And when we return, we will have a roundtable on all of these sweeping historic movements and what it means to America and for the world. After a break.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to Tripoli. And as the world tries to make sense of these lightning movements that are sweeping this part of the world, the Arab and Muslim world, we're also trying to figure out what this means for the United States, for its strategic interests, and how new shaping order over here will shape the United States economy and all sorts of other strategic interests.
So joining me now from Washington to discuss this is author Reza Aslan, political strategist Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution, and our own senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper.
Thank you all for joining me. Jake, I want to ask you first, so many Americans are trying to figure out what this all means, all the revolutions now sweeping from Tunisia to Egypt and whatever may unfold here, how should Americans make sense of this, Jake?
JAKE TAPPER, ABC SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, obviously there are different levels to look at. There is the American ideals of democracy that have eluded much of that part of the world. But then there's also American strategic interests, which are -- it's a double-edged sword, what's going on in the Middle East right now, in North Africa.
There's obviously a great deal of oil and energy that we get from that region. And unrest will upset oil prices and cause Americans pain at the pump. There are other national security, counterterrorism issues. We have a lot of cooperative relationships with a lot of dictators in that region.
But ultimately, I think that the way that the American people have to look at this is in terms of the American ideals and how democracy needs to take hold throughout that part of the world.
AMANPOUR: Let me move to you, Bob Kagan, because you've been studying this a long time. We've talked about this many times before. Is this good for the United States in the end? Are U.S. strategic interests best served by a democratic region here or by leaders who they think they can count on? And obviously we're talking about oil, oil, oil in strategic interests.
ROBERT KAGAN, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Well, it's an illusion to think that we have an option of supporting these dictators. I mean, we are now paying the price for supporting these dictators for three, in some cases, four decades. We have a foreign policy establishment in the United States, in both parties, that has been very cozy with these dictators. And this has all been in the name of an illusory stability.
There is no stability now. We're going to have to get used to the idea of change. There is a moment when you go from stability to change. We're not going to a new stability.
But I think that we should have more faith than we have shown in the basic values we believe are universal and which we have to understand that Muslims and Arabs share that. And I think if -- I mean, ultimately, yes, there are going to be some strategic setbacks. Yes, these governments may not agree with us as much as we like.
But in the long run, I do think, just as it was in our interest for Europe to be democratic, for Asia to be democratic, it's in our interest for this part of the world to be democratic as well.