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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Interview With Indra Nooyi
Aired April 17, 2011 - 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.
I will give you my take on President Obama's budget speech in just a moment. First let me tell you about today's show.
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ZAKARIA (voice-over): We kick off with the most powerful woman in the world in business at least according to "Fortune" magazine, Indra Nooyi. She is the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo and she has important insights into everything from the U.S. economy to her own company to women at work.
Then what in the world? A human rights report from China. We'll read China's Dossier on human rights abuses in America.
Next, do you wonder why so many African leaders still support Moammar Gadhafi? Jeffrey Gettleman, the "New York Time's" East Africa bureau chief explains.
And then the view from abroad, former number two at the United Nations and the British foreign office, Lord Malloch Brown on Obama, Libya and the future of global cooperation.
Finally -- a last look and a last listen at Britain's greatest gift to the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Now, the big news this week was President Obama's speech on the budget. It was an important intelligent speech with one major failing. I will get to that.
But for those of you wondering what Obama stands for, what his core beliefs are, I would suggest that you read or watch the speech. It was an intelligent, passionate defense of his view of America and of the role of government.
It is left of center, but not that far from the center. He starts, after all, by taking the problem of the long-term debt seriously, proposes major spending reductions in all areas and crucially proposes a failsafe mechanism that would kick in if the deficit did not shrink. It sounds like a technicality, but it is crucial and it is a sign of Obama's seriousness because most budget deficit plans, including his own, make, shall we say, generous assumptions about growth and revenue and efficiencies and cost savings so that on paper the plan always shows the deficit going down.
Now, the failsafe works thus. If the actual deficit does not go down, something that always happens, in fact, Congress is then forced to choose more spending cuts and tax increases to balance the books. Obama presented a vision of an activist government that would make crucial investments in education, infrastructure, and research.
These investments, in my view, have been as much a part of history as a vibrant market economy. Without such government support, there would be no American semiconductor industry. No early adoption of computers, no Internet, no global positioning system.
On taxes the president's position is correct and inevitable. For a generation, America has kept taxes low as spending crept up ever higher and we have made up the difference by borrowing. The real debate is simply in what manner tax reform. Closing loopholes and deductions is clearly the best approach.
Then there are the entitlement programs, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. Here, Obama was at his most eloquent but least pragmatic. He made a powerful case for maintaining a basic social safety net for all, particularly the elderly and the poor. I think it will resonate with most Americans.
But he lost his courage in proposing sensible reforms to these programs. The number of people eligible for Social Security and Medicare is going to double by 2030. At that point, those two programs plus Medicaid will take up 60 percent of the federal budget.
So we need radical thinking to make them affordable, if only to be able to spend on all the other key investments that will fuel growth for future generations. I praise Republican Paul Ryan's plan for its courage in presenting a budget that takes risk and proposes pain.
It also had the effect of spurring Barack Obama to present his own serious proposal. I prefer Obama's approach, which is also closer to that of the Simpson-Bowls Commission, a mix of spending cuts and some tax increases, but it needs much larger cuts to entitlement programs to make it work.
But step back, what is critical here is that finally, after years of kicking the can down the road, America is having that long delayed debate about its future. Let's get started.
"Fortune" magazine named her the most powerful woman in business in 2010, also in 2009, also in 2008, 2007, and 2006. That is the last five years running. Indra Nooyi is the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.
And no, I didn't just misspeak. She calls herself chairman, not chairwoman or chairperson. She says that is the job title. She's an Indian-born scientist who for the last five years has been the boss of 300,000 people worldwide, running a company with $60 billion in annual revenue.
You will want to hear her thoughts on the present and her ideas for the future.
ZAKARIA: What did you think of President Obama's speech this week about the budget?
INDRA NOOYI, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, PEPSICO: I think it was a speech that was necessary. It was powerful. It was clear. It laid out his program. I think you have the Republican position that's been laid out.
You've got the Deficit Commission report that's been laid out. I think it's critically important that it is not just a speech, but that it moves to action.
You bring all of these competing interests and different points of view together and say, what's right for the country and it's important to recognize that there is going to be short-term pain if you are to get long-term gain for the country.
ZAKARIA: You think about leadership, what do you think about President Obama as a leader?
NOOYI: I think he's a remarkable individual, but let me put this in context, Fareed. Just imagine that you are the CEO of a company. Just bear with me for a while, while I talk you through the story. Imagine you are the CEO of a company and your executive team, half want you to succeed, half want you to fail.
ZAKARIA: Republicans and Democrats.
NOOYI: Yes. And then imagine that your functional team, you can't hire them without the approval of your executive team.
ZAKARIA: Half of whom want you to fail.
NOOYI: That's exactly right. Also imagine that every word you say is debated in the public media every minute of the day. Also remember that your board of directors is a fragmented group who really cannot get together to fire the executive team if they don't tow your line.
ZAKARIA: The American public.
NOOYI: That's exactly right. That's the environment in which the president of the United States is working today. It's not as if the president is maintaining a successful country. The president is turning around a difficult situation. So all things considered, you'd say he's doing a pretty good job.
ZAKARIA: When you look at the American economy right now, you have a very unusual perspective because PepsiCo and its products are sold all over the country, all over the world. What do you see? How is the American economy doing?
NOOYI: I must say, Fareed, since last year and the changes from last year to this year, pretty significant. If you asked me this question last year, I would have said the underbelly of the economy was very, very weak.
People are shopping a little bit differently in the last couple of quarters and we are seeing this across the whole country. So that's the good news.
Now let me give you the other side. In all of these economic analyses, there are two sides to everything. The other side is that you still have that worker who is without a job, but if you took the average, the average is better now than it was in 2010.
ZAKARIA: So you and I once talked about Joe Sixpack who would go into a store. During the recession, he's still buying, but he's not buying the six-pack anymore, he's buying the single can. Is Joe Sixpack back to buying the six-pack?
NOOYI: Joe Sixpack is back. Bill Sixpack is still struggling. That's what I mean the two differences. There is a portion of the economy, the portion of the consumer that's come back. There is a portion still struggling.
ZAKARIA: Do you still believe that the government needs to spend more money on infrastructure to get these people out of the unemployment lines and get back at work?
NOOYI: I worry about the deficit. I worry enormously about the deficit. So on the one side, you can say government spending is important to keep these people working or bring the unemployed back into the work force.
On the other hand, that exacerbates the deficit and that's not a very good outcome. So we have to think of creative solutions. I think the time has come for us all to think about a creative way to address unemployment without adding to the deficit.
So let me throw out an absolutely crazy suggestion if you don't mind. You know, there's been a lot of talk about foreign cash -- I mean, cash of U.S. companies trapped in overseas countries because, you know, the tax rate to bring them back is extremely high and puts us in a very disadvantaged position.
So why don't we try something like this -- just an idea. When President Bush proposed the American Jobs Creation Act, he allowed countries tore-repatriate cash for 5 percent - 5 percent tax rate. Some people argued that that didn't really create jobs and 5 percent was too low.
So why not bring it back, let's say, at a 15 percent tax rate, OK, but then say, 10 percent of it goes into the government coffers and the other 5 percent goes into a retraining fund or a fund that retro-fits commercial buildings to make them energy efficient. But what happens now is you are forcing private enterprise to direct those funds to create jobs immediately for the betterment of the nation long term. I think we have to evolve new plans to work together with the private sector because private sector engines of efficiency.
Governments have to go through a very elaborate process to make everything happen. So I think the time has come now to tap into this incredible power that we have in the country and make them create jobs in the short term that help the country in the long term. So I think we have to put all these ideas on the table and see where this takes us.
ZAKARIA: But when you look at the politics in Washington, does it give you hope that some of these ideas could go from the planning stage to the implementation stage?
NOOYI: Here is the concern. I don't think the deficit of the country is a Republican issue or a Democratic issue. I think it's a country issue. I don't think worrying about the reindustrialization of America is a Republican or Democratic issue.
It's a country issue. So I think the time has come now for the president to force these coalitions and for the Republicans and Democrats also to say, we have to focus on the country for the next years.
I don't know if you can do it with an election year coming up, but I think people can put their differences aside and worry about the country. I think they can do it.
ZAKARIA: So how does one do this revitalization of manufacturing? Because if you look at Germany, Germany has been able to maintain a manufacturing base even though they have very high wages, they have a pretty complex regulatory system, but they have focused on technically trained education apprenticeship programs, things like that. Is that what's missing in America?
NOOYI: We have to do all of that, but it's not going to happen overnight. So we need to start somewhere. I think the first step is to create a blueprint for the country. Get the right people to lay out a blueprint for the country.
I don't know if in the history of our country whether if we have ever created a blueprint, 50, 100-year blueprint. China has done it for China. How do we create a multi generational blueprint focused on reindustrializing the country?
I think we have to do it and I think there are a lot of people who will contribute to that. I think there is an extremely qualified cadre of recently retired CEOs and C Suit executives who can all be co-opted to help author this blueprint for the future of the country.
It has got to focus on energy efficiency, you know, reducing energy dependence, it's got to focus on many, many aspects of what makes a great economy. Now many would argue it may take two years to develop the blueprint. What happens in the intervening two years?
I think in the intervening two years, we have to think about short term programs to put people back to work. Again, it requires a lot of creativity. Let me throw out a couple of examples. We have an unbelievably good medical system in the United States, unbelievably good.
I mean, I have traveled around the world. The medical system in the United States is among the best in the world, if not the best. What if we were to make the United States a medical destination?
That would bring a lot of people here because there are a lot of sick people around the world. If they can get U.S. treatment, they will take it, but now think about what that will do. It will fill up our hospitals, increase the utilization.
It will build a whole industry around it. That's a short-term measure. I don't know, Fareed. I think there are so many creative ideas, but we have to mobilize the right people and start work.
ZAKARIA: We're going to be back with more with Indra Nooyi. I'm going to ask her about being the most powerful woman in the world according to "Fortune" magazine.
NOOYI: In my case, I think I did my part, Fareed. I worked my tail off. I work harder than any of the men out there, but I didn't do it because I was a woman. I did it because that's the only way I know how to work.
ZAKARIA: We are back with Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo whom "Fortune" magazine has named the most powerful woman in business five years in a row.
What does it mean when you have that much power? Is it something you think about that you have this platform and that you want to do something with it?
NOOYI: I think actually the lists when they start ranking you in terms of power or whatever puts an even more - puts a bigger burden on you, Fareed because with all these lists comes an incredible privilege and an incredible responsibility.
The privileged part is easy because you enjoy the attention you get, but you can't forget the responsibility because you're running a large enterprise. You've got to make sure you run it the right way.
You've got to make sure you're a role model for other women in particular, because I'm a woman CEO. So you have to make sure you remain a role model. So I think this sort of a list and then really putting the focus on me, the responsibility part far outweighs the privilege part.
ZAKARIA: So let's talk about your running of PepsiCo. You have made a very important series of moves toward healthier snacks, snacks that are good for you, better for you. Yet right now you received the news that your core brand, Pepsi, has been edged out by Diet Coke. Diet Coke is now the number two brand in America.
Do you worry that the bet that Americans will want healthier food products was either wrong or premature? Will you continue to go down that line? How do you manage the tension between keeping your core brand and trying moving into this new healthier space?
NOOYI: Great question. So PepsiCo is a $63 billion company. Half the company is snacks and half the company is beverages. We have a glorious snacks business and a glorious beverage business. We are extremely profitable. We are growing.
We deliver top tier financial returns. We generate enormous cash for shareholders, phenomenal returns and our core, we are a snacks and beverages company. Twenty percent of the company is good for you products -- Tropicana, Quaker Oats, Naked Juice, Gatorade for athletes.
The other 80 percent is fun for you, better for you, great tasting snacks and beverages. Our goal is very simple. We think there is a gigantic opportunity in good for you products because those categories are growing in leaps and bounds.
What we want to do is make sure that we capitalize on the opportunity and, you know, go where that pack is going. At the same time, focus on the 80 percent of the core that we have so that we generate the extraordinary profitability that comes from the core.
ZAKARIA: Do you think Americans are getting healthier? You know what foreigners say, they come to America. They see Americans and say they are obese, the statistics bear it out. We have three times the rate of obesity as Europe. They say it is because of the snacks and fast food and high calorie drinks.
NOOYI: I wish the solution was that simple. I can turn it around and say, I'll give you an example. When I was a kid, I would come home from school, throw my bag, go out to play. My daughter comes home from school, throws her bag, goes to play, but sitting in front of the computer because their definition of play has changed.
They don't go out to play. They play on the computer with their friends. They can order food through the computer. Lifestyles have changed. So for us, we have to sit back and say, this is an issue that's of national importance.
How do we bring a coalition of all of the people that can help address the problem and resolve the issue? I think it's a very simplistic approach when you try to blame one product or one habit as what causes obesity. I think you will never get to an answer this way.
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about being a woman. You're not just a woman CEO of the largest company by market cap who is a woman. You are a woman in India. You are a woman scientist. You're a chemist by training. You worked as a woman in Motorola, which is a tech company which are notoriously all male atmospheres. Did you feel that you were discriminated against? Did doors close to you? Did you feel like you were always battling some kind of set of restrictions?
NOOYI: I'd say yes and no. In my case, I think I did my part, Fareed. I worked my tail off. I worked harder than any of the men out there, but I didn't do it because I'm a woman. I did it because that's the only way I know how to work.
And I think that helped coupled of the fact that I was blessed with so many mentors who came out of the woodwork to voluntary help and volunteer their advice. As long as I was willing to take it, you know, I moved forward.
Do people today face challenges? I think the situation today for women is so much better than it was many, many years ago. In the past we didn't have the numbers. I think it's getting better.
For companies like ours, if we didn't make PepsiCo an inclusive company that's friendly to women, we are basically saying 50 percent of the work force we're not going to tap into. We can't afford to function that way.
ZAKARIA: How do you resolve the work-life balance? You have kids.
ZAKARIA: How did you manage to do it all?
NOOYI: I don't know what is work and what is life. That's the first problem because sometimes going home is work and coming here is life. I think in these positions it blurs between work and life.
I was very lucky, Fareed. I have a husband who completely and totally participates in everything that has to do with the home. Even with this eco-system, I can't tell you how many sacrifices I have had to make.
ZAKARIA: What are the ones that you think most about?
NOOYI: My daughter is going off to college this fall. I think I was there for most of the important events of her growing up. My first daughter who is now in Washington, D.C. working. I read one of her journals when she was 8 or 10 years and she said, sat at the window, waiting for mom to come home because I wanted to tell her something important.
At 10:00 in the night, she's not home yet. I'm going to sleep. It breaks your heart, breaks your heart. What did she want to tell me that was so important she sat by the window reading until 10:00 at night?
Things like that just break your heart. But then, you just sort of push it aside, push the guilt aside and say, I did the best I could. I can't just keep living on guilt and get on with life.
ZAKARIA: So you're full of ideas and they are very broad. Do you think sometimes that you should, after PepsiCo go to Washington and implement some of the ideas?
NOOYI: Do I have to go to Washington to implement some of these ideas? You know, as the CEO, I can consecrate a lot of ideas and I can be part of commissions and coalitions that take these ideas and then do something with it.
So at this point I love running PepsiCo. It's just a great company. We are on a journey and it feels good running this company. I think I'm more useful to the country as a CEO because I create jobs. I maintain the jobs. I grow the jobs and keep the successful enterprise going. I want to contribute. I want to contribute to the country. I'm willing to contribute any shape or form all these ideas.
ZAKARIA: So President Obama should perhaps call you if there is a second term?
NOOYI: To do what? Give my ideas in a commission? Sure, anytime.
ZAKARIA: More than that?
NOOYI: I think I am committed to running PepsiCo for many, many more years, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: A pleasure to have you on.
NOOYI: Thank you, Fareed. Thank you very much.
ZAKARIA: We will be right back.
ZAKARIA: And now for our "What in the World" segment. Here's something from the "It's a Brave New World Department." Earlier this month the State Department released a report on the state of human rights around the world as it has done each year for the past 35.
It's a critique of the records of not just our enemies, but some of our friends as well. As you'd expect, many countries dispute Washington's version of the truth, mostly countries that had been described as abusing human rights.
No sooner did the report emerge than the global blowback began. Most nations were happy to just put out statements alleging unfairness and contradictions. Not one big one. Trumping the rest of the world, China produced a report of its own, a reciprocal report one might call it.
It goes by the title "The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2010." They have been putting out such a report for years, but every year it gets bolder. This one has an almost gleeful tone and keypunch lines like this. The United States has always called itself land of freedom, but the number of inmates in the country is the world's largest. That according to China is a human rights violation. Then it goes on to site figures that have no bearing on human rights violations as such - unemployment numbers, the number of people going hungry, gun ownership and so on.
The report loses itself and takes away from the more serious charges it does make about Guantanamo Bay and CIA detention facilities. The Chinese government should get the report done by serious Chinese scholars of whom they are many rather than the propaganda department of its communist party, which seems to have written this one.
The report also comes out at an awkward time for Beijing. The Chinese government has ramped up its political repression, over the last few weeks in a way that's frankly puzzling. Clearly the events across the Middle East have scared Beijing's leadership. As soon as the first signs of the uprising began in Tunisia, the world's Jasmine Revolution became taboo on Chinese computers. Searches for anything connected to them led to blanks.
Some Chinese citizens called for regular Sunday gatherings in thirteen Chinese cities to seek political reform while very few people showed up a heavy police presence was already there. Resistance was swiftly detained. Journalists including a CNN reporter were prevented from covering the story.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not doing anything illegal.
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ZAKARIA: CNN was periodically blacked out and you can bet that people in China probably aren't seeing the segment you are watching now. I'm certain it, too, will be blacked out.
But this we all know, censorship is standard procedure in China. What's new is the ferocity of the crack-down. Consider the arrest of Ai Weiwei, China's best known artist for what's called economic crimes. The international outrage should have been expected. Yet the Beijing government believed it was worth putting him away.
To remind you Ai Weiwei helped design the crown jewel of the Beijing Olympics, the bird's nest stadium and his work has been exhibited in some of the finest museums in China and around the world. One hundred and sixty nine people were arrested for praying earlier this week. Why is this happening and why now?
The China scholar Mingshing Pei says while conditions in China are nothing like the Middle East Chinese leaders do have reason to feel insecure. Inflation is rising. There is a housing bubble. Unemployment is getting higher and Beijing likes to err on the side of caution. The other key factor, according to Mingshing Pei is that China will have a new set of leaders a year from now. They all need to show they are tough against domestic dissent. To me it's an interesting sign of the nervousness of China's leaders and their own sense of vulnerability.
Looking from the outside, I don't think the Chinese regime has anything to fear. Under its rein, the average income has quadrupled. People have many more opportunities than they have had before. China is economically and socially dynamic. But maybe the China's Communist Party Leaders who study their people and discontent very carefully, maybe they know something I don't. We'll be right back.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was stunning how many people generally liked Moammar Gadhafi. There are Gadhafi fan clubs of young men trying to raise money to get weapons, to get transport and go to Libya to fight for him.
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ZAKARIA: Why are so many of Moammar Gadhafi's fellow African leaders supportive of him despite the overwhelming evidence that he's slaughtering his own people? My next guest, Jeffrey Gettleman, has a fascinating answer to that question and others. He's the East Africa Bureau Chief for the New York Times and spends much of his time in some of the most dangerous and lawless places in the world. We'll get to his war stories. Welcome back. I first want to ask you about this question. You see so many African leaders who are supportive of Gadhafi. It's the only part of the world in which you see that. Why?
JEFFREY GETTLEMAN, EAST AFRICAN BUREAU CHIEF, NEW YORK TIMES: It's an interesting question. I just did a story in Mali. I went to West Africa to the country of Mali and I found --
ZAKARIA: Which is a good democracy trying to reform, right?
GETTLEMAN: Yes. It's stable, safe. It was stunning how many people genuinely liked Moammar Gadhafi. All across the city in Bamako, the capital, there are these Gadhafi fan clubs of young men trying to raise money for weapons, to get transport, to go to Libya and fight for him and you wonder why. We see Gadhafi as kooky, eccentric, he is now brutalizing his own people. He was the mad dog of the Middle East in the 1980s. They don't see him like that at all. And there are a couple of reasons why.
One, ideologically Gadhafi represents for many Africans a strong leader who stands up for Africa. He tried to push this idea of the United States of Africa, something that never got off the ground, but many people were inspired by that. He stands up to the West and few African leaders do that. The bigger reason is money talks. Gadhafi spent billions of dollars across sub-Saharan Africa and some of it in quite helpful ways. He invested in hotels, gas stations, supermarkets, canals, agricultural projects.
In Mali there is an enormous government complex that cost $100 million. Dozens of gleaming buildings, the nicest buildings in town, the brightest lights in town. At night it's right along the Niger River and you can see this thing lit up like a stadium and on the signs around this government complex it says the Moammar Gadhafi government complex and he has basically built a new capital for the government of Mali.
So I went to the government official and I said, listen, the world right now sees Gadhafi as this villain and we're trying to get him out of Libya and they say, no, that's totally wrong, he's helped us, he's shared our resources. Other countries like Nigeria don't do the same thing. We'll stand behind him.
And that's why you've seen in the last few days, the African Union has taken a very soft position. They sent a delegation to Libya to try to help solve the crisis and they didn't ask for Gadhafi to leave. They said, we'll have a cease fire, we'll have a peace deal but Gadhafi should stay in power. The rebels and other players said no way. That's a nonstarter.
ZAKARIA: Do you think this is going to be a serious complication and is it a broad enough phenomenon that if Gadhafi has a kind of out by being able to rely on the African support that he can just stick around forever?
GETTLEMAN: It's a good question. I think he can at least find a refuge somewhere in Africa. Countries like Uganda, Mali, maybe South Africa, Zimbabwe. We forget Gadhafi helped -- one of the problems of Gadhafi is that he meddled a lot in Africa.
He supplied weapons to so many rebel groups. He helped destabilize Sudan, he got involved in Chad and Mauritania and Mali. He meddled a lot. But at the same time he helped the liberation movement in Zimbabwe, he helped the ANC in South Africa. Some of the movements that are now seen as the good guys.
ZAKARIA: Let's talk about a few other places, Somalia. The pirates are still at work. They still seem able to kill these missionaries. Give us a sense. The Government, the Prime Minister seems to be a good guy. Is there any chance that the Somali Government will be able to wrest greater control from the Al-Qaeda affiliated group Al-Shabaab, take control of the pilot and in effect do what most Governments do, which is in effect, take control of its own territory?
GETTLEMAN: I don't think so. I think piracy is totally out of control. The war on piracy is resembling the war on drugs in the sense that it's unwinnable. We have seen more attacks this year than the previous years. It's on track to surpass the records it has just broken. Ransoms are going up. When I first started covering piracy a few years ago these guys would be lucky if they got a couple of hundred thousand bucks. Now, they're getting $5-10 million.
The result is, it's bringing more and more young Somalia's into the business and the discipline and the way they do the operations is breaking down. I met some pirate bosses a couple of years ago that told me there was even a pirate handbook that laid out specific rules how to treat hostages, how to collect ransoms. They had an organization called the Corporation which was all the pirate bosses. That's breaking down. It's getting more violent.
I covered the story a few weeks back where four Americans who were yachting across the Indian Ocean were hijacked by pirates, the U.S. Navy surrounded them and the pirates killed all four hostages. I have a fear it will get worse. Until there is a stable government in Somalia, piracy will flourish.
ZAKARIA: We'll keep watching. Jeffrey Gettleman, please as always.
GETTLEMAN: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: Come back soon. We'll be right back.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are going to be very difficult transitions because there isn't a natural seed bed in which it will be easy to quickly fertilize and grow democracy.
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CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Time for a check of today's top stories. Egypt's former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif faces trial on corruption charges. He served in former President Hosni Mubarak's government and is being held in a prison in Cairo.
House Speaker John Boehner made a surprise visit to Iraq on Saturday and met with the country's Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. Although the U.S. combat mission in Iraq officially ended last year, 50,000 American troops are expected to remain there until the end of this year.
In Japan, engineers say they will need at least nine months to completely shut down the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. The chairman of Tokyo's electric power company says it will take three months to bring down radiation levels and restore normal cooling systems at the plant.
Those are your top stories. Up next, much more FAREED ZAKARIA GPS and then RELIABLE SOURCES at the top of the hour.
ZAKARIA: Mark Malloch Brown has run political campaigns for Cory Aquino in the Philippines, Boris Yeltsin in Russia and the novelist, Mario Vargas Llosa in Peru. He's been a Vice President of the World Bank and was the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations as well as the Deputy Foreign Minister, sort of, of Great Britain. He's here to talk about President Obama's foreign policy and the world. Welcome.
MARK MALLOCH BROWN, FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY GENERAL, THE U.N.: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: You have a new book, "The Unfinished Global Revolution," the limits of nations and the pursuit of a new politics. Libya, you have been fairly supportive of what President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy are doing there.
BROWN: Yes. I think when Colonel Gadhafi threatened the people of Benghazi a humane civilized caring international community had no moral choice but to do what it did and deploy this much debated concept of the responsibility to protect, to prevent a government doing enormous deliberate harm to its own civilians.
ZAKARIA: How do you think President Obama is doing with his foreign policy overall? What does the view look like from London?
BROWN: Well, you know, there is certainly a media view in London that he's been demonstrated as weak. He's suddenly a follower, not a leader. Much dismay that it was left to Britain and France that was thought to lead on this no-fly zone. I have to say that I see it very differently. I invert that.
I think it's actually rather healthy to see the U.S. playing this back row role. I think it makes the whole operation less controversial. I think it goes entirely along with the burden sharing progressive multilateralism that President Obama always promised. So I find his care and caution about committing America to military action, combining it, however, with a real moral commitment to protect civilians to make sure there is no Darfur or Bosnia on his watch. I find it a very impressive combination.
ZAKARIA: Do you think that the Brits and French took the lead because they felt that Obama was being reticent or what explains Sarkozy in particular? This extraordinary desire to get very actively involved very early on?
BROWN: I suspect it was a combination probably, I fear, of domestic poll numbers. A very bad start to the crisis because of French cabinet involvement in both Tunisia and Egypt of an embarrassing kind and just the very French passionate commitment to this doctrine of responsibility to protect.
I think initially they did feel they were filling a gap, but I think President Obama came on board in time. I think his initial hesitation was one that many people felt you just don't embark on these operations lightly. You do it reluctantly when you see there are no choices left to you.
ZAKARIA: When you look at the broader Middle East and you see what's happening in Tunisia and Egypt, Libya, when you look at Bahrain, Yemen, how unstable can things get?
BROWN: Very. First, a lot of those countries you named are very unlikely to have as easy a transition as the already difficult ones that are likely to be in Egypt and Tunisia. But Egypt and Tunisia are pluralistic societies which had a middle class which at least have enjoyed some economic and social freedoms if not political freedoms. You have the building blocks for democracy.
In the other countries, in more cases than less the opposition has been locked up whenever it's made any kind of dissent. These will be very difficult transitions because there isn't a natural seed bed in which it will be easy to quickly fertilize and grow democracy.
ZAKARIA: If you were to put on your old political consultant hat and tell the Egyptian Democrats what they should do, would they face an army that wants to retain power, would they face anxiety about the Muslim brotherhood? How do they make their way?
BROWN: Well, I certainly think they need to understand they have as big a problem outside Egypt as inside Egypt and they have to show everybody that a democratic pluralist Egypt will be a richer, more prosperous country, too, and they can marshal people behind the idea of an unshackled, higher rate of growth in a freer society then, like herding cats, hopefully they can get everybody to the finishing line of not just elections but successful government thereafter.
ZAKARIA: So that's the optimism of the unfinished global revolution. Lord Mark Malloch Brown, pleasure to have you on.
BROWN: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: We'll be right back.
ZAKARIA: This week's GPS challenge question is about geography. The Ivory Coast has been in the headlines all week. What is that Nation's neighbor to the East? We'll show you a map here. Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana or Liberia. Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
Make sure you go to CNN.com/gps for ten more questions. While you're there check out our website, the Global Public Square. You will find smart interviews and takes by some of our favorite experts, like Jeffrey Gettleman on South Sudan. You will also find all our GPS shows so if you have missed one, click and watch.
This week's book is "Innovation Nation" by John Kao, a former professor at the Harvard Business School and M.I.T. whom The Economist has dubbed Mr. Creativity. He said the U.S. has lost its edge in innovation. He paints a terrifying picture of what the world will look like 30 years from now if we don't innovate and a prettier picture if we do get our innovation groove back.
I read the book in preparation for our next "Restoring the American Dream" special. It will be about innovation and it will air at 8.00pm and 11.00pm on Sunday June 5th. If you have ideas about innovation, what it is, where it comes from, what we should be covering, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now for the last look or perhaps we should call it the last listen. Then U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan called it perhaps Britain's greatest gift to the world but Britain is now taking part of that gift away thanks to budget cuts. I'm talking about the BBC's Foreign Language radio service. At one time it broadcast news of the world in an astounding 69 different languages.
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ZAKARIA: As a kid in Mumbai I grew up listening to the BBC World Service getting my first sense of the world around me. Around the globe millions of others listened, too. But the BBC has now decided to stop broadcast services in Hindi, Mandarin, Russian, Turkish, Albanian, Vietnamese and many other languages. The BBC says for many of the languages, their radio broadcasts will become internet web casts.
But to take two examples, China has only 20 percent internet penetration and India, just 5 percent. Maybe there is a billionaire out there who could fill this budgetary gap.
The GPS challenge question, what is the Ivory Coast's neighbor to the East? The answer is Ghana, big country. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week. Stay tuned for RELIABLE SOURCES.