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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Interview With the Dalai Lama; Crisis in Pakistan
Aired May 10, 2009 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.
Now I've been sounding alarms about Afghanistan and especially Pakistan for months. And Pakistan will be the main topic we discuss on the panel. We've got a great one, an American, an Indian, a Pakistani.
I also will have an exclusive interview next week with someone who is rarely heard from, Pervez Musharraf, the man who was Pakistan's president and head of its army until just last year.
But there are other things going on in the world and we thought we'd start this week by turning to another fascinating global problem. Today I have a very special guest, the 14th and current Dalai Lama.
To understand Tibet, you have to understand its history. Now bear with me while I play history professor for just a moment. It all goes back to Genghis Khan who captured Tibet in 1207. He brought Tibet together with China under the Mongol empire. The Chinese have claimed an unbroken line of control and sovereignty over Tibet ever since. The Tibetans reject that claim, saying they have been an independent kingdom for many period during that time, sometimes centuries at a time.
Fast forward to the 20th century. In 1912, Tibet declared itself an independent republic but neither did China exercise any control over Tibet, until 1950. That's when chairman Mao Zedong sent the Red Army in to liberate, as the Chinese saw it, the Tibetan people from the futile serfdom they were living under. But the Tibetans saw the act as an invasion.
In 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama fled from China to India, where he now lives. The Dalai Lama says all he really wants today is autonomy for his people who are living under Chinese rule which he accepts. The Chinese say what he really wants is to split China and begin a process that will dismember the whole country.
So you see this is no small family squabble. The conflict has important implications for the most populous country on earth.
Let's get started.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ZAKARIA: Thank you for joining us, sir. What do you think could be Tibet's contribution to the world? You have sometimes spoken about how Tibetan culture could be an example for the world of how to be less violent, less conflictual. Do you really believe that there's a way to reduce the levels of violence and suffering through the world through a kind of an inner search?
TENZIN GYATSO, DALAI LAMA: I don't think anybody would say, I want violence. I don't think these people really say that. And then these people who like Bin Laden, I don't think when he was a child in his daily lifestyle he want now today I wish more violence. I don't think.
Out of desperate, out of hatred, out of anger, out of frustration, violence took place. So therefore, violence does not come from sky. Violence not come from guns alone. Ultimately is with motivation, emotion. So unless we tackle emotion, we're stuck to the emotion, we cannot stop violence.
ZAKARIA: How do you tackle that?
DALAI LAMA: Not here. The sense of concern of other human beings, other beings also part of humanity. So the reality, we are all just one. So very constant, we and they. So I think I feel the concept of they is no longer relevant. We must consider all human beings part of we and then whenever a conflict different interests come.
First, we must realize and they're also part of humanity, they also have every right to overcome suffering. So we must respect their right. And then with that, I think if we -- right from the beginning, if we sit together with Bin Laden and listen to his grievance, I think that things may be different.
As a matter of fact, September 11th even happened. I wrote letter to President Bush because I know Bush is a nice person. As a person, regardless of what is policy. As a person, very nice.
So I wrote a letter and expressed my condolence and sadness and meanwhile I also expressed now this problem. I wish handle this problem more nonviolently.
ZAKARIA: You said last November that you thought your model of leadership had failed, that you felt that you had failed as a leader of the Tibetan people. You've spoken of China having thrown Tibet into a hell on earth. Why do you think you've failed? What leads to see that you have failed?
DALAI LAMA: Well, I think I should say all my responsibility, spiritual -- I hope not failed, complete failed. But as far as dialogue with China's government is concerned, there is some aspect -- one aspect to make clear to Chinese people we are not seeking separation. We are very much willing and committed to remain with the people of China. That's our only interest, economy -- the economy is concerned and it's our sort of interest to remain a more powerful nation, economically. But why did we also have some unique cultural heritage, including our language, so every Tibetan (INAUDIBLE) on these things. And also I think from a wider perspective, I think a Tibetan cultural heritage is a compassionate cultural heritage, peaceful cultural heritage. It's something useful on this planet, the rather subtle violence and too much competitions or too much hatred -- these things.
They say different cultural heritage. And I think of course our country heritage mainly comes from India. And so that I really feel not only myself but also many of our friends also appreciate Tibetan peaceful cultural heritage. So that we must preserve that.
And long run, to the Chinese government -- I mean Chinese people also I think Tibetan culture heritage can serve them, bring some meaning of life. Now, one aspect of my approach is bring better situation out of closer understanding with Chinese government inside Tibet. Now, that aspect completely failed. So I admit it. It is my moral responsibility to admit failure.
ZAKARIA: You call it what is going on inside Tibet today a cultural genocide?
DALAI LAMA: Yes, some kind of cultural genocide. Whether intentionally or unintentionally -- the problem is, some of those Chinese communist hard liners eye the unique Tibetan cultural heritage and Tibetan spirit, they see that's the source of threat of separation from men in China.
ZAKARIA: You have been in negotiations off and on with the Chinese government. Are those negotiations still going on?
DALAI LAMA: No.
ZAKARIA: Why have they ended?
DALAI LAMA: Now only thing is, the Chinese government insists there's no problem -- in fact the Tibetan people are very, very happy. Now, if that is the case, then also our view is wrong. I admit clear, when the time comes, our return with certain degree of freedom, that means autonomy and then we return and all Dalai Lama's legitimate authority [INAUDIBLE] through a local government.
ZAKARIA: Through a Democratic process?
DALAI LAMA: That government, I imagine I don't know. That's up to the Chinese government. The totalitarian vision -- one part of the Democratic practice, I think Democratic but hopefully even China as a whole. I always believe the future of China, future of over a billion human beings well-being I think very much an open society, rule of law (INAUDIBLE). That's everybody's interest. The Chinese people also want that.
So we have sort of an emphasis or slogan, harmonious society is very good. Harmony very much into it with trust, trust and fear cannot go together. So Tibetan people, according to our information more than 90 percent Tibetan very unhappy and actually they are facing, usually sometimes I describe almost like a Tibetan nation -- an ancient nation with a unique cultural heritage now passing through something like a death sentence.
So Tibetan people I think generally, I think are quite proud people. So the Chinese say, oh, they can help us. Then sometimes we feel we don't need to help. For a thousand years, we managed ourselves.
ZAKARIA: Let me read to you something that Wen Jiabao said to me in a conversation we had.
DALAI LAMA: Yes.
ZAKARIA: I asked him about -- I said, the Dalai Lama said that he would accept China's rule in Tibet, he accepts the socialist system. What he asks for is cultural autonomy and a certain degree of political autonomy.
He said, many people in the United States have no idea how big is the so-called greater Tibetan region that the Dalai Lama wants. The greater Tibetan region covers Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai and Guangzhou. Altogether five provinces and the area by the so-called Greater Tibetan Region is a quarter of China's territory. Is that your definition of Tibet?
DALAI LAMA: My definition of Tibet are those people who speak Tibetan, who practice Tibetan culture. So in order to carry the meaningful preservation of Tibetan culture, all these Tibetans, including my own birthplace area, we must work together.
ZAKARIA: Does it comprise these five areas?
DALAI LAMA: Part of Qingha, part of Guangzhou, part of Yunnan, Sichuan, part they are Tibetan there. So some there, I think some among the Chinese also I think some confusion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DALAI LAMA: The purpose of being a nation is to carry the tasks which started by previous life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: You've spoken in a tone of almost despair about the state of Tibet and its people. Do you have much hope that there will be progress towards resolving this issue?
DALAI LAMA: Now, when we look Tibet issue, locally, then hopeless. If we look at Tibetan issue from wider perspective, I feel much hope because China is changing. And more and more Chinese intellectuals now comes to support our struggle. And also free world particularly in Europe and North America. I think many people really showing genuine concern and as a reflection of the public, media is very supportive and various countries of parliament, a strong voice for Tibet and then government level also particularly like the United States. They are showing genuine concern. And India also.
And then on the other hand, the Tibetan spirit inside Tibet is wonderful, very strong. Unless we see Tibetan become an insignificant minority in our world, then very difficult. I think some hard liner Chinese want to do that. That's almost like (INAUDIBLE).
ZAKARIA: To flood Tibet with Chinese so that the Tibetans become a minority?
DALAI LAMA: That's right. Like in Mongolia. Same autonomous regions, same status of autonomous region.
ZAKARIA: So this doesn't sound very hopeful.
DALAI LAMA: But I don't think world let that happen. And also the Chinese now unlike '50s and '60s and '70s, now today world with (INAUDIBLE) there is a facility, the information, I don't think that easily can happen.
ZAKARIA: It sounds as though you find it difficult to exist under a socialist system. You're quite critical of what -- you've called it a totalitarian state.
DALAI LAMA: A social system.
ZAKARIA: Yes. You've called it a totalitarian state. You've called it...
DALAI LAMA: A social system. I myself, no question I'm socialist. Even more, I often tell people (INAUDIBLA) as a social economy theory is concerned I am Marxist. Still I'm Marxist.
ZAKARIA: But you don't believe in a one-party state?
DALAI LAMA: Not a totalitarian. One party -- I think a party with full democratic principles, then even a one-party system is ok. But one party always hypocritically telling something, doing something, these have been months now -- over one year, how much information come from Chinese media? So many people laughing.
ZAKARIA: Do you worry that after you, there will be a greater demand for independence and violence? In other words, that you have been the moderating force and that the Tibetan community may go in a different direction?
DALAI LAMA: I have no worry. This is Tibetan issue. Tibetan people issue. Tibetan nation issue. So after death, I'm as deserving of (INAUDIBLE). Should Chinese policy inside Tibet continue, then eventually I have to ask people what to do. The Tibetan people are my boss. ZAKARIA: How will your successor be chosen? Because the Chinese government, as you know, claims that they have the right. There have been some reports that you may try to preempt the situation by actually initiating the process yourself.
DALAI LAMA: I made very clear that because of reincarnation -- the purpose of reincarnation is to carry the task which started by previous life. So logically in case I die outside (INAUDIBLE) some work not yet accomplished so that my resignation logically appear outside in free world, that's clear.
ZAKARIA: But do you think the next Dalai Lama must appear in the free world?
DALAI LAMA: Yes, I think. Why not? Look very purpose of reincarnation, not just for previous life's work -- must follow previous life's work, logically.
ZAKARIA: Sir, thank you very much. You've been very kind with your time.
DALAI LAMA: Thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHASHI THAROOR, FORMER UNDERSECRETARY GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS: Look in other countries, the state has an army. In Pakistan the army has a state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: For many months we at this program have been banging the drum on the perils of Pakistan. This week, it's all coming true. The situation has devolved further -- chaos, violence and, of course, talks in Washington.
Here to talk about Pakistan at this table and to fix its problems, Richard Haass has had many key roles in the State Department, including as principal adviser to Secretary of State Colin Powell, and coordinator of U.S. policy toward Afghanistan right after the American invasion. He is also the author of a new and brilliant book: "War of Necessity, War of Choice," about the U.S.' two wars with Iraq.
Shashi Tharoor is the former undersecretary general of the United Nations. He's also a candidate for the Indian parliament in the general election that is in the process of ending. And next week we will find out whether he won.
Aqil Shah is a former road scholar from Pakistan, currently a scholar at Columbia University and he's writing a book on the Pakistani military. Welcome, gentlemen. So, Richard, what do you think happened in Washington this week? The talks took place and President Obama and Secretary Clinton said we've had a breakthrough. We've had extraordinary cooperation. But they didn't announce anything substantive. Was there kind of a feel good breakthrough?
RICHARD HAASS, AUTHOR, "WAR OF NECESSITY, WAR OF CHOICE": Woody Allen once said that 90 percent of life is showing up. In this case, that was probably it, the fact that you got people there together, it was symbolic. But there can't be breakthroughs, Fareed. This is not a situation like a traditional negotiation where you can have across the table people could change their positions and essentially solve a problem.
This is not the Palestinian situation. It's not Northern Ireland. What you have are deeply-rooted intrinsic problems within these countries and to some extent between these countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan. So there are no breakthroughs in Washington or anywhere else. If you're lucky, you stem some of the deterioration. You put into place at least some new policies or the beginning of new policies.
But in some situations like this, take the word success, take the word solution out of lexicon. What you simply want to do is avoid failure. What you simply want to do is perhaps get the arrows re- pointed in a more positive direction if we're lucky.
And that's what happened. I'm not even sure if we accomplished that much.
ZAKARIA: Shashi, what did you take from that meeting?
THAROOR: Well, I think one of the ironies, of course, when you see the presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan in Washington, is that it points to the fact that, of course, they are fighting not only their own enemies but Washington's enemies. But the very presence of these people, the showing up that Richard talked about, underscores the message at home that they are in fact agents for another power...
ZAKARIA: That they are dependent on America?
THAROOR: Exactly and the resistance to them domestically in their own countries gets a further boost from the visual images of them seemingly in Washington to takes support.
So I'm not sure it's a great thing for them. I'm not sure that Washington is where the problems are going to be resolved. I can see why it's important for Washington. I can see why it's important for each president. They are here for money.
The $7.5 billion package over the next five years is real money for Pakistan. Pakistan has already collected and spent $11 billion since 9/11, most of it in military assistance. Some of this assistance now may actually go to more useful functions like building schools and civil institutions that actually help people. ZAKARIA: You know, I got a call from a senior American official during the Bush. He has to point out that that $10 billion or $11 billion figure include as very peculiar way America provides aid which is 50 percent of it is reimbursement to the United States for military operations. So it goes out from one hand in Washington and back to another.
Aqil, when you look at what is going on in Washington, the thing that strikes me, of course, President Zardari is the man standing next to President Obama. To what extent is Asif Ali Zardari actually running Pakistan?
SHAH: As we all know, the real center of power in Pakistan is the Pakistani military. But Zardari is the popularly elected president and as a formal head of the state, he is the face of Pakistan which negotiates with external powers.
So far there's no indication that the civilian government is really in charge of security policy or foreign policy but that would be too much to expect because the Pakistani military has traditionally for almost 60 years has run the show.
ZAKARIA: So if they had reached some breakthrough with Zardari, if Obama and Karzai -- he can agree on something but then what would happen? He would go and check with the military?
SHAH: Well, there is the DGISI right -- next chair with him.
ZAKARIA: That's the head of Pakistan's intelligence services.
SHAH: Yes, that's the general of the Intra Services Intelligence and there's obvious back and forth between how much to give and what not to give and what really to promise and what can they deliver.
ZAKARIA: Do you think that it's possible to -- for us to deal with this very complicated way of dealing with the elected government but actually they don't have any powers so we sort of also have to deal with the military, making sure that we're not undermining the elected government while doing this?
HAASS: When I used to teach, I used to say the one thing to take from the course is that foreign policy is difficult. And this is at the top of the difficult list of foreign policy problems. You have this tremendous disparity between the states; nuclear weapons by the dozen, terrorism headquarters and so forth and our ability to influence them.
And part of the reason is you have a government in a place like Pakistan that's not in control of its own territory. And then as we just heard in a sense you have a government in Pakistan that's not really a government in any unified sense. We think of foreign policy as something that happens between Washington say and Islamabad. But Islamabad is not a single place. It doesn't have a single telephone there. It's very, very divided. THAROOR: Fareed, I certainly hope that the U.S. is talking military to military and intelligence to intelligence in Pakistan. Because that's the one great advantage the U.S. actually has is it has these links with these people.
Look, in other countries, the state has an army. In Pakistan, the army has the state. They run the show when they're directly involved, which they've been for a majority of Pakistan's existence. And when they're not directly involved, they're indirectly controlling the levers of power, and they're making it very clear of what the civilian government can and cannot get away with.
In these circumstances, sure, President Obama should be talking to President Zardari and, for that matter, the prime minister, who has executive authority in Pakistan. But then you certainly hope that the Joint Chiefs are talking to their counterparts and that the CIA is talking to Pakistani intelligence -- and that down the line, across these extraordinary, important relationships, the same message is going through very strong -- and ideally, stronger down the line than it is at the television level between the presidents.
ZAKARIA: So the crucial question, Aqil, people always ask is: Is the Pakistani military truly committed to this -- to this struggle to really root-and-branch take these terrorist networks out, jihadi networks, call them what you will? To your mind, what's -- you know, where do you come out and what's the evidence?
SHAH: Well, it would be tempting to draw a hasty conclusion and say that the recent operation in Swat and Buner and Dir, northwest of the capital Islamabad, really represents a shift in the Pakistani military's basic sort of strategy. I think they still continue to differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys.
And I think the Taliban in Swat may have taken the fight a step way too far than the Pakistani military was willing to tolerate. And we really have not seen any sort of committed attempt to root out or at least tackle them, tackle the militant threat. There's always a sort of back and forth of, you know, we will do it now but -- you know, striking peace deals.
Not really sure what's going on. So, yes, there's also this problem of whether they want to do it or not.
ZAKARIA: And -- so what do you do, Richard? You have a military where they say, "Look, if you don't give us money, there's chaos in Pakistan. If you don't give us money, there's no way we could go after these people. We need helicopters, we need night vision goggles."
And so, you're funding a military, but which seems actually quite ambivalent about this struggle.
HAASS: It is ambivalent. And it's a question not only of will, but of capability. So, I think, the answer is, you do give them some of the capabilities, you do give them the training. One of the mistakes the United States made after 9/11 was to give them a check rather than to tie it to specific military capabilities. So, the Pakistanis built up a military which was fairly useless against the real threat they face, which is internal. It was mostly aimed against India. So, they had all these large toys -- a lot of advanced aircraft, tanks, and so forth, none of which is relevant.
This is a 60-year-old country that lacks many of the requisite capacities of a state. And in this case, they lack the kinds of military forces that we've learned we need in places like Iraq, or now learning we need in places like Afghanistan.
It's very labor-intensive. It's very infantry-intensive. So you do need things like individual soldiers who have access to intelligence with night vision goggles, lots of mobility, small unit action. That's what the Pakistanis need; they're not good at it. They don't have those kinds of upgraded police or infantry-like military.
So, we have to train them up to basically carry out of the sort of counterinsurgency campaign they are going to have to do to secure areas, to hold them, to win the hearts and minds. This is a long-term process, and so far we've not oriented our military aid in that direction. We have to now do that.
We don't want to cut them off. We don't want to sanction them. We really need to build them up.
THAROOR: This is why though I like Richard very much, I think it goes way beyond training. This is why training isn't enough. It's a question of actually getting these people to train for different tasks than the one they really want to do. What they really want to do is destabilize Afghanistan and India because that's how they see their security lying.
And they've got to be told, your security doesn't lie in destabilizing your neighbors, it actually lies in undoing these Frankenstein's monsters you've created that have now run out of control. Because both the Talibans were financed by American money, channeled through the Pakistani ISI.
The one in Afghanistan was initially a wholly-owned subsidiary of the ISI. The one in Afghanistan is not much -- I beg your pardon -- the one in Pakistan today is now out of their control but began with its roots in the Pakistani military establishment and the intelligence establishment.
So the monster is now out of control. They've got to rein it in. And there are too many people there who are associated with actually creating the monster, who find it far too convenient to talk about an Indian threat instead of looking at the mote in their own eye.
ZAKARIA: On that note, we will take a break and we will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HAASS: History ought to give us some pause. The ability of the United States to translate its power and influence in the society is clearly finite.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FREDRICKA WHITFIED, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Fredricka Whitfield at the CNN Center in Atlanta.
Here's what's happening right now.
Hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis are on the move, fleeing a region where army forces are cracking down on Taliban militants. The military lifted a curfew for several hours today, allowing civilians to escape. Pakistani officials say as many as 200 militants were killed in a 24-hour period.
Pope Benedict celebrated an open-air mass today in Amman, Jordan. He called on Middle East Christians to preserve their faith despite hardships facing their ancient communities.
And cooler weather here in the States is helping firefighters in southern California gain ground on a dangerous wildfire in Santa Barbara. It's now 55 percent contained. We'll have all of the details at the top of the hour.
More FAREED ZAKARIA GPS in a moment.
ZAKARIA: And we are back with Richard Haass, Aqil Shah and Shashi Tharoor.
Shashi, I had Ahmed Rashid on, probably the best Pakistani journalist on these issues, and, you know, he painted a very grim picture, very skeptical of the Pakistani military.
ZAKARIA: But he did say, you know, the Indians are not helping. They have -- they're conducting these military exercises. They've got all these troops on the border. If they were to just relax things a little bit ...
THAROOR: Well, they have.
ZAKARIA: ... it would be so much easier.
THAROOR: I mean, they have. In fact, the big irony about all of this talk about Indian threats is the fundamental fact that there's absolutely nothing that Pakistan has that India wants. There is no threat from India because India seeks nothing from Pakistan. Pakistan, on the other hand, feels that India has something it wants, and that's a chunk of Kashmir. That's essentially the issue here. India's a status quo party. It's perfectly happy to let Pakistan alone.
The Indian military posture is entirely defensive. So, for Pakistani officials ...
ZAKARIA: But there are a lot of troops on that border.
THAROOR: They're on the border because Pakistan has invaded across that border three times. That's the problem.
So, from an Indian point of view, if Pakistan will say, "Tomorrow, we no longer have a problem with you, we'll discuss Kashmir diplomatically, but no, we're not expecting to attack you guys," and we can take them seriously, we wouldn't have a need for a strong military presence.
HAASS: Shashi said that there's nothing that the Pakistanis have that India wants. But there's something that Pakistan doesn't have which India does really want, which is Pakistani stability.
THAROOR: Yes, I agree.
HAASS: And that's the problem with Indian policy. India still sees making gestures towards Pakistan as a favor towards Pakistan. Until India strategically understands it needs to be more generous towards Pakistan, not as a favor to Pakistan, but as a favor to itself, India will never have the future it needs and ...
THAROOR: But Richard, where haven't we be generous -- look, after the Mumbai attacks, India deliberately chose not to adopt and beleaguer (ph) on military posturing.
HAASS: And that was smart. But, for example, a major gesture at the border is very much in India's interest -- again, not as a favor to Pakistan, but it's India's nightmare that Pakistan becomes a failed state. You know that and I know that.
HAASS: Given the potential for instability at the border, given India's own Muslim population. So, India needs to be strategically large. It needs to basically look for ways to stabilize this relationship.
HAASS: And even take some modest gestures and risks in that direction, because India has a larger canvas to paint on. India has the potential to be a regional and global power, but only if Pakistan is stable. Right now, Pakistan's instability, I think, is the biggest hurdle or the biggest block to India emerging as a great country in the 21st century.
THAROOR: I don't disagree with you, and I don't think too many people in Delhi disagree with you. HAASS: Well, good.
ZAKARIA: Now, you know the Pakistanis claim that India is gaining enormous influence in Afghanistan.
THAROOR: I certainly hope so.
THAROOR: No, the fact is, look, there's been this unfortunate problem, very similar to what President Obama said in Washington, that we're joined together by our common enemies. And Afghanistan and India, sadly, are joined together by common enemies, and they both emerge from Pakistan.
ZAKARIA: Meaning the militants, not the Pakistanis.
THAROOR: I mean the militants, unfortunately, backed by people in the Pakistani state, whether from the highest echelons or lower down. The classic example is the suicide bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul.
American intelligence tells "The New York Times" we've traced the ISI's fingerprints all over this Pakistani intelligence (INAUDIBLE). And what's more, they made no effort to hide their fingerprints. In other words, they were sending a deliberate signal to both India and Afghanistan -- we can do this to you.
And yet, India has been restrained. And I think that, honestly, it's taken a fair amount of superhuman effort and a democracy not to lash out when your own people are being killed by orders coming from across the border.
ZAKARIA: People in Washington must feel that they have inserted themselves into one of the most complex regional, geopolitical dynamics, because here you have, you know, issues of the Taliban, but they are crossing issues of India/Pakistan, Pakistan/Afghanistan. I mean, at the end of the day, people in the region must think one day the United States is going to leave, and we're going to be -- we're going to have to keep all our options open.
HAASS: Well, I hope the administration feels that. I mean, there's got to be an understanding of the complexity because that's gathered and translated to a degree of humility and modesty -- the idea that we're going to transform these countries in the same way that we set out to transform Iraq and, through Iraq, the entire Middle East.
History ought to give us some pause. The ability of the United States to translate its power into influence in these societies is clearly finite. And also, strategically, we have other things to worry about. This can't become the totality of American foreign policy.
ZAKARIA: Now, Aqil, doesn't the Pakistani military believe this, that one day the United States will leave, and that's why it needs to regain all its options and, you know -- how does this work out for the Pakistanis?
SHAH: They do, I think, feel that once -- you know, if Osama bin Laden is arrested or killed or, you know, when the U.S. leaves Afghanistan, Pakistan will have -- the Pakistani military will have to fend for itself. And I think it sees what you referred to as enormous Indian influence as part of the strategy -- Indian strategy, as, you know, trying to destabilize Pakistan.
So, the unresolved ambitions of the Pakistani military -- you know, Russia, Iran, India -- that all sort of feeds into the caldron that is Afghanistan. And that needs to be looked into.
ZAKARIA: Shashi, let me talk about some of the other issues that Richard says we are neglecting.
Indian elections, you can't tell us -- we're all obviously hoping that you win and become foreign minister.
ZAKARIA: But short of that -- short of that prediction, which you can't ...
THAROOR: You can forget about that.
ZAKARIA: Short of that prediction, what -- how would you read the election?
THAROOR: I think -- I think it's going to be, I'm afraid, the usual mess in the sense that there would be no majority party. What you will have is a jostling for who's going to be the largest single party.
I think my party, the Congress Party, the party of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is likely to be the largest single party, and will then be asked by the president of India to put together a government. That's assembling of coalition that gives you a majority in parliament.
ZAKARIA: The one crucial issue that I think matters to the outside world is, is there a possibility of a left-wing/lower-caste alliance which would be strong enough to put forward a government which would then probably derail economic reforms, derail relations with the U.S., et cetera?
THAROOR: Well, that is the nightmare scenario. I certainly hope it won't happen. I certainly hope that the voters will return one of the two national parties. And as I said, I hope it's mine, at the head of the list, and that we will be able to put together enough of a majority to sustain effective government.
The great problem right now is that stability is so important in India. But instead of the U.S. model of electing an executive and letting them get on with this, we have the British version of electing a legislature in order to form an executive. And that gives us a sort of fragmented system with 85 political parties in parliament. The last government was made up of 20 parties.
ZAKARIA: Do you prefer a presidential system?
THAROOR: Personally, yes, but obviously I'm a voice in the wilderness. It isn't going to happen. But every time I say that to Americans, they say, "We love your system instead."
ZAKARIA: Richard, what do you think we're not talking enough about both in terms of Washington focusing and, you know, right now? What's going on in the world that strikes you?
HAASS: One issue that I wish got a lot more attention, Fareed, is trade. If you're talking about a way to stimulate the U.S. and global economies in a way that does not bake inflation into the cake, and a way that actually helps development around the world and the rest -- trade and opening up trade could probably make a greater contribution than any other policy. And we're not seeing it.
We're seeing instead increased protectionism. Binational provisions in various countries are closing down, if you will, resistance against globalization. And this will have, as you know, terrible economic consequences, but also politically.
It's time for the United States to get real and open up its foreign policy to basically make globalization work. Not just for the Americans, but also for other countries. So that, to me, is one of the real missing pieces so far of American foreign policy.
ZAKARIA: And I could close the circle by asking you, Aqil, and what would change them -- you know, you've been studying the Pakistani military mindset. What would change their mindset?
SHAH: Well, that's a million-dollar question, because old habits die hard. And I think, still, even in the statement yesterday from the army chief, which said we are, you know, willing to take on the militants, the last solitary sort of customary sentence was about: we are prepared to defend -- we are prepared on the eastern border to defend India. So, really ...
ZAKARIA: To defend Pakistan against India.
SHAH: I'm sorry -- yes. To defend Pakistan, an attack or whatever from India, which is really at the heart of the how Pakistani military perceives the world, the region. I don't think that's going to change overnight. But, you know, if aid is tight, or whatever support the U.S. and the international community gives to the Pakistani military, I think they need to be sort of -- sort of persuaded and pushed to understand. And I think there's some indication that that might be happening, but it's too soon to know.
ZAKARIA: We're going to have to leave it at that. Aqil Shah, Richard Haass, Shashi Tharoor -- thank you very much. And we will be right back.
ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" feature. Here's what got my attention this week. Take a look at this picture.
It's of a young Pakistani Islamist at a rally in Islamabad earlier this week. And the slogan he has, "Go Taliban, go." He's not cheering on the Taliban. He's telling them to go away.
So perhaps what we're witnessing here is a key shift. This week, many Islamic sects and religious parties in Pakistan came out against the Taliban. Many of them had, until recently, been supporting the Taliban. Much of the media which tends to be anti-government and anti-American is now turning to support military action against the Taliban.
So, this has been the crucial missing ingredient in Pakistan. Far too many Pakistani people saw the struggle against the Taliban and al Qaeda as America's struggle. In fact, it is Pakistan's war and a war for the survival of the country. If the last few months have been a wake-up call, that's just fine. Now, may be the Pakistani government will have an easier time taking on these forces of jihad.
But the Taliban were not the only target at this rally. These guys don't like America, either. They want Americans to go, too. Well, they can be rest assured. If the Taliban goes, America will follow.
ZAKARIA: Now, for the question of the week. Last week's question was based on my interview with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. I asked Gates if he thought the U.S. was falling into an imperial trap. He countered he didn't think we were imperial but rather indispensable.
So my question was: Are we falling into the trap? Most of you thought yes, the United States is falling into a trap of empire. And you were split just about down the middle on whether the U.S. today is indispensable. One viewer offered up the opinion that the British probably considered themselves indispensable at the height of their power, too.
For this week's question -- as I mentioned, next week, my guest will be former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf. And so my question is: What should I ask him? Let me know what you think.
In addition to the question of the week, I want to ask you to try the Fareed challenge, the weekly world affairs quiz on our Web site, CNN.com/GPS. It's fun, and see how you do.
As always, ides like to recommend a book. OK. I'm going to do this one more time. For those of you who have not yet bought my book, and I know who you are, remember, it's out there in paperback. I have a brand new chapter that tries to explain what to make of the global economic crisis.
I'm actually fairly optimistic. So, if you are looking for some hope in the middle of all the bad news that comes at you, read the book. More importantly, buy the book. I think you'll like it. And you we will make me very happy. Think Mother's Day, stash up for Father's Day, I don't care what.
Also, please check out our Web site, CNN.com/GPS for highlights from the program, our weekly podcast and our current affairs quiz. You can e-mail me always at GPS@CNN.com.
Thank you for watching. Have a great week.