July 30, 2005


At State, Rice Takes Control of Diplomacy: Secretary Summons 'Practical Idealism' (Robin Wright and Glenn Kessler, July 31, 2005, Washington Post)

Three weeks after taking office, Condoleezza Rice hosted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and their Japanese counterparts at the State Department. 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.

Now six months on the job, Rice has clearly wrested control of U.S. foreign policy. The once heavy-handed Defense Department still weighs in, but Rice wins most battles -- in strong contrast to her predecessor, Colin L. Powell. White House staff is consulted, but Rice designed the distinctive framework for the administration's second-term foreign policy.

In short order, she has demonstrated a willingness to bend on tactics to accommodate the concerns of allies without ceding on broad principles, what she calls "practical idealism." She also conducts a more aggressive personal diplomacy, breaking State Department records for foreign travel and setting up diplomatic tag teams with top staff on urgent issues.

U.S. foreign policy has always had "a streak of idealism, which means that we care about values, we care about principle," Rice said in an interview last week. "The responsibility, then, of all of us is to take policies that are rooted in those values and make them work on a day-to-day basis so that you're always moving forward toward a goal."

It is too early to know whether the new tactics will ultimately bring results, and many of Rice's steps so far this year have been limited to overtures or temporary fixes. But those have at the least created momentum where before there was deadlock.

Amazing how much power you have when your husband is the President.

What Makes Condi Run (Ann Reilly Dowd, September & October 2005, AARP Magazine)

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 30, 2005 11:12 PM

So about that time when Condi supposedly did refer to W as "my husband": Urban legend? The real deal?

Posted by: Anthony Perez-Miller at July 31, 2005 12:36 AM

Rick bait. Lonbud bait.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 31, 2005 1:57 AM

He cast his line upon the waters... ; )

Posted by: Bartman at July 31, 2005 8:30 AM


I think he is referring to the following comment from his surprise Thanksgiving visit to Iraq.

"They pulled up kind of a plain-looking vehicle with tinted windows and I slipped on a baseball cap and pulled her down, as did Condi. We looked like a normal couple."


Posted by: Rick T. at July 31, 2005 10:00 AM

"Rice fast became a "member of the family," spending more weekends with the President and First Lady than any other national security advisor in history, perhaps explaining her Freudian slip when in April 2004 she referred to Bush as "my husband.""

Posted by: oj at July 31, 2005 10:35 AM

First of all, any article written by Robin Wright must be taken with a very large brick of salt.

Unlike when the semi-literate, pseudo-realist, bought-and-paid-for Saudi Stooge, Powell, was at State, there is little functional disagreement between Rice and Rumsfeld. What disagreements there are go far more to method than policy or goals. And they both share the goals of the President with respect to the WOT, Iraq and the hoped-for eventual democratization of the world's trouble spots.

This is yet another attempt by the annelids at the MSM to sow discord where there is none.

Posted by: bart at July 31, 2005 10:42 AM

There's always a fight between State and Defense--it's institutional.

Posted by: oj at July 31, 2005 10:45 AM

Agree with Bart - Condi and Rumsfeld are probably much closer in thinking than Powell and Rumsfeld were so the differences are mostly procedural. Another example of MSM making mountains out of molehills.

Posted by: AWW at July 31, 2005 11:25 AM

To the contrary, Powell and Rumsfeld would have shared a desire to bring the troops home ASAP.

Posted by: oj at July 31, 2005 11:29 AM


Yes, that's the quote that I vaguely remembered. Do you have a reference for it?

I do rather wonder if--rather than being a "Freudian slip"--Condi's reference to her "husband" was a running inner-circle joke.

Posted by: Anthony Perez-Miller at July 31, 2005 12:05 PM

Political Conversation: Condi’s Slip
A pressing issue of dinner-party etiquette is vexing Washington, according to a story now making the D.C. rounds: How should you react when your guest, in this case national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice, makes a poignant faux pas? At a recent dinner party hosted by New York Times D.C. bureau chief Philip Taubman and his wife, Times reporter Felicity Barringer, and attended by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Maureen Dowd, Steven Weisman, and Elisabeth Bumiller, Rice was reportedly overheard saying, “As I was telling my husb—” and then stopping herself abruptly, before saying, “As I was telling President Bush.” Jaws dropped, but a guest says the slip by the unmarried politician, who spends weekends with the president and his wife, seemed more psychologically telling than incriminating. Nobody thinks Bush and Rice are actually an item. A National Security Council spokesman laughed and said, “No comment.”


Posted by: oj at July 31, 2005 12:09 PM

thanks, OJ...

Posted by: Anthony Perez-Miller at July 31, 2005 12:25 PM

Aw, c'mon - she did that for Dowdy's benefit - just to see if they could bait her into writing a piece about W and his black mistress the following week.

Rumsfeld may be the legendary bureaucratic warrior, but he's got to be getting tired. Besides, he saves his energy for fighting the ossified brass, not the State Department.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 31, 2005 1:20 PM

Which is why he wants the troops home, so he fight the battle that matters, reconfiguring our Defense.

Posted by: oj at July 31, 2005 1:22 PM

Condi and W. Even if they were having an affair, a very unlikely if, would she refer to him as her husband? You guys who have had affairs, have your mezzogiorni ever refered to you as their husband.


Posted by: erp at July 31, 2005 1:50 PM

For those of you who believe that Rice and Rumsfield are pretty similar. Are you saying then that Rumsfield would have supported

1. One-on-One talks with North Korea
2. Giving concessions to Iran
3. Seeking investigations into human rights abuses in Uzbekistan at the expense of us losing our bases
4. Giving the International Criminal Court power to investigate atrocities in Sudan
5. Withdrawn aid for our Egyptian allies because of human rights abuses

If so, you have a more positive view of Rumsfield than I thought

Posted by: Jeff at July 31, 2005 2:04 PM

Cannot claim she is ineffective. She got Garang killed.

A triumph of appeasement.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at August 1, 2005 10:07 PM