Sunday, December 9, 2012

Transcript: "Fareed Zakaria GPS' (12-9-12)

Full transcript. Excerpt below:

We have a very important show for you today. First up, with Washington at an impasse, an exclusive conversation with one of America's greatest deal-makers, James Baker, the former Secretary of State, former Secretary of the Treasury, former White House Chief of Staff, on how to stay off the fiscal cliff and on what his party should learn from the last election.

Next, when the U.S. aimed high in the 1960s, we sent a man to the moon. With a similar effort, we can now cure cancer. That's what the head of the largest cancer center in the world, Houston's MD Anderson, says. You'll want to hear why we are close to success and yet so far.

And America has lost its number one standing in lots of areas from competitiveness to education. The new number one, in most cases, a Scandinavian country. What is the secret sauce? We'll dig into it.

But, first, here's my take. As we debate whether the two parties can ever come together and get things done, here is something President Obama could do, probably by himself, that would be a signal accomplishment of his presidency: End the war on terror.

For the first time since 9/11, an administration official has sketched a possible endpoint. Jeh Johnson, the outgoing general counsel for the Pentagon, said in a speech to the Oxford Union last week that, "As the battle against al-Qaeda continues, there will come a tipping point at which so many of the leaders and operatives of al- Qaeda and its affiliates have been killed or captured, such that al- Qaeda as we know it, has been effectively destroyed."

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

It grants the president and the federal government extraordinary authorities effectively suspends civil liberties for anyone the government deems an enemy and it also keeps us at a permanent war footing in all kinds of ways. Ending this situation should be something that would appeal to both left and right.

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

If you want to know why we're in such a deep budgetary hole, keep in mind that we have spent about $2 trillion on foreign wars in the last decade. In addition, we have had the largest expansion of the federal government since World War II.

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