'This Week' Transcript: Crisis in Egypt

WILL: Well, the worst case is for us to assume that we can master these events. Beginning in the fall of 2001, when we easily toppled the Taliban, and March 2003, when we easily toppled Saddam Hussein's regime, since those two events, we have been learning the hard lesson -- or at least being taught, whether we've learned it or not's another matter -- that it's easier to set in train events and to bring down regimes than it is to fashion a replacement for them. So we should have great modesty about the ability of the United States to influence events far around the world in cultures we do not understand.

TAPPER: And what do you think, Martha? What are you -- what are you going to be watching going forward? And what are you worried about?

RADDATZ: Well, I think the one thing that we forget is, this -- this really is a dialogue between -- and the angst in the White House -- is, it's national security or human rights and democracy? And you've got to talk about national security, because that is really the important thing here to -- to Americans.

Egypt has helped fight terrorism in that region. They are the anchor for the U.S. in that region. And one other thing we haven't really talked about or thought about is that, at the end of this year, U.S. troops are supposed to all be out of Iraq, so that region has a degree of instability there already which could be worse by the end of the year.

So they -- they need Egypt. They need the support of Egypt. I agree that perhaps it'll be an even more stable situation. Perhaps who you get in there will be remarkable. But the U.S. counts on the support from Egypt, counts on the support to counter everything else in that region.

TAPPER: And just to remind our views, it's not just counterterrorism. Egypt has been allied with the United States when it comes to Iran's nuclear program...

RADDATZ: Radical Islamists.

TAPPER: ... radical Islamists...

RADDATZ: Absolutely.

TAPPER: ... when it comes to recognizing the new Iraqi government, when it comes to the Mideast peace process. Sam, you were saying you're concerned that the new government might not recognize the peace treaty it has with Israel that Anwar Sadat gave his life for.

DONALDSON: Well, I watched Jimmy Carter help these two leaders, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, put together this historic peace -- it kept the peace. Egypt is still the most powerful of all of the military nations in the Arab world. It's kept the peace.

If that should somehow unravel because of events in Cairo, the whole region would be the poorer for it. But I think the lesson that everyone here has talked about, we're not saying that we should put American interests for oil or any other -- of -- above the people of Egypt.

We hope that democracy -- and we hope that it will work out there, but we do have to, as Martha put it, pay attention to that. In 1954, we created the nation of South Vietnam. That didn't work out. The Vietnamese wanted to live together. They do today, and we have perfect relations with North and South Vietnam, which is one country.

RADDATZ: And as smarty-pants as we all try to be, we have no idea. I mean, this is a situation where you've got social media thrown in there. You've got a country that's uniting in ways we've never seen before. So you really have to wonder what's going to happen. We don't know. The administration didn't know. That's why we've had these few days of back-and-forth, and what do we say?

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