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MR. MCCONNELL: Could I start, sir? Would that be all right?
SEN. CONRAD: Please.
MR. MCCONNELL: Let me go to China -- Taiwan.
I would agree with Deng Xiaoping: In time, it will heal itself. The
greatest risk now is miscalculation. China is -- as you said, the United
States is a very different place than it was 50 years ago. China is a very
different place than just a few years ago.
Their biggest challenge is stability. The focus of the party in
power is to first of all, keep the party in power. And so the argument is,
how do you maintain a society of 1.3 billion people -- half of which have not
yet had the fruits of this economic prosperity and growth rain down on
them -- and move them in a way that it remains stable, they get access to raw
materials and they have markets for which they can sell their goods?
So my view is, it will become more democratic over time and the
Taiwan-China situation will solve. But the greatest risk for us is
miscalculation or an event that gets out of control. You mentioned that
leadership could overreact -- and that's my worry. If it's left to this
normal trend, I think it will evolve to be a different place.
With regard to your question on extremists in this country, I would
highlight we've always had extremists in this country -- always. The
difference, in my view, are the tools that they have access to can have
disproportionate harm or damage in relation to one or two or three, because
of things like the Internet, because of things like explosives or flying
airplanes into buildings -- all the things that one could dream up could have
a broadly disproportionate impact on our society, because of the tools and
the technology available to them.
SEN. CONRAD: And your reason for the fact that we don't seem to be
that worried about it, because we keep saying there's never been anything
that's hurt our country since 9/11?
MR. MCCONNELL: I think that is shaped by political debate and
leadership. The country will respond to the right kind of leadership, I
believe. And so it's making the argument and having the debate, because it
would be a very vigorous debate.
Some of the things that you alluded to you about Hollywood and the
kinds of material they produce and so on -- there are going to be many people
who are going to disagree with you in the interest of freedom of speech and
not controlling anything and so on. So there's going to be a tremendous
Either we're going to have an event that causes us to be shocked and
to be awakened and then we'll start to move down that path, or the leadership
and the dialogue will take us in a different direction.
SEN. CONRAD: Thank you, sir.
MR. MUELLER: Yeah, I agree with the admiral.
We've always had extremists, disaffected. McVeigh being an example
-- responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. But those who are disaffected
now have a greater access to information, greater access to instruction on
how to manufacture devices, greater capabilities of intersection with others
through the Internet or through other communications. And the damage is
disproportionate, given the capabilities that one has today. As to
complacency, yes. I mentioned it before. If we become complacent over a
period of time -- and we have to resist that complacency. Understand that
there are people out there who wish to do us harm in our communities, and
continue to work with state and local law enforcement ourselves, but also
work with other members of the community to identify those who seek to do us
harm before they can undertake such attacks.
SEN. ROCKEFELLER: All right.