Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Condi v. Venezuela

Dave and Hans (mostly Hans) offer some thoughts on the Condi nomination hearings with regards to Venezuela and dictator Hugo Chavez. First:

"At one point he begged her : 'Is there not one good thing you can say about Venezuela?'"
"Condi’s answer: 'No'"

Heh and indeed.

Like Dave and Hans, I enjoy Rice's no-nonsense, don't mince words style. I think it's an essential quality in a National Security Advisor or a Defense Secretary (which is why I love Rumsfeld in that seat). These are jobs that are done most effectively by those who can cut the crap and get solid results without worrying about flowery language or stepping on peoples' feelings. All well and good.

The problem is that the job she's applying for is neither NSA nor SecDef. She has been nominated as Secretary of State, the nation's top diplomat. In order to be an effective diplomat, I should think one needs to know a little something about diplomacy. And Condi's answer, while I agree with it whole-heartedly (with the exception pointed out by Dave), is problematic because it is not diplomatic. That is, I can think or say whatever I want about murderous thug Hugo Chavez. But I will not be sent to Venezuela to try to negotiate with Hugo Chavez. Not being a diplomat means I have no need for diplomacy. Condi is clearly not in that same position, correct?

I don't mean to sound like I'm trashing on Condi. But just as I don't think she would be a good Secretary of Agriculture - because she has no agricultural experience, that I know of - I am not convinced that she would be a good SecState. That's not a criticism of her abilities, it's only a caution to put people in the jobs that suit them most.