Interview With Glenn Beck of The Glenn Beck Show
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
November 2, 2006
(1:30 p.m. EST)
SECRETARY RICE: Hello, this is Condi Rice.
QUESTION: Secretary Rice, how are you?
SECRETARY RICE: I'm fine. How about you?
QUESTION: Very, very good.
SECRETARY RICE: Good.
QUESTION: Thank you so much for talking to us.
SECRETARY RICE: Oh, glad to do it.
QUESTION: You know I have to tell you, I could spend like three hours with you and I know we only have a couple of
minutes. But let me try to run through a few questions that honestly, Madame Secretary, have made me feel nuts over the
last few years.
SECRETARY RICE: All right.
QUESTION: I think one of the things that America -- they don't understand Iraq because they're not seeing things from a
global perspective, and they're not seeing things tied together.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
QUESTION: Is the secret to Iraq that people don't understand Iran?
SECRETARY RICE: I think you're right. I think that what has been hard to keep a focus on, given the difficulties in
Iraq, is the central role that Iraq plays in a changed Middle East. The first point is we need a changed Middle East.
This is a Middle East that, after all, produced the ideology of hatred that produced al-Qaida that produced September
11th. And Iraq is a centerpiece of that. It's a critical state. Iran, which is Iraq's neighbor of course, would like
nothing better than to be able to influence events in Iraq toward its favor and to use that influence as a part of
Iran's effort to spread extremism throughout the Middle East, the kind of extremism that Iran participates in by
supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon for instance or elements of the Palestinian terrorists in the Palestinian Territories.
And so it's all a part of a same piece of a real struggle between moderates and extremists.
QUESTION: When you have the -- when you have Usama bin Laden claiming that this is World War III and the center battle
is in Iraq and you have President Ahmadi-Nejad saying basically the same thing, that the center of this battle is in
Iraq, what is it going to take before we recognize -- and I mean I don't mean the Administration I mean the collective
we in the west -- that this is a global battle quite possibly the size of which we have not experienced for at least
many, many decades.
SECRETARY RICE: That's very true. And I think we just have to keep making the case. You know, I know that there are
those who say well, Iraq is not a part of the global war on terror. But as you said, al-Qaida understands it is a part
of the global war on terror. The Iranians understand that it's a part of the global war on terror. And we really have to
recognize what the very, very dire circumstances would be, what the implications would be if we fail to finish the job
QUESTION: I have -- first of all, I have so much respect for you. I think you are one of the most remarkable people of
our age, and I cannot believe that I'm going to ask you this question because I swear to you, I think this sounds nuts,
but I would love to get your response on whether or not it plays into our thinking at all the thinking of the madmen,
the religious madmen in the Middle East, including the President of Iran, where they are the Twelvers that are looking
for the return of the Mahdi and the Messiah and Al-Sadr who has the army of the Mahdi. Does the though that these guys
really think that we -- that they could bring back the Messiah through some sort of an Armageddon, does that play a role
in your thinking at all?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, there certainly are some people who believe that. Now we do not know whether or not that is a held
belief of Ahmadi-Nejad and whether he's trying to act on it, for instance. That's not knowable. And so we have to deal
with Iranian policy which is very destructive. But there is a religious extremist overtone to a lot of these policies
that's deeply troubling.
QUESTION: Wasn't his last two speeches the last couple of paragraphs at the United Nations, wasn't that pretty much what
he was saying, though?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, yes. He has had -- he's been known to make these claims. But what we have to do is to stay focused
on their behavior, not on their words but on their behavior, and their behavior is plenty destructive. And we have to
remind them that they cannot win in this struggle between extremism and moderation.
Now I will say this, some of the things that he said like the destruction of Israel and denying the Holocaust has
actually revealed the face of this Iranian regime in ways that nothing else did.
QUESTION: I see. You know what, I'd prefer an enemy likes that that plays their cards face up so you know what exactly
what you're dealing with.
SECRETARY RICE: Exactly what you're dealing with, yes.
QUESTION: Would you agree that our enemies, their end game is global domination, a global caliphate? Is that the end
game that we're looking at?
SECRETARY RICE: Certainly for al-Qaida that is the end game that they wish to see. And their version of that I think in
modern terms would be something like a super Taliban regime with complete repression of anybody who doesn't have their
view of the world; obviously repression of women. Yes, that's their view of the world and that's what's meant by that.
But in the meantime, I think what they hope to do is to gain footholds in places like Iraq. And that's why we have no
choice but to make certain that we have left the foundation for an Iraq that can be stable and that can have a
foundation for democracy.
QUESTION: Let me go back on the insanity train because I don't know why anybody -- I don't know why people aren't
talking about -- I don't know why the media isn't seeing the connections worldwide. I don't know -- I asked Jim Baker a
couple of weeks ago, I said, "I'm just following extremist Muslim and what is going on in Europe. How much trouble is
Europe in?" And he looked at me and he said, "Oh, they're in real trouble."
Then we look at Russia, who I think most people just kind of dismiss as oh well, it's a, you know, third world country
now and we destroyed them. I think Russia could go one of two ways. It could be relatively friendly to us, or I think
there are also forces that seem to be uniting with all of our enemies, seem to be uniting in with the Middle East. And
I'm not saying that they're connected or have the same goals other than -- our enemies seem to be uniting in common
purpose, almost the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Is -- do you see that?
SECRETARY RICE: Yeah. It's not surprising that countries that -- countries and movements that see the United States as
standing in the way of their goals are going to try to unite. Now I think we actually, with Russia, we have differences
with the Russians, there's no doubt. We're both big powers and we have differences. But we also have an awful lot of
areas of cooperation with Russia.
And by the way, Russia has been a pretty strong fighter on the global war on terror because they themselves have
experienced this extremism, if you will remember that Beslan event in which these Russian children were killed by these
terrorists. So we have some common cause with a number of states.
But the point that you're making about this being a more integrated, a more coherent effort by extremist forces is
absolutely right. They know what their strategy is, and their strategy is to gain footholds in places like Iraq, places
like Lebanon, places like the Palestinian Territories, and from there, to spread their venomous ideology.
QUESTION: So you say that they -- you know, that they are fighting the same thing in their own country, which I agree
with you that I -- they are receiving the brunt of it as well. However, why then would they block us on trying to stop a
country that -- I mean I know you can't say this but I don't believe the Iranians for a second that they don't want to
have a bomb. Their country's practically floating on oil. There's other ways to have energy. Why would they block us and
then also go into Egypt and do what they've done in the last couple of days?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think you will find that ultimately they won't block us. I think we will have a resolution that
puts sanctions on Iran. It won't be as strong a resolution as if we had written it ourselves. But I think what you're
seeing is some negotiation right now about what that resolution is going to say. But the Russians, when we did the
resolution that was passed back in July, that resolution said that if Iran did not suspend its enrichment and
reprocessing -- and let me just explain. Enrichment and reprocessing is the technology. Once you learn to do it, that
gives you the ability to make nuclear weapons. So that's why we've got to stop them from enriching and reprocessing.
QUESTION: Is there any way to turn the clock back? We seem to be going down a course with nuclear weapons, and we -- can
we turn this clock back?
SECRETARY RICE: Oh we certainly can. With enough coherence and strength from the international system, of course we can
because we can make it so that it is really not worth it for states to pursue a nuclear weapon in what they think is
advancement of their interest but which is going to be very much counter to their interests.
The Iranians, for instance, are very, very integrated into the international system, very integrated into the economy,
into trade and the like. They can't afford isolation from that system. And they will have to make a choice, a nuclear
program that leads to a nuclear weapon or isolation, and that's the choice we have to face them with.
QUESTION: You know, President Bush is always saying that freedom is on the march, and there -- and I believe it is. But
at the same time I believe there is great profound evil that is also on the march. Would you agree with me that in 10 or
20 years that there will be one standing? That is us or them?
SECRETARY RICE: It's a struggle. It's a struggle of our times. Absolutely. But I'm optimistic because I don't -- I
really don't believe that their hateful and dark ideology is going to win over human beings if they have other choices.
And that's why it's so important that the President has made democracy and hope the centerpieces of our policy.
QUESTION: One last question before I let you go, and I know you're busy. If you could grab the shoulders of every
American and just shake them and say you must understand this one thing, what would it be?
SECRETARY RICE: It would be that without American leadership and American resolve, the world is a very vulnerable and
dark place. We've seen it many times in history. And know that America has to bear a lot of responsibility and a lot of
sacrifice. But without American resolve, bad things tend to happen.
QUESTION: We are so blessed to have you amongst us at this time in our country's history. And I find you just a
fascinating and remarkable individual. And I am so grateful for your service.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, thank you. It's a pleasure to be with you and with your listeners. Take care.
Released on November 3, 2006