Why Putin was in Latin America
July 28th, 2014
12:04 PM ET

Why Putin was in Latin America

By Diana Villiers Negroponte, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Diana Villiers Negroponte is a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The views expressed are her own.

As speculation has continued over what role Russian support might have played in the alleged shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines flight by pro-Russian rebels, one question has inevitably arisen: Is Russia becoming isolated?

But while international attention is focused on Washington and European capitals as they mull whether to impose tougher sanctions, it is worth remembering that Russian interests and influence extend far beyond Europe’s borders. Indeed, despite U.S. President Barack Obama’s suggestion earlier this year that Russia is merely a “regional power,” a recent visit to Latin America underscored that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s interests don’t end in Europe’s backyard.

On July 11, Putin began a weeklong trip to Brazil, Argentina, Nicaragua and Cuba, which included attending the sixth BRICS’ summit and the launch of the organization’s New Development Bank. But what did the trip, which included meetings with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, President Cristina Fernandez of Argentina and a photo-op with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, say about Russia’s foreign policy?

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July 3rd, 2014
10:45 PM ET

Identity, not ideology, is moving the world

By Fareed Zakaria

The Fourth of July, for me, is one of those special American holidays that celebrates not religion, ethnicity or sect but rather freedom and the country’s unique national identity, which is based on it. But around the world these days, we’re seeing the rise of another kind of nationalism, one that can be darker and more troubling.

In the recent elections for the European Parliament, nationalist, populist and even xenophobic parties did extremely well. The U.K. Independence Party defeated all of the established parties. France’s National Front won handily against the ruling Socialist Party. In Greece, the quasi-fascist Golden Dawn won half a million votes, giving it seats in the European Parliament for the first time.

Many commentators have explained the rise of these parties as a consequence of the deep recession and slow recovery that still afflict much of Europe. But similar voting patterns can be seen in Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden, which are thriving economically.

Read the Washington Post column

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Don’t forget about the rest of Ukraine
June 9th, 2014
11:59 AM ET

Don’t forget about the rest of Ukraine

By Sarah E. Mendelson, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Sarah Mendelson is senior adviser and director of the Human Rights Initiative at CSIS. She served, until early last month, as a deputy assistant administrator at USAID. The views expressed are her own.

If you knew nothing about Donetsk, Luhansk or Slovyansk before this spring, you likely now associate them with mayhem and lawlessness. Since Russian troops began amassing on the border of Ukraine and local separatists, supplemented by foreign fighters, have brought death and destruction, journalists and human rights organizations have zeroed in almost exclusively on those parts of Ukraine.

Less examined and less talked about is the rest of the country, with its more subtle, and, I would argue, more important and unfinished story line.

As thousands of international election observers descended on Kiev last month and then fanned out across the country, briefings tended to focus on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s motivations, or harrowing accounts of the security situation in “Eastern Ukraine,” and what to do in case of kidnapping. “No adventures in election observation” my husband worried over the phone. “And no going to the east!”

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May 29th, 2014
09:00 AM ET

Gladwell: College football an inhumane spectacle

On Thursday, President Barack Obama is holding a 'concussions summit' to discuss the issue of concussion in youth sports. Last year, Fareed spoke with Malcolm Gladwell, longtime ‘New Yorker’ staff writer and best-selling author of ‘The Tipping Point’ and ‘Outliers’ about American college football. In the first part, Gladwell makes the argument that college football is little different from dog fighting. Watch the video for the full exchange.

 

You compare football to dog fighting. Why?

Yes, I did a piece for The New Yorker a couple of years ago where I said it. This was at the time when, remember, Michael Vick, was convicted of dog fighting. And to me, that was such a kind of, and the whole world got up in arms about this. How could he use dogs in a violent manner, in a way that compromised their health and integrity?

And I was just struck at the time by the unbelievable hypocrisy of people in football, for goodness sake, getting up in arms about someone who chose to fight dogs, to pit one dog against each other.

In what way is dog fighting any different from football on a certain level, right? I mean you take a young, vulnerable dog who was made vulnerable because of his allegiance to the owner and you ask him to engage in serious sustained physical combat with another dog under the control of another owner, right?

Well, what's football? We take young boys, essentially, and we have them repeatedly, over the course of the season, smash each other in the head, with known neurological consequences.

And why do they do that? Out of an allegiance to their owners and their coaches and a feeling they're participating in some grand American spectacle.

They're the same thing. And the idea that as a culture we would be absolutely quick and sure about coming to the moral boiling point over the notion that you would do this to dogs and yet completely blind to the notion you would do this to young men is, to my mind, astonishing.

I mean there's a certain point where I just said, you know, we have to say enough is enough.

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Why global health security matters to U.S.
May 5th, 2014
11:48 AM ET

Why global health security matters to U.S.

By Tom Frieden and Andy Weber, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Tom Frieden (@DrFriedenCDC) is director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Andy Weber (@AndyWeberNCB) is Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs. The views expressed are their own.

The U.S. and the world now face a perfect storm of disease threats. New and virulent pathogens, such as H7N9 avian influenza and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), emerge every year. Diseases respect no borders – a fact reiterated by the confirmation, last week, of the first case of MERS-CoV in the United States.  Pathogens are becoming more resistant to antimicrobial drugs, and the possibility of bioterrorism continues to grow as new technologies make bioengineering cheaper and easier.

During the 2003 SARS outbreak, only eight people in the U.S. became ill and none died, but the six-month global outbreak left nearly 800 people dead worldwide with costs topping $40 billion. A new pandemic could kill millions and cost trillions.

With such threats in mind, we are in Helsinki for the first meeting on the world’s Global Health Security Agenda, a partnership of the United States government and more than 30 international partners to accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats. As part of this effort, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Defense (DoD) have committed to provide a total of $40 million this year to 12 partner countries to rapidly advance our shared global health security goals. Over the next 5 years, this initiative will enable partner countries to strengthen their ability to prevent, detect, and effectively respond to infectious disease threats and better protect at least 4 billion more people.

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How Nigeria should respond to Boko Haram
May 3rd, 2014
10:19 AM ET

How Nigeria should respond to Boko Haram

By Orji Uzor Kalu, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Orji Uzor Kalu is a former governor of Nigeria’s Abia State and 2007 presidential candidate. The views expressed are his own.

The announcement last month that Nigeria’s economy had finally surpassed South Africa’s to become the largest in Africa should have been a cause for celebration – a shift that recognized the significant progress this country has made. Sadly, what was to have been a landmark announcement was overshadowed by an all too familiar problem.

On April 14, a bomb ripped through a crowded bus station in Abuja, claiming dozens of lives. The scene was described by some as post-apocalyptic, with body parts strewn across the area. The Islamic militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attack, with one alleged representative issuing a chilling warning that “this was but a minor incident” and that “we [continue to] walk among you, yet you do not know who we are.”

The group didn’t take long to act on its threat. Less than 48 hours later, the group abducted almost 200 girls from their boarding school in the northeast of the country, with gunmen storming the school as they slept. Reports this week suggest many of the girls may since have been sold into marriage.

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Why the dangerous new turn for piracy matters
April 29th, 2014
08:52 AM ET

Why the dangerous new turn for piracy matters

By Anthony Russell, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Cdr Anthony Russell, USCG is the 2013-2014 Coast Guard Executive Fellow to the RAND Corporation. The views expressed here are his own and do not reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. government.

Off the western coast of Africa, just north of the equator, the Gulf of Guinea has endured piracy for decades. But recent spikes in new, more dangerous forms of piracy imply a troubling sense of invincibility in the minds of the perpetrators. Pirates have become more sophisticated, more brash. They think they can operate with impunity.

Consider recent reports of two large tankers going missing in the gulf. These hijacked vessels reportedly maneuvered freely, while pirates transferred their stolen cargo, confident they could filter it back into the market.

Such acts of piracy destabilize regions and contribute to an insecure environment. They also have very real international implications, producing ripples that spread throughout the global economy. For example, Nigeria, the region’s lynchpin, is the world’s fourth-leading exporter of liquefied natural gas. Forty-three percent of its exports go to Europe, accounting for one-fifth of the continent’s non-EU gas imports.

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April 5th, 2014
11:37 AM ET

Why we believe conspiracy theories

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

By Fareed Zakaria

For those of you tired of the coverage of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, I want you to try an experiment.

When you're with a group of friends – whose eyes might roll over when you even bring up the issue – ask them what they think happened to the plane. Very quickly you will find yourselves in the midst of a lively discussion – with many, different, competing theories, each plausible, each with holes.

The plane was hijacked, someone will say. But then why were there no demands? It was an accident, someone else will say. But then why were there no distress signals? This mystery of what actually happened is at the heart of the fascination with this story. And the mystery has now morphed into an ever increasing number of conspiracy theories about what actually happened that fateful day last month when the aircraft disappeared.

There are YouTube clips suggesting that aliens are involved, blog posts accusing the Iranians of hijacking the plane, and many who believe that the passengers and crew are still alive, perhaps on an island somewhere – like in the television show "Lost”.

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Zakaria: Why Russia is spooked
April 1st, 2014
11:17 AM ET

Zakaria: Why Russia is spooked

CNN speaks with Fareed Zakaria about the latest developments in the Crimea crisis – and whether Russia is serious about pulling troops back from the border with Ukraine.

One of the things John Kerry is now focused again on, in Brussels he is talking with NATO allies about what to do about the Ukraine and about what's going on with Russia. I want to get your take on a few headlines that have come out. But what do you make of the fact Vladimir Putin reportedly called German Chancellor Angela Merkel and said that he was open to pulling back troops that are on the border? At this point, how do you trust him?

You can't. He's trying to make a deal that gets him, you know, the best case scenario. So, the best case for him is he keeps Crimea. Most important, he keeps Ukraine off guard and feeling like it can do things that would mesh with Russia. And he gets relaxation of sanctions.

So, for Putin that's the trifecta, if you will. He has Crimea. The problem is on the other two fronts, because the Ukrainians are now pretty determined to be more pro-Western, have association agreements with the European Union, maybe even have a closer relationship with NATO. This is spooking the Russians.

And the sanctions, at least the limited sanctions that are in place now, reportedly they are in place because of the annexation of Crimea. That is to say, unless Putin gives up Crimea, it's tough to see this set of sanctions being overturned. So, he's trying to play a game now, and says I've got what I want now I promise to be good. So, you guys relax.

There's no way they're going to say, act first and believe you second.

Right. And Angela Merkel is a tough lady. She's slow to act, but when she does, she stays pretty tough.

Look, the Russians are more spooked by all this. That statement you read tells you, because actually Ukraine is not on track to be a NATO member. But what they see is something you and I talked about before, which is Putin got Crimea but he's losing Ukraine. And he sees Ukraine slipping out of his grasp.

So now, they're warning the Ukrainians, don't get close to NATO, don't get close to the European Union. But we've had our reporters in Ukraine. The mood in Ukraine is very anti- Russian, very pro-European right now.So, the very actions that Putin did that looked like a masterstroke have caused it to be very difficult for him to retain influence in Ukraine. That statement is an expression of it.

Topics: Uncategorized
March 21st, 2014
04:30 PM ET

On GPS Sunday: Will robots take our jobs? And the rise of 'ultimate human performance'

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

On GPS this Sunday: Will robots take over the world? Probably not. But computers might take your job. Fareed looks at the remarkable growth in computer processing power – and why the human factor could remain indispensable.

And, pushing the limits of what used to be possible – Why are world athletic records being broken on a regular basis? Steven Kotler, author of The Rise of Superman:  Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance, offers his take.

“In extreme sports, something astounding has happened in the past 25 years,” Kotler says. “There's been nearly exponential growth in ultimate human performance.  Nothing like that has ever happened before in history.  So these guys give us a phenomenal case study for looking at flow. And the level of performance has gone up so much, we know that these athletes have to be in flow to perform. If they're not, as a general rule, they're ending up in the hospital or dead.”

Finally, what happens to the Union Jack if Scotland secedes?  We'll show you some of the options.

Topics: Uncategorized
March 20th, 2014
05:35 PM ET

Japan's 'miracle pine' reminder

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

Three years ago last week, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck the coast of northern Japan, unleashing the largest tsunami in the country's history. Traveling as fast as a jet plane, the wave reached an astounding 132.5 feet high – that's roughly the height of Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue.

More than 18,000 people lost their lives. Coastal communities were decimated. And the most serious nuclear crisis since Chernobyl ensued.

In one town on Japan's coast, only a handful of buildings remained standing when the water receded.

A forest of 70,000 trees – trees that had protected the town for hundreds of years – were lost. All, that is, but one.

The pine tree in the video was the only one to survive the massive wave. It became known as the "miracle pine," a symbol of hope for the devastated community. When saltwater threatened its life in 2012, the 270-year-old, 88-foot tree was cut down, hollowed out and preserved. It was then erected in the same spot, now serving as a memorial to the tsunami victims.

Radioactive water from Fukushima is still said to be periodically leaking into the Pacific. 100,000 people are still living in temporary housing. And Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said last week he would not let the disaster "fade from memory."

This tree won't let it.

Topics: Uncategorized
February 7th, 2014
09:30 PM ET

On GPS Sunday: Is China facing an economic crisis? And what traits lead to success?

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

On GPS this Sunday: Fareed will be speaking live with Michael McFaul, the outspoken U.S. ambassador to Russia who has just announced his resignation, about the Winter Olympics, security threats and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Then, Ruchir Sharma, managing director and head of emerging markets at Morgan Stanley, warns of the event everyone is worried about – the Great fall of the Chinese economy, something that would slow growth across the world.

Also, Yale professor and ‘Tiger Mom’ Amy Chua tells us why some ethnic groups succeed more than others. Racism or research? Fareed will be talking it over.

Then, technology seems to be moving ahead at warp speed – self-driving cars, computers playing chess and more – but where are the jobs? Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor of management at MIT's Sloan School, and Andrew McAfee, a scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business, discuss what they found in their book ‘The Second Machine Age.’

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