Friday, June 13, 2008

C. Rice for the defense

The Secretary of State has published a defense of the Bush administration's foreign policy ("Rethinking the National Interest," Foreign Affairs, July/August) -- a difficult brief, since it has been, generally speaking, a disaster. There are a few bright spots, such as the substantial increases in U.S. official development assistance to Africa and Latin America since 2001 (which Rice notes), but these can't alter the overall verdict, in my view.

On Iraq, Rice admits to mistakes but says that removing Saddam was still "the right decision" (p.21). At the end of the piece, she waxes lyrical about a "uniquely American realism" that sees no long-term conflict between interests and values but only, at most, short-run tensions. The U.S. is an "incredibly impatient" country that does not "linger over [its] own history" (you can say that again!), but is also "deeply patient" because it understands "how long and trying the course of democracy is" (p.26).

Speaking of patience, I wonder how many of Foreign Affairs' numerous subscribers will make it to the end of this article.

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