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Posted Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Why Iraq and Iran are Forcing Condoleezza Rice to Rethink U.S. Foreign Policy and Deal With the World as it is

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(London, February 8, 2007) — In this week's issue, TIME assistant managing editor Romesh Ratnesar and State Department correspondent Elaine Shannon report, "With the U.S. military tied down on two fronts and the rest of the world growing resistant to American power, the challenges for [Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice are as daunting as they have been for any Secretary of State in the past three decades…. The fate of Bush's legacy, and perhaps even the future shape of the international system, may hinge on whether Rice can pull off some kind of diplomatic breakthrough in the 23 months she has left."

TIME reports that in conversations with her counterparts overseas — and in two interviews with TIME in the past month — Rice has sketched out a vision of a "new alignment" of forces in the Middle East, in which a "stabilizing" group of U.S. allies, like Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, could unite to contain the "destabilizing" threat posed by Iran and radical groups like Hamas and Hizballah. "There is a recognition that things are really splitting," Rice tells TIME, "with extremists on one side and what I call responsible [governments] — because they're not all reformers — on the other side."

On Iran, Rice tells TIME, "The point here is to get the Iranians to change their behavior, to get them to change their strategy, to get them to negotiate in good faith on their nuclear program. I've heard people say, 'Well, you're escalating.' Well, this is responding, really, to a series of Iranian moves that are dangerous for American interests and dangerous for the international system." Ratnesar and Shannon write, "Whether Rice can steer the U.S. away from a military confrontation with Tehran is one of the two big challenges that will define the final years of her tenure — and the legacy she leaves for her successor. The other is even more daunting: making peace to the Middle East." TIME reports, however, that Rice "did herself few favors in Arab eyes by failing to restrain Israel's bombing campaign against Lebanon last summer. Her refusal to negotiate with Syria baffles diplomats in the region…. And Rice's relationship with [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas, in particular, is frosty."

Ratnesar and Shannon conclude, "Rice's influence with Bush is considerable, thanks to their personal bond and the departure of her rival, Donald Rumsfeld; but few believe she will ever usurp Vice President Dick Cheney's policymaking supremacy. If she hopes to be remembered in the same breath as the Secretaries of State she most admires … Rice will have to shed her famous equipoise, risk failure in the Middle East and begin to deal with the world as it is, rather than how the Administration wishes it to be. Given the limited time available for the task ahead, it's admirable that Rice still exudes optimism. Asked whether this is an interesting time to be Secretary of State, she laughs. 'No better moment,' she says."

- more -


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TIME's Bill Powell interviews Haji Bashar Noorzai, "an Afghan warlord, accused drug kingpin and American informant," who, after offering to be an asset in the war on terrorism, was arrested for conspiring to smuggle narcotics into the U.S. from Afghanistan. In this exclusive interview, Noorzai tells TIME, "I did not want to be considered an enemy of the United States. I wanted to help the Americans, and to help the new government in Afghanistan." TIME also reviewed hundreds of pages of transcripts of secret meetings between him and U.S. government agents. Powell writes that the documents "reveal an extraordinary saga of intrigue, espionage and, from Noorzai's perspective, betrayal." When he was arrested, Noorzai says, "I did not believe it. I thought they were joking."

TIME's 10 Questions for Imre Kertész
In 2002, Imre Kertész, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor and author won the Nobel Prize in Literature. The distinction brought Kertész, now 77, a new platform for his ideas on the impact of 20th century totalitarian politics on the individual. Kertész spoke to John Nadler in Budapest about the Nobel, novels and the threats for the 21st century. "I expected the collapse of [Soviet Communism] every day. Communism wasn't a natural system or way of life. Such systems always collapse," he told TIME.

Where Have You Gone, Tony Blair? asks TIME's Catherine Mayer
"As Tony Blair looks forward to the 10th anniversary of his first election victory, on May 1, London's famous chattering classes are wondering if he'll make it that far. An alliance of raucous opponents on the right and left, amplified by the noisy media, demands his head now, saying he should resign pending the police investigation into allegations that honors, such as seats in the House of Lords, may have been offered in exchange for party funding. Blair is keeping his head down and continues to work to secure his legacy as one of Britain's most successful premiers ever — presiding over continuous economic growth, pushing through record spending on health and education, moving within sight of a peace deal in Northern Ireland. He might have expected to string out his departure like the kind of grizzled rock stars whose company he evidently enjoys, squeezing in a few, poignant farewell gigs. Yet the loudest voices in the crowds are baying for him to leave the stage," writes TIME's Catherine Mayer. "It reminds me of the end of the Clinton era," an aide told TIME. "It's a witch hunt."

TIME's Joe Klein: What it Really Means to Support the Troops
TIME columnist Joe Klein writes, "Mission is a sacred word in the military. When you are given a mission, you are trained to complete it, to keep on trying new tactics until the objective is achieved.... And so, when politicians criticize a mission, the reflexive military reaction is to assume they are acting dishonorably, putting politics above duty." Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island tells TIME, "You have to ask who is really undermining this mission? Didn't the Bush Administration undermine it from the start by going to war without sufficient cause, without sufficient planning, without sufficient equipment for our troops? Even now, I would argue that the Bush Administration is undermining this surge by focusing merely on the military part of the mission, ignoring the need to reform the Iraqi government, to find a regional diplomatic solution and, of course, ignoring the real facts on the ground."


For further information please contact:
TIME Public Relations, New York
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