Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice thinks that tensions in North Korea have developed into a “very dangerous situation,” that the U.S. strike in Syria was “well timed,” and that the comments current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have made about Russia were a “stroke of genius.”
Rice's thoughts came in a wide-ranging interview Rice completed with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer on Facebook Live on Friday morning.
Rice’s latest book, “Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom,” will hit bookshelves on May 9.
“The great thing about democracy is that it has shock absorbers,” she said. “I want people to understand that as messy as it is, you just keep pushing every day to a better democracy. There’s no man or woman or child on the face of the earth who has to live in tyranny.”
Speaking on her related experience with Iraq, Rice noted the success of democracies worldwide while advocating for patience with countries still working toward the goal.
“Democracy promotion is not Iraq and Afghanistan,” she said. “We didn’t go to Iraq to bring democracy. We went to Iraq to defeat Saddam Hussein, who was a security threat.” Even though Iraq has ongoing troubles, she said, it’s still worth supporting the country’s democratic efforts.
“It takes a really long time but we can’t give up on people who are still trying to make that journey,” she said.
As for countries like North Korea, Rice said, the time for patience has passed. “It’s a very dangerous situation,” she said. “They’ve gotten more capable with their nuclear program.”
“The time is really up. The time for strategic patience has really passed,” she stated.
“It’s already the most sanctioned country in the world. We need to look at further sanctions, by all means,” she said. But support from countries like Japan, China and South Korea will also be helpful.
“We’re going to need the help from those who are giving the North Koreans a lifeline,” Rice said.
Rice also delved into the war in Syria and said a strike by the U.S. in response to a chemical attack in the country was “well timed.” Rice: “I thought the strike in Syria was well timed from a number of perspectives. It was measured. It enforces a red line that’s been out there.”
As for related tensions between the U.S. and Russia, Rice said that there could be hope. “If the context is right,” she said, “I think there’s a lot we can agree with on Russia.” But an inevitable meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will have to occur.
“When it comes down to it, eventually, the two men will have to go into a room,” she said.
Rice said that she Tillerson’s comments regarding Russian supervision of Syrian chemical weapons have proven to be a “stroke of genius.”
“Clearly Russia has failed in its responsibility to deliver on that commitment,” Tillerson said last month. “Either Russia has been complicit or simply incompetent on delivering its end of that agreement.”
“I may not have said it but it was absolutely true,” Rice said in response. “With the Russians these days, unfortunately, the realm of our overlapping interest is small.”
Rice, who reiterated that she has no plans to join the Trump administration or to run for president in the future, is the current Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.