November 24th, 2012
07:51 PM ET

On GPS Sunday: Advice for a second-term president; the revenge of geography

"Fareed Zakaria GPS" this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

Second-term presidencies come with a unique set of challenges. How have past American presidents handled them? Pulitzer Prize-winning historians Jon Meacham and Robert Caro look back, and offer advice to President Barack Obama.

“Even in this era, where the president of the United States is watching in real time the operation to take out bin Laden, even with that there is a fog of war. There is a fog of information,” Meacham says. “And a president is paid to make sure that when he’s acting, he’s acting on facts. And I think where presidents get in trouble is, as President Bush did, I think particularly in the first term, was acting on information, acting on convictions that were not supported by the data coming in.”

Then, The Revenge of Geography author Robert Kaplan says despite the advances of globalization, international relations and trade remain bound by the rules of geography. And, in our “What in the World” segment – why Latin America has a bulging middle.

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Topics: Barack Obama

soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. deniz boro

    Obama has been doing just right without the guarantee of the second term. I guess the common genious or collective coscious brougth him up to soothe the way of the Bush fire and prepare the world to the comming ...well...things of which Sandy was just one of them...That is geographical...But the rest prompted by many other climatic changes would require a cool, sensible leader who would nevertheless be afraid to take action.

    November 24, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Reply
    • deniz boro

      correction : "not to be afraid to take action"

      November 24, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Reply
  2. martin

    fareed; are you still a plagerist, or is that something that can be treated are cured? i think another career should be considered. each time i see you i cannot help but dis-believe you.

    November 25, 2012 at 8:26 am | Reply
    • Yvonne Townsley

      Get off his back! Maybe a mistake was made; but Fareed has a global and intelligent perspective which is different from those of other hosts, and we can all learn something from the informative and diverse guests on his show. Rather than dwelling on one misstep, it would benefit Americans to understand his international, big-picture outlook on things in contrast to the narrow view many people have today. Have you ever made a mistake at any time? People learn from making them every day – and are often better as a result.

      November 25, 2012 at 11:39 am | Reply
      • Kirn

        I 100% agree. He's magazine show is very impressive in its breadth and depth. I always look forward to it and his articles in Time.

        November 25, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  3. Edward A. McDonald

    I I just turned off Fareed Zakaria GPS when I heard one the the "historian guests" say President Obama has a certain steeliness in foreign policy.....Zakeria's show has show has become a propaganda rag.....Obama failed to back Poland with ABM systems, allowed the British and French first to diplomatically back the rebels in Libya and Syria and set the agenda(and get all the good oil contracts), failed to retain a residual American influence in Iraq, did nothing for years to stop Iran, allowed Russian to extend their sphere of influence in the Middle East , unilaterally eradicates our nuclear stockpile.....IS THIS STEELY EYED?. Fred Zakaria used to be a balanced he is the Goebbels of the left!!

    November 25, 2012 at 10:33 am | Reply
  4. wpinforum

    Dear Mr. Zakaria & Company,

    My grandma and I were really intrigued by your show with author Robert Kaplan. We thought it was very informative and thought provoking. Mr. Kaplan had a point of view about Mexico that is new and refreshing to me. I don't have the perception that Mexico's success is all that important in our popular political dialogue. I really hope that myself and others seize the chance to learn more about the ideas put forth from your guest author.

    November 25, 2012 at 11:05 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      I do believe that the US would be better off to have a prosperous and stable Mexico as neighbour than otherwise. Look at Canada! Yet on the other hand the US and Canada share much in common. Still it never hurts to help Mexico thrive.

      November 26, 2012 at 4:28 am | Reply
  5. A Professional Geographer

    Dear Mr. Zakaria & Company,
    Why are you interviewing Robert Kaplan about geography? Look at his educational background and profesional background.Professional geographers cringe when they hear him talk or read about he says because he knows nothing about geography. Why are you interviewing Robert Kaplan about geography? Look at his educational background and professional background. He doesn’t have any geography in it. Professional geographers cringe when they hear him talk or read about what he says because he knows nothing about geography. For example, Kaplan’s use of the terms “artificial” and “natural” boundaries are 100 years old and go hand in hand with eugenics. When geographers talk about geographical ignorance and illiteracy in American society, they refer less to individuals not knowing the capital of Kentucky and more to ignorant ideas about geography like those of Kaplan. We live in a geographically illiterate society because people like Kaplan, who know nothing about geography, are going around trying to inform people about geography. Really, if you wanted to discuss the latest cancer treatments, would you interview a journalist who talked about eugenics as if it were cutting-edge medicine? That’s what you’re doing with Kaplan concerning geography. If you want to know about geography, contact the Association of American Geographers in Washington D.C. or go to its the Annual Meeting in Los Angeles this coming April. You’ll find thousands of geographers talking about geography. There you will find presentations and panels on how the geographically ignorant ideas of Kaplan contribute to geographical illiteracy in America.

    November 25, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Indeed, it was more of a geopolitical analysis Robert Kaplan presented, than giving a lecture on physical features, climate and the distribution of plant, animal, and human life etc.

      November 26, 2012 at 4:33 am | Reply
      • A Professional Geographer

        I appreciate your agreement. However, geography is much more than the study of "physical features, climate and the distribution of plant, animal, and human life etc." Geography is the spatial science, meaning that Kaplan's attempt to talk about spatial relationships falls square in the field of geography. Indeed, many geographers research and publish about the issues that Kaplan was attempting to address. Unfortunately, Kaplan's understanding of spatiality (i.e., "geography") of these issues was very shallow and his analysis is 100 years old though he talks about current events.

        November 26, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • Yahey

      Dear "A Professional Geographer"-

      You demonstrate concrete thinking; it's surprising that you can display such tremendous ignorance about politics and global economics.

      November 26, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Reply
  6. .

    Fareed Zakaria is a typical liberal pseudo intellectual. He doesn't have to make sense. He's a liberal. You must agree or you're a racist.

    He's a tried and true member of the idiocracy.

    November 25, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Reply
  7. Karen Adele

    Fascinating to hear the perspectives of esteemed historians Robert Caro and Jon Meacham offer their perspectives.
    Thank you Fareed for the opportunities to learn about our world.

    November 25, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      The two talked about Obama following the footsteps of JFK. Perhaps Obama is trying to emulate FDR's New Deal in his second term.

      November 26, 2012 at 4:46 am | Reply
  8. arvay

    you are not posting my comment., this censorship will work to your ultimate disatvantage

    November 25, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  9. Leslie Williams

    Really an insightful show today, especially the border push from the Mexican end. America's demography is changing fast.

    November 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Reply
  10. arvay

    afraid of my observations? they are polite, but not pro-Israel your bias is showing when you just don't post them word gets around in the blogosphere

    November 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Reply
  11. arvay

    "Comments are not pre-screened before they post. "

    really? Then your blog is programmed to reject certain words? Not slurs, not anything by polite comments. Really, you should be embarrassed.

    November 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  12. Ken

    Reading the comments about Fareed are amusing at best. Robert Kaplan is a well educated man who doesn't write a book and then have it published, he has to research it and have others research it also; he has professional geographers on his staff; he solicits opinions and gathers facts and then after a thorough review with staff personnel does the book get published. Gee, I wonder how I know that? Mr. Zakaria is also well educated, traveled, and informed he tells us about the world and what he and others come to think is valuable to communicate. His interview with the two authors concerning second terms was spot-on and it was them talking not him. When we evaluate the information he presents and how it interacts with contemporary issues it gives us a viewpoint of the world we wouldn't normally see, hear, or explore and that is why his one-hour on Sunday is so valuable to the viewing public.

    Thank you Mr. Zakaria for giving us the opportunity to see the other of the coin even if our values cause us to adhere to an opposite viewpoint. Wake-up Amurika!

    November 25, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Reply
    • A Professional Geographer

      Name those professional geographers. Also, explain why Kaplan's books are so ridiculed among scholars. Kaplan may be well-educated, but only as a journalist. Name his other degrees.

      November 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  13. Jim McManus

    Being a Geographer, I enjoyed you section on "The Revenge of Geography" with Robert Kaplan. However, I was disappointed to hear his description of Mexico, and its relationship with the United States. He was way off in stating that the economic difference between the US and Mexico, was similar to that of North and South Korea. It is actually very close to that of Western and Eastern Europe. Mexico has a population of over 113 million, with a nominal per capita GDP of $10,153 and a PPP per capita GDP of $14,609. Poland has a nominal per capita GDP of $13,540 and a PPP of $20,334, which is better than Mexico's, but far better than North Korea's, which has a nominal per capita GDP of $1,800 and a PPP per capita GDP of $2,400. However, this comparison is still not fair to Mexico, because Polands population is only $38 million. If you combine Poland with Belarus and Ukraine, its neighbors, they would have a combined population of around $96 million, and a per capita GDP lower than Mexico.

    Mexico has been making great progress economically and politically. They still have great challenges in front of them, as does the US, but I would much prefer having them as a neighbor than Belarus, Ukraine or Russia.


    November 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Reply
    • Keith Hamilton

      I am interested in obtaining a copy of your book and map that you discussed on the program today with Fareed Zakaria.

      Thank you.

      November 25, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Reply
  14. Abie

    In the discussion on the Middle East EVERY country was discussed..which will endure and which will disappear ...but not a word about Israel. Strange. Maybe you fear giving credibility to the Ahmedenejad prediction?!

    November 25, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  15. aftab

    Why was Israel not mentioned at all/ not shown in the section on Middle East? Is it not a part of the geography of that part of our world? The omission was/is intriguing! Or is this country a geographical oddity? This requires an answer, Mr. Zakaria, it does.

    November 25, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Reply
  16. Neil

    Canada received a quick mention as a country of 33 million living in a narrow band along the US border. Gee is that all- we are the largest trading partner of the US- supply more oil than Saudi Arabia to the US and have a higher per capita income now. We have defence pacts – NORAD–A Canadian officer was in charge during 9/11. Kaplan left way too much out on Canada–and Mexico–focusing on drug cartels only–and did a grade 5 review overall. Fareed why did you sit still during all this !

    November 25, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Reply
  17. Marc

    When I heard Geography will be discussed on GPS, I listened in & was disappointed as always with Mr Zakaria and his semi-expert Bob Kaplan. When they both strained to find a geographical connection for Fareed's homeland India with modern Afghanistan, it was laughable. India has NO,...I repeat NO geographical access to Afghanistan. It is utterly marginalised in Central Asian sphere due to geographical hegemony of Pakistan, Iran and Russia. Indian role will diminish even further if US were to abruptly pull out. And Mr Kaplan conveniently did not utter the name "CHINA" while discussing Afghanistan nor did he mention Silk road. What a pair of geographical quacks!!!

    November 26, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Reply
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