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Dr Henry Kissinger
Dr Henry Kissinger
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: DR HENRY KISSINGER SEPTEMBER 16TH, 2001

DAVID FROST:
Well we've heard from President Bush that this could be the first war, or is the first war of the 21st century, but it's not nation state against nation state, it's warfare on a potentially uncharted level. A little earlier I spoke to Dr Henry Kissinger, the former US Secretary of State, Nobel Peace Prize winner and general doyenne of the foreign policy community in America and I asked him exactly that question. How different is this war going to be?

HENRY KISSINGER:
It's really all democracy, it's, one would almost say civilised people against a particular form of intangible organisation.

DAVID FROST:
It's the level of severity that's the problem, working that out, isn't it? Nelson Mandela has said that America needs to be careful not to do anything more unpopular than what was done by the terrorists. I mean how should we bear that in mind as we calibrate our response?

HENRY KISSINGER:
I think one has to put aside that these terrorist organisations have a structure, they need funds, they need a headquarters, they need means of communication and we have to make a systematic attack on, on those and one way to begin is to deprive them of safe havens or to make it so unattractive for the host countries to offer them safe havens that they will begin bringing pressure on them.

DAVID FROST:
When President Bush said that there would be no distinction between terrorists and states that harbour terrorism, was that something that you applauded?

HENRY KISSINGER:
Absolutely, I think a number of countries that either because they sympathise with the terrorists or more frequently because they're afraid of the terrorists, permit them to operate from their territory, attacks like the ones that took place last week cannot be improvised, they need a firm base and they need an organisation and this is what we have to go after. I would also support a retaliatory act and I hope that our friends then, including President Mandela who is a great man, will understand that, that, the necessities. We shouldn't think that the, that a retaliatory blow is going to be the end of the problem and we must calibrate it in such a way that it will be powerful but enable us to conduct the long-range war that must be carried on.

DAVID FROST:
Henry you wrote in the Los Angeles Times on Friday that this war will take a long time, have you any thoughts as to how long it might take?

HENRY KISSINGER:
If the democracies stick together as they have in the condemnation, if for example vetoes would no longer be granted to citizens of countries that harbour terrorist organisations and if they were isolated in this manner, if economic pressures were put on and if they were put on all the, that the bases of these terrorists might even, might be subject to military attack, I think then the number of places where they could operate from would be very limited.

DAVID FROST:
Do we have to have a grand coalition going into this, I mean do we have to have Russia and China and the moderate Arab states all supporting it?

HENRY KISSINGER:
Well it would be helpful to have a grand coalition but we cannot give a grand coalition an absolute veto.

DAVID FROST:
I suppose there's a limit to how many people you can consult with when you're actually planning military strikes or secrets will obviously end up leaking out?

HENRY KISSINGER:
I think there will probably be less actual cooperation on the military side than there could be on the financial and economic side. But still I, I was very impressed by the British Prime Minister's statement in the House yesterday and I think we can count on support from most of the leaders of Nato.

DAVID FROST:
Well one, our thanks to Henry Kissinger.

END


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