When brickbats are better than bouquets

The Washington Post throws a bouquet at Secretary of State Rice. To me, that’s grounds for concern, especially when one of the flower tossers is Robin Wright and the piece ends with kind words from Senator Biden.
Wright probably is delighted by Rice’s unfortunate posture with respect to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. She and co-author Glenn Kessler also give her high marks (1) for bringing North Korea back to six-nation talks on nuclear disarmament by publicly recognizing it as a “sovereign state” and (2) for agreeing to allow Iran to apply for eventual membership in the World Trade Organization, and to buy spare parts for aging passenger aircraft, in exchange for a European pledge to support U.N. Security Council action if talks fail. Forgive me for wondering whether this constitutes making concrete concessions in exchange for “talks” that provide nothing more than the illusion of progress in dealing with deadly threats.
I agree with Wright and Kessler that Rice deserves credit for insisting successfully that the EU not lift its arms embargo on China. But here she was assisted in no small measure by China’s poorly-timed affirmation of its right to attack Taiwan.
The burden of the Post’s piece is that, unlike Colin Powell, Rice is able to talk some sense into President Bush. As I said, coming from Robin Wright that’s cause for concern.

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