#17 - JRL 7139 An Interview with Richard Perle Washington Profile News Service www.washprofile.org April 7, 2003 Has the war with Iraq altered the long-term goals of the US foreign policy, or have they remained the same? I believe the goals have remained very much the same - if anything, they have reinforced them. It seems to me fundamental to the policy of this administration that we will, in dealing with threats to the US, take appropriate action, including against states that harbor terrorists or are building weapons of mass destruction. How will the Administration now deal with Iran and Syria? I think every one of these potential threats is different - no two are alike and because the situations are unique, the cases are unique. In the case of Syria, I would hope that the Syrians understand now that it is not in their interests to continue to harbor terrorists. And I hope we can persuade them of that and they will voluntarily change their policy. Where do you see Russia's role? It remains to be seen. It's not clear that Russia could play a constructive role, frankly. I was rather hoping there would be signs that Russia would in fact play a constructive role; now there is reason to doubt that. Do you think Russia's ties to Syria and especially Iran will present a significant problem for US-Russia relations? Absolutely. A very serious problem. I think we're going to have some very serious discussions with the Russians - with President Putin - about what kind of a relationship he wants with the US. We work closely with our friends but friends don't…let me just say that there was nothing friendly about the Russian policy in Iraq. What strategies would the US use to get Russia on their side? Our strategy is always the same - it is to try to persuade the leadership of other countries that their interests and ours are sufficiently close so that they would be justified in joining with us. I don't believe it is in Russia's interests to see a tyrant like Saddam Hussein sustained in power. What is the status of finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? I believe I've seen news reports this morning that such weapons were found. They will be found. If they haven't been found yet, they will be. There's no question, there's no doubt. The only questions is: where were they hidden? We are quite certain about this. Now that the war is its final stages, will the Administration eb turning more to North Korea? There are a number of situations that are threatening to us, and in most cases to others as well. North Korea is one of those. If they now, having withdrawn from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, start to produce nuclear weapons, they will be a threat to us, and potentially to others, because there is every reason to believe they would sell nuclear material or nuclear weapons and it will take a concerted effort with many countries cooperating. Everyone I know hopes that a combination of countries that have influence in North Korea will be successful in persuading North Korea to give up the nuclear program voluntarily, but no one can be sure that they would do that. Do you think the American-European relationship has been altered permanently by this war? I think the relationship with France has been seriously affected, because the French not only disagreed with us, which is okay, but they actively worked against us and are continuing to do so even now. So there's going to be an impact there, I don't think there's any question. Where would you like to see the US-Russia relationship going? Well I would like to see a close relationship, and I'm disappointed that this first test of the relationship - the policy toward Iraq - did not produce a basis for optimism. I think the Foreign Ministry is still in the hands of the ghost of Andrey Gromyko, and I think there are peoplearound Putin who are bitter about the end of the Cold War and are not eager for a new kind of relationship with the US.