|The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 15, 2001
Press Briefing by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
Warsaw Marriott Hotel
2:45 P.M. (L)
DR. RICE: Good afternoon. I'm Condoleezza Rice -- for those of you who don't know me -- the National Security Advisor, and I'd like to spend a few minutes, first, just talking about the President's meetings today and what you might expect this afternoon. And then I'll be happy to take questions.
The President's trip to Poland is, I think, in many ways a highlight for him of this extraordinary trip. As you know, we began the trip in Spain, moved on then to Brussels, to Goteborg; now Poland, and tomorrow, Ljubljana.
This entire trip has been devoted to talking about what Europe and America can do when we are united, when we work hard together. It's a trip that has emphasized the common values that we share, the common purposes that we share; the fact that when Europe and America are together, things go well for the world and, when we do not work well together, they often do not.
Poland is a particularly good place to underline that message, given Poland's history. And I have to tell you, as a moment of personal privilege, that it is really extraordinarily moving having last been here in 1992, but really remembering most the trip here in 1989, to stand there this afternoon as we watched the opening ceremony and to see the Polish flag flying next to the NATO flag -- a flag that Poland flies 365 days a year as a reminder of the struggle that this country has had to maintain its long and deep cultural ties to the west.
And it is -- what the President was able to express to both the President of Poland and the Prime Minister today, that this is an effort, this is an opportunity to celebrate what Poland has achieved; it is an opportunity to celebrate Polish-American friendship. But it is also an opportunity to look forward to what Poland and America and Europe can do together.
As I said, this is a part of a larger trip, both in Brussels and in Goteborg. The President had a chance to meet with the two great European institutions -- NATO and with Europe and, before that, with the Spanish President, to talk about what was an earlier phase in the creation of a new Europe, and that was the coming of democracy and the consolidation of democracy in Spain.
So the point that he has been making is that Europe is changing, Europe has been changing, it's changing for the better -- but the one thing that will not change is the American commitment to Europe, the American commitment to partnership with Europe, and the American commitment to the fact that that partnership gives us an opportunity to do many extraordinary things in the world.
So with those opening remarks, I'll -- Ron?
Q I wonder if you could answer a question that the President didn't at the news conference. Can you be specific about what incentives he's prepared to offer Russia, Russian President Putin, to get both his blessing and, perhaps, his cooperation in missile defense?
DR. RICE: Let me use the question, Ron, to say that tomorrow, when the President meets with President Putin, he will sound many of the same things that he's been sounding throughout this trip: that this is a new day for Europe; that the Cold War is over; that one of the most important aspects of the new Europe is a welcoming and open invitation to Russia to take a rightful place in Europe; that Russia has some important choices to make about its commitment to democratic principles and institutions, about its willingness and ability to live at peace with its neighbors, about its commitment to economic reform; but that the President's vision of Europe is one in which Russia belongs and fully belongs.
In that context, you know that the President has also talked about a new security framework that replaces the old Cold War framework that was represented by the ABM Treaty, of a treaty that was signed in 1972 when the Soviet Union was deep into the heart of Europe. In fact, when this country in which we're standing right now, that is now flying the flag of NATO, when this country housed Soviet troops in large numbers as a part of the Warsaw Pact, which no longer exists, if ever there was a place to make a point about how much has changed since 1972, this is it.
So when the President talks to President Putin, he will make that point about the new security framework. But I don't think that anyone should expect there to be specific proposals on the table tomorrow. This is an opportunity for the two Presidents to get to know each other, to establish a personal relationship, for the President to sketch out his broad vision of how he'd like to see U.S.-Russian relations go, but not to make specific proposals to the Russians.
Q Real quick. Do you expect Russia to make any specific proposal? And what happened to the talk that was confirmed by administration official a couple weeks ago that there would be talk of exchanging technologies and buying missiles? What happened to that --
DR. RICE: There will be certainly be -- at an appropriate time, in appropriate channels -- several ideas that we want to put on the table with the Russians about how we might be able to cooperate on missile defense, on nonproliferation policy, how both -- what mechanisms might be available to us to discuss these issues, as well as what kinds of ideas we might have. And we hope that when those talks begin, that the Russians will bring ideas of their own.
But tomorrow is really not the appropriate venue, with, really, the Presidents having only a couple of hours to get to know each other, to get into specific proposals about what that might mean.
Q Would you say that those proposals might come next month, during the meeting at the G-8, between the two Presidents?
DR. RICE: Well, certainly we would expect the dialogue between the two Presidents to continue to evolve over this period of time. But you know there are other officials that will need to get involved in discussions of any specifics about this framework. And though I think it's the hope of both Presidents to keep the discussions at a very high level, I don't think you would expect the Presidents, themselves, to sit down and try and design the new security framework. That, I think, will be left for later.
Q Can I ask two questions on, sort of, atmospherics and on the trip, itself? Number one, the President has not been meeting with opposition leaders, NGO groups. He hasn't done anything informally with those. And I'm wondering how you would respond to some of the analysis here in Europe that this sort of hermetically sealed approach to the trip has reinforced the image of Bush as a somewhat elitist person who's not all that curious about the different cultures in different countries?
And, second, are you leaving here with a sense that you somehow, in any way, turned a corner on European -- what the President calls receptivity to missile defense?
DR. RICE: Well, the President -- first of all, we are going to take another trip to Europe, and these trips have to be thought of together. But the President is meeting with the elected representatives of the people of Europe. And he is -- he went to the European Union, he had many meetings to take care of there, he of course was in Spain. It's been a very busy and very hectic trip. But the President's curiosity about Europe is very strong.
It is also true that through these elected leaders I think he's getting plenty of evidence that democracy is alive and well in Europe, that there are competing voices. And he goes out of his way to talk about some of the debates that are taking place in the United States; they go out of their way to talk about some of the debates that are going on in Europe. So I think it's been a wonderfully successful trip, from the point of view of getting to know his colleagues with whom he's going to have to work for the next several years.
In terms of atmospherics, I think it's really been wonderful. I cannot tell you how heartened I was, particularly by the NAC, the North Atlantic Council meeting, the other day. I have been to a number of NACs in my career, and I have never seen one that was more receptive, where people were more willing to talk openly, where there was a lot of support and, indeed, gratitude for the way in which this administration has taken on the new security framework issue; a lot of talk about the importance of the consultations that we've launched about working through this issue together.
And I have to say, a lot of support for the President's contention that we have to move on to something new; that the world has changed. I would say that at least -- probably every leader, but I'll not make the claim -- let me just say that at least 70 percent of the leaders talked about how much the world had changed; everybody talked about the fact that yes, there were threats. And several of the leaders -- and, I might add, several of the leaders of large countries, as well as small countries -- noted that we have to think about defense and offensive reductions together as the way to address the new issues.
So, yes, we did feel a new receptivity, we do think that this ball is moving and the President is looking forward to continuing it.
Q Dr. Rice, why does the President feel that he needs to tell Putin that the United States is not Russia's enemy? Does the President feel that Russia has come to take the United States to be its enemy?
DR. RICE: I don't think that the President does believe that, but it's important to say it, because the Soviet Union was the enemy of the United States, and it's really a way of just underscoring how much the world has changed. It's a way of putting that chapter behind us. It's a way of talking about how different this world is than the world that we inhabited with the Soviet Union, where you had this implacably hostile relationship; where, really, the world breathed a sigh of relief at every summit when we signed an arms control agreement, because, really, that was all that there was to the relationship. It was a kind of substitute for a real political relationship. So he's just underscoring with that statement that we think it's time to move on.
Q And when the President said, as he did today, that he would like Russia to be America's ally, does he mean as a member of NATO?
DR. RICE: Well, I think the President is sketching out a vision for the future that, first and foremost, Russia does have tough choices to make at home. It has choices to make about democratic institutions, like freedom of the press. It has choices to make about market reform. It has choices to make about the role that civil society will play in Russia.
But as those choices are made, and if they are choices that continue to push Russia toward a Europe whole and free, the President believes that it's where Russia belongs, that it is -- should be a welcoming attitude toward Russia. And the question of what institutions I think is something for the future, but that Russia really should think of itself as a European power. And I don't mean geographically a European power; I mean in terms of values, in terms of common aspirations -- that's what the President wants to say.
Q Dr. Rice, when you say that declaring that Russia is not the enemy and the Cold War isn't over, it seems to me that statement could have been made any time in the last eight or ten years by an American President. And I wonder if there is anything different about that statement being said now and, if there is, how is President Bush's vision of Russia's relationship to Europe and Russia's relationship to the United States any different from President Clinton's, for example?
DR. RICE: Well, first of all, we've just had an opportunity to say it, and I think it's important that this President talk about the end of the Cold War. But this President is also talking about some radical transformation of some of the institutions and some of the old pillars of the old Cold War.
One of the major differences is that this President has laid out a completely -- a vision of a completely different strategic framework, in which we and our allies and the Russians and other peace loving countries find in the combination of offensive reductions, in defensive systems, in new nonproliferation efforts a new security framework that replaces the old nuclear balance of terror.
And that's a very important and new concept. And I think that what you could see at the NAC was that people are understanding and are buying that intellectual argument. To be sure, there are people who say, well, we want to know more about the details. We say to them, you have to help us develop the details; this is consultation, after all, not an American fiat.
But it is absolutely the case that this President sees this new security framework as transplanting, or setting aside, the old nuclear balance of terror. That's very different from what we've heard for the last several years.
It's also true that this President will talk today about the importance of Europe's premier institutions continuing to enlarge. It has long been the policy of the United States that we believe, even though it is up to the Europeans to decide, we believe that the enlargement of the European Union will be good for Europe. This President will also make a strong statement that NATO, too, must continue to enlarge.
And if you take all of this together, what you're talking about is a new security framework that recognizes how much the world has changed; that recognizes that starting in Spain, says something about the new Europe; that having your first state visit in Poland says something about the new Europe; that going to Ljubljana with the President of the Russia says something about the new Europe.
This is not the average, normal American President's first tour to Europe. There are messages in the locations that he's chosen, there are messages in the way that he's talking about this Europe. And I think he's moved the ball very far forward in a very short period of time.
Q Dr. Rice, you said, you mentioned the combination of arms reduction, defensive systems and anti-deterrence proposals. Does that mean that only if a combination of those three elements comes actually together a new framework will be possible? Or do you think that if one of the three, let's say, proposals goes ahead, but the other two are not working so well, one should go ahead, or should everything be in the package?
DR. RICE: Well, it's not clear that everything has to move at the same speed. But I do think the President sees it as a comprehensive package. And I can tell you, whenever he talks about it, he talks about it as a comprehensive package, because what he's really talking about in old terms of nuclear theology is shifting, changing the offense-defense mix, to have limited defenses as a part of strengthening deterrents -- not replacing deterrents, but strengthening deterrents, and recognizing that almost no one can think of a reason that the United States or Russia might wake up tomorrow and decide to have a nuclear war. Nobody can think of a reason for that.
So to say that it's the ABM Treaty that is the cornerstone of strategic stability misses the point. It's the political relationship that has changed. That's why we have a stable relationship with Russia. So I think we'd like to see them all move. They may not move at the same speed but, yes, they're very much seen as a comprehensive package.
If I could just mention, I thought that something the Polish President said today was extremely important. He made a very clear distinction between what the United States tried to do with defenses in the early 80's, and what President Bush is talking about in doing with defenses today. He talked about the difficult between what everybody called Star Wars, which was to try and be within the context of the old nuclear balance of terror, and now, which is completely pushing aside the nuclear balance of terror and thinking differently about limited defenses against threats -- a capability against a capability that has become quite ubiquitous out there, because ballistic missile technology is in a lot of places.
And even if the three or four countries that you worry most about were to no longer be tomorrow morning, I think you would still worry about the degree to which ballistic missile technology is ubiquitous in the world, and could fall into anybody's hands. And so that's what the President is talking about. He's talking about a capability against new threats.
Q The President had talked about, some time ago, about eventually needing to get rid of the ABM Treaty. This week he seemed to say that this was going to be a necessity sooner rather than later. You mentioned that the Europeans want details. It seemed the President was saying, I can't provide you the details if we can't test and, as he put it, explore the future.
When does this become a problem? How big a problem is it in sketching out the details, and do you intend to offer some other sort of regime to reassure people, or just set aside the ABM treaty altogether?
DR. RICE: I think the idea here is that we should have a new security framework. Now, we are open as to what form that takes. And it's something that we are prepared to discuss with the Russians who, after all, are the other signatories to the ABM Treaty, as well as with our allies and, to a certain degree, other interested countries as well. So we're open as to the form that this takes.
When I said that there -- people want to know details, this is the kind of thing that they're talking about, what form? We're open. In terms of details on what the missile defense system, itself, might look like, I think that's where the President was just being quite blunt with our friends and allies and will be with the Russians as well, which is that, what we have are several different possibilities of technologies that appear to be promising.
But you really need a pretty robust development testing and evaluation program in order to know what is going to actually fill the bill. And we are constrained by the ABM Treaty and even testing components together. Remember that the ABM Treaty was intended to keep you from building missile defense systems, so it's not too surprising that it's extremely constraining.
And so I think what you will find is that we'll continue to talk to our friends and allies, the Russians and others, about the concept of development, testing and evaluation, but with a mind toward moving not just away from the constraints of the ABM Treaty, but from what the ABM Treaty really says about the relationship, which is, this is a relationship of mutual hostages.
We do not believe that we are any longer, with Russia, in a relationship of being mutual hostages.
Q Are you saying that you can't even lay out the possibilities for defensive systems, which they keep saying, we can't buy it until we see it -- but you're saying you can't lay out the options as long as you're constrained by the ABM Treaty.
DR. RICE: What we've been saying is, we cannot tell you what systems best fit until we have an opportunity to test and evaluate. And the ABM Treaty is constraining in that way. But I think that we're also making progress on that. People understand that we're talking about something that is going to take a while to do the testing and evaluation. But what I found really heartening yesterday -- or, the day before yesterday in the NAC, was that everybody in there talked about the potential for a new security framework.
Now, some were more enthusiastic than others and, again, a lot of countries were very enthusiastic about it, saying that it just doesn't seem to make sense that you would not -- I think it was the Spanish President who said both in his press conference and in the NAC yesterday, why would you not want to try and move to a new security framework, try to look at the new threats -- why would you not want to do that.
I tell you, it was a very receptive audience.
Q Dr. Rice, with Russia, it appears you had the clash of the new idea, which is missile defense, and an old problem, proliferation. The Clinton administration struggled mightily with that. I'm wondering if you're going to be offering any new ideas on how to deal with proliferation and, as the President said today, these two issues, the new idea and the old problem intersect?
How important is it to deal with one or the other? Do you view them as equally important as you meet with Mr. Putin?
DR. RICE: I do think they're equally important and, indeed, one of the constraints on how one thinks about cooperation in missile defense is what we get on the proliferation side in Russian behavior. Because you could not have the situation in which you were sharing missile defense technologies, and then having the very technologies, themselves, of proliferation, proliferate into Iran or other places by the Russian hand.
I think there is a potential for a new start at this with the Russians. It's not going to be easy. We would be the first to say it's not going to be easy. But the President will make the point to President Putin that what may seem at this moment to be an expedient policy with certain states can really come back to haunt not just us, but the Russians. And I think he will make that case, we will try to find a way to deal with it.
One thing that we do have in mind is that in all proliferation policies, we believe that you're going to need to have much more variegated, different approaches for different kinds of proliferation problems. We've tended to say proliferation, but there are a lot of different states involved, you have to have different approaches, and so we're going to explore some of those.
Q You've talked about the tough choices that the Russians have to make. How much on the agenda tomorrow will be our comments about press freedoms, religious freedoms, civil liberties in Russia and the choices that they have to make in those areas? DR. RICE: The President has always made very clear that he's not going to shy away from talking about our values. He understands that these are choices that others have to make. But the full potential of Russia really can only be realized in a democratic context.
I think if we know anything now, we know that you cannot have an entrepreneurial, functioning, knowledge-based economy which is at the high end of economic development, unless you have creative people who feel free to think -- not just at work, but at home, as well -- who can debate and who can argue about things and who can really be part of the society and part of the polity.
And so, in some ways, Russian potential and Russia's choices on these democratic principles are fundamentally linked. And I think the President will make that point. But the President does all of this in a way that is respectful -- respectful of the fact that it is the Russians who have to make these choices, but I think very proud of our values and very proud of the fact that they are not American values, they are the values of free peoples everywhere.
And, you know, this place, Poland, again, is a place that demonstrates what happens when you unleash the power of free people rather than trying just to deal with economic issues.
Q If I may follow, though, you said the President was blunt with some of the friends and allies. Would he be blunt in saying that the Russians are not making the choices that we think they should be making right now in those areas?
DR. RICE: Well, when I said "blunt," what I mean is, straightforward. And this is a President who speaks straightforwardly. And I'm sure he'll speak straightforwardly to Mr. Putin, as well. But we understand that Russia is a big country, an important country with a lot of history, and with a lot of history and culture that is not like our own.
But we also understand that the values about freedom of the press, about freedom of speech are as Russian as they are American; that the Russian people, given these opportunities as they are being given -- and I want to be very clear -- Russia has made a lot of progress.
There are some troubling signs, but Russia has made a lot of progress, and Russia is going to be the better for it.
Q I wonder if you could talk a little bit about the personal dynamics of the President's interaction with some of the leaders he's met this week. And, in particular, do you think the President has allayed any concerns that European leaders might have had about his facility in the international relations arena?
DR. RICE: Well, I'm quite certain that the President has demonstrated that he is somebody with whom they will be very happy to deal over the next several years. He has come here strongly asserting the European-ness of his policy. That is, that he really does see Europe as a fundamental partner. He's underscored that. I think that that has been important to do, because as he's said -- and I've heard him say it in every encounter -- he is new, and people only can read caricatures, they can only read stories about him.
Now that they've had the chance to look him in the eye and hear him talk about his plans for America and Europe, I think they really understand that this President means strong commitment to Europe and a strong commitment to America's role in Europe.
I think they also have seen a President who is able to quickly go from a discussion of the new strategic security framework, to a discussion of global climate change, to a discussion of NATO enlargement, to a discussion of trade, and to do it with great facility.
I think that they have also found this to be a man who is plainspoken and straightforward and relaxed, at home in this environment. And these have not been kind of stuffy and formal. There has been a kind of sense of relaxation, and I think that's partly because that's the President's style. But I also think it's the style of several leaders in this relatively new generation of European leaders.
Q You mentioned two things there that are of great significance to the Russians. One is the new strategic framework, and the setting aside of the ABM Treaty, and the other is the expansion of NATO. There are some governments -- aspirant countries to NATO that fear that there may be a tradeoff between these two things, and that admission to NATO may be the price of the Russians accepting the setting aside of the ABM Treaty. Can you comment on that?
DR. RICE: Certainly. The President will comment on it this afternoon, and he will say, in no uncertain terms, and I think you will read it in the language very strongly, that this is not a trade, that this is not even an issue, that we see both the enlargement of NATO, when it happens -- and he has said several times it's not a matter of whether it is a matter of when.
So he's not making any judgments about who or when. But he is saying very clearly that when NATO enlarges, it will be a good thing for security of Europe. And he believes that there is no -- that Russia has no reason to fear Europe moving toward it.
And, secondly, he will say that the new security framework is also in everybody's interests, moving forward. So not only does he not see these as tradeable, he sees them as a part of the same new security environment.
Q Dr. Rice, just to clarify, the level of constraint that you all feel by the ABM Treaty, when does the administration believe they violate the treaty? Is it testing? Is it research? At what point in this process of exploring a new defense system does the administration believe that triggers a clear violation?
DR. RICE: I don't think that's exactly how we think about it. We think of the fact that you are trying to do a lot of things to asses the possibilities for dealing with -- for bringing on line defensive systems. And the ABM Treaty has so many constraints in it, because it was intended to prevent you from bringing along defensive systems, that almost anything you do, in a sense, is not within the treaty. Now, there may be some minimal things that can be done, but that's not the approach that we want to take. We really want to be free to look at all the possibilities.
People talk about trying to intercept missiles in boost phase. You have to be a very fast interceptor in order to do that. Well, constraints on the speed of interceptors is a point of a codicil now to the treaty. You have people who want to look at mobility, so that you can get close to a threat, and show and demonstrate what kinds of threats you're actually going after. Mobility is prohibited in the treaty.
There are so many things in a treaty that was intended to avoid missile defense, that we really have not been trying to go line by line and say, well this would violate, or that would violate. And that's one reason that when we're asked this question, when would you violate the treaty, that's not how we think about it.
We really think about this as needing to move to a new security framework, not just because we want to test missile defense, but really because we think it's the wrong framework, the wrong foundation for a new relationship with Russia. I cannot make more strongly the case that we had the most abnormal relationship with the Soviet Union in the history of mankind. It was one that was based on a real threat of mutual annihilation. That was never before and it's never been since.
We are now in a relationship with Russia that rests on a whole host of other possibilities. And one thing that the President is going to do tomorrow is talk about how broad this relationship could be: in economic relations, Russia has tremendous potential; in energy relations, Russia has tremendous potential: in the relationship of the societies and civic cultures; in regional conflicts, where we already work with the Russians in the Balkans, work with them on the Nagorno-Karabakh working with Igor Ivanov in the Middle East. He wants to talk about what a normal, broad relationship with Russia would look like. And you cannot build a normal, broad relationship on the foundations of the abnormal relationship that we had with the Soviet Union.
Q Dr. Rice, you do feel that the Senate must be consulted or, in terms of abrogation of the treaty, what will be your plans now? You've got a Democratic Senate now, what happens with the treaty?
DR. RICE: Well, John, the treaty right now, what we're saying is that we really think that a way to set it aside to move to a new strategic framework would be far preferable. As I said, we are open to discussions as to what that means. And, of course, those discussions would include not just the allies, not just the Russians and others, but the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Senate in particular, which, after all, ratified the ABM Treaty, but the U.S. Congress, and I should say, the American people.
Because I do think you're going to hear the President make more and more of the case to the American people that as the President of the United States and the leader of the alliance, he has an obligation to try and meet the new threats that we face, that he would be, in effect, not living up to his obligations. And I suspect that you will start to find that in the
Congress and in other places, no one will want to appear not to want to address these new threats. It is important that we do move together. The President of the United States simply has certain obligations. He's going to try to carry them out. I want to just repeat, I think we made a lot of progress this week.
And if I could just close in sum by saying, this -- the first part of this trip -- and we still have tomorrow to go -- but it has really underscored how the personal relationships between these leaders do matter. It has underscored how they can sit in a spirit of cooperation and respect and candor, even when they're addressing difficult issues, even when they're addressing issues on which they don't agree. But that they all underscored, every single one of them, that what they really wanted to come out and say to the press, what they really wanted to come out and say to their publics is, more unites Europe and America than divides it. That has always been the case. It is even more so the case today, because we have a lot of important work to do in Europe still, and beyond in Africa with AIDS and so forth.
So this was really a trip that underscored the potential and the promise of continued European and American partnership.
END 3:21 P.M. (L)