FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Aired November 2, 2008 – 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE: This is the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. I’m Fareed Zakaria. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Before we get started, some thoughts on the current economic crisis.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been something of a contrarian, in that I’ve been making the case for optimism — relatively speaking. Yes, we’re in a huge financial crisis. Yes, a deep recession is on its way, if not already here.
But the world is not coming to an end. And I feel this week there’s a bit more evidence that things are stabilizing.
Look, capital is flowing into the banking system. Credit is beginning to thaw. Stock markets are stabilizing somewhat.
The next phase of the crisis has spread to emerging markets. But even there, we’re seeing a spirited response. The IMF has suspended its usual bureaucratic delays and very stringent conditions, and is putting together a loan package in excess of $100 billion for countries like Pakistan, Ukraine, Brazil and Mexico.
Now, the reason that this crisis will not turn into a Great Depression, fundamentally, is that the governments of the world are throwing everything they have at it. And governments are more powerful than markets. They can shut down stock trading, nationalize banks, print money — whatever it takes. In the end, the government will win.
The next phase of this struggle will begin next Tuesday, when America will elect a new president. That person will have a mandate to make big changes to the economy, to get it moving. Which means what? A large stimulus package, investments in energy, support for homeowners — all of which will boost confidence.
And confidence produces economic activity. So, be an optimist. It’s good for the economy.
Now, on the program today, advice to the next president, whoever it is. New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, explains what the domestic agenda should be.
And on foreign policy, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser, and Ken Duberstein, chief of staff to Ronald Reagan.
Let’s get started.
ZAKARIA: Next Tuesday, a new president will be elected for the United States of America, barring another set of hanging chads. Whoever wins will likely wake up Wednesday morning with a singular question: What do I do now?
Joining me to discuss this are people who have been there. I have three former top officials who have worked for five different presidents among them.
Madeleine Albright, who served the Clinton White House as representative to the U.N., and then, of course, as secretary of state — the first woman ever to be the nation’s chief diplomat, and at that time, the highest-ranking woman ever in the United States government.
Ken Duberstein held many roles in the Reagan White House, culminating in chief of staff in the two last years of that administration.
And Zbigniew Brzezinski was Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, and he joins us from Washington.
Zbig, let me begin with you. Let me ask you what it’s like the day after the election, because you were a very close adviser to Jimmy Carter — a man who came in, people said whose lack of experience, lack of Washington contacts.
What do you do in that situation? You’ve just won the presidency. What do you start thinking about?
ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: You start thinking about what comes next. And obviously, one of the things that enters your mind is, who will be appointed to what, including yourself.
And indeed, the president at one point called me, and rather cleverly asked me who I thought ought to occupy what posts. And I gave him advice. And I finally came to the post of national security adviser.
And a thought flashed through my mind: Should I give him names which he will not be attracted to?
Or should I play it straight?
And I concluded, he’s very intelligent, he’s very smart. If I give him silly names, he’ll know the game I’m playing. So, I made the best possible recommendations — they would have been good — and I did not mention myself.
ZAKARIA: And then, how did it happen? Did he say, “Well, I have somebody else in mind for that?” BRZEZINSKI: No, he asked me, “Then, what about yourself?”
And that was even more difficult. But we don’t need to go into all of this biography.
ZAKARIA: All right. Let me ask you on the issue of policy, though. Does the president-elect start thinking about sending signals to foreign governments? Does he start actually sending those signals?
BRZEZINSKI: I think it depends on two things — one, on the nature of the president himself, and, two, on the circumstances.
I think what is going on right now — which is nothing less than a global crisis of American leadership, nothing less than that — I think the president-elect, whoever he is — and I have my own preference —
will have to start sending signals right away, and will have to get ready to deal with some imminent problems.
ZAKARIA: Ken, you were with Ronald Reagan from the start. Reagan comes into office. What does he do?
KENNETH DUBERSTEIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, first of all, for any president, you have to realize that it’s a different, a totally different set of circumstances between campaigning and governing.
In campaigning, you’re trying to slay your opponent. In governing, you’re trying to make love to your opponent. You’re trying to put together coalitions. You’re trying to put together people.
So, from day one, Ronald Reagan, as he thought about who to appoint in a variety of jobs, also was thinking about, “I need to fulfill my campaign pledge as far as rebuilding the economy.”
ZAKARIA: And he inherited an economic crisis in the same way that Obama is.
So, what would be your advice looking at this situation? How should Obama think about tackling the economy?
DUBERSTEIN: I think he needs very much, with his economic program, to figure out what is doable, what he can get through Congress, not just on one side of the aisle, but both.
I think he needs, even during transition, to be communicating broadly with the American people. They need to buy in, now that you’re being seen not as a candidate, but as a president-elect. “This is what I’m planning to do. This is the kind of support I need from you.” Not from inside the Beltway, but from Main Street America.
ZAKARIA: Madeleine, you’ve written a book, “Memo to the President.” It’s out in paperback now, I might add.
What is item one on the memo? In other words, if you were to be — if Obama were to call you soon after he’s elected — which is likely, McCain less likely, if he were elected — but if they were to call you, what would you say to them?
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I think that a president needs to have a variety of views presented. But also, there has to be a team effort, because otherwise, I think it creates a dissonance and difficulty.
What I think is also important is to look at the transition period.
President Bush has just called for a major international summit to be held during the transition. And one of the things that has to be watched out for is what happens during the transition.
I have been transitioned into, when I worked for Dr. Brzezinski and you came into office, and I have done the transitioning — the latter is much more fun — for President Clinton. And yet, the things that happen in that period, President Bush One decided on Somalia at that time. So, you have to see what’s happened in that period.
And I think your original question, in terms of signals, it’s a very difficult time, because we all say there’s only one president at a time. And yet, if it is Obama, the world will be looking for a whole host of different issues.
I would hope, once he is president, that immediately Guantanamo would be closed, because I think that would send a very strong signal. And then also, some very active rejoining of the global climate change talks, and immediately do — I’m speaking of Obama — do what he said he would, which is begin to figure out how to get the troops out of Iraq. Those are issues right away.
And then, there are other issues. Obviously, Pakistan, which I think has everything that gives you an international migraine, whatever is going on in Iran and North Korea.
ZAKARIA: Zbig, how would you handle the kind of crises that Madeleine already is talking about?
BRZEZINSKI: I think one has to differentiate between what he has to do literally days after the elections, and then what he does after he becomes president, some six weeks or more after that.
The first thing he has to address is the fact that there will be a world economic summit in Washington, within 10 days of the elections. And while he will not be presiding over it — it’s not even certain he’ll be present at it — his presence will be felt, nonetheless.
People will be expecting — world leaders will be expecting — some signals from him. Many of them will want to meet him. He’ll have to be ready for that, perhaps even make some statement.
But beyond that, literally within the first few days, he’ll have to delegate, appoint several surrogates — not necessarily the next secretary of the Treasury — but several surrogates, who will represent his position on the remedies needed for dealing with the world financial crisis.
So, that is the first task — literally within hours, days of the election.
But then there is a second task he has to address, and that is to choose his Cabinet, to choose his foreign policy leadership, with which he will then make decisions.
And here, I think, a very important possibility that’s open to him —
for the first time in a long time — is to create genuine bipartisanship in the decision-making process. And he can do that either by appointing a very distinguished leading Republican to the post of secretary of state. And there are some. And he has mentioned some of them by name. He’s traveled with some of them.
ZAKARIA: Who would you suggest they be?
BRZEZINSKI: Well, I would think, of course, such names come to mind, Senators Hagel and Lugar. But there may be others, but particularly those two.
I think that would be extremely reassuring and encouraging, both domestically and internationally, and would send the right signal.
ZAKARIA: I should point out, there is, of course, a chance that Senator McCain will be elected president.
ALBRIGHT: Yes, we know …
ZAKARIA: But let me ask you, Madeleine. You worked alongside a Republican secretary of defense, Bill Cohen. Does it work?
ALBRIGHT: I think it does. Though it was very funny, because when Bill first joined us, he used to say, “Well, you all have to do this.”
And we’d say, “What do you mean, ‘you all’? You are part of us.”
And I don’t know whether he thought of himself more as a senator dealing with the executive branch, or a Republican dealing with Democrats.
Ken and I have talked about this a lot.
ALBRIGHT: And we, in our own way, are going to do something about that, because I think, generally, there has to be a bipartisan approach. And people find it hard to believe that I was able to work with Jesse Helms. And because I was, I think we managed to get much further on NATO expansion, for instance, or a variety of issues.
You have to be able to work with the opposing party. That’s our system.
ZAKARIA: And we will be back right after this.
ZAKARIA: And we are back with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former chief of staff under Ronald Reagan, Ken Duberstein, and former national security adviser under Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Madam Secretary, you spent some time trying to deal with Iran in your term in office, and you actually made some overtures — I thought very innovative ones. You apologized, in some sense, for America’s role in a coup that had brought the shah of Iran into power. You expressed regret about it. Some of those moves were reciprocated, many were not.
Obama faces, in a way, a similar challenge with regard to Iran.
Should he do something? Should he try and do something ambitious? Should he try and somehow restart a process you began?
ALBRIGHT: The question is what’s going on in Iran, and whether — what the changes — Ahmadinejad is apparently not feeling well. He is facing elections.
I think we think of Iran as very monolithic, and it may not be. And that’s even more reason to actually begin talks with them. And talking is not necessarily making nice. It is delivering tough messages and listening.
I would bet that Milosevic didn’t think that he was having a nice conversation with me — or Kim Jong Il, for that matter. And it is important.
You have to figure out — Iran is a dangerous place, an important place, a country that has done better out of Iraq than any other country. And so, I think it’s essential.
And I find it interesting that five top diplomats of different parties agreed that we should do it.
ZAKARIA: Ken, Reagan faced the same challenge in a way, because the issue was negotiating with the Soviets. He had seemed to suggest in his campaign that he wouldn’t negotiate with them. Then he comes into power and, you know, there begins a minuet where they begin to — as he famously put it — they began to die on him, one after the other.
DUBERSTEIN: And then he finally got one he could work with, which was Mikhail Gorbachev.
But Reagan always thought that the power of ideas could triumph. And so, the answer was, of course you’re going to talk to your adversaries. And you’re going to listen to your adversaries, as well.
That doesn’t mean you’re going to agree to what they’re asking, but you’re going to be able to communicate your ideas and the strength of your positions.
That is something that I’m afraid has been missing for many years now in American foreign policy, and in some ways American domestic policy, as well.
We need to engage each other. And what the world is looking for is America to listen again.
You know, not long ago, I met with 12 foreign ambassadors. And each of them around the table said, what was missing in the world today is the leadership of America.
What we’re missing, as each said to me, was not that we will always agree with you, but we want to know that you’re a major player in the field, because America is that shining city on the hill.
ZAKARIA: Zbig, what about this point that both Madeleine and Ken are making about talking?
So, you start negotiations, perhaps with the Iranians. It seems to me Iran is not yet ready to rejoin the modern world. The regime rests on a certain oppositional element of defiance and opposition to the United States.
So, maybe we start talking and the talks don’t go very well. What do you then do?
BRZEZINSKI: Well, don’t forget that we have been negotiating with North Korea for quite a while, and we finally have made some progress. It hasn’t been consummated yet, but the progress has taken place. And China has played a very constructive role here.
It seems to me that, if we engage Iran in conversations, in negotiations — without preconditions, without demanding that, in advance of the negotiations, the Iranians concede on the critical issue of the negotiations — then we might be able to make some progress, and other countries are more likely to join us.
BRZEZINSKI: They’re also more likely to join us, if we don’t conduct these negotiations in an atmosphere of mutual abuse or of military threats, because that doesn’t help the atmosphere in the negotiations, and it also helps the Iranian extremists to mobilize public opinion behind them.
So, the style involved in the process is almost as important as the substance. ZAKARIA: Madeleine, people in Europe tell me that they found that even dealing with the Clinton administration was tough in this regard, that there was — both on the economic side and the foreign policy side — there was a degree of American arrogance.
You remember, I mean, the French foreign minister came up with the term “hyperpower” to describe …
ZAKARIA: … that’s right, hyper-Madeleine — to describe Bill Clinton’s America, not George Bush’s.
Is this …
ALBRIGHT: What I’ll tell you about it, basically, is I think that it’s a strange point. And I think people want American leadership. And President Clinton talked about the U.S. as the indispensable nation. I liked the term so much that I used it, and so, it’s more identified with me.
But it was meant basically, after the Cold War, to rally the American people to understand that we had to be a part of solutions. It’s one thing to say that we have to run everything, it’s another to say we don’t want anything to do with it.
ZAKARIA: Ken, let me ask you about another transition, since we’re talking transitions. You were head of Reagan’s transition team, transitioning out of the presidency.
ZAKARIA: We forget that the next few months, we only have one president at a time, and George W. Bush is still going to be president.
Is he going to have much power? How will he use that power? What will those last days look like?
DUBERSTEIN: I think, for President Bush, the chapter, the book is on the shelf already. You know, barring a major national security crisis, and even though we’re going to have a short, lame duck session of the Congress on economic stimulus, that, by and large, the presidency is finished.
And yet, the president — as Madeleine, as you both suggested, there’s only one president at a time.
With Ronald Reagan, he was president until noon on January 20th.
It is interesting. I made a mistake. I suggested strongly to him that he show up in the Oval Office the morning of January 20th.
What I didn’t realize is that the Oval Office would be barren, because all the furniture had been moved out, getting ready for then- about-to-be-President George Herbert Walker Bush’s …
ZAKARIA: The new president gets new furniture. The old president …
DUBERSTEIN: Including new drapes, as a matter of fact.
And as President Reagan walked into the Oval Office, and he was a bit startled from the famous walk, the Colonnade, he looked at Colin Powell, who was national security advisor, and me, as chief of staff, and his personal aide. And he reached into his pocket, and he pulled out and said, “Here, guys. I don’t need this anymore.”
And it was his nuclear code card.
And we both said, “No. You’re president until noon on that day, so you still have all the powers of the presidency. And then it’ll be deactivated.”
And he put it back in his pocket, and the world was safe for another few hours.
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you …
DUBERSTEIN: But that’s the only — you know, we only have one president at a time.
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about your friend, Colin Powell.
ZAKARIA: Powell endorsed Obama — very public and very successful, I think, a moving endorsement.
You’re a Republican. You were Reagan’s chief of staff. Will you tell us who you’re going to vote for on Tuesday?
DUBERSTEIN: Well, let’s put it this way. I think Colin Powell’s decision is, in fact, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval on Barack Obama.
ZAKARIA: And you’re going to take it?
DUBERSTEIN: I think so.
ZAKARIA: And we have to close. Thank you all.
Madeleine Albright, former secretary of state, and author of an important book, “Memo to the President.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, also author with Brent Scowcroft of a new book. And Ken Duberstein, chief of staff under Ronald Reagan. Thank you all. ALBRIGHT: Thank you.
DUBERSTEIN: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: The first great challenge for the man who will get elected Tuesday will be dealing with the economy. Now, both Obama and McCain have their own stable of partisan economic advisers.
There is one man — an independent — who has offered invaluable advice to both candidates. That man is Michael Bloomberg, the businessman who built a huge empire and a huge fortune, and is now the mayor of New York City, with approval ratings that hover around 70 percent — not that you’re counting, Mike.
In this week’s Newsweek Magazine, Bloomberg offers his ideas to the next president about how to get the U.S. back on track.
Welcome, Mike Bloomberg.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: Thank you very much.
That doesn’t mean they’re going to take my advice, Fareed, but nevertheless.
ZAKARIA: You know, I’m struck first of all by how well written this Newsweek piece is. The editors may have had a hand in that.
BLOOMBERG: The editors had a big hand, as my mother would tell you.
ZAKARIA: But you say the stock market has plummeted, the credit markets are frozen, unemployment is rising, housing foreclosures are skyrocketing — welcome to the White House, 44. You sure you want this job?
What’s the first thing you would do? If the president called you and said, “What’s the first thing I should do, having been elected,” what would it be?
BLOOMBERG: Well, work on the team over the next three months.
And you have to be very careful not to create any confusion in the minds of the rest of the world who our president is from November 4th to January 20-something-or-other. Nobody should ever mistake and think that our country is weakened, or that authority is diffuse and unspecified, and that we are vulnerable.
The president of the United States has the power under the Constitution to be the chief executive officer, the commander in chief. And we’ve got to make sure that we are safe during that period.
And that person has to work with Congress, because there are going to be laws passed during that time, and lots of things getting done.
I think this president, George Bush, has to — and I think he will, I hope he will — work with whoever gets elected, try to include them in conversations, and help in the transition. That’s one of the obligations that Bush has.
And then, you know, the president’s got to get ready and give that speech the day after, or the week after, the inauguration, when he doesn’t have this divided authority, and he certainly doesn’t have the need to say things in a campaign where the press forces you to answer virtually impossibly complex questions in a quick sound bite.
But I think people will look, not at the specifics of the speech, but whether they have confidence that this is a person who has the values that they espoused during the campaign, and is now going to really use those values to pull this country together and lead us forward.
ZAKARIA: Now, you say something quite interesting in this article, which is you say there’ll be a huge focus on dealing with the financial crisis, and new financial regulations, but that this should not be confused with fixing the economy, or dealing with the economy.
And the key issue there, you say, is growth and productivity. So, how do you get that?
BLOOMBERG: Well, the problem of dealing with the financial industry is being addressed today. You can measure it with interest rates coming down. You can measure it with the quantity of loans, and that sort of thing.
The problem is now, that nobody wants to take the loans. Once the banks are willing to give it, that’s only half the problem.
The other problem is, you and me and our fellow citizens, we are worried about our jobs. We are worried about our mortgages. We are worried about our neighborhoods.
We want to find some ways to assure ourselves that our kids are going to have a future, and that we’re going to be able to retire.
And the more conservative you and I are in saving a little bit for the future and spending a little less, the more we add to the problem of no economic activity.
That’s where the president is really going to have his work cut out for him. And that’s something that’s going to take a couple years to fix.
ZAKARIA: You talk about a major push in infrastructure. You say that we have really neglected this. What do you want the president to do?
BLOOMBERG: The president has to, first and foremost, outline a vision for this country of where we want to go. If you go back in history, one president had an idea we should build canals to open up the Midwest, and it did. One president had a vision that we should go and build airports and build municipal buildings and schools, and that sort of thing. The New Deal worked, and it created the infrastructure for decades in the future.
One president had an idea for an interstate highway system, which he sold to Congress on the idea that it was how they would move troops around to protect the country. But the truth of the matter is, it has allowed all parts of this country to share in the growth.
That’s the first thing the president’s got to do, is have a grand scheme. Then work with Congress to say, OK, when you’re building things, it should be within the context trying to satisfy the objectives of that grand plan.
ZAKARIA: You talk about education. And this is one of the big struggles you’re facing in New York City, and have faced.
What is the answer? We spend more than almost any country in the world per capita on education. We are all unhappy with the results. What should the president do?
BLOOMBERG: When it comes to public school education, we have been unwilling to measure our results. We’ve been unwilling to pay based on performance. We have tenure where, even if you can’t teach, you can’t get fired. We’ve been unwilling to invest in new schools.
There’s a great movie — I don’t know if you ever saw it, “Charlie Wilson’s War — where it talked about the billions we were spending on a war. And then at the end, when we’d won the war, somebody asked for two million bucks for a school, and Congress said “no.” And that was just a fanciful thing, but that is the way that we have been doing it.
ZAKARIA: You want an ambitious plan on energy. What do you want to see?
BLOOMBERG: We are transferring wealth from this country to the rest of the world, to a bunch of countries that don’t subscribe to our values and, in fact, find them threatening, and, in fact, finance those who are trying to take them away from us — terrorists.
And unless we get ahead of the curve, that is just going to continue, whether oil is at $50 a barrel or $150 a barrel.
ZAKARIA: But you think government can play a big role. This is not just the private sector inventing new technologies.
BLOOMBERG: You know, Fareed, you can sit here and say we’re going to have a Manhattan Project, or someday somebody’s going to discover perpetual motion and solve all our problems. I wish it were that easy. It’s not.
We have to make some real decisions. You can’t have it both ways. If we want to have clean energy, then that means we’re going to see windmills off our coast. That means we’re going to have nuclear power plants. That means we’re going to invest in solar technology and build the transmission lines to move the power from where the sun shines to where it does not shine.
There’s no secrets here. If you want to do it, you can do it. It just requires leadership from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, and Congress pulling together without partisanship at the other.
There are ways to solve this problem. You’ve got to sit there and say there is going to be cost. You’re going to have to raise the cost of energy to get people to use less. You’re going to have to make the investments to get alternative sources.
ZAKARIA: And we’ll be right back with Michael Bloomberg.
ZAKARIA: And we’re back with Michael Bloomberg.
Mike, you also talk about the fact that, in order to deal with the kind of pressing challenges we have, forget about tax cuts right now, that this would blow a hole in the budget and create a huge problem. And you’re also in favor of estate taxes.
BLOOMBERG: Yes, I think estate taxes, on balance, are good. They get people to give money to charity, and they prevent these family dynasties which keep other people from having opportunities. It may be good for a family, but for society it’s probably not good. And I’ve always been in favor of having an estate tax.
I think it’s cute to call it a death tax. But it is a tax which raises a lot of money which we need, and also has the benefits of keeping the pot boiling and giving new people opportunity.
ZAKARIA: Your daughters are fine with this?
BLOOMBERG: I didn’t ask them, actually. Yes, my daughters are fine with it.
I want my daughters to have the advantage of getting a good education, getting great values from their mother and me. I’d like to help them financially a little bit.
But I want them to go out and work. I do not want — have to go out and work — I don’t want them to be so self-sufficient that they don’t have to work. And if they want to work in philanthropy — I have one daughter who is still in school. I have another daughter who works for a large philanthropy here in the city.
I don’t want them to say, “I have to take a job one place, because I need the money.” But on the other hand, I want them to have the impetus that you and I had. And that’s, I think, what’s created your character and values, and mine as well. ZAKARIA: You talk about taxes, the need for taxes. You know, you said that this is not a point we can afford tax cuts. You talk about investment in infrastructure. We need to solve the health care problem and extend coverage.
It strikes me that this is very — this is very much in synch with Barack Obama’s agenda. Are you going to vote for him?
BLOOMBERG: Well, I know who I’m going to vote for, but I’m not going to tell you here. I’ll tell the voting machine next Tuesday.
ZAKARIA: But I’m reading this article and …
BLOOMBERG: I know you’re reading that article.
Look, let me phrase it this way. I hope whoever is elected does the things that this country needs. And I think the public has a choice, and the public has gotten enough information to make it.
I am very optimistic about the future of this country. I think that a new president coming in is healthy for democracy, healthy for the environment. I think these campaigns go on much too long, and the constraints that are put on candidates to really address issues are difficult. But I think both these guys are smart and have addressed the issues.
And now, it’s up to the public to make a selection. And then it’s up to all of us to get behind whoever is elected, and say, “OK, let’s go forward.”
We’re America, and we have to stop worrying about what happens overseas, and to be optimistic, even though nobody should think we’re not going to have some difficult times. And I think “difficult” is a better word. “Challenging” is a good word — not easy. But there’s no reason why you should sit there and say, “Oh, my children aren’t going to have a better world.”
Your children will have a better world, if you stand up and do something about it. And that’s what America has always been.
ZAKARIA: And you’re not going to tell me who you’re going to vote for.
ZAKARIA: Another election. You’re going to run for a third term?
BLOOMBERG: I have told the public that, if they change, if the city council changed term limits allowing me to, I would. The city council did that. And yes, I have every intention of running.
ZAKARIA: And what do you say to people who say, this was a kind of underhand move, it should have been done by referendum?
BLOOMBERG: The city charter allows referendum, or the city council, equally, to do it. The city council chose to do it. I certainly encouraged them to do it. They had a very spirited debate — is an understatement — and they voted.
And now the public is going to have a choice. If they don’t want me, they don’t have to vote for me. But this has just given the public more choice rather than less.
ZAKARIA: You get a lot of praise — in my view, justifiable — for the way in which you have administered. It’s very practical, very commonsensical.
So, what would be your advice to the president in terms of, how would you organize? You know, getting stuff done in government is a non-trivial issue.
BLOOMBERG: Well, you get rid of the words “I” and “me,” and you replace them with “we” and “us.”
You don’t do anything by yourself, and one of the secrets of all good managers is to give credit to others. That’s how you attract good people.
You also have to delegate. You can’t run everything through yourself.
Nobody wants a job where they don’t have authority to go along with the responsibility. Quite the contrary. The more authority you give people, the better people you can attract, and the harder they’re going to work, and the more loyal they are going to be.
So, I think that’s one thing. I think another thing is, you’ve got to be bipartisan.
The Democrats, I assume, will still control the House and the Senate. But there are lots of factions within the Democrats. And the next president is going to need, for some issues, some Republican votes. You don’t get them on the things you need, if you don’t give them something on the things that they need.
It’s a democracy, and that’s fine.
Every poll shows that people want a reasonable, non-ideological kind of government. And that’s what the president’s job is going to be, to pull people together.
We’ve had presidents that have encouraged partisanship, and we’ve had presidents that have reached across the aisle. And I think the latter group has been much more successful. And I hope whoever gets elected on Tuesday will do that.
ZAKARIA: Michael Bloomberg, thank you very much.
BLOOMBERG: Thank you for having me.
ZAKARIA: Christopher Patten is a prominent Conservative British politician with wide experience of the world.
He was, famously, the last governor of Hong Kong before its handover to China in 1999. After that, he became the European commissioner for foreign relations.
He is also a life peer, Lord Patten, which is probably very useful in getting restaurant reservations.
“The Independent” calls Chris Patten the best foreign secretary Britain never had. I would argue he might well be the best prime minister Britain never had.
He has written a number of books. The new one is called “What Next?” —
a fascinating and very well written dissection of world politics, economics in the age of globalization.
Chris Patten, welcome.
LORD CHRISTOPHER PATTEN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF HONG KONG: Nice to be on your show.
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you. You look at this world, and the picture you paint is one that’s considerably different from the world we’ve been in.
What do you think is the big difference between the world that, say, your mentor, Margaret Thatcher, was operating in, and the world that the next American president will have to operate in?
PATTEN: Well, some of the differences are a consequence of much that’s gone right. It’s a rather sort of Hegelian concept.
We now find ourselves dealing with the dark side of globalization and some of the difficulties which globalization has created. We’ve enjoyed a lot of the benefits, including the hundreds of millions of people lifted out of poverty in Asia. But we now find ourselves dealing with problems that I think can only be tackled by nation- states working together — even the biggest nation-states.
The world I’ve written about is the world that the next president is going to have to lead — lead, because America remains the only global superpower. America is the only country that matters everywhere. And America has to be involved, if we’re going to tackle some of the major problems we face.
To that extent, the world is the same as it was when Margaret Thatcher was — I almost said on the throne.
ZAKARIA: Who would you like to see, Chris, as the next American president?
PATTEN: Well, like the majority of the world, I’d like to see Senator Obama.
I think that those who were pretty neutral as between Obama and McCain were turned off substantially when Senator McCain, in his first really big choice, chose somebody who seemed to be reaching back into the sort of reaches of the Republican Party, which had caused so many of the problems of the last few years. So, I think that put a lot of people off.
Senator McCain is obviously a genuine war hero and a decent man. But I think, for all those of us who believe that what’s needed is change —
and that part of that change in economic management is bound to involve addressing the issue of social equity in the United States — those of us who take that view, I think bank pretty heavily with Senator Obama.
ZAKARIA: Do you think that Senator Obama will be able to shift the dial in terms of negotiating with the Iranians, perhaps the Israeli-Palestinian peace process? Or, you know, are these problems fairly intractable?
You’ve seen this world up close. I mean, the Iranians aren’t actually, you know, waiting to negotiate with anyone. North Korea is a very difficult problem. The Israeli-Palestinian peace process is not going ahead, because of severe dysfunctions on both sides.
How mendable is all this?
PATTEN: I think it is mendable. And you start by asserting the principle that diplomacy begins by talking to people, even when you don’t agree with them. And that would make a nice change.
You don’t have to wait until people say they accept everything you say until you are actually prepared to sit down and discuss matters with them. And I think looking at the world in a sort of Manichean, good-versus-evil way isn’t very helpful in dealing with problems which have much more gray in them sometimes than black-and- white.
And, I hope, a new American president would understand that the world has changed, so that there isn’t really a major problem that we can tackle unless we involve China and India and Brazil, and the other emerging economies.
They’re not superpowers, but they’re powers that matter, whether you’re trying to deal with Iran, or trying to deal with North Korea, or trying to deal with nuclear proliferation, trying to deal with terrorism, organized crime, epidemic disease. They really should demand a much bigger focus in an American president’s attention.
Multilateralism is not an easy option. We’re going to find that the world is very difficult. And relationships between America and the rest of the world are very difficult, even when President Bush is back in Crawford, and Vice President Cheney is back shooting ducks — or shooting people who shoot ducks.
So, I don’t think the world is suddenly going to be a great deal easier.
ZAKARIA: What would be your advice to President Obama — let us say he gets elected — the first month or two that he’s in the White House?
PATTEN: Well, I think he’s got to appoint some good people fast.
But what I would above all tell him, or advise him to do is tell it like it is, and to challenge people.
Adlai Stevenson once said that the average man and woman are a great deal better than the average. Politicians don’t usually behave as though they think that’s true.
I think it’d make a wonderful change to have the leader of a pluralist democracy who acted on that, who told people just how tough things are going to be, just what’s going to have to be done — and, maybe, ran all the risks on the side of honesty, rather than spinning stories and trying to win the headlines every day.
That’s not going to get us through this crisis, and it’s not going to lay the basis for the sort of cooperation which will enable us to muddle through and manage rather more successfully than we have in the last few years.
ZAKARIA: Christopher Patten, a pleasure to talk to you. Come and see us when you’re in New York.
PATTEN: Thanks very much indeed.
ZAKARIA: That’s it for this week. Before I go, I want to thank you for all your e-mails.
Last week I asked you whether you thought our new president would be tested by a foreign power early in his presidency. Now, many of you are students of history, so you said “yes,” pointing to the many times this had happened in the past.
One viewer even asked, “Can’t you come up with harder questions?” So, here is one, for next week.
In two days, America will have a new president. What is the first thing you want him to do — day one, the first issue — and what should he say or do?
Now, next week we’re doing something exciting. Since there will be a new president in the United States, I have invited four of this country’s most eminent historians to come in and talk about what makes a president great, what this election will have looked like in historical context.
One of the historians I’ll be talking to is Walter Isaacson, which brings me to my book recommendation this week.
Walter wrote a book called “The Wise Men,” about Harry Truman’s foreign policy elite and the world they made after World War II. It is a book I read as a young man and loved. It’s excellent. You really will enjoy it. Give it a try. Remember, you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our Web site, cnn.com/gps, for highlights. And you can always find our weekly podcast on the Web site.
Usually, I have something to say before I say goodbye. Today I’m going to cede my time to someone else.
There has been throughout this campaign a weird rumor about Senator Obama, and no one ever addressed it properly, in my view. A few weeks ago, General Colin Powell did it on “Meet the Press,” when he endorsed Senator Obama.
You may agree with that endorsement or not, but in doing so, Powell said something deeply important about what it means to be an American. It’s a very eloquent statement. Listen as he explains his discomfort with the campaign against Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. COLIN POWELL, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I’m also troubled by not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say, and it is permitted to be said. Such things as “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.”
Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian.
But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is “no.” That’s not America.
Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?
Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion he’s a Muslim, and he might be associated with terrorists.
This is not the way we should be doing it in America.
I feel strongly about this particular point, because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery. And she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave.
And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards — Purple Heart, Bronze Star. It showed that he died in Iraq. It gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old.
And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have the Christian cross. It didn’t have a Star of David. It had a crescent and the star of the Islamic faith.
And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. And he was an American.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: For the Americans among you, don’t forget to vote.
See you next week.