The protests at the G-8 summit and U.S. relations with Europe were the subject of discussion Friday during Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's interview on the Fox News Channel's Your World with Neil Cavuto:
CAVUTO: Let me go right to what's happening half a world away in Italy right now. We're seeing a lot of demonstrators there, a lot of protests, a lot of anger over the president and his defense initiatives here. Are you surprised how vocal, how angry these folks are?
RUMSFELD: Well, not at all. I mean, there have been demonstrations around the world from time to time and there's nothing new in that pattern. As a matter of fact, with respect to missile defense, a careful reading of the progress that's being made clearly indicates that country after countries are modifying their positions and that a good deal of support's being achieved.
CAVUTO: That being the case, there is a little bit of worry here that maybe the Europeans just like to pick on President Bush or go after him; a few weeks ago, and now again. Is there some European odds that are going on here or what?
RUMSFELD: Well, you know, it certainly has nothing to do with President Bush. Anyone who's ever met him in the European scene walks away highly complimentary about what a fine person he is and how easy he is to deal with and how pleasant it is to work with him.
I think what you're seeing really is the fact that with the end of the Cold War, the threat from the Soviet Union gone, the countries of the world always were grateful to the United States for being the thing that kept expansionism of the Soviet Union from dominating other continents, but they never really believed we had a monopoly on cultural wisdom or economic wisdom or political wisdom, and with the end of that threat, well people are a little freer to say what they think and that's understandable. We can live in a world like that.
CAVUTO: But is this a European way to just go after new presidents? You did this with Gerald Ford. You probably remember that. Don't they just seem to be rough?
RUMSFELD: You're right, it's been the pattern, president after president, and I don't see it as terribly harmful or destructive. I'm not a psychiatrist, but it seems to me that to a certain extent, if you can take a shot at the big country or the big president, some people feel that that elevates them.
But, overall, the relationships are excellent, so I think — and furthermore, as you and I know, the press tends to be more interested in conflict and controversy and criticism than in praise.
Click here to read the complete transcript of the Rumseld interview with Cavuto.
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