Interviews with Daniel Pipes
Why the Islamic world has such hate for the US
MSNBC Hardball with Chris Matthews
CHRIS MATTHEWS, host: Dr. Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum, and a columnist for the Jerusalem Post.
Dr. Pipes, let me ask you a couple of questions. We have been engaged in a new front, Americans, for now, a couple of weeks, we were never finished before in our lives. Let's break it down. Arab street and all of the countries we're talking about, all the way to-to-Morocco all the way to Indonesia to Jakarta, why do the Islamic people hate us?
Dr. DANIEL PIPES (Director, Middle East Forum): The Islamic people are in a funk. Things have been going badly for a long time, two centuries. Things are going well for us.
MATTHEWS: Lousy government, lousy economies, lousy opportunities in life. Blame it on Israel, blame it on the US, is that it?
Dr. PIPES: Simply put, yeah. They're angry that it's our party and they're excluded. They want it to be their party. And what we're seeing today with these demonstrations, mass demonstrations across the Muslim world, is the-the expression of that frustration.
MATTHEWS: Is it the-is the-to use the Hitler parallel, like Germany was in the '30s, where they didn't like the treaty, they lost the war in World War I, they don't like their economic failure, they have to blame it on somebody, whether it's the Jews or it's the West or it's the treaty. Is that the same situation we're in?
Dr. PIPES: Very much. There's a deep conspiratorial sense that the Muslim world was in good shape 200 years ago, and then the West came in and stole it, literally stole it. And now what the Muslims must do is push away the West and project everything from the West and build up their own true identity.
MATTHEWS: We have joined the propaganda war. We've got our-Secretary Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, people like that have been on that Al-Jazeera TV station. We are trying to reach the-the street-the Arab street. Can we, with a bunch of white guys from the West, to be blunt about it, compete with a bin Laden, the guy with a beard who's one of them, can we do that?
Dr. PIPES: No, we can't do it. They must-they have a fight going on internally between the extremist and the moderates. As you've probably noticed, extremists are winning. We must work with the moderates against the extremists, but we can't...
MATTHEWS: Give me a percentage breakdown. How many moderate Arabs are there in the world right now-moderate Islamic people in that part of the world, percentage-wise?
Dr. PIPES: I would say if one looks-if one takes the dividing line supporting or being against Osama bin Laden, I'd say it's about 50/50.
MATTHEWS: Fifty-fifty. Fifty peo--50 percent of the Arab Islamic world would be willing to see us win just as soon as the other guy win.
Dr. PIPES: Right.
MATTHEWS: They're not really-how many kids over there in their world-I always think of the 15-year-old. Is that 15-year-old kid rooting for David against Goliath, for bin Laden against our George Bush?
Dr. PIPES: Probably the youth is more in favor of-for bin Laden than the elders.
MATTHEWS: How do you turn that? Is it possible?
Dr. PIPES: What we have to do is show them that what they're trying to do against us is going to fail. I mean, in other words, what they had last month was an extraordinary success. And success breeds success, right?
MATTHEWS: You mean blowing up our biggest buildings?
Dr. PIPES: Yeah, yeah.
MATTHEWS: Killing 6,000 people is a win for them.
Dr. PIPES: Oh, it's a big win.
Dr. PIPES: Because they want to humiliate us and give us a bloody nose. And...
MATTHEWS: And they don't care how many Arab-Americans or Islamic people were in those buildings?
Dr. PIPES: I don't think anybody thought about that. What we have to show them is that this route they're taking is a losers route, and they're going to be, not only ineffectual, but counterproductive.
MATTHEWS: Do we really want to see democracy in the Islamic/Arab world? Or are we better off dealing with the leaders who can cut deals with us?
Dr. PIPES: That's a very tough question. Yes, we do want democracy eventually. In other words, we want the po-populations of these countries to...
MATTHEWS: But if we have democracy today, we'd lose the vote.
Dr. PIPES: But getting from...
MATTHEWS: You say it's a 50/50 vote.
Dr. PIPES: Exactly. Getting from here to there is the problem. So in theory we want democracy, but we don't want it quite yet. We want to be good, but not...
MATTHEWS: Can we-can we get rid of this-the lousy deals we have with the Saudis, with the UAE, perhaps with some of those other countries, like Kuwait, and gradually move them towards something that we believe in, in terms of women's right, freedoms, democracy, without ending up with another Iran, where they hate our guts?
Dr. PIPES: That's precisely what we're scared of. And no president...
MATTHEWS: Something worse.
Dr. PIPES: Nobody-no president is ready to take that kind of chance.
MATTHEWS: There's no middle grounds in terms of a-a democratic front though right now, is there?
Dr. PIPES: There isn't.
MATTHEWS: You're great. Please come back, Dr. Pipes.
Dr. PIPES: Thank you.
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