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Unfair Comparisons for Ms. Rice

Tuesday, February 1, 2005; Page A16

Brent Scowcroft is sometimes described as a "mentor" to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [front page, Jan. 17], but one would not think he's a happy one judging by his remark that Ms. Rice is "very good in Russia and the Soviet Union, good in Europe, but it tapers off after that." What an extraordinary and ungenerous, not to mention inaccurate, thing to say about a person who has had years of experience in the national security process and four years in the cockpit next to the president.

As for invidious comparisons with past holders of the two offices, Ms. Rice's "transition" from national security adviser to secretary of state is likely to be smoother and more efficient than even Mr. Scowcroft might imagine. For one, she's not also carrying the role of national security adviser over to Foggy Bottom; the president has already named a successor with excellent credentials and extensive inside experience.

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The writer was national security adviser in the Reagan administration in 1981-82.

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