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Condoleezza Rice: Wasted Potential - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has a complex personality. She succeeded in ascending the US political pyramid skillfully and capably but she did not enter history due to her policies or stands.

Condi, as her close associates call her, is a daughter of the American South and of turbulent “ethnic” relations due to persecution and discrimination. She was brilliant in the academic field and managed to reach a prominent position in Stanford University, one of the most important US universities and a bastion of new technological advances.

She also built for herself a conservative religious course and made sure to attend the evangelical Sunday school lessons to study and absorb the New Testament. She has a passion for classical music and she plays the piano. Rice specialized in Russian politics and in the Soviet system but she reached foreign policy decision-making centers after the fall of the Soviet Union. She thus lost the competitive edge that she gained from her specialization.

On the Arab level, Condoleezza was unable to win the trust and respect of the region and its people (contrary to Colin Powell, for instance, who resigned when he felt that he was being used as a tool to sell the dirty war on Iraq with vile lies and plots on US public opinion and world public opinion).

Rice has not managed to accomplish anything worth mentioning regarding the most important and pivotal issue in the region, namely, the Palestinian issue. In fact, her “grey” stands on the octopus-like expansion of the Israeli settlements and on the bloody practices of the Israeli army against unarmed Palestinians were in fact clear encouragement for Israel to proceed with its insane and barbaric practices although the US administration had given her exclusive charge of the Palestinian-Israeli file. Of course, everyone still recalls Rice and her shameless remarks against Lebanon and on the Israeli aggression on Lebanon.

She played down the number of the victims and the magnitude of the devastation as she claimed that it was not yet time to seek a cease-fire. On Egypt, there is a strong belief that Rice personally contributed to widening the gap between Egypt and the United States due to a number of stands and statements that she made and that the Egyptians considered blatant and unacceptable intervention in their domestic affairs.

Nowadays, Rice continues to surprise the Arab masses by visiting Libya in a fresh attempt to rearrange the relationship between Libya and the United States. She is making statements in which she is saying that Libya is a good model for the Arab countries and so on. I personally do not believe that the Libyans themselves believe this.

But what is unacceptable is the magnitude of the naïve policies of the neo-conservatives in the Arab region. Time and space do not allow us to talk in detail about the situation in Libya and about the state of affairs in that country. Nevertheless, we can very briefly and clearly say that Libya is not the model that the Arabs wish to emulate.

When Margaret Thatcher met with former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the offices of the British prime minister in 10 Downing Street, she famously said, “We can do business together”. This was during the peak of the Glasnost and Perestroika period of Gorbachev’s reform and openness within the Soviet Union. However, it was also the kiss of farewell. Shortly after this meeting, the walls of the Soviet Union began to crumble and the empire quickly collapsed. Some people are likening Rice’s visit to the Libyan Jamahiriyah to an “event” of this kind. They believe it is the openness that also brings in strong winds of change and bills to pay. With time, Condoleezza Rice has turned into a “scarecrow” and a political omen to many of the countries she visits and leaders with whom she meets.

She has become like a horror figure. She does not conceal the fact that she is seeking “another” political future and wishes to become the first black female president in the White House. However, she did not run because she realizes that the world needs to forget a little young Bush and his cronies and breathe a sigh of relief.

However, she may try to run in 2012. Rice continues to be the first US foreign policy decision-maker and she enjoys the President’s trust and “ear”. We all hope that the remaining days of her term in office will end with more strange surprises.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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