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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Waning Western Support For Ukraine; The State Of U.S.-Israel Relations; Terror Victims Sue Company For Aiding ISIS; How To Be A Better Person. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired December 17, 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.


ZAKARIA: Today on program, as a difficult year comes to a close, we look at the biggest challenges facing President Biden. From the Middle East, China, the war in Ukraine, to the border. Political dysfunction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a colossal waste of time.

ZAKARIA: And the U.S. economy. I'll talk about it all with Ezra Klein and Richard Haass. Also, holding terror to account. A French company sued in U.S. courts by American citizens for funding ISIS in Iraq. Amal Clooney and the lead plaintiff Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize winner, join me exclusively to explain the stunning legal story and the tragedy behind it.

AMAL CLOONEY, INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: The terrorists are brazen and the financiers are brazen, and they will continue to do so as long as they're not being punished.


ZAKARIA: But first, here's my take. 2023 has turned out to be a year that has seen a fundamental challenge to world order. The rules-based international system built by America and others over the decades is now under threat in three regions.

In Europe, Russia's war on Ukraine shatters the longstanding norm that borders should not be changed by force. In the Middle East, the war between Israel and Hamas threatens a dangerous radicalization of the region with Iranian-backed militias fighting American-backed allies from Lebanon to Yemen to Iraq to Syria. And in Asia, China's rise continues to unsettle the balance of power.

Each of these challenges has its peculiarities but they have in common the need for a sophisticated mixture of deterrence and diplomacy. The Biden administration has tackled them energetically, setting agendas, rallying allies and talking to adversaries. Success will depend on whether it can execute the policies it has adopted, and that might depend on America's domestic politics more than its grand strategies.

In Europe, Washington has emphasized combatting Russian aggression. This is easier said than done. Russia has an economy that was nine times the size of Ukraine's before the war, and a population today almost four times larger. That basic mismatch can only be addressed through continuous largescale Western assistance to Ukraine. Coupled with pressure on Kyiv to develop a more manageable military strategy and to reform its politics and economics so that it can genuinely become a part of the West.

In the Middle East, the challenge is more in the realm of diplomacy than deterrence. Israel has overwhelming power compared to Hamas. There really is no doubt that it will win in the narrow military sense the word, but to leave Israel more secure, with meaningful new alliances with the Gulf Arab states, the U.S. must get Israel to address an underlying unavoidable reality. About 5 million Palestinians live in lands occupied by Israel without political rights and without a state of their own.

China is the largest of the challenges and the one that in long run will shape the international order. Determining whether the open international system collapses into a second cold war with arms races and nuclear weapons, space and A.I. the strategy the Biden administration has adopted is nuanced, emphasizing competition and deterrence while also trying to build a working relationship with Beijing.

In the last few months, that strategy seems to have yielded results, including a more conciliatory tone from the Chinese. The shift undoubtedly has much to do with Beijing's economic troubles as well as the realization that Xi Jinping's wolf warrior diplomacy has backfired producing animosity across Asia.


But part of the credit goes to an American policy that has pushed tough measures even as it has encouraged dialogue and diplomacy.

Despite well-designed policy in each of these areas, the Biden administration confronts the reality that American domestic politics could derail all progress. If American support for Ukraine waivers, European resolve will also weaken and Putin will be confirmed in his prediction that he can outlast the West.

Large constituencies in both America and Europe still support Ukraine but the U.S. is experiencing growing opposition from a newly isolationist right, and the Republican Party is poised to nominate Donald Trump as its presidential candidate, a man who has made no bones about his dislike of Ukraine and admiration for Putin.

In the Middle East, Biden faces Benjamin Netanyahu who is highly adept at pocketing American support and resisting all advice. Since the days of the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, Netanyahu has found ways to feign support for a peace process while actually gutting it. The last time Washington tried to pressure him, he made an end run around Barack Obama and mobilized support directly through Congress. Perhaps recognizing this the Biden administration seems instead to be

trying to marshal Arab states, chiefly Saudi Arabia to influence Israel. With China, the administration's careful mix of deterrence and diplomacy can only work if domestic policy does not upend it. The politics of China policy remain overwhelmingly hawkish. There is no perceived downside to bashing Beijing.

The House Select Committee on the CPP just recommended even more severe measures against China including a slew of tariffs that would, according to an estimate by Oxford Economics, cost the U.S. economy up to $1.9 trillion over the next five years and could lead to a broad rupture in the global economy.

As I've recently written in an essay in "Foreign Affairs," the most worrying challenge to the rules based international order does not come from China, Russia or Iran. It comes from the United States. If America retreats in each of these three areas, aggression and disorder will rise. 2024 might be a year in which the ugly polarized politics on Capitol Hill ends up shaping the future of the world in which we will live for decades to come.

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

As the Biden administration heads into an election year and faces a complex set of challenges both at home and around the world. I have two excellent guests with me to talk about these compounding crises and what is in store for 2024.

Richard Haass is president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former top State Department official and Ezra Klein is "The New York Times" columnist and host of the terrific podcast, "The Ezra Klein Show." He is also the author of the book, "Why We're Polarized."

Richard, let me start with you. Ukraine. Everyone feels like things look much more grim than people had thought. Is that true? And you have been arguing that the Ukrainians need to fairly substantially change strategy.

RICHARD HAASS, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: And grim is way too negative. If two years ago, Fareed, we'd this conversation, you said after two years, they would be where they are, we would have said where do we sign? Pretty good. But no, there are some things to worry about. They're churning off an awful lot of ammunition, a lot of people are dying, and U.S. support is obviously somewhat wavering.

It's the reason I think they need to go to a less resource intense strategy and focus more on holding what they own, what they have, and put aside at least for the time being probably talk of liberation. It is not that I'm against it. I just don't think it's realistic and I don't like it when people in Washington say why should we throw good money after bad, they can't achieve these ends?

So it's a compelling story. Ukraine ought to keep and protect what it has. New some ties with the E.U. are happening, potentially some ties with NATO, long-term support agreements. But it doesn't mean they give up their long-term goals, but I think for the moment they've got to focus on what's realistic.

ZAKARIA: I'm sure you saw Putin's or read about Putin's press conference he does. He seemed very unrelenting. I mean, he seemed like there was no compromise. He said I can tell West is wavering. I mean, he said Ukraine is getting freebies, those freebies are going to stop. If you just hold, what -- you're hoping that he'll change his mind?

HAASS: No, I don't think he will for the next year. I think he's waiting on the November election here.


I think what you want to do is make it much more difficult for him to accomplish anything. If he is to go on the offense, we've seen Russian forces aren't terribly good at that. In general, in warfare, it's more pressure on the offense, less on the defense. It's not a bad outcome if Putin can't succeed.

Again, remember what he tried to do at the beginning. He wanted to eliminate Ukraine as a sovereign country with ties to the West. Well, guess what, it's a sovereign country with increasing ties to the West. Let's just keep that going.

ZAKARIA: Ezra, what do you make of the politics of supporting Ukraine? You know, we know all the congressional stuff, you pull back how should we understand it?

EZRA KLEIN, OPINION COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: I think it's sometimes hard to decompose what is driving the Republican Party at any given moment. There's Donald Trump and the cult of personality around him. There's actual ideological factions including more isolationist factions and there are simple anti-Biden, anti-internationalist, anti- NATO sentiment. And so which of these is actually dominant?

If you had a Republican nominee, if something unusual happened, and say, you know, Haley wins Iowa and then wins New Hampshire and makes a credible run and somehow she ends up the nominee, what does the Republican Party look like on Ukraine? I don't know. But right now I think it's hard to tell. At any given moment, how much of this is really simply anti-Biden and pro-Trump and how of it is the Republican Party ending up in an ideologically fixed place that is dramatically different than the Republican Party we saw 10 or 15 years ago.

Under different management, does it have a different view? It's hard to say.

ZAKARIA: What do you think of their basic argument which is we will support Ukraine as long as we get serious tough on border control?

KLEIN: I think there is a lot to not like about leveraging Ukraine's freedom or even its existence for unrelated border control arguments. There are many places where the Republican Party could cut a deal with Democrats. They could give Democrats something Democrats want on anything from climate change to the economy. Kevin McCarthy could have remained speaker if he would have simply made some concessions to Democrats on how bills came to the floor.

For the thing the Republican Party to hold in the balance here, to be whether Ukraine survives, it doesn't strike me as a highly moral way of running that negotiation.

ZAKARIA: What do you think of your former party?

HAASS: It's the reason it's my former party. I don't recognize it. I work for George Herbert Walker Bush, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, they were all internationalists. They believe in alliances. Whatever else you thought about their foreign policy. This is qualitatively different. I don't think the idea that we'd leverage support for a country under attack, the most fundamental rule of the world, you shouldn't be able to acquire territory by force, they would link it to something unrelated is outrageous.

The only thing I'd say is each party, though, may be doing a favor for the other here if a deal can come together. Joe Biden's policy on the border makes no sense. I do not understand why the Democrats essentially are supporting an open uncontrolled border. Massive people -- numbers of people coming here. The Republicans don't want to -- (INAUDIBLE) with this tab. Be the party that sold out Ukraine.

So actually by linking this, they may be doing one another a political favor even if it's for the wrong reasons.

ZAKARIA: Do you want to respond to Democrats' open uncontrolled border policy?

KLEIN: I think Democrats -- I don't think it's an open uncontrolled border but I think Democrats have been trying and believing for a long time they can somehow create a big comprehensive immigration package bill deal. It does not seem to me that that is in the offing any time soon. It might be not be in the offing any time ever given how far the parties are apart on it now. So I think it would make sense for Democrats to have a clear vision of what they want on immigration and a clear sense of how to achieve it.

I don't think in terms of either policy or in terms of rhetoric it is clear to people so while I don't agree that it's all open borders, I don't think what they want is open borders, I don't think they are making enough of a clear argument of what they do want, such that any of that is breaking through.

ZAKARIA: I think part of the problem is whatever Biden does on immigration, and he's actually tightened on, he can't say it because he's scared that it will alienate his left wing.

KLEIN: I think there's something to that.

ZAKARIA: All right. We've got to pause there. When we come back, the Middle East and college campuses. When we come back.



ZAKARIA: And we are back on GPS with "New York Times" columnist Ezra Klein and Richard Haass, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Richard, you know, as I said in my opening, Bibi Netanyahu is very good at pocketing support and resisting pressure. Is he going to be able to do that because the administration is clearly in a very different place than Israel right now on this war?

HAAS: He's going to try. What's so interesting, Fareed, in all my time in government, there's always a lot of pressure on an Israeli prime minister to get along with the American president. Often the Israeli public would measure a prime minister by how well he would manage that relationship. Well, Bibi Netanyahu is going to do just the opposite. He's going to basically go to the Israeli people and say I'm all that stands between you and a Palestinian state controlled by extremists, be it Hamas or a feckless Palestinian Authority that's really just a front for Hamas.

So he's going to take Joe Biden on because you're right, they are fundamentally different places about the management of Gaza and what comes after. I could see this framing an election sometime in 2024. And what's good about this for Bibi Netanyahu is it allows him to frame the election about the future. It's about him and the potential -- you know, avoiding of a Palestinian state, what have you.

As opposed to the past, he becomes the person responsible for the tragic failures, intelligence and defense of October 7th. So this is going to get really interesting over the next six months.

ZAKARIA: What about the politics here? What do you think -- how do you think -- you've heard people say that Biden is going to lose a certain number of Arab Americans and most importantly he's going to lose young Americans because of this unwavering support for Israel that so far has been his policy.


KLEIN: I think the substance is actually the issue here. I mean, 10 months from now, it is very hard to say, nine months from now, if people in America are going to be thinking about Israel, if they're going to be thinking about Gaza, the West Bank. We'll see where the world is, we'll see where the conflict it. But there's an actual substantive issue, which is that Biden tried to, one, reboot I think the Democratic Party if nothing else its relationship with Israel, right?

There's a period under the Obama administration, where Obama did try to challenge Netanyahu on settlements and fundamentally lost that conflict, right? Netanyahu went around Obama to Congress and ultimately Obama backed down. So Biden sort of rebooted here. The Democrats sort of, unlike what Trump was pushing on Israel, they care about some kind of more meaningful Palestinian state and more meaningful justice for Palestinians. And Biden became again the sort of world's biggest ally of Israel.

And the implicit assumption there was that by backing Israel like that, Biden would have influence he could use when he needed to use it. And what it coming immediately clear is Netanyahu did not see that deal the same way. And so then you get into this question, did Biden mean it? I mean, influence only matters if you're going to use it in both directions and if Netanyahu is going to go against the Biden administration on virtually everything they care about here, including the idea that Palestinians will be governing in Gaza and, you know, what you'd call the day after, though we don't know when the day after will be, then is there any kind of red line at all?

I mean, is America going to be funding perennial Israeli control of Gaza, perennial settlement activity and expansion, and eventually annexation in the West Bank? So the problem for Biden here I don't think is like the politics in nine months. We'll see what that is. That politics will be dependent on whether the substance of what America ends up seeming to have signed on to, backed or financed, seems to his own coalition to have worked out or been just.

ZAKARIA: What do you make of the argument that a younger generation including a younger generation of Jews are much more critical of Israel? The polling data does seem to suggest that. I guess what I'm asking you is, why?

KLEIN: I think you can look at this as there are being three generations here, right? There is a generation, an older generation and Biden is part of it, that saw Israel as an impossibility and a miracle. They saw it founded. They saw when the surrounding Arab countries tried to wipe it off the map. They saw it survived and then again in 1967 fend off an attack like that, and in 1973. And that generation is much more pro-Israel, right? They see kind of what Israel could have been and how unlikely it is. But they remember it as weak and vulnerable, too.

Then you have kind of (INAUDIBLE) generation, I think sort of, you know, Gen X, older millennials, myself for that matter, who saw Israel as strong, right? They had control of Gaza, had control of the West Bank, where in many ways an occupying force. So as much it was immoral in that. But also saw and remember an Israel trying to create something different, saw a peace maker, saw a deal maker, saw peace processes, saw an Israel that was trying to find some way to a two- state solution.

And I think what a lot of people are missing in a lot of the campus protests of which there sometimes is antisemitism, often extremism, but a lot of the people are there because if you're younger, all you have ever seen is Netanyahu's Israel, an Israel that is functionally an oppressive force in Gaza, an oppressive force in the West Bank. It's completely comfortable allowing those things to remain under its control or at least its borders under its control, and is in no way trying to, in the last 10, 15 years find its way to something different. And that generation is not pro-Israel. You could see this like just

sliding down the polling, and that is in the long term a real significant security risk for Israel that they should take seriously because Joe Biden's generation is not going to be in power in America forever.

ZAKARIA: What do you think about this college campus issue?

HAASS: I agree. It's not just that Israel is seen as Goliath more than David as in charge, if you will. But also I think the American Jewish establishment has totally dropped the ball there. They played the kind of inside game. How many votes can we get on the Hill for aid and so forth, and look the other way at settlement activity? They've lost the larger debate. Israel has lost the intellectual imagination debate in this country, and that is really, really short sighted.

So while the establishment was playing -- AIPAC was playing the inside game, they've totally lost the outs game and the proof was, as we're saying, on campuses. That's the future. And what's interesting is most Israelis, like the Netanyahus, don't care. There's a certain contempt for Americans and even for American Jews. They're basically saying, you don't get it, we get it, we're on the frontlines, you're not.

So I think they're actually willing increasingly to go their own way, or they think they can have their cake and eat it. They can stand up to President Biden but somehow one way or another they can continue to get sufficient American support.

ZAKARIA: We're going to have to leave it at that. Thank you, guys. This is really terrific.

Next on GPS, Amal Clooney and her client Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize winner, about a landmark lawsuit they filed this week that aims to get monetary restitution, real cash, into the pocket of ISIS victims like Murad.


How? We will explain.



BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: In recent days, Yazidi women, men and children have fled for their lives. And I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye. We can act carefully and responsibly to prevent a potential act of genocide.


ZAKARIA: That was President Obama in August 2014 talking about a tragedy that was then unfolding in northern Iraq as ISIS attacked the Yazidis, a religious minority there. The Yazidis have sought safety from the terrorists at the top of a mountain, Mount Sinjar, but ISIS surrounded the mountain and left the Yazidis with two choices, as Obama explained. Descend the mountain and be slaughtered or stay and slowly die of thirst and hunger. At the same time, one of the world's largest concrete manufacturers, a French company called Lafarge, was paying ISIS so that it could continue to operate a cement plant in the area that ISIS had seized.


These two events collided in a suit board last year by the U.S. Department of Justice which ended in Lafarge pleading guilty and paying nearly $800 million in fines. This week, a landmark civil lawsuit was filed seeking restitution from Lafarge for the Yazidi victims of ISIS crimes.

Joining me now for an exclusive interview our international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who is one of the lead lawyers on the suit, as well as the lead plaintiff, a Yazidi woman and Nobel Peace Prize recipient named Nadia Murad. She's the author of the "Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State."

I'm pleased to welcome both of you back to the show. It's such a pleasure to see you but there's such an important case. Just give us -- as you're the lawyer, give us the facts of the case, what did Lafarge actually do?

CLOONEY: So, thank you, Fareed, for having us. The facts of this case are really shocking. So, as you said, just when the genocide against the Yazidis was beginning in Iraq, that ISIS committed, this company that had already been funding ISIS for a year actually ramped up its support for ISIS.

And, you know, the invasion began on the 3rd of August, 2014. Just days later Lafarge was negotiating a new deal with ISIS. Not just to keep the factory going but to actually split its profits, give them a share of the cake, as they put it. They were negotiating the terms of this deal on the 15th of August when ISIS attacked Nadia's village, when six of her brothers were executed and when her mother was executed. They actually agreed, this cement company, one of the largest in the world, agreed to giving ISIS better terms in this profit-sharing arrangement that they were entering into.

Ultimately agreeing to give ISIS 10 percent of its cement and 25 percent of the value of its raw materials. I mean, they are watching these images unfolding in front of them. The factory that Lafarge was operating through its subsidiary in Syria was just 52 miles away from Raqqa which was the center of the slave trade that the Yazidis became subjected to, the women and young girls.

In the ground breaking prosecution that the Department of Justice brought against this company, the company admitted that it gave almost $6 million to ISIS and to a related group, the al-Nusrah Front. They admit that they agreed to provide cement, which reportedly was used by ISIS to build tunnels in which western hostages and Yazidis were held and tortured.

So, you know, this is an absolutely shocking set of circumstances. We commend the Department of Justice for criminally prosecuting this company in what was the first ever prosecution under a statute that allows prosecutors to go after companies that provide material support and conspire with terrorist groups. But the prosecution resulted in this huge fine, as you say, three quarters of a billion dollars, none of that money has gone to the victims, not one dollar.

So, the attorney general has the discretion to redirect some of those funds to the victims and we hope that he will do so. We have made a request for that. But we've also filed this lawsuit in the eastern jurisdiction -- District of New York seeking on behalf of Nadia, as our lead plaintiff, but also over 400 other Yazidi Americans to get compensation from Lafarge for assisting in terrorist violence.

ZAKARIA: Nadia, what would you do with the money? Let us assume the attorney general does direct some -- well, let's assume the suit is successful, what are the needs of the people who have been affected so terribly by ISIS?

NADIA MURAD, NOBEL PEACE PRIZE LAUREATE: You know, having this company -- like holding them accountable and having them compensate those who have suffered because of their support to ISIS, it is really important. So many of these people in the U.S., Yazidis, they have family members still, some of them have family members in captivity. Some have family members who returned back to their homeland but they struggle to rebuild their lives. And I'm hoping that this will help them to -- their family members to rebuild their lives but also to be able to go back because it has been almost 10 years and more than 200,000 Yazidis are still displaced inside their own country in Iraq.


They can't afford to go back and rebuild their houses.

ZAKARIA: Amal, this is quite an effort, as you've pointed the size of the suit. But also, the complexity. You went to Nebraska to find plaintiffs for this suit. Tell us about that.

CLOONEY: That is right. So, the plaintiffs are all of the U.S. citizens. And, you know, we sort of had worked out the legal theory of the case. We, of course, we're tracking what was happening in the criminal proceedings. And, you know, we were ready to go with the case. We just needed to find our clients and plaintiffs. And we discovered that there is a big community of Yazidis in Nebraska.

So, you know, I think Yazidis know, of course, that I've been working with this community on multiple accountability efforts for years now. We didn't tell them what it was about but we said, can you please gather in this hall at this time. You know, this lawyer is coming to Lincoln.

And I started to explain what was possible. You know, this is the first meaningful chance for compensation for -- you know, for these victims of ISIS. More and more people started coming and filling the hall and I extended the trip. And it's amazing to see sort of laid out in this court document 427 names and we expect that more people will come forward as well. ZAKARIA: Next up, how did Nadia manage to go from a victim of ISIS terror to a powerful figure holding the group supporters to account? More from Nadia Murad and Amal Clooney when we come back.



ZAKARIA: And we are back with human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, a lead lawyer on a new case against a French company for aiding and abetting ISIS. Joining her is the lead plaintiff in the case, Nadia Murad.

Nadia, when you think about the -- all of the challenges you have had, I mean, you have managed to -- you were sold into the sex trade by ISIS. And now look at you. You're -- you know, obviously you've won the Nobel Prize, but you're also a student at American University. I think about the first time I met you. You could barely speak a word of English. You're now writing papers in sociology in English.

What do you think made it possible for you to have the kind of grit and determination to move out of this -- out of the shadows of this tragedy and into the kind of work you're doing now?

MURAD: I've decided to share my story at the very beginning when I survived because I saw the evil of ISIS. And it was important for the world to -- you know, to remind the world about the horrific crimes ISIS committed against Yazidis. And in order to prevent this from happening again, I had to share my story. And I felt responsible, because I was lucky enough to survive but my nieces who were with me were later killed by ISIS in captivity and they didn't make it.

And when you make it, and when you survive, you just feel this burden and the guilt of going out there and sharing your story. And later, to learn that, you know, such corporations directly supported ISIS in their crimes, war crimes, it was just sickening and unbearable.


ZAKARIA: You know, to me --

CLOONEY: I think that's one of the sort of really shocking features of this whole sort of episode is that, you know, neither the armed groups nor their financiers expect to face accountability and you could see that by just how brazen they are.

So, literally ISIS wrote down its plan for genocide. It explained why under its warped interpretation of Islam it was OK to rape Yazidis and try to destroy Yazidis. And, equally, this company initially was brazen in its support and, you know, we've looked at all these documents where you see there's an agreement and it's on ISIS letterhead and it has the name of the company on it.

You know, one of the documents is literally signed by the emir of the Investment Office of Islamic State. They weren't even trying to cover their tracks initially. But, yes, I mean, the terrorists are brazen and the financiers are brazen and they will continue to do so so long as they're not being punished.

ZAKARIA: What's so interesting about that is what both of are you trying to do is we forget, right? I mean, what happened with ISIS was horrendous and the world rose up in kind of horror. But then once it was defeated militarily on the battlefield, it passes. And what you're trying to do is to remind people, what you're trying to do is hold people accountable.

How hard is that? When you go and talk to people in governments, do you find it is a hard sell to remind them of the things that they had been so repulsed by just a few years ago?

MURAD: I think it is what -- Amal and I will always talk about, you know, after ISIS was defeated, the pain and the trauma was -- was not gone. But, you know, it was there.

And, you know, soon after that, we saw a new cycle. Just, you know, moving on and going to another story and covering another story. But it is -- you know, we still have more than 2,000 Yazidi women and children missing in captivity. So far, we have covered more than 83 mass graves. And it has been almost, you know, 10 years, I have been able to only bury two of my brothers.


My mother and four brothers, two nieces, 11 cousins, one nephew that all were killed, and some of them are now in a building in Baghdad have not been -- they've been exhumed but have not been identified. And there is no closure without a proper burial for those families.

ZAKARIA: Amal, what do you think are the implications for all of this? You know that there is -- there's conversation now about sexual war crimes committed by Hamas. There are -- you know, there are things going on in the world now, when you look at that with all of this knowledge, what is your -- what are the lessons?

CLOONEY: You know, I think the lesson is it costs money to commit crimes like this and crimes at this scale. And we have to continue to pursue justice in, you know, every forum. So, we -- you know, as lawyers, you know, we're not governments, we can't, unfortunately, prevent these atrocities, but at least, after they happen, we can work with survivors and build cases.

You know, anything that can move the needle towards accountability and away from impunity, meaning perpetrators have to face prosecution and victims have to be able to get some assistance in rebuilding their lives. They deserve compensation at the very least and I think that cuts across the board for, you know, victims of sexual violence, whether it is Sudan or victims of the international crimes taking place now in the Middle East.

ZAKARIA: Thank you both. This is such important work you're doing. Amal, Nadia, pleasure to have you on.

CLOONEY: Thank you so much, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: Next on GPS, David Brooks will tell us how to preserve our humanity in dark times, after the break.



ZAKARIA: Society has gotten so polarized that people seem to feel there are two sides to every issue, the right one and the wrong one. And the other side must be defeated. Too often people are dehumanizing others instead of trying to understand them and find common ground.

Well, a few years ago the "New York Times" columnist David Brooks set out to learn how to really understand another human being. He has useful lessons in this new book "How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen."

David, welcome. As always, what you write is fascinating. You know, everyone says they want to do this. Everyone says, oh, you need to understand the Trump voter and you know. But it is actually quite hard, right?

DAVID BROOKS, OPINION COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Yes. Well, you know, I wrote this book, I thought I would try to be a better person, a better human being. And we live in such bitter times, such polarized times, so much -- so many people feel invisible. And so, I thought the only way to effectively and aggressively defeat that was by making other people -- by understanding other people and making them feel, seen, heard and understood. And that is part of it is just being open hearted.

But you also need skills. And these are basic social skills like how to listen well, how to debate well, how to disagree well, how to host a dinner party so everybody feels included, how to sit with someone who is suffering from depression, how to break up with somebody without crushing their heart, and these are just basic social skills.

And I didn't know them. I should know how to do this stuff. But I was a social idiot and so I spent the four years learning, how do I do these skills? And in the book, I just try to walk people from the first, second week gaze at each other to arguing across political difference.

ZAKARIA: What's striking to me is what you're doing is really reminding us that all of the education we get tends to be about our intellectual intelligence, not our emotional intelligence. And then when I think about what AI is going to do to us, AI is going to be better our intellectual, analytical intelligence, and we're going to have to rely more and more on our emotional intelligence and yet we are less and less equipped for it.

BROOKS: Yes. I think, AI will reveal what a human is by revealing what it can't do. So, when I meet for the first time, we only understand what is going on -- in the other person's mind on our first conversation 20 percent of the time, we just don't know. But one thing I can do is when I'm meeting you is I can give you a gaze that says, you're a person to me. You're a priority to me. And so much is in that first gaze. So, I tell a story in the book, I'm having a breakfast with a lady named LaRue Dorsey in Waco, Texas. And she presents herself to me as a strict disciplinarian. She's a tough lady. I'm a little scared of her.

Into the diner walks a guy named Jimmy Dorrell, a mutual friend of ours. And he says, Mrs. Dorsey -- Mrs. Dorsey, you're the best. You're the best. I love you. I love you. And she turns into -- a strict disciplinarian she's suddenly a bright eye-shining nine-year-old girl. The power of your gaze, of your attention to change somebody.

And the key thing for Jimmy is he's a pastor. And so, when he sees somebody, he sees a person made in the image of God. He sees someone with a soul of infinite value and dignity. And you could be Christian or Jewish or atheist or agnostic, but seeing every person you meet with that level of respect and reverence is an absolute precondition for seeing them well. You have to extend that basic level of respect to every person you meet.

ZAKARIA: What do you think is the biggest obstacle to our -- because, you know, some of what you're saying seems obvious and easy. What is it that prevents us?

BROOKS: We're not as good at conversation as we think we are. And so, having a conversation is where I really begin to see the world from your point of view, how do I do that? Again, it is skills.

And so, I list a bunch of ways to do this in the book. For example, treat attention as an on-off switch, not a dimmer. If we're talking, I would be 100 percent committed to you, not -- I'm not on my phone and do 60 percent.

Don't be a topper. If you tell me, oh, I had this terrible flight. I was on the tarmac for six hours waiting. Then I'm going to say, oh, I know what you're going through. I was on the tarmac for eight hours. And it sounds like I'm trying to relate, but really what I'm trying to do is, let's stop talking about you.


Let's talk about me and my superior circumstances.

ZAKARIA: So, the ego is very important here.


ZAKARIA: Letting go of the ego.

BROOKS: It is a moral act. Attention is a moral act. It is the ultimate generous act. And a lot of people we don't -- you know, I've come discern that only about 30 percent to 40 percent of the people I meet are question askers. The rest are perfectly nice. They are just not curious about you. They don't ask questions.

And so, the quality of your questions determines the quality of your conversation. And so, we should be asking bigger questions. And some of them, when I get to know someone, it is like where are you from? Then as I get to know them better, it might be something a little, you know, fun like, tell me your favorite unimportant thing about you. And so, I learn from academic that he loves to watch a lot of trashy reality TV show.

But then as we really get to know each other, if I'm really going to get to know you, I want to ask you big questions. If this five years in your life is a chapter, what is the chapter about? What talent do you have that you're no longer using? What crossroads are you at?

And then you can really drill down. You can have a great conversation. Just exploring the answers, and you will leave with a sense of human connection, but you also learn about human nature and you learn about the world. It is just a more fun way to go in the world but you have to have the questioning skills to really get inside somebody else's brain.

ZAKARIA: This is a warm and wonderful book. David Brooks, a great honor to have you on.

BROOKS: It is great to be with you again, Fareed.

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