WaPo reports Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday set out ambitious goals for the Bush administration's push for greater democracy overseas over the next four years, including pressing for competitive presidential elections this year in Egypt and women's right to vote in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.
Rice, in an interview with Washington Post editors and reporters, said she was guided less by a fear that Islamic extremists would replace authoritarian governments than by a "strong certainty that the Middle East was not going to stay stable anyway." Extremism, she said, is rooted in the "absence of other channels for political activity," and so "when you know that the status quo is no longer defensible, then you have to be willing to move in another direction."
That was as far as Glenn Kessler and Robin Wright quoted Rice. However, she went into greater detail, which one can read in the transcript of the interview itself:
The WaPo article also said Asked whether she hopes to see women vote in Saudi Arabia, where they are barred, Rice replied: "In terms of women, I hope they are voting everywhere." She said she recalled a photograph of the recent Saudi municipal elections "that was very striking to me": a man having his daughter put his ballot in the box, which she interpreted as demonstrating his hopes for his daughter.
In the above mentioned CQ blog, Captain Ed said Rice speaks extensively on democratization during the interview; in fact, it intertwines thematically in her answers to nearly every question the Post asks during the interview. Rice shows that she's clearly on board with George Bush and therefore represents him in a way that Colin Powell never quite achieved. People widely assumed Powell had less commitment to this foreign-policy philosophy, although it may have more to do with wishful thinking on the Left and abroad than Powell's actual views. However, no one can mistake Rice's commitment to Bush's policy, nor her erudite and skillful representation of it. Having Rice run State sends the clear message that Bush and the US remain totally committed to democratization as the primary focus of both its foreign policy and national security strategy.
Betsy Newmark blogged What is remarkable is how strongly she comes out in support of democratic movements around the world.
Not everyone liked the article. IsraPundit blogged The statements against Israel, which Condi ("Colin Powell, only worse") keeps spewing, should be note and then he quotes this from what Condi said
Rice denied reports from Israeli officials -- and some U.S. officials -- that the Bush administration had struck an arrangement with Israel that would allow for some settlement growth in Palestinian areas. Israeli officials had said that the administration would allow for growth within settlements as long as additional housing units did not exceed existing construction lines. The U.S.-backed "road map" plan for peace calls for Israel to freeze settlement growth.
Rice said the "only commitment or assurance" was made last April, when Bush announced that because of "new realities on the ground" -- existing settlements in Palestinian areas -- Israel could expect to retain some settlements as part of a final peace deal. She said that since then the United States has asked Israel for more detail on its settlement activity because "there is so much information, misinformation . . . that the picture was just too confusing."
After the interview, Rice called a reporter twice to expand on her remarks on the administration's settlement policy. The administration has had "discussions about steps toward a settlement freeze," she said in one of the phone calls. "But we've never reached closure on that. It's complicated."
What does IsraPundit want? Because Condi is not willing to endorse additional settlement in Palestinian areas (the U.S.-backed "road map" plan for peace calls for Israel to freeze settlement growth) she is "spewing statements against Israel"???