RICE: Well, I'm not inside, but I don't see that the Taliban is anywhere near being defeated. And, in fact, if you're looking for some kind of political arrangement, then ultimately there will have to be a political arrangement in Afghanistan, that brings former warring elements in. But if you're looking for that arrangement, you should be in the strongest position, not the weakest. And I don't think that right now the Afghan government and the NATO mission is in a position to make that kind of political deal. So, yes, I think there's a considerable risk in speeding up a timetable for Afghanistan.
AMANPOUR: In your book, you also write about Iran. The IAEA, the nuclear agency of the U.N., this week is about to reveal, apparently, more details showing, apparently, that Iran is trying to weaponize. Do you think the United States, the Obama administration, has to ratchet up the confrontation? You talked this week about confronting Iran. Does that involve military confrontation by the U.S.?
RICE: Well, the United States should certainly make clear that the president of the United States will consider military action, if necessary, because you never want to take that card off the table.
I think there are other ways to confront Iran. You can confront Iran through even tougher sanctions. And I also think, Christiane, this is one of the downsides of having our forces out of -- out of Iraq, because we can confront the Iranians in Iraq.
So, yes, I think it's time to confront the Iranian regime, because it's the poster child for state sponsorship of terrorism. It's trying to get a nuclear weapon. It's repressed its own people. The regime has absolutely no legitimacy left. We should be doing everything we can to bring it down and never take military force off the table.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about 2012. I want to ask you in terms of foreign policy. You know, Republicans, they describe themselves as the adults and the pragmatists on foreign policy. And yet in this particular campaign, they all seem like they're rushing to the exits when it comes to foreign policy or, in the case of Herman Cain, kind of making fun of a lack of knowledge. I mean, he did the whole Uzbeki-beki-bekistan. Do you find that a little cavalier?
RICE: Well, I think in retrospect it probably wasn't a great thing to say, if you're running for president. And foreign policy ought to be more a part of the debate than it is, because we're so interconnected.
AMANPOUR: Mr. Cain stumbled seriously this week on an issue when he said that China has, quote, "indicated that they're trying to develop a nuclear capability." Obviously, we all know that China has been a nuclear power since the 1960s. Were you alarmed by this statement, by this lack of knowledge?
RICE: Well -- well, I don't know the context in which he said it. People sometimes misspeak. But I will say this: When you are...
AMANPOUR: Do you really think it was a misspeak? I mean, it was a long -- it was a long statement.
RICE: I don't -- I don't know. Christiane, I wasn't listening...
AMANPOUR: But does it worry you?
RICE: And I really don't -- I don't know. It -- it concerns me that we are not having a discussion about foreign policy. And, obviously, I would suggest that anybody who's going to run for president of the United States spend some time on the basics on foreign policy.