This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, April 28, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight, Secretary of State Colin Powell is defending American attacks on mosques and other holy places used by insurgents in Iraq. The tactic has drawn criticism from the U.N.
Earlier, I spoke with former Secretary of State Madeleine ALBRIGHT and I asked her how we can the Sunnis, Shiites and the Kurds to work together in Iraq.
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FMR. SECY. OF STATE: Well, it's the hardest task, because whathas happened is -- it's an artificial country in the first place, created in the 1920s, and they have not gottenalong. What has to happen though is to somehow develop a structure that allows them all to be representedproperly.
And that is what the U.N. envoy, Mr. Brahimi is going to try to do. But that is the key to it, andnot to have them unite against what we're trying to do, but to figure out a way to compromise.
And what it means also is that somehow, even the extremists, and particularly the Shia and Sunnifactions, somehow have to be brought in. They can't be left on the outside.
VAN SUSTEREN: Are we sort of dependent upon them though sort of almost selecting a leaderwithin those individual groups, because unless they want to work together, we can't force them, we're in avery bad position?
ALBRIGHT: I think that's what theoretically having sovereignty will mean. And they seem tokind of reject as artificial or like an implant the leaders that have come from outside, the exile leaders. Andso they do have to have a sense that they've selected their leaders themselves.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any way we can get help from any of them -- I mean, you would thinkthat the neighboring countries, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, they all have some sort of interest in having stabilitythere whether it's a democracy or not. What can we diplomatically do to get them to help us?
ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, I think we just have to approach this differently. And I'm very gladto see that President Bush is talking now about using the United Nations. And I think what has to happen is,whether it's a U.N.-blessed operation or the U.N. itself, the international community has to be brought in,that way they're trying to negotiate a resolution of some kind now.
It's difficult, especially when, as the kids say, we've dissed them up until to now. But I also thinkthat one of the points of any approach to this has to be to get the regional -- the neighbors into this. Thatthis can't be an American operation without real recognition for the role of the region and they have to bepersuaded that this is something that's important to them.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, to use to your word, dis, if we've dissed them, they're not particularlyinterested maybe in working with us, how do we convince the U.N. and the member nations -- how do weconvince them that they should help us, and so that we at the same time don't look particularly weak?
ALBRIGHT: Well, I think one thing -- and this may be hard to swallow, but I think we have toadmit that we've made mistakes. I think that will return a certain sense of credibility and realism to it to say,we did not go about this the right way. It doesn't mean you have to apologize, but I do think that admittingmaking some mistakes would help here.
And then to try to figure out how to do this in partnership, that the U.S. will obviously continue toplay a very large role in terms of providing security, but that we have to figure out how to turn over some ofthe civilian authority to a U.N. or international entity of some kind with the cooperation of the Iraqis. And Ithink that the definition ultimately will be what is the sovereignty that the Iraqi people will have and howwill it be administered?
VAN SUSTEREN: And if they aren't a democracy -- I mean, I mean, we all hope that they'regoing to be a democracy, but it's possible they don't want a democracy?
ALBRIGHT: Well, I happen to believe actually everybody ultimately does want a democracy andI have supported that. The question is whether it is imposed or chosen. And it doesn't have to be Americandemocracy. There are many democracies in the world that have different models. And I think that offeringa variety of democratic models is something that I think would be useful.
But the problem here has been -- is that we've gone about this in such a backwards way that it'svery hard now to regain a lot of the credibility that we need. And let me just say up front that there isn'tanybody that I know that doesn't want this to work. You know, I think that it's just absolutely essential. Ihad said that the war was a war of choice, not of necessity. But bringing peace and stability to the region isnot a choice, it is a necessity.
VAN SUSTEREN: And if you're a betting person, the odds that we're going to get that peace andstability?
ALBRIGHT: Well, I'm an optimist so that always colors my betting. And I do think thatultimately we will. But what we have to have is the truth. We have to be told what is really happening.
You know, I would have loved to believe that the mission is accomplished. And what has tohappen now is the president has to level with us. The American people are very smart and grown up andcan deal with the facts. And I think that's what we need to have.
VAN SUSTEREN: Back with more of my interview with former Secretary of State MadelineALBRIGHT. I asked her how much we should worry about North Korea.
ALBRIGHT: A lot. I think it is about as dangerous as any place in the world. And we have newstoday that there has been a change in the intelligence assessment, that the North Koreans are capable ofproducing many more nuclear weapons than we thought.
And the problem is that time is not on our side with North Korea. The facility that had been frozenwhere these fuel rods had been, those, as far as we know, have now been reprocessed and that allows thecapability of making more nuclear weapons.
Every day that passes I think shows that the North Koreans are pursuing some action that isinimical to us. And so we -- I think time -- we have lost a lot of time in terms of not pursuing very activelya way to stop this production.
VAN SUSTEREN: Have the North Koreans always been lying to us, at least going back to thebeginning of the '90s, can we trust them?
ALBRIGHT: We don't have to trust them. I mean, arms control agreements should not be basedon trust. They have to be based on verifiability. And the thing that I always said, because we werenegotiating with the North Koreans, you don't make arms control agreements with your friends, you makethem with your enemies.
And you do it in order to establish some kind of a structure to call them when they are cheating.During the Cold War when we had the arms control limitation treaties with the Soviets, we accused them ofcheating, they sometimes accused us of cheating and there was a system whereby it was brought to acommittee in order to determine what was going on. And I think that's why you have arms controlagreements.
VAN SUSTEREN: What about the meetings that we've had? We've had one last fall, we've had --last summer, last fall, and there may be one coming up May of six countries. Is that an effective way to tryto get North Korea to stop their program?
ALBRIGHT: Well, it's better than not doing anything. And that's what troubled me initially,because when we left office we were in the middle of negotiations with the North Koreans. And then one ofthe first acts of the Bush administration was to decide they didn't want to do that.
So I'm very glad they're following a diplomatic route now. But we can't subcontract our foreignpolicy to the Chinese, who are leading these negotiations. The North Koreans want to talk to us. What theywant more than anything is recognition by the United States and some of a movement towards a betterrelationship.
And while we spend a lot of time with the South Koreans and the Japanese, because they're alsopart of the story, and it's good to have other people in the talks, ultimately what they want is face to facewith the U.S.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why couldn't we achieve what you're talking about now back in the Clintonadministration? You said that there were talks going on. What takes so long?
ALBRIGHT: Well, because they -- the North Koreans have their own version of time. And whathad happened was that we did have an agreed framework with them which froze these nuclear facilities, andthen they were working on some of their missiles and...
VAN SUSTEREN: But they were cheating.
ALBRIGHT: Yes, they were cheating, but I think that it's better than not having these agreementswith them, as I said. They just take a very long time. They have very bad timing sense and we ran out oftime with them.
And it's unfortunate because we were in the process of getting some control. We had a missilemoratorium with them and we were working on ways that they would not export missile technology.
And today also we read about the fact that there is some sense that there would be some kind of amissile shield that will protect us from North Korean missiles. That's fine if it actually works, so far wehaven't seen that it does, but it does not prevent another threat, which is the sale of various missile parts andtechnology that the North Koreans are involved in that might be an attack from some place else. So I thinkour policy in dealing with this threat is in adequate.
VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of Pakistan and A.Q. Khan, who seems to have been up to hiseyeballs with North Korea involved in the weapons program, can we trust Pakistan?
ALBRIGHT: Well, at this moment Pakistan is very important to us. They are a staging area andobviously a partner in terms of dealing with Afghanistan. I would have hoped that we would have been ableto get more satisfaction out of the Pakistanis in terms of the way they were dealing with A.Q. Khan.
They still see him as a national hero. But perhaps there is something going on behind the scenesabout that. We have no choice but to work with the Pakistanis now because we need them very badly todeal with the unfinished business of Afghanistan. The Taliban is coming back. There are warlords and weneed the partnership of Pakistan.
VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you, Madame Secretary.
ALBRIGHT: Great to see you, Greta.
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