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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Interview with HBO Host Bill Maher; The Race To Save The Planet; Right-Wing Populism Loses Out To The Left; Brazil Lurches Left As Lula Reclaims Presidency; Interview With Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired November 06, 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.


ZAKARIA (voice-over): Today on the program, election day in America is almost upon us.


ZAKARIA: At stake, control of Congress.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a choice between two vastly different between two vastly different visions for America.

ZAKARIA: Will the Democrats lose their slim majority? I will talk to Bill Maher about what Tuesday's results will mean for the next two years.

Then the U.N.'s annual climate conference began today in Egypt. A damning new report tells us the world won't come close to meeting its temperature target for the end of the century. But in all the gloom, there is some good news about climate action. I will talk to an expert.

And left-wing populism beat out right-wing populism in Brazil last weekend, but can Lula succeed in getting the economy to grow and the country to come together when he comes to power? We'll explore.


ZAKARIA: But first, here's my take. As an immigrant to America who's traveled a great deal around the world, I've always been certain that America was the best place for people like me. People who look different with brown skin and a strange name. I remember coming to America as a college student and feeling the openness and generosity of a country born of and made by immigrants. When visiting Britain around the same time, I could sense that I was

treated politely but as an outsider. But in 2019, a tweet from Britain's then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, caught my eye. "Britain is the most successful multiracial democracy in the world." He tweeted something similar last week after the appointment of Rishi Sunak as prime minister of Great Britain.

So I spent some time looking at the data. The Migrant Integration Policy Index measures policy to integrate migrants in dozens of countries around the world. As of 2019 the U.S. is in the top 10, but in the bottom half. In general, in recent years, the average country study has improved its score by two points. The United States, on the other hand, has retreated by two points.

The story is largely one of the rise of the West. Countries like Canada and New Zealand have long been welcoming to immigrants, but have gotten even better. And any would-be immigrant with technical skills and strong academic standing knows it is easier now to get a green card equivalent in Canada or Britain or Ireland or Sweden than in America.

And since the Trump crackdown in every area of immigration. From business visas to work permits, the experience has become even more hellish and demeaning for people trying to come into the United States. Others have also become far more tolerant. If you look at a recent Pew survey on attitudes toward national identity, you see that major European countries are becoming more tolerant and inclusive.

The percentages who say that to truly belong you need to be born in that country is about the same in Britain, France, Germany and the United States now. And those who say you must be Christian make up 14 percent in France, 20 percent in Britain, 23 percent in Germany, and a higher 35 percent in America.

Britain did not score as high on the Migrant Integration Policy Index as America, but the more you observe the day-to-day reality, Sajid Javid's comments do not look like an empty boast, though Canada likely does better than the United States or the United Kingdom on any objective set of measures.

When Boris Johnson resigned, of the eight candidates who came forward to replace him, four were members of ethnic minorities -- Rishi Sunik, Suella Braverman, Kemi Badenoch and Nadhim Zahawi. And not one, unlike, say, Bobby Jindal or Nikki Haley, has converted to Christianity. Sunak took his oath of office on the Bhagavad Gita, and lit Diwali lamps at his Downing Street residence.

The Tory Party, the party of the old English aristocracy, has had an explosion of diversity.


In contrast, about 90 percent of Republicans in Congress are white and virtually all the Republicans are Christian. Much of the credit here should go to Dave Cameron, the conservative prime minister who took it upon himself to make his party more open to minorities of all kinds, including sexual minorities. Once the party put out the welcome mat, it should not have come as a surprise that so many migrants proved to be national Tories.

After all the Indian community in Britain is socially conservative, often with an entrepreneurial streak including an aversion to high taxes. The same is true of Indian Americans, but because the Republican Party so powerfully signals its embrace of white, racialist politics, it turns off many minorities who would agree with them on most issues. It's also worth noting that Britain does not have affirmative action policies, which might explain why there is less resentment toward minorities who have succeeded there.

America has had distinct advantages compared to other countries that have allowed it to thrive -- an open market, business friendly policies. But many of these have been copied by other countries.

I've always believed that being truly welcoming to immigrants was America's last and greatest competitive advantage. It does appear that now, even there, others are catching up or even beating the United States of America at a game that it invented.

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

Let's get right to the main event today. My interview with Bill Maher, he is a comedian and a talk show host, and also in my mind one of the most astute political observers of this era. Maher is the host of "Real Time" on HBO and HBO Max. HBO and CNN are of course both part of Warner Brothers Discovery.

I was a guest on his show on Friday night, then turned the cameras around on him.


ZAKARIA: Bill Maher, welcome to the show.

BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME" ON HBO: Great to be here as always.

ZAKARIA: So your final commentary, "The New Rules" on your Friday show.

MAHER: You were there.

ZAKARIA: You talked about something that I think is very important, which is why does the American electorate not seem to realize that in some very important sense democracy is on the ballot in the sense that you have these very large numbers, hundreds of Republican candidates, who are saying that the last election was fraudulent, who seemed determined to say things like we're going to make sure the Republicans always win. Why is this not a bigger issue?

MAHER: Well, it's definitely going to happen, first of all. It's not a bigger issue because you can't convince people that they're going to miss something that they never knew they had to begin with. We stopped teaching history, we stopped teaching civics in this country a long time ago. People have no idea about checks and balances. A lot of them. They have polling this. You know, there's three branches of government. There's three? OK, great, what are they?

So it's very hard to scare people about something they don't know exists to begin with. And people live day-to-day, crime, inflation, that's the kind of stuff that, you know, the price at the pump and all that. I get it. It's important stuff. And all the woke stuff that they don't like that's driving people away from the Democratic Party. This is just too abstract. And again, we just didn't prepare people when they were young to understand what democracy is.

ZAKARIA: And it feels like it's happening around the world, though. I mean, in Brazil, they had this election and yes, Lula won. But by one percentage point. Or as you look here, I'm struck by how can it be that Herschel Walker is tied with Warnock? I mean --

MAHER: Right. Well, I did a whole thing about it a couple of weeks ago. I think what it is, is that the worst the candidate is on the Republican side, and he's -- you know, in the same vein as Trump himself, who, you know, obviously stole from charities, had a fake university, made fun of the handicapped, had sex with porn stars when his wife was nursing their -- I mean, just horrible things.

And that guy in Alabama, Judge Roy Moore who used to go to the mall and the -- I mean, it's just -- the worse a candidate is, I think the more it says to a certain kind of voter, let us show you how much we don't like what you're selling. We will vote for anybody who doesn't have a D by their name because we just don't like your socialism, your identity politics, your sort of weird loathing, self-loathing for being white, you know, which is not really helping minorities or anything.


It's just sort of a kink, I think. Some of the stuff that goes on in the schools, trying to get kids who are way too young to appreciate ideas about race and gender that should come later in life. I've been saying it for years, you know, the Democrats just, to a lot of people, strike them as the party of no common sense. And, you know, I think you said it on my show Friday night, if you don't -- if you can't get common sense across to people, they're not going to believe you economically.

ZAKARIA: What about abortion? That has surprised me. The degree to which I thought that this was a social issue which would help Democrats.

MAHER: Me too. I'm surprised about it, too. I guess part of it is that people are just very quickly got used to the idea that we're going to live in a country where it's legal some places and not others. I mean, there are medical tourists that go on all the time in the world. I mean, if you're -- you need a gallbladder operation and you're in Riyadh, you go to Cleveland. You know, it's not -- people go to Canada all the time.

They go -- so I guess they just kind of absorb that very quickly. Like oh, if I need an abortion, it is kind of a big operation. I'll go to California. And they just took that in. And these other issues went to the floor. And also maybe they got it through their heads. You know, you can prevent pregnancy.


MAHER: You know what I mean. Look, I'm pro-choice. But, you know, you can. And I guess they just figure they will be a little more safe or go out of state or something that it was not an inseparable problem.

ZAKARIA: It also seems like, you know, we've known this, at the end of the day with the social issues, it always nets out to the Republicans. In other words, the intensity of feeling seems to be greater on the pro-life side. Yes, a lot of people are pro-choice. But is it the single issue on which you will vote? That it seems to motivate more people on the right than the left.

MAHER: It's interesting. They used to say that the electorate was really economically conservative and socially liberal. It might be the opposite, like economically, they want the free money. They want the handouts. They're actually economically quite liberal, as in give me my goodies. And socially, a little more conservative.

ZAKARIA: You're absolutely right. Because think about what has happened to the parties, right. The Republican Party has moved left on economics. Doling out money the days of balanced budgets are long gone. And that's been fine and easy to do. The Democratic Party has more difficulty moving right on culture, getting to a centrist position, right. They're pandering to their liberal groups.


ZAKARIA: And that's why the Republicans do a bit better because they have been able to move very easily to where the public is.

MAHER: I mean, Biden had the TikTokers into his office about a week ago as kind of a Hail Mary I guess with this election, and that, you know, generation doesn't vote very much. But, you know, if they do, they think they're going to vote Democratic. And he went all in on gender reconstructive surgery which, you know, that generation thinks is kind of the civil rights movement of their time.

But you know, for the people who I've tried to convince that Biden is a centrist, I kind of get it when they see something like that and they say, what do you mean Biden is a centrist? Here he is going all in on this issue. He just completely sold out. And I say sold out because America is kind of an outlier on this issue now. I mean, the U.K., Sweden, lots of countries are saying of course we're liberal places just as I am, just as this country. We believe trans is a real thing, we're just sawing that.

We're just saying whoa, whoa, whoa. I think the U.K. put it in words and say some of this stuff is trendy. You know, teenagers can be trendy. It can't be that -- I made this point that you can't have it that, like for some reason, it's just so much more popular in liberal areas. Why would it be regional if it's a biological issue? Just to stop and ask this question or questions like this without

being called phobic. And if he had just done a kind of a Sister Souljah thing there and said, look, I'm a liberal guy. I believe trans is a real thing and people should have the full respect and dignity of anybody else in this country. But can we just pump the brakes a little on this issue? I think he would have done himself a lot of good. But it just not in him.

ZAKARIA: Do you think it's not in him or he's reading the electorate? Because the thing that strikes me strange about Joe Biden is, you remember when Obama picks him, Obama was picking him a little bit to balance the ticket to the right. In other words, Obama was seen as this -- you know.

MAHER: Correct.

ZAKARIA: This black maybe --


MAHER: He was seen as black, period. That's the reason why.


ZAKARIA: And also people thought he was, you know, very liberal. And --

MAHER: Not if they listen to him.

ZAKARIA: But -- and Joe Biden was this traditional white. Now he's clearly on policies to the left of Obama.

MAHER: Yes. Because the party moved there and he doesn't want to go against what he sees as the base. And you know, I just think that's -- the Democrats are going to find out that that was not a great strategy.


ZAKARIA: Next on GPS --


MAHER: What happens in 2024 is Trump is going to try the coup. He tried in 2020, which was plainly an attempted coup, there's no other way to look at it. But this time he's going to have in place this army of deniers who will support him, and he is going to show up, I promise you.


ZAKARIA: Much more of my interview with Bill Maher after the break.


[10:20:08] ZAKARIA: Back now with more of my interview with Bill Maher, host of HBO's "Real Time," as well as the podcast "Club Random."


ZAKARIA: Let's talk about all this cancel culture and stuff that you've been writing a lot about. What I want to ask you is it particularly troubling issue for you as a comedian? Because I mean, at some level, isn't every joke in some way offensive if -- you're trying to --


MAHER: I mean, absolutely not for every comedian. Most comedians don't go anything that's offensive. It's just not the way they work. It's just not -- it's not that kind of material that interests them. They're talking about other things. Me, yes. This is obviously has always been an issue with me. And it's -- but it's not just people in show business. It's not just famous people any more who worry about cancel culture.

There are a lot of people, I don't know, going through their high school yearbook like oh, my god, did I wear a sombrero or a bra or something? I mean, lots of regular people have been cancelled for things, you know, some guy says, I don't know, just something he thinks is innocuous. He doesn't know. He's saying well, white lives matter, too, and he doesn't quite understand, he's not of that generation, why we want a particular focus, because black lives have always been more at peril.

There's a reason why that was a saying and became an organization, and he gets cancelled and nobody just (INAUDIBLE) hey, hey, this, this, this, and you might have went, oh, OK, I get it. No, you're just gone. That's what -- people are just very tired of walking on egg shells in this country. That is something the Democrats are also fighting in this election. People don't like it.

And, you know, this is also part of why Elon Musk taking over Twitter is just such an enormous controversy with so many people. And 99 percent of Twitter employees voted Democratic. Even if you're a Democrat, you shouldn't think that's a good thing. To have a major, what really is a news organization, because people get their news in there, but some place where the entire organization thinks one way. That's the very definition of group think.

ZAKARIA: Part of the problem is, we are sorting ourselves into these two tribes. And it feels like college education and urban-rural are the two big dividers. Maybe religion would be the third. So you get these urban, college educated, secular people on one side, and you get rural, more religious, less college education. And there's just so much tribal suspicion, hostility, you know, it feels as if it's not really about issues any more. You know, it's --

MAHER: No. I keep trying to tell people who, you know, don't even want to breathe the same air as a Trump voter. Like you can hate Trump. You can't hate all the people who voted for him. It's half the country. And on top of that, I really believe, I've always believed, being conservative is a personality trait before it's a political position. It's just something that's very innate.

You know, think of some uncle you had. He was a great guy, you loved him, but he was just a -- it was just in his blood, like some people are neat and some people are messy, and some people are adventurers and some people who are cautious. It's just a persona -- and then the politics comes in. Some of it has to do with way and where you live and the way you were brought up, and stuff like that.

But. I mean, there are just people who are conservative and you're going to have to live with them. You can't own them or destroy them. They're not going to self-deport and they're about to take over the government and they're not going to give it back.

ZAKARIA: So what is going to happen? Let's assume both Houses go Republicans.

MAHER: Well, this is what I was saying at the end of my show on Friday. I thought the audience was stunned as they should be. But they shouldn't be. This has been going on for a long time. And I've been saying it for a long time. Yes, I mean, unless there's a -- an oddity with the polling, it's going to be a very good day for the Republicans.

As we both have mentioned, the majority of Republicans running for Congress, for Senate, for House, and for statehouses, the people who are going to decide who is the president in 2024 are election deniers. They don't believe in this crazy idea that the guy with the most votes wins. So what happens in 2024 is Trump is going to try the coup he tried in 2020, which was plainly an attempted coup, there's no other way to look at it.

But this time he's going to have in place this army of deniers who will support him and he is going to show up, I promise you. I will bet every money -- bit of money that I have, he will show up at inauguration day on 2025 whether he's the winner or not.


And then we'll see what happens and then we'll see how much we look like other countries that we thought that could never happen to us. Yes, it could. Yes, it could.

ZAKARIA: And he may have thousands of people with arms.

MAHER: As we hid on January 6th. Do you think they're going to stay home now that this has happened again and they have all these people in place that are on their side? Oh, no, my friend, it's going to be very interesting.

ZAKARIA: On that cheery note, Bill Maher --

MAHER: I wish I had better news to report. But you asked me.

ZAKARIA: Thank you for doing this.

MAHER: All right. My pleasure. Always.


ZAKARIA: Thanks again to Bill Maher. If you want to see him live he'll be at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 12th.

Next on GPS, climate change is back atop the headlines, thanks to the U.N.'s Annual Climate Conference which started today in Egypt. And a damning report about how much the planet is likely to warm. We'll help you make sense of it all when we come back.



ZAKARIA: A new report from the U.N. says temperatures will likely rise by 2.8 degrees Celsius, or 5 degrees Fahrenheit, by the end of the century, if current policies don't change. That's well above the Paris Agreement goal of keeping warming below about 3.6 degrees, ideally 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The report came ahead of the U.N. climate conference called COP 27 which began today in Egypt.

Joining me to talk about all of this with some surprising good news is Katharine Hayhoe. She is a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, and author of "Saving Us: A Climate Scientist's Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World."

Katharine, thank you so much for joining us. And I want to start with -- it is a sort of good news, which is the context of all this that you are often so good at reminding us of. So, where were we 20 years ago when people began to think seriously about climate change? What were the predictions then?

KATHARINE HAYHOE, CHIEF SCIENTIST, THE NATURE CONSERVANCY: Twenty years ago, we were on a path to at least a four degree Celsius warmer world by the end of the century. And the consequences of that much warming that fast are almost unimaginable, both for human civilization, as well as many of the other living things that share this planet with us.

It was estimated that 30 percent of the world's species would go extinct and we would not be able to function, our water, our food, our agriculture, our infrastructure systems with that much change in many places around the world. So today, we are still heading for 2.8, and that is still too high, but it is a lot less than we were heading for 20 years ago.

ZAKARIA: And what have been the major contributors to this -- to this decline from where the project projection was? People -- we have begun a transition to greener energy, right?

HAYHOE: It has begun. As of this year, there are more people around the world working in the clean energy sector than in the fossil fuel sector. We already see transitions in place like the state of Texas, where I live, where over a third of our electricity so far this year has been coming from clean energy. But there's no one thing that's done it. Rather, every country is doing something different.

So Norway leads the world in electric vehicle adoption. And they have a target of cutting their emissions 55 percent. The E.U. has a REpowerEU Plan, where they're increasing the share of renewables in their power grid. Chile just passed an energy efficiency law. Canada has a price on carbon. The United States, of course, now has the Inflation Reduction Act. So there are many different actions happening all around the world, but all of these add up now to a 2.8 degree warmer world by end of century rather than above four.

ZAKARIA: One of the things you have often pointed out is it's not just that we need to do more to reduce emissions. We're also going to have to take out carbon dioxide from the atmosphere because there's already so much up there. There's already so many greenhouse gases up there that in a sense that is baked into the system unless we take it out. So, how does one take it out other than planting trees, and are we making any progress?

HAYHOE: Mm-hmm. Well, that's exactly what we have to do. The metaphor I use is a swimming pool. If you think of the atmosphere as a swimming pool, we have natural levels of carbon in the atmosphere that keep us just the perfect temperature for life. But at the beginning of the industrial revolution, we stuck a giant hose into the swimming pool, and that level of water has been going up faster and faster every year.

So, we have to turn off the hose, but our swimming pool also has a drain, and that drain is nature based climate solutions. If we can invest in nature to take that carbon out of the atmosphere where we have too much of it and put it back in soils and ecosystems where we want it, that is a massive climate solution that the Nature Conservancy, who I serve as chief scientist, has calculated could take up up to 37 percent of our carbon emissions through putting them back in nature.

And, of course, it includes tree planting but it includes a lot more than that. Restoring and protecting degraded ecosystems, restoring and protecting coastlands -- coastal wetlands, peatlands and grasslands and more. And then, I love the smart agricultural solutions, like cover crops and regenerative agriculture where you put that carbon back in the soil where it helps to grow more food rather, again, than the atmosphere where we have too much of it.


ZAKARIA: One of the things you talked about was climate inequality. It feels like that's one of the reasons this meeting is being held in Egypt, on the African continent, right?

HAYHOE: It absolutely is. When we look at which countries are responsible for all of the heat trapping gases or most of the heat trapping gases that are causing this problem and we look at the countries that are most vulnerable to the impacts, it's almost completely the opposite. The 50 percent poorest people in the world, according to an Oxfam study, have produced 7 percent of the heat trapping gas emissions that are causing climate to change.

Yet when you look at a list of which countries are most exposed to the stronger storms, the more intense droughts, the stronger heat waves and floods that are happening as a result of climate change, we get the top of that list are countries like Malawi, Mozambique, Bangladesh, Pakistan. Not the countries like the United States, Canada, the E.U., the U.K. and others who have done the most to contribute to the problem historically.

ZAKARIA: Boy. Words of wisdom. Katharine Hayhoe, always a pleasure to have you on.

HAYHOE: Likewise. Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, the Brazilian politician known as Lula went from blue collar work to the presidency to prison, and now he is headed back to the presidency. What will he do with Latin America's largest economy this time? That story in a moment.



ZAKARIA: Brazil's presidential election pitted far right against firebrand left and the left one out last weekend when Luis Inacio Lula da Silva beats sitting President Jair Bolsonaro by a margin of 1.8 percentage points. Lula, as he is known, is set to govern Latin America's most populous country and biggest economy for a third term. He was previously president from 2003 to 2010.

Joining me now is Shannon O'Neil, senior fellow for Latin American Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of "The Globalization Myth: Why Regions Matter." Shannon, let me ask you about Lula. How should we think about this?

This is a guy who had a very successful run as president, was more moderate in many ways than people feared. But then presided over really perhaps the largest corruption scandal in the world, and is now back out of prison back into the presidency. What are you expecting?

SHANNON O'NEIL, SENIOR FELLOW FOR LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, I expected Lula 3.0 since this will be his third term to be economically pragmatic, in part because of his inclination, in part because of the team he seems to be assembling around him is fairly centrist. And also because of the politics and economic constraints he is going to face in Brazil.

This is a Brazil that has been hit hard by the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives, businesses went out of business. So we're seeing a Brazil just recovering economically. And what we also saw in this election is that the conservative side of the political spectrum won many of the seats in the Congress.

So he's going to be working with a more conservative Congress than he did the last time around. So overall, I think, on the economic side, we're going to see a fairly pragmatic and centrist Lula administration.

ZAKARIA: And what about the society and polarization? Because in some ways, Bolsonaro managed to take advantage of, you know, things that have been growing in Brazil, the evangelical movement, a growing kind of social conservatism, a kind of backlash against excessive social liberalism maybe.

Is the society very divided? And is there anything Lula can do that will kind of bring it back together?

O'NEIL: We have seen it be very decided in the last couple of weeks of the campaign where some of the ugliest, not just in Brazil but I would say around the world with accusations implying (ph) pedophilia, even cannibalism. And Lula actually in his concession -- or in his acceptance speech said, you know, I am going to be -- let's bring Brazil together. There are not two Brazils -- there are two Brazils unfortunately. But he has already trying to find that center on the social sides of things.

And I do think we are going to see that in his cabinet, in the kinds of policies he puts forward. It's going to be more incremental and we're going to see him try to reform the center. But that polarization is still there. In fact, we've seen it this last week in Brazil with truckers and others blocking the roads and many protests appearing. So it will be a huge challenge for his administration.

ZAKARIA: One of the big differences that people are expecting is that Bolsonaro was frankly seemed totally unconcerned about climate change, was more than happy to continue deforesting the Amazon, all that kind of thing. And Lula has criticized that and promised to change.

But there is a fundamental problem. Brazil is a huge agricultural exporter. A lot of that -- a lot the kind of policies that have made it hard to achieve climate goals are stuff that helps Brazil's economy.

O'NEIL: I think this is actually one of the biggest changes we're going to see between the Bolsonaro and the Lula regime. It's a sea change on environmental policy, on climate change, on deforestation. And, yes, Brazil depends on these exports, but Brazil is becoming an international pariah on these issues. Many investors have pulled out because of the deforestation, European investors and others with ESG goals.


We've seen companies who would no longer source from Brazil because they were worried the beef they were buying or the leather came from deforested placed. So, Lula has a chance, actually, to bring back the international community, to bring back billions of international dollars that are going to go to green transition investments or to buying many of these agricultural products that were shying away. So I think this could be a good thing for Brazil, and for those farmers and ranchers in ways that they haven't quite accepted yet.

ZAKARIA: Lula represents in a way the final movement of a really powerful left-wing swing that has taken place in Latin America where almost every election that's taken place in the last few years the governments have moved left. Does he have the opportunity here to demonstrate that you don't have to go from kind of crazy right-wing populism to crazy left-wing populism, that there is a way for a left of center government to cohere and to run the economy? Will people in other countries in Latin America view Lula and Brazil as a kind of an important role model?

O'NEIL: Lula's administration is going to be a bellwether for this. And Lula is a democratic left, small "d" democrat, and that he believes in democracy. In fact, he ran on keeping democracy in Brazil. He has fellow travelers in that throughout south America and other parts of Latin America.

We see lots of lefts in Latin America. We see a Democratic progressive left. We see a more authoritarian left. We see some dictatorships who pretend that they're left.

But Lula really could take the mantle here. And so, while he will change Brazil's view on the broader international stage, in the spaces of climate change and the like, he also has an opportunity here to bring the region together, to lead with other like-minded, progressive leftist leaders who believe in democracy and try to do exactly what you said, to deliver goods, to deliver services, to make democracy work for the average Latin America in these countries.

So, it an opportunity. If he's unable to deliver it then I would expect more fringe populist leaders, whether from the right or the left. But he looks to, at least in the beginning, and the things he's saying and the people he looks to be appointing, he looks to try to go down this middle road in ways that will be helpful for Brazil and helpful for democracy throughout Latin America.

ZAKARIA: So maybe the center will hold, at least in Latin America, if not in America itself. Shannon O'Neil, pleasure.

O'NEIL: My pleasure.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, Bibi Netanyahu is expected to return to power as Israel's prime minister. But major questions are being raised about his coalition partners. I asked him about just those concerns, and we'll have those answers back in a moment.



ZAKARIA: When Benjamin Netanyahu was on the show two weeks ago, he was hoping to be prime minister again. With this week's elections, his wish appears to be coming true. Sitting Prime Minister Yair Lapid called Bibi to congratulate him on his victory.

But major concerns are being raised about just whom will make up Netanyahu's ruling coalition. I asked him just those questions in my recent interview. I want to bring you those questions and answers now.


ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about your election, your potential election. There are reports that you would align yourself with a couple of members of parliament, potentially members of the Knesset, who are very right wing, religious nationalists, one of whom comes out of the party of Meir Kahane who -- that group had something to do with the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, was banned in the Knesset itself, was on a terrorist list for the United States. Would you legitimize a person like that, by asking him to join your government or do you even support it?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Well, first of all, you know, politics is, first of all, a question of alternatives. The alternative government has right now Muslim Brotherhood party. That's the alternative between my government, potential government and theirs. They have the Muslim Brotherhood party which supports terrorists openly, which also calls for the destruction of Israel. It's amazing that -- what no labor government, no left government in Israel would do, the current government has done.

ZAKARIA: But does that justify -- would that justify your including somebody who has been regarded as a terrorist by the U.S. government?

NETANYAHU: I'll get -- I'll get to that. I'll get to that. No, I'll get to that. I wouldn't support anyone who's branded a terrorist, and that's not what is at stake. But the people that I'm talking about -- I decide the policy. I have 30 some seats. They have much less than that. And ultimately, I've had such partners in the past, and they didn't change an iota of my policies.

I decide the policy with my party, which is the largest party by far in the country. And we are a center right party and a responsible party. But we are not going to adopt norms that -- for the government that we don't agree with. And some of these things I don't agree with, so they won't happen.

ZAKARIA: You talk in your book about the charges, you know, being levied against you, the court cases and such. The leader of Religious Zionism, one of these right wing parties, has come out with a proposed legal reform, which do seem like they would undercut judicial independence in Israel. Do you support those, given that it does seem like it is in some way -- in some way you have a stake in this?

NETANYAHU: No, you know, first of all, I wouldn't do anything that affects me. I think my trial is unraveling as it is. It's -- the fact that it doesn't appear in the elections tells you something, because I happily -- information came out, and I think the charges are ridiculous. But it's not important.

There's a legal process. It will go through its completion. But more importantly, these suggestions again do not oblige me.


I believe I'm -- you know, Fareed, if I have to describe my political philosophy, I'm a 19th century democrat with a small "d." And I believe that the principles that Locke and Montesquieu put forward, namely that you have to have a balance between the three branches of government, that's important.

In Israel, you have to address some of that imbalance, because it's different from most other parliamentary democracies. It's been thrown into -- a little out of kilter, but you don't have to -- you don't destroy one of these nodes of the triangle, because then you're really out of balance. So I will -- whatever we do in judicial reform will be very measured and very responsible, and my record shows that.


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