This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 12, 2009 and October 14, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: The danger in Afghanistan is growing, and President Obama's decision is, of course, a weighty one. Will he listen to his generals and send more troops or keep the levels where they are and maybe change the strategy a bit, or pull out altogether? Those are some of the decisions that need to be made.
And now Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is the head of the Senate intelligence committee, had a stark warning for the president this weekend. "The mission in Afghanistan is in serious jeopardy, she said," and the request for more troops should be granted if the president is going to stand by this general.
Now, Dr. Henry Kissinger went on the record with Greta about the president's choice in Afghanistan, the connection to violence in Pakistan, which is a very important link, and much more. Listen to this.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Good to see you, sir.
DR. HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Good to be here.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sir, in order to try to figure out Afghanistan today, I want to look back of a little bit. Why did the Soviet Union invade Afghanistan, and why did they lose? Why did they leave?
KISSINGER: The Soviet Union when in there, they had about 180,000 troops in there, and they fought. And what they tried to do was to establish control all over the country as if it were a normal country. They tried to establish a government in Kabul and then get their authority established that all over the country.
And so it finally got them involved in a whole series of semi tribal wars, and they found it too exhausting, and they left.
VAN SUSTEREN: So what is that lesson for us, if we fast forward to now in the United States and our problems in Afghanistan?
KISSINGER: Our principal reason for being in Afghanistan in the first place is because the attacks of 911 were organized in Afghanistan. So the national security interests we have in Afghanistan, is the danger of bases that could establish there from which the whole region and our homeland can get destabilized. And so we got him.
Then, being Americans, we had we had to do good and we have to establish a government, and we have to reform the country, and we have to have representative government and women's rights, all terrific objectives.
The question is whether they are achievable in a timeframe the American political process will support.
VAN SUSTEREN: But is that not a little bit like what the then Soviet Union faced where you have these different tribal units...
KISSINGER: It is a similar problem.
VAN SUSTEREN: And so we are facing similar problems and that these different tribal units, and were trying to do sort of a -- and were global in Afghanistan's central government and supporting them.
KISSINGER: In the meantime, the situation has evolved. Also, what happened in Afghanistan now will have a major impact on Pakistan.
And, in fact, when the Obama administration came in, they were developing this concept of an Af-Pak unit that had to be dealt with as one unit.
And if the American effort in Afghanistan where suddenly to be abandoned, it would have a very significant impact on Pakistan. And if Pakistan is believed to have 100 or more nuclear weapons, if that became a failed state, then a crisis within the area would become unavoidable.
So these issues are not interrelated.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why is the unrest for the problems in Afghanistan so interconnected with Pakistan? I realize they share a border, but why are they so interconnected?
KISSINGER: The border is really an arbitrary line that was drawn during the British empire in India, and the people on both sides of the line are essentially the same tribal groups. And that is complicated by the fact that the area has never been under government on either side of the border.
Even during the British Empire, the zone along the Afghan border had been more less self-governing. The British never established a civil administration there. They would buy off the tribes or punish the tribes if they did something, but they never really established a government there.
VAN SUSTEREN: There seem to be very limited options in Afghanistan. We can stay as we are. We can pull out, or we can add more troops, as many as 40,000. Which do you think would be the wisest thing and why?
KISSINGER: In Afghanistan, everyone is affected -- Russia because of the Muslim populations on both sides, India, because if Pakistan becomes a failed state, Kashmir and all of the historic issues that involve the bombing last year in Mumbai, will become much more difficult to manage, China because of its own Muslim problem.
So the question is when we ask Europeans to cooperate on Afghanistan, that's far away, and they are not immediately affected. There hasn't really been a diplomacy yet to involve the countries that are most affected.
So I believe we need maneuvering room in order to bring -- to make this effective or to lease to attend it. Therefore, I believe that we should more or less follow the direction of the local commanders.
And I know people are worried that this could lead to one battle after another, but I am assuming that the president is in charge of his policies and that he does not just automatically do this.
I look at the requests from the people who managed the same thing successfully in Iraq as an at least -- as an important step that we ought to take because if we do not, if we just stop now, then the whole area will become radicalized and we will be sitting there with whatever troops we have there without a strategy.
And because we cannot invent another troop level, how would anyone in Washington know better than the people in the field what they need? What Washington can do is to try to invent different objectives, but that will not change the situation on the ground.
VAN SUSTEREN: How fragile is Pakistan? And you mentioned before Mumbai anti-terrorism there and, of course, India and Pakistan, they hate each other and they both have nuclear-weapons, so one natural concern is how secure Pakistan is.
KISSINGER: If one or two things happens, if either the government of Pakistan loses more and more authority, or if the army's splits so that you have two factions in the army, pushing contrasting policies, then you have a problem as to what happens with the nuclear weapons.
I do not think we are at that point, but if the point is reached, when that point is reached, then it becomes an international problem.
"On the Record," October 14, 2009
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: News out of Russia tonight about the fights to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is not so subtly dragging his feet. Putin says talk of sanctions against Iran is premature and "There is no need to frighten the Iranians."
Putin's comments come after a two day visit to Moscow by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. So what now? Can Iran be stopped? Dr. Henry Kissinger went "On the Record" with Greta.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Iran -- who is dealing, supplying, helping Iran in their nuclear program? Do we know which country is helping them, or are they doing this themselves?
DR. HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: It depends which program we're talking about.
VAN SUSTEREN: Not the civilian one. I am not worried about the civilian one, if indeed it's truly civilian, but there is so much more suspicion that it is far more than a civilian nuclear power program.
KISSINGER: I am convinced that it is a nuclear weapons program. And they don't need a civilian power program at that level if all they wanted was power.
So the civilian program, though, insofar as it can be separated, gets help from various countries on a commercial basis on the weapons program. They probably had help from North Korea on the missiles.
And to help them on the warhead designs, it's hard to know. And, of course, some out in the intelligence community think they have stopped working on warheads. Others would think they probably haven't, but even if they have, it's because the design is finished and they don't need to do any more work.
I have no doubt in my mind that they are working on a weapons program and I don't know anybody who has studied the issue who has a different opinion on this subject.
VAN SUSTEREN: The intelligence that is being reported, the intelligence community gives us somewhat of a leeway before they have a nuclear weapon.
The intelligence has been so wrong so often that I am curious whether you feel the least bit secure that this is years off or whether we need to be aggressive in facing down this issue, whatever that may be.
KISSINGER: I do not think it is that far off. And I don't think there'll be an absolutely clear dividing line. There won't be a point where you can say now they are one year away.
What will probably happen is that in that evolution, a point will be reached when they do some testing, which has a scientific reason to show that it's working, and above all to show the world that they have it.
I would think from all I have read most people think that anything from one year to two years is when they can have a tested weapon.
VAN SUSTEREN: Can Israel afford to go alone on this issue in terms of taking the hard line with Iran?
KISSINGER: The dilemma of Israel is this, if you are a prime minister of Israel, and you know you have two or three cities that are in a very small area, and you know that even in the war was a Lebanon, the northern part of Israel under fire from conventional weapons really were paralyzed, you may say to yourself, "I just can't take that chance that their weapons hit my country."
VAN SUSTEREN: So in light of that, what should we be doing? What should the United States be doing vis a vis Iran? More sanctions? More talks? More what?
KISSINGER: As a general matter of diplomacy, I believe we should never approach a military solution without having had a diplomatic phase, because we have to explain to the American public that we tried everything to come up with a solution that saves lives and produces a constructive international order.
So I would not put negotiation and sanctions as alternative to each other.
On the other hand, we have to be clear in our mind that if Iran becomes a nuclear country, it would change the world. It would change the world, because when you look at the impact that North Korea at the edge of the world has had with its miniscule program, then a Iranian program would have a huge impact.
But secondly, Iran is so located that all of the surrounding countries would have an incentive to develop nuclear weapons as a protection, not just Israel, but Saudi Arabia, Turkey. And when you get into where many countries have nuclear weapons, we will live in a totally different environment.
We have not yet seen the impact of having 100,000 people killed in an hour. When New York was attacked, 3,000 people were killed. All of the hospitals remained intact. All of the support systems of the city continued to function.
But if a city is wiped out with all the utilities down, all of the hospitals closed, that's a new world, because the public would then demand that either somebody wipes out all of these weapons or find some other solution.
So, therefore, we have to convey that nuclear weapons in Iran are in very grave matter.
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