April 13th, 2014
10:46 PM ET

Friedman: So, what if the climate deniers' nightmare came true?

Fareed speaks with ‘New York Times’ columnist Tom Friedman about the latest report by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Watch the video for the full interview.

What for you is the headline of this new IPCC report?

I think the headline is simply greater certainty among the vast majority of climate scientists, the people who truly know and study these issues, that if we don't begin to take the steps needed to prevent the kind of what they call doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere, that will lead to the kinds of rise in global average temperature that will put us into a much more unstable world.

And is there a sense of greater urgency or a kind of warning that we haven't been doing much yet? You know, if you think about it, we've been hearing these reports. and all of them have kept saying we need to start in some way having these CO2 emission levels start plateauing or even declining.  And as you know in totality, largely because of China's growth and a lot of the emerging world, CO2 emissions continue to rise quite substantially.

Well, of course, and that's really been the problem, getting governments to act.

Now, you know the debate in our country.  And it's echoed in the world.  There are people who don't think this is really happening, don't think it's important, we can adapt.  I was thinking, driving over here, what if the nightmare of the climate deniers came true and we really decided in America to take this seriously and act? What would we do? What is the nightmare that would happen?

Well, the first thing we would do is actually slash income taxes and corporate taxes and replace them with a carbon tax so we actually encourage people to stop doing what we don't want, which is emitting carbon, and start doing what we do want, which is hiring more workers and getting corporations to invest more in America. That's the first awful thing that would happen.

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Topics: Climate • GPS Show
April 13th, 2014
02:04 AM ET

On GPS Sunday: The latest on Ukraine, and what happened to Middle East peace talks?

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

On GPS this Sunday: A live look at the latest on the unrest in Ukraine...and the larger East-West battle it has become.

Then, Middle East peace talks have collapsed. Why?  There are many reasons, of course, but at the heart of the problem lies one city – Jerusalem – which both sides claim. Fareed speaks with the mayor of Jerusalem to find out whether there might be a solution.

Also...a new United Nations report, the most exhaustive yet about climate change. GPS speaks with the New York Times'  Tom Friedman, who discusses what the world and the United States needs to do now.

And food critic and chef Anthony Bourdain offers his take on Russia and India among other destinations. GPS will talk with him about the politics and the food he explored for his upcoming series on CNN.

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Topics: GPS Show
April 10th, 2014
11:13 PM ET

The tension between global norms and national interests

By Fareed Zakaria

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has unified Western democracies, at least in their robust condemnation of the action. But farther afield, one sees a variety of responses that foreshadow the great emerging tension in 21st-century international life: between global norms and national interests.

Consider the response of India, the world’s most populous democracy. New Delhi was mostly silent through the events of February and early March; it refused to support any sanctions against Russia, and its national security adviser declared that Russia had “legitimate” interests in Ukraine — all of which led Vladimir Putin to place a thank-you phone call to India’s prime minister.

India’s reaction can be explained by its deep ties with Russia.

Read the Washington Post column

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Topics: India • Russia • Ukraine
Why refugee influx threatens Lebanon, Jordan stability
April 10th, 2014
06:54 AM ET

Why refugee influx threatens Lebanon, Jordan stability

By David Schenker, Special to CNN

Editor’s note:David Schenker is the Aufzien Fellow and director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The views expressed are his own. 

The self-immolation of a Syrian refugee in Lebanon last month is a harrowing reminder of the desperate circumstances of those who have fled the war. But the hardship extends beyond just Syrians. Today, Lebanon and Jordan provide sanctuary to one million and some 600,000 Syrian refugees, respectively – about 20 and 10 percent of their respective populations – and the social and economic stresses are taking a heavy toll. Worse, the prospect that many of these refugees might never return home threatens the long-term stability of these states.

Demography is a central problem for Lebanon. Syrian exiles are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims, and the influx has skewed Lebanon’s delicate sectarian balance of Sunnis, Shiites, and Christians. Adding to the religious strains are the ubiquitous complaints about Syrian workers driving down wages, and the burden refugees place on Lebanon’s already overtaxed and underfunded infrastructure. According to a recent World Bank report, over the next three years, Lebanon – which had a $4 billion budget deficit in 2013 – will require an additional $2 billion just to provide basic services to its new residents and to “address the expected additional impoverishment of the Lebanese people generated from the Syrian crisis.”

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Topics: Syria
April 9th, 2014
05:45 PM ET

What I'm reading: Do street protests work?

By Fareed Zakaria

“In today’s world, an appeal to protest via Twitter, Facebook, or text message is sure to attract a crowd, especially if it is to demonstrate against something – anything, really – that outrages us,” argues Moises Naim in The Atlantic. “The problem is what happens after the march. Sometimes it ends in violent confrontation with the police, and more often than not it simply fizzles out. Behind massive street demonstrations there is rarely a well-oiled and more-permanent organization capable of following up on protesters’ demands and undertaking the complex, face-to-face, and dull political work that produces real change in government. This is the important point made by Zeynep Tufekci, a fellow at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University, who writes that ‘Before the Internet, the tedious work of organizing that was required to circumvent censorship or to organize a protest also helped build infrastructure for decision making and strategies for sustaining momentum. Now movements can rush past that step, often to their own detriment.’”

“As the Ukraine crisis continues it is clear that Mr Putin has made a significant strategic mistake,” writes Nick Butler in the Financial Times. "Russia is a petropower rather than a superpower and in a global market petropower is unusable as a means of pressure. By raising European consciousness about the degree of dependence on Russian gas that had developed, he has done his own country a great disservice.”

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'Russia trying to create climate of chaos in Ukraine'
April 9th, 2014
12:30 PM ET

'Russia trying to create climate of chaos in Ukraine'

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

CNN speaks with Fareed Zakaria about recent developments in Ukraine, what Russia might be planning next, and how the United States should respond. This is an edited version of the transcript.

You've got pro- Russian demonstrators taking over government buildings in eastern Ukraine. You've got this ultimatum being laid out by the Ukrainian government. What do you make of the state of play inside Ukraine right now?

It feels like we're now in phase two of the Russian operation in Ukraine. Remember, Crimea was never the prize. Putin took Crimea because he could, because there was a naval base, because he feared Ukraine was slipping out of his control and he wanted to take that one piece that he knew he could get.

Ukraine was the prize. The whole purpose of Russian policy for the last decade has been to try to dominate Ukraine. So now phase two is, OK, we have Crimea. But Ukraine has become more anti-Russian and wants to move to the West. What do we do?

So, they've done two things. Over the last week or two, they’ve tried to essentially crash the Ukrainian economy. So, they have really essentially cut off supplies, contracts, business dealings. Now what they're trying to do is foment pro-Russian forces in Ukraine so that they create an atmosphere of general chaos.

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Topics: Russia • Ukraine
Zakaria: Ukraine crisis very, very significant
April 8th, 2014
04:19 PM ET

Zakaria: Ukraine crisis very, very significant

CNN speaks with Fareed Zakaria about the latest developments in Ukraine, talk of a civil war, and whether Russia is likely to invade eastern Ukraine. This is an edited version of the transcript.

Russia's foreign ministry is now using words like civil war when talking about the possible outcome in eastern Ukraine. So what's going on right now? Are the Russians looking for an excuse to move in?

It certainly looks like they're looking for an excuse to further destabilize Ukraine so that they can reassert their domination of their relationship with Ukraine.

Remember, Crimea was never the prize. Ukraine was the prize. They took Crimea because they realized the situation was spiraling out of control. You remember what was happening in the Maidan – suddenly they found Ukraine moving very rapidly toward the West.

And Putin decided [on that] really as a last-minute maneuver, I believe, because he had been stymied during the Olympics – the minute the Olympics got done, he initiated that KGB-style operation to take Crimea. But the prize, the thing he has always cared about, was Ukraine and dominating Ukraine, influencing it. So now we move to phase two of the operation and that is, how does Russia assert some kind of control over Ukraine?

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Topics: Russia • Ukraine
April 8th, 2014
02:38 PM ET

Why Shakespeare fits with Syria tragedy

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

This month marks William Shakespeare's 450th birthday, and people around the world are celebrating – from Stratfordians to Syrians.

Yes, Syrians. One hundred Syrian children have just performed an adaptation of King Lear…in one of the world's largest refugee camps. Located in Jordan, the Zaatari camp is home to over 100,000 Syrian refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.

Many of the children are not educated and have never read or seen any of Shakespeare's work. But they are no strangers, of course, to the tragedy of the human condition. And this particular play – a story of exile, a ruler losing grip with reality, a land divided by rival groups, a tale of human cruelty – seems especially relevant.

While a refugee camp may seem like the unlikeliest of places to discover Shakespeare, the playwright himself might not have thought so. After all, mentioning faraway places was common in his plays. In both Macbeth and Othello, in fact, Shakespeare mentions the Syrian city of Aleppo. Another reminder that Syria is one of the oldest centers of human civilization – which makes the current violence there seem even more tragic.

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Topics: Last Look • Syria
April 8th, 2014
01:16 PM ET

Haass: Israeli-Palestinian peace process has become a local dispute

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

Fareed speaks with Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, about speculation that convicted spy Jonathan Pollard might be released from U.S. prison.

What do you think this, past week, the shenanigans have told us – maybe we're pardoning Jonathan Pollard, maybe we're not, the peace talks were going to fail, they were not going to fail? What's going on?

In the long run, it's irrelevant for the purposes of peace whether Mr. Pollard is in prison or not. It won't affect the basics. The real question, is the situation ripe? Are the leaders involved willing and able to make peace? I'm skeptical.

Let's just say for a second I'm wrong. So what? Right now, I think what we have to admit is that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, while it's of importance to Israelis and Palestinians, it's become a local dispute. It won't affect the dynamics of the Middle East. It's not going to affect the trajectory of the civil war in Syria or what's going on in Egypt between the government and the Muslim Brotherhood or what's happening elsewhere.

This has become a local dispute, that, quite honestly, is not worthy of the time and attention the secretary of state and the United States are giving.

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Topics: GPS Show • Israel • Middle East
April 8th, 2014
12:58 PM ET

The internal debate Saudi Arabia needs to have

By Fahad Nazer, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Fahad Nazer is an analyst at JTG, Inc. and a former political analyst at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, CNN, Foreign Policy and Al Monitor, among others. You can follow him @fanazer. The views expressed are his own.

The uproar surrounding a recent Human Rights Watch statement on Saudi Arabia’s new terrorism laws is just the latest example of the tensions that have emerged in the country between liberalism and religious moderation on the one hand, and social conservatism and religious extremism on the other.

In the statement, issued late last month, the group warned that Interior Ministry regulations include “sweeping provisions” that “authorities can use to criminalize virtually any expression or association critical of the government and its understanding of Islam.” Specifically, it noted Article 1, which covers “Calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based.”

Unfortunately, such measures simply serve to highlight the disconnect between the conciliatory policies the government has adopted towards religion in its relations with the outside world, and the still strict policies implemented within the kingdom. And, with the tug of war between ultra conservatives and those who understand the dangers of doctrinal rigidity showing no signs of abating, one thing is clear – Saudi Arabia is being pulled in two quite different directions.

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Topics: Religion • Saudi Arabia
April 8th, 2014
10:23 AM ET

What I'm reading: Why China's economy needs reform

By Fareed Zakaria

“China’s ability to postpone a crisis might lead the powers-that-be to prefer the option of adjustment delayed. That could prove a huge mistake,” argues Martin Wolf in the Financial Times. “Growth cannot be sustained by increasing indebtedness indefinitely. Reform and rebalancing are essential. From what I heard at the China Development Forum last month the Chinese authorities understand this. Indeed without these reforms, their plan for liberalizing the capital account could be lethal. China can avoid a financial crisis. That is a boon, though it also risks reducing pressure for reform. Yet reform must come – and the sooner the better.”

“There are still plenty of diehard anti-Castro figures in Washington. But calling the arguments they marshal threadbare is unkind to threads,” argues The Economist. “Cuba does not threaten American security. It is playing a constructive role in the peace process between Colombia’s government and the FARC guerrillas. Its political system is nasty and undemocratic, but it is buttressed, not undermined, by the embargo. (The reverse is true of the standing of the United States in Latin America.) Waiting for the Castros to die makes no sense when Venezuela’s crisis presents an opportunity now to cement the process of liberalization in Cuba.”

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April 7th, 2014
01:14 PM ET

Time to rethink gun access rules for 'at-risk' soldiers on U.S. bases?

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

When I heard about the shooting at Fort Hood last week, one thing stood out to me: the alleged shooter – 34-year old Army Specialist Ivan Lopez – was being treated for mental health issues.

Mental health issues – many believed to be caused by duty in Afghanistan and Iraq – are a scourge upon our military. In 2012, a record 350 soldiers killed themselves. That’s more than died on the battlefield. And between 2008 and 2010, nearly two-thirds of all suicides in the United States military involved firearms.

One former military heavyweight whom I talked with last year, former Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli, said “enough”:

You're a general. You're an army man. You've spent your life around guns. You're comfortable with them.  You know they can be used responsibly. But you also feel that when people are at risk in terms of mental issues, it’s very dangerous for them to have access to guns.

Chiarelli: It is very dangerous for them to have access to guns.  I believe that…I would be very, very careful in not underestimating the impact of 13 years of war on an all-volunteer force. I think we were seeing, in those suicide numbers, some of the effect of repeated deployments and high stress and trauma…”

…What do you say to those who say, well, there is the Second Amendment and that's why you can't go much further with your efforts?

Chiarelli: I don't buy that. I don't believe the Second Amendment was put in place to take a person who is at high risk for hurting themselves, and put in their hands a weapon that in an impulsive moment, at a time when they're not thinking straight, they can end their life.

Watch the video for the full What in the World.

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