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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Interview With Paul Wolfowitz; Interview With Danny Ayalon; Aftermath of Unrest in Iran
Aired June 13, 2010 - 10:00 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.
Those of you who watch the show regularly know that I have not really said anything about the BP oil spill. There's no denying that it's an enormous issue, a tragedy, but I thought it was chiefly a domestic story and I didn't have that much of value to add. But watching the coverage of it recently, I think I have something to say.
Have we all gone crazy? I don't mean you, I mean us, the media. In dealing with a serious problem involving technical breakdown, engineering malfunctions, environmental fallout, regulatory mishaps, the media has decided to hone in on one central issue above all others - presidential emotion. The overriding need of the hour, we have decided, is not a cleanup plan, not a regulatory overhaul, not a new energy policy, but the image of the president visibly enraged.
Take a look at these clips put together by Ben Crowe (ph) of the "Huffington Post".
DIANE SAWYER, ABC WORLD NEWS ANCHOR: In this oil crisis, the president's critics are out in force, claiming he's too unemotional.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Obama's being criticized for not showing enough motion in response to this gulf oil leak.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it time for the president to show emotion?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to know what you think this morning. Should President Obama show more emotion?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow. We've been talking a lot about whether or not the president is responding, emoting enough.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not showing enough emotion, enough connection.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think? Should President Obama be showing more emotion?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More emotion. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think about showing more emotion?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Think President Bush at ground zero, with the firemen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those are poignant moments that are forever emblazoned in people's heads, and that puts emotion in their hearts as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's head versus heart. This is a heady president, and people want heart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The American people want to feel that the president's connecting emotionally.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What he had on when he was standing at the shoreline there. He had on fancy pants and a fancy shirt. Look, he should have had on something that looked like he was a little bit more at the scene.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least - at least I want the guy feeling. I want - I want to feel his pain with my pain.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not saying he's not there. He just doesn't emote.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of people have said that President Obama, A) should have stayed here longer, maybe spend the weekend, but at least express more emotion.
SPIKE LEE, DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: And if (ph) any one time to go off, this is it.
ZAKARIA: And what exactly is the point of all this? What purpose would be served by having the president scream or cry or whatever it is he's supposed to do to show emotion? Would it plug the hole?
The truth is that what's happening in the gulf is a terrible tragedy, but there is very little the federal government can do in the short-term to actually stop the spill. This whole discussion is a terrible example of how the media can trivialize political discussion. The presidency is a serious job, the most serious job in the country, and here we are asking the man to dress the part, to play act emotions, to give us satisfaction by just doing something, even if it's all phony stuff, designed to give the impression of action.
And we've managed to succeed. We've managed to force the president to cancel his trip to Asia, demean himself by trash talking about the CEO of British Petroleum, hold lots of pointless meetings and press conferences, have admirals give - make work briefings. The federal government is now consumed with pretending that it is doing something about a situation it actually can't do much about.
Meanwhile, the economy is showing dangerous signs of slowing, the European debt crisis is getting worse, our allies in ASIA are outraged that the president has canceled his trip once more, the Chinese military is flexing its muscles and Iran and North Korea continued to defy the world. But thank goodness the president is now talking about kicking some ass.
Anyway, now that I have emoted in public, let me tell you about the show we have. We have an exclusive and fascinating conversation with a man known as the brain behind neo-conservatism -- Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense during the Bush years, on Obama's foreign policy, Israel and the first in depth accounting that he has ever given of his actions during the Iraq War.
Then, an interview with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, who explains his country's actions on the Turkish flotilla affair. And, finally, the riveting story of Neda, the young woman who was shot by the Iranian government one year ago.
ZAKARIA: And now, the former Deputy Secretary of Defense, former president of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz.
Welcome to the program.
PAUL WOLFOWITZ, FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Nice to be here. Thank you.
ZAKARIA: On Iraq, do you think that the - that the Obama administration is effectively following the - the Bush administration policy on Iraq, that there has been no significant change?
WOLFOWITZ: I think there is some reason to be concerned. I think Henry Kissinger put it this way a while back, that leaving Iraq is not a policy, and sometimes it sounds as though that's the beginning and end of it. But I think that's not the way things will evolve. Certainly, I hope not.
Iraq is going to be very imperfect, but I think it is much better than the alternatives and I think if we work with them, it will be a better country. And it will contribute to a more stable Persian Gulf, a more prosperous Persian Gulf. So I hope that's where we're headed.
ZAKARIA: I read Tommy Frank's memoirs, and he has this line that I couldn't but repeat to you. He says that on the eve of the Iraq War, he said to the Deputy Secretary of Defense -- that's you -- you pay attention to the day after, I'll pay attention to the day of, implying that you were the man who was overseeing Iraq after the war ended.
WOLFOWITZ: Well, that's not true. I wasn't in charge of anything. And, in fact, if you look at the record of where the planning for post-Saddam Iraq was, it was initially based in the White House and then eventually was handed to CPA - ZAKARIA: Which is - which is the Coalition -
WOLFOWITZ: -- Provisional Authority, the occupation government.
As a matter of fact, if I had been charge of planning, we wouldn't have had an occupation government. I think that was wrong. I think we should have done what we did in Afghanistan, which is to create some kind of provisional Iraqi authority with some degree of representation.
I know it would be imperfect, but it would at least have a little more legitimacy than putting in an American (INAUDIBLE).
ZAKARIA: So you were opposed to appointing Bremer as a -- as the viceroy with -
WOLFOWITZ: Well, we moved beyond that. We gave up on the idea of a provisional government even before we got there. And then we had this idea of - I think it was called Iraqi Interim Authority, and even that was superseded by this occupation regime which I think was - was damaging.
It took us 14 months to get back to an Iraqi interim government, and things, I think, proceed reasonably imperfectly, but reasonably well from that point and better.
It's interesting because - I mean, I don't want to have a fight with Tommy Franks, but one of the things we argued about, and it may have been - I don't remember this conversation, but it may have been his annoyance that I thought we should be trained for Iraqi forces, not because we needed them to fight, but because it was important to have Iraqis participate in the fight and because it was important to have Iraqis with whom we had experience and could judge to help build a free Iraqi army, and he was opposed to that completely. So --
ZAKARIA: But - but isn't it fair to say that your boss, Donald Rumsfeld, was the person who wanted to sort of get in and out as quickly as possible and not engage in nation building? As Deputy Secretary, did you agree with Rumsfeld on that idea of a light footprint and get in and out?
WOLFOWITZ: You know, it wasn't just Rumsfeld who thought this. Franks thought this. John Abizaid, who spent years in the Middle East, thought this.
And it wasn't just sort of, say, get in and get out, but it was hand over authority as quickly as possible to Iraqis, and the experience in Northern Iraq in 1993, I think -- sorry, 1991, at the end of the first Gulf War, somewhat reinforced that view.
I think that the thing that no one counted on was that when we got to Baghdad, Saddam and his people didn't stop fighting. In fact, there's a lot of evidence to suggest that's when they planned the real fight to begin, because they knew they couldn't win a conventional war, but in fact they figured they could do enormous damage and maybe defeat us with an urban guerilla war. And that - it's not so much about nation building. It's about how you fight an insurgency.
ZAKARIA: Well, but it was clear that you had chaos all over Iraq, not just in Baghdad, and that the number of American troops there was not enough, at least, certainly, that's what General Petraeus would say and that it was - unless we sent - until we sent in sufficient forces, Iraq was falling apart.
WOLFOWITZ: Fareed, this is a long discussion which we could take several hours. Iraq wasn't falling apart, for example, in Southern Iraq when I visited the Marines in July of '03 and they were sending people home. It wasn't falling apart at the Northern Iraq where - Petraeus was there with a significant force.
But the most important thing to remember about the surge that has just in the last few years really turned things around, the surge wasn't simply about sending more troops, and I think people who know this much better than I would say it was a change in strategy which then required more troops. Somewhat more troops, not 300,000 troops. I think we reached 170,000 or so at the height of the surge.
But it was focusing on this idea that protecting the population is the key to defeating an insurgency, will - there'll be debates for a long time to come about why things went the way they did in Iraq.
With respect to the past, I still think the most important thing is that if we hadn't had the kind of insurgency we had, the idea of light footprint, handing things over quickly - by the way, I think creating a - either keeping Iraqi (INAUDIBLE), we couldn't keep it. Calling back the Iraqi army or more rapidly creating a new army would have been a key part of that.
But encountering an insurgency, you needed a counterinsurgency strategy, and more troops going in without a counterinsurgency strategy, I don't think would have been a solution.
But I'm going to make a point, because I'm happy to discuss history at great length, but I really think, as a country, and maybe this sounds self-serving coming from me, but I think, as a country, we need to look ahead and I think we should stick with Iraq now. Obviously, I'd like to hope that 50 years from now, Iraq will look as big a success story as South Korea. I don't know that. There's no way to know what the long term will be.
But I do think we can know that it will come out better if we stay actively engaged and support the people who want to build a tolerant, progressive society there.
ZAKARIA: No - and I think the point you make is fair, but I also think you are a very prominent statesman in a democracy, and there is some sense of accountability. So I - you know, I want to ask you, in a sense, a bottom line question.
You were asked again by - by a Senate committee, will - how much will this cost and you said, Iraq will be able to pay for its own reconstruction relatively easily. In fact, that part didn't work out. That was so - looking back -
WOLFOWITZ: (INAUDIBLE) Fareed. I was asked how much will the war cost. I said we have no idea how much the war will cost. I said Iraq can - unlike Afghanistan, Iraq is not going to be a permanent ward of international -
ZAKARIA: Right. You said we are dealing with a country that can finance its reconstruction and relatively soon. That's the exact (INAUDIBLE).
WOLFOWITZ: After the end of conflict. This war went on. In fact, it's - to some extent, it still goes on today, and at this point, I think Iraq is largely - I don't know the numbers now.
OK, I was somewhat -- the sense was the war wouldn't last for six, seven years, and that this was a country with substantial oil resources.
ZAKARIA: Yes, but what I'm trying to get at is a larger question, which is, looking back from where we are now, in 2010, you know, the United States has spent over a trillion dollars in direct expenditures in Iraq on the - on the war and the post war, however you want to describe it.
Two and a half million Iraqis, by the UN's estimates, have fled the country. Most have not come back. Then there's the number who have been killed. We don't know.
You think it was worth it?
WOLFOWITZ: Look, I - how you answer whether it was worth it, I mean, I don't know how you ask someone who's lost a loved one or who's been seriously maimed whether if it was worth it. That's a - I couldn't answer that for them.
I do think that we're better off and the world is better off without that regime there.
ZAKARIA: And we will be back with Paul Wolfowitz in a moment.
ZAKARIA: And we are back with the former Deputy Secretary of Defense, former president of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz.
Let me ask you about something else you said, which - which caught my eye. In 2002 there was a very large rally organized by the American Jewish establishment in support of Israel. There was a fear that the administration might be trying to put pressure on Israel.
You went to the valley and spoke to show solidarity, to say that the Bush administration supported it. But you then said innocent Palestinians are suffering and dying as well and it is critical that we recognize and acknowledge this fact. You got booed.
Do you worry that - that it has become difficult - you are Jewish - for American Jews to acknowledge the suffering of Palestinians?
WOLFOWITZ: Well, you know, it's interesting. I think you really drew the wrong conclusion there.
I said what I said very deliberately because I thought it was important to say it. My impression - it was a huge crowd. It was a little hard to judge. My impression was it was a minority - a noisy minority in the front who did the booing.
More importantly, and I'm sure about this, as soon as I stepped down from the podium, Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Laureate, came up to me, and then the deputy foreign minister of Israel came up to me, and each of them said, more or less, thank you for saying that. It needed to be said.
And, you know, when I think about how the administration now is dealing with Netanyahu, I think they're making a big mistake because the settlement issue is one that divides Israelis. We ought to be able to have a lot of Israelis sympathizing with us, but somehow, the way it's been handled, I've seen polls that suggest more than 90 percent of Israelis think this administration is hostile to Israel. That's not smart diplomacy.
I would submit a very different example. During the Gulf War, in 1991, there was - I was the undersecretary of defense at that time. There was a debate inside our administration not about whether to try to keep Israel out of the war but how do you do it. And one point of view said, well, we need to tell them, this is our war. You stay out of it. Don't mess it up for us.
Another point of view, which I shared, was, wait a minute, you have to recognize, and I think that's what needs to be recognized today, is the thing that unites Israelis is concern about security, and you might even call it paranoia, about the hostility of their neighbors. Our approach needs to be to embrace them closely, to say we care about your security and we will do everything possible to deal with the threat from Iraq.
And we pulled off something that most people said couldn't be done. Israel was attacked for 54 days with scuds from Iraq and did not retaliate.
I think the key here is not to unite all Israelis on resistance to the United States, but to convince them that this administration, like other administrations, really means it when it says it's concerned about Israeli security, and let's approach this issue in a more cooperative way.
ZAKARIA: Thank you, Paul Wolfowitz.
WOLFOWITZ: Pleasure being here. Thanks, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: And we will be back. (END VIDEOTAPE)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANNY AYALON, DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER, ISRAEL: I don't think that we need to apologize. But here, no way Israel will apologize. It's not for Israel to apologize, but quite the contrary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Last week, I spoke with Turkey's Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, about the Turkish flotilla affair. Now, to hear the Israeli side of the story, I welcome Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon.
Good to have you on the program.
AYALON: Glad to be here (ph), Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Mr. Deputy Foreign Minister, do you believe that there were groups on - on the Turkish flotilla that had ties to terrorist organizations?
AYALON: Absolutely. And if we look at the flotilla, there were six ships altogether. Five were taken into the shore unscathed, with no resistance. They were really peace activists.
Unfortunately, on the Turkish ship, we saw two types. They're - out of 675 people on the ship, about 600 were peace activists - I would say naive peace activists. About 75 were mercenaries.
We found the money on their bodies, 10,000 apiece - dollars apiece. They were associated with al Qaeda and other terror organizations. They are graduates of Afghanistan or - or Iraq. They had a hierarchy. They were arranged in a military-type or paramilitary organizations.
They were well-equipped and they were ambushing our soldiers. They occupied the higher deck, the top deck to wait for soldiers.
ZAKARIA: And they had ties to al Qaeda, you're saying?
AYALON: Absolutely. Absolutely.
And, by the way, all those who were killed where hitting our soldiers in the - with the purpose of killing our soldiers or kidnap them to negotiate some kind of a - a deal to go into Gaza. You see -
ZAKARIA: You think that they were trying to take Israeli soldiers hostage?
AYALON: Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely, and put them in an inner cabin.
ZAKARIA: -- they had, at least from the videos, were slingshots and sticks. They didn't seem -
AYALON: They -
ZAKARIA: When you say well armed -
AYALON: Well, they had hatchets and they had iron rods and they had axes and knives. Also, it's not inconceivable that they had firearms which they threw overboard. This is being checked now.
ZAKARIA: Why did Israel reject the - the call for an international inquiry from the U.N. secretary-general? Because the Turkish foreign minister says it's because you guys don't want an impartial investigation of the facts.
AYALON: No. Not at all.
Actually, Fareed, we are - would be very much welcoming an inquiry. It's our interest to expose all the facts. We have nothing to fear, in the contrary. And this is why I think what we will go for is an impartial inquiry, with - we will welcome any international observers to - to check the - to verify the impartiality.
We're very proud, as you know, with our robust and independent judiciary and its credibility and its reputation.
ZAKARIA: But it wouldn't be an international inquiry. It will be an Israeli government inquiry.
AYALON: I think that everybody understands and knows that Israel is quite capable of investigating itself. We have done it ample times.
But, out of the ordinary, we would welcome some observers, because we want to show this due process of the law in complete impartiality and transparency, and I'm sure that once all the details are revealed, there will be great embarrassment for those who arranged this flotilla.
ZAKARIA: Turkey was one of only two nations that voted against the sanctions on Iran this week in the U.N. Security Council. Are Turkish-Israeli relations really on a downward spiral right now?
AYALON: Well, I cannot tell you at this moment. Obviously, things are not going well between Israel and Turkey, but it's not because of any Israeli activity or any Israeli policy. Quite the contrary.
And we're still biting our lips and we're still trying to be very responsible. Israel-Turkey relations is very, very important. It's very important to the United States. It's very important the Middle East. It's very important to both countries, Turkey and Israel, and I do hope that some sense will get back into the relationship.
We are more than willing to continue the way we used to in the past.
ZAKARIA: When I asked the Turks, when others asked them, you know, will Turkish-Israeli relations improve, they say it's up to Israel, that I think they are looking for some kind of an apology, some kind of - something where they feel you - you were the ones who boarded that boat, you're the ones who attacked their flotilla. You need to take a move.
What move is Israel willing to - to make to try and repair relations with Turkey?
AYALON: I don't think we need to apologize. On the contrary. When we need to apologize or when we feel like we need to apologize, we have no problems of doing it. But here, no way Israel will apologize. It's not for Israel to apologize, but quite the contrary.
ZAKARIA: Do you mean it's for Turkey to apologize?
AYALON: Well, it's for those who organized this - this flotilla, whether it's the IHH, which I told you it was known - known ties with terror organizations, Global Jihad and al Qaeda. I think it's - they need to check themselves and those who supported them need to check themselves.
ZAKARIA: What about the - the blockade of Gaza itself? This has come under a lot of criticism. Tony Blair is publicly calling for the end of the blockade. There are more and more governments talking about it.
You know, when I look at the number - list of prohibited items - I read them on the show last week, cilantro, jam, chocolates. Now, I realized this week, perhaps in response to all that - that outcry, cilantro and jam are off the - the list.
But why - why is there such a tight blockade that prevents so many food items from getting into Gaza? And, you know, there seems to be something inhuman about it.
AYALON: You're absolutely right, and we are correcting it. There's no reason not to have a - a full array of food to the Gazans, and we are making sure this will be the case.
However, this is the secondary issue. The primary issue here is the blockade in order to prevent the Hamas from rearming itself to the teeth from - you know, and they get all these smuggled arms from Iran and Hezbollah and - and Syria.
One - people forget, but only a year and a half ago, less than a year and a half ago, a million people, Israelis, our population from the south, were subject to this terrible terror of intermittent missile launching on our markets, on our schools, on our workshops, on our farms. This could not be. And in order to make sure that we will not need resort to - to more violence, we need this blockade, unless and until Hamas changes its course of action.
ZAKARIA: Danny Ayalon, thank you, as always.
AYALON: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: And we will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ARASH HEJAZI, WITNESSED TO NEDA'S DEATH: And then we hear the blasts. I turned back, looked at Neda, who was standing about a meter away from me. And I saw her looking up in astonishment and surprise at the blood that was gushing out of her chest.
ZAKARIA: And now for our "What in the World" segment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(voice-over): It was the death seen and heard around the world. Because of modern technology, hers was one of the most widely witnessed deaths in all of human history.
Neda Agha Sultan's murder galvanized a revolution, both within Iran and without. That much is known. But who was Neda and what led her to that terrible moment?
A fascinating new HBO documentary called "For Neda" explores those very questions. In the film, for the first time, we hear Neda's mother speak.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From the age of 3, she never accepted control. She fought with the school authorities not to wear a chador and she won that battle.
ZAKARIA: But though Neda continued to fight for her rights throughout her life. She was not solely political. Her family said he loved to dance, always had a smile and had a wanderlust which led to a job as a tour guide in Turkey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: But all of that was put on hold a year ago when everything changed in Iran.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(voice-over): A year ago today, that's when Iran erupted and Neda was there from the start. Her mother joined her at one of the protest and she recalls an encounter that she and Neda had been. It was with some female members of the Basij, Iran's pro-regime paramilitary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They politely, one of these women asked Neda, dear, please don't come out looking so beautiful. Neda smiled with her beautiful teeth and said, am I beautiful? And they said, you are very, very lovely. Do us a favor and don't come out because Basij men target beautiful girls and they will shoot you.
ZAKARIA: Eight days after the elections, tensions were reaching the peak as were arrests, beatings and killings. Neda's parents begged her not to go out. Her answer, if I don't go out, who will so she went. Her mother reached her by phone that afternoon.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I pleaded with her to come back home. She said, Mom, I will. Don't worry.
ZAKARIA: But of course, she didn't. A doctor standing nearby noticed her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was really looking at her with admiration because she was a woman, a young woman, so courageous. I was dying out of fear out there and she was just moving around, shouting and that was why I noticed her. Then the riot police took up and just rushed towards the people, so people just scattered.
ZAKARIA: And in the chaos that ensued, shots rang out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then, we hear the blast. I turned back, looked at Neda who was standing about a meter away from me and I saw her looking up with astonishment and surprise at the blood that was gushing out of her chest and I ran towards her. From my impression, she was shot in her aorta. It's the major blood vessel coming out of the heart. No one could save her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Iran has never charged anyone in Neda's murder. Instead, the regime has accused everyone from the CIA to the BBC of killing her and the regime apparently doesn't want people to see this HBO documentary.
When the Voice of America tried to beam the film into Iran earlier this month, they received many complaints, some saying their signal had been jammed, others saying that their electricity had been cut off during the airing.
Many brave people inside and outside of Iran continue to try to bring this film to the Iranian people. For the rest of you, watching it will be easier. "For Neda" airs Monday night at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on HBO. If you live outside the U.S., check your listings or go to hbo.com. Don't miss it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Employing surgical violence on protesters, check. Blaming it all on the west, check. You know, deploying their massive state propaganda machine against the green movement, check.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Time for a check of the headlines. President Obama will demand that BP set aside an escrow account to pay individuals and businesses damaged by the gulf oil spill. Funds will be distributed by a third party.
The president and BP's chairman are said to meet at the White House Wednesday. Earlier in the week, the president will make his fourth visit to the gulf coast and then he'll address the nation about the government's response to the catastrophe from the White House Tuesday night at 8:00. CNN will have live coverage of the speech.
Ethnic violence spread to new areas in the central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan. Three days of rioting have left more than 100 people dead and 1,100 injured and burned down neighborhoods. The country's interim government is asking Russia to help end the unrest.
Kyrgyzstan houses both Russian and the U.S. military bases and is strategically important to the region for those gas lines. Those are your top stories. Up next, much more "Fareed Zakaria GPS" and then "Reliable Sources" at the top of the hour.
ZAKARIA: We just talked about Neda, the young woman killed during those days of rage in Tehran one year ago, but what has become the Green Movement itself? Some of its true believers are still taking to the streets, but some government crackdowns and some government brutality has zapped its strength.
Joining me to talk about all of this, journalist Maziar Bahari, my colleague at "Newsweek" who knows all about the brutality of the Iranian government. He was imprisoned on false charges for four months following last year's demonstrations.
Hooman Majd is an Iranian-American writer, the author of a wonderful book called "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ" and Afshin Molavi is also a journalist, Iranian-born, who has covered the Middle East extensively.
Welcome to all of you. Hooman, you are just in Iran a few months ago. What is your sense of what the mood -- I don't want to say on the street because that such a very -- among the people you know who perhaps were sympathetic to the Green revolution. Are they disheartened?
HOOMAN MAJD, AUTHOR, "THE AYATOLLAH BEGS TO DIFFER": Yes, well, the Green Movement I think there are some people who are disheartened, yes, definitely because of brutality of the crackdown, friends who ended up in jail, so on and so forth. And just the government's ability to squash any protest whatsoever.
So that becomes an attitude of why bother. Why should I go out on the streets and demonstrate. I'm not going to get anywhere. The government is powerful that's in power. Nothing's going to change. There's a little of that. But there is a resentment, there is a resentment among many people sympathizers of the Green Movement, even people in the conservative camp who don't sympathize with the Ahmadinejad government.
When you talk to certain Mullahs and certain Ayatollahs who aren't going to be very vocal in their - necessarily except for a little bit handful of a few exceptions, aren't going to be very vocal in their criticism of the government or the Islamic system, but are critical of what's been going on certainly.
MAZIAR BAHARI, NEWSWEEK: Green Movement was with one question only. Where is my vote? That question meant where are my rights as citizens of this country and that question has not gone away.
The manifestation of that question - that demand hasn't gone away because it's suppressed by the government, but the gap between the people and the government is widening and people, more people are asking that question than before.
MAJD: Well, absolutely. I think that Maziar is absolutely right. I mean, the issue was never about a revolution. I think we were somewhat guilty in the west of proclaiming it a new revolution, whether it was Twitter revolution or Facebook revolution or whatever you want to call it.
It certainly wasn't that. The Green Movement actually started before the election. I was there. It was the Green Movement then, which was to bring Musavi to power and bring reform to the government and to the Islamic Republic.
When that didn't happen, it became, where is my vote because many believed their vote had not been counted and then subsequent to that, it became about, I think constitutional rights not just the vote.
But the civil rights as they exist under the current constitution of Iran, which allows many things such as freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom to demonstrate and these are the things that are told to the people.
People understand this, but freedom of the press is something that is your right. It is the right of -- under our constitution, it is the right.
ZAKARIA: So they're in theory, but in practice --
MAJD: Clearly practice is clearly denied and it's denied to lesser or greater extents over time.
AFSHIN MOLAVI, AUTHOR, "PERSIAN PILGRIMAGES: JOURNEYS ACROSS IRAN": Yes, I think the Green Movement did start out as a where is my vote movement, but I think it went beyond that and I think it went beyond sort of to the generalized resentment that Hooman was referring to.
And as with any of these kind of movements, it depends on who you ask. Some people will say I'm Green because I want an end to the system entirely. Some people will say I'm Green because I want my vote back. So it really depends on who you asked.
The government of the Islamic Republic pulled out the old authoritarian state play book over the past year and they marked all the boxes. You know, silencing and intimidating your opponents, even jailing them including neutral observers like our colleague Maziar, check.
You know, employing surgical violence on protesters, check. Blaming it all on the west, check, you know, deploying their massive state propaganda machine against the Green Movement, check. So this was a very well orchestrated crackdown against a Green Movement that is a more fist to begin with.
ZAKARIA: But is there some truth, Maziar, you lived in Iran. There are lots of people who say, look, let's not forget the regime has some support. Whether it's in the rural areas, whether it's among the poor, whether it's in Islamic minded communities and they also have patronage, but you know, the vote even if it was rigged, this was a pretty 50/50 country or something. I mean, how would you react on that?
BAHARI: I don't think it's 50/50, but I think if you divide different high-ranking officials in Iran and political figures, I think Ayatollah has more supporters than any other official, the current supreme leader.
He does not have the majority, but the people who support him have more money because they're in power and they have more access to arms. I agree with Afshin, but this question of where is my vote, it started before the election.
I think the bottom line here is about the supreme leader. Many Iranians and I can say that the majority of Iranians, even if they don't verbalize it, they do want to be part of this Uma (ph) that Khamenei, the current supreme leader wants them to be. They want to be part of the nation and this is not something that's started last year.
ZAKARIA: They don't want to be part of some big, Islamic Revolutionary Movement. They're Iranians. They want to be Iranians.
BAHARI: They don't want to be led by this God king that Khamenei wants to be. They want to be part of a nation. They want to be part of an Islamic Republic.
ZAKARIA: What about the other leaders, Hooman? Is it fair to say that maybe the Green Movement has not been as well led as it could have been?
MAJD: Well, depends on -- I think the whole thing took them by surprise from the election itself, to the protests, so I don't think the Green Movement had a leadership that had a specific goal beyond initially winning an election and governing. And secondarily to that, after the election to actual try to see if they could overthrow or overturn the results of the election. So they're wasn't this leadership that sat there thinking of plotting, figuring out what to do so they were caught by surprise.
It's unfair to say that they're - I mean, it would be fair to say that they haven't been quite what some people imagined them to be, and I think the expectations were probably much higher.
ZAKARIA: Was it a mistake?
MAJD: Well, if you want to believe that there should have been a revolution. There should have been an overthrow of the system, then it was a mistake, but Musavi himself didn't believe that at that time and I don't think he still believes that.
ZAKARIA: And he was a former prime minister of the regime itself.
MOLAVI: Yes, I mean, in my ways, Musavi was an accidental revolutionary. Whereas, I mean, and so the differences that were made early on between 1979 were not appropriate I thought because in 1979, you had a leader, Ayatollah Khomeini who was uncompromising and he also had the benefit of being in exile, so wasn't in any danger.
He said the shah must go. Musavi was saying we need to reform the system - the former president is saying we need to reform the system. Also in 1979, you had the shah of Iran who was generally weak and indecisive.
And he stood up in front of the television cameras and said to the people of Iran as the protest gathered, I heard your call. I heard your revolution. Ayatollah Khomeini by contrast stood before the television cameras and said, I will defeat you. This is a significant --
ZAKARIA: In a strange way, people sort of images is otherwise, but you're saying the shah was actually too accommodating and the current leader showed much more --
MAJD: I think every one of these leaders now in power in Iran were revolutionaries then. They were fighting the shah. They watched every move that the shah made and realized where they were successful.
I think it was Maziar said is very important. It's a very important point that very few people make abroad certainly -- the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini regardless of where he's moved to politically or ideologically, does have a tremendous amount of support.
When I say tremendous, you knows what it is, whether it's 30 percent of the people or 60 percent of the people or as he thinks or his people think 80, 90 percent of the people. It doesn't matter, but he does have, and that percentage is as Maziar points out, well taken care of. They have the guns and they number in the millions and they are not going to give up. ZAKARIA: This is not North Korea.
MAJD: This is not North Korea, no.
MOLAVI: A small ordnance with access to the guns and money can maintain power and even in the Khatami years when he was trouncing the conservatives -
ZAKARIA: The reformist.
MOLAVI: The reformist president. The conservatives were polling getting about 30 percent of the vote even in those years when reformers were winning.
ZAKARIA: And we will be watching for it. Thank you, gentleman. Thank you very much and we will be right back.
ZAKARIA: Now for our question of the week. Here's what I want to know. On this issue of the oil spill and the president's emotions, do you agree with me, that it has nothing to do with solving the oil spill or would you like to see him express more emotion?
Let me know what you think and feel free to disagree with me. Don't forget to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes. If you do, you'll never miss a show and it doesn't cost anything.
Now, as I do every week, I want to recommend a book. This one is called "More Money than God" by Sebastian Malibu. It's a wonderfully written history of hedge funds, those mysterious Wall Street institutions that are known for practically minting money.
Let me give you one example from the book. In 2006, Goldman Sachs' CEO, Lloyd Blankfein made $54 million. That same year, the 25th highest earner in the hedge fund industry made $240 million. Hedge funds are where all the brightest and best of Wall Street have been migrating in droves. If you want to understand the nature of modern finance, read this book.
And now, for the last look. File this one under isn't the internet amazing. So I'm just back from Shanghai, a city I've been visiting pretty regularly for almost 20 years and I was looking for a way to show you the changes I've seen there. I found it on this website skyscrapercity.com.
This is the financial central of Shanghai today and this is, believe it or not, is the same area in 1990, just 20 years ago. Take a look again. Extraordinary growth, literal and figurative and now, the World Expo in Shanghai is setting the stage for the next big transformation of that city. The scale and speed of change in China literally takes your breath away.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week. Stay tuned for "Reliable Sources."