From Wednesday night’s Fox News All-Stars.
On ratification of New START:
On START, I think the administration really is trying to do everything it can to appease the Republicans and their objections. The problem is that the Russians aren’t really helping. We had a speech from the president of Russia just a couple of days ago, in which he threatened to develop new offensive weapons if we don’t behave on defensive weaponry — where we are [technologically] ahead, and where Republicans senators are worried that there’ve been negotiations between the Obama administration and the Russians on constraints of our defensive systems, which we don’t want [because] it’s our great advantage and it’s going to be the weapon system of the future. …
There’s one other problem, which is that the Russians have been moving their tactical nuclear weapons, the short-range ones, in Europe, near to our allies, as a way to intimidate them. And these tactical short-range weapons are not included in START. So it’s a way, I think, of provoking us unnecessarily at a time when they’re trying to get agreement on the long-range weapons.
Again, it’s not going to help and I think the chances of passage at least in the lame-duck session are rather small.
On reports that that the White House is bending over backward to get the treaty passed:
They see it as their greatest achievement in foreign affairs of this year. Now ask yourself: If this is their greatest achievement, what does it say about what the rest of the two years have been like?
On World AIDS Day and the success in fighting the disease, especially in Africa:
I think there are two wonderful stories here. One is American generosity and the other is American science. Generosity is what the president has done on behalf of the American people, spending billions of dollars in Africa which dramatically altered the course of the disease.
And even though President Bush implied [the existence of a] strategic interest, there was none. This was entirely an act of compassion and generosity on the part of America, really unmatched in the world.
But secondly, underlying it is not only [that] we gave the drugs away, it’s that we developed the drugs. The great story here is that this virus emerges in the early ’80s. We have no idea what it is. And viruses are traditionally extremely hard to find, identify, and tame. We can do it with bacteria, but with the viral illnesses it’s much harder.
And in three decades we turn a death sentence into a chronic condition. It’s an amazing story of mostly American science yoked with American generosity, and it saved millions of lives.
On whether what America has done in Africa will affect America’s image abroad:
Actually I don’t think so. Generally speaking, look at how the American people and the government and the military responded with the tsunami. It was a rescue of a scale unseen anywhere in the world, again purely humanitarian.
We get a couple of weeks of good press with that. And some on AIDS. I’m sure there are individuals in Africa who acknowledge this and we get a rock star [Bono] who does. Overall, I think our image in the world is unaffected. People sort of expect it and they discount it. America does that [humanitarian work].
I’m not sure it alters our image, but I don’t care. I think it’s the right thing to do. In some ways, it alters or reinforces the way that we think about ourselves, and that I think is more important.