Will the Terror Attacks Scare off Pres. Bush's Allies in the War on Terror?

This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, March 17, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.

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SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN:  The terrorists know that thestakes are high, but they will not prevail.  We will meet this test withstrength and with resolve.  Democracy is taking root in Iraq, and there isno turning back.  A free and peaceful Iraq will be a major blow to theterrorists in our global war on terrorism.


VAN SUSTEREN:  The war on terror has become a bloody battle over democracy in Baghdad, and as we saw a few days ago, even in Spain. How do we keep our allies from being scared off by the murder and mayhem?  And does the terror bolster America's critics and enemies?

Joining us from New York is former secretary of state Dr. Henry Kissinger.  Welcome, Dr. Kissinger.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Dr. Kissinger, obviously, a tragic occurrence today in Baghdad, loss of life, 26 so far.  But setting aside that tragedy, does it set us back in our mission in Iraq in any way?

KISSINGER:  No.  It clarifies our mission even more.  And we have to understand these terrorists blew up a nightclub in Bali and killed about 200 Australians. They blew up cafes in Morocco and killed a large number of Moroccans.  This -- these groups are not provoked by what we do, theya re trying to undermine, in effect, Western civilization.

These attacks, if leaders think about them clearly, as the president does -- these attacks clarify what our challenge is.  And our challenge is that we have to destroy these terrorists. There is no way out. And countries that would be short sighted enough to try to detach themselves from it only totally isolate themselves. Bali wasn't involved. Morocco wasn't involved. There was a big plot in Singapore that was nipped just at the last second.  This is a concerted assault on the basic principles that we stand for.

And I think -- contrary to what many people predict -- I actually believe that the European nations will realize this. And I think when the leader of the Spanish socialist party, who's just been elected unexpectedly, and who still thinks he's in a political campaign -- when he learns the facts of life, he will moderate his language.

VAN SUSTEREN:  All right, when you say facts of life, what are sort of the facts of life that he must learn?  Because at least at the moment, it looks like we have sort of a chilly relationship with the Spanish government, after we've enjoyed a rather good one recently.

KISSINGER:  Well, the first thing he has to understand and the first thing everybody has to understand -- no country is involved in this war on terror as a favor to the United States.  They either understand that it is in their general interest, or they should -- then they can -- will stand aside, and they will suffer the consequences of isolation.  In Spain, they have their own home-grown terrorists, the Basque nationalists.  And I think that he has to understand that unless all the countries cooperate in tracking these terrorists, in stopping the flow of funds and in making it much too painful and dangerous for their various ethnic groups to support them, I think that the danger will increase. They might buy themselves a year of quiet but only at the price of permanent blackmail.

VAN SUSTEREN:  But if you talk about the prime minister, that's --that may be convincing one, giving the facts of life, to use the term thatyou use.  But the problem is, is that, at least, going into the Iraqi war and even today, that 90 percent of the Spanish people thought it was a mistake to go into Iraq, so he's got that to contend with.  His people don't want to be there.  His people don't want to participate.  They have a very different attitude towards it than we do.

KISSINGER:  Unfortunately, in many of these countries, the media are almost 100  percent, or over 90 percent hostile to this.  If the people don't want to be involved, they won't be involved, and then they will have to learn the lessons. These terrorists are not provoked. These terrorists attacked the United States when most Americans didn't even know they were our enemies.  And that's -- the other countries are in the same position.

I can't imagine that countries, in the long term, will try to buy themselves security by visible disassociation from the United States.  And actually, if you look at the conduct of France and Germany -- that new Spanish prime minister said he wants to be closer to France and Germany than to the United States, which is absolutely the Spanish privilege -- but France and Germany have made serious efforts to get closer to the United States and have found reciprocity in Washington.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Does that mean that our relationship, at least with Europe, is improving because, I mean, there's been a lot of suggestion thatour relationship has not been good with that -- with Europe.

KISSINGER:  Well, the relationship with most of Europe has actually been quite good. France and Germany were critical of the decision to go towar, but they have in the last six months come much closer to us becausethey now realize -- and in fact, the French foreign minister had said so --that if America withdraw from Iraq, it would be a disaster for everybody. And I think that as the Spanish prime minister learns the facts of life, he will not be friendly to the United States, but he will have to -- he will understand what the mood in the other countries really is when they study the issue.

VAN SUSTEREN:  Dr. Kissinger, always nice to see you.  Thank you verymuch, sir, for joining us.

KISSINGER:  Pleasure to be here.

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