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STANFORD -- The timing and substance of President Bush's unilateral nuclear weapons reduction proposal gives Soviet leaders a terrific opportunity to restructure their own arsenal, political science Prof. Condoleezza Rice said at Stanford on Sunday, Sept. 29.
"I hope to God they take him up on it," she said to heavy applause from 1,500 alumni and others attending a centennial roundtable discussion on "A New World Order: New Games, New Players, New Rules."
Central Soviet officials now find themselves in a fluid period where they can still control the nuclear arsenal. Later, the republics may decide to assert independent control over weapons on their land, she warned.
Rice returned to campus in March after serving as special assistant to Bush and senior director of Soviet affairs for the National Security Council.
She was joined on the panel by Winston Lord, former U.S. ambassador to China; Richard W. Lyman, president emeritus of Stanford and former director of the university's Institute for International Studies; George Shultz, professor emeritus of business, distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution and former secretary of state; and Stephen Solarz, congressman from New York. Newsweek editor Maynard Parker served as moderator.
Solarz, a Democrat, defended his support for Bush's policies in the Gulf War.
He labeled Saddam Hussein a "Mesopotamian megalomaniac" whose desire to dominate the entire Middle East and build nuclear weapons would have forced the United States and other nations to intervene eventually.
"As long as Saddam remains in power, he'll find ways to wreak revenge on us," Solarz said, warning especially of potential havoc, even in the continental United States, from biological weapons the Iraqi leader could unleash.
To oust Hussein, the world community must maintain economic sanctions, institute war crimes trials and provide material help for the Kurds and Shiites who oppose the dictator, Solarz said.
Shultz agreed, saying Hussein should be held accountable for war crimes. "He can be indicted in absentia," he said to applause. Shultz also drew applause advocating support for the "freedom fighters" in Iraq.
After the war, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf said he "had been snookered," Shultz said.
"That's right, and I can't understand why Schwarzkopf didn't go unsnooker himself. We turned control over to Saddam Hussein and he used it against his own people."
Lyman said that one of the lessons of the Gulf War is that overwhelming military victory often is not a complete victory.
Both the United States and what remains of the Soviet Union on numerous occasions have found "how difficult it is to control the direction of events." Countries both superpowers sought to influence often gave both "grief and refused to do our bidding," Lyman said.
Nation-states are seeing their power eroding, and in a sense all nations, large and small, are in decline, he said. "Supernational institutions will play a key part in shaping any new world order," Lyman said.
Discussing China, Lord challenged as "wrong" the conventional wisdom that China is unimportant. It will be important in the new world order because of its size, potential economic strength and the fact that it has nuclear weapons.
For now, the "country is trapped in a time warp," but within a few years the people will jettison communism, he said. Officials in the provinces are positioning themselves for that eventuality, he said.
There is still tremendous bitterness over the Tiananmen Square massacre, which was accompanied by uprisings in 200 to 300 cities, making it far more widespread than the recent counter-coup in the Soviet Union, Lord said.
Asked if the United States should ship massive food supplies to the Soviet republics, Rice urged caution.
Food is rotting on highways and being burned in the fields by peasants because there are no incentives in their economic system to get food to the marketplace. "They actually have enough food," she said. An infusion from the United States could further upset the Soviet economy.
Putting the land in private hands would go a long way to helping the Soviet republics economically.
The Soviet Union is a "rich country with lots of resources." But in the five weeks since the "greatest legitimizing political event probably in Soviet history," the Soviet and Russian leadership has done virtually nothing in the way of economic reform, she said.
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