tv This Week With Christiane Amanpour ABC September 5, 2010 7:00am-8:00am PST
welcome to viewers here and around the world. i'm christiane amanpour. and at the top of the news this week. a journey of war and peace. my exclusive interview with the former british prime minister, tony blair. >> when you're sitting in the hot seat decision making, you have got to decide. >> a decade in the hot seat. on the issues of our time. relationships and decisions that shaped history. the war in iraq. you could have waited. you could have contained it. >> as soon as they get a nuclear weapon -- >> you see a military possibility with them. how did you get over the fear. and on second thought. a "this week" exclusive. then -- >> it's time to turn the page. >> president obama declares an end to the combat mission in iraq.
turns to middle east peace. and struggles to find a voice on the economy. >> can you guys still hear us? >> analysis from the "roundtable" with george will, thomas friedman. paul krugman, and mary jordan. and "the sunday funnies." >> it's labor day. one day a year, we honor our workforce. do we still have a workforce? i don't know. do we? today marks a new beginning for "this week." through our partnership with the bbc, we're delighted that as of now, this program is being broadcast globally in more than 200 countries. we begin with one of the most polarizing figures on the international stage, tony blair. this week, the former british prime minister released his
memoir, "a journey" and we sat down for his first north american interview. during ten tumultuous years -- at the center of world events, the iraq war is his most controversial legacy. this weekend, anti-war protesters showed up in force in dublin at the former prime minister's book signing. as well as taking his country to war in iraq and afghanistan, his interventions in kosovo, sierra leone and northern ireland brought peace. when first elected in 1997, blair seemed a leader right for the time. his sin centrist mrilsys were similar to president clinton. and they forged a close relationship. after 9/11, global events secured his relationship with president bush.
>> i give you, on behalf of our country, our solidarity. >> have you already in your talks found something maybe you -- a personal interest you have in common? >> well, we both use colgate toothpaste. >> they're going to wonder how you know that, george. >> but he was pilloried at home for those close ties. and in 2007 with opposition to the iraq war hardening, blair stepped down. >> and that is -- that's the end. >> iraq is where we began in our wide-ranging interview. do you have regrets about iraq? >> you can't not have regrets about the lives lost. you would be inhuman if you didn't regret the deaths of so many extraordinary, brave, committed soldiers. and civilians dying in iraq. dying still now in afghanistan. of course you feel an enormous responsibility for that. regret. i say in the book, the concept
of responsibility for me has the present and future tense, not just in past tense. >> i guess no surprise. there's zero apologizing for what happened in iraq. you stick to your contention about the weapons of mass destruction. and if it wasn't weapons of mass destruction, at least the byproduct would be getting rid of saddam hussein. and wouldn't the world be better off without him? but you also talk about not comprehending the complexities of what would be unleashed in iraq. what precisely? >> i didn't fully understand this. at the time of 9/11. that point, you think, there are 3,000 people killed in new york in a single day. it's important to hold that thought in our minds. i always say about this. the important thing is -- if these people -- they could have killed 30,000 or 300,000, they would have.
that changed the calculus of risk altogether. what i understood less clearly at that time is how deep this ideological thought is. this is actually more like the phenomenon of revolutionary communism. its roots are deep. the tentacles are long. and its narrative about islam stretches far further than we think into even parts of main stream opinion who abhor the extremism but sort of buy some of the rhetoric that goes with it. >> in your book, you wrote this is not something to be combatted on an electoral cycle. this will take a generation. do you think everybody gets it? i mean, you see president obama now faced with drawing down in iraq, faced with ramping up in afghanistan. but still putting a deadline on. what sort of message does that send as to the commitment to fight it? >> i think it's sensible to set the deadline and provided it's clear to get everyone focused on getting the job done. in general terms, no, i think a
lot of people don't have the stamina for a generations long struggle. i think one of the things that we have to have, one of the debates that we have to have in the west is, are we prepared for that? are we prepared for the consequences of it? >> on afghanistan in your book, you say what's happening is really simple. our enemies think they can outlast us. our enemies are not alone in thinking that. our friends do, too. therefore, the ordinary folk think, i should make my peace with those who are staying not with those who are going. i was there. i saw colonels, generals, soldiers and resources being deployed from afghanistan to iraq. it had an impact. >> there is an issue. it's legitimate to talk about it. >> do you think the americans took their eye off the ball? >> i think people thought it was on a more benign trajectory than it turn out to be.
>> the people were wrong. >> i think, the best way to look at this is, if you analyze it by analogy or reference to revolutionary communism -- the fact is, you wouldn't have said at any point, you're not telling us we have to spend a few more years on it, are you? people would have said spend as long as we need to. that's just it. >> given the focus on afghanistan today, wouldn't it have been better not to have diverted billions of dollars, the amount of resources, the amount of attention to iraq. you could have waited? >> i think what i would say to that is, it's a difficult question to answer. but supposing we had left saddam. >> but you could have contained him. that's my point. >> i know. this is this issue. and think it's an really important issue. i don't think you would have contained him. >> why not? >> the sanctions were crumbling.
>> they were crumbling before 9/11. right after 9/11, the countries you were trying to keep on board, the russians, the french, china. even the sort of left wing chatterati would have much preferred sanctions and containment to invasion. >> absolutely. if you analyze it, they got watered down. my point to you is simple. if you hadn't taken out saddam, there still would have been consequences. what they are, we don't know. i could say, i think it would have been a threat. competing with iran. someone else might say, well, he would have been contained. we don't know. but my view was, in the circumstances after 9/11, you had to send such a strong signal out. on this issue. and incidentally, don't ignore what happened. libya gave up the wmd program. iran at that time, wept back into talks.
after 2003. north korea rejoined the six-party talks. there was a lot that happened. i personally felt, and i still feel, the single biggest threat we face is the prospect of the terrorist groups acquiring a nuclear chemical biological capability. >> although many would say that is the worst case scenario and it is speculation because there's no evidence to support it. >> here's the problem, christiane. it is a problem. i don't know. you don't know. you're making a calculation of risk. when you're in the hot seat of decisionmaking you have to decide. maybe if they got them, they would never use them. but i don't think, if i was a leader today, and certainly, this is the view i took then, i took the risk. that's where iran is so difficult. someone just said to me the other night, it's not the end of the world if iran gets a nuclear weapon. why would they want to use it? why would they want the cause all of that destruction?
it's a sensible argument. they may be right. if i was the decision maker, i wouldn't take the risk. >> what would you do? >> tell them they can't have it. if necessary, confront them with stronger sanctions. diplomacy. if that fails, no option off the table. >> you're seeing a military possibility against iran? >> i don't want to see it. >> but you're saying it has to happen? >> i don't want to see it. i'm saying you cannot exclude it. the primary objective has to be to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon. >> talking the way you're talking reminds me of the passage in your book in the lead-up to the iraq war. you talk about vice president cheney at the time. "he would have worked through the whole lot. iraq, syria, iran, dealing with all the surrogates in the course of it. in other words, he thought the world had to be made anew, and that after september 11th, it had to be done with force and
urgency." so, would he have gone through that lot? >> he didn't say it in the meetings. but dick was always absolutely hard line on all these things. his world view was that the world had to be remade after september 11th. you can't dismiss that view. and say well that's just stupid. it's not. it may require amendment. you may disagree with it. but it -- >> is it possible? >> well, i don't -- possible -- it's possible over time with the right combination of hard and soft power, i think. to get to the point where nations that we regard as or did regard at threats become allies. that is not always going to have a hard power solution to it. >> let me ask you about the relationship with president bush. many people thought you would not get on because of the difference in your politics. >> we continue, obviously, to disagree on certain aspects of
politics, like climate change or even the middle east peace process from time to time. i'm a democrat not a republican. but on the central question, after september 11th, of security, we were in agreement. >> you say george w. bush was very smart. he had an immense simplicity in how he saw the world. right or wrong, it led to decisive leadership. >> yes, it did. and i -- and i think, you know -- it's easy to mock that simplicity. it's easy to ignore the strength that sometimes comes with it and a decision like the surge in iraq. i can't think of many people that would have had the courage to take that decision in the way that he did. >> let's move on to bill clinton. you describe him as your political soulmate. why is that? >> i think he was one of the first people really to understand, to articulate, how progressive politics couldn't be a rainbow coalition. that you 45d to stand up and be
connected with people, not activists, simply. >> you say he was one of the smartest political minds. you have come across. >> he was phenomenally smart. i would say the smartest politician i ever came across. yes, i would say bill clinton. yeah. >> you had dealings with him in the height of the troubles, the monica lewinsky scandal. the impeachment. how did you see him get through his political life at that point? >> by the most extraordinary strength of character. i mean -- i came across him in some of the worst parts of all that impeachment business. and his ability, somehow, to kind of refocus on the job and get it done, i remember sitting there thinking, i could not do that if all that was going on around me. i just couldn't do it. but he did. >> let me ask you about your view of why he got himself into this situation. i was also convinced his behavior arose in part from his
inordinate interest in and curiosity about people. in respect of men, it was expressed in friendship. in respect of women, there was a potentially sexual element. his curiosity led to that? >> i think probably what i wrote is what i wrote. if i try to explain it, i'll get into difficulty. i think that there are people who are infinite -- part of his genius as a politician is he is extraordinarily curious about people. >> you address the issue of sex and politicians. you basically say, in terms of why they take this risk, you say my theory is it's precisely because of the supreme self-control that you have to exercise to be at the top. politicians live with pressure. et cetera. so? >> so that's what you do? >> go and have affairs? >> no, you live with pressure. >> and you say your free bird instincts want to free you from
the control. then there's the lacking self-control. >> i'm trying to say -- it's one of the things -- you know, you come across when you're a political leader, obviously. you see people get -- you hope you never get mixed up in something like that. you see the situation develop. people today want to know so much more about their politicians. if they do, they have to understand they're also human beings. and you have to be somewhat forgiving of the human frailty. i think. that's my view. >> you talk about the human frailty of alcohol as well. you say, um, the relationship between alcohol and prime ministers is a subject of a book all its own. what was your relationship? with alcohol? >> it's a good question. i decided to write about it in the book. thought about it, actually. you have to be careful writing
about these things. >> was it a prop for you? did it become a prop? >> you have to be careful. >> a couple of glasses of wine -- >> i had a limit. i was aware it had become a prop. >> you have to be careful of it becoming a prop. it can become a problem. i was never quite sure. sometimes it's a relaxation at the end of the day and it's -- this year, for the first time, my wife had been on me to do this for ages. i gave it up for lent. all right? so i went for the six weeks without it. it was interesting. >> you talk about cherie your wife giving you support and soothing you. you said on that night, the 12th of may, 1994, i needed that love that cherie gave me. selfishly. i devoured to it give me strength. i was an animal following my instincts, knowing i would need every ounce of emotional power and resilience. a little bit racy, there. >> i'm going to blush now. you write these passages and
they stay in. you read them in the cold light of day, you think, hmm. should i have written that in that way? >> the tone of the book, you going from gung ho, courageous bravado to really gut-wrenching fear. you have this amazing passage about prime minister's questions. >> the prime minister knows i was given no sight of that dossier. i wasn't even a contact. he can retract that. for start! >> pmq was the most nerve-racking, bowel-moving, discombobulating, nail-biting, terror-inspiring experience in my prime ministerial life. >> it was terrifying. absolutely terrifying. people say, don't you miss prime minister's questions? that's like asking a guy that's been on the rack for ten years if he would like to stretch? >> how did you get over it? >> i ended up understanding it
was also a physical exercise. i used to eat differently and take a banana before going in for energy. and you have to confront the fear. the fear in the end is being made to look completely ridiculous. which is a very human fear. >> you still feel it at that time every week. >> absolutely. every week, at three minutes to 12:00 on a wednesday, there's a chill that comes upon me. wherever i am in the world. it hasn't left yet. >> shortly after you became prime minister, you met princess diana. what did you think of her? >> she was extraordinary, engaging, amazing, beautiful, iconic figure. >> you say that buckingham palace sort of saw her as a threat. >> they admired her. she was such a sort of -- in one sense, she was such a different type of person. that for a very traditional monarchy, this was a -- you
monarchy, this was a -- you know, as i said, it was kind of a meteor coming into a what had been a fairly well disciplined, well ordered ecosystem. that had a big impact and big consequences. >> and when she died, a whole nother reality. you called her the people's princess. and you also had to kind of get the queen and the buckingham palace to understand that there was a sort of huge wave striking the country. >> people felt the loss. what was important, the monarchy had to be able to, at that point of supreme difficulty, to just pivot somewhat, and come to an understanding with the people. where they reached out. and accepted that there was that strength of emotion there. >> i, for one, believe, there are lessons to be drawn from her life and the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death. >> and in the end, the queen did
that, think, magnificently, actually. and did it with a pretty flawless instinct. it was difficult to me. because i was a new prime minister and i didn't really know the queen. >> you talk about going up to balmoral. in scotland, for the annual royal barbecue. the queen was stacking dishes? >> it was an annual event. the prime minister goes and spends a weekend with the queen at balmoral. the procedure there is, the cooking and the cleaning up is done by the royal family itself. so you have this slightly odd situation. where you're sitting there, nervous around the queen, who you have grown up with. and so on. and prince phillip's doing the cooking and the queen is doing the dishes and stacking up.ñi it was unnerving. they do it in a lovely way. >> on that note. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, tony blair, for
joining us. >> thank you. >> watch more of what tony blair had to say on our website at abcnews.com/thisweek. coming up next, our "roundtable." with george will, paul krugman, mary jordan and tom friedman. mary jordan and tom friedman. and after a week on foreign policy, ending conflict in iraq, can the president turn things around? we'll be right back. we'll be right back. during its first year, the humpback calf and its mother are almost inseparable. she lifts her calf to its first breath of air, then protects it on the long journey to their feeding grounds.
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no one can doubt president bush's support for our troops or his love of country and commitment to our security. >> what he should have said, i opposed the surge. i was wrong. >> some leaders who opposed, criticized, fought tooth and nail to stop the surge strategy now proudly claim credit for the results. >> if john boehner or anybody else wants to say that the surge did this, fine. fine. the fact of the matter is, we're not there yet. >> the debate of iraq. one of the topics we'll get to on the "roundtable" this morning, with george will, paul
krugman. mary jordan, and "new york times" columnist tom friedman. welcome to you all. and, of course, while the president did spend a lot of this last week on foreign policy, he's going to be turning to domestic policy this week. so let me start. he's going to have a big speech in cleveland on wednesday. what does he have to say, george? >> he has to say things are going to get better fast. he can't plausibly say that. in december 2007, when the recession began, at point until now, americans have lost about $10 trillion of net household wealth because of housing values, 401(k)s, and all the rest. they were highly leveraged. they had household to consumer debt. they're still slowly shedding debt. only 25% of americans tell people that they think their income will be better next year
than this year. all these add up to reasons why people are not spending. and why corporations are sitting on a sum of money twice as large as the stimulus. >> before i get to the -- go ahead, paul. >> no this is -- this has the feeling of a nightmare. something that you saw coming. back in january '09, a number of us said this is not commensurate with the scale of the crisis. it is, in fact, as bad as george said it is. and what is going to happen is, this will bring some improvement. it will fade out in the middle of 2010. instead of saying, we need more, the public is going to say, that didn't work. you'll lose the ability to move forward. they haven't helped by pretending it was all working up until just about a month ago. it was on track. he's in a difficult position. he really needs to somehow stake out a position saying, look, there are things we can do. the other party is standing in the way of it. i don't have faith he's going to
do it. >> i think they did oversell their position how quickly things would get better. he's got to go in there and say, we're on a path. we're going to get better. remember, folks, when reagan started out in 1982, he was at the same point, he was two years into his term. the unemployment was at 10%. they did come out of it. this was a big crisis. it's going to take time. >> clearly, christiane, there are issues of the stimulus tax cut. how do we get more people working? there are huge structural ones. we're at a moment of two points. one where globalization has never been as intense. the wall is coming down, economy is integrated. at the same time, technology is rapidly churning old jobs and creating new jobs. you're at a moment where you need more education than ever to get the new jobs. more people around the world can compete for the good jobs. certainly, what paul and george say. we need more stimulus, whatever mechanism we do it.
but we have a structural problem here that the president has to address. >> we are falling into the trap. when you have a severe recession, people say it's structural. it's going to be a long time. you can't cure it. we need more demand. i've been looking at polling from 1938. this sort of resembles 1938, when fdr cut back too soon and the economy went back to recession. people were deeply pessimistic. they said it won't recover. more demand won't do it. we need to cut the budget deficit. we were fortunate in a way, that the war came along. it took off the restraints. we had a recovey and it wasn't structural. we just didn't have enough demand. >> let me ask you about the atmospherics. they possibly go to the heart of the matter as well. you talked about what was going on in reagan's time. at that time, and people are writing about it now, they point to ronald reagan using his presence, boosting the optimism
of the american people. talking about american exceptionalism. and getting the economy back. is there a disconnect with what the president has done and how he's affecting the mood of the people? >> i don't think this is a commune case problem. parties in power, they say there's nothing wrong with the message, we need to be more articulate about it. i think the country has decided about this president that they were betrayed may be too strong. somehow deceived.xd they didn't think they voted for this. that's why they have, in a sense, tuned out. combined with his strategy of communication, which is to have no strategy at all. he's in the country's face all the time talking. people -- >> i think people don't know what this is yet. from this president. and that's the uncertainty. that's why there's no demand. people are not spending. businesses don't want to hire. it's the uncertainty. >> i totally disagree.
businesses are not hiring because there's no demand. there's no demand because consumers took a huge hit. this is not a problem that's a problem of a lack of confidence. what is true is that obama has had no vision. he's not articulated a philosophy. what is his philosophy of government? he's wobbled between sounding kind of like a liberal. then he says the conservatives have some points, too. he concedes the message. there's never been anything like what reagan did. reagan said, we've been on the wrong track. we're going to follow a different track. you need to support us in this. >> can i ask you? some commentators and articles were writing about the unemployment figures. they were slightly less bad than people expected. they're saying the word of the week should be reassuring on that. the figures show that there will
not be a double-dip recession. which everybody was predicting last week there would be. >> my thought is, who cares? if unemployment rises, who cares if we technically have another recession. it doesn't really matter for the people. in a way, i'm in the camp that says that -- things getting worse more slowly than expected was actually a bad thing. it removes the urgency about doing something. >> let me put this poll up on the economy. basically, they were asked -- do you think democrats or republicans in congress would do a better job dealing with the economy? 38% say democrats, 49% say republicans. the question is -- let's say -- now people are saying they could lose the house and the senate. what would that economic plan be? what is the articulation of the plan? >> i think one of the sad things in polls like that, i wouldn't mind in the republicans were winning because they had a better idea. the two ideas i have heard is that the stimulus didn't work. that we've done so far, i think
that's false. it cleearly created what paul is talking about. some more demand. maybe insufficient. and secondly, it just doesn't seem to me the republicans have some -- to say we need tax cuts. that's going to solve everything. to talk about tax cuts without talking about long-term, offsetting budget cuts. what you're going to cut by way of services. not being honest about that. it's passing on more debt to the future. they're not winning with the better plan. >> the republicans are deeply unserious. they want to cut taxes. they say they're against deficits. they have no plan for offsetting spending cuts. they have no plan to make it work. and certainly no plan to get the economy moving again. they're not serious. >> and they would disagree. they would say they have a serious plan that people like paul ryan and others -- i know you're doubting paul ryan. but not all the people that disagree with you are fools or knaves or foolish knaves. he's a serious man with a
serious plan. >> the history. the president's party always gets shellacked in midterms. it's only twice did they gain in both the house and the senate. >> it's worse than that. the republicans start from an historic trough. having just suffered two wave elections. a wave election being one in which a party loses 20 or more seats in the house. >> let's go to the generic balance. there's a preference among registered voters for democrats, 41%, the republican candidate, 51%. that seems to be a huge gap. >> christiane, it's worse than that. because as you say, that's a poll among registered voters. if they had filtered for likely voters, they think it would have been a 14-point spread. the 10-point spread is the record that gallup has had. in 40 years of polling midterms. >> walter shapiro had a column the other day. i'm for more health care. i'm glad we extended it to more americans. the fact is there's a real, i
think, argument for the case that obama completely overread his mandate when he came in. he was elected to get rid of one man's job, george bush, and get the rest of us jobs. by starting with health care, and not making his first year of innovation, i think looking back, that was a political mistake. >> what does he have to do now to not be a one-term president? >> he needs now the say it's the other guys that are blocking action. he needs to lay out a philosophy. i don't know if there's any way to save the house. if he can, it will be by making this an issue. do you really want these guys' economic plan? then he has to campaign for it. by the way, the first thing he did was the stimulus. it was too small. they kept claiming it was just right until about a month ago. they were claiming it was just right. nothing more needed to be done. >> so, let me go to something extraordinary.
on the political blog by mike allen, the playbook. he actually singles out a column coming out in a couple of days in "the washington post" by richard cohen, who talks about the president, president obama in terms of the incredible shrinking presidency. you remember that in the '90s, there was that famous "time" magazine cover. of bill clinton. he said the folks who ran a smart presidential campaign in '08 have left the defining of the obama presidency to people on the edge of insanity. but then he goes on to talk about his oval office address this week, about iraq, about turns to afghanistan and the economy. he said, it was only his second oval office address. so great importance was attached to it. he should have had something momentous to say. is that fair? >> i think it is. one of the criticisms certainly have i had and many others have had, there's been no narrative to this administration.
i think to me, barack obama was elected for one thing. i don't know if he's ever fully understood that. to do nation building at home, to do nation building in america. that was the central tent pole. under that, health care, jobs, invasion, education, energy. he's never tied it together under one single narrative. he's fought each issue. against a different constituency. there's never been a unifying message. i've been here since 1989. i've never seen a worse communicating administration at the basic technical level of, hey, we have a good plan. would somebody out there be interested in writing about it? since i've been to washington. >> let me ask you about your area of investigation, foreign policy. particularly the middle east peace process. they did have something to show today. rather this week. i'll put up some of what the principals said when president obama convened the leaders. of israel and the palestinian authority. >> i see in you a partner for
peace. together we can lead our people to an historic future. that can put an end to claims and to conflict. >> translator: we call on the israeli government to move forward with its commitment to end all settlement activity and completely lift the embargo on the gaza strip. >> so, tom friedman, is this real hope? is something different from previous times? >> wow. i've been around this track so many times. here's what strikes me about the moment. if you look at the commentary about it. everyone's basically saying that been there, done that, not possible. my attitude is, let's let this story breathe. i think there's some new things here. that just -- i make no
predictions whatsoever. >> but the president's involvement is different at such an early stage of his presidency. than a previous president. >> yeah, i don't think that's the decisive thing. the things that are important. i think netanyahu is more serious. that's how he strikes me. we don't know if the freeze will continue. >> don't you think that's the key indicator? three weeks from now when the moratorium is lifted? >> yeah. we'll see if they can finesse that. second, you have a rebuilt palestinian security force. that the israeli army will tell you, these guys are serious. we had an incident in the middle of the peace talks. four settlers murdered, one pregnant woman. normally, that would have blown up everything. everybody would have walked away. didn't this time. you have an arab world obsessed with iran. you have a natural sunni israel alliance building. all i'm saying is, let it breathe. don't be smarter than the story. i make no predictions. >> israel is concerned with
iran. they would be happy to make peace with palestine more than they have in the future so they can focus on iran. >> israelis and palestinians are going to have to have a civil war to get this thing -- >> literally. >> well, something close to it. you have 300,000 settlers in the west bank. it was not part of the land of israel. they had to evacuate 8100 jews. hamas has its own state, okay. they're going to fight this tooth and nail. but i'm just saying, let it breathe. i think netanyahu is in an interesting place. i think mahmoud abbas, the palestinian leader is. the arab world is, i'm going to pop popcorn, put up my feet, hope for the best. making no predictions. >> hillary clinton's joint interview with both palestinian and israeli journalists said that this would be the best chance for a very, very long time. let's go back to the oval office address.
where he tauxd talked about the end of operation iraqi freedom. let's listen to that. >> so tonight, i am announcing that the american combat mission in iraq has ended. operation iraqi freedom is over. and the iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country. >> people are concerned there's still not a government there. that a potential vacuum is being created. what do you think the legacy of that will be? >> the basic rule for presidents is don't speak unless you can improve the silence. i don't think he improved the silence. what he said was, well, we're done with iraq.ñi five months on, iraq doesn't have a government. we went through this when our party system emerged. first with the 1880 election. it took 36 votes in the house of representatives to pick
jefferson over aaron burr. new nations have the problems. this is a nation without madison, jefferson, marshall, hamilton, washington. people like that. >> we brought up iran. also, tony blair brought up iran and its nuclear program. i thought with a quite hard line on what it would take to confront and prevent iran from the worst case scenario. people seemed to me, both the white house and elsewhere, sort of pedaling back from any military solution -- do you think that -- >> it was an interesting debate in iran this week where the president -- there was all quds day. a celebration about solidarity and whatnot. and there was a whole movement inside of iran and said, knock it off. let's talk about our country. what's broken here. stop trying to distract the iranian people. this was inside iran. this was loud. . i believe they're a regime like the soviet union. totalitarian regimes like this,
they break from the top. this one won't be broken from the outside. if it breaks, it will break from the top. >> this is not 2003. people in this country, the public no longer believes that drop a few bombs, shock and awe, and we can remake the world in our image. people are just not willing to see this. >> i think the race is on. i believe that you cannot have totalitarianism imposed on the mind of a country in the age of cell phones, the internet, satellite dishes and the rest of it. the regime change, think, is coming to iran. there's a clock ticking. the israelis are not going to wait on regime change to save them from a nuclear weapon if it takes five years. >> the administration seems to think it's peace efforts to get the israelis and palestinians together are being more accepted and welcomed by israel because of the way it's dealing with iran. what are you getting on that?
>> i think they're prepared to cut the administration some slack and move as far as they can on this. the sanctions, which are more severe than they thought they would get, if they work. and if not, they would have a partner in attacking iran. but they will attack iran if that's the option. >> but i do think that it's not just in the white house and america but around the world. they know that america is war weary. 1 million service men and women have served in afghanistan and iraq. americans. people are really tired. there is fatigue of war. even though they're saying all options are on the table, in iran, everybody kind of knows that they're tired. that it's the last option. >> you've traveled all over the world. sitting the europe, japan, india, all the places you have been. what do you think people are looking at as the potential of another u.s. -- >> i think that they're
disappointed in obama. when he was elected, there were spontaneous parties in africa, europe and asia. they were so excited about america's ability to turn from george w. bush to barack hussein obama. and they were jumping up and down. they thought he would be an intellectual. grab foreign policy, and they feel neglected. >> you wrote a column. superbroke, superfrugal, superpower. bringing this whole economy back to the issue of foreign policy. you think the world had too much american power. we'll see what it will be without it. it's coming to a geopolitical theater near you. what do you mean? >> the column was about a book called "the frugal superpower." the book argues that for the economic reasons, foreign policy is a lagging indicator. foreign and defense policy. that is, the economy keeps remaining weak. eventually, that will reflect in the ability to project power around the world. now, when great britain receded as a superpower, the united
states were there to pick up right all the pieces and all the power. there is no one behind us. not a china, not a russia. not an eu. and so it will make for probably a more dangerous and destable world. >> if america pulls back, do you think it will? >> i don't know how. one thing for sure. we are going to go -- we have to decide what is desirable and what is vital. on afghanistan, desirable, but is it really vital? >> what does that say to the american people? who like the exceptionalism and optimism and being a part of leading the world? >> exceptionalism and optimism have never been tied to remaking the world. particularly in places like afghanistan. the second in command in afghanistan was asked this week, when the december re-evaluation comes up, will you be able to
mark significant progress? he said progress. but flinched from the word significant. secretary gates said we won't be fighting here in 15 years. not 15 months. that's not good enough. >> thank you all so much. and the "roundtable" continues in the green room. at abcnews.com/thisweek. you can find our fact checks and the reporter's notebook stories from around the world. from our abc kor spoents. up now, how the controversy over the proposed mosque is playing 10,000 miles away. coming up here, "in memoriam" and "the sunday funnies."
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and now, "the sunday funnies." >> the single worst debate performance in history. arizona governor jan brewer stopped speaking, looked down at her hands, completely froze up. had a blank stare for 13 seconds. she said she was so stumped if someone had asked her her name, she couldn't tell them. that's scary. in arizona when that happens, you get deported. >> president obama told israelis and palestinians to come to a peace deal, as they might not get another chance soon. that's how you get a 5-year-old to use the bathroom. are you sure? we're not going to come back here. are you sure? >> people are talking about barack obama. they're all up in his business now about taking too many vacations.
i thought, so what, let him take a vacation, what do i care? it doesn't bother me. and then, last night, i saw the oval office address and i thought, maybe there's something to this. >> this nation has known hard times before. we'll surely know them again. >> we'll be right back. with the "picture this week." financing their fleet, sharing our expertise, and working with people who are changing the face of business in america. after 25 years in the aviation business, i kind of feel like if you're not having fun at what you do, then you've got the wrong job. my landing was better than yours. no, it wasn't. yes, it was. was not. yes, it was. what do you think? take one of the big ones out? nah.
economy. $43 billion in damage. pakistan is critical to the u.s., who has spent billions to shore up the government and encourage them to take on extremists who cross the border into afghanistan. now much of that u.s. and international aid is, quite literally, being washed away. the most immediate need is finding shelter for millions of people who have now been made homeless. we leave you with our "picture this week," as relief efforts struggle to keep up. women, now homeless in south central pakistan, patiently wait for food and water. thank you for watching. we'll see you all next week.