Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice discussed the status of several international concerns, notably the state of U.S. alliances, the Administration's push for greater democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere, and relations with China and Asia (among many other topics) in an exclusive interview with the Washington Post. She strikes me as a very sensible and effective combination of principle and practicality.
Asked about refurbishing U.S. alliances in the wake of the Iraq war, she said, "It seems to me that after the Iraqi elections there has been a new kind of coming together about what the next chapter looks like and a really strong desire to put the past behind us." There is a "desire to see the spread of liberty and freedom as essential to the securing of a better future, not just for those people who get to live in liberty and freedom but for those of us who experienced what happens when you have a freedom deficit and you have the rise of extremism. I think that you're beginning to see a kind of focusing and coming together around that project."
Regarding China and Asia she averred, "A lot is going on there and everybody is trying to figure out how they're going to cooperate this huge new factor, which is this rising China.
"And I believe that people are beginning to focus even there on the kind of values that unite us and have made these alliances work in Japan and South Korea.
"And then if you to go South Asia, the remarkable thing is to see that kind of ark that is Afghanistan, Pakistan, India has a new energy to it and a positive energy so that you have -– I hate to sound like a Californian, but positive energy it is — Pakistan and Afghanistan with a better relations than they have ever had. Pakistan and India with better relations than they have ever had and kind of a sense that that region could actually be quite powerful in and of itself."
Focusing on Pakistan, she said, "Pakistan has come a long way, it's on a better trajectory than it's ever been, or that it's been in many, many years, and our job is to support that trajectory and to help bring that along.