This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, February 12, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
Watch Your World w/Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: As NATO still hashes things out, FOX on top of France on the way out? That's what New York Republican Congressman Peter King wants to do, relegate our Parisian pals to darn close to pariahs, treat them as a second-class country. But Florida Democrat Robert Wexler says that's an awful idea.
First to Congressman King, on the left of your screen. Rather dramatic, Congressman. What are you up to?
REP. PETER KING, R-N.Y.: The fact is France has shown that it is not an ally -- they are obstructionists. Their country whose very survival is only because of the United States. We saved them in two world wars. We defended them throughout the Cold War. And now when we need them, or at least we partially need them, they are going out of their way to stop us in the Security Council, they are going out of their way to veto us at NATO. And my point is if this war against terror is going to go on for the foreseeable future, how can we continue to have this albatross of France around our necks?
So what I'm suggesting is that we consider a realignment so that the United States would be dealing with willing allies, countries such as Eastern Europeans, Central Europeans, and obviously European countries such as Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal and others who share our values and not allow a second or third-rate country, a has-been country like France to hold us back.
CAVUTO: All right. Well, Congressman Wexler, what he's essentially saying is bag the French. What do you say?
REP. ROBERT WEXLER, D-FLA.: Well, I think it is most appropriate for a great power like the United States to put this in its proper context. We can win the war in Iraq all by ourselves. We're strong enough to do that. But in order to win the peace in Iraq, in order to rebuild Iraq, in order to make it into a more democratic and progressive society, we in will need the assistance of many countries. And in all fairness to France, and disagree with France on many things, they disagree with our position as it relates to Iraq. They don't disagree with our position on the war on terror. And it is only fitting to recognize that the Germans and the French, as much as they have been antagonistic to the United States, have helped us where we really need it the most, which is the war against Al Qaeda. Let's not forget we're in a war against Al Qaeda. They were the guilty parties in September 11 and that's why we're in code orange today.
CAVUTO: Congressman Wexler, could you at least argue, though, that if this tape of Usama bin Laden is real, there now seems to be a distinct Al Qaeda-Iraq connection. And yet, the French and the Germans dismiss that.
WEXLER: Well, I'm not certain that the tape, the alleged tape of Usama bin Laden establishes a direct connection. In fact, remember, Usama bin Laden believes that Saddam Hussein is not nearly religious enough, not nearly holy enough. But believe me, this isn't a matter of judging who knows who or who is worse. They are both evil. They both need to go. And we need to disarm Iraq and we need to capture and/or eliminate Usama bin Laden and his entire infrastructure. The question is how does the United States do that from a position of strength? And the way we do it from a position of strength is to garner enough international forces as possible so that we, in fact, go with a degree of credibility. Should we be handcuffed by the French? Of course not. Should they be able to boycott our actions? Of course not. But we don't need to needlessly antagonize Western European countries.
CAVUTO: Well, Congressman King, it's a good point to pick up with you. Many have argued that the reason why the markets lately have been sailing south, besides anxiety about Iraq, is this ongoing feeling the U.S. is alienating itself in the process. Do you think with your proposal you're hastening that?
KING: The fact is we're not. We have 16 of the 19 NATO countries support us. Almost all of the European Union supports us. We're talking about France and Germany and Belgium. That's who we're talking about here. And it's not just is a question of them disagreeing with our policies. The fact is Resolution 1441 was pretty much drafted by the French. So there's intellectual incoherence to their policy, because even though we adopted their resolution, now when it comes time to enforce it, they are turning their backs. And what they are doing with NATO, by the way, is actually attempting to stop the defense of Turkey, which is a member country which could be attacked by Iraq. So this is more than just an honest disagreement. This to me is obstructionism by France, which puts a member nation of NATO at risk. And I think it's important for the United States to say that France is a relic from the past. If they want to stay with us, fine, we can't allow our policy to be hamstrung by the French when we have some many other countries in Europe and in the Middle East, for that matter, that want to stand with us.
CAVUTO: Let me ask you something, Congressman King, would you go to France?
KING: Actually my wife and daughter were supposed to go in May, and they have canceled their trip.
CAVUTO: Why did they cancel?
KING: Because of disgust with French policy. They felt that going there would dishonor American values. And also at a time like this they felt it was important to show solidarity with the president.
CAVUTO: Congressman Wexler, you hear that kind of talk among a lot of Americans, some of whom don't necessarily feel that great about President Bush. There's something annoying about the French, and condescending nature they have towards the U.S.
WEXLER: No doubt. And the French and German position is inexcusable as to extending the military might of NATO to protect Turkey. There have been anti-Semitic acts in France that at times have not been appropriately responded to by the French political leadership. I have many issues with France. But as Secretary Powell said very eloquently today at the International Relations Committee in the House of Representatives, what allies do is agree to disagree civilly. We negotiate. We discuss. And what he said was at the end of this discussion he's confident that if we work through the process of the United Nations, that the United States will be in a position of most strength, which is with our allies. If it is impossible to do, then so be it. But there's no reason to act in an aggressively provocative way.
CAVUTO: All right, Congressmen, you each state your case very eloquently. Robert Wexler and Mr. King, appreciate it. Thank you very much.
KING: Neil, thank you.
Content and Programming Copyright 2003 Fox News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2003 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, Inc.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.