Condoleezza Rice er den mektigste utenriksministeren i USA på flere tiår. Hun er den første siden Kissinger som har gått fra å være nasjonal sikkerhetsrådgiver til utenriksminister. Hun kaller sin line for «praktisk idealisme». Washington Post har gjort et lengre intervju med henne:
On her first trip abroad, Rice warned the European Union not to lift an arms embargo on China, telling diplomats they would rue the day if U.S. troops ever faced European-armed Chinese soldiers across the Taiwan straits. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who then held the rotating European Union presidency, was so startled by her tough talk that he spilled his coffee in the lap of European foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
«The Europeans sent delegation after delegation saying, ‘Please be more flexible.’ She did not yield,» Burns said. «She told them, ‘You’ve united the Democrats and the Republicans in Congress. That’s not an easy thing to do.’ » The Europeans ultimately shelved their plan.
Colleagues have dubbed Rice the «velvet hammer.» Philip Zelikow, State Department counselor and a close adviser, said that «one of her gifts is that she knows how to say very direct things to foreign governments in a way that is not confrontational. She is very assertive, very firm, but doesn’t leave them feeling sullen and resentful.»