Day By Day

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The War On The Bureaucracy, Continued.... Condi's Role

I have frequently noted that one of the great legacies of the Bush administration is its attempt to bring Washington's "permanent government" to heel. The latest front in this ongoing effort was launched last week when Condoleeza Rice issued an ultimatum to the careerists over at State.

Ralph Peters, writing in the NY Post, brands her new course, a "Revolution." He writes:

In a speech at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, where students are deformed into diplomats, Condi cancelled the tea party. Her message was revolutionary and essential. As a result, she may go down in history as the SecState most hated by Foggy Bottom bureaucrats.

Here's what "Killjoy Condi" had to say:

* Diplomats can no longer build careers by hiding behind desks in comfy capitals. They'll have to accept dangerous assignments and serve in hardship posts; develop regional expertise in at least two areas; and speak at least two relevant foreign languages (French waiters need not apply). That ain't going to make Rice popular with diplos accustomed to rotating between Rome and Northwest D.C. on their way to ambassadorships. Yet, it's vital if we're going to convert our failed, 19th-century- model State Department into a useful tool for the 21st century.


Crucially, Condi named China, India, South Africa and Brazil as countries of the future while declaring that an initial 100 diplomatic slots would migrate from Europe immediately to countries that actually matter. More reassignments will follow, with even Moscow demoted to the international enlisted ranks — while Indonesia gets promoted....

Our SecState proposed a range of other innovative initiatives, from lone-gun outposts in major cities that lack a U.S. presence, through mobile diplomatic teams that would become the pin-striped equivalent of Army Rangers, to "Virtual Presence Posts" to harness the power of information technology. Not every program will succeed — but Condi's trying everything she can to bring our Euro-trash diplomacy back from the dead.


The Rice Reforms may not have made headlines last week, but they could become one of the most important legacies of the Bush administration. American diplomacy has to race to catch up with the opportunities exploding in New Delhi, Beijing and Brasilia. Condi just fired the starter pistol.

The careerists at Foggy Bottom will erect bureaucratic barricades and try to wait the secretary out. They may succeed. But every American ought to hope that Condi Rice succeeds in breaking their rice bowls.

Read the whole thing here.

During his first campaign Bush advertised himself as a "reformer with results." He has certainly carried through with the "reformer" half of the promise. In education, in the military, in the intelligence services, in international agencies, and now in the State Department, Bush has launched major reform imperatives that have been long overdue. As to the results..., much depends on whether the bureaucrats are successful in obstructing the reforms. I talk with beltway bureaucrats on a regular basis and their hatred for Bush knows no bounds. He's rocking the boat and upsetting their comfortable career plans and they really, REALLY, don't like it.

As for me, my reaction is, Go Condi, Go Condi, Go Condi, and especially, Go Dubya!!!

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