'This Week' Transcript: Economic Panel

The fear I think the White House has is he's going to get the worst possible result, which is a small margin in the House, a small margin in the Senate, he can't get anything done, but he owns all the levers of government...

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: So now that we've settled that one, let's move right out of the country to Pakistan briefly, because we did talk about it with Jim Sciutto, but it's been likened to their Katrina. The U.S. is doing the right thing sending relief, right?

ROBERTS: Yes, sure.

DOWD: Yes, absolutely.

AMANPOUR: Politically, economically.

ROBERTS: Absolutely.

AMANPOUR: How...

ROBERTS: Humanitarian.

AMANPOUR: Humanitarian, of course...

FREELAND: Strategically.

AMANPOUR: Exactly. What do you think, though, when you look at this, here's the fight, here's Pakistan nuclear-armed, here's Pakistan having done the right thing, to an extent, having sent its army after the militants, and all of that, all of that just about being washed away literally.

IGNATIUS: Here -- Christiane, here's a country on the edge, a country that's $11 billion in debt to the IMF, barely staggering along, that's fighting an insurgency at home, and all of a sudden, pow, it gets hit with this terrible flood. The latest Pakistani estimate is that there are 20 million people who are affected in the country.

And the question that people are beginning to raise is, is the flood going to be the final additional thing that pushes Pakistan into being a failed state? The army is going to have to focus on rebuilding roads, getting food to people -- I mean the Pakistani army here, hopefully with help from the U.S. military -- but that means they won't be able to fight the Taliban.

I was expecting that there would be an offensive in North Waziristan against the Taliban and Al Qaida this fall. I was even going to go look -- go travel with the Pakistani troops. I have a feeling now the military will be too busy, and that's just one sign...

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTS: Maybe it doesn't matter, though. Maybe -- maybe the fact is -- I mean, this is -- this is wishful thinking -- but maybe the fact is, is having all of this aid come in from the West -- and particularly from the United States -- and it is our military...

DOWD: Almost solely from the United States.

ROBERTS: ... also -- right, and it's -- and it's not just our military. It's USAID and all of our humanitarian organizations. I work with Save the Children there, and we've been in Pakistan for 30 years and doing this kind of work. Seeing that is more important than saying we can build a mosque in Manhattan, in terms of dealing with the Muslim world.

FREELAND: Well, that presupposes that the aid is effective. And I think to David's point, the other danger -- it's not just that the Pakistani army is not in a position now to go on the offensive against the Taliban. I think the real danger here is that you find the local Islamic organizations, extremist Islamic organizations turning out to be more effective at helping...

(CROSSTALK)

IGNATIUS: ... a lot of people angry...

(CROSSTALK)

FREELAND: I think that -- I think that...

(CROSSTALK)

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