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Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice On “Democracy”

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Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined me to discuss her remarkable new book Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom, and the interview below will air on Tuesday and Wednesday’s show but you will want to listen to it and read it asap:

Audio: 05-08hhs-rice


HH: Joined now by Dr. Condoleezza Rice. She is, of course, the Denning professor in global business and the economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. And of course, we know her as the former Secretary of State of the United States and the first woman ever to serve as National Security Advisor. Dr. Rice, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show, great to have you.

CR: It’s a pleasure to be back with you, Hugh.

HH: I must say Democracy is a remarkable book, Stories From the Long Road To Freedom. It’s over at I inhaled it. I rarely do that, but congratulations, it’s really quite an achievement.

CR: Oh, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

HH: It reminds me of two things. The first half of the book reminds me of Dr. Kissinger’s On China, because you take your lifelong study of Russia, Ukraine and Poland and go deep, and then it reminds me of the first book I ever worked on, Richard Nixon’s The Real War, because the second half of your book is a broad, sweeping dash across the planet. Did you set out that way? Was that the plan at the beginning?

CR: No, the plan at the beginning was really to just take some cases of democracy where the United States had had an impact, because I’m worried that people no longer think we can have an impact on the course of democracy development across the world. I think it’s probably, you know, I love the study of Russia and Eastern Europe, and so maybe that shows up a little bit there, but I thought that these were just the cases in which I had been personally involved in one way or another so that I could speak frankly both as Professor Rice and as Secretary Rice.

HH: Well, you have accomplished that, and I want to begin at the ending where you close by quoting a Brexit supporter. And I know you have to stop writing a book at some point, but we just had the French elections. Before that, we had the Turkish elections, and we have the British elections coming up next month. It seems like you could endlessly extend this study, because we keep coming to crises and turning points. And I don’t think that’s going to stop. Do you?

CR: I don’t think it’s going to stop. In fact, one reason that I wrote the little epilogue called 2016, was I really felt it was important to take note of what was happening with Brexit, with the election of our own president, and what was transpiring across the world. Our election was different, because we elected someone who had never been president, sorry, who had never been in government before, and now he’s going to be president of the United States. Even with Macron in his win today in France, this is someone who comes very much from outside the establishment, really sort of founded his own movement, his own party. So I think what you’re seeing across the world is that people are not so confident in the political institutions and the kind of established institutions and the people who have been a part of them, and they’re reacting to that. And so I wanted to make sure that I had made it clear that democracies are having that experience as well.

HH: Well, with that in mind, I want to focus on Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Colombia and the Middle East, to a certain extent, in our 40 minutes or so. But I want to begin from 30,000 feet. At the end of this book, I thought to myself, you know, you have to constantly read and reread even recent history. I’d forgotten so much of what I knew and lived through that you reminded me of the Russian revolution, the terrible period of the ’90s, of the Ukrainian, in fact, I never really quite understood that the Ukraine had been through seven distinct periods in the last 100 years of governance until you put it all together. Have you ever known a successful democratic leader, Secretary Rice, who was not constantly reading and inquiring about history and recent history?

CR: I have not, and I think it’s really important to inquire about history. It really gives you context, you know, for what’s going on. Even something like Crimea, and Putin’s annexation of Crimea, we forget that for a lot of Russians, Crimea was considered Russian, and that Putin played to that in a very populist way, and it made him actually very popular in Russia. You know, Crimea was given over to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev in 1954. And it was a sort of ill-conceived gift for 300 years of Ukrainian-Russian friendship. Now of course, it didn’t matter when it was all the Soviet Union, but then all of a sudden, Crimea is in Ukraine, not in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and for many Russians, this wasn’t acceptable. So we forget that Putin was playing to a sort of popular view. It was a violation of international law, it is something we should absolutely never accept or never acknowledge, but within Russia, it was not so unpopular.

HH: Well, this is why I want conservatives especially to read Democracy, is to get their history up to speed. I want everyone in the new White House staff to read it as well. I thought I knew Ukraine, because one of my law partners, Robert O’Brien, has been over there as an observer in elections, and one of my friends, Frank Dowse, was Jim Jones’ special attache when he was head of NATO and married a Ukrainian woman. I thought I knew it. But then when you walk through, Ukraine I, 1918-21, Ukraine II, ’21-’39, Ukraine in the wars, Ukraine from the wars to the Khrushchev moment, then from Khrushchev to ’91, ’91 to the present, you just methodically, it was very concise, Dr. Rice. I don’t know how long it took you to do this book, but it’s beautifully compacted.

CR: Well, thank you. I appreciate that. It took a long time, actually, because what I wanted to do was to get to the present so that people could understand why these democratic transitions have been so challenging in places like Ukraine and Russia, why Poland initially had a somewhat easier path, or what appeared to be an easier path, because they did have institutions that people admired and respected liked solidarity. And so you have to understand where somebody starts. But I also was aware that I had to get through the history in a way that was accessible and pretty quick, so thanks for saying that I managed to do that.

HH: Now the other thing that you managed to do is to instill repeatedly without being pedantic the key idea of the democratic spirit and what it means to be in the democratic spirit. At the bottom of my notes, I wrote you have to be willing to accept defeat, and you have to really believe that political campaigns and political warfare are much more preferable to the real thing with bullets and artillery. And that the democratic spirit is just the people you hold up to admire, embrace it, and the people that you scold, and sometimes not so gently, don’t.

CR: Right. Right, because democracy is really right perched, sort of perched between authoritarianism and chaos. So democracy’s that sweet spot. It’s the place where you have institutions where people can carry out their concerns, their interests, they can change their leaders peacefully. I say in the book that democracy is built for disruption, because what we do in democracy is we say okay, you want change? Go and vote in a new candidate, a new president or a new governor or a new senator. You want change? You think your rights have been violated? Take it to the courts. And by the way, take it all the way to the Supreme Court if you want to, Brown V. Board of Education. And because we have this spirit of constitutionalism, or spirit of democracy, we are willing to use the institutions of disruption rather than going into the streets and fighting it out in the streets. And that’s a tremendous gift from our founders, from the people who have sustained that system over the more than 250 years or so of our existence. And we sometimes lose patience with those who are just starting that process. You know, Hugh, democracy is a pretty mysterious thing that you get people to say I’m going to rely on this abstraction called the Constitution rather than my family or my clan or my religious group. And we’ve been very fortunate that we have those institutions, and I think part of our greatness is to be able to help others find them, too.

HH: Part of the utility of Democracy: Stories From the Long Road to Freedom, and it’s linked over at, America, go and get the book. You will just be absorbed in it as I was. But part of the utility is to give, whether it’s a new administration, a new West Wing, a new State Department, a new Department of Defense, examples from the recent past of the democratic spirit so that you can look at a President Uribe in Colombia accepting a supreme court decision not to allow him to proceed to a referendum, as you write about, and contrast that with the first president of the post-Soviet Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, who you wrote very elegantly, “did not react in a democratic spirit” to real political opposition. So there are people who get it like Uribe, and people who don’t get it like Kuchma, and there right now, there are real examples of how to judge people.

CR: That’s right. And what we have to do is recognize that you know, the United States of America isn’t going to be able to change the circumstances of a country that can’t find good leadership and all of that. But we can help to develop civil society and constraints on the executive, and people, help to develop people who are going to want to make those changes. One of the most remarkable things about democracy is when people lose an election and they call and they say you won, and now I’m going to support you. We saw that for the first time, by the way, a year or so ago in Nigeria where the defeated president of Nigeria actually just called his successor, he called the man who defeated him and said all right, I will now support you. We saw one of the most amazing times I’ve ever experienced was when Nelson Mandela visited the White House. And they, President Bush and President Mandela obviously didn’t agree about Iraq. And I was a little worried that the conversation was just going to be all about what the United States had done in Iraq. So I said to President Bush, I said why don’t you talk to him about AIDS relief. He’s very appreciative of what you’ve done. Well, you know, President Bush wasn’t going to follow that script, so he sat down and he said and so why didn’t you run for office again. And Mandela said because I wanted my African brethren to know that it was okay to step down.

HH: The Washington example.

CR: …and go to private life.

HH: Yeah, the Washington example.

CR: The Washington example. Countries that get first presidents like that are very fortunate.

HH: And I am, I don’t want it to go unremarked that while India has had this happen 16 times, and so they’re really the youngest of the new democracies to successfully practice the peaceful transition of power, in Iraq, Prime Minister Maliki stepped down. His predecessor did, and the expectation is that his successor will as well. That is astonishing, actually, in the Arab world. That’s three times.

CR: It’s astonishing. It’s astonishing. Arab strongmen don’t step down. You either carry them out feet first, or they take their countries down. And in this case, we are seeing small steps in Iraq that suggest that the spirit of democracy is there. You’re getting the people able to go out into the streets to protest their government. You have massive numbers of press in Iraq that are constantly writing about what the government is doing. And yes, I know that the road for Iraq has been hard, and I personally recognize responsibility for helping the President to make the decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein. But I would rather be Iraqi than Syrian today.

HH: Oh, amen.

CR: This is not a government that is using barrel bombs and chemical weapons against its people. In fact, it’s a government whose soldiers are fighting on the front lines with our people advising them to overthrow ISIS. And so I think there are a lot of good things happening there. It’s not perfect, yet, and no democracy is ever perfect. But my goodness, I think we need to acknowledge that they’ve made some progress.

HH: Last big question before the specifics, back when I was working with RN, there was an operational definition for whether or not the world was moving forward or backwards, and it was, if you look at the globe, can you say that there is an ongoing incremental expansion of liberty and literacy in a growing number of stable regimes in or allied to the West? And that was kind of President Nixon’s view for the Real War, and then for every subsequent book in retirement. If you look at the globe today, Dr. Rice, do we have that ongoing incremental expansion of liberty and literacy in a growing number of stable regimes?

CR: I think we do. We have some that have gone backwards, unfortunately, in terms of liberty. Certainly Turkey has gone backwards. You know, we have to worry about Poland and some of the things that are happening in Poland. But if you just take a look as to where we were in, say, 30 years ago when you had countries trapped behind the Iron Curtain, and you think of now where a Czech Republic is, or a Slovenia, or the Baltic states, you know, one of the things that we tend to forget as Americans is how just standing for moral authority matters. We knew we couldn’t do anything physically about the forcible incorporation of the Baltic states into the Soviet Union after World War II. But when I was a special assistant for Soviet Affairs for Brent Scowcroft under George H.W. Bush, there was a stamp on my desk. And I stamped every paper the United States does not recognize the forcible incorporation of the Baltic states into the Soviet Union. And you know what? When conditions changed, they appreciated that. They remembered that.

HH: Yeah.

CR: And now, those Baltic state countries are some of our strongest allies. So standing for what is right matters.

HH: Yeah, the incrementalism matters. The Helsinki Accords, as you recall in this book, no one really put a lot of store in them, and then they became the wedge. A detour here. You write about your time on the National Security Council. You just mentioned it. One of my closest friends in the world, Dan Poneman, was your colleague under Bob Gates as the deputy.

CR: Yes.

HH: And then you were, of course, the National Security Advisor. So no one in America maybe has a better position than you to judge General McMaster and the team he’s put together in the new West Wing. What do you make of it?

CR: I think that, first of all, H.R. McMaster is one of the finest generals of several generations in the United States. And he is going about this in a systematic and quiet way, and I think the NSC is functioning very well. I think you saw that functioning with the President’s decision to strike Syria, which looks, it was put together really very elegantly. We also have an outstanding Secretary of State in Rex Tillerson, and a terrific Secretary of Defense in Jim Mattis. So this is a very good national security team, and I think they’re functioning very well together, and it’s going to serve us well.

HH: Well, I’m glad to hear you say that about State, because I am a little worried that the Secretary said to the New York Times he doesn’t have to fill his political appointees until 2018. I’m very disappointed that Rick Grenell was passed over at the UN, and then for NATO, and so you’re not alarmed by the slow pace of appointments and the people who are not showing up, even though we thought they were going to be showing up?

CR: Well, it would be better if State were fully staffed, but I also think that we shouldn’t assume that Rex Tillerson is home alone. I mean, there’s some very, very good officers, mostly foreign service officers, who are there staffing. For instance, he’s made now his nomination for deputy, but the person who’s been acting deputy, Tom Shannon, worked for me as assistant secretary for Latin America. He was ambassador to Brazil. He’s best of class in this generation of foreign service officers. So he has a lot of good people around him. But yes, they need to get going. You know, Hugh, they had some challenges. There were an awful lot of people who said they’d never serve in this administration. And they have to go through and vet and decide whether they’re comfortable with the names that they’re getting. They also, as people who came from outside of government, didn’t have the kind of normal in-waiting groups of people who had served in the last Republican administration. So they have some challenges, but I’m confident that when they get this team in place, it’s going to be a really good team, because at the top, it’s stellar.

HH: You know, you just reminded me of something in Democracy, the book that you write about, where regimes have to confront a moment where they decide whether to forget the past and walk away from it, because it’s better for the future rather than to relive old grievances. And that brings me to the #NeverTrumpers. I was never #NeverTrumper, but I was also not very happy with him on many occasions throughout the campaign. I think maybe you and I share that.

CR: Right.

HH: But I don’t want a job, but I don’t think he ought to be keeping the #NeverTrumpers out. I think an amnesty would be in the best interest of the country. What do you think?

CR: Well, I think he has to come to terms with how, and look, he’s reaching out. I had the honor of going and meeting with the President a few weeks ago in Washington. He’s clearly reaching out, and so I think they’ll come to terms with how to think about what happened in the campaign and what now happens as president. But we all as Americans recognize that he’s our president, and I respect the presidency. I respect anyone who runs for it and fair and square wins it. And I respect, by the way, the voices of the people who had felt left out of the system who he represented. A friend of mine calls this the do you hear me now election. And so I have a lot of respect for that, and I’ll do what I can to help him.

HH: I think we may have a do you hear me now election coming up in Great Britain, and that brings me, the oldest democracy on the planet is Great Britain. We have the oldest written Constitution, but they have the oldest democracy. And maybe Jeremy Corbyn and McDonell, the shadow chancellor, may be wiped out. And I’m wondering if that’s such a bad thing. The Canadian Conservatives were wiped out, people forget, in 1993, I mean, reduced to, I think they lost 154 out of 156 seats.

CR: Right, right.

HH: Would that be a good thing for Great Britain, because these are just Marxist hardliners, Dr. Rice. They are not the Labourites of Tony Blair’s era.

CR: And something strange has happened to the Britain Labour, the British Labour Party. And it is, I think, no longer representative of a much of it as a governing philosophy. And you’re seeing that in some of the people. And so maybe it does need renovation. It is a long way from where Tony Blair was when he came to power with the so-called third way. But I think what we’re seeing in all of these countries is that parties are perhaps have gotten a bit inbred, if you will, that they talk only to themselves. They’ve got to somehow reach back out to the populations and really start to represent the interests of the people. One of the things I talk about in the book is that very often in young democracies, you get these liberal parties that can recite the tenets of democratic liberalism perfectly. You know, you need separation of powers, and you need to constrain the executive, and they talk about human rights, and they talk about freedom of the press. But they don’t seem to have any connection to actual populations. I always found it frustrating, really, in Russia, for instance, that some of the best, most liberal parties that I would have been very comfortable with had no answer for the widow out in Perm who’s lost her pension.

HH: Yeah.

CR: No answer for the soldier who’s been demobilized from Eastern Europe and now is living in a park.

HH: In Gorky Park. That was an amazing part of Democracy when you recalled the turbulent 90s.

CR: Yes, the turbulent 90s. So every party has to find its roots in the people and in their actual concerns. And I think one of the things that’s frustrating Americans right now about Washington is that it feels like the kind of inside game. And that’s why perhaps so many people, not just in Washington, but in Paris, even, where there’s an outsider now as president of Paris, maybe people are saying you know, let’s stop, remember us out here, and we’re seeing that.

HH: Dr. Rice, in Democracy, there’s a very gripping scene where newly-elected President Uribe is in your office, and W. blows in without knocking. You note that that’s okay when you’re the president. And he shouts out that he is committed to, if necessary, killing the bad guys. And I immediately wrote down in my notes Rodrigo Duterte. And do you see a parallel, because we are uncomfortable. As you wrote, you were uncomfortable with Uribe, and many Americans were uncomfortable with Uribe. But connecting with the people, they need to be protected from the violence in the Philippines as he protected, Uribe did, the Colombian countryside. Do you think there’s a parallel here?

CR: Well, I think there’s one really essential difference, and that is that Uribe was determined to do it through what he called democratic security.

HH: True, yeah.

CR: He was actually determined to make his campaign to defeat the FARC, which was ravaging the country. We forget that the Colombian military couldn’t go into, or police, couldn’t go into 30% of the country, which was controlled by the FARC. But he was determined to do it through democratic institutions. And so he was determined to punish the insurgents, but also to punish anyone who was a paramilitary who had been killing people. He was determined to bring people to justice even if they were members of his own party. He didn’t rule as a strongman. You know, I remember talking to him about how he sold democratic security. He went around the country and to, with his cabinet, to some of the most hard hit places and talked to people. So that’s the difference in the way that Duterte is ruling in the Philippines, and the way that Uribe carried out this very crucial mission in Colombia. And that’s something we should be saying to the Philippines leadership.

HH: Interesting.

CR: Reinforce democracy, not just the security piece.

HH: You know, you are very sparing in specific criticism of people throughout Democracy. But one person you called out by name was Senator Leahy for refusing aid to Uribe, and trying to make it a, and trying to cast him as a thug and no military aid, when in fact, he was a democrat. Should we go slow in at least, Duterte won less than a year ago. I don’t know what he’s done. I don’t want extra-judicial executions. But it does seem to me that a lot of people are in a hurry to maybe confuse his vulgarism with actual violence.

CR: Well, I think you do have to be very careful. Look, the Philippines has been a good ally, and we should be careful to try to maintain that alliance. I will say his language about the United States certainly got my attention.

HH: Yup.

CR: And so maybe this could be a two-way street, that he finds a way to bring himself into the fold.

HH: Well said. Let me turn to Russia before we run out of time, because this is, if for no other reason, people should read Democracy, is to get your take on Russia and Putin. And I loved that “You know us, Condi,” you say of Vladimir Putin telling you, and then you know the shoe’s about to drop. And I love, probably my favorite point in the book is Page 179 where he casually introduces you at his dacha to Viktor Yanukovych, “One of those odd moments that happen often with Putin. He was never subtle. He might as well have said ‘Meet Viktor Yanukovych, my man in Kiev.’”

CR: Right. Yeah, exactly.

HH: So can he change?

CR: It was really quite a moment.

HH: Can Putin change? Is there any hope for him?

CR: I don’t know that he can change. I think he fundamentally believes that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a tragedy. I think he believes that the Russians have been humiliated by the West. He probably believes that we are out to get him, which is why I think he has reacted to elections by saying well, you called my elections fraudulent. Now let me show you fraudulent. So there’s an eye for an eye character that suggests to me it’s going to be hard, but in some ways, he isn’t the future of Russia. He may be president for a long time, but there’s a different Russian. When you, when I went to the Soviet Union as a graduate student back in 1979, Russians wouldn’t look at you. They looked at their feet. Now, they travel, they send their kids to school abroad. They’re, to the universities like Stanford, they spoil their young kids at McDonald’s, and they buy their furniture at Ikea. Those Russian city elites, urban elites and even urban middle class don’t want to go back to an isolated Russia. And so we need to keep our eye on the possibility of Russians emerging as the creative and innovative people that they really are, and finding their political voice. So while I don’t think Vladimir Putin will change, I do think Russia could change. But even with Vladimir Putin, look, Hugh, you have to set the rules of the game. You have to say him, we are going to protect our allies under Article V – an attack upon one is an attack upon all of the NATO treaty. Do not fly bomber runs along the coast of Sweden. Stop threatening our ships with your aircraft. Don’t even think about further movement in Ukraine. I think we ought to arm the Ukrainians to send that message. But we also need to find our places that we can cooperate with the Russians. And you know, places like North Korea, perhaps we can. But I don’t have much hope that Putin himself is going to change.

HH: You know, I came away from what is a really remarkably well-constructed essay on Russian history, schizophrenic as always, as Nixon was, oh, so he’s Vladimir the Great, so we have some understanding of how he ended up being a czar. And I recall czars, when they pass from the scene, things can change very quickly. Robert Massie’s Dreadnought came to mind. But you point out there is this “siloviki,” am I pronouncing it right, Dr. Rice?

CR: Siloviki, yeah, siloviki, right.

HH: …Yeah, that it exists now. Can you explain that to the audience and what that means for Putin’s internal dynamic?

CR: yes, well, it’s a word for the powerful. Siloviki means the powerful. And it’s how the Russians refer to the syndicate around Putin. They are mostly men of the security services, with which, with whom he grew up somehow in what was the KGB, now the FSB. They are hardened men. Many people believe that they’ve made personal fortunes based on Russia’s oil wealth, and that they will defend their personal fortunes and their political power to the death. They have a tendency to be pretty tough on political adversaries. A number of people have either disappeared or have been killed. But something interesting is happening even there, and I mention it in the book. Some of those siloviki are being pushed out.

HH: Ivanov, yeah.

CR: And it almost feels as if he no longer even wants around him those of his cohort who he might have trusted at some point, but now he doesn’t want anyone him who will challenge him. And so that’s also a somewhat dangerous development. But Russia is unfortunately run a little bit like a syndicate, and the Russian people know it.

HH: Is there a fear on your part that he could go Gletkin, he could go Stalin, that he’s president for life?

CR: I think he could be president for a long time, but Russia is different. Russia is different. And I think that too much of an effort to keep himself in power forever will probably create something of a backlash. Even just a few weeks ago, we saw people bravely come out into the streets to protest corruption. And the regime really didn’t know what to do. They don’t really want blood to run in the streets. And so one thing that I would say and warn is that sometimes, these regimes, these authoritarian regimes, are brittle. And something happens to them, and they crack. I don’t see the element that’s going to make that happen in Russia today, but I wouldn’t count it out.

HH: I remember Solzhenitsyn’s memoir, The Oak and the Calf: “What if it’s all paper mache, what if you can poke a stick through it?”

CR: That’s right.

HH: And I don’t think that’s true about Putin’s Moscow, but let me ask you about Team Trump and the Russia story, and how they put it to bed. I do not believe, I believe the FBI director that there is no evidence of any inappropriate collusion with people presently in power in the White House or the West Wing or the President. But how, what do you do if you’re Donald Trump with these continual whispers of inappropriate relationship with Russia?

CR: Yeah, I think you probably have to let this play out. I had hoped this would really play out through the intelligence committees, because they can get the right information, and they can do what’s necessary. Look, I am really furious that the Russians did what they did in terms of hacking. I believe the intelligence agencies on this. But we have to be a little bit careful. Vladimir Putin is an eye for an eye kind of guy, and he was really unhappy that we called into question his election in 2012. And I think this is a little bit now let me call into question yours. And the greatest satisfaction is when he thinks we have lost confidence in our own democratic processes, in our own electoral processes, and so I wouldn’t give him that satisfaction. Let’s investigate it. Let’s figure out what we want to do. But let’s state very strongly that the United States of America knows what you did, and at a time of our choosing, we’ll deal with it. But we are absolutely confident in the outcomes of our election, and we’re moving on.

HH: My last question has to do with Iran, the revolutionary republic. You have the very lightest of rebukes, but it’s a hammer to President Obama about the Green Revolution. “The President apparently did not want to contaminate the revolution with outside interference.” And that comes after you very carefully recount how the CIA poured money into solidarity’s coffers when it was necessary to help them resist Jaruzelski and the rest of the Polish Communists. How brittle is the Iranian regime? You know Jim Mattis very well from your colleague days at Stanford. He understands Iran probably better than any other American out there. He’s been up against Soleimani. He knows this. What do you think is the future of that country? And how hard should we push?

CR: This is a regime that oversees a population where 70% of the population is under the age of 30. They are outward looking. I’ve had students go there who talk about how much they love Americans. This regime, this theocratic regime, is sitting on a powder keg. Now we can’t bring about change immediately, but I want to say something about those people who were in the streets in 2009, Hugh. They were carrying signs in English.

HH: Yeah.

CR: So obviously, they weren’t worried about being contaminated by outside parties.

HH: Yeah.

CR: So I think we ought to be doing everything that we can to support the development of civil society. I favor trying to get Iranian students here and the like. But the one thing I think we had going for us that we gave up was those sanctions, which had begun in our administration and had continued through the Obama administration, that had gotten tougher. Those sanctions were actually starting to bite the regime. That’s why they were willing to come to the negotiating table. But by letting up early, they, and now giving them back a lot of their assets so that they can make more trouble in the Middle East, I think we took some of the pressure off that regime.

HH: Oh, it was disastrous.

CR: And I would rather see the pressure remain.

HH: It was a disastrous move. The last comment is I walk away from Democracy saying Americans always underestimate the speed at which events can move. And you talked about, in Poland how they had the brokered deal all set up and all of a sudden, the people decided no, we’re going to go faster than that.

CR: Yeah.

HH: And things can go fast indeed, and we’re never ever, it seems to me, ready to go at the speed of the people when they move them.

CR: We aren’t, but we should always remember that when people decide they’ve had enough, they’ve had enough. And our goal should be to help prepare countries for that moment when people have had enough, and by the way, especially with our allies. I understand you have to meet with the president of Turkey. You have to meet with the president of Egypt. We have to deal with those regimes. They are our allies. But we ought to be saying to them you know, try to get to the place where your people can feel their own power through reform before they’re in the streets.

HH: Dr. Rice, congratulations on Democracy: Stories From the Long Road to Freedom, great book. It’s linked over at Look forward to talking to you again soon.

CR: Thank you so much, great to talk to you.

End of interview.


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