Perhaps too often in these posts I violate my mother’s admonition to say nothing at all unless I have something nice to say, but I do try to adhere to it. Then Condoleezza Rice comes along and pops off about Barack Obama’s foreign policy, and I have to pop off myself. The former secretary of state told broadcaster Charlie Rose that the president’s foreign policy is “lacking,” and said that the United States needs to be more “assertive” in global affairs. Ms. Rice went on to say that one positive of the past four years is that “we were even able to bring bin Laden to justice.” She was referring to Obama benefiting from the intelligence infrastructure that the George W. Bush administration helped install, but “we”? Really?
Ms. Rice was a weak national security adviser who seemed more to audit a disastrous foreign policy than shape it. Perhaps no one could have mediated between Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell, but she didn’t even seem to think that was part of her job. Nor did she fulfill well another possible function of the office: giving advice independent of the great bureaucracies of diplomacy and war. If she did give such advice, was it to be more “assertive”? That did not work out so well in Iraq or in the failed hunt for Osama bin Laden.
Her reappearance on the scene, however fleeting, is unhelpful to Mitt Romney. The Bush administration is a reminder of one of the two main pillars of the Obama campaign: “We tried that; it didn’t work.” Ms. Rice and I do agree on one thing: she said that she is not a very good politician.