Condoleeza Rice, International Relations Theory and the Bush Administration

In class today, I tried to convince you that understanding IR from a theoretical perspective was not simply some abstract, pedantic pursuit, but that the theoretical lens through which we view international relations does have real-world implications, many of which are dramatic.

I noted the role of Condoleeza Rice as the chief National Security Advisor to President Bush during his first term and also noted that Rice has long held a realist view of international relations. As you must know by now (I think I’ve mentioned it about 503 times since the beginning of the semester), realists view the state as the only prominent actor in international affairs. This was Rice’s view upon assuming her new position and this was manifested in the security objectives of the incoming administration, which did not believe, initially, that a non-state actor like Al Qaeda was a grave threat to the security of the United States.

Here are excerpts from Rice’s article in Foreign Affairs magazine in the midst of the 2000 presidential election campaign:

Summary: With no Soviet threat, America has found it exceedingly difficult to define its “national interest.” Foreign policy in a Republican administration should refocus the country on key priorities: building a military ready to ensure American power, coping with rogue regimes, and managing Beijing and Moscow. Above all, the next president must be comfortable with America’s special role as the world’s leader…

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