Sec. Rice, Miliband & Google Sr VP David Drummond
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Google Headquarters, Mountain View, California
May 22, 2008
Remarks With U.K. Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Google Senior Vice President David Drummond
MR. DRUMMOND: Well, good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to another great day at Google. I am distinctly honored today to welcome to Google Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as well as British Foreign Secretary David Miliband. As you know, they wrestle with some of the world's most important issues on a daily basis, so it's a huge, huge honor for us to have them to come out to see us today.
You know, Secretary of State Rice obviously needs very little introduction to all of us. All of us Stanford folks here remember her illustrious career on the farm. And of course, she has served as Secretary of State since 2005 and before that, National Security Advisor. British Foreign Secretary Miliband became Foreign Secretary last year, June of 2007, and before that, had - I knew that was right.
SECRETARY RICE: That's right.
MR. DRUMMOND: And before that, had served in a variety of other positions, including Environment - Environment Minister in the UK and is very much a leader on climate issues in the world. We're also happy to report that he's one of - he is the first MP, I believe, and minister in the UK to start using blogs and Wikis and he has his own YouTube channel, so a kindred spirit, indeed. (Applause.) So we're really gratified that you're both willing to come here and share your thoughts today.
Now perhaps a good way to get started, Secretary Rice, is maybe to just talk a little bit about kind of why you're here and the purpose behind the visit. You know, you're showcasing innovation and we like to think we do a little bit of that here, but perhaps you could talk a little bit about that for us.
SECRETARY RICE: I'd be very glad to do that. First of all, David, thank you very much for all the hospitality. Thanks to all the members of the Google family for inviting us here. I want to say hi to Sergey. He did well despite the fact that he was around as a student when I was at Stanford. (Laughter.) I apparently didn't do any harm to you, Sergey, even though you were a student.
And I wanted to come to the Silicon Valley to what has become my home and bring one of my best friends among the foreign ministers to look at innovation and technology and new ways of thinking and new ways of doing things. Because as we struggle with any number of problems, but particularly those that relate to innovation, to the need for new sources of energy, for clean technologies that will allow us to be both countries that can grow our economies and countries that can provide environmental stewardship, we need new ideas and we need new ways of thinking about it. And I don't think there is any place in the world that is better at bringing about people who want to think differently than the Silicon Valley.
And this trip really started with our first dinner, when David first came as Foreign Secretary and we started talking about some of the challenges of climate change, of energy security, of innovation. I talked a lot to David about the important relationship that we've developed in the United States between basic research in universities and then commercialization of that research. And I promised at that time that I was going to bring him to the most dynamic, innovative, interesting and fun place to be on the entire planet. And we're here in Silicon Valley. (Applause.)
MR. DRUMMOND: Great. So our format today is, we have got a few things and topics to chat about and then we're going to - you know, we have a moment to open it up to Googlers after that. So maybe a place to start is on the innovation question and, sort of, global competitiveness. And Foreign Secretary Miliband, maybe you can jump in on this to start, but I think few would disagree that it's pretty much a given that going forward, the West, particularly the United States, UK, are not going to sort of dominate the world economy, that it's become much more competitive. You see China, India, Brazil, millions of countries making enormous progress.
In light of those developments, how do you think the U.S. - or the UK in particular, and perhaps Secretary Rice can talk about the U.S. - how do we stay competitive?
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Well, maybe I could talk about the U.S. and you talk --
MR. DRUMMOND: Yeah.
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: -- about the UK.
SECRETARY RICE: (Laughter.)
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: That would be quite interesting. I think the first thing to say is that what unites us very profoundly, as we think about challenges of the modern world, is that you can't solve the big problems with government alone. And if you want to solve the big problems, you have to engage with the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world, be the problem of climate change or be the problem of international terrorism or be the issue of nuclear proliferation. These are issues that require governments, but they also need businesses and markets aligned behind a common set of goals and they need mass mobilization.
And I think it's interesting, as we've had the presentations over the last two hours, you've talked a lot, or we've talked a lot about how we bring or how you bring information to individuals. And we've seen maps and we've seen the full range of help projects that you're developing. But actually, one of the most interesting things that you do is that you bring together communities, you create communities. And if you buy the argument that to achieve change, you need government, you need markets, and you need the mass mobilization of individuals, then I think one of the things that we have to think about is how the communities come together, because they're not going to come together in the old ways in drafty trade union halls. They're going to have to come together in new ways and that's why I think -- the significance of being here, not just in Silicon Valley, but here at Google.
I think in respect of the changes and the nature of the global economy, I think there are a couple of things I would say. First of all, let's not get this out of perspective. Chinese income per head is between 1/20th and 1/25th of the American level. In ten years time, China will be richer. It'll be closer to the U.S., but the U.S. will still be a superpower economically as well as politically and militarily and culturally.
So the first thing is, let's keep this in some kind of perspective. This remains a massive jobs and wealth machine. Why does it remain a massive jobs and wealth machine? Because it brings together people, money, and ideas in a unique way. And I think that's the key not just for the U.S., but for a country like mine. I mean, the UK is 60 million people, so it's a couple of Californias maybe, and - if only. The - we're 60 million people and if you look at the successful parts of our economy -- and I think this is something that's important in politics. Often, we look at what are the problems and how to resolve them. Sometimes it's better to look at what's working and why does it work. If you look at the most successful parts of the UK economy, which are in London in the southeast, which I think rival California for income per head, the reason is that people, money and ideas are coming together in a unique way. And I think that is the absolute key for nations.
Just one final point: It's got to be part of an open trading system. We, as the United Kingdom, have been big winners from globalization. And globalization brings big problems, climate problems, inequality problems, insecurities. But the answer to globalization is not less globalization, but more. More trade is actually important and I think we might return to that in the course of the discussion.
SECRETARY RICE: Let me pick up where David left off because it's an interesting question. Where will the United States or the UK or Europe, for that matter, be relative to the emerging powers - India, Brazil, and certainly China, the dominant emerging power? I think that the - the way that the United States thought about this after World War II gives us a clue, because at a time when the U.S. probably controls almost 50 percent of the world's GDP because of the war and the devastation of other countries, we didn't think, "Well, let's protect that 50 percent." We thought of the international economy as having infinite possibilities for expansion. And if it continued to expand, there was plenty of room for everybody to expand and no one had to be a loser if others expanded. And I think that's the essential key now to going forward. It means that if we are afraid of competition, if we start to try to close ourselves off somehow from competition, if we try to protect that part of the economy which we have, then I think we're going to end up losers from the next round of globalization rather than winners in the way that we were after World War II.
Secondly, I'm a strong believer in the light hand of government and the strong power of innovation through the private sector, and particularly a private sector that can be open to people and ideas from all over the world. As I look out at the folks here at Google, I see that the United States is succeeding because we are not putting up barriers to people who want to come here and be a part of this great growth of international capital, but made here in the United States.
Because I doubt that Google really thinks of itself as an American company. You are really a global company. But you found your home here in this little part of California because the environment is right, because creativity is encouraged, because both success - success is rewarded and if you fail, you get up the next day and you keep going. There are a certain set of values that are very much endemic to this part of the world, so you found a way to create the culture of innovation here, but you're contributing to the global economy. And I think as long as the United States remains open to people from around the world who want to come here and be part of the international economy from here, we'll be fine.
And the final point I'd make is, as an American, I am not at all fearful of competition. But the United States has to recognize that perhaps our most serious national - national security challenge may be in providing an educational system that makes it possible for Americans born right down the road here in Mountain View, or born across the Bay in east Oakland, to acquire the skills and the education that's going to make it possible for them to compete. Because I can - I can assure you if we don't provide that, if it ever becomes the case that it's no longer true in America that it didn't matter where you came from, it only matters where you're going - if we ever lose that, which is essentially at the core of who we are, then we are going to be fearful and we are going to be protectionist and we are going to try to hang on to that little piece of the economy that we have.
So I think those are some lessons that we've learned, but because I'm very confident in the ability of America to compete, of Americans to compete, and of our ability to stay open to the best talents from all over the world, I think that when some Secretary of State sits here in 20 or 30 years, still be talking about American leadership of the international economy.
MR. DRUMMOND: Great. So - okay, so let's talk about Iraq. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY RICE: Kind of abrupt, but all right. (Laughter.)
MR. DRUMMOND: You knew we'd get there eventually. Let's just get there right away. So - (Laughter.)
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: You're looking very uncomfortable. I don't know why.
MR. DRUMMOND: No, I'm comfortable about it. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY RICE: I was just there a little while ago, so --
MR. DRUMMOND: So you have a firsthand perspective, of course. So - okay, so roll forward five years. It's 2013. How far has Iraq come? How many British and American troops are going to be there? What does it look like? I'd like to hear each of your answers to that.
SECRETARY RICE: Yeah. Well, let me start and then maybe David will fill in. I - we all have - there are many differences of view about why we decided the liberation of Iraq was in our interests. There are many differences - differences of views about whether or not we did our work well. I have said on any number of occasions there will be dissertations and many, many, many books written about the mistakes of the Bush Administration. I will probably oversee some of those dissertations myself. (Laughter.)
But the time to judge all of that will come later. What we're looking at right now is the birth of the first multiethnic democracy in the Middle East. And it's hard. It's really hard. Because this is a place that has known nothing but tyranny, has known a lot of violence in its history, but that is slowly trying to emerge as a place that can provide a decent life and a decent political system for its people to resolve their differences by politics, not by violence and not by repression.
And lest we think that there's something wrong with the Iraqis that they haven't gotten it right in five years, I would ask people to remember that the United States was born with a certain birth defect. My ancestors were relegated to three-fifths of a man. And the Iraqis have not made a compromise nearly that bad. Secondly, I come from Birmingham, Alabama, and still, in 1964, which I know for all of you is ancient history, but for me, I was ten - you still couldn't guarantee the right to vote for blacks living in Alabama.
So democracy is hard. And we cannot afford to be impatient with people in the Middle East as they try to find a way to reconcile individual rights with old traditions, Islam, and democracy, the role of religion and the role of the state. Many of these, we resolved many, many centuries ago. They haven't. And it's going to be hard. So I can't tell you exactly what it will look like in five years. I can't tell you what the American and the British posture will look like. I suspect it'll be far, far less than it is now if we do our - continue to do our work well.
But I can tell you that the last time I was in Iraq, or maybe the time before that, I sat in a provincial council in the city of Kirkuk. It is a place where Arabs and Turkmen and Kurds come together and it has been a place that has been racked by violence or by repression for its entire history. And I sat with the provincial council as they talked about how to share power peacefully. The Middle East needs more of that because in too much of the world, difference is still a license to kill. And unless countries learn to resolve their differences through political processes and through democratic processes, you only have one of two other choices: they do it violently or they do it by repression. And neither should be morally acceptable to the United States of America as we sit here in freedom. (Applause.)
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Let me just say three quick things about this. First, I think it's significant that you're asking about the next five years and how we shape it, not "Let's diagnose the last five years." Because I think in my country, as in yours, the Iraq war was a very, very divisive political issue. But I think whatever the depths of the divisions about the origins of the war and the decision to go to war, I don't think it's impossible to forge unity about the next five years.
Secondly, why do I say that? There are three things that actually, everyone can agree on. One, there needs to be a massive improvement in the security situation. Secondly, it's got to be founded on political reconciliation of the different groups that Condi has talked about. And third, they've got to be able to build a decent economic and social life for themselves. In all three of those dimensions, I think we've got a role to play. Our focus is in the south of Iraq, around the city of Basra, a city of about 2 million people near the Kuwait border. We've got about 4,100 troops there. They're focused on training up a division of the Iraqi army with about 10,000 troops in that division. And that is a city that has undergone big change, even in the last three or four months because there's been major change there.
Third thing I wanted to say is that there are different Iraqs if you go to the north and talk to Kurds, which I have. There's a different Iraq if you're in Baghdad, where you've got deep divisions between Sunni and Shia, and actually, within the Shia. And there's a different Iraq in Basra, which is a 95 percent Shia city. And there are different challenges of security politics and economics in those three different parts of the country. And I think it's important that some of the reporting I've seen in the U.S. over the last three days since I've been here begins to reflect the complexities that exist. And I think that's a good thing.
SECRETARY RICE: Could I just add, David, on the reconciliation? Because it is absolutely true that they need to achieve political reconciliation. And there were a number of laws that we hoped that they would pass. And I think it is - it's somehow begun to - it hasn't gotten the publicity that it was getting when they weren't passing the laws, that in fact, they've now passed a de-Baathification law, they have passed two budgets, which, by the way, the United States seems to be having trouble doing in our Congress. They have passed an amnesty law. They have passed an elections law. They have passed a provincial powers law. And the one law that remains to be passed is a hydrocarbons law that will look at - not revenue-sharing. They've agreed on how the revenue will be shared among the various parts of the country, but on how contracting will be handled and the like.
And so this is a political system that is moving forward and starting to make progress. It is still very fragile. As you know, David, in Basra, where Britain has done a lot of the heavy lifting, Iraqi forces are now in control of Basra rather than the militias that were there just a couple of months ago. And so this is a difficult situation, but it's a new democracy that's being born. And it's something that, if it succeeds, and I believe that they will, it will change the face of the Middle East.
MR. DRUMMOND: Foreign Secretary Miliband, continuing on Iraq and the war, you talked last year at the Labor Party conference about repairing relationships with millions of Muslims around the world who feel alienated with the West -- about the war, about Western, sort of, participation in Middle East affairs in general. What do you feel - how do you feel - what are the concrete steps that you think need to be taken to repair those?
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: This came home to me just by way of preview when I went to the meeting of the Pakistan Youth Parliament, 120 people between the ages of 20 and 40, really. And it struck me that it's one thing for people to disagree with our actions, which many of them did, but they also distrusted our motivations. And I think it's important that we address the motivational question, because the truth is that the terrorism that you suffered on 9/11 and that we suffered on 7/7, the 7th of July, 2005, is different from the sort of terrorism that certainly, we faced before from the IRA or elsewhere. It's based on a global jihadist ideology which has got a very clear narrative at its heart. And that narrative is that the West want to humiliate Muslim populations in Muslim countries. And we've got to take that on directly.
And so to answer your question, I think there are three or four things that are important to that. One, there are millions of Muslims in our own countries. They are the best advocates for our values, actually. And Muslims from Britain whose origins are often in Pakistan or Bangladesh, but also in my own constituency, actually from the Yemen, are very good advocates for that. And I think that that's important that we talk about how our own values are lived out in the equality of opportunity that we're trying to breed in our own countries.
Secondly, we've got to live up to our values in a way that we exercise our policies around the world. And that's something that we do when we try to stand up for democratic values and democratic accountability, which is important.
Third, and importantly, I think we've always got to be clear, and maybe we haven't done this as well as we should, because I often get questions about this in Britain in respect of Afghanistan - we are in these countries like Afghanistan and Iraq not to create new colonies. My country has a history of having colonies, all right? (Laughter.) We've learned our lesson on that. We're not going back into that. But we do know that weak states around the world do need the support of stronger states like ours.
And we should be there standing up for a set of values and I think that that's an important thing to get across, because this long term struggle to show that there - we are not doomed to a "clash of civilizations" does mean engaging with people's hearts and minds and engaging with the motivational question as well as the question of whether people agree with what we do or disagree.
MR. DRUMMOND: Secretary Rice, what about the broader question of sort of the U.S. image in the world? Some would say because of the war and other factors, we're not - we're just not as popular as we used to be. So if you think -- do you believe that's true? And if so, what are the things that we need to do to work on that?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I'm always torn, because, of course, I would like to read opinion polls and hear that American policy and the Bush Administration is beloved in every corner of the earth. That would be terrific. But it's actually not the important question here. The important question is: Are we using our time and doing the things that we believe are worthy of American power and influence to lead a stronger, better, more democratic and peaceful world? And I think we are. And some of them have not been popular. It has been difficult in Iraq. But I still believe that Saddam Hussein was a menace that would have made it impossible to have the different kind of Middle East that we need.
I know that it was - has not been popular to talk in the terms about war when we talk about terrorists. But I was in the bunker in the White House on September 11th. The terrorists didn't just try to terrorize us; they tired to take us down. They went after our financial center. They went after the Pentagon. They intended to go after the Capitol. And my first act that day was first to place a call to the Russians, and I talked to President Putin about the potential spiral of alerts as our military forces went up and Russian military forces might also start to alert. He already added, he said, "We're standing down," which said to me we're not in the Cold War anymore.
But the next call that I made was to ask the State Department to make sure that they got a cable out to every post in the world to say, "The United States of America has not been decapitated." Because I could imagine those pictures on television around the world. That was an act of war. And if we don't recognize that, then I think we don't mobilize all of the elements that we need.
But it's not a war that we can win militarily. And you have to chase down terrorists and you have to take away their strongholds and so forth. But ultimately, and it gets back to your question, we do have to win hearts and minds. That's ultimately the way that we do it. We have to convince people that there is a better way than dressing your children up as suicide bombers and sending them to kill other children. We have to convince people that there is a better way that is hopeful and that is peaceful and that is democratic. And that's the debate that we have to win. And frankly, our policies haven't always been popular.
But if I ask, what's unpopular about the quadrupling of foreign assistance for Africa that this Administration has done, the doubling of foreign assistance for Latin America, the tripling of foreign assistance worldwide, the now more than - the President asked for $30 billion to fight the pandemic of AIDS. If I look at some of the things that we've tried to do, including trying to advocate for democracy in places that do not have it, and the work that David and I both engage in trying to finally help the Israelis and the Palestinians end their conflict and to give the Palestinians a decent life in their own state - these people have had enough. They need their own state. I think we're pursuing some policies that perhaps people would think of in that way.
But the most important point that I would make is, whatever people think of the American (inaudible), they generally love Americans. And we are not, as the government, going to ever "improve" the image of America. What improves the image of America is when Americans travel abroad as students or when people come here to study as students, and they get to know that, in fact, we are a country that deeply values diversity, that is a tolerant country, and where people of all religions, faiths, ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, live together in a quite remarkable way. Because given how different we are, it's amazing how much this country has found to build on in common.
MR. DRUMMOND: Okay. Well, let me stay with the topic of terrorism for a moment. And I'd like to get from each of your self-assessments - self-assessments are something we like to do here at Google. (Laughter.) We do our - we grade ourselves about how well we're doing.
But almost seven years since 9/11. We're approaching the third anniversary of the 7/7 bombings in London. Can you give us your self-assessment, each of you, of how you've done, how your governments have done in combat - or stemming the tide of global terrorism?
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Thanks. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY RICE: After you, David.
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Very generous. That's what we call a "hospitable punt." (Laughter.) And I will - I think the first thing to say, and this maybe explains my caution on this, on the 7th of July, 2007, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police went onto the radio and gave an interview at ten past 8:00 talking about how safe Britain was and how well we'd done to ensure that since the 9th of - 11th of September, 2001, there would be no similar attacks.
MR. DRUMMOND: Right.
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: And one hour later -
MR. DRUMMOND: Yeah.
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: -- one hour and 20 minutes later, there was an attack. So I think there's more than the usual degree of political caution in this area. I mean, I don't think any government should ever give itself A+. I mean, that's just - I don't know about your self-assessments, but it seems to me -
MR. DRUMMOND: Mine are always A+. (Laughter.)
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Yours are always A+, yeah. (Laughter.) Is that 360-degree feedback as well that got an A+?
MR. DRUMMOND: That's another story. (Laughter)
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: So I think we've always got to have a real sense of humility. And what I'd say we've tried to do and what we've learned over the last few years, I think, is, one, we have a much better understanding of what we're up against. I don't think when people were talking about - I mean, we arrested someone in Birmingham in 2000 who was trying to blow up Birmingham in the UK. I don't think we really understood what we were up against.
And I think that we do understand it better, and some of the work that's been done in both of our countries about the nature of this global insurgency, I think, is very, very important. We've also learned, and I think this is really important, millions of people might disagree with our foreign policy. That doesn't mean they become terrorists. And I think we understand more about the process of radicalization that turns people from disagreement to violence than we did. And I think that is important.
Secondly, I think there is - we have better defenses. I don't think there's any question about that. And there's a range of overt and covert ways in which our defenses are stronger, which I think is good. In our own country, we have got a better dialogue with our own Muslim communities. And I think that is - I think that's important.
And the final thing I'd say, and I do think this is important, that Condi just talked about at the end -- is this question of peace in the Middle East. If there's one thing that actually animates the jihadist narrative, it is the claim that they are standing up for the Palestinians. And I -- actually, the people who are standing up for the Palestinians are the Palestinian leaders elected by the Palestinians, who are trying to negotiate their own state.
And I think that in a range of areas, above all, that one, we are taking away some of the props of a malign and untrue narrative. And I think that's a very important thing to do.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, in many ways for me, every day has been September 12th. You couldn't be in a position of authority on September 11th and not - and simply have it go away, even though it's been now seven years. And because I know that they only have to be right once and we have to be right 100 percent of the time, you're never going to hear me say that we've done well in shutting off this threat.
This is going to be a generational struggle. I think we've done good work in breaking up networks. The network as it attacked us on September 11th is probably all but done. But they have regenerated in other ways, and more decentralized ways. I think we have better intelligence and law enforcement sharing than we certainly had prior to September 11th. We've certainly made some improvements in our defenses. But it's a long struggle, because whatever it is that makes people decide that they're going to kill other innocent people, or kill innocent people, is - it has to come out of a well so deep that it's going to - a well of malignancy so deep that it's going to take a while to get to the bottom of it. And so I think we've got a long struggle. I think we've done some things well. I'm sure there are some that we've not done so well.
But I have a saying that I now use quite a lot, and I have a way that I keep it in my mind at the Department. I very often tell people -- these people who travel with me in the press will have heard it before -- that today's headlines are rarely the same as history's judgment. And if you don't think that's true, it helps to look at the portraits of two Secretaries of State that I keep very close to me. Everybody has Thomas Jefferson, first Secretary of State. Everybody has George Marshall, probably the greatest Secretary of State. But I also have Dean Acheson, who, at the time that he was in office, was probably known best for who lost China, and is now probably known best for having created the infrastructure of NATO and the post-Cold War -- of the post- World War II structures that led to, ultimately, the peaceful resolution of the Cold War on terms wholly and completely and thoroughly favorable to the West.
The other is Seward. Remember Seward's Icebox? I think we're now glad he bought Alaska -- (laughter) -- Seward's Folly. And so history has a long tail. And I think those assessments are best left to history.
MR. DRUMMOND: Great. Thank you. So let me transition a bit to a topic we actually were talking about a little earlier today and that I think many Googlers are very, very interested and this is the issue of internet censorship. As we discussed, you know, Google services have been subject to shutdowns, blocks, various forms of harassment and so forth in many countries around the world. It's not just a China issue, although it's often spoken about in terms of China. So as one of the executives here who spends a lot of time on this, this is my effort to - shameless effort to get some free advice from the two of you.
But for a multinational company like our internet company, you know, the internet has no borders. What advice do you have for us in terms of how to navigate, you know, the space between our values and the fact that, you know, many governments around the world are looking to regulate the internet, much more than before?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I do think this is a very serious issue. And, in fact, at the State Department, I formed a task force on internet freedom, because I believe very strongly that the internet is possibly one of the greatest tools for democratization and individual freedom that we've ever seen. And I know that there are a lot of governments across the world that are trying to block it, trying to regulate it, trying to make sure that people can't really use it to its full advantage. And they may have some minimal success, but they really won't be able to undermine its power. And so, I'm a major proponent of internet freedom.
I know there will always be some constraints for certain kinds of content that may not be appropriate. But I think, on balance, we ought to err on the side of greater internet freedom, not less.
That becomes particularly a problem in countries that may have different standards. And I what we've got to do - and I tend to believe that this is something that we - the governments are behind in understanding and discussing - is we do need to look at what kinds of norms might make sense. We talked a little bit upstairs about trying to find common cause with countries that have similar views of individual liberty, of free speech, and so forth, to try to lead a set of international norms that others might aspire to in the way that we have done on issues like corruption and bribery in financial affairs.
And it's something that I would very much like to go back and give a little bit more thought to. I think it's a really very important issue. And we have had this task force. And it is at - probably going to be at the core of whether or not people in pretty isolated and in many ways pretty tyrannical systems are going to have this opening. I noted, for instance, the Cuban Government just made a "reform" in which people are going to be able to have computers. Well, I would say, how about internet-capable computers. That's a very different world than just computers.
And so I would err on the side of freer rather than not. But you're right; it's something the international community really hasn't dealt with very effectively.
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I feel very, very strongly that we should be against censorship, whether internet or elsewhere. So, I mean, it's not just about the internet. There are particular issues raised by the internet about who is censoring and where are they censoring from and whose norms are you adhering to. I think we should have a very clear basis. I think it is - if you believe that there is such a thing as a global struggle for social justice, I think you've got to believe that the communications revolution holds out huge potential to bring people together. But also huge potential to fuel the drive for social justice, because people around the world can see that other people have got equal rights, they can see that they've got freedom of expression, they can see that they've got different living standards.
And if it's true that there are more bloggers per head of population in Iran than any other country in the world, that makes me optimistic about the future of Iran. Because there will be people there who are actually seeking to assert their rights and they want to be part of a global debate.
So I think we should look to see where best practice stands. We should make sure that those of us who are on the side of openness celebrate each other's position and encourage others to join. I mean, it's not for us to give advice to you, I don't think, but I think that through the sort of task force that Condi talked about, we can make sure that the public sector understands where the private is going and what its experience is.
MR. DRUMMOND: Okay. There are a few other topics I want to cover. But I know Googlers are eager to ask some questions, too. So let me try to cover these fairly quickly.
Energy policy, very important issue at Google; we, you know, have a huge interest in that, as I think you heard upstairs where - and outside. We recently launched an initiative we call RE < C, renewable energy cheaper than coal.
And so - and the first question, I guess, I'd ask each of you to address is, you know - and perhaps, Secretary Rice you can start - you know, there's been a lot of criticism about the U.S. not joining the Kyoto treaty and the treaty is up in a few years. But what kind of international framework do you think could get created that the U.S. would be able to participate in and really be a leader in terms of climate change?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the United States is participating in the framework that was launched at Bali.
MR. DRUMMOND: Right.
SECRETARY RICE: And we believe very strongly that an international framework can conceivably even an international long-range goal makes great sense, because we need to diminish our dependence on oil and carbon-based energy sources. We need to improve our capacity to provide energy through technological innovation, as well as conservation. And we need to do so while still permitting growth in economies.
Now, our problem with Kyoto had been that we didn't think the goals were achievable. And, indeed, an awful lot of countries that signed on to Kyoto have not made their target. But perhaps most importantly, China and India were not a part of that. And you can do everything that you want to to diminish or to cut back on carbon emission, to cut back on greenhouse gases from the developed world, if you don't do something about the rising demand of China and India, you're not going to solve the problem.
And so we started something called the Asia Pacific Partnership in which we, China, India, South Korea, Australia, and others have now joined, began to look at national plans and national ways of dealing with carbon intensivity of the economy. That has pulled China in. We now have something called the major economies program, which should link up with the Bali framework.
But we are firmly - we believe that climate change is a problem. We believe that it has to be addressed, including the human dimension of it. But it has got to include the developing countries;, not just the developed ones, the major emerging countries are a real problem.
And so we believe that by perhaps making technology available, we favor, for instance, the President favors, tariff-free trade in technologies that would be clean. We have a bio fuels partnership with Brazil which is ethanol, but sugar cane-based ethanol that the Brazilians produce. And it may surprise you that the sort of U.S. number for investment in this whole area is something about $50 billion. So we have been very active.
We do believe that one size will not fit all. The particular mix of energy and economic and - energy and economic profile, for instance, of the United States is simply different than other places in the world. We're sitting here in California. I was very interested to learn about the Google shuttle, because when I was provost at Stanford, one of the problems that we had was, people didn't have another way to get to work except in their cars. This is a huge country with huge transportation networks, an awful lot of our commerce is through trucking. We are going to have to mobilize a lot of different solutions to our energy problem. But it's not going to be the same set of solutions that you could do in the interior of continental Europe.
So that's our story. I believe very strongly that we've contributed to this. And I believe the UN framework will succeed ultimately.
MR. DRUMMOND: Foreign Secretary, your views?
FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I think this is the defining challenge for our generation. It defines our economic challenge, our social justice challenge, as well as our environmental challenge. And it's got big foreign policy implications.
And I would plead with you, if America really turns its mind to this, not just its government, because this is about business and this is about individuals as well, then you're going to change the game for everybody else.
And our experience - we're 2 percent of global emissions -- we signed the Kyoto protocol -- but significantly because of other decisions as well. We're on track to get a 22, 23 percent reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2010. And we've also - and in that period, I think the economy has grown by 16 - will have grown by 16 or 17 percent. So we believe that there is a way to combine low carbon with economic growth. And actually, job growth in our environmental sector is faster than any other part of the economy at the moment. And we're not the best European performers.
You asked how do we get an international deal. We'll get an international deal when every country bears its fair share of the climate change burden. And Condi's right, there does have to be a contribution from China, there does have to be a contribution from India. And I believe there will be if we ask them to make a contribution commensurate with their stage of economic development and their level of environmental pollution. But that does mean that the rich countries have got to take a lead.
And I think on that basis - and there have been - I think there is movement in the international community on this. On that basis, I think it is possible to get a deal. But it's going to have to be ambitious. Now, we're revising up the level of reductions that we're going to have to achieve. We're passing a climate change bill through the United Kingdom parliament at the moment to achieve at least a 60 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 on 1990 levels. That's not going to be enough, because the science has moved on since that target was set.
And I think that if we give business the clarity about the long-term trajectory of standards and regulation, then business will innovate within that frame. I think if business is confident that there will be price on carbon emissions, it will innovate to find low-carbon solutions. And part of that - the necessity for that comes through if you just look at the oil price at the moment. I mean, the oil price is where it is because of a mismatch of supply and demand. There are too many countries and too many people and too many businesses dependent on oil, so the oil price is going up. And we're all suffering. So there's an economic gain as well as an environmental gain.
SECRETARY RICE: David, you have, though, a very favorable energy mix, in part because you shut down a lot of your - and, you know, the French have a very favorable energy mix. They get some - 80 percent of it is their electrical generating power from nuclear. And so the energy mix of different countries is, in fact, not the same. And the particular problems that different countries face are not the same. I want to repeat, you know, you only have to go out on American highways and see trucking to realize how dependent we are on that for commercial activity.
The President set a goal of reducing our reliance on gasoline, on reducing our reliance on oil. And I actually think that the price signal that you're looking for has been picked up in industry. It's been picked up for a couple of reasons. First of all, because, you're right, the price of oil is giving people a pretty clear price signal. It's also the case that for the Silicon Valley, where venture capital is a major factor, price signal - once there's a price signal, it's almost too late. And so the technologies are being developed. And what we've done in the United States is to put a great deal of weight on technological development. It's why a couple of years ago we were spending about $5.8 billion a year in technologies related to climate change. It's why our greenhouse gas intensivity is coming down in the United States at the same time that our economy is growing.
So I agree with you, it's a very serious issue. But I do think we're going to be best off with an international - perhaps an international goal, but one that can (a) be met and (b) that will probably be met in very different ways by different countries. And I think the more proscriptive that we are about how these goals are to be met, the more difficulty we're going to have with the Chinas and the Indias of the world. China has to produce 25 million new jobs a year just to keep up with its population movement. It's not going to diminish its growth. We have to give them solutions that allow both growth and energy stewardship.
FOREIGN SECRETY MILIBAND: This is really good in foreign policy, because when foreign ministers say how much they agree with each other and then give commentaries on each other's questions, you can all see quite how much we agree with each other. (Laughter.) And the - so if I could provide a short commentary about how much I agree with what my - (laughter) - my distinguished colleague has said that the outcome is what matters. It's the overall greenhouse gas emissions, and different countries will do it in different ways. And actually, different businesses and different individuals will do it in different ways. Because in the end, it doesn't matter whether you reduce the surface transport emissions or your emissions from buildings or the emissions from aviation, as long as the overall emissions come down. And that's the importance of not having in the - sort of saying - prescribing from one centralized place of the world economy that this country will do this amount in this area. What counts if the overall envelope of emissions, and that's why the long-term goal is important.
In our experience, you need the combination of strong standards, and I think that what you were saying about petrol car efficiency standards --
SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, fuel standards -
FOREIGN SECRETY MILIBAND: -- that's very, very important. And you can apply that in housing and elsewhere so that, for example, in the UK, by 2016 every new house will have to be zero carbon. Now, it doesn't matter how they get to zero carbon, but it's got to be zero carbon.
But I do think that you're right to raise the Chinese question. It's an absolutely profound question. The decisions they're taking now about whether to invest in coal-fired power stations or coal-fired power stations with carbon capture and storage or other forms of energy generation are absolutely critical. And my visits to China suggests that they're ready to be serious about this, but they're looking for us to make sure we show a lead.
So that's how much I agree with you. (Laughter.)
MR. DRUMMOND: Great. Well, thank you. Well, in the interest of time, I think we should open it up for Googlers' questions. But - so as folks queue up to the microphone, one question, Foreign Secretary, I have to ask you, I know a little bit about your interest in sports so I have to ask you a less serious question but one that might show your prowess as a politician. There was a little football - soccer, for you Americans - match last night in Moscow involving two British - English teams playing for the European championship, Manchester United and Chelsea. Exciting game. Were you happy with the result?
FOREIGN SECRETY MILIBAND: My team is Arsenal, who were knocked out in the quarter finals, and so I - my interest was rather lost. I did a terrible thing on one of the radio stations of predicting the result, which, of course, in the end I predicted the result right. So Manchester United won. But the - my real sporting relief at the moment is that whenever Condi turns her mind to anything, she becomes brilliant at it. I mean, she's turned her mind to golf, and she was threatening to take me on to the - she offered to take me on to the golf course. I've never played golf, and I think, fortunately, we've been spared the golfing experience. Is that right?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes. We didn't have time, unfortunately.
FOREIGN SECRETY MILIBAND: We didn't have time to play - to play golf. I was - I congratulate Manchester United on the result, but I warned them that next year Arsenal will be back for revenge. (Laughter.)
MR. DRUMMOND: As another supporter, I'm in complete agreement. (Laughter.)
All right, first question to Larry (ph).
QUESTION: First, I want to thank you for coming to our little slice of paradise, and I hope I don't create any diplomatic incidents in pronouncing your names and titles.
I have a lot of questions, but I decided to focus on a comment that each of you made. In one case, the Right Honorable Miliband said that Britain's made a lot of mistakes, but we don't make them now. And Dr. Rice commented that it's too early to tell what's happening in history. And so what I was wondering about is when you're dealing with, basically, the creation of policy, to what extent do you look at not just the immediate but what the effects will be in five, fifty or, you know, several hundred years. And sort of on the other side is what have you found as both a researcher and as a politician that researchers don't understand or miss when they're looking at primary sources? Thanks.
SECRETARY RICE: Let me take the last question first about researchers. The biggest problem is that I've become convinced that very often the paper trail, which I was very dependent on as a researcher myself, only tells a little part of the story. Because what you don't have are the conversations that went on around it. You don't actually know whether that paper actually reached its destination, whether it had an effect on the principals for whom it was aimed or not. That's why oral histories are important.
And so as a researcher - or as Secretary, one thing that I resolved to try to do is to not to try to bring about my version, but rather to try to record later on, but before it's too late, some of the considerations that may not show up in the paperwork. It's just the nature of the way we do our business.
As to do you try to look out, yes, you do try to look out. But I think when you look out, you're best off to look out not at whether some particular decision is going to have the following effects in five or seven or ten or thirty years, because there's so many variables that you could never know. But we do know that a few things work. We know that when strong governments that are also democratic and capable come into being, even if that takes some time, they tend to be better global citizens, they tend to be better for their populations and they tend to be more responsible in international politics. And so when I'm thinking about this, I think how can I build well-governed democratic states for the future. That's the way that I think you think about the future in decisions that you're making.
FOREIGN SECRETY MILIBAND: One of your questions, your first point, of course, is really good. It was about tactics and strategy. And I think that the successful politicians are those who manage to get strategy right and then shape their tactics to the strategy, rather than get the tactics right and then try to reinvent the strategy. And there's this terrible saying that's inherited for British foreign secretaries, which is that Britain has no permanent alliances, it only has permanent interests. And I think that's just so wrong. That's a good example of a strategy that was completely wrong. We do have permanent alliances, and those are alliances that we need to keep and that we need to develop. And I think that's a good example of how you've got to remember who your friends are and make sure you stick by them. And I think that if you can get your strategy right, then the tactics fall into place, and that often, the interesting thing is, more often than people realize, that turns out to be good politics because, basically, the electorate know if you're doing something for the short term to pull the wool over their eyes. We've got to develop the political discourse, I think, for people to get away with that anymore.
MR. DRUMMOND: Okay, next question over here.
QUESTION: I'd like to ask each of you different flavors of the same question. Dr. Rice, if an American were held captive by a foreign power and was subjected to simulated drowning by water-boarding, would that shock your conscience? And then, would you consider that torture?
And for Secretary Miliband, I'm wondering to what extent has the United States willingness to use water-boarding created a strain between the U.S. and your government. (Applause.)
SECRETARY RICE: Let me start by simply saying that the United States has always and is always going to operate within our laws domestically and within our treaty obligations internationally.
The fact is that after September 11th, whatever was legal in the face of not just the attacks of September 11th but also the anthrax attacks that followed, we were in an environment in which saving America from the next attack was a paramount concern. But even in that environment, President Bush made it very clear that we were going to live up to our legal responsibilities at home and to our treaty obligations abroad.
Now, there has been a long evolution now of American policy about detainees and about interrogation techniques. We now have in place a set of laws that were not there in 2002 and 2003. It is what democracies do. It is a situation in which the Congress asserted itself concerning our practices in something called the Detainee Treatment Act. And so the ground is different now.
We've also had an opportunity to talk with our allies and our friends over this period of time about the challenges that we all face in a different kind of war and a different kind of environment. Because unlike the circumstances in law enforcement, when you are faced with the prospect that someone commits a crime and then you try and find out what happened and then you punish them for what they've done, the long pole in the tent in stopping the next terrorist attack is finding out before they do it.
We now know a great deal more about how al-Qaida operates, thanks to what we were able to learn from those early detainees. We now have networks that give us information much better than we did in 2002 and 2003. And these issues have evolved. They've evolved in the context of a democracy. They've evolved in the context of a constant debate about our values and what our values call us to do. And I think that we are in a different place now than we were, but I don't want anyone to believe that even when we were in that most difficult place that we failed to ask the question: Are we living up to our legal - to our laws and to our treaty obligations? We asked the question even then. But it is a different environment now than it was then, thank God.
QUESTION: So just to be clear, if you're --
SECRETARY RICE: I think I have been clear.
QUESTION: -- if you're saying that we've always followed the law and it's been acknowledged before Congress that we have water-boarded people, will you go on record to say that water-boarding is not torture?
SECRETARY RICE: I think I've answered your question.
MR. DRUMMOND: Let's have the next question. Thanks. (Applause.)
Or, David, did you want to address this?
FOREIGN SECRETY MILIBAND: I was going to say that the whole world rallied to America after the 11th of September 2001. I think the whole world recognizes that it posed a unique set of challenges to this country. The fact that there are differences in national law and national practice is public. But the important point I want to make is in respect to the last part of the question, differences in national law in practice and debate do not cause us to question the fundamental nature of our alliance. And I think that's an important message that goes out to you.
There's another important message I've been trying to give over the course of three or four days in the States, in New York and in Washington and in California, and I want to give it here as well. The world needs American leadership to solve the big problems that the world faces that we've been talking about. It needs the energy, the idealism, the entrepreneurialism that we see in this room. It needs American engagement.
And so as you debate how you go forward, I hope that you will retain a commitment to be engaged internationally and to show the leadership that is very, very important, because none of the big problems are going to get solved without you.
A friend of mine is over here at the moment in the States and he spent the last three weeks here. And he said something really important to me. He said he has discovered that America is the least cynical country on earth. And I think it's quite an important point to put over that people see that in you, and I hope that you will continue to be the least cynical nation on earth because it's very, very important for the rest of us.
MR. DRUMMOND: Great. Next question over here.
QUESTION: My question was what is Britain doing to stop Guantanamo? Are they pressuring the U.S.? Are they backing off? What is - what are the actions are - the principles there?
FOREIGN SECRETY MILIBAND: We've brought home our - all of our British citizens that were in Guantanamo, and three of the five residents, British residents who were in Guantanamo we've also brought home. We've requested the return of all of the people with British connections. That's what we're doing in a practical way to contribute to the joint pursuit of the closure of Guantanamo Bay.
SECRETARY RICE: And we would gladly, by the way, return citizens to their homes from Guantanamo, because President Bush has said he would like to see it closed.
FOREIGN SECRETY MILIBAND: All of ours are back.
SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, the problem - with Britain, we did not have a difficulty. But I'll tell you something. We have had problems with the return of people from Guantanamo and meeting them again on the battlefield, including one who was recently returned who ended up causing the loss of a lot of innocent life in northern Iraq. And so it's extremely important that when people are returned from Guantanamo that countries undertake to make sure that they are not going to return to the battlefield.
Guantanamo has been visited by all kinds of people, and there, too, a lot of changes have been made in Guantanamo to make it a place that respects the people who are there, respects their religious practices, even provides educational opportunities for some of them. But the hard fact is there are people in the world who would harm us if given the chance, and the President of the United States also has an obligation to make sure that he's doing everything to make certain that that doesn't happen, too.
MR. DRUMMOND: Okay, we've got time for just two questions, if they're very, very quick. So right here.
QUESTION: Secretary Rice, there has been a lot of talk about technology and what we can do with the use of technology to solve the energy problem, but there's been a recent sort of debate that's come up around lifestyle, our energy lifestyle, and how we have to evolve in our energy consumption lifestyle.
So two questions really quick. What do you think about the current bill that just passed in Congress, the energy initiative? And second thing, briefly, do you think that our energy lifestyles have to change in order to prevent the externalities when it comes to international terrorism or the way we deal with states that are energy producers?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, on the first, I'm not certain which bill you're talking about. Look, we do have to conserve better and we have to use less energy, as well as provide our energy supply from sources that are not carbon-based. We have to do all of those things. I do think that you'll see that very high prices tend to make a market response where people conserve more and use less. But it's not the ultimate answer. The ultimate answer is both to conserve and to provide more in the way of energy resources.
And yes, I do think that - I said once that oil - I'm watching oil cause all kinds of deformations in international politics. It is true that there are a number of countries with rich oil economies that are using those proceeds and using those excess profits, if you will, to feed terrorism, to fuel troubles, and to refuse to make certain democratic reforms, in some cases, that ought to be made. So yes, I think the price of oil is a problem for diplomacy. It's another reason to get off our addition to oil.
MR. DRUMMOND: Final question, right here.
QUESTION: Secretary Rice, you mentioned a few secretaries of state earlier and I would like to mention another, Madeleine Albright. She was here a few years ago in that chair, and she mentioned that she and you go way back because her father was a professor.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
QUESTION: But once you came out to her as a Republican, she says you only talk about shoes these days. (Laughter.) So my question is: What kind of shoes do you talk about? (Laughter.)
The real question is: What is your view of having friends with different political views? Do you keep friendships strictly separate from politics or sometimes you go across party lines to say, "Oh, I think you're doing these things wrong, your administration should be doing it this way."
SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, I don't have a political litmus test for my friends. I don't ask them, you know, "Which party do you belong to?" I, as a matter of fact, in the Bay area I'd have a lot fewer friends if I had a litmus test on party affiliation. (Laughter.)
So obviously, what matters is your friendship. But I can talk about politics with most of my friends, and we recognize that it's talking about policy. One of my very best friends, who is somebody that I jokingly say is kind of to the left of Lenin in her politics, and we seem to get along just fine.
I also tend in my work to seek out people who have very different political perspectives. I see Madeleine for dinner every once in a while, and we don't just talk about shoes. We actually talk about politics. I ask her about what she thinks. She tells me. She's not shy. And I find that very valuable, because you know, when I was a professor at Stanford, which I'll be again, I used to tell people that if you are only in the company of people who agree with you, then find other company. Because it is really stultifying to only be with people who constantly say "amen" to everything that you say. Honest debate and honest disagreement is extremely important not just to democracy, but extremely important to the development of good policy and of ways to go forward.
And so I tend to seek out people who don't agree in my work. It's kind of in the nature of an academic to do that. But it's been very helpful while being in Washington, too. And you have to remember two things. The first is that just because somebody disagrees with you doesn't mean that they just don't understand your argument; they might genuinely disagree. And secondly, they're unpatriotic because they disagree.
MR. DRUMMOND: (Inaudible.)
FOREIGN SECRETY MILIBAND: (Inaudible.) The toughest lesson I've learned in politics is that if you want to win an argument, you've got to address the best argument of your opponent, not the worst argument. It's very tempting in politics to make a debating point, and especially in our political system where we have the debating tradition where you're standing, you know, three feet opposite your conservative opposite number, there are, you know, 150 MPs on each side shouting at each other. The temptation is to actually make a debating point. But actually, you win the argument by taking on the toughest and best part of your opponent's argument, not the worst.
Secondly and finally, just a point about bipartisanship. I think that there are two versions of this. One version of bipartisanship is that the political class are a bunch of mates who have more in common with each other than they do with the people who elect them. That's dangerous. That is dangerous because then the political class is an elite that's out of touch and actually not able to serve the people.
The alternative version, which is where, if you like, some of the civilities of politics are remembered and where you do, in the way that Condi Rice has described, try to engage with people who you respect on the other side. And it would be ridiculous to say that there are no people on the other side of politics who you don't respect. You respect them because they are people of integrity, they've got serious arguments, but you disagree with them. And I think those sort of relationships are quite important, not least because, remember, you're always trying to hone your own argument so that you can nail them next time. (Laughter.) So it's important to keep up those relationships, hopefully in a way that Condi has described.
SECRETARY RICE: I have to say that, David, I actually take to watching question time sometimes and your debates in the Commons because even when I don't agree with someone who's making an argument, you make it in the most brilliant way. It's got to be that command of the English language and that accent, which I've decided gives the Brits an unfair advantage in everything that they do. (Laughter.)
MR. DRUMMOND: Well, with that, we'll have to close. Secretary Rice, Foreign Secretary Miliband, thanks so much for spending so much time with us. Please come back. (Applause.)
Released on May 24, 2008