Kissinger 'On the Record' on Secretary of State Nominee Clinton, Gov. Palin and Terror in Mumbai

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," December 3, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is here to go "On the Record." Now, Senator Hillary Clinton, if confirmed, is about to become our next secretary of state. How does Secretary Kissinger think Senator Clinton will do in his former job? Well, let's ask. Secretary Kissinger is here live in Washington. Always nice to see you, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, before we get to Hillary Clinton, who might be Secretary Clinton at some point -- you spoke to -- you've met Governor Palin.

KISSINGER: Yes, I did.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did you think of her?

KISSINGER: I liked her. I thought she was getting a -- being given a really hard time. I mean, she was thrown into this vice presidential race. She called on me. She wanted to discuss foreign policy. Media were all over the place. And I thought she handled herself at that meeting with great dignity and very well.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about foreign policy? Did she have a quick grasp of it and some depth in it?

KISSINGER: Well, you know, she was governor of Alaska, so she hadn't focused on all the details. But she asked good questions and I thought, given the situation in which she found herself, she did a good job.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now to Senator Clinton, might be Secretary Clinton. What's going to be the biggest challenge of our next secretary of state? What are sort of the issues that...

KISSINGER: Well, it's one of the most complicated international situations because so many different things are going on simultaneously. You have a huge financial crisis, which has the foreign policy effect in that we are losing some of the economic leverage we used to have. You have the shift of the center of gravity of international affairs towards the Pacific, so that China and India are emerging as very significant countries.

And then, of course, you have the jihadist problem. And finally, you have problems like global warming, environment, which can only be done on a global basis. So the new secretary will not be bored.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's sort of interesting. It almost seems like the job is more fascinating and challenging than -- with all due respect to Vice president-elect Biden, but it seems like a much better job to have a more fascinating...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... Than vice president.

KISSINGER: It's -- it's -- next to the president, secretary of state is the most interesting job you can have. The vice president gets to do only what the president assigns to him. The secretary of state has constituencies that are all over the world and problems that generate themselves and necessities (ph) that she has to fill in.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know, I hadn't thought of sort of the economic responsibilities of the secretary of state. It's a global economy, and I hadn't really thought about that so much. I mean, the focus, I guess, in the last week has been on India and Pakistan, which -- you told me as you sat down you were in that hotel three days before it was bombed?

KISSINGER: I was in the Taj Hotel in Bombay, yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: What -- what are we going to do about -- what -- what do you see as sort of our responsibility in terms of trying to defuse the situation between India and Pakistan?

KISSINGER: Well, of course, that situation has -- has gone on for 60 years. We have an immediate problem and a long-term problem. The immediate problem is that you have all these various groups that are non- state groups but are organized with highly modern equipment and communications that penetrated, in this case, into India.

And I think that what the world has to come to is to say that this type of organization that weaponizes itself, trains like military units, no matter whether you like their causes or not, they have to be suppressed because if they can be kept in waiting (ph), as they did in this case, apparently, in Pakistan, they can strike whenever they get ready. And you can't pick out which of these terrorist-type groups are going to strike you or somebody else. I think they all have to be suppressed.

VAN SUSTEREN: How, though? I mean, you take -- I mean, let's take a look at just Pakistan. You've got -- we've got a new president in Pakistan and he's got so many different constituencies. And he's got so -- I mean, he's got so many problems being on the border of both, you know, Afghanistan and also the problems with India. I mean, how can you even -- I mean, how do we even advise him or help him or persuade him? He's got such a complicated, you know, problem on his hands.

Watch Greta's interview with Dr. Kissinger

KISSINGER: Of course, the problem of the Pakistan president is that he doesn't control every organization that's on his territory, including some aspects of the military. But if he doesn't control them, sooner or later, that situation is going blow up into military action. And it's in everybody's interests, including his own, to prevent this from happening.

But the pressures in India -- India has 160 million Muslims. It's the second or third largest Muslim nation in the world. So if this turns into a real domestic uprising -- they will do almost anything to prevent it. So we should cooperate to the greatest extent possible. But it's a very tough problem and it has to be solved on a regional basis. All of the nations in that region have to agree that whatever else they do, they will not allow armed groups to form themselves and train, whatever their reason is.

VAN SUSTEREN: We've only got 20 seconds left. So do you think Senator Clinton is going to be a good secretary of state?

KISSINGER: I think she'll be a strong secretary of state, yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you miss the job?

KISSINGER: It's a fun job. I haven't had it for quite a long time.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's enormously complicated, but how fascinating. Dr. Kissinger, always nice to see you. I wish you'd come back to Washington more often.

KISSINGER: I look forward to it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you, sir.

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