Rice IV Janet Parshall's America on Salem Radio
Interview On Janet Parshall's America on Salem Radio
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
October 24, 2006
(4:15 p.m. EDT)
QUESTION: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, thank you so much for joining us.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much, Janet. It's nice to be with you.
QUESTION: You as well. There are so many questions I have to ask you, but first a wholly girl question. When you travel around the world, you look fantastic when you get off the plane. And I'm thinking no jet lag, no fatigue. How in the world, with all the places you go and all the time zones you go through, how do you maintain your health and how do you maintain all those things we women have to do that a man doesn't have to do?
SECRETARY RICE: That's right. Well, I make sure I have my makeup, like all women do. But the main thing for me is that I'm very -- I try to be very disciplined about exercise. All my life I have been physically fit. I used to be an athlete. And so I get up early in the morning and I make sure that I exercise, even when I'm on the road.
SECRETARY RICE: Even when I'm on the road. And that's the most important thing for me.
QUESTION: Excellent. Well, not only that, but then you have to have such a working background. And I'm not surprised, given your background in academia, but you have to know the nuances, the customs. In fact, there are many times when you'll get off a plane and I'll think she's about to step into a world that's very patriarchal. You represent the United States as a woman. Sometimes you even have to get beyond that before we get into the policy issues. That, in and of itself, must be a challenge.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think that around the world people are beginning to understand that women play very different roles in the United States. And I'm first and foremost when I go to places Secretary of State, and they respond to that.
But one of the things I've really loved now about going to places where perhaps women have not had very much of a role is that very often some of these leaders or foreign ministers will say, "Would you take a minute and meet my daughter," or, "Would you take a minute to talk with my mother? She really thinks highly of you." And these are places where women are veiled, where they don't meet males outside of their family. And I've really liked that because I think it maybe is a little glimmer of what these people think their daughters might be able to do, and that's been a real pleasure.
QUESTION: And not to add to what you said because you said it so beautifully, but with the idea that the President wants to spread, if I can use this phrase, a positive contagion, if we could fan the flames of freedom, as the President says so well, that freedom is not America's gift to the world, it's God's gift to mankind. When you go to a country that's still under Sharia law or doesn't understand that women can play a wonderful part in contributing to government, there you are, our Secretary of State, and who you are is a quiet, living example of that, isn't it?
SECRETARY RICE: It is. I think it's one reason that America has something special to say to the world. You know, we've had our challenges and I'm never shy about talking about how hard it was for this country to come to a democracy in which all of our people were fully represented. I remind people that my ancestors were slaves in the United States. But it shows that even if democracy is imperfect you can keep striving and you can keep striving and it's the best system because eventually people find their place in it, they find their rights in it.
And I find that when I talk to women in the Middle East, they'll say, "Well, do you really think that we're going there, I say, "Well, make sure your girls are educated, make sure your girls believe that they have limitless horizons, and they will." And I was really proud that, you know, the Kuwaiti women got the right to vote and they sent me a t-shirt and it said, "Half a democracy is no democracy at all." And I thought that's just great. That's terrific. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: It's excellent. There are so many things that this President believes in, particularly women's rights around the world. And I remember last year at the State Department you addressed a group of us on International Women's Day. Karen Hughes was there, the First Lady was there, and several representatives from the greater Middle East were there. And you talked about the need to open the door for education, that that really was an opportunity for women, that we needed to work as hard as we could to do that. Micro-grants, so from the home women could begin to learn how to take care of themselves. Things that we take for granted in the United States, like property rights. If a woman in the Middle East loses her husband, then what happens to her? She's viewed as chattel and literally thrown outside the city gates. This is all part of the foreign policy we're trying to develop.
SECRETARY RICE: This is all a part of the foreign policy because the President believes deep within himself that, as he calls it, the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. You know, there are just certain things that every human being should have. And every human being means also women. So the right to have a voice in who's going to govern you. The right to educate your children, both boys and girls. The right to say what you think.
And one of the cruelest things about the government in Afghanistan, the Taliban, was that they kept women from being educated. They didn't want women to learn how to read. Well, why? Because they know that if you can read you have a liberated mind. Nobody can stop you once you can read because you can go into a whole different world that people try to deny you. So they considered it a means of political power not to let women read.
And one of the first elements of our policy in Afghanistan was to really talk a lot about the fate of women in Afghanistan, and the First Lady had a major role in that along with Karen Hughes. It was awfully important that the world know what was happening to women in Afghanistan. And now girls are going to school and women are being educated and there are women in the parliament and it's a great story. Americans should be very proud of what we've produced there and what the Afghan people have produced there. And by doing that, we are also creating a more -- an environment in which people are going to have hope and which ultimately you're going to be able to beat these ideologies of hatred that are leading to terrorism and leading to our own insecurity.
QUESTION: Let me go to that point because it's such a crucial one. I remember when I was in Israel one year talking to at that point in time Colonel Miri Eisen. She was the chief spokesperson for the IDF and she talked about the five pillars of terrorism. And she said the one that's most difficult to dismantle is the pillar of ideology. When a baby is born in Gaza or a baby is born in Beirut, you don't say, "Congratulations, we've had a terrorist." You have to train that person to be a hater. Can government be effective? Because ultimately this is about the condition of the human heart.
SECRETARY RICE: It's about the condition of the human heart. But what government can do is to create conditions in which people behave like human beings. No mother, no mother, wants to have her child grow up to be a suicide bomber. A mother wants to grow up to have her child go off to a university and become a software engineer or a doctor or a lawyer. And so something is very wrong when young people who should be going off to make life better for other people are simply killing other innocent young people. Something is very wrong.
And that's why when the President talks about the Middle East, he doesn't just talk about the balance of power between states, he doesn't just talk about relations with our friends and allies; he talks about giving the people of the Middle East a different perspective, a hopeful perspective. For so many years, the United States in talking about the Middle East just talked about stability in the Middle East, didn't talk about hope and opportunity and democracy. And you know, I think we've paid for it in the Middle East because that absence of hope was underneath producing something pretty -- really very malignant, like al-Qaida.
SECRETARY RICE: Now you have people who recognize -- and it's hard, it's hard for these moderates -- that there is a better way and we have to support them. We have to support them in Lebanon with the government of somebody like Prime Minister Siniora. We have to support them in Iraq with the government of Prime Minister Maliki. We have to support them in the Palestinian territories with someone like Abu Mazen. Because that's going to make us safer. This democracy agenda is important because it's who we are, but it's also important because it helps keep us safe. We are always safer when democracy is on the march and we are always more vulnerable when democracy is in retreat.
QUESTION: Democracies don't attack other democracies.
SECRETARY RICE: Right.
QUESTION: That's what totalitarian regimes do. So let's go to Iraq because these are the questions you must be asked five million times today. Today, General Casey has his press conference in Baghdad. We've got a very clear watermark, 12 to 18 months. But isn't this exactly what the President has been saying all along; we will stand down when they stand up, slowly we are systematically getting the Iraqi forces to take care of themselves?
SECRETARY RICE: The President has been very clear that we want Iraqis to be responsible for their governance and responsible for their security. That's the way it should be. We're not an occupying power. We are a power that is there to help Iraqis be able to manage their own affairs. But it's a very young government and it's a young government in a place that has settled its political affairs by violence and repression for decades. Now we have an opportunity to help them build a government that will settle differences by politics instead.
I know that when the American people see some of these terrible images on their television screens or in their newspapers it must seem really hard to believe that there is progress being made in Iraq. But it's a lot easier to show just the violence than it is to show the quiet process of building political institutions, the local governments that are springing up, the universities that are more full today than they've been in Iraq in years. Those are the images that are harder to show, and the American people should know that that's also happening in Iraq.
QUESTION: Exactly. Well, the Deputy Prime Minister was speaking with Tony Blair today in London and he made that point. He said seven out of eight of the provinces will be taken care of by Iraqis by the end of the year. That's progress. But unfortunately, for far too many Americans, we are getting the bad side of the story, not the positive.
Talk to me about North Korea for a bit. You have been very persuasive in your point that when those people out there that are saying, "We just need to sit down and talk," you've said we've issued that invitation on multiple occasions.
SECRETARY RICE: That's right. There's this myth that we won't talk to the North Koreans.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, the Assistant Secretary for East Asian Affairs who works for me and is our chief negotiator in the six-party talks to deal with the denuclearization of North Korea has had dinner with his North Korean counterpart two or three times. So of course we'll talk to the North Koreans. But what we won't do is get into a situation where we negotiate just us and the North Koreans because I can assure you that we will go back to what happened in the '90s, that we negotiated a deal, the North Koreans broke it, nobody felt responsible for it except the United States. Now when North Korea does something like test a nuclear weapon, it's China's policy that North Korea is violating, it's Japan's policy, it's South Korea's policy, it's Russia's policy and it's the U.S. policy.
SECRETARY RICE: And so immediately you have a coalition of countries that have a stake in making North Korea live up to its responsibilities. So the President has been very wise in building this coalition of states that has this responsibility, and just talking to the North Koreans U.S. to North Korea is not going to get it resolved.
QUESTION: Exactly. It sort of flies in the face of the accusation that we're "going it alone," doesn't it?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, sometimes we're too multilateral, sometimes we're too unilateral. We can't seem to get it right. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: One last question because I will be inundated with e-mails if I don't ask you. The last time we were together, we all know your love for academia. Any chance you'll run for the White House? (Laughter.)
SECRETARY RICE: I'll tell you, I'm really -- I'm going to be really happy after what I hope will have been eight years of trying to help this visionary President really establish a better foundation for a new struggle to go back and talk about it to a lot of students at Stanford.
QUESTION: Oh, why do I think they'll be standing in line to get into the classroom. Dr. Rice, please know how admired you are and how much you're prayed for by so many people in this country. You'll probably never know that completely, but truly you are a hero to so many of us.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you so much and I appreciate the prayers. It's the most important thing people can do.
QUESTION: Exactly. Thank you so much.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you.