Condie Rice is getting some flak from home, according to The Times:
CONDOLEEZZA RICE is coming under sustained criticism on several fronts.
Some, even within the White House, have started referring to the “Condi Rice show” — suggesting that the Secretary of State spends too much time on television talking to a domestic audience and not enough in international negotiations.
A senior Republican expressed unhappiness at the way that she was snubbed recently by Fouad Siniora, the Lebanese Prime Minister. “Henry Kissinger would never have been turned away from any capital,” he told The Times.
Richard Armitage, who was deputy to her predecessor, Colin Powell, has publicly attacked her for ignoring opportunities to negotiate with Syria. “We get a little lazy, I think, when we spend all our time as diplomats talking to our friends and not to our enemies,” he said.
I'm not sure that Henry Kissinger's the best model for a diplomat - there are places in the world he can't go without risking arrest as a war criminal. But, otherwise, the criticism is valid. One thing I've noticed about the State Dept. under Condoleezza Rice is that there isn't a lot of diplomacy going on there.
Consider State's response to Iran's nuclear program. When given the opportunity to talk with Iran, Rice demanded that Iran halt its enrichment program before the US would talk.
Talk about what?
If Iran halted its uranium enrichment, why on earth would it have to talk to Rice about halting its uranium enrichment? It was a ridiculous demand and one that was, predictably, rejected. Likewise, in the conflict between Israel and Lebanon, Rice said talks would only take place if Hizbollah disarmed. In other words, after Hizbollah ceased firing, Condie would be willing to discuss a ceasefire. So, obviously, talks didn't take place.
Rice seems to believe you can skip the diplomacy and get right to the desired end. That strategy isn't working very well. And no one should believe it would. It's a ridiculous idea of 'diplomacy'.
The administration keeps talking about a 'sustainable peace'. But the problem is that a lasting peace begins with an immediate peace. A ceasefire is essential to peace in the region - you get both parties to stop fighting, then you talk about sustainability.
Because, you see, people are dying. And every death buries peace further by reinforcing hatred and creating a desire for retribution. The longer the conflict continues, the worse things will become. The conflict will escalate and the window of opportunity is closing.
Rice and the administration need to recognize that they're not going to get everything they want immediately. They need to work at it and work with all parties in the conflict.
Condie needs to put on her big girl pants and live in the real world. Otherwise, things can only get worse.