tv Charlie Rose PBS May 20, 2011 12:30pm-1:30pm EDT
tonight, a look at president obama's speech on the middle east earlier today. david ignatius talks with dr. zbigniew brzezinski then i'm joined by david and mort zuckerman and richard engel for furtheconversation about what the president laid out and what the reaction might be. >> since the president on the second issue of his speech, in my judgment, didn't go far enough, was too timid, didn't exercise a kind of leadership that is needed, i'm afraid the trend is going to be negative in terms of what we expect from the middle east.
a kind of healthy democratic consolidation that is friendly to us and which is supported by us. >> the region right now there is a tremendous feeling of momentum and people have started to expect things to happen quickly. they're watching leaders like mubarak and bin ali fall. there are demonstrations out in the street and they were hoping to seehe same kind of urgency coming out of the white house and they didn't see it. >> rose: the president's speech on the middle east when we continue. we can all root for. who beats the odds and comes out on top. but this isn't just a hollywood storyline. it's happening every day, all across america. every time or the midnight oil a storis burned.ns. or when someone chases a dream, not just a dollar. they are small business owners. so if you wanna root for a real hero, support small business. shop small.
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: we look tonight at president obama's address on the middle east. in a 45-minute speech from the state department, the president outlined his vision for a ree rey john that has been upended by political unrest. he said that the u.s. should and will use its moral and economic influence to support reform efforts. >> we have the chance to show that america values the dignity of the street vendor in tunisia more than the raw power of the dictator. there must be no doubt that the united states of america welcomes change that advances
self-determination and opportunity. yes, there will be perils that accompany this moment of promise. but after decades of accepting the world as it is in the region we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be. of course, as we do, we must proceed with a sense of humility it's not america that put people into the streets of tunis or cairo. it was the people themselves who launched these movements and it is the people themselves that must alternately determine their outcome. not every country will follow our particular form of representative democracy. and there will be times when our short-term interests don't align perfectly with our long-term vision for the region. but we can and we will speak out
for a set of core principles, principles that have guided our response to the events over the past six months. >> rose: the president acknowledged that our friends the region have not all reacted to the change in a region consistent with democratic principles. he n syria, he said, the reshepl of assad had a choice to lead the country's transition to democracy or get out of the way. in bahrain, he said, the only way forward is for the government to engage in a dialogue. in yemen he said the president needs to follow through on his commitment to transfer power. in one of the longest parts of his address, poosh urged dwriz negotiate a final peace settlement with the palestinians. he argued the pre-1967 borders should be the basis for negotiation. it's the first time an american president has explicitly outlined such a position. >> while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable palestine, a secure israel.
are the united states believes that negotiations should result in two states with permanent palestinian borders with israel, jordan, and egypt, and permanent israeli borders with palestine. we believe the borders of israel and palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. the palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves and reach their full potential in a sovereign and contiguous state. >> rose: president obama will meet israeli prime minister netanyahu at the white house tomorrow. we begin our coverage this evening with a conversation between david ignatius, my friend and columnist in for "washington post" and zbigniew brzezinski, former national security advisor for president carter. my plane was delayed and i am greatly appreciative that david
and dr. brzezinski engaged this conversation at the beginning of our broadcast. >> joining me to talk about president obama's speech today is zbigniew brzezinski, they was national security advisor under president jimmy carter. welcome. spig, president obama today had a lot to accomplish in this speech. that was speech we've been waiting for for many weeks. how did you think the president did and what do you think he needed to accomplish today? >> i think he did well and not so well because there are two parts of the speech. in the first part of the speh i thought he did well. he had a comprehensive approach. i think he understood the essence of the problem. he may be a touch too optimistic about the prospect for democracy in the middle east, but we can talk about that. but he was direct, ambitious, visionary and i think historically rht in the sense of the necessity of eric commitment. the second part of the speech was, of course, on theeace
process,he israeli/palestinian conundrum. and here i think he took a timid step in the right direction by, in effect, publicly stating on behalf of the united states that the two-state solution has to be based on the '67 lines with eqtable aps of land. but en after that it became very timid and in effect kind of passed the really difficult problems-- such as jerusalem and the settlements-- to direct negotiations quote/unquote, between the two parties. whereas we know from years and years of experience that they cannot reach an agreement on these issues on their own. so i think he missed an opportunity here to really modernizworld public opinion. the moderate majorities in israel and on the palestinian side, the moderate majority of the american jewish community and almost every state in the world on behalf of a
comprehensive framework within which then the problem would be resolved by direct negotiations. >> i want to return to the portion of the speech that dealt with the israeli/palestinian issue in a moment. but let's start with a first half of the spee, first two-thirdsf the speech, really which was about the arab spring. and i think president was clearly trying to reconcile american interests-- which is a subject you've written a lot about-- th american values. we had a coherent statement about this phenomena we're calling the arab spring. and i wonder how well you think the president did d taking the toughest of the issues at present, the issue of syria. the president tried to straddle a line, in a sense, calling for president bashar al assad of syria to take certain steps for reform and saying if he didn't take those he should then leave office. did you think that was well handled? and what did you think about that thrust of the speech?
>> i liked the general thrust of the speech. but if you turn specifically the question of syria, i had some ambivalence about it, because he was back in that somewhat, i think, sermonizing tones that he uses, in my judgment, too often. "this must happen. this is unacceptable. this must be done." witht asking himself what exactly is it that we can do to make it happen. >> rose: well, let's... so let's focus on that. >> that bothered me a little bit. >> let's take that question. if you were advising president obama tonight, he said'm giving my speech, spig, what should i do next, and specifically what should i do about syria? a country that's on the edge of what could be a very violent cataclysm. how would you advise him? >> i would advise him to take stock of what we can do and in my judgment sanctions are long-term solutions if they are everolutions. but ey don't result immediate problems. the immediate problem is assad.
it's stability, it's perhaps an arcky, even, in syria. and i think we have to recognize the fact that we cannot enforce a solution there. but we have two parties with whom we could be working closely to try to have a more or less acceptable outcome. the two parties are saudi arabia and turkey. neither one of which wants syria to become anarchisc or subject to iran. they both have interests, they both have influences. i think we have to work with them and see whether something can be contrived with them which preserves stability and promotes movement towards more legitimacy within syria. >> let's talk out another important part of the speech where the president talked about bahrain, an area where he's got some criticism. the united states was initially supporting the shiite majority in bahrain, which is... had protest demands.
saudi arab intervened militarily, sending troops into bahrain. how did you think the president did in balancing there the question of u.s. interests and the importance of saudi arabia and u.s. values, wanting to support the majority in be rain and its demands? >> (laughs) well, first of all, i'll be brutally frank, i don't think that such a mar issue. of course it's desirable that bahrain be a perfect democracy as soon as possible, but then the question arises what is possible. e saudis have a decisive voice in bahrain right now. i don't think postulating on this issue publicly is the way to influence events. >> so did the president say too much, do you think? >> he came close to it. but i don't think he went drastically too far but i don't think it's a major issue to be discussed publicly, basically. i think we are to be talking to the saudis about it. we can be talking to the bahraini rulers, we have direct access to them, we have a base there and we don't want it to become an unstable dictatorship
that eventually produces some sort of an explosion which then the iranians can exploit. but i think we're better at dealing with this issue privately and directly with the parties concerned rather than on television. >> spig, let's pull the camera back and look at this issue in the broadest sense. you've fwlin your book "second chance" and in another book that i was able to work on with you that you see under way in the world a global political awakening, as you've called it. and the arab spring certainly is a manifestatn of that. this drive for self-determination in all these countries. how well do you think the president did today in trying to align the united states with that process as it's unfolding across the arab world? >> i think he did pretty well. and certainly measures he sort of articulated that may be forth coming from our side are pointed in the right direction. we have to have help the socioeconomicly and so forth,
help them address the problems that generate the euphoria, the resentment, the explosion that we have seen. so that was find as far as i'm concerned. i do have, however, a little bit of a concern that perhaps he also contributed to what seems to be the pra vailing doctrine regarding this issue here and much in the world, namely, we are dealing with the arab spring which is an illusion to the european spring, central europe and so forth. there's even an illusion to 1848 in in europe. and we're dealing here still with the first phase of political awakening and political activism. i've written a lot on the subject and i've been fascinated by this issue and you know that, we've talked about imany times. in that stage, in that first stage, it is a reaction against the absence dignity. it's the reaction against absence of opportunity. it's a reaction against feeling
that the rulers are corrupt. it is a reaction against the sense of inequality between their condition and what they see on television about the rest of the world. but it's not, in spite of what is proclaimed publicly like on tahrir square a commitment to democracy. the wofford "democracy" kind of encapsulates all of these conflicting emotions but basically what we're dealing with here is a populist explosion which doesn't have shape or definition and which may find it very difficult to fit itself into a constitutional responsible law abiding orderly government. >> the united states should be careful about what we say publicly, about our enthusiasms. am i reading you right? >> well, and also about setting up expectations which otherwise mighbe disappointed. you know, suppose egypt after the presidential elections
remains still essentially in spite en of the civilian president a military governmen which then provides kind of the setting. a little bit like the turkish military and the early phases of the democratic evolution or like at brazilian military who stepped in a couple of times to prevent negative trends d then yielded power back to the civilians. i think this is the best we can expect in egypt. but that's not democracy. libya? is libya after qaddafi going to be a democracy? i'm rather dubious. >> as the president said, this is a long process unfolding. let's go to the second part of this sech which u discussed at the outset which is the israeli-palestinian issue. prime minister netanyahu from israel is coming to washington tomorrow. how do you think this speech... the president has advanced u.s.
policy beyond what it was. we have never, to my knowledge, explicitly stated that we want a solution based on the 1967 borders with minor reciprocal exchanges. what difference do you think it will make that the presint has now said that so emphatically in his speech. >> well, first of all, there was a letter from george w. bush to abbas which said that. there were two letters, one to the israelis, one to the palestinians. so in a way george w. paved the way. but, you're right, the president was the first president explicitly categorically to postulate that. and that was good. that was a step forward. notice that netanyahu wasted no time in rejecting that, which means that even that issue is open. and the president failed to add dress the other issues which are really critical and without the solution of which there can't be peace: settlements. can the construction of settlements continue indefinitely. there's no deadline for the conclusion of the negotiations anymore.
so suppo for the next four years they keep building settlements. are we going to be closer or furtr away from peace? >> are we better off as a country for the president having stated some basic principles assuming for the moment that nothing is going to happen in fact in terms of negotiations in the next while. are we better off in terms of our messaging, if you will, to the arab world? >> i'm not sure. i think that sort of small step taken on the borders without the other issues may not be all that productive and could even backfire. because i fear that basic reaction is going to be united states has clearly signaled that it expects direct negotiations to resolve the most difficult issues which are jerusalem. the president mentioned it so that's good, which means that we recognize that jerusalem's an issue. but he didn't say ultimate they
this has to be resolved on the basis of a compromise solution in which the city is shared. and i think there's a real risk that the negotiations won't even start or they'll fail and become paralyzed. he it reduced his own potential leverage on the israelis, a kind of signaling that the united states will vote against any resolution in th u.n., even sort of vaguely stating the desirability of palestinian independence a some generalized recognition on that aspiration. so i think he in a sense passed the buck to the israelis and the palestinians who we know from the experience of the last 20 years will never resolve this issue on their own. the issue can only be resolveed if the united states steps in, outlines a whole package, the world community then endorses it majorities of israelis and palestinians endorse it, which
they would if the united states did it, and there's kind of worldwide momentum towards it. and it's not good enough to say that the issue of the israeli entitlement to security and the issue of palestinian entitlement to status d rights has to be resolved by then. one has to add to it there's a third interest involved cheer the president should express explicitly: the u.s. national interest. if this issue is not constructively resold with our he-- which means leadership-- our national interest in the middle east will be and is becoming in jeopardy. >> one country that wasn't mentioned in the speech but obviously isrucial in terms of u.s. interests in the region, where the region is going is saudi arabia. and i'd be very curious what you think about the ate of
u.s./saudi relations. whether there's a danger there. the saudis are advertising every way they can how unhappy they are about the u.s. abandoning president mubarak and egypt. they're sending emissaries to china to see about possible new relationships with china and other countries in asia. are you concerned about the u.s./saudi relationship? do you think the president should have said something about saudi arabia today? >> i am concerned about the relationship because i'm concerned about the general deterioration of american position in the middle east. when i served in the white house-- which was, of course, decades ago,ut still, within the living span of most americans-- we had four fries of importance in the middle east: iran, an ally; saudi arabia, close to us, dependent on us, we on them; egypt, accommodating; and tkey, tolly loyal to us and na, even a partner with us in the war in korea. think of those four.
iran, an emy; egypt, increasingly questioning our approach to the middle east peace process; turkey, ambiguous and saudi arabia, which you asked me about, not trusting us, eling that we are noreliable anymore. that's very serious. >> that's a blk picture. >> and it's accurate. >> if the president was here, the president who spoke to the country today would say that, yes, all the things that dr. brzezinski has just said are true, but it's also true that there's this broader movement for self-determination that over time is going to make this part of the world that's been so troubled and was troubled back when you were national security advisor even though you enumerated those four pluses, it's going to make that part of the world more stable, more democratic, more mature in terms of its... political and economic
systems. do you buy that broad analysis? because that was the bedrock of this speech, i think. >> well, i buy it but i can't separate it from what we're talking about: the israeli/palestinian peace process. because that galvanizes public ppbl in the region and we know this. a scholar here in washington whom you know doubtless has done extensive polling on the attitude of the masses, and for them it's a meaningful issue. and we see this already manifesting itselfn the reorientation of egy. so we cannot separate them. and since the president on the second issue of his speech, in my judgment, didn't go far enough, watoo mid, didn' ercise a kind ofeadership that is needed, i'm afraidhe trend is going to be negative in terms of what we expect from the middle east. a kind of healthy democratic consolidation that is friendly to us and which is supported by us.
>> dr. brzezinski, thank you so much for talking with us. good to be with you. >> good to be with you. >> rose: joining me here in new york is mort suckerman, editor-in-chief of "u.s. news and world report". from washington we continue with david ignatius, foreign affairs columnist in from the "washington post." with me from cairo, chief foreign correspondent richard engel. and i go first to cairo, give me a sense of how you think they will react to this speech in the arab world that you know and especially cairo. >> we've been speaking to people in cairo and across the world already and the reacti has been overwhelmingly one of disappointment. people thought there would be many more spifics. that there would be a restart of the arab/israeli peace process or at least the palestinian peace process. right now there's a feeling of momentum and people have started to expect things to haen quickly. they're watchingeaders like mubarak and biali fall. therare demonstrations out in
the streets and they were hoping to see the same kind of urgency coming out of the white house and they didn't see it. >> rose: and so what do you think the reaction will be with your friend benjamin netanyahu? >> well, i think there will be a great deal of dismay in israel over what he said. in particular the most... there were several issues but the most important one is his preference to the 1967 lines with swaps of essentially equal territory. this is different from what the president said when he was the... campaigning for office and gave that speech at aipac in which he said they there would be secure, recognized and defensible border which is has been the speech of every prime minister since rabin. and the problem is now it will make it much more difficult for the israelis to work out what they have to work out with the palestinians because the palestinians, as they will tell you, cannot be less palestinian than the american president. >> rose: and do you expect the prime minister will come here with certain hard lines in terms of jerusalem, in terms of
refugees. >> well, those are the two issues that have not been dealt with. of course, withs he's got a huge issue because the israelis see hamas, not unreasonably, as an organization dedicated to not only the destruction of israel but to the ongoing killing of jews and both of those are in the basic premise of the hamas charter. so how do you deal, as they say, with an organization where basically half of the organization is made up of the mafia? what kind of a deal can you make with them and how stable will be the p.l.o. after this deal and if hamas takes over, then where is israel? >> rose: tell me where you think we are and what went into the white house debate about this speech. >> i think the israeli/palestinian issue was the toughest issue, the one that they took the longest to work ou i think the reason that the president added this reference to the '67 borders and took u.s. policy a little further along
than it's been was the broad aim of the white house has of messaging to the arab world, trying to say that the united states, although it has a very close relationship, alliance with israel, also recognizes arab and palestinian interests and causes. it's interesting that although the president enunciated this strong position, there's no follow-through, there are no negotiations planned, there's no mechanism to carry out what the president just talked about. i think the larger white house m was to stand back and look at this procs, look at what's unfolding across the arab world and try to align the united states with it by clarifying how we see this process unfolding over t long term. it's a speech that i think was very much from the president's gut. these are issues that he feels growing up in innesia, he knows what authoritarian
diatorships are like. so ihink this was a speech the president very much wanted to give. whether or not it will be effective or not, i found richard's comments a moment frag cairo interesting. if the egyptian reaction is that negative, then the white house has failed in its primary job. >> rose: so how do they see the united states at this moment, richard? >> people here don't believe that president obama's last speech in 2009 had any influence at all on what happened and i think people believe that they had to take actions in their own hands, physically go out into the streets, physically be punished by the curity forces and throw out their tyrants, thr dictors. and if the united states doesn't take lead on this role right now, there's a danger that people will decide that they ed too take this issue into their own hands again and physically pressure israel to start negotiations with the palestinians on arab terms. the people i've been speaking to
n egypt over the lasseveral days feethat this is their time. that never since before 1967 has the arab world been stronger vis-a-vis israel than it is right now. so clearly it's understandable why many israelis would say well this inot the time to negotiate because the arab world is so riled up, becae there's a political rmoi bubecause the arab world is so riled up and there is political turmoil, there's a danger that if the peace process doesn't start again that they're going to be plenty of actors here that are going to try to provoke israel into some sort of a response, to try and carry out violence, to have more marches toward the israeli borders and that they will try and take charge of this process in the absence of a peace process. >> rose: it is fair to say that the israelis are very nervous at this moment. >> oh, for sure, without question. they're nervous on many levels. they're nervous because the p.l.o. has formed an alliance with hamas which, as we say, is directed to and devoted to the destruction of israel. and that makes them a very much
more problematic partner a negotiation. >> rose: but the president referred to that, did he not? >> well, he referred to it. he said the palestinians are going to have to find some way to deal with in the a credible fashion. whatever that means. that doesn't mean very much if you're sitting there and the people you expect to negotiate with are on the other side of the table and includes hamas. now, hamas has been, you know, trying to destroy israel in every conceivable way, so it is a huge problem and even the president had to recognize that. but what's distressing, as i say, is that the president's position changed. many my judgment it was not a good thing to do, not a wise thing to do in terms of the negotiation. this is something that should have been left alone for the parties to negotiate because the more that the united states gets explicit about what they want, the more difficult it is for the palestinians to compromise and for the israelis to reach an agreement. >> rose: so you think the president simply should not have made this speech and the president should have stood aside and said "whatever they decide to negotiate, that's fine with me, it's up to them"? or whether the president should
have tried to seize the initiative of the moment and get things kick started. >> he didn't get them kick started. i'll give you to a parallel of that. when he came out in favor in favor of the settlement freeze, that was something that had never been an obstacle to negotiations for 15 or 20 years and as soon as he made that, the palestinians had no choice now say well, there has to be a settlement freeze and then when there was one, the palestinians would not negotiate for the first nine of the ten months, they wouldn't even do anything about it. so the israelis are trying to negotiate, they have been trying to negotiate, i can say that with considerable knowledge with the palestinians. the palestinians have the v not been willing to negotiate with them. >> rose: some are arguing that this is... that the president does want to in a sense use the word reset with russia before, but to sort of get with a new narrative with respect to the middle east. >> i think the president was clear and correct in saying that this process is being done by people in the arab world for their reasons, this is a movement of self-determination.
finally people are trying to ite their own history and that's one of the mostositive aspects of it. he was trying to... we haven't his speech but the u.s. has to assist egypt and tunisia. these democratic revolutions really it's crucial that they succeed and they're facing very, very severe economic tests so the u.s. has put together somewhere between $2 and $5 billion assistance. i think you can never rewrite a narrative totally, restart anything. we're all in a sense prisoners of our past... >> rose: but let me interrupt you on that very point, david. because it seems to me that's exactly what the president is doing because he says this is a moment to seize. and if you're trying to seize the moment, you're trying to change the narrative. >> i think he is trying to changehe narrative. he's trying to change its trajectory. i said earlier talking with
dr. brzezinskihat i think the white house's goal is to ali the united states with this large movement, this movement in will take many, ma years to play itself out. i think he'd like that see israel think about its long-term future and security by in some way understanding that the movement is changed in therab world and figure out how to better live with that. if anything, i think that's where he's heading and his comments not w standing mort's points. but i think the idea is that over the next decade this will play out and the president's trying to get us now going in the same direction as the mass in this very important but very unstable part of the world. >> rose: and at the same time to square that with what we view as our interest. >> yes, he tried to... i mean, i have to be honest. our interests and our values are still a little bit out of line. >> rose: yeah. >> the president did not mention saudi arabia in his speech and the reason because if heas going to say anything he would say "we understand that oil and the oil from saudi arabia's
really important to our national security." so he just basically left it out. >> but he didn't leave it out in a different context, of course. because the saudis and the king in particular are very upset with the united states and the way they handled mubarak who was a great, great friend of the saudis ander in a rage. they've sent prince bandar to other parts of the world, not just china, to see if they can establish different alliances to protect their national security. they have lost a grel of confidence in this administration. >> rose: let me go back to richard. you said they were disappointed. what would they expect in the arab world realizing that the's not a solitary view but what would they have expected would have much better for the present to have said? understanding that there is a certain struggle between values and interest. >> they wanted to see a bold action, something like what president clinton did, putting himself personally on the line, calling the rties to... for direct talks at camp david.
maybe they didn't ed to outline specifically what the deals were, but to put the president's credibility on the line and to say, okay, we're going to solve that. i think that's what people were hoping for. in terms of... you're talking about the president trying to realighimself with this changed reality. it is something that is happening across the region. i was watching television the other day and you see everyone trying to adjust to this new reality. there's an ad running in the middle east right now by coca-cola and the ad is shot in tahrir square and the ad shows all the people there celebrating and "it's a new day" and the sun is shining and they're advertising coca-cola. so people are trying to sign up on the bandwagon of the new movement where i'm not sure everyone knows where it's going. but there are also very troubling signs of where this thing is going. it is increasingly anti-israeli here. that is a baseline assumption, that pple don't want to go back to the way it was where mubarak cut these private deals
with israeagainst the public opinn. and this is something that i saw today that i know david is going to appreciate. there was a protest in tahrir square by a terrorist group long considered a militant group in support of omar abdel-raan and there were people in the square, he's the blind cleric in prison in the united states for involvement in the 1993 world trade center bombing. he had a... maybe 200 supporters in front of the american embassy which is right off of tahrir square, and his sons there are, i was talking with one of his sons who was... who fought alongside osama bin laden in afghanistan and ran a militant camp there. sot now these people are out on the streets protesting in front of the u.s. embassy and they have become part of the fabric of thinew society. and i think the world is struggling to adjust to that. >> well, i think we knife
adjust, if there is a real election that takes place in egypt, we may have to adjust to the possibility that the islamic radical groups will take over the government. the muslim brotherhood is by far the most organized group in the country, there's another group forming their own party, the radicals will probably get a majority in the parliament and then where we because then egypt can turn against all american interests in the region and that would be a tremendous crisis for the united states and one of the worst events in american diplomatic history since the end of world war ii. it may be the equivalent of what happened in iran. if egypt goes the wrong way, and unless the military decides to stay in power as a practical matter in one form or another, we... i think that is probably the most likely outcome. >> i think... i disagree with mort in this sense. i think the political culture of the arab world has been broken for as long as i've been writing about it. that's 30 years. and i think it's in the process
of getting fixed. i think people who have been cowed living under dictatorships denied basic human rights tkts kinds of things the president was talking about today, are demanding those rights. and there is an uprising across the arab world. in the long run, there's no question that that's a good thing. in the short run i think mort's concerns are understandable. but i... in the end i have to root for people who say we want to be free. we want to keep the basic human rights that we deserve as human beings and i think you try to stand against that... as the president was saying today, if you stand against that you're going to lose. >> rose: i think that's what the speech was all about, what you just said. the president wanting to say this is where we stand in terms of identifying those values. >> those are our values but we also have interests and the problem that we have if we are supporting a country at this stage of the game may not be considered to be shall we say ready for democracy, at least the end result of it, if a radical government in egypt we
will suffer enormously in terms of our interests. >> rose: let me talk about the politics of this and the american jewish community. what's the status of his relationship? he's going talk to aipac, i assume he's going to be there on saturday. >> well, he got close to 80% of the vote on saturday from that community. i doubt he'll get that again because there's a widespread concern of his attitude to israel in particular. >> rose: having to do primaryly the early emphasis on settlements. >> that was one of a whole series of things in which, as you saw here, he walked away from what he promised as his policy when he gave the aipac speech a couple of years ago which was secure recognized and defensible borders is very different. >> rose: speak from where tour the sense of israel today and the threat of that it faces and where... i mean we had... there is... someone expressed on the program last night the notion of non-violence in terms of a new tactic with aren't to israel.
>> i think that is certainly going to be a tactic we will see going forward. the use of human shields, the use of public opinion pressure, the same kind of pressure that was applied againsmubarak or that was applied against the regime in syria will try and be applied against israel. i think that's inevitable and we're going to see that pretty soon. i don't expect islamic radicals to take over here. what i do expect is you're going to sigh more involvement of islamic parties. but what we're seeing is a coming together of the arab world. arab nations have never been watching themselves as closely as they have been in the past and i don't think egypt is going to go the wrong way or the right way. it wants to go its own way and it wants to establish its... what it considers its natural place of leadership across the arab world and as it tries to do that it has to reach out to
issues like the palestinian crisis. >> rose: david isn't there a general assumption that everybody knows what the final settlement basically will be with respect to the israeli/palestinian statehood issues having to do with the '67 borders, having to do with some definition of the right of return, having to do with east jerusalem as a capital for... and on and on. >> you just went through the list. think the president pretty much said that today. we all know, you know, more or less how this is going to turn out. and i think the majority of israelis would give the same account. the difficulty is getting to that end state and getting through the politics of it, the politicapressures in israel, the political pressures with the palestinians. i want to just mention one last thing that we haven't touched on but i thought in terms of the operational details was the most important thing in the president's speech and that was what he said about syria. the presidt said out series
of conditions for bathat al-assad, the president of syria to fulfill if he hopes to remain power. and i know from my reporting that we've been getting pressure from france, which is very close to syria, to basically disavow bashar, to say it's time for him to go. the president didn't say that. what he said was if he takes steps to open a national dialogue, if he allows human rights monitors into dara in the south, if he stops shooting on protestors then in effect then he can continue in power. if he doesn't, will support the demand of france and other count these have influence there that he must leave. i think it's a very important pa of the speech, i think we'll have to... that's what i'd watch most closely over the next 48 hours. >> rose: what is the administration's reason for wanting to stick with assad and so far not simply laying out this notion that if he changes then perhaps there's a way for
him to remain in power. why not let him go as they did with mubarak and say he should go? >> i think basically the administration feels that the stakes in syria in terms of potential bloodshed are enormous syria is a country where you have a ruling minority and sunni majority and this sunni majority has already been engaged in ethniciolence in some syrian cities, in homs in particular. and i think the administration wants to make sure that there's some process of transition so it's not, as was many argue the case in libya, sort of leaping into the dark supporting a rebel movement you don't know, opening the door to a level of violence that could be really dangerous. so i think administration wants to give one more shot, i would expect, charlie, that behind the scenes there's a lot of diplomacy going on involving turkey, which has been very close to bashar al-assad which has the most leverage in the situation. but i think that's why the administration didn't take the rhetorically easy and attractive
option of saying "assad is a butcher, assad must go tomorrow." it's because thoplt see if there's a way to work something out. >> rose: and the turks are in there. as you know, i just got back from turkey talking to erdogan and his foreign minister and you get the sense that they clearly... that there's a series of conversations going on between assad and erdogan. syria, richard. what's the status today? >> brutality. if you speak to any... it's hard for us to know. we're not allowed to get in there. every journalist i know has applied and they just say no. t what we hear from witness accounts, what we hear from refugees cing out is systematic cckdo with syrian troops going from to to town arresting people, killing members of the opposition and it has become a police state where pele are afraid for thr lives. 10,000 plus people arrested. that's a big number so i think it's... it's terrifying.
>> rose: you want to come back to the israeli issue in terms of what everybody assumes is in the end how this thing will be settled with palestinian statehood at the end of the road. >> that... i don't disagree with that. but what is not settled by a wide margin is the issue of security. the israelis are very concerned, and, by the way, so are the jordanians, which f they will talk about it publicly, about the border between jordan and what will be the palestinian state. because the israelis want to make sure what happens there is not what happened in gaza where you had all the feeding in of all kinds of weapons and rockets and mortars and so the israelis said they want to make sure that that border does not become porous and does not become a channel for all kinds of terrorists and weaponry and everything like that. and, by the way, the jordanians are just as concerned that it's going go in the other direction. >> rose: are you saying the jordanians are happy with netanyahus idea that he ought to have troops on the jordanian river boarder? >> yes.
for sure. >> i'm going to jump in. you mentioned weapons and we were talking about people... talking to people here about that tonight and the one of the things they didn't like about present obama's speech was that the palestinian state he said it had to be viable, should be demilitarized or i guess that means not have a functioni military but only have a basic security service. and people here said well,? why if it's going to be a real state, why can't it have an army like every other state in the world? and i think you would definitely see weapons being moved in because people here believe that it would bthe right of the palestinians to have that... to have those weapons. and so you're... the framework, the way people look at the argument is different in this part of the world. >> he also called for a full withdrawal of all the israeli military forces at some point from the west bank and this is somethat that the israelis will have a very strong disagreement on because they don't feel they can rely on anybody to protect
those borders other than israeli forces. >> rose: but my impression is that prime minister netanyahu is coming here with an idea that he is prepared under the right circumstances to give up significant parts of the west bank. >> absolutely. without question. he said he basically wants to keep the major settlement blocks which have been generally agreed will be a part of whatever the final settlement is. >> rose: let me go to the question of palestinian statehood, david. i didn't see the conversation because i was flying in here from somewhere else. the conversation you did that preceded this conversation that will be on this broadcast with dr. brzezinski. but he has always said, according to what i read from what he has written, that on the question of palestinian statehood he finds it that hard the united states could not be supportive of it because we were supportive of israeli statehood at the united nations. that's his view. >> yes. in his remarks tonight dr. brzezinski says what he always says on the subject that the basic framework of the final
deal is generally understood and involves territorial compromises to allow israe settlement ocks, as mort said, to continue, has a basic understaing on right of return of refugees, the basic understanding on jerusalem that those issues can be hashed out. i ink they was disappointed the president didn't take it further. i'm sure israelis will agree with mort that the president took it too far. but the fact that we've begun a conversation which the president talks about, 19 boarders with alterations, netanyahu will probably come and say "i prepared to give up some but not as much as obama's asked." organizey we're on the road toward some kind of discussion at least on the issue of borders and that's the beginning. >> borders is critical because that's the way you resolve the settlement issue. that's the easy thing to do relatively because then you know where which settlements are.
that's why the raising of the settlement issue was a huge mistake in terms of getting the peace talks going. so now you do have a chance to get the peace talks going, i hope. and i think there can be a resolution, but i'm just telling you, where they're going to have the toughest issue is on the issue of security, particularly on the issue of security along the jordanian borders. >> rose: so you don't think they'll have a tough time with the question of east jerusalem as a capital for a palestinian state? that's not a security issue? >> well, to extent it can be. that is the issue that has to be left for the very end. if you get everything else worked out you can work out jerusalem. that's a very emotional issue on both sides, on all sides. and i think there are various formulas that could work with that. and i hope and i believe that there should be some portion of jerusalem that would be set aside for the palestinian state. i think that can be worked out much more easily than the issue of long-term security interests of israel. >> rose: with respect to palestinian statehood, the united states position is going to be what, david? >> well, the president has stated that we want to see a
palestinian state within the '67 borders as amended. i think that the issue that we're ear all going to be dealing with soon, i fear, is the palestinians taking up the same weapon of non-violent but mass protests that we've seen elsewhere in the arab world. you know, this contagion, if you will, this feeling of self-assertion is very widespread and i think's going to be more of that. a non-violent intifada will... maybe be hearter, mort, for israel to deal with than the past violent intifadas have been and i'm not sure israel is well prepared for what's coming. i'm not sure prime minister netanyahu is really... because it's... in terms of the atmospheric feshgs it's going to be much harder to say to people these are terrorists who are just out to kill israelis and jews. they will probably be non-violent. >> i agree. i think that is going to be another great issue is going to
come up and it's very, very difficult for the israelis to cope with so i have actually supported very strongly that they get involved in negotiations with the palestinians. i couldn't agree with you more on that and that has to be done as soon and quickly as possible and as constructively as possible. that's absolutely critical because i agree the whole world has changed and what is more, israel has lost its principal ally on major board cher was egypt under mubarak. and you now have a whole area of military exposure on top of what they were facing in gaza. egypt was going to contain hezbollah in gaza on the southern side of gaza now it's going to be wide open and that's very clear. and the morn minister has made it clear that they're going to open up sbefrg gaza. >> rose: other than armed conflict, this is the toughest moment for israel in a long, long time. >> a very long time. as i say, i don't believe the president should be talking about this thing publicly. it makes it much more difficult for the parties to reach an agreement. just as a matter of having a successful outcome. but without question, given the attitudes of this president, which is probably the least
supportive of israel since israel's being founded it's going to be a very, very difficult thing for israel going forward. >> rose: he's not as tough as the bush 41 was. >> nothing compared to... if you go back in terms of where bush 41 was, they all... every president has wanted to have negotiationss and every president has put pressure on israel to bring that about. this... every israeli administration, particularly the last few, have tried to initiate negotiations. the only negotiations that have worked, which i will remind everybody, were the oslo agreements. that was done on a completely confidential basis. nobody knew about it including the americans, including most of the senior aides. that's what enabled them to reach an agreement. they have to as public diplomacy in my judgment is counterproductive to the possibly of a negotiated outcome. >> rose: i want to come back one more time. when i said palestinian statehood, i'm talking about the united nations vote. >> i think the president by enunciate ago position that israelis are not going to like
and that hopefully arabs will say it represents some movement from the unid stes positions the u.s. reasonably well to send off the u.n. declaration of statehood, the administration thinks that's a bad idea is prepared to stand up for israel and to resist this and i think that's one they wanted in terms of their messaging to say we wanted a palestinian state and we're prepared to move from what past poogss have been. >> rose: but the prime minister is in europe trying to get... >> i don't think the united states is in a position to stop what's going to happen in september in the united nations. i think it's going go ahead. this is not something subject to a vetoment it's going to be a general assembly vote. you can argue and debate over what a general assembly vote means but i don't think it's going to be stopable. >> mort, i think u.s. will be... i think the u.s. will be four square with israel in resisting itthat's all i meant. >> rose: how can the u.s. resist
it? >> well, just by stating that it doesn't approve, doesn't think this is going to go anywhere. i think... this will dramatize the difference between the declaration of a state and the negotiations to produce a real state. and i think palestinians need to neat a spirit of the moment, in the spirit oself-determination to get serious about this and not dohings for atsz feshgs but how do we actually move forward. and i think prime minter netaahu will engage that questionirectly then we'll begin a real process. >> rose: so here we have this evening summing up the first effort by the president clearly to say he wants too draw some understanding of how the united states sees its interest in the arab world in the context of a dramatic change there. that's essentially what this message was and to make sure that the arab world understood that the universal values that were at stake there were the universal values that the united states has applauded and
approved for... since its founding. >> yes. i think certainly... that certainly sounds exactly way we would like it to sound on the charlie rose show. however, as i say, you get a kind of radical government in egypt and lilt change everything in terms of what the possibilities are for the arab world and, in fact, what the possibilities are going to be for an israeli palestinian peace agreement. that's what worries me. the saudis already are very, very upset with us and they have distanced themselves from this administration as no previous one has done. >> rose: but the saudis are insistent that the united states and... they want to see the united states do everything it can to create a palestinian... >> i don't disagree. >> rose:... state. and to do everything it can to incentivize an israeli/palestinian negotiation. >> that's one part of it, okay? i mean, i spoke... i was in the middle east right after the mubarak regime collapsed, in effect. and one of the major saudis said to me, and i'm going to quote,
he says "he was your most loyal friend for the last 30 years. he worked with you on every counterterrorism effort you wanted, he worked with you on the suez canal, he worked with you in trying to get the peace process going with the palestinians, to maintain the peace agreement with israel and in the first week he's in trouble you back stabbed him." and that was the phrase he used. i won't forget that. and i can tell you, i know from direct information the saudis are furious with the united states, they have lost complete confidence in the united states as their principal ally which is why they're sending people establish other security arrangements in case anything happens within saudi arabia. >> rose: interesting times. thank you, mort. thank you, david. also my thanks to richard engel who had to leave early because of a satellite. david, thank you for the conversation with dr. brzezinski.