State Department a Mess?

Robert Novak‘s column today pours more cold water on the prospects of turning around the mess in the Middle East.

Republicans in Congress who do not want to be quoted tell me that the State Department under Condoleezza Rice is a mess. This comes at a time when the U.S. global position is precarious. While attention is focused on Iraq, American diplomacy is being tested worldwide — in Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, Korea and Sudan. The judgment by thoughtful Republicans is that Rice has failed to manage that endeavor.

Rice’s previous government duties had been as an analyst and staffer rather than as a manager. That made it important for her to name a strong deputy secretary to run the building.

The rest of the piece reveals discusses the messiness of that endeavor, likely fed by the disgruntled. Still, the combination of poor management, massive egos, and a rebellious bureaucracy sounds quite plausible.

I would note, too, that Condi Rice seems to have dropped off the list of favored presidential candidates touted by the enthusiasts.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Middle East, World Politics, , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    Isn’t Negroponte coming over to be her new #2? Won’t that solve everything? (/sarcasm)

  2. Anderson says:

    Rice has been a miserable failure at every gov’t job she’s held. Why anyone expected that to change is beyond me.

  3. Patrick McGuire says:

    She is a woman in a man’s world. Say what you want about gender equality in the workplace but I would bet big money (again) that there are males in that Department who just refuse to be “led” by a woman and they quietly do everything they can to make sure she fails.

    I expect the very same thing to happen to Ms. Pelosi. Ever notice the sly grin on Mr. Hoyer’s face?

  4. spencer says:

    patrick McGuire — didn’t we have a female sectary of state a few years ago that did not have these problems?

  5. anjin-san says:

    Rice is a lackey for Bush, nothing more. Her entire career is based on blind loyalty and toeing the party line. She is simply another incompetent in an administration filled with them.

  6. Anderson says:

    didn’t we have a female sectary of state a few years ago that did not have these problems?

    And somehow, I doubt that Madeleine Albright ever referred accidentally to Clinton as her “husband.”

  7. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Are y’all suggesting that Madeleine Albright had no problems? Y’all are kidding right? Who do you think created the climate for today’s problems?

  8. jpe says:

    It’s not about whether Albright’s policies were correct; it’s about whether she was so incompetent that she couldn’t hold her division together. Rice is that incompetent.

  9. anjin-san says:


    So the world was a perfect place until Albright came along and screwed everything up?

  10. LJD says:

    She is simply another incompetent in an administration filled with them.

    Interesting coming from one who lacks the ability to spell or form original, coherent thoughts.

  11. anjin-san says:


    Those who can, debate.

    Those who can’t, check spelling.

    I think we all know which side of the fence you are on…

  12. LJD says:

    O.k. let’s go for the coherent thought part of it. What part of your echoing partisan propaganda qualifies as debate?

    You remind me of the Monty Python skit:

    I’m here for an argument…
    No you’re not…
    This isn’t an argument, you’re just contradicting me.

  13. anjin-san says:


    Come back when you have something interesting to say dude. No one will be holding their breath waiting…

    In the meantime, there must be some typos somewhere on the internet that you can police, since you arn’t in Iraq on “The Mission”.