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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Interview with Tony Blair; Interview with Pervez Musharraf

Aired July 25, 2012 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight on the eve of the Olympics, the man who brought the summer games to London.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY BLAIR, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: There's a buzz about the Olympics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair. What he thinks of gun control in the wake of the Aurora tragedy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLAIR: It's a different culture. We will never quite understand it in our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: His take on the run for the White House and his view of the hot spots in the Middle East, Syria, Iran, Israel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLAIR: I agree that a nuclear armed Iran is devastating for the region.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Plus, is his country a ticking time bomb?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERVEZ MUSHARAF, FORMER PAKISTAN PRESIDENT: It is very dangerous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: My exclusive with the former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharaf. Is he making a comeback?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MUSHARAF: I have a conviction that can be set right. And that is why I want to go back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT from London.

Good evening and welcome to London where the Olympic Games are due to start in two days' time. Behind me is where the Olympics stadium lurks in the east of London. Over there is one of the centers of the security operation, HMS Ocean. Security at a premium to make sure the games run safely. And who better to talk to about all this, the games, security, world affairs, but Tony Blair, who is the British prime minister when the bid was first launched to bring the games to London.

Tony Blair, let's start with the London Olympics. You were absolutely instrumental in bringing this back to London after so long. Why is it important for a country to get it? Talk about the economics of it. Talk about the impact positively if you land the Olympics.

BLAIR: Well, you are the center of attention. And so for London and for Britain, this is an opportunity to be there in front of the whole world to say this is what we're about, that they look at the great show we're putting on. You bring in a lot of investments. We have sited the Olympic Park in a -- one of the worst parts of the east end of London which is now being completely regenerated.

We built fantastic world-class facilities. And, you know, there's a buzz about the Olympics. I mean still today in Beijing, by the way, more people are visiting the Olympic site than eve go to the Forbidden City.

So, you know, if you do it right, it can give you a huge boost and, you know, some of these things can't be quantified very easily. I think the reason it's so hotly competed over today is because people realize it's a great thing for a country to have.

MORGAN: And be honest, when you knew you'd won the bid and you saw the Beijing Olympics' opening ceremony, did you think, what the hell are we going to do to beat that?

BLAIR: I did. That's exactly what I thought.

(LAUGHTER)

BLAIR: Because it was spectacular. And I actually think we've done it the right way. Because I remember having a conversation with people straight after the Beijing Olympics as saying, look, guys, there's no way in terms of the spectacular of that type -- we're not going to compete with that but let's do it in our own way. And I think -- I haven't seen it myself, but people who have say it is a magnificent opening ceremony. So --

MORGAN: We're celebrating the Olympics in London, but at the same time, it's the 40th anniversary of the Munich Games. And we all remember those harrowing scenes. The slaughter of so many Israeli athletes and officials. When you look at what's happening in the Middle East right now, are we any nearer peace between particularly Israel and Palestine? But also just generally in that region?

BLAIR: Well, it's a very good question and a very difficult one to answer. I think, because I'm there a lot now. I mean I just come back from -- I think it was my 85th visit now since leaving office. And I think we are further along what is I now believe an inevitable process of sort of change and modernization in that region. So I think where you're getting rid of these very repressive regimes and they're being replaced by nascent democracies, I think the transition is going to be very difficult in some circumstances.

I think we've got a very difficult short and medium term, but I think long term this process of change is taking place. And I think provided we can get economic growth back in the region and provided that we can help explain to people in the Middle East that democracy is a way of thinking, and not just a way of voting, in other words, it doesn't work unless you have an open minded attitude to people who are different, particularly in the sphere of religion. You know, provided we can do that then I'm reasonably optimistic about the long term. But I think short term, and the place to watch, I think, especially is Egypt, it's going to be tough.

MORGAN: I mean Egypt is fascinating because everyone remembers Tahrir Square last January and February. It was -- when I first came out to CNN it was exhilarating, it was exciting, people were infused by a great new future. The Muslim Brotherhood are now getting a grip on Egypt.

How concerned should people be about the spread of the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood?

BLAIR: Well, I think, first of all, we have to understand what's going on in the region. Because the comparison with Eastern Europe is in one sense justified and in another sense not. In the sense in which it's not is that when the Berlin Wall fell, in Eastern Europe, it was very easy to see what people wanted. They looked over the walls and saw Western Europe and say that's what we want. And there's a unified sense in the country, that's what we want.

In the Middle East you've got three elements. You've got regimes that have been in power a long time but can't now really retain their grip on power. You've then got large numbers of people who liberal minded. You know, what I call the sort of Google type, the types who went first into Tahrir Square. Then you risked they're badly organized. And then you have the Islamists who are numerous and very well organized. And as everyone knows in politics, if you've got the best organization, you can -- you know, you can go a long way.

Now, we have got to engage with the Muslim Brotherhood. There's no point in pretending they're not coming to power. They're also a broad spectrum of opinion. But we've also got to be prepared to challenge. We've got to stand up for what we believe in for our convictions, for our principles, and we've got to engage with them and help them but help them knowing there are a lot of liberal-minded, open-minded people out in the Middle East who need our support and need us to be firm about where we stand.

MORGAN: I mean the most vulnerable clearly from their rhetoric are the Israelis. They feel the most vulnerable at the moment. Netanyahu, the prime minister said recently, can you imagine Hezbollah, people are conducting with Iran all these terror attacks around the world, his claim. Can you imagine that they would have chemical weapons like al Qaeda having chemical weapons? I then interviewed the deputy prime minister Ehud Barak who said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EHUD BARAK, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: It's about a real challenge to the whole the world, not just to Israel. I think that a nuclear Iran will change the whole Middle East. We have to do something to block it from happening. There is a need to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent or even to 5 percent to take all the enrichment out of the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Clearly that the growing concern in Israel is Iran. They believe they are enriching this uranium for one purpose, to have a nuclear capability and that if they do, it could be an Armageddon moment for Israel.

How much do you agree with Israel's fear and concern about the nature of Iran's threat?

BLAIR: Essentially, I mean, I agree that a nuclear armed Iran is a devastating thing for the region. And not just for Israel, by the way. I mean I think there are two things that have got to be said here. And by the way, I can tell you my critique of Israeli policy and where I think the government of Israel has got to do far more particularly in relation to the Palestinian peace process and so on.

But Israel is a genuine democracy. And I think the security of Israel is a concern for us all for reasons that go beyond Israel. So -- and quite apart from that, if you ended up with Iran with a nuclear weapon, it would change the balance of power within the region dramatically. And the fact is, the problem with the Iranian regime is not just their acquisition of nuclear weapons capability or their desire to do so. It's the destabilizing effect that they have in supporting terrorism and supporting proxy groups and engaging in terrorism around the region.

So, you know, I think we are approaching this the right way. I think it's absolutely right to give a negotiated solution a chance to work. The economic sanctions, particularly the American administration, are taking it tough. They're biting, they're having an impact. But our red lines have been laid down and I think they're clear. And I'm --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: And if Israel decides to act unilaterally, which they have threatened to do, where would that leave everybody in the Middle East?

BLAIR: Well, the first thing to understand is Israel will protect its own interest. I mean the Israeli government I know very well now, I mean, their first consideration like the consideration of any leadership was for their own country. I think let's hope we do not get to this point. But we're less likely to get to it if it's absolutely clear as it's certainly been made clear by the American administration but also by other European leaders that this is a red light for us.

Because the problem -- see, you know, one sense people said, look, especially if Iran acquires nuclear capability, you've got other countries, they've got this new capability, is it really going to matter?

I think it matters profoundly in two ways. First of all, if Iran acquires that capability, it is to me inconceivable that other powers in the region won't acquire the same capabilities. So you're on to a big issue to do with proliferation there. And then secondly, the fact is is we've seen from the way Iran has behaved, for example, in Iraq, they are prepared to destabilize and use terrorism to destabilize other countries.

Do you want that technology fully developed in the hands of a regime that's prepared to do that? I think the answer has got to be no. So, you know, don't misunderstand me, by the way. Any military action against Iran would be highly unpredictable and highly uncertain in its consequences. That's why we should do everything we can to avoid it. But this is a situation where ultimately all the choices are ugly. And what we've got to do is give this process a chance to work and then see where we are.

MORGAN: And talking of ugly choices, Syria gets worse by the day. The international community is still beset by differences of opinion. Crucially Russia and China, not yet signing up to any kind of enforced sanctions and so on.

What do we do about this? What is the way to break through the impasse in Syria? Because there's a general acceptance that Assad must go, but how is he going to go?

BLAIR: It's -- it's very, very difficult. I mean I think from the international community's point of view, first, we have to make it clear by ramping up the pressure all the time that this is an inevitable process of his going. In other words, it's not that we are suddenly going to lose interest or lose the appetite. You know, that's why I think it's right to discuss a whole set of things like corridors of safety and corridors that enable the opposition to operate.

You know, in order to make absolutely sure that Assad and those around him realize it's a matter of time. It's when, not if. The second thing, though, is that because the aftermath is very uncertain. What is it that we've really learn, whether from Afghanistan or Iraq or anywhere else is when you lift the lid off these highly repressive regimes, out comes all this pouring of tension and religious and tribal and ethnic difficulty.

So if we can manage a process a change that allows us to manage the aftermath sensibly, I think obviously that would be in everyone's interest. Now it's easy to say, hard to do, but I think that should be the Rubric of our approach. Make it clear it is inevitable, he is going to go, but really focus on managing that aftermath.

MORGAN: But from a humanitarian point of view, when you look at what happened in Rwanda and Bosnia and so on, the longer this is left before people get in there, more people are going to die.

BLAIR: Absolutely.

MORGAN: At one point is the moral compunction of the international community so overwhelming that they've got to just do something?

BLAIR: Well, do what is then the issue? And on the basis that some sort of fool crowned in Beijing is not feasible or there's absolutely no willingness for it, then I think you've got to approach in a way that I say. But, you know, you're right, it's -- look, these decisions are very, very difficult to take, as I well know. I mean, the fact is, you know there are now, I don't know, probably almost 20,000 people who have died in this.

And what we've got to watch, though, is not merely what happens when he goes, but what happens then after that and, you know, all over the region, there is this huge question really going on, which -- obviously I am focused on a lot on the work that I do now with the foundation I have about religious faith, which is what is the place of religion in these societies and how do we -- how do we make sure that you create a new politics in which you have OK, religion-friendly democracy, but also democracy-friendly religion.

MORGAN: Let's take a break. Let's come back and talk about American politics. And also about gun violence. You were instrumental in Britain in bringing new gun control laws. I want to talk to you about what you think about what's happening in America.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The first day I met Tony Blair almost exactly eight years ago. He was in his second term as prime minister and I was just starting out. After our first meeting, the reporter asked if we had found anything in common and I jokingly replied that we both used Colgate toothpaste.

(LAUGHTER)

BUSH: The truth is, I did feel a close connection to Tony Blair. As I said after the first meeting, I knew that when either of us gets in a bind, there will be a friend on the other end of the phone.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: Back with my special guest, Tony Blair.

Let's talk about American politics. Nobody has a better view of this from outside of America than you. How is the special relationship in reality do you think between America and Britain these days?

BLAIR: I think it's still strong. I mean it's strong because of tied history and shared values and shared purpose actually still. So it's a very -- it's a very strong and good relationship. It always should be. I mean, you know, people used to say to me, you get along with Bill Clinton then you get along with George Bush. And I said, well, badly, I mean, I like them both very much in different ways, but you know it's partly the job of the British prime minister to have that relationship with the American president.

MORGAN: We have an election in November. A lot of people assume this will be a very close run race and could get very brutal and bloody in the process. You've been used to a few of those in your time. How are you reading the political ruins at the moment in Washington?

BLAIR: Look, if the American elections for you guys is not for us guys. In that sense, how special the relationship, for instance, you know, you don't decide our elections and we don't decide yours. And I'm always very -- I mean partly it was because frankly it's important for the British to work with whoever comes out of the presidential process, and also I've worked actually closely with President Obama in the last few years on the Middle East stuff.

And you know, I have great admiration for him and work well with him.

MORGAN: Well, I wonder what you thought has been his biggest challenge as president.

BLAIR: Look, that's easy to answer. He's -- he inherited a global economy in meltdown. And I think one of the things that people really don't understand about the situation today is that this is -- this economic crisis is completely different from anything that our generation of politicians has experienced before.

I mean we are used to periodic economic crisis that with a bit of tweaking and a bit of help and a bit of this and that resolves themselves. This is different. You're talking about a situation in which you've got to go back, I think -- I mean I'm not saying it's exactly the same, but back as a parallel in respect to its seriousness to the 1930s. So that's been the big challenge.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: You said today, quite interesting interview, you said that, you know, people seemed to be banging to the blood of bankers. How does it help anyone to have 20 bankers hanging in the street was the phrase you used. And you know I knew where you were coming from there. Having said that, there is a sense that the people that got the world into this financial mess have not been held properly accountable. Not one of them have ever gone to jail.

BLAIR: I always say to people, the moment you've got to two strains of politics going on, what I call the politics of the anger and the politics of the angst. People are angry and with very good reason. So by all mean, go after people who have done something wrong. By all means, we've got to make changes in the way we regulate the system and supervise it, but understand that out of it, if you want the economy to move, in other words, if you're interested in the answer rather than the anger, a good strong financial sector is a major part of it.

So for me this issue is a policy challenge. You know, it's not just a question of sympathizing or empathizing with how people feel.

MORGAN: They used to say if America sneezed, financially, then everyone in Europe would catch a cold. It's almost gone the other way now.

BLAIR: Yes.

MORGAN: You know? In Europe many Americans I've talked to just view this as a financial basket case. How perilous is the situation when you look at Europe in totality?

BLAIR: Deeply perilous. I mean I think this is the biggest crisis Europe has faced since the European community was created. And it requires in my view now very dig decisions. If we want to save the single currency we need, well, like almost a kind of grand plan in which it's clear that Germany stands fully behind a single currency and is prepared to commit, and commit its economy behind it. Absolutely.

MORGAN: And should it be saved?

BLAIR: Yes. You can argue that it should have been constructed differently, but now having been constructed in this way, yes.

MORGAN: If you were still the British prime minister, would you be having pretty firm words with the Germans and saying come on, it's time to step up.

BLAIR: Well, I think everyone is having that dialogue. But I also understand the dilemma Angela Merkel had. I mean she's someone I know well. She's a -- I think a great and formidable politician.

MORGAN: But is it an exaggeration to say that in her hands, the future, certainly in the short term and middle term of the whole European economy could rest on what Germany does?

BLAIR: I think it does rest on what Germany does, yes. I think we're in a situation where -- and I understand, by the way, the dilemma. And this is what I mean by -- the problem for political leaders today is you keep coming to these forks in the road on all these issues that are absolutely binary, and the choices are both ugly. So if you're the German chancellor, do you commit the German economy, that is a strong economy, that has done well, do you commit it fully behind economies you believe have not done well and are not performing well?

That's one dilemma. The other choice, though, is do you let the single currency go, in which case you face, you know, pretty much a financial meltdown in Europe? And then many years to recover that situation. So this is very tough. But I think it's urgent. And you said it, you know, is it perilous? Yes, it is. Because I think we -- the danger I foresee at the moment is that we are just always two months behind the curve with these decisions.

And we can't, I think, afford to carry on, having European summits where we don't absolutely crunch this issue down and decide it.

MORGAN: Let's turn to guns. There was an appalling atrocity in America last Friday in Colorado. The worst single mass shooting that America has ever seen. More than 70 people were wounded or killed.

Huge debate raging in America since then as there always is after these massacres about gun control. When you first became British prime minister in 1997, you had to do with the aftermath of the Dunblane atrocity. And handguns were banned. High-powered rifles were also put into a place where you couldn't easily access them. Really quite a stringent gun control was taken and was deemed to be successful.

What do you think about America's relationship with guns? It's a different one to Britain. The right to bear arms is engrained in their constitution. But there is a feeling that something has to happen. Somebody that took action after one of these massacres. What do you think?

BLAIR: Well, I don't -- you know -- look, I don't want to enter into a controversy that must be difficult for people in America right now. I know it's a terrible, horrible tragedy. And, you know, the sight of all the parents and relatives and friends of those that lost their lives and were injured, it was just -- it's shocking. But on the other hand, you know, we -- our culture was different. And in America, the right to bear arms goes back a very long way. And so I don't -- I mean I --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: But do you think, though, that high-powered assault weapons and magazine drums capable of unloading a hundred bullets a minute, is it right that they should still be legally accessible?

BLAIR: I think the Americans have got to decide this. Especially at this moment when it's so highly sensitive and -- we don't have the same tradition, we don't have the same history. We don't have the same culture on this issue.

MORGAN: Let's take a final break. I want to come back and talk sport with you. And also I'm looking at a good neck, if you don't mind me saying, Mr. Blair.

BLAIR: Thank you. MORGAN: As you head towards the big 6-0. I know you're going to thank me for mentioning that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back with Tony Blair.

Tony, you're looking, I must say, in remarkably good shape at the moment for a man of 59. How do you do it?

BLAIR: I work out a lot. I play a lot of sport now.

MORGAN: Every day, is it?

BLAIR: Not every day. But four or five times a week.

MORGAN: You're been involved, too, with this organization Beyond Sport. Tell me briefly about that.

BLAIR: Well, Beyond Sport is a global organization that highlights work that grassroots sports does to promote the reconciliation and help young people off the street and so on.

And I have my -- along with my faith foundation, the work I do in Africa, I have a sport foundation that gets coaches and officials for grassroots sport. You know, so we're running a tennis competition out in the northeast of England in the next few weeks. And we'll have tens of thousand of kids take part.

MORGAN: A lot of people are saying Tony Blair, he's 59 years old, a spring chicken when it comes to politicians, fit as a fiddle. We've discussed that, doing a few more interviews now, almost signaling perhaps that your period of, you know, political fervor may be over, and you're ready for another big role again.

BLAIR: I mean I always say to people I don't -- you know, I'm not -- I'm not looking for that and I'm not expecting it either by the way. So usually what happens people then say, right, rule it out. And I've got to think, well, why should I rule it out? But I don't see any --

MORGAN: The job that people assume that you wanted -- and I think you've suggested that you would have taken it, had you been offered it, was president of Europe, for want of a better phrase, running Europe.

I mean, I think you would be good for that, because it needs coherent leadership at the top from somebody who does know all the intricacies of all the different cultures and countries in Europe.

BLAIR: Yes, well, I would have done it if they'd offered it. But they didn't.

MORGAN: But what it comes your way again?

BLAIR: Let's wait and see if it does. I mean, I doubt it will, frankly. And they've got someone who is doing the job now who's doing a good job, actually. So, no, I don't -- I mean, I feel I've got something to say about the debates that are happening. And I've spent five years actually building an organization, both in the social enterprise and philanthropy sphere and also commercially which me allows me now to do -- you know, to get out and do things.

And I feel particularly with what's happening in Europe at the moment and in the Middle East, where I've spent so much time. I've got a lot to say. So I want to say it. If people listen, that's fine. If they don't, that's also fine. So I'm not -- but I'm not kind of out there, you know, searching the job application page.

MORGAN: You've taken a lot of flak for Iraq and Afghanistan and other decisions of that nature. When you look back over your whole career, if I could let you relive one moment of success again, what one moment would you choose?

BLAIR: Well, you rarely get moments of success. I mean, if I had two moments of success in the sense that it was a defined thing that happened on a particular day in a particular hour, if you like, I mean, probably the Good Friday agreement and the peace process in Northern Ireland, which, thankfully, is still there and working well.

I just saw some people in Northern Ireland last night, actually, and it was just fascinating difference in the way we talked about the place to when I first fame to power. And I guess the Olympics was a -- I mean, there are very few moments when you naturally dance with joy as prime minister.

MORGAN: I'm about to interview the former Pakistan president, Pervez Musharraf. What do you think of Pakistan right now? What would be the things you'd like to talk to him about?

BLAIR: Well, I think it's got a huge challenge for itself and for the world. But it's part of this bigger challenge, which is how do you create proper democratic societies in which religion has a place, but where religious people accept the rights of minorities and accept that democracy is a pluralistic concept.

And democracy -- and democracy -- this is really important for people to understand. It isn't about the majority triumphing and then doing whatever it wants to minorities.

It's -- you actually judge a democracy, funnily enough, as much by how people who are not part of the winning majority feel as you do by what the winning majority does.

And so I think that issue to do with religion and its place in society, that is an important element of Pakistan. And it's -- over in the Middle East at the moment, I see it everywhere. And if we don't get a handle on that and resolve it, it's going to cause us profound difficulties for many years to come.

MORGAN: Tony Blair, thank you very much. Good to see you again.

BLAIR: Thank you, Piers. . MORGAN: And coming up next, my exclusive interview with Pervez Musharraf, the former president of Pakistan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, FORMER PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN: It's team Pakistan, the word Pakistan. And I know that it has all the potential to do well for itself. Now, at this moment, it's being run to the ground. So their vote for their cause, cause of the people of Pakistan, cause of the country of Pakistan, which I love so much. I will go back, evil to the peril of my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Now, my exclusive interview with one of the most controversial politicians, arguably, in the world.

Pervez Musharraf is the former president of Pakistan and he's been in self-imposed exile since leaving that post.

He's now vowing to return to a country that he says is being dragged down by corruption.

And he joins me now.

Mr. President, thank you for joining me.

MUSHARRAF, PAKISTAN: Thank you.

MORGAN: The last time I spoke to you, you were saying then you wanted to go back to Pakistan. You haven't made that journey yet, and yet we've just heard in that clip we played that you are now prepared to, as you say, potentially risk your life to go back to Pakistan.

Why would you do that?

MUSHARRAF: For the sake of Pakistan. I believe that there always is a time that comes when there's a cause bigger than self. And this is the situation in Pakistan. As I said, it's been run to the ground while it has all the potential to do well.

So, therefore, I thought I must go back and try to contribute again to stabilize Pakistan and move it to a progressive development.

MORGAN: I mean, leading figures, including Rupert Murdoch, have suggested that Pakistan is so understandable now, it is arguably the most dangerous country in the world.

Do you agree with that?

MUSHARRAF: It was. If you remember, I came on the cover of "Time" magazine governing the most dangerous country in the world. But we stabilized beyond 2001. Now, again, yes, indeed, it is very dangerous because of all that is happening inside -- terrorism, extremism, the economy going down, law and order.

But I -- I have a conviction that it can be set right. And that is why I want to go back.

MORGAN: Has the Afghanistan war been successful or has it, arguably, made Pakistan even more understandable and even more dangerous?

MUSHARRAF: Well, I think it has made Pakistan more dangerous now. But it is a complex solution. And the war in Afghanistan, yes, are not leaving success in Afghanistan. And then mishandling of Pakistan itself. It's not that only Afghanistan, that is what has made Pakistan go down. It is mishandling of Pakistan's domestic environment itself, the economy, law and order, terrorism, extremism, political issues, all the pillars of the state are quarreling among themselves. This is not because of Afghanistan.

So it's really mis-governance within and being the back door of Afghanistan, which is where the Taliban and al Qaeda, but it's a mixture of all of these things.

MORGAN: I mean part of the problem, I think, certainly for Americans, is a question of trust. It is they -- when they discovered that Osama bin Laden had been hiding in Pakistan, they're not going to believe that nobody in any position of authority in the Pakistan government or intelligence services didn't know.

I mean it's just -- it defies belief that somebody as notorious as Osama bin Laden could be living in that compound, so close to military installations, but nobody knew.

So there's a massive breakdown in trust between America at Pakistan at a high level. What does Pakistan do about that, to try and rebuild that trust?

MUSHARRAF: Yes, that -- I totally agree with you, that it is not believable. But I personally am convinced that that -- it is a case of negligence and not a case of complicity. I believe that. I strongly believe that that is the truth.

But however, to prove it to --

MORGAN: But do you on that?

I mean just -- again, are you not being generous?

I mean you say that they -- it was negligence but not complicity. What you mean is some people must have known, but weren't deliberately hiding him.

Is that -- is that likely?

MUSHARRAF: No, I don't think so. I don't think so. If you want to know my reasons, they say he was there for five years. That means two years was in my tenure. Now one thing I -- I have -- I -- I am 500 percent sure is about myself. Nobody has to tell me that I didn't know. So for two years he was there and I didn't know it.

You know, now --

MORGAN: You never heard a single --

MUSHARRAF: No.

MORGAN: -- rumor or whisper --

MUSHARRAF: No.

MORGAN: -- that he might be?

MUSHARRAF: Not at all.

And is it possible that the intelligence agencies were hiding from me?

No, that is not possible because the (INAUDIBLE) also. And the ISI, the intelligence agencies, are manned, mainly officered by military, army, navy, air force -- mainly army. And they have -- they have all -- most of them have associations with me.

So if somebody was hiding and -- on top, somebody below, in the second or third tiers, would have come and told me. So this is not possible at all.

And then I say that since he was use -- not using any communications, the only possibility of locating him was through human intelligence. And human intelligence comes through the people around.

Now, all the television channels of Pakistan went around that house interviewing people. I saw that much myself. Not one man came out to say that we knew Osama bin Laden was there. They thought that there was some kind of a drug baron living there and so they wanted to keep away.

So this is the reality. And such things happen. After all, 9/11, there were 19 people under training for six months. They were -- they hijacked four planes from four different airfields, took them into the air. They left the flight path and went to the World Trade Center.

How come CIA didn't know anything about it at all? So these things happen. It is a negligence.

MORGAN: Let's take a break.

I want to come back and talk to you about American politics, the election that's coming up in -- in a few months' time, also about the situation in the Middle East. I had a fascinating conversation with Tony Blair about how exciting and yet also potentially dangerous the transformation that is sweeping through the Middle East could be for not just that region, but for the world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now there's greater danger in the world today than the prospect of Ayatollahs in Tehran possessing nuclear weapons capacity. Yet for all the talks and conferences, all the extensions and assurances, can anyone really say we're further from this danger now than we were four years ago?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: We're back with President Musharraf.

When you hear Mitt Romney, who may well be president come November, talking of Iran being the most dangerous place on Earth now and the prospect of them getting nuclear weapons making it even more dangerous, what is your reaction?

MUSHARRAF: Well, I wouldn't call it the most dangerous place in the world. I don't know. It's a stable county. But they're trying to acquire nuclear weapons.

Do we want that? Yes, I am against it because they don't need it. They don't have a threat, so therefore why go nuclear?

When I compare them with Pakistan, one could ask why Pakistan is nuclear?

Because we have a big threat. We have a threat to us and we have an existential threat. Iran doesn't have a threat.

So why go nuclear?

MORGAN: Well, Iran would argue they do have threats. They would argue that threats have been made against them. Israel and others have threatened to take action.

I mean what -- what is the difference?

I mean if Israel is allowed nuclear weapons, if Pakistan are, if you're in Iran, Ahmadinejad, he would argue -- I've heard him say this -- if these other countries are allowed to have nuclear weapons, why can't I?

MUSHARRAF: Well -- well, first of all, Israel doesn't have a border with Iran. And they are very far away. And I don't think Israel has ever threatened Iran. Iran has been threatening (INAUDIBLE).

As far as Pakistan is concerned, if you see the Indian forces, 50 percent of their army, navy, air force is totally massed on Pakistan's border. So it's a very, very different situation and environment.

But we certainly have an existential threat. We fought two wars. And that itself, you know, half of our wing in the East Pakistan became Bangladesh. How? Because of Indian machinations. Indians believed in it. Indian -- the Indian offensive with their armed forces there.

So how we -- nobody can compare Iran's situation with Pakistan's situation.

MORGAN: And what do you think the international community should be doing about Assad in Syria?

MUSHARRAF: Well, I think Assad himself has to realize that this kind of killing of so many civilians and people dying, his own countrymen dying, what is the point in staying?

For -- why -- why perpetuate oneself?

MORGAN: I mean given that he clearly has no intention of leaving, from his behavior at the moment -- if anything, he's escalating the violence, escalating the killing -- what should be done?

I mean lots of people are talking about how awful this is, but people are being reminded, as I said again to Tony Blair, of Rwanda, of Bosnia, places where the international community sat back and let more and more people die, until eventually they took action.

Isn't there a -- a moral compulsion now to get in there?

MUSHARRAF: Well, I think so much has happened in -- in interfering in various countries of the Muslim world, I would say, that I think that external interference has never produced good results.

I think whatever is happening, I would say if pressure is put on President Assad and good sense prevails, that he will regain some part of his acceptability. If he is desperate -- the people don't want so much killing going on, let somebody else lead the country.

Out -- direct outside interference, I think, never leads to -- never produces good results.

MORGAN: And, finally, the American election in November, what are your thoughts?

It's going to be a close race. People can see that now from all the polls.

Who would you prefer to win?

MUSHARRAF: Well, I would like to -- generally in Pakistan, people believe that Republicans have always been favorably disposed toward Pakistan, more than the Democrats.

MORGAN: So you're a -- you're a Romney man?

MUSHARRAF: Well, no, not really. I am a Pakistan man. So I would be --

(LAUGHTER) MUSHARRAF: -- and I believe that every country has interests that they follow sort of irrespective of which party governs and which president governs. This is interests, national interests that --

MORGAN: But from all you've seen and heard of President Obama and Mitt Romney, which one do you think would best suit the interests of Pakistan over the next four years?

MUSHARRAF: Difficult question to answer. And -- well, as far as President Obama is -- Obama is concerned, I don't think he --..

MORGAN: You -- you called him -- you called him arrogant last time I interviewed you.

MUSHARRAF: Yes, I remember. I -- I did. Well, I -- I still maintain that, because I think he hasn't been -- he hasn't contributed much toward the betterment of relations with Pakistan or resolution of disputes between India and Pakistan. In fact, maybe partially he has shown pro-India leaning against the interests of Pakistan.

But Mitt Romney is not a tried person. So I wouldn't be able to comment on what he would do. All that I would like to say is that he must understand regional dynamics.

MORGAN: Well, I'm seeing Mitt Romney tomorrow here in London, so I shall pass on your thoughts to him.

MUSHARRAF: Thank you.

MORGAN: President Musharraf, thank you.

Nice to see you again.

MUSHARRAF: Thank you.

Thank you very much.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Tomorrow night, I sit down with presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann for an exclusive interview about the economy, the election, President Obama, guns and other big issues affect America.

And then on Monday, a very candid conversation with Michael Phelps, the man who is arguably America's greatest ever Olympian. He talks about fame, about family, about love and about the thing he craves most. And that's another barrel load of gold medals at the London Olympics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL PHELPS, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: You know, I think to be -- for me to be an American is, you know, one of the greatest things in the world. You know, for me -- just because we -- I've been able to grow up with everything, the freedom. You know, in my eyes, this is the greatest country in the world.

And throughout my career, I've been able to -- you know, to travel overseas and to represent my country the best way that I could. And being able to wear the stars and stripes when you step off on the box, or when you step off of an airplane, or when you're hearing the national anthem play, you know, it's one of the greatest feelings in the world, because you know that there are people at home who are supporting you and watching you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That's all for us from London for tonight. "Anderson Cooper" starts right now.