October 7th, 2014
05:36 PM ET

Did the Cosby Show help Obama get elected?

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

Fareed speaks with Mark Whitaker, author of Cosby: His Life and Times, about the importance of Bill Cosby to President Barack Obama's election.

Just over 30 years ago, "The Cosby Show" premiered on American television screens. It was ground-breaking, for certain, especially for the way it portrayed this African-American family with Bill Cosby as the patriarch. But did it break so much ground that without it, Barack Obama might not be our president? That's what my next guest says.

Mark Whitaker is the author of the new book, Cosby: His Life and Times. I should note that Mark was CNN's managing editor until last year and many years ago, we worked together at Newsweek. Actually, he was my boss. Welcome back.

Hi Fareed.

So explain that idea, because a number of people have made it, and you talk about it in the book, that if not for Bill Cosby and "The Cosby Show," Obama might not be president.

Well, the person who made the point, 15 minutes after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, was Karl Rove. He was on Fox News. And he was talking to Chris Wallace about the social significance of the election.

And they pointed out for the first time, we were going to have an African-American family in the White House. And Karl Rove said, no, wait a second, you know, we've already had an African-American family that was sort of America's family, and that was the Huxtables and "The Cosby Show." FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show
October 7th, 2014
05:32 PM ET

What does Colombia's future hold?

Fareed spoke recently with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos about negotiations with the FARC, the country's economy and what to do with former terrorists. Watch the video for the full interview. GPS also invited President Santos to offer his take on the key challenges facing Colombia, and what its future might hold. Here is what he had to say:

"The story of Colombia is one of transformation. Decades ago, we were on the verge of becoming a failed state. In the past few years, our sound economic growth coupled with a business climate that concentrates on investment, entrepreneurship and innovation through advancements in education and equality makes us the world’s next venture nation.

"Given our country’s social, political and economic context, Colombia has become increasingly attractive to the world’s leading companies, investors and visionaries who wish to develop new technologies and markets, as well as produce global corporate solutions.

"Our economy has grown at about 5 percent on average for the past four years, and in the first part of 2014 at 5.2 percent, making us one of the world’s new investment powerhouses. This year our GDP growth is third only to China and Indonesia. In addition, our GDP has tripled in the last decade, reaching almost $370 billion in 2012. Foreign direct investment has also increased, reaching $16 billion. FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show • Latin America
October 7th, 2014
10:49 AM ET

5 priorities for Afghanistan

By Ahmad Majidyar, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Ahmad Majidyar is a senior research associate at the American Enterprise Institute. He also teaches senior U.S. military officers on security and politics in Afghanistan. The views expressed are his own.

Late last month, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was inaugurated as president of Afghanistan after signing a power-sharing pact with his electoral rival Abdullah Abdullah, ending a protracted political standoff that threatened to thrust the country into another civil war and complicate the U.S. exit strategy. To the relief of its foreign allies, the new government also concluded long-delayed security deals that will allow 12,000 American and NATO troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

But while the peaceful and democratic transfer of power marks a milestone in Afghanistan’s tumultuous history, the country faces mounting security and governance challenges as international support is diminishing. To ensure long-term stability, the following five priorities should top the new government’s agenda. FULL POST

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Topics: Afghanistan
October 6th, 2014
04:30 PM ET

What Hong Kong protests say about China's future

By Fareed Zakaria

The solution for China is obvious – political reform. This has been seen and advocated by many senior leaders within the party, including Wen Jiabao. In two interviews with me, Wen, premier of China from 2002 to 2012, insisted that political reform had to follow economic reform. But it never happened because reform threatens the party's monopoly of power.

China will not become a Western-style liberal democracy. But it should consider the example of Singapore, a city-state with a strong one party system but one that also has legal opposition parties, reasonably free elections, and real independent courts.

Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping famously visited Singapore in November 1978 and learned about Singapore's free market economic system before beginning reforms at home. President Xi Jinping would do well to take a similar trip to that city state pretty soon.

Watch the video for the full Take or read the WaPo column

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Topics: China • GPS Show
October 5th, 2014
01:22 AM ET

Netanyahu on whether Israel should negotiate with Hamas

Fareed speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about whether his government would negotiate with Hamas. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

You said in your speech, ISIS is Hamas, Hamas is ISIS. President Obama says very clearly, ISIS can never be negotiated with, under no circumstances whatsoever. Are you saying that you will never negotiate with Hamas under any circumstances?

I negotiate with an enemy who wants to stop me once I make peace. An enemy who wants to destroy you, remains committed to your obliteration is not someone you can negotiate with. You don't negotiate with al Qaeda. You don't negotiate with the latter day king, with Baghdadi, because these people want to destroy you.

As long as Hamas remains committed to our destruction, what's there to negotiate with? The method of my suicide or what?

You know, we can talk to those Palestinians who want to live in peace with us. We can have disagreements about borders and so on. But fundamentally, we want to shape a common future of peace with each other. With Hamas, that calls for eradication. There's nothing to discuss.

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Topics: GPS Show • Israel
October 5th, 2014
12:58 AM ET

Netanyahu: In Middle East, you need at least three to tango

Fareed speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the prospects for peace and security in the Middle East. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

You’re a student of history. You know that a lot of people look at you and say this man could be the guy, like Richard Nixon, who made the opening to China, because he has the political cover that allows him to do that. Bibi Netanyahu is not going to be accused of being soft. Do you think there is that road for you?

You should come to Israel.

But do you think that there is that role for you?

I hope so. But in order to make it work, you need in the Middle East…I was going to say two to tango. In the Middle East, you probably need at least three.

But I think the United States is indispensable in brokering any type of a final peace deal. But I'm adding a different, a new component, because what I see is so startling and so different, you can see that in Gaza. You know, there were more demonstrations against Israel vis-a-vis Gaza in Paris than there were in the Arab world. That's going to be telling you something.

And I think because many people in the Arab world, it's not that they, you know, we care about every single civilian casualty and we were forced to strike at the rocketeers that embedded themselves – these Hamas people, in hospitals, schools, mosques, firing rockets and using Palestinian children as human shields. And it was horrible. And we regret every single civilian that happened there. FULL POST

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Topics: GPS Show • Israel • Middle East
October 4th, 2014
03:50 PM ET

On GPS Sunday: One-on-one interviews with Netanyahu and Peña Nieto

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

On GPS this Sunday: First, Fareed offers his Take on the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, and what they could say about China's future.

Then, Fareed speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Israel’s relationship with its neighbors, and the prospects for a deal with the Palestinians.

Later, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto offers his take on the legalization of marijuana and what he thinks about the immigration debate in Washington.

“I think this is a country, whose origin, to a great extent, is one of migration. And that's why it's unfortunate to hear this exclusionary and discriminatory tone regarding the migration flows into the United States,” Peña Nieto says.

Finally, does Barack Obama have a comedian to thank in part for getting elected president? Fareed will introduce you to an author who says "absolutely."

Plus, the World Wide Fund for Nature has a new report out that we highlight in our question of the week. For more, visit their site.

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Topics: GPS Show
October 4th, 2014
03:14 PM ET

Netanyahu: Commonality of interests with moderate Arab states

Fareed speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Israel’s ties with its neighbors. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

Are you in a tacit alliance with the moderate Arab states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia?

I would say there's a commonality of interests that has crystallized – and I've never seen in my lifetime – because all the Arab states identify, as we do, the supreme challenge is of a nuclear Iran and the radical Sunnis making inroads into Sunni states. And they recognize that it imperils their societies. And, of course, they all want to get rid of Israel on their way to the Great Satan. We're just the little Satan. The Great Satan is the United States. And they all have these mad ideologies.

So we share the common interest to address those dangers.

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Topics: GPS Episodes • Israel • Middle East
October 4th, 2014
02:58 PM ET

Mexico's president on whether marijuana should be legalized

Fareed speaks with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto about whether marijuana should be legalized. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

I know you are opposed to the legalization of marijuana, so I want to ask the question to you in a slightly different way. Have you noticed any effect of the partial legalization of marijuana in certain states in America? I mean, one of the things that people who advocate the legalization of marijuana point out is that it would take a lot of the crime out, it would take a lot of the illegal money out, it would regulate it the way that alcohol is regulated and provide tax revenues to the governments. Do you not find that compelling?

I don't see it that way. I instead think that this is a door of access to drug consumption to the most harmful drugs, and it eventually will generate an environment of more violence, as well. And we would have to see in those states that have already legalized marijuana consumption, what social behaviors are they seeing? And if whatever gave way to this eventual legalization in those states, has it really resulted in the economic benefits for those states and for society at large? I don't think that is the case.

However, I do insist we have to hold a debate with evidence, showing exactly what is happening throughout the world, and what is also happening in the states of the American union where they have legalized it.

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Topics: Drugs • GPS Show • Latin America
October 3rd, 2014
01:22 PM ET

Netanyahu: Strength of ISIS is the strength of terror and fear

Fareed speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Watch the full interview on "Fareed Zakaria GPS," this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

You have very good intelligence. What’s your assessment of the strength of ISIS?

Well, several tens of thousands by now. It's growing by day because they've got about two million petrodollars of revenue a day. They're augmenting their territory.

The strength of ISIS is the strength of terror and fear. They don't have to be that large. There were times in history where small bands conquered all of Asia just by galloping on horses and beheading people and instilling terror into the hearts of millions. That is the strength of ISIS – fervent, frantic ideology and the willingness to kill anybody...

When will you...

…for its realization.

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Topics: GPS Show • Israel
October 3rd, 2014
12:05 AM ET

China’s trapped transition

By Fareed Zakaria

The historical case as to why China should be moving toward greater democracy is clear. Scholars have argued that there is a “zone of transition” for authoritarian countries when this happens — between $5,000 to $10,000 per capita GDP (in purchasing power terms). China is at the top of the range, around $10,000. Given China’s level of economic, social and educational development, it is highly unusual that China, among Asian nations, has seen almost no movement toward political reform.

Minxin Pei argues that perhaps what explains the Chinese anomaly is that the ruling elites have been united, confident and ferocious in their determination to maintain a one-party system. In Taiwan, after Chiang Ching-kuo’s death, the elites split, as they did in South Korea, Indonesia and, of course, the Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev. That split, between a reformist wing and a hard-line wing, has not happened in China.

Read the Washington Post column

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Topics: Fareed's Take
October 1st, 2014
03:29 PM ET

Colombia's president on the economy and talking to the FARC

Fareed speaks with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos about his government's negotiations with the FARC. Watch the video for the full interview.

So how were you able to negotiate with people that your government has been battling and that have been afflicting huge terrorist attacks? I mean, politically, that must be difficult.

It is very difficult, very difficult to explain to the people why are you talking about peace and the work continues, because one of the conditions that I put in the initiation of the conversations was there's no ceasefire until we reach an agreement. Because they always take advantage of ceasefires and I don't want to be signaled, if they fail, if the conversations fail as another president who attempted to have peace and failed and left the FARC stronger and the state weaker. That is something that I will not allow. And therefore, it is difficult to explain, but it's the shortest way to achieve peace here.

What lesson do you draw from talking to terrorists? What would you say you've learned?

Well, first of all, that you have to have a very clear objective. You have to have some red lines and you have to have determination and persevere and plan very carefully where you want to go. And this is what we have done in the last two years. And we have advanced much further than any attempt before. And I’m quite optimistic, for the first time in 50 years of war, that we will reach peace.

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Topics: GPS Show • Latin America
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