Condoleezza Rice Remarks At the Commonwealth Club
Remarks At the Commonwealth Club
Davies Symphony Hall
San Francisco, CA
May 27, 2005
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Thank you very much. Well, it's nice to be home. Thank you very much. Thank you, Rose, for that kind introduction and for the invitation to speak here among friends and colleagues from the Bay Area. I'd also like to thank my good friend Gloria Duffy for her leadership of this club and for her leadership in international affairs for a couple of decades now, Gloria. And I do want to admit that I always thought that I might play Davies Hall, but on the piano. (Laughter.)
It's great to be back in California. In fact, there really isn't that much that I miss about California, just the climate and the wine and the food and the culture and the people -- (laughter) -- and Pac Ten sports and all aspects of this great quality life. But I'm especially pleased to be here in San Francisco today, not just because it's down the road from the place that I really grew up as an academic -- Stanford University -- but because this great city has played an important role in the history of international politics.
Sixty years ago, the countries of the world signed the Charter of the United Nations here in San Francisco. That event marked the opening of an entirely new and unprecedented era in world history. Four decades later, San Francisco hosted one of the key events that helped to bring that era to a close. In a speech to the Commonwealth Club, 20 years ago, then Secretary of State George Schultz articulated the strategy that accelerated the collapse of the Soviet Union, a strategy that became known as the Reagan Doctrine.
The main idea of that doctrine was simple and powerful. A democratic revolution was sweeping the world -- Secretary Schultz declared -- and the United States of America would use every aspect of our national power to protect, to strengthen and to expand the movement of liberty worldwide.
Four years later, the Berlin Wall was torn asunder and the colors of dawn finally broke throughout the long twilight struggle. As we reflect on the ideas of that speech, we recognize that much that is universal in America's purpose still remains. But we also notice that this is a radically different situation in our present circumstances.
The implosion of the Soviet Union fundamentally transformed our world. From the fall of the Berlin Wall on 11/9 to the toppling of the twin towers on 9/11, the old international order slowly and then quickly crumbled into dust. For some, this was a glorious revolution, a cause for celebration throughout Russia and Eastern Europe. For others, however, the collapse of the old world order shattered the false and fragile stability within many foreign societies.
Ethnic cleansing erupted in the Balkans. War and genocide haunted Central Africa. And in Afghanistan, a vicious band of zealots seized power, brutalized their people and made common cause with mass murderers. The full nature of this new world was revealed on a warm September morning turned black with terror.
On that day, the United States learned just how closely our nation's security is tied to the success or failure of other societies. You see in today's world the greatest threats to peace emerge within nations, not between them. As a result, the internal relationship between state and society is just as important as the external balance of power between governments.
In response to this unprecedented challenge, President Bush set a new course for America, a practical course of action that summons the highest ideals of our nation, from Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan. As the President has said, "The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."
Trying to label our policies as either realistic or idealistic, I submit to you, is a false choice. It is both. Freedom and democracy are the only way for diverse societies to resolve their disputes justly and to live together without oppression and war. Our challenge today is to create conditions of openness around states that encourage and nurture democratic reform within states.
Ladies and gentlemen, America must open a path to the march of freedom across the entire world. We are succeeding in this great purpose and we measure our success in the democratic revolutions that have stunned the entire world, vibrant revolutions of rose and orange and purple and tulip and cedar. It is a time when there is great hope for a Palestinian state founded on democratic principles and it is time --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Off-mike.) Stop the killing, stop the suicide, USA out of Iraq.
SECRETARY RICE: Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, it is a wonderful thing that people can speak their minds. And it is a good thing that they can now do so in Baghdad.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in Baghdad and Kabul and soon in Beirut, they too will be able to speak their minds. What a wonderful thing democracy is.
To be sure, enormous challenges still define a violent Iraq and a postwar Afghanistan and many other young democracies. But this afternoon, I would like to spend a few moments with you about the challenges strengthening democracy in three important regions: in Latin America, in Africa, and in Asia; areas that are not so often on the front pages, but that are very much in our minds.
To open a path for freedom in Latin America, the United States is offering economic incentives to advance political reform. The success of democracy in Latin America depends on the continued openness of our hemisphere, openness to new ideas and to new people and especially to new trade. A region that trades in freedom benefits everyone and one of the highest priorities of this administration is to pass the Central America and Dominican Republic free trade agreement known as CAFTA.
For too many decades, U.S. policy towards Central America has oscillated from engagement to disregard and back again. With CAFTA, we can break this trend once and for all. We can demonstrate that the United States is permanently committed to the success of all Latin American countries that honor the principles of liberty. CAFTA will energize democracy, strengthen security, and promote prosperity among some of our most important neighbors. The people of Central America and the Dominican Republic are working hard to replace a past of chaos with a future of commerce. They are embracing democratic principles and free market reform. And together, we must use the incentive of increased trade to promote even greater political freedom.
To attract trade and investment, democratic nations will work to create the political conditions for prosperity, transparent and accountable governments with the energy and the integrity to enforce the rule of law. In turn, these democratic reforms will help citizens to lift themselves out of poverty and participate in the life of their nation. There is a belief among some that CAFTA will only enable the strong to prey on the weak. But that view is totally misguided. On the lawful level playing field of democracy, free trade offers greater opportunities to all people from all walks of life. Free trade is most important for small businesses because they have the energy and the industry to adapt to new challenges and to succeed.
When government liberates the entrepreneurial spirit of its citizens, free trade becomes an engine for greater prosperity and social mobility. Of course, the CAFTA agreement will also benefit the United States by uniting suppliers and customers throughout the region. And we will all compete more successfully in a dynamic global economy.
More important still, CAFTA will contribute to democratic stability in Central America, making our nation's periphery stronger and safer and freer. For some nations in Latin America, however, democratic institutions must be nurtured with foreign aid. The United States is, thus, providing new development assistance with our Millennium Challenge Account initiative.
For decades we wasted billions of dollars in aid because it was given unconditionally. The MCA has revolutionized that practice, committing billions of dollars in new money to countries that rule justly, advance economic liberty and invest in their people. Honduras and Nicaragua have met these conditions and we are working with them to reach compacts for granting assistance.
The Millennium Challenge Account is also helping to open a path for the march of freedom in Africa. As in Latin America, it is serving as external encouragement for internal reform. Eight African nations are eligible for MCA assistance. And just this April, the Millennium Challenge Corporation signed its first compact with Madagascar; $110 million in assistance that will help the nation's citizens to share in the blessings of political and economic liberty.
The United States is committed to that vision of a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Africa. In the past four years, we have tripled the amount of official development assistance that we give to the nations of Africa. But we also recognize the limitations of that approach. As Uganda's President Museveni has said, "By itself, aid cannot transform societies. Only trade can foster the sustained economic growth necessary for a transformation."
President Bush agrees with the wisdom of that statement and he has sought to extend the benefits of free trade to Sub-Saharan Africa through the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA. This policy grants preferential trading status to African countries that are committed to democratic and free market reforms.
The result is an environment of openness that not only creates jobs, it encourages African nations to transform their society. By any conceivable measurement, AGOA is a success. Thirty-seven countries have qualified so far. Congress has twice extended the life of this legislation with strong bipartisan support. And last year alone the United States imported over $26 billion of goods from the AGOA group of African nations, a nearly 90 percent increase over the previous year.
This means more jobs and greater stability and increased opportunity for an expanding number of African citizens. With AGOA we are sending the message loud and clear that political and economic liberty are the keys to success.
As in Africa and Latin America, the United States is also opening a path for the continued march of freedom in Asia. Since the middle of the 20th century, we have guaranteed an environment of liberty, security and opportunity in Asia. And while the entire world focused on the grand events of the Cold War, an amazing thing happened right here in our own hemisphere. With America's support, billions of people across Asia, as here in our hemisphere in Latin America, tirelessly and steadily built the foundations of democracy on their own.
Some people looked at Asia in the 21st century and drew bleak comparisons with Europe in the 20th century. Like Europe then, Asia now is transforming itself politically and economically through global trade and record growth. But rather than view this change as a contribution to peace, some believe that it will stoke old grievances and nationalist sentiments.
According to cynics, the struggle for the mastery of Asia is just over the horizon. This is a crude analogy and I reject it as an abuse of history. There is no reason why Europe's past should predetermine Asia's future and we can explain why this is true in just one word: Openness. Europe's instability of the early 20th century stemmed, in part, from its non-democratic character, the Kaiser of Germany, the Czar of Russia, the Hapsburg monarchy and the Ottoman Empire. All of these closed regimes contributed to an atmosphere of distrust that summoned the guns of August.
Now look at Asia today, where democracy is more the rule than the exception. Of course, there is one large exception, and that is China, but we are confident -- we are confident -- that this will not always be so. As China continues to reap the benefits of economic openness, its leaders will look around Asia and come to one obvious conclusion: Political openness is a prerequisite for lasting success. Yes, the rise of China will certainly help to shape the future of Asia but the democratic character of Asia will also shape the rise of China.
This is a powerful reason for optimism. Ladies and gentlemen, the United States of America knows that we cannot force other nations to adopt democratic principles. In fact, we reject the entire premise of imposing democracy, because democracy, unlike tyranny, does not have to be imposed.
If you go to any corner of the globe, no matter how backward in technological development, no matter how far from the center, you will find that when men and women are asked simple questions, "Do you wish to say what you think, do you wish to worship as you please, do you wish to educate your boys and your girls freely, do you wish to be free from the arbitrary knock of the secret police at night," they will say yes. We saw it as people went to the polls in large numbers in Afghanistan, along dusty roads in a country that, in many ways, is barely out of the 17th century. We saw it in Iraq, where people went to the polls despite signs that were posted that said, "Vote and you will die."
Now, ladies and gentlemen, democracy, a belief in liberty, a desire to be free, is as natural as breathing.
It is not that it is easy, but when has it ever been easy? In our country, the great author of liberty, Thomas Jefferson, said, "The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time." But Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner; and so imperfect in his beliefs in liberty. And yet, because here, in our country, the Founding Fathers gave us institutions that protected those great principles, we have been able to struggle and stumble toward a more perfect union, built in liberty, for the more than 200 years of our existence.
All nations secure in their liberty choose to be governed by the will of the people, not by the whim of the dictator. They, too, will stumble and fall. They, too, will create institutions that are not perfect, but they will be institutions that do protect the human dignity that comes with liberty and freedom. With our first breath as a new nation, America declared that freedom is the birthright of every human being. We've always acted on that conviction.
Our nation worked to open a path for freedom 60 years ago in San Francisco when we helped to draft the UN Charter. We continue to open that path for freedom forty years later when Secretary of State Schultz declared that America would support all people worldwide who longed for democracy.
And today, though many of the challenges that we face are historically unprecedented, the United States is again guided into the world by our timeless commitment to human liberty. This is the only policy noble enough for our nation. It is the great calling of our time and by keeping faith with our highest ideals, we will succeed.
Thank you very much.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
MS. DUFFY: Our thanks to the Honorable Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State, for her comments here today. I'm Gloria Duffy, President and CEO of the Commonwealth Club and I'll moderate today's question-and-answer session. And we do have a vast number of questions. I will, for the first part of this, skip the ones asking about piano playing, running for President, are you free for dinner tonight (laughter) -- and all of those good questions, and go right to the very meaty questions.
Let's start with some of today's news: John Bolton. What special qualities does he bring that make it important that he represent the U.S. at the United Nations?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, thank you.
MS. DUFFY: What would be the main elements of his mission and position on behalf of the U.S.?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, let me start by saying that the United States believes that a strong and vibrant United Nations is, in fact, key to the success of our goals as a country and that's key to the success of the goals of peace and stability in the world. It's why the United States is a founding member of the United Nations and continues to support it at the levels that we do. But I think there is no doubt in anyone's mind that the United Nations needs reform.
This is a time when reform is very much on the agenda. Kofi Annan himself has talked about the need for management reform, for reform of the Secretariat, for reform of the various commissions of the United Nations. Let's be real, when you have a Commission on Human Rights and Sudan is on it, nobody can take it seriously.
And so the President and I believe that we need to send a strong voice for reform of the United Nations to the UN at this time when the UN is undergoing major changes. John Bolton has been critical, at times, of the United Nations, but frankly, it's not hard to be critical at times of some of the things that have gone on in the United Nations. In fact, friends are the ones who are most critical when things are not going well.
And so John Bolton would go to the United Nations with a mandate to strengthen it, to strengthen America's cooperation in it and he is someone who is well-positioned to do that. You know, there are very few people who can say, as diplomats, that they have actually worked pro bono for the United Nations as John did, helping Jim Baker in his Western Sahara mission for the United Nations. Or somebody who has spent as much time as John Bolton did getting a repeal of the Zionism As Racism resolution, one of the dark moments of the United Nations.
So this is someone who cares about the UN. Yes, John's a pretty tough person at times and he can have rough edges at times. I think a lot of people can, but I know many people who work for him who would walk through a wall for him. He has inspired them and I expect he'll do the same thing when he goes to the United Nations. But with all due respect, and we do respect the deliberative processes of the Senate, it is time for us to send a permanent representative to the United Nations.
MS. DUFFY: Speaking of representation for the U.S., I have heard it estimated, and actually by Dick Lugar last week, that there are around 50 ambassadorial posts representing the U.S. abroad that are currently vacant or occupied by ambassadors who are waiting to move on. This includes key posts such as Germany, Russia, Japan, and France. What's the roadblock to getting the posts filled? And since good representation for the U.S. is important, what is your plan for filling these slots --
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
MS. DUFFY: -- as soon as possible?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the President, of course, is very concerned to have the very best people go. We've had excellent representation in all of those countries. We continue, by the way, to have excellent representation by chargés in some of those countries, people who are very, very seasoned and senior career diplomats.
But the fact of the matter is, our appointments process -- and I don't mean of this administration, I mean of this country -- takes too long. The process of getting people cleared, the process of getting people through the confirmation process, it takes a long time and we need to find a way to speed it up. It was one of the things that the 9/11 Commission commented on, that it takes a long time to get Presidential appointments through. And I understand the need for background checks, I understand the need for the confirmation process, but we do hope that we can get people through very quickly.
And I have to say that Senator Lugar and Senator Biden and their committee are good allies of ours in trying to make this process move forward as quickly as possible, so I look forward to working with them. The President is going to send very strong representatives to those places. We've had strong representatives. One of them -- Howard Leach, I think, our Ambassador to France -- is here and did a fabulous job for us in France. And we look forward to getting these folks through because it is important to have representation abroad.
MS. DUFFY: Just going to the day's news again for a moment, there are reports that King Fahd of Saudi Arabia is now in grave health and has been admitted to the hospital. What concerns do you have over the regime's vulnerability given the terror threats the kingdom faces?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, Saudi Arabia is a country that is like many countries of the Middle East also in transition. I do not know the extent of the concern about King Fahd. He has, in fact, had some health problems for quite a long time. We have an excellent relationship with Crown Prince Abdullah, who was here recently. He was just here with the President at Crawford not too long ago. We really applaud what Saudi Arabia has done in terms of the fight against terrorism, particularly since the events of May of last year in Riyadh. The Saudis have been very aggressive in hunting down the terrorist cells that are in Saudi Arabia and we've had a good deal of success also on the terrorist financing front.
You may know that some of the financing for terrorism was coming from non-governmental organizations that had very nice titles about what it was they supposedly did in the world, the relief effort for this group or that group and many of them were kind of fronts for terrorist financing. And that was true, by the way, of some in the United States. It was true of many in Saudi Arabia. And we've worked very hard with the Saudis to shut down some of that terrorist financing. So the Kingdom is working very hard on these issues.
Now, we have made clear, as -- through the President's Second Inaugural and other speeches -- that all countries of the Middle East, most especially our friends, we expect to engage in reform and it will certainly go at different speeds for different countries, but we applaud some of the steps that have taken place in Saudi Arabia. The holding of municipal elections, one of them, we certainly do hope that the next time there are elections that the franchise will be extended to women as it has been in Kuwait.
But I want to tell you a story of something I saw on television during the Saudi elections that says something about what people are beginning to think possible. A man was voting in one of these municipal elections and he had with him his daughter. She may have been 12, 13 years old. He gave her the ballot to put into this ballot box. I mean, that's what he thinks is going to be his daughter's future and that's very hopeful.
MS. DUFFY: Dwelling just for a moment and broadening out this question from Saudi Arabia, there are times when the effort to promote freedom and democracy collides with our other national and often national security interests in countries ranging from, say, Uzbekistan to Saudi Arabia. Should our support of democracy be even-handed? How can the United States balance and resolve the conflict between freedom and our national security interests?
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Well, there are sometimes tactical issues about the countries with which we are cooperating and where we have to continue to press for freedom. But, in fact, we see these two as inextricably linked, that our national security goals cannot be pursued without the spread of freedom and democracy in the world, and it is our view that in countries where there are tensions internally the best antidote for the kind of ideologies of hatred that are producing terrorists is, in fact, to have more openness and more democracy, not less.
And we've made this case to every country on the globe, for instance, the recent events in Uzbekistan, where there have been troubling events in the streets of Andijan in a part of Uzbekistan. We've made clear to the Uzbek Government that we believe that the kinds of tensions that are emerging there -- nobody wants them to have to deal with terrorists. That's not the issue. But the kinds of tensions that are emerging there are going to be best dealt with by giving legitimate channels for political openness through an open political process.
Look, it is not normal -- it is not normal -- for people to strap suicide belts onto themselves and kill others or to fly airplanes into buildings. When the ideology of hatred gets that deep, there is clearly a malignancy underneath. And what September 11th really taught us was that the 60 years that we had had a policy of essentially ignoring the freedom deficit in the Middle East and in the broader Middle East was giving us neither stability nor democracy. And so from our point of view, there isn't a conflict between national security and the promotion of democracy; they are one and the same.
MS. DUFFY: There are a few of us foreign policy wonks here, but for those who aren't, would you slip back into your role as an educator and explain to folks what is the Millennium Challenge Account, what is its purpose?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes, absolutely. The Millennium Challenge Account was announced by the President a couple of years ago and it was a part of something that was developing which came to be known as the Monterrey Consensus on Development Assistance. It essentially went this way, that there has been a lot of development assistance over the last decades that has gone to waste. And it has gone to waste because governments to whom it was given spent it badly, spent it in corrupt fashion and ended up with huge debt burdens but nothing really for their people. And in many places, people got poorer, not better.
The President believes that the key to spending development assistance well is to have governments that govern justly, govern transparently, that fight corruption, that have open economies, that demonstrate a commitment to the education of their people and to the health of their people. And that development assistance needs to go to those countries that are demonstrating that.
So the Millennium Challenge Account was a promise to increase over a period of three years -- it is now four years, because of getting it set up -- over a period of four years, American development assistance, official development assistance, by 50 percent. It was a $5 billion over that period commitment. Now the United States has in various ways doubled its commitment to development assistance. But this increase in development assistance was to go to those countries that are, in fact, governing wisely.
We have a number of countries that have been chosen for Millennium Compacts. What they do is they actually work with the government, with civil society, with non-governmental institutions, to create projects that the whole society can buy into. We've just signed one with Madagascar. We have them pending with countries like Honduras and Nicaragua. We have them pending with countries like Senegal. And we work with them to develop projects that will help to alleviate poverty and stimulate economic growth. But it's deliberately for countries that are governing wisely and that we believe will use the money well.
There are a number of countries that are in so-called threshold category that is they're not quite there on the very strict criteria, but we want to work with them to get there. And, of course, we continue to do through USAID, development assistance for the poorest countries, regardless of governing, but strategy. But I think this is a -- something that is now starting to catch on around the world that development is a two-way street. Yes, there are responsibilities of the donor, but there are responsibilities of the recipient, as well.
MS. DUFFY: I'd like to remind our radio audience that you're listening to the Commonwealth Club of California radio program and our guest today is United States Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice.
There are many, many questions about Iraq and so let me work through a few of them. You reported progress in Iraq, after your recent visit. But it appears that the car bombings and insurgency continues to be on the rise. How do you explain the two different pictures and are you confident the Iraqi army and police can control their country?
SECRETARY RICE: Oh, that's it?
MS. DUFFY: I'm sorry.
SECRETARY RICE: I thought you were going to give me several. All right.
MS. DUFFY: That's the first one.
SECRETARY RICE: All right.
MS. DUFFY: I have more.
SECRETARY RICE: All right. The Iraq situation is, yes, very difficult. And there are determined killers and terrorists who are, indeed, determined to keep the Iraqi people from progressing. And let's be very clear who these people are. These are the same murderers who worked for Saddam Hussein in oppressing people for the decades that he ruled. They are the people who oversaw torture chambers and rape rooms and they'd like to take Iraq back to that era. They are also foreign terrorists, like Zarqawi, who came in from the outside to fight the violent jihad in the -- on the streets of Iraq because they fundamentally understand that the spread of liberty and freedom to Iraq will blow a hole in their plans for taking the Middle East back to the days of when women are oppressed and when there is no tolerance of other religions.
It's a perverted sense of Islam, which is, of course, a great religion and a peaceful religion. And people like Zarqawi, who's the face of terror in Iraq, are behind these killings. Now, who are they killing? They're killing principally innocent Iraqis. They're killing men and women and children who just want a better future. Yesterday, they killed the dean of a university. They killed a young girl who was going to school. This isn't resistance. This isn't national resistance. This is bloody terror and you have to call it by name.
Now, the people of Iraq --
Now, the people of Iraq, despite that, are embarked on a political process that is quite remarkable. It started with the formation of a governing council shortly after liberation. It moved on then to the formation of an interim government after we transferred sovereignty.
And you know, we're a very impatient culture. We transferred sovereignty less than a year ago in Iraq. Less than a year ago. Now, they went from that interim government to elections on January 30th. Everybody said they couldn't pull it off. Eight and half million Iraqis voted, despite the threats of the terrorists and now they are going to write a constitution. I was just there. I talked to them about the need to be inclusive of the Sunni population, which for a variety of reasons, was not as well represented in the vote. And they're going to build a unified Iraq that is based on democratic principles. It's not going to look like the United States of America, but it's not going to look like Saddam's Iraq. And thank God for that because it was time to get that monster out of the center of Baghdad.
I know it's hard, but when you think about human rights and when you think about the struggle that people have, just think about the fact that finally, in Iraq, in the center of the Arab world, there are people who are expressing their will and expressing their interest through political processes of compromise, political processes of negotiation, political processes of coming to terms with their differences. And when you think they aren't going to make it and when you say -- when you want to criticize what they're doing and it's taking a long time and this and that, just remember, not to this date, have they made a compromise as bad as the one in 1789 that made my ancestors three-fifths of a man. So let's be humble about what they're going through.
So it's a big historical change and historical changes are often violent and they're often turbulent, but the Iraqi people are going to succeed.
MS. DUFFY: Here is a very pointed question. Can you outline, in detail, the timeline for our departure from Iraq?
SECRETARY RICE: I can tell you that -- and it relates to one part of the other question -- the President talks not about an exit strategy, but about a success strategy. We have sacrificed greatly in Iraq. The men and women of the United States of America and our coalition partners have sacrificed. We have sacrificed treasure and young life in Iraq. And we have done it because a different kind of Middle East is going to make it possible to have peace and stability and security for generations.
It would not be a good thing to leave before this job is finished, but the Iraqis themselves want more than anything to be able to secure themselves. We are actively engaged with them in building their security forces. Their security forces are stepping up to the plate. They really did the security themselves for the elections. General Casey told me that he is not -- he did not have to have one coalition intervention during the elections. They secured those elections on their own. They are getting better. It's very tough, but they're getting better. And when they are able to secure themselves, then it will be possible for the international forces to leave. I am hopeful that they are going to take more and more of the security mission and they are taking more and more of the security mission.
You know, I visited wounded soldiers when I was recently in Iraq and one of the people that was in the hospital there in Baghdad was a young woman, a 21-year-old Iraqi woman, who had been part of the security forces. And she had thrown herself near an IED in order to safeguard the person that she was safeguarding who -- she was on the Prime Minister's detail. And she was very proud of what she had done for her country, despite the fact that she had lost a leg.
Sometimes, we give more attention to the terrorists like Zarqawi than we give to the Sabrinas of the world in Iraq who are desperately trying to secure democracy for their country.
MS. DUFFY: Moving on from Iraq, let's talk about human rights a bit. We are here in San Francisco and there's a question, what are you doing to ensure that countries like China and Egypt uphold the civil rights of its gay citizens, of their gay citizens?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, obviously, from our point of view, a democratic and tolerant society is exactly that. It is a society in which all people are included. It does not matter what race, what gender, it does not matter what sexual orientation -- all that matters is that you are a citizen of that country. And indeed, we note that in countries that are democratic, in countries where there can be pressure on government, in countries where there can be checks and balances on government, then the rights and -- the rights of the most vulnerable in society tend to be more protected. And so we are concentrating in places like China and in Egypt and in other places on human rights. Whenever we have discussions with these countries, we talk about human rights. And the United States issues something called a Human Rights Report every year that talks about the human rights conditions in each country and so -- very much in line with the notion that every citizen needs to be represented and rights protected. We believe that this is the way to handle this situation.
MS. DUFFY: What should be the role of the U.S. Secretary of State in pursuing individual or group cases of human rights violations abroad? I think, for instance, of a former colleague of ours from Stanford who has been imprisoned in China for supposedly releasing national security secrets and so on. What should a Secretary of State do or not do about cases such as this?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think the Secretary of State has to work at all levels; at the general level for better rule of law and human rights respect, at the level of groups to say that the right to assembly, the right of groups to work is important, and at the individual level. When I go to places like China or talk to my colleagues from those countries, I do raise individual cases, because individual cases are sometimes more vibrant in the way that they symbolize what is going on in a country, so I think it's very important that we do that.
It's also -- very often, these are terrible humanitarian situations and you're trying to intervene for the person, but we -- I work at all levels and I think it's important to work at all levels.
MS. DUFFY: Thank you for that. Several countries, including France and Great Britain, are slated to vote on the EU constitution in the near future, which would strengthen the role and organization of the European Union. Pressure -- assuming that the U.S. supports the EU constitution, what are the implications for European unity and U.S. interests if the constitution is not approved by all the signatory states and thus does not go into effect?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Well, we've been very clear that we favor a strong Europe, a united Europe, that it would be a good partner for the United States because after all, we share values and you want partners in international politics that shares values. And so we have been supportive of the European project of all of this. Now we don't vote in the constitutional referenda in these countries and I don't want to try to say anything that might be viewed as intervening. I just will say that the European Union has been one of the two pillars of the transatlantic relationship.
It has been important in as an incentive, as a draw for the young countries of Central and Eastern Europe as they democratize. It is important as a draw for the countries of the Balkans as they try to move toward a European -- a future that is integrated in Europe. It is an important element that Turkey be, at some point when it meets the standards, admitted to the European Union because what we cannot afford to have is a divide between Turkey and the rest of Europe that might look like what was once described as a clash of civilizations between Muslim Turkey and multi-religious but Christian Europe; that would be a very terrible thing.
So we believe that the European Union has been a source of stability and hope that it can continue its efforts toward integration and unification.
MS. DUFFY: There are a number of questions about immigration issues with Mexico and enforcement and controlling our borders and so on. There's also the groups that have been operating in Arizona and New Mexico recently, the "Minutemen" they call themselves, trying to stimulate enforcement of the border control.
Could you give us your views of what would be on your agenda to try to improve enforcement of border control and also how to deal with a vigilante group, essentially, operating on the border?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, let me mention that the President, of course, was the Governor of Texas and so immigration is something that he's dealt with a lot. And he came to office talking about the fact that our immigration policies need reform. The fact is that we need immigration policies that, first of all, allow us to enforce our borders. We cannot have a situation in which people do not respect our laws, do not respect the fact that there are lawful ways to come to the United States.
And so we are doing a great deal with Mexico on border enforcement issues. There's something -- for instance, there's the Smart Border Initiative, because one of the problems on many of the borders, if you go down toward Tijuana or you go to the Texas border, is you have a lots of goods and people moving through that are legitimate and if you do too much enforcement at the border you will stop that trade. And so this allows for technology to help through smart borders. It allows for pre-clearance of some goods and people. And so we're working on a number of ways to deal with border enforcement.
Secondly, the President has noted that the policies need to recognize the economic realities that drive immigration issues, that there are people who come to the United States to do work that others, that Americans, will not do, and that matching willing workers with willing employers is an important element of a good immigration policy.
And thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, it needs to be humane. The fact that there are people who live in the shadows in the way that they do, despite their contributions to our economy, cannot go home and cannot be a part of their families, this is not a good thing for a country that was built on immigration.
And so the President has designed something called the Temporary Worker Program. He's working with the Congress on how we might make it possible for people to do this. People respecting -- people need to respect our laws. This cannot be an amnesty. But they do need to -- we do need to find a way to recognize economic realities and make our policies more humane.
And as to enforcement, that is a role for the United States Government and the United States Government alone.
MS. DUFFY: With the progression of North Korea and possibly Iran towards nuclear weapons, it seems that the nonproliferation regime of the past half century may be unraveling. The outcome of the Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference now taking place in New York, seeking to shore up that regime, is uncertain at best. What is your administration's approach to the Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference? And more broadly, what steps are you planning to take to prevent North Korea, Iran, al-Qaida or others from obtaining nuclear weapons?
SECRETARY RICE: That's a very good question and I know Gloria would pick that one out because this has been of great interest to Gloria who, by the way, when she was in the Clinton Administration did something very important for nonproliferation, and that is managing to negotiate the nuclear weapons of the old Soviet Union back to Russia. It's something that was very important. You could have had a world in which those nuclear weapons were spread across the collapsed empire. And I'd like to congratulate her for that.
MS. DUFFY: Thank you.
SECRETARY RICE: It is true that the Nonproliferation Treaty is -- that there are loopholes and that it is fraying in many ways. It is still an extremely important document and we continue to support it. But we have tried to go at this in several ways. The first is that the President has made a number of proposals concerning the Nonproliferation Treaty that would strengthen it. One of the surest ways to prevent the proliferation of nuclear technology is to make sure that something called reprocessing and enrichment capability is not widespread in the world. And so the President has talked about not having further transfers of that particular technology.
This is, by the way, the argument that the Iranians and the Europeans are having: is there a right to reprocessing and enrichment technology? Yes, reprocessing and enrichment technology is important for civilian nuclear power, but it can be easily diverted to be used for nuclear power. So there are some technical things you can do.
Secondly, we have to have a stronger counter-proliferation policy and we have created something called the Proliferation Security Initiative in which more than 60 countries participate, in the air, sea and on land, to interdict suspicious cargo. It was a very important success of the Proliferation Security Initiative that we interdicted a cargo that was headed to Libya from North Korea, probably helping Colonel Qadhafi and his decision to give up his weapons of mass destruction. But that kind of interdiction of suspicious cargo is a very important part. It takes good intelligence. It takes good cooperation internationally and we are getting that cooperation
Third, it is important to secure the materials that might give rise to proliferation concerns. Much of that is the work that Senator Lugar and Senator Nunn pioneered through the Cooperative Threat Reduction efforts with the former Soviet Union to secure the materials and the knowledge through the scientists -- Gloria was very involved in that program -- in making sure that there's not a ready supermarket, if you will, for these kinds of technologies.
Fourth, we have been very fortunate and I think it's a great success of our intelligence agencies that the A.Q. Khan network was brought down. The A.Q. Khan network, a Pakistani scientist who was one of the fathers of the Pakistani nuclear program whose network across the globe was selling -- just selling -- the technologies, almost turnkey kits on how to build the technologies for nuclear weapons. And that A.Q. Khan is under house arrest in Pakistan. His network, many of them are being prosecuted. That's a very big step forward because that kind of black market activity is particularly dangerous.
And then finally, occasionally people have to -- are going to have to be brought to the international community if they do not live up to their obligations. And we have been supportive of negotiations of the EU with Iran to get Iran to live up to its obligations, of the six-party talks, which is North Korea's neighbors, to get the North Koreans to live up to their international obligations. These are not easy negotiations because sometimes these are countries that are determined to build nuclear weapons. But it has to be clear to countries that isolation is all that you get from acquiring a nuclear weapon, that there is no benefit to be had. And I think we'll start to have some success.
MS. DUFFY: In spite of all that, and this, I guess, is a fatalistic question, one person wants to know: Do you feel we should plan for a nuclear Iranian state, and how? What should we do to prepare for this eventuality?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I have always believed that the best course, in policymaking at least, is to put your head down and drive toward the solution that you must have, not to become diverted by what might happen if you don't get there. And in this case, a nuclear-armed Iran would be enormously dangerous in a region that is already quite volatile.
And it's not just that Iran with a nuclear weapon, it is also Iranian behavior on other fronts. We're talking about a country that does have abominable human rights record, we're talking about a country that where an unelected few continue to suppress the desires of its people for democratic elections, most recently, with the Guardian Council deciding who can run for President and who can't run for President. And this is a country -- and we really want to underscore this -- that is out of step in terms of its support for terrorists.
The Iranians are probably the most important state sponsor of terrorists, including the terrorists who are doing their best to frustrate the hopes of the Palestinian people for a state. Mahmoud Abbas, who was with the President yesterday, came to power in an election where he won 62 percent of the vote by saying the armed Intifada has to end. The only way to get a Palestinian state is through peaceful negotiation with the Israelis. And who is he trying to face down? He's trying to face down terrorist organizations that the Iranians are funding. So the Iranians are very much out of step with the international system. And so to have a nuclear weapon in the hands of the Iranians would be a very, very dangerous thing. So we're going to do everything that we can to prevent that outcome.
MS. DUFFY: Well, I have several hundred more questions here, but we've reached the point in our program where it's time for just that one last question. Before I move to that question, please do everyone stay in the room and remain seated, if you would, while Secretary Rice leaves the room.
And the last question is: What would you like your legacy to be as Secretary of State, if you could pick one thing?
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. I was fortunate in 1989 to 1991 to be the White House Soviet specialist at the end of the Cold War. It doesn't get much better than that. And I got to participate in the end of the Communism in Eastern Europe and the rise of a united Germany on Western terms and the beginnings of the peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union.
But you know, when I look back, I realize that as heady an experience as that was, we were just harvesting good decisions that had been taken in 1945 and 1946, 1947. And I look back on people like Truman and Acheson and Marshall and Kennan and Nitze and I wonder how they got it right because if you look at the time after World War II, it was a time when freedom most certainly did not seem to be on the march.
In 1946, the Communists won large minorities in France and in Italy. In 1947, there was civil conflict in Turkey and civil war in Greece. In 1948, there was, of course, the permanent division of Germany because of the Berlin events and the Berlin airlift. And in 1948, they had to make a decision about whether to recognize Israel. In 1949, the Soviet Union exploded a nuclear weapon five years ahead of schedule -- Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union -- and the Chinese Communists won their civil war. It didn't look very good for the march of freedom.
But somehow because they put in place institutions and stayed true to their values and believed that there could be a democratic Japan and a democratic Germany, we sit now in a world in which we can't imagine war in Europe, despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions of Europeans died in that war, in those wars, just 60 years ago. And so it says that you need to always keep your eye on the long-term, not on the short-term. History doesn't unfold quickly, it unfolds over the long-term. And I would hope that at the end of this time, we would have laid a similar foundation in the Middle East, where we would have recognized that the real power and authority of America comes from its association with values, that it comes from our association with people who are seeking liberty and who aspire to freedom and democracy, that we would have united those allies who are on the right side of freedom's divide, lucky enough to be there because of the sacrifices of others, to make common cause with those who are still trapped on the wrong side of freedom's divide.
And that in doing so, we might look back 50 years from now -- or someone will -- and say, 'aren't we glad that the Americans and their allies understood the power of freedom, that they understood that the people of the Middle East, of Iraq and Afghanistan and Egypt and Lebanon had the right to be free. And because those people are free, the Middle East is finally a place of prosperity and stability and peace.'
And that they would look back, some President, sitting across from a president from a free Iraq or a free Afghanistan would have the same thrill that a president now has sitting across from a president of a democratic Japan or the chancellor of -- the prime minister of a democratic Japan or the chancellor of a democratic Germany. Nobody thought that a democratic Germany and a democratic Japan were going to rise either, but I do believe that if America stays true to her values and if our friends join us, there will be a democratic Middle East and that is something for which our children and our grandchildren will be grateful.
Thank you very much.
Released on May 27, 2005