My view is that you don't just talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies, as well. And the diplomacy involves talking to your enemies. You don't reward your enemies necessarily, by talking to them if you're tough and you know what you're doing. You don't appease them. Talking to an enemy is not, in my view, appeasement. I made 15 trips to Syria in 1990-1991 at a time when Syria was on the list of countries who are state sponsors of terrorism. And the 16th trip, guess what? Lo and behold, Syria changed 25 years of policy and agreed for the first time in history to come sit at the table with Israel, which is what Israel wanted at the time. And, thereby, implicitly recognized Israel's right to exist. Now, all I'm saying is that would never have happened if we hadn't been sufficiently dedicated that we were going to keep at it.
When we're trying to solve difficult national issues its sometimes necessary to talk to adversaries as well as friends. Historians have a word for this: diplomacy.
It is the threat of the use of force [against Iraq] and our line-up there that is going to put force behind the diplomacy. But if we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us.
Just consider, all the little nations running for shelter here and there, one running to Russia and another to the United States. In that situation before anything else would happen, the world will have been polarised between the Soviet Union and the United States. It is against that negative polarisation we have been fighting for years. We want to have the opportunity to interpose between these two giants a moderating, modifying and mitigating diplomacy.
Pope Benedict XVI is working softly, slowly, often silently, unobtrusively, behind the scenes, mostly unseen. But he is working hard. I like the great job of reconciliation that he is doing inside the Roman Catholic Church: reconciliation between traditionalists and liberals, conservative and reform-oriented faithful, liturgical Latinists and Mass polyglots, old-time lovers and progressives, high-flying souls and pedestrian believers, thinkers and doers--Christians and Catholics. It is a hidden work of diplomacy, interactions, influences, concessions, agreements, acknowledgments. A "hard job" well done until now.