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BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: FORMER US PRESIDENT BUSH DECEMBER 15TH, 2002
Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.
(Sir David Frost asks former President Bush if the world is now a safer place, than it was at the time he was in office)
GEORGE BUSH Yes, it is a much safer world because there's no two kind of super powers glaring across this chasm. No danger now of two nuclear armed countries passing in the night, you know, like two ships. So there's more democracy; all of eastern Europe is free; Germany is unified; there are more free elections; there are more market economies. Having said that, there's a new kind of terror, a new kind of enemy. And so, but overall, if you look at it net, in the huge picture, the big picture, I think the world is a lot safer and a lot better, because a lot of ancient enmities are gone. Having said that, I don't want to diminish the importance of the problems that President Bush is facing now in the White House - these are huge.
DAVID FROST: In a way, is Communism an easy target compared with terrorism? Terrorism is more shadowy. Which is the worst enemy?
GEORGE BUSH: The worst in terms of its size, in history, would have been Communism. But in terms of its, its cowardly approach to killing innocents, terrorism is the worst. Because you can't find them. They, they, it's an insidious form of trying to bring about change and it's a terrible thing when Roosevelt was, with Sir Winston Churchill, were battling World War II, we knew were the enemy was. We knew what we had to do to get them, even though the problem was huge.
DAVID FROST: And in terms of superpowers, you presided over the period of the, of the end of the cold war and in a way the end of Communism. But as you look at the situation as it develops from there, we then had one superpower, now, the United States, do you think in ten years, Mr President, we'll be back talking about two superpowers, the other one being China?
GEORGE BUSH: No. I don't think so. I think if the US handles the relationship with China properly I don't think we have anything to fear from another hostile superpower at all. China is undergoing change, I know those Chinese leaders pretty well - I don't know Hu Jintao as well as I did President Jiang Zemin and ... the Premier - but change is moving there, change - moving things to more market economy, and actually more freedoms. So I am not worried about it so long as the United States and Europe properly stay engaged with China, as long as we stand for our principles, not acquiescing to the way they do things we don't like.
DAVID FROST: And what about, what did you feel a few days ago - because my god you lived with this at the time - when Saddam Hussein made his so-called apology to the Kuwaiti people - did you find that convincing?
GEORGE BUSH I found it like here's a guy that knows he's going to get his tail in a knot, in a real bind there if he doesn't try to do something. So that was kind of a last gasp effort. And I notice that Kuwait rejected, he has failed to account for the Kuwaiti prisoners of war, he has failed to adequately return Kuwaiti assets, and I don't blame them for saying we don't believe you, we don't believe you're really sorry.
DAVID FROST: And in fact, I mean -
GEORGE BUSH: Put me down as doubtful on Saddam Hussein.
DAVID FROST: Don't know.
GEORGE BUSH: Or more negative. Yes.
DAVID FROST: Yes. You're a don't know on that. But I mean, God, the year after you left office, he attempted to have you killed in, in Kuwait and so on. I mean you said, you said back in September that you, you're not, which I know is the truth, that you're not a hater of people, but you do hate him. Well understandably, after what he tried to do to you.
GEORGE BUSH: That's history. That's history. You've got to - my son, our son the president, is facing a whole new set of problems and (BACKGROUND NOISE) very, very, in enthusiastic step with the Prime Minister of Great Britain, I might add.
DAVID FROST: In fact, interesting you say that, because the special relationship, that people here worry about so much, does seem to be in a pretty good state of repair.
GEORGE BUSH: (BACKGROUND NOISES DURING ANSWER) Ah, well, I think that Tony Blair is highly respected in the United States. I think people admire his leadership from afar on these matters, that the United States and where the United States and the UK have common ground. So I would say that the special relationship is strong as ever, and certainly the relationship between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the UK is very, very strong.
DAVID FROST: What's been the outstanding, personally in your life in the last ten years, what have been the outstanding highlights for you over the last ten years?
GEORGE BUSH: Well one of them was not - one of the highlights was not losing the '92 election - I didn't like that. I thought I let a lot of people down. But I guess if you ask me, the greatest thing is being able to fish with my grandchildren and start slowing down at 78 years old. And it's wonderful.
DAVID FROST: You're not giving up parachuting are you?
GEORGE BUSH: No. Definitely not. On June 12th - and there's still a few seats left Sir David - on June 12th 2004 - 2004 - I will make my final parachute jump. I asked Barbara to phrase it differently. She goes one way or another George, this will be your last jump. I said there's another way to phrase that thing that would make it sound okay. But, you know, I'm going to do it - probably right here at A&M - June 12th 2004.
DAVID FROST: We're making a note of the date.
GEORGE BUSH: It's a thrill, it's a thrill.
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