'This Week' Transcript: Sen. John McCain

But it's important for people to remember that the cost to us of pulling back, the cost to us of not finishing the job in Afghanistan, of not leading -- you know, President Obama himself clearly is contributing to this. He's very hesitant to lead, really doesn't want to lead, is not standing up and explaining to the American people why we must prevail in Afghanistan, is not standing up and explaining why it's so important for us to prevail in Libya.

And in a situation in which the president, the commander-in-chief is not leading, and the leading Republican Party candidates are responding in some instances to poll numbers that show the unpopularity of these policies, we run the risk of a very dangerous foreign policy path.

AMANPOUR: And looking at it from your perspective, number one, do you have any information on Zawahiri?

HAQQANI: The U.S. side and Pakistan are working together on any information that any side has. The U.S. will share the intelligence. The Pakistanis will act. Whatever we do, we will do jointly. Ayman al-Zawahiri is definitely the top priority for both Pakistani and U.S. intelligence.

And one point I would like to make in continuation to what Liz Cheney was saying, if there is war weariness in the United States and there are concerns about the budget, try and imagine the pressures on President Karzai in Afghanistan and President Zardari in Pakistan, and then...

(CROSSTALK)

HAQQANI: ... and then look at the context. Just as, for example, one private first class got annoyed with the war and caused Wikileaks to happen, there are people like that in Islamabad, there are people like that in Kabul. So that is the context in which we should be judged instead of this assumption that anything that goes wrong is definitely because Pakistanis just don't want to be America's allies. We want to be American allies. We are American allies. Sometimes things just don't go as we all want them to go.

AMANPOUR: In the big debate that's going to come up over withdrawing U.S. troops, I don't know whether it's going to be a big debate like last time, but there's going to be a decision. How many, do you think, we're going to see withdrawn this summer?

IGNATIUS: The president has kept his -- his hand very close on this. The military recommendation is for a small number. It's usually pegged at 3,000 to 5,000 troops. The signals I'm getting from the White House is to expect something more than that, I would guess something approaching five digits, towards 10,000 in this first announcement.

But the larger point -- and this goes to, I think, all of the issues that we've been discussing -- is the president looks at what happened over the course of this last 18 months with his Af-Pak policy. He feels that the counterterrorism effort, that part of it, has been very successful, that we really have Al Qaida on the run. The symbol of that is killing Osama bin Laden.

Other parts of this policy, the attempt to stabilize the south in Afghanistan (inaudible) the Kandahar provinces, has been less successful, by the president's judgment.

So I think, looking forward, the key to policy will be, let's stress the things that are working, which are counterterrorism. Let's make sure we continue to push with that. And the success on that allows us somewhat more flexibility in removing troops.

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