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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Europe Faces Record Influx Of Migrants; Jake Tapper On The Tumultuous '70s; Interview With Eric Schmidt About Ukraine; Dark Clouds Loom Over China's Economy. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired July 16, 2023 - 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: Today on the program, Ukraine's counteroffensive. It is being hard fought on the ground but also from the air with thousands upon thousands of drones. I'll talk to Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, about the technologies Ukraine will need to win this war.

Then what is happening in China where there are new signs the economy is stumbling. How will that impact the rest of the world? I'll ask "The Wall Street Journal's" Lingling Wei.

Plus, a European government collapses over immigration. The continent's second longest serving leader steps down after taking a hardline stance on refugees. Why does this issue continue to disrupt politics across the globe? I'll ask an expert.

Finally, I'll bring you a personal preview of my newest documentary on immigration.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a planet of people on the move.

ZAKARIA: It is called "IMMIGRATION BREAKDOWN" and will air tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific here on CNN.


ZAKARIA: But first here's my take.

Last week, President Biden revealed something striking about his reason for wanting to run again in 2024. During his interview for this show, I put it to him that even some of his most ardent supporters, those who think that he's turned the economy around and restored relations with the rest of the world, believe that he should step aside and let another generation of Democrats take the baton.

Why are they wrong, I asked? Biden responded by speaking solely about foreign policy. He argued that the world is facing dramatic change and that the U.S. has a unique opportunity to bring together the world's democracies. He insisted that he is succeeding at doing that and that he wants to finish the job.

Having spoken to Biden before, I would say that central to his world view is the belief that the world today is being shaped by a series of challenges from autocratic states. Russia, China, Iran, North Korea. And that the future will hinge on how the democracies respond to these challenges. Now, like anyone who wants to be president, Biden has a healthy ego and he's wanted the job since he was a young man. But I think it's fair to say that he is also driven by a sense that the future of the international order is on the line.

The stakes are in fact high. And they are made much higher by the fact that for the first time since the World War II era, the basic issue of America's engagement with the world is becoming a partisan issue. The U.S. stepped on to the world stage in 1917 to prevent a great power from dominating Europe. In 1945, after World War II, it stayed engaged to ensure peace and stability in Eurasia.

But today, as Russia wages a brutal war in Europe that seems a throwback to World War II, there is deep division in America about staunchly opposing that aggression. Consider the numbers. According to a recent Gallup poll, 79 percent of Democrats want to help Ukraine regain lost territory, even if that means prolonging the conflict. By contrast, 49 percent of Republicans would like to end the conflict quickly, even if that means letting the Russians hold on to the territories that they have acquired by force.

On NATO, Democrats approve of it by a wide margin, 76 percent to 22 percent, while Republicans are split with 49 percent approving and the same number disapproving, according to a Pew survey conducted in March.

On a broader issue, engagement with the world, 60 percent of Democrats in the same poll believe it's best for the future of our country to be active in world affairs, while only 39 percent felt we should pay less attention to problem overseas and concentrate on problems here at home. For Republicans, those are essentially reversed, with 71 percent wanting to focus at home and just 29 percent believing in an active world role for America.


This is not a settled issue. There is a debate within the Republican Party. Some senior officials like Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence are vigorously making the case for an active and engaged America. But the party's base seems to be with the isolationists as can be seen by the tilting stances of the weathervane speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy.

From Donald Trump to his copycat Ron DeSantis and the party's most powerful media ideologists Tucker Carlson, conservatives are increasingly contemptuous of America's support for Ukraine and its strong alliance with Europe. Senator Josh Hawley said to the "The New York Times" that while some Republicans remain staunchly interventionist, that's not where the voters are.

As Max Boot has pointed out some conservatives claim to be against supporting Ukraine but in favor of confronting China. That as he notes is because China is an economic foe run by the communist party. But this also has to do with the fact that many conservatives are not interested in an engaged foreign policy. They're focused on building tariffs and walls, subsidizing domestic industry, raising xenophobic suspicions about Chinese students and Chinese Americans, and giving the Pentagon even bigger budgets.

This is a reprise of the old Jacksonian foreign policy of a fortress America. The Republican Party might be returning to its roots. After all, it bitterly opposed America's entry into World War II until Pearl Harbor. Even after the war, many Republicans opposed NATO and American engagement with the world even though there was strong anti- communists, and then as now claimed to want to focus on China.

Dwight Eisenhower offered not to run against Robert Taft, the leading Republican of his day, if Taft would just endorse NATO. Taft refused. So Eisenhower ran to preserve America's engagement with the world and the international peace and stability that it brought. Alas, there is no Eisenhower to redirect the Republican Party today. And the stakes are as high as they were in 1952, if not higher.

As we look around the world and the dangers to the international order, the single biggest risk may lie not in the killing fields of Ukraine or across the Taiwan Straits, but rather on the campaign trail here in the United States.

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

Ukraine's counteroffensive is into its second month and progress has been slow. The challenges are vast. Russia's war in Ukraine is the world's largest armed conflict since World War II. This war is being fought on the ground with traditional weaponry like tanks and bullets. But also in the skies, with newer technologies like drones. A report in May found Ukraine was losing more than 10,000 drones per month.

Well, my next guest says swarms of drones are the future of war. Eric Schmidt ran Google for many years but more recently advised the Pentagon as the chair of the Defense Innovation Board. He now chairs the Special Competitive Studies Project, a think tank focused on technology and national security. I should note I am a senior adviser at Schmidt Futures, his philanthropic initiative.

Eric Schmidt, pleasure to have you.


ZAKARIA: So you were recently in Ukraine and a lot of your concerns stem from that. Let's first just get a sense of the lay of the land. To you, what does the battlefield look like? Who has the advantage?

SCHMIDT: The thing that's shocking is how big this war is. It's 1,000 kilometers long. And since 2014, the Russian side has dug themselves in, in this horrific way. So if you were a Ukrainian soldier with your commander saying go across this five-kilometer disputed area, you'd have to get through the tanks, the mines, the machine guns, their drones. You get to the other side. You do your killing and then the back part of Russia kills you. It's an insurmountable task.

ZAKARIA: I was stunned to read how many shells the Russians are using.

SCHMIDT: Sixty thousand a day. The world production in the West can accommodate about 5,000 a day. I guess the Russians have been building artillery for about 50 years and they have an infinite supply.


ZAKARIA: Sixty thousand a day. Now I mean, my math, Eric, you're talking about something like 20 million a year? It's crazy.

SCHMIDT: Today this is a World War I artillery war with people dug in. How incredible 100 years later we haven't come up with another way. If you're the Ukrainians trying to break through, you want to get to the Sea of Azov, you have to break through this initial line, blow Zaporizhzhia, for example, and then you make a corridor. Well, as you go through your corridor, they're bombing you as well.

ZAKARIA: And now the bombing is precision bombing, right?


ZAKARIA: Because you can target more accurately.

SCHMIDT: And the American doctrine is that you would always do such infantry moves with air power which the Ukrainians don't have. And the air power comes in, cleans the path, and then the American gets the other side running back and then they start to win. We, meaning the Ukrainians, the U.S., the West, need a solution to get them moving.

ZAKARIA: So that gets us to drones. They're already using an extraordinary number of drones, the Ukrainians. How many drones are they using a week or a month?

SCHMIDT: They're on track to using a couple hundred thousand drones in a year. Most drones only survive one or two flights before they fail or they're blocked. I was shocked at how good the Russians were at electronic warfare and jamming. Basically, everything you send into this battlefield which is quite narrow, by the way, the rest of the country is fine. I suspect on both sides.

They jam everything. GPS is jammed, but also communications is jammed. So normal drones don't work. So the Ukrainians have taken cheap drones and added additional antennas. One of the things that I learned is something called a kamikaze drone which is a $400 Chinese drone that carries a small payload that moves so fast you can't shoot it down. I had thought that that was the innovation of the war.

Two generals yesterday told me that I'm wrong and that what they really need are cruise missile drones which can go really far and carry it with wings and keep carrying more payloads. I don't think the Ukrainian drone strategy is completely formed. But they're building a completely new theory of war. ZAKARIA: And this is where we get to the solution. For you the only

way the Ukrainians can break through these lines is with massive numbers of drones.

SCHMIDT: Massive number of drones or massive number of human casualties on both sides. The beauty of the drone is it can take out the other side's military target without collateral damage, right? We are very concerned about the propagation of this war against other countries. But I'm very concerned about it is the effect on civilians, both the Russians and the Ukrainians. The important thing about a drone is it's a very, very targeted solution. It's very inexpensive.

I think the goal that we should have for Ukraine is to establish the principle that there will never be another land war where you can invade successfully. That we're expecting the sovereignty of the land is important. If you're mad at them, that's fine. You can negotiate, you can put pressure. But you can't send artillery and flatten cities which is what the Russians have been doing.

ZAKARIA: How do you get to the solution of -- I mean, is there -- can Ukrainians produce hundreds of thousands of drones?

SCHMIDT: They have the money and they have the talent. They haven't figured out how to build all the factories yet. And they have to be built in Ukraine for many, many reasons. So what I know is there are about 60 companies that are building these types of drones. What's interesting is it's just like startups in the sense that they're not particularly well coordinated. They're moving so quickly.

Remember, this is all a year old. Their operating systems and software aren't very integrated. They can't speak to each other. All the problems that you would imagine. Now if it were peace time, you'd an overall strategy, you'd get them organized and so forth. What's interesting to me is this is both a broadband war but it's also a technology war in the sense that it's innovative. And innovation occurs in small companies not in the MOD.

The Ukrainians were interesting. I think you know as well that the Ukrainians set up their drone operation outside the military and the drone guy, his name is Fedorov, is busy supplying them to the military. But he controls the money. He controls the strategy. They told us that the biggest problem they currently have is that at the moment they're taking these tiny little essentially pipe bombs and dropping them on to tanks.

And what they want is laser-guided ones which America has had for a long time that can follow the target. Again, this is stuff that America did 20 years ago that they're just catching up on.

ZAKARIA: Does all of this leave you net-net positive, optimistic?

SCHMIDT: I hate to say it but I think this is going to go on for a long time. There's not enough advantage on either side. I don't think Russia will gain much land if any and I think the going is so slow to get across this danger zone, this killing field, that it will take a year or two. Now of course there could be breakthroughs, there could be -- Wagner could start running and things like that, but we don't understand. But at the moment it's much more balanced than the marketing says.


They talk about this counteroffensive which is certainly a great idea. They're not ready to do an American-style, 100 million people, you know, stay, you know, full power. They don't have the assets. Furthermore, if you put airplanes in the air, they get shot down by Russian surface-to-air missiles so it's a really hard problem. One of my friends who was looking at this strategically said you realize that the Russians have been fighting this way for a hundred years. I said, OK.

And he said, that means that you have to give them a hard problem to solve. The simple problems like do this and do that, the other side is too sophisticated, and the Russians are clearly in this to win.

ZAKARIA: Sobering, but very smart. Thank you, Eric Schmidt.

SCHMIDT: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, warning signs are flashing for the Chinese economy. What does it mean for the rest of the world, when we come back.



ZAKARIA: China released figures this week showing inflation in June was at zero percent. Now, that may sound enviable to countries struggling with high inflation as their economies run too hot. But a little bit of inflation is a sign of a healthy growing economy. China's lack of any inflation and the risk of tipping into deflation indicates a very sluggish economy.

This comes as U.S.-China tensions remain high. The Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's recent trip to Beijing seems to have had a positive effect.

To talk about it all I am joined by Lingling Wei, chief China correspondent for the "Wall Street Journal" and the co-author of "Superpower Showdown."

Lingling, give us a sense of what you are learning about the Chinese economy over the last few weeks because it all seems to be on the downside.

LINGLING WEI, CHIEF CHINA CORRESPONDENT, WALL STREET JOURNAL: That's a great question, Fareed. Thank you for having me here. Yes, China's economy really is struggling big time. The kind of a weakness is really across the board. You just mentioned about the kind of deflationary pressure in China. It really is a result of very weak investment, very weak private investment, and also exports are struggling as well. You know, another issue that is bothering, you know, China

policymakers and a lot of investors in China, is the fact that, you know, China's relationship with the United States and with the West overall, has also worsened a lot. That also has dealt a big blow to, you know, the confidence, public confidence in China's economy.

ZAKARIA: You wrote about how private companies are now leaving China. You've talked about private consumers not spending as much. That piece of it, particularly, you know, every other country had a post-COVID bounce of what people called revenge spending. China did not. Why do you think that is?

WEI: Sure. When the Chinese government very suddenly and abruptly lifted COVID restrictions late last year, that indeed was the hope among a lot of e-masters and businesses that, you know, China's economy would bounce back very strongly, very quickly. But the fact of the matter was a lost Chinese families and Chinese consumers, they have become very much financially strained. Because over the past three years under very stringent COVID restrictions, a lot of them have lost jobs and some of them have suffered pay cuts.

You know, private companies are not doing well. They're not hiring as much. Foreign businesses have also, you know, some of them have also reduced investment in China. So a lot of people in China have seen their income levels, you know, decline. But at the same time, they have taken the kind of debt to buy houses, buy cars. So their balance sheet, you know, it's just not that great. So they have, you know, really refrained from spending on a lot of stuff. They used to, you know, enjoy, like travel, like luxury -- buying luxury brands, especially for the middle class.

ZAKARIA: When you look at this, one piece of data, it is not completely about economics. But I wonder if it has a kind of economic -- there's a backdrop to it which is the recent numbers show that people are getting married much less in China. Young people are getting -- there's much lower rates of, you know, of partnerships and marriages. What do you think that's about?

WEI: You know, in China, there's a term for that, it's called lying flat. You know, people are not dating. They're not getting married. They're not having kids because that shows a sense of, you know, really frustration with the direction the country is going. There's this sense of hopelessness, you know, really palpable sense of hopelessness among a lot of young people. Latest data shows that the unemployment rate among the younger generation has reached a record of more than 20 percent.

So, you know, when you are really struggling finding jobs and, you know, making ends meet, I think, you know, a lot of people might really hit the pause button in terms of planning for their future.


ZAKARIA: For so many years, China was seen as one of the single if not the largest contributor to global growth. With a China that's, you know, I mean, seems to be growing almost not at all, does this mean we're in -- you know, this is going to have an effect on global growth? We've already seen commodity prices are weaker. Oil prices are weaker. We should expect this for a while, if this continues, right?

WEI: Sure. That's a great point. You know, for years, China has been this ending of growth. Just think back to the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, right, China really helped rescue the global economy with very robust growth, with this demand, insatiable demand for commodities and other kind of products from all over the world. Fast forward to today, China's growth is really stuttering. And, you know, there's a fear among a lot of economists and analysts we talked to, you know, China might be under pressure to further drive down its currency, right, to help domestic economy.

And you know, not a stable Chinese currency with -- you know, spell like -- been a really big risk for global financial markets. And, you know, China slows the rest of the world, you know, is not really having good time either. And so the impact is going to be very palpable and it's going to be here to stay for probably the foreseeable future.

ZAKARIA: Lingling Wei, always insightful to hear from you. Thank you so much.

WEI: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, Mark Rutter has been the Dutch prime minister for 13 years. But now his government has suddenly collapsed over refugee policy. We will tackle the ever explosive politics of immigration, when we come back.



ZAKARIA: Last week, Europe's second longest serving prime minister announced that his government would resign. The surprising end of Mark Rutte's leadership of the Netherlands came after his conservative government's strict new immigration proposals were rejected by coalition partners.

The thorny issue of immigration is hardly unique to the Netherlands. In May, the U.N. Refugee Agency announced that the number of refugees worldwide increased from 27.1 million in 2021 to 35.3 million at the end of 2022. That was the biggest yearly increase ever recorded. In large part, due to the war in Ukraine.

In response, many countries have vowed to create tougher environments for asylum seekers. To help us better understand how the politics of immigration is playing out around the world we're joined by the journalist Christopher Caldwell who has long written on these issues.

Welcome. So, when you look around this is separate from the Ukraine issue. What you have is this very large influx of migrants who are coming in and as in America they claim to be asylum seekers. And that is, to my mind, at the heart of the controversy. Is it not that there is this feeling that these not really asylum seekers? CHRISTOPHER CALDWELL, CONTRIBUTING OPINION WRITER, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, yes, and that has -- that feeling has kind of increased since the migration from the Syrian war in 2015. You know, up until then I think that most immigration, you could say, was labor related. It was not asylum-related.

But you got people coming from the Syrian war. But then in their train came a whole bunch of people from all sorts of different countries. From -- you know, from Afghanistan, from as far away as Pakistan. And they were coming into this asylum-seeking group.

So, yes, there is impatience and skepticism about that. But there is -- there is also a kind of a backdrop of -- there is a -- there is a demographic sort of like weather system kind of on the horizon which is sort of you have a -- you have a lot of demographic pressure building up in Africa which is destined to gain about a billion people in the next generation. And you have a shrinking population in Europe. And that means that whatever we're seeing in the Mediterranean now, is going to increase, you know? And on top of that, you have this -- one hopes temporary dislocation of a lot of Ukrainians which is creating certain acute problems too.

ZAKARIA: And would it be fair to say -- I mean, there is a conventional wisdom I'd say that the Europeans are not as good at assimilating immigrants as Americans. And the most recently eruption in France certainly does seem to bear that narrative out.

Is that problem of assimilation as acute as ever? Has it increased? Give us a window into that.

CALDWELL: I think it varies from country to country. And I think that there are some countries that really do have sort of like promising similarities with the United States.

France has a kind of a -- sort of a -- sort of like a creed of, you know, universalism, kind of like the United States does. Britain has a very representative geographical system, so that whenever you get a -- you get a concentration of immigrants in any one place, they're going to elect people -- put people in the parliament, you know, very quickly.


So, there are good things in all of these countries, but none of them quite have the whole American package.

ZAKARIA: Would it be fair to say that the immigration issue, migration, asylum, assimilation is at this point the hottest issue in Europe? When you think about these trends of populism, this is what is fueling them.

CALDWELL: Yes. I think -- I think, you know, when you don't have a major economic crisis or a -- or a pandemic I think that migration tends to be the biggest issue in these -- in these countries.

ZAKARIA: And does it -- does it all leave you optimistic or pessimistic?

CALDWELL: You know, I've been writing about this for -- I don't know, a couple of decades now. About 20 years ago there were -- there were a number of different paths open to Europe. I mean, Europe could sort of like open up and change its societies. Or it could close up the borders and sort of retain the societies that had existed historically.

I think that moment has passed. And so now we're in a kind of -- we're in a kind of inevitable transformation of these societies. And people are just going to address it as they can. So, I mean, good things can happen and bad things can happen but it's going to be within the context of a change.

And the change is going to make Europe a little less traditional, a little more American, a little more market oriented, a little more money oriented, a little less diverse culturally. I mean, the countries of the continent will resemble each other more. That will have its good and bad things about it.

ZAKARIA: Christopher Caldwell, thank you so much for joining us.

CALDWELL: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, when he is not hosting "THE LEAD" on this network, he's writing novels. I'll talk to Jake Tapper about his new book and much more, when we come back.



ZAKARIA: My next guest is Jake Tapper who you obviously know as host of "THE LEAD" and the "STATE OF THE UNION" on CNN. But he is also an accomplished novelist and has just published his third novel "All the Demons Are Here." It takes place amidst roiling tensions of the late 1970s in America. Among the book's central characters are the daredevil stuntman Evel Knievel and a Rupert Murdoch-inspired conservative tabloid publisher. Welcome, Jake Tapper.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER: Thank you so much. That is definitely the first time you have ever said Evel Knievel on air, I'm guessing.

ZAKARIA: We will get to him. But first I want to ask you, as a journalist, when you went back to the 1970s, because this is a period you've kind of -- you know, you grew up in. You're younger than me so you were young -- you were very young. But what struck you about the '70s as different from, you know, from your kind of prejudgments about it?

TAPPER: So, I was eight in 1977 when the book takes place. And I don't remember the '70s all that fondly. I mean, I remember my childhood fondly, but the era itself I remember for, you know, gas lines and disco and the death of Elvis. That was pretty much it. Everything else was just my little world of childhood. Going back and realizing what an insane and wild era it was was actually really interesting, fascinating even because I lived through it but didn't realize all the things were -- that were going on. The -- all of the rash of UFO sightings including by Jimmy Carter. The rise of cults. The New York City blackout. The Son of Sam murders. An entire city gripped by this serial killer. The rise of tabloid journalism, Evel Knievel, the death of Elvis.

It really was this insane time in this nation's history. And it was fun to write about, fun to dive back into. And in a way, 1977 almost becomes like a character in the book.

ZAKARIA: You know, David Frum, the journalist wrote a book called "The 70's" in which he pointed out that what we think of as the '60s really mostly happened in the '70s, the kind of sex, drugs and rock and roll, the incredible efflorescence of culture, the new movies, that's all really the '70s. So, it was a rich period for you to set it in. Did you feel like you were -- were you able -- were you trying to capture the essence of the '70s or just use it as a backdrop?

TAPPER: Yes. No, I tried to capture the essence. I mean, one of the main characters -- there are two main characters, Ike, who is an AWOL marine working for Evel Knievel in Butte, Montana, and his sister Lucy who is an aspiring journalist who hooks up with this Murdochesque family starting a tabloid in Washington, D.C.

But, no, I thrust them into it. I have Ike traveling with Evel Knievel to Graceland after Elvis dies. I have Lucy going to Studio 54 which opened in 1977, the celebrity discotheque, and experiencing that and looking at all of the odd characters that are there including Roy Cohn who really who really was, you know, the McCarthy protege, Joe McCarthy protege who was at Studio 54 quite often.


I embraced it. I loved it. I mean, I didn't get to experience any of it. I was too young. And I was in Philly, so I wasn't in Butte, or New York City. And it was -- it was actually a real joy.

And you're exactly right, it was -- this was the era of sex, drugs and rock and roll in a way that the '60s we think of as but not really. And the '70s was really when people were getting very fast and loose with their social lives.

ZAKARIA: And Evel Knievel. Now, I grew up in India in the '70s. And even I heard of Evel Knievel because -- and you get at exactly this phenomenon which is use -- one of these celebrities who became a celebrity for a bizarre concatenation of circumstances really became huge. But in the novel, he then uses that celebrity ala Donald Trump to run for president.


ZAKARIA: Did you see that as a kind of foreshadowing of Trump?

TAPPER: I mean, I do think that they are kind of the same type of quintessentially American character in the mode of P.T. Barnum. Just individuals who are able to grab the public's attention, grab the media's attention, get supporters, shoot from the hip and say things that no one else could get away with, but he gets away with it for whatever reason. And he really was a precursor to Donald Trump in many ways.

ZAKARIA: Well, the whole thing reads superbly. Jake Tapper, thanks so much.

TAPPER: Thanks so much, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, I will bring you a preview of my latest documentary, "IMMIGRATION BREAKDOWN." It's a unique moment in the history of the hemisphere. The pandemic, and climate change, with its brutal storms, droughts, and disease, led to economic meltdown, political unrest, and a perfect storm of migration. You will not want to miss this.



ZAKARIA: And now for the last look. Earlier in the show, you heard about the collapse of the Dutch government over immigration. Here in the United States, of course, immigration is a political hot button as well.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our country is full. We don't want people coming up here. Our country is full.

We want Mexico to stop. We want all of them to stop. Our country is packed to the gills.


ZAKARIA: A record 2.4 million migrants were apprehended at the border last fiscal year. That shattered the record set the previous year and nearly equals the total population of the city of Chicago.

America's immigration system is broken. But the problem isn't what Mr. Trump and his allies might have you believe. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

Here's a clip from my newest documentary "IMMIGRATION BREAKDOWN." It will premiere tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on CNN.


ZAKARIA (voice-over): The real disaster isn't that too many immigrants have made it to the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are now U.S. citizens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations. ZAKARIA (voice-over): It's that we aren't letting in nearly enough.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The fertility rate in the United States fell to yet an all-time low.

SHEPARD SMITH, HOST, THE NEWS WITH SHEPARD SMITH: More and more American women are deciding not to have kids all.

ZAKARIA (voice-over): America is in the middle of a baby bust.

ROBERT GUEST, DEPUTY EDITOR, THE ECONOMIST: The birth rate has fallen dramatically. It's below replacement level.

ZAKARIA (voice-over): Not enough Americans are being born to replace those who have died.

THOMAS C. LEONARD, HISTORIAN OF ECONOMICS, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Historically, the safety valve for the U.S. has been immigrants.

ZAKARIA (voice-over): But starting under President Trump, immigration to the U.S. plummeted cutting us off from the workers we desperately need --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Growing fears of a recession.

ZAKARIA (voice-over): -- and fanning the flames of economic decline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A massive labor shortage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The highest inflation in 40 years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The clock is ticking on Social Security.

ZAKARIA (voice-over): America has three options --

GUEST: You can either have more babies.

ZAKARIA (voice-over): -- which many experts say just won't happen.

GUEST: Or you can welcome more immigrants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hereby declare an oath --

GUEST: Or you can dwindle and fade into stagnation and irrelevance. I would favor the second option, welcoming more immigrants.


ZAKARIA (voice-over): Instead, we've chosen the third, stagnation. Refusing to let in more foreign workers according to one estimate could cost the U.S. economy $9 trillion by 2030. On the other hand --

GUEST: If everybody in the world who wanted to move could move, by one estimate, the total income of humanity would double.

ZAKARIA (voice-over): You heard that right, global wealth would roughly double as workers from less affluent countries move to join bustling economies.


ZAKARIA: Tune in tonight to understand the problem and explore solutions. "IMMIGRATION BREAKDOWN" premieres tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on CNN.

And thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you tonight and then again next week.