Fareed Zakaria at PostGlobal

Fareed Zakaria

Editor of Newsweek International, columnist

PostGlobal co-moderator Fareed Zakaria is editor of Newsweek International, overseeing all Newsweek's editions abroad. He writes a regular column for Newsweek, which also appears in Newsweek International and often The Washington Post. He is a member of the roundtable of ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanapoulos" as well as an analyst for ABC News. And he is the host of a new weekly PBS show, "Foreign Exchange" which focuses on international affairs. His most recent book, "The Future of Freedom," was published in the spring of 2003 and was a New York Times bestseller and is being translated into eighteen languages. He is also the author of "From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America's World Role" (Princeton University Press), and co-editor of "The American Encounter: The United States and the Making of the Modern World" (Basic Books). Close.

Fareed Zakaria

Editor of Newsweek International, columnist

PostGlobal co-moderator Fareed Zakaria is editor of Newsweek International, overseeing all Newsweek's editions abroad. He writes a regular column for Newsweek, which also appears in Newsweek International and often The Washington Post. more »

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December 2008 Archives



December 1, 2008 12:14 PM

Wanted: A New U.S. Grand Strategy

Barack Obama's campaign for president began with his opposition to the war in Iraq. But before last week's terror attacks in India, the subject of foreign policy had disappeared, almost completely overshadowed by the economic crisis.

This doesn't mean that international issues will be ignored. No doubt the national security team Obama is announcing this week will be quick to tackle the many issues in their inbox, and will likely do so with intelligence and competence. There are enough problems to occupy them fully -- Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, al-Qaeda, Iran, Russia -- and they will face unexpected crises like the Mumbai assaults.

But we must hope that as president, Obama does more than select a good team, delegate well and react intelligently to the problems that he will confront. He must have his administration build a broader framework through which to view the world and America's relations with it -- a grand strategy.

At this moment, the United States has a unique opportunity to push forward a vision that aligns its interests and ideals with those of most of the world's major powers. But it is a fleeting opportunity. Grand strategy sounds like an abstract concept--something academics discuss -- and one that bears little relationship to urgent, jarring events on the ground. But in the absence of strategy, any administration will be driven by the news, reacting rather than leading. For a superpower that has global interests and is forced to respond to virtually every problem, it's all too easy for the urgent to drive out the important.

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December 1, 2008 12:24 PM

This Fire Needs to be Put Out

My first memories of the Taj Mahal hotel are probably of when I was 8 years old, going to the Sea Lounge restaurant with its lovely view of Mumbai's harbor to eat sev puri, a savory Indian treat. I also remember passing through its grand ballroom a few years later, while it was being decked out for a dinner in honor of the president of Bulgaria--crystal chandeliers, ice sculptures, bouquets of roses, platters of shrimp carted around by liveried waiters. My family would celebrate special occasions at the Golden Dragon, one of the best Chinese restaurants outside of China. The Taj is a fixture in the life of Mumbaikers (or Bombayites as we used to call ourselves). Last week, those memories came flooding back as I watched from New York, and saw the Taj hotel on fire. The terror attack on Mumbai has been called India's 9/11. For me there is another similarity; like 9/11, this attack hit close to home. My brother worked next door to the Twin Towers, at the World Financial Center, on 9/11 and he evacuated his office staff when the first plane crashed. I knew people who worked in the World Trade Center and some who died there. This time, the tragedy is also personal. My mother's office is in the Taj hotel (she is the editor of the Taj Magazine). Luckily she was out of town on the day of the attack. My brother-in-law and niece, however, were in their apartment, which overlooks the Oberoi, the other hotel that was attacked. A dozen commandos took over their apartment, positioned snipers at the windows, and began giving and receiving fire. (My niece is keeping the bullets as souvenirs.) And as with 9/11, I know people who have died. The general manager of the Taj hotel, a young man, lost his family.

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December 8, 2008 12:00 AM

The Choice for Pakistan's Military

If the Mumbai attacks were India's 9/11, then it has responded quite differently than the United States did in the weeks following that horrible event. Much of the debate among Indians has looked inward, focusing on their government's lack of preparedness, poor intelligence and bungling response to the attack. Senior Indian officials have resigned, some evidence links the terrorists to the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, but the Indian government has not rushed to war. Even the Hindu fundamentalist Bharatiya Janata Party, traditionally ultrahawkish, is advocating "coercive diplomacy," calling on the world community to insist that Pakistan implement its U.N. treaty obligations to fight terrorism. India is showing restraint for some wise reasons -- the two nations are nuclear-armed and a military strike would only inflame Pakistani nationalism. But a democratic government, approaching an election season, can only remain restrained if its restraint yields something. If not, South Asia -- and that includes Afghanistan -- is going to get a lot more unstable.

Some have argued that India should use its intelligence and air power to go after some of Lashkar's camps in the borderlands of Kashmir. But one would not need spies and airplanes to find the head of Lashkar, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. He lives and works in Lahore. Of course, Lashkar was banned by the Pakistani government in 2002, but Saeed now runs its "charitable" arm, Jamaat-ul-Dawa, a large and growing force in the country. The problem with Islamic militant groups in Pakistan is not that they are hard to find but rather that they are in plain sight. The Pakistani government has never made a fundamental decision to turn its back on the culture of jihad.

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December 22, 2008 1:37 PM

Can Obama Save Capitalism?

The great sociologist Max Weber described the power of charisma as "a
certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set
apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural,
superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities." Some
of Barack Obama's supporters have at times sounded as if they saw "the one"
in these terms. There's no doubt that Obama is intensely charismatic and
that it provides him with unusual political capital. But very soon -- say on
Jan. 20, 2009 -- his powers will start to mutate, and they will derive less
from his persona and more from his office. He will shift, in Weber's
terminology, from wielding charismatic authority to legal authority.

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« November 2008 | January 2009 »

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.