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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  May 17, 2014 11:00pm-11:26pm EDT

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they did not support them. the military feels they did not send a strong signal supporting their movement to remove morsi. and egypt is in the russian camp for all practical purposes. how can the united states justify this sense, 80% of the aid they give egypt goes to the military. >> it is a fantastic question. supported by a great deal of fact. >> upping, it is a fantastic question supported by a great deal of fact, and i think gives accurate insight into what we are talking about right now. remember for years i said now the head of al-qaeda said the muslim brotherhood are suckers. they believe believe in democracy. as soon as they get elected, the west will never allow them to rule. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captions performed by national captioning institute]
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>> they are telling all those islamists who believed in democracy that you are suckers. that's a western game. that is a fool's term. i think that is one of the great things the united states failed to recognize in not calling this a coup, and in not encouraging gypt to find some democratic institutions through which they could remove what was very clearly a government that was failing, a government that was not delivering a good constitution. e muslim brotherhood's popularity was up in the polls, but they failed in governans. particularly in the economy. there was no plan that morrsey had to reinstitute the economy, and he wasn't brave enough, as the film points out, to take on the military, to be more
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transparent about what it is doing with all of that industry that it runs, all the land that it owns, all the development it is doing. it makes the military look like a joke. in egypt it is 40% of the economy. you said you are a businessman. i think the greatest hope for egypt would be if it can succeed in bringing its economy back. we talked about this before tonight. the economy is the future. i really believe that if you can get the economy moving again, if you can get jobs, if young people who are so full of a desire for change can see some of that change come through economic progress, that has a chance to really bring egypt forward. if he actually sees egypt move
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forward with some speed, i know it is a long shot, but if he begins to do that, that is the only way i think he can succeed in helping egypt move toward democracy. and then he recognizes that he needs to get out of the way. that is a little bit of hope that we can hold on to. again, i come back to that sound, "never going away." i have heard it on the streets of egypt. i don't think you can have that loud of an expression for democracy and it just goes away. it is going to keep coming. we need to get on the right side of history on this. yes? >> given how much power rides in democracy, is it possible for
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democracy to take hold, and if it seems to create a power crak vacuum for the religious organization to take over instead. so the people, in effect, would have two very large powerful organizations that they would have to rebell against before they had a democracy. >> you lived in saudi arabia, you said? >> that's correct. for 2 1/2 years. >> in saudi arabia, that's true. theocracy in saudi arabia, you are right, that will continually thwart democracy. the family will never allow a democracy to come forward. you are right. we don't hear the united states complain about that. when is the last time you heard the united states call for democracy in saudi arabia? when is the last time we've actually taken our ideals so beautifully expressed, particularly by this president, in a way that resonates around
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the world, and for which i have drem tremendous respect, but if you don't begin to live up to it and say we're for democracy over stability, it rings hollow everywhere else. so in the middle east right now, the companies that are experiencing the post arab spring -- every country is a different story. you really can't make many general zations about the countries right now. tunisia was moving forward. northeast elected a muslim brotherhood party. but they also got rid of them. they have also moved much toward policy.cratic so tunisia, small steps, but at least steps forward. libya, the war terrible, basket case, militia now runs the place, syria, tragedy.
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really the black hole of the region in terms of the number of people who are dead and displaced. it is one of the great tragedies of the middle east in our lifetime to watch what's happening in syria. egypt, they don't want to hear the united states sort of preach to them about how -- how it is possible that the islammists as a religious democracy thwarted democracy. we have lost our moral authority there. we don't have that ability to make that argument anymore. that hypocrisy, if i can say is that, is just coming to the surface. i think it is a time for all of us, in the long aftermath of the longest war in american history, after september 11, and if we do, in deed, see the troops come ome from afghanistan, the draw down, as president obama has called for it, if we see that as
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the end of the long war, as it is sometimes called, it is really time to think about how we are going to live up to these ideals we proclaim. it is going to be a challenge. it is going to be a tough foreign policy equation. it is going to challenge our notion of what is democracy? and is it possible that slammists -- islammists could be democratic or not? we see it in turkey. now they are going back, and they are starting to have their own crackdown in turkey. indonesia, we have seen one of the most successful democracies in the muslim world thrive, and the islammists play a role there. why is it we don't think islammists can be part of democracy anymore than christian fundamentalists are part of american democracy? we have to get sophisticated about the expregnants of faith in different parts of the world, and how they are going to inform overnment.
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there are people i know in the state department, and they are very well intentioned, and they are notting listened to back in washington. one of my favorite things to ask a political officer is they know who opened their cable. it is an internet system where they can put forward a cape cable back to washington about the current situation, how many people open it. i can't tell you how many people open it who are bript, who really know the street, who really know what we at global post call ground troops. which is about being there, which is about speaking the language, which is about knowing the story. that ground truth as embodied in the cable they go unopened. we need a state department that has more expertise, more knowledge, more history, and a better ear for listening to the ground. we keep missing the story. i think it is a great challenge. these are not easy questions.
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i don't envy, as i said, those who have to figure them out. and i respect the way so many good people are trying. we have to collectively pay much loser attention. >> we have had two men. maybe we can have a lady ask a question first. is it ok? then welcome back to you. thank you for being a gentleman. >> a lot of pressure there. >> yes. >> being weaned in the midwest with the idea of the founding fathers and a bunch of guys that had disagreements but basically they had a shared cause, when i strikes me in at all these countries is the incredible factionalism. i think in a democracy you can not just want freedom but desire
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tolerance. i respect the -- there's nothing to do with thinking they are wrong or whatever. it just has to do with looking at how the whole political thing goes back in history for hundreds of years. how will that inform their idea of democracy? can it? can we ever understand that idea of democracy? how does that all come together? even the taliban when they would affiliate with certain tribal leaders then would not have them -- let them have any shared. >> yeah. >> so it goes on and on. >> don't forget. did you say you are from the midwest? >> yes. >> so, i mean, coming from the heartland of america, it is important to remember when the first people from europe arrived on the shores of this land, they driven by religion. they were looking for religious freedom.
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but it was also about a search for religious freedom. i think when we do it right, it can be very beautiful.
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it wasn't be meant to shut religion out, it was meant to grow religion naturally outside the governans of the united states. islam is a different religion. islam believes a lot about how it is part of your whole life, including systems of governans. we have to encourage those streams of islam that are oking at it that way and invite them to look at it that way. we believe in democracy but we're islammists. look what happened to them. you saw it. so the guy in the beginning of he film, when i say mohammed abbas and i rode toward the square. that guy, the kid, who was so classically like my muse in he is from a poor part of
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cairo. and his father died from hepatitis. you know how bad your health care system has to be to die from hepatitis? and he dies from it. the muslim brotherhood hears about this family where the father has died and left behind a boy and his two sisters who are young, and they move in and begin to help them. that muslim brotherhood helps him at home, he goes to work in a printing press. he's like to so many egyptians. he never forgot that the muslim brotherhood helped him when his father died. so he's in the muslim brotherhood. then suddenly career square happened. is he among those leaders who brings the old guard muslim brotherhood who are just as sort of sclerotic as the military. he brings them and says, you got to be part of this revolution. so it is the muslim youth that
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he embodies that brings the muslim youth into the revolution. he's one of the first guys to say to the military, you need to support him. we got on to him about day five tahrir square. he is the person who leads the chants on the night that mubarak is forced to step down. the chant was "the people, the army, hand-in-hand." "the people, the hearm army, hand-in-hand." he believes this is what is going to happen. the muslim brotherhood would move forward with the army. he quit the muslim brotherhood in disgust when he saw how they led. he began to believe in some new centrist party that he thought could lead. they got crushed in the election. he ran for the lower part of parliament. he was wiped out because the big brother -- muzz muslim brotherhood swamped him.
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now he no longer believes in the military. mohammed abass stands to me as this person who no longer knows where egypt is right now. he has not lost hope, but he is dispairing, and he has fled the country fearing arrest, because anyone who was part of the opposition is being arrested, and he did not want to get arrested. so he has left the country. in his travels, he came to the united states, and he spoke to some important people in washington on an off-the-record basis. and those important people in washington, i think, listened to him. because i have talked to them. they hear in him something that doesn't get expressed. it is too in the middle, it is too knew aunsed, but it is really important. so when i hear that mohammed abbas is in washington, he has given me so much of his time. i said i want to show you around boston, where i am from.
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i wanted to take him to fen way, but i didn't. instead i took him to see the freedom trail and the history of the american revolution. i kept telling him, tahrir square is like the boston massacre. i took him to where the first real violent demonstration against the british crown happened. how that led to the events that would eventually become paul refeer's ride. took him to -- revere's ride. and i took him to old north church. and i took him to lexington. and he was amazed. and his comment after we traveled through this three-hour odyssey through bostoning was, "so your revolution took almost 15 years. and we're on year three. give us some time." that's why i remain hopeful. that's why i think the people who believe that change is inevitable in egypt understand
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it is going to take time. i think it is incumbent upon us in the united states where we have had such a dramatic role in the middle east, both for our own use of its oil, for our own implementation of different military aid that has propped up a lot of regimes that didn't believe in democracy, while we spoke in such lofty terms about democracy. i think we all owe it to pay a lot closer attention now to the voices of people like mohammed abbas. thank you. and you are a gentleman. thank you. >> i am the moderator of the richmond, new jersey discussions. first question -- very simple question. where would egypt be today if morrisey was still in question? >> it is a very great question, and i don't know the answer. >> speculate. >> i would say the speculation would be that the stale
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government that morssey was executing was so dramatic, that the people would have continued rise -- to rise up against that, and he would have been removed from power. the question is, how would he have been removed from power? i can embrace the phrase "impeachment from the street." it is genuinely felt, these are people that believe -- they are secular and they didn't want this theocracy. they felt strongly we don't want any western correspondents coming in, like me, and saying you have to allow the muslim brotherhood under mossey to rule your country. they were, like, fed-up. but i think, to answer your question, we would have had an inevitable crisis of rising street violence from the muslim brotherhood and we would have seen them removed from power. what role can the government --
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has the government played in finding a nacient democracy to do that. not with tanks and at the point of a gun, but how could we have done that within the democratic institution that is we proclaim we believe in and we want to see go forward? lost opportunity. i think we have time for one ast question, maybe. [yes inaudible] >> that is a technical question. because when morrissey ran, he
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-- when morsi ran s. they ended up with he and another candidate who was called what they called the remnant of the regime under mubarak. that was harkening back to the past scomprvings they didn't want that. and there were a lot of secular people who held their nose and voted for morsi rather than have the -- morrissey rather that have the old regime imposed. >> parliament? > parliament, yes, but not morrissey in the executive. it is a large country. egypt is the most populous nation in the arab world. it has vast tracks of rural lands that think differently than the urban pockets of alexander and cairo where correspondents go. really, we only go to aye rue
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-- not h tpwhri, very very often do we get to the delta or i would compare it to the south or the carolinas or the southern farm-growing states, farm states where you have rural populations that think differently. and that often have their sons and daughters -- well, their sons, in this case, their sons go into the military. and the military becomes something that gives them a chance at learning and developing a profession, and because they control so much of the economy, getting a job. it has become something that they believe in. we don't hear that voice often enough. that's the voice that i think is supporting morrissey. a sort of silent majority, if you will, in the parts of egypt that we are not seeing or hearing enough of. and many right there in cairo who grew tired of the theocratic
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tyranny, as many saw it, of the muslim brotherhood. and just the chaos. one of the things that struck me in reporting in egypt is we have knees cameras with "frontline" and we would pan, and we would pan to a shot and hold on the shot. and people depr the neighborhood would swarm us, and we wouldn't know why they were suddenly so mad at us. we would have to calm them down, really work to hear what they were saying, and we would realize it's because they thought we were filming the trash on the streets, and they didn't want the world to see just a minute as a place that has trash because during the revolution there was no trash collection. and the pride that egyptians have in their country is extraordinary. the pride they have in their sense that they are a very sophisticated part of the world that is the birth place of mankind that goes back thousands of years, that has great sophistication and great role in
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the world as the mother of the the mother of mankind, and they see themselves as the cradle of civilization. and they are proud. and they don't want the country to go downhill. and i think we're going to see an opportunity for egypt to regroup and to live up to that expression that you heard in square that was so heartwarming i still get goose bumps. there were people chanting "hold your head up now. you're an egyptian." that thought is a wonderful thought to end on. that is a thought so many egyptian people feel. they want to hold their heads up and be proud to be egyptian. our country, the united states, has a huge responsibility in supporting them in that. [applause] >> thank you. >> before we go, you mentioned
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tunisia and the comparison between the early success, and success for the tunisian experience and the failure of the egyptian experience. i think the main difference here is that on one hand you had a middle class, large middle class, an educated country, with lodging. ownership of about 80% of the population owns its own -- a house or apartment or whatever. the majority has been for centuries secular, with ai very pen interpretation of islam. doctrine in islam.
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that is something muslims held dear. the muslim brotherhood, in tune eeshia -- in tunisia they get elected with the muslim brotherhood, and instead of taking the chance of con fortunatelying the economy or confronting some of the problems that the youth have faced for a long time, et cetera, the first thing they do, and their agenda was clear on this, was to change tunisia's identity, by introducing sharia law and changing the constitution and doing a number of things that tunisia rejected. it took two years with political assassinations. in one of the demonstrations you had almost 500,000 women saying


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