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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Assessment of Obama's First Year in Office; Interview With Pervez Musharraf

Aired November 08, 2009 - 13:20   ET


FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.

We have a great show for you today -- a star-studded panel of historians to talk about Obama's first year in office, the political climate in America and around the world.

In the United States it was a good week for the Republican Party that has been on the retreat for almost five years now. It's actually also a sign of a fascinating global pattern, which might not turn out to be bad news for Democrats.

Imagine that you have been told five years ago that a financial crisis, prominently featuring irresponsible banks, would plunge the global economy to its worst level since the 1930s. If you were then asked to predict the results of elections held after this crisis of capitalism, you might have said that the right, the party of free enterprise and of bankers, would do badly, and the left, the party of government, would do well. And you would have been dead wrong.

Last week in the United States, the Republicans did better than anyone expected. Last month in Germany, the center right won a resounding victory. In France, Nicolas Sarkozy's right-wing government reigns with considerable public support. In Italy, Silvio Berlusconi has managed to stay in power, largely because the electorate is dissatisfied by the left. In Britain, the conservatives are poised to win their first national election in 17 years.


Look at the kinds of right-wing parties that are winning. David Cameron of Great Britain calls himself a progressive conservative. Sarkozy of France assails bankers, and calls for much stricter financial regulation. Merkel of West Germany rejects arguments for free market reform and defends Germany's social market economy.

Even in America, the Republicans who did well did so by stressing mainstream positions on restricting government spending. The right has moved to the center, which remains the high ground of politics these days. If Democrats want to stay vibrant, all they have to do is just remember that.

Anyway, I'm sure the panel of distinguished historians I've gathered will get into all of this. And after it, we will continue our conversations about AfPak with a man who knows the terrain and all the actors -- Pervez Musharraf, the former president of Pakistan.

Let's get started.


ZAKARIA: All day long on cable news talk shows we hear about how President Obama is doing. On Fox, some say he's a socialist who's trying to indoctrinate our children, even as he mortgages their future. On MSNBC he is the lonely hero, fighting to give help to the sick, employ the jobless and end racism in our time. And here on CNN, well, I won't say an answer today.

I wanted to see if we could get some of a clear-eyed look at what kind of a president he really is, and what kind of a world he faces. So I've gathered a panel of talented historians and writers -- people who know greatness and the lack thereof when they see it, to help me accomplish this mission.

Walter Isaacson has written terrific biographies of Ben Franklin and Henry Kissinger, among others.

Robert Caro has won two Pulitzer Prizes, along with numerous other awards. He's the author of the amazing three-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson -- three volumes so far.

Peggy Noonan was Ronald Reagan's chief speech writer. She wrote many of his most memorable words, and then, a terrific book about those years, "What I Saw at the Revolution."

Nell Painter is a Princeton University historian, and author of, among other books, "Creating Black Americans," a history of African Americans over the last 400 years.

Welcome to all of you. That was quite a mouthful.

Peggy, when you were in the White House with Ronald Reagan, at the end of the first year I think people would have talked about optimism, confidence, things like that. What do you think people will say with this first year?

PEGGY NOONAN, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": I think this first year of Obama, I think history will probably look back on it as an attempt to change the face of America in the world -- which, so far, appears to be a good beginning -- coupled with, I think, a serious domestic misstep with regard to focusing on certain issues that were not the great issues the American people were focused on when the Great Recession really sunk in.

ZAKARIA: But internationally, if I read your column right, you've been quite supportive of his change of tone.

NOONAN: Yes, I think it was needed. I think bringing a new face -- literally and figuratively -- of American foreign policy to the world was a good thing. And I think his basic approach of what I would call friendliness, not an apology tour, but a sort of expansive approach of -- no nation does everything right, we haven't done everything right, but we certainly would like to have progress between us in the future -- I think that's pretty good. As I say, domestically, I think less so.

WALTER ISAACSON, THE ASPEN INSTITUTE: Well, no. I think, first of all, you have to say the big thing we're going to remember about the first year of the presidency of Obama was that, exactly a year ago, you know, my wife was walking around to various banks buying CDs, because we were all afraid the entire financial system would collapse. Lehman Brothers, AIG had collapsed. We thought everything was going to go off of a cliff.

That didn't happen. We had, yes, you know, a stimulus, and maybe a budget you think may have been too larded by the committees in Congress, but the entire saving of the financial system was huge.

I do think, when you're in a recession, it's a great time to tackle the unmet social net issue of our time, which is health care.

The fact that most Americans are insecure, and fear, if they lose their job, they're not going to have health insurance, this is big. It has to be tackled. And the fact that he's gotten it past the 80 yard -- I mean, you know, down the field 80 yards so far is pretty amazing.

ZAKARIA: But isn't it fair to say that it is more than Americans might have bargained for when they elected him? I mean, it is something no Democratic president has been able to get passed in...

ISAACSON: Sure. I was on this show not too long ago with Peggy Noonan. And we were worried that he was trying to do too many different things. And I said on this show...

NOONAN: No, I was worried that we were trying to do too many...

ISAACSON: You were. No, but I...

NOONAN: You were defending him and saying, no, it was all genius.

ISAACSON: No, I felt that...

NOONAN: Oh, yes, you were.

ISAACSON: ... health care was the thing that you really had to push. I frankly did not think cap-and-trade and climate were things you should do in the first year of what could have been a Great Recession.

But I felt it was a time you needed to do health care. And I do think he's honed his focus in on that. I think it's a good thing.

NOONAN: I don't think people are afraid they'll lose their job and lose their health care. They're afraid they're going to lose their job. That is the emphasis. It is unemployment. It's high taxes, high spending. It's money.

It's not these secondary issues.

ZAKARIA: What do you think, Nell?

NELL IRVIN PAINTER, AUTHOR, "CREATING BLACK AMERICANS": I was just saying, it's not either-or. It's not either I'm going to lose my job, or I'm going to lose my health care, but people are worried about both at the same time.

And over and over, I keep reading about people who have lost their jobs and, therefore, lost their health.

ZAKARIA: Bob, you know, this discussion inevitably, actually, brings us back to Lyndon Johnson. Because the president who...



ZAKARIA: ... no, but it's often claimed -- who over-read his mandate, tried to do too much, and particularly tried to push the American system too far left, too much in favor of big government was Lyndon Johnson. And it produced this great conservative backlash.

How do you think about it?

ROBERT CARO, AUTHOR, "THE YEARS OF LYNDON JOHNSON": Well, I'd read it a little differently. I would say we have two presidents here, both of whom wanted to transform America. They both wanted to make America a different place.

Johnson, you know, was succeeding to a remarkable extent until he lost track of it in Vietnam.

If we look, in July 1965, he's doing two things. He has gotten through the Voting Rights Act. "We shall overcome," he said. He gets through this act in a -- just, I'm writing about it in a book I have now -- it's marvelous to watch him get this bill through the Senate, vote-by-vote. He does it.

He's signing the Medicare bill. This is the same month, July 1965. And at that same time, in the next week, he is launching the first, huge escalation -- secretly, without telling the American people -- of the Vietnam War.

But Obama is, as I see it, trying -- he has a vast vision for America, as Lyndon Johnson did. And he's setting out to transform the country on many fronts. And I think it's going to be fascinating in world history and the history of this country, to see if he succeeds or not.

ZAKARIA: But you don't think that Johnson, you know, that Johnson failed because of an overreach of the Great Society. You think it was all undone because of Vietnam.

CARO: Well, let me give you an example. 1965, everything looks better. And then the money starts to go for Vietnam. And you know, if I can just take one more minute, if you read the notes of his meetings -- he used to call them the Tuesday Cabinet meetings, they were up on the second floor of the White House in the family dining room, often with just four people -- McNamara, Rusk, McGeorge Bundy and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Earle Wheeler -- he would suddenly see, "Gee, we don't have money for these programs."

That's the tragedy. I don't think it's an overreach.

NOONAN: Look. We've got two wars going. That is expensive. It costs so much. Whatever is done in Iraq and in Afghanistan, it will continue to be awfully expensive, and it will continue, I think, to crowd out -- not only financially, but almost in the public imagination -- great new expansions that he might want and desire.

We are going to see what his decision is on Afghanistan, and we will see if he decides to increase troop strength very seriously and, obviously, commit to a great deal of time there. Of course it will be financially expensive.

ZAKARIA: Do you think he's dithering?

NOONAN: Oh, my goodness. I must tell you, I depart from some people's criticisms on that. I am delighted to see an American president who is thinking about a very serious decision.

They are pushed forward too much by events. There's too much in a president's inbox. They're constantly pushed, because of the press of people like us, chattering about what they do, to make a decision quickly, and to make it with an almost faux decisiveness.

Do you know what I mean? "This is what I'm doing." And then there's stuff.

I like it that he is thinking. I like it that he's calling everybody in. I think it is a good thing that he's calling in counsels.

It is clear to me he has changed his views somewhat from the campaign, when Afghanistan was his good war. Now he is not sure.

PAINTER: I'm so struck that so much of what we talk about in foreign policy is really about masculinity. It's about who's going to shame whom, who's going to take the fall for having been wimpy.

And Obama's up against that -- as a Democrat, as a skinny guy, as a nice black man. He's going to find it difficult to be the person who's going to be called the guy who lost China, Vietnam, Afghanistan.

ISAACSON: I'm worried about this. I don't know the need right now to try to nation-build in Afghanistan. I think it'll sap a lot of the strength of his domestic policies.

CARO: But whether he's right or not, just to go back to what Peggy said -- you know, Lyndon Johnson had a saying. He had a saying for everything. He said, "I'd rather be slow and right, than fast and dead."

So, you know, I so agree with you on...

ISAACSON: But he got pushed into Vietnam a little bit, too.

CARO: Oh, I...

ISAACSON: I bet you he didn't really want to go in. I haven't read your book yet.

CARO: He didn't follow that advice, but it was good advice. And you hope Obama will follow good advice.

ZAKARIA: We will take a break, and we will be right back.


ISAACSON: Great. So, if both sides...

ZAKARIA: We've got to pull the plug on...

NOONAN: I think the Democrats didn't notice that, when they were passing a stimulus bill that couldn't get one single Republican vote, it might have been viewed as problematic by the American people.



ZAKARIA: And we are back with Robert Caro, Walter Isaacson, Nell Painter and Peggy Noon.

Nell, how do you view Obama as the sort of symbol, as the -- you know, because in a campaign you were able to maintain this essentially symbolic position. You have Mayor Cuomo's great line, "You campaign in poetry, but then you have to govern in prose."

PAINTER: You have to govern in prose, yes.

ZAKARIA: What's the prose been like?

PAINTER: Well, I'm struck, listening to all of you, hearing the sort of undertone of the reality of partisanship. And so, everything we talk about is subject to this drumbeat, this partisan drumbeat that's going on.

So, the campaign was so much about bringing us together, and we can overcome and build a bridge, and we can do this, this, we'll turn the corner. But the actual governing has been fraught with a lot of partisan nastiness.

ZAKARIA: Now, was that a mistake on his part? Because...

PAINTER: No, I don't think so.

ZAKARIA: ... he also -- but he also, you know, I mean, he handed over a lot of control to Nancy Pelosi...

PAINTER: He had to.

ZAKARIA: ... to the Democratic Party.

PAINTER: He had to.

I think we often want the president to have more power than he really does, or to overreach. And all along, I have felt that Obama could not afford to be out in front.

ZAKARIA: The drumbeat of partisanship, or whatever we call it, seems to have done all right for the other party. I mean, no matter how you spin it, at the end of the day, at least this last set of elections have been good for the Republicans.

Why do you think that is?

NOONAN: There was a Gallup poll out this week that said, essentially -- it was a fairly broad poll. And people said -- it had gone up about 12 percent, the number of people who thought Obama was governing from the left, not from the center. It used to be about 42 percent. Now it was about 53, or so, percent of people.

I think the president, in a number of ways domestically, but lower (ph) it (ph) to (ph) a lot of busyness, a lot of spending. The promise, I think, of tax increases has taken people aback a little bit. And I think he has damaged his brand, as they say in the language of merchandising, which has now become the language of politics.

I think Jersey was the big election. I think Obama had carried Jersey, I think by about 15 points, just one year ago. Now, the Democratic governor, a strong supporter of Obama -- Obama had come and stood with him three times saying, New Jersey, vote for this man -- he just lost by five points. It was about a 20-point drop in support.

That tells you something. Jersey is a Democratic state, but they're worried about specific things. Unemployment, taxes they worry about a lot in Jersey, terrible property taxes, a bad economy. That's where their minds are. That's who votes in Jersey.

PAINTER: Now, wait.

NOONAN: The president...

PAINTER: I voted in New Jersey.

NOONAN: I lived in Jersey, too, but that's what they're worried about.

PAINTER: I live in Jersey.


NOONAN: Well, you don't think that unemployment... PAINTER: Absolutely.

NOONAN: ... property taxes.

PAINTER: Yes, but Jersey is...

NOONAN: I mean, those are huge concerns.

PAINTER: ... an ungovernable state, because people...

NOONAN: People all -- they all think they're ungovernable states.

PAINTER: ... want so many different things.


PAINTER: There are all these different (ph) jurisdictions.

NOONAN: At this point they may all...

PAINTER: Nobody wants to give up their jurisdictions.

NOONAN: Nobody understood (ph)...

PAINTER: We have school boards where there aren't even schools.

ZAKARIA: Yes, all right. I've got to ask you...


ISAACSON: I want to get back -- to me, it's a really wonderful point, because there are two great things that happened this year. We didn't have the grand depression, and health care has gotten this far.

But the other big thing is that, as you said, partisanship -- which we thought he might be able to reduce -- the poison of partisanship has grown. It's gotten -- it's helped the Republicans. It's partly, I think you're right, the fault of the administration by not calling everybody in, not calling everybody from Bobby Jindal to Nancy Pelosi and saying, let's figure out how we're going to get health care and what the principles are. Let's do the...

ZAKARIA: If he had just adopted John McCain's signature campaign proposal, which was to end the tax deduction for corporations, this would have made the bill much more affordable.

Secondly, it would have been a great act of bipartisanship...

ISAACSON: He could have had John McCain in...

ZAKARIA: ... to say, I'm going to...

ISAACSON: ... and consulted with John McCain on two or three of the things, on health care...

NOONAN: Of course.

ISAACSON: ... and Bobby Jindal, or appointed what people hate, these commissions, but have a commission led by a Bob Dole and others, and say, what are the principles, and try to do it.

I think also, though, the Republicans felt that injecting more partisanship and being ideological was good politically. So, it's both sides...

NOONAN: I think the Democrats...

ZAKARIA: I've got to -- we've got to pull the plug on...

NOONAN: I think the Democrats didn't notice that, when they were passing a stimulus bill that couldn't get one single Republican vote, it might have been viewed as problematic by the American people.

ZAKARIA: All right. We've got to close this with historical commentary from Robert Caro -- or any kind of comment...



CARO: I think, you know, you never know how history is going to view things, Fareed. But I think that the scope of what he's trying to do, to change a country, does anybody really think we didn't need huge health care reform? Does anyone not think we have other huge problems here?

To have a president who says, "I'm going to try," to me is sort of thrilling. We don't know how it's going to work out. He may be doing things wrong. But it's great, as far as I'm concerned, to have that scope of ambition in a president.

ZAKARIA: And there will be lots to write about. Thank you all. This is a wonderful conversation.

And we will be right back.


ZAKARIA: Now, for our "What in the World?" segment.

What caught my attention this week was a mass trial in the largest megalopolis in the world, Chongqing, China. It gives us a fascinating view into the black box that is Chinese politics. The story seems straight out of Hollywood, and it's got its own Eliot Ness.

Just take a look at the astonishing numbers involved. This is a city with a population of 31 million. Nine thousand suspects have reportedly been questioned, 4,800 arrested so far, more than $200 million in assets seized. Almost a quarter of the city's police force is now devoted to the crackdown, and more than 30 defendants are on trial in this courtroom alone this week. But what's even more astonishing is what's at the heart of the case -- corruption, political corruption.

Now, corruption has been part of Chinese culture for decades, if not centuries. But this man is seen as leading the charge to untangle the web between China's criminals and its government.

His name is Bo Xilai, and he is the Communist Party chief in Chongqing.

He's not just fingering petty bureaucrats, which has been the Chinese pattern in the past. He's gone straight to the top. This man, Wen Qiang, was the second-in-command of the police department, and then the city's highest judicial officer -- that is, until investigators allegedly found almost $3 million buried under his fish pond, and evidence that he had, over the years, accepted almost $15 million in bribes to give gangs some kind of protective umbrella.

Authorities seized what they said were Wen's ill-gotten gains -- a luxury home, antiques, art and bricks of gold. Wen is joined in jail by multitudes of other high government officials, Communist Party leaders and police officers.

In China, political life is truly all about the Communist Party -- venerating it, burnishing its image and politicking within it. And this crackdown makes the party look bad for having tolerated such widespread corruption for years. But it also makes the party look good for finally doing something to clean it up.

As for the party itself, it vowed last month to "fully explore the arduous and complicated nature of the combat against corruption."

We'll have to wait and see what that mouthful really means, but we can come to some tentative conclusions. Corruption is widespread in China, all the way to the top. It is causing great public dissatisfaction. And the Communist Party feels the need to respond to this outcry.

Now, does this mean the Chinese will try and stamp out every last bit of corruption, everywhere it exists in their vast land? Probably not. A friend reminds me that there is an old Chinese saying: If the water is too clear, there is nothing for the fish to eat.

And we will be right back.


GEN. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: Foreign troops are not welcome there. But now that they are there, we have to win. And quitting is not an option at all. I don't think quitting is an option at all.


ZAKARIA: As we try to make very clear on this program, you can't talk about the United States' problems in Afghanistan without talking about the problems with Afghanistan's next-door neighbor, Pakistan. Now, for almost 10 years, from 1999 until last year, Pervez Musharraf ruled over that nation, first as the army's chief of staff, then as president of Pakistan. If anyone knows the Pakistani Army -- what they are capable of and, moreover, what they are willing to do in this war on terror -- it is Pervez Musharraf. If anybody knows the strategic landscape of the region, it is Pervez Musharraf.

And so, I talked with him a few days ago, when he was in the United States.

The conversation ranged widely, but I want to draw your attention to two issues in the first segment -- Musharraf's view of Hamid Karzai, which is very dim, but also, what kind of government is possible in Afghanistan. He is of the view that, Afghanistan always had a loose, consensual arrangement between the central government and the regions -- a so-called "Misak-i Milli" -- and we should try to return to that kind of arrangement, not a strong central government.

The second is the Pashtun problem. Musharraf believes that the crucial problem in Afghanistan is that the Pashtuns -- the ethnic groups whose members live in both Afghanistan and Pakistan -- are alienated from the central government, and that Karzai, even though he is a Pashtun, has lost their support.

Pashtuns, remember, make up 50 percent of Afghanistan, but 100 percent of the Taliban. The only way to make Afghanistan more stable is to bring some of these disgruntled Pashtuns back into the fold.

Anyway, listen to the first part of my conversation with Pervez Musharraf.


ZAKARIA: Thank you for joining us.


ZAKARIA: One of the lessons that many people draw from Vietnam is that, if you are going to be involved in counterinsurgency warfare in a different country, you need a reliable, local partner.

Let me ask you bluntly. Is President Karzai a reliable partner?

MUSHARRAF: In Afghanistan, yes, I think he's a reliable man. But it's not a question of reliability. It's a question of his competence. It's a question of his potential to be able to deliver on the key issue of getting the Pashtun on board through a political deal. Can he deliver on that? That is the point.

ZAKARIA: And, your view?

MUSHARRAF: Oh, no, I don't think he can deliver on that.

ZAKARIA: That's a very pessimistic -- I mean, do you understand the import of what you're saying? I mean, that's a pretty devastating critique.

MUSHARRAF: Well, he should try. At least he should try. They've been trying to do that since (ph) years. They must do that. They must get the Pashtuns on board.

ZAKARIA: So, has he been a -- has he been corrupt? You know these reports that he relies on warlords, that he's corrupt. In your experience -- you dealt with him a lot in those years. Is this true?

MUSHARRAF: Well, I wouldn't like to comment on that, because I don't know. I don't have information or intelligence of his corruption. But certainly, I heard (ph) reports of his brother's involvement in gun-running, and maybe even drug-running. I don't -- I can't substantiate 100 percent, but there were reports.

ZAKARIA: But what do we do about Karzai from here? Because, you know, you're a practical man. Karzai may not be ideal. What do we do?

MUSHARRAF: Well, we are in a difficult situation, there is no doubt. I've been talking of how Afghanistan has been held together since the centuries under an arrangement called Misak-i Milli, a national covenant, a social-economic compact, where the four ethnic groups decided to remain together under the sovereignty of the king.

In '79, the Soviets deposed the king. So, that glue that held them together is gone. So, what we are trying to do when we talk of political elements, we are trying to create another Misak-i Milli, or national covenant.

Now, how can that national covenant take place when the Pashtun, the 50 percent majority, is not on board? So, we have to take them on board.

ZAKARIA: Now, I remember when we sat down in your office in Rawalpindi some years ago when you were running Pakistan. And we talked about -- there were proposals, as you remember. Hillary Clinton was saying, why don't you let U.S. forces go into Pakistani territory and deal with these terrorists.

You said, look, you don't understand. If you introduce foreign forces into these areas, you will create more problems than you will solve. Let the Pakistani Army deal with it.

Why is the same not true in Afghanistan?

MUSHARRAF: Yes, they are not welcome. Foreign troops are not welcome there. But now that they are there, we have to win. And quitting is not an option at all. I don't think quitting is an option at all.

Anyone who is talking of quitting doesn't understand the ramifications of quitting. They must -- he must sit down and analyze what will happen if he were to quit there without a solution.

We have to defeat the al Qaeda, we have to dominate the Taliban, and we have to introduce a credible, legitimate government in Afghanistan. When we do this, we (ph) need (ph) to quit, after that, whatever time it takes. But we cannot leave before that.

The concept where you want to create a central, strong central government, governing the entire area of Afghanistan, I think is a little alien to the place. It's a tribal society. And the tribes in their areas have held dominance in their respective areas. The king, who was the sovereign, maybe ruled Afghanistan through autonomy -- tribal autonomy -- through the tribal sardars.

So, now, if you are thinking of some kind of democracy where the central president is going to be all-powerful all over Afghanistan, now we are introducing something alien there.

So, we need to get all these people and find out -- they should tell us -- what is the political resolution? Do they want to stay together and shun terrorism, eliminate al Qaeda? How do they want to do it?

ZAKARIA: So, what you are describing, I have to say, there are elements of the Biden plan which you're describing, in the sense that you're saying, look. This is a decentralized country. Don't try to artificially create a strong central government with a massive army. Work with the system, and try to focus on those elements of the Taliban that are sympathetic to al Qaeda, and draw the other ones away, rather than blanketing the whole place with troops.


ZAKARIA: I mean, it's fair to say that there's a -- on the political side you agree with what...

MUSHARRAF: Yes, absolutely. That is the way -- but from a position of strength.


MUSHARRAF: Now, if you did on the other side what General McChrystal is demanding, if you are thinking of reducing, no. You are weakening yourself. People there appreciate, they respect power and strength. They don't respect cowardice and vacillation and -- they don't respect that.

So, let's show power, which they respect, and then deal politically.

ZAKARIA: So, McChrystal first, then Biden, as it were.

MUSHARRAF: Simultaneous, yes. But you cannot weaken McChrystal.

ZAKARIA: Part of what you are saying, which, again, is something you've talked about for many years now, is talking to the Taliban.

Tell us what the problems are? Because you tried at various points to talk to the Pakistani versions of the Taliban.

How does one do it? Why is it that it has proved difficult? Or is it that people are not really trying in Afghanistan?

MUSHARRAF: No, no. You are talking of Taliban, who are, when (ph) on the Afghan side, they are Afghans. On our side, they are Pakistanis. We are dealing with our own people.

So, we need to wean them away from terrorism. We need to understand their problems, resolve them politically. That is what I am meaning.

ZAKARIA: And we will be right back with the former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf.



ZAKARIA: And we are back with Pervez Musharraf.

In the second part of the conversation, we widened the topics to include not just Afghanistan, but Pakistan. Now, we are listening to an authentic representation of the mind of the Pakistani military. Musharraf repeatedly denies that the Pakistani military is in any way involved with the Taliban, but most commentators would disagree.

When I pointed out to him the odd fact that the leaders of the Afghan Taliban are all in a Pakistani city, Quetta, he flatly denied it.

And then you will really see the Pakistani military's world view, when he accuses the Afghan government's intelligence wing as being totally under the influence of India.

Now, see, Americans see Afghanistan as a problem on its own. Perhaps now we understand that Pakistan is linked in with it.

But in reality, there is a 60-year-old geopolitical rivalry at play here that we have just walked into, and it is between Pakistan and India. Pakistan has deep suspicions that one day America will leave, and India will end up in control in Afghanistan, which means that they view the Afghan government not as a partner, but as a potential problem.

Anyway, listen to part two of my conversation with Pervez Musharraf.


ZAKARIA: OK, let me ask you about Waziristan, since we've now gotten into the details of this area in Pakistan.

As you said, in South Waziristan, there is what is often called the Pakistani Taliban, headed by Baitullah Mehsud, who was just assassinated by a drone attack.

There are some people, Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist, who says this is a moment of truth for the Pakistani army, because they are mounting an attack against -- in South Waziristan -- against the forces of Baitullah Mehsud, who are the Pakistani Taliban, the Taliban that attack the Pakistani state.

But in North Waziristan you have the other elements of extremist groups, radical groups, the so-called Haqqani faction of the Taliban, the Afghan Taliban -- the people who tend to launch attacks against Afghanistan, against India, against places outside Pakistan.

This is the Pakistan army's moment of truth. Will it take on both the Talibans? Or will it only take on the extremist groups that threaten Pakistan?

MUSHARRAF: Yes, you are absolutely right, that there are various elements, as you said, in South Waziristan and in North Waziristan.

I have been telling since long, since three or four years, please give me drones. I want to look at this Baitullah Mehsud, because he's the one who assassinated Benazir Bhutto. And he is the one who is carrying out these suicide attacks, indoctrinating people. Dozens of suicide attackers we know have been indoctrinated. They are going to carry out bomb attacks.

ZAKARIA: The argument is that, you know, the Pakistani army somehow never seems to get around to attacking, in North Waziristan, those groups who attack either Afghanistan or Western targets or India. And the reason is that these groups, who were often supported in the past -- not now, but in the past -- by the Pakistani military. And that, therefore, somehow in this planning process, you never get around to North Waziristan.

MUSHARRAF: They will not support it. They will not support it. That was not the government policy. That was not the military policy.

However, there was ingress -- always, in every group -- there is an ingress of the ISI. And that is the efficiency, the effectiveness of the ISI. You must have ingress, so that you can influence all organizations. And it is this ingress of theirs -- which doesn't mean that they are supporting them, but they have ingress. They have some contacts, which can be used for their own advantage.

ZAKARIA: Do you expect to see attacks on the Haqqani faction of the Taliban on the Quetta Shura, on those elements in North Waziristan that so far have not attacked the Pakistani state, but are clearly responsible for terrorism?

MUSHARRAF: Certainly, they should be eliminated. If at all they are involved with -- any group which is involved in cross-border activity and with al Qaeda must be controlled, checked and militarily also.

You've named Quetta Shura. No. This is again a word which is known and spoken everywhere here. I have been there, and this Quetta Shura exists, probably, from my time, when they -- it was, for instance, them that -- I have been telling the ISI, and the CIA also has been operating with them in Quetta. There's a corps headquartered there -- 12 corps headquarters, with a full corps. There is an army Frontier Corps, IDFC (ph) headquartered in Quetta.

How is it that this Quetta Shura is existing in Quetta?

ZAKARIA: You tell me.

MUSHARRAF: This is absolutely wrong. Yes, I will tell you.

But somehow, everyone has got this. It's easier to -- easy to pronounce, maybe, Quetta Shura. Quetta Shura is not a building where there are conferences taking place, and Mullah Omar is sitting there holding a conference, issuing instructions and orders, and maybe there is a flag of Quetta Shura on top, and we know the location.

ZAKARIA: But, General, the tone comes from them. They, the group around Mullah Omar, now call themselves the Quetta Shura, because they live in Quetta, which is...


ZAKARIA: ... a Pakistani city.

MUSHARRAF: That is absolutely, 200,000 percent wrong.

ZAKARIA: What part?

MUSHARRAF: Quetta...

ZAKARIA: They do not -- they are not different (ph).

MUSHARRAF: No. They are there. Mullah Omar will not be there. I am 100 percent sure. He cannot be there, because he would be mad to be there.

Because they control the southeastern part of Afghanistan. Most of it is under the control of Taliban.

Now, if I am the leader of the Taliban, and I'm controlling any area, why would I endanger myself to go to another place where there is an army and Frontier Corps, and American intelligence also operating there? Why would I like to go there? Why don't I stay with my own area?

And in any case, he has never been in Pakistan. Mullah Omar, in those years of fighting against the Soviets, or before that. He is known to have been in Pakistan as a teenager, in some madrassa. He has never come to Pakistan. So, why would he be there?

Now, Quetta -- coming back to Quetta Shura...

ZAKARIA: But you know, just look. American intelligence, the Afghan government, Afghan intelligence all say, Mullah Omar is in Pakistan.

MUSHARRAF: Afghan intelligence, Afghan president, Afghan government. Don't talk of them. I know what they do. They are, by design, they mislead the world. They talk against Pakistan, because they are under the influence of Indian intelligence -- all of them.

The Afghan intelligence entirely under the influence of Indian intelligence. We know that.

ZAKARIA: But General Musharraf...

MUSHARRAF: Let me come back to Quetta Shura. I must (ph)...

ZAKARIA: ... but you've -- this is important, because you are revealing why people, many, many people feel that Pakistan has a very antagonistic attitude towards Afghanistan.

You view Afghanistan as a client state of India. And therefore, you do not -- you are not willing to really help Afghanistan succeed.

MUSHARRAF: No, not at all. That is not the case.

Whatever I am saying, I am not saying it here. I have given documentary evidence of all this to everyone. There is the documentary evidence. And we know the involvement of Indian intelligence, in India, with their intelligence.

I have given documentary evidence to everyone from top to bottom. Everyone knows it. And we have the documentary evidence.

ZAKARIA: What about your own situation? There are reports that cases against you are going to be instituted or reopened, and that you would have to leave Pakistan. Is that true?

MUSHARRAF: I am already in London, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

No, I have to go back to Pakistan. And whatever actions I have taken have been constitutional and legal, legally correct, constitutionally correct. And all of my actions have been validated by the supreme court, by the assembly.

So, one has to face whatever comes. Let's see what happens when...

ZAKARIA: I don't want to delve back into that whole controversy, because, of course, you replaced the court, which then validated your actions.

But do you regret -- if there's one regret, do you regret replacing the court, and risking -- there are a lot of people, as you know...

MUSHARRAF: You know, I don't want to...

ZAKARIA: ... who say you should have chanced it, and the original court would have validated you anyway.

MUSHARRAF: I -- no, I don't want to get into that discussion. I thought whatever I did was in line with pursuing a democratic course, consolidating democracy.

ZAKARIA: General Musharraf...

MUSHARRAF: But sometimes, having said that, let me say I -- because I gave this answer -- sometimes even when you do a right, now I realized, because the effects are negative. So, maybe one has to be pragmatic, even in doing the right.

ZAKARIA: So, maybe you do have a regret on that one front.

MUSHARRAF: Well, yes, we shouldn't have, because Pakistan is suffering, and I regret that. I regret that Pakistan is suffering.

ZAKARIA: General Musharraf, a pleasure to have you.

MUSHARRAF: Thank you.

And we will be right back.



ZAKARIA: Now, for our "Question of the Week."

Last week I asked you, do you think democracy is even possible in Afghanistan?

The vast majority of our viewers said, not now, not ever.

Debbie Lee Mandel of Oakland, California, summed it up this way.

"Democracy demands law and order. The Afghan GDP is based on opium, never a winning proposition."

Kathy Boyll of Crescent City, California, agrees, and puts this interesting idea forward.

"Instead of putting up a wall between the United States and Mexico, why not put one up between Afghanistan and Pakistan?"

I love hearing your opinions each week. And as a reminder, please include both your name and your location in the e-mails you send us.

Now, for this week, here's what I want to know. Thus far, has President Obama disappointed you? Or has he, broadly speaking, lived up to your expectations?

Let me know what you think, and why.

Also, as always, I want to recommend a book. This one is called "Startup Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle," and it's by Dan Senor. Dan is the founding partner of the investment firm Rosemont Capital. He served as the chief spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in the early days of the Iraq War. You may remember his briefings out of Baghdad. He is also the husband of CNN's own Campbell Brown. "Startup Nation" addresses the question of why it is that Israel, a nation of just seven million people, constantly at war since its creation, has become the world's capital of startups. Believe it or not, Israel produces more of them than Japan, China or India.

In the book, Senor tells fascinating stories of innovative ideas and huge gambles that have paid off for Israeli entrepreneurs. It's a book I think every single Arab businessman, Arab bureaucrat and Arab politician should read, because it explains this wide gulf between Israel and the Arab world. I think you'll enjoy it.

Now, please remember to check out our Web site at We're adding new content and new viewers every week.

Thank you to all of you for being part of my program. I will see you next week.