America in a New World with Fareed Zakaria

Welcome everyone, and
welcome to all those who ae watching on live cast
I am professor Harry J. Elam, Jr., the Vice Provost for
Undergraduate Education at Stanford. And this.
>>[APPLAUSE]>>Thank you. [LAUGH]>>[APPLAUSE]
>>And this program is the last major event in our yearlong
Open Xchange initiative. Designed to initiate and expand thoughtful conversations
about pressing issues of the day. From discussions about race and
criminal justice to climate change response to immigration and
foreign policy. Our goal has been to think critically,
to consider difficult issues respectfully. And to engage collectively in a variety of
communities across Stanford and beyond. Over the course of one year,
some 7,000 people, and that includes faculty, staff, students,
and greater Stanford community and beyond, have attended events
as part of Open Exchange. In addition, another 2,000 people
have watched either on Livecast, like today, or on post-event webcast. And we are most thankful for all of
your participation in open exchange. We are particularly grateful for
our campus event cosponsors, and some of the most involved cosponsors
are listed in your program. Tonight, our guest is renowned
global journalist Fareed Zakaria. Fareed is host of CNN’s award
winning international fear/s program Fareed Zakaria GPS. He is a Washington Post columnist, a contributing editor at the Atlantic And
a New York Times bestseller. In 1999 Esquire magazine called him the most influential foreign
policy adviser of his generation. In 2010, Foreign Policy named him
one of the top ten global thinkers. In his important book In Defense of
Liberal Education Zakaria does just that. He makes a vigorous and
impactful defense of liberal education and writes in the conclusion quote, Because of
the times we live in, all of us, young and old, do not spend enough time and
effort thinking about the meaning of life. We did not look inside ourselves enough to
understand our strengths and weaknesses. And we did not look around enough at
the world and history to ask the deepest, broadest questions. The solution, surely, is that even now we could all use
a little bit more of a liberal education. And certainly that notion of
a liberal education is important to us at Stanford today. Tonight, in an address titled,
quote, America in a New World, end of quote, Fareed will focus on the
role of the United States in a world of increasing turmoil and polarization. Fareed will entertain
questions after he speaks, and you can come to the mikes
that are in the aisle way. And please keep your questions brief so we can get to more questions in
the short time that we have. And also, we ask that after tonight, please continue the conversation in
your dorms, in your dining halls, in your community centers,
also with friends and family off-campus. And so now, Will you please join
with me in welcoming Fareed Zakaria. [APPLAUSE]>>Thank you so much Harry. It’s a huge honor and pleasure to be here. For most of us, nowadays, I suppose the only way you can get to Stanford
is to be invited for a couple of hours. They shuttle you in, they shuttle you out,
cuz you’re not admitting anybody any more. So this is the best that I can do,
and I’m grateful for it. It’s a huge pleasure to have this chance. I also wanna thank all of you for
taking time out to come and listen. You could be at home or in your dorms watching the greatest
reality show in American history.>>[LAUGH]
>>Which is the presidential election. I certainly don’t think [LAUGH]
>>I have not in my lifetime seen anything more entertaining
and perhaps more important, but certainly more entertaining that this. I mean, I think you know we
all look back on history. And we remember the rhetoric, more than
anything else, of presidential campaigns. And the early inaugural Rules and
things like that. And you have though you know
the ringing words of John Kennedy as not what your country will do for you. Franklin Roosevelt you have
nothing to fear but fear itself. And I sometimes think of myself what
will people remember from this campaign? [LAUGH] Well,
perhaps it’s that moment when the Republican Frontrunner was
accused of having a small penis.>>[LAUGH]
>>And he was outraged at that because he
thought it was factually inaccurate.>>[LAUGH]
>>And he pointed out it was that will surely live in history
>>I guarantee you there is no problem there. You need the hand gestures
to get the complete effect. For free equal time one has to talk
about the democratic race, but really so boring in comparison.>>[LAUGH]
>>At CNN, we know once you start covering the
Democratic race, they’re asleep already.>>[LAUGH]
>>Bill Maher had the best line about it, I thought. He looked at the Democratic race and he said Hilary, we are trying
to make this as easy for you. You know that don’t you? The last time we put you up against
a black man with the name Barack and whose middle name, was Hussein.>>[LAUGH]
>>This time, we’re running a 74 year old
socialist Jew against you.>>[LAUGH]
>>How much easier can we make this? Right? [APPLAUSE]
But you’ve taken time out from all of this fun and games to listen
to me tonight, and I’m very grateful. You know when I started doing
this kind of thing, George Will, who used to debate with me on the ABC
television show This Week, said to me, you’re going to go out speaking,
make sure you have a point. I said well,
of course I’ve got several points. He said no, that’s too many. [LAUGH] You’ve gotta have one point. So I said,
how specific does the point have to be? He said, well I’ll tell you a story. Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton
Hotels was on the old Johnny Carson Show. Now for the students in the audience,
Johnny Carson is the guy who preceded Jay Leno, who is the guy who
precedes The host of the Tonight Show, so, you’re aware of dinosaur age history. Conrad Hilton’s on the show. They have a pleasant chit chat and
at the end of it, Carson says to him, Mr. Hilton, you’ve got all
of America watching. Is there anything you want
to say in conclusion? And, Conrad Hilton, very elegant man,
leans into the camera and says, why, yes, Johnny, I do. And looks straight into the camera and
he says, my fellow Americans. Please remember the shower
curtain goes inside the bath tub. [LAUGH]
>>[LAUGH]>>If you owned as many shower curtains as Conrad Hilton you probably would
make that your central message. I do not have a message
of such specificity.>>[LAUGH]
>>I’m gonna range a little bit more widely, more broadly. And we’ll see where it goes. What I thought I’d talk about is
just the state of the world today. And what most people think of
when they think of the world now, is it’s falling apart. It’s deeply dangerous. We are in imminent danger of
some kind of terrorist attack. There’s so much of an emphasis on
the negative, on the violent, on the unpredictable, that most people when
asked this question in the United States, are convinced that we are living
through very deeply dangerous times. Well, there’s actually
very good data on this. The University of Maryland
has a center that tracks it. And in point of fact, we’re living in times of unusual
political stability and peace. There’s been a little bit of an uptick
in the last couple of years. But broadly speaking over
the last few decades, what you have seen is a large scale
reduction in political violence, by which one means war, civil war and,
yes, terrorism as well. So, that is the reality, but
it doesn’t feel like that. And it doesn’t feel like that because
you have these highly dramatic incidents of terrorism emanating out
of one particular place in the world. And that’s the Middle East. And so it’s important for a minute to just understand what
is happening in the Middle East. Why it is, in fact, huge,
deep, profound, but how to put it in some context as well? So if you look at the Middle East, I don’t
know, from say the last four decades, you’d have looked back four decades ago
and the Middle East looked very stable. It was extraordinary actually
how stable the Middle East was, in the sense that the regimes that
were in place were unchanging. Now, they were stable cuz
the Middle East was run by a series of highly repressive dictatorships
from Syria through Libya, if you think about the whole North Africa
all the way into the Middle East. Whether it’s Assad in Syria,
whether it’s Mubarak in Egypt, whether it was Gaddafi in Libya,
these were all effective dictatorships. They also happened to be,
for the most part, secular. And they repressed all forces that
threatened to disrupt their societies. And with the result of that of course, is
you had stability but enormous stagnation. And as demographics changes, economic
changes, political changes started to transform the rest of the world,
the Middle East stays completely stagnate. So, imagine the world of the 1990s
when you have communism cracking and crumbling in Eastern Europe. Where you have the juntas
of Latin America. And Latin America was run by
a vast series of dictatorships, all yielding to democracies in some
form or another, for the most part. Africa, you begin to have 40 or
50 elections in the decade of the 1990s, many of which were free and fair. In the Middle East,
nothing is changing, right? If you are a young man in
the Middle East in 1995, for the most part you could say that
the Middle East had actually regressed. That it was less economically,
politically, and socially free than it was in 1955. And that reality meant that
there was going to be some give. And if you began to see
it in various ways. And of course it comes to
fruition in the Arab Spring. And what that represented,
in some ways, were these forces, demographic, technological, economic, political, pushing up
against this old encrusted order. The United States invasion of Iraq,
for better or worse, was another crucial destabilizing
factor in destabilizing that old order. But here’s the interesting thing,
when that old order cracks and the regimes topple, would we
discover something quite unusual and something very few people predicted? You got rid of the guy at the top,
it was all guys. And it turned out there was
no state underneath him. There were no institutions that
could maintain political order in these countries. And then you look below
the political institutions and you discover there’s no civil society that
can maintain social order underneath it. And then you go one step further and you discover in many of these places,
there’s actually no country. What I mean by that is, when you got rid
of Saddam Hussein, what you discover is, there’s no state,
political chaos, anarchy ensues. And people start in that political vacuum
retreating to their, to identities, that they feel comfortable with. Identities that they feel will
give them some sense of security. And those identities are not the national
identities that were created 100 years ago this week by Britain and France after
World War I in the Sykes–Picot Agreement. Those identities, Iraq, Syria, were created by the British because
the Ottoman’s lost the war. They had to do something with the empire. What people retreat to are their
older identities, much, much older. Kurd, Arab, Shiite, Sunni,
these are thousand year old identities. And those identities turn out to be
the most powerful organizing forces in the Middle East, not the nation. And so you go from Saddam Hussein
running a seemingly stable country, to a point where it is difficult
to find In Iraq anymore. I mean, you ask yourself, is there anybody
in Iraq who is actually fighting for Iraq? The Kurds are fighting for Kurdistan. The Shia are fighting for
their control of Shiastan as it were. Many of the Sunnis are fighting for ISIS. Who is fighting for Iraq? You could ask the same question in Syria. You could ask the same question in Yemen. You could ask the same question in Libya. And so, that is the nature of political
instability in the Middle East, which is the entire project constructed after
World War I, that drew these national boundaries out of the old Ottoman Empire,
has begun to fray, if not collapse. And in that turmoil, what you have
found is one of the great organizing devices has been political Islam,
radical Islam, call it what you will. And that is then getting in its own
way energized by the very chaos. In that mix I tend to believe
it is very difficult to imagine that an outside intervention
that will be able to stabilize this part of the world
in a secure, permanent fashion. To put it another way, the idea that
the United States, from 6,000 miles away, would be able to figure out what’s going
on in Syria, who the good guys are, who the bad guys are. Make sure that the good guys win. And then make sure that they stay
good guys after they have won, is a very tall order. And as you can see in the repeated
efforts that the United States has been involved in from Iraq to Afghanistan, it is difficult to imagine
that this will work out well. If we were to take this big leap forward
that so many people think we need to do. Another way of putting it would
be to think about it this way. The United States toppled
the government in Iraq, intervened, had 200,000 international
troops there at their peak, and spent a trillion dollars trying
to create a stable Iraq. The result has been chaos and
violence and terrorism. The United States intervened in Libia,
toppled the regime, but then stayed back and let the local forces try to do
the nation building and modernization. The result has been political chaos and
violence. The United States blessed the transition
in Yemen, but did very little else. The result has been political chaos and
violence. And the United States has
not intervened in Syria and the result has been political chaos and
violence. [LAUGH]
>>[LAUGH]>>There’s some other variable at work than the United States’ actions. and I think it’s the better part of
wisdom here is to understand how deep and transforming these political changes are,
and how unlikely it is that the United States, from 6000 miles away would be able to
stabilize it in some turn-key fashion. But ask yourself this question, if I told you five years ago that this was
what the Middle East was gonna look like, that Iraq would have broken down,
that Syria would be in flames, that Libya would have essentially disappeared as a
country, that Yemen would be in civil war. And I had then ask you,
what would the price of oil be?>>[LAUGH]
>>You would have said $200 a barrel. In fact, lots of people did, why? Because the price of oil is in a way the
single biggest reflector of instability, genuine substantive
instability in the Middle East. So why is it that in fact what happened
was that all this instability rose and the price of oil actually went down. It’s a simple way of illustrating
a very important point. There’s a lot of stuff going on outside
the Middle East that is more important than what is going on
inside the Middle East. The Middle East is a very
small part of the world. And it actually in economic terms, certainly does not have a very
large impact on the world. This statistic is from a while ago,
and you’ll see why but it captures the reality, which is if you look at the
merchandise exports of the middle east. That is to say, what they make not oil,
the merchandise exports of the entire Arab world were equivalent in a good year to
the merchandise exports of Finland, right? so in other words Nokia in a good year was producing more product than
the entire Arab world. That’s the reality of the Middle East. It is not economically consequential
except in the production of oil. And of course in that respect
Things are changing dramatically. So the big shift that’s taken place
with oil is two great changes. The first has been the increase
in American supply and the second is the decrease
in Chinese demand. American supply has
gone from 20 years ago, America made a million
barrels of oil a day. We now do nine million barrels. Think about the percentage increase. The United States will next year I
think be the largest producer of liquid hydrocarbons in the world. On the other side, you have Chinese
demand, which has slowed down for all kinds of reasons that you know. But those are the two great forces that
have had an impact on the price of oil. Increase in American supply,
decrease in Chinese demand. The fact that Yemen or Libya is more or
less stable one day or the next has turned out not to matter as
much and there’s a broader story here. Which is the story of what has
been going on in the world. It’s a story that is really
about these much larger forces that are changing the world. And the two great forces
changing the world right now are globalization and technology. They have been the drivers for the last
25 years, but they continue to be so. So if you look at the world from
the perspective of globalization. I grew up in India. The India I grew up in was completely
closed, autarkic, and really cut off from even basic information that you would
imagine it would be easy to get access to. When I was growing up in India, we had one
television channel when I was ten years old, black and white, it would show TV for
about four hours a day. And it was mostly documentaries about
the glories of Indian agriculture, which meant nobody watched it.>>[LAUGH]
>>And so, you had on Sunday nights, one Bollywood movie and before that, they would give you one piece
of imported entertainment. And it shows you how poor India was
what they could afford in 1978 or 79 was one 30 minute
episode of I Love Lucy. This is from the show from the 1960s. So that was our window
into the United States, which was a 20 year old sitcom
once a week, 22 minutes. Compare that to your
knowledge of the world today. If I compare that to what is going
on in India today it’s mind blowing. And that reality of a much more closed,
hermetically sealed. A word was true everywhere, people forget
but currency is that we now think of is routinely convertible
were not convertible. The French franc was not convertible, the Italian lira was not convertible,
the world was much more cordoned off. And that begins to change with
the fall of the Berlin wall, with the collapse of communism, and you get this extraordinary reality that
everyone starts to play the same game. Everyone starts participating
in the same global economy. So very, very different world than
one that had existed for decades and decades and decades before. And that is the world we are now living
in, where we think it is normal for all these countries to be participating,
trying to attract the same investment, trying to produce the same goods,
trying to go after the same markets. That reality has become the defining
feature of the world we live in. You could see it very simply in the data. So if you look at 1979,
before this world comes about. The number of countries that are growing
at 3% a year is about 30, 32, 33 depending on how you count it. The number of countries today that
are growing at 3% or more is above 80. In 2007 before the financial crisis,
it was 125. So you’ve something like tripled the
number of countries, maybe in a good year, quadrupled the number of countries that
have managed to navigate this new world, raise incomes, maintain some
degree of political stability. And that is the real story of what has
happened in the world over the last 20-25 years. It is not the story about al-Qaeda,
it is not the story of ISIS. Those guys will get a few paragraphs
in the history books but the reality of a China that went from being literally
the poorest country in the world. I don’t know where this is coming from,
but let’s hope it gets taken care of. A China that goes from a per-capita income
of about two hundred dollars, to now being the second largest economy in the world,
ten to fifteen percent of global GDP. That is the transformation of
the world that’s taking place. And these countries have
now risen to a point where, no matter what they have become new
participants in the global system. And you can see this everywhere you go. It’s not just Asia,
though it’s true in Asia. But you go to Latin America and
you see it in Latin America. You go to Africa, you see it there. And there are ups and downs. Brazil is doing badly now. Indonesia is doing well but the basic
trend to remember is that 25 years ago emerging markets, so called emerging
markets, made up under 5% of global GDP. Today they make up 45% of global GDP. That’s the big story,
what I call the rise of the rest. That is what has changed the world in this
last 25 years more than in the last 250. And that continues and that in many
ways is accelerating because so much of it is happening in terms
of the connections between people at the level of ideas,
information, travel. These are things you can’t really stop. By putting up a wall here or
a boarder there, the trend strikes me as
ineluctable because it is so bound up now with human consciousness,
with technology, and all of it persists. The second big trend of course is
the information revolution, and I’m gonna be hesitant to say very much
about technology at Stanford other than to point out how
recent this reality is. We forget now but If you go back to
1990 when the Berlin Wall came down, the cutting edge technology of
the day was the fax machine, right? I mean, if you think about the world
that you live in now, the tools you use. Smartphones, iPads and tablets,
laptops, even desktops, the Internet, barely existed in 1990,
as a mass phenomenon. I don’t know if you remember
the original Wall Street, the movie with Michael Douglas in it. My son and I were watching it the other
day and at one point, Michael Douglas, this investment banker, walks out of his East Hampton
beach house to make a phone call. And he picks up the device to make
a phone call and my son says to me, it looks like he’s calling
in a drone strike.>>[LAUGH]
>>Because the cell phone of the age was so large and unwieldly and
cumbersome that today, maybe the president needs
something that big. The truth is he probably doesn’t, right? And that’s only in 1990, that’s only 20 years ago that we had
a world that was not nearly transformed by all this
information as it is today. In 1991 when Saddam Hussein
invades Kuwait, I remember an American official
telling me the story at the time. Which is so when Saddam Hussein
invades Kuwait, the country that gets completely scared out of its mind is
Saudi Arabia, which is right next door. Because if Saddam Hussein has gone
into Kuwait for the oil, well, Saudi Arabia is right next to it. And that’s where the mother lode is. So all the tanks have to do is
keep driving for a half hour and they get to Saudi Arabia. So they’re trying to figure out,
do we call the Americans in, do we not? We’re a socially conservative country,
should we be doing this? And the king decides, and the king is
85 years old and not in good health. Basically that’s almost like
written into the Saudi Constitution that the king will be 85 years old and
not in good health.>>[LAUGH]
>>And so he says, let me take a little bit of time to
think about it, don’t tell anyone. So for one week in Saudi Arabia it
was a State secret that their next door neighbor had been invaded by Iraq. Imagine in today’s world, how long something like that
could stay a State secret, right? Two minutes? I mean, because you’ve got Al Jazeera,
Al Arabia, CNN, BBC, we’ve got websites
that would post it immediately. You’ve got phones, once you have a phone, if you remember what the original
formula for Twitter was. You were meant to answer the question,
what are you doing right now? So all somebody would have to do in Kuwait
was tweet, I’m being invaded by Iraq. And that’s the end of this huge
monopoly of information that the Saudi government had. And that very important part of
what makes governments work. In the 1930s when a rebel group would
take over a government capital, they would take the presidential
palace and the radio station. Cuz you wanted control of the political
power and control of information. In the 50s they would take the
presidential palace and the TV station. Today what would you take, right? Cuz information used to be given
out as a one to many system. Today every node of a network
system has almost equal power. And so, you could transmit, broadcast,
tweet the information out from anywhere. And it becomes much,
much more difficult to figure out where power resides in terms
of the control of information. So those are the kind of changes that
the information revolution has produced. And it’s only gonna keep accelerating,
right? So that the phones that you
have in your pockets and that some of you are quietly looking at.>>[LAUGH]
>>The phones that you have, have about as much power as NASA’s computers that took
man to the moon and back, times 100. That’s about as much power as the, what you have on your phone in your
pocket is basically a supercomputer. It is about the power of a Cray
supercomputer from the 1980s. And that’s every single person, right? That reality has just begun to be applied. And you see it in big data and you’re
going to see another great leap forward with regard to machine learning and
neural networks. So we’re just at the beginning of what the
application of this incredible computer power means to the Information Age. Now, let me tell you what one of
the consequences that people haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about, particularly
in a place like Silicon Valley, and I tell it to you by telling
you this statistic. If you look at the American
economy from 1945, if I had a chart or a PowerPoint, this
would be the only thing I’d put on it. I don’t believe in them because a guy
in the military once said to me, please don’t use PowerPoints. People who do rarely have any power and
they never have a point.>>[LAUGH]
>>So I decided to myself, okay, I’m never gonna use PowerPoint again. But if you look at American recessions and
recoveries from 1945, they go like this. From 1945 to 1990, the economy recovers,
gets back to its pre-recession level, then the jobs come back to
their pre-recession level. So economy gets back, then unemployment comes back to
the same numbers they were before. And that lag between when
the economy recovers, and the jobs come back has
been about 6 months. And the mean and the median are about
the same, it’s not very different. It takes 4 months, 8 months but
it’s basically been a short time period. 1990 that pattern is broken. The recession of the 1990s, the economy
comes back and the jobs come back, not 6 months later, 15 months later. The recovery of 2000,
the economy comes back and then the jobs come back not 6 months later,
not 15 months later, but 29 months later. And in our last recession, the economy
came back and the jobs came back not 6 months later, not 15 months later,
not 29 months later, 60 months later. So that suggests that something happened
around the 1990s that broke the connection between economic growth and employment in
a way that it hasn’t really mended it. And what is it and I would argue,
it is these two forces that I’ve just been describing, globalization and
technological change. These two forces have been
acting like a pincer movement. Now if you have capital,
they’re fantastic, because it means you have
extraordinary access to the world. You can find places that have low
interest rates to borrow from. You can find places that have high
GDP growth rates to sell into. You can find trained
populations you can employ. You can find pools of
capital you can access. You can play this great
global arbitrage game. But if you are an average guy, or an average person, living in an advanced
industrial economy, you face these same forces with the reality that
you can’t arbitrage a lot of them. You’re stuck in this high-wage,
high-income country, and the jobs can go. The robots can take the jobs away, and
what are you supposed to do about it? And that, I think,
is the underlying condition that we have to recognize about
the world we are living in. And this, I think, is going to be the kind
of fundamental challenge we face going forward, it’s not ISIS. The easy answer to this,
of course, is to look outside, but it is something deep within
us that we have to figure out. And it’s not gonna get any better, so
we’re living in the land of Google. So think about Google cars. Amazing, right? If you think about what it’s going to do. These cars have been driving for
hundreds of thousands of miles. They seem to be doing really well. And you can imagine 20 years from now,
people will look back and think, how crazy were we to entrust something
as dangerous as driving to human beings? You think about it, the driverless car
never gets drunk, never misses a turn, it’s never too dark,
it never gets blinded. There are all these obvious ways
where the machine does the job better than the human would. Now here’s the problem, the single most
common occupation held by an American man is to drive a car, bus or truck. That is the single most widespread
occupation in the United States. So what are these people going to do? That reality that we have not completely
confronted and completely grappled with is one of the central dynamics of
this new world that I’m describing. Now in order to understand
what to do about it, we have to recognize what is
stirring as a result of it. If you look around the world today, what
is striking to me in an age of technology and globalization that the most powerful
force is the return of identity. The return of nationalism in large parts
of the world, whether you look at Russia, China, Turkey, India. If you look at Western Europe, in almost
every Western European country you are seeing a decided shift toward
a nationalist populist right. And of course, the best, simplest way to understand Donald Trump is
as part of this international phenomenon. The extraordinary success of Donald Trump
is that he has been able to run In a party that was defined ever since
Ronald Reagan as an internationalist, free trade, free market,
open borders party. He has run as a nationalist,
populist, protectionist xenophobe. And of the 17 candidates, he won, right? That it tells you something about
a discontent out there, there is a backlash out there, that he has been
able to very effectively capitalize on. And he recognized, perhaps as a good
businessman, seeing his customer, he recognized that the Republican Party
out there was not actually that interested in entitlement reform,
in flat taxes, in the ending of inheritance duties. What they were interested in hearing
about was Mexicans, Chinese, Muslims. In other words, they wanted to make sense
of what they saw as a world that was being disrupted in 100 different ways. And they wanted to know it was
someone else’s fault, right? Now that’s the easy answer. That is the demagogic answer but it is a very effective answer
to people who are in distress. And it is in some sense the answer
that is being provided by right wing nationalist parties in Europe. And it is the answer that Mr. Putin provides his people when he explains
why he has to do what he has to do. And it is the argument that
the Chinese government is providing when it finds itself in trouble. It’s even being made in Japan, where you
have a more nationalist Prime Minister in Japan than you’ve had for
decades and decades. Everywhere, you are finding the return
of this force that people had often thought was antiquated,
was irrational. And if you dial back to the first
part of what I was talking about, the one place where you don’t see
nationalism is the Middle East. But that’s because the National Project
is so fragile that, instead, what has happened is people have delved down deeper
and found deeper senses of identity. But they are all looking for some sense of
identity, for some security, some force that can anchor them in a world that
they see as being enormously disruptive. Now I have a generally
optimistic bend of mind. I tend to think that at the end of
the day the forces of globalization, of technology which
are forces of integration. They’re forces of growth,
they’re forces of technological progress, are more powerful than
the backlash against them. What we are witnessing is an extraordinary
error in human productivity. If you think about what I was just saying
about the super computer in every pocket and you ask yourself what that will mean
for human potential, it’s extraordinary. Give you one final example
just to illustrate why one can still be very hopeful. You look at a country like India. India has had basically very little
contact so far with the Internet because India, for those of you who have been,
has pretty crappy infrastructure. And so when you think about
the Internet until, for the most part, the Internet means
broadband, Wi-Fi, that kind of thing. And you just don’t have it except in the
big cities for upper middle-class people. So, two years ago I think it would be fair
to say about 100 million people in India had good internet access. By the end of 2018, 1 billion people in
India will have good internet access. Why? Because of smartphones and 4G. You are seeing a revolution of smartphones
with 4G blanketing the country, and so that $35 phones are being
sold that have very strong 4G, that can access video, that can
access the information of the world. Think about what we’re talking about. We’re talking about three times
the population of the United States having access to the Internet and all of
the information and knowledge it means. And that means an ecosystem of commerce. That means an ecosystem of empowerment. It’s got to be good, right? We believe in human capital. We believe this stuff is important. But we have to remember that we
have to address these forces of backlash of identity, of pushback. And the most important place that they
can be addressed is the United States, because at the end of the day, the United States is the country that
has created the world I just described. At the end of the World War II, it is the
United States that went around the world telling people, break down your barriers,
lower tariffs, open yourselves up to trade, open yourselves up to technology,
have more participatory policies. In other words, the whole revolution,
politically, economic, technological, that has been taking place around
the world has been powered, championed by the United States. So my one great fear, however, is that,
while we’ve been spreading it all very well around the world,
we haven’t done so much at home. And that some historian will look
back 100 years from now and say, the United States at the end of the 20th
century and the beginning of the 21st century, it really managed to achieve
its core foreign policy objective. It globalized the world. It just forgot along the way to
globalize the United States of America. Thank you all very much.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Thank you.>>[APPLAUSE]>>All right, questions. Comments, disagreements are welcomed but
remember, you’ve got lots of people here. So if you can make sure they’re brief and that there is actually
a question mark at the end.>>[LAUGH]
>>First of all, thank you very much for being a voice of reason in all
of this complicated stuff. You described the democratization and
information from technology, and it seems that that is a force that
could put things back together but has been used actually to tear
the Middle East to pieces. And it seems that most civil society
was originally built in the era before that and was able to graduate
up to the new modern technology. I’m curious, how do you think you’d
get from having total destruction and no civil society Using this technology is
actually a counterweight against you now, how do you graduate up again?>>Yeah, it’s a great question and
you’re absolutely right. The technology has,
in that context, been a force for disruption and
destabilization and atomization. It has pulled the country and
the social fabric apart. And now you have this reality of chaos. What it really emphasizes, it seems to me,
is the importance of politics, that you know, we sometimes tend to
think that technology or economics, that they will sorta
magically make things happen. But, that what happened in these
countries, is that because you did not have strong political institutions,
you did not have strong political parties. What you ended up with is the atrophy and
the erosion of order. And so the only way I think you will
manage to do it is to rebuild some of that political capital,
some of those political institutions, some of that political order. The false hope would be a strong
man on a horse who comes in and scares everybody,
because a, that won’t work. I think we live in an age where
it’s much easier to disrupt. And so it’s easier for ISIS to disrupt. It’s easier for
ISIS’s competitors to disrupt. But where you have an actual
political project, look at Egypt. Egypt is the one country that
went through this disruption but was able to return and recover itself. And I’m not, I don’t make any apologies
for what is a very dictatorial place. But it’s worth interest and understanding from a historical
perspective, why was Egypt able to do it? Because Egypt has had a state for
5,000 years with the same, roughly the same borders, the same cities. Cairo has been around for
the longest time, and that may have something to do with it. That there is an internal, organic order. It is the pharaoh’s state, after all,
that was able to reassert its authority. While what happened in the other
places was when order was collapsed, there was no political force that
could reemerge and reassert itself. So, politics is very hard and messy. But, it is important and it’s one of
the reasons I worry a great deal about the destruction of great
political institutions, like the Republican Party, to put it
in an entirely other context, yeah?>>Good evening, my question
will include the Trump word but I don’t want to talk about Trump.>>It’s inevitable, don’t worry.>>[LAUGH]
>>You mentioned institutions, why is it that, that political
campaign identified this force that has been now talked about and what you
described so well, and journalists didn’t?>>Great question, why was it that Trump. So I was saying to Steve Denning,
the moment for me that crystallized that Trump had a kind of genius, was the
first debate, 17 people and they asked, are you in favor of entitlement reform,
cutting social security and medicare? Now, you understand, it is an article of faith in the
Republican Party that the way you show you assert your manhood is by saying that
you’re in favor cutting Social Security. And Trump says no, I’m not gonna
cut Social Security and Medicare. Why?
Because he just looked at his audience I think and
noticed they’re all old people.>>[LAUGH]
>>[LAUGH] And why would they want to cut
Social Security and Medicare? So what was happening behind
the scenes is that the Republican party is funded by a very,
very powerful group of people. And I don’t mean in this narrow,
self-interest terms, but who genuinely believe in a certain kind of very free
market economics, limited government. And in that bubble,
it was very important to demonstrate your willingness to say something tough
and hard, and stern and unpopular. And, they’ve convinced themselves frankly,
that everybody agreed with them. I think that one of
the things we’ve realized is that the Republican party
is not that conservative. Because, look, there were 17
people running for the nomination. The least conservative man won. So there was something,
there was a disjuncture there, and the media probably was too busy
covering the funders, the donors, the think tanks that they don’t,
the ideologists of the Republican Party. And not actually going
out into the country and talking to these people who are actual
living, breathing Republicans. And I think frankly we
all made that mistake. The media made the mistake and
of course, most importantly, these 16 other candidates who were running
against Donald Trump made that mistake. But here’s what I worry about. Whatever happens to Donald Trump, people will not forget that he identified
that and was successful at it. And that market is out there. And politics is very much
like free market economics. Once you notice a market, people will go. Where there is a demand for a certain kind
of politician, there will be a supply. So Donald Trump will not
the the last populous, nationalist, protectionist candidate,
isolationist candidate we will see.>>Thank you very much for your comments. You sort of mentioned the rise of right
wing nationalist parties in Europe and then drew some parallels to what’s
happened in the United States presidential election, our primary so far. What differences do you see in
what’s happened in Europe and what you see happening in
the United States today?>>That’s a great question. I think that, look,
I’m an immigrant to the United States. So I think fundamentally,
the United States will overcome this. We will not go down the path
of the kind of angry, xenophobic nationalism that is potentially
the danger in a place like France. I think America has, the actual
facts are that the United States has done a very good job
assimilating immigrants. It has done an extremely good job
assimilating Mexican immigrants. It has done a very good job
assimilating Muslim immigrants, much better than European countries. And I think that the more people,
you know, we go through paroxysms of fear and
paranoia and things like that. But then we come to our senses. And I don’t believe that the United States
will go down a path like this permanently, whereas in Europe, I do worry. American nationalism is
fundamentally defined by ideas. As long as you subscribe to the ideas,
you are an American, right? In France, for example, nationalism
is a more blood and soil thing. It’s we’ve been in these forests for
a thousand years. And that’s what defines us as a nation. Well, what do you with the guy
who came from Algeria last week? How does he fit into that
conception on nationalism? That’s the problem that Europe has and
it’s not an easy problem to solve. It’s not easy to suddenly say, we’re also
ideas based nationalism when you haven’t been that for a thousand years. So I think that’s the big difference. America has an easy path out, and it has a path which is to just
preach what it’s practicing. If you look on the ground, there’s
this great article by James Fallows in the Atlantic, where he goes around two or
three dozen cities in America. Small cities like Sioux Falls and
places like that. And he asked them,
what do you think is going on in America? And they say my god,
the country is collapsing, falling apart, totally on the wrong track. And he says, what do you think
is happening in Sioux Falls? We’re doing great. We’re assimilating the immigrants. We’ve found new training opportunities. We’re raising a bond issue for
the school system. And I think, that’s the reality in America
is Tocqueville’s great observation, most of the progress is bottom up. But, you know the danger is,
we have people at the top, who are trying to give energy
to these ideas of divisiveness. And look,
it’s a seductive thing to be told, right? To be told, your life sucks and
it’s not your fault. It’s the fault of some Mexicans,
and Muslims, and Chinese, and Trump goes on about
the Japanese, which is kind of bizarre.>>[LAUGH]
>>I think it comes from the time he came to power in the 1980s in New York. And everyone thought Japan was
gonna take over the world. Somebody needs to tell Mr. Trump that Japan has been in
quasi-recession for 27 years now. That they really don’t need to worry. Of all the countries that
are gonna take over the world, Japan is not on the top of that list.>>I love your presentation
of the problem, I’d like to hear a little more about
your opinions about the solutions. In particular, whether or not you think
the universal basic income is a good idea.>>Universal basic income. It’s a very intriguing idea. Because if you take the logic of machine
learning and neural networks further and further. And you say to yourself, increasingly,
the work that lawyers do, for example. What do young lawyers do a lot of? They do a lot of discovery. What is discovery? It’s searching documents. Now, who’s gonna be better at that? [LAUGH] A 25-year-old kid working at 2:00
AM in the morning on six cups of coffee, or a machine? And if you look at a lot of what
doctors do, a doctor’s diagnosis, a good doctor can hold 300 or
400 articles in his head. The Watson, the IBM computer, looks at hundreds of thousands of
articles within a few minutes. So you start going down that path and you say to yourself there’s an awful
lot of this stuff that machines can do. But then you, I think, have to think
about from the terms of the upside. There’s a lot of the stuff
human beings didn’t want to do. You didn’t want to memorize 400 articles. You didn’t wanna spend years and years of
your life searching through documents for specific tag lines and words. So is it possible that it’d frees us up
to do things that are uniquely human? That are about social interaction and human interaction and
emotional interaction and creativity. It allows you to expand that
sphere of what is genuinely, distinctively human, and
let the machines do the copying. Let the machines do the routine stuff. But for that to work you need
some political construct. Probably like a universal basic income
where you recognize that the society’s gonna generate lots of wealth. We’re gonna have a great deal of
difficulty figuring out how to distribute it. I have a friend of mine
who’s a libertarian who says well what about if we
came up with this idea. We take 50% of the GDP and we distribute it and that gives
everybody $20,000, if you do the math. $20,000 guaranteed annual basic income,
and say the other 50% of GDP is the pure free market with no government
involvement at all. It should satisfy the libertarians. It’s of course the kind of idea that will
never happen, but it gets at something we have to start thinking about, which is,
if we are going to find ourselves in this kind of accelerated
automation era. How do we make it an opportunity,
not a threat?>>Within the past few days,
Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu resigned from office, which some analysts
has clarified as a potential push of power from Recep Erdogan, the President. With Erdogan solidifying some
of his powers in the past few years how do you view Turkey’s role in
the Middle East in the next few years and its role in the global sphere
in the next couple of decades?>>So looking at Turkey is actually a very
interesting way of understanding our own mistaken prisms. When Erdogan came to power,
if you remember, he comes from a kind of conservative
party that has an Islamist background. Everybody in the West was absolutely
paranoid that he was going to turn Turkey into Iran and that the whole prism through
which we looked at him was really Iran. Theocracy, these were all
the dangers that we kept looking at. It turns out, he’s not so much an Islamic
theocrat, as a regular elected autocrat. His model was not Iran,
it was Putin’s Russia. He was trying to accumulate power,
get rid of political opposition, silence the press, find ways to
rule in an unobtrusive fashion. And if we had been more attentive to that
danger at a time when Turkey was much more susceptible to influence, I think we would
have had a much greater impact on him. Remember, Turkey, in miniature, encapsulates the story I was
telling of the rise of the West. 30 years ago, the Turkish economy
was a basketcase economy, constantly bailed out by the World Bank and
by the United States, ruled by generals. And so when the United States said to
them jump, they only asked how high. Today the Turkish economy
has quadrupled in size. It is a consolidated political system which is mostly Democratic with
a very powerful popular leader. Most powerful popular leader since
Otto Turk, the founder of Turkey. When Washington says jump,
he doesn’t even listen. When Europe says jump,
he doesn’t even listen. So part of the challenge
in this new world is, you have these new realities of
countries you can’t influence that much. Turkey is going down a path
that I think is very worrying. Again, not so much Islamism. There have actually been almost
no legislated Islamism in Turkey. But there has been a great deal of
legislated and non-legislated usurpation of power, the destruction of the press,
the elimination or sidelining of political features that
make up a society of checks and balances. And one hopes it does not happen because Turkey has been this extraordinary
shining light in the world of Islam. And it’s still a point worth pointing out,
it still retains much of that Democratic character though it gets less and
less every six months. Sir, I think we’re gonna have to
make this the last, I’m so sorry.>>I really relate and thank you for comment about we’ve done a lousy job
of selling globalization at home. Even on your show on Sunday,
in talking about trade with China, you talked about the downside,
jobs moving overseas. The upside being
inexpensive products here. Without talking about the fact that
all those dollars have to come back to this country and create jobs here. There are companies all over
this state that have financed with dollars from China and
their products are brought over here. And nobody talks about that or finds the people that are benefiting
from the dollars coming back. How can we do a better
job of selling that.>>No, so when Donald Trump talks
about the trade deficit, and this now gets into economics and most
people, their eyes start to glaze over. But the logical converse of
the trade deficit is the investment surplus that comes into the United States,
which is huge. And he keeps talking about how he’s
gonna get people to invest in America. People are investing in America. That’s why we have a trade deficit. That’s why we have all this
money of people coming, sending money into the United States.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>And it’s very difficult to explain that, it’s actually very unusual for
a country which has an extraordinary pool of capital itself, to attract this
much capital from the rest of the world. But when you attract that much
capital from the rest of the world, you kinda have to buy something. And what we’ve tended to do
is buy cheap Chinese junk. And so be it. There are probably other choices but
the point is that what you’re trying to get at is the complicated mesh-like
two way street that globalization is. It’s very difficult to explain. And the reason is because
the costs are shallow and distributed across the country. We all benefit, it’s like having
everyone getting a tax cut. Lower cost of goods, services, lower
costs of food, lower costs of travel, but you don’t say, thank you China,
when that happens. You don’t say, thank you India. You don’t But when you see a factory go
out of work, and you hear that the people are being sent to Mexico, or
the factory is being sent to Mexico. That’s one factory, one town. And this is the problem with the American
political system in general. We respond to concentrated
narrow interests. People often talk about majority rules. My fear is in America sometimes we don’t
have majority rule, we have minority rule. Angry, aggrieved,
concentrated minorities who send 20 emails a day to their congressmen and
you guys don’t, right? And so guess whose voice gets heard? And when you hear about
why gun legislation, gun control doesn’t pass, or
why you have these extraordinary efforts to disenfranchise
people in the southern states? It is still going on. It is extraordinary. It is because there are people who care,
that’s a smaller segment of people. They care deeply and passionately, and they are the ones who send the ten
emails a day and then there are all of us who kind of feel like we’ve got
other things to do with our lives. And we’ve got to do something about that
because I really do think that American democracy is right now going to go
through its very difficult test. And if the vast majority does
not mobilize and speak up and speak up with the kind of passion for
these goods that we hold in common, these values that we hold, and the ideal
of an optimistic view of the world. There is a great danger. The fundamental misconception, I think
that people have out there, and it’s because it’s been peddled by politicians
for so long is that the United States is in some kind of deep structural,
economic, political and cultural decline. Which to me looks like a kind of fantasy
land when you look at it from any other country in the world. We’re growing 50% faster than Europe. We’re growing four times
faster than Japan. If you look around the world,
emerging markets are in trouble. The United States is politically
stable Is economically dynamic, it doesn’t have any big bubbles as it
did in the past whether it’s in housing, whether it’s in other areas. I realize saying that in Silicon Valley
is a much more difficult reality, but the fundamental truth
about the United States is we dominate the world of technology, which
is the emerging industries of the future. We are demographically vibrant
in a way that very few rich, advanced countries are. We take in, forget all the talk you
hear about illegal immigration, we take in a million
legal immigrants a year. That’s more than the rest
of the world put together. And that provides and incredible vital
source of energy forward to this country. We have transformed the energy market so that the United States is
essentially energy independent. And you have,
now I’m going to say something crazy that you’re going to is true but
we have pretty good government. By which I mean local government
in the United States, which is what most government is,
actually functions very well. If you look back over the last 30 or
40 years, I would argue that cities and states by and large are better run
today than they’ve been in the past, and the old system was patronage,
corruption, crazy, left-wing politics. Today, it’s much more technocratic,
evidence-based. Think about Garcetti in LA,
you think about Rahm Emanuel in Chicago, you think about Bloomberg in New York, you think about most of the major cities
that are being run in that fashion. As for Washington, look here’s my
one saving grace about Washington, the world went through a near death
experience in 2008, 2009, right. And you had an interesting
social science experiment. Around the world,
different countries had to respond. And I think it’s absolutely
clear the US responded the best to the great crisis and recession. And we came out of it because we responded
best, because we fired on all cylinders. We did fiscal, monetary, reform and
recap of the banking sector, everything. If you would have written a story and said let’s make up a scenario where we
really test the American political system. What would be the worst
time to get America to do big controversial difficult things? You’d say, let’s make it in the last year
of an unpopular president, and let’s have all the crucial decisions actually
take place in the lame duck period. When the President has been elected, but not inaugurated,
that’s when all this stuff happened. It was Barack Obama’s
incoming administration and George W Bush’s out-going,
with Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner working together that
managed to do all this stuff. So, that’s extraordinary. Now you say, okay that’s,
in deep crisis mode, but after that,
we’ve been in gridlock and paralysis. To which I think sometimes, maybe
the Founding Fathers wanted exactly that. Which was, every now and then American
government in Washington springs to life, rescues the world and then-
>>[LAUGH]>>And then slumbers back into gridlock and deadlock.>>[LAUGH]
>>So that it can’t do very much.>>[LAUGH]
>>And maybe in its own way that is
the genius of the American system. Thank you all very much.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Thank you all very much.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Thank you.

10 thoughts on “America in a New World with Fareed Zakaria

  • Utterly naive – the forces of our human determination are not benign and abstract. There has been a deliberate force of the government no matter where you look – that is the real government policy that is centrally determined through international global finance which has been in place since the creation of the central banking system manipulated into control by the European oligarchs – that has been the ultimate determinant of the distribution of resources that can be described as the war on the poor.

  • All the problems nowadays have very few to do with the liberal international order or the globalization. It has been creating the safe environment for the peaceful development in the world. What the real wrong is that western only takes their advantage selfishly and they have been violating the the orders and laws they set up. Counting the most wars, chaos and "Color Revolution" western declared and made since WWII then we could conclude that we should not only keep, but also modify the liberal international order in order to meet the requirement of nowadays reality and prevent those good orders from abusing, like western did before. Actually, what we should bring to the end now is western domination, especially their religious ideology-driven "democracy" export and their political correct. It has been causing the western decline and reduced western confidence while all Asian countries, especially China, have been making big progress and the people there are full of hope and confidence for their future.

  • My interview with Dr Ajay Mathur, a member of Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change and a key negotiator, was the Indian spokesperson at the 2015 Paris Climate Accord negotiation. He speaks to me about the implications of the Trump-led US government’s pull out from the climate accord on India’s efforts to combat climate change and the domestic energy-efficiency ecosystem.

  • America in a new world… where propaganda experts like Fareed publish hypothetical interviews with foreign leaders, putting words into their mouths? And they wonder why they've earned the title #fakenews.

  • Stop your western religious propaganda, finish your home work first, please. Otherwise, how could other non-western population believe you?

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