[imText1]Condoleezza Rice became the 66th secretary of state and sworn in last Thursday, Jan 27. Although Democrat senators such as Edward Kennedy, John Kerry, who lost the last presidential election, opposed and some others tried to cowardly fight against the Bush administration by delaying confirmation for days but Ms. Rice became the US secretary of state after the senate vote of 85 in favor and 13 to oppose.
After Rice has been appointed as the new secretary of state, some meaningless disputes prevailed regarding American foreign policy of the second term Bush administration such as “Would US policy toward North Korea become harder or softer?” What distinguishes a hard-line policy from a soft-line policy? Is a government or a person who does not hesitate to use military force the difference between hard-line and soft-line? Furthermore, what behaviors could we call to be soft-line?
Appointment of Rice and End of the Great War against Terrorism
If the use of military force is the determining factor, Rice is softer than Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state under the Clinton administration. However, if the determining factor is setting a clear goal, assured of it and consistently pursuing it, then Rice could be considered as hard-line. This is because the Bush administration will finish off the fist step of the War against Terrorism with Condoleezza Rice, which it has started three years ago.
In the opening statement at senate confirmation hearing on January 19, Rice said, “One of history’s clearest lessons is that America is safer, and the world is more secure, whenever and wherever freedom prevails. It is neither an accident nor a coincidence that the greatest threats of the last century emerged from totalitarian movements. Fascism and Communism differed in many ways, but they shared an implacable hatred of freedom, a fanatical assurance that their way was the only way, and a supreme confidence that history was on their side.”
Furthermore, Rice clearly stated that there remain outposts of tyranny in the world and that North Korea is one of them. By her remark, “We cannot rest until every person living in a “fear society” has finally won their freedom,” Rice has made clear that American strategic goal of the war against terrorism is “regime change.”
In the inaugural address on January 20, President Bush re-emphasized the American goal in a simple and clear phrase, “ending tyranny.” A few days later on January 27, Rice said to state department as she succeeded Powell that America will stand with those who want their aspirations met for liberty and freedom and declared, “History is calling us.”
Condoleezza Rice is the second women to be secretary of state following Madeleine Albright under the Clinton administration and the second African American to hold the position. As the first African American woman to be the US secretary of state, Rice has already become a historical person. America’s high level officials, reporters, and citizens like to call Condoleezza Rice as “Dr. Rice.” This emphasizes that Rice is a prominent scholar of international politics who has an in-depth knowledge on communist authoritarian regimes. Upon his succession as minister, Dr. Kissinger who emphasized maintenance of balance of power between the nations under the condition of peace, tried to realize his own theory in the real world with his method of foreign relations, which almost resembled Metternich.
Main Actors to the Collapse of Former Soviet Union Re-gathered
It is not necessary to overanalyze the overly clearly articulated foreign policy of the second term Bush administration as if America will attack the outposts of tyranny with the military force. No doctor will try to operate a patient if he could be cured with medicine. Dr. Rice is an expert on Soviet problem. In a broader scope, her main field of study was communist and totalitarian political regimes.
During the Father Bush’s term as the US president, Rice, who had an expertise in “Soviet’s great strategy,” was working in the White House when the historical event of collapse of Soviet block and eastern Europe took place. Christopher Hill, the US ambassador to Seoul, who was in the site when the communist block collapsed, was called in to the state department to work with Rice.
The fact that the main actors, who ultimately turned down the possibility of the third World War without a gunshot and led the collapse of the communist block, are now re-gathered to play pivotal roles in producing foreign policy of the state department, has a great significance for Rice, the newly sworn in secretary of state.
Lee Chun Kun / vice-President of Center for Free Enterprise