This transcript is produced from the teletext subtitles that are generated live for Newsnight. It has been checked against the programme as broadcast, however Newsnight can accept no responsibility for any factual inaccuracies. We will be happy to correct serious errors.
I'm joined now by ambassador Richard
Haas, who's head of policy planning
at State Department and a Middle East
expert. George Bush made it clear that
this is the first war of the 21st century.
How do you engage in a war of this
sort? It's unprecedented, the enemy is
dispersed, probably across borders,
You engage in this war on all fronts
with, Secretary Powell said, every tool
in your arsenal. It is probably wrong
to think of the word war in military
terms. It could be diplomatic, there
could be sanctions, intelligence obviously
plays a big role. It is also probably
wrong to think of this as simply a
military response. Too many people
say, okay, the United States of the
world needs to retaliate, as if it's a
single event. The goal is not simply to
deal with what we have just seen in the
last few days. The goal is to get certain
countries out of the business of supporting
terrorism, be it direct or indirect.
So this is very much what George Bush
is saying - it's not just about the terrorists,
it's about the country that harbour
It's harbour terrorists, aid terrorists, abet
in any way. And it's not just one country.
You are talking about a group of countries.
So you are building a coalition. NATO is a
given, but who else do you absolutely need
Again, think about this almost in the way
of the Iraq coalition and Desert Storm -
you have countries doing different things.
Some may help with military operations.
Some may help with intelligence. Some
may help you diplomatically. Some may
simply cheer-lead from the sidelines. Others
may contribute militarily directly. You
almost end up with a division of labour¿
But it is a different target.
You have many targets here. In some
cases those who perpetrated this act, it
could be the governments that supported
them, it could be other governments
involved in terrorism.
You talk about a number of
things, including sanctions. You
need Pakistan on board.
Pakistan is critical here. Pakistan support
for this Afghan Government is critical
to the Taliban survival, which is in turn
critical for the ability of the Osama Bin
Ladens of the world to survive.
But you can't ensure that support, and
there is, no matter what Pakistan leaders
are saying at the moment, a huge
support on the ground for the Taliban.
You can't ensure, but that, in a sense, is
what diplomacy is all about - to get the
Pakistanis on board, to help them
make their calculation, that they have
more to lose by continuing to support
the Taliban than they do by perhaps
alienating some of their public opinion
but working with the US and the civilised
This could be diplomacy with a jackboot?
This is serious. This is not some minor¿the
Sanctions against Pakistan, for example?
The United States has had sanctions against
Pakistan for years. Pakistan has to decide
which side is it on. Is it on the side of
those states which actively or indirectly
support the sort of evil we have seen? Or
does Pakistan want to side with, essentially,
the civilised world? That is the sort of
decision the Pakistani Government has to
make, and they may have to lead their
people. Clearly, there's people on the
street who don't want them to do it, but
this is, again, the sort of decision a President
has to make - in this case the President of
But if you're talking about using words
like "civilised world" - isn't that like a
red rag to a bull to many Muslims, this
sense that somehow that part of the world
There's nothing anti-Muslim about the
US. These people are not acting in the
spirit of Islam. These people are acting
in a way that is a affront to Islam and
we will have millions of Muslims on the
side of the United States. You correctly
pointed to the NATO vote. Turkey, a
Muslim nation, is a member of NATO.
I will bet you that you will have Muslims
throughout the world, including Muslims
in the US, who will support extremely
firm action here.
Returning to Pakistan¿if Pakistan does not
support you, if there is conclusive proof
that Osama Bin Laden was involved in
this attack in some way, do you rule out
military action? After all, Pakistan
does have a nuclear weapon.
I don't rule out military action against,
for example, Afghanistan or against those
involved in Afghanistan. I don't rule out
anything. But with Pakistan, what we
want to do is persuade the Pakistanis that
the time has come to cut off the Taliban.
I think we can work with the Pakistani
Government to help them do it in a way
that their government and their society
can actually prosper as a result.
In 1998 there was a spectacular failure to
go after Osama Bin Laden, which
possibly had the effect of recruiting
hundreds of new, young members to his
organisation. If you bomb Kabul, will
you not just recruit further to his
organisation? You cannot stamp out
this kind of terrorism from the world.
I think if you can show that these
who perpetrate terrorism pay dearly,
if you can then persuade governments
not to support terrorism¿you perhaps
can't eliminate it completely - it is
almost like disease - yes, there will be
degrees of it, but you can make a tremendous
difference. What we can do is reduce
the scale of the threat. I'm not saying
we can eliminate it, but we can dramatically
reduce the scale by going after the terrorists
themselves and going after the governments
that either through what they do or what
they don't do make it possible for terrorists
to ply their trade.
Colin Powell has not ruled out individual
activity by the Americans. Say you were
going in to bomb Kabul, you would
expect NATO support.
NATO is already on record, and I think
lots of other countries would support us.
There's lots of ways they can support -
some militarily, some with intelligence,
some with over-flight, whatever. It is not
a one size fit all approach. There's lots of
ways people can help.
You were talking about trying to bring
on-side Syria, for example, who was
on-side in 1991. You were talking about
trying to bring on-side Iran. Is there a
danger if you start blanket, rather than
precise, bombing campaign you will
alienate a lot of support at the first hurdle.
I don't think we're going to alienate a lot
of people. We make clear what all the
evidence is. When a lot of these countries
realise it wasn't just Americans who were
attacked - already in your country over 100
people probably have lost their lives. This is
going to look like the United Nations
by the time we're done, I'm afraid.
It is not just Americans who are the
victims. Plus, a lot of these governments
are themselves threatened by these kinds of
extreme terrorists. These are not people
with normal political agendas. They
threaten many of the modern Arab
governments. I don't think it is going to
be quite as hard to assemble a coalition,
a diverse coalition, as some people are suggesting.
Including, for example, Iran?
I'm not ruling out anybody. The Iranians
made a very positive statement in response
to what happened. They have a long
history of opposition to the Taliban. The
US and Iran have consulted in diplomatic
frameworks about Afghanistan. I would
not rule out the possibility at the moment
of any country necessarily working with
the United States and the international
community. At the end of the day, this is
not simply an American problem. It will
not be simply an American response.
So, we could see American bombers
overflying Russian airspace to attack
I don't want to get into the specific military
means, but if you are saying, at the end of
the day, could you imagine an unbelievably
diverse coalition where Americans, Russians
and others all act together, yes. This is the
post-Cold War era, for ill, and in this case
possibly for better.