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11 March 2004

U.S. Needs New Energy in Public Diplomacy Campaign, Rice Says

Rice identifies Middle East as top priority for U.S. public diplomacy

The United States must put new energy into its public diplomacy, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said March 8, adding "we, unfortunately, I think have not paid as much attention after the end of the Cold War to the effort to get the story out."

People want to hear the truth, Rice said as she responded to questions about the Bush administration's foreign policy following a speech she delivered March 8 at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, "They know that in the Middle East, that this is a region of the world in which the 22 countries of the Arab world do not have the combined GDP [gross domestic product] of Spain."

"They know that the unwillingness to fully integrate women into the country's life is holding these countries back," she said. "These are things that are known. And it is, therefore, not an imposition of American views. These are universal values that people want to be able to say what they think. These are things that are universal. And so we have to talk about them, and we are looking for different platforms from which to do that.

"We also have two new Middle East broadcast venues -- one television, satellite television; another, Radio Sawa), which has been very popular in the Middle East. And so it's really important to get the message out," Rice said.

The national security advisor also addressed the need for universities and civic society groups to establish personal connections in the Middle East. The United States needs to foster those private relationships in "in places like the Middle East because I think there's a hunger for that contact, and it shouldn't all come through the United States government," Rice stated.

Rice cited the administration's efforts to combat terrorism around the world, "Because while we're taking down their leadership, we've also denied them Afghanistan, which was their home base. We've denied them Iraq, which was a supporter of terrorism and a weapons-of-mass-destruction state. Libya has come on the other side. Sudan and countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are fighting much more fiercely in the war on terrorism as allies of the United States."

On the topic of U.S./Russian relations she said, "We have had very good relations. The President and President Putin have a very good relationship. We have a strategic dialogue that's under way. We have much more in common than we have that tears us apart."

"China is a country that is also in the midst of a huge transition. It's a huge, burgeoning economy in which entrepreneurship is growing. That transition is underway, and we as Americans need to do everything that we can to make certain it turns into a positive transition because China is going to be a major player in international politics," the National Security Advisor said.

As to China's relations with Taiwan, the United States has a very clear policy on this, she said. "There's one China, that means that Taiwan should not try to move to independence unilaterally, and it means that China should not provoke or threaten Taiwan."

Rice stated, "We are making a lot of progress with our neighbors on the borders, with Canada and Mexico, to try to put in place a more effective system of border controls that can make us more secure, while still allowing the free flow of goods and services across the borders."

Following is the transcript of the questions taken by NSC Advisor Condoleezza Rice following her remarks on March 8:

(begin transcript)

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
March 10, 2004

(As delivered)

THE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR DR. CONDOLEEZZA RICE DELIVERS REMARKS AT THE MCCONNEL CENTER FOR POLITICAL LEADERSHIP

University of Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky

DR. GREGG: Thank you, Dr. Rice. Dr. Rice has agreed to take some questions that have been handed in to our ushers. And for efficiency, they're going to ask -- the two ushers are going to ask the questions now of Dr. Rice.

Q: Dr. Rice -- the first is, outside of programs like Shared Values and Outgrowth, what is the United States doing to improve its public image in the Arab Muslim world?

DR. RICE: Thank you very much for the question. It is absolutely the case that the United States needs to put new energy into its public diplomacy. Frankly, after the end of the Cold War. And by the way, our public diplomacy programs were enormously successful during the Cold War. I, myself, was a couple of times a visitor to the then Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc as an international visitor. People came here in the waning times of the Cold War. We had programs through Radio Free Europe, the Voice of America that spoke the truth to populations that were looking for the truth. And we, unfortunately, I think have not paid as much attention after the end of the Cold War to the effort to get the story out.

And all that we have to do is tell the truth. People want to hear the truth. They know that in the Middle East, that this is a region of the world in which the 22 countries of the Arab world do not have the combined GDP of Spain. They know that these are young and burgeoning populations where unemployment is starting to run rampant. They know that the unwillingness to fully integrate women into the country's life is holding these countries back. These are things that are known. And it is, therefore, not an imposition of American views. These are universal values that people want to be able to say what they think. They want to be able to worship freely. They want their girls and boys to be able to go to school. They want to be able to have freedom of conscience. These are things that are universal. And so we have to talk about them, and we are looking for different platforms from which to do that. The President has doubled the budget of the National Endowment For Democracy, which is a very fine institution that was born in the Reagan period, which did much of the work with Eastern Europe, with building parties and free trade associations and independent media. And he now has doubled that budget and is trying to do the same thing with partners in the Middle East. That would be a very important initiative.

But it's not going to be just -- we also have the International Broadcasting Board of Governors here in the United States, a new -- two new Middle East broadcast venues -- one television, satellite television; another, Radio Sawa), which has been very popular in the Middle East. And so it's really important to get the message out.

But it's not going to be done by the United States government alone. Some of the most popular and important connections between people in the former Soviet Union, then the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe were private connections, where universities and civic societies and the Rotary Clubs and Lions Clubs established relations with people -- people to people. We need to do the same thing in places like the Middle East because I think there's a hunger for that contact, and it shouldn't all come through the United States government. So I hope that as we talk about the importance of the spread of these values, the importance of supporting those people in the Middle East who want a different kind of Middle East that will not think of it as just something that the United States government should do.

Q: This being an election year, many Americans are becoming more increasingly concerned with domestic issues, gay marriages, the economy, terrorism, homeland security. How do you see national security, plus the foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan, Haiti, North Korea and abroad in the next four years helping President Bush get reelected?

DR. RICE: Well, I think Americans will have an important debate about the direction of foreign policy, and defense policy, and the war on terrorism, post-September 11th. These are not ordinary times. Americans are not accustomed to waking up one fine September morning and seeing the Twin Towers go down by foreign hand. Americans are not accustomed to waking up one fine September morning and realizing that these people have attacked the Pentagon, and that they were trying to attack the Capitol. They were trying to take us down.

I was saying to someone earlier, I read a newspaper account of September 11th just a little while ago. And the day after September 11th I was kind of busy, so I actually didn't read the newspaper. And this account came across my sights, and it was of September 12th from some of the major newspapers in London. And it said things like, thousands of Americans dead; American forces on high state of alert; central bankers stand by to intervene in markets should markets collapse; no one knows when the markets will open. This was war. These people started a war with us. And the American people have to have a discussion and a debate about how they're going to respond to the most vicious attack on American soil in almost 200 years. They've got to have that debate.

Now, we think that the administration has responded in the following way. Yes, we will do everything that we can to defend the homeland, to secure ports. Anybody who has been in an airport lately knows that we're doing everything we can with airports. We will try to disrupt terrorist cells in the United States. We will work hard to share intelligence information, law enforcement information. Every day, when we sit in the Oval Office, we look at intelligence information from countries all over the world. And we share and work law enforcement with countries all over the world. But if we're going to defeat the terrorists, that's not enough. We have to fight the war that they started.

And that means that we have to take the war to them. We have to fight this war on the offensive. And the first night after September 11th, that's what the President said, we're going to take this war to them. We're going to defeat them on their territory.

And we're doing pretty well at it. Because while we're taking down their leadership, we've also denied them Afghanistan, which was their home base. We've denied them Iraq, which was a supporter of terrorism and a weapons of mass destruction state. Libya has come on the other side. Sudan and countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are fighting much more fiercely in the war on terrorism as allies of the United States. We're rolling them back. We're going to defeat them. If anybody thinks this is just about law enforcement, just go back to September 11th and think that we were attacked on that day. This was war. And they didn't want to just hurt us, they wanted to -- they want to bring down this civilization. To me that's this war. We need to have a debate about it, and I think we're ready for that debate. (Applause.)

Q: Dr. Rice, do you still follow closely the developments in Russia? And do you have any comment on the upcoming Russia election, presidential election? And secondly, would you consider any changes in the United States attitude towards Putin?

DR. RICE: Yes, I do follow issues in Russia. Let me start by saying we do have a very positive relationship with Russia. It is a relationship that's based on common interests. Russia was one of the first countries in the war on terrorism after September 11th to, I think, recognize the threat that international terrorism -- that the international extremists posed to the state system. And as a result, we've had very good cooperation on intelligence and law enforcement, the hunt for al Qaeda terrorists. So we have very good relations, and we're making a lot of progress. This is not the relationship that I once knew between the United States and the Soviet Union. It's a very positive relationship.

We've always said that in order for that relationship to deepen, Russia had to remain committed to the values of a democratic state and to make a transition for democracy. This is not easy. This is a state that has been in existence, really, for 15 years -- sorry, for 13 years, since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is a state without a democratic tradition and heritage, and it has not had an even path of development. People are freer to say what they want to say. People are freer to worship as they please. But the institutions of democracy have not, frankly, consolidated in a way that protects democracy for the long run. And so we would hope that the Russians would be attuned to the fact that people are watching to see that elections are held in an environment in which people can make criticism of the government, that independent media again springs to life. It's not been very much lively for the last few years.

We would hope that the people understand -- that the Russians are watching to see that the judiciary is independent and not used for political purposes. We would hope that Russia would do everything that it can to strengthen political parties because only when you have strong countervailing institutions to the presidency, do you have the chance of a real democracy.

The Russians have made a lot of progress. We need to continue to talk about these things. We need to invigorate -- help to invigorate civil society in Russia so that parties and free associations and independent media can flourish. And it may surprise people that we have these discussions with the Russians on a pretty open basis.

The road hasn't been smooth. The path is certainly not straight, but I think that this is -- that the future of U.S.-Russian relations is going to ultimately depend very much on how these values take hold in Russia and how they move forward on their democratic path.

That said, we have had very good relations. The President and President Putin have a very good relationship. We have a strategic dialogue that's under way. We have much more in common than we have that tears us apart.

Q: What role do you see China playing in the next 10 to 20 years in light of their conflict with Taiwan, and in general?

DR. RICE: China is a country that is also in the midst of a huge transition. I first visited China in 1988, and then again in 1992, and then not until very recently. And it is transformed in economic terms, particularly in its cities. It's a huge, burgeoning economy in which entrepreneurship is growing. People are pressing for economic freedoms, and I believe that China will see that that will translate into people's desires for political liberty, as well --the two sometimes separated a little bit in time, but almost always they eventually come together.

That transition is underway, and we as Americans need to do everything that we can to make certain it turns into a positive transition because China is going to be a major player in international politics. It is a great power now. It is going to be a major factor in Asia and a major factor in the world. It's already a major factor in the world economy. We are talking with the Chinese and insisting that they live up to the terms, for instance, of their accession into the World Trade Organization because the World Trade Organization rules govern things like openness in your economy. And those are very important rules for China to participate in.

As to China's relations with Taiwan, the United States has a very clear policy on this, and the United States remains the kind of upright anchor to keep that policy in place. There's one China, but we expect that no one will try -- in one way or another -- to change the status quo unilaterally. That means that Taiwan should not try to move to independence unilaterally, and it means that China should not provoke or threaten Taiwan. And we say to both sides the cross-straits problem will eventually resolve in a way that is acceptable to everyone. But the important thing right now is that no one try and change the status quo.

That's the American role. The United States has obligations to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act. We also have obligations under the three communiques that we signed with China at the time of reestablishment of relations, and we intend to stay on this path. And we expect Taiwan to do the same, and we expect China to do the same.

Q: Building for the future, what changes would you suggest in our immigration policies, given the vulnerability of our homeland?

DR. RICE: Thank you. Well, we are making, I think, a lot of progress with our neighbors on the borders, with Canada and Mexico, to try to put in place a more effective system of border controls that can make us more secure, while still allowing the free flow of goods and services across the borders.

We do most of our economic activity with Mexico and Canada, and so you don't want a situation in which you have shut down these important avenues of commerce. And yet we learned on September 11th that people had gotten into the country who should not have gotten into the country. And my colleague, Tom Ridge, has developed a very effective set of programs with Mexico and with Canada called Smart Borders, where they are using technology, where we're about to put in certain biometric data that can help to identify who is coming across the border, and being able to clear -- pre-clear the products that need to go through so that you don't have a hold-up in trade. These are all extremely important things to do.

We believe that we can have immigration policies that are welcoming. The United States is a country that I think thrives because we have people from all over the world, and it thrives because people from all over the world want to come here. And we want people to continue to want to come here. I'm an academic. At Stanford, one of the great joys is to have students from all over the world. And they have to feel welcome here. They have to be able to get visas to get here. And so we are working to make sure that all of those very important principles are followed.

And so the President and his homeland security team, in conjunction with the State Department, I think made some very useful changes to our visa policies; Tom Ridge and his colleagues, some very useful changes to our border policy. And I believe we're making a lot of progress, and we just have excellent cooperation with Canada and Mexico. Really excellent cooperation.

Last question.

Q: This one was posed by a great number of people from audience. If you had a choice between becoming the NFL commissioner, or being the Republican nominee for President in 2008, which would you choose, and why? (Laughter.)

DR. RICE: No contest. The only thing that's holding me back is that I think Paul Taglibue is doing a fine job as NFL commissioner. But I look forward to the day that he decides to retire, and I very much think that the best job in America has got to be NFL commissioner, or maybe coach of the Louisville Cardinals. (Laughter and applause.)

END

(end transcript)