Skip to comments.Condi Rice Takes Charge; Nudges Past Rumsfeld
Posted on 07/31/2005 2:29:15 PM PDT by wagglebee
During President Bushs first term, the axis of power clearly tilted toward the Defense Department and Donald Rumseld.
But since Condi Rice has taken the helm at the State Department, the second term has seen a shift of power back to Foggy Bottom.
Just weeks after taking her new office, Rice subtly demonstrated her new influence when she hosted a meeting at the State Dept. between Rumsfeld and Japanese officials.
The Washington Post described what followed: "When Rumsfeld began to speak, Rice gently cut him off. The message was clear: I'll take the lead, Don. Both Japanese and U.S. officials noted the decisive nudge.
After six months as the globe-trotting Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice has wrested control of all the reins of U.S. foreign policy, reports the Washington Post.
Gone already in the whirlwind of the most traveled secretary of state in history, the retooled, more aggressive Rice has shed her image during Bush's first term as an adviser who struggled to mediate among the heavyweights competing to mold foreign policy.
Along the way, she has been racking up the diplomatic points:
* Rice badgered North Korea back to six-nation talks.
* She bartered a European pledge to support U.N. Security Council action against Iran if nuclear talks fail.
* She hammered out a deal with India to sell peaceful nuclear technology that will bolster U.S.-India relations.
* Her department helped draft a U.N. resolution supporting an international probe into the bloodied Sudan.
Such victories were not won with smiles and handshakes, points out the Post.
Rice has proven a tough customer.
* The no-nonsense Secretary cancelled a visit to Egypt and temporarily suspended $200 million in aid to register protest over the arrest of a pro-reform politician.
* She nixed a visit to Canada when it passed on participation in U.S. missile defense.
* In Saudi Arabia, she read the Riot Act to the sheiks, demanding the enfranchise women.
* On a tour of the West Bank, where she noted new Jewish settlement construction, she warned Israel that more building might violate an agreement it had cut with the U.S. a year earlier.
* Rice warned the European Union not to lift an arms embargo on China, telling diplomats they would regret it - if U.S. troops ever confronted European-armed Chinese forces across the Taiwan straits.
* She gave the first speech by a senior U.S. official on Arab soil that challenged Arab leaders to embrace democracy.
If all this sounds a bit bloodthirsty, the edge is taken off by what Rices colleagues call her "velvet hammer effect, referring to the chief diplomats talent to say very direct things to foreign governments in a way that is not confrontational.
Case-in-point: When Rice visited Paris in February to address leaders on U.S.-European relations, French Ambassador Jean David Levitte said, she "really changed the atmosphere - of the media, of public opinion - about the Bush administration. It was really a turning point.
Because of her impact generally after first six months, he concluded, Rice is "probably the most powerful secretary of state in decades.
Could it be we now have two horses pulling in the same direction?
I got no complaints.
Sec Def Rumseld is probably glad to have the help. Damn Sure "Gen" Powell didn't do anything to help!
I suspect you are correct. Secretary Rumsfeld, seems to me, learns from reality as well as any. For a high horsepower fighter pilot egotist this is exceptional. He is not afraid to see that he has been wrong. This is Courage.
Secretary Rice is an absolute gem. Been saying so for years. Check my back posts.
Maybe she will be a presidential contender in the near future?
Rumsfeld didn't finish the war 'with the army he has'. The 'struggle' has moved to the diplomatic front. Bush wants Rice to take the lead.
Rummy did a great job. He defeated Saddam's Army and drove him from power. The war has been over for two years. This is just mopping up, ane everybody knew it would take a while. We have enough of the MSM trying to spin Iraq as a quagmire without any help from FReepers.
Check out Americans for Rice
Sorry. The war isn't over until the enemy stops fighting and our troops are not being killed.
I agree with your assessment of Sec Rumsfeld. When he became Sec of Def, he butted heads with the Army generals because they did not transform their service in line with the DoD plans. This tense relationship hurted the initial phases of the ground war in Iraq, The Army wanted more troops and spares before attacking Iraq. Rumsfeld felt that the generals were too cautious and ignoring the miracles of computer management and communications technology which does not require many troops to fight battles nor long logistics trains. He was partially correct, but his technique of handling opposition was very corporate. He kept firing the generals who supported more troops until he got one that said yes. (This is typical in corporate America, if the CEO wants to structure a deal and if the lawyer or accountant said it was illegal or not possible, hardheaded CEO's kept firing them until he got one that said yes). The battle for Iraq certified Rumsfeld faith in technology over caution and large numbers, but the occupation of Iraq proved that the generals' propensity to have more men and spares just in case things don't go right was equally valid. I think the professional soldiers and Rumsfeld learned from each other. I will criticize Rumsfeld initial corporate viewpoint of war and technology, but I will admire him for learning very quickly, and striking the right balance between pushing GWB's needs and listening to his generals a bit more. Unlike the Democrat critics, I do not think he should resign. Rumsfeld has learned and from it he is the most experienced Secretary of Defense we ever had.
Damn Sure "Gen" Powell didn't do anything to help!
Except leak to the Washington Post...
The war didn't start two years ago and it's not over yet. The war has been going on since Saddam invaded Kuwait. It has been low intensity at times but it has never gone away. Pilots have been flying combat missions over Iraqi soil for over a decade. And at any rate, Iraq is just one theatre in the War on Terror. The Iraq war itself is not over, nor is the larger one. This is not spin- simply reality.
More good news on Condi!
How is she doing cleaning out the State Department? I don't think I've seen anything on that in a while.
Well said, but I can't criticize him on his viewpoints regarding his assessments of the war forced upon us nor his desire to create a leaner meaner fighting machine (military).
Doubt she did anything at all to diss Rumsfeld.
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