'This Week' Transcript: Crisis in Egypt

Transcript: Crisis in Egypt

WASHINGTON, Jan 30, 2011 — -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AMANPOUR (voice-over): This morning, a special "This Week."Nation on the brink, an ancient civilization, land of the pyramids andhome of the pharaohs, now swept up in a massive political uprisingwith uncertain consequences for all of us.

Which side will blink first? We go inside a historic politicalshowdown. What will the outcome mean for America?

OBAMA: The United States will continue to stand up for therights of the Egyptian people.

AMANPOUR: We get the very latest from Secretary of State HillaryClinton and an exclusive interview with Egypt's ambassador to theUnited States, Sameh Shoukry. Live from Cairo, a special "This Week,""Crisis in Egypt," starts now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: Good morning. How often have we asked, when willdemocracy come to this part of the world? And what will it look like?Well, here we are in what looks like a massive tectonic shift, firstTunisia and now Egypt, the biggest, most populous Arab country andAmerica's biggest ally.

Here, for the sixth straight day, tens of thousands of people areout on the streets. The military is arrayed in tanks and on foot.The question: Will the army fire if ordered to do so?

For Complete Coverage of the Crisis in Egypt, Featuring Exclusive Reporting From Christiane Amanpour, Click Here

Today, in the last 10 minutes, we have heard and seen fighterjets buzzing Tahrir Square, where the crowds are, an enormous,alarming, incredible sound. They have been flying low.

But the protesters are still out there. They've been reacting.They're carrying slogans and chanting right now down below me"Illegitimate." Despite the reforms that President Mubarak has doneshuffling the government, the people are saying that's not enough andthat he must go.

So far, what they're saying and what we're seeing -- and you canhear the fighter jets behind me now -- they are saying that this issecular, this is a popular uprising. We have seen no signs, noslogans, no clerics of any Islamic favor or flavor.

And in the meantime, as we wait and watch and wonder how long thegovernment here can hang on, the United States and other countries areurging their nationals to leave. The U.S. wants all Americans outand, we understand, is arranging special planes to bring them homestarting tomorrow, Monday.

We saw many, many people stranded at Cairo's airport when welanded last night.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR (voice-over): It was nighttime, well after curfew whenwe landed in Cairo. We found the airport full of stranded tourists,desperate to leave the country, and residents returning, but afraid toventure into town until the curfew was lifted in the morning.

(on-screen): We've got a small car. As you can see, all thebaggage has been strapped to the -- to the roof of the car, and we'regoing to try and get to our hotel tonight.

(voice-over): It's a long drive from the airport into Cairo.And at first, it was eerily quiet. But every hundred yards or so, wewere stopped.

(on-screen): We're driving from the airport into town. It'spractically deserted, very few cars. But there are bands ofvigilantes, ad hoc neighborhood watch groups, young men and boys outwith wooden batons, metal bars, even machetes. They are watching outfor looters and any kind of crime spree, because there is no security.

(voice-over): They had gathered to protect their property. Andwhile it was tense, they were also friendly and waved us through.

(on-screen): So you've mobilized your own security?

(UNKNOWN): Absolutely. There's no...

AMANPOUR: Is there none?

(UNKNOWN): There's nothing (inaudible)

AMANPOUR (voice-over): By morning, police are still nowhere tobe seen, but the army is out in force, especially here around Tahrir,or Liberation Square, and yet the people keep coming.

(on-screen): In full view of the tanks of the army deployed,these people are shouting that the people want the regime's downfall.

(voice-over): Mubarak's steps to try to pacify the protesters byreshuffling the government has simply stiffened their resolve. Theysay they want him gone.

(UNKNOWN): All the people, Egyptian people (inaudible) go out,go to the Hell, and your family (ph).

AMANPOUR: And the tense standoff between the president and thepeople continues.

It's been an extraordinary week in Cairo and across Egypt. Dayafter day, tens of thousands of Egyptians young and old demonstratingin dramatic defiance of President Hosni Mubarak, braving water cannonand rubber bullet, daring to believe the unthinkable, that thispopular uprising might actually mean the end for a military strongmanwho has ruled his country with an iron fist for three decades.

To the United States, Mubarak is a rare pillar of strength in thetroubled Middle East, a staunch ally, and one of only two Arab leaderswho've made peace with Israel.

To his own people, however, Mubarak is an authoritarian whoserepressive regime has imprisoned dissidents and engaged in widespreadtorture. This, alongside the grinding poverty and mass unemployment,is driving the protests.

The past few days have been marked by sometimes violent clasheswith police, as protesters openly defied a government-imposed curfew.On Friday, restaurants and even Mubarak's party headquarters were setablaze. Dozens have been killed, and some of the bodies have beencarried through the streets.

Mubarak himself finally addressed the nation in the early hoursof Saturday morning, announcing that he would dismiss the currentgovernment, but making it clear that he wasn't going anywhere.

MUBARAK (through translator): And -- and putting a newgovernment in place that will achieve our new goals, one that protectsthe security and safety of all Egyptians. This is my responsibility.

AMANPOUR: President Obama, who'd spoken to Mubarak for 30minutes by phone, had this to say.

OBAMA: Violence will not address the grievances of the Egyptianpeople. And suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.

AMANPOUR: The United States gives Mubarak's government more than$1 billion in aid every year.

(UNKNOWN): They're throwing tear gas.

AMANPOUR: Now, tear gas canisters marked "Made in America" areraining down on protesters who are demanding freedom. Saturday, theprotests continued, and now there was also widespread looting,including at the famed Cairo Museum, home to priceless antiquities.

(UNKNOWN): They destroyed two mummies, and they opened one case.What really scares me now is the building that located each side ofthe -- of the Cairo museum. This building is burning. If thisbuilding is destroyed, it will go above the Cairo museum. And thiswill be a disaster.

AMANPOUR: The military has so far held its fire. Soldiers havebeen received warmly, and they're actually giving protesters ridesthrough the city on their tanks.

The army is a revered institution in Egypt. And the big questionis whether they will stand by the embattled president, even if heorders them to fire into the crowds.

Mubarak, meanwhile, appointed his first-ever vice president, OmarSuleiman, the head of Egypt's intelligence service. Suleiman has longbeen one of Mubarak's most trusted advisers. He is the chief go-between with Israel, and he also has deep ties to the United States.

But Egyptians in the streets tell us they don't see this aschange. They tell us they won't stop until Mubarak and his wholecircle are gone. What they want, they say, is the chance to freelyelect their government for the first time in the history of thisancient land.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: Perhaps no one is watching this situation more closelythan Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and she joins us this morningfrom the State Department.

Has the United States administration, whether yourself, whetherthe president, or Secretary Gates, told the Egyptian governmentspecifically that any military crackdown will result in a cutoff ofU.S. military assistance?

CLINTON: No. Right now, we're monitoring the actions of theEgyptian military, and they are, as I'm sure your contacts are tellingyou, demonstrating restraint, working to try to differentiate betweenpeaceful protesters, whom we all support, and potential looters andother criminal elements who are obviously a danger to the Egyptianpeople.

We have sent a very clear message that we want to see restraint,we do not want to see violence by any security forces, and we continueto convey that message. There is no discussion as of this time aboutcutting off any aid. We always are looking and reviewing our aid.

But, you know, right now, we are trying to convey a message thatis very clear, that we want to ensure there is no violence and noprovocation that results in violence and that we want to see thesereforms and a process of national dialogue begun so that the people ofEgypt can see their legitimate grievances addressed.

AMANPOUR: Madam Secretary, do you believe that what PresidentMubarak has done already, which is to appoint a first-ever vicepresident and to shuffle the government, does that amount to enoughreform? Is that all you've asked him to do?

CLINTON: Oh, of course not. But there has been for 30 years aboth public and private dialogue with the Egyptian government,sometimes more public, sometimes more private, but all with the samemessage, from Republican and Democratic administrations, that thereneeds to be reform.

One of the items on that long list was appointing a vicepresident. That has happened. But that is -- that is the beginning,the bare beginning of what needs to happen, which is a process thatleads to the kind of concrete steps to achieve democratic and economicreform that we've been urging and that President Mubarak himselfdiscussed in his speech the other day.

AMANPOUR: There are people still on the streets in greatnumbers. On Tuesday, you said that the U.S. government's assessmentis that the government of Egypt is stable. Do you believe that was amistake? Or do you think today that the government of Egypt isstable?

CLINTON: Well, Christiane, you know, I know that everybody wantsa yes-or-no answer to what are very complicated issues. Obviously,this is a volatile situation. Egypt has been a partner of the UnitedStates for over three decades, has been a partner in achievinghistoric peace with Israel, a partner in, you know, trying tostabilize a region that is subject to a lot of challenges.

And we have been consistent across those three decades in arguingthat real stability only comes from the kind of democraticparticipation that gives people a chance to feel that they are beingheard. And by that I mean real democracy, not a democracy for sixmonths or a year and then evolving into essentially a militarydictatorship or a so-called democracy that then leads to what we sawin Iran.

So we've been very clear about what is in Egypt's long-terminterests. And we continue to be clear. And that is what we want tosee come from this very -- this great outpouring of -- of desire forthe people of Egypt to have their universal human rights recognized.And that is what we hope will come.

AMANPOUR: A lot of the people here on the streets are telling usthat they're angry, they think the U.S. is hedging its bets.

CLINTON: I just want to reiterate what both President Obama andI have been saying. I said it in Doha. I've said it before.President Obama said it himself when he was in Cairo at the beginningof his administration.

We believe that democracy, human rights, economic reform are inthe best interests of the Egyptian people. Any government that doesnot try to move in that direction cannot meet the legitimate needs ofthe people. And in the 21st century, it is highly vulnerable to whatwe have seen in the region and beyond. People are not going to standby any longer and not be given the opportunity to fulfill their ownGod-given potential.

So what I'm hoping is that there can be a very difficult set ofdecisions made, that the government will be able to maintain apeaceful relationship with peaceful protesters, that where there iscriminal activity, looting and the like, that can be handled in anappropriate way, respecting human rights.

But then we can see a national dialogue begin, where thegovernment of Egypt recognizes that it must -- that it must take thoseconcrete steps that many of us have been urging for democratic andeconomic reform. I think that is the best way for Egypt to navigatethrough this without unforeseen consequences that could furtherundermine the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people.

AMANPOUR: Secretary Clinton, thank you very much for joining us.

CLINTON: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And when we return, can the Egyptian government rideout this storm? My exclusive interview with Egypt's ambassador to theUnited States when we return, a special edition of "This Week,""Crisis in Egypt."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: Welcome back to a special edition of "This Week,""Crisis in Egypt," live here in Cairo. We're asking, can thegovernment hold on? Can President Mubarak continue to govern? Thereare no government officials who we can speak to here in Cairo, so weturn now for an exclusive interview to Egypt's ambassador to theUnited States joining us in Washington, Ambassador Sameh Shoukry.

Thank you for being with us this morning.

SHOUKRY: Thank you for having me.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, I've been on the streets now for thesixth straight day. The people are out there. The military has beendeployed. What is the government of Egypt expecting the military todo?

SHOUKRY: The military has been deployed in protection of thedemonstrations and keeping order, peace and order on the streets ofCairo. And it continues to operate undertaking its responsibilities,as many have seen. It was received with great affection by the peopleand the demonstrators and continues to play an important role.

It's an institution that the Egyptians hold in immense pride andone that has always come to provide safety and security and a safetyvalve for the Egyptian society.

AMANPOUR: So, Ambassador, though, how long will PresidentMubarak continue to tolerate this number of people in the streets?

SHOUKRY: From the outset, the freedom of expression had beenguaranteed. Egypt has been on a road of economic, political,democratic reform for the last 20 years or more, and it has achievedgreat strides in that regard. Freedom of expression, freedom of thepress had been evolving and advancing with very important strides. Ibelieve, in the president's speech, he indicated that there would be aguarantee of the freedom and -- and ability of all Egyptians toexpress their points of view in a peaceful manner.

AMANPOUR: So, Ambassador, you say that there've been importantreforms for many years now, but, you know, on the streets, peoplearen't hearing that, and they don't feel it. And they're telling usright now that, no matter what President Mubarak does, they want himout. Are you afraid for the future?

SHOUKRY: Well, certainly Egypt is going through a difficulttime, but Egypt is a resourceful country, a country of a long history,and its major strength is in its people and their ability to overcomeadverse situations.

The process of reform is an ongoing one. And definitely thepeople on the streets have indicated a desire for speedier reforms.That I'm sure is the direction that Egypt will take within theinstitutions that are still in operation that are cognizant to what isthe word that is coming out from the streets.

AMANPOUR: When you look at what's happening on the streets, doyou fear for the future here? SHOUKRY: I think it's a demonstration of people involvingthemselves more actively in their future and their -- the compositionof their government and how they want to see the future for themselvesand their children and the values that will cover the Egyptiansociety. This is a right that -- and a value that we all respect.

AMANPOUR: As I say, they are saying that what's happening is notenough. What more should the government do to bring more freedom,political pluralism? There is no meaningful political space here.What more can the government do, and should it?

SHOUKRY: Well, the government is being formed -- the presidenthas indicated a willingness to continue the national dialogue. And,of course, a consensus, a national consensus must be arrived at interms of the direction of the reform process.

All of these things will be developed within the context of theconversation between various political representatives, those in themedia, and other opinion-makers in Egypt. And it is a process thatneeds to be undertaken with the necessary speed and caution, in termsof impacting the social welfare of the population.

AMANPOUR: You know, so many Egyptian prominent people areleaving, businesspeople are leaving. And as I say again, the mood onthe street is uncompromising. Do you expect President Mubarak to stayand battle it out or to leave?

SHOUKRY: People in Egypt have shown during this time a greatdeal of solidarity, a great deal of desire to see their countrydevelop and prosper. And I believe that every loyal Egyptian willcontinue to undertake his responsibilities and contribute towards theimprovement of his homeland.

AMANPOUR: On that note, Ambassador Sameh Shoukry, thank you forjoining us from Washington.

SHOUKRY: Thank you very much.

AMANPOUR: When we return, we'll have much more about what'sgoing on, on the ground, as our special, "Crisis in Egypt," continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: As we've been broadcasting and consistently over thelast 30 minutes, Air Force jets have been buzzing the square and thearea of downtown Cairo where we are right now. Flying high, flyinglow, enormous, ear-drum-ripping sounds, potentially probably tointimidate the crowd.

Our producer down there in Tahrir Square, where tens of thousandsof people are still there, are saying that they are not reacting wellto this show of force.

Joined now by Lama Hasan, ABC's Lama Hasan, our colleague who'sbeen here for the last few days.

This is a first, a show of military strength in the air. There'salso military helicopters. People are not happy. What have they beensaying to you in general over the last few days?

HASAN: It's remarkable, Christiane, because everywhere we went,every protest that we went to, every single protester said the samething: They've had enough.

They used the word "kefaya" in Arabic. They've had enough ofPresident Mubarak's rule. They say for the last 30 years they'vesuffered under him. They're tired of the corruption. They're tiredof the high unemployment, the soaring food crisis. They told us theyjust want to live. They want to be able to find jobs. They want tobe able to eat. So now they say is the time for change.

AMANPOUR: What -- what we're seeing and what we've seen is afairly good-natured relationship between the army and the people,apart from those first few days when the police were obviouslycracking down. Now it's developed into a better relationship. Butthis looks like a dramatic raising of tensions with these buzzing ofAir Force jets.

HASAN: Well, this certainly is a turn of events. And I thinkthe people will be even more emboldened by this. Some of theprotesters that we spoke to yesterday said that they are not going tobe deterred, they are defiant, and they're going to stay and protestuntil they bring down President Mubarak. They've had enough. Theysay now is the time for change. And they believe they can do it.

AMANPOUR: Lama Hasan, thank you so much for joining us. And we're now going to talk to Mohamed ElBaradei. You all knowhim. He used to be head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, a thorn in theU.S. side during the Iraq war, didn't want the U.S. to go to war withIraq. And now, over the last year, he's come back to try to lead thisprotest movement.

It wasn't going anywhere for a while. He left, and now he's backagain. We spoke to him earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: Mr. ElBaradei, are the latest moves by PresidentMubarak sufficient, appointing a vice president, a prime minister?

ELBARADEI: Christiane, it doesn't even begin to address people'sconcerns. People's concerns right now is Mubarak has to go,immediately. The first step, if we need to get out of this mess --and it's total mess, security is not there, it's a total chaossituation right now -- first step, he has to go.

Second step, we have to have a government of national salvation,in coordination with the army, so the people and the army will gettogether, go for a transitional period, where then we prepare for afree and fair election, a new constitution, and then move on toward ademocracy.

Third point, that the army has the horrible task of ensuringsecurity. Prisoners got out of prison. It's -- the -- the securityforce, which is over a million, has been disbanded. It's a criminalact. I don't know who did that.

AMANPOUR: You think the army will turn on the people, if theyget the order?

ELBARADEI: I don't think it would ever turn on the people. Ithink the army is very much on the people's side, and the army is putin then impossible situation. I mean, normally, what should happen isthat the police should be in the city to protect people andinfrastructure. Somebody gives the order to the police to disband.And then what you have right now is thugs. You know, thugs arelooting. And, you know -- and it's -- it's -- it's a horriblesituation right now.

AMANPOUR: How do you assess the reaction of the U.S.administration?

ELBARADEI: Well, I think it's -- it's -- it -- it came here like-- like lead. You know, people expected the U.S. to be on the side ofthe people, you know, who are -- legitimate needs for democracy,social justice, it's -- and to let go of a dictator, you know?

AMANPOUR: But now President Obama is saying that the rights ofthe people need to be protected and reforms need to happen.

ELBARADEI: Sure. But, Christiane, he's also saying, I look tothe government, you know, i.e., Mubarak, you know, to implementdemocracy. I mean, to ask a dictator to implement democratic measureafter 30 years in power is an oxymoron. So they need to let go ofMubarak. They need to side with the people. They need to go for, youknow, transition, smooth transition, through a government of nationalsalvation. This is only way out.

AMANPOUR: As you know, the administration is very concerned thatif Mubarak goes, the inevitable replacement is the Muslim Brotherhoodor some kind of Islamic fundamentalism.

ELBARADEI: This is total bogus that the (ph) Muslim Brotherhoodare religiously conservative. They are no way extremists. They areno way using violence. They are not a majority of the Egyptianpeople. They will not be more than maybe 20 percent of the Egyptianpeople. You have to include them like, you know, new evangelical, youknow, groups in the U.S., like the orthodox Jews in Jerusalem.

I mean, that is -- you -- they are not. This is -- this is whatthe regime used to -- sold to the -- to the West and to the U.S."It's either us, repression, or -- or -- or Al Qaida-type Islamists."That is -- that's not -- this is not Egypt.

AMANPOUR: Are the Islamists behind this uprising?

ELBARADEI: Not at all. I mean, what -- what you saw is theyoung people. I mean, it's all 30 and below. It is organized plan,implemented by people who are 30 and below who are -- absolutely haveno ideology other than they want to see future hope, a respect fortheir dignity, and -- and basic needs.

AMANPOUR: How do you think this is going to end?

ELBARADEI: Well, I think -- I think everybody should understand,you know, that it will not end until Mubarak leaves today, until weagree with the army on a national unity government, until the army gothold of the street. If we do these three steps, you know, and ensurein the process the basic needs of the people, then we get a smoothtransition, an Egypt that is democratic, that is moderate.

You know, it does not mean that Egypt will be hostile to the U.S.This is -- again, we traditionally in Egypt, in the Arab world, havealways been friends with the U.S., friends with Europe, and I -- Ihave no doubt that that will continue, but under the basis of astability and not pseudo-stability, where -- where you are oppressingpeople in -- in the country.

AMANPOUR: Mr. ElBaradei, thank you for joining us.

ELBARADEI: Thank you very much, Christiane, for having me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: And to delve deeper into this very issue, we're joinednow by a man who has helped navigate U.S. foreign policy, way backduring the Iranian revolution. He is Zbigniew Brzezinski, who used tobe President Carter's national security adviser, joins us now. Thank you for being with us. I want to start by asking you, doesMubarak have to go? Or, as the administration seems to hope, he canimplement enough reforms to get through this moment? Is thatrealistic?

BRZEZINSKI: I don't think that's realistic. What could berealistic is that Mubarak himself becomes convinced, with outsideadvice, that it is in his interest, as well as in Egypt's interests,that he goes and that he sets in motion a process which facilitatesthat.

I think the alternatives otherwise are much tougher. Either thearmy cracks down and the populace increasingly turns tofundamentalism, radicalism in reaction to the crackdown, or the regimeperpetuates itself and an explosion comes later and even moreviolently.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you then, because clearly theadministration is grappling with a decades-long problem, how to havedemocracy in this part of the world without fundamentalism filling thevacuum. Do you think that is still -- particularly as you watch whathappened in Tunisia, secular, young -- here in Egypt, it's mostlysecular. We don't see the Islamic forces right now. Do you thinkthat is still a fear?

BRZEZINSKI: Well, it still is a fear, but there are someexamples which are warning to us, and there are some examples whichare a possible source of encouragement. The warning is, of course,what happened in Iran, the takeover by theological fundamentalistregime hostile to the outside world, and particularly to us.

The other alternative -- and it's also an equal importanthistorical nation -- is Turkey, where the army has played a role ofthe guarantor of democracy, a guarantor of democracy, even sometimesin an authoritarian transition. And the army has made possible theevolution of Turkey.

Now, if you look at the region in which you are now present,there are three great nations in that region: Egypt, with enormoushistory and civilization and culture; Iran, similarly so; and Turkey,with an imperial past of enormous impression.

Now, Turkey, certainly, I think provides the most relevantexample. And Mubarak I think could play still a constrictive role byaccepting the reality and making that change possible himself.

Hello?

TAPPER: We lost Christiane for the time being. In the meantime,we're going have a roundtable discussion in just a moment with GeorgeWill, from Al Jazeera, Abderrahim Foukara, ABC News' own MarthaRaddatz, and ABC News' own Sam Donaldson, as a special edition of"This Week," "Crisis in Egypt," continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to our special "This Week," "Crisis inEgypt." Christiane will be back with us later from Cairo, but firstour roundtable with George Will, Al Jazeera bureau chief AbderrahimFoukara -- I'm sorry, Abderrahim Foukara -- ABC News' own MarthaRaddatz and ABC News' own Sam Donaldson. Thanks, one and all, forbeing here.

First of all, George, how does this crisis that we are spendingso much time this morning and in the last few days talking about, howdoes it affect the American people?

WILL: Well, in three ways. First of all, this is a politicalcontagion in a very sensitive region of the world. It began when a26-year-old street vendor of fruit set himself on fire in a Tunisiancity. It wasn't even in the capital. Now the next-door neighbor,Egypt, is ablaze, and who knows where it will go, given the dry tinderover there? The 300 million people in the Arab world, 60 percent ofthem under 25 years old, a quarter of those unemployed.

Second, this is what economists call an exogenous event. We arehaving a fragile recovery in this country. The immediate reaction ofthe Dow on Friday was to lose 166 points. Someone -- I mean, I don'tknow if anyone wants to say $5 gasoline yet, but it could happen. Youcould have a great energy supply.

But, third, this is Israel's nightmare. They have Iran and thepresence of Hezbollah in the northern border. They have Hamas inGaza. Egypt has been enforcing the embargo of weapons on Gaza, onHamas in Gaza, coming through tunnels and elsewhere. What happens ifEgypt drops out of that?

TAPPER: Abed, before we begin, there's been a lot of talk aboutthe Egyptian government stopping the satellite feed of Al Jazeera andAl Jazeera English in Cairo. What is the status of that? And what doyou think that says about the way that the government there is tryingto monitor the freedom of information?

FOUKARA: Obviously, the offices of Al Jazeera in Cairo have beenshut down. The -- as you mentioned, satellite, Nilesat, owned by theEgyptians on which -- on whose frequencies Al Jazeera hastraditionally broadcast, has been switched off. So Al Jazeera hasswitched now to an Arab site.

Look, this is a classic example of a government in the regiongoing in one way and its people going in another way, as far ascoverage is concerned. We've heard this story about Al Jazeera fromprevious governments before.

I don't want to make too much propaganda for Al Jazeera, but letme just say this: Al Jazeera is an imperfect medium in an imperfectworld. But the importance of what's going on in the Middle East rightnow, this is the story of a generation. Al Jazeera, despite itsimperfections, has brought this story to 300 million people in theArab world and beyond. This is a story of huge importance andconsequence of the United States. And Al Jazeera is, in its own way,bringing this story to the United States, to the Arab world.

A few years ago, several years ago, Bill Clinton talked of AlJazeera as a beacon of democracy. Should that be true, and to theextent that the United States is invested in the future of democracyin the Middle East, Al Jazeera will be an asset. It has provided aplatform on which people in the Arab world, from one corner of it tothe other, have expressed their grievances and aspirations.

TAPPER: Martha, one of the things that's so interesting watchingthis crisis unfold is the way that we cover the Egyptian military asif it is its own branch of government. How is the Egyptian army goingto respond? What is going to happen with the Egyptian military?Explain this to people.

RADDATZ: Well, of course, all eyes are on the military. Youheard Christiane talk about that, as well. And I think people say,there's -- there's choice A, the military will side with Mubarak;choice B, the military will side with the people. But I say it'schoice C: The military will take care of itself.

They are the most highly respected institution in Egypt, as youcan see. People are climbing on tanks, they're waving. It's prettyclear to me they haven't been given orders to fire on people. Youheard the ambassador say they're just there to protect institutions.They're going to surround buildings to make sure they're OK, butsomebody's got to blink at some point.

And the military, I think, first and foremost, is going to say,what does this mean for me? Do I want to lose the respect of thenation? So I would think that it is unlikely they would fire on thepeople and that you really might see a change.

Now, Suleiman, the vice president now, he's a military man, aswell. He certainly wants to earn the respect of the military. Youhave to have the respect of the military there.

TAPPER: Sam, I follow in your footsteps as White Housecorrespondent for ABC News. When you were there during the Carteryears, you saw something like this -- not exactly the same -- butsomething like this unfold in Iran. How is President Obama handlingthis crisis, especially with that historical perspective you bring?

DONALDSON: I think pretty well at this point, because we're inthe middle of a fluid situation, and the United States has really twoimperatives, to be for democracy, to be for freedom of choice bypeoples around the world, and he has said that, and restraint, ofcourse, from the standpoint of suppression of this.

But on the other hand, we have learned the hard way that a PaxAmericana cannot be imposed on other people. We tried it in Iran. In1953, our CIA overthrew a democratically elected prime minister, areformer who was bringing reforms to the country named MohammedMosaddegh, because we wanted the oil. Well, we established the shahin power. When he was overthrown by the people, it hasn't worked outthat well for us. And in Iraq, I think we're in a situation where wedon't know the end of this.

RADDATZ: We're kind of like the fence-sitters now, right?Sam...

DONALDSON: But we have no choice.

RADDATZ: Yeah, we have no choice, but it's the fence-sittersthat everybody talks about, they're going to side with the winner.And I think that's what you're seeing in the administration. And it'sa very difficult fence to ride.

DONALDSON: I read in the newspaper this morning, Elliot Abrams,a former assistant secretary of state and in the George W. Bushadministration National Security Council, he didn't say we shouldintervene militarily, not by a long shot, but he implied that weneeded to do more than just speak out. He didn't tell us what more,of course. But I don't think we're going to send in the Third ArmoredDivision into Egypt or anywhere else now.

TAPPER: George?

WILL: Well, picking up on what Martha said, we have seenauthoritarian regimes more or less successfully overturned, thePhilippines and South Korea, but generally what happens is the veryaspects of the society that bring about an upheaval like this andwe're seeing in Egypt right now is the weakness of civil society, noparties, no press, no tradition of persuasion, courts, et cetera.

Therefore, the one institution that exists that brings order isthe military. The archetypal modern revolution was the Frenchrevolution. Order was restored by a Corsican captain of artillerycalled Napoleon, hence, the tradition of Bonapartism, which we mightsee come back in Egypt.

TAPPER: Abed, do you think that it's possible that Mubarak isletting some chaos reign right now so that Egyptians, who basicallywant to live their lives, even if they want their freedoms -- they --they don't want to die, they want their stores to be able to open onSunday -- so that they embrace a -- a restoration of order, a martiallaw? Do you think it's possible that Mubarak is doing that?

FOUKARA: It is entirely possible. And should that be the case,what happened in Tunisia has proven the failure of that strategy,because we had a similar thing. After the president of Tunisia fledthe country, there were bands of gangsters who in some cases turnedout to be secret police or goaded by secret police to do that -- toundertake that -- that -- that sort of action in Tunisia. We've seen in Egypt militias of civilian Egyptians basicallytaking care of the protection of various places, such as the NationalMuseum. So there is definitely that scenario in Egypt.

I just want to quickly go back to the issue of the army. TheUnited States has, obviously, through the decades invested inmilitary-to-military cooperation with the Egyptians. I think...

RADDATZ: They were here just last week.

FOUKARA: They were here just last week. The -- the -- the chiefof the Egyptian army was here in -- in Washington. He cut his visitshort, went back to Cairo for the obvious reasons.

It seems to me that that kind of investment was the rightinvestment, because eventually the army will always play a role inwhatever happens in Egypt.

I think the second component that I would like to talk about nowis that, in the same way the United States has invested time andtreasure and other things in the Egyptian army, they need -- the Obamaadministration needs to be investing in democracy. This is not aboutthe Muslim Brotherhood leading this or -- do not exclude that they mayhave something to do with it. This is about the Middle East not goingback to what it was just two months ago.

So the United States needs to be on the right side. If theUnited States had the kind of openness in Egypt, we would have a muchbetter picture of what's going to happen in Egypt in the future. Butbecause of 30 years of iron fist, we do not now, but it's not too latefor the United States.

DONALDSON: I agree we need to be on the right side from thestandpoint of talking about democracy, urging peoples to move towardthat, if they can. But my question to you would be, what should we donow? Should we demand publicly that President Mubarak leave? And ifwe do that, should we now demand that Abdullah leave Jordan? Shouldwe now demand that the house of Saud fall in Saudi Arabia? Where doesthat end? But, basically, forgive me, for U.S. interests, where doesthat leave us?

TAPPER: And, yeah, as they say, be careful what you wish forwhen it comes to democracy, as we saw in Gaza, and this is somethingthat the Egyptians have been impressing upon the U.S. As we saw inGaza, there were elections there, and they elected Hamas.

Martha, this has been a very difficult time for this White House,you and I both know from covering it. Talk a little bit about -- andwe only have a minute left in this segment -- talk a little bit aboutthe sturm und drang and the angst they've had in that building?

RADDATZ: Well, you and I have been talking for several daysabout this and -- and watching the administration really all tied upabout this. On Friday, making calls to administration officials, itwas basically, we don't really know what to do. We don't know reallywhere we're going with this. And you and I were also talking about these -- these statementsthey put out. Well, you have to do these three things. You have to--you have to have a dialogue. You have to get away with emergency law,do away with emergency law.

Basically what they're saying is, just do what you did two weeksago. They're not saying, let's take it forward very far. So it'sbeen really tied up in knots, the administration.

TAPPER: We're going to take a quick break. And more on thecrisis in Egypt and Christiane Amanpour from Cairo when "This Week"returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: And a special edition of "This Week," "Crisis in Egypt"continues. We will continue with our roundtable.

As always, George Will, from Al Jazeera's D.C. bureau, AbedFoukara, ABC News' own Martha Raddatz and ABC News' own Sam Donaldson.

Abed, I want to start with you. I think a lot of Americans areprobably looking at what's going on in Egypt and thinking, "Oh, mygod. What is going to happen to that country? Should we be afraid ofwhat happens next?"

FOUKARA: I mean, there's definitely reason to be afraid and toworry. This is a time of great peril in Egypt, no doubt about it.But I think if the Egyptian people, the Egyptian political formations,the Egyptian army, and the United States government somehow manage toget Egypt to safety through this, then the domino effect theory --based on the history of the region -- does not necessarily have tohold.

What I'm trying to say is, if you get a -- a stable government inEgypt, that somehow somewhat changes the course of the country in waysthat Egyptians have been clamoring for in these protests, othergovernments in the region do not necessarily have to topple, but theywill have to readjust. And I think that that would be the bestoutcome that the region and the United States could hope for.

TAPPER: Well, that's the best-case scenario. George, what's theworst-case scenario?

WILL: Well, the worst case is for us to assume that we canmaster these events. Beginning in the fall of 2001, when we easilytoppled the Taliban, and March 2003, when we easily toppled SaddamHussein's regime, since those two events, we have been learning thehard lesson -- or at least being taught, whether we've learned it ornot's another matter -- that it's easier to set in train events and tobring down regimes than it is to fashion a replacement for them. Sowe should have great modesty about the ability of the United States toinfluence events far around the world in cultures we do notunderstand.

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

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? Andyou've got to talk about national security, because that is really theimportant thing here to -- to Americans.

Egypt has helped fight terrorism in that region. They are theanchor for the U.S. in that region. And one other thing we haven'treally 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 adegree of instability there already which could be worse by the end ofthe year.

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

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

RADDATZ: Radical Islamists.

TAPPER: ... radical Islamists...

RADDATZ: Absolutely.

TAPPER: ... when it comes to recognizing the new Iraqigovernment, when it comes to the Mideast peace process. Sam, you weresaying you're concerned that the new government might not recognizethe peace treaty it has with Israel that Anwar Sadat gave his lifefor.

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

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

We hope that democracy -- and we hope that it will work outthere, but we do have to, as Martha put it, pay attention to that. In1954, we created the nation of South Vietnam. That didn't work out.The Vietnamese wanted to live together. They do today, and we haveperfect relations with North and South Vietnam, which is one country.

RADDATZ: And as smarty-pants as we all try to be, we have noidea. I mean, this is a situation where you've got social mediathrown in there. You've got a country that's uniting in ways we'venever seen before. So you really have to wonder what's going tohappen. We don't know. The administration didn't know. That's whywe've had these few days of back-and-forth, and what do we say?

DONALDSON: May I say just a word -- talks about propaganda forAl Jazeera -- thank you for what you're doing. People say Al Jazeerafanned the flames here by bringing the fact that democracy is inexistence and that people are being suppressed. That's what we need;we need more communication in the world. It's not Al Jazeera'sfault...

RADDATZ: They watched Tunisia...

DONALDSON: ... that Mubarak is under a siege now.

WILL: On the other hand, we in the media tend to think the mediadrives the world. And I have a feeling this would be going on acrossthis region regardless of the media.

DONALDSON: But the world drives the world to the extent theworld knows about what's happening everywhere else. That's what mediadoes.

TAPPER: We only have 30 seconds. Abed, quick question for you,OK? This new guy, this new vice president, Suleiman, is he going --is his appointment going to satisfy the Egyptian street?

FOUKARA: Well, two things. The fact that Mubarak has appointeda vice president for the first time in his 30 years is a significantevent. I mean, remember, Mubarak has said several times, I willcontinue to rule Egypt literally until the last breath in my body. Sothe fact is he has appointed this guy -- that he's military from theold guard is a different story.

TAPPER: All right. The roundtable will continue in the greenroom at abcnews.com/thisweek, where you can also find our fact checks,in conjunction with PolitiFact.

Christiane will be back with a final word live from Cairo afterthis.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: Back live in Cairo now.

And curfew has fallen, and yet thousands of people are still inthe streets, still in Liberation Square, and so is the army. Duringmy many years of covering this part of the world, like so many people,I've wondered how change, if ever, would come here? Would it be byevolution or revolution? And what, as we asked before, what would itlook like?

Well, at the very least, now it seems a tipping point has beenreached with this uprising. At the very least, fear, generations offear have been shaken off, and the people have raised their voices forfreedom. You know, when this uprising started on Tuesday, President Obamawas delivering his State of the Union address, extolling America ashaving been founded on the strength of an idea. Well, now the peoplehere say that they, too, are grabbing that idea of democracy, of self-representation in government, and of economic opportunity.

It was here in Cairo during his first year as president thatObama came to speak to the Muslim world. It was his first interviewthat he gave to an Arab television station where he said that theUnited States could no longer afford to have yet another generation ofMuslim youth who see the United States as the enemy.

Well, now here people are rising. They want, they say,democracy. They say that they have extended their hand, they've puttheir hand out, and they hope the United States is ready to grab it.

That's all for "This Week." I'm Christiane Amanpour live inCairo. Stay with ABC News for continuing coverage of this breakingstory.

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