August 10, 2006
The Grey Lady Vs. the Stately Lady
In an utterly predictable (and very offensive) news offensive, the New York Times now treats Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as an empty vessel, buffeted by the waves of passion from the right and diplomacy from the left. As the Times puts it:
As Ms. Rice has struggled with the Middle East crisis over the last four weeks, she has found herself trying to be not only a peacemaker abroad but also a mediator among contending parties at home.
Washington’s resistance to an immediate cease-fire and its staunch support of Israel have made it more difficult for Ms. Rice to work with other nations, including some American allies, as they search for a formula that will end the violence and produce a durable cease-fire.
The overall tone of the story paints Condi Rice as having no ideas or principles of her own; she merely tries to balance the traditional State Department's orientation of America as a "neutral broker" between Israel and Hezbollah -- and the tilt of the "neoconservatives" towards Israel:
On her recent trips to the Middle East, Ms. Rice was accompanied by two men with very different outlooks on the conflict: Elliott Abrams, senior director at the National Security Council, and C. David Welch, a career diplomat and former ambassador to Egypt who is assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs.
Mr. Welch represents the traditional State Department view that the United States should serve as a neutral broker in the Middle East. Mr. Abrams, a neoconservative with strong ties to Mr. Cheney, has pushed the administration to throw its support behind Israel. During Ms. Rice’s travels, he kept in direct contact with Mr. Cheney’s office.
One administration official described how during the trip — including a July 29 discussion in Ms. Rice’s Rabin suite at the David Citadel Hotel, with its panoramic view of Jerusalem’s Old City — Mr. Welch and Mr. Abrams served as counterfoils, with Mr. Welch arguing the Arab view and Mr. Abrams articulating the Israeli stance.
But there is no reason to suppose that Condi herself is neutral between these two points of view. As the secretary of state, she clearly must bring Welch along; he is State's number two guy on Middle East issues. Not to bring him would be an absolute scandal, and he would likely resign -- igniting a pointless and damaging war between the secretary and the department.
But since even the Times agrees that Rice's own policy directives far more favor the position of Elliot Abrams -- whom she personally talked into returning to government service on the National Security Council when Condi was the National Security Advisor -- isn't the simplest explanation that she brought Welch by tradition, but she brought Abrams by choice?
As fighting was breaking out last month between Hezbollah and Israel, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice worked through the night at her guest quarters on Russia’s Baltic coast to draft America’s response to the unfolding crisis.
The strategy she outlined that night, the eve of the Group of 8 meeting, dispensed with traditional diplomatic flourishes. It included no call for an immediate cease-fire and expressly stated that Israel had a right to defend itself.
And if so, then it's not unreasonable to infer that Condoleezza Rice is, in fact, in the Abrams camp: that she is not simply being pushed towards Israel by the winds emanating from the White House (or the Naval Observatory), like a kite in a storm -- but that she, herself, favors letting Israel beat down Hezbollah.
I'm not generally one to see "sexism" or "racism" around every bed; but in this case, I cannot help but wonder whether the New York Times would be so quick to assume the secretary of state has no will of her own were she not a beautiful, attractive black woman -- who happens to be a conservative.
If "Madam Madeleine" were issuing the same policies in response to the same crisis, am I alone in thinking that the Times would instead be praising her strength, independence, and control of foreign policy?
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 10, 2006, at the time of 11:45 AM
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The following hissed in response by: Lib-O-Suxion
Excellent analysis of the NYT and Condi. She is obviously intelligent. Ms Albright is obviously not. As for her beauty, charm, and talent...one must come to the conclusion that the NYT folks are quite simply jealous. They have a remarkable record of having none of the four above gifts.
The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith
Linked at Old War Dogs.
The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith at August 10, 2006 3:06 PM
The following hissed in response by: Robert Schwartz
"igniting a pointless and damaging war between the secretary and the department."
Pointless? Hardly, it is past time we had a State Department that represented the United States of America.
The following hissed in response by: Texas Jack
If Dr. Rice has a fault, it is that she sometimes seems too close to the old State Dept. line. I could wish her to force some change in those idiots, as in "My way or the highway, people!"
Dafydd, educate this old Texican; what's the source of the name "The Grey Lady"? Grey, as in dirty, dingy, foul, I can understand, but "Lady" usually connotates someone I can respect. There are many words that come to mind referencing that alleged newspaper, but Lady is not one of them.
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
Dafydd, educate this old Texican; what's the source of the name "The Grey Lady"?
"... Gray Lady ...": The "Gray Lady" as a nickname for the New York Times appears to date back to the early 1950's. On the occasion of the paper's centennial, according to some sources, a man named Benjamin H. Hamm had a note published saying: "Heartiest congratulations upon the 100th anniversary of THE NEW YORK TIMES. May the old gray lady never die and its presses keep rolling along."
So technically, it's "the old gray lady" (with an a), but I typically spell that third word grey, with an e. Just a quirk of mine; both spellings are correct.
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at August 11, 2006 10:34 AM
The following hissed in response by: hunter
The agenda is clear: Weaken Condi as a possible candidate and protect clinton from any serious analysis.
Of course this is on top of the agenda to weaken the nation during war.
The NYT is really quite busy, no?
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