November 17th, 2014
06:06 PM ET

What's behind Chinese nationalism?

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

Fareed speaks with Elizabeth Economy, a senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and David M. Lampton, the director of China studies at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, about nationalism in China.

There’s no question there's been a rise in sort of nationalist rhetoric. And as I point out, all these attempts to really subvert the old international order, alternatives to The Asian Development Bank, to the IMF, to the World Bank, to the various security frameworks. Do you think this is Xi or is this a long-term Chinese strategy?

Lampton: What we're seeing is China, not just Xi. We're seeing a China that sees itself in great historic terms. And this isn't so much a new status for China, it's a sort of restoration of national greatness.

And I think we're going to face a China that, on one hand, is cooperative, increasingly cooperative on some economic and global issues, like climate change. But on the other hand, I just was speaking with military people in China last week and they are clearly going to continue to push China's sovereignty, and he's not going to give on that set of issues.

So he's walking a fine line by trying to seem a good global citizen on the one hand, but assuage this nationalistic drive on the other. FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show
November 17th, 2014
03:28 PM ET

Facing up to the China challenge

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

By Fareed Zakaria

As Moscow continues to send its forces into Ukraine, it seems clear that Putin's Russia presents America and the West with a frontal challenge. But in the longer run, it is not Russia's overt military assault but China's patient and steady non-military moves that might prove the greater challenge.

Russia is a great power in decline. Its economy amounts to just 3.4 percent of global GDP. China's is nearly 16 percent and rising, now almost four times the size of Japan's and five times that of Germany's, according to the World Bank.

Presidents Obama and Xi deserve the accolades they are receiving for their historic agreement on climate change, and it seems to suggest that America and China are moving towards a new, productive relationship.

Except that, even while signing these accords, Xi Jinping's government has been taking steps that suggest it is developing a very different approach to its foreign policy – one that seeks to replace the American-built post-1945 international system with its own.

Watch the video for the full Take or read the WaPo column

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Topics: China • Fareed's Take • GPS Show
November 15th, 2014
07:08 PM ET

On GPS Sunday: Assessing U.S.-China ties, and Jon Stewart, Maziar Bahari discuss Iran

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

On GPS this Sunday: President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced some areas where they had found agreement on, from climate change to trade to military cooperation. Is this the big breakthrough in relations between the world's number one and two economic powers?

Fareed offers his take, then speaks to two China watchers. Elizabeth Economy, a senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and wrote about China’s president for Foreign Affairs recently. David Lampton is the director of China studies at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Then...Jon Stewart and Iranian-born journalist Maziar Bahari discuss the Iran, the Arab Spring, and their new movie Rosewater.

Also, college applications are due soon. But should teens just tear them up? Are colleges as we know them simply too expensive and outdated? Is there a better way in higher education? Fareed speaks with Stuart Butler, a Brookings scholar who has written extensively on this topic, and Anant Agarwal, who runs edX and penned an op-ed for the Huffington Post on reimagining higher education.

Finally, Europe landed on a comet this week. India has a probe orbiting Mars. And Russia remains the not-so-trusty taxi to outer space. What's America up to, up there? And whose spending on space is the highest?

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Topics: GPS Show
November 15th, 2014
02:02 PM ET

When big data meets education

Fareed speaks with Anant Agarwal, who runs edX, a so-called massive open online course or MOOC. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

So one of the criticisms people make about MOOCS is the very successful, it's vast. You have hundreds of thousands of students or tens of thousands taking a class. But you make the case that actually, the very size of the student body taking the same course makes it possible, ironically, to make the education more personal. Explain.

Absolutely. Yes. So we are gathering the big data of learning. And big data and data mining have improved virtually every field known to mankind. We can now improve education, whether online or in the classroom. So as an example, we could do A/B testing on an educational platform...

Explain what A/B testing is.

So on edX we launched A/B testing, where, as part of a course, a professor can have multiple sequences for students, an A sequence, a B sequence and a C sequence. And the platform automatically distributes the students among these sequences. And the professor can give a test at the end and figure out which of these sequences worked best. So in the future, they can then decide that the B sequence, the B approach of teaching was the best...

So you're beta testing the course as you go along.

It's like software. Today, software is in continual beta. You don't spend a year testing it. You put it out there. You do A/B testing and you continually improve it. So we could keep improving education like we improve Web sites today.

And I imagine that also what can happen is as students take tests, because you have so much information on a single course, if a student does badly in the second quiz, you can immediately direct them to some remedial module and say clearly, we know from hundreds of thousands of students taking the same test that you need to go and relearn these two things or something like that.

Absolutely. The Holy Grail for all of us is personalized learning, the kind of learning where you have a tutor sitting next to you like the, you know, like the old ages and the relics where we had only children of kings and so on, who were able to work with a single guru.

Here, the idea would be like you said, to be able to use big data to analyze how a student is learning. And depending on that, to make available specialized pathways for each student and personalize the learning for each student so that if I didn't know something, I'm shown that piece of knowledge. But if I know it already, then I can move ahead faster. So we are launching a few courses along these lines imminently.

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Topics: GPS Show
November 15th, 2014
01:58 PM ET

Interrogators 'doing a job'?

Fareed speaks with Jon Stewart, who directed the new movie 'Rosewater', about its portrayal of torture. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

The certainty of the truth, what you portray a lot is these guys who, they think they know the truth, but you're always wondering, when watching the movie, are these interrogators really...They seem, at some level, very insecure. It's a very deft way of portraying it. There's a lot of bravado, but they're very insecure.

Stewart: Well, you also have to portray it within – they're human beings. People that are interrogators or torturers, this is a job. It's not something that we might see in sort of a more sensationalized cinematic version of it of, the Bruce Willis over the guy, tell me where the bombs are. This guy’s got to come in every day. He's got to be there by 8:00. It's a bureaucracy. He has to work within that. The Green Movement, to these interrogators, was, in many ways, just a chance to get some overtime. You know, the prisons are so filled with people, I think that the gentleman who was responsible for Maziar's torment, in some ways, probably wouldn't have had an opportunity to deal with someone, you know, a “VIP prisoner” – more educated, more Western – if it had not been for the overwhelming amount of people that they were trying to filter through this prison at the time.

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Topics: GPS Show
November 15th, 2014
01:51 PM ET

'The system right now is incentivized for status quo'

Fareed speaks with Maziar Bahari, author of Then They Came for Me, and Rosewater director Jon Stewart about the looming deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

You're not hopeful on an Iranian deal?

Bahari: I don't think so. I don't think that there will be a deal on November 24, because I don't think that there is a real will, either in Iran or the United States, to have a deal on the 24th. And there are also radical interest groups in both countries. In Iran, the Revolutionary Guards are making a lot of money because of the sanctions and because there is no relationship between Iran and the United States. And in this country, as you know, there are many lobbies for making a lot of money by supporting the sanctions and not having...

Stewart: Not a lot of incentives on either side.

And fair to say that whatever deal Obama were to bring, it would be pilloried...

Stewart:...That's my favorite is the new climate deal. So all they talk about in Congress is we're not going to do a climate deal, because if we don't get China on board, it's meaningless. It's utterly meaningless. OK, we've got China on board...No deal...So you realize the system right now is incentivized for status quo, for stagnation. You don't raise money on bipartisanship, on cooperation and good governance. You raise money on demonization. And that's where we sit.

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Topics: GPS Show
November 15th, 2014
01:47 PM ET

Jon Stewart on portrayal of torture in Rosewater

Fareed speaks with Jon Stewart about his new movie 'Rosewater'. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

Did you think about how you were going to make this movie work despite the fact that everybody knows how it ended? To me, what was so effective was the torture felt very scary even though I kind of knew that he was going to be all right at the end.

Right. I think that's something that is the difficulty within a story like this...thank goodness we knew the ending.

So it was a question of creating dynamics within that that were hopefully complex enough that could give people some insight into it, but also, again, a more visceral experience, that feeling of being on the edge of your seat and that discomfort, only to have that alleviated in sort of one large cathartic moment. And to break that through and watching not just that he would get out, but how he regained his humanity and how he sustained himself.

There are so many interesting lessons to be gained from how Maziar was able to retain his humanity given the conditions that he was under.

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Topics: GPS Show
November 15th, 2014
01:44 PM ET

Jon Stewart discusses Iran's government

Fareed speaks with Jon Stewart about Iran's government and the new movie 'Rosewater'. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

So you guys spent a lot of time thinking about this country, this regime. Jon, what do you think? We're in these negotiations with Iran. What do you think of the Iranian regime?

I can't presume to get ahead of it. I can tell you what I think of it in the context of this story.

I think that they have a certainty of the truth. I think they understand how to retain their power base and that they believe that this type of activity is within their self-interest. But that it is a relatively shortsighted kind of an approach to holding onto power.

And I think this is about carving out space for people in that country to have more expression.

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Topics: GPS Show
November 9th, 2014
12:23 AM ET

Asia key to Obama's foreign policy legacy

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

By Fareed Zakaria

Obama's biggest foreign policy initiative is powerful and intelligent – the pivot to Asia.

The greatest threat to global peace and prosperity over the next decades comes not from a band of assassins in Syria but from the rise of China and the manner in which that will reshape the geopolitics of Asia and the world. If Washington can provide balance and reassurance in Asia, it will help ensure that the continent does not become the flash point for a new Cold War.

But the Asia pivot remains more rhetoric than reality. Having promised a larger U.S. military presence in the Philippines, Singapore and Australia, there is little evidence of any of this on the ground...

...I know the world looks messy and the administration is now on the defensive. But recall what the world looked like when Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger were conducting foreign policy.

America was losing a war in Asia in which it had deployed half a million troops. The Soviet Union was on the march. Domestic opposition and troubles were mounting. Nixon and Kissinger had to initiate a major retreat but, as Robert Zoellick has pointed out, they combined this with a series of bold, positive, assertive moves.

Watch the video for the full Take or read the WaPo column

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Topics: Fareed's Take • GPS Show
November 9th, 2014
12:17 AM ET

Remembering the day the Berlin Wall fell

Fareed speaks with then-U.S. National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and a former top British foreign policy advisor, Charles Powell, about the fall of the Berlin Wall. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

Why didn't the collapse of the Soviet Union result in bloodshed and war?

Scowcroft: Well, first of all, we didn't want it to, because what had happened before, every time there was any kind of an outburst in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union would crack down, kill the leaders and even be more repressive than before.

So what we wanted to do was to keep indications of violence and dissent underneath the Soviet radar, and we tried very hard to do that. And when the announcement about the Wall came, President Bush Sr. was told by his press secretary, you're going to have to talk to the press. Everybody is wondering about this. So I said, well, we don't really know what the facts are.

But anyway, the press came into the president's office and he described what was happening and how uncertain it all was. After he finished that explanation, one of the members of the press said, well, Mr. President, you don't seem very elated. I would think you'd want to go over and dance on the Wall. And he said, well, I'm just not that kind of a person. What we were worried about was that this event would force Gorbachev to violence and all of the hopeful signs would be destroyed.

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Topics: GPS Show
November 8th, 2014
10:24 PM ET

Is backing Syria rebels a mistake?

Fareed speaks with Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma's Center for Middle East Studies, about his proposal for addressing the Syria crisis. Watch the full interview this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

So let's understand why you think that the solution that so many people keep urging, which is that the United States supports those rebels in the blue areas and that they will therefore win. They will establish control, create perhaps a democratic Syria. Why is that not going to work?

Well, it's not going to work because most of the blue area are dominated by the big rebel groups which are al Qaeda and the Islamic Front, which are jihadist, very anti-American groups. The pro-American militias just got wiped out in the northern blue spot, Jabal al-Zawiya. They just got pushed aside by al Qaeda. And so they're very small. They may own perhaps 1 or 2 percent of Syria today, the rebels that are being backed by the United States.

So to turn those 2 percent into winners, that would not only wipe out ISIS, but taking on al-Assad would be a gargantuan undertaking.

So they have to beat Al-Nusra and al Qaeda and Khorasan. Then they've got to beat ISIS. Then they've got to beat al-Assad.

Yes, it's not going to happen. And we've only – President Obama has given them half a billion dollars. Now, at the University of Oklahoma we have an endowment of much more than a billion dollars and we can't even pay the students to go for free.

So they're not going to build an army for that kind of money. This is just chump change that's there to satisfy, I presume, people who are criticizing the president.

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Topics: GPS Show • Syria
November 7th, 2014
05:59 PM ET

On GPS Sunday: Remembering fall of Berlin Wall, is Obama a Republican, and a Syria plan

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

On GPS this Sunday: First, Fareed offers his take on the implications of the midterm elections and why he believes President Barack Obama still has time to do big things over the next two years – especially in foreign policy.

Then, it is 25 years ago this Sunday that the Berlin Wall began to fall – an event that too much of the world by surprise. Fareed speaks with then-U.S. National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and a former top British foreign policy advisor, Charles Powell.

Then, the economy, immigration, politics...How well do you know your world? GPS will share some sobering numbers on just how little many Americans (and others around the world) really know. See how you fair on the quiz here.

And, Fareed speaks with Bruce Bartlett, an economics columnist, author and historian who argued in a recent article in the American Conservative that President Obama is actually a  Republican. He’ll explain why.

Also, the White House appears to have no real solution for the ongoing crisis in Syria. Nor does the Republican Party. But Fareed will talk to a man who says he does – and he has ideas that seem to make a lot of sense.

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