July 27th, 2014
12:53 AM ET

Clinton: Settlement policy my biggest complaint with Israeli government

Fareed speaks with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about unrest in the Middle East. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

Martin Indyk has just resigned as the kind of sherpa of the peace process. And he says that the immediate trigger, in his view – there were many – was the fact that the Palestinians looked at the Israeli continued settlement activity...

Right.

…and said these guys are not serious, we're never going to be able to get a state...

Right.

…look at what they're doing.

This is my biggest complaint with the Israeli government. I’m a strong supporter of Israel, a strong supporter of their right to defend themselves. But the continuing settlements, which have been denounced by successive American administrations on both sides of the aisle, are clearly a terrible signal to send if, at the same time, you claim you're looking for a two-state solution.

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Topics: GPS Show • Middle East
July 26th, 2014
12:56 AM ET

On GPS Sunday: Hillary Clinton discusses Russia, the Middle East, Iran and more

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

On GPS this Sunday: Fareed speaks with former first lady and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about her recently published memoir Hard Choices, how the U.S. and Europe should respond to the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, the ongoing unrest in the Middle East and how the world views America.

“I don't agree with that assessment about alleging war crimes. I think that the Israelis are in a very difficult position,” Clinton says. “Hamas, we know, embeds missiles, embeds command and control units in civilian areas. Now, some of that is just the geography. It's a very small area, very densely populated, but some of that is a deliberate choice by Hamas.”

“And I believe that between the warnings that Israelis give, sometimes as far ahead as four hours so that people could be moved, and also the Israelis' very deliberate efforts to avoid civilian casualties, I don’t think that is an accurate or fair characterization of what the Israelis are trying to do.

“Now, having said that, too many people have died and too many of them are clearly innocent civilians, even children. The Israelis know that.”

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Topics: GPS Show
July 25th, 2014
01:55 PM ET

Clinton: Putin 'disabused' us over reset hopes

Fareed Zakaria speaks with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about U.S. relations with Russia. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

You say in your book that you felt – and you've said in interviews subsequently – that the reset with Russia worked because you got a new strategic arms treaty out of it, you got the Russians to agree to sanctions on Iran. Why do you think that it stopped working? What changed?

Well, I thought a lot about that, because I was among the most skeptical of Putin during the time that I was there, in part because I thought he had never given up on his vision of bringing Mother Russia back to the forefront. Not by looking at what Russia could do to be a modern nation, but by looking to the past, and especially trying to control their borders from Central Asia to the Baltics.

So when he announced in the fall of 2011 that he would be changing positions with Medvedev, I knew that he would be more difficult to deal with. He had been always the power behind Medvedev, but he had given Medvedev a lot of independence to do exactly what you said and make the reset a success.

I saw that firsthand with respect to the primary elections in Russia, because they were filled with irregularities and Russian people poured out in the streets to protest. And I, as Secretary of State, said the Russians deserve better. They deserved elections that reflected their will.

Putin attacked me personally because he is very worried about any kind of internal dissent. He wanted to clamp down on any opposition within Russia and he wanted to provide more influence and even intimidation on his borders.

And I certainly made my views known in meetings, as well as in memos to the president. I think that what may have happened is that both the United States and Europe were really hoping for the best from Putin as a returned president. And I think we've been quickly, unfortunately, disabused of those hopes.

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Topics: GPS Show • Russia
July 24th, 2014
09:28 PM ET

The EU is the world’s great no-show

By Fareed Zakaria

If Europe was trying to move Ukraine into its camp, it should have been more generous to Kiev and negotiated seriously with Moscow to assuage its concerns. Instead, Europe seemed to act almost unaware of the strategic consequences of its actions. Then when Russia began a campaign to destabilize Ukraine — which persists to this day — Europe remained a step behind, internally conflicted and unwilling to assert itself clearly and quickly. Those same qualities have been on display following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

The European Union still has a chance to send a much clearer signal to Ukraine, Russia and the world. It could demand that Russia pressure the separatists to cooperate fully with the investigation of Flight 17 and allow the Ukrainian government — which Moscow recognizes — to take control of its own territory in eastern Ukraine. It could put forward a list of specific sanctions that would be implemented were those conditions not met within, say, two weeks.

Read the Washington Post column

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Topics: Fareed's Take
Why Europe is wary over Russia sanctions
July 24th, 2014
12:18 PM ET

Why Europe is wary over Russia sanctions

CNN speaks with Fareed Zakaria about the U.S. and European responses to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. This is an edited version of the transcript.

President Obama is facing pressure, from Democrats and Republicans, to really up the ante. But the United States can only do so much because it's not one of the main trading partners with Russia. Germany, as you know, is the biggest European trading partner with Russia – 36 percent of its natural gas and almost 40 percent of its oil comes from Russia. If you're German and you put tough sanctions on Russia and they retaliate, your people are going to be really upset this winter.

It’s not only Germany – that’s just one perfect example. So Germany, as you say, would literally not be able to heat its homes. Remember, Chancellor Angela Merkel just said no nuclear – after Fukushima, she said the country was going off nuclear. So that means an even greater dependence on natural gas.

The Netherlands is another major Russian trade partner – Rotterdam is a place that imports more Russian oil than any place else in the world. They import it, they refine it, and then they sell it. Shell, the big Dutch company – a kind of iconic company – has huge investments in Russia.

So the Europeans have over the last decade, as Russia has grown as an oil country, gotten themselves so intermeshed that it's very tough for them to do it. FULL POST

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Topics: Europe • Russia
Why Qatar could be key to a Gaza ceasefire
July 24th, 2014
11:40 AM ET

Why Qatar could be key to a Gaza ceasefire

By Sultan Barakat, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Sultan Barakat is director of research at the Brookings Doha Center and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy. The views expressed are the writer’s own.

Egypt has long been viewed as a key player in the Middle East peace process – a major Arab country willing to engage with Israel while endeavoring, however begrudgingly, to advance the interests of the Palestinian people. But as the Israeli military campaign on the Gaza strip continues, it is becoming increasingly clear that Egypt’s new government might not be in a position to broker a ceasefire this time around. Indeed, Western powers might find themselves having to look for help from a different partner: Qatar.

Under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt has proven more adept at securing the backing of politicians and diplomats in Tel Aviv, Washington and New York for a peace initiative than it has at reaching out to Palestinians. This is especially the case as far as the leaders of Hamas in Gaza are concerned, many of whom only learned of the ceasefire proposal through media reports.

And while Hamas rejected the agreement “in its current form,” Cairo has shown seemingly little interest in genuinely appreciating Hamas’ take on the causes of the conflict or modifying the terms of the proposed ceasefire to address the longer term issues. In fact, Egypt under el-Sisi has attacked the Islamist group as part of its relentless crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, with former Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsy removed from power and put on trial, hundreds of his supporters killed, and thousands more imprisoned. Over the past year, Hamas has been vilified in both official statements and public opinion, with its members banned from Egyptian soil, the Rafah border crossing between the two countries effectively shut, and hundreds of smuggling tunnels destroyed – blocking the supply of food, fuel, construction material and medicine along with weapons.  FULL POST

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Topics: Egypt • Israel • Middle East • Palestinian Authority
July 23rd, 2014
06:05 PM ET

What I'm reading: Crossing borders

By Fareed Zakaria

“It is one thing for Republicans to decide that they will not be the party of immigration reform, but it is another to decide that they will be the anti-immigration party,” writes Amy Davidson in the New Yorker. “If they do, they will define themselves in opposition to America’s future and, incidentally, to its past – one built by newcomers like the gold prospector from Canada who, in 1876, sailed on a ship around South America and staked a claim that became the town of Oracle. In the short term, there may be benefits, in the form of an energized base, but enjoying them requires a distinct lack of shame.”

“But to understand the root of Hamas's current frustration, one must look not northeast from Gaza, but west. The epicenter of Hamas's growing desperation lies in the policies of the new Egyptian government,” writes Hussein Ibish in Foreign Policy.

“Following the ouster of former Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian military swept into Sinai and the border area with Gaza. They reportedly killed up to two dozen Hamas operatives in Sinai whom they believed were operating in cahoots with insurgent groups, and virtually shut down Hamas's smuggling tunnel network. In the ensuing weeks, as the new government of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi cracked down on its opponents, it treated Hamas as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorist campaign in Egypt being conducted by the extremist group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis and, according to the government, the Muslim Brotherhood itself. The Egyptian government sees itself as being at war with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas is the Brotherhood group in Palestine. The relationship between Egypt and Hamas is therefore distinctly unfriendly, if not outright hostile.” FULL POST

July 23rd, 2014
02:25 PM ET

Video game, movie ruffling dictatorial feathers

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

To add to the world's tumult, the North Korean government threatened military action last month over an upcoming Seth Rogen and James Franco movie. It's about television personalities recruited to assassinate Kim Jong Un during an interview. Recently, Pyongyang wrote a letter of complaint to the White House requesting that the movie, which they deemed to be "an act of war," be shut down.

While this seems in keeping with Kim Jong Un's usual antics, he isn’t the only dictator to throw this kind of tantrum.

Remember Manuel Noriega, the former Panamanian strongman? He's suing the makers of the videogame "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" from his Panamanian prison cell.

Noriega alleges in his lawsuit that the game portrays him as "a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state." Perhaps the videogame designers should have had his character stick to drug trafficking, racketeering and money laundering – crimes he was convicted of in the United States and France.

Oh, and he was also convicted of murder in Panama.

One would think Kim Jong Un has more important things to worry about than Hollywood comedies. We guess Noriega in his prison cell has more time on his hands.

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Topics: Last Look
Time to stand with girls demanding change
July 23rd, 2014
11:05 AM ET

Time to stand with girls demanding change

By Melissa Hillebrenner, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Melissa Hillebrenner is the director of the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign. The views expressed are her own.

Thursday marks 100 days since more than 200 schoolgirls were abducted from their families and community in northeast Nigeria, a reminder of the horrors and hardships many girls face when trying to get an education. It’s difficult for many of us to imagine what it would be like to be taken from a place that is supposed to be safe. Sadly, this situation is not unique to Nigeria.

In too many communities around the world, girls are criticized for going to school or denied their right to education completely. Worldwide, more than 60 million girls of primary and secondary school age are not in school.

I just returned from a trip to Guatemala, where I met Teresa Vivia, an engaging 16 year-old who lives in the town of Santa Maria Chiquimula. Vivia’s parents both passed away, and she lives with her sister-in-law. She wants to go to school, but had to stop going so she could take care of her nephews and the house.

Lack of access to education is just one barrier facing girls like Teresa Vivia. According to data that UNICEF released earlier this week, "more than 700 million women alive today were married as children. More than 1 in 3 – or some 250 million – were married before 15." Many have to drop out of school to manage household chores, are vulnerable to abuse and are often deprived of the information, tools and services to plan their families. This has tragic consequences: Girls who have children as children face higher risks of complications from pregnancy and childbirth. In fact, these complications are a leading cause of death for adolescent girls in low- and middle-income countries.

FULL POST

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Topics: Nigeria • Women
July 22nd, 2014
10:36 PM ET

Zakaria: Why Europe isn't getting tougher on Russia

CNN speaks with Fareed Zakaria about Europe's response to the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. This is an edited version of the transcript.

The French continuing with the sale of an advanced warship to Russia. Where is the outrage? Because the responses so far, you're talking about incremental increases in sanctions, still negotiating access to the site – this doesn’t seem to match the enormity of this crime.

You’re right. We’ve seen pretty strong rhetoric coming out of U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and President Obama. We've seen some of it coming out of the British prime minister, finally, and the Australian prime minister. Very little you notice out of continental Europe, the big powers – Germany, France, even the Dutch – have been remarkably restrained given the enormity of the tragedy here.

And I think that part of the problem here is that Europe has very deep economic ties, very deep energy dependence, on Russia. In the French case in particular, France has always prided itself in being a kind of bridge to Russia. They've always prided themselves on being a big military exporter. The way they think about it, if they didn't do this stuff, the Americans would be dominating the arms industry.

So, there are a lot of national interests that are coming in the way of what you rightly said should be a kind of international response. There should be a sense that the international community is acting, but instead what you're seeing is separate national interests – the French national interests, the German national interests – trumping what should be an international humanitarian interest.

FULL POST

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Topics: Europe • Russia • Ukraine
July 22nd, 2014
04:53 PM ET

What I'm reading: Wild West gun laws fuel border crisis

By Fareed Zakaria

“The role of gun trafficking has been oddly absent in the debate over the gang violence in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala that, coupled with economic despair, is driving the migrant wave from those three nations, the so-called Northern Triangle,” writes Alec MacGillis in the New Republic. “It’s not as if we’re unwilling to consider any U.S. responsibility for the surge—there’s plenty of talk about the fact that several of the gangs terrorizing the Northern Triangle got their start in Los Angeles, and about the role that U.S. drug policy has played in fueling violence south of the border.”

“Getting less attention, though, has been the U.S. link to the actual weaponry being used in the killings and other crimes that make the three Central American nations among the most dangerous in the world.”

“Income inequality has surged as a political and economic issue, but the numbers don’t show that inequality is rising from a global perspective,” writes Tyler Cowen in the New York Times. “Yes, the problem has become more acute within most individual nations, yet income inequality for the world as a whole has been falling for most of the last 20 years. It’s a fact that hasn’t been noted often enough.”

 

 

Russia on defensive over MH17 tragedy
July 22nd, 2014
01:56 PM ET

Russia on defensive over MH17 tragedy

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

CNN’s New Day speaks with Fareed Zakaria about the politics of the Malaysia Airlines crash, the state of the investigation, and why Russia looks to be on the defensive. This is an edited version of the transcript.

Senator John McCain has told us that the United States needs to do more, the United States needs to lead more, that the president hasn’t done enough in terms of leading and the European allies will follow. He also thinks that the United States and allies need to offer arms, offer weapons to Ukraine in order to regain control of the situation on the ground. What do you make of it?

I listened to the interview closely. I thought it was unfortunate…What struck me about what Senator McCain was saying is that it seemed needlessly partisan. By which I mean he said President Obama should lead, he said he should name Putin specifically and hold him responsible.

President Obama stood outside the White House yesterday and said Putin has a responsibility. He's the person with the most direct control. He and Russia can do something about this. He said the United States should lead with sanctions and Europe will follow. The United States has led with sanctions – the United States has many more sanctions on Russia than any European country, and it has prompted Europeans to do more, as perhaps it will this week.

So, yes, there are areas where the United States could do better. But you know it would help in our dealings with our allies, and with the Russians, if the president seemed to be speaking for the country and had the backing of Congress behind him. And instead, what struck me about this was it was turned into just one more of the kind of unending series of partisan wrangles in Washington. FULL POST

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Topics: Russia • Ukraine
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