Zakaria: Obama's U.N. speech very intelligent
September 24th, 2013
02:44 PM ET

Zakaria: Obama's U.N. speech very intelligent

CNN speaks with Fareed about President Barack Obama’s speech at the United Nations, and what it says about U.S.-Iran ties.

Obama said: "We are encouraged that President Rouhani received from the Iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course given President Rouhani's stated commitment to reach an agreement. I am directing John Kerry to pursue this effort with the Iranian government in coordination with others."

That was a significant development given the long three decades history between these two countries.

It was a significant development. And he pointed out that they had heard encouraging words from the Supreme Leader, from the president. He also reciprocated by talking about how he wanted to deal with Iran with mutual respect. This is a phrase that Iranians have often used. I think it was carefully chosen by the president.

The Iranians have often said we want you to treat us with respect. We don't like the idea of being told, for example, that there are carrots and sticks as part of the policy. We are not an animal. We are a great nation. So Obama tried, it seemed to me, to mirror the kind of language the Iranians want to hear that accords them some respect.

What I was struck by was this was not a speech, though, designed to make headlines. Both the things you pointed out were the parts that made news, but by and large it was really using the bully pulpit of the United Nations to educate people about what America's policy and what its interests are, particularly in the Middle East. He laid it out methodically, acknowledging criticism, reminding people why the United States had done certain things in Egypt, done certain things in Libya.


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Topics: Fareed's Take • Iran • United Nations
September 21st, 2013
11:29 PM ET

Is time right for Iran rethink?

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

By Fareed Zakaria

The international sanctions against Iran are hurting that country, badly. Its support for Assad's brutal regime in Syria is costing it money and arms every month and has tarnished its legitimacy at home. The Arab Spring, for all its problems, has put the spotlight on Iran's own Supreme Leader, who has been in power for 24 years, unelected of course. One of the chants heard in Tehran two years ago was "Mubarak, Ben Ali, now it's time for Sayyid Ali, that’s Khamenei." In these circumstances, coming to a deal with the West, defusing some tensions, easing the sanctions and reviving the Iranian economy would be extremely useful to the regime in Tehran.

At the very least, it would be worthwhile for the Obama administration to come up with a reasonable offer that would signal to the Iranian people that if the regime is willing to credibly forswear nuclear weapons, ordinary Iranians will have a much brighter future. But It has been difficult to sound reasonable in Washington while you are beating the drums of war. Lets hope that will now change.

Read the TIME column for more

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Topics: Fareed's Take
October 15th, 2012
10:31 AM ET

Having faith in political Islam

By Fareed Zakaria

Al-Qaeda understands that if the Arab world democratizes, it loses the core of its ideological appeal – which is why Al Qaeda's head, Ayman al-Zawahiri wrote a book condemning the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's decision to support and participate in Egypt's democratic process.

So while we might despair over a particular statement or policy from the new Arab regimes, they have produced elected leaders with real legitimacy – and these leaders denounce Al Qaeda and violence and they do try in their own way to reconcile Islam and democracy.

Should we oppose them?

Watch the video for Fareed's full take on the debate over whether to support political Islam or secular dictators. Fareed Zakaria GPS airs on Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

October 1st, 2012
08:55 AM ET

Romney’s problem? The new Republican Party

By Fareed Zakaria

President Obama has surged in the polls in recent weeks, and Republicans have been quick to identify the problem: Mitt Romney. The columnist Peggy Noonan eloquently voiced what many conservatives believe when she said that Romney’s campaign had been a rolling calamity.

And yet shouldn’t it puzzle us that Romney’s campaign is so “incompetent,” as Noonan calls it, given his deserved reputation for, well, competence? After all, he founded one of this country’s leading financial firms, turned around the failing Salt Lake City Olympics, and was a very successful governor. How did he get so clumsy so fast?

In fact, the problem is not Romney, but the new Republican Party.

Watch the video for Fareed's full take on the problems facing Mitt Romney. Fareed Zakaria GPS airs on Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

Fareed's Take: Vivid protest images do not tell whole story
Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia on Wednesday.
September 14th, 2012
05:39 PM ET

Fareed's Take: Vivid protest images do not tell whole story

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

By Fareed Zakaria

The images of the American embassy burning in Benghazi might have conjured up memories of Tehran in 1979 but the analogy is false.

In Libya, the government is not fomenting Anti-Americanism, it is fighting it, openly declaring America an ally and friend. The country is pro-American by a 2-to-1 margin, and the violence there appears to have been the work of small, extremist elements that lack much popular support. But the storm has spread from Libya.

Across the Middle East, there have been protests railing against the United States and the West in general. Even in these places, however, keep in mind that these crowds number in the hundreds - perhaps thousands - in countries with tens of millions of people. They make for vivid images, but they do not tell the whole story. FULL POST

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Topics: Fareed's Take • Libya • Middle East
September 10th, 2012
11:37 AM ET

Is the Republican Party too angry to win?

It used to be that the Democratic Party was the glum party. In the 1970s and 1980s, Democratic party leaders often criticized the country relentlessly for its behavior at home and abroad, for its inequities and injustices. Think of civil rights and Vietnam. The Democrats, Jeane Kirkpatrick said at the 1984 Republican convention, always blame America first.

But today it is the Republican Party that often seems angry with America. Read the best-selling books by conservatives these days, watch Fox News or attend a Tea Party rally. They are filled with rage, often combined with a powerful nostalgia for an America that has gone away.

Watch the video for Fareed's take on how the winning party is usually the most optimistic one in U.S. elections.

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Topics: Fareed's Take
May 28th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Fareed's Take: Is China's economy on the verge of a slowdown?

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

There is much speculation these days about power struggles in China in the wake of the ouster of Bo Xilai, the powerful party boss of Chongqing.

China's political system will surely be tested but in the short run, its leaders may have dodged a bullet.

Bo Xilai was a charismatic, Machiavellian leader, who used populism, money, and power to build a political base.

Had he not been brought down – by a series of mistakes, revelations, and bad luck for him – he might well have altered the nature of the technocratic system that now runs China.

In the short run, China might well survive its political crisis. But it faces a more immediate challenge: an economic crisis.

Watch the video above for more about China's economic future or read more in my column at the Washington Post.

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Topics: China • Fareed's Take
May 21st, 2012
11:35 AM ET

Fareed's Take: An ungrateful Greece?

Everyone is worried that Greece might default on its national debt. That's really not news. By one estimate, in the 180 years since it gained its independence from the Ottomans in 1832, the country has been in default or restructuring for half this period. The news is that this time, Germany is willing to bail Greece out.

Throughout the euro-zone crisis, it has been conventional wisdom to regard the Germans as narrow-minded, ungenerous and dogmatically wedded to prescriptions of austerity to treat Europe's problems. These criticisms are vastly overstated.

Read more about Germany's response and my column at TIME

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Topics: Debt Crisis • Fareed's Take • Germany • Greece
May 11th, 2012
02:42 PM ET

Fareed's Take: Is democracy part of Europe's economic problems?

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch "Fareed Zakaria GPS" on CNN every Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET.

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

Everyone is looking at Europe these days as economic and political protests mount across the continent.

The downward spiral has produced a great debate about the virtues of "austerity," the idea that governments with large budget deficits must reduce these deficits -– mainly by cutting spending. If they don't get their budgets in order, so the idea goes, they won't be able to borrow money and will face a fiscal nightmare of ever-rising interest rates. FULL POST

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Topics: Economy • Europe • Fareed's Take • Politics
May 6th, 2012
09:57 AM ET

Fareed's Take: U.S. has made war on terror a war without end

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

Whatever you thought of President Obama's recent speech on Afghanistan, it is now increasingly clear that the United States is winding down its massive military commitments to the two wars of the last decade.

We are out of Iraq and we will soon be largely out of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden is dead, and al Qaeda is a shadow of its former self. Threats remain but these are being handled using special forces and intelligence. So, finally, after a decade, we seem to be right-sizing the threat from terrorist groups.

Or are we? FULL POST

April 7th, 2012
04:16 PM ET

Zakaria: Assessing America's recovery

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN every Sunday at 10am and 1pm ET.

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

At the start of this year, I predicted, rather hopefully, that the U.S. economy would recover nicely in 2012. I'm returning to that topic with some preliminary good news. If you look around the industrialized world, the U.S. economy is the most promising of the bunch.

The American recovery is not as vigorous as one might hope, but it is remarkably broad-based. Manufacturing is up - including, for the first time in thirty years, non-technology based manufacturing. Retail sales are up; consumer confidence and spending are growing. The new employment numbers are encouraging. American businesses continue to do astonishingly well.  Corporate profitability continues to grow and the stock market reflects this.

The one area that continues to lag is housing, and it's a huge area. Traditionally, housing leads every recovery. This time it hasn't because the bursting of the housing bubble and the problems associated with mortgages and housing debt have left it struggling. But at some point that will end. FULL POST

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Topics: Economy • Energy • Fareed's Take • From Fareed • United States
March 24th, 2012
03:43 PM ET

Zakaria: America needs a 2-page tax code

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN every Sunday at 10am and 1pm ET.

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

We’re going to hear a lot of polarized rhetoric over the next few months. The Republicans and Democrats will seem to disagree about everything. But there is one huge and important area where there is a possibility - a possibility - of bipartisan action and that’s tax reform.

Most Americans - Republicans and Democrats - dislike the tax code. They’re right to do so. America has what is arguably the world’s most complex tax code. The federal code plus IRS rulings is now 70,000 pages long. The code itself is 16,000 pages. The statist French, for example, have a tax code of only 1,909 pages - only 12% as long as ours. And then there are countries like Russia, the Czech Republic, Estonia that have innovated and moved to a flat tax, with considerable success.

You have to understand, complexity equals corruption.


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