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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS

Interview With King Abdullah II of Jordan; The Richest Man In India; Interview with John Howard; Interview with Dmitry Medvedev

Aired March 31, 2013 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN 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. We have a terrific show for you today with some of the best interviews of the year so far: a king, one of the world's richest men, a prime minister and a former prime minister.

First up, King Abdullah II of Jordan, the man in the middle in the Middle East. His nation sits in the midst of turmoil between Syria, Egypt, Israel, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Then, the richest man in India, Mukesh Ambani in an exclusive interview, the first time TV cameras have ever been allowed inside his 27-story home.

Also, two prime ministers, Dmitry Medvedev of Russia on Syria and his relationship with President Putin and then the former Prime Minister John Howard of Australia on how his country acted after a tragic gun massacre what the United States can learn.

But, first, here's my take.

It's a given that Washington is broken, that the two parties seem incapable of coming together to get things done. But here is something President Obama could probably do by himself that would be a signal accomplishment of his presidency: end the war on terror.

For the first time since 9/11, an administration official has sketched out a possible end point.

Jay Johnson, the then general counsel for the Pentagon, said in a recent speech to the Oxford Union that as the battle against Al Qaeda continues, there will come a tipping point at which so many of the leaders and operatives of Al Qaeda and its affiliates have been killed or captured such that as Al Qaeda as we know it has been effectively destroyed.

At that point, he said, our efforts should no longer be considered an armed conflict. You might not realize it, but we are still living in a state of war. This is the longest period that the United States has lived in such a situation, longer than the Civil War, World War I or World War II.

It grants the president and the federal government extraordinary authority, effectively suspends civil liberties for anyone the government deems an enemy and also keeps us at a permanent war footing in all kinds of ways.

Ending the situation should be something that would appeal to both left and right.

James Madison, the author of the Constitution, a long-time conservative, was clear on this topic. "Of all the enemies to public liberty," he wrote, "war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."

If you want to know why we're in such a deep budgetary hole, keep in mind that we have spent about $2 trillion on foreign wars in the past decade.

In addition, we have had the largest expansion of federal government since World War II.

Dana Priest and William Arkin of "The Washington Post" have documented that the U.S. government built 33 new building complexes for the intelligence bureaucracies alone, occupying 17 million square feet, the equivalent of 22 U.S. Capitols or three Pentagons.

The Department of Homeland Security itself employs almost one quarter of a million people.

Of course, there are real threats out there, including from new branches of Al Qaeda and other such groups and, of course, they will have to be battled and those terrorists should be captured or killed, but we have done this before and we can do it again in the future under more normal, legal circumstances.

It will mean that the administration will have to be more careful and perhaps have more congressional involvement for certain actions like drone strikes. It might mean the administration will have to charge some of the people in Guantanamo and try them in military or civilian courts.

But is all this so bad? So the question is, have we reached the point where we might consider shifting from emergency wartime powers?

Well, the recent global terrorism index report covers the years 2002 to 2011. It shows that terrorism went up from '02 to '07 largely because of the conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

But it has been declining ever since. And surveying the situation by region, the report finds the part of the world with the fewest incidents of terrorism has been North America.

For more on this, read my recent column in "The Washington Post." There is a link to it on the website, CNN.com/fareed. Let's get started.

(MUSIC PLAYING) ZAKARIA: The kingdom of Jordan is precariously positioned with some challenging neighbors. It has Syria to its north, Iraq to the northeast, Saudi Arabia to the east, Egypt and the Sinai across the Gulf of Aqaba and Israel and the West Bank to its west.

Despite the external turmoil, Jordan hasn't had its own Arab Spring. Why not? Listen in to my conversation with Jordan's King Abdullah II.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Your Majesty, when you look at the Arab Spring, is it fair to draw the inference at this point in the game that repression has not worked, but bribery has?

By which I mean to say the states that attempted repression are either -- the regime's either gone or teetering like Syria. But those that have large oil wealth, were able to provide patronage of various kinds, particularly in the Gulf, have all survived.

KING OF JORDAN, ABDULLAH II BIN AL-HUSSEIN: Well, I think you have to take a step back to look at history of how the Middle East was divided up. And this is one the problems we face in political reforms in Jordan.

We're still living in the shadows of the Cold War and, during the Cold War, it was more sort of, let's say, the monarchies that were allied to the West and the republics that were allied to the Soviet Union.

And so maybe you've seen the reaction more in the republics than you've had in sort of the countries that are either emirates or monarchies.

But this is what makes maybe the transition to political reform even more difficult. For example in my country, 90 percent of the people are still adverse of being aligned to political parties.

And so, although we've had this wonderful parliament outcome of the 56 percent plus, way beyond I think anybody's expectations, the challenge now -- and I see in Jordan specifically, the hard work for us is actually creating that political party culture where people -- the word is hizb (ph) in Arabic and for Jordanians to be part of a hizb (ph) is still instinctively something wrong.

So the challenge that we have over the next four years is actually the hard work. I think the easiest part of Arab Spring, over the past year-and-a-half, is behind us.

ZAKARIA: What would you like to see happen in Syria? You are facing an extraordinary crisis and I think people need to remember you have now 300,000 refugees from Syria. You've just gone through a decade in which you took in hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees.

KING ABDULLAH II: Yes. ZAKARIA: The Iraqis have just started going back and you now have this new influx. Do you think that the fall of Assad will, in some way, end this crisis or will that launch the beginning of a larger Syrian civil war?

KIND ABDULLAH II: Well, the challenge that we have is the longer this conflict goes on, the more the country will implode.

And so, for the first time, again, there's talk of is there going to be a fragmentation of Syria, the breakup into different smaller states, which I think would be catastrophic and something that we would be reeling from for decades to come.

But the longer it goes on, the nastier it gets, the more complicated it gets. But, at the same time, anybody who's saying that Bashar's regime has got weeks to live really doesn't know the reality on the ground.

They still have capability so I give them a strong showing at least for the first half of 2013.

ZAKARIA: How much Jihadi penetration into Syria do you sense?

KING ABDULLAH II: Well, Al Qaeda is established in Syria. They've been there for about a year. They are getting certain supplies of materiel, weapons and financing, unfortunately, from certain sectors. So they're a force to contend with.

And even if we get the best government into Damascus tomorrow, we have at least two or three years of securing our borders from them coming across and to clean them up.

So, you know, Jordan is today, and has been committed since three weeks into the Afghan campaign, we've been there for many, many years, but, today, when we look at Jordanian troops deploying to Afghanistan we've got to really think because I think the new Taliban that we're going to have to deal with is actually going to be in Syria.

ZAKARIA: A final question, I mentioned, you know, repression didn't work; bribery seems to have worked. You haven't repressed; you don't have the money to bribe.

Do you feel like you've managed this kind of balancing act in Jordan and that you worry that all these pressures from Syria, the Israeli issue, could destabilize it all?

KING ABDULLAH II: Well, it goes, I think, without saying that the past year-and-a-half with the very difficult challenges to our economy, to our gas being cut off, or Egypt that got us into the financial difficulties that we're facing today, instabilities in Syria have definitely added to the challenge.

But Jordan has always, I think, looked at whatever policies they have not to use other things that are happening in the area as an excuse. I think the difference between Jordan is -- and many other countries -- is we took a different approach. And we push for evolution, not revolution, and the only way you can do that is through the rule of law. So a national committee was put together and they changed a third of the constitution, created an independent commission for elections, a new constitutional court, many other laws.

So we took the systematic approach mainly because of my experiences in being educated in the West, looking how Western systems did it. It was really the rule of law and I sometimes am surprised by Western think tanks and certain of the European ambassadors in our country where they say, well, this is going to be very difficult.

So I say, you think?

(LAUGHTER)

KING ABDULLAH II: I mean, this has been a major challenge and you can't have this by waving a magic wand. It's going to take hard work to create doctrine and platforms so that people start to, for the next elections, vote for candidates because they're on left or right of these political issues.

So that political party culture, that is the major challenge. And where we're starting from low down in Jordan, I think we're still steps ahead of many, many countries in the Middle East.

So I -- you know it's going to be tough for all of us, but that's the only way I think that we can do it.

ZAKARIA: Your Majesty, thank you very much. This was a fascinating conversation.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: We'll be back in a moment with the richest man in India, the second richest man in Asia, Mukesh Ambani, on why he's bullish on America.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAKARIA: Mukesh Ambani hasn't given a television interview in almost a decade. He has never let television cameras into his 27- story home in Mumbai until now. Ambani is the richest man in India, the second richest man in all of Asia.

He is the chairman of India's largest company, Reliance Industries, which his father started in 1980, making textiles. Today their revenues come mostly from energy, though they're making big bets in retail and telecommunications as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Tell me, you have a vantage point to look at the global economy. You run India's largest company. Where do you think we are, five years after the financial crisis began?

MUKESH AMBANI, CHAIRMAN, RELIANCE INDUSTRIES: Well, I'm more optimistic than most. And my view is that, this year, we will see the beginning of a recovery, particularly in the U.S.

ZAKARIA: And you -- and you -- you think that that's because just the inherent strengths of the U.S. economy?

AMBANI: There has been a fundamental transformation in the energy scene in the U.S. For many decades, we have heard that the U.S. will be independent of foreign imports of energy.

Realistically, I can now tell you that it is my judgment that this will happen in the next five or seven years. The U.S. has truly found non-conventional energy in shale oil and gas, which is really, really bringing benefit not only to the population in the U.S., but really to across the world.

ZAKARIA: You run the largest refinery in the world in Jamnagar. What will happen if there were a military strike on Iran? What would happen to the price of oil in your estimation?

AMBANI: Well, I think that the world is a lot more saner. My own view is that if we see small blips, I think that we have a resilient enough system. And today there is enough spare capacity, right, in the system, to take care of eventualities.

ZAKARIA: You were very bullish about the United States, probably more bullish than a lot of Americans. What about the other key drivers of the world economy? Because a lot of people say, look, China is slowing down. Brazil has slowed down. India has slowed down. What do you think of the emerging market story?

AMBANI: I think that China is maintaining steady growth. It's not decelerating. Europe has found its own transition path, and they will transgress through the financial system in an orderly way. India has had some slow growth, but I'm really very optimistic on India.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAKARIA: Why is that? Explain that, because when people look at India today, they see growth is at 5.5 percent now. You talk to foreign investors and they say the infrastructure is terrible; the government, you know, doesn't do enough reform. It's very difficult to operate in India. You look at all that and you are not -- you are not -- you're still bullish.

AMBANI: Well, I'm very bullish on India, because it's really the aspirations of a billion people. And ours is a country where all the billion count. There are some countries in the world where one person counts. There are some countries where the politburo, 12 people, count.

The beauty of India is that all our billion people count. And they have aspirations. And it is really a bottom-up story. It's not a top-down story. So, yes, we will adjust with what happens in the rest of the world, but we are on a long-term growth trajectory. And this is just not growth in terms of GDP numbers, right? This really is for well- being of each and every Indian. And that's the aspiration.

ZAKARIA: You are the richest Indian, you run the largest company in India, you live in this fabulous house that is, you know, talked about much. Do you see yourself as having a special responsibility?

AMBANI: Yes. Of course. The way I think about these things is I really have my father as my role model. And he started off with nothing. And one of the things that he said to me is that you really don't know, Mukesh, what it is to be poor.

And make sure that you maintain everybody's self-respect. So when you give -- people hold their hand on this basis, don't give on that basis, right?

When you give, and if people hold their hand like this, that means they bless you. That's the way to give. And in a certain sense some amount of anonymous giving or doing things that change societies, doing things that leave a lasting impact.

And even if it be creation of businesses, creation of jobs, right, creation of sustainable institutions that last beyond you, is the best way that you can contribute to India.

ZAKARIA: Mukesh Ambani, pleasure to have you on.

AMBANI: Thank you, Fareed. It was a pleasure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Up next, "What in the World": if you look at any global rankings of the best countries to live in, Scandinavia always comes out on top. Why? And what we can we learn from that?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAKARIA: Now, for our "What in the World" segment.

Here at GPS we often report on how the United States has fallen behind in a number of global rankings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: For example, "The Economist" recently published what it calls the Where to be Born Index, a list of countries that provide the best opportunities and the highest quality of life.

In 1988, America was number one. Now it is a joint 16th. Three of the top five countries today are in Scandinavia, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Or look at the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index. The United States has fallen to seven in the latest ratings. Finland and Sweden are all in the top five.

Or look at corruption. The United States ranks 19th in the Transparency International's new index. Denmark and Finland are rated the cleanest countries.

Now you can spot two trends. On the one hand, America has been losing its edge, but I'm also struck by the rise of Scandinavia, a region that includes Denmark, Norway, Sweden and if you broaden that definition, Finland and Iceland.

Each of these countries seem to dominate global ranking lists. Why? What is their secret sauce? Well, Scandinavia is actually much more free-market oriented than most people realize. Capital is allocated by the market; the government doesn't own companies. Regulation is usually light. Corruption is nonexistent. Companies can hire and fire easily, labor moves around.

But these countries do tax a lot and spend a lot on education, child care, health and other things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Now, a recent MIT paper suggests that there are limits to this model. It's called "Can't We All Be More Like Scandinavians." We have a link to the paper on CNN.com/fareed.

In brief, it points out how the Scandinavian welfare system provides a number of benefits, more vacations, better health care, more equality. But when it comes to innovation, the U.S. still wins. For example, if you look at patents filed per million residents, the study shows the U.S. has moved far ahead of Scandinavian countries.

Here's why this is important. Unlike, say, a health care system which only benefits people of one particular country, innovation has global impacts. New American inventions spread around the world.

According to the paper's authors, Scandinavian countries free ride on U.S. research and development. But if the U.S. became Scandinavian, it would spend less on innovation, which might reduce global growth rates and, thus, discredit the Scandinavian model.

The paper has been criticized for using patents as the marker for innovation, but, even so, this is an important discussion. And it ties into many of the questions our leaders are grappling with.

Does the state need to make societies more equal? Does that come at a cost?

There is much to admire about Scandinavia on education, on health care, on energy. But that doesn't mean we need to become Scandinavian. We are more individualistic, freewheeling, ready to take risks. Americans don't need to stop being American.

But why not look at how these countries in Scandinavia make investments in health care, in early education and all of these things create greater equality of opportunity. That's, after all, what helps people succeed, no matter where they come from or how poor they are. The truth is, Scandinavian countries are fulfilling a huge part of the American dream better than America these days.

Now, thankfully, we are still an innovation powerhouse and we need to spend more on research and development rather than cutting those budgets. And perhaps we need to target some of our innovative thinking towards restoring the American dream of equal opportunity. That would be a truly American solution to an American problem.

When we come back, more lessons for America. What we can learn from Australia, a country that actually did something following a gun massacre 17 years ago. They banned semi-automatic weapons. Did it work? When we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Ed Lavandera reporting live from Kaufman, Texas. We'll return to Fareed Zakaria in just one moment. But we're going to bring you the latest from Texas in a developing news story, a chilling news story that is developing here in Texas. Law enforcement authorities have descended on a neighborhood here in Kaufman County just east of Dallas where yesterday, late yesterday the district attorney, the chief top prosecutor in the Kaufman County was found murdered inside his own home alongside with his wife, as well. Mike McLelland had been the district attorney here in Kaufman County for many years, but, more importantly, this comes two months, almost two months exactly after an assistant prosecutor here in Kaufman County was gunned down in the middle of the day as he was walking to his office.

So many questions being raised about whether or not these two murders are connected. The mayor here in Kaufman tells CNN that he believes both of these men were targeted and that it is very likely that these murders were connected. But we saw law enforcement descend on this neighborhood, FBI investigators, state police, Texas rangers. Special Police have descended on that neighborhood. That investigation continues. We will continue to follow this story throughout the day here on CNN. But, for now, we'll return you back to Fareed Zakaria.

ZAKARIA: On April 28, 1996, in Port Arthur, Australia, a man named Martin Bryant went on a killing rampage. In the first 15 seconds of his spree, Bryant killed 12 people and injured another 10, all with an AR- 15 assault rifle. In the end, 35 people lie dead, men, women and children.

If his weapon of choice sounds familiar, it should. That's what Adam Lanza used in the Newtown, Connecticut, massacre of 20 school children and six educators.

In its time of grief, Australia actually did something about weapons like the AR-15. It banned them. Joining me now from Sydney, the man who made it happen Australia's Former Prime Minister John Howard. Mr. Howard, welcome.

JOHN HOWARD, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: Thank you, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: So when you hear about this terrible tragedy, what was your reaction?

HOWARD: Well, my reaction was one of horror and shock. It was the largest single loss of life from one murderous incident by an individual until the Breivik slaughter in Norway a couple of years ago. * So I thought to myself and many of the people around me that we just cannot leave a stone unturned in trying to prevent it happening again.

ZAKARIA: And so, you decided on essentially what we would call here an assault weapons ban.

HOWARD: Yes, you know, I did. And the power to ban them at that time lay with the states. Australia, like the United States, is a federation. We only have six states and two territories; a much smaller country population-wise. And there were quite a few internal difficulties on my side of politics, particularly from governments, state governments in the largest states like Queensland and Western Australia where the level of gun ownership and the recreational use of guns was higher than it was in the urban areas.

And, on top of that, of course, most of the farmers, the ranchers, whatever American term you might want to use, supported our party and many of them were very angry at the ban.

But, in the end, we were able to use the power of public outrage plus the fact that my government had just been elected with a big majority to, in effect, persuade, I'll put it politely, the states to agree to implement the nationwide ban.

And if they hadn't of agreed, we almost certainly would have held a referendum to give the federal government the power to implement the ban, but that did not become necessary.

ZAKARIA: And, then, you faced the problem there were a large number of these guns in circulation. And you came up with a very innovative idea, which was essentially a mandatory buyback, correct?

HOWARD: Yes, we funded, with a one-off tax levy on everybody, the buyback of something like 700,000 guns. The American equivalent of that would be 40 million weapons. And that was implemented over a period of time.

And they were taken in by the police and I have to say the Australian experience, overwhelmingly, was of strong support and, again, I emphasize it came from both sides of politics.

ZAKARIA: The results are actually quite stunning. The reduction and the rate of gun-related homicide in Australia is either 59 percent if you look at some statistics. By some statistics, it's down 80 percent, gun- related suicide, 65 percent. These numbers must stun even you.

HOWARD: They did and they have been -- the issue has been surveyed and researched now over quite a long period of time. So even the most conservative researchers would acknowledge that a group surveyed over such a long period of time producing figures like that must mean that the change was beneficial.

And it was not just murders, but, when I became prime minister in '96, Australia had one of the highest young male suicide rates in the world.

And by removing a lot of weapons, particularly in rural areas, the bush as we call it, the potential for young men feeling desperate and so many of them may have a snap point and if there's a gun available, it's easy to give effect to their sense of depression and despair. It's a lot harder when you have to use another method to end your life.

I mean I've often said in this debate that it's fairly easy if somebody reaches a snap point to kill a number of people with a gun. It's a lot harder to do it with another weapon like a knife.

ZAKARIA: What I'm struck by in the debate in the United States is that it takes on a left-right coloration, whereas, in the rest of the world, generally speaking it's conservatives who are in favor of being tough on guns, if you know what I mean.

They tend to be -- these are the kind of policies that law enforcement officials usually support. And it is conservatives like you. You were a very staunch conservative.

You were a 100 percent supporter of George Bush during the Iraq War. You know you've always been a tough guy. Do you find it odd to find yourself on the left side of the debate?

HOWARD: This is not a conservative-liberal issue, a left-right issue. We've always seen it as being a question of public safety. And, on this issue, our experience was that we did have gains in public safety, we did have great gains in reduction of mass murder through the ban that we produced.

Now, I know the history of gun ownership in the United States. I respect it. America has a Bill of Rights, Australia does not. The courts in Australia do not have the same capacity to decide these issues as they do in the United States.

So I acknowledge all of the differences and clearly, it is a debate that has to go on in the United States without people from outside giving any lectures and I'm not doing that. I'm simply explaining what we did, what our feelings and emotions were. And there was enormous public support, especially in urban areas, for what we did 17 years ago. There was a lot of resistance inside sections of my own political base, but with the experience of 17 years, even the most cynical, skeptical person would acknowledge that we have made a big difference with that prohibition.

ZAKARIA: John Howard, former prime minister of Australia, thank you very much.

HOWARD: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: When we come back, Dmitry Medvedev the prime minister of Russia on why his nation banned Americans from adopting Russian children.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAKARIA: Russia may no longer be the other superpower, but it remains one of the world's most important countries. It has, perhaps, the world's largest nuclear arsenal, massive oil and gas reserves, a U.N. veto, and now a seat at the World Trade Organization. Yet its direction and its interests seem unclear to many in the West. Is it modernizing? Is it trying to help solve problems like Syria or make them worse?

In the hope of better understanding the country, I sat down with its prime minister, who struck me as poised and confident, part of a regime that feels that it has weathered recent storms from the financial crisis to the Arab Spring.

Almost nine months ago, Russia saw one of the most important job swaps I can remember. Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev became Russia's prime minister, which is what he is now. And Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin became Russia's president, again.

I last interviewed Mr. Medvedev three and a half years ago before the job swap plan was officially floated. I reminded him of that interview when we met again in Davos, Switzerland.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA: Mr. Prime Minister, thank you so much for joining us.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV, RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Good day.

ZAKARIA: The last time we met, Prime Minister, you were president, and I asked you a question. I said, do you expect that you will serve a second term? You seemed optimistic about the prospect that you would serve a second term, but you didn't. Mr. Putin decided that he was going to run. Why? If you were a successful president, wouldn't it be good to have a second term?

MEDVEDEV: If you really want to know, let me tell you. We achieved the main goal to ensure continuity. Just like in any political competition, we made sure that the political forces that we represent would stay in power for years to come. And the people supported us.

I am often asked, why did you do this? Well, let me ask you a question. What was I supposed to do? Start a race with my close colleague? With my friend? For what reason?

ZAKARIA: So, it was his decision more than yours?

MEDVEDEV: Can you imagine that inside one political party there unraveled such a battle? It's pointless. It would be counterproductive.

ZAKARIA: The United States Congress has passed trade legislation with Russia, which ties trade with Russia to certain issues of corruption, to, you know, individuals who are deemed to have been part of a system of corruption in Russia. You have criticized that legislation, and you have said that Russia will respond symmetrically and asymmetrically. I want to ask, are there any further Russian retaliatory moves that we should anticipate?

MEDVEDEV: Regarding the Congress and its actions, well, I think it's bad when a foreign parliament passes a decision regarding another state. It is even worse when a foreign parliament -- and I'm referring to the U.S. Congress in particular -- declares a number of persons criminals.

You need to feel the difference. There is a fine line. Every country has the right to refuse any citizen of any other country a visa to enter its territory. That is the normal practice. That is in line with international conventions, and you don't even have to give reasons. But when that is made publicly, deliberately, when Congress says we're going to compile a list of names of specific persons that committed an offense, how would you call that? I would call that an extrajudicial act, because you find them guilty without court and trial.

So, this situation, our Russian parliament had to respond.

ZAKARIA: But there will be retaliation under international law in the way that it is allowed?

MEDVEDEV: Well, I believe the whole situation is bad, and it won't improve Russian-U.S. relations. It's not going to be beneficial for the global world order.

ZAKARIA: One of the acts taken by the Russian Duma was to ban the adoption of Russian orphans by Americans. But the people who are being punished are Russian orphans. These are often handicapped children, or certainly in some way regarded as undesirable, who are being given a new life, a hope and a stable family in the United States. Why punish the Russian orphan?

ZAKARIA: Why ban foreigners from doing it? Because if the culture in Russia does not change -- and cultures don't change in two or three years -- you will have a generation of orphans who have been punished for no fault of their own.

MEDVEDEV: Well, there is another side to this issue, which is rather complex, and I would not like to speculate on this matter. But, still, I have to mention it. Unfortunately, the information which we believe about the fate of Russian children adopted in the United States does not make anyone happy.

ZAKARIA: Meaning what? Explain what that means.

MEDVEDEV: I will explain. A large number of American families who adopted Russian children really provide the correct care, upbringing and education. And in that case, they get high marks. This is the highly moral attitude. But, unfortunately, in our country, we know a lot of cases when children adopted by American parents died or were tortured or lost their health in the U.S., and even one such case would be enough to suggest the draft of a law for consideration.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you a final question, Mr. Prime Minister. When you were part of one of the world's most overheard private conversations between you and President Barack Obama, and President Obama said famously, "in my second term, I will have more flexibility."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: After my election, I have more flexibility.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: And you said, thank you, I will convey that to Mr. Putin. What was he talking about? What kind of flexibility?

(LAUGHTER)

MEDVEDEV: Well, I think this question is better asked not to me but to my colleague, Barack Obama.

But if we talk about the subject itself, it is extremely difficult, and so far we don't see any flexibility. There are no easy solutions in terms of anti-missile defense. There is no flexibility. We have not changed our previous positions. The U.S. has one opinion, and the Russian Federation, unfortunately, has a different opinion. These positions are not getting any closer.

ZAKARIA: Mr. Prime Minister, thank you very much for joining us.

MEDVEDEV: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Zakaria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAKARIA: When we come back, a new fix for an old scourge. It looks like a flower until ...

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ZAKARIA: It's Easter for much of Western Christianity, but much of the Eastern church won't celebrate it until May. That's because they base the date on the Julian calendar. The Julian calendar named for Julius Caesar counts the days that have passed since January 1st, 4713, B.C. That brings me to my question of the week. How many days have passed since January 1st, 4713 B.C. Do not use a calculator. Is it a, 24,538. B, 245,382. C, 2,456,382 or 24,563,827? Stay tuned and we will tell you the correct answer. Go to cnn.com/Fareed for more of the GPS challenge and lots of insight and analysis. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Also go to iTunes.com/Fareed, if you have missed a show or a special.

This week's book of the week is Moises' Naim's "The End of Power." The author, a GPS regular, says the great ongoing shift in the world is the transfer of power. It has been held by the few popes and kings and armies and it is now held by the many. It is a huge shift powered by new technologies, changing societal attitudes. The book maps out in fascinating detail what these changes mean in all sorts of areas from government to personal life. This is a must read.

And, now, for the last look. Take a look at this. From a distance it looks like a dandelion. Up close, perhaps an odd boil of toilet plungers. So, what is it? It's called mine kafon, and it is a wind-powered landmine clearing device. That's right. Propelled by the wind, it is meant to roll around landmine danger areas until it finds one. Its inventor Masud Hassan, he is an Afghan who has vivid memories of losing toys that flew over, kicked or thrown into landmine areas when he was growing up in the era of war against the Soviet Union. The problem goes beyond toys. Afghanistan is estimated to have perhaps 10 million unexploded landmines and more than 40 civilians are killed by these hidden explosives every month on average. So, this might be a homegrown way to start fixing this problem. Necessity truly is the mother of invention.

The correct answer to our "GPS Challenge" question was C, it's been almost 2.5 million days since January 1st, 4713 B.C. The calendar will start over again in the year A.D. 3268. You better order your new calendars now. Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week. Stay tuned for "Reliable Sources."