Sunday, July 16, 2006

Duelling Secretaries of State

ABC News: Albright Blasts Bush Mideast Response, Cites Iraq 'Disaster':
"Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright criticized the Bush administration for not getting more involved in the crisis in the Middle East and said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should leave the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, and begin Mideast shuttle diplomacy.

'I'm very worried that we're at a crossroads and we're not going to take the right turn here,' Albright told 'This Week with George Stephanopoulos.' 'I still do think that we actually need to be more involved. And I wish that the secretary had announced that she was leaving.'"
Methinks Condi doesn't like this kind of talk.
Rice said that the United States' Middle Eastern policy now focuses on supporting democratic change in the region.

"For the last 60 years, American administrations of both stripes -- Democrat, Republican -- traded what they thought was security and stability and turned a blind eye to the absence of democratic forces, to the absence of pluralism in the region. And out of that set of policies we got a situation that produced or helped produce al Qaeda and other extremist elements," she said. "That policy has changed."

Critics have said U.S. operations in Iraq have shaken Middle East stability even though President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said that democracy in Iraq would reverberate throughout the region. Rice said the turmoil in Lebanon and other regions has been stirring for years.

"Iraq has diverted everybody's attention from really looking at a whole host of other issues," Albright said. "I think that it's very hard to say that [the Iraq war] has not made it worse. … It is absolutely clear that it has made it worse."
Yeah, Condi's a little testy, doesn't like it being laid at her feet that the Middle East hornets' nest is exploding, escalating. Do you like the new version or the status quo that's prevailed over the last 60 years that she mocks? That's a tough one. But her reticence to step up and portraying her role as a rather passive one is concerning:
Rice said President Bush is "deeply engaged" in the Middle East crisis, and did not rule out her own personal intervention.

"I'm certainly willing to play whatever role I'm needed to play," she said. "We have to go at the root cause. It's fine to have a cessation of violence. We want to have a cessation of violence. We're worried about the escalating casualties on all sides, but unless we go to the fundamentals here, we're going to continue to have these spikes of violence in the Middle East as we have had for the past 30 years."
God help us, Bush is "deeply engaged."

And this idea that the Bushites have that they're right and administrations for the past 60 years have been just screwing it up, well, that's hubris for you. They've withdrawn, created a vacuum with their Iraq preoccupation and the results of this posture are on full display at the moment.