This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable
July 10th, 2003
Exclusive to al-Jazeera
Interview: Richard Haass

Photo of Richard Haass

July 10, 2003: Richard Haass discusses democracy in the Middle East with host Jamie Rubin.

Jamie Rubin: We’re now joined by Richard Haass, the new president of the Council on Foreign Relations, who has just left his job as policy planning director at the State Department. You’ve pushed very hard during your time there for democracy in the Middle East. Richard, you’ve seen this film. It shows a yearning for independent media in the Arab world. Do you think there’s a broader yearning for democratic freedom?

Richard Haass: I actually think there is. A lot of my information is anecdotal, but also we see it in some of the polls. I think there’s a widespread sense that people want to see more democratic systems. I think a lot of people in the Arab world are almost tired of not being respected. I think there’s a certain level almost — if the word’s too strong I apologize — but maybe shame. So, yeah, I think that there is a sense that they can handle it. They — through their television, through their radio, through their newspapers — they see a lot of what goes on in the rest of the world. There’s much greater readiness, at least in principle — practice might be something else.

Jamie Rubin: You talked in one of your speeches at the State Department about the democratic exception in the Arab world. Can you tell us a little bit about why you think this part of the world has not followed Asia, Africa, Latin America? Not had more democracy in the Middle East?

Richard Haass: It’s a big question. It’s a tough question. Some might even say it’s an awkward question, Jamie. I think it has something to do with, perhaps, the lack of historical experience. Some would say it has something to do with the religion itself, that where in Islam there is not the same concept of a separation, if you will, of mosque and state that there is in other religions. So you don’t have the divides that you sometimes need in a democratic society. Others would point to problems with education, a history of some discrimination against girls and women, I’m not sure.

All I can say is the facts speak for themselves. That this is a part of the world that’s essentially missed out not only on the democratic revolution, but also on the market economic revolution. And clearly the lack of progress on both the political and economic tracts have reinforced each other, but in the wrong way.

Jamie Rubin: Now over time the United States government has tended to be reluctant to talk about promoting democracy in the Middle East. You said in your speech that republican and democratic presidents alike have been reluctant to do so. Why was that?

Richard Haass: I think it was a calculation. I think, in retrospect, it was understandable even if it wasn’t always wise. I think we were reluctant to essentially upset the status quo, to rock the boat. Here it was, we had these countries willing to give us large amounts of oil, not give it but to produce it. We had countries that were willing to work with us, whether the threat was Iraq or somebody else. We had countries willing to work with us on the so-called peace process between Israelis and Palestinians or Arabs. And the general feeling was let’s make sure we have the foreign policy cooperation with them that we want and need, and, in exchange, we will look the other way when it comes to their domestic policies. I think that was the basic understanding.

Jamie Rubin: So now during the Bush Administration under your leadership and Secretary Powell’s leadership, there’s a new sense that we need to push Middle East democracy. Are we worried that the status quo is unacceptable? Why is now the time to do this?

Richard Haass: I’ll admit I did not come into the job thinking that this was something we should push, but for me it was one of the things that changed as a result of 9/11. And I began to think hard and talk to a lot of experts — why were these people coming from these societies? And the more I talked to people who really knew deeply about the societies, such themes as the lack of economic opportunity, the lack of political participation, the real alienation of individuals that these societies were producing, the lack of a good education. And you added all these things up, and I got the sense that we can only deal with terrorism by — among other things — dealing with the societies that were producing radicals or potentially even terrorists. It wasn’t enough just to think about our military responses or the Department of Homeland Security. Yes, that’s all necessary, but we had to get at the root cause. And the only way I knew to get at the root cause was to begin to help these societies reform, to open up, so these young men, in particular, weren’t alienated but instead felt attachments to their societies.

Jamie Rubin: And you’re no longer worried about breaking the status quo, about the stability of these regimes, about whether our client states, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, countries we have good relationships with, might have new governments that would be a problem?

Richard Haass: It’s going to happen. They will have new governments down the road and sometimes these will be a problem. We saw just recently, as you know, in Turkey when an Islamic government didn’t give us the kind of support we wanted in the case of the recent war with Iraq. I would simply say that’s the price we’ve got to pay. We will sometimes pay a price of some lack of support or even opposition, but I think it’s smart because otherwise what we risk are, yes, client governments. But, on the other hand, if we don’t see evolutionary change, we may see revolutionary change.

And I think that’s a trade-off we have to make. But I’m aware that what will happen in some occasions is that we will have governments come into power who will give us heartburn that won’t give us the base access we want. They may not have the economic cooperation we want, but in the long run because they enjoy greater support, greater legitimacy in the eyes of their own people, I think they’ll be less vulnerable to revolutions, and less vulnerable to extreme anti-Americanism.

Jamie Rubin: Do you see now the United States, the world, having a moment of opportunity in the Middle East? We have Saddam Hussein gone, the most anti-democratic leader perhaps in the region. The United States is there. There are other developments. Is this a moment of opportunity for democracy in the Middle East?

Richard Haass: I think there is. One thing you yourself just mentioned, which was the defeat of Iraq, getting rid of one of the tyrants of actual as well as symbolic power — also we ourselves are talking about these issues more. But I think there are some other things that are affecting it as well. One is this film, the growth of free Arab media, and that’s adding to the debate. This part of the world can’t remain isolated. Things like the Internet matter. Ideas travel across borders no matter what governments want them to do. And just the other year, you had this Arab report, the Human Development Report provided by the United Nations, and here you had 35 or so Arab intellectuals, real academic experts. And you’re seeing a degree of self-awareness and self-criticism that suggests to me that the situation is more ripe for the kind of democratic change we want to see now than it’s ever been before.

Jamie Rubin: In Iraq, the United States is obviously having some difficulties dealing with the post-Saddam situation — the chaos, the building of a representative government. Is it a possibility that this could send the wrong message that a democratic government in Iraq might be an unstable government or chaos might spread in the region as a result of this kind of change?

Richard Haass: It’s a good point. To me, it just adds to the stakes that we have to get it right in Iraq. If we get it right and if Iraq becomes something of a showcase or showpiece, it clearly has really positive ripple effects throughout the region. It becomes something of a model, an example. It also helps reduce anti-Americanism, so our voice is listened to. Indeed, just as an aside, one of the many reasons for us to push progress between Israelis and Palestinians is again it reduces anti-Americanism and it gives us a hearing on the issues that that you and I are talking about.

But if things like Iraq go badly, if people come to associate democracy with anarchy, with poverty, with instability, you name it, then I think it will be a real step backwards. Because one of the old lines that tyrants or authoritarians use is, “OK, you may not have as much freedom as you want but at least the trains run on time, the electricity’s there, the water’s there, you can walk safely at night.” So to me that’s just one of the many reasons that the stakes are enormous in what happens in Iraq.

Jamie Rubin: With your initiative and Secretary Powell’s initiative on democracy in the Middle East, programs were developed, the Middle East Partnership you developed. Can you tell us a little bit about that partnership and how you hope to make democracy flourish through it?

Richard Haass:The Middle East Partnership Initiative was really what it suggests. There was an increase in foreign assistance in foreign aid. And the idea was to devote resources to those governments and those programs that were making real reform efforts economically — to introduce, say, the rule of law, or something that would give girls real educational opportunity, or something that would help create something, say a new newspaper. And the idea is to target our aid, not just let it go in general in the hopes that somehow a rising tide would lift all boats, but to really target the aid to try to open up these societies.

Jamie Rubin: You mentioned some programs through the Middle East Partnership, could you explain how these programs could really develop more political culture in the Arab world? How would that actually work?

Richard Haass: Well, these are societies that don’t have a tradition of independent institutions. The government tends to be the real funder, but I can imagine a situation where you would have civic associations. We have PTAs; we have think tanks; we have free media. We take so much for granted in this society where the government actually controls very little. It’s one of the reasons that American democracy is so robust, that a big chunk of our society in the economic sector and the social sector is beyond the control of government. Our education institutions are another example. Well that’s what we can do. We can help these societies develop not simply the rule of law which would help stamp out corruption and all that, but we can help launch independent institutions and that’s the key in many ways, that’s the foundation for a democratic society.

Jamie Rubin: But having these programs funded by the United States, is there a danger or a downside that they have a “Made in America” stamp on them, and that they may backfire in some of these places?

Richard Haass: In some cases there could be, and I think we have to be sensitive. Also this is not something the U.S. government should do alone. There’s a role here for other governments, the European Union obviously can have a major role, the Japanese government. Also it doesn’t have to suddenly be our government. Why not American foundations? Why can’t American schools set up special relationships with schools and universities in that part of the world? Why can’t labor unions, why can’t political parties, why can’t the national democratic institutions in this country help? There’s so much that we can do not simply by example, but also by active support.

Jamie Rubin: Real partnerships.

Richard Haass: Real partnerships across the board, and it shouldn’t be limited to the U.S. government, you make a good point.

Jamie Rubin: What other steps can the United States government make? Can the President, the Secretary of State in their conversations with the key leaders in the region, President Mubarak of Egypt for example or Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, should they be directly urging, pressuring these governments to make democratic changes?

Richard Haass: Up to a point, yes. I mean traditionally when American presidents or secretaries of state meet their foreign counterparts in this part of the world, we talk about Israel and Palestinians. We talk about oil. We talk about, in the past, Saddam Hussein, or now we’ll talk about Iran and nuclear weapons, and we’ve got to do all that. On the other hand, we now have to add an agenda item, and we basically have to say this: “As your friend, we want to say we have to help you evolve. Clearly, you are on a trajectory where you are not providing political and economic satisfaction to your people, this is a dangerous situation for your society. And as we learned at 9/11, it’s a dangerous situation for our society, so we have to be partners in this.” So to give you a bumper sticker phrase: I think reform is something we need to do with these governments, with these leaders, rather than to them.

Jamie Rubin: When you look at the billions of dollars that the United States has provided to certain countries like Egypt and other Arab countries over the years — and we still give huge amounts of foreign assistance — should we directly tie that aid to specific progress in developing democracy in those countries?

Richard Haass: I’ll say two things. I think the aid that we give, if we give it say for security reasons and all that, we should continue it. But we want to make sure that we follow the Hippocratic oath and that the aid we give does no harm. So we want to make sure that it doesn’t discourage or undermine economic reform. For example, we have to be careful that we don’t subsidize bad economic practices, so I think that we have to, first of all, make sure our aid does nothing bad, but I don’t think we want to cut it off. What we do want to do is incentivize. What we do want to do is say, “Hey, here’s an extra hundred million dollars, choose ten million dollars — whatever the relevant number is — and we will make this available to you if you introduce this amount of rule of law, or you work with us in stamping out corruption.” So what we will do is essentially begin to target the aid for specific projects that we believe are very much consistent with our reform as goals.

Jamie Rubin: One of the institutions in the Middle East that the reformers there — the members of the burgeoning civil society — point to is the security services, their ability to pretty much do what they want in most of these countries. If we’re giving aid to these organizations aren’t we strengthening the very institutions that are suppressing people’s desires and hopes?

Richard Haass: When we give aid we don’t give it as a blank check. We don’t simply put a hundred million dollars or fifty million dollars in the bank account of the police chief of another country. What we should do is give the aid but give the aid in ways that actually professionalize these groups. For example, why don’t we give the kind of training that we alone or we uniquely can give that would help, for example, institutionalize civilian authority in the military, or really teach police to exercise restraint to follow the rule of law and so forth? So I think we actually make a mistake in places historically like we did in Indonesia. We did it in Pakistan where we get upset with, say, a military coup. For good reason we get upset with a military coup or for the abuse of power by a military. So what do we do? Often our reflexive reaction is to shut down the very sorts of training and cooperation programs that, I think, are our best way to influence the next generation coming up in the police and military services of this country. So when we have problems with these countries, I would say actually expand the training, expand the aid, but again make it conditional, make it focused, make it targeted, don’t just give it but actually work with them.

Jamie Rubin: You’ve made a powerful case for why the United States has a chance to promote democracy in the Middle East. Are you worried that, in some cases, it won’t be in our interests? Could you tell us why you think promoting democracy in the Middle East is in America’s interests?

Richard Haass:It is in our interests because in the long run democratic societies tend to be more stable, they’re more flexible, they’re more resilient, they are much less prone to violent revolutionary or radical change which history suggests tends to be violent and ends up in repression. Also history suggests that democracies made better partners. They tend to be more peaceful in their approaches to their neighbors, partly because people tend to want more normal lives, and the average person doesn’t want a life of strife. But I think we have to be smart and careful in the way we go about it.

We can’t simply have one model of democracy we export and say just because it works here, it’s going to work there. We can’t do it overnight, we have to overcome our American tendency toward impatience. And I would say a key thing is we have to be very careful not to confuse democracy with elections. Yes, elections are one important dimension of democracy and ultimately they have to be included, but they’re not the first thing. Long before you have elections you have constitutions, you have separation of powers, you have strong institutions that the government controls. What you want to avoid are “winner take all” outcomes. And the only way that I know to avoid them is to make sure that the society is robust and that within the government you have certain types of checks and balances, and then again you have checks and balances between the government and the rest of society.

So again, we’ve got to be very careful. We’ve got to be smart because promoting democracy is a tricky business and we’ve got to be very sensitive to the local conditions and simply not try to accomplish too much too soon.

Jamie Rubin: What other institutions have to be created, beyond just having an election, for you to have a sustainable and successful democracy?

Richard Haass: Well, history is comparative. Looking at other countries suggests that economics is real important, a free market. If people are free to make economic and business decisions, that gives them a real stake in independence. For example, throughout much of Asia, in Korea, and places like that, economic evolution was a prerequisite and then a foundation for political reform. It’s one of the reasons I think you’re seeing the emphasis on economic reform in the Middle East, on free trade agreements, on anticorruption rule of law arrangements and all that. I think that’s real important. I think more generally what you want to do is look at education and make sure that education doesn’t simply consist of memorizing text. But you want an education that not only makes people more informed but teaches them to question.

You want a citizenry that learns the culture of questioning what governments are doing. You want to have a free and independent media. Again you had a lot on al-Jazeera in this film that’s important. The answer there is not simply one independent television network, you want to have five or ten. You want to have five or ten independent newspapers and radio stations. You want to get government not to control in any way the Internet. In a democratic society the more you distribute power, the more you distribute authority, the more you safeguard the individual.

Jamie Rubin: Let’s talk a little bit about free media and how you build that. Al-Jazeera is obviously just one example, there’s Middle East Broadcasting, Abu-Dhabi TV. But in general there is a perception that most citizens in the Arab world do not read a free media. They don’t see the true facts. They tend to get opinions or conspiracy theories in their media. What can we do to try to change that, to create a responsible professional media there?

Richard Haass: I think the key is television. Based on everything I’ve seen, TV now is far more powerful than newspaper or radio or the Internet. So I would focus on television. I would argue for as many different television networks, satellites, what have you, as you can. I would try to make the kind of things that say, the BBC does, available — independent Western media. We have American networks that are seen around the world, increasingly I think that ought to be good. I would bring their journalists over here. One thing is to train people, to let them see how a truly independent media operates, what’s the standards of professionalism. We ought to either invite young people from this part of the world over to our journalism schools or I would love to see an American journalism school perhaps set up a campus, in that part of the world, to help again inculcate those kinds of values.

So I think there’s lots of things we can do immediately with the current media, but I also think we need to think about the long-term because ultimately media is technology. What matters more is the attitude and the culture in which it operates.

Jamie Rubin: We’ve talked a little bit about the value of a free press, but in certain cases, al-Jazeera, for example, this independent media tends to be an inflammatory media, in certain cases. Isn’t there a risk that some of these independent organs will tend to exaggerate the worst instincts of the majority rather than bringing moderation?

Richard Haass: Sure. A free press is free to be irresponsible. In our society some of our press is irresponsible. I think that comes with the turf. The best way I know to protect or guard yourself against that is to have more than one television network, more than one newspaper. Ultimately, if you have variety people will begin to see what can be trusted and who can’t.

Jamie Rubin: In the appeal of these independent television stations, we’re clearly seeing a yearning for unfiltered news, nongovernment-controlled news. Where do you see a yearning for broader political freedom? Have you identified places where things are changing?

Richard Haass: I’ve seen all sorts of experiments. There was a book many years ago produced about the States, in this country, and it was called LABORATORIES OF DEMOCRACY. The theme of the book was that at the state level was where you could see interesting things happening, interesting experiments if you will, which then ultimately would make their way into the federal government. We’re beginning to see that around the Middle East. So one’s seeing different, let’s say, experiments with municipal elections in a place like Morocco or one is seeing some very interesting political changes throughout the smaller countries of the Persian Gulf, the Kuwaits, the Bahrains, and so forth, the United Arab Emirates. Where one’s not seeing as much change is in the big places, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and so forth.

But to me what’s interesting is the smaller places, these smaller experiments — and I should include Jordan in them as well. What I think you’ll see is perhaps some mimicking ultimately that some of the bigger countries who are more cautious are going to watch what happens elsewhere. And it’s possible that over time we’ll see them beginning to introduce, in part because their own people will also see these changes going on elsewhere and there will be a positive imitation effect.

Jamie Rubin: Saudi Arabia is probably the case that most often comes up in this regard, their leader, Crown Prince Abdullah has called for a reform package. Why is he doing this? Is it self-preservation? Is it that they really want to give more democracy or political reform to the people? What’s your sense of his motivation?

Richard Haass: I think Crown Prince Abdullah is a wise man. And I think he’s taken to heart a lesson in another book I’ve read called THE LEOPARD, where one of the characters says to another, “But don’t you understand, uncle, things must change if we want them to stay the same.” And I think the Crown Prince understands that if Saudi Arabia in the future is going to bear any resemblance to Saudi Arabia today it’s got to change. The level of corruption can’t continue, the lack of political liberty can’t continue, the lack of free media can’t continue, the lack of real economic opportunity can’t. This is a country that used to be one of the world’s wealthiest, and the standard of living has declined regularly and dramatically over the passed decade or two. Unemployment now is rampant.

So here is a gentleman, the Crown Prince, who clearly understands that this society will either begin to reform gradually, will evolve, or it will be ripe for revolution. And the last time there was a massive revolution in the Middle East it was Iran, and for the last several decades the people of Iran and indeed the people of the region have paid an enormous price.

Jamie Rubin: What are the obstacles? How hard is this going to be in this part of the world?

Richard Haass: Extraordinarily hard. As you might expect, the obstacles are all those who have a stake in the status quo. He was clearly blocked by other members of the royal family who don’t want to lose their advantages, their patronage, their positions and so forth. This has been a pretty good system, shall we say, from their point of view. Often you have conservative people like you do in any society who are afraid of change, could be for religious reasons, could be for philosophical reasons. But, by and large, those who are advantaged in any society tend to oppose — maybe that’s too strong of a word — but at least be wary of change.

Also, there’s not an awful lot of good examples out there. It’s hard to point to five or ten, indeed it’s hard to point to even one flourishing democracy in the Arab world. So the argument that if we open things up, we will have instability and everyone will suffer is still a powerful argument, which is why again we need to see some positive examples, hopefully in Iraq, hopefully elsewhere. But I think you have to expect that there will be powerful social and personal and political forces opposed to opening up — be it politically or economically — in Saudi Arabia or everywhere else.

Jamie Rubin: One of the biggest fears for the United States is that if we had real elections in this part of the world, the most anti-American elements, the Islamists, would win. Isn’t that a real risk for us?

Richard Haass: Sure, it’s one of the reasons that you don’t make elections the first step in a democratization process, because the Islamists and anti-Americans will win if that were to happen. And the reason is that you’ve essentially had an absence of political life. Often the mosque is the one place that the government hasn’t been able to control. And if you suddenly take the wraps off, the only groups of people who have been politically active and are prepared to exploit the opening will often be the most conservative religious groups in the society. It’s one of the reasons, therefore, that you’ve got to go about democratization gradually and you’ve got to do it intelligently. And that’s why you don’t hold national elections on day one. That might not be until year five or year ten. But between now and then, you improve the educational system, you set up independent media, or create an environment where independent media has a chance, you train people in political activity, you invite in Americans and Europeans to help and so forth. It’s a real mistake to equate an electocracy with a democracy. It’s a very, very different thing.

Jamie Rubin: But in the end there are Islamist groups that are strong and they can win these elections and put in government that will be hostile to American interests, won’t they?

Richard Haass: For sure, we just saw it in Turkey where you had an Islamic party win an election. In Pakistan, you recently had Islamic parties win several of the provincial elections and do very well at the national level. And I think what you’ve got to say to yourself is two things. One is if they win, have we made sure that you can’t have a situation of one man, one vote, one time? Have you built in enough bulwarks so that they still have to duel with independent sources of opposition in and out of government? That’s the key thing it cannot be a winner-take-all situation.

Secondly, you do have to be prepared sometimes to take some criticism. I think in our long-term interests in institutionalizing democracy around the world, we have to accept that it’s going to mean that we’re going to get governments who are not going to be clients. They’re going to be real democratic countries, which means they’re going to disagree with us. By the way, that’s what happens with our European friends and that’s what happens with our Asian friends. So we don’t have clients, we don’t have rubber-stamp governments out there, but in the long run you avoid revolutionary change, you tend to avoid the dramatic black-to-white changes. So if it means you have to put up with some static, you have to put up with some friction and opposition, but I think on balance that’s a price worth paying for us.

Jamie Rubin: Isn’t it odd that the places where we have the worst relationship with the governments, like Iran, we have the best relationship with the people? And good relations with the government, Egypt, we have the worst relationships with the people? Why is that?

Richard Haass: It is odd, and it’s worrisome and I take it as a signal. And I think the reason is that a lot of the people are frustrated by their lack of political and economic opportunity in these countries. And I don’t think their own government could do it to them, could survive, quite bluntly, without the support of the United States.

So they tend to blame us, also because often they don’t have the freedom to criticize their own governments so it’s much easier to stand up in the main square of town and shout anti-American slogans. But I think behind that is a feeling that if the United States had a different policy, that their own governments would react differently. So I actually think we are held accountable for the lack of freedom. In the long run that’s bad because that will create a kind of alienation against the United States and that’s not healthy for us.

Jamie Rubin: Reformers in the Middle East often talk about inconsistency, that governments that are our friends we tend to minimize our criticism, governments that are our enemies we maximize our criticism when it comes to democratic issues. Aren’t we still doing that today even with your best efforts and the best efforts of Secretary Powell? Don’t we tend to go easier on our friends when it comes to democracy?

Richard Haass: There’s possibly some inconsistency but I think in foreign policy at times inconsistency is a virtue. Normally with your friends you have a whole number of issues and a whole number of stakes, and you don’t often have the luxury of bringing down the entire relationship simply because you disagree with what they’re doing in the area of political reform. You may be working with them on all sorts of security and economic projects, but where our foreign policy gets interesting, but also difficult, is how you balance your various priorities. When you have countries where governments who are adversaries you don’t have the same complexity, you’re against them in all sorts of things they’re doing, and you also tend to be against what it is they actually are, so in some ways it’s simpler. So I wouldn’t say it’s not inconsistency out of hypocrisy, it’s more an inconsistency out of really policy necessity.

Jamie Rubin: You pushed the idea of political reform in the Middle East by the United States government you’ve now just left. Are there any regrets you have? Any things you wish President Bush, Colin Powell, the government as a whole had given a higher priority to or done more to achieve these objectives?

Richard Haass: It won’t surprise you, I wouldn’t quite answer it that way. I’m actually pleased that this issue is now on the agenda, and I think what remains is to really implement it. And what that means is putting the resources in year in year out and creating a real compact between democrats and republicans, Congress and the executive branch so we do this not simply for one or two years but for ten or twenty years. It also means that when the president or the secretary or others go to a foreign country, this issue gets real prominence on the agenda, it’s not somehow lost, because we’re so focused on the Palestinian question.

It means speaking out publicly. I think it’s important that diplomacy not simply be private or secret. I think the people of these societies need to see what the United States thinks, what it is we stand for. I think we pay a price at times for our silence, which is then interpreted as a kind of hypocrisy. But, no, I’m actually impressed how far we’ve come. A few years ago this stuff wasn’t spoken, and ironically enough it maybe took 9/11 to give us a kick. OK, we’ve learned our lesson a very hard and expensive way. But I think over the last two years, you’re beginning to see the institutionalization of this kind of a policy — the new millennium challenge assistance initiative, which will give much greater amounts of foreign aid to countries which institute political and economic reform, the Middle East Partnership Initiative. You’re seeing new people in the U.S. government who actually now have the full-time job of implementing this sort of a policy. So I actually think we’ve come a long way pretty fast, and the real challenge now is to essentially institutionalize it and for a long time.

Let me give you a slightly different answer, also. During the Cold War, we had a real battle for the hearts and minds of people throughout the world. Well, think of this in some ways similarly. We now have a battle for the hearts and minds of people in the Arab and Islamic world. We have to try to encourage concepts of open-mindedness, of moderation, of liberalness in the classic sense, of toleration, so people are willing to accept differences, and when they have differences, not turn to force. In order to try to create those kinds of attitudes, I think we’re involved in a long, long struggle, where we’ve really got to get inside these societies and work with citizens throughout this part of the world in having them build institutions and begin to change their societies from within. We can help this process but this needs to be a long-term American foreign policy priority.

Jamie Rubin: Richard Haass, thank you for joining us on WIDE ANGLE.

Richard Haass: Thank you.

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2020 WNET.ORG Properties LLC. All rights reserved.