Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"I Think I Know It": On The Pretty Unicorns In Condi's Mind

I'd almost like to live in Condoleezza Rice's mind. It seems like such a beautiful place.

From the Atlantic Monthly:

With Rumsfeld and Powell gone, and Cheney's power diminished, this is Condoleezza Rice's moment. Can she salvage America's standing in the Middle East—and defuse the threat of a nuclear Iran?

Behind the curtain in Washington and Jerusalem with the secretary of state
by David Samuels


.... Unlike Donald Rumsfeld's finger- wagging, Rat Pack–era version of realpolitik, or Dick Cheney's paranoia about mushroom clouds and sleeper cells, Rice's views are the kind of optimistic stuff that mothers might wish their children were being taught in school.

Reminds me of her 2006 conversation with Cal Thomas:

... I just don't believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers. I think the mothers want their children to grow up to go to university. And if you can create the right conditions, that's what people are going to do.

QUESTION: Do you think this or do you know this?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think I know it.

QUESTION: You think you know it?

SECRETARY RICE: I think I know it.

QUESTION: Is it because — do you think you know it because you want to believe it or do you think you know it because of conversations with tens, scores, hundreds

SECRETARY RICE ....I really believe that the people of the Middle East — not the extremists — want the same things that everyone else wants. I haven't seen a society yet where it wasn't true. Let me put it that way. I haven't seen a society yet where ordinary people, given an opportunity, wouldn't opt for a better life and for peace.

Back to Grand Illusions now, Samuels quotes an article Condi wrote in Foreign Affairs:

"American values are universal."

Yeah right, that's why we call them American values. And her colleague Richard Armitage:
"I didn't know that [Rice] had any strong views," says Richard Armitage, Powell's deputy, who did not think highly of her performance. "I mean, she was an expert in one country that no longer exists."

And this is interesting, albeit terribly frightening:

When I asked Rice to name a book that influenced her thinking about the Middle East, she hesitated.... She finally mentioned the UN Human Development Report, which she said had opened her eyes to the dearth of patents issued in Muslim countries.

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