it is we want, not simply what it is we're against.
AMANPOUR: Well, let's take Egypt. Really the cornerstone of the
Arab world, and you've got a bit of a dicey situation going on there. I
mean, there's a security vacuum, apparently, and no clear road as to how
the next election is going to go. How do you see that falling out?
KAGAN: Well, as I said, the State Department, I'm consciously
optimistic. I mean, I think that given all the things that can and will
go wrong around this region, Egypt is going pretty well right now.
Now, a lot of people are concerned about the fact, and this gets to
the question of Islamism. The Muslim Brotherhood is going to have a
very large share of influence in the next government. And we, in the
United States, are going to have to have a varied attitude towards
Islamism. There's bin Ladenism, and then there is our Islamist parties
that may be compatible with democracy. And Richard's right, we need to
put down clear principles about what democracy means.
AMANPOUR: And because obviously there's been no political activity
in those countries, it's mostly been in the mosques.
HAASS: Exactly. Exactly right. And the only places you see right
now in Egypt, institutions that are powerful are the army and the
Islamists, which is why you need to buy time for civil society to catch
up, for the secular, more liberal. And even within the Islamists,
you're right, there's gradations. You have got to try to level the
But one thing we've learned or we should have learned is you can't
rush democracy, particularly against the backdrop of the economic
hardship that you see in Egypt.
One of the things we've also got to do is introduce an economic
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you another question. One of the things that
everybody always said historically is that unless you fix the
Israeli-Palestinian problems, nothing is going to happen. But it looks
like that's not fixable. Even George Mitchell, the special envoy, has
KAGAN: Well, I disagree with the basic premise that everything in
the Middle East is about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Obviously it's
important. It's an issue that Arab peoples do care about. But
especially now, that's not the only thing that is going on. Egyptians
care primarily about what is going on in Egypt. Syrians care about what
is going on in Syria, et cetera. And so I think, you know, it's -- in a
way, it's just fine that there's no progress to be had on that peace
process right now.
AMANPOUR: All right, we'll remember that this week when Bebe
Netanyahu comes, the prime minister of Israel. Gentlemen, thank you so