Slate.com's Fred Kaplan contends that the rhetoric used by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her recent visits to Iraq proves she suffers from "realism-deficiency." He writes:
Did Rice really think she'd make sparks fly by going to Baghdad, wagging her finger, and telling the leaders to start leading?
In her case, a sub-agenda was to convince Ibrahim Jafari to step down as prime minister, and ... he eventually did. To what end, though, is as unclear as ever. "The key," as she put it, is indeed "dealing with the security situation, dealing with the economic situation." But she made the point as if she were offering a sage solution, not restating the obvious problem.
Is this a peculiarly American thing? Does the basic consensus that underlies our political system make our politicians blind to the nature of countries steeped in unmediated animosities?
(For all their differences, political parties in the United States don't regard murder and mayhem as proper tools of settlement.) There is a tendency to view violent conflict as the result of misunderstanding or miscommunication — when, in fact, it's often the result of the combatants' understanding one another all too well.
Certainly, somewhere beneath her steady pose, Rice must know all this. After all, she has a doctorate in international relations, a field where such observations are carved into basic principles.
... If Condi Rice thinks that, with a dash of pressure and willpower, the Iraqis can make the wheels of governance spin, no wonder she and her associates look so crestfallen whenever they speak on the subject.