article on him. It is bland, giving no sense of how leftward he has moved.
Fareed Rafiq Zakaria is an Indian-American journalist and author. After a long career as a columnist for Newsweek and editor of Newsweek International, he has recently announced a move to Editor-At-Large of Time. He is also the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, and a frequent commentator and author about issues related to international relations, trade and American foreign policy.
Zakaria was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India to a Konkani Muslim family—though his religious upbringing was secular, including singing Christian hymns and the celebration of both Hindu and Muslim holidays. His father, Rafiq Zakaria, was a politician associated with the Indian National Congress and an Islamic scholar. His mother, Fatima Zakaria, was for a time the editor of the Sunday Times of India.
Zakaria attended The Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai. He received a B.A. degree from Yale University where he was President of the Yale Political Union, editor-in-chief of the Yale Political Monthly, and a member of the Scroll and Key society and the Party of the Right. He later earned a Ph.D. degree in Political Science from Harvard University in 1993, where he studied under Samuel P. Huntington and Stanley Hoffmann.
After directing a research project on American foreign policy at Harvard, Zakaria became managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine in 1992. In October 2000, he was named editor of Newsweek International, and wrote a weekly foreign affairs column. In August 2010 it was announced that he was moving from Newsweek to Time magazine, to serve as a contributing editor and columnist.
He has written on a variety of subjects for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, and as a wine columnist for the webzine Slate.
Zakaria is the author of From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America’s World Role (Princeton, 1998), The Future of Freedom (Norton, 2003), and The Post-American World (2008); he has also co-edited The American Encounter: The United States and the Making of the Modern World (Basic Books).
In 2007, Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines named him one of the 100 leading public intellectuals in the world.
Zakaria was a news analyst with ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos (2002–2007); he hosted the weekly TV news show, Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria on PBS (2005–2008); his weekly show, Fareed Zakaria GPS (“Global Public Square”) premiered on CNN in June 2008. It airs on Sundays at 10:00am and 1:00pm eastern standard time.
Zakaria self-identifies as a “centrist”, though he has been described variously as a political liberal, a conservative, or a moderate. George Stephanopoulos said of him in 2003, “He’s so well versed in politics, and he can’t be pigeonholed. I can’t be sure whenever I turn to him where he’s going to be coming from or what he’s going to say.” Zakaria wrote in Feb. 2008 that “Conservatism grew powerful in the 1970s and 1980s because it proposed solutions appropriate to the problems of the age”, adding that “a new world requires new thinking”. He supported Barack Obama during the 2008 Democratic primary campaign and also for president. In January 2009 Forbes referred to Zakaria as one of the 25 most influential liberals in the American media. Zakaria has stated that he tries not to be devoted to any type of ideology, saying “I feel that’s part of my job … which is not to pick sides but to explain what I think is happening on the ground. I can’t say, ‘This is my team and I’m going to root for them no matter what they do.’”
Fareed Zakaria at World Economic Forum 2006, Davos, Switzerland (second from the right)
After the 9/11 attacks, in a Newsweek cover essay, “Why They Hate Us,” Zakaria argued that Islamic extremism had its roots in the stagnation and dysfunctions of the Arab world. Decades of failure under tyrannical regimes, all claiming to be Western-style secular modernizers, had produced an opposition that was religious, violent, and increasingly globalized. Since the mosque was a place where people could gather and Islam an institution that was outside the reach of censorship, they both provided a context for the growth of the political opposition. Zakaria argued for an inter-generational effort to create more open and dynamic societies in Arab countries, and thereby helping Islam enter the modern world.
Zakaria initially supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He said at the time, “The place is so dysfunctional … any stirring of the pot is good. America’s involvement in the region is for the good.” He argued for a United Nations-sanctioned operation with a much larger force—approximately 400,000 troops—than was actually employed by the administration of President George W. Bush. After the invasion, he frequently criticized the occupation of Iraq. He has often written that he believes that a functioning democracy in Iraq would be a new model for Arab politics but that the costs of the invasion and occupation were too high to justify the action. He opposed the Iraq surge in March 2007, writing that it would work militarily but not politically. Instead he advocated that Washington push hard for a political settlement between the Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, and Kurds, and begin a reduction in forces to only 60,000 troops. In January 2009, he stated flatly that the surge “succeeded”. He elaborated this on a later article in Newsweek.
More recently, Zakaria has also criticized the “fear-based” policies employed not only in combating terrorism, but also in framing immigration laws and pursuing trade, and has argued instead for an open and confident United States.
In his 2006 book State of Denial, Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward described a November 29, 2001, meeting of Middle East analysts, including Zakaria, that was convened at the request of the then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. According to a New York Times story on Woodward’s book, the Wolfowitz meeting ultimately produced a report for President George W. Bush that supported the subsequent invasion of Iraq. Zakaria, however, later told The New York Times that he had briefly attended what he thought was “a brainstorming session”. He was not told that a report would be prepared for the President, and the report did not have his name on it.
Zakaria is a naturalized American citizen. He currently resides in New York City with his wife, Paula Throckmorton Zakaria, son Omar, and daughters Lila and Sofia. [LA replies: Isn’t that nice? A woman named Paula Throckmorton ends up with a son named after the second Caliph.]
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Vivek G. writes: