Condoleezza Rice (born November 14, 1954) is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush. Rice was the first African-American woman secretary of state, as well as the second African American (after Colin Powell), and the second woman (after Madeleine Albright).
Rice was President Bush’s National Security Advisor during his first term, making her the first woman to serve in that position. Before joining the Bush administration, she was a professor of political science at Stanford University where she served as Provost from 1993 to 1999. Rice also served on the National Security Council as the Soviet and East European Affairs Advisor to President George H.W. Bush during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and German reunification.
Following her confirmation as Secretary of State, Rice pioneered a policy of Transformational Diplomacy, with a focus on democracy in the greater Middle East. Her emphasis on supporting democratically-elected governments faced challenges as Hamas captured a popular majority in Palestinian elections, and influential countries including Saudi Arabia and Egypt maintained authoritarian systems with U.S. support. While Secretary of State, she chaired the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s board of directors.
In March 2009, Rice returned to Stanford University as a political science professor and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution. In September 2010, Rice became a faculty member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a director of its Global Center for Business and the Economy.
Rice was hired by Stanford University as an assistant professor of political science (1981–1987). She was promoted to associate professor in 1987, a post she held until 1993. She was a specialist on the Soviet Union and gave lectures on the subject for the Berkeley-Stanford joint program led by UC Berkeley Professor George Breslauer in the mid-1980s.
She also was granted tenure and became full professor in 1993, becoming the first female, first minority, and youngest Provost in Stanford history. She was also named a senior fellow of the Institute for International Studies, and a senior fellow (by courtesy) of the Hoover Institution.
Rice headed Chevron’s committee on public policy until she resigned on January 15, 2001. (Chevron, for unspecified reasons, honored Rice by naming an oil tanker Condoleezza Rice after her, but controversy led to its being renamed Altair Voyager).
She also served on the board of directors of:
- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (This however is not listed on Carnegie Endowment’s website nor on the State Department website, it is only mentioned in her Bio on Stanford University website)
- The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), is run by the Millennium Challenge Corporation. The Millennium Challenge Account is a bilateral development fund announced by the Bush administration in 2002 and created in January 2004.
- The Carnegie Corporation.
- The Charles Schwab Corporation.
- The Chevron Corporation.
- Hewlett Packard.
- The Rand Corporation.
- The Transamerica Corporation.
Condoleezza Rice’s tenure as National Security Advisor (2001–2005)
On December 17, 2000, Rice was named as National Security Advisor and stepped down from her position at Stanford. She was the first woman to occupy the post. Rice earned the nickname of “Warrior Princess,” reflecting strong nerve and delicate manners.
Condoleezza Rice’s tenure as Secretary of State (2005–2009)
On November 16, 2004, Bush nominated Rice to be Secretary of State. On January 26, 2005, the Senate confirmed her nomination by a vote of 85-13. The negative votes, the most cast against any nomination for Secretary of State since 1825, came from Senators who, according to Senator Barbara Boxer, wanted “to hold Dr. Rice and the Bush administration accountable for their failures in Iraq and in the war on terrorism.” Their reasoning was that Rice had acted irresponsibly in equating Saddam’s regime with Islamist terrorism and some could not accept her previous record. Senator Robert Byrd voted against Rice’s appointment, indicating that she “has asserted that the President holds far more of the war power than the Constitution grants him.”
As Secretary of State, Rice championed the expansion of democratic governments. Rice stated that the September 11 attacks in 2001 were rooted in “oppression and despair” and so, the US must advance democratic reform and support basic rights throughout the greater Middle East. Rice also reformed and restructured the department, as well as US diplomacy as a whole. “Transformational Diplomacy” is the goal that Rice describes as “work[ing] with our many partners around the world… [and] build[ing] and sustain[ing] democratic, well-governed states that will respond to the needs of their people and conduct themselves responsibly in the international system.”
Condoleezza Rice came up with the term “New Middle East” in June 2006 in Tel Aviv, in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East.”
Rice’s policy as Secretary of State viewed counter-terrorism as a matter of being preventative, and not merely punitive. In an interview on December 18, 2005, Rice stated: “We have to remember that in this war on terrorism, we’re not talking about criminal activity where you can allow somebody to commit the crime and then you go back and you arrest them and you question them. If they succeed in committing their crime, then hundreds or indeed thousands of people die. That’s why you have to prevent, and intelligence is the long pole in the tent in preventing attacks.”
Rice has also been a frequent critic of the intelligence community’s inability to cooperate and share information, which she believes is an integral part of preventing terrorism. In 2000, one year after Osama bin Laden told Time “[h]ostility toward America is a religious duty,” and a year before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Rice warned on WJR Detroit: “You really have to get the intelligence agencies better organized to deal with the terrorist threat to the United States itself. One of the problems that we have is a kind of split responsibility, of course, between the CIA and foreign intelligence and the FBI and domestic intelligence.” She then added: “There needs to be better cooperation because we don’t want to wake up one day and find out that Osama bin Laden has been successful on our own territory.”
Rice also has promoted the idea that counterterrorism involves not only confronting the governments and organizations that promote and condone terrorism, but also the ideologies that fuel terrorism. In a speech given on July 29, 2005, Rice asserted that “[s]ecuring America from terrorist attack is more than a matter of law enforcement. We must also confront the ideology of hatred in foreign societies by supporting the universal hope of liberty and the inherent appeal of democracy.”
In January 2005, during Bush’s second inaugural ceremonies, Rice first used the term “outposts of tyranny” to refer to countries felt to threaten world peace and human rights. This term has been called a descendant of Bush’s phrase, “Axis of Evil”, used to describe Iraq, Iran and North Korea. She identified six such “outposts” in which she said the United States has a duty to foster freedom: Cuba, Zimbabwe, Burma and Belarus, as well as Iran and North Korea.
During the summer of 2001, Rice met with CIA Director George Tenet to discuss the possibilities and prevention of terrorist attacks on American targets. On July 10, 2001, Rice met with Tenet in what he referred to as an “emergency meeting” held at the White House at Tenet’s request to brief Rice and the NSC staff about the potential threat of an impending al Qaeda attack. Rice responded by asking Tenet to give a presentation on the matter to Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft.
When asked about the meeting in 2006, Rice asserted she did not recall the specific meeting, commenting that she had met repeatedly with Tenet that summer about terrorist threats. Moreover, she stated that it was “incomprehensible” to her that she had ignored terrorist threats two months before the September 11 attacks.
In March 2004, Rice declined to testify before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission). The White House claimed executive privilege under constitutional separation of powers and cited past tradition. Under pressure, Bush agreed to allow her to testify.
Rice was a proponent of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. After Iraq delivered its declaration of weapons of mass destruction to the United Nations on December 8, 2002, Rice wrote an editorial for The New York Times entitled “Why We Know Iraq Is Lying”.
In October 2003, Rice was named to run the Iraq Stabilization Group, to “quell violence in Iraq and Afghanistan and to speed the reconstruction of both countries.” By May 2004, the Washington Post reported that the council had become virtually nonexistent.
Leading up to the 2004 presidential election, Rice became the first National Security Advisor to campaign for an incumbent president. She stated that while: “Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the actual attacks on America, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a part of the Middle East that was festering and unstable, [and] was part of the circumstances that created the problem on September 11.”
Weapons of mass destruction
In a January 10, 2003 interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Rice made headlines by stating regarding Iraqi WMD: “The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
After the invasion, when it became clear that Iraq did not have nuclear WMD capability, critics called Rice’s claims a “hoax,” “deception” and “demagogic scare tactic.” “Either she missed or overlooked numerous warnings from intelligence agencies seeking to put caveats on claims about Iraq’s nuclear weapons program, or she made public claims that she knew to be false,” wrote Dana Milbank and Mike Allen in the Washington Post.
Rice characterized the August 6, 2001 President’s Daily Brief Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US as historical information. Rice indicated “It was information based on old reporting.” Sean Wilentz of Salon magazine suggested that the PDB contained current information based on continuing investigations, including that Bin Laden wanted to “bring the fighting to America.”
Role in authorizing use of torture techniques
A Senate Intelligence Committee reported that on July 17, 2002, Rice met with CIA director George Tenet to personally convey the Bush administration’s approval of the proposed waterboarding of alleged Al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah. “Days after Dr Rice gave Mr Tenet her approval, the Justice Department approved the use of waterboarding in a top secret August 1 memo.”
In 2003 Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General John Ashcroft met with the CIA again and were briefed on the use of waterboarding and other methods including week-long sleep deprivation, forced nudity and the use of stress positions. The Senate report says that the Bush administration officials “reaffirmed that the CIA program was lawful and reflected administration policy”.
The Senate report also “suggests Miss Rice played a more significant role than she acknowledged in written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee submitted in the autumn.” At that time, she had acknowledged attending meetings to discuss the CIA interrogations, but she claimed that she could not recall the details, and she “omitted her direct role in approving the programme in her written statement to the committee.”