Why geostrategic competition threatens us all
November 7th, 2014
07:16 PM ET

Why geostrategic competition threatens us all

By Espen Barth Eide, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Espen Barth Eide is managing director of the World Economic Forum. This is the first in a series of articles from the World Economic Forum on the key challenges facing the world in 2015 as part of their Outlook on the Global Agenda. The views expressed are the writer's own.

In the years following the Cold War, the prevailing view was that the world had moved towards a liberal, democratic consensus. The break-up of the Soviet bloc, the integration of Russia and China into the global economic system and a fresh wave of democratic transitions, from Latin America to Eastern Europe, led many to believe that superpower rivalries were finished. Globalization, the free market and the “interdependence” of countries would make wars less likely, while a greater role was forecast for multilateral bodies like the United Nations in responding to issues that put everyone at risk.

This did not relieve us of security concerns, but from the 1990s onward, the so-called new challenges were regarded as asymmetric. Rather than fearing strong, opposing states, we worried about state weakness, the breakup of countries, or the global reach of non-state, terrorist networks.

Today, however, renewed competition between key actors is a genuine concern. According to the Survey on the Global Agenda, both Asian and European respondents ranked the rise of geostrategic competition as the second most important global trend. While the old Cold War is not making a resurgence, recent developments have led to tectonic shifts in state interaction. Geopolitics – and realpolitik – is once again taking centre stage, with potential wide-ranging consequences for the global economy, politics, and society. FULL POST

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Topics: Politics
October 25th, 2014
03:41 PM ET

Has Obama presidency met expectations?

Fareed speaks with CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger and author and historian Sean Wilentz about President Barack Obama's presidency. Watch the full panel discussion this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

Paul Krugman gave this rousing defense of Obama...If you look at domestic policy, most consequential president since Lyndon Johnson. Do you agree with the basic outline?

Wilentz: I think Paul is basically right. But Paul and I have been on the same page from the beginning – skeptical at first, much more respectful now of what the president has managed to achieve. I mean, it's not spectacular, but a lot of people had very, very high expectations, shall we say?

It's hard to be disillusioned...

Borger: Including Obama.

Wilentz: Well, indeed. But it's hard to be disillusioned if you weren't “illusioned” to begin with. And judged on a more rational scale, I think the president’s done a good job.

Borger: Yes, I think the problem here for the American people, and I don't know how this plays out in history, is that when you look at President Obama, you look at the numbers we're looking at now, it's a question of leadership. It's a question of whether he has communicated well to the American public about his successes, which you could argue, in the future, health care reform will be judged as a success. FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show • Politics
How the world sees Obama
July 16th, 2014
03:43 PM ET

How the world sees Obama

By Bruce Stokes, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Bruce Stokes is director of global economic attitudes at the Pew Research Center. The views expressed are his own.

Beleaguered at home, U.S. President Barack Obama remains beloved in many nations abroad. And he is far more popular than his predecessor George W. Bush. But the bloom is definitely off the Obama rose.

Obama’s election in 2008 was widely approved of around the world, and there were high expectations for the incoming American leader, whose election seemed to promise an end to the anti-Americanism that had plagued Washington’s relations with the rest of the world for the past several years.

And, despite revelations such as National Security Agency spying on foreign leaders and the growing sense in the United States that President Obama is already a lame duck domestically, his continued (if somewhat diminished) favorability abroad suggests he remains a force to be reckoned with in international affairs. But will the president follow the well-trodden path of his predecessors in spending more time on foreign policy in their last years in office as their domestic influence has waned?

His popularity abroad suggests he might.

FULL POST

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Topics: Politics • United States
July 8th, 2014
02:55 PM ET

Can other countries tap into Obama campaign success?

For more Last Look, watch GPS, Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Last week, Turkey's Justice and Development Party – the AKP Party – announced that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan would be its presidential candidate in the August elections.

His campaign began immediately, and his logo caught our eye. Take a look at the video – it’s a red rising sun. The party said it symbolizes hope, the birth of a new Turkey, unity and togetherness. The winding road, they say, symbolizes Erdogan's "journey of life."

But people quickly pointed out that the logo looks a bit familiar. Yes, it’s very similar to President Obama's campaign logo. At the time, Obama's logo was chosen as a symbol of hope and a new day, and of course because it has an "o."

This isn't the only logo people have compared to Obama's. In 2008, South Africa's Democratic Alliance party unveiled its logo.

FULL POST

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Topics: Last Look • Politics
June 24th, 2014
05:15 PM ET

How LBJ got the Civil Rights Act passed

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

The Civil Rights Act remains one of the great puzzles and achievements of American history. The achievement part is obvious. The puzzle part is two-fold.  First: why did it take so long?  It passed 101 years after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. And second: how did it finally get passed?

To get the answers, let’s step back 50 years. It's hard for young people today to imagine, but back then there were restaurants and stores and cabs – mostly in the South – where black people were not served. There were separate water fountains for the two races and, as Rosa Parks made infamous, separate sections of buses, just to name a few. It was legal in 1964 to refuse to hire somebody because of the color of their skin or their gender. A year earlier, President John F. Kennedy had addressed the nation to urge action on civil rights.

But then Kennedy was assassinated. Surprisingly, his successor Lyndon Baines Johnson, a staunch Southerner, took up the cause, a cause that looked hopeless.

Why? Johnson biographer Robert Caro explains.

For more on the issue, tune into CNN's 'The Sixties' as it explores the civil rights movement in-depth, this Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

 

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Topics: GPS Show • History • Politics • United States
Is America dangerously divided?
June 15th, 2014
03:41 AM ET

Is America dangerously divided?

By Bruce Stokes, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Bruce Stokes is director of global economic attitudes at the Pew Research Center. The views expressed are his own.

If you thought that political polarization in America was bad, think again. Because it’s worse than you thought. And if you’re under the impression that dysfunctionality in Washington is merely a product of partisan political gamesmanship on Capitol Hill, try again. Because a new survey finds that the divisions inside the Beltway actually reflect a deep ideological divide within the U.S. public that manifests itself not only in politics, but in everyday life. Indeed, this polarization is growing – and it has profound implications for economic and security issues that affect the rest of the world.

Republicans and Democrats in the United States are more divided along ideological lines, and the resulting political acrimony is deeper and more extensive, than at any point in recent U.S. history, according to the Pew Research Center survey. And such partisanship is having a greater impact on policy because these partisans make up a larger share of the politically engaged members of their parties.

FULL POST

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Topics: Politics • United States
April 30th, 2014
03:05 PM ET

Howard: U.S. laws have taken on life of their own

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

Fareed speaks with Philip Howard, founder of Common Good and author of The Rule of Nobody, about the biggest barrier to political and legislative progress in the United States. This is an edited version of the transcript.

One of the things you've always said is that America is uniquely, perhaps because it's a society founded on law, has a reverence for law that has gone into a kind of a warped place, where our laws are so detailed that nobody has any judgment. Give a few examples of it.

So law is supposed to be a tool of democracy. Instead, democracy now just does whatever the law orders it to be, as if it's on autopilot. Here’s the example. Special-ed laws are very important, passed in 1975 because we had a history of locking away disabled children. Now that law has morphed into using up over 25 percent of the total K to 12 budget in this country. There's no money for gifted children, almost no money for pre-K education. Is that the right balance? Nobody is even asking the question. These laws just take a life of their own.

And the administrators don't have any leeway to use judgment.

Right. So there's no room for judgment. In 2009, we had an $800 billion stimulus plan. And the point of the plan sold by President Obama was to rebuild America's infrastructure. They came out with a five year report recently, where I tried to find how much was used for rebuilding the decrepit infrastructure of this country. Well, it turns out only 3 percent was spent to rebuild America's transportation infrastructure, because no one, not even the president of the United States, has authority to approve even the most obvious rebuilding jobs. We're not talking about power lines through virgin forests, we're talking about just fixing up an old bridge or... FULL POST

Topics: GPS Show • Politics
Why America needs a national plan
March 21st, 2014
10:41 AM ET

Why America needs a national plan

By Jon Huntsman, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Jon Huntsman is a former Republican governor of Utah and former U.S. ambassador to China and Singapore. The views expressed are the writer’s own.

The February jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offered a sliver of good news:  an estimated 175,000 jobs were created last month, substantially exceeding the forecast of 149,000. And for the first time in nearly four years – in 46 months, to be exact – more unemployed Americans found jobs than got discouraged, stopped looking, and left the labor market, according to economists.

Encouraging as that news is, we still have a long way to go to reach the level of job growth that will return our economy and workforce to full health and we can’t afford to sit by, keep our fingers crossed that such progress continues, and wait. Instead, we need to come together as a nation, as we’ve done before during times of crisis, and rally around the critical goal of accelerating job growth. The problem is that while Americans broadly agree on what our priorities as a nation should be, Washington is as divided as ever.

FULL POST

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Topics: Politics • United States
February 17th, 2014
02:28 PM ET

Zakaria: Both sides not equally at fault in Washington

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

By Fareed Zakaria

Watching the machinations in Washington over the last two weeks, it is now impossible to talk about how both political parties are to blame for the country's gridlock.

Consider what just happened on immigration. Now a majority of Americans support granting citizenship to illegal immigrants – by 81 percent in the most recent CNN poll – as well as enhanced border controls. The leadership of the Republican Party in both houses of Congress talked about a comprehensive reform package that would create a lengthy waiting time for citizenship – 13 years – and couple this with tougher enforcement.

Immigration was supposed to be ripe for common-sense reform. The public is for a compromise solution, policy wonks have proposed ways to make it work, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports it, the country's leading technology firms have been clamoring for it, senior Democrats and Republicans are all in favor. And yet it couldn't get past the central problem in Washington today - the extreme and obstructionist faction within the Republican Party - that cannot take yes for an answer.

The next time someone blames "both sides" for Washington's paralysis or issues a bland call for "leadership" to get us out of it, remember the case of immigration.

Watch the video for the full Take or read the Washington Post column.

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Topics: Fareed's Take • Politics
November 22nd, 2013
09:49 AM ET

Historian: Nothing makes me think LBJ tied to JFK’s death

Fareed speaks with Robert Caro, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, historian and author of Dallas, November 22, 1963, about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 

So you know there are people who look at where Johnson was, dead in the water.  A Life magazine article was about to come out. You describe, you know, which was an investigative story, that would have further undermined him. People look at all that and say, boy, this assassination not only made Johnson president, but saved him from what might have been a complete collapse.  I mean, is it possible that had the assassination not happened, Johnson would have been so humiliated, he would have had to resign?

Well, to answer that part of your question, Johnson himself felt that whether he had a second term or not, he was finished.  That's the word he used, "I'm finished."

And you know how we know that he really felt that way? He told several of his key aides, who, if he had further ambitions, he would have wanted to keep with him.  He said, "I'm done."

One of them was asking him, can I go to work for somebody else? He says go with him, I'm finished. So you say that Johnson really felt that his career might be over.

On the other hand, nothing that I ever found...I've been doing research on Lyndon Johnson for a lot of years.  And I have to say that nothing that I found in writing or any interviews, led me to believe that whatever the story of the assassination really is, that Lyndon Johnson had anything to do with it. I never found anything that led me to believe that.

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Topics: GPS Show • Politics • United States
A dozen budget wishes for Congress
November 1st, 2013
03:32 PM ET

A dozen budget wishes for Congress

This week saw the start of budget negotiations between the House of Representatives and Senate. But as Republicans and Democrats sit down together less than a month after a government shutdown, will the two sides be able to find common ground? Global Public Square asked 12 commentators, analysts and policy makers for their take on what Congress should be discussing – and what an agreement should include. All views expressed are the writers’ own.

Create a national infrastructure bank – Fareed Zakaria, CNN

If Republicans and Democrats could stop posturing, they would find that they could support a simple, powerful program that would reduce unemployment, make America competitive, privatize an important realm of economic activity, and get rid of earmarks. It is a national infrastructure bank to rebuild America's decaying infrastructure.

America's infrastructure is in a shambles. Just a decade ago, we ranked sixth in infrastructure in the world according to the World Economic Forum. Today we rank 23rd and dropping.

Currently, the United States government funds and operates almost all American infrastructure. It’s a quasi-socialist approach.

FULL POST

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Topics: Budget • Economy • Innovation • Politics • United States
October 19th, 2013
02:33 PM ET

On GPS Sunday: James Baker on the debt ceiling and shutdown

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

On GPS this Sunday: Can Washington bounce back from the recent shutdown and debt ceiling crisis? Fareed speaks with an old Republican Party hand who has held the following positions: White House Chief of Staff, Treasury Secretary, and Secretary of State – an exclusive with James Baker.

“I'm convinced we will bounce back. That's not to say that this was not a harmful episode,” Baker says. “My party, the Republican Party, I think was a loser. But I also think that the president and the Democratic Party was a loser because the world saw us in disarray. It really saw a failure of governance.”

Later, in our What in the World segment: Why Africa's leaders stay in power for so long.

And also: A one-on-one interview with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.

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Topics: GPS Show • Politics • United States
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