tv Fareed Zakaria GPS CNN June 18, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT
this is "gps," the global public square. welcome to all of you in the united states and around the world, i'm fareed zakaria. we'll begin today's show with the shocking shooting on that beltway ballfield. [ gunfire ] what does it say about how divided america is, how angry her people are at each other. and what are the chances of real reconciliation between the parties and amongst the american people. i have people who have studied and worked on just these issues. and another area sharply divided, the middle east. the split between the gulf states and qatar. what will bring the crisis to a close? i will ask qatar's former prime minister.
also, the trump boom. why have american stock markets gone up, up and further up while the country is mired in political turmoil and paralysis? ruchir charma will offer his plains. finally, america's census recounts its people every ten years. this country is embarking on a census to count its islands, and there are thousands of them. but first here's my take. this week's shooting at a congressional baseball practice was a ghastly example of the political polarization that is ripping this country apart. political scientists have shown that congress is more divided than at any time since the end of reconstruction. i for one am struck not simply by the depth of partisanship these days but increasingly its nature. the feeling seems to me that people on the other side of the
divide are not just wrong and to be argued with, they are immoral and must be muzzled or punished. this is not about policy. the chasm between left and right during much of the cold war was far wider than it is today. many on the left wanted to nationalize or substantive whole industries. on the right they wanted a total rollback of the new deal. today's divisions feel relatively small. partisanship today is more about identity. the scholars, ronald englehart and pippa morris have argued that in the last few decades, people have begun to define themselves politically less by traditional economic measures and instead by identity, their gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation. >> i would add to this mix social class, something rarely spoken of in america but a powerful determinant of how we see ourselves. the 2016 election, for example, had a lot to do with social class, with non-college educated rural voters reacting against
the professional urban elite. the dangerous aspect of this new form of politics is that identity does not lend itself easily to compromise. when the core divide was economic, you could always split the difference. if one side wanted to spend $100 billion and the other wanted to spend zero, well, there was a number in between. the same is true with tax cuts or welfare policy. but if the core issues are about identity, culture and religion, think about abortion, gay rights, confederate monuments, immigration, official languages, then compromise seems almost immoral. american politics in that sense is becoming more like middle eastern politics where there is no middle ground between being a sunni and a shiite. i've seen this shift in the reactions to my own writing and later my television show. when i started writing columns about two decades ago, the disagreements were often scathing but almost always about the substance of the issue. increasingly there is little
discussion about the substance, mostly add whom nen attacks often involving my race or ethnicity. today everything becomes fodder for partisanship. consider the now famous production of the public theater's "julius caesar" in central park where caesar resembles president trump. they are claiming that it glorifies the assassination of a president and seeking to defund the production. since i tweeted a line praising the production, i've received a barrage of attacks, many of them quite nasty. in 2012, a production of the same play "julius caesar" had an obama-like caesar and no one seems to have complained. in fact, the central message of julius caesar was the assassination was a disaster, leading to the civil war anarchy and the fall of the roman
republic. the assassins were defeated, humiliated, racked with guilt, died horrible deaths. the play's director has explained the message he intended to convey. quote, julius caesar can can be read as a warning parable for those who try to fight for democracy by undemocratic means. political theater is as old as human civilization. a sophisticated play by shakespeare that actually presents caesar, or trump, in a mixed, somewhat favorable light is something to be discussed, not censored, and certainly not blamed for the actions of a single deranged shooter. i recently gave a speech at bucknell university in which i criticized america's mostly liberal colleges for silencing views they deemed offensive, arguing that it was bad for the students and the country. the same holds for conservatives who try to mount campaigns to defund art they deem offensive. do conservatives now want central park to be their own special safe space? i for one will keep arguing that liberals and conservatives
should open themselves to all kinds of opinions and ideas that differ from their own. instead of trying to silence, excommunicate and punish, let's look at the other side and try to listen, engage, and when we must, disagree. for more go to cnn.com/fareed and read my "washington post" column this week, and let's get started. so exactly how can the left and the right, the democrats and the republicans of the united states, stop this struggle? how can they reconcile? that's what i want to talk about today with a group of very smart people who have given a lot of thought to these subjects. david blanken horn is a thinker and author and the president of better angels, a group dedicated to reuniting america. jill abramson is the former
executive editor of "the new york times," currently teaching, writing at harvard. ed luce is washington columnist for "the financial times," and authority of a new book, "the retreat of western liberalism. and a distinguished professor of peace and reconciliation at u-mass boston. david blanken horn, let me start with you. what do you think is dividing us so deeply these days? is it fundamentally economics, social class, culture, how do you see it? >> we're definitely divided by ideology left and right, but we're also -- there's a tremendous class divide with the top 25% or 30% having less and less interaction with everybody else. there's also a governing divide that people in the u.s. both right and left don't trust anybody, even their own people, to be effective politicians. so there's i'd say three levels of polarization all increasing.
>> how does it strike you, compared with other countries? is america more divided? >> i believe it's very important that we begin this program by acknowledging first the condition of congressman scalise and the hope for his family and wish hip well on his long way to recovery. but we should also acknowledge james hodgkinson. he has been demonized in the media, called evil and other things. and we forget in doing so that he was a human being, that he had a family, that he had children, that he laughed, that he cried, that he was happy, that he was sad. we forget that people mourn his loss. they're ashamed of him. and if we don't humanize him too, if we other him, we are
really at what i would say the fundamental root of the conflict, and that is that we engage in behavior in which we other the other. we rob them of the legitimacy of their humanity. and i think that is true across societies in conflict in other places and also true in the united states. you have two segments of the population that for all intents and purposes don't know each other. with the rise of social media, rather than connecting people, it has disconnected them. what you have is people in blue states talking to people in blue states and people in red states talking to people in red states and neither are talking to each other. >> ed luce, in your book, "the retreat of western liberalism," you deal with this issue because you talk about how liberalism has always been premised on the idea that people can argue with
one another, that there is a rational basis for argument and from that argument will come some kind of common wisdom. do you think this has just collapsed in the united states? >> well, i think if you look at what the founding fathers said and what other greats and liberal thinkers like jon stewart mills said, is that the clash of steel, the clash of ideas will always produce better outcomes. as long as this debate takes place in the public square. but what we have in today's america and in other democracies is quite separate public squares. so the late daniel patrick moynihan, another great liberal figure in the larger sense of the word liberal said you're entitled to your own opinions but you're not entitled to your own facts. it's very hard to have that intelligent argument if people are in different -- not only in different squares, but there isn't even a sort of connecting
corridor between the squares. it's very hard to imagine how civility can ensue when people don't even meet each other or live near each other who hold different positions or let their children marry or wish their children to marry people of different views. so that's my concern, there is no public square. >> jill, you've written that you think that while all this is true, this is not a situation where both sides are equally at fault. >> i do think that both sides are not equally at fault and that there's been a bit of a false equivalency at work, especially in the discussion over the past couple of days. i think that in terms of political leadership right now, that both president trump and the congressional leadership on
the republican side are extremely divisive and that they are really benefitting from a kind of rage machine that operates in this country. and, yes, let's just think of two recent episodes. health care and the repeal of obamacare. when the democrats were actually shaping that legislation originally and the obama white house, they had open hearings, public hearings. right now, the republican-led senate is having entirely secret process for formulating their bill. no hearings. they won't even brief democrats in the senate about what's in that legislation. and then when president obama nominated a moderate, merrick
garland, to the supreme court, the republicans refused to take action and hold a hearing on his nomination. the democrats didn't do that with president trump's nominee. so it isn't equivalent behavior on both sides. >> all right. i'm going to ask david blankenhorn to respond to that and whether it is more the republican fault, but also i want to get at what can we do to make things better and to look internationally where there are examples of reconciliation back in history. maybe the northern island will give us some clues when we come back. okay. got it.
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luce, and padraig o'malley talking about lessons from abroad for bridging america's vast political divide. david blankenhorn, i first have to ask you, it's not just what jill abramson said. people at the american enterprise institute and the brookings institute who have kind of studied this and come to the conclusion that it is true that the republicans have become more extreme than the democrats, that while there is a polarization on both sides, the shift on the right is much more extreme than on the left. do you buy that? >> i'm familiar with that literature. i think there's a lot of truth to it. but today what i'm not that interested in figuring out who's more to blame. i'm honestly not. i'm mainly interested in recovering what was just called on the show the common public square, and that's why what i'm doing now, i'm going around the country and we're bringing together people who are generally supportive of president trump and people who are critical and we're having
meetings where we talk to one another. not about one another, not at one another, but actually talk with one another. and we're doing this around the country. and i'll tell you, it's a wonderful thing to see, because we're not as -- when we actually talk to one another, we're not as divided as we thought. there's a lot less demonization. there's a lot of reduction in rancor. your blood pressure goes down. you feel better about your country. and that's what we need to do. irrespective of what the politicians do, irrespective of bad behavior in washington and irrespective of who is most to blame for the mess we're in. >> padraig, what are the lessons from ireland, from northern ireland? >> every human being has two personas. one is the ideological persona and the other is the human persona. the ideological persona can be
nationalism, can be marxism, can be socialism, can be any kind of ism. and then on the flip side you have the human being, who laughs, who cries, who cares for his children, who wonder about their kids, and we must talk to that person, not to the ism. we must get back to not othering other people. and i hear -- what disturbs me a lot is that i watch a fair amount of msnbc. i am distraught that it has become -- it is adding to polarization because it has the same guests on not only night after night but sometimes two or three times in the same night, and they're all saying the same thing and they're all trying to earn points against trump.
that does not help and it does not help to say that one side is more at fault than the other. >> jill, we can have people talk to one another, ordinary people, but what do you think is the role for leadership? because it does seem to me, at least, that some part of this divide has been produced by a political elite that has becomine increasingly divisive and increasingly nasty about one another. >> well, i agree with you on that. i do think that journalism does have a role to play if we're going to have some kind of reconciliation and lessening of this very intense partisanship and extremism, you know, in either of the parties because i think what our society desperately needs is to regain a
respect for facts. and the reality that there is an objective truth that can be obtained. and yes, there are many media organizations that compound partisanship and extremism, but there are a group of very high quality news organizations that try very hard to tell the news straight and to cover stories truthfully and bringing the reality of how people live to life in news stories, and i just think it's incredibly dangerous right now that we live in a society where people can't even agree on what a fact is. >> can i pick up on another point about leadership? i think an example that padraig
and others have studied is south africa. why is it that south africa didn't descend into a politics of racial vengeance against the white minority had sustained apartheid for so long. i think there's one pretty simple answer and that is nelson mandela. nelson mandela was an extraordinary individual and he set the tone for the politics through the truth and reconciliation commission that was a nonpunitive way of looking at the crimes of apartheid and through just his very manner. his very bearing as a leader of the new south africa. so leadership is hugely important. and i can't sort of be asked my views on this subject without mentioning that it works the other way. when you get leaders who demonize and who call out and who insult and who mock, like donald trump does, then you're going to get an equally bad signal and an enabling behavior for people out there. so i totally agree with the sentiments of what everybody has
said, that you need to get people who disagree with each other talking to each other, seeing their human side. i think that's absolutely vital. but i also think it is critical that you have leaders who do not go for the lowest sort of human insult whenever they feel that they're being challenged. i'm sorry to say, but that's kind of the elephant in the room here. it is president trump. >> well, this is a fascinating conversation and we will have to have it again because i don't think this problem is going away. thank you all. next on "gps," president trump says he wants to fix america's crumbling infrastructure, which is great. but it turns out he wants somebody else to pay for most of it. i say that's a bridge too far, a rusting, rotting, broken bridge too far, when we come back. think again. this is the new new york. we are building new airports all across the state.
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now for our "what in the world" segment. i've often said if donald trump does something that to my analysis is right, i would support it. and the one piece of his campaign rhetoric with which i agreed entirely was his promise to put forward a $1 trillion plan to rebuild america's infrastructure. the problem stares us in the face every day, from a spillway failure at the nation's tallest dam causing the evacuation of 188,000 people, to a bridge collapse several years ago at a major transportation artery which killed 13 people, public works in the united states are in such poor shape that the american society of civil engineers gives the nation's crumbling infrastructure a barely passing grade of d plus this year. now, in case you missed it, the president did unveil his infrastructure proposal on the banks of the ohio river in cincinnati. >> my new vision for american
infrastructure will rebuild our country by generating $1 trillion in infrastructure investment. >> but, it turns out, trump's infrastructure plan is not a trillion dollar public works project. it's already just $200 billion worth of corporate tax breaks and incentives spread out over nine years, which theoretically will spark a trillion dollars worth of infrastructure investment mostly by private investors and state and local governments. his actual budget cuts the department of transportation's budget by 13% and the army corps of engineers' budget by 16%. some of trump's new proposals are worth considering, such as the one to turn the nation's air traffic control system into a nonprofit corporation, a model that has worked well in canada. in general, privatization is worth trying, but it has to be structured carefully. in the uk, for example, private investors successfully run heathrow airport, which increased passenger volume and actually turns a profit.
but when a private consortium tried to operate london's underground in the mid-2000s, they went bankrupt and, according to bloomberg, left british taxpayers on the hook for as much as $516 million. and none of this changes the fundamental reality. the federal government needs to spend large sums of money to repair and rebuild america's infrastructure. as a percentage of total federal spending, we're spending less now than at almost any time in the past 60 years on infrastructure. the u.s. ranks 15th in infrastructure spending, behind china, of course, but behind australia and brazil, according to a 2016 mckenzie report. fancy schemes and phrases like public-private partnership won't change that reality. as another mckenzie report pointed out, businesses and investors fear returns from infrastructure projects will be way too low. there's little money to be made in fixing leaky water pipes and filling potholes.
several economists have pointed out that with interest rates so low, this is the ideal time to borrow money to invest in something that has large and tangible payoffs, less traffic, shorter commutes, greater productivity throughout the economy. writing for the bond buyer, two pundies suggested that trump issue tax exempt make america great again bonds, great idea. plus, congress should raise the federal gas tax, one of the main funding sources for infrastructure repairs. that tax has remained unchanged at 18.4 cents since 1993, which when taking inflation into account, means it buys 40% less than it did 24 years ago as "the new york times" calculated. if congress doesn't somehow raise more money, the cbo says the highway trust fund budget shortfall will reach $139 billion in just ten years. conservatives like to say there is no free lunch.
well, there are no free bridges, train stations and roads either. if we want to make american infrastructure great again, we will have to pay for it. next on "gps," the dow jones industrial average was up almost 100 points on the day donald trump was inaugurated. now it's up well over 1,000 points since then. a boom during a time of political turmoil. rfr ruchir sharma will explain why this is happening. uchir sharma will explain why this is happening. ...managing was all i was doing. when i told my doctor,... ...i learned humira is for people who still have symptoms of moderate to severe crohn's disease... ...even after trying other medications. in clinical studies,... the majority of people on humira... saw significant symptom relief... ...and many achieved remission. humira can lower your ability... ...to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers,
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150 days since inauguration. why are america's markets up big league, as president trump might say? it's a question that puzzles many and morgan stanley's ruchir charma is here to explain that and much more. >> ruchir, it's a larger puzzle in a way for people. there are lots of people that felt that obama had a business unfriendly policy in many ways and yet the market kept going up. people said when brexit happens, you know, the markets will tank. they didn't really. when trump was elected, people said markets would tank. not so much because trump would be so terrible, but the uncertainty, the question. you have a fundamentally different view. >> my basic view is that the united states is almost a post-democratic society where the impact of politics on the markets or even the economy is very limited. so this is very different to, let's say, an emerging market. see what's happening in brazil.
in brazil we had the impeachment scandal where the president may have to lose his job, and there the markets are in complete panic. so in fact if a guy like trump had been elected in an emerging market or if these scandals were playing out in an emerging market, the outcome would be very different compared to what's happening in the united states. i think that's because we sort of underestimate the strength of institutions in a country such as the united states. >> and why then, in your view, is the market rising? i mean there are people who say, well, it's rising because there are actually broad economic factors that are positive, which are actually mostly outside america. that the world economy is better, china has not collapsed, europe is coming back. is that what's at the heart of this stability in the stock markets? >> yes, it is, in terms of the fact but i also feel there is a role to be played of the very easy money of the federal reserve. i think that because what you're seeing is across the world, all asset prices are rising, so it's
not just stocks, but even bond prices are rising, and other asset rises, real estate, as well is rising. so that for me is the much bigger worry of the american market. outside of that brief spell in the late 1990s when we were all caught up in the tech boom, the american market has never been this expensive. in fact in the entire history that we have of the last century or so, never before have all asset prices simultaneously been as expensive as they are now. talking about stocks, bonds, real estate, everything today is expensive compared to the historical averages. in the past one asset would be expensive, something else would not be. so this is a very unusual thing which is happening. i think a lot of it has to do with the fact that when you have free money, people go out and make more money with it. >> and trump and his supporters say it's going to be okay because we are going to unleash serious growth with deregulation, with tax cuts, with reforms, with infrastructure spending, and we are going to achieve at least 3% growth, maybe even 4%.
you have a very powerful counter argument. explain what it is. >> yeah. my basic argument is that two drivers of economic growth, one is your increase in the number of people working, and two is the productivity of these people. and people really -- >> by the way, that's a fact. >> that's a fact. this is like an economic equation. >> how many people -- how many people you have work and how productively they work. >> yes. and i think that's the point. that half the story has to do with demographics. america and the world's demographics have changed very significantly over the past decade or so. that america's population growth, particularly the working age population growth between 15 to 64, that growth rate has fallen very sharply. it's in fact growing at half the pace as it was for much of post war history. so my point is the main reason the global economy and the u.s. economy grew so rapidly in the post world war ii era was because of the baby boomers, was because we had an unusual
explosion in the world's population growth rate. and that growth rate now has fallen off a cliff. >> so you say, and this is important, because all trump's budget calculations are based on at least 3% growth, if not more. you're saying it is simply almost mathematically unattainable because of this demographic reality? >> yes, because of the factors that productivity, you can try and increase through whatever you do. my point is even if productivity, you take it back up to the reagan era, which is 2%, the working age population growth rate over the next few years is expected to be less than half a percent. so to get back above 3% you need a productivity of the kind which america has almost never seen. so i think that's the point. that yes, you can hope for miracles, but you can't plan on that. you can't base your forecast on that. >> final point, the one saving grace here, tell me if i'm right or wrong, is the united states still takes in a lot of young immigrants. >> yes. but i think that's also changing at the margin. there's been a sharp dropoff.
as i said, demographics is half the growth story. in america's case, the inflow of immigrants over the last few decades has played a very important role in beefing up demographics of this country. here's one statistic i think is absolutely stunning, which is that if you account for demographics, in share per capita income terms, the growth rate of america has been no different than that of japan and europe over the last ten or even 20 years virtually. so the biggest comparative advantage that america has is not so much google and stanford, which is about productivity, it's about demographics, which is about like babies and immigrants. and i think -- >> mexicans crossing the border. >> but that, i think, has like slowed down significantly. that's another reason as to why it will be so difficult for america to grow at 3% because the inflow of immigrants and also the growth rate of the population, domestic population
with a decline in the birth rates has slowed down very significantly. >> all right. this is a cold shower. thank you, ruchir sharma. up next, the middle east in a different kind of crisis than usual. this time many arab states are turning against one of their own. to try to understand the qatar crisis, we call in the country's former prime minister, when we come back. we've done well in life, with help from our advisor, we made it through many market swings.
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these make cleaning between myi love easy.sy. gum brand for healthy gums. soft picks, proxabrush cleaners, flossers. gum brand. the tiny arab state of qatar's sole land border with saudi arabia is now closed. flights from qatar's capital 0 doha to many other arab nations have been canceled indefinitely. ships going to and from qatar have been blocked from the gulf's biggest seaports. so by land, air and sea, qatar is mostly blockaded. this is a case of neighbor against neighbor. >> it's an accumulation of qatar's behavior.
>> saudi arabia, the uae, egypt and some of their allies say the emirate of qatar is a sponsor of terror and donald trump has echoed that sentiment. those neighbors also say qatar is in bed with iran, and they have had enough. let's talk about the blockade and the allegations with a key figure in qatar, sheikh al thani served as both prime minister and foreign minister until 2013. he joins me now. so how surprised were you by these actions that were taken largely at the behest of saudi arabia? >> well, the action that's been taken, which is unjustified unfortunately, it caught everybody by surprise since we did not have any indication that there is a problem. as he was in riyadh, they can
tell him if there's any problem. but it's being planned it seems for a long time. at the same time that he was talking in normal talk with our neighbors, as there is nothing, and suddenly this happened. >> what do you attribute it to? what do you think happened? do you think that trump's visit might have encouraged the saudis? >> well i think think is a contribute of course but that in my opinion it's not if visit but the main thing is why this happened, and all this large acquisition we are with iran and financing terrorists and this is for us a surprise because we are working with the american ally and fighting terrorism and their advance, you know, base in qatar is taking care about terrorism
and we are participating in that so for us it was not justified to say that we are with iran because we are with iran face-to-face in syria and we support different guys in syria and we have a lot of changes but that doesn't mean we have a bad relation with iran, since we have a gas field jointly with iran, but there is a lot of different things between us and iran in term of policy and how we are looking at the things and financing what they say, we hear a lot of acquisition, a lot of mud being thrown at us and unfortunately being, you know, the support of president trump for this allegation encourage our people to do more and to take it in a way. way that shows that it's not brotherly being taken. for us we are ready to see what
is this, what we did wrong in term as they say terrorism financing because as far as we know we are financing -- there is bad financing from all neighbors and other countries. but qatar may be the smallest individuals because the tightness of regulation in qatar is much higher than some of our neighbors, as you know. >> you know donald trump personally. what is your message to him? >> yes, i know him personally. and my message to him, mr. president, you are brave enough to look at the matter and other matter and i believe that qatar was ally and will stay ally for united states and all the other gcc countries also your ally. and i would like and ask that they look at the matter from a strategical point in a fair way
and see if there is a mistake and all this is being made up for a reason which is behind what we can do or we can help. and the reason, because there is some other guys would like to do different policy without consulting with us. >> and again, do you mean saudi arabia? >> i mean all the brother country. and i mean saudi arabia. they have to look at qatar as their small brothers and small country, but with the same integrity. we have the same integrity. and i think what happened, it touch our integrity by the way how the media take it, and we did not being used to this kind of an insult, which i think it will leave a scar. >> sheikh al thani, thank you so much. think again.
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recently chose openly gay prime ministers? latvia and portugal, serbia and ireland, italy and malta or croatia and norway? stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer. this week's book of the week is tom rick's "church ill and/orwell, the fight for freedom." i'm a fan of both but didn't think i'd need to read both about them but it turns out this is a wonderful book. the brief biographies are very well done, the pairing is well inspired and throughout the author's intelligent insights shine through. and now for the last look. the u.s. constitution mandates that the country count its population every ten years. it's not an easy task, according to the u.s. census bureau there is a birth every eight seconds and a death every 12. including international migrants there is a net gain of one person every 13 seconds. imagine having to keep track not only of an evolving population but an evolving terrain. indonesia is estimated to have
at least 17500 islands of which thousands of unhabit but no one knows the true tally, so the country is counting its islands. a team will travel through the roughly 740,000 square miles documenting all the land that it finds. by counting and registering its islands with the united nations, indonesia hopes to firmly establish its borders and protect its resources. seems like a good idea, but counting just once may not be enough, as the bbc notes, between losing islands to rising sea levels and forming them in earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the tally keeps moving. the answer to my gps challenge this week is b, serbia and ireland. the president of serbia nominated ana burnabish to be prime minister this week. once approved by parliament she will not be the country's first openly gay prime minister but also the first female to hold that position.
in ireland, leo baratka, a doctor and son of an indian immigrant was formally confirmed as the country's first openly gay prime minister this week. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i will see you next week. the president is not under investigation. >> donald trump's attorney is contradicting the president's own statements, and multiple media reports about whether the special counsel is investigating the president for obstruction of justice. today the president says this is all a distraction from his agenda, and after vowing unity and cooperation following a shooting that rocked capitol hill, senate democrats plan to bring operations to a standstill this week in an effort to derail the republican's health care plan. a search for missing sailors ends in tragedy, their