Return to Transcripts main page
Fareed Zakaria GPS
Russia's War in Ukraine Grinds On; America's Looming Debt Ceiling Crisis; Interview With Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan; Why Populism Is Popular Around The World. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired May 21, 2023 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN ANCHOR: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SCARE. 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: Today on the program, President Biden just finished an important round of meetings with world leaders in Japan as the debt ceiling drama continues back home in Washington. We'll talk about all that, plus Ukraine's coming counteroffensive and much more with a smart panel just back from Kyiv.
Also, Pakistan is on edge after its former prime minister Imran Khan was arrested and released last week. Now he fears for his life, and he will join me for his side of the story.
ZAKARIA: But first here's my take.
Many of us had high hopes for Turkey's recent general election, believing that a flat-out victory for the opposition could mark a break with the worldwide trend toward illiberal democracy. But perhaps we were all misguided, seduced by the lure of free elections and trusting ultimately in the will of the people.
In fact, what happened in Turkey last week highlights the latest and most disturbing trend in the rise of illiberal democracy. While incumbent president Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not outright win reelection last weekend, the results were sort of a victory for him all the same.
He did better than the polls predicted and came out well ahead of his main opponent leaving him highly likely to win in the runoff scheduled for May 28th.
This is stunning given that Turkey is a country in economic catastrophe with sky high inflation. The vote also took place just months after an earthquake in which the government performed miserably. Consider, though, the backdrop to these elections. Erdogan was up against Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the opposition candidate, a colorless bureaucrat without much charisma or eloquence. But the opposition had little alternative. The president had already
eliminated from the field perhaps the most powerful potential candidate against him, Ekrem Imamoglu, the charismatic politician from the same party as Kilicdaroglu, who was on a winning streak.
In 2019, Imamoglu handily won the election for Istanbul mayor, a pivotal position that was Erdogan's own path to power. But Erdogan's party on the flimsiest grounds claimed fraud and the electoral council ordered a fresh round of voting.
Imamoglu then won the second election by a larger margin so then Imamoglu was charged with insulting public officials over the incident and was tried by a judiciary which has been widely described as backed with ruling party loyalists.
Sure enough, last December a court barred Imamoglu from politics and sentenced him to prison for almost three years. The decision is under appeal but in the meantime Imamoglu was prevented from running for the presidency.
Turkey's political playing field is massively tilted in favor of Erdogan. The state lavishes funds on his supporters and the country's media is slavishly pro-government. Most of Turkey's major media properties have been bought by business people that are supporters of Erdogan.
The largest business group that maintained its distance from the president found itself mysteriously facing massive charges of tax fraud and ultimately sold its media holdings to a more compliant owner.
State television, the country's main source of broadcast news, relentlessly extols the virtues of Erdogan and his party and trumpets the achievements of the government. In April, state TV spent 32 hours on coverage of Erdogan versus 32 minutes for his opponent.
Of all democracies, Turkey imprisons the most journalists. The Turkish government initiated more than 30,000 cases for the offense of insulting the president. That's just in the year 2020. Erdogan's government has systematically taken over ostensibly independent institutions including courts and the body controlling elections.
If the May 28 election turns out to be close and the opposition candidate comes out ahead, you can be sure that Erdogan will appeal and that the election authorities will likely rule for him just as they did in the case of the Istanbul mayoral vote.
NGOs face severe government investigation and scrutiny, limiting their ability to operate. The government has passed laws giving it tight control over social media and ahead of the election reportedly asked Twitter to block the accounts of about a dozen opposition figures.
After February's earthquake, when the government confronted intense criticism on social media for its mishandling of the natural disaster, it simply blocked Twitter for a while.
This is the next innovation in illiberal democracy. Elected presidents and prime ministers use their majorities to pass laws that give them sustained and structural advantages over their opponents. They use government funds to shower their supporters with benefits.
The government files tax and regulatory cases against independent media groups, investigates journalists and NGOs, and reshapes independent agencies and courts into compliant arms of the ruling party.
And then they hold free elections. Erdogan's tactics will seem stunningly familiar to citizens in many democracies around the world. Look at India, once home to fiercely independent media. Today it has fallen to 161st in the World Press Freedom Index put out by Reporters Without Borders.
Look at Hungary where the government and pro-government businesses control almost all the country's media, and the body overseeing the judiciary became effectively an arm of the ruling party drawing the ire of the European Union. The office's first head was the godparent to Prime Minister Victor Orban's oldest child. Look at Mexico, where the president has tried to gut the proudly independent election authority.
When elections are held in these circumstances, and international observers duly note that the ballots were properly cast and counted, and then certify such elections to be genuinely competitive, they're doing us all a disservice. We need a new vocabulary to describe this phenomenon.
Are such elections free? Technically yes, they are free but also profoundly unfair.
Go to CNN.com/Fareed for a link to my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
Earlier today in Hiroshima, Japan, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that while it wasn't a fair comparison, images of the nuclear devastation in Hiroshima reminded him of what is happening in Bakhmut, the most hard-fought city in his own country.
Yesterday the leader of the Wagner Group, a mercenary force for Russia, announced that his fighters had taken Bakhmut. It is a claim that Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian officials denied. Zelenskyy was visiting Japan to take part in the G7 meeting of world leaders there.
Joining me now to discuss Ukraine and the G7 and many other issues are Kori Schake, a senior fellow and the director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, and Gideon Rose, a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the former editor of "Foreign Affairs."
Welcome. You are both back from a trip to Kyiv, literally just back.
Kori, what were your impressions? You got to meet a lot of people there?
KORI SCHAKE, DIRECTOR OF FOREIGN AND DEFENSE POLICY STUDIES, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Yes. The grim commitment Ukrainians have to succeeding against the Russia invasion, they own it now in a way that even six months ago when I was last there they felt -- it felt more like they were persuading themselves they could with stand it. Now they know they can.
ZAKARIA: And Gideon, when you hear people say the Ukrainians need to understand, they have to compromise, they're not going to be able to reclaim all their territory, we need to start some process of negotiation, what was your sense of how they view those arguments?
GIDEON ROSE, DISTINGUISHED FELLOW, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Every single person we talked to, from generals to soldiers, from Cabinet ministers to local officials, to civil society figures and ordinary citizens, was absolutely united. They see this as a fight for their lives. They say we're defending our homes and our children and our future, and we are going to reclaim all our territory.
They didn't quite say with you or without you. But they suggested that the fight will continue until Ukraine is free. The only question is how long it will take and how much we have to suffer to get there.
ZAKARIA: And why -- so do they think that, you know, they'll be able to get everything, not just a 2022 lines, but the 2014 lines?
ROSE: Yes. What was the most interesting thing was, as Kori said, in the fall you were there and you saw them almost trying to convince themselves, not false bravado, but bolstering their own confidence. Now the grim determination is met with a quiet confidence.
They've taken everything the Russians have to throw at them, they've survived, they're now ready to punch back. And one general I talked to at one point said, and I asked him where are we in the war, he said we're towards the end of the first half. And they're going into the locker room knowing that they can beat the Russians and the only question is what time scale and how long it's going to take and how much damage will be caused along the way.
ZAKARIA: Kori, what is their sense of what is going on on the Russian side?
SCHAKE: Well, as Gideon said, the Russian conduct of the war has meant that no Ukrainian government could possibly leave their people or their territory under Russian control. I heard several senior people in the Ukrainian government suggest that perhaps a leadership transition is already going on in Russia.
And it's not that Vladimir Putin is permitting these lesser figurers to bicker and fight and people are being falling out of windows and generals being cashiered. It's that he no longer has the ability to control it. ZAKARIA: That's fascinating. So when you see Prigozhin, the head of
the Wagner forces dissenting from the defense minister, this is something Putin has kind of lost control over?
SCHAKE: Yes. And we shouldn't avert our eyes from the fact that the next Russian government may actually be worse than the current Russian government.
ZAKARIA: Wow. Gideon, you have written a lot about how wars end. Do you think that the Ukrainian view of this is plausible, that they can actually win?
ROSE: After this trip, I do. Wars end when either you have a durable stalemate that can't be moved or both sides come to understand that the trend is irreversibly in one direction. That's when the end game starts. We're not there yet. Each side is still trying to fight it out and each side thinks that if the other gives up, if the West pulls back support, then maybe the tide will turn.
So what's crucial now is to continue to pledge support for Ukraine so that the Russians realize that we're not going to back out and with that, the Iranians -- not the Iranians. The Ukrainians need the tools to win but they already know now that they can beat the Russians on the ground. And so the only question now is when will the gap between the objective Russian situation and Russia's real perception of it change?
And I think that will happen this year. I don't think the war will end this year. But I think as this year progresses, the gap between Russia's really bad situation and its public recognition of it will start to change.
ZAKARIA: Kori, what was your sense of how much the Ukrainians worried that the West will -- the Western support will falter, will dry up, any of that?
SCHAKE: I think they are worried and justifiably worried because the countries of the West are giving an enormous amount of assistance. Especially the United States. But that's why President Zelenskyy's trips to the Arab League Summit and G7, and his trip around the European capitals mattered so much.
It mattered for showing the breadth of Ukrainian support, it mattered for showing Russia's international isolation, and it mattered for gaining commitments of additional assistance to Ukraine in particular the commitment of fighter aircraft whose radars and missiles can range -- can attack Russian forces from outside the response envelope.
ZAKARIA: So I've got to ask you, because you are a Republican. Do you worry that between Donald Trump and some of the things Governor DeSantis has said, some of the things that Josh Hawley and people like that have said, that there is substantial Republican opposition to supporting Ukraine with the kind of fullness that the Biden administration has done?
SCHAKE: Yes. I think there is opposition. But it really matters that the leadership, including Speaker McCarthy, are committed to continued assistance to Ukraine.
ZAKARIA: So you think that if Donald Trump goes on the campaign trail, you know, becomes the nominee and says, you know, as what he keeps saying, which I'm going to just stop the fighting, you think Republicans in Congress will still vote for Ukraine aid?
SCHAKE: I do. I do. Because, you know, the United States is in a shrewd strategic actor. A lot of times we're more of a sentimental actor and the war in Ukraine is such a battle of good against evil. And that Ukrainians are willing to restrict their military operations in their own territory and not extend it into the sanctuary of Russian territory really underscores who the good guys and the bad guys are. And I think Americans understand that and that's why Republicans will continue to support aid to Ukraine.
And in addition, even in shrewdly strategic terms, for 5 percent of U.S. Defense spending last year and zero American military casualties, the Ukrainians are destroying the Russian army and that is absolutely in America's interests.
ZAKARIA: Stay with us. Next up, President Biden was supposed to be headed to Papua New Guinea and Australia after the G7, now he is back on his way to Washington thanks to American political dysfunction.
I'll discuss that with the panel and broader foreign policy in a moment.
ZAKARIA: President Biden was planning on making the most of the fact that he was half way around the world for the G7 and visit other nations in the Western Pacific. Instead, Air Force One took off two hours ago to take him back to Washington to deal with the debt ceiling crisis.
Joining me again are Kori Schake of the American Enterprise Institute and Gideon Rose of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Kori, again, Republican, what do you think of the debt ceiling crisis and do you think it gets soft?
SCHAKE: I am sympathetic to concerns by my fellow Republicans about the level of government spending. But threatening to default on the nation's debt is bad governance. The right way to rein in spending is through the practice of passing authorization and appropriation bills, not threatening to default.
ZAKARIA: Do you think that -- I mean, my fear is Kevin McCarthy's worry is he will not keep his job if he compromises.
SCHAKE: That's certainly a possibility.
ZAKARIA: What did anyone talk about this in Ukraine, Gideon?
ROSE: No, they were concerned about their own future and less concerned about ours. I wish there was the same solidarity here that we saw in Ukraine across the different parties, across politicians who might run against each other. They were still all on board for the current effort and one hopes that could be a lesson for us here.
ZAKARIA: Well, the stakes are sky high for them.
Kori, you wrote a piece that I wanted to bring up. A "Foreign Affairs" article that was I thought the most intelligence kind of Republican critique of the Biden foreign policy. So just describe what is it that you -- I mean, I know you support him on Ukraine. But more generally, what do you think Biden is getting wrong?
SCHAKE: What he's getting wrong is he is such a protectionist that he cannot provide the vision for the U.S. and its allies to jointly reduce our reliance on China. You know, the strategy is to align American allies and pressure China into actually following the rules and becoming a responsible stakeholder. That's the strategic objective.
But by so emphasizing democracy versus autocracy, it makes it more difficult for countries like Vietnam, whose assistance we want in this dispute, to take our side. And by pressing the military elements of it, they are overemphasizing the military elements of it because they can't deliver on the economic elements of it.
I thought the G7 was a step in the right direction, though. And it appears to be where the secretary of state is putting a lot of his diplomatic emphasis. To align with allies and have a common approach to Chinese economic practices really is the center of gravity, and they took a small step in the G7 in the right direction.
ZAKARIA: But to be clear, what you're saying is that the protectionism is not directed just to China, it's a lot -- I mean, you have buy America provisions. What you're saying is, you know, you can't buy German stuff, you can't buy Canadian stuff, you can't --
SCHAKE: Exactly. I mean, tariffs, economic tariffs on Canada are still in place. Europeans are complaining justifiably about the buy America provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act. That the Biden administration has abandoned multilateral trade policies.
And what countries want is market access and rules that benefit all of us, not just benefiting the United States. And the administration's answer has been, but you should want a strong American economy. And the response of others is, yes, but not at the expense of our own success.
ZAKARIA: Now when I read your article, I thought this is a very smart Republican critique if only the leading Republicans running for president would agree with it. I mean, I suspect that Donald Trump is more protectionist than Biden.
SCHAKE: Well, certainly as protectionist as Biden and they're both mistaken. Right? Expanding economic opportunity is what makes American power so cost effective in the international order.
ROSE: The irony is that Ukraine is providing the opportunity for a different model because what the United States is doing in Ukraine is acting as team leader for the good guys. It is sourcing weapons and aid. It is coordinating European aid from a number of different counties to help Ukraine defend itself.
It's not just a crisis and a danger, it's also an opportunity to show the kind of American leadership that will give the liberal international order a future as well as a past.
ZAKARIA: You told me something interesting. While you were there, there were a whole bunch of missile raids, you know, on Kyiv. And you were told by the Ukrainians it might have been tied to the Chinese diplomatic initiative.
SCHAKE: Yes. That the Russians and Chinese are coordinating operationally and diplomatically, and the suspicion in Kyiv is that the Russian missile strikes, the large missile strikes Monday night in particular were designed to prepare Ukrainians to accept compromises in their bargaining position to advance the Chinese initiative.
ZAKARIA: Did you it work?
SCHAKE: It backfired spectacularly because of the weapons the United States and the West have provided that help Ukraine shield their population from Russian attacks.
ZAKARIA: Because they intercepted every single one of those missiles, right?
ROSE: The Ukrainians are using American made Patriot missiles to take down Russian made hypersonic Kinzhal missiles in the best advertisement for American technology and American support you could get. Everybody watching this war will want the American weapons that are helping Ukraine win. So it's an opportunity to renew our defense industrial base and advertise that there's actually benefits to being on our side and we saw that firsthand.
ZAKARIA: Do you think that the Chinese will play a role in finally resolving all this?
SCHAKE: No. Because they haven't yet acknowledged they -- there are war crimes the Russians are committing, they're not -- the first element of the Chinese peace plan is respect for state sovereignty and they can't yet acknowledge that Russia is in violation of that.
ZAKARIA: Kori Schake, Gideon Rose, fascinating conversation. Welcome back, glad you're here safe and sound.
Next, I will talk to Pakistan's embattled former prime minister, Imran Khan. They've tried to assassinate him, he's been arrested, then released on corruption, he still fears for his life. Listen in.
ZAKARIA: Two weeks ago, the nuclear tip nation of Pakistan became engulfed in political drama and violence after the arrest of its former prime minister Imran Khan on what the state calls corruption charges. It was a very public and theatrical arrest as paramilitary troops snatched him from a courthouse.
Across the country, Khan supporters then turned on Pakistan's military and took to the streets. Pakistan's military leaders play an outsized role in the nation's politics and Khan has said the army chief ordered his arrest. Last Friday, Khan was released on bail after the nation's Supreme Court deemed the arrest unlawful.
To offer his side of this extraordinary story, Imran Khan himself joins me now. Imran, welcome. Let me first ask you, we have been trying to do this interview for almost two weeks now and -- once you're internet mysteriously cut out. The last time we were told that there was an army raid on your compound. Tell us what happened.
IMRAN KHAN, FORMER PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: Well, look, ever since I came out of jail, Fareed, my house is surrounded by the police. There are checkpoints. Everyone is checked who comes into my house and they have to walk a distance. The main roads, you know, connecting my house, are blocked.
And one evening when I was supposed to do your interview, I suddenly discovered that the government had announced there were 40 terrorists hiding in my house and they were going to come -- the police was going to come looking for them. So, I opened my house for the media to come and see where these terrorists were. So, that is what stopped the police raid.
So unfortunately, you know, it is an unpredictable time so -- hence, I couldn't do the interview before.
ZAKARIA: Where do you think this goes? Do you worry that the elections which have been scheduled -- which you are hoping to participate in will not take place? Tell us what -- looking forward, what do you see happening?
KHAN: Well, Fareed, my worry so far is about -- our democracy is being dismantled. The two provincial assembly in which we were governing, that is 70 percent of Pakistan, KP and Punjab. We dissolved our governments and the constitution is clear, you have to have elections within 90 days.
The government wouldn't hold elections. We then had to go to the Supreme Court. Supreme Court ruled that the elections must be held within 90 days and give the date of 14th of May for the election of Punjab. The government refused. They violated the constitution and the orders of the Supreme Court. Now my worry is that even the national elections which are scheduled for October, I'm worried that even -- they will hold the elections unless and until they are clear that PTI, my party won't win. Right now, our rating is above 70 percent. Out of 37 by-elections we have swept 30. So they are petrified of elections. And because they are scared that PTI and I -- I will be back into power, everything is being done to dismantle our democracy.
So right now, as we speak, over 10,000 workers have been arrested. My entire senior leadership is in jail. On Tuesday I'm going to make an appearance for various bails in Islamabad. Eighty percent chances are that I will be arrested.
So right now, there is no rule of law. The judges -- one of the judges cried while saying that he gave people bail and they were rearrested when they got out of the court. The Supreme Court chief justice, I mean, when he says elections are to be held on 14th of May, but his decisions are discarded.
So we are heading towards a law of the jungle. (INAUDIBLE) is right. There is -- right now there is no rule of law in this country.
ZAKARIA: Stay with us. When we come back, I will ask Imran Khan -- he has taken on the country's most powerful institution, the army, how will that tussle work out when we come back.
ZAKARIA: And we are back with Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan who is at the center of a political maelstrom in his country right now. Imran, you know how the story goes. The army was happy to work with you in your first incarnation. In fact, they supported you. But then they found you uncontrollable and they essentially engineered your ouster. And now you have taken them on openly.
Can you -- are you doing that and can you win a struggle against what is often called Pakistan's most powerful institution?
You know, the way the saying goes, that most countries have armies in Pakistan. It is the army that has a country.
KHAN: Look, Fareed, how can you win by taking on your own army? I mean, even if you win, it is a violent victory. The country loses.
I mean, Pakistan needs a powerful army. All you have to do is look around the Muslim world and just look at the -- I mean, the devastation that is going on there. So, I'm a firm believer that the country needs a strong defense and needs to be able to defend itself as it did in the war on terror because -- I mean, we got ourselves into a mess. And 80,000 Pakistanis died. And the army gave great sacrifices. The problem right now is -- first, let me just correct you. I never had a problem with the army. I worked knowing that they were entrenched, the army has been -- it is a fact of 75 years the army has -- three times they have ruled directly through martial law. The last 60 years half has been ruled by the army and the half by the two families were chosen, Sharifs.
So I was working with them. I was working with the General Bajwa. What happened when he decided to switch horses and abandon me and topple my government? I still am not sure. I'm not still sure of his voters.
One of them could have -- he had struck a deal with the current prime minister for his extension. But I never knew what happened. All I know is that the last six months he just worked to remove my government and he's -- he's openly afterwards in an interview claimed that he decided that I was too dangerous for the country and so my government was ousted.
Since then, all I have said is that the solution to Pakistan's problems are free and fair elections. Because that is the only thing that will bring political stability in this country. And without political stability, our economy has just tanked. We now are in a worse situation than Sri Lanka was.
I mean, we -- Pakistan has never had the economy in such a tailspin as it is right now. The only way you can bring the economic stability is through political stability which will come through elections. That is all I've been saying.
Now the problem I'm facing is that somehow the current lot, what I would call the PDM parties, they have aligned themselves with the establishment. And they have convinced the establishment that if there are elections, they are going to lose, which is a fact.
Now, in order to keep me out the whole democratic system has been dismantled. So when you -- you don't -- the government does not listen to the Supreme Court and doesn't follow the constitution, when the way they have used the pretext of arson, they blamed us for the arson when I was grabbed from the -- from the high court, by the army. And the way I was grabbed, there was a reaction. But, they used that reaction, unfortunately, to dismantle the party.
So I mean, they have -- over 10,000 workers are jailed. A lot of women have been jailed which has never happened before.
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you, Imran, before --
KHAN: And they are now trying to -- trying us in military -- just one word, Fareed.
KHAN: They are now thinking of trying us in military courts.
ZAKARIA: There also was an attempted assassinate on you, Imran. Do you think that was directed by the army and do you think you are safe now? KHAN: Well, there was -- in November 3, there was an assassination attempt which I preempted. I had predicted. I had been warning that they are going to use this so-called religious fanatic who was going to, you know, kill me and then -- just like Salman Taseer, our governor, he was killed by a religious fanatic. So they were going to use that to bump me off.
And the reason was -- that they had lost all the by-elections and the party was getting more and more popular. So I knew that my life was in danger. I had sort of spoken about it publicly about it. Then -- but subsequently there was another attempt on my life.
I was very lucky to get away. This was on the 18th of March in the judicial complex. It was a perfect trap to have me bumped off.
There was one other way which I preempted and already announced. And so yes, my life is in danger, you know? Because they feel that even they put me in prison, the popularity of my party is at such a level right now that -- despite that they think that they won't be able to stop us winning.
ZAKARIA: Imran Khan, thank you for coming on the program and please stay safe.
Next on GPS, why does strong man populism, the kind of politics espoused by the likes of Erdogan, Orban and Donald Trump have an enduring appeal for so many? Answers when we come back.
Also, tonight at 9:00 p.m., look back at Barack Obama's historic presidency and the defining moments that shaped the decade's politics. A CNN original series "The 2010s" continues with "Obama: Legacy on the Line."
ZAKARIA: A week from today, Turkish voters will go to the polls in a runoff election between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu. As I told you earlier, Erdogan performed better than expected in the first round getting 49.5 percent of the vote, just shy of the 50 percent benchmark that would have returned him directly to the presidency without a runoff.
Erdogan's strong showing is all the more surprising given the fact that under his tenure Turkey's economy has nose-dived. The country has one of the world's highest rates of inflation. It is now currently at 43 percent, having peaked at over 85 percent last year.
Foreign investors have fled Turkey under Erdogan's rule. Erdogan has played up a culture war between his base, conservative often rural religious Muslim voters and the country's secular elite. Does his strong showing suggest that culture matters more to Turkish voters than the economy? If so, it is not a political phenomenon specifically to Turkey. We see it all over the world.
Joining me now to talk about the appeal of strong men like Erdogan is Pippa Norris. She is a comparative political scientist at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is the author of many books including "Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit and Authoritarian Populism." Pippa, welcome.
PIPPA NORRIS, PROFESSOR OF COMPARATIVE POLITICS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Thank you, Fareed. A pleasure to be with you.
ZAKARIA: Let's talk about the kind of ideology of this populism. Because it is often anti-elite. It's anti -- these distant elites, over educated, secular, cosmopolitan. And this plays very well in Mexico for AMLO. It plays well in Colombia. It plays well in Europe against Macron. It plays well in the United States. And is playing well in Turkey. It has played well in India.
Why do you think -- what is happening in the world that we have this wave of anti-elitism, you know, directed towards all these -- these so-called secular elites?
NORRIS: So, as you're saying, authoritarian populism in particular on right is very much -- it's about anti-corruption, arguing that the establishes institutions, the groups in academia who have been leading those in the media. Those -- the judges and the courts as well as those in politics who have been there for many years. The incumbent -- they are corrupt. They are deeply self serving. That's the first claim.
And to some extent there is evidence clearly of widespread corruption in many countries around the world and problems of scandals about money and politics, for example. And then the other claim is that the populist leader particularly in presidential systems can come in and basically save the country, be very patriotic but act in order to clean out the stables, in order to bring a fresh perspective into politics.
Now, in some cases that's simply rhetoric. In particular where a leader has been in power for many years as Erdogan has and as Bolsonaro, for example, had been, as well as a senator. And in many other countries the leaders remake themselves and appear as though they are a fresh force.
And what they claim above all is that they are going to speak for you and in us-them situation where the country is deeply divided between us and them. However, them is defined. However, us is defined, that the leaders is going to protect and speak for you. As Donald Trump said in his most recent talk, I am your retribution.
ZAKARIA: And it feels like the strong showing of Erdogan and, you know, the showing that Trump has in the Republican primary polls, and as I said, if you look at the last two years of elections in Latin America, what it seems to show me is this cultural force, this cultural backlash is not over by a long stretch. That we are in for this -- we're in for an age of this cultural politics.
NORRIS: That is absolutely right. And I think it is about a tipping point in some ways in many countries. And the problem -- if we think about the United States, is this -- that the traditional attitudes toward, for example, the roles of women and men as being binary or towards homosexuality or towards many other liberal things like guns, in the public, over a long-term pattern, they've changed. They've become more liberal. They've moved, as the arc of history would suggest in a more liberal direction.
But unfortunately many people feel that they've left -- been left behind by those trends and they don't agree with them. That their core moral values, what they stand for, whether it is about God and religion, whether it's about marriage and the family, whether it is about hard work and how one gets ahead in America, versus a stronger welfare system, all of these are things which create cultural and moral divisions.
And it is very difficult to compromise on moral issues if you think that one thing is clearly right, the other thing is clearly wrong. And, of course, that means that that group, the social conservative groups, is gradually been shrinking in popular attitudes, if you look at public opinion polls, say in the Gallup series.
But they still are large enough in the country that if they mobilize, if they organize, if they get money from donors, if they vote and many of the older populations are much stronger at voting than the younger populations, then they can still get their candidate in.
So it is a battle for essentially the cultural hearts and minds. And it can go either way. I don't think we can necessarily assume that authoritarian populists are going to rise to power everywhere. There have been some mixed electoral fortunes and candidates from the center left can do quite well. And so, obviously, all is still to play for in the United States and the United Kingdom in the next general election and in many other countries as well.
ZAKARIA: Pippa Norris, always a pleasure to read your research on this and to hear from you in person. Thank you.
NORRIS: Thank you. Thank you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.