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Secretary Rumsfeld Enroute to Brazil

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
March 22, 2005
  RUMSFELD:  There is a very good, constructive relationship among those countries.  [Inaudible]  Central America, a high degree of cooperation among the Central American countries which I think is a very thing for the hemisphere.  They're all focused on the importance of democracy and work together to try to see that countries do not slip away from democratic institutions.  They very properly see and understand and value the relationship between democracy and economic development and security.  Clearly without security, without a relatively peaceful environment, economic opportunity is restricted.


            I'll be happy to answer your questions.


            PRESS:  What are the major issues you take away from your discussions?


            RUMSFELD:  Well, there will be similar issues as we talked about here in Argentina.  The importance of a bilateral relationship, the importance of cooperative relationships among South America and Central American countries in supporting democratic institutions.  The fact that Brazil is an important -- If you think about it, I guess it's probably the fourth largest democracy and the tenth largest economy in the world, of 185 countries.  They're the leader in the multinational force in Haiti and are demonstrating an important sense of responsibility to this hemisphere which makes a big difference to the United States.  The circumstance of Haiti and the role of Brazil as well as Argentina and other countries in the hemisphere is very important to us.


            PRESS:  [inaudible] Haiti this morning.


            RUMSFELD:  One of the things they showed us was a film of the flood.  It was beyond belief, how serious that was.


            PRESS:  [inaudible] have everything under control as far as their operation of Haiti and how it developed?


            RUMSFELD:  I think it's a difficult situation and I think they're doing a good job.  And the Argentine soldiers and forces have done a very good job.  It isn't easy.  Just this week there was, however, a successful action by the UN forces.  I believe they lost two soldiers, one from Nepal, I think, and one from Sri Lanka, in that action.  But that's what it takes.  It takes the [inaudible] forces that have the right kinds of rules of engagement, the ability to go out and deal forcefully with the criminal forces in that country that are attempting to prevent a stable environment.


            PRESS:  [inaudible] security [inaudible]?


            RUMSFELD:  I don't know.  That's one of the things we talked about in Argentina and then we're set to be talking about in Brazil.  The concessional election, as we know from Afghanistan and Iraq, takes a lot of effort and it takes effort before the fact in terms of  administrative aspects, but it takes a lot of effort and planning from a security standpoint.   And you simply have to be ahead of it.  It's a [inaudible] and the intimidation factors at work.


            So I wouldn't want to say that I have enough personal knowledge of the extent of the planning that's taking place and the nature of the plans, but I'm hopeful, and I think that there are sensitive to the fact that there is work to be done early and well.


            PRESS:  [inaudible].


            PRESS:  What do you think of Argentina's plan to deal with [inaudible] and how can the U.S. cooperate [inaudible]?


            RUMSFELD:  I'm not a student of that subject.  I think that each country has to decide how it wants to manage its airspace and I'm sure they've made different kinds of decisions that a sovereign nation makes.  It's a matter of priorities.  Argentina's a large country, an important country, and it’s not surprising they’re considering what to do about it.  We don't have a particular role in --`


            PRESS:  [inaudible]?  How are they doing?  Are they doing well or --


            RUMSFELD:  I would not want to say.  But off the record [SECDEF goes off the record]


            RUMSFELD:  [back on the record]  I guess we're going to be going up to the Amazon as well tomorrow.  That will be interesting.


            PRESS:  [inaudible]?


            RUMSFELD:  I have no idea. 


            VOICE:  [inaudible].


            RUMSFELD:  Am I going?


            VOICE:  You're going to [inaudible].


            RUMSFELD:  That's right.  Thanks very much.


            PRESS:  [inaudible].


            RUMSFELD:  I will.  That's right.  I am going, and fair enough.


            PRESS:  [inaudible] this area [inaudible]?


            RUMSFELD:  [inaudible].  That's right, I'm not going to cross that line.


            You know in life nothing is forever they say freedom is something that has to be earned and won and it is something that the free institutions have to be defended and protected and not neglected.  So to the extent -- The damages that occur to the people in free systems are so enormous that anyone looking down from Mars on the world sees people that are doing well, are uniformly people that live in free political systems and free economic systems.  And the people that are not doing well, the people that are starving, the people where you see deforestation, the people where you see fear and lack of opportunity and lack of investment are people who live often in countries where people do not have free political systems or free economic systems or both. 


            That tells me that it's important that we recognize the tremendous success which we've achieved in this hemisphere in recent decades in so many countries moving from unfree political and economic systems to freer political and economic systems.  That's important.  It's benefitting people, it's worth protecting and fighting for and defending and nurturing.  That isn't easy.  It takes attention and hard work.


            PRESS:  [inaudible] in the rain forest.  Why is it so important to the U.S. [inaudible] aware of what's going on in that area, whatever [inaudible]?


            RUMSFELD:  I'll tell you, I'm going to not get into that on the record.  If we can just go off the record for a minute.  [SECDEF goes off the record]


            RUMSFELD:  Back on the record? [back on the record] 


            PRESS:  [inaudible].


            RUMSFELD:  [inaudible] kind of surprising to me.  If you think about it, if you go around the world and look at a number of democracies where, as I think George Will said, the whole thing takes place between the 40 yard lines.  There are [inaudible] between the 30 yard lines.  And there are some measures that take place between the 20 yard lines, and you have a much bigger playing field.  So I guess I'm not surprised. 


            I don't know.  I haven't thought it through clearly.  I almost said that the countries that have the freest political and the freest economic system and have done the best for their people, it tends to narrow the playing field down to the 40 yard lines.


            PRESS:  [inaudible].


            RUMSFELD:  [inaudible] narrow place between the 40 yard lines, not using the whole field.  Countries that have not been quite so successful, I think there's a tendency for the pendulum to swing somewhat in wider arcs.  And I guess again we shouldn't be surprised because you get pent-up feelings and fears and apprehensions and hopes and expectations, and so we push the pendulum farther than we might otherwise do if there's a high degree of general satisfaction.


            PRESS:  It sounds like you're not that concerned [inaudible].


            RUMSFELD:  Are you going to put words in my mouth now, Charlie?


            PRESS:  No, no, no.  It's that leftists [inaudible] doesn't have the meaning of the Sandanista government, that kind of thing.  You see what I mean?


            RUMSFELD:  Sure. 


            PRESS:  Undemocratic.


            RUMSFELD:  [inaudible].  You've got democratic governments that are over to the left and you can have democratic governments that are over to the right.  Within a range.  You look at what's happening in, you can kind of look at countries and say that country may be going farther than that.  That's certainly what's taking place in Cuba.  It cannot be considered a free political or a free democracy.  And it's unfortunate for the Cuban people because they're the ones that suffer.   They're the ones paying the penalty for the circumstance that they're in.


            PRESS:  [inaudible].


            RUMSFELD:  I'll leave that to your vivid imagination.


            PRESS:  Thank you, sir.


            RUMSFELD:  Thank you.

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