January 23, 2006

A kinder, gentler Condi?

The AP reports:
[Condoleezza Rice] has begun displaying a sure-footed ease as Bush's top diplomat. Last week she displayed self-assurance as she praised the administration of Democratic President Truman for decisions that helped win the Cold War.

That perspective would smack of blasphemy to many rock-ribbed Republicans more inclined to credit former President Reagan with bringing down the Soviet Union.

Rice also supported increased foreign aid and called for a humanitarian approach overseas. That could reflect a practical view that a nation engaged in an Iraq war widely unpopular overseas, and with interests flung widely across the globe, needs help from other countries rather than confrontation with them.

"America is a compassionate society," Rice said last week in announcing a reshuffling in the management of U.S. foreign aid. "We are always going to carry out our humanitarian objectives."
I'm just continuing my project of taking note of Condoleezza Rice's emerging presidential campaign.


Sloanasaurus said...

"...That perspective would smack of blasphemy to many rock-ribbed Republicans more inclined to credit former President Reagan with bringing down the Soviet Union....."

This is the ultimate straw man quote. What Republican thinks Truman was weak on Communism?

I am inclined to give Reagan the credit too for winning the cold war. After all, the cold war was almost lost in 1975 until Reagan emerged to win it back. But that doesn't reduce what Truman did, he had the guts to stand up in Korea and in Berlin, etc... Bush can only learn from Truman in matters of foreign policy (and Bush has).

Truman didn't win the cold was, he chose to fight it, which was the right choice.

Uncle Jimbo said...

From your blog to her ears.


Uncle J

BlogVantage said...

Just a bit of shameless self-promotion:

Blogs for Condi


Henry said...

Echoing sloan's response, didn't Reagan famously talk about how he once was a Truman Democrat?

If a reporter is going to editorialize in a news story, they should editorialize in an informed way.

* * *

As to the larger point, it sure is interesting to compare Rice's diplomacy of the last year (in both style and substance) to the criticisms that she was a smart, but unimaginative apparatchick.

Laura Reynolds said...

As a republican I can say that this country was well served by Harry Truman. I think the comment in the article..

"That perspective would smack of blasphemy to many rock-ribbed Republicans more inclined to credit former President Reagan with bringing down the Soviet Union."

is more reflective of the AP writer's wishfulness, than fact.

DaveG said...

increased foreign aid...

So, again no hope for a fiscally responsible, small-government Conservative?

Just asking.

Sloanasaurus said...

Yes, it would be interesting to hear from these so-called "rock-ribbed" Republicans that the AP claims to be citing.

Lonesome Payne said...


TigerHawk said...

In foreign policy, at least, Harry Truman should be remembered for three decisions. First, he decided to drop the atomic bomb on Japan. Not only did that decision end the war much more quickly than it otherwise would have, but it provided the world with an essential object lesson in the horror of atomic weapons. Had he not dropped the bomb, many more people would have died conquering and defending Japan, and -- without that lesson -- atomic bombs might have been used at some later date by people who did not have the history of Hiroshima's destruction.

Second, he understood that nuclear weapons were not just another munition. He refused to cede authority over them to the military, thereby establishing a precedent that would dominate the Cold War. Nukes are different. Query whether Truman would have made that decision if he had not seen the consequences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Third, and this is a debit in my books, he chased the North Koreans to the Yalu River and triggered the intervention of the Chinese and a three-year extension in the Korean War. I laugh when leftists claim that Iraq is our "worst" blunder, either militarily or strategically, in "history" or "100 years," or whatever. Whatever one might say of Iraq, even in the worst light it pales in comparison to Truman's decision to liberate North Korea.

Sorry. Just drank too much coffee this morning.

Troy said...

Does this mean more tall black leather boots?

Sloanasaurus said...

"...River and triggered the intervention of the Chinese and a three-year extension in the Korean War...." I

I used to agree with you on this point. After all it is conventional wisdom that the chinese intervention came after the north was invaded. However, in Mao: The Unknown Story, it is argued that Mao was itching to get involved in Korea and would have put in troops regardless. Apparently, Mao had swaths of nationalist soliders that he wanted to get rid of.

I disagree that Korea was a blunder. South Korea is a free nation today because of U.S. intervention. Further, the whole region is more stable because of U.S. intervention.

The worst military/strategic blunder in American history was the Congressional Budget that withdraw all support for South Vietnam in 1975.

We won that war and then the Democrats in Congress gave up. How shameful.

Bruce Hayden said...

But even if the PRC had sent a bunch of its soldiers south, I still think that it would have been different. After all, one problem that we initially faced after their intervention was that we couldn't really attack their bases of operation, given that they were in China and that would have brought China directly into the war. That way, we would have had the entirety of North Korea to attack them in from the air and sea.

Not sure if that would have had any effect - I am just throwing it out for discussion.

LarryK said...

All Republicans give Truman credit for fighting the Cold War, along with the now defunct "Scoop Jackson" wing of the Democratic party. I would love to see Condi as President but I don't think she has the fire in the belly to go out and get the job - yet. Eight years as VP (to either Rudi or McCain) should fix that.

EddieP said...

As one of those rock ribbed Republicans, I agree that Truman was a great President. Nukes, Cold War, and Korea, he did what was right each time! Reagan finished it off, but credit for standing up to the Soviets in the first place, goes to Truman. Something FDR was not likely to have done.

Kirk Parker said...

OK, all you Republicans expressing admiration for Truman, time to come clean: how many of you actually have rock ribs?

That's what I thought! Your approval of Truman doesn't mean a thing, because Schweid wasn't writing about you. :-)

ChrisO said...


"..the cold war was almost lost in 1975?" What do you see as the scenario that would have taken place when we "lost" the Cold War?

As for Condi, she has shown some skills as a diplomat. However, she is one of the architects of our incredibly poorly planned adventure in Iraq. You don't hire the designer of the Edsel to build your next car.

Sloanasaurus said...

ChrisO, Communism made great advancements in the 1970s, especially because of Detante andafter the fall of Vietnam. By the late 1970s, there was much despair in that the USSR was perhaps "the better system of government." Losing the cold war would have meant the roll-up of the the third world and latin america and eventually the west in to the Soviet sphere of interest. It would have been a slow death for America.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that there are a lot of reasons that a lot of us want her to run. Partly it is ChrisO's comment about her being so involved in engineering our foreign policy - and a lot of us like it.

Secondly, I noted the other day the Shelby Steele article in the WSJ about her. Putting a Black woman in the White House would go a long way to countering the politics of racial quotas. Growing up Black in the segregated South, and then getting this far, and hopefully all the way, all on her own intelligence and hard work. A role model for all those who think that they are stuck because of their background. In short, the American Dream.

How better for the Party of Lincoln to show that they haven't sold out to the racists when they accepted all those formerly Southern Democrats into the party than to elect someone like Dr. Rice to the presidency?

I also think that it is time that we elect a woman to the presidency. The problem is that, at present, all the other candidates are flawed - Hillary, in particular. Mrs. Clinton not only carries her husband's baggage, but has probably more of her own.

In short, I want her as the next president, easily more than anyone else on the national scene.

Steven said...

Nobody had any idea what they were doing in Korea, because we had no idea what the Chinese and Soviets intended, and they had no idea what we intended. A debacle could only have been avoided by amazing luck.

In hindsight, the logical thing was to stop all non-Korean ground troops at the narrowest neck of the Korean Penninsula. That would have united 90% of the Korean population and important cites like Pyongang under the government of the South, a clear victory. And it would have created a short defensible line, while leaving a buffer zone between China and our forces, which would have allowed us to make an organized attack on Chinese forces to therow them across the Yalu if they dared intervene.

But that's with hindsight.

By the way, teaching of U.S. history in our schools is downright lousy. The most analogous war in U.S. history to the Iraq War is the Spanish-American War and Phillipine-American War (Phillipine Insurgency). Unexpected-to-leadership two-phase nature of the war, troop levels, troop death rates, nature of the combat, domestic opposition to imperialism . . . .

DrTony said...

It is amazing to me that every time the issue of Condi running for president, so many begin to discuss the pros and cons of a black or a woman running for president. "Oh, she can't win because so many won't vote for a black person/woman."

So few actually discuss her views.