When Fareed Met Bannon: Details of His Exclusive Interview

Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN's Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Jason Miks.

May 31, 2018

When Fareed Met Bannon

Fareed traveled to Rome this week to sit down for an exclusive interview with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. They discussed the wave of populism rising around the world, the Republican Party's chances in the midterm elections, President Trump, and more.

Watch Bannon on President Trump's criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Tune in to "A Fareed Zakaria Special: The Steve Bannon Interview" this Friday at 9 p.m. ET on CNN.

Team Trump Takes Aim…At America's Closest Allies

The Trump administration's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada, the European Union and Mexico isn't just bad for the economy—it's also yet another attack on America's closest allies, writes Jennifer Rubin for the Washington Post. And it will come back to haunt the country.
"When we ask for allies' help, on everything from intelligence-sharing to Syria to North Korea, they'll surely think twice before going out on a limb for this administration. Moreover, we signal to countries deciding where to place their allegiances that we are undependable and feckless."
  • The other danger of Team Trump's unpredictability. The short-term costs of the tariffs are likely manageable. The bigger danger to the US economy is the uncertainty of Team Trump's erratic policy making, writes Neil Irwin in The New York Times.
"[S]tability is part of what differentiates rich countries from poor ones. In poor countries, it tends to be harder for businesses to make long-term investments in part because they don't know what tax and regulatory policies might come down upon them in the future," Irwin writes.

The North Korea Talks Could Have an Unlikely Hero

Donald Trump's suggestion Thursday that meetings with a North Korean delegation in New York have gone "very well" is the latest sign that the June 12 summit could be back on track. The chances of those talks succeeding could rest with an unlikely figure, The Economist suggests: John Bolton.
"In the absence of many other moderating influences on Mr Trump—whose confidence in his ability to direct global affairs appears to be growing by the day—this suggests Mr Bolton could play a more positive role than his many critics have countenanced," The Economist argues.
"They fear he may lead Mr Trump into a catastrophic conflict, a valid concern. Yet it seems likelier Mr Bolton's skepticism about diplomacy, apparent good standing with the president and willingness to speak truth to power could mitigate a more pressing risk: that the president will expend a rare moment of American leverage with Mr Kim on a hasty, ill-considered deal that could leave East Asia even more insecure than it is now."

Italians Need to Look in the Mirror

Italy's anti-establishment parties reached an agreement Thursday to form a coalition government—almost three months after the country held a general election. But while many Italians have been quick to blame the European Union for their country's stagnation, the real blame can be found much closer to home, argues Phillip Inman in The Guardian.
"A classic example can be seen in Venice, where beautiful ochre and rust red plaster falls off its stunning palazzos at regular intervals into the canals, never to be replaced. Renovation must be done according to ancient practices, and at huge cost. This rule is imposed by a regional authority that will brook no compromise, not even those put forward by city council. Subsidies that were once offered have been scrapped, leaving the buildings exposed to the elements," Inman writes.
"Then there is the mafia, mass early retirement, huge levels of tax evasion and avoidance, and a low birthrate. These are all problems created in Italy, not Brussels."

Ukraine Makes a Pigs Ear Out of Its Pigs' Blood Plot

It sounds like something out of a thriller: A Russian journalist, with the help of Ukraine's security services, stages his own murder using pigs' blood as part of a plot to catch an alleged assassin. But in faking a murder, Ukraine may have scored a diplomatic own goal, writes Mary Dejevsky for The Independent.
"Would surveillance and intercepts really not have been sufficient, both to corner the supposed culprits and their handlers and keep the dissident journalist safe? Ukraine's international reputation will now depend to a large degree on the quality of the evidence it can produce of a Russian plot," she writes.
"In the meantime, Russia can take the moral high ground. Not only that, but it now has additional evidence to support its stereotypical view of Ukraine as a small, rather parochial country that resorts to dishonesty to pursue its objectives and is unworthy of playing in the big league."

Why Maduro Keeps Clinging On

It's difficult to find words to capture the magnitude of Venezuela's implosion. That begs the question of why recently reelected President Nicolás Maduro is clinging to power, write Francisco Toro and Moisés Naím for The Atlantic. The answer is simple: For Maduro, if no one else, the alternatives are likely worse.
"The reality is that for Nicolás Maduro and the clique around him, the goal of staying in power is just to be in power. Nothing more. Because at this point he's dug himself into a hole so deep, the alternative to a presidential palace is very likely a jail cell. Or worse," they write.
"Maduro and members of his inner circle are now under international sanctions for a dizzying variety of misdeeds. Over the years, regime members have been accused of gross human-rights abuses, big-time money laundering, Olympic-level bribery and embezzlement, aiding Hezbollah, sanctions busting in Iran, large-scale environmental crimes, allegations of false imprisonment, torture—the list goes on and on."



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