Security Affairs Adviser-Designate Rice Well Versed in Russia, Arms Control
By Jacquelyn S. Porth
Washington File Security Affairs Writer
Washington - When President-elect George W. Bush selected Dr.
Condoleezza Rice to be his national security affairs adviser, he chose
someone with an intimate knowledge of Russian affairs and arms
Speaking to a high-powered conference of security experts prior to her
selection, Rice said ballistic missile defense is critical for the
United States. In her speech, "Setting Priorities for A New National
Security Strategy," she said it should be possible to overcome the
technical problems facing missile defense and then it will be a
question of whether the politics of the program can be managed.
The Bush foreign policy adviser said there is much to be done in this
area with Russia, U.S. allies and other nuclear powers.
Rice told the "National Strategies Capabilities for a Changing World"
conference sponsored by the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis,
Tufts University and the Army, that the United States needs to
continue to worry about the rise of a hegemonic power. U.S. military
forces must be maintained to prevent such a threat, she said.
Rice was questioned about her position and that of the President-elect
regarding U.S. military deployments. She said that the United States
needs to take a hard look at the missions it is expected to perform --
that America does not need to be the sole country defusing conflicts.
She also said U.S. leaders have to look hard at resources and assigned
missions and consider - at times - arranging coalitions to handle the
military burden with U.S. support.
Asked about the possibility of negotiating lower U.S.-Russian nuclear
levels, Rice said the current bilateral strategic concept dates back
to the heart of the Cold War. "It is time for a new strategic
concept," she said. The number of nuclear weapons the United States
needs for the future has to be determined through an internal review,
according to the Bush adviser.
Rice has substantial background in the nuclear weapons area. When she
first arrived in Washington in 1986, she worked on nuclear strategic
planning at the Joint Chiefs of Staff as part of a Council on Foreign
In a recent Associated Press profile, the President-elect said he
likes Rice briefings because she explains issues in a way that is
readily understandable. After Bush selected her on December 17 in
Austin, Texas, Rice said: "It's a wonderful time for the United States
in foreign policy because it's a time when markets and democracy are
spreading, when our values are being affirmed around the world, and
yet, it's a time of great challenge."
Rice, who will be the first woman and the first African-American to
serve as national security affairs adviser, has written or
collaborated on several books, including "Germany Unified and Europe
Transformed " (1995) "The Gorbachev Era " (1986) and "Uncertain
Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army " (1984).
She has written numerous articles on Soviet and East European foreign
and defense policy and has spoken in settings ranging from the U.S.
ambassador's residence in Moscow to the Commonwealth Club to the 1992
Republican National Convention.
An early mentor, according to the Associate Press, was Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright's father, Joseph Korbel, dean of the Graduate
School of International Studies at the University of Denver in
Colorado. Having skipped two grades in junior high, Rice entered
college at 15 and graduated at 19.
She was later recruited to the National Security Council (NSC) staff
by then-National Security Affairs Adviser Brent Scowcroft, who was
working for former President George Bush - George W.'s father. From
1989 to 1991, Rice served as director and then senior director of
Soviet and East European Affairs at the NSC, then as special assistant
to the National Security Affairs Adviser.
The 46-year old Rice had been on a year-long leave of absence as a
Hoover senior fellow and professor of political science at Stanford
University in California. She used the time to conduct research and
led an eight-person group nicknamed "the Vulcans" which formulated all
of the Bush campaign's foreign policy positions.
Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama. She earned her BA in political
science at the University of Denver in 1974 and, after receiving a
master's degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1975, returned to
Denver to earn a doctorate. "Condi," as she is known, holds several
honorary doctorates. She is a pianist and loves sports.
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