The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
George W. Bush's lack of knowledge about international affairs renders him very reliant upon his international policy advisers. While international policy figures like Henry Kissinger do make public appearances with G.W., Bush relies on a team of less prominent individuals to advise him on international affairs. To anyone who wishes to try to make Iraq a campaign issue, or to those with an eye toward the U.S.' post-election Iraq policy, it is worthwhile to investigate those who primarily shape Bush's international policy and outlook. The article below focuses on Stanford academic Condoleezza Rice. Scroll to the article's end to see short bios on the other members of Bush's current international policy team. Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company The New York Times June 16, 2000, Friday, Late Edition - Final SECTION: Section A; Page 1; Column 2; Foreign Desk LENGTH: 2079 words HEADLINE: Bush's Foreign Policy Tutor: An Academic in the Public Eye BYLINE: By ELAINE SCIOLINO DATELINE: WASHINGTON, June 15 BODY: Arrayed behind George W. Bush as he unveiled his nuclear policy initiative last month were two former secretaries of state, two former national security advisers and a former secretary of defense. But once Mr. Bush and his formidable lineup of older men left the stage, the foreign policy expert who fielded questions on the specifics of the Texas governor's proposal was not Henry A. Kissinger or Colin Powell. It was Condoleezza Rice, a 45-year-old university professor who is tutoring a presidential candidate who concedes that he has much to learn about the world. The nuclear policy speech provided the ideal platform for Ms. Rice, Mr. Bush's chief foreign policy adviser. Russia, its nuclear arsenal, and America's defense posture are areas that she has studied for years, both as a professor of political science at Stanford University and as a Russia specialist on the National Security Council in the first two years of the Bush administration. Now she plays what she calls "quarterback" for a disparate foreign policy team, the "Vulcans," whose mission is to prove that Mr. Bush has enough global brainpower to be president. (The advisers take their name from the ancient god of the forge, whose statue is a symbol of Birmingham, Ala., Ms. Rice's hometown.) Among the Vulcans, Ms. Rice is closest by far to Mr. Bush, whom she is leading in a grand global tutorial as she tries to convince others that what he lacks in international knowledge and experience he makes up for in what she calls "good instincts." But a series of interviews indicate that Ms. Rice is much less sure-footed when the terrain is unfamiliar. Her silky voice becomes choppy, her crisp sentences vague. She takes a dim view of American military intervention, particularly for humanitarian reasons, but declines to specify the circumstances in which the use of force would be justified. She proposes "perhaps skipping a generation" of weapons technology to build armed forces that are "lighter and more lethal," but won't say which hardware and weapons systems could be sacrificed. Speaking before the summit meeting of the leaders of South and North Korea, she labeled North Korea a "rogue state" but did not lay out a scenario for dealing with it except to say that "the North Koreans should know that this is not all positive carrots, that there's a potential stick out there." And she calls America's one-China policy, a linchpin of American foreign policy that regards Taiwan as part of mainland China, a "holding device." Ms. Rice herself admits that there are vast swaths of the world that are new to her. "I've been pressed to understand parts of the world that have not been part of my scope," she said. "I'm really a Europeanist." Her first book was a learned work on the Czechoslovak Army; another she co-authored on the reunification of Germany in 1995 was extremely well-received. Ms. Rice is talked about in Washington circles as a shoo-in for national security adviser if Mr. Bush makes it to the White House, perhaps twinned with General Powell as secretary of state. When Mr. Bush was asked in a telephone interview about the possibility of having two African-Americans leading his foreign policy team, he said, "It's way too premature." When Ms. Rice was asked the same question, she replied, "It's really not appropriate to talk about a cabinet until he's won." As for General Powell, his answer was more concise: "Nice try." Ms. Rice, an only child raised in a segregated, bourgeois district of Birmingham, and originally destined to be a concert pianist, can dazzle on many a stage. At a recent Republican fund-raising reception in Silicon Valley, she sang part of the Star Spangled Banner (the obscure second verse). She played The Battle Hymn of the Republic on a grand piano. She showed off snippets of fluent Russian. And she delivered -- with no notes -- a 20-minute speech praising the potential of Mr. Bush to lead the world. She knows how to be stridently self-confident. ("I have a really good memory." "I am a really fast writer." "There was a time in my life when I knew the general staff of the Soviet Union better than it knew itself.") "Condi's entire life has been a high wire act," said Coit Blacker, a fellow professor at Stanford, a former Russia specialist on the Clinton administration's National Security Council and a close friend of Ms. Rice. "She can stand up in front of a crowd and wing it. I have been with her any number of times when she's about to give a speech and she writes it on the back of an envelope on the drive over. It springs from deep confidence but also a tendency to engage in death-defying acts." Ms. Rice has been performing since her parents pushed her onto the stage for her first piano recital at the age of four. When she realized she was not good enough for a concert career, she turned to academic pursuits, becoming a professor and eventually provost at Stanford. Ms. Rice and Mr. Bush seem to share a similar view of the world. It is a balance-of-power, realist Republican approach that is generally short on details and might be summed up like this: strengthen America's military, scale back military commitments abroad and focus on the big powers. Under the Clinton administration, Ms. Rice argued in an article in Foreign Affairs, "national interest" was too often replaced by "humanitarian interest" or the interests of "the international community." Instead, she suggested, the United States should take the attitude that what is in its own interest -- spreading democracy and free trade, for example -- is good for the world. Mr. Bush has unabashedly shown his dependence on Ms. Rice, the daughter of educators who started her political life as a Democrat, switched sides in 1982, informally advised Democrat Gary Hart on foreign policy in his 1988 bid for the presidency, and has called herself "an all-over-the-map Republican." Ms. Rice is a fit for Mr. Bush. "There's a real chemistry between them," said Dov S. Zakheim, one of the Vulcans. "I like to be around her," Mr. Bush said. "She's fun to be with. I like lighthearted people, not people who take themselves so seriously that they are hard to be around." Besides, he said, "She's really smart!" Mr. Bush feels comfortable asking her the most basic questions. He has identified Ms. Rice as the person who "can explain to me foreign policy matters in a way I can understand." Karen Hughes, Mr. Bush's communications director, said that when she recently showed him a news article about the strife in Sierra Leone, Mr. Bush told her to "call Condi and see what she thinks." Ms. Rice's role is all the more critical because Mr. Bush doesn't like to read briefing books on the nuts-and-bolts of national security, and his lack of experience in foreign affairs has raised questions about his preparedness for the White House. When a writer for Glamour Magazine recently uttered the word "Taliban" -- the regime in Afghanistan that follows an extreme and repressive version of Islamic law -- during a verbal Rorschach test, Mr. Bush could only shake his head in silence. It was only after the writer gave him a hint ("repression of women in Afghanistan") that Mr. Bush replied, "Oh. I thought you said some band. The Taliban in Afghanistan! Absolutely. Repressive." Of course, Afghanistan is also not Ms. Rice's primary area of expertise. Asked in an interview to support her assertion in her recent article in Foreign Affairs that Iran is trying to spread "fundamentalist Islam" beyond its borders, she replied, "Iran has been the state hub for technology and money and lots of other goodies to radical fundamentalist groups, some will say as far-reaching as the Taliban." When reminded that Iran was a bitter enemy of the Taliban and that the two countries had almost gone to war in late 1998, she replied, "They were sending stuff to the region that fell into the hands of bad players in Afghanistan and Pakistan." She did not identify "the bad players." (In a subsequent conversation, she said that of course she knew that Iran and the Taliban were enemies). On Iraq, she believes that President Saddam Hussein is an evil man, but declined to say what a George W. Bush administration would do to get rid of him. Despite her deliberate vagueness in areas with which she is unfamiliar, she has a reputation for being a quick study. For the nuclear policy speech last month, which called for building a national missile defense system combined with reductions and possibly unilateral cuts in America's nuclear arsenal, Ms. Rice said she played a central role. She began working on what she called "a sustainable position on nuclear policy" at a Vulcans retreat a year ago and continued developing ideas with the eight-member group, which includes former senior Pentagon and State Department officials such as Paul D. Wolfowitz, Robert B. Zoellick, Richard L. Armitage and Richard Perle. She spent endless hours with Mr. Bush himself, going over the speech line by line, explaining the implications of every issue. When he didn't want to read the questions and answers about the speech prepared for him, she and Mr. Wolfowitz drilled him verbally instead. She also sought out Mr. Kissinger, General Powell, former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft and others, soliciting their views, sending them drafts of the speech, coaxing them into attending the event. Ms. Rice (whose first name is pronounced kahn-dah-LEE-za) and Mr. Bush got to know each other in 1995, when she traveled to Austin at the invitation of former President Bush. She and the younger Mr. Bush bonded over baseball, as Mr. Bush, then a co-owner of the Texas Rangers, showed off his display cases full of signed baseballs. Ms. Rice, a self-described fanatical sports fan, told stories about Willie Mays, whom her mother had once taught in high school. "Governor Bush was very impressed," Ms. Rice said. They met again at the Bush family vacation compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1998. While she ran on the treadmill, he rowed and pedaled. "What about relations with Russia, what about relations with China?" Ms. Rice quoted Mr. Bush as asking. "What about the state of the military?" Ms. Rice is used to maneuvering among powerful men. She sits on the boards of corporations such as the Charles Schwab Corporation and the Chevron Corporation, which has even named a Bahamian-flagged supertanker after her. Her mentor at the University of Denver was Josef Korbel, the father of Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, who helped her "fall in love" with Russian history, she said. As a freshly-minted Ph.D. in 1981, she joined the Stanford faculty. In 1993, she became the youngest, the first female and the first non-white provost. Faced with a $43 million deficit, she cut services and fired staff members with only limited consultations with the faculty. "I don't do committees," she said. (She is on leave from the faculty, although she has resigned her position as provost.) Like Mr. Bush, Ms. Rice is a fitness enthusiast. She does strength training twice a week with Stanford's football coach and endurance training with a second Stanford coach twice more. Single, she said she does not do recreational reading and does not have fun by accident. "I schedule fun," she said. A headline in the current issue of George Magazine, which included eight photos of Ms. Rice in the gym, reads, "Bush's Kissinger. She Can Kick Your Butt, Too." Indeed, said Mr. Armitage, an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, "I would bet that if you look behind her, the ground is littered with the bodies of those who underestimated her." Although Ms. Rice is determined to see her star pupil make it to the White House, she insists that she is not wedded to the idea of serving in government again. She lasted only two years in the Bush administration before she went back to Stanford. General Scowcroft, her former boss, said in an interview that she left to find a spouse and have a family. Marlin Fitzwater, President Bush's spokesman, said, "I offered to marry her every other day." Ms. Rice winced when told what her two former colleagues said about her, explaining that the reason for leaving was a bit different. "I wanted a life," she said. "These jobs are all-consuming. And I have strong reservations about going back to that all-consuming life." http://www.nytimes.com GRAPHIC: Photos: Condoleezza Rice refers to herself as the "quarterback" of a disparate team of foreign policy experts who are advising Gov. George W. Bush. (Associated Press)(pg. A1) Chart: "WHO'S WHO: Foging a Foreign Policy Brain Trust" Gov. George W. Bush's foreign policy team is known as the "Vulcans," after the Roman god of metalworking, whose statue is a symbol of the steel town of Birmingham, Ala., hometown of the team's head, Condoleezza Rice. Here are the other members of the team. RICHARD L. ARMITAGE -- 55. Assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, 1983-89. President, Armitage Associates, a consulting firm. ROBERT D. BLACKWILL -- 60. Specialist on European and Soviet affairs with the National Security Council, 1989-90. Lecturer in international security at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. STEPHEN J. HADLEY -- 53. Assistant secretary of defense for international policy, 1989-93. International lawyer with Shea & Gardner. RICHARD PERLE -- 58. Assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, 1981-87. Resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a research organization in Washigton. PAUL D. WOLFOWITZ -- 56. Assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, 1982-86. Undersecretary of defense for policy, 1989-93. Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. DOV S. ZAKHEIM -- 51. Deputy undersecretary of defense for planning and resources, 1985-87. Heads a company dealing with defense technology. ROBERT B. ZOELLICK -- 46. Undersecretary of state, 1989-92. Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and research scholar at Harvard University. (pg. A28) LANGUAGE: ENGLISH LOAD-DATE: June 16, 2000 ----------------------------------------------- FREE! The World's Best Email Address @email.com Reserve your name now at http://www.email.com -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi