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. Comoria Miss

    why, now?
    Why Russia, it is not like Moyotte belongs to France,
    when they took it from us (COMOROS) any one say nothing.
    İ don t say that Rusia is right but justice belongs to everyone,
    İf you think that Rusia have to leave Crimea, you should say the same to France to leave our Land (COMOROS)
    Or maybe Africa belongs to No one. doesn t it?

    March 31, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
    • scott

      the problem is that once lands start being fought over, taken over, others take notice.. Taiwan is a good example. The parcel islands are another, the Falklands, even Gilbratar are a couple more. All these places are subject to take note on what is happening. Yes Russia took Crimea not because of its people but because they were afraid to lose the black sea. What would happen if China decided to take Taiwan. The US is bound by law to defend it. What if North Korea decided to take a gamble because the West did nothing. While I don't share the view that putin is hitler. What if Britain didn't take the "there will be peace in our time approach"??? WWII may have never started. You can't have bigger countries bullying little ones around. Now I know some people say that's what the US does but it isn't. We don't take over countries we try to help them help themselves. For those who disagree I ask a simple question. How fearful are the Canadians and Mexico of invasion???? The answer is they aren't . They don't have a concern at all. NONE. They probably don't even have a war plan set up for that. So we have a huge military and our closest neighbors could care less. Can Russia or China say the same? Really can any other country say the same? We have the might but don't use it that way

      March 31, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
      • sly

        Correct, we dont use our might to take over our neighbors.

        But the US has bombed over 20 nations in 30-40 years.

        No one else has bombed more than 2-3.

        America is clearly the worlds leader in foreign invasion, by a larger margin than we lead the world in military might.

        March 31, 2014 at 3:22 pm |
      • pureguardian

        First of all, the US has invaded BOTH Canada and the Mexico in the past. Cuba is a neighbour of the US and it was also invaded by US backed forces. The US is no longer aggresively influencing or attacking Canada and Mexico because the political and civil structure in these countries is strong and able to resist. However in places all around the world, be it African countries, mid eastern, latin american, the US tramples on rights of the people and props up dictators that are helpful to American corporations and American interests. If a Corporation can't get it done on its own (using its $$$ and hiring thugs and corrupting the political system) then the US government attacks using other pretenses.

        March 31, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
      • Kim

        Mexico able to resist are you kidding? It is because we respect the Sovereign territory of both Mexico and Canada. We invaded Afghanistan after they declared war on us by sending terrorists to our soil to kill 2000+ people. We have not taken that country over nor annexed it. With Iraq it was suspected they had WMD which they did they just sent it to Syria. Russia is setting a terrile example. If you want more territory, send soldiers to it on some false trumped up pretex that is whst its citizens want and that you are just protecting your native speakers. It is total BS. Russia ia telling the world that borders mean nothing. If you want something go take it.

        March 31, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
      • Bob

        We do not take over countries, but try to help them? Truly? Granada, we did not like the government, so invaded. Iran, 1956, we did not like the democratically elected government, so we orchestrated a coup – yeh, that had a good outcome for everyone. Chile, ditto, and the loving face of Pinoche and the line of bodies that followed. Iraq? We wanted the oil in the hands of BP, Total etc etc, so we invaded – look at the mess now. So how exactly are we helping people, or are we helping ourselves ( we think )? Sadly, the list goes on.

        March 31, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
    • Rene

      You are right miss. Gibraltar, Malvinas..etc... the "west" and the change of traditions and double standard ( WDM Iraq) ... Zakaria is yelling to hell with his comments, following the maneuvers of Mr. Putin and the lack of reaction . As a matter of fact, Putin is teaching USA on geopolitics and getting very good conclusions on the current status of affairs regarding the world order. Putin is right, Henry Kissinger has published since a long time ago the agenda (The dIPLOMACY book) stating that the world history since XII century could be reduced to the contention of Russia expansion...

      March 31, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
    • jy

      Maybe because.. Mayotte had a referendum and they wanted to stay with France. Tell me, why a lot of illegal Comorians try to join Mayotte? Why Anjouan tried to secceed from Comoros Islands and joined France? And Why France refused to take control of Anjouan? Maybe you should learn more about your country

      April 1, 2014 at 11:56 am |
  2. Enzo F. Cannizzo

    In this alleged " New World Order" who is at the table playing the game ?? The recent event with Russia was out of another card game that was lost in the 1930's by the West . Is there a mistrust for the West ? Maybe , in Mr Putin mind and many would agree that the late great USSR went into the dust bin of history by 1993 . It was a "world power" only due to its military arms. How do we in USA and EU look at Russia today ? WE can all hope that all parties have a mutual respect and not a distrust for each other ..

    There are those that state in so many words that WWII started at the end of WW I in a rail way car . Russia , as a nation as evidenced by its history suffred untold pain.with its human and industrial capital .. Russia may have a "natural " mistrust of the west . The reality is in 2014 Russia needs to make some choices and the West must respect honor their word .. The COLD WAR is over we don't have aims on your nation or the Russian people . There can be a mutual exchange and co existance to keep the peace , develop our industry together . We in the USA will not impose that Russia do this or that , however Russian MUST adhear to standards and norms of 2014 not Germany of 1930's

    One only has to study the miscommunication , misunderstanding in the early 1980's with the NATO exercise " Able Archer " by the former USSR . The Cuban missile crisis of 1962 was a walk in the park ! However, there were unsung , cool folks on the RUssian side who took a step back ..and asked questions . As I am sure there may have been a situation with our side here in America when cool heads had their input and the Cuban missile crisis is one .

    What I see in the present crisis is an oppurtunity for ALL parties to work on a problem .. that may be resolved taking into consideration geo political , historical , social relationships regarding the Ukrain , even with the Budapest Areement .

    However, that being said as an American I am not ready to sit around the camp fire and sing songs and close my eyes . I will start the camp fire , have the sheet music ready , but will wait .

    t's 2014 not the 1930's let all get on with it !!!!!

    March 31, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
    • GetaCLue

      The US started this situation, just like Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Africa and the list goes on and on. NATO is the gloabl mafia that causes caos, then runs in to help for a fee......... Your Government is lying to you and the media is gullible enough to spread those lies becasue investigative journalism is dead.

      March 31, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
  3. Vasa

    I'm socked you really don't understand, I will not watch your show again........

    March 31, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
  4. YYJ

    This article writer is some what delusional. Strengthen instead of .... Strengthen what? The global norm? Strengthen our millitary? Strengthen diplomatic ties? Not only does the article writer fail to mention what the US should strengthen, it completely leaves out the fact Crimea has been invaded and Russia succeeded in its land grab. So what if further incursion in Ukraine is stopped for now. So in two years once this has settled over, and they parcel off another chunk off a country, then we should just let that go too? As long as they don't conquer any more land for a couple years? I do agree the Obama administration has taken some steps but I don't agree it was enough. Then again in Obama's defense, its hard to imagine people behaving like that. Its hard to defend yourself from things you couldn't believe people would do in the first place. I personally believe you cannot let Crimea go. You cannot give into any demands during the diplomatic talks. You cannot begin a trend where you allow countries to fabricate/orchestrate wrong doing and crisis, then agree to their demands for them to cease. Sadly this seems to be a growing trend and one countries are taking advantage of everyday. You have countries just blatantly deceiving the US and we keep just saying "ok" no more until tomorrow. N.Korea started it and now the ball is rolling. How bad would it be, if in two years Iran suddenly has nuclear capability? And they were just using the relief in sanctions to allow them to acquire the material necessary to complete it? Not saying they are but geez. Its good to be trusting but there is a time when "trusting" is just dumb. Just my opinion.

    March 31, 2014 at 2:01 pm |
    • pureguardian

      You can't read can you? By strengthen, Zakaria is referring to the type of leadership that Obama has exercised which shuold be more fitting for the 21st century.

      March 31, 2014 at 4:38 pm |
  5. Howard Blackwell

    World Order – What World Order? As there is none, Russia did no wrong.......

    March 31, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
  6. YYJ

    To add to my last post. Trusting is a good thing, its essential. But when that "trust" is abused and deception becomes obvious, there must be serious consequences and terms have to be renegotiated. Such as Russia's constant claims, were not invading Crimea, those aren't our troops, we allowed a referendum vote under gun fire but its fair. When trust is abused it must be earned back. To just simply give it up back is dumb, and I guarantee those who you just blindly trusted again is laughing at the sheer stupidity. Russia has to earn any eroded world trust back, the first step would be handing Crimea back to Ukraine.

    March 31, 2014 at 2:07 pm |
  7. Folke Bernadotte

    It doesn't really matter whether Mr. Zakaria is really that ignorant or whether he is regurgitating propaganda. Zakaria's credibility is eroding rapidly.

    March 31, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
    • sly

      You must be a Republican, since

      1) You said nothing, criticizing the author because you don't like the color of his skin, or something
      2) You offered nothing constructive

      But, since no one knows what the hell you are spewing out of your mouth, we'll just ignore and move on.

      March 31, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
      • Mjm nc

        And you must be a democrat since you blame his comment, which, as you correctly point out had no details, but assume he's a racist. He didn't say anything 'colorful'.

        March 31, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
      • sly

        Hey, I didn't say he was racist ... at least I added "...or something".

        But you are right, the guy's sentences contained nothing ... "the sun rises" is about what I could get out of it.

        I do think about 75% of the Obama-bashers are racist, and 99% of the Tea Party. But maybe not this guy – I gave him a slight out ... but point taken. (And no, I'm not a Democrat ... and I think Obama is about 1 shade 'left' of middle, while Bush was 1 shade 'right' of middle ... pretty close to the same policies on most things).

        March 31, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
    • Ted

      Did Zakaria ever have any credibility?

      March 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
      • pureguardian

        Much more than you. Thats why he has a job in the profession he's in. I'm guessing you dont and never will.

        March 31, 2014 at 4:42 pm |
  8. sharpy

    1) The Ukraine was overthrown by the people who ousted the elected government-that by definition is a coup; 2) Russia has its fleet in Crimea and has to protect its port as would the USA 3) The USA invaded Iraq and is now cutting up pieces of the oil pie-reason greed! 4) Russia is no worse than the USA in this action and Countries follow the USA because of there fear of American repercussions not justice-sadly.

    March 31, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • dmtly

      1) The Ukraine was overthrown by the people who ousted the elected government-that by definition is a coup. That is not the definition of a coup that is the definition of a popular uprising. A coup is when the military or a small group of elites overthrows the government. 2) Russia has its fleet in Crimea and has to protect its port as would the USA. The USA has a large base in Guantanamo Bay Cuba that predates the Castro Regime you don't see them overthrowing the Castro Regime to protect it. 3) The USA invaded Iraq and is now cutting up pieces of the oil pie-reason greed! China is getting more out of Iraq than the USA is so not really. 4) Russia is no worse than the USA in this action and Countries follow the USA because of there fear of American repercussions not justice-sadly. Russia's human right record speaks for itself and although the US backs some pretty bad regimes Russia takes the cake on that as well with Iran and Syria. Plus you can thank Russia for Communist China and all the problems on the Korean Peninsula today. Both nations have caused major problems in the world, but a lot of today's major issues can be traced back to Russia doing stupid things.

      March 31, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
  9. Gerald Reynolds

    Just in time for the military down size, Obama!

    March 31, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
    • sly

      Ah, the Stupids are out again.

      So, when our US Pentagon (I assure you 80% of the generals are Republican), decides to reduce the INCREASE in US Military spending from a 7% increase to a 5% increase:

      1) The Stupids think that our President is the Pentagon
      2) The Stupids think that a smaller increase means a 'decrease'

      Of course, The Stupids are not aware that the US spends more on military than the rest of the world put together.

      (Let's not even get into The Stupids suggestion that we start WWIII with Russia over some tiny peninsula that Russia has run for 150 years.)

      March 31, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
      • phil

        Troll alert! Trying to groll hard but no one it taking the bait.

        March 31, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
  10. realist

    Freed can be beat described as pentagon stooge. He has no credibility rather than a parrot who says what pentagon tells him so. If he had brains he wouldnt have forgotten what usa did in iraq and afghanistan

    March 31, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
  11. Adolf

    this guy is just a dumb monkey, pretty much as the departing brit.

    March 31, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
  12. Abe Lincoln aka AbeL

    I can't post a comment?

    March 31, 2014 at 3:43 pm |
  13. Abe Lincoln aka AbeL

    CNN doesn't believe freedom of speech. I wrote a legit comment and they blocked.

    March 31, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
  14. ukrjew

    Mr. Zakaria and most Americans don’t know much about terrible Old Russian history and even newest. Mr. Zakaria it was Georgia who attack Ossetia and Abkhazia during Begin Olympics in 2008.

    March 31, 2014 at 3:57 pm |
  15. Ted

    Zakaria has been dead wrong in assessing every single world conflict. Pick any one – he predicted it wrong. And his rhetoric on the New World Order is only shared by Obama. There is no one in the world who believes in this nonsense.

    March 31, 2014 at 4:03 pm |
    • pureguardian

      Maybe you're thinking of another person but Zakaria is a commentator not a psychic. He makes sound comments and observations based on logic. Something you and many others obviously lack. Thank goodness for Zakaria because if everyone was listening to the drivel of Limbaugh or Beck the country will collapse in no time.

      March 31, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
      • Ted

        Lets put your intelligent insults aside, and poll – is there anyone in the world who believes that there is a New World Order and that Obama is the kind of leader that can be a reputable spokesman for one?

        March 31, 2014 at 6:33 pm |
  16. mtl

    everyone should ignore the opinions of the west. usa is too far away from other countries so why does it put its nose in everything

    March 31, 2014 at 4:10 pm |
    • Merp

      This world is much, much smaller than you think..

      March 31, 2014 at 6:14 pm |
  17. Patrick

    He means the world order where everyone kisses our rear. No thanks. The US isn't mature enough.

    March 31, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
  18. Mike

    Greatness comes through domination.

    March 31, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
  19. GetaCLue

    The US started this situation, just like Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Africa and the list goes on and on. NATO is the gloabl mafia that causes caos, then runs in to help for a fee......... Your Government is lying to you and the media is gullible enough to spread those lies because investigative journalism is buried underneith the checks they are paid to regurgitate this crap

    March 31, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
  20. norbulearnthinkmeditate

    Fareed's big omission was leaving out China as a world thug and leaving out the PRC's illegal occupation and colonization of neighbor Tibet.

    March 31, 2014 at 4:59 pm |
  21. George

    Google "zakaria plagiarism"

    March 31, 2014 at 5:00 pm |
  22. Dan

    Russia endangering global order? Really whose order? Yes they should not have done that but didn't we set the precedent with Kosovo..

    March 31, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
  23. robpyatt

    Reblogged this on Political Review.

    March 31, 2014 at 5:33 pm |
  24. Cody

    wow im Canadian and Americans live in a fantasy land run buy the media why is it the government in america has to decide how people across the globe should live their lives Europe has many powerful nations who can influence Russia the us doesn't need to be involved and the fact that Europe is very hesitant in doing anything speaks to the seriousness of the situation the united states has tried to conquer all middle eastern countries who are aligned with Russia to disrupt their influence in that region instead of worrying about their own country where their people are suffering the Americans actions are what are the cause of global instability as you see in the stock market each day even in Canada the us is always sticking their nose into our politics and influencing controversial pipelines that the people don't want the us is the definition of double standards and hypocrisy

    March 31, 2014 at 5:41 pm |
    • Merp

      That is a really long sentence.

      What *does* Canada do, Cody? If it weren't for that little waste of oxygen, Justin B, you guys wouldn't even have made the news last year.

      March 31, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
  25. joe doherty

    crimea is the russian gate way to the middle east, when ukraine was over thrown, putin knew he had to act quick to secure his gate way or be put right out of support for syria and iran, its far from over. obama has the brains to put the game for war with iran on hold, but its just a delay, the real war is with iran and the middle east is in shambles and israel , saud and u.s. are ready to suck russia and iran into the end game ! we got a good one coming and its going to be lead by the u.s.

    March 31, 2014 at 6:06 pm |
  26. deryk houston

    I generally like Fareed Zakaria but his comments about Russia endangering global order sounds very hollow after the performance of the USA and their invasions in recent years.
    If Fareed does not think that executing Regime Change in Libya, or invading Iraq without the UN approval does not upset global order then I think he needs to go back to school.
    Don't forget that the sanctions on Iraq were also kept in place because Saddam would not come clean on their "weapons of mass destruction". According to a 2002 Unicef report, several hundred thousand Iraqi children died as a direct result of those sanctions. (I was in Iraq at the time and was briefed on those figures. I also witnessed the catastrophic effects up close. It ruined life for so many Iraqi people and their families.)
    I would like to see Fareed look at the world through the worlds eyes and reflect on the misery and pain caused by America and to consider the effects the USA has had on Global order.
    International law does not exist. We have clearly chosen anarchy when it suits us.

    March 31, 2014 at 6:20 pm |
  27. JimInNM

    Russia is protecting Russia from the one world globalist banksters, no more, no less.

    March 31, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
  28. Ted

    Obama is back to his Messianic fantasies that helped him get elected, but not even Axelrod believes in them anymore, but Zakaria, the man who predicted the outcome of every conflict in the Arab-spring wrong – does.

    March 31, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
  29. fitzc

    I generally like Zakaria too but this article is pretty strange:

    "you're upsetting the (existing) global order, this is totally UNACCEPTABLE Vladmir! Don't make me care over there! I really mean it this time! ......"

    This is what leadership looks like in the 21st Century????

    March 31, 2014 at 6:38 pm |
  30. D A

    Russia's war with Georgia in 2008 was not a blatant invasion. Fareed Zakaria needs to investigate his 'facts' a bit better. The European Union report on the war states that the conflict was provoked by Georgia's illegal attack on South Ossetia. But, I am sure, the damage to Russia's reputation had already been done.

    March 31, 2014 at 6:42 pm |
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