Here's what she said today after Clay Swisher asked her the question below.
Hmm...found this interesting item about Clay Swisher here :
"The combination of our own diplomatic disengagement, our blaming Syria and Iran, and our giving the Israelis a green light [for their military campaign] has inflamed the entire region," according to Clay Swisher, a former State Department Middle East expert and author of the Truth About Camp David, who just returned from Lebanon last week.)
Clay seems to be on to something there!
Here's an interesting interview done by Electronic Intifada of Swisher also.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, my name is Clay Swisher. I'm the new term member at the Council and I'm also with the Middle East Institute and my question for you would be, what message do you think America's foreign policy in the Middle East sends to aspiring democrats in Latin America?
And I'm speaking specifically about the support the U.S. Government has for Fouad Siniora, yet one year ago on your watch, our closest ally, Israel, bombed the country to smithereens. Our support for Prime -- President Abbas in Palestine, yet he has nothing to show for it and the Hamas movement that was democratically elected has been punished and the people of Gaza are reaching unprecedented levels of despair. And then in Latin America, the Guantanamo detention facility. What do all these things send to the aspiring democrats of Latin America?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, there's quite a mix there, so let me take them one at a time. The United States under President Bush has stood up for democracy in the Middle East and frankly, after 60 years of not talking much about democracy in the Middle East, we actually did talk about democracy in Latin America, we did talk about democracy in Africa, but we talked mostly about stability in the Middle East.
And President Bush has been dedicated to forging a new consensus about what stability means in the Middle East. And it means that there will be the willingness to speak up for the right of people, whether they live in Baghdad or in Kabul or in Cairo or in Kuwait to advocate -- to want to be able to have a democratic way of life. And indeed, I think if you look honestly at the Middle East, you've seen some favorable trends toward democracy. But this is the work of a generation. It is not going to be completed overnight.
We could go country by country. I won't take the time to do that. But let me just say that the support, for instance, for a democratic Palestinian state rather than for a Palestinian state with a leadership that was known to be corrupt and known to have one foot in terror -- yes, Hamas was elected and we, to this day, are ones who defend the right of the Palestinian people to have had that election.
The Hamas, however, did not use a responsible way of governing and they have found themselves isolated from the international system and now, what you have is a democratic leader in Mahmoud Abbas who is dedicated both to the renunciation of violence and to democratic leadership of his people. And we're going to support him and that's why, when I go off to the Middle East in a few days here, I'm going to work very, very hard with Israel and the Palestinians to try to bring about a better prospect for a Palestinian state.
And finally, in the war on terror, look, not every decision has been one that has been popular. I understand that. The President has said, and I fully agree, we would like nothing better than to close Guantanamo. The question is what do you do with the hundreds of dangerous people, who, back on the battlefield, would kill again? And so these are complicated decisions. You know, there aren't any easy answers to really hard decisions. And so I think that when you look at the record of the President in the support for democracy around the world, you will see someone who has spoken for it, who has acted on that basis, and who has had an agenda that has promoted that.
Can you believe it?!!