MILLER: It's because great powers are allowed and do behave hypocritically and inconsistently. And the reality is, Libya was easy. It was vulnerable. No serious air defense system. No serious allies. We could get away with and did military intervention. Syria's quite different.
And, number two, you don't have a fundamentally divided country. You don't have Syrias right now. You have repression. And you have Bashar Assad mobilizing the instruments of power in order to stay in power. I think the arc on the Assads over time is a negative one, and I think they're an old story, but it's going to take a long time for this movie to play out.
AMANPOUR: The movie is being very closely watched by many people in the United States and around the world. People are always coming up to me and asking me, what does this all mean for us, what happened in Tunisia, what happened in Egypt?
People thought Egypt was a democratic revolution, which presumably it still has an opportunity to be, but the latest Pew polls give some worrying figures for the United States, basically saying about Egypt that 52 percent of Egyptians now disapprove of how President Obama is dealing with the calls for political change in their own nation, Egypt, elsewhere, Tunisia, Bahrain, and Libya. And then their view of the United States, 79 percent unfavorable, 20 percent favorable. Vali, how can this be? People hoped that a democratic Middle East would actually have a better view of the United States.
NASR: Well, first of all, we're not at a democracy in the Middle East. All that we've achieved is that in Tunisia and Egypt, which were the easy cases, the leadership has gone. There's still a long distance between the old order going and actually arriving at democracy. And there is also a very short distance in these kinds of situations between euphoria and disenchantment.
And finally, the fundamental issues that divided the people of the Middle East from the United States have not gone away. The Middle East has been busy with other issues recently, but when the dust settles, the critical issues of the Arab-Israeli peace process, this whole issue between Islam and the West, Iran, you know, all of these issues, Al Qaida, are still there. And nothing has happened to close the gap between our perception of those issues and the people's perception of those issues in the Muslim world.
AMANPOUR: I'm going to get to the Middle East peace process in two seconds, but I just want to ask you further, the foreign policy of Egypt looks like they are going closer to their traditional adversaries -- let's say Iran, let's say Hamas -- people who are sort of -- definitely adversaries of the United States, as well. How is this going to work out? And why is that?
NASR: Well, because for the longest time our foreign policy in the Middle East was based on the support of the palaces, who really didn't need to deal with the street and the people in the Middle East. It's the Mubaraks and Ben Alis and, you know, kings of Saudi Arabia and Jordan that made decisions that we work with. Now we have to deal with countries that are reflecting the public opinion of their masses.
AMANPOUR: Of the street. It's the famous Arab street.