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tv   Fareed Zakaria GPS  CNN  January 9, 2022 10:00am-11:00am PST

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this is "gps," the global public square. welcome to all of you in the united states and around the world. i'm fareed zakaria coming to you live from new york. on today's program, we'll take a look at what the new year might have in store for the world. after the omicron spike, will the world be able to get back to something approaching normal? perhaps a new normal?
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will russia actually invade ukraine? or is vladimir putin saber-rattling to get western concessions? >> we made it clear it cannot move on ukraine. and what will china do in 2022? what are the implications for its neighbors and for america? also the global economy, will there be more inflation, less productivity, fewer babies? i will talk to experts about it all. >> usa! >> and i will bring you a preview of my latest cnn special about the threat to american democracy. one year after the january 6th attack on the capitol, is the republic really at risk? i believe it is. stay tuned for a clip of "the fight to save american democracy," which airs in full tonight, 9:00 p.m. eastern.
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first, here's "my take." in just the last ten days almost a dozen people i know have tested positive for covid-19. two of them had a rough time with it, saying it was comparable to a full-blown case of the flu. the others had a day of chills or nothing at all. when asked about symptoms, one of them had not been isolated responded, boredom. i compared that to the beginning of the covid outbreak around march 2020 when i knew just two people who got the virus, both of whom were hospitalized, and one of whom, the talented new york chef freud cardiss, died. i realize this is anecdotal but this confirms the pattern. in the "the new york times" headline, "new york's omicron surge points to a wave of mild
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cases." if the pattern holds up, it's crucial we approach this stage of the pandemic rather substantially differently than the way we did the last. the united kingdom health security agency released a new analysis on december 31, the findings available a few days before, the risk of being hospitalized with omicron is half as high as with the delta delta variant, and your risk at needing emergency care is only one third as high. more significant is the distinction between the vaccinated and unvaccinated. the uk analysis, which looked at astrazeneca, moderna and pfizer vaccines estimated people with two doses of the vaccine plus a booster shot are 88% less likely to be hospitalized than those without vaccinations. even if you get the virus, if you are double vaccinated and
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boosted, you are still an estimated 81% less likely to be hospitalized than if you are unvaccinated. if you get the virus and have had two doses of the vaccine, no booster, you are estimated to be 65% less likely to be hospitalized. in the united states at least hospitalization numbers themselves are misleading. for example, "the new york times" reported this week two major new york hospitals, 55% to 65% of covid hospitalizations were people coming to the hospitals for other reasons than covid and once there testing positive for covid. u.s. health officials have also noted the growing evidence that supports omicron is less severe than delta. in south africa, where omicron was first identified, even
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though relatively few who had been vaccinated, people were less likely, 80% lower according to one preprint study posted in december 2021, to be hospitalized for omicron than for other variants. in addition, the biden administration has now ordered 20 million treatment courses of the pfizer covid pill, though we clearly need more. the early data -- and it is early -- suggests two conclusions. omicron is much less lethal than previous mutations of the virus. second, the vaccines, especially with the booster shot, are highly effective at preventing serious illness and death. that means we're in a fundamentally different situation than we were in march 2020, when the original virus was sweeping around the world. we don't need lockdowns, school closures or onerous travel restrictions. instead we need to make an even sharper distinction between the vaccinated and those who are not, coupled with sensible measures to slow the spread of the virus so the health care system is not overburdened. the cdc has shortened the recommended isolation period
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from ten to five days. could it be even shorter if you are vaccinated and not showing any symptoms? at this point, for someone who is fully vaccinated with three shots, getting omicron seems to be similar to getting the flu. we don't force people with the flu to isolate for five days. we must have different rules across the board for people who are vaccinated. we know from the science and the statistics that they will impose many fewer burdens on the health care system. why should the willfully unvaccinated be able to force the rest of society to pay the price for their refusal to take a simple medical precaution. for everyone, the key beyond vaccines is mass testing and good masks. epidemiologist michael mina long argued the focus on pcr tests as
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opposed to rapid tests has been misguided, from a public health standpoint is not whether you have the virus but whether you are spreading it to others. rapid antigen tests determine that pretty quickly. compared to europe tests in the united states cost way more and are far less widely available. similarly, we should make widely available cheap, high-quality masks. german's leading virologist recently said omicron could become the first post-pandemic covid variant, which would like make the disease an endemic one, not so lethal and one we will live with like the flu. we cannot be sure of this because with so many unvaccinated people, about 26% of americans still have not received even one dose, the virus still has lots of space in which it can replicate and thus mutate. but it does seem that at least for now for the vaccinated majority, the post-pandemic
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future has arrived if we are willing to accept it. go to for a link to my "washington post" column. and let's get started. ♪ so how is omicron likely to progress in this new year? let me bring in dr. robert wachter, chairman of the ucsf department of medicine who has written very intelligently on all of these subjects. let me ask you, doc, you know you feel like there's light at the end of the tunnel. let's first talk about the tunnel. how bad will this wave look for the next month? >> hi, good morning, fareed. thank you for having me. i think it's going to look awfully bad, and i agree with you the average case is much milder, but we're seeing five times as many cases, maybe in
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some places more. in san francisco a month ago, where i live, we had 50 cases a day, and now we have 1,500 being reported, and as you know, many are not being reported because they're being confirmed on rapid tests done at home. so the problem with the math for the next month is you do have a milder illness on average, but you have so many more cases that you still are having a lot of people coming to hospitals, hospitals really are getting overwhelmed, nurses and doctors are out. i think we're going to have a really tough time for the next month. i do think there's light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel is a problem. >> and in terms of how to cope with it, you know, i hope i don't come across as complacent, but i'm saying if you are triple vaccinated and you use the tests intelligently and you wear proper masking, there's a way to have a more normal life. what is the biggest obstacle in managing that process for the next month? >> the biggest obstacle is
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omicron, which is unbelievably infectious. the kind of encounter you might have had a month ago that would have been safe, now there's a decent chance it will cause you to be infected, even if you're vaccinated. and so i guess my take on -- i liked your essay very much because i think that is the world we're getting to, but i'm still in hunker-down mode for the next several weeks because i do think there's just a ton of virus around. if you go into a restaurant, for example, and there are 20, 30 people there, there's almost certainty that one of the people in the restaurant has covid, doesn't know it. and so at least for the next few weeks, as hospitals are getting filled and getting overwhelmed, i think it's a time to be very careful, not to hide under the kitchen table as you might have done in march 2020. if you're fully vaccinated, the chances you're going to die of this are very low, but they're
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not zero and it's not zero chance you will go to the hospital. so i do think it's the right call to try to be safe if you can the next few weeks and the things you discussed, wearing a high-quality mask, being thoughtful about the kinds of encounters you have. and i do think this is blowing through our population so quickly, we may be looking at a really bad january, but things in february looking like the world that you painted, one in which we can go about our business, unvaccinated people being at higher risk but many of the unvaccinated people are going to get infected this month so they will have a measure of immunity they didn't have before. >> and your hope, the light at the end of the tunnel, comes from the data we are seeing out of south africa, right? where you have a massive spike up, but then a massive spike down. so what does that look like? >> yeah, it does look like this virus just -- once it enters a community, spreads like wildfire. that's what we are seeing
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everywhere, even in san francisco, where it's the most highly vaccinated city in the country. we're seeing a massive increase in cases. it hits a community very hard, very fast. as you said, the average person has a milder case than before. but not all of them do, and our hospitals are getting filled and those are mostly people who are sick with the virus. a fair number of them are also sick with other things and happen to have the virus. but it goes up very fast and then at least in south africa, about a month or so it plateaued and came down just as fast. london looks like it's showing the same pattern. they are a few weeks ahead. why does it go up and come down so quickly? two things probably, people start being a little more careful because people see their friends and family getting sick and they would like to try to dodge that if they can. the second reason is the level of immunity in the community goes up very, very quickly. the people who have had -- let's say if you only had one shots or two shots and you get a
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breakthrough case, it's essentially the equivalent of a booster, you will now have a higher level of immunity. but the key thing is the people unvaccinated, if you're not vaccinated, you're not even being super careful, you're going to get this virus. you're going to get it the hard way. it would be better through vaccination but you will get some measure of immunity from the virus. i hope you then go and get vaccinated. because that immunity, we don't know how long it will last or how robust it will be, but you will have some immunity. in a month or so, you have almost everyone with some level of immunity, which is not what you had going into the surge. >> that is so helpful to hear, thank you very much. >> my pleasure. thank you. next on "gps," we will look at what we can expect from russia in the current chaos in kazakhstan and ukraine. what is putin trying to do in
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consultancy and niall, is an historian and senior and fellow at the hoover institution. niall, let me start with you, you had a column in bloomberg this week in which you said make no mistake, putin does seem to ready to use military force. he's gone through the song and dance of diplomatic moves and demands. but don't be surprised if all of that breaks down and he essentially reinvades. explain briefly why you feel that way. >> well, vladimir putin has been beating a drum of war for months. back in july last year he published an article on the historical unity of the russians and ukrainians, which i read carefully to be a threat to ukraine bringing under the control of moscow. 100,000 troops or so have been amassed on ukraine's borders for many months. and crucially the russian government issued back in december what amounted to an ultimatum to the united states
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and nato in the form of two draft security agreements that are full of things they really cannot possibly accept. we're going to have a week of diplomacy coming up in the coming week, but don't be fooled. this is not the kind of good-faith diplomacy that's supposed to lead to an agreement. it's the kind of phony diplomacy that an aggressor engages in prior to a premedicated military attack. >> ian, why do you feel a little bit less certain, in fact, you've said the end of the day if you had to bet, you bet russia will not go into ukraine militarily? >> what i'm suggesting is if i had to bet -- i do think escalation is likely. i agree with niall this is not a friendly negotiation meant to resolve, it's actually meant to reside.
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but to me i see russia's surprise not just in ukraine and the annex of it, and they occupy a piece of it, being able to divide the united states and europe to a much greater degree and that's the goal. and putin will not make it easy for the united states and europe to respond together. a full invasion of russian tanks into ukraine makes it much easier for the united states and europe to work much more closely on prepositioning, advanced positioning nato troops closer to russia's border, on very severe sanctions and recognizing russia is a severe and common threat. there are a lot of other things the russians can do, like cyberattacks, like defending -- formally defending the russian citizens that are in the donbass who the russians complain are committing acts of genocide against. if i'm biden, i'm much less worried, i think, about the idea
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the russians invade and americans and europeans can take the steps they said they're going to and rather they take other steps that would allow, for example, german chancellor olaf scholz, who's going to meet with putin by himself in the next few weeks, to have a very different response to the russians than the americans will. >> niall, is it possible this is a lot of saber-rattling not as a prelude to war but to set out a demand that ukraine never become part of nato? that's his core issue, that he wants a kind of guarantee, whether implicit or explicit, that ukraine -- that nato expanded all of these different countries close to russia's borders but ukraine has to be the bright line? >> unfortunately, that's not the only thing that putin is asking for. he's saying nato shouldn't accept any new members, the u.s. and nato shouldn't deploy
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short-to-intermediate range missiles in range of the territory and so on. that nato shouldn't deploy forces to member states that joined nato after 1997, that it shouldn't conduct military exercises in those states. in effect what putin is trying to do, what his demands amount to, is re-create really the old soviet sphere influence in eastern europe and render it after the cold war a dead letter. there's no way that joe biden, even if he's in full appeasement mode, can agree to all of this. there may be a few things they can agree to but a very small proportion of what russia's demanding that's really viable. that means -- i think putin's set these negotiations up to fail. that's why i think military action is more likely than they're suggesting. i'm not saying russian tanks
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will be rolling across the plains towards kiev. rather what i think will happen is escalation in the area where russian forces are already present. there will be almost certainly a cyber component to this. but i don't think the primary goal, ian, is divide nato. that's actually a relatively easy thing and in many ways you might say it's been achieved by creating such heavy dependence by the europeans on the need for natural gas. i think the goal is create a sovereign state and create such uncertainty ukraine never can stabilize as a democracy. that i think is the core goal. it needs to be seen in the context of crises elsewhere in the former soviet realm, not only kazakhstan, which fareed you already mentioned, but also belarus. putin cannot afford another successful revolution, another successful democracy or semi-successful democracy
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showing russians there's an alternative to his brand of ultra nationalist authoritarianism. that's how we should think of his objectives. not that many of us can really read vladimir putin's minds and that's why why we have to be sort of circumspect in what we predict. >> ian, we don't have a lot of time, but i want to ask you one thing niall alluded to, it does seem the threat of cutting russians off the global banking system, the things the biden administration talked about, fundamentally certainly lack of a degree of vigor when you consider the issue that the europeans are desperately dependent on russian natural gas. natural gas prices have gone up four-fold. they really can't afford for them to go up much more. you will have domestic crises in all of these countries. i assume your big governments will stop subsidizing natural gas because they have not have people pay that much. isn't that a great achilles' heel in a concerted western
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response? and you have 45 seconds. >> it certainly explains the timing, why this is being done in winter because that's, of course, when the europeans are most vulnerable. but olaf scholz did probably tell both the americans and the uk if there was an invasion, nord stream 2 is dead. so i think putin has to be careful how far to push that leverage, fareed. >> thank you, ian bremer, niall ferguson, pleasure to have you on. scientists proved that rid- x reduces up to 20% of waste build up every month. take the pressure off with rid-x. ♪ got my hair ♪ ♪ got my head ♪ ♪ got my brains ♪ ♪ got my ears ♪ ♪ got my heart ♪ ♪ got my soul ♪ ♪ got my mouth ♪ ♪ i got life ♪ i like that my plan is built just for me. arugula, you get an extra... with the new ww personalpoints program, you take an assessment,
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journalists in hong kong. on taiwan beijing's actions and rhetoric brought renewed fears of a chinese attack against the south governing island and beijing strengthened ties with russia, while upsetting many of its other neighbors. what can we expect this year? elizabeth economy is the author of a new book out tuesday called "the world according to china." she's on leave from her post as a senior fellow at the hoover institution to serve as senior adviser on china to the secretary of commerce. but she's speaking today in her civilian capacity. welcome, liz. >> thanks, fareed. great to be here. >> so i want to ask you, you're the person who really in some ways fundamentally alerted us to the fact xi jinping marked i very different leadership in china with a much more ambitious and in some ways more repressive and in some ways more expansionist sense of china.
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what do you think is most important to him on his agenda when he looks out right now? is it more consolidation at home? is it more external influence abroad? >> certainly 2022 is a really important year for xi jinping because it is going to mark the third point of transition for him. so come this fall he is up to be reselected as general secretary of the communist party for his third five-year term, and then we anticipate another third five-year term as president of the country the following spring. i think there's little doubt his number one priority is cementing his political control, his political leadership and ensuring sort of a smooth 2022. having said all of that, i would say he has surprised us before with his adventurism. if we look back into the early stages of the covid-19 pandemic, the first six months, we saw he undertook a series of various
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sort of military moves in the south of china sea, border dispute with india, in bhutan around the kaku islands. we should anticipate he wants stability overall this year, i don't think we can exclude the possibility of some sort of military assertiveness. >> now i want to ask you about china's capabilities. we sometimes hear a lot of chinese pronouncements made in china, they're going to manufacture all of this stuff, they're going to become the leaders in these technologies, they will spend trillions of dollars on the belt and road initiative. most of us don't follow through to figure out how much is actually then happening. what does that part of it look like? how strong is china really? >> that's a really important point. you're right that xi jinping is very fond of making grand pronouncements, and he has a lot of flagship foreign policy initiatives like the belt and
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road initiative, like the thousand towns program, like confucius institutes. i think if you do in fact follow these projects over a period of years, you find in many respects they are less successful than we previously understood. for example, the belt and road initiative, yes, china has invested hundreds of billions of dollars, or lent hundreds of billions of dollars to other countries for hard infrastructure, digital infrastructure. it has increased its presence in many countries via this belt and road plan. but by the same token, if we're trying to understand the influence china gains as a result of this, you can see in virtually every belt and road country, there are problems. people are not perceiving the corruption as projects are ensued.
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china in many respects isn't getting the kind of influence at a popular level. xi jinping's level of popularity globally by opinion polls are all-time load. trust in xi jinping is at an all-time low. trust in china as a global leader is at an all-time low. >> when you look at xi jinping's image at home though, is it fair to say when you look, for example, at the dominant issue now, which is covid, the chinese regime is presenting itself as being probably uniquely successful at dealing with covid, with the zero covid policy? i think the last number i saw for deaths in china was something like certainly under 5,000, and the number for the united states is about 825,000. what does that -- the united states has 165 times the number of deaths. is xi jinping able to state and does it resonate, look, we handled the biggest crisis of
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our times pretty well? >> look, certainly, i think when you look at the number of deaths, china has a terrific story to tell. it's been very aggressive arresting the spread of the virus in ways the united states has not. i think -- and xi jinping has sold that story and sold it effectively. on the other hand, i think moving forward it is more difficult for china. i think this lockdown process has significant implications for chinese economic growth, for its position in supply chains and sense of reliability that china has globally as an economic supplier. china's economy is slowing. it has unemployment rates now between the ages of 16 and 24 at 14.2%. consumption is not growing. there are a number of challenges china is facing in part because of this way that it's approached its covid -- addressing the covid pandemic that are
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problematic. i think overall, yes, i think xi jinping has made a strong case for how he has elected to address the challenge. >> liz economy, always a pleasure. >> thanks, fareed. next on "gps" -- we'll look at our wallets and try to understand what we can expect from the global economy this year. >> vo: so when my windshield broke... i found the experts at safelite autoglass. they have exclusive technology and service i can trust. >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪ at vanguard, you're more than just an investor, you're an owner with access to financial advice, tools and a personalized plan that helps you build a future for those you love. vanguard. become an owner. - [narrator] every three minutes, a child is born with a cleft condition. without surgery, some will die. those who do survive face extreme challenges.
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in 2021 we have the return of inflation, spikes in gas prices, gummed-up supply chain and great resignation which saw millions of americans bid adieu to their old american jobs. what will 2022 bring to the u.s. and global economy? for answers like me bring in ruchir sharma, a global investor and contributor at the ft.
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the first one you talk about is the baby bust. explain. >> fareed, one of the defining features of this pandemic has been instead of upending the world, what the pandemic did is accelerate many trends that were already under way before 2020. and one of those was the demographic shift we have seen, which is the worlds population and even population growth rate has been slowing down many years before the pandemic. you would have expected during the pandemic with people staying indoors, that they would be having more babies. instead, the evidence that's come in is that the demographic decline, the decline in the world's birth rate accelerated during the pandemic. and that has major implication
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for global growth going forward, among other things. >> one of the points you make is chinese growth has slowed down, we've all seen this. but surprisingly it doesn't matter as much as people used to think it would. >> yeah, just see what happened over the past couple of years, especially 2021. you had a major slowdown in china's economic growth rate and yet so many economies around the world accelerated, and i think that this is a big change which is taking place as china turns more inward and also as china's growth rate slows down. i think we fear the contribution of china to the global economy will keep declining after the peak it reached in 2019 when china alone was contributing to nearly 40% of the world's economic growth. i think that number has come
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down to about 25%, and will keep going down in the years ahead because china faces so many structural challenges from the decline in its population to the incredible amount of debt that it has piled up, which is undermining productivity in china now. >> and that issue is the one that you really focus on, which is debt. i mean, when you look at the transformation of the picture for the world's major economies in terms of the massive increase in debt over the last ten years but really the last year or two, describe what that looks like. >> you know, today there are more than 25 countries in the world which have a debt-to-gdp ratio of more than 300%. to put this in perspective, in the mid-1990s there were no countries in the world which has a debt as a share of their economy that was as large as 300%.
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so a massive amount of debt has been taken on. during the pandemic in particular we saw very sharp increases in debt levels led by governments around the world that could take it. now, you can argue during crises it's fine, you can take on more debt that get through the troubled times. the problem is even during the good times now, we keep on taking more debt. this has serious implications, not necessarily in terms of a crisis, but something more insidious, that by taking on so much debt, we're keeping alive a lot of inefficient companies, a lot of zombie companies as i call them, and that is undermining productivity and is also one of the trends that i speak about. >> when you look at rising asset prices, low interest rates which fuel rising asset prices like stock prices, one has to ask, i mean, american stocks are at extraordinary highs, all-time
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highs. you know, it does appear to be something like a bubble. is this a bubble? >> i think there are pockets of what i call bubblettes in the market. so electric vehicles, i think clean energy. i think there are so many technology stocks out there, i think even cryptocurrencies, which is a good idea that's not too far and there are bubblettes out there that started to deflate. on average the prices of many of these bubblettes are down 35% to 40% from their peak and my guess is they have much further to go. i'm particularly concerned about a lot of small retail investors who have rushed in and bought these assets in the last 18 months or so at the same time the insiders, the big ceos at companies are selling the stock of these very companies.
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this is a mismatch we have to look on for and warning signs i think for the market. ruchir sharma, always great to have you on. >> thanks, fareed. next on "gps," one year after the january 6th attack on the capitol, the american political experiment is teetering. i will bring you a preview of my latest special "the fight to save american democracy," which airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern. ♪ ♪ find a northwestern mutual advisor at when they're sick, they get comfortable anywhere and spread germs everywhere. wherever they rest protection nothing kills more viruses, including the covid-19 virus, on more surfaces than lysol disinfectant spray. lysol. what it takes to protect. trelegy for copd. [coughing] ♪ birds flyin' high, you know how i feel. ♪
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tonight on cnn, my latest special world premiere. it's called "the fight to save american democracy," and it airs at 9:00 p.m. eastern. one part of the hour i take up the difficult question of whether america has anything to learn from the most famous collapse of democracy in the past 100 years, that of germany in the 1930s. a film industry that rivaled hollywood. ground-breaking expressionist art. and more nobel prize winners than any other nation. including a physicist named albert einstein. this was germany in the 1920s.
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the thriving and sophisticated cri weimar republic. it was a proud and advanced democracy with a state of the art constitution, women's suffrage and 100 years ago a strong gay rights movement. ♪ but in a few short years, all of it was gone. adolf hitler came to president. >> the most crucial presidential campaign every vote counts. >> by killing democracy from within. he was enabled crucially by germany's conservative establishment. >> von hindenberg installed
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hitler as their leader. >> that tried to use him, underestimated him. >> hitler assumed dictatorial powers. >> and eventually was destroyed by him. >> the responsibility of the conservative elites is massive. >> the german republic was dead. >> hitler's rise is the most deadly example of a chilling pattern. >> mussolini, hailed by his compatriots as the genius of italy. >> political insiders willingly giving power to a charismatic strong man and the scholars who wrote "how democracies die" worry. >> the time for action has come. >> that this pattern may be repeating itself in america. >> i alone can fix it.
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>> establishment republicans. >> i'm pleased to be here with majority leader mitch mcconnell. >> thought that they saw an opportunity in donald trump and decided they needed to form a kind of unholy alliance with him. we see this dynamic of conservative elites aligning themselves with demagogic outsiders throughout history. >> it was all an illegal attempt to overturn the results of the election. >> let's be very clear. donald trump is not adolf hitler, but weimar's death highlights a danger for all democracies, specifically the way conservative elites determined to cope the left out of power align themselves with an anti-democratic demagogue. the story in germany began with
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a big lie. don't miss "the fight to save american democracy" tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern. thanks to all of you for being a part of my program this week. i will see you next week. ww's all-new personalpoints program is made just for you. you take an assessment, enter your goals, the foods you love and ww builds a plan just for you. i lost 26 pounds and i feel incredible. oprah: no two people are alike so no two plans are alike. with ww, i lost 30 pounds. this new program changed my life. live the life you love. lose the weight you want. the all new ww personalpoints program. join today for 50% off at hurry, offer ends january 10th. you could fret about that email you just sent. ...with a typo. aaaand most of the info is totally outdated. orrrr... you could use slack.
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