Fred Kaplan is trying to figure out what to make of Condoleeza Rice’s first term thus far. After rattling off a bunch of her accomplishments—including the resumption of nuclear talks with North Korea (a feat that probably had more to do with South Korea’s offer of electricity than American diplomacy) and crafting a “war crimes” resolution against Sudan—he calls her accomplishments “considerable.” I’d disagree—in fact, measures like the UN resolution against Sudan, which was then followed by absolutely no international action, may have done more harm than good—but Kaplan’s right on when he says: ” Yet these feats are only stirring because of who she’s working for. They are the sorts of things—conducting diplomacy, entering negotiations, dealing with international organizations—that secretaries of state in most administrations do routinely.”
Right on, but more to the point, most of these steps were things that John Kerry was practically pleading with George W. Bush to take all during the 2004 campaign. Now fair enough, the election’s over, and it’s hard to get upset over the fact that the Bush administration has essentially adopted Kerry’s foreign policy, after spending a year telling the electorate how weak-kneed it was, and how unsafe it would make America. I just wish the press would actually make note of this fact, so that, you know, they could call foul the next time a presidential candidate gets depicted as a flower-strewing wimp for pointing out that, hey, maybe doing nothing while Kim Jong Il develops nuclear weapons isn’t the best idea after all. But that’s probably hoping for too much.