The leadership of countries that practice “embedded terrorism” – state sponsored terrorism – have to be told they must “clean up”, said former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. The US policy towards state sponsors of terrorism, she said, which includes Pakistan, has been to say “you don’t have an option” about dealing with this terrorism.
Former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice speaks during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2013 in New Delhi. (Virendra Singh Gosain/HT)
Rice, who delivered the keynote address at the summit’s second day, said one has to be nuanced in responding to state-sponsored terror. Pakistan is a country that turns a blind eye to groups within its borders who practice terrorism, Rice noted. But their system can be mobilised to take action against terrorists with the right pressure and persuasion.
“I came here after the Mumbai attacks and then told (former) Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari: what has happened here is clearly unacceptable and Pakistan is responsible,” said Rice. She admitted this does not work quickly. “This is a long-term problem, it can’t be turned around quickly but over decades.”
Rice, one of the authors of the Indo-US nuclear deal, said that the Indo-US relationship “was without limits” because the two countries shared both common interests and values.
She listed some of the interests she saw shared by India and the US: a world safe from terrorism, stability in South and Central Asia, energy security, preserving an international system based on rule of law.
Though she was brought up in the US South in the days of racial segregation, Rice is a great votary of American democracy. “My parents couldn’t take me to restaurants and movies, but they still could believe I could be president of the United States. I became secretary of state and they could probably live with that.”
READ: Condoleezza’s five tips to career women
India and the US share the values of democracy that include inclusion of minorities, a system that allows people to change governments peacefully, a belief in personal freedom. This provides “a basic foundation” for developing “the greatest resource we have: human potential”.
Rice said while nations in the 19th century created wealth through extraction of resources, the 20th through mastery of the industrial process, in the 21st century they did so by exploiting “human potential, the creativity of people”. And this innovative ability doesn’t arise in societies that tell its people what they should think. Non-free societies that seek to replicate Silicon Valley fail because they need to “build a foundation of freedom”.
Rice, presently Provost of Stanford University, is a strong supporter of the “transformative nature” of education for the average person.
High quality education, Rice said, allows “people who cannot control their circumstances can nonetheless control their response to such circumstances”. The trajectory of her own family was changed when her paternal grandfather, a cotton farmer, was able to complete college.
Read: India is a model example of how stable democracy works, says Condoleezza Rice
Why George W. Bush Took a Shine to India
Former US president George W. Bush sought to transform relations with India for two reasons, said Condoleezza Rice, who served as Bush’s national security advisor and secretary of state.
One was because of Indian democracy, a common value with the United States that excited the US president.
The other was the “energy” he saw in the Indian-American community in Bush’s state of Texas. She noted that Bush, when he was the governor of Texas, was exposed to the large Indian-American community that ran the state’s high-technology sector near Austin.
“The day he signed the Indo-US nuclear deal,” she said, “he was as happy as I have ever seen him.”
Even today, six years after he gave up the presidency, Bush asks about the state of the nuclear deal and the relationship, Rice said. She says it is forgotten that the deal was more about technology access than nuclear reactors and that way the deal has been a success.
HT Leadership Summit 2013: Full Coverage
Interview with Rice