Condoleezza Rice Interview With Sean Hannity
Interview With Sean Hannity
October 24, 2006
(4:00 p.m. EST)
MR. HANNITY: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is with us. How are you?
SECRETARY RICE: I'm doing great, Sean. Nice to be with you.
MR. HANNITY: We love having you as always.
SECRETARY RICE: Thanks. Always good to be with you, too.
MR. HANNITY: I know that was the most dramatic thing I think we learned, you know, when you were on 60 Minutes is that you -- not only you are a concert pianist but you also like Led Zeppelin.
SECRETARY RICE: I have eclectic tastes in music, Sean. They run the whole gamut. So if you ask about it, I probably like that kind of music.
MR. HANNITY: So you get up at 4:30 in the morning and you're working out and you're rocking out to Stairway to Heaven?
SECRETARY RICE: Absolutely. Or something from Led Zeppelin.
MR. HANNITY: Or something.
SECRETARY RICE: That's right.
MR. HANNITY: And what are the other bands you like? Don't tell me you like the Grateful Dead next.
SECRETARY RICE: Oh no. Actually, I have, as I said, very eclectic -- do you remember the Gap Band?
MR. HANNITY: Yeah, I do.
SECRETARY RICE: I like the Gap Band quite a lot.
MR. HANNITY: Right.
SECRETARY RICE: I like Three Dog Night, Cream --
MR. HANNITY: Oh do you really? CCR I think you said, right?
SECRETARY RICE: Right.
MR. HANNITY: Okay.
SECRETARY RICE: So a lot of different kinds of music. And I love, you know, rhythm and blues. And everybody loves Motown, right?
MR. HANNITY: I like Motown a lot. I do. So, you know, I hate to say it, I was actually dancing in discotheques when I was 17 years old and in a pathetic three-piece suit.
All right. It's always good to see you. Look, you have been traveling the globe quite a bit --
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
MR. HANNITY: -- and you just got back from what, a five-nation tour?
SECRETARY RICE: I did. I was in four nations, five days.
MR. HANNITY: Four nations, five days.
SECRETARY RICE: I went to -- first to Japan because in the wake of the North Korean nuclear test it was really important to affirm that the United States will defend Japan in accordance with our defense obligations there.
I then went on to South Korea to do the same thing. I was then in Beijing and in Moscow. And in all those capitals, there is a very clear seriousness about the North Korean problem, very clear dedication and commitment to fully implementing Resolution 1718, which was the resolution that the Security Council passed after the North Korean nuclear test, that requires cutting off trade in goods that might help the North Korean nuclear program, but also cutting off, for instance, luxury goods because that regime sits there and receives luxury goods while its people starve. And so this is a very good resolution. That China backed it was really -- that's a headline.
MR. HANNITY: I think it is an improvement because, I guess, there has been some reluctance, somewhat mysterious reluctance, resistance on the part of the Chinese and the Russians to really back a resolution against Kim Jong-il. But now we have missile testing, we have nuclear testing going on, and now we're really -- there's been a lot of talk about the rearming of Japan or the nuclear arming of Japan or missile defense systems put up in Japan or Taiwan and South Korea.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
MR. HANNITY: Is that the issue that got their attention the most?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think the list that you've just reeled off just shows what kind of instability you could bring to this region by a North Korean nuclear weapon.
MR. HANNITY: Sure.
SECRETARY RICE: And it has gotten everybody's attention. Now Japan said very clearly that it has no intention of going nuclear and relies on the U.S. nuclear umbrella. I just want to note, too, that the President three years ago realized that in order to manage the North Korean nuclear problem, a problem that's been going for decades, we have to have a regional coalition. This isn't something the United States was going to be able to do alone. And Sean, that has been proven to be exactly the right policy, because that's why you have China and Russia voting for this Chapter 7 very serious resolution, because they are not invested in this. They are a part of this coalition that's managing the North Korean nuclear problem. It's not just the United States and North Korea, which is the way North Korea would like it.
MR. HANNITY: That's what they would have liked from the very beginning and we've insisted, no, there's going to be a number of nations as part of the talks.
I want to just ask, he's now threatening, Kim Jong-il, a third -- three more nuclear tests. You know, what will we do?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think you would see stronger reaction. He'd isolate himself even more. But apparently he is saying he wouldn't do anything immediately and he'll wait to see how the international system evolves. I think he probably realizes that if he tests again, he's just going to isolate himself more. This is not going to help his case.
MR. HANNITY: Kim Jong-il -- as we go forward here, do you see a scenario under which the Chinese will absolutely back the United States because they fear of the arming of these other nations?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, it's in the Chinese interest not to have a nuclear North Korea and all the instability that it would set off. And so the Chinese have been very supportive. But it is -- the really good thing about this is this is not just America's policy; this is China's policy, too.
MR. HANNITY: Yeah.
SECRETARY RICE: And that's really what we spent the last three years building and it's paying off now.
MR. HANNITY: Isn't one of the great fears that if we have a nuclear-armed North Korea, that they would align with somebody like Ahmadi-Nejad that could align potentially with some terror organization and this proliferation of nuclear weapons literally would be out of control very quickly?
SECRETARY RICE: Yes, we're very worried about the transfer or the trafficking in dangerous nuclear materials or even in a nuclear weapon. And the President made very clear on the day of the North Korean test that North Korea would be held accountable if it is found trafficking in these materials with another state or with a non-state actor like a terrorist. That is one reason that the resolution provides for monitoring or inspection of cargo for making sure that the cargoes that transiting for regular trade are not carrying dangerous materials.
MR. HANNITY: Let's talk a little bit about Ahmadi-Nejad. We know his continued threats. We know his actions, his defiance before the world community. What do you see happening there in the future? Is this somebody that we're just going to have to wait it out until the regime ultimately is changed? We see the shifting demographics in Iran that seem quite favorable towards a more democratic future.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the Iranian people certainly deserve better. This is a great culture and a great people. And I don't think I've heard language like you hear from Ahmadi-Nejad really ever from a head of state. You're hearing him talk about Israel not just not having a right to exist but really ought to be wiped off the face of the map and things like this. And so I think what we have to do is we have to really manage to get the international system to take very seriously the Iranian threat. I think people do now take the nuclear threat seriously. But it's not just the nuclear threat, and we're dealing with that in the UN. I think we'll have a Security Council resolution with sanctions against Iran in the next few weeks. But we also have to look at what Iran is doing in terms of terrorism, support for organizations like Hezbollah, for the really terrible situation in the south of Iraq where they are stimulating some of this violence, and we have to respond to that, too. And I'm finding that Iran doesn't have many friends in the Middle East because they are really considered a destabilizing force. So there's a ready coalition of states there, too, to check Iran's behavior.
MR. HANNITY: You think of some of the world reaction to the President's use of the word "axis of evil," and then you see how events have been unfolding in the last six years --
SECRETARY RICE: It was a pretty good analysis, wasn't it?
MR. HANNITY: Pretty good analysis, wasn't it?
SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, it really was.
MR. HANNITY: And even to this date people criticize the President for that. Do you think -- I asked you this the last time we were together because you're an expert, your background is in Soviet affairs and the Cold War, and you've studies this and you've been involved in this --
SECRETARY RICE: Sean, if you keep saying that you're going to make me sound old.
SECRETARY RICE: The Soviet Union collapsed a while ago.
MR. HANNITY: No, no, but this is your area of expertise. And you know, it was very interesting, I see some analogies, similarity in the way that Reagan confronted the old "Evil Empire," the way he built up the military, the way he was confrontational, he wouldn't take a bad deal at Reykjavik, he said "tear down this wall," etcetera. I see a lot of similarities in the way the President is confronting evil in his time and now this new evil of terrorism. Do you see the analogies?
SECRETARY RICE: Absolutely. There are some forces that they're just evil. There's no way to negotiate with them. There's no way to accommodate them. And that's really what the President's saying about terrorism. We're at the beginning of a big historical transition.
Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush were at the end of a big historical transformation. It took 50 years to get to the place that the Soviet Union was weakened internally from just the competition with a much superior model to the West, where years of American policy of sustaining democratic allies, of challenging the Soviet Union worldwide finally led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. And I was here the last time and it was a great heady exercise to be there when Germany unified, when Eastern Europe was liberated.
We're at the beginning of a transition this time, and we have to be strong. It's going to be tough. It's going to be very rocky and turbulent, but it is more than worth doing. Because if we're going to defeat this ideology of hatred, we're going to have to be tougher and more resolute than they are.
MR. HANNITY: I want to talk about that because I think this is the perfect analogy. President Reagan, Vice President Bush who were at the end of the Cold War. This is the beginning of a new war. The President has spoken at length about that. We have a hundred and what 45 days a new government has been formed in Iraq or somewhere thereabouts. It's really just the beginning. And you see the patience of the American people. We're almost polled daily about, you know, how the war is going. Do you think we are impatient of our expectations -- almost been set way too high? And do they -- do we need a readjustment mentally?
SECRETARY RICE: I think sometimes it's hard to step back and see the big historical forces that are at work here. When you're talking about the emergence of an Iraq that is going to resolve -- where Iraqis are going to resolve their differences by politics rather than by violence or repression, which they've done for the entire existence, when you talk about democratic values beginning to spread in the Middle East, when you talk about challenging states like Syria and Iran, it's not going to happen easily, and it's not going to happen quickly. And we have to have the resolve to hang in there with these democratic and moderate forces so that they can take a foothold in the Middle East. Because without them, we're going to --
MR. HANNITY: But that takes a lot of patience. And --
SECRETARY RICE: It does take patience.
MR. HANNITY: And yet we're now also -- every move we make is going to be beholden to a political cycle, and we have a very important one in two weeks.
SECRETARY RICE: We do. But it -- I think what the President keep saying, and he says it privately and he says it publicly, he is not here to be concerned about his legacy or his polls or -- he's here because the President of the United States has to stand for values and principles, and the President of the United States has to stand for a better future. As long as we keep our eye on that, as long as we don't become so impatient that we are -- refuse to finish the job, there are going to be generations that thank America and thank this President for having the right vision for the Middle East.
MR. HANNITY: You're really talking or asking the American people to look at this from a historical perspective. And there's probably a likelihood, and tell me if I'm wrong, that we may not accomplish this victory in this war on terror in our lifetime even.
SECRETARY RICE: President Bush on September 20th, when he spoke to the Joint Session of Congress after September 11th in 2001, said that. He said that it may be -- it may not be on my watch, and it certainly won't be on my watch -- that's what Presidents of the United States have to do, they have to be able to see out beyond their own current interests, the daily news headlines. And frankly, you know, every day people want to know what has the American President done for world peace today? Well, you have to build over time, and if you build over time, you stay true to your values, you stay true to your allies, then America is able to lead the great transformations as we led, for instance, with the Cold War.
Sean, I've had people say to me, well, you know, maybe you just don't want to see how bad things are. And I ask -- or you don't want to see that there's no good outcome here. And I say to people, you know, if you had -- if I told you in 1957 or 1977 or 1987 that a super power with one -- with 5 million men under arms, 30,000 nuclear weapons, occupying 12 different time zones was going to collapse peacefully and you would have a free -- a whole and free Europe, a unified Germany, part of NATO, on Western terms now serving in Afghanistan, you would have said what are you talking about, you've got to be out of your mind.
MR. HANNITY: It's a great point. That's a great point. You know, a lot of your new role as Secretary of State is you play a diplomatic role and you're sort of threading this needle all the time dealing with different countries, their specific interests that they have. Is it -- there's a political world that exists internally in this country sometimes seems -- can you imagine five years after 9/11 the things that you've heard prominent opposition party members saying about the President, the Commander in Chief while we're at war, while troops are in harms way? You've heard the rhetoric. Your thoughts on that --
SECRETARY RICE: Well, --
MR. HANNITY: -- to the extent that you can answer it.
SECRETARY RICE: No, no, you know, it's our democratic system and people are going to say what they want to say.
MR. HANNITY: But don't we cross lines here?
SECRETARY RICE: The only thing that I would ask is that when people are speaking that they be responsible about what they're saying. Criticism is fair. People who don't think that the war was the right war, that's fair. People who think that we've conducted the war in a bad way, that's fair. That -- the President of the United States didn't mislead the American people. He told the American people why we were going to war. We knew that Saddam Hussein was a threat to international peace and security. All kinds of people had said it. We knew it would be a difficult struggle. We know the war on terrorism is going to take time. And so I think responsibility means that we debate the policies but we don't impugn each other's integrity and suggest that somehow the President is trying to hide something from the American people.
MR. HANNITY: All right. I -- you know what, I can't come up with a new way to ask my favorite question, all right, so I'm not going to ask you. So what is your plans beyond -- it's not -- you want NFL Commissioner.
SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, I lost that --
MR. HANNITY: Well, it may come up --
SECRETARY RICE: It came up a little early. It came up a little early.
MR. HANNITY: It's possible it may become available again one day. You have no intention of running for President?
SECRETARY RICE: No.
MR. HANNITY: Never?
SECRETARY RICE: No.
MR. HANNITY: Under any -- no, I'm kidding. Well, we love having you. I know you must be tired. You've been doing a lot of traveling lately. It's always fun to be with you, and you're always very gracious with your time. And God speed in your very important mission for the future of the country.
SECRETARY RICE: Thanks very much, Sean. It was great to be with you and with your listeners.