Melanie Phillips on Condi Rice and the return of “realism”

posted at 9:43 pm on November 26, 2006 by Allahpundit

She’s got two killer excerpts from the JPost to buttress her case, but this recent exchange from Cal Thomas’s radio show (as reprinted in Mark Steyn’s latest column) makes the point even plainer. The problem with realists: they don’t live in reality.

“The great majority of Palestinian people,” said the secretary of state to Cal Thomas the other day, “they just want a better life. This is an educated population. I mean, they have a kind of culture of education and a culture of civil society. I just don’t believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers. I think the mothers want their children to grow up to go to university. And if you can create the right conditions, that’s what people are going to do.”

Cal Thomas asked a sharp follow-up: “Do you think this or do you know this?”

“Well, I think I know it,” said Dr. Rice.

“You think you know it?”

“I think I know it.”

Ahmadinejad said today he’s ready, willing, and able to help us out in Iraq. All we have to do is stay out of Iran’s way.

Update: Tammy Bruce introduces Condi to reality.

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Sure, Ahmi will help, so long as we leave and let him reign in the region, sin S. Hussein. He’s no dummy the little man, or at least not a complete one.

Entelechy on November 26, 2006 at 9:48 PM

Isn’t this the same population that razed Gaza after getting it back?

Indeed, just an education population wanting a better life. As long as by a better life you mean the eradication of the Jews, and educated means being able make a proper Molotov cocktail.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on November 26, 2006 at 9:49 PM

Tammy Bruce is such a lucid mind. We need more like her, in key positions.

Let’s not forget that Mr. Baker is not Jewish-friendly. I look forward to see how the new Democrat leaders will wrap their spin around this issue, spearheaded by Ms. Clinton.

They might claim to support Israel but their base sure isn’t shy about their anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian and pro-everything-else, so long as it is not good for America, especially so long as Mr. Bush is still President.

Entelechy on November 26, 2006 at 10:01 PM

Boy, does Ms. Rice need to see that “Obsession” movie! The evidence in favor of the “great majority of Palestinian people” wanting a better life is just not there. The Palestinian peace plan for the Middle East is, and always has been, the complete annihilation of the Jews. This Rodney King, can’t we all just get along, attitude from our top statespeople is disturbing. They need to look/listen to what the leaders in these countries say and do(and not just in meetings with us), and then make judgments based on that, not on some touchy-feely sentimentality that assumes the same good intentions in others as you might have yourselves.

Vanquisher on November 26, 2006 at 10:22 PM

Ahmamadjihad has always wanted to ‘help’ in Iraq. (the Iranian Satan likes chaos and vulnerability, he would love to ‘help himself’ to Iraq).
But now it just sounds more reasonable, like a mister rogers neighborly thing to do, his ulterior motives hidden snugly up his sleeves. Sadly, the terror leader will be believed by many and probably backed by the UN.

shooter on November 26, 2006 at 10:26 PM

“The great majority of Palestinian people,”

Sorry if this seems ignorant, but just WHO the hell ARE the Palestinians this year, or this week?

shooter on November 26, 2006 at 10:30 PM

This is the farthest place that realism take can one to.
For example,

Ahmamadjihad has always wanted to ‘help’ in Iraq.

King Abdullah of Jordan thinks that the Palestinian/Israeli problem is the major cause in Iraq. Making conjectures about how the Palestinians feel is a wild game for liberals. The so-called victims take this explanation as their cause, while failing to explain their 50 or whatever virgins for you theory.

Ouabam on November 26, 2006 at 10:59 PM

Condoleezza Rice’s biggest asset his her loyalty to Bush – other than that “virtue” she is mediocore and naive at best.

Many people in the Republican Party like Bush and his staff. I hold conservative views but believe that Bush, and the likes of Condoleezza Rice, are a far cry from our best and brightest. To put it bluntly they are definitely not the sharpest tools in shed and lack a basic understanding of the world we live in today. The reason Bush is in office now is that he was, and is, the lesser of two evils.

Bush and Condoleezza Rice do not seem to understand the world we are in, and to put it mildly their “reality” seems skewed to their own bias and interests. The fable of the Emperors New Clothes certainly does have meaning when speaking of the reality that Bush and Condoleezza Rice live in.

I am at a loss as to what to do to contribute to more enlightened and conservative representatives in our government.

If I was to focus on one prospect for Republican leadership it would be Colin Powell – but he is a bit old and certainly many would find reason to contest this suggestion.

omegaram on November 26, 2006 at 11:11 PM

Condi has gone over to the dark side. Either that, or she’s always been of the dark side and just biding her time before she can show her true colors without consequence from her boss.

Lawrence on November 26, 2006 at 11:27 PM

Bush and Condoleezza Rice do not seem to understand the world we are in, and to put it mildly their “reality” seems skewed to their own bias and interests.

This is where the argument goes into pieces. The articles above only suggested the extent in which realism can go. However, it does say whether being tough on the issue is the answer. This is exactly what we are doing in Iraq. Unforutunately, it is not working. When a dream–democracy for iraq–is discarded and its opposite–talk with Iran and still oppose their nuclear program–is discarded, what do you have left?
A strategy of explaining both failures. This is where we are heading. Condi attitude towards all this situation helps. The disadvantage is the concessions that we have to make.
It is not her job as a diplomat to lay such image that we intend. It is good that she protrayed them in a humane fashion. I call it giving them cakes with sharp pins in it.

I hold conservative views but believe that Bush, and the likes of Condoleezza Rice, are a far cry from our best and brightest.

Being bright or the best probably would help in such a situation. Foreign policy is not a math exam where there is one answer. We do not need somebody who conveys sharp reality to people. We need people who are very open to other people. We need somebody who can make us the victim and make them the victor. This gives us much power to act. We saw situation after 9/11. I am not advocating that we make ourselves vulnerable to their attack. Why do children solve problems quickly than adults? They keep their brightness aside.

Ouabam on November 26, 2006 at 11:40 PM

Condi has gone over to the dark side. Either that, or she’s always been of the dark side and just biding her time before she can show her true colors without consequence from her boss.

Lawrence on November 26, 2006 at 11:27 PM

If you know her history as Stanford U. provost, you are probably right. We probably don’t want her to turn into John Bolton. Even John Bolton make these realistic deals–north Korean six party talks–that we balk at, the big problem is understanding the impact of every stance. How far does keeping it real goes?

Ouabam on November 26, 2006 at 11:47 PM

I doubt Condi actually believes the stuff she said to Thomas. She has to say things like “I just don’t believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers.” I mean, what’s she supposed to say in a public forum? “I think they’re a bunch of evil, death-loving bastards, and we ought to bomb them into submission”?

It’s like administration officials calling Islam the “religion of peace.” It’s something they’re required to say whether they believe it or not.

Sean M. on November 27, 2006 at 12:15 AM

Oh, the pity

Entelechy on November 27, 2006 at 1:12 AM

Bush and Condoleezza Rice do not appear to understand the nature of the Islamic assault on the West nor have they devised an effective method to counter it.

For those in such important positions understanding the truth behind the “reality”, keen perception of the motives of the parties in play, and the ability to accurately percieve the political and military situation is an important part of their performance. We expect those in such positions in the most powerful nation on earth to be among the brightest and best the United States can produce, and to exercise intelligence and wisdom in their conduct and decisons.

Bush and Condoleezza Rice have not made an accurate assesment of Islamic intentions, the nature of the conflict with Israel, nor do they understand the completly different mindset prevelant with those who identify themselves as Muslims.

Islamic intentions, as they so clearly indicate in their words, are to follow the directives they interpret from those texts fundamental to their faith. These directives are specific: World domination of the Islamic faith by any means including conquest, the establishment of Islamic Law in every part of the world, and the complete subjugation of anyone who does not convert to their beliefs.

Israel is in a fight for it’s very existance. Time and time again we see and hear Islamic intentions of complete destruction of the state of Israel and the murder of any and all Jews wherever they can be found. The “Palestinians” have made their intentions quite clear when it comes to the fate of Israel and it’s Jewish citizens.

The mindset of the Muslim is in question, and even on this site much has been debated about what constitutes a “moderate” Muslim. Most here would agree that many Muslims, numbering in the millions, are in agreement with the Jihad and the objectives of the spread of the Islamic faith by any means including conquest. This agreement also extends to the establishment of Isalmic law where this may be achieved and the domination of those who do not accept their faith as prescribed in their core texts.

These views are not isolated extremists but constitute much of the mainstream Islamic belief at this time.

Bush and Condoleezza Rice clearly do not agree with these conclusions and have indicated they see Islam as “Religion of Peace”. This is even after examination of historical evidence and clear indication in the present of intentions otherwise.

This conflict of fact, and their public positions on the issues mentioned, lead me to the conclusion their reality is based on an inaccurate and false understanding and perception of the situation as it exists today. Bush and Condoleezza Rice do not only have an inaccurate and false perception of “reality” as it pertains to the Islamic Assault but also of how to deal with something they do not understand.

omegaram on November 27, 2006 at 1:26 AM

omegaram on November 27, 2006 at 1:26 AM

You raise a strong point about Islam. On the question of the brightest, having a keen sense of world politics does guarantee a post in public offices. Playing politics to get in–making concessions–is the trick. For instance, John McCain might be among your most brightest list. He has made a lot of choices that question his conservatism. However, he is politician that has more support than most staunch conservatives. Nobody in the modern history of the United States–1960s to now–are in my most brightest list. You might mention Bill Clinton, but he was smart in school. His response to Osama was depressing. There is a set point when good ideas become a dream.

Fighting Islamism would probably not start with the president. It would start with the people. We seem to accommodate certain ideas because we believe providing freedom to be the priority of every government. For instance , most Americans oppose warrantless surveillance. Your view on strong approach to islamism is what we need. If we cant watch these muslims, there is no way check the spread of Islamic radicalism. The president is not oblivious of the idea that islamism is threat. His actions proves it–tough stance on detainee interrogation. Islam is really a religion of peace in an alternate world, but it is practiced by radicals which makes it worse. The Koran was written to reflect the middle ages sociohistory where there was a lot of wars. Muslims need outside influence. I think that I will stop here.

Ouabam on November 27, 2006 at 2:14 AM

Wait a minute. I thought we conservatives had a basic viewpoint of the world that said: Anybody, when given the choice, would choose freedom over tyranny. Hence the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq. Now we turn around and say Condi is wrong for stating that same exact belief about the Palies? Yeah, it’s a mess over there, yeah they vvoted for hamas but, like Sean said above, what is she suppossed to say, “Let’s nuke ‘em?” It’s her job to be diplomatic, to play the “Good Cop”. We all loved her when she was the NatlSecAdvisor and she was playing “Bad Cop”. She doesn’t understand the world we live in? You and I have read books about our world, she has WRITTEN a few. WE don’t seem to understand the tightrope she has to walk. Just like the Dems are now starting to understand that we can’t just walk out of Iraq. Condi’s job is a lot bigger than a few keyboard commandos can comprehend. We don’t have all the intel to make that call. She does, and I think what she’s doing is “leading the witness”. If enough Palies hear her say “They just want their kids to grow up and have a good life like the rest of us” maybe some of them will say “Yeah, I DO want that!” That’s going up against 1,400 years of brainwashing, but we gotta start SOMEWHERE, or else it’s on to “Plan B”, and we don’t want that cause they live too close to our Israeli friends who might suffer from the radioactive fallout.

Tony737 on November 27, 2006 at 8:47 AM

I’ll agree that Condi is walking a tightrope as Secretary of State and I’ll even agree that she probably has an accurate view of the Islamic world and the problems we face in keeping our nation alive as they overtake the world.

What is happening now, possibly too late and too little, is that the Bush administration is softening its rhetoric and is reaching out to moderate Islamic societies like the Saudis and the UAE in an attempt to bolster support against Iran and the militant shi’a Muslims who are well on their way to controlling the religion of Islam.

There is a Islamic Civil war and it is Shi’a against Sunni. Circumstances made us come down on the wrong side of this revolution in Iraq, we sided with the Shi’a who, no matter what we do, are still going to scream “death to America”. Make no mistake, the House of Saud and the UAE were not happy with Saddam but taking him out of power left an open field for Iran to expand in. Our export of Democracy also further angered the moderate Sunni nations and opened up Iraq for the militants to cripple our efforts in Iraq by allowing Iran to literally own the government there.

Personally I don’t believe that the export of Democracy is right for every nation on earth but then again my conservative views don’t include the Globalist agenda.

Buzzy on November 27, 2006 at 10:44 AM

Wait a minute. I thought we conservatives had a basic viewpoint of the world that said: Anybody, when given the choice, would choose freedom over tyranny. Hence the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Tony737 on November 27, 2006 at 8:47 AM

Agree that people do not want tyranny, think “freedom” means different things to different cultures/people. For some interesting insight pick up a copy of “Murder in Amsterdam”, talks about the killing of Theo van Gogh and the Dutch issue with its Muslim population. Pretty sobering.

I get the feeling that a lot of folks on this site are looking for a simple and quick solution. Good luck with that. The Cold War lasted 50 years and that with a much less amorphous enemy. I wouldn’t underestimate Rice’s ability to understand the problem, it’s that whole solution thing that gets murky.

honora on November 27, 2006 at 10:51 AM

Oh, the pity…

Entelechy on November 27, 2006 at 1:12 AM

Thank Heavens I am not alone in this thought. It was the FIRST thing to go thru my mind when I heard the report. The second thing was..too bad it wasnt more. I know..craven. So be it. Time we came to realize it really IS them or US!

labwrs on November 27, 2006 at 12:27 PM

AP
Please note that the link you provided goes to a “subscriber page”. The one to use for Tammy is this one which streams free 5 days a week 12-3pm and Sat–7-10pm. That is the way she set it up for her listeners.

auspatriotman on November 27, 2006 at 2:11 PM