Fareed Zakaria

New York

 Fareed Zakaria writes a foreign affairs column for The Post. He is also the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS and a contributing editor for the Atlantic. Prior to his current roles, Zakaria was editor of Newsweek International, managing editor of Foreign Affairs, a columnist for Time, an analyst for ABC News and the host of Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria on PBS. He is the author of “In Defense of a Liberal Education” (2015), “The Post-American World” (2008) and “The Future of Freedom” (2003). Born in India, Zakaria received a BA from Yale College and a PhD from Harvard University. 
Honors & Awards:
  • National Magazine Award, 2010
  • Peabody Award, 2011
Books by Fareed Zakaria:  

The Post-American World (translated into 30 languages)

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From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America's World Role

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The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad

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In Defense of a Liberal Education

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Recent Articles

FAREED ZAKARIA COLUMN

(Advance for Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, and thereafter. Web release Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at 8 p.m. Eastern time.)

(For Zakaria clients only)

By FAREED ZAKARIA

NEW YORK -- As he moves on to his fourth national security adviser in less than three years, it's become clear that Donald Trump's foreign policy is in shambles. It has produced turmoil but achieved almost nothing. Despite all the boasts, there are no new deals with China, Iran, North Korea, the Taliban, or between the Israelis and Palestinians -- just uncertainty, disappointment and lots of bruised feelings.

Trump informed the world that he was a great deal-maker. Yet other than minor changes to NAFTA and the U.S.-South Korea trade pact -- changes that Robert Zoellick, U.S. trade representative under George W. Bush, believes have probably made things worse -- Trump has achieved little. There are many reasons for this. The Trump administration has been chaotic and undisciplined, bringing the ethos of a mom-and-pop real-estate shop to one of the largest and most complex institutions in the world, the U.S. federal government. Trump has had more turnover in senior staff in two and a half years than most administrations have in a full term.

The central problem, however, is that Trump -- despite his boasts -- is a bad negotiator. With both Kim Jong Un and the Taliban, he gave away crucial leverage right from the start. The North Koreans have wanted one-on-one meetings with the U.S. president for decades and were always told this would happen only after they made concessions. Trump gave away that prize immediately, hoping to charm Kim into giving up his nuclear weapons. So far, Kim 1, Trump 0.

With Afghanistan, Trump excoriated Barack Obama for announcing deadlines for troop withdrawals, making the sensible point that it allows the enemy to wait you out. And yet, Trump has done something similar, repeatedly announcing his eagerness to quit -- and then being surprised that the Taliban sought to press its advantage. Consider Trump's muddle on Afghanistan: He fired national security adviser John Bolton, apparently, because Bolton objected to making a deal with the Taliban -- except that Trump canceled talks with the Taliban, effectively agreeing with Bolton.

With Bolton gone, Trump does have the opportunity to act on his instincts and actually get something done -- a new Iran nuclear deal. His re-imposition of sanctions on Iran has been surprisingly, brutally effective. Because of the dollar's pivotal role in the international economic system, and despite the fact that other countries want to do business with Iran, they simply can't conduct major transactions without using the dollar and, thus, the U.S. financial system.

Iran is a proud, ancient civilization and a canny regional power. It will not simply surrender. But it might agree to a new deal, one that achieves more than the Obama accord. Were that to happen, Trump could reasonably argue that while he took an unconventional approach, he was able to get what no one thought possible -- a new, improved Iran deal.

For this to work, Trump will have to overrule some of his most hawkish advisers and find a path to a real negotiation. The Iranians will likely sit down only if sanctions are suspended during the negotiations. They will want to describe any changes that are made as additional measures to implement the 2015 deal, rather than a new deal. Whatever; that's what diplomats are for.

Trump's goal should be to get the Iranians to extend the time horizon of key parts of the deal by approximately five years. He will not be able to make much headway on Iran's ballistic missile arsenal -- Tehran views that as its defense against the vast Saudi military. (It has bitter memories of being defenseless against hails of rockets and missiles by Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War.) On Iran's other regional activities -- its support for Hezbollah, for example -- it might well be willing to talk, but Trump will have to consider whether this would expand the negotiations into an interminable conversation involving Israel and the broader Middle East. In addition, were Iran to agree to some restraint in these areas, America would have to reciprocate by making some concessions of its own -- say, the relaxation of other U.S. sanctions against Iran. I doubt Trump or Congress would be willing to do that.

Most important, to get an Iran deal, Trump would have to work against his fundamental urge always to claim victory. Maybe this works in business where there are single transactions -- though it may explain why so few people ever do business with Trump again. But foreign policy is about long-term relationships, not about solo transactions. Both sides have their own domestic politics and constituencies. Each needs to be able to say it has achieved success. If Trump can stomach that, he could emerge with something rare in his tenure so far, an actual foreign policy win.

Fareed Zakaria's email address is comments@fareedzakaria.com.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group

FAREED ZAKARIA COLUMN

(Advance for Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, and thereafter. Web release Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, at 8 p.m. Eastern time.)

(For Zakaria clients only)

By FAREED ZAKARIA

NEW YORK -- Britain's Tories are arguably the most successful political party of the modern age. The Conservatives have ruled Britain for nearly 60 of the 90 years since 1929 (the country's first election with universal adult suffrage). But this week we watched the beginning of the end of the Conservative Party as we have known it.

Like most enduring parties, the Tories have embraced many different factions and ideologies over the years. But in the post-World War II era, they were defined by an advocacy of free markets and traditional values -- a combination that was brought to its climax in the person of Margaret Thatcher, the Tories' most effective prime minister since Winston Churchill.

The free market orientation made sense. The second half of the 20th century was dominated by one big issue -- the clash between communism and capitalism. Throughout the world, parties aligned themselves on a left-right spectrum that related to that central issue: the role of the state in economics. In America in the 1950s and 1960s, the Democrats included Northern progressives and Southern segregationists, but they all agreed on the need for an interventionist state.

We are living now in a new ideological era, one defined by an "open-closed" divide -- between people comfortable in a world of greater openness in trade, technology and migration and those who want more barriers, protections and restraints. Parties of the future will likely be positioned along this new spectrum.

You can see the breakdown of the old order by looking back at Britain's last five prime ministers, two from the Labour Party and three from the Tories. All were in favor of Britain staying in the European Union. (Theresa May had voted to remain in the union, but once the referendum passed, she promised to carry out the will of the people and take her country out of Europe.) By contrast, Boris Johnson is remaking the Tories into the party of Brexit and this week expelled 21 Conservative members of Parliament, including very senior figures, who disagreed with the new party line. Many commentators in Britain have pointed to the analogies between now and 1846, when Prime Minister Robert Peel pushed through a free trade agenda that split the Conservative Party and kept it mostly out of power for a generation. No analogy is perfect, but when a party divides over a big issue -- as did, for example, the American Whigs over slavery -- it usually narrows its political base and electability. There hasn't been a Whig president in America since Millard Fillmore left office in 1853.

Of course, not every situation will fall neatly on the open-closed spectrum. Many of the leading Brexiteers are staunch free marketeers and insist that they want a "global Britain." It is odd, however, to be in favor of free trade and yet insist that Britain crash out of the EU, one of the world's largest free trade areas -- and Britain's largest trading partner.

More significant is the fact that whatever the views of the new Tory leaders, the people that voted for Brexit -- and would presumably support what would essentially be a new Tory-Brexit Party -- largely embrace a closed ideology. They are suspicious of foreigners and resentful of the new cosmopolitan Britain that they see in London and the country's other big cities. They want less immigration and multiculturalism. They are more rural, traditional, older and whiter and want some kind of a return to the Britain in which they grew up.

America, of course, has a similar constituency. While many of the Republicans who support President Trump might well be free marketeers, his base is largely animated by the same suspicions and passions that motivated the Brexit voters. Trump himself is an ideological omnivore -- supporting free markets while simultaneously imposing the biggest tariff hikes since the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930. The most likely future for the Republican Party is one that conforms with its voters' preferences -- for limits on trade and immigration and greater hostility toward big technology companies.

In Britain, there is confusion on the other side of the aisle as well. The Labour Party has moved leftward and still contains elements that are skeptical about the European Union. Over time, Labour will probably move more robustly in a pro-Europe direction and, with the Liberal Democrats, try to create a new "open" governing majority. In America, the Democrats have to resolve similar differences mostly around trade, an issue on which many Democrats are as protectionist as Donald Trump.

But what is happening now in Britain is a telltale sign. One of the world's most enduring political parties is cracking -- yet another reminder that we are living in an age of political revolutions.

Fareed Zakaria's email address is comments@fareedzakaria.com.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group

FAREED ZAKARIA COLUMN

(Advance for Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, and thereafter. Web release Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, at 8 p.m. Eastern time.)

(For Zakaria clients only)

By FAREED ZAKARIA

NEW YORK -- The best word to describe the mood of the global economy these days is gloomy. The pessimism is closely tied to the loss of faith in free markets and free trade, the two forces that propelled the world economy for the last seven decades. The United States, long the staunchest supporter of these ideas, has moved into full-scale mercantilist mode. Britain, the original free trade superpower, is pulling out of the European Union, its largest free trade relationship. China is striving to become less reliant on foreign firms and global supply chains. Everywhere the trend seems the same. Except in Africa.

Last month, unnoticed by much of the media, Africa's leaders announced the creation of a continent-wide free trade area that will potentially bring together 1.3 billion people in a $3.4 trillion economic zone. The success of this project hinges on whether nations actually do reduce tariffs and other trade barriers, but if they do, trade could rise by as much as 50% in the next few decades, according to the International Monetary Fund. As the IMF put it, "This could be an economic game changer for the continent."

Africa has six of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies. By 2050, a new African middle and upper class of 250 million people could stimulate a five-fold rise in demand for goods and services. The World Bank found that a third of all business-regulation reforms from 2017-2018 took place in sub-Saharan Africa, which also boasted five of the 10 most-improved economies in the institution's annual Doing Business Index. More than 400 African companies already take in at least $1 billion in annual revenues. All these data points come from a recent Brookings Institution op-ed, "The high growth promise of an integrated Africa," by Landry Signé and Ameenah Gurib-Fakim.

One country that has bet big on Africa is China. In 2000, trade between China and the entire African continent was $10 billion. Today it's $200 billion, making China its largest trading partner. Beijing has invested heavily in aid and loans for the region. President Xi Jinping hosted an African summit in Beijing in 2018 and announced that China plans to spend $60 billion in credit, investment and development projects for the continent in the next three years.

Of course, there are many caveats to the rosy picture of Africa. It's easier to announce the intention to reduce trade barriers than to actually enact such laws. Africa continues to face massive problems in the form of corruption and mismanagement, not to mention conflict. Some of the continent's promising growth statistics reflect the simple fact that Africa is rich in natural resources, and a growing world economy has created high demand for these products.

The most encouraging aspect of today's Africa is the striking rise in private business. The region has the highest rate of entrepreneurship, with 22% of working-age Africans launching new businesses, compared with 13% of their counterparts in Asia and 19% in Latin America. Places like Rwanda that are truly business-friendly and have a strong rule of law are experiencing sustained economic growth and rising standards of living.

I witnessed first-hand the energy of African entrepreneurs on a recent trip to Nigeria. I was a guest of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which has committed $100 million to train and assist 10,000 entrepreneurs across the continent. The energy and optimism of these young men and women, from all 54 of Africa's countries, were infectious. Their only complaint was that the world was missing the big good news about their continent.

Africa will demand the world's attention over the coming decades. It will add 1 billion people to its population by 2050 and another 2 billion by the end of the century, at which point more than one out of three people on the planet will be African. That demographic boom could create enormous problems if it is not accompanied by job opportunities and political stability. But it could provide the world with energy and dynamism as populations age and growth slows in most of the rest of the world. Much of this will depend on Africa's leaders, who will have to finally fulfill the promise of the continent and its people. Too many have stolen from their people for too long.

Africans know the price they have paid by being locked out of global markets and of living in countries with limited private enterprise. They understand that the only real and sustainable path out of poverty is expanding free markets that are, of course, well-managed and regulated by effective governments. Much of the world today could be reminded of that simple lesson.

Fareed Zakaria's email address is comments@fareedzakaria.com.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group

About
Fareed Zakaria writes a foreign affairs column for The Post. He is also the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS and a contributing editor for the Atlantic. Prior to his current roles, Zakaria was editor of Newsweek International, managing editor of Foreign Affairs, a columnist for Time, an analyst for ABC News and the host of Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria on PBS. He is the author of “In Defense of a Liberal Education” (2015), “The Post-American World” (2008) and “The Future of Freedom” (2003). Born in India, Zakaria received a BA from Yale College and a PhD from Harvard University.
Books
  • The Post-American World (translated into 30 languages)
  • From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America's World Role
  • The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad
  • In Defense of a Liberal Education
Awards
  • National Magazine Award, 2010
  • Peabody Award, 2011
Reviews
"His predictions have proved prescient, and … Zakaria has come to symbolize not only the rise of the [emerging world powers] but also a decidedly American determination to deal with it." —Foreign Policy, naming Zakaria 7th on its list of the top 100 global thinker

“Zakaria . . . may have more intellectual range and insights than any other public thinker in the West.” —Boston Sunday Globe

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