Bush Senior Foreign Policy Adviser |
Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2000; 4:30 p.m. EDT
Condoleezza Rice, Texas Gov. George W. Bush's senior foreign policy adviser, opened the prime time speech hour Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention, declaring that George W. Bush "will never allow America and our allies to be blackmailed." Rice said it was "time to move beyond the Cold War" and that it was "time to have a president devoted to a new nuclear strategy."
Rice joined the Stanford faculty in 1981. She recently completed a six-year tenure as provost, overseeing a $1.5 billion annual budget. Rice served under President George Bush as director and senior director of Soviet and East European affairs in the National Security Council, and as special assistant to the president for national security affairs. In 1986, while an international affairs fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, served as special assistant to the director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Rice, who is considered a strong candidate for national security adviser in a Bush administration was live online from the convention on Wednesday, Aug. 9. The transcript follows.
Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.
Good afternoon, Ms. Rice, and welcome. Gov. Bush and Vice President Gore go to great lengths to talk about how the differ on many issues, including some foreign policy points. What positions do they share?
Condoleezza Rice: One example to which I would point is the Middle East for which there is bipartisan support for more than 30 years. And I would assume that there would be little change in foreign policy concerning the Middle East. Much of the difference between the two would be between allies and how much emphasis is placed on our allies, how to push for free trade and there would be other areas which would be more important in Governor Bush's foreign policy than in Vice President Gore's. I would point to Latin America and the bilateral relationship with Mexico.
Council on Foreign Relations, N.Y.:
How can the governor say he will work to reduce nuclear tensions in the world when he allied himself with the rejectionists on the nuclear proliferation treaty, so hard won, while also proclaiming a unilateral intention to ignore the ABM treaty? It's ok to make fun of Al Gore saying everything is risky, but here is something that really is.
Vice Chairman & Editorial Director
U.S. News & World Report
Condoleezza Rice: The Governor supports the Nonproliferation Treaty but it is the CTBT that he's opposed. And he opposed it because it was a bad treaty in terms of verification -- in terms of allowing America to maintain the reliability of the nuclear stockpile and in terms of stopping proliferation among rogue states. So one can be committed to the goal of reducing nuclear tensions and simply disagree that the CTBT was the way to do so. As to the ABM treaty, the Governor has made clear that we are in a new environment -- post-Cold War -- and that he intends to approach the Russians about fundamental changes to the ABM treaty to permit the building of defenses. Diplomacy is the art of the hard, and no one suggests that it will be easy. But it is in America's and her allies' interests to find a new way of dealing with nuclear weapons, both offensive and defensive.
Dear Dr. Rice,
As a current Stanford student, I have heard you speak many times on your vision for future relations with Russia, and the need to deal "more realistically" with them. However, it seems that such "realistic" measures will weaken Russia and further erode relations between our countries. Is it not in America's best interest to have a strong, stable Russia rather than one that is prone to instability and chaos? Especially given the state of Russia's nuclear arsenal, I would think that the United States would want to maintain if not increase our support, rather than reduce it. Thank you for your time.
Condoleezza Rice: It is absolutely in America's interest to have a strong and stable Russia, particularly one that is democratic and prosperous. But if we have learned anything in the last several years it is that a romantic view of Russia -- rather than a realistic one -- did nothing to help the cause of stability in Russia. Now what do I mean? Pouring IMF funding into an unreformed and corrupt economy in fact weakened Russia and helped to lead to the 1998 crash. So realism with Russia is the best way to encourage a stable and prosperous Russia. We must support real economic reform, not pretend economic reform and ultimately Russia has enough resources including a highly educated population to be able to create conditions to attract private investment, but the hard work of creating a fair tax code and rooting out corruption really is up to the Russians. They understand this and I think resent the United States for having failed to speak up when economic reform was not taking place.
Council on Foreign Relations, N.Y.:
You have said that under a Bush administration the U.S. military would not be a 911 service. Apart from clear threats to U.S. national security, would you ever countenance introducing U.S. troops to stop genocide or comparable mass slaughter? If so, when? If you would prefer to hand such tasks to the United Nations without U.S. troops, what steps would you take to ensure that the U.N. is capable of stopping such slaughter, so that the disastrously inadequate responses in places like Sierra Leone, Angola and Rwanda are not replicated?
Human Rights Watch
Condoleezza Rice: The American president ought to have the option to use American forces if he deems it necessary under whatever circumstances, including to stop large-scale violence in civil conflicts if he wishes. The problem is that very often what we sometimes call humanitarian efforts are really inserting ourselves into political conflicts -- in other words -- into somebody else's civil war. And the American armed forces are not going to be very effective at the multiple global tasks that they have if they are bogged down around the world separating warring parties in civil conflicts. There are other ways to stop large-scale violence including support for regional powers that might be willing to take on the task. We have a very good example of that with Australia in East Timor, and we should have supported the Nigerians in Sierra Leone.
The United Nations may sometimes be effective for providing the mandate, but I think regional powers, like Nigeria in Sierra Leone or Australia in East Timor are going to be more effective when you have large-scale violence, than trying to cobble together U.N. peace keeping missions.
What would you advise Gov. Bush if Arafat declared an independent Palestinian state? Have you ever visited Israel? Has Gov. Bush? Would you advise that we move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem? When? Or would it be an empty promise during the campaign that is gone back on if the governor is elected?
Condoleezza Rice: I am going to Israel for the first time this week, on Friday. The Governor was in Israel about 18 months ago. The Governor has said that he would move the embassy to Jerusalem and that he would begin preparations for that after he was inaugurated. And we should remember that this is West Jerusalem, which is undisputed.
I assume you mean a unilateral declaration of independence from the Palestinians, and the Governor would oppose that vigorously.
How will the Bush administration deal with the Iraqi problem? By that I mean will they continue to "contain" Saddam Hussein or will there be a thought towards the idea of a Saddam free Iraq? Will the plight of the Kurds be considered?
Condoleezza Rice: The containment of Iraq should be aimed ultimately at regime change because as long as Saddam is there no one in the region is safe -- most especially his own people. There are three elements to this policy: one is to try to strengthen the coalition of states that support the sanctions regime; the second is to give better support to opposition forces in accordance with the Iraqi Liberation Act; the third is that is if Saddam gives you a reason to use force against him, then use decisive force, not just a pinprick. And in the long run, you should succeed in creating a Saddam-free Iraq.
Tim Bartlett, Council on Foreign Relations:
Thomas Friedman wrote in a recent column that that Bush foreign policy team's "unilateralism is either going to blow up the [NATO] alliance, and trigger an arms race with Russia and China, or it is going to lead to an embarrassing backdown." Putting aside for the moment the tone in which that particular column was written, how do you respond to these concerns, particularly as they relate to the proposed missle defense program.
Condoleezza Rice: This is what good diplomacy is about. The fact is that the United States does need to move forward with ballistic missile defense, but there is diplomacy to be done with the Russians, the Chinese and most especially the allies. I was struck by the fact that Putin noted that there is a new threat out there from rogue states, that he seemed interested in boost-phase intercept. I heard him trying to make room to at least discuss this matter. Now I remember when we were trying to unify Germany, and everyone said you could never unify Germany within NATO without an explosion of the Soviet Union, and not only did we manage that but we signed the documents in Moscow.
It's amazing what good diplomacy can achieve when you know what your interests are and pursue them consistently and persuasively.
Ronald Reagan beefed up the Pentagon's budget and thought that would force a cut in domestic programs that he wanted eliminated or cut. The result was a huge deficit when the budget cuts for the non-military programs were rejected by Congress. Now George W. Bush says HE wants increased military spending and some increases in non-military, but also tax cuts. Why won't this lead to similar budget problems?
Condoleezza Rice: The United States is in a fundamentally different situation today with huge surpluses, and Governor Bush has been operating this entire campaign in what he calls a budget box, meaning that he can pay for everything he's proposing. Let me say one word about the Defense budget. The Governor has been careful to say the the military needs new resources, but it also needs to be restructured, and that what we have to do with the Pentagon is to force tough choices. So not everything is going to be funded.
Gov. Bush's foreign policy advisors have said they are increasingly worried by the growing anti-American sentiment worldwide and that this is a result of the Clinton administration's waffling on foreign, economic and defense policy. How would a Bush/Cheney administration restore confidence while reducing the cost of America's obligations abroad. What specific steps would a new administration be likely to take in this regard?
Condoleezza Rice: The first thing is that we need also to change the tone and rhetoric in America's foreign policy. It was a mistake to refer to ourselves as the indispensable nation. That caused considerable resentment. We have to consult and strengthen our relations with our allies, as a first priority. An American president should never again go to China for nine days and not go to Tokyo. And then America has to be steady and consistent and realistic about what it does in the world. Just again as an example, it did not make sense as an example, to call the people in Russia who were stealing the country blind, reformers. So if you are in tune with your allies, you say what you mean and mean what you say, if you avoid foreign policy that appears to the whole world like photo opportunities. Then you'll have plenty of credibility.
That was our last question today with Dr. Condoleezza Rice, senior foreign policy adviser to Texas Gov. George W. Bush. Thanks so much to Dr. Rice and to everyone who joined us. Your questions were great.
Tune in with us next week, when OnPolitics goes to the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. Once again, we will host discussions with a variety of newsmakers, advisers, elected officials and journalists.
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