tv Fareed Zakaria GPS CNN February 12, 2023 10:00am-11:00am PST
this is "gps", the global public square. welcome to you all of you in the united states and around the world. i'm fareed zakaria coming to you from new york. we'll begin today's program with monday's powerful earthquake. the devastation and destruction it has caused and the politicians that are now at play. also, the china balloon cry is, what is the fallout? i'll talk about all of that and more with david milibrand and richard haas. also, who is really fighting on the front lines for russia in ukraine? we will introduce you to the shadowy group whose mercenaries
are a big part of the russia war effort. everything you need to know about the wagner group. and kim jong-un's hermit kingdom launched over 90 missiles last year. including an astonishing 23 in one single day. an expert will tell you why america's lack of attention to north korea's growing nuclear threat is a clear danger. but first, here is my take. in a state of the union address, president biden alluded to the chinese spy balloon in a single line which subjected an effort to contain the spillover from that episode. >> as we made clear last week, if china threatens or sovereignty, we will act to protect our country and we did. >> the beijing government also seems to have tried to downplay it, expressing regret initially and using its censorship of media and social media not to
fan the flames of chinese nationalism but rather tamp them down. in the last such crisis, they encouraged anti-americanism in media. in 2001 an american spy plane collided with a jet fighter and forcing the american plane to land where chinese authorities took the crew into custody. after 11 tense days, the united states issued a letter of regret which the chinese characterized as an apology. beijing then released the americans. it is difficult to imagine an incident like that one getting resolves so quickly and easily today. we're watching something unique in history. two nations that are deeply interconnected economically. in the wake of the suspected spy balloon, this week brought news that u.s.-china trade goods hit an all-time high of $690 billion. surpassing the previous record
set in 2018 before the covid pandemic. that number is remacable when you consider it was achieved despite the tariffs that donald trump placed on many chinese goods and those that china placed on u.s. goods in response. it also runs counter to the biden administration's new rules preventing trade in certain high technology items with the people's republic. wire operating on two levels with china. one is geopolitics where tensions have been growing rapidly but the other is commercial and it is determined lastly by chinese and american consumers and firms not governments, that relationship remains deeply intertwined and interdependent. could the two realms continue to move forward? it seems highly unlikely. in an essay in foreign affairs, hank paulson notes that during the 2008 global financial crisis, good relations with
kline helped washington avert another great depression. you see china held mass amount afters of american debt as well as american housing bonds issued by fannie mae and freddie mac. had beijing sold those, this could have created a downward spiral for the economic and fallout around the world. but washington persuaded beijing not to swell and china uses its own miss cal and monetary strength to boost the economy. it is sobering to think the next global crisis, will likely see none of that policy coordination between the world's two largest economies. the geopolitical tensions are likely to grow fast. this week also brought news that it was actually more significant than a wandering balloon. the u.s. strategic command which
oversees the u.s. nuclear arm, china has more land based intercontinental ballistic missiles than the u.s. as relations have deteriorated, beijing has moved rapidly to build up its nuclear arsenal. it still have fewer nuclear warheads than the u.s. but according to a pentagon report last fall, it is on a path to more than triple its stock by 2035. at that point, we will be in a world in which three major powers each have large and sophisticated nuclear arsenals. and two of those pours, russia and china, are allied and both will be primarily targeting the united states. and then there is taiwan. we face a long-term build up of beijing's military capability to invade or more likely blockade the island. but we also face potential short-term crisis, including the one that will be triggered if heaven mccarthy does travel to the iexd and announced support for taiwan independence. they will be holding presidential elections in 2024.
the president cannot run again because of term limits. but her party has chosen as its likely candidate a man who said he is a worker for taiwanese independence. so far public sentiment suggested that most taiwanese do not want independence right now. preferring the ambiguous status quo that has allowed them to thrive and prosper. but that too could change if beijing's bullying ramps up. right now washington and beijing have few guardrails to keep problems from escalating. china and the united states have no bilateral arms control agreements, unlike with russia or ongoing negotiations about security. there are no military to
military dialogues about crisis management. there is no continuous discussion between the two sides economic teams. if the next crisis between beijing and washington is bigger than a balloon, it might prove much harder to deflate. go to cnn.com/fareed for a link to my washington post column this week. and let's get started. ♪ let me bring david milibrand and rich haas in the u.s.-chirn relations. now the president and ceo of the international rescue committee, richmond is a former top state department official, now the president of the council on foreign relations and the author of a new book which debuted on "the new york times" best-seller list. richard, a assume that you think that biden administration broadly speaking handled the china episode pretty well.
but i want to you ask, because you were the guy who colin powell dispatched to negotiate with the chinese in the 2001 episode. and the way resolved was the united states offered this regret which the chinese were able to interpret and translate as an apology. given the political climate in washington, where, you know, the republicans are just begging for blood on this, could you have solved the problem in that way this time? >> i think the answer is we could have, but it would have come at greater political cost or price. there is also a competition going on between parties who could be tougher on china. there is hardly a lot of difference between the trump administration and now the biden and it is difficult going forward. i mean, this is was a balloon. imagine if we have a real crisis over taiwan with ships or aircraft come into close prom imity or contact. how are the united states and china going to manage that. we don't have the lines of
communication and the political environment has so deteriorated over the last 20 years, it is in some ways worst than the united states and the soviet union even at the height of the cold war. >> you said initially that you thought that tony blinken should not have canceled his trip. do you think he should go as soon as possible. >> yes. when i look at differences between united states and china over taiwan, that has more potential to bring anything to blows where there is growing support for russia and also military support. so i think we have really pressing reasons to get the secretary of state over there. i don't think it is necessarily going to cause -- create miracle but i don't see how we're served by not having a serious relationship here. and clearly china got overaggressive and even brazen.
i think this is not a bad moment. >> one part of the biden administration strategy toward china which is a continuation of the trump administration, is this very tough economic competition. but it is competition not in a -- there are two ways, one you try to run faster, but the others you try to trip the other guy and there is a lot of us trying to trip the other guy, restraints on technology and restraints on exports. do you think that europe broadly speaking is on board with this strategy, that the united states has adopted toward china? >> i think that europeans have changed their tune over the last five years. they will have been relieved last weekend that the administration was firm but not macho about this balloon incident. but they will be really urging that the cooperate part of the triad that said cooperate, that that cooperate part gets filled out. because at the moment, whether it is on global health or the global climate, you see very little cooperation in areas that in themselves speak to the
global commons and the responsibilities of great states. then when you think about the russia-china access or link over ukraine, the voting together on a whole range of issues at the u.n., you see the parties very far apart and if anything cleaving further apart and the great fear, not just in europe but across the rest of the world, is going to be that these two countries that are competing so ferociously, that the competition bleeds into every aspect of international relations. and it freezes out the kind of cooperation and diplomacy that is so essential. >> richard, when i was in india, i talked to indian businessmen who talked about the big opportunity for them was now doing business in russia, taking the businesses that western firms had left behind. and it speaks to the -- one of the reasons why the russia economy is going better than we think is there is a big world out there and it is not just the
west any more. it is china and india and turkey and apparently iran's trade with russia has gone up a lot. in that context, it seems this is a point larry somers made last week on the show, if we can't isolate russia, it is much harder to isolate china economically. >> you can't isolate china. china is too big. it is already too there. that horse has left the barn. and multiple horses have left multiple barns at the risk of stretching it. it said a lot about sanctions. in government almost every crisis, the first thing that the state department does, you don't want to go to war, sanctions. we overuse the instruction and we ask way too much of it and we're living in a world where the deliver of sanctions is less and less. a country like india will gain twice. they are gaining with trade with russia and then india may be in a position to step in. apple and others may one day be
making their phones more in india than in china. so i think india may be well positioned here. >> what about britain? we haven't had you on since the latest fiasco, the imf now said that britain is the worst performing major economy in the world. is this all just the bitter fruit of brexit? >> well please don't introduce this as the fragile state section of the program. that would be too painful. look, 2022 was a terrible year for the u.k. because its great virtues which with meant to be pragmatism and stability and common sense were thrown out of the window but posturing by the governing party. i think the u.k. is getting back to politics. the lay bor -- the labour party
is under the management that is selectable. and the conservatives have a leading prime minister who exceeds his two predecessors. so you have some form of center right, center left politics. but the leave by brexit is getting large and it is getting deeper economically and political and at the moment the ladders haven't been build to get us out of the hole. that is the real task ahead. >> stay with us. when we come back we'll talk about turkey, syria, the earthquake and the politics of this natural disaster. david and richard will be back with me in a moment. with powerful, easy-to-use tools power e*trade makes complex trading easier react to fast-moving markets with dynamic charting and a futures ladder that lets you place, flatten, or reverse orders so you won't miss an opportunity okay everyone, our mission is complete balanced nutrition. together we support immune function. supply fuel for immune cells and sustain tissue health. ensure with twenty-five vitamins and minerals,
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that nation was also devastated in the disaster and has been a pariah state for about a decade. so this disaster while deeply personal is also deeply touched by politics and we'll talk about some of that now. joining me david milibrand and richard haas. you run one of the best relief organizations in the world. what is going on? what have you been struck by? >> well it is a crisis piled on a crisis. a natural disaster piled on a political crisis. because over the past three or four years the world's attention has been moving away from syria. but this crisis has not been resolved. so last week 15 million people in humanitarian need, 4 million of them who we helped to serve in the northwest of the country under the control of a range of rebel opposition groups, in desperate circumstances. the earthquake has left people who were already without homes, with nothing. and the danger of a second redisaster, what the world health organization called a
second disaster, the earthquake has killed tens of thousands and the next stage is a outbreak and desperate freezing conditions. and people unable to treat the wounded and unable to survive. it is the survival that the issue in the short but very quickly the issue will be what is the politics of syria and how could it come back into engagement. because it is been brute force leaving syria in the state it has been in and the russia and iran and syria and turkey is not in the game and that is leaving the people of turkey with nowhere to run. >> and what strikes me and i think is sad and inevitable is that the two leaders asad and erdogan, are going to take what they could get and use it to strength themselves. erdogan is lashing out to anyone who says anything about it. he might be able to ride this to a third term.
assad will try to ride this to some degree of legitimacy and yet you can't do nothing. so what would you do? >> that is the dilemma and we've had had in other countries such as north korea. you have to try to seek that the aid gets to the intended people. you don't want militaries and others siphoning it off. but it is hard in syria because the security conditions that david just described are so bad. so i think this is going to be as difficult as it gets. turkey is slightly different. it is a more normal, quote/unquote country. but the problem is erdogan will try to manipulate this to improve his political prospects and again the question is can we keep control of as much of the aid as we can. i think we have to accept that some of it is going to go to the wrong places. i think you just do the best you can.
but you understand it is like a -- some of what we send in there is not going to the people wee trying to help. >> you're on the front lines. what do you think of this dilemma. >> the humanitarian aid with medical kits and basic cash and food supplies and largest suppliers, there is very little leakage from that because we track every ounce that goes in. when you're talking about rebuilding roads and schools, it is a different game. but remember, for 12 years president assad has had the chance to deliver aid to syria, cross conflict lines. it is basically zero. the u.n. reports on this every six months. the reason that there is cross border aid from turkey into syria is there is no aid coming from damascus. the number of crossing points was reduced from two to one by the russian veto at the u.n. security council. the first thing that could be done is open up the closed crossing point.
because that will get you in aleppo and into the northwest region as well. so there are things that could be done and i think it is in the medium term that we have tougher problems. when you funnel through the government that you end up with the kind of issues richard is raising. >> and we talked about democracy in turkey. i have to ask you about illegal democracy in the united states? because you are a renowned foreign policy expert and this book is about domestic politics. why did you write it? >> china is a threat, and russia and climate change and pandemic and north korea, you name it. but if we're not united here at home, how are with he going to. so right now our national security depends on doing something about the gridlock, that prevents us from meeting our domestic challenges and meeting international challenges. >> when you watch the state of the union and you see these republican congressman heckle the president, does it -- one of the things that you talk about is be civil, you know, it doesn't feel like they're
reading your book. >> not yet. the presidents had some nice notes. when he reached out it was good. civility is important. today's opponent could be tomorrow's partner. civility is not just a nice thing, it is a practical thing. there is a time for compromise or we'll not get things done. the president ruled out political violence. i thought that was an important message. putting country first. we'll have a test about that and we'll probably talk about it in your show in a few months when it comes to the debt ceiling. will we put country first as opposed to the country first.
some of the things that the united states reflects on is the fact that american democracy is in bad shape. january 6 was the most extreme version of it. donald trump was an extreme version of it. but there are reflections. we have a real problem, we don't teach civics in our schools and we have a real deficit there. so, we don't have national service on a large scale any more. so i think there are things that can and should be done and the lesson i take from this is we can't be sanguine. it doesn't mean it is necessarily permanent. >> obviously it is striking a chord because it is on the best-seller list. people should buy it and read it. thank you both. next on "gps", the shadowy russian group that hopes to help putin win in ukraine. we'll tell you about the mysterious wagner group when we come back. so no matter what the market's doing, he's ready. and that's... how you collect coins. your money never stops working for you with merrill, a bank of america company.
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that go back to 2014. founded by putin's ally preg oeshin, the wagner group is believed to get its name from another man, a former russian military officer whose call sign was wagner, in honor of the german composer. to help us understand the roots of the wagner group and the role it is playing in ukraine today, i want to bring in shaun walker, correspondent for the guardian and fred pleitgen. welcome both. shaun, you have some fascinating lengthy profile of progshin. explain to us where does it begin? >> progshin is a fascinating personality who is very unlike any of the other people in putin's inner circle. he spent moesst of his 20s in jl
and then became a hot dog seller in st. petersburg. he started setting up restaurants an at some point when putin back in the late 90s was deputy mayor of st. petersburg, he seemed to take a liking and before long he was catering meetings between putin and other leaders. then somehow he gets into this inner circle and they take the decision to annex crimea which is different from the one we saw last year, they're trying to keep it covert, they're denying that there are any russian troops on the ground even though, you know, all of us that were reporting there at the time could see there were russian troops. but clearly in the kremlin, they
started to think what could we do to have a little bit more plausibility to intervene and deny that we are here. and this is really the genesis of the wagner idea of somewhere in the spring of 2014, there a meeting of the ministry of defense and progoshin is given this bit of land where he could train fighters. and later on this group will grow and grow and turn into the wagner group. >> and fred, you've been covering it for a long time yourself. explain the africa connection. what is the wagner group doing in africa? >> well the wagner group is training african armies. a couple of days ago i interviewed two russian convicts who have been drafted into wagner to fight in ukraine. and they told me at those training bases, which shaun was just mentioning, that their
trainers were wagner mercenaries who had before that been in the central african republic to train those militaries there. >> and shaun, we're referring to them as mercenaries and in the africa case there is an outright -- it reminds me of the old east india company. they're given mines or mineral concessions there, right? >> part of this is progshin ambition and he's done extremely well out of this. but you can't separate this from the russian state. and i think, you know, i think one of the really key things to look at when it comes to wagner is like a lot of what putin does, he is doing things that he thinks that the west and specific the americans are doing. so where putin thinks that the americans are meddling in russian affairs so he said, okay, i'm going to meddle in u.s. affairs. putin thinks that the americans
are after all kinds of shadowy stuff around the world that they could then deny, so russia needs a mechanism to do that. and i think it is a really revealing answer that putin gave back in 2018 when he was asked by an unusual combinant inter interviewer of an austrian television and eventually he said, well, in the u.s., you someone called george soros and the u.s. state department claims that it has nothing to do with mr. soros, and in the same way i claim that i have nothing to do with mr. progshin.
he's just a restaurant keeper with a wink. so you have putin buying into this conspiracy theories that george soros is working for the deep state and an armor for the u.s. foreign policy and he's saying well if that is what i think the americans are doing, i'm going to do that too. >> and fred, what is the wagner group doing in ukraine? what have you observed? >> well, certainly if you look at progshin here in ukraine, there are two things. there are a tough fighting force on the ground especially right now if you look at the area around bakhmut but this is bettering his position and trying to appeal to vladimir putin among the other people who are also trying to do the same, like for instance putin's generals. if you look at the situation around bakhmut, i spent time on the ground with ukraine fighters that have come face-to-face with wagner group and the reason why they're able to gain ground on the battlefield because their tactics are so brutal and so in disregard for human life it is difficult to defend against them. i met one ukrainian soldier told me his group was up about 200 wagner mercenaries. a lot of them are people who are
convicts and immediately recruited out of jail and thrown on the battlefield. and i've crossed this with captured wagner fighters who told me the same thing, you have these convicts who are the first couple of waves which the ukrainians say is essentially cannon fodder. they try to assault positions head on, each group trying to gain a little ground while there is massive attrition rates up to 80% and at some point these ukrainian fighters are worn down by fighting off the waves and then wagner does have capable forces that try to attack from the flanks. on top of that. wagner now has an air force. progshin was just seen in an aircraft saying he was on a mission to bomb bakhmut. and they have long range artillery and in all of the places what we're seeing increasingly, and this really shows that if progshin is trying to come out of the shadows that sean was just talking about, so it certainly seems as though a
lot of this is about public relations, for yevgeny progshin, and this is the only force right in ukraine that could get real results for vladimir putin, fareed. >> fred, shaun, this is a fascinating spotlight on something that i don't think any of us knew enough about. thank you so much. next on "gps", my next guest said the white house needs to confront north korea about its growing nuclear advances now. adding lysol laundry sanitizer kills 99.9% of illness-causing bacteria detergents leave behind. clean is good. sanitized is better. the first time your sales reached 100k was also the first time you hit this note... ( screams in joy) save 20% with the lowest transaction fees and keep more of what you make. with a partner that always puts you first. godaddy. tools and support for every small business first. oh ms. flores, what would we do without you?
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i can't think of a better person to help us understand all of this than sue mi terry and she's a former director at the national security council and the current director of the wilson center asia program. and she had a article entitled, "the new north korean threat." welcome. i want to start with something that caught my eye, which is polls in south korea now show that somewhere went 70% and 77% of south koreans believe their country should have nuclear weapons of its own. that strikes me as a massive shift from a decade ago. what is going on there that is prompting this reevaluation in south korea? >> well there is a recognition that north korea is a runaway nuclear program. since the failure of the hanoi summit in 2019, since the summit and diplomacy have collapsed,
north korea has been working on their nuclear and missile program. they have been quantitatively and qualitatively modernizing their program. it seems like the whole world is focused on other events like russia's invasion of ukraine. while north korea has this runaway program. so there is very high level of anxiety among the south korea public. >> and what is it about the north korean tests in the last year that have you so worried? >> so it is not only just a quantitative, as you mentioned, over 90 missile tests. they've been also testing a variety of different capabilities. and then there is intercontinental ballistic missile tests in november that used solid fuel engine which makes them more difficult to preemptively take it out, so they are focusing on the technical capability that is
very concerning. the icbm also had multiple reentry vehicle capability, and that is another focus of north korea. north korea has been preemptively making threats about preemptive use and simultaneously also lowering the threshold for nuclear capabilities. they came up with a new nuclear doctrine in september of last year that lowers the threshold for use of nuclear weapons. so all of these factors combined, i'm very worried about the fact that we're really entering a more dangerous phase with north korea. >> now in the past people have often thought that when the -- when north korea does its north korea saber rattling, it is trying to get attention and blackmail the world to get the money, sanctions relieve, food aid. do you think any of that is at play here? >> there has always been a pattern for north korea but i believe this time the north
koreans are genuinely not interested in returning to talks with washington. >> so north korea is under a huge international sanctions. how is it able to find the funds to -- to pay for all of this modernization of its nuclear arsenal? >> on paper it looks like there is a lot of sanctions. but sanctions have to be implemented and china and russia are not playing ball. they have not been implementing sanctions for some time. right now north korea, as they have always done, rely on illicit activities to fund them. so current focus for example on cyberattacks, cryptocurrency, cyber heists, that is one way that north koreans are making money or get money to fund their program. >> and when you look at the international environment, does it seem like it is one that is conducive to more -- north korean aggression or to adventureism? because in the past, while china has supported north korea as its
only military ally, it is usually restrained it. it is usually acted as a kind of break on some of this. what is going on in that relationship? >> so i think, as you mentioned, i think this is a very important point. the external environment is continuing to support north korea's nuclear testing and continuing to develop their program, because the russian's invasion of ukraine, the political environment has changed. china and russia are absolutely not interested in helping the international community in terms of sort of curbing north korean behavior. even after icbm testing, the united nations security council could not come up with condemnation. so we couldn't expect china and russia to do anything on the north korea front. and kim jong-un knows this. and if i was advising kim
jong-un, why not continue to perfect the missile capability and china and russia are not going to do anything about it and the united states is prooccupied with a whole lot of other issues including the ukraine conflict. so this is a perfect time for kim jong-un to just focus on getting their program in north korea nuclear program to another level before he comes back to the talks. >> sue mi terry, always a pleasure for having you on. >> thank you. next on "gps", we go back to the earthquake and ask how many of these deaths could have been prevented by learning from past mistakes. we'll ask why the world never seems prepared for the next catastrophe, when we come back. easy-to-use tools, and paper trading to help sharpen your skills, you can stay on top of the market from wherever you are. power e*trade's easy-to-use tools make complex trading less complicated. custom scans help you find new trading opportunities.
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the roman city was struck by a 7.2 earthquake that killed a quarter of a millian people or more. >> and it is now on top of turkey dech vastated by monday' earthquake. they are on top of a hot spot and many of the major cities are built along fault lines. of course earthquakes are natural disasters but when they are combined with manmade mistakes, they become truly devastating. one such devastating earthquake in 1999 led to more than 17,000 deaths and inspired the turkish government to reform its building codes. turkey also began to require mandatory earthquake insurance for all buildings. but a lack of oversight means that many buildings are not built to code and others predate
the rules. and builders often ignore the regulations for fast development. and others sound warning bells about the lack of enforcement. and in fact the government is under fire for buildings to fail to meet required standards. the reality is that many defendants could have been prevented if lessons had been learned. and for those traps in northern syrian, a natural disaster in the midst of a lingering conflict, it has created another preventable and manmade humanitarian crisis pep. 65% of basic infrastructure in
the area was destroyed or damage the from the war before the earthquake. international community was well aware of the vulnerability and desperation faced. but few weighed the risks of a powerful earthquake. the reality is that there will be more earthquakes, more hurricanes, more pandemics. and in the book "doom," history can sometime seem like one disaster after another. and before this earth qustruck, covid-19 was the freshest disaster on our minds. according to the red cross, no earthquake, drug or hurricane in recorded history has claimed more lives than the covid-19 pandemic. taiwan, south korea and
singapore were all effective in their approach to the coronavirus in large part because they had learned from past experiences with other infectious diseaseli sars,influ. and it lays bare the states that it straights ferguson says in hit book. a moment truth of revelation, exposing some that are fragile, others resilient, able to be strengthened by it. so as we ask whether turkey and s syria did enough, we should also ask whether we are prepared for our next one. thanks for being a part of my program. and i'll see you next week. in the all-new lexus rx. never lose your edge. lactaid is 100% real milk,
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