Washington_ National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice spoke about continuing foreign policies and the relationship between the Bush administration and journalists to members of the National Press Club Thursday afternoon.
“The press has made a good start with covering foreign policy…but it's not about the headlines that are written so much as the headlines that have not been written,” Rice said.
Rice,the first female appointed as security advisor under President George W. Bush,focused her speech on relations with Russia,regarding talks of withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the proposed missile defense shield,and the government's commitment to advocate democracy and free trade in African countries.
“The president has made it clear there are problems with the ABM Treaty because it prohibits missile defense testing and development,” she said. “The treaty enshrines the hostility of the Cold War relationship between the United States and Soviet Union rather than a prosperous relationship we can have with Russia.”
With Poland part of the NATO,Germany unified and the collapse of the Soviet Union,Rice said the United States is no longer looking to build up as large an offensive missile strategy as defensive.
“The president believes the offensive level is too high and he's asking the Pentagon to reconfigure forces so that we can have the a strong defensive force at the lowest level possible.”
However,to move beyond the Cold War frameworks,Rice said necessary defense forces should not be constrained by the treaty. “We need to be able to explore our options against new threats that are out there and the ABM treaty does not allow it.”
On African countries and trade with them,Rice said Bush was making progress by already meeting with seven African leaders and setting up a global fund to treat Africa's deadliest diseases,including HIV,AIDS,tuberculosis and malaria.
“African leaders must make hard choices,” Rice said. “But the president has been understanding and a forceful advocate for those countries trying to democratize their governments and markets,and he continues to pressure those that are not.”
The U.S. relationship with China was business as usual,Rice said,saying that early incidents,such as the detainment of the EP3 spy plane,hadn't altered the improving status between the two nations.
“Out of that unexpected incident,President Bush set out to do two things; get our people back and preserve the framework for a productive relationship with China,” she said. “We are concerned with the proliferation of Chinese power and human rights efforts,but we have some cooperation and we're seeing more people taking responsibility of their lives and economy without interference from the government.”
In regards to Bush's involvement in helping with the Middle East peace treaty talks,Rice said the parties were beginning to enter a stage of reengagement. “We had to wait until Israel had a prime minister,and we still need to be at a point where there is a strong cease-fire that holds the level of violence down and both the parties [Israeli and Palestinian] want to move forward.”
Rice laughed off questions of any rifts between her and Secretary of State Colin Powell. “We have a great working relationship as good friends and colleagues with close ties in our families,” she said. “I don't think I have ever had a better working relationship.”