War on Terror Has Fared Far Better Than Pessimists Predicted
CNN Greenfield at Large
GREENFIELD: The apparent success in the American campaign against terror has not silenced debate about how that campaign should proceed. And we're now joined by living proof in the form of Middle East form director and columnist Daniel Pipes. He joins us from Philadelphia. Here with me in New York, Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria.
Mr. Pipes you were on program in the first days or week or so after September 11. And when the conversation was about how to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world, and basically you said the way to do it is to win. You feel vindicated by what's happened in the last there months?
DANIEL PIPES, MIDDLE EAST FORUM: I sure do, Jeff. Yes, it's been spectacular. Just recall how on September and October, there were these immense crowds with placards of bin Laden. That's gone. You can't sell a bin Laden placard anymore. Nobody wants to buy it.
GREENFIELD: Does this mean though that if nothing succeeds life's success, then success its own imperative. That is, if this campaign were to falter, if there were to be setback, that that would maybe change the willingness of some of these nations to work their own will against terror?
PIPES: Fair enough, yes, but what would be the sources of that failure? I think the only real danger is the lack of what Senator Lugar called tenacity. If we falter, if we lose the will, then we could well be in trouble. But otherwise, I don't see any real danger on the horizon.
GREENFIELD: Farid, do you share that view, that if we just keep doing what we've been doing, you know, the nations that were on the sidelines are going to say, "I think we'd better line up with the United States?" Or are you concerned that there's a more difficult phase ahead?
FAREED ZAKARIA, "NEWSWEEK INTERNATIONAL": I was also lucky enough to be an optimist about this war. So I'm feeling vindicated, but I think the sexiest part of this war is over. Let's remember, we toppled the Taliban so that we could crush al Qaeda. Now we've toppled the Taliban.
It's not really clear to me that we've crushed al Qaeda yet. We've done some damage to it. We've destroyed its bases, but we haven't gotten bin Laden. We haven't gotten many of the key senior officials. The West German intelligence suggests that 70,000 people were trained in these camps. If you look at the arrests we've made around the Western world, it's a lot less than 70,000. It's probably a couple thousand at most. So there's a lot of work left.
GREENFIELD: But pick up on something that I asked Daniel Pipes. That is, if the rallying around the United States is not out of some high-minded principle, but out of the feeling that this is the country with the big stick, would setbacks, would for instance another terrorist strike at the United States, inflicting heavy casualties, do you think, revive the kind of sense that the infidels are on the run, militant Islam is on the rise?
ZAKARIA: Right. Look, I do think nothing succeeds like success. And you know, as bin Laden himself said when people look at a strong horse or a weak horse, they always prefer the strong horse. But the truth of the matter is, a lot of the cooperation we have needed from our allies has not been forthcoming in quite the way we would like it to be.
Let's take Saudi Arabia, or take Egypt. Or even, if you look at the case of Moussaoui, this guy who we have just indicted, the French and British intelligence services did not share a great deal of their information about him. So we have to get better at that. And that, people are not going to do out of fear of American power. They will do that out of a sense that the United States is doing things for them in a kind of diplomatic relationship with them.
GREENFIELD: Yes, Mr. Pipes, I'd like you to pick up on the point that Fareed just made, because it's understandable how a country such as Somalia, if you want to call that an organized country, or Yemen or Kuwait or all these countries that are seeming to ask against terrorism, may do it out of a fear. But isn't Fareed right? We're not going to get Germany or Britain or Spain or France to do more against their terrorists, because they're afraid of the United States, are we?
PIPES: No, I would agree that the Europeans are not going to be intimidated by us. There's no chance we're going to do anything other than stiff, diplomatic note to protest what they're doing.
But I think if you look at other countries you mentioned, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, there the fact that the United States if standing up for its interests and standing up for its friends and intimidating its enemies, I think that's going to make a real difference in those countries.
So our allies, we always have tensions with, but that's manageable. It is countries like Saudi Arabia, which is not, after all, an ally.
GREENFIELD: Right. And speaking of which, you made so bold on this broadcast some months ago to suggest, for instance with Pakistan, that if they don't clean out the extremist madrassas (ph), those schools that maybe the United States would do it for them?
Do you share General Peters view that if the Saudis don't shape up, maybe it's-maybe the United States is going to have to actually, literally occupy those oil fields? And as he said, use them for the common good?
PIPES: I think it's a great idea to put out there. I'm not going to endorse it, but I think bringing this up in a public way and saying, "We're going to protect ourselves is something that will make people in a country like Saudi Arabia, consider their interests in a much more realistic and hard-nose way than they have in the past.
GREENFIELD: What do you think, Fareed? You write about diplomacy. I don't mean to suggest that you're necessarily a diplomat, but that's an idea that one can at least say (INAUDIBLE) pretty bold notion, no?
ZAKARIA: Pretty bold notion. I think colonizing all of Arabia would be-or even just the oil fields, would be a pretty tall order. I agree with Dan though, that it is worth suggesting to the Saudi Arabian government, in public and private ways, that we want something for the enormous political and military support we've given them.
I think that the problem is not so much that they're not an ally, I think you can debate the issue. And we actually formerly protect them in some sense, that we have a military base in Saudi Arabia.
The problem is we don't have a lot of leverage over them, because they're a rich country. They have, generally speaking, been moderate on oil. You know, they've kept prices low. So how do we push them along? And we need to push them hard.
GREENFIELD: OK. We're going to continue this in a moment. And later, we're going to ask whether American Airlines would have been condemned, no matter what they did about that Secret Service agent. We'll be back in just a minute.
GREENFIELD: We're back with "Newsweek International's" Fareed Zakaria, and in Philadelphia, Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum.
Mr. Pipes, it's I guess almost a force of nature that the news networks are completely obsessed with the hunt for Osama bin Laden. How significant is it that we do or do not capture him or wipe him out?
PIPES: I don't think it's significant really, Jeff. I think what's important is that we disrupt the terrorist network, the people who are out to get us. Clearly, bin Laden himself is not in a position to do that. He's on the run. He may be in disguise. He can't use his satellite phone. He is not a player today. It's a symbol.
And I regret the fact that our government has made him-making his capture, an integral part of our success. It's not. As others have pointed out, such as Senator Lugar, we'll get him sooner or later, but let's not focus on that. Let's focus on protecting the United States from the other dangers around the world.
GREENFIELD: But Fareed, if your point that you made earlier about the number of Al Qaeda operatives, who have been trained in so many countries (INAUDIBLE), if Osama were to show up on, you know, somebody's homemade video tape, shipped to Al Jazeera with a copy of tomorrow's newspaper in front him, does that, at least do you think, maybe shake up a little the notion that the United States is on this absolutely unstoppable role?
ZAKARIA: I think so. I think look, there's no question we're on a roll. There's no question that this is, you know, much better place to be than we thought we would be, probably. But I think you can get too optimistic, because if you look at it from another perspective, despite all our success, look at the past effectiveness of this terrorist operation.
The-September 11 probably cost al Qaeda $200,000, $300,000, maybe $400,000. The impact on the American economy, the cost to the American economy is probably $300 billion. That's about $4,000 of damage for every dollar spent.
That's a pretty amazing cost effectively. I said the payoff is going to be something the terrorists notice. And as you say, there are a lot of them out there. As long you have some organizing geniuses, dark geniuses, it becomes a problem. Bin Laden would be one. I agree with Dan. He's himself not important, but crushing this organization is very important.
GREENFIELD: Which brings me, Daniel Pipes, to a point that you made in an article. I believe it was "Commentary," taking issue with the way many of us phrased this, that the war on terror." You made the point that that's-I think vague to the point of almost illiteracy or at least it's not helpful. So let me put it to you. Who are we at war with?
PIPES: There have been two enemies who've been described: for the U.S. government, it's terrorism and, if I can call up the "American street," it's just plain Islam. I suggest it's a terroristic version of Islam, or militant Islam, that we're at war with, that has become our strategic enemy.
It's not Islam as such. It is this radical extremist version of it, as a body by bin Laden and al Qaeda and the Taliban.
GREENFIELD: And Fareed, since that war cannot be won by occupying Berlin, or watching the Soviet flag descend over Red Square, how do you win such a war? Is it with heat? Is it with light? Must it be both? ZAKARIA: It has to be with everything. We have a model. We fought both fascism and communism as a military struggle, as a political struggle, and as an ideological cultural struggle.
ZAKARIA: And you fight it by funding the right kind of people, giving them platforms and voices. By telling people, like the Saudis and Egyptians to quit funding the wrong kind of people, The CIA, in the 1950s, funded a magazine called "Encounter," which was a great platform for anti-Communist intellectuals.
Ultimately, it's the ideas that will win or lose. But ideas need a lot of help along the way. And the United States can play a very important role in making moderate Islam or mainstream Islam seem attractive, viable.
You know again, it's back to the issue of succeeding. If moderate Islam seems to be on the roll, and terrorist-extremist Islam seems, you know, the refuge of bin Laden in his cave, well, we've done a lot.
GREENFIELD: Daniel Pipes, we're down to our last 30 seconds. And I can't forbear from raising what I raised with Senator Lugar. How concerned are you that that leaflet dropped, picturing Osama bin Laden in a really rather unattractive white suit could undermine American credibility?
PIPES: Oh, not at all. I think it was very creative. I liked it.
GREENFIELD: Fareed, you've got 10 seconds to weigh in. What do you think?
ZAKARIA: I agree with him. And I resent the slur on the 1970s leisure suits. I have a couple in my wardrobe.
GREENFIELD: Yes, I noticed you don't bring them on this broadcast. And we're very grateful.
Fareed Zakaria, Daniel Pipes, thank you both.
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