August 11th, 2014
12:56 PM ET

And now for the good news

For more What in the World watch Sundays at 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Fareed Zakaria

Wherever you look these days, the world seems like it’s on fire.

New hot spots like Russia and Ukraine are competing with the old ones like Gaza and festering conflicts like those in Syria and Iraq – especially Iraq – are getting much worse. Even Afghanistan, which seemed in better shape than the other places, had a setback this past week.

So, is there any good news out there? In fact, there is. Some of the most important countries in the world are making remarkable progress, affecting at least 1.5 billion people.

Let's start with Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world – it has more Muslims than Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and all the Gulf States put together. Only 10 years ago, the great fear was that Islamic militants were taking over the country, that it was an economic mess, and an unreliable crisis spot in the region. The country has defied all skeptics and last month it took a big step forward, with the election of Joko Widodo marking the consolidation of Indonesia's democracy…

…The other encouraging election this year has been in the world’s second most populous country: India. The country has been mired in deadlock and paralysis for years because of a weak coalition government, ineffectual leadership, and an obstructionist opposition. So people voted for a single party to take power, for the first time in 30 years and gave the new prime minister, Narendra Modi, a mandate…

…So that is what’s actually happening in the world while the news about rockets, bombs, assassinations and terrorism takes up the front pages.

soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. bobcat2u

    Wife: I have some good news and some bad news.
    Husband: What's the good news?
    Wife: The good news is I found a picture that's worth $500,000.
    Husband: Wow! That's wonderful! What's the bad news?
    Wife: The bad news is that the picture is of you and your secretary!

    August 11, 2014 at 2:11 pm | Reply
    • RT Colorado

      Good one, can I use it ?

      August 11, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Reply
      • bobcat2u

        Absolutely. Hundreds if not thousands have.

        August 11, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
      • Sony, Warner Bros, Universal


        August 11, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
    • bobcat2u

      Wife – Honey I have good news and bad news
      Husband – What is it?
      Wife – I’m losing my voice.
      Husband – And whats the bad news!

      August 11, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Reply
    • nightscout

      NIce!!!! May I use it?

      August 11, 2014 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  2. RT Colorado

    World's good news...Canada.

    August 11, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Reply
    • bobcat2u

      Overall, yes. But depends on where.

      August 11, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Reply
    • Bazinga

      Keep it quiet , or McCain will want to start bombing it.

      August 11, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Reply
    • tseringdolker

      right...just don't tell anyone or the hoardes will start coming here and breeding until secular democracy will be bled out of it.

      August 11, 2014 at 11:52 pm | Reply
  3. bobcat2u

    A large passenger train was crossing the country. After they had gone some distance, one of the two engines broke down.
    “No problem,” the engineer thought and carried on at half power. Farther on down the line, the other engine broke down and the train came to a standstill.

    The engineer decided he should inform the passengers about why the train had stopped, and made the following announcement, “Ladies and gentlemen, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that both engines have failed, and we will be stuck here for some time. The good news is that you’re not in an airplane.”

    August 11, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Reply
    • barb'sbarb

      Good one - just a matter of perspective - but for the folks suffering under the guns, life simply s u x ...

      August 11, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  4. john in denver

    I have also read Steven Pinker. Even though Indian (Shia only) Muslims have pledged troops to fight demon ISIL, none have yet arrived. Indonesian Muslims are 99% Sunni. I haven't heard a peep from them, or, for that matter, from the moderate Indian Sunni population.

    August 11, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Reply
    • Jagov3

      Very true....loved Leaving On A Jet Plane man

      August 12, 2014 at 12:12 am | Reply
  5. rick

    And WHAT is the good news about any of this random blurb??? India is still a country where 80% have no idea what a simple outhouse is or used for. And the other found out that AK47 rifles RUST in salty humid climates. Thats the actual reason the fighting hasnt been as much there as everywhere else. Only 1 bang then jammed shut. EXTREEMLY long way to go to be counted as civilized in either. One so poor cant afford to eat much less fight. Other too busy trying to shyste people out of money to fight.. So whats your point????

    August 11, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Reply
    • zaldar

      The good news is they now have a government that can tackle problems and simply having a large poor population doesn't make you a terrible country. People working to make money....sure a lot better than people shooting each other. America has a rather large poor population – we are still the freeest and best country in the world. To be a land of opportunity where you get what you deserve a large poor most people are lazy and stupid and so deserve to be poor..

      August 11, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Reply
      • Gary Sutphin

        The only thing your statement seems to exemplify is your own stupidity.

        August 11, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
    • Rajinder Goyal

      It always amazes me about the kinds of things people like you talk about. About outhouses, do you know your in-house. I have been living in this part of the world for 44 years, having studied in the US, taught there, and now living in Canada.

      Bashing India is one of the pastimes for people like you. in fact I don't expect to hear anything good from people like you.

      August 11, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Reply
    • rascal262

      Settle down Captain Happy.

      August 12, 2014 at 7:58 am | Reply
  6. chri§§y

    Lol very good @ bobcat!

    August 11, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Reply
    • Yakobi

      This isn't Twitter. You can actually reply to a message by hitting the "Reply" button.

      August 11, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  7. joncook14

    So let me get this straight, Indonesia's recent election is good news? The country is filled with gangs that run more of the country than the actual government does, and the Muslim extremists look like powderpuffs compared to the viciousness of these gangs. Indonesia is also one of the global leaders in slave labor. Much like Bangladesh, Indonesia has very large textile districts. The majority of workers are enslaved to pay off family debts or because of a perceived slight toward the gangs that claim regional governance. The new president is not a politician, but a businessman that made his fortune off of the backs of slave labor. So yeah, it's really great news, and Indonesia is now the greatest country on the planet. If an election qualifies as good news, then maybe we should praise ISIS for voting for their new leader.

    August 11, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  8. joncook14

    Farheed is an Obama puppet. He is the liberals answer to Glen Beck. There's very little that Farheed won't defend, or sugar coat to make things look less bleak for the administration. He used to be a respected journalist with a unique and unbiased vantage point. Now he's a company man to the bitter end. It's sad. I truly expect more from this guy.

    August 11, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Reply
    • nobland

      Ah, but Fareed actually researches his positions instead of just pulling them out of his a$$.

      August 11, 2014 at 7:22 pm | Reply
      • chew

        No, Fareed pulls them out of Obama's a$$

        August 11, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
      • readerpan

        The Obama haters have a default position for anyone disagreeing with them about anything: It's all Obama's fault.

        August 11, 2014 at 9:07 pm |
  9. Le Roy Johnson

    That IS GREAT news re: Indonesia!
    Climate change will flood that armpit of the uncivilized world and there will be MUCH LESS of their ILK.

    August 11, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Reply
  10. john in denver

    The curse of the World is out of control human population growth.

    August 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  11. Ferhat Balkan

    Well, I suppose it's only fair I share a story of Nassreddin Hoca (A popular wise man who lived in the 13th Century Seljuk Sultanate in what is today known as Turkey):
    One day, Nasreddin was up on the roof of his house, mending a hole in the tiles. He had nearly finished, and he was pleased with his work. Suddenly, he heard a voice below call "Hello!" When he looked down, Nasreddin saw an old man in dirty clothes standing below.
    -What do you want? asked Nasreddin.
    -Come down and I'll tell you, called the man.
    Nasreddin was annoyed, but he was a polite man, so he put down his tools. Carefully, he climbed all the way down to the ground.
    -What do you want? he asked, when he reached the ground.
    -Could you spare a little money for an old beggar? asked the old man. Nasreddin thought for a minute.
    Then he said, "Come with me." He began climbing the ladder again. The old man followed him all the way to the top. When they were both sitting on the roof, Nasreddin turned to the beggar.
    -No, he said.

    August 11, 2014 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  12. Chris

    What's the good news I watched reality shows about india some or most of those people have to use the bathroom outside and theres nothing there worth fighting over. In indonesia its a undeveloped part of the world similar to india just because they have huge populations does not mean there makeing "progress" both is under devolped over populated countrys.

    August 11, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  13. JB

    Hilarious attempt to try to distract people from the fact that Obama's do-nothing policies have contributed directly to world – wide chaos. And THAT is what is really happening in the world!

    August 11, 2014 at 4:47 pm | Reply
    • Andrey

      You are wrong! It is Obama's do-something policy which is the problem!

      August 11, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  14. Andrey

    So I guess what we get is the list of the countries that US did not have much to do with lately? I hope for their own sake they manage to stay outside of the focus of US administration!

    August 11, 2014 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  15. Yakobi

    "...a weak coalition government..."
    Well, Fareed, that's generally what happens when you have a Parliament rife with multiple parties–no one can agree for long, and the coalition government collapses. That's why the system in the U.S. is superior.

    August 11, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  16. Yakobi

    I think the only reason things are better in India is because Pakistan is distracted because they're finally taking on the Taliban instead of supporting terrorist incursions into India.

    August 11, 2014 at 5:26 pm | Reply
  17. Islamophobe

    Of course Indonesia is in better shape than Middle East even though it has a lot more Muslims.


    Find a reservoir of oil in Indonesia and I guarantee it will look just as bad as the Middle East.

    August 11, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  18. 1776usa2016

    Good news ... Antarctica !!

    Oh, wait...

    August 11, 2014 at 7:13 pm | Reply
  19. Ferhat Balkan

    There's no good news today :(((
    Robin Williams is dead. They're saying it was a suicide. He was one of my favorite actors. He'll be missed.

    August 11, 2014 at 7:29 pm | Reply
  20. Rajinder Goyal

    We are living in a very dangerous world, full of hatred and torn apart by regional and religious rivalries. Positive and uplifting news are hard to come by. As it goes, good news is no news while bad news travels like wild fire.

    Fareed Zakaria's column tried to focus on a few good things happening around the world. There are more. I hope Fareed will expand his column in the weeks and months to come. He should be encouraged by one and all.

    August 11, 2014 at 8:12 pm | Reply
  21. Zane

    So the good news is that some Muslims are actually managing to not kill each other right now?

    August 11, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Reply
  22. dr. abdu halakamir harper M.D. E.


    August 11, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Reply
  23. dr. abdu halakamir harper M.D. E.


    August 11, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Reply
  24. dr. abdu halakamir harper M.D. E.


    August 11, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  25. dr. abdu halakamir harper M.D. E.


    August 11, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Reply
  26. dr. abdu halakamir harper M.D. E.


    August 11, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Reply
  27. dr. abdu halakamir harper M.D. E.


    August 11, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Reply
  28. Floyd Schrodinger

    Of course this was a VERY short article.

    August 12, 2014 at 7:39 am | Reply
  29. skytag

    Those are indeed good things. While people use events in Syria and Iraq to stereotype Muslims, the fact is that Indonesia has more Muslims by far than any other country, with well over 200 million of them.

    August 12, 2014 at 8:56 am | Reply
  30. bobcat2u

    For his entire working life, a dedicated and hardworking Astrophysicist tried in all earnest to find the existence of other beings somewhere in the universe. After 58 years of constant effort, he finally receives a response from a planet 30 billion light years away.

    “What is your planet like?” groaned the extraterrestrial from the other side of the Galaxy.

    “It is 12,756 Kilometers in diameter, is 93,000,000 miles from the nearest star, our sun, has an average temperature of 72 degrees F. We breathe oxygen, live about 75 years, and have both men and women” answered the Physicist.

    “Do the you get along with the women on your planet?” the extraterrestrial asked slowly.

    Puzzled by the question, but not wanting to insult the female Physicists near by, he answered “Why yes. We get along quite well here.”

    The extraterrestrial perked up “Can we send you ours?”

    August 12, 2014 at 11:48 am | Reply
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