CHICAGO, USA --During a December 7, 2008, appearance on Meet The Press, which was taped on December 6, 2008, in Chicago, U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama discussed the state of U.S. and global economies, culture, U.S. political affairs and international affairs. The interview was conducted by former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw, whose stint as an interim moderator on Meet The Press ended with the Obama interview. NBC' Chief White House Correspondent David Gregory takes over as permanent host on December 14, 2008. He succeeds Tim Russert, who died on June 13, 2008.
Below The Diplomatic Times Review highlights the foreign affairs section of the Meet The Press transcript of Mr. Brokaw's interview with Mr. Obama.
MR. BROKAW: I want to move now to international affairs, the war on terror. Obviously, we have all been stunned by what happened in India at Mumbai. It is still playing out in that part of the world. You have said that the United States reserves the right to go after terrorists in Pakistan if you have targets of opportunity. Does India now also have that right of hot pursuit?
PRES.-ELECT OBAMA: Well, I'm not going to comment on that. What, what I'm going to restate is a basic principle. Number one, if a country is attacked, it has the right to defend itself. I think that's universally acknowledged. The second thing is that we need a strategic partnership with all the parties in the region--Pakistan and India and the Afghan government--to stamp out the kind of militant, violent, terrorist extremists that have set up base camps and that are operating in ways that threaten the security of everybody in the international community. And, as I've said before, we can't continue to look at Afghanistan in isolation. We have to see it as a part of a regional problem that includes Pakistan, includes India, includes Kashmir, includes Iran. And part of the kind of foreign policy I want to shape is one in which we have tough, direct diplomacy combined with more effective military operations, focused on what is the number one threat against U.S. interests and U.S. lives. And that's al-Qaeda and, and, and their various affiliates, and we are going to go after them fiercely in the years to come.
AMERICAN POLICY TOWARDS PAKISTAN
MR. BROKAW: President Zardari of Pakistan has said that he expects you to re-examine the American policy of using unmanned missiles for attacks on terrorist camps in Pakistan; and there have been civilian casualties in those attacks as well. Are you re-examining that policy?
PRES.-ELECT OBAMA: Well, I--what I want to do is to create the kind of effective, strategic partnership with Pakistan that allows us, in concert, to assure that terrorists are not setting up safe havens in some of these border regions between Pakistan and Afghanistan. So far President Zardari has sent the right signals. He's indicated that he recognizes this is not just a threat to the United States, but it is a threat to Pakistan as well. There was a bombing in Pakistan just yesterday that killed scores of people, and so you're seeing greater and greater terrorist activity inside of Pakistan. I think this democratically-elected government understands that threat, and I hope that in the coming months that we're going to be able to establish the kind of close, effective, working relationship that makes both countries safer.