The New York Times > Washington > As Rice Prepares to Move Up, Diplomacy May Be on Rise, Too
There are a couple of reasons why Ms. Rice may be trying to paint herself as a true diplomat.
1. She is, for all her educational merit, very naive.
If she really believes that diplomacy in the traditional sense is possible in an administration that has been characterized with such colloquial gems as "bring it on" and "evildoers," she is sadly mistaken. Diplomacy is defined as a system of give and take, something of a negotiation. If she can somehow magically pull off the goal she has of redeeming the global opinion of the US, I will stand corrected, but I believe that restoring any international credibility within this administration will take nothing less than a political miracle. And I don't think that Rice is even close to competent enough to pull off that political miracle.
2. She is fed up with being the administration's lap dog, and wants to create her own legacy before she becomes yet another of their scapegoats as well.
This is probable. I think that for all the hysteria that went on a while back, speculating that she was romantically involved with the president or that she was really willing to take the fall for whatever they wanted her to fall for, may have been misguided. There is a possibility that Rice sees her future role as one in which she can climb out from under the 9/11 intelligence debacle and distance herself from the last four years of failure and incompetence.
This is a long shot. But if she can pull it off, the rewards are great. If she can somehow come out of the next four years as a rebuilder and uniter of the middle east, it would help to overshadow her failures pre-9/11 and put her more on par with women like Reno and Albright. Many Republicans have begun to distance themselves from the war, and unfortunately for Condi, she can't really do that except for creating a term as SOS that she can hope to be remembered for.
If Rice can make any steps toward creating a better global perception of the US and make any measurable gains in the Middle East, I will be as happy as the next girl. But if she does, she will have to overcome tremendous resistance not only in the world at large but within the administration we now have. She has already shown that she folds under pressure, so I will be interested to see if any of the goals expressed in this article will come to fruition.