Condoleezza Rice’s Princeton speech, and Associated Press Deficit Disorder
Yesterday I and a few thousand others listened to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s address at the inagural of the 75th anniversary celebration of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. The Post-Techie Conservative and TigerHawk were there, too.
All tickets had to be picked up in person ahead of time. I arrived early, but the long line was already moving briskly and got a nice seat.
It was the perfect day for a protest: Clear blue skies, balmy temperatures, low pollen count, and PU students don’t have classes on Fridays. The Daily Princetonian had said,
several protests hosted by a coalition of Princeton groups, including the College Democrats, the Black Graduate Caucus, Student Global AIDS Campaign and the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action.
If that was the case, each of those groups must have sent two or three members — coming in from the parking lot, one could see a very small group making noise, and a large banner (a sheet?) that said “CURE AIDS SAVE DARFUR”, but as far as protests goes, it was definitely lame. I’ve had more people than that at a backyard barbecue here at TBHB HQ on a hot cloudy day at the height of allergy season. The Trenton Times says there was a march of 150 people, which I find rather surprising. A march of 150 people would tie up traffic in downtown Princeton, but traffic was flowing nicely. (Downtown traffic in Princeton has tied up with a march of 15 preschoolers, but never mind that.)
Princeton U President Shirley Tilghman spoke about the Wilson School and the spirit of mutual respect and understanding on which it is based, and was followed by Woodrow Wilson School Dean Anne-Marie Slaughter, who introduced Dr. Rice by saying, “Condoleezza Rice has dedicated her life to an allegiance to an ideal and a body of principles: . . . the democratic aspirations of all people, and basic human rights”. The audience rose to a standing applause.
On TV and photos Dr. Rice looks perfectly groomed, poised, and professional. In person, she’s a tall beautiful woman of great vitality and charisma. She wore a tailored two-piece suit with 3/4 sleeves jacket and flared skirt, and black high-heel slingback pumps, both of which set off her long legs. No black pantsuits for her.
The speech: “Now is not the time to falter or fade”.
You can read the transcript of the speech at the US Department of State site (also in broadband). Dr. Rice impeccably delivered the speech exactly as it is posted on line, with great purpose, barely looking at her notes . The theme was,
Today, however, democracies are emerging wherever and whenever the tides of oppression recede. As President Bush said in his Second Inaugural Address, “The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.”
Now, to forge realistic policies from these idealistic principles, we must recognize that statecraft can assume two fundamentally different forms. In ordinary times, when existing ideas and institutions and alliances are adequate to the challenges of the day, the purpose of statecraft is to manage and sustain the established international order. But in extraordinary times, when the very terrain of history shifts beneath our feet and decades of human effort collapse into irrelevance, the mission of statecraft is to transform our institutions and partnerships to realize new purposes on the basis of enduring values.
Ladies and Gentlemen: We have set out to help the people of the Middle East transform their societies. Now is not the time to falter or fade.
After the speech, she took questions from the audience,
Q1: “I find a disconnect between the rhetoric here and what we do in the Middle East, with the US taking a softer line with Hammas.”
Dr. Rice: “We insist that Hammas should be disbanded. Now there is a transition time. but we can not imagine a new national compact keeping an option on violence”. She discussed how Sinn Fein and the Afghan warlords have disarmed, and continued, “We cannot have armed groups with no expectation of disarmament. Hammas stands for one state, not two states, which would mean the dissolution of Israel, and for parents to give their children up to become suicide bombers. We need to give Palestinians some space, but eventually Hammas wil disarm. They cannnot have it both ways”.
This gentleman from Nicaragua asked Q2: “In Pres. Bush’s first term his main interest [in Latin America] was Cuba. What is it now?”
Dr. Rice “The US has an interest in a free Cuba, but our policy in all of Latin America is to encourage growth, good governance, democratic governance, and free trade. [This is] an issue of making economic development and growth relevant to all people: the indigenous peoples, and the poor and marginalized. In recent discussions in Monterrey, and later we have emphasized the social benefits of economic growth to become tangible benefits to all people. . .[by talking] to Lula, to Chile, the International Development Bank, to try to stabilize their democratic governments through economic growth. [As far as] Nicaragua, now there are anti-democratic though legal measures, and the US is following the situation very closely.”
Q3: What was your reaction to Karen Hughes’s reception in Saudi Arabia?
Dr. Rice: “Our reaction was exactly what we expected. A conversation is not a monologue. With public diplomacy there is a wide variety of opinions, and that’ll help us to inform our diplomacy. We saw women in the Middle East expressing themselves, and we are for that kind of expression taking place in the Middle East”
Q4: Do you foresee a possibility of a federal outcome in Iraq, and is the US OK on it?
Dr. Rice: I expect a distribution of power between the center and the regions. The constitution acknowleges a federal system but there’ll be quite a debate as to what it means. Iraq’s neighbors expect a united Iraq but of course in a united Iraq there will be a distribution of powers between the center and the regions. The constitution left the writing of rules to the next assembly, which will be more representative, and then those rules will be written in a way that addresses that certain functions will be reserved to the state. We’ll stand back and let them figure it out.”
She concluded with, “The understandings of systems and institutions evolve over time”, reminding us that “our Constitution was not perfect, with the “3/5 of a man” rule. It does show that even if you have compromises, over time things evolve.”
If I were a baseball fan, I’d say Dr. Rice scored a home-run with the bases loaded: I’ve been to dozens of lectures and speeches, but this is the first time the speaker was publicly offered a job right after she was done.
The audience applauded enthusiastically for several minutes and many of us stood up.
Associated Press Deficit Disorder
Last year Dr. Krauthammer wrote about the Pressure Cooker Theory of Hydraulic Release, and he had previously diagnosed Bush Derangement Syndrome.
In honor of Dr. K, I’m now proposing the theory of Associated Press Deficit Disorder, APDD (ae-pea-dee-dee, not to be confused with any of Sean Comb’s nicknames, P-Diddy, etc.):
the innatention of Associated Press and other news agencies to the actual words said by a person who doesn’t fit what AP wants to hear.
Example: Read Eric Quiñones’s excellent article Rice affirms vision for peaceful, democratic Middle East, and compare it with the Associated Press’s Rice: Iraq Must Not Be Given Up to Killers.
Compare the two articles in light of the actual speech (see link above). Correct me if I’m wrong, but not only was Dr. Rice’s theme not limited to Iraq, she didn’t even say the title statement that heads the AP article. AP couldn’t even be bothered with an actual photo of the event, even when press photographers were allowed, and PU provides photos for free (see links above).
The NYT which is certainly not a world away from Princeton, couldn’t be bothered sending a reporter, and printed the AP story. Worse yet, New Jersey’s own Star Ledger did the same thing. CNN, Australian Broadcasting Corp., and the Miami Herald printed the story verbatim. Couldn’t they have done at least like theBeeb‘s Pentagon Correspondent, who looked up the State Dept’s link for his article?
The Trenton Times‘s Robert Stern doesn’t suffer from APDD, and his article quoted Dr. Rice accurately and impartially.
The press needs more media people like Mr. Stern and Mr. Quiñones. That would go a long way to cure us of APDD.
A final thought
Condi in 08? Maybe, maybe not. If she sets her mind to it, someday she will be President of the USA. Either way, she’ll outclass any competition.
Update: Dr. Sanity asks, Substance & Principle versus Self-promotion & Opportunism?