The Bush View

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," September 2, 2004, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Thursday night the president will lay out his agenda for the next four years. But just how high on his list will foreign policy be? Let us ask Dr. Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state.

Dr. Kissinger, thank you for joining us.


CAVUTO: The president, we’re told, is going to be speaking a lot about terror. Excerpts we have had coming out of the speech that he is going to talk about having made this country a safer place, that he is going to be vigilant in the face of terror. Is that a good approach to take?

KISSINGER: Well, I’m no expert on politics. But it is a correct approach about the international problem we have.

When we were attacked on 9/11, it changed the international system. It was the first time that private groups really attacked a major state at a long distance using, in effect, missiles. And this changed the nature of the international environment. And the president has acted very strongly and effectively in dealing with it.

CAVUTO: Do you think, Dr. Kissinger — we always don’t like to think of the unthinkable — that if we had a terror attack in this country akin to what happened in Madrid, Spain, days before their general election, that it would have the same effect? In other words, chase people away from the incumbent party?

KISSINGER: My instinct is that it would unify the American people in support of the president. Because there is no dispute — there was a dispute in Spain about whether to support the United States in Iraq. There is no dispute in this country about resisting terror. And there is really no dispute about the effectiveness of the president’s policies on the issue of terror.

There may be disputes about other countries, but not about the fight against terror itself. And therefore, I think it would unify the country behind the administration.

CAVUTO: I see. I didn’t mean to interrupt you, sir, but many of your foreign colleagues and those who used to serve with you are saying that this go it alone approach, this almost cowboy attitude on the part of this president does hurt his global case on terror. Do you agree with that?

KISSINGER: Well, I know they are saying this, but what is this go alone approach mean? We gave everybody an opportunity to support us. The president took the case to the United Nations. He didn’t go to war without the United Nations support until April.

We have over 30 nations having some forces with us there. And so we are really talking about two or three European countries, France, Germany, Belgium, that are actively — that were actively opposing it. And the president has the decision to make whether, after having made every effort to do it on a multilateral basis, if two or three countries do not choose to join, whether he should give them a veto.

That is what it really comes down to, whether he should grant a unilateral veto to two or three countries when so many others have supported it. And when, in any event, he thought it was essential for America’s national security.

CAVUTO: Let me ask you, finally, very quickly, there is a poll out in Germany that says 81 percent of Germans would prefer John Kerry over George Bush. What do you make of that?

KISSINGER: Well, we don’t have troops in their country because of what preference they have for the United States. And we are not pulling out our troops on that basis.

Some troops are remaining in Germany. We are pulling out our troops, as I understand it, and as I know, because the strategic environment has changed.

We no longer need troops in Germany to protect against a Russian attack. And we need troops that are mobile that can intervene in the places from which attacks are likely to come, which are mostly radical Islamic situations.

So this has nothing to do with our relationship to Germany. And I bet you that after President Bush wins the election that the poll numbers in Germany about their attitude towards the president will change dramatically.

CAVUTO: All right. We will see. Dr. Kissinger, thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.

KISSINGER: A pleasure.

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