I can remember when I was National Security Adviser, the intelligence community told us... they put out an intelligence report saying that Iran would never back off from attacks on shipping in the Gulf if we use force.
My understanding is that what was provided was general order of battle information, not operational intelligence. I certainly have no knowledge of US participation in preparing battle and strike packages and doubt strongly that that occurred.
So, I think even in Saudi Arabia there is movement. And we have to remember that over the years they've stabilized the oil price and that is tremendously important for the economies of the world. I think we have no choice but to work with the government of Saudi Arabia.
Look at what the Omar of Qatar is doing, for example - the King of Morocco, Jordan, Bahrain. There are reform movements taking place, efforts to broaden the political participation of the populations of the region.
Of course, China is a key to the North Korea if we're going to solve that riddle, but they could also be helpful on Iraq, which is why it's important that we maintain a constructive dialogue with China.
Putin has a lot at stake here and restoring the relationship with the United States, and there are already signs as Sandy mentioned that he's moving in the right direction to begin to ascertain that their trade with Iran is not used for the production of nuclear weapons.
I wouldn't even know - and I spent three years in the CIA - I wouldn't even know how you'd start a covert action program in a place like Iran. It would be extraordinarily difficult.
We went into Iraq because Iraq posed a threat to the stability of the region and was engaged in the process of trying to develop weapons of mass destruction and had links to terrorists.
And I argued with that intelligence estimate and I think it is a responsibility of policymakers to use their best judgment on the basis of the intelligence they've received.
We would like to have friendly regimes with enough broad participation of their populations to maintain long-term stability, so that we would have not only access to the region's wealth, but we would be able to ensure the security of our good friend Israel.
I think the real target of al-Qaeda is Saudi Arabia by the way. They hate us and we're a vehicle to get at Saudi Arabia. I think Osama bin Laden really wants to topple that regime and have his people move in, but that's a whole other story.
And we ought to work our diplomacy first and I think it's a reason it's going to respond increasingly to our diplomacy particularly with the president's direct involvement in the peace process, and I think that's extraordinarily important.
But at the same time, I think we recognize we can't impose democracy from without, particularly American-style democracy. We need to work with those elements in the region that are moving towards a reformed process and there are a number of them.