tv Charlie Rose PBS February 23, 2011 12:30pm-1:30pm EST
>> rose: welcome to our program. our entire focus tonight is the extraordinary event taking place in libya. we begin with ben wedemen of cnn who is a first western journalist to be in libya. >> there's nothing more dangerous than a cornered animal, and in this case a cornered dictator who has a long history of dealing ruthlessly with his opponents and now he is cornered by his opponents. you have seen these many days of demonstration against him in tripoli and other countries in the west and in addition to the eastern part of the country is simply completely beyond his control. >> we continue this evening with the prospective of two libyan americans. khaled mattawa and ali ahmida
and joining me in the studio, charles maxwell with an observation on what the events in the middle east may have on oil prices. we conclude this evening with a foreign policy perspective from david miller from the international center for scholars. observations on the extraordinary events in libya, when we continue. funding for charlie rose was provided by the following: to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet with the farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. we've gone from being in 5 stores to 7,500. booming is using points to make connections that grow your business.
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: the situation in libya tonight looks increasingly unstable. large parts of the country appear to be held by opposition forces, the capital city of stipulately and southern libya remain under colonel gaddafi's control. tripoli's street has been described as a war zone. the interior minister resigned today. it's the latest in a string of detections. he announced he would join the opposition and urge the libyan army to support the protesters. colonel gaddafi said he would
die a martyr in an angry and at times incoherent speech which lasted more than an hour on libyan state television. >> i will not leave the country and i will die as a martyr at the end and use force against the state and anyone charged with murder shall die of the death sentence. i would have thrown my declaration at your face. i will fight until the last drop of my blood with the libyan people behind me. >> international violence increased after an emergency meeting this afternoon, the international security council released a statement expressing grave concern about the situation and called for an immediate end to the violence in
libya. with the toughest language yet from the u.s. administration, secretary of state hillary clinton condemned the crack down this way: >> we join the international community in strongly condemning the violence as we have received reports of hundreds killed and many more injured. this bloodshed is completely unacceptable. it is the responsibility of the government of libya to respect the universal rights of their own people, including their rights to free expression and assembly. >> rose: joining me by telephone from libya is ben wedemen, a senior correspondent for cnn and the kiers owe bureau chief. he was the first western journalist to make it in libya this week and she joins us from an undis-closed location in the eastern part of the country. thank you for doing this. >> it's my pleasure, charlie. >> rose: tell me what is happening on the ground. >> well, what we're seeing on
the ground is that, certainly in the eastern part of the country, the ka daffy regime has collapsed and there are no forces loyal to the regime in tripoli. there's very little authority in this part of the country. basically "law and order" is being maintained by motely groups of the young men in the streets armed with ak-47's, hunting rifles and machetes. there's a profound worry here that colonel gaddafi's forces may try to launch some sort of counterattack against the eastern part of the country. i suppose to several people though who said they were hearing reports that gaddafi is organizing pro gaddafi tribes in the sirum portion of egypt to make a counterattack from the east against his opponents on
the eastern part of the country, in the eastern part of libya. otherwise, some things seem to be fairly normal. i was driving around at 1:30 a.m. just a little while ago in one city in eastern libya, and i saw a supermarket open. there were some stores, a video store was open, so there's some semblance of normal life. there's not a curfew or anything like that. there don't seem to be any shortages of food or petro or anything of that sort. there's still, of course, communication problems. but by in large, despite all of the changes that have occurred, life is fairly normal, although you see lots of demonstrations. we got caught in a very large anti-gaddafi demonstration where the demonstrators were so enthusiastic, it took half an hour just to drive very slowly through the crowd. there is this fence here that,
after 42 years, people can finally express themselves and sometimes they express themselves so much that you simply don't have time to listen to everybody's individual story and their individual grievance against the 42 years of muammar gaddafi. >> what are the circumstances that will bring him down? >> possibly the most critical support for his regime has been tribal alliances, through a variety of sort of patronage and what not. >> and we have seen slowly major tribes have defected to the anti-gaddafi forces. if we see this process continue, if more of the prescribes that traditionally have supported him defect to the other side, he will have very little in the way of support, and he will have
nowhere to essentially hide, if this process continues. when you speak to libyans, they are always telling you oh, we want the united nations to intervene, we want the united states to come and help the anti-gaddafi struggle, but i think well-informed libyans will tell you that it really is this alliance of tribes that could bring down this regime. charlie? >> rose: has it likely to do that? >> i think many of the tribal leaders see the writing on the wall, that this is a man who has lost half of the country to his opponents. we have seen ambassadors and various other representatives of the libyan government around the world resigning in protest. we have seen libyan aircraft defecting to malta. it does appear the regime is crumbling and crumbling fairly
fast. but the one wildcard and what is muammar gaddafi willing to do to stay in power, and that is the worry, that he has already used extreme force against his opponents, against protesters. he still has a lot of firepower at his disposal. the worry is that he could, yet again, use that against the eastern part of the country, against his opponents in tripoli, against almost anyone that does not express complete and total support and loyalty for him. >> rose: what is his condition? >> certainly charlie, if you look at how he appears on television and you listen to his inflection and the words that he uses in arabic, it certainly does convey a man who is desperate, a man who realizes that he is cornered. i was interested in the reaction of libyans, at least in the eastern part of the country,
when they watched this speech, they shook their heads and they said, we have been listening to this man for 42 years. he is simply insane. the feeling is that he has just completely lost touch with reality, that he is willing to take this country down with him if that is the case. one libyan told me, he wants a country without people. he wants to rule this country, and if he has to kill the entire population, he would be willing to do it. so certainly the impression here is that the man who, under normal conditions, is erratic may be simply going around the bend. charlie? >> rose: and that's the worst fear of all? >> it certainly is, because there's nothing more dangerous than a cornered animal, and in this case a cornered dictator, who has a long history of dealing ruthlessly with his opponents, and now he is cornered by his opponents.
you have seen these many days of demonstrations against him in tripoli and other cities in the west, in addition to the fact that, of course, the eastern part of the country is simply completely beyond his control. >> ben, thank you very much. i know it's late where you are, and i just thank you very much. what you have said is insightful and helpful to understanding where we are and where we might be going. >> you're more than welcome. >> rose: joining me now, two libyan americans watching these events closely. from an asher michigan, khaled mattawa, a poet who teaches at the university of michigan and from portland, maine, ali ahmida, a professor of science at the university of england and he focuses on colonialism and nationalism in libya and northern africa. i'm pleased to have both of them on the program this evening.
ali ahmida, tell us where we are. >> we are at a critical point in libya now. the people are really taking matters in their own hands. the regime is very defensive. but the regime has lost all legitimacy now. i think they're counting on what they have done before, which is to hit hard, and they are counting, for example, on like syria, when the syrians destroyed a whole city there so they're counting on this big policy that they used against the libyan people and the libyan dissidents for a long time and they thought they could weather the storm this time as well. >> do you think they can? >> this is -- i think that it's really -- we don't have accurate information about libya. the difference between tunisia
and egypt is that we don't have access to libya and even our friends and colleagues and families cannot call us nor could we call them. but i think there are two possibilities i see going on right now. they could crush and hit people very hard, more than we have witnessed or imagined. maybe as many as a thousand people will be crushed. but i think libyan people have really -- they overcame the fears that the regime put on them for so many years. and they might survive. but i think in a symbolic way, the regime is over. the regime now, even if they survive, for an iraqi average gentleman, saddam hussein went in and gassed the people there and survived for many years but
the legitimacy is gone. so the regime could survive possibly but not for long. >> khaled mattawa from the university of michigan, you were listening as he answered the question. would you answer it in a different way or add to it or how do you see the moment? >> well, i think the regime is counting on -- playing for time, because gaddafi tried to play a dirty trick today on the eastern -- the people on the eastern side of libya saying that a great leader from the tribal groups were killed by the people of anzogi and if he did this, he would get the groups to rise up against other people of bengazi. so he is playing a certain
tribal position that he has utilized for the last 40 years and it turned out to be a complete lie. i mean here is a president who should have access or a leader who should have access, and the fact his interior minister is alive and -- is dead or alive and a half hour later, the interior minister came out and said i am alive and i joined the opposition. clearly gaddafi is doing something he shouldn't have done. i don't think he was misinformed. he is lying. he is trying to play for time to see if he can sew the seeds of division among the tribes. he is trying to do that throughout the speech. he was trying to -- it was really almost like a slobodan moment in kosovo saying the
certains would never win against the serbians. these are two cities and tribal groups that had had a tension that goes back to the 1920's and he was trying to rile them up against each other. he was playing with this kind of thing and hoping that these groups would turn against each other and that is something that he might be wishing happen with time, if he could just maintain tripoli. the other thing is -- and i personally don't know but i tried to find out, what does gaddafi still have? does he still have a functioning and large air force? does he have a lot of helicopters? how many divisions of the military and these mercenary groups does he have? where are they? are they in jafla, will they come from the south, will they
hit bengazi or simply from the air. it could have been like syria, the city that was demolished. >> rose: right. >> but right now in libya, you have more than one city. is he going to demolish -- which city is he going to demolish? so that's one thing that i don't think he would do. i don't think he would do that. but he is counting on something like the city of zentan and i hope the people here this. it's southwest of tripoli and under a western mountain and it's losing medical supplies so he may be counting on the isolation of some of these oasis-based towns to be completely isolated and to fall apart. so you have somebody who is really playing a tactical,
psychological war. yesterday, and i hope i'm not taking too much time, yesterday the world's media were at this time lated and actually duped by these faults reports of helicopters shooting at people and airplanes shooting at people. al-jazeera had seven or eight people swearing to the almighty that there were planes shooting at them and so on. it turns out that all of that was either a rumor that caught on fire or that these people were planted to a misinformation campaign. >> gaddafi will use any means necessary, regardless of the human consequences, to stay in power. >> he said that and i think that is consistent with his personality and his survival as a very shrewd -- very ruthless
when needed and cunning and bribing for the population up until now, and he has no problem admitting that publicly. he said that, "i'm going to die here, i'm going to fight the last bullet." so we know that, charlie. there's no question about it. i think the question that we also have to admit in the whole debate in coverage, because we don't have a lot of information within the country, is the debate and the discussion about what is going to happen, you know, to the regime, and also persuading and comforting other good people who were silent. and we're in the regime here. for example, we're talking about not mubaraks family but there's a while tribe called qadaffa and you're not going to get rid of
one family and everything go smoothly. we're talking about a very complex society and we're talking about a society where the regime destroyed all trade unions, all public parties, all public institutions and a society that is very battered and very, very exhausted in many ways and this spirit is now facing the region and it has to be put in a larger come plex that within libyan society, they have been under tremendous repression and tremendous social manipulation, that facing this dictatorship at this moment, it's very important in our thinking, all of these factors and also the debate about how people can make sure that public building, public infrastructure would not be destroyed, how they could be aured that people
would not be eliminated. and also what about post-gaddafi? what is going to happen? raising the independence flag is one thing. but also all of the hard questions that are going to come and they are related to how people might react, especially the ones that have been quiet. >> >> rose: what happens if the worst happens, in that colonel gaddafi unleashes whatever power he has to stay in power. what does the rest of the world do at that time? khaled mattawa? >> one discussion has been to do -- to establish a no-fly zone on libya which would have to bring international forces, perhaps us and european forces near the shores of libya.
that may help. i don't know if we have to go this far. i mean, i imagine again that there would be troops unleashed on the civilians and perhaps the use of air force. so disabling the libyan air force would be helpful. i think, though, in the long run, the presence of international forces, if they were to come into libya, would comp indicate things and perhaps not help them because it might sort of, if you will, steal their evolution in a different way from the people who will be negotiating with these forces and, you know, how will they arrange the country. i mean, the u.s.'s credibility as far as putting together a country such as iraq is
horrifying to libyans to think that the u.s. would come in and just say oh, ok we're going to divide you now between east and west and south again and divide the east among ahmadinejad and so on. the u.s. and this kind of petitioning is not something that libyans want so i think the libyan population would want the minimal involvement. >> i think we have to be very careful about this. libyan people went through one of the most ruthless colonizizations in the whole history of africa. we have to be very careful about that issue. i think the role of the un is crucial, which incidentally, charlie, the un created libya in 1951. i think that the libyan people, society and culture, instead of having western powers come to libya, i would say that would be
really risky. and also quite honestly, we know the consequences of foreign intervention has not been really successful so far. i think that just being informed and supporting and having a very clears message and supporting the libyan people now in their real moment for democratic change and without wieferring or talking about stability or national security or other issues, this is really the moment where, you know, real empathy and real support and the un is the most important form of that. but western powers coming to libya, i think many libyans would be supersensitive to this. because they lost half a million people in 40 years and 60,000 of them in concentration camps. so we're talking about a really sensitive issue. we should be really careful about that. >> what has to happen for the
people in the streets to prevail? >> what i would have to do to succeed reallies reallies are as laborra is concerned, for this whole regime to complete the -- not to remain on the scene. there is nothing redeemable about the gaddafi regime, and luckily, at least for us in some ways, it is limited to gaddafi, his brother-in-law perhaps, his sons -- there's no one else that wants to remain or hold the position of powers. maybe other revolutionary committee idealogues but these people are all one entity, and there's no middle group. in egypt, you had people were talking about groups that which saying they were not for the previous government but maybe we can deep them now. in tunisia the same thing happened. in libya, there's a complete
exorcising of this regime. but what ali was talking about and all of the others, this exorcising is liable to create a vacuum. my suggestion to the libyan leadership and those who have complete away from gaddafi, to really start talking seriously about what is the form of the provisional government that will take place. we want a council that is civilian and military. immediately set up the option and not wait for the moment when gaddafi is not there and we have no idea what is going to happen. i think that the libyan military, as weak as it is, will still to have play a role. but i think this is only a matter of days and no longer before his apparatus flees or somehow disappes from the scene. >> rose: it could happen in
two or three days? >> i would think not. >> things are fluid now. the region, i would think, would continue longer. i think in a real sense the legitimacy is over for the regime. but there are a number of things that are messing, like, for example, we know that a lot of people are defecting. i mean officers, a big one like the minister of inthere are, he had a clear message today and others are defecting's well. we also have other groups that would be defecting. also there are very good people who are not part of the really worst element of the regime, separatists people that oppose the regime from within and i think in time they will take a
stand. but statement but at the same time the population should be careful not to impose their own -- the real leaders are the people that stay home, not the people like the outside and i think it's important for people to allow them, to support them, you know, do anything we could do for them but not propose the agenda from the outside. also the leaders of this really tremendous support, as i said earlier, they began to talk about, ok, gaddafi will be gone either today or tomorrow. what kind of government? a government that guarantees the things everyone wants. it's time now to talk about that as well or at least have a vision for that? >> gaddafi is an evil genius in the most caricaturish sense. but i think what is true about
gaddafi, he knew the history of the country in a way that others have not. which is, if you want to know libya, you don't necessarily look at the sea. you turn your back on the sea and look at libya with its oasis, with its reach to chad and sudan, and he understood that more than all of the opposition combined. so that's one thing. so he sees libya in the sense of a country that is not necessarily an extension of europe alone but it's an extension of a history of africa and so on. the other thing, he also might know this country historically, if you read history of libya or the history of libya's ruler, one of the books, you saw that there were rulers and the rate of turnover among princes of
tripoli was high. basically if you rule tripoli you could extend your rule over libya as far as your army could do g. and retreated when you didn't have enough taxes. he may think if you could hold tripoli you could hold libya and spread his role back in the country. the truth is it's a very different country now. i think we have a national spirit, a national spirit that has arisen from a shared experience of oppression and grievance. i think what happened with gaddafi's presence before, who is a werner and who is eastern and who is a southerner? my family lived in baghrad for 60 years. my wife lives in tripoli. ali is from the south. who is from where? we don't have a nation now. we have divisions that can be
played up but we do have a national spirit. and the younger people have a since of that, more than me or my others i think there are half a million libyan who did not give a huge car or hoot about who their tribe is and will not be played up this way. so i think we have a nation of now thinking along those lines, libyans are living a great moment. they are living a sense of capturing and recapturing their honor and there's nothing not world that would make them want to lose that. i think that the sacrifices may be coming and i would not wish it on my citizens to pay more. it is really any death that happens or more is more than
libya can bear. but the moment of truth has come and, yes, there may be blood gushing forth again, but we, the people of libya, i'm certain, shall rejoice soon. >> ali, last words? >> this is a wonderful moment. the libyan people who are really generous, courageous and aspiring for human dignity finally took matters in their own hands. but also for us as americans, it's important for us not to see the society as tribes and klans. this is a very complex society. it has modern writers, women activists, it has professionals. it has a rich history. but we didn't care to understand anything but gaddafi and that regime at the top. there is a whole libyan society that needs to be discovered and studied and understood, and i say that about my own colleagues
and scholars who always talk about gaddafi himself and nothing else existed. and i think it's an important moment for us to discover those members of libyan society that finally may be having its moment. but as we say in america "better late than ever." >> thank you very much, ali ahmida and khaled mattawa from the university of michigan. >> rose: oil prices have soared to the highest levels in more than two years as political turmoil has spread across the middle east. libya produces 1.8 million-barrel's day. it's the 15th largest exporter of crude oil in the world. libya's output has plunged by 20% has foreign companies have shut down production. joining me is charles maxwell, a senior energy analyst at weeden and company and has more than 50
years of experience in the middle east. i'm pleased to have him again at the table. welcome. >> thank you. >> what is happening to oil prices and what is the fear that exists in terms of this revolt that is sweeping through the middle east could have on the supply and demand of oil? >> well, i think the first thing to think about is that libya is a small factor in the hold and the really big pipelines that provide us with a direct core of oil is saudi arabia, iraq, iran, and kuwait. so the good news is that, even though 20% of libyan production is closed in, there have been no bombings, there has been no killings of oilom and it would o me that, unless this becomes
very sharp and very painful in libya, probably we're going to get through the next three or four weeks without higher prices. the prices now have discounted the worst is what i'm trying to say. >> in other words the price we see rising over a hundred dollars a barrel is sort of an expectation of the worst and head against it. >> exactly. and it's a knee-jerk reaction and probably 105, 110 even is probably the peek and then the problem will begin to solve itself politically and gaddafi will either be there, in which case he wins, temporarily, or he will be pushed out in which case, well, really, charlie, that's where the problem begins. what happens? >> we always say that the good guys now are in and now we have
godden rid of the dictator, the bad guy and now the good days start to role. they don't. that's the really problem. >> exhibit 1 for that is iran? >> yes. but you could look almost anywhere. it starts with conflict between the tribes, between the extremists, between those that want to cozy up to america and those who hate america, between the terrorists and the non-terrorists. there are so many divisions that the potential for breakup and civil war is still very high. that's the thing that we worry about the most. >> rose: not the circumstance in egypt nor tunisia. >> the tune ' ses have done -- the tunesians have done a wonderful job and are a very sophisticated people. and in egypt they do have a very
powerful force in the army and i think that will, in the end, give us some kind of logical outcome, with the army saying that we will have democracy on the road and everyone having to accept that, and it may not take two or three years. nevertheless, i think we are moving to democracy. but in libya, there is nothing except the tribalism and no structure that even people are ideally thinking about. >> when you talk to the smart people that you talk to, do they fear that this could sweep into saudi arabia? do they think that's a realistic possibility? >> they really don't. they think that the saudi kingdom has been well organized. they think that it serves the needs of its people quite well. >> paternalistic as it is. >> paternalistic as it is. but it is immensely wealthy. they have a large number of
trained troops and they're quite loyal. although we both understand that the word loyalty is just a daily prescription in many of these cases. and muammar gaddafi is finding out as we speak. >> as muammar gaddafi and finding out as we speak. and so i think that, yes, they think that the saudis will survive. but yemen egypt and jordan -- >> bahrain? >> and bahrain is a big issue. they're complicated by the fact that 3/4 of the people are shi'ites and they want their religious freedom. >> and the ruling family are sunnies. >> the ruling family is sunni. >> which is the situation that you have in iraq. >> it's a situation that makes it overly complicated because there were different parts that are overlapping gear what about jordan? i think that the kings in jordan have done a wonderful job. the only problem there and that
70% of the jordannians are palestinians so now it's the palestinian view that will prevail there. but i think that they have been treated well. i think that the jordannian kings have been trying hard to make a better life for their people, and i think that they will escape this. >> rose: what is the worst scenario for people whose business is to worry about a sufs flow of all? >> i think that the worst scenario is that iraq cannot settle down. that the peace that we have brought to iraq dissipates as soon as our troops are pulled out this august and december and the iraqis fall into a terrible battle between the sunnies and the shias which has gone on now for 1500 years, or a little
less. and they simply can't find a way of living together and break into three different parts that are antagonistic and that have lots of infighting. >> but my impression was that they haven't been refining that much oil in iraq in the first place. >> no. >> iraq has had no new refineries since the 70's. >> it's true. >> maybe you told me. and that therefore the contribution they make to the world supply of oil is -- >> well, firstly, they're producing more than libya, so it's a digger deal. and libya is at 1.8 and iraq is at around 2.7. >> what about iran? >> iran is pretty big, about 3.7. and that would be the next big one that could fall apart. and then i think kuwait is very open. those are the three. >> they produce what? kuwait, about 2.4 or 2.5.
>> those are the three that i would worry about, iran, iraq, and kuwait. >> and they end up in terms of enormous internal strife and the production of all -- in each place decreases by 20-25%. >> that would be a crises that would see oil prices at 150, $170. it would bring a major change in our way of life. and with it recession as always. >> i would bring res? >> it would bring recession. the cost of everything would go up. >> first is how fast the change occurs. if you go from 100 to 170 over 10 years, you can probably live with it. in two months, they can't. so that would be the first thing. and secondly, it's a stretch to believe that many nations can
pay $170 a barrel and they would just begin to fold under the mozambiques of this world would be unable to function. >> they cannot afford to pay 170 a good for gasoline. >> and they can't afford not to because they need it to moves goods and services and food and medical supplies around the country and they need trucks and cars to do it. >> if there's a reduction in the supply of oil, stlie and demand would tell me that the price of food would go up. >> yes, i think very much. i think that we would have wild inflation. then what happens is that the governments step in. it isn't really inflation, but it's an apparent indexing that allows oil to begin to dominate the picture, and the history shows that they step in to try to limit the amount of money
that is distributed in the economy, and that brings on the recession itself. in other words the fightening of credit. >> if the suez canal was not passable, what would that do to the price? >> not much unfortunately. that's one of the few good things. it's now to about 3 to 4% of the entire world and it would delay it to go around the bottom of africa and add 12 days to the journal and a little bit of cost, 3 or $4 more so we can live with that. >> so people in your business are doing what now? well, the first thing they're doing is doing a lot of praying that this does not spread around. >> because it's beyond their control. secondly we have been through a financial struggle in the world over the that's three years. god knows we deserve to escape
this one. and i have a feeling we will escape this one. honestly, i don't think that the worst is going to happen, and that we're going to probably get rid of gaddafi fairly soon and the world will begin to slip back into the real issues, which are, how do you bring democracy see to countries that have never had it? >> who do you bring together the forces to provide a functioning government that works in the interest of its people, not in the interest of the united states or anybody else but in the interest of the people? >> it would be easy if they were open to our health. but as we heard tonight, they are very fearful of the appearance of foreigners help them about making decisions on how they're going to to rule our country and i would think they would want to do it themselves. it would be a long hard path. >>. >> nice to see you.
>> thank you. >> rose: we tip our conversation about libya now with a prospective of washington with aaron david miller with the woodrow wilson international center for scholars. he spent many years in the state department advising on u.s. policy in the middle east and i'm pleased to have him on this evening. welcome. >> pleasure to be here. >> what are the options? what is likely to happen? >> you know, the main story is a regional one, charlie. i'm reminded of the words of john buken who wrote in a wonderful novel called "green man tell" that parched grass awaits the spark. and the reality is the world, the united states, new york, europe, they're watching the sparks, tunisia, bahrain,y enand now a spark that set a flame of violence and cruelty largely out stripped by events beyond their control. and i think that is both good and bad. the legitimacy of what is happening in the region, the
potential transformation make it an arab-muslim story, and it has real authenticity. it has real authority. and in fact, it can last, if awe sock assess and regimes -- perhaps real democracies and then a tremendous victory will have been achieved. the problem for us, for the united states for sure, is that our options here are very bad. in tunisia and in egypt and bahrain we were morning nally relevant to the story. we had access, we will influence be the military, poria facilities in bahrain. here, we have no knowledge. we're dealing with a personal tribal, very unpredictable leader who has essentially become the state. and there are very few levers for us to pull right now. and i think that is really the dilemma of the great power, and the u.n. security council issuing a statement, frankly is
going to disappoint many. but when you look at it from the perspective of the united states, the real question is, what is it that we could actually do to affect matters on the ground? i think that is the real challenge that the president right now is facing. >> rose: tell me what the options are. suppose the president came to you and said what are my options? what would be your answer? >> first of all, tough statements without the ca past to back them up make america look week. call us for the overthrow of muammar gaddafi, to toughen our rhetoric and give home to the people is fine in theory. but in practice, what will it get us. i remember being we encouraged revolt and we wanted the regimes
done and over. but the problem was, when the crack down game, the united states was nowhere to be seen and couldn't protect the public. i think for the moment the hope has got to be impose accountability or at least the prospects of accountability on libyan security forces, if they abuse human rights there will be a price to be paid in the international criminal courts for example. but western enter veengs, a no fly zone, sanctions. i don't think there's time or the consensus from the international community to make things worst. we are the prisoner and hoss hostage of events. and events seem to suggest that gaddafi cannot hold on, and at the same time, they seem to suggest, from his own words that he will fight to the end.
>> well, i think that is probably true, and in a situation where the man is the state and he has mercenaries and money and security services at his dose posal. he will in fact fight to the end. as unpredictable as 22 has been, it would not surprise me to put his own -- and leave the country. >> rose: where would he go? >> that's a very good question. no one in the arab world would take him. hugo chavez might take him. there was some talk of venezuela. but i suspect that he will make his last stand, as desperate and as pathetic as it is, on libyan soil. >> looking at one of all of these, tell me what the connecting currents are. clearly it is about people wanting to have freedom, people wanting to be able to change their own life by having a say
in decisions that affect their life. it clearly has to do with pride and dignity. but this is remarkable story. >> it is. it's a transformative story and it's a region that had appeared to be imperv impervious to change. every other part of the world has given rise to pluralism, greater respect for human rights, democratization for all except this one. gaps between haves and have notes, under employment, corruption, sclerotic and frozen regimes insensitive to the needs of their people, extracted leadership whose thought only of themselves, enriched themselves, social networking instruments which gave rise to a young nonideological movement, to mobilize in the streets. and one other thing, and that is
the absence of fear. once you expand people's minds, once people saw what happened in tunisia egypt they're not afraid and the libyan example may be the most courageous and extraordinary of them all. bus here blood is flowing and people are conflicting a serious force in the streets and they continue to do so with the most rudimentary of webs so i think all of these have given right to -- the key, while all of this inspirational story is playing out before our eyes, i hate to think practically but i'm reminded the woman who have had ben franklin at the close of the democratic convention, what kind of government america would have, mr. franklin? and he said to her a republic if you can keep it. that's the real key here. now that you have seen this transformation and it moves into
its second phase, which won't be traps formational law, it will be transactional, it will be bargaining between the brotherhood and the officials in egypt, will the military sun ender it's premise control over the egyptian economy and tunisia will they ever be able to find resolution between the old and the new. in bahrain will the king concede constitutional power so if bahrain epersonals to be something other than an empty institutional man orthopedic with 70% of the population disenfranchised and then like yemen. >> this is the real key. this is a long movie, charlie. it will take days and months and arguably years to play itself out. >> can these revolutions be hijacked? and if so, who does the
hijacking? >> well, i think that the history of revolution, if in fact that is what these are, are these really turnings of the systems? in libya, there's no question that that is going to play out because you're going to have new institutions created to replace a bizarre system that gaddafi imposed n tunisia there may not be. but to answer your question, absolutely. history would argue from the french revolution to the russian revolution that in fact these sorts of transformative events can be hijacked by determined men and women who are ideological and overreact and use violence and essentially imprison and hijack revolutions that broke out perhaps with the best of intentions. >> and if in fact -- if in fact they're organized and have kind
of discipline. >> i think that's a core part of it. the other core part is leadership. are the individuals at core moments like this one in the history of this region, going to emerge, transformative individuals that strike the right balance between pragmatist and men and women of principle to lead these people. i mean, we have been lucky. in this country, we had three great presidents, and those three presidents coincided with the greatest moments of challenge in this country, and we produce add george washington and abraham lincoln and franklin roosevelt. the real question for the arab and muslim world is, in the end, leadership. about that i'm a little more pessimistic. for a moment it will take them very far. and this is about institutions that reflect to a greater degree than we have seen in the last
hundred years there this. the the as operation and will of their public. it's a tall order but the arabs have made an extraordinary beginning. >> rose: i thank you for coming. you know what strikes me, having been in cairo and having traveled a lot in that region, as you know, it is what you suggested. it is the overcoming fear which has become a very contagious thing and which you have seen here are people who are willing to risk their life for an idea that they believe is larger than they life. and that idea gives and empowers them and it empowers other people as well. >> that's absolutely right. once you stretch the mind charlie, it cannot be stretched back. >> thank you for joining us. >> you're welcome. ♪ ♪