July 18th, 2014
09:34 AM ET

Fareed Zakaria answers your questions

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

Fareed Zakaria answers readers’ questions on the U.S. role in the world, whether Iraq would have been more stable if Saddam Hussein hadn’t been removed from power, the NSA’s spying on Germany and whether the borders in the Middle East are outdated.

Do you believe there’s a shift toward isolationism in the United States?

I think there’s a shift toward less involvement and engagement in the world. Some of this is unfortunate. It shows up, for example, in the suspicion towards trade, towards immigrants. But for the most part, I think Americans retain a healthy openness to the world and a healthy openness to America being engaged in the world.

When people shout about isolationism, it’s worth remembering that the United States – with the support of the American people – still maintains thousands of troops in foreign countries, in dozens of bases around the world. We have 60 treaty alliances. In many of them we’re committed to the defense of these countries – from Japan, to South Korea, to Germany. That doesn’t seem to me the story of a country that is isolationist and has withdrawn from the world.

But it’s true that from certain heights, especially after 9/11 – where the United States was, in my view, too engaged, and too engaged in the details and nation building operations in many, many parts of the world – we’re drawing back, and that draw back has some public support.

So, I’m not ready to wave the flag of isolationism, I don’t see it. But I do think in some areas there are some troubling signs. The part that worries me most is about trade and people, because the thing that has historically made the United States so strong has been its ability to open itself up to ideas, to people, and then to adapt and adjust and become stronger from that.

Watch the video for all his responses.

Post by:
Topics: GPS Show

soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. Jason Feinman


    I just saw a debate on Obama's presidency with Peter Bienart and Gideon Rose on one side and Elliot Abrams arguing the contrary on your show today. It was fairly obvious who you sided with, with almost no pushback to Bienart and Rose, you're certainly allowed to have your opinion but, it was so obvious that you lack real objectivity and it's very disappointing. I notice you have Peter Bienart on often and you never pushback on what he say's. It would be so interesting if I didn't know where you stood on issues of the day and your were critical of both sides. THATS YOUR JOB!

    August 30, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Reply
  2. jerry johnson

    yet another show of den partisanship….do you really want to throw soft balls to your side and unload spitballs on someone like Abrahams….we get more fair coverage on cnbc…..hard to understand why anyone from center or right would ever guest on your show…….your are simply riot a journalist…a good opinion program for left

    August 30, 2015 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  3. scott loose

    just finished watching "moonshot". Does anyone in mainstram media do any truly investigative reporting anymore. Attempts at fusion have been on the blocks for more than 20 years noe, with no appreciable accomplishment. MT has expended 20 BILLION dollars on this "technology". at the small scale level with no success. The scale up attempts will not work either but will keep their government grant intact for years to come. Here try this website http://www.e-catworld.com. where a small group of PRIVATELY FUNDED scientists are on the verge of COLD FUSION or LENR (Low energy nuclear reaction). Led by PRIVATE COMPANIES, private invstment,

    Debunked by the entrenched scientific cadre who receive govt grants (Cal Tech, MIT,NASA etc) where entrenchment is the norm. like today's reporting. Is about to revolutionize sub atomic theory and produce nearly free energy, solving climate change, nuclear proliferation and water limitations in the world. It will also power your hypersonic transport.

    September 6, 2015 at 10:37 am | Reply
  4. Paule Lachance

    just finished watching mapping of human brain. Why don't they use their knowledge to try to cure mental illness?

    September 6, 2015 at 11:04 am | Reply
  5. M. Massey

    Dear Mr. Zakaria:
    I have been observing the U.S. Government Strategy related to foreign policy for the last four decades. I would like to share a scenario to illustrate my point. A group of public health doctors went camping. They pitched their tents along a river. The next morning they saw a body floating. They fished the person out and administered CPR. The next morning they saw two bodies floating. They did the same. The third day they saw five bodies. They did what they were trained to do and administered CPR. By the end of the week they saw the river filled with bodies. They tried to help but were exhausted. Finally, one of them shouts, why don't we go up stream and see who is throwing them in and take care of the cause of the problem.

    More than 200,000 people have been killed in Syria. Throats of innocent people have been slit on television for the world to watch. Thousands of people have been herded like animals and killed. Millions were being killed during Hitler's brutal rampage. It was not until the U.S. and allies went in that the atrocities stopped. In recent days, the U.S. is compelling European nations to take in thousands of migrants being displaced by Syrian conflict. As long as we keep absorbing the displaced citizens, the wave of brutality will continue. Our government policy is no different than the actions of the physicians camping along the river.

    Air campaigns are great to destroy buildings and masses of people huddling together, but they are TOTALLY in effective in degrading a brutal moving army that has the most sophisticated radars and technology. You are the expert, in your opinion, is the U.S. policy aimed at the cause or on taking care of the symptoms?

    The killings occurred during Hitler's time until the world got to know it and addressed the cause of the problem. Strange thing is that killing is taking place under the watchful eyes of the most powerful nation that is interested in administering CPR rather than address the cause of the problem. What do you think?

    What are your thoughts? I am surprised the you have not addressed the flaws in our strategy that is getting us no where.

    September 13, 2015 at 7:49 pm | Reply
    • chima

      Hello M.Massey,
      What you must understand is that US can not solve the worlds problem alone,why won't the gulf state send in the troops in syria and iraq?must US solve all the problems in the middle east?.I think what the current US president policy in the middle east is ,"hey guys am not cleaning all these mess alone".

      September 14, 2015 at 3:04 am | Reply
  6. Albert Hensler

    Why are you afraid to mention the obvious? The US responsibility for the problems in the Middle East. We let the rest of the world take refugees, how about us.

    September 20, 2015 at 10:19 am | Reply
  7. Brian Merritt

    Was Colin Powell right when he warned President G.W. Bush before the Iraq invasion, "you break it, you own it". The U.S. would be responsible, Powell implied, for whatever wreckage the military incurred with it's "Shock and Awe" headlong dash to unseat Saddam Hussein. Iraq, as a result, is broken. The persistent chaos in Iraq is partly a function of continued sectarian divisions between a Shiite-dominated al-Maliki government and Sunni insurgents.
    The rise of ISIL has played into the disintegration of Syria as well as Iraq. The dislocation of thousands of refugees from these countries is being ignored by the U.S. whose immigration policies do not allow it easy access to such refugees, leaving such problems to the Europeans to handle the aftermath of the U.S. military breaking up the country. No Pottery Barn rule here!

    September 20, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  8. Ashok Rao

    I was quite disappointed with the unprofessional way you tried to grab the attention of viewers recently: “sacred chickens” while trying to take a shot at the duly elected political party in India. “Ahimsa” or nonviolence to all creatures is one of the pillars on which religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism & Jainism stand on. Life itself is considered sacred & hence the emphasis on being a vegetarian. That doesn’t mean chicken are worshiped. By the way, cows are revered (note that the word “sacred” is an English word introduced by bigots to ridicule Hindus) because we share its milk with its baby calf. Hindus believe that the soul which resides in all creatures is a manifestation of the all-encompassing God (Brahman). And from a science standpoint, if a soul does exist, then all creatures that experience feelings should have it & not just humans. By the way, parents & teachers (gurus) are also revered & worshiped but not because they have supernatural powers (just like cows do not).

    September 20, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Reply
  9. Veena

    Your 'Holy Chicken' story was 'misinformation at its best. Without giving historical context, just pronouncing the verdict to bring 'Hinduism' in bad light is not expected from a journalist with integrity. Here is the fact: " A BMC official told Business Standard: "There is nothing new in the meat ban. This has been implemented since 1964. The only change is that it is now for four days, including September 10, 13, 17 and 18." He added till 2013 the ban on meat sale in the metropolis was restricted to two days. However, since 2014, BMC in the wake of a judgement of the Supreme Court and the subsequent representation by the Jain community increased it to four days." http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/four-day-meat-ban-imposed-in-mumbai-during-jain-fasting-festival-115090800405_1.html

    September 21, 2015 at 3:49 am | Reply
  10. Dr. Kenneth Ayer

    Great show today, as always, but failed to mention the most significant reason to also study the humanities and social sciences instead of just coding (or STEM): Nazi scientists. German culture in the 19th century was leading European science in a number of fields: chemistry high among them. But by the middle of the 20th century the Nazis were able to turn what had been a bastion of culture in to a hideous "scientific" machine without the humanistic values that were and are the birthright of Western civilization. We don't need more technicians to fuel the economy, we need well rounded educated people with values that reflect our past and present.

    October 5, 2015 at 12:43 am | Reply
1 2 3 4 5

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,028 other followers