Powell IV on The WSJ Report with Maria Bartiromo
Interview on The Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo
Secretary Colin L. Powell
November 13, 2004
(4:30 p.m. EST)
MS. BARTIROMO: Welcome to the program. Perhaps not before in our lifetime have world affairs had such a direct and visceral impact on the lives of Americans and American business in general. I'm at the State Department for this special edition of Wall Street Journal Report and I'm joined by Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Mr. Secretary, thank you for being with us.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you for being here.
MS. BARTIROMO: Let me begin with the death of Yasser Arafat. On Friday, the President made a comment about the impact this may have on U.S. foreign policy. I'd like to ask you about that. Let's listen to what the President said. He said: "I think it's fair to say that I believe we have got a great chance to establish a Palestinian state and intend to use the next four years to spend the capital of the U.S. on such a state. I believe it is in the best interests of the world that a truly free state develop."
How exactly will the U.S. spend that capital?
SECRETARY POWELL: This is the position the President has had for the last two years, since he gave his speech in June of 2002, and that is he is dedicated, committed, wants to see brought into being a Palestinian state.
How to go about it: We need responsible leadership on the Palestinian side. Chairman Arafat carried the hopes and dreams of the Palestinian people and now he is gone. I know the Palestinian people mourn for him, but tomorrow a new leadership will have to decide how they will organize themselves, get ready for elections.
And what we're looking for is for the new Palestinian leadership to clamp down on terrorism, speak out against terrorism, and to use their security forces to go after those who commit acts of terror. And we're also expecting the Israeli side to go forward with their disengagement plan from Gaza and some of the settlements in the West Bank, and for the two of them to start working with each other.
And the United States is prepared to assist, to assist in helping them with their political dialogue, to assist in bringing up security forces that are competent in Gaza to take over the disengagement, to assist in getting us into the roadmap with the Quartet. We remain fully committed to the roadmap.
And what the President said is he is going to expend his political capital if he sees that there are responsible partners on both sides ready to move forward. And he has done this before. He did it last year when we went to Aqaba. Unfortunately, we didn't get the kind of results we hoped for. Now, perhaps, there is a new opportunity with new Palestinian leadership.
MS. BARTIROMO: So are you comfortable with the leadership that is being put in place right now? Are you going to take a more active role in the peace process?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, I am in touch with all of these leaders, as is the President. Now, they have to have an election for a new president in the Palestinian Authority. We'll have to see how that goes and we're hoping that that goes smoothly and we're in touch with the Israelis so that they can be of assistance in making sure the Palestinian people do get the opportunity to move freely and to participate in this vote. But I know Prime Minister Qurei, I know former Prime Minister and now Chief of the Executive Committee of the PLO Abu Mazen. We know these gentlemen well, and I hope to be able to see them in the very near future to discuss what their plans are and how to move forward.
MS. BARTIROMO: America's involvement in the Middle East has already cost, some estimates say, $150 billion just from the war in Iraq. How much more money is the U.S. willing to spend?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we can't answer that question, how much more money is needed, and the U.S. will not be the only source of it. The European Union stands ready to provide money. The international financial community, the World Bank and the IMF, stand ready to provide money.
And so there is a considerable amount of money available to help the Palestinian people put in place a solid security system. The Arab world also is prepared to help, help to put in place a solid security system, help rebuild their economy, which is in tatters right now.
And so I'm not worried about finding enough funds for this, but people will only put funds into democratic institutions and into a governmental organization that looks like it is prepared to use the money for the right purposes.
MS. BARTIROMO: Let's move on to Fallujah. We're in the middle of a new offensive there. Hopefully, elections will happen at the end of January in Iraq. Put it into context, perspective for us, for our viewers. What does 2005 hold?
SECRETARY POWELL: January of 2005, the end of January of 2005, holds the promise of free elections for the Iraqi people so they can select a transitional assembly and a transitional government from that assembly to take them through full elections at the end of 2005. But there are still terrorists and former elements of the old Saddam Hussein regime who don't want that to happen. They don't want to see the Iraqi people select their own leaders, and they will go to the streets and blow up innocent civilians with car bombs, and take on the coalition, or more than that, take on their own police forces, car bombs that kill dozens of Iraqi policemen -- who want to do what? Protect their people, bring security to the neighborhoods of Iraqi cities and towns.
What we have to do is to defeat these terrorists and defeat these insurgents. That's exactly what Prime Minister Allawi is committed to, and the coalition is going to work with him to do that.
Fallujah was the hot spot where the insurgents had taken over. Our troops, working with Iraqi troops and other coalition troops, are now clearing out Fallujah, and hopefully we can put in place Iraqi civilian governments and Iraqi police to make sure that Fallujah does not fall back into the hands of the insurgents.
MS. BARTIROMO: Kofi Annan wrote a letter to this Administration and Tony Blair and Prime Minister Allawi warning that going into Fallujah was wrong. He wrote, "The threat or actual use of force not only risks deepening the sense of alienation of certain communities, but would also reinforce perceptions among the Iraqi population of a continued military occupation."
Has Kofi Annan been constructive?
SECRETARY POWELL: I respectfully disagree with that assessment, and I told the Secretary General that on two occasions, because what he's essentially saying is that we are the cause of the problem. Wrong. It is the insurgents and the terrorists who are the cause of the problem. What authority do they have to take over a city like Fallujah, declare it their own, ignore the legitimate authority, murder civilians and murder authorities, murder police officers, and essentially try to intimidate the entire population?
Now, the Secretary General was suggesting in his letter that we should reach out to individuals and see if we could not find a political settlement. Prime Minister Allawi did that. He reached out, and he could not find those who could really deliver, who could get the insurgents to lay down their arms and stop fighting legitimate authority and stop committing terrorist acts. And sooner or later, you reach a point where you have to take action if you are a government, and that's what Prime Minister Allawi did, and he's done it with great courage.
MS. BARTIROMO: Has the UN been effective? Assess the UN during these difficult times.
SECRETARY POWELL: During these difficult times, the UN has been using its humanitarian resources to help us generate resources that the Iraqi people need. The UN does have in place now in Iraq officials who will work with the electoral system, the electoral commission of Iraq. It's the Iraqis who will be holding their own election. And Secretary General Annan agreed last week to increase the number of election officials, UN officials that will be in the country working with the Iraqis. On this issue, though, we had a disagreement with respect to the letter.
MS. BARTIROMO: Mr. Secretary, we'll take a break. Much more to come with Secretary of State Colin Powell.
MS. BARTIROMO: Welcome back to the program and I'm back now with Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Mr. Secretary, one issue which does not seem to be going away is this issue of the possibility of a draft. The President has said many times there will not be a draft. Can you categorically tell us today there will be no draft?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, it's not the Secretary of State's responsibility, but from everything I have heard, from what the President has said, what the Secretary of Defense has said, and my knowledge of the military personnel system, there is no need for a draft. The volunteer Army is a superb army, and by Army I mean Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps as well. I have been in a draft Army and I've also been in an all-volunteer Army in the course of my career. It's never been better than the volunteer Army we have now, and if we needed to increase the size of the Army it's clear that the capacity is there on a voluntary basis to increase the size of the Army if that is determined to be needed. So there's no need for a draft.
MS. BARTIROMO: Certainly the group of people who have really been paying the price for this war have been our soldiers on the front lines. We had Ben Stein, who is a supporter of yours, supporter of the Administration and a supporter of the war, on the program recently, and he was upset about what we -- at the way we compensate our soldiers.
Do you think that we pay them appropriately?
SECRETARY POWELL: Can you ever pay a soldier enough for putting his or her life at risk and perhaps losing his or her life? Can you ever compensate a family adequately for that kind of sacrifice? Not really. But we do a pretty good job. We have benefits available for our soldiers in case they are injured or lost in battle, and with respect to their salaries, it's a volunteer force so what we have to do is go out into the marketplace and recruit people and we have to pay them a salary that will cause them to volunteer to come into the Army. We're in a market system with respect to our military, and so the entry level salaries are competitive with what they might get in a similar capacity -- not quite identical but similar capacity -- in civilian life.
And the fact of the matter is we're meeting our recruiting goals and we meet our reenlistment goals, so we are paying a wage that allows us to do that. Is it adequate? Would I like to see soldiers get paid more? All the time.
MS. BARTIROMO: Mr. Secretary, you told the Financial Times newspaper that the President has a mandate to continue pursuing a "aggressive foreign policy," and while it would be multilateral in nature, the U.S. would act alone if necessary.
Do you worry that a comment like that, number one, may hurt or at least strain relationships around the world and, number two, may impact American businesses negatively trying to operate abroad?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, I don't. I just -- the way you were trying to characterize my comment might, but aggressive doesn't mean hostile. Aggressive means that we are taking our value system and our belief in democracy out to the world. And we're going to stick with it. We're going to push for the expansion of our alliances, as we pushed for the expansion of NATO and we supported the expansion of the European Union. We're going to work aggressively with our friends, for example, in the EU, as we support the EU-3 as it tries to do something about the Iranian nuclear program. We're going to work actively and aggressively with our friends in Asia to do something about the North Korean program. Not unilaterally and attacking anyone, but working with partners. Aggressive doesn't mean we're going to invade somebody.
And if you look at what the United States has done, what have we done? Who have we invaded? In the case of Afghanistan, we counterattacked a group of people, al-Qaida, hosted by the Taliban, that attacked us.
And then, in the case of Iraq, it was a very disputed action that we took, but with a willing coalition we went into Iraq, and we went into it because Iraq had violated UN resolutions over and over and over. In the Sudan, we're working with the international community. In Liberia, we helped the international community, the African community, ECOWAS, deal with a tyrant in the form of Charles Taylor. In Haiti, we acted but with members of the international community, France, Canada and others.
So if you really look at the balance sheet, you will find that this President, President Bush, for the last four years and for the next four years, has aggressively used multilateralism and aggressively used the international community to deal with the challenges we face. Now, what we can't do is continue to see a challenge and then look the other way because we're afraid to act. We will not be afraid to act.
MS. BARTIROMO: What about the challenge of nuclear proliferation? What is the Administration doing about North Korea and Iran?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, look what we have done. We have denuclearized Libya. Working with the United Kingdom, Libya has given up all of its nuclear components, its biological and chemical activities, and it has essentially sanitized itself to the satisfaction of the international community.
We're working with the international community to do something about Iran. We're working with the Security Council, we're working with the IAEA and we're working with the EU-3 representing the European Union.
In the case of North Korea, what are we doing? We're working with all of North Korea's neighbors. And it's kind of curious that when we work multilaterally, in a multilateral way like that, we're often said -- we're often challenged, well, why don't you do something about this? Why don't you just do something about North Korea?
Well, wait a minute, you can't have it both ways. You can't say we're not multilateral and then, when it takes time using a multilateral system to solve the problem, criticize us for not being unilateral and dealing with it in the way that you would object to if we do it that way. And so it's one of the little dilemmas that I face on a daily basis.
MS. BARTIROMO: When dealing with Iran, is it -- does it make things easier that we have 140,000 troops right next door in Iraq?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we have 140,000 troops right next door in Iraq because of the situation in Iraq. We are not getting ready to invade Iran. We have no intention of regime change. That is our policy: no regime change. It is up to the Iranian people to decide what they are going to do with respect to their future and how they are going to be led.
We don't approve of this regime. This regime takes actions that we don't find acceptable in the 21st century world. But what we are focusing on right now is Iran's activities with respect to developing a nuclear capability, a weapon, and Iraq's* continuing support of terrorist organizations. It seems to me that every civilized nation in Europe and the United Nations and everywhere else ought to be concerned that Iran is moving in the direction of acquiring nuclear weapons technology and does continue to support terrorist activity. And if the United States is aggressively, in diplomatic and political terms, bringing this to the attention of the international community, that's what we're supposed to do.
And this is a good example. When we came into office, we said to the world that we have information about what Iran was doing and it ought to concern all of you. The initial reaction was, oh, you're overreacting. You're just -- you're just sort of throwing your weight around. But over time, people did realize that the Iranians were moving in this direction. And if it hadn't been for us aggressively bringing this problem to the attention of the international community, we wouldn't be as far along as we are now.
The problem has not been solved, but a heat lamp and a spotlight has been put on Iranian activities, making it harder for Iran to ignore the attention of the international community. That's the kind of aggressive foreign policy I was talking about, not invading.
MS. BARTIROMO: The big question for a lot of people wondering, if you have a fire in your belly for another four years as Secretary of State?
SECRETARY POWELL: I've always had fire in my belly for whatever I did.
MS. BARTIROMO: Are you planning to announce imminently that you're stepping down, sir.
SECRETARY POWELL: Whenever something is to be announced, it will be announced, and it is a matter for the President and I to discuss and decide.
MS. BARTIROMO: Let me ask you a bit about China. You and the President are headed there on an important trip to the Asia and Pacific countries next week. We have a large trade imbalance with virtually all of Asia, particularly I really want to hit on China, though. What points will you be making to the Chinese to try to improve that?
SECRETARY POWELL: We have said to the Chinese, and I was in China just a couple of weeks ago, that we're pleased that we have such a strong economic relationship with them. We'd rather be competing with them in the world of economics than in other kinds of worlds, and we see China as an important trading partner. But we need them to buy more of our products and they have significantly increased their imports from the United States over the past year, by a factor of a couple. And so they're doing more to purchase from us. We want to see them do even more. We want them to protect property rights, intellectual property rights. This is a major issue that we have with them.
And so we know that the Chinese are sensitive to this trade imbalance and they're doing more to buy more from us, and we expect them to do even more. They also say they help us a great deal by their direct investment in the United States, so to some extent that offsets it to a degree. But we have a good relationship with China. I would submit it's the best relationship that the United States has had with China in over 30 years. And the important manner in which we've crafted this relationship doesn't rest on a cliché or a slogan. When we agree about things, we talk about that agreement. When we disagree about things, such as proliferating companies or entities in China or human rights problems in China, when we feel a problem with China, we bring it to their attention and we talk to China about it, as two mature nations dealing with each other in a mature fashion.
MS. BARTIROMO: But, most people expect China's power, influence and economy to only get larger over time. Should the U.S. be taking a more cautious stance?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we are both cautious and open. We are watching what they do. We watch their military improvements and modernization and we improve and modernize our forces. We're more interested in what their attitudes are with respect to their neighbors and are they working with their neighbors to deal with regional problems.
I have found the Chinese leadership over the last three or four years that I've been Secretary of State to be very helpful as we worked our way through problems on the subcontinent, the challenge that we faced two years ago between India and Pakistan. I found China to play a helpful role in the resolution of that problem. China is playing a very helpful role in the resolution of the problem with North Korea. It's China that's been hosting these six-party talks and playing a leadership as well as a hosting role.
So what we want to do is engage China, watch how they develop in the future, watch it with caution, but not with fear; watch it for the purpose of moving along with China and not trying to contain China. China is an important country. It's going to be a more important country and it's going to have needs. It's going to have huge energy needs that we're now just starting to see manifested in the international oil markets. It's going to have huge needs for investment. There are still a billion people out there who are not yet benefiting in the miracle that we see in the eastern part of China along the coast.
And so there are many things we can do together with China, watching them with caution but at the same time not with fear, looking at them as a partner, looking at them as a country with whom we have friendly relations in the economic area, and we can do more and more working with them and our other regional allies -- Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia -- to make sure that Asia remains a stable, safe place. There are no wars going on in that part of the world right now. We have problems in North Korea. We have problems in Burma. Otherwise, we have relative stability in Asia and in the Pacific region and we want to keep it that way.
MS. BARTIROMO: Mr. Secretary, thank you for joining us. We appreciate it. Secretary of State Colin Powell. We'll be right back. Sit tight.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you.
Released on November 13, 2004