July 18th, 2014
09:34 AM ET

Fareed Zakaria answers your questions

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

Fareed Zakaria answers readers’ questions on the U.S. role in the world, whether Iraq would have been more stable if Saddam Hussein hadn’t been removed from power, the NSA’s spying on Germany and whether the borders in the Middle East are outdated.

Do you believe there’s a shift toward isolationism in the United States?

I think there’s a shift toward less involvement and engagement in the world. Some of this is unfortunate. It shows up, for example, in the suspicion towards trade, towards immigrants. But for the most part, I think Americans retain a healthy openness to the world and a healthy openness to America being engaged in the world.

When people shout about isolationism, it’s worth remembering that the United States – with the support of the American people – still maintains thousands of troops in foreign countries, in dozens of bases around the world. We have 60 treaty alliances. In many of them we’re committed to the defense of these countries – from Japan, to South Korea, to Germany. That doesn’t seem to me the story of a country that is isolationist and has withdrawn from the world.

But it’s true that from certain heights, especially after 9/11 – where the United States was, in my view, too engaged, and too engaged in the details and nation building operations in many, many parts of the world – we’re drawing back, and that draw back has some public support.

So, I’m not ready to wave the flag of isolationism, I don’t see it. But I do think in some areas there are some troubling signs. The part that worries me most is about trade and people, because the thing that has historically made the United States so strong has been its ability to open itself up to ideas, to people, and then to adapt and adjust and become stronger from that.

Watch the video for all his responses.

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Topics: GPS Show

soundoff (325 Responses)
  1. Lyle Jenkins

    Great show this morning (GPS) on refugees, etc.!

    Where has CNN been hiding Rula Jebreal? An astounding voice on the refugee crisis, the Middle East, etc.

    January 29, 2017 at 12:27 pm |
    • Jesse Grillo

      Your perspective is beyond refreshing. No real feed back on this end, this is simply a great article. {What is really awesome about your blog is that it provides really valuable insights while also being funny.|I've been looking almost everywhere online for this information.|I was shopping for a t shirt earlier but I still A great points. I've added your page to my LinkedInbook marks.


      September 10, 2018 at 12:30 pm |
  2. M Michaels

    There are a lot of mentions of Orwell's "1984" these days. Please call attention to another of his works, "Animal Farm," which eerily hits home right now as much as, if not more than, 1984. Given you are a member of the media as well as an intellectual, your thoughts on this work would be of interest. Your show is a must-see every week, and a service to our country. How fortunate we are that you chose the U.S. as your home.

    February 6, 2017 at 2:31 am |
  3. G Orwell

    "Syria we didn't intervene"? Obama sent weapons to al qaeda (2013) in response to Asaad using chemical weapons, but your take (the US media take) is what most people want to hear.Way to keep that false message alive.

    February 15, 2017 at 6:13 pm |
  4. helen schwerter

    It is so obvious that talking is always better than going to war which very often harms young soldiers, and non combatives and collateral damage where the war takes place. I am not so concerned about Iran, but rather I am worried about North Korea. I have many years (right now 84) and wonder why we don't ask for those who want war to sign up and go to the front lines. Perhaps there woud be more in favor of talking, not going to fight everyone and everyw.here.

    February 21, 2017 at 9:07 pm |
  5. ernest wester

    Every economy it simply a hypothetical construct; the only issue is; getting people to buy into it. if tomorrow it was announced that minimum wage was now $0.15 / hour; what you have in the bank is yours unchanged. All wages 15% of what they had been; all debts, morgages, loans 15% of face value; a $15.00 stock on wall street is now 100 $0.15 stocks. nothing would be lost, America would be on an equal footing with the other economies of the world, could afford to rebuild our infrastructure and in ten years we would still economically pull ahead of other nations. A win win for all.

    March 3, 2017 at 10:04 pm |
  6. Monica

    Enough with the Putin apologists on your show! I want to hear from people who are going to tell us real information from a balanced viewpoint not from Putin fabulists. Your audience knows Putin's side of the story. We don't need to hear it anymore.

    March 18, 2017 at 1:36 pm |
  7. Angela Smith

    Please discuss why some people in Trump's inner circle, i.e., Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner or even Ivanka do not have to be vetted. They should be as they are very close to the president and influence his decisions. Also, why are so many x-Goldman Sachs workers in top positions to make policy for the country's workers who are working people not millionaires like they are.

    March 23, 2017 at 3:27 am |
  8. Allen N Wollscheidt

    Fahreed - What do YOU see as the Future of MONEY (Capital and Capitalists) as AUTOMATION implacably replaces virtually ALL human labor over the next 100 years or so ? ? . . How do we distribute the products produced ? ?

    No one seems to want to talk about this ! ! . Any discussion thereof is branded as lunacy : I have news for those folk ! ! !

    It is REALLY NOT that hard if one simply discards Rightist mythology - which itself ignores Human Nature ! ! !

    April 2, 2017 at 7:44 am |
    • Eva Kovacs

      Just in time delivery, another way go cut costs, would ensure that in case of a disaster, or a series of disasters, cities and gowns would be out of water, food, heating/cooling, cash, and medications very quickly. Jeffrey Riffkins' book, The End of Work, offered creative solutions for living in a world without enough work, but also for making a living.Those solutions no longer apply, or are not adequate. There is a workforce in developing countries, or where wages are very low and workers are quite powerless. I can't tell who is going to buy the products if people don' have the means, except luxury products and services for the ultra rich. What happens then, is that the overpopulation, as Malthus has said, will create vast pools of people who become a burden; What will happen to those millions and billions? It is an intresting question. The Romans didn't develop technology nog because they couldn't have but because their huge pool of slave labour in all walks of life, except the Roman legions, perhpaps, made timesaving and moneysaving technology needless. In our case, one can expect that environmental collapse will vastly reduce the population, and radiation effects, whether caused by nuclear exchange, even if limited, or nuclear accidents, which no power plant can be fully protected from, no matter how many layers of redundant systems of protection exist, will also cause illness, death, difficulty in conception. Plagues, viral and otherwise, such as biological, can also wipe out untold number of people. What the, what will happen? That a safely secreted away special group, power class, etc. will start things anew? But that doesn't make sense either. Nothing does, not even our current capitalistic system which needs to be driven by consumption, but that consumption can die away.I see no answers, except dire ones. What could be done, a drastic, or stepwise but serious reduction of reliance on consumption and reduced expectations by those who still have the luxury of expectations, can prolong and protect the environemntal and social collapse that is hard upon us. I suspect, with a great deal of sadness, grief and trepidation, that we cannot stop the collapse headed our way. Will we able to survive so that after a long time we may try another way of living? Maybe we can look to Oscar Spengler, and actually move toward creating a civilzation that is more on the model of the Greek one, or the Egyptian one, which at least seemed to be i n harmony with its environment, Maybe, tasked with the problem again, Jeremy Riffkin can come up with answers for what are worsening times then what prevailed when he wrote his book.

      November 19, 2017 at 6:31 pm |
  9. Oliver Marriott

    What's to stop the North Koreans from launching submarine missiles off the US coast? They appear to have this capability today. If their subs don't have the range, they could be towed some of the way.

    April 7, 2017 at 10:17 am |
  10. kate m

    I missed your statistics on yesterday's GPS on starvation in East African countries.

    April 10, 2017 at 2:42 pm |
  11. Sonny Harmond

    This is the best search system in the planet


    April 15, 2017 at 6:37 am |
  12. Maryland Berney

    That is the best search system in the planet


    April 15, 2017 at 6:38 am |
  13. MaggieJ

    You discussed North Korea this Easter Sunday morning . I would like you to ask the IOC if they would consider moving the winter Olympics out of South Korea which are scheduled next year. I do not want my grandson there because of the behavoir of North Korea. So many wonderful athletes from all over the world 35 miles from an unstable dictator!!!! Thank you

    April 16, 2017 at 11:11 am |
  14. Kefelegn

    I was very disappointed to see Mr Zakaria adding his name into the bunch of war mongerers when he endorsed the missile attack against Syria by Mr Trump without demanding for a shred of evidence as to who did the atrocities knowing the fact that America has perfected the skills to manufacture evidences. i am not the supporter of Assad, but America's involvement in any conflict can only make matters worst than what it is, every now and then I have seen you appeared reasonable, but this time, you seem like wanting to join the Trump wagon. Good luck, I hope you won't sink with it.

    April 16, 2017 at 3:18 pm |
  15. Nina Livings

    Very good article. I surely love this website. Continue the good work!


    April 19, 2017 at 5:13 am |
  16. kevinschappert

    India is doing something right, no? The U.S. should embrace globalism in order to grow and place tariffs where necessary. Unfortunately, the present administration sends the wrong message. As Fareed has said, countries such as Singapore and Mexico will simply peddle their business elsewhere, as they have already done. TPP may have had negative attributes, but in considering our global presence it would have been positive overall.

    April 23, 2017 at 2:16 pm |
  17. Hemendra Jani

    Fareed You should do a show on Henry Kissinger's controversial award of Nobel peace price because everything he did to support the terrorist government of Pakistan while Pak-military was doing genocide of Bengalis and being driven off their home land in millions. This is for Pakistan to open the China door for him and Nixon and look we have created a monster threatening the world peace and challenging USA

    May 2, 2017 at 9:01 pm |
  18. Michael Fox

    Your recommended book list has not been updated since 2015, and that's a pity.

    May 14, 2017 at 6:37 pm |
  19. park1place

    Why in heaven's name are we agreeing to sell the Saudi's massive arms if they are the largest supplier of radical terrorists?

    May 28, 2017 at 10:40 am |
  20. Dan

    I watch your GPS show this morning and disagreed with your guest and you that President Trump was not tough enough on Putin regarding the election hacking and the annexation of Crimea and the interference in Ukraine. Let’s go back to presidents Bush and Obama who were very tough on Putin for being unruly regarding Crimea and Ukraine. Did they change anything with Putin for being tough? We all agree Not a thing.
    If you want someone to be flexible and do what you ask him to do, first you must be friends with him before you bash him first. I believe Trump is doing the right thing for being friends with Putin first then he could ask him to stop hacking, cooperate in resolving Syria internal war and cooperate with Trump on North Korea.
    I worked for the largest companies in the world as a process improvement Consultant and after many years I concluded that I could only change how Engineering do business (processes) after I make friends with the engineering Directors and Managers. Early on in my career, before I could be friends with engineering managers, I couldn’t change much and improve the engineering processes.
    Once Trump and Putin are friends, then a lot would be accomplished.

    July 9, 2017 at 2:37 pm |
    • Eva Kovacs

      The question of establishing a friendship first so as to be able to have better and less adversarial relations with Putin can be easily answered, and in fact, you might know the answer. as during WWII some people leaned in that direction for a while. Here is how to test the answer to this question, and do it theoretically: Would it have helped had the U.S. president at the time befriended Adolf Hitler?

      November 19, 2017 at 5:40 pm |
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  22. Francis DeToma

    Dear Mr. Zakaria,
    I urge you to educate Americans about Germany's highly successful economic model. Germany has large trade surpluses with the U,S. and China. Its workers have representation on corporate boards. German government funding in research favors engineering and manufacturing as opposed to health and defense. Germany has preserved its industrial base. Americans should be made aware of Germany's very successful economic policies, many of which we can emulate. These policies have enriched both labor and business in that country. It's time for Americans to realize what could be accomplished by learning from the German model.

    August 4, 2017 at 9:23 pm |
  23. Oliver


    August 9, 2017 at 4:41 pm |
  24. Oliver

    Will China react differently depending on who starts the war? Would Trump prefer to provoke a N. Korean attack?

    August 9, 2017 at 4:59 pm |
  25. Jeremy

    Mr. Zakaria,

    Here's a question for you, my fellow viewers, and your esteemed panel guests: "If the Flag could talk what would it say to the Country?"

    Thank You

    October 1, 2017 at 10:09 am |
  26. tom tomaro

    You Sunday Guest defending supply side tax policy made one unchallenged very false statement. He indicated that companies are barely paying tax now. While the trend for corporate tax collections is down as a percentage of what the IRS collects it is still about 10%, plus another roughly 17% for the corporate half of the FICA taxes. Since companies could argue that they really pay the real costs of all of the FICA taxes, that would be nearly half of All IRS collected revenue. So even the lowest figure means they pay over $330 Billion annually, and that does not include companies structured as pass throughs where the tax liability is paid in the individual tax.

    October 31, 2017 at 4:18 pm |
  27. Bill

    Dear Mr. Zakaria,

    Today you mentioned President Trump may have made a deal in which he received nothing when he declared Jerusalem the Capital of Israel. I would say he pretty much locked up the Jewish vote and money for the 2020 election in the U.S. -not a bad deal after all.

    December 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm |
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