Trump's very unwise decision to leave the deal in 2018, that even at this time, we and our friends and partners in the Middle East, I believe, would be far better off getting back into the agreement.


In fact, if I could just add to that, Jim, briefly, I would say that, first, in terms of the nuclear restrictions, it's clear that the lost time has been used effectively by Iran to increase their nuclear capacity, but we also should remember that the single most important restriction was the one to a small amount of very low and rich uranium.


MONIZ: And that will be in place until 2031 first. Second, I've been very consistent since 2015 in saying that even more important than the nuclear restrictions are the extraordinary verification measures, the tools we've put in the hands of the international inspectors, getting those back in place, some of which go forever in my view is the most important aspect of getting back into the agreement.

SCIUTTO: John Kerry described that during the negotiations as verify but verify as a way to describe it. I wonder, they have amassed many hundreds of kilograms of enriched uranium. If a deal is reached, how quickly and crucially how reliably would Iran's breakout period to a nuclear weapon be lengthened?

MONIZ: Actually, Jim, they've now accumulated tons of enriched uranium, including uranium enriched to as much as 60 percent, which is very, very close to getting to the weapon grade material that one would need. In terms of the breakout time, defined narrowly as the time it would take to bring together going all out the material for a nuclear weapon, the deal had that at a year or more.

Now we are down to weeks. A restoration of the agreement and full implementation of course by Iran would put that back up to let's just say many, many months, which would be an enormous improvement.

SCIUTTO: OK. As you know, Iran has many other ways of exerting aggression on its partners around the world. We've seen details about a plot to assassinate John Bolton just in recent weeks and months. What is your answer to those who understandably say this will give many billions of dollars of sanctions relief to a state sponsor of terrorism?

MONIZ: Well, first of all, that's the same argument that was used in 2015, and the fundamental issue is, does one or does one not -- and of course, President Obama decided to move forward -- to reach an agreement understanding that they would have additional resource. Now in the meantime, the so-called maximum pressure campaign that President Trump put in place in 2018 withdrawing from the deal had no material effect on their regional adventures, shall we say.

In fact, I think it's easy to argue that the regional issues intensified. They did not go down. Funding does not appear to be frankly the key variable in terms of their ability to do regional mischief.


MONIZ: So they do have a lot of economic needs, and I do want to emphasize, their economic constraints right now are not simply due to the sanctions from the United States, for example, but also due to issues like climate change and drought, result in drought, which are affecting them quite badly.

SCIUTTO: OK. Russia of course was a crucial player in the 2015 deal including taking the bulk of that highly enriched uranium out of the country. Uncertain what role will Russia play in this. Can other partners, but particularly the U.K. and France who have widely developed nuclear programs pick up that slack and take this enriched uranium out of Iran?

MONIZ: Well, first of all, Jim, let me just emphasize that in 2015, 2016 with the agreement, Iran did not have high enriched uranium. It has it now because of Trump's decision in 2018. You are absolutely correct that Russia was instrumental in being able to implement the agreement, taking all of that low enriched uranium out of Russia and in addition some scrap that was difficult to deal with.


MONIZ: If Russia now decides not to cooperate in that way, then I think it would have to come to France and the U.K. in particular who have large nuclear establishments to pick up that role.


Whether Russia would cooperate or not is unclear. First of all, I will note that in 2015, when we reached the agreement, we already had a very, very difficult time with Russia because they had gone into Crimea, for example, in 2014 already, and by 2016 when the deal was implemented, they had started military action in Syria. So we had a very, very difficult time, but Russia nevertheless cooperated.

Today, another unfortunate consequence of the 2018 decision was to push Iran more into the arms if you like of both Russia and China.


MONIZ: That might be the reason why Russia could still cooperate in helping Iran implement the agreement if we go back into it.

SCIUTTO: That would be an interesting dynamic, no question. Former Energy secretary, Ernest Moniz, deeply involved with these talks from the beginning, thanks so much for taking the time this morning.

MONIZ: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Coming up next on GPS, with climate change so evident this summer around the world, it is imperative that we change our ways. One idea, car-free cities. Are they possible? Yes. In fact, some cities are well on their way already. Fareed will be back after the break with a fascinating conversation to help understand this trend.




FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: Consider this, according to "The New York Times," if you were to take all the land in Manhattan dedicated to cars, garages, roads, street side parking, you would have an area nearly four times the size of Central Park. That's on an island where less than a quarter of households own cars and the land able to be developed is valued at more than $1.7 trillion.

Also where taxis crawl across Midtown where children have to cross busy lanes of traffic to get to school, and where even moderate curves on private car congestion have often been met with stiff public resistance. But this is not how it has to be. Many cities in Europe are flirting with banning private cars from the roads, and many more have at least partial bans in place.

There is the obvious reason to combat climate change, but car-free cities are also leading to a better quality of life. Without cars, there's less smell, less noise, more space to walk, to dine outdoors, to play.

Janette Sadik-Khan has long envisioned a future without fewer cars. She served as New York City's Transportation commissioner from 2007 to 2013. Today she advices cities as a principal at Bloomberg Associates.

Janette, welcome. First tell me how much of this is happening because of the pandemic and what is the effect that the pandemic had on cities and urban planning?

JANETTE SADIK-KHAN, FORMER NEW YORK CITY TRANSPORTATION COMMISSIONER: Thanks, Fareed. It's great to be with you. You know, we have learned a lot during the pandemic about what cities do well and not so well. And some of it's troubling and polarizing. But one thing that really emerged as a secret weapon for cities was their streets. In city after city, from Milan to London, Paris, San Francisco, New York City, when offices and stores closed, you know, and people felt like they were trapped inside, cities opened their streets.

And we couldn't cure the coronavirus, but we could do something with our empty streets, and hundreds of cities around the world turned their roadways into shared spaces where people could walk and jog and run errands. And, you know, you take a look at a city like Paris. You know, Mayor Hidalgo converted the Rue de Rivoli into a car-free corridor during the height of the pandemic. And then last year, building on that, announced that she was going to have a $300 million plan to remake the fabled Champs-Elysees and turn it into this extraordinary garden of pedestrian space. And along the way, she reclaimed half of the city's 140,000 parking spaces. And so it's so interesting because people talk about the future of

transportation as driverless cars or drones or flying taxis, and the most inspiring trends that we've seen, you know, before and during and after the pandemic has been the rise of something called the car-free city, you know, which is actually sort of a misnomer because these aren't exactly car-free cities. But what we're seeing people-first districts and cities. So there are still streets and sidewalks and police cars and fire trucks and buses and delivery trucks and people driving.

But what's changed is the design of our streets. They can be used to be more than just moving people from point A to point B as fast as possible as they were designed to like move people quickly from the suburbs to downtown.

ZAKARIA: So paint the picture of the future for us.

SADIK-KHAN: Well, I think what we need to do is be more like neighbors. We need to live together. It's not anti-car. It's really pro-choice and options, you know. We have to make spaces where people want to be and not just drive through. And so the strategies that cities are -- and mayors around the world are embracing are ways to make it possible for people to get around easier on bike, on foot, on bus, and creating spaces that people want to be.

And this has turned into just not like crunchy granola type of strategies. These are actually economic competitiveness strategies because people in companies can move anywhere and they want, in this day and age.


And they want to move to places where it's enjoyable, where you can stop at a bench. So many cities have reclaimed their parking spaces and created benches and spaces for people to walk and sit and, you know, have a cafe con leche.

ZAKARIA: A place like Oslo has tried this too. And for them, part of the issue, the impetus was climate change, right?

SADIK-KHAN: It was. You know, Oslo has been dramatically reducing its parking in its downtown. And basically they -- it's virtually no parking since 2019. They've completely turned down the volume of traffic to the speed of life. You know, you can still get deliveries but the remaining traffic is calmer and it's much less invasive.

And partly as a result of this, Oslo in 2019 became the first major global capital to achieve zero pedestrian deaths and zero cycling deaths. And shops recorded increases in visitors and city after city, what we've seen is that more foot traffic is better for business, and you're seeing that all over the place.

And, I think, what's so interesting is some of these cities, you know, people always point to Copenhagen and Amsterdam, and they are seen as these pedestrian meccas as if they -- they have always been this way, and yet they started reclaiming their streets in, you know, the 1970s. And so it took -- it was over time that they turned into these people- first places. It wasn't just like this magic wand that came in and suddenly the traffic was gone. I think what they've shown is that you can design a city for people rather than cars, and that's really the future of cities.

ZAKARIA: Do you think it will work in Houston or in Seoul, you know, these big modern cities that have just lots of highways, lots of roads, lots of cars, lots of skyscrapers?

SADIK-KHAN: You know, it's really interesting because the chief principal of urban design for the last century has been, you know, moving cars as fast as possible from point A to point B. You see them in design of cities like Houston.

You know, from a bird's eye view, you've just got these towers surrounded by this sea of parking lots. But you're seeing even cities like Houston that are creating these extensive bike networks, that are creating plazas, that are looking to build in much more transit. And so they understand that that's the future of sustainable mobility and that it's not -- you're not going to improve the city by building more and more car lanes and accommodating roads with more and more cars. That's, you know, that's like, you know, looking to solve obesity by loosening your belt. It just doesn't work.

ZAKARIA: Janette, pleasure to have you on. Thank you.

SADIK-KHAN: Thanks so much, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, jobs in the U.S. have come roaring back since the early pandemic. These are real jobs for real human beings. But COVID was supposed to be the beginning of the so-called automation apocalypse. We will explore what happened when we come back.



ZAKARIA: The United States has now recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic with the unemployment rate down to 3.5 percent in July. It's good but confusing news given all the fears that the pandemic would accelerate automation. To help us understand, I talked to Callum Williams, senior economics writer for "The Economist." He recently wrote a terrific article on this very subject.


ZAKARIA: Callum Williams, pleasure to have you on.


ZAKARIA: So tell me, first of all, with the pandemic, everyone said the digital economy has triumphed. You know, we're seeing all this massive digitization. We're seeing people do things using computers that they were never able to do. And this heralded the beginning of artificial intelligence and all that kind of thing. And in that model everyone assumed that you will get more and more computers and robots doing things that human beings were doing. What is the employment data over the last two years, tell us about that story that we were sold?

WILLIAMS: OK. So there's two parts of that. The first part is, you know, was there spending on computers and software and automation and all that stuff, that is definitely yes. If you look at the data spending by firms on software and that kind of thing is just going nuts. So that's definitely true and that happened for a bunch of reasons, the biggest one that people are working from home but other reasons also.

But then the second one, which is really your question is, what was the impact of all that spending on employment? And back in 2020 and last year and even today, you have lots of economists saying this is the moment when the robots are going to take over because all this spending on robots will mean that there will be loads of jobs that people don't need to do anymore. And so, you're going to have high employment and people won't be able to find work.

Now where we actually are in 2022 is that we don't have a job shortage. We have a worker shortage. There's a huge worker shortage across the rich world. Wages are growing very strongly and inflation is taking off. So basically, the story couldn't be more wrong.

ZAKARIA: And what do you think we got wrong? Like what's wrong in that -- because computers are growing. You know, it is clear that the stuff -- they can do lots of things humans can do from, you know, accounting to -- you do see the software replacing what human beings used to do. What did we get wrong?

WILLIAMS: It really underestimates the importance of humans -- human labor in the provision of particularly services. So for instance, there's a -- you know, a really obvious example is like a coffee shop. Now, technology is sufficiently advanced such that we could have entirely robotic coffee shops.


That is theoretically entirely possible. And, indeed, there are some shops across the world which are done entirely by robots and they serve you coffee and it's kind of, OK, it works. But that hasn't happened. In fact, coffee shops employ more people than ever. And I think this is basically because when you go into a coffee shop part of the fun, part of the experience, part of the product that you're buying is the whole interaction with someone both behind the tail but also other people that are working in the coffee shops.

I guess, the other big thing, of course, is that what robots enable people to do, and this is true for literally hundreds of years, is they do enable people to kind of pass off the really boring routine stuff which can then be done machines. And it allows them more time to do the more human stuff, the more difficult stuff that robots can't do alone. ZAKARIA: So that's the really interesting part to me because that's where software really comes in. So when you look at law or accounting, what people have often pointed out is a lot of it is very routine, very -- you know, you searching what they call discovery, and lawyers searching for words and phrases and patterns. And clearly computers can do that, but what it seems like that's -- what's happening is the computer is not replacing the human being, the computer is redirecting the human being to do other things. Is that fair?

WILLIAMS: So jobs are composed of many, many different tasks. You know, when you are a writer or an investor or a journalist or whatever, you're doing a bunch of different things, and robots can do some of those things, but they can't do all of those things. And so I think what we're seeing now is a recognition that it's not about destroying jobs, or not destroying jobs, it's about changing jobs. And the effect this seems to have, although the evidence is still quite preliminary, is that this actually -- this process works to increase the overall level of employment in the economy rather than decrease it.

Look at the countries that have the most robots. That's basically Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. Now those three countries also have extremely low rates of unemployment and have done for a long time.

ZAKARIA: So what about the quality of the jobs? Because, you know, David Autor has done -- the MIT economist has done some work on this and it does seem that your number -- you're right, the jobs increase. But hasn't -- what economists would call -- hasn't labor lost pricing power, by which I mean, the kind of jobs you have -- jobs at a coffee shop, baristas or whatever it is, it's very hard to get sustained rising wages and move up the scale and build a middle class life, et cetera, et cetera.

WILLIAMS: If you look at the U.S. -- look at the average job in the U.S., which is kind of a helpful way of thinking about it. And there's a survey by Gallup that comes out quite frequently and it asks people basically how much do you like your job, like how engaged are you. And it's basically at its highest level of all time. So it's kind of -- it's a bit tricky, I think, to make the narrative on the face of it that robots have had a massive impact on job quality.

I think the same is true of wages. If you look at some of the new researches coming out what actually happens when the robots come along is that people can be more productive. And basically, when you become more productive, i.e., you can get more done in a day, that does eventually feed into higher wages. That is basically why America is so rich now because it's so productive.

ZAKARIA: Callum, this is terrific. Thank you. You've taken it on the new luddites and explained it very well.

WILLIAMS: Thanks, Fareed.


ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana's death I'll talk to the great chronicler of British royal life Tina Brown about the state of the House of Windsor today. Back in a moment.



ZAKARIA: Wednesday will mark 25 years since Princess Diana died after a car crash in a Paris tunnel. Her boys, who walked solemnly behind the casket a quarter century ago, are all grown up now. Of course, Prince William is preparing to be a king some day, and Harry has stepped back from the royal life, shall we say. Meanwhile, Prince Charles is still waiting in the wings as the queen remains on the throne at 96 years old.

Tina Brown has a fascinating book out on all of it, "The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor, the Truth and the Turmoil," and she joins me now. So let me first start by asking you, Diana's death. I remember it vividly and this feeling that almost there was a kind of break in the British body politics psyche, there was an eruption of emotion. What do you think that was all about?

TINA BROWN, AUTHOR, "THE PALACE PAPERS": It was a remarkable moment, as you say, in the British psyche. It was a moment when the connection that Diana had forged, her combination of royal charisma, if you would like, and humanitarian warmth, the way that she reached out to people -- shared her pain, which was an absolutely new thing for any royal to do as we know. It was the moment when you saw for the first time really the stiff upper lip of the English crumble, you know, tremble. And suddenly, you know, people from all walks of life, all age groups were weeping, weeping in the streets of London and indeed all over the world.

ZAKARIA: And yet, you know, there is something that Britons and people around the world seem to admire about that stiff upper lip when I think about the queen who has played this remarkable role of really never revealing anything.

BROWN: That's right. I mean, the queen never explained, never complained. And of course, Diana did depart from that. And in the case of the queen, of course, we know nothing about what she thinks about anything, nothing. Seventy years on the throne, not a clue what she thinks. She's inscrutable and she has actually perfected the art of allowing anyone to project what they want on her.


We can all look at her and think she's upset, she's amused, she's pleased. I mean, you know, the famous boot face at the weddings which always makes me laugh. And everyone else at weddings is crying or looking -- you know, oh, it's so sweet. She is 100 percent inscrutable and that is the way she has always been.

ZAKARIA: But it must take incredible discipline to do that. Because, as you say, not only do we not know anything about what she thinks about anything, and these are big state matters, personalities, we never will. There will never be a memoir written by this woman that -- who have been at the center of international life. And it's kind of -- it's so different from our modern age where even people who seem inscrutable like a president you know within five years you're going to get a memoir that tells you everything. With her there's never going to be anything.

BROWN: Well, she has had this remarkable self discipline and she always has actually. I mean, you know, right from her earliest girlhood the queen was always noted to be, you know, remarkably composed, remarkably serious minded. She had absorbed the whole concept of duty and of reserve from her father, King George VI, and has never really heard from it at all.

And, of course, what was hard for the queen when Diana died was suddenly she was required to be something else. She had always all her life followed this creed of composure and reserve. And all of a sudden she was being asked to emote. She said the British people all of a sudden wanted her to be crying, wanted her to say I'm so upset about the death of my daughter. That's not what the queen can do. And that was really the only time that she put a foot wrong, in a sense, with her people because that's what they wanted at that particular moment.

ZAKARIA: With this backdrop what do you think of what the Sussexes have done, you know, Harry and Meghan?

BROWN: Well, they've gone in completely the other direction. Now they're all about emotion all the time, you know? And, of course, the Oprah interview stunned and -- you know, and absolutely floored the royal family. In a way, it was almost more puzzling and traumatic for them than Diana's famous interview, you know, with Martin Bashir because they almost come to expect from Diana these kinds of news bombs and revealing of herself by that time.

But, in this case, I think the puzzle was like, why, why are they -- why are they doing this? And I think that it actually -- I think there was a possibility for them to build a bridge, you know, with the family after they left. But the Oprah interview seemed like a hand grenade into the House of Windsor that they still haven't really recovered from.

ZAKARIA: And it seemed to me was sort of like -- there was a fundamental break with the business model, if you will, of the royal family. As I have understood it, you know, if you're a member of the British royal family, you get enormous respect, dignity, world-wide publicity acclaim, but you behave in a certain way, and you don't monetize the brand. That really is frowned upon. And what -- Harry it seemed almost like he suddenly realized, wait a minute, why do I have to live off the scraps that, you know, Charles gives me? I can do a Netflix deal.

BROWN: Right. And in many ways -- I mean, a lot of people that I spoke to almost felt it was always going to happen that Harry would leave. He just couldn't figure out a way to do it. And what Meghan gave him, of course, was a way out.

ZAKARIA: And where does Prince Charles, presumably to become king, where does he fit into all of this?

BROWN: Well, Charles has been the man who waited, you know, in the anteroom of his destiny for the last, you know, 50 years and has waited and waited and waited. So he's felt tremendous frustration in his own life, but he has hung on and now he glimpses it. And you saw when he had to open parliament recently when the queen was too ill to do --- to unwell to do so it was almost like melancholy occasion. It was almost like here he is, still not king, kind of almost looking forlornly at the crown on a cushion.

Opening parliament once again for his mother, it was like when is he going to be able to step into his destiny? Will he still, you know, have any years left? So he's waiting patiently.

I actually think he will be a pretty good transitional monarch. It won't be a long reign but, you know, he will be a good convening king, I think, you know?

ZAKARIA: And it does feel though that this issue and in the age -- in an age we live in of the super wealth, the issue of money, you know, somehow still sneaks its way around with the royal family, because at the end of the day other than the queen and her state wealth, they're not actually that well off. And so you see Andrew doing a lot of what he did, hobnobbing with rich people. You see Prince Charles trying to fund raise from Middle Eastern guys and taking cash and bags.

BROWN: It's a very vexatious issue for them all. They are more and more exposed to what money could bring them.


It's like -- it's like a mirage. You know, it actually does sort of lead them astray in a sense because they have to figure out other ways to get it, and usually that is something that gets them into trouble. It's like mixing with the wrong people or doing some kind of deal that when it comes public it's not attractive in any way. And, of course, with Andrew, it totally, you know, sent him off the reservation and ended up, you know, in the thralls of Jeffrey Epstein.

So it is actually a vexatious matter. And I think you're going to see in William and Kate's era, I feel, very much that the younger children are going to be saying, OK, go -- go forth, you know, God be with you, don't feel you have to be royal in any way. It's for the heir. If the heir doesn't want to do it, we have to ask the next one.

But I don't think that you're going to have this imprisonment, essentially, of the younger royals where actually their fate is to be -- behave as perfectly as the monarch but at the same time have none of the, frankly, the perks or the income or the -- you know, the status.

ZAKARIA: This is such a -- such a great book, such a great conversation. I could go on forever, but maybe the next book will be of Charles, the man who would be king. Tina Brown, pleasure to have you on.

BROWN: Thank you, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: And thanks to all of you for being a part of my program this week. I will see you next week.