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FAREED ZAKARIA GPS
Interview With George Papandreou; Foreign Policy Panel
Aired December 4, 2011 - 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. We have a terrific show for you today.
First up, the man who might have saved Greece and the euro in the process. George Papandreou led that troubled nation until just three weeks ago. Did he do the right thing? What does he think is going to happen next in Europe? An exclusive.
Then, the man who set off a firestorm between Pakistan and the United States. Relations are now at an all-time low, and this Pakistani American is at the center of it. Hear his story for the first time.
Next up, lots to talk about with our "GPS" panel this week. From Syria to Egypt, Iran to Iraq, and of course Asia.
Finally, why Egypt went way retro this week, back to the age of the pharaohs. I'll explain.
First, here's my take. You wouldn't have thought anti- Americanism in Pakistan could get any worse, but last week, NATO attacked a Pakistani Army post, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers. Even before this episode for which NATO expressed deep regret, you couldn't have found a country on the planet that was more anti- American than Pakistan.
In a Pew survey this year, only 12 percent of Pakistanis expressed a favorable view of the U.S.. Populist rage and official duplicity have built up even though Washington has lavished Islamabad with aid totaling $20 billion over the last decade.
I think it's time to recognize that the United States' Pakistan policy is just not working. Supporting Islamabad has been premised on two arguments. The first is if we don't, the Pakistani government could collapse, and the country's nuclear weapons could fall in the wrong hands. Perhaps even ending up with Al Qaeda.
This misunderstands the problem. Pakistan is not Somalia. It has been ruled by a professional military for most of its independent existence, even when there has been a nominally civilian government in charge, as there is today. The military remains widely admired as a national institution that works.
The second argument is the one given by businesses when they pay off the mafia. We need to keep these guys as allies or else they will become enemies. The problem with this protection racket is, it isn't working.
Admiral Michael Mullen finally said publicly what insiders have said privately for years. Pakistan's army despite getting over a quarter of its budget from Washington funds and arms the deadliest terrorist group in South Asia that kills Americans.
Pakistan's military needs to stop playing games to keep Afghanistan weak and India off balance. It needs to start trying to create peace and stability and prosperity for its people. In other words, Pakistan needs a civilian conception of its national interest. And it can only get that from a flourishing civilian government.
There lies a fundamental tension in U.S. policy toward Pakistan. We want the more democratic country, but we also want a government that can deliver anti-terrorism cooperation on the ground. In practice, we always choose the latter. Which means we cozy up to the military and overlook its destruction of democracy.
But the only way to get real cooperation is by helping Pakistan move from being a military state to a more normal country. If Washington continues to bolster Pakistan's de facto military dictatorship, we will get a dysfunctional nation where the public fed propaganda by the military establishment continues to vent its anger at Washington.
The Arab spring holds a key lesson. When Washington props up a dictatorship because it needs foreign policy support from it, it builds up wellsprings of poison and anti-Americanism within that society. And one day, that will erupt. For more on this, you can read my column in this week's "Time" magazine. Meanwhile, let's get started.
Mr. Papandreou, thank you for joining me.
GEORGE PAPANDREOU, FORMER PRIME MINISTER, GREECE: Thank you very much, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you right at the outset, how do you think things are going to resolve themselves in Europe? There are really two views. One is that at the end of the day, the Europeans will do whatever it takes, and that means using whatever mechanisms are necessary, the stability fund, the European Central Bank, euro bonds, to calm the markets and to allow this process to move forward.
And the other is that you -- you will need some kind of deep, sharp crisis that you will need something more dramatic that is going to happen, how do you -- where do you think things are going to go?
PAPANDREOU: Well, I think we're at a crossroads, Fareed. And it is really the decision, the political will that is necessary to decide on whether we will move forward to a deeper union and, therefore, not only protect the euro zone but protect, I would say, everything we have accomplished in Europe which is peace and greater prosperity. Very different cultures and languages and people living together in cooperation. We are a model of a global society which is based on democracy, human rights, and these are huge accomplishments and very important, I think, now with what's going around in our neighborhood with the Arab spring. With our neighbors to the east, also we are a model.
We will lose this if we don't move into a deeper union. And the crossroads is that if we don't have that political will, then I think we will be seeing the -- maybe slow, maybe quick breakup of the euro zone.
ZAKARIA: But it seems to me there are two tracks here. One is what you're describing, a tighter fiscal union, a closer, deeper Europe. And that may well happen. But it will take, frankly, years to figure out whether that is working well. The markets want a resolution to the crisis, and the resolution to the crisis is separate and will have to involve probably the European Central Bank, and it will have to involve some kind of perhaps euro bonds.
That's the part which the Europeans seem to be balking at. The Germans say we want a tighter union, and we're willing to pay those prices. But are they willing to take the short-term measures to get this crisis resolved?
PAPANDREOU: Well, we have been taking piecemeal measures over the past two years with the -- beginning with the Greek crisis which ended up and as I had said from the very beginning, this is not simply a Greek crisis. We have our responsibility, and we're making the major changes in Greece. But this is a systemic crisis for the euro zone.
We've been taking some small, sometimes even big steps for European standards. But it's been too little, too late. I know what I would like to see, and I think which will calm the markets. I don't know if we will be making these decisions, but now I think the markets need, they want to see a strong will and trust the European Union and the euro.
I think this is what we have lost over the past two years is that sense of trust that we do -- we will take the necessary measures.
ZAKARIA: You understand the German concern, and the German concern is that if they write the check, they lose all their leverage over you and over the Italian government. And that when -- when there have been moments where it seemed as though the debt of Europe was centralized, in effect that they were writing the checks, governments have seemed to relax on their reform measures. Not so much you, but in the Italian case.
Do you think there is some way to persuade the German government that the pressure for reform stays even if they solve the short-term problem of the crisis?
PAPANDREOU: Yes, I think there is. I think this is a legitimate concern. And let me put it this way -- had there been a stronger monitoring of the European Union from the European Union and even from the rating agencies on member states, I would not have as a prime minister inherited a situation where the deficit was close to 16 percent, and the debt almost doubled in the previous government.
And nobody really made much fuss about this. Didn't really see it coming. That's why I think monitoring is important. We're paying for this right now, and some -- many of the Greeks are unjustly paying for this because they're paying for -- for things that they didn't -- weren't responsible for.
So I think that we all want to see this monitoring strengthened. At the same time, if we do collectivize our debt management and also the whole process of investment and using the euro bonds, this will give leverage to more monitoring. The program we're under now is under strict monitoring and strict conditions.
ZAKARIA: Mr. Papandreou, a lot of who people say that, "Look, Greece would be better of if it were able to default." Martin Feldstein, you know, world famous economist, says Greece would be better off if it abandons the euro, devalues its currency and defaults. There is a German think tank which put out a report that pointed out that if Greece were able to devalue its currency by 44 percent, it would then reach the same, then Greece would be about as expensive as Turkey, which is where it should be. It should not be as expensive as Germany or Holland. Doesn't that make sense?
PAPANDREOU: Well, there are many other, if you like, there would be a lot more collateral damage which would be almost -- could be devastating, not only for Greece but also for Europe itself. First of all, don't forget that we're tightly knit. This is not something which is -- we're not as if we're pegged to a currency. We are tightly knit common currency.
So that's very different than, let's say, Argentina having pegged its money to the dollar, which they just changed in one day. We have everybody in Greece uses euros, the banks use euros. You can imagine what we'll have. First of all, we'll have a run on the banks. The banks will collapse. The debt will -- will have to be paid back in euros and not in drachmas or whatever currency we go to.
Thirdly, we will have more contagion I believe in the euro zone. When you have one country leaving, why not have another or a third or a fourth leaving, where markets will say, well, of course others have high debts, too.
ZAKARIA: Let me ask you one final quick question. The leader of the opposition whom you have dealt with and that had to cede power to was your former college roommate at Amherst. What was it like to have a political rivalry that seemed very vicious at times with a guy who you once shared a bathroom with?
PAPANDREOU: Well, I always -- I've always hoped that that personal relationship would help in finding wider consensus because the -- the magnitude of changes we are making in this country, we have never done over the past 30, 40 years. And that's why I actually proposed a referendum, to bring the responsibility to the people and create a sense of ownership for this program.
We now have this national consensus on this basis to take both tough measures but also change Greece, make it a dynamic country, a dynamic economy. Make sure we stay in the euro and the euro zone. And I believe now we have a good prospect. And a more sure prospect for the Greek people. And Greek society, too.
ZAKARIA: Mr. Papandreou, pleasure to have you on. Thank you so much.
PAPANDREOU: Nice talking to you, Fareed. Thank you very much.
ZAKARIA: And we will be back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frankly, I think you're going to see stepped up drone attacks, you're going to see stepped up raids on sanctuaries. You might well see a raid on Iran, a strike on the Iranian nuclear program.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: There's much to talk about the panel today so let's get right to it. Joining me are former Obama state department official and currently Princeton professor, Anne Marie Slaughter, the editor of "Foreign Affairs" Gideon Rose, Nile Gardner, director of the Heritage Foundation's Margaret Thatcher's Center for Freedom and Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia group, a global risk research and consulting firm.
So the first thing I just want to get out on the table is Pakistan. And get a sense as to whether anyone thinks anything is going to fundamentally change because it seems like the relations have deteriorated once again. But are we still in the same dance where we need them because we need the access roots to supply Afghanistan and they need us because a quarter of the military budget is paid for by Washington?
IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT OF POLITICAL RISK CONSULTING, EURASIA GROUP: As long as we have troops on the ground in Afghanistan, I think the answer is yes. But we are, of course, moving towards exit. The Pakistanis understand that. So clearly the closer you get to exit, the more you realize that, "Wow, they're not going to pay up as much anymore. So what are we now going to do? What's our optionalities?" I think it does start to unravel before we actually get to the end of that game.
ZAKARIA: You have a guy, Steven Crazner, former Bush State Department official, who had the job Ann Marie had, who says we should cut all aide to the Pakistani military.
GIDEON ROSE, EDITOR "FOREIGN AFFAIRS": I think we're getting to the point where many, many people in the U.S. government and around the U.S. government just are not convinced that we're getting anything from the Pakistanis enough to make it worth accepting the abuse that we're continuing to accept. And as we move out of Afghanistan and as we can do more with drones and attacks on sanctuaries ourselves, the feeling is basically, look, we can take care of our own security needs, and if the Pakistanis won't do it, then let them be.
ZAKARIA: You've seen this relationship on the inside. How frustrated do you think U.S. officials are about the dealings with Pakistan?
ANNE MARIE SLAUGHTER, FORMER DIR. OF POLICY PLANNING, U.S. STATE DEPT.: I think you've got the same division between the State Department and the Defense Department. So this week the State Department wanted an apology for the killing of Pakistani soldiers, and the Defense Department wasn't willing to give it.
The Defense Department is extremely frustrated. The State Department recognizes we have to maintain this relationship in some way. But I -- I think I agree with Gideon, the view that we were going to create deep security with the Pakistanis, we were going to convince them that we were going to stay and that was really going to change the relationship, I don't think anybody holds that view anymore.
ROSE: Can I say something here? What if the U.S. State Department is so politically tone deaf that it actually recommended the U.S. president go on an official apology tour during the campaign. If they can't read our own politics well enough not to recommend that, how can we trust their reading of other government -
SLAUGHTER: It wasn't an apology tour. They also recognized that this president would like to get out of Afghanistan in a decent way. That's one of the things you have to do is to maintain relations with the Pakistanis to do that.
ZAKARIA: Skepticism about Pakistan is now pretty bipartisan, wouldn't you say?
NILE GARDINER, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: I would say so. I think patience is running out across the board in Washington on both sides of the political aisle. And the fact is that Pakistan is playing an extremely dangerous double game with the United States. And I do think it's time for Washington to significantly increase the pressure on Pakistan. I believe that we should be freezing aid to Pakistan, and making future aid contingent upon a dramatic change in their approach.
ZAKARIA: You shake your head -
SLAUGHTER: You make a matter -- I mean this week you had a former foreign minister who was really a moderate, (INAUDIBLE) joined the leading anti-American party in Pakistan. I just think that digs them in deeper. Really do.
BREMMER: It would make you feel good. I mean that's what you're arguing for. But then we have to actually deal with the reality of politics on the ground. We're not there yet. We'll get there eventually.
ZAKARIA: But Afghanistan, you think the drawdown is coming and will be large? Or what?
SLAUGHTER: I think the drawdown is certainly coming. And the push is going to be to get a sort of regional agreement to allow us to pull down faster than the full 2014. The president's got political cover. He said 2014, as long as he's pulling out, there's room to stop, even to reverse that temporarily if you have to. But I think the goal is to -- to draw down and to get a diplomatic cover. There, again, you need Pakistan. The fact that Pakistan's not participating in the Bonn conference is very bad.
ZAKARIA: On this issue, do you think that there is much support in the Republican Party for a kind of stuffer position on Afghanistan? Meaning we should be in there, we should be staying longer? In the debates, you get the sense there are few people saying it, but it doesn't get much traction in the audience.
GARDINER; Yes. I think, you know, certainly the Republican Party is divided over the Afghanistan question. But I think there is, though, a sense that President Obama has been far too weak on Afghanistan, and setting a sort of artificial timetable sends a signal to America's enemies that the United States doesn't have the stomach for the fight.
And we cannot allow the Taliban to return to power in Afghanistan and form another safe haven for attacks against not only the United States but also against key European allies, as well. But I do think that President Obama has sent a rather soft signal to America's enemies in Afghanistan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it's a signal -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not lying about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want to surprise these guys, right -
SLAUGHTER: You don't want to stay there -
BREMMER: And we leave, I guess that's better for the next two years, and then suddenly it isn't in a big way. I don't know. A little more transparency oh this stuff. Especially because, let's face it, the American constituents matter a lot more to Obama, Democrats and Republicans, than the Afghani and Pakistani constituents -- you have been saying, we haven't gotten much out of it.
ROSE: The Americans have the stomach for one kind of fight and not for another kind of fight. They don't have the stomach for large ground wars in Asia. They do have the stomach for bombing the hell out of people from the air in discreet ways or commando raids.
So frankly, I think you're going to see stepped up drone attacks, you're going to stepped up raids on sanctuaries. You might well even see a raid on Iran. A strike on the Iranian nuclear program. But these things are discreet military operations that the American public can feel good about. And that doesn't get entangled in stuff on the ground.
SLAUGHTER: And 63 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama's doing on terrorism. So he's in pretty strong shape that way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got cover on it.
ZAKARIA: Wait, you said something I want to pick up on. Discreet military actions like a strike on Iran. Do you think that's possible?
ROSE: I think -- I've been coming to think that is possible. But the key would be if the people in the U.S. government, and once was all Israelis now. The Israelis have been the boy crying wolf on this for a number of years. I am increasingly hearing different people in the U.S. government starting to see things like the Israelis, that, gee, we're only a few months off from a critical point at which we could no longer knock out the program with a strike.
And if that is in fact the case, this administration might actually do something. But the key would be not an attack to produce regime change. It would be an attack instead of regime change. It would be a discreet military strike, like the Israeli strike on the Syrian nuclear plant warning a while back that didn't actually threaten the broader regime and it wasn't part of a large-scale war against Iran. Just dealing with a temporary problem, to kick it down the road a few more years.
ZAKARIA: And you say, though, that Iran already aided -- is at a point of no return in the sense of a sophisticated nuclear program.
SLAUGHTER: Iran, I mean, when we started, it had hundreds of centrifuges, now it has thousands. It's by many estimates about, you know, on the 10 yard line from the end zone from a nuclear end zone. It's not at all clear to me, maybe we could slow things up, but we're not actually going to be able to stop them with that kind of very specific attack. You have to attack a lot of places at once, and I can't imagine -- I can't imagine anything worse in terms of our policy across the broader Middle East. Let's change the conversation. And once again make it the U.S. versus, you know, a Muslim state, rather than what's happening now where Iran is getting weakened. It's getting weakened by Turkey. It's certainly getting weakened if Assad falls in Syria. That then leaves Hezbollah, but Hezbollah is cut off between Syria.
ZAKARIA: Internal conflicts -
SLAUGHTER: Absolutely. Let it go. Iran is losing politically at this point.
ROSE: We wouldn't actually have a drop-dead point about the nuclear program, they would do exactly that. If you reach -- it becomes a race between will the Iranian regime get nukes before it falls, then this administration -
ZAKARIA: All right. We've got a break. You four stay right here. We are going to be back in just a minute. Right after our break, our "What in the World" segment. Why the world's top two economies seem to be holding one of the world's poorest countries. You don't want to miss this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CROWLEY: Time for a check of today's top stories. Islamist parties have won a majority of seats in the first round of Egypt's parliamentary elections. The Muslim Brotherhood party appears to be one of the major winners. The front-runner for Egypt's presidency Amr Moussa tells Reuters that the strong Islamic showing is democracy in action.
More than a dozen protesters in the Occupy movement were arrested in Portland, Oregon, as police cleared a city park of demonstrators overnight. Protesters rallied in the streets as park employees tore down tents. A Portland police spokesman described the situation as hostile, but Occupy protesters call the protest peaceful.
This just in to CNN. Iran state-run TV is reporting that a U.S. drone was shot down in Eastern Iran, they cite a military source. Press TV reported that the drone was seized by authorities after "minimum damage." CNN is reaching out to U.S. authorities for possible confirmation.
And expect it to take longer to receive your first-class mail in the future. Tomorrow the financially troubled postal service plans to announce a cost-saving proposal that would have first-class mail arrive in two to five days instead of one to three. Thank you very much for watching "State of the Union." I'm Candy Crowley in Washington. You can find today's interviews as well as analysis, web exclusives and much more at our web site, cnn.com/sotu.
Up next for our viewers here in the United States, "Fareed Zakaria GPS."
ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment.
One of the world's poorest countries has done something few rich nations would dare to do these days. It said no to China. I'm talking about Myanmar, an impoverished country that was until this year the world's longest serving military dictatorship. It shocked Beijing recently by pulling a plug on a dam that was meant to supply millions of Chinese with electricity. Beijing may have been upset, but it nonetheless invited Myanmar's top general to the capital last week. He was greeted by none other than the man who is expected to become China's president next year (INAUDIBLE).
What in the world is going on? To understand the situation, let's look at another top-level meeting. Hillary Clinton was in Myanmar last week to meet its president. It was the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state in 56 years.
Myanmar is opening up, which is turning this country into a cockpit of international occurrence, rivalries, and diplomacy. For decades, Myanmar's military junta had cracked down on any form of dissent. The 2007 Saffron Revolution was brutally suppressed. Even the monks, who were seen as sacred, were mercilessly beaten up when they took to the streets. But in a time of global anger against repression, there are signs Myanmar's government feels the need to change its ways. Its new president, a former military general, has released some 200 of an estimated 2,000 political prisoners.
His government has lifted restrictions on the media and called on armed ethnic groups to hold peace talks. He's also reached tout his opponents, the most famous of them, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has finally been released from house arrest.
In a move seen as hugely encouraging in the West, she agreed last month to rejoin politics. President Obama calls these moves flickers of progress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good afternoon, everybody -- .
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: He strikes a cautious note because we've seen these flickers before. Myanmar makes minor concessions hoping the West will drop its sanctions, and then it regresses once again.
What's different this time is the regional context of these changes. People think of Myanmar as tiny, but look at the map. Myanmar is Southeast Asia's second-largest country. It's larger than France and it borders two rising powers, China and India.
Despite international sanctions, China has become the biggest foreign spender in Myanmar with more than $5 billion in annual trade. India's right on its heels with $4 billion in trade. Neither country has attached any moral conditions to doing business with Myanmar the way the United States perhaps would.
So the fact that Myanmar is now making overtures toward Washington suggests a few things. It is seeking a hedge against China's influence in the region. It wants the West to drop sanctions. And it wants more generally to reengage with the world.
For Washington, these are all positive signs. President Obama spoke of a policy pivot toward Asia in his tour there last month. He also struck an agreement with Australia to keep 2,500 American troops in that country.
Myanmar's progress opens a window for the U.S. to further strengthen its footprint in Asia and maintain a balance of power on that continent. The Chinese will still have deep ties in Myanmar, but increasingly so will India.
Myanmar clearly wants to play all three powers against each other. But in doing so, and to really get America interested, it realizes that it will have to open up its economy and its political system.
The good news is that the winners of this great power game may turn out to be the long-suffering people of Myanmar.
And we will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BREMMER: It is intolerable that the Iranians would -- completely agree. You know what? We live with lots of intolerable things every single day. We're going to add a few.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: We're back with our expert foreign policy panel. Anne- Marie Slaughter from Princeton, Gideon Rose of "Foreign Affairs," Nile Gardiner from the Heritage Foundation, and Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group.
All right, before we were so rudely interrupted, we were talking about Iran. And the question I have for you is on this issue of being tough with Iran and potentially striking. This was an area where there was rare unanimity in the Republican Party, almost -- I'm not counting Ron Paul. But do you think it's bluster, or do you think that, you know, the Republicans really -- there is an appetite for a military strike against Iran?
GARDINER: Well, I don't think it's bluster. And I think that there is very strong appetite, not just within the Republican Party but across America for tougher action against Iran. And I think there's nothing worse than having a nuclear armed Iran that is simply unacceptable.
This is an extremely dangerous regime. We've seen what's happened this week with the trashing and looting of the British embassy by armed thugs at the behest of the Iranian government. This is a regime that simply cannot be negotiated with. A fundamentally barbaric, brutal regime that has brutalized its own people for many, many decades. And this is simply an intolerable situation. And therefore, I do think the free world needs to take very robust action to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
ZAKARIA: What do you make of the attack on the British embassy or the storming of the British embassy?
BREMMER: I think that within Iran there are increasing -- there's a big fight between the supreme leader and the president. It's not the first time we've seen this, but it's getting worse. And you've got a lot of folks that are willing to take greater risks to ensure their own political survival.
That's dangerous. I absolutely see that as something that we should be watching out for very carefully because it would cause a lot of instability in the region and it would strike oil prices. But I don't see the Republicans with a real appetite -- look, I think the Obama had a real appetite to close Guantanamo until he became president. And then he had to deal with real life. It is intolerable that the Iranians would have a nuke (ph). Completely agree. You know what? We live with lots of intolerable things every single day. We're going to add a few.
ROSE: So I think you know what that word means, intolerable.
ZAKARIA: I want to talk about the Asia trip because that does strike me as fairly significant where what the United States did was on three different fronts is really pushed back against China. On the South Chinese Seas, it made clear that it was standing from multilateral solutions, which is sort of code word for the Chinese can't do what they want. They can't have these bilateral deals where they bullied the Philippines and the Vietnamese.
It got this Australia troops deal, which is effectively a base in Australia, and it got itself invited to the East Asian Summit and Obama attended it.
It all struck me as fairly deaf and having long-potential consequences of steeping the United States permanently anchored in Asia.
SLAUGHTER: I think that's right. We came in saying that we want to be very clearly engaged in Asia. That we want -- we have to focus on the Middle East, but we can't focus on the Middle East at the expense of Asia. I think something people haven't focused enough on, it's not just being in Asia. It's being engaged in Asia through a strong regional organization.
So if you think about what we've done in terms of building the Arab League and pushing for that, in the Middle East, with the African Union, our policy is not just to be present but to build a regional organization like the East Asia Summit so that there is a mechanism for every country in the region to have a voice. And it's not just us bilaterally with the Chinese or the Koreans or the Japanese, it's us with 10 ASEAN nations, Russia, India, China, Korea, and Japan. So that regional dimension is very important.
ZAKARIA: Do you think it's pissed the Chinese off?
BREMMER: A little bit. It certainly surprised them. They weren't ready for it. Kissinger, of course, takes that view and says, this sounds like cold water, we know not to move so fast my view is that --
ZAKARIA: But your Kissinger imitation --
BREMMER: Is it bad?
BREMMER: Yes. What do you do? But -- practice for next time. But the United States has been begged by its allies in the region. I mean, Le Kwan Yu in Singapore, I mean, the Japanese, they said, please show your commitment because we're very concerned that otherwise this is going to -- the region is going to be China dominated. And that's not just a security issue.
Frankly, I think the single biggest thing that came out of Obama's trip was getting Japanese assurances and movement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the TPP, which creates the basis for new trade architecture that is not ASEAN plus three. China dominated without the United States, that provides a lot of cover for the United States to do the kinds of things it does best in this part of the world, which is to provide economic wealth.
ROSE: The United States -- I don't think -- what Ian said, the United States is wanted by the world for the supply of lots of very important public goods. But nobody liked to acknowledge that, and nobody want the United States to be all assertive and in-your-face and aggressive. And so the best way to generate demand for America's world role is to pull back a little bit and say, you know what, you want us ought of your business, fine, we're out of your business.
But then it's like, no, no, please help us with Europe, please help our currency, please help provide regional order, please protect us from the big, bad Chinese dragon. And so what you've seen, I think, is, you know, people fret about the United States returning into isolationism or walk away from the world of the Obama administration, doing all these terrible things, pulling back.
In fact, we're recalibrating U.S. power in such a way that we can to supply the public goods that are necessary when the locals demand it. And that's what you see here. It wasn't us pushing everybody to contain the Chinese, it was us responding to the pleas of all of our allies on China's periphery to actually give some pushback. And the Chinese were surprised at that because they didn't realize how much other people wanted that and how much we still had the capacity to do it.
ZAKARIA: Are you willing to give President Obama credit on the Asia front?
GARDINER: I think he did the right thing on Australia. It's good to see him reinforcing U.S.-Australian relations, especially after two or three years really I think of undermining some key alliances. And I think this has been a presidency that has failed to project significant U.S. leadership and has failed to strengthen key alliances.
And alliances really do matter. And I think American leadership does matter tremendously in Asia and the Middle East, in Europe, as well. Overall, I think this administration has done rather badly, but on the Australian front, I do think it's -- right that Washington sends a clear signal to a key U.S. ally that they are respected, fought open matter in the eyes of the United States. So that's the right thing all summer.
ZAKARIA: Spoken like the head of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom.
Nile Gardiner, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Gideon Rose, Ian Bremmer, thank you very much.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There have been so many wrong things that have happened since the death of bin Laden in the early part of May, so many things that, you know, indicated that there were some hidden hand, if you will, in what was going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: I'm going introduce you to a very different kind of guest now. He's not a head of state, not an ambassador, not a diplomat. In fact, he has no official position whatsoever, but he functions at the intersection of power and politics between Pakistan and the United States.
Mansoor Ijaz is a Pakistani American businessman who has contacts and friends in both governments. He's come to prominence now because of a controversial op-ed he published recently in the "Financial Times."
In it he claimed he was the messenger for a memo from Pakistan's civilian government to the Pentagon, asking Washington to clamp down on Pakistan's military. The U.S. says it ignored the memo. But since Ijaz outed the story, Memogate has led to a new low in relations between the two countries and to a Supreme Court investigation in Pakistan.
We will try to figure out why this Pakistani American businessman published this article, what does he really know.
I spoke to Mansoor Ijaz earlier.
ZAKARIA (on camera): Let me begin by asking you, Mansoor, about the substance of the charges you'd laid out in the -- in the op-ed in the "Financial Times." And by that, I mean the basic point of your article was a rather striking -- in fact, even stunning call for the U.S. to label an element of the Pakistani military, the S branch of the intelligence wing, a terrorist organization. What brought you to feel so strongly that?
MANSOOR IJAZ, PAKISTANI-AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN: Well, Fareed, first of all, it's good to be with you.
You know, the thing that was really behind this thinking process of mine is that, you know, I've been involved in different operations in Pakistan now for a very long time. I helped Benazir come back together with the Clinton administration as a part of the larger Pakistani-American community. I, as you know, was deeply involved in trying to broker a ceasefire in Kashmir. And during these various interventions that I tried to effect in Pakistan, what we found out in almost every single case was that there was a political motivation and a political interference by the ISI.
Now there have been so many wrong things that have happened since the death of bin Laden in the early part of May, so many things that, you know, indicated that there was some hidden hand if you will in what was going. And it is my view and it is still my view today that section S of the ISI has been involved in some very, very nefarious activities, and so since nobody was able to get their arms around that, the United States had to take the lead on that. And the United States has done this in Iran.
They have done it in other countries where they have been very, very hard in, you know, labeling certain organizations in those countries as terrorists. And it had -- a material impact in terms of how both U.S. policy as well as other country policies were formulated to handle problems in those countryside.
ZAKARIA: Explain what the S branch of the ISI is. The ISI is the intelligence wing of the Pakistani military. What is the S branch?
IJAZ: Yes. So the ISI has two critical branches in it, one is called CT for counterterrorism, and the other is the S brand for strategic. It's sort of the arm of the ISI that does everything from political interventions in other countries, for example, Afghanistan, which is what they're doing through the Haqqani Network and the Taliban right now.
They do a lot of political interventions in their own country. You know, there are many times when it has been reported in the past and authentically reported and authoritatively reported by the Pakistani press that S branch was involved in manipulating elections and doing things of that nature inside Pakistan.
So it's a -- it's an organ of the state that nobody can control, and it is essentially the organ of the state that the army and the intelligence wings are using to shall we say coordinate or obstruct what it is that the political side of the government, the civilian side of the governments do in Pakistan.
ZAKARIA: Now the whole thrust of your -- of your op-ed is that the ISI, the Pakistani military, operates in very nefarious ways often. Has involved itself as you just said in the domestic affairs of Pakistan and really brooks tolerates no adversaries.
So what -- what I'm wondering is, why would you make public the fact that the Pakistani civilian government was concerned about the ISI and was trying to curtail it? It seems to undercut the very purpose of your own article to reveal that the civilian government was making -- was trying to clip the wings of the Pakistani military.
IJAZ: Yes. That's a fair question. And all I will tell you is that you've written enough op-ed pieces to know that the way the op-ed process, the writing process works is that there has to be some authenticity in the way that a writer presents his particular argument.
Now I'm not a writer of a book like Ahmed Rashid, I'm not a decorated veteran of some war, I'm not a former secretary of state, I'm not you. You've got a great credibility to do these things just on your name alone.
In my case because I'm a businessman who theoretically has nothing to do with these kinds of issues, what I wrote and how I wrote needed to have a certain authenticity to it --
ZAKARIA: But I still have to ask you, isn't the net effect of what you've done been to silence the democratically elected branch of government and empower the very people who you seem to be opposed to?
IJAZ: I don't think that's what's happened. If you ask me, we have strengthened Pakistan. Maybe we haven't strengthened the civilian side of Pakistan's government, but there may have been a rot there that needs to be cleaned up. And if that rot is cleaned out, you might find a very strong Pakistan emanating out of this in which the judiciary does what it's supposed to. The military does what it's supposed to.
There will never be a time in my view where the military is subservient to the civilians in our lifetime. It may take 30, 40 years for that transformation to come. But when it does come, at least what we did was make sure the civilian government has an equal shoulder to the military and the judiciary.
And that -- if I look at the broad picture, that's a pretty good result in terms of making sure these facts got known.
ZAKARIA: Mansoor Ijaz, pleasure to have you own.
IJAZ: Good to be with you, Fareed.
ZAKARIA: Our question this week from the "GPS Challenge" inspired by Secretary Clinton's historic visit to Myanmar. The question is, who was the last sitting U.S. secretary of state to visit what was then called Burma?
Was it, A, George Marshall, B, Dean Acheson, C. John foster Dulles, or D, Dean Rusk? Stay tuned. We'll tell you the correct answer. Make sure you go to CNN.com/gps for 10 more questions.
While you're there, check out our Web site, the Global Public Square, where there is fresh content every day about world affairs, economics, innovation, and much more. And don't forget, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
My book of the week is called Daniel Kahneman and is called "Thinking Fast and Slow." Kahneman, a psychologist, who won the Nobel Prize in economics -- yes, economics -- offers amazing explanations for some of the ways our brains often fail us.
It's truly fascinating. If you like Malcolm Gladwell, you'll like this.
And now for the last look. The Egyptians are going back to hieroglyphs, or so it seemed this week. As you know it was a historic week in Egypt which saw what are likely to be seen as the freest and fairest elections in its history. But on the actual ballots were not only candidates' names but also a guitar, a compact disc, a cactus, a leaf. What's going on? There's an easy explanation. Almost half of Egyptian adults are illiterate so election officials used symbols to identify candidates both on billboards and ballots.
Hundreds of candidates and dozens of political parties were randomly assigned symbols by the Supreme Election Commission. It's a sensible and practical solution, I suppose, although with some bizarre results. I for one wouldn't want to be a blender or a vacuum cleaner.
The correct answer to our GPS challenge question was C, John Foster Dulles, traveled to Rangoon in 1955, 56 years ago, to visit the then Prime Minister U Nu. U Nu? Did you? Sorry, I couldn't resist.
Go to our Web site for more.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week. Stay tuned for "RELIABLE SOURCES."