Interview with Giulio Borrelli of German RAI Television
The Map Room
The White House
May 21, 2002
1:33 P.M. EDT
QUESTION: Mr. President, raising the alarm about the possibility of new terrorist
attack without being specific is a way of crying "wolf," which can
frighten people. Can Americans stop the suicide bombers?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, it's a very interesting question. Well, first of all, the
Vice President and the Director of the FBI was expressing a general threat --
they're basically saying -- with which I agree -- that the al Qaeda still exists,
they still hate America and any other country which loves freedom and they want
to hurt us. They're nothing but a bunch of cold-blooded killers.
And if we had a specific threat to ourselves, or to Italy for that matter, we
would deal with it in a way that you probably wouldn't know about. In other
words, we'd be on the phone to the Italian authorities, sharing information
to protect our -- just so that they would help our friends protect themselves.
Had we had a specific threat here in America, we would have used our assets
to harden the threat. But, no, it's a real problem.
The best way to secure our homeland, the best way for Italy to be secure, and
other countries, is to find these killers; is to hunt for them; is to chase
them down. And that's what we're going to do. And the good news is for those
of us who love freedom, and the bad news is for the enemy -- this country is
very patient and very united and going to be very deliberate in our pursuit
QUESTION: The U.S. and Europe are divided on important issues, as the next step
in the war on terrorism and steel trade. Do you think you have to change something
in your leadership to be more convincing with European countries? Or do they
have to modify their policy?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don't think either of us have to change because we share
great values. See, we love freedom. We hate those who want to kill. That's the
common ground, and that's very important. And that's the high ground.
And you bring up interesting issues, you know. You bring up the issue of steel.
We trade -- first of all, we have trade disputes because there is so much trade.
If we had no trade there would be no disputes. And we've got $2 trillion worth
of trade, which is a significant amount of trade. Obviously, I was concerned
about what imports were doing to our industry. And under the rules of the WTO,
under the guidelines that we've all agreed to, I acted. I am confident and hope
that our European trading partners will also respond within the guidelines of
the WTO. And that's the way you settle disputes.
A trade dispute is hardly a breach of an important relationship. It is a way
to work through a difficult situations.
And as far as the axis of evil, you know, I understand there are some that would
hope that the threat would go away, just on its own. But we're going to have
to act. I will, of course, consult with our friends. I'm deliberate in my thinking.
I have no set plans right now. But I am serious about making it clear to countries
around the world that we need to work together to rid the world of the threat.
And the threat is a nontransparent dictator -- dictatorship having a weapons
of mass destruction to be used countries such as yours and mine. And that's
a threat that we must deal with if we want to do our duty to history.
QUESTION: How can America and Europe improve their efforts to make peace in
the Middle East?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, that's a great question. We are working together well, I
believe. I was very pleased with -- and the Secretary of State is the one who
keeps me abreast of the levels of cooperation. During the recent issues in the
Middle East, the EU and our country worked very closely to try to lay out the
foundations and a pathway to peace.
I gave a speech right here in the Rose Garden on April the 4th that said parties
have responsibilities; Israelis have got responsibilities if they're interested
in peace; the Arab world has responsibilities; as do the Palestinians. I've
talked about a vision of two states living side by side, at peace, with respect
to each other.
The Europeans agree with that position, so we're on the same -- we share the
same vision. And I believe that the Europeans also agree that there will never
be peace so long as terrorists continue to kill; and that we've all got to use
our collective efforts to stop the terrorist attacks.
We definitely agree that we've got to provide hope for the Palestinian people.
There's a lot of people who've been suffering for a long period of time. We
need an economic development package that will help the Palestinians realize
a hopeful future. But we cannot do so until there is the institutions of a credible
state in place. In other words, we're not going to give money if it ends up
going into somebody's pockets and not to help the people we're trying to help.
So we've got the framework. We've got the vision for peace and the framework
for getting there and now we've just got to continue working together to achieve
it. It is a difficult subject. People have been killing each other there for
a long period of time. But once there is the collective vision for peace --
and I think we're building that collective vision -- and once people understand
their responsibilities, and we're now laying out the responsibilities, we have
an opportunity to move toward that vision of peace, and that's exactly what
QUESTION: Last time I came here I asked you if you received an invitation to
have dinner with Mr. Chirac or Mr. Berlusconi, which one would you accept? You
answered, you like Italian food. Do you still enjoy Italian cuisine made by
THE PRESIDENT: I love Italian cuisine. And I'm very close to the Prime Minister.
He is a -- he is a good man; he's easy to be around because he is a good listener
and a good talker. And I like his judgment and I like his friendship.
QUESTION: When you go to Rome, you meet the Pope.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
QUESTION: One of his desires is to visit Ground Zero in New York. Will he be
THE PRESIDENT: I hope so, but that's up for the Pope to make that decision.
He is a -- I had the honor of visiting the Holy Father the last time I was --
the visit in beautiful Rome. And, actually, it was outside of Rome, we went
to the summer -- the Summer Palace overlooking the spectacular lake.
And, you know, he's getting older and whether or not he's able to travel to
Ground Zero will be up to -- up for the Holy Father to decide. But I just want
you to know I'm looking forward to that visit; it is a great honor to be in
his presence. He's a great man.