Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Powell Remarks With Dutch Youth on Twee Vandaag

Powell Remarks With Dutch Youth on Twee Vandaag

Remarks With Dutch Youth on "Twee Vandaag" With Host Jelle Visser

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Koninklijke Schouwburg Theater
The Hague, the Netherlands
December 10, 2004

MR. VISSER: Welcome everybody, here in The Hague. He was born 67 years ago in New York City. He studied geology, joined the army and look at him now. He became the youngest National Security Advisor ever in the history of the United States. He became the youngest Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ever in the history of the United States, and as we all know, of course, we remember him during the Gulf War in 1991. He became the first black Secretary of State and according to diplomatic sources, you are the nicest guy in the State Department.


Well, we'll find out. In January he will retire as Secretary of State and focus his attention on his family and Swedish cars. Give him a warm welcome: the Secretary of State, Mr. Colin Powell.

What's with the Swedish cars?

SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, I have an affection for old Volvos and so one of my hobbies is to repair them. And I always have a couple of old cars laying around in my garage or in my back yard. I have a few now waiting for me.

MR. VISSER: The floor is yours.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much. Thank you for that kind introduction. It's a great pleasure to be with you all. I like talking to young people when I am traveling around and I did it a couple of days ago in Sofia and I've done it in Berlin and so many other places: Sarajevo, the Middle East and elsewhere. And I'm pleased to have the opportunity now with a group of young people here in The Hague.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

The reason I like to do it is because as was mentioned, I'm 67 years old and so I'm getting ready to retire from the State Department and do other things in my life. I'm not ready to just go sit on the porch and do nothing, but the reality of it is that you are the leaders that are coming along. You are replacing those of my generation and you are growing up in quite a different time than the time in which I grew up when I was your age.

When I was your age there was a Cold War. We all understood what the nature of the enemy was: it was that awful Soviet Union on the other side of the Iron Curtain. It was just a few years after World War II, Korea had to be faced and it was a different time, it was a dangerous time. But now you, as you get ready to start out in life, there is no Cold War, there is no enemy like the Soviet Union. You are living in a Europe that is increasingly whole, free and at peace. It is meeting challenges that are really not here in Europe, but they are elsewhere. They are in Afghanistan, they are in Iraq, they are in perhaps some small sections of Europe, like in Bosnia. But for the most part, is a Europe that is whole, free and at peace.

Things have happened in the last ten years that were unimaginable when I was your age: NATO; freedom breaking out in places where people would not be denied any longer--like in the Ukraine, as you saw earlier this week, in Georgia, last November--when people want democracy. So, you have grown up to this point in your life in a new world where democracy is the dominant political system--nothing competing against it. And people say, "well you know, there's still some Communist countries out there, but not really." Democracy, meaning the rule of law, meaning the rights of individual men and women, is a predominant political system and it is not being seriously competed against by fascism or communism or any of those old "isms."

So, it's a new world for you--a world where people will be focusing more on trade and economic development. The world that still has danger in it. There is the danger of terrorism. You saw that brought home very vividly here recently, and you saw the consequences of people who have that kind of hate in their hearts that they would go after somebody, a prominent individual who they disagreed with, and take out their anger in the form of a vicious murder. Those are the kinds of problems we are dealing with. Drugs are the kinds of problems we are dealing with.

So, you are facing new challenges, but there are some constants between the life I lived at your age and what you are doing now and where you are in your life. And those constants are democracy as the defining political system. Another constant is the need for young people to be ready to lead and prepare themselves to lead by getting your education, by making sure you are preparing yourself by being interested in what's happening around you, being interested in politics, being interested in policy. And as you all are planning what you are going to do with your lives I'm going to be a doctor, I'm going to be a lawyer, I'm going to be a foreign minister, I'm going to be a prime minister, I'm going to be rich this is good.

Always remember that part of your life has to be service. Part of your life has to be giving back to this wonderful society, which has given you so much, and the world, which has given you so much. So, as you make your plans, as you get your skills, get your education and start to move out in life, have ambition to be successful, have ambition to get the means to live comfortably in life, make sure you are prepared to raise good strong families when the time comes. But, above all, make sure that part of your life is dedicated to giving to others. Giving to others in your community, just by taking care of those who are needy or participating in political life one way or another, public life in one way or another, because democracies only work if people within those democracies, the citizens of the democracy, are committed to democracy and help make it work and help improve it.

Democracies are always moving forward, always solving problems. My nation did not start out as a pure democracy. It had the right documents the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution but those were dreams for, say, a black person, such as myself back then. But, we forever were fixing and adjusting and working our way through problems so that we are the kind of democracy we are now. Democracy needs nurturing, needs taking care of and there are people throughout the world, in Afghanistan and Iraq and Bosnia and elsewhere, who need the help of nations such as the Netherlands and the United States. Your country has been playing such an important role in the world stage. You're not a large country but it's playing a very large role. And it's playing it not because it's just part of NATO or it's a partner of the United States, you're doing it because your values tell you to do it. You are in Afghanistan because your government and your people believe that it is your responsibility to help the Afghan people elect a government that is free and fair and open. You are in Iraq because your government believes that it was the right thing to do to help the Iraqi people through these difficult times. Same reason you are in the Balkans.

So, the Netherlands is playing an important role on the world stage and you should be proud of what your troops are doing around the world. You should be very proud of the active political role that your government has been playing as Presidency of the European Union for the six months that are about to come to an end. And I am so proud to call the Dutch people friends of mine, and your leaders friends of mine. I'm so pleased that there is such a good relationship between the United States and the Netherlands.

And so be prepared to be leaders, be prepared to step out and keep this proud tradition of service alive and I wish you every success in life.

Now, the rules we have for this session is that I've now finished my little speech and we will go to your questions, but I reserve the right to ask you a question. I don't see why I should just sit here and get pounded with questions when I can ask you a question. And it's more fun for me to hear what you want to say rather than you read me your prepared questions. So, we'll see how this goes, but be ready. I may ask you a question. Who wants to get it started? The gentleman in the rear?


QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, thank you for taking the time to talk to the students. Let's start at the heart of the matter. Why did the Bush administration go to war without the UN Resolution, knowing it would deteriorate the European diplomatic relations with some countries, and with the report of Hans Blix who did not find chemical weapons. And on a further note, do you still think it is a good decision to go to war with Iraq without a U.N. Resolution having information that the intelligence services of the United States of America made mistakes with regards to information they had with the chemical weapons?

SECRETARY POWELL: We went to war after years of Saddam Hussein violating UN Resolutions. We went to war after the UN had passed unanimously Resolution 1441, that followed on President Bush's speech to the Security Council in the fall, September 2002, where he said this man, this regime has been violating all of your directives for years. What should we do about it? And he called for a resolution. That resolution was passed seven weeks later unanimously, everybody.

Then there was a period of time when Hans Blix and Mohammed El Baradei and others were making their inspections and we were not satisfied that we were getting straight answers out of the Iraqis. We gave Saddam Hussein a test at the very beginning of that resolution: give us a full declaration in thirty days of everything, that you answer all the questions that have been there for 12 years. And we got a false declaration. Nobody says that declaration was accurate. And so, we were concerned that if we didn't deal with it now, we wouldn't deal with it ever and Saddam Hussein would be free to practice whatever he wished to practice with respect to aggression against his neighbors or weapons of mass destruction.

It was controversial because there were those who thought we should have waited even longer and let the inspections continue. We believed that we had run out of time on this and it was necessary to act. We acted on the basis of the intelligence information we had that said, "this is a nation and this is history who have gassed people."

I've been to the town in Northern Iraq where, on a spring morning in 1988, Saddam Hussein gassed his own people and killed, one morning, 5000 people. I've been to the cemetery, I've seen the graves, I've hugged the family members of these 5000 victims. This is also a man who used chemical weapons against his Iranian enemies and neighbors, so there's no question that he had a record of doing this and would do it. He'd done it. Secondly, he didn't answer questions about what happened to the botulinum, what happened to the other materials you had. Third, he had forced the UN inspectors out five years earlier, so there was five years of lack of knowledge. There was no question he had the intention to have such weapons and he had the capability of having such weapons.

We also believed that he had stockpiles of such weapons, chemical weapons, particularly biological weapons. So, all things taken together, President Bush decided, along with a number of other leaders, many of them European leaders, that it was the correct thing to do and we undertook military operations. Saddam Hussein is now sitting in a jail and we have not found the stockpiles, but everything else I said with respect to intention and capability we have found it is there. There is no question in our mind. But, we don't see any stockpiles. I cannot answer the question why aren't they there, why weren't they there. And the intelligence community will have to figure out where they made their mistake.

But when I presented the information and when that information was presented to our Congress and the international community, we were confident of the information. It turns out not to have been correct, so far--no evidence of stockpiles. Be that as it may, where we are now is that we don't have to worry about weapons of mass destruction. They are not going to be coming out of Iraq ever again. Instead we have to worry about giving the Iraqi people the opportunity to have a free, fair, open election. That's what we are trying to do the 30th of [January].

Now, some people romanticize about these insurgents. They are murderers; they set off car bombs; they kill innocent people; they kill police officers going to work. Why are they doing it? Because they don't want elections. They want to go back to the past. They want a tyrant back in charge.

It's not going to happen and I'm pleased that a coalition of willing nations have come together to put a military force on the ground to keep this from happening. I'm proud that there are brave Iraqis in government who get up every morning, knowing that they could be assassinated by these murderers and go out and do the job. What's the job? Let's take our country to elections so that we can have a democracy here, just like they have in the United States, just like they are creating in Afghanistan, just like they have in the Netherlands. Why should they be denied that opportunity by murderers and thugs?

So, we are still committed and I am confident that in time we will be successful, that Iraq should be a place that does not harbor terrorists, murderers or weapons of mass destruction capability. We will have an elected government, a constitution, and when that happens and when they are able to protect themselves with their own security forces, the coalition can come home having done its job. We don't think it was a mistake.

QUESTION: What do you think of the relations of the U.S. with Europe now? And, also do you see any changes happening when Rice takes over? And, what's your position on the plans for a common European defense force and defense strategy?

SECRETARY POWELL: On the second part of your question, and then I'll back into the earlier part, we have always been supportive of European integration. For as long as I've been in public service at a senior level, which is roughly 20 years, I've supported every effort that has come along for Europe to be more integrated, whether it has to do with their currency or a European security and defense policy. It's good and it has not caused us any problems as it has evolved. We always wanted to make sure that it was consistent with NATO, so that there was no conflict between what the EU is doing and what NATO is doing. And we have demonstrated that we can do that by the way we have transferred responsibility in Bosnia.

With respect to U.S. relations with Europe, we had a major disagreement with some European nations last year over Iraq and I know that there is a negative view of our actions throughout European public opinion in all countries. But we are trying to get over that disagreement by coming together as we did at NATO yesterday and I hope it will be the result of my conference here with the European Union Troika today. I hope we'll get over this so that we can get on with the task of helping the Iraqi people and not continue to argue what happened last year.

Dr. Rice is a well-known European specialist and the important thing to remember is that it is President Bush's foreign policy that is being executed, not Colin Powell or Condi Rice's foreign policy, and President Bush is committed to a strong relationship with Europe, which is why I'm here this week and why he will be here in February.

Ok, one of the ladies please. Yes Ma'am. What are you studying?

QUESTION: I'm studying international law.

SECRETARY POWELL: A lawyer? What do you want to do with that?

QUESTION: I don't know yet, but maybe I want to be a lawyer.

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I hope so.

QUESTION: The fact that Mr. Arafat died. Do you think it is an opportunity or could it make the peace process more difficult?

SECRETARY POWELL: No I think it is an opportunity. Mr. Arafat we felt strongly was an obstacle to peace and the Israeli government no longer saw him as a partner, and so he is gone. He carried the hopes and dreams of the Palestinian people, as they saw it, but now he's gone. And what we have to do is to do everything possible so that the Palestinians have a free, fair, good election on the ninth of January and elect a new president. And as you have seen in recent weeks, the Israelis are responding to this opportunity. They have said they will help the Palestinians have access to the people and access to their community so they can have this election. And as you see, Mr. Sharon continues to be committed to his disengagement plan. And so I think we have a new opportunity for peace here. We will be talking about it in my meetings here today. And it's one of the reasons I went to the region immediately after Chairman Arafat's death- to talk to both the Israeli side and the Palestinian side -and I think there is a new opportunity here. Good luck with the law.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY POWELL: Any other lawyers? How many want to be lawyers? How many want to be foreign ministers? (Laughter) How many want to be prime minister? How many want to be in television work or show business? (Laughter) All of you wish to be foreign ministers are going to be in show business. Okay? (Laughter) Yes, Sir?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, why do you think that Muslims are often involved in major world conflicts?

SECRETARY POWELL: I wouldn't say that Muslims are involved .

QUESTION: extremist Muslims .

SECRETARY POWELL: or even extremist Muslims. I think what you have are people who are disenchanted with what they see, and they don't believe there is a peaceful way or a political way to resolve the problems that they see. And they take extreme action. Not all terrorist acts are performed by members of a particular group or another group. Terrorism is something that fuels people who simply will not accept peaceful or political ways to resolve a situation because they may not live in such a society or system, or they just may not accept that kind of society or system. Terrorism of all forms has to be defeated.

In the case of the Muslim world, there are . First let me begin with that Islam is a religion of peace, it's a religion of reconciliation. And we must never characterize all Muslims as holding the view. And as you said, there are extremists in every religion who use religion as an excuse for their evil acts. In the Muslim world there is disenchantment. There is concern that there isn't perhaps enough reform and modernization of the Muslim world. And to some extent, they point fingers and blame at the West and at the United States. And therefore we sometimes become the manifestation of all their anger, and they attack us, as they did on 9/11.

And so what we have to do is to continue to demonstrate to the world that the United States and all of the industrialized nations who tend to be targets for this kind of action- or developing nations that are on a democratic path, who also are targets for this kind of action, for example Indonesia, Bali and a developed nation, Russia, Beslan, you see these sorts of terrible things, what happened here.

We have to just continue to press people with the reality that the United States and the industrialized world G8, NATO, EU are interested in democracy, peace, and fighting poverty, and fighting disease, and creating conditions in all of these countries where people can feel that their political system is going to take care of them, is going to respond to their needs and their aspirations and their desires. And when people believe that they are in a system that deals with those aspirations and desires, then I think they want to participate in such a system. But unfortunately, as we have seen in the course of history, there will always be individuals who will not accept that under any set of circumstances and will commit these kinds of acts, which is why it is so important to work closely together on intelligence exchange, on law enforcement exchange. And we have to be united in the fight against terrorism, terrorism in all forms, from whatever corner of the world it emerges.

QUESTION: Thank you.

SECRETARY POWELL: You're welcome. Let's see. This young man here? What are you going to do?

QUESTION: I'm in the third class squadron. My question was what do you think that could be done about the conflict in North Korea because, from what I understood a diplomatic way to solve the conflict in North Korea is very hard, and what do you think could be done about it?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, fortunately, at the moment there really isn't a conflict, but there certainly is a difficult situation with this regime that is very hard to deal with. It is unlike any other country on the face of the earth right now, with an old Stalinist government in place. And our concern about North Korea is that it has a very large military force, something it really can't afford, the people are starving in order to sustain this military, but it is a dangerous military force on the northern boundary of South Korea, one of our allies.

But our greatest concern about North Korea is that we have every reason to believe that they are developing nuclear weapons, and they may have some nuclear weapons. We believe they have some numbers, a small number. And what we are trying to do is persuade North Koreans that it is in their interest to give up this nuclear weapons program because one, we won't be intimidated by it, we won't be threatened or be afraid of this program and it does nothing for them. They are developing weapons in a capability that they dare not ever use, and as a result, they are denying themselves the opportunities that are there for economic aid, for assistance for the world helping them with the problems they have.

The United States approach to this has been to work with our friends in the Pacific Region - with Russia, with China, with South Korea, with Japan, the United States and with North Korea - in a six-party framework to try to resolve this issue. All six parties, to include North Korea, acknowledge that the denuclearization is the right answer. Even North Korea is ready to get rid of its nuclear weapons, it says, but it wants certain things, it thinks we are hostile toward it and wants to make sure we are not hostile toward it. We are not. We have no reason or desire to invade North Korea. and they want economic assistance. So we are in a very difficult negotiation with a difficult regime.

But take note of the fact that the United States is doing this diplomatically. We are often accused of being unilateral just go off and do what we want to do, that's the American style- but here's a case where we are being patient, we are taking our time, we're using diplomacy and we're using politics, and we are working with five other nations to solve this problem. I hope it will be solved without a conflict.

Let's see. Where haven't I gone yet? This young lady. This young lady. No, no, the young lady. No no no. Hello? I want to know what she's going to do. You are going to join the army or what?


SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know, I'm asking.

QUESTION: Well, I might, no.

SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah! (Laughter)

QUESTION: I was thinking, as we all know, some day Fidel Castro will die. Has the U.S. already thought about what it will do to help Cuba get a democracy? Will you do anything?

SECRETARY POWELL: Sure. (Laughter) We have been giving it a great deal of thought. We had a study done earlier this year- I was chairman of a commission - and the commission looked at ways to make sure that we weren't sustaining improperly this regime. The last regime in our hemisphere that is not democratic. And we did more than just look at ways to make sure we weren't improperly sustaining this regime. We spent most of our time thinking about what happens when Mr. Castro passes on, and there is an opportunity for change, and the Cuban people have the opportunity to speak out and decide they may wish to move in a different way. And we have put together a number of ideas and plans that we stand ready to help Cuba at that time. As you know, there is a very significant Cuban population in the United States, especially in Florida, that is anxious for that day to arrive when they can once again help their friends and families in Cuba and bring Cuba into the democratic fold. It's the only nation of all the nations in the Western hemisphere that is not a democracy.

Way over here, yes?

QUESTION: I would like

SECRETARY POWELL: come on, you know the drill, what are you going to do? [Laughter]

QUESTION: I just finished international law.

SECRETARY POWELL: International law? Like her?


SECRETARY POWELL: should form a company. You really want to be a lawyer or that's just what you are going to getting started with?

QUESTION: Maybe started with and then international politics or something like that.

SECRETARY POWELL: Everybody wants to be a politician [Laughter].

QUESTION: I would like to know your thoughts on the position of Iran, and whether you believe there is a chance of a peaceful change in the regime, and if not, the position of the USA on this? And whether you find that China would be an obstacle in this process?

SECRETARY POWELL: China, with respect to Iran?

QUESTION: If the U.S. decides or the EC or the international community decides to act, whether China could form an obstacle due to its high investments over there.

SECRETARY POWELL: U.S. policy is not to advocate regime change in Iran. I've studied this a lot. I met with the Iranian foreign minister a few weeks ago in Egypt; we had a good talk. And what we talked about was the fact that they have a young population. Every year more and more people need jobs in Iran. I think the young people of Iran will be putting pressure over time on the government to allow them greater freedom within their country and greater freedom with respect to interaction with other countries. So I think things will move in Iran, notwithstanding the desire of the hard-line conservatives to not lose control.

The issue that is before the world right now, that we're spending so much time on, is Iran's nuclear program. The United States has believed for some time that Iran is pursuing a nuclear development program, not just for power, but to develop a weapon. And the evidence is that, one, they don't need nuclear power, they're sitting on all this oil. OK, well, they want to save their oil and have nuclear power, OK, be their choice. But they've been hiding parts of their program, they've been denying parts of their program that, when we discover, they say "oh, we forgot to tell you about that."

And therefore we have been putting a lot of pressure on Iran. Some people think we have been putting too much pressure on Iran. But we have countries like Iran, with that kind of leadership, in that part of the world, that you believe is developing a nuclear weapon, it's time to tell someone about that. And we have told the IAEA and we have told our European friends. We would have referred the matter to the Security Council already, but working with our European friends, we watched as the European Union designated three of their members the United Kingdom, France and Germany to work with the Iranians and to come up with a solution to this problem, and they have. Working with the Iranians over a period of a year, they have come up with this agreement that was recently entered into where Iran agrees to suspend all of its enrichment and conversion activities. That's a step forward. That's good. But it's only a suspension. When you suspend something that means you can unsuspend it. And we'd rather see it terminated or brought under total control. There are still a lot of unanswered questions.

So we're working with the European Union. It's better, we think, for the European Union to have the lead with respect to this kind of discussion. We have a tougher position saying let's take it to the Security Council now because we don't think this problem will be solved as quickly as it should. We're also working with the IAEA. At this point, the IAEA board of governors, thirty-five countries, believes it is not yet time to refer it to the Security Council. Let's keep working it with the European Union Three, with the IAEA making inspections. That isn't the outcome we would have desired, we would have rather seen it go to the Security Council. But consensus it what works in the IAEA, so we have gone along with the consensus. It's a multilateral approach to a problem. And I hope that eventually the problem will be solved when Iran realizes that it would be better off with full disclosure -whatever they're doing -and assure the international community that whatever they're doing cannot possibly lead to a nuclear weapon. That's all we ask. Let's see.

MR. VISSER: We have time for one more question, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY POWELL: Go away. (Laughter)

MR. VISSER: Fine with me, shoot.

SECRETARY POWELL: The gentleman with the brown scarf. What are you going to do?

QUESTION: I'm not yet sure whether I want to study law or medicine...

SECRETARY POWELL: that's quite a QUESTION: Yeah. [Laughter] What I would like to know is whether you think the foreign policy of the U.S. has made the world or the U.S. itself a safer place, let's say in the last four years? And if so, would you be able to give examples?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah. We haven't, fortunately, been hit again since 9/11. We've adopted a variety of policies with respect to law enforcement exchange. We've created a Department of Homeland Security. We have tightened some of our procedures for the issuance of visas, which has slowed down visas significantly, but I hope to get that speeded up again as we bring our data systems online and our exchange of intelligent systems online because we want people to come to the United States, We treasure travelers coming to the United States, but we have to know who's coming and what they're coming for and we have to have some solid information on who's in the country. That's not unreasonable and so we're going to put those systems in place and then encourage people come to Disneyland, come to our schools, come to our hospitals, just come to America and see us. Get to know us better. But we have to protect ourselves, at the same time, and remain a welcoming open society. And so in that regard, we're safer.

We're safer I think, because two terrible regimes are gone. The Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which was the host to those who struck us on 9/11. I mean literally a terrorist organization, al Qaeda, had taken over a government, the Taliban, and that's gone. So I think we're safer. Osama bin Laden is still out there, but he doesn't have a country of his own like he used to. And he is being chased down, where he is, alive or dead, he is being chased along the Afghan-Pakistan border. and the world is after him. Now, we've also got rid of another regime and Saddam Hussein. That was also a dangerous regime and it had the capability of making weapons of mass destruction, which could have gotten into the hands of terrorists. And maybe some people would believe that no, he never would have done that. We weren't prepared to take that risk, not after 9/ 11. And so that regime is gone.

We still see terrorist incidents. But it is getting harder, I think, for the terrorists because of the level of cooperation that exists between the United States. and the EU and nations of Asia. What we're doing with respect to proliferation security, intercepting terrorists who are in transit, intercepting materials that could be used for terrorist strikes. All of this I think has made the world a safer place. Does it mean the world is safe? No. Does it mean that there are people out there right now, today, plotting to do something bad somewhere? Yes. But we've got to stay with it, we've got to keep at it. And the world will get safer, but it will never be entirely safe. Not as long as there are people who give up on the world and decide that they will commit a terrorist act. And sometimes it occurs in the most bizarre way. You can't believe what happens. I mean in the United Stats, in Oklahoma City, an American who, you know, just lost all his bearings became totally disenchanted with our system, blew up our federal building and killed a large number of people. So terrorism is not just something that happens in, from a Muslim origin. In the case of Oklahoma City, it was an American, who had been a soldier, had served his nation and gave up on his nation, committed this terrible act. And so you never know what form it might come in and that's why it is so important for all of us to work together to defeat this scourge. Now, he is right, I do have to go

MR. VISSER: Last question. What are your plans for the future?

SECRETARY POWELL: No, no, go away. [Laughter] We'll get to you...


QUESTION: I was wondering why hasn't the United States ratified the Kyoto Protocol? And what are the United States own ideas on the environment and improving it?

SECRETARY POWELL: We didn't think the Kyoto Protocol was the best way to approach the problem of global warming. And we thought that its impact on our economy would be so severe that we had the worst of both worlds. Not only were we not dealing with the problem, but it would have had terrible impact on our economy. We've seen no reason in the last four years to change our opinion.

However, we are doing a walk that is not part of the Kyoto Protocol. We are investing a large amount of money in technologies that will reduce emissions. We're taking actions with our industries and our energy sector. We put in place a new energy plan which we are trying to get ratified by our Congress. And so the United States understands the problem fully, although there's disagreement about the science of global warming, there's no question that it's taking place, and all of use have an obligation to do something. And so the United States is doing a great deal in respect to technology and other things I touched on. Hybrid cars are becoming quite a popular thing in the United States as a way of cutting emissions. And we will continue to pursue this, and we're probably putting more money into this effort than any other nation or combination of nations. We just didn't think Kyoto was the right solution for us, but we recognize the problem, and we're doing everything we can to work on the problem.


QUESTION: Yes. The plans for the future. We know of course you are going to spend some time with your family and the Volvos. What else? Are you going to write another book? "My Journeys with George?" That's a nice title.

SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah. (Laughter)

QUESTION: you've heard that before?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yeah. I'm going to relax for a while. My family, I'll spend a little more time with my grandchildren. My children are all adults, but I want to spend some more time with my sixteen and ten- year old grandsons.

And I will be active, I'm stepping down from this job, but I'm not retiring from life. So, I will find things to do in the private sector, and I also expect to have a public part of my life Where I'll be speaking of the issues of the day and have the opportunity to express my opinions from time to time.

And as I did when I retired from the Army, I will be spending some time with youth programs. A major effort that I made after I retired from the army was to work on youth programs in the United States, and I formed a foundation called America's Promise At the request of all living American presidents. We created that foundation, and my wife now runs that foundation helping young people. The reason I'm going to linger on this a minute goes back to the point I made earlier about serving. When I left the Army, after 35 years, I started traveling around the country more widely, the country I love. I love America, I love what we stand for. But, I kept seeing so many young people in our country and adults in our country who were not yet living the American dream. They were in need, in desperate need. And the government had a role to play. But I discovered that there were so many other people in American with resources. People with means, companies with means who could help these people, that we created this foundation as a way of connecting those were doing well in the society with those who were not yet doing well in the society, and for them to share the benefits of the society with those who had not yet benefited and to bring America closer together. And so it's a wonderful volunteer program where we mentor young people, we give internships to young people and do lots of things for young people to serve them, and that's the kind of attitude and spirit I was trying to convey to you earlier that should be a part of your life- whether you become a lawyer, a doctor, a soldier, or what have you- It must be an important part of your life.

Now I really do have to go because Foreign Minister Bot will be mad with me, but you look like you're really having trouble here .

QUESTION: How are you going to start "Iraq's Promise" for the Iraqi

SECRETARY POWELL: It's a great idea, and I'm sure we will get something like that started. We have a number of similar programs around the world. We started one in Canada. We started a couple in Asia and right on. I will mention it to my wife.

QUESTION: How was working with George W. Bush?

SECRETARY POWELL: How was working? Terrific. I have known Mr. Bush for a number of years. I have known his family for many, many years. And it's been my privilege to serve my nation for another four years, bringing my service to military and diplomatic service to almost forty years. And the privilege to serve my nation for another four years to serve President Bush for another four years. Thank you. Bye, bye, everybody.



Released on December 10, 2004

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.