Martin Bashir | June 25, 2012
>>> egypt's first democratedly elected president has begun forming a government he's promised to be for all egyptians. president obama called mr. morsi sunday evening urging him to continue along a path of reconciliation and democracy. egypt 's ruling military has taken control of many of the president's powers and has dissolved parliament. the new president will be sworn in this saturday. joining us now, director of research and senior foreign policy fellow at the brookings institution .
>> nice to be with you.
>> morsi says he wants to restore ties with iran . but he also seemed to extend the olive branch toward egypt 's christians. do you have any sense of what kind of leader the man will be or is he simply hedging his bets at all ends?
>> i think it makes sense for him to try to reach out to iran . i have no particular objections to that as much as i think the iranian regime is heinous. the turks have tried to get along with iran . the iraqis have tried to get along with iran . as long as morsi knows his own country's interests, i think he's okay. and that would be tough for iran to pull off. they're of course shia. he's in a sunni majority country. egypt is seen as the center of the arab world where as iran is the separate persian civilizati civilization. i'm not too worried if he's avoiding having a bad relationship with iran .
>> now, morsi has enjoyed an education in this country, studying in engineering. he's tasted the fruits of democracy. how much do you think he's committed to democratic inclusion in a country like egypt , which has frankly been a dictat dictatorship for almost 40 years?
>> if there's going to be a dictatorship in the future, i think it's more likely to be a military dictatorshdictatorship. in order, the generals have so much power still that if morsi makes big mistakes or pushes his luck, i think he's as likely to see the kind of reaction we've seen in turkey and pakistan over the decades, where there was essentially a military coup against a leader who went too far. i'm not saying i want that, but i do think that's a certain check and overall, i think his tendencying look reasonably promising. i'm fairly encouraged.
>> that's something coming from you, mike. what does this election do to u.s.- israel religions? does it become tougher for u.s. leaders to criticize aspects of israeli policy.
>> they need us a wee bit more, but i think unbalanced our interests generally overlap. not necessarily with any one leader or government, but certainly in general, israel needs to be secure. it needs peace to be secure and therefore, it sometimes need a little bit of a prod iding from the the united states about the terms of a peace deal that it might pursue. so i don't think there's any fundamental change here. the change would come if morsi just decided he didn't want the treaty anymore.
>> okay, some conservatives in this country, as you know, have been complaining that since mubarak was forced out that president obama has quote lost egypt . i guess that undoubtly points to evidence of that. what do you make of those claims, the almost absurd notion that the president of the united states can control an arab youp upizing in egypt ?
>> there is not obviously a big set of decisions we have to make in the future and i'm not sure this would be relevant soon, but say president obama 's re-elected, but in the five years during which egypt is run by a post mubarak leader, the united states doesn't engage very well. doesn't offer much encouragement, provide the means to the new egyptian government . you could see the relationship atrophy over that period of time and that would be too bad. so what i'd like to see us do is find a way to incentivise dr. morsi to be as inclusive as he can be, and if he does that, give him a bit more economic aid . maybe debt relief , favorable trait terms. so far, he's done fine, but as you point out, the revolution was powers and forces beyond our control .
>> indeed. although i have to assume it's unlikely people here will welcome the president actually offering some kind of incentive to this man. is that really possible?
>> it's a good point, but i think what you do is you separate out what might have been your past preferences from future policy and try to make it somewhat business like and matter of fact. if his regime can be inclusive, if he can keep the peace treaty with israel and if he can get egypt on the right path towards economic recovery, which is part perhaps as important as anything else i just ticked off, then i think we should try to find ways. not billions and billions of dollars, but a half billion dollars a year maybe in debt relief primarily. egypt is so parent as a corner stone of the middle east that i think we have to expand our imaginations a little bit.
>> thanks so much for joining us. and we'll be right