December 13th, 2014
10:56 AM ET

On GPS Sunday: Discussing the Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report

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

On GPS this Sunday: Fareed starts with a panel discussion on the revelations from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report. Did Congress know about everything the CIA was doing? He speaks with Jane Harman, a then-member of the House Intelligence Committee and now president of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.

Fareed will also hear a perspective on whether the techniques outlined in the report were justifiable from John Yoo, a former official at the Department of Justice and author of the widely discussed "torture memos."

Also giving his take, former Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher discusses whether the Senate committee’s report will damage U.S. standing around the world, especially in the Arab world.

Then, Moazzam Begg wants an apology. He was held in U.S. prisons and says he was abused and witnessed torture. What's his response to the report? Fareed asks him.

Plus, the man who might be Israel's next prime minister? Fareed speaks with Naftali Bennett, the economic minister in Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet and the leader of the powerful "Jewish Home" party. He explains why he is adamantly opposed to a two-state solution.

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December 11th, 2014
11:36 PM ET

Ex-DoJ official: Senate report examples 'very troubling' if true

Fareed speaks with former Justice Department official John Yoo about the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA interrogation methods. Watch the full interview on GPS this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

Forced rectal feeding, agency officials threatening to rape the mothers of prisoners, people with broken limbs being forced to stand for hours and hours, deprived of sleep for up to one week. Doesn’t that strike you as torture?

Well, those are very troubling examples. They would not have been approved by the Justice Department – they weren't approved by the Justice Department at the time. But I have to question whether they’re true because I can’t take at face value the committee’s report because there were no Republicans involved.

You know, investigations in the intelligence committee are traditionally bipartisan and the worst thing, from a lawyer’s perspective, from my perspective, is the committee didn’t interview any witnesses. And so, you have these reports, but they never gave a chance to the very participants, the people being accused, to explain themselves. And so I would want to know more about what happened in any of these cases and to see what really happened. FULL POST

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December 11th, 2014
10:36 PM ET

Why releasing the CIA torture report will make America stronger

By Fareed Zakaria

The United States made its share of mistakes during the Cold War. But because of a democratic system of contestation, transparency, checks and balances, many of them were exposed early. New administrations could shift policy without losing face. Course correction was routine. Despite the nostalgia that many mandarins have for an old Metternichian model, it is the big, raucous, contentious democracies — Britain and the United States — that have prevailed in the world, not Nazi Germany, imperial Japan or the Soviet Union.

“A case can be made . . . that secrecy is for losers,” the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote in his 1998 book on the subject, adding, “Openness is now a singular, and singularly American, advantage.” Closed systems work badly. Open systems have the great advantage of getting feedback — criticism, commentary, audits, reports. The CIA claims that its programs after 9/11 worked very well and suggests that the best judge of this should be itself. The Senate report provides an alternative view with substantial evidence and argumentation. This debate will make the CIA better, not worse. And the revelations of the National Security Agency’s vast espionage will force it to refine its snooping to programs that are effective and justifiable.

Read the Washington Post column

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December 10th, 2014
04:39 PM ET

What I'm reading: Torture report highlights consequences of permanent war

By Fareed Zakaria

“Since at least 1940, when serious preparations for entry into World War II began, the United States has been more or less continually engaged in actual war or in semi-war, intensively girding itself for the next active engagement, assumed to lie just around the corner,” writes Andrew J. Bacevich in the Boston Globe. “The imperatives of national security, always said to be in peril, have taken precedence over all other considerations. In effect, war and the preparation for war have become perpetual. If doubts existed on that score, the response to 9/11, resulting in the declaration of an ambiguous and open-ended global war on terrorism, ought to have settled them.”

“One consequence of our engagement in permanent war has been to induce massive distortions, affecting apparatus of government, the nation, and the relationship between the two. The size, scope, and prerogatives accorded to the so-called intelligence community — along with the abuses detailed in the Senate report — provide only one example of the result. But so too is the popular deference accorded to those who claim to know exactly what national security requires, even as they evade responsibility for the last disaster to which expert advice gave rise.” FULL POST

December 9th, 2014
11:01 PM ET

Estonia's new kind of residency

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

“What's an e-resident?” you may ask. Well, in a ceremony in Estonia, one of the world's most wired countries according to Freedom House, Edward Lucas – a senior editor at The Economist – was given the world's first "e-resident" card by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves last week.

E-residency is not the same as citizenship or legal residency, it is digital residency that gives you special powers. We caught up with Ed Lucas, the new E-Estonian, in his London office so he could show us what he could do with his new e-identity.

You can launch a company in Estonia without having to be there, and utilize the country's financial services. Insert your E-resident card into the smartcard reader attached to your computer, and you can access these services anywhere in the world as if you were physically present, replacing the need to sign things on paper. And, Lucas says, this is just the beginning.

“Just as we have competition between Visa and MasterCard and American Express, we're going to have competition between providers of digital identities. And the one that offers the best combination of security and convenience will come out on top.”

The only downside? At the moment, to get the card you do have to go to Estonia. And winter is not the most delightful season in E-stonia.

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Did CIA go rogue?
December 9th, 2014
08:19 PM ET

Did CIA go rogue?

CNN speaks with Fareed Zakaria about the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s use of torture that was released on Tuesday. This is an edited version of the transcript.

What stood out for to you as most significant?

I think the bombshell for me, the one key point, if you will, is that the CIA appears to have run this almost like a rogue operation, in the sense that it significantly underplayed the kind of techniques it was using. If you look at it, they were more brutal and more extensive than they reported to their superiors at the White House, to their superiors in the intelligence community, and to their overseers in Congress. And, to me, the biggest story here is that Congress was misled, the White House was misled, other senior administration officials appear to have been misled. If that's true, what you are portraying is a CIA that in some sense went rogue on this operation.

Senator John McCain commended his democratic colleague and her colleagues. This was a very political process, the Republicans have effectively withdrawn from a lot of this process. Is there a bigger downside to the upside of the transparency

I think McCain very effectively answered the specific question of the danger. Terrorists don't need excuses to go around plotting attacks on Americans. That's what they're doing full time. They've already committed themselves to acts of terrorism against the U.S. So, they don't need an excuse. FULL POST

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Topics: Terrorism
December 9th, 2014
08:01 PM ET

America's two systems of justice

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

By Global Public Square staff

Michael Brown – killed by a police gun in Ferguson, Missouri. Eric Garner – killed at the hands of the police in Staten Island, New York.

These two cases of the deaths of black men by white law enforcement officers have stirred up segments of America, resulting in riots and protests clear across the nation and raising questions about the practices and procedures of the American criminal justice system.

Those angry Americans who took to the streets aren't the only ones concerned. The United Nations weighed in recently in the form of a new report from that world body's torture watchdog group. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, who oversaw the Committee, said essentially that it was too early to weigh-in on Ferguson specifically. But, the report does note its "deep concern at the frequent and recurrent police shootings or fatal pursuits of unarmed black individuals." FULL POST

December 8th, 2014
02:24 PM ET

Can Carter rein in the Pentagon?

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

By Fareed Zakaria

Ashton Carter, the President's nominee to be the next defense secretary, is a brilliant man. But by far the best quality he has going for him is that he seems to understand the need to rein in a Pentagon now so out of control that it is difficult to fully comprehend or even explain.

The largest government bureaucracy in the world, the Department of Defense, even after billions of dollars in cuts, now spends about $600 billion a year when everything is added in – that’s more than the entire GDP of Poland. It employs 1.4 million men and women in uniform, 700,000 civilians, and another 700,000 full time contractors. The Pentagon's accounts are so vast and byzantine that it is probably impossible to do a thorough and honest audit of them.

Still, a recent Government Accountability Office report made a valiant effort and concluded that the total budget overruns for current weapons systems stand at nearly $500 billion. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program alone is now around $150 billion over budget. In other words, the cost overruns on one weapons system are more than the total defense budget of Britain and France put together!

In 1961, Dwight Eisenhower warned against the "unwarranted influence" of the "military-industrial complex."

Fifty years later, on December 15, 2011 – to mark the anniversary of Eisenhower's address – a renowned defense expert argued that things had gotten much worse and far more corrupt. Congress had itself been captured by the system, he said, which should now be called "the military-industrial-congressional complex."

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

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December 6th, 2014
06:10 PM ET

The view from inside North Korea

Fareed speaks with Suki Kim, who spent months in North Korea as a teacher at a private university in Pyongyang, and is the author of Without You, There Is No Us, about her time there. Watch the full interview on GPS this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.

The sense one gets from the outside looking at North Korea is, honestly, it's the weirdest country in the world. It is the most strange social experiment. And the puzzle is, how does it survive? How is that people just docilely accept this incredibly authoritarian regime that's not just authoritarian, but totalitarian, really kind of tries to shape how you think, feel, breathe? What's your answer to that?

Well, I think it's a combination of many things. It's sort of this perfect storm. You have, first of all, this cult, serious personality cult. It's religious, really. Absolute belief in the great leader, this generation – three generations of these men who, these hugely narcissistic men basically wiped everything out of their culture except themselves.

So every North Korean wears the badge of the great leader. Their only holidays are the great leader holidays. Books, every article, every television, every song, I mean you name it, there's not a single thing. Every building has a great leader slogan. So I think when you have that kind of a personality cult, that's an incredibly powerful thing to be doing it for three generations.

You also have a very brutal military dictatorship that's been in place for a long time, and also to wipe out every communication method. There's no Internet. The phone calls are tapped or, you know, it's a small country. You can't travel within the country without a permission.

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December 6th, 2014
05:39 PM ET

On GPS Sunday: Top panel on Russia, Iran + Syria, plus insights from inside North Korea

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

On GPS this Sunday: Fareed convenes a panel of leading analysts to discuss issues ranging from Russia's recession to the extension of nuclear talks with Iran to strikes in Syria and Iraq. Offering their take are Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and author of a new article on a disordered world, Robin Wright, a distinguished scholar at the Wilson Center, Chrystia Freeland, now a member of Canada's parliament and formerly a top editor at Thomson Reuters, and David Rothkopf, author of the book National Insecurity: American Leadership in An Age of Fear.

“Putin can continue to do the kinds of things he's doing in Ukraine or other places. That won't bring about greater sanctions,” Haass says. “And let's be honest, the real sanction against Russia is nothing that the United States and the Europeans has done. The real sanction is oil at $60 odd a barrel.”

Also on the show, inside North Korea – the fascinating story of subterfuge and spying inside the borders of one of the world's most secretive and closed-off nations.

Plus, an experiment in how to fix American education. The laboratory was the nation's largest school system. The investigator, a man with a stellar resume but a rank outsider. Joel Klein explains what he learned as chancellor of New York City schools.

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December 5th, 2014
07:45 PM ET

What I'm reading: How Ruble crash could strengthen Putin

By Fareed Zakaria

“The rush to hyperbolic commentary about the dire effects of a crashing ruble is just that. It is Ukraine that is in danger of defaulting on its debts, not Russia,” writes Zachary Karabell for Politico. “Venezuela is truly a society on the verge of societal breakdown (if not de facto there already). Russia seems very far from a danger zone, let alone a political and social upheaval brought on by low oil prices. In fact, you could name a dozen other countries in greater peril from this shifting landscape, ranging from Iran to Iraq to Saudi Arabia to Nigeria.”

“Russia is an economy tethered to oil and commodity exports, yes, but it is a society that has withstood much worse in the past century plus. Unlike the United States, it is also a society that on the whole has lower expectations for material affluence, and in times such as these, that constitutes a strength.”

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“Over the last decade (during which visa policies have been relatively constant), the number of tourists visiting India has grown at a steady clip, adding 200,000 to 500,000 visitors each year, leaving out the post-recession years of 2008 and 2009. That’s an average annual growth rate of about 5 percent, on par with the world average,” writes Chandrahas Choudhury for Bloomberg View.

“But shouldn’t a vast country with such a grand past and such a remarkable diversity of landscapes, religions and cultures be seeking to make more of its unique appeal? Could these figures have been much higher if it was easier to get a tourist visa to India? And could the new policy be a catalyst for a higher growth rate?” FULL POST

December 5th, 2014
12:36 AM ET

Can Ashton Carter rein in a Pentagon out of control?

By Fareed Zakaria

Republicans worry a great deal about dysfunction in government. They launch investigations to find out why a few hundred million dollars were wasted and insist that departments do more with less. Except for the largest government bureaucracy in the world, the Defense Department, which spends about $600 billion a year — more than the entire GDP of Poland — and employs 1.4 million men and women in uniform, 700,000 civilians and 700,000 full-time contractors. The Pentagon’s accounts are so vast and byzantine that it is probably impossible to do a thorough audit of them.

Still, a recent Government Accountability Office report made a valiant effort, concluding that the total budget overruns for current weapons systems stands at nearly $500 billion. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program alone is now around $160 billion over budget. In other words, the cost overruns on one weapons system are more than the total defense budgets of Britain and France combined. A new presidential helicopter fleet was scrapped after the cost for a single chopper neared that of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet. And on and on.

Read the Washington Post column

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