Condoleezza Rice is one of those people who I would like to spend some time with her to pick her brain. She is a very smart lady and has been through so much. As a child, she was brave enough to attend a formerly segregated school. She has been a professor at Stanford, served on the National Security Council, served as an advisor to George H.W. Bush, and, of course, she was the Secretary of State under George W. Bush.
Unfortunately, she gave a speech at the Republican Convention on Wednesday night which, I thought, was a bit over the top. Here is my problem: Conde was a success at almost everything that she did as a child and as an adult. However, I wonder how many would call her a success as a Secretary of State. I think that most historians would rate our foreign policy during the George W Bush administration as an absolute disaster. Of course, what I don’t know is who was REALLY running the State Department in the Bush administration. Was it our chief diplomat, Conde Rice, or was it Dick Chaney?
From Slate magazine: 53 percent of British citizens had a favorable view of the US in 2008 (when Obama became president), now it is 60. In France the figure went from 42 percent to 69. In Germany it went from 31 to 52 percent. In Japan it went from 50 to 72 percent.
Still from Slate, another Pew Poll released just this week, about global attitudes toward President Obama as a leader makes Rice’s concerns seem ridiculous. As summarized by CNN, 87 percent of the Germans, 86 percent of the French, 80 percent of the British, and 74 percent of the Japanese have confidence in Obama—in each case, more confidence than they have in their own leaders. More striking still, 92 percent of the French, 89 percent of the Germans, 73 percent of the British, and 66 percent of the Japanese want Obama re-elected.
All this is rather amazing when you stop and remember that when Barack Obama became president he ordered a dramatic step-up in the drone attacks NO MATTER where the bad guys were. He has regularly had the Air Force and CIA firing missiles into Pakistan, other areas in South Asia, as well as East Africa, and elsewhere. Some would call that an act of war. I don’t know what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told those countries’ leaders but they have sure kept their mouths shut — and continue to allow these attacks.
All in all, I think that Conde Rice has no business lecturing ANYBODY on foreign policy. Our President’s foreign policy has been quite successful. With all their tough talk, the Bush administration was very squeamish about using high tech to go after the bad guys. Obama and Secretary Clinton had no problem at all. It is very uncommon for a first term president to have a successful foreign policy but Obama did it!
Obama ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden and decimated al-Qaida. He ended the Iraq war and is clearly winding down the Afghan war. The Bush administration had plenty of time to do these things and clearly failed. How much of the blame should be put at Conde’s feet? Quite a bit, actually.