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A wiser choice for ‘Foggy Bottom’

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson would be a better choice for secretary of state.

I hope Congress chooses to reject President George W. Bush’s nomination of Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state. As our nation’s top diplomat, the secretary of state must make sure that our relations with other countries are strengthened.

If this happens, it greatly benefits the United States and the stability of the world. But under the Bush administration, the position has devolved into a worldwide justifier of unjust U.S. actions.

The usual job of the secretary of state before a declaration of war is to advise the president about how military action will appear to the rest of the world.

However, if the secretary of state has military connections prior to taking the post, that person is still going to hold loyalties to his or her military background. This compromises their ability to do the job the way that it needs to be done.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a retired general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ended up compromised in his ability to advise the president. He was not quite the right man for the job, in my opinion.

Now, instead of moving to a more diplomatic, nonpartisan direction to represent the United States internationally, the president has instead taken the same path he took four years ago, only this time naming Rice, his national security adviser, to the post.

Rice does have considerable background in political science, serving as a professor and provost at Stanford University for many years. However, she has three strikes against her that make her unfit for the job.

First, she has never been an ambassador. Because she would basically become the top ambassador in the land, it would be preferable if she had at least some experience in that area.

Second, she has been in the military sector for the last four years, which does compromise much of her decision making as top diplomat.

Third, and most importantly, she has had a strong stance in deciding the United States’ unilateral foreign policy that has received scorn from much of the world.

She will always have that hanging over her head when she has to go abroad talking to other nations about how they feel foreign policy is going. Because she helped set the policy that they despise, unless she does something drastic, she will not gain the respect she needs to be an effective secretary of state.

I doubt that can happen, given her significant role in the military sector these last four years.

So, who would be a better choice for the job? If I were the president, I would have nominated New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

He is a moderate thinker who served as a diplomat in the Clinton administration, who earned international respect during his time as a diplomat.

Not only would Richardson be more capable of fulfilling the secretary of state duties, the president would be showing

the country and the world that he can work with both parties to bring the United States back to where it once was: a world super-power with international respect.

Alas, this is unlikely to happen, because the administration seems more content covering up their mistakes rather than actually fixing them.

Abraham VanderBent is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected].

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