Donald Rumsfeld Now 'Delighted' by Al Jazeera

It's a real change of heart after all that trash-talking he did during the Bush years

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Donald Rumsfeld sat down with Sir David Frost at Al Jazeera English for a surprisingly candid interview. The pre-taped interview will air at 4 p.m. Friday on Frost Over the World, and based on a sneak preview that Al Jazeera sent to The Atlantic Wire, it'll be a good one.

Rumsfeld shared his current thoughts on foreign policy:

I don't think the United States is a country that is capable of doing nation building. I think the people of a nation have to do that they know their culture they know the languages, they know their neighbours, they know their history or if it's a tribal country they know the tribes and we can help and we can encourage but we can’t build nations I don’t think.

On Guantanamo Bay:

Of course no one wanted it in the first place. The Bush administration didn't want it and the Obama administration campaigned against it and yet it’s there. Why? Well it’s an exceedingly well run prison.

On Vladimir Putin:

It will be interesting to see how he handles himself as he gets some more years on him and matures and sees how the world work. How he will want to interact with Western Europe and North America and Asia over time, I just don't know. He is clearly a strong leader.

But perhaps most interesting are his radically evolved thoughts on Al Jazeera. Rumsfeld has changed his opinion of the network pretty dramatically:

Its audience has grown and it can be an important means of communication in the world and I am delighted you are doing what you are doing.

That's a sharp pivot away from his scathing, headline-making comment in 2005. "I can definitively say that what Al Jazeera is doing is vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable," he said. If you've seen Frost/Nixon, you know that David Frost is the king of getting once-loathed political figures to spill their guts on television. We can't wait for Dick Cheney's turn.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.