8.12.2005

Rice Sees Values, Idealism as Basis of U.S. Foreign Policy

U.S. Secretary of state reviews her first six months in office during interview

The primary task of American diplomacy is to craft policies that are rooted in the core values and ideals of America’s political system and to try to move the international community toward achieving positive goals in line with these values, according to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“[T]he goal has to be to keep a fairly even keel and to recognize that big historical changes have a lot of ups and downs… and that you're just trying to work daily toward putting in place some fundamental pillars for the kind of world that you're trying to leave,” Rice said in a July 26 interview with the Washington Post, in which she reviewed her first six months as secretary of state.

She said that she does not expect to solve all of the world’s problems during her tenure as secretary, but she hopes to lay a solid foundation upon which future administrations and America’s allies can build.

Rice mentioned a number of recent policy achievements that she feels have been particularly helpful.

“I do think … that we have been able to unify our policies with the Europeans on Iran. I think that's very important. I think there is a new centering of the five parties around a common approach to North Korea for the six-party talks to restart. I think we have, with the appointment of Jim Wolfensohn and General Ward, engaged the Gaza withdrawal in a way that gives international support to what is going to be obviously a very difficult process,” she said.

Rice said she was particularly pleased with the improvement in trans-Atlantic relations and the fact that the United States and Europe are now cooperating in working toward important goals.

Turning to specific current policy issues, Rice said that the United States has made it clear to Uzbekistan “that relations with the United States do depend on the clarity in the investigation into what happened in Andijan,” where violence erupted between government troops and protestors in May. She added, “[T]he United States also does not believe that its strategic interests and its interest in democracy are divisible in some way.”

She said that Syria continues to try to exert its influence over Lebanon and that Syria’s policies are out of step with the rest of the region. “Syrian behavior is hurting the Palestinians, hurting the Iraqis and hurting the Lebanese,” she said.

The secretary expressed disappointment over some of the recent developments in Russia’s internal politics, but she remains optimistic that Russia will eventually embrace more open and democratic norms.

“[I]t's a big and complicated place and over time I think that Russia will find that democratic development is the only way that Russia becomes what Russia wants to be,” she said.

The transcript of Rice’s interview

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