Rice, the powerful Secretary of State


A Washington Post article notes Condi Rice's enhanced power at State (compared to Colin Powell), due in part to her closeness to President Bush, and in part to her own willingness to travel and lead. [Powell was the least traveled Secretary of State in recent history.]

The Post suggests that Rice has a large adenda, and success is not guaranteed. Well, duh. That is because America has a big and difficult agenda, and she  is its representative. A Secretary of State will not make military strategy in Iraq, cannot ensure that Palestinians behave after an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, and cannot force the Europeans to get a spine with Iran, when they have shown no ability to bark at anyone (other than Israel) for years.

Where Rice's new influence does matter concerns American polcy towards Israel. The US seems committed to Mahmoud Abass' success, and if he proves to be either incompetent or unwilling to make the PA any different than it was in the Arafat era — still corrupt, still coddling and working with terrorist murderers — then that will be a bad bet.

Richard Baehr   7 31 05

Ed Lasky adds:

Rice, like everyone, is only concerned with achieving a record of "success" as measured by process. Such thinking led us to Carter's "peacemaking efforts," Arafat's win of the Nobel Prize, the whole Oslo fiction, etc.