On July 26, Secretary Clinton appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press."
On July 26, Secretary Clinton appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory. During the interview, the Secretary discussed a broad range of topics, including North Korea, Iran, Russia and Afghanistan. On North Korea, Secretary Clinton said:
"I think what’s important here is the clear message that we’re sending to North Korea, and it’s one that is now unanimous. The Security Council Resolution 1874 made official that North Korea must change their behavior, and we have to get back to moving toward verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.
Now, as you know and as you’ve reported, they’ve engaged in a lot of provocative actions in the last months. But what we, China, Russia, South Korea, Japan, and literally the unanimous international community have said is it’s not going to work this time. We’re imposing the most stringent sanctions we ever have. We have great cooperation from the world community. China and we are working closely together to enforce these sanctions. We still want North Korea to come back to the negotiating table, to be part of an international effort that will lead to denuclearization. But we’re not going to reward them for doing what they said they would do in 2005 and ‘6. We’re not going to reward them for half measures. They now know what we and the world community expect."
On Iran, Secretary Clinton said:
"Our hope is – that’s why we’re engaged in the President’s policy of engagement toward Iran – is that Iran will understand why it is in their interest to go along with the consensus of the international community, which very clearly says you have rights and responsibilities; you have a right to pursue the peaceful use of civil nuclear power, you do not have a right to obtain a nuclear weapon, you do not have the right to have the full enrichment and reprocessing cycle under your control. But there’s a lot that we can do with Iran if Iran accepts what is the international consensus."
On Russia, Secretary Clinton said:
"We want a strong, peaceful, and prosperous Russia. Now, there is an enormous amount of work to be done between the United States and Russia. We’re working on reducing our nuclear arsenal. We’re going to work on reducing fissile material to make sure it doesn't fall into the wrong hands. We’re working to combat the threat of violent extremism. Russia has been very helpful in our United Nations efforts vis-à-vis North Korea. The Russians joined the G-8 statement in Italy talking about the need for Iran to come to the table either in a multilateral forum like the P-5+1 that we’re a part of or bilaterally with us. And so there is an enormous amount of hard work being done, and we view Russia as a great power.
Now, every country faces challenges. We have our challenges. Russia has their challenges. And there are certain issues that Russia has to deal with on its own. And we want to make clear that as we reset our relationship, we are very clearly not saying that Russia can have a 21st century sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. That is an attitude and a policy we reject. We also are making it very clear that any nation in Eastern Europe that used to be part of the Soviet Union has a right now as a free, sovereign, and independent nation to choose whatever alliance they wish to join. So if Ukraine and Georgia someday are eligible for and desire to join NATO, that should be up to them.
So I think that what we’re seeing here is the beginning of the resetting of that relationship, which I have been deeply involved in. I will be co-chairing a presidential commission along with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. We’ll be following up on what our two presidents said in Moscow. And the Russians know that we have continuing questions about some of their policies, and they have continuing questions about some of ours."
On Afghanistan, Secretary Clinton said:
"[W]e had an intensive strategic review upon taking office, and we not only brought the entire United States Government together, but we reached out to friends and allies, people with stakes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And as you know, the result of that strategic review was to conclude that al-Qaida is supported by and uses its extremist allies, like elements within the Taliban and other violent extremist groups in the region as well as worldwide, to extend its reach, to be proxies for a lot of its attacks on Jakarta, Indonesia and elsewhere. So that in order to really go after al-Qaida, to uproot it and destroy it, we had to take on those who are giving the al-Qaida leadership safe haven.
Now, as you know, the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is permeable. There are movements back and forth across it. I think our new strategy, which has been endorsed by a very large number of nations, some of whom don’t agree with us on a lot of other things, is aimed at achieving our primary goal.
And we also learned from Iraq, which were hard lessons, that in order to have our military intervention be effective when they go in and try to clear areas of the extremists, we have to follow in to build up the capacity of the local community to defend itself and to be able to realize the benefits of those changes.
This is a new strategy. It’s just beginning. I think the President believed that it was not only the right strategy, but facing what he faced, to withdraw our presence or to keep it on the low-level, limited effectiveness that had been demonstrated, would have sent a message to al-Qaida and their allies that the United States was willing to leave the field to them.
And in addition, importantly, we’ve seen the Pakistani Government and military really step up, which had not happened to the extent it has now. So the Taliban, which is, as I believe strongly, part of a kind of terrorist syndicate with al-Qaida at the center, is now under tremendous pressure. And I think that’s in America’s national interest."