This Condi breakdown begins courtesy of John H. Brown, former member of the U.S. Foreign Service circa 1981 until the invasion of Iraq (similar gems posted daily in Brown’s Public Diplomacy Press Review):
?SOON AFTER ARRIVING AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT EARLIER THIS YEAR, I HUNG A PORTRAIT OF DEAN ACHESON IN MY OFFICE.?
— “The Promise of Democratic Peace…” Condoleezza Rice, Washington Post Dec. 11, 2005
… At any event, a country half slave — or all slave — to foreign criticism cannot stand, except as a mental institution. We cannot gird ourselves for the war against poverty or in Vietnam until we exorcise image worship.
“The American Image will Take Care of Itself,” by Dean Acheson, New York Times Magazine, February 28, 1965
Acheson, despite his contradictions, maintained the type of grounding in reality that has always been expected of Condi. Many credit Acheson, as Truman’s Sec of State, with navigating the U.S. out of Korea, however…. Vietnam, etc. Others say Acheson’s men had a role in turning the tide against McCarthy and overturning the “communists war on christmas”-type philosophy that hindered the progress of the Cold War. Ohhhh for a semblance of a reality check (or does Rumsfeld have to tender his resignation a couple more times first)?
The mixed messages in Rice’s editorial not only poke at her reticence to separate action v. inaction and progress v. hallucination but can also be read reassurance that her boss is in fact doing the right thing, or so time will tell. Just read this five times front and back:
In times of extraordinary change such as ours, when the costs of inaction outweigh the risks of action, doing nothing is not an option. If the school of thought called “realism” is to be truly realistic, it must recognize that stability without democracy will prove to be false stability, and that fear of change is not a positive prescription for policy.
Dean Acheson made a point to establish NEW policies, something Ms. Rice really had better get to. By recognizing Acheson, Rice needs to capitalize – before it gets better, its up to her to not let it get worse, and besides, these next couple years are make or break for her political future, not to mention the outcome of the so-called Bush Doctrine policies.
In a September speech at Princeton, Rice compared the uncertainty of the Bush Doctrine to the early days of the Cold War – evoking Acheson once again. It is nice to see someone with a sense of history and perception in the Administration. Democracy takes time – the transitions to open market democracy that the U.S. helped facilitate after WWII took years and necessitated a realistic vision and policy maven who put country before personal legacy.
It seems this brilliant moment of realism from Sec. Rice is overpowered by the deaf ears of bureaucracy. Then again, she may be the last hope for saving the Republican party not to mention rectifying foreign policy – just ask Scowcroft et al. See Acheson noddingn his head in that picture, Condi, start pissing those off who know no better and lets get on with this “gradual process” for real already!
(Ivo Daalder is much clearer than I in his (still admittedly confused) analysis of Rice’s Speech).