like to think of myself as a temperate, moderate man. I have more confidence
in my intellect than my heart, but I have a confession to make. I am in love
with Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the President for National Security
While I have long admired her, I can tell you the moment I fell in love.
It was while watching C-Span as she delivered her remarks on June 26, 2003
to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. Not the stuff
of great romance, say you?
could any man not find himself total entranced by this remarkable woman when
she said America has resolved “that the only true defense against a threat
of this kind (9-11) is to root it out at its source and address it as its
fundamental and ideological core?” Oh, be still my heart!
And it just got better and better as she told the distinguished gathering
that, “With the help of our coalition partners, we have deposed two of the
cruelest regimes of this or any time.” And why? Because President George
W. Bush not only has a warrior’s spirit, but the cool analytical counsel
of this remarkable woman!
“To win the war on terror, we must also win a war of ideas by appealing to
the decent hopes of people throughout the world…giving them cause to hope
for a better life and brighter future…and reason to reject the false and
destructive comforts of bitterness, grievance, and hate. Terror grows in
the absence of progress and development. It thrives in the airless space
where new ideas, new hopes and new aspirations are forbidden. Terror lives
when freedom dies.”
This, I submit, is powerful stuff. Dr. Rice talks of “ideas,” the “decent
hopes of people,” and “reason to reject the false and destructive comforts
of bitterness, grievance, and hate.” Not once during the tenure of Sandy
Berger in the same position as counsel to former President Clinton, did I
hear anything by way of a serious context for dealing with the very same
problems that afflicted Americans during those eight long, feckless years.
While the yelping of critics assails the Bush administration and its foreign
policy, at the core of it is a woman who reminded her audience that “Two
years ago, President Bush told a European audience, ‘We share more than an
alliance. We share a civilization. Its values are universal, and they pervade
our history and our partnership in a unique way.’”
She went on to say, “Increasingly, this civilization is shared by countries
throughout the world. The bankruptcy of fascism, Nazism, and imperial communism
has given way to a paradigm of progress, founded on political and economic
liberty.” And then she issued a challenge, saying that, since 9-11, “the
world’s great powers see themselves as falling on the same side of a profound
divide between the forces of chaos and order.” Most of the nations of Europe
have, indeed, made this choice, but not France and not Germany. In both cases,
history has a nasty way of repeating itself.
Both of these nations cling to notions of multi-polarity, theories of rivalry,
and competing interests. Secretly they fund the Palestinians and root for
the Middle Eastern despots with whom they have made commercial deals to line
their pockets. And yet it is the United States that is accused of trading
blood for oil!
“Today,” said Dr. Rice, “this theory of rivalry threatens to divert us from
meeting the great tasks before us. Only the enemies of freedom would cheer
She had more to say of equal value, but who could not fall in love with a
woman, advisor to the most powerful man in the world, who reminds him and
the rest of us that “Democracy is not easy?” But that is no reason, said
Dr. Rice, we should say “that there are those who are not ready for democracy
and therefore not deserving of freedom’s promise.”
I love Dr. Rice because she is living proof that, in America, we struggle
to right the wrongs of the past and we struggle, even shed blood, to share
our freedom with others who yearn for it. I love Dr. Rice because, in my
lifetime, this nation has gone from an era when she would have had to ride
in the back of the bus, but instead now works in the West Wing of the White
Alan Caruba is the author of Warning Signs, published by Merril Press. His weekly commentaries are posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.