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Transcript: Sens. Allen, Dodd on 'FOX News Sunday'
Written by Chris Wallace / Published July 16, 2006 / Fox News Sunday
The following is a partial transcript of the July 16, 2006, edition of "FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace":
"FOX NEWS SUNDAY" HOST CHRIS WALLACE: So what choices does the United States have for dealing with problems in the Middle East, Iran and North Korea? For answers, we bring in two of the top foreign policy voices in the Senate, Republican George Allen and Democrat Chris Dodd.
Senators, welcome back to "FOX News Sunday".
SEN. GEORGE ALLEN, R-VA.: Thank you, Chris.
SEN. CHRIS DODD, D-CONN.: Good to be with you.
WALLACE: What outcome do we want to see come out of the Middle East? As you both just heard Secretary Rice say, the U.S. does not want to see an immediate cease-fire that would leave Hezbollah in place, in power in southern Lebanon.
Senator Allen, should U.S. policy be to let the Israelis keep fighting to rewrite the situation on the ground?
ALLEN: U.S. policy should be, number one, stand with your friend, and Israel's a wellspring in the wilderness. And any country, particularly Israel, has the right to defend itself and to protect its citizens as we do.
The recognition for our country and actions need to be based on reality. Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. It is armed by Iran. It is paid for by Iran. And it is directed by Iran. It is interesting to note that the rocketry, the weaponry that is going into Haifa and other places in northern Israel is from Iran.
There's also a question — where did Iran get this weaponry? From China. So we need to recognize that the United Nations — it's not just us and Israel. The United Nations in Resolution 1559 said all foreign fighters are supposed to be out of there as well as disarm the militias, and Hezbollah needs to be disarmed. Otherwise, they'll strike again.
WALLACE: Senator Dodd, green light to Israel to take care of Hezbollah?
DODD: Well, I don't know green light, but certainly we have to begin any discussion of this recognizing that what has happened over the last several days occurred because of Hezbollah and Hamas — highly provocative, despicable actions — the invasion and raiding into northern Israel. So you begin there, clearly.
It seems to me, however, you need to go beyond just understanding the friendship, which is important, but for Israel's benefit and our own, we have missed, I think, over the last number of years the ability to really engage in the kind of diplomatic efforts in the Middle East.
From 1967 up until the end of the Clinton administration, every administration has remained very, very engaged in the Middle East. This administration, unfortunately, has seen the word diplomacy and negotiation as somehow a favor to your enemies.
And I think, unfortunately, we've allowed this time to elapse over the last several years. The Resolution 1559 was adopted two years ago, and the administration's done nothing, in my view, to really insist that the Lebanese rid southern Lebanon of Hezbollah.
And so this time has gone through without really engaging in the process. Thus, we find ourselves today. Israel certainly has the right to defend itself. What it's doing is absolutely necessary. If Lebanon and Syria were recognized, those soldiers need to be returned and also Hezbollah has to get out of southern Lebanon. Then I think you could bring a cease-fire about.
WALLACE: Senator Allen, we all remember secretaries of state going back to Henry Kissinger shuttling back and forth in the region trying to work these things out. Secretary Rice — I put the question to her — said she's thinking about that idea.
Does senator Dodd have a point that there is some failure of U.S. diplomacy, engagement in the Middle East, that plays a part in all this?
ALLEN: The United States has been involved, and our involvement has been supporting Israel. Now, there was a glimmer of hope when that reptilian terrorist corrupt Arafat died. There was great hope with Abu Mazen.
But when I was in Israel — this was back in February, March of last year, there was concern about Hezbollah and Hezbollah trying to be disruptive. There was actually some opportunity for peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. And they were very concerned then.
And then just days after I left — and I spoke with Sharon and Peres and Netanyahu and others. A few days later, Hariri was assassinated. The people of Lebanon rose up against the Syrian occupation. It wasn't just the United States. The French led the effort for the Europeans.
And then also the more rational, moderate Arab countries, whether it was Jordan, whether it was Egypt, Saudi Arabia, told Syria to get out, and they got out without a single boot being put on the ground in Lebanon.
That same approach with the U.S., our European allies as well as the more rational, reasonable Arab countries are the ones that are going to need to be putting the pressure on Hezbollah. And ultimately, of course, they are funded, again — remember this — they are funded, sponsored, protected and directed by Iran and Syria. That is our problem.
WALLACE: Senator Dodd, I want to broaden this out but follow up on that point. Let's explore the big picture here. Why do you think at this point — and perhaps you'll disagree with the premise, but why does it seem that at this particular moment, Iran, Syria, North Korea feel free to thumb their nose at us and the rest of the world?
DODD: Well, a number of reasons. First of all, we have not over the years, over the last five years, done just what I described earlier to you, and that is engage in the kind of consistent, non-stop efforts to build relationships for moments just like this.
WALLACE: Do you think we could build a relationship with Iran?
DODD: No, but you have to build your relationship with allies and others so you have the kind of support that you need at a moment like this.
I can't think of another time in my career of public service when we've been in as much trouble as we are today because of, in my view, not only the actions of people like Hezbollah and Hamas and Iran and Syria, but because we have failed to build the relationships that allow us to have the kind of response in a moment like this that would make them have second thoughts about engaging in the actions they've been engaged in. That's first and foremost.
Secondly, we made a war of choice in Iraq. These are not surprises. Hezbollah has been around since 1983. We've seen them building up. This is not all of a sudden some big surprise that's emerged. North Korea was around. The minute this administration took office, North Korea was there and the problems existed.
They have had a go-it-alone approach in the world. Yitzhak Rabin had a very good line when talking about the Middle East. He said you negotiate with terrorists as if the peace process didn't exist, and you negotiate for the peace process as if the terrorists didn't exist.
We have treated the word negotiation and diplomacy — I'll say it again — as if it were somehow a four-letter word rather than doing the things that Henry Kissinger started in 1967 and every administration has been involved in since, except this administration. And that has contributed to the situation we're in today.
WALLACE: Senator Dodd (sic), let me just take a slightly different look at this.
And you can respond to Senator Dodd in the course of your answer, which I'm sure you will. Are we so bogged down now in Iraqthat these rogue nations look at the situation and no longer take seriously the Bush doctrine of preemptive action?
ALLEN: Well, our resolve and willingness to succeed in Iraq does have an implication. The rest of the world is looking. Is the United States going to have — are we going to be surrendering? Are we going to be retreating? Are we going to be tucking tail and leaving? Or are we going to stick with it and help...
WALLACE: But how do you explain what Iran and North Korea are doing?
ALLEN: Iran and Hezbollah has been a problem since they — in Lebanon, as Chris said — that's right — since 1983, when they hit the Marine barracks. They've been a problem in the 1990s. They hit Israeli embassies in Argentina. They have hit not just the U.S. They've hit European countries and Asian countries as well.
In fact, our administration and the United States is not going it alone. Look, the six-party talks insofar as North Korea — the reality is the only one who can stop North Korea from doing anything that is untoward and provocative is China.
And the fact that China did not stop North Korea from launching those missiles is very telling insofar as the credibility and willingness of China, who provides the sustenance and all of the nourishment North Korea needs to survive. If it weren't for China, North Korea couldn't survive.
In Iran, as far as Iran is concerned, obviously, we're trying to get others in it. If we have embargoes or sanctions, U.S. only, it doesn't work. So we are involving the rest of the world, because if you're going to have sanctions, and you're going to have embargoes, and you're going to have meaningful reactions to whether it's Iran or whether it's North Korea, you do need others.
But north Korea — China's alone the one that can help, and Russia insofar as Iran.
WALLACE: Senator, let me ask you about that, because clearly, the U.S., the Bush administration, has for the last few years been involved in a diplomatic offensive. We do have the six-party talks going on — or that we're trying to re-establish with North Korea. We had the three-party talks for more than a year with Iran.
Now we're going to the U.N. Security Council where, quite frankly, a lot of our allies don't agree on specific action to take. So what is the benefit of all this diplomacy? In fact, what kind of message are we sending to these rogue nations?
DODD: Well, again, I come back to the point, Chris, that I think has been made by many others, not just myself, and that is, of course, we're late into this game. Now, look. Having said all of this, obviously, the administration is in St. Petersburg today. I'm not one who subscribes to the notion of going after an administration that's out of the country at the time.
But clearly, we're very late in this game of building those relationships. You asked the question a moment ago — the issue of Iraq. That was the war of choice. We are bogged down there. And clearly, Iran, clearly North Korea and others see this as an opportunity for them to begin to engage in some activities testing our resolve here.
Our capabilities of responding alone to these situations is not there. They know that and we know that. We have to build those relationships. We need to get, if we can, here some resolution of the present situation in Lebanon.
The Israelis have said return those soldiers and make sure that we can do something about Hezbollah moving out of southern Lebanon. I think we ought to pick up on that. We ought to be insisting upon that. Condoleezza Rice ought to be going to the area, going to the region immediately.
Maybe they can leave even from St. Petersburg and bring some of those individuals down and see if they can't get some resolution. This could spin out of control to such a degree that we have a major, major war in the Middle East.
WALLACE: Thirty seconds left. Senator Allen, you get the final word.
ALLEN: Well, the reality — and so far as Hezbollah, we need to stand firm with our friends, the Israelis. They are protecting themselves. Hezbollah must be disarmed.
If they're not disarmed — and this may be an occasion to get the Europeans, the French, the Germans, Italians, the British, as well as Russians, China and all the rest, to recognize that if they do not disarm Hezbollah, they will strike again.
But I'm not sure where this is going to lead, but the United States needs to stand strong for a democratic Israel, and we need to stand strong in disarming these terrorists, Hezbollah, because otherwise if we just back down, that will tempt them to hit again and recognize that the United States is not going to stand with its allies. And we must.
WALLACE: Senator Allen, Senator Dodd, we're going to have to leave it there. We want to thank you both so much for sharing your Sunday with us. Always good to have you here.
DODD: Nice to be with you.