By Walter C. Uhler
If you want to know what's wrong with the foreign policy establishment in the United States, look no further than Condoleezza Rice's article, "The New American Realism," published in the July/August 2008 issue of Foreign Affairs." Not only has the Council on Foreign Relations spread its pages wide open for an infamous interventionist -- a lying and deceitful enabler of the Bush administration's illegal, immoral unprovoked invasion of Iraq - it also readmitted Ms. Rice without requiring anything resembling a mea culpa for the crimes against humanity that have lowered her, the Bush administration and the United States to the depths of moral disrepute around the world.
Why publish the words of a liar and alleged war criminal? Who takes her seriously? Was her article accepted for publication because of her high position in the thoroughly discredited and morally bankrupt Bush administration? Or was publication a "no brainer," simply because the foreign policy elite at the Council on Foreign Relations actually shares Ms. Rice's smug interventionist conceit?
Whatever the excuse, it doesn't pass the smell test. Why? Because Rice's unimaginative, evasive and euphemism-riddled whitewash of Bush's disastrous "Time of Troubles" would barely merit a grade of "C" in any freshman course devoted to U.S. foreign policy.
Ms. Rice's case is not a matter of affirmative action encountering the Peter Principle. Instead, it's a matter of compensating for the Peter Principle with poorly disguised moral turpitude. For example, during the propaganda run up to the invasion of Iraq, Ms Rice lied when she said that the aluminum tubes sought by Iraq could "only" be used in nuclear weapons. We know she lied, because her assertion came after she learned of the disagreements within the intelligence community about how such tubes might be used.
Ms Rice also attempted to deceive members of the House of Representatives. She told them that, after 9/11, the U.S. had no choice, but to engage in what the September 2002 National Security Strategy euphemistically called "preemptive" wars. As we now know, the euphemism of preemption was a fig leaf for the "preventive" wars - otherwise known as wars of aggression - which the Bush administration actually intended to launch.
Unabashed by such deception, Ms. Rice was in the process of making her pitch for preemptive war when she was confronted by a Democrat, who asked her whether America should have invaded the Soviet Union in 1948 in order to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. Rice responded, "In light of 50 years of bondage of Eastern Europe, that was probably a reasonable thing to do." Her response not only revealed her moral turpitude, but also cost her the right to be considered a serious Russia scholar. Nobody but a hack or a fraud would have said such a thing. (To understand why, read http://www.walter-c-uhler.com/Reviews/VE_Day.html
Thus, it's no surprise to find her "C" paper in Foreign Affairs riddled with hypocrisy, deceitful evasions and blatant propaganda. Not only does she project America's worst sins onto others, she also refuses to accept any responsibility for the many ills that the Bush administration has inflicted upon the U.S., Iraq and the rest of the world.
Consider Ms. Rice's disappointment over Russia's failure to move "closer to us in terms of values." Perhaps, if Messrs. Medvedev and Putin ordered the unprovoked invasion of Georgia, that would bring Russia's values closer to America's.
According to Rice, the U.S. has nothing to fear from China's rising power, provided such "power is used responsibly." Perhaps, China could demonstrate American-style responsibility by falsely accusing Japan of building weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for an invasion.
According to Rice, "the Iranian regime," not the Bush regime, "seeks to subvert states and extend its influence throughout the Persian Gulf region." According to Rice, it is Iran (not the American invasion and occupation) that "is destabilizing Iraq, endangering U.S. forces and killing innocent Iraqis." And, according to Rice, Iran -- not the U.S. -- is "a state fundamentally out of step with the norms and values of the international community."
Rice fails to connect the dots linking the Bush administration's crimes and blunders in Iraq with Iran's geopolitical gains in the Middle East. Thus, when I read Rice's psychological projections of America's sins onto Iran, I couldn't help but wonder whether she's become the American version of Baghdad Bob. Makes you wonder why Foreign Affairs would published such blatant propaganda, doesn't it?
Unfortunately, Rice goes from bad to worse, when she attempts to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq. First, there's not a word in her "C" paper about the Bush administration's exaggerations, lies and intelligence blunders concerning Saddam's weapons of mass destruction (which, we now know, didn't exist). Second, there's not a word acknowledging that the threat posed by these (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction - recall Rice's warning about a "mushroom cloud" -- was trumpeted repeatedly as the primary justification for war. Like Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Ms Rice simply has tossed such inconvenient facts down America's memory hole.
Instead, Rice dishonestly justifies invading Iraq - after the fact -- by alluding to Saddam's intention to "reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction programs as soon as international pressure had dissipated." In a word, she's learned nothing.
Listen carefully, Ms. Rice. Country A does not have the right, under international law, to attack Country B, simply because Country B "intends," at some future date, to do something potentially harmful to Country A. Country B's threat must be imminent - something Saddam's threat never was!
Predictably, Ms. Rice is at her despicable, immoral worst, when she perpetuates the BIG LIE about Iraq: "The war on terror…[was] linked to Iraq." No, it was not. Iraq had nothing to do with al Qaeda's terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Moreover, as Rice unabashedly admits, the Bush administration actually fabricated such a link as the pretext for invading Iraq: "Our goal after September 11 was to address the deeper malignancies of the Middle East…It is very hard to imagine how a more just and democratic Middle East could ever have emerged with Saddam still at the center of the region." (This is the point where every decent human being should be screaming: "Who made you God?")
Even worse, Ms. Rice's admission -- damning though it be -- is but another limited-hangout half-truth designed to deceive. She's conveniently overlooked the fact that she convened National Security Council meetings, beginning in January 2001, which riveted on regime change in Iraq as a way to "address the deeper malignancies of the Middle East." In reality, the events of September 11 were simply used to provide a patina of legitimacy to Bush's long-planned evil war of aggression.
Given Bush's interminable, evil war of aggression and, now, Condoleezza Rice's infantile and dishonest whitewash of it in Foreign Affairs, perhaps the most critical question is this: When will the rest of the world unite to "address the deeper malignancies" of the United States - malignancies that make wars of choice appear necessary to a large segment of America's population and especially attractive to its foreign policy elite?
Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He also is President of the Russian-American International Studies Association (RAISA).