August 20th, 2014
06:52 PM ET

The danger of marginalizing mainstream Islamist groups

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

Fareed speaks with Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Middle East Policy, and Emma Sky, former chief political adviser to the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, about recent advances by ISIS.

Shadi, I want to pick up on something that you point out in your book that explains, I think, why you have a situation where you have all these brutal dictators on the one hand, and you have groups like ISIS on the other. It’s that the dictators, the leaders of the Arab world, are actually much more threatened by moderate opposition groups than they are by extreme opposition groups. They kind of like the idea that the only alternative to them is al Qaeda, right?

Hamid: Yes. I mean groups like ISIS are perfect for dictators like Bashar al-Assad because he can point to them and say, well, this is what you get when you have an opening of political space. And I think one of the most dangerous developments of the past three years is that you did have mainstream Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. Yes, they're deeply illiberal. They're religiously conservative. We as Americans don't share their values. But they do believe in the democratic process. They're not using violence like groups like ISIS. They tried to work through the process in countries like Egypt and, of course, there was a military coup last year. There was a devastating crackdown.

So now, groups like ISIS are saying forget about the Muslim Brotherhood approach, they're gradualists, they're soft. They're saying we can give you the Islamic State not in 20 years or 50 years, we can give it to you right now, through brute force, through violence. And what I'm really worried about now is violence is working in today's Middle East. That is one of the legacies, ironically, of the Arab Spring. FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show • Terrorism
August 18th, 2014
11:03 AM ET

What Middle East moderates?

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

By Fareed Zakaria

Over the last decade, the United States helped organize Iraq's “moderates” – the Shiite-dominated government – gave them tens of billions of dollars in aid and supplied and trained their army. But, it turned out, the moderates weren't that moderate and they turned authoritarian and sectarian. Sunni opposition movements grew and jihadi opposition groups, like ISIS, gained tacit or active support from the population.

This is a familiar pattern throughout the region.

For decades now, American foreign policy in the Middle East has been to support “moderates.” Great, the only problem is there are actually very few moderates. The Arab world is going through a bitter, sectarian struggle that is, “carrying the Islamic world back to the dark ages,” says Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul. In these circumstances moderates either become extremists or they lose out in the brutal power struggles of the day. Look at Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian territories. FULL POST

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Topics: Fareed's Take • GPS Show
August 16th, 2014
07:08 PM ET

Should U.S. have intervened in Syria?

Fareed speaks with Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Middle East Policy and the author of Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East, about the rise of ISIS. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

You see Syria as much more central here, correct?

Yes. I mean the rise of ISIS is tied more to the Syrian civil war. And Bashar al-Assad is really the root cause of the problem, in many ways. You had peaceful protesters in 2011. They were being shot down. And then more and more Syrians took up arms.

We had an opportunity early on, in early 2012, to intervene militarily in Syria. And many of us were calling for that, not just arming the so-called moderate rebels, but targeted air strikes, the creation of safe zones. That what was necessary then. And many observers warned the Obama administration, if you don't do more now, this is going to come to haunt you in the future, that the radicals are going to rise, they're going to gain ground. And that's precisely what's happened now.

And I think in some ways, it's too late. Even if we had the ideal president doing the ideal list of things, so much damage has been done over the last three years. And this is why sometimes, if you keep on waiting, if you keep on dithering, the costs are tremendous.

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Topics: GPS Show
August 16th, 2014
06:42 PM ET

On GPS Sunday: How should U.S. respond to ISIS threat? And, a path to cheap nuclear fuel?

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

On GPS this Sunday: First, Fareed offers his take on the Middle East – and why one of the key tenets of U.S. foreign policy in the region has been fundamentally misguided.

Then, he convenes a panel of leading analysts including Emma Sky, former chief political adviser to the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and author of the forthcoming book Dove Among Hawks: a Memoir of High Hopes and Missed Opportunities, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Middle East Policy, and David Kilcullen, a former Australian Army officer and counter-insurgency expert who served as senior adviser to U.S. General David Petraeus during the Iraq War.

Also, if you think relations between the United States and Russia are rough right now, just wait.  Russia intends to soon have a spy station in Cuba again. What in the world?

And, a cheap nuclear power plant that uses nuclear waste as its fuel. Sound like a pipe-dream? Fareed will introduce you to someone who says that she can make it a reality.

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Topics: GPS Show
August 12th, 2014
01:39 PM ET

Have Americans given up on space?

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

Fareed speaks with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, about the importance of space exploration – and whether Americans have fallen out of love with space.

What is the Orion spacecraft that NASA is talking about doing?

All of these efforts are trying to get us back into space, with the goal of possibly sending humans to the Mars system, Mars and the moons and the like. And if you have that capacity, then you'll have the capacity to go many other places. You could visit comets. You could go to the Moon easily once you've configured that.

So these are the things that have been discussed. But I don't see it happening in a real tangible way. In the 1960s, we were going to the Moon and every couple of months you saw the next spacecraft ready on the launch pad.

You led off with the ending of the shuttle program. For many people, that was sad. And it shouldn’t have been sad because had the cards been played right, on the next launch pad would have been the next vehicle to continue this adventure in space. And you say, OK, it served us well. Mothball it, but here's what's next. No one was sad at the end of the Mercury program, because the Gemini rockets were ready right there on the launch pad. And no one was sad when Gemini ended because the mighty Saturn 5 was ready to go. FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show • Space • Technology
August 9th, 2014
11:38 PM ET

On GPS Sunday: Latest from Iraq, analysis of ISIS, and future of the space program

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

On GPS this Sunday: First, the latest on Iraq and the advances made by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, as well as the U.S. military’s response. Also, Fareed offers his take on what the United States should be doing and why bolstering the Kurds is the key to success.

Then, Fareed will speak with counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen before hearing from Ambassador Peter Galbraith, author of The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War without End, and the London School of Economics’ Fawaz Gerges about what we might be able to expect next.

Next, Fareed will be joined by The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart and Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens about U.S. policy over Iraq and Gaza.

Also, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, discusses the state of the U.S. space program.

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Topics: GPS Show • Iraq
August 9th, 2014
11:39 AM ET

Why U.S. should help the Kurds

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

By Fareed Zakaria

The situation in Iraq today is perilous, but also chaotic and confusing. Should the United States do more to help the communities under threat of destruction? If it does intervene for humanitarian reasons here, then why not in a place like Syria, which has seem many terrible atrocities and massacres as well? How should we think through the issue?

I have been cautious about urging the United States to get back into Iraq, but I believe that in the current circumstances, the Obama administration should intervene more forcefully and ambitiously, use air power, offer training support and weaponry if needed.

Why?

The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Iraq is terrible enough. But sometimes, as in Syria, it is unclear whether U.S. military intervention could really help matters, whether there’s a clear plan that would work. In Iraq now there is such a path, one that also offers the strategic rationale for U.S. action. FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show • Iraq
August 8th, 2014
06:33 PM ET

Why the big science questions matter for all of us

Fareed speaks with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, about the Big Bang Theory – and how grappling with science’s big questions matters to our daily lives. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

The Big Bang Theory seems to have been – I'm talking about the actual event, not the not the TV show – seems to have been proven even more right, and there’s now this talk about the Inflation Hypothesis. What is it and why is it important?

So recently, there was a result, an observation, that appeared to confirm predictions made in the inflationary universe. So in the...

Inflationary meaning?

Yes, this idea, which was an appendage to the Big Bang, was put forth back in the 1970s, when that word had much higher currency than it does today. So it stuck and it's been with us ever since.

And it refers to an early period of the universe, really early, like fractions of a second after the original explosion, where the universe has a rapid expansion – faster than the speed of light rapid expansion. It is scientifically valid, that prediction and that idea. And it had a whole sweep of expectations that you should look for if it were true.

So people started exploring the universe, checking that box, yes, that's true, too. Yes. Hey, got that one right, as well. FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show • Science • Space
August 4th, 2014
12:21 PM ET

Shapiro : U.S. still committed to ending violence

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

The U.S. ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro offers his take on the prospects for a cease-fire in Gaza, U.S.-relations with Israel, and whether Qatar can be seen as a reliable partner in trying to secure an end to the violence.

Watch the video for the full interview.

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Topics: GPS Show
August 3rd, 2014
12:39 AM ET

Gupta: We're going to see Ebola around the world

Fareed speaks with Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, about the recent outbreak of Ebola. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

Sanjay, how has this been blocked in the past? Why does this seem unprecedented? Is there something different right now?

You know, in a morbid way, it's because it killed so quickly – it would just burn out. You imagine these remote villages. People weren't moving around as quickly. And the Ebola virus – they would die and before they could start to spread it…it's awful to think about, but that's what was happening.

Now, you have a more mobile group. You have more roads between some of these smaller villages, such as in Guinea, where this originated, and the capital city of Conakry. There are roads. There are all these good passageways now back and forth. And so I think that part of it is certainly contributing. There’s also this idea that there’s a mistrust – I think a little bit of distrust, maybe – even of health care professionals. In part, that's fueled by the fact that there’s no good anti-viral, there’s no good vaccine. So we need to see health care workers show up, they're not offering some panacea to what is happening here.

And so there's not a lot of trust. And a lot of the people who are getting infected aren't hearing the right messages.  And you also have several epidemics sort of starting in different points almost simultaneously now. Usually, it was one place you could target. FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show • Health
August 1st, 2014
06:56 PM ET

On GPS Sunday: The latest on the Middle East, a look at Ukraine, and understanding Ebola

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

On GPS this Sunday: First, a live look at the crisis in the Middle East and the latest developments in Gaza.

Then, the crisis in Ukraine. Past rounds of sanctions have appeared to have little effect on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans. Will Europe’s latest effort at pressure? And what should NATO’s role be? Fareed speaks with Poland's foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, one of those who pushed hard for these sanctions.

“We want a standing defense plans. We want bigger response forces,” Sikorski says. “And unfortunately, the Russian actions in Ukraine don't make us feel more secure, but less secure.”

Also, the deadly Ebola virus has killed hundreds of people in Africa. What is stopping it from spreading to other continents? Fareed speaks with CNN's Sanjay Gupta and Peter Piot, the man who actually co-discovered Ebola.

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Topics: GPS Show
August 1st, 2014
06:10 PM ET

Sikorski: New Europe sanctions 'will get President Putin's attention'

Fareed speaks with Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski about the recent downing of Flight MH17 in Ukraine and the European Union’s response. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

Do you feel that there are any signs in the past that even the threat of these sanctions have had the effect presumably that you want, which is that Russia should stop supplying arms and people in eastern Ukraine? My sense is, if anything, is that in the last week or two, those activities have sort of stepped up and the Russians themselves appear to be firing missiles at Ukrainian government planes.

These sanctions, I think, will get President Putin's attention and will show that, despite what he has apparently thought, the West, as a moral community, exists. And it can be united when we see the fundamental norms of international relations are undermined. Hitherto, I think Russian authorities assumed they could always play us off one against the other, and that we are incapable of joint action. This is the first indication that we are.

Do you think it was the airliner changed things? Because my understanding, reports from what was happening within the European Union, was there was significant dissension. I mean, when people would talk about sanctions, non-British countries would argue for financial sanctions, which of course hurt over in London. Britain would argue for the kind of sanctions that would hurt France or Germany. And as a result, there was a standoff. Did the airliner break that logjam?

The airliner and the treatment of the bodies of the victims and the fact that they came from a number of EU countries definitely mobilized politicians in Europe. And crucial was the package put together by the European Commission, which spreads the pain of sanctions on our side fairly. Of course, I expect the Russian side to respond with counter-sanctions, and they'll probably try to divide us again.

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Topics: Europe • GPS Show • Russia • Ukraine
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