September 17th, 2014
04:38 PM ET

Geeks vs global policy

For more Last Look, watch GPS, Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Over the past few years, technology and global affairs have increasingly intersected. Think about when Twitter delayed site maintenance in order to continue to carry tweets during Iran's green revolution. Or about apps like "Red Alert," created this summer to warn Israelis of incoming rocket attacks.

Well, last month, geeks collided with global policy once more. Hack North Korea, organized by the Human Rights Foundation, brought 100 engineers, coders, activists, investors, and designers together in San Francisco to answer one burning question: How can we get information into and possibly out of North Korea?

The attendees divided into eight groups judged by a panel that included North Korean defectors, refugees, and even a computer scientist who once trained the regime's cyber warfare unite. The winner – tiny portable satellite receivers so small and flat they could be hidden on the exteriors of North Korean homes. They would be smuggled in using balloons or across the Chinese border. And they would pull in English and Korean language stations from a South Korean broadcaster.

Think of it as air dropping a different kind of weapon – knowledge.

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Topics: Last Look
September 17th, 2014
04:26 PM ET

World remains glum about economic prospects

By Bruce Stokes, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Bruce Stokes is the director of the Pew Research Center’s Global Economic Attitudes. The views expressed are solely those of the author.

Six years since the beginning of the Great Recession and publics around the world remain glum about the state of their economy and prospects for an economic recovery. In most nations, people say their country is heading in the wrong direction and most voice the view that economic conditions are bad, according to a new 44 country survey by the Pew Research Center conducted among 48,643 respondents from March 17 to June 5, 2014.

A global median of 60 percent see their country’s economy performing poorly, largely unchanged from last year. People in advanced economies, such as the United States and France, are slightly more negative than those in emerging markets. Only in developing economies is there some semblance of satisfaction with current national economic performance: 51 percent voice the view that their economy is doing well.

Those who see their economy in the most negative light are the Greeks (97 percent say economic conditions are bad), Italians (96 percent), Spanish (93 percent) and Ukrainians (93 percent). In the U.S., 58 percent are of the opinion that the American economy is not doing well; only 40 percent say its performance is good. Those most positive about their national economic conditions are the Chinese, Vietnamese and Germans, where more than 80 percent are upbeat. FULL POST

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Topics: Economy
September 17th, 2014
12:15 PM ET

Uber's mission? 'Transportation as reliable as running water'

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Travis Kalanick – You may not know his name, but you probably are well aware of the company he founded and runs, Uber. The company is a tech darling with an astounding valuation of $18 billion. That company has changed the way people get around cities from Raleigh-Durham to Rio to Riyadh, from Stockholm to Sydney to Seoul.

In all, Uber is in 200 cities in 45 countries on six continents and counting. But not everybody loves Uber or the disruption in the transportation market. Germany, for one, just banned Uber from operating anywhere on its soil. Fareed sat down in Uber's "war room" at its San Francisco headquarters.

Watch the video for Kalanick's explanation of what Uber is trying to achieve.

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Topics: GPS Show • Technology
September 16th, 2014
07:04 PM ET

Assessing America's alternative energy future

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

The crisis in Iraq and Syria, fueled by oil. The crisis in Ukraine, greatly complicated by natural gas. So what if we lived in a world that was powered by something other than these hydrocarbons we are so dependent on. That's a world that Vinod Khosla is betting on, quite literally. Khosla was the founding CEO of Sun Microsystems. He now runs his own firm, Khosla Ventures, and is the 352nd richest person in America, according to Forbes. In recent years, most of his energy has gone into finding promising alternate energy technologies, and investing in them.

Watch the video for the interview for his take on the future of alternative energy.

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Topics: Energy • GPS Show
U.S. must not jump when ISIS asks it to
September 16th, 2014
04:04 PM ET

U.S. must not jump when ISIS asks it to

CNN’s New Day speaks with Fareed Zakaria about recent developments over the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and what the U.S. response should be. This is an edited version of the transcript.

What is the perspective from Arab states about who is willing to join the coalition against ISIS and put boots on the ground?

Let's think about it from this point of view. What is ISIS’s strategy? What are they trying to do to put out these videos, by doing this kind of brutality? They are trying the goad the United States in. What they want to do is say, there America goes again, invading another Arab country, bombing Muslims, and we are the defenders. They want to make it us against them.

What we have to be careful not to play into the game, not to jump when they ask us to.

How?

The most important thing is that we have to make sure that the other Arab states are involved. We have a few countries like Saudi Arabia that say they would be willing to participate in the bombings. FULL POST

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Topics: Iraq • Syria
September 16th, 2014
11:38 AM ET

Do sanctions actually work?

For more What in the World watch Sundays at 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Global Public Square staff

The West has announced a new round of sanctions against Russia. But can America and Europe craft effective sanctions?

Sure, sanctions have already hurt the Russian economy: stock prices are down, capital is fleeing the country and the Russian ruble has taken a hit. But Vladimir Putin shows no signs of moving to the off ramp of diplomacy that President Obama has talked about. Indeed, he's retaliating against the West by basically imposing his own set of counter-sanctions, banning around $9 billion worth of food imports from the West, despite the fact that this will mean higher food prices for Russians.

And he's not changing his military strategy, which has been to encourage the Ukrainian separatists to stand firm. So, will yet another round of sanctions do the trick?

Well, here's the problem. Sanctions don't really have that great a track record. We think of sanctions as highly effective because they did bring the Iranians to the negotiating table, it seems. But those are unusually comprehensive sanctions, implemented by almost all countries. That's very rare. FULL POST

September 14th, 2014
01:08 AM ET

Kissinger on the evolving global order

Fareed speaks with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about the current global order and the concept of American exceptionalism. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

In reading your book, what is striking is you describe a world order, really the Westphalian world order, created after the religious wars in Europe that was conceived of and articulated and implemented by the West using Western values. And you point out that there is no such agreement now. The Chinese have their own conception of world order. The Islamic world has its own conception of the world order. Even the Indians have a very different conception.

So I read that part and I thought, my God, it’s going to be impossible to imagine any conceivable global world order, no matter how smart and engaged the U.S. president is or this is a structural shift that's taken place that is overwhelming.

No, it will be very difficult, but it has to begin by understanding what the differences are. And therefore, in stating one's objectives, one has a dual task and it's somewhat contradictory.

One has to be motivated by the values of our own society. And they are very inseparable from exceptionalism. But one has to understand that these are not self-evident somewhere else. And one has, therefore, to fit specific policies into a framework. That's very difficult. It's never… FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show
September 13th, 2014
07:01 PM ET

How to defeat ISIS

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Fareed Zakaria

President Obama's speech Wednesday night outlined a tough, measured strategy to confront ISIS. But let's make sure in the execution of this strategy that the U.S. learns something from the 13 years since September 11, 2001 and the war against al Qaeda.

Here are a few lessons to think about:

One – Don't always take the bait. The United States has to act against this terror group. But it should do so at a time and manner of its choosing rather than jumping when ISIS wants it to jump.

Lesson two: Don't overestimate the enemy. ISIS is a formidable foe, but the counterforces to it have only just begun...While ISIS is much more sophisticated than al Qaeda in its operations and technology, it has one major, inherent weakness. Al Qaeda was an organization that was pan-Islamic, trying to appeal to all Muslims. This group is a distinctly sectarian organization. ISIS is anti-Shiite as well as deeply hostile to Kurds, Christians and many other inhabitants in the Middle East. This means that it has large numbers of foes in the region who will fight against it, not because the United States wants them to but in their own interests.

Lesson number three: Remember politics. The Obama administration has mapped out a smart strategy in Iraq, pressing the Baghdad government to include more Sunnis. But that is yet to happen – the Shiite parties have dragged their feet over any major concessions to the Sunnis. This is a crucial issue because if the United States is seen as defending two non-Sunni regimes – Iraq and Syria – against a Sunni uprising, it will not win.

Watch the video for the full Take, or read the WaPo column

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Topics: Fareed's Take
September 13th, 2014
06:33 PM ET

On GPS Sunday: Fareed's take on ISIS, Kissinger on Ukraine, and the CEO of Uber

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

On GPS this Sunday: First, Fareed gives his take on President Obama’s speech on how to respond to the threat posed by ISIS – and looks at what the United States should and shouldn’t do.

Then, Fareed speaks with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about the recent developments in Ukraine, how the U.S. should tackle ISIS, and what he thinks about Barack Obama and his administration’s foreign policy.

“I thought we withdrew too rapidly from the Iraq, not just militarily, but also with a political presence. And I have concerns about what will happen in Afghanistan unless we create an international framework for it,” Kissinger says. “But we should try to come up with non-partisan solutions in what is going to be an extremely difficult period.”

Later, Fareed speaks with former Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher about President Obama’s ISIS strategy, and what role other countries in the Middle East might be willing to play.

Also on the show, Fareed speaks with Travis Kalanick, founder and CEO of Uber.

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Topics: GPS Show
September 11th, 2014
11:34 PM ET

Can we defeat the Islamic State?

By Fareed Zakaria

The Obama administration has mapped out a smart strategy in Iraq, pressing the Baghdad government to include more Sunnis. But that has yet to happen — the Shiite parties have dragged their feet over any major concessions to Sunnis. The Iraqi army has not been reconstituted to make it less partisan and sectarian and more inclusive and effective. This is a crucial issue because if the United States is seen as defending two non-Sunni regimes — Iraq and Syria — against a Sunni uprising, it will not win. And it will be hard to recruit local allies. While a minority in Iraq, Sunnis make up the vast majority of the Middle East’s Muslims.

The Syrian aspect of the president’s strategy is its weak link. It is impossible to battle the Islamic State and not, in effect, strengthen the Bashar al-Assad regime. We can say we don’t intend to do that, but it doesn’t change the reality on the ground. The Free Syrian Army remains weak and divided among many local militias.

Read the full Washington Post column

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Topics: Fareed's Take
How not to demilitarize Hamas 
September 11th, 2014
11:33 PM ET

How not to demilitarize Hamas 

By Ofer Zalzberg 

Editor’s note: Ofer Zalzberg is Senior Analyst for Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group. The views expressed are the writer’s own.

In a few weeks, indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas are to take place in Cairo with the aim of consolidating a durable ceasefire. The problem is that the two sides have two quite different agendas – while Hamas chiefly seeks the removal of the siege over Gaza, the Israeli government is primarily interested in demilitarizing Gaza.

But is pushing for demilitarization of Hamas in Gaza alone really in Israel’s interests?

The government embraced this objective after important Israeli figures, pointing to Syria’s relinquishing of chemical weapons and the PLO’s 1988 adoption of non-violent resistance, put forward proposals aiming to fully demilitarize the Gaza Strip, including its rockets, missiles and offensive tunnels in exchange for massive economic investments in the Strip. FULL POST

September 10th, 2014
11:12 AM ET

Why sugar is worse than fat

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta about recent research on the risks of high sugar consumption. Watch the video for the full interview.

For 20 years, people have been assuming that fat was the enemy because it produced cholesterol, which was blocking arteries. That's not quite right.

I could talk about this all day long, because I think it highlights some very important things in terms of how we sometimes misinterpret science, or at least exaggerate it.

It was in the late '70s – in fact, there was a Senate commission, Senator McGovern, who actually looked at this issue and found that people who had very high levels of cholesterol tended to die early of heart disease. And there was also other studies that showed if you ate a diet high in fat, it raised your cholesterol. But those were two different studies. And they got really, really linked, not only by the Senate, but also in the scientific community and then by everybody else.

And what happened over the last 30 years, it got codified. It became the way that we eat low fat in this country. And nothing changed. In fact, things got worse. Cardiovascular disease remains the biggest killer of men and women. Diabetes rates are higher than ever before. Childhood obesity. So it didn't work. And I think that's what sort of prompted all this analysis. FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show • Health
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