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Rice To Powell - Trading Credibility for Certitude

Rice To Replace Powell -- Trading Credibility for Certitude


By Angie Pratt

No one argues that Colin Powell isn't a man of integrity. When Colin Powell speaks the truth is expected. His sincerity is not questioned. His facts are expected to be facts, not hyped spin. That's why when he gave his speech to the UN about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq it was taken as being generally true.

At the same time, it is also a recognized fact that Colin Powell is the odd boy out at the Bush frat-house. His words while spoken with conviction were his and, as was shown numerous times, not necessarily those of his neoconservative boss. His diplomatic, reasoned approach has constantly been pushed aside for the "might makes right" approach of the far right ideologues that dominate the Bush administration.

By accepting Colin Powell's resignation and replacing him with Condoleezza Rice, George Bush is trading credibility for certitude.

No one argues that Condoleezza Rice doesn't have the full faith and backing of George Bush. She is a confidante of Bush. Her neoconservative credentials are impeccable. The fact that she speaks for the Bush administration will not be in doubt.

All will immediately know that her words are those of the White House. And her diplomatic parties will be well served from soup to nuts and from Brahms to Brahms -- a Brahms contemprorary prehaps said it best -- "a pedestal without a statue."

As such, Condoleezza Rice's new job is to front the Bush administration foreign policy positions to the world. In so doing, she will ride shotgun over the neoconservative philosophies that are replacing the tried and true method of "winning friends and influencing people" with "like it or lump it" diplomacy. "You're either with us or against us" is pretty self-explanatory.

The problem, of course, is she has no credibility. The whole world saw her spin away about WMDs last June on "Meet the Press" where her quote on the screen refuted what she had just said. For a short moment she was at a loss for words. We all know that her words have nothing to do with the truth but are all about PR.

So . when Condoleezza Rice takes over management of the U.S. leadership of the world, she will do so with an iron fist and not a velvet glove nor even a velvet tongue. You don't need the truth when you have force. You don't need to be right when you don't admit you're ever wrong. You don't have to be conciliatory when you don't care what others think.

The Fort Worth Star in its endorsement of Bush for president in October said that it did so because it thought that Bush would this time be the moderate he had claimed to be, the centralist that they thought they had endorsed in 2000. The Star was by no means the only newspaper that showed this same kind of naivete. It's about time that the United States wakes up to the fact that the Bush administration is radically to the right of center. It's about time that the United States realizes that past actions are a better predictor of the future than fairy stories from Bush loyalists.

The rest of the world already knows this. They have already come to grips with this reality. The fact that Condoleezza Rice is now going to be in charge of the State department is of no surprise to them.

"New blood!" "Bah Humbug!" The Bush Administration is quite happy with itself and sees no reason to change. Condoleezza Rice's nomination to be Secretary of State is simply further truth that it's going to be a cold four more years in foreign relations where other countries will be treated like domestics.

*************

Angie Pratt is an Arkansas writer with an abiding interest in politics

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