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Rudy Giuliani’s foreign policy

Wednesday, January 2, 2008
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HH: Hey, Mayor, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.

RG: How are you?

HH: Good. Mayor, let’s start with Rush Limbaugh today…I know you and Rush are friends. He just said today that Mike Huckabee’s not a conservative. Do you agree with that?

RG: Well, I’m not going to comment on the credentials of other candidates. I am (laughing). I’m a fiscal conservative. And on national security matters, I think I have one of the most conservative records. I think I probably have the most conservative fiscal record. And those are things that I point out to voters all the time.

HH: Does Rush matter?

RG: Pardon me?

HH: Does Rush Limbaugh matter?

RG: Of course Rush matters. Absolutely. That’s his opinion, and he’s entitled to it.

HH: Now there’s also an analysis…

RG: I have tried very hard not to criticize other Republican candidates, following Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment, that we shouldn’t criticize each other. We’ve got enough disagreements going on with the Democrats, to focus on that. And unless they attack me, it’s not my job to characterize them. They’ve got to characterize themselves.

HH: Now Mayor, there’s an analysis that in New Hampshire, you and Senator McCain are basically competing for the same votes as the war candidate. And so if that is someone’s number one concern, the war on terror, why ought they to vote for you rather than Senator McCain?

RG: Well, I think the experience that I’ve had dealing with safety and security all my life, having the responsibility for the safety and security of millions of people on my shoulders when I was mayor of New York City, as well as my experience in the Justice Department as associate attorney general, dealing with law enforcement in various parts of the world, the experience that I’ve had negotiating with governments over law enforcement matters. I think I’ve had a full range of experience that puts me in a position to keep this country on offense against Islamic terrorism.

HH: Is executive experience qualitatively better for preparing someone for the presidency than legislative?

RG: I think executive experience is something that voters look to quite a bit when they consider a president. It kind of follows the pattern of most of the presidents that have been selected recently.

HH: Let’s talk about current events. Pakistan has postponed their elections until February the 18th. Do you approve of that, Mayor Giuliani?

RG: Well, I, you know, I want to see them on a course towards democracy as quickly as possible. I can’t assess the view from the outside, you know, how that affects stability. What I said from the very beginning is there’s a two-step process here. We’ve got to work with Pakistan to make sure they remain stable, and that nuclear weapons are secure, the country is secure, the country is stable. And then, we’ve got to get them on a road to democracy as quickly as possible. The sooner the better is the way I would look at it. And today, I gave a speech about keeping us on offense with regard to terrorism.

HH: Is there anyone in Pakistan’s civilian leadership that you look at, in the aftermath of the Bhutto assassination, as someone upon whom the United States can rely as an honest broker of Pakistani interest, but also an ally in the war on terror?

RG: Well, we’ve worked with Pakistan quite a bit, and I think you’ve got to leave that to the judgment of the President and the Secretary of State. I think this is something that probably isn’t a particularly good political issue. I think the Democrats have gone a little bit far with calls for Musharraf being removed. And at this point, there’s a very delicate judgment that has to be made about getting Pakistan stable, and exactly how to do that. And I think you have to leave that to the discretion of the President and the Secretary of State.

HH: There’s a brand new book out, Mayor, called Nuclear Jihadists by Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins on the proliferation that occurred with Pakistan in the late 80’s…and excuse me, the late 70’s and early 80’s, and it makes the argument that F-16’s are a delivery platform. And today, it was announced we’re going to sell them another bunch of F-16’s. Do you think that’s a good idea to be selling F-16’s to Pakistan now?

RG: Well, I mean, it really depends on how satisfied we are with the stability and security of the government, and how much inside that we’ve gotten to make certain that they’re stable, their weapons are stable, and are secure. Today, I called for increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan. I’ve talked about this before, but it seems like to me, it’s very timely now to double the number of American-commanded troops in Afghanistan.

HH: You know, the Marine Corps asked to be given exclusive responsibility over Afghanistan, and that was rebuffed by senior Pentagon officials. What do you think of that idea?

RG: Well, you know, I can’t second guess that. They were very successful in Afghanistan in 2001-2002, meaning the overall military. In fact, it was pretty startling how quickly they were successful. For some time now, I’ve been saying we should replenish our forces in Afghanistan, because I don’t want to see al Qaeda and the Taliban reemerge. So I think this would be a good time to do it. I think it might also help with stability in Pakistan if we had more troops in Afghanistan, and we were making sure that there were no problems on the other side of the border.

HH: What do you believe…do you believe in the right of hot pursuit, Mayor, on the Afghan-Pakistan border?

RG: Again, I think that’s a judgment that’s got to be made internally, based on the circumstances. How sure are you, how exigent are the circumstances, you’ve got to leave that to a case by case decision that has to be made by the field commanders, and then ultimately, if it’s really serious, by the Secretary of Defense and the President.

HH: Going back to proliferation, Mayor, the NIE came out, and a lot of people shook their head. After I read this Frantz/Collins book, there’s no doubt in my mind Iran can be within a nuclear capacity within a very short period of time. Did the NIE raise your level of concern, or lower it?

RG: It kept it the same, quite frankly. I mean, if you read it, it says that they had a high degree of confidence that the Iranians stopped in 2003, but only a moderate confidence that they haven’t resumed since then. So when I read that, together, it says to me we’d better be concerned. And then I also think about what happened in 2003, that might have led to they’re stopping their program, if they did. And what happened in 2003 is we overthrew Saddam Hussein, and had a lot of troops right next door, and we accomplished something Iran wasn’t able to accomplish in eight years. We accomplished within, I think, 29 days. So pressure works. I think that what I would take from that NIE, that would be the most solid conclusion is, that pressure works, and that it has a big impact on Iran, so we better make sure that we keep the pressure on them.

HH: All right, Mayor, let’s finish by talking about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I’m pretty sure, in fact, I’d bet everything that you know more about FISA than anyone else in the field, and about surveillance more than anyone else in the field. Are you satisfied with the act that passed late last year, that it gives the administration the tools that it needs?

RG: I think it cured some immediate problems. I think there are some long term fixes that are going to be necessary as well. It, as far as I could tell, now you know, some of it still has to be done long term. It gives us the flexibility to do what we have to do. But I’d like to see it fixed long term as well.

HH: Do you think the 4th Amendment really covers known terrorists contacting their operatives in the United States, Mayor Giuliani?

RG: Well, it covers citizens, it covers things in the United States. It doesn’t cover things outside the United States, and that was the confusion that was happening, that at least on a temporary basis has been fixed, but it’s going to have to be fixed permanently. I also, I also made the point today that we should reemphasize our efforts to try to catch bin Laden. I mean, there are, two things happened within the last two weeks. One was the assassination of Mrs. Bhutto, and that has had a big impact, but also, you know, that bin Laden tape emerged. We believe it’s bin Laden, at least. He made threats to Israel. It reminds us that he still is a threat, and capturing him would be a big victory, not just symbolic, but a big victory in the overall effort to defeat Islamic terrorism. He’s a charismatic figure in a very negative, horrible way. But we can’t ignore the fact that he has a lot of impact on the people who are organized under this Islamic terrorism ideology.

HH: You know, he was kind of…the Blind Sheik, whom was in New York operating when you were United States attorney, and then of course when you were mayor, struck at the city. They’re very charismatic figures. How do you cut off that charisma? How do you discredit that charisma?

RG: Well, I mean, capturing them is a good way to do it (laughing), that it shows they’re not invincible, it shows they’re not all-powerful. Part of the charisma, this kind of negative charisma, let’s call it, that these dictators and terrorists and tyrants have, is this air of invincibility. So when…you do a lot more damage than I think people realize when you actually capture them, and show that they are mortal.

HH: Mayor, how much did the wall, that much discussed doctrine that kept the Department of Justice from CIA cooperation, how much did that impact the prosecution of terrorists during your tenure as USA and mayor?

RG: How much did the cooperation impact…

HH: No, the wall, the wall that kept people from cooperating.

RG: Well, I always felt we were getting a good flow of information. But now that I read about the recreations of what occurred post-September 11, and it seems to me there are some FBI agents who are concerned that the right information wasn’t being exchanged at the right time, even if that’s a little bit of after-the-fact thinking, it makes sense to me that there shouldn’t be such a wall. Now I wasn’t in the Justice Department when it was put up. I was outside the Justice Department, so it’s something that I really wasn’t familiar with until afterwards. But I think the Patriot Act, in taking that wall down, I think that was a memo by Deputy Attorney General Gorelick, right?

HH: Correct.

RG: Yeah, that would be like in the mid-90’s or so.

HH: Correct. Last question, Mayor, because we’re getting a call from your people, do you think the FBI under Mueller, I know Louis Freeh’s a big back of yours…

RG: Louis Freeh is with me right now.

HH: Yeah, have they done what they need to do in terms of Arabic-speaking agents, in terms of technology, to be ready for the next ten years in this long war?

RG: I certainly believe they have made efforts to try and increase that. And today, I talked about making sure we increase human intelligence, because I think that that has something to do with not being able to pick out, like a needle in a haystack, which is sometimes the way it is when you’re looking at these intelligence reports. If you have human intelligence, it alerts you to what to look for. And I know the CIA and the FBI wanted to increase that, and I mean, I hope they’ve done that. I mean, some of this, you shroud it in secrecy, so you only know when you start getting the top secret briefings.

HH: Mayor Giuliani, I know you’ve got to run. Thanks, look forward to talking to you after the primaries.

RG: Thank you, Hugh, nice to talk to you, take care.

HH: Thank you.

End of interview

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