Transcript: Kissinger on Bush's Trip
This partial transcript from The Edge with Paula Zahn, June 12, 2001 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House. Click here to order the complete transcript.
PAULA ZAHN, HOST:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every week something is coming. There's a message of bad news. It's like, oh, my god. George Bush, he's a disaster.
disaster for the world, for humanity. And we should arrest him, basically. That's what we need to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Whoa. "In Focus" tonight, President Bush's reputation
overseas. Europeans are making no secret about the fact they don't like Mr. Bush. They don't like his foreign policy, and they do not trust his intellect. Should Americans care about what Europeans think? Nobel Peace Prize winner and former secretary of state Dr. Henry Kissinger has a new
book out called "Does America Need Foreign Policy?" And Dr. Kissinger now is the chair of Kissinger-McLarty Associates, Incorporated.
I don't know where you find the time to do all this, but you do.
Welcome to THE EDGE.
HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Pleasure to be here.
ZAHN: Should President Bush care all that much about people accusing him of being the Toxic Texan and the guy that only cares about the barbecue and Bibles?
KISSINGER: He shouldn't care about that sort of thing that's being said about him. He should care about trying to bring our European allies along on his policies.
ZAHN: How's he doing?
KISSINGER: I think he is presenting them forcefully, and I think he's basically right. So he hasn't, up to the trip to Europe, always presented these policies in a way that made him less vulnerable than he should have been to attacks, but fundamentally, I agree with him on the missile defense.
ZAHN: But there seems to be limited support for that at least at this juncture of the trip.
KISSINGER: Yes, but one has to remember -- you know, I said to a European opponent whom I knew well, I said, "I remember you opposed American offensive missiles based on European soil. Now you're opposing American defensive missiles based on American soil. Is there anything we can do that you could possibly approve?"
But the issue is really: What is the president trying to do? I understand what the president is saying that with missiles spreading, with nuclear warheads spreading, it is irresponsible for governments to say, "We will leave our population totally vulnerable against at least some level of foreseeable dangers." That...
ZAHN: But these countries don't believe the threat is as great as the Bush administration has led us to believe, and they don't believe the missile shield is the way to do it.
KISSINGER: Well, then what are you going to do -- but if they're wrong and some incident occurs, and a few million get killed, what do you say? "I made a terrible mistake. I go back to the drawing board and design another answer"? What one can reasonably argue about and should argue about is what level of defense is compatible with foreseeable dangers and what produces more insecurity?
When you ask about the arms race, who is going to do the racing? The so-called rogue countries like Iran, Iraq, North Korea, they're already at the limit of their capacities. And I believe that these reactions we see now is sort of rogue reaction, and I -- through which we've gone whenever a new weapons system was developed. We should be respectful. We should meet legitimate concerns and we shouldn't just ride roughshod over them.
ZAHN: But the bottom line is -- and even the president said it today, "We're not going to put a system in place that's not effective."
ZAHN: But a lot of people don't think the science is there do even make a shield that will work. Do you share that concern?
KISSINGER: I frankly don't know enough about this, but there are usually three -- what is very hard is to get a debate going between people on the one hand who think anything you can build you should do, and the other group who think that nothing should be done because it creates arms races and insecurity. There are three types of arguments that are incompatible with each other. One, the system won't work; two, the system will work so well that it destabilizes the situation; and three, a new system is going to come along in 10 years, so you're wasting a lot of money. And we ought to deal with these arguments separately and meet each of them and have a rational, serious debate on this.
ZAHN: According to one of the news weeklies this week, you are ticked off at President Bush for not consulting you more.
KISSINGER: That's total nonsense. I have had almost unlimited access to the vice president, to the security adviser. I do not make phone calls as a general rule because I know how busy people are. But I have no complaints about being consulted, and that is simply not true.
ZAHN: Let me ask you this. Is the president or his -- whoever the people have talked to listen to you, and is he doing what you want him to do in this new book that you write about, "Does America Need a Foreign
KISSINGER: On some issues, they do. On other issues, they have yet to be convinced.
ZAHN: Well, let's see how many phone calls you get tomorrow morning.
Dr. Kissinger, as always, good to have you with us and congratulations on yet another book. I don't know where you find the time to do all this.
Click here to order the complete transcript.
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