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Rudy Giuliani on foreign policy and the big picture strategy of Florida

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

HH: Hey, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.

RG: Nice to talk to you, Hugh.

HH: Mayor, there’s this scene in Braveheart where William Wallace has to keep his troops from buckling. They have to wait for the English to get there.

RG: (laughing)

HH: Is that the Giuliani campaign tonight?

RG: No, no, not yet. I mean, maybe we’ll get to that point, but we’re not at that point yet. This is just the second primary, and this is, from our point of view, not unexpected in the sense that we kind of calculated we would be late finishers rather than early starters.

HH: That’s what I meant. I meant he just wanted people to go with the strategy he set up. Your strategy’s Florida, isn’t it?

RG: You could describe it that way. Our strategy is do as well as you can in the early primaries, and hope that you can change it all in Florida. And the more different people win different primaries, that kind of works.

HH: Mayor, last time I had you here, I was talking with you about Pakistan. I want to talk to you a little bit about China if I could. Have you been there?

RG: I have been to China, yes.

HH: And is the PRC our enemy or our competitor?

RG: Well you know, it’s certainly our competitor. And we’re engaged with them. I would say…and I would leave it at that. I wouldn’t get to saying, I wouldn’t put them into the category of enemy. I would say competitor. And the way to make sure they don’t become our enemy. And when I say enemy, I think of someone who starts thinking of military challenge, and trying to get into some kind of arms race or something. The very best answer to that, from our point of view, is to remain engaged with China, commercially, as we are, expand those engagements on a fair playing field, push them in terms of protection for property rights, push them on safety and security of items that are sent on deals and that sort of thing. But one of the best things we could do is to rebuild our military, which is something I announced about a week ago for the second time. We should do a major increase in our military, and that would send a signal to China not to challenge us, not to consider wasting resources or percentages of their GDP on trying to match us militarily.

HH: Mayor, I agree with that. When you were a senior official in the Reagan Justice Department, and I was a briefcase carrier, the Navy was 600 ships. It’s below 300, headed to 280 now. Where should it be?

RG: And my commitment is to get it immediately to 300, and then we’ll go from there, just like it is ten new combat brigades into the Army, get the Marine Corps up to 200,000, go buy the new fighters for the Air Force, and personnel that goes along with that, take a good look at the Coast Guard, because they now have additional, or at least enhanced border security responsibilities, and make sure they have the resources. But a big commitment to our military, and not just in the sake of making a commitment for strategic purposes like I described. In addition to giving us more flexibility to deal with the various things that terrorists can throw at us, it will also discourage anyone from challenging us. It’s like buying insurance, let’s call it, to make sure that the rise of China is a peaceful rise.

HH: Mayor, do we have to test a new generation of nuclear weapons?

RG: I can’t say that right now. I would have to really study that to tell you whether we do or we don’t. But we sure as heck have to look at all of these things to see if are we in a position where it is just not feasible for anyone to challenge us. That would be a good way to make sure that the engagements with Russia and China remain, in some cases, hard fought commercial battles, but nothing more than that.

HH: If the PRC were to move on Taiwan in some overtly hostile way, what’s the response of a Giuliani administration?

RG: Well, the United States has obligations, and we would have to deal with that. But that’s not something…I think since that is not something that is on the table, that’s not something I think you would hypothetically talk about.

HH: All right, what about your assessment of where Putin is taking Russia as prime minister as opposed to president?

RG: Very concerned. Very concerned about both internal and to some extent, external, like the forms of energy extortion that were being practiced back last year on countries in Eastern Europe, and maybe even extending further into Midwestern Europe. And then of course, the steps backward toward democracy in Russia, these are all things that have to be a matter of great concern for us. I mean, you see a country that has in many ways embraced capitalism, shed Communism as a governing philosophy, but is now reestablishing forms of authoritarianism. And that has to trouble us greatly. We have to be very, very careful about that, and keep a close eye on it.

HH: How do you counter the spread of maligned Russian influence?

RG: Of…I’m sorry, of what?

HH: Of malignant Russian influence, the attempt to reassert…

RG: Well, I think you spread it by having close relationships with the countries that they’re trying to deal with. I mean, we’ve developed a close relationship with the Baltics. They have a great deal of regard for the United States. There’s a great deal of affection in countries like Latvia for the United States. You have a whole dynamic going on in the Ukraine. I was in Ukraine a few years ago. And we have to be sure that we keep a close relationship with them, and keep those countries supported. And then, I do think there’s an area here of gain for us that comes out of Putin having overstepped his bounds. I think that our concerns about Putin, and what Putin’s done, both internally and externally, are now shared by France, by Germany, by the UK. I think they see the same things that we see. So I think that in this particular case, America will not be alone in having to deal with this.

HH: All right, a couple of closing questions, Mayor. If the Fairness Doctrine arrives on your desk as a rider on some Democratic Congressional bill, will you veto it?

RG: Sure, absolutely.

HH: Just checking.

RG: It’s just an excuse to try to shut up the parts of radio they don’t like.

HH: And finally, do you have the money to go the distance through Super Tuesday, Mayor?

RG: We do, we do. We’re well organized, and not only that, we’ve got organizations already in place in I’m going to say just about all the states. I know we’ve got a big one in California. We certainly have big ones in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. We’ve got a really good one in Illinois, Missouri. Kit Bond has been fabulous in putting Missouri together for us. I can’t remember all the states, but in most of the big ones, I mean, part of the criticism of our strategy has been the time that we’ve spent putting together organizations in all those places, and raising money there. So that’s the benefit that we get from it.

HH: Well Mayor Giuliani, good to talk with you. I look forward to chatting with you again next week.

RG: Thank you, thank you very much.

End of interview.

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