3rd Year Week 7 MT04
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Newsweek editor talks globalization
November 10, 2004
Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International, spoke on globalization in the world and the effects it was having on societies, particularly those in the Middle East. The lecture was the third lecture of the 2004-05 Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series.
Zakaria started by speaking on the polarization effect that politics are having on the U.S. He said what worried him about the country being polarized is that “we are increasingly in a world where we have to be more united,” referring to terrorism and other global challenges facing the country.
Next, he gave a brief history of globalization. Zakaria feels that in the 1990s, the world took a “holiday from history” by expecting technology and other advances in society to remain positive.
“The world was becoming like us,” he said. “[Globalization was] a great train, countries were going to have to get on or be left behind.”
Now, Zakaria says “we see a different world” because some negative effects of globalization have been realized.“We focused too much on the economic impact of globalization,” he said. “We didn’t focus on the politics of globalization.
“We didn’t think of human beings being affected by globalization.”
Because the human element was neglected, Zakaria believes that globalization stalled.
“You’ve got to ask yourself: How do I make this work politically?” he said.
He also pointed to China, India, Brazil and Thailand as countries that understand there is a political process to globalization.
Switching topics to globalization of the Middle East, Zakaria said that in the 1950s, no one would have believed the Middle East to be “problematic.”
“The key to everything,” he said, “is one word, three letters: oil.”
Zakaria went on to say that Middle Eastern governments gained an exemption from globalizing at the paces of other civilized societies.
Because of the governments generating revenues strictly from oil he said, the countries were not forced to change.
“It looks like economies are doing well, but they’re not producing anything,” he said.
Unlike western governments where citizens and the government exchange taxes for freedom, liberty and democracy, Zakaria said Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia offer their citizens “not taxation, no representation.”
“The Arab world is unique … people are less free than they were 35 years ago,” Zakaria said. “It’s the one place in the world where nothing has changed.”
“That is the reality in the Middle East.”
Another problem Zakaria sees in the Middle East is the population of young males, which he believes is a problem in any society.
“Seventy percent of the Middle East is under the age of 25,” he said.
Zakaria pointed to historical references such as the French Revolution, the Iranian Revolution and the year 1968, when America was entrenched in the Vietnam War, as proof that a large population of young males is directly related to violence in a society.
“The Middle East is going through the biggest youth bulge in recent memory,” he said.
This bulge of young men in the Middle East and the infusion of religion into governments in the region promote a “winner-takes-all policy” according to Zakaria.
From there, it transforms into extremism that eventually leads to terrorism.
Zakaria offered broad solutions to the problem of terrorism in the Middle East and in the world. “At one level deal with people who are trying to kill Americans,” he said. “Find them, capture them and kill them.”
But the broader problem still goes back to the size of the young male population.
“How do you stop the global supply chain of terrorism?” Zakaria said.
According to Zakaria, cutting off the supply chain is more important than dealing with individual terrorists or terrorist organizations.
The solution Zakaria says is to make the young males in Middle Eastern society feel like they are “entering a world that they can master and advance in.”
But Zakaria believes that Middle Eastern countries did respond to globalization, just not in the same was as Western society.
For every advance in society courtesy of globalization, other things advanced as well such as the technology in bombs.
Also, Zakaria believes that globalization which was thought to encourage harmony actually promoted “envy, hate and animosity” because poorer countries could see “what’s going on in the world.”
In closing, Zakaria said it was important to convince young males in the Middle East that it is “better for [them] to live than to die.”
Zakaria is currently the editor for Newsweek International. His column appears in such publications as Newsweek, Newsweek International and The Washington Post. He also offers political analysis on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
A native of India, Zakaria received a B.A. degree in history from Yale and a Ph.D. in international relations from Harvard.
He currently resides in New York City with his wife and children.