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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Interview With Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi; Interview With World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Interview With The Economist's Beijing Bureau Chief David Rennie. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired September 24, 2023 - 10:00   ET



FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria coming to you from New York City.


ZAKARIA (voice-over): Today on the program, world leaders made their annual journey to New York City this week for the U.N. General Assembly. Among them Iran's president, Ebrahim Raisi. After his fiery speech, he sat down with me for an exclusive interview. I asked him about his country's nuclear program, its place in a Middle East deeply changed by the Abraham Accord, and about women's rights in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini. And the protests that followed.

(On-camera): All these hundreds of millions, maybe over a billion Muslims, wrong? And only the Islamic Republic of Iran is right?

(Voice-over): Then open trade has been one of the great engines of progress in the world, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. Is it now moving in reverse? And is America to blame?

I'll talk to the head of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, who says the world needs a new vision for globalization.


ZAKARIA: But first, here's "My Take." The Biden administration has pursued a new and ambitious economic agenda premised on the notion that the prevailing orthodoxy of the last few decades specifically the imperative to embrace free markets and free trade was inadequate to the needs of the American economy.

That approach, according to the critics, gave priority to efficiency at the cost of inequality, a hollowing out of manufacturing and an over reliance on countries like China. By contrast, Biden has put together the largest public investment in the American economy in many decades, most of it designed to encourage a revival in manufacturing, specifically targeting the chip making industry, and to transition the energy sector to renewables.

Initial data from the U.S. Treasury Department suggest these policies have succeeded. Spending on the construction of manufacturing facilities has doubled since 2021. Mostly for computers, electronics and electrical goods. Nonresidential construction spending in general is up 15 percent since the passage of Biden's big infrastructure bill and private sector spending is up by almost three times as much as public sector.

In other words, the government's policies and expenditures have been a catalyst for the private sector. Other advanced economies are not showing such large increases in manufacturing construction. They are happening mostly in America. These are impressive results. But the real test of these massive federal expenditures will become clear in the long run. In the short-term, government spending and tax incentives create a boom and the private sector will naturally jump in eager not to miss out on the action.

But does this create a sustainable set of companies and industries over time when government money runs out, as it inevitably will? This is where the UAW autoworkers strike becomes an important test case of Bidenomics. On the one hand, autoworkers clearly deserve raises. Car companies are doing well and management of course has given itself hefty bonuses.

But a key component of Biden's economic plan is to make the U.S. a leader in the electric vehicle industry, which it sees as the future of automobiles. To help make that happen, the federal government is showering the industry with benefits from a huge up to 7,500 tax credit when you buy an EV to a slew of subsidies for batteries, minerals and charging stations.

All these supports make it possible for automakers to make on higher costs. Already the big three spend far more in Labor per hour than Tesla. Factories in the U.S. pay their workers on average over five times more than factories in Mexico, and 25 percent more even than those in Japan.


But the real challenge will come from China which is taking the EV market by storm. Nearly two-thirds of the world's EVs are now made in China. BYD, the biggest of the Chinese companies, topped Tesla this year to become the world's number one producer of EVs.

American carmakers are shielded from Chinese competition. Donald Trump imposed a 27.5 percent tariff that American consumers must pay if they want to buy cars from China. Building on protectionist policies which have meant higher costs and fewer jobs in America. But in the long run, tariffs only keep American car companies in their high cost bubble shielded from the global market.

Chinese cars will soon dominate in large parts of the world, even into Europe where tariffs are only 10 percent so far. As the "Wall Street Journal's" Greg Ip has pointed out, the real story of American manufacturing is that productivity has been stagnant, with output per hour growing an average of 0.2 percent a year since 2009. Well below Taiwan's average, 4 percent annual growth, but also well behind the U.K., Germany, South Korea, France and Italy.

Productivity in the auto sector has crashed. Down 32 percent from 2012 through last year, though Ip notes this probably includes pandemic- related disruptions. Biden's economic team has hit many homeruns. The massive increase in infrastructure spending was long overdue. Funding for research is now increasing in some areas, though it remains too low by historical standards. Helping computer chips, a critical industry, makes good sense.

But the broader effort to revive manufacturing will be a challenge. Countries like Japan, Germany and France have all made such efforts and yet over the last several decades, manufacturing is a percentage of GDP has declined as a steady rate in all of them. In the United States, it is down to 11 percent of GDP and about 8 percent of employment.

Two scholars Gary Hufbauer and Euijin Jung have studied 50 years of industrial policy and concluded that the most successful efforts by far were those that funded basic research and development and opened foreign markets to American goods. Many of the efforts to promote particular industries or implement trade barriers proved costly failures.

As the Biden administration implements its plans, it would do well to look at this history and make sure it is not condemned to repeat it.

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

Last Saturday, scattered protests broke out around Iran to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died in police custody. She had been detained for allegedly not wearing her head scarf properly. The protests in the immediate aftermath of Amini's death rocked Iran. They were brutally suppressed and eventually died out.

In more recent months, Iran has restarted foot patrols to enforce the country's strict dress code for women. Most importantly, perhaps, the head scarf requirement.

When I sat down with Iran's president, Ebrahim Raisi, on Tuesday, I wanted to understand why his government remains so adamant about the need for women to cover their heads.


ZAKARIA: So around a year ago that there were those demonstrations across Iran that caused a great deal of internal strife. The Iranian government often likes to say this was a small protest but you're pardoning 22,000 and you're still imprisoning many, many more, it suggests these were large.

What I want to ask you is at the heart of it is this issue of the hijab. About whether women should have their heads covered. And I grew up as a Muslim in India. I've traveled all over the Muslim world. Hundreds of millions of Muslims do not believe that this is something women should be told to do. There are dozens of Islamic countries where the governments are very pious and believe in Islam and they are devoted, and they don't believe this.

They believe women should have the choice and the right to wear whatever they want and not have a patriarchal system tell them what to do. Are all these hundreds of millions, maybe over a billion Muslims, wrong and only the Islamic Republic of Iran is right?


EBRAHIM RAISI, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): What occurred during the days that you spoke of earlier, that was the presence of a few. Not the presence of the people. The people of Iran did not support in any way those that rioted in the streets of Iran. The people's lack of support defeated their plans. There were some who were fooled. There were others who committed murder, conducted serious crimes. But what occurred last year was a war conducted in the media by the enemy.

I don't want to name TV networks or news networks, but networks who are headquartered in the three European countries and in the United States of America who broadcast news 24 hours a day. They openly teach tactics of terror. So they conduct instructional steps on how to build a cocktail Molotov. This is one of the facets of animosity of the United States of America toward the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as that of certain European countries towards Iran.

It's not hijab that matters for them. It's not the head coverings the matter of them. It's not women's rights. It's not nuclear issues. It is not human rights. Because there are countries such as the Zionist regime. Is the Zionist regime armed to the teeth with nuclear warheads or no? Why doesn't a single voice come out of the United States in protest to that? Why doesn't a voice come out of the any of the European countries in protest to that?

ZAKARIA: But the hijab matters to Iranian women. I've talked to them. I've been to Tehran. It does matter to them. They have believed it is an infringement on their rights.

RAISI (through translator): But the fundamental issue that today in the Islamic Republic, hijab is a law. And when an issue becomes part of the law, then everyone must adhere to the laws. So it is the same the world over. And now that with regard to adherence to the laws, in reality the Americans and certain European countries are only seeking to cause a bipolar situation in our society.

So they conduct their work in this fashion, always. They thought Iran is one of those societies in which they can create two different opposing polls in which women's and the gender issues become against -- set against hijab. But rest assured that through the use of these tools they will not succeed. The people of Iran are enlightened, are people of faith, are spiritual people, and they deeply understand that the United States of America and three European countries don't care about their rights, their hijab.

But a life of respect for women has existed for hundreds and hundreds of years in Iran. It's not a development that we have observed in the past few decades.


ZAKARIA: After our interview, Iran's parliament approved a bill for a three-year trial period that gets even stricter on enforcing the dress code including prison terms of up to 10 years for violations. A panel of experts appointed by the U.N. described the bill as gender apartheid. The bill still needs to be ratified by Iran's guardian counsel.

Next on GPS, the world's worries about Iran's nuclear program increased again this month. I asked President Raisi about it when we come back.



ZAKARIA: Iran is at the center of many controversies, but perhaps the most alarming is its nuclear progress. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said earlier this year that Tehran could have fissile material for a bomb in less than two weeks and a nuclear weapon just a few months later.

Last weekend the IAEA said Iran has decided to bar several of its inspectors. Tehran has now removed the technical term as D designated about one-third of the agency's most experienced inspectors who were working in Iran. The IAEA director condemned the act and said it severely affects the agency's ability to do its work. He asked Tehran to reconsider.

Here's more of my interview with President Raisi.


ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about the issues that the IAEA has raised about Iran recently. Would it be possible to get the IAEA inspectors to the point where they have enough people there who can actually inspect, or is your intention to make it impossible for the IAEA to function in Iran?

RAISI (through translator): Well, you see if our intention was for the IAEA not to be able to conduct inspections, we would have said so clearly. However, from the very beginning our aim was to collaborate and cooperate with the IAEA, and they are fully aware of this within the IAEA that we have cooperated fully. And this cooperation takes place in two ways. In various ways. One via installation of cameras that record in real time the activities that take place.


Secondly, are the inspectors who come there and oversee the nuclear activities in Iran. And in the time that has elapsed thus far, since the agreement, 15 different times the IAEA has said and certified that there are no digressions into any type of Iran's nuclear activity and that it remains purely for civilian and peaceful purposes, and we have announced time and time again that the use of nuclear weapons, the use of weapons of mass destruction in general do not have a place. Why? Because we don't believe in it nor do we have a need for it.

However what we believe in, given in particular the fatwah issued by his Eminence, the Supreme Leader, because these are weapons of mass destructions and they can lead to the death of many innocent lives throughout the world, then this is Haram, not religiously allowed to develop or use these weapons.

We have -- the Islamic Republic of Iran hasn't said we do not wish any inspectors to be here. We have been what these three countries, what has been said by the IAEA is that we have certain considerations vis- a-vis individuals from these three countries. Their trust is under a shadow of doubt.

ZAKARIA: And you have designated all American inspectors of course, now you are de-designating, which means essentially firing all the French and the German and the British ones. And the IAEA says this will cripple its ability to do thein- inspections. The IAEA does say there are many unanswered questions, and I want to raise them because those are the very questions that these three countries ask that you referred to and the question is essentially around two sites which were never declared by Iran as nuclear sites.

And yet the IAEA believes that they have traced of uranium there. Why would you not answer that question? Were those sites part of a uranium enrichment facility and if so why were they never declared?

RAISI (through translator): All of the questions have been answered. Whether there were questions that were in any given specific time frame or those that are generally post each time when we responded to these questions, we did so officially, in official meetings with IAEA officials, and they were clarified. Any unanswered questions or ambiguities were clarified. So the misunderstanding that or lack of good will that exists, they're not founded in reality. They are simply allegations.

ZAKARIA: I have to say the IAEA does say that these are important questions that have not been answered relating to these two sites. So they regard these as serious unanswered questions. But let me ask you one that is very simple. Iran is the only country that does -- that has only a civilian program as you claim it is, that enriches to the level you enrich, to 60 percent and higher. Why are you enriching to these high numbers? Doesn't that raise people's suspicions?

RAISI (through translator): You see, this action of the Islamic Republic of Iran against the breaking of commitments and the three European countries vis-a-vis the reached accord, in the beginning we're not seeking 60 percent levels of enrichment. They trampled upon their commitments according to multiple IAEA certifications.

What the Islamic Republic of Iran did was in response to a breaking of commitment of the signatories to the agreement and it was officially announced that the action that we intend to take is not intended to reach nuclear weapons of any type or a military dimension of any type. But it is a response for the lack of commitment demonstrated by the Europeans. And should they at any time return to a fulfillment of their commitments, rest assured and have no doubt that the Islamic Republic as it has done in the past will fully adhere to her commitments.


ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, I asked President Raisi about warming relations between some of Iran's Arab neighbors and Israel. How does he feel about this trend?




ZAKARIA: The great regional issue going on in the Middle East right now is of course what has been started with the Abraham Accords. The normalization of relations between some Gulf states and Israel. An Arab diplomat, a friend of mine, said the Iranians have done the -- have managed to achieve the impossible, which is they have brought Israel and the Arabs together against them.

Isn't the Abraham Accords fundamentally a failure of Iran's foreign policy because here you have Israel and countries that would not even recognize it, would not even talk to it, coming together largely because they worry about Iran's influence in the region, which they see as malevolent?

RAISI (through translator): This was a job done by the Americans to take the hands of the Israelis and put that squarely in the hands of certain Arab countries. This doesn't equal the acceptance of those nations, of those people. People in those countries, in those Persian Gulf Arab countries have a great deal of hate for the Israeli actions and this was only obtained under American pressure. And the mind frame -- the frame of thought of the Americans was that that they are somehow creating security for the Zionist regime. Whereas normalization of certain countries with Israel does not buy security or bring about security for the Zionist regime. Because both the Zionist regime is facing internal strife and difficulties and it is hated outside, whether by countries that are of Muslim faith or otherwise.


Across the world, today know that the Zionist regime is the most hated for crimes against humanity, against human beings and the trampling upon of many agreements that it should have adhered to thus far. And it is hated for that. So, this was the action undertaken by the Americans.

On one side, the Americans did this. On the other side they started to promote a phobia about Iran, an unfounded fear in the hearts of the neighboring countries about Iran. So, that when they wish to establish contact with Iran or have a -- an approach or rapprochement our conduct -- economic activities with Iran, they see that these are fears created by the Americans. So, this normalization will see no success just like in previous cases. And this is not a solution for the Zionist regime.

After 7.5 decades, they must go back to the principle founded in giving the rights to the Palestinian people that they are owed what is rightfully theirs. The path must start from that point of origin. Instead of addressing the core issue they are trying to bring about in forced normalization which cannot help the Zionist regime in any way shape or form other than to put everyone in a position where even the people of these nations that you touched upon earlier, they see that establishment of normalization of relationship as a betrayal of their principles and values. So, after 75 years these different avenues pursued by the United States of America have never responded, have never yielded the desired fruit.

ZAKARIA: You say that Israel is after 75 years has not solved its problems and it is in trouble. But when I look at Israel, it seems to have become one of the richest countries in the region. It is now almost an industrial country by per capita GDP. It has built an extraordinary technology sector. And despite the Palestinian problem they have been able to normalize relations with many Arab countries. Increasingly it seems possible that they will normalize relations with Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile Iran is isolated. Your GDP growth has been very poor over the last 30 years. A country that used to be one of the richest countries in the region now looks backward in comparison. Iran seems more isolated.

Is it worth the price you have paid to have taken all of these positions that you have taken? It feels like for the Iranian people, they have paid a heavy price in terms of lack of development.

RAISI (through translator): With the Islamic revolution we gave a loud and clear announcement that we will not go under the hegemony of the West of that of America. We wish to be an independent country. We wish to have relations with all countries but they sought only hegemony.

Now, what conditions are in the region? Let's look at it. In the situation brought about by the Americans in Syria, was Syria successful or America? Certainly Syria. In Afghanistan, were the people of Afghanistan successful or the United States of America? Certain the people of Afghanistan. In Iraq, were the Iraqis successful or the United States of America? Certain the Iraqis.

Now where in the region has America been successful? You cannot see an example of their success anywhere in the region. The difference in the comparison between Iran, western countries and the Americans, Iran has been the one who has succeeded.

Now, America, -- also, it is important to keep in mind, that they wanted for Iran to become isolated. That did not occur. Is the entire world comprised of three European countries and the United States of America? The world has almost 200 different independent countries. We have relations with a great many of them, most of them. Is today's world scenario showing you that American power is precipitating or that of Iran?


We believe that it is certainly that of the United States of America and Iran's position is being strengthened by the day.

ZAKARIA: Mr. President, our time is up and I thank you for allowing the world to hear your views on a range of issues.

RAISI (through translator): I also thank you.


ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, there is growing global rhetoric against free trade as countries like the United States have turned inwards somewhat. I will talk to the head of the World Trade Organization Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala about why this is so troubling.


ZAKARIA: For more than 75 years, open trade has governed the way the world does business. It started after World War II as nations pulled down trade barriers. Since then, it had led to huge growth and better jobs and massively reduced global poverty.


But today, countries like the United States are closing the door on open trade and investing more at home. My next guest says this is a mistake. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala heads the World Trade Organization. In a recent "Foreign Affairs" essay, she calls for reimagining globalization with a world economy that is more open and more fair. Pleasure to have you have on.


ZAKARIA: So, you've been -- you've held so many fascinating jobs. You're finance minister of Nigeria. And in that whole period for the decades and decades when you were a developmental economist, what would Washington tell you when they were trying to tell you guys in the third world, in the developing world to change your policies?

OKONJO-IWEALA: Well, we all agreed and we would hear -- even when I was at World Bank as well, we preached the same, that open markets, open, stable, fair and transparent markets in a multi-lateral trading system that was predictable was the best thing for the world. That interdependence would be the way to go, not overdependence, but interdependence would bring peace and prosperity to the world. And that developing countries should maintain these open markets.

ZAKARIA: So, while the United States has been preaching this for the last 50 -- 75 years. In the last few years, it is the U.S. under Trump that put tariffs on not just the Chinese but the Europeans, the Canadians. Biden has put buy America provisions in all of his bills. So, the U.S. has in some ways turned its back on its own creation. OKONJO-IWEALA: Well, I would not say completely. But I want to stress that the more we put across measures that do not allow others, especially developing countries to compete, the more we give the signal that the multi-lateral trading system is not an avenue that they can use to improve the living standards of their population, to fight poverty, and even to support sustainable development, all of which are the purposes for the World Trade Organization. We want to make sure that developing countries see they have a fair chance to compete within this system.

ZAKARIA: You make a very interesting point in your "Foreign Affairs" piece that everybody thinks about the vulnerabilities of, you know, your supplies during the pandemic. But moving to a system that is just based on a few friendly suppliers is actually in some ways leaves you more vulnerable.

OKONJO-IWEALA: I would like to stress that, Fareed. I think that given what we're seeing with climate change, the unpredictability of what is happening, concentrating production, either at home or with a few friends, may not build the resilience you want. Let us deconcentrate those and diversify supply chains to countries. Those who are not part of globalization in the first round, but who are ready to receive investment, and many of these are developing countries. It is -- Vietnam is good. Indonesia is good. And also, Bangladesh --


ZAKARIA: And what you're saying -- what you really -- what really will give you security is if there is a global supply chain with many different manufacturers, so that if one thing -- if there is a typhoon in one place, you can go somewhere else.

OKONJO-IWEALA: Absolutely. And in critical sectors really need to look at this. Rare earths are minerals. We now can look and say where else in the world can we develop this supply chain? In Africa, for instance, there is a golden opportunity to really diversify and develop the supply chain of these rare earth minerals there.

Process them in place. Create jobs for young people at the same time as you help manage the decarbonization of the world. It is a like a win-win.

ZAKARIA: Now, a lot of people will say, you know, free trade is all very good -- well and good, but the Chinese for example, manipulate the system. They have a massive state. It is subsidizes -- you know, there are hidden subsidies. There are explicit subsidies.

It doesn't open its market to lots of western goods. Western tech companies can barely operate in China. How can they be part of a system and it is still open and fair?

OKONJO-IWEALA: There are countries that complain that China has hidden industrial subsidies. And we certainly need to be mindful of that because we want a level playing field. China itself complains about agricultural subsidies in other countries. So, they are complaints on all sides and I think what we need to do is remind ourselves of how the system was built. It is true that if we do not have a transparent system, where there is a trust, then you have a race to the bottom because everyone will try to subsidize.


And you know developing countries will lose the most because they don't have the fiscal space to be able to join the subsidy race. So, what we want is -- there are subsidies that are good. You subsidize research and innovation, why not? That can help the world. But I think specific subsidies or specific requirements that make it problematic for other members to compete and issue and that is what you want to get away with.

ZAKARIA: But it is fair to say that what happens in Washington matters the most. And if the U.S. turns toward protectionism and industrial policy, I think, everyone else will just follow suit, right? They'll copycat?

OKONJO-IWEALA: Well, that will happen. Once one nation starts to subsidize, whether it is U.S., E.U., China others will want to do that. But that's why we are saying that a subsidy race to the bottom is not the right way to go.

I do want to say that, you know, what we've been hearing from the U.S. at the WTO is increasingly very supportive and we hope we can push in that direction. I think there is a realization that this system we have, if we allow it to fragment, if we become too protectionist, we might lose it and that is not what we want to do. We want to maintain the system that has served the world so well for so long.

ZAKARIA: Ngozi, pleasure to have you on.


ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, something completely different. We will tell you about a blockbuster movie in China, its version of "Top Gun." But it's all about America's bullying ways.



ZAKARIA: Xi Jinping chose to skip both the G20 this month and the U.N. General Assembly this week. President Biden had hoped to see Xi at the earlier gathering in India as tensions between the U.S. and China remain high. The U.S. insists it isn't trying to keep China down but China doesn't seem convinced.

And a film backed by the Chinese government and released earlier this year to much fanfare sends a message to Chinese movie-goers that the country needs to stand up to American bullying. It is about the Chinese air force and it is called "Born to Fly." I recently spoke about it to David Rennie, Beijing bureau chief for "The Economist."


ZAKARIA: David Rennie, pleasure to have you on.


ZAKARIA: So, tell us the plot, briefly.

RENNIE: So, this is a kind of a cross of "Top Gun" and "The Right Stuff." It is about test pilots. But what was really striking and to me quite worrying about this film is it is basically set in the present day and it's very closely mapping real world events in the South China Sea where you see American warships and war planes flying in innocent passage in international skies and international waters to just show the flag and that is legally allowed.

But in the film that is twisted and it begins and ends with -- we don't get told they're Americans, that these pilots fly very modern planes and they have American accents. And they are going right into Chinese air space and flying kind of solo over a Chinese gas rig that they smash all the windows, sailors are falling into the sea. And then when the Chinese air force says, you are in Chinese air space, these arrogant American accented pilots say --


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We can come and go whenever we want.


RENNIE: And then at the beginning of the film is the Chinese planes aren't good enough to keep up. And so, the middle of the film is this very austere test pilot base in the desert, in the Chinese desert, where they're trying to design a new plane that can drive the arrogant foreign intruders out. And the film ends with the Americans, we assume, being driven out of Chinese air space by these kind of super modern Chinese jets.

ZAKARIA: To me one of the most interesting moments that you have talked about is the parents of the kid, of the young wannabe pilot, try to dissuade him and try to steer him onto a kind of more bourgeois conventional path. And that is -- that is seen as the old modernizing reform minded China. And that is -- that is actually -- the kid delivers a stern rebuke to his parents, right? That is a metaphor for the old China (INAUDIBLE) --

RENNIE: Absolutely. So, you know, I've heard American generals say, you know, maybe the Chinese won't start a war because all of these one child families, lots of urban middle class parents are going to risk their only child in a war. The movie kind of tackles that head on but from the point of view of the hyperpatriotic youngster.

And you're right, that there is this amazing scene, he has a nasty crash, nearly dies. His parents turn up in the desert and say, you know, what are you doing? We found a nice safe job for you in a nice company and you refused our offer to send you abroad to study. And he's like, no, you know, I'm going to -- my generation will give China its confidence back and I'm going to stay here and I'm going to be an unfilial son. And he kind of sends them packing.

And there's a phrase in Chinese propaganda where they talk about main melody films, the kind of the zhu xuan lu. And the main melody of the time is kind of the main political message that the party. It is what everyone is sort of hum along to.

And right now, you can see Xi Jinping in speech after speech particularly aimed at the young is that they're soft, they are pampered, they need to be willing to sacrifice and suffer like their sort of ancestors did at the beginning of communist China. And that is then added on to this push to -- push for technological self-reliance, to push back the foreign Americans who are trying to hold China down.


So, all of these themes coming together.

ZAKARIA: And how does it end? Is it a kind of -- it is a glorious victory against the, as you say, the American accented English- speaking unnamed adversary?

RENNIE: Literally that. So, we have a dog fight where suddenly you hear these panicking American accents going, you know, oh, that plane is really good. And they're kind of sent packing.

They do -- you know, crumb of comfort, they shoot down an American drone, not an American fighter. So, we don't actually see an American killed on screen. But it is definitely a chilly movie.

And I have spoken to young Chinese particularly foreign educated ones who are really shocked by the kind of the next level of normalized combat. Rather than maybe like a historical movie where you're killing Americans in Korea in the 1950s.

This is new. This is present day normalizing combat with America. And if we see another of these films, then I think we should start to worry.

ZAKARIA: David Rennie, pleasure to you have on. Always love your reporting and thank you for this.

RENNIE: Thank you.


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