11/16/2004: Juan Cole has some interesting observations on Secretary of State Rice...
in a post titled Powell's resignation:
I saw Lawrence Eagleburger on CNN Monday evening say that he thought Condi Rice was not right for Secretary of State because she had been in the White House for four years and, he implied, would be incapable of offering George W. Bush independent advice. Eagleburger was secretary of state very briefly at the end of the Bush senior administration, succeeding James Baker, with whom he continued to have an association. Eagleburger has been critical of the Neoconservatives, and I suspect he feels that Dr. Rice will be no counterweight to them whatsoever.Same shit, different day, beyond a doubt.
Rice seems to me to have two major drawbacks as Secretary of State beyond her inability to challenge Bush's pet projects. One is that she is an old Soviet hand who still thinks in Cold War terms. She focuses on states and does not understand the threat of al-Qaeda, nor does she understand or empathize with Middle Easterners, about whom she appears to know nothing after all this time. The other drawback is that she is virtually a cheerleader for Ariel Sharon and will not be an honest broker between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Powell was much more fair on such issues, though he wasn't exactly pro-Palestinian either. Of course, with Elliot Abrams as the national security council staffer in charge of Arab-Israeli things, you might as well have Sharon just run US Middle East policy himself.
If the second Bush term is going to be mainly full of Fallujahs, though, I suppose Colin is well out of it. Seeing the iron fist lowered over and over again to little political advantage would be the more depressing the closer you were to the decision-making process.
Len on 11.16.04 @ 11:51 AM CST