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Hussein hadn’t been removed from power, the NSA’s spying on Germany and whether the borders in the Middle East are outdated.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 That doesn’t seem to me the story of a country that is isolationist and has withdrawn from the world.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.

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Topics: GPS Show

soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. m.s.mohamed ansari

    ECONOMIC COLLAPSE REASON ILLEGAL WAR AND ROYALBUDGET $1.7TRILLION
    next BBC All press and media Arabs leader and G20 leader ELECTRONIC VOTE ,,WHITE HOUSE HOUSE OF COMMAND,HOUSE OF LORD,,MICROSOFT, under control by CONGRESS ATO Z CONTROL BY QUEEN ELIZABETH still British rule the global 21 st century

    Royal budget and wedding cost. 10 generation total $ 57 trillion
    Each every politician rolling 8 years only
    But queen family enjoying 10 generation

    GLOBAL ECONOMIC FALL REASON WAR. Improve economy only peace and prayer
    WAR cost total $ 3.5 TRILLION. Every poor human blood tear .please saves economic
    POVERTY FAMINE &Effected education many people suicide. Many people Drug addict
    Jobless PRESENT ECONOMIC CRISIS
    Effected All liberal democracy. Billion of people tax pays.
    FDI INVESTOR &Joint ventured, effected global Federal Reserve
    Effected CNC manufacturer & energy power
    BANKRUPT 170 BANKS OVER ALL 87000 BRANCHES
    Million of people death and is wounded. NATO &US. Coalition troops 8000 wound 35000, public 800000
    Increase every day by day OPEC. Every good leader 8years but queen family enjoying10 th generation Y
    Global environment climate change this leads to agricultural &human health problem
    HISTORY + 114. MDCCLXXVI +114.UNITEDKING+114.HOUSE OF COMMAND +62
    WHITE HOUSE +52 =114. QUEEN+62 POPE +52 =114
    Please bring original HISTORY .Six thousand journalist are suppressing the truth of history but in one day it will come out
    Now we are in 21st century there were times former journalist exposed truth and sacrificed their precious life for the sake of truth, they unveiled the real history. Perhaps contradicting to their present power and money clouded their mind and our upcoming generation becomes a victim.
    We do not believe politicians as we used to, we do not believe the media, and whereas we believe each other”
    Thanking you this is turning point of improve GLOBAL ECONOMIC
    1. Press freedom 2.libral democracy 3.all country equal currency4.open emigration 5.free trade policy 6.avoid electronic vote 7. Every one equal right

    Your’s sincerely
    M.S.MOHAMED ANSARI
    Pragmatism has now fallen foul of the continuing power of the press.

    http://costofwar.com/

    http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/war.casualties/index.html

    http://openlibrary.org/authors/OL3647712A/World_Media_Association

    Economic save only 6 point. Peace, prayer, liberty, unity, friendly, simple

    September 21, 2014 at 3:17 am | Reply
  2. Felix Girard

    I say "follow the money" for the real reason we have a coalition to get ISIS. OPEC does not want anyone to sell oil for $30 a barrel. And of course a bunch of cut-throat thugs should not be allowed to fund their terror from stolen property anyway.

    September 26, 2014 at 1:10 am | Reply
  3. Mark Stevens

    Borders may change throughout 3 Middle Eastern countries and resulting in one new country. That is Kurdistan. If the Kurds show themselves as the only responsible people that take in refugees that are Christian,Yazidi and Shia while fighting ISIS on behalf of themselves and these others then they have a strong argument for having their own nation. And bye the way, this would be a nation that is friendly to the west and grateful for their help in defending their territory.

    October 5, 2014 at 4:58 pm | Reply
  4. Daniel

    The one part that made me outright laugh was when Mr. Zakaria said 'the US was deciding if the UK or Germany was a closer ally...' BWAHAHAHA... umm... no. Germany and the USA were at war in WW2. The US and Germany were at war in WW1. Both times the UK was our ally. Pretty clear who is our 'closer ally'.

    October 12, 2014 at 3:42 am | Reply
  5. Fred Ferguson

    Excellant commentary re Muslim religion. CNN 10:00 AM Oct. 12 2014. This reminds me why I watch CNN.
    By the way My small company has bee involved in international technology development to lead a new era in energy-electricity initially for impoverished nations. We have operated 'stealth' until now. The issue; 71% of the planet is covered by water, all of it moving in some way or other, and generally quite slowly (ocean currents- 4 mph). We are about to show a technology that converts 50% of the energy in all water movement to electricity. http://www.waterotor.com – general press will be notified in about 2 months. Fred Ferguson, CEO – Founder

    October 12, 2014 at 10:19 am | Reply
  6. Metta Spencer

    Fareed, I think you're the best pundit in the US today - but I was shocked that you threw such soft balls to Netanyahu. How could you look him in the eye and ask questions about how many Iranian centrifuges he would "tolerate" — as if it were up to him anyway — without questioning him at all about Israel's own nuclear weapons? That omission amounts to scandalously biased journalism. Straighten up, friend!

    October 12, 2014 at 10:31 am | Reply
  7. E. E.Conway

    The info on the 4 Presidents economies this morning was quite informative and good for discussion. 1 complaint you called every President by their first and last names. Except for the present President, the sitting one, Barak Obama. You just called him Obama. Please give him the same respect as the other Presidents you reported on. The vast media has become so disrespectful of this President, He gets enough of this from Congress! The vast majority of Americans voted him in to office twice. We who voted for him no matter the mass problems he is facing observe this disrespect and will voice our distain and not forget it during the upcoming elections. Your name is clearly displayed in your broadcast and show, both names, first and last. You want respect, please give it to the current President of the United States, President Barak Obama.

    October 12, 2014 at 11:26 am | Reply
  8. Diane

    Enjoyed and learned from your program once again today. The variety and depth of coverage is continually outstanding. Thank you?

    October 12, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  9. Diane

    Oops. Question mark was meant to be an exclamation point!

    October 12, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  10. billbl

    Didn't Fareed suggest that moderate Muslim leaders speak out more?

    October 12, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  11. Barbara Christodoulou

    Mr. Zakaria, I'm an American married to a Greek Cypriot. We've lived in Cyprus since 1990, When ever I can I try to keep up to date on current international issues. I'm very disappointed in the coverage that CNN gives to the island of Cyprus. As of last night, Turkey is using its usual tactics in order to threaten Cyprus. They want the newly founded natural gas, of course! Why is this not covered! I have to go to Russian websites for details. For me, that's pretty embarrassing. Does America's friendship with Turkey always have to have a negative affect on the Cypriot population. Since 1974, Cyprus has been a divided island! Does anyone really care! Hardly. Most people don't even know ANYTHING about the problems Cyprus has! I feel this a disgrace to all the international news agencies. Enough of selective reporting! I believe the issues here warrant at least a few moments of the world's attention. Or shall we just go on pretending Turkey is a beneficial asset in this region. One good thing, does not negate all the wrong being done on so many levels. Maybe we should arm them some more to fight "ISIS", then when their done they can take what's left of the Greek side of Cyprus then move on to Greece! I'm ashamed at America's double standards. Freedom of the press, I don't think so.

    October 21, 2014 at 4:01 am | Reply
  12. Philip

    Fareed. Why has no official explanation been given as to why a third tower fell on 9/11?

    November 2, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  13. Roger Diez

    Mr. Zakaria,

    I have watched your show for many years and you thought you were a person with integrity and a true professional journalist but now I have total disrespect for you and CNN because you purposely ignore what is currently going on in Mexico with all the murders and disapearance of poor students. You and CNN are concentrated on events going on in the MIddle East and everywhere else in the world but not on your next door neighbor that eventually will become a much bigger and closer problem for the USA. I know that your Corporate sponsors( your bosses) have a reason in their own interest in not revealing the reality of Mexico and the bottom line that it is probably going to affect some sponsors bottom line and therefore you and CNN are just as corrupt as Televisa in Mexico…or is it maybe Televisa own's much stock in CNN?

    Yours Truly.

    Roger Diez

    November 2, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Reply
  14. Tom Clifford

    Mr. Zakaria:

    Last Sunday(9th Oct 2014) you mentioned the widespread ignorance of facts by people in a number of countries
    around the world, an example you used was the unemployment rate in their countries.
    We have been told by the media (and some of us have seen this first-hand) that the (official) unemployment rate
    measures the percentage of people in the job market looking for work. We have also been told that the
    official rate does not measure those people who are chronically unemployed or those who have given up
    looking for work. We as citizens don't have first-hand ways to measure this kind of data: indeed, news
    organizations like CNN or your staff in particular (or the author of the study you cited) get their data
    second-hand, and there are all kinds of biases involved in presenting statistical data, with ulterior motives
    always present, to various levels. Perhaps our ignorance lies in not knowing who to believe, since we do get
    various estimations of the true numbers. I personally don't think unemployment in the U.S. is up around 35%,
    but I do believe it is higher than the 6% that was quoted as the 'true' level that the study seemed to present.
    Being an MBA, I'm a big believer in data-driven analysis, but I'm also wary of the fact that it is very easy
    to manipulate data to promote political agendas, and cast a better light on peoples' efforts.
    But, also being professionally involved with computer technology all my working life, I believe that the
    manipulation of data is more difficult to accomplish now than it was 25 years ago.
    But it still seems media gives us mixed messages, and we really need to do our own research to
    dig until we get a better picture of the truth.

    November 9, 2014 at 10:46 am | Reply
  15. Ali Homsi

    Dear Mr. Zakaria, I was very disappointed watching your show today when you described your guest's plan on solving the Syria crises as the most sensible plan you have seen. You and your guest have show no knowledge of the make up of Syria and the demographics of the country . You also seemed to disregard all the crimes that have been committed by Assad and his criminal regime . You seem to eco Iran's wishes to keep Assad and Hezbollah in control of the most vital parts and thru the majority of the population the Sunnis in the desert to starve landlocked with no hope but to turn to violence. I truly expected more in-depth thinking from you and could not blame your guest since he seems to be driven by an agenda that can be blamed for many of the problems that exist in the region.

    November 9, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Reply
  16. Dennis Blackburn

    Fareed I am so disappointed how your reporting and bias has negated the substance of what you report. Your spin on everything from how perfect CNN is and your conclusions on obvious bad guys like Putin is so distorted it does not belong any responsible new show, like yours was years ago. Shame.

    November 16, 2014 at 10:38 am | Reply
  17. George Kalligosfyris

    Fareed thank you for apologizing on the error of the Macedonian map, but you made an additional error by calling the country the Republic of Macedonia. The name of the country is FYR of Macedonia. Also it was shocking to see an error on this magnitude (re map) on CNN. It made me question the info that I regularly receive from CNN. Where are the check points?

    November 16, 2014 at 11:15 am | Reply
  18. David G

    Fareed my question did they teach plagiarism at Harvard or Yale?

    November 16, 2014 at 11:20 am | Reply
  19. Craig

    Fareed: Your analysis of world affairs is the best in the business. I have only one request: tell your audio people to restore the sound. Lately your voice sounds as if it is coming through a pillow. What you have to say is too important to muffle.

    November 17, 2014 at 3:10 am | Reply
  20. Jerry

    Farred ; I will appreciate if you can comment and possible be a show topic an analysis on the consequences of not detaining Russian aggression in Ukraine. It seems that Putin strategy is that the world does not have the will power to confront a nuclear power. Fearing a bigger conflict. The reasoning is that Russia can steal territory now and 10 or 15 years from now it will be forgotten and Russia will keep these new territories. This behavior if is not confronted will encourage similar behavior from China. I do not think it is a coincidence that China is being more aggressive now in sovereignty claims about land and air areas in the Pacific. Next it will be North Korea.
    Putin is not responding to Western economic sanctions. I think it is time to show Mr. Putin and more reasonable powers inside Russia how serious the world is about keeping world stability by steeping up economic sanctions and showing some military resolution by prepositioning planes and troops closer to Ukraine.

    November 17, 2014 at 7:01 am | Reply
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