I was thrilled to discover last Sunday that Fareed Zakaria was doing a one-on-one interview with Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime Minister and current Minister Mentor, of Singapore. Having lived in Singapore for several years I am not only familiar with Lee, but I am a huge fan. When I first arrived in Singapore I was horrified by the highly controlled society. It was, a first glance, as close to a dictatorship as I'd ever seen. I, as an American, found it all a little stifling. But the longer I lived there the more I appreciated Lee's strong leadership. Without his vision and his strict control who knows if Singapore would be the success story it is today. I think that Lee was one of the few men who could bring prosperity and peace to Singapore after British rule ended in the 1950's.
By way of introduction Fareed Zakaria opened the interview with:
"When I first met Lee Kuan Yew in 1994, I was absolutely struck by him. Richard Nixon once compared him to legendary statesmen like Disraeli, Bismarck and Churchill. But, Nixon said, he occupies a small stage. That stage doesn't look so small anymore.Lee Quan (sic)Yew took a small spit of land in Southeast Asia, which became independent in 1965 after great struggle and anguish, with no resources and a polyglot population of Chinese, Malaysian and Indian workers, and turned it into one of the economic centers of the world.To do this, Lee had to have smart economic policies, but also a shrewd foreign policy that, allied with America, kept China happy, kept Russia and Japan at bay. .....I was struck by the depth of his understanding of the world -- China, Russia and the United States -- all at age 85."
Singapore is composed of 3 divergent factions, the Chinese, the Malays and those of Indian decent. They are Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and Hindus who have learned to celebrate and embrace each others ethnicity, not try to destroy those who don't share the same beliefs. I'm convinced that Singapore would have suffered a similar fate as Iraq or Afghanistan if not for their strong Prime Minister. Detractors point to Lee's heavy hand in leading his country but it is this heavy handedness that put order in a country that could have just as easily dissolved in chaos.
Lee Kuan Yew on our American elections:
This Sunday's Fareed Zakaria GPS has a rare and exclusive interview with the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. Topics will include the worldwide economic crisis as well as diplomatic relations between the United States and China. This marks Wen’s first interview with the American news media in five years.
Fareed Zakaria’s interview with Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan will also be aired during GPS on Sunday. Among the many topics discussed were President Karzai’s impressions after his recent meeting with Republican Vice President candidate Governor Sarah Palin. (interview excerpts courtesy of Fareed Zakaria)
Fareed Zakaria: Mr. President you’ve met many world leaders this week in New York, and you also met a potential world leader, Sarah Palin. What did you make of her?
President Hamid Karzai: Very good impression. Um, a fine person. Informed about issues in Afghanistan. Asked me the right questions and listened very carefully to what I had to say and was not in a hurry. We sat and discussed things. Had a good impression.
Zakaria: But a lot of people here feel that Governor Palin is not well-versed in international affairs.
Karzai: Well, nobody is when you begin a job. I was not well-versed in any such affairs when I took over as the president of Afghanistan and those before us were not. People get onto a stage and begin with that and get onto the next stage. Whoever wins in the United States I’m sure they have a lot to do and they will do it well.
The News and Documentary Emmy's were held this past Monday night at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, located in the Time Warner Center in New York City. Anderson Cooper attended the event as did John Roberts, who presented an award. Unfortunately CNN was not the recipient of any Emmy's this time around.
CNN had mobilized the entire team for coverage of the first Presidential Debates on Friday, but with McCain's suspension of his campaign things are still up in the air at the time of my posting. Here was the plan...who knows if it will hold.
Anchors Wolf Blitzer, Campbell Brown and Anderson Cooper will preside over coverage from New York. The day’s coverage will kick-off with special debate-focused editions of The Situation Room from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., followed by Lou Dobbs Tonight from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Campbell Brown: Election Center from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. The first presidential debate will air from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., with a special edition of Anderson Cooper 360° following from 10:30 p.m. to midnight which will provide analysis and commentary on the evening’s developments. Chief national correspondent John King will be in the studio with the “Magic Wall” to provide in-depth analysis on demographic and delegate data. As the first presidential debate will be focused on foreign affairs, chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour and Baghdad-based correspondent Michael Ware will contribute their analysis from a global perspective.
Throughout the special coverage, senior political analyst Gloria Borger, senior political analyst David Gergen and senior analyst Jeffrey Toobin will be on hand to offer their analysis. Additionally, CNN political contributors Paul Begala, Bill Bennett, Donna Brazile, James Carville, Alex Castellanos, Roland Martin and Leslie Sanchez will provide insight from their perspectives across the ideological spectrum.
CNN correspondents Dana Bash, Candy Crowley, Ed Henry, Suzanne Malveaux, Jessica Yellin and senior political analyst Bill Schneider will be live on location at the debate site with the CNN Election Express in Oxford, Miss. The Election Express will serve not only as an on-the-ground broadcast location, but also as a production facility and newsroom for the CNN political unit.
CNN special correspondent Soledad O’Brien will moderate a focus group in Columbus, Ohio. The group will be comprised of a selection of voters from the hotly contested state. During the debate, the participants will operate electronic dial testers that will allow television viewers to see the group’s reactions in real time. In addition, viewers watching the broadcast in high-definition will see exclusive editorial information and commentary appearing on the side panels of their screens throughout the debate.
That's it for me this week. ~Phebe