Return to Transcripts main page
Piers Morgan Live
Egypt in Crisis
Aired January 31, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: On a special edition of PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT, chaos in Egypt. Americans trapped in a country spiraling out of control.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once you got to the airport it was utter chaos.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I'm safe but I'm trapped.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have several hundred at the airport right now. About 2,400 Americans have asked us for help.
MORGAN: Are they running out of time to escape? Where is President Mubarak? And what next for the Middle East?
Plus, what it's like to flee your own country. My live exclusive interview with the leader of Iran's government in exile, the son of the Shah. And two people who know all the players involved in this moving story better than most. Christiane Amanpour and Dan Rather.
Only on PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: It's high drama in Egypt tonight with a showdown looming fast. It's still before dawn but protesters are promising in the next few hours what they call a million-man marches in Cairo and Alexandria.
And in a stunning move tonight the government is attempting to shut down the country's last Internet service provider, essentially taking the entire country offline. Mobile phone networks are also being shut down. But Google and Twitter have teamed up to allow Egyptians to speak to tweet using a new service created especially for this crisis.
For anybody in Egypt right now anyone who has pictures and information from Egypt, tweet me @PiersMorgan. And we'll show as many as we can on the show. Because just whatever you think about the rights and wrongs in this crisis Egypt it is never, ever justified for any government to try and silence its people in this way.
We have an unprecedented array of reporters on the ground in Egypt with the latest breaking news. We begin with my colleague Anderson Cooper in Cairo tonight.
Anderson, what is the mood as we lead up to this march?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN'S AC 360: Well, it's about 4:00 a.m. here. There are still people in Liberation Square which is just a few blocks from where I'm standing. They have been there all day. It is an incredible atmosphere there on what was the seventh day.
We're now moving into the eighth day of these protests. And as you said, there is a lot of anticipation for what some are calling this million-man march. Exactly where it's going is not clear exactly what is going to happen is certainly not known. It's -- frankly, there are a lot of unknowns as there are at the start of each new day here.
I mean no one has been able to predict what has happened up to now and certainly no one can tell you what is going to happen in the next 24 hours, though I can tell you the protesters I was with today in Liberation Square seem incredibly optimistic and determined that no matter what President Mubarak does to reshuffle his Cabinet or appoint new people to his government it's not enough as long as he stays in power -- Piers.
MORGAN: Anderson, obviously there are these dramatic attempts tonight to try and shut down communication with the people. I hear the trains are also being hit. There's a real concerted effort here to stop people getting to the march.
What do you think will actually happen? Is it working or do enough people now know that it's kind of the horse has bolted?
COOPER: Well, it certainly look -- it makes it a lot more difficult to organize things if you can't use your cell phone, if you can't text people and obviously there's been no Internet for most people, no Facebook which is how these protests began seven days ago on the so-called day of rage.
But a lot of the stuff has now just spread word of mouth. You see people holding up signs in Liberation Square today saying, you know, there will be a march tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Some people said it was at 9:00 a.m. So there is conflicting information. There's a lot of rumor going around.
And also there was a heavier presence of Egyptian soldiers on the streets on Monday. Sort of choking off access to Liberation Square, making it more difficult for people to actually get there, more difficult for journalists to actually get there. Kind of trying to control the flow of pedestrians into and out of the square, trying to enforce curfew a little bit more strongly.
Really a lot of people in the square were saying they felt it was just a show of force by the Egyptian military trying out to send a signal that they -- they do have some control here in Cairo.
MORGAN: You've had the chance to speak with Mohamed Elbaradei, who's a former U.N. official. President Mubarak's most high profile opponent. He has constantly warned America that the administration had to get behind the people of Egypt and not Mubarak.
I want to show you a clip, Anderson, of your interview and then come and talk to you about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Your message to President Obama is what?
MOHAMED ELBARADEI, LEADING OPPOSITION FIGURE: My message to president Obama is -- and I have lots of respect for him. I worked with him, you know, in the last year of my tenure at IAEA. I have a lot of admiration for him. But I tell him, you need to review your policy. You need to let go of Mubarak.
You need to be -- you shouldn't be behind the curve. You need to start building confidence with the people and not with the people who are smothering the people.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Anderson, this persistent thing now that America has somehow been behind the curve, being on the wrong side of this fence, I mean it's a difficult situation, is it, because America for 30 years has been a good ally to Mubarak and he's done a very good job for Americans.
So is it realty fair to criticize the administration now and President Obama now for not going against him or is it -- or do you understand their difficulties?
COOPER: Well, I don't -- you know when you hear protesters in the square, are they very concerned about whether or not it's fair from their vantage point the U.S. has been supporting a regime which has been corrupt, which has been arresting people, torturing people, and which has been not meeting their needs for some 30 years, certainly over the last 10 years or so -- remember, there's been a state of emergency in this country since Mubarak took office back in 1981 after the assassination of then President Anwar Sadat.
A continuous state of emergency here. So people are just fed up with the corruption, with the brutality. And they feel that the U.S. has been on the side of that corruption and that brutality. A lot of people here in these demonstrations have been to the U.S. They speak English very well and they'll say, look, we understand the U.S. is, you know, walking a tight rope and all those cliches that they keep hearing, but they don't want to hear cliches at this point.
They want a declarative statement from the U.S. that they are on the side of the people here, what they will say is the side of the future here in Egypt.
MORGAN: Anderson, thank you. I'll be looking forward to watching that interview.
Now we're going to go to CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson in Alexandria. Nic, I want to ask you straight away really about that point Anderson was making, which is that the rising feeling of anti- Americanism is creeping into this as the administration here don't seem to be taking a decisive action against President Mubarak.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think you have two things working into that, Piers. I mean you have the frustration with Hosni Mubarak, with the people here who have a very nuanced understanding of the region and realize that the United States needs President Mubarak's support for the Palestinian/Israeli issue.
That's something -- an issue they feel very keenly. And also you have this sort of panoply of sort of o feelings and anger that have generated over the past decade and more where people in this part of the world have watched what's happened in Iraq with the United States, watched what's happened there, seen a lot on the Internet and they feel very frustrated and angry with the United States in general.
So I think we're seeing a layer of that emerging here. They -- a lot of people here have a lot of sympathy for the Palestinians. And when they look at the position of President Mubarak has taken on the Palestinian/Israeli issue, they feel it's a very pro-U.S. position. And they would like -- a lot of them here would like to see that change.
So you see both things play into that. But what Anderson was saying about the way people like Americans, the way they like life in the United States, that's really true. So it's quite a dichotomy of views on that, Piers.
MORGAN: Thanks, Nic. Appreciate that.
I want to go to Ben Wedeman, our senior international correspondent in Cairo tonight.
Ben, the State Department says that more than 2,500 Americans have now contacted the U.S. officials wanting to get out of Egypt. You are yourself considering evacuating your own family. How do you feel the danger level has increased in the last 24 hours?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly it's been dangerous really since the first outbreak of massive protests on Tuesday. And it sort of comes and goes. There is a growing feeling that the political situation, the security situation is deteriorating.
And I have spoken to a lot of people who are worried that the government really seems to be pushing this to the very brink, trying to show Egyptians that the price of the revolt is very high. You've got the banks closed. You can't get money out of an ATM. They're closing down the cell phone systems yet again.
The Internet is not working. Universities, schools, half of the government really is not functioning properly and Egyptians are becoming increasingly concerned that the economy -- the infrastructure is simply crashing before their eyes.
A week ago everything was functioning. Now nothing seems to be working. And that's sending a real wave of fear through Egyptians. Those who aren't participating in the protests as well as those who are -- Piers.
MORGAN: I mean, Ben, are you able to get your family out even if you want to now or is it too late?
WEDEMAN: Well, I don't want to get into the details, of the logistics of how to get them out. Apparently the airport is a little bit better in terms of getting people there and getting them out of the country. There are other ways -- by sea and by land -- to get out. But the worry is that the situation could dramatically deteriorate after this march today.
And what we've seen is these protests, when they reach a crescendo, they send a -- sort of a wave through the country shaking the security -- little security that's left. So this demonstration today could push things even further -- Piers.
MORGAN: Ben, how many people do you think may actually turn out?
WEDEMAN: It's difficult to say. Now as you've mentioned, the normal means of communications have been cut like the Internet, like the cell phone, the SMS messages. So that may hinder it ever so slightly. But as Anderson mentioned, word of mouth is spreading.
Everybody who wants to demonstrate is going to be out demonstrating. We're hearing that despite the fact they've closed down the national rail system which really is one of the main arteries for people moving around this country, we are hearing that people are even walking from the Nile Delta to Cairo to participate in this demonstration.
So despite the best or worst intentioned efforts of the government I think you can expect huge numbers of people, unprecedented numbers of people participating in the demonstration that's going to be happening later today.
The question is how is the government, how is the army going to deal with it? If this crowd gets out of control, if it tries to head toward the presidential palace which is in the eastern part of the city, things could get very violent, indeed. Piers?
MORGAN: Ben, I completely agree that that's going to be an extraordinary day, I think. And I jut want to say to you and your family I hope you stay safe and that it all goes peacefully. It's going to be a very momentous day in Egypt today.
Christiane Amanpour is the host of ABC's "This Week", and of course a very familiar face to CNN viewers. She joins us now from Cairo.
Christiane, first of all, welcome back to CNN.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, ABC'S "THIS WEEK": Thank you. Nice to be back.
MORGAN: Let me put it to you straight away. The words of President Jimmy Carter today who came out and said this is about as dangerous a situation as he's seen in the Middle East for a very long time. Is that -- is that your reading of events over there?
AMANPOUR: Well, I'm not sure in what context President Carter said that, but I know for sure that many people are very, very worried, particularly in the United States and around the region that if instability comes to Egypt that will affect this region.
Egypt is vital for the stability of the region and indeed for alliances that it has with Israel, with the United States, with the rest of the west and the Arab world. So obviously people are concerned.
What we are seeing here, though, is a genuine popular uprising. Right now, it amounts to tens of thousands of people on the streets. They say they want a million people to come out tomorrow. We'll wait and see whether that in fact happens.
But what we're hearing from people on the streets is that they still want to be friends with the United States, with Israel, with the rest of their natural allies. They want to keep all the treaties that have made with Israel and with their allies. They don't want to upend the order.
What they're telling us is that they want freedom, they want democracy. In short they say to us, we want what you have. We want to be able to elect our president freely, our leader. We want to be able to express ourselves. We want to be able to, they say to me, build a better Egypt.
So what they want they say shouldn't frighten the world. But they are mindful that the world is afraid, particularly about whether this becomes an Islamic revolution which, again, they say to us they do not want.
MORGAN: Well, this is the key thing it seems to me. I spoke to a former senior official at the White House this morning, who was telling me that the real danger right now is that you get a similar situation as we saw in Iran, not necessarily in Egypt, where it's more unlikely, but in somewhere like Yemen, where if it was to happen there and the fundamentalists got a group of the Yemen you could end up with another Afghanistan.
AMANPOUR: Well, here's the thing. Again, Egypt, nobody on the ground thinks that it's going to become an Islamic revolution and certainly not like Iran. Remember Iran is Shiite.
Egypt is Sunni and not only that the center of Sunni civilization and history and Sunni learning. It has one of the most important mosques here, the Al-Azhar mosque, and it has a very important and long history and long culture. And actually right now there are not great relations between Iran and Egypt. Now when it comes to Yemen, I think people are very afraid because there the leader has even less support than here in Egypt, plus Egypt -- rather, Yemen has become the home for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and people obviously are very concerned that a collapse of order in Yemen -- president of Yemen is an ally of the United States, it's helping the United States fight al Qaeda.
But if Yemen collapses they are afraid that that becomes a new hub, a new al Qaeda central. That is very, very different from what Iran is and it's very, very different from what Egypt is or what Egypt might become.
MORGAN: Christiane, thank you so much. It's been a pleasure having you back with CNN.
AMANPOUR: It's been great. Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: When we come back, life in exile. My exclusive interview with a man who knows exactly what it's like to flee a revolution. Prince Reza Pahlavi, the son of the Shah of Iran, exiled with his family more than 30 years ago, joins me here tonight.
MORGAN: You're looking at a house in London owned by the family of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. His son and apparent heir Gamal Mubarak is believed to have fled there.
My next guest knows exactly what it's like to be forced out of his country like this. Prince Reza Pahlavi, the son of the Shah of Iran, was exiled with his family after the Islamic Revolution. He's lived in this country since 1984.
Prince Reza, thank you so much.
PRINCE REZA PAHLAVI, EXILED SON OF SHAH OF IRAN: Thank you so much for having me.
MORGAN: For joining us this evening.
PAHLAVI: My pleasure.
MORGAN: What are your thoughts as you see the events unfurling in Egypt?
PAHLAVI: Before anything, Mr. Morgan, if you allow me to say that Egypt has a special place in my heart and my family's heart. It is the country that offered my family sanctuary and welcomed us with open arms.
I'm eternally grateful to the Egyptian people on behalf of my family. This is something we will never forget. And we are of course grateful to both President Sadat and President Mubarak for having allowed us the opportunity to visit Egypt, to be able to pay respects on my father's tomb which as you know lies in Egypt. Having said that, I have been of course following the recent events very closely and what I can tell you is not necessarily specific to Egypt but when we see Iran, we see Tunisia and we many other things, I think it speaks of a new era and it speaks of a new generation, a generation that demands to be heard, a generation that can no longer take no for an answer, a generation that expects to have every right and freedom and participation and of course opportunities.
And as such, I think it is time for the world to recognize that if we had had eras where leaders would make decisions or foreign (INAUDIBLE) would make decision, isn't it about time that we let the people make the decisions and have a choice?
MORGAN: Isn't the problem with that is it's a great idea in theory, we all would agree with this, power to the people, give them what they want, as you know better than most.
In 1979 in Iran, the wrong kind of people took over, many would argue. You've got these Islamic fundamentalists came in. Suddenly it turned into a very different country very quickly.
You know I can see potentially the danger here with Egypt. If people aren't careful, and this political void goes on too long, you could see a similar problem where extremists come in and you end up with a very, very different country.
PAHLAVI: No, of course, I would understand those who would be concerned but that outcome, but then again, don't we learn from history? I hope we do. And I don't think we should underestimate the intelligence of people who have known how wrong things could turn by looking at what happened in Iran.
I don't think that what has propelled Tunisians or Egyptians or Yemenis or even Jordanians to speak out is motivated by the Islamists who took over our country and have kept it hostage for 30 years. I think they take heart of what happened in 2009 of the Green Movement and the aspiration of today's generation who has by trial and error and by paying a very heavy price appreciates where it is that we have a separation of religion from state as a prerequisite to democracy.
They appreciate human rights, they appreciate those things that would be jeopardized should they fall into the trappings of extremists taking over. I don't think people are oblivious to that. So give people a little bit more faith than that. But work with them. Help them so that, indeed, we cannot have the wrong outcome and the best way to guarantee that you won't have a wrong outcome is to help the institutions that are moderate, that are secular, that are democratic because the radicals will then be marginalized.
On the other hand if you don't do all of the above these forces will become cynical, it will become hostile which is the perfect breeding ground for extremists who always take advantage of that and turn it into their advantage.
MORGAN: Have you or any of your family spoken to President Mubarak in the last week? PAHLAVI: Not in recent weeks, of course. And my mother who regularly goes to Egypt every year again on the anniversary of my father's passing, you know, has the opportunity sometimes to visit with the president's wife. I haven't had any recent contact so I have nothing knew to really indicate --
MORGAN: You now live in America. You have your home here in Washington.
MORGAN: It's obviously a very divided opinion now in America. A growing division here between people who believe that you should stay loyal to your friends and that President Mubarak even though he's been oppressive to his people has on a bigger global stage certainly been an ally of America and done some very important work for America.
And there are those who say, well, forget that. He's treated his people badly. The people are now rebelling against him. They want a new government, a new regime. They want freedom and democracy.
Which side of the fence are you? Because you've been through all this? In different circumstances. But it's a similar ideology. Which way are you going here? Do you think the people of Egypt now have the right to do what they are doing?
PAHLAVI: You know in my school of thought I have always been for people power and the right to self-determination. Having said that, I still believe President Mubarak has an historic opportunity to bring about the appropriate transition and go down in history as somebody who at the end of his career helped the country steer in the right direction. If you heed the call of the people today the proper way.
As such, I don't think that he should be either prejudged or pre- condemned because it's an opportunity to demonstrate what you're willing to do. I think we should not --
MORGAN: But no government really should ever be allowed to mistreat their people in the way -- years he has --
PAHLAVI: Of course. I mean, of course, of course --
PAHLAVI: That's a no-brainer decision as far as whose side you're on. But having said that --
MORGAN: I mean do you feel he's brought it on himself to a certain degree?
PAHLAVI: Well, I think, you know, this is something for the Egyptian people to determine. And I think much later when history is written we will certainly have a very objective assessment when all the dust settles so to speak.
Right now there's a crisis in Egypt. Where could it lead? And -- for transition? Could there be genuine reforms? Can there be free elections? Can there be an opportunity for the new generation to elect their own leaders the way they always wanted to?
All of that depends on what the current leadership does. And if it does it the right way and if the people are assured that this time they're going to be heard as opposed to being neglected yet again, I think we are -- we could in this sense avert chaos.
We could in this sense see a transition that does not lead to anarchy because that will be the worst case scenario. Again it's a matter of what is being implemented. It has to be for the people of Egypt --
MORGAN: We're going to --
PAHLAVI: The opposition. The current regime --
MORGAN: Prince Reza, let me stop you. We have to get to a break.
When we come back, I know that you're a big advocate of social media. And I want to talk to you in particular about how Twitter -- I know you tweet -- and technology driving this crisis in Egypt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All these people need freedom. And we need you to support us.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Back now with my guest Prince Reza Pahlavi, the son of the exiled of Shah of Iran. But first, we've had a number of tweets asking what is this number that Google and Twitter have set up so that you can circumnavigate the ban on the Internet and the closure of the mobile networks.
Well, the answer is now on the screen. And you can ring it or in Egypt any one of those three numbers and you can speak to tweet. It's a brand new innovation that Google and Twitter are (INAUDIBLE) tonight. And it will enable you to tweet from Egypt. And I urge you to do that. And I also ask you to tweet me @PiersMorgan. Tell me what's happening there. Tell me how we can relay this to our viewers.
Prince Reza, when you yourself are on Twitter. You have 40,000 followers. How important has it been, do you think, social networking and Twitter in particular in getting the message out in Egypt? PAHLAVI: Well, I think since the electricity was invented it's the next best invention since then. And there's no question that in today's world, this technology has proven to be a vital link between dissidents and activists that are fighting their respective oppressive regimes in their countries, with the outside world and themselves. From Myanmar to Venezuela, from Iran to wherever else --
MORGAN: Do you find it easy to communicate via Twitter with people in Iran, for example?
PAHLAVI: You know, we have our ups and downs. The regime has very strategically done pretty much the same thing when they interrupted Internet access, in some cases shut off cellular communication. There is nothing new to us as Iranians, because we have been experiencing this for years now.
But to answer your question, absolutely. It's a vital way of communicating. It's very important to better orchestrate and organize. So I have been very much involved with that aspect as a means of communication with my fellow compatriots.
MORGAN: It seems to me the young have an edge here over any authority. They understand the technology better than the governments do. I was in China recently, in Shanghai; 30,000 people are employed by the government in China to try and suppress the youth from using social networking.
When I went out with some of these youngsters in their 20s, they were all laughing. And they pulled out their cell phones and said, we don't go through Chinese proxies. We go through American ones or French ones, wherever they can get their hands on.
They were all on Twitter and all on Facebook. Because of that, they could then find out what's happening in the world. It's that that's fueling I think a lot of the anger in Egypt, because they are not just fed up with their position in their own country. They know it is better elsewhere.
PAHLAVI: Indeed. I may add something here. It's not only important for them to know that they can communicate to the outside world. It's equally important that they know that the world has heard them and is answering them back.
Let's not forget the second part of the component. What empowers people more, what gives them more hope is that their call for help has not gone unnoticed, that it's been heard, whether it's CNN responding, whether it's the government responding. This is a crucial element to further encourage people asking for their rights to begin with, their rights to be heard, their rights to be recognized, their rights to vote.
In this era in which we live, this is a fundamental aspect. The very difference between hope and optimism that leads to stability, as opposed to cynicism and despair, that leads to chaos and radicalism.
MORGAN: I couldn't agree more. Prince Reza, thank you so much for coming. I know you're still in morning for your brother, and I really appreciate you sparing the time.
PAHLAVI: Thank you, sir.
MORGAN: Thank you.
Still ahead, the man who sits atop a 1.3 trillion dollar empire tells us what the crisis in Egypt could mean for you in America.
And next, my exclusive one on one with a legendary news man who knows the players and the region well. I'll ask Dan Rather what President Mubarak is really like and who he thinks is the real power in Egypt tonight.
MORGAN: I'm now joined by legendary newsman Dan Rather, who's reported from inside the Middle East many times, and, in fact, has interviewed President Mubarak on three occasions. Dan is here now to give us his insights, and also has an exclusive interview tomorrow night with Senator Lisa Murkowski on HD Net.
Dan, this is a fascinating time. Isn't it? You must wish you were back in that newsroom.
DAN RATHER, HD NET: Of course, I do. It is a fascinating time and I think it's a prophetic time, in the same way that President Nixon's trip to China in 1972 and Tiananmen Square were watershed moments, in the same way that the Iranian revolution in the late '70s happened. This is a prophetic moments. There are dark echoes from what happened in Tiananmen Square.
MORGAN: You were there, weren't you?
RATHER: I was.
MORGAN: I remember. Do you fear that with the march tomorrow, that if these numbers are right, that millions turn out, that it would turn as nasty as it did then, with hundreds, maybe thousands of people getting killed?
RATHER: I don't think so. I don't think so because of the Egyptian army. The Egyptian Army is the Egyptian's pride. It is right at the marrow of the country. And where in in Tiananmen Square, for example, the regime had no hesitation -- well, they had some hesitation, but in the end, they turned the guns on the students and others. This has happened elsewhere.
I don't expect that to happen in Egypt. But I want to pause and say, Piers, anybody who tells you they know how this is going to turn out should be seen with great skepticism, if not cynicism. Because things are in the saddle. The center won't hold, as the old boy (ph) said. We don't know where this is going.
MORGAN: What should an average American watching this now -- what should they be really thinking about Mubarak? Is he a force for good, for evil? Is he somewhere in between? It seems to me no one seems quite sure what they should be thinking of this guy.
RATHER: Including our government.
RATHER: In answer to your question, I think to see Mubarak for who and what he was and what he became -- he came in as a very modest, but very brave and smart military man.
MORGAN: You met him three times?
RATHER: I think five or six times.
MORGAN: What was he like when you first knew him?
RATHER: Very modest, almost to the point of being humble. Very soft spoken, very gracious man. He came in believing that he could do the right thing for Egypt and I think for some while he did.
But when they say that power builds on itself, his regime has unquestionably become one of greed. He's become a very wealthy person. And, by the way, his wife Suzanne has been an important part of that.
MORGAN: She calls the shots, I hear.
RATHER: Well, I think you hear right to a very large degree. She was apparently the one who said you should turn this over to your son, a remarkably bad idea.
But back to the point, what Americans think about -- number one, we should have our eyes on the Egyptian army. Am I right that the army will not, under any circumstances, turn this into a bloodbath? Will the army be a very important part of the government going forward? I would be surprised if they weren't.
There may be a coalition to make a transition. I would have my eyes on the army. As for Mubarak, Mubarak has been a tremendous friend of the United States and the west, kept the Suez Canal open.
MORGAN: And to stability and peace in the Middle East. Indisputably, he's protected Israel and kept things relatively calm.
RATHER: And been a bridge for when Israel couldn't diplomatically handle a lot of that. He's been great for the United States. But as the years wore on, he wasn't great for his own people.
This is a bottom-up revolution. Revolutions are made by the young. This is made by the young people of Egypt. Now, they will soon taste the fruits of their actions. Will it be bitter? Will it be sweet? Will it be something in between?
MORGAN: When Vice President Biden said he wasn't a dictator, did you agree with that?
RATHER: No. And I don't think the world -- he became a dictator. By any reasonable analysis, he became a dictator as time went along. However, there are various kinds of dictators. We have all kinds of dictators we have supported over the years. And there were dictators in World War II. so there are degrees of dictatorships.
Is he a dictator? I think the record of recent years clearly shows that he is. That's on reason that this revolt -- or I see you have uprising up behind you here.
MORGAN: No one's quite sure what it is, yet, right?
RATHER: I'm not quite sure myself. One thing, the United States -- you know, it likes to reward its friends and stand by its friends. But on the other hand, we want the friendship of the Egyptian people. If you noticed Secretary Hillary Clinton has begun to say -- first she said we were hoping for stability. Over the weekend, it sort of changed. We are going to start listening to the Egyptian people.
MORGAN: If you were President Obama right now, what would you now say?
RATHER: I'm glad I'm not because it's a real dilemma.
MORGAN: Tough. It is.
RATHER: I would quietly send word to Mubarak that his days are finished, that we will do our best by him. We appreciate what he's done, but events have moved past him. I would do that quietly. I wouldn't say that publicly.
Speaking of President Obama, in a way, he fueled this uprising in Egypt when he came to Cairo, let us remember, and he spoke of listen, we stand for freedom, democracy and listening to people. The Egyptians believed his rhetoric. The actions since then have not matched that.
MORGAN: Well, there are many in Israel, apparently, in the media now saying that President Obama will go down as the president who lost Egypt, which is a pretty damning thing to be saying, from a country that's been protected in many ways by keeping Mubarak there.
RATHER: Well, that would be a devastating commentary on this administration. But we haven't seen the last card, not by a long shot have we seen that. I would think that President Obama would want to do a number of things.
First of all, assess U.S. intelligence. Our intelligence and diplomatic core is top heavy. It talks to the wealthy people in every country. It talks to the business people. It talks to the military people. We don't seem to be able to get the intelligence from the bottom up, from the ground up.
Part of what's fueled this in Egypt are these day-to-day humiliations and insults, particularly with young people. Police who want to bribe and kick over a fruit stand, that kind of thing. The cumulative effect of that leads to this kind of business. Now, in the case of Tiananmen Square, which I mentioned earlier, and the government eventually was willing to turn the guns on its people, I would be very surprised if that happens in Egypt. But if I were President Obama 00 who am I to give him advice, but you asked.
MORGAN: You know something? I wouldn't like to be him right now either. It is a very difficult situation. Dan, thank you very much for your time.
RATHER: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: Nice to meet you. Still ahead, Nic Robertson's extraordinary year of living dangerously. What it is really like on the streets of Alexandria. And coming up, what all the protests could be costing you.
CNN's Ben Wedeman Tweets that President Mubarak's shut down of the train systems will not only keep protesters out of the main square. It will also cripple the economy. If you're Tweeting from Egypt tonight, send pictures and reports to me @PiersMorgan, and we'll get them into the show.
MORGAN: I turn to Ivan Watson, who is going to check in with a look at one of Egypt's most famous scenes under siege.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Soldiers have been deployed all around this city. And the tanks are even parked here at one of the ancient wonders of the worlds, the great Pyramids of Giza.
An army officer insisted the pyramids are still open for tourists. But the soldiers wouldn't let us come any closer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tourism is a key part of the Egyptian economy. And obviously that industry is in turmoil right now. But what effect will the chaos in Egypt have on the rest of the world's economy?
Joining me now is Mohamed El-Erian, the CEO of the world's largest bond fund manager, Pacific Investment Management Company or Pimco. Dr. El-Erian, the real problem, it seems to me, is just when you are seeing green shoots with the American economy, which would stimulate most of the rest of the world's economy, we are now seeing a very unstable situation in the Middle East. And the one thing the markets hate more than anything is instability, isn't it?
So I was surprised this morning when the markets actually opened OK. But with oil prices accelerating, with pressure on people when they go and pay their gas bills, what do you think is going to happen here and how worried should we be? MOHAMED EL-ERIAN, CEO, CO-CIO, PIMCO: Traditional analysis would suggest that Egypt is not that important, but that is wrong. Egypt has a systemic influence. And it is because Egypt is an enabler. It's an enabler of world trade because of control of the Suez Canal. And it's an enabler of geopolitical calm and stability in a region that is prone to volatility.
So the longer the instability in Egypt goes on, the greater the risks to the global economy.
MORGAN: Tell me this: what is the worst and best case scenario here. From your point of view as one of the senior business people in the world, what is doomsday and what is a good result from all that's happening?
EL-ERIAN: A really bad outcome is Egypt goes into chaos, that you get violence on the street. That will cause a significant amount of contagion, as they say, in the financial markets, meaning people will go back to the sideline and wait. That will drive equity prices lower. Oil prices will go up, because this is the Middle East.
And next thing you know, the global economy now has a massive head wind in terms of oil prices, and has also to deal with high risk aversion or, if you like, less animal spirit that leads to production employment and spending.
The good scenario is that the different parties in Egypt, the government on the one hand, the opposition movements, can come to an agreement on what they mean by managed change. And if they can come to an agreement about what they mean by managed change, that would reduce the systemic risk, allow oil prices to start coming down, and would allow the global economy to continue to recover from the global financial crisis.
MORGAN: Finally, Dr. El-Erian, as an Egyptian -- and I ask you that, again, because I'm interested in what you feel personally here -- are you pleased at what is going on? Are you happy to see democratic freedom coming from the people in this way? Or are you anxious? How do you feel?
EL-ERIAN: Like everybody else, I have been taken by surprise. Everyone has been taken by surprise. This is a popular movement. This is something that would have been deemed unthinkable and improbable just a week ago. Remember, the characterization of the Egyptian population tends to be passive, docile. And you -- here you have people of all walks of life going into the street and trying to influence outcomes.
And in the process, they've gotten ahead of political leaders, both within Egypt and also outside Egypt. So it's important now for the process to catch up, to make sure that all this energy that you see in Egypt is directed in a positive fashion, and is directed in a way that takes this economy forward.
I think everybody recognizes now, whether it's in the government or whether it's the opposition movement, we will not go back to what Egypt looked like just one week ago.
MORGAN: I think that's for sure. Nothing's ever going to be quite the same again. Dr. El-Erian, thank you so much for your time.
EL-ERIAN: Thank you.
MORGAN: When we come back, it looks like a Hollywood movie, but this is deadly real. Nic Robertson under fire.
MORGAN: As dawn breaks, a crisis is looming on the streets of Egypt. CNN's Nic Robertson is in Alexandria, where he files this dramatic report on a day in the life of a revolution.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'll come to you in just one moment, sir.
(voice-over): I've lost track of just how many people have demanded I listen. Voices hoarse from shouting, eyes wild and red- rimmed with tiredness.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's foolish old mad.
ROBERTSON: They're smothering me with the sins of their leader.
ROBERTSON: I feel I'm becoming an emotional punch bag for a people unloading 30 years of hate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's time. It's time.
ROBERTSON: But it's a small price to pay to be the at the ringside of history. It is about as intense as reporting gets.
(on camera): You can't actually see the tear gas in the air. But just standing here filming, the tears are streaming down my face. My nose is running.
(voice-over): So close, I sense I've been touching the tipping points. When the balance holding the fate of this nation has shifted.
As we watch, hard to take in the enormity of what's unfolding. All it takes is one man, one very brave man. He moves between crowds and police, calls for calm. The rocks start flying. Police almost side with the crowd, then withdraw, a spent force.
That was Friday. We've woken to no Internet, no phones, riot police lining the streets. By noon prayers, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. It was tear gas that triggered the first clash.
(on camera): Crowds clashed immediately with the police. The police -- hundreds of them had strong batons. They were firing tear gas at the crowd. People have now rushed up along the cornitia (ph), saying that they're going to go to the center of the city. There's a lot of chanting, anti-Mubarak chanting.
(voice-over): By nightfall, I was in no doubt there was no going back. Police station smoldering ruins.
(on camera): Burning from top -- from flames right up there at the top of the tower up there, right to the bottom here, it's still burning. It's about eight or nine hours now since the protest began. This building is now being ransacked and entered by looters.
(voice-over): The next tipping point came by stealth. The army arriving to cheers. But even now no one I've talked to knows their loyalty; to the people or to the president. Either way, there's no doubt their loyalty will be decisive.
It is a roller coaster ride, far from over. The reset button for this region has been hit.
MORGAN: Nic Robertson joins me now. Nic, that's quite extraordinary reporting there. And please, from me, congratulations on the outstanding courage that you and all the other correspondents are showing. As the march approaches, if we do get millions of people tomorrow marching through Egypt in protest, it seems to me whatever measly words come out of the mouth of the White House, the people of Egypt are having their say and they're having it loud and proud.
I think we may have lost you, actually, Nic. If we have, just stay safe there tomorrow. Keep this incredible reporting going. It makes me proud to work for CNN. That's all for us tonight. Stay with CNN. Look at CNN.com for the latest on the unfolding crisis in Egypt. For now, my colleague Anderson Cooper, with "AC 360" in Cairo.