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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Interview with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah; Interview with Zhang Xin
Aired June 20, 2010 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: This is GPS, THE GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.
Today, I want to say something in defense of oil or, perhaps more accurately, I want to suggest that we stop vilifying oil because we need it. Now, of course, BP is guilty of negligence and bad practices in this awful oil spill. But I'm making a different point. Hear me out.
In his first oval office address about the BP oil spill, President Obama pivoted off the oil spill to ask Americans to embrace a clean energy future. He called for a national mission to move from reliance on oil and spoke of the need to overcome a lack of courage and candor.
But candor does require that we admit that, much as we might wish otherwise, there are no known technologies that can move us off petroleum in the next 20 or even 30 years. While we may be able to find green sources of energy to power our homes and factories in the future, nuclear, solar, wind, as a fuel in transportation there's really nothing that can remotely compete with the cost, portability, efficiency, and reliability of petroleum. That's why it's been the lifeblood of the industrial world for almost a century.
Now, we can use it more efficiently. We can stop wasting it on making plastic bottles and cans, and we should of course extract it more safely. But even 30 years from now, in all likelihood, we will be using oil as a transport fuel in planes, trucks, and some cars. That's the reality. And if we do need this oil, we should also be careful about demonizing oil companies. They are, after all, engaged in a legal activity to provide a product that we consume, all of us, by the millions of barrels every day.
So why blame the oil companies for providing the oil rather than all of us, the consumers, for being hooked on it? The existing technologies we know of that are green have some limits about how widely they can be applied, and they remain costly. We should keep funding them.
But the only serious prospect for a clean energy future would be to discourage the use of oil and coal, which is even dirtier, by taxing both of them, a carbon tax, and using the money to fund new technologies altogether, ones that have some of the same qualities that have made oil and coal so irresistible. That means new taxes and smart, efficient, focused government spending. And that would take a lot of courage from the White House, from Congress, and from all of us to support it.
Now, on the program today, we move around the world. We start with a deteriorating Afghanistan, an exclusive interview with the leading opposition figure in the country, Abdullah Abdullah, who has some alarming things to say.
We will also talk to the richest woman in China.
And finally, we continue our conversation with Paul Wolfowitz, who tells us what's wrong with Obama's foreign policy.
Finally, a picture of the oil spill that says more than we can.
All on GPS. Let's get started.
Now, to Afghanistan. While America has been obsessed with the oil spill, there've been a series of bad news reports out from Afghanistan. In particular, still more questions have arisen about President Hamid Karzai, about his leadership, his willingness to work with the U.S.
You'll recall that just a month ago the Obama administration kissed and made up with President Karzai, again. This has been a kind of dysfunctional cycle in which privately some administration officials say they don't trust Karzai, and then they realize that they have no alternative and they need him and so publicly they embrace him, pledge to work closely with him and call him a vital ally.
Among President Karzai's most recent moves, he fired two cabinet ministers whom American officials actually did trust. According to some insiders, that is precisely why he fired them, because they were too close to the U.S.
Now, to get a view from inside Afghanistan, I had a chance to get an exclusive interview with Abdullah Abdullah. He came in second in last year's presidential election. He was also the former foreign minister. You remember the election was one that almost collapsed amid charges of widespread fraud. You will want to hear what Dr. Abdullah has to say.
ZAKARIA: Welcome, sir.
DR. ABDULLAH ABDULLAH, FORMER AFGHAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Do you accept - now that the election is long past, do you accept Hamid Karzai as the president of Afghanistan?
ABDULLAH: He is the president of Afghanistan today, whether we like it or not. The outcome of the elections is known to all of us. But the issue is, as far as his legitimacy is concerned, apart from the elections and the outcome in the votes, he has not proved to the people six months after his inauguration that he can bring change. That's my main concern.
I wish, in spite of what had happened in the elections, he would have been able to deliver to the people and -
ZAKARIA: Deliver to the people in the sense of governance, lack of corruption, services on the ground, things like that?
ABDULLAH: Absolutely. At least to show the political will so the people could see signs of change. Change will take time. That's not happening six months after his inauguration.
Today, as we are speaking, our Parliament is in silent strike because he has not introduced the members of the cabinet. If you take it, his decree was rejected with unanimous vote in the Lower House of the Parliament a few days ago. That seems - it seems that we are not making progress.
ZAKARIA: Do you think that the surge that President Obama has authorized, the increase in American troops, the new counterinsurgency strategy, protect the population, allow for the creation of local government so that the Taliban cannot continue to terrorize the population, is it working?
ABDULLAH: I have no reason to argue against the military strategy. But when it comes to the implementation of it, there is as much that the United States can do or is doing, and part of it depend on the Afghan government.
What sort of setup of governance or an environment we leave behind once that space is created as a result of military efforts? So there are a lot of positive points in terms of the strategy, including protection of civilians, because civilian casualties has been one major cause of resentment among the population. But what I wouldn't -
ZAKARIA: But that's - but that's declining now with this new counterinsurgency.
ABDULLAH: That's declining. That's declining. Yes, but more attention is needed.
In terms of concerns, my concern is about the part which the Afghan government, in the central as well as local level, has to deliver. Is there the political will or the recognition of the need for change or the Afghan side will continue like business as usual, in that case we will risk that the achievements, as a result of military- civilian efforts through NATO, the United States and coalition forces, could be neutralized afterwards and that environment will return back.
So we failed to gain the trust of the people. It's a concern. It's a serious concern.
ZAKARIA: So - so let's look at the specific area where this is playing out, Kandahar, where the attempt is that the U.S. goes in, clears the area of the Taliban, and then an Afghan government goes in and holds and builds and tries to create governance there. "The New York Times" has had a couple of articles which suggest that the clear part is going fine, the U.S. military is doing a good job, but then it's been proving very difficult to create an environment where the Taliban doesn't come back and that the locals are so scared the Taliban will come back that they're even wondering whether they want the U.S. military to clear, you know? That there's a feeling in which they - they think that the Taliban will take reprisals against them.
ZAKARIA: So the whole effort is almost undermined and all that effort, the military effort U.S. soldiers are making, is - is going to naught. Why is it that it is proving so difficult to create some kind of viable local government on the ground or a sense of security for people?
ABDULLAH: The problem, number one, in the eyes of majority of the people in Kandahar is the present power structure there, the government, the local government there. So they rank Taliban as problem number two. This is very severe.
ZAKARIA: So problem number one is the local government -
ABDULLAH: In the eyes of -
ZAKARIA: -- which is - which is headed by?
ABDULLAH: Which is - which is of course appointed by - by the president. But the main power lies there with the brother of the president, Mr. Walid Karzai.
So that's in the eyes of the people of Kandahar, or the majority of people in Kandahar, that's problem number one.
ZAKARIA: Do you think that if President Karzai were to restructure that - the government there, because presumably (ph) you mean, you know, fire his brother, that - that that's the key?
ABDULLAH: I think take the views of that province, the people of that province, into account. Ask the people. If the people are left in a situation as they are today, President Karzai himself was asked -- President Karzai asked the people, tell me the truth, and they told him publicly that if we tell you the truth we will not see the daylight tomorrow. That's a very serious situation.
So the views of the people of that province has to be taken into account, and people should be participants in decision making in that province so they can see a stake for them. Or if you leave the people in a lose-lose situation under Taliban or under a government they didn't like and a corrupt environment, then we cannot - we cannot rely on their support.
ZAKARIA: I've been saying for a long time, and now there seems to be a kind of general consensus, that we have to explore talks with the Taliban to see if there are elements within the Taliban that are - potentially can be brought into the - the Afghan government side and can be part of the solution rather than being part of the problem.
But it seems that this is very difficult to do. It seems that there's been very little progress. I've heard varying things, depending on who you talk to. What is your sense of why this outreach and wooing of certain members of the Taliban has not really produced much?
ABDULLAH: Their idea has never been participation in the democratic process but rather establishing an entity of themselves. Ideologically and politically, this is their aim.
So that, we should accept as a harsh reality on the ground. Once you --
ZAKARIA: But you, during your campaign, were talking about trying to win over some members of the - of the Taliban.
ABDULLAH: You know, what I was - my message has been a consistent one, a consistent one. In this war, winning the people is winning the war. We should reach out to the people of Afghanistan.
Taliban are not operating in the sky, in a vacuum. They are operating among the people. If the people feel disenfranchised, if their grievances are growing because of injustices, corruption, and so on and so forth, the environment changes in favor of the Taliban. We should take care of the people.
For me, reconciliation has as much broader meaning. Reaching out to the people -
ZAKARIA: But the Taliban are part of the people. A lot of the Taliban are Afghans.
ABDULLAH: Lots of Taliban -
ZAKARIA: So are you going to reach out to them or are you not going to reach out to them?
ABDULLAH: All of the Taliban are not Afghans, of course, but they are -
ZAKARIA: Well, (INAUDIBLE), but some very large percentage of them.
ABDULLAH: Yes. Absolutely. But what - what they rely upon is an environment which is created there because of bad governance, because of injustices. Among the people who are not asking Taliban to come back to rule them, but we are not giving them better choices.
In those elements of Taliban or the movement as a whole which want to take Afghanistan back to the old days, they will continue to fight. And we should isolate those groups.
ZAKARIA: So how do you isolate them without talking to the moderates, you know, those - those in the Taliban who are not irreconcilable, who are not ideologically determined to - ABDULLAH: The door has to be - the door has to be open for those who want to be reconciled, those who want to join a peaceful life -
ZAKARIA: But why are we failing at that? That's my question. Why is it not happening? Is it - is it the U.S.'s fault? Is it Karzai's fault? Is it the Taliban - is it that the Taliban doesn't want to talk to us?
ABDULLAH: It's mainly because - mainly because of the failures of the current administration in Afghanistan, led by Mr. Karzai, that he's losing support of like-minded people which are not against the process, which they don't want the return of the Taliban, which makes the absolute majority of the country.
He has not - he has failed to provide a just system so they can rely upon. Taliban, as a result, are being able to take recruits from among the people, sometimes through intimidations, sometimes take recruits.
So his job is to change that environment. Unless we maintain support of the people, and then for those who have joined the Taliban because of grievances create better environment, it's very unrealistic to think that we can bring people from the other side of the fence.
ZAKARIA: On that note, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, thank you very much.
ABDULLAH: You're welcome. Thank you.
ZAKARIA: And we will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: That old Beach Boys song "Bomb Iran", you know, bomb, bomb, bomb - anyway -
If the president were to unleash America's full moral power to support the Iranian people, if he were to make their quest for democracy a civil rights struggle of our time, it could bolster their will to endure their struggle, and the result could be historic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: And now for our "What in the World" segment, what got my attention this week was a speech and an article by Senator John McCain.
ZAKARIA (voice-over): In case you were wondering how a McCain foreign policy would be different from President Obama's, here it is. John McCain would have helped overthrow the government of Iran last year.
MCCAIN: If the president were to unleash America's full moral power to support the Iranian people, if he were to make their quest for democracy the civil rights struggle of our time, it could bolster their will to endure in their struggle, and the result could be historic.
ZAKARIA: This has become a mantra among neoconservatives these days. If only Barack Obama had given a few more speeches that supported the Green Movement, the regime in Tehran would have collapsed. But this is foreign policy as fantasy. I see no evidence that the Iranian regime could have been toppled a year ago, nor have I seen any to suggest it can be toppled today or anytime soon.
The regime has many opponents, but also many, many supporters in the country. President Ahmadinejad had the support of millions of people before the election. A 2009 telephone poll of Iranians by two American think tanks found Ahmadinejad leading Mousavi by more than 2 to 1.
Now, any polling in Iran is suspect, but these results are confirmed by many shrewd observers of Iran. Once you get out of the cities, into rural areas, among the poor, the devout, Ahmadinejad continues to have a following, and he plays to the religious and nationalistic feelings of many Iranians.
The supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, is also widely respected. Maziar Bahari, the "Newsweek" reporter who was jailed by the Iranian government for four months on trumped-up charges, says that Khomeini is certainly the most popular political figure in Iran.
I imagine Senator McCain, like many others, sees the situation in Iran as analogous to Eastern Europe in 1989.
ZAKARIA: Back then, we saw bad regimes crumble with what often looked like very little effort. But I don't think the analogy holds. Those dissenters 20 years ago had three things on their side in Eastern Europe -- nationalism, because communism was imposed by the Soviet Union; democracy; and religion, because communism forbade religion.
I would argue that the Green Revolution only has one of those three clearly on its side - democracy. The regime can use religion and nationalism just as easily as the protesters can.
McCain simply does not seem to understand the regime he wants to overthrow.
MCCAIN: Is it any wonder that this is the same regime that spends its people's precious resources not on roads or schools or hospitals or jobs that benefit all Iranians but on funding violent groups of foreign extremists who murder the innocent? ZAKARIA (voice-over): In fact, the Iranian government spends vast amounts of money on subsidies for the poor and lower middle classes, their base of support. Iran has high literacy, decent health care, and many social programs. The economy is a mess, but its defense budget is not staggering. It's about $8 billion. America's, by the way, is about $660 billion.
Look, the Iranian regime is very repressive at home and up to no good abroad. I do not like this regime at all. The U.S. State Department has called Iran the world's most active state sponsor of terrorism, and that is an accurate description of the regime's activities in the region.
ZAKARIA: But I think much of Senator McCain's rhetoric plays into what is a kind of recurring American fantasy, that all good things always go together and all bad things go together, that men like Ahmadinejad are evil, also have no legitimacy, are also unpopular, and preside over a fragile regime about to collapse.
By the way, if we do want to try and help the Green Movement and we want to try and undermine this government, the most important policy choice we could make would be to not listen to Senator McCain's many suggestions that we should bomb the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: That old Beach Boys song, "Bomb Iran", you know, bomb, bomb, bomb - anyway -
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Now, John McCain was joking when he said that, but he has on many occasions seriously suggested that bombing Iran might be the only way to stop its nuclear program.
Now, if you want to find a sure way to have the country rally around the - the regime, if you want to destroy the Green Movement, if you want to give Ahmadinejad lots of international sympathy and support, what we should do is bomb Iran.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZHANG XIN, CHINESE REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER: We're only allowed to make money, nothing else. And that's why all the focus is on making money, and - and I think that's not enough as a - for a human being.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: We talk about China's explosive growth often on this program, but who exactly has gotten rich in all that growth, and what do they think of China? Well, China has a new billionaire class, and one of its richest and most prominent members is a developer named Zhang Xin, who has built some of the biggest buildings in Beijing.
Zhang Xin happens to be a woman with an amazing life story. She grew up in a Hong Kong slum, spent her childhood working in a shoe factory, and then worked hard enough to get herself to university, then Goldman Sachs, and she is now the CEO and founder of SOHO China, one of the largest real estate firms in the country, and therefore the world.
You would think that someone who got so rich off China's current system would defend it vigorously, but listen to what Zhang Xin told me when I sat down with her last week in Beijing.
ZHANG: You know, on the one hand, of course, this is a moment where the government can spend a lot of money and they have a lot of money. But, on the other hand, they're facing the biggest challenge ever. You know, we have the - at this moment, the income disparity is so huge and you talk about, you know, the social discontent is so - so strong, and I think the - the sentiment in the public, it's not that positive.
You know, despite of the GDP number seems to be growing very high, if you just take the number, yes, you will believe that's everything. But if you -- you know, I was talking to you, if you go into Chinese Twitter, (INAUDIBLE), you will see the massive public discontent. And I think the government is really trying to balance both.
ZAKARIA: What do you think of state-run capitalism? You must have to deal with government officials all the time, getting land and things like that.
ZHANG: I think that is actually the single biggest challenge China faces now, because, bear in mind, how do we become, you know, economically affluent to today's level? It's through the market economy, through opening doors, through market, through reforms, through moving towards more market economy, and that's the last 20 years.
And now, in this crisis, the government realize that we cannot rely on the market too much and we have a lot of money. So then it all become all government dictated, government-oriented policies, and I think the market has become so weak that we, as a developer, for instance - you know, very often an investor would ask, you know, what is your strategy for the next two years? We have no strategy because it's the government who sets the strategy, government's planning, government's decision.
So, you know, it's really - we, as a developer, we can only see what will the government likely to come up with the next policy and then we need to gear our company towards that.
That, I think, is very dangerous because if you take away the market, then what are we left? We're left back to the planning economy. As - as imperfect as the market economy, we still do not have a better system than that for today's world.
ZAKARIA: Your company is named SOHO China. A lot of your buildings have American-style names. Is there a change in the - in the attitude of - of the Chinese people towards the West, towards America?
ZHANG: I do think that the American glory is fading a bit. You know, if I were to look back in the last 30 years, you know, of course, in the beginning of the 30 years, everybody was looking towards America. You know, going to America was the theme among the graduates of - university graduates.
Still so, but, you know, more and more people are thinking, you know, come - if - right after university, immediately coming back to China. You know, we - we hire MBA graduates from the U.S. business schools, right?
And then, you know, I see these Chinese young graduates. I say, you know, why don't you work in America for a few years? They're like, no, no, we want to come back immediately because the opportunities are better here.
ZAKARIA: One of the things I've noticed, Zhang Xin, about China, when I've come, is that women work here at every level in the society. First of all, is that just my impression, or is it true that there are many people, maybe not quite at your - at your level, but there are many female entrepreneurs, businesswomen, people in all walks of life?
ZHANG: I think that is certainly true. You know, in China, you know, if I were to say that compared to many other countries where I lived and worked before this is the country where women have, at least in the urban area.
You know, if we take away the rural area, urban area women have -- are enjoying very high level of equality, if not completely equal but at least high level of equality compared to many other -- you know, compared to European countries, for instance, you know, you don't see so many women in boardrooms, and here in china I think you see many. You know, top CEOs are actually women.
ZAKARIA: You've talked about how the government is worried about instability. And if you look at the government's own statistics, the number of protests have risen quite a lot in the last ten years, to 70,000, 80,000 protests a year. Many of these are small and localized. But still, so much change in a society. There must be a lot of pent-up tension. Do you worry about that?
ZHANG: I see a lot of discontent and you know, the high growth itself, it's already instability to everybody. But also there are some people growing faster than the others and that gap creates more discontent. So I think the government is very much aware of this, and I see this as one of the biggest challenge for this country.
ZAKARIA: One of the things that's been happening in China is a lot of labor trouble, which seems to have come together, some very large companies that are doing huge amount of manufacturing for all the big western brands. Do you think that there's something special happening at this moment? Why is it that there's so much labor trouble?
ZHANG: If you see that this government has allowed this country's economy to grow nearly freely to where it is now, but in every other area that matters also to the human being, in ideology, in education, health care, in spirituality, it's tightly controlled and that's why we're seeing these labor problems.
These people are migrant workers to go to a new city, and they're there just to make money because they're there not supported by their family or friends. And I think that if the society is more liberalized in all the other areas, culture, politics, ideology, then you will see a very different society than where it is now, we're only allowed to make money, nothing else.
And that's why all the focus is on making money and I think that's not enough for human being.
ZAKARIA: Are you optimistic at the end of the day? You've been more successful -- you're living the Chinese dream.
ZHANG: I think China will first hit the crisis first and that crisis will push more reforms. And that's desperately needed for this country because we've been living a life as the world manufacturer, the world factory for the last 30 years.
And it is not -- you know, we're not going to go forward for the next 30 years as the world factory. We have to reform our own internally and that I see today there's not enough strength to push that reform. And you know, like you say, it's the crisis that enables the reform and I see a crisis coming.
ZAKARIA: On that note, thank you very much and we will be back.
ZAKARIA: Last week, I showed you an exclusive interview with Paul Wolfowitz, the man known as the brains behind the neo- conservative movement, certainly its foreign policy. We talked about his actions as George Bush's deputy secretary of defense during the Iraq war, what mistakes were made, what he learned.
This week, I want to play for you the rest of that fascinating conversation, specifically on President Obama's foreign policy, where Wolfowitz thinks Obama is going wrong and where he's continuing the foreign policy of George W. Bush. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: How do you think Barack Obama is doing in foreign policy terms?
PAUL WOLFOWITZ, FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: He's still starting. I think -- I guess two main things I guess I would say. I think he's learning that simply engaging with countries like Iran doesn't produce the results that he may have hoped for and I think he's learning from that.
In some ways I guess the most important thing, he has the opportunity to speak to the Muslim world in the way no other -- no conceivable American president could have and for all he tried George W. Bush certainly couldn't. And I don't think he's used that opportunity properly yet.
ZAKARIA: You don't think the Cairo speech was enough?
WOLFOWITZ: No. In fact, it's interesting. I hate to resort to an authority, but it's more impressive coming from an Arab journalist who actually was the first Arab journalist to interview him after inauguration, Hisham Melhem, who in effect said that he should have spoken more about the responsibility of the Arabs.
That it was fine to say the United States has some responsibility in this, but the Arabs and particularly the Arab governments are responsible for what I think he called the miserable state of governance in the Arab world, but I think it's important for him to do the opposite of what he did in Cairo.
In Cairo, he spoke about the right of women in the west to wear the hijab. He never once said anything about the right of women in Saudi Arabia not to wear the thing.
ZAKARIA: But I want to go back to the original question, which is really about Obama's basic foreign policy because in a way there have been two thrusts. One has been a thrust toward the Muslim world, this attempted outreach. But there's also been an attempt to reset relations with Russia, to have a greater degree of engagement with China. Do you think that broadly speaking those policies are -- is he moving in the right direction?
WOLFOWITZ: I don't see any change for the better in either Chinese or Russian policy. I don't think we were in a disastrous state with either one before. But I also don't think that suddenly those countries have changed. They are -- big differences, but they are autocracies with a very strong sense of their interests, a strong sense of power relationships.
I think the way in which China seems to have - I can't find the right words. Let me put it this way, the lack of any strong Chinese reaction to this latest North Korean outrage is disturbing. The fact that the Russians apparently want an exemption under sanctions to be able to sell air defense missiles to Iran is disturbing.
And I think it's a mistake to think that we have the same interests as Russia and China in peace in the Persian Gulf or that they share our concerns about peace on the Korean peninsula. It doesn't mean they're completely hostile to us, no. But they're not nearly as cooperative as some people assume they would be.
ZAKARIA: But what would be the logical consequence of what you're describing? Because I would imagine the Obama people might say look, of course we understand that but it's still important to have a workable relationship because they have a lot of power.
In the Chinese case they have a lot of economic power, Russia because of the nuclear weapons, because of the army, because of the fact that they span three continents better to try to have and kind of workable relationship with them to do business.
WOLFOWITZ: I agree with that. I think we've had a workable relationship with them. I was assistant secretary of state under Ronald Reagan. I think we had a workable relationship with China. I know George Shultz, who was my boss at the time, considered it extremely important, and so do I.
But it's this idea of reset, it's this idea that somehow things were way off track and if we just engage properly suddenly the lions will lie down with the lambs. It is going to be based on interest. We have a lot of common interests. We have a lot of competing interests.
And I don't think what we've done -- I think this agreement with Russia on nuclear weapons is by and large a good thing. I don't think it's, again, quite as big a deal as people say it is because the real danger now isn't Russian and American nuclear weapons, it's Iranian nuclear weapons, it's North Korean nuclear weapons, in fact -- I mean, I can name a list of countries that are much more concerning.
But the main thing is I don't think we've changed the relationship. I think we need to deal with those countries realistically and I also think, by the way, and maybe this is a difference, I think realism with China does include making it clear in various ways, not pounding the table, but that we have a different principle than they do.
And I think postponing the visit of the Dalai Lama was a small step in the wrong direction and this doesn't mean I think we have a big influence on what happens in China or that China's going to change overnight, but it's very striking when you read the book of -- it's called "Prisoner of the State," the memoir of the former general secretary of the Chinese communist party, Zhao Ziyang. I know he died in --
ZAKARIA: This was the kind of liberal more reform-minded --
WOLFOWITZ: Yes, although he started out as a hardcore land reformer in Guangdong Province, but during the course of his career -- I was amazed, actually, to read this book. He didn't just become an advocate of democracy. He became an advocate of tripartite division of powers.
OK, you say he's a maverick, he's unusual. When -- I think it was back in the spring of 2008, when Taiwan held its presidential elections. My understanding is that people on the mainland were glued to their televisions watching for the results.
And I'm sure recognizing, well, this isn't something we have in the mainland yet. I think in the long term, and it may take a long time, I think for some of the same reason that South Korea transformed as it became richer and, frankly, you could go all the way back I think to England, as countries become richer there are a lot of reasons for more political pluralism.
And I think in a subtle way people in China who may be debating these issues among themselves should hear American confidence about those values. Not an America that's somehow embarrassed or unwilling to discuss the subject.
ZAKARIA: Does it feel to you that the Obama administration is embarrassed or unwilling to discuss the subject?
WOLFOWITZ: A little bit when the secretary of state said something about we can't let human rights interfere with all this other important business we're doing. I think people read it that way. I -- I mean, you're pushing me to give a comment. I don't think --
ZAKARIA: Well, you're giving a comment without trying to be explicit. I'm just trying to draw it out.
WOLFOWITZ: No, I --
ZAKARIA: If you want to say that they're on the wrong track, say it.
WOLFOWITZ: I'm not criticizing the question. I'm just saying I think I said at the beginning they're learning. I don't think any of these things I'm talking about are not correctible or have a huge impact.
I do think generally speaking this notion that if we just reset our relations with these countries things would go smoothly I think is unrealistic, and I think it's a bit misleading to the public.
ZAKARIA: Thank you, Paul Wolfowitz.
WOLFOWITZ: Pleasure being here. Thanks, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: And we will be back.
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CANDY CROWLEY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Candy Crowley, and here are today's top stories. Oil from the spill in the gulf has reached its farthest eastward point. Tar balls have washed up on beaches in Destin, Fort Walton, and Panama City, Florida. Unfavorable winds could push a large plume of oil, currently about 30 miles offshore from Panama City, inland in the coming days.
Meanwhile, BP was forced to stop collecting oil for 10 hours Friday night because of malfunctioning flame arrester. The ship resumed oil collection Saturday morning. A pair of car bombs killed at least 26 people and injured at least 53 others in Baghdad today. The bombs were the latest in a wave of violence that has swept across Baghdad, raising fears that insurgents are trying to take advantage of Iraq's tenuous political situation as politicians try form a new government. The United States plans to withdraw all combat forces from Iraq by August 31st.
Floods have killed 132 people during China's rainy season. The Chinese government says 86 other people are missing and more than 860,000 have fled their homes. Since the storms began on June 13th more than 10 million people have been affected by the floods. The rains have collapsed reservoirs, overflowed rivers, caused landslides and power outages, and damaged highways.
And two top lawmakers are expressing reservations about whether President Obama can stick to his plan to begin a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in July 2011. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Richard Lugar spoke with me in an interview that aired earlier today on "State of the Union."
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CROWLEY: Jonathan Alter wrote a book called "The Promise," in which he quotes Vice President Joe Biden about July 2011, when these troops are supposed to start leaving. "In July of 2011 you're going to see a whole lot of people moving out. Bet on it." Do you bet on it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A nice thought.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that Senator Biden -- or Joe Biden has many thoughts about this. Jonathan Alter may have caught him at a moment there. Not really fair. Essentially, the vice president's going to follow the lead of the president, and that may mean we have a lot of troops still there after July 1.
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CROWLEY: And those are your top stories. Up next, much more of "Fareed Zakaria GPS," and then "Reliable Sources" at the top of the hour.
ZAKARIA: Now for our question of the week. Here's what I want to know. Do you think the world can realistically move off its addiction to oil and gasoline in the next 20 years? Let me know what you think.
Some exciting news. We have received countless requests from you for an audio version of the "GPS" podcast. The video file is too big, you said, you wanted to listen to it on your iPod, your car stereo, et cetera. We heard you, and we've done it. You can now subscribe to either the audio or video podcast at iTunes. And you can always see either version on our website, cnn.com/gps. All this is free. Now, as I do every week, I want to recommend a book. I find that there's usually very little new to say about the Middle East, but the author Steven Kinsler has found something quite novel and interesting to say in his new book "Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future."
He recommends that the United States find new partners in the region, that Saudi Arabia and Israel aren't cutting it anymore. The logical new partners, he says, are Turkey and, somewhat surprisingly, Iran, but he makes a strong and interesting case. Both nations share our democratic values for the most part as well as our interests in regional stability.
Kinsler also tells a fascinating tale of an American missionary who 100 years after his death is still a hero in Iran today. It's a good read. We will be right back.
ZAKARIA: And now for "The Last Look." Take a look at this. It looks like modern art, doesn't it? Abstract, well composed, even beautiful, alas, it is not. It is the oil spill. Orange Beach, Alabama. Almost 100 miles from the deepwater horizon rig.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week. Stay tuned for "Reliable Sources."