Fareed is taking your questions
April 2nd, 2012
11:47 AM ET

Fareed is taking your questions

Do you have a burning question about what's going on in the world? From the U.S. presidential race to unrest in Syria; from China's rise to diplomacy with Iran, events are rocking our planet. Submit your questions in the comment thread below.

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Topics: From Fareed • Q&A
March 30th, 2012
06:34 PM ET

Zakaria: Incarceration nation

Editor's Note: Tune in this Sunday at 10am or 1pm EST for Fareed Zakaria GPS. 

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

Something caught my eye the other day: Pat Robertson, the high priest of the religious right, had some startling things to say about drugs.

"I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol," Mr. Robertson said in a recent interview. "I've never used marijuana and I don't intend to, but it's just one of those things that I think. This war on drugs just hasn't succeeded."

The reason Robertson is for legalizing marijuana is that it has created a prison problem in America that is well beyond what most Americans imagine.

"It's completely out of control," Mr. Robertson said. "Prisons are being overcrowded with juvenile offenders having to do with drugs. And the penalties - the maximums - some of them could get 10 years for possession of a joint of marijuana. It makes no sense at all." FULL POST

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Topics: From Fareed • Law • United States
March 30th, 2012
11:17 AM ET

Zakaria: Natural gas, fueling an economic revolution

By Fareed Zakaria

In my column in today's Washington Post, I argue that the rise of shale gas is shaping up to be the biggest shift in energy in generations. And its consequences - economic and political - are profoundly beneficial to the United States. Here's an excerpt:

No one could have predicted that oil prices would rise to today’s levels. Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, says that they are irrationally high, pointing out that world demand is lower than the available supply and that Saudi oil inventories around the world are largely untapped. The “irrational” cause, of course, is fear of a war with Iran. But it would also have been unpredictable that a 47 percent hike in oil prices since November 2010 would not cause a major slowdown in the U.S. economy. One reason it hasn’t might well be the rise of shale gas.

By now, the basic facts are well known. It was only a few years ago that most experts were warning of an imminent shortage of natural gas in the United States. But thanks to the efforts of a small private company, Mitchell Energy, combined with a horizontal drilling procedure called hydraulic fracking, it has become possible to extract vast quantities of natural gas from shale, which this country has in abundance.

FULL POST

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Topics: Economy • Energy • From Fareed • Oil • United States
March 27th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Zakaria: A most unintimidating aircraft carrier

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

The questions have flown across the Pacific for years: Was China working on its first aircraft carrier or weren't they? Was it a direct challenge to American naval superiority or wasn't it? Had it been launched or hadn't it?

Well, it turns out China bought three carriers from Russia a decade and a half ago with plans to retrofit them. There's the one that's being militarized, but what about the others?

Well, we don't have to worry about them so much. Take the former Russian carrier Kiev now parked outside Tianjin. Instead of being jam-packed with military hardware, the Kiev is now filled with soft ware. Very soft ware: Beds, pillows, comfy chair lounges and sofas. You see, it is now a hotel and it looks like the kind of place Elvis Presley might have called home, complete with round beds and mirrored ceilings.

There are five suites in all - all of them presidential suites according to the management. For entertainment, a restaurant serving mostly Russian dishes, naturally. And if you peek outside your window, you might see the reenactment of a naval battle. After all, the carrier is now the centerpiece of a military theme park extolling the powers of China's navy.

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Topics: China • From Fareed • Last Look • Odd • Russia
Zakaria: How to save American health care
March 26th, 2012
09:41 AM ET

Zakaria: How to save American health care

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

America's health care system is really a mess. It is partly free enterprise, partly state-subsidized and overall highly inefficient in delivering quality care at a reasonable price.

I am a big fan of the free market. I think it has an almost magical ability to allocate resources and generate growth. But precisely because it is so powerful, in places where it doesn't work well, it can cause huge distortions.

The Nobel Prize-winning economist, Kenneth Arrow, outlined in the 1960s why markets don't work well when it comes to health care. He explained that people don't know when they will need health care and that when they do need it, the cost is often prohibitive. This means you need some kind of insurance or a government-run system. FULL POST

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Topics: From Fareed • GPS Show • Health
Zakaria: Is the Arab Spring bad for women?
Egyptian women shout political slogans during a demonstration to mark International Women's Day in Cairo on March 8, 2012. Hundreds of women marched through the Egyptian capital demanding the right to co-draft the country's new constitution. (Getty Images)
March 21st, 2012
03:37 PM ET

Zakaria: Is the Arab Spring bad for women?

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

Hundreds of you have submitted very thoughtful questions for me through FacebookTwitter and my blog. Here is my response to the question: Is the Arab Spring bad for women?

I think that overall the Arab Spring will be good for women. In the short run, however, the Arab Spring has opened the lid on a Pandora’s Box of problems, which have existed for decades, and are now being aired. Reactionary, illiberal forces that have been suppressed and repressed are coming to the fore. But I don’t think these forces will determine where the countries of the Arab Spring end up.

Take a look at a very rural, tribal society like Afghanistan, which does not have progressive attitudes toward women.  Nevertheless, the Taliban’s imposition of reactionary policies on women was very unpopular. Most men didn’t like it; most women didn’t like it. FULL POST

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Topics: From Fareed • Reader Q&A • Women
Zakaria: Ahmadinejad is weak and getting weaker
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran on December 18, 2011.
March 21st, 2012
12:31 PM ET

Zakaria: Ahmadinejad is weak and getting weaker

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

The Iranian regime has been deeply divided ever since the disputed 2008 elections and the rise of the Green Movement. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used to be Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s protégé. The two are now clearly at odds.

When I was in Iran in the fall of 2011, one could clearly sense that there were two rival centers of power with Khamenei's clearly being the more powerful one.

The result of the external pressure - sanctions, rhetoric against Iran, and threats of military strikes - has been to shift power to the hardliners. You can see Ahmadinejad’s power has weakened. It’s weird to call Ahmadinejad the moderate but in this context he is. Khamenei is far less willing to strike any deals with the West. Ahmadinejad, in contrast, has wanted to be the man who delivered some kind of negotiated settlement to Iran’s problems.

Today, Ahmadinejad is weak and getting weaker. Ayatollah Khamenei is strong and getting stronger. The people who have been most empowered the past few years have been the Revolutionary Guard - the military. Iran is in the process of morphing from a theocracy to a military dictatorship. It’s not clear what impact this will have on foreign policy - but it is an interesting consequence of all the external pressure on Iran.

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Topics: From Fareed • Iran
Zakaria: The Republican Party’s demographics problem
March 20th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Zakaria: The Republican Party’s demographics problem

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

The Republicans have a powerful case to make in the general election: The economy remains bad; the recovery is weak; unemployment is very high. Republican candidates for president could make the argument that Barack Obama has been in charge of this economy for three years and that the slow economy is his responsibility.

They could also make the argument that Obama’s vision of the role of government in the economy is wrong - that their approach would be much more friendly to the private sector and to business.

These are all very plausible arguments and, as an experienced businessman, Mitt Romney is the perfect candidate to make them. FULL POST

Zakaria: Let naturalized Americans become president
March 19th, 2012
03:38 PM ET

Zakaria: Let naturalized Americans become president

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

Hundreds of you have submitted very thoughtful questions for me through FacebookTwitter and my blog. Here is my response to the question: Should people born outside the United States - but now U.S. citizens - be allowed to become president?

I think they should for one very simple reason: I was born outside the United States. I’m only half kidding, but this is the only place where there is a distinction made between naturalized Americans and native-born Americans.

There are scholars who believe that this distinction was made because Thomas Jefferson did not want Alexander Hamilton to become president. Hamilton was born in Nevis.

It does seem an odd distinction to make because nowhere else in America and in no other aspect of American life is there a distinction made between native-born and naturalized Americans. FULL POST

March 19th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

@FareedZakaria on #SavingHealthCare

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

Last night, my special premiered on CNN: The GPS Road Map for Saving Health Care. Thanks to thousands of you, the hashtag I used to live-tweet the special, #SavingHealthCare, trended on Twitter.  I've pasted some of the most re-tweeted tweets below. FULL POST

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Topics: From Fareed • Health • Internet • Technology
Zakaria: The geopolitics of the Eurovision Song Contest
Azerbaijan triumphed in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011 and hosted the continent-wide cultural event in 2012.
March 19th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Zakaria: The geopolitics of the Eurovision Song Contest

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

What caught my eye this week was a dispute between two members of a grand old European alliance. The alliance isn't NATO; it's not the
Arctic Council nor the Euro Zone, nor the EU. I'm talking about the annual Eurovision Song Contest.

It's camp; it's cheesy; but it's a huge hit across the pond. Every year, dozens of countries send their top performers to an American Idol-style music competition. More than a 100 million viewers tune in to vote for their favorites. The one rule: you can't vote for your own country.

And so the tradition has continued since the 1950s.

Abba won for "Waterloo" in 1974. Celine Dion made a splash in 1988 representing Switzerland. But somewhere along the way the contest became known less for big names, and more for kitsch: Sequined costumes, outlandish productions, the works.

Now, despite its name, Eurovision is not just a European competition. Algeria participates and so does Israel. This year's host is Azerbaijan. And that's why Eurovision is in the news this week. FULL POST

March 17th, 2012
07:55 PM ET

Zakaria: Deterring Iran is the best option

Editor's Note: Be sure to tune in to GPS this Sunday at 10am and 1pm ET.  Also, don't miss my special episode of GPS, "Global Lessons – The GPS Road Map for Saving Heath Care", which airs Sunday night at 8pm and 11pm ET/PT.  The special will run again Saturday, March 24th, at 8pm and 11pm ET/PT.

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

When I was in college, in the early 1980s, I invited Ronald Reagan’s defense secretary, Caspar Weinberger, to give a speech on campus. At the time, U.S. colleges were hotbeds of opposition to the Reagan administration, especially to its defense policies. Sure enough, as Weinberger began to speak, a series of students stood up and began to heckle. One after another, they rose and chanted a single line, “Deterrence is a lie!”

I am reminded of that turbulent meeting as I listen to the debates over Iran’s nuclear ambitions because it highlights a strange role reversal in today’s foreign policy discourse. It used to be the left that refused to accept the idea of deterrence - searching instead for options such as a nuclear freeze. And it used to be those on the right who would patiently explain the practical virtues of deterrence.

The conservative thinker Charles Krauthammer wrote in the New Republic in 1984. "Deterrence, like old age, is intolerable, until one considers the alternative." FULL POST

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Topics: Fareed's Take • From Fareed • Iran • Military • Nuclear • Strategy • United States
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