After praising President Obama and his team as "patriots who are going to try to do what's best for the country," she nevertheless warned about letting down our guard against another terrorist attack. "I am grateful -- I don't say proud, just 'grateful' -- that there wasn't another attack over the past eight years," she said. "But every day terrorists plot and plan to try to attack us. They only have to be right once. We have to be right 100% of the time. But I know, too, that can only happen because men and women in uniform are fighting on the front lines."See also, Flopping Aces, "Condi Rice Warns of Terrorist Attacks if We Abandon Afghanistan."
She offered sharp words for Democrats in Congress who want President Obama to begin making plans to pull out of Afghanistan, a war that is becoming increasingly unpopular with the American public.
"The last time we left Afghanistan, and we abandoned Pakistan," she said, "that territory became the very territory on which Al Qaeda trained and attacked us on September 11th. So our national security interests are very much tied up in not letting Afghanistan fail again and become a safe haven for terrorists.
"It's that simple," she declared, "if you want another terrorist attack in the U.S., abandon Afghanistan."
Rice acknowledged flaws in Afghanistan's recent elections but quickly inserted an addendum bolstered by her personal credentials: "Our democracy wasn't so perfect at the beginning either. My ancestors were three-fifths of a man. My father tried to vote in 1952. You couldn't guarantee voting rights for blacks in the South until 1965 with the Voting Rights Act. So don't tell me these people can't get it right because their democracies are struggling."
That said, Rice stressed the importance of setting "goals" in Afghanistan and bringing civilians in alongside troops -- as both administrations have done -- to pursue reconstruction and development in local communities. That strategy was late in coming to Iraq, she conceded.
On Iran, Rice tactfully questioned the Obama strategy of engaging the Tehran regime in direct talks about its nuclear program. "I don't have any problems with engaging bad guys. We did our share of it," she recalled. "The problem is that engagement is a tactic not a strategy. You have to ask yourself what the end is. When you go into the room with an adversary, you had better have sticks in your bag as well as carrots."
Obama officials, she warned, will be speaking to leaders not likely to survive the current internal political turmoil. "The Iranian regime is vulnerable right now," she declared, "I don't know whether it's a year from now or five years from now, but that regime is done. It has split the clerics...It has made [the brutal post-election crackdown] the formative political memory" of young people, who make up 70% of the population, she added.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The timing's a little off. Pushing Condoleezza Rice as the "new face of the GOP" might be a little more appropriate when all of this racial recrimination from the left dies down a bit. But if the Americans start to look for seasoned foreign policy leadership from the GOP in the years ahead, a Condoleeza Rice/Elizabeth Cheney ticket can't be beat. From Nina Easton's interview: