On GPS this Sunday: First, a live look at the crisis in the Middle East and the latest developments in Gaza.
Then, the crisis in Ukraine. Past rounds of sanctions have appeared to have little effect on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans. Will Europe’s latest effort at pressure? And what should NATO’s role be? Fareed speaks with Poland's foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, one of those who pushed hard for these sanctions.
“We want a standing defense plans. We want bigger response forces,” Sikorski says. “And unfortunately, the Russian actions in Ukraine don't make us feel more secure, but less secure.”
Also, the deadly Ebola virus has killed hundreds of people in Africa. What is stopping it from spreading to other continents? Fareed speaks with CNN's Sanjay Gupta and Peter Piot, the man who actually co-discovered Ebola.
By Kevin O’Donnell
GPS intern Kevin O’Donnell speaks with Justin Gest, assistant professor of public policy at the School of Policy, Government and International Affairs at George Mason University and the author of ‘Apart: Alienated and Engaged Muslims in the West’ and the forthcoming ‘Crossroads of Migration: A Global Approach to National Policy Differences’. The views expressed are his own.
When we talk about migration, we often talk about push factors and pull factors – things that drive people from a country, that pull them to another. We’ve seen over the past five years a rapid increase in migration by children. Is this driven more by factors in their home countries, or by a new understanding of opportunities in the United States?
Well I think it’s important off the bat to clarify that the young people who are coming to the United States border right now aren’t coming for economic opportunities, they’re not coming – initially at least – to unify with their families, they’re not coming because of the United States' university system or educational opportunities. They’re coming because they’re desperate. They’re coming because they’re trying to escape dire circumstances in their countries of origin.
So while the pull factors in the United States are important, they’re not a determinant here. One way of actually noticing this is by looking at the net migration from Mexico and Central America over the last five to seven years since the economic decline of the United States. It has declined, at one point to zero. So this is taking place at a time when we haven’t seen a lot of draw by the American economy, which further substantiates the idea that this is truly push-factor oriented. FULL POST
Fareed speaks with Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski about the recent downing of Flight MH17 in Ukraine and the European Union’s response. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.
Do you feel that there are any signs in the past that even the threat of these sanctions have had the effect presumably that you want, which is that Russia should stop supplying arms and people in eastern Ukraine? My sense is, if anything, is that in the last week or two, those activities have sort of stepped up and the Russians themselves appear to be firing missiles at Ukrainian government planes.
These sanctions, I think, will get President Putin's attention and will show that, despite what he has apparently thought, the West, as a moral community, exists. And it can be united when we see the fundamental norms of international relations are undermined. Hitherto, I think Russian authorities assumed they could always play us off one against the other, and that we are incapable of joint action. This is the first indication that we are.
Do you think it was the airliner changed things? Because my understanding, reports from what was happening within the European Union, was there was significant dissension. I mean, when people would talk about sanctions, non-British countries would argue for financial sanctions, which of course hurt over in London. Britain would argue for the kind of sanctions that would hurt France or Germany. And as a result, there was a standoff. Did the airliner break that logjam?
The airliner and the treatment of the bodies of the victims and the fact that they came from a number of EU countries definitely mobilized politicians in Europe. And crucial was the package put together by the European Commission, which spreads the pain of sanctions on our side fairly. Of course, I expect the Russian side to respond with counter-sanctions, and they'll probably try to divide us again.
By Sarah Margon, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Sarah Margon is the Washington director of Human Rights Watch. The views expressed are her own.
As he stood before Ghana’s parliament in July 2009, President Barack Obama set out some guiding principles to underscore his interests in Africa. “[G]overnments” he said, “that respect the will of their own people, that govern by consent and not coercion, are more prosperous, they are more stable, and more successful than governments that do not.”
About a month earlier, as he stood before an audience of Egyptian university students, President Obama said something similar, noting that, “[g]overnments that protect [basic] rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.” Even in his 2013 speech in South Africa, President Obama asserted that “[g]overnments that respect the rights of their citizens and abide by the rule of law do better, grow faster, draw more investment than those who don’t.”
But now, with some 45 African heads of state to arrive in Washington for a groundbreaking summit that begins Monday, the administration appears to have gone for a more traditional approach. Instead of making good on these aspirational goals and integrating them into the wider summit agenda, the Obama administration has set the tone by excluding human rights organizations from official meetings and keeping human rights off the agenda.
By Leon Aron, Special to CNN
Editor's note: Leon Aron is a resident scholar and the Director of Russian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. The views expressed are his own.
Two wars – one in Gaza the other in eastern Ukraine – are unfolding simultaneously. They have nothing in common except this: both should be being seen as unambiguous in terms of which side is right and which wrong. And second, both are likely to end in a strategic (i.e. long-term) defeat for the right side because of the attitudes that shape the approach of Western leaders to both wars.
The facts are not in dispute. In Ukraine, the legitimate government in Kiev is trying to restore Ukrainian sovereignty over its territory, in practical terms seized by Russia in a proxy war using professional special troops, intelligence officers and mercenaries (kontraktniki) to train assorted thugs known collectively as "rebels" or "separatists" who are being armed and supplied by Russia.
In Gaza, Israel is battling a fundamentalist terrorist organization dedicated to killing Jews, Christians and gays and oppressing women. As in Ukraine, they attacked first, by firing hundreds missiles at Israeli cities and towns.
By Fareed Zakaria
“U.S. federal courts have issued two noteworthy rulings on guns in the past week,” writes Francis Wilkinson for Bloomberg View. “One is constitutionally significant: It overturns the District of Columbia's ban on carrying handguns outside the home, while showcasing the gun-rights movement's aggressive legal and political efforts to eliminate virtually all regulation. It may go all the way to the Supreme Court, where the justices could potentially use it to establish ground rules for concealed and open carry.”
“The other case has all the gravity of a Daffy Duck cartoon. It exposes an insular gun culture, addled by paranoia and determined to shut itself off from even the most anodyne expressions of common sense.”
“Just because Putin hasn’t succeeded in instigating a larger pro-Russian uprising doesn’t mean that a quick resolution is in sight,” writes Lucian Kim for Slate. “Ukrainian politicians from all camps have proved themselves to be singularly shortsighted and self-interested. Last week, with the battle for the East still far from won, the government coalition collapsed and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk resigned. When cold weather returns in the fall and the Ukrainian government discovers it doesn’t have enough money to pay Russian natural-gas giant Gazprom, the energy crunch will start to bite. And without a decisive victory on the battlefield, frustrations both within the military and on the homefront could boil over. It’s far from clear whether Ukraine can win its war for independence.” FULL POST
By Fareed Zakaria
When he came to power in 2000, Putin seemed a tough, smart, competent manager, someone who was determined to bring stability to Russia — which was reeling from internal chaos, economic stagnation and a default in 1998. He sought to integrate Russia into the world and wanted good relations with the West, asking Washington for Russian membership in the World Trade Organization and even NATO. His administration had technocrats who were Western liberals, well versed in free markets and open trade.
Over time, however, Putin established order in the country while presiding over a booming economy as oil prices quadrupled under his watch. He began creating a repressive system of political, economic and social control to maintain his power. As he faced opposition, particularly in the parliamentary elections of 2011, Putin recognized that he needed more than just brute force to defeat his opponents. He needed an ideology of power and began articulating one in speeches, enacting legislation and using his office to convey adherence to a set of values.
By Peter Schechter and Jason Marczak, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Peter Schechter is director and Jason Marczak is deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. The Center recently published a report titled “Uncertain Energy: The Caribbean’s Gamble with Venezuela.” The views expressed are their own.
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Caracas last week with a new $4 billion gift for a country desperately looking to external financing to keep its economy afloat. The catch? Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro reportedly must send China an additional 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil in addition to the more than 500,000 bpd of crude it is already providing to China.
With Venezuela’s production in decline, this latest announcement calls into question the long-term viability of Venezuela’s Petrocaribe oil alliance and the energy future for the Caribbean and Central American states that depend on it. The United States must act to proactively prevent a crisis off our shores. Vice President Biden has taken initial steps to lead this effort, but more must be done.
For nearly ten years, some of the United States’ closest neighbors have used Petrocaribe – Venezuela’s financially attractive energy alliance and Chávez’s brainchild – to procure flexible credit terms to purchase crude oil and petroleum products. But Venezuela’s economic situation is dire, putting the benefits of the oil alliance at risk. Central American and Caribbean states will have little recourse if credit dries up, and the alliance’s government ministers, business leaders, and consumer advocates privately fret about how continued dependence on Venezuela for energy supplies might come back to pull the rug from under their economies. FULL POST
By Kevin O’Donnell
GPS intern Kevin O’Donnell speaks with Jorge Dominguez, professor of Mexico studies at Harvard University, faculty associate of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and the author of numerous books on Cuba, about relations with the United States. The views expressed here are his own.
It seems discussion about Cuba in the United States rests on some outdated assumptions. What assumptions do you believe Americans need to challenge when we talk about Cuba?
I think the main point to bear in mind is that it’s changing. When Fidel Castro was president, there were moments when things seemed to be changing in two important ways, and both times he reversed them. In the late 1970s and early 80s, the Cuban government opened up the possibility of allowing farmers to sell their goods at market prices. But he cancelled that and prohibited those sales in 1985.
In the early 1990s, he authorized self-employment for the first time. I could become a plumber in private practice, I could become an ice cream vender, I could have a restaurant in my living room. But then, in the early years of the last decade, regulations became more onerous and taxes became very high, and the number of people who could afford this kind of work actually declined.
This time, under Raul Castro, it looks as if these same changes will stay, so now farmers can sell their products at market price. Now about half a million people have self-employment licenses in a population of just over 11 million people.
It’s a significant fraction of the work force working in the private sector. But also, Raul Castro talks the talk – these are changes he values. So the alignment between the policy changes and what the top leader thinks for the first time in over a half century now clicks. That is a significant change. FULL POST
By Bruce Stokes, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Bruce Stokes is director of global economic attitudes at the Pew Research Center. The views expressed are his own.
It is conventional wisdom among many pundits and opinion leaders that recent revelations of spying by the U.S. National Security Agency have deeply scarred America’s reputation abroad. The problem with such a narrative is that recent public opinion data paint a far more nuanced picture. True, foreigners don’t like that Washington spies on them and their leaders, and such NSA activities have eroded America’s soft power standing as a preeminent defender of personal freedoms. But there’s no evidence that the NSA’s recent behavior has sparked a general rise in anti-Americanism around the world.
Make no mistake about it. Publics around the world aren’t happy about NSA spying. In 37 of 43 nations outside the United States that were surveyed recently by the Pew Research Center, majorities say American surveillance of ordinary citizens in the respondent’s country is unacceptable. This includes 97 percent in Greece, 94 percent in Brazil and 91 percent in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia. But it also includes opposition by important U.S. allies: 87 percent of Germans, 85 percent of Japanese and 70 percent of the British.
There’s similar public opposition to U.S. spying on the respondent’s national leaders. Majorities in 34 countries find such action by Washington to be offensive. This sentiment is particularly strong in Germany, where the American government allegedly listened in on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone conversations. But there are similarly overwhelming objections in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Venezuela, Greece and Brazil. FULL POST
By Fareed Zakaria
“China’s nearly $4 trillion in reserves — accumulated through its mercantilist trade policies — give it plenty of ammunition to claim leadership in the creation of a new monetary order,” writes Kwasi Kwarteng in the New York Times. “The Chinese, however, are most unlikely to bid for monetary hegemony in the near future. For the past 25 years they have pursued a policy of aggressive export growth to drive their economy. China successively devalued its currency, from 1.50 renminbi to the dollar in 1980, to 8.72 in 1994. (Today the renminbi trades at 6.20 to the dollar, which the United States still considers artificially low.)”
“Could China someday peg its currency to gold, as Britain did in 1821? China has the reserves to do this, and it could have the political will, if the dollar proved to be unreliable as a store of value in the future.”
“Recommending Finlandization for Ukraine is bad advice on several levels,” writes James Kirchick for American Interest. “First, it misunderstands and misinterprets Finland’s experience, either downplaying or outright ignoring the costs that this policy imposed upon the country’s democracy. Proponents of Finlandization discount the danger that it posed to the European continent as a potential model for other countries susceptible to Russian pressure and influence. Furthermore, compelling neutrality upon an unwilling Ukraine is a stark moral capitulation to foreign aggression. Foreclosing the possibility of EU and NATO membership to Ukraine would shred the basic precepts of Europe’s post-Cold War security architecture, enshrined in agreements stipulating that countries be allowed to choose their own political and security alliances free from foreign intimidation and threats.” FULL POST