March 31st, 2014
09:20 AM ET

Zakaria: Russia endangering global order

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

By Fareed Zakaria

The best way to deal with Russia's aggression in Crimea is not to present it as routine national interest-based foreign policy that would be countered by Washington in a contest between two great powers. It is to point out, as Obama did eloquently last week in Brussels, that Russia is grossly endangering a global order that has benefited the entire world. Compare what the Obama administration has managed to organize in the wake of this latest Russian aggression, to the Bush administration's response to Putin's actions in Georgia in 2008.

That was a blatant invasion. Moscow sent in tanks and heavy artillery. Hundreds were killed. Nearly 200,000 people were displaced. Yet the response from the West was essentially nothing. This time the response has been much more serious. Some of this difference is the nature of the stakes. But it also might have to do with the fact that the Obama administration has taken pains to present Russia's actions in a broader context and get other countries to see them as such.

This is what leadership looks like in the 21st Century. There is in fact an evolving international order with new global norms making war and conquest increasingly rare. We should strengthen, not ridicule it. Yes, there are some places that stand in opposition to this trend: North Korea, Syria, Russia. The people running these countries believe that they're charting a path to greatness and glory. But they are the ones living in a fantasy world.

Watch the video for the full take or read the Washington Post column

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Topics: Fareed's Take

soundoff (288 Responses)
  1. parabolid71

    Ha, ha, ha, after invading Iraq, Afganistan, Lybia, trying to overthrow governments of Syria and Venezuela, threatening Iran and North Korea for several decades, running "black sites" for torture and Guantanamo Bay, talking about Russia endangering global "order". You got to be kidding me.

    March 31, 2014 at 9:43 am |
    • Vik

      Well said!

      March 31, 2014 at 9:58 am |
    • John

      You forgot imprisoning eastern europe for over 50 years. Tanks invading Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Murders, torture, gross human rights violations for decades. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH BEFORE POINTING THE FINGER AT OTHERS!!!

      March 31, 2014 at 10:32 am |
      • Joseph McCarthy

        So that gives us the right to take over Afghanistan and Iraq and take hundreds of political prisoners to Gitmo and a dozen or so places in Eastern Europe to torture them, John? So quit your idiotic Russia bashing, will you?

        March 31, 2014 at 10:39 am |
      • John

        Pot meet kettle. What Russia did while part of the USSR is on a whole other level. Yet, you have no problem ignoring that huh? Hypocrite!

        March 31, 2014 at 10:47 am |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Thank you, parabolid71. You took the words right out of my mouth!

      March 31, 2014 at 10:32 am |

      Americans were attached by someone. BY Who??? Russians were not attacked. just disturbing ##it!!! Sorry but your point is not valid

      March 31, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
    • Ben

      Ignorance is bliss. I'd love to be as ignorant as you.

      March 31, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
    • Socrates

      Guantanamo? That's sounds like Cuban territory.

      March 31, 2014 at 12:45 pm |
    • ns

      If I remembered correctly, Russia invaded Afghanistan decades before US did because they were hiding Al Quida. Some of those who have a problem with Afghanistan seems to have a selective memory. Just saying !!!

      March 31, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
    • il

      Us corporate media has no boundaries for its hypocrisy.

      March 31, 2014 at 10:56 pm |
  2. Bmike

    Russia believes they can just roll over countries with no consequences...Putin is a thug..he should be treated like one...I'm not one for war..but at some point you have to make a stand...draw a line..Obama may God be with a Warrior ....

    March 31, 2014 at 9:59 am |
    • Giblet

      Please spare us anymore of Obama's red lines.

      March 31, 2014 at 10:25 am |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Tell me Bmike, is Putin truly any worse than the self serving, money grubbing right-wing thugs in Washington? Somehow, I don't think so!

      March 31, 2014 at 10:34 am |
      • John

        Who is running 2/3 branches of government? In denial much Joe?

        March 31, 2014 at 10:38 am |
  3. Alexa Skri


    It 'global order' has its strengths and weaknesses. For policing actions it often arrives late to avoid death and destruction. At times the tardiness may even contribute to the problem. In the case of the Crimea separation, it seems that death and destruction was kept to a minimum by Russie's prompt action. Russie was fortunate in that the Crimea has an overwhelming pro-Russien population. Russie was also fortunate in that the Crimea was within Russie for centuries until 'gifted' to the Ukraine by the Soviets in recent 1950s. This action also helped to maintain the balance of power within the region.

    March 31, 2014 at 10:03 am |
  4. chrissy

    @ Parabloid, apparantly you didnt read the story very well huh, POTUS Obama has NOT invaded ANY countries! He is just being pro~active and diplomatic whereas George ~dumb as a post~Bush just charged right in, where ever he had something to gain that is! And did nor say anything to Putin about the invasion of Georgia. That my friend is the difference between a "class act" and just plain "trailer trash"!

    March 31, 2014 at 10:08 am |
    • DAN

      For anyone interested, international fact finding mission (UN) has found that the active war (military attack) has actually been started by Georgia – here is the link to the report
      with Russian response quickly following... This hasn't been much in the US media – for obvious reasons... But Europeans know it better, hence not many references to this in connection to the Crimea in European press.

      March 31, 2014 at 11:38 am |
  5. Mike

    Zakaria is genuinely bizarre. The new world norm he speaks of is pure fantasy, easily disreputable by crazy leaders in this world.

    March 31, 2014 at 10:16 am |
  6. palintwit

    Besides being the fearless leader of the teabaggers, Sarah Palin is also very often associated with the dung beetle.

    March 31, 2014 at 10:23 am |
  7. palintwit

    Obama opening his mouth is more of a threat to global order than anything Putin can do.

    March 31, 2014 at 10:26 am |
    • palintwit

      Fake palintwit at 10:26. You have to be a real @sshole to use someone else's screen name.

      March 31, 2014 at 10:42 am |
  8. AnnaBensabat

    Endangering??? Not endangering, but changing it.

    Are these CNN analysts really ignorant or they just think everyone else is?....

    March 31, 2014 at 10:30 am |
  9. justin

    History has already showed us what happens when the world sits back and says ok u can invade that country just don't take any more.. some class act.. the consequences for Russia have been laughable so far.. keep on rolling Russia.

    March 31, 2014 at 10:39 am |
    • sly

      Very true. This is why Bush invaded Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yeman etc ...

      And no one stopped us from wasting that $5 trillion and sending America into an economic abyss.

      March 31, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
      • Eric

        Afghanistan was after an attack by an organization that was sheltered there.
        Pakistan – What invasion would that be?
        Yemen – What invasion would that be?

        March 31, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
      • sly

        I consider drone attacks an invasion.

        I'm guessing that if Iran lauched thousands of drone attacks on Dallas, Texas, Governor Rick Perry would not be pleased. In fact he'd put on his glasses and spend a few days trying to think of something intelligent to say in response.

        March 31, 2014 at 1:57 pm |
  10. daniel goldberg

    The people of crimea voted and have spoken. They want to be part of russia. So let them be. Why do we have to meddle in everything? If anyones disrupting the global order its the USA...going against a democratic process where the people have made clear what they want. Or is democracy only the greatest form of governance only when it abides by our interests?

    March 31, 2014 at 10:45 am |
    • Myke

      Perhaps they should hold a similar vote in Chechnya. That vote might turn out differently.

      March 31, 2014 at 11:02 am |
      • Alexa Skri

        Da, Ce and In are in territorial status within Russie. Instead, the Crimea is an autonomous state with holds more autonomy. These three territories have already expressed their desires for autonomy, but Russie not allowing them to exit.

        March 31, 2014 at 11:20 am |
      • Myke

        Alexa: Crimea was an autonomous state until a bunch of soldiers in unmarked uniforms showed up and held a snap election with no option for retaining the status quo. I'll bet it's not very autonomous any more.

        March 31, 2014 at 11:54 am |
    • Venenoso

      The people of crimea voted while armed men were all over crimea. No country would call that a legitimate referendum.

      March 31, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
    • FastReader

      What would happen if the people of southern California just all of a sudden took a vote to rejoin Mexico?? There's a lot of Mexicans living in So Cal.. would you be ok with that??

      March 31, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
      • Myke

        I suspect that the majority of Mexicans in SoCal would vote to stay in the US. They left Mexico because they didn't want to be there. But your point is valid, I just digress a bit...

        March 31, 2014 at 1:06 pm |
    • Turn Left

      Voting under the barrel of a gun
      is not voting.

      April 8, 2014 at 6:49 pm |
  11. Marty

    I want some of what this guy is smoking, he doesn't have a clue. I suggest reading the poem by Pastor Martin Niemoller

    March 31, 2014 at 10:57 am |
  12. Myke

    Of course Russia doesn't like the global order... they're less important than they used to be. They've been demoted, they don't like it, and they're trying to get their position back. If they can keep what they've taken, cow their neighbors, and get the world used to it, they will have won.

    March 31, 2014 at 10:59 am |
  13. Tomas

    Crimea would not have happened in the first place, if the western leaders hadn't applauded the bloody coup in Kiev, led by several neofascists. Who tried to disrupt world order once again??? And how do you expect Russia to react to a coup in a neighboring country that puts almost the entire navy at risk???

    March 31, 2014 at 11:01 am |
  14. David Rodriguez

    I'm sorry Fareed, you may be right about the new world order, but you have not included in your arguments that the teue order now is about financial conquest on a global scale. For example, the EU maynot be invading with soldiers but they are aquiring on european country after another via unpayable loans leaving all these countries with no control or voice over their economies. Russia's move was a logical countermove to EU attempt to control Ukraine financially. The west is not always the good guys.

    March 31, 2014 at 11:13 am |
  15. Michael Fewel

    Recently this show has not been available in Seattle Sundays at 10 a.m. Hope it will return VERY soon. Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2014 13:20:45 +0000 To:

    March 31, 2014 at 11:15 am |
  16. Khagaraj Sommu

    Obviously,Zakaria believes that the NATO dominated world order as the one that promotes peace and prosperity across the globe.He does not realise it is be only a little better than the one dominated by the likes of Putin.Hence the damage being done by the pro -Western pundits like Zakaria.

    March 31, 2014 at 11:19 am |
  17. palintwit

    I think Obama needs to hit the reset button a couple of more times, or draw some more red lines.

    March 31, 2014 at 11:25 am |
    • palintwit

      Fake palintwit again at 11:25.

      March 31, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
  18. RT Colorado

    I believe I understand Fareed's point and it's a very sublte point indeed. What most of the people have posted on this article is pure naive diatribe, but what they seem to miss is the differences between the antagonists, that being provocation versus power projection. What Russia is doing is purely a "land grab" that will be used at a later date to continue to grab even more land. I disagree with the assessment that President Obama is doing a credible job handling this, he isn't. Though I concur there is no justification for military intervention against Russia, I suggest President Obama is reacting weakly because he has put the US in a position of weakness. No matter what Mr. Obama does, it'll make him look weak. He insulted Poland by dropping the missile defense shield, he's "telegraphed" his intentions by annoucning significant reductions in military spending and compounded any doubts Eastern European countries may have had about NATO and the US coming to thier aid. There is no "quick pivot point" for the President at this juncture. Ukraine and eastern Europe are just going to have to figure this out themselves. Think pre-World War Two except this time there won't be any following invasions, just a nifty bit of land grabbing by the Russians which eveyone will be willing to forgive in a few years.

    March 31, 2014 at 11:37 am |
  19. Etim Uso

    Mr. Putin knows that the easiest (though crudest) way of changing the world order is to start a war. The present state of Russia as a fallen superpower irks Mr. Putin – a former KGB. He hates America, and Crimea is his bait to drag America into a conflict that might affect the present pace if Economic recovery. Obama should be rise enough to deal with this man without dancing to his drumbeat if war.

    March 31, 2014 at 11:38 am |
    • sly

      Americans are lucky to have one of the wisest foreign policy Presidents of all time.

      President Obama is the ONLY President in 25 years to not start a war.

      These are good times for America, and we are in good hands. Let Russia and Europe squabble over that land – folks have been fighting over it for 1000 years.

      March 31, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
  20. Anjoudude

    Both Georgia and the Ukraine operations were a Russian response to US and EU/NATO attempts to tickle the underbelly of the Russian bear through puppet Governments and destabilization orchestrated and financed by the West.Fareed is not an idiot and he surely knows this so one can only assume he is also a part of this Western game. Sad and disappointing some of his work especially on Global healthcare has been very good. once you betray your readership with such blatant falsehood your reputation is besmirched forever.

    March 31, 2014 at 11:57 am |
    • dave

      Anjoudude, I think there may be some misunderstanding on your part as to who was controlling the "puppet" government in Kiev. It wasn't the U.S., despite whatever you may have been hearing on RT television. The guy who was pushed out was conrolled by Putin. Just to put it in some perspective, let me share with you a little story:

      I am from the U.S. but was dating a girl in Kiev. She had a cousin who was in Parliament. He indicated to the party leadership that he didn't want to pull the Moscow line on a particular issue. The result was that the party murdered his wife just to make it clear how they felt he should vote.

      Anjoudude, there was a lot of misinformation planted in the press by Kremlin operatives suggesting that the ouster in Kiev was the result of CIA or certain extremists. Sure, extremists had a part to play in it, but the fact is, a whole lot of people were fed up with the corruption not only in the government, but everywhere in the country. They wanted to be pro-West, not pro-Russian.

      March 31, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
  21. ncthinker

    If Putin decides he wants more land/resources tough talk from Obama and his stooge Fareed will not stop him. History has shown that eventually it comes down to who has the balls to die for what they believe. Ignore Putin long enough and we will all get our chance to make that call.

    March 31, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
  22. Jabulani

    We don't want your global / new world order.
    So stop shoving it down our throats.

    March 31, 2014 at 12:06 pm |
  23. whatsupwww

    Its ok for syria and north korea to create genocides but not ok for putin to do this pretty much civilly too atm

    March 31, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
  24. sly

    Kinda tired of hearing Americans squaking about some small penisula that has been disputed land for 1000 years.

    Bush invaded Iraq, Afghanistan,Pakistan, Yeman, Somalia etc ....

    Stop being such global hypocrites, Americans, and learn to stay out of other countries business.

    This is why we have a United Nations. I don't need another Bush American $5 Trillion Dollar Iraq War Economic Meltdown.

    March 31, 2014 at 12:23 pm |
  25. Name*larry

    Lol, ha ha ha, lmao, lol, can't stop laughing, world order you say? Who's world, the US, EU, or the Devil? I think they disrupted a bunch of foolishness with all the spring uprisings and protest that seems to only destabilize countries.

    March 31, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
  26. freddie nerk

    The UN is supposed to be the body to resolve disputes. Nit unilateral sanctions or NATO. The weak Ban Ki-Moon is a danger. No body listens to him and he has made the UN irrelevant, partisan and ineffective. Now its just Kerry and Lavrov carving up Europe.

    March 31, 2014 at 12:30 pm |
  27. Allan Kinsman

    Big government, big energy and big investment have by their efforts done little to stabilize a world. Government is using it's armies to extend corporate desires. Moscow fears further interference from the west justifiably. The notion of a free society left us long ago sometime after the civil war when corporations set their eye on the rest of the world. Now we reason they are thugs. How do we prove we are not?

    March 31, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
  28. RealDeal

    Youre either full of it or a complete moron Zakaria....the reason we're responding now with Ukraine and did nothing with Georgia is that Georgia has no value, economic or otherwise. A six year old can get that, so either you're dumber than a six year old or you've got an agenda. Which is it?

    March 31, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
  29. neelvasudeva

    The New order is the western double standard.

    March 31, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
    • Myke

      The Russians don't have a double standard. Ask the Chechens.

      March 31, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
    • Turn Left

      No, Putin is banging at the same table
      that George Bush did.
      The big business, big oil table.
      No difference.

      April 8, 2014 at 7:30 pm |
  30. Gwiz

    Its kinda funny to hear the crap u people spit up saying our presidents a thug and weak well if u like russia go live there under putins rule that u seem to love so much crimea sets a bad precedent like britain annexing ireland cause they "owned" it 100 years ago or mexico annexing texas iraq wanting kuwait back see where im going how about hitler and the "return" of the sudetenland that was so great he took that in 34 then said i dont want anymore then he invaded poland and yugoslavia austria shall i go on if you fools think putin will stop ur the ones in a fantasy land he spent the week talking about moldova and protecting russian "speaking" ethnic russians and as for the US our president is proving his own greatness every second we dont put us soldiers on the ground in a foreign nation bear meet uncle sam the man who will crush your economy make your money worthless send your stocks into freefall take 15billion out of your economy oh wait thats putin and your insulting our leader with49 months of job growth the end to 2 wars the ACA and so on u exhalt putin go live under his tyranny stop insulting our country your the reason we look weak in the eyes of the world

    March 31, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
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