It’s funny, Steve Landsburg is gushing over Condoleeza Rice’s speech at the RNC (though he is careful to say he doesn’t endorse everything she said), whereas I had to turn it off when I caught it in the car. Why did I flip it off? Because I caught it on this part, which a lot of the Fox News analysts etc. tell me was a great line:
We can only know that there is no choice, because one of two things will happen if we don’t lead. Either no one will lead, and there will be chaos. Or, someone will fill the vacuum who does not share our values. My fellow Americans we do not have a choice. We cannot be reluctant to lead, and you cannot lead from behind!
On the video below, this excerpt starts around 1:44:
I can blow up her analysis pretty quickly: Just change the country name, and have every world leader say the exact same thing as above. Did I just “prove” that every single nation-state has no choice but to lead the rest of the world in foreign affairs?
Of course not, and it’s not even an issue of, “Some countries are run by bad guys, not like the noble United States!” Presumably if Rice herself were advising, say, the government of Belgium, she would recommend that they not try to lead from the front when it comes to geopolitics. She might not couch it in these terms, but her analysis would presumably come down to telling them: The impact you can have on world events is too small to justify devoting that much of your scarce resources to try such an arrogant project.
OK, so a lot of people would argue the same applies to the US. Yet the former Secretary of State hasn’t even hinted that she’s aware of the problem, let alone convinced me that she’s come up with the right answer.