Condi's energy envoy -- and her tin ear
A favorite blogger parlor game is whether Condoleezza Rice is the worst Secretary of State ever. I won't presume to answer that question, but this is about as ham-fisted a statement as any "diplomat" can possibly make:
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she will
appoint a special US energy envoy to monitor the use of oil and gas for
Ms Rice said the politics of energy were "warping diplomacy in certain parts of the world".
"I do intend to appoint, and we are looking for, a
special energy co-ordinator who could especially spend time on the
Central Asian and Caspian region," she said.
Rice said that for domestic consumption — she was testifying to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — but this is surely being reported around the world, where it's being received with hoots of derision.
Leave aside questions of whether the Iraq War was "largely about oil" as Alan Greenspan asserted. The fact is a lot of people around the world believe the war was largely about oil, and as our nation's chief diplomat, Rice ought to be aware of that perception — and how disingenuous it makes her look to the rest of the world when she lectures Putin, Chavez, et. al. about the politics of energy "warping diplomacy." (Coming almost five years to the day after her predecessor's prevaricating presentation to the UN Security Council about Iraq, the timing is especially ironic.)
There is the further arrogance of U.S. officials presuming to dictate what the leaders of the Central Asian and Caspian regions choose to do with their energy resources. Rice might not like Putin's attempts to cut deals in those regions, but he has a better claim to those regions being in his backyard. Too, Rice appears ignorant of the fungible nature of energy — she seems to think if it's not sold to Western markets, then Western markets are being "denied" energy that's somehow their "right."
Economic ignorance. A diplomatic tin ear. Is it any wonder so much of the rest of the world can't wait for Team Bush to exit the stage?