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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2004 > March

Remarks on NDTV 24x7's India Questions Colin Powell Dialogue with Indian Youth with Host Prannoy Roy

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Maroush Restaurant, Maurya Sheraton Hotel
New Delhi, India
March 16, 2004

MR. ROY: Well, hello and welcome to “India Questions.”  Today we have a really young audience, average age about 21 or so. 


SECRETARY POWELL: Looks like about. 


MR. ROY: College students from all over the country who’ve come to question a person who’s arguably the second most powerful man in the world: the American Secretary of State, Mr. Colin Powell.  Thank you very much for being with us, sir.


SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much.  It is a great pleasure to be with you and have this opportunity to talk to the young people of India, the future leaders of India.  Back home in the United States as Secretary of State, but before I became Secretary of State, when I was working with youth programs, I used to go around the country, speaking to young people from ages six all the way up to 18 or 22.  And I enjoy this kind of audience more then I do appearing before my Congress or appearing on normal television shows: one, because your questions are almost always direct to the heart of an issue.  They’re candid, they’re open, they’re honest and so the rules for this session [are] you can ask anything you want.  You can ask about policy, you can ask about me, you can ask about anything you want.  You get to pick the question.  But remember, I get to pick the answer.


MR. ROY: I can answer, as well.


SECRETARY POWELL: But it is a great pleasure and I am so pleased to be back in India.  My previous visits here in India were during times of great tension, crisis when people worried about the possibility of conflict.  But now I am here at the time when people are talking about peace.  We are talking about economic and trade issues for most of the day, not tension and conflict and the likelihood of war.  And I think this is a tribute to the leaders, a tribute to your Prime Minster and the members of this government, a tribute to President Musharraf, but really a tribute to the desire on the part of the Indian people to find a way forward, to find a way towards lasting peace in this part of the world.  And for you young people it’s especially important that you be advocates for peace, as well, because it is your country that you’re going to be inheriting and leading…  I mean, you are the future of India.  And you have to be committed to open trade, you have to be committed to peace, you have to be committed to creating a better life for all the people of India.  In this you will find that the United States is a partner: a strategic partner, a friend.  You and I together here today represent to greatest democracies on the face of the earth:  the oldest and the largest.  And so, it is my pleasure to represent my democracy to the leaders of the great Indian democracy to be, the young people of India.


MR. ROY:  We are going to have elections this year, right?    Can I just start with not a voice of the future?  I will ask the first question while they all warm up.  That is: after the Iraq war there’s been a kind of general anti-Americanism, that’s the phrase being used, that’s spreading across.  It is a love-hate relationship that people have.  They love the way of life of America.  I think it is summed up in that phrase: “Yankee, go home but take me with you.”  Is America aware of this general anti-Americanism post Iraq-War and are you going to do anything?  Do you care about it?


SECRETARY POWELL:  No, we do care about it and we are very mindful of the fact that the action we took to get rid of a dictator in Baghdad was not universally applauded.  In fact, in many countries it was a negative public reaction to what we were doing.  We also aware of part of the anti-American attitude that exists, particularly in the Muslim world, has to do with the crisis being between Israel and the Palestinians and the desire on the part of many people to have the Americans solve this just by going in and saying it is solved.  Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t it lend itself to that kind of an easy solution. 


With respect to Iraq, I think that over time as people see that a democracy is being created, that people living a better life, that a dictator is gone…a dictator who did gas his own people in 1988 on this very day, I think, some 16 years ago he killed 5,000 of his own people using chemical weapons.  He filled mass graves… that isn’t going to happen any more.  The people of Iraq are now debating with each other, trying to form a democratic system.  We are going to help them, we are going to help them rebuild their country.  And when I see that this progress is steady and is going forward, and when I can see a democracy being put in place, I think the rest of the world will be able to see it as well, and they will recognize that we have done something good.  And we have changed Iraq for the better.  We have changed the region for the better and I hope at that time attitudes will shift.


America has always had this problem of people looking at us—a great super power, an economic power, a political power—with the combination of respect, but also some resentment.  And we try very hard with our public diplomacy programs to get on top of that, to explain to people around the world.  But we do not ….


MR. ROY:  So, you do not.


SECRETARY POWELL:  Yeah. We do care, we care very much.  And to try to convey the message to people that we are not looking for enemies, we are not looking for places to invade.  We are looking for alliances, we are looking for partners, we are looking for people who are interested in pursuing peace.  We are looking for people who want to work with us to defeat HIV/AIDS.  We want to put more money into the development of countries that are desperately in need of education systems, of infrastructure systems.  So, America, I think, is fundamentally a nation that believes in peace, fostering peace, believes in democracy, believes in the rights of men and women.  And over time I think that that message will come through and we will get through this current period of anti-American thought.


MR. ROY: Lots of questions though on Iraq. Arundati Mehrotra.  You had sent in a question.


QUESTION:  Good evening sir, my question is that the premise of the war in Iraq was that Iraq possesses some weapons of mass destruction which haven’t been found so far.  So do you believe it was a mistake and does America owe an apology for an unjust and an (inaudible) war in Iraq?


SECRETARY POWELL:  No, we don’t believe it was a mistake and we believed at the time of the decision to go to war that Iraq had stockpiles.  We had good reason to believe that.  Our intelligence community and the intelligence communities of a number of nations suggested they had stockpiles.  Even Dr. Kay, the gentleman who is in charge of our inspections, believed that there were stockpiles.  The previous Administration under President Clinton believed that there were stock piles and the UN over a period of years, after issuing resolution after a resolution asking Iraq to come forward and account for the materials they had, there was a belief that there were stockpiles.  Now we haven’t found those stockpiles, but even without finding the stockpiles, we know for a fact that Saddam Hussein always had the intent to have and he has used weapons of mass destruction, not only against his own people in Halabja 16 years ago, but against Iran. 


So, this is a man with no reservations about using the most deadly weapons to kill innocent people.  We also knew and this is fact that and no one disputes this: they kept in place the infrastructure to develop such weapons, the factories that could be converted to develop such weapons.  So he always had the intent, he always had the capability.  What is a question is whether or not he had the stockpiles at the time of the war.  But what solves this in my own mind as a riddle is that I am absolutely convinced that if he ever got out of sanctions even if he was no longer under the pressure of the international community, he would have gone back to developing these and create the stockpiles all over again.  Why? Because he has done it in the past and we had no reason to believe that he would not do it in the future.  He had not changed his stripes.  So, I think we did the right thing.  And I think history will show that.


MR. ROY:  Young man in the middle row, there.


QUESTION:  Sir, just shifting focus. Sir, do you believe that India is really shining and you need not fear of learning Italian?


SECRETARY POWELL:  Do I think that India is really…




QUESTION: Yes sir, India is shining and in the context of the advertisement propaganda by the ruling party and you need not fear to learn Italian.


SECRETARY POWELL:  I need not?  I will let Indian politics be the province of the Indian people and whatever this great democracy decides in terms of who should form the next government, that is a matter for the Indian people to decide, an informed electorate and whoever should prevail in the forthcoming elections and whatever government emerges from that: the United States is quite confident that we will have a friend and a partner in India.


MR. ROY:  Young man in the checked shirt in the front here.


QUESTION:  Sir, granted that Iraq had a bad dictator.  Sir, my question to you is that why doesn’t America lean more heavily on Saudi Arabia, which seems to export a very fundamentalist and narrow interpretation around the world.  It is causing a lot of problems and every time people ask America about Saudi Arabia, the standard reply is “we are working with them closely.”  But it’s been many years and Saudi Arabia continues to promote that sort of ideology around the world.  What is America doing in a concrete fashion so that countries like India are not affected?


SECRETARY POWELL:  We are doing more then just talking to Saudi Arabia.  We have been pressing them to cut the kind of financing that they used to give to institutions around the world in the name of charity, but in fact those institutions were involved in creating a certain fundamentalist belief in the minds of its students and its people that were not positive.  And we have, I think, demonstrated to our Saudi friends that they could find better uses for their money—not only government money, but the money of the private charities that are within Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia now understands the consequences of not going after terrorism.  They have seen terrorism in Saudi Arabia now.  They have had some of the most awful bombs go off in Saudi Arabia.  And I think the government of Saudi Arabia now knows that it has to crack down, it has to cut out all financing for these kinds of organizations around the world, and has to do a better job of rounding up any terrorists within Saudi Arabia, who have found Saudi Arabia to be a fertile place to be.


MR. ROY:  I think his question is, why do you treat them differently, Iraq and Saudi Arabia?


SECRETARY POWELL:  Well, the reason is: we don’t go around invading everybody.  Iraq was an entirely a different subject.  Believe it or not, I mean, if you look at America’s policies around the world we felt that because Iraq had violated 12 years of resolutions and was still not in compliance, this was a case where military force was the only way to solve the problem.  But, if you look at the rest of the challenges we face, whether it was in Libya, Iran, North Korea:  we are using diplomacy, we are using political action with respect to places like Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia has been a good friend of the United States for many years.  We have influence with Saudi Arabia and we think now in light of 9/11 and lot of Saudi Arabia’s own experience with terrorism, we can nudge them in the right direction and encourage them to do the right thing.  Not every answer is the use of military force, quite the contrary with respect to the U.S. policy.


QUESTION:   Mr. Powell, my question is why isn’t America helps solve the Indo-Pak problem by simply recognizing the line of control as the international border?


SECRETARY POWELL:  This is the matter for India and Pakistan to ultimately resolve.  The line of control has become quiet in recent months.  We hope it stays that way.  We hope the ceasefire holds.  We hope that after the snows disappear it remains quiet and it is not the United States’ position right now to impose a solution that would not be acceptable to both sides and we are not one…


MR. ROY: But you could do that unilaterally, I think she’s suggesting.


SECRETARY POWELL: We don’t think that would be appropriate because to do it unilaterally would not solve a problem, it might even exacerbate the problem.  Ultimately the two sides will have to, through negotiation, through dialogue, find the solution to the difficult problem of Kashmir.


MR. ROY: Lots more questions on Indo-Pak, I think.  Yes, the gentleman in the blue shirt.


QUESTION:  No, it’s not on Kashmir.


MR. ROY:  Not on Indo-Pak. Yes, ma’am. Here.


QUESTION:  Sire, do you think the peace process which has been initiated by both the countries is durable?  And a couple of days back in conclave program, President Musharraf emphasized that Kashmir would still remain the core issue and unless the Kashmir question is solved, we cannot go ahead with the peace process.  So, do you actually believe it is actually durable?


SECRETARY POWELL:  I think it is if both sides remain committed to it.  I think that when the two leaders, Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Musharraf, met and came forward with the comprehensive dialogue, they knew it would be difficult.  And so they laid it out over a period of time to start with easy issues and work toward the more difficult issues.  And I think both sides are committed to that.  Even with the debate that occurred within the last few days over President Musharraf’s remarks, both sides have remained committed to this process, and there is no reason why it shouldn’t work because it is in the interest of both sides to have this process work.


MR. ROY:  The yound lady in the white there.


QUESTION:  So why does America continue to help Pakistan despite the evidence that Pakistan supports terrorism?


SECRETARY POWELL:  Pakistan is a friend is of the United States, just as India is a friend of the United States.  We want good, strong relationships, relations with India, and we want good, strong relations with Pakistan.  And so Pakistan has been helping us with respect to Afghanistan, it’s been helping us in the war against terrorism, and we understand the point of view that says there’s terrorist activity that comes across the Line of Control, and we’ve been working hard to get that throttle back.  And at least in recent months, the two sides working together, and this really has to be done between the two sides, it’s the only way that it’ll have a lasting effect not for it to be imposed to have a third party give the right answer.  The only right answer is the answer that the two sides will agree on and live with.  And hopefully, the kind of violence that we saw in the past across the line of control… with the ceasefire that’s now in place, let’s hope that stays, let’s hope that it continues into the spring and summer period, and that the plan laid out—with the eight parts of that plan—can be prosecuted by both sides to a successful conclusion.


MR. ROY:  One of the things you just said was that the difficult issues like Kashmir should be kept while you discuss all the other issues. . . President Musharraf seemed to say all these are minor, first solve Kashmir, then move on.  Do you think there’s a sequence here? 


SECRETARY POWELL:  I think the sequence is the sequence that was laid out by the two leaders – by President Musharraf and by Prime Minister Vajpayee – when they announced the comprehensive dialogue in early January.  Notwithstanding occasional statements from time to time, my understanding after talking to the Indian leaders here, and I’ll have the chance to talk to President Musharraf in the next day or so, is that plan that was laid out, the comprehensive dialogue, remains the plan that both sides are committed to.


MR. ROY:  Young gentleman here in the blue shirt. Front row, no second row here. Go ahead.


QUESTION:  In my humble opinion, I look at America as the big brother of the world who cleans up the mess, especially of the coups.  And so much of that you know how to execute your veto powers in the UN.  But wasn’t it intrinsic on your part to probably clean up the mess after America was directly linked to the mess.  There are many coups still in the world, why don’t you clean up…why believe in…why don’t you believe in prevention better then cure, the phrase?


SECRETARY POWELL:  We do believe in prevention and if you look at what we are doing with our foreign policy and our foreign policy budgets, we are doing everything we can to establish free trade agreements with nations around the world.  That’s part of prevention: helping people participate in the global market place so they can provide a livelihood for their people.  That’s prevention.  By creating expanded alliances, expanding NATO that brings these former communist countries into an alliance, giving them securities so they can concentrate on internal development.  The United States is working on a Greater Middle East Initiative, and a Middle East Partnership Initiative, and a Free Trade Area for the Middle East, all for the purpose of providing hope and opportunity for the people of the Middle East so they will not turn to violence.  The United States has just announced the most significant increase in our development budget since the Marshall plan of the late ‘40s: $15 billion for HIV/AIDS and another beginning in year 2006, an additional $5 billion every year for development assistance to developing nations.  All of this is for the purpose of prevention: to put hope in the hearts of people and to bring infrastructure development to the countries so that the people in those countries will find work, will find jobs, will find health care, will find a better future for themselves and not turn to violence. 


Trust me, the United States does not look for places to go clean up.  We would like to clean them up in the first place.  And frankly, no nation has a better record than the United States, in terms of what we have done in the course of our history, particularly the history of the last 50 or the 60 years, in helping nations onto a path of peace, a path of democratic reform, and a path of economic development.


MR. ROY: There are lots of questions on nuclear issues.                             


QUESTION:  What about the nuclear weapons Pakistan is harboring?  What steps is the UN taking in order to prevent leakage of secrets, which has recently happened?  What is your comment on that?


SECRETARY POWELL:  Well, as you know both India and Pakistan have a nuclear deterrent that they both maintain.  We have been concerned about the activities, however, of Dr. A.Q. Khan, who is considered the father of the Pakistan nuclear deterrent, but he went from doing that to actually marketing this knowledge and the equipment associated with this knowledge, to countries such as Libya, and a number of others, North Korea, and others.  This we found reprehensible and we have been studying it for many years with our intelligence agencies, and finally we got a strong case that we could take to President Mushrraf and said regardless of what Dr. Khan has done in the past with respect to your deterrents, what he has been doing in recent years with the sale of this kind of material is very destabilizing and it has to stop.  And we now have an acknowledgment on the part of Dr. Khan that he was been doing that.  And he’s not doing that any more and we are slowing ripping up this network.  We are also working with both our Indian and Pakistani friends to see what assistance we can provide in respect to confidence building measures, so that both sides can be confident about the security of nuclear forces.


MR. ROY:  Young man at the end of the second row here. We’re all young men, actually.  Young men and women.


QUESTION:   You repeatedly spoken about how we must prevent proliferation.  But the point is that the USA has nuclear weapons, India has nuclear weapons, Russia has nuclear weapons.  How do you decide what is a responsible nuclear power and what is an irresponsible nuclear power?  So how do you decide what is a rogue nation which should be invaded, as in the case of Iraq, and what is a nation which should be handled with kid gloves, like North Korea?  By handling North Korea with kid gloves aren’t you saying that if you have nuclear weapons we won’t invade you?   So then aren’t you, in fact, encouraging proliferation?


SECRETARY POWELL:  No.  Quite the contrary, if you look at the history of the last 20 years, a number of nations have taken a look at having nuclear weapons and said, “you know, we could do this.  And even though we started down this road, this really doesn’t make any sense.”  South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, and most recently Libya.  They said, “Why are we developing these weapons?  Can we eat them, can we build a hospital with these weapons?  They’re useless.  Can we ever be stronger than anyone with these weapons?”  So we believe there are many ways to go after states that…there are many ways to go after states that have these kind of weapons. 


MR. ROY:  He’s got a follow up…


SECRETARY POWELL: Let me finish the answer.  In the case of North Korea we don’t believe it’s necessary to invade them.  We’re not going to invade them.  We believe that a diplomatic political process, getting all of their friends to apply pressure to them may solve the problem.  We applied pressure to Libya.  They are getting rid of their nuclear weapons.  Iraq was a different case.  Iraq demonstrated clearly that it was irresponsible, that it would use such weapons against its neighbors.  Iraq had a dozen years to completely satisfy the international community as to what it was doing with its weapons.  It had an obligation to disarm and it did not, and so it paid the consequences.


QUESTION:  Sir, but the point is that America has used Agent Orange in Vietnam and that is an irresponsible use of  a weapon of mass destruction, and if you can’t eat your weapons and you can’t apply them on bread then why doesn’t America give up their nuclear weapons, as well?


SECRETARY POWELL:  Our nuclear weapons were designed for a period when we had a cold war.  And when I was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff some 15 years ago,  when I took over I had 28,000 nuclear weapons under my direct supervision.  Now we have cut that number significantly.  So that it is measured… 


QUESTION:  To how many?


SECRETARY POWELL:  Well I can’t give you the exact number, but it’s…


QUESTION:  In the tens of thousands?


SECRETARY POWELL:  No, no, it is well below that number.   And we want to get to an even lower number.  We just concluded a treaty with the Russians in order for both of us to go lower.  I hope for the day when there are no nuclear weapons because no one has a need for them.  But no one has done more that the United States to move down the path of disarmament with respect to nuclear weapons.  But they can’t all suddenly go away unfortunately, because there are still the requirement for a deterrent.  But it is important for all of us to come together to make sure that this club has no need to get any larger.


With respect to Agent Orange, that was used as a defoliant, not as anti-personnel weapon.  I was there.  Remember, I was there.  I watched it and I was under it, but it was used as a defoliant, not as something to go after people.  Once we recognized that it could have a detrimental affect on people we stopped using it, haven’t used it since, and we are doing everything we can to care for those who might have been affected by the use of that defoliant.


MR. ROY:  Going back to that question, Mr. Khan, was he acting on his own or did the Government of Pakistan know about it?


SECRETARY POWELL:  Well we don’t know that.  That’s what we want to find out.   And that’s one of the issues that we have been in discussions with the Pakistanis about.


MR. ROY:  Let’s move on to Nicholas Chan…


QUESTION:  Sir, the United States of America is always upholding the cause of free trade. 




But when it comes to outsourcing, particularly with reference to India, the United States wants to clamp down and protect American jobs.  So that’s kind of hypocritical.  And do you support outsourcing or are you against it?


SECRETARY POWELL:  Outsourcing is a natural effect of the global economic system and the rise of the Internet and broadband communications.  You’re not going to eliminate outsourcing.  But at the same time when you outsource jobs it becomes a political issue in anybody’s country.  People without jobs are a political issue, so what we have to do is make sure that as we participate in outsourcing…not only with India, but we outsource jobs to other countries, as well…we have to make sure that we are at the same time creating jobs for Americans who may have been affected by outsourcing.  And that’s why in our discussions today with our Indian colleagues, we made the point that we also want to see greater openness to Indian markets, not as a quid pro quo to outsourcing, but just to open up markets in all directions so that when we can do something better than someone else, then that job ought to be sourced back to the United States. There’s a lot of insourcing that takes place when Indian companies have the need for services that they can only find in an American law firm, in an American accounting firm, in which case it goes back to the United States. 


So it’s a two-way street.  And it has become something of an issue right now because of job loss in the United States.  And it’s reasonable for American politicians to say, “okay, look, if we got this outsourcing are we sure he’s being done in a way that we can get access to other markets so that we can get the benefit of open trade.”  And so outsourcing can’t be stopped.  It is a phenomenon that is characteristic of the globalized economy and the ability to do outsourcing because of the speed of the Internet and the broadband capability that now exists.


MR. ROY:  You have one school boy, actually. In the red shirt there.


QUESTION:  That’s what I wanted to ask you about the new space initiative of your Administration.   So how do you plan to involve countries like India in this?


MR. ROY: Outsource your space program to us.




SECRETARY POWELL:  Well, as you know, we have what is called Next Steps in the Strategic Partnership, where we have taken into account all of the technology and all the capacity India has to work in the civilian nuclear sector and in the space sector, and we have let India know of our concerns with respect to what technologies we can provide to India and what we can cooperate on, short of any activities which might go against our proliferation concerns.  And I just completed discussions with the leadership of your government as to how we can energize this program of Next Steps in the Strategic Partnerships.  So we’ve accomplished a lot over the last several years in dealing with just the issue raised and I expect in the months ahead we will do a lot more to improve cooperation between the United States and India on space issues and on civilian nuclear programs.


MR. ROY: Young man in the last row there, in the black shirt.


QUESTION:   Yes, sire.  I read some statistics that currently 140 million Americans are employed, which is probably one of the highest as an absolute number and as a percentage of the population.  Now it’s estimated that by the year 2015, only 3.3 million jobs will be outsourced and the cyclic unemployment in America is about seven to eight million.  So isn’t that a negligible amount to be so, or to create such a cry about how Americans are losing their jobs?


SECRETARY POWELL:  It is a relatively small number, on the issue of outsourcing.  And it is for that reason that I think it has gotten a lot of attention now because no matter how small the number, it involves people who have lost their jobs.  And until we create new jobs for them and the economy adjusts to this new phenomenon within the economic system, it will be a political issue.  It will be not only be a political issue, it will be an economic issue for those without jobs.  But in the scheme of things, and the size of our economy, and the ability of our economy to adjust and create new opportunities and new jobs and retrain people, we are pretty good at that.  And so, I think over time this will sort itself out.


MR. ROY:  What do you think of John Kerry and his views on outsourcing?


SECRETARY POWELL:  I’m not sure what his views are from day to day on outsourcing, and I’ll stick with my... 


MR. ROY:  What do you think of him?


SECRETARY POWELL:              I’ve known Senator Kerry for many, many years.  We worked together when he was a Senator…


MR. ROY: Both Vietnam veterans…


SECRETARY POWELL: No, not in Vietnam.  I didn’t know him, but he was a Senator and I was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  And we had dealings then.  But now he’s a political candidate and I’m Secretary of State and I don’t do politics.


MR. ROY:  There’s a question by Miss Sapernah Singh.


QUESTION:  Sir, it is widely believed that there is a split in the Bush Administration, with you and other leaders on the one side and the neo-conservatives led by Rumsfeld on the other side.  So do you think it is the most divided Administration in the American history?


SECRETARY POWELL:  No. That’s a characterization that people like to write about and do specials on.  But, we are all led by a President who knows what he wants to do.  And we have different points of view, we come from different backgrounds, and we debate the issues.  I think the President is well served by cabinet officers who are ready to debate the issue and present the President with alternative points of view on the issues of the day.  But we all come together under the leadership of President Bush, who knows exactly what he wants to do.  And his agenda is pretty straightforward and clear.  And it is not just preemption as everybody likes to say.  It is working with partners, it is creating alliances, it is helping people achieve a better life, it is helping to feed those nations in the world that are not able to feed themselves.  If you look at what he has done, he has increased the lion size in the case of NATO, he has signed all kinds of Free Trade Agreements, regional Free Trade Agreements, bilateral Free Trade Agreements.  As I mentioned earlier, huge amounts of money going into HIV/AIDS, the greatest weapon of mass destruction on the face of the earth, huge amounts of money going into development assistance, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which is allowing African nations to get access to our markets.  And look what we have done over the last several years with respect to improving our relationship with India.  It’s the best relationship we’ve had with India in years. 


And so you can look for a big fight between the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State and others within the administration, but the reality is, just look at what we’ve been doing with India.  And you see a unified team working under a leader who knows exactly what he wants to do.  And that is the case with almost every issue that we work on, notwithstanding the fact that we might have had internal debates.  Internal debates are a sign of, frankly, a healthy bureaucracy.


MR. ROY:  It’s not a big fight, it’s a big debate at least, right?  Lady in the black there, yes.


QUESTION:            Good evening sir.  Sir, like you said that the LOC, problem which India and Pakistan are facing, that’s a problem which the two countries should solve among themselves.  But on the other hand you also said that we have changed Iraq for the better.  So do you mean to say that without an external stimuli, Iraq wouldn’t have found a freedom which supposedly U.S. intervention has given them today?


SECRETARY POWELL:  It sure didn’t look that way.  I mean did you think Saddam Hussein was on a path to freedom and democracy?  No.  But what I mean what you had in Iraq was a despotic ruler with a despotic regime.  It could have been left alone forever.  I don’t know who would have replaced him except probably one of his sons, who were worse than he was.   But let’s not just gloss over the nature of this regime and what it was doing.  It was destroying the Shia communities in the southern part of the country while draining their historic marshlands.  It was putting thousands and thousands of people in mass graves.  It had rape rooms, it was terrorizing its population.  Even then it took 12 years for the international community to say, “you’ve got to stop whatever you’re doing with respect to weapons of mass destruction.  And by the way stop terrorizing your people, stop working with terrorists, and stop violating all the human rights of your people.”  All these are part of UN resolutions directed against Iraq.  And so left to their own devices would they become the kind of democracy that I think they’re going to become with the assistance of the international community?  No, I don’t think they would have.


MR. ROY:  I think there is a question from Monica (inaudible).


QUESTION:  U. S. elections are so low tech.  You are what is called manual voting systems.  Whereas India in that respect is far ahead.  We have electronic voting machines.  So in that case why don’t you outsource your election counting to us?




SECRETARY POWELL:  How do we do our elections?


MR. ROY:  Why don’t you outsource your election counting to us because you got backward stuff, we’re using electronics.


SECRETARY POWELL: I heard about your system earlier today from one of your ministers.  It’s very impressive that the whole country votes electronically over a period of days, so it isn’t all on one day.  I must say that this is very, very modern and taking advantage of the modern technology available.  The United States does its elections in a different way with election districts and each state establishing its patterns and counties establishing their patterns.  So some of our electoral districts are very, very modern, and others are still using traditional methods.  And there’s also a cost associated with it. 


But even with some of the disadvantages of our system, we tend to be able to hold honest, open, and fair elections.


MR. ROY:  No pregnant chads?


SECRETARY POWELL:  Sure, there was a problem in 2000.  But, look at what happened in 2000 when we had the problem.  The whole world was watching Florida. The whole world watched these gentleman look for chads and look for what the intent of the voter was.  The whole world watched a democratic system handle this very complex political problem, referred it to the legislature, referred it to our supreme court and finally got an answer from Supreme court by the narrowest decision possible: five to four. And nobody objected to that decision as a nation.  Sure, the losing party didn’t like it but the people themselves said it was done according to our Constitution and in a democratic manner and we accept the results.  That’s the sign of a strong and powerful democracy.


MR. ROY:  So you are against outsourcing?  Who is going to win these elections?


SECRETARY POWELL: Here in India or the United States?


MR. ROY:  Well, tell us both, actually.


SECRETARY POWELL: This one is an easy answer for me.  With respect to the United States I am quite confident President Bush will win.  And with respect to India I will let the Indians make that choice.


MR. ROY:  Thank you very very much for answering three million questions on various topics.  Very good of you to spare the time. Thank you very much, sir.





Released on March 23, 2004

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