Monday, September 03, 2007

Condi, Our Savior

Via Bag News, I just read this quote about Condi Rice from NY Times:
In fact, her friends say that she rarely questions whether she is right or wrong, instead choosing to believe in a particular truth with absolute certainty until she doesn’t believe it anymore, at which point she moves on.

And that's what her friends say. I'm not sure which I find more frightening: That such an important person can be so oblivious to self-reflection or that our Washington Establishment finds her to be such a good choice for the job.

Or perhaps the most frightening part is that she can believe something with absolute certainty until she doesn't believe it, and then move on to believing something else with absolute certainty. A self-reflective person would quickly realize how idiotic this is and would learn not to be like this; assuming they'd ever be unreflective enough to be like that in the first place. But with Condi, she just keeps plowing ahead with whatever her current objective is; oblivious to whether or not it's an objective we should achieve. Isn't it obvious why she gets along so well with Bush?

And the media still loves her. Even this article, which the Bag News suggests casts her in a negative light, is really quite loving. Specifically, that it insists repeatedly that Iraq is her only real mistake and that she's done lots of good stuff to compensate for that mistake. But all it ever mentions is a bunch of stuff that she's still working on, but which have shown no tangible results.

The best they can say is that she's attempting diplomacy. Which is a big improvement over the Bush Admin's old "Diplomacy's for Suckers" attitude, I suppose. But I'd really like to see a little more.

Clinton Redux

And that's the thing: At best, all they can say is that she's gotten things a little closer to how things were before Bush took office. And that's it. As if the fact that Condi is using diplomacy shows how she's turned things around and saved her legacy, even though she hasn't actually gotten any results from this diplomacy. And why hasn't she gotten any results, because she's still trying to undo so much of the damage she did nothing to stop as National Security Advisor.

Yet...this is how that reporter frames this:
But none of that has been enough to erase the view that as national security adviser she largely served as a rubber stamp for a series of foreign policy blunders, during a period that critics say will ultimately weigh most heavily on her legacy.

None of what? She hasn't done anything. Read the article. You'll see that the only things they mention are that she lowered tensions with our allies, reinstated Clinton's North Korea policy, failed to stop Iran's nuclear program, and has so far stopped Cheney from invading Iran. And that's it. And for that, we're supposed to imagine that Condi has turned things around and done a bang-up job.

Wow! She's rediscovered diplomacy. What a genius. For this, they say she is "a far better secretary of state than she was national security adviser." I guess everything's relative.

Phony Diplomacy

And let's not forget it was only earlier this year that Condi suggested that she wouldn't negotiate with Syria or Iran to get them to help us in Iraq, because they would only help us if they could get some advantage out of us. This article didn't mention whether Condi now realizes that this is the entire point of all diplomacy, and that there was never an assumption that countries act out of selfless benevolence. As was obvious at the time, Condi doesn't even seem to know what diplomacy is.

And the reason the media likes her so much is that she's as big of a phony as they are. Even this "diplomacy" they speak of has achieved nothing. That's not to suggest that I expect diplomacy to always achieve results, but I at least like to see some results before we start announcing that it was a success.

But as I wrote back in January, her "diplomacy" was really little more than photo-ops and soundbites. And here we are, half a year later, and she's being heralded in the NY Times as a success; all for her phony version of diplomacy which can't achieve anything because she fails to offer anything. But seeing as how the modern media is totally in the photo-op/soundbite business, I guess her diplomacy has been a complete success for them.

And who knows, maybe in her remaining year and a half in office, she might actually achieve something. And with any luck, it will be something we want achieved; though as the quote at the beginning suggests, Condi doesn't bother with that kind of self-analysis. She even seems to act like that's a good thing.


Anonymous said...

Oh please. Diplomacy with the North Koreans in the Clinton years consisted of the Clinton Administraion pretending that the North Koreans didn't have a covert bomb program going on while the North Koreans pretended not to lie to us.

Saying that the Clinton approach was productive does not make it so.

Rice deliberately chose to involve all the parties, so that the North Koreans wouldn't be able to divide the U.S. from the South Koreans and the Japanese. In this way, she will be able to walk away with a peace treaty that the Clintons could never have achieved. Rice understood something the Clintons and Albright never did: that at long last the Chinese were tired of underwriting the North Korean bourbon class.

If you were less partisan and more objective, you would understand this.

The same goes with the Syrians, who have been working hand in glove with the Iranians for the past couple of years. We have been negotiating with them: you just weren't looking. But they prefer an alliance with Iran at this time.

When the time comes, the Syrians will change their mind. Diplomacy means knowing how to wait out your opponent and not being rushed. Rice knows this. You don't. Neither does Kessler or Zbignew Brzezinski, apparently.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Please explain how Condi's North Korea policy differs from Clinton's. Details please.

As for Condi not negotiating with Syria, I was quoting what she said. She said she wouldn't negotiate with them because they would only negotiate if they could get something out of it and I was saying that this was boneheaded. And could you please explain why Syria will want to change their mind and how time is on our side? Again, I want details.

Of course, you're now admitting that Condi has achieved nothing with Syria. Nor have you disputed any of my other knocks on Condi, except for your vague assertion that her North Korea policy is better than Clinton's; when it's my understanding that they're essentially the same. I'm always happy to be corrected on this stuff and welcome the education. But you guys always seem quite fuzzy on the details.

Not that you need to explain everything, but you should at least explain something.