Rice Interview on BBC News with Jonathan Beale
Interview on BBC News with Jonathan Beale
July 7, 2005
(10:00 a.m. EDT)
MR. BEALE: Thank you for this interview. First of all, can I get your reaction to what's happened in London?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, my reaction is similar to the reaction of people around the world, and that is outrage at an attack against innocent people, many of whom were simply trying to go to work. It is a reaction that I think is shared by the American people and I've heard of the leaders of the G-8 who are gathered in Gleneagles. This just demonstrates that while people sit in Gleneagles talking about trying to alleviate poverty or disease or to deal with the problems of our environment, you have cold-blooded killers who have nothing in mind but taking innocent life. And it just reminds us of the tough fight that we have in the war on terrorism, but that we are united as a civilized world against this kind of barbarity.
MR. BEALE: Tony Blair thinks it's the work of extremists. Do you have any knowledge as to who carried out this attack?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I have no special knowledge at this point. Of course, we have offered to help in any way that we can the British on intelligence matters, law enforcement matters. I talked this morning with Secretary Straw to make that offer, but of course it may take some time to untangle this. But whoever did this, it's a part of clearly a concerted campaign to try and terrorize innocent people and it's certainly not going to succeed.
MR. BEALE: But do you think it's likely to be the work of Islamic extremists?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think we can't -- we don't want to try, prior to really having information, to say what this comes from. But for Americans who have been through this kind of attack, it has an unfortunate familiar ring of the kind of outrage that one feels, the sympathy that we all feel for the families of the victims and for those who are injured. And our hearts just go out to the British people at this time. We have no better friend and ally than Britain in this war on terror and we're deeply saddened by what has happened in London today.
MR. BEALE: People in Britain may be questioning their role in the war on terror, about their close relationship to the United States, their involvement in a war which was always deeply unpopular in Britain, in Iraq. What can you say to reassure them?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I would remind everyone that these terrorists attacked without warning on September 11th, 2001, well before any engagement in Afghanistan or engagement in Iraq; that they've attacked in Madrid, they've attacked in Jakarta, they've attacked in Morocco. This is a worldwide war against ideals. If that is indeed what has happened, if that is indeed who's behind this, we just have to remember there's no separate peace to be made with terrorists. The terrorists are after our way of life and we have to defeat them. There is no other way to deal with them than through strength.
MR. BEALE: Do you think that Britain and America in Iraq are perhaps fighting the wrong war? They went to war to remove physical weapons of mass destruction but partly Saddam Hussein as well, but that hasn't stopped the terrorist attacks in Western cities like Madrid, in London today. It seems to have fueled those attacks.
SECRETARY RICE: Oh, I don't think that anything is being fueled here except the fact that the terrorists are finally being confronted. Again, they were -- they've been doing this now for a couple of decades and for a while the world, going all the way back to Beirut and going back to the attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 or the attacks on American Embassies in 1998, this has been going on for a while. Now we're finally confronting them.
And of course they are concerned and of course Iraq has become a central front in the war on terrorism. But let's remember that if indeed extremism is to blame for what is going on in London, it is a part of a long line now of attacks that come out of an ideology of hatred that led people to fly airplanes into buildings. And that means that we're dealing with a region of the world, the Middle East, that is not normal. It's not normal for people to strap suicide belts on themselves and kill other innocent people. It's not normal for people to fly airplanes into buildings.
We have to deal with the circumstances that are producing this ideology of hatred and with the ideology itself, and that's the Middle East. And that is the link to Iraq. Now, nobody suggests that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11, but it's a rather narrow definition of what caused 9/11. This ideology of hatred has to be defeated. It has to be defeated by replacing it with an ideology of hope. And a free and democratic Iraq is going to be an important pillar of this new and different kind of Middle East.
MR. BEALE: But what's going on in Iraq appears to be recruiting more people to carry out such attacks. We've seen attacks happen on a more regular basis in Iraq itself. We've seen today in London attacks.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, let's remember that these are terrorists who were training in Afghanistan, they were clearly penetrating into places like Saudi Arabia, they were involved in parts of Southeast Asia. These jihadists have been training for quite a long time. We have to confront them. And the notion that somehow if you just leave them alone, they'll go away, is just not right. We have to confront them.
And of course they know that if they lose in Iraq, which they will, that this will deal a tremendous blow to their ideology of hatred and it will deal a tremendous blow to their sense of inevitability of their victory. So we certainly have to defeat them. We have to stay strong. I thought that the pictures today from Gleneagles, Prime Minister Blair flanked by all of these leaders from Africa, from Asia, from around the globe, said it all: The world is not going to be intimidated by these killers who simply want to undo our free way of life.
MR. BEALE: But what can countries like Britain and America do to stop these kinds of attacks from happening?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, we have to do everything that we can to defend ourselves and I know that Britain works with us cooperatively, with other services, intelligence is shared, law enforcement activities are merged in many ways. I know that we've worked hard as free societies to have laws that allow us to deal with the threat of people who have not yet committed a crime but are looking to commit a crime of the kind that we've seen today.
MR. BEALE: But you're not able to stop them, basically, are you?
SECRETARY RICE: But it's an unfair fight on the defense because the truth of the matter is we have to be right 100 percent of the time; they only have to be right once. That's why you have to fight this war on the offense. That's why you have to take away territory from places like Afghanistan. That's why you have to fight in the mountains of Pakistan. That's why it's important to have new and stable democracies in the Middle East in places like Lebanon or Iraq. That's why you have to fight this war on the offense and win against not just the terrorists who perpetrate an attack on any given day, but the ideology of hatred that spawns it.
MR. BEALE: But how do you stop it? Do you think that if the war is won in Iraq, such attacks will never happen again?
SECRETARY RICE: Oh, I can't promise that attacks -- terrorism has been going on for a long time. But you will have blown a hole in this inevitability of this ideology of hatred triumphing. These people actually have a political agenda. It's to take the world back to something that looks like the Taliban, where women are oppressed, where there is no tolerance of other religions, where freedom is denied to people. They do have a political agenda.
And so you have to fight it at several levels. Of course, every day, Homeland Security officials here, as in Britain, or interior ministers around the world or law enforcement or intelligence are trying to stop the near-term attack that may be being planned. But in the longer run, our goal has to be to replace this ideology of hopelessness and hatred in the Middle East with freedom and liberty, which when people are living in freedom and liberty, they don't want to send their children off to be suicide bombers.
MR. BEALE: The G-8 is continuing. You think that's right?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Absolutely it's right because you don't want to give terrorists a victory to think that they could stop the important discussions that are going on about the environment and how to have a clean environment with economic growth; to have members of places -- of countries like South Africa and India there to talk about these rising multiethnic democracies, how to help them; and the very important work that is going on on African development and on the alleviation of disease.
MR. BEALE: But on both those issues, climate change and Africa, America is at odds with a number of its G-8 partners. You're not going to double aid, you're not going to sign up to any international agreement on climate change. Isn't this an opportunity to show solidarity with the rest of the world at a difficult time?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, let's just talk about what really is being done at the G-8. On climate change, the President says, as he said that a couple of days ago, there is some manmade activity that was doing -- that has been involved in this.
MR. BEALE: It's (inaudible) with the scientists.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, we don't know. What we need to do is to do what we are doing. The United States spends $5.8 billion a year on climate change: the science of climate change, technologies that can deal with the pollutants that lead to greenhouse gases. The United States has been a leader in promoting these technologies. And let's remember that the goal here, particularly for countries like India and China, is to continue to get growth at the same time that you have rising energy demands and where you have the desire to have a clean environment.
The current protocols -- Kyoto -- do nothing about the Indias and the Chinas of the world. And so we're going to have to have a model one day that unites the desire for growth, the need for energy and the need for a clean environment. And that has been the U.S. approach. That's what we're talking about at Gleneagles. I think you'll see that this is -- this approach is embodied in the statements that are coming there.
And when it comes to Africa, it is, after all, the President that has a $15 billion AIDS Emergency Relief Plan, where we have tripled aid to Africa over the last period that this Administration has been in office, and where the President has proposed to double that yet again for Africa, where we have been participants in the relief of debt, for the canceling of debt for the poorest countries of the world.
MR. BEALE: Yeah, but you still only spend, what is it, 0.2 percent of your wealth.
SECRETARY RICE: But let's remember --
MR. BEALE: Which is the second smallest in --
SECRETARY RICE: But let's remember that the United States is still the single largest granter of development -- official development assistance in the world. That doesn't even count what we do in terms of open markets for the goods of these countries, as we do, for instance, through the African Growth and Opportunity Act. It doesn't count the fact that the United States, by the way, would be more than happy to have an end to agricultural subsidies. If we can do that in the World Trade Organization, that would be a huge boost to the economies of Africa. We are by far the largest food aid donor to Africa. We produce -- we are responsible for almost 90 percent of the food aid to Sudan, for instance.
So the United States is doing its part. But this is not just a matter of what inputs you have to development. What you want to see is greater growth, greater job opportunity, greater education and health. And without a real commitment on the part of African countries that they will not be corrupt and be, as the World Bank has called it, a tax on the poor through that corruption; without a commitment that they will govern wisely, without a commitment that they will invest in the health and education of their people, without a commitment that they will speak out against practices around the world or within the region that need to be condemned. I noted, for instance, that Secretary General Annan talked about Zimbabwe. The African countries need to speak out about what is going on in Zimbabwe. So this is --
MR. BEALE: (Inaudible.) The U.S. has -- what pressure has it put on Mr. Mugabe?
SECRETARY RICE: We have all kinds of restrictions on who can travel here to Zimbabwe. We need the help of the African Union on this matter, which has been silent on what is going on in Zimbabwe. Britain has not been silent. Britain has been very strong about this. The G-8 spoke out at the ministers level just a couple of weeks ago about Zimbabwe.
But my point is, this is a two-way street. Yes, resources need to be provided and the United States has tripled aid and the President proposes to double it. But we need to do it in a way that is smart. So that as we do with our Millennium Challenge Account, we reward those countries that are making the efforts on governance and on corruption and on what really kills economic development in these countries.
So this is a two-way street and I think you'll see that that approach, which by the way was confirmed in something called the Monterrey Consensus just a couple years ago, is being reflected in the way that people are talking about aid at Gleneagles.
MR. BEALE: Can I just finally just come back to London?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
MR. BEALE: Do you worry that attacks like this will weaken resolve of countries like Britain, the rest of the world, to be part of this war on terror?
SECRETARY RICE: I believe very strongly that if anything, this strengthens the resolve of countries like Great Britain and of the people who suffer these attacks because you realize that there is no reasoning with people who would try and destroy innocent lives of people on their way to work on a fine Thursday morning. And when I saw again that picture at Gleneagles, I saw not just resolve in Prime Minster Blair, who has been a stalwart fighter in the war on terrorism; not just resolve in President Bush, of course, who has experienced this kind of agony; but on the faces of each and every leader there that the world is not going to be deterred from eventually defeating this scourge, recognizing that we have to fight each and every day to try to prevent attacks, but that we also have to provide an alternative to the places in the world where this kind of hatred is being bred.
MR. BEALE: Madame Secretary, thank you very much.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much.
Released on July 7, 2005