Condoleezza Rice

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Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice

Dr. Condoleezza Rice (born November 14, 1954) is the increasingly impotent current U.S. Secretary of State. She cannot claim a single significant success in that role, which she assumed on January 25, 2005. She is the second woman and the second African-American to hold that office. Rice received more Senate votes against her confirmation as Secretary of State than any other nominee except Henry Clay in 1825, and the opposing votes had nothing to do with either of her visible group identities.

Before Rice became Secretary of Defense she was the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, commonly referred to as the National Security Advisor, a position to which she was appointed in January 22, 2001, under President George W. Bush. Rice is single and has never been married.

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Quotes

  • With Republican neo-cons it's always someone else's fault. Condoleezza Rice tells NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell in an interview that Iran is the party at fault for the U.S. refusal to engage in negotiations: "And as for Iran, this is a time when Iran every day is more and more in violation of international responsibilities and international demands. Iran knows how it can engage with the United States. It only has to suspend its enrichment, something that has been demanded by the international community." Souce: Interview With Andrea Mitchell of NBC News U.S. Department of State January 17, 2007.
  • When Britain and Denmark announced timetables for the withdrawal of their troops from Iraq, Rice offered a transparent denial that the coalition was crumbling: "The coalition remains intact and in fact the British still have thousands of soldiers deployed in Iraq, in the south." Source: Britain and Denmark to start Iraq withdrawal Agence France Presse. February 21, 2007.
  • Speaking to a Congressional hearing on Iraq on February 27, 2007, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced a major policy flip-flop, stating that the U.S. will negotiate with Iran, resumably without a verifiable suspension of uranium enrichment: "I would like to take one moment to talk about our diplomatic offensive. I would note that the Iraqi government has invited all of its neighbors, including Syria and Iran, to attend both of these regional meetings," Rice said. "We hope that all governments will seize this opportunity to improve their relations with Iraq and to work for peace and stability in the region." Source: Guy Raz. "Iraq Meeting May Lead to U.S.-Iran Talks." NPR. February 28, 2007. The previous position, spelled out by Pres. George W. Bush only two before was that the U.S, would not negotiate with Iran without a verifiable suspension of uranium enrichment.

Childhood and Education

Known as "Condi" to her friends, Dr. Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama as an only child to her parents, Angelena Rice and Reverend John Rice. Her father was the pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church and her mother was a music teacher. Both her parents were university professors. Her name is a variation on the Italian musical term "con dolcezza" which is a direction to play "with sweetness." [1] She was born the same year as the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. Rice was nine when her schoolmate Denise McNair was killed in the bombing of the Black Sixteenth Street Baptist Church by white supremacists on September 15 1963.

Condolezza rice was home schooled by her two parents until entering the Birmingham Southern Conservatory at age 10, focusing on the piano. She skipped two grades, and lived a very structured existence from her studies and activities.

At 19, Rice earned her bachelor's degree in political science, after beginning as a piano performance major. Having begun taking classes her last year of hight school, she graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Denver in 1974 at the age of 19. In 1975, she obtained her master's degree from the University of Notre Dame and her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1981.

Academic Career

At 15, Rice enrolled and began attending classes at the University of Denver with the goal of becoming a concert pianist. Her plans changed when she attended a course on international politics taught by Josef Korbel that sparked her interest in the Soviet Union and international relations, leading her to call Korbel "one of the most central figures in my life" [2].

At Stanford University, Rice is a tenured Professor of Political Science, Senior Fellow of the Institute for International Studies, and a Fellow (by courtesy) of the ideologically conservative Hoover Institution. From 1993-1999 she served as the Stanford Provost. Rice held the position of provost before stepping down on July 1, 1999.

Dr. Rice is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been awarded honorary doctorates from Morehouse College in 1991, the University of Alabama in 1994, the University of Notre Dame in 1995 and the Mississippi College School of Law in 2003.

Political Career

From 1989 through March 1991 (the period of the fall of Berlin wall and the final days of the Soviet Union), she served in the George H. W. Bush Administration as Director, and then Senior Director, of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council, and a Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. In this function, Condoleezza Rice acquired greatest merits by co-formulating the strategy of President Bush and Secretary Baker in favour of German reunification. She so impressed President Bush that he introduced her to Mikhail Gorbachev as the one who "tells me everything I know about the Soviet Union."[3]

In 1996, while an international affairs fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, she served as Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 1997, she served on the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender -- Integrated Training in the Military.

Rice was a member of the boards of directors for the Chevron Corporation (which named an oil tanker Condoleezza Rice after her, later renamed Altair Voyager due to controversy [4]) and headed its committee on public policy until she resigned in January 15 2001.

During George W. Bush's election campaign in 2000, Rice took a one-year leave of absence from the university to work as George W. Bush's foreign policy advisor. On December 17 2000, Rice was picked to serve as National Security Advisor and stepped down from her position at Stanford.

Business Career

She has served on the board of directors for the Chevron Corporation, the Charles Schwab Corporation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the University of Notre Dame, the International Advisory Council of J.P. Morgan and the San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors. She was a Founding Board member of the Center for a New Generation, an educational support fund for schools in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park and was Vice President of the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula. In addition, her past board service has encompassed such organizations as Transamerica Corporation, Hewlett Packard, the Carnegie Corporation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Rand Corporation, the National Council for Soviet and East European Studies, the Mid-Peninsula Urban Coalition and KQED, public broadcasting for San Francisco.

In The Bush Administration

Since her appointment as National Security Advisor, Rice has become a controversial figure. She has polarized the African-American community, with some praising her role as the first black National Security Advisor and others calling her a "race traitor" for not supporting African-American causes [5]. In 2003, Rice was drawn into the debate over the affirmative action admissions policy at the University of Michigan. On January 18, 2003, the Washington Post claimed that she was involved in crafting President Bush's views on diversity. On the same day, Rice released a statement that somewhat contradicted this, saying that she believes race can be a factor in University admissions policies [6].

Dr. Rice has also been one of the most outspoken supporters of the 2003 war in Iraq. After Iraq delivered its declaration of weapons of mass destruction to the United Nations on December 8, 2002, it was Rice who wrote and submitted an editorial to the New York Times entitled "Why We Know Iraq Is Lying."

In March 2004, Dr. Rice was involved in a high-profile controversy over her refusal to publicly testify under oath before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. By way of explanation, the White House claimed executive privilege under constitutional separation of powers and cited past tradition in refusing requests for her public testimony. Debate on her role in counter-terrorism policy increased after testimony and a contemporary book by Richard Clarke, Against All Enemies. Under pressure, George W. Bush agreed to allow her to publicly testify so long as it did not create a precedent of Presidential staff being required to appear before Congress when so requested. In the end, her appearance before the 9/11 Commission on April 8, 2004, was deemed acceptable in part because she was not appearing before Congress. She thus became the first sitting National Security Advisor to testify on matters of policy.

Condoleezza Rice still dreams of becoming a concert pianist and performed Brahms' Violin Sonata in D minor with cellist Yo-Yo Ma at Constitution Hall in April 2002 [7].

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