After weeks of escalating rhetoric, tensions between North Korea and the United States appear to be easing. But what prompted Pyongyang’s recent provocative statements? How well did the U.S. handle the threats? And what happens now?
James Schoff, a senior associate on the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Asia Program, is answering GPS readers’ questions on this and other regional issues.
Please post your questions in the comments section below, and we’ll select some of the best ones for James to answer.
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.
Moammar Gadhafi was killed Thursday in his hometown of Sirte, Libya. CNN's Fareed Zakaria, who interviewed Gadhafi in 2009, discusses the man, the cult and the future of Libya in the Q&A below.
Q: When you heard Gadhafi was dead, what went through your mind?
Fareed Zakaria: I was not surprised. I never thought Moammar Gadhafi would give up because he was not a bureaucrat like Hosni Mubarak. He had not been standing in line in the regime and it became his turn to be the dictator. He was a revolutionary. He was a guy who had launched a colonel’s coup. He had always been a fighter – romantic, mad, crazy – so I always suspected he would go down fighting.
I also thought there was much less to his position than people made out. He did not actually have lots of tribes loyal to him. He had paid off a bunch of them. But once the money starts drying up, that kind of loyalty disappears pretty quickly.
I also thought it was a sad statement about the way in which he and his sons plundered the country – wrecked it economically – and were unable to provide some kind of transition to a decent next stage. FULL POST
Editor's Note: This interview was conducted by Kimberly Abbott, Communications Director for North America at the International Crisis Group.
Burhanuddin Rabbani, the former Afghan president and chief government negotiator with the Taliban, was killed in a Kabul bomb blast. Candace Rondeaux, Crisis Group's Senior Analyst for Afghanistan, analyzes the repercussions for peace talks. The following is a transcript of the Q&A:
This evening, there was news of an explosion in central Kabul, downtown Kabul, in Wazir Akbar Khan, in a neighborhood known for a lot of dignitaries, including Burhanuddin Rabbani who was of course the former president of Afghanistan and the chair of the High Peace Council, who was deeply involved in talks to the Taliban, trying to arrange some sort of reconciliation deal. It appears that he had arranged a meeting, along with his counterpart Minister Stanekzai, with a member of the Quetta Shura who arrived at his house for a very informal meeting and apparently had a bomb strapped underneath his turban, and when he went to shake Rabbani’s hand the bomb went off, and that was that. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Last Thursday, Fareed spoke with Andreas Mink of NZZ Online about debt, politics, President Obama and more. Here is a lightly edited transcript of the conversation.
Andreas Mink: What is happening now? Are we back at the cliff of 2008-9?
Fareed Zakaria: The U.S. system is much more stable than it was in 2008. The bank stress tests worked and the bailouts worked; the whole system is on much firmer footing. But the long-term issue of debt remains. This is true for Europe – by resolving Greece without solving the broader problem, Europe has left itself open to the danger of defaulting on debt, which is a small probability, but they have to contemplate it. Greece is a nano-state, but Italy has huge debt and it is too large to be bailed out. FULL POST
Do you have a burning question about what's going on in the world?
From the unrest in Syria to the rise of China, events are rocking the political, economic and social foundations of this planet.
The best questions will be featured on the site along with answers from me and other foreign affairs thinkers.
Last time, I answered questions on Donald Trump, Greg Mortenson, what the Middle East will look like in 10 years, why America is so involved in the Middle East, the importance of Asia and, coming up today, prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Keep them coming.
By Barry Neild for CNN
What's behind the protests in Greece?
A huge financial mess. People are upset because the government has been trying to push through harsh austerity measures designed to help reduce Greece's huge budget deficit. Cuts imposed so far have led to public sector job losses and tax rises.
This has stirred public unrest and created a crisis for Prime Minister George Papandreou, who is scrambling to save his government in the face of political dissent over the terms of a European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank bailout. Unless a political agreement can be reached, it could block the release of funds agreed under the bailout package. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Matthew Waxman is Associate Professor at Columbia Law School and Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. The following is an edited transcript of an interview with Professor Waxman.
Amar C. Bakshi: A bipartisan group of House members said today they are filing a lawsuit that challenges U.S. participation in the Libya military mission. What does this lawsuit mean?
Matthew Waxman: The War Powers Resolution was enacted in the wake of the Vietnam War to prevent the President from engaging in wars and major military adventures without Congress’s explicit consent. It does so by requiring the President to withdraw U.S. military forces from armed hostilities within 60 days unless Congress expressly approves otherwise.
The following question has since arisen many times: What remedy exists if the President ignores the requirements set out in that resolution? What happens, for example, if 60 days passes and Congress hasn’t authorized the use of force but the President continues to direct military activities abroad? FULL POST
This week Fareed Zakaria sat down with Charlie Rose and Tom Ashbrook of On Point to discuss The Post-American World (Release 2.0). He also hit on the topic that's been consuming his attention recently: Innovation. He just published an essay on the subject for TIME Magazine, "The Future of Innovation: Can American Keep Pace?"
Then this Sunday at 8pm ET/PT there will be a special edition of CNN GPS, "Restoring the American Dream: How to Innovate." And also on Sunday, the Global Public Square website will be launching an ongoing "Global Innovation Showcase" that will highlight the thinkers, inventors and ideas that changing our world.
There's lots going on. Hope you will engage with it all right here on the Global Public Square.
Michael Spence won the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics with Joseph Stiglitz and George Akerlof for their work on information flows and market development. Spence just published The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth where he examines how emerging economies are reshaping the international order. I sat down with Spence to get his take on China's economic rise and the future of the global economy.
Amar C. Bakshi: What are the key points you want people to take away from your new book, The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth?
Michael Spence: Emerging economies are very impactful. Their systemic effects are large and that is going to require adjustment on everybody’s part - from international institutions to the domestic policies of advanced countries.
We are on a dynamic journey this century. This book is meant to help people better understand where we’re going. FULL POST
Fareed spent last week in Cairo, Egypt talking to people from all walks of life about the revolution, the months after Mubarak fell, and America's role in the region. I sat down with Fareed to get his main takeaways from his trip.
Amar C. Bakshi: After your trip to Cairo, are you more or less optimistic about Egypt’s future?
Fareed Zakaria: In the short-run, I’m less optimistic. But in the long-run, I remain optimistic.
In the short-run there are enormous pressures. We think of Egypt as having gone through a regime change. But it really didn't go through a regime change. Egypt has been run since 1952 by a military dictatorship. It is still run by a military dictatorship.
Mubarak resigned. A few people around him resigned. But at the end of the day the military still holds power. They have a huge vested interest in maintaining the current system politically, financially and socially. They aren't going to go quietly into the night.
As President Obama tours Europe this week, he'll find a continent suffering from slow growth and high unemployment. He'll also see the consequences of dramatic spending cuts. The argument behind these cuts is that they would generate investor confidence and, in turn, economic growth. So far, the cuts have largely just produced pain, explains Fareed Zakaria. I sat down with him to discuss this and what lessons President Obama should learn from his Europe trip.
Amar C. Bakshi: Paul Krugman wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, When Austerity Fails , arguing that sharp government cuts in spending didn’t work so well in Europe – they didn’t significantly improve economic growth or increase employment. What do you make of this?
Fareed Zakaria: We’ve conflated two different problems. There is the problem of the deficit, which in many European countries was astronomical and had to be dealt with. And there is the problem of growth and employment.
In the case of Greece, the debt was just so huge that not to deal with it would make it impossible for Greece to borrow money. The Germans would be pouring aid into a bottomless hole. So you had to deal with getting the fiscal balance sheet in order in some of these countries.
But people have been making the almost magical argument in other countries that by getting your budget deficit in order you will create growth, jobs and economic vitality in the short-term. FULL POST